Part 3 out of 3
could; and had already, in the way of trade, sold and bought these
articles many times over.
I agreed to take the back-parlour for the night, and while a Hebrew
damsel was arranging a little dusky sofa-bedstead (woe betide him
who has to sleep on it!) I was invited into the front parlour,
where Mr. Aminadab, bidding me take heart, told me I should have a
dinner for nothing with a party who had just arrived. I did not
want for dinner, but I was glad not to be alone--not alone, even
till Gus came; for whom I despatched a messenger to his lodgings
I found there, in the front parlour, at eight o'clock in the
evening, four gentlemen, just about to sit down to dinner.
Surprising! there was Mr. B., a gentleman of fashion, who had only
within half-an-hour arrived in a post-chaise with his companion,
Mr. Lock, an officer of Horsham gaol. Mr. B. was arrested in this
wise:- He was a careless good-humoured gentleman, and had indorsed
bills to a large amount for a friend; who, a man of high family and
unquestionable honour, had pledged the latter, along with a number
of the most solemn oaths, for the payment of the bills in question.
Having indorsed the notes, young Mr. B., with a proper
thoughtlessness, forgot all about them, and so, by some chance, did
the friend whom he obliged; for, instead of being in London with
the money for the payment of his obligations, this latter gentleman
was travelling abroad, and never hinted one word to Mr. B. that the
notes would fall upon him. The young gentleman was at Brighton
lying sick of a fever; was taken from his bed by a bailiff, and
carried, on a rainy day, to Horsham gaol; had a relapse of his
complaint, and when sufficiently recovered, was brought up to
London to the house of Mr. Aminadab; where I found him--a pale,
thin, good-humoured, LOST young man: he was lying on a sofa, and
had given orders for the dinner to which I was invited. The lad's
face gave one pain to look at; it was impossible not to see that
his hours were numbered.
Now Mr. B. has not anything to do with my humble story; but I can't
help mentioning him, as I saw him. He sent for his lawyer and his
doctor; the former settled speedily his accounts with the bailiff,
and the latter arranged all his earthly accounts: for after he
went from the spunging-house he never recovered from the shock of
the arrest, and in a few weeks he DIED. And though this
circumstance took place many years ago, I can't forget it to my
dying day; and often see the author of Mr. B.'s death,--a
prosperous gentleman, riding a fine horse in the Park, lounging at
the window of a club; with many friends, no doubt, and a good
reputation. I wonder whether the man sleeps easily and eats with a
good appetite? I wonder whether he has paid Mr. B.'s heirs the sum
which that gentleman paid, and DIED FOR?
If Mr. B.'s history has nothing to do with mine, and is only
inserted here for the sake of a moral, what business have I to
mention particulars of the dinner to which I was treated by that
gentleman, in the spunging-house in Cursitor Street? Why, for the
moral too; and therefore the public must be told of what really and
truly that dinner consisted.
There were five guests, and three silver tureens of soup: viz.,
mock-turtle soup, ox-tail soup, and giblet soup. Next came a great
piece of salmon, likewise on a silver dish, a roast goose, a roast
saddle of mutton, roast game, and all sorts of adjuncts. In this
way can a gentleman live in a spunging-house if he be inclined; and
over this repast (which, in truth, I could not touch, for, let
alone having dined, my heart was full of care)--over this meal my
friend Gus Hoskins found me, when he received the letter that I had
despatched to him.
Gus, who had never been in a prison before, and whose heart failed
him as the red-headed young Moses opened and shut for him the
numerous iron outer doors, was struck dumb to see me behind a
bottle of claret, in a room blazing with gilt lamps; the curtains
were down too, and you could not see the bars at the windows; and
Mr. B., Mr. Lock the Brighton officer, Mr. Aminadab, and another
rich gentleman of his trade and religious persuasion, were chirping
as merrily, and looked as respectably, as any noblemen in the land.
"Have him in," said Mr. B., "if he's a friend of Mr. Titmarsh's;
for, cuss me, I like to see a rogue: and run me through, Titmarsh,
but I think you are one of the best in London. You beat Brough;
you do, by Jove! for he looks like a rogue--anybody would swear to
him; but you! by Jove, you look the very picture of honesty!"
"A deep file," said Aminadab, winking and pointing me out to his
friend Mr. Jehoshaphat.
"A good one," says Jehoshaphat.
"In for three hundred thousand pound," says Aminadab: "Brough's
right-hand man, and only three-and-twenty."
"Mr. Titmarsh, sir, your 'ealth, sir," says Mr. Lock, in an ecstasy
of admiration. "Your very good 'earth, sir, and better luck to you
"Pooh, pooh! HE'S all right," says Aminadab; "let HIM alone."
"In for WHAT?" shouted I, quite amazed. "Why, sir, you arrested me
"Yes, but you are in for half a million,--you know you are. THEM
debts I don't count--them paltry tradesmen's accounts. I mean
Brough's business. It's an ugly one; but you'll get through it.
We all know you; and I lay my life that when you come through the
court, Mrs. Titmarsh has got a handsome thing laid by."
"Mrs. Titmarsh has a small property," says I. "What then?"
The three gentlemen burst into a loud laugh, said I was a "rum
chap"--a "downy cove," and made other remarks which I could not
understand then; but the meaning of which I have since
comprehended, for they took me to be a great rascal, I am sorry to
say, and supposed that I had robbed the I. W. D. Association, and,
in order to make my money secure, settled it on my wife.
It was in the midst of this conversation that, as I said, Gus came
in; and whew! when he saw what was going on, he gave SUCH a
"Herr von Joel, by Jove!" says Aminadab. At which all laughed.
"Sit down," says Mr. B.,--"sit down, and wet your whistle, my
piper! I say, egad! you're the piper that played before Moses!
Had you there, Dab. Dab, get a fresh bottle of Burgundy for Mr.
Hoskins." And before he knew where he was, there was Gus for the
first time in his life drinking Clos-Vougeot. Gus said he had
never tasted Bergamy before, at which the bailiff sneered, and told
him the name of the wine.
"OLD CLO! What?" says Gus; and we laughed: but the Hebrew gents
did not this time.
"Come, come, sir!" says Mr. Aminadab's friend, "ve're all
shentlemen here, and shentlemen never makish reflexunsh upon other
After this feast was concluded, Gus and I retired to my room to
consult about my affairs. With regard to the responsibility
incurred as a shareholder in the West Diddlesex, I was not uneasy;
for though the matter might cause me a little trouble at first, I
knew I was not a shareholder; that the shares were scrip shares,
making the dividend payable to the bearer; and my aunt had called
back her shares, and consequently I was free. But it was very
unpleasant to me to consider that I was in debt nearly a hundred
pounds to tradesmen, chiefly of Mrs. Hoggarty's recommendation; and
as she had promised to be answerable for their bills, I determined
to send her a letter reminding her of her promise, and begging her
at the same time to relieve me from Mr. Von Stiltz's debt, for
which I was arrested: and which was incurred not certainly at her
desire, but at Mr. Brough's; and would never have been incurred by
me but at the absolute demand of that gentleman.
I wrote to her, therefore, begging her to pay all these debts, and
promised myself on Monday morning again to be with my dear wife.
Gus carried off the letter, and promised to deliver it in Bernhard
Street after church-time; taking care that Mary should know nothing
at all of the painful situation in which I was placed. It was near
midnight when we parted, and I tried to sleep as well as I could in
the dirty little sofa-bedstead of Mr. Aminadab's back-parlour.
