Part 9 out of 9
We were speedily installed in our fine house: but what's a house
without friends? Jemmy made me CUT all my old acquaintances in
the Market, and I was a solitary being; when, luckily, an old
acquaintance of ours, Captain Tagrag, was so kind as to promise to
introduce us into distinguished society. Tagrag was the son of a
baronet, and had done us the honor of lodging with us for two
years; when we lost sight of him, and of his little account, too,
by the way. A fortnight after, hearing of our good fortune, he was
among us again, however; and Jemmy was not a little glad to see
him, knowing him to be a baronet's son, and very fond of our
Jemimarann. Indeed, Orlando (who is as brave as a lion) had on one
occasion absolutely beaten Mr. Tagrag for being rude to the poor
girl: a clear proof, as Tagrag said afterwards, that he was always
fond of her.
Mr. Crump, poor fellow, was not very much pleased by our good
fortune, though he did all he could to try at first; and I told him
to come and take his dinner regular, as if nothing had happened.
But to this Jemima very soon put a stop, for she came very justly
to know her stature, and to look down on Crump, which she bid her
daughter to do; and, after a great scene, in which Orlando showed
himself very rude and angry, he was forbidden the house--for ever!
So much for poor Crump. The Captain was now all in all with us.
"You see, sir," our Jemmy would say, "we shall have our town and
country mansion, and a hundred and thirty thousand pounds in the
funds, to leave between our two children; and, with such prospects,
they ought surely to have the first society of England." To this
Tagrag agreed, and promised to bring us acquainted with the very
pink of the fashion; ay, and what's more, did.
First, he made my wife get an opera-box, and give suppers on
Tuesdays and Saturdays. As for me, he made me ride in the Park: me
and Jemimarann, with two grooms behind us, who used to laugh all
the way, and whose very beards I had shaved. As for little Tug, he
was sent straight off to the most fashionable school in the
kingdom, the Reverend Doctor Pigney's, at Richmond.
Well, the horses, the suppers, the opera-box, the paragraphs in the
papers about Mr. Coxe Coxe (that's the way: double your name and
stick an "e" to the end of it, and you are a gentleman at once),
had an effect in a wonderfully short space of time, and we began to
get a very pretty society about us. Some of old Tug's friends
swore they would do anything for the family, and brought their
wives and daughters to see dear Mrs. Coxe and her charming girl;
and when, about the first week in February, we announced a grand
dinner and ball for the evening of the twenty-eighth, I assure you
there was no want of company: no, nor of titles neither; and it
always does my heart good even to hear one mentioned.
Let me see. There was, first, my Lord Dunboozle, an Irish peer,
and his seven sons, the Honorable Messieurs Trumper (two only to
dinner): there was Count Mace, the celebrated French nobleman, and
his Excellency Baron von Punter from Baden; there was Lady Blanche
Bluenose, the eminent literati, author of "The Distrusted" "The
Distorted," "The Disgusted," "The Disreputable One," and other
poems; there was the Dowager Lady Max and her daughter, the
Honorable Miss Adelaide Blueruin; Sir Charles Codshead, from the
City; and Field-Marshal Sir Gorman O'Gallagher, K.A., K.B., K.C.,
K.W., K.X., in the service of the Republic of Guatemala: my friend
Tagrag and his fashionable acquaintance, little Tom Tufthunt, made
up the party. And when the doors were flung open, and Mr. Hock, in
black, with a white napkin, three footmen, coachman, and a lad whom
Mrs. C. had dressed in sugar-loaf buttons and called a page, were
seen round the dinner-table, all in white gloves, I promise you I
felt a thrill of elation, and thought to myself--Sam Cox, Sam Cox,
who ever would have expected to see you here?
After dinner, there was to be, as I said, an evening-party; and
to this Messieurs Tagrag and Tufthunt had invited many of the
principal nobility that our metropolis had produced. When I
mention, among the company to tea, her Grace the Duchess of Zero,
her son the Marquis of Fitzurse, and the Ladies North Pole her
daughters; when I say that there were yet OTHERS, whose names may
be found in the Blue Book, but shan't, out of modesty, be mentioned
here, I think I've said enough to show that, in our time, No. 96,
Portland Place, was the resort of the best of company.
It was our first dinner, and dressed by our new cook, Munseer
Cordongblew. I bore it very well; eating, for my share, a filly
dysol allamater dotell, a cutlet soubeast, a pully bashymall, and
other French dishes: and, for the frisky sweet wine, with tin tops
to the bottles, called Champang, I must say that me and Mrs. Coxe-
Tuggeridge Coxe drank a very good share of it (but the Claret and
Jonnysberger, being sour, we did not much relish). However, the
feed, as I say, went off very well: Lady Blanche Bluenose sitting
next to me, and being so good as to put me down for six copies of
all her poems; the Count and Baron von Punter engaging Jemimarann
for several waltzes, and the Field-Marshal plying my dear Jemmy
with Champagne, until, bless her! her dear nose became as red as
her new crimson satin gown, which, with a blue turban and bird-of-
paradise feathers, made her look like an empress, I warrant.
Well, dinner past, Mrs. C. and the ladies went off:--thunder-under-
under came the knocks at the door; squeedle-eedle-eedle, Mr.
Wippert's fiddlers began to strike up; and, about half-past eleven,
me and the gents thought it high time to make our appearance. I
felt a LITTLE squeamish at the thought of meeting a couple of
hundred great people; but Count Mace and Sir Gorman O'Gallagher
taking each an arm, we reached, at last, the drawing-room.
The young ones in company were dancing, and the Duchess and the
great ladies were all seated, talking to themselves very stately,
and working away at the ices and macaroons. I looked out for my
pretty Jemimarann amongst the dancers, and saw her tearing round
the room along with Baron Punter, in what they call a gallypard;
then I peeped into the circle of the Duchesses, where, in course, I
expected to find Mrs. C.; but she wasn't there! She was seated at
the further end of the room, looking very sulky; and I went up and
took her arm, and brought her down to the place where the Duchesses
were. "Oh, not there!" said Jemmy, trying to break away.
"Nonsense, my dear," says I: "you are missis, and this is your
place." Then going up to her ladyship the Duchess, says I, "Me and
my missis are most proud of the honor of seeing of you."
The Duchess (a tall red-haired grenadier of a woman) did not speak.
I went on: "The young ones are all at it, ma'am, you see; and so we
thought we would come and sit down among the old ones. You and I,
ma'am, I think, are too stiff to dance."
"Sir!" says her Grace.
"Ma'am," says I, "don't you know me? My name's Cox. Nobody's
introduced me; but, dash it, it's my own house, and I may present
myself--so give us your hand, ma'am."
And I shook hers in the kindest way in the world; but--would you
believe it?--the old cat screamed as if my hand had been a hot
'tater. "Fitzurse! Fitzurse!" shouted she, "help! help!" Up
scuffled all the other Dowagers--in rushed the dancers. "Mamma!
mamma!" squeaked Lady Julia North Pole. "Lead me to my mother,"
howled Lady Aurorer: and both came up and flung themselves into her
arms. "Wawt's the raw?" said Lord Fitzurse, sauntering up quite
"Protect me from the insults of this man," says her Grace. "Where's
Tufthunt? he promised that not a soul in this house should speak
"My dear Duchess," said Tufthunt, very meek.
"Don't Duchess ME, sir. Did you not promise they should not speak;
and hasn't that horrid tipsy wretch offered to embrace me? Didn't
his monstrous wife sicken me with her odious familiarities? Call
my people, Tufthunt! Follow me, my children!"
"And my carriage," "And mine," "And mine!" shouted twenty more
voices. And down they all trooped to the hall: Lady Blanche
Bluenose and Lady Max among the very first; leaving only the
Field-Marshal and one or two men, who roared with laughter ready
"Oh, Sam," said my wife, sobbing, "why would you take me back to
them? they had sent me away before! I only asked the Duchess
whether she didn't like rum-shrub better than all your Maxarinos
and Curasosos: and--would you believe it?--all the company burst
out laughing; and the Duchess told me just to keep off, and not to
speak till I was spoken to. Imperence! I'd like to tear her eyes
And so I do believe my dearest Jemmy would!
A DAY WITH THE SURREY HOUNDS.
Our ball had failed so completely that Jemmy, who was bent still
upon fashion, caught eagerly at Tagrag's suggestion, and went down
to Tuggeridgeville. If we had a difficulty to find friends in
town, here there was none: for the whole county came about us, ate
our dinners and suppers, danced at our balls--ay, and spoke to us
too. We were great people in fact: I a regular country gentleman;
and as such, Jemmy insisted that I should be a sportsman, and join
the county hunt. "But," says I, "my love, I can't ride." "Pooh!
Mr. C." said she, "you're always making difficulties: you thought
you couldn't dance a quadrille; you thought you couldn't dine at
seven o'clock; you thought you couldn't lie in bed after six; and
haven't you done every one of these things? You must and you shall
ride!" And when my Jemmy said "must and shall," I knew very well
there was nothing for it: so I sent down fifty guineas to the hunt,
and, out of compliment to me, the very next week, I received notice
that the meet of the hounds would take place at Squashtail Common,
just outside my lodge-gates.
I didn't know what a meet was; and me and Mrs. C. agreed that it
was most probable the dogs were to be fed there. However, Tagrag
explained this matter to us, and very kindly promised to sell me a
horse, a delightful animal of his own; which, being desperately
pressed for money, he would let me have for a hundred guineas, he
himself having given a hundred and fifty for it.
Well, the Thursday came: the hounds met on Squashtail Common; Mrs.
C. turned out in her barouche to see us throw off; and, being
helped up on my chestnut horse, Trumpeter, by Tagrag and my head
groom, I came presently round to join them.
Tag mounted his own horse; and, as we walked down the avenue, "I
thought," he said, "you told me you knew how to ride; and that you
had ridden once fifty miles on a stretch!"
"And so I did," says I, "to Cambridge, and on the box too."
"ON THE BOX!" says he; "but did you ever mount a horse before?"
"Never," says I, "but I find it mighty easy."
"Well," says he, "you're mighty bold for a barber; and I like you,
Coxe, for your spirit." And so we came out of the gate.
