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about half-past twelve a person called upon Stanley, and requested to see him in private. The servant who took up this message delivered it with an air of deep mystery, for he did not exactly understand it.
“Oh! if you please, sir,” said he, “there's a person below that wants to speak to you privately. He wouldn't send up his name, because he said you wouldn't know it."
“What kind of person? What is he like? ” inquired Stanley. “ He is a policeman,” replied the servant.
“ A policeman!" echoed Stanley, and the blood rushed to his cheeks, for he thought of the Quadrant. “ A policeman! What can he want? However, say I'll be with him directly."
“ Dear Stanley!” cried Amelia as the servant left the room : “what on earth can it be?”.
“Before I can tell you, my love, I must ascertain myself,” replied Stanley, who went down at once, expecting, of course, that his connection with the Quadrant affair had been traced.
“Step this way, will you,” said he, addressing the policeman, as he went into the parlour, that the thing might be private. “Now, what is it?"
"I've come," said the policeman, “from Mr. John Jones, a young gentleman that's now in the station. He wants you to bail him.”
“Jones !” cried Stanley, who felt much relieved. “I don't know any person of that name.”
“ Between you and me," said the policeman, confidentially, “it strikes me it isn't his right name, but that's the name he gives."
“What sort of fellow is he?”
“No; he has been up to that rum dodge of wrenching off knockers. There was no less than eleven of 'em found upon his person, besides a whole mob of bell-pulls, and several scrapers."
“ The young dog!” exclaimed Stanley. “ Have a glass of wine; I'll go with you."
The wine was rung for; and while the policeman was helping himself, Stanley returned to Amelia.
“It is nothing of importance,” said he, on entering the room. “I shall be back in ten minutes.”
“ But tell me what it is, pray, do,” said Amelia, “ and then my mind will be at ease. I shall conceive a thousand fears if you do not.”
“Well, well ; Albert, it seems, has got into some scrape, and has sent for me in order to get out of it.”
“Nothing, I hope, serious ? "
“ Oh, no; nothing. I have but to go for him, and there will be an end of the matter. It's a ridiculous affair altogether.”
“Well, return to me as soon as possible—there's a dear!”
Stanley promised to do so, and, having sent for a cab, he and the policeman proceeded to the station.
On entering the place, the first person whom he saw was the delinquent, who had, as a special favour, been allowed to remain there until his messenger returned ; and while Stanley was speaking to him on the subject privately, the policeman whom he had accompanied was transacting some cabalistic business with the inspector, which had evidently reference to the matter in hand.
“ You wish to become bail for this person ? ” said the inspector, at length.
“I do,” replied Stanley.
“Well, then, as I am not known, it will be better, perhaps, for me to deposit that amount."
“I am satisfied; but you can do so if you please," said the inspector, and Stanley at once produced the five pounds; and when a document, which touched distinctly upon the production of John Jones's body in the morning, had been read to him with appropriate solemnity, he slipped a half sovereign into the hand of the policeman, and retired with the said John Jones on his arm.
“What could have induced you,” said Stanley, on leaving the station, “ to commit so monstrous an act of folly ? ""
“Folly !” exclaimed Albert. “It's glorious! All our fellows pride themselves upon it. All do it who have a particle of pluck!”
“I have heard of its being done, certainly, by men who have been drunk; but you are perfectly sober."
“ So much the more glorious! That's the beauty of it! Any fellow can do it when he has been drinking; when sober, very few have the courage. It is then, and then only, that the pluck is displayed. But did you see them in the corner? There was half a hundred weight of them at least ! If it hadn't been for that, I should never have been taken. A fellow can't, you know, cut away so well with a weight like that at his tail.”
“Well, but what was your object?—what did you mean to do with them?”
“Do with them !-send them as trophies to head-quarters, through Slasher. You have heard of Harry, of course-Lord Mountjove's son ?”
“I don't remember.”
“Oh, you must have heard of him. I'll introduce you. There's no mistake about him. I know where to find him — he expects me. Come now?"
“No; not to-night. I promised to return immediately." “Oh, how about Amelia? She, of course, knows nothing of this?" “She knows that you have got into some trifling scrape.”
“Well, we'll soon set that square. But I wish you would come. He is waiting for me, I know.”
“ Then he prompted you to this expedition ? "
“Of course,-in order to qualify myself. By the by, they are going to have a glorious meeting to-morrow! You must be there."
“ Well, we shall see.”
