[NOTE: There is a short list of bookmarks, or pointers, at the end of the
file for those who may wish to sample the author's ideas before making an
entire meal of them. D.W.]
THE CONFESSIONS OF HARRY LORREQUER, v5
[By Charles James Lever (1806-1872)]
Volume 5. (Chapter XXIX-XLI)
Captain Trevanion's Adventure
Mr O'Leary's First Love
Mr O'Leary's Second Love
Early Recollections--A First Love
Thoughts upon Matrimony in general, and in the Army in particular--The
Knight of Kerry and Billy M'Cabe
The Two Letters
Mr O'Leary's Capture
CAPTAIN TREVANION'S ADVENTURE.
As the day was now waning apace, and I was still unprovided with any one
who could act as my second, I set out upon a search through the various
large hotels in the neighbourhood, trusting that amid my numerous
acquaintance I should be fortunate enough to find some of them at Paris.
With a most anxious eye I scanned the lists of arrivals at the usual
haunts of my countrymen, in the Rue Rivoli, and the Place Vendome, but
without success; there were long catalogues of "Milors," with their
"couriers," &c. but not one name known to me in the number.
I repaired to Galignani's library, which, though crowded as ever with
English, did not present to me one familiar face. From thence I turned
into the Palais Royale, and at last, completely jaded by walking, and
sick from disappointment, I sat down upon a bench in the Tuilleries
I had scarcely been there many minutes when a gentleman accosted me in
English, saying, "May I ask if this be your property?" showing, at the
same time, a pocket-book which I had inadvertently dropped in pulling out
my handkerchief. As I thanked him for his attention, and was about to
turn away, I perceived that he continued to look very steadily at me. At
length he said,
"I think I am not mistaken; I have the pleasure to see Mr. Lorrequer, who
may perhaps recollect my name, Trevanion of the 43rd. The last time we
met was at Malta."
"Oh, I remember perfectly. Indeed I should be very ungrateful if I did
not; for to your kind offices there I am indebted for my life. You must
surely recollect the street row at the 'Caserne?'"
"Yes; that was a rather brisk affair while it lasted; but, pray, how long
are you here?"
"Merely a few days; and most anxious am I to leave as soon as possible;
for, independently of pressing reasons to wish myself elsewhere, I have
had nothing but trouble and worry since my arrival, and at this instant
am involved in a duel, without the slightest cause that I can discover,
and, what is still worse, without the aid of a single friend to undertake
the requisite negociation for me."
"If my services can in any way assist--"
"Oh, my dear captain, this is really so great a favour that I cannot say
how much I thank you."
"Say nothing whatever, but rest quite assured that I am completely at
your disposal; for although we are not very old friends, yet I have heard
so much of you from some of ours, that I feel as if we had been long
This was an immense piece of good fortune to me; for, of all the persons
I knew, he was the most suited to aid me at this moment. In addition to
a thorough knowledge of the continent and its habits, he spoke French
fluently, and had been the most renomme authority in the duello to a
large military acquaintance; joining to a consummate tact and cleverness
in his diplomacy, a temper that never permitted itself to be ruffled, and
a most unexceptionable reputation for courage. In a word, to have had
Trevanion for your second, was not only to have secured odds in your
favour, but, still better, to have obtained the certainty that, let the
affair take what turn it might, you were sure of coming out of it with
credit. He was the only man I have ever met, who had much mixed himself
in transactions of this nature, and yet never, by any chance, had
degenerated into the fire-eater; more quiet, unassuming manners it was
impossible to meet with, and, in the various anecdotes I have heard of
him, I have always traced a degree of forbearance, that men of less known
bravery might not venture to practise. At the same time, when once
roused by any thing like premeditated insult--or pre-determined affront--
he became almost ungovernable, and it would be safer to beard the lion in
his den than cross his path. Among the many stories, and there were a
great many current in his regiment concerning him, there was one so
singularly characteristic of the man, that, as I have passingly mentioned
his name here, I may as well relate it; at the same time premising that,
as it is well known, I may only be repeating an often-heard tale to many
of my readers.
When the regiment to which Trevanion belonged became part of the army of
occupation in Paris, he was left at Versailles seriously ill from the
effects of a sabre-wound he received at Waterloo, and from which his
recovery at first was exceedingly doubtful. At the end of several weeks,
however, he became out of danger, and was able to receive the visits of
his brother officers, whenever they were fortunate enough to obtain a
day's leave of absence, to run down and see him. From them he learned
that one of his oldest friends in the regiment had fallen in a duel,
during the time of his illness, and that two other officers were
dangerously wounded--one of whom was not expected to survive. When he
inquired as to the reasons of these many disasters, he was informed that
since the entrance of the allies into Paris, the French officers, boiling
with rage and indignation at their recent defeat, and smarting under the
hourly disgrace which the presence of their conquerors suggested, sought
out, by every means in their power, opportunities of insult; but always
so artfully contrived as to render the opposite party the challenger,
thus reserving to themselves the choice of weapons. When therefore it
is borne in mind that the French are the most expert swordsmen in Europe,
little doubt can exist as to the issue of these combats; and, in fact,
scarcely a morning passed without three or four English or Prussian
officers being carried through the Barriere de l'Etoile, if not dead, at
least seriously wounded, and condemned to carry with them through life
the inflictions of a sanguinary and savage spirit of revenge.
While Trevanion listened to this sad recital, and scarcely did a day come
without adding to the long catalogue of disasters, he at once perceived
that the quiet deportment and unassuming demeanour which so strongly
characterise the English officer, were construed by their French
opponents into evidences of want of courage, and saw that to so
systematic a plan for slaughter no common remedy could be applied, and
that some "coup d'etat" was absolutely necessary, to put it down once
and for ever.
In the history of these sanguinary rencontres, one name was continually
recurring, generally as the principal, sometimes the instigator of the
quarrel. This was an officer of a chasseur regiment, who had the
reputation of being the best swordsman in the whole French army, and was
no less distinguished for his "skill at fence," than his uncompromising
hatred of the British, with whom alone, of all the allied forces, he was
ever known to come in contact. So celebrated was the "Capitaine Augustin
Gendemar" for his pursuits, that it was well known at that time in Paris
that he was the president of a duelling club, associated for the express
and avowed object of provoking to insult, and as certainly dooming to
death every English officer upon whom they could fasten a quarrel.
The Cafe Philidor, at that period in the Rue Vivienne, was the rendezvous
of this reputable faction, and here "le Capitaine" reigned supreme,
receiving accounts of the various "affairs" which were transacting--
counselling and plotting for the future. His ascendancy among his
countrymen was perfectly undisputed, and being possessed of great
muscular strength, with that peculiarly "farouche" exterior, without
which courage is nothing in France, he was in every way calculated for
the infamous leadership he assumed.
It was, unfortunately, to this same cafe, being situated in what was
called the English quarter, that the officers of the 43rd regiment were
in the habit of resorting, totally unaware of the plots by which they
were surrounded, and quite unsuspecting the tangled web of deliberate and
cold-blooded assassination in which they were involved, and here took
place the quarrel, the result of which was the death of Trevanion's
friend, a young officer of great promise, and universally beloved in his
As Trevanion listened to these accounts, his impatience became daily
greater, that his weak state should prevent his being among his brother
officers, when his advice and assistance were so imperatively required,
and where, amid all the solicitude for his perfect recovery, he could not
but perceive they ardently wished for him.
The day at last arrived, and restored to something like his former self,
Trevanion once more appeared in the mess-room of his regiment. Amid the
many sincere and hearty congratulations on his recovered looks, were not
a few half-expressed hints that he might not go much out into the world
for some little time to come. To these friendly admonitions Trevanion
replied by a good-humoured laugh, and a ready assurance that he
understood the intended kindness, and felt in no wise disposed to be
invalided again. "In fact," said he, "I have come up here to enjoy life
a little, not to risque it; but, among the sights of your gay capital, I
must certainly have a peep at your famed captain, of whom I have heard
too much not to feel an interest in him."
Notwithstanding the many objections to this, made with a view to delay
his visit to the Philidor to a later period, it was at length agreed,
that they should all repair to the cafe that evening, but upon the
express understanding that every cause of quarrel should be strictly
avoided, and that their stay should be merely sufficient to satisfy
Trevanion's curiosity as to the personnel of the renomme captain.
It was rather before the usual hour of the cafe's filling, that a number
of English officers, among whom was Trevanion, entered the "salon" of the
"Philidor;" having determined not to attract any unusual attention, they
broke into little knots and parties of threes and fours, and dispersed
through the room, where they either sipped their coffee or played at
dominoes, then, as now, the staple resource of a French cafe.
The clock over the "comptoir" struck eight, and, at the same instant,
a waiter made his appearance, carrying a small table, which he placed
beside the fire, and, having trimmed a lamp, and placed a large fauteuil
before it, was about to withdraw, when Trevanion, whose curiosity was
roused by the singularity of these arrangements, determined upon asking
for whose comfort they were intended. The waiter stared for a moment at
the question, with an air as if doubting the seriousness of him who put
it, and at last replied--"Pour Monsieur le Capitaine, je crois," with a
certain tone of significance upon the latter words.
"Le Capitaine! but what captain?" said he, carelessly; "for I am a
captain, and that gentleman there--and there, too, is another," at the
same instant throwing himself listlessly into the well-cushioned chair,
and stretching out his legs at full length upon the hearth.
The look of horror which this quiet proceeding on his part, elicited from
the poor waiter, so astonished him that he could not help saying--"is
there any thing the matter with you, my friend; are you ill?"
"No, monsieur, not ill; nothing the matter with me; but you, sir; oh,
you, sir, pray come away."
"Me," said Trevanion; "me! why, my good man, I was never better in my
life; so now just bring me my coffee and the Moniteur, if you have it;
there, don't stare that way, but do as I bid you."
There was something in the assured tone of these few words that either
overawed or repressed every rising feeling of the waiter, for his
interrogator; for, silently handing his coffee and the newspaper, he left
the room; not, however, without bestowing a parting glance so full of
terror and dismay that our friend was obliged to smile at it. All this
was the work of a few minutes, and not until the noise of new arrivals
had attracted the attention of his brother officers, did they perceive
where he had installed himself, and to what danger he was thus, as they
supposed, unwittingly exposed.
It was now, however, too late for remonstrance; for already several
French officers had noticed the circumstance, and by their interchange of
looks and signs, openly evinced their satisfaction at it, and their
delight at the catastrophe which seemed inevitable to the luckless
In perfect misery at what they conceived their own fault, in not
apprising him of the sacred character of that place, they stood silently
looking at him as he continued to sip his coffee, apparently unconscious
of every thing and person about him.
