The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb IV
Charles and Mary Lamb
Part 6 out of 11
Equally remote from flippancy and taciturnity.
But then my name--damn my name.
Not so. Oh, Belvil, you are blest with one which sighing virgins may
repeat without a blush, and for it change the paternal. But what virgin
of any delicacy (and I require some in a wife) would endure to be called
Ha! ha! ha! most absurd. Did not Clementina Falconbridge, the romantic
Clementina Falconbridge, fancy Tommy Potts? and Rosabella Sweetlips
sacrifice her mellifluous appellative to Jack Deady? Matilda her cousin
married a Gubbins, and her sister Amelia a Clutterbuck.
Potts is tolerable, Deady is sufferable, Gubbins is bearable, and
Clutterbuck is endurable, but Ho--
Hush, Jack, don't betray yourself. But you are really ashamed of the
Aye, and of my father that begot me, and my father's father, and all
their forefathers that have borne it since the conquest.
But how do you know the women are so squeamish?
I have tried them. I tell you there is neither maiden of sixteen nor
widow of sixty but would turn up their noses at it. I have been refused
by nineteen virgins, twenty-nine relicts, and two old maids.
That was hard indeed, Jack.
Parsons have stuck at publishing the banns, because they averred it was
a heathenish name; parents have lingered their consent, because they
suspected it was a fictitious name; and rivals have declined my
challenges, because they pretended it was an ungentlemanly name.
Ha, ha, ha, but what course do you mean to pursue?
To engage the affections of some generous girl, who will be content to
take me as Mr. H.
Yes, that is the name I go by here; you know one likes to be as near the
truth as possible.
Certainly. But what then? to get her to consent--
To accompany me to the altar without a name--in short to suspend her
curiosity (that is all) till the moment the priest shall pronounce the
irrevocable charm, which makes two names one.
And that name--and then she must be pleased, ha, Jack?
Exactly such a girl it has been my fortune to meet with, heark'e
(_whispers_)--(_musing_) yet hang it, 'tis cruel to betray her
But the family name, Jack?
As you say, the family name must be perpetuated.
Though it be but a homely one.
True, but come, I will shew you the house where dwells this credulous
Ha, ha, my old friend dwindled down to one letter. [_Exeunt_.]
SCENE.--_An Apartment in_ MELESINDA'S _House_.
MELESINDA _sola, as if musing_.
H.H.H. Sure it must be something precious by its being concealed. It
can't be Homer, that is a Heathen's name; nor Horatio, that is no
surname; what if it be Hamlet? the Lord Hamlet--pretty, and I his poor
distracted Ophelia! No, 'tis none of these; 'tis Harcourt or Hargrave,
or some such sounding name, or Howard, high born Howard, that would do;
may be it is Harley, methinks my H. resembles Harley, the feeling
Harley. But I hear him, and from his own lips I will once for ever be
_Enter_ MR. H.
My dear Melesinda.
My dear H. that is all you give me power to swear allegiance to,--to be
enamoured of inarticulate sounds, and call with sighs upon an empty
letter. But I will know.
My dear Melesinda, press me no more for the disclosure of that, which in
the face of day so soon must be revealed. Call it whim, humour, caprice,
in me. Suppose I have sworn an oath, never, till the ceremony of our
marriage is over, to disclose my true name.
Oh! H.H.H. I cherish here a fire of restless curiosity which consumes
me. 'Tis appetite, passion, call it whim, caprice, in me. Suppose I have
sworn I must and will know it this very night.
Ungenerous Melesinda! I implore you to give me this one proof of your
confidence. The holy vow once past, your H. shall not have a secret to
My H. has overcome: his Melesinda shall pine away and die, before she
dare express a saucy inclination; but what shall I call you till we are
Call me? call me any thing, call me Love, Love! aye, Love, Love will do
How many syllables is it, Love?
How many? ud, that is coming to the question with a vengeance. One, two,
three, four,--what does it signify how many syllables?
How many syllables, Love?
My Melesinda's mind, I had hoped, was superior to this childish
How many letters are there in it?
[_Exit_ MR. H. _followed by_ MELESINDA _repeating the question_.]
SCENE.--_A Room in the Inn. (Two Waiters disputing._)
Sir Harbottle Hammond, you may depend upon it.
Sir Hardy Hardcastle, I tell you.
The Hammonds of Huntingdonshire.
The Hardcastles of Hertfordshire.
Don't tell me: does not Hardcastle begin with an H?
So does Hammond for that matter.
Faith, so it does if you go to spell it. I did not think of that. I
begin to be of your opinion; he is certainly a Hammond.
Here comes Susan Chambermaid, may be she can tell.
Well, Susan, have you heard any thing who the strange gentleman is?
Haven't you heard? it's all come out; Mrs. Guesswell, the parson's
widow, has been here about it. I overheard her talking in confidence to
Mrs. Setter and Mrs. Pointer, and she says, they were holding a sort of
_cummitty_ about it.
There can't be a doubt of it, she says, what from hisfigger and the
appearance he cuts, and his _sumpshous_ way of living, and above all
from the remarkable circumstance that his surname should begin with an
H., that he must be--
Neither more nor less than the Prince.
The Prince of Hessy-Cassel in disguise.
Very likely, very likely.
Oh, there can't be a doubt on it. Mrs. Guesswell says she knows it.
Now if we could be sure that the Prince of Hessy what-do-you-call-him
was in England on his travels.
Get a newspaper. Look in the newspapers.
Fiddle of the newspapers, who else can it be?
That is very true (_gravely_).