As for describing the hunt, I own, fairly, I can't. I've been at a
hunt, but what a hunt is--why the horses WILL go among the dogs and
ride them down--why the men cry out "yooooic"--why the dogs go
snuffing about in threes and fours, and the huntsman says, "Good
Towler--good Betsy," and we all of us after him say, "Good Towler--
good Betsy" in course: then, after hearing a yelp here and a howl
there, tow, row, yow, yow, yow! burst out, all of a sudden, from
three or four of them, and the chap in a velvet cap screeches out
(with a number of oaths I shan't repeat here), "Hark, to Ringwood!"
and then, "There he goes!" says some one; and all of a sudden,
helter skelter, skurry hurry, slap bang, whooping, screeching and
hurraing, blue-coats and red-coats, bays and grays, horses, dogs,
donkeys, butchers, baro-knights, dustmen, and blackguard boys, go
tearing all together over the common after two or three of the pack
that yowl loudest. Why all this is, I can't say; but it all took
place the second Thursday of last March, in my presence.
Up to this, I'd kept my seat as well as the best, for we'd only
been trotting gently about the field until the dogs found; and I
managed to stick on very well; but directly the tow-rowing began,
off went Trumpeter like a thunderbolt, and I found myself playing
among the dogs like the donkey among the chickens. "Back, Mr.
Coxe," holloas the huntsman; and so I pulled very hard, and cried
out, Wo!" but he wouldn't; and on I went galloping for the dear
life. How I kept on is a wonder; but I squeezed my knees in very
tight, and shoved my feet very hard into the stirrups, and kept
stiff hold of the scruff of Trumpeter's neck, and looked betwixt
his ears as well as ever I could, and trusted to luck: for I was in
a mortal fright, sure enough, as many a better man would be in such
a case, let alone a poor hairdresser.
As for the hounds, after my first riding in among them, I tell you
honestly, I never saw so much as the tip of one of their tails;
nothing in this world did I see except Trumpeter's dun-colored
mane, and that I gripped firm: riding, by the blessing of luck,
safe through the walking, the trotting, the galloping, and never so
much as getting a tumble.
There was a chap at Croydon very well known as the "Spicy Dustman,"
who, when he could get no horse to ride to the hounds, turned
regularly out on his donkey; and on this occasion made one of us.
He generally managed to keep up with the dogs by trotting quietly
through the cross-roads, and knowing the country well. Well,
having a good guess where the hounds would find, and the line that
sly Reynolds (as they call the fox) would take, the Spicy Dustman
turned his animal down the lane from Squashtail to Cutshins Common;
across which, sure enough, came the whole hunt. There's a small
hedge and a remarkably fine ditch here: some of the leading chaps
took both, in gallant style; others went round by a gate, and so
would I, only I couldn't; for Trumpeter would have the hedge, and
be hanged to him, and went right for it.
Hoop! if ever you DID try a leap! Out go your legs, out fling your
arms, off goes your hat; and the next thing you feel--that is, I
did--is a most tremendous thwack across the chest, and my feet
jerked out of the stirrups: me left in the branches of a tree;
Trumpeter gone clean from under me, and walloping and floundering
in the ditch underneath. One of the stirrup-leathers had caught in
a stake, and the horse couldn't get away: and neither of us, I
thought, ever WOULD have got away: but all of a sudden, who should
come up the lane but the Spicy Dustman!
"Holloa!" says I, "you gent, just let us down from this here tree!"
"Lor'!" says he, "I'm blest if I didn't take you for a robin."
"Let's down," says I; but he was all the time employed in disengaging
Trumpeter, whom he got out of the ditch, trembling and as quiet as
possible. "Let's down," says I. "Presently," says he; and taking
off his coat, he begins whistling and swishing down Trumpeter's
sides and saddle; and when he had finished, what do you think the
rascal did?--he just quietly mounted on Trumpeter's back, and shouts
out, "Git down yourself, old Bearsgrease; you've only to drop! I'LL
give your 'oss a hairing arter them 'ounds; and you--vy, you may
ride back my pony to Tuggeridgeweal!" And with this, I'm blest if
he didn't ride away, leaving me holding, as for the dear life, and
expecting every minute the branch would break.
It DID break too, and down I came into the slush; and when I got
out of it, I can tell you I didn't look much like the Venuses or
the Apollor Belvidearis what I used to dress and titivate up for my
shop window when I was in the hairdressing line, or smell quite so
elegant as our rose-oil. Faugh! what a figure I was!
I had nothing for it but to mount the dustman's donkey (which was
very quietly cropping grass in the hedge), and to make my way home;
and after a weary, weary journey, I arrived at my own gate.
A whole party was assembled there. Tagrag, who had come back;
their Excellencies Mace and Punter, who were on a visit; and a
number of horses walking up and down before the whole of the
gentlemen of the hunt, who had come in after losing their fox!
"Here's Squire Coxe!" shouted the grooms. Out rushed the servants,
out poured the gents of the hunt, and on trotted poor me, digging
into the donkey, and everybody dying with laughter at me.
Just as I got up to the door, a horse came galloping up, and passed
me; a man jumped down, and taking off a fantail hat, came up, very
gravely, to help me down.
"Squire," says he, "how came you by that there hanimal? Jist git
down, will you, and give it to its howner?"
"Rascal!" says I, "didn't you ride off on my horse?"
"Was there ever sich ingratitude?" says the Spicy. "I found this
year 'oss in a pond, I saves him from drowning, I brings him back
to his master, and he calls me a rascal!"
The grooms, the gents, the ladies in the balcony, my own servants,
all set up a roar at this; and so would I, only I was so deucedly
ashamed, as not to be able to laugh just then.
And so my first day's hunting ended. Tagrag and the rest declared
I showed great pluck, and wanted me to try again; but "No," says I,
"I HAVE been."
THE FINISHING TOUCH.
I was always fond of billiards: and, in former days, at Grogram's
in Greek Street, where a few jolly lads of my acquaintance used to
meet twice a week for a game, and a snug pipe and beer, I was
generally voted the first man of the club; and could take five from
John the marker himself. I had a genius, in fact, for the game;
and now that I was placed in that station of life where I could
cultivate my talents, I gave them full play, and improved amazingly.
I do say that I think myself as good a hand as any chap in England.
The Count and his Excellency Baron von Punter were, I can tell you,
astonished by the smartness of my play: the first two or three
rubbers Punter beat me, but when I came to know his game, I used to
knock him all to sticks; or, at least, win six games to his four:
and such was the betting upon me; his Excellency losing large sums
to the Count, who knew what play was, and used to back me. I did
not play except for shillings, so my skill was of no great service
One day I entered the billiard-room where these three gentlemen
were high in words. "The thing shall not be done," I heard Captain
Tagrag say: "I won't stand it."
"Vat, begause you would have de bird all to yourzelf, hey?" said
"You sall not have a single fezare of him, begar," said the Count:
"ve vill blow you, M. de Taguerague; parole d'honneur, ve vill."
"What's all this, gents," says I, stepping in, "about birds and
"Oh," says Tagrag, "we were talking about--about--pigeon-shooting;
the Count here says he will blow a bird all to pieces at twenty
yards, and I said I wouldn't stand it, because it was regular
"Oh, yase, it was bidgeon-shooting," cries the Baron: "and I know
no better sbort. Have you been bidgeon-shooting, my dear Squire?
De fon is gabidal."
"No doubt," says I, "for the shooters, but mighty bad sport for the
PIGEON." And this joke set them all a-laughing ready to die. I
didn't know then what a good joke it WAS, neither; but I gave
Master Baron, that day, a precious good beating, and walked off
with no less than fifteen shillings of his money.
As a sporting man, and a man of fashion, I need not say that I took
in the Flare-up regularly; ay, and wrote one or two trifles in that
celebrated publication (one of my papers, which Tagrag subscribed
for me, Philo-pestitiaeamicus, on the proper sauce for teal and
widgeon--and the other, signed Scru-tatos, on the best means of
cultivating the kidney species of that vegetable--made no small
noise at the time, and got me in the paper a compliment from the
editor). I was a constant reader of the Notices to Correspondents,
and, my early education having been rayther neglected (for I was
taken from my studies and set, as is the custom in our trade, to
practise on a sheep's head at the tender age of nine years, before
I was allowed to venture on the humane countenance,)--I say, being
thus curtailed and cut off in my classical learning, I must confess
I managed to pick up a pretty smattering of genteel information
from that treasury of all sorts of knowledge; at least sufficient
to make me a match in learning for all the noblemen and gentlemen
who came to our house. Well, on looking over the Flare-up notices
to correspondents, I read, one day last April, among the notices,
"'Automodon.' We do not know the precise age of Mr. Baker of
Covent Garden Theatre; nor are we aware if that celebrated son of
Thespis is a married man.
"'Ducks and Green-peas' is informed, that when A plays his rook to
B's second Knight's square, and B, moving two squares with his
Queen's pawn, gives check to his adversary's Queen, there is no
reason why B's Queen should not take A's pawn, if B be so inclined.
"'F. L. S.' We have repeatedly answered the question about Madame
Vestris: her maiden name was Bartolozzi, and she married the son of
Charles Mathews, the celebrated comedian.
"'Fair Play.' The best amateur billiard and ecarte player in
England, is Coxe Tuggeridge Coxe, Esq., of Portland Place, and
Tuggeridgeville: Jonathan, who knows his play, can only give him
two in a game of a hundred; and, at the cards, NO man is his
superior. Verbum sap.
"'Scipio Americanus' is a blockhead."
I read this out to the Count and Tagrag, and both of them wondered
how the Editor of that tremendous Flare-up should get such
information; and both agreed that the Baron, who still piqued
himself absurdly on his play, would be vastly annoyed by seeing me
preferred thus to himself. We read him the paragraph, and
preciously angry he was. "Id is," he cried, "the tables" (or "de
DABELS," as he called them),--"de horrid dabels; gom viz me to
London, and dry a slate-table, and I vill beat you." We all roared
at this; and the end of the dispute was, that, just to satisfy the
fellow, I agreed to play his Excellency at slate-tables, or any
tables he chose.
"Gut," says he, "gut; I lif, you know, at Abednego's, in de
Quadrant; his dabels is goot; ve vill blay dere, if you vill." And
I said I would: and it was agreed that, one Saturday night, when
Jemmy was at the Opera, we should go to the Baron's rooms, and give
him a chance.
We went, and the little Baron had as fine a supper as ever I saw:
lots of Champang (and I didn't mind drinking it), and plenty of
laughing and fun. Afterwards, down we went to billiards. "Is dish
Misther Coxsh, de shelebrated player?" says Mr. Abednego, who was
in the room, with one or two gentlemen of his own persuasion, and
several foreign noblemen, dirty, snuffy, and hairy, as them
foreigners are. "Is dish Misther Coxsh? blesh my hart, it is a
honor to see you; I have heard so much of your play."