There was now a more than ordinary silence in the cafe, which at all
times was remarkable for the quiet and noiseless demeanour of its
frequenters, when the door was flung open by the ready waiter, and the
Capitaine Augustin Gendemar entered. He was a large, squarely-built man,
with a most savage expression of countenance, which a bushy beard and
shaggy overhanging moustache served successfully to assist; his eyes were
shaded by deep, projecting brows, and long eyebrows slanting over them,
and increasing their look of piercing sharpness; there was in his whole
air and demeanour that certain French air of swaggering bullyism, which
ever remained in those who, having risen from the ranks, maintained the
look of ruffianly defiance which gave their early character for courage
To the friendly salutations of his countrymen he returned the slightest
and coldest acknowledgments, throwing a glance of disdain around him as
he wended his way to his accustomed place beside the fire; this he did
with as much of noise and swagger as he could well contrive; his sabre
and sabretasch clanking behind, his spurs jangling, and his heavy step,
made purposely heavier to draw upon him the notice and attention he
sought for. Trevanion alone testified no consciousness of his entrance,
and appeared totally engrossed by the columns of his newspaper, from
which he never lifted his eyes for an instant. Le Capitaine at length
reached the fire-place, when, no sooner did he behold his accustomed seat
in the possession of another, than he absolutely started back with
surprise and anger.
What might have been his first impulse it is hard to say, for, as the
blood rushed to his face and forehead, he clenched his hands firmly, and
seemed for an instant, as he eyed the stranger, like a tiger about to
spring upon its victim; this was but for a second, for turning rapidly
round towards his party, he gave them a look of peculiar meaning, showing
two rows of white teeth, with a grin which seemed to say, "I have taken
my line;" and he had done so. He now ordered the waiter, in a voice of
thunder, to bring him a chair, this he took roughly from him, and placed,
with a crash, upon the floor, exactly opposite that of Trevanion, and
still so near as scarcely to permit of his sitting down upon it. The
noisy vehemence of this action at last appeared to have roused
Trevanion's attention, for he now, for the first time, looked up from his
paper, and quietly regarded his vis-a-vis. There could not in the world
be a stronger contrast to the bland look and courteous expression of
Trevanion's handsome features, than the savage scowl of the enraged
Frenchman, in whose features the strong and ill-repressed workings of
passion were twitching and distorting every lineament and line; indeed no
words could ever convey one half so forcibly as did that look, insult--
open, palpable, deep, determined insult.
Trevanion, whose eyes had been merely for a moment lifted from his
paper, again fell, and he appeared to take no notice whatever of the
extraordinary proximity of the Frenchman, still less of the savage and
insulting character of his looks.
Le Capitaine, having thus failed to bring on the eclaircissement he
sought for, proceeded to accomplish it by other means; for, taking the
lamp, by the light of which Trevanion was still reading, he placed it at
his side of the table, and at the same instant stretching across his arm,
he plucked the newspaper from his hand, giving at the same moment a
glance of triumph towards the bystanders, as though he would say, "you
see what he must submit to." Words cannot describe the astonishment of
the British officers, as they beheld Trevanion, under this gross and open
insult, content himself by a slight smile and half bow, as if returning
a courtesy, and then throw his eyes downward, as if engaged in deep
thought, while the triumphant sneer of the French, at this unaccountable
conduct, was absolutely maddening to them to endure.
But their patience was destined to submit to stronger proof, for at this
instant le Capitaine stretched forth one enormous leg, cased in his
massive jack-boot, and with a crash deposited the heel upon the foot of
their friend Trevanion. At length he is roused, thought they, for a
slight flush of crimson flitted across his cheek, and his upper lip
trembled with a quick spasmodic twitching; but both these signs were over
in a second, and his features were as calm and unmoved as before, and his
only appearance of consciousness of the affront, was given by his drawing
back his chair and placing his legs beneath it, as for protection.
This last insult, and the tame forbearance with which it was submitted
to, produced all their opposite effects upon the by-standers, and
looks of ungovernable rage and derisive contempt were every moment
interchanging; indeed, were it not for the all-absorbing interest which
the two great actors in the scene had concentrated upon themselves, the
two parties must have come at once into open conflict.
The clock of the cafe struck nine, the hour at which Gendemar always
retired, so calling to the waiter for his petit verre of brandy, he
placed his newspaper upon the table, and putting both his elbows upon it,
and his chin upon his hands, he stared full in Trevanion's face, with a
look of the most derisive triumph, meant to crown the achievement of the
evening. To this, as to all his former insults, Trevanion appeared still
insensible, and merely regarded him with his never--changing half smile;
the petite verre arrived; le Capitaine took it in his hand, and, with a
nod of most insulting familiarity, saluted Trevanion, adding with a loud
voice, so as to be heard on every side--"a votre courage, Anglais." He
had scarcely swallowed the liqueur when Trevanion rose slowly from his
chair, displaying to the astonished gaze of the Frenchman the immense
proportions and gigantic frame of a man well known as the largest officer
in the British army; with one stride he was beside the chair of the
Frenchman, and with the speed of lightening he seized his nose by one
hand, while with the other he grasped his lower jaw, and, wrenching open
his mouth with the strength of an ogre, he spat down his throat.
So sudden was the movement, that before ten seconds had elapsed, all was
over, and the Frenchman rushed from the room, holding the fragments of
his jaw-bone, (for it was fractured!) And followed by his countrymen,
who, from that hour, deserted the Cafe Philidor, nor was there ever any
mention of the famous captain during the stay of the regiment in Paris.
While we walked together towards Meurice, I explained to Trevanion the
position in which I stood; and having detailed, at full length, the
fracas at the Salon, and the imprisonment of O'Leary, entreated his
assistance in behalf of him, as well as to free me from some of my many
It was strange enough--though at first so pre-occupied was I with other
thoughts, that I paid but little attention to it--that no part of my
eventful evening seemed to make so strong an impression on him as my
mention of having seen my cousin Guy, and heard from him of the death of
my uncle. At this portion of my story he smiled, with so much
significance of meaning, that I could not help asking his reason.
"It is always an unpleasant task, Mr. Lorrequer, to speak in any way,
however delicately, in a tone of disparagement of a man's relatives; and,
therefore, as we are not long enough acquainted--"
"But pray," said I, "waive that consideration, and only remember the
position in which I now am. If you know any thing of this business, I
entreat you to tell me--I promise to take whatever you may be disposed to
communicate, in the same good part it is intended."
"Well, then, I believe you are right; but, first, let me ask you, how do
you know of your uncle's death; for I have reason to doubt it?"
"From Guy; he told me himself."
"When did you see him, and where?"
"Why, I have just told you; I saw him last night at the Salon."
"And you could not be mistaken?"
"Impossible! Besides, he wrote to me a note which I received this
morning--here it is."
"Hem--ha. Well, are you satisfied that this is his handwriting?" said
Trevanion, as he perused the note slowly twice over.
"Why, of course--but stop--you are right; it is not his hand, nor do I
know the wiriting, now that you direct my attention to it. But what can
that mean? You, surely, do not suppose that I have mistaken any one for
him; for, independent of all else, his knowledge of my family, and my
uncle's affairs, would quite disprove that."
"This is really a complex affair," said Trevanion, musingly. "How long
may it be since you saw your cousin--before last night, I mean?"
"Several years; above six, certainly."
"Oh, it is quite possible, then," said Trevanion, musingly; "do you know,
Mr. Lorrequer, this affair seems much more puzzling to me than to you,
and for this plain reason--I am disposed to think you never saw your
cousin last night."
"Why, confound it, there is one circumstance that I think may satisfy you
on that head. You will not deny that I saw some one, who very much
resembled him; and certainly, as he lent me above three thousand franks
to play with at the table, it looks rather more like his act than that of
a perfect stranger."
"Have you got the money?" asked Trevanion dryly.
"Yes," said I; "but certainly you are the most unbelieving of mortals,
and I am quite happy that I have yet in my possession two of the billets
de banque, for, I suppose, without them, you would scarcely credit me."
I here opened my pocket-book, and produced the notes.
He took them, examined them attentively for an instant, held them between
him and the light, refolded them, and, having placed them in my pocket-
book, said--"I thought as much--they are forgeries."
"Hold!" said I, "my cousin Guy, whatever wildness he may have committed,
is yet totally incapable of--"
"I never said the contrary, replied Trevanion, in the same dry tone as
"Then what can you mean, for I see no alternative between that and
totally discrediting the evidence of my senses?"
"Perhaps I can suggest a middle course," said Trevanion; "lend me,
therefore, a patient hearing for a few moments, and I may be able to
throw some light upon this difficult matter. You may never have heard
that there is, in this same city of Paris, a person so extremely like
your cousin Guy, that his most intimate friends have daily mistaken one
for the other, and this mistake has the more often been made, from the
circumstances of their both being in the habit of frequenting the same
class in society, where, knowing and walking with the same people, the
difficulty of discriminating has been greatly increased. This
individual, who has too many aliases for one to know which to
particularise him by, is one of that numerous order of beings whom a
high state of civilization is always engendering and throwing up on the
surface of society; he is a man of low birth and mean connexions, but
gifted with most taking manners and an unexceptionable address and
appearance; these advantages, and the possession of apparently
independent means, have opened to him the access to a certain set of
people, who are well known and well received in society, and obtained for
him, what he prizes much more, the admission into several clubs where
high play is carried on. In this mixed assemblage, which sporting habits
and gambling, (that grand leveller of all distinctions,) have brought
together, this man and your cousin Guy met frequently, and, from the
constant allusion to the wonderful resemblance between them, your
eccentric cousin, who, I must say, was never too select in his
acquaintances, frequently amused himself by practical jokes upon their
friends, which served still more to nurture the intimacy between them;
and from this habit, Mr. Dudley Morewood, for such is his latest
patronymic, must have enjoyed frequent opportunities of hearing much of
your family and relations, a species of information he never neglected,
though at the moment it might appear not so immediately applicable to his
purposes. Now, this man, who knows of every new English arrival in
Paris, with as much certainty as the police itself, would at once be
aware of your being here, and having learned from Guy how little
intercourse there had been of late years between you, would not let slip
an opportunity of availing himself of the likeness, if any thing could
thereby turn to his profit."
"Stop," cried I; "you have opened my eyes completely, for now I remember
that, as I continued to win last night, this man, who was playing hazard
at another table, constantly borrowed from me, but always in gold,
invariably refusing the billets de banque as too high for his game."
"There his object was clear enough; for besides obtaining your gold, he
made you the means of disseminating his false billets de banque."
"So that I have been actually playing and winning upon this fellow's
forgeries," said I; "and am perhaps at this very instant inscribed in the
'Livre noir' of the police, as a most accomplished swindler; but what
could be the intention of his note of this morning?"
