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o'clock of the morning, and there was he, the fire burning brightly, and Chitty on Contracts, and Archbold's Criminal Pleading, open before him. Without a syllable, he went back to these, pushed one hand through his hair, and with the other rooted in the index of the “ Contracts.”
“ Are you mad?” I asked; “speak, old stupid !"
“If I don't make these damned fellows smart for it! I'll have an action for breach of contract in regard to time against those infernal tailors, and prosecute that thieving Jew in the Central Criminal Court, or I'll never wear breeches again! Ha! here it is; case of Regina against-no-hang it! that's another.”
I laughed aloud and long, as though laughter was to be my expression for all time hereafter.
“Don't stand grinning there like a Gothic gurgoyle, you drivelling idiot! but come and help me find this case. You're in the plot; you're worse than they are; you're an accessory before the fact, you're an accessory after the fact; nay, let me see”—and he turned to “Archbold’s” index-"you're an accomplice, you're the prime mover, aider, and abettor of the whole concern !" And he flung both “Chitty" and “ Archbold” at me across the room. Bending double, not so much to avoid his weapons as from the violence of laughter, I escaped both.
“But-but"-I exclaimed sputteringly—“how-how-can you—you -yo-o-ou—prosecute in the-the-Crim-crim-inal Court, when youyou-haven't got your-rer-rer-rer-man?”
“ Haven't got my man? Haven't I, though? He's chewing the bitter cud of quod at this moment; he's safe for the night.”
“ You don't mean to say you've given him into custody ?”
“But I do. Hang it! I was so savage after you'd gone that I turned out into the Strand, and into the Adelphi, after all-half-price to the pit. If I didn't find myself within a couple of seats of the ‘Ole Clo'.' He had the impudence to recognise me; and I verily believe would have entered into conversation with me, and explained his non-return in the morning.”
“ Well ?"
“Well! Why, I waited patiently, or impatiently if you like, till the close, followed my man out, and gave him into custody.”
“On what charge ?”
“Obtaining goods by false pretences, to be sure. And you'll have to come to Bow Street to-morrow morning to give evidence !"
I was in too high spirits to be sunk low by any announcement, however otherwise annoying or absurd; so I contented myself with fresh laughter, and the remark that Jack had studied “ Archbold" to more purpose than I had, if he could frame an indictment against the “Ole Clo'.” Whereat he was pleased to laugh ; not jocularly, but scornfully, as though he held my legal ingenuity in poor esteem. But what had I been doing? how had I been getting on?
Penthouse with the hela nad I been
for any thing. Brhen I was the meanmight laugh as my
I told him ; told him with an air of assumption, as of properly rewarded merit, that what I had long meditated I had that night accomplished—that I was engaged to Blanche Chatterton. He would not believe it; and yet, from his peculiar look, he could not quite disbelieve it. I produced the fan. I had stolen it, he said; it was hers, he acknowledged—he knew it well enough—but I had stolen it. I had cheek for any thing. But was I really in earnest ? I was. I was really engaged to her. Then I was the meanest, most treacherous, cowardly beggar on the earth then treading. I might laugh as much as I liked; he would expose me, and the whole thing. He had bought me a pair of gloves; he had paid for my cab; and I had taken the mean advantage of his absence to seduce a girl into consenting to marry a briefless, penniless adventurer. He would tell her the whole story of the old clothes, down to the vilest and most humiliating minutiæ. Ay, ay; I might laugh; no doubt that old beast of a Jew had laughed, and where was he now? He should be transported, he should be skinned. Ha! and those tailors! So he rattled on; and I laughed and laughed, and went to bed, and had a confused dream of a wedding ceremony, in which people were waiting for me to take part, and I could find nothing but a shirt; and then of a wedding breakfast, at which all the champagne bottles were empty, all the fruit turned into fans, and all the waiters into “Ole Clo”” men, who began emptying the pies and jellies into deep dimity bags. Oh, Morpheus ! such a night of it!
