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me.’ When the officers asked him what was the reason which induced him to meditate a crime so horrible?–‘It was your infernal brutality and tyranny,’ he said. ‘You are all butchers, ruffians, tigers, and you owe it to the cowardice of your men that you were not murdered long ago.’

At this his captain burst into the most furious exclamations against the wounded man, and rushing up to him, struck him a blow with his fist. But Le Blondin, wounded as he was, as quick as thought seized the bayonet of one of the soldiers who supported him, and plunged it into the officer’s breast. ‘Scoundrel and monster,’ said he, ‘I shall have the consolation of sending you out of the world before I die.’ He was shot that day. He offered to write to the King, if the officers would agree to let his letter go sealed into the hands of the postmaster; but they feared, no doubt, that something might be said to inculpate themselves, and refused him the permission. At the next review Frederick treated them, it is said, with great severity, and rebuked them for not having granted the Frenchman his request. However, it was the King’s interest to conceal the matter, and so it was, as I have said before, hushed up–so well hushed up, that a hundred thousand soldiers in the army knew it; and many’s the one of us that has drunk to the Frenchman’s memory over our wine, as a martyr for the cause of the soldier. I shall have, doubtless, some readers who will cry out at this, that I am encouraging insubordination and advocating murder. If these men had served as privates in the Prussian army from 1760 to 1765, they would not be so apt to take objection. This man destroyed two sentinels to get his liberty; how many hundreds of thousands of his own and the Austrian people did King Frederick kill because he took a fancy to Silesia? It was the accursed tyranny of the system that sharpened the axe which brained the two sentinels of Neiss: and so let officers take warning, and think twice ere they visit poor fellows with the cane.

I could tell many more stories about the army; but as, from having been a soldier myself, all my sympathies are in the ranks, no doubt my tales would be pronounced to be of an immoral tendency, and I had best, therefore, be brief. Fancy my surprise while in this depot, when one day a well-known voice saluted my ear, and I heard a meagre young gentleman, who was brought in by a couple of troopers and received a few cuts across the shoulders from one of them, say in the best English, ‘You infernal WASCAL, I’ll be wevenged for this. I’ll WITE to my ambassador, as sure as my name’s Fakenham of Fakenham.’ I burst out laughing at this: it was my old acquaintance in MY corporal’s coat. Lischen had sworn stoutly, that he was really and truly the private, and the poor fellow had been drafted off, and was to be made one of us. But I bear no malice, and having made the whole room roar with the story of the way in which I had tricked the poor lad, I gave him a piece of advice, which procured him his liberty. ‘Go to the inspecting officer,’ said I; ‘if they once get you into Prussia it is all over with you, and they will never give you up. Go now to the commandant of the depot, promise him a hundred–five hundred guineas to set you free; say that the crimping captain has your papers and portfolio’ (this was true); ‘above all, show him that you have the means of paying him the promised money, and I will warrant you are set free.’ He did as I advised, and when we were put on the march Mr. Fakenham found means to be allowed to go into hospital, and while in hospital the matter was arranged as I had recommended. He had nearly, however, missed his freedom by his own stinginess in bargaining for it, and never showed the least gratitude towards me his benefactor.

I am not going to give any romantic narrative of the Seven Years’ War. At the close of it, the Prussian army, so renowned for its disciplined valour, was officered and under-officered by native Prussians, it is true; but was composed for the most part of men hired or stolen, like myself, from almost every nation in Europe. The deserting to and fro was prodigious. In my regiment (Bulow’s) alone before the war, there had been no less than 600 Frenchmen, and as they marched out of Berlin for the campaign, one of the fellows had an old fiddle on which he was flaying a French tune, and his comrades danced almost, rather than walked, after him, singing, ‘Nous allons en France.’ Two years after, when they returned to Berlin, there were only six of these men left; the rest had fled or were killed in action. The life the private soldier led was a frightful one to any but men of iron courage and endurance. There was a corporal to every three men, marching behind them, and pitilessly using the cane; so much so that it used to be said that in action there was a front rank of privates and a second rank of sergeants and corporals to drive them on. Many men would give way to the most frightful acts of despair under these incessant persecutions and tortures; and amongst several regiments of the army a horrible practice had sprung up, which for some time caused the greatest alarm to the Government. This was a strange frightful custom of CHILD-MURDER. The men used to say that life was unbearable, that suicide was a crime; in order to avert which, and to finish with the intolerable misery of their position, the best plan was to kill a young child, which was innocent, and therefore secure of heaven, and then to deliver themselves up as guilty of the murder. The King himself–the hero, sage, and philosopher, the prince who had always liberality on his lips and who affected a horror of capital punishments–was frightened at this dreadful protest, on the part of the wretches whom he had kidnapped, against his monstrous tyranny; but his only means of remedying the evil was strictly to forbid that such criminals should be attended by any ecclesiastic whatever, and denied all religious consolation.

The punishment was incessant. Every officer had the liberty to inflict it, and in peace it was more cruel than in war. For when peace came the King turned adrift such of his officers as were not noble; whatever their services might have been. He would call a captain to the front of his company and say, ‘He is not noble, let him go.’ We were afraid of him somehow, and were cowed before him like wild beasts before their keeper. I have seen the bravest men of the army cry like children at a cut of the cane; I have seen a little ensign of fifteen call out a man of fifty from the ranks, a man who had been in a hundred battles, and he has stood presenting arms, and sobbing and howling like a baby, while the young wretch lashed him over the arms and thighs with the stick. In a day of action this man would dare anything. A button might be awry THEN and nobody touched him; but when they had made the brute fight, then they lashed him again into subordination. Almost all of us yielded to the spell–scarce one could break it. The French officer I have spoken of as taken along with me, was in my company, and caned like a dog. I met him at Versailles twenty years afterwards, and he turned quite pale and sick when I spoke to him of old days. ‘For God’s sake,’ said he, ‘don’t talk of that time: I wake up from my sleep trembling and crying even now.’

As for me, after a very brief time (in which it must be confessed I tasted, like my comrades, of the cane) and after I had found opportunities to show myself to be a brave and dexterous soldier, I took the means I had adopted in the English army to prevent any further personal degradation. I wore a bullet around my neck, which I did not take the pains to conceal, and I gave out that it should be for the man or officer who caused me to be chastised. And there was something in my character which made my superiors believe me; for that bullet had already served me to kill an Austrian colonel, and I would have given it to a Prussian with as little remorse. For what cared I for their quarrels, or whether the eagle under which I marched had one head or two? All I said was, ‘No man shall find me tripping in my duty; but no man shall ever lay a hand upon me.’ And by this maxim I abided as long as I remained in the service.

I do not intend to make a history of battles in the Prussian any more than in the English service. I did my duty in them as well as another, and by the time that my moustache had grown to a decent length, which it did when I was twenty years of age, there was not a braver, cleverer, handsomer, and I must own, wickeder soldier in the Prussian army. I had formed myself to the condition of the proper fighting beast; on a day of action I was savage and happy; out of the field I took all the pleasure I could get, and was by no means delicate as to its quality or the manner of procuring it. The truth is, however, that there was among our men a much higher tone of society than among the clumsy louts in the English army, and our service was generally so strict that we had little time for doing mischief. I am very dark and swarthy in complexion, and was called by our fellows the ‘Black Englander,’ the ‘Schwartzer Englander,’ or the English Devil. If any service was to be done, I was sure to be put upon it. I got frequent gratifications of money, but no promotion; and it was on the day after I had killed the Austrian colonel (a great officer of Uhlans, whom I engaged–singly and on foot) that General Bulow, my colonel, gave me two Frederics-d’or in front of the regiment, and said, ‘I reward thee now; but I fear I shall have to hang thee one day or other.’ I spent the money, and that I had taken from the colonel’s body, every groschen, that night with some jovial companions; but as long as war lasted was never without a dollar in my purse.

CHAPTER VII

BARRY LEADS A GARRISON LIFE, AND FINDS MANY FRIENDS THERE

After the war our regiment was garrisoned in the capital, the least dull, perhaps, of all the towns of Prussia: but that does not say much for its gaiety. Our service, which was always severe, still left many hours of the day disengaged, in which we might take our pleasure had we the means of paying for the same. Many of our mess got leave to work in trades; but I had been brought up to none: and besides, my honour forbade me; for as a gentleman, I could not soil my fingers by a manual occupation. But our pay was barely enough to keep us from starving; and as I have always been fond of pleasure, and as the position in which we now were, in the midst of the capital, prevented us from resorting to those means of levying contributions which are always pretty feasible in wartime, I was obliged to adopt the only means left me of providing for my expenses: and in a word became the ORDONNANZ, or confidential military gentleman, of my captain. I spurned the office four years previously, when it was made to me in the English service; but the position is very different in a foreign country; besides, to tell the truth, after five years in the ranks, a man’s pride will submit to many rebuffs which would be intolerable to him in an independent condition.

The captain was a young man and had distinguished himself during the war, or he would never have been advanced to rank so early. He was, moreover, the nephew and heir of the Minister of Police, Monsieur de Potzdorff, a relationship which no doubt aided in the young gentleman’s promotion. Captain de Potzdorff was a severe officer enough on parade or in barracks, but he was a person easily led by flattery. I won his heart in the first place by my manner of tying my hair in queue (indeed, it was more neatly dressed than that of any man in the regiment), and subsequently gained his confidence by a thousand little arts and compliments, which as a gentleman myself I knew how to employ. He was a man of pleasure, which he pursued more openly than most men in the stern Court of the King; he was generous and careless with his purse, and he had a great affection for Rhine wine: in all which qualities I sincerely sympathised with him; and from which I, of course, had my profit. He was disliked in the regiment, because he was supposed to have too intimate relations with his uncle the Police Minister; to whom, it was hinted, he carried the news of the corps.

Before long I had ingratiated myself considerably with my officer, and knew most of his affairs. Thus I was relieved from many drills and parades, which would otherwise have fallen to my lot, and came in for a number of perquisites; which enabled me to support a genteel figure and to appear with some ECLAT in a certain, though it must be confessed very humble, society in Berlin. Among the ladies I was always an especial favourite, and so polished was my behaviour amongst them, that they could not understand how I should have obtained my frightful nickname of the Black Devil in the regiment. ‘He is not so black as he is painted,’ I laughingly would say; and most of the ladies agreed that the private was quite as well-bred as the captain: as indeed how should it be otherwise, considering my education and birth?

When I was sufficiently ingratiated with him, I asked leave to address a letter to my poor mother in Ireland, to whom I had not given any news of myself for many many years; for the letters of the foreign soldiers were never admitted to the post, for fear of appeals or disturbances on the part of their parents abroad. My captain agreed to find means to forward the letter, and as I knew that he would open it, I took care to give it him unsealed; thus showing my confidence in him. But the letter was, as you may imagine, written so that the writer should come to no harm were it intercepted. I begged my honoured mother’s forgiveness for having fled from her; I said that my extravagance and folly in my own country I knew rendered my return thither impossible; but that she would, at least, be glad to know that I was well and happy in the service of the greatest monarch in the world, and that the soldier’s life was most agreeable to me: and, I added, that I had found a kind protector and patron, who I hoped would some day provide for me as I knew it was out of her power to do. I offered remembrances to all the girls at Castle Brady, naming them from Biddy to Becky downwards, and signed myself, as in truth I was, her affectionate son, Redmond Barry, in Captain Potzdorffs company of the Bulowisch regiment of foot in garrison at Berlin. Also I told her a pleasant story about the King kicking the Chancellor and three judges downstairs, as he had done one day when I was on guard at Potsdam, and said I hoped for another war soon, when I might rise to be an officer. In fact, you might have imagined my letter to be that of the happiest fellow in the world, and I was not on this head at all sorry to mislead my kind parent.