That morning was fine and sunshiny, and I heard all the bells
ringing cheerfully for church, and longed to be walking to the
Foundling with my wife: but there were the three iron doors
between me and liberty, and I had nothing for it but to read my
prayers in my own room, and walk up and down afterwards in the
court at the back of the house. Would you believe it? This very
court was like a cage! Great iron bars covered it in from one end
to another; and here it was that Mr. Aminadab's gaol-birds took the
They had seen me reading out of the prayer-book at the back-parlour
window, and all burst into a yell of laughter when I came to walk
in the cage. One of them shouted out "Amen!" when I appeared;
another called me a muff (which means, in the slang language, a
very silly fellow); a third wondered that I took to my prayer-book
"When do you mean, sir?" says I to the fellow--a rough man, a
"Why, when you are going TO BE HANGED, you young hypocrite!" says
the man. "But that is always the way with Brough's people,"
continued he. "I had four greys once for him--a great bargain, but
he would not go to look at them at Tattersall's, nor speak a word
of business about them, because it was a Sunday."
"Because there are hypocrites," sir, says I, "religion is not to be
considered a bad thing; and if Mr. Brough would not deal with you
on a Sunday, he certainly did his duty."
The men only laughed the more at this rebuke, and evidently
considered me a great criminal. I was glad to be released from
their society by the appearance of Gus and Mr. Smithers. Both wore
very long faces. They were ushered into my room, and, without any
orders of mine, a bottle of wine and biscuits were brought in by
Mr. Aminadab; which I really thought was very kind of him.
"Drink a glass of wine, Mr. Titmarsh," says Smithers, "and read
this letter. A pretty note was that which you sent to your aunt
this morning, and here you have an answer to it."
I drank the wine, and trembled rather as I read as follows:-
"Sir,--If, because you knew I had desined to leave you my proparty,
you wished to murdar me, and so stepp into it, you are
dissapointed. Your VILLIANY and INGRATITUDE WOULD have murdard me,
had I not, by Heaven's grace, been inabled to look for consalation
"For nearly a year I have been a MARTAR to you. I gave up
everything,--my happy home in the country, where all respected the
name of Hoggarty; my valuble furnitur and wines; my plate, glass,
and crockry; I brought all--all to make your home happy and
rispectable. I put up with the AIRS AND IMPERTANENCIES of Mrs.
Titmarsh; I loaded her and you with presents and bennafits. I
sacrafised myself; I gave up the best sociaty in the land, to witch
I have been accustomed, in order to be a gardian and compannion to
you, and prevent, if possible, that WAIST AND IXTRAVYGANCE which I
PROPHYCIED would be your ruin. Such waist and ixtravygance never,
never, never did I see. Buttar waisted as if it had been dirt,
coles flung away, candles burnt AT BOTH ENDS, tea and meat the
same. The butcher's bill in this house was enough to support six
"And now you have the audassaty, being placed in prison justly for
your crimes,--for cheating me of 3,000L., for robbing your mother
of an insignificient summ, which to her, poor thing, was everything
(though she will not feel her loss as I do, being all her life next
door to a beggar), for incurring detts which you cannot pay,
wherein you knew that your miserable income was quite unable to
support your ixtravygance--you come upon me to pay your detts! No,
sir, it is quite enough that your mother should go on the parish,
and that your wife should sweep the streets, to which you have
indeed brought them; I, at least, though cheated by you of a large
summ, and obliged to pass my days in comparative ruin, can retire,
and have some of the comforts to which my rank entitles me. The
furnitur in this house is mine; and as I presume you intend YOUR
LADY to sleep in the streets, I give you warning that I shall
remove it all tomorrow.
"Mr. Smithers will tell you that I had intended to leave you my
intire fortune. I have this morning, in his presents, solamly toar
up my will; and hereby renounce all connection with you and your
"P.S.--I took a viper into my bosom, AND IT STUNG ME."
I confess that, on the first reading of this letter, I was in such
a fury that I forgot almost the painful situation in which it
plunged me, and the ruin hanging over me.
"What a fool you were, Titmarsh, to write that letter!" said Mr.
Smithers. "You have cut your own throat, sir,--lost a fine
property,--written yourself out of five hundred a year. Mrs.
Hoggarty, my client, brought the will, as she says, downstairs, and
flung it into the fire before our faces."
"It's a blessing that your wife was from home," added Gus. "She
went to church this morning with Dr. Salt's family, and sent word
that she would spend the day with them. She was always glad to be
away from Mrs. H., you know."
"She never knew on which side her bread was buttered," said Mr.
Smithers. "You should have taken the lady when she was in the
humour, sir, and have borrowed the money elsewhere. Why, sir, I
had almost reconciled her to her loss in that cursed Company. I
showed her how I had saved out of Brough's claws the whole of her
remaining fortune; which he would have devoured in a day, the
scoundrel! And if you would have left the matter to me, Mr.
Titmarsh, I would have had you reconciled completely to Mrs.
Hoggarty; I would have removed all your difficulties; I would have
lent you the pitiful sum of money myself."
"Will you?" says Gus; "that's a trump!" and he seized Smithers's
hand, and squeezed it so that the tears came into the attorney's
"Generous fellow!" said I; "lend me money, when you know what a
situation I am in, and not able to pay!"
"Ay, my good sir, there's the rub!" says Mr. Smithers. "I said I
WOULD have lent the money; and so to the acknowledged heir of Mrs.
Hoggarty I would--would at this moment; for nothing delights the
heart of Bob Smithers more than to do a kindness. I would have
rejoiced in doing it; and a mere acknowledgment from that respected
lady would have amply sufficed. But now, sir, the case is
altered,--you have no security to offer, as you justly observe."
"Not a whit, certainly."
"And without security, sir, of course can expect no money--of
course not. You are a man of the world, Mr. Titmarsh, and I see
our notions exactly agree."
"There's his wife's property," says Gus.
"Wife's property? Bah! Mrs. Sam Titmarsh is a minor, and can't
touch a shilling of it. No, no, no meddling with minors for me!
But stop!--your mother has a house and shop in our village. Get me
a mortgage of that--"
"I'll do no such thing, sir," says I. "My mother has suffered
quite enough on my score already, and has my sisters to provide
for; and I will thank you, Mr. Smithers, not to breathe a syllable
to her regarding my present situation."
"You speak like a man of honour, sir," says Mr. Smithers, "and I
will obey your injunctions to the letter. I will do more, sir. I
will introduce you to a respectable firm here, my worthy friends,
Messrs. Higgs, Biggs, and Blatherwick, who will do everything in
their power to serve you. And so, sir, I wish you a very good
And with this Mr. Smithers took his hat and left the room; and
after a further consultation with my aunt, as I heard afterwards,
quitted London that evening by the mail.
I sent my faithful Gus off once more to break the matter gently to
my wife, fearing lest Mrs. Hoggarty should speak of it abruptly to
her; as I knew in her anger she would do. But he came in an hour
panting back, to say that Mrs. H. had packed and locked her trunks,
and had gone off in a hackney-coach. So, knowing that my poor Mary
was not to return till night, Hoskins remained with me till then;
and, after a dismal day, left me once more at nine, to carry the
dismal tidings to her.
At ten o'clock on that night there was a great rattling and ringing
at the outer door, and presently my poor girl fell into my arms;
and Gus Hoskins sat blubbering in a corner, as I tried my best to
* * *
The next morning I was favoured with a visit from Mr. Blatherwick;
who, hearing from me that I had only three guineas in my pocket,
told me very plainly that lawyers only lived by fees. He
recommended me to quit Cursitor Street, as living there was very
expensive. And as I was sitting very sad, my wife made her
appearance (it was with great difficulty that she could be brought
to leave me the night previous) -
"The horrible men came at four this morning," said she; "four hours
"What horrible men?" says I.
"Your aunt's men," said she, "to remove the furniture they had it
all packed before I came away. And I let them carry all," said
she; "I was too sad to look what was ours and what was not. That
odious Mr. Wapshot was with them; and I left him seeing the last
waggon-load from the door. I have only brought away your clothes,"
added she, "and a few of mine; and some of the books you used to
like to read; and some--some things I have been getting for the--
for the baby. The servants' wages were paid up to Christmas; and I
paid them the rest. And see! just as I was going away, the post
came, and brought to me my half-year's income--35L., dear Sam.
