Condensed Novels
Bret Harte

Part 2 out of 3

window. This is logic."

Suddenly the King stumbled over something. "St. Denis!" he
exclaimed, looking down. It was a ladder, just nineteen feet long.

The King placed it against the wall. In so doing, he fixed the
lower end upon the abdomen of a man who lay concealed by the wall
The man did not utter a cry or wince. The King suspected nothing.
He ascended the ladder.

The ladder was too short. Louis the Grand was not a tall man. He
was still two feet below the window.

"Dear me!" said the King.

Suddenly the ladder was lifted two feet from below. This enabled
the King to leap in the window. At the farther end of the
apartment stood a young girl, with red hair and a lame leg. She
was trembling with emotion.


"The King!"

"Ah, my God, mademoiselle."

"Ah, my God, sire."

But a low knock at the door interrupted the lovers. The King
uttered a cry of rage; Louise one of despair.

The door opened and D'Artagnan entered.

"Good evening, sire," said the musketeer.

The King touched a bell. Porthos appeared in the doorway.

"Good evening, sire."

"Arrest M. D'Artagnan."

Porthos looked at D'Artagnan, and did not move.

The King almost turned purple with rage. He again touched the
bell. Athos entered.

"Count, arrest Porthos and D'Artagnan."

The Count de la Fere glanced at Porthos and D'Artagnan, and smiled

"Sacre! Where is Aramis?" said the King, violently.

"Here, sire," and Aramis entered.

"Arrest Athos, Porthos, and D'Artagnan."

Aramis bowed and folded his arms.

"Arrest yourself!"

Aramis did not move.

The King shuddered and turned pale. "Am I not King of France?"

"Assuredly, sire, but we are also severally, Porthos, Aramis,
D'Artagnan, and Athos."

"Ah!" said the King.

"Yes, sire."

"What does this mean?"

"It means, your Majesty," said Aramis, stepping forward, "that your
conduct as a married man is highly improper. I am an Abbe, and I
object to these improprieties. My friends here, D'Artagnan, Athos,
and Porthos, pure-minded young men, are also terribly shocked.
Observe, sire, how they blush!"

Athos, Porthos, and D'Artagnan blushed. "Ah," said the King,
thoughtfully. "You teach me a lesson. You are devoted and noble
young gentlemen, but your only weakness is your excessive modesty.
From this moment I make you all Marshals and Dukes, with the
exception of Aramis."

"And me, sire?" said Aramis.

"You shall be an Archbishop!"

The four friends looked up and then rushed into each other's arms.
The King embraced Louise de la Valliere, by way of keeping them
company. A pause ensued. At last Athos spoke:--

"Swear, my children, that, next to yourselves, you will respect--
the King of France; and remember that 'Forty years after' we will
meet again."





It was noon. Sir Edward had stepped from his brougham and was
proceeding on foot down the Strand. He was dressed with his usual
faultless taste, but in alighting from his vehicle his foot had
slipped, and a small round disk of conglomerated soil, which
instantly appeared on his high arched instep, marred the harmonious
glitter of his boots. Sir Edward was fastidious. Casting his eyes
around, at a little distance he perceived the stand of a youthful
bootblack. Thither he sauntered, and carelessly placing his foot
on the low stool, he waited the application of the polisher's art.
"'Tis true," said Sir Edward to himself, yet half aloud, "the
contact of the Foul and the Disgusting mars the general effect of
the Shiny and the Beautiful--and, yet, why am I here? I repeat it,
calmly and deliberately--why am I here? Ha! Boy!"

The Boy looked up--his dark Italian eyes glanced intelligently at
the Philosopher, and as with one hand he tossed back his glossy
curls, from his marble brow, and with the other he spread the
equally glossy Day & Martin over the Baronet's boot, he answered in
deep rich tones: "The Ideal is subjective to the Real. The
exercise of apperception gives a distinctiveness to idiocracy,
which is, however, subject to the limits of ME. You are an admirer
of the Beautiful, sir. You wish your boots blacked. The Beautiful
is attainable by means of the Coin."

"Ah," said Sir Edward thoughtfully, gazing upon the almost supernal
beauty of the Child before him; "you speak well. You have read

The Boy blushed deeply. He drew a copy of Kant from his blouse,
but in his confusion several other volumes dropped from his bosom
on the ground. The Baronet picked them up.

"Ah!" said the Philosopher, "what's this? Cicero's De Senectute,
at your age, too? Martial's Epigrams, Caesar's Commentaries.
What! a classical scholar?"

"E pluribus Unum. Nux vomica. Nil desperandum. Nihil fit!" said
the Boy, enthusiastically. The Philosopher gazed at the Child. A
strange presence seemed to transfuse and possess him. Over the
brow of the Boy glittered the pale nimbus of the Student.

"Ah, and Schiller's Robbers, too?" queried the Philosopher.

"Das ist ausgespielt," said the Boy, modestly.

"Then you have read my translation of Schiller's Ballads?"
continued the Baronet, with some show of interest.

"I have, and infinitely prefer them to the original," said the Boy,
with intellectual warmth. "You have shown how in Actual life we
strive for a Goal we cannot reach; how in the Ideal the Goal is
attainable, and there effort is victory. You have given us the
Antithesis which is a key to the Remainder, and constantly balances
before us the conditions of the Actual and the privileges of the

My very words," said the Baronet; "wonderful, wonderful!" and he
gazed fondly at the Italian boy, who again resumed his menial
employment. Alas! the wings of the Ideal were folded. The Student
had been absorbed in the Boy.

But Sir Edward's boots were blacked, and he turned to depart.
Placing his hand upon the clustering tendrils that surrounded the
classic nob of the infant Italian, he said softly, like a strain of
distant music:--

"Boy, you have done well. Love the Good. Protect the Innocent.
Provide for The Indigent. Respect the Philosopher. . . . Stay!
Can you tell we what IS The True, The Beautiful, The Innocent, The

"They are things that commence with a capital letter," said the
Boy, promptly.

"Enough! Respect everything that commences with a capital letter!
Respect ME!" and dropping a half-penny in the hand of the boy, he

The Boy gazed fixedly at the coin. A frightful and instantaneous
change overspread his features. His noble brow was corrugated with
baser lines of calculation. His black eye, serpent-like, glittered
with suppressed passion. Dropping upon his hands and feet, he
crawled to the curbstone and hissed after the retreating form of
the Baronet, the single word:--




"Eleven years ago," said Sir Edward to himself, as his brougham
slowly rolled him toward the Committee Room; "just eleven years ago
my natural son disappeared mysteriously. I have no doubt in the
world but that this little bootblack is he. His mother died in
Italy. He resembles his mother very much. Perhaps I ought to
provide for him. Shall I disclose myself? No! no! Better he
should taste the sweets of Labor. Penury ennobles the mind and
kindles the Love of the Beautiful. I will act to him, not like a
Father, not like a Guardian, not like a Friend--but like a

With these words, Sir Edward entered the Committee Room. His
Secretary approached him. "Sir Edward, there are fears of a
division in the House, and the Prime Minister has sent for you."

"I will be there," said Sir Edward, as he placed his hand on his
chest and uttered a hollow cough!

No one who heard the Baronet that night, in his sarcastic and
withering speech on the Drainage and Sewerage Bill, would have
recognized the lover of the Ideal and the Philosopher of the
Beautiful. No one who listened to his eloquence would have dreamed
of the Spartan resolution this iron man had taken in regard to the
Lost Boy--his own beloved Lionel. None!

"A fine speech from Sir Edward to-night," said Lord Billingsgate,
as, arm-and-arm with the Premier, he entered his carriage.

"Yes! but how dreadfully he coughs!"

"Exactly. Dr. Bolus says his lungs are entirely gone; he breathes
entirely by an effort of will, and altogether independent of
pulmonary assistance."

"How strange!" and the carriage rolled away.



"ADON AI, appear! appear!"

And as the Seer spoke, the awful Presence glided out of
Nothingness, and sat, sphinx-like, at the feet of the Alchemist.

"I am come!" said the Thing.

"You should say, 'I have come,'--it's better grammar," said the
Boy-Neophyte, thoughtfully accenting the substituted expression.

"Hush, rash Boy," said the Seer, sternly. "Would you oppose your
feeble knowledge to the infinite intelligence of the Unmistakable?
A word, and you are lost forever."

The Boy breathed a silent prayer, and, handing a sealed package to
the Seer, begged him to hand it to his father in case of his
premature decease.

"You have sent for me," hissed the Presence. "Behold me,
Apokatharticon,--the Unpronounceable. In me all things exist that
are not already coexistent. I am the Unattainable, the Intangible,
the Cause, and the Effect. In me observe the Brahma of Mr.
Emerson; not only Brahma himself, but also the sacred musical
composition rehearsed by the faithful Hindoo. I am the real Gyges.
None others are genuine."