"Come, come," says I, "sir"--for I'm pretty wide awake--"none of
your gammon; you're not going to book ME."
"No, begar, dis fish you not catch," says Count Mace.
"Dat is gut!--haw! haw!" snorted the Baron. "Hook him! Lieber
Himmel, you might dry and hook me as well. Haw! haw!"
Well, we went to play. "Five to four on Coxe," screams out the
Count.--"Done and done," says another nobleman. "Ponays," says the
Count.--"Done," says the nobleman. "I vill take your six crowns to
four," says the Baron.--"Done," says I. And, in the twinkling of
an eye, I beat him once making thirteen off the balls without
We had some more wine after this; and if you could have seen the
long faces of the other noblemen, as they pulled out their pencils
and wrote I.O.U.'s for the Count! "Va toujours, mon cher," says he
to me, "you have von for me three hundred pounds."
"I'll blay you guineas dis time," says the Baron. "Zeven to four
you must give me though." And so I did: and in ten minutes THAT
game was won, and the Baron handed over his pounds. "Two hundred
and sixty more, my dear, dear Coxe," says the Count: "you are mon
ange gardien!" "Wot a flat Misther Coxsh is, not to back his
luck," I hoard Abednego whisper to one of the foreign noblemen.
"I'll take your seven to four, in tens," said I to the Baron.
"Give me three," says he, "and done." I gave him three, and lost
the game by one. "Dobbel, or quits," says he. "Go it," says I, up
to my mettle: "Sam Coxe never says no;" and to it we went. I went
in, and scored eighteen to his five. "Holy Moshesh!" says
Abednego, "dat little Coxsh is a vonder! who'll take odds?"
"I'll give twenty to one," says I, "in guineas."
"Ponays; yase, done," screams out the Count.
"BONIES, done," roars out the Baron: and, before I could speak,
went in, and--would you believe it?--in two minutes he somehow made
. . . . . .
Oh, what a figure I cut when my dear Jemmy heard of this afterwards!
In vain I swore it was guineas: the Count and the Baron swore to
ponies; and when I refused, they both said their honor was
concerned, and they must have my life, or their money. So when the
Count showed me actually that, in spite of this bet (which had been
too good to resist) won from me, he had been a very heavy loser by
the night; and brought me the word of honor of Abednego, his Jewish
friend, and the foreign noblemen, that ponies had been betted;--why,
I paid them one thousand pounds sterling of good and lawful
money.--But I've not played for money since: no, no; catch me at
THAT again if you can.
A NEW DROP-SCENE AT THE OPERA.
No lady is a lady without having a box at the Opera: so my Jemmy,
who knew as much about music,--bless her!--as I do about Sanscrit,
algebra, or any other foreign language, took a prime box on the
second tier. It was what they called a double box; it really COULD
hold two, that is, very comfortably; and we got it a great bargain--
for five hundred a year! Here, Tuesdays and Saturdays, we used
regularly to take our places, Jemmy and Jemimarann sitting in
front; me, behind: but as my dear wife used to wear a large fantail
gauze hat with ostrich feathers, birds-of-paradise, artificial
flowers, and tags of muslin or satin, scattered all over it, I'm
blest if she didn't fill the whole of the front of the box; and it
was only by jumping and dodging, three or four times in the course
of the night, that I could manage to get a sight of the actors. By
kneeling down, and looking steady under my darling Jemmy's sleeve,
I DID contrive, every now and then, to have a peep of Senior
Lablash's boots, in the "Puritanny," and once actually saw Madame
Greasi's crown and head-dress in "Annybalony."
What a place that Opera is, to be sure! and what enjoyments us
aristocracy used to have! Just as you have swallowed down your
three courses (three curses I used to call them;--for so, indeed,
they are, causing a deal of heartburns, headaches, doctor's bills,
pills, want of sleep, and such like)--just, I say, as you get down
your three courses, which I defy any man to enjoy properly unless
he has two hours of drink and quiet afterwards, up comes the
carriage, in bursts my Jemmy, as fine as a duchess, and scented
like our shop. "Come, my dear," says she, "it's 'Normy' to--night"
(or "Annybalony," or the "Nosey di Figaro," or the "Gazzylarder,"
as the case may be). "Mr. Foster strikes off punctually at eight,
and you know it's the fashion to be always present at the very
first bar of the aperture." And so off we are obliged to budge, to
be miserable for five hours, and to have a headache for the next
twelve, and all because it's the fashion!
After the aperture, as they call it, comes the opera, which, as I
am given to understand, is the Italian for singing. Why they
should sing in Italian, I can't conceive; or why they should do
nothing BUT sing. Bless us! how I used to long for the wooden
magpie in the "Gazzylarder" to fly up to the top of the church-
steeple, with the silver spoons, and see the chaps with the
pitchforks come in and carry off that wicked Don June. Not that I
don't admire Lablash, and Rubini, and his brother, Tomrubini: him
who has that fine bass voice, I mean, and acts the Corporal in the
first piece, and Don June in the second; but three hours is a
LITTLE too much, for you can't sleep on those little rickety seats
in the boxes.
The opera is bad enough; but what is that to the bally? You SHOULD
have seen my Jemmy the first night when she stopped to see it; and
when Madamsalls Fanny and Theresa Hustler came forward, along with
a gentleman, to dance, you should have seen how Jemmy stared, and
our girl blushed, when Madamsall Fanny, coming forward, stood on
the tips of only five of her toes, and raising up the other five,
and the foot belonging to them, almost to her shoulder, twirled
round, and round, and round, like a teetotum, for a couple of
minutes or more; and as she settled down, at last, on both feet, in
a natural decent posture, you should have heard how the house
roared with applause, the boxes clapping with all their might, and
waving their handkerchiefs; the pit shouting, " Bravo!" Some
people, who, I suppose, were rather angry at such an exhibition,
threw bunches of flowers at her; and what do you think she did?
Why, hang me, if she did not come forward, as though nothing had
happened, gather up the things they had thrown at her, smile, press
them to her heart, and begin whirling round again faster than ever.
Talk about coolness, I never saw such in all MY born days.
"Nasty thing!" says Jemmy, starting up in a fury; "if women WILL
act so, it serves them right to be treated so."
"Oh, yes! she acts beautifully," says our friend his Excellency,
who along with Baron von Punter and Tagrag, used very seldom to
miss coming to our box.
"She may act very beautifully, Munseer, but she don't dress so; and
I am very glad they threw that orange-peel and all those things at
her, and that the people waved to her to get off."
Here his Excellency, and the Baron and Tag, set up a roar of
"My dear Mrs. Coxe," says Tag, "those are the most famous dancers
in the world; and we throw myrtle, geraniums, and lilies and roses
at them, in token of our immense admiration!"
"Well, I never!" said my wife; and poor Jemimarann slunk behind the
curtain, and looked as red as it almost. After the one had done
the next begun; but when, all of a sudden, a somebody came skipping
and bounding in, like an Indian-rubber ball, flinging itself up, at
least six feet from the stage, and there shaking about its legs
like mad, we were more astonished than ever!
"That's Anatole," says one of the gentlemen.
"Anna who?" says my wife; and she might well be mistaken: for this
person had a hat and feathers, a bare neck and arms, great black
ringlets, and a little calico frock, which came down to the knees.
"Anatole. You would not think he was sixty-three years old, he's
as active as a man of twenty."
"HE!" shrieked out my wife; "what, is that there a man? For shame!
Munseer. Jemimarann, dear, get your cloak, and come along; and
I'll thank you, my dear, to call our people, and let us go home."
You wouldn't think, after this, that my Jemmy, who had shown such a
horror at the bally, as they call it, should ever grow accustomed
to it; but she liked to hear her name shouted out in the crush-
room, and so would stop till the end of everything; and, law bless
you! in three weeks from that time, she could look at the ballet as
she would at a dancing-dog in the streets, and would bring her
double-barrelled opera-glass up to her eyes as coolly as if she had
been a born duchess. As for me, I did at Rome as Rome does; and
precious fun it used to be, sometimes.
My friend the Baron insisted one night on my going behind the
scenes; where, being a subscriber, he said I had what they call my
ONTRAY. Behind, then, I went; and such a place you never saw nor
heard of! Fancy lots of young and old gents of the fashion
crowding round and staring at the actresses practising their steps.
Fancy yellow snuffy foreigners, chattering always, and smelling
fearfully of tobacco. Fancy scores of Jews, with hooked-noses and
black muzzles, covered with rings, chains, sham diamonds, and gold
waistcoats. Fancy old men dressed in old nightgowns, with knock-
knees, and dirty flesh-colored cotton stockings, and dabs of brick-
dust on their wrinkled old chops, and tow-wigs (such wigs!) for the
bald ones, and great tin spears in their hands mayhap, or else
shepherds' crooks, and fusty garlands of flowers made of red and
green baize. Fancy troops of girls giggling, chattering, pushing
to and fro, amidst old black canvas, Gothic halls, thrones,
pasteboard Cupids, dragons, and such like. Such dirt, darkness,
crowd, confusion and gabble of all conceivable languages was never
If you COULD but have seen Munseer Anatole! Instead of looking
twenty, he looked a thousand. The old man's wig was off, and a
barber was giving it a touch with the tongs; Munseer was taking
snuff himself, and a boy was standing by with a pint of beer from
the public-house at the corner of Charles Street.
I met with a little accident during the three-quarters of an hour
which they allow for the entertainment of us men of fashion on the
stage, before the curtain draws up for the bally, while the ladies
in the boxes are gaping, and the people in the pit are drumming
with their feet and canes in the rudest manner possible, as though
they couldn't wait.
Just at the moment before the little bell rings and the curtain
flies up, and we scuffle off to the sides (for we always stay till
the very last moment), I was in the middle of the stage, making
myself very affable to the fair figgerantys which was spinning and
twirling about me, and asking them if they wasn't cold, and such
like politeness, in the most condescending way possible, when a
bolt was suddenly withdrawn, and down I popped, through a trap in
the stage, into the place below. Luckily I was stopped by a piece
of machinery, consisting of a heap of green blankets and a young
lady coming up as Venus rising from the sea. If I had not fallen
so soft, I don't know what might have been the consequence of the
collusion. I never told Mrs. Coxe, for she can't bear to hear of
my paying the least attention to the fair sex.
