Part 1 out of 5
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THE CHRISTMAS BOOKS
MR. M. A. TITMARSH
by William Makepeace Thackeray
Mrs. Perkins's Ball
Dr. Birch and his Young Friends
The Kickleburys on the Rhine
The Rose and the Ring; or, The History of Prince Giglio and Prince Bulbo
MRS. PERKINS'S BALL.
THE MULLIGAN (OF BALLYMULLIGAN), AND HOW WE WENT TO MRS. PERKINS'S
I do not know where Ballymulligan is, and never knew anybody who
did. Once I asked the Mulligan the question, when that chieftain
assumed a look of dignity so ferocious, and spoke of "Saxon
curiawsitee" in a tone of such evident displeasure, that, as after
all it can matter very little to me whereabouts lies the Celtic
principality in question, I have never pressed the inquiry any
I don't know even the Mulligan's town residence. One night, as he
bade us adieu in Oxford Street,--"I live THERE," says he, pointing
down towards Oxbridge, with the big stick he carries--so his abode
is in that direction at any rate. He has his letters addressed to
several of his friends' houses, and his parcels, &c. are left for
him at various taverns which he frequents. That pair of checked
trousers, in which you see him attired, he did me the favor of
ordering from my own tailor, who is quite as anxious as anybody to
know the address of the wearer. In like manner my hatter asked me,
"Oo was the Hirish gent as 'ad ordered four 'ats and a sable boar
to be sent to my lodgings?" As I did not know (however I might
guess) the articles have never been sent, and the Mulligan has
withdrawn his custom from the "infernal four-and-nine-penny
scoundthrel," as he calls him. The hatter has not shut up shop in
I became acquainted with the Mulligan through a distinguished
countryman of his, who, strange to say, did not know the chieftain
himself. But dining with my friend Fred Clancy, of the Irish bar,
at Greenwich, the Mulligan came up, "inthrojuiced" himself to
Clancy as he said, claimed relationship with him on the side of
Brian Boroo, and drawing his chair to our table, quickly became
intimate with us. He took a great liking to me, was good enough to
find out my address and pay me a visit: since which period often
and often on coming to breakfast in the morning I have found him in
my sitting-room on the sofa engaged with the rolls and morning
papers: and many a time, on returning home at night for an
evening's quiet reading, I have discovered this honest fellow in
the arm-chair before the fire, perfuming the apartment with my
cigars and trying the quality of such liquors as might be found on
the sideboard. The way in which he pokes fun at Betsy, the maid of
the lodgings, is prodigious. She begins to laugh whenever he
comes; if he calls her a duck, a divvle, a darlin', it is all one.
He is just as much a master of the premises as the individual who
rents them at fifteen shillings a week; and as for handkerchiefs,
shirt-collars, and the like articles of fugitive haberdashery, the
loss since I have known him is unaccountable. I suspect he is like
the cat in some houses: for, suppose the whiskey, the cigars, the
sugar, the tea-caddy, the pickles, and other groceries disappear,
all is laid upon that edax-rerum of a Mulligan.
The greatest offence that can be offered to him is to call him MR.
Mulligan. "Would you deprive me, sir," says he, "of the title
which was bawrun be me princelee ancestors in a hundred thousand
battles? In our own green valleys and fawrests, in the American
savannahs, in the sierras of Speen and the flats of Flandthers, the
Saxon has quailed before me war-cry of MULLIGAN ABOO! MR.
Mulligan! I'll pitch anybody out of the window who calls me MR.
Mulligan." He said this, and uttered the slogan of the Mulligans
with a shriek so terrific, that my uncle (the Rev. W. Gruels, of
the Independent Congregation, Bungay), who had happened to address
him in the above obnoxious manner, while sitting at my apartments
drinking tea after the May meetings, instantly quitted the room,
and has never taken the least notice of me since, except to state
to the rest of the family that I am doomed irrevocably to perdition.
Well, one day last season, I had received from my kind and most
estimable friend, MRS. PERKINS OF POCKLINGTON SQUARE (to whose
amiable family I have had the honor of giving lessons in drawing,
French, and the German flute), an invitation couched in the usual
terms, on satin gilt-edged note-paper, to her evening-party; or, as
I call it, "Ball."
Besides the engraved note sent to all her friends, my kind
patroness had addressed me privately as follows:--
MY DEAR MR. TITMARSH,--If you know any VERY eligible young man, we
give you leave to bring him. You GENTLEMEN love your CLUBS so much
now, and care so little for DANCING, that it is really quite A
SCANDAL. Come early, and before EVERYBODY, and give us the benefit
of all your taste and CONTINENTAL SKILL.
"Whom shall I bring?" mused I, highly flattered by this mark of
confidence; and I thought of Bob Trippett; and little Fred Spring,
of the Navy Pay Office; Hulker, who is rich, and I knew took
lessons in Paris; and a half-score of other bachelor friends, who
might be considered as VERY ELIGIBLE--when I was roused from my
meditation by the slap of a hand on my shoulder; and looking up,
there was the Mulligan, who began, as usual, reading the papers on
"Hwhat's this?" says he. "Who's Perkins? Is it a supper-ball, or
only a tay-ball?"
"The Perkinses of Pocklington Square, Mulligan, are tiptop people,"
says I, with a tone of dignity. "Mr. Perkins's sister is married
to a baronet, Sir Giles Bacon, of Hogwash, Norfolk. Mr. Perkins's
uncle was Lord Mayor of London; and he was himself in Parliament,
and MAY BE again any day. The family are my most particular
friends. A tay-ball indeed! why, Gunter . . ." Here I stopped: I
felt I was committing myself.
"Gunter!" says the Mulligan, with another confounded slap on the
shoulder. "Don't say another word: I'LL go widg you, my boy."
"YOU go, Mulligan?" says I: "why, really--I--it's not my party."
"Your hwhawt? hwhat's this letter? a'n't I an eligible young man?--
Is the descendant of a thousand kings unfit company for a miserable
tallow-chandthlering cockney? Are ye joking wid me? for, let me
tell ye, I don't like them jokes. D'ye suppose I'm not as well
bawrun and bred as yourself, or any Saxon friend ye ever had?"
"I never said you weren't, Mulligan," says I.
"Ye don't mean seriously that a Mulligan is not fit company for a
"My dear fellow, how could you think I could so far insult you?"
says I. "Well, then," says he, "that's a matter settled, and we
What the deuce was I to do? I wrote to Mrs. Perkins; and that kind
lady replied, that she would receive the Mulligan, or any other of
my friends, with the greatest cordiality. "Fancy a party, all
Mulligans!" thought I, with a secret terror.
MR. AND MRS. PERKINS, THEIR HOUSE, AND THEIR YOUNG PEOPLE.
Following Mrs. Perkins's orders, the present writer made his
appearance very early at Pocklington Square: where the tastiness of
all the decorations elicited my warmest admiration. Supper of
course was in the dining-loom, superbly arranged by Messrs. Grigs
and Spooner, the confectioners of the neighborhood. I assisted my
respected friend Mr. Perkins and his butler in decanting the
sherry, and saw, not without satisfaction, a large bath for wine
under the sideboard, in which were already placed very many bottles
The BACK DINING-ROOM, Mr. P.'s study (where the venerable man goes
to sleep after dinner), was arranged on this occasion as a tea-
room, Mrs. Flouncey (Miss Fanny's maid) officiating in a cap and
pink ribbons, which became her exceedingly. Long, long before the
arrival of the company, I remarked Master Thomas Perkins and Master
Giles Bacon, his cousin (son of Sir Giles Bacon, Bart.), in this
apartment, busy among the macaroons.
Mr. Gregory the butler, besides John the footman and Sir Giles's
large man in the Bacon livery, and honest Grundsell, carpet-beater
and green-grocer, of Little Pocklington Buildings, had at least
half a dozen of aides-de-camp in black with white neck-cloths, like
doctors of divinity.
The BACK DRAWING-ROOM door on the landing being taken off the
hinges (and placed up stairs under Mr. Perkins's bed), the orifice
was covered with muslin, and festooned with elegant wreaths of
flowers. This was the Dancing Saloon. A linen was spread over the
carpet; and a band--consisting of Mr. Clapperton, piano, Mr. Pinch,
harp, and Herr Spoff, cornet-a-piston arrived at a pretty early
hour, and were accommodated with some comfortable negus in the tea-
room, previous to the commencement of their delightful labors. The
boudoir to the left was fitted up as a card-room; the drawing-room
was of course for the reception of the company,--the chandeliers
and yellow damask being displayed this night in all their splendor;
and the charming conservatory over the landing was ornamented by a
few moon-like lamps, and the flowers arranged so that it had the
appearance of a fairy bower. And Miss Perkins (as I took the
liberty of stating to her mamma) looked like the fairy of that
bower. It is this young creature's first year in PUBLIC LIFE: she
has been educated, regardless of expense, at Hammersmith; and a
simple white muslin dress and blue ceinture set off charms of which
I beg to speak with respectful admiration.
My distinguished friend the Mulligan of Ballymulligan was good
enough to come the very first of the party. By the way, how
awkward it is to be the first of the party! and yet you know
somebody must; but for my part, being timid, I always wait at the
corner of the street in the cab, and watch until some other
carriage comes up.
Well, as we were arranging the sherry in the decanters down the
supper-tables, my friend arrived: "Hwhares me friend Mr. Titmarsh?"
I heard him bawling out to Gregory in the passage, and presently he
rushed into the supper-room, where Mr. and Mrs. Perkins and myself
were, and as the waiter was announcing "Mr. Mulligan," "THE
Mulligan of Ballymulligan, ye blackguard!" roared he, and stalked
into the apartment, "apologoizing," as he said, for introducing
Mr. and Mrs. Perkins did not perhaps wish to be seen in this room,
which was for the present only lighted by a couple of candles; but
HE was not at all abashed by the circumstance, and grasping them
both warmly by the hands, he instantly made himself at home. "As
friends of my dear and talented friend Mick," so he is pleased to
call me, "I'm deloighted, madam, to be made known to ye. Don't
consider me in the light of a mere acquaintance! As for you, my
dear madam, you put me so much in moind of my own blessed mother,
now resoiding at Ballymulligan Castle, that I begin to love ye at
first soight." At which speech Mr. Perkins getting rather alarmed,
asked the Mulligan whether he would take some wine, or go up
"Faix," says Mulligan "it's never too soon for good dhrink." And
(although he smelt very much of whiskey already) he drank a tumbler
of wine "to the improvement of an acqueentence which comminces in a
manner so deloightful."
