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Barry Lyndon by William Makepeace Thackeray

Part 4 out of 7

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look at poor Magny and see how HE bore them. The poor devil was
trembling lest I should break out under the Princess's sarcasm and
tell all; but my revenge was, when the Princess attacked me, to say
something bitter to HIM,--to pass it on, as boys do at school. And
THAT was the thing which used to make her Highness feel. She would
wince just as much when I attacked Magny as if I had been saying
anything rude to herself. And, though she hated me, she used to beg
my pardon in private; and though her pride would often get the
better of her, yet her prudence obliged this magnificent princess to
humble herself to the poor penniless Irish boy.

As soon as Magny had formally withdrawn from the Countess Ida, the
Princess took the young lady into favour again, and pretended to be
very fond of her. To do them justice, I don't know which of the two
disliked me most,--the Princess, who was all eagerness, and fire,
and coquetry; or the Countess, who was all state and splendour. The
latter, especially, pretended to be disgusted by me: and yet, after
all, I have pleased her betters; was once one of the handsomest men
in Europe, and would defy any heyduc of the Court to measure a chest
or a leg with me: but I did not care for any of her silly
prejudices, and determined to win her and wear her in spite of
herself. Was it on account of her personal charms or qualities? No.
She was quite white, thin, short-sighted, tall, and awkward, and my
taste is quite the contrary; and as for her mind, no wonder that a
poor creature who had a hankering after a wretched ragged ensign
could never appreciate ME. It was her estate I made love to; as for
herself, it would be a reflection on my taste as a man of fashion to
own that I liked her.

CHAPTER XI

IN WHICH THE LUCK GOES AGAINST BARRY

My hopes of obtaining the hand of one of the richest heiresses in
Germany were now, as far as all human probability went, and as far
as my own merits and prudence could secure my fortune, pretty
certain of completion. I was admitted whenever I presented myself at
the Princess's apartments, and had as frequent opportunities as I
desired of seeing the Countess Ida there. I cannot say that she
received me with any particular favour; the silly young creature's
affections were, as I have said, engaged ignobly elsewhere; and,
however captivating my own person and manners may have been, it was
not to be expected that she should all of a sudden forget her lover
for the sake of the young Irish gentleman who was paying his
addresses to her. But such little rebuffs as I got were far from
discouraging me. I had very powerful friends, who were to aid me in
my undertaking; and knew that, sooner or later, the victory must be
mine. In fact, I only waited my time to press my suit. Who could
tell the dreadful stroke of fortune which was impending over my
illustrious protectress, and which was to involve me partially in
her ruin?

All things seemed for a while quite prosperous to my wishes; and in
spite of the Countess Ida's disinclination, it was much easier to
bring her to her senses than, perhaps, may be supposed in a silly
constitutional country like England, where people are not brought up
with those wholesome sentiments of obedience to Royalty which were
customary in Europe at the time when I was a young man.

I have stated how, through Magny, I had the Princess, as it were, at
my feet. Her Highness had only to press the match upon the old Duke,
over whom her influence was unbounded, and to secure the goodwill of
the Countess of Liliengarten, (which was the romantic title of his
Highness's morganatic spouse), and the easy old man would give an
order for the marriage: which his ward would perforce obey. Madame
de Liliengarten was, too, from her position, extremely anxious to
oblige the Princess Olivia; who might be called upon any day to
occupy the throne. The old Duke was tottering, apoplectic, and
exceedingly fond of good living. When he was gone, his relict would
find the patronage of the Duchess Olivia most necessary to her.
Hence there was a close mutual understanding between the two ladies;
and the world said that the Hereditary Princess was already indebted
to the favourite for help on various occasions. Her Highness had
obtained, through the Countess, several large grants of money for
the payment of her multifarious debts; and she was now good enough
to exert her gracious influence over Madame de Liliengarten in order
to obtain for me the object so near my heart. It is not to be
supposed that my end was to be obtained without continual
unwillingness and refusals on Magny's part; but I pushed my point
resolutely, and had means in my hands of overcoming the stubbornness
of that feeble young gentleman. Also, I may say, without vanity,
that if the high and mighty Princess detested me, the Countess
(though she was of extremely low origin, it is said) had better
taste and admired me. She often did us the honour to go partners
with us in one of our faro-banks, and declared that I was the
handsomest man in the duchy. All I was required to prove was my
nobility, and I got at Vienna such a pedigree as would satisfy the
most greedy in that way. In fact, what had a man descended from the
Barrys and the Bradys to fear before any VON in Germany? By way of
making assurance doubly sure, I promised Madame de Liliengarten ten
thousand louis on the day of my marriage, and she knew that as a
play-man I had never failed in my word: and I vow, that had I paid
fifty per cent. for it, I would have got the money.

Thus by my talents, honesty, and acuteness, I had, considering I was
a poor patronless outcast, raised for myself very powerful
protectors. Even his Highness the Duke Victor was favourably
inclined to me; for, his favourite charger falling ill of the
staggers, I gave him a ball such as my uncle Brady used to
administer, and cured the horse; after which his Highness was
pleased to notice me frequently. He invited me to his hunting and
shooting parties, where I showed myself to be a good sportsman; and
once or twice he condescended to talk to me about my prospects in
life, lamenting that I had taken to gambling, and that I had not
adopted a more regular means of advancement. 'Sir,' said I, 'if you
will allow me to speak frankly to your Highness, play with me is
only a means to an end. Where should I have been without it? A
private still in King Frederick's grenadiers. I come of a race which
gave princes to my country; but persecutions have deprived them of
their vast possessions. My uncle's adherence to his ancient faith
drove him from our country. I too resolved to seek advancement in
the military service; but the insolence and ill-treatment which I
received at the hands of the English were not bearable by a high-
born gentleman, and I fled their service. It was only to fall into
another bondage to all appearance still more hopeless; when my good
star sent a preserver to me in my uncle, and my spirit and gallantry
enabled me to take advantage of the means of escape afforded me.
Since then we have lived, I do not disguise it, by play; but who can
say I have done him a wrong? Yet, if I could find myself in an
honourable post, and with an assured maintenance, I would never,
except for amusement, such as every gentleman must have, touch a
card again. I beseech your Highness to inquire of your resident at
Berlin if I did not on every occasion act as a gallant soldier. I
feel that I have talents of a higher order, and should be proud to
have occasion to exert them; if, as I do not doubt, my fortune shall
bring them into play.'

The candour of this statement struck his Highness greatly, and
impressed him in my favour, and he was pleased to say that he
believed me, and would be glad to stand my friend.

Having thus the two Dukes, the Duchess, and the reigning favourite
enlisted on my side, the chances certainly were that I should carry
off the great prize; and I ought, according to all common
calculations, to have been a Prince of the Empire at this present
writing, but that my ill luck pursued me in a matter in which I was
not the least to blame,--the unhappy Duchess's attachment to the
weak, silly, cowardly Frenchman. The display of this love was
painful to witness, as its end was frightful to think of. The
Princess made no disguise of it. If Magny spoke a word to a lady of
her household, she would be jealous, and attack with all the fury of
her tongue the unlucky offender. She would send him a half-dozen of
notes in the day: at his arrival to join her circle or the courts
which she held, she would brighten up, so that all might perceive.
It was a wonder that her husband had not long ere this been made
aware of her faithlessness; but the Prince Victor was himself of so
high and stern a nature that he could not believe in her stooping so
far from her rank as to forget her virtue: and I have heard say,
that when hints were given to him of the evident partiality which
the Princess showed for the equerry, his answer was a stern command
never more to be troubled on the subject. 'The Princess is light-
minded,' he said; 'she was brought up at a frivolous Court; but her
folly goes not beyond coquetry: crime is impossible; she has her
birth, and my name, and her children, to defend her.' And he would
ride off to his military inspections and be absent for weeks, or
retire to his suite of apartments, and remain closeted there whole
days; only appearing to make a bow at her Highness's LEVEE, or to
give her his hand at the Court galas, where ceremony required that
he should appear. He was a man of vulgar tastes, and I have seen him
in the private garden, with his great ungainly figure, running
races, or playing at ball with his little son and daughter, whom he
would find a dozen pretexts daily for visiting. The serene children
were brought to their mother every morning at her toilette; but she
received them very indifferently: except on one occasion, when the
young Duke Ludwig got his little uniform as colonel of hussars,
being presented with a regiment by his godfather the Emperor
Leopold. Then, for a day or two, the Duchess Olivia was charmed with
the little boy; but she grew tired of him speedily, as a child does
of a toy. I remember one day, in the morning circle, some of the
Princess's rouge came off on the arm of her son's little white
military jacket; on which she slapped the poor child's face, and
sent him sobbing away. Oh, the woes that have been worked by women
in this world! the misery into which men have lightly stepped with
smiling faces; often not even with the excuse of passion, but from
mere foppery, vanity, and bravado! Men play with these dreadful two-
edged tools, as if no harm could come to them. I, who have seen more
of life than most men, if I had a son, would go on my knees to him
and beg him to avoid woman, who is worse than poison. Once intrigue,
and your whole life is endangered: you never know when the evil may
fall upon you; and the woe of whole families, and the ruin of
innocent people perfectly dear to you, may be caused by a moment of
your folly.

When I saw how entirely lost the unlucky Monsieur de Magny seemed to
be, in spite of ail the claims I had against him, I urged him to
fly. He had rooms in the palace, in the garrets over the Princess's
quarters (the building was a huge one, and accommodated almost a
city of noble retainers of the family); but the infatuated young
fool would not budge, although he had not even the excuse of love
for staying. 'How she squints,' he would say of the Princess, 'and
how crooked she is! She thinks no one can perceive her deformity.
She writes me verses out of Gresset or Crebillon, and fancies I
believe them to be original. Bah! they are no more her own than her
hair is!' It was in this way that the wretched lad was dancing over
the ruin that was yawning under him. I do believe that his chief
pleasure in making love to the Princess was, that he might write
about his victories to his friends of the PETITES MAISONS at Paris,
where he longed to be considered as a wit and a VAINQUEUR DE DAMES.

Seeing the young man's recklessness, and the danger of his position,
I became very anxious that MY little scheme should be brought to a
satisfactory end, and pressed him warmly on the matter.

My solicitations with him were, I need not say, from the nature of
the connection between us, generally pretty successful; and, in
fact, the poor fellow could REFUSE ME NOTHING: as I used often
laughingly to say to him, very little to his liking. But I used more
than threats, or the legitimate influence I had over him. I used
delicacy and generosity; as a proof of which, I may mention that I
promised to give back to the Princess the family emerald, which I
mentioned in the last chapter that I had won from her unprincipled
admirer at play.

This was done by my uncle's consent, and was one of the usual acts
of prudence and foresight which distinguish that clever man. "Press
the matter now, Redmond my boy," he would urge. "This affair between
her Highness and Magny must end ill for both of them, and that soon;
and where will be your chance to win the Countess then? Now is your
time! win her and wear her before the month is over, and we will
give up the punting business, and go live like noblemen at our
castle in Swabia. Get rid of that emerald, too," he added: "should
an accident happen, it will be an ugly deposit found in our hand."
This it was that made me agree to forego the possession of the
trinket; which, I must confess, I was loth to part with. It was
lucky for us both that I did: as you shall presently hear.

Meanwhile, then, I urged Magny: I myself spoke strongly to the
Countess of Liliengarten, who promised formally to back my claim
with his Highness the reigning Duke; and Monsieur de Magny was
instructed to induce the Princess Olivia to make a similar
application to the old sovereign in my behalf. It was done. The two
ladies urged the Prince; his Highness (at a supper of oysters and
champagne) was brought to consent, and her Highness the Hereditary
Princess did me the honour of notifying personally to the Countess
Ida that it was the Prince's will that she should marry the young
Irish nobleman, the Chevalier Redmond de Balibari. The notification
was made in my presence; and though the young Countess said 'Never!'
and fell down in a swoon at her lady's feet, I was, you may be sure,
entirely unconcerned at this little display of mawkish sensibility,
and felt, indeed, now that my prize was secure.