I was sure my letter was read, for Captain Potzdorff began asking me some days afterwards about my family, and I told him the circumstances pretty truly, all things considered. I was a cadet of a good family, but my mother was almost ruined and had barely enough to support her eight daughters, whom I named. I had been to study for the law at Dublin, where I had got into debt and bad company, had killed a man in a duel, and would be hanged or imprisoned by his powerful friends, if I returned. I had enlisted in the English service, where an opportunity for escape presented itself to me such as I could not resist; and hereupon I told the story of Mr. Fakenham of Fakenham in such a way as made my patron to be convulsed with laughter, and he told me afterwards that he had repeated the story at Madame de Kamake’s evening assembly, where all the world was anxious to have a sight of the young Englander.

‘Was the British Ambassador there?’ I asked, in a tone of the greatest alarm, and added, ‘For Heaven’s sake, sir, do not tell my name to him, or he might ask to have me delivered up: and I have no fancy to go to be hanged in my dear native country.’ Potzdorff, laughing, said he would take care that I should remain where I was, on which I swore eternal gratitude to him.

Some days afterwards, and with rather a grave face, he said to me, ‘Redmond, I have been talking to our colonel about you, and as I wondered that a fellow of your courage and talents had not been advanced during the war, the general said they had had their eye upon you: that you were a gallant soldier, and had evidently come of a good stock; that no man in the regiment had had less fault found with him; but that no man merited promotion less. You were idle, dissolute, and unprincipled; you had done a deal of harm to the men; and, for all your talents and bravery, he was sure would come to no good.’

‘Sir!’ said I, quite astonished that any mortal man should have formed such an opinion of me, ‘I hope General Bulow is mistaken regarding my character. I have fallen into bad company, it is true; but I have only done as other soldiers have done; and, above all, I have never had a kind friend and protector before, to whom I might show that I was worthy of better things. The general may say I am a ruined lad, and send me to the d—l: but be sure of this, I would go to the d—l to serve YOU.’ This speech I saw pleased my patron very much; and, as I was very discreet and useful in a thousand delicate ways to him, he soon came to have a sincere attachment for me. One day, or rather night, when he was tete-a-tete with the lady of the Tabaks Rath von Dose for instance, I–But there is no use in telling affairs which concern nobody now.

Four months after my letter to my mother, I got, under cover to the Captain, a reply, which created in my mind a yearning after home, and a melancholy which I cannot describe. I had not seen the dear soul’s writing for five years. All the old days, and the fresh happy sunshine of the old green fields in Ireland, and her love, and my uncle, and Phil Purcell, and everything that I had done and thought, came back to me as I read the letter; and when I was alone I cried over it, as I hadn’t done since the day when Nora jilted me. I took care not to show my feelings to the regiment or my captain: but that night, when I was to have taken tea at the Garden-house outside Brandenburg Gate, with Fraulein Lottchen (the Tabaks Rathinn’s gentlewoman of company), I somehow had not the courage to go; but begged to be excused, and went early to bed in barracks, out of which I went and came now almost as I willed, and passed a long night weeping and thinking about dear Ireland.

Next day, my spirits rose again and I got a ten-guinea bill cashed, which my mother sent in the letter, and gave a handsome treat to some of my acquaintance. The poor soul’s letter was blotted all over with tears, full of texts, and written in the wildest incoherent way. She said she was delighted to think I was under a Protestant prince, though she feared he was not in the right way: that right way, she said, she had the blessing to find, under the guidance of the Reverend Joshua Jowls, whom she sat under. She said he was a precious chosen vessel; a sweet ointment and precious box of spikenard; and made use of a great number more phrases that I could not understand; but one thing was clear in the midst of all this jargon, that the good soul loved her son still, and thought and prayed day and night for her wild Redmond. Has it not come across many a poor fellow, in a solitary night’s watch, or in sorrow, sickness, or captivity, that at that very minute, most likely, his mother is praying for him? I often have had these thoughts; but they are none of the gayest, and it’s quite as well that they don’t come to you in company; for where would be a set of jolly fellows then?– as mute as undertakers at a funeral, I promise you. I drank my mother’s health that night in a bumper, and lived like a gentleman whilst the money lasted. She pinched herself to give it me, as she told me afterwards; and Mr. Jowls was very wroth with her. Although the good soul’s money was very quickly spent, I was not long in getting more; for I had a hundred ways of getting it, and became a universal favourite with the Captain and his friends. Now, it was Madame von Dose who gave me a Frederic-d’or for bringing her a bouquet or a letter from the Captain; now it was, on the contrary, the old Privy Councillor who treated me with a bottle of Rhenish, and slipped into my hand a dollar or two, in order that I might give him some information regarding the liaison between my captain and his lady. But though I was not such a fool as not to take his money, you may be sure I was not dishonourable enough to betray my benefactor; and he got very little out of ME. When the Captain and the lady fell out, and he began to pay his addresses to the rich daughter of the Dutch Minister, I don’t know how many more letters and guineas the unfortunate Tabaks Rathinn handed over to me, that I might get her lover back again. But such returns are rare in love, and the Captain used only to laugh at her stale sighs and entreaties. In the house of Mynheer Van Guldensack I made myself so pleasant to high and low, that I came to be quite intimate there: and got the knowledge of a state secret or two, which surprised and pleased my captain very much. These little hints he carried to his uncle, the Minister of Police, who, no doubt, made his advantage of them; and thus I began to be received quite in a confidential light by the Potzdorff family, and became a mere nominal soldier, being allowed to appear in plain clothes (which were, I warrant you, of a neat fashion), and to enjoy myself in a hundred ways, which the poor fellows my comrades envied. As for the sergeants, they were as civil to me as to an officer: it was as much as their stripes were worth to offend a person who had the ear of the Minister’s nephew. There was in my company a young fellow by the name of Kurz, who was six feet high in spite of his name, and whose life I had saved in some affair of the war. What does this lad do, after I had recounted to him one of my adventures, but call me a spy and informer, and beg me not to call him DU any more, as is the fashion with young men when they are very intimate. I had nothing for it but to call him out; but I owed him no grudge. I disarmed him in a twinkling; and as I sent his sword flying over his head, said to him, ‘Kurz, did ever you know a man guilty of a mean action who can do as I do now?’ This silenced the rest of the grumblers; and no man ever sneered at me after that.

No man can suppose that to a person of my fashion the waiting in antechambers, the conversation of footmen and hangers-on, was pleasant. But it was not more degrading than the barrack-room, of which I need not say I was heartily sick. My protestations of liking for the army were all intended to throw dust into the eyes of my employer. I sighed to be out of slavery. I knew I was born to make a figure in the world. Had I been one of the Neiss garrison, I would have cut my way to freedom by the side of the gallant Frenchman; but here I had only artifice to enable me to attain my end, and was not I justified in employing it? My plan was this: I may make myself so necessary to M. de Potzdorff, that he will obtain my freedom. Once free, with my fine person and good family, I will do what ten thousand Irish gentlemen have done before, and will marry a lady of fortune and condition. And the proof that I was, if not disinterested, at least actuated by a noble ambition, is this. There was a fat grocer’s widow in Berlin with six hundred thalers of rent, and a good business, who gave me to understand that she would purchase my discharge if I would marry her; but I frankly told her that I was not made to be a grocer, and thus absolutely flung away a chance of freedom which she offered me.

And I was grateful to my employers; more grateful than they to me. The Captain was in debt, and had dealings with the Jews, to whom he gave notes of hand payable on his uncle’s death. The old Herr von Potzdorff, seeing the confidence his nephew had in me, offered to bribe me to know what the young man’s affairs really were. But what did I do? I informed Monsieur George von Potzdorff of the fact; and we made out, in concert, a list of little debts, so moderate, that they actually appeased the old uncle instead of irritating, and he paid them, being glad to get off so cheap.

And a pretty return I got for this fidelity. One morning, the old gentleman being closeted with his nephew (he used to come to get any news stirring as to what the young officers of the regiment were doing: whether this or that gambled; who intrigued, and with whom; who was at the ridotto on such a night; who was in debt, and what not; for the King liked to know the business of every officer in his army), I was sent with a letter to the Marquis d’Argens (that afterwards married Mademoiselle Cochois the actress), and, meeting the Marquis at a few paces off in the street, gave my message, and returned to the Captain’s lodging. He and his worthy uncle were making my unworthy self the subject of conversation.

‘He is noble,’ said the Captain.

‘Bah!’ replied the uncle (whom I could have throttled for his insolence). ‘All the beggarly Irish who ever enlisted tell the same story.’

‘He was kidnapped by Galgenstein,’ resumed the other.

‘A kidnapped deserter,’ said M. Potzdorff; ‘la belle affaire!’

‘Well, I promised the lad I would ask for his discharge; and I am sure you can make him useful.’

‘You HAVE asked his discharge,’ answered the elder, laughing. ‘Bon Dieu! You are a model of probity! You’ll never succeed to my place, George, if you are no wiser than you are just now. Make the fellow as useful to you as you please. He has a good manner and a frank countenance. He can lie with an assurance that I never saw surpassed, and fight, you say, on a pinch. The scoundrel does not want for good qualities; but he is vain, a spendthrift, and a bavard. As long as you have the regiment in terrorem over him, you can do as you like with him. Once let him loose, and the lad is likely to give you the slip. Keep on promising him; promise to make him a general, if you like. What the deuce do I care? There are spies enough to be had in this town without him.’

It was thus that the services I rendered to M. Potzdorff were qualified by that ungrateful old gentleman; and I stole away from the room extremely troubled in spirit, to think that another of my fond dreams was thus dispelled; and that my hopes of getting out of the army, by being useful to the Captain, were entirely vain. For some time my despair was such, that I thought of marrying the widow; but the marriages of privates are never allowed without the direct permission of the King; and it was a matter of very great doubt whether His Majesty would allow a young fellow of twenty-two, the handsomest man of his army, to be coupled to a pimplefaced old widow of sixty, who was quite beyond the age when her marriage would be likely to multiply the subjects of His Majesty. This hope of liberty was therefore vain; nor could I hope to purchase my discharge, unless any charitable soul would lend me a large sum of money; for, though I made a good deal, as I have said, yet I have always had through life an incorrigible knack of spending, and (such is my generosity of disposition) have been in debt ever since I was born.

My captain, the sly rascal! gave me a very different version of his conversation with his uncle to that which I knew to be the true one; and said smilingly to me, ‘Redmond, I have spoken to the Minister regarding thy services,[Footnote: The service about which Mr. Barry here speaks has, and we suspect purposely, been described by him in very dubious terms. It is most probable that he was employed to wait at the table of strangers in Berlin, and to bring to the Police Minister any news concerning them which might at all interest the Government. The great Frederick never received a guest without taking these hospitable precautions; and as for the duels which Mr. Barry fights, may we be allowed to hint a doubt as to a great number of these combats. It will be observed, in one or two other parts of his Memoirs, that whenever he is at an awkward pass, or does what the world does not usually consider respectable, a duel, in which he is victorious, is sure to ensue; from which he argues that he is a man of undoubted honour.] and thy fortune is made. We shall get thee out of the army, appoint thee to the police bureau, and procure for thee an inspectorship of customs; and, in fine, allow thee to move in a better sphere than that in which Fortune has hitherto placed thee.

Although I did not believe a word of this speech, I affected to be very much moved by it, and of course swore eternal gratitude to the Captain for his kindness to the poor Irish castaway.