"Let's go up stairs, Mulligan," says I, and led the noble Irishman
to the upper apartments, which were in a profound gloom, the
candles not being yet illuminated, and where we surprised Miss
Fanny, seated in the twilight at the piano, timidly trying the
tunes of the polka which she danced so exquisitely that evening.
She did not perceive the stranger at first; but how she started
when the Mulligan loomed upon her.
"Heavenlee enchanthress!" says Mulligan, "don't floy at the
approach of the humblest of your sleeves! Reshewm your pleece at
that insthrument, which weeps harmonious, or smoils melojious, as
you charrum it! Are you acqueented with the Oirish Melodies? Can
ye play, 'Who fears to talk of Nointy-eight?' the 'Shan Van Voght?'
or the 'Dirge of Ollam Fodhlah?'"
"Who's this mad chap that Titmarsh has brought?" I heard Master
Bacon exclaim to Master Perkins. "Look! how frightened Fanny
"O poo! gals are ALWAYS frightened," Fanny's brother replied; but
Giles Bacon, more violent, said, "I'll tell you what, Tom: if this
goes on, we must pitch into him." And so I have no doubt they
would, when another thundering knock coming, Gregory rushed into
the room and began lighting all the candles, so as to produce an
amazing brilliancy, Miss Fanny sprang up and ran to her mamma, and
the young gentlemen slid down the banisters to receive the company
in the hall.
EVERYBODY BEGINS TO COME, BUT ESPECIALLY MR. MINCHIN.
"It's only me and my sisters," Master Bacon said; though "only"
meant eight in this instance. All the young ladies had fresh
cheeks and purple elbows; all had white frocks, with hair more or
less auburn: and so a party was already made of this blooming and
numerous family, before the rest of the company began to arrive.
The three Miss Meggots next came in their fly: Mr. Blades and his
niece from 19 in the square: Captain and Mrs. Struther, and Miss
Struther: Doctor Toddy's two daughters and their mamma: but where
were the gentlemen? The Mulligan, great and active as he was,
could not suffice among so many beauties. At last came a brisk
neat little knock, and looking into the hall, I saw a gentleman
taking off his clogs there, whilst Sir Giles Bacon's big footman
was looking on with rather a contemptuous air.
"What name shall I enounce?" says he, with a wink at Gregory on the
The gentleman in clogs said, with quiet dignity,--
MR. FREDERICK MINCHIN.
"Pump Court, Temple," is printed on his cards in very small type:
and he is a rising barrister of the Western Circuit. He is to be
found at home of mornings: afterwards "at Westminster," as you read
on his back door. "Binks and Minchin's Reports" are probably known
to my legal friends: this is the Minchin in question.
He is decidedly genteel, and is rather in request at the balls of
the Judges' and Serjeants' ladies: for he dances irreproachably,
and goes out to dinner as much as ever he can.
He mostly dines at the Oxford and Cambridge Club, of which you can
easily see by his appearance that he is a member; he takes the
joint and his half-pint of wine, for Minchin does everything like a
gentleman. He is rather of a literary turn; still makes Latin
verses with some neatness; and before he was called, was remarkably
fond of the flute.
When Mr. Minchin goes out in the evening, his clerk brings his bag
to the Club, to dress; and if it is at all muddy, he turns up his
trousers, so that he may come in without a speck. For such a party
as this, he will have new gloves; otherwise Frederick, his clerk,
is chiefly employed in cleaning them with India-rubber.
He has a number of pleasant stories about the Circuit and the
University, which he tells with a simper to his neighbor at dinner;
and has always the last joke of Mr. Baron Maule. He has a private
fortune of five thousand pounds; he is a dutiful son; he has a
sister married, in Harley Street; and Lady Jane Ranville has the
best opinion of him, and says he is a most excellent and highly
principled young man.
Her ladyship and daughter arrived just as Mr. Minchin had popped
his clogs into the umbrella-stand; and the rank of that respected
person, and the dignified manner in which he led her up stairs,
caused all sneering on the part of the domestics to disappear.
THE BALL-ROOM DOOR.
A hundred of knocks follow Frederick Minchin's: in half an hour
Messrs. Spoff, Pinch, and Clapperton have begun their music, and
Mulligan, with one of the Miss Bacons, is dancing majestically in
the first quadrille. My young friends Giles and Tom prefer the
landing-place to the drawing-rooms, where they stop all night,
robbing the refreshment-trays as they come up or down. Giles has
eaten fourteen ices: he will have a dreadful stomach-ache to-
morrow. Tom has eaten twelve, but he has had four more glasses of
negus than Giles. Grundsell, the occasional waiter, from whom
Master Tom buys quantities of ginger-beer, can of course deny him
nothing. That is Grundsell, in the tights, with the tray.
Meanwhile direct your attention to the three gentlemen at the door:
they are conversing.
1st Gent.--Who's the man of the house--the bald man?
2nd Gent.--Of course. The man of the house is always bald. He's a
stockbroker, I believe. Snooks brought me.
1st Gent.--Have you been to the tea-room? There's a pretty girl in
the tea-room; blue eyes, pink ribbons, that kind of thing.
2nd Gent.--Who the deuce is that girl with those tremendous
shoulders? Gad! I do wish somebody would smack 'em.
3rd Gent.--Sir--that young lady is my niece, sir,--my niece--my
name is Blades, sir.
2nd Gent.--Well, Blades! smack your niece's shoulders: she deserves
it, begad! she does. Come in, Jinks, present me to the Perkinses.--
Hullo! here's an old country acquaintance--Lady Bacon, as I live!
with all the piglings; she never goes out without the whole litter.
(Exeunt 1st and 2nd Gents.)
LADY BACON, THE MISS BACONS, MR. FLAM.
Lady B.--Leonora! Maria! Amelia! here is the gentleman we met at
Sir John Porkington's.
[The MISSES BACON, expecting to be asked to dance, smile
simultaneously, and begin to smooth their tuckers.]
Mr. Flam.--Lady Bacon! I couldn't be mistaken in YOU! Won't you
dance, Lady Bacon?
Lady B.--Go away, you droll creature!
Mr. Flam.--And these are your ladyship's seven lovely sisters, to
judge from their likenesses to the charming Lady Bacon?
Lady B.--My sisters, he! he! my DAUGHTERS, Mr. Flam, and THEY
dance, don't you, girls?
The Misses Bacon.--O yes!
Mr. Flam.--Gad! how I wish I was a dancing man!
I have not been able to do justice (only a Lawrence could do that)
to my respected friend Mrs. Perkins, in this picture; but Larkins's
portrait is considered very like. Adolphus Larkins has been long
connected with Mr. Perkins's City establishment, and is asked to
dine twice or thrice per annum. Evening-parties are the great
enjoyment of this simple youth, who, after he has walked from
Kentish Town to Thames Street, and passed twelve hours in severe
labor there, and walked back again to Kentish Town, finds no
greater pleasure than to attire his lean person in that elegant
evening costume which you see, to walk into town again, and to
dance at anybody's house who will invite him. Islington,
Pentonville, Somers Town, are the scenes of many of his exploits;
and I have seen this good-natured fellow performing figure-dances
at Notting-hill, at a house where I am ashamed to say there was no
supper, no negus even to speak of, nothing but the bare merits of
the polka in which Adolphus revels. To describe this gentleman's
infatuation for dancing, let me say, in a word, that he will even
frequent boarding-house hops, rather than not go.
He has clogs, too, like Minchin: but nobody laughs at HIM. He
gives himself no airs; but walks into a house with a knock and a
demeanor so tremulous and humble, that the servants rather
patronize him. He does not speak, or have any particular opinions,
but when the time comes, begins to dance. He bleats out a word or
two to his partner during this operation, seems very weak and sad
during the whole performance, and, of course, is set to dance with
the ugliest women everywhere.
The gentle, kind spirit! when I think of him night after night,
hopping and jigging, and trudging off to Kentish Town, so gently,
through the fogs, and mud, and darkness: I do not know whether I
ought to admire him, because his enjoyments are so simple, and his
dispositions so kindly; or laugh at him, because he draws his life
so exquisitely mild. Well, well, we can't be all roaring lions in
this world; there must be SOME lambs, and harmless, kindly,
gregarious creatures for eating and shearing. See! even good-
natured Mrs. Perkins is leading up the trembling Larkins to the
tremendous Miss Bunion!
The Poetess, author of "Heartstrings," "The Deadly Nightshade,"
"Passion Flowers," &c. Though her poems breathe only of love, Miss
B. has never been married. She is nearly six feet high; she loves
waltzing beyond even poesy; and I think lobster-salad as much as
either. She confesses to twenty-eight; in which case her first
volume, "The Orphan of Gozo," (cut up by Mr. Rigby, in the
Quarterly, with his usual kindness,) must have been published when
she was three years old.
For a woman all soul, she certainly eats as much as any woman I
ever saw. The sufferings she has had to endure, are, she says,
beyond compare; the poems which she writes breathe a withering
passion, a smouldering despair, an agony of spirit that would melt
the soul of a drayman, were he to read them. Well, it is a comfort
to see that she can dance of nights, and to know (for the habits of
illustrious literary persons are always worth knowing) that she
eats a hot mutton-chop for breakfast every morning of her blighted
She lives in a boardinghouse at Brompton, and comes to the party in
It is worth twopence to see Miss Bunion and Poseidon Hicks, the
great poet, conversing with one another, and to talk of one to the
other afterwards. How they hate each other! I (in my wicked way)
have sent Hicks almost raving mad, by praising Bunion to him in
confidence; and you can drive Bunion out of the room by a few
judicious panegyrics of Hicks.
Hicks first burst upon the astonished world with poems, in the
Byronic manner: "The Death-Shriek," "The Bastard of Lara," "The
Atabal," "The Fire-Ship of Botzaris," and other works. His "Love
Lays," in Mr. Moore's early style, were pronounced to be
wonderfully precocious for a young gentleman then only thirteen,
and in a commercial academy, at Tooting.
Subsequently, this great bard became less passionate and more
thoughtful; and, at the age of twenty, wrote "Idiosyncracy" (in
forty books, 4to.): "Ararat," "a stupendous epic," as the reviews
said; and "The Megatheria," "a magnificent contribution to our pre-
Adamite literature," according to the same authorities. Not having
read these works, it would ill become me to judge them; but I know
that poor Jingle, the publisher, always attributed his insolvency
to the latter epic, which was magnificently printed in elephant
Hicks has now taken a classical turn, and has brought out
"Poseidon," "Iacchus," "Hephaestus," and I dare say is going
through the mythology. But I should not like to try him at a
passage of the Greek Delectus, any more than twenty thousand others
of us who have had a "classical education."
