Part 15 out of 15
staring astonishment "What now?" said the captain, and rose from his seat
"Look! look! look!"
The captain came and looked, and said he saw nothing at all.
"The fly; the fly!" cried the surgeon.
"Yes, I see one of them has been biting him; for there's a little blood
trickling. Poor fellow."
"A dead man can't bleed from the small veins in his skin," said the man
of art. "He is alive, captain, he is alive, as sure as we stand here, and
God's above. That little insect was wiser than us; he is alive."
"Jackson, don't trifle with me, or I'll hang you at the yard-arm. God
bless you, Jackson. Is it really possible? Run some of you, get a mirror:
I have heard that is a test"
"Mirror be hanged. Doctor Fly knows his business."
All was now flutter and bustle: and various attempts were made to
resuscitate David, but all in vain. At last the surgeon had an idea.
"This man was never drowned at all" said he: "I am sure of it. This is
catalepsy. He may lie this way for a week. But dead he is not. I'll try
the douche." David was then by his orders stripped and carried to a place
where they could turn a watercock on him from a height: and the surgeon
had soon the happiness of pointing out to the captain a slight blush on
David's skin in parts, caused by the falling water. All doubts ceased
with this: the only fear was lest they should shake out the trembling
life by rough usage. They laid him on his stomach, and with a bellows and
pipe so acted on the lungs, that at last a genuine sigh issued from the
patient's breast. Then they put him in a warm bed, and applied
stimulants; and by slow degrees the eyelids began to wink, the eyes to
look more mellow, the respiration to strengthen, the heart to beat:
"Patience, now," said the surgeon, "patience, and lots of air."
Patience was rewarded. Just four hours after the first treatment, a
voice, faint but calm and genial, issued from the bed on their astonished
ears, "Good morning to you all."
They kept very quiet. In about five minutes more the voice broke out
again, calm and sonorous--
"Where is my money--my fourteen thousand pounds?"
These words set them all looking at one another: and very much puzzled
the surgeon: they were delivered with such sobriety and conviction.
"Captain," he whispered, "ask him. if he knows you."
"David," said the captain kindly, "do you know me?" David looked at him
earnestly, and his old kindly smile broke out, "Know ye, ye clog," said
he, "why, you are my cousin Reginald. And how came you into this
thundering bank? I hope you have got no money here. 'Ware land sharks!"
"We are not in a bank, David; we are on board my ship."
"The deuce we are. But where's my money?"
"Oh, we'll talk about that by-and-by."
The surgeon stepped forward, and said soothingly, "You have been very
ill, sir. You have had a fit."
"I believe you are right," said David thoughtfully.
"Will you allow me to examine your eye?"
The surgeon examined David's eye with his thumb and finger and then
looked into it to see how the pupil dilated and contracted.
He rubbed his hands after this examination; "More good news, captain!"
then lowering his voice, _"Your friend is as sane as I am._"
The surgeon was right. A shock had brought back the reason a shock had
taken away. But how or why I know no more than the child unborn. The
surgeon wrote a learned paper, and explained the whole most ingeniously.
I don't believe one word of his explanation, and can't better it; so
confine myself to the phenomena. Being now sane, the boundary wall of his
memory was shifted. He remembered his whole life up to his demanding his
cash back of Richard Hardie; and there his reawakened mind stopped dead
short. Being asked if he knew William Thompson, he said, "Yes, perfectly.
He was a foretopman on board the _Agra,_ and rather a smart hand. The
ship was aground and breaking up: he went out to sea on a piano: but we
cut the hawser as he drifted under, and he got safe ashore." David's
recovered reason rejected with contempt as an idle dream all that had
happened while that reason was in defect The last phenomena I have to
record were bodily: one was noted by Mr. Georgie White in these terms:
"Billy's eyes used to be like a seal's: but, now he is a great gentleman,
they are like yours and mine." The other was more singular: with his
recovered reason came his first grey hair, and in one fortnight it was
all as white as snow.
He remained a fortnight on board the _Vulture,_ beloved by high and low.
He walked the quarter-deck in the dress of a private gentleman, but
looking like an admiral. The sailors touched their hats to him with a
strange mixture of veneration and jocoseness. They called him among
themselves Commodore Billy. He was supplied with funds by Reginald, and
put on board a merchant ship bound for England. He landed, amid went
straight to Barkington. There he heard his family were in London. He came
back to London, and sought them. A friend told him of Green; he went to
him, and of course Green saw directly who he was. But able men don't cut
business short. He gravely accepted David's commission to find him Mrs.
Dodd. Finding him so confident, David asked him if he thought he could
find Richard Hardie or his clerk, Noah Skinner; both of whom had levanted
from Barkington. Green, who was on a hot scent as to Skinner, demurely
accepted both commissions; and appointed David to meet him at a certain
place at six. He came; he found Green's man, who took him upstairs, and
there was that excited group determining the ownership of his receipt.
Now to David that receipt was a thing of yesterday. "It is mine," said
he. They all turned to look at this man, with sober passionless voice,
and hair of snow. A keen cry from Julia's heart made every heart there
quiver, and in a moment she was clinging and sobbing on her father's
neck. Edward could only get his hand and press and kiss it. Instinct told
them Heaven had given them their father back, mind and all.
Ere the joy and the emotion had calmed themselves, Alfred Hardie slipped
out and ran like a deer to Pembroke Street.
Those who were so strangely reunited could not part for a long time, even
to go down the stairs one by one.