‘Your service at the Dutch Minister’s has pleased me very well. There is another occasion on which you may make yourself useful to us; and if you succeed, depend on it your reward will be secure.’

‘What is the service, sir?’ said I; ‘I will do anything for so kind a master.’

‘There is lately come to Berlin,’ said the Captain, ‘a gentleman in the service of the Empress-Queen, who calls himself the Chevalier de Balibari, and wears the red riband and star of the Pope’s order of the Spur. He speaks Italian or French indifferently; but we have some reason to fancy this Monsieur de Balibari is a native of your country of Ireland. Did you ever hear such a name as Balibari in Ireland?’

‘Balibari? Balyb–?’ A sudden thought flashed across me. ‘No, sir,’ said I, ‘I never heard the name.’

‘You must go into his service. Of course you will not know a word of English: and if the Chevalier asks as to the particularity of your accent, say you are a Hungarian. The servant who came with him will be turned away to-day, and the person to whom he has applied for a faithful fellow will recommend you. You are a Hungarian; you served in the Seven Years’ War. You left the army on account of weakness of the loins. You served Monsieur de Quellenberg two years; he is now with the army in Silesia, but there is your certificate signed by him. You afterwards lived with Doctor Mopsius, who will give you a character, if need be; and the landlord of the “Star” will, of course, certify that you are an honest fellow: but his certificate goes for nothing. As for the rest of your story, you can fashion that as you will, and make it as romantic or as ludicrous as your fancy dictates. Try, however, to win the Chevalier’s confidence by provoking his compassion. He gambles a great deal, and WINS. Do you know the cards well?’

‘Only a very little, as soldiers do.’

‘I had thought you more expert. You must find out if the Chevalier cheats; if he does, we have him. He sees the English and Austrian envoys continually, and the young men of either Ministry sup repeatedly at his house. Find out what they talk of; for how much each plays, especially if any of them play on parole: if you can read his private letters, of course you will; though about those which go to the post, you need not trouble yourself; we look at them there. But never see him write a note without finding out to whom it goes, and by what channel or messenger. He sleeps with the keys of his despatch-box on a string round his neck. Twenty Frederics, if you get an impression of the keys. You will, of course, go in plain clothes. You had best brush the powder out of your hair, and tie it with a riband simply; your moustache you must of course shave off.

With these instructions, and a very small gratuity, the Captain left me. When I again saw him, he was amused at the change in my appearance. I had, not without a pang (for they were as black as jet, and curled elegantly), shaved off my moustaches; had removed the odious grease and flour, which I always abominated, out of my hair; had mounted a demure French grey coat, black satin breeches, and a maroon plush waistcoat, and a hat without a cockade. I looked as meek and humble as any servant out of place could possibly appear; and I think not my own regiment, which was now at the review at Potsdam, would have known me. Thus accoutred, I went to the ‘Star Hotel,’ where this stranger was,–my heart beating with anxiety, and something telling me that this Chevalier de Balibari was no other than Barry, of Ballybarry, my father’s eldest brother, who had given up his estate in consequence of his obstinate adherence to the Romish superstition. Before I went in to present myself, I went to look in the remises at his carriage. Had he the Barry arms? Yes, there they were: argent, a bend gules, with four escallops of the field,–the ancient coat of my house. They were painted in a shield about as big as my hat, on a smart chariot handsomely gilded, surmounted with a coronet, and supported by eight or nine Cupids, cornucopias, and flower-baskets, according to the queer heraldic fashion of those days. It must be he! I felt quite feint as I went up the stairs. I was going to present myself before my uncle in the character of a servant!

‘You are the young man whom M. de Seebach recommended?’

I bowed, and handed him a letter from that gentleman, with which my captain had taken care to provide me. As he looked at it I had leisure to examine him. My uncle was a man of sixty years of age, dressed superbly in a coat and breeches of apricot-coloured velvet, a white satin waistcoat embroidered with gold like the coat. Across his breast went the purple riband of his order of the Spur; and the star of the order, an enormous one, sparkled on his breast. He had rings on all his fingers, a couple of watches in his fobs, a rich diamond solitaire in the black riband round his neck, and fastened to the bag of his wig; his ruffles and frills were decorated with a profusion of the richest lace. He had pink silk stockings rolled over the knee, and tied with gold garters; and enormous diamond buckles to his red-heeled shoes. A sword mounted in gold, in a white fish-skin scabbard; and a hat richly laced, and lined with white feathers, which were lying on a table beside him, completed the costume of this splendid gentleman. In height he was about my size, that is, six feet and half an inch; his cast of features singularly like mine, and extremely distingue. One of his eyes was closed with a black patch, however; he wore a little white and red paint, by no means an unusual ornament in those days; and a pair of moustaches, which fell over his lip and hid a mouth that I afterwards found had rather a disagreeable expression. When his beard was removed, the upper teeth appeared to project very much; and his countenance wore a ghastly fixed smile, by no means pleasant.

It was very imprudent of me; but when I saw the splendour of his appearance, the nobleness of his manner, I felt it impossible to keep disguise with him; and when he said, ‘Ah, you are a Hungarian, I see!’ I could hold no longer.

‘Sir,’ said I, ‘I am an Irishman, and my name is Redmond Barry, of Ballybarry.’ As I spoke, I burst into tears; I can’t tell why; but I had seen none of my kith or kin for six years, and my heart longed for some one.

CHAPTER VIII

BARRY’S ADIEU TO MILITARY PROFESSION

You who have never been out of your country, know little what it is to hear a friendly voice in captivity; and there’s many a man that will not understand the cause of the burst of feeling which I have confessed took place on my seeing my uncle. He never for a minute thought to question the truth of what I said. ‘Mother of God!’ cried he, ‘it’s my brother Harry’s son.’ And I think in my heart he was as much affected as I was at thus suddenly finding one of his kindred; for he, too, was an exile from home, and a friendly voice, a look, brought the old country back to his memory again, and the old days of his boyhood. ‘I’d give five years of my life to see them again,’ said he, after caressing me very warmly. ‘What?’ asked I. ‘Why,’ replied he, ‘the green fields, and the river, and the old round tower, and the burying-place at Ballybarry. ‘Twas a shame for your father to part with the land, Redmond, that went so long with the name.’

He then began to ask me concerning myself, and I gave him my history at some length; at which the worthy gentleman laughed many times, saying, that I was a Barry all over. In the middle of my story he would stop me, to make me stand back to back, and measure with him (by which I ascertained that our heights were the same, and that my uncle had a stiff knee, moreover, which made him walk in a peculiar way), and uttered, during the course of the narrative, a hundred exclamations of pity, and kindness, and sympathy. It was ‘Holy Saints!’ and ‘Mother of Heaven!’ and ‘Blessed Mary!’ continually; by which, and with justice, I concluded that he was still devotedly attached to the ancient faith of our family.

It was with some difficulty that I came to explain to him the last part of my history, viz., that I was put into his service as a watch upon his actions, of which I was to give information in a certain quarter. When I told him (with a great deal of hesitation) of this fact, he burst out laughing, and enjoyed the joke amazingly. ‘The rascals!’ said he; ‘they think to catch me, do they? Why, Redmond, my chief conspiracy is a faro-bank. But the King is so jealous, that he will see a spy in every person who comes to his miserable capital in the great sandy desert here. Ah, my boy, I must show you Paris and Vienna!’

I said there was nothing I longed for more than to see any city but Berlin, and should be delighted to be free of the odious military service. Indeed, I thought, from his splendour of appearance, the knickknacks about the room, the gilded carriage in the remise, that my uncle was a man of vast property; and that he would purchase a dozen, nay, a whole regiment of substitutes, in order to restore me to freedom.

But I was mistaken in my calculations regarding him, as his history of himself speedily showed me. ‘I have been beaten about the world,’ said he, ‘ever since the year 1742, when my brother your father (and Heaven forgive him) cut my family estate from under my heels, by turning heretic, in order to marry that scold of a mother of yours. Well, let bygones be bygones. ‘Tis probable that I should have run through the little property as he did in my place, and I should have had to begin a year or two later the life I have been leading ever since I was compelled to leave Ireland. My lad, I have been in every service; and, between ourselves, owe money in every capital in Europe. I made a campaign or two with the Pandours under Austrian Trenck. I was captain in the Guard of His Holiness the Pope, I made the campaign of Scotland with the Prince of Wales–a bad fellow, my dear, caring more for his mistress and his brandy-bottle than for the crowns of the three kingdoms. I have served in Spain and in Piedmont; but I have been a rolling stone, my good fellow. Play– play has been my ruin; that and beauty’ (here he gave a leer which made him, I must confess, look anything but handsome; besides, his rouged cheeks were all beslobbered with the tears which he had shed on receiving me). ‘The women have made a fool of me, my dear Redmond. I am a soft-hearted creature, and this minute, at sixty- two, have no more command of myself than when Peggy O’Dwyer made a fool of me at sixteen.’

”Faith sir,’ says I, laughing, ‘I think it runs in the family!’ and described to him, much to his amusement, my romantic passion for my cousin, Nora Brady. He resumed his narrative.

‘The cards now are my only livelihood. Sometimes I am in luck, and then I lay out my money in these trinkets you see. It’s property, look you, Redmond; and the only way I have found of keeping a little about me. When the luck goes against me, why, my dear, my diamonds go to the pawnbrokers, and I wear paste. Friend Moses the goldsmith will pay me a visit this very day; for the chances have been against me all the week past, and I must raise money for the bank to-night. Do you understand the cards?’

I replied that I could play as soldiers do, but had no great skill.

‘We will practise in the morning, my boy,’ said he, ‘and I’ll put you up to a thing or two worth knowing.’

Of course I was glad to have such an opportunity of acquiring knowledge, and professed myself delighted to receive my uncle’s instruction.

The Chevalier’s account of himself rather disagreeably affected me. All his show was on his back, as he said. His carriage, with the fine gilding, was a part of his stock in trade. He HAD a sort of mission from the Austrian Court:–it was to discover whether a certain quantity of alloyed ducats which had been traced to Berlin, were from the King’s treasury. But the real end of Monsieur de Balibari was play. There was a young attache of the English embassy, my Lord Deuceace, afterwards Viscount and Earl of Crabs in the English peerage, who was playing high; and it was after hearing of the passion of this young English nobleman that my uncle, then at Prague, determined to visit Berlin and engage him. For there is a sort of chivalry among the knights of the dice-box: the fame of great players is known all over Europe. I have known the Chevalier de Casanova, for instance, to travel six hundred miles, from Paris to Turin, for the purpose of meeting Mr. Charles Fox, then only my Lord Holland’s dashing son, afterwards the greatest of European orators and statesmen.

It was agreed that I should keep my character of valet; that in the presence of strangers I should not know a word of English; that I should keep a good look-out on the trumps when I was serving the champagne and punch about; and, having a remarkably fine eyesight and a great natural aptitude, I was speedily able to give my dear uncle much assistance against his opponents at the green table. Some prudish persons may affect indignation at the frankness of these confessions, but Heaven pity them! Do you suppose that any man who has lost or won a hundred thousand pounds at play will not take the advantages which his neighbour enjoys? They are all the same. But it is only the clumsy fool who CHEATS; who resorts to the vulgar expedients of cogged dice and cut cards. Such a man is sure to go wrong some time or other, and is not fit to play in the society of gallant gentlemen; and my advice to people who see such a vulgar person at his pranks is, of course, to back him while he plays, but never–never to have anything to do with him. Play grandly, honourably. Be not, of course, cast down at losing; but above all, be not eager at winning, as mean souls are. And, indeed, with all one’s skill and advantages, winning is often problematical; I have seen a sheer ignoramus that knows no more of play than of Hebrew, blunder you out of five thousand pounds in a few turns of the cards. I have seen a gentleman and his confederate play against another and HIS confederate. One never is secure in these cases: and when one considers the time and labour spent, the genius, the anxiety, the outlay of money required, the multiplicity of bad debts that one meets with (for dishonourable rascals are to be found at the play- table, as everywhere else in the world), I say, for my part, the profession is a bad one; and, indeed, have scarcely ever met a man who, in the end, profited by it. I am writing now with the experience of a man of the world. At the time I speak of I was a lad, dazzled by the idea of wealth, and respecting, certainly too much, my uncle’s superior age and station in life.