Hicks was taken in an inspired attitude regarding the chandelier,
and pretending he didn't know that Miss Pettifer was looking at
Her name is Anna Maria (daughter of Higgs and Pettifer, solicitors,
Bedford Row); but Hicks calls her "Ianthe" in his album verses, and
is himself an eminent drysalter in the city.
Poor Miss Meggot is not so lucky as Miss Bunion. Nobody comes to
dance with HER, though she has a new frock on, as she calls it, and
rather a pretty foot, which she always manages to stick out.
She is forty-seven, the youngest of three sisters, who live a
mouldy old house, near Middlesex Hospital, where they have lived
for I don't know how many score of years; but this is certain: the
eldest Miss Meggot saw the Gordon Riots out of that same parlor
window, and tells the story how her father (physician to George
III.) was robbed of his queue in the streets on that occasion. The
two old ladies have taken the brevet rank, and are addressed as
Mrs. Jane and Mrs. Betsy: one of them is at whist in the back
drawing-room. But the youngest is still called Miss Nancy, and is
considered quite a baby by her sisters.
She was going to be married once to a brave young officer, Ensign
Angus Macquirk, of the Whistlebinkie Fencibles; but he fell at
Quatre Bras, by the side of the gallant Snuffmull, his commander.
Deeply, deeply did Miss Nancy deplore him.
But time has cicatrized the wounded heart. She is gay now, and
would sing or dance, ay, or marry if anybody asked her.
Do go, my dear friend--I don't mean to ask her to marry, but to ask
her to dance.--Never mind the looks of the thing. It will make her
happy; and what does it cost you? Ah, my dear fellow! take this
counsel: always dance with the old ladies--always dance with the
governesses. It is a comfort to the poor things when they get up
in their garret that somebody has had mercy on them. And such a
handsome fellow as YOU too!
MISS RANVILLE, REV. MR. TOOP, MISS MULLINS, MR. WINTER.
Mr. W. Miss Mullins, look at Miss Ranville: what a picture of good
Miss M.--Oh, you satirical creature!
Mr. W.--Do you know why she is so angry? she expected to dance with
Captain Grig, and by some mistake, the Cambridge Professor got hold
of her: isn't he a handsome man?
Miss M.--Oh, you droll wretch!
Mr. W.--Yes, he's a fellow of college--fellows mayn't marry, Miss
Mullins--poor fellows, ay, Miss Mullins?
Mr. W.--And Professor of Phlebotomy in the University. He flatters
himself he is a man of the world, Miss Mullins, and always dances
in the long vacation.
Miss M.--You malicious, wicked monster!
Mr. W.--Do you know Lady Jane Ranville? Miss Ranville's mamma. A
ball once a year; footmen in canary-colored livery: Baker Street;
six dinners in the season; starves all the year round; pride and
poverty, you know; I've been to her ball ONCE. Ranville Ranville's
her brother, and between you and me--but this, dear Miss Mullins,
is a profound secret,--I think he's a greater fool than his sister.
Miss M.--Oh, you satirical, droll, malicious, wicked thing you!
Mr. W.--You do me injustice, Miss Mullins, indeed you do.
MISS JOY, MR. AND MRS. JOY, MR. BOTTER.
Mr. B.--What spirits that girl has, Mrs. Joy!
Mr. J.--She's a sunshine in a house, Botter, a regular sunshine.
When Mrs. J. here's in a bad humor, I . . .
Mrs. J.--Don't talk nonsense, Mr. Joy.
Mrs. B.--There's a hop, skip, and jump for you! Why, it beats
Ellsler! Upon my conscience it does! It's her fourteenth
quadrille too. There she goes! She's a jewel of a girl, though I
say it that shouldn't.
Mrs. J. (laughing).--Why don't you marry her, Botter? Shall I
speak to her? I dare say she'd have you. You're not so VERY old.
Mr. B.--Don't aggravate me, Mrs. J. You know when I lost my heart
in the year 1817, at the opening of Waterloo Bridge, to a young
lady who wouldn't have me, and left me to die in despair, and
married Joy, of the Stock Exchange.
Mrs. J. Get away, you foolish old creature.
[MR. JOY looks on in ecstasies at Miss Joy's agility. LADY JANE
RANVILLE, of Baker Street, pronounces her to be an exceedingly
forward person. CAPTAIN DOBBS likes a girl who has plenty of go in
her; and as for FRED SPARKS, he is over head and ears in love with
MR. RANVILLE RANVILLE AND JACK HUBBARD.
This is Miss Ranville Ranville's brother, Mr. Ranville Ranville, of
the Foreign Office, faithfully designed as he was playing at whist
in the card-room. Talleyrand used to play at whist at the
"Travellers'," that is why Ranville Ranville indulges in that
diplomatic recreation. It is not his fault if he be not the
greatest man in the room.
If you speak to him, he smiles sternly, and answers in monosyllables
he would rather die than commit himself. He never has committed
himself in his life. He was the first at school, and distinguished
at Oxford. He is growing prematurely bald now, like Canning, and is
quite proud of it. He rides in St. James's Park of a morning before
breakfast. He dockets his tailor's bills, and nicks off his
dinner-notes in diplomatic paragraphs, and keeps precis of them all.
If he ever makes a joke, it is a quotation from Horace, like Sir
Robert Peel. The only relaxation he permits himself, is to read
Thucydides in the holidays.
Everybody asks him out to dinner, on account of his brass-buttons
with the Queen's cipher, and to have the air of being well with the
Foreign Office. "Where I dine," he says solemnly, "I think it is
my duty to go to evening-parties." That is why he is here. He
never dances, never sups, never drinks. He has gruel when he goes
home to bed. I think it is in his brains.
He is such an ass and so respectable, that one wonders he has not
succeeded in the world; and yet somehow they laugh at him; and you
and I shall be Ministers as soon as he will.
Yonder, making believe to look over the print-books, is that merry
rogue, Jack Hubbard.
See how jovial he looks! He is the life and soul of every party,
and his impromptu singing after supper will make you die of
laughing. He is meditating an impromptu now, and at the same time
thinking about a bill that is coming due next Thursday. Happy dog!
MRS. TROTTER, MISS TROTTER, MISS TOADY, LORD METHUSELAH.
Dear Emma Trotter has been silent and rather ill-humored all the
evening until now her pretty face lights up with smiles. Cannot
you guess why? Pity the simple and affectionate creature! Lord
Methuselah has not arrived until this moment: and see how the
artless girl steps forward to greet him!
In the midst of all the selfishness and turmoil of the world, how
charming it is to find virgin hearts quite unsullied, and to look
on at little romantic pictures of mutual love! Lord Methuselah,
though you know his age by the peerage--though he is old, wigged,
gouty, rouged, wicked, has lighted up a pure flame in that gentle
bosom. There was a talk about Tom Willoughby last year; and then,
for a time, young Hawbuck (Sir John Hawbuck's youngest son) seemed
the favored man; but Emma never knew her mind until she met the
dear creature before you in a Rhine steamboat. "Why are you so
late, Edward?" says she. Dear artless child!
Her mother looks on with tender satisfaction. One can appreciate
the joys of such an admirable parent!
"Look at them!" says Miss Toady. "I vow and protest they're the
handsomest couple in the room!"
Methuselah's grandchildren are rather jealous and angry, and
Mademoiselle Ariane, of the French theatre, is furious. But
there's no accounting for the mercenary envy of some people; and
it is impossible to satisfy everybody.
MR. BEAUMORIS, MR. GRIG, MR. FLYNDERS.
Those three young men are described in a twinkling: Captain Grig of
the Heavies; Mr. Beaumoris, the handsome young man; Tom Flinders
(Flynders Flynders he now calls himself), the fat gentleman who
dresses after Beaumoris.
Beaumoris is in the Treasury: he has a salary of eighty pounds a
year, on which he maintains the best cab and horses of the season;
and out of which he pays seventy guineas merely for his subscriptions
to clubs. He hunts in Leicestershire, where great men mount him; he
is a prodigious favorite behind the scenes at the theatres; you may
get glimpses of him at Richmond, with all sorts of pink bonnets; and
he is the sworn friend of half the most famous roues about town,
such as Old Methuselah, Lord Billygoat, Lord Tarquin, and the rest:
a respectable race. It is to oblige the former that the
good-natured young fellow is here to-night; though it must not be
imagined that he gives himself any airs of superiority. Dandy as he
is, he is quite affable, and would borrow ten guineas from any man
in the room, in the most jovial way possible.
It is neither Beau's birth, which is doubtful; nor his money, which
is entirely negative; nor his honesty, which goes along with his
money-qualification; nor his wit, for he can barely spell,--which
recommend him to the fashionable world: but a sort of Grand
Seigneur splendor and dandified je ne scais quoi, which make the
man he is of him. The way in which his boots and gloves fit him is
a wonder which no other man can achieve; and though he has not an
atom of principle, it must be confessed that he invented the
When I see these magnificent dandies yawning out of "White's," or
caracoling in the Park on shining chargers, I like to think that
Brummell was the greatest of them all, and that Brummell's father
was a footman.
Flynders is Beaumoris's toady: lends him money: buys horses through
his recommendation; dresses after him; clings to him in Pall Mall,
and on the steps of the club; and talks about 'Bo' in all
societies. It is his drag which carries down Bo's friends to the
Derby, and his cheques pay for dinners to the pink bonnets. I
don't believe the Perkinses know what a rogue it is, but fancy him
a decent, reputable City man, like his father before him.
As for Captain Grig, what is there to tell about him? He performs
the duties of his calling with perfect gravity. He is faultless on
parade; excellent across country; amiable when drunk, rather slow
when sober. He has not two ideas, and is a most good-natured,
irreproachable, gallant, and stupid young officer.
This is my friend Bob Hely, performing the Cavalier seul in a
quadrille. Remark the good-humored pleasure depicted in his
countenance. Has he any secret grief? Has he a pain anywhere?
No, dear Miss Jones, he is dancing like a true Briton, and with all
the charming gayety and abandon of our race.
When Canaillard performs that Cavalier seul operation, does HE
flinch? No: he puts on his most vainqueur look, he sticks his
thumbs into the armholes of his waistcoat, and advances, retreats,
pirouettes, and otherwise gambadoes, as though to say, "Regarde
moi, O monde! Venez, O femmes, venez voir danser Canaillard!"
When De Bobwitz executes the same measure, he does it with smiling
agility, and graceful ease.
But poor Hely, if he were advancing to a dentist, his face would
not be more cheerful. All the eyes of the room are upon him, he
thinks; and he thinks he looks like a fool.
Upon my word, if you press the point with me, dear Miss Jones, I
think he is not very far from right. I think that while Frenchmen
and Germans may dance, as it is their nature to do, there is a
natural dignity about us Britons, which debars us from that
enjoyment. I am rather of the Turkish opinion, that this should
be done for us. I think . . .
