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  • 1817
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The vision was changed. In a midsummer night He roam’d with his Winifred, blooming and young; He gazed on her face by the moon’s mellow light, And loving and warm were the words on his tongue. Thro’ good and thro’ evil, he swore to be true, And love through all fortune his Winnie alone; And he saw the red blush o’er her cheek as it flew, And heard her sweet voice that replied to his own.

Once more it has changed. In his martial array, Lo, he rides at the head of his gallant young men! And the pibroch is heard on the hills far away, And the clans are all gather’d from mountain and glen. For exiled King Jamie, their darling and lord, They raise the loud slogan–they rush to the war. The tramp of the battle resounds on the sward– Unfurl’d is the banner–unsheath’d the claymore!

The vision has fled like a sparkle of light, And dark is the dream that possesses him now; The morn of his doom has succeeded the night, And the damp dews of death gather fast on his brow. He hears in the distance a faint muffled drum, And the low sullen boom of the death-tolling bell; The block is prepared, and the headsman is come, And the victim, bareheaded, walks forth from his cell.–

No! No! ’twas a vision! his hour was not yet, And waking, he turn’d on his pallet of straw, And a form by his side he could never forget, By the pale misty light of a taper he saw. “‘Tis I! ’tis thy Winifred!”–softly she said, “Arouse thee, and follow–be bold, never fear! There was danger abroad, but my errand has sped, I promised to save thee–and lo I am here!”

He rose at the summons, and little they spoke, The gear of a lady she placed on his head; She cover’d his limbs with a womanly cloak, And painted his cheeks of a maidenly red. “One kiss, my dear lord, and begone!–and beware! Walk softly–I follow!” Oh guide them, and save, From the open assault, from the intricate snare, Thou, Providence, friend of the good and the brave!

They have pass’d unsuspected the guard at the cell, And the sentinel band that keep watch at the gate; One peril remains–it is past–all is well! They are free; and her love has proved stronger than hate. They are gone–who shall follow?–their ship’s on the brine, And they sail unpursued to a far friendly shore, Where love and content at their hearth may entwine, And the warfare of kingdoms divide them no more.

* * * * *

TWO HOURS OF MYSTERY.

CHAPTER I.

One bright day, last June, one of the London coaches rattled at an amazing rate down the main street of a garrison town, and, with a sudden jerk which threw the smoking horses on their haunches, pulled up at the door of the Waterloo hotel. A beautiful sight it is–a fine, well appointed coach, of what we must now call the ancient fashion, with its smart driver, brilliant harness, and thoroughbred team. Then it is a spectacle pleasing to gods and men, the knowing and instantaneous manner in which the grooms perform their work in leading off the horses, and putting fresh ones to–the rapid diving for carpet-bags and portmanteaus into the various boots and luggage holes–the stepping down or out (as the case may be) of the passengers–the tip to the coachman–the touch of the hat in return–the remounting of that functionary into his chair of honour–the chick, chick! with which he hints to the pawing greys he is ready for a start–and, finally, the roll off into dim distance of the splendid vehicle, watched by the crowd that have gathered round it, till it is lost from their sight. A steam-coach, with its disgusting, hissing, sputtering, shapeless, lifeless engine, ought to be ashamed of itself, and would probably blush for its appearance, if it were not for the quantity of brass that goes to its composition. On the above-mentioned bright day in June, only two passengers go out from the inside of the Celerity. The outsides, who were apparently pushed for time, urged them to make haste; and the lady, the first who stept on the pavement, took their admonitions in good part. With only a small basket on her arm, and a dark veil drawn close down over her face, she dropt half-a-crown into the hand of the expectant coachman, and walked rapidly up the street. The gentleman, however, put off a good deal of time in identifying his carpet-bag–then his pocket seemed to be indefinitely deep, as his hand appeared to have immense difficulty in getting to the bottom of it. At last he succeeded in catching hold of some coin, and, while he dropt it into the extended palm of the impatient Jehu, he sad, “Hem! I say, coachie, who is that lady? Eh! fine eyes–hem!”