There is no need to particularise here the little arrangements made between us; the playmen of the present day want no instruction, I take it, and the public have little interest in the matter. But simplicity was our secret. Everything successful is simple. If, for instance, I wiped the dust off a chair with my napkin, it was to show that the enemy was strong in diamonds; if I pushed it, he had ace, king; if I said, ‘Punch or wine, my Lord?’ hearts was meant; if ‘Wine or punch?’ clubs. If I blew my nose, it was to indicate that there was another confederate employed by the adversary; and THEN, I warrant you, some pretty trials of skill would take place. My Lord Deuceace, although so young, had a very great skill and cleverness with the cards in every way; and it was only from hearing Frank Punter, who came with him, yawn three times when the Chevalier had the ace of trumps, that I knew we were Greek to Greek, as it were.

My assumed dulness was perfect; and I used to make Monsieur de Potzdorff laugh with it, when I carried my little reports to him at the Garden-house outside the town where he gave me rendezvous. These reports, of course, were arranged between me and my uncle beforehand. I was instructed (and it is always far the best way) to tell as much truth as my story would possibly bear. When, for instance, he would ask me, ‘What does the Chevalier do of a morning?’

‘He goes to church regularly’ (he was very religious), ‘and after hearing mass comes home to breakfast. Then he takes an airing in his chariot till dinner, which is served at noon. After dinner he writes his letters, if he have any letters to write: but he has very little to do in this way. His letters are to the Austrian envoy, with whom he corresponds, but who does not acknowledge him; and being written in English, of course I look over his shoulder. He generally writes for money. He says he wants it to bribe the secretaries of the Treasury, in order to find out really where the alloyed ducats come from; but, in fact, he wants it to play of evenings, when he makes his party with Calsabigi, the lottery-contractor, the Russian attaches, two from the English embassy, my Lords Deuceace and Punter, who play a jeu d’enfer, and a few more. The same set meet every night at supper: there are seldom any ladies; those who come are chiefly French ladies, members of the corps de ballet. He wins often, but not always. Lord Deuceace is a very fine player. The Chevalier Elliot, the English Minister, sometimes comes, on which occasion the secretaries do not play. Monsieur de Balibari dines at the missions, but en petit comite, not on grand days of reception. Calsabigi, I think, is his confederate at play. He has won lately; but the week before last he pledged his solitaire for four hundred ducats.’

‘Do he and the English attaches talk together in their own language?’

‘Yes; he and the envoy spoke yesterday for half-an-hour about the new danseuse and the American troubles: chiefly about the new danseuse.’

It will be seen that the information I gave was very minute and accurate, though not very important. But such as it was, it was carried to the ears of that famous hero and warrior the Philosopher of Sans Souci; and there was not a stranger who entered the capital but his actions were similarly spied and related to Frederick the Great.

As long as the play was confined to the young men of the different embassies, His Majesty did not care to prevent it; nay, he encouraged play at all the missions, knowing full well that a man in difficulties can be made to speak, and that a timely rouleau of Frederics would often get him a secret worth many thousands. He got some papers from the French house in this way: and I have no doubt that my Lord Deuceace would have supplied him with information at a similar rate, had his chief not known the young nobleman’s character pretty well, and had (as is usually the case) the work of the mission performed by a steady roturier, while the young brilliant bloods of the suite sported their embroidery at the balls, or shook their Mechlin ruffles over the green tables at faro. I have seen many scores of these young sprigs since, of these and their principals, and, mon Dieu! what fools they are! What dullards, what fribbles, what addle-headed simple coxcombs! This is one of the lies of the world, this diplomacy; or how could we suppose, that were the profession as difficult as the solemn red-box and tape-men would have us believe, they would invariably choose for it little pink- faced boys from school, with no other claim than mamma’s title, and able at most to judge of a curricle, a new dance, or a neat boot?

When it became known, however, to the officers of the garrison that there was a faro-table in town, they were wild to be admitted to the sport; and, in spite of my entreaties to the contrary, my uncle was not averse to allow the young gentlemen their fling, and once or twice cleared a handsome sum out of their purses. It was in vain I told him that I must carry the news to my captain, before whom his comrades would not fail to talk, and who would thus know of the intrigue even without my information.

‘Tell him,’ said my uncle.

‘They will send you away,’ said I; ‘then what is to become of me?’

‘Make your mind easy,’ said the latter, with a smile; ‘you shall not be left behind, I warrant you. Go take a last look at your barracks, make your mind easy; say a farewell to your friends in Berlin. The dear souls, how they will weep when they hear you are out of the country; and, as sure as my name is Barry, out of it you shall go!’

‘But how, sir?’ said I.

‘Recollect Mr. Fakenham of Fakenham,’ said he knowingly. ”Tis you yourself taught me how. Go get me one of my wigs. Open my despatch- box yonder, where the great secrets of the Austrian Chancery lie; put your hair back off you forehead; clap me on this patch and these moustaches, and now look in the glass!’

‘The Chevalier de Balibari,’ said I, bursting with laughter, and began walking the room in his manner with his stiff knee.

The next day, when I went to make my report to Monsieur de Potzdorff, I told him of the young Prussian officers that had been of late gambling; and he replied, as I expected, that the King had determined to send the Chevalier out of the country.

‘He is a stingy curmudgeon,’ I replied; ‘I have had but three Frederics from him in two months, and I hope you will remember your promise to advance me!’

‘Why, three Frederics were too much for the news you have picked up,’ said the Captain, sneering.

‘It is not my fault that there has been no more,’ I replied. ‘When is he to go, sir?’

‘The day after to-morrow. You say he drives after breakfast and before dinner. When he comes out to his carriage, a couple of gendarmes will mount the box, and the coachman will get his orders to move on.’

‘And his baggage, sir?’ said I.

‘Oh! that will be sent after him. I have a fancy to look into that red box which contains his papers, you say; and at noon, after parade, shall be at the inn. You will not say a word to any one there regarding the affair, and will wait for me at the Chevalier’s rooms until my arrival. We must force that box. You are a clumsy hound, or you would have got the key long ago!’

I begged the Captain to remember me, and so took my leave of him. The next night I placed a couple of pistols under the carriage seat; and I think the adventures of the following day are quite worthy of the honours of a separate chapter.

CHAPTER IX

I APPEAR IN A MANNER BECOMING MY NAME AND LINEAGE

Fortune smiling at parting upon Monsieur de Balibari, enabled him to win a handsome sum with his faro-bank.

At ten o’clock the next morning, the carriage of the Chevalier de Balibari drew up as usual at the door of his hotel; and the Chevalier, who was at his window, seeing the chariot arrive, came down the stairs in his usual stately manner.

‘Where is my rascal Ambrose?’ said he, looking around and not finding his servant to open the door.

‘I will let down the steps for your honour,’ said a gendarme, who was standing by the carriage; and no sooner had the Chevalier entered, than the officer jumped in after him, another mounted the box by the coachman, and the latter began to drive.

‘Good gracious!’ said the Chevalier, ‘what is this?’

‘You are going to drive to the frontier,’ said the gendarme, touching his hat.

‘It is shameful–infamous! I insist upon being put down at the Austrian Ambassador’s house!’

‘I have orders to gag your honour if you cry out,’ said the gendarme.

‘All Europe shall hear of this!’ said the Chevalier, in a fury.

‘As you please,’ answered the officer, and then both relapsed into silence.

The silence was not broken between Berlin and Potsdam, through which place the Chevalier passed as His Majesty was reviewing his guards there, and the regiments of Bulow, Zitwitz, and Henkel de Donnersmark. As the Chevalier passed His Majesty, the King raised his hat and said, ‘Qu’il ne descende pas: je lui souhaite un bon voyage.’ The Chevalier de Balibari acknowledged this courtesy by a profound bow.

They had not got far beyond Potsdam, when boom! the alarm cannon began to roar.

‘It is a deserter,’ said the officer.

‘Is it possible?’ said the Chevalier, and sank back into his carriage again.

Hearing the sound of the guns, the common people came out along the road with fowling-pieces and pitchforks, in hopes to catch the truant. The gendarmes seemed very anxious to be on the look-out for him too. The price of a deserter was fifty crowns to those who brought him in.

‘Confess, sir,’ said the Chevalier to the police officer in the carriage with him, ‘that you long to be rid of me, from whom you can get nothing, and to be on the look-out for the deserter who may bring you in fifty crowns? Why not tell the postilion to push on? You may land me at the frontier and get back to your hunt all the sooner.’ The officer told the postillion to get on; but the way seemed intolerably long to the Chevalier. Once or twice he thought he heard the noise of horse galloping behind: his own horses did not seem to go two miles an hour; but they DID go. The black and white barriers came in view at last, hard by Bruck, and opposite them the green and yellow of Saxony. The Saxon custom-house officers came out.

‘I have no luggage,’ said the Chevalier.

‘The gentleman has nothing contraband,’ said the Prussian officers, grinning, and took their leave of their prisoner with much respect.

The Chevalier de Balibari gave them a Frederic apiece.

‘Gentlemen,’ said he, ‘I wish you a good day. Will you please to go to the house whence we set out this morning, and tell my man there to send on my baggage to the “Three Kings” at Dresden?’

Then ordering fresh horses, the Chevalier set off on his journey for that capital. I need not tell you that _I_ was the Chevalier.

‘From the Chevalier de Balibari to Redmond Barry, Esquire, Gentilhomme Anglais, a l’Hotel des 3 Couronnes, a Dresde en Saxe.

‘Nephew Redmond,–This comes to you by a sure hand, no other than Mr. Lumpit of the English Mission, who is acquainted, as all Berlin will be directly, with our wonderful story. They only know half as yet; they only know that a deserter went off in my clothes, and all are in admiration of your cleverness and valour.

‘I confess that for two hours after your departure I lay in bed in no small trepidation, thinking whether His Majesty might have a fancy to send me to Spandau, for the freak of which we had both been guilty. But in that case I had taken my precautions: I had written a statement of the case to my chief, the Austrian Minister, with the full and true story how you had been set to spy upon me, how you turned out to be my very near relative, how you had been kidnapped yourself into the service, and how we both had determined to effect your escape. The laugh would have been so much against the King, that he never would have dared to lay a finger upon me. What would Monsieur de Voltaire have said to such an act of tyranny? But it was a lucky day, and everything has turned out to my wish. As I lay in my bed two and a half hours after your departure, in comes your ex-Captain Potzdorff. “Redmont!” says he, in his imperious High- Dutch way, “are you there?” No answer. “The rogue is gone out,” said he; and straightway makes for my red box where I keep my love- letters, my glass eye which I used to wear, my favourite lucky dice with which I threw the thirteen mains at Prague; my two sets of Paris teeth, and my other private matters that you know of.

‘He first tried a bunch of keys, but none of them would fit the little English lock. Then my gentleman takes out of his pocket a chisel and hammer, and falls to work like a professional burglar, actually bursting open my little box!