"Good-by, you envious old fox-and-the-grapes," says Miss Jones, and
the next moment I see her whirling by in a polka with Tom Tozer, at
a pace which makes me shrink back with terror into the little
M. CANAILLARD, CHEVALIER OF THE LEGION OF HONOR.
LIEUTENANT BARON DE BOBWITZ.
Canaillard. Oh, ces Anglais! quels hommes, mon Dieu! Comme ils
sont habilles, comme ils dansent!
Bobwitz.--Ce sont de beaux hommes bourtant; point de tenue
militaire, mais de grands gaillards; si je les avais dans ma
compagnie de la Garde, j'en ferai de bons soldats.
Canaillard.--Est-il bete, cet Allemand! Les grands hommes ne font
pas toujours de bons soldats, Monsieur. Il me semble que les
soldats de France qui sont de ma taille, Monsieur, valent un peu
mieux . . .
Canaillard.--Comment! je le crois, Monsieur? J'en suis sur! Il me
semble, Monsieur, que nous l'avons prouve.
Bobwitz (impatiently).--Je m'en vais danser la Bolka. Serviteur,
Canaillard.--Butor! (He goes and looks at himself in the glass,
when he is seized by Mrs. Perkins for the Polka.)
MR. SMITH, MR. BROWN, MISS BUSTLETON.
Mr. Brown.--You polk, Miss Bustleton? I'm SO delaighted.
Miss Bustleton.--[Smiles and prepares to rise.]
Mr. Smith.--D--- puppy.
(Poor Smith don't polk.)
Though a quadrille seems to me as dreary as a funeral, yet to look
at a polka, I own, is pleasant. See! Brown and Emily Bustleton
are whirling round as light as two pigeons over a dovecot; Tozer,
with that wicked whisking little Jones, spins along as merrily as a
May-day sweep; Miss Joy is the partner of the happy Fred Sparks;
and even Miss Ranville is pleased, for the faultless Captain Grig
is toe and heel with her. Beaumoris, with rather a nonchalant air,
takes a turn with Miss Trotter, at which Lord Methuseleh's wrinkled
chops quiver uneasily. See! how the big Baron de Bobwitz spins
lightly, and gravely, and gracefully round; and lo! the Frenchman
staggering under the weight of Miss Bunion, who tramps and kicks
like a young cart-horse.
But the most awful sight which met my view in this dance was the
unfortunate Miss Little, to whom fate had assigned THE MULLIGAN as
a partner. Like a pavid kid in the talons of an eagle, that young
creature trembled in his huge Milesian grasp. Disdaining the
recognized form of the dance, the Irish chieftain accommodated the
music to the dance of his own green land, and performed a double
shuffle jig, carrying Miss Little along with him. Miss Ranville
and her Captain shrank back amazed; Miss Trotter skirried out of
his way into the protection of the astonished Lord Methuselah; Fred
Sparks could hardly move for laughing; while, on the contrary, Miss
Joy was quite in pain for poor Sophy Little. As Canaillard and the
Poetess came up, The Mulligan, in the height of his enthusiasm,
lunged out a kick which sent Miss Bunion howling; and concluded
with a tremendous Hurroo!--a war-cry which caused every Saxon heart
to shudder and quail.
"Oh that the earth would open and kindly take me in!" I exclaimed
mentally; and slunk off into the lower regions, where by this time
half the company were at supper.
The supper is going on behind the screen. There is no need to draw
the supper. We all know that sort of transaction: the squabbling,
and gobbling, and popping of champagne; the smell of musk and
lobster-salad; the dowagers chumping away at plates of raised pie;
the young lassies nibbling at little titbits, which the dexterous
young gentlemen procure. Three large men, like doctors of
divinity, wait behind the table, and furnish everything that
appetite can ask for. I never, for my part, can eat any supper for
wondering at those men. I believe if you were to ask them for
mashed turnips, or a slice of crocodile, those astonishing people
would serve you. What a contempt they must have for the guttling
crowd to whom they minister--those solemn pastry-cook's men! How
they must hate jellies, and game-pies, and champagne, in their
hearts! How they must scorn my poor friend Grundsell behind the
screen, who is sucking at a bottle!
This disguised green-grocer is a very well-known character in the
neighborhood of Pocklington Square. He waits at the parties of the
gentry in the neighborhood, and though, of course, despised in
families where a footman is kept, is a person of much importance in
Miss Jonas always employs him at her parties, and says to her page,
"Vincent, send the butler, or send Desborough to me;" by which name
she chooses to designate G. G.
When the Miss Frumps have post-horses to their carriage, and pay
visits, Grundsell always goes behind. Those ladies have the
greatest confidence in him, have been godmothers to fourteen of his
children, and leave their house in his charge when they go to
Bognor for the summer. He attended those ladies when they were
presented at the last drawing-room of her Majesty Queen Charlotte.
GREEN-GROCER AND SALESMAN,
9, LITTLE POCKLINGTON BUILDINGS,
LATE CONFIDENTIAL SERVANT IN THE FAMILY OF
THE LORD MAYOR OF LONDON.
Carpets Beat.--Knives and Boots cleaned per contract.--Errands
faithfully performed--G. G. attends Ball and Dinner parties,
and from his knowledge of the most distinguished Families in
London, confidently recommends his services to the
distinguished neighbourhood of Pocklington Square.
Mr. Grundsell's state costume is a blue coat and copper buttons, a
white waistcoat, and an immense frill and shirt-collar. He was for
many years a private watchman, and once canvassed for the office of
parish clerk of St. Peter's Pocklington. He can be intrusted with
untold spoons; with anything, in fact, but liquor; and it was he
who brought round the cards for MRS. PERKINS'S BALL.
I do not intend to say any more about it. After the people had
supped, they went back and danced. Some supped again. I gave Miss
Bunion, with my own hands, four bumpers of champagne: and such a
quantity of goose-liver and truffles, that I don't wonder she took
a glass of cherry-brandy afterwards. The gray morning was in
Pocklington Square as she drove away in her fly. So did the other
people go away. How green and sallow some of the girls looked, and
how awfully clear Mrs. Colonel Bludyer's rouge was! Lady Jane
Ranville's great coach had roared away down the streets long
before. Fred Minchin pattered off in his clogs: it was I who
covered up Miss Meggot, and conducted her, with her two old
sisters, to the carriage. Good old souls! They have shown their
gratitude by asking me to tea next Tuesday. Methuselah is gone to
finish the night at the club. "Mind to-morrow," Miss Trotter says,
kissing her hand out of the carriage. Canaillard departs, asking
the way to "Lesterre Squar." They all go away--life goes away.
Look at Miss Martin and young Ward! How tenderly the rogue is
wrapping her up! how kindly she looks at him! The old folks are
whispering behind as they wait for their carriage. What is their
talk, think you? and when shall that pair make a match? When you
see those pretty little creatures with their smiles and their
blushes, and their pretty ways, would you like to be the Grand
"Mind and send me a large piece of cake," I go up and whisper
archly to old Mr. Ward: and we look on rather sentimentally at the
couple, almost the last in the rooms (there, I declare, go the
musicians, and the clock is at five)--when Grundsell, with an air
effare, rushes up to me and says, "For e'v'n sake, sir, go into the
supper-room: there's that Hirish gent a-pitchin' into Mr. P."
THE MULLIGAN AND MR. PERKINS.
It was too true. I had taken him away after supper (he ran after
Miss Little's carriage, who was dying in love with him as he
fancied), but the brute had come back again. The doctors of
divinity were putting up their condiments: everybody was gone; but
the abominable Mulligan sat swinging his legs at the lonely supper-
Perkins was opposite, gasping at him.
The Mulligan.--I tell ye, ye are the butler, ye big fat man. Go
get me some more champagne: it's good at this house.
Mr. Perkins (with dignity).--It IS good at this house; but--
The Mulligan.--Bht hwhat, ye goggling, bow-windowed jackass? Go
get the wine, and we'll dthrink it together, my old buck.
Mr. Perkins.--My name, sir, is PERKINS.
The Mulligan.--Well, that rhymes with jerkins, my man of firkins;
so don't let us have any more shirkings and lurkings, Mr. Perkins.
Mr. Perkins (with apoplectic energy).--Sir, I am the master of this
house; and I order you to quit it. I'll not be insulted, sir.
I'll send for a policeman, sir. What do you mean, Mr. Titmarsh,
sir, by bringing this--this beast into my house, sir?
At this, with a scream like that of a Hyrcanian tiger, Mulligan of
the hundred battles sprang forward at his prey; but we were
beforehand with him. Mr. Gregory, Mr. Grundsell, Sir Giles Bacon's
large man, the young gentlemen, and myself, rushed simultaneously
upon the tipsy chieftain, and confined him. The doctors of
divinity looked on with perfect indifference. That Mr. Perkins did
not go off in a fit is a wonder. He was led away heaving and
Somebody smashed Mulligan's hat over his eyes, and I led him forth
into the silent morning. The chirrup of the birds, the freshness
of the rosy air, and a penn'orth of coffee that I got for him at a
stall in the Regent Circus, revived him somewhat. When I quitted
him, he was not angry but sad. He was desirous, it is true, of
avenging the wrongs of Erin in battle line; he wished also to share
the grave of Sarsfield and Hugh O'Neill; but he was sure that Miss
Perkins, as well as Miss Little, was desperately in love with him;
and I left him on a doorstep in tears.
"Is it best to be laughing-mad, or crying-mad, in the world?" says
I moodily, coming into my street. Betsy the maid was already up
and at work, on her knees, scouring the steps, and cheerfully
beginning her honest daily labor.
BY MR. M. A TITMARSH.
Our street, from the little nook which I occupy in it, and whence
I and a fellow-lodger and friend of mine cynically observe it,
presents a strange motley scene. We are in a state of transition.
We are not as yet in the town, and we have left the country, where
we were when I came to lodge with Mrs. Cammysole, my excellent
landlady. I then took second-floor apartments at No. 17, Waddilove
Street, and since, although I have never moved (having various
little comforts about me), I find myself living at No. 46A,
Why is this? Why am I to pay eighteen shillings instead of
fifteen? I was quite as happy in Waddilove Street; but the fact
is, a great portion of that venerable old district has passed away,
and we are being absorbed into the splendid new white-stuccoed
Doric-porticoed genteel Pocklington quarter. Sir Thomas Gibbs
Pocklington, M. P. for the borough of Lathanplaster, is the founder
of the district and his own fortune. The Pocklington Estate Office
is in the Square, on a line with Waddil--with Pocklington Gardens I
mean. The old inn, the "Ram and Magpie," where the market-
gardeners used to bait, came out this year with a new white face
and title, the shield, &c. of the "Pocklington Arms." Such a
shield it is! Such quarterings! Howard, Cavendish, De Ros, De la
Zouche, all mingled together.