STRIKING A BALANCE.
Next door to us, in Portland Place, lived the Right Honorable the
Earl of Kilblazes, of Kilmacrasy Castle, County Kildare, and his
mother the Dowager Countess. Lady Kilblazes had a daughter, Lady
Juliana Matilda MacTurk, of the exact age of our dear Jemimarann;
and a son, the Honorable Arthur Wellington Anglesea Blucher Bulow
MacTurk, only ten months older than our boy Tug.
My darling Jemmy is a woman of spirit, and, as become her station,
made every possible attempt to become acquainted with the Dowager
Countess of Kilblazes, which her ladyship (because, forsooth, she
was the daughter of the Minister, and Prince of Wales's great
friend, the Earl of Portansherry) thought fit to reject. I don't
wonder at my Jemmy growing so angry with her, and determining, in
every way, to put her ladyship down. The Kilblazes' estate is not
so large as the Tuggeridge property by two thousand a year at
least; and so my wife, when our neighbors kept only two footmen,
was quite authorized in having three; and she made it a point, as
soon as ever the Kilblazes' carriage-and-pair came round, to have
out her own carriage-and-four.
Well, our box was next to theirs at the Opera; only twice as big.
Whatever masters went to Lady Juliana, came to my Jemimarann; and
what do you think Jemmy did? she got her celebrated governess,
Madame de Flicflac, away from the Countess, by offering a double
salary. It was quite a treasure, they said, to have Madame
Flicflac: she had been (to support her father, the Count, when he
emigrated) a FRENCH dancer at the ITALIAN Opera. French dancing,
and Italian, therefore, we had at once, and in the best style: it
is astonishing how quick and well she used to speak--the French
Master Arthur MacTurk was at the famous school of the Reverend
Clement Coddler, along with a hundred and ten other young
fashionables, from the age of three to fifteen; and to this
establishment Jemmy sent our Tug, adding forty guineas to the
hundred and twenty paid every year for the boarders. I think I
found out the dear soul's reason; for, one day, speaking about the
school to a mutual acquaintance of ours and the Kilblazes, she
whispered to him that "she never would have thought of sending her
darling boy at the rate which her next-door neighbors paid; THEIR
lad, she was sure, must be starved: however, poor people, they did
the best they could on their income!"
Coddler's, in fact, was the tip-top school near London: he had been
tutor to the Duke of Buckminster, who had set him up in the school,
and, as I tell you, all the peerage and respectable commoners came
to it. You read in the bill, (the snopsis, I think, Coddler called
it,) after the account of the charges for board, masters, extras,
&c.--"Every young nobleman (or gentleman) is expected to bring a
knife, fork, spoon, and goblet of silver (to prevent breakage),
which will not be returned; a dressing-gown and slippers; toilet-
box, pomatum, curling-irons, &c. &c. The pupil must on NO ACCOUNT
be allowed to have more than ten guineas of pocket-money, unless
his parents particularly desire it, or he be above fifteen years of
age. WINE will be an extra charge; as are warm, vapor, and douche
baths. CARRIAGE EXERCISE will be provided at the rate of fifteen
guineas per quarter. It is EARNESTLY REQUESTED that no young
nobleman (or gentleman) be allowed to smoke. In a place devoted to
THE CULTIVATION OF POLITE LITERATURE, such an ignoble enjoyment
"CLEMENT CODDLER, M. A.,
"Chaplain and late tutor to his Grace the Duke of Buckminster.
"MOUNT PARNASSUS, RICHMOND, SURREY."
To this establishment our Tug was sent. "Recollect, my dear," said
his mamma, "that you are a Tuggeridge by birth, and that I expect
you to beat all the boys in the school; especially that Wellington
MacTurk, who, though he is a lord's son, is nothing to you, who are
the heir of Tuggeridgeville."
Tug was a smart young fellow enough, and could cut and curl as
well as any young chap of his age: he was not a bad hand at a wig
either, and could shave, too, very prettily; but that was in the
old time, when we were not great people: when he came to be a
gentleman, he had to learn Latin and Greek, and had a deal of lost
time to make up for, on going to school.
However, we had no fear; for the Reverend Mr. Coddler used to send
monthly accounts of his pupil's progress, and if Tug was not a
wonder of the world, I don't know who was. It was
General behavior excellent.
English very good.
French tres bien.
And so on:--he possessed all the virtues, and wrote to us every
month for money. My dear Jemmy and I determined to go and see him,
after he had been at school a quarter; we went, and were shown by
Mr. Coddler, one of the meekest, smilingest little men I ever saw,
into the bedrooms and eating-rooms (the dromitaries and refractories
he called them), which were all as comfortable as comfortable might
be. "It is a holiday, today," said Mr. Coddler; and a holiday it
seemed to be. In the dining-room were half a dozen young gentlemen
playing at cards ("All tip-top nobility," observed Mr. Coddler);--in
the bedrooms there was only one gent: he was lying on his bed,
reading novels and smoking cigars. "Extraordinary genius!" whispered
Coddler. "Honorable Tom Fitz-Warter, cousin of Lord Byron's;
smokes all day; and has written the SWEETEST poems you can imagine.
Genius, my dear madam, you know--genius must have its way." "Well,
UPON my word," says Jemmy, "if that's genius, I had rather that
Master Tuggeridge Coxe Tuggeridge remained a dull fellow."
"Impossible, my dear madam," said Coddler. "Mr. Tuggeridge Coxe
COULDN'T be stupid if he TRIED."
Just then up comes Lord Claude Lollypop, third son of the Marquis
of Allycompane. We were introduced instantly: "Lord Claude
Lollypop, Mr. and Mrs. Coxe." The little lord wagged his head, my
wife bowed very low, and so did Mr. Coddler; who, as he saw my lord
making for the playground, begged him to show us the way.--"Come
along," says my lord; and as he walked before us, whistling, we had
leisure to remark the beautiful holes in his jacket, and elsewhere.
About twenty young noblemen (and gentlemen) were gathered round a
pastry-cook's shop at the end of the green. "That's the grub-
shop," said my lord, "where we young gentlemen wot has money buys
our wittles, and them young gentlemen wot has none, goes tick."
Then we passed a poor red-haired usher sitting on a bench alone.
"That's Mr. Hicks, the Husher, ma'am," says my lord. "We keep him,
for he's very useful to throw stones at, and he keeps the chaps'
coats when there's a fight, or a game at cricket.--Well, Hicks,
how's your mother? what's the row now?" "I believe, my lord," said
the usher, very meekly, "there is a pugilistic encounter somewhere
on the premises--the Honorable Mr. Mac--"
"Oh! COME along," said Lord Lollypop, "come along: this way, ma'am!
Go it, ye cripples!" And my lord pulled my dear Jemmy's gown in
the kindest and most familiar way, she trotting on after him,
mightily pleased to be so taken notice of, and I after her. A
little boy went running across the green. "Who is it, Petitoes?"
screams my lord. "Turk and the barber," pipes Petitoes, and runs
to the pastry-cook's like mad. "Turk and the ba--," laughs out my
lord, looking at us. "HURRA! THIS way, ma'am!" And turning round
a corner, he opened a door into a court-yard, where a number of
boys were collected, and a great noise of shrill voices might be
heard. "Go it, Turk!" says one. "Go it, barber!" says another.
"PUNCH HITH LIFE OUT!" roars another, whose voice was just cracked,
and his clothes half a yard too short for him!
Fancy our horror when, on the crowd making way, we saw Tug
pummelling away at the Honorable Master MacTurk! My dear Jemmy,
who don't understand such things, pounced upon the two at once,
and, with one hand tearing away Tug, sent him spinning back into
the arms of his seconds, while, with the other, she clawed hold of
Master MacTurk's red hair, and, as soon as she got her second hand
free, banged it about his face and ears like a good one.
"You nasty--wicked--quarrelsome--aristocratic" (each word was a
bang)--"aristocratic--oh! oh! oh!"--Here the words stopped; for what
with the agitation, maternal solicitude, and a dreadful kick on the
shins which, I am ashamed to say, Master MacTurk administered, my
dear Jemmy could bear it no longer, and sunk fainting away in my
DOWN AT BEULAH.
Although there was a regular cut between the next-door people and
us, yet Tug and the Honorable Master MacTurk kept up their
acquaintance over the back-garden wall, and in the stables, where
they were fighting, making friends, and playing tricks from morning
to night, during the holidays. Indeed, it was from young Mac that
we first heard of Madame de Flicflac, of whom my Jemmy robbed Lady
Kilblazes, as I before have related. When our friend the Baron
first saw Madame, a very tender greeting passed between them; for
they had, as it appeared, been old friends abroad. "Sapristie,"
said the Baron, in his lingo, "que fais-tu ici, Amenaide?" "Et
toi, mon pauvre Chicot," says she, "est-ce qu'on t'a mis a la
retraite? Il parait que tu n'es plus General chez Franco--"
CHUT!" says the Baron, putting his finger to his lips.
"What are they saying, my dear?" says my wife to Jemimarann, who
had a pretty knowledge of the language by this time.
"I don't know what 'Sapristie' means, mamma; but the Baron asked
Madame what she was doing here? and Madame said, 'And you, Chicot,
you are no more a General at Franco.'--Have I not translated
"Oui, mon chou, mon ange. Yase, my angel, my cabbage, quite right.
Figure yourself, I have known my dear Chicot dis twenty years."
"Chicot is my name of baptism," says the Baron; "Baron Chicot de
Punter is my name."
"And being a General at Franco," says Jemmy, "means, I suppose,
being a French General?"
"Yes, I vas," said he, "General Baron de Punter--n'est 'a pas,
"Oh, yes!" said Madame Flicflac, and laughed; and I and Jemmy
laughed out of politeness: and a pretty laughing matter it was, as
you shall hear.
About this time my Jemmy became one of the Lady-Patronesses of that
admirable institution, "The Washerwoman's-Orphans' Home;" Lady de
Sudley was the great projector of it; and the manager and chaplain,
the excellent and Reverend Sidney Slopper. His salary, as
chaplain, and that of Doctor Leitch, the physician (both cousins of
her ladyship's), drew away five hundred pounds from the six
subscribed to the Charity: and Lady de Sudley thought a fete at
Beulah Spa, with the aid of some of the foreign princes who were in
town last year, might bring a little more money into its treasury.
A tender appeal was accordingly drawn up, and published in all the
"BRITISH WASHERWOMAN'S-ORPHANS' HOME.