David was the first to recover his composure: indeed, great tranquillity
of spirit had ever since his cure been a remarkable characteristic of
this man's nature. His passing mania seemed to have burnt out all his
impetuosity, leaving him singularly sober, calm, and self-governed.
Mr. Compton took the money, and the will, and promised the Executrix,
Skinner should be decently interred and all his debts paid out of the
estate. He would look in at 66 by-and-by.
And now a happy party wended their way towards Pembroke Street.
But Alfred was beforehand with them: he went boldly up the stairs, and
actually surprised Mrs. Dodd and Sampson together.
At sight of him she rose, made him a low curtsey, and beat a retreat. He
whipped to the door, and set his back against it. "No," said he saucily.
She drew up majestically, and the colour mounted in her pale face. "What,
sir, would you detain me by force?"
"And no mistake," said the audacious boy. "How else can I detain you when
you hate me so?" She began to peep into his sparkling eyes to see the
reason of this strange conduct
"C'way from the door, ye vagabin," said Sampson.
"No, no, my friend," said Mrs. Dodd, trembling, and still peering into
his sparkling eyes. "Mr. Alfred Hardie is a gentleman, at all events: he
would not take such a liberty with me, unless he had some excuse for it."
"You are wonderfully shrewd, mamma," said Alfred admiringly. "The excuse
is, I don't hate you as you hate me; and I am very happy."
"Why do you call me mamma to-day? Oh, doctor, he calls me mamma."
"Th' audacious vagabin."
"No, no, I cannot think he would call me that unless he had some good
news for us both?"
"What good news can he have, except that his trile is goin' well, and you
don't care for that"
"Oh, how can you say so? I care for all that concerns him: he would not
come here to insult my misery with his happiness. He is noble, he is
generous, with all his faults. How dare you call me mamma, sir! Call it
me again, my dear child; because then I shall _know_ you are come to save
my heart from breaking." And with this, the truth must be told, the
stately Mrs. Dodd did fawn upon Alfred with palms outstretched and
piteous eyes, and certain cajoling arts of her sex.
"Give me a kiss then, mamma," said the impudent boy, "and I _will_ tell
you a little bit of good news."
She bowed her stately head directly, and paid the required tribute with
servile humility and readiness.
"Well then," said Alfred, and was just going to tell her all, but caught
sight of Sampson making the most expressive pantomime to him to be
cautious. "Well," said he, "I have seen a sailor."
"And he is sure Mr. Dodd is alive."
Mrs. Dodd lifted her hands to heaven, but could not speak. "In fact,"
said Alfred, hesitating (for he was a wretched hand at a fib), "he saw
him not a fortnight ago on board ship. But that is not all, mamma, the
sailor says he has his reason."
Mrs. Dodd sank on her knees, and said no word to man, but many to the
Giver of all good. When she arose, she said to Alfred, "Bring this sailor
to me. I must speak with him directly."
Alfred coloured. "I don't know where to find him just now."
"Oh, indeed," said Mrs. Dodd quietly: and this excited her suspicion; and
from that moment the cunning creature lay in wait for Master Alfred. She
plied him with questions, and he got more and more puzzled how to sustain
his story. At last, by way of bursting out of his own net, he said, "But
I am sorry to say his hair has turned white. But perhaps you won't mind
"And he hadn't a grey hair."
"It is not grey, like the doctor's: it is as white as the driven snow."
Mrs. Dodd sighed; then suddenly turning on Alfred, asked him, "Did the
sailor tell you that?"
He hesitated a moment and was lost.
"You have seen him," she screamed; "he is in London: he is in the house.
I feel him near me:" and she went into something very like hysterics.
Alfred was alarmed, and whispered the truth. The doctor sent him off to
meet them, and recommended caution; her nerves were in such a state a
violent shock, even of happiness, might kill her.
Thus warned, Julia came into the room alone, and while Dr. Sampson was
inculcating self-restraint for her own sake, she listened with a superior
smile, and took quite a different line. "Mamma," said she, "he is in the
town; but I dare not bring him here till you are composed: his reason is
restored; but his nerves are not so strong as they were. Now, if you
agitate yourself, you will agitate him, and will do him a serious
This crafty speech produced an incredible effect on Mrs. Dodd. It calmed
her directly: or rather her great love gave her strength to be calm. "I
will not be such a wretch," she said. "See: I am composed, quite
composed. Bring me my darling, and you shall see how good I will be:
there now, Julia, see how calm I am, quite calm. What, have I borne so
much misery, with Heaven's help, and do you think I cannot bear this
great happiness for my dear darling's sake?"
On this they proposed she should retire to her room, and they would go
"Think over the meeting, dear, dear mamma," said Julia, "and then you
will behave well for his sake, who was lost to us and is found."
Husband and wife met alone in Mrs. Dodd's room. No eye, even of the
children, ventured to witness a scene so strange, so sacred. We may try
and imagine that meeting; but few of us can conceive it by the light of
our narrow experience. Yet one or two there may be--the world is wide,
and the adventures and emotions of our race are many.
One by one all were had up to that sacred room to talk to the happy pair.
They found David seated calmly at his wife's feet, her soft hand laid on
his white hair, lest he should leave her again: and they told him all the
sorrow behind them; and he, genial and kindly as ever, told them all the
happiness before them. He spoke like the master of the house, the father
of the family, the friend of them all.
