Old Friends - Essays in Epistolary Parody
Andrew Lang

Part 1 out of 2

This etext was prepared by David Price, email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk
from the 1890 Longmans, Green, and Co. edition.



The studies in this volume originally appeared in the "St. James's
Gazette." Two, from a friendly hand, have been omitted here by the
author of the rest, as non sua poma. One was by Mr. RICHARD
SWIVELLER to a boon companion and brother in the lyric Apollo; the
other, though purporting to have been addressed by Messrs. DOMBEY &
SON to Mr. TOOTS, is believed, on internal evidence, to have been
composed by the patron of the CHICKEN himself. A few prefatory
notes, an introductory essay, and two letters have been added.

The portrait in the frontispiece, copied by Mr. T. Hodge from an
old painting in the Club at St. Andrews, is believed to represent
the Baron Bradwardine addressing himself to his ball.

A. L.


Every fancy which dwells much with the unborn and immortal
characters of Fiction must ask itself, Did the persons in
contemporary novels never meet? In so little a world their paths
must often have crossed, their orbits must have intersected, though
we hear nothing about the adventure from the accredited narrators.
In historical fiction authors make their people meet real men and
women of history--Louis XI., Lazarus, Mary Queen of Scots, General
Webbe, Moses, the Man in the Iron Mask, Marie Antoinette; the list
is endless. But novelists, in spite of Mr. Thackeray's advice to
Alexandre Dumas, and of his own example in "Rebecca and Rowena,"
have not introduced each other's characters. Dumas never pursued
the fortunes of the Master of Ravenswood after he was picked up by
that coasting vessel in the Kelpie's Flow. Sometimes a meeting
between characters in novels by different hands looked all but
unavoidable. "Pendennis" and "David Copperfield" came out
simultaneously in numbers, yet Pen never encountered Steerforth at
the University, nor did Warrington, in his life of journalism,
jostle against a reporter named David Copperfield. One fears that
the Major would have called Steerforth a tiger, that Pen would have
been very loftily condescending to the nephew of Betsy Trotwood.
But Captain Costigan would scarcely have refused to take a sip of
Mr. Micawber's punch, and I doubt, not that Litimer would have
conspired darkly with Morgan, the Major's sinister man. Most of
those delightful sets of old friends, the Dickens and Thackeray
people, might well have met, though they belonged to very different
worlds. In older novels, too, it might easily have chanced that
Mr. Edward Waverley of Waverley Honour, came into contact with
Lieutenant Booth, or, after the Forty-five, with Thomas Jones, or,
in Scotland, Balmawhapple might have foregathered with Lieutenant
Lismahagow. Might not even Jeanie Deans have crossed the path of
Major Lambert of the "Virginians," and been helped on her way by
that good man? Assuredly Dugald Dalgetty in his wanderings in
search of fights and fortune may have crushed a cup or rattled a
dicebox with four gallant gentlemen of the King's Mousquetaires.
It is agreeable to wonder what all these very real people would
have thought of their companions in the region of Romance, and to
guess how their natures would have acted and reacted on each other.

This was the idea which suggested the following little essays in
parody. In making them the writer, though an assiduous and veteran
novel reader, had to recognise that after all he knew, on really
intimate and friendly terms, comparatively few people in the
Paradise of Fiction. Setting aside the dramatic poets and their
creations, the children of Moliere and Shakspeare, the reader of
novels will find, may be, that his airy friends are scarce so many
as he deemed. We all know Sancho and the Don, by repute at least;
we have all our memories of Gil Blas; Manon Lescaut does not fade
from the heart, nor her lover, the Chevalier des Grieux, from the
remembrance. Our mental picture of Anna Karenine is fresh enough
and fair enough, but how few can most of us recall out of the
myriad progeny of George Sand! Indiana, Valentine, Lelia, do you
quite believe in them, would you know them if you met them in the
Paradise of Fiction? Noun one might recognise, but there is a
haziness about La Petite Fadette. Consuelo, let it be admitted, is
not evanescent, oblivion scatters no poppy over her; but Madame
Sand's later ladies, still more her men, are easily lost in the
forests of fancy. Even their names with difficulty return to us,
and if we read the roll-call, would Horace and Jacques cry Adsum
like the good Colonel? There are living critics who have all Mr.
George Meredith's heroines and heroes and oddities at their finger
ends, and yet forget that musical name, like the close of a rich
hexameter, Clare Doria Forey. But this is a digression; it is
perhaps admitted that George Sand, so great a novelist, gave the
world few characters who live in and are dear to memory. We can
just fancy one of her dignified later heroines, all self-
renunciation and rural sentiment, preaching in vain to that real
woman, Emma Bovary. HER we know, her we remember, as we remember
few, comparatively, of Balzac's thronging faces, from La Cousine
Bette to Seraphitus Seraphita. Many of those are certain to live
and keep their hold, but it is by dint of long and elaborate
preparation, description, analysis. A stranger intermeddleth not
with them, though we can fancy Lucien de Rubempre let loose in a
country neighbourhood of George Sand's, and making sonnets and love
to some rural chatelaine, while Vautrin might stray among the
ruffians of Gaboriau, a giant of crime. Among M. Zola's people,
however it may fare with others, I find myself remembering few:
the guilty Hippolytus of "La Curee," the poor girl in "La Fortune
des Rougon," the Abbe Mouret, the artist in "L'Oeuvre," and the
half idiotic girl of the farm house, and Helene in "Un Page
d'Amour." They are not amongst M. Zola's most prominent creations,
and it must be some accident that makes them most memorable and
recognisable to one of his readers.

Probably we all notice that the characters of fiction who remain
our intimates, whose words come to our lips often, whose conduct in
this or that situation we could easily forecast, are the characters
whom we met when we were young. We may be wrong in thinking them
the best, the most true and living of the unborn; perhaps they only
seem so real because they came fresh to fresh hearts and unworn
memories. This at least we must allow for, when we are tempted to
say about novelists, "The old are better." It was we who, long
ago, were young and better, better fitted to enjoy and retain the
pleasure of making new visionary acquaintances. If this be so,
what an argument it is in favour of reading the best books first
and earliest in youth! Do the ladies who now find Scott slow, and
Miss Austen dull, and Dickens vulgar, and Thackeray prosy, and
Fielding and Richardson impossible, come to this belief because
they began early with the volumes of the circulating library? Are
their memories happily stored with the words and deeds of modern
fictitious romps, and passionate governesses, and tremendous
guardsmen with huge cigars? Are the people of--well, why mention
names of living authors?--of whom you will--are those as much to
the young readers of 1890 as Quentin Durward, and Colonel Newcome,
and Sam Weller, and Becky Sharp, and Anne Elliot, and Elizabeth
Bennett, and Jane Eyre were to young readers of 1860? It may very
well be so, and we seniors will not regret our choice, and the
young men and maids will be pleased enough with theirs. Yet it is
not impossible that the old really are better, and do not gain all
their life and permanent charm merely from the unjaded memories and
affections with which we came to them long ago.

We shall never be certain, for even if we tried the experiment of
comparing, we are no longer good judges, our hearts are with our
old friends, whom we think deathless; their birth is far enough off
in time, but they will serve us for ours.

These friends, it has been said, are not such a very numerous
company after all. Most of them are children of our own soil,
their spirits were made in England, or at least in Great Britain,
or, perhaps, came of English stock across the seas, like our dear
old Leather Stocking and Madam Hester Prynne. Probably most of us
are insular enough to confess this limitation; even if we be so
unpatriotic to read far more new French than new English novels.
One may study M. Daudet, and not remember his Sidonie as we
remember Becky, nor his Petit Chose or his Jack as we remember
David Copperfield. In the Paradise of Fiction are folk of all
nations and tongues; but the English (as Swedenborg saw them doing
in his vision of Heaven) keep very much to themselves. The
American visitors, or some of them, disdain our old acquaintances,
and associate with Russian, Spanish, Lithuanian, Armenian heroes
and heroines, conversing, probably, in some sort of French. Few of
us "poor islanders" are so cosmopolitan; we read foreign novels,
and yet among all the brilliant persons met there we remember but a
few. Most of my own foreign friends in fiction wear love-locks and
large boots, have rapiers at their side which they are very ready
to draw, are great trenchermen, mighty fine drinkers, and somewhat
gallant in their conduct to the sex. There is also a citizen or
two from Furetiere's "Roman Bourgeois," there is Manon, aforesaid,
and a company of picaroons, and an archbishop, and a lady styled
Marianne, and a newly ennobled Count of mysterious wealth, and two
grisettes, named Mimi and Musette, with their student-lovers. M.
Balzac has introduced us to mystics, and murderers, and old maids,
and doctors, and adventurers, and poets, and a girl with golden
eyes, and malefactors, and bankrupts, and mad old collectors,
peasants, cures, critics, dreamers, debauchees; but all these are
somewhat distant acquaintances, many of them undesirable
acquaintances. In the great "Comedie Humaine" have you a single
real friend? Some of Charles de Bernard's folk are more akin to
us, such as "La Femme de Quarante Ans," and the owner of the hound
Justinian, and that drunken artist in "Gerfaut." But an Englishman
is rather friendless, rather an alien and an outcast, in the
society of French fiction. Monsieur de Camors is not of our monde,
nor is the Enfant du Siecle; indeed, perhaps good Monsieur
Sylvestre Bonnard is as sympathetic as anyone in that populous
country of modern French romance. Or do you know Fifi Vollard?

Something must be allowed for strange manners, for exotic ideas,
and ways not our own. More perhaps is due to what, as Englishmen
think, is the lack of HUMOUR in the most brilliant and witty of
races. We have friends many in Moliere, in Dumas, in Rabelais; but
it is far more difficult to be familiar, at ease, and happy in the
circles to which Madame Sand, M. Daudet, M. Flaubert, or M. Paul
Bourget introduce us. M. Bourget's old professor, in "Le
Disciple," we understand, but he does not interest himself much in
us, and to us he is rather a curiosity, a "character," than an
intimate. We are driven to the belief that humour, with its loving
and smiling observation, is necessary to the author who would make
his persons real and congenial, and, above all, friendly. Now
humour is the quality which Dumas, Moliere, and Rabelais possess
conspicuously among Frenchmen. Montaigne has it too, and makes
himself dear to us, as the humorous novelists make their fancied
people dear. Without humour an author may draw characters distinct
and clear, and entertaining, and even real; but they want
atmosphere, and with them we are never intimate. Mr. Alfred Austin
says that "we know the hero or the heroine in prose romance far
more familiarly than we know the hero or heroine in the poem or the
drama." "Which of the serious characters in Shakspeare's plays are
not indefinite and shadowy compared with Harry Esmond or Maggie
Tulliver?" The SERIOUS characters--they are seldom very familiar
or definite to us in any kind of literature. One might say, to be
sure, that he knows Hotspur a good deal more intimately than he
knows Mr. Henry Esmond, and that he has a pretty definite idea of
Iago, Othello, Macbeth, King Lear, as definite as he has (to follow
Mr. Austin) of Tito Melema. But we cannot reckon Othello, or
Macbeth, or King Lear as FRIENDS; nay, we would rather drink with
the honest ancient. All heroes and the heroines are usually too
august, and also too young, to be friendly with us; to be handled
humorously by their creators. We know Cuddie Headrigg a great deal
better than Henry Morton, and Le Balafre better than Quentin
Durward, and Dugald Dalgetty better than anybody. Humour it is
that gives flesh and blood to the persons of romance; makes Mr.
Lenville real, while Nicholas Nickleby is only a "walking
gentleman." You cannot know Oliver Twist as you know the Dodger
and Charlie Bates. If you met Edward Waverley you could scarce
tell him from another young officer of his time; but there would be
no chance of mistake about the Dugald creature, or Bailie Nicol
Jarvie, or the Baron Bradwardine, or Balmawhapple.