That evening I gave the Chevalier de Magny the emerald, which he
promised to restore to the Princess; and now the only difficulty in
my way lay with the Hereditary Prince, of whom his father, his wife,
and the favourite, were alike afraid. He might not be disposed to
allow the richest heiress in his duchy to be carried off by a noble,
though not a wealthy foreigner. Time was necessary in order to break
the matter to Prince Victor. The Princess must find him at some
moment of good-humour. He had days of infatuation still, when he
could refuse his wife nothing; and our plan was to wait for one of
these, or for any other chance which might occur.

But it was destined that the Princess should never see her husband
at her feet, as often as he had been. Fate was preparing a terrible
ending to her follies, and my own hope. In spite of his solemn
promises to me, Magny never restored the emerald to the Princess
Olivia.

He had heard, in casual intercourse with me, that my uncle and I had
been beholden to Mr. Moses Lowe, the banker of Heidelberg, who had
given us a good price for our valuables; and the infatuated young
man took a pretext to go thither, and offered the jewel for pawn.
Moses Lowe recognised the emerald at once, gave Magny the sum the
latter demanded, which the Chevalier lost presently at play: never,
you may be sure, acquainting us with the means by which he had made
himself master of so much capital. We, for our parts, supposed that
he had been supplied by his usual banker, the Princess: and many
rouleaux of his gold pieces found their way into our treasury, when
at the Court galas, at our own lodgings, or at the apartments of
Madame de Liliengarten (who on these occasions did us the honour to
go halves with us) we held our bank of faro.

Thus Magny's money was very soon gone. But though the Jew held his
jewel, of thrice the value no doubt of the sums he had lent upon it,
that was not all the profit which he intended to have from his
unhappy creditor; over whom he began speedily to exercise his
authority. His Hebrew connections at X--, money-brokers, bankers,
horse-dealers, about the Court there, must have told their
Heidelberg brother what Magny's relations with the Princess were;
and the rascal determined to take advantage of these, and to press
to the utmost both victims. My uncle and I were, meanwhile, swimming
upon the high tide of fortune, prospering with our cards, and with
the still greater matrimonial game which we were playing; and we
were quite unaware of the mine under our feet.

Before a month was passed, the Jew began to pester Magny. He
presented himself at X--, and asked for further interest-hush-money;
otherwise he must sell the emerald. Magny got money for him; the
Princess again befriended her dastardly lover. The success of the
first demand only rendered the second more exorbitant. I know not
how much money was extorted and paid on this unluckly emerald: but
it was the cause of the ruin of us all.

One night we were keeping our table as usual at the Countess of
Liliengarten's, and Magny being in cash somehow, kept drawing out
rouleau after rouleau, and playing with his common ill success. In
the middle of the play a note was brought into him, which he read,
and turned very pale on perusing; but the luck was against him, and
looking up rather anxiously at the clock, he waited for a few more
turns of the cards, when having, I suppose, lost his last rouleau, he
got up with a wild oath that scared some of the polite company
assembled, and left the room. A great trampling of horses was heard
without; but we were too much engaged with our business to heed
the noise, and continued our play.

Presently some one came into the play-room and said to the Countess,
'Here is a strange story! A Jew has been murdered in the Kaiserwald.
Magny was arrested when he went out of the room.' All the party
broke up on hearing this strange news, and we shut up our bank for
the night. Magny had been sitting by me during the play (my uncle
dealt and I paid and took the money), and, looking under the chair,
there was a crumpled paper, which I took up and read. It was that
which had been delivered to him, and ran thus:-

'If you have done it, take the orderly's horse who brings this. It
is the best of my stable. There are a hundred louis in each holster,
and the pistols are loaded. Either course lies open to you if you
know what I mean. In a quarter of an hour I shall know our fate--
whether I am to be dishonoured and survive you, whether you are
guilty and a coward, or whether you are still worthy of the name of

'M.'

This was in the handwriting of the old General de Magny; and my
uncle and I, as we walked home at night, having made and divided
with the Countess Liliengarten no inconsiderable profits that night,
felt our triumphs greatly dashed by the perusal of the letter. 'Has
Magny,' we asked, 'robbed the Jew, or has his intrigue been
discovered?' In either case, my claims on the Countess Ida were
likely to meet with serious drawbacks: and I began to feel that my
'great card' was played and perhaps lost.

Well, it WAS lost: though I say, to this day, it was well and
gallantly played. After supper (which we never for fear of
consequences took during play) I became so agitated in my mind as to
what was occurring that I determined to sally out about midnight
into the town, and inquire what was the real motive of Magny's
apprehension. A sentry was at the door, and signified to me that I
and my uncle were under arrest.

We were left in our quarters for six weeks, so closely watched that
escape was impossible, had we desired it; but, as innocent men, we
had nothing to fear. Our course of life was open to all, and we
desired and courted inquiry. Great and tragical events happened
during those six weeks; of which, though we heard the outline, as
all Europe did, when we were released from our captivity, we were
yet far from understanding all the particulars, which were not much
known to me for many years after. Here they are, as they were told
me by the lady, who of all the world perhaps was most likely to know
them. But the narrative had best form the contents of another
chapter.

CHAPTER XII

TRAGICAL HISTORY OF PRINCESS OF X----

More than twenty years after the events described in the past
chapters, I was walking with my Lady Lyndon in the Rotunda at
Ranelagh. It was in the year 1790; the emigration from France had
already commenced, the old counts and marquises were thronging to
our shores: not starving and miserable, as one saw them a few years
afterwards, but unmolested as yet, and bringing with them some token
of their national splendour. I was walking with Lady Lyndon, who,
proverbially jealous and always anxious to annoy me, spied out a
foreign lady who was evidently remarking me, and of course asked who
was the hideous fat Dutchwoman who was leering at me so? I knew her
not in the least. I felt I had seen the lady's face somewhere (it
was now, as my wife said, enormously fat and bloated); but I did not
recognise in the bearer of that face one who had been among the most
beautiful women in Germany in her day.

It was no other than Madame de Liliengarten, the mistress, or as
some said the morganatic wife, of the old Duke of X----, Duke
Victor's father. She had left X----a few months after the elder
Duke's demise, had gone to Paris, as I heard, where some
unprincipled adventurer had married her for her money; but, however,
had always retained her quasi-royal title, and pretended, amidst the
great laughter of the Parisians who frequented her house, to the
honours and ceremonial of a sovereign's widow. She had a throne
erected in her state-room, and was styled by her servants and those
who wished to pay court to her, or borrow money from her, 'Altesse.'
Report said she drank rather copiously--certainly her face bore
every mark of that habit, and had lost the rosy, frank, good-
humoured beauty which had charmed the sovereign who had ennobled
her.

Although she did not address me in the circle at Ranelagh, I was at
this period as well known as the Prince of Wales, and she had no
difficulty in finding my house in Berkeley Square; whither a note
was next morning despatched to me. 'An old friend of Monsieur de
Balibari,' it stated (in extremely bad French), 'is anxious to see
the Chevalier again and to talk over old happy times. Rosina de
Liliengarten (can it be that Redmond Balibari has forgotten her?)
will be at her house in Leicester Fields all the morning, looking
for one who would never have passed her by TWENTY YEARS ago.'

Rosina of Liliengarten it was indeed--such a full-blown Rosina I
have seldom seen. I found her in a decent first-floor in Leicester
Fields (the poor soul fell much lower afterwards) drinking tea,
which had somehow a very strong smell of brandy in it; and after
salutations, which would be more tedious to recount than they were
to perform, and after further straggling conversation, she gave me
briefly the following narrative of the events in X----, which I may
well entitle the 'Princess's Tragedy.'

'You remember Monsieur de Geldern, the Police Minister. He was of
Dutch extraction, and, what is more, of a family of Dutch Jews.
Although everybody was aware of this blot in his scutcheon, he was
mortally angry if ever his origin was suspected; and made up for his
fathers' errors by outrageous professions of religion, and the most
austere practices of devotion. He visited church every morning,
confessed once a week, and hated Jews and Protestants as much as an
inquisitor could do. He never lost an opportunity of proving his
sincerity, by persecuting one or the other whenever occasion fell in
his way.

'He hated the Princess mortally; for her Highness in some whim had
insulted him with his origin, caused pork to be removed from before
him at table, or injured him in some such silly way; and he had a
violent animosity to the old Baron de Magny, both in his capacity of
Protestant, and because the latter in some haughty mood had publicly
turned his back upon him as a sharper and a spy. Perpetual quarrels
were taking place between them in council; where it was only the
presence of his august masters that restrained the Baron from
publicly and frequently expressing the contempt which he felt for
the officer of police.

'Thus Geldern had hatred as one reason for ruining the Princess, and
it is my belief he had a stronger motive still--interest. You
remember whom the Duke married, after the death of his first wife?--
a princess of the house of F----. Geldern built his fine palace two
years after, and, as I feel convinced, with the money which was paid
to him by the F----family for forwarding the match.

'To go to Prince Victor, and report to his Highness a case which
everybody knew, was not by any means Geldern's desire. He knew the
man would be ruined for ever in the Prince's estimation who carried
him intelligence so disastrous. His aim, therefore, was to leave the
matter to explain itself to his Highness; and, when the time was
ripe, he cast about for a means of carrying his point. He had spies
in the houses of the elder and younger Magny; but this you know, of
course, from your experience of Continental customs. We had all
spies over each other. Your black (Zamor, I think, was his name)
used to give me reports every morning; and I used to entertain the
dear old Duke with stories of you and your uncle practising picquet
and dice in the morning, and with your quarrels and intrigues. We
levied similar contributions on everybody in X----, to amuse the
dear old man. Monsieur de Magny's valet used to report both to me
and Monsieur de Geldern.

'I knew of the fact of the emerald being in pawn; and it was out of
my exchequer that the poor Princess drew the funds which were spent
upon the odious Lowe, and the still more worthless young Chevalier.
How the Princess could trust the latter as she persisted in doing,
is beyond my comprehension; but there is no infatuation like that of
a woman in love: and you will remark, my dear Monsieur de Balibari,
that our sex generally fix upon a bad man.'

'Not always, madam,' I interposed; 'your humble servant has created
many such attachments.'

'I do not see that that affects the truth of the proposition,' said
the old lady drily, and continued her narrative. 'The Jew who held
the emerald had had many dealings with the Princess, and at last was
offered a bribe of such magnitude, that he determined to give up the
pledge. He committed the inconceivable imprudence of bringing the
emerald with him to X----, and waited on Magny, who was provided by
the Princess with money to redeem the pledge, and was actually ready
to pay it.'

'Their interview took place in Magny's own apartments, when his
valet overheard every word of their conversation. The young man, who
was always utterly careless of money when it was in his possession,
was so easy in offering it, that Lowe rose in his demands, and had
the conscience to ask double the sum for which he had previously
stipulated.

'At this the Chevalier lost all patience, fell on the wretch and was
for killing him; when the opportune valet rushed in and saved him.
The man had heard every word of the conversation between the
disputants, and the Jew ran flying with terror into his arms; and
Magny, a quick and passionate, but not a violent man, bade the
servant lead the villain downstairs, and thought no more of him.

'Perhaps he was not sorry to be rid of him, and to have in his
possession a large sum of money, four thousand ducats, with which he
could tempt fortune once more; as you know he did at your table that
night.'

'Your ladyship went halves, madam,' said I; 'and you know how little
I was the better for my winnings.'

'The man conducted the trembling Israelite out of the palace, and no
sooner had seen him lodged at the house of one of his brethren,
where he was accustomed to put up, than he went away to the office
of his Excellency the Minister of Police, and narrated every word of
the conversation which had taken place between the Jew and his
master.

'Geldern expressed the greatest satisfaction at his spy's prudence
and fidelity. He gave him a purse of twenty ducats, and promised to
provide for him handsomely: as great men do sometimes promise to
reward their instruments; but you, Monsieur de Balibari, know how
seldom those promises are kept. "Now, go and find out," said
Monsieur de Geldern, "at what time the Israelite proposes to return
home again, or whether he will repent and take the money." The man
went on this errand. Meanwhile, to make matters sure, Geldern
arranged a play-party at my house, inviting you thither with your
bank, as you may remember; and finding means, at the same time, to
let Maxime de Magny know that there was to be faro at Madame de
Liliengarten's. It was an invitation the poor fellow never
neglected.'

