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younger-Uncle George's playing off a trick upon without the least ornament of fancy. Deprivation mamma, the humour of which I was at that time of necessary milk-diet, neglect, and robbery, are the unable to appreciate. My dear mother was for ever three simple charges which I have to make against vowing-for ever, that is, until within the last two the members of my family and household. Also, months—that I was the most extraordinary infant inhumanity in short-coating me before my time, that had come into the world from the earliest times through which I have suffered severely in my extreunto the present, and that there could never be such mities from the late east winds. Also, and lastly, another in the revolving ages that were to come, and cruelty in not providing me with anything to sit for ever boasting, in particular, of how she should upon, or, more correctly, with any place where I can be able, on account of my distinguished appearance, sit with comfort and satisfaction, now that there is to pick me out from among a hundred others at a no more room for me upon my nurse's knee. That baby-show. Now, this latter assertion Uncle George generation after generation should push us from our denied ;
and in order to prove himself in the right, he stools,' as each grows old, is, as the poet has told us, hit upon this device. Upon my being taken out for an event to be expected; but to be pushed about a constitutional upon a certain morning, he caused from one article of furniture to another, discrowned, me to be equipped in an entirely new suit of raiment, throneless, a very Lear of the nursery, is, I think, secretly procured at his own expense, and then to be rather hard upon a superannuated infant. At present, brought back again to my mother in some quarter of my existence may be said to be, like any approachan hour's time by the nursemaid of Mrs Brown, our | ing marria in high-life, upon the tapis, or Kidderneighbour, who had been herself confined almost minster only, from which nobody, save Uncle George, simultaneously, in the character of her son Undecimus ever takes the trouble to pick me up. In a word, out Brown. Poor dear mamma fell into the snare at once. of revenge, I suppose, for having exceedingly little of She allowed that I was a fine enough child, a more that feature himself to boast of, the other has put my than averagely respectable baby, but still that there nose out of joint. I'm the Old Baby. was a something wanting, she couldn't say what, which her particular offspring possessed in an uncommon
THE CARMELITES OF JESI.* degree. I did not seem, somehow, quite so intelligent, quite so clear complexioned, quite so sweet tempered. A few days after my excursion to Loretto, I had my No, it was not her fancy; there was a marked differ- last glimpse of real Italian scenes and Italian life, in ence: there was a certain flabbiness about my flesh, a visit to Jesi, a small city of great antiquity, about and a lack of that healthy firmness about the calves, twenty miles distant from Ancona. The circumwhich was indeed a peculiar and touching spécialité stances that led us thither hinged upon the acquaintabout her own darling son. When Uncle George ance of my uncle's family with an Irish priest, who burst out a laughing, and disclosed the trick, it was belonged to a convent of Carmelites in that place. Falstaff and Prince Hal in Henry IV. again, and The Father O'Grady was a jovial, burly personage, with a Devil to Pay as well. My mother insisted upon it round bullet-head, an athletic frame, and a stentorian that she had known it all along. What an absurd voice, that always reminded me of the holy clerk of idea that she, a mother, should not know her own Copmanhurst in Ivanhoe. His great delight in his dear darling child ! What a cruel and unnatural occasional visits to Ancona, where he always lodged uncle the man must be who could thus trifle with the in a monastery of the same order, was to be invited tenderest feelings of our nature; and then hysterics to our house to have 'a raal English dhinner,' as he and the governor sent for, and a regular scene. termed it, which he dolorously contrasted with the
