Part 2 out of 3
appointment to my dearest Mary Smith, giving her warning that a
"certain event," for which one of us was longing very earnestly,
might come off sooner than we had expected. And why not? Miss
S.'s own fortune was 70L. a year, mine was 150L., and when we had
300L., we always vowed we would marry. "Ah!" thought I, "if I
could but go to Somersetshire now, I might boldly walk up to old
Smith's door" (he was her grandfather, and a half-pay lieutenant of
the navy), "I might knock at the knocker and see my beloved Mary in
the parlour, and not be obliged to sneak behind hayricks on the
look-out for her, or pelt stones at midnight at her window."
My aunt, in a few days, wrote a pretty gracious reply to my letter.
She had not determined, she said, as to the manner in which she
should employ her three thousand pounds, but should take my offer
into consideration; begging me to keep my shares open for a little
while, until her mind was made up.
What, then, does Mr. Brough do? I learned afterwards, in the year
1830, when he and the West Diddlesex Association had disappeared
altogether, how he had proceeded.
"Who are the attorneys at Slopperton?" says he to me in a careless
"Mr. Ruck, sir," says I, "is the Tory solicitor, and Messrs. Hodge
and Smithers the Liberals." I knew them very well, for the fact
is, before Mary Smith came to live in our parts, I was rather
partial to Miss Hodge, and her great gold-coloured ringlets; but
Mary came and soon put HER nose out of joint, as the saying is.
"And you are of what politics?"
"Why, sir, we are Liberals." I was rather ashamed of this, for Mr.
Brough was an out-and-out Tory; but Hodge and Smithers is a most
respectable firm. I brought up a packet from them to Hickson,
Dixon, Paxton, and Jackson, OUR solicitors, who are their London
Mr. Brough only said, "Oh, indeed!" and did not talk any further on
the subject, but began admiring my diamond-pin very much.
"Titmarsh, my dear boy," says he, "I have a young lady at Fulham
who is worth seeing, I assure you, and who has heard so much about
you from her father (for I like you, my boy, I don't care to own
it), that she is rather anxious to see you too. Suppose you come
down to us for a week? Abednego will do your work."
"Law, sir! you are very kind," says I.
"Well, you shall come down; and I hope you will like my claret.
But hark ye! I don't think, my dear fellow, you are quite smart
enough--quite well enough dressed. Do you understand me?"
"I've my blue coat and brass buttons at home, sir."
"What! that thing with the waist between your shoulders that you
wore at Mrs. Brough's party?" (It WAS rather high-waisted, being
made in the country two years before.) "No--no, that will never
do. Get some new clothes, sir,--two new suits of clothes."
"Sir!" says I, "I'm already, if the truth must be told, very short
of money for this quarter, and can't afford myself a new suit for a
long time to come."
"Pooh, pooh! don't let that annoy you. Here's a ten-pound note--
but no, on second thoughts, you may as well go to my tailor's.
I'll drive you down there: and never mind the bill, my good lad!"
And drive me down he actually did, in his grand coach-and-four, to
Mr. Von Stiltz, in Clifford Street, who took my measure, and sent
me home two of the finest coats ever seen, a dress-coat and a
frock, a velvet waist-coat, a silk ditto, and three pairs of
pantaloons, of the most beautiful make. Brough told me to get some
boots and pumps, and silk stockings for evenings; so that when the
time came for me to go down to Fulham, I appeared as handsome as
any young nobleman, and Gus said that "I looked, by Jingo, like a
regular tip-top swell."
In the meantime the following letter had been sent down to Hodge
"RAM ALLEY, CORNHILL, LONDON: July 1822.
* * *
[This part being on private affairs relative to the cases of Dixon
v. Haggerstony, Snodgrass v. Rubbidge and another, I am not
permitted to extract.]
* * *
"Likewise we beg to hand you a few more prospectuses of the
Independent West Diddlesex Fire and Life Insurance Company, of
which we have the honour to be the solicitors in London. We wrote
to you last year, requesting you to accept the Slopperton and
Somerset agency for the same, and have been expecting for some time
back that either shares or assurances should be effected by you.
"The capital of the Company, as you know, is five millions sterling
(say 5,000,000L.), and we are in a situation to offer more than the
usual commission to our agents of the legal profession. We shall
be happy to give a premium of 6 per cent. for shares to the amount
of 1,000L., 6.5 per cent. above a thousand, to be paid immediately
upon the taking of the shares.
"I am, dear Sirs, for self and partners,
"Yours most faithfully,
This letter, as I have said, came into my hands some time
afterwards. I knew nothing of it in the year 1822, when, in my new
suit of clothes, I went down to pass a week at the Rookery, Fulham,
residence of John Brough, Esquire, M.P.
HOW SAMUEL TITMARSH REACHED THE HIGHEST POINT OF PROSPERITY
If I had the pen of a George Robins, I might describe the Rookery
properly: suffice it, however, to say it is a very handsome
country place; with handsome lawns sloping down to the river,
handsome shrubberies and conservatories, fine stables, outhouses,
kitchen-gardens, and everything belonging to a first-rate rus in
urbe, as the great auctioneer called it when he hammered it down
some years after.
I arrived on a Saturday at half-an-hour before dinner: a grave
gentleman out of livery showed me to my room; a man in a chocolate
coat and gold lace, with Brough's crest on the buttons, brought me
a silver shaving-pot of hot water on a silver tray; and a grand
dinner was ready at six, at which I had the honour of appearing in
Von Stiltz's dress-coat and my new silk stockings and pumps.
Brough took me by the hand as I came in, and presented me to his
lady, a stout fair-haired woman, in light blue satin; then to his
daughter, a tall, thin, dark-eyed girl, with beetle-brows, looking
very ill-natured, and about eighteen.
"Belinda my love," said her papa, "this young gentleman is one of
my clerks, who was at our ball."
"Oh, indeed!" says Belinda, tossing up her head.
"But not a common clerk, Miss Belinda,--so, if you please, we will
have none of your aristocratic airs with him. He is a nephew of
the Countess of Drum; and I hope he will soon be very high in our
establishment, and in the city of London."
At the name of Countess (I had a dozen times rectified the error
about our relationship), Miss Belinda made a low curtsey, and
stared at me very hard, and said she would try and make the Rookery
pleasant to any friend of Papa's. "We have not much MONDE to-day,"
continued Miss Brough, "and are only in petit comite; but I hope
before you leave us you will see some societe that will make your
I saw at once that she was a fashionable girl, from her using the
French language in this way.
"Isn't she a fine girl?" said Brough, whispering to me, and
evidently as proud of her as a man could be. "Isn't she a fine
girl--eh, you dog? Do you see breeding like that in
"No, sir, upon my word!" answered I, rather slily; for I was
thinking all the while how "Somebody" was a thousand times more
beautiful, simple, and ladylike.
"And what has my dearest love been doing all day?" said her papa.
"Oh, Pa! I have PINCED the harp a little to Captain Fizgig's
flute. Didn't I, Captain Fizgig?"
Captain the Honourable Francis Fizgig said, "Yes, Brough, your fair
daughter PINCED the harp, and TOUCHED the piano, and EGRATIGNED the
guitar, and ECORCHED a song or two; and we had the pleasure of a
PROMENADE A L'EAU,--of a walk upon the water."
"Law, Captain!" cries Mrs. Brough, "walk on the water?"
"Hush, Mamma, you don't understand French!" says Miss Belinda, with
"It's a sad disadvantage, madam," says Fizgig, gravely; "and I
recommend you and Brough here, who are coming out in the great
world, to have some lessons; or at least get up a couple of dozen
phrases, and introduce them into your conversation here and there.
I suppose, sir, you speak it commonly at the office, Mr. What you
call it?" And Mr. Fizgig put his glass into his eye and looked at
"We speak English, sir," says I, "knowing it better than French."
"Everybody has not had your opportunities," Miss Brough, continued
the gentleman. "Everybody has not VOYAGE like NOUS AUTRES, hey?
Mais que voulez-vous, my good sir? you must stick to your cursed
ledgers and things. What's the French for ledger, Miss Belinda?"
"How can you ask? Je n'en scais rien, I'm sure."
"You should learn, Miss Brough," said her father. "The daughter of
a British merchant need not be ashamed of the means by which her
father gets his bread. I'M not ashamed--I'm not proud. Those who
know John Brough, know that ten years ago he was a poor clerk like
my friend Titmarsh here, and is now worth half-a-million. Is there
any man in the House better listened to than John Brough? Is there
any duke in the land that can give a better dinner than John
Brough; or a larger fortune to his daughter than John Brough? Why,
sir, the humble person now speaking to you could buy out many a
German duke! But I'm not proud--no, no, not proud. There's my
daughter--look at her--when I die, she will be mistress of my
fortune; but am I proud? No! Let him who can win her, marry her,
that's what I say. Be it you, Mr. Fizgig, son of a peer of the
realm; or you, Bill Tidd. Be it a duke or a shoeblack, what do I
care, hey?--what do I care?"
"O-o-oh!" sighed the gent who went by the name of Bill Tidd: a
very pale young man, with a black riband round his neck instead of
a handkerchief, and his collars turned down like Lord Byron. He
was leaning against the mantelpiece, and with a pair of great green
eyes ogling Miss Brough with all his might.
"Oh, John--my dear John!" cried Mrs. Brough, seizing her husband's
hand and kissing it, "you are an angel, that you are!"
"Isabella, don't flatter me; I'm a MAN,--a plain downright citizen
of London, without a particle of pride, except in you and my
daughter here--my two Bells, as I call them! This is the way that
we live, Titmarsh my boy: ours is a happy, humble, Christian home,
and that's all. Isabella, leave go my hand!"
"Mamma, you mustn't do so before company; it's odious!" shrieked
Miss B.; and Mamma quietly let the hand fall, and heaved from her
ample bosom a great large sigh. I felt a liking for that simple
woman, and a respect for Brough too. He couldn't be a bad man,
whose wife loved him so.
Dinner was soon announced, and I had the honour of leading in Miss
B., who looked back rather angrily, I thought, at Captain Fizgig,
because that gentleman had offered his arm to Mrs. Brough. He sat
on the right of Mrs. Brough, and Miss flounced down on the seat
next to him, leaving me and Mr. Tidd to take our places at the
opposite side of the table.
At dinner there was turbot and soup first, and boiled turkey
afterwards of course. How is it that at all the great dinners they
have this perpetual boiled turkey? It was real turtle-soup: the
first time I had ever tasted it; and I remarked how Mrs. B., who
insisted on helping it, gave all the green lumps of fat to her
husband, and put several slices of the breast of the bird under the
body, until it came to his turn to be helped.
"I'm a plain man," says John, "and eat a plain dinner. I hate your
kickshaws, though I keep a French cook for those who are not of my
way of thinking. I'm no egotist, look you; I've no prejudices; and
Miss there has her bechamels and fallals according to her taste.
Captain, try the volly-vong."
We had plenty of champagne and old madeira with dinner, and great
silver tankards of porter, which those might take who chose.
Brough made especially a boast of drinking beer; and, when the
ladies retired, said, "Gentlemen, Tiggins will give you an
unlimited supply of wine: there's no stinting here;" and then laid
himself down in his easy-chair and fell asleep.
"He always does so," whispered Mr. Tidd to me.