And the veiled Son of the Starbeam laid himself loosely about the
room, and permeated Space generally.

"Unfathomable Mystery," said the Rosicrucian in a low, sweet voice.
"Brave Child with the Vitreous Optic! Thou who pervadest all
things and rubbest against us without abrasion of the cuticle. I
command thee, speak!"

And the misty, intangible, indefinite Presence spoke.



After the events related in the last chapter, the reader will
perceive that nothing was easier than to reconcile Sir Edward to
his son Lionel, nor to resuscitate the beautiful Italian girl, who,
it appears, was not dead, and to cause Sir Edward to marry his
first and boyish love, whom he had deserted. They were married in
St. George's, Hanover Square. As the bridal party stood before the
altar, Sir Edward, with a sweet sad smile, said, in quite his old

"The Sublime and Beautiful are the Real; the only Ideal is the
Ridiculous and Homely. Let us always remember this. Let us
through life endeavor to personify the virtues, and always begin
'em with a capital letter. Let us, whenever we can find an
opportunity, deliver our sentiments in the form of round-hand
copies. Respect the Aged. Eschew Vulgarity. Admire Ourselves.
Regard the Novelist."



BY CH--R--S D--CK--NS.



Don't tell me that it wasn't a knocker. I had seen it often
enough, and I ought to know. So ought the three-o'clock beer, in
dirty high-lows, swinging himself over the railing, or executing a
demoniacal jig upon the doorstep; so ought the butcher, although
butchers as a general thing are scornful of such trifles; so ought
the postman, to whom knockers of the most extravagant description
were merely human weaknesses, that were to be pitied and used. And
so ought, for the matter of that, etc., etc., etc.

But then it was SUCH a knocker. A wild, extravagant, and utterly
incomprehensible knocker. A knocker so mysterious and suspicious
that Policeman X 37, first coming upon it, felt inclined to take it
instantly in custody, but compromised with his professional
instincts by sharply and sternly noting it with an eye that
admitted of no nonsense, but confidently expected to detect its
secret yet. An ugly knocker; a knocker with a hard, human face,
that was a type of the harder human face within. A human face that
held between its teeth a brazen rod. So hereafter, in the
mysterious future should be held, etc., etc.

But if the knocker had a fierce human aspect in the glare of day,
you should have seen it at night, when it peered out of the
gathering shadows and suggested an ambushed figure; when the light
of the street lamps fell upon it, and wrought a play of sinister
expression in its hard outlines; when it seemed to wink meaningly
at a shrouded figure who, as the night fell darkly, crept up the
steps and passed into the mysterious house; when the swinging door
disclosed a black passage into which the figure seemed to lose
itself and become a part of the mysterious gloom; when the night
grew boisterous and the fierce wind made furious charges at the
knocker, as if to wrench it off and carry it away in triumph. Such
a night as this.

It was a wild and pitiless wind. A wind that had commenced life as
a gentle country zephyr, but wandering through manufacturing towns
had become demoralized, and reaching the city had plunged into
extravagant dissipation and wild excesses. A roistering wind that
indulged in Bacchanalian shouts on the street corners, that knocked
off the hats from the heads of helpless passengers, and then
fulfilled its duties by speeding away, like all young prodigals,--
to sea.

He sat alone in a gloomy library listening to the wind that roared
in the chimney. Around him novels and story-books were strewn
thickly; in his lap he held one with its pages freshly cut, and
turned the leaves wearily until his eyes rested upon a portrait in
its frontispiece. And as the wind howled the more fiercely, and
the darkness without fell blacker, a strange and fateful likeness
to that portrait appeared above his chair and leaned upon his
shoulder. The Haunted Man gazed at the portrait and sighed. The
figure gazed at the portrait and sighed too.

"Here again?" said the Haunted Man.

"Here again," it repeated in a low voice.

"Another novel?"

"Another novel."

"The old story?"

"The old story."

"I see a child," said the Haunted Man, gazing from the pages of the
book into the fire,--"a most unnatural child, a model infant. It
is prematurely old and philosophic. It dies in poverty to slow
music. It dies surrounded by luxury to slow music. It dies with
an accompaniment of golden water and rattling carts to slow music.
Previous to its decease it makes a will; it repeats the Lord's
Prayer, it kisses the 'boofer lady.' That child--"

"Is mine," said the phantom.

"I see a good woman, undersized. I see several charming women, but
they are all undersized. They are more or less imbecile and
idiotic, but always fascinating and undersized. They wear
coquettish caps and aprons. I observe that feminine virtue is
invariably below the medium height, and that it is always simple
and infantine. These women--"

"Are mine."

"I see a haughty, proud, and wicked lady. She is tall and queenly.
I remark that all proud and wicked women are tall and queenly.
That woman--"

"Is mine," said the phantom, wringing his hands.

"I see several things continually impending. I observe that
whenever an accident, a murder, or death is about to happen, there
is something in the furniture, in the locality, in the atmosphere,
that foreshadows and suggests it years in advance. I cannot say
that in real life I have noticed it,--the perception of this
surprising fact belongs--"

"To me!" said the phantom. The Haunted Man continued, in a
despairing tone:--

"I see the influence of this in the magazines and daily papers; I
see weak imitators rise up and enfeeble the world with senseless
formula. I am getting tired of it. It won't do, Charles! it won't
do!" and the Haunted Man buried his head in his hands and groaned.
The figure looked down upon him sternly: the portrait in the
frontispiece frowned as he gazed.

"Wretched man," said the phantom, "and how have these things
affected you?"

"Once I laughed and cried, but then I was younger. Now, I would
forget them if I could."

"Have then your wish. And take this with you, man whom I renounce.
From this day henceforth you shall live with those whom I displace.
Without forgetting me, 't will be your lot to walk through life as
if we had not met. But first you shall survey these scenes that
henceforth must be yours. At one to-night, prepare to meet the
phantom I have raised. Farewell!"

The sound of its voice seemed to fade away with the dying wind, and
the Haunted Man was alone. But the firelight flickered gayly, and
the light danced on the walls, making grotesque figures of the

"Ha, ha!" said the Haunted Man, rubbing his hands gleefully; "now
for a whiskey punch and a cigar."



One! The stroke of the far-off bell had hardly died before the
front door closed with a reverberating clang. Steps were heard
along the passage; the library door swung open of itself, and the
Knocker--yes, the Knocker--slowly strode into the room. The
Haunted Man rubbed his eyes,--no! there could be no mistake about
it,--it was the Knocker's face, mounted on a misty, almost
imperceptible body. The brazen rod was transferred from its mouth
to its right hand, where it was held like a ghostly truncheon.

"It's a cold evening," said the Haunted Man.

"It is," said the Goblin, in a hard, metallic voice.

"It must be pretty cold out there," said the Haunted Man, with
vague politeness. "Do you ever--will you--take some hot water and

"No," said the Goblin.

"Perhaps you'd like it cold, by way of change?" continued the
Haunted Man, correcting himself, as he remembered the peculiar
temperature with which the Goblin was probably familiar.

"Time flies," said the Goblin coldly. "We have no leisure for idle
talk. Come!" He moved his ghostly truncheon toward the window,
and laid his hand upon the other's arm. At his touch the body of
the Haunted Man seemed to become as thin and incorporeal as that of
the Goblin himself, and together they glided out of the window into
the black and blowy night.

In the rapidity of their flight the senses of the Haunted Man
seemed to leave him. At length they stopped suddenly.

"What do you see?" asked the Goblin.

"I see a battlemented mediaeval castle. Gallant men in mail ride
over the drawbridge, and kiss their gauntleted fingers to fair
ladies, who wave their lily hands in return. I see fight and fray
and tournament. I hear roaring heralds bawling the charms of
delicate women, and shamelessly proclaiming their lovers. Stay. I
see a Jewess about to leap from a battlement. I see knightly
deeds, violence, rapine, and a good deal of blood. I've seen
pretty much the same at Astley's."

"Look again."

"I see purple moors, glens, masculine women, bare-legged men,
priggish book-worms, more violence, physical excellence, and blood.
Always blood,--and the superiority of physical attainments."

"And how do you feel now?" said the Goblin.

The Haunted Man shrugged his shoulders. "None the better for being
carried back and asked to sympathize with a barbarous age."

The Goblin smiled and clutched his arm; they again sped rapidly
through the black night and again halted.

"What do you see?" said the Goblin.

"I see a barrack room, with a mess table, and a group of
intoxicated Celtic officers telling funny stories, and giving
challenges to duel. I see a young Irish gentleman capable of
performing prodigies of valor. I learn incidentally that the acme
of all heroism is the cornetcy of a dragoon regiment. I hear a
good deal of French! No, thank you," said the Haunted Man
hurriedly, as he stayed the waving hand of the Goblin; "I would
rather NOT go to the Peninsula, and don't care to have a private
interview with Napoleon."