“Oh! you must! I'll call upon Harry directly this business is settled.”
“Why, it is settled already. You mustn't appear.”
“Not appear !-ridiculous! Do you imagine that I care what the old fool of a magistrate may say? He'll fine me a couple of pounds, perhaps, or something of that sort. And what if he does treat me to a lecture? It will, at all events, be known how many trophies I
“Nonsense! You must not appear.”
“I would countenance no act of meanness or dishonour; but to expose yourself, under the circumstances, were absurd. Besides, although your name would not appear, the thing might reach the ears of the governor; and I presume you would not much like that?”
“Why, I can't conscientiously say that I should.”
“ Well, let the affair rest as it is. You don't appear. They have got the amount of the bail—that is forfeited of course, and the thing is settled.”
But this was a mode of settlement of which Albert did not at all approve ; for his associates at Cambridge, although he had been there so short a time, had metamorphosed him from a quiet, studious, gentlemanly fellow, into a hair-brained, devil-may-care, reckless young scamp. He did, however, eventually yield to the advice of Stanley, who, could he on all occasions have summoned sufficient firmness to practise the prudence he could preach, would have been far less liable to error than he was.
On reaching home, Albert was severely interrogated, of course, by Amelia ; and while he was making the thing “all right and straight," as he termed it, with her, Stanley was labouring to conceive what description of pleasure that of wrenching off knockers in the abstract could be. He felt that its character was peculiar: that he felt from the first ; but he could not imagine it to be great. As, however, he invariably assumed that a man must have some specific motive to stimulate him to action, he in this particular instance arrived at the conclusion, that although there might be no delight in the achievement per se, the most noble, the most beautiful feelings might be awakened by the applause of those who held that achievement to be glorious.
It was this consideration, and a high one it was, which induced him to consent the next day to accompany Albert in the evening. He was anxious to see what description of creatures they were by whom actions of this peculiar character were applauded ; and hence, immediately after dinner, no official declaration touching the contemptuous nonappearance of Mr. John Jones having arrived, he and Albert repaired to the place appointed.
It was dusk when they reached the rendezvous; but few of the Sons of Glory had arrived. Slasher was there, and some others, who, like him, were great among the small; but none of the regularly recognised great men had made their appearance. Of course, Stanley was immediately presented to Slasher, and Slasher was graciously pleased to declare, that he wished he might die if he didn't rather like him ; which was highly complimentary, and very good of him, considering.
“We shall have some crack fellows here presently, I presume?” observed Stanley
“Out and outers ! ” replied Slasher. “Can't be a second opinion about 'em! - down to every dodge safe as a hammer! - nothing like 'em alive!”
From this Stanley was of course bound to infer that they were very superior fellows indeed, and was about to give expression to his feelings upon the point, when a stunning shout was heard,—a shout which made the air tremble, and threatened to shock the nerves of nature.
“Hark! hark ! ” cried Slasher, with an expression of ecstasy, “ here they are !-here they are! Something new, I'll bet a million! The chief !” he added, on reaching the window. “Let the Earl beat that when he knows how to do it! Hurrah for ould Ireland ! hurrah!”
Stanley was at the window in an instant, and saw a well-dressed powerfully-built fellow, embellished with a coalheaver's cap, and duly mounted upon a broad-backed dray-horse, preceded by a brass band playing with unexampled fury, “ See! the conquering hero comes !” and followed by a travelling carriage, built in the very first style, and drawn by eight decent donkeys, mounted by eight postilions, chosen from the smallest sweeps extant. In the carriage sat six intellectual dustmen, and it was extremely interesting to mark the exalted dignity with which they sat, and the gracious condescension with which they occasionally removed the short pipes from their mouths, and spat upon the multitude by whom they were cheered.
This triumphant procession moved but slowly along; for the donkeys, not having been used to the work, would not be persuaded to stick to the collar, nor could they—albeit the postilions, with consummate tact and judgment, sat as near their tails as possible-be prevailed upon to repudiate the habit they had acquired of kicking over the traces. Their inexorable adherence to this little irregularity caused considerable delay ; but although the hero, scorning to go a-head without his suite, turned and waited on every occasion with the most exemplary patience for the re-adjustment of things, the whole procession did eventually reach its destination, amidst the most deafening shouts. The hero then gracefully dismounted, by virtue of standing upon the broad flat back of his charger, calling for three times three cheers, and then leaping to the ground, and when his friends had alighted from the carriage,—the delicate rose-pink lining of which had, in consequence of the grandeur with which they had reposed, become a shade or two darker in places, — he and they entered the house with due solemnity of step, and soon appeared in the room set apart for their orgies. Here Stanley was in due form presented to the hero, who presented the half dozen dustmen to him, and then summoned three waiters, and having with a carving-knife slashed off the tails of the coat of the first, and given him a five-pound note to purchase a new one; he presented the second with a kick, and sent him down for ten pounds' worth of silver; and desired the third to bring up pots of porter, two at a time, continually, until further orders.