But with all his goodness he was sternly resolved to have his L. 14,000
out of Richard Hardie. He had an interview with Mr. Compton that very
night, and the lawyer wrote a letter to Mr. Hardie, saying nothing about
the death of Skinner, but notifying that his client, Captain Dodd, had
recovered from Noah Skinner the receipt No. 17 for L. 14,010 12s. 6d, and
he was instructed to sue for it unless repaid immediately. He added
Captain Dodd was mercifully restored, and remembered distinctly every
particular of the transaction.
They all thought in their innocence that Hardie _v._ Hardie was now at an
end. Captain Dodd could prove Alfred's _soi-disant_ illusion to be the
simple truth. But Compton thought that this evidence had come too late.
"What, may we not get up and say here is papa, and it is all true?" cried
"No, Miss Dodd; our case is closed. And take my advice: don't subject
your father to the agitation of a trial. We can do without him."
Well then, they would all go as spectators, and pray that justice might
They did go: and all sat together to hear a matter puzzled over, which
had David come one day earlier he would have set at rest for ever.
Dick Absolom was put in to prove that Alfred had put two sovereigns on
the stumps for him to bowl if he could; and after him the defendant, Mr.
Thomas Hardie, a mild, benevolent, weak gentleman, was put into the box,
and swore the boy's father had come to him with story after story of the
plaintiff's madness, and the trouble it would get him into, and so he had
done for the best. His simplicity was manifest, and Saunders worked it
ably. When Colt got hold of him, and badgered him, he showed something
more than simplicity. He stuttered, he contradicted himself, he
perspired, he all but wept
_Colt._--Are you sure you had no spite against him?
_Colt._--You are not sure, eh?
This candid interpretation of his words knocked the defendant stupid. He
made no reply, but looked utterly flabbergasted.
_Colt._--Did he not provoke you? Did he not call you an idiot.
_Colt._ (satirically).--Of course he might. (Laughter.) But did he?
_Deft._ (plucking up a little spirit).--No. He called me SOFT TOMMY.
This revelation, and the singular appropriateness of the nickname, were
so highly relished by an intelligent audience, that it was a long time
before the trial could go on for roars. The plaintiff's ringing laugh was
heard among the rest.
The cross-examination proceeded in this style till the defendant began to
drivel at the mouth a little. At last, after a struggle, he said, with a
piteous whine, that he could not help it: he hated signing his name; some
mischief always came of it; but this time he had no option.
"No option?" said Colt. "What do you mean?"
And with one or two more turns of the screw, out came this astounding
"Richard said if I didn't put Taff in one, _he_ would put _me_ in one."
_The Judge._--In one what?
_Deft._ (weeping).--In one madhouse, my lord.
A peal followed this announcement, and Colt sat down grinning. Saunders
rose smiling. "I am much obliged to the learned counsel for making my
case," said he: "I need not prolong the sufferings of the innocent. You
can go down, Mr. Hardie."
_The Judge._--Have you any defence to this action?
"Certainly, my lord."
"Do you call Richard Hardie?"
"No, my lord."
"Then had you not better confine yourself to the question of damages?"
The sturdy Saunders would not take the hint; he replied upon the whole
case, and fought hard for a verdict. The line he took was bold; he
described Richard Hardie as a man who had acquired a complete power over
his weaker brother: and had not only persuaded him by statements, but
even compelled him by threats, to do what he believed would be the
salvation of his nephew. "Will you imitate the learned counsel's cruelty?
Will you strike a child?" In short, he made a powerful appeal to their
pity, while pretending to address their judgments.
Then Colt rose like a tower, and assuming the verdict as certain, asked
the jury for heavy damages. He contrasted powerfully the defendant's
paltry claim to pity with the anguish the plaintiff had undergone. He
drew the wedding party, the insult to the bride, the despair of the
kidnapped bridegroom; he lashed the whole gang of conspirators concerned
in the crime, regretted that they could only make one of all these
villains smart, but hinted that Richard and Thomas Hardie were in one
boat, and that heavy damages inflicted on Thomas would find the darker
culprit out. He rapped out Mr. Cowper's lines on liberty, and they were
new to the jury, though probably not to you; he warned the jury that all
our liberties depended on them. "In vain," said he, "have we beheaded one
tyrant, and banished another, to secure those liberties, if men are to be
allowed to send away their own flesh and blood into the worst of all
prisons for life and not smart for it, in those lamentably few cases in
which the law finds them out and lays hold of them." But it would task my
abilities to the utmost, and occupy more time than is left me, to do
anything like justice to the fluent fiery eloquence of Colt, Q. C., when
he got a great chance like this. _Tonat, fulgurat, et rapidis eloquentiae
fluctibus cuncia proruit et proturbat._ Bursts of applause, that neither
crier nor judge could suppress, bore witness to the deep indignation
Britons feel when their hard-earned liberties are tampered with by power
or fraud, in defiance of law; and, when he sat down, the jury were ready
to fly out at him with L. 5000 in hand.
Then rose the passionless voice of "justice according to law." I wish I
could give the very words. The following is the effect as _I_ understood
it. Lawyers, forgive my deficiencies.