Again the Goblin flew away with the unfortunate man, and from a
strange roaring below them he judged they were above the ocean. A
ship hove in sight, and the Goblin stayed its flight. "Look," he
said, squeezing his companion's arm.

The Haunted Man yawned. "Don't you think, Charles, you're rather
running this thing into the ground? Of course it's very moral and
instructive, and all that. But ain't there a little too much
pantomime about it? Come now!"

"Look!" repeated the Goblin, pinching his arm malevolently. The
Haunted Man groaned.

"O, of course, I see her Majesty's ship Arethusa. Of course I am
familiar with her stern First Lieutenant, her eccentric Captain,
her one fascinating and several mischievous midshipmen. Of course
I know it's a splendid thing to see all this, and not to be
seasick. O, there the young gentlemen are going to play a trick on
the purser. For God's sake, let us go," and the unhappy man
absolutely dragged the Goblin away with him.

When they next halted, it was at the edge of a broad and boundless
prairie, in the middle of an oak opening.

"I see," said the Haunted Man, without waiting for his cue, but
mechanically, and as if he were repeating a lesson which the Goblin
had taught him,--"I see the Noble Savage. He is very fine to look
at! But I observe under his war-paint, feathers, and picturesque
blanket, dirt, disease, and an unsymmetrical contour. I observe
beneath his inflated rhetoric deceit and hypocrisy; beneath his
physical hardihood, cruelty, malice, and revenge. The Noble Savage
is a humbug. I remarked the same to Mr. Catlin."

"Come," said the phantom.

The Haunted Man sighed, and took out his watch. "Couldn't we do
the rest of this another time?"

"My hour is almost spent, irreverent being, but there is yet a
chance for your reformation. Come!"

Again they sped through the night, and again halted. The sound of
delicious but melancholy music fell upon their ears.

"I see," said the Haunted Man, with something of interest in his
manner,--"I see an old moss-covered manse beside a sluggish,
flowing river. I see weird shapes: witches, Puritans, clergymen,
little children, judges, mesmerized maidens, moving to the sound of
melody that thrills me with its sweetness and purity. But,
although carried along its calm and evenly flowing current, the
shapes are strange and frightful: an eating lichen gnaws at the
heart of each. Not only the clergymen, but witch, maiden, judge,
and Puritan, all wear Scarlet Letters of some kind burned upon
their hearts. I am fascinated and thrilled, but I feel a morbid
sensitiveness creeping over me. I--I beg your pardon." The Goblin
was yawning frightfully. "Well, perhaps we had better go."

"One more, and the last," said the Goblin.

They were moving home. Streaks of red were beginning to appear in
the eastern sky. Along the banks of the blackly flowing river by
moorland and stagnant fens, by low houses, clustering close to the
water's edge, like strange mollusks, crawled upon the beach to dry;
by misty black barges, the more misty and indistinct seen through
its mysterious veil, the river fog was slowly rising. So rolled
away and rose from the heart of the Haunted Man, etc., etc.

They stopped before a quaint mansion of red brick. The Goblin
waved his hand without speaking.

"I see," said the Haunted Man, "a gay drawing-room. I see my old
friends of the club, of the college, of society, even as they lived
and moved. I see the gallant and unselfish men, whom I have loved,
and the snobs whom I have hated. I see strangely mingling with
them, and now and then blending with their forms, our old friends
Dick Steele, Addison, and Congreve. I observe, though, that these
gentlemen have a habit of getting too much in the way. The royal
standard of Queen Anne, not in itself a beautiful ornament, is
rather too prominent in the picture. The long galleries of black
oak, the formal furniture, the old portraits, are picturesque, but
depressing. The house is damp. I enjoy myself better here on the
lawn, where they are getting up a Vanity Fair. See, the bell
rings, the curtain is rising, the puppets are brought out for a new
play. Let me see."

The Haunted Man was pressing forward in his eagerness, but the hand
of the Goblin stayed him, and pointing to his feet he saw, between
him and the rising curtain, a new-made grave. And bending above
the grave in passionate grief, the Haunted Man beheld the phantom
of the previous night.

* * * * *

The Haunted Man started, and--woke. The bright sunshine streamed
into the room. The air was sparkling with frost. He ran joyously
to the window and opened it. A small boy saluted him with "Merry
Christmas." The Haunted Man instantly gave him a Bank of England
note. "How much like Tiny Tim, Tom, and Bobby that boy looked,--
bless my soul, what a genius this Dickens has!"

A knock at the door, and Boots entered.

"Consider your salary doubled instantly. Have you read David


"Your salary is quadrupled. What do you think of the Old Curiosity

The man instantly burst into a torrent of tears, and then into a
roar of laughter.

"Enough! Here are five thousand pounds. Open a porter-house, and
call it, 'Our Mutual Friend.' Huzza! I feel so happy!" And the
haunted Man danced about the room.

And so, bathed in the light of that blessed sun, and yet glowing
with the warmth of a good action, the Haunted Man, haunted no
longer, save by those shapes which make the dreams of children
beautiful, reseated himself in his chair, and finished Our Mutual




My earliest impressions are of a huge, misshapen rock, against
which the hoarse waves beat unceasingly. On this rock three
pelicans are standing in a defiant attitude. A dark sky lowers in
the background, while two sea-gulls and a gigantic cormorant eye
with extreme disfavor the floating corpse of a drowned woman in the
foreground. A few bracelets, coral necklaces, and other articles
of jewelry, scattered around loosely, complete this remarkable

It is one which, in some vague, unconscious way, symbolizes, to my
fancy, the character of a man. I have never been able to explain
exactly why. I think I must have seen the picture in some
illustrated volume, when a baby, or my mother may have dreamed it
before I was born.

As a child I was not handsome. When I consulted the triangular bit
of looking-glass which I always carried with me, it showed a pale,
sandy, and freckled face, shaded by locks like the color of seaweed
when the sun strikes it in deep water. My eyes were said to be
indistinctive; they were a faint, ashen gray; but above them rose--
my only beauty--a high, massive, domelike forehead, with polished
temples, like door-knobs of the purest porcelain.

Our family was a family of governesses. My mother had been one,
and my sisters had the same occupation. Consequently, when, at the
age of thirteen, my eldest sister handed me the advertisement of
Mr. Rawjester, clipped from that day's "Times," I accepted it as my
destiny. Nevertheless, a mysterious presentiment of an indefinite
future haunted me in my dreams that night, as I lay upon my little
snow-white bed. The next morning, with two bandboxes tied up in
silk handkerchiefs, and a hair trunk, I turned my back upon Minerva
Cottage forever.


Blunderbore Hall, the seat of James Rawjester, Esq., was
encompassed by dark pines and funereal hemlocks on all sides. The
wind sang weirdly in the turrets and moaned through the long-drawn
avenues of the park. As I approached the house I saw several
mysterious figures flit before the windows, and a yell of demoniac
laughter answered my summons at the bell. While I strove to
repress my gloomy forebodings, the housekeeper, a timid, scared-
looking old woman, showed me into the library.

I entered, overcome with conflicting emotions. I was dressed in a
narrow gown of dark serge, trimmed with black bugles. A thick
green shawl was pinned across my breast. My hands were encased
with black half-mittens worked with steel beads; on my feet were
large pattens, originally the property of my deceased grandmother.
I carried a blue cotton umbrella. As I passed before a mirror, I
could not help glancing at it, nor could I disguise from myself the
fact that I was not handsome.

Drawing a chair into a recess, I sat down with folded hands, calmly
awaiting the arrival of my master. Once or twice a fearful yell
rang through the house, or the rattling of chains, and curses
uttered in a deep, manly voice, broke upon the oppressive
stillness. I began to feel my soul rising with the emergency of
the moment.

"You look alarmed, miss. You don't hear anything, my dear, do
you?" asked the housekeeper nervously.

"Nothing whatever," I remarked calmly, as a terrific scream,
followed by the dragging of chairs and tables in the room above,
drowned for a moment my reply. "It is the silence, on the
contrary, which has made me foolishly nervous."

The housekeeper looked at me approvingly, and instantly made some
tea for me.

I drank seven cups; as I was beginning the eighth, I heard a crash,
and the next moment a man leaped into the room through the broken


The crash startled me from my self-control. The housekeeper bent
toward me and whispered:--

"Don't be excited. It's Mr. Rawjester,--he prefers to come in
sometimes in this way. It's his playfulness, ha! ha! ha!"

"I perceive," I said calmly. "It's the unfettered impulse of a
lofty soul breaking the tyrannizing bonds of custom." And I turned
toward him.

He had never once looked at me. He stood with his back to the
fire, which set off the herculean breadth of his shoulders. His
face was dark and expressive; his under jaw squarely formed, and
remarkably heavy. I was struck with his remarkable likeness to a

As he absently tied the poker into hard knots with his nervous
fingers, I watched him with some interest. Suddenly he turned
toward me:--

"Do you think I'm handsome, young woman?"