Even our house, 46A, which Mrs. Cammysole has had painted white in
compliment to the Gardens of which it now forms part, is a sort of
impostor, and has no business to be called Gardens at all. Mr.
Gibbs, Sir Thomas's agent and nephew, is furious at our daring to
take the title which belongs to our betters. The very next door
(No. 46, the Honorable Mrs. Mountnoddy,) is a house of five
stories, shooting up proudly into the air, thirty feet above our
old high-roofed low-roomed old tenement. Our house belongs to
Captain Bragg, not only the landlord but the son-in-law of Mrs.
Cammysole, who lives a couple of hundred yards down the street, at
"The Bungalow." He was the commander of the "Ram Chunder" East
Indiaman, and has quarrelled with the Pocklingtons ever since he
bought houses in the parish.
He it is who will not sell or alter his houses to suit the spirit
of the times. He it is who, though he made the widow Cammysole
change the name of her street, will not pull down the house next
door, nor the baker's next, nor the iron-bedstead and feather
warehouse ensuing, nor the little barber's with the pole, nor, I am
ashamed to say, the tripe-shop, still standing. The barber powders
the heads of the great footmen from Pocklington Gardens; they are
so big that they can scarcely sit in his little premises. And the
old tavern, the "East Indiaman," is kept by Bragg's ship-steward,
and protests against the "Pocklington Arms."
Down the road is Pocklington Chapel, Rev. Oldham Slocum--in brick,
with arched windows and a wooden belfry: sober, dingy, and hideous.
In the centre of Pocklington Gardens rises St. Waltheof's, the Rev.
Cyril Thuryfer and assistants--a splendid Anglo-Norman edifice,
vast, rich, elaborate, bran new, and intensely old. Down Avemary
Lane you may hear the clink of the little Romish chapel bell. And
hard by is a large broad-shouldered Ebenezer (Rev. Jonas Gronow),
out of the windows of which the hymns come booming all Sunday long.
Going westward along the line, we come presently to Comandine House
(on a part of the gardens of which Comandine Gardens is about to be
erected by his lordship); farther on, "The Pineries," Mr. and Lady
Mary Mango: and so we get into the country, and out of Our Street
altogether, as I may say. But in the half-mile, over which it may
be said to extend, we find all sorts and conditions of people--from
the Right Honorable Lord Comandine down to the present topographer;
who being of no rank as it were, has the fortune to be treated on
almost friendly footing by all, from his lordship down to the
OUR HOUSE IN OUR STREET
We must begin our little descriptions where they say charity should
begin--at home. Mrs. Cammysole, my landlady, will be rather
surprised when she reads this, and finds that a good-natured
tenant, who has never complained of her impositions for fifteen
years, understands every one of her tricks, and treats them, not
with anger, but with scorn--with silent scorn.
On the 18th of December, 1837, for instance, coming gently down
stairs, and before my usual wont, I saw you seated in my arm-chair,
peeping into a letter that came from my aunt in the country, just
as if it had been addressed to you, and not to "M. A. Titmarsh,
Esq." Did I make any disturbance? far from it; I slunk back to my
bedroom (being enabled to walk silently in the beautiful pair of
worsted slippers Miss Penelope J--s worked for me: they are worn
out now, dear Penelope!) and then rattling open the door with a
great noise, descending the stairs, singing "Son vergin vezzosa" at
the top of my voice. You were not in my sitting-room, Mrs.
Cammysole, when I entered that apartment.
You have been reading all my letters, papers, manuscripts,
brouillons of verses, inchoate articles for the Morning Post and
Morning Chronicle, invitations to dinner and tea--all my family
letters, all Eliza Townley's letters, from the first, in which she
declared that to be the bride of her beloved Michelagnolo was the
fondest wish of her maiden heart, to the last, in which she
announced that her Thomas was the best of husbands, and signed
herself "Eliza Slogger;" all Mary Farmer's letters, all Emily
Delamere's; all that poor foolish old Miss MacWhirter's, whom I
would as soon marry as ----: in a word, I know that you, you hawk-
beaked, keen-eyed, sleepless, indefatigable old Mrs. Cammysole,
have read all my papers for these fifteen years.
I know that you cast your curious old eyes over all the manuscripts
which you find in my coat-pockets and those of my pantaloons, as
they hang in a drapery over the door-handle of my bedroom.
I know that you count the money in my green and gold purse, which
Lucy Netterville gave me, and speculate on the manner in which I
have laid out the difference between to-day and yesterday.
I know that you have an understanding with the laundress (to whom
you say that you are all-powerful with me), threatening to take
away my practice from her, unless she gets up gratis some of your
I know that we both have a pennyworth of cream for breakfast, which
is brought in in the same little can; and I know who has the most
for her share.
I know how many lumps of sugar you take from each pound as it
arrives. I have counted the lumps, you old thief, and for years
have never said a word, except to Miss Clapperclaw, the first-floor
lodger. Once I put a bottle of pale brandy into that cupboard, of
which you and I only have keys, and the liquor wasted and wasted
away until it was all gone. You drank the whole of it, you wicked
old woman. You a lady, indeed!
I know your rage when they did me the honor to elect me a member of
the "Poluphloisboiothalasses Club," and I ceased consequently to
dine at home. When I DID dine at home,--on a beefsteak let us
say,--I should like to know what you had for supper. You first
amputated portions of the meat when raw; you abstracted more when
cooked. Do you think I was taken in by your flimsy pretences? I
wonder how you could dare to do such things before your maids (you
a clergyman's daughter and widow, indeed), whom you yourself were
always charging with roguery.
Yes, the insolence of the old woman is unbearable, and I must break
out at last. If she goes off in a fit at reading this, I am sure I
shan't mind. She has two unhappy wenches, against whom her old
tongue is clacking from morning till night: she pounces on them at
all hours. It was but this morning at eight, when poor Molly was
brooming the steps, and the baker paying her by no means unmerited
compliments, that my landlady came whirling out of the ground-floor
front, and sent the poor girl whimpering into the kitchen.
Were it but for her conduct to her maids I was determined publicly
to denounce her. These poor wretches she causes to lead the lives
of demons; and not content with bullying them all day, she sleeps
at night in the same room with them, so that she may have them up
before daybreak, and scold them while they are dressing.
Certain it is, that between her and Miss Clapperclaw, on the first
floor, the poor wenches lead a dismal life.
It is to you that I owe most of my knowledge of our neighbors; from
you it is that most of the facts and observations contained in
these brief pages are taken. Many a night, over our tea, have we
talked amiably about our neighbors and their little failings; and
as I know that you speak of mine pretty freely, why, let me say, my
dear Bessy, that if we have not built up Our Street between us, at
least we have pulled it to pieces.
THE BUNGALOW--CAPTAIN AND MRS. BRAGG.
Long, long ago, when Our Street was the country--a stagecoach
between us and London passing four times a day--I do not care to
own that it was a sight of Flora Cammysole's face, under the card
of her mamma's "Lodgings to Let," which first caused me to become a
tenant of Our Street. A fine good-humored lass she was then; and I
gave her lessons (part out of the rent) in French and flower-
painting. She has made a fine rich marriage since, although her
eyes have often seemed to me to say, "Ah, Mr. T., why didn't you,
when there was yet time, and we both of us were free, propose--you
know what?" "Psha! Where was the money, my dear madam?"
Captain Bragg, then occupied in building Bungalow Lodge--Bragg, I
say, living on the first floor, and entertaining sea-captains,
merchants, and East Indian friends with his grand ship's plate,
being disappointed in a project of marrying a director's daughter,
who was also a second cousin once removed of a peer,--sent in a
fury for Mrs. Cammysole, his landlady, and proposed to marry Flora
off-hand, and settle four hundred a year upon her. Flora was
ordered from the back-parlor (the ground-floor occupies the second-
floor bedroom), and was on the spot made acquainted with the
splendid offer which the first-floor had made her. She has been
Mrs. Captain Bragg these twelve years.
Bragg to this day wears anchor-buttons, and has a dress-coat with a
gold strap for epaulets, in case he should have a fancy to sport
them. His house is covered with portraits, busts, and miniatures
of himself. His wife is made to wear one of the latter. On his
sideboard are pieces of plate, presented by the passengers of the
"Ram Chunder" to Captain Bragg: "The 'Ram Chunder' East Indiaman,
in a gale, off Table Bay;" "The Outward-bound Fleet, under convoy
of her Majesty's frigate 'Loblollyboy,' Captain Gutch, beating off
the French squadron, under Commodore Leloup (the 'Ram Chunder,'
S.E. by E., is represented engaged with the 'Mirliton' corvette);"
"The 'Ram Chunder' standing into the Hooghly, with Captain Bragg,
his telescope and speaking-trumpet, on the poop;" "Captain Bragg
presenting the Officers of the 'Ram Chunder' to General Bonaparte
at St. Helena--TITMARSH" (this fine piece was painted by me when I
was in favor with Bragg); in a word, Bragg and the "Ram Chunder"
are all over the house.
Although I have eaten scores of dinners at Captain Bragg's charge,
yet his hospitality is so insolent, that none of us who frequent
his mahogany feel any obligation to our braggart entertainer.
After he has given one of his great heavy dinners he always takes
an opportunity to tell you, in the most public way, how many
bottles of wine were drunk. His pleasure is to make his guests
tipsy, and to tell everybody how and when the period of inebriation
arose. And Miss Clapperclaw tells me that he often comes over
laughing and giggling to her, and pretending that he has brought ME
into this condition--a calumny which I fling contemptuously in his
He scarcely gives any but men's parties, and invites the whole club
home to dinner. What is the compliment of being asked, when the
whole club is asked too, I should like to know? Men's parties are
only good for boys. I hate a dinner where there are no women.
Bragg sits at the head of his table, and bullies the solitary Mrs.
He entertains us with stories of storms which he, Bragg,
encountered--of dinners which he, Bragg, has received from the
Governor-General of India--of jokes which he, Bragg, has heard;
and however stale or odious they may be, poor Mrs. B. is always
expected to laugh.
Woe be to her if she doesn't, or if she laughs at anybody else's
jokes. I have seen Bragg go up to her and squeeze her arm with a
savage grind of his teeth, and say, with an oath, "Hang it, madam,
how dare you laugh when any man but your husband speaks to you? I
forbid you to grin in that way. I forbid you to look sulky. I
forbid you to look happy, or to look up, or to keep your eyes down
to the ground. I desire you will not be trapesing through the
rooms. I order you not to sit as still as a stone." He curses her
if the wine is corked, or if the dinner is spoiled, or if she comes
a minute too soon to the club for him, or arrives a minute too
late. He forbids her to walk, except upon his arm. And the
consequence of his ill treatment is, that Mrs. Cammysole and Mrs.