"This is an important, but not a difficult case. The plaintiff sues the
defendant under _the law of England_ for falsely imprisoning him in a
madhouse. The imprisonment is admitted, and the sufferings of the
plaintiff not disputed. The question is, whether he was insane at the
time of the act? Now, I must tell you, that in a case of this kind, it
lies upon the defendant to prove the plaintiff's insanity, rather than on
the plaintiff to prove his own sanity. Has the defendant overcome this
difficulty? Illusion is the best proof of insanity; and a serious
endeavour was certainly made to fasten an illusion on the plaintiff about
a sum of L. 14,000. But the proof was weak, and went partly on an
assumption that all error is hallucination; this is illusory, and would,
if acted on, set one half the kingdom imprisoning the other half; and
after all, they did not demonstrate that the plaintiff was _in error._
They advanced no _undeniable proof_ that Mr. Richard Hardie has not
embezzled this L. 14,000. I don't say it was proved on the other hand
that he did embezzle that sum. Richard Hardie sueing Alfred Hardie for
libel on this evidence might possibly obtain a verdict; for then the
burden of proof would lie on Alfred Hardie; but here it lies on those who
say he is insane. The fact appears to be that the plaintiff imbibed a
reasonable suspicion of his own father's integrity; it was a suspicion
founded on evidence, imperfect, indeed, but of a sound character as far
as it went. There had been a letter from Captain Dodd to his family,
announcing his return with L. 14,000 upon him, and, while as yet unaware
of this letter, the plaintiff heard David Dodd accuse Richard Hardie of
possessing improperly L. 14,000, the identical sum. At least, he swears
to this, and as Richard Hardie was not called to contradict him, you are
at liberty to suppose that Richard Hardie had some difficulty in
contradicting him on oath. Here, then, true or false, was a rational
suspicion, and every man has a right to a rational suspicion of his
neighbour, and even to utter it within due limits; and, if he overstep
those, the party slandered has his legal remedy; but if he omits his
legal remedy, and makes an attempt of doubtful legality not to confute,
but to stifle, the voice of reasonable suspicion, shrewd men will suspect
all the more. But then comes a distinct and respectable kind of evidence
for the defendant; he urges that the plaintiff was going to sign away his
property to his wife's relations. Now, this was proved, and a draft of
the deed put in and sworn to. This taken singly has a very extraordinary
look. Still, you must consider the plaintiff's reasonable suspicion that
money belonging to the Dodds had passed irregularly to the Hardies, and
then the wonder is diminished. Young and noble minds have in every age
done generous, self-denying, and delicate acts. The older we get, the
less likely we are to be incarcerated for a crime of this character; but
we are not to imprison youth and chivalry merely because we have outgrown
them. To go from particulars to generals, the defendant, on whom the
proof lies, has advanced hearsay and conjecture, and not put their
originators into the box. The plaintiff, on whom the proof does not lie,
has advanced abundant evidence that he was sane at the time of his
incarceration: this was proved to demonstration by friends, strangers,
and by himself." Here the judge analysed the testimony of several of the
"As to the parties themselves, it is curious how they impersonated, so to
speak, their respective lines of argument. The representative of evidence
and sound reasoning, though accused of insanity, was precise, frank,
rational and dignified in the witness-box; and I think you must have
noticed his good temper. The party, who relied on hearsay and conjecture,
was as feeble as they are; he was almost imbecile, as you observed; and,
looking at both parties, it really seems monstrous that the plaintiff
should be the one confined as a lunatic, and the defendant allowed to run
wild and lock up his intellectual superiors. If he means to lock them
_all_ up, even you and I are hardly safe. (Laughter.) The only serious
question, I apprehend, is on what basis the damages ought to be assessed.
The plaintiffs counsel has made a powerful appeal to your passions, and
calls for vengeance. Now I must tell you, you have no right to make
yourselves ministers of vengeance, nor even to punish the defendant, in a
suit of the kind: still less ought you to strike the defendant harder
than you otherwise would--in the vague hope of punishing indirectly the
true mover of the defendant and the other puppets. I must warn you
against that suggestion of the learned counsel's. If the plaintiff wants
vengeance, the criminal law offers it. He comes here, not for vengeance,
but for compensation, and restoration to that society which he is every
way fitted to adorn. More than this--and all our sympathies--it is not
for us to give him. But then the defendant's counsel went too far the
other way. His client, he says, is next door to an idiot, and so,
forsooth, his purse must be spared entirely. This is all very well if it
could be done without ignoring the plaintiff and his just claim to
compensation. Why, if the defendant, instead of being weak-minded, were
an idiot or a lunatic, it would protect him from punishment as a felon,
but not from damages in a suit. A sane man is not to be falsely
imprisoned by a lunatic without full compensation from the lunatic or his
estate: _a fortiori,_ he is not to be so imprisoned by a mere fool
without just compensation. Supposing your verdict, then, to be for the
plaintiff, I think vindictive damages would be unfair, on this feeble
defendant, who has acted recklessly, but under an error, and without
malice, or bad faith. On the other hand, nominal or even unsubstantial
damages would be unjust to the plaintiff; and perhaps leave in some minds
a doubt that I think you do not yourselves entertain, as to the
plaintiff's perfect sanity during the whole period of his life."
As soon as his lordship had ended, the foreman of the jury said their
minds were quite made up long ago.
"Si-lence in the court."
"We find for the plaintiff, with damages three thousand pounds."
The verdict was received with some surprise by the judge, and all the
lawyers except Mr. Colt, and by the people with acclamation; in the midst
of which Mr. Colt announced that the plaintiff had just gained his first
class at Oxford. "I wish him joy," said the judge.