"As to that," said Trevanion, "it is hard to say; one thing you may
assuredly rely upon--it is not an unnecessary epistle, whatever be its
object; he never wastes his powder when the game flies too high; so we
must only wait patiently for the unravelment of his plans, satisfied that
we, at least, know something. What most surprises me is, his venturing,
at present, to appear in public; for it is not above two months since an
escapade of his attracted so much attention of the play world here, that
he was obliged to leave, and it was supposed that he would never return
"One piece of good fortune there is at least," said I, "which, I can
safely say repays me for any and all the annoyance this unhappy affair
may cause me; it is, that my poor old uncle is still alive and well. Not
all my anticipated pleasures, in newly acquired wealth, could have
afforded me the same gratification that this fact does, for, although
never so much his favourite as my cousin, yet the sense of protection--
the feeling of confidence, which is inseparable from the degree of
relationship between us--standing, as he has ever done, in the light
of a father to me, is infinitely more pleasurable than the possession of
riches, which must ever suggest to me, the recollection of a kind friend
lost to me for ever. But so many thoughts press on me--so many effects
of this affair are staring me in the face--I really know not which way to
turn, nor can I even collect my ideas sufficiently, to determine what is
first to be done."
"Leave all that to me," said Trevanion; "it is a tangled web, but I think
I can unravel it; meanwhile, where does the Militaire reside? for, among
all your pressing engagements, this affair with the Frenchman must come
off first; and for this reason, although you are not really obliged to
give him satisfaction, by his merely producing your card, and insisting
that you are to be responsible for the misdeeds of any one who might show
it as his own address, yet I look upon it as a most fortunate thing,
while charges so heavy may be at this moment hanging over your head, as
the proceedings of last night involve, that you have a public opportunity
of meeting an antagonist in the field--thereby evincing no fear of
publicity, nor any intention of absconding; for be assured, that the
police are at this moment in possession of what has occurred, and from
the fracas which followed, are well disposed to regard the whole as a
concerted scheme to seize upon the property of the banque, a not uncommon
wind-up here after luck fails. My advice is therefore, meet the man at
once; I shall take care that the prefect is informed that you have been
imposed upon by a person passing himself off as your relative, and enter
bail for your appearance, whenever you are called upon; that being done,
we shall have time for a moment's respite to look around us, and consider
the other bearings of this difficult business."
"Here, then, is the card of address," said I; "Eugene Dejoncourt
Capitaine de Cavalerie, No. 8, Chausse D'Antin."
"Dejoncourt! why, confound it, this is not so pleasant; he is about the
best shot in Paris, and a very steady swordsman besides, I don't like
"But you forget he is the friend, not the principal here."
"The more good fortune yours," said Trevanion, drily; "for I acknowledge
I should not give much for your chance at twenty paces opposite his
pistol; then who is the other?"
"Le Baron d'Haulpenne," said I, "and his name is all that I know of him;
his very appearance is unknown to me."
"I believe I am acquainted with him," said Trevanion; "but here we are at
Meurice. Now I shall just write a few lines to a legal friend, who will
manage to liberate Mr. O'Leary, whose services we shall need, two persons
are usual on each side in this country, and then, 'a l'ouvrage.'"
The note written and despatched; Trevanion jumped into a cab, and set out
for the Chausse D'Antin; leaving me to think over, as well as I could,
the mass of trouble and confusion that twenty-four hours of life in Paris
had involved me in.
It was past seven o'clock when Trevanion made his appearance, accompanied
by O'Leary; and having in few words informed me that a meeting was fixed
for the following morning, near St. Cloud, proposed that we should go to
dinner at Verey's, after which we should have plenty of time to discuss
the various steps to be taken. As we were leaving the hotel for this
purpose, a waiter requested of me to permit Mr. Meurice to speak a few
words to me; which, having agreed to, I entered the little bureau where
this Czar of hotels sits enthroned, and what was my surprise to learn the
request he had to prefer, was nothing less than that I would so far
oblige him as to vacate the room I possessed in the hotel, adding that my
compliance would confer upon him the power to accommodate a "milor" who
had written for apartments, and was coming with a large suite of
servants. Suspecting that some rumour of the late affair at Frescati
might have influenced my friend Meurice in this unusual demand, I
abruptly refused, and was about to turn away, when he, perhaps guessing
that I had not believed his statements, handed me an open letter, saying,
"You see, sir, this is the letter; and, as I am so pressed for spare
room, I must now refuse the writer."
As my eye glanced at the writing, I started back with amazement to
perceive it was in my cousin Guy's hand, requesting that apartments might
be retained for Sir Guy Lorrequer, my uncle, who was to arrive in Paris
by the end of the week. If any doubt had remained on my mind as to the
deception I had been duped by, this would completely have dispelled it,
but I had long before been convinced of the trick, and only wondered how
the false Guy--Mr. Dudley Morewood--had contrived to present himself to
me so opportunely, and by what means, in so short a space of time, he had
become acquainted with my personal appearance.
As I mentioned this circumstance of the letter to Trevanion, he could not
conceal his satisfaction at his sagacity in unravelling the mystery,
while this new intelligence confirmed the justness and accuracy of all
While we walked along towards the Palais Royale, Trevanion endeavoured
not very successfully, to explain to my friend O'Leary, the nature of the
trick which had been practised, promising, at another time, some
revelations concerning the accomplished individual who had planned it,
which, in boldness and daring, eclipsed even this.
Any one who in waking has had the confused memory of a dream in which
events have been so mingled and mixed as to present no uniform narrative,
but only a mass of strange and incongruous occurrences, without object or
connexion, may form some notion of the state of restless excitement my
brain suffered from, as the many and conflicting ideas my late adventures
suggested, presented themselves to my mind in rapid succession.
The glare, the noise, and the clatter of a French cafe are certainly not
the agents most in request for restoring a man to the enjoyment of his
erring faculties; and, if I felt addled and confused before, I had
scarcely passed the threshold of Verey's when I became absolutely like
one in a trance. The large salon was more than usually crowded, and it
was with difficulty that we obtained a place at a table where some other
English were seated, among whom I recognised by lately made acquaintance,
Mr. Edward Bingham.
Excepting a cup of coffee I had taken nothing the entire day, and so
completely did my anxieties of different kinds subdue all appetite, that
the most recherche viands of this well-known restaurant did not in the
least tempt me. The champagne alone had any attraction for me; and,
seduced by the icy coldness of the wine, I drank copiously. This was all
that was wanting to complete the maddening confusion of my brain, and the
effect was instantaneous; the lights danced before my eyes; the lustres
whirled round; and, as the scattered fragments of conversations, on
either side met my ear, I was able to form some not very inaccurate
conception of what insanity may be. Politics and literature, Mexican
bonds and Noblet's legs, Pates de perdreaux and the quarantine laws, the
extreme gauche and the "Bains Chinois," Victor Hugo and rouge et noir,
had formed a species of grand ballet d'action in my fevered brain, and I
was perfectly beside myself; occasionally, too, I would revert to my own
concerns, although I was scarcely able to follow up any train of thought
for more than a few seconds together, and totally inadequate to
distinguish the false from the true. I continued to confound the
counterfeit with my cousin, and wonder how my poor uncle, for whom I was
about to put on the deepest mourning, could possibly think of driving me
out of my lodgings. Of my duel for the morning, I had the most shadowy
recollection, and could not perfectly comprehend whether it was O'Leary
or I was the principal, and indeed cared but little. In this happy state
of independent existence I must have passed a considerable time, and as
my total silence when spoken to, or my irrelevant answers, appeared to
have tired out my companions, they left me to the uninterrupted enjoyment
of my own pleasant imaginings.
"Do you hear, Lorrequer," at last said Trevanion; "are you asleep, my
dear friend? This gentleman has been good enough to invite us to
breakfast to-morrow at St. Cloud."
I looked up, and was just able to recognise the well-trimmed moustache of
Mr. Edward Bingham, as he stood mumbling something before me. "St Cloud-
--what of St. Cloud?" said I.
"We have something in that quarter to-morrow."
"What is it, O'Leary? Can we go?"
"Oh! certainly--our engagement's an early one."
"We shall accept your polite invitation with pleasure"--
Here he stooped over, and whispered something in my ear; what, I cannot
say, but I know that my reply, now equally lost to me, produced a hearty
fit of laughing to my two friends.
My next recollection is, finding myself in a crowded loge at the theatre.
It seems that O'Leary had acceded to a proposal from some of the other
party to accompany them to the Porte St. Martin, where Mrs. Bingham and
her daughter had engaged a box. Amid all the confusion which troubled
thoughts and wine produced in me, I could not help perceiving a studied
politeness and attention on the part of Mr. Edward Bingham towards me;
and my first sobering reflection came, on finding that a place was
reserved for me beside Miss Bingham, into which, by some contrivance I
can in no wise explain, I found myself almost immediately installed. To
all the excitements of champagne and punch, let the attractions of a
French ballet be added, and, with a singularly pretty companion at your
side, to whom you have already made sufficient advances to be aware that
you are no longer indifferent to her, and I venture to predict, that it
is much more likely your conversation will incline to flirting than
political economy; and, moreover, that you make more progress during the
performance of one single pas de deux upon the stage, than you have
hitherto done in ten morning calls, with an unexceptionable whisker and
the best fitting gloves in Paris. Alas! alas! it is only the rich man
that ever wins at rouge et noir. The well-insured Indiaman, with her
cargo of millions, comes safe into port; while the whole venture of some
hardy veteran of the wave, founders within sight of his native shore. So
is it ever; where success would be all and every thing, it never comes--
but only be indifferent or regardless, and fortune is at your feet, suing
and imploring your acceptance of her favours. What would I not have
given for one half of that solicitude now so kindly expressed in my
favour by Miss Bingham, if syllabled by the lips of Lady Jane Callonby--
how would my heart have throbbed for one light smile from one, while I
ungratefully basked in the openly avowed preference of the other. These
were my first thoughts--what were the succeeding ones?
"Comment elle est belle," said a Frenchwoman, turning round in the box
next to us, and directing at the same moment the eyes of a moustached
hero upon my fair companion.
What a turn to my thoughts did this unexpected ejaculation give rise to!
I now began to consider her more attentively, and certainly concurred
fully in the Frenchwoman's verdict. I had never see her look half so
well before. The great fault in her features, which were most
classically regular, lay in the monotony and uniform character of their
expression. Now this was quite changed. Her cheek was slightly flushed,
and her eyes more brilliant than ever; while her slightly parted lips
gave a degree of speaking earnestness to her expression, that made her
Whether it was from this cause I cannot say, but I certainly never felt
so suddenly decided in my life from one course to its very opposite, as I
now did to make l'aimable to my lovely companion. And here, I fear, I
must acknowledge, in the honesty of these confessional details, that
vanity had also its share in the decision. To be the admitted and
preferred suitor of the prettiest woman in company, is generally a strong
inducement to fall desperately in love with her, independently of other
temptations for so doing.
How far my successes tallied with my good intentions in this respect, I
cannot now say. I only remember, that more than once O'Leary whispered
to me something like a caution of some sort or other; but Emily's
encouraging smiles and still more encouraging speeches had far more
effect upon me than all the eloquence of the united service, had it been
engaged in my behalf, would have effected. Mrs. Bingham, too--who, to do
her justice, seemed but little cognisant of our proceedings--from time to
time evinced that species of motherly satisfaction which very young men
rejoice much in, and older ones are considerably alarmed at.
The play over O'Leary charged himself with the protection of madam,
while I enveloped Emily in her cachmere, and drew her arm within my own.