I remembered the facts, and listened on, amazed at the artifice of
the infernal Minister of Police.

'The spy came back from his message to Lowe, and stated that he had
made inquiries among the servants of the house where the Heidelberg
banker lodged, and that it was the latter's intention to leave X----
that afternoon. He travelled by himself, riding an old horse,
exceedingly humbly attired, after the manner of his people.

'"Johann," said the Minister, clapping the pleased spy upon the
shoulder, "I am more and more pleased with you. I have been
thinking, since you left me, of your intelligence, and the faithful
manner in which you have served me; and shall soon find an occasion
to place you according to your merits. Which way does this
Israelitish scoundrel take?"

'"He goes to R----to-night."

'"And must pass by the Kaiserwald. Are you a man of courage, Johann
Kerner?"

'"Will your Excellency try me?" said the man, his eyes glittering:
"I served through the Seven Years' War, and was never known to fail
there."

'"Now, listen. The emerald must be taken from that Jew: in the very
keeping it the scoundrel has committed high treason. To the man who
brings me that emerald I swear I will give five hundred louis. You
understand why it is necessary that it should be restored to her
Highness. I need say no more."

'"You shall have it to-night, sir," said the man. "Of course your
Excellency will hold me harmless in case of accident."

'"Psha!" answered the Minister; "I will pay you half the money
beforehand; such is my confidence in you. Accident's impossible if
you take your measures properly. There are four leagues of wood; the
Jew rides slowly. It will be night before he can reach, let us say,
the old Powder-Mill in the wood. What's to prevent you from putting
a rope across the road, and dealing with him there? Be back with me
this evening at supper. If you meet any of the patrol, say 'foxes
are loose,'--that's the word for to-night. They will let you pass
them without questions."

'The man went off quite charmed with his commission; and when Magny
was losing his money at our faro-table, his servant waylaid the Jew
at the spot named the Powder-Mill, in the Kaiserwald. The Jew's
horse stumbled over a rope which had been placed across the road;
and, as the rider fell groaning to the ground, Johann Kerner rushed
out on him, masked, and pistol in hand, and demanded his money. He
had no wish to kill the Jew, I believe, unless his resistance should
render extreme measures necessary.

'Nor did he commit any such murder; for, as the yelling Jew roared
for mercy, and his assailant menaced him with a pistol, a squad of
patrol came up, and laid hold of the robber and the wounded man.

'Kerner swore an oath. "You have come too soon," said he to the
sergeant of the police. "FOXES ARE LOOSE." "Some are caught," said
the sergeant, quite unconcerned; and bound the fellow's hands with
the rope which he had stretched across the road to entrap the Jew.
He was placed behind a policeman on a horse; Lowe was similarly
accommodated, and the party thus came back into the town as the
night fell. 'They were taken forthwith to the police quarter; and,
as the chief happened to be there, they were examined by his
Excellency in person. Both were rigorously searched; the Jew's
papers and cases taken from him: the jewel was found in a private
pocket. As for the spy, the Minister, looking at him angrily, said,
"Why, this is the servant of the Chevalier de Magny, one of her
Highness's equerries!" and without hearing a word in exculpation
from the poor frightened wretch, ordered him into close confinement.

'Calling for his horse, he then rode to the Prince's apartments at
the palace, and asked for an instant audience. When admitted, he
produced the emerald. "This jewel," said he, "has been found on the
person of a Heidelberg Jew, who has been here repeatedly of late,
and has had many dealings with her Highness's equerry, the Chevalier
de Magny. This afternoon the Chevalier's servant came from his
master's lodgings, accompanied by the Hebrew; was heard to make
inquiries as to the route the man intended to take on his way
homewards; followed him, or preceded him rather, and was found in
the act of rifling his victim by my police in the Kaiserwald. The
man will confess nothing; but, on being searched, a large sum in
gold was found on his person; and though it is with the utmost pain
that I can bring myself to entertain such an opinion, and to
implicate a gentleman of the character and name of Monsieur de
Magny, I do submit that our duty is to have the Chevalier examined
relative to the affair. As Monsieur de Magny is in her Highness's
private service, and in her confidence I have heard, I would not
venture to apprehend him without your Highness's permission."

'The Prince's Master of the Horse, a friend of the old Baron de
Magny, who was present at the interview, no sooner heard the strange
intelligence than he hastened away to the old general with the
dreadful news of his grandson's supposed crime. Perhaps his Highness
himself was not unwilling that his old friend and tutor in arms
should have the chance of saving his family from disgrace; at all
events, Monsieur de Hengst, the Master of the Horse, was permitted
to go off to the Baron undisturbed, and break to him the
intelligence of the accusation pending over the unfortunate
Chevalier.

'It is possible that he expected some such dreadful catastrophe,
for, after hearing Hengst's narrative (as the latter afterwards told
me), he only said, "Heaven's will be done!" for some time refused to
stir a step in the matter, and then only by the solicitation of his
friend was induced to write the letter which Maxime de Magny
received at our play-table.

'Whilst he was there, squandering the Princess's money, a police
visit was paid to his apartments, and a hundred proofs, not of his
guilt with respect to the robbery, but of his guilty connection with
the Princess, were discovered there,--tokens of her giving,
passionate letters from her, copies of his own correspondence to his
young friends at Paris,--all of which the Police Minister perused,
and carefully put together under seal for his Highness, Prince
Victor. I have no doubt he perused them, for, on delivering them to
the Hereditary Prince, Geldern said that, IN OBEDIENCE TO HIS
HIGHNESS'S ORDERS, he had collected the Chevalier's papers; but he
need not say that, on his honour, he (Geldern) himself had never
examined the documents. His difference with Messieurs de Magny was
known; he begged his Highness to employ any other official person in
the judgment of the accusation brought against the young Chevalier.

'All these things were going on while the Chevalier was at play. A
run of luck--you had great luck in those days, Monsieur de Balibari--
was against him. He stayed and lost his 4000 ducats. He received
his uncle's note, and such was the infatuation of the wretched
gambler, that, on receipt of it, he went down to the courtyard,
where the horse was in waiting, absolutely took the money which the
poor old gentleman had placed in the saddle-holsters, brought it
upstairs, played it, and lost it; and when he issued from the room
to fly, it was too late: he was placed in arrest at the bottom of my
staircase, as you were upon entering your own home.

'Even when he came in under the charge of the soldiery sent to
arrest him, the old General, who was waiting, was overjoyed to see
him, and flung himself into the lad's arms, and embraced him: it was
said, for the first time in many years. "He is here, gentlemen," he
sobbed out,--"thank God he is not guilty of the robbery!" and then
sank back in a chair in a burst of emotion; painful, it was said by
those present, to witness on the part of a man so brave, and known
to be so cold and stern.

'"Robbery!" said the young man. "I swear before Heaven I am guilty
of none!" and a scene of almost touching reconciliation passed
between them, before the unhappy young man was led from the guard-
house into the prison which he was destined never to quit.

'That night the Duke looked over the papers which Geldern had
brought to him. It was at a very early stage of the perusal, no
doubt, that he gave orders for your arrest; for you were taken at
midnight, Magny at ten o'clock; after which time the old Baron de
Magny had seen his Highness, protesting of his grandson's innocence,
and the Prince had received him most graciously and kindly. His
Highness said he had no doubt the young man was innocent; his birth
and his blood rendered such a crime impossible; but suspicion was
too strong against him: he was known to have been that day closeted
with the Jew; to have received a very large sum of money which he
squandered at play, and of which the Hebrew had, doubtless, been the
lender,--to have despatched his servant after him, who inquired the
hour of the Jew's departure, lay in wait for him, and rifled him.
Suspicion was so strong against the Chevalier, that common justice
required his arrest; and, meanwhile, until he cleared himself, he
should be kept in not dishonourable durance, and every regard had
for his name, and the services of his honourable grandfather. With
this assurance, and with a warm grasp of the hand, the Prince left
old General de Magny that night; and the veteran retired to rest
almost consoled, and confident in Maxime's eventual and immediate
release.

'But in the morning, before daybreak, the Prince, who had been
reading papers all night, wildly called to the page, who slept in
the next room across the door, bade him get horses, which were
always kept in readiness in the stables, and, flinging a parcel of
letters into a box, told the page to follow him on horseback with
these. The young man (Monsieur de Weissenborn) told this to a young
lady who was then of my household, and who is now Madame de
Weissenborn, and a mother of a score of children.

'The page described that never was such a change seen as in his
august master in the course of that single night. His eyes were
bloodshot, his face livid, his clothes were hanging loose about him,
and he who had always made his appearance on parade as precisely
dressed as any sergeant of his troops, might have been seen
galloping through the lonely streets at early dawn without a hat,
his unpowdered hair streaming behind him like a madman.

'The page, with the box of papers, clattered after his master,--it
was no easy task to follow him; and they rode from the palace to the
town, and through it to the General's quarter. The sentinels at the
door were scared at the strange figure that rushed up to the
General's gate, and, not knowing him, crossed bayonets, and refused
him admission. "Fools," said Weissenborn, "it is the Prince!" And,
jangling at the bell as if for an alarm of fire, the door was at
length opened by the porter, and his Highness ran up to the Generals
bedchamber, followed by the page with the box.

'"Magny--Magny," roared the Prince, thundering at the closed door,
"get up!" And to the queries of the old man from within, answered,
"It is I--Victor--the Prince!--get up!" And presently the door was
opened by the General in his ROBE-DE-CHAMBRE, and the Prince
entered. The page brought in the box, and was bidden to wait
without, which he did; but there led from Monsieur de Magny's
bedroom into his antechamber two doors, the great one which formed
the entrance into his room, and a smaller one which led, as the
fashion is with our houses abroad, into the closet which
communicates with the alcove where the bed is. The door of this was
found by M. de Weissenborn to be open, and the young man was thus
enabled to hear and see everything which occurred within the
apartment.

'The General, somewhat nervously, asked what was the reason of so
early a visit from his Highness; to which the Prince did not for a
while reply, farther than by staring at him rather wildly, and
pacing up and down the room.

'At last he said, "Here is the cause!" dashing his fist on the box;
and, as he had forgotten to bring the key with him, he went to the
door for a moment, saying, "Weissenborn perhaps has it;" but seeing
over the stove one of the General's couteaux de chasse, he took it
down, and said, "That will do," and fell to work to burst the red
trunk open with the blade of the forest knife. The point broke, and
he gave an oath, but continued haggling on with the broken blade,
which was better suited to his purpose than the long pointed knife,
and finally succeeded in wrenching open the lid of the chest.

'"What is the matter?" said he, laughing. "Here's the matter;--read
that!--here's more matter, read that!--here's more--no, not that;
that's somebody else's picture--but here's hers! Do you know that,
Magny? My wife's--the Princess's! Why did you and your cursed race
ever come out of France, to plant your infernal wickedness wherever
your feet fell, and to ruin honest German homes? What have you and
yours ever had from my family but confidence and kindness? We gave
you a home when you had none, and here's our reward!" and he flung a
parcel of papers down before the old General; who saw the truth at
once;--he had known it long before, probably, and sank down on his
chair, covering his face.

'The Prince went on gesticulating, and shrieking almost. "If a man
injured you so, Magny, before you begot the father of that gambling
lying villain yonder, you would have known how to revenge yourself.
You would have killed him! Yes, would have killed him. But who's to
help me to my revenge? I've no equal. I can't meet that dog of a
Frenchman,--that pimp from Versailles,--and kill him, as if he had
played the traitor to one of his own degree."

'"The blood of Maxime de Magny," said the old gentleman proudly, "is
as good as that of any prince in Christendom."