THE verdict was a thunder-clap to Richard Hardie: he had promised Thomas
to bear him blameless. The Old Turks, into which he had bought at 72,
were down to 71, and that implied a loss of five thousand pounds. On the
top of all this came Mr. Compton's letter neatly copied by Colls: Richard
Hardie was doubly and trebly ruined.
Then in his despair and hate he determined to baffle them all, ay, and
sting the hearts of some of them once more.
He would give Peggy his last shilling; write a line to Alfred, another to
Julia, assuring them he had no money, and they had killed him. And with
that leave them both the solemn curse of a dying father, and then kill
Not to be interrupted in his plan, he temporised with Mr. Compton; wrote
that, if the Receipt was really signed by his agent, of course the loss
must fall on him; it was a large sum, but he would sell out and do his
best, in ten days from date. With this he went and bought a pistol, and
at several chemist's shops a little essential oil of almonds: his plan
was to take the poison, and, if it killed without pain, well and good;
but if it tortured him, then he would blow his brains out at once.
He soon arranged his worldly affairs, and next day gave Peggy his L. 500,
and told her she had better keep it for fear he should be arrested. He
sent her on an errand to the other part of the town: then with his poison
and the pistol before him on the table, wrote a brief but emphatic curse
for his son and Julia; and a line to Peggy to thank her for her fidelity
to one so much older than herself, and to advise her to take a
tobacconist's shop with his money. When he had done all this, he poured
out the fragrant poison and tasted it.
Ere he could drink it, one of those quidnunes, who are always
interrupting a gentleman when he has important business on hand, came
running in with all manner of small intelligence. Mr. Hardie put down the
glass, and gave him short, sullen answers, in hopes he would then go away
and let him proceed to business. And at last his visitor did rise and go.
Mr. Hardie sat down with a sigh of relief to his fragrant beverage.
Doesn't the door open, and this bore poke in his head: "Oh I forgot to
tell you; the Old Turks are going up today, like a shot." And with this
he slammed the door again, and was off.
At this the cup began to tremble in the resolute wretch's hand. The Old
Turks going up! He poured the poison back into the phial, and put it and
the pistol and all the letters carefully into his pocket, and took a cab
to the City.
The report was true; there was an extraordinary movement in the Old
Turks. The Sultan was about to pay a portion of this loan, being at six
per cent.; this had transpired, and at four o'clock the Turks were quoted
at 73. Mr. Hardie returned a gainer of L. 5000 instead of a loser. He
locked up the means of death for the present.
And now an ordinary man would have sold out, and got clear of the fatal
trap: but this was not an ordinary man: he would not sell a share that
day. In the afternoon they rose to 74. He came home, unloaded his pistol,
and made himself some brandy-and-water, and with a grim smile, flavoured
it with a few drops of the poison--that was a delicious tumbler. The
Turks went up, up, up, to 82. Then he sold out, and cleared L. 49,000,
and all in about ten days.
With this revived the habits of his youth; no more cheating: nothing
could excuse that but the dread of poverty. He went to his appointment
with Mr. Compton; asked to see the Receipt; said "Yes; that was his form,
and Skinner's handwriting; he had never personally received one farthing
of the money; Skinner had clearly embezzled it: but that did not matter;
of course, Captain Dodd must not lose his money. Send your bill of costs
in Hardie _v._ Hardie to me, Mr. Compton," said he, "they shall not be
taxed: you have lost enough by me already."
There was an air of dignity and good faith about the man that half
imposed even on Compton. And when Mr. Hardie drew out the notes and said,
"I should be grateful if you would forgive me the interest; but for a
great piece of good fortune on the Stock Exchange, I could never have
paid the whole principal," he said warmly, "the interest should never be
demanded through him."
He called in Colls, delivered up the Receipt, and received the L. 14,010,
12s. 6d. from Mr. Hardie.
O immortal Cash! You, like your great inventor, have then a kind of
spirit as well as a body; and on this, not on your grosser part, depends
your personal identity. So long as that survives, your body may be
recalled to its lawful owner from Heaven knows where.
Mr. Compton rushed to Pembroke Street, and put this hard, hard Cash in
David Dodd's hands once more.
Love and Constancy had triumphed: and Julia and Alfred were to be married
and go down to Albion Villa to prepare it for the whole party: tenants no
more: Alfred had bought it. The Commissioners of Lunacy had protected his
L. 20,000 zealously from the first: and his trustees had now paid the
Alfred consulted by Mrs. Dodd, whose pet of pets he now was, as to the
guests to be asked to the wedding breakfast, suggested "None but the
tried friends of our adversity."
"What an excellent idea!" said Mrs. Dodd naively.
Dr. Sampson being duly invited asked if he should bring his Emulsion.
This proposal puzzled all but Mrs. Dodd. She was found laughing heartily
in a corner without any sound of laughter. Being detected and pointed out
by Julia, she said, with a little crow, "He means his wife. Yes,
certainly, bring your Emulcent"--pretending he had used that more elegant
word--"and then they will all see how well you can behave."
Accordingly he brought a lady, who was absurdly pretty to be the mother
of several grown young ladies and gentlemen, and two shades more quiet
and placid than Mrs. Dodd. She quietly had her chair placed by Dr.
Sampson's, and, whenever he got racy, she put a hand gently on his
shoulder, and by some mesmeric effect it moderated him as Neptune did the
waves in the AEneid. She was such a mistress of this mesmeric art, that
she carried on a perfect conversation with her other neighbour, yet
modulated her lion lord with a touch of that composing hand, in a
parenthetical manner, and even while looking another way.