"The 'Washerwoman's-Orphans' Home' has now been established seven
years: and the good which it has effected is, it may be confidently
stated, INCALCULABLE. Ninety-eight orphan children of Washerwomen
have been lodged within its walls. One hundred and two British
Washerwomen have been relieved when in the last state of decay.
ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY-EIGHT THOUSAND articles of male and female
dress have been washed, mended, buttoned, ironed, and mangled in
the Establishment. And, by an arrangement with the governors of
the Foundling, it is hoped that THE BABY-LINEN OF THAT HOSPITAL
will be confided to the British Washerwoman's Home!
"With such prospects before it, is it not sad, is it not lamentable
to think, that the Patronesses of the Society have been compelled
to reject the applications of no less than THREE THOUSAND EIGHT
HUNDRED AND ONE BRITISH WASHERWOMEN, from lack of means for their
support? Ladies of England! Mothers of England! to you we appeal.
Is there one of you that will not respond to the cry in behalf of
these deserving members of our sex?
"It has been determined by the Ladies-Patronesses to give a fete at
Beulah Spa, on Thursday, July 25; which will be graced with the
first foreign and native TALENT; by the first foreign and native
RANK; and where they beg for the attendance of every WASHERWOMAN'S
Her Highness the Princess of Schloppenzollernschwigmaringen, the
Duke of Sacks-Tubbingen, His Excellency Baron Strumpff, His
Excellency Lootf-Allee-Koolee-Bismillah-Mohamed-Rusheed-Allah, the
Persian Ambassador, Prince Futtee-Jaw, Envoy from the King of Oude,
His Excellency Don Alonzo di Cachachero-y-Fandango-y-Castanete, the
Spanish Ambassador, Count Ravioli, from Milan, the Envoy of the
Republic of Topinambo, and a host of other fashionables, promised
to honor the festival: and their names made a famous show in the
bills. Besides these, we had the celebrated band of Moscow-musiks,
the seventy-seven Transylvanian trumpeters, and the famous Bohemian
Minnesingers; with all the leading artists of London, Paris, the
Continent, and the rest of Europe.
I leave you to fancy what a splendid triumph for the British
Washerwoman's Home was to come off on that day. A beautiful tent
was erected, in which the Ladies-Patronesses were to meet: it was
hung round with specimens of the skill of the washerwomen's
orphans; ninety-six of whom were to be feasted in the gardens,
and waited on by the Ladies-Patronesses.
Well, Jemmy and my daughter, Madame de Flicflac, myself, the Count,
Baron Punter, Tug, and Tagrag, all went down in the chariot and
barouche-and-four, quite eclipsing poor Lady Kilblazes and her
There was a fine cold collation, to which the friends of the
Ladies-Patronesses were admitted; after which, my ladies and their
beaux went strolling through the walks; Tagrag and the Count having
each an arm of Jemmy; the Baron giving an arm apiece to Madame and
Jemimarann. Whilst they were walking, whom should they light upon
but poor Orlando Crump, my successor in the perfumery and hair-
"Orlando!" says Jemimarann, blushing as red as a label, and holding
out her hand.
"Jemimar!" says he, holding out his, and turning as white as
"SIR!" says Jemmy, as stately as a duchess.
"What! madam," says poor Crump, "don't you remember your shopboy?"
"Dearest mamma, don't you recollect Orlando?" whimpers Jemimarann,
whose hand he had got hold of.
"Miss Tuggeridge Coxe," says Jemmy, "I'm surprised of you.
Remember, sir, that our position is altered, and oblige me by no
"Insolent fellow!" says the Baron, "vat is dis canaille?"
"Canal yourself, Mounseer," says Orlando, now grown quite furious:
he broke away, quite indignant, and was soon lost in the crowd.
Jemimarann, as soon as he was gone, began to look very pale and
ill; and her mamma, therefore, took her to a tent, where she left
her along with Madame Flicflac and the Baron; going off herself
with the other gentlemen, in order to join us.
It appears they had not been seated very long, when Madame Flicflac
suddenly sprung up, with an exclamation of joy, and rushed forward
to a friend whom she saw pass.
The Baron was left alone with Jemimarann; and, whether it was the
champagne, or that my dear girl looked more than commonly pretty, I
don't know; but Madame Flicflac had not been gone a minute, when
the Baron dropped on his knees, and made her a regular declaration.
Poor Orlando Crump had found me out by this time, and was standing
by my side, listening, as melancholy as possible, to the famous
Bohemian Minnesingers, who were singing the celebrated words of the
"Ich bin ya hupp lily lee, du bist ya hupp lily lee.
Wir sind doch hupp lily lee, hupp la lily lee."
"Chorus--Yodle-odle-odle-odle-odle-odle hupp! yodle-odle-aw-o-o-o!"
They were standing with their hands in their waistcoats, as usual,
and had just come to the "o-o-o," at the end of the chorus of the
forty-seventh stanza, when Orlando started: "That's a scream!" says
he. "Indeed it is," says I; "and, but for the fashion of the
thing, a very ugly scream too:" when I heard another shrill "Oh!"
as I thought; and Orlando bolted off, crying, "By heavens, it's HER
voice!" "Whose voice?" says I. "Come and see the row," says Tag.
And off we went, with a considerable number of people, who saw this
strange move on his part.
We came to the tent, and there we found my poor Jemimarann
fainting; her mamma holding a smelling-bottle; the Baron, on the
ground, holding a handkerchief to his bleeding nose; and Orlando
squaring at him, and calling on him to fight if he dared.
My Jemmy looked at Crump very fierce. "Take that feller away,"
says she; "he has insulted a French nobleman, and deserves
transportation, at the least."
Poor Orlando was carried off. "I've no patience with the little
minx," says Jemmy, giving Jemimarann a pinch. "She might be a
Baron's lady; and she screams out because his Excellency did but
squeeze her hand."
"Oh, mamma! mamma!" sobs poor Jemimarann, "but he was t-t-tipsy."
"T-t-tipsy! and the more shame for you, you hussy, to be offended
with a nobleman who does not know what he is doing."
"I say, Tug," said MacTurk, one day soon after our flareup at
Beulah, "Kilblazes comes of age in October, and then we'll cut you
out, as I told you: the old barberess will die of spite when she
hears what we are going to do. What do you think? we're going to
have a tournament!" "What's a tournament?" says Tug, and so said
his mamma when she heard the news; and when she knew what a
tournament was, I think, really, she WAS as angry as MacTurk said
she would be, and gave us no peace for days together. "What!" says
she, "dress up in armor, like play-actors, and run at each other
with spears? The Kilblazes must be mad! "And so I thought, but I
didn't think the Tuggeridges would be mad too, as they were: for,
when Jemmy heard that the Kilblazes' festival was to be, as yet, a
profound secret, what does she do, but send down to the Morning
Post a flaming account of
"THE PASSAGE OF ARMS AT TUGGERIDGEVIILLE!
"The days of chivalry are NOT past. The fair Castellane of
T-gg-r-dgeville, whose splendid entertainments have so often been
alluded to in this paper, has determined to give one, which shall
exceed in splendor even the magnificence of the Middle Ages. We are
not at liberty to say more; but a tournament, at which His Ex-l-ncy
B-r-n de P-nt-r and Thomas T-gr-g, Esq., eldest son of Sir Th--s
T-gr-g, are to be the knights-defendants against all comers; a QUEEN
OF BEAUTY, of whose loveliness every frequenter of fashion has felt
the power; a banquet, unexampled in the annals of Gunter; and a
ball, in which the recollections of ancient chivalry will blend
sweetly with the soft tones of Weippert and Collinet, are among the
entertainments which the Ladye of T-gg-ridgeville has prepared for
her distinguished guests."
The Baron was the life of the scheme; he longed to be on horseback,
and in the field at Tuggeridgeville, where he, Tagrag, and a number
of our friends practised: he was the very best tilter present; he
vaulted over his horse, and played such wonderful antics, as never
were done except at Ducrow's.
And now--oh that I had twenty pages, instead of this short chapter,
to describe the wonders of the day!--Twenty-four knights came from
Ashley's at two guineas a head. We were in hopes to have had Miss
Woolford in the character of Joan of Arc, but that lady did not
appear. We had a tent for the challengers, at each side of which
hung what they called ESCOACHINGS, (like hatchments, which they put
up when people die,) and underneath sat their pages, holding their
helmets for the tournament. Tagrag was in brass armor (my City
connections got him that famous suit); his Excellency in polished
steel. My wife wore a coronet, modelled exactly after that of
Queen Catharine, in "Henry V.;" a tight gilt jacket, which set off
dear Jemmy's figure wonderfully, and a train of at least forty
feet. Dear Jemimarann was in white, her hair braided with pearls.
Madame de Flicflac appeared as Queen Elizabeth; and Lady Blanche
Bluenose as a Turkish princess. An alderman of London and his
lady; two magistrates of the county, and the very pink of Croydon;
several Polish noblemen; two Italian counts (besides our Count);
one hundred and ten young officers, from Addiscombe College, in
full uniform, commanded by Major-General Sir Miles Mulligatawney,
K.C.B., and his lady; the Misses Pimminy's Finishing Establishment,
and fourteen young ladies, all in white: the Reverend Doctor
Wapshot, and forty-nine young gentlemen, of the first families,
under his charge--were SOME only of the company. I leave you to
fancy that, if my Jemmy did seek for fashion, she had enough of it
on this occasion. They wanted me to have mounted again, but my
hunting-day had been sufficient; besides, I ain't big enough
for a real knight: so, as Mrs. Coxe insisted on my opening the
Tournament--and I knew it was in vain to resist--the Baron and
Tagrag had undertaken to arrange so that I might come off with
safety, if I came off at all. They had procured from the Strand
Theatre a famous stud of hobby-horses, which they told me had been
trained for the use of the great Lord Bateman. I did not know
exactly what they were till they arrived; but as they had belonged
to a lord, I thought it was all right, and consented; and I found
it the best sort of riding, after all, to appear to be on horseback
and walk safely a-foot at the same time; and it was impossible to
come down as long as I kept on my own legs: besides, I could cuff
and pull my steed about as much as I liked, without fear of his
biting or kicking in return. As Lord of the Tournament, they
placed in my hands a lance, ornamented spirally, in blue and gold:
I thought of the pole over my old shop door, and almost wished
myself there again, as I capered up to the battle in my helmet and
breastplate, with all the trumpets blowing and drums beating at the
time. Captain Tagrag was my opponent, and preciously we poked each
other, till, prancing about, I put my foot on my horse's petticoat
behind, and down I came, getting a thrust from the Captain, at the
same time, that almost broke my shoulder-bone. "This was
sufficient," they said, "for the laws of chivalry;" and I was glad
to get off so.