'"Can I take it?" cried the Prince; "you know I can't. I can't have
the privilege of any other gentleman in Europe. What am I to do?
Look here, Magny: I was wild when I came here; I didn't know what to
do. You've served me for thirty years; you've saved my life twice:
they are all knaves and harlots about my poor old father here--no
honest men or women--you are the only one--you saved my life; tell
me what am I to do?" Thus from insulting Monsieur de Magny, the poor
distracted Prince fell to supplicating him; and, at last, fairly
flung himself down, and burst out in an agony of tears.

'Old Magny, one of the most rigid and cold of men on common
occasions, when he saw this outbreak of passion on the Prince's
part, became, as my informant has described to me, as much affected
as his master. The old man from being cold and high, suddenly fell,
as it were, into the whimpering querulousness of extreme old age. He
lost all sense of dignity; he went down on his knees, and broke out
into all sorts of wild incoherent attempts at consolation; so much
so, that Weissenborn said he could not bear to look at the scene,
and actually turned away from the contemplation of it.

'But, from what followed in a few days, we may guess the results of
the long interview. The Prince, when he came away from the
conversation with his old servant, forgot his fatal box of papers
and sent the page back for them. The General was on his knees
praying in the room when the young man entered, and only stirred and
looked wildly round as the other removed the packet. The Prince rode
away to his hunting-lodge at three leagues from X----, and three
days after that Maxime de Magny died in prison; having made a
confession that he was engaged in an attempt to rob the Jew, and
that he had made away with himself, ashamed of his dishonour.

'But it is not known that it was the General himself who took his
grandson poison: it was said even that he shot him in the prison.
This, however, was not the case. General de Magny carried his
grandson the draught which was to carry him out of the world;
represented to the wretched youth that his fate was inevitable; that
it would be public and disgraceful unless he chose to anticipate the
punishment, and so left him. But IT WAS NOT OF HIS OWN ACCORD, and
not until he had used EVERY means of escape, as you shall hear, that
the unfortunate being's life was brought to an end.

'As for General de Magny, he quite fell into imbecility a short time
after his grandson's death, and my honoured Duke's demise. After his
Highness the Prince married the Princess Mary of F----, as they were
walking in the English park together they once met old Magny riding
in the sun in the easy chair, in which he was carried commonly
abroad after his paralytic fits. "This is my wife, Magny," said the
Prince affectionately, taking the veteran's hand; and he added,
turning to his Princess, "General de Magny saved my life during the
Seven Years' War."

'"What, you've taken her back again?" said the old man. "I wish
you'd send me back my poor Maxime." He had quite forgotten the death
of the poor Princess Olivia, and the Prince, looking very dark
indeed, passed away.

'And now,' said Madame de Liliengarten, 'I have only one more gloomy
story to relate to you--the death of the Princess Olivia. It is even
more horrible than the tale I have just told you.' With which
preface the old lady resumed her narrative.

'The kind weak Princess's fate was hastened, if not occasioned, by
the cowardice of Magny. He found means to communicate with her from
his prison, and her Highness, who was not in open disgrace yet (for
the Duke, out of regard to the family, persisted in charging Magny
with only robbery), made the most desperate efforts to relieve him,
and to bribe the gaolers to effect his escape. She was so wild that
she lost all patience and prudence in the conduct of any schemes she
may have had for Magny's liberation; for her husband was inexorable,
and caused the Chevalier's prison to be too strictly guarded for
escape to be possible. She offered the State jewels in pawn to the
Court banker; who of course was obliged to decline the transaction.
She fell down on her knees, it is said, to Geldern, the Police
Minister, and offered him Heaven knows what as a bribe. Finally, she
came screaming to my poor dear Duke, who, with his age, diseases,
and easy habits, was quite unfit for scenes of so violent a nature;
and who, in consequence of the excitement created in his august
bosom by her frantic violence and grief, had a fit in which I very
nigh lost him. That his dear life was brought to an untimely end by
these transactions I have not the slightest doubt; for the
Strasbourg pie, of which they said he died, never, I am sure, could
have injured him, but for the injury which his dear gentle heart
received from the unusual occurrences in which he was forced to take
a share.

'All her Highness's movements were carefully, though not ostensibly,
watched by her husband, Prince Victor; who, waiting upon his august
father, sternly signified to him that if his Highness (MY Duke)
should dare to aid the Princess in her efforts to release Magny, he,
Prince Victor, would publicly accuse the Princess and her paramour
of high treason, and take measures with the Diet for removing his
father from the throne, as incapacitated to reign. Hence
interposition on our part was vain, and Magny was left to his fate.

'It came, as you are aware, very suddenly. Geldern, Police Minister,
Hengst, Master of the Horse, and the colonel of the Prince's guard,
waited upon the young man in his prison two days after his
grandfather had visited him there and left behind him the phial of
poison which the criminal had not the courage to use. And Geldern
signified to the young man that unless he took of his own accord the
laurelwater provided by the elder Magny, more violent means of death
would be instantly employed upon him, and that a file of grenadiers
was in waiting in the courtyard to despatch him. Seeing this, Magny,
with the most dreadful self-abasement, after dragging himself round
the room on his knees from one officer to another, weeping and
screaming with terror, at last desperately drank off the potion, and
was a corpse in a few minutes. Thus ended this wretched young man.

'His death was made public in the COURT GAZETTE two days after, the
paragraph stating that Monsieur de M----, struck with remorse for
having attempted the murder of the Jew, had put himself to death by
poison in prison; and a warning was added to all young noblemen of
the duchy to avoid the dreadful sin of gambling, which had been the
cause of the young man's ruin, and had brought upon the grey hairs
of one of the noblest and most honourable of the servants of the
Duke irretrievable sorrow.

'The funeral was conducted with decent privacy, the General de Magny
attending it. The carriages of the two Dukes and all the first
people of the Court made their calls upon the General afterwards. He
attended parade as usual the next day on the Arsenal-Place, and Duke
Victor, who had been inspecting the building, came out of it leaning
on the brave old warrior's arm. He was particularly gracious to the
old man, and told his officers the oft-repeated story how at
Rosbach, when the X----contingent served with the troops of the
unlucky Soubise, the General had thrown himself in the way of a
French dragoon, who was pressing hard upon his Highness in the rout,
had received the blow intended for his master, and killed the
assailant. And he alluded to the family motto of "Magny sans tache,"
and said, "It had been always so with his gallant friend and tutor
in arms." This speech affected all present very much; with the
exception of the old General, who only bowed and did not speak: but
when he went home he was heard muttering "Magny sans tache, Magny
sans tache!" and was attacked with paralysis that night, from which
he never more than partially recovered.

'The news of Maxime's death had somehow been kept from the Princess
until now: a GAZETTE even being printed without the paragraph
containing the account of his suicide; but it was at length, I know
not how, made known to her. And when she heard it, her ladies tell
me, she screamed and fell, as if struck dead; then sat up wildly and
raved like a madwoman, and was then carried to her bed, where her
physician attended her, and where she lay of a brain-fever. All this
while the Prince used to send to make inquiries concerning her; and
from his giving orders that his Castle of Schlangenfels should be
prepared and furnished, I make no doubt it was his intention to send
her into confinement thither: as had been done with the unhappy
sister of His Britannic Majesty at Zell.

'She sent repeatedly to demand an interview with his Highness; which
the latter declined, saying that he would communicate with her
Highness when her health was sufficiently recovered. To one of her
passionate letters he sent back for reply a packet, which, when
opened, was found to contain the emerald that had been the cause
round which all this dark intrigue moved.

'Her Highness at this time became quite frantic; vowed in the
presence of all her ladies that one lock of her darling Maxime's
hair was more precious to her than all the jewels in the world: rang
for her carriage, and said she would go and kiss his tomb;
proclaimed the murdered martyr's innocence, and called down the
punishment of Heaven, the wrath of her family, upon his assassin.
The Prince, on hearing these speeches (they were all, of course,
regularly brought to him), is said to have given one of his dreadful
looks (which I remember now), and to have said, "This cannot last
much longer."

'All that day and the next the Princess Olivia passed in dictating
the most passionate letters to the Prince her father, to the Kings
of France, Naples, and Spain, her kinsmen, and to all other branches
of her family, calling upon them in the most incoherent terms to
protect her against the butcher and assassin her husband, assailing
his person in the maddest terms of reproach, and at the same time
confessing her love for the murdered Magny. It was in vain that
those ladies who were faithful to her pointed out to her the
inutility of these letters, the dangerous folly of the confessions
which they made; she insisted upon writing them, and used to give
them to her second robe-woman, a Frenchwoman (her Highness always
affectioned persons of that nation), who had the key of her
cassette, and carried every one of these epistles to Geldern.

'With the exception that no public receptions were held, the
ceremony of the Princess's establishment went on as before. Her
ladies were allowed to wait upon her and perform their usual duties
about her person. The only men admitted were, however, her servants,
her physician and chaplain; and one day when she wished to go into
the garden, a heyduc, who kept the door, intimated to her Highness
that the Prince's orders were that she should keep her apartments.

'They abut, as you remember, upon the landing of the marble
staircase of Schloss X----; the entrance to Prince Victor's suite of
rooms being opposite the Princess's on the same landing. This space
is large, filled with sofas and benches, and the gentlemen and
officers who waited upon the Duke used to make a sort of antechamber
of the landing-place, and pay their court to his Highness there, as
he passed out, at eleven o'clock, to parade. At such a time, the
heyducs within the Princess's suite of rooms used to turn out with
their halberts and present to Prince Victor--the same ceremony being
performed on his own side, when pages came out and announced the
approach of his Highness. The pages used to come out and say, "The
Prince, gentlemen!" and the drums beat in the hall, and the
gentlemen rose, who were waiting on the benches that ran along the
balustrade.

'As if fate impelled her to her death, one day the Princess, as her
guards turned out, and she was aware that the Prince was standing,
as was his wont, on the landing, conversing with his gentlemen (in
the old days he used to cross to the Princess's apartment and kiss
her hand)--the Princess, who had been anxious all the morning,
complaining of heat, insisting that all the doors of the apartments
should be left open; and giving tokens of an insanity which I think
was now evident, rushed wildly at the doors when the guards passed
out, flung them open, and before a word could be said, or her ladies
could follow her, was in presence of Duke Victor, who was talking as
usual on the landing: placing herself between him and the stair, she
began apostrophising him with frantic vehemence:--

'"Take notice, gentlemen!" she screamed out, "that this man is a
murderer and a liar; that he lays plots for honourable gentlemen,
and kills them in prison! Take notice, that I too am in prison, and
fear the same fate: the same butcher who killed Maxime de Magny,
may, any night, put the knife to my throat. I appeal to you, and to
all the kings of Europe, my Royal kinsmen. I demand to be set free
from this tyrant and villain, this liar and traitor! I adjure you
all, as gentlemen of honour, to carry these letters to my relatives,
and say from whom you had them!" and with this the unhappy lady
began scattering letters about among the astonished crowd.

'"LET NO MAN STOOP!" cried the Prince, in a voice of thunder.
"Madame de Gleim, you should have watched your patient better. Call
the Princess's physicians: her Highness's brain is affected.
Gentlemen, have the goodness to retire." And the Prince stood on the
landing as the gentlemen went down the stairs, saying fiercely to
the guard, "Soldier, if she moves, strike with your halbert!" on
which the man brought the point of his weapon to the Princess's
breast; and the lady, frightened, shrank back and re-entered her
apartments. "Now, Monsieur de Weissenborn," said the Prince, "pick
up all those papers;" and the Prince went into his own apartments,
preceded by his pages, and never quitted them until he had seen
every one of the papers burnt.

'The next day the COURT GAZETTE contained a bulletin signed by the
three physicians, stating that "her Highness the Hereditary Princess
laboured under inflammation of the brain, and had passed a restless
and disturbed night." Similar notices were issued day after day. The
services of all her ladies, except two, were dispensed with. Guards
were placed within and without her doors; her windows were secured,
so that escape from them was impossible: and you know what took
place ten days after. The church-bells were ringing all night, and
the prayers of the faithful asked for a person IN EXTREMIS. A
GAZETTE appeared in the morning, edged with black, and stating that
the high and mighty Princess Olivia Maria Ferdinanda, consort of His
Serene Highness Victor Louis Emanuel, Hereditary Prince of X----,
had died in the evening of the 24th of January 1769.