"Get some of that yellow-sealed wine, Tiggins," says the Captain.
"That other claret we had yesterday is loaded, and disagrees with
I must say I liked the yellow seal much better than Aunt Hoggarty's
I soon found out what Mr. Tidd was, and what he was longing for.
"Isn't she a glorious creature?" says he to me.
"Who, sir?" says I.
"Miss Belinda, to be sure!" cried Tidd. "Did mortal ever look upon
eyes like hers, or view a more sylph-like figure?"
"She might have a little more flesh, Mr. Tidd," says the Captain,
"and a little less eyebrow. They look vicious, those scowling
eyebrows, in a girl. Qu'en dites-vous, Mr. Titmarsh, as Miss
Brough would say?"
"I think it remarkably good claret, sir," says I.
"Egad, you're the right sort of fellow!" says the Captain. "Volto
sciolto, eh? You respect our sleeping host yonder?"
"That I do, sir, as the first man in the city of London, and my
"And so do I," says Tidd; "and this day fortnight, when I'm of age,
I'll prove my confidence too."
"As how?" says I.
"Why, sir, you must know that I come into--ahem--a considerable
property, sir, on the 14th of July, which my father made--in
"Say at once he was a tailor, Tidd."
"He WAS a tailor, sir,--but what of that? I've had a University
education, and have the feelings of a gentleman; as much--ay,
perhaps, and more, than some members of an effete aristocracy."
"Tidd, don't be severe!" says the Captain, drinking a tenth glass.
"Well, Mr. Titmarsh, when of age I come into a considerable
property; and Mr. Brough has been so good as to say he can get me
twelve hundred a year for my twenty thousand pounds, and I have
promised to invest them."
"In the West Diddlesex, sir?" says I--"in our office?"
"No, in another company, of which Mr. Brough is director, and quite
as good a thing. Mr. Brough is a very old friend of my family,
sir, and he has taken a great liking to me; and he says that with
my talents I ought to get into Parliament; and then--and then!
after I have laid out my patrimony, I may look to MATRIMONY, you
"Oh, you designing dog!" said the Captain. "When I used to lick
you at school, who ever would have thought that I was thrashing a
"Talk away, boys!" said Brough, waking out of his sleep; "I only
sleep with half an eye, and hear you all. Yes, you shall get into
Parliament, Tidd my man, or my name's not Brough! You shall have
six per cent. for your money, or never believe me! But as for my
daughter--ask HER, and not me. You, or the Captain, or Titmarsh,
may have her, if you can get her. All I ask in a son-in-law is,
that he should be, as every one of you is, an honourable and high-
Tidd at this looked very knowing; and as our host sank off to sleep
again, pointed archly at his eyebrows, and wagged his head at the
"Bah!" says the Captain. "I say what I think; and you may tell
Miss Brough if you like." And so presently this conversation
ended, and we were summoned in to coffee. After which the Captain
sang songs with Miss Brough; Tidd looked at her and said nothing; I
looked at prints, and Mrs. Brough sat knitting stockings for the
poor. The Captain was sneering openly at Miss Brough and her
affected ways and talk; but in spite of his bullying contemptuous
way I thought she seemed to have a great regard for him, and to
bear his scorn very meekly.
At twelve Captain Fizgig went off to his barracks at Knightsbridge,
and Tidd and I to our rooms. Next day being Sunday, a great bell
woke us at eight, and at nine we all assembled in the breakfast-
room, where Mr. Brough read prayers, a chapter, and made an
exhortation afterwards, to us and all the members of the household;
except the French cook, Monsieur Nontong-paw, whom I could see,
from my chair, walking about in the shrubberies in his white night-
cap, smoking a cigar.
Every morning on week-days, punctually at eight, Mr. Brough went
through the same ceremony, and had his family to prayers; but
though this man was a hypocrite, as I found afterwards, I'm not
going to laugh at the family prayers, or say he was a hypocrite
BECAUSE he had them. There are many bad and good men who don't go
through the ceremony at all; but I am sure the good men would be
the better for it, and am not called upon to settle the question
with respect to the bad ones; and therefore I have passed over a
great deal of the religious part of Mr. Brough's behaviour:
suffice it, that religion was always on his lips; that he went to
church thrice every Sunday, when he had not a party; and if he did
not talk religion with us when we were alone, had a great deal to
say upon the subject upon occasions, as I found one day when we had
a Quaker and Dissenter party to dine, and when his talk was as
grave as that of any minister present. Tidd was not there that
day,--for nothing could make him forsake his Byron riband or
refrain from wearing his collars turned down; so Tidd was sent with
the buggy to Astley's. "And hark ye, Titmarsh my boy," said he,
"leave your diamond pin upstairs: our friends to-day don't like
such gewgaws; and though for my part I am no enemy to harmless
ornaments, yet I would not shock the feelings of those who have
sterner opinions. You will see that my wife and Miss Brough
consult my wishes in this respect." And so they did,--for they
both came down to dinner in black gowns and tippets; whereas Miss
B. had commonly her dress half off her shoulders.
The Captain rode over several times to see us; and Miss Brough
seemed always delighted to see HIM. One day I met him as I was
walking out alone by the river, and we had a long talk together.
"Mr. Titmarsh," says he, "from what little I have seen of you, you
seem to be an honest straight-minded young fellow; and I want some
information that you can give. Tell me, in the first place, if you
will--and upon my honour it shall go no farther--about this
Insurance Company of yours? You are in the City, and see how
affairs are going on. Is your concern a stable one?"
"Sir," said I, "frankly then, and upon my honour too, I believe it
is. It has been set up only four years, it is true; but Mr. Brough
had a great name when it was established, and a vast connection.
Every clerk in the office has, to be sure, in a manner, paid for
his place, either by taking shares himself, or by his relations
taking them. I got mine because my mother, who is very poor,
devoted a small sum of money that came to us to the purchase of an
annuity for herself and a provision for me. The matter was debated
by the family and our attorneys, Messrs. Hodge and Smithers, who
are very well known in our part of the country; and it was agreed
on all hands that my mother could not do better with her money for
all of us than invest it in this way. Brough alone is worth half a
million of money, and his name is a host in itself. Nay, more: I
wrote the other day to an aunt of mine, who has a considerable sum
of money in loose cash, and who had consulted me as to the disposal
of it, to invest it in our office. Can I give you any better proof
of my opinion of its solvency?"
"Did Brough persuade you in any way?"
"Yes, he certainly spoke to me: but he very honestly told me his
motives, and tells them to us all as honestly. He says,
'Gentlemen, it is my object to increase the connection of the
office, as much as possible. I want to crush all the other offices
in London. Our terms are lower than any office, and we can bear to
have them lower, and a great business will come to us that way.
But we must work ourselves as well. Every single shareholder and
officer of the establishment must exert himself, and bring us
customers,--no matter for how little they are engaged--engage them:
that is the great point.' And accordingly our Director makes all
his friends and servants shareholders: his very lodge-porter
yonder is a shareholder; and he thus endeavours to fasten upon all
whom he comes near. I, for instance, have just been appointed over
the heads of our gents, to a much better place than I held. I am
asked down here, and entertained royally: and why? Because my
aunt has three thousand pounds which Mr. Brough wants her to invest
"That looks awkward, Mr. Titmarsh."
"Not a whit, sir: he makes no disguise of the matter. When the
question is settled one way or the other, I don't believe Mr.
Brough will take any further notice of me. But he wants me now.
This place happened to fall in just at the very moment when he had
need of me; and he hopes to gain over my family through me. He
told me as much as we drove down. 'You are a man of the world,
Titmarsh,' said he; 'you know that I don't give you this place
because you are an honest fellow, and write a good hand. If I had
a lesser bribe to offer you at the moment, I should only have given
you that; but I had no choice, and gave you what was in my power.'"
"That's fair enough; but what can make Brough so eager for such a
small sum as three thousand pounds?"
"If it had been ten, sir, he would have been not a bit more eager.
You don't know the city of London, and the passion which our great
men in the share-market have for increasing their connection. Mr.
Brough, sir, would canvass and wheedle a chimney-sweep in the way
of business. See, here is poor Tidd and his twenty thousand
pounds. Our Director has taken possession of him just in the same
way. He wants all the capital he can lay his hands on."
"Yes, and suppose he runs off with the capital?"
"Mr. Brough, of the firm of Brough and Hoff, sir? Suppose the Bank
of England runs off! But here we are at the lodge-gate. Let's ask
Gates, another of Mr. Brough's victims." And we went in and spoke
to old Gates.
"Well, Mr. Gates," says I, beginning the matter cleverly, "you are
one of my masters, you know, at the West Diddlesex yonder?"
"Yees, sure," says old Gates, grinning. He was a retired servant,
with a large family come to him in his old age.
"May I ask you what your wages are, Mr. Gates, that you can lay by
so much money, and purchase shares in our Company?"
Gates told us his wages; and when we inquired whether they were
paid regularly, swore that his master was the kindest gentleman in
the world: that he had put two of his daughters into service, two
of his sons to charity schools, made one apprentice, and narrated a
hundred other benefits that he had received from the family. Mrs.
Brough clothed half the children; master gave them blankets and
coats in winter, and soup and meat all the year round. There never
was such a generous family, sure, since the world began.
"Well, sir," said I to the Captain, "does that satisfy you? Mr.
Brough gives to these people fifty times as much as he gains from
them; and yet he makes Mr. Gates take shares in our Company."
"Mr. Titmarsh," says the Captain, "you are an honest fellow; and I
confess your argument sounds well. Now tell me, do you know
anything about Miss Brough and her fortune?"
"Brough will leave her everything--or says so." But I suppose the
Captain saw some particular expression in my countenance, for he
laughed and said -
"I suppose, my dear fellow, you think she's dear at the price.
Well, I don't know that you are far wrong."
"Why, then, if I may make so bold, Captain Fizgig, are you always
at her heels?"
"Mr. Titmarsh," says the Captain, "I owe twenty thousand pounds;"
and he went back to the house directly, and proposed for her.
I thought this rather cruel and unprincipled conduct on the
gentleman's part; for he had been introduced to the family by Mr.
Tidd, with whom he had been at school, and had supplanted Tidd
entirely in the great heiress's affections. Brough stormed, and
actually swore at his daughter (as the Captain told me afterwards)
when he heard that the latter had accepted Mr. Fizgig; and at last,
seeing the Captain, made him give his word that the engagement
should be kept secret for a few months. And Captain F. only made a
confidant of me, and the mess, as he said: but this was after Tidd
had paid his twenty thousand pounds over to our governor, which he
did punctually when he came of age. The same day, too, he proposed
for the young lady, and I need not say was rejected. Presently the
Captain's engagement began to be whispered about: all his great
relations, the Duke of Doncaster, the Earl of Cinqbars, the Earl of
Crabs, &c. came and visited the Brough family; the Hon. Henry
Ringwood became a shareholder in our Company, and the Earl of Crabs
offered to be. Our shares rose to a premium; our Director, his
lady, and daughter were presented at Court; and the great West
Diddlesex Association bid fair to be the first Assurance Office in
A very short time after my visit to Fulham, my dear aunt wrote to
me to say that she had consulted with her attorneys, Messrs. Hodge
and Smithers, who strongly recommended that she should invest the
sum as I advised. She had the sum invested, too, in my name,
paying me many compliments upon my honesty and talent; of which,
she said, Mr. Brough had given her the most flattering account.