My uncle is a bachelor, and did not understand that fare provided by the cook at the Jesi convent. Once, women will bear anything better than a practical joke. too, the provincial of the order, a fine, dignified old I never was deceived, mind. Even at that period, man of seventy-five, with a silvery fringe of hair and when I was of course comparatively without expe- regular impressive features, like one of Perugino's rience, it was not easy to take me in. But what is the saints, came to dine with us, attended by another use of intellect to one in my present state ? It would monk, a certain Padre Fiorenzo, as well as Father be far better for me, indeed, if I had a less keen O'Grady-both of them very much subdued in his preappreciation of the position in which I now crawl. I use sence. Our Hibernian friend, however, always protested that expression advisedly; I cannot stand yet, even himself indemnified for this restraint, by his gratificawhen holding on to the chairs by the tips of my small tion at the approval the entertainment drew from his fingers. This is, however, the accomplishment to superior, who, as the spring advanced, was urgent that attain which I am directing all my infant energies. I we should test the hospitality of Jesi in return. find that crawling brings me into currents of cold air Some English travelling friends, waiting for the from under doors and elsewhere, and that a higher steamer to Trieste, were comprised in this invitation, elevation would partly obviate this ; besides which, I which my uncle, though not without some sighs at the am apt to get trodden upon, and when I utter my long hours of conversazione, and making the amiable indignant protest against such conduct, the iron of with the brotherhood, which lay before him, was coaxed that sarcasm, long since rusted with my tears, is into accepting; and a beautiful morning in the latter driven into my infant spirit by the remark: Oh, part of June saw the two families in motion. never mind; it's only the Old Baby!' It will scarcely After following the high road towards Senigallia be credited, perhaps, that the principal staple of my along the curve of the bay for some miles, the way to present nutriment consists of gravy, saved—that is to Jesi turns inland in a westward direction. Long rows say, left—from the mutton or beef of the family dinner of mulberry-trees, connected by ample festoons of of the preceding day, mingled with crumbs of bread vines; cornfields nearly ripe for the sickle, interswept off on the same occasion from the table-cloth-spersed with plantations of young maize, beans, and leavings, offal, garbage, in fact, that is my daily food! olives, equally indicated the fertility of the country
I have seen with my own eyes the Other going out and its staple productions. Less hilly and romantic for her perambulation in her perambulator (once my than the scenery near Loretto, it still had no lack of property) attired in my private embroidered pelisse, beauty; a background of mountains was never wantand sheltered under my particular umbrella from the ing, and gifted with that marvellous brightness and rays of the sun. My complexion is now of no sort of diversity of colouring peculiar to this clime, the consequence. I may get black and tan-I'd rather be landscape rarely sank into monotony. that than red and yellow as the Other is--for all they care, and be exhibited to the public in a cotton dress * See Journal, No. 222-The Santa Casa of Loretto.
Jesi is an interesting little town, of some 5000 his portly sides with laughter; but Padre Fiorenzo inliabitants, tracing its origin to an indefinite number related with complacency that in fact one night the of centuries before the foundation of Rome, and famed previous Carnival, they and several others of the in the middle ages as the birthplace of Frederick II., brotherhood had been present at a concert given in the great emperor of Germany, whose constant wars that same theatre on behalf of the poor, which the with the Roman pontiffs and encouragement of litera- bishop permitted all the clergy and religiosi to attend; ture, render his memory very popular amongst Italian dwelling with the simplicity of a child upon the great writers. A thriving trade in silk has preserved it enjoyment this had afforded them. from the squalid misery discernible in most of the From these mundane resorts—a messenger having inland towns of the Marche; and it can boast of some come to say all was now in readiness—we adjourned palaces in tolerable preservation, a casino, a very to the church of the Carmelites, where a side-door pretty theatre, and several churches, that of the gave admission to the sacristy, and beyond this to a Carmelites being amongst the principal.
dark, low-ceiled room, lined with massive walnut-wood Father O'Grady, radiant with joy, was awaiting us presses, in which all the vestments and ornaments for in the street, to shew the way to the hotel where we the great religious solemnities were deposited. An were to take up our quarters--for within the cloister iron-barred window looked into the inner quadrangle itself no woman may set her foot-until two rooms of the monastery; and through a half-opened door we adjoining the church and sacristy were prepared for had glinipses of a long table spread for dinner; around the day's festivities. They had been up since day- which several dark-robed figures were hovering, the break, the good man said, but the last touch was silvery head of the provincial himself now and then still wanting.'