'But do you know HOW she died, sir? That, too, is a mystery.
Weissenborn, the page, was concerned in this dark tragedy; and the
secret was so dreadful, that never, believe me, till Prince Victor's
death, did I reveal it.

'After the fatal ESCLANDRE which the Princess had made, the Prince
sent for Weissenborn, and binding him by the most solemn adjuration
to secrecy (he only broke it to his wife many years after: indeed,
there is no secret in the world that women cannot know if they
will), despatched him on the following mysterious commission.

'"There lives," said his Highness, "on the Kehl side of the river,
opposite to Strasbourg, a man whose residence you will easily find
out from his name, which is MONSIEUR DE STRASBOURG. You will make
your inquiries concerning him quietly, and without occasioning any
remark; perhaps you had better go into Strasbourg for the purpose,
where the person is quite well known. You will take with you any
comrade on whom you can perfectly rely: the lives of both, remember,
depend on your secrecy. You will find out some period when MONSIEUR
DE STRASBOURG is alone, or only in company of the domestic who lives
with him (I myself visited the man by accident on my return from
Paris five years since, and hence am induced to send for him now, in
my present emergency). You will have your carriage waiting at his
door at night; and you and your comrade will enter his house masked;
and present him with a purse of a hundred louis; promising him
double that sum on his return from his expedition. If he refuse, you
must use force and bring him; menacing him with instant death should
he decline to follow you. You will place him in the carriage with
the blinds drawn, one or other of you never losing sight of him the
whole way, and threatening him with death if he discover himself or
cry out. You will lodge him in the old Tower here, where a room
shall be prepared for him; and his work being done, you will restore
him to his home with the same speed and secrecy with which you
brought him from it."

'Such were the mysterious orders Prince Victor gave his page; and
Weissenborn, selecting for his comrade in the expedition Lieutenant
Bartenstein, set out on his strange journey.

'All this while the palace was hushed, as if in mourning, the
bulletins in the COURT GAZETTE appeared, announcing the continuance
of the Princess's malady; and though she had but few attendants,
strange and circumstantial stories were told regarding the progress
of her complaint. She was quite wild. She had tried to kill herself.
She had fancied herself to be I don't know how many different
characters. Expresses were sent to her family informing them of her
state, and couriers despatched PUBLICLY to Vienna and Paris to
procure the attendance of physicians skilled in treating diseases of
the brain. That pretended anxiety was all a feint: it was never
intended that the Princess should recover.

'The day on which Weissenborn and Bartenstein returned from their
expedition, it was announced that her Highness the Princess was much
worse; that night the report through the town was that she was at
the agony: and that night the unfortunate creature was endeavouring
to make her escape.

'She had unlimited confidence in the French chamber-woman who
attended her, and between her and this woman the plan of escape was
arranged. The Princess took her jewels in a casket; a private door,
opening from one of her rooms and leading into the outer gate, it
was said, of the palace, was discovered for her: and a letter was
brought to her, purporting to be from the Duke, her father-in-law,
and stating that a carriage and horses had been provided, and would
take her to B----: the territory where she might communicate with
her family and be safe.

'The unhappy lady, confiding in her guardian, set out on the
expedition. The passages wound through the walls of the modern part
of the palace and abutted in effect at the old Owl Tower, as it was
called, on the outer wall: the tower was pulled down afterwards, and
for good reason.

'At a certain place the candle, which the chamberwoman was carrying,
went out; and the Princess would have screamed with terror, but her
hand was seized, and a voice cried "Hush!" The next minute a man in
a mask (it was the Duke himself) rushed forward, gagged her with a
handkerchief, her hands and legs were bound, and she was carried
swooning with terror into a vaulted room, where she was placed by a
person there waiting, and tied in an arm-chair. The same mask who
had gagged her, came and bared her neck and said, "It had best be
done now she has fainted."

'Perhaps it would have been as well; for though she recovered from
her swoon, and her confessor, who was present, came forward and
endeavoured to prepare her for the awful deed which was about to be
done upon her, and for the state into which she was about to enter,
when she came to herself it was only to scream like a maniac, to
curse the Duke as a butcher and tyrant, and to call upon Magny, her
dear Magny.

'At this the Duke said, quite calmly, "May God have mercy on her
sinful soul!" He, the confessor, and Geldern, who were present, went
down on their knees; and, as his Highness dropped his handkerchief,
Weissenborn fell down in a fainting fit; while MONSIEUR DE
STRASBOURG, taking the back hair in his hand, separated the
shrieking head of Olivia from the miserable sinful body. May Heaven
have mercy upon her soul!'

. . . .

This was the story told by Madame de Liliengarten, and the reader
will have no difficulty in drawing from it that part which affected
myself and my uncle; who, after six weeks of arrest, were set at
liberty, but with orders to quit the duchy immediately: indeed, with
an escort of dragoons to conduct us to the frontier. What property
we had, we were allowed to sell and realise in money; but none of
our play debts were paid to us: and all my hopes of the Countess Ida
were thus at an end.

When Duke Victor came to the throne, which he did when, six months
after, apoplexy carried off the old sovereign his father, all the
good old usages of X----were given up,--play forbidden; the opera
and ballet sent to the right-about; and the regiments which the old
Duke had sold recalled from their foreign service: with them came my
Countess's beggarly cousin the ensign, and he married her. I don't
know whether they were happy or not. It is certain that a woman of
such a poor spirit did not merit any very high degree of pleasure.

The now reigning Duke of X----himself married four years after his
first wife's demise, and Geldern, though no longer Police Minister,
built the grand house of which Madame de Liliengarten spoke. What
became of the minor actors in the great tragedy, who knows? Only
MONSIEUR DE STRASBOURG was restored to his duties. Of the rest--the
Jew, the chamber-woman, the spy on Magny--I know nothing. Those
sharp tools with which great people cut out their enterprises are
generally broken in the using: nor did I ever hear that their
employers had much regard for them in their ruin.

CHAPTER XIII

I CONTINUE MY CAREER AS A MAN OF FASHION

I find I have already filled up many scores of pages, and yet a vast
deal of the most interesting portion of my history remains to be
told, viz. that which describes my sojourn in the kingdoms of
England and Ireland, and the great part I played there; moving among
the most illustrious of the land, myself not the least distinguished
of the brilliant circle. In order to give due justice to this
portion of my Memoirs, then,--which is more important than my
foreign adventures can be (though I could fill volumes with
interesting descriptions of the latter),--I shall cut short the
account of my travels in Europe, and of my success at the
Continental Courts, in order to speak of what befell me at home.
Suffice it to say that there is not a capital in Europe, except the
beggarly one of Berlin, where the young Chevalier de Balibari was
not known and admired; and where he has not made the brave, the
high-born, and the beautiful talk of him. I won 80,000 roubles from
Potemkin at the Winter Palace at Petersburg, which the scoundrelly
favourite never paid me; I have had the honour of seeing his Royal
Highness the Chevalier Charles Edward as drunk as any porter at
Rome; my uncle played several matches at billiards against the
celebrated Lord C----at Spa, and I promise you did not come off a
loser. In fact, by a neat stratagem of ours, we raised the laugh
against his Lordship, and something a great deal more substantial.
My Lord did not know that the Chevalier Barry had a useless eye; and
when, one day, my uncle playfully bet him odds at billiards that he
would play him with a patch over one eye, the noble lord, thinking
to bite us (he was one of the most desperate gamblers that ever
lived), accepted the bet, and we won a very considerable amount of
him.

Nor need I mention my successes among the fairer portion of the
creation. One of the most accomplished, the tallest, the most
athletic, and the handsomest gentlemen of Europe, as I was then, a
young fellow of my figure could not fail of having advantages, which
a person of my spirit knew very well how to use. But upon these
subjects I am dumb. Charming Schuvaloff, black-eyed Sczotarska, dark
Valdez, tender Hegenheim, brilliant Langeac!--ye gentle hearts that
knew how to beat in old times for the warm young Irish gentleman,
where are you now? Though my hair has grown grey now, and my sight
dim, and my heart cold with years, and ennui, and disappointment,
and the treachery of friends, yet I have but to lean back in my arm-
chair and think, and those sweet figures come rising up before me
out of the past, with their smiles, and their kindnesses, and their
bright tender eyes! There are no women like them now--no manners
like theirs! Look you at a bevy of women at the Prince's, stitched
up in tight white satin sacks, with their waists under their arms,
and compare them to the graceful figures of the old time! Why, when
I danced with Coralie de Langeac at the fetes on the birth of the
first Dauphin at Versailles, her hoop was eighteen feet in
circumference, and the heels of her lovely little mules were three
inches from the ground; the lace of my jabot was worth a thousand
crowns, and the buttons of my amaranth velvet coat alone cost eighty
thousand livres. Look at the difference now! The gentlemen are
dressed like boxers, Quakers, or hackney-coachmen; and the ladies
are not dressed at all. There is no elegance, no refinement; none of
the chivalry of the old world, of which I form a portion. Think of
the fashion of London being led by a Br-mm-l! [Footnote: This
manuscript must have been written at the time when Mr. Brummel was
the leader of the London fashion.] a nobody's son: a low creature,
who can no more dance a minuet than I can talk Cherokee; who cannot
even crack a bottle like a gentleman; who never showed himself to be
a man with his sword in his hand: as we used to approve ourselves in
the good old times, before that vulgar Corsican upset the gentry of
the world! Oh, to see the Valdez once again, as on that day I met
her first driving in state, with her eight mules and her retinue of
gentlemen, by the side of yellow Mancanares! Oh, for another drive
with Hegenheim, in the gilded sledge, over the Saxon snow! False as
Schuvaloff was, 'twas better to be jilted by her than to be adored
by any other woman. I can't think of any one of them without
tenderness. I have ringlets of all their hair in my poor little
museum of recollections. Do you keep mine, you dear souls that
survive the turmoils and troubles of near half a hundred years? How
changed its colour is now, since the day Sczotarska wore it round
her neck, after my duel with Count Bjernaski, at Warsaw.

I never kept any beggarly books of accounts in those days. I had no
debts. I paid royally for everything I took; and I took everything I
wanted. My income must have been very large. My entertainments and
equipages were those of a gentleman of the highest distinction; nor
let any scoundrel presume to sneer because I carried off and married
my Lady Lyndon (as you shall presently hear), and call me an
adventurer, or say I was penniless, or the match unequal. Penniless!
I had the wealth of Europe at my command. Adventurer! So is a
meritorious lawyer or a gallant soldier; so is every man who makes
his own fortune an adventurer. My profession was play: in which I
was then unrivalled. No man could play with me through Europe, on
the square; and my income was just as certain (during health and the
exercise of my profession) as that of a man who draws on his Three-
per-cents., or any fat squire whose acres bring him revenue. Harvest
is not more certain than the effect of skill is: a crop is a chance,
as much as a game of cards greatly played by a fine player: there
may be a drought, or a frost, or a hail-storm, and your stake is
lost; but one man is just as much an adventurer as another.

In evoking the recollection of these kind and fair creatures I have
nothing but pleasure. I would I could say as much of the memory of
another lady, who will henceforth play a considerable part in the
drama of my life,--I mean the Countess of Lyndon; whose fatal
acquaintance I made at Spa, very soon after the events described in
the last chapter had caused me to quit Germany.

Honoria, Countess of Lyndon, Viscountess Bullingdon in England,
Baroness Castle Lyndon of the kingdom of Ireland, was so well known
to the great world in her day, that I have little need to enter into
her family history; which is to be had in any peerage that the
reader may lay his hand on. She was, as I need not say, a countess,
viscountess, and baroness in her own right. Her estates in Devon and
Cornwall were among the most extensive in those parts; her Irish
possessions not less magnificent; and they have been alluded to, in
a very early part of these Memoirs, as lying near to my own paternal
property in the kingdom of Ireland: indeed, unjust confiscations in
the time of Elizabeth and her father went to diminish my acres,
while they added to the already vast possessions of the Lyndon
family.

