ePub 版

making money, when you know that the mining operations are going on, and that thousands must be on their way to us! I am astonished at you, Margaret."

He flung out of the room as he spoke, encountering one of the servants outside. "Mr. Little has called, sir," she said. "He is in the dining-room."

"Little! Oh, that's right; the very man I should like to see. So you have returned?" he exclaimed, shaking hands with his guest. "Came up last night."

"And how go on things in Cornwall ?"

"Well-slower than we should like to see them," hesitated Mr. Little. "The fact is, there has been more trouble getting these mines in working order than any of us anticipated. Things looked so promising at first."

"Do you mean to say they don't look promising now?" wrathfully demanded Mr. Grainger.

"They are as promising as ever. But the difficulty is to realise the promises. We are at a standstill for want of money."

"Not a complete standstill ?"

"I am sorry to say we are."

"Childe must advance it."

"Childe won't. I have just been to him, and he flew in a regular passion, says he washes his hands of the lot, and wished the mines had been in a certain hot place before he had ever heard of them. But I caught a whisper, down at Trebeddon, that Childe had been burning his fingers with some other speculation, and had not got the money to advance. I firmly believe it is so."

"Colonel Hartlebury?"

"He is cleaned out. Down to his half-pay." Mr. Grainger sat and drummed on the table. now?" he asked.

"How much is wanted

"About two thousand pounds, we compute


Why it was two thousand pounds three months ago, and you have had double that since!" interrupted Mr. Grainger.

"It was that influx of water that played the deuce with us. But we now believe, and with reason, that two thousand would bring the ore into the market. Of course every step has advanced us nearer to it ?" "What is to be done?"

"If we don get the ore into Gooseberry with us all."

[ocr errors]

"Can't you give us a little more help, Mr. Grainger?"

"You may as well ask this table for help as me. Those bills you got me to sign, and raise money upon, will soon be due, and I don't possess a brass farthing towards meeting them. It is a good thing Mrs. Grainger knows nothing about them; they would worry her mind night and day."

"We are all in the same predicament," cried Little.


"No you are not," was the quick response of Mr. Grainger. have none of you got bills out."

market speedily, it will play Old

"We must get it in, Little."

"I know we must. But I don't see how it's to be done, unless money

can be found. There's not five hundred pounds among us, for available purposes."

"Have you seen Green?"

"No. I am going to call upon him when I go back to the City. He can do nothing.'

"We must stir heaven and

"I'll go with you," said Mr. Grainger. earth about this. It would be desperation for it to fail now." "And a debtor's gaol and the Bankruptcy Court after it," spluttered Little.

Adam Grainger's face flushed hot, and he passed his handkerchief over it. It grew hotter and hotter.

"Better set on and hang ourselves than stand that," added Little, as they went out.

Does anybody remember two remarkable plates in the book of "Martin Chuzzlewit ?" The wondrous city of Eden as it appeared in print, and the wondrous city of Eden as it proved in reality. Does he remember Martin's rapture, his uplifted hands and eyes when reverently contemplating the public buildings in the picture; his indignation at Mark Tapley's somewhat suspicious remark, "Perhaps they growed spontanous?" Just what that flourishing city of Eden, in print, was to the enraptured mind of Martin Chuzzlewit, had the Great Trebeddon mining scheme been to Adam Grainger; and just what the city proved to be when the two expectant travellers reached it-a feverish swamp, a wild ruin-had the Great Trebeddon Mines faded to now.

But did even this effect the cure, and serve to open the eyes of Mr. Grainger? Not it. Not yet. If he had had ten thousand pounds at his command, he would still have thrown it into the yawning gulf. But he had not the ten thousand; no, nor ten pounds.

Need the reader be told the sequel? The Great Trebeddon Mines proved a failure. Whether from want of copper and tin, or from want of capital to disembowel them, is of no consequence here; they failed, and ruin overtook many who had connected themselves with them. The most perfect ruin fell upon Adam Grainger. Christmas was allowed to pass, and then all the ill came rushing on at once. The bills he had accepted became due, and he was sued upon them; the report of the failure of the mines flew about far and wide; the landlord paid him a visit in the peculiar fashion loved by landlords, and all the tradespeople came down upon him together. And soon, worse than all, Mrs. Grainger had to battle out her trials alone, as she best could, for her husband was taken to cool his ardour inside the walls of the Queen's Bench prison. He had better have kept to his twelve hundred a year!