"Not classically beautiful," I returned calmly; "but you have, if I
may so express myself, an abstract manliness,--a sincere and
wholesome barbarity which, involving as it does the naturalness--"
But I stopped, for he yawned at that moment,--an action which
singularly developed the immense breadth of his lower jaw,--and I
saw he had forgotten me. Presently he turned to the housekeeper:--

"Leave us."

The old woman withdrew with a courtesy.

Mr. Rawjester deliberately turned his back upon me and remained
silent for twenty minutes. I drew my shawl the more closely around
my shoulders and closed my eyes.

"You are the governess?" at length he said.

"I am, sir."

"A creature who teaches geography, arithmetic, and the use of the
globes--ha!--a wretched remnant of femininity,--a skimp pattern of
girlhood with a premature flavor of tea-leaves and morality. Ugh!"

I bowed my head silently.

"Listen to me, girl!" he said sternly; "this child you have come to
teach--my ward--is not legitimate. She is the offspring of my
mistress,--a common harlot. Ah! Miss Mix, what do you think of me

"I admire," I replied calmly, "your sincerity. A mawkish regard
for delicacy might have kept this disclosure to yourself. I only
recognize in your frankness that perfect community of thought and
sentiment which should exist between original natures."

I looked up; he had already forgotten my presence, and was engaged
in pulling off his boots and coat. This done, he sank down in an
arm-chair before the fire, and ran the poker wearily through his
hair. I could not help pitying him.

The wind howled dismally without, and the rain beat furiously
against the windows. I crept toward him and seated myself on a low
stool beside his chair.

Presently he turned, without seeing me, and placed his foot
absently in my lap. I affected not to notice it. But he started
and looked down.

"You here yet--Carrothead? Ah, I forgot. Do you speak French?"

"Oui, Monsieur"

"Taisez-vous!" he said sharply, with singular purity of accent. I
complied. The wind moaned fearfully in the chimney, and the light
burned dimly. I shuddered in spite of myself. "Ah, you tremble,

"It is a fearful night."

"Fearful! Call you this fearful, ha! ha! ha! Look! you wretched
little atom, look!" and he dashed forward, and, leaping out of the
window, stood like a statue in the pelting storm, with folded arms.
He did not stay long, but in a few minutes returned by way of the
hall chimney. I saw from the way that he wiped his feet on my
dress that he had again forgotten my presence.

"You are a governess. What can you teach?" he asked, suddenly and
fiercely thrusting his face in mine.

"Manners!" I replied, calmly.

"Ha! teach ME!"

"You mistake yourself," I said, adjusting my mittens. "Your
manners require not the artificial restraint of society. You are
radically polite; this impetuosity and ferociousness is simply the
sincerity which is the basis of a proper deportment. Your
instincts are moral; your better nature, I see, is religious. As
St. Paul justly remarks--see chap. 6, 8, 9, and 10--"

He seized a heavy candlestick, and threw it at me. I dodged it
submissively but firmly.

"Excuse me," he remarked, as his under jaw slowly relaxed. "Excuse
me, Miss Mix--but I can't stand St. Paul! Enough--you are


I followed the housekeeper as she led the way timidly to my room.
As we passed into a dark hall in the wing, I noticed that it was
closed by an iron gate with a grating. Three of the doors on the
corridor were likewise grated. A strange noise, as of shuffling
feet and the howling of infuriated animals, rang through the hall.
Bidding the housekeeper good night, and taking the candle, I
entered my bedchamber.

I took off my dress, and, putting on a yellow flannel nightgown,
which I could not help feeling did not agree with my complexion, I
composed myself to rest by reading Blair's Rhetoric and Paley's
Moral Philosophy. I had just put out the light, when I heard
voices in the corridor. I listened attentively. I recognized Mr.
Rawjester's stern tones.

"Have you fed No. 1?" he asked.

"Yes, sir," said a gruff voice, apparently belonging to a domestic.

"How's No. 2?"

"She's a little off her feed, just now, but will pick up in a day
or two!"

"And No. 3?"

"Perfectly furious, sir. Her tantrums are ungovernable."


The voices died away, and I sank into a fitful slumber.

I dreamed that I was wandering through a tropical forest. Suddenly
I saw the figure of a gorilla approaching me. As it neared me, I
recognized the features of Mr. Rawjester. He held his hand to his
side as if in pain. I saw that he had been wounded. He recognized
me and called me by name, but at the same moment the vision changed
to an Ashantee village, where, around the fire, a group of negroes
were dancing and participating in some wild Obi festival. I awoke
with the strain still ringing in my ears.

"Hokee-pokee wokee fum!"

Good Heavens! could I be dreaming? I heard the voice distinctly on
the floor below, and smelt something burning. I arose, with an
indistinct presentiment of evil, and hastily putting some cotton in
my ears and tying a towel about my head, I wrapped myself in a
shawl and rushed down stairs. The door of Mr. Rawjester's room was
open. I entered.

Mr. Rawjester lay apparently in a deep slumber, from which even the
clouds of smoke that came from the burning curtains of his bed
could not rouse him. Around the room a large and powerful negress,
scantily attired, with her head adorned with feathers, was dancing
wildly, accompanying herself with bone castanets. It looked like
some terrible fetich.

I did not lose my calmness. After firmly emptying the pitcher,
basin, and slop-jar on the burning bed, I proceeded cautiously to
the garden, and, returning with the garden-engine, I directed a
small stream at Mr. Rawjester.

At my entrance the gigantic negress fled. Mr. Rawjester yawned and
woke. I explained to him, as he rose dripping from the bed, the
reason of my presence. He did not seem to be excited, alarmed, or
discomposed. He gazed at me curiously.

"So you risked your life to save mine, eh? you canary-colored
teacher of infants."

I blushed modestly, and drew my shawl tightly over my yellow
flannel nightgown.

"You love me, Mary Jane,--don't deny it! This trembling shows it!"
He drew me closely toward him, and said, with his deep voice
tenderly modulated:--

"How's her pooty tootens,--did she get her 'ittle tootens wet,--
bess her?"

I understood his allusion to my feet. I glanced down and saw that
in my hurry I had put on a pair of his old india-rubbers. My feet
were not small or pretty, and the addition did not add to their

"Let me go, sir," I remarked quietly. "This is entirely improper;
it sets a bad example for your child." And I firmly but gently
extricated myself from his grasp. I approached the door. He
seemed for a moment buried in deep thought.

"You say this was a negress?"

"Yes, sir."

"Humph, No. 1, I suppose?"

"Who is Number One, sir?"

"My FIRST," he remarked, with a significant and sarcastic smile.
Then, relapsing into his old manner, he threw his boots at my head,
and bade me begone. I withdrew calmly.


My pupil was a bright little girl, who spoke French with a perfect
accent. Her mother had been a French ballet-dancer, which probably
accounted for it. Although she was only six years old, it was easy
to perceive that she had been several times in love. She once said
to me:--

"Miss Mix, did you ever have the grande passion? Did you ever feel
a fluttering here?" and she placed her hand upon her small chest,
and sighed quaintly, "a kind of distaste for bonbons and caromels,
when the world seemed as tasteless and hollow as a broken cordial

"Then you have felt it, Nina?" I said quietly. "O dear, yes.
There was Buttons,--that was our page, you know,--I loved him
dearly, but papa sent him away. Then there was Dick, the groom,
but he laughed at me, and I suffered misery!" and she struck a
tragic French attitude. "There is to be company here to-morrow,"
she added, rattling on with childish naivete, "and papa's
sweetheart--Blanche Marabout--is to be here. You know they say she
is to be my mamma."

What thrill was this shot through me? But I rose calmly, and,
administering a slight correction to the child, left the apartment.

Blunderbore House, for the next week, was the scene of gayety and
merriment. That portion of the mansion closed with a grating was
walled up, and the midnight shrieks no longer troubled me.

But I felt more keenly the degradation of my situation. I was
obliged to help Lady Blanche at her toilet and help her to look
beautiful. For what? To captivate him? O--no, no,--but why this
sudden thrill and faintness? Did he really love her? I had seen
him pinch and swear at her. But I reflected that he had thrown a
candlestick at my head, and my foolish heart was reassured.

It was a night of festivity, when a sudden message obliged Mr.
Rawjester to leave his guests for a few hours. "Make yourselves
merry, idiots," he added, under his breath, as he passed me. The
door closed and he was gone.

An half-hour passed. In the midst of the dancing a shriek was
heard, and out of the swaying crowd of fainting women and excited
men a wild figure strode into the room. One glance showed it to be
a highwayman, heavily armed, holding a pistol in each hand.