The Countess, when I first saw her at the assembly at Spa, was the
wife of her cousin, the Right Honourable Sir Charles Reginald
Lyndon, Knight of the Bath, and Minister to George II. and George
III. at several of the smaller Courts of Europe. Sir Charles Lyndon
was celebrated as a wit and bon vivant: he could write love-verses
against Hanbury Williams, and make jokes with George Selwyn; he was
a man of vertu like Harry Walpole, with whom and Mr. Grey he had
made a part of the grand tour; and was cited, in a word, as one of
the most elegant and accomplished men of his time.

I made this gentleman's acquaintance as usual at the play-table, of
which he was a constant frequenter. Indeed, one could not but admire
the spirit and gallantry with which he pursued his favourite
pastime; for, though worn out by gout and a myriad of diseases, a
cripple wheeled about in a chair, and suffering pangs of agony, yet
you would see him every morning and every evening at his post behind
the delightful green cloth: and if, as it would often happen, his
own hands were too feeble or inflamed to hold the box, he would call
the mains, nevertheless, and have his valet or a friend to throw for
him. I like this courageous spirit in a man; the greatest successes
in life have been won by such indomitable perseverance.

I was by this time one of the best-known characters in Europe; and
the fame of my exploits, my duels, my courage at play, would bring
crowds around me in any public society where I appeared. I could
show reams of scented paper, to prove that this eagerness to make my
acquaintance was not confined to the gentlemen only; but that I hate
boasting, and only talk of myself in so far as it is necessary to
relate myself's adventures: the most singular of any man's in
Europe. Well, Sir Charles Lyndon's first acquaintance with me
originated in the right honourable knight's winning 700 pieces of me
at picquet (for which he was almost my match); and I lost them with
much good-humour, and paid them: and paid them, you may be sure,
punctually. Indeed, I will say this for myself, that losing money at
play never in the least put me out of good-humour with the winner,
and that wherever I found a superior, I was always ready to
acknowledge and hail him.

Lyndon was very proud of winning from so celebrated a person, and we
contracted a kind of intimacy; which, however, did not for a while
go beyond pump-room attentions, and conversations over the supper-
table at play: but which gradually increased, until I was admitted
into his more private friendship. He was a very free-spoken man (the
gentry of those days were much prouder than at present), and used to
say to me in his haughty easy way, 'Hang it, Mr. Barry, you have no
more manners than a barber, and I think my black footman has been
better educated than you; but you are a young fellow of originality
and pluck, and I like you, sir, because you seem determined to go to
the deuce by a way of your own.' I would thank him laughingly for
this compliment, and say, that as he was bound to the next world
much sooner than I was, I would be obliged to him to get comfortable
quarters arranged there for me. He used also to be immensely amused
with my stories about the splendour of my family and the
magnificence of Castle Brady: he would never tire of listening or
laughing at those histories.

'Stick to the trumps, however, my lad,' he would say, when I told
him of my misfortunes in the conjugal line, and how near I had been
winning the greatest fortune in Germany. 'Do anything but marry, my
artless Irish rustic' (he called me by a multiplicity of queer
names). 'Cultivate your great talents in the gambling line; but mind
this, that a woman will beat you.'

That I denied; mentioning several instances in which I had conquered
the most intractable tempers among the sex.

'They will beat you in the long run, my Tipperary Alcibiades. As
soon as you are married, take my word of it, you are conquered. Look
at me. I married my cousin, the noblest and greatest heiress in
England--married her in spite of herself almost' (here a dark shade
passed over Sir Charles Lyndon's countenance). 'She is a weak woman.
You shall see her, sir, HOW weak she is; but she is my mistress. She
has embittered my whole life. She is a fool; but she has got the
better of one of the best heads in Christendom. She is enormously
rich; but somehow I have never been so poor as since I married her.
I thought to better myself; and she has made me miserable and killed
me. And she will do as much for my successor, when I am gone.'

'Has her Ladyship a very large income?' said I. At which Sir Charles
burst out into a yelling laugh, and made me blush not a little at my
gaucherie; for the fact is, seeing him in the condition in which he
was, I could not help speculating upon the chance a man of spirit
might have with his widow.

'No, no!' said he, laughing. 'Waugh hawk, Mr. Barry; don't think, if
you value your peace of mind, to stand in my shoes when they are
vacant. Besides, I don't think my Lady Lyndon would QUITE condescend
to marry a'----

'Marry a what, sir?' said I, in a rage.

"Never mind what: but the man who gets her will rue it, take my word
on't. A plague on her! had it not been for my father's ambition and
mine (he was her uncle and guardian, and we wouldn't let such a
prize out of the family), I might have died peaceably, at least;
carried my gout down to my grave in quiet, lived in my modest
tenement in Mayfair, had every house in England open to me; and now,
now I have six of my own, and every one of them is a hell to me.
Beware of greatness, Mr. Barry. Take warning by me. Ever since I
have been married and have been rich, I have been the most miserable
wretch in the world. Look at me. I am dying a worn-out cripple at
the age of fifty. Marriage has added forty years to my life. When I
took off Lady Lyndon, there was no man of my years who looked so
young as myself. Fool that I was! I had enough with my pensions,
perfect freedom, the best society in Europe; and I gave up all
these, and married, and was miserable. Take a warning by me, Captain
Barry, and stick to the trumps."

Though my intimacy with the knight was considerable, for a long time
I never penetrated into any other apartments of his hotel but those
which he himself occupied. His lady lived entirely apart from him;
and it is only curious how they came to travel together at all. She
was a goddaughter of old Mary Wortley Montagu: and, like that famous
old woman of the last century, made considerable pretensions to be a
blue-stocking and a bel esprit. Lady Lyndon wrote poems in English
and Italian, which still may be read by the curious in the pages of
the magazines of the day. She entertained a correspondence with
several of the European savans upon history, science, and ancient
languages, and especially theology. Her pleasure was to dispute
controversial points with abbes and bishops; and her flatterers said
she rivalled Madam Dacier in learning. Every adventurer who had a
discovery in chemistry, a new antique bust, or a plan for
discovering the philosopher's stone, was sure to find a patroness in
her. She had numberless works dedicated to her, and sonnets without
end addressed to her by all the poetasters of Europe, under the name
of Lindonira or Calista. Her rooms were crowded with hideous China
magots, and all sorts of objects of VERTU.

No woman piqued herself more upon her principles, or allowed love to
be made to her more profusely. There was a habit of courtship
practised by the fine gentlemen of those days, which is little
understood in our coarse downright times: and young and old fellows
would pour out floods of compliments in letters and madrigals, such
as would make a sober lady stare were they addressed to her
nowadays: so entirely has the gallantry of the last century
disappeared out of our manners.

Lady Lyndon moved about with a little court of her own. She had
half-a-dozen carriages in her progresses. In her own she would
travel with her companion (some shabby lady of quality), her birds,
and poodles, and the favourite savant for the time being. In another
would be her female secretary and her waiting-women; who, in spite
of their care, never could make their mistress look much better than
a slattern. Sir Charles Lyndon had his own chariot, and the
domestics of the establishment would follow in other vehicles.

Also must be mentioned the carriage in which rode her Ladyship's
chaplain, Mr. Runt, who acted in capacity of governor to her son,
the little Viscount Bullingdon,--a melancholy deserted little boy,
about whom his father was more than indifferent, and whom his mother
never saw, except for two minutes at her levee, when she would put
to him a few questions of history or Latin grammar; after which he
was consigned to his own amusements, or the care of his governor,
for the rest of the day.

The notion of such a Minerva as this, whom I saw in the public
places now and then, surrounded by swarms of needy abbes and
schoolmasters, who flattered her, frightened me for some time, and I
had not the least desire to make her acquaintance. I had no desire
to be one of the beggarly adorers in the great lady's train,--
fellows, half friend, half lacquey, who made verses, and wrote
letters, and ran errands, content to be paid by a seat in her
Ladyship's box at the comedy, or a cover at her dinner-table at
noon. 'Don't be afraid,' Sir Charles Lyndon would say, whose great
subject of conversation and abuse was his lady: 'my Lindonira will
have nothing to do with you. She likes the Tuscan brogue, not that
of Kerry. She says you smell too much of the stable to be admitted
to ladies' society; and last Sunday fortnight, when she did me the
honour to speak to me last, said, "I wonder, Sir Charles Lyndon, a
gentleman who has been the King's ambassador can demean himself by
gambling and boozing with low Irish blacklegs!" Don't fly in a fury!
I'm a cripple, and it was Lindonira said it, not I.'

This piqued me, and I resolved to become acquainted with Lady
Lyndon; if it were but to show her Ladyship that the descendant of
those Barrys, whose property she unjustly held, was not an unworthy
companion for any lady, were she ever so high. Besides, my friend
the knight was dying: his widow would be the richest prize in the
three kingdoms. Why should I not win her, and, with her, the means
of making in the world that figure which my genius and inclination
desired? I felt I was equal in blood and breeding to any Lyndon in
Christendom, and determined to bend this haughty lady. When I
determine, I look upon the thing as done.

My uncle and I talked the matter over, and speedily settled upon a
method for making our approaches upon this stately lady of Castle
Lyndon. Mr. Runt, young Lord Bullingdon's governor, was fond of
pleasure, of a glass of Rhenish in the garden-houses in the summer
evenings, and of a sly throw of the dice when the occasion offered;
and I took care to make friends with this person, who, being a
college tutor and an Englishman, was ready to go on his knees to any
one who resembled a man of fashion. Seeing me with my retinue of
servants, my vis-a-vis and chariots, my valets, my hussar, and
horses, dressed in gold, and velvet, and sables, saluting the
greatest people in Europe as we met on the course, or at the Spas,
Runt was dazzled by my advances, and was mine by a beckoning of the
finger. I shall never forget the poor wretch's astonishment when I
asked him to dine, with two counts, off gold plate, at the little
room in the casino: he was made happy by being allowed to win a few
pieces of us, became exceedingly tipsy, sang Cambridge songs, and
recreated the company by telling us, in his horrid Yorkshire French,
stories about the gyps, and all the lords that had ever been in his
college. I encouraged him to come and see me oftener, and bring with
him his little viscount; for whom, though the boy always detested
me, I took care to have a good stock of sweetmeats, toys, and
picture-books when he came.

I then began to enter into a controversy with Mr. Runt, and confided
to him some doubts which I had, and a very very earnest leaning
towards the Church of Rome. I made a certain abbe whom I knew write
me letters upon transubstantiation, &c., which the honest tutor was
rather puzzled to answer. I knew that they would be communicated to
his lady, as they were; for, asking leave to attend the English
service which was celebrated in her apartments, and frequented by
the best English then at the Spa, on the second Sunday she
condescended to look at me; on the third she was pleased to reply to
my profound bow by a curtsey; the next day I followed up the
acquaintance by another obeisance in the public walk; and, to make a
long story short, her Ladyship and I were in full correspondence on
transubstantiation before six weeks were over. My Lady came to the
aid of her chaplain; and then I began to see the prodigious weight
of his arguments: as was to be expected. The progress of this
harmless little intrigue need not be detailed. I make no doubt every
one of my readers has practised similar stratagems when a fair lady
was in the case.

I shall never forget the astonishment of Sir Charles Lyndon when, on
one summer evening, as he was issuing out to the play-table in his
sedan-chair, according to his wont, her Ladyship's barouche and
four, with her outriders in the tawny livery of the Lyndon family,
came driving into the courtyard of the house which they inhabited;
and in that carriage, by her Ladyship's side, sat no other than the
'vulgar Irish adventurer,' as she was pleased to call him: I mean
Redmond Barry, Esquire. He made the most courtly of his bows, and
grinned and waved his hat in as graceful a manner as the gout
permitted; and her Ladyship and I replied to the salutation with the
utmost politeness and elegance on our parts.