What my hand had to do with her's I know not; it remains one of the
unexplained difficulties of that eventful evening. I have, it is true,
a hazy recollection of pressing some very taper and delicately formed
finger--and remember, too, the pain I felt next morning on awaking, by
the pressure of a too tight ring, which had, by some strange accident,
found its way to my finger, for which its size was but ill adapted.
"You will join us at supper, I hope," said Mrs. Bingham, as Trevanion
handed her to her carriage. "Mr. Lorrequer, Mr. O'Leary, we shall expect
I was about to promise to do so, when Trevanion, suddenly interrupted
me, saying that he had already accepted an invitation, which would,
unfortunately, prevent us; and having hastily wished the ladies good
night, hurried me away so abruptly, that I had not a moment given for
even one parting look at the fair Emily.
"Why, Trevanion," said I, "what invitation are you dreaming of? I, for
one, should have been delighted to have gone home with the Binghams."
"So I perceived," said Trevanion, gravely; "and it was for that precise
reason I so firmly refused what, individually, I should have been most
happy to accept."
"Then, pray, have the goodness to explain."
"It is easily done. You have already, in recounting your manifold
embarrassments, told me enough of these people, to let me see that they
intend you should marry among them; and, indeed, you have gone quite far
enough to encourage such an expectation. Your present excited state has
led you sufficiently far this evening, and I could not answer for your
not proposing in all form before the supper was over; therefore, I had no
other course open to me than positively to refuse Mrs. Bingham's
invitation. But here we are now at the 'Cadran rouge;' we shall have our
lobster and a glass of Moselle, and then to bed, for we must not forget
that we are to be at St. Cloud by seven."
"Ah! that is a good thought of yours about the lobster," said O'Leary;
"and now, as you understand these matters, just order supper, and let us
With all the accustomed despatch of a restaurant, a most appetizing petit
souper made its speedy appearance; and although now perfectly divested of
the high excitement which had hitherto possessed me, my spirits were
excellent, and I never more relished our good fare and good fellowship.
After a full bumper to the health of the fair Emily had been proposed and
drained by all three, Trevanion again explained how much more serious
difficulty would result from any false step in that quarter than from all
my other scrapes collectively.
This he represented so strongly, that for the first time I began to
perceive the train of ill consequences that must inevitably result, and
promised most faithfully to be guided by any counsel he might feel
disposed to give me.
"Ah! what a pity," said O'Leary, "it is not my case. It's very little
trouble it would cost any one to break off a match for me. I had always
a most peculiar talent for those things.
"Indeed!" said Trevanion. "Pray, may we know your secret? for, perhaps,
ere long we may have occasion for its employment."
"Tell it, by all means," said I.
"If I do," said O'Leary, "it will cost you a patient hearing; for my
experiences are connected with two episodes in my early life, which,
although not very amusing, are certainly instructive."
"Oh! by all means, let us hear them," said Trevanion; "for we have yet
two bottles of chambertin left, and must finish them ere we part."
"Well, agreed," said O'Leary; "only, once for all, as what I am about to
confide is strictly confidential, you must promise never even to allude
to it hereafter in even the most remote manner, much less indulge in any
unseemly mirth at what I shall relate."
Having pledged ourselves to secrecy and a becoming seriousness, O'Leary
began his story as follows:--
MR. O'LEARY'S FIRST LOVE.
"It was during the vice-royalty of the late Duke of Richmond that the
incidents I am about to mention took place. That was a few years since,
and I was rather younger, and a little more particular about my dress
than at present." Here the little man cast an eye of stoical
satisfaction upon his uncouth habiliments, that nearly made us forget our
compact, and laugh outright. "Well, in those wild and headstrong days of
youthful ardour, I fell in love--desperately in love--and as always is, I
believe, the case with our early experiments in that unfortunate passion,
the object of my affection was in every way unsuited to me. She was a
tall, dark-haired, dark-eyed maiden, with a romantic imagination, and a
kind of a half-crazed poetic fervour, that often made me fear for her
intellect. I'm a short, rather fat--I was always given this way"--here
he patted a waistcoat that would fit Dame Lambert--"happy-minded little
fellow, that liked my supper of oysters at the Pigeon-house, and my other
creature-comforts, and hated every thing that excited or put one out of
one's way, just as I would have hated a blister. Then, the devil would
have it--for as certainly as marriages are made in heaven, flirtations
have something to say to the other place--that I should fall most
irretrievably in love with Lady Agnes Moreton. Bless my soul, it
absolutely puts me in a perspiration this hot day, just to think over all
I went through on her account; for, strange to say, the more I appeared
to prosper in her good graces, the more did she exact on my part; the
pursuit was like Jacob's ladder--if it did lead to heaven it was
certainly an awfully long journey, and very hard on one's legs. There
was not an amusement she could think of, no matter how unsuited to my
tastes or my abilities, that she did not immediately take a violent fancy
to; and then there was no escaping, and I was at once obliged to go with
the tide, and heaven knows if it would not have carried me to my grave if
it were not for the fortunate (I now call it) accident that broke off the
affair for ever. One time she took a fancy for yachting, and all the
danglers about her--and she always had a cordon of them--young aides-de-
camp of her father the general, and idle hussars, in clanking
sabertasches and most absurd mustachios--all approved of the taste, and
so kept filling her mind with anecdotes of corsairs and smugglers, that
at last nothing would satisfy her till I--I who always would rather have
waited for low water, and waded the Liffey in all its black mud, than
cross over in the ferry-boat, for fear of sickness--I was obliged to put
an advertisement in the newspaper for a pleasure-boat, and, before three
weeks, saw myself owner of a clinker-built schooner, of forty-eight tons,
that by some mockery of fortune was called 'The Delight.' I wish you saw
me, as you might have done every morning for about a month, as I stood on
the Custom-house quay, giving orders for the outfit of the little craft.
At first, as she bobbed and pitched with the flood-tide, I used to be a
little giddy and rather qualmish, but at last I learned to look on
without my head reeling. I began to fancy myself very much of a sailor,
a delusion considerably encouraged by a huge P. jacket and a sou'-wester,
both of which, though it was in the dog-days, Agnes insisted upon my
wearing, saying I looked more like Dirk Hatteraick, who, I understood,
was one of her favourite heroes in Walter Scott. In fact, after she
suggested this, she and all her friends called me nothing but Dirk.
"Well, at last, after heaven knows how many excuses on my part, and
entreaties for delay, a day was appointed for our first excursion. I
shall never forget that day--the entire night before it I did not close
my eyes; the skipper had told me in his confounded sea-jargon, that if
the wind was in one quarter we should have a short tossing sea; and if in
another a long rolling swell; and if in a third, a happy union of both--
in fact, he made it out that it could not possibly blow right, an opinion
I most heartily coincided in, and most devoutly did I pray for a calm,
that would not permit of our stirring from our moorings, and thus mar our
projected party of pleasure. My prayer was unheard, but my hopes rose on
the other hand, for it blew tremendously during the entire night, and
although there was a lull towards morning, the sea, even in the river,
"I had just come to the conclusion that I was safe for this time, when
the steward poked his head into the room and said,
"'Mr. Brail wishes to know, sir, if he'll bend the new mainsail to-day,
as it's blowing rather fresh, and he thinks the spars light.'
"'Why the devil take him, he would not have us go out in a hurricane;
surely, Pipes, we could not take out ladies to-day?'
"'O, bless your heart, yes, sir; it blows a bit to be sure, but she's a
good sea-boat, and we can run for Arklow or the Hook, if it comes
"'Oh, nonsense, there's no pleasure in that; besides I'm sure they won't
like it--the ladies won't venture, you'll see.'
"'Ay sir, but they're all on board already: there's eight ladies in the
cabin, and six on deck, and as many hampers of victuals and as much
crockery as if we were a-goin' to Madeira. Captain Grantham, sir, the
soldier officer, with the big beard, is a mixing punch in the grog-tub.'
"'From the consequences of this day I proclaim myself innocent,' said I
with a solemn voice, as I drew on my duck trowsers, and prepared to set
"'And the mainsail, sir,' said the steward, not understanding what I
"'I care not which,' said I, doggedly; 'act or part in this wilful
proceeding I'll not take.'
"'Ay, ay, sir,' said the stupid wretch, 'then I'll say you're coming, and
he may stretch the large canvas; for the skipper says he likes a wet
jacket when he has gentlemen out.'
"Never did a victim put on a flame-coloured garment, the emblem of fate,
and set out on the march of death, with a heavier heart, than did I put
on my pilot-coat that morning to join my friends.
"My last hope deserted me as I saw the little vessel lying beside the
quay; for I continued to trust that in getting out from the dock some
accident or mischance might occur to spoil our sport. But no; there she
lay, rolling and pitching in such a way that, even at anchor, they could
not stand on the deck without holding. Amid the torrent of compliments
for the perfection of all my arrangements, and innumerable sweet things
on my taste in the decoration and fitting up of my cabin, I scarcely felt
myself afloat for some minutes, and we got under weigh amid a noise and
uproar that absolutely prevented the possibility of thought.
"Hitherto our destination had not been mentioned, and as all the party
appealed to Lady Agnes, I could not be less gallant, and joined them in
"'Well then, what do you think of Lambay?' said she, looking at the same
moment towards the skipper.
"'We can make it, my lady,' said the man, 'but we'll have a roughish sea
of it, for there's a strong point of westward in the wind.'
"'Then don't think of it,' said I. 'We have come out for pleasure, not
to make our friends sick, or terrify them. It does very well for us
"'There you are, Dirk, with your insolent sneers about women's nerves and
female cowardice. Now, nothing but Lambay will content me--what say you,
"A general reply of approval met this speech, and it was carried by
"'Lambay then be it,' said I, with the voice of a man, who, entreating to
be shot, is informed that he cannot be afforded that pleasure, as his
sentence is to be hanged. But I must hasten over these painful
recollections. We dropped down the river, and soon left the light-house
and its long pier behind us, the mast bending like a whip, and the sea
boiling like barm over the lee gunwale. Still the spirit of our party
only rose the lighter, and nothing but eulogies upon the men and sailing
of the craft resounded on all sides; the din and buz of the conversation
went on only more loudly and less restrictedly than if the party had been
on shore, and all, even myself, seemed happy, for up to this moment I had
not been sea-sick, yet certain pleasant sensations, that alternately
evinced themselves in my stomach and my head, warned me of what was in
store for me. The word was now given to tack; I was in the act of
essaying a soft speech to Lady Agnes, when the confounded cry of 'ready
about, starboard there, let go sheets and tacks, stand by, hawl.' The
vessel plunged head-foremost into the boiling sea, which hissed on either
bow; the heavy boom swung over, carrying my hat along with it--and almost
my head too. The rest of the party, possibly better informed than
myself, speedily changed their places to the opposite side of the boat,
while I remained holding off fast by the gunwale, till the sea rushing
over, what was now becoming the lee-side, carried me head over heels into
the shingle ballast in the waist. Lord, how they did laugh! Agnes, too,
who never before could get beyond a very faint smile, grew almost
hysterical at my performance. As for me, I only wanted this to complete
my long threatened misfortune; sea sickness in all its most miserable
forms, set in upon me, and, ere half an hour, I lay upon that heap of
small stones, as indifferent to all round and about me as though I were
dead. Oh, the long, dreary hours of that melancholy day; it seemed like
a year. They tacked and tacked, they were beat and tacked again, the sea
washing over me, and the ruffianly sailors trampling upon me without the
slightest remorse, whenever they had any occasion to pass back or
forward. From my long trance of suffering I was partly roused by the
steward shaking my shoulder, saying,
"'The gentlemen wish to know, sir, if you'd like summat to eat, as
they're a goin' to have a morsel; we are getting into slack water now.'