These ideas might be pushed too far; it might be said that only the
persons in "character parts"--more or less caricatures--are really
vivid in the recollection. But Colonel Newcome is as real as
Captain Costigan, and George Warrington as the Chevalier Strong.
The hero is commonly too much of a beau tenebreux to be actual;
Scott knew it well, and in one of his unpublished letters frankly
admits that his heroes are wooden, and no favourites of his own.
He had to make them, as most authors make their heroes, romantic,
amorous, and serious; few of them have the life of Roland Graeme,
or even of Quentin Durward. Ivanhoe might put on the cloak of the
Master of Ravenswood, the Master might wear the armour of the
Disinherited Knight, and the disguise would deceive the keenest.
Nay, Mr. Henry Esmond might pass for either, if arrayed in
appropriate costume.

To treat a hero with humour is difficult in romance, all but
impossible. Hence the heroes are rarely our friends, except in
Fielding, or, now and then, in Thackeray. No book is so full of
friends as the novel that has no hero, but has Rawdon Crawley,
Becky, Lady Jane, Mr. Jim Crawley, MacMurdo, Mrs. Major O'Dowd, and
the rest. Even Dobbin is too much the hero to be admitted among
our most kindly acquaintances. So unlucky are heroes that we know
Squire Western and the Philosopher Square and Parson Adams far
better than even that unheroic hero, Tom Jones, or Joseph Andrews.
The humour of Fielding and his tenderness make Amelia and Sophia
far more sure of our hearts than, let us say, Rowena, or the Fair
Maid of Perth, or Flora MacIvor, or Rose Bradwardine. It is humour
that makes Mr. Collins immortal, and Mrs. Bennett, and Emma; while
a multitude of nice girls in fiction, good girls too, are as dead
as Queen Tiah.

Perhaps, after all, this theory explains why it is so very hard to
recall with vividness the persons of our later fiction. Humour is
not the strong point of novelists to-day. There may be amateurs
who know Mr. Howells's characters as their elders know Sophia and
Amelia and Catherine Seyton--there may be. To the old reader of
romance, however earnestly he keeps up with modern fiction, the
salt of life seems often lacking in its puppets or its persons.
Among the creations of living men and women I, for one, feel that I
have two friends at least across the sea, Master Thomas Sawyer and
his companion, Huckleberry Finn. If these are not real boys, then
Dr. Farrar's Eric IS a real boy; I cannot put it stronger. There
is a lady on those distant shores (for she never died of Roman
fever) who I may venture to believe is not unfriendly--Miss Annie
P. Miller--and there is a daughter of Mr. Silas Lapham whom one
cannot readily forget, and there is a beery journalist in a "Modern
Instance," an acquaintance, a distant professional acquaintance,
not a friend. The rest of the fictitious white population of the
States are shadowy to myself; I have often followed their fortunes
with interest, but the details slip my aging memory, which recalls
Topsy and Uncle Remus.

To speak of new friends at home is a more delicate matter. A man
may have an undue partiality for the airy children of his friends'
fancy. Mr. Meredith has introduced me to an amiable Countess, to a
strange country girl named Rhoda, to a wonderful old AEschylean
nurse, to some genuine boys, to a wise Youth,--but that society
grows as numerous as brilliant. Mr. Besant has made us friends
with twins of literary and artistic genius, with a very highly-
cultured Fellow of Lothian, with a Son of Vulcan, with a bevy of
fair but rather indistinguishable damsels, like a group of
agreeable-looking girls at a dance. But they are too busy with
their partners to be friendly. We admire them, but they are
unconcerned with us. In Mr. Black's large family the Whaup seems
most congenial to some strangers; the name of one of Mr. Payn's
friendly lads is Legion, and Miss Broughton's dogs, with THEIR
friend Sara, and Mrs. Moberley, welcome the casual visitor with
hospitable care. Among the kindly children of a later generation
one may number a sailor man with a wooden leg; a Highland
gentleman, who, though landless, bears a king's name; an Irish
chevalier who was out in the '45; a Zulu chief who plied the axe
well; a private named Mulvaney in Her Majesty's Indian army; an
elderly sportsman of agile imagination or unparalleled experience
in remote adventure. {1} All these a person who had once
encountered them would recognise, perhaps, when he was fortunate
enough to find himself in their company.

There are children, too, of a dead author, an author seldom lauded
by critics, who, possibly, have as many living friends as any
modern characters can claim. A very large company of Christian
people are fond of Lord Welter, Charles Ravenshoe, Flora and Gus,
Lady Ascot, the boy who played fives with a brass button, and a
dozen others of Henry Kingsley's men, women, and children, whom we
have laughed with often, and very nearly cried with. For Henry
Kingsley had humour, and his children are dear to us; while which
of Charles Kingsley's far more famous offspring would be welcome--
unless it were Salvation Yeo--if we met them all in the Paradise of

It is not very safe, in literature as in life, to speak well of our
friends or of their families. Other readers, other people, have
theirs, whom we may not care much for, whom we may even chance
never to have met. In the following Letters from Old Friends
(mainly reprinted from the "St. James's Gazette"), a few of the
writers may, to some who glance at the sketches, be unfamiliar.
When Dugald Dalgetty's epistle on his duel with Aramis was written,
a man of letters proposed to write a reply from Aramis in a certain
journal. But his Editor had never heard of any of the gentlemen
concerned in that affair of honour; had never heard of Dugald, of
Athos, Porthos, Aramis, nor D'Artagnan. He had not been introduced
to them. This little book will be fortunate far beyond its deserts
if it tempts a few readers to extend the circle of their visionary
acquaintances, of friends who, like Brahma, know not birth, nor
decay, "sleep, waking, nor trance."

A theme more delicate and intimate than that of our Friends in
fiction awaits a more passionate writer than the present parodist.
Our LOVES in fiction are probably numerous, and our choice depends
on age and temperament. In romance, if not in life, we can be in
love with a number of ladies at once. It is probable that Beatrix
Esmond has not fewer knights than Marie Antoinette or Mary Stuart.
These ladies have been the marks of scandal. Unkind things are
said of all three, but our hearts do not believe the evil reports.
Sir Walter Scott refused to write a life of Mary Stuart because his
opinion was not on the popular side, nor on the side of his
feelings. The reasoning and judicial faculties may be convinced
that Beatrix was "other than a guid ane," but reason does not touch
the affections; we see her with the eyes of Harry Esmond, and, like
him, "remember a paragon." With similar lack of logic we believe
that Mrs. Wenham really had one of her headaches, and that Becky
was guiltless on a notorious occasion. Bad or not so bad, what
lady would we so gladly meet as Mrs. Rawdon Crawley, whose kindness
was so great that she even condescended to be amusing to her own
husband? For a more serious and life-long affection there are few
heroines so satisfactory as Sophia Western and Amelia Booth (nee
Harris). Never before nor since did a man's ideal put on flesh and
blood--out of poetry, that is,--and apart from the ladies of
Shakspeare. Fielding's women have a manly honour, tolerance,
greatness, in addition to their tenderness and kindness.
Literature has not their peers, and life has never had many to
compare with them. They are not "superior" like Romola, nor
flighty and destitute of taste like Maggie Tulliver; among
Fielding's crowd of fribbles and sots and oafs they carry that pure
moly of the Lady in "Comus." It is curious, indeed, that men have
drawn women more true and charming than women themselves have
invented, and the heroines of George Eliot, of George Sand (except
Consuelo), and even of Miss Austen, do not subdue us like Di
Vernon, nor win our sympathies like Rebecca of York. They may
please and charm for their hour, but they have not the immortality
of the first heroines of all--of Helen, or of that Alcmena who
makes even comedy grave when she enters, and even Plautus
chivalrous. Poetry, rather than prose fiction, is the proper home
of our spiritual mistresses; they dwell where Rosalind and Imogen
are, with women perhaps as unreal or as ideal as themselves, men's
lost loves and unforgotten, in a Paradise apart.

LETTER: From Mr. Clive Newcome to Mr. Arthur Pendennis.

Mr. Newcome, a married man and an exile at Boulogne, sends Mr.
Arthur Pendennis a poem on his undying affection for his cousin,
Miss Ethel Newcome. He desires that it may be published in a
journal with which Mr. Pendennis is connected. He adds a few
remarks on his pictures for the Academy.

Boulogne, March 28.

Dear Pen,--I have finished Belisarius, and he has gone to face the
Academicians. There is another little thing I sent--"Blondel" I
call it--a troubadour playing under a castle wall. They have not
much chance; but there is always the little print-shop in Long
Acre. My sketches of mail-coaches continue to please the public;
they have raised the price to a guinea.

Here we are not happier than when you visited us. My poor wife is
no better. It is something to have put my father out of hearing of
her mother's tongue: that cannot cross the Channel. Perhaps I am
as well here as in town. There I always hope, I always fear to
meet HER . . . my cousin, you know. I think I see her face under
every bonnet. God knows I don't go where she is likely to be met.
Oh, Pen, haeret lethalis arundo; it is always right--the Latin
Delectus! Everything I see is full of her, everything I do is done
for her. "Perhaps she'll see it and know the hand, and remember,"
I think, even when I do the mail-coaches and the milestones. I
used to draw for her at Brighton when she was a child. My
sketches, my pictures, are always making that silent piteous appeal
to her, WON'T YOU LOOK AT US? WON'T YOU REMEMBER? I dare say she
has quite forgotten. Here I send you a little set of rhymes; my
picture of Blondel and this old story brought them into my mind.
They are gazes, as the drunk painter says in "Gerfaut;" they are
veiled, a mystery. I know she's not in a castle or a tower or a
cloistered cell anywhere; she is in Park Lane. Don't I read it in
the "Morning Post?" But I can't, I won't, go and sing at the area-
gate, you know. Try if F. B. will put the rhymes into the paper.
Do they take it in in Park Lane? See whether you can get me a
guinea for these tears of mine: "Mes Larmes," Pen, do you
remember?--Yours ever, C. N.

The verses are enclosed.


O ma Reine!