‘Now was my time to act. I advance towards him armed with an immense water-jug. I come noiselessly up to him just as he had broken the box, and with all my might I deal him such a blow over the head as smashes the water-jug to atoms, and sends my captain with a snort lifeless to the ground. I thought I had killed him.

‘Then I ring all the bells in the house; and shout and swear and scream, “Thieves!–thieves!–landlord!–murder!–fire!” until the whole household come tumbling up the stairs. “Where is my servant?” roar I. “Who dares to rob me in open day? Look at the villain whom I find in the act of breaking my chest open! Send for the police, send for his Excellency the Austrian Minister! all Europe shall know of this insult!”

‘”Dear Heaven!” says the landlord, “we saw you go away three hours ago!”

‘”ME!” says I; “why, man, I have been in bed all the morning. I am ill–I have taken physic–I have not left the house this morning! Where is that scoundrel Ambrose? But, stop! where are my clothes and wig?” for I was standing before them in my chamber-gown and stockings, with my nightcap on.

‘”I have it–I have it!” says a little chambermaid: “Ambrose is off in your honour’s dress.”

‘”And my money–my money!” says I; “where is my purse with forty- eight Frederics in it? But we have one of the villains left. Officers, seize him!”

‘”It’s the young Herr von Potzdorff!” says the landlord, more and more astonished.

‘”What! a gentleman breaking open my trunk with hammer and chisel– impossible!”

‘Herr von Potzdorff was returning to life by this time, with a swelling on his skull as big as a saucepan; and the officers carried him off, and the judge who was sent for dressed a proces verbal of the matter, and I demanded a copy of it, which I sent forthwith to my ambassador.

‘I was kept a prisoner to my room the next day, and a judge, a general, and a host of lawyers, officers, and officials, were set upon me to bully, perplex, threaten, and cajole me. I said it was true you had told me that you had been kidnapped into the service, that I thought you were released from it, and that I had you with the best recommendations. I appealed to my Minister, who was bound to come to my aid; and, to make a long story short, poor Potzdorff is now on his way to Spandau; and his uncle, the elder Potzdorff, has brought me five hundred louis, with a humble request that I would leave Berlin forthwith, and hush up this painful matter.

‘I shall be with you at the “Three Crowns” the day after you receive this. Ask Mr. Lumpit to dinner. Do not spare your money–you are my son. Everybody in Dresden knows your loving uncle,

‘THE CHEVALIER DE BALIBARI.’

And by these wonderful circumstances I was once more free again: and I kept my resolution then made, never to fall more into the hands of any recruiter, and henceforth and for ever to be a gentleman.

With this sum of money, and a good run of luck which ensued presently, we were enabled to make no ungenteel figure. My uncle speedily joined me at the inn at Dresden, where, under pretence of illness, I had kept quiet until his arrival; and, as the Chevalier de Balibari was in particular good odour at the Court of Dresden (having been an intimate acquaintance of the late monarch, the Elector, King of Poland, the most dissolute and agreeable of European princes), I was speedily in the very best society of the Saxon capital: where I may say that my own person and manners, and the singularity of the adventures in which I had been a hero, made me especially welcome. There was not a party of the nobility to which the two gentlemen of Balibari were not invited. I had the honour of kissing hands and being graciously received at Court by the Elector, and I wrote home to my mother such a flaming description of my prosperity, that the good soul very nearly forgot her celestial welfare and her confessor, the Reverend Joshua Jowls, in order to come after me to Germany; but travelling was very difficult in those days, and so we were spared the arrival of the good lady.

I think the soul of Harry Barry, my father, who was always so genteel in his turn of mind, must have rejoiced to see the position which I now occupied; all the women anxious to receive me, all the men in a fury; hobnobbing with dukes and counts at supper, dancing minuets with high-well-born baronesses (as they absurdly call themselves in Germany), with lovely excellencies, nay, with highnesses and transparencies themselves: who could compete with the gallant young Irish noble? who would suppose that seven weeks before I had been a common–bah! I am ashamed to think of it! One of the pleasantest moments of my life was at a grand gala at the Electoral Palace, where I had the honour of walking a polonaise with no other than the Margravine of Bayreuth, old Fritz’s own sister: old Fritz’s, whose hateful blue-baize livery I had worn, whose belts I had pipeclayed, and whose abominable rations of small beer and sauerkraut I had swallowed for five years.

Having won an English chariot from an Italian gentleman at play, my uncle had our arms painted on the panels in a more splendid way than ever, surmounted (as we were descended from the ancient kings) with an Irish crown of the most splendid size and gilding. I had this crown in lieu of a coronet engraved on a large amethyst signet-ring worn on my forefinger; and I don’t mind confessing that I used to say the jewel had been in my family for several thousand years, having originally belonged to my direct ancestor, his late Majesty King Brian Boru, or Barry. I warrant the legends of the Heralds’ College are not more authentic than mine was.

At first the Minister and the gentlemen at the English hotel used to be rather shy of us two Irish noblemen, and questioned our pretensions to rank. The Minister was a lord’s son, it is true, but he was likewise a grocer’s grandson; and so I told him at Count Lobkowitz’s masquerade. My uncle, like a noble gentleman as he was, knew the pedigree of every considerable family in Europe. He said it was the only knowledge befitting a gentleman; and when we were not at cards, we would pass hours over Gwillim or D’Hozier, reading the genealogies, learning the blazons, and making ourselves acquainted with the relationships of our class. Alas! the noble science is going into disrepute now: so are cards, without which studies and pastimes I can hardly conceive how a man of honour can exist.

My first affair of honour with a man of undoubted fashion was on the score of my nobility, with young Sir Rumford Bumford of the English embassy; my uncle at the same time sending a cartel to the Minister, who declined to come. I shot Sir Rumford in the leg, amidst the tears of joy of my uncle, who accompanied me to the ground; and I promise you that none of the young gentlemen questioned the authenticity of my pedigree, or laughed at my Irish crown again.

What a delightful life did we now lead! I knew I was born a gentleman, from the kindly way in which I took to the business: as business it certainly is. For though it SEEMS all pleasure, yet I assure any low-bred persons who may chance to read this, that we, their betters, have to work as well as they: though I did not rise until noon, yet had I not been up at play until long past midnight? Many a time have we come home to bed as the troops were marching out to early parade; and oh! it did my heart good to hear the bugles blowing the reveille before daybreak, or to see the regiments marching out to exercise, and think that I was no longer bound to that disgusting discipline, but restored to my natural station.

I came into it at once, and as if I had never done anything else all my life. I had a gentleman to wait upon me, a French friseur to dress my hair of a morning; I knew the taste of chocolate as by intuition almost, and could distinguish between the right Spanish and the French before I had been a week in my new position; I had rings on all my fingers, watches in both my fobs, canes, trinkets, and snuffboxes of all sorts, and each outvying the other in elegance. I had the finest natural taste for lace and china of any man I ever knew; I could judge a horse as well as any Jew dealer in Germany; in shooting and athletic exercises I was unrivalled; I could not spell, but I could speak German and French cleverly. I had at the least twelve suits of clothes; three richly embroidered with gold, two laced with silver, a garnet-coloured velvet pelisse lined with sable; one of French grey, silver-laced, and lined with chinchilla. I had damask morning robes. I took lessons on the guitar, and sang French catches exquisitely. Where, in fact, was there a more accomplished gentleman than Redmond de Balibari?

All the luxuries becoming my station could not, of course, be purchased without credit and money: to procure which, as our patrimony had been wasted by our ancestors, and we were above the vulgarity and slow returns and doubtful chances of trade, my uncle kept a faro-bank. We were in partnership with a Florentine, well known in all the Courts of Europe, the Count Alessandro Pippi, as skilful a player as ever was seen; but he turned out a sad knave latterly, and I have discovered that his countship was a mere imposture. My uncle was maimed, as I have said; Pippi, like all impostors, was a coward; it was my unrivalled skill with the sword, and readiness to use it, that maintained the reputation of the firm, so to speak, and silenced many a timid gambler who might have hesitated to pay his losings. We always played on parole with anybody: any person, that is, of honour and noble lineage. We never pressed for our winnings or declined to receive promissory notes in lieu of gold. But woe to the man who did not pay when the note became due! Redmond de Balibari was sure to wait upon him with his bill, and I promise you there were very few bad debts: on the contrary, gentlemen were grateful to us for our forbearance, and our character for honour stood unimpeached. In later times, a vulgar national prejudice has chosen to cast a slur upon the character of men of honour engaged in the profession of play; but I speak of the good old days in Europe, before the cowardice of the French aristocracy (in the shameful Revolution, which served them right) brought discredit and ruin upon our order. They cry fie now upon men engaged in play; but I should like to know how much more honourable THEIR modes of livelihood are than ours. The broker of the Exchange who bulls and bears, and buys and sells, and dabbles with lying loans, and trades on State secrets, what is he but a gamester? The merchant who deals in teas and tallow, is he any better? His bales of dirty indigo are his dice, his cards come up every year instead of every ten minutes, and the sea is his green table. You call the profession of the law an honourable one, where a man will lie for any bidder; lie down poverty for the sake of a fee from wealth, lie down right because wrong is in his brief. You call a doctor an honourable man, a swindling quack, who does not believe in the nostrums which he prescribes, and takes your guinea for whispering in your ear that it is a fine morning; and yet, forsooth, a gallant man who sits him down before the baize and challenges all comers, his money against theirs, his fortune against theirs, is proscribed by your modern moral world. It is a conspiracy of the middle classes against gentlemen: it is only the shopkeeper cant which is to go down nowadays. I say that play was an institution of chivalry: it has been wrecked, along with other privileges of men of birth. When Seingalt engaged a man for six-and-thirty hours without leaving the table, do you think he showed no courage? How have we had the best blood, and the brightest eyes, too, of Europe throbbing round the table, as I and my uncle have held the cards and the bank against some terrible player, who was matching some thousands out of his millions against our all which was there on the baize! when we engaged that daring Alexis Kossloffsky, and won seven thousand louis in a single coup, had we lost, we should have been beggars the next day; when HE lost, he was only a village and a few hundred serfs in pawn the worse. When, at Toeplitz, the Duke of Courland brought fourteen lacqueys, each with four bags of florins, and challenged our bank to play against the sealed bags, what did we ask? ‘Sir,’ said we, ‘we have but eighty thousand florins in bank, or two hundred thousand at three months. If your Highness’s bags do not contain more than eighty thousand, we will meet you.’ And we did, and after eleven hours’ play, in which our bank was at one time reduced to two hundred and three ducats, we won seventeen thousand florins of him. Is THIS not something like boldness? does THIS profession not require skill, and perseverance, and bravery? Four crowned heads looked on at the game, and an Imperial princess, when I turned up the ace of hearts and made Paroli, burst into tears. No man on the European Continent held a higher position than Redmond Barry then; and when the Duke of Courland lost, he was pleased to say that we had won nobly; and so we had, and spent nobly what we won.

At this period my uncle, who attended mass every day regularly, always put ten florins into the box. Wherever we went, the tavern- keepers made us more welcome than royal princes. We used to give away the broken meat from our suppers and dinners to scores of beggars who blessed us. Every man who held my horse or cleaned my boots got a ducat for his pains. I was, I may say, the author of our common good fortune, by putting boldness into our play. Pippi was a faint-hearted fellow, who was always cowardly when he began to win. My uncle (I speak with great respect of him) was too much of a devotee, and too much of a martinet at play ever to win GREATLY. His moral courage was unquestionable, but his daring was not sufficient. Both of these my seniors very soon acknowledged me to be their chief, and hence the style of splendour I have described.