"'Where are we?' I replied, in a sepulchral voice.
"'Off the Hook, sir; we have had a most splendid run, but I fear we'll
catch it soon; there's some dirty weather to the westward.'
"'God grant it,' said I, piously and in a low tone.
"'Did you say you'd have a bit to eat. Sir?'
"'No!--eat!--am I a cannibal?--eat--go away--mark me, my good fellow,
I'll pay you your wages, if ever we get ashore; you'll never set another
foot aboard with me.'
"The man looked perfectly astounded as he moved away, and my thoughts
were soon engrossed by the proceedings near me. The rattle of knives,
and the jingling of plates and glasses went on very briskly for some
time, accompanied by various pleasant observations of my guests, for such
I judged them, from the mirth which ever followed them. At last I
thought I heard my name, or at least what they pleased to use as its
substitute, mentioned; I strained my ears to listen, and learnt that they
were planning to talk over the pretended intention to run for Cowes, and
see the regatta. This they discussed then, for about twenty minutes, in
a very loud voice, purposely to see its effects upon me; but as I was now
aware of the trick, I gave no sign of any intelligence.
"'Poor Dirk,' said Grantham; 'I believe by this time he cares very little
which way her head lies; but here comes something better than all our
discussions. Lady Agnes, sit here--Miss Pelham, here's a dry cushion for
you--did you say a wing, Lady Mary?'
"Now began the crash and clatter of dinner; champagne corks popping,
glasses ringing, and all that peculiar admixture of fracas and fun, which
accompanies a scrambled meal. How they did laugh, and eat, ay, and drink
too. G's punch seemed to have its success, for sick as I was, I could
perceive the voices of the men grow gradually louder, and discovered that
two gentlemen who had been remarkably timid in the morning, and scarcely
opened their lips, were now rather uproariously given, and one even
proposed to sing.
"If any man, thought I, were to look for an instant at the little scene
now enacting here, what a moral might he reap from it; talk of the base
ingratitude of the world, you cannot say too much of it. Who would
suppose that it was my boat these people were assembled in; that it was
my champagne these people were drinking; that my venison and my pheasants
were feeding those lips, which rarely spoke, except to raise a jest at my
expense. My chagrin increased my sickness and my sickness redoubled my
"'Mr. Brail,' said I, in a low whisper, 'Mr. Brail.'
"'Did you speak, sir?' said he, with about as much surprise in his
manner, as though he had been addressed by a corpse.
"'Mr. Brail,' said I, 'is there any danger here?'
"'Lord love you, no, sir, she's walking Spanish, and the sea going down;
we shall have lovely weather, and they're all enjoying it, sir,--the
"'So I perceive,' said I, with a groan; 'so I perceive; but Mr. Brail,
could you do nothing--just to--to startle them a little, I mean for fun
only? Just ship a heavy sea or two, I don't care for a little damage,
Mr. Brail, and if it were to wash over the dinner-service, and all the
wine, I should not like it worse.'
"'Why, sir, you are getting quite funny, the sickness is going.'
"'No, Mr. Brail, worse than ever; my head is in two pieces, and my
stomach in the back of my mouth; but I should like you to do this--so
just manage it, will you, and there's twenty pounds in my pocket-book,
you can have it; there now, won't you oblige me, and hark ye, Mr. Brail--
if Captain Grantham were to be washed over by mere accident it cannot be
helped; accidents are always occurring in boating parties. Go now, you
know what I mean.'
"'But sir,' began he.
"'Well, then, Mr. Brail, you won't--very well: now all I have to say is
this: that the moment I can find strength to do it, I'll stave out a
plank; I'll scuttle the vessel, that's all; I have made up my mind, and
look to yourselves now.'
"Saying these words, I again threw myself upon the ballast, and, as the
gay chorus of a drinking song was wafted across me, prayed devoutly that
we might all go down to the bottom. The song over, I heard a harsh,
gruff voice mixing with the more civilized tones of the party, and soon
perceived that Mr. Brail was recounting my proposal amid the most
uproarious shouts of laughter I ever listened to. Then followed a number
of pleasant suggestions for my future management; one proposing to have
me tried for mutiny, and sentenced to a ducking over the side, another
that I should be tarred on my back, to which latter most humane notion,
the fair Agnes subscribed, averring that she was resolved upon my
deserving my sobriquet of Dirk Hatteraick. My wrath was now the master
even of deadly sickness. I got upon my knees, and having in vain tried
to reach my legs, I struggled aft. In this posture did I reach the
quarter-deck. What my intention precisely was in this excursion, I have
no notion of now, but I have some very vague idea, that I meant to re-
enact the curse of Kehama upon the whole party. At last I mustered
strength to rise; but alas! I had scarcely reached the standing position,
when a tremendous heel of the boat to one side, threw me in the gunwale,
and before I was able to recover my balance, a second lurch pitched me
headlong into the sea. I have, thank God, no further recollection of my
misfortunes. When I again became conscious, I found myself wrapped up in
a pilot-coat, while my clothes were drying: the vessel was at anchor in
Wexford. My attached friends had started for town with post-horses,
leaving me no less cured of love than aquatics.
"'The Delight' passed over in a few days, to some more favoured son of
Neptune, and I hid my shame and my misfortunes by a year's tour on the
"Although I acknowledge," said Trevanion, "that hitherto I have reaped no
aid from Mr. O'Leary's narrative, yet I think it is not without a moral."
"Well, but," said I, "he has got another adventure to tell us; we have
quite time for it, so pray pass the wine and let us have it."
"I have just finished the burgundy," said O'Leary, "and if you will ring
for another flask, I have no objection to let you hear the story of my
MR. O'LEARY'S SECOND LOVE.
"You may easily suppose," began Mr. O'Leary, "that the unhappy
termination of my first passion served as a shield to me for a long time
against my unfortunate tendencies towards the fair; and such was really
the case. I never spoke to a young lady for three years after, without a
reeling in my head, so associated in my mind was love and sea-sickness.
However, at last what will not time do. It was about four years from the
date of this adventure, when I became so, from oblivion of my former
failure, as again to tempt my fortune. My present choice, in every way
unlike the last, was a gay, lively girl, of great animal spirits, and a
considerable turn for raillery, that spared no one; the members of her
own family were not even sacred in her eyes; and her father, a reverend
dean, as frequently figured among the ludicrous as his neighbours.
"The Evershams had been very old friends of a rich aunt of mine, who
never, by the by, had condescended to notice me till I made their
acquaintance; but no sooner had I done so, than she sent for me, and gave
me to understand that in the event of my succeeding to the hand of Fanny
Eversham, I should be her heir, and the possessor of about sixty thousand
pounds. She did not stop here; but by canvassing the dean in my favour,
speedily put the matter on a most favourable footing, and in less than
two months I was received as the accepted suitor of the fair Fanny, then
one of the reigning belles of Dublin.
"They lived at this time about three miles from town, in a very pretty
country, where I used to pass all my mornings, and many of my evenings
too, in a state of happiness that I should have considered perfect, if
it were not for two unhappy blots--one, the taste of my betrothed for
laughing at her friends; another the diabolical propensity to talk
politics of my intended father-in-law--to the former I could submit; but
with the latter, submission only made bad worse; for he invariably drew
up as I receded, drily observing that with men who had no avowed
opinions, it was ill agreeing; or that, with persons who kept their
politics as a school-boy does his pocket-money, never to spend, and
always ready to change, it was unpleasant to dispute. Such taunts as
these I submitted to as well as I might; secretly resolving, that as I
now knew the meaning of whig and tory, I'd contrive to spend my life,
after marriage, out of the worthy dean's diocese.
"Time wore on, and at length, to my most pressing solicitations, it was
conceded that a day for our marriage should be appointed. Not even the
unlucky termination of this my second love affair can deprive me of the
happy souvenir of the few weeks which were to intervene before our
"The mornings were passed in ransacking all the shops where wedding
finery could be procured--laces, blondes, velvets, and satins, littered
every corner of the deanery--and there was scarcely a carriage in a
coach-maker's yard in the city that I had not sat and jumped in, to try
the springs, by the special directions of Mrs. Eversham; who never ceased
to impress me with the awful responsibility I was about to take upon me,
in marrying so great a prize as her daughter--a feeling I found very
general among many of my friends at the Kildare-street club.
"Among the many indispensable purchases which I was to make, and about
which Fanny expressed herself more than commonly anxious, was a saddle-
horse for me. She was a great horsewoman, and hated riding with only
a servant; and had given me to understand as much about half-a-dozen
times each day for the last five weeks. How shall I acknowledge it--
equestrianism was never my forte. I had all my life considerable respect
for the horse as an animal, pretty much as I dreaded a lion or a tiger;
but as to my intention of mounting upon the back of one, and taking a
ride, I should as soon have dreamed of taking an airing upon a giraffe;
and as to the thought of buying, feeding, and maintaining such a beast at
my own proper cost, I should just as soon have determined to purchase a
pillory or a ducking-stool, by way of amusing my leisure hours.
"However, Fanny was obstinate--whether she suspected any thing or not I
cannot say--but nothing seemed to turn her from her purpose; and although
I pleaded a thousand things in delay, yet she each day grew more
impatient, and at last I saw that there was nothing for it but to submit.
"When I arrived at this last and bold resolve, I could not help feeling
that to possess a horse and not be able to mount him, was only deferring
the ridicule; and as I had so often expressed the difficulty I felt in
suiting myself as a cause of my delay, I could not possibly come forward
with any thing very objectionable, or I should be only the more laughed
at. There was then but one course to take; a fortnight still intervened
before the day which was to make me happy, and I accordingly resolved to
take lessons in riding during the intervals, and by every endeavour in my
power become, if possible, able to pass muster on the saddle before my
"Poor old Lalouette understood but little of the urgency of the case,
when I requested his leave to take my lessons each morning at six
o'clock, for I dared not absent myself during the day without exciting
suspicion; and never, I will venture to assert, did knight-errant of old
strive harder for the hand of his lady-love than did I during that weary
fortnight, if a hippogriff had been the animal I bestrode, instead of
being, as it was, an old wall-eyed grey, I could not have felt more
misgivings at my temerity, or more proud of my achievement. In the first
three days the unaccustomed exercise proved so severe, that when I
reached the deanery I could hardly move, and crossed the floor, pretty
much as a pair of compasses might be supposed to do if performing that
exploit. Nothing, however, could equal the kindness of my poor dear
mother-in-law in embryo, and even the dean too. Fanny, indeed, said
nothing; but I rather think she was disposed to giggle a little; but my
rheumatism, as it was called, was daily inquired after, and I was
compelled to take some infernal stuff in my port wine at dinner that
nearly made me sick at table.