Isn't it a blessing?"
"Will you pay my bill, Mr. What-d'ye-call-'im?" here cried Mr.
Aminadab, flinging open the door (he had been consulting with Mr.
Blatherwick, I suppose). "I want the room for A GENTLEMAN. I
guess it's too dear for the like of you." And here--will you
believe it?--the man handed me a bill of three guineas for two
days' board and lodging in his odious house.
* * *
There was a crowd of idlers round the door as I passed out of it,
and had I been alone I should have been ashamed of seeing them;
but, as it was, I was only thinking of my dear dear wife, who was
leaning trustfully on my arm, and smiling like heaven into my face-
-ay, and TOOK heaven, too, into the Fleet prison with me--or an
angel out of heaven. Ah! I had loved her before, and happy it is
to love when one is hopeful and young in the midst of smiles and
sunshine; but be UNhappy, and then see what it is to be loved by a
good woman! I declare before Heaven, that of all the joys and
happy moments it has given me, that was the crowning one--that
little ride, with my wife's cheek on my shoulder, down Holborn to
the prison! Do you think I cared for the bailiff that sat
opposite? No, by the Lord! I kissed her, and hugged her--yes, and
cried with her likewise. But before our ride was over her eyes
dried up, and she stepped blushing and happy out of the coach at
the prison door, as if she were a princess going to the Queen's
IN WHICH THE HERO'S AUNT'S DIAMOND MAKES ACQUAINTANCE WITH THE
The failure of the great Diddlesex Association speedily became the
theme of all the newspapers, and every person concerned in it was
soon held up to public abhorrence as a rascal and a swindler. It
was said that Brough had gone off with a million of money. Even it
was hinted that poor I had sent a hundred thousand pounds to
America, and only waited to pass through the court in order to be a
rich man for the rest of my days. This opinion had some supporters
in the prison; where, strange to say, it procured me consideration-
-of which, as may be supposed, I was little inclined to avail
myself. Mr. Aminadab, however, in his frequent visits to the
Fleet, persisted in saying that I was a poor-spirited creature, a
mere tool in Brough's hands, and had not saved a shilling.
Opinions, however, differed; and I believe it was considered by the
turnkeys that I was a fellow of exquisite dissimulation, who had
put on the appearance of poverty in order more effectually to
mislead the public.
Messrs. Abednego and Son were similarly held up to public odium:
and, in fact, what were the exact dealings of these gentlemen with
Mr. Brough I have never been able to learn. It was proved by the
books that large sums of money had been paid to Mr. Abednego by the
Company; but he produced documents signed by Mr. Brough, which made
the latter and the West Diddlesex Association his debtors to a
still further amount. On the day I went to the Bankruptcy Court to
be examined, Mr. Abednego and the two gentlemen from Houndsditch
were present to swear to their debts, and made a sad noise, and
uttered a vast number of oaths in attestation of their claim. But
Messrs. Jackson and Paxton produced against them that very Irish
porter who was said to have been the cause of the fire, and, I am
told, hinted that they had matter for hanging the Jewish gents if
they persisted in their demand. On this they disappeared
altogether, and no more was ever heard of their losses. I am
inclined to believe that our Director had had money from Abednego--
had given him shares as bonus and security--had been suddenly
obliged to redeem these shares with ready money; and so had
precipitated the ruin of himself and the concern. It is needless
to say here in what a multiplicity of companies Brough was engaged.
That in which poor Mr. Tidd invested his money did not pay 2D. in
the pound; and that was the largest dividend paid by any of them.
As for ours--ah! there was a pretty scene as I was brought from the
Fleet to the Bankruptcy Court, to give my testimony as late head
clerk and accountant of the West Diddlesex Association.
My poor wife, then very near her time, insisted upon accompanying
me to Basinghall Street; and so did my friend Gus Hoskins, that
true and honest fellow. If you had seen the crowd that was
assembled, and the hubbub that was made as I was brought up!
"Mr. Titmarsh," says the Commissioner as I came to the table, with
a peculiar sarcastic accent on the Tit--"Mr. Titmarsh, you were the
confidant of Mr. Brough, the principal clerk of Mr. Brough, and a
considerable shareholder in the Company?"
"Only a nominal one, sir," said I.
"Of course, only nominal," continued the Commissioner, turning to
his colleague with a sneer; "and a great comfort it must be to you,
sir, to think that you had a share in all the plun--the profits of
the speculation, and now can free yourself from the losses, by
saying you are only a nominal shareholder."
"The infernal villain!" shouted out a voice from the crowd. It was
that of the furious half-pay captain and late shareholder, Captain
"Silence in the court there!" the Commissioner continued: and all
this while Mary was anxiously looking in his face, and then in
mine, as pale as death; while Gus, on the contrary, was as red as
vermilion. "Mr. Titmarsh, I have had the good fortune to see a
list of your debts from the Insolvent Court, and find that you are
indebted to Mr. Stiltz, the great tailor, in a handsome sum; to Mr.
Polonius, the celebrated jeweller, likewise; to fashionable
milliners and dressmakers, moreover;--and all this upon a salary of
200L. per annum. For so young a gentleman it must be confessed you
have employed your time well."
"Has this anything to do with the question, sir?" says I. "Am I
here to give an account of my private debts, or to speak as to what
I know regarding the affairs of the Company? As for my share in
it, I have a mother, sir, and many sisters--"
"The d-d scoundrel!" shouts the Captain.
"Silence that there fellow!" shouts Gus, as bold as brass; at which
the court burst out laughing, and this gave me courage to proceed.
"My mother, sir, four years since, having a legacy of 400L. left to
her, advised with her solicitor, Mr. Smithers, how she should
dispose of this sum; and as the Independent West Diddlesex was just
then established, the money was placed in an annuity in that
office, where I procured a clerkship. You may suppose me a very
hardened criminal, because I have ordered clothes of Mr. Von
Stiltz; but you will hardly fancy that I, a lad of nineteen, knew
anything of the concerns of the Company into whose service I
entered as twentieth clerk, my own mother's money paying, as it
were, for my place. Well, sir, the interest offered by the Company
was so tempting, that a rich relative of mine was induced to
purchase a number of shares."
"Who induced your relative, if I may make so bold as to inquire?"
"I can't help owning, sir," says I, blushing, "that I wrote a
letter myself. But consider, my relative was sixty years old, and
I was twenty-one. My relative took several months to consider, and
had the advice of her lawyers before she acceded to my request.
And I made it at the instigation of Mr. Brough, who dictated the
letter which I wrote, and who I really thought then was as rich as
Mr. Rothschild himself."
"Your friend placed her money in your name; and you, if I mistake
not, Mr. Titmarsh, were suddenly placed over the heads of twelve of
your fellow-clerks as a reward for your service in obtaining it?"
"It is very true, sir,"--and, as I confessed it, poor Mary began to
wipe her eyes, and Gus's ears (I could not see his face) looked
like two red-hot muffins--"it's quite true, sir; and, as matters
have turned out, I am heartily sorry for what I did. But at the
time I thought I could serve my aunt as well as myself; and you
must remember, then, how high our shares were."
"Well, sir, having procured this sum of money, you were straightway
taken into Mr. Brough's confidence. You were received into his
house, and from third clerk speedily became head clerk; in which
post you were found at the disappearance of your worthy patron!"
"Sir, you have no right to question me, to be sure; but here are a
hundred of our shareholders, and I'm not unwilling to make a clean
breast of it," said I, pressing Mary's hand. "I certainly was the
head clerk. And why? Because the other gents left the office. I
certainly was received into Mr. Brough's house. And why? Because,
sir, my aunt HAD MORE MONEY TO LAY OUT. I see it all clearly now,
though I could not understand it then; and the proof that Mr.