Chapter IV. I was sitting in my wig and gown in the Court of the Old Bailey. Will it be credited ? it must be—for it is the fact—that Jack Arthington had got his man committed at Bow Street, had drawn an indictment on which the grand jury had returned a “true bill,” and that the “Ole Clo”” was standing in the dock charged with a misdemeanour. Jack had wanted to give me the prosecution brief, but could not persuade me to accept it; and I had made my appearance in court only on condition that he would not call me into the witness-box. No sooner was the indictment read to the prisoner, than he said he should much like the assistance of counsel; that he could not afford (the lying rascal) to employ an attorney, but that he had 11. 3s. 6d., which, with his lordship’s permission, he should like to hand across the dock to— me! His lordship was quite agreeable—was I ? Jack stared and laughed. I grew confused, took the fee, and asked for the depositions—amongst them my own given at Bow Street. I was too flurried to take an objection against the indictment, which no doubt I could have torn into shreds ; and the first thing I became conscious of was that Jack, with shameless bad faith and horrible malice, was insisting, through his counsel, upon my getting into the witness-box! His lordship stared; the court roared; Jack revelled in the fun; the old Jew grinned from ear to ear. Jack's counsel was a poor animal, and got neither evidence nor game out of me. I resumed my position, amidst renewed merriment, as counsel for the prisoner. Jack was bimself in the box. He gave his evidence. There was not a shadow of a case, not an atom of evidence to lay before the jury. His lordship of course saw this, but he also now saw the real state of things. He loved a joke; knew, moreover, that it was my first brief, and so would not baulk me of my chance by stopping the case. I rose. Jack was leaving the box.
“One moment, Mr. Arthington. Just show the gentlemen of the jury those—those—trousers. Come, come, Mr. Arthington! hold them well up-higher, higher—you needn't be ashamed of your own clothes ! Now, upon your oath, Mr. Arthington, how do you know those to be your trousers ? Is it because they are so much worn ? I suppose you sit in court a good deal, and are perhaps oftener on your seat than your legs ? Pray, are you in the habit of selling your old clothes, Mr. Arthington? Are you aware that there are charitable societies in this metropolis, and thousands of ragged poor who would be thankful for even such worn-out tawdry rags as those? How long may you have worn them? Do you think there's a tailor's apprentice in the town would wear such things, much more buy them ?” Till Jack, unable longer to endure my banter and the roars of the Court, crushed up the offending inexpressibles, flung them straight at my head, and rushed out of the box.
Need I say that my client was acquitted, that I have sold all my old clothes to him ever since, and that Jack has never been known either to employ or to prosecute an “ Ole Clo'" from that day to this?
But Blanche ? Ah, yes! Blanche - wonderful, dear Blanche! I must tell the rest of her story, must I? “ Ole Clo?” stories are well enough; but the “old, old story," love and its belongings, is the best. Well, well, perhaps it is; and I don't mind telling mine.
When Mr. Chatterton heard, as he soon did hear, of the agreement which it had pleased his daughter and me to enter into, he made some very impertinent and altogether irrelevant inquiries into the state of my what Mr. Carlyle has with much felicity called "pineal gland”-viz. purse ; and not receiving a very clear statement upon the subject, he requested that I would discontinue my visits to Bayswater. In this he was obeyed. Most girls, under such circumstances, either console themselves by ridiculing the man whom they wanted to marry, and marrying somebody else whom they did not want to marry, or half kill themselves by tearful regrets. Blanche did neither. My name she never allowed to be mentioned in her presence but with respect. Three offers, “advantageous," as they are called, she quietly refused; but for the rest was as cheerful, saucy, imperious, in fact just the same wonderful Blanche as ever. Unlike some of my friends, she seemed to consider that suicide, by any means whatever, is altogether unjustifiable, and that she had no more right to kill herself by slow degrees than outright at once; no more by tears and woful martyrdoms than by poniards or prussic acid. VOL. III.