"'I am sure you walk too much,' said Fanny, with one of her knowing
looks. 'Papa, don't you think he ought to ride; it would be much better
"'I do, my dear,' said the dean. 'But then you see he is so hard to be
pleased in a horse. Your old hunting days have spoiled you; but you must
forget Melton and Grantham, and condescend to keep a hack.'
"I must have looked confoundedly foolish here, for Fanny never took her
eyes off me, and continued to laugh in her own wicked way.
"It was now about the ninth or tenth day of my purgatorial performances;
and certainly if there be any merit in fleshly mortifications, these
religious exercises of mine should stand my part hereafter. A review had
been announced in the Phoenix-park, which Fanny had expressed herself
most desirous to witness; and as the dean would not permit her to go
without a chaperon, I had no means of escape, and promised to escort her.
No sooner had I made this rash pledge, than I hastened to my confidential
friend, Lalouette, and having imparted to him my entire secret, asked him
in a solemn and imposing manner, 'Can I do it?' The old man shook his
head dubiously, looked grave, and muttered at length, 'Mosch depend on de
horse.' 'I know it--I know it--I feel it,' said I eagerly--'then where
are we to find an animal that will carry me peaceably through this awful
day--I care not for his price?'
"'Votre affaire ne sera pas trop chere,' said he.
"'Why. How do you mean?' said I.
"He then proceeded to inform me, that by a singularly fortunate chance,
there took place that day an auction of 'cast horses,' as they are
termed, which had been used in the horse police force; and that from long
riding, and training to stand fire, nothing could be more suitable than
one of these; being both easy to ride, and not given to start at noise.
"I could have almost hugged the old fellow for his happy suggestion, and
waited with impatience for three o'clock to come, when we repaired
together to Essex-bridge, at that time the place selected for these
"I was at first a little shocked at the look of the animals drawn up;
they were most miserably thin--most of them swelled in the legs--few
without sore backs--and not one eye, on an average, in every three; but
still they were all high steppers, and carried a great tail. 'There's
your affaire,' said the old Frenchman, as a long-legged fiddle-headed
beast was led out; turning out his forelegs so as to endanger the man who
walked beside him.
"'Yes, there's blood for you, said Charley Dycer, seeing my eye fixed on
the wretched beast; 'equal to fifteen stone with any foxhounds; safe in
all his paces, and warranted sound; except,' added he, in a whisper, 'a
slight spavin in both hind legs, ring gone, and a little touched in the
wind.' Here the animal gave an approving cough. 'Will any gentleman say
fifty pounds to begin?' But no gentleman did. A hackney coachman,
however, said five, and the sale was opened; the beast trotting up and
down nearly over the bidders at every moment, and plunging on so that it
was impossible to know what was doing.
"'Five, ten--fifteen--six pounds--thank you, sir,--guineas'--'seven
pounds,' said I, bidding against myself, not perceiving that I had spoken
last. 'Thank you, Mr. Moriarty,' said Dycer, turning towards an
invisible purchaser supposed to be in the crowd. 'Thank you, sir, you'll
not let a good one go that way.' Every one here turned to find out the
very knowing gentleman; but he could no where be seen.
"Dycer resumed, 'Seven ten for Mr. Moriarty. Going for seven ten--a
cruel sacrifice--there's action for you--playful beast.' Here the devil
had stumbled and nearly killed a basket-woman with two children.
"'Eight,' said I, with a loud voice.
"'Eight pounds, quite absurd,' said Dycer, almost rudely; 'a charger like
that for eight pounds--going for eight pounds--going--nothing above eight
pounds--no reserve, gentlemen, you are aware of that. They are all as it
were, his majesty's stud--no reserve whatever--last time, eight pounds--
"Amid a very hearty cheer from the mob--God knows why--but a Dublin mob
always cheer--I returned, accompanied by a ragged fellow, leading my new
purchase after me with a bay halter. 'What is the meaning of those
letters,' said I, pointing to a very conspicuous G.R. with sundry other
enigmatical signs, burned upon the animal's hind quarter.
"'That's to show he was a po-lice,' said the fellow with a grin; 'and
whin ye ride with ladies, ye must turn the decoy side.'
"The auspicious morning at last arrived; and strange to say that the
first waking thought was of the unlucky day that ushered in my yachting
excursion, four years before. Why this was so, I cannot pretend to
guess; there was but little analogy in the circumstances, at least so far
as any thing had then gone. 'How is Marius?' said I to my servant, as he
opened my shutters. Here let me mention that a friend of the Kildare-
street club had suggested this name from the remarkably classic character
of my steed's countenance; his nose, he assured me, was perfectly Roman.
"'Marius is doing finely, sir, barring his cough, and the thrifle that
ails his hind legs.'
"'He'll carry me quietly, Simon, eh?'
"'Quietly. I'll warrant he'll carry you quietly, if that's all.'
"Here was comfort. Certainly Simon had lived forty years as pantry boy
with my mother, and knew a great deal about horses. I dressed myself,
therefore, in high spirits; and if my pilot jacket and oil-skin cap in
former days had half persuaded me that I was born for marine
achievements, certainly my cords and tops, that morning, went far to
convince me that I must have once been a very keen sportsman somewhere,
without knowing it. It was a delightful July day that I set out to join
my friends, who having recruited a large party, were to rendezvous at the
corner of Stephen's-green; thither I proceeded in a certain ambling trot,
which I have often observed is a very favourite pace with timid horsemen,
and gentlemen of the medical profession. I was hailed with a most hearty
welcome by a large party as I turned out of Grafton-street, among whom I
perceived several friends of Miss Eversham, and some young dragoon
officers, not of my acquaintance, but who appeared to know Fanny
intimately, and were laughing heartily with her as I rode up.
"I don't know if other men have experienced what I am about to mention or
not; but certainly to me there is no more painful sensation than to find
yourself among a number of well-mounted, well-equipped people, while the
animal you yourself bestride seems only fit for the kennel. Every look
that is cast at your unlucky steed--every whispered observation about you
are so many thorns in your flesh, till at last you begin to feel that
your appearance is for very little else than the amusement and mirth of
the assembly; and every time you rise in your stirrups you excite a
"'Where for mercy's sake did you find that creature?' said Fanny,
surveying Marius through her glass.
"'Oh, him, eh? Why he is a handsome horse, if in condition--a charger
your know--that's his style.'
"'Indeed,' lisped a young lancer, 'I should be devilish sorry to charge
or be charged with him.' And here they all chuckled at this puppy's
silly joke, and I drew up to repress further liberties.
"'Is he anything of a fencer?' said a young country gentleman.
"'To judge from his near eye, I should say much more of a boxer,' said
"Here commenced a running fire of pleasantry at the expense of my poor
steed; which, not content with attacking his physical, extended to his
moral qualities. An old gentleman near me observing, 'that I ought not
to have mounted him at all, seeing he was so damned groggy;' to which I
replied, by insinuating, that if others present were as free from the
influence of ardent spirits, society would not be a sufferer; an
observation that I flatter myself turned the mirth against the old
fellow, for they all laughed for a quarter of an hour after.
"Well, at last we set out in a brisk trot, and, placed near Fanny, I
speedily forgot all my annoyances in the prospect of figuring to
advantage before her. When we reached College-green the leaders of the
cortege suddenly drew up, and we soon found that the entire street
opposite the Bank was filled with a dense mob of people, who appeared to
be swayed hither and thither, like some mighty beast, as the individuals
composing it were engaged in close conflict. It was nothing more nor
less than one of those almost weekly rows, which then took place between
the students of the University and the town's-people, and which rarely
ended without serious consequences. The numbers of people pressing on to
the scene of action soon blocked up our retreat, and we found ourselves
most unwilling spectators of the conflict. Political watch-words were
loudly shouted by each party; and at last the students, who appeared to
be yielding to superior numbers, called out for the intervention of the
police. The aid was nearer than they expected; for at the same instant a
body of mounted policemen, whose high helmets rendered them sufficiently
conspicuous, were seen trotting at a sharp pace down Dame-street. On
they came with drawn sabres, led by a well-looking gentlemanlike
personage in plain clothes, who dashed at once into the midst of the
fray, issuing his orders, and pointing out to his followers to secure the
ringleaders. Up to this moment I had been a most patient, and rather
amused spectator, of what was doing. Now, however, my part was to
commence, for at the word 'charge,' given in a harsh, deep voice by the
sergeant of the party, Marius, remembering his ancient instinct, pricked
up his ears, cocked his tail, flung up both his hind legs till they
nearly broke the Provost's windows, and plunged into the thickest of the
fray like a devil incarnate.
"Self-preservation must be a strong instinct, for I well remember how
little pain it cost me to see the people tumbling and rolling before and
beneath me, while I continued to keep my seat. It was only the moment
before and that immense mass were in man to man encounter; now all the
indignation of both parties seemed turned upon me; brick-bats were loudly
implored, and paving stones begged to throw at my devoted head; the wild
huntsman of the German romance never created half the terror, nor one-
tenth of the mischief that I did in less than fifteen minutes, for the
ill-starred beast continued twining and twisting like a serpent, plunging
and kicking the entire time, and occasionally biting too; all which
accomplishments I afterwards learned, however little in request in civil
life, are highly prized in the horse police.
"Every new order of the sergeant was followed in his own fashion by
Marius; who very soon contrived to concentrate in my unhappy person, all
the interest of about fifteen hundred people.
"'Secure that scoundrel,' said the magistrate, pointing with his finger
towards me, as I rode over a respectable looking old lady, with a grey
muff. 'Secure him. Cut him down.'
"'Ah, devil's luck to him, if ye do,' said a newsmonger with a broken
"On I went, however, and now, as the Fates would have it, instead of
bearing me out of further danger, the confounded brute dashed onwards to
where the magistrate was standing, surrounded by policemen. I thought I
saw him change colour as I came on. I suppose my own looks were none of
the pleasantest, for the worthy man liked them not. Into the midst of
them we plunged, upsetting a corporal, horse and all, and appearing as if
bent upon reaching the alderman.
"'Cut him down for heaven's sake. Will nobody shoot him' said he, with a
voice trembling with fear and anger.
"At these words a wretch lifted up his sabre, and made a cut at my head.
I stooped suddenly, and throwing myself from the saddle, seized the poor
alderman round the neck, and we both came rolling to the ground together.
So completely was he possessed with the notion that I meant to
assassinate him, that while I was endeavouring to extricate myself from
his grasp, he continued to beg his life in the most heartrending manner.