Bragg respect him beyond measure, and think him the first of human
"I never knew a woman who was constantly bullied by her husband who
did not like him the better for it," Miss Clapperclaw says. And
though this speech has some of Clapp's usual sardonic humor in it,
I can't but think there is some truth in the remark.
LEVANT HOUSE CHAMBERS.
MR. RUMBOLD, A.R.A., AND MISS RUMBOLD.
When Lord Levant quitted the country and this neighborhood, in
which the tradesmen still deplore him, No. 56, known as Levantine
House, was let to the "Pococurante Club," which was speedily
bankrupt (for we are too far from the centre of town to support a
club of our own); it was subsequently hired by the West Diddlesex
Railroad; and is now divided into sets of chambers, superintended
by an acrimonious housekeeper, and by a porter in a sham livery:
whom, if you don't find him at the door, you may as well seek at
the "Grapes" public-house, in the little lane round the corner. He
varnishes the japan-boots of the dandy lodgers; reads Mr. Pinkney's
Morning Post before he lets him have it; and neglects the letters
of the inmates of the chambers generally.
The great rooms, which were occupied as the salons of the noble
Levant, the coffee-rooms of the "Pococurante" (a club where the
play was furious, as I am told), and the board-room and manager's-
room of the West Diddlesex, are tenanted now by a couple of
artists: young Pinkney the miniaturist, and George Rumbold the
historical painter. Miss Rumbold, his sister lives with him, by
the way; but with that young lady of course we have nothing to do.
I knew both these gentlemen at Rome, where George wore a velvet
doublet and a beard down to his chest, and used to talk about high
art at the "Caffe Greco." How it smelled of smoke, that velveteen
doublet of his, with which his stringy red beard was likewise
perfumed! It was in his studio that I had the honor to be
introduced to his sister, the fair Miss Clara: she had a large
casque with a red horse-hair plume (I thought it had been a wisp of
her brother's beard at first), and held a tin-headed spear in her
hand, representing a Roman warrior in the great picture of
"Caractacus" George was painting--a piece sixty-four feet by
eighteen. The Roman warrior blushed to be discovered in that
attitude: the tin-headed spear trembled in the whitest arm in the
world. So she put it down, and taking off the helmet also, went
and sat in a far corner of the studio, mending George's stockings;
whilst we smoked a couple of pipes, and talked about Raphael being
a good deal overrated.
I think he is; and have never disguised my opinion about the
"Transfiguration.". And all the time we talked, there were Clara's
eyes looking lucidly out from the dark corner in which she was
sitting, working away at the stockings. The lucky fellow! They
were in a dreadful state of bad repair when she came out to him at
Rome, after the death of their father, the Reverend Miles Rumbold.
George, while at Rome, painted "Caractacus;" a picture of "Non
Angli sed Angeli" of course; a picture of "Alfred in the Neatherd's
Cottage," seventy-two feet by forty-eight--(an idea of the gigantic
size and Michel-Angelesque proportions of this picture may be
formed, when I state that the mere muffin, of which the outcast
king is spoiling the baking, is two feet three in diameter) and the
deaths of Socrates, of Remus, and of the Christians under Nero
respectively. I shall never forget how lovely Clara looked in
white muslin, with her hair down, in this latter picture, giving
herself up to a ferocious Carnifex (for which Bob Gaunter the
architect sat), and refusing to listen to the mild suggestions of
an insinuating Flamen: which character was a gross caricature of
None of George's pictures sold. He has enough to tapestry
Trafalgar Square. He has painted, since he came back to England,
"The Flaying of Marsyas," "The Smothering of the Little Boys in the
Tower," "A Plague Scene during the Great Pestilence," "Ugolino on
the Seventh Day after he was deprived of Victuals," &c. For
although these pictures have great merit, and the writhings of
Marsyas, the convulsions of the little prince, the look of agony of
St. Lawrence on the gridiron, &c. are quite true to nature, yet the
subjects somehow are not agreeable; and if he hadn't a small
patrimony, my friend George would starve.
Fondness for art leads me a great deal to his studio. George is a
gentleman, and has very good friends, and good pluck too. When we
were at Rome, there was a great row between him and young Heeltap,
Lord Boxmoor's son, who was uncivil to Miss Rumbold; (the young
scoundrel--had I been a fighting man, I should like to have shot
him myself!). Lady Betty Bulbul is very fond of Clara; and Tom
Bulbul, who took George's message to Heeltap, is always hanging
about the studio. At least I know that I find the young jackanapes
there almost every day, bringing a new novel, or some poisonous
French poetry, or a basket of flowers, or grapes, with Lady Betty's
love to her dear Clara--a young rascal with white kids, and his
hair curled every morning. What business has HE to be dangling
about George Rumbold's premises, and sticking up his ugly pug-face
as a model for all George's pictures?
Miss Clapperclaw says Bulbul is evidently smitten, and Clara too.
What! would she put up with such a little fribble as that, when
there is a man of intellect and taste who--but I won't believe it.
It is all the jealousy of women.
SOME OF THE SERVANTS IN OUR STREET.
These gentlemen have two clubs in our quarter--for the butlers at
the "Indiaman," and for the gents in livery at the "Pocklington
Arms"--of either of which societies I should like to be a member.
I am sure they could not be so dull as our club at the
"Poluphloisboio," where one meets the same neat, clean, respectable
old fogies every day.
But with the best wishes, it is impossible for the present writer
to join either the "Plate Club" or the " Uniform Club" (as these
reunions are designated); for one could not shake hands with a
friend who was standing behind your chair, or nod a How-d'ye-do? to
the butler who was pouring you out a glass of wine;--so that what I
know about the gents in our neighborhood is from mere casual
observation. For instance, I have a slight acquaintance with (1)
Thomas Spavin, who commonly wears an air of injured innocence, and
is groom to Mr. Joseph Green, of Our Street. "I tell why the
brougham 'oss is out of condition, and why Desperation broke out
all in a lather! 'Osses will, this 'eavy weather; and Desperation
was always the most mystest hoss I ever see.--I take him out with
Mr. Anderson's 'ounds--I'm above it. I allis was too timid to ride
to 'ounds by natur; and Colonel Sprigs' groom as says he saw me, is
a liar," &c. &c.
Such is the tenor of Mr. Spavin's remarks to his master. Whereas
all the world in Our Street knows that Mr. Spavin spends at least a
hundred a year in beer; that he keeps a betting-book; that he has
lent Mr. Green's black brougham horse to the omnibus driver; and,
at a time when Mr. G. supposed him at the veterinary surgeon's,
has lent him to a livery stable, which has let him out to that
gentleman himself, and actually driven him to dinner behind his own
This conduct I can understand, but I cannot excuse--Mr. Spavin may;
and I leave the matter to be settled betwixt himself and Mr. Green.
The second is Monsieur Sinbad, Mr. Clarence Bulbul's man, whom we
all hate Clarence for keeping.
Mr. Sinbad is a foreigner, speaking no known language, but a
mixture of every European dialect--so that he may be an Italian
brigand, or a Tyrolese minstrel, or a Spanish smuggler, for what we
know. I have heard say that he is neither of these, but an Irish
He wears studs, hair-oil, jewellery, and linen shirt-fronts, very
finely embroidered, but not particular for whiteness. He generally
appears in faded velvet waistcoats of a morning, and is always
perfumed with stale tobacco. He wears large rings on his hands,
which look as if he kept them up the chimney.
He does not appear to do anything earthly for Clarence Bulbul,
except to smoke his cigars, and to practise on his guitar. He will
not answer a bell, nor fetch a glass of water, nor go of an errand
on which, au reste, Clarence dares not send him, being entirely
afraid of his servant, and not daring to use him, or to abuse him,
or to send him away.
3. Adams--Mr. Champignon's man--a good old man in an old livery
coat with old worsted lace--so very old, deaf, surly, and faithful,
that you wonder how he should have got into the family at all; who
never kept a footman till last year, when they came into the
Miss Clapperclaw says she believes Adams to be Mrs. Champignon's
father, and he certainly has a look of that lady; as Miss C.
pointed out to me at dinner one night, whilst old Adams was
blundering about amongst the hired men from Gunter's, and falling
over the silver dishes.
4. Fipps, the buttoniest page in all the street: walks behind Mrs.
Grimsby with her prayer-book, and protects her.
"If that woman wants a protector" (a female acquaintance remarks),
"heaven be good to us! She is as big as an ogress, and has an
upper lip which many a cornet of the Lifeguards might envy. Her
poor dear husband was a big man, and she could beat him easily; and
did too. Mrs. Grimsby indeed! Why, my dear Mr. Titmarsh, it is
Glumdalca walking with Tom Thumb."
This observation of Miss C.'s is very true, and Mrs. Grimsby might
carry her prayer-book to church herself. But Miss Clapperclaw, who
is pretty well able to take care of herself too, was glad enough to
have the protection of the page when she went out in the fly to pay
visits, and before Mrs. Grimsby and she quarrelled at whist at Lady
After this merely parenthetic observation, we come to 5, one of her
ladyship's large men, Mr. Jeames--a gentleman of vast stature and
proportions, who is almost nose to nose with us as we pass her
ladyship's door on the outside of the omnibus. I think Jeames has
a contempt for a man whom he witnesses in that position. I have
fancied something like that feeling showed itself (as far as it may
in a well-bred gentleman accustomed to society) in his behavior,
while waiting behind my chair at dinner.
But I take Jeames to be, like most giants, good-natured, lazy,
stupid, soft-hearted, and extremely fond of drink. One night, his
lady being engaged to dinner at Nightingale House, I saw Mr. Jeames
resting himself on a bench at the "Pocklington Arms:" where, as he
had no liquor before him, he had probably exhausted his credit.
Little Spitfire, Mr. Clarence Bulbul's boy, the wickedest little
varlet that ever hung on to a cab, was "chaffing" Mr. Jeames,
holding up to his face a pot of porter almost as big as the young
"Vill you now, Big'un, or von't you?" Spitfire said. "If you're
thirsty, vy don't you say so and squench it, old boy?"
"Don't ago on making fun of me--I can't abear chaffin'," was the
reply of Mr. Jeames, and tears actually stood in his fine eyes as
he looked at the porter and the screeching little imp before him.
Spitfire (real name unknown) gave him some of the drink: I am happy
to say Jeames's face wore quite a different look when it rose
gasping out of the porter; and I judge of his dispositions from the
above trivial incident.