And so that was the ending of the Great Trebeddon Mines, and of the happiness and prosperity of Adam Grainger and his home. If some who read this would but take warning for themselves! There are a few such schemes agate now.


SITTING, one evening, after a sultry day's ride, in a garden at Kauzerun, between Bushire and Shiraz, an elderly-looking native introduced himself to us by uttering a few broken sentences in English with that peculiar guttural twang which is better known than easily described, and which is sometimes assumed by those who unite moral to physical intrepidity, a warm heart in a rough husk―mens sana in corpore sano.

Such was Sir John Malcolm, to be able to mimic whom our Persian friend thought to be quite sufficient to warrant his introducing himself to any Englishman. His was just the character to be admired by the timid, wily, obsequious Persian. Sir R. K. Porter says of him, in his "Travels:" "It was delightful to me to begin a journey so tracked; for everywhere that I went in the empire where his mission had led him, still I found his remembrance in the hearts of the inhabitants. In many of the villages the people date their marriages or the births of their children from the epoch of his visit amongst them; for wherever he appeared his goodness left some trace of himself, and the peasants often said to me, that if the rocks and trees had suddenly the power of speech, their first word would be 'Malcolm.'"


Malcolm was characterised by fearlessness of heart and activity of body as a boy. The Westerkirk schoolmaster used to declare, whatever wild pranks were committed, that "Jock was at the bottom of them." When about to take his departure, as the old nurse was combing his hair, she said to him, "Now, Jock, my mon, be sure when you're awa' ye kaim your head and keep your face clean; if ye dinna, ye'll just be sent hame agen." Tut, woman," was the answer, "ye're aye se feard; ye'll see if I were awa' amang strangers, I'll just do weel aneugh." Again, when introduced to the board of directors at the India House, to receive his commission, at that time a little fellow only twelve years old, one of the board said to him, tauntingly, "Why, my little man, what would you do if you were to meet Hyder Ali?" "Do, sir," said the young aspirant, in prompt reply, "I would out with my sword and cut off his head." "You will do," was the rejoinder; "let him pass."

Once launched in the service, young Malcolm made friends of all who came in contact with him by his frank, open manners, his sunny temper, and his genial, playful spirit. His first service was to receive Hyder Ali's prisoners under Sir Thomas (then Major) Dallas's escort, with two companies of Sepoys. "When the detachment met the prisoner's escort, a bright-faced, healthy English boy was seen by the latter riding up to them on a rough pony. Dallas asked him after his commanding officer. I am the commanding officer,' said young Malcolm. Amid something of pride on one side and amusement on the other, a friendship was formed

*The Life and Correspondence of Major-General Sir John Malcolm, G.C.B., late Envoy to Persia and Governor of Bombay. By John William Kaye. Two Vols. London: Smith, Elder, and Co.

between the two which nothing but death terminated. Dallas, who lived to a green old age, survived to see the bright-faced English boy grow into one of the most distinguished officers of his day."

In his regiment he went by the name of "Boy Malcolm,” and his own master before he was fourteen, it is not surprising that he soon got immersed in debt:

One anecdote relating to this period of his life is extant. Being with his regiment at some out-station, and in very straitened circumstances, paying off his debts, I believe, as best he could, and scorning to borrow from his comrades, he was often sore beset for a meal. One day the colonel of his regiment sent for him, and said, "I don't see any smoke come out of the chimney of your cook-room, Malcolm-come and breakfast with me." The young soldier fired up at this indelicate invitation-an unwarrantable interference, as he thought, in his private affairs; and he either actually called out the colonel, or was with difficulty restrained from sending the challenge. I have heard, too, that at one time, in the course of these years of early struggle-probably at the identical period to which the above anecdote refers-an old native woman in the bazaar voluntarily supplied him with provisions, for the payment of which, she declared, she was content to wait his own time and convenience. For the good feeling thus displayed, Malcolm was ever grateful; and his gratitude took a practical shape, for he pensioned the good woman to the end of her days.