Here, Susan, James, Philip, where are you all? The London coach is come
in, and there is Mr. Fillaside, the fat passenger, has been bawling for
somebody to help him off with his boots. (_The Chambermaid and Waiters
(_Solus_.) The house is turned upside down since the strange
gentleman came into it. Nothing but guessing and speculating, and
speculating and guessing; waiters and chambermaids getting into corners
and speculating, ostlers and stable-boys speculating in the yard, I
believe the very horses in the stable are speculating too, for there
they stand in a musing posture, nothing for them to eat, and not
seeming to care whether thay have any thing or no; and after all what
does it signify? I hate such curious--odso, I must take this box up into
his bed-room--he charged me to see to it myself--I hate such
inquisitive--I wonder what is in it, it feels heavy (_Reads_) "Leases,
title deeds, wills." Here now a man might satisfy his curiosity at once.
Deeds must have names to them, so must leases and wills. But I
wouldn't--no I wouldn't--it is a pretty box too--prettily dovetailed--I
admire the fashion of it much. But I'd cut my fingers off, before I'd do
such a dirty--what have I to do--curse the keys, how they rattle--rattle
in one's pockets--the keys and the halfpence (_takes out a bunch and
plays with them_). I wounder if any of these would fit; one might just
try them, but I wouldn't lift up the lid if they did. Oh no, what should
I be the richer for knowing? (_All this time he tries the keys one by
one_.) What's his name to me? a thousand names begin with an H. I hate
people that are always prying, poking and prying into things,--thrusting
their finger into one place--a mighty little hole this--and their keys
into another. Oh Lord! little rusty fits it! but what is that to me? I
wouldn't go to--no no--but it is odd little rusty should just happen.
(_While he is turning up the lid of the box_, MR. H. _enters behing him
What are you about, you dog?
Oh Lord, Sir! pardon; no thief as I hope to be saved. Little Pry was
What else could move you to open that box!
Sir, don't kill me, and I will confess the whole truth. This box
happened to be lying--that is, I happened to be carrying this box, and I
happened to have my keys out, and so--little rusty happened to fit--
So little rusty happened to fit!--and would not a rope fit that rogue's
neck? I see the papers have not been moved: all is safe, but it was as
well to frighten him a little (_aside_).
Come, Landlord, as I think you
honest, and suspect you only intended to gratify a little foolish
That was all, Sir, upon my veracity.
For this time I will pass it over. Your name is Pry, I think.
Yes, Sir, Jeremiah Pry, at your service.
An apt name, you have a prying temper. I mean, some little curiosity, a
sort of inquisitiveness about you.
A natural thirst after knowledge you may call it, Sir. When a boy I was
never easy, but when I was thrusting up the lids of some of my
school-fellows' boxes,--not to steal any thing, upon my honour,
Sir,--only to see what was in them; have had pens stuck in my eyes for
peeping through key-holes after knowledge; could never see a cold pie
with the legs dangling out at top, but my fingers were for lifting up
the crust,--just to try if it were pigeon or partridge,--for no other
reason in the world. Surely I think my passion for nuts was owing to the
pleasure of cracking the shell to get at something concealed, more than
to any delight I took in eating the kernel. In short, Sir, this appetite
has grown with my growth.
You will certainly be hanged some day for peeping into some bureau or
other, just to see what is in it.
That is my fear, Sir. The thumps and kicks I have had for peering into
parcels, and turning of letters inside out,--just for curiosity. The
blankets I have been made to dance in for searching parish-registers for
old ladies' ages,--just for curiosity! Once I was dragged through a
horse-pond, only for peeping into a closet that had glass doors to it,
while my Lady Bluegarters was undressing,--just for curiosity!
A very harmless piece of curiosity, truly; and now, Mr. Pry, first have
the goodness to leave that box with me, and then do me the favour to
carry your curiosity so far, as to enquire if my servants are within.
I shall, Sir. Here, David, Jonathan,--I think I hear them coming,--shall
make bold to leave you, Sir.
Another tolerable specimen of the comforts of going anonymous!
_Enter two Footmen._
You speak first.
No, you had better speak.
You promised to begin.
They have something to say to me. The rascals want their wages raised, I
suppose; there is always a favour to be asked when they come smiling.
Well, poor rogues, service is but a hard bargain at the best. I think I
must not be close with them. Well, David--well, Jonathan.
We have served your honour faithfully----
Hope your honour won't take offence----
The old story, I suppose--wages?
That's not it, your honour.
But if your honour would just be pleased to----
Only be pleased to----
Be quick with what you have to say, for I am in haste.
Let us know who it is----
Who it is we have the honour to serve.
Why me, me, me; you serve me.
Yes, Sir; but we do not know who you are.
Childish curiosity! do not you serve a rich master, a gay master, an
Ah, Sir! the figure you make is to us, your poor servants, the principal
When we get over a pot at the public-house, or in a gentleman's kitchen,
or elsewhere, as poor servants must have their pleasures--when the
question goes round, who is your master? and who do you serve? and one
says, I serve Lord So-and-so, and another, I am Squire Such-a-one's
We have nothing to say for it, but that we serve Mr. H.
Or Squire H.
Really you are a couple of pretty modest, reasonable personages; but I
hope you will take it as no offence, gentlemen, if, upon a dispassionate
review of all that you have said, I think fit not to tell you any more
of my name, than I have chosen for especial purposes to communicate to
the rest of the world.
Why then, Sir, you may suit yourself.
We tell you plainly, we cannot stay.
We don't chuse to serve Mr. H.
Nor any Mr. or Squire in the alphabet----
That lives in Chris-cross Row.
Go, for a couple of ungrateful, inquisitive, senseless rascals! Go hang,
starve, or drown!--Rogues, to speak thus irreverently of the alphabet--I
shall live to see you glad to serve old Q--to curl the wig of great
S--adjust the dot of little i--stand behind the chair of X, Y, Z--wear
the livery of Et-caetera--and ride behind the sulky of
[_Exit in a rage_.]
SCENE.--_A handsome Apartment well lighted, Tea, Cards, &c.--A large
party of Ladies and Gentlemen, among them_ MELESINDA.