Brough wanted my aunt's money, and not me, is that, when she came
to town, our Director carried her by force out of my house to
Fulham, and never so much as thought of asking me or my wife
thither. Ay, sir, and he would have had her remaining money, had
not her lawyer from the country prevented her disposing of it.
Before the concern finally broke, and as soon as she heard there
was doubt concerning it, she took back her shares--scrip shares
they were, sir, as you know--and has disposed of them as she
thought fit. Here, sir, and gents," says I, "you have the whole of
the history as far as regards me. In order to get her only son a
means of livelihood, my mother placed her little money with the
Company--it is lost. My aunt invested larger sums with it, which
were to have been mine one day, and they are lost too; and here am
I, at the end of four years, a disgraced and ruined man. Is there
anyone present, however much he has suffered by the failure of the
Company, that has had worse fortune through it than I?"
"Mr. Titmarsh," says Mr. Commissioner, in a much more friendly way,
and at the same time casting a glance at a newspaper reporter that
was sitting hard by, "your story is not likely to get into the
newspapers; for, as you say, it is a private affair, which you had
no need to speak of unless you thought proper, and may be
considered as a confidential conversation between us and the other
gentlemen here. But if it COULD be made public, it might do some
good, and warn people, if they WILL be warned, against the folly of
such enterprises as that in which you have been engaged. It is
quite clear from your story, that you have been deceived as grossly
as anyone of the persons present. But look you, sir, if you had
not been so eager after gain, I think you would not have allowed
yourself to be deceived, and would have kept your relative's money,
and inherited it, according to your story, one day or other.
Directly people expect to make a large interest, their judgment
seems to desert them; and because they wish for profit, they think
they are sure of it, and disregard all warnings and all prudence.
Besides the hundreds of honest families who have been ruined by
merely placing confidence in this Association of yours, and who
deserve the heartiest pity, there are hundreds more who have
embarked in it, like yourself, not for investment, but for
speculation; and these, upon my word, deserve the fate they have
met with. As long as dividends are paid, no questions are asked;
and Mr. Brough might have taken the money for his shareholders on
the high-road, and they would have pocketed it, and not been too
curious. But what's the use of talking?" says Mr. Commissioner, in
a passion: "here is one rogue detected, and a thousand dupes made;
and if another swindler starts to-morrow, there will be a thousand
more of his victims round this table a year hence; and so, I
suppose, to the end. And now let's go to business, gentlemen, and
excuse this sermon."
After giving an account of all I knew, which was very little, other
gents who were employed in the concern were examined; and I went
back to prison, with my poor little wife on my arm. We had to pass
through the crowd in the rooms, and my heart bled as I saw, amongst
a score of others, poor Gates, Brough's porter, who had advanced
every shilling to his master, and was now, with ten children,
houseless and penniless in his old age. Captain Sparr was in this
neighbourhood, but by no means so friendly disposed; for while
Gates touched his hat, as if I had been a lord, the little Captain
came forward threatening with his bamboo-cane and swearing with
great oaths that I was an accomplice of Brough. "Curse you for a
smooth-faced scoundrel!" says he. "What business have you to ruin
an English gentleman, as you have me?" And again he advanced with
his stick. But this time, officer as he was, Gus took him by the
collar, and shoved him back, and said, "Look at the lady, you
brute, and hold your tongue!" And when he looked at my wife's
situation, Captain Sparr became redder for shame than he had before
been for anger. "I'm sorry she's married to such a good-for-
nothing," muttered he, and fell back; and my poor wife and I walked
out of the court, and back to our dismal room in the prison.
It was a hard place for a gentle creature like her to be confined
in; and I longed to have some of my relatives with her when her
time should come. But her grandmother could not leave the old
lieutenant; and my mother had written to say that, as Mrs. Hoggarty
was with us, she was quite as well at home with her children.
"What a blessing it is for you, under your misfortunes," continued
the good soul, "to have the generous purse of your aunt for
succour!" Generous purse of my aunt, indeed! Where could Mrs.
Hoggarty be? It was evident that she had not written to any of her
friends in the country, nor gone thither, as she threatened.
But as my mother had already lost so much money through my
unfortunate luck, and as she had enough to do with her little
pittance to keep my sisters at home; and as, on hearing of my
condition, she would infallibly have sold her last gown to bring me
aid, Mary and I agreed that we would not let her know what our real
condition was--bad enough! Heaven knows, and sad and cheerless.
Old Lieutenant Smith had likewise nothing but his half-pay and his
rheumatism; so we were, in fact, quite friendless.
That period of my life, and that horrible prison, seem to me like
recollections of some fever. What an awful place!--not for the
sadness, strangely enough, as I thought, but for the gaiety of it;
for the long prison galleries were, I remember, full of life and a
sort of grave bustle. All day and all night doors were clapping to
and fro; and you heard loud voices, oaths, footsteps, and laughter.
Next door to our room was one where a man sold gin, under the name
of TAPE; and here, from morning till night, the people kept up a
horrible revelry;--and sang--sad songs some of them: but my dear
little girl was, thank God! unable to understand the most part of
their ribaldry. She never used to go out till nightfall; and all
day she sat working at a little store of caps and dresses for the
expected stranger--and not, she says to this day, unhappy. But the
confinement sickened her, who had been used to happy country air,
and she grew daily paler and paler.
The Fives Court was opposite our window; and here I used, very
unwillingly at first, but afterwards, I do confess, with much
eagerness, to take a couple of hours' daily sport. Ah! it was a
strange place. There was an aristocracy there as elsewhere,--
amongst other gents, a son of my Lord Deuce-ace; and many of the
men in the prison were as eager to walk with him, and talked of his
family as knowingly, as if they were Bond Street bucks. Poor Tidd,
especially, was one of these. Of all his fortune he had nothing
left but a dressing-case and a flowered dressing-gown; and to these
possessions he added a fine pair of moustaches, with which the poor
creature strutted about; and though cursing his ill fortune, was, I
do believe, as happy whenever his friends brought him a guinea, as
he had been during his brief career as a gentleman on town. I have
seen sauntering dandies in watering-places ogling the women,
watching eagerly for steamboats and stage-coaches as if their lives
depended upon them, and strutting all day in jackets up and down
the public walks. Well, there are such fellows in prison: quite
as dandified and foolish, only a little more shabby--dandies with
dirty beards and holes at their elbows.
I did not go near what is called the poor side of the prison--I
DARED not, that was the fact. But our little stock of money was
running low; and my heart sickened to think what might be my dear
wife's fate, and on what sort of a couch our child might be born.
But Heaven spared me that pang,--Heaven, and my dear good friend,
The attorneys to whom Mr. Smithers recommended me, told me that I
could get leave to live in the rules of the Fleet, could I procure
sureties to the marshal of the prison for the amount of the
detainer lodged against me; but though I looked Mr. Blatherwick
hard in the face, he never offered to give the bail for me, and I
knew no housekeeper in London who would procure it. There was,
however, one whom I did not know,--and that was old Mr. Hoskins,
the leatherseller of Skinner Street, a kind fat gentleman, who
brought his fat wife to see Mrs. Titmarsh; and though the lady gave
herself rather patronising airs (her husband being free of the
Skinners' Company, and bidding fair to be Alderman, nay, Lord Mayor
of the first city in the world), she seemed heartily to sympathise
with us; and her husband stirred and bustled about until the
requisite leave was obtained, and I was allowed comparative
As for lodgings, they were soon had. My old landlady, Mrs. Stokes,
sent her Jemima to say that her first floor was at our service; and
when we had taken possession of it, and I offered at the end of the
week to pay her bill, the good soul, with tears in her eyes, told
me that she did not want for money now, and that she knew I had
enough to do with what I had. I did not refuse her kindness; for,
indeed, I had but five guineas left, and ought not by rights to
have thought of such expensive apartments as hers; but my wife's
time was very near, and I could not bear to think that she should
want for any comfort in her lying-in.