discernible as he directed the arrangements. The last touch being a lengthy process, and the inn Father O'Grady being troubled in his mind about a barren of resources, a walk was proposed. We were certain plum-pudding, on the manipulation of which conducted by the father and Padre Fiorenzo, his great the dawn of morning had found him engaged, now friend, through the market, the principal square, and ceded his post as chief spokesman and squire to Padre the main street called the Corso, the worthy pair being Fiorenzo, who, with two other elderly monks, very evidently desirous the citizens of Jesi should all parti- gladly engaged to do the honours. cipate in the novelty of the presence of strangers, for The next half-hour saw the good father revolving the town, lying out of the general route of travellers, perpetually between us and the kitchen, now disputis very rarely visited. After this promenade, some- ing with the cook, an octogenarian artist, who had what fatiguing under a noonday's sun, we went over no sympathy for such outlandish compounds, now the casino. The billiard, conversazione, and ball restraining the merriment of some of the younger rooms, all well arranged, and in good taste, incom- visitors, for whom the idea of transgressing convent parably superior to any corresponding establishment etiquette was irresistibly attractive. A door from the in towns of far higher pretensions in England; but sacristy temptingly stood open, leading down by two then, as Lucy was at hand patriotically to remark, had or three steps into the court, of which the church and we not mechanics’ libraries, and schools, and charitable the rooms we occupied formed the southern extremity institutions, to atone for this deficiency ? Admitting and barrier. Under pain of the severest excommuniall this to its fullest extent, I cannot see why casinos, cation, the monks repeatedly assured us, females were on the same simple footing as those so common in interdicted from proceeding further; the threshold Southern Italy, should not be advantageously grafted on which we crowded on hearing these particulars, on English county society. In towns too small to being the utmost boundary. The two blooming, joyous have a casino de' nobili to themselves, the higher and sisters, just out of the school-room, who had accommiddle classes are content to waive questions of panied us from Ancona, with a mother too indulgent caste, and meet, as at Ancona, or Macerata, or Jesi, on to act as any check on their spirits, and an elder this neutral territory. Once a week, during Lent or brother, a barrister, almost as full of sport as themAdvent, when there is no opera to serve as a rallying- selves, proved amusingly refractory on this occasion. point, reunions for music and cards draw together the Whenever the provincial- who had come in once or subscribers, without any extravagance in dress on the twice to pay his compliments—was out of the way, or part of the wealthier ladies, provoking the less affluent my uncle's attention was engaged, they made a feint of to foolish emulation. Two or three times in the course dancing down the steps and rushing into the forbidden of the year, balls are given, where a greater display is ground; just for the amusement of being chased back permitted, yet still without the inequalities of fortune again by the terrified Padre Fiorenzo, and rebuked by thus rendered more apparent leading to any offensive Father O'Grady, who evidently enjoyed the joke, airs of superiority. No refreshments are supplied on though he tried to look serious upon it, with: “Chilthese occasions, the low amount the subscription, 'dhren dhear, why can't ye remain quiet ? Shure, now, twelve dollars a year for each member-inclusive of it's excommunicated ye'll be! Ah! more's the pity his family, however numerous—not furnishing funds that ye don't care for that! Now jist be asy, and don't beyond those necessary for attendance, lights, and turn the house out of windows.' But as the childhren' music, and keeping up the establishment for the old would not be asy,' after one or two more escapades, the bachelors and heads of houses, who frequent it regularly door was locked; and they were fain to resort to some every day and every evening the whole twelvemonth new device to beguile the time. Visible from the ironround.