And at the same time my aunt informed me that at her death the
shares should be my own. This gave me a great weight in the
Company, as you may imagine. At our next annual meeting, I
attended in my capacity as a shareholder, and had great pleasure in
hearing Mr. Brough, in a magnificent speech, declare a dividend of
six per cent., that we all received over the counter.
"You lucky young scoundrel!" said Brough to me; "do you know what
made me give you your place?"
"Why, my aunt's money, to be sure, sir," said I.
"No such thing. Do you fancy I cared for those paltry three
thousand pounds? I was told you were nephew of Lady Drum; and Lady
Drum is grandmother of Lady Jane Preston; and Mr. Preston is a man
who can do us a world of good. I knew that they had sent you
venison, and the deuce knows what; and when I saw Lady Jane at my
party shake you by the hand, and speak to you so kindly, I took all
Abednego's tales for gospel. THAT was the reason you got the
place, mark you, and not on account of your miserable three
thousand pounds. Well, sir, a fortnight after you were with us at
Fulham, I met Preston in the House, and made a merit of having
given the place to his cousin. 'Confound the insolent scoundrel!'
said he; 'HE my cousin! I suppose you take all old Drum's stories
for true? Why, man, it's her mania: she never is introduced to a
man but she finds out a cousinship, and would not fail of course
with that cur of a Titmarsh!' 'Well,' said I, laughing, 'that cur
has got a good place in consequence, and the matter can't be
mended.' So you see," continued our Director, "that you were
indebted for your place, not to your aunt's money, but--"
"But to MY AUNT'S DIAMOND PIN!"
"Lucky rascal!" said Brough, poking me in the side and going out of
the way. And lucky, in faith, I thought I was.
RELATES THE HAPPIEST DAY OF SAMUEL TITMARSH'S LIFE
I don't know how it was that in the course of the next six months
Mr. Roundhand, the actuary, who had been such a profound admirer of
Mr. Brough and the West Diddlesex Association, suddenly quarrelled
with both, and taking his money out of the concern, he disposed of
his 5,000L. worth of shares to a pretty good profit, and went away,
speaking everything that was evil both of the Company and the
Mr. Highmore now became secretary and actuary, Mr. Abednego was
first clerk, and your humble servant was second in the office at a
salary of 250L. a year. How unfounded were Mr. Roundhand's
aspersions of the West Diddlesex appeared quite clearly at our
meeting in January, 1823, when our Chief Director, in one of the
most brilliant speeches ever heard, declared that the half-yearly
dividend was 4L. per cent., at the rate of 8L. per cent. per annum;
and I sent to my aunt 120L. sterling as the amount of the interest
of the stock in my name.
My excellent aunt, Mrs. Hoggarty, delighted beyond measure, sent me
back 10L. for my own pocket, and asked me if she had not better
sell Slopperton and Squashtail, and invest all her money in this
On this point I could not surely do better than ask the opinion of
Mr. Brough. Mr. B. told me that shares could not be had but at a
premium; but on my representing that I knew of 5,000L. worth in the
market at par, he said--"Well, if so, he would like a fair price
for his, and would not mind disposing of 5,000L. worth, as he had
rather a glut of West Diddlesex shares, and his other concerns
wanted feeding with ready money." At the end of our conversation,
of which I promised to report the purport to Mrs. Hoggarty, the
Director was so kind as to say that he had determined on creating a
place of private secretary to the Managing Director, and that I
should hold that office with an additional salary of 150L.
I had 250L. a year, Miss Smith had 70L. per annum to her fortune.
What had I said should be my line of conduct whenever I could
realise 300L. a year?
Gus of course, and all the gents in our office through him, knew of
my engagement with Mary Smith. Her father had been a commander in
the navy and a very distinguished officer; and though Mary, as I
have said, only brought me a fortune of 70L. a year, and I, as
everybody said, in my present position in the office and the City
of London, might have reasonably looked out for a lady with much
more money, yet my friends agreed that the connection was very
respectable, and I was content: as who would not have been with
such a darling as Mary? I am sure, for my part, I would not have
taken the Lord Mayor's own daughter in place of Mary, even with a
plum to her fortune.
Mr. Brough of course was made aware of my approaching marriage, as
of everything else relating to every clerk in the office; and I do
believe Abednego told him what we had for dinner every day.
Indeed, his knowledge of our affairs was wonderful.
He asked me how Mary's money was invested. It was in the three per
cent. consols--2,333L. 6S. 8D.
"Remember," says he, "my lad, Mrs. Sam Titmarsh that is to be may
have seven per cent. for her money at the very least, and on better
security than the Bank of England; for is not a Company of which
John Brough is the head better than any other company in England?"
and to be sure I thought he was not far wrong, and promised to
speak to Mary's guardians on the subject before our marriage.
Lieutenant Smith, her grandfather, had been at the first very much
averse to our union. (I must confess that, one day finding me
alone with her, and kissing, I believe, the tips of her little
fingers, he had taken me by the collar and turned me out of doors.)
But Sam Titmarsh, with a salary of 250L. a year, a promised fortune
of 150L. more, and the right-hand man of Mr. John Brough of London,
was a very different man from Sam the poor clerk, and the poor
clergyman's widow's son; and the old gentleman wrote me a kind
letter enough, and begged me to get him six pairs of lamb's-wool
stockings and four ditto waistcoats from Romanis', and accepted
them too as a present from me when I went down in June--in happy
June of 1823--to fetch my dear Mary away.
Mr. Brough was likewise kindly anxious about my aunt's Slopperton
and Squashtail property, which she had not as yet sold, as she
talked of doing; and, as Mr. B. represented, it was a sin and a
shame that any person in whom he took such interest, as he did in
all the relatives of his dear young friend, should only have three
per cent. for her money, when she could have eight elsewhere. He
always called me Sam now, praised me to the other young men (who
brought the praises regularly to me), said there was a cover always
laid for me at Fulham, and repeatedly took me thither. There was
but little company when I went; and M'Whirter used to say he only
asked me on days when he had his vulgar acquaintances. But I did
not care for the great people, not being born in their sphere; and
indeed did not much care for going to the house at all. Miss
Belinda was not at all to my liking. After her engagement with
Captain Fizgig, and after Mr. Tidd had paid his 20,000L. and
Fizgig's great relations had joined in some of our Director's
companies, Mr. Brough declared he believed that Captain Fizgig's
views were mercenary, and put him to the proof at once, by saying
that he must take Miss Brough without a farthing, or not have her
at all. Whereupon Captain Fizgig got an appointment in the
colonies, and Miss Brough became more ill-humoured than ever. But
I could not help thinking she was rid of a bad bargain, and pitying
poor Tidd, who came back to the charge again more love-sick than
ever, and was rebuffed pitilessly by Miss Belinda. Her father
plainly told Tidd, too, that his visits were disagreeable to
Belinda, and though he must always love and value him, he begged
him to discontinue his calls at the Rookery. Poor fellow! he had
paid his 20,000L. away for nothing! for what was six per cent. to
him compared to six per cent. and the hand of Miss Belinda Brough?
Well, Mr. Brough pitied the poor love-sick swain, as he called me,
so much, and felt such a warm sympathy in my well-being, that he
insisted on my going down to Somersetshire with a couple of months'
leave; and away I went, as happy as a lark, with a couple of brand-
new suits from Von Stiltz's in my trunk (I had them made, looking
forward to a certain event), and inside the trunk Lieutenant
Smith's fleecy hosiery; wrapping up a parcel of our prospectuses
and two letters from John Brough, Esq., to my mother our worthy
annuitant, and to Mrs. Hoggarty our excellent shareholder. Mr.
Brough said I was all that the fondest father could wish, that he
considered me as his own boy, and that he earnestly begged Mrs.
Hoggarty not to delay the sale of her little landed property, as
land was high now and MUST FALL; whereas the West Diddlesex
Association shares were (comparatively) low, and must inevitably,
in the course of a year or two, double, treble, quadruple their
In this way I was prepared, and in this way I took leave of my dear
Gus. As we parted in the yard of the "Bolt-in-Tun," Fleet Street,
I felt that I never should go back to Salisbury Square again, and
had made my little present to the landlady's family accordingly.
She said I was the respectablest gentleman she had ever had in her
house: nor was that saying much, for Bell Lane is in the Rules of
the Fleet, and her lodgers used commonly to be prisoners on Rule
from that place. As for Gus, the poor fellow cried and blubbered
so that he could not eat a morsel of the muffins and grilled ham
with which I treated him for breakfast in the "Bolt-in-Tun" coffee-
house; and when I went away was waving his hat and his handkerchief
so in the archway of the coach-office that I do believe the wheels
of the "True Blue" went over his toes, for I heard him roaring as
we passed through the arch. Ah! how different were my feelings as
I sat proudly there on the box by the side of Jim Ward, the
coachman, to those I had the last time I mounted that coach,
parting from my dear Mary and coming to London with my DIAMOND PIN!
When arrived near home (at Grumpley, three miles from our village,
where the "True Blue" generally stops to take a glass of ale at the
Poppleton Arms) it was as if our Member, Mr. Poppleton himself, was
come into the country, so great was the concourse of people
assembled round the inn. And there was the landlord of the inn and
all the people of the village. Then there was Tom Wheeler, the
post-boy, from Mrs. Rincer's posting-hotel in our town; he was
riding on the old bay posters, and they, Heaven bless us! were
drawing my aunt's yellow chariot, in which she never went out but
thrice in a year, and in which she now sat in her splendid cashmere
shawl and a new hat and feather. She waved a white handkerchief
out of the window, and Tom Wheeler shouted out "Huzza!" as did a
number of the little blackguard boys of Grumpley: who, to be sure,
would huzza for anything. What a change on Tom Wheeler's part,
however! I remembered only a few years before how he had whipped
me from the box of the chaise, as I was hanging on for a ride
Next to my aunt's carriage came the four-wheeled chaise of
Lieutenant Smith, R.N., who was driving his old fat pony with his
lady by his side. I looked in the back seat of the chaise, and
felt a little sad at seeing that SOMEBODY was not there. But, O
silly fellow! there was Somebody in the yellow chariot with my
aunt, blushing like a peony, I declare, and looking so happy!--oh,
so happy and pretty! She had a white dress, and a light blue and
yellow scarf, which my aunt said were the Hoggarty colours; though
what the Hoggartys had to do with light blue and yellow, I don't
know to this day.