The last boy in the sketch, 6, need scarcely be particularized.
Doctor's boy; was a charity-boy; stripes evidently added on to a
pair of the doctor's clothes of last year--Miss Clapperclaw pointed
this out to me with a giggle. Nothing escapes that old woman.
As we were walking in Kensington Gardens, she pointed me out Mrs.
Bragg's nursery-maid, who sings so loud at church, engaged with a
Lifeguardsman, whom she was trying to convert probably. My
virtuous friend rose indignant at the sight.
"That's why these minxes like Kensington Gardens," she cried.
"Look at the woman: she leaves the baby on the grass, for the giant
to trample upon; and that little wretch of a Hastings Bragg is
riding on the monster's cane."
Miss C. flew up and seized the infant, waking it out of its sleep,
and causing all the gardens to echo with its squalling. "I'll
teach you to be impudent to me," she said to the nursery-maid, with
whom my vivacious old friend, I suppose, has had a difference; and
she would not release the infant until she had rung the bell of
Bungalow Lodge, where she gave it up to the footman.
The giant in scarlet had slunk down towards Knightsbridge meanwhile.
The big rogues are always crossing the Park and the Gardens, and
hankering about Our Street.
WHAT SOMETIMES HAPPENS IN OUR STREET.
It was before old Hunkington's house that the mutes were standing,
as I passed and saw this group at the door. The charity-boy with
the hoop is the son of the jolly-looking mute; he admires his
father, who admires himself too, in those bran-new sables. The
other infants are the spawn of the alleys about Our Street. Only
the parson and the typhus fever visit those mysterious haunts,
which lie crouched about our splendid houses like Lazarus at the
threshold of Dives.
Those little ones come crawling abroad in the sunshine, to the
annoyance of the beadles, and the horror of a number of good people
in the street. They will bring up the rear of the procession anon,
when the grand omnibus with the feathers, and the line coaches with
the long-tailed black horses, and the gentleman's private carriages
with the shutters up, pass along to Saint Waltheof's.
You can hear the slow bell tolling clear in the sunshine already,
mingling with the crowing of "Punch," who is passing down the
street with his show; and the two musics make a queer medley.
Not near so many people, I remark, engage "Punch" now as in the
good old times. I suppose our quarter is growing too genteel for
Miss Bridget Jones, a poor curate's daughter in Wales, comes into
all Hunkington's property, and will take his name, as I am told.
Nobody ever heard of her before. I am sure Captain Hunkington, and
his brother Barnwell Hunkington, must wish that the lucky young
lady had never been heard of to the present day.
But they will have the consolation of thinking that they did their
duty by their uncle, and consoled his declining years. It was but
last month that Millwood Hunkington (the Captain) sent the old
gentleman a service of plate; and Mrs. Barnwell got a reclining
carriage at a great expense from Hobbs and Dobbs's, in which the
old gentleman went out only once.
"It is a punishment on those Hunkingtons," Miss Clapperclaw
remarks: "upon those people who have been always living beyond
their little incomes, and always speculating upon what the old man
would leave them, and always coaxing him with presents which they
could not afford, and he did not want. It is a punishment upon
those Hunkingtons to be so disappointed."
"Think of giving him plate," Miss C. justly says, "who had chests-
full; and sending him a carriage, who could afford to buy all Long
Acre. And everything goes to Miss Jones Hunkington. I wonder will
she give the things back?" Miss Clapperclaw asks. "I wouldn't."
And indeed I don't think Miss Clapperclaw would.
SOMEBODY WHOM NOBODY KNOWS.
That pretty little house, the last in Pocklington Square, was
lately occupied by a young widow lady who wore a pink bonnet, a
short silk dress, sustained by a crinoline, and a light blue
mantle, or over-jacket (Miss C. is not here to tell me the name of
the garment); or else a black velvet pelisse, a yellow shawl, and a
white bonnet; or else--but never mind the dress, which seemed to be
of the handsomest sort money could buy--and who had very long
glossy black ringlets, and a peculiarly brilliant complexion,--No.
96, Pocklington Square, I say, was lately occupied by a widow lady
named Mrs. Stafford Molyneux.
The very first day on which an intimate and valued female friend of
mine saw Mrs. Stafford Molyneux stepping into a brougham, with a
splendid bay horse, and without a footman, (mark, if you please,
that delicate sign of respectability,) and after a moment's
examination of Mrs. S. M.'s toilette, her manners, little dog,
carnation-colored parasol, &c., Miss Elizabeth Clapperclaw clapped
to the opera-glass with which she had been regarding the new
inhabitant of Our Street, came away from the window in a great
flurry, and began poking her fire in a fit of virtuous indignation.
"She's very pretty," said I, who had been looking over Miss C.'s
shoulder at the widow with the flashing eyes and drooping ringlets.
"Hold your tongue, sir," said Miss Clapperclaw, tossing up her
virgin head with an indignant blush on her nose. "It's a sin and
a shame that such a creature should be riding in her carriage,
forsooth, when honest people must go on foot."
Subsequent observations confirmed my revered fellow-lodger's anger
and opinion. We have watched Hansom cabs standing before that
lady's house for hours; we have seen broughams, with great flaring
eyes, keeping watch there in the darkness; we have seen the vans
from the comestible-shops drive up and discharge loads of wines,
groceries, French plums, and other articles of luxurious horror.
We have seen Count Wowski's drag, Lord Martingale's carriage, Mr.
Deuceace's cab drive up there time after time; and (having remarked
previously the pastry-cook's men arrive with the trays and
entrees), we have known that this widow was giving dinners at the
little house in Pocklington Square--dinners such as decent people
could not hope to enjoy.
My excellent friend has been in a perfect fury when Mrs. Stafford
Molyneux, in a black velvet riding-habit, with a hat and feather,
has come out and mounted an odious gray horse, and has cantered
down the street, followed by her groom upon a bay.
"It won't last long--it must end in shame and humiliation," my dear
Miss C. has remarked, disappointed that the tiles and chimney-pots
did not fall down upon Mrs. Stafford Molyneux's head, and crush
that cantering, audacious woman.
But it was a consolation to see her when she walked out with a
French maid, a couple of children, and a little dog hanging on to
her by a blue ribbon. She always held down her head then--her head
with the drooping black ringlets. The virtuous and well-disposed
avoided her. I have seen the Square-keeper himself look puzzled as
she passed; and Lady Kicklebury walking by with Miss K., her
daughter, turn away from Mrs. Stafford Molyneux, and fling back at
her a ruthless Parthian glance that ought to have killed any woman
of decent sensibility.
That wretched woman, meanwhile, with her rouged cheeks (for rouge
it IS, Miss Clapperclaw swears, and who is a better judge?) has
walked on conscious, and yet somehow braving out the Street. You
could read pride of her beauty, pride of her fine clothes, shame of
her position, in her downcast black eyes.
As for Mademoiselle Trampoline, her French maid, she would stare
the sun itself out of countenance. One day she tossed up her head
as she passed under our windows with a look of scorn that drove
Miss Clapperclaw back to the fireplace again.
It was Mrs. Stafford Molyneux's children, however, whom I pitied
the most. Once her boy, in a flaring tartan, went up to speak to
Master Roderick Lacy, whose maid was engaged ogling a policeman;
and the children were going to make friends, being united with a
hoop which Master Molyneux had, when Master Roderick's maid,
rushing up, clutched her charge to her arms, and hurried away,
leaving little Molyneux sad and wondering.
"Why won't he play with me, mamma?" Master Molyneux asked--and his
mother's face blushed purple as she walked away.
"Ah--heaven help us and forgive us!" said I; but Miss C. can never
forgive the mother or child; and she clapped her hands for joy one
day when we saw the shutters up, bills in the windows, a carpet
hanging out over the balcony, and a crowd of shabby Jews about the
steps--giving token that the reign of Mrs. Stafford Molyneux was
over. The pastry-cooks and their trays, the bay and the gray, the
brougham and the groom, the noblemen and their cabs, were all gone;
and the tradesmen in the neighborhood were crying out that they
"Serve the odious minx right!" says Miss C.; and she played at
piquet that night with more vigor than I have known her manifest
for these last ten years.
What is it that makes certain old ladies so savage upon certain
subjects? Miss C. is a good woman; pays her rent and her
tradesmen; gives plenty to the poor; is brisk with her tongue--
kind-hearted in the main; but if Mrs. Stafford Molyneux and her
children were plunged into a caldron of boiling vinegar, I think my
revered friend would not take them out.
THE MAN IN POSSESSION.
For another misfortune which occurred in Our Street we were much
more compassionate. We liked Danby Dixon, and his wife Fanny Dixon
still more. Miss C. had a paper of biscuits and a box of preserved
apricots always in the cupboard, ready for Dixon's children--
provisions by the way which she locked up under Mrs. Cammysole's
nose, so that our landlady could by no possibility lay a hand on
Dixon and his wife had the neatest little house possible, (No. 16,
opposite 96,) and were liked and respected by the whole street. He
was called Dandy Dixon when he was in the dragoons, and was a light
weight, and rather famous as a gentleman rider. On his marriage,
he sold out and got fat: and was indeed a florid, contented, and
His little wife was charming--to see her in pink with some miniature
Dixons, in pink too, round about her, or in that beautiful gray
dress, with the deep black lace flounces, which she wore at my Lord
Comandine's on the night of the private theatricals, would have done
any man good. To hear her sing any of my little ballads, "Knowest
Thou the Willow-tree?" for instance, or "The Rose upon my Balcony,"
or "The Humming of the Honey-bee," (far superior in MY judgment, and
in that of SOME GOOD JUDGES likewise, to that humbug Clarence
Bulbul's ballads,)--to hear her, I say, sing these, was to be in a
sort of small Elysium. Dear, dear little Fanny Dixon! she was like
a little chirping bird of Paradise. It was a shame that storms
should ever ruffle such a tender plumage.
Well, never mind about sentiment. Danby Dixon, the owner of this
little treasure, an ex-captain of Dragoons, and having nothing to
do, and a small income, wisely thought he would employ his spare
time, and increase his revenue. He became a director of the
Cornaro Life Insurance Company, of the Tregulpho tin-mines, and of
four or five railroad companies. It was amusing to see him
swaggering about the City in his clinking boots, and with his high
and mighty dragoon manners. For a time his talk about shares after
dinner was perfectly intolerable; and I for one was always glad to
leave him in the company of sundry very dubious capitalists who
frequented his house, and walk up to hear Mrs. Fanny warbling at
the piano with her little children about her knees.
It was only last season that they set up a carriage--the modestest
little vehicle conceivable--driven by Kirby, who had been in
Dixon's troop in the regiment, and had followed him into private
life as coachman, footman, and page.
