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from Miss Edgeworth or Mistress Inchbald. In her bold mise en scène, there was a touch of Shakspeare: her lyrism recalled Byron : and when she deigned to write simple prose articles, of the magazine order, people began to fancy that Addison had risen from his tomb.
But Christian? In thirty days he had become more known than Sir R. Peel or his Grace the Marshal Duke of Wellington. His every gesture was copied : he had become the glass of fashion and the mould of form. Our little friend, the English vignette, though attached to Sir Edgard Lindsay, could find no escape from the match which the Commodore designed between her and the lion. This rivalry, of course, leads to a duel, for Christian is annoyed at the attentions which Sir Edgard pays to his Jane. But there were others to be consulted before the duel could come off: the tradesmen had the most pressing interest in the safety of their tiger-killer, and could not allow him to risk his invaluable life. They put the police on the track, and at last, by a plausible pretext, Christian is locked up securely in a room at Mr. Lewis's, the tailor, as it is hoped out of harm's way.
Unfortunately, the best-planned schemes fail, and the Commodore, who is mad to be Christian's second, for the sake of the notoriety, brings the rivals together in Mr. Lewis's waiting-room, which appears to have been a regular arsenal, for the walls are hung with coats of mail, doubledhandled swords, and, above all, with two arquebuses, with their forks, which excited the admiration of all connoisseurs. The tailor and his merry men, attempting to interfere, are expelled, locking the door behind them, and the Commodore remains master of the situation. Then follows a scene, unparalleled in modern history, and which we quote in extenso, to show how duels are fought in England.
"Pardieu," said Christian, "let us fight here."
“I too, Macaulay, I too,” said the Commodore, who fumbled hurriedly in his pockets. “Nothing easier, thank goodness; here's powder, here are bullets
. Diabolical, diabolical,” he interrupted himself, with a desperate air, “ the pistols are in the carriage !" The two young men assumed a look of disgust.
Listen, Robert Davidson went on, “when you're at Rome you must do, &c. You could still have a little boxing-match to pass the time."
Sir,” Edgard said, solemnly, "I want a combat to the death." “ A weapon cannot we find any p" the lion growled, losing patience.
The Commodore writhed again. My friends, my very dear friends," he said, “ you are on the scent; it would have been magnificent indeed, and I would give all in the world to extricate
embarrassment. Come, what do you say to each taking one of these andirons ?” And he pointed to two heavy bars of iron resting against the chimney. “I mean, of course," he added, seeing that the young men assumed a disdainful smile, " that we will make them red-hot before beginning."
Edgard and Christian turned their backs.
“The excessive originality of the idea terrifies them,” the Commodore thought. “I must knock out something else.”
Two or three minutes passed. “What a torture !” said Edgard, stamping his foot.
Morbleu, sir,” cried Christian, "will you take to the pokers ?” The Commodore knelt before the fire, and thrust the two bars among the coals. But Edgard and Christian simultaneously uttered a cry of joy: they had just noticed the two trophies. They had an entire arsenal at their disposal.
They pulled down the double-handled swords, and made a grimace; the Commodore followed their every movement, and an infinite lightness dilated his heart.
“ None of these are of any use," said Edgard; “let us take the arquebuses.” “ The arquebuses,” said Christian;
“ of course.
The Commodore held his head with both hands.
“Beautiful !” he said. “My friends, I desired to leave you the merit of the idea. Sir Edgard, by Heavens ! you are a true gentleman, and if you
kill Macaulay, I promise you shall be my son-in-law.”
Christian dusted his weapon ; but Davidson took it from his hands; he displayed incomparable zeal.
"No, no,” he said, " that is my business. I'll load; you get ready the forks and matches.
Edgard and Christian put up the two forks opposite one another at each end of the room.
“That's a good distance," said the Commodore. “These arquebuses ought to have gun-range for that. Come, I have twenty-four bnllets ; I'd better put twelve in each.”
“Twelve bullets ?” both young men remarked.
"I have only that number, my boys. I fancy six charges of powder will be sufficient ?”
Edgard and Christian made an involuntary grimace.
“I have four charges left," the Commodore continued; “I will divide them fraternally, as you appear to desire it." While speaking, he stuffed both barrels. Have
you got the matches ?” he asked. « Good! What a row this will make in the papers tomorrow! and the editors would be precious idiots not to add something of this sort : "The ouly witness of this prodigious duel was the worthy Commodore Davidson, so well known for his originality.'
He rubbed his hands, while the adversaries regarded the loaded arquebuses with some degree of suspicion. “Come, my dear boys, here are your weapons!"