I could not go to the play-table for some time afterwards for Lady
Lyndon and I had an argument on transubstantiation, which lasted for
three hours; in which she was, as usual, victorious, and, in which
her companion, the Honourable Miss Flint Skinner, fell asleep; but
when, at last, I joined Sir Charles at the casino, he received me
with a yell of laughter, as his wont was, and introduced me to all
the company as Lady Lyndon's interesting young convert. This was his
way. He laughed and sneered at everything. He laughed when he was in
a paroxysm of pain; he laughed when he won money, or when he lost
it: his laugh was not jovial or agreeable, but rather painful and
sardonic.

'Gentlemen,' said he to Punter, Colonel Loder, Count du Carreau, and
several jovial fellows with whom he used to discuss a flask of
champagne and a Rhenish trout or two after play, 'see this amiable
youth! He has been troubled by religious scruples, and has flown for
refuge to my chaplain, Mr. Runt, who has asked for advice from my
wife, Lady Lyndon; and, between them both, they are confirming my
ingenious young friend in his faith. Did you ever hear of such
doctors, and such a disciple?'

''Faith, sir,' said I, 'if I want to learn good principles, it's
surely better I should apply for them to your lady and your chaplain
than to you!'

'He wants to step into my shoes!' continued the knight.

'The man would be happy who did so,' responded I, 'provided there
were no chalk-stones included!' At which reply Sir Charles was not
very well pleased, and went on with increased rancour. He was always
free-spoken in his cups; and, to say the truth, he was in his cups
many more times in a week than his doctors allowed.

'Is it not a pleasure, gentlemen,' said he, 'for me, as I am drawing
near the goal, to find my home such a happy one; my wife so fond of
me, that she is even now thinking of appointing a successor? (I
don't mean you precisely, Mr. Barry; you are only taking your chance
with a score of others whom I could mention.) Isn't it a comfort to
see her, like a prudent housewife, getting everything ready for her
husband's departure?'

'I hope you are not thinking of leaving us soon, knight?' said I,
with perfect sincerity; for I liked him, as a most amusing
companion. 'Not so soon, my dear, as you may fancy, perhaps,'
continued he. 'Why, man, I have been given over any time these four
years; and there was always a candidate or two waiting to apply for
the situation. Who knows how long I may keep you waiting?' and he
DID keep me waiting some little time longer than at that period
there was any reason to suspect.

As I declared myself pretty openly, according to my usual way, and
authors are accustomed to describe the persons of the ladies with
whom their heroes fall in love; in compliance with this fashion, I
perhaps should say a word or two respecting the charms of my Lady
Lyndon. But though I celebrated them in many copies of verses, of my
own and other persons' writing; and though I filled reams of paper
in the passionate style of those days with compliments to every one
of her beauties and smiles, in which I compared her to every flower,
goddess, or famous heroine ever heard of,--truth compels me to say
that there was nothing divine about her at all. She was very well;
but no more. Her shape was fine, her hair dark, her eyes good, and
exceedingly active; she loved singing, but performed it as so great
a lady should, very much out of tune. She had a smattering of half-
a-dozen modern languages, and, as I have said before, of many more
sciences than I even knew the names of. She piqued herself on
knowing Greek and Latin; but the truth is, that Mr. Runt, used to
supply her with the quotations which she introduced into her
voluminous correspondence. She had as much love of admiration, as
strong, uneasy a vanity, and as little heart, as any woman I ever
knew. Otherwise, when her son, Lord Bullingdon, on account of his
differences with me, ran--but that matter shall be told in its
proper time. Finally, my Lady Lyndon was about a year older than
myself; though, of course, she would take her Bible oath that she
was three years younger.

Few men are so honest as I am; for few will own to their real
motives, and I don't care a button about confessing mine. What Sir
Charles Lyndon said was perfectly true. I made the acquaintance of
Lady Lyndon with ulterior views. 'Sir,' said I to him, when, after
the scene described and the jokes he made upon me, we met alone,
'let those laugh that win. You were very pleasant upon me a few
nights since, and on my intentions regarding your lady. Well, if
they ARE what you think they are,--if I DO wish to step into your
shoes, what then? I have no other intentions than you had yourself.
I'll be sworn to muster just as much regard for my Lady Lyndon as
you ever showed her; and if I win her and wear her when you are dead
and gone, corbleu, knight, do you think it will be the fear of your
ghost will deter me?'

Lyndon laughed as usual; but somewhat disconcertedly: indeed I had
clearly the best of him in the argument, and had just as much right
to hunt my fortune as he had.

But one day he said, 'If you marry such a woman as my Lady Lyndon,
mark my words, you will regret it. You will pine after the liberty
you once enjoyed. By George! Captain Barry,' he added, with a sigh,
'the thing that I regret most in life--perhaps it is because I am
old, blase, and dying--is, that I never had a virtuous attachment.'

'Ha! ha! a milkmaid's daughter!' said I, laughing at the absurdity.

'Well, why not a milkmaid's daughter? My good fellow, I WAS in love
in youth, as most gentlemen are, with my tutor's daughter, Helena, a
bouncing girl; of course older than myself' (this made me remember
my own little love-passages with Nora Brady in the days of my early
life), 'and do you know, sir, I heartily regret I didn't marry her?
There's nothing like having a virtuous drudge at home, sir; depend
upon that. It gives a zest to one's enjoyments in the world, take my
word for it. No man of sense need restrict himself, or deny himself
a single amusement for his wife's sake: on the contrary, if he
select the animal properly, he will choose such a one as shall be no
bar to his pleasure, but a comfort in his hours of annoyance. For
instance, I have got the gout: who tends me? A hired valet, who robs
me whenever he has the power. My wife never comes near me. What
friend have I? None in the wide world. Men of the world, as you and
I are, don't make friends; and we are fools for our pains. Get a
friend, sir, and that friend a woman--a good household drudge, who
loves you. THAT is the most precious sort of friendship; for the
expense of it is all on the woman's side. The man needn't contribute
anything. If he's a rogue, she'll vow he's an angel; if he's a
brute, she will like him all the better for his ill-treatment of
her. They like it, sir, these women. They are born to be our
greatest comforts and conveniences; our--our moral bootjacks, as it
were; and to men in your way of life, believe me such a person would
be invaluable. I am only speaking for your bodily and mental
comfort's sake, mind. Why didn't I marry poor Helena Flower, the
curate's daughter?'

I thought these speeches the remarks of a weakly disappointed man;
although since, perhaps, I have had reason to find the truth of Sir
Charles Lyndon's statements. The fact is, in my opinion, that we
often buy money very much too dear. To purchase a few thousands a
year at the expense of an odious wife, is very bad economy for a
young fellow of any talent and spirit; and there have been moments
of my life when, in the midst of my greatest splendour and opulence,
with half-a-dozen lords at my levee, with the finest horses in my
stables, the grandest house over my head, with unlimited credit at
my banker's, and--Lady Lyndon to boot, I have wished myself back a
private of Bulow's, or anything, so as to get rid of her. To return,
however, to the story. Sir Charles, with his complication of ills,
was dying before us by inches! and I've no doubt it could not have
been very pleasant to him to see a young handsome fellow paying
court to his widow before his own face as it were. After I once got
into the house on the transubstantiation dispute, I found a dozen
more occasions to improve my intimacy, and was scarcely ever out of
her Ladyship's doors. The world talked and blustered; but what cared
I? The men cried fie upon the shameless Irish adventurer; but I have
told my way of silencing such envious people: and my sword had by
this time got such a reputation through Europe, that few people
cared to encounter it. If I can once get my hold of a place, I keep
it. Many's the house I have been to where I have seen the men avoid
me. 'Faugh! the low Irishman,' they would say. 'Bah! the coarse
adventurer!' 'Out on the insufferable blackleg and puppy!' and so
forth. This hatred has been of no inconsiderable service to me in
the world; for when I fasten on a man, nothing can induce me to
release my hold: and I am left to myself, which is all the better.
As I told Lady Lyndon in those days, with perfect sincerity,
'Calista' (I used to call her Calista in my correspondence)--'
Calista, I swear to thee, by the spotlessness of thy own soul, by
the brilliancy of thy immitigable eyes, by everything pure and
chaste in heaven and in thy own heart, that I will never cease from
following thee! Scorn I can bear, and have borne at thy hands.
Indifference I can surmount; 'tis a rock which my energy will climb
over, a magnet which attracts the dauntless iron of my soul!' And it
was true, I wouldn't have left her--no, though they had kicked me
downstairs every day I presented myself at her door.

That is my way of fascinating women. Let the man who has to make his
fortune in life remember this maxim. ATTACKING is his only secret.
Dare, and the world always yields: or, if it beat you sometimes,
dare again, and it will succumb. In those days my spirit was so
great, that if I had set my heart upon marrying a princess of the
blood, I would have had her!

I told Calista my story, and altered very very little of the truth.
My object was to frighten her: to show her that what I wanted, that
I dared; that what I dared, that I won; and there were striking
passages enough in my history to convince her of my iron will and
indomitable courage. 'Never hope to escape me, madam,' I would say:
'offer to marry another man, and he dies upon this sword, which
never yet met its master. Fly from me, and I will follow you, though
it were to the gates of Hades.' I promise you this was very
different language to that she had been in the habit of hearing from
her Jemmy-Jessamy adorers. You should have seen how I scared the
fellows from her.

When I said in this energetic way that I would follow Lady Lyndon
across the Styx if necessary, of course I meant that I would do so,
provided nothing more suitable presented itself in the interim. If
Lyndon would not die, where was the use of my pursuing the Countess?
And somehow, towards the end of the Spa season, very much to my
mortification I do confess, the knight made another rally: it seemed
as if nothing would kill him. 'I am sorry for you, Captain Barry,'
he would say, laughing as usual. 'I'm grieved to keep you, or any
gentleman, waiting. Had you not better arrange with my doctor, or
get the cook to flavour my omelette with arsenic? What are the odds,
gentlemen,' he would add, 'that I don't live to see Captain Barry
hanged yet?'

In fact, the doctors tinkered him up for a year. 'It's my usual
luck,' I could not help saying to my uncle, who was my confidential
and most excellent adviser in all matters of the heart. 'I've been
wasting the treasures of my affections upon that flirt of a
countess, and here's her husband restored to health and likely to
live I don't know how many years!' And, as if to add to my
mortification, there came just at this period to Spa an English
tallow-chandler's heiress, with a plum to her fortune; and Madame
Cornu, the widow of a Norman cattle-dealer and farmer-general, with
a dropsy and two hundred thousand livres a year.

'What's the use of my following the Lyndons to England,' says I, 'if
the knight won't die?'

'Don't follow them, my dear simple child,' replied my uncle. 'Stop
here and pay court to the new arrivals.'

'Yes, and lose Calista for ever, and the greatest estate in all
England.'

'Pooh, pooh! youths like you easily fire and easily despond. Keep up
a correspondence with Lady Lyndon. You know there's nothing she
likes so much. There's the Irish abbe, who will write you the most
charming letters for a crown apiece. Let her go; write to her, and
meanwhile look out for anything else which may turn up. Who knows?
you might marry the Norman widow, bury her, take her money, and be
ready for the Countess against the knight's death.'

And so, with vows of the most profound respectful attachment, and
having given twenty louis to Lady Lyndon's waiting-woman for a lock
of her hair (of which fact, of course, the woman informed her
mistress), I took leave of the Countess, when it became necessary
for her return to her estates in England; swearing I would follow
her as soon as an affair of honour I had on my hands could be
brought to an end.

I shall pass over the events of the year that ensued before I again
saw her. She wrote to me according to promise; with much regularity
at first, with somewhat less frequency afterwards. My affairs,
meanwhile, at the play-table went on not unprosperously, and I was
just on the point of marrying the widow Cornu (we were at Brussels
by this time, and the poor soul was madly in love with me,) when the
London Gazette was put into my hands, and I read the following
announcement:--

'Died at Castle-Lyndon, in the kingdom of Ireland, the Right
Honourable Sir Charles Lyndon, Knight of the Bath, member of
Parliament for Lyndon in Devonshire, and many years His Majesty's
representative at various European Courts. He hath left behind him a
name which is endeared to all his friends for his manifold virtues
and talents, a reputation justly acquired in the service of His
Majesty, and an inconsolable widow to deplore his loss. Her
Ladyship, the bereaved Countess of Lyndon, was at the Bath when the
horrid intelligence reached her of her husband's demise, and
hastened to Ireland immediately in order to pay her last sad duties
to his beloved remains.'