"Let no one pass out of this room!" he said, in a voice of thunder.
"The house is surrounded and you cannot escape. The first one who
crosses yonder threshold will be shot like a dog. Gentlemen, I'll
trouble you to approach in single file, and hand me your purses and

Finding resistance useless, the order was ungraciously obeyed.

"Now, ladies, please to pass up your jewelry and trinkets."

This order was still more ungraciously complied with. As Blanche
handed to the bandit captain her bracelet, she endeavored to
conceal a diamond necklace, the gift of Mr. Rawjester, in her
bosom. But, with a demoniac grin, the powerful brute tore it from
its concealment, and, administering a hearty box on the ear of the
young girl, flung her aside.

It was now my turn. With a beating heart I made my way to the
robber chieftain, and sank at his feet. "O sir, I am nothing but a
poor governess, pray let me go."

"O ho! A governess? Give me your last month's wages, then. Give
me what you have stolen from your master!" and he laughed

I gazed at him quietly, and said, in a low voice: "I have stolen
nothing from you, Mr. Rawjester!"

"Ah, discovered! Hush! listen, girl!" he hissed, in a fiercer
whisper, "utter a syllable to frustrate my plans and you die; aid
me, and--" But he was gone.

In a few moments the party, with the exception of myself, were
gagged and locked in the cellar. The next moment torches were
applied to the rich hangings, and the house was in flames. I felt
a strong hand seize me, and bear me out in the open air and place
me upon the hillside, where I could overlook the burning mansion.
It was Mr. Rawjester.

"Burn!" he said, as he shook his fist at the flames. Then sinking
on his knees before me, he said hurriedly:--

"Mary Jane, I love you; the obstacles to our union are or will be
soon removed. In yonder mansion were confined my three crazy
wives. One of them, as you know, attempted to kill me! Ha! this
is vengeance! But will you be mine?"

I fell, without a word, upon his neck.







"Nerei repandirostrum incurvicervicum pecus."

A dingy, swashy, splashy afternoon in October; a school-yard filled
with a mob of riotous boys. A lot of us standing outside.

Suddenly came a dull, crashing sound from the school-room. At the
ominous interruption I shuddered involuntarily, and called to

"What's up, Smithums?"

"Guy's cleaning out the fourth form," he replied.

At the same moment George de Coverly passed me, holding his nose,
from whence the bright Norman blood streamed redly. To him the
plebeian Smithsye laughingly:--

"Cully! how's his nibs?"

I pushed the door of the school-room open. There are some
spectacles which a man never forgets. The burning of Troy probably
seemed a large-sized conflagration to the pious Aeneas, and made an
impression on him which he carried away with the feeble Anchises.

In the centre of the room, lightly brandishing the piston-rod of a
steam-engine, stood Guy Heavystone alone. I say alone, for the
pile of small boys on the floor in the corner could hardly be
called company.

I will try and sketch him for the reader. Guy Heavystone was then
only fifteen. His broad, deep chest, his sinewy and quivering
flank, his straight pastern, showed him to be a thoroughbred.
Perhaps he was a trifle heavy in the fetlock, but he held his head
haughtily erect. His eyes were glittering but pitiless. There was
a sternness about the lower part of his face,--the old Heavystone
look,--a sternness, heightened, perhaps, by the snaffle-bit which,
in one of his strange freaks, he wore in his mouth to curb his
occasional ferocity. His dress was well adapted to his square-set
and herculean frame. A striped knit undershirt, close-fitting
striped tights, and a few spangles set off his figure; a neat
Glengarry cap adorned his head. On it was displayed the Heavystone
crest, a cock regardant on a dunghill or, and the motto, "Devil a

I thought of Horatius on the bridge, of Hector before the walls. I
always make it a point to think of something classical at such

He saw me, and his sternness partly relaxed. Something like a
smile struggled through his grim lineaments. It was like looking
on the Jungfrau after having seen Mont Blanc,--a trifle, only a
trifle less sublime and awful. Resting his hand lightly on the
shoulder of the head-master, who shuddered and collapsed under his
touch, he strode toward me.

His walk was peculiar. You could not call it a stride. It was
like the "crest-tossing Bellerophon,"--a kind of prancing gait.
Guy Heavystone pranced toward me.


"Lord Lovel he stood at the garden gate,
A-combing his milk-white steed."

It was the winter of 186- when I next met Guy Heavystone. He had
left the University and had entered the 76th "Heavies." "I have
exchanged the gown for the sword, you see," he said, grasping my
hand, and fracturing the bones of my little finger, as he shook it.

I gazed at him with unmixed admiration. He was squarer, sterner,
and in every way smarter and more remarkable than ever. I began to
feel toward this man as Phalaster felt towards Phyrgino, as
somebody must have felt toward Archididasculus, as Boswell felt
toward Johnson.

"Come into my den," he said, and lifting me gently by the seat of
my pantaloons he carried me up stairs and deposited me, before I
could apologize, on the sofa. I looked around the room. It was a
bachelor's apartment, characteristically furnished in the taste of
the proprietor. A few claymores and battle-axes were ranged
against the wall, and a culverin, captured by Sir Ralph Heavystone,
occupied the corner, the other end of the room being taken up by a
light battery. Foils, boxing-gloves, saddles, and fishing-poles
lay around carelessly. A small pile of billets-doux lay upon a
silver salver. The man was not an anchorite, nor yet a Sir

I never could tell what Guy thought of women. "Poor little
beasts," he would often say when the conversation turned on any of
his fresh conquests. Then, passing his hand over his marble brow,
the old look of stern fixedness of purpose and unflinching severity
would straighten the lines of his mouth, and he would mutter, half
to himself, "S'death!"

"Come with me to Heavystone Grange. The Exmoor Hounds throw off
to-morrow. I'll give you a mount," he said, as he amused himself
by rolling up a silver candlestick between his fingers. "You shall
have Cleopatra. But stay," he added, thoughtfully; "now I
remember, I ordered Cleopatra to be shot this morning."

"And why?" I queried.

"She threw her rider yesterday and fell on him--"

"And killed him?"

"No. That's the reason why I have ordered her to be shot. I keep
no animals that are not dangerous--I should add--DEADLY!" He
hissed the last sentence between his teeth, and a gloomy frown
descended over his calm brow.

I affected to turn over the tradesman's bills that lay on the
table, for, like all of the Heavystone race, Guy seldom paid cash,
and said:--

"You remind me of the time when Leonidas--"

"O, bother Leonidas and your classical allusions. Come!"

We descended to dinner.


"He carries weight, he rides a race,
'Tis for a thousand pound."

"There is Flora Billingsgate, the greatest coquette and hardest
rider in the country," said my companion, Ralph Mortmain, as we
stood upon Dingleby Common before the meet.

I looked up and beheld Guy Heavystone bending haughtily over the
saddle, as he addressed a beautiful brunette. She was indeed a
splendidly groomed and high-spirited woman. We were near enough to
overhear the following conversation, which any high-toned reader
will recognize as the common and natural expression of the higher

"When Diana takes the field the chase is not wholly confined to
objects ferae naturae," said Guy, darting a significant glance at
his companion. Flora did not shrink either from the glance or the
meaning implied in the sarcasm.

"If I were looking for an Endymion, now--" she said archly, as she
playfully cantered over a few hounds and leaped a five-barred gate.

Guy whispered a few words, inaudible to the rest of the party, and,
curvetting slightly, cleverly cleared two of the huntsmen in a
flying leap, galloped up the front steps of the mansion, and
dashing at full speed through the hall leaped through the drawing-
room window and rejoined me, languidly, on the lawn.

"Be careful of Flora Billingsgate," he said to me, in low stern
tones, while his pitiless eye shot a baleful fire. "Gardez vous!"

"Gnothi seauton," I replied calmly, not wishing to appear to be
behind him in perception or verbal felicity.

Guy started off in high spirits. He was well carried. He and the
first whip, a ten-stone man, were head and head at the last fence,
while the hounds were rolling over their fox a hundred yards
farther in the open.

But an unexpected circumstance occurred. Coming back, his chestnut
mare refused a ten-foot wall. She reared and fell backward. Again
he led her up to it lightly; again she refused, falling heavily
from the coping. Guy started to his feet. The old pitiless fire
shone in his eyes; the old stern look settled around his mouth.
Seizing the mare by the tail and mane he threw her over the wall.
She landed twenty feet on the other side, erect and trembling.
Lightly leaping the same obstacle himself, he remounted her. She
did not refuse the wall the next time.


"He holds him by his glittering eye."

Guy was in the North of Ireland, cock-shooting. So Ralph Mortmain
told me, and also that the match between Mary Brandagee and Guy had
been broken off by Flora Billingsgate. "I don't like those
Billingsgates," said Ralph, "they're a bad stock. Her father,
Smithfield de Billingsgate, had an unpleasant way of turning up the
knave from the bottom of the pack. But nous verrons; let us go and
see Guy."