After that the gentlemen riders, of whom there were no less than
seven, in complete armor, and the professionals, now ran at the
ring; and the Baron was far, far the most skilful.
"How sweetly the dear Baron rides," said my wife, who was always
ogling at him, smirking, smiling, and waving her handkerchief to
him. "I say, Sam," says a professional to one of his friends, as,
after their course, they came cantering up, and ranged under
Jemmy's bower, as she called it:--"I say, Sam, I'm blowed if that
chap in harmer mustn't have been one of hus." And this only made
Jemmy the more pleased; for the fact is, the Baron had chosen the
best way of winning Jemimarann by courting her mother.
The Baron was declared conqueror at the ring; and Jemmy awarded him
the prize, a wreath of white roses, which she placed on his lance;
he receiving it gracefully, and bowing, until the plumes of his
helmet mingled with the mane of his charger, which backed to the
other end of the lists; then galloping back to the place where
Jemimarann was seated, he begged her to place it on his helmet.
The poor girl blushed very much, and did so. As all the people
were applauding, Tagrag rushed up, and, laying his hand on the
Baron's shoulder, whispered something in his ear, which made the
other very angry, I suppose, for he shook him off violently.
"Chacun pour soi," says he, "Monsieur de Taguerague,"--which means,
I am told, "Every man for himself." And then he rode away,
throwing his lance in the air, catching it, and making his horse
caper and prance, to the admiration of all beholders.
After this came the "Passage of Arms." Tagrag and the Baron ran
courses against the other champions; ay, and unhorsed two apiece;
whereupon the other three refused to turn out; and preciously we
laughed at them, to be sure!
"Now, it's OUR turn, Mr. CHICOT," says Tagrag, shaking his fist at
the Baron: "look to yourself, you infernal mountebank, for, by
Jupiter, I'll do my best!" And before Jemmy and the rest of us,
who were quite bewildered, could say a word, these two friends were
charging away, spears in hand, ready to kill each other. In vain
Jemmy screamed; in vain I threw down my truncheon: they had broken
two poles before I could say "Jack Robinson," and were driving at
each other with the two new ones. The Baron had the worst of the
first course, for he had almost been carried out of his saddle.
"Hark you, Chicot!" screamed out Tagrag, "next time look to your
head!" And next time, sure enough, each aimed at the head of the
Tagrag's spear hit the right place; for it carried off the Baron's
helmet, plume, rose-wreath and all; but his Excellency hit truer
still--his lance took Tagrag on the neck, and sent him to the
ground like a stone.
"He's won! he's won!" says Jemmy, waving her handkerchief;
Jemimarann fainted, Lady Blanche screamed, and I felt so sick that
I thought I should drop. All the company were in an uproar: only
the Baron looked calm, and bowed very gracefully, and kissed his
hand to Jemmy; when, all of a sudden, a Jewish-looking man
springing over the barrier, and followed by three more, rushed
towards the Baron. "Keep the gate, Bob!" he holloas out. "Baron,
I arrest you, at the suit of Samuel Levison, for--"
But he never said for what; shouting out, "Aha!" and "Sapprrrristie!"
and I don't know what, his Excellency drew his sword, dug his spurs
into his horse, and was over the poor bailiff, and off before
another word. He had threatened to run through one of the bailiff's
followers, Mr. Stubbs, only that gentleman made way for him; and
when we took up the bailiff, and brought him round by the aid of a
little brandy-and-water, he told us all. "I had a writ againsht
him, Mishter Coxsh, but I didn't vant to shpoil shport; and,
beshidesh, I didn't know him until dey knocked off his shteel cap!"
. . . . . .
Here was a pretty business!
OVER-BOARDED AND UNDER-LODGED.
We had no great reason to brag of our tournament at Tuggeridgeville:
but, after all, it was better than the turn-out at Kilblazes, where
poor Lord Heydownderry went about in a black velvet dressing-gown,
and the Emperor Napoleon Bonypart appeared in a suit of armor and
silk stockings, like Mr. Pell's friend in Pickwick; we, having
employed the gentlemen from Astley's Antitheatre, had some decent
sport for our money.
We never heard a word from the Baron, who had so distinguished
himself by his horsemanship, and had knocked down (and very justly)
Mr. Nabb, the bailiff, and Mr. Stubbs, his man, who came to lay
hands upon him. My sweet Jemmy seemed to be very low in spirits
after his departure, and a sad thing it is to see her in low
spirits: on days of illness she no more minds giving Jemimarann a
box on the ear, or sending a plate of muffins across a table at
poor me, than she does taking her tea.
Jemmy, I say, was very low in spirits; but, one day (I remember it
was the day after Captain Higgins called, and said he had seen the
Baron at Boulogne), she vowed that nothing but change of air would
do her good, and declared that she should die unless she went to
the seaside in France. I knew what this meant, and that I might as
well attempt to resist her as to resist her Gracious Majesty in
Parliament assembled; so I told the people to pack up the things,
and took four places on board the "Grand Turk" steamer for Boulogne.
The travelling-carriage, which, with Jemmy's thirty-seven boxes and
my carpet-bag, was pretty well loaded, was sent on board the night
before; and we, after breakfasting in Portland Place (little did I
think it was the--but, poh! never mind), went down to the Custom
House in the other carriage, followed by a hackney-coach and a cab,
with the servants, and fourteen bandboxes and trunks more, which
were to be wanted by my dear girl in the journey.
The road down Cheapside and Thames Street need not be described: we
saw the Monument, a memento of the wicked Popish massacre of St.
Bartholomew;--why erected here I can't think, as St. Bartholomew is
in Smithfield;--we had a glimpse of Billingsgate, and of the
Mansion House, where we saw the two-and-twenty-shilling-coal smoke
coming out of the chimneys, and were landed at the Custom House in
safety. I felt melancholy, for we were going among a people of
swindlers, as all Frenchmen are thought to be; and, besides not
being able to speak the language, leaving our own dear country and
Fourteen porters came out, and each took a package with the
greatest civility; calling Jemmy her ladyship, and me your honor;
ay, and your honoring and my ladyshipping even my man and the maid
in the cab. I somehow felt all over quite melancholy at going
away. "Here, my fine fellow," says I to the coachman, who was
standing very respectful, holding his hat in one hand and Jemmy's
jewel-case in the other--"Here, my fine chap," says I, "here's six
shillings for you;" for I did not care for the money.
"Six what?" says he.
"Six shillings, fellow," shrieks Jemmy, "and twice as much as your
"Feller, marm!" says this insolent coachman. "Feller yourself,
marm: do you think I'm a-going to kill my horses, and break my
precious back, and bust my carriage, and carry you, and your kids,
and your traps for six hog?" And with this the monster dropped his
hat, with my money in it, and doubling his fist put it so very near
my nose that I really thought he would have made it bleed. "My
fare's heighteen shillings," says he, "hain't it?--hask hany of
"Why, it ain't more than seventeen-and-six," says one of the
fourteen porters; "but if the gen'l'man IS a gen'l'man, he can't
give no less than a suffering anyhow."
I wanted to resist, and Jemmy screamed like a Turk; but, "Holloa!"
says one. "What's the row?" says another. "Come, dub up!" roars a
third. And I don't mind telling you, in confidence, that I was so
frightened that I took out the sovereign and gave it. My man and
Jemmy's maid had disappeared by this time: they always do when
there's a robbery or a row going on.
I was going after them. "Stop, Mr. Ferguson," pipes a young
gentleman of about thirteen, with a red livery waistcoat that
reached to his ankles, and every variety of button, pin, string, to
keep it together. "Stop, Mr. Heff," says he, taking a small pipe
out of his mouth, "and don't forgit the cabman."
"What's your fare, my lad?" says I.
"Why, let's see--yes--ho!--my fare's seven-and-thirty and eightpence
The fourteen gentlemen holding the luggage, here burst out and
laughed very rudely indeed; and the only person who seemed
disappointed was, I thought, the hackney-coachman. "Why, YOU
rascal!" says Jemmy, laying hold of the boy, "do you want more than
"Don't rascal ME, marm!" shrieks the little chap in return.
"What's the coach to me? Vy, you may go in an omlibus for sixpence
if you like; vy don't you go and buss it, marm? Vy did you call my
cab, marm? Vy am I to come forty mile, from Scarlot Street,
Po'tl'nd Street, Po'tl'nd Place, and not git my fare, marm? Come,
give me a suffering and a half, and don't keep my hoss avaiting all
day." This speech, which takes some time to write down, was made
in about the fifth part of a second; and, at the end of it, the
young gentleman hurled down his pipe, and, advancing towards Jemmy,
doubled his fist, and seemed to challenge her to fight.
My dearest girl now turned from red to be as pale as white Windsor,
and fell into my arms. What was I to do? I called "Policeman!"
but a policeman won't interfere in Thames Street; robbery is
licensed there. What was I to do? Oh! my heart beats with
paternal gratitude when I think of what my Tug did!
As soon as this young cab-chap put himself into a fighting
attitude, Master Tuggeridge Coxe--who had been standing by laughing
very rudely, I thought--Master Tuggeridge Coxe, I say, flung his
jacket suddenly into his mamma's face (the brass buttons made her
start and recovered her a little), and, before we could say a word
was in the ring in which we stood (formed by the porters, nine
orangemen and women, I don't know how many newspaper-boys, hotel-
cads, and old-clothesmen), and, whirling about two little white
fists in the face of the gentleman in the red waistcoat, who
brought up a great pair of black ones to bear on the enemy, was
engaged in an instant.
But la bless you! Tug hadn't been at Richmond School for nothing;
and MILLED away one, two, right and left--like a little hero as he
is, with all his dear mother's spirit in him. First came a crack
which sent a long dusky white hat--that looked damp and deep like a
well, and had a long black crape-rag twisted round it--first came a
crack which sent this white hat spinning over the gentleman's cab
and scattered among the crowd a vast number of things which the
cabman kept in it,--such as a ball of string, a piece of candle, a
comb, a whip-lash, a little warbler, a slice of bacon, &c. &c.