I wonder when the charming man will be here.
He is a delightful creature! Such a polish----
Such an air in all that he does or says----
Yet gifted with a strong understanding----
But has your ladyship the remotest idea of what his true name is?
They say, his very servants do not know it. His French valet, that has
lived with him these two years----
There, Madam, I must beg leave to set you right: my coachman----
I have it from the very best authority: my footman----
Then, Madam, you have set your servants on----
No, Madam, I would scorn any such little mean ways of conning at a
secret. For my part, I don't think any secret of that consequence.
That's just like me; I make a rule of troubling my head with nobody's
business but my own.
But then, she takes care to make everybody's business her own, and so to
justify herself that way----(_aside_).
My dear Melesinda, you look thoughtful.
Nothing. SECOND LADY
Give it a name.
Perhaps it is nameless.
As the object----Come, never blush, nor deny it, child. Bless me, what
great ugly thing is that, that dangles at your bosom?
This? it is a cross: how do you like it?
A cross! Well, to me it looks for all the world like a great staring H.
(_Here a general laugh_.)
Malicious creatures! Believe me it is a cross, and nothing but a cross.
A cross, I believe, you would willingly hang at.
(MR. H. _is announced_.)
(_Enter_ MR. H.)
O, Mr. H. we are so glad----
We have been so dull----
So perfectly lifeless----You owe it to us, to be more than commonly
Ladies, this is so obliging----
O, Mr. H. those ranunculas you said were dying, pretty things, they have
I have worked that sprig you commended--I want you to come----
I have sent for that piece of music from London.
The Mozart--(_seeing Melesinda_.)--Melesinda!
SEVERAL LADIES AT ONCE
Nay positively, Melesinda, you shan't engross him all to yourself.
(_While the Ladies are pressing about MR. H. the Gentlemen shew signs of
We shan't be able to edge in a word, now this coxcomb is come.
Damn him, I will affront him.
Sir, with your leave, I have a word to say to one of these ladies.
If we could be heard----
(_The ladies pay no attention but to_ MR. H.)
You see, gentlemen, how the matter stands. (_Hums an air_.) I am not my
own master: positively I exist and breathe but to be agreeable to
these----Did you speak?
And affects absence of mind, Puppy!
Who spoke of absence of mind, did you, Madam? How do you do, Lady
Wearwell--how do? I did not see your ladyship before--what was I about
to say--O--absence of mind. I am the most unhappy dog in that way,
sometimes spurt out the strangest things--the most mal-a-propos--without
meaning to give the least offence, upon my honour--sheer absence of
mind--things I would have given the world not to have said.
Do you hear the coxcomb?
Great wits, they say----
Your fine geniuses are most given----
Men of bright parts are commonly too vivacious----
But you shall hear. I was to dine the other day at a great nabob's, that
must be nameless, who, between ourselves, is strongly suspected
of--being very rich, that's all. John, my valet, who knows my foible,
cautioned me, while he was dressing me, as he usually does where he
thinks there's a danger of my committing a _lapsus_, to take care in my
conversation how I made any allusion direct or indirect to presents
--you understand me? I set out double charged with my fellow's
consideration and my own, and, to do myself justice, behaved with
tolerable circumspection for the first half hour or so--till at last a
gentleman in company, who was indulging a free vein of raillery at the
expense of the ladies, stumbled upon that expression of the poet, which
calls them "fair defects."
It is Pope, I believe, who says it.
No, Madam; Milton. Where was I? O, "fair defects." This gave occasion to
a critic in company, to deliver his opinion on the phrase--that led to
an enumeration of all the various words which might have been used
instead of "defect," as want, absence, poverty, deficiency, lack. This
moment I, who had not been attending to the progress of the argument
(as the denouement will shew) starting suddenly up out of one of my
reveries, by some unfortunate connexion of ideas, which the last fatal
word had excited, the devil put it into my head to turn round to the
Nabob, who was sitting next me, and in a very marked manner (as it
seemed to the company) to put the question to him, Pray, Sir, what may
be the exact value of a lack of rupees? You may guess the confusion
What a distressing circumstance!
To a delicate mind--
I declare I quite pity you.
A Baronet at the table, seeing my dilemma, jogged my elbow; and a
good-natured Duchess, who does every thing with a grace peculiar to
herself, trod on my toes at that instant: this brought me to myself,
and--covered with blushes, and pitied by all the ladies--I withdrew.
How charmingly he tells a story.
But how distressing!
Lord Squandercounsel, who is my particular friend, was pleased to rally
me in his inimitable way upon it next day. I shall never forget a
sensible thing he said on the occasion--speaking of absence of mind, my
foible--says he, my dear Hogs--
My dear Hogsflesh--my name--(_here an universal scream_)--O my cursed
unfortunate tongue!--H, I mean--Where was I?
A smelling bottle--look to Miss Melesinda. Poor thing! it is no wonder.
You had better keep off from her, Mr. Hogsflesh, and not be pressing
about her in her circumstances.
Good time of day to you, Mr. Hogsflesh.
The compliments of the season to you, Mr. Hogsflesh.
This is too much--flesh and blood cannot endure it.
How he sets up his bristles!
He looks as fierce as a hog in armour.
A hog!----Madam!----(_here he severally accosts the ladies, who by
turns repel him_).
Extremely obliged to you for your attentions; but don't want a partner.
Greatly flattered by your preference; but believe I shall remain single.
Shall always acknowledge your politeness; but have no thoughts of
altering my condition.
Always be happy to respect you as a friend; but you must not look for
any thing further.
No doubt of your ability to make any woman happy; but have no thoughts
of changing my name.
Must tell you, Sir, that if by your insinuations, you think to prevail
with me, you have got the wrong sow by the ear. Does he think any lady
would go to pig with him?
Must beg you to be less particular in your addresses to me. Does he take
me for a Jew, to long after forbidden meats?