Young Malcolm, however, soon began to see the folly of his ways, and the work of reform was so rapid, that before he was nineteen he was appointed to act as adjutant of his detachment. It was soon after this that the war with Tippoo Sultan brought with it all the hardships and perils of active service. This first campaign was the turning-point in Malcolm's career. After co-operating a short time with the Nizam's troops, he became acquainted with Sir John Kennaway, Mr. Graeme Mercer, and others of the diplomatic corps then representing British interests at the court of Hyderabad. "The high position which they occupied; the important duties entrusted to them; the stirring life which they led, fired his young ambition. He began to ask himself whether he might not do likewise. A new world opened out before him. He burned to be a diplomatist."

But he soon found that success in such a career was not to be attained without labour. He must be acquainted with the language of the native courts. But that which has repelled many at the very onset was only a stimulus to young Malcolm. He laid aside his gun, and "manfully" declared that he would not fire another shot, or mount his horse again, until he had made some progress in his studies, and it was in vain that his younger companions laughed at him, and endeavoured to lure him back to his old pursuits. He began also at the same time not only to reflect, but to record his reflections upon the interesting events that were passing before him; upon the character of the people by whom he was surrounded; the nature of the connexion existing between the British power and the native states, and the conduct to be observed by the former. He was, in a word, as his biographer remarks, prepari himself to graduate in the school of diplomacy, eager for an opening whereby he might obtain admission even to the lowest class.

His advance was impeded for a moment by sickness, but it was only for a brief time, and on joining Lord Cornwallis's camp before Seringa

patam, his merits were recognised and rewarded by an appointment as Persian interpreter to the detachment serving under the Nizam. From that time to the close of his career he was uninterruptedly employed on the staff. The climate of the country had, however, for some time been doing its sure work upon Malcolm's constitution. He had been much exposed to the sun during the worst season of the year, and his health had suffered to such an extent that he was obliged to seek the sea-side, and ultimately, in February, 1794, after some twelve years' service, to embark for England.

Malcolm was not idle during his short stay in England. He took a part in the controversy then going on respecting the comparative position of the company's army and the royal service, and prosecuted his studies in Edinburgh. The ensuing spring he again left the country, his health restored and his mind invigorated, as secretary to General Clarke, on a secret expedition. This was no less than the transfer of the Cape colony from the Dutch burghers into the hands by which it has ever since been retained,―an event of which Malcolm has left us what his biographer justly terms one of the clearest narratives extant.

On his return to India in the cold season of 1795-96, Malcolm found himself still a lieutenant. But as General Harris, on assuming the duties of commander-in-chief in Bengal, appointed him on his staff, he was in a better position than many a much older officer. For a short time he held the position of town-major of Fort St. George. On the arrival of Lord Wellesley, in 1798, Malcolm, now a captain, forwarded some of the papers which he had drawn up on the native states of India, and was gratified in return by an appointment as assistant resident at the court of Hyderabad. "John Malcolm's foot," says his biographer, "was now fairly in the stirrup, and he felt that, God willing, there was nothing to keep him from riding straight to the top of the hill.”

Lord Wellesley was bracing himself up for the coming contest with the Sultan of Mysore. The first great point, and one which Malcolm had always advocated, was the overthrow of the French power at Hyderabad. By the combined energy and decision of Kirkpatrick and of himself, this was effected without a drop of blood being shed. Eleven or twelve thousand men were dispersed in a few hours; and the whole cantonment, with all their storehouses, arsenals, gun-foundries, and powder-mills were completely in our possession. "The celebrated French corps of Hyderabad had passed into a tradition."

This accomplished, Malcolm, in obedience to a summons he had received from the governor-general, hastened to Bengal, and was soon admitted into the councils of Government House:

He carried with him the colours of the annihilated French corps. He had much to tell of what he had seen within the last few memorable weeks. His local knowledge and experience were serviceable to the State. His cheerfulness seemed to exhilarate, and his energy to invigorate, all with whom he came in contact. In the full flush of early manhood, with a noble presence and a fine open countenance, full of animation and intelligence; quick in his movements, vivacious in discourse, glowing with the fire of enterprise, eager for action, he was just the man to encourage the faint, to stimulate the apathetic, to breathe confidence into all. He was just the man, too, whom Lord Wellesley wanted. Their principles were identical; their views accorded wonderfully; they had abundant faith in each other. It was not that Malcolm modulated his opinions

« 上一頁繼續 »