At the moment when Edgard and Christian each took his arquebuse, he added, without
you wish anything to be done after your decease ?". My last thought to your daughter, sir,” said Edgard, in a low voice.
Good, very good ! my poor boy. I fulfil your request. Macaulay ?”
Christian thought, “Jane no longer loves me!" So he said, in a firm voice, “Nothing !"
“Full of character, that nothing !" the Commodore muttered. “I will make Lady Bridgeton a present of it for her next tragedy." “To your arms, my children." He
the word of command as he stooped to light the matches. “I fancy not an Englishman can boast of having seen a thing of this sort.”
The arquebuses were resting on their forks. The two rivals took the matches without saying a word. We are compelled to avow that their ardour was slightly slackened. The Commodore, on the contrary, could not contain himself.
“ All is properly arranged,” he said; “take a careful aim. At the word Three! you
will fire together.” He clapped his hands-one, two. The young men half turned their heads away. The Commodore's eyes were sparkling like twin stars. “ Three !” he shouted.
It is possible for a man to be very brave, and yet not admire fighting in a close room, at three yards distance, with arquebuses stuffed with eight charges of powder and a dozen balls. It was, in fact, no combat, but a double suicide. The young men could not entertain the shadow of a doubt; their last hour had arrived. They both were disgusted at this stupid butchery, which satisfied neither, and which would leave no victor; but they dare not draw back, because the Commodore was present.
The two matches were lowered on the little cone of powder covering the vent-holes. They fell at the same moment; the Commodore uttered a shout of delight. The powder squibbed and sent a double wreath of smoke to the roof. That was all. Edgard and Christian remained motionless, and even paler than corpses; they hardly knew whether they were alive or dead.
" Confound it,” said the Commodore, “such accidents only happen to me. We will start afresh,” he added, in an insinuating tone, for the pitiable looks of the adversaries caused him much disquietude. “It is nothing, my dear fellows, only a little rust in the vent.”
He took a long pin and began clearing them out. "Be quick," said Edgard, in a trembling voice; "this delay is intolerable." “ The fact is,” Macaulay added, with a vain attempt to smile,
we are not exactly on a bed of roses."
You would have pitied them. Their faces had altered as if a violent poison had been acting on them. When their eyes fell on the gaping throats of the arquebuses, a violent convulsion agitated their limbs, and large drops fell down their livid cheeks. But they remained at their post.
But the duel was not fated to come off, for one of the creditors peeped through the keyhole, and they rushed in in a body to prevent the loss of their valuable lay figure. To make assurance doubly sure, they arrested Sir Edgard on a bill of five hundred pounds. But they find a new opponent in Mees Jane, who, for reasons of her own, wishes to have Sir Edgard at liberty. For that purpose she must have money, and no better plan suggests than to make use of her literary name, and raise the sum among her publishing friends. Fortunately for her, a Mr. T. R. Pinkerton, editor of Pinkerton's Paper, 20, Burlington-arcade, Piccadilly, makes his appearance to ask her valued co-operation—not on the paper, for that, although enjoying a sale of 24,000, was only for the public, and of course her ladyship could not condescend to that-but on the Review of the Centre, a rival of the Quarterly. On the mention of the latter, Mees Jane takes a letter from the mantelpiece from the publishers, asking her to become a contributor. Mr. Pinkerton is horri,
. fied at their low manners in addressing a lady by post. Her ladyship puts an end to the conversation by asking for 500l., after showing a letter from the Edinburgh, offering to cover each page of her writing with gold. The London Magazine also places its treasury at the disposition of her ladyship. Against such arguments the publisher cannot steel his heart, but pays over the money. The beauty of it is, that Mees
Jane has usurped the laurels of Sir Edgard, who is the real author of “David Rizzio," but would not have the fact known for the world, because, as our author justly and profoundly observes, the journalist of London is scarcely a gentleman : he occupies much the same position as the poëte librettiste of Italy. A lord would willingly marry a dancer of the second class, or a cantatrice slightly depreciated, but no lady would ever think of giving even a finger to a folliculaire.
Will our readers pardon a short departure from our subject, that we may say a few words about the low opinion which French writers appear to entertain of British authors and the British press? Why it is so we cannot surmise, except that, being a nation of shopkeepers, we must all sell our wares to the highest bidder. In the ridiculous book we are now noticing, there are repeated instances of the Times and other first-class papers being bribed to insert puffs on the tiger-killer. The reason for this idea, we fancy, can be found at home, as the reader may judge from the following anecdote, which we give on the highest authority: On the loss of the Lyonnais being announced in Paris, the owners sent the official report to an influential journal, thinking it would prove a valuable item of news. It was returned to them with 800 francs marked on the margin, as the price of the insertion. Thirty-two pounds for publishing an account of a shipwreck in which hundreds of Frenchmen were deeply interested!