Although the Minstrel's lost you long,
Although for bread the Minstrel sings,
Ah, still for you he pipes the song,
And thrums upon the crazy strings!

As Blondel sang by cot and hall,
Through town and stream and forest passed,
And found, at length, the dungeon wall,
And freed the Lion-heart at last -

So must your hapless minstrel fare,
By hill and hollow violing;
He flings a ditty on the air,
He wonders if you hear him sing!

For in some castle you must dwell
Of this wide land he wanders through -
In palace, tower, or cloistered cell -
He knows not; but he sings to YOU!

The wind may blow it to your ear,
And you, perchance, may understand;
But from your lattice, though you hear,
He knows you will not wave a hand.

Your eyes upon the page may fall,
More like the page will miss your eyes;
You may be listening after all,
So goes he singing till he dies.

LETTER: From the Hon. Cecil Bertie to the Lady Guinevere.

Mr. Cecil Tremayne, who served "Under Two Flags," an officer in her
Majesty's Guards, describes to the Lady Guinevere the circumstances
of his encounter with Miss Annie P. (or Daisy) Miller. The
incident has been omitted by Ouida and Mr. Henry James.

You ask me, Camarada, what I think of the little American donzella,
Daisy Miller? Hesterna Rosa, I may cry with the blind old bard of
Tusculum; or shall we say, Hesterna Margaritae? Yesterday's Daisy,
yesterday's Rose, were it of Paestum, who values it to-day? Mais
ou sont les neiges d'automne? However, yesterday--the day before
yesterday, rather--Miss Annie P. Miller was well enough.

We were smoking at the club windows on the Ponte Vecchio;
Marmalada, Giovanelli of the Bersaglieri, young Ponto of the
K.O.B.'s, and myself--men who never give a thought save to the gold
embroidery of their pantoufles or the exquisite ebon laquer of
their Russia leather cricket-shoes. Suddenly we heard a clatter in
the streets. The riderless chargers of the Bersaglieri were racing
down the Santo Croce, and just turning, with a swing and shriek of
clattering spurs, into the Maremma. In the midst of the street,
under our very window, was a little thing like a butterfly, with
yeux de pervenche. You remember, Camarada, Voltaire's love of the
pervenche; we have plucked it, have we not? in his garden of Les
Charmettes. Nous n'irons plus aux bois! Basta!

But to return. There she stood, terror-stricken, petrified, like
her who of old turned her back on Zoar and beheld the incandescent
hurricane of hail smite the City of the Plain! She was dressed in
white muslin, joli comme un coeur, with a myriad frills and
flounces and knots of pale-coloured ribbon. Open-eyed, open-
mouthed, she stared at the tide of foaming steeds, like a maiden
martyr gazing at the on-rushing waves of ocean! "Caramba!" said
Marmalada, "voila une jeune fille pas trop bien gardee!"
Giovanelli turned pale, and, muttering Corpo di Bacco, quaffed a
carafon of green Chartreuse, holding at least a quart, which stood
by him in its native pewter. Young Ponto merely muttered, "Egad!"
I leaped through the open window and landed at her feet.

The racing steeds were within ten yards of us. Calmly I cast my
eye over their points. Far the fleetest, though he did not hold
the lead, was Marmalada's charger, the Atys gelding, by Celerima
out of Sac de Nuit. With one wave of my arm I had placed her on
his crupper, and, with the same action, swung myself into the
saddle. Then, in a flash and thunder of flying horses, we swept
like tawny lightning down the Pincian. The last words I heard from
the club window, through the heliotrope-scented air, were "Thirty
to one on Atys, half only if declared." They were wagering on our
lives; the slang of the paddock was on their lips.

Onward, downward, we sped, the fair stranger lifeless in my arms.
Past scarlet cardinals in mufti, past brilliant [Greek text] like
those who swayed the City of the Violet Crown; past pifferari
dancing in front of many an albergo; through the Ghetto with its
marmorine palaces, over the Fountain of Trevi, across the Cascine,
down the streets of the Vatican we flew among yells of "Owner's
up," "The gelding wins, hard held," from the excited bourgeoisie.
Heaven and earth swam before my eyes as we reached the Pons
Sublicia, and heard the tawny waters of Tiber swaying to the sea.


With an oath of despair, for life is sweet, I rammed my persuaders
into Atys, caught him by the head, and sent him straight at the
flooded Tiber!

"Va-t-en donc, espece de type!" said the girl on my saddle-bow,
finding her tongue at last. Fear, or girlish modesty, had hitherto
kept her silent.

Then Atys rose on his fetlocks! Despite his double burden, the
good steed meant to have it. He deemed, perchance, he was with the
Quorn or the Baron's. He rose; he sprang. The deep yellow water,
cold in the moon's rays, with the farthest bank but a chill grey
line in the mist, lay beneath us! A moment that seemed an
eternity! Then we landed on the far-off further bank, and for the
first time I could take a pull at his head. I turned him on the
river's brim, and leaped him back again.

The runaway was now as tame as a driven deer in Richmond Park.

Well, Camarada, the adventure is over. She was grateful, of
course. These pervenche eyes were suffused with a dewy radiance.

"You can't call," she said, "for you haven't been introduced, and
Mrs. Walker says we must be more exclusive. I'm dying to be
exclusive; but I'm very much obliged to you, and so will mother be.
Let's see. I'll be at the Colosseum to-morrow night, about ten.
I'm bound to see the Colosseum, by moonlight. Good-bye;" and she
shook her pale parasol at me, and fluttered away.

Ah, Camarada, shall I be there? Que scais-je? Well, 'tis time to
go to the dance at the Holy Father's. Adieu, Carissima.--Tout a


LETTER: Barry Lyndon

Mr. Redmond Barry (better known as Barry Lyndon) tells his uncle
the story of a singular encounter at Berlin with Mr. Alan Stuart,
called Alan Breck, and well known as the companion of Mr. David
Balfour in many adventures. Mr. Barry, at this time, was in the
pay of Herr Potzdorff, of his Prussian Majesty's Police, and was
the associate of the Chevalier, his kinsman, in the pursuit of

Berlin, April 1, 1748.

Uncle Barry,--I dictate to Pippi, my right hand being wounded, and
that by no common accident. Going down the Linden Strasse
yesterday, I encountered a mob; and, being curious in Potzdorff's
interest, penetrated to the kernel of it. There I found two men of
my old regiment--Kurz and another--at words with a small, dark,
nimble fellow, who carried bright and dancing eyes in a pock-marked
face. He had his iron drawn, a heavy box-handled cut-and-thrust
blade, and seemed ready to fall at once on the pair that had been
jeering him for his strange speech.

"Who is this, lads?" I asked.

"Ein Englander," answered they.

"No Englishman," says he, in a curious accent not unlike our
brogue, "but a plain gentleman, though he bears a king's name and
hath Alan Breck to his by-name."

"Come, come," says I in German, "let the gentleman go his way; he
is my own countryman." This was true enough for them; and you
should have seen the Highlander's eyes flash, and grow dim again.

I took his arm, for Potzdorff will expect me to know all about the
stranger, and marched him down to the Drei Konige.

"I am your host, sir; what do you call for, Mr. Stuart of -?" said
I, knowing there is never a Scot but has the name of his kailyard
tacked to his own.

"A King's name is good enough for me; I bear it plain. Mr. -?"
said he, reddening.

"They call me the Chevalier Barry, of Ballybarry."

"I am in the better company, sir," quoth he, with a grand bow.

When a bowl of punch was brought he takes off his hat, and drinks,
very solemnly, "To the King!"

"Over the water?" I asked.

"Nay, sir, on THIS side," he said; and I smoked the Jacobite. But
to shorten the story, which amuses my tedium but may beget it in
you, I asked him if he knew the cards.

"I'm just daft when I get to the cartes," he answered in his
brogue, and we fell to piquet. Now my Scot wore a very fine coat,
and on the same very large smooth silver buttons, well burnished.
Therefore, perceiving such an advantage as a skilled player may
enjoy, I let him win a little to whet his appetite, but presently
used his buttons as a mirror, wherein I readily detected the
strength of the cards he held. Before attempting this artifice, I
had solemnly turned my chair round thrice.

"You have changed the luck, sir," says Mr. Breck, or Stuart,
presently; and, rising with a mighty grave air, he turned his coat
and put it on inside out.

"Sir," says I, "what am I to understand by this conduct?"

"What for should not I turn my coat, for luck, if you turn your
chair?" says he. "But if you are not preceesely satisfied, I will
be proud to step outside with you."

I answered that we were not in a Highland wilderness, and that if
no malice were meant no affront was taken. We continued at the
game till, though deprived of my mirror, I had won some 500
Fredericks. On this he rose, saying, "Sir, in this purse you will
find the exact sum that I am owing you, and I will call for my
empty sporran the morn. It was Rob Roy's before it was mine."
Therewith he laid on the table a sort of goatskin pouch, such as
Highlanders gird about their loins, and marched forth.

I set to work at opening his pouch, that was fastened by a spring
and button, seeming easy enough of access. But I had scarce
pressed the button when lo! a flash, a pistol shot, and my right
hand is grazed with a bullet that flew out of the bag. This
Highlander of the Devil had some mechanism in his purse that
discharged a small steel pistol when unwarily opened. My hand is
but slightly wounded, yet I cannot hold my sword, nor hath my
search brought me any news of Alan Breck. He has vanished like an
emissary of the Devil or the Pretender, as I doubt not he is. But
I will have his blood, if he is not one of their Scotch fairies.--
Your loving Nephew,


P.S.--The Fredericks were in the bag, all told.

LETTER: From Mrs. Gamp to Mrs. Prig.

Mrs. Gamp nurses an old friend who is under a singular delusion.


My precious Betsy,--Which when last we parted it was not as I could
wish, but bearing malice in our hearts. But, as often and often
Mrs. Harris have said it before me, with the tears in her angel
eyes--one of them having a slight cast from an accident with the
moderator lamp, Harris being quick in his temper--often and often
have she said to me: "Ah, Sairey, the quarrels of friends is
affection's best restorer." And good reason to know it she have,
with a husband as was ever true, and never gave her no cause to
form the wish to pizen them as has good looks, but, for I will not
deceive you, ready with his hands.

And so, between you and me may it be, Betsy Prig, as was constant
partners afore them Chuzzlewidges, and Nadgetts, and Lewsomses, and
Tiggses, and Chuffeys got that mixed and that aggerawating that to
remember who of them poisoned which or for why in a slime draught,
it makes my poor head go round, nor could such be soothing to the
temper. So let bygones be bygones between us. For, wanting of my
Betsy, I am now in a nice state of confusion, with a patient as was
well beknown to me in younger days, when there wasn't so much of a
shadder on this mortial vial, {2} meaning Mr. Pecksniff. Which you
will not forget of him, by reason of his daughter as married that
Jonadge, and his collars as mints of money must have gone to the
getting them up; but is now at Todgers's, and confused in his poor
mind, thinking hisself Somebody else high in Parliament. And
wonder at it I do not, them Chuzzlewidges and Chuffeys being that
distracting, and ever proving to be some other pusson in disguise,
as would confuge a calkilating boy.