barred window were some of the younger brethren We concluded our peregrinations by the inspection walking up and down the prohibited quadrangle, of the theatre, Padre Fiorenzo having an acquaintance trying to get a glimpse of the English heretics, whose with one of the employés, through whom access to it visit had thrown the whole community into such pleawas obtained. Even with the disadvantages of being surable excitement. With black silk scarfs and white seen by daylight, it might be pronounced a very handkerchiefs, the delighted mad-caps extemporised elegant little structure; the columns and ceiling some nuns costumes, in which they took their stations ornamented in white and gold, and the three tiers at the window, and confronted Father O'Grady as he of private boxes draperied with blue silk. Father was crossing the enclosure on his return from one of O'Grady trod the stage with a mock-heroic air, and his expeditions to the kitchen. favoured us with two or three roulades of so much The admiration of Mother Hubbard, in that reeffect, that we protested he must often be hear- nowned epic of our infancy, on finding her faithful ing operas, and hinted he perhaps occasionally ven- canine attendant travestied in a court-suit, has its tured there in disguise. At this insinuation, he shook | parallel in the father's astonishment and laughter at this apparition, in which he was chorused by Padre eyes and ruddy complexion, which led to the concluFiorenzo and the others; until hearing the provincial sion that his alleged occasional shortcomings in his approaching, they wiped their eyes, and entreated art were more the result of inattention than incapacity. them to remove their impromptu attire ; while to keep On rising from table, the provincial offered to fare them out of further mischief, and provide some due passi, a great distinction, which was of course employment for the more sober members of the party, accepted. Again the whole party sallied forth, he and they asked the superior's permission to shew us the my uncle-who won golden opinions, though suffering church vestments. This was graciously accorded ; and martyrdom throughout the day-leading the van. We one after another the presses were opened by the went to see two or three churches, and then, at Father monks; and rich brocades, tissues of gold and silver, O'Grady’s suggestion, were taken to a nunnery, which silks embroidered in various colours, were successively he knew would be a treat for us. All the sisters drawn forth, the provincial himself deigning to explain crowded to the parlatorio to see the strangers. It was for what they were designed.
not a grating, as in the stricter orders, but simply a The welcome announcement of dinner still found us large aperture like a wide unglazed window, at which thus engaged. We were ushered with great glee-for I they clustered, talking eagerly to the monks, asking cannot repeat too often that, with the exception of the questions about the little world of Jesi, and gazing provincial, they all seemed as easily set laughing as a with unrestrained and delighted curiosity upon us. parcel of school-boys-into the next room, where our Amongst fifteen or sixteen thus assembled, little venerable host and the fathers who had previously beauty, less mind, was discernible. I saw but one been making conversazione, took their seats with us at interesting face-a face that had, or might have had, the table. We were waited upon by two lay-brothers, a history written on it. Indeed, several of these nuns whose broad smiles and occasional remarks, shewed were positively ill favoured, evidently devoted to the they participated in the general hilarity ; the provin- cloister because their parents had found it impraccial himself playing the courteous attentive host to ticable to get them otherwise disposed of. Some told perfection, seeming to sanction and approve it. To us they had never left the convent since their first say the repast was seasoned with Attic salt would be a entrance as educande, seven or eight years of age; they flower of speech; neither was there anything peculiarly grew attached to the nuns and their companions, and droll in the sallies with which Padre Alberto, the bel as the time for returning home drew nigh, estranged esprit of the convent, sustained, or, in Father O'Grady's by many years' separation from their families, besought opinion, enhanced his reputation ; but there was some- that they might not be removed, and passed through thing so pleasant in the intense childlike happiness their novitiate, and took the veil, without ever going of these good Carmelites, that it would have been beyond the walls. They all talked as fast as possible, as invidious to scan their intellectual attainments at if to make the most of the opportunity; interspersing such a moment. Dr Primrose's oft-quoted words were whatever they said, or commenting on whatever they exactly applicable to that party : 'I can't say whether heard, with invocations to the Madonna and saints, we had more wit among us than usual, but certainly and ejaculations of simple wonder. I was amused, we had more laughing.'