"My story is now soon told. So effectually did they rescue the alderman
from his danger, that they left me insensible; and I only came to myself
some days after by finding myself in the dock in Green-street, charged
with an indictment of nineteen counts; the only word of truth is what lay
in the preamble, for the 'devil inciting' me only, would ever have made
me the owner of that infernal beast, the cause of all my misfortunes. I
was so stupified from my hearing, that I know little of the course of the
proceedings. My friends told me afterwards that I had a narrow escape
from transportation; but for the greatest influence exerted in my behalf,
I should certainly have passed the autumn in the agreeable recreation of
pounding oyster shells or carding wool; and it certainly must have gone
hard with me, for stupified as I was, I remember the sensation in court,
when the alderman made his appearance with a patch over his eye. The
affecting admonition of the little judge--who, when passing sentence upon
me, adverted to the former respectability of my life, and the rank of my
relatives--actually made the galleries weep.
"Four months in Newgate, and a fine to the king, then rewarded my taste
for horse-exercise; and it's no wonder if I prefer going on foot.
"As to Miss Eversham, the following short note from the dean concluded my
hopes in that quarter.
"'Deanery, Wednesday morning.
"'Sir,--After the very distressing publicity to which your late
conduct has exposed you--the so open avowal of political opinion, at
variance with those (I will say) of every gentleman--and the
recorded sentence of a judge on the verdict of twelve of your
countrymen--I should hope that you will not feel my present
admonition necessary to inform you, that your visits at my house
"'The presents you made my daughter, when under our unfortunate
ignorance of your real character, have been addressed to your hotel,
and I am your most obedient, humble servant,
"Here ended my second affair 'par amours;' and I freely confess to you
that if I can only obtain a wife in a sea voyage, or a steeple chase, I
am likely to fulfill one great condition in modern advertising--'as
having no incumbrance, or any objection to travel.'"
Mr. O'Leary had scarcely concluded the narrative of his second adventure,
when the grey light of the breaking day was seen faintly struggling
through the half-closed curtains, and apprising us of the lateness of the
"I think we shall just have time for one finishing flask of Chambertin,"
said O'Leary, as he emptied the bottle into his glass.
"I forbid the bans, for one," cried Trevanion. "We have all had wine
enough, considering what we have before us this morning; and besides you
are not aware it is now past four o'clock. So garcon--garcon, there--how
soundly the poor fellow sleeps--let us have some coffee, and then inquire
if a carriage is in waiting at the corner of the Rue Vivienne."
The coffee made its appearance, very much, as it seemed, to Mr. O'Leary's
chagrin, who, however, solaced himself by sundry petits verres, to
correct the coldness of the wine he had drank, and at length recovered
his good humour.
"Do you know, now," said he, after a short pause, in which we had all
kept silence, "I think what we are about to do, is the very ugliest way
of finishing a pleasant evening. For my own part I like the wind up we
used to have in 'Old Trinity' formerly; when, after wringing off half a
dozen knockers, breaking the lamps at the post-office, and getting out
the fire engines of Werburgh's parish, we beat a few watchmen, and went
peaceably to bed."
"Well, not being an Irishman," said Trevanion, "I'm half disposed to
think that even our present purpose is nearly as favourable to life and
limb; but here comes my servant. Well, John, is all arranged, and the
Having ascertained that the carriage was in waiting, and that the small
box--brass bound and Bramah-locked--reposed within, we paid our bill and
departed. A cold, raw, misty-looking morning, with masses of dark
louring clouds overhead, and channels of dark and murky water beneath,
were the pleasant prospects which met us as we issued forth from the
Cafe. The lamps, which hung suspended midway across the street, (we
speak of some years since,) creaked, with a low and plaintive sound, as
they swung backwards and forwards in the wind. Not a footstep was heard
in the street--nothing but the heavy patter of the rain as it fell
ceaselessly upon the broad pavement. It was, indeed, a most depressing
and dispiriting accompaniment to our intended excursion: and even
O'Leary, who seemed to have but slight sympathy with external influences,
felt it, for he spoke but little, and was scarcely ten minutes in the
carriage till he was sound asleep. This was, I confess, a great relief
to me; for, however impressed I was, and to this hour am, with the many
sterling qualitites of my poor friend, yet, I acknowledge, that this was
not precisely the time I should have cared for their exercise, and would
have much preferred the companionship of a different order of person,
even though less long acquainted with him. Trevanion was, of all others,
the most suitable for this purpose; and I felt no embarrassment in
opening my mind freely to him upon subjects which, but twenty-four
hours previous, I could not have imparted to a brother.
There is no such unlocker of the secrets of the heart as the possibly
near approach of death. Indeed, I question if a great deal of the
bitterness the thought of it inspires, does not depend upon that very
circumstance. The reflection that the long-treasured mystery of our
lives (and who is there without some such?) is about to become known, and
the secret of our inmost heart laid bare, is in itself depressing. Not
one kind word, nor one remembrancing adieu, to those we are to leave for
ever, can be spoken or written, without calling up its own story of half-
forgotten griefs or, still worse, at such a moment, of happiness never
again to be partaken of.
"I cannot explain why," said I to Trevanion, "but although it has
unfortunately been pretty often my lot to have gone out on occasions
like this, both as principal and friend, yet never before did I feel so
completely depressed and low-spirited--and never, in fact, did so many
thoughts of regret arise before me for much of the past, and sorrow for
the chance of abandoning the future"--
"I can understand," said Trevanion, interrupting--"I have heard of your
prospect in the Callonby family, and certainly, with such hopes, I can
well conceive how little one would be disposed to brook the slightest
incident which could interfere with their accomplishment; but, now that
your cousin Guy's pretensions in that quarter are at an end, I suppose,
from all I have heard, that there can be no great obstacle to yours."
"Guy's pretensions at an end! For heaven's sake, tell me all you know of
this affair--for up to this moment I am in utter ignorance of every thing
regarding his position among the Callonby family."
"Unfortunately," replied Trevanion, "I know but little, but still that
little is authentic--Guy himself having imparted the secret to a very
intimate friend of mine. It appears, then, that your cousin, having
heard that the Callonbys had been very civil to you in Ireland, and made
all manner of advances to you--had done so under the impression that you
were the other nephew of Sir Guy, and consequently the heir of a large
fortune--that is, Guy himself--and that they had never discovered the
mistake during the time they resided in Ireland, when they not only
permitted, but even encouraged the closest intimacy between you and Lady
Jane. Is so far true?"
"I have long suspected it. Indeed in no other way can I account for the
reception I met with from the Callonbys. But is it possible that Lady
Jane could have lent herself to any thing so unworthy."--
"Pray, hear me out," said Trevanion, who was evidently struck by the
despondency of my voice and manner. "Guy having heard of their mistake,
and auguring well to himself from this evidence of their disposition, no
sooner heard of their arrival in Paris, than he came over here and got
introduced to them. From that time he scarcely ever left their house,
except to accompany them into society, or to the theatres. It is said
that with Lady Jane he made no progress. Her manner, at the beginning
cold and formal, became daily more so; until, at last, he was half
disposed to abandon the pursuit--in which, by the by, he has since
confessed, monied views entered more than any affection for the lady--
when the thought struck him to benefit by what he supposed at first to be
the great bar to his success. He suddenly pretended to be only desirous
of intimacy with Lady Jane, from having heard so much of her from you--
affected to be greatly in your confidence--and, in fact, assumed the
character of a friend cognizant of all your feelings and hopes, and
ardently desiring, by every means in his power, to advance your views--"
"And was it thus he succeeded," I broke in.
"'Twas thus he endeavoured to succeed," said Trevanion.
"Ah, with what success I but too well know" said I. "My uncle himself
showed me a letter from Guy, in which he absolutely speaks of the affair
as settled, and talks of Lady Jane as about to be his wife."
"That may be all quite true; but a little consideration of Guy's tactics
will show what he intended; for I find that he induced your uncle, by
some representations of his, to make the most handsome proposals, with
regard to the marriage, to the Callonbys; and that, to make the story
short, nothing but the decided refusal of Lady Jane, who at length saw
through his entire game prevented the match."
"And then she did refuse him," said I, with ill-repressed exultation.
"Of that there can be no doubt; for independently of all the gossip and
quizzing upon the subject, to which Guy was exposed in the coteries, he
made little secret of it himself--openly avowing that he did not consider
a repulse a defeat, and that he resolved to sustain the siege as
vigorously as ever."
However interested I felt in all Trevanion was telling me, I could not
help falling into a train of thinking on my first acquaintance with the
Callonbys. There are, perhaps, but few things more humiliating than the
knowledge that any attention or consideration we have met with, has been
paid us in mistake for another; and in the very proportion that they were
prized before, are they detested when the truth is known to us.
To all the depressing influences these thoughts suggested, came the
healing balm that Lady Jane was true to me--that she, at least, however
others might be biassed by worldly considerations--that she cared for me
--for myself alone. My reader (alas! for my character for judgment)
knows upon how little I founded the conviction; but I have often, in
these Confessions, avowed my failing, par excellence, to be a great taste
for self-deception; and here was a capital occasion for its indulgence.
"We shall have abundant time to discuss this later on," said Trevanion,
laying his hand upon my shoulder to rouse my wandering attention--"for
now, I perceive, we have only eight minutes to spare."
As he spoke, a dragoon officer, in an undress, rode up to the window of
the carriage, and looking steadily at our party for a few seconds, asked
if we were "Messieurs les Anglais;" and, almost without waiting for
reply, added, "You had better not go any farther in your carriage, for the
next turn of the road will bring you in sight of the village."
We accordingly stopped the driver, and having (with) some difficulty
aroused O'Leary, got out upon the road. The militaire here gave his
horse to a groom, and proceeded to guide us through a corn-field by a
narrow path, with whose windings and crossings he appeared quite
conversant. We at length reached the brow of a little hill, from which
an extended view of the country lay before us, showing the Seine winding
its tranquil course between the richly tilled fields, dotted with many a
pretty cottage. Turning abruptly from this point, our guide led us, by a
narrow and steep path, into a little glen, planted with poplar and
willows. A small stream ran through this, and by the noise we soon
detected that a mill was not far distant, which another turning brought
us at once in front of.
And here I cannot help dwelling upon the "tableau" which met our view.
In the porch of the little rural mill sat two gentlemen, one of whom I
immediately recognised as the person who had waited upon me, and the
other I rightly conjectured to be my adversary. Before them stood a
small table, covered with a spotless napkin, upon which a breakfast
equipage was spread--a most inviting melon and a long, slender-necked
bottle, reposing in a little ice-pail, forming part of the "materiel."
My opponent was cooly enjoying his cigar--a half-finished cup of coffee
lay beside him--his friend was occupied in examining the caps of the
duelling pistols, which were placed upon a chair. No sooner had we
turned the angle which brought us in view, than they both rose, and,
taking off their hats with much courtesy, bade us good morning.