Well, the "True Blue" guard made a great bellowing on his horn as
his four horses dashed away; the boys shouted again; I was placed
bodkin between Mrs. Hoggarty and Mary; Tom Wheeler cut into his
bays; the Lieutenant (who had shaken me cordially by the hand, and
whose big dog did not make the slightest attempt at biting me this
time) beat his pony till its fat sides lathered again; and thus in
this, I may say, unexampled procession, I arrived in triumph at our
My dear mother and the girls,--Heaven bless them!--nine of them in
their nankeen spencers (I had something pretty in my trunk for each
of them)--could not afford a carriage, but had posted themselves on
the road near the village; and there was such a waving of hands and
handkerchiefs: and though my aunt did not much notice them, except
by a majestic toss of the head, which is pardonable in a woman of
her property, yet Mary Smith did even more than I, and waved her
hands as much as the whole nine. Ah! how my dear mother cried and
blessed me when we met, and called me her soul's comfort and her
darling boy, and looked at me as if I were a paragon of virtue and
genius: whereas I was only a very lucky young fellow, that by the
aid of kind friends had stepped rapidly into a very pretty
I was not to stay with my mother,--that had been arranged
beforehand; for though she and Mrs. Hoggarty were not remarkably
good friends, yet Mother said it was for my benefit that I should
stay with my aunt, and so give up the pleasure of having me with
her: and though hers was much the humbler house of the two, I need
not say I preferred it far to Mrs. Hoggarty's more splendid one;
let alone the horrible Rosolio, of which I was obliged now to drink
It was to Mrs. H.'s then we were driven: she had prepared a great
dinner that evening, and hired an extra waiter, and on getting out
of the carriage, she gave a sixpence to Tom Wheeler, saying that
was for himself, and that she would settle with Mrs. Rincer for the
horses afterwards. At which Tom flung the sixpence upon the
ground, swore most violently, and was very justly called by my aunt
an "impertinent fellow."
She had taken such a liking to me that she would hardly bear me out
of her sight. We used to sit for morning after morning over her
accounts, debating for hours together the propriety of selling the
Slopperton property; but no arrangement was come to yet about it,
for Hodge and Smithers could not get the price she wanted. And,
moreover, she vowed that at her decease she would leave every
shilling to me.
Hodge and Smithers, too, gave a grand party, and treated me with
marked consideration; as did every single person of the village.
Those who could not afford to give dinners gave teas, and all drank
the health of the young couple; and many a time after dinner or
supper was my Mary made to blush by the allusions to the change in
The happy day for that ceremony was now fixed, and the 24th July,
1823, saw me the happiest husband of the prettiest girl in
Somersetshire. We were married from my mother's house, who would
insist upon that at any rate, and the nine girls acted as
bridesmaids; ay! and Gus Hoskins came from town express to be my
groomsman, and had my old room at my mother's, and stayed with her
for a week, and cast a sheep's-eye upon Miss Winny Titmarsh too, my
dear fourth sister, as I afterwards learned.
My aunt was very kind upon the marriage ceremony, indeed. She had
desired me some weeks previous to order three magnificent dresses
for Mary from the celebrated Madame Mantalini of London, and some
elegant trinkets and embroidered pocket-handkerchiefs from Howell
and James's. These were sent down to me, and were to be MY present
to the bride; but Mrs. Hoggarty gave me to understand that I need
never trouble myself about the payment of the bill, and I thought
her conduct very generous. Also she lent us her chariot for the
wedding journey, and made with her own hands a beautiful crimson
satin reticule for Mrs. Samuel Titmarsh, her dear niece. It
contained a huswife completely furnished with needles, &c., for she
hoped Mrs. Titmarsh would never neglect her needle; and a purse
containing some silver pennies, and a very curious pocket-piece.
"As long as you keep these, my dear," said Mrs. Hoggarty, "you will
never want; and fervently--fervently do I pray that you will keep
them." In the carriage-pocket we found a paper of biscuits and a
bottle of Rosolio. We laughed at this, and made it over to Tom
Wheeler--who, however, did not seem to like it much better than we.
I need not say I was married in Mr. Von Stiltz's coat (the third
and fourth coats, Heaven help us! in a year), and that I wore
sparkling in my bosom the GREAT HOGGARTY DIAMOND.
BRINGS BACK SAM, HIS WIFE, AUNT, AND DIAMOND, TO LONDON
We pleased ourselves during the honeymoon with forming plans for
our life in London, and a pretty paradise did we build for
ourselves! Well, we were but forty years old between us; and, for
my part, I never found any harm come of castle-building, but a
great deal of pleasure.
Before I left London I had, to say the truth, looked round me for a
proper place, befitting persons of our small income; and Gus
Hoskins and I, who hunted after office-hours in couples, bad fixed
on a very snug little cottage in Camden Town, where there was a
garden that certain SMALL PEOPLE might play in when they came: a
horse and gig-house, if ever we kept one,--and why not, in a few
years?--and a fine healthy air, at a reasonable distance from
'Change; all for 30L. a year. I had described this little spot to
Mary as enthusiastically as Sancho describes Lizias to Don Quixote;
and my dear wife was delighted with the prospect of housekeeping
there, vowed she would cook all the best dishes herself (especially
jam-pudding, of which I confess I am very fond), and promised Gus
that he should dine with us at Clematis Bower every Sunday: only
he must not smoke those horrid cigars. As for Gus, he vowed he
would have a room in the neighbourhood too, for he could not bear
to go back to Bell Lane, where we two had been so happy together;
and so good-natured Mary said she would ask my sister Winny to come
and keep her company. At which Hoskins blushed, and said, "Pooh!
But all our hopes of a happy snug Clematis Lodge were dashed to the
ground on our return from our little honeymoon excursion; when Mrs.
Hoggarty informed us that she was sick of the country, and was
determined to go to London with her dear nephew and niece, and keep
house for them, and introduce them to her friends in the
What could we do? We wished her at--Bath: certainly not in
London. But there was no help for it; and we were obliged to bring
her: for, as my mother said, if we offended her, her fortune would
go out of our family; and were we two young people not likely to
So we came to town rather dismally in the carriage, posting the
whole way; for the carriage must be brought, and a person of my
aunt's rank in life could not travel by the stage. And I had to
pay 14L. for the posters, which pretty nearly exhausted all my
little hoard of cash.
First we went into lodgings,--into three sets in three weeks. We
quarrelled with the first landlady, because my aunt vowed that she
cut a slice off the leg of mutton which was served for our dinner;
from the second lodgings we went because aunt vowed the maid would
steal the candles; from the third we went because Aunt Hoggarty
came down to breakfast the morning after our arrival with her face
shockingly swelled and bitten by--never mind what. To cut a long
tale short, I was half mad with the continual choppings and
changings, and the long stories and scoldings of my aunt. As for
her great acquaintances, none of them were in London; and she made
it a matter of quarrel with me that I had not introduced her to
John Brough, Esquire, M.P., and to Lord and Lady Tiptoff, her
Mr. Brough was at Brighton when we arrived in town; and on his
return I did not care at first to tell our Director that I had
brought my aunt with me, or mention my embarrassments for money.
He looked rather serious when perforce I spoke of the latter to him
and asked for an advance; but when he heard that my lack of money
had been occasioned by the bringing of my aunt to London, his tone
instantly changed. "That, my dear boy, alters the question; Mrs.
Hoggarty is of an age when all things must be yielded to her. Here
are a hundred pounds; and I beg you to draw upon me whenever you
are in the least in want of money." This gave me breathing-time
until she should pay her share of the household expenses. And the
very next day Mr. and Mrs. John Brough, in their splendid carriage-
and-four, called upon Mrs. Hoggarty and my wife at our lodgings in
Lamb's Conduit Street.
It was on the very day when my poor aunt appeared with her face in
that sad condition; and she did not fail to inform Mrs. Brough of
the cause, and to state that at Castle Hoggarty, or at her country
place in Somersetshire, she had never heard or thought of such vile
"Gracious heavens!" shouted John Brough, Esquire, "a lady of your
rank to suffer in this way!--the excellent relative of my dear boy,
Titmarsh! Never, madam--never let it be said that Mrs. Hoggarty of
Castle Hoggarty should be subject to such horrible humiliation,
while John Brough has a home to offer her,--a humble, happy,
Christian home, madam; though unlike, perhaps, the splendour to
which you have been accustomed in the course of your distinguished
career. Isabella my love!--Belinda! speak to Mrs. Hoggarty. Tell
her that John Brough's house is hers from garret to cellar. I
repeat it, madam, from garret to cellar. I desire--I insist--I
order, that Mrs. Hoggarty of Castle Hoggarty's trunks should be
placed this instant in my carriage! Have the goodness to look to
them yourself, Mrs. Titmarsh, and see that your dear aunt's
comforts are better provided for than they have been."
Mary went away rather wondering at this order. But, to be sure,
Mr. Brough was a great man, and her Samuel's benefactor; and though
the silly child absolutely began to cry as she packed and toiled at
Aunt's enormous valises, yet she performed the work, and came down
with a smiling face to my aunt, who was entertaining Mr. and Mrs.
Brough with a long and particular account of the balls at the
Castle, in Dublin, in Lord Charleville's time.
"I have packed the trunks, Aunt, but I am not strong enough to
bring them down," said Mary.
"Certainly not, certainly not," said John Brough, perhaps a little
ashamed. "Hallo! George, Frederic, Augustus, come upstairs this
instant, and bring down the trunks of Mrs. Hoggarty of Castle
Hoggarty, which this young lady will show you."
Nay, so great was Mr. Brough's condescension, that when some of his
fashionable servants refused to meddle with the trunks, he himself
seized a pair of them with both bands, carried them to the
carriage, and shouted loud enough for all Lamb's Conduit Street to
hear, "John Brough is not proud--no, no; and if his footmen are too
high and mighty, he'll show them a lesson of humility."
Mrs. Brough was for running downstairs too, and taking the trunks
from her husband; but they were too heavy for her, so she contented
herself with sitting on one, and asking all persons who passed her,
whether John Brough was not an angel of a man?
In this way it was that my aunt left us. I was not aware of her
departure, for I was at the office at the time; and strolling back
at five with Gus, saw my dear Mary smiling and bobbing from the
window, and beckoning to us both to come up. This I thought was
very strange, because Mrs. Hoggarty could not abide Hoskins, and
indeed had told me repeatedly that either she or he must quit the
house. Well, we went upstairs, and there was Mary, who had dried
her tears and received us with the most smiling of faces, and
laughed and clapped her hands, and danced, and shook Gus's hand.
And what do you think the little rogue proposed? I am blest if she
did not say she would like to go to Vauxhall!
As dinner was laid for three persons only, Gus took his seat with
fear and trembling; and then Mrs. Sam Titmarsh related the
circumstances which had occurred, and how Mrs. Hoggarty had been
whisked away to Fulham in Mr. Brough's splendid carriage-and-four.
"Let her go," I am sorry to say, said I; and indeed we relished our
veal-cutlets and jam-pudding a great deal more than Mrs. Hoggarty
did her dinner off plate at the Rookery.
We had a very merry party to Vauxhall, Gus insisting on standing
treat; and you may be certain that my aunt, whose absence was
prolonged for three weeks, was heartily welcome to remain away, for
we were much merrier and more comfortable without her. My little
Mary used to make my breakfast before I went to office of mornings;
and on Sundays we had a holiday, and saw the dear little children
eat their boiled beef and potatoes at the Foundling, and heard the
beautiful music: but, beautiful as it is, I think the children
were a more beautiful sight still, and the look of their innocent
happy faces was better than the best sermon. On week-days Mrs.