So being applied to for to nightly him, there in that very sick
room--for why should I deceive you?--I meets the daily nuss; and,
Betsy, I was that overcome to have such a pardner propoged to me as
I had to ring and ask the young woman immediate for a small glass
of their oldest rum, being what I am not accustomed to but having
had a turn. For, will you believe it, she was not a widger woman
as has experience in the ways of men, but a huzzy in a bragian cap
like them the Nuns wear in "Mariar Monk," as you may have seen it
in the small sweet-shops, at a penny. And her hands as white as
her papistry cap, and she a turning up of her nose at what I had
took, and a presuming to give ME advice about nussing, as St.
Pancradge's Churchyard wouldn't hold them I've seen comfortable to
their long homes, and no complaints made but ever the highest
satigefaction. So I ups and gives her a bit of my mind; and Mrs.
Todgers coming down, "It's she goes or me," says I, "for never will
Sairey Gamp nuss, sick or monthly, with a pardner as has not
confidence in me, nor I in her, but contrary." Then SHE says
she'll go and speak to the doctor about it; and out she tramps with
her nose in the air, and sneezing most awful, not being accustomed
to that which I take, find it strengthening, but as it have been a
cause of sorrow and strife let it be nameless between you and me.
For to have the name "Snuffey" brought forward it is what the heart
can forgive, but never forget in this valley of the shaddock.

I have nussed a many lunacies, Betsy, and in a general way am
dispoged to humour them rather than set them right up agin the fire
when fractious. But this Pecksniff is the tryingest creature; he
having got it in his mind as he is Somebody very high, and talking
about the House, and Bills, and clauses, and the "sacred cause of
Universal Anarchy," for such was his Bible language, though meaning
to me no more than the babe unborn. Whereby Mrs. Harris she have
often said to me, "What DO them blessed infants occupy their little
minds with afore they are called into that condition where, unless
changed at nuss, Providence have appointed them?" And many a time
have I said, "Seek not, Mrs. Harris, to diskiver; for we know not
wot's hidden in our own hearts, and the torters of the Imposition
should not make me diwulge it."

But Pecksniff is that aggravating as I can hardly heed the words I
now put on the paper.

"Some of my birds have left me," says he, "for the stranger's
breast, and one have took wing for the Government benches. {3} But
I have ever sacrificed my country's happiness to my own, and I will
not begin to regulate my life by other rules of conduct now. I
know the purity of my own motives, and while my Merry, my little
Sir William, playful warbler, prattles under this patriarchal wing,
and my Cherry, my darling Morley, supports the old man's tottering
walk, I can do without my Goschy, my dears, I can do without him."
And wants to borrer MY umbreller for them "to rally round," the
bragian idgiot!

A chattering creature he always were, and will be; but, Betsy, I
have this wery momink fixed him up with a shoehorn in his mouth, as
was lying round providential, and the strings of my bonnet, and the
last word as he will say this blessed night was some lunacy about
"denouncing the clogeure," as won't give much more trouble now.

So having rung for a shilling's worth of gin-and-water warm, and
wishing you was here to take another of the same, I puts my lips to
it, and drinks to one as was my frequent pardner in this mortial
vale, and am, as in old days, my Betsy's own


LETTER: From Herodotus of Halicarnassus to Sophocles the Athenian.

Herodotus describes, in a letter to his friend Sophocles, a curious
encounter with a mariner just returned from unknown parts of

To Sophocles, the Athenian, greeting. Yesterday, as I was going
down to the market-place of Naucratis, I met Nicarete, who of all
the hetairai in this place is the most beautiful. Now, the
hetairai of Naucratis are wont somehow to be exceedingly fair,
beyond all women whom we know. She had with her a certain Phocaean
mariner, who was but now returned from a voyage to those parts of
Africa which lie below Arabia; and she saluted me courteously, as
knowing that it is my wont to seek out and inquire the tidings of
all men who have intelligence concerning the ends of the earth.

"Hail to thee, Nicarete," said I; "verily thou art this morning as
lovely as the dawn, or as the beautiful Rhodopis that died ere thou
wert born to us through the favour of Aphrodite." {4}

Now this Rhodopis was she who built, they say, the Pyramid of
Mycerinus: wherein they speak not truly but falsely, for Rhodopis
lived long after the kings who built the Pyramids.

"Rhodopis died not, O Herodotus," said Nicarete, "but is yet
living, and as fair as ever she was; and he who is now my lover,
even this Phanes of Phocaea, hath lately beheld her."

Then she seemed to me to be jesting, like that scribe who told me
of Krophi and Mophi; for Rhodopis lived in the days of King Amasis
and of Sappho the minstrel, and was beloved by Charaxus, the
brother of Sappho, wherefore Sappho reviled him in a song. How
then could Rhodopis, who flourished more than a hundred years
before my time, be living yet?

While I was considering these things they led me into the booth of
one that sold wine; and when Nicarete had set garlands of roses on
our heads, Phanes began and told me what I now tell thee but
whether speaking truly or falsely I know not. He said that being
on a voyage to Punt (for so the Egyptians call that part of
Arabia), he was driven by a north wind for many days, and at last
landed in the mouth of a certain river where were many sea-fowl and
water-birds. And thereby is a rock, no common one, but fashioned
into the likeness of the head of an Ethiopian. There he said that
the people of that country found him, namely the Amagardoi, and
carried him to their village. They have this peculiar to
themselves, and unlike all other peoples whom we know, that the
woman asks the man in marriage. They then, when they have kissed
each other, are man and wife wedded. And they derive their names
from the mother; wherein they agree with the Lycians, whether being
a colony of the Lycians, or the Lycians a colony of theirs, Phanes
could not give me to understand. But, whereas they are black and
the Lycians are white, I rather believe that one of them has
learned this custom from the other; for anything might happen in
the past of time.

The Amagardoi have also this custom, such as we know of none other
people; that they slay strangers by crowning them with amphorae,
having made them red-hot. Now, having taken Phanes, they were
about to crown him on this wise, when there appeared among them a
veiled woman, very tall and goodly, whom they conceive to be a
goddess and worship. By her was Phanes delivered out of their
hands; and "she kept him in her hollow caves having a desire that
he should be her lover," as Homer says in the Odyssey, if the
Odyssey be Homer's. And Phanes reports of her that she is the most
beautiful woman in the world, but of her coming thither, whence she
came or when, she would tell him nothing. But he swore to me, by
him who is buried at Thebes (and whose name in such a matter as
this it is not holy for me to utter), that this woman was no other
than Rhodopis the Thracian. For there is a portrait of Rhodopis in
the temple of Aphrodite in Naucratis, and, knowing this portrait
well, Phanes recognised by it that the woman was Rhodopis. {5}
Therefore Rhodopis is yet living, being now about one hundred and
fifty years of age. And Phanes added that there is in the country
of the Amagardoi a fire; and whoso enters into that fire does not
die, but is "without age and immortal," as Homer says concerning
the horses of Peleus. Now, I would have deemed that he was making
a mock of that sacred story which he knows who has been initiated
into the mysteries of Demeter at Eleusis. But he and Nicarete are
about to sail together without delay to the country of the
Amagardoi, believing that there they will enter the fire and become
immortal. Yet methinks that Rhodopis will not look lovingly on
Nicarete, when they meet in that land, nor Nicarete on Rhodopis.
Nay, belike the amphora will be made hot for one or the other.

Such, howbeit, was the story of Phanes the Phocaean, whether he
spoke falsely or truly. The God be with thee.


LETTER: Mrs Proudie

Mrs. Proudie, wife of the Bishop of Barchester, admits Mrs.
Quiverful into her confidence. Mrs. Proudie first takes pleasure
in a new and pious acquaintance, Lady Crawley (nee Sharp), but
afterwards discovers the true character of this insidious and
dangerous woman.

The Palace, Barchester, July 17.

Dear Letitia,--The appearance of mumps in a small family of
fourteen like yours, is indeed one of those dispensations which
teach us how mysterious are the ways! But I need not tell you to
be most careful about cold, which greatly adds to the virulence of
the complaint, and it is difficult for you, in lodgings at
Brighton, to keep a watchful eye on so many at once. May this
discipline be blessed to you, and to the dear children!

I have much to tell you of Barchester. The light worldly tone of
some families in this place (I will not mention the Grantleys nor
the Arabins) has been checked, I hope, by one of those accidents
which surely, surely, are not to be considered accidents alone!
You know how strong is my objection to fancy fairs or bazaars, too
often rather scenes of giddy merriment than exhibitions of genuine
Christian feeling. Yet by means of one of these (how strangely are
things ordered!) a happy change, I trust, is being brought about in
our midst.

You have heard of Hogglestock, though you may never have visited
that benighted and outlying parish. Indeed, I was never there
myself till last week, when Tom felt it his duty (though woefully
misdirected, to my mind, but we are fallible creatures) to go and
open a bazaar in that place for the restoration of the church. {6}
I accompanied him; for I trusted that an opportunity might be made
for me, and that I might especially bear in on the mind of the
rector's wife the absolute necessity of Sabbath-day schools. The
rector is a Mr. Crawley. He led us on our arrival into a scene of
re d cloth, wax dolls most indelicately displayed, cushions,
antimacassars, and similar IDOLS. The Bishop's speech (I composed
it myself) you will read in the "Barchester Guardian," which I send
you. While approving the END he rebuked the MEANS, and took the
opportunity to read a much-needed lesson on JESUITRY and the
dangers of worldliness in high ecclesiastical places. Let those
wince who feel a sense of their own backslidings. When the Bishop
had ended, I determined to walk once through the bazaar just to
make sure that there were no lotteries nor games of chance--a
desecration of our MITES now too, too frequent. As I was returning
through the throng, alas! of PLEASURE-SEEKERS, and wishing that I
might scourge them out of the schoolroom, Mr. Crawley met me, in
company with a lady who desired, he said, to be presented to me.
He is a distant relation of the well-known county family, the
Crawleys, of Queen's Crawley; the present baronet, Sir Rawdon,
having recently married Miss Jane Dobbin, daughter of Colonel
Dobbin. The lady who was now introduced to me, and whose STILL
PLEASING face wears an aspect of humble devoutness, was Lady
Crawley, mother of the present baronet.

"Madam," she said, "I came here in the belief that I was
discharging a pious duty. My life, alas! has been one of sore
trial, and I only try to do good." . . .

I was going to say that I had seen her name in a score of charity
lists, and knew her as a patroness of the Destitute Orange-Girls,
the Neglected Washerwomen, and the Distressed Muffin-Men. But she
shook her head; and then, looking up at me with eyes like a SAINT'S
(if our PRIVILEGES permitted us to believe in these fabulous beings
of the Romish superstition), she said, "Ah, no! I have always been
in the wrong. The beautiful address of the Bishop of Barchester
has awakened me, and convinced me that the PATH does not lie
through Fancy Fairs. I have to begin again. Who shall guide me?"