“Can’t say, sir–no name in the way-bill–thank ye, sir.”

“Then you can’t tell me any thing about her? Prettiest critter I ever saw in my life. As to Mrs Moss”–

But before the inquisitive gentleman, who stood all this time with the carpet-bag in his hand, had an opportunity of making any further revelation as to Mrs Moss, or any more enquiries as to his unknown travelling companion, the coachman had mounted the box, and, after asserting in a very complacent tone that it was all right, had driven off, and left him in the same state of ignorance as before.

“Sleep here, sir?–Dinner, sir?–This way to the coffee-room,” said a smart young man, with long hair and a blue coat, with a napkin over his arm.

“Oh! you’re the waiter, I suppose. Now, waiter, I want to find out something, and I daresay you can help me”–

“This way, sir. You can have a mutton-chop in twenty minutes.”

“No–listen to me–I’m going to ask you some questions. Did you see the lady that got out of the coach when I did? She’s a beautiful critter; such black eyes!–such a sweet voice!–such a small hand! We travelled together the whole way from town. She spoke very little, and kept her name a secret. I couldn’t find out what she came here for. Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir–perfectly,” said the waiter, at the same time evidently understanding nothing about it.

“Well, you see, I don’t know what you think of it down here; but, for my part, I think ladies at forty-five are past their prime. Now, my next neighbour in London–Mrs Moss is her name–she’s exactly that age. You hear what I am saying, waiter?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Now, I don’t think this young lady, from her eyes and mouth, can be more than twenty-three–a charming age, waiter–hem! You never saw her before, did you?”

“No, sir–never.”

“Well, its very astonishing what a beautiful girl she is. I am retired from the lace and ribbon business, waiter, but I think she’s the sweetest specimen of the fair sex I ever saw. And you don’t know who she is, do you?”

“No, sir. You’ll sleep here, sir, I think you said? shammaid!”

“No–I haven’t said so yet,” said the stranger, rather sharply.

“Oh!” said the waiter, who had not attended to a syllable the gentleman had spoken–and retired under the archway into the hotel.

“The only way to get information,” mused the gentleman with the carpet-bag, still standing on the pavement, “is to have your eyes about you and ask questions. It’s what I always do since I have begun to travel for improvement–I got all the waiter knew out of him in a moment–I ought to have been an Old Bailey barrister–there ain’t such a cross-questioner as I am in the whole profession.”

The person who possessed such astonishing powers of investigation, was a man about fifty years of age, little and stout, with a face of perfect good-nature, and presenting the unmistakeable appearance of a prosperous man. The twinkle about his eye spoke strongly of the three-and-a-half per cents, and a mortgage or two might be detected in the puckers round his mouth. I shouldn’t at all care to change banker’s books with him on chance.

“How lucky I haven’t proposed to Mrs M.! Charming woman, but fat–decidedly fat–and a little dictatorial too. Travel, says she–enlarge your mind–why, how big would she have it?–expand your intellect–does she think a man’s brains are shaped like a fan? I wish to heaven I could find out who this beautiful”–

But, as if his wish was that moment to be gratified, a small light hand was laid upon his shoulder, and, on turning round, he saw his fair fellow-traveller.

“Excuse me, sir,” she said, in a very sweet but slightly agitated voice, “excuse me for addressing you, but I am emboldened by your appearance to”–

“Oh, ma’am–you’re very polite–I feel it a great compliment, I assure you.”

“The benevolent expression of your counternance encourages me to”–

“Oh, ma’am, don’t mention it, I beg”–

“To ask your assistance in my present difficulty.”

“Now, then,” thought the gentleman thus appealed to, “I’ll find out all about her–how I’ll question her!”

“You will help me, I feel sure,” continued the lady.