Titmarsh would take a walk about five o'clock in the evening on the
LEFT-hand side of Lamb's Conduit Street (as you go to Holborn)--ay,
and sometimes pursue her walk as far as Snow Hill, when two young
gents from the I. W. D. Fire and Life were pretty sure to meet her;
and then how happily we all trudged off to dinner! Once we came up
as a monster of a man, with high heels and a gold-headed cane, and
whiskers all over his face, was grinning under Mary's bonnet, and
chattering to her, close to Day and Martin's Blacking Manufactory
(not near such a handsome thing then as it is now)--there was the
man chattering and ogling his best, when who should come up but Gus
and I? And in the twinkling of a pegpost, as Lord Duberley says,
my gentleman was seized by the collar of his coat and found himself
sprawling under a stand of hackney-coaches; where all the watermen
were grinning at him. The best of it was, he left his HEAD OF HAIR
AND WHISKERS in my hand: but Mary said, "Don't be hard upon him,
Samuel; it's only a Frenchman." And so we gave him his wig back,
which one of the grinning stable-boys put on and carried to him as
he lay in the straw.
He shrieked out something about "arretez," and "Francais," and
"champ-d'honneur;" but we walked on, Gus putting his thumb to his
nose and stretching out his finger at Master Frenchman. This made
everybody laugh; and so the adventure ended.
About ten days after my aunt's departure came a letter from her, of
which I give a copy:-
"My Dear Nephew,--It was my earnest whish e'er this to have
returned to London, where I am sure you and my niece Titmarsh miss
me very much, and where she, poor thing, quite inexperienced in the
ways of 'the great metropulus,' in aconamy, and indeed in every
qualaty requasit in a good wife and the mistress of a famaly, can
hardly manidge, I am sure, without me.
"Tell her ON NO ACCOUNT to pay more than 6.5D. for the prime
pieces, 4.75D. for soup meat; and that the very best of London
butter is to be had for 8.5D.; of course, for pudns and the kitchin
you'll employ a commoner sort. My trunks were sadly packed by Mrs.
Titmarsh, and the hasp of the portmantyou-lock has gone through my
yellow satn. I have darned it, and woar it already twice, at two
ellygant (though quiat) evening-parties given by my HOSPATABLE
host; and my pegreen velvet on Saturday at a grand dinner, when
Lord Scaramouch handed me to table. Everything was in the most
SUMPTIOUS STYLE. Soup top and bottom (white and brown), removed by
turbit and sammon with IMMENSE BOLES OF LOBSTER-SAUCE. Lobsters
alone cost 15S. Turbit, three guineas. The hole sammon, weighing,
I'm sure, 15 lbs., and NEVER SEEN at table again; not a bitt of
pickled sammon the hole weak afterwards. This kind of extravigance
would JUST SUIT Mrs. Sam Titmarsh, who, as I always say, burns THE
CANDLE AT BOTH ENDS. Well, young people, it is lucky for you you
have an old aunt who knows better, and has a long purse; without
witch, I dare say, SOME folks would be glad to see her out of
doors. I don't mean you, Samuel, who have, I must say, been a
dutiful nephew to me. Well, I dare say I shan't live long, and
some folks won't be sorry to have me in my grave.
"Indeed, on Sunday I was taken in my stomick very ill, and thought
it might have been the lobster-sauce; but Doctor Blogg, who was
called in, said it was, he very much feared, CUMSUMPTIVE; but gave
me some pills and a draft wh made me better. Please call upon him-
-he lives at Pimlico, and you can walk out there after office
hours--and present him with 1L. lS., with my compliments. I have
no money here but a 10L. note, the rest being locked up in my box
at Lamb's Cundit Street.
"Although the flesh is not neglected in Mr. B.'s sumptious
establishment, I can assure you the SPERRIT is likewise cared for.
Mr. B. reads and igspounds every morning; and o but his exorcises
refresh the hungry sole before breakfast! Everything is in the
handsomest style,--silver and goold plate at breakfast, lunch, and
dinner; and his crest and motty, a beehive, with the Latn word
INDUSTRIA, meaning industry, on EVERYTHING--even on the chany juggs
and things in my bedd-room. On Sunday we were favoured by a
special outpouring from the Rev. Grimes Wapshot, of the Amabaptist
Congrigation here, and who egshorted for 3 hours in the afternoon
in Mr. B.'s private chapel. As the widow of a Hoggarty, I have
always been a staunch supporter of the established Church of
England and Ireland; but I must say Mr. Wapshot's stirring way was
far superior to that of the Rev. Bland Blenkinsop of the
Establishment, who lifted up his voice after dinner for a short
discourse of two hours.
"Mrs. Brough is, between ourselves, a poor creature, and has no
sperrit of her own. As for Miss B., she is so saucy that once I
promised to box her years; and would have left the house, had not
Mr. B. taken my part, and Miss made me a suitable apollogy.
"I don't know when I shall return to town, being made really so
welcome here. Dr. Blogg says the air of Fulham is the best in the
world for my simtums; and as the ladies of the house do not choose
to walk out with me, the Rev. Grimes Wapshot has often been kind
enough to lend me his arm, and 'tis sweet with such a guide to
wander both to Putney and Wandsworth, and igsamin the wonderful
works of nature. I have spoke to him about the Slopperton
property, and he is not of Mr. B.'s opinion that I should sell it;
but on this point I shall follow my own counsel.
"Meantime you must gett into more comfortable lodgings, and lett my
bedd be warmed every night, and of rainy days have a fire in the
grate: and let Mrs. Titmarsh look up my blue silk dress, and turn
it against I come; and there is my purple spencer she can have for
herself; and I hope she does not wear those three splendid gowns
you gave her, but keep them until BETTER TIMES. I shall soon
introduse her to my friend Mr. Brough, and others of my
acquaintances; and am always
"Your loving AUNT.
"I have ordered a chest of the Rosolio to be sent from
Somersetshire. When it comes, please to send half down here
(paying the carriage, of course). 'Twill be an acceptable present
to my kind entertainer, Mr. B."
This letter was brought to me by Mr. Brough himself at the office,
who apologised to me for having broken the seal by inadvertence;
for the letter had been mingled with some more of his own, and he
opened it without looking at the superscription. Of course he had
not read it, and I was glad of that; for I should not have liked
him to see my aunt's opinion of his daughter and lady.
The next day, a gentleman at "Tom's Coffee-house," Cornhill, sent
me word at the office that he wanted particularly to speak to me:
and I stopped thither, and found my old friend Smithers, of the
house of Hodge and Smithers, just off the coach, with his carpet-
bag between his legs.
"Sam my boy," said he, "you are your aunt's heir, and I have a
piece of news for you regarding her property which you ought to
know. She wrote us down a letter for a chest of that home-made
wine of hers which she calls Rosolio, and which lies in our
warehouse along with her furniture."
"Well," says I, smiling, "she may part with as much Rosolio as she
likes for me. I cede all my right."
"Psha!" says Smithers, "it's not that; though her furniture puts us
to a deuced inconvenience, to be sure--it's not that: but, in the
postscript of her letter, she orders us to advertise the Slopperton
and Squashtail estates for immediate sale, as she purposes placing
her capital elsewhere."
I know that the Slopperton and Squashtail property had been the
source of a very pretty income to Messrs. Hodge and Smithers, for
Aunt was always at law with her tenants, and paid dearly for her
litigious spirit; so that Mr. Smithers's concern regarding the sale
of it did not seem to me to be quite disinterested.
"And did you come to London, Mr. Smithers, expressly to acquaint me
with this fact? It seems to me you had much better have obeyed my
aunt's instructions at once, or go to her at Fulham, and consult
with her on this subject."
"'Sdeath, Mr. Titmarsh! don't you see that if she makes a sale of
her property, she will hand over the money to Brough; and if Brough
gets the money he--"
"Will give her seven per cent. for it instead of three,--there's no
harm in that."
"But there's such a thing as security, look you. He is a warm man,
certainly--very warm--quite respectable--most undoubtedly
respectable. But who knows? A panic may take place; and then
these five hundred companies in which he is engaged may bring him
to ruin. There's the Ginger Beer Company, of which Brough is a
director: awkward reports are abroad concerning it. The
Consolidated Baffin's Bay Muff and Tippet Company--the shares are
down very low, and Brough is a director there. The Patent Pump
Company--shares at 65, and a fresh call, which nobody will pay."
"Nonsense, Mr. Smithers! Has not Mr. Brough five hundred thousand
pounds' worth of shares in the INDEPENDENT WEST DIDDLESEX, and is
THAT at a discount? Who recommended my aunt to invest her money in
that speculation, I should like to know?" I had him there.
"Well, well, it is a very good speculation, certainly, and has
brought you three hundred a year, Sam my boy; and you may thank us
for the interest we took in you (indeed, we loved you as a son, and
Miss Hodge has not recovered a certain marriage yet). You don't
intend to rebuke us for making your fortune, do you?"
"No, hang it, no!" says I, and shook hands with him, and accepted a
glass of sherry and biscuits, which he ordered forthwith.
Smithers returned, however, to the charge. "Sam," he said, "mark
my words, and take your aunt AWAY FROM THE ROOKERY. She wrote to
Mrs. S. a long account of a reverend gent with whom she walks out
there,--the Reverend Grimes Wapshot. That man has an eye upon her.
He was tried at Lancaster in the year '14 for forgery, and narrowly
escaped with his neck. Have a care of him--he has an eye to her
"Nay," said I, taking out Mrs. Hoggarty's letter: "read for
He read it over very carefully, seemed to be amused by it; and as
he returned it to me, "Well, Sam," he said, "I have only two
favours to ask of you: one is, not to mention that I am in town to
any living soul; and the other is to give me a dinner in Lamb's
Conduit Street with your pretty wife."
"I promise you both gladly," I said, laughing. "But if you dine
with us, your arrival in town must be known, for my friend Gus
Hoskins dines with us likewise; and has done so nearly every day
since my aunt went."
He laughed too, and said, "We must swear Gus to secrecy over a
bottle." And so we parted till dinner-time.
The indefatigable lawyer pursued his attack after dinner, and was
supported by Gus and by my wife too; who certainly was
disinterested in the matter--more than disinterested, for she would
have given a great deal to be spared my aunt's company. But she
said she saw the force of Mr. Smithers's arguments, and I admitted
their justice with a sigh. However, I rode my high horse, and
vowed that my aunt should do what she liked with her money; and
that I was not the man who would influence her in any way in the
disposal of it.
After tea, the two gents walked away together, and Gus told me that
Smithers had asked him a thousand questions about the office, about
Brough, about me and my wife, and everything concerning us. "You
are a lucky fellow, Mr. Hoskins, and seem to be the friend of this
charming young couple," said Smithers; and Gus confessed he was,
and said he had dined with us fifteen times in six weeks, and that
a better and more hospitable fellow than I did not exist. This I
state not to trumpet my own praises,--no, no; but because these
questions of Smithers's had a good deal to do with the subsequent
events narrated in this little history.
Being seated at dinner the next day off the cold leg of mutton that
Smithers had admired so the day before, and Gus as usual having his
legs under our mahogany, a hackney-coach drove up to the door,
which we did not much heed; a step was heard on the floor, which we
hoped might be for the two-pair lodger, when who should burst into
the room but Mrs. Hoggarty herself! Gus, who was blowing the froth
off a pot of porter preparatory to a delicious drink of the
beverage, and had been making us die of laughing with his stories
and jokes, laid down the pewter pot as Mrs. H. came in, and looked
quite sick and pale. Indeed we all felt a little uneasy.
My aunt looked haughtily in Mary's face, then fiercely at Gus, and
saying, "It is too true--my poor boy--ALREADY!" flung herself
hysterically into my arms, and swore, almost choking, that she
would never never leave me.