The cabman seemed sadly ashamed of this display, but Tug gave him
no time: another blow was planted on his cheekbone; and a third,
which hit him straight on the nose, sent this rude cabman straight
down to the ground.
"Brayvo, my lord!" shouted all the people around.
"I won't have no more, thank yer," said the little cabman,
gathering himself up. "Give us over my fare, vil yer, and let me
"What's your fare, NOW, you cowardly little thief?" says Tug.
"Vy, then, two-and-eightpence," says he. "Go along,--you KNOW it
is!" and two-and-eightpence he had; and everybody applauded Tug,
and hissed the cab-boy, and asked Tug for something to drink. We
heard the packet-bell ringing, and all run down the stairs to be in
I now thought our troubles would soon be over; mine were, very
nearly so, in one sense at least: for after Mrs. Coxe and
Jemimarann, and Tug, and the maid, and valet, and valuables had
been handed across, it came to my turn. I had often heard of
people being taken up by a PLANK, but seldom of their being set
down by one. Just as I was going over, the vessel rode off a
little, the board slipped, and down I soused into the water. You
might have heard Mrs. Coxe's shriek as far as Gravesend; it rung in
my ears as I went down, all grieved at the thought of leaving her a
disconsolate widder. Well, up I came again, and caught the brim of
my beaver-hat--though I have heard that drowning men catch at
straws:--I floated, and hoped to escape by hook or by crook; and,
luckily, just then, I felt myself suddenly jerked by the waistband
of my whites, and found myself hauled up in the air at the end of a
boat-hook, to the sound of "Yeho! yeho! yehoi! yehoi!" and so I was
dragged aboard. I was put to bed, and had swallowed so much water
that it took a very considerable quantity of brandy to bring it to
a proper mixture in my inside. In fact, for some hours I was in a
very deplorable state.
NOTICE TO QUIT.
Well, we arrived at Boulogne; and Jemmy, after making inquiries,
right and left, about the Baron, found that no such person was
known there; and being bent, I suppose, at all events, on marrying
her daughter to a lord, she determined to set off for Paris, where,
as he had often said, he possessed a magnificent ---- hotel he
called it;--and I remember Jemmy being mightily indignant at the
idea; but hotel, we found afterwards, means only a house in French,
and this reconciled her. Need I describe the road from Boulogne to
Paris? or need I describe that Capitol itself? Suffice it to say,
that we made our appearance there, at "Murisse's Hotel," as became
the family of Coxe Tuggeridge; and saw everything worth seeing in
the metropolis in a week. It nearly killed me, to be sure; but,
when you're on a pleasure-party in a foreign country, you must not
mind a little inconvenience of this sort.
Well, there is, near the city of Paris, a splendid road and row of
trees, which--I don't know why--is called the Shandeleezy, or
Elysian Fields, in French: others, I have heard, call it the
Shandeleery; but mine I know to be the correct pronunciation. In
the middle of this Shandeleezy is an open space of ground, and a
tent where, during the summer, Mr. Franconi, the French Ashley,
performs with his horses and things. As everybody went there, and
we were told it was quite the thing, Jemmy agreed that we should go
too; and go we did.
It's just like Ashley's: there's a man just like Mr. Piddicombe,
who goes round the ring in a huzzah-dress, cracking a whip; there
are a dozen Miss Woolfords, who appear like Polish princesses,
Dihannas, Sultannas, Cachuchas, and heaven knows what! There's the
fat man, who comes in with the twenty-three dresses on, and turns
out to be the living skeleton! There's the clowns, the sawdust,
the white horse that dances a hornpipe, the candles stuck in hoops,
just as in our own dear country.
My dear wife, in her very finest clothes, with all the world
looking at her, was really enjoying this spectacle (which doesn't
require any knowledge of the language, seeing that the dumb animals
don't talk it), when there came in, presently, "the great Polish
act of the Sarmatian horse-tamer, on eight steeds," which we were
all of us longing to see. The horse-tamer, to music twenty miles
an hour, rushed in on four of his horses, leading the other four,
and skurried round the ring. You couldn't see him for the sawdust,
but everybody was delighted, and applauded like mad. Presently,
you saw there were only three horses in front: he had slipped one
more between his legs, another followed, and it was clear that the
consequences would be fatal, if he admitted any more. The people
applauded more than ever; and when, at last, seven and eight were
made to go in, not wholly, but sliding dexterously in and out, with
the others, so that you did not know which was which, the house, I
thought, would come down with applause; and the Sarmatian horse-
tamer bowed his great feathers to the ground. At last the music
grew slower, and he cantered leisurely round the ring; bending,
smirking, seesawing, waving his whip, and laying his hand on his
heart, just as we have seen the Ashley's people do. But fancy our
astonishment when, suddenly, this Sarmatian horse-tamer, coming
round with his four pair at a canter, and being opposite our box,
gave a start, and a--hupp! which made all his horses stop stock-
still at an instant.
"Albert!" screamed my dear Jemmy: "Albert! Bahbahbah--baron!" The
Sarmatian looked at her for a minute; and turning head over heels,
three times, bolted suddenly off his horses, and away out of our
It was HIS EXCELLENCY THE BARON DE PUNTER!
Jemmy went off in a fit as usual, and we never saw the Baron again;
but we heard, afterwards, that Punter was an apprentice of
Franconi's, and had run away to England, thinking to better
himself, and had joined Mr. Richardson's army; but Mr. Richardson,
and then London, did not agree with him; and we saw the last of him
as he sprung over the barriers at the Tuggeridgeville tournament.
"Well, Jemimarann," says Jemmy, in a fury, "you shall marry Tagrag;
and if I can't have a baroness for a daughter, at least you shall
be a baronet's lady." Poor Jemimarann only sighed: she knew it was
of no use to remonstrate.
Paris grew dull to us after this, and we were more eager than ever
to go back to London: for what should we hear, but that that
monster, Tuggeridge, of the City--old Tug's black son, forsooth!--
was going to contest Jemmy's claim to the property, and had filed I
don't know how many bills against us in Chancery! Hearing this, we
set off immediately, and we arrived at Boulogne, and set off in
that very same "Grand Turk" which had brought us to France.
If you look in the bills, you will see that the steamers leave
London on Saturday morning, and Boulogne on Saturday night; so that
there is often not an hour between the time of arrival and
departure. Bless us! bless us! I pity the poor Captain that, for
twenty-four hours at a time, is on a paddle-box, roaring out, "Ease
her! Stop her!" and the poor servants, who are laying out
breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea, supper;--breakfast, lunch, dinner,
tea, supper again;--for layers upon layers of travellers, as it
were; and most of all, I pity that unhappy steward, with those
unfortunate tin-basins that he must always keep an eye over.
Little did we know what a storm was brooding in our absence; and
little were we prepared for the awful, awful fate that hung over
our Tuggeridgeville property.
Biggs, of the great house of Higgs, Biggs, and Blatherwick, was our
man of business: when I arrived in London I heard that he had just
set off to Paris after me. So we started down to Tuggeridgeville
instead of going to Portland Place. As we came through the lodge-
gates, we found a crowd assembled within them; and there was that
horrid Tuggeridige on horseback, with a shabby-looking man, called
Mr. Scapgoat, and his man of business, and many more. "Mr.
Scapgoat," says Tuggeridge, grinning, and handing him over a sealed
paper, "here's the lease; I leave you in possession, and wish you
"In possession of what?" says the rightful lady of Tuggeridgeville,
leaning out of the carriage-window. She hated black Tuggeridge, as
she called him, like poison: the very first week of our coming to
Portland Place, when he called to ask restitution of some plate
which he said was his private property, she called him a base-born
blackamoor, and told him to quit the house. Since then there had
been law squabbles between us without end, and all sorts of
writings, meetings, and arbitrations.
"Possession of my estate of Tuggeridgeville, madam," roars he,
"left me by my father's will, which you have had notice of these
three weeks, and know as well as I do."
"Old Tug left no will," shrieked Jemmy; "he didn't die to leave his
estates to blackamoors--to negroes--to base-born mulatto story-
tellers; if he did may I be -----"
"Oh, hush! dearest mamma," says Jemimarann. "Go it again, mother!"
says Tug, who is always sniggering.
"What is this business, Mr. Tuggeridge?" cried Tagrag (who was the
only one of our party that had his senses). "What is this will?"
"Oh, it's merely a matter of form," said the lawyer, riding up.
"For heaven's sake, madam, be peaceable; let my friends, Higgs,
Biggs, and Blatherwick, arrange with me. I am surprised that none
of their people are here. All that you have to do is to eject us;
and the rest will follow, of course."
"Who has taken possession of this here property?" roars Jemmy,
"My friend Mr. Scapgoat," said the lawyer.--Mr. Scapgoat grinned.
"Mr. Scapgoat," said my wife, shaking her fist at him (for she is a
woman of no small spirit), "if you don't leave this ground I'll
have you pushed out with pitchforks, I will--you and your beggarly
blackamoor yonder." And, suiting the action to the word, she
clapped a stable fork into the hands of one of the gardeners, and
called another, armed with a rake, to his help, while young Tug set
the dog at their heels, and I hurrahed for joy to see such villany
so properly treated.
"That's sufficient, ain't it?" said Mr. Scapgoat, with the calmest
air in the world. "Oh, completely," said the lawyer. "Mr.
Tuggeridge, we've ten miles to dinner. Madam, your very humble
servant." And the whole posse of them rode away.
LAW LIFE ASSURANCE.
We knew not what this meant, until we received a strange document
from Higgs, in London--which begun, "Middlesex to wit. Samuel Cox,
late of Portland Place, in the city of Westminster, in the said
county, was attached to answer Samuel Scapgoat, of a plea,
wherefore, with force and arms, he entered into one messuage, with
the appurtenances, which John Tuggeridge, Esq., demised to the said
Samuel Scapgoat, for a term which is not yet expired, and ejected
him." And it went on to say that "we, with force of arms, viz,
with swords, knives, and staves, had ejected him." Was there ever
such a monstrous falsehood? when we did but stand in defence of our
own; and isn't it a sin that we should have been turned out of our
rightful possessions upon such a rascally plea?
Higgs, Biggs, and Blatherwick had evidently been bribed; for would
you believe it?--they told us to give up possession at once, as a
will was found, and we could not defend the action. My Jemmy
refused their proposal with scorn, and laughed at the notion of the
will: she pronounced it to be a forgery, a vile blackamoor forgery;
and believes, to this day, that the story of its having been made
thirty years ago, in Calcutta, and left there with old Tug's
papers, and found there, and brought to England, after a search
made by order of Tuggeridge junior, is a scandalous falsehood.