I trust I am not subject to vanity; but the news that I (for I
composed the Charge, as I may almost call it) had been the
instrument of so affecting a change did not fail to please me. I
thanked Lady Crawley, and expressed my deep interest in her altered
convictions. Finally she promised to come on a visit to us at the
Palace (she usually resides at Bath or Cheltenham), and has been
three days an inmate. Never have I met a more singular example of
what the Truth can do for one who, as she admits, was long ago a
worldling. "I have seen the vanity of it," she tells me, with
tears in her eyes; and from her example I expect an AWAKENING among
our worldlings. They will follow the path of a TITLED person. Tom
is much interested in his CONVERT, as he thinks her. Not to ME be
the glory!--Your assured friend,


From Mrs. Proudie to Mrs. Quiverful.

The Palace, Barchester, July 22.

Dear Letitia,--My hand trembles so with indignation that I can
hardly direct my pen. Pray BURN my letter of July 17 at once, if
you have not already done so. {8} We have been DECEIVED in that
woman! She is a brazenfaced, painted daughter of Heth, and has no
more right to the title of Lady Crawley than YOU have. I am told
that she was at one time the paramour of Lord Steyne, and that her
conduct made it impossible for her husband to live with her. And
this is the woman who has come within the gates of the palace of a
Christian prelate; nay, more, who has secured his signature to a
cheque of very considerable value. I think my suspicions were
first excited by the disappearance of the brandy in the liqueur-
stand, and by meeting "her ladyship's" maid carrying the bottle up
to her room! I spoke to the Bishop, but he would not listen to me-
-quite unlike himself; and even turned on me in her defence.

Entering his study hastily on the following day, I found her
kneeling at his feet, her yellow hair (dyed, no doubt, for she must
be sixty if she is a day) about her shoulders, doing what do you

And he was listening to her "confession" with an appearance of
interest, and with one of her hands in his.

"Serpent!" I said--and her green eyes glittered just like one--
"unhand his lordship!" She gave a little laugh and said, "Dear
Mrs. Proudie, do not let me monopolise the Bishop's time. Perhaps
I am in the way?"

"And you shall go out of it," I said. "You are one of those who
cause Israel to sin. You bring the Confessional, for it is no
better, into the house of a Prelate of the Protestant Church of
England!" Would you believe that she had the assurance to answer
me with a passage from the Prayer Book, which I have often felt
certain must be MISTRANSLATED?

"Pack, madam," said I; "we know who can quote Scripture for his own

And I pretty soon saw her out of the house, though NOT IN TIME; for
the infatuated Bishop had already given her a cheque for a sum
which I cannot bring myself to tell you, for the Funds of the
Destitute Orange-Girls. Not a penny of it will they ever see; nor
do I approve of such ostentatious alms in any case.--Yours in


P.S.--I have heard from Lady Courtney all her history. It is

LETTER: From Robert Surtees, Esq., of Mainsforth, to Jonathan
Oldbuck, Esq., of Monkbarns.

It is well known that Mr. Surtees of Mainsforth not only palmed off
on Sir Waiter Scott several ballads of his own manufacture, but
also invented and pretended to have found in a document (since
burned) the story of the duel with the spectre knight which occurs
in Marmion. In the following letter this ingenious antiquary plays
the same game with Mr. Jonathan Oldbuck, of Monkbarns, the
celebrated antiquary. A note on the subject is published in the

Mainsforth, May 9, 1815.

Dear Sir,--I am something of the Mussulman's humour, as you know,
and never willingly pass by a scrap of printed paper, however it
comes in my way. I cannot, indeed, like the "Spectator," "mention
a paper kite from which I have received great improvement," nor "a
hat-case which I would not exchange for all the beavers in Great
Britain." It is in a less unlikely place that I have made a little
discovery which will interest you, I hope; for as it chances, not
only has a lost ballad been at least partially recovered, but . . .
however, I will keep your learned patience on the tenterhooks for a

Business taking me to Newcastle of late, I found myself in Bell's
little shop on the quay. {9} You know the man by report at least;
he is more a collector than a bookseller, though poor; and I verily
believe that he would sell all his children--Douglas Bell, Percy
Bell, Hobbie Bell, and Kinmont Bell--"for a song." Ballads are his
foible, and he can hardly be made to part with one of the
broadsides in his broken portfolios. Well, semel insanivimus omnes
(by the way, did it ever strike you that the Roman "cribbed" that
line, as the vulgar say, from an epigram in the Anthology?), and
you and I will scarce throw the first stone at the poor man's
folly. However, I am delaying your natural eagerness. So now for
the story of my great discovery. As our friend Bell would scarce
let his dusty broadsheet lumber out of his hands, I was turning to
leave him in no very good humour, when I noticed a small and rather
long octavo, in dirty and crumpled vellum, lying on the top of a
heap of rubbish, Boston's "Crook in the Lot," "The Pilgrim's
Progress," and other chap-book trumpery. I do not know what good
angel that watches over us collectors made me take up the thing,
which I found to be nothing less than a copy of old Guillaume
Coquillart. It was not Galliot du Pre's edition, in lettres
rondes, but, still more precious had it only been complete, an
example in black letter. I give you the whole title. First the
motto, in the frieze of an architectural design, [Greek text].
Then, in small capitals -


On les vend a Lyon en la
Maison de Francoys Juste,
Demourant devant nostre
Dame de Confort.

By bad (or good) luck this rare piece was imperfect--the back
gaping and three sheets gone. But, in turning over the leaves, I
saw something that brought my heart, as they say, into my mouth.
So, beating down Bell from his upset price of fourpence to six
bawbees, I pushed the treasure carelessly in my pocket, and never
stopped till I was in a lonely place by Tyne-side and secure from
observation. Then, with my knife, I very carefully uncased Maistre
Guillaume, and extracted the sheet of parchment, printed in black
letter with red capitals, that had been used to line the binding.
A corner of it had crept out, through the injuries of time, and on
that, in Bell's "crame" (for it is more a crame than a shop), I had
caught the mystic words Runjt macht Gunjt.

And now, I think, Monkbarns, you prick up your ears and wipe your
spectacles. That is the motto, as every one of the learned family
of antiquaries is well aware, and, as you have often told me, of
your great forbear, the venerable and praiseworthy Aldobrand
Oldenbuck the Typographer, who fled from the Low Countries during
the tyrannical attempt of Philip II. to suppress at once civil and
religious liberty. As all the world knows, he withdrew from
Nuremberg to Scotland, and set up his Penates and (what you may not
hitherto have been aware of) his Printing Press at Fairport, and
under your ancestral roof of Monkbarns. But, what will surprise
you yet more, the parchment sheet which bears Aldobrand's motto in
German contains printed matter in good Scots! This excellent and
enterprising man must have set himself to ply his noble art in his
new home, and in our unfamiliar tongue.

Yet, even now, we are not at the end of this most fortunate
discovery. It would appear that there was little demand for works
of learning and religion in Scotland, or at least at Fairport; for
the parchment sheet contains fragments of a Ballad in the Scots
tongue. None but a poor and struggling printer would then have
lent his types to such work, and fortunate for us has been the
poverty of your great ancestor. Here we have the very earliest
printed ballad in the world, and, though fragmentary, it is the
more precious as the style proves to demonstration, and against the
frantic scepticism even of a Ritson, the antique and venerable
character of those compositions. I send you a copy of the Ballad,
with the gaps (where the tooth of time or of the worm, edax rerum,
hath impaired it) filled up with conjectural restorations of my
own. But how far do they fall short of the original simplicity!
Non cuivis contingit. As the title is lacking, as well as the
imprint, I have styled it


O Willie rade, and Willie gaed
Atween the shore and sea,
And still it was his dead Lady
That kept him company.

O Willie rade, and Willie gaed
Atween the [loch and heather],
And still it was his dead Lady
That [held his stirrup leather].

"O Willie, tak' me up by ye,
Sae far it is I gang;
O tak' me on your saddle bow,
Or [your day shall not be lang]."

"Gae back, gae back, ye fause ill wife,
To the grave wherein ye lie,
It never was seen that a dead leman
Kept lover's company!

"Gae back, gae back frae me," he said,
"For this day maun I wed,
And how can I kiss a living lass,
When ye come frae the dead?

"If ye maun haunt a living man,
Your brither haunt," says he,
"For it was never my knife, but his
That [twined thy life and thee!]

* * *

We are to understand, I make no doubt, that Willie had been too
fortunate a lover, and that in his absence--the frailty of his lady
becoming conspicuous--her brother had avenged the family honour
according to that old law of Scotland which the courteous Ariosto
styles "l' aspra legge di Scozia, empia e severa."

Pray let me know, at your leisure, what you think of this
trouvaille. It is, of course, entirely at your service, if you
think it worthy of a place in a new edition of the "Minstrelsy." I
have no room to inflict more ballads or legends on you; and remain,
most faithfully yours,


LETTER: From Jonathan Oldbuck, Esq., of Monkbarns, to Robert
Surtees, Esq., Mainsforth.

Monkbarns, June 1.

My Dear Sir,--How kind hath Fortune been to you, and, in a
secondary degree, to myself. Your letter must dispel the
unreasoning and I fear envious scepticism of MacCribb, who has put
forth a plaunflet (I love that old spelling) in which he derides
the history of Aldobrand Oldenbuck as a fable. The Ballad shall,
indeed, have an honoured place in my poor Collection whenever the
public taste calls for a new edition. But the original, what would
I not give to have it in my hands, to touch the very parchment
which came from the press of my revered ancestor, and, gloating on
the crabbed letters, confute MacCribb to his face ipso visu et
tactu of so inestimable a rarity. Exchanges--or "swaps," as the
vulgar call them--are not unknown among our fraternity. Ask what
you will for this treasure, to the half of my kingdom: my gold
Aurelius (found at Bermuckety, on the very limits of Roman
Caledonia), my "Complaynte of Scotland" (the only perfect copy

My copperplate, with almanacks
Engrav'd upon't, and other knacks;
My moon-dial, with Napier's bones
And several constellation stones.

Make your choice, in fact, of all my Gabions, as honest old George
Ruthven called them.

Nay, excuse the covetousness of an Antiquary, my dear sir; I well
know that nothing I could offer were worth a tithe of your
priceless discovery, the oldest printed Scots Ballad extant. It
shall suffice for me to look on it, under the roof of Mainsforth,
when next I make a raid across the Border. I have conquered my
passions, and can obey the last of the Commandments. Haud equiden
invideo, minor magis. I need not bid you be watchful of your
booty.--Yours most faithfully,


From Robert Surtees, Esq., to Jonathan Oldbuck, Esq.

June 11.