I shall go mad!--to be refused by old Mother Damnable--she that's so
old, nobody knows whether she was ever married or no, but passes for a
maid by courtesy; her juvenile exploits being beyond the farthest
stretch of tradition!--old Mother Damnable!
[_Exeunt all, either pitying or seeming to avoid him._]
SCENE.--_The Street_. BELVIL _and another Gentleman_.
Poor Jack, I am really sorry for him. The account which you give me of
his mortifying change of reception at the assembly, would be highly
diverting, if it gave me less pain to hear it. With all his amusing
absurdities, and amongst them not the least, a predominant desire to be
thought well of by the fair sex, he has an abundant share of good
nature, and is a man of honour. Notwithstanding all that has happened,
Melesinda may do worse than take him yet. But did the women resent it so
deeply as you say?
O intolerably--they fled him as fearfully when 'twas once blown, as a
man would be avoided, who was suddenly discovered to have marks of the
plague, and as fast; when before they had been ready to devour the
foolishest thing he could say.
Ha! ha! so frail is the tenure by which these women's favourites
commonly hold their envied pre-eminence. Well, I must go find him out
and comfort him. I suppose, I shall find him at the inn.
Either there or at Melesinda's.--Adieu.
SCENE.--MR. H----'S _Apartment_.
MR. H. (_solus_)
Was ever any thing so mortifying? to be refused by old Mother
Damnable!--with such parts and address,--and the little squeamish
devils, to dislike me for a name, a sound.--O my cursed name! that it
was something I could be revenged on! if it were alive, that I might
tread upon it, or crush it, or pummel it, or kick it, or spit it
out--for it sticks in my throat and will choak me.
My plaguy ancestors! if they had left me but a Van or a Mac, or an Irish
O', it had been something to qualify it.--Mynheer Van Hogsflesh--or
Sawney Mac Hogsflesh,--or Sir Phelim O'Hogsflesh,--but downright
blunt------. If it had been any other name in the world, I could have
borne it. If it had been the name of a beast, as Bull, Fox, Kid, Lamb,
Wolf, Lion; or of a bird, as Sparrow, Hawk, Buzzard, Daw, Finch,
Nightingale; or of a fish, as Sprat, Herring, Salmon; or the name of a
thing, as Ginger, Hay, Wood; or of a colour, as Black, Grey, White,
Green; or of a sound, as Bray; or the name of a month, as March, May; or
of a place, as Barnet, Baldock, Hitchin; or the name of a coin, as
Farthing, Penny, Twopenny; or of a profession, as Butcher, Baker,
Carpenter, Piper, Fisher, Fletcher, Fowler, Glover; or a Jew's name, as
Solomons, Isaacs, Jacobs; or a personal name, as Foot, Leg, Crookshanks,
Heaviside, Sidebottom, Longbottom, Ramsbottom, Winterbottom; or a long
name, as Blanchenhagen, or Blanchenhausen; or a short name, as Crib,
Crisp, Crips, Tag, Trot, Tub, Phips, Padge, Papps, or Prig, or Wig, or
Pip, or Trip; Trip had been something, but Ho------.
_(Walks about in great agitation,--recovering his calmness a little,
Farewell the most distant thoughts of marriage; the finger-circling
ring, the purity-figuring glove, the envy-pining bride-maids, the
wishing parson, and the simpering clerk. Farewell, the ambiguous
blush-raising joke, the titter-provoking pun, the morning-stirring
drum.--No son of mine shall exist, to bear my ill-fated name. No nurse
come chuckling, to tell me it is a boy. No midwife, leering at me from
under the lids of professional gravity. I dreamed of caudle. _(Sings in
a melancholy tone)_ Lullaby, Lullaby,--hush-a-by-baby--how like its papa
it is!--_(makes motions as if he was nursing)_. And then, when grown up,
"Is this your son, Sir?" "Yes, Sir, a poor copy of me,--a sad young
dog,--just what his father was at his age,--I have four more at home."
Oh! oh! oh!
Landlord, I must pack up to-night; you will see all my things got ready.
Hope your Honor does not intend to quit the Blue Boar,--sorry any thing
He has heard it all.
Your Honour has had some mortification, to be sure, as a man may say;
you have brought your pigs to a fine market.
What then? take old Pry's advice, and never mind it. Don't scorch your
crackling for 'em, Sir.
Scorch my crackling! a queer phrase; but I suppose he don't mean to
What is done can't be undone; you can't make a silken purse out of a
As you say, Landlord, thinking of a thing does but augment it.
Does but _hogment_ it, indeed, Sir.
_Hogment_ it! damn it, I said, augment it.
LANDLORD Lord, Sir, 'tis not every body has such gift of fine phrases as
your Honour, that can lard his discourse.
Suppose they do smoke you--
One of my phrases; never mind my words, Sir, my meaning is good. We all
mean the same thing, only you express yourself one way, and I another,
that's all. The meaning's the same; it is all pork.
That's another of your phrases, I presume. _(Bell rings, and the
Landlord called for.)_
O, I wish I were anonymous.
[_Exeunt several ways._]
(_MELESINDA and Maid._)
Lord, Madam! before I'd take on as you do about a foolish--what
signifies a name? Hogs--Hogs--what is it--is just as good as any other
for what I see.
Ignorant creature! yet she is perhaps blest in the absence of those
ideas, which, while they add a zest to the few pleasures which fall to
the lot of superior natures to enjoy, doubly edge the--
Superior natures! a fig! If he's hog by name, he's not hog by nature,
that don't follow--his name don't make him any thing, does it? He don't
grunt the more for it, nor squeak, that ever I hear; he likes his
victuals out of a plate, as other Christians do, you never see him go to
Unfeeling wretch! yet possibly her intentions--
For instance, Madam, my name is Finch--Betty Finch. I don't whistle the
more for that, nor long after canary-seed while I can get good wholesome
mutton--no, nor you can't catch me by throwing salt on my tail. If you
come to that, hadn't I a young man used to come after me, they said
courted me--his name was Lion--Francis Lion, a tailor; but though he was
fond enough of me, for all that, he never offered to eat me.