“Oh, certainly–how can you doubt it?–(Hem–what white teeth! Mrs. M. is a martyr to toothache.) How can I be useful, ma’am? Don’t you think it’s a curious coincidence we travelled together, ma’am, and both of us coming to the same town? It strikes me to be very singular; doesn’t it you, ma’am?”

“I shall be glad of it, if”–

“Ah! by-the-bye–another queer thing is your applying to me–a man past the bloom of boyhood, to be sure, in fact a little beyond”–

“The prime of life,” added the lady, not regarding the disappointed look with which her interpolation was received; “it is for that reason, sir, I throw myself on your kindness; you have perhaps daughters, sir, or grandchildren, who”–

“Devil a one. Gad, ma’am, I wish you heard Mrs M., a neighbour of mine–why, she’s always talking of my wildness and juvenile liveliness, and all that sort of thing; an excellent woman Mrs M., but stout–certainly stout.”

“Are you acquainted with this town, sir?” said the lady.

“God bless ye! read an immense account of it in the Penny Magazine ever so long ago; but whether it is famous for a breakwater, or a harbour, or a cliff, or some dock-yard machinery, I can’t recollect; perhaps it’s all of them together; we shall find out soon; for travelling, as Mrs M. says, enlarges the mind, and expands the intellect.”

The lady looked in the face of the disciple of Mrs M. with an anxious expression, as if she repented having addressed him.

“But are you acquainted with the localities here?” she said at last. “As to myself, I am utterly ignorant of the place I have to go to; and if you knew what reason I have to”–

“Ah! that’s the very thing; give me your confidence, and I can refuse you nothing.”

“My confidence!–alas, the business I come on can only be interesting to the parties concerned. I came from London for one sole object; and if I fail, if any delay occurs, the consequences may be–oh, I dread to think of them!”

“You don’t say so? Lord! what a thing it is to travel!”

“It was of the utmost consequence that my journey here should be unknown. I had no one to trust. Alas, alas! I have no friend in all the world in whom I could confide!”

“Hem, hem!” said the little man, moved by the earnest sadness of her tone and looks, “you have one friend, ma’am; you may trust _me_ with any thing in the world; yes, me, Nicholas Clam, No. 4, Waterloo Place, Wellington Road, Regent’s Park, London. I tell you my name, that you may know I am somebody. I retired from business some years ago, because uncle John died one day, and left me his heir; got into a snug cottage, green verandah, trellice porch, green door, with bell handle in the wall; next door to Mrs Moss–clever woman, but large–very large. And now that you know who I am, you will perhaps tell me”–

“I have little to tell, sir; I came here to see an officer who was to have landed this morning from foreign service; if I don’t see him instantly there will be death–ah!”–

“Soldiers–death–ah!” thought Mr Clam; “wild fellows them officers–breach of promise–short memories–a lovely critter, but rather silly I’m afraid; I should like to see a soldier coming the sentimental over Mrs M. Well, ma’am?”

The lady perceived something in the expression of Mr Clam’s face (which was radiant with the wonderful discovery he thought he had made) which probably displeased her; for she said, in a very abrupt and almost commanding manner–

“Do you know the way, sir, to the infantry barracks?”

“Not I, ma’am; never knew a soldier in my life. (Think of Mrs M. paying a morning visit to the barracks! What a critter this is!”)

“Then you can’t assist me, sir, as I had hoped, and therefore”–

“Oh, by no means, ma’am; I can find out where the barracks are in a moment. There’s a young officer crossing the street; I’ll ask him, and be back in a minute.”

So saying, Mr Clam placed his, carpet-bag in safety inside the archway of the hotel, and started off in pursuit of information. While her Mercury was gone on his voyage of discovery, the lady looked at the officer he was following. He was a young handsome man of two or three-and-twenty, lounging slowly along with the air of modest appreciation of his own value to Queen and country–not to mention private dinner parties and county balls–which seems soon to become a part of the military character in a garrison town. As he turned round to speak to Mr Nicholas Clam, the lady half shrieked, and pulled her veil more carefully over her face.