My Dear Sir,--Alas, your warning comes too late. An accursed
example of womankind, fit descendant of that unhappy Betty Barnes,
cook to Mr. Warburton, who destroyed his ancient manuscript plays,
hath invaded my sanctum, and the original black-letter text of the
ballad has gone to join Shakspeare's "Stephen" and "Henry II." She
hath lit with it my study fire, and it is fortunate indeed that I
had made the copy of the ballad for you. But the volume of
Coquillart is alive to testify to the authenticity of the poem;
which, after all, is needless evidence, as not even Ritson could
suspect of either the skill or the malice of such a forgery, Yours
most faithfully,


LETTER: From Nicholas to the Editor of the St. James's Gazette,

It is only too probable that a later generation has forgotten
"Nicholas," the sporting Prophet of "Fun," in the reign of Mr. Hood
the younger. The little work, "Nicholas's Notes," in which Mr. W.
J. Prowse collected the papers of the old Prophet, is, indeed, not
an "edition de looks," as the aged Seer says, with his simple
humour. From the Paradise of Fiction, however (and the Paradise of
Touts), Nicholas has communicated, perhaps to the Psychical
Society, the following Epistle. His friendly mention of a brother
journalist speaks well for the Old Man's head and heart.

The Paradise of Fiction, Feb. 9, 1888.

Sir,--My dear young friend, it is ten to one, and no takers, that
the public, than whom, between you and me, I do not think much of
them, have forgotten Nicholas, or even never heard of the Prophet.
Youth will be served; and it is now between twenty years since he
left off vaticinating in "Fun," during young Mr. Hood's time, of
future sportive events for to come, and came to live HERE with the
other celebrated characters of Fiction, than whom I am sure a more
mixed lot, though perhaps a little gay. It having come to the
Prophet's knowledge that some of them was writing letters to "The
St. James's Gazette" (than which I am sure none more respectable,
though perhaps a little not quite so attentive to sportive
interests as it might be), he have decided that Nicholas will take
up his pen once more, as of old.

The State of the Turf, my dear young friend, since an old but still
handsome bird would freely alight (when not warned off) on
Newmarket Heath, have caused Nicholas some anxiety. Sir, between
you and me, IT IS RAPIDLY GETTING NO BETTER. Here is Lord -- (than
whom a more sterling sportsman) as good as saying to Sir -- (than
whom, perhaps), "Did you ever hear of a sporting character called
Swindells?" And the Prophet HAVE been told that it may furnish
matter for the gentlemen of the long robe--which, in my time, many
of them was backers of horses.

And all along of what? Why, of the "inexplicable in-and-out
running of horses," as the "Standard" says, and as will often
happen, you, perhaps, having a likely dark one as you want to get
light into a high-class autumn handicap. The days is long past
since Nicholas was nuts on the game little Lecturer, but still has
the interests of the Turf at heart; and, my dear young friend, if
horses never ran in and out, where would be "the glorious
uncertainty of the sport"? On the whole, then, if asked my opinion
on this affair, the Prophet would say--putting it ambiguous-like--
"Gentlemen, when there's so much dirty linen to wash, can't you
remember that we're all pretty much tarred with the same brush?" A
great politician--which a lot of his family is here, Coningsby, and
the Young Duke, and many other sportsmen--used to say as what the
Turf was "a gigantic engine of national demoralisation;" which
Nicholas is not quite sure but what he was right for him, though
his language on rather a large scale. Horses running in and out is
inexplicable! Why, gents all, which of us WOULDN'T do it, if he
had the chance to put the pot on handsome, human nature being what
it is, especially considering the lowness of the market odds as you
have often and often to be content with. In short, the more you
stir it the more it won't exactly remind you of gales from Araby
the Blest; than which a more delightful country, only not to be
found on any atlas as Nicholas ever cast a glance at the map,
however large.

But enough of a subject than which perhaps one more painful to me;
the Prophet having often and often, in early days, been warned off
Newmarket Heath himself, and called a "disreputable old tout,"
though only labouring in his vocation.

(Make a new beginning here, please, Printer.)

It have come to the knowledge of the Prophet that his "Notes" are
not quite so much read as they once was, partly owing, no doubt, to
the book being not so much an "edition de looks" as rather a low-
lived lot, to a casual eye, at fourpence; the picture outside
representing Nicholas rather as having had too much for to drink
than as a prominent member of the Blue Ribbon Society, which it did
not exist in his period, nor would it have enjoyed, to any
considerable extent, my personal or pecuniary support, he having
something else to do with his money. (Printer, please put in a
full stop somewhere here, Nicholas being a little out of the habit
of writing for the periodical press.) He have also heard that it
is proposed in literary circles to start a "Nicholas Society" for
the purpose of printing a limited edition of my works including my
lost treatise of Knur and Spell, on Japanese paper, illustrated
with photo-gravelures; they having come in since the Prophet's
period, though perhaps a little gay.

But, my dear though exquisite young friends, is there no better way
of rallying round the Prophet than THIS? I have heard, from
characters in ancient literature, such as Agamemnon--than whom a
more energetic soldier, though perhaps a trifle arbitrary--the
Prophet HAVE heard, I say, that a deal of liquor used to be poured
on the graves of coves like him and me, and that it did them good.
This may be the case, and anyway the experiment is well worth
trying; though, I would say, do not let it be milk, as I gather was
customary in early times, as didn't know any better; but, if
possible, a bottle or two of sherry wine, to which, as is well
beknown, Nicholas was partial. He will now conclude; and the
Prophet hopes that an experiment, than which, I am sure, one more
deeply interesting, will not be deferred; he not much taking to the
liquor here, though the company makes up for a great deal,
especially an Irish officer by the name of Costigan, than whom a
sweeter singer or a more honourable gentleman; and signs himself,
with gratitude for past favours, and kind respects to the Editor of
the "Guardian,"


LETTER: From the Earl of Montrose to Captain Dugald Dalgetty.

Whoever has read the "Memoirs of Monsieur d'Artagnan"--a Marshal in
the French King's service--as they are published by Monsieur
Alexandre Dumas in "Les Trois Mousquetaires," will not have
forgotten that duel behind the Luxembourg, in which, as is
declared, an Englishman ran away from the Chevalier d'Herblay,
called Aramis in his regiment. Englishmen have never held that
Monsieur Dumas was well informed about this affair. The following
letters of the Great Marquis and Captain Dalgetty from the
"Kirkhope Papers" prove that Englishmen were in the right.

-, 164-.

Sir,--Touching that I did, to your apprehension, turn away from you
with some show of coldness on your late coming, it may be that you
but little misread me. But, for that no man is condemned without a
hearing, I would fain know under your own hand the truth concerning
that whereof a shameful report is bruited abroad, even in the
"Gallo Belgicus" and the "Fliegender Mercoeur" of Leipsic--namely,
that in a certain duel lately fought in Paris behind the Palace of
the Luxembourg, four Englishmen encountering as many Musketeers of
the French King's, one out of this realm, to our disgrace,
shamefully fled; and he (by report) Rittmaster Dugald Dalgetty.
Till which, bruit be either abolished, and the stain--as an ill
blot on a clean scutcheon--wiped away, or as shamefully
acknowledged as it is itself shameful, I abide, as I shall hear
from yourself,


From Captain Dugald Dalgetty, of Drumthwacket, to the Most Noble
and Puissant Prince James, Earl of Montrose, commanding the musters
of the King in Scotland. These -

My Lord,--As touching the bruit, or fama, as we said at the
Mareschal College, I shall forthwith answer, and that peremptorie.
For this story of the duello, as a man may say (though, indeed,
they that fought in it were not in the dual number, as your Grecian
hath it, but eight soldados--seven of them gallant men), truly the
story is of the longest; but as your lordship will have it, though
more expert with the sword than the goosequill, I must even buckle

Let your lordship conceive of your poor officer, once lieutenant
and Rittmaster under that invincible monarch, the bulwark of the
Protestant faith, Gustavus the Victorious; conceive, I say, Dugald
Dalgetty, of Drumthwacket that should be, in Paris, concerned with
a matter of weight and moment not necessary to be mooted or minted
of. As I am sitting at my tavern ordinary, for I consider that an
experienced cavalier should ever lay in provenant as occasion
serveth, comes in to me a stipendiary of my Lord Winter, bidding me
know that his master would speak to me: and that not coram populo,
as I doubt not your lordship said at St. Leonard's College in St.
Andrews, but privily. Thereon I rise and wait on him; to be brief-
-brevis esse laboro, as we said lang syne--his lordship would have
me to be of his backers in private rencontre with four gentlemen of
the King's Musketeers.

Concerning the cause of this duello, I may well say teterrima
causa. His lordship's own sister Milady Clarik was in question;
she being, I fear me, rather akin in her way of life to Jean
Drocheils (whom your lordship may remember; for, the Baillies
expulsing her from Aberdeen, she migrated to St. Andrews, ad
eundem, as the saying is) than like, in her walk and conduct, to a
virtuous lady of a noble family. She was, indeed, as current
rumour had it, the light o'love or belle amie of Monsieur
d'Artagnan, his lordship's adversary.

But of siclike least said soonest mended. I take cloak and sword,
and follow with his lordship and two other experienced cavaliers
unto the place of rencontre, being a waste croft whereon a loon was
herding goats, behind the Palace of the Luxembourg. Here we find
waiting us four soldados, proper tall men of their hands, who
receive us courteously. He that first gave cause of quarrel to my
Lord Winter bore a worthy name enough out of Gascony, that is arida
nutrix, as we said at the Mareschal College, of honourable
soldados--to wit, as I said, he was Monsieur d'Artagnan. To his
friends, howbeit, he gave sic heathen titles as I never saw or
heard of out of the Grecian books: namely, Monsieur Porthos, a
very tall man, albeit something of a lourdaud; Monsieur Athos; and
he that was to be mine own opposite, Monsieur Aramis. Hearing
these outlandish and insolent appellations, I thought it becoming
me, as an honourable cavalier, to resent this fashion of
presenting: and demurred that a gentleman of the House of Dalgetty
of Drumthwacket could neither take affront from, nor give
honourable satisfaction to, a nameless landlouper. Wherein your
lordship, I doubt me not, will hold me justificate.

Lord Winter homologating mine opinion, he that called himself Athos
drew each of us apart, and whispered the true names and qualities
territorial of these gentlemen; the whilk, as may befall honourable
soldados, they had reason sufficient to conceal while serving as
private gentlemen in a regiment, though disdaining to receive
halberds, as unbecoming their birth. He that aligned himself
forenenst me was styled the Chevalier d'Herblay; and, the word
being given, we fell to.