How fortunate that the discovery has been made before it was too late.
Had I listened to his deceits, and, as the perfidious man had almost
persuaded me, precipitated myself into an inextricable engagement,
No great harm, if you had. You'd only have bought a pig in a poke--and
what then? Oh, here he comes creeping--
_Enter_ MR. H. _abject_.
Go to her, Mr. Hogs--Hogs--Hogsbristles--what's your name? Don't be
afraid, man--don't give it up--she's not crying--only _summat_ has made
her eyes red--she has got a sty in her eye, I believe--(_going_.)
You are not going, Betty?
O, Madam, never mind me--I shall be back in the twinkling of a pig's
whisker, as they say. [_Exit_.]
Melesinda, you behold before you a wretch who would have betrayed your
confidence, but it was love that prompted him; who would have tricked
you by an unworthy concealment into a participation of that disgrace
which a superficial world has agreed to attach to a name--but with it
you would have shared a fortune not contemptible, and a heart--but 'tis
over now. That name he is content to bear alone--to go where the
persecuted syllables shall be no more heard, or excite no meaning
--some spot where his native tongue has never penetrated, nor any of his
countrymen have landed, to plant their unfeeling satire, their brutal
wit, and national ill manners--where no Englishman--(_Here Melesinda,
who has been pouting during this speech, fetches a deep sigh_.) Some yet
undiscovered Otaheite, where witless, unapprehensive savages shall
innocently pronounce the ill-fated sounds, and think them not
Who knows but among the female natives might be found--
Sir! (_raising her head_).
One who would be more kind than--some Oberea--Queen Oberea.
Or what if I were to seek for proofs of reciprocal esteem among
unprejudiced African maids, in Monomotopa.
Mr. Belvil. [_Exit_.]
In Monornotopa (_musing_.)
Heyday, Jack! what means this mortified face? nothing has happened, I
hope, between this lady and you? I beg pardon, Madam, but understanding
my friend was with you, I took the liberty of seeking him here. Some
little difference possibly which a third person can adjust--not a
word--will you, Madam, as this gentleman's friend, suffer me to be the
arbitrator--strange--hark'e, Jack, nothing has come out, has there? you
understand me. Oh I guess how it is--somebody has got at your secret,
you hav'n't blabbed it yourself, have you? ha! ha! ha! I could find in
my heart--Jack, what would you give me if I should relieve you--
No power of man can relieve me (_sighs_) but it must lie at the root,
gnawing at the root--here it will lie.
No power of man? not a common man, I grant you; for instance, a
subject--it's out of the power of any subject.
Gnawing at the root--there it will lie.
Such a thing has been known as a name to be changed; but not by a
subject--(_shews a Gazette_).
Gnawing at the root (_suddenly snatches the paper out of Belvil's
hand_); ha! pish! nonsense! give it me--what! (_reads_) promotions,
bankrupts--a great many bankrupts this week--there it will lie (_lays it
down, takes it up again, and reads_) "The King has been graciously
pleased"--gnawing at the root--"graciously pleased to grant unto John
Hogsflesh"--the devil--"Hogsflesh, Esq., of Sty Hall, in the county of
Hants, his royal licence and authority"--O Lord! O Lord!--"that he and
his issue"--me and my issue--"may take and use the surname and arms of
Bacon"--Bacon, the surname and arms of Bacon--"in pursuance of an
injunction contained in the last will and testament of Nicholas Bacon,
Esq. his late uncle, as well as out of grateful respect to his
memory:"--grateful respect! poor old soul----here's more--"and that
such arms may be first duly exemplified"--they shall, I will take care
of that--"according to the laws of arms, and recorded in the Herald's
Come, Madam, give me leave to put my own interpretation upon your
silence, and to plead for my friend, that now that only obstacle which
seemed to stand in your way of your union is removed, you will suffer
me to complete the happiness which my news seems to have brought him, by
introducing him with a new claim to your favour, by the name of Mr.
(_Takes their hands and joins them, which Melesinda seems to give
consent to with a smile_.)
Generous Melesinda!--my dear friend--"he and his issue," me and my
I wish you joy, Jack, with all my heart.
Bacon, Bacon, Bacon--how odd it sounds. I could never be tired of
hearing it. There was Lord Chancellor Bacon. Methinks I have some of the
Verulam blood in me already--methinks I could look through Nature--there
was Friar Bacon, a conjurer--I feel as if I could conjure too--
_Enter a Servant_.
Two young ladies and an old lady are at the door, enquiring if you see
"Surname and arms"--
Shew them up.--My dear Mr. Bacon, moderate your joy.
_Enter three Ladies, being part of those who were at the Assembly._
My dear Melesinda, how do you do?
How do you do? We have been so concerned for you--
We have been so concerned--(_seeing him_)--Mr. Hogsflesh--
There's no such person--nor there never was--nor 'tis not fit there
should be--"surname and arms"--
It is true what my friend would express; we have been all in a mistake,
ladies. Very true, the name of this gentleman was what you call it, but
it is so no longer. The succession to the long-contested Bacon estate is
at length decided, and with it my friend succeeds to the name of his
"His Majesty has been graciously pleased"--
I am sure we all join in hearty congratulation--(_sighs_).
And wish you joy with all our hearts--(_heigh ho_!)
And hope you will enjoy the name and estate many years--(_cries_).
Ha! ha! ha! mortify them a little, Jack.