"May I offer you a cup of coffee," said Monsieur Derigny to me, as I came
up, at the same time filling it out, and pushing over a little flask of
Cogniac towards me.
A look from Trevanion decided my acceptance of the proferred civility,
and I seated myself in the chair beside the baron. Trevanion meanwhile
had engaged my adversary in conversation along with the stranger, who had
been our guide, leaving O'Leary alone unoccupied, which, however, he did
not long remain; for, although uninvited by the others, he seized a knife
and fork, and commenced a vigorous attack upon a partridge pie near him;
and, with equal absence of ceremony, uncorked the champaign and filled
out a foaming goblet, nearly one-third of the whole bottle, adding--
"I think, Mr. Lorrequer, there's nothing like showing them that we are
just as cool and unconcerned as themselves."
If I might judge from the looks of the party, a happier mode of
convincing them of our "free-and-easy" feelings could not possibly have
been discovered. From any mortification this proceeding might have
caused me, I was speedily relieved by Trevanion calling O'Leary to one
side, while he explained to him that he must nominally act as second on
the ground, as Trevanion, being a resident in Paris, might become liable
to a prosecution, should any thing serious arise, while O'Leary, as a
mere passer through, could cross the frontier into Germany, and avoid all
O'Leary at once acceded--perhaps the more readily because he expected to
be allowed to return to his breakfast--but in this he soon found himself
mistaken, for the whole party now rose, and preceded by the baron,
followed the course of the little stream.
After about five minutes' walking, we found ourselves at the outlet of
the glen, which was formed by a large stone quarry, making a species of
amphitheatre, with lofty walls of rugged granite, rising thirty or forty
feet on either side of us. The ground was smooth and level as a boarded
floor, and certainly to amateurs in these sort of matters, presented a
most perfect spot for a "meeting."
The stranger who had just joined us, could not help remarking our looks
of satisfaction at the choice of ground, and observed to me--
"This is not the first affair that this little spot has witnessed; and
the moulinet of St. Cloud is, I think, the very best 'meet' about Paris."
Trevanion who, during these few minutes, had been engaged with Derigny,
now drew me aside.
"Well, Lorrequer, have you any recollection now of having seen your
opponent before? or can you make a guess at the source of all this?"
"Never till this instant," said I, "have I beheld him," as I looked
towards the tall, stoutly-built figure of my adversary, who was very
leisurely detaching a cordon from his tightly fitting frock, doubtless to
prevent its attracting my aim.
"Well, never mind, I shall manage every thing properly. What can you do
with the small sword, for they have rapiers at the mill?"
"Nothing whatever; I have not fenced since I was a boy."
"N'importe--then we'll fight at a barriere. I know they're not prepared
for that from Englishmen; so just step on one side now, and leave me to
talk it over."
As the limited nature of the ground did not permit me to retire to a
distance, I became involuntarily aware of a dialogue, which even the
seriousness of the moment could scarcely keep me from laughing at
It was necessary, for the sake of avoiding any possible legal difficulty
in the result, that O'Leary should give his assent to every step of the
arrangement; and being totally ignorant of French, Trevanion had not only
to translate for him, but also to render in reply O'Leary's own comments
or objections to the propositions of the others.
"Then it is agreed--we fight at a barriere," said the Captain Derigny.
"What's that, Trevanion?"
"We have agreed to place them at a barriere," replied Trevanion.
"That's strange," muttered O'Leary to himself, who, knowing that the word
meant a "turnpike," never supposed it had any other signification.
"Vingt quatre pas, n'est pas," said Derigny.
"Too far," interposed Trevanion.
"What does he say now?" asked O'Leary.
"Twenty-four paces for the distance."
"Twenty-four of my teeth he means," said O'Leary, snapping his fingers.
"What does he think of the length of Sackville-street? Ask him that,
"What says Monsieur?" said the Frenchman.
"He thinks the distance much too great."
"He may be mistaken," said the Captain, half sneeringly. "My friend is
'de la premiere force.'"
"That must be something impudent, from your looks, Mr. Trevanion. Isn't
it a thousand pities I can't speak French?"
"What say you, then, to twelve paces? Fire together, and two shots each,
if the first fire be inconclusive," said Trevanion.
"And if necessary," added the Frenchman, carelessly, "conclude with
these"--touching the swords with his foot as he spoke.
"The choice of the weapon lies with us, I opine, "replied Trevanion.
"We have already named pistols, and by them we shall decide this matter."
It was at length, after innumerable objections, agreed upon that we
should be placed back to back, and at a word given each walk forward to a
certain distance marked out by a stone, where we were to halt, and at the
signal, "une," "deux," turn round and fire.
This, which is essentially a French invention in duelling, was perfectly
new to me, but by no means to Trevanion, who was fully aware of the
immense consequence of not giving even a momentary opportunity for aim to
my antagonist; and in this mode of firing the most practised and deadly
shot is liable to err--particularly if the signal be given quickly.
While Trevanion and the Captain were measuring out the ground, a little
circumstance which was enacted near me was certainly not over calculated
to strengthen my nerve. The stranger who had led us to the ground had
begun to examine the pistols, and finding that one of them was loaded,
turned towards my adversary, saying, "De Haultpenne, you have forgotten
to draw the charge. Come let us see what vein you are in." At the same
time, drawing off his large cavalry glove, he handed the pistol to his
"A double Napoleon you don't hit the thumb."
"Done," said the other, adjusting the weapon in his hand.
The action was scarcely performed, when the bettor flung the glove into
the air with all his force. My opponent raised his pistol, waited for an
instant, till the glove, having attained its greatest height, turned to
fall again. Then click went the trigger--the glove turned round and
round half-a-dozen times, and fell about twenty yards off, and the thumb
was found cut clearly off at the juncture with the hand.
This--which did not occupy half as long as I have spent in recounting it
--was certainly a pleasant introduction to standing at fifteen yards from
the principal actor; and I should doubtless have felt it in all its
force, had not my attention been drawn off by the ludicrous expression of
grief in O'Leary's countenance, who evidently regarded me as already
"Now, Lorrequer, we are ready," said Trevanion, coming forward; and then,
lowering his voice, added, "All is in your favour; I have won the 'word,'
which I shall give the moment you halt. So turn and fire at once: be
sure not to go too far round in the turn--that is the invariable error in
this mode of firing; only no hurry--be calm."
"Now, Messieurs," said Derigny, as he approached with his friend leaning
upon his arm, and placed him in the spot allotted to him. Trevanion then
took my arm, and placed me back to back to my antagonist. As I took up
my ground, it so chanced that my adversary's spur slightly grazed me,
upon which he immediately turned round, and, with the most engaging
smile, begged a "thousand pardons," and hoped I was not hurt.
O'Leary, who saw the incident, and guessed the action aright, called out:
"Oh, the cold-blooded villain; the devil a chance for you, Mr.
"Messieurs, your pistols," said Le Capitaine la Garde, who, as he handed
the weapons, and repeated once more the conditions of the combat, gave
the word to march.
I now walked slowly forward to the place marked out by the stone; but it
seemed that I must have been in advance of my opponent, for I remember
some seconds elapsed before Trevanion coughed slightly, and then with a
clear full voice called out "Une," "Deux." I had scarcely turned myself
half round, when my right arm was suddenly lifted up, as if by a galvanic
shock. My pistol jerked upwards, and exploded the same moment, and then
dropped powerlessly from my hand, which I now felt was covered with warm
blood from a wound near the elbow. From the acute but momentary pang
this gave me, my attention was soon called off; for scarcely had my arm
been struck, when a loud clattering noise to my left induced me to turn,
and then, to my astonishment, I saw my friend O'Leary about twelve feet
from the ground, hanging on by some ash twigs that grew from the clefts
of the granite. Fragments of broken rock were falling around him, and
his own position momentarily threatened a downfall. He was screaming
with all his might; but what he said was entirely lost in the shouts of
laughter of Trevanion and the Frenchmen, who could scarcely stand with
the immoderate exuberance of their mirth.
I had not time to run to his aid--which, although wounded, I should have
done--when the branch he clung to, slowly yielded with his weight, and
the round, plump figure of my poor friend rolled over the little cleft of
rock, and, after a few faint struggles, came tumbling heavily down, and
at last lay peaceably in the deep heather at the bottom--his cries the
whole time being loud enough to rise even above the vociferous laughter
of the others.
I now ran forward, as did Trevanion, when O'Leary, turning his eyes
towards me, said, in the most piteous manner--
"Mr. Lorrequer, I forgive you--here is my hand--bad luck to their French
way of fighting, that's all--it's only good for killing one's friend.
I thought I was safe up there, come what might."
"My dear O'Leary," said I, in an agony, which prevented my minding the
laughing faces around me, "surely you don't mean to say that I have
"No, dear, not wounded, only killed me outright--through the brain it
must be, from the torture I'm suffering."
The shout with which this speech was received, sufficiently aroused me;
while Trevanion, with a voice nearly choked with laughter, said--
"Why, Lorrequer, did you not see that your pistol, on being struck, threw
your ball high up on the quarry; fortunately, however, about a foot and a
half above Mr. O'Leary's head, whose most serious wounds are his
scratched hands and bruised bones from his tumble."
This explanation, which was perfectly satisfactory to me, was by no means
so consoling to poor O'Leary, who lay quite unconscious to all around,
moaning in the most melancholy manner. Some of the blood, which
continued to flow fast from my wound, having dropped upon his face,
roused him a little--but only to increase his lamentation for his own
destiny, which he believed was fast accomplishing.
"Through the skull--clean through the skull--and preserving my senses to
the last! Mr. Lorrequer, stoop down--it is a dying man asks you--don't
refuse me a last request. There's neither luck nor grace, honor nor
glory in such a way of fighting--so just promise me you'll shoot that
grinning baboon there, when he's going off the ground, since it's the
fashion to fire at a man with his back to you. Bring him down, and I'll
And with these words he closed his eyes, and straightened out his legs--
stretched his arm at either side, and arranged himself as much corpse
fashion as the circumstances of the ground would permit--while I now
freely participated in the mirth of the others, which, loud and
boisterous as it was, never reached the ears of O'Leary.
My arm had now become so painful, that I was obliged to ask Trevanion to
assist me in getting off my coat. The surprise of the Frenchmen on
learning that I was wounded was very considerable--O'Leary's catastrophe
having exclusively engaged all attention. My arm was now examined, when
it was discovered that the ball had passed through from one side to the
other, without apparently touching the bone; the bullet and the portion
of my coat carried in by it both lay in my sleeve. The only serious
consequence to be apprehended was the wound of the blood-vessel, which
continued to pour forth blood unceasingly, and I was just surgeon enough
to guess that an artery had been cut.
Trevanion bound his handkerchief tightly across the wound, and assisted
me to the high road, which, so sudden was the loss of blood, I reached
with difficulty. During all these proceedings, nothing could be possibly
more kind and considerate than the conduct of our opponents. All the
farouche and swaggering air which they had deemed the "rigueur" before,
at once fled, and in its place we found the most gentlemanlike attention
and true politeness.