This hand, soft as down, yet irresistible, suppressed the great art of
healing, vital chronometry, the wrongs of inventors, the collusions of
medicine, the Mad Ox, and all but drawing-room topics, at the very first
symptom, and only just allowed the doctor to be the life and soul of the
Julia and Mrs. Dodd had a good cry at parting. Of course Alfred consoled
them: reminded them it was only for a week, and carried off his lovely
prize, who in the carriage soon dried her eyes upon his shoulder.
Then she applied to her new lord and master for information. "They _say_
that you and me are one, now," said she interrogatively.
He told her triumphantly it was so.
"At that rate you are Julius and I am Elfrida," said she.
"That is a bargain," said he, and sealed it on the sweet lips that were
murmuring Heaven so near him.
In this sore-tried and now happy pair the ardour of possession lasted
long, and was succeeded by the sober but full felicity of conjugal love
and high esteem combined. They were so young and elastic, that past
sorrows seemed but to give one zest more to the great draught of
happiness they now drank day by day. They all lived together at Albion
Villa, thanks to Alfred. He was by nature combative, and his warlike soul
was roused at the current theory that you cannot be happy under the same
roof with your wife's mother. "That is cant," said he to Mrs. Dodd; "let
us, you and I, trample on it hand in hand."
"My child," said poor Mrs. Dodd sorrowfully, "I am a poor hand at
trampling; and everybody says a mother-in-law in the house bores a young
"If a young gentleman can't live happy with you, mamma," said he, kissing
her, "he is a little snob, that is all, and not fit to live at all.
_Delenda est Cantilena!_ That means 'Down with Cant!'"
They did live together: and behold eleven French plays, with their
thirty-three English adaptations, confuted to the end of time.
Creatures so high-bred as Mrs. Dodd never fidget one. There is a repose
about them; they are balm to all those they love, and blister to none.
Item, no stranger could tell by Mrs. Dodd's manner whether Edward or
Alfred was her own son.
Oh, you happy little villa! you were as like Paradise as any mortal
dwelling can be. A day came, however, when your walls could no longer
hold all the happy inmates. Julia presented Alfred with a lovely boy;
enter nurses, and the villa showed symptoms of bursting. Two months more,
and Alfred and his wife and boy overflowed into the next villa. It was
but twenty yards off; and there was a double reason for the migration. As
often happens after a long separation Heaven bestowed on Captain and Mrs.
Dodd another infant to play about their knees at present, and help them
grow younger instead of older: for tender parents begin life again with
The boys were nearly of a size, though the nephew was a month or two
older than his uncle, a relationship that was early impressed on their
young minds, and caused those who heard their prattle many a hearty
"Mrs. Dodd," said a lady, "I couldn't tell by your manner which is yours
and which is your daughter's."
"Why they are both mine," said Mrs. Dodd piteously, and opening her eyes
with gentle astonishment.
As years rolled on Dr. Sampson made many converts at home and abroad. The
foreign ones acknowledged their obligations. The leading London
physicians managed more skilfully; they came into his ideas, and bit by
bit reversed their whole practice, and, twenty years after, Sampson began
to strengthen the invalid at once, instead of first prostrating him, and
so causing either long sickness or sudden death. But, with all this, they
disowned their forerunner, and still called him a quack while adopting
his quackery. This dishonesty led them into difficulties. To hide that
their whole practice in medicine was reversed on _better information,_
they went from shuffle to shuffle, till at last they reached this climax
of fatuity and egotism--THE TYPE OF DISEASE IS CHANGED.
Natura mutatur, non nos mutamur.
O, mutable Nature and immutable doctors!
O, unstable Omniscience, and infallible Nescience!
The former may err; the latter never--in its own opinion.
At this rate, draining the weak of their life blood was the right thing
in Cervantes' day: and when he observed that it killed men like sheep,
and said so under the head of Sangrado, he was confounding his own age
with an age to come three hundred years later, in which coming age
depletion was _going_ to be wrong.
Moliere--in lashing the whole scholastic system of lancet, purge, and
blister as one of slaughter--committed the same error: mistook his
century for one to come.
And Sampson, thirty years ago, sang the same tune, and mistook his
inflammatory generation for the cool generation as yet unborn. In short,
it is the characteristic of a certain blunder called genius to see things
too far in advance. The surest way to avoid this is not to see them at
all; but go blindly by the cant of the hour. _Race moutonuiere va!_
Sampson was indignant at finding that these gentry, after denouncing him
for years as a quack, were pilfering his system, yet still reviling him.
He went in a towering passion, and hashed them by tongue and pen: told
them they were his subtractors now as well as detractors, asked them how
it happened that in countries where there is no Sampson the type of
disease remains unchanged, depletion is the practice, and death the
result, as it was in every age?
No man, however stout, can help being deeply wounded when he sees his
ideas stolen, yet their author and publisher disowned. Many men's hearts
have been broken by this: but I doubt whether they were really great men.
Don't tell me Lilliput ever really kills Brobdignag. Except, of course,
when Brobdignag takes medical advice of Lilliput.