I could not understand the meaning of this extraordinary agitation
on Mrs. Hoggarty's part, nor could any of us. She refused Mary's
hand when the poor thing rather nervously offered it; and when Gus
timidly said, "I think, Sam, I'm rather in the way here, and
perhaps--had better go," Mrs. H. looked him full in the face,
pointed to the door majestically with her forefinger, and said, "I
think, sir, you HAD better go."
"I hope Mr. Hoskins will stay as long as he pleases," said my wife,
"OF COURSE you hope so, madam," answered Mrs. Hoggarty, very
sarcastic. But Mary's speech and my aunt's were quite lost upon
Gus; for he had instantly run to his hat, and I heard him tumbling
The quarrel ended, as usual, by Mary's bursting into a fit of
tears, and by my aunt's repeating the assertion that it was not too
late, she trusted; and from that day forth she would never never
"What could have made Aunt return and be so angry?" said I to Mary
that night, as we were in our own room; but my wife protested she
did not know: and it was only some time after that I found out the
reason of this quarrel, and of Mrs. H.'s sudden reappearance.
The horrible fat coarse little Smithers told me the matter as a
very good joke, only the other year, when he showed me the letter
of Hickson, Dixon, Paxton and Jackson, which has before been quoted
in my Memoirs.
"Sam my boy," said he, "you were determined to leave Mrs. Hoggarty
in Brough's clutches at the Rookery, and I was determined to have
her away. I resolved to kill two of your mortal enemies with one
stone as it were. It was quite clear to me that the Reverend
Grimes Wapshot had an eye to your aunt's fortune; and that Mr.
Brough had similar predatory intentions regarding her. Predatory
is a mild word, Sam: if I had said robbery at once, I should
express my meaning clearer.
"Well, I took the Fulham stage, and arriving, made straight for the
lodgings of the reverend gentleman. 'Sir,' said I, on finding that
worthy gent,--he was drinking warm brandy-and-water, Sam, at two
o'clock in the day, or at least the room smelt very strongly of
that beverage--'Sir,' says I, 'you were tried for forgery in the
year '14, at Lancaster assizes.'
"'And acquitted, sir. My innocence was by Providence made clear,'
"'But you were not acquitted of embezzlement in '16, sir,' says I,
'and passed two years in York Gaol in consequence.' I knew the
fellow's history, for I had a writ out against him when he was a
preacher at Clifton. I followed up my blow. 'Mr. Wapshot,' said
I, 'you are making love to an excellent lady now at the house of
Mr. Brough: if you do not promise to give up all pursuit of her, I
will expose you.'
"'I HAVE promised,' said Wapshot, rather surprised, and looking
more easy. 'I have given my solemn promise to Mr. Brough, who was
with me this very morning, storming, and scolding, and swearing.
Oh, sir, it would have frightened you to hear a Christian babe like
him swear as he did.'
"'Mr. Brough been here?' says I, rather astonished.
"'Yes; I suppose you are both here on the same scent,' says
Wapshot. 'You want to marry the widow with the Slopperton and
Squashtail estate, do you? Well, well, have your way. I've
promised not to have anything more to do with the widow and a
Wapshot's honour is sacred.'
"'I suppose, sir,' says I, 'Mr. Brough has threatened to kick you
out of doors, if you call again.'
"'You HAVE been with him, I see,' says the reverend gent, with a
shrug: then I remembered what you had told me of the broken seal
of your letter, and have not the slightest doubt that Brough opened
and read every word of it.
"Well, the first bird was bagged: both I and Brough had had a shot
at him. Now I had to fire at the whole Rookery; and off I went,
primed and loaded, sir,--primed and loaded.
"It was past eight when I arrived, and I saw, after I passed the
lodge-gates, a figure that I knew, walking in the shrubbery--that
of your respected aunt, sir: but I wished to meet the amiable
ladies of the house before I saw her; because look, friend
Titmarsh, I saw by Mrs. Hoggarty's letter, that she and they were
at daggers drawn, and hoped to get her out of the house at once by
means of a quarrel with them."
I laughed, and owned that Mr. Smithers was a very cunning fellow.
"As luck would have it," continued he, "Miss Brough was in the
drawing-room twangling on a guitar, and singing most atrociously
out of tune; but as I entered at the door, I cried 'Hush!' to the
footman, as loud as possible, stood stock-still, and then walked
forward on tip-toe lightly. Miss B. could see in the glass every
movement that I made; she pretended not to see, however, and
finished the song with a regular roulade.
"'Gracious Heaven!' said I, 'do, madam, pardon me for interrupting
that delicious harmony,--for coming unaware upon it, for daring
uninvited to listen to it.'
"'Do you come for Mamma, sir?' said Miss Brough, with as much
graciousness as her physiognomy could command. 'I am Miss Brough,
"'I wish, madam, you would let me not breathe a word regarding my
business until you have sung another charming strain.'
"She did not sing, but looked pleased, and said, 'La! sir, what is
"'My business is with a lady, your respected father's guest in this
"'Oh, Mrs. Hoggarty!' says Miss Brough, flouncing towards the bell,
and ringing it. 'John, send to Mrs. Hoggarty, in the shrubbery;
here is a gentleman who wants to see her.'
"'I know,' continued I, 'Mrs. Hoggarty's peculiarities as well as
anyone, madam; and aware that those and her education are not such
as to make her a fit companion for you. I know you do not like
her: she has written to us in Somersetshire that you do not like
"'What! she has been abusing us to her friends, has she?' cried
Miss Brough (it was the very point I wished to insinuate). 'If she
does not like us, why does she not leave us?'
"'She HAS made rather a long visit,' said I; 'and I am sure that
her nephew and niece are longing for her return. Pray, madam, do
not move, for you may aid me in the object for which I come.'
"The object for which I came, sir, was to establish a regular
battle-royal between the two ladies; at the end of which I intended
to appeal to Mrs. Hoggarty, and say that she ought really no longer
to stay in a house with the members of which she had such unhappy
differences. Well, sir, the battle-royal was fought,--Miss Belinda
opening the fire, by saying she understood Mrs. Hoggarty had been
calumniating her to her friends. But though at the end of it Miss
rushed out of the room in a rage, and vowed she would leave her
home unless that odious woman left it, your dear aunt said, 'Ha,
ha! I know the minx's vile stratagems; but, thank Heaven! I have a
good heart, and my religion enables me to forgive her. I shall not
leave her excellent papa's house, or vex by my departure that
worthy admirable man.'
"I then tried Mrs. H. on the score of compassion. 'Your niece,'
said I, 'Mrs. Titmarsh, madam, has been of late, Sam says, rather
poorly,--qualmish of mornings, madam,--a little nervous, and low in
spirits,--symptoms, madam, that are scarcely to be mistaken in a
young married person.'
"Mrs. Hoggarty said she had an admirable cordial that she would
send Mrs. Samuel Titmarsh, and she was perfectly certain it would
do her good.
"With very great unwillingness I was obliged now to bring my last
reserve into the field, and may tell you what that was, Sam my boy,
now that the matter is so long passed. 'Madam,' said I, 'there's a
matter about which I must speak, though indeed I scarcely dare. I
dined with your nephew yesterday, and met at his table a young man-
-a young man of low manners, but evidently one who has blinded your
nephew, and I too much fear has succeeded in making an impression
upon your niece. His name is Hoskins, madam; and when I state that
he who was never in the house during your presence there, has dined
with your too confiding nephew sixteen times in three weeks, I may
leave you to imagine what I dare not--dare not imagine myself.'
"The shot told. Your aunt bounced up at once, and in ten minutes
more was in my carriage, on our way back to London. There, sir,
was not that generalship?"
"And you played this pretty trick off at my wife's expense, Mr.
Smithers," said I.
"At your wife's expense, certainly; but for the benefit of both of
"It's lucky, sir, that you are an old man," I replied, "and that
the affair happened ten years ago; or, by the Lord, Mr. Smithers, I
would have given you such a horsewhipping as you never heard of!"
But this was the way in which Mrs. Hoggarty was brought back to her
relatives; and this was the reason why we took that house in
Bernard Street, the doings at which must now he described.
OF SAM'S PRIVATE AFFAIRS AND OF THE FIRM OF BROUGH AND HOFF
We took a genteel house in Bernard Street, Russell Square, and my
aunt sent for all her furniture from the country; which would have
filled two such houses, but which came pretty cheap to us young
housekeepers, as we had only to pay the carriage of the goods from
When I brought Mrs. H. her third half-year's dividend, having not
for four months touched a shilling of her money, I must say she
gave me 50L. of the 80L., and told me that was ample pay for the
board and lodging of a poor old woman like her, who did not eat
more than a sparrow.
I have myself, in the country, seen her eat nine sparrows in a
pudding; but she was rich and I could not complain. If she saved
600L. a year, at the least, by living with us, why, all the savings
would one day come to me; and so Mary and I consoled ourselves, and
tried to manage matters as well as we might. It was no easy task
to keep a mansion in Bernard Street and save money out of 470L. a
year, which was my income. But what a lucky fellow I was to have
such an income!
As Mrs. Hoggarty left the Rookery in Smithers's carriage, Mr.
Brough, with his four greys, was entering the lodge-gate; and I
should like to have seen the looks of these two gentlemen, as the
one was carrying the other's prey off, out of his own very den,
under his very nose.
He came to see her the next day, and protested that he would not
leave the house until she left it with him: that he had heard of
his daughter's infamous conduct, and had seen her in tears--"in
tears, madam, and on her knees, imploring Heaven to pardon her!"
But Mr. B. was obliged to leave the house without my aunt, who had
a causa major for staying, and hardly allowed poor Mary out of her
sight,--opening every one of the letters that came into the house
directed to my wife, and suspecting hers to everybody. Mary never
told me of all this pain for many many years afterwards; but had
always a smiling face for her husband when he came home from his
work. As for poor Gus, my aunt had so frightened him, that he
never once showed his nose in the place all the time we lived
there; but used to be content with news of Mary, of whom he was as
fond as he was of me.
Mr. Brough, when my aunt left him, was in a furious ill-humour with
me. He found fault with me ten times a day, and openly, before the
gents of the office; but I let him one day know pretty smartly that
I was not only a servant, but a considerable shareholder in the
company; that I defied him to find fault with my work or my
regularity; and that I was not minded to receive any insolent
language from him or any man. He said it was always so: that he
had never cherished a young man in his bosom, but the ingrate had
turned on him; that he was accustomed to wrong and undutifulness
from his children, and that he would pray that the sin might be
forgiven me. A moment before he had been cursing and swearing at
me, and speaking to me as if I had been his shoeblack. But, look
you, I was not going to put up with any more of Madam Brough's
airs, or of his. With me they might act as they thought fit; but I
did not choose that my wife should be passed over by them, as she
had been in the matter of the visit to Fulham.
Brough ended by warning me of Hodge and Smithers. "Beware of these
men," said he; "but for my honesty, your aunt's landed property
would have been sacrificed by these cormorants: and when, for her
benefit--which you, obstinate young man, will not perceive--I
wished to dispose of her land, her attorneys actually had the
audacity--the unchristian avarice I may say--to ask ten per cent.
commission on the sale."