I have mentioned H.I.H. the Princess Frederica Amelia, who was affected by my success, and shall always think with gratitude of the protection with which that exalted lady honoured me. She was passionately fond of play, as indeed were the ladies of almost all the Courts in Europe in those days, and hence would often arise no small trouble to us; for the truth must be told, that ladies love to play, certainly, but not to PAY. The point of honour is not understood by the charming sex; and it was with the greatest difficulty, in our peregrinations to the various Courts of Northern Europe, that we could keep them from the table, could get their money if they lost, or, if they paid, prevent them from using the most furious and extraordinary means of revenge. In those great days of our fortune, I calculate that we lost no less than fourteen thousand louis by such failures of payment. A princess of a ducal house gave us paste instead of diamonds, which she had solemnly pledged to us; another organised a robbery of the Crown jewels, and would have charged the theft upon us, but for Pippi’s caution, who had kept back a note of hand ‘her High Transparency’ gave us, and sent it to his ambassador; by which precaution I do believe our necks were saved. A third lady of high (but not princely) rank, after I had won a considerable sum in diamonds and pearls from her, sent her lover with a band of cut-throats to waylay me; and it was only by extraordinary courage, skill, and good luck, that I escaped from these villains, wounded myself, but leaving the chief aggressor dead on the ground: my sword entered his eye and broke there, and the villains who were with him fled, seeing their chief fall. They might have finished me else, for I had no weapon of defence.

Thus it will be seen that our life, for all its splendour, was one of extreme danger and difficulty, requiring high talents and courage for success; and often, when we were in a full vein of success, we were suddenly driven from our ground on account of some freak of a reigning prince, some intrigue of a disappointed mistress, or some quarrel with the police minister. If the latter personage were not bribed or won over, nothing was more common than for us to receive a sudden order of departure; and so, perforce, we lived a wandering and desultory life.

Though the gains of such a life are, as I have said, very great, yet the expenses are enormous. Our appearance and retinue was too splendid for the narrow mind of Pippi, who was always crying out at my extravagance, though obliged to own that his own meanness and parsimony would never have achieved the great victories which my generosity had won. With all our success, our capital was not very great. That speech to the Duke of Courland, for instance, was a mere boast as far as the two hundred thousand florins at three months were concerned. We had no credit, and no money beyond that on our table, and should have been forced to fly if his Highness had won and accepted our bills. Sometimes, too, we were hit very hard. A bank is a certainty, ALMOST; but now and then a bad day will come; and men who have the courage of good fortune, at least, ought to meet bad luck well: the former, believe me, is the harder task of the two.

One of these evil chances befell us in the Duke of Baden’s territory, at Mannheim. Pippi, who was always on the look-out for business, offered to make a bank at the inn where we put up, and where the officers of the Duke’s cuirassiers supped; and some small play accordingly took place, and some wretched crowns and louis changed hands: I trust, rather to the advantage of these poor gentlemen of the army, who are surely the poorest of all devils under the sun.

But, as ill luck would have it, a couple of young students from the neighbouring University of Heidelberg, who had come to Mannheim for their quarter’s revenue, and so had some hundred of dollars between them, were introduced to the table, and, having never played before, began to win (as is always the case). As ill luck would have it, too, they were tipsy, and against tipsiness I have often found the best calculations of play fail entirely. They played in the most perfectly insane way, and yet won always. Every card they backed turned up in their favour. They had won a hundred louis from us in ten minutes; and, seeing that Pippi was growing angry and the luck against us, I was for shutting up the bank for the night, saying the play was only meant for a joke, and that now we had had enough.

But Pippi, who had quarrelled with me that day, was determined to proceed, and the upshot was, that the students played and won more; then they lent money to the officers, who began to win, too; and in this ignoble way, in a tavern room thick with tobacco-smoke, across a deal table besmeared with beer and liquor, and to a parcel of hungry subalterns and a pair of beardless students, three of the most skilful and renowned players in Europe lost seventeen hundred louis! I blush now when I think of it. It was like Charles XII or Richard Coeur de Lion falling before a petty fortress and an unknown hand (as my friend Mr. Johnson wrote), and was, in fact, a most shameful defeat.

Nor was this the only defeat. When our poor conquerors had gone off, bewildered with the treasure which fortune had flung in their way (one of these students was called the Baron de Clootz, perhaps he who afterwards lost his head at Paris), Pippi resumed the quarrel of the morning, and some exceedingly high words passed between us. Among other things I recollect I knocked him down with a stool, and was for flinging him out of the window; but my uncle, who was cool, and had been keeping Lent with his usual solemnity, interposed between us, and a reconciliation took place, Pippi apologising and confessing he had been wrong.

I ought to have doubted, however, the sincerity of the treacherous Italian; indeed, as I never before believed a word that he said in his life, I know not why I was so foolish as to credit him now, and go to bed, leaving the keys of our cash-box with him. It contained, after our loss to the cuirassiers, in bills and money, near upon L8000 sterling. Pippi insisted that our reconciliation should be ratified over a bowl of hot wine, and I have no doubt put some soporific drug into the liquor; for my uncle and I both slept till very late the next morning, and woke with violent headaches and fever: we did not quit our beds till noon. He had been gone twelve hours, leaving our treasury empty; and behind him a sort of calculation, by which he strove to make out that this was his share of the profits, and that all the losses had been incurred without his consent.

Thus, after eighteen months, we had to begin the world again. But was I cast down? No. Our wardrobes still were worth a very large sum of money; for gentlemen did not dress like parish-clerks in those days, and a person of fashion would often wear a suit of clothes and a set of ornaments that would be a shop-boy’s fortune; so, without repining for one single minute, or saying a single angry word (my uncle’s temper in this respect was admirable), or allowing the secret of our loss to be known to a mortal soul, we pawned three- fourths of our jewels and clothes to Moses Lowe the banker, and with the produce of the sale, and our private pocket-money, amounting in all to something less than 800 louis, we took the field again.

CHAPTER X

MORE RUNS OF LUCK

I am not going to entertain my readers with an account of my professional career as a gamester, any more than I did with anecdotes of my life as a military man. I might fill volumes with tales of this kind were I so minded; but at this rate, my recital would not be brought to a conclusion for years, and who knows how soon I may be called upon to stop? I have gout, rheumatism, gravel, and a disordered liver. I have two or three wounds in my body, which break out every now and then, and give me intolerable pain, and a hundred more signs of breaking up. Such are the effects of time, illness, and free-living, upon one of the strongest constitutions and finest forms the world ever saw. Ah! I suffered from none of these ills in the year ’66, when there was no man in Europe more gay in spirits, more splendid in personal accomplishments, than young Redmond Barry.

Before the treachery of the scoundrel Pippi, I had visited many of the best Courts of Europe; especially the smaller ones, where play was patronised, and the professors of that science always welcome. Among the ecclesiastical principalities of the Rhine we were particularly well received. I never knew finer or gayer Courts than those of the Electors of Treves and Cologne, where there was more splendour and gaiety than at Vienna; far more than in the wretched barrack-court of Berlin. The Court of the Archduchess-Governess of the Netherlands was, likewise, a royal place for us knights of the dice-box and gallant votaries of fortune; whereas in the stingy Dutch or the beggarly Swiss republics, it was impossible for a gentleman to gain a livelihood unmolested.

After our mishap at Mannheim, my uncle and I made for the Duchy of X—. The reader may find out the place easily enough; but I do not choose to print at full the names of some illustrious persons in whose society I then fell, and among whom I was made the sharer in a very strange and tragical adventure.

There was no Court in Europe at which strangers were more welcome than at that of the noble Duke of X—; none where pleasure was more eagerly sought after, and more splendidly enjoyed. The Prince did not inhabit his capital of S—, but, imitating in every respect the ceremonial of the Court of Versailles, built himself a magnificent palace at a few leagues from his chief city, and round about his palace a superb aristocratic town, inhabited entirely by his nobles, and the officers of his sumptuous Court. The people were rather hardly pressed, to be sure, in order to keep up this splendour; for his Highness’s dominions were small, and so he wisely lived in a sort of awful retirement from them, seldom showing his face in his capital, or seeing any countenances but those of his faithful domestics and officers. His palace and gardens of Ludwigslust were exactly on the French model. Twice a week there were Court receptions, and grand Court galas twice a month. There was the finest opera out of France, and a ballet unrivalled in splendour; on which his Highness, a great lover of music and dancing, expended prodigious sums. It may be because I was then young, but I think I never saw such an assemblage of brilliant beauty as used to figure there on the stage of the Court theatre, in the grand mythological ballets which were then the mode, and in which you saw Mars in red- heeled pumps and a periwig, and Venus in patches and a hoop. They say the costume was incorrect, and have changed it since; but for my part, I have never seen a Venus more lovely than the Coralie, who was the chief dancer, and found no fault with the attendant nymphs, in their trains, and lappets, and powder. These operas used to take place twice a week, after which some great officer of the Court would have his evening, and his brilliant supper, and the dice-box rattled everywhere, and all the world played. I have seen seventy play-tables set out in the grand gallery of Ludwigslust, besides the faro-bank; where the Duke himself would graciously come and play, and win or lose with a truly royal splendour.

It was hither we came after the Mannheim misfortune. The nobility of the Court were pleased to say our reputation had preceded us, and the two Irish gentleman were made welcome. The very first night at Court we lost 740 of our 800 louis; the next evening, at the Court Marshal’s table, I won them back, with 1300 more. You may be sure we allowed no one to know how near we were to ruin on the first evening; but, on the contrary, I endeared every one to me by my gay manner of losing, and the Finance Minister himself cashed a note for 400 ducats, drawn by me upon my steward of Ballybarry Castle in the kingdom of Ireland; which very note I won from his Excellency the next day, along with a considerable sum in ready cash. In that noble Court everybody was a gambler. You would see the lacqueys in the ducal ante-rooms at work with their dirty packs of cards; the coach and chair men playing in the court, while their masters were punting in the saloons above; the very cook-maids and scullions, I was told, had a bank, where one of them, an Italian confectioner, made a handsome fortune: he purchased afterwards a Roman marquisate, and his son has figured as one of the most fashionable of the illustrious foreigners in London. The poor devils of soldiers played away their pay when they got it, which was seldom; and I don’t believe there was an officer in any one of the guard regiments but had his cards in his pouch, and no more forgot his dice than his sword-knot. Among such fellows it was diamond cut diamond. What you call fair play would have been a folly. The gentlemen of Ballybarry would have been fools indeed to appear as pigeons in such a hawk’s nest. None but men of courage and genius could live and prosper in a society where every one was bold and clever; and here my uncle and I held our own: ay, and more than our own.

His Highness the Duke was a widower, or rather, since the death of the reigning Duchess, had contracted a morganatic marriage with a lady whom he had ennobled, and who considered it a compliment (such was the morality of those days) to be called the Northern Dubarry. He had been married very young, and his son, the Hereditary Prince, may be said to have been the political sovereign of the State: for the reigning Duke was fonder of pleasure than of politics, and loved to talk a great deal more with his grand huntsman, or the director of his opera, than with ministers and ambassadors.

The Hereditary Prince, whom I shall call Prince Victor, was of a very different character from his august father. He had made the Wars of the Succession and Seven Years with great credit in the Empress’s service, was of a stern character, seldom appeared at Court, except when ceremony called him, but lived almost alone in his wing of the palace, where he devoted himself to the severest studies, being a great astronomer and chemist. He shared in the rage then common throughout Europe, of hunting for the philosopher’s stone; and my uncle often regretted that he had no smattering of chemistry, like Balsamo (who called himself Cagliostro), St. Germain, and other individuals, who had obtained very great sums from Duke Victor by aiding him in his search after the great secret. His amusements were hunting and reviewing the troops; but for him, and if his good-natured father had not had his aid, the army would have been playing at cards all day, and so it was well that the prudent prince was left to govern.