Now, mine adversary declining to fight comminus gladio, but
breaking ground in a manner unworthy of a gallant soldado, and the
place, saving your presence, being somewhat slippery and
treacherous because of the goats that were fed there, I delivered a
sufficient onslaught; and he fell, his sword flying from his hand.
When I had taken his weapon--the spolia opima, as we said at
Mareschal College--I bid him rise, and then discoursed him on the
dishonour of such a hasty defeat. Then, he confessing himself to
me that, though under arms, he was a young fledgeling priest in
Popish orders, I began upon him with such words on his disgracing
the noble profession of arms as might have made him choose to
return to his cloister; when suddenly he fled, and, being young and
light-footed, robbed me, not only of such caduacs and casualties as
an experienced cavalier might well take from his prisoner for
ransom, but also, as now it appears, of my good name. For I doubt
not that this musketeer priest, Monsieur Aramis, or l'Abbe
d'Herblay (for he hath as many names as I have seen campaigns), was
the loon that beguiled with a lying tale the newsman of the "Gallo
Belgicus." And I have ever seen that an honourable soldado will
give the go-by to these newsmen and their flying sheets, as
unworthy of the notice of honourable cavaliers; of whom
(recommending your lordship for the truth of my tale to my Lord
Winter, now with his gracious Majesty the King) I am fain to
subscribe myself one, and your lordship's poor officer, as ye shall
entreat him,

DUGALD DALGETTY, of Drumthwacket,

Late Commander of the whole stift of Dunklespiel on the Lower

LETTER: From Mr. Lovelace to John Belford, Esq.

The following letter must have been omitted from the papers to
which Mr. Samuel Richardson, the editor of "Clarissa," had access.
It was written, apparently, after the disgraceful success of
Lovelace's disgraceful adventure, and shows us that scoundrel in
company not choice, indeed, but better than he deserved, the
society of Mr. Thomas Jones, a Foundling. Mr. Jones's admirable
wife (nee Western), having heard of Lovelace's conduct, sent her
husband to execute that revenge which should have been competed for
by every man of heart. It will be seen that Mr. Jones was no match
for the perfidies of Mr. Lovelace. The cynical reflections of that
bad man on Lord Fellamar, and his relations with Mrs. Jones, will
only cause indignation and contempt among her innumerable and
honourable admirers. They will remember the critical and painful
circumstances as recorded in Mr. Henry Fielding's biography of Mr.

Parcius junctas quatiunt fenestras
Ictibus crebris juvenes protervi.

Curse upon thy stars, Jack! How long wilt thou beat me about the
head with thy musty citations from Nat Lee and thy troop of
poetical divines? Thou hast driven me to motto-hunting for the
comeliness of mine epistle, like the weekly scribblers. See, Jack,
I have an adventure to tell thee! It is not the avenging Morden
that hath flashed through the window, sword in hand, as in my
frightful dream; nor hath the statue of the Commandant visited me,
like Don Juan, that Rake of Spain; but a challenger came hither
that is not akin to my beloved Miss. Dost remember a tall, fresh-
coloured, cudgel-playing oaf that my Lady Bellaston led about with
her--as maids lead apes in hell, though he more of an ape than she
of a maid--'tis a year gone? This brawny-beefed chairman hath
married a fortune and a delicious girl, you dog, Miss Sophia
Western, of Somerset, and is now in train, I doubt not, to beget as
goodly a tribe of chuckle-headed boys and whey-faced wenches as you
shall see round an old squire's tomb in a parish church. Wherefore
does he not abide at this his appointed lawful husbandry, I marvel;
but not a whit!

Our cursed adventure hath spread from the flippanti of both sexes
down to the heathenish parts of Somerset; where it hath reached
Madam Jones's ears, and inflamed this pretty vixen with a desire to
avenge Miss Harlowe on me, and by the cudgel of Mr. Jones, his
Sophia having sent him up to town for no other purpose. De la
Tour, my man, came to me yesterday morning with the tidings that
the New Giant, as he supposes, waits on me to solicit the favour of
my patronage. I am in the powdering closet, being bound for a
rout, and cry, "Let the Giant in!" Then a heavy tread: and,
looking up, what do I see but a shoulder-of-mutton fist at my nose,
and lo! a Somerset tongue cries, "Lovelace, thou villain, thou
shalt taste of this!" A man in a powdering closet cannot fight,
even if he be a boxing glutton like your Figs and other gladiators
of the Artillery Ground. Needs must I parley. "What," says I,
"what, the happy Mr. Jones from the West! What brings him here
among the wicked, and how can the possessor of the beauteous Sophia
be a moment from her charms?"

"Take not her name," cries my clod-hopper, "into thy perjured
mouth. 'Tis herself sends me here to avenge the best, the most
injured . . . " Here he fell a-blubbering! Oh, Belford, the
virtue of this world is a great discourager of repentance.

"If Mr. Jones insists on the arbitrament of the sword . . . " I was
beginning--"Nay, none of thy Frenchified blades," cries he, "come
out of thy earth, thou stinking fox, and try conclusions with an
English cudgel!"

Belford, I am no cudgel-player, and I knew not well how to rid
myself of this swasher.

"Mr. Jones!" I said, "I will fight you how you will, where you
will, with what weapon you will; but first inform me of the nature
of our quarrel. Would you blazon abroad yet further the malignant
tales that have injured both me and a lady for whom I have none but
the most hallowed esteem? I pray you sit down, Sir; be calm, the
light is ill for any play with cudgel or sword. De la Tour, a
bottle of right Burgundy; Mr. Jones and I have business, and he
hath travelled far."

In a trice there was a chicken, a bottle, a set of knives and
forks, a white cloth, and a hungry oaf that did eat and swear! One
bottle followed another. By the third Mr. Jones embraced me,
saying that never had a man been more belied than I; that it was
Lord Fellamar, not I, was the villain. To this effect I own that I
did myself drop a hint; conceiving that the divine Sophia must
often have regretted our friend Fellamar when once she was bound to
the oaf, and that Jones was capable of a resentful jealousy. By
midnight I had to call a chair for my besotted challenger, and when
the Avenger was there safely bestowed, I asked him where the men
should carry him? His tongue being now thick, and his brains
bemused, he could not find the sign of his inn in his noddle. So,
the merry devil prompting me, I gave the men the address of his
ancient flame, my Lady Bellaston, and off they jogged with Jones.

Was there ever, Belford, a stranger amoris redintegratio than this
must have been, when our Lydia heard the old love at the rarely
shaken doors:

Me tuo longas pereunte noctes,
Lydia, dormis?

Ah, how little hath Madam Sophia taken by despatching her lord to
town, and all to break my head. My fellow, who carries this to
thee, has just met Fellamar's man, and tells me that FELLAMAR
conjunction and disjunction of man and wife and of old affections?
and hath "Thomas, a Foundling," too, gone the way of all flesh?


No news of the dear fugitive! Ah, Belford, my conscience and my
cousins call me a villain! Minxes all.

LETTER: From Miss Catherine Morland to Miss Eleanor Tilney.

Miss Catherine Morland, of "Northanger Abbey," gives her account of
a visit to Mr. Rochester, and of his governess's peculiar
behaviour. Mrs. Rochester (nee Eyre) has no mention of this in her

Thornfield, Midnight

At length, my dear Eleanor, the terrors on which you have so often
rallied me are become REALITIES, and your Catherine is in the midst
of those circumstances to which we may, without exaggeration, give
the epithet "horrible." I write, as I firmly believe, from the
mansion of a maniac! On a visit to my Aunt Ingram, and carried by
her to Thornfield, the seat of her wealthy neighbour, Mr.
Rochester, how shall your Catherine's trembling pen unfold the
mysteries by which she finds herself surrounded! No sooner had I
entered this battlemented mansion than a cold chill struck through
me, as with a sense of some brooding terror. All, indeed, was
elegance, all splendour! The arches were hung with Tyrian-dyed
curtains. The ornaments on the pale Parian mantelpiece were of red
Bohemian glass. Everywhere were crimson couches and sofas. The
housekeeper, Mrs. Fairfax, pointed out to my notice some vases of
fine purple spar, and on all sides were Turkey carpets and large
mirrors. Elegance of taste and fastidious research of ornament
could do no more; but what is luxury to the mind ill at ease? or
can a restless conscience be stilled by red Bohemian glass or pale
Parian mantelpieces?

No, alas! too plainly was this conspicuous when, on entering the
library, we found Mr. Rochester--alone! The envied possessor of
all this opulence can be no happy man. He was seated with his head
bent on his folded arms, and when he looked up a morose--almost a
malignant--scowl blackened his features! Hastily beckoning to the
governess, who entered with us, to follow him, he exclaimed, "Oh,
hang it all!" in an accent of despair, and rushed from the chamber.
We distinctly heard the doors clanging behind him as he flew! At
dinner, the same hollow reserve; his conversation entirely confined
to the governess (a Miss Eyre), whose position here your Catherine
does not understand, and to whom I distinctly heard him observe
that Miss Blanche Ingram was "an extensive armful."

The evening was spent in the lugubrious mockery of pretending to
consult an old gipsy-woman who smoked a short black pipe, and was
recognised BY ALL as Mr. Rochester in disguise. I was conducted by
Miss Eyre to my bedroom--through a long passage, narrow, low, and
dim, with two rows of small black doors, all shut; 'twas like a
corridor in some Blue Beard's castle. "Hurry, hurry, I hear the
chains rattling," said this strange girl; whose position, my
Eleanor, in this house causes your Catherine some natural
perplexity. When we had reached my chamber, "Be silent, silent as
death," said Miss Eyre, her finger on her lip and her meagre body
convulsed with some mysterious emotion. "Speak not of what you
hear, do not remember what you see!" and she was gone.

I undressed, after testing the walls for secret panels and looking
for assassins in the usual place, but was haunted all the time by
an unnatural sound of laughter. At length, groping my way to the
bed, I jumped hastily in, and would have sought some suspension of
anguish by creeping far underneath the clothes. But even this
refuge was denied to your wretched Catherine! I could not stretch
my limbs; for the sheet, my dear Eleanor, had been so arranged, in
some manner which I do not understand, as to render this
impossible. The laughter seemed to redouble. I heard a footstep
at my door. I hurried on my frock and shawl and crept into the
gallery. A strange dark figure was gliding in front of me,
stooping at each door; and every time it stooped, came A LOW
GURGLING NOISE! Inspired by I know not what desperation of
courage, I rushed on the figure and seized it by the neck. It was
Miss Eyre, the governess, filling the boots of all the guests with
water, which she carried in a can. When she saw me she gave a
scream and threw herself against a door hung with a curtain of
Tyrian dye. It yielded, and there poured into the passage a blue
cloud of smoke, with a strong and odious smell of cigars, into
which (and to what company?) she vanished. I groped my way as well
as I might to my own chamber: where each hour the clocks, as they
struck, found an echo in the apprehensive heart of


LETTER: From Montague Tigg, Esq., to Mr. David Crimp.