Hope you intend to stay--
With us some time--
In these parts--
Ladies, for your congratulations I thank you; for the favours you have
lavished on me, and in particular for this lady's (_turning to the old
Lady_) good opinion, I rest your debtor. As to any future
favours--(_accosts them severally in the order in which he was reftised
by them at the assembly_)--Madam, shall always acknowledge your
politeness; but at present, you see, I am engaged with a partner. Always
be happy to respect you as a friend, but you must not look for any
thing further. Must beg of you to be less particular in your addresses
to me. Ladies all, with this piece of advice, of Bath and you
Your ever grateful servant takes his leave.
Lay your plans surer when you plot to grieve;
See, while you kindly mean to mortify
Another, the wild arrow do not fly,
And gall yourself. For once you've been mistaken;
Your shafts have miss'd their aim--Hogsflesh has saved
* * * * *
THE PAWNBROKER'S DAUGHTER
* * * * *
FLINT, _a Pawnbroker._
DAVENPORT, _in love with Marian._
PENDULOUS, _a Reprieved Gentleman._
CUTLET, _a Sentimental Butcher._
GOLDING, _a Magistrate._
WILLIAM, _Apprentice to Flint._
BEN, _Cutlet's Boy._
BETTY, _her Maid._
MARIAN, _Daughter to Flint._
LUCY, _her Maid._
* * * * *
SCENE I.--_An Apartment at Flint's house._
Carry those umbrellas, cottons, and wearing-apparel, up stairs. You may
send that chest of tools to Robins's.
That which you lent six pounds upon to the journeyman carpenter that had
the sick wife?
The man says, if you can give him till Thursday--
Not a minute longer. His time was out yesterday. These improvident
The finical gentleman has been here about the seal that was his
He cannot have it. Truly, our trade would be brought to a fine pass, if
we were bound to humour the fancies of our customers. This man would be
taking a liking to a snuff-box that he had inherited; and that
gentlewoman might conceit a favourite chemise that had descended to her.
The lady in the carriage has been here crying about those jewels. She
says, if you cannot let her have them at the advance she offers, her
husband will come to know that she has pledged them.
I have uses for those jewels. Send Marian to me. (_Exit William_.) I
know no other trade that is expected to depart from its fair advantages
but ours. I do not see the baker, the butcher, the shoemaker, or, to go
higher, the lawyer, the physician, the divine, give up any of their
legitimate gains, even when the pretences of their art had failed; yet
_we_ are to be branded with an odious name, stigmatized, discountenanced
even by the administrators of those laws which acknowledge us; scowled
at by the lower sort of people, whose needs we serve!
Come hither, Marian. Come, kiss your father. The report runs that he is
full of spotted crime. What is your belief, child?
That never good report went with our calling, father. I have heard you
say, the poor look only to the advantages which we derive from them, and
overlook the accommodations which they receive from us. But the poor
_are_ the poor, father, and have little leisure to make distinctions. I
wish we could give up this business.
You have not seen that idle fellow, Davenport?
No, indeed, father, since your injunction.
I take but my lawful profit. The law is not over favourable to us.
Marian is no judge of these things.
They call me oppressive, grinding.--I know not what--
Usurer, extortioner. Am I these things?
You are Marian's kind and careful father. That is enough for a child to
Here, girl, is a little box of jewels, which the necessities of a
foolish woman of quality have transferred into our true and lawful
possession. Go, place them with the trinkets that were your mother's.
They are all yours, Marian, if you do not cross me in your marriage. No
gentry shall match into this house, to flout their wife hereafter with
her parentage. I will hold this business with convulsive grasp to my
dying day. I will plague these _poor_, whom you speak so tenderly of.
You frighten me, father. Do not frighten Marian.
I have heard them say, There goes Flint--Flint, the cruel pawnbroker!
Stay at home with Marian. You shall hear no ugly words to vex you.
You shall ride in a gilded chariot upon the necks of these _poor_,
Marian. Their tears shall drop pearls for my girl. Their sighs shall be
good wind for us. They shall blow good for my girl. Put up the jewels,
Miss, miss, your father has taken his hat, and is slept out, and Mr.
Davenport is on the stairs; and I came to tell you--
Alas! who let him in?
My dearest girl--
My father will kill me, if he finds you have been here!
There is no time for explanations. I have positive information that your
father means, in less than a week, to dispose of you to that ugly
Saunders. The wretch has bragged of it to his acquaintance, and already
calls you _his_.
Your resolution must be summary, as the time which calls for it. Mine or
his you must be, without delay. There is no safety for you under this
Is no father, if he would sacrifice you.
But he is unhappy. Do not speak hard words of my father.
Marian must exert her good sense.
(_As if watching at the window._) O, miss, your father has suddenly
returned. I see him with Mr. Saunders, coming down the street. Mr.
Begone, begone, if you love me, Davenport.
You must go with me then, else here I am fixed.
Aye, miss, you must go, as Mr. Davenport says. Here is your cloak, miss,
and your hat, and your gloves. Your father, ma'am--
O, where, where? Whither do you hurry me, Davenport?
Quickly, quickly, Marian. At the back door.--
[_Exit Marian with Davenport, reluctantly; in her flight still holding
Away--away. What a lucky thought of mine to say her father was coming!
he would never have got her off, else. Lord, Lord, I do love to help
[_Exit, following them._]
SCENE II.--_A Butcher's Shop._
Reach me down that book off the shelf, where the shoulder of veal hangs.
Is this it?
No--this is "Flowers of Sentiment"--the other--aye, this is a good book.
"An Argument against the Use of Animal Food. By J.R." _That_ means
Joseph Ritson. I will open it anywhere, and read just as it happens. One
cannot dip amiss in such books as these. The motto, I see, is from Pope.
I dare say, very much to the purpose. (_Reads_.)
"The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to-day,
Had he thy reason, would he sport and play?
Pleas'd to the last, he crops his flowery food,
And licks the hand"--
Bless us, is that saddle of mutton gone home to Mrs. Simpson's? It
should have gone an hour ago.