“I’m lost! I’m lost!” she said; “’tis Chatterton himself! Oh, why did I allow this talkative old man to trouble himself with my affairs? If the meeting takes place before I can explain, my happiness is gone for ever!”

She turned away, and walked as quickly as she could up one of the side streets. Not daring to turn round, she was alarmed by hearing steps rapidly nearing her in pursuit; and, from the heaviness of the sound, concluded at once that there was more than one person close behind. It turned out, however, to be nobody but her portly, and now breathless companion, Mr Clan.

“Stop, for heaven’s sake, ma’am! that ain’t the way,” he said. “What a pace she goes at! Ma’am! ma’am! She’s as deaf as a post, and would drive me into consumption in a week; and this in a hot day in June, too! Mrs M. has more sense–stop!”

“Have you discovered the way, sir?” she enquired, hurriedly.

“Haven’t I? I certainly have the knack of picking up information. I told the young man I had travelled with you from London; that you had some secret business at the barracks; that I didn’t know what it was; and the moment I asked him all these questions”–

“Questions, sir?” said the lady, spitefully; “it strikes me you were telling every thing, and asking nothing”–

“The moment he found out, I say, that there was a lady in the case, and that you wanted to know the way to the barracks, he insisted on coming to show you the way himself–a civil young man.”

“Oh, why did you speak to him?” exclaimed the lady, still hurrying on; “to him of all men? you have ruined me!”

“Me ruined you! That’s going it a little too strong. I never ruined any body in my life. How did I know you knew the man? There’s some awful mystery in this young woman,” muttered Mr Clam, puffing like a broken-winded coach horse, “and if I live I’ll find it out. There’s nothing improves the mind, as Mrs M. says, so much as curiosity.”

“Is it far to the barracks, sir?”

“This ain’t the way, ma’am; you’re making it further every minute; and, besides, you’re running away from the young officer.”

“I _mustn’t_ meet him, sir–do you hear me?–I _must_ not be recognized.”

“Well, ma’am,” said Mr Clam, “there’s no great harm done yet; I did every thing for the best–following the dictates of an unbiassed judgment, as Mrs M. says; and if I’ve brought you into a scrape, I’ll get you out of it. Take my arm, ma’am, turn boldly round, and I’ll soon set him about his business.”

The lady did as she was told, and they retraced their steps. The young officer now approached, and touching his hat with an air of unspeakable elegance, and then swinging his cane, said, “You asked me, sir, to show the way to the barracks.”

“Quite a mistake, sir,” replied Mr Clam, drily; “we know the way perfectly well ourselves.”

“It isn’t far,” pursued the officer; “and I shall be delighted to accompany you. Any thing that you, sir, or your beautiful companion, may require, I shall be happy to procure for you. Is there any one you wish to see at the barracks?”

This question was addressed to the lady, who drew back, and made no reply.

“If there’s any body we want to see,” said Mr Clam, “we’ll ask for him; but we’re in a hurry, sir. This lady travelled all the way from London expressly on purpose to”–

But here a pinch in the arm prevented any further revelation, and made Mr Clam wince as if he had been stung by an adder.

“You needn’t grip, so hard,” he said to his companion; “for its my solemn opinion you’ve taken the bit out. Let us go, sir,” he continued, addressing the officer once more. “We don’t need your assistance.”

The young man looked surprised.

“Well, sir,” he said, “it was entirely to do you a favour that I came.”

“You’ll do us a far greater if you’ll go,” replied Mr Clam, becoming boisterous and dignified, after the manner of a turkey-cock.

“Sir, I don’t understand such language,” said the officer.

“Then your education has been neglected, sir. It’s English–plain, downright English. We have no desire for your society, sir.–Right about wheel–march.”