There might be some truth in this, I thought: at any rate, when
rogues fall out, honest men come by their own: and now I began to
suspect, I am sorry to say, that both the attorney and the Director
had a little of the rogue in their composition. It was especially
about my wife's fortune that Mr. B. showed HIS cloven foot: for
proposing, as usual, that I should purchase shares with it in our
Company, I told him that my wife was a minor, and as such her
little fortune was vested out of my control altogether. He flung
away in a rage at this; and I soon saw that he did not care for me
any more, by Abednego's manner to me. No more holidays, no more
advances of money, had I: on the contrary, the private clerkship
at 150L. was abolished, and I found myself on my 250L. a year
again. Well, what then? it was always a good income, and I did my
duty, and laughed at the Director.
About this time, in the beginning of 1824, the Jamaica Ginger Beer
Company shut up shop--exploded, as Gus said, with a bang! The
Patent Pump shares were down to 15L. upon a paid-up capital of 65L.
Still ours were at a high premium; and the Independent West
Diddlesex held its head up as proudly as any office in London.
Roundhand's abuse had had some influence against the Director,
certainly; for he hinted at malversation of shares: but the
Company still stood as united as the Hand-in-Hand, and as firm as
To return to the state of affairs in Bernard Street, Russell
Square: my aunt's old furniture crammed our little rooms; and my
aunt's enormous old jingling grand piano, with crooked legs and
half the strings broken, occupied three-fourths of the little
drawing-room. Here used Mrs. H. to sit, and play us, for hours,
sonatas that were in fashion in Lord Charleville's time; and sung
with a cracked voice, till it was all that we could do to refrain
And it was queer to remark the change that had taken place in Mrs.
Hoggarty's character now: for whereas she was in the country among
the topping persons of the village, and quite content with a tea-
party at six and a game of twopenny whist afterwards,--in London
she would never dine till seven; would have a fly from the mews to
drive in the Park twice a week; cut and uncut, and ripped up and
twisted over and over, all her old gowns, flounces, caps, and
fallals, and kept my poor Mary from morning till night altering
them to the present mode. Mrs. Hoggarty, moreover, appeared in a
new wig; and, I am sorry to say, turned out with such a pair of red
cheeks as Nature never gave her, and as made all the people in
Bernard Street stare, where they are not as yet used to such
Moreover, she insisted upon our establishing a servant in livery,--
a boy, that is, of about sixteen,--who was dressed in one of the
old liveries that she had brought with her from Somersetshire,
decorated with new cuffs and collars, and new buttons: on the
latter were represented the united crests of the Titmarshes and
Hoggartys, viz., a tomtit rampant and a hog in armour. I thought
this livery and crest-button rather absurd, I must confess; though
my family is very ancient. And heavens! what a roar of laughter
was raised in the office one day, when the little servant in the
big livery, with the immense cane, walked in and brought me a
message from Mrs. Hoggarty of Castle Hoggarty! Furthermore, all
letters were delivered on a silver tray. If we had had a baby, I
believe Aunt would have had it down on the tray: but there was as
yet no foundation for Mr. Smithers's insinuation upon that score,
any more than for his other cowardly fabrication before narrated.
Aunt and Mary used to walk gravely up and down the New Road, with
the boy following with his great gold-headed stick; but though
there was all this ceremony and parade, and Aunt still talked of
her acquaintances, we did not see a single person from week's end
to week's end, and a more dismal house than ours could hardly be
found in London town.
On Sundays, Mrs. Hoggarty used to go to St. Pancras Church, then
just built, and as handsome as Covent Garden Theatre; and of
evenings, to a meeting-house of the Anabaptists: and that day, at
least, Mary and I had to ourselves,--for we chose to have seats at
the Foundling, and heard the charming music there, and my wife used
to look wistfully in the pretty children's faces,--and so, for the
matter of that, did I. It was not, however, till a year after our
marriage that she spoke in a way which shall be here passed over,
but which filled both her and me with inexpressible joy.
I remember she had the news to give me on the very day when the
Muff and Tippet Company shut up, after swallowing a capital of
300,000L. as some said, and nothing to show for it except a treaty
with some Indians, who had afterwards tomahawked the agent of the
Company. Some people said there were no Indians, and no agent to
be tomahawked at all; but that the whole had been invented in a
house in Crutched Friars. Well, I pitied poor Tidd, whose 20,000L.
were thus gone in a year, and whom I met in the City that day with
a most ghastly face. He had 1,000L. of debts, he said, and talked
of shooting himself; but he was only arrested, and passed a long
time in the Fleet. Mary's delightful news, however, soon put Tidd
and the Muff and Tippet Company out of my head; as you may fancy.
Other circumstances now occurred in the City of London which seemed
to show that our Director was--what is not to be found in Johnson's
Dictionary--rather shaky. Three of his companies had broken; four
more were in a notoriously insolvent state; and even at the
meetings of the directors of the West Diddlesex, some stormy words
passed, which ended in the retirement of several of the board.
Friends of Mr. B.'s filled up their places: Mr. Puppet, Mr. Straw,
Mr. Query, and other respectable gents, coming forward and joining
the concern. Brough and Hoff dissolved partnership; and Mr. B.
said he had quite enough to do to manage the I. W. D., and intended
gradually to retire from the other affairs. Indeed, such an
Association as ours was enough work for any man, let alone the
parliamentary duties which Brough was called on to perform, and the
seventy-two lawsuits which burst upon him as principal director of
the late companies.
Perhaps I should here describe the desperate attempts made by Mrs.
Hoggarty to introduce herself into genteel life. Strange to say,
although we had my Lord Tiptoff's word to the contrary, she
insisted upon it that she and Lady Drum were intimately related;
and no sooner did she read in the Morning Post of the arrival of
her Ladyship and her granddaughters in London, than she ordered the
fly before mentioned, and left cards at their respective houses:
her card, that is--"MRS. HOGGARTY OF CASTLE HOGGARTY,"
magnificently engraved in Gothic letters and flourishes; and ours,
viz., "Mr. and Mrs. S. Titmarsh," which she had printed for the
She would have stormed Lady Jane Preston's door and forced her way
upstairs, in spite of Mary's entreaties to the contrary, had the
footman who received her card given her the least encouragement;
but that functionary, no doubt struck by the oddity of her
appearance, placed himself in the front of the door, and declared
that he had positive orders not to admit any strangers to his lady.
On which Mrs. Hoggarty clenched her fist out of the coach-window,
and promised that she would have him turned away.
Yellowplush only burst out laughing at this; and though Aunt wrote
a most indignant letter to Mr. Edmund Preston, complaining of the
insolence of the servants of that right honourable gent, Mr.
Preston did not take any notice of her letter, further than to
return it, with a desire that he might not be troubled with such
impertinent visits for the future. A pretty day we had of it when
this letter arrived, owing to my aunt's disappointment and rage in
reading the contents; for when Solomon brought up the note on the
silver tea-tray as usual, my aunt, seeing Mr. Preston's seal and
name at the corner of the letter (which is the common way of
writing adopted by those official gents)--my aunt, I say, seeing
his name and seal, cried, "NOW, Mary, who is right?" and betted my
wife a sixpence that the envelope contained an invitation to
dinner. She never paid the sixpence, though she lost, but
contented herself by abusing Mary all day, and said I was a poor-
spirited sneak for not instantly horsewhipping Mr. P. A pretty
joke, indeed! They would have hanged me in those days, as they did
the man who shot Mr. Perceval.
And now I should be glad to enlarge upon that experience in genteel
life which I obtained through the perseverance of Mrs. Hoggarty;
but it must be owned that my opportunities were but few, lasting
only for the brief period of six months: and also, genteel society
has been fully described already by various authors of novels,
whose names need not here be set down, but who, being themselves
connected with the aristocracy, viz., as members of noble families,
or as footmen or hangers-on thereof, naturally understand their
subject a great deal better than a poor young fellow from a fire-
There was our celebrated adventure in the Opera House, whither Mrs.
H. would insist upon conducting us; and where, in a room of the
establishment called the crush-room, where the ladies and gents
after the music and dancing await the arrival of their carriages (a
pretty figure did our little Solomon cut, by the way, with his big
cane, among the gentlemen of the shoulder-knot assembled in the
lobby!)--where, I say, in the crush-room, Mrs. H. rushed up to old
Lady Drum, whom I pointed out to her, and insisted upon claiming
relationship with her Ladyship. But my Lady Drum had only a memory
when she chose, as I may say, and had entirely on this occasion
thought fit to forget her connection with the Titmarshes and
Hoggarties. Far from recognising us, indeed, she called Mrs.
Hoggarty an "ojus 'oman," and screamed out as loud as possible for
This and other rebuffs made my aunt perceive the vanities of this
wicked world, as she said, and threw her more and more into really
serious society. She formed several very valuable acquaintances,
she said, at the Independent Chapel; and among others, lighted upon
her friend of the Rookery, Mr. Grimes Wapshot. We did not know
then the interview which he had had with Mr. Smithers, nor did
Grimes think proper to acquaint us with the particulars of it; but
though I did acquaint Mrs. H. with the fact that her favourite
preacher had been tried for forgery, SHE replied that she
considered the story an atrocious calumny; and HE answered by
saying that Mary and I were in lamentable darkness, and that we
should infallibly find the way to a certain bottomless pit, of
which he seemed to know a great deal. Under the reverend
gentleman's guidance and advice, she, after a time, separated from
St. Pancras altogether--"SAT UNDER HIM," as the phrase is,
regularly thrice a week--began to labour in the conversion of the
poor of Bloomsbury and St. Giles's, and made a deal of baby-linen
for distribution among those benighted people. She did not make
any, however, for Mrs. Sam Titmarsh, who now showed signs that such
would be speedily necessary, but let Mary (and my mother and
sisters in Somersetshire) provide what was requisite for the coming
event. I am not, indeed, sure that she did not say it was wrong on
our parts to make any such provision, and that we ought to let the
morrow provide for itself. At any rate, the Reverend Grimes
Wapshot drank a deal of brandy-and-water at our house, and dined
there even oftener than poor Gus used to do.
But I had little leisure to attend to him and his doings; for I
must confess at this time I was growing very embarrassed in my
circumstances, and was much harassed both as a private and public
As regards the former, Mrs. Hoggarty had given me 50L.; but out of
that 50L. I had to pay a journey post from Somersetshire, all the
carriage of her goods from the country, the painting, papering, and
carpeting of my house, the brandy and strong liquors drunk by the
Reverend Grimes and his friends (for the reverend gent said that
Rosolio did not agree with him); and finally, a thousand small
bills and expenses incident to all housekeepers in the town of
Add to this, I received just at the time when I was most in want of
cash, Madame Mantalini's bill, Messrs. Howell and James's ditto,
the account of Baron Von Stiltz, and the bill of Mr. Polonius for
the setting of the diamond pin. All these bills arrived in a week,
as they have a knack of doing; and fancy my astonishment in
presenting them to Mrs. Hoggarty, when she said, "Well, my dear,
you are in the receipt of a very fine income. If you choose to
order dresses and jewels from first-rate shops, you must pay for
them; and don't expect that I am to abet your extravagance, or give
you a shilling more than the munificent sum I pay you for board and
How could I tell Mary of this behaviour of Mrs. Hoggarty, and Mary
in such a delicate condition? And bad as matters were at home, I
am sorry to say at the office they began to look still worse.