The next morning we started for Fin-ma-Coul's Crossing. When I
reached the shooting-box, where Guy was entertaining a select
company of friends, Flora Billingsgate greeted me with a saucy

Guy was even squarer and sterner than ever. His gusts of passion
were more frequent, and it was with difficulty that he could keep
an able-bodied servant in his family. His present retainers were
more or less maimed from exposure to the fury of their master.
There was a strange cynicism, a cutting sarcasm in his address,
piercing through his polished manner. I thought of Timon, etc.,

One evening, we were sitting over our Chambertin, after a hard
day's work, and Guy was listlessly turning over some letters, when
suddenly he uttered a cry. Did you ever hear the trumpeting of a
wounded elephant? It was like that.

I looked at him with consternation. He was glancing at a letter
which he held at arm's length, and snorting, as it were, at it as
he gazed. The lower part of his face was stern, but not as rigid
as usual. He was slowly grinding between his teeth the fragments
of the glass he had just been drinking from. Suddenly he seized
one of his servants, and, forcing the wretch upon his knees,
exclaimed, with the roar of a tiger:--

"Dog! why was this kept from me?"

"Why, please, sir, Miss Flora said as how it was a reconciliation
from Miss Brandagee, and it was to be kept from you where you would
not be likely to see it,--and--and--"

"Speak, dog! and you--"

"I put it among your bills, sir!"

With a groan, like distant thunder, Guy fell swooning to the floor.

He soon recovered, for the next moment a servant came rushing into
the room with the information that a number of the ingenuous
peasantry of the neighborhood were about to indulge that evening in
the national pastime of burning a farm-house and shooting a
landlord. Guy smiled a fearful smile, without, however, altering
his stern and pitiless expression.

"Let them come," he said calmly; "I feel like entertaining

We barricaded the doors and windows, and then chose our arms from
the armory. Guy's choice was a singular one: it was a landing net
with a long handle, and a sharp cavalry sabre.

We were not destined to remain long in ignorance of its use. A
howl was heard from without, and a party of fifty or sixty armed
men precipitated themselves against the door.

Suddenly the window opened. With the rapidity of lightning, Guy
Heavystone cast the net over the head of the ringleader, ejaculated
"Habet!" and with a back stroke of his cavalry sabre severed the
member from its trunk, and, drawing the net back again, cast the
gory head upon the floor, saying quietly:--


Again the net was cast, the steel flashed, the net was withdrawn,
and an ominous "Two!" accompanied the head as it rolled on the

"Do you remember what Pliny says of the gladiator?" said Guy,
calmly wiping his sabre. "How graphic is that passage commencing
'Inter nos, etc.'" The sport continued until the heads of twenty
desperadoes had been gathered in. The rest seemed inclined to
disperse. Guy incautiously showed himself at the door; a ringing
shot was heard, and he staggered back, pierced through the heart.
Grasping the door-post in the last unconscious throes of his mighty
frame, the whole side of the house yielded to that earthquake
tremor, and we had barely time to escape before the whole building
fell in ruins. I thought of Samson, the Giant Judge, etc., etc.;
but all was over.

Guy Heavystone had died as he had lived,--HARD.





My father was a north-country surgeon. He had retired, a widower,
from her Majesty's navy many years before, and had a small practice
in his native village. When I was seven years old he employed me
to carry medicines to his patients. Being of a lively disposition,
I sometimes amused myself; during my daily rounds, by mixing the
contents of the different phials. Although I had no reason to
doubt that the general result of this practice was beneficial, yet,
as the death of a consumptive curate followed the addition of a
strong mercurial lotion to his expectorant, my father concluded to
withdraw me from the profession and send me to school.

Grubbins, the schoolmaster, was a tyrant, and it was not long
before my impetuous and self-willed nature rebelled against his
authority. I soon began to form plans of revenge. In this I was
assisted by Tom Snaffle,--a schoolfellow. One day Tom suggested:--

"Suppose we blow him up. I've got two pounds of powder!"

"No, that's too noisy," I replied.

Tom was silent for a minute, and again spoke:--

"You remember how you flattened out the curate, Pills! Couldn't
you give Grubbins something--something to make him leathery sick--

A flash of inspiration crossed my mind. I went to the shop of the
village apothecary. He knew me; I had often purchased vitriol,
which I poured into Grubbins's inkstand to corrode his pens and
burn up his coat-tail, on which he was in the habit of wiping them.
I boldly asked for an ounce of chloroform. The young apothecary
winked and handed me the bottle.

It was Grubbins's custom to throw his handkerchief over his head,
recline in his chair and take a short nap during recess. Watching
my opportunity, as he dozed, I managed to slip his handkerchief
from his face and substitute my own, moistened with chloroform. In
a few minutes he was insensible. Tom and I then quickly shaved his
head, beard, and eyebrows, blackened his face with a mixture of
vitriol and burnt cork, and fled. There was a row and scandal the
next day. My father always excused me by asserting that Grubbins
had got drunk,--but somehow found it convenient to procure me an
appointment in her Majesty's navy at an early day.


An official letter, with the Admiralty seal, informed me that I was
expected to join H. M. ship Belcher, Captain Boltrope, at
Portsmouth, without delay. In a few days I presented myself to a
tall, stern-visaged man, who was slowly pacing the leeward side of
the quarter-deck. As I touched my hat he eyed me sternly:--

"So ho! Another young suckling. The service is going to the
devil. Nothing but babes in the cockpit and grannies in the board.
Boatswain's mate, pass the word for Mr. Cheek!"

Mr. Cheek, the steward, appeared and touched his hat. "Introduce
Mr. Breezy to the young gentlemen. Stop! Where's Mr. Swizzle?"

"At the masthead, sir."

"Where's Mr. Lankey?"

"At the masthead, sir."

"Mr. Briggs?"

"Masthead, too, sir."

"And the rest of the young gentlemen?" roared the enraged officer.

"All masthead, sir."

"Ah!" said Captain Boltrope, as he smiled grimly, "under the
circumstances, Mr. Breezy, you had better go to the masthead too."


At the masthead I made the acquaintance of two youngsters of about
my own age, one of whom informed me that he had been there three
hundred and thirty-two days out of the year.

"In rough weather, when the old cock is out of sorts, you know, we
never come down," added a young gentleman of nine years, with a
dirk nearly as long as himself, who had been introduced to me as
Mr. Briggs. "By the way, Pills," be continued, "how did you come
to omit giving the captain a naval salute?"

"Why, I touched my hat," I said, innocently.

"Yes, but that isn't enough, you know. That will do very well at
other times. He expects the naval salute when you first come on

I began to feel alarmed, and begged him to explain.

"Why, you see, after touching your hat, you should have touched him
lightly with your forefinger in his waistcoat, so, and asked,
'How's his nibs?'--you see?"

"How's his nibs?" I repeated.

"Exactly. He would have drawn back a little, and then you should
have repeated the salute remarking, 'How's his royal nibs?' asking
cautiously after his wife and family, and requesting to be
introduced to the gunner's daughter."

"The gunner's daughter?"

"The same; you know she takes care of us young gentlemen; now don't
forget, Pillsy!"

When we were called down to the deck I thought it a good chance to
profit by this instruction. I approached Captain Boltrope and
repeated the salute without conscientiously omitting a single
detail. He remained for a moment, livid and speechless. At length
he gasped out:--

"Boatswain's mate?"

"If you please, sir," I asked, tremulously, "I should like to be
introduced to the gunner's daughter!"

"O, very good, sir!" screamed Captain Boltrope, rubbing his hands
and absolutely capering about the deck with rage. "O d--n you! Of
course you shall! O ho! the gunner's daughter! O, h--ll! this is
too much! Boatswain's mate!" Before I well knew where I was, I
was seized, borne to an eight-pounder, tied upon it and flogged!


As we sat together in the cockpit, picking the weevils out of our
biscuit, Briggs consoled me for my late mishap, adding that the
"naval salute," as a custom, seemed just then to be honored more in
the BREACH than the observance. I joined in the hilarity
occasioned by the witticism, and in a few moments we were all
friends. Presently Swizzle turned to me:--

"We have been just planning how to confiscate a keg of claret,
which Nips, the purser, keeps under his bunk. The old nipcheese
lies there drunk half the day, and there's no getting at it."

"Let's get beneath the state-room and bore through the deck, and so
tap it," said Lankey.

The proposition was received with a shout of applause. A long
half-inch auger and bit was procured from Chips, the carpenter's
mate, and Swizzle, after a careful examination of the timbers
beneath the ward-room, commenced operations. The auger at last
disappeared, when suddenly there was a slight disturbance on the
deck above. Swizzle withdrew the auger hurriedly; from its point a
few bright red drops trickled.

"Huzza! send her up again!" cried Lankey.