“_You_ are below my notice,” said the young man, flushing up; “and your insolent vulgarity is, therefore, safe. At the same time, if the lady needs my assistance”–

“She doesn’t need your assistance–far from it–she told me she wished never to”–

Another pinch, more powerful apparently than the former, from the writhing of the sufferer, interrupted once more the stream of his eloquence; and he was worked up into a tremendous passion, partly, perhaps, by the cool contempt of the young officer, and principally by the pain he suffered in his arm.

“You’re an impudent fellow, sir,” he said. “I don’t care twopence for all the puppies that ever wore red coats, sir. My name is Nicholas Clam, Esq., No. 4, Waterloo Place, Wellington Road, Regent’s Park, London; and I can shoot at a popinjay as well as another.”

“You shall hear from me, sir,” said the officer, biting his lips. “My name is Chatterton–Lieutenant Chatterton. Good day, sir.”

He touched his hat proudly, and walked away.

“A good riddance, ma’am,” said Mr Clam. “Them young chaps think to have it all their own way. I wish I had seen a policeman or a serjeant of soldiers; I would have charged him, as sure as a gun!”

“Oh, come quick, quick!” exclaimed the lady, pressing more hurriedly on his arm. “Take me to the barracks! I must see him instantly!”

“Who?” enquired Mr Clam. “I’m all on the teeters to understand what all this is about. Who is it you must see? Now, for my own part, I don’t want to see any one; only I wish you would tell me what”–

“Oh, spare me the recital at present. I’m so agitated by recent events, that, that–indeed you must excuse me. Oh come–quickly, quickly, come!”

There was no answer possible to such a request, more especially as by suiting the action to the word, and drawing her companion forward at a tremendous rate, she had entirely taken away the quantity of breath required to carry on a conversation. Mr Clam’s cogitations, however, were deep; and, among them, the most prominent was a doubt as to the great advantages to be derived from travel, and a firm persuasion that it is a very foolish thing to become the champion of any lady whatever, more particularly if she conceals her name, and refuses to satisfy one’s curiosity in the smallest point.

CHAPTER II.

The young man who has been introduced to us as Lieutenant Chatterton, pursued his way up the main street in no very equable temper. A little, grey-eyed, snub-nosed civilian, to have insulted an officer and a gentleman! the disgrace was past all bearing, especially as it had been inflicted on him in the presence of a lady. Burning with the indignation befitting his age and profession, and determined to call out the insulter, his present object was to meet with a friend whom he might send with the message. Luckily for his purpose, he was met by Major McToddy.

“Ha! major–never was so happy to see any one in my life,” exclaimed Chatterton, seizing the hand of his friend–a tall, raw-boned, red-faced man, with a good-natured expression of face, not unmixed with a considerable share of good sense.

“I really,” replied the major, in an accent that was a great deal more redolent of Renfrew than Middlesex–“I really jist at this moment dinna happen to have a single guinea aboot me, so ye needna go on wi’ your compliments; but at hame in the kist,–the _arca_, as a body may say”–

“Poh! I don’t want to borrow just now–except, indeed, your assistance in a matter of the highest importance. You have always been so kind, so obliging, that I am sure you wont refuse.”

“Weel, say awa’, speak on; _perge, puer_, as a body may say,” interrupted the major, who seemed resolved to show what command of language he had, for he uniformly began his speeches in his vernacular, and translated them, though with an effort, into English, or any other tongue he chanced to recollect.

“Did you see a lady near the Waterloo? tall, graceful, timid; by heavens, a shape to dream of, not to see?”

“Then, what for did ye look at it?–answer that if you please–_responde, s’il vous plait_.”

“A creature so sweet, so beautiful; ah, McToddy!”

“What’s a’ this aboot. What’s the meaning of all this? Is’t in some wild play aboot a woman–_une femme,_–a _fæmina_, as a body may say, you want my help? Gae wa’ wi’ ye–be off with you,–_apage, Sathanas_, as a body may say–I’m owre auld in the horn for sic nonsense–_non mihi tantas_.”