Dr. Sampson had three shields against subtraction, detraction, and all
the wrongs inventors endure: to wit, a choleric temper, a keen sense of
humour, and a good wife. He storms and rages at his detracting pupils;
but ends with roars of laughter at their impudence. I am told he still
hopes to meet with justice some day, and to give justice a chance, he
goes to bed at ten, for, says he--
"Jinny us, jinny us,
Take care of your carcass,"
and explains that no genius ever lived to ninety without being
"If Chatterton and Keats had attended to this, they would have been all
right. If James Watt had died at fifty he would have been all wrong; for
at fifty he was a failure! so was the painter Etty, the English Tishin."
And then he accumulates examples.
His last distich bearing on Hard Cash is worth recording. "Miss Julee,"
said he, "y' are goen to maerry int' a strange family--
Where th' ijjit puts the jinnyus
In-til a madhus,"
which, like most of the droll things this man said, was true: for Soft
Tommy and Alfred were the two intellectual extremes of the whole tribe of
Mrs. Archbold, disappointed both in love and revenge, posed her
understanding, and soothed her mind, with Frank Beverley and opium. This
soon made the former deep in love with her, and his intellect grew by
contact with hers. But one day news came from Australia that her husband
was dead. Now, perhaps I shall surprise the reader, if I tell him that
this Edith Archbold began her wedded life a good, confiding, loving,
faithful woman. Yet so it was: the unutterable blackguard she had
married, he it was who laboured to spoil her character, and succeeded at
last, and drove her, unwilling at first, to other men. The news of his
death was like a shower-bath; it roused her. She took counsel with
herself, and hope revived in her strong head and miserable heart. She
told Frank, and watched him like a hawk. He instantly fell on his knees,
and implored her to marry him directly. She gave him her hand and turned
away, and shed the most womanly tear that had blessed her for years. "I
am not mad, you know," said poor Frank; "I am only a bit of a muff." To
make a long story short, she exerted all her intelligence, and with her
help Frank took measures towards superseding his Commission of Lunacy.
Now, in such a case, the Lord Chancellor always examines the patient in
person. What was the consequence? Instead of the vicarious old Wolf, who
had been devouring him at third and fourth hand, Frank had two interviews
with the Chancellor himself: a learned, grave, upright gentleman, who
questioned him kindly and shrewdly and finding him to be a young man of
small intellectual grasp, but not the least idiotic or mad, superseded
his commission in defiance of his greedy kinsfolk, and handed him his
property. He married Edith Archbold, and she made him as happy as the day
was long. For the first year or two she treated his adoration with
good-natured contempt; but, as years rolled on, she became more loving,
and he more knowing! They are now a happy pair, and all between her first
honest love, and this her last, seems to her a dream.
So you see a female rake can be ameliorated by a loving husband, as well
as a male rake by a loving wife.
It sounds absurd, and will offend my female readers and their unchristian
prejudices, but that black-browed jade is like to be one of the best
wives and mothers in England. But then, mind you, she had always--Brains.
I do not exactly know why Horace puts together those two epithets, "just"
and "tenacious of purpose." Perhaps he had observed they go together. To
be honest, I am not clear whether this is so on the grand scale. But
certainly the two features did meet remarkably in one of my
characters--Alfred Hardie. The day the bank broke, he had said he would
pay the creditors. He now set to work to do it by degrees. He got the
names and addresses, lived on half his income, and paid half away to
those creditors: he even asked Julia to try and find Maxley out, and do
something for him. "But don't let me see him," said he, trembling, "for I
could not answer for myself." Maxley was known to be cranky, but
harmless, and wandering about the country. Julia wrote to Mr. Green about
Alfred's was an uphill game; but fortune favours the obstinate as well as
the bold. One day, about four years after his marriage with Julia, being
in London, he found a stately figure at the corner of a street, holding
out his hand for alms, too dignified to ask it except by that mute and
It was his father.
Then, as truly noble natures must forgive the fallen, Alfred was touched
to the heart, and thought of the days of his childhood, before temptation
came. "Father," said he, "have you come to this?"
"Yes, Alfred," said Richard composedly: "I undertook too many
speculations, especially in land and houses; they seemed profitable at
first, too; but now I am entirely hampered: if you would but relieve me
of them, and give me a guinea a week to live on, I would forgive all your
Alfred bit his lip, had a wrestle with the old Adam; and said gently,
"Come home with me, sir."
He took him to Barkington, bag and baggage; and his good Christian wife
received the old man with delight; she had prayed day and night for this
reconciliation. Finding his son so warm, and being himself as cool,
Richard Hardie entrapped Alfred into an agreement, to board and lodge
him, and pay him a guinea every Saturday at noon; in return for this
Alfred was to manage Richard's property, and pocket the profits, if any.
Alfred assented: the old man chuckled at his son's simplicity, and made
him sign a formal agreement to that effect.
This done he used so sit brooding and miserable nearly all the week till
guinea time came; and then brightened up a bit. One day Alfred sent for
an accountant to look after his father's papers, and see if matters were
The accountant was not long at work, and told Alfred the accounts were
perfectly clear, and kept in the most, admirable order. "The cash balance
is L. 60,000," said he, "and many of the rents are due. It is an agent
you want, not an accountant."
"What are you talking about? A balance of L. 60,000?" Alfred was
The accountant, however, soon convinced him by the figures it was so.
Alfred went with the good news to his father.
His father went into a passion. "That is one side of the account, ye
fool," said he; "think of the rates, the taxes, the outgoings. You want
to go from your bargain, and turn me on the world; but I have got you in
black and white, tight, tight."
Then Alfred saw the truth, and wondered at his past obtuseness.
His father was a monomaniac.