The demand for the silver had been obviously anticipated, for the supply was immediate ; and when the required amount, nominally, had been poured into a hat, the hero appeared at the window, and was again hailed with cheers.
“A scramble! a scramble!” shouted the masses below, who seemed to know that a scramble was intended by instinct ; for they instantly squared their arms, opened their shoulders, and elbowed each other with the most perfect freedom. Some held up their hats ; but that the hero wouldn't have. “Fair play!” he exclaimed, “and no tiles !” And no edict was ever more quickly obeyed.
The scramble then commenced, and the scene which followed was delightful to behold. Prompted by the sweetest and most beautiful feelings of which the human heart is susceptible, the masses dashed after every handful of silver with a zeal which could not in any cause have been surpassed. If we check emulation, we enervate, if indeed we do not absolutely destroy, the comprehensive mind of man; and as in a scramble the spirit of emulation is most powerfully developed, it legitimately follows that, for the benefit of the species, scrambles ought to be upheld. This the hero felt strongly, and being deep in the phi
losophy of scrambling, he on this occasion made his knowledge tell, inasmuch as, instead of strewing his favours right and left, like a man without due discrimination, he directed his attention to one particular point; and the moment he beheld a few happy individuals luxuriantly rolling in the mud, he pelted them with diligence, that the rest might roll over them, and thus impart general joy. This, however, is not to be accomplished by an inexperienced hand; it requires great judgment, and a practically-acquired knowledge of human nature. It is all very easy, when you have to deal with boys. You may get them down, because their minds are not matured; but when you have to manage a mass of full-grown men and women, with all their faculties about them, and your object is to make them form a heap, so that, in order to regain their position as first-class animals in creation, they may wriggle and twist in and out like a corresponding number of live silver eels, it is absolutely essential for you to have obtained a perfectly clear insight into the workings of the human heart.
As in this particular instance the active energies of a mighty mind were devoted exclusively to the achievement of this great desideratum, the result was the most complete success; and no sooner had the laudable efforts of the hero been triumphantly crowned, - no sooner had he brought about so happy a state of things, that a mighty mass of intelligent beings lay entangled, like the Gordia to be found on the banks of the Thamės about low-water mark in the mud,—than a heartstirring, ear-piercing, soul-inspiring shout, announced the near approach of him who stood second in the estimation of the Sons of Glory.
As a matter of fair play, the hero instantly retired, and down came the glorious pageant of his rival. It was headed by a talented company of twelve wooden-legged fiddlers, who had been engaged expressly for this occasion, and who scraped away at the overture to “All round my hat” with surpassing precision and beauty. The presence of mind which these professional individuals displayed was remarkable ; and as, by one of their articles of agreement, each was bound to wear a shirt with the right sleeve duly tucked up to the shoulder, in order to give the wrist and elbow full play, their appearance was not only unique and picturesque, but rather solemn than not, while the expression with which each particular tone was produced was excessively delicate and true. Then followed the second Son of Glory himself, majestically seated in a peculiarly constructed triumphal car, which belonged to a hearthstone and Flanders-brick merchant, and which was drawn by six thorough-bred bull-dogs, appropriately muzzled. * As he passed, he was hailed with the purest delight; and although, in point of physical strength, his rival had the advantage, the strength of his moral influence over the multitude was equal, if not indeed superior, to his. Of this, he appeared to be perfectly conscious; and hence as he rode, strongly supported by a master-sweep at one wheel, and a member of the prize-ring, who was a highly-distinguished pickpocket in his early youth, at the other, his heart throbbed with the proudest feelings a mortal can know. The next point of attraction was his suite, in three mud-carts. This had an imposing effect. It consisted of bricklayers' labourers, with their insignia of office, scavengers, nightmen, costermongers, coach-cads, and sweeps; and if laughter, unrestrained by the
• This was, of course, antecedent to this remarkably aristocratic mode of travelling being prohibited by 2 and 3 Vic. cap. 47, sec, 56.