Not only did Roundhand leave, but Highmore went away. Abednego
became head clerk: and one day old Abednego came to the place and
was shown into the directors' private room; when he left it, he
came trembling, chattering, and cursing downstairs; and had begun,
"Shentlemen--" a speech to the very clerks in the office, when Mr.
Brough, with an imploring look, and crying out, "Stop till
Saturday!" at length got him into the street.
On Saturday Abednego junior left the office for ever, and I became
head clerk with 400L. a year salary. It was a fatal week for the
office, too. On Monday, when I arrived and took my seat at the
head desk, and my first read of the newspaper, as was my right, the
first thing I read was, "Frightful fire in Houndsditch! Total
destruction of Mr. Meshach's sealing-wax manufactory and of Mr.
Shadrach's clothing depot, adjoining. In the former was 20,000L.
worth of the finest Dutch wax, which the voracious element attacked
and devoured in a twinkling. The latter estimable gentleman had
just completed forty thousand suits of clothes for the cavalry of
H.H. the Cacique of Poyais."
Both of these Jewish gents, who were connections of Mr. Abednego,
were insured in our office to the full amount of their loss. The
calamity was attributed to the drunkenness of a scoundrelly Irish
watchman, who was employed on the premises, and who upset a bottle
of whisky in the warehouse of Messrs. Shadrach, and incautiously
looked for the liquor with a lighted candle. The man was brought
to our office by his employers; and certainly, as we all could
testify, was EVEN THEN in a state of frightful intoxication.
As if this were not sufficient, in the obituary was announced the
demise of Alderman Pash--Alderman Cally-Pash we used to call him in
our lighter hours, knowing his propensity to green fat: but such a
moment as this was no time for joking! He was insured by our house
for 5,000L. And now I saw very well the truth of a remark of
Gus's--viz., that life-assurance companies go on excellently for a
year or two after their establishment, but that it is much more
difficult to make them profitable when the assured parties begin to
The Jewish fires were the heaviest blows we had had; for though the
Waddingley Cotton-mills had been burnt in 1822, at a loss to the
Company of 80,000L., and though the Patent Erostratus Match
Manufactory had exploded in the same year at a charge of 14,000L.,
there were those who said that the loss had not been near so heavy
as was supposed--nay, that the Company had burnt the above-named
establishments as advertisements for themselves. Of these facts I
can't be positive, having never seen the early accounts of the
Contrary to the expectation of all us gents, who were ourselves as
dismal as mutes, Mr. Brough came to the office in his coach-and-
four, laughing and joking with a friend as he stepped out at the
"Gentlemen!" said he, "you have read the papers; they announce an
event which I most deeply deplore. I mean the demise of the
excellent Alderman Pash, one of our constituents. But if anything
can console me for the loss of that worthy man, it is to think that
his children and widow will receive, at eleven o'clock next
Saturday, 5,000L. from my friend Mr. Titmarsh, who is now head
clerk here. As for the accident which has happened to Messrs.
Shadrach and Meshach,--in THAT, at least, there is nothing that can
occasion any person sorrow. On Saturday next, or as soon as the
particulars of their loss can be satisfactorily ascertained, my
friend Mr. Titmarsh will pay to them across the counter a sum of
forty, fifty, eighty, one hundred thousand pounds--according to the
amount of their loss. THEY, at least, will be remunerated; and
though to our proprietors the outlay will no doubt be considerable,
yet we can afford it, gentlemen. John Brough can afford it
himself, for the matter of that, and not be very much embarrassed;
and we must learn to bear ill-fortune as we have hitherto borne
good, and show ourselves to be men always!"
Mr. B. concluded with some allusions, which I confess I don't like
to give here; for to speak of Heaven in connection with common
worldly matters, has always appeared to me irreverent; and to bring
it to bear witness to the lie in his mouth, as a religious
hypocrite does, is such a frightful crime, that one should be
careful even in alluding to it.
Mr. Brough's speech somehow found its way into the newspapers of
that very evening; nor can I think who gave a report of it, for
none of our gents left the office that day until the evening papers
had appeared. But there was the speech--ay, and at the week's end,
although Roundhand was heard on 'Change that day declaring he would
bet five to one that Alderman Pash's money would never be paid,--at
the week's end the money was paid by me to Mrs. Pash's solicitor
across the counter, and no doubt Roundhand lost his money.
Shall I tell how the money was procured? There can be no harm in
mentioning the matter now after twenty years' lapse of time; and
moreover, it is greatly to the credit of two individuals now dead.
As I was head clerk, I had occasion to be frequently in Brough's
room, and he now seemed once more disposed to take me into his
"Titmarsh my boy," said he one day to me, after looking me hard in
the face, "did you ever hear of the fate of the great Mr.
Silberschmidt of London?" Of course I had. Mr. Silberschmidt, the
Rothschild of his day (indeed I have heard the latter famous gent
was originally a clerk in Silberschmidt's house)--Silberschmidt,
fancying he could not meet his engagements, committed suicide; and
had he lived till four o'clock that day, would have known that he
was worth 400,000L. To tell you frankly the truth," says Mr. B.,
"I am in Silberschmidt's case. My late partner, Hoff, has given
bills in the name of the firm to an enormous amount, and I have
been obliged to meet them. I have been cast in fourteen actions,
brought by creditors of that infernal Ginger Beer Company; and all
the debts are put upon my shoulders, on account of my known wealth.
Now, unless I have time, I cannot pay; and the long and short of
the matter is that if I cannot procure 5,000L. before Saturday, OUR
CONCERN IS RUINED!"
"What! the West Diddlesex ruined?" says I, thinking of my poor
mother's annuity. "Impossible! our business is splendid!"
"We must have 5,000L. on Saturday, and we are saved; and if you
will, as you can, get it for me, I will give you 10,000L. for the
B. then showed me to a fraction the accounts of the concern, and
his own private account; proving beyond the possibility of a doubt,
that with the 5,000L. our office must be set a-going; and without
it, that the concern must stop. No matter how he proved the thing;
but there is, you know, a dictum of a statesman that, give him but
leave to use figures, and he will prove anything.
I promised to ask Mrs. Hoggarty once more for the money, and she
seemed not to be disinclined. I told him so; and that day he
called upon her, his wife called upon her, his daughter called upon
her, and once more the Brough carriage-and-four was seen at our
But Mrs. Brough was a bad manager; and, instead of carrying matters
with a high hand, fairly burst into tears before Mrs. Hoggarty, and
went down on her knees and besought her to save dear John. This at
once aroused my aunt's suspicions; and instead of lending the
money, she wrote off to Mr. Smithers instantly to come up to her,
desired me to give her up the 3,000L. scrip shares that I
possessed, called me an atrocious cheat and heartless swindler, and
vowed I had been the cause of her ruin.
How was Mr. Brough to get the money? I will tell you. Being in
his room one day, old Gates the Fulham porter came and brought him
from Mr. Balls, the pawnbroker, a sum of 1,200L. Missus told him,
he said, to carry the plate to Mr. Balls; and having paid the
money, old Gates fumbled a great deal in his pockets, and at last
pulled out a 5L. note, which he said his daughter Jane had just
sent him from service, and begged Mr. B. would let him have another
share in the Company. "He was mortal sure it would go right yet.
And when he heard master crying and cursing as he and missus were
walking in the shrubbery, and saying that for the want of a few
pounds--a few shillings--the finest fortune in Europe was to be
overthrown, why Gates and his woman thought that they should come
for'ard, to be sure, with all they could, to help the kindest
master and missus ever was."
This was the substance of Gates's speech; and Mr. Brough shook his
hand and--took the 5L. "Gates," said he, "that 5L. note shall be
the best outlay you ever made in your life!" and I have no doubt it
was,--but it was in heaven that poor old Gates was to get the
interest of his little mite.
Nor was this the only instance. Mrs. Brough's sister, Miss Dough,
who had been on bad terms with the Director almost ever since he
had risen to be a great man, came to the office with a power of
attorney, and said, "John, Isabella has been with me this morning,
and says you want money, and I have brought you my 4,000L.; it is
all I have, John, and pray God it may do you good--you and my dear
sister, who was the best sister in the world to me--till--till a
little time ago."
And she laid down the paper: I was called up to witness it, and
Brough, with tears in his eyes, told me her words; for he could
trust me, he said. And thus it was that I came to be present at
Gates's interview with his master, which took place only an hour
afterwards. Brave Mrs. Brough! how she was working for her
husband! Good woman, and kind! but YOU had a true heart, and
merited a better fate! Though wherefore say so? The woman, to
this day, thinks her husband an angel, and loves him a thousand
times better for his misfortunes.
On Saturday, Alderman Pash's solicitor was paid by me across the
counter, as I said. "Never mind your aunt's money, Titmarsh my
boy," said Brough: "never mind her having resumed her shares. You
are a true honest fellow; you have never abused me like that pack
of curs downstairs, and I'll make your fortune yet!"
* * *
The next week, as I was sitting with my wife, with Mr. Smithers,
and with Mrs. Hoggarty, taking our tea comfortably, a knock was
heard at the door, and a gentleman desired to speak to me in the
parlour. It was Mr. Aminadab of Chancery Lane, who arrested me as
a shareholder of the Independent West Diddlesex Association, at the
suit of Von Stiltz of Clifford Street, tailor and draper.
I called down Smithers, and told him for Heaven's sake not to tell
"Where is Brough?" says Mr. Smithers.
"Why," says Mr. Aminadab, "he's once more of the firm of Brough and
Off, sir--he breakfasted at Calais this morning!"
IN WHICH IT APPEARS THAT A MAN MAY POSSESS A DIAMOND AND YET BE
VERY HARD PRESSED FOR A DINNER
On that fatal Saturday evening, in a hackney-coach, fetched from
the Foundling, was I taken from my comfortable house and my dear
little wife; whom Mr. Smithers was left to console as he might. He
said that I was compelled to take a journey upon business connected
with the office; and my poor Mary made up a little portmanteau of
clothes, and tied a comforter round my neck, and bade my companion
particularly to keep the coach windows shut: which injunction the
grinning wretch promised to obey. Our journey was not long: it
was only a shilling fare to Cursitor Street, Chancery Lane, and
there I was set down.
The house before which the coach stopped seemed to be only one of
half-a-dozen in that street which were used for the same purpose.
No man, be he ever so rich, can pass by those dismal houses, I
think, without a shudder. The front windows are barred, and on the
dingy pillar of the door was a shining brass-plate, setting forth
that "Aminadab, Officer to the Sheriff of Middlesex," lived
therein. A little red-haired Israelite opened the first door as
our coach drove up, and received me and my baggage.
As soon as we entered the door, he barred it, and I found myself in
the face of another huge door, which was strongly locked; and, at
last, passing through that, we entered the lobby of the house.
There is no need to describe it. It is very like ten thousand
other houses in our dark City of London. There was a dirty passage
and a dirty stair, and from the passage two dirty doors let into
two filthy rooms, which had strong bars at the windows, and yet
withal an air of horrible finery that makes me uncomfortable to
think of even yet. On the walls hung all sorts of trumpery
pictures in tawdry frames (how different from those capital
performances of my cousin Michael Angelo!); on the mantelpiece huge
French clocks, vases, and candlesticks; on the sideboards, enormous
trays of Birmingham plated ware: for Mr. Aminadab not only
arrested those who could not pay money, but lent it to those who