She would not be miserable, but she would not marry. To me briefs did not, and it seemed would not, come; so I fell a-scribbling—an old taste of mine—and managed to extract some remuneration from what Mr. Mill calls “our busy but indolent public.” Once or twice at balls I met Blanche; each time we ventured on one dance, to the great horror of the wall-flowers, and each time we gave each other to understand that our “faith was large in Time.” Just two years after the famous December ball, I met Mr. Chatterton, point-blank, in Oxford Street. He was most gracious. Would I not dine with him? He found resistance was useless : Blanche would have none other than me; he must give in; we might marry_when we could. I dined at Bayswater; all that he had said of Blanche was true; tender things were spoken over again, pledges renewed. The next day I saw Mr. Chatterton's name in the Gazette! Shame effected what sorrow had been unable to effect. Blanche shed her first and last tears, and bade me leave her. I dried the tears, and I married her: she sits reading over there, as I write these concluding sentences. Our ménage was at first more remarkable for modesty than splendour; nor have ours even yet become the superba civium potentiorum limina—we do not live in Belgrave Square. The indulgence (at first from necessity) of an original taste induced love of literary labour; and I have fought my small way with this dear old weapon, my pen. Next to Blanche, 'tis the dearest thing I have.
Jack has had many briefs, and has married thirty thousand pounds and a red nose. He and the red nose sometimes stretch their conjugal legs under our mahogany; Jack coming, I verily believe, for the sake of sitting within sight of those eyes which look so truthfully at me across the white damask, and which in his younger days so distracted him. The ladies retire. Does Blanche tell Jack's wife how Jack once parted with her at Torquay ? No, no; the woman whom I love would never indulge her vanity to the grief of any other, even of her own sex; deeming, withal, one honest man's heart, wholly won, the sufficient conquest of a life. There she sits—Heaven bless her! No! she stirs—she comes towards me.
“What are you writing ?”
The Pre-Adamite World.
One can fancy a reader of magazines a century ago being greatly startled and somewhat scandalised at an article headed “The Pre-Adamite World,” unless indeed the style of the magazine in which it appeared had prepared him for some polemic discussion concerning those spiritual essences that are now chiefly evoked from tables and walls. A few years of geological progress have, however, served to adapt the minds of most readers for such considerations as we propose here to put forward, and have enabled them to enter with fairness and knowledge into the discussion of some very curious inquiries concerning the state of our earth before the introduction of man, and the nature of its inhabitants at those distant periods.
But another question may arise, the consideration of which is more likely to offend, as interfering more with established notions. In speaking of pre-Adamite, are we to understand by Adam some one individual, or rather the general representative of the human family in its earliest stage of existence? There is no need to discuss this matter, or complicate the problem by introducing the arguments on either side. All we need say is, that the general tendency of discovery in modern times has been to throw great doubt on the correctness of the admitted chronologies, and carry back the introduction of the human race upon the earth to a period of very remote antiquity, when the climate and the distribution of animals throughout the northern hemisphere, and perhaps every where, was exceedingly different from what it now is, and when there lived a number of strange and monstrous quadrupeds and birds that have since quite disappeared.
It is true that the actual bones of men have not yet been found buried with the bones of these strange animals, under circumstances that would prove that all have lived in one locality and at one time. But in the absence of bones we are still forced to the same conclusion, if, as is the case, certain rude works of art-flint and other stones sculptured into available weapons -- are thus discovered. The presence of intelligent beings is just as well indicated by these, as if we found the carcass preserved unaltered. Such objects being taken from undisturbed gravel deposits, or from the mud at the bottom of caverns since coated with limestone, above which are other deposits containing remains of tribes of less remote times, still of great antiquity, we must presume that successive races of men have lived on the spot, and that the race whose remains are below was more ancient than that other race whose bones rest above this permanent, and durable floor of the cavern, or the bed of gravel. It is also clear that the more such specimens are multiplied in any district, the greater must be the probability of there having been at one time a large colony of early human inhabitants in that district.
of these lived in gorced to the ber stones