I was just going with it.
Well go. Where was I? Oh!
"And licks the hand just raised to shed its blood."
What an affecting picture! (_turns over the leaves, and reads_).
"It is probable that the long lives which are recorded of the people before
the flood, were owing to their being confined to a vegetable diet."
The young gentleman in Pullen's Row, Islington, that has got the
consumption, has sent to know if you can let him have a sweetbread.
Take two,--take all that are in the shop. What a disagreeable
interruption! (_reads again_). "Those fierce and angry passions, which
impel man to wage destructive war with man, may be traced to the ferment
in the blood produced by an animal diet."
The two pound of rump-steaks must go home to Mr. Molyneux's. He is in
training to fight Cribb.
Well, take them; go along, and do not trouble me with your disgusting
(_Throwing down the book._) Why was I bred to this detestable business?
Was it not plain, that this trembling sensibility, which has marked my
character from earliest infancy, must for ever disqualify me for a
profession which--what do ye want? what do ye buy? O, it is only
somebody going past. I thought it had been a customer.--Why was not I
bred a glover, like my cousin Langston? to see him poke his two little
sticks into a delicate pair of real Woodstock--"A very little stretching
ma'am, and they will fit exactly"--Or a haberdasher, like my next-door
neighbour--"not a better bit of lace in all town, my lady--Mrs.
Breakstock took the last of it last Friday, all but this bit, which I
can afford to let your ladyship have a bargain--reach down that drawer
on your left hand, Miss Fisher."
(_Enter in haste, Davenport, Marian, and Lucy._)
This is the house I saw a bill up at, ma'am; and a droll creature the
We have no time for nicety.
What do ye want? what do ye buy? O, it is only you, Mrs. Lucy.
_Lucy whispers Cutlet._
I have a set of apartments at the end of my garden. They are quite
detached from the shop. A single lady at present occupies the ground
Aye, aye, any where.
Pretty lamb,--she seems agitated. _Davenport and Marian go in with
I am mistaken if my young lady does not find an agreeable companion in
these apartments. Almost a namesake. Only the difference of Flyn, and
Flint. I have some errands to do, or I would stop and have some fun with
this droll butcher. _Cutlet returns._
Why, how odd this is! _Your_ young lady knows _my_ young lady. They are
as thick as flies.
You may thank me for your new lodger, Mr. Cutlet.--But bless me, you do
not look well?
To tell you the truth, I am rather heavy about the eyes. Want of sleep,
Late hours, perhaps. Raking last night.
No, that is not it, Mrs. Lucy. My repose was disturbed by a very
different cause from what you may imagine. It proceeded from too much
The deuce it did! and what, if I may be so bold, might be the subject of
your Night Thoughts?
The distresses of my fellow creatures. I never lay my head down on my
pillow, but I fall a thinking, how many at this very instant are
perishing. Some with cold--
What, in the midst of summer?
Aye. Not here, but in countries abroad, where the climate is different
from ours. Our summers are their winters, and _vice versa_, you know.
Some with cold--
What a canting rogue it is! I should like to trump up some fine story to
plague him. [_Aside._]
Others with hunger--some a prey to the rage of wild beasts--
He has got this by rote, out of some book.
Some drowning, crossing crazy bridges in the dark--some by the violence
of the devouring flame--
I have it.--For that matter, you need not send your humanity a
travelling, Mr. Cutlet. For instance, last night--
Some by fevers, some by gun-shot wounds--
Only two streets off--
Some in drunken quarrels--
(_Aloud._) The butcher's shop at the corner.
What were you saying about poor Cleaver?
He has found his ears at last. (_Aside._) That he has had his house
I saw four small children taken in at the green grocer's.
Do you know if he is insured?
Some say he is, but not to the full amount.
Not to the full amount--how shocking! He killed more meat than any of
the trade between here and Carnaby market--and the poor babes--four of
them you say--what a melting sight!--he served some good customers about
Marybone--I always think more of the children in these cases than of the
fathers and mothers--Lady Lovebrown liked his veal better than any man's
in the market--I wonder whether her ladyship is engaged--I must go and
comfort poor Cleaver, however.--[_Exit_.]
Now is this pretender to humanity gone to avail himself of a neighbour's
supposed ruin to inveigle his customers from him. Fine feelings!--pshaw!
What a deceitful young hussey! there is not a word of truth in her.
There has been no fire. How can people play with one's feelings
so!--(_sings_)--"For tenderness formed"--No, I'll try the air I made
upon myself. The words may compose me--(_sings_).
A weeping Londoner I am,
A washer-woman was my dam;
She bred me up in a cock-loft,
And fed my mind with sorrows soft:
For when she wrung with elbows stout
From linen wet the water out,--
The drops so like to tears did drip,
They gave my infant nerves the hyp.
Scarce three clean muckingers a week
Would dry the brine that dew'd my cheek:
So, while I gave my sorrows scope,
I almost ruin'd her in soap.
My parish learning I did win
In ward of Farringdon-Within;
Where, after school, I did pursue
My sports, as little boys will do.
Cockchafers--none like me was found
To set them spinning round and round.
O, how my tender heart would melt,
To think what those poor varmin felt!
I never tied tin-kettle, clog,
Or salt-box to the tail of dog,
Without a pang more keen at heart,
Than he felt at his outward part.
And when the poor thing clattered off,
To all the unfeeling mob a scoff,
Thought I, "What that dumb creature feels,
With half the parish at his heels!"
Arrived, you see, to man's estate,
The butcher's calling is my fate;
Yet still I keep my feeling ways.
And leave the town on slaughtering days.
At Kentish Town, or Highgate Hill,
I sit, retired, beside some rill;
And tears bedew my glistening eye,
To think my playful lambs must die!
But when they're dead I sell their meat,
On shambles kept both clean and neat;
Sweet-breads also I guard full well,
And keep them from the blue-bottle.