The tradesmen, noticing the growing attachment between Christian and Mees Jane, determine on putting a stop to it, by the intervention of her respectable papa, a farmer of the name of Saunders, who suddenly makes his appearance during a tender scene, insisting on Christian making a choice between matrimony or the huge club, which, as the representative of the farming interest, he always carries to assommer his oxen, or his wife, or daughters. However, we have not space for
any more absurdities : the reader will understand for himself that all ends happily : that Mees Jane becomes an honest woman, and Amy marries the object of her choice, for the Commodore cannot refuse him when he finds that he is the celebrated author whom he so much admires. The Commodore, finding two lions snuffed out at once, determines on assuming the rôle himself, under the consolatory idea that a widower lion would be an original. His last determination is to purchase a sick elephant in the Zoological Gardens, and fight him publicly with Congreve rocketsa With his skin he would make- But a horrible fear assailed him-he could not make a robe of it, for Hercules had already robed himself in the skin of the Nemæan lion—and Robert Davidson must be original. He was luckily drawn from his embarrassment by the bootmaker, who recommends that he should make boots à la Commodore out of the ele. phant's skin.
Such, ladies and gentlemen, is the brilliant result of the Exhibition and Crimean fraternisation! Such is the magnificent knowledge of England, offered for the study of Young France! Do you not feel quite
Ꭰ proud of your countrymen, and appreciate the feelings with which you must be regarded on your periodical visits to Paris by the flâneurs, who have no better way of killing time than by reading Féval's novels ?
But your hero Frenchman is sublime in his audacity. M. Ponsard, author of two or three second-rate comedies, inaugurates his accession to the academic chair by condescending to speak well of ce divin Williams, forgetting that he has mainly made his reputation in France by running down Shakspeare to the glorification of Corneille.
But it is no use being angry, or attempting to break a butterfly on a wheel. The only revenge we will take is, that whenever we come across such books as the Tueur de Tigres, we will do our best to give Englishmen a true picture of themselves as drawn by the French, and only hope it will afford them as much amusement in the paraphrase, as the original, to which we recommend their attention, has given us.
THE TALKER AND THE WORKER.
A HOME NARRATIVE.
By J. E. CARPENTER.
THE FALSE STEP.
JESSIE GRAY and Lucy Smith were constantly running over to one another's houses, and as Gray's second daughter, Pattie, was getting old enough to keep the other two out of mischief, the walks that Jessie was enabled to take with Lucy grew more frequent, though, somehow, there was so much to do that they grew later and later in the evening,
One day Mr. Gray was struck with several books lying on the parlour table, which he knew formed no portion of his limited library, but nothing was thought of it when he learned that Jessie had met William in one of her evening walks, and he had lent them to her. The bookes were frequently changed, but Donald had something else to do than take notice of them.
The beginning of January was certainly not the most congenial time of the year for young ladies to indulge in woodland rambles, or even walks
upon the hard, dry road, but our fair ones were true country girls, and the muff had not then degenerated into the mere cuff, nor had the comfortable boa gone out of fashion.
Behold, then, the two friends trudging one fine, sharp, frosty evening along the road so frequently mentioned in the course of this narrative. The little village of Woodside is already out of sight, and from an eminence on the road, the crown of which they have just turned, the gaslights in the streets and in the tall mills, which seem like monster lanterns only made to be illuminated, blaze brightly in the still distant town beneath them. Almost simultaneously the huge beacons are extinguished, and the street gaslights, and the dim outline of large stacks of buildings and towering chimneys, alone mark the spot. Work is over there for the day; still the two friends move onward. The evening grows darker, and they walk as far from the hedge as possible. It cannot be for the mere pleasure of a walk that these two timid girls, who are frightened at the beating of their own hearts, are thus moving in a contrary way to their dwellings. Still they proceed onward, and now sharp, quick steps are heard upon the battered ground. They halt and listen, clinging still closer together in their uncertainty as to the approaching wayfarers. Hark! there is a low peculiar whistle. They recognise the signal, and in a few seconds are joined by Harry and William.
The four turn round and proceed on the way to Woodside. A little arrangement is necessary, however, for the homeward march. William takes Lucy under his protection, and Jessie hangs upon the arm of Harry Sharpe. Was this her first false step? No! and how or when it came about these chronicles detail not. It must have
cost Jessie a struggle to make it; probably, most probably, she did meet Harry, first, by accident, and then promised to meet him again—for once.
She would not do so,