That very night I ordered my chariot and posted to Ostend, whence I
freighted a vessel to Dover, and travelling rapidly into the West,
reached Bristol; from which port I embarked for Waterford, and found
myself, after an absence of eleven years, in my native country.

CHAPTER XIV

I RETURN TO IRELAND, AND EXHIBIT MY SPLENDOUR AND GENEROSITY IN THAT
KINGDOM

How were times changed with me now! I had left my country a poor
penniless boy--a private soldier in a miserable marching regiment. I
returned an accomplished man, with property to the amount of five
thousand guineas in my possession, with a splendid wardrobe and
jewel-case worth two thousand more; having mingled in all the scenes
of life a not undistinguished actor in them; having shared in war
and in love; having by my own genius and energy won my way from
poverty and obscurity to competence and splendour. As I looked out
from my chariot windows as it rolled along over the bleak bare
roads, by the miserable cabins of the peasantry, who came out in
their rags to stare as the splendid equipage passed, and huzza'd for
his Lordship's honour as they saw the magnificent stranger in the
superb gilded vehicle, my huge body-servant Fritz lolling behind
with curling moustaches and long queue, his green livery barred with
silver lace, I could not help thinking of myself with considerable
complacency, and thanking my stars that had endowed me with so many
good qualities. But for my own merits I should have been a raw Irish
squireen such as those I saw swaggering about the wretched towns
through which my chariot passed on its road to Dublin. I might have
married Nora Brady (and though, thank Heaven, I did not, I have
never thought of that girl but with kindness, and even remember the
bitterness of losing her more clearly at this moment than any other
incident of my life); I might have been the father of ten children
by this time, or a farmer on my own account, or an agent to a
squire, or a gauger, or an attorney; and here I was one of the most
famous gentlemen of Europe! I bade my fellow get a bag of copper
money and throw it among the crowd as we changed horses; and I
warrant me there was as much shouting set up in praise of my honour
as if my Lord Townshend, the Lord Lieutenant himself, had been
passing.

My second day's journey--for the Irish roads were rough in those
days, and the progress of a gentleman's chariot terribly slow--
brought me to Carlow, where I put up at the very inn which I had
used eleven years back, when flying from home after the supposed
murder of Quin in the duel. How well I remember every moment of the
scene! The old landlord was gone who had served me; the inn that I
then thought so comfortable looked wretched and dismantled; but the
claret was as good as in the old days, and I had the host to partake
of a jug of it and hear the news of the country.

He was as communicative as hosts usually are: the crops and the
markets, the price of beasts at last Castle Dermot fair, the last
story about the vicar, and the last joke of Father Hogan the priest;
how the Whiteboys had burned Squire Scanlan's ricks, and the
highwaymen had been beaten off in their attack upon Sir Thomas's
house; who was to hunt the Kilkenny hounds next season, and the
wonderful run entirely they had last March; what troops were in the
town, and how Miss Biddy Toole had run off with Ensign Mullins: all
the news of sport, assize, and quarter-sessions were detailed by
this worthy chronicler of small-beer, who wondered that my honour
hadn't heard of them in England, or in foreign parts, where he
seemed to think the world was as interested as he was about the
doings of Kilkenny and Carlow. I listened to these tales with, I
own, a considerable pleasure; for every now and then a name would
come up in the conversation which I remembered in old days, and
bring with it a hundred associations connected with them.

I had received many letters from my mother, which informed me of the
doings of the Brady's Town family. My uncle was dead, and Mick, his
eldest son, had followed him too to the grave. The Brady girls had
separated from their paternal roof as soon as their elder brother
came to rule over it. Some were married, some gone to settle with
their odious old mother in out-of-the-way watering-places. Ulick,
though he had succeeded to the estate, had come in for a bankrupt
property, and Castle Brady was now inhabited only by the bats and
owls, and the old gamekeeper. My mother, Mrs. Harry Barry, had gone
to live at Bray, to sit under Mr. Jowls, her favourite preacher, who
had a chapel there; and, finally, the landlord told me, that Mrs.
Barry's son had gone to foreign parts, enlisted in the Prussian
service, and had been shot there as a deserter.

I don't care to own that I hired a stout nag from the landlord's
stable after dinner, and rode back at nightfall twenty miles to my
old home. My heart beat to see it. Barryville had got a pestle and
mortar over the door, and was called 'The Esculapian Repository,' by
Doctor Macshane; a red-headed lad was spreading a plaster in the old
parlour; the little window of my room, once so neat and bright, was
cracked in many places, and stuffed with rags here and there; the
flowers had disappeared from the trim garden-beds which my good
orderly mother tended. In the churchyard there were two more names
put into the stone over the family vault of the Bradys: they were
those of my cousin, for whom my regard was small, and my uncle, whom
I had always loved. I asked my old companion the blacksmith, who had
beaten me so often in old days, to give my horse a feed and a
litter: he was a worn weary-looking man now, with a dozen dirty
ragged children paddling about his smithy, and had no recollection
of the fine gentleman who stood before him. I did not seek to recall
my-self to his memory till the next day, when I put ten guineas into
his hand, and bade him drink the health of English Redmond.

As for Castle Brady, the gates of the park were still there; but the
old trees were cut down in the avenue, a black stump jutting out
here and there, and casting long shadows as I passed in the
moonlight over the worn grass-grown old road. A few cows were at
pasture there. The garden-gate was gone, and the place a tangled
wilderness. I sat down on the old bench, where I had sat on the day
when Nora jilted me; and I do believe my feelings were as strong
then as they had been when I was a boy, eleven years before; and I
caught myself almost crying again, to think that Nora Brady had
deserted me. I believe a man forgets nothing. I've seen a flower, or
heard some trivial word or two, which have awakened recollections
that somehow had lain dormant for scores of years; and when I
entered the house in Clarges Street, where I was born (it was used
as a gambling-house when I first visited London), all of a sudden
the memory of my childhood came back to me--of my actual infancy: I
recollected my father in green and gold, holding me up to look at a
gilt coach which stood at the door, and my mother in a flowered
sack, with patches on her face. Some day, I wonder, will everything
we have seen and thought and done come and flash across our minds in
this way? I had rather not. I felt so as I sat upon the bench at
Castle Brady, and thought of the bygone times.

The hall-door was open--it was always so at that house; the moon was
flaring in at the long old windows, and throwing ghastly chequers
upon the floors; and the stars were looking in on the other side, in
the blue of the yawning window over the great stair: from it you
could see the old stable-clock, with the letters glistening on it
still. There had been jolly horses in those stables once; and I
could see my uncle's honest face, and hear him talking to his dogs
as they came jumping and whining and barking round about him of a
gay winter morning. We used to mount there; and the girls looked out
at us from the hall-window, where I stood and looked at the sad,
mouldy, lonely old place. There was a red light shining through the
crevices of a door at one corner of the building, and a dog
presently came out baying loudly, and a limping man followed with a
fowling-piece.

'Who's there?' said the old man.

'PHIL PURCELL, don't you know me?' shouted I; 'it's Redmond Barry.'

I thought the old man would have fired his piece at me at first, for
he pointed it at the window; but I called to him to hold his hand,
and came down and embraced him.... Psha! I don't care to tell the
rest: Phil and I had a long night, and talked over a thousand
foolish old things that have no interest for any soul alive now: for
what soul is there alive that cares for Barry Lyndon?

I settled a hundred guineas on the old man when I got to Dublin, and
made him an annuity which enabled him to pass his old days in
comfort.

Poor Phil Purcell was amusing himself at a game of exceedingly dirty
cards with an old acquaintance of mine; no other than Tim, who was
called my 'valet' in the days of yore, and whom the reader may
remember as clad in my father's old liveries. They used to hang
about him in those times, and lap over his wrists and down to his
heels; but Tim, though he protested he had nigh killed himself with
grief when I went away, had managed to grow enormously fat in my
absence, and would have fitted almost into Daniel Lambert's coat, or
that of the vicar of Castle Brady, whom he served in the capacity of
clerk. I would have engaged the fellow in my service but for his
monstrous size, which rendered him quite unfit to be the attendant
of any gentleman of condition; and so I presented him with a
handsome gratuity, and promised to stand godfather to his next
child: the eleventh since my absence. There is no country in the
world where the work of multiplying is carried on so prosperously as
in my native island. Mr. Tim had married the girls' waiting-maid,
who had been a kind friend of mine in the early times; and I had to
go salute poor Molly next day, and found her a slatternly wench in a
mud hut, surrounded by a brood of children almost as ragged as those
of my friend the blacksmith.

From Tim and Phil Purcell, thus met fortuitously together, I got the
very last news respecting my family. My mother was well.

''Faith sir,' says Tim, 'and you're come in time, mayhap, for
preventing an addition to your family.'

'Sir!' exclaimed I, in a fit of indignation.

'In the shape of father-in-law, I mane, sir,' says Tim: 'the
misthress is going to take on with Mister Jowls the praacher.'

Poor Nora, he added, had made many additions to the illustrious race
of Quin; and my cousin Ulick was in Dublin, coming to little good,
both my informants feared, and having managed to run through the
small available remains of property which my good old uncle had left
behind him.

I saw I should have no small family to provide for; and then, to
conclude the evening, Phil, Tim, and I, had a bottle of usquebaugh,
the taste of which I had remembered for eleven good years, and did
not part except with the warmest terms of fellowship, and until the
sun had been some time in the sky. I am exceedingly affable; that
has always been one of my characteristics. I have no false pride, as
many men of high lineage like my own have, and, in default of better
company, will hob and nob with a ploughboy or a private soldier just
as readily as with the first noble in the land.

I went back to the village in the morning, and found a pretext for
visiting Barryville under a device of purchasing drugs. The hooks
were still in the wall where my silver-hiked sword used to hang; a
blister was lying on the window-sill, where my mother's 'Whole Duty
of Man' had its place; and the odious Doctor Macshane had found out
who I was (my countrymen find out everything, and a great deal more
besides), and sniggering, asked me how I left the King of Prussia,
and whether my friend the Emperor Joseph was as much liked as the
Empress Maria Theresa had been. The bell-ringers would have had a
ring of bells for me, but there was but one, Tim, who was too fat to
pull; and I rode off before the vicar, Doctor Bolter (who had
succeeded old Mr. Texter, who had the living in my time), had time
to come out to compliment me; but the rapscallions of the beggarly
village had assembled in a dirty army to welcome me, and cheered
'Hurrah for Masther Redmond!' as I rode away.

My people were not a little anxious regarding me, by the time I
returned to Carlow, and the landlord was very much afraid, he said,
that the highwaymen had gotten hold of me. There, too, my name and
station had been learned from my servant Fritz: who had not spared
his praises of his master, and had invented some magnificent
histories concerning me. He said it was the truth that I was
intimate with half the sovereigns of Europe, and the prime favourite
with most of them. Indeed I had made my uncle's order of the Spur
hereditary, and travelled under the name of the Chevalier Barry,
chamberlain to the Duke of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen.

They gave me the best horses the stable possessed to carry me on my
road to Dublin, and the strongest ropes for harness; and we got on
pretty well, and there was no rencontre between the highwaymen and
the pistols with which Fritz and I were provided. We lay that night
at Kilcullen, and the next day I made my entry into the city of
Dublin, with four horses to my carriage, five thousand guineas in my
purse, and one of the most brilliant reputations in Europe, having
quitted the city a beggarly boy, eleven years before.

The citizens of Dublin have as great and laudable a desire for
knowing their neighbours' concerns as the country people have; and
it is impossible for a gentleman, however modest his desires may be
(and such mine have notoriously been through life), to enter the

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