“I tell you, major, she is the loveliest creature in Europe. Such a foot –such shoulders–such a walk–by heavens! I’ll shoot him as dead as Julius Cæsar.”

“Who are you going to shoot?–is’t a woman in man’s claes?” enquired the major, astonished.

“I’ll shoot him–the cursed, fat, pudgy, beastly rascal, her husband. I’ve never seen her face, but”–

“Lord seff us!–heaven preserve us, as a body may say. Is that a respectable reason for shooting a man that you have never seen his wife’s face? Come, come, be cool, John Chatterton–be cool; _animum rege_, as a body may”–

“Cool? a pretty thing for a steady old stager like you, to tell me to be cool. I tell you, I’ve been insulted, threatened, quizzed, laughed at.”

“Wha laughed at ye?” enquired the major.

“The woman. I’m certain, she must have laughed. How could she avoid it? I know she laughed at me; for though I couldn’t see her face for the horrid veil she kept over it, I saw from the anxiety she was in to hide it, from the shaking, of her whole figure, that she was in the convulsions of a suppressed titter. I’ll shoot him as I would a partridge.”

“But ye’ve nae license, sir, nor nae qualification either that I can see–for what did the honest man do?” said the major, amazed at the wrath of his companion.

“Do! He didn’t actually call me a puppy, but he meant it. I know he did–I saw it in the twinkle of his light, prying, silly-looking eyes–the pucking up of his long, red, sneering lip.”

“But ye canna fecht a man–you can’t challenge a person, as a body may say, for having light eyes and long lips–what mair? _quid ultra?_ as a body”–

“He asked me the way to the barracks.”

“Weel, there’s no great harm in that–_non nocet_, as a”–

“I told him the way, and offered to escort them there; I offered to be of any use to them in my power, for I knew every officer in garrison, you know, except our own regiment, that only came in to-day; and just when I was going to offer my arm to the lovely creature at his side, he said that they didn’t need my guidance, that they did not desire my society–that he could shoot at a popinjay; now, what the devil _is_ a popinjay?”

“I’m thinking jay is the English for some sort of a pyet–a tale-bearer, as a body may say–a blab.”

“A blab!–by heavens, Major M’Toddy, I don’t know what to say–if I thought the fellow really meant to insinuate any thing of that kind, I would horsewhip him though I met him in a church.”

“Oho! so your conscience is pricked at last?–_mens sibi non conscia_, as a body may say,” answered the major. “Noo, I want to speak to you on a point of great importance to yourself, my young friend, before you get acquainted with the regiment. Hoo long have you been in the depot here, John Chatterton?”

“Eighteen months.”

“Weel, man, that’s a-year-and-a-half, and you must be almost a man noo.”

The youth looked somewhat inclined to be angry at this mode of hinting that he was still rather juvenile–but the major went on.

“And you were engaged, six months ago, to the beauty you used to tell me so much about, Miss Hope of Oakside.”

“Yes–yes–well?” replied the youth.

“And what for have ye broke off in such a sudden manner?–_unde rixa?_ as a body may say.”

“I broke off, Major M’Toddy? I tell you _she_ broke off with me.”

“Did she tell you so?” enquired the senior.

“No–do you think I would condescend to ask her? No; but doesn’t every body know that she is married?”

“Have you seen the announcement in the papers?”

“I never look at the papers–but I tell you I know from the best authority, that she is either married, or is going to marry an old worn-out fellow of the name of Smith. A friend of Smith’s told me so, the last time I came down by the coach.”

“A man on the top of the coach told you that she was going to be married–that is, _in vulgum pargere voces_, as a body may say–capital authority! And what did you do then?”

“Sent her back her letters–with a tickler to herself on her conduct.”

“And was that a’?–did you not write to any of her family?”

“No. Her eldest sister is a very delightful, sensible girl, and I am certain must have