The following letter needs no explanation for any who have studied
the fortunes and admired the style of that celebrated and sanguine
financier, Mr. Montague Tigg, in "Martin Chuzzlewit." His chance
meeting with the romantic Comte de Monte Cristo naturally suggested
to him the plans and hopes which he unfolds to an unsympathetic

1542 Park Lane, May 27, 1848.

My Premium Pomegranate,--Oracles are not in it, David, with you, my
pippin, as auspicious counsellors of ingenious indigence. The
remark which you uttered lately, when refusing to make the trumpery
advance of half-a-crown on a garment which had been near to the
illustrious person of my friend Chevy Slime, that remark was
inspired. "Go to Holborn!" you said, and the longest-bearded of
early prophets never uttered aught more pregnant with Destiny. I
went to Holborn, to the humble establishment of the tuneful tonsor,
Sweedle-pipe. All things come, the poet says, to him who knows how
to wait--especially, I may add, to him who knows how to wait behind
thin partitions with a chink in them. Ensconced in such an ambush-
-in fact, in the back shop--I bided my time, intending to solicit
pecuniary accommodation from the barber, and studying human nature
as developed in his customers.

There are odd customers in Kingsgate Street, Holborn--foreign gents
and refugees. Such a cove my eagle eye detected in a man who
entered the shop wearing a long black beard streaked with the snows
of age, and who requested Poll to shave him clean. He was a
sailor-man to look at; but his profile, David, might have been
carved by a Grecian chisel out of an iceberg, and that steel grey
eye of his might have struck a chill, even through a chink, into
any heart less stout than beats behind the vest of Montague Tigg.
The task of rasping so hirsute a customer seemed to sit heavy on
the soul of Poll, and threatened to exhaust the resources of his
limited establishment. The barber went forth to command, as I
presume, a fresher strop, or more keenly tempered steel, and
glittering cans of water heated to a fiercer heat. No sooner was
the coast clear than the street-door opened, and my stranger was
joined by a mantled form, that glided into Poll's emporium. The
new-comer doffed a swart sombrero, and disclosed historic features
that were not unknown to the concealed observer--meaning me. Yes,
David, that aquiline beak, that long and waxed moustache, that
impassible mask of a face, I had seen them, Sir, conspicuous
(though their owner be of alien and even hostile birth) among
England's special chivalry. The foremost he had charged on the
Ides of April (I mean against the ungentlemanly Chartist throng)
and in the storied lists of Eglinton. The new-comer, in short, was
the nephew of him who ate his heart out in an English gaol (like
our illustrious Chiv)--in fact, he was Prince Louis N- B-.

Gliding to the seat where, half-lathered, the more or less ancient
Mariner awaited Poll's return, the Prince muttered (in the French
lingo, familiar to me from long exile in Boulogne):

"Hist, goes all well?"

"Magnificently, Sire!" says the other chap.

"Our passages taken?"

"Ay, and private cabins paid for to boot, in case of the storm's

The Prince nodded and seemed pleased; then he asked anxiously,

"The Bird? You have been to Jamrach's?"

"Pardon me, Sire," says the man who was waiting to be shaved, "I
can slip from your jesses no mercenary eagle. These limbs have yet
the pith to climb and this heart the daring to venture to the
airiest crag of Monte d'Oro, and I have ravished from his eyrie a
true Corsican eagle to be the omen of our expedition. Wherever
this eagle is your uncle's legions will gather together."

"'Tis well; and the gold?"

"TRUST MONTE CRISTO!" says the bearded man; and then, David, begad!
I knew I had them!

"We meet?"

"At Folkestone pier, 7.45, tidal train."

"I shall be there without fail," says the Prince, and sneaks out of
the street-door just as Poll comes in with the extra soap and

Well, David, to make it as short as I can, the man of the icy
glance was clean-shaved at last, and the mother who bore him would
not have known him as he looked in the glass when it was done. He
chucked Poll a diamond worth about a million piastres, and,
remarking that he would not trouble him for the change, he walked
out. By this characteristic swagger, of course, he more than
confirmed my belief that he was, indeed, the celebrated foreigner
the Count of Monte Cristo; whose name and history even YOU must be
acquainted with, though you may not be what I have heard my friend
Chevy Slime call himself, "the most literary man alive." A
desperate follower of the star of Austerlitz from his youth, a
martyr to the cause in the Chateau d'If, Monte Cristo has not
deserted it now that he has come into his own--or anybody else's.

Of course I was after him like a shot. He walked down Kingsgate
Street and took a four-wheeler that was loitering at the corner. I
followed on foot, escaping the notice of the police from the fact,
made only too natural by Fortune's cursed spite, that under the
toga-like simplicity of Montague Tigg's costume these minions
merely guessed at a cab-tout.

Well, David, he led me a long chase. He got out of the four-
wheeler (it was dark now) at the Travellers', throwing the cabman a
purse--of sequins, no doubt. At the door of the Travellers' he
entered a brougham; and, driving to the French Embassy in Albert
Gate, he alighted, IN DIFFERENT TOGS, quite the swell, and LET

In fact, Sir, this conspirator of barbers' shops, this prisoner of
the Chateau d'If, this climber of Corsican eyries, is to-day the
French Minister accredited to the Court of St. James's!

And now perhaps, David, you begin to see how the land lies, the
Promised Land, the land where there is corn and milk and honey-dew.
I hold those eminent and highly romantic parties in the hollow of
my hand. A letter from me to M. Lecoq, of the Rue Jerusalem, and
their little game is up, their eagle moults, the history of Europe
is altered. But what good would all that do Montague Tigg? Will
it so much as put that delightful coin, a golden sovereign, in the
pocket of his nether garments? No, Tigg is no informer; a man who
has charged at the head of his regiment on the coast of Africa is
no vulgar spy. There is more to be got by making the Count pay
through the nose, as we say; chanter, as the French say; "sing a
song of sixpence"--to a golden tune.

But, as Fortune now uses me, I cannot personally approach his
Excellency. Powdered menials would urge me from his portals. An
advance, a small advance--say 30l.--is needed for preliminary
expenses: for the charges of the clothier, the bootmaker, the
hosier, the barber. Give me 30l. for the restoration of Tigg to
the semblance of the Montagues, and with that sum I conquer
millions. The diamonds of Monte Cristo, the ingots, the rubies,
the golden crowns with the image and superscription of Pope
Alexander VI.--all are mine: I mean are ours.

More, David; more, my premium tulip: we shall make the Count a
richer man than ever he has been. We shall promote new companies,
we shall put him on the board of directors. I see the prospectuses
from afar.



His Excellency the COMTE DE MONTE CRISTO. K.G., K.C.B., Knight of
the Black Eagle.


CHEVY SLIME, Esq., Berkeley Square.
MONTAGUE TIGG, Esq., Park Lane.
M. VAUTRIN (Les Bagnes pres de Toulon).
The CHEVALIER STRONG. (Would he come in?)
Hon. Secretary.--DAVID CRIMP, Esq.
Archaeological Adviser.--Dr. SPIEGELMANN, Berlin.

Then the prospectus! Treasure-hunting too long left to individual
and uneducated enterprise. Need of organised and instructed
effort. Examples of treasure easily to be had. Grave of Alaric.
Golden chain of Cuzco. Galleons of Vigo Bay. Loot of Delphi.
Straits of Salamis. Advice of most distinguished foreign experts
already secured. Paid-up capital, a 6 and as many 0's as the
resources of the printing establishment can command. The public
will rush in by the myriad. And I am also sketching a

"Disinterested Association for Securing the Rights of Foundlings,"
again with Monte Cristo in the chair. David, you have saved a few
pounds; in the confidence of unofficial moments you have confessed
as much (though not exactly HOW much) to me. Will you neglect one
of those opportunities which only genius can discover, but which
the humble capitalist can help to fructify? With thirty, nay, with
twenty pounds, I can master this millionaire and tame this Earthly
Providence. Behind us lies penury and squalor, before us glitters
jewelled opulence. You will be at 1542 Park Lane to-morrow WITH
THE DIBS?--Yours expectantly,


From Mr. David Crimp to Montague Tigg, Esq.
The Golden Balls, May 28.

Dear Mr. Tigg,--You always WERE full of your chaff, but you must
have been drinking when you wrote all that cock-and-a-bull gammon.
Thirty pounds! No; nor fifteen; nor as many pence. I never heard
of the party you mention by the name of the Count of Monte Cristo;
and as for the Prince, he's as likely to be setting out for
Boulogne with an eagle as you are to start a monkey and a barrel-
organ in Jericho; or may be THAT'S the likeliest of the two. So
stow your gammon, and spare your stamps, is my last word.--Yours
respectfully to command,


LETTER: From Christian to Piscator.

Walton and Bunyan were men who should have known each other. It is
a pleasant fancy, to me, that they may have met on the banks of
Ouse, while John was meditating a sermon, and Izaak was "attentive
of his trembling quill."

Sir,--Being now come into the Land of Beulah; here, whence I cannot
so much as see Doubting Castle; here, where I am solaced with the
sound of voices from the City,--my mind, that is now more at peace
about mine own salvation, misgives me sore about thine. Thou wilt
remember me, perchance, for him that met thee by a stream of the
Delectable Mountains, and took thee to be a man fleeing from the
City of Destruction. For, beholding thee from afar, methought that
thou didst carry a burden on thy back, even as myself before my
deliverance did bear the burden of my sins and fears. Yet when I
drew near I perceived that it was but a fisherman's basket on thy
back, and that thou didst rather seek to add to the weight of thy
burden than to lighten it or fling it away. But, when we fell into
discourse, I marvelled much how thou camest so far upon the way,
even among the sheep and the shepherds of that country. For I
found that thou hadst little experience in conflict with Apollyon,
and that thou hadst never passed through the Slough of Despond nor
wandered in the Valley of the Shadow. Nay, thou hadst never so
much as been distressed in thy mind with great fear, nor hadst thou
fled from thy wife and children, to save, if it might be, thy soul
for thyself, as I have done. Nay, rather thou didst parley with
the shepherds as one that loved their life; and I remember, even
now, that sweet carnal song

The Shepherd swains shall dance and sing,
For thy delight, each May morning;
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.

These are not the songs that fit the Delectable Country; nay,
rather they are the mirth of wantons. Yet didst thou take pleasure
in them; and therefore I make bold to ask how didst thou flee at
all from the City of Destruction, and come so far upon thy way?
Beware lest, when thou winnest to that brook wherein no man casts
angle, even to that flood where there is no bridge to go over and
the River is very deep--beware, I say, of one Vain Hope, the
Ferryman! For I would not have thee lost, because thou art a
kindly man and a simple. Yet for Ignorance there is an ill way,
even from the very gates of the City.--Thy fellow-traveller,


From Piscator to Christian.

Sir,--I do indeed remember thee; and I trust thou art amended of
these gripings which caused thee to groan and moan, even by the
pleasant streams from the hills of the Delectable Mountains. And
as for my "burden" 'twas pleasant to me to bear it; for, like not
the least of the Apostles, I am a fisher, and I carried trout. But
I take no shame in that I am an angler; for angling is somewhat
like poetry; men are to be born so, and I would not be otherwise
than my Maker designed to have me. Of the antiquity of angling I
could say much; but I misdoubt me that thou dost not heed the
learning of ancient times, but art a contemner of good learning and
virtuous recreations. Yet it may a little move thee that in the
Book of Job mention is made of fish-hooks, and without reproof; for
let me tell you that in the Scriptures angling is always taken in
the best sense.


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