The admirable woman, with whom the Misses Hoskins came every day to
keep company--and very nice, kind ladies they are--recovered her
health a good deal, now she was out of the odious prison and was
enabled to take exercise. How gaily did we pace up and down Bridge
Street and Chatham Place, to be sure! and yet, in truth, I was a
beggar, and felt sometimes ashamed of being so happy.
With regard to the liabilities of the Company my mind was now made
quite easy; for the creditors could only come upon our directors,
and these it was rather difficult to find. Mr. Brough was across
the water; and I must say, to the credit of that gentleman, that
while everybody thought he had run away with hundreds of thousands
of pounds, he was in a garret at Boulogne, with scarce a shilling
in his pocket, and his fortune to make afresh. Mrs. Brough, like a
good brave woman, remained faithful to him, and only left Fulham
with the gown on her back; and Miss Belinda, though grumbling and
sadly out of temper, was no better off. For the other directors,--
when they came to inquire at Edinburgh for Mr. Mull, W. S., it
appeared there WAS a gentleman of that name, who had practised in
Edinburgh with good reputation until 1800, since when he had
retired to the Isle of Skye; and on being applied to, knew no more
of the West Diddlesex Association than Queen Anne did. General Sir
Dionysius O'Halloran had abruptly quitted Dublin, and returned to
the republic of Guatemala. Mr. Shirk went into the Gazette. Mr.
Macraw, M.P. and King's Counsel, had not a single guinea in the
world but what he received for attending our board; and the only
man seizable was Mr. Manstraw, a wealthy navy contractor, as we
understood, at Chatham. He turned out to be a small dealer in
marine stores, and his whole stock in trade was not worth 10L. Mr.
Abednego was the other director, and we have already seen what
became of HIM.
"Why, as there is no danger from the West Diddlesex," suggested Mr.
Hoskins, senior, "should you not now endeavour to make an
arrangement with your creditors; and who can make a better bargain
with them than pretty Mrs. Titmarsh here, whose sweet eyes would
soften the hardest-hearted tailor or milliner that ever lived?"
Accordingly my dear girl, one bright day in February, shook me by
the hand, and bidding me be of good cheer, set forth with Gus in a
coach, to pay a visit to those persons. Little did I think a year
before, that the daughter of the gallant Smith should ever be
compelled to be a suppliant to tailors and haberdashers; but SHE,
Heaven bless her! felt none of the shame which oppressed me--or
SAID she felt none--and went away, nothing doubting, on her errand.
In the evening she came back, and my heart thumped to know the
news. I saw it was bad by her face. For some time she did not
speak, but looked as pale as death, and wept as she kissed me.
"YOU speak, Mr. Augustus," at last said she, sobbing; and so Gus
told me the circumstances of that dismal day.
"What do you think, Sam?" says he; "that infernal aunt of yours, at
whose command you had the things, has written to the tradesmen to
say that you are a swindler and impostor; that you give out that
SHE ordered the goods; that she is ready to drop down dead, and to
take her bible-oath she never did any such thing, and that they
must look to you alone for payment. Not one of them would hear of
letting you out; and as for Mantalini, the scoundrel was so
insolent that I gave him a box on the ear, and would have half-
killed him, only poor Mary--Mrs. Titmarsh I mean--screamed and
fainted: and I brought her away, and here she is, as ill as can
That night, the indefatigable Gus was obliged to run post-haste for
Doctor Salts, and next morning a little boy was born. I did not
know whether to be sad or happy, as they showed me the little
weakly thing; but Mary was the happiest woman, she declared, in the
world, and forgot all her sorrows in nursing the poor baby; she
went bravely through her time, and vowed that it was the loveliest
child in the world; and that though Lady Tiptoff, whose confinement
we read of as having taken place the same day, might have a silk
bed and a fine house in Grosvenor Square, she never never could
have such a beautiful child as our dear little Gus: for after whom
should we have named the boy, if not after our good kind friend?
We had a little party at the christening, and I assure you were
very merry over our tea.
The mother, thank Heaven! was very well, and it did one's heart
good to see her in that attitude in which I think every woman, be
she ever so plain, looks beautiful--with her baby at her bosom.
The child was sickly, but she did not see it; we were very poor,
but what cared she? She had no leisure to be sorrowful as I was:
I had my last guinea now in my pocket; and when THAT was gone--ah!
my heart sickened to think of what was to come, and I prayed for
strength and guidance, and in the midst of my perplexities felt yet
thankful that the danger of the confinement was over; and that for
the worst fortune which was to befall us, my dear wife was at least
prepared, and strong in health.
I told Mrs. Stokes that she must let us have a cheaper room--a
garret that should cost but a few shillings; and though the good
woman bade me remain in the apartments we occupied, yet, now that
my wife was well, I felt it would be a crime to deprive my kind
landlady of her chief means of livelihood; and at length she
promised to get me a garret as I wanted, and to make it as
comfortable as might be; and little Jemima declared that she would
be glad beyond measure to wait on the mother and the child.
The room, then, was made ready; and though I took some pains not to
speak of the arrangement too suddenly to Mary, yet there was no
need of disguise or hesitation; for when at last I told her--"Is
that all?" said she, and took my hand with one of her blessed
smiles, and vowed that she and Jemima would keep the room as pretty
and neat as possible. "And I will cook your dinners," added she;
"for you know you said I make the best roly-poly puddings in the
world." God bless her! I do think some women almost love poverty:
but I did not tell Mary how poor I was, nor had she any idea how
lawyers', and prison's, and doctors' fees had diminished the sum of
money which she brought me when we came to the Fleet.
It was not, however, destined that she and her child should inhabit
that little garret. We were to leave our lodgings on Monday
morning; but on Saturday evening the child was seized with
convulsions, and all Sunday the mother watched and prayed for it:
but it pleased God to take the innocent infant from us, and on
Sunday, at midnight, it lay a corpse in its mother's bosom. Amen.
We have other children, happy and well, now round about us, and
from the father's heart the memory of this little thing has almost
faded; but I do believe that every day of her life the mother
thinks of the firstborn that was with her for so short a while:
many and many a time has she taken her daughters to the grave, in
Saint Bride's, where he lies buried; and she wears still at her
neck a little little lock of gold hair, which she took from the
head of the infant as he lay smiling in his coffin. It has
happened to me to forget the child's birthday, but to her never;
and often in the midst of common talk comes something that shows
she is thinking of the child still,--some simple allusion that is
to me inexpressibly affecting.
I shall not try to describe her grief, for such things are sacred
and secret; and a man has no business to place them on paper for
all the world to read. Nor should I have mentioned the child's
loss at all, but that even that loss was the means of a great
worldly blessing to us; as my wife has often with tears and thanks
While my wife was weeping over her child, I am ashamed to say I was
distracted with other feelings besides those of grief for its loss;
and I have often since thought what a master--nay, destroyer--of
the affections want is, and have learned from experience to be
thankful for DAILY BREAD. That acknowledgment of weakness which we
make in imploring to be relieved from hunger and from temptation,
is surely wisely put in our daily prayer. Think of it you who are
rich, and take heed how you turn a beggar away.
The child lay there in its wicker cradle, with its sweet fixed
smile in its face (I think the angels in heaven must have been glad
to welcome that pretty innocent smile); and it was only the next
day, after my wife had gone to lie down, and I sat keeping watch by
it, that I remembered the condition of its parents, and thought, I
can't tell with what a pang, that I had not money left to bury the
little thing, and wept bitter tears of despair. Now, at last, I
thought I must apply to my poor mother, for this was a sacred
necessity; and I took paper, and wrote her a letter at the baby's
side, and told her of our condition. But, thank Heaven! I never
sent the letter; for as I went to the desk to get sealing-wax and
seal that dismal letter, my eyes fell upon the diamond pin that I
had quite forgotten, and that was lying in the drawer of the desk.