One day lately I went into Dixon's house, hearing that some
calamities had befallen him, the particulars of which Miss
Clapperclaw was desirous to know. The creditors of the Tregulpho
Mines had got a verdict against him as one of the directors of that
company; the engineer of the Little Diddlesex Junction had sued him
for two thousand three hundred pounds--the charges of that
scientific man for six weeks' labor in surveying the line. His
brother directors were to be discovered nowhere: Windham, Dodgin,
Mizzlington, and the rest, were all gone long ago.
When I entered, the door was open: there was a smell of smoke in
the dining-room, where a gentleman at noonday was seated with a
pipe and a pot of beer: a man in possession indeed, in that
comfortable pretty parlor, by that snug round table where I have
so often seen Fanny Dixon's smiling face.
Kirby, the ex-dragoon, was scowling at the fellow, who lay upon a
little settee reading the newspaper, with an evident desire to kill
him. Mrs. Kirby, his wife, held little Danby, poor Dixon's son and
heir. Dixon's portrait smiled over the sideboard still, and his
wife was up stairs in an agony of fear, with the poor little
daughters of this bankrupt, broken family.
This poor soul had actually come down and paid a visit to the man
in possession. She had sent wine and dinner to "the gentleman down
stairs," as she called him in her terror. She had tried to move
his heart, by representing to him how innocent Captain Dixon was,
and how he had always paid, and always remained at home when
everybody else had fled. As if her tears and simple tales and
entreaties could move that man in possession out of the house, or
induce him to pay the costs of the action which her husband had
Danby meanwhile was at Boulogne, sickening after his wife and
children. They sold everything in his house--all his smart
furniture and neat little stock of plate; his wardrobe and his
linen, "the property of a gentleman gone abroad;" his carriage by
the best maker; and his wine selected without regard to expense.
His house was shut up as completely as his opposite neighbor's; and
a new tenant is just having it fresh painted inside and out, as if
poor Dixon had left an infection behind.
Kirby and his wife went across the water with the children and Mrs.
Fanny--she has a small settlement; and I am bound to say that our
mutual friend Miss Elizabeth C. went down with Mrs. Dixon in the
fly to the Tower Stairs, and stopped in Lombard Street by the way.
So it is that the world wags: that honest men and knaves alike are
always having ups and downs of fortune, and that we are perpetually
changing tenants in Our Street.
THE LION OF THE STREET.
What people can find in Clarence Bulbul, who has lately taken upon
himself the rank and dignity of Lion of Our Street, I have always
been at a loss to conjecture.
"He has written an Eastern book of considerable merit," Miss
Clapperclaw says; but hang it, has not everybody written an Eastern
book? I should like to meet anybody in society now who has not
been up to the second cataract. An Eastern book forsooth! My Lord
Castleroyal has done one--an honest one; my Lord Youngent another--
an amusing one; my Lord Woolsey another--a pious one; there is "The
Cutlet and the Cabob"--a sentimental one; "Timbuctoothen"--a
humorous one, all ludicrously overrated, in my opinion: not
including my own little book, of which a copy or two is still to be
had, by the way.
Well, then, Clarence Bulbul, because he has made part of the little
tour that all of us know, comes back and gives himself airs,
forsooth, and howls as if he were just out of the great Libyan
When we go and see him, that Irish Jew courier, whom I have before
had the honor to describe, looks up from the novel which he is
reading in the ante-room, and says, "Mon maitre est au divan," or,
"Monsieur trouvera Monsieur dans son serail," and relapses into the
Comte de Montecristo again.
Yes, the impudent wretch has actually a room in his apartments on
the ground-floor of his mother's house, which he calls his harem.
When Lady Betty Bulbul (they are of the Nightingale family) or Miss
Blanche comes down to visit him, their slippers are placed at the
door, and he receives them on an ottoman, and these infatuated
women will actually light his pipe for him.
Little Spitfire, the groom, hangs about the drawing-room, outside
the harem forsooth! so that he may be ready when Clarence Bulbul
claps hands for him to bring the pipes and coffee.
He has coffee and pipes for everybody. I should like you to have
seen the face of old Bowly, his college-tutor, called upon to sit
cross-legged on a divan, a little cup of bitter black Mocha put
into his hand, and a large amber-muzzled pipe stuck into his mouth
by Spitfire, before he could so much as say it was a fine day.
Bowly almost thought he had compromised his principles by
consenting so far to this Turkish manner.
Bulbul's dinners are, I own, very good; his pilaffs and curries
excellent. He tried to make us eat rice with our fingers, it is
true; but he scalded his own hands in the business, and invariably
bedizened his shirt; so he has left off the Turkish practice, for
dinner at least, and uses a fork like a Christian.
But it is in society that he is most remarkable; and here he would,
I own, be odious, but he becomes delightful, because all the men
hate him so. A perfect chorus of abuse is raised round about him.
"Confounded impostor," says one; "Impudent jackass," says another;
"Miserable puppy," cries a third; "I'd like to wring his neck,"
says Bruff, scowling over his shoulder at him. Clarence meanwhile
nods, winks, smiles, and patronizes them all with the easiest good-
humor. He is a fellow who would poke an archbishop in the apron,
or clap a duke on the shoulder, as coolly as he would address you
I saw him the other night at Mrs. Bumpsher's grand let-off. He
flung himself down cross-legged on a pink satin sofa, so that you
could see Mrs. Bumpsher quiver with rage in the distance, Bruff
growl with fury from the further room, and Miss Pim, on whose frock
Bulbul's feet rested, look up like a timid fawn.
"Fan me, Miss Pim," said he of the cushion. "You look like a
perfect Peri to-night. You remind me of a girl I once knew in
Circassia--Ameena, the sister of Schamyl Bey. Do you know, Miss
Pim, that you would fetch twenty thousand piastres in the market at
"Law, Mr. Bulbul!" is all Miss Pim can ejaculate; and having talked
over Miss Pim, Clarence goes off to another houri, whom he
fascinates in a similar manner. He charmed Mrs. Waddy by telling
her that she was the exact figure of the Pasha of Egypt's second
wife. He gave Miss Tokely a piece of the sack in which Zuleika was
drowned; and he actually persuaded that poor little silly Miss Vain
to turn Mahometan, and sent her up to the Turkish ambassador's to
look out for a mufti.
THE DOVE OF OUR STREET.
If Bulbul is our Lion, Young Oriel may be described as The Dove of
our colony. He is almost as great a pasha among the ladies as
Bulbul. They crowd in flocks to see him at Saint Waltheof's, where
the immense height of his forehead, the rigid asceticism of his
surplice, the twang with which he intones the service, and the
namby-pamby mysticism of his sermons, have turned all the dear
girls' heads for some time past. While we were having a rubber at
Mrs. Chauntry's, whose daughters are following the new mode, I
heard the following talk (which made me revoke by the way) going
on, in what was formerly called the young ladies' room, but is now
styled the Oratory:--
MISS CHAUNTRY. MISS ISABEL CHAUNTRY.
MISS DE L'AISLE. MISS PYX.
REV. L. ORIEL. REV. O. SLOCUM--[In the further room.]
Miss Chauntry (sighing).--Is it wrong to be in the Guards, dear Mr.
Miss Pyx.--She will make Frank de Boots sell out when he marries.
Mr. Oriel.--To be in the Guards, dear sister? The church has
always encouraged the army. Saint Martin of Tours was in the army;
Saint Louis was in the army; Saint Waltheof, our patron, Saint
Witikind of Aldermanbury, Saint Wamba, and Saint Walloff were in
the army. Saint Wapshot was captain of the guard of Queen
Boadicea; and Saint Werewolf was a major in the Danish cavalry.
The holy Saint Ignatius of Loyola carried a pike, as we know; and--
Miss De l'Aisle.--Will you take some tea, dear Mr. Oriel?
Oriel.--This is not one of MY feast days, Sister Emma. It is the
feast of Saint Wagstatf of Walthamstow.
The Young Ladies.--And we must not even take tea?
Oriel.--Dear sisters, I said not so. YOU may do as you list; but I
am strong (with a heart-broken sigh); don't ply me (he reels). I
took a little water and a parched pea after matins. To-morrow is a
flesh day, and--and I shall be better then.
Rev. O. Slocum (from within).--Madam, I take your heart with my
Oriel.--Yes, better! dear sister; it is only a passing--a--
Miss I. Chauntry.--He's dying of fever.
Miss Chauntry.--I'm so glad De Boots need not leave the Blues.
Miss Pyx.--He wears sackcloth and cinders inside his waistcoat.
Miss De l'Aisle.--He's told me to-night he's going to--to--
Ro-o-ome. [Miss De l'Aisle bursts into tears.]
Rev. O. Slocum.--My lord, I have the highest club, which gives the
trick and two by honors.
Thus, you see, we have a variety of clergymen in Our Street. Mr.
Oriel is of the pointed Gothic school, while old Slocum is of the
good old tawny port-wine school: and it must be confessed that Mr.
Gronow, at Ebenezer, has a hearty abhorrence for both.
As for Gronow, I pity him, if his future lot should fall where Mr.
Oriel supposes that it will.
And as for Oriel, he has not even the benefit of purgatory, which
he would accord to his neighbor Ebenezer; while old Slocum
pronounces both to be a couple of humbugs; and Mr. Mole, the demure
little beetle-browed chaplain of the little church of Avemary Lane,
keeps his sly eyes down to the ground when he passes any one of his
There is only one point on which, my friends, they seem agreed.
Slocum likes port, but who ever heard that he neglected his poor?
Gronow, if he comminates his neighbor's congregation, is the
affectionate father of his own. Oriel, if he loves pointed Gothic
and parched peas for breakfast, has a prodigious soup-kitchen for
his poor; and as for little Father Mole, who never lifts his eyes
from the ground, ask our doctor at what bedsides he finds him, and
how he soothes poverty, and braves misery and infection.
No. 6, Pocklington Gardens, (the house with the quantity of flowers
in the windows, and the awning over the entrance,) George Bumpsher,
Esquire, M.P. for Humborough (and the Beanstalks, Kent).
For some time after this gorgeous family came into our quarter, I
mistook a bald-headed, stout person, whom I used to see looking
through the flowers on the upper windows, for Bumpsher himself, or
for the butler of the family; whereas it was no other than Mrs.
Bumpsher, without her chestnut wig, and who is at least three times
the size of her husband.
The Bumpshers and the house of Mango at the Pineries vie together
in their desire to dominate over the neighborhood; and each votes
the other a vulgar and purse-proud family. The fact is, both are
City people. Bumpsher, in his mercantile capacity, is a wholesale
stationer in Thames Street; and his wife was the daughter of an