He consulted Sampson, and Sampson told him to increase the old man's
comforts on the sly, and pay him his guinea a week. "It's all you can do
Then Alfred employed an agent, and received a large income from his
father's land and houses, and another from his consols. The old gentleman
had purchased westward of Hyde Park Square, and had bought with excellent
judgment till his mind gave way. Alfred never spent a farthing of it on
himself: but he took some for his father's creditors. "All justice is
good," said he, "even wild justice." Some of these unhappy creditors he
found in the workhouse; the Misses Lunley that survived were there, alas!
He paid them their four thousand pounds, and restored them to society.
The name of Hardie began to rise again from the dust.
Now, while Richard Hardie sat brooding and miserable, expecting utter
ruin, and only brightening up on guinea day, Julia had a protege with
equally false views but more cheerful ones. It was an old man with a
silver beard, and a machine with which he stamped leather into round
pieces of silver, in his opinion. Nothing could have shaken that notion
out of his mind. Julia confirmed it. She let it be known that she would
always cash five pieces of round leather from Mr. Matthews' mint per day,
and ten on Friday, when working men are poorest.
She contrived this with diabolical, no, angelical cunning, to save the
old man from ridicule, and to do his soul much good. All souls were dear
to her. What was the consequence? He went about with his mint, and
relieved poor people, and gratified his mania at the same time. His face
began to beam with benevolence and innocent self-satisfaction. On Richard
Hardie's all was cordage: and deep gloom sat on his ever-knitted brow.
Of these two men which was the rich man; he who had nothing, yet thought
he possessed enough for himself and his neighbours: or he who rolled in
wealth, but writhed under imaginary poverty?
One reflection more. Do not look to see Providence dash the cup of
prosperity from every dishonest hand; or you will often be disappointed.
Yet this, if you look closer, you shall often see: such a man holds the
glittering cup tight, and nectar to the brim; but into that cup a shadowy
hand squeezes some subtle ingredient, which turns that nectar to
Richard Hardie died, his end being hastened by fear of poverty coming
like an armed man, and his guinea a week going. Matthews met with an
accident, and, being impervious to pain, but subject to death, was laid
beside his poor mistress in St. Anne's churchyard. Julia buried him, and
had a headstone put to his grave; and, when this was done, she took her
husband to see it. On that stone was fresh carved the true name of the
deceased, James Maxley.
"I have done what you told me," said Julia, her sweet voice trembling a
little. Even she did not quite know how her husband would take it, or
"I _know it,_" said Alfred softly. "I saw who your Matthews was; but I
could not speak of him, even to you." He looked at the grave in silence.
Julia's arms were round his neck in a moment, and her wet cheek consoling
"You have done right, my good Christian wife. I wish I was like you. My
poor little Jenny!"
Richard Hardie's papers were found in perfect order; and among them an
old will leaving L. 14,000 to Edward Dodd.
On this being announced to Edward, he suggested that it was a fraud:
Alfred had been at him for a long time with offers of money, and failing
there, and being a fine impetuous fellow, had lost his temper and forged
a will, in his, Edward's, favour.
This scandalous defence broke down. The document was indisputable, and
the magic sum was forced down Master Edward's throat, nilly willy. Thus
rose the Hard Cash a second time from the grave.
All this enabled the tenacious Alfred to carry out a deeply-cherished
design. Hardie's late bank had been made into a shop; but it belonged to
Mrs. Dodd. He bought it of her, and set up the bank again, with Edward as
managing partner. This just suited Edward, who sadly wanted employment.
Hardie & Co. rose again, and soon wiped out the late disgraceful episode,
and looked on to the past centuries of honour and good credit. No
creditor of Richard Hardie was left unpaid. Alfred went in for politics;
stood for Barkington, was defeated by seventeen: took it as a matter of
course; told his friends he had never succeeded in anything at first; nor
been beaten in the end; stood again, and became M. P. for Barkington,
whence to dislodge him I pity any one who tries.
For a long time Mrs. Dodd was nervous, and used to wake with a start at
night, and put out her hand to make sure David was not lost again. But
this wore off.
For years the anniversary of that fatal day, when he was brought home on
the stretcher, came back to them all as a day of gloom. But that wore
Sometimes the happiness of her family seemed incredible to her,
remembering what they had all gone through. At first, their troubles were
too terrible and recent to be discussed. But even that wore off, and they
could talk of it all; and things bitter at the time became pleasant to
One midsummer day they had all dined together rather early at Albion
Villa, and sat on the lawn, with Mrs. Dodd's boy and Julia's boy and girl
playing about these ladies' knees. Now after a little silence, Mrs. Dodd,
who had been thinking quietly of many things, spoke to them all, and
said: "If my children and I had not been bosom-friends, we never should
have survived that terrible time we have passed through, my dears. Make
friends of your children, my child."
"Ah, that I will!" said Julia; and caught up the nearest brat and kissed
it impetuously: for Wifehood and Maternity had not un-Julia'd her.
"It wasn't only our being friends, mamma," said Edward; "it was our
sticking together so."
In looking back on the story now ended, I incline to Mrs. Dodd's
conclusion. Almost my first word was that she and her children were
bosom-friends; and my last is to congratulate them that it was so. Think
of their various trials and temptations, and imagine what would have
become of them if family love and unity had not abounded. Their little
house was built on the sure foundation of true family affection: and so
the winds of adversity descended, and the floods came, and burst upon
that house, but could not prevail against it; it was founded on a rock.