Duke Victor was fifty years of age, and his princess, the Princess Olivia, was scarce three-and-twenty. They had been married seven years, and in the first years of their union the Princess had borne him a son and a daughter. The stern morals and manners, the dark and ungainly appearance, of the husband, were little likely to please the brilliant and fascinating young woman, who had been educated in the south (she was connected with the ducal house of S—), who had passed two years at Paris under the guardianship of Mesdames the daughters of His Most Christian Majesty, and who was the life and soul of the Court of X—, the gayest of the gay, the idol of her august father-in-law, and, indeed, of the whole Court. She was not beautiful, but charming; not witty, but charming, too, in her conversation as in her person. She was extravagant beyond all measure; so false, that you could not trust her; but her very weaknesses were more winning than the virtues of other women, her selfishness more delightful than others’ generosity. I never knew a woman whose faults made her so attractive. She used to ruin people, and yet they all loved her. My old uncle has seen her cheating at ombre, and let her win 400 louis without resisting in the least. Her caprices with the officers and ladies of her household were ceaseless: but they adored her. She was the only one of the reigning family whom the people worshipped. She never went abroad but they followed her carriage with shouts of acclamation: and, to be generous to them, she would borrow the last penny from one of her poor maids of honour, whom she would never pay. In the early days her husband was as much fascinated by her as all the rest of the world was; but her caprices had caused frightful outbreaks of temper on his part, and an estrangement which, though interrupted by almost mad returns of love, was still general. I speak of her Royal Highness with perfect candour and admiration, although I might be pardoned for judging her more severely, considering her opinion of myself. She said the elder Monsieur de Balibari was a finished old gentleman, and the younger one had the manners of a courier. The world has given a different opinion, and I can afford to chronicle this almost single sentence against me. Besides, she had a reason for her dislike to me, which you shall hear.

Five years in the army, long experience of the world, had ere now dispelled any of those romantic notions regarding love with which I commenced life; and I had determined, as is proper with gentlemen (it is only your low people who marry for mere affection), to consolidate my fortunes by marriage. In the course of our peregrinations, my uncle and I had made several attempts to carry this object into effect; but numerous disappointments had occurred which are not worth mentioning here, and had prevented me hitherto from making such a match as I thought was worthy of a man of my birth, abilities, and personal appearance. Ladies are not in the habit of running away on the Continent, as is the custom in England (a custom whereby many honourable gentlemen of my country have much benefited!); guardians, and ceremonies, and difficulties of all kinds intervene; true love is not allowed to have its course, and poor women cannot give away their honest hearts to the gallant fellows who have won them. Now it was settlements that were asked for; now it was my pedigree and title-deeds that were not satisfactory: though I had a plan and rent-roll of the Ballybarry estates, and the genealogy of the family up to King Brian Boru, or Barry, most handsomely designed on paper; now it was a young lady who was whisked off to a convent just as she was ready to fall into my arms; on another occasion, when a rich widow of the Low Countries was about to make me lord of a noble estate in Flanders, comes an order of the police which drives me out of Brussels at an hour’s notice, and consigns my mourner to her chateau. But at X—I had an opportunity of playing a great game: and had won it too, but for the dreadful catastrophe which upset my fortune.

In the household of the Hereditary Princess there was a lady nineteen years of age, and possessor of the greatest fortune in the whole duchy. The Countess Ida, such was her name, was daughter of a late Minister and favourite of his Highness the Duke of X—and his Duchess, who had done her the honour to be her sponsors at birth, and who, at the father’s death, had taken her under their august guardianship and protection. At sixteen she was brought from her castle, where, up to that period, she had been permitted to reside, and had been placed with the Princess Olivia, as one of her Highness’s maids of honour.

The aunt of the Countess Ida, who presided over her house during her minority, had foolishly allowed her to contract an attachment for her cousin-german, a penniless sub-lieutenant in one of the Duke’s foot regiments, who had flattered himself to be able to carry off this rich prize; and if he had not been a blundering silly idiot indeed, with the advantage of seeing her constantly, of having no rival near him, and the intimacy attendant upon close kinsmanship, might easily, by a private marriage, have secured the young Countess and her possessions. But he managed matters so foolishly, that he allowed her to leave her retirement, to come to Court for a year, and take her place in the Princess Olivia’s household; and then what does my young gentleman do, but appear at the Duke’s levee one day, in his tarnished epaulet and threadbare coat, and make an application in due form to his Highness, as the young lady’s guardian, for the hand of the richest heiress in his dominions!

The weakness of the good-natured Prince was such that, as the Countess Ida herself was quite as eager for the match as her silly cousin, his Highness might have been induced to allow the match, had not the Princess Olivia been induced to interpose, and to procure from the Duke a peremptory veto to the hopes of the young man. The cause of this refusal was as yet unknown; no other suitor for the young lady’s hand was mentioned, and the lovers continued to correspond, hoping that time might effect a change in his Highness’s resolutions; when, of a sudden, the lieutenant was drafted into one of the regiments which the Prince was in the habit of selling to the great powers then at war (this military commerce was a principal part of his Highness’s and other princes’ revenues in those days), and their connection was thus abruptly broken off.

It was strange that the Princess Olivia should have taken this part against a young lady who had been her favourite; for, at first, with those romantic and sentimental notions which almost every woman has, she had somewhat encouraged the Countess Ida and her penniless lover, but now suddenly turned against them; and, from loving the Countess, as she previously had done, pursued her with every manner of hatred which a woman knows how to inflict: there was no end to the ingenuity of her tortures, the venom of her tongue, the bitterness of her sarcasm and scorn. When I first came to Court at X–, the young fellows there had nicknamed the young lady the Dumme Grafinn, the stupid Countess. She was generally silent, handsome, but pale, stolid-looking, and awkward; taking no interest in the amusements of the place, and appearing in the midst of the feasts as glum as the death’s-head which, they say, the Romans used to have at their tables.

It was rumoured that a young gentleman of French extraction, the Chevalier de Magny, equerry to the Hereditary Prince, and present at Paris when the Princess Olivia was married to him by proxy there, was the intended of the rich Countess Ida; but no official declaration of the kind was yet made, and there were whispers of a dark intrigue: which, subsequently, received frightful confirmation.

This Chevalier de Magny was the grandson of an old general officer in the Duke’s service, the Baron de Magny. The Baron’s father had quitted France at the expulsion of Protestants after the revocation of the edict of Nantes, and taken service in X–, where he died. The son succeeded him, and, quite unlike most French gentlemen of birth whom I have known, was a stern and cold Calvinist, rigid in the performance of his duty, retiring in his manners, mingling little with the Court, and a close friend and favourite of Duke Victor; whom he resembled in disposition.

The Chevalier his grandson was a true Frenchman; he had been born in France, where his father held a diplomatic appointment in the Duke’s service. He had mingled in the gay society of the most brilliant Court in the world, and had endless stories to tell us of the pleasures of the petites maisons, of the secrets of the Parc aux Cerfs, and of the wild gaieties of Richelieu and his companions. He had been almost ruined at play, as his father had been before him; for, out of the reach of the stern old Baron in Germany, both son and grandson had led the most reckless of lives. He came back from Paris soon after the embassy which had been despatched thither on the occasion of the marriage of the Princess, was received sternly by his old grandfather; who, however, paid his debts once more, and procured him the post in the Duke’s household. The Chevalier de Magny rendered himself a great favourite of his august master; he brought with him the modes and the gaieties of Paris; he was the deviser of all the masquerades and balls, the recruiter of the ballet-dancers, and by far the most brilliant and splendid young gentleman of the Court.

After we had been a few weeks at Ludwigslust, the old Baron de Magny endeavoured to have us dismissed from the duchy; but his voice was not strong enough to overcome that of the general public, and the Chevalier de Magny especially stood our friend with his Highness when the question was debated before him. The Chevalier’s love of play had not deserted him. He was a regular frequenter of our bank, where he played for some time with pretty good luck; and where, when he began to lose, he paid with a regularity surprising to all those who knew the smallness of his means, and the splendour of his appearance.

Her Highness the Princess Olivia was also very fond of play. On half-a-dozen occasions when we held a bank at Court, I could see her passion for the game. I could see–that is, my cool-headed old uncle could see–much more. There was an intelligence between Monsieur de Magny and this illustrious lady. ‘If her Highness be not in love with the little Frenchman,’ my uncle said to me one night after play, ‘may I lose the sight of my last eye!’

‘And what then, sir?’ said I.

‘What then?’ said my uncle, looking me hard in the face. ‘Are you so green as not to know what then? Your fortune is to be made, if you choose to back it now; and we may have back the Barry estates in two years, my boy.’

‘How is that?’ asked I, still at a loss.

My uncle drily said, ‘Get Magny to play; never mind his paying: take his notes of hand. The more he owes the better; but, above all, make him play.’

‘He can’t pay a shilling,’ answered I. ‘The Jews will not discount his notes at cent. per cent.’

‘So much the better. You shall see we will make use of them,’ answered the old gentleman. And I must confess that the plan he laid was a gallant, clever, and fair one.

I was to make Magny play; in this there was no great difficulty. We had an intimacy together, for he was a good sportsman as well as myself, and we came to have a pretty considerable friendship for one another; if he saw a dice-box it was impossible to prevent him from handling it; but he took to it as natural as a child does to sweetmeats.

At first he won of me; then he began to lose; then I played him money against some jewels that he brought: family trinkets, he said, and indeed of considerable value. He begged me, however, not to dispose of them in the duchy, and I gave and kept my word to him to this effect. From jewels he got to playing upon promissory notes; and as they would not allow him to play at the Court tables and in public upon credit, he was very glad to have an opportunity of indulging his favourite passion in private. I have had him for hours at my pavilion (which I had fitted up in the Eastern manner, very splendid) rattling the dice till it became time to go to his service at Court, and we would spend day after day in this manner. He brought me more jewels,–a pearl necklace, an antique emerald breast ornament, and other trinkets, as a set-off against these losses: for I need not say that I should not have played with him all this time had he been winning; but, after about a week, the luck set in against him, and he became my debtor in a prodigious sum. I do not care to mention the extent of it; it was such as I never thought the young man could pay.

Why, then, did I play for it? Why waste days in private play with a mere bankrupt, when business seemingly much more profitable was to be done elsewhere? My reason I boldly confess. I wanted to win from Monsieur de Magny, not his money, but his intended wife, the Countess Ida. Who can say that I had not a right to use ANY stratagem in this matter of love? Or, why say love? I wanted the wealth of the lady: I loved her quite as much as Magny did; I loved her quite as much as yonder blushing virgin of seventeen does who marries an old lord of seventy. I followed the practice of the world in this; having resolved that marriage should achieve my fortune.

I used to make Magny, after his losses, give me a friendly letter of acknowledgment to some such effect as this,–

‘MY DEAR MONSIEUR DE BALIBARI,–I acknowledge to have lost to you this day at lansquenet [or picquet, or hazard, as the case may be: I was master of him at any game that is played] the sum of three hundred ducats, and shall hold it as a great kindness on your part if you will allow the debt to stand over until a future day, when you shall receive payment from your very grateful humble servant.’

With the jewels he brought me I also took the precaution (but this was my uncle’s idea, and a very good one) to have a sort of invoice, and a letter begging me to receive the trinkets as so much part payment of a sum of money he owed me.