I looked into the bedroom,--my poor wife was asleep; she had been
watching for three nights and days, and had fallen asleep from
sheer fatigue; and I ran out to a pawnbroker's with the diamond,
and received seven guineas for it, and coming back put the money
into the landlady's hand, and told her to get what was needful. My
wife was still asleep when I came back; and when she woke, we
persuaded her to go downstairs to the landlady's parlour; and
meanwhile the necessary preparations were made, and the poor child
consigned to its coffin.
The next day, after all was over, Mrs. Stokes gave me back three
out of the seven guineas; and then I could not help sobbing out to
her my doubts and wretchedness, telling her that this was the last
money I had; and when that was gone I knew not what was to become
of the best wife that ever a man was blest with.
My wife was downstairs with the woman. Poor Gus, who was with me,
and quite as much affected as any of the party, took me by the arm,
and led me downstairs; and we quite forgot all about the prison and
the rules, and walked a long long way across Blackfriars Bridge,
the kind fellow striving as much as possible to console me.
When we came back, it was in the evening. The first person who met
me in the house was my kind mother, who fell into my arms with many
tears, and who rebuked me tenderly for not having told her of my
necessities. She never should have known of them, she said; but
she had not heard from me since I wrote announcing the birth of the
child, and she felt uneasy about my silence; and meeting Mr.
Smithers in the street, asked from him news concerning me:
whereupon that gentleman, with some little show of alarm, told her
that he thought her daughter-in-law was confined in an
uncomfortable place; that Mrs. Hoggarty had left us; finally, that
I was in prison. This news at once despatched my poor mother on
her travels, and she had only just come from the prison, where she
learned my address.
I asked her whether she had seen my wife, and how she found her.
Rather to my amaze she said that Mary was out with the landlady
when she arrived; and eight--nine o'clock came, and she was absent
At ten o'clock returned--not my wife, but Mrs. Stokes, and with her
a gentleman, who shook hands with me on coming into the room, and
said, "Mr. Titmarsh! I don't know whether you will remember me:
my name is Tiptoff. I have brought you a note from Mrs. Titmarsh,
and a message from my wife, who sincerely commiserates your loss,
and begs you will not be uneasy at Mrs. Titmarsh's absence. She
has been good enough to promise to pass the night with Lady
Tiptoff; and I am sure you will not object to her being away from
you, while she is giving happiness to a sick mother and a sick
child." After a few more words, my Lord left us. My wife's note
only said that Mrs. Stokes would tell me all.
IN WHICH IT IS SHOWN THAT A GOOD WIFE IS THE BEST DIAMOND A MAN CAN
WEAR IN HIS BOSOM
"Mrs. Titmarsh, ma'am," says Mrs. Stokes, "before I gratify your
curiosity, ma'am, permit me to observe that angels is scarce; and
it's rare to have one, much more two, in a family. Both your son
and your daughter-in-law, ma'am, are of that uncommon sort; they
are, now, reely, ma'am."
My mother said she thanked God for both of us; and Mrs. Stokes
"When the fu- when the seminary, ma'am, was concluded this morning,
your poor daughter-in-law was glad to take shelter in my humble
parlour, ma'am; where she wept, and told a thousand stories of the
little cherub that's gone. Heaven bless us! it was here but a
month, and no one could have thought it could have done such a many
things in that time. But a mother's eyes are clear, ma'am; and I
had just such another angel, my dear little Antony, that was born
before Jemima, and would have been twenty-three now were he in this
wicked world, ma'am. However, I won't speak of him, ma'am, but of
what took place.
"You must know, ma'am, that Mrs. Titmarsh remained downstairs while
Mr. Samuel was talking with his friend Mr. Hoskins; and the poor
thing would not touch a bit of dinner, though we had it made
comfortable; and after dinner, it was with difficulty I could get
her to sup a little drop of wine-and-water, and dip a toast in it.
It was the first morsel that had passed her lips for many a long
"Well, she would not speak, and I thought it best not to interrupt
her; but she sat and looked at my two youngest that were playing on
the rug; and just as Mr. Titmarsh and his friend Gus went out, the
boy brought the newspaper, ma'am, -it always comes from three to
four, and I began a-reading of it. But I couldn't read much, for
thinking of poor Mr. Sam's sad face as he went out, and the sad
story he told me about his money being so low; and every now and
then I stopped reading, and bade Mrs. T. not to take on so; and
told her some stories about my dear little Antony.
"'Ah!' says she, sobbing, and looking at the young ones, 'you have
other children, Mrs. Stokes; but that--that was my only one;' and
she flung back in her chair, and cried fit to break her heart: and
I knew that the cry would do her good, and so went back to my
paper--the Morning Post, ma'am; I always read it, for I like to
know what's a-going on in the West End.
"The very first thing that my eyes lighted upon was this:- 'Wanted,
immediately, a respectable person as wet-nurse. Apply at No. -,
Grosvenor Square.' 'Bless us and save us!' says I, 'here's poor
Lady Tiptoff ill;' for I knew her Ladyship's address, and how she
was confined on the very same day with Mrs. T.: and, for the
matter of that, her Ladyship knows my address, having visited here.
"A sudden thought came over me. 'My dear Mrs. Titmarsh,' said I,
'you know how poor and how good your husband is?'
"'Yes,' says she, rather surprised.
"'Well, my dear,' says I, looking her hard in the face, 'Lady
Tiptoff, who knows him, wants a nurse for her son, Lord Poynings.
Will you be a brave woman, and look for the place, and mayhap
replace the little one that God has taken from you?'
"She began to tremble and blush; and then I told her what you, Mr.
Sam, had told me the other day about your money matters; and no
sooner did she hear it than she sprung to her bonnet, and said,
'Come, come:' and in five minutes she had me by the arm, and we
walked together to Grosvenor Square. The air did her no harm, Mr.
Sam, and during the whole of the walk she never cried but once, and
then it was at seeing a nursery-maid in the Square.
"A great fellow in livery opens the door, and says, 'You're the
forty-fifth as come about this 'ere place; but, fust, let me ask
you a preliminary question. Are you a Hirishwoman?'
"'No, sir,' says Mrs. T.
"'That suffishnt, mem,' says the gentleman in plush; 'I see you're
not by your axnt. Step this way, ladies, if you please. You'll
find some more candidix for the place upstairs; but I sent away
forty-four happlicants, because they WAS Hirish.'
"We were taken upstairs over very soft carpets, and brought into a
room, and told by an old lady who was there to speak very softly,
for my Lady was only two rooms off. And when I asked how the baby
and her Ladyship were, the old lady told me both were pretty well:
only the doctor said Lady Tiptoff was too delicate to nurse any
longer; and so it was considered necessary to have a wet-nurse.
"There was another young woman in the room--a tall fine woman as
ever you saw--that looked very angry and contempshious at Mrs. T.
and me, and said, 'I've brought a letter from the duchess whose
daughter I nust; and I think, Mrs. Blenkinsop, mem, my Lady Tiptoff
may look far before she finds such another nuss as me. Five feet
six high, had the small-pox, married to a corporal in the
Lifeguards, perfectly healthy, best of charactiers, only drink
water; and as for the child, ma'am, if her Ladyship had six, I've a
plenty for them all.'
"As the woman was making this speech, a little gentleman in black
came in from the next room, treading as if on velvet. The woman
got up, and made him a low curtsey, and folding her arms on her
great broad chest, repeated the speech she had made before. Mrs.
T. did not get up from her chair, but only made a sort of a bow;
which, to be sure, I thought was ill manners, as this gentleman was
evidently the apothecary. He looked hard at her and said, 'Well,
my good woman, and are you come about the place too?'
"'Yes, sir,' says she, blushing.
"'You seem very delicate. How old is your child? How many have
you had? What character have you?'