The auger was again applied. This time a shriek was heard from the
purser's cabin. Instantly the light was doused, and the party
retreated hurriedly to the cockpit. A sound of snoring was heard
as the sentry stuck his head into the door. "All right, sir," he
replied in answer to the voice of the officer of the deck.

The next morning we heard that Nips was in the surgeon's hands,
with a bad wound in the fleshy part of his leg, and that the auger
had NOT struck claret.


"Now, Pills, you'll have a chance to smell powder," said Briggs as
he entered the cockpit and buckled around his waist an enormous
cutlass. "We have just sighted a French ship."

We went on deck. Captain Boltrope grinned as we touched our hats.
He hated the purser. "Come, young gentlemen, if you're boring for
french claret, yonder's a good quality. Mind your con, sir," he
added, turning to the quartermaster, who was grinning.

The ship was already cleared for action. The men, in their
eagerness, had started the coffee from the tubs and filled them
with shot. Presently the Frenchman yawed, and a shot from a long
thirty-two came skipping over the water. It killed the
quartermaster and took off both of Lankey's legs. "Tell the purser
our account is squared," said the dying boy, with a feeble smile.

The fight raged fiercely for two hours. I remember killing the
French Admiral, as we boarded, but on looking around for Briggs,
after the smoke had cleared away, I was intensely amused at
witnessing the following novel sight:--

Briggs had pinned the French captain against the mast with his
cutlass, and was now engaged, with all the hilarity of youth, in
pulling the captain's coat-tails between his legs, in imitation of
a dancing-jack. As the Frenchman lifted his legs and arms, at each
jerk of Briggs's, I could not help participating in the general

"You young devil, what are you doing?" said a stifled voice behind
me. I looked up and beheld Captain Boltrope, endeavoring to calm
his stern features, but the twitching around his mouth betrayed his
intense enjoyment of the scene. "Go to the masthead--up with you,
sir!" he repeated sternly to Briggs.

"Very good, sir," said the boy, coolly preparing to mount the
shrouds. "Good by, Johnny Crapaud. Humph!" he added, in a tone
intended for my ear, "a pretty way to treat a hero. The service is
going to the devil!"

I thought so too.


We were ordered to the West Indies. Although Captain Boltrope's
manner toward me was still severe, and even harsh, I understood
that my name had been favorably mentioned in the despatches.

Reader, were you ever at Jamaica? If so, you remember the
negresses, the oranges, Port Royal Tom--the yellow fever. After
being two weeks at the station, I was taken sick of the fever. In
a month I was delirious. During my paroxysms, I had a wild
distempered dream of a stern face bending anxiously over my pillow,
a rough hand smoothing my hair, and a kind voice saying:--

"Bess his 'ittle heart! Did he have the naughty fever?" This face
seemed again changed to the well-known stern features of Captain

When I was convalescent, a packet edged in black was put in my
hand. It contained the news of my father's death, and a sealed
letter which he had requested to be given to me on his decease. I
opened it tremblingly. It read thus:--

"My dear Boy:--I regret to inform you that in all probability you
are not my son. Your mother, I am grieved to say, was a highly
improper person. Who your father may be, I really cannot say, but
perhaps the Honorable Henry Boltrope, Captain R. N., may be able to
inform you. Circumstances over which I have no control have
deferred this important disclosure.


And so Captain Boltrope was my father. Heavens! Was it a dream?
I recalled his stern manner, his observant eye, his ill-concealed
uneasiness when in my presence. I longed to embrace him.
Staggering to my feet, I rushed in my scanty apparel to the deck,
where Captain Boltrope was just then engaged in receiving the
Governor's wife and daughter. The ladies shrieked; the youngest, a
beautiful girl, blushed deeply. Heeding them not, I sank at his
feet, and, embracing them, cried:--

"My father!"

"Chuck him overboard!" roared Captain Boltrope.

"Stay," pleaded the soft voice of Clara Maitland, the Governor's

"Shave his head! he's a wretched lunatic!" continued Captain
Boltrope, while his voice trembled with excitement.

"No, let me nurse and take care of him," said the lovely girl,
blushing as she spoke. "Mamma, can't we take him home?"

The daughter's pleading was not without effect. In the mean time I
had fainted. When I recovered my senses I found myself in Governor
Maitland's mansion.


The reader will guess what followed. I fell deeply in love with
Clara Maitland, to whom I confided the secret of my birth. The
generous girl asserted that she had detected the superiority of my
manner at once. We plighted our troth, and resolved to wait upon

Briggs called to see me a few days afterward. He said that the
purser had insulted the whole cockpit, and all the midshipmen had
called him out. But he added thoughtfully: "I don't see how we can
arrange the duel. You see there are six of us to fight him."

"Very easily," I replied. "Let your fellows all stand in a row,
and take his fire; that, you see, gives him six chances to one, and
he must be a bad shot if he can't hit one of you; while, on the
other hand, you see, he gets a volley from you six, and one of
you'll be certain to fetch him."

"Exactly"; and away Briggs went, but soon returned to say that the
purser had declined,--"like a d--d coward," he added.

But the news of the sudden and serious illness of Captain Boltrope
put off the duel. I hastened to his bedside, but too late,--an
hour previous he had given up the ghost.

I resolved to return to England. I made known the secret of my
birth, and exhibited my adopted father's letter to Lady Maitland,
who at once suggested my marriage with her daughter, before I
returned to claim the property. We were married, and took our
departure next day.

I made no delay in posting at once, in company with my wife and my
friend Briggs, to my native village. Judge of my horror and
surprise when my late adopted father came out of his shop to
welcome me.

"Then you are not dead!" I gasped.

"No, my dear boy."

"And this letter?"

My father--as I must still call him--glanced on the paper, and
pronounced it a forgery. Briggs roared with laughter. I turned to
him and demanded an explanation.

"Why, don't you see, Greeny, it's all a joke,--a midshipman's

"But--" I asked.

"Don't be a fool. You've got a good wife,--be satisfied."

I turned to Clara, and was satisfied. Although Mrs. Maitland never
forgave me, the jolly old Governor laughed heartily over the joke,
and so well used his influence that I soon became, dear reader,
Admiral Breezy, K. C. B.




BY T. S. A--TH--R.


One cigar a day!" said Judge Boompointer.

One cigar a day!" repeated John Jenkins, as with trepidation he
dropped his half-consumed cigar under his work-bench.

"One cigar a day is three cents a day," remarked Judge Boompointer,
gravely; "and do you know, sir, what one cigar a day, or three
cents a day, amounts to in the course of four years?"

John Jenkins, in his boyhood, had attended the village school, and
possessed considerable arithmetical ability. Taking up a shingle
which lay upon his work-bench, and producing a piece of chalk, with
a feeling of conscious pride he made an exhaustive calculation.

"Exactly forty-three dollars and eighty cents," he replied, wiping
the perspiration from his heated brow, while his face flushed with
honest enthusiasm.

"Well, sir, if you saved three cents a day, instead of wasting it,
you would now be the possessor of a new suit of clothes, an
illustrated Family Bible, a pew in the church, a complete set of
Patent Office Reports, a hymn-book, and a paid subscription to
Arthur's Home Magazine, which could be purchased for exactly forty-
three dollars and eighty cents; and," added the Judge, with
increasing sternness, "if you calculate leap-year, which you seem
to have strangely omitted, you have three cents more, sir; THREE
CENTS MORE! What would that buy you, sir?"

"A cigar," suggested John Jenkins; but, coloring again deeply, he
hid his face.

"No, sir," said the Judge, with a sweet smile of benevolence
stealing over his stern features; "properly invested, it would buy
you that which passeth all price. Dropped into the missionary-box,
who can tell what heathen, now idly and joyously wantoning in
nakedness and sin, might be brought to a sense of his miserable
condition, and made, through that three cents, to feel the torments
of the wicked?"

With these words the Judge retired, leaving John Jenkins buried in
profound thought. "Three cents a day," he muttered. "In forty
years I might be worth four hundred and thirty-eight dollars and
ten cents,--and then I might marry Mary. Ah, Mary!" The young
carpenter sighed, and, drawing a twenty-five cent daguerreotype
from his vest-pocket, gazed long and fervidly upon the features of
a young girl in book muslin and a coral necklace. Then, with a
resolute expression, he carefully locked the door of his workshop
and departed.

Alas! his good resolutions were too late. We trifle with the tide
of fortune which too often nips us in the bud and casts the dark
shadow of misfortune over the bright lexicon of youth! That night
the half-consumed fragment of John Jenkins's cigar set fire to his
workshop and burned it up, together with all his tools and
materials. There was no insurance.



"Then you still persist in marrying John Jenkins?" queried Judge
Boompointer, as he playfully, with paternal familiarity, lifted the
golden curls of the village belle, Mary Jones.