Envy, with breath sharp as my steel,
Has ne'er yet blown upon my veal;
And mouths of dames, and daintiest fops,
Do water at my nice lamb-chops.
[_Exit, half laughing, half crying._]
SCENE III.--A Street.
Thus far have I secured my charming prize. I can appretiate, while I
lament, the delicacy which makes her refuse the protection of my
sister's roof. But who comes here?
(_Enter Pendulous, agitated._) It must be he. That fretful animal
motion--that face working up and down with uneasy sensibility, like new
yeast. Jack--Jack Pendulous!
It is your old friend, and very miserable.
Vapours, Jack. I have not known you fifteen years to have to guess at
your complaint. Why, they troubled you at school. Do you remember when
you had to speak the speech of Buckingham, where he is going to
Execution!--he has certainly heard it. (_Aside_.)
What a pucker you were in overnight!
May be so, may be so, Mr. Davenport. That was an imaginary scene. I have
had real troubles since.
Pshaw! so you call every common accident.
Do you call my case so common, then?
You have not heard, then?
Positively not a word.
You must know I have been--(_whispers_)--tried for a felony since then.
No subject for mirth, Mr. Davenport. A confounded short-sighted fellow
swore that I stopt him, and robbed him, on the York race-ground at nine
on a fine moonlight evening, when I was two hundred miles off in
Dorsetshire. These hands have been held up at a common bar.
Ridiculous! it could not have gone so far.
A great deal farther, I assure you, Mr. Davenport. I am ashamed to say
how far it went. You must know, that in the first shock and surprise of
the accusation, shame--you know I was always susceptible--shame put me
upon disguising my _name_, that, at all events, it might bring no
disgrace upon my family. I called myself _James Thomson_.
For heaven's sake, compose yourself.
I will. An old family ours, Mr. Davenport--never had a blot upon it till
now--a family famous for the jealousy of its honour for many
generations--think of that, Mr. Davenport--that felt a stain like a
Be calm, my dear friend.
This served the purpose of a temporary concealment well enough; but when
it came to the--_alibi_--I think they call it--excuse these technical
terms, they are hardly fit for the mouth of a gentleman, the
_witnesses_--that is another term--that I had sent for up from Melcombe
Regis, and relied upon for clearing up my character, by disclosing my
real name, _John Pendulous_--so discredited the cause which they came to
serve, that it had quite a contrary effect to what was intended. In
short, the usual forms passed, and you behold me here the miserablest of
(_Aside_). He must be light-headed.
Not at all, Mr. Davenport. I hear what you say, though you speak it all
on one side, as they do at the playhouse.
The sentence could never have been carried into--pshaw!--you are
joking--the truth must have come out at last.
So it did, Mr. Davenport--just two minutes and a second too late by the
Sheriff's stop-watch. Time enough to save my life--my wretched life--but
an age too late for my honour. Pray, change the subject--the detail must
be as offensive to you.
With all my heart, to a more pleasing theme. The lovely Maria Flyn--are
you friends in that quarter, still? Have the old folks relented?
They are dead, and have left her mistress of her inclinations. But it
requires great strength of mind to--
To stand up against the sneers of the world. It is not every young lady
that feels herself confident against the shafts of ridicule, though
aimed by the hand of prejudice. Not but in her heart, I believe, she
prefers me to all mankind. But think what the world would say, if, in
defiance of the opinions of mankind, she should take to her arms
Whims! You might turn the laugh of the world upon itself in a fortnight.
These things are but nine days' wonders.
Do you think so, Mr. Davenport?
Where does she live?
She has lodgings in the next street, in a sort of garden-house, that
belongs to one Cutlet. I have not seen her since the affair. I was going
there at her request.
Ha, ha, ha!
Why do you laugh?
The oddest fellow! I will tell you--But here he comes.
(_To Davenport._) Sir, the young lady at my house is desirous you should
return immediately. She has heard something from home.
What do I hear?
'Tis her fears, I daresay. My dear Pendulous, you will excuse me?--I
must not tell him our situation at present, though it cost him a fit of
jealousy. We shall have fifty opportunities for explanation. [_Exit._]
Does that gentleman visit the lady at your lodgings?
He is quite familiar there, I assure you. He is all in all with her, as
It is but too plain. Fool that I have been, not to suspect that, while
she pretended scruples, some rival was at the root of her infidelity!
You seem distressed, Sir. Bless me!
I am, friend, above the reach of comfort.
Consolation, then, can be to no purpose?
I am so happy to have met with him!
Wretch, wretch, wretch!
There he goes! How he walks about biting his nails! I would not exchange
this luxury of unavailing pity for worlds.
Stigmatized by the world--
My case exactly. Let us compare notes.
For an accident which--
For a profession which--
In the eye of reason has nothing in it--
Absolutely nothing in it--
Brought up at a public bar--
Brought up to an odious trade--
With nerves like mine--
With nerves like mine--
By a foolish world--
By a judge and jury--
By an invidious exclusion disqualified for sitting upon a jury at all--
Tried, cast, and--
HANGED, Sir, HANGED by the neck, till I was--
Why should not I publish it to the whole world, since she, whose
prejudice alone I wished to overcome, deserts me?
Lord have mercy upon us! not so bad as that comes to, I hope?
When she joins in the judgment of an illiberal world against me--
You said HANGED, Sir--that is, I mean, perhaps I mistook you. How
ghastly he looks!
Fear me not, my friend. I am no ghost--though I heartily wish I were
Why, then, ten to one you were--
_Cut down._ The odious word shall out, though it choak me.
Your case must have some things in it very curious. I daresay you kept a
journal of your sensations.
Aye, while you were being--you know what I mean. They say persons in
your situation have lights dancing before their eyes--blueish. But then
the worst of all is coming to one's self again.
Back to Full Books