"Your wife didn't answer a word; so I stepped up, and said, 'Sir,'
says I, 'this lady has just lost her first child, and isn't used to
look for places, being the daughter of a captain in the navy; so
you'll excuse her want of manners in not getting up when you came
"The doctor at this sat down and began talking very kindly to her;
he said he was afraid that her application would be unsuccessful,
as Mrs. Horner came very strongly recommended from the Duchess of
Doncaster, whose relative Lady Tiptoff was; and presently my Lady
appeared, looking very pretty, ma'am, in an elegant lace-cap and a
sweet muslin robe-de-sham.
"A nurse came out of her Ladyship's room with her; and while my
Lady was talking to us, walked up and down in the next room with
something in her arms.
"First, my Lady spoke to Mrs. Horner, and then to Mrs. T.; but all
the while she was talking, Mrs. Titmarsh, rather rudely, as I
thought, ma'am, was looking into the next room: looking--looking
at the baby there with all her might. My Lady asked her her name,
and if she had any character; and as she did not speak, I spoke up
for her, and said she was the wife of one of the best men in the
world; that her Ladyship knew the gentleman, too, and had brought
him a haunch of venison. Then Lady Tiptoff looked up quite
astonished, and I told the whole story: how you had been head
clerk, and that rascal, Brough, had brought you to ruin. 'Poor
thing!' said my Lady: Mrs. Titmarsh did not speak, but still kept
looking at the baby; and the great big grenadier of a Mrs. Horner
looked angrily at her.
"'Poor thing!' says my Lady, taking Mrs. T.'s hand very kind, 'she
seems very young. How old are you, my dear?'
"'Five weeks and two days!' says your wife, sobbing.
"Mrs. Horner burst into a laugh; but there was a tear in my Lady's
eyes, for she knew what the poor thing was a-thinking of.
"'Silence, woman!' says she angrily to the great grenadier woman;
and at this moment the child in the next room began crying.
"As soon as your wife heard the noise, she sprung from her chair
and made a stop forward, and put both her hands to her breast and
said, 'The child--the child--give it me!' and then began to cry
"My Lady looked at her for a moment, and then ran into the next
room and brought her the baby; and the baby clung to her as if he
knew her: and a pretty sight it was to see that dear woman with
the child at her bosom.
"When my Lady saw it, what do you think she did? After looking on
it for a bit, she put her arms round your wife's neck and kissed
"'My dear,' said she, 'I am sure you are as good as you are pretty,
and you shall keep the child: and I thank God for sending you to
"These were her very words; and Dr. Bland, who was standing by,
says, 'It's a second judgment of Solomon!'
"'I suppose, my Lady, you don't want ME?' says the big woman, with
"'Not in the least!' answers my Lady, haughtily, and the grenadier
left the room: and then I told all your story at full length, and
Mrs. Blenkinsop kept me to tea, and I saw the beautiful room that
Mrs. Titmarsh is to have next to Lady Tiptoff's; and when my Lord
came home, what does he do but insist upon coming back with me here
in a hackney-coach, as he said he must apologise to you for keeping
your wife away."
I could not help, in my own mind, connecting this strange event
which, in the midst of our sorrow, came to console us, and in our
poverty to give us bread,--I could not help connecting it with the
DIAMOND PIN, and fancying that the disappearance of that ornament
had somehow brought a different and a better sort of luck into my
family. And though some gents who read this, may call me a poor-
spirited fellow for allowing my wife to go out to service, who was
bred a lady and ought to have servants herself: yet, for my part,
I confess I did not feel one minute's scruple or mortification on
the subject. If you love a person, is it not a pleasure to feel
obliged to him? And this, in consequence, I felt. I was proud and
happy at being able to think that my dear wife should be able to
labour and earn bread for me, now misfortune had put it out of my
power to support me and her. And now, instead of making any
reflections of my own upon prison discipline, I will recommend the
reader to consult that admirable chapter in the Life of Mr.
Pickwick in which the same theme is handled, and which shows how
silly it is to deprive honest men of the means of labour just at
the moment when they most want it. What could I do? There were
one or two gents in the prison who could work (literary gents,--one
wrote his "Travels in Mesopotamia," and the other his "Sketches at
Almack's," in the place); but all the occupation I could find was
walking down Bridge Street, and then up Bridge Street, and staring
at Alderman Waithman's windows, and then at the black man who swept
the crossing. I never gave him anything; but I envied him his
trade and his broom, and the money that continually fell into his
old hat. But I was not allowed even to carry a broom.
Twice or thrice--for Lady Tiptoff did not wish her little boy often
to breathe the air of such a close place as Salisbury Square--my
dear Mary came in the thundering carriage to see me. They were
merry meetings; and--if the truth must be told--twice, when nobody
was by, I jumped into the carriage and had a drive with her; and
when I had seen her home, jumped into another hackney-coach and
drove back. But this was only twice; for the system was dangerous,
and it might bring me into trouble, and it cost three shillings
from Grosvenor Square to Ludgate Hill.
Here, meanwhile, my good mother kept me company; and what should we
read of one day but the marriage of Mrs. Hoggarty and the Rev.
Grimes Wapshot! My mother, who never loved Mrs. H., now said that
she should repent all her life having allowed me to spend so much
of my time with that odious ungrateful woman; and added that she
and I too were justly punished for worshipping the mammon of
unrighteousness and forgetting our natural feelings for the sake of
my aunt's paltry lucre. "Well, Amen!" said I. "This is the end of
all our fine schemes! My aunt's money and my aunt's diamond were
the causes of my ruin, and now they are clear gone, thank Heaven!
and I hope the old lady will be happy; and I must say I don't envy
the Rev. Grimes Wapshot." So we put Mrs. Hoggarty out of our
thoughts, and made ourselves as comfortable as might be.
Rich and great people are slower in making Christians of their
children than we poor ones, and little Lord Poynings was not
christened until the month of June. A duke was one godfather, and
Mr. Edmund Preston, the State Secretary, another; and that kind
Lady Jane Preston, whom I have before spoken of, was the godmother
to her nephew. She had not long been made acquainted with my
wife's history; and both she and her sister loved her heartily and
were very kind to her. Indeed, there was not a single soul in the
house, high or low, but was fond of that good sweet creature; and
the very footmen were as ready to serve her as they were their own
"I tell you what, sir," says one of them. "You see, Tit my boy,
I'm a connyshure, and up to snough; and if ever I see a lady in my
life, Mrs. Titmarsh is one. I can't be fimiliar with her--I've
"Have you, sir?" said I.
"Don't look so indignant! I can't, I say, be fimiliar with her as
I am with you. There's a somethink in her, a jenny-squaw, that
haws me, sir! and even my Lord's own man, that 'as 'ad as much
success as any gentleman in Europe--he says that, cuss him--"
"Mr. Charles," says I, "tell my Lord's own man that, if he wants to
keep his place and his whole skin, he will never address a single
word to that lady but such as a servant should utter in the
presence of his mistress; and take notice that I am a gentleman,
though a poor one, and will murder the first man who does her
Mr. Charles only said "Gammin!" to this: but psha! in bragging
about my own spirit, I forgot to say what great good fortune my
dear wife's conduct procured for me.
On the christening-day, Mr. Preston offered her first a five, and
then a twenty-pound note; but she declined either; but she did not
decline a present that the two ladies made her together, and this
was no other than MY RELEASE FROM THE FLEET. Lord Tiptoff's lawyer
paid every one of the bills against me, and that happy christening-
day made me a free man. Ah! who shall tell the pleasure of that
day, or the merry dinner we had in Mary's room at Lord Tiptoff's
house, when my Lord and my Lady came upstairs to shake hands with
"I have been speaking to Mr. Preston," says my Lord, "the gentleman
with whom you had the memorable quarrel, and he has forgiven it,
although he was in the wrong, and promises to do something for you.
We are going down, meanwhile, to his house at Richmond; and be
sure, Mr. Titmarsh, I will not fail to keep you in his mind."