Well, the cause was tried. Why need I say anything concerning it?
What shall I say of the Lord Chief Justice, but that he ought to be
ashamed of the wig he sits in? What of Mr. ---- and Mr. ----, who
exerted their eloquence against justice and the poor? On our side,
too, was no less a man than Mr. Serjeant Binks, who, ashamed I am,
for the honor of the British bar, to say it, seemed to have been
bribed too: for he actually threw up his case! Had he behaved like
Mr. Mulligan, his junior--and to whom, in this humble way, I offer
my thanks--all might have been well. I never knew such an effect
produced, as when Mr. Mulligan, appearing for the first time in
that court, said, "Standing here upon the pidestal of secred
Thamis; seeing around me the arnymints of a profission I rispict;
having before me a vinnerable judge, and an enlightened jury--the
counthry's glory, the netion's cheap defender, the poor man's
priceless palladium: how must I thrimble, my lard, how must the
blush bejew my cheek--"(somebody cried out, "O CHEEKS!" In the
court there was a dreadful roar of laughing; and when order was
established, Mr. Mulligan continued:)--"My lard, I heed them not; I
come from a counthry accustomed to opprission, and as that
counthry--yes, my lard, THAT IRELAND--(do not laugh, I am proud of
it)--is ever, in spite of her tyrants, green, and lovely, and
beautiful: my client's cause, likewise, will rise shuperior to the
malignant imbecility--I repeat, the MALIGNANT IMBECILITY--of those
who would thrample it down; and in whose teeth, in my client's
name, in my counthry's--ay, and MY OWN--I, with folded arrums, hurl
a scarnful and eternal defiance!"
"For heaven's sake, Mr. Milligan"--("MULLIGAN, ME LARD," cried my
defender)--"Well, Mulligan, then, be calm, and keep to your brief."
Mr. Mulligan did; and for three hours and a quarter, in a speech
crammed with Latin quotations, and unsurpassed for eloquence, he
explained the situation of me and my family; the romantic manner in
which Tuggeridge the elder gained his fortune, and by which it
afterwards came to my wife; the state of Ireland; the original and
virtuous poverty of the Coxes--from which he glanced passionately,
for a few minutes (until the judge stopped him), to the poverty of
his own country; my excellence as a husband, father, landlord; my
wife's, as a wife, mother, landlady. All was in vain--the trial
went against us. I was soon taken in execution for the damages;
five hundred pounds of law expenses of my own, and as much more of
Tuggeridge's. He would not pay a farthing, he said, to get me out
of a much worse place than the Fleet. I need not tell you that
along with the land went the house in town, and the money in the
funds. Tuggeridge, he who had thousands before, had it all. And
when I was in prison, who do you think would come and see me?
None of the Barons, nor Counts, nor Foreign Ambassadors, nor
Excellencies, who used to fill our house, and eat and drink at
our expense,--not even the ungrateful Tagrag!
I could not help now saying to my dear wife, "See, my love, we have
been gentlefolks for exactly a year, and a pretty life we have had
of it. In the first place, my darling, we gave grand dinners, and
everybody laughed at us."
"Yes, and recollect how ill they made you," cries my daughter.
"We asked great company, and they insulted us."
"And spoilt mamma's temper," said Jemimarann.
"Hush! Miss," said her mother; "we don't want YOUR advice."
"Then you must make a country gentleman of me."
"And send Pa into dunghills," roared Tug.
"Then you must go to operas, and pick up foreign Barons and
"Oh, thank heaven, dearest papa, that we are rid of them," cries my
little Jemimarann, looking almost happy, and kissing her old pappy.
"And you must make a fine gentleman of Tug there, and send him to a
"And I give you my word," says Tug, "I'm as ignorant a chap as ever
"You're an insolent saucebox," says Jemmy; "you've learned that at
your fine school."
"I've learned something else, too, ma'am; ask the boys if I
haven't," grumbles Tug.
"You hawk your daughter about, and just escape marrying her to a
"And drive off poor Orlando," whimpered my girl.
"Silence! Miss," says Jemmy, fiercely.
"You insult the man whose father's property you inherited, and
bring me into this prison, without hope of leaving it: for he never
can help us after all your bad language." I said all this very
smartly; for the fact is, my blood was up at the time, and I
determined to rate my dear girl soundly.
"Oh! Sammy," said she, sobbing (for the poor thing's spirit was
quite broken), "it's all true; I've been very, very foolish and
vain, and I've punished my dear husband and children by my follies,
and I do so, so repent them!" Here Jemimarann at once burst out
crying, and flung herself into her mamma's arms, and the pair
roared and sobbed for ten minutes together. Even Tug looked queer:
and as for me, it's a most extraordinary thing, but I'm blest if
seeing them so miserable didn't make me quite happy.--I don't
think, for the whole twelve months of our good fortune, I had ever
felt so gay as in that dismal room in the Fleet, where I was locked
Poor Orlando Crump came to see us every day; and we, who had never
taken the slightest notice of him in Portland Place, and treated
him so cruelly that day at Beulah Spa, were only too glad of his
company now. He used to bring books for my girl, and a bottle of
sherry for me; and he used to take home Jemmy's fronts and dress
them for her; and when locking-up time came, he used to see the
ladies home to their little three-pair bedroom in Holborn, where
they slept now, Tug and all. "Can the bird forget its nest?"
Orlando used to say (he was a romantic young fellow, that's the
truth, and blew the flute and read Lord Byron incessantly, since he
was separated from Jemimarann). "Can the bird, let loose in
eastern climes, forget its home? Can the rose cease to remember
its beloved bulbul?--Ah, no! Mr. Cox, you made me what I am, and
what I hope to die--a hairdresser. I never see a curling-irons
before I entered your shop, or knew Naples from brown Windsor. Did
you not make over your house, your furniture, your emporium of
perfumery, and nine-and-twenty shaving customers, to me? Are these
trifles? Is Jemimarann a trifle? if she would allow me to call her
so. Oh, Jemimarann, your Pa found me in the workhouse, and made me
what I am. Conduct me to my grave, and I never, never shall be
different!" When he had said this, Orlando was so much affected,
that he rushed suddenly on his hat and quitted the room.
Then Jemimarann began to cry too. "Oh, Pa!" said she, "isn't he--
isn't he a nice young man?"
"I'm HANGED if he ain't," says Tug. "What do you think of his
giving me eighteenpence yesterday, and a bottle of lavender-water
"He might as well offer to give you back the shop at any rate,"
"What! to pay Tuggeridge's damages? My dear, I'd sooner die than
give Tuggeridge the chance."
Tuggeridge vowed that I should finish my days there, when he put me
in prison. It appears that we both had reason to be ashamed of
ourselves; and were, thank God! I learned to be sorry for my bad
feelings toward him, and he actually wrote to me to say--
"SIR,--I think you have suffered enough for faults which, I
believe, do not lie with you, so much as your wife; and I have
withdrawn my claims which I had against you while you were in
wrongful possession of my father's estates. You must remember that
when, on examination of my father's papers, no will was found, I
yielded up his property, with perfect willingness, to those who I
fancied were his legitimate heirs. For this I received all sorts
of insults from your wife and yourself (who acquiesced in them);
and when the discovery of a will, in India, proved MY just claims,
you must remember how they were met, and the vexatious proceedings
with which you sought to oppose them.
"I have discharged your lawyer's bill; and, as I believe you are
more fitted for the trade you formerly exercised than for any
other, I will give five hundred pounds for the purchase of a stock
and shop, when you shall find one to suit you.
"I enclose a draft for twenty pounds to meet your present expenses.
You have, I am told, a son, a boy of some spirit: if he likes to
try his fortune abroad, and go on board an Indiaman, I can get him
an appointment; and am, Sir, your obedient servant,
It was Mrs. Breadbasket, the housekeeper, who brought this letter,
and looked mighty contemptuous as she gave it.
"I hope, Breadbasket, that your master will send me my things at
any rate," cries Jemmy. "There's seventeen silk and satin dresses,
and a whole heap of trinkets, that can be of no earthly use to
"Don't Breadbasket me, mem, if you please, mem. My master says
that them things is quite obnoxious to your sphere of life.
Breadbasket, indeed!" And so she sailed out.
Jemmy hadn't a word; she had grown mighty quiet since we have been
in misfortune: but my daughter looked as happy as a queen; and Tug,
when he heard of the ship, gave a jump that nearly knocked down
poor Orlando. "Ah, I suppose you'll forget me now?" says he with a
sigh; and seemed the only unhappy person in company.
"Why, you conceive, Mr. Crump," says my wife, with a great deal of
dignity, "that, connected as we are, a young man born in a work--"
"Woman!" cried I (for once in my life determined to have my own
way), "hold your foolish tongue. Your absurd pride has been the
ruin of us hitherto; and, from this day, I'll have no more of it.
Hark ye, Orlando, if you will take Jemimarann, you may have her;
and if you'll take five hundred pounds for a half-share of the
shop, they're yours; and THAT'S for you, Mrs. Cox."
And here we are, back again. And I write this from the old back
shop, where we are all waiting to see the new year in. Orlando
sits yonder, plaiting a wig for my Lord Chief Justice, as happy as
may be; and Jemimarann and her mother have been as busy as you can
imagine all day long, and are just now giving the finishing touches
to the bridal-dresses: for the wedding is to take place the day
after to-morrow. I've cut seventeen heads off (as I say) this very
day; and as for Jemmy, I no more mind her than I do the Emperor of
China and all his Tambarins. Last night we had a merry meeting of
our friends and neighbors, to celebrate our reappearance among
them; and very merry we all were. We had a capital fiddler, and we
kept it up till a pretty tidy hour this morning. We begun with
quadrills, but I never could do 'em well; and after that, to please
Mr. Crump and his intended, we tried a gallopard, which I found
anything but easy: for since I am come back to a life of peace and
comfort, it's astonishing how stout I'm getting. So we turned at
once to what Jemmy and me excels in--a country dance; which is
rather surprising, as we was both brought up to a town life. As
for young Tug, he showed off in a sailor's hornpipe: which Mrs. Cox
says is very proper for him to learn, now he is intended for the
sea. But stop! here comes in the punchbowls; and if we are not
happy, who is? I say I am like the Swish people, for I can't
flourish out of my native HAIR.