When I had put him in such a position as I deemed favourable to my intentions, I spoke to him candidly, and without any reserve, as one man of the world should speak to another. ‘I will not, my dear fellow,’ said I, ‘pay you so bad a compliment as to suppose that you expect we are to go on playing at this rate much longer, and that there is any satisfaction to me in possessing more or less sheets of paper bearing your signature, and a series of notes of hand which I know you never can pay. Don’t look fierce or angry, for you know Redmond Barry is your master at the sword; besides, I would not be such a fool as to fight a man who owes me so much money; but hear calmly what I have to propose.

‘You have been very confidential to me during our intimacy of the last month; and I know all your personal affairs completely. You have given your word of honour to your grandfather never to play upon parole, and you know how you have kept it, and that he will disinherit you if he hears the truth. Nay, suppose he dies to- morrow, his estate is not sufficient to pay the sum in which you are indebted to me; and, were you to yield me up all, you would be a beggar, and a bankrupt too.

‘Her Highness the Princess Olivia denies you nothing. I shall not ask why; but give me leave to say, I was aware of the fact when we began to play together.’

‘Will you be made baron-chamberlain, with the grand cordon of the order?’ gasped the poor fellow. ‘The Princess can do anything with the Duke.’

‘I shall have no objection,’ said I, ‘to the yellow riband and the gold key; though a gentleman of the house of Ballybarry cares little for the titles of the German nobility. But this is not what I want. My good Chevalier, you have hid no secrets from me. You have told me with what difficulty you have induced the Princess Olivia to consent to the project of your union with the Grafinn Ida, whom you don’t love. I know whom you love very well.’

‘Monsieur de Balibari!’ said the discomfited Chevalier; he could get out no more. The truth began to dawn upon him.

‘You begin to understand,’ continued I. ‘Her Highness the Princess’ (I said this in a sarcastic way) ‘will not be very angry, believe me, if you break off your connection with the stupid Countess. I am no more an admirer of that lady than you are; but I want her estate. I played you for that estate, and have won it; and I will give you your bills and five thousand ducats on the day I am married to it.’

‘The day _I_ am married to the Countess,’ answered the Chevalier, thinking to have me, ‘I will be able to raise money to pay your claim ten times over’ (this was true, for the Countess’s property may have been valued at near half a million of our money); ‘and then I will discharge my obligations to you. Meanwhile, if you annoy me by threats, or insult me again as you have done, I will use that influence, which, as you say, I possess, and have you turned out of the duchy, as you were out of the Netherlands last year.’

I rang the bell quite quietly. ‘Zamor,’ said I to a tall negro fellow habited like a Turk, that used to wait upon me, ‘when you hear the bell ring a second time, you will take this packet to the Marshal of the Court, this to his Excellency the General de Magny, and this you will place in the hands of one of the equerries of his Highness the Hereditary Prince. Wait in the ante-room, and do not go with the parcels until I ring again.’

The black fellow having retired, I turned to Monsieur de Magny and said, ‘Chevalier, the first packet contains a letter from you to me, declaring your solvency, and solemnly promising payment of the sums you owe me; it is accompanied by a document from myself (for I expected some resistance on your part), stating that my honour has been called in question, and begging that the paper may be laid before your august master his Highness. The second packet is for your grandfather, enclosing the letter from you in which you state yourself to be his heir, and begging for a confirmation of the fact. The last parcel, for his Highness the Hereditary Duke,’ added I, looking most sternly, ‘contains the Gustavus Adolphus emerald, which he gave to his princess, and which you pledged to me as a family jewel of your own. Your influence with her Highness must be great indeed,’ I concluded, ‘when you could extort from her such a jewel as that, and when you could make her, in order to pay your play- debts, give up a secret upon which both your heads depend.’

‘Villain!’ said the Frenchman, quite aghast with fury and terror, ‘would you implicate the Princess?’

‘Monsieur de Magny,’ I answered, with a sneer, ‘no: I will say YOU STOLE the jewel.’ It was my belief he did, and that the unhappy and infatuated Princess was never privy to the theft until long after it had been committed. How we came to know the history of the emerald is simple enough. As we wanted money (for my occupation with Magny caused our bank to be much neglected), my uncle had carried Magny’s trinkets to Mannheim to pawn. The Jew who lent upon them knew the history of the stone in question; and when he asked how her Highness came to part with it, my uncle very cleverly took up the story where he found it, said that the Princess was very fond of play, that it was not always convenient to her to pay, and hence the emerald had come into our hands. He brought it wisely back with him to S–; and, as regards the other jewels which the Chevalier pawned to us, they were of no particular mark: no inquiries have ever been made about them to this day; and I did not only not know then that they came from her Highness, but have only my conjectures upon the matter now.

The unfortunate young gentleman must have had a cowardly spirit, when I charged him with the theft, not to make use of my two pistols that were lying by chance before him, and to send out of the world his accuser and his own ruined self. With such imprudence and miserable recklessness on his part and that of the unhappy lady who had forgotten herself for this poor villain, he must have known that discovery was inevitable. But it was written that this dreadful destiny should be accomplished: instead of ending like a man, he now cowered before me quite spirit-broken, and, flinging himself down on the sofa, burst into tears, calling wildly upon all the saints to help him: as if they could be interested in the fate of such a wretch as he!

I saw that I had nothing to fear from him; and, calling back Zamor my black, said I would myself carry the parcels, which I returned to my escritoire; and, my point being thus gained, I acted, as I always do, generously towards him. I said that, for security’s sake, I should send the emerald out of the country, but that I pledged my honour to restore it to the Duchess, without any pecuniary consideration, on the day when she should procure the sovereign’s consent to my union with the Countess Ida.

This will explain pretty clearly, I flatter myself, the game I was playing; and, though some rigid moralist may object to its propriety, I say that anything is fair in love, and that men so poor as myself can’t afford to be squeamish about their means of getting on in life. The great and rich are welcomed, smiling, up the grand staircase of the world; the poor but aspiring must clamber up the wall, or push and struggle up the back stair, or, PARDI, crawl through any of the conduits of the house, never mind how foul and narrow, that lead to the top. The unambitious sluggard pretends that the eminence is not worth attaining, declines altogether the struggle, and calls himself a philosopher. I say he is a poor- spirited coward. What is life good for but for honour? and that is so indispensable, that we should attain it anyhow.

The manner to be adopted for Magny’s retreat was proposed by myself, and was arranged so as to consult the feelings of delicacy of both parties. I made Magny take the Countess Ida aside, and say to her, ‘Madam, though I have never declared myself your admirer, you and the Court have had sufficient proof of my regard for you; and my demand would, I know, have been backed by his Highness, your august guardian. I know the Duke’s gracious wish is, that my attentions should be received favourably; but, as time has not appeared to alter your attachment elsewhere, and as I have too much spirit to force a lady of your name and rank to be united to me against your will, the best plan is, that I should make you, for form’s sake, a proposal UNauthorised by his Highness: that you should reply, as I am sorry to think your heart dictates to you, in the negative: on which I also will formally withdraw from my pursuit of you, stating that, after a refusal, nothing, not even the Duke’s desire, should induce me to persist in my suit.’

The Countess Ida almost wept at hearing these words from Monsieur de Magny, and tears came into her eyes, he said, as she took his hand for the first time, and thanked him for the delicacy of the proposal. She little knew that the Frenchman was incapable of that sort of delicacy, and that the graceful manner in which he withdrew his addresses was of my invention.

As soon as he withdrew, it became my business to step forward; but cautiously and gently, so as not to alarm the lady, and yet firmly, so as to convince her of the hopelessness of her design of uniting herself with her shabby lover, the sub-lieutenant. The Princess Olivia was good enough to perform this necessary part of the plan in my favour, and solemnly to warn the Countess Ida, that, though Monsieur de Magny had retired from paying his addresses, his Highness her guardian would still marry her as he thought fit, and that she must for ever forget her out-at-elbowed adorer. In fact, I can’t conceive how such a shabby rogue as that could ever have had the audacity to propose for her: his birth was certainly good; but what other qualifications had he?

When the Chevalier de Magny withdrew, numbers of other suitors, you may be sure, presented themselves; and amongst these your very humble servant, the cadet of Ballybarry. There was a carrousel, or tournament, held at this period, in imitation of the antique meetings of chivalry, in which the chevaliers tilted at each other, or at the ring; and on this occasion I was habited in a splendid Roman dress (viz., a silver helmet, a flowing periwig, a cuirass of gilt leather richly embroidered, a light blue velvet mantle, and crimson morocco half-boots): and in this habit I rode my bay horse Brian, carried off three rings, and won the prize over all the Duke’s gentry, and the nobility of surrounding countries who had come to the show. A wreath of gilded laurel was to be the prize of the victor, and it was to be awarded by the lady he selected. So I rode up to the gallery where the Countess Ida was seated behind the Hereditary Princess, and, calling her name loudly, yet gracefully, begged to be allowed to be crowned by her, and thus proclaimed myself to the face of all Germany, as it were, her suitor. She turned very pale, and the Princess red, I observed; but the Countess Ida ended by crowning me: after which, putting spurs into my horse, I galloped round the ring, saluting his Highness the Duke at the opposite end, and performing the most wonderful exercises with my bay.

My success did not, as you may imagine, increase my popularity with the young gentry. They called me adventurer, bully, dice-loader, impostor, and a hundred pretty names; but I had a way of silencing these gentry. I took the Count de Schmetterling, the richest and bravest of the young men who seemed to have a hankering for the Countess Ida, and publicly insulted him at the ridotto; flinging my cards into his face. The next day I rode thirty-five miles into the territory of the Elector of B—-, and met Monsieur de Schmetterling, and passed my sword twice through his body; then rode back with my second, the Chevalier de Magny, and presented myself at the Duchess’s whist that evening. Magny was very unwilling to accompany me at first; but I insisted upon his support, and that he should countenance my quarrel. Directly after paying my homage to her Highness, I went up to the Countess Ida, and made her a marked and low obeisance, gazing at her steadily in the face until she grew crimson red; and then staring round at every man who formed her circle, until, MA FOI, I stared them all away. I instructed Magny to say, everywhere, that the Countess was madly in love with me; which commission, along with many others of mine, the poor devil was obliged to perform. He made rather a SOTTE FIGURE, as the French say, acting the pioneer for me, praising me everywhere, accompanying me always! he who had been the pink of the MODE until my arrival; he who thought his pedigree of beggarly Barons of Magny was superior to the race of great Irish kings from which I descended; who had sneered at me a hundred times as a spadassin, a deserter, and had called me a vulgar Irish upstart. Now I had my revenge of the gentleman, and took it too.

I used to call him, in the choicest societies, by his Christian name of Maxime. I would say, ‘Bon jour, Maxime; comment vas-TU?’ in the Princess’s hearing, and could see him bite his lips for fury and vexation. But I had him under my thumb, and her Highness too–I, poor private of Bulow’s regiment. And this is a proof of what genius and perseverance can do, and should act as a warning to great people never to have SECRETS–if they can help it.

I knew the Princess hated me; but what did I care? She knew I knew all: and indeed, I believe, so strong was her prejudice against me, that she thought I was an indelicate villain, capable of betraying a lady, which I would scorn to do; so that she trembled before me as a child before its schoolmaster. She would, in her woman’s way, too, make all sorts of jokes and sneers at me on reception days; ask about my palace in Ireland, and the kings my ancestors, and whether, when I was a private in Bulow’s foot, my royal relatives had interposed to rescue me, and whether the cane was smartly administered there,–anything to mortify me. But, Heaven bless you! I can make allowances for people, and used to laugh in her face. Whilst her jibes and jeers were continuing, it was my pleasure to