"I do," replied the fair young girl, in a low voice, that resembled
rock candy in its saccharine firmness,--"I do. He has promised to
reform. Since he lost all his property by fire--"

"The result of his pernicious habit, though he illogically persists
in charging it to me," interrupted the Judge.

"Since then," continued the young girl, "he has endeavored to break
himself of the habit. He tells me that he has substituted the
stalks of the Indian ratan, the outer part of a leguminous plant
called the smoking-bean, and the fragmentary and unconsumed
remainder of cigars which occur at rare and uncertain intervals
along the road, which, as he informs me, though deficient in
quality and strength, are comparatively inexpensive." And,
blushing at her own eloquence, the young girl hid her curls on the
Judge's arm.

"Poor thing!" muttered Judge Boompointer. "Dare I tell her all?
Yet I must."

"I shall cling to him," continued the young girl, rising with her
theme, "as the young vine clings to some hoary ruin. Nay, nay,
chide me not, Judge Boompointer. I will marry John Jenkins!"

The Judge was evidently affected. Seating himself at the table, he
wrote a few lines hurriedly upon a piece of paper, which he folded
and placed in the fingers of the destined bride of John Jenkins.

"Mary Jones," said the Judge, with impressive earnestness, "take
this trifle as a wedding gift from one who respects your fidelity
and truthfulness. At the altar let it be a reminder of me." And
covering his face hastily with a handkerchief, the stern and iron-
willed man left the room. As the door closed, Mary unfolded the
paper. It was an order on the corner grocery for three yards of
flannel, a paper of needles, four pounds of soap, one pound of
starch, and two boxes of matches!

"Noble and thoughtful man!" was all Mary Jones could exclaim, as
she hid her face in her hands and burst into a flood of tears.

* * * * *

The bells of Cloverdale are ringing merrily. It is a wedding.
"How beautiful they look!" is the exclamation that passes from lip
to lip, as Mary Jones, leaning timidly on the arm of John Jenkins,
enters the church. But the bride is agitated, and the bridegroom
betrays a feverish nervousness. As they stand in the vestibule,
John Jenkins fumbles earnestly in his vest-pocket. Can it be the
ring he is anxious about? No. He draws a small brown substance
from his pocket, and biting off a piece, hastily replaces the
fragment and gazes furtively around. Surely no one saw him? Alas!
the eyes of two of that wedding party saw the fatal act. Judge
Boompointer shook his head sternly. Mary Jones sighed and breathed
a silent prayer. Her husband chewed!


"What! more bread?" said John Jenkins, gruffly. "You're always
asking for money for bread. D--nation! Do you want to ruin me by
your extravagance?" and as he uttered these words he drew from his
pocket a bottle of whiskey, a pipe, and a paper of tobacco.
Emptying the first at a draught, he threw the empty bottle at the
head of his eldest boy, a youth of twelve summers. The missile
struck the child full in the temple, and stretched him a lifeless
corpse. Mrs. Jenkins, whom the reader will hardly recognize as the
once gay and beautiful Mary Jones, raised the dead body of her son
in her arms, and carefully placing the unfortunate youth beside the
pump in the back yard, returned with saddened step to the house.
At another time, and in brighter days, she might have wept at the
occurrence. She was past tears now.

"Father, your conduct is reprehensible!" said little Harrison
Jenkins, the youngest boy. "Where do you expect to go when you

"Ah!" said John Jenkins, fiercely; "this comes of giving children a
liberal education; this is the result of Sabbath schools. Down,

A tumbler thrown from the same parental fist laid out the youthful
Harrison cold. The four other children had, in the mean time,
gathered around the table with anxious expectancy. With a chuckle,
the now changed and brutal John Jenkins produced four pipes, and,
filling them with tobacco, handed one to each of his offspring and
bade them smoke. "It's better than bread!" laughed the wretch

Mary Jenkins, though of a patient nature, felt it her duty now to
speak. "I have borne much, John Jenkins," she said. "But I prefer
that the children should not smoke. It is an unclean habit, and
soils their clothes. I ask this as a special favor!"

John Jenkins hesitated,--the pangs of remorse began to seize him.

"Promise me this, John!" urged Mary upon her knees.

"I promise!" reluctantly answered John.

"And you will put the money in a savings-bank?"

"I will," repeated her husband; "and I'LL give up smoking, too."

"'Tis well, John Jenkins!" said Judge Boompointer, appearing
suddenly from behind the door, where he had been concealed during
this interview. "Nobly said! my man. Cheer up! I will see that
the children are decently buried." The husband and wife fell into
each other's arms. And Judge Boompointer, gazing upon the
affecting spectacle, burst into tears.

From that day John Jenkins was an altered man.


By W--LK--E C--LL--NS.


The following advertisement appeared in the "Times" of the 17th of
June, 1845:--

WANTED.--A few young men for a light genteel employment.
Address J. W., P. O.

In the same paper, of same date, in another column:--

TO LET.--That commodious and elegant family mansion, No. 27
Limehouse Road, Pultneyville, will be rented low to a respectable
tenant if applied for immediately, the family being about to remove
to the continent.

Under the local intelligence, in another column:--

MISSING.--An unknown elderly gentleman a week ago left his lodgings
in the Kent Road, since which nothing has been heard of him. He
left no trace of his identity except a portmanteau containing a
couple of shirts marked "209, WARD."

To find the connection between the mysterious disappearance of the
elderly gentleman and the anonymous communication, the relevancy of
both these incidents to the letting of a commodious family mansion,
and the dead secret involved in the three occurrences, is the task
of the writer of this history.

A slim young man with spectacles, a large hat, drab gaiters, and a
note-book, sat late that night with a copy of the "Times" before
him, and a pencil which he rattled nervously between his teeth in
the coffee-room of the "Blue Dragon."



I am upper housemaid to the family that live at No. 27 Limehouse
Road, Pultneyville. I have been requested by Mr. Wilkey Collings,
which I takes the liberty of here stating is a gentleman born and
bred, and has some consideration for the feelings of servants, and
is not above rewarding them for their trouble, which is more than
you can say for some who ask questions and gets short answers
enough, gracious knows, to tell what I know about them. I have
been requested to tell my story in my own langwidge, though, being
no schollard, mind cannot conceive. I think my master is a brute.
Do not know that he has ever attempted to poison my missus,--which
is too good for him, and how she ever came to marry him, heart only
can tell,--but believe him to be capable of any such hatrosity.
Have heard him swear dreadful because of not having his shaving-
water at nine o'clock precisely. Do not know whether he ever
forged a will or tried to get my missus' property, although, not
having confidence in the man, should not be surprised if he had
done so. Believe that there was always something mysterious in his
conduct. Remember distinctly how the family left home to go
abroad. Was putting up my back hair, last Saturday morning, when I
heard a ring. Says cook, "That's missus' bell, and mind you hurry
or the master 'ill know why." Says I, "Humbly thanking you, mem,
but taking advice of them as is competent to give it, I'll take my
time." Found missus dressing herself and master growling as usual.
Says missus, quite calm and easy like, "Mary, we begin to pack to-
day." "What for, mem?" says I, taken aback. "What's that hussy
asking?" says master from the bedclothes quite savage like. "For
the Continent--Italy," says missus--"Can you go Mary?" Her voice
was quite gentle and saintlike, but I knew the struggle it cost,
and says I, "With YOU mem, to India's torrid clime, if required,
but with African Gorillas," says I, looking toward the bed,
"never." "Leave the room," says master, starting up and catching
of his bootjack. "Why Charles!" says missus, "how you talk!"
affecting surprise. "Do go Mary," says she, slipping a half-crown
into my hand. I left the room scorning to take notice of the
odious wretch's conduct.

Cannot say whether my master and missus were ever legally married.
What with the dreadful state of morals nowadays and them stories in
the circulating libraries, innocent girls don't know into what
society they might be obliged to take situations. Never saw
missus' marriage certificate, though I have quite accidental-like
looked in her desk when open, and would have seen it. Do not know
of any lovers missus might have had. Believe she had a liking for
John Thomas, footman, for she was always spiteful-like--poor lady--
when we were together--though there was nothing between us, as Cook
well knows, and dare not deny, and missus needn't have been
jealous. Have never seen arsenic or Prussian acid in any of the
private drawers--but have seen paregoric and camphor. One of my
master's friends was a Count Moscow, a Russian papist--which I



I am by profession a reporter, and writer for the press. I live at
Pultneyville. I have always had a passion for the marvellous, and
have been distinguished for my facility in tracing out mysteries,
and solving enigmatical occurrences. On the night of the 17th
June, 1845, I left my office and walked homeward. The night was
bright and starlight. I was revolving in my mind the words of a
singular item I had just read in the "Times." I had reached the
darkest portion of the road, and found my self mechanically
repeating: "An elderly gentleman a week ago left his lodgings on


Back to Full Books