though, at noticing how well informed they were of all Of the dinner itself, I shall say but little; the readers that was passing in Jesi society; their information of these sketches must be by this time familiar with being derived, the monks told us with an air of pitying Italian bills of fare. The soup of clear broth, wherein superiority, through whatever they could glean from floated little squares of a compound resembling hard occasional visitors; but especially from the gossip custard; the unfailing lesso; a frittura of brains and collected at market by the woman charged every bread-crumbs, sprinkled with powdered sugar; larded morning to purchase their supplies, and who, in concapons; a dish of fennel-root, dressed with butter signing the provisions at the convent-wicket, comand cheese; roast kid ; a pie, of which cookscombs were municates any novelties she has picked up. A single the principal ingredients, with a sweet crust; a zuppa observation denoting deep thought or enthusiasm, I Inglese, cake steeped in rum and covered with custard; sought in vain to hear; indeed, as I reflected at the
on purpose,' the provincial said, 'for the English time, it would be difficult to convey any notion of their ladies, accustomed from childhood to mix spirits with limited capacity. Not tending the sick, not instructtheir food ;' and, lastly, Father O'Grady's plum- ing the poor; with only four or five educande to bring pudding, but, alas ! served in a soup-tureen, for the up till the age of sixteen or seventeen, exactly as they four had been forgotten in its composition, and no themselves have been educated-embroidery and the amount of boiling had availed to give it the desired making of confectionary filling up all the leisure left consistency. Still the innumerable jokes this fur- after the performance of their stated religious exercises, nished, amply compensated for its partial failure; the which call them for several hours daily to the choir, young barrister told them it was exactly like the plum- what a dreary unsatisfactory life, according to our broth served out at Christmas at St Cross's Hospital, notions of existence and its duties, stretches itself one of the most famous institutions in England, he before these women. But they said they were happy; asserted, for good cheer, and incited every one by and, looking at the bevy of English girls before them, example as well as precept to do justice to Father lifted up their eyes and hands in sadness to think O'Grady's culinary achievements. Though he had their hearts were not disposed to follow their example. already shewn himself emulous of a boa constrictor's It was pleasant to know what delight our visit had capacity, he now sent his plate for a second supply, afforded them, and to note the earnestness with which compelling Padre Fiorenzo, as a tribute to friendship, they begged us to return to Jesi and come to see to do the same.
them; to have the conviction that we had furnished At the conclusion of the banquet, Fra Carmelo, the the whole sisterhood with materials for at least a fortold cook of whom we had heard so much, and who was night's conversation, and several years' reminiscences. declared to have acquitted himself right manfully, The good Carmelites, too, if our self-pride did not was summoned to receive the thanks of the company greatly mislead us, marked this day with a white The messenger found him playing the guitar, with stone; and long after the pursuits and interests of a which he was wont daily to solace himself at the com- busier life have dimmed its recollections with the pletion of his duties in the kitchen, and triumphantly majority of their guests, will continue to treasure led him forward. In his brown Carmelite dress, he every incident of their visit. certainly looked a most interesting cook. Though My leave-taking of the good monks of Jesi was soon past eighty, his tall spare figure was only slightly followed by a long farewell to Ancona and its kindly bowed; and there was a vivacity in his light-blue people. In bringing these sketches to a conclusion, I feel as if the pain of parting were renewed, while many cocked my Paris beaver on one side, and strutted unrecorded traits of courtesy, sympathy, and friend the streets with a tasselled amber-headed cane. ship crowd upon me. If such omissions have arisen, Faugh! I almost deserved what I met with. it has been from no spirit of depreciation. In reminis- Well, I did enjoy myself, notwithstanding. Everycences like the foregoing, the peculiarities a stranger thing was a pleasure to me in those days--and then, cannot but fail to remark must be prominently as to Vauxhall
, the theatres, the dancing-rooms, the brought forward : those good qualities no impartial free-and-easies, the shades- I thought them Paradise observer can deny to the national character being often itself. I made friends with some young fellows as left in the background, simply because offering less silly as myself, and together we flattered ourselves scope for comment or description.