"MRS. Titmarsh will do that," says my Lady; "for Edmund is woefully
smitten with her!" And Mary blushed, and I laughed, and we were
all very happy: and sure enough there came from Richmond a letter
to me, stating that I was appointed fourth clerk in the Tape and
Sealing-wax Office, with a salary of 80L. per annum.
Here perhaps my story ought to stop; for I was happy at last, and
have never since, thank Heaven! known want: but Gus insists that I
should add how I gave up the place in the Tape and Sealing-wax
Office, and for what reason. That excellent Lady Jane Preston is
long gone, and so is Mr. P- off in an apoplexy, and there is no
harm now in telling the story.
The fact was, that Mr. Preston had fallen in love with Mary in a
much more serious way than any of us imagined; for I do believe he
invited his brother-in-law to Richmond for no other purpose than to
pay court to his son's nurse. And one day, as I was coming post-
haste to thank him for the place he had procured for me, being
directed by Mr. Charles to the "scrubbery," as he called it, which
led down to the river--there, sure enough, I found Mr. Preston, on
his knees too, on the gravel-walk, and before him Mary, holding the
"Dearest creature!" says Mr. Preston, "do but listen to me, and
I'll make your husband consul at Timbuctoo! He shall never know of
it, I tell you: he CAN never know of it. I pledge you my word as
a Cabinet Minister! Oh, don't look at me in that arch way: by
heavens, your eyes kill me!"
Mary, when she saw me, burst out laughing, and ran down the lawn;
my Lord making a huge crowing, too, and holding out his little fat
hands. Mr. Preston, who was a heavy man, was slowly getting up,
when, catching a sight of me looking as fierce as the crater of
Mount Etna,--he gave a start back and lost his footing, and rolled
over and over, walloping into the water at the garden's edge. It
was not deep, and he came bubbling and snorting out again in as
much fright as fury.
"You d-d ungrateful villain!" says he, "what do you stand there
"I'm waiting your orders for Timbuctoo, sir," says I, and laughed
fit to die; and so did my Lord Tiptoff and his party, who joined us
on the lawn: and Jeames the footman came forward and helped Mr.
Preston out of the water.
"Oh, you old sinner!" says my Lord, as his brother-in-law came up
the slope. "Will that heart of yours be always so susceptible, you
romantic, apoplectic, immoral man?"
Mr. Preston went away, looking blue with rage, and ill-treated his
wife for a whole month afterwards.
"At any rate," says my Lord, "Titmarsh here has got a place through
our friend's unhappy attachment; and Mrs. Titmarsh has only laughed
at him, so there is no harm there. It's an ill wind that blows
nobody good, you know."
"Such a wind as that, my Lord, with due respect to you, shall never
do good to me. I have learned in the past few years what it is to
make friends with the mammon of unrighteousness; and that out of
such friendship no good comes in the end to honest men. It shall
never be said that Sam Titmarsh got a place because a great man was
in love with his wife; and were the situation ten times as
valuable, I should blush every day I entered the office-doors in
thinking of the base means by which my fortune was made. You have
made me free, my Lord; and, thank God! I am willing to work. I can
easily get a clerkship with the assistance of my friends; and with
that and my wife's income, we can manage honestly to face the
This rather long speech I made with some animation; for, look you,
I was not over well pleased that his Lordship should think me
capable of speculating in any way on my wife's beauty.
My Lord at first turned red, and looked rather angry; but at last
he held out his hand and said, "You are right, Titmarsh, and I am
wrong; and let me tell you in confidence, that I think you are a
very honest fellow. You shan't lose by your honesty, I promise
Nor did I: for I am at this present moment Lord Tiptoff's steward
and right-hand man: and am I not a happy father? and is not my
wife loved and respected by all the country? and is not Gus Hoskins
my brother-in-law, partner with his excellent father in the leather
way, and the delight of all his nephews and nieces for his tricks
As for Mr. Brough, that gentleman's history would fill a volume of
itself. Since he vanished from the London world, he has become
celebrated on the Continent, where he has acted a thousand parts,
and met all sorts of changes of high and low fortune. One thing we
may at least admire in the man, and that is, his undaunted courage;
and I can't help thinking, as I have said before, that there must
be some good in him, seeing the way in which his family are
faithful to him. With respect to Roundhand, I had best also speak
tenderly. The case of Roundhand v. Tidd is still in the memory of
the public; nor can I ever understand how Bill Tidd, so poetic as
he was, could ever take on with such a fat, odious, vulgar woman as
Mrs. R., who was old enough to be his mother.
As soon as we were in prosperity, Mr. and Mrs. Grimes Wapshot made
overtures to be reconciled to us; and Mr. Wapshot laid bare to me
all the baseness of Mr. Smithers's conduct in the Brough
transaction. Smithers had also endeavoured to pay his court to me,
once when I went down to Somersetshire; but I cut his pretensions
short, as I have shown. "He it was," said Mr. Wapshot, "who
induced Mrs. Grimes (Mrs. Hoggarty she was then) to purchase the
West Diddlesex shares: receiving, of course, a large bonus for
himself. But directly he found that Mrs. Hoggarty had fallen into
the hands of Mr. Brough, and that he should lose the income he made
from the lawsuits with her tenants and from the management of her
landed property, he determined to rescue her from that villain
Brough, and came to town for the purpose. He also," added Mr.
Wapshot, "vented his malignant slander against me; but Heaven was
pleased to frustrate his base schemes. In the proceedings
consequent on Brough's bankruptcy, Mr. Smithers could not appear;
for his own share in the transactions of the Company would have
been most certainly shown up. During his absence from London, I
became the husband--the happy husband--of your aunt. But though,
my dear sir, I have been the means of bringing her to grace, I
cannot disguise from you that Mrs. W. has faults which all my
pastoral care has not enabled me to eradicate. She is close of her
money, sir--very close; nor can I make that charitable use of her
property which, as a clergyman, I ought to do; for she has tied up
every shilling of it, and only allows me half-a-crown a week for
pocket-money. In temper, too, she is very violent. During the
first years of our union, I strove with her; yea, I chastised her;
but her perseverance, I must confess, got the better of me. I make
no more remonstrances, but am as a lamb in her hands, and she leads
me whithersoever she pleases."
Mr. Wapshot concluded his tale by borrowing half-a-crown from me
(it was at the Somerset Coffee-house in the Strand, where he came,
in the year 1832, to wait upon me), and I saw him go from thence
into the gin-shop opposite, and come out of the gin-shop half-an-
hour afterwards, reeling across the streets, and perfectly
He died next year: when his widow, who called herself Mrs.
Hoggarty-Grimes-Wapshot, of Castle Hoggarty, said that over the
grave of her saint all earthly resentments were forgotten, and
proposed to come and live with us; paying us, of course, a handsome
remuneration. But this offer my wife and I respectfully declined;
and once more she altered her will, which once more she had made in
our favour; called us ungrateful wretches and pampered menials, and
left all her property to the Irish Hoggarties. But seeing my wife
one day in a carriage with Lady Tiptoff, and hearing that we had
been at the great ball at Tiptoff Castle, and that I had grown to
be a rich man, she changed her mind again, sent for me on her
death-bed, and left me the farms of Slopperton and Squashtail, with
all her savings for fifteen years. Peace be to her soul! for
certainly she left me a very pretty property.
Though I am no literary man myself, my cousin Michael (who
generally, when he is short of coin, comes down and passes a few
months with us) says that my Memoirs may be of some use to the
public (meaning, I suspect, to himself); and if so, I am glad to
serve him and them, and hereby take farewell: bidding all gents
who peruse this, to be cautious of their money, if they have it; to
be still more cautious of their friends' money; to remember that
great profits imply great risks; and that the great shrewd
capitalists of this country would not be content with four per
cent. for their money, if they could securely get more: above all,
I entreat them never to embark in any speculation, of which the
conduct is not perfectly clear to them, and of which the agents are
not perfectly open and loyal.