we did the thing'-and many a preposterous and The sole merit of what I have written is its truth. senseless thing we certainly did. Not an anecdote, not an incident, is here given but One day, having made an appointment to dine with what is scrupulously authentic. With a little exaggera- one of these chance acquaintances, I was proceeding tion, I might have been much more amusing, but I | in full costume along Holborn towards the place of preferred delineating these things as they really are- assignation, when a mop-headed, ragged urchin ran in their light and darkness, in their fairness and against me, and nearly tripped me up; and the next deformity-in what our pride might stoop to imitate, moment, I discovered that I had lost my handkerchief or our gratitude make us thankful that we differ. from my pocket. I was too green to suspect the
little vagabond of having taken it—besides, he had
disappeared. The loss was nothing; it was only the A REMINISCENCE OF FIELD LANE.
trouble of purchasing another. I proceeded onwards FIELD Lane is now a thing of the past. That odd-on the look-out for a shop, when I came suddenly looking bower of dangling silk-banners, beneath upon the entrance to Field Lane, which disclosed to which a colony of filthy Jew-fences with villainous my view thousands of handkerchiefs dangling from faces, and fat Jewesses stinted in skirt and bare of walls, and lines, and open windows: and up I walked elbow, burrowed and sweltered in darkness and foul tickled my fancy, and amused me much-the chaffer,
to make my selection. The queer aspect of the place vapours, has at length vanished. London has losting, squabbling, and bawling—the coarse jokes I something by the loss of Field Lane. It has not a heard, the odd faces that peeped out on all sides, the single slum left to compare with the commercial myriads of silken spoils that fluttered around and resorts of Constantinople or Grand Cairo, as Field aloft-all struck me with an agreeable sense of Lane did, rivalling them in its mingled aspect of bril novelty, and, being in no hurry, and thinking I liancy and squalor, its shady sunlessness, even in the might as well see the whole of it, I wandered from dog-days, and its odours so genuinely Asiatic. But end to end of the lane before troubling myself about nobody need regret that that delectable Goshen has the business in hand. The sirens of the place, plump disappeared from the map of London, unless it be and unctuous, paid me marked attention, and would the pickpockets, whose bazaar and sanctuary it fain have entrapped me into a bargain, but I was was, and who made it so picturesque a garner of callous to their compliments, and held on my way, their spolia opima as to compensate in some degree Having at length satisfied my curiosity, I retraced to the public eye for the solace of which they my steps, and entering a shop at hazard, demanded deprived the public nose. A hundred thousand to be shewn some of the best of the wares. The shop handkerchiefs per annum, it is said, were bought was a sort of shed-looking chamber, which was almost and sold in Field Lane—all extracted from the empty; the whole of the merchandise having been pockets of the public by rule of thumb, and all transferred to the lines and poles without, where, as it hung up as trophies in that sinuous gallery of ban hung thick as leaves on a tree, it completely obscured ners for the said public to admire, and purchase if the view of what was passing in the lane. The man they chose. And the public did admire, in their who rose up from behind the counter in answer to way; that is, they laughed at the impudence of the my challenge, seemed to my first view all nose and thing-made of the thief's market a standing joke - scrubby hair; but a pair of dark-black eyes twinkled in some sense, took a sort of pride in it, and com- beneath one broad bush of brow that covered them mended it to strangers and country-cousins as a lion both, and his bristly jaw contorted with a grin as he of a peculiar species: not the real British animal, of asked: 'Didg' yer vant de verra pest, ma tear?' course, but yet a smart, plucky beast that scorned to Of course I wanted the best, and was not particular carry his tail between his legs.
as to price. I confess, for my part, I never relished the jokes The fellow eyed me leisurely all over as I gave him of which this den of rascality was the standing to understand that much, and no doubt he took my occasion. I had a reason for it. For more than measure to a hair. Den vill de shentleman shtep five-and-twenty years I never came within sight of | into de vareus, an' look at some vot is fust-rate?' it without a shudder; and never passed, in all that He opened a whitewashed door at the end of the time, its Holborn outlet without involuntarily quick- shop, and beckoned me to follow. I obeyed ; and ening my pace until it was at least fifty yards in the threading a dark narrow passage some few paces in
I am glad at last to see it razed to the ground. length, was shewn into à chamber not more than You will hardly wonder at that if you read what I ten feet square, lighted by a small window in am now going to set down.
the roof, and totally empty, with the exception of In the summer of 1832 I was a young blockhead what seemed a huge seaman's chest, a short bench, just turned twenty-one: to be sure, what an ass land some tools and billets of wood lying about, was, half fop and all fool! I had served my time together with a dozen or so of big square pavingdown in Suffolk (I shan't say where), and had learned stones, which seemed to have been brought in from my trade as a hair-dresser, by dint of seven years' Holborn, which was then undergoing repair. practice, tolerably well. At the expiration of my The Jew produced a bunch of keys from his pocket, apprenticeship, I came up to town with all my and ejaculating: "Ha, ha, ma tear! I shall shew yer fortune-above a hundred pounds—in my pocket, de pootiful gootsh!' began fumbling at the lock of intending to see the world and enjoy myself before the chest, to open it. But somehow it would not I settled down to business. I bought a fashionable open, and defied all his efforts, till the fellow began to suit, sported cream-coloured gloves, hung a gold curse the lock, and work himself into a passion with guard-chain that cost me ten guineas round my neck, lit. He stamped and bawled, and anathematised some
absent old woman, who, he swore bitterly, had been in the vile liquid, the effluvia of which threatened to meddling, and had hampered the lock.
poison me with every breath I drew. Happily, I had At first, the fellow's antics amused me: but all at suffered no serious bodily injury by my fall, the force once it struck me that the passion was unnatural and of which had been neutralised by the water. I looked feigned; and now the queer reports I had heard of up just as the trap-door through which I had descended London traps and villainies rushed to my recollection: was in the act of closing-saw it raised to its level, and I began immediately to suspect that all was not and heard the villains slipping the bolt that secured as it should be. I turned towards the door, intending it. What was to be done? I gave myself up for lost. to regain the shop, when it suddenly flew open, and If I cried out, none were likely to hear me save the a figure in the guise of an old woman, supporting fiends who had compassed my destruction, which any herself on a crutch, barred the way.
alarm on my part would only goad them to comI say, in the guise of an old woman; for if that plete. I had not relinquished the iron bar, but still apparition was of the female sex, then I am the man clutched it mechanically, and I now began groping in the moon. I had mown too many masculine beards with it in the dense darkness, to ascertain, if possible, during the last seven years to be mistaken on that in what direction to proceed, to escape, if it might be, point: the seeming old woman was a sturdy ruffian from the ruffians' power. I found that I stood in the of forty, not two hours shaved-I saw it at a glance; centre of the channel, in which a slow current ran in and the sight sent all the blood in my veins bounding one direction, as I judged towards the river. The back to its source.
water shallowed towards the sides. I crept involunThe Jew launched a torrent of abuse at his con- tarily to the side furthest from the trap above my federate, and demanded the key of the chest. I was head, where the flood scarcely reached to my knees. too much prepossessed to note his acts or to hear A deadly shiver came over me, and I felt about with much he said. I endeavoured to maintain a care- my hands for some place of rest, as I fancied my less air, but could not withdraw my gaze from the senses were leaving me. Thank Heaven, that did pretended old woman. I heard the box-lid thrown not take place! A rough sort of buttress of old back, and the voice of the Jew extolling the wares brickwork projected from the bank, and in the angle within. I made a feint of turning to look at them; of that I crouched half in the water, and tried and at the same moment I saw the petticoated ruffian to collect my wandering faculties. I was hardly feeling with his left hand for what seemed a fragment ensconced in this position, when a dull gleam shimof a broomstick, which leaned against the wall behind mered faintly on the surface of the filthy water. I the door. Something-perhaps my better angel- knew it must come from the trap-door overhead, gave me courage. I dashed at the object myself, and and waited in horror for what it might portendseized it firmly in my grasp-it was a painted bar of half-expecting to see the ruffian masquerader descend, iron. My worst suspicions were confirmed in an knife in hand, to make sure of his work. I held my instant; and at the same moment the villains who breath, for I knew that the villains were listening, had me in their toils, threw off the mask. The bigger and that the slightest sound from me would seal my ruffian lifted his crutch with both hands, and aimed a doom. Then I heard a lumbering noise above, and savage blow, which I luckily caught on the iron bar, the next moment down came a slower of the monster and which shivered the crutch to fragments. Almost paving-stones, which would have crushed the life out at the same moment the Jew grappled me by the of an ox had they fallen upon him. Then the trap throat. I dashed the heel of the bar into his face, closed once more, and again all was darkness. and he flew to the end of the room, carrying my How long I crouched there, devoured with terror lavender-silk neck-tie and diamond pin in his hand. and apprehension, I cannot say. To me it appeared I expected the bulkier assassin would close; but, an age; it may not have been a dozen minutes. I instead of that, he planted his back against the door had come to the conclusion that there I should die, -now firmly shut-and shielded himself with the and rot piecemeal, and never be discovered ; and remnant of his crutch. No time was to be lost-the there I should have died, it is my opinion, if a new Jew would recover himself, and return to the attack cause of apprehension had not roused me. While I was in an instant-heavy tools were lying about-I should in the lowest state of despondency, a red gleam shot be beaten down and slain. Madly I rushed towards along the dark water, from the distance of some thirty the door, and was in the act of poising my weapon feet up the stream. I looked, and there, through a for a blow which should crush the skull of the burly hole in the overhanging arch, caused by knocking out a ruffian, spite of his fence, when suddenly the whole few bricks, appeared the face of the Jew, still bleeding scene shot upwards into the air ; the last thing I saw from the compliment I had administered, and wild was the fire-flashing eye and demoniac grin of my with mingled rage, pain, and anxiety. The wretch opponent-and I was falling, falling in a gulf of held a horse-pistol in one hand, and in the other a pitchy darkness.
lantern furnished with a bull's-eye, which threw its Men of genius talk and write very fine things about searching rays to whatever point he turned it. I the wondrous celerity of thought, and the freaks of was sure now that my hour was come; but lo! when imagination and memory under certain circumstances. the flash was turned in my direction, its full force fell I don't understand that kind of subject myself; but on the intervening buttress, and by lying still as I it's all true they say, nevertheless. In those most was, I could remain effectually concealed. horrible moments I saw myself a child in arms, Through a small crevice I watched the face of the a boy at school—an apprentice, shaving niy master's Jew, as he turned his piercing eyes in every direction, customers in the old shop-and, what is more, I saw and I thought I read in it at length his conviction myself dead and dashed to pieces at the bottom of a that I had perished
-a conclusion to which he may frightful dungeon, and my mangled body stripped and have been helped by the sight of my hat cast up in plundered, and then packed away in a hole, out of the the shallows on one side. In that case, I asked myself
, world for ever.
what would he do? Would he not descend with his But this terrible vision was not destined to be comrade to find and plunder my body? I had not a realised. Instead of dashing on the floor of a dungeon, doubt of it—and my only chance lay in making my I fell souse into a mass of filthy fluid, the odour of escape before they executed their purpose. The light which informed me at once that I had been hurled which had shewn me the Jew's face had shewn me into the common sewer. The drain was deep, and also something of the bearings of my prison. I saw I had to exercise some skill as a swimmer before I that I could not proceed down the stream without found my feet. Even then I stood up to the armpits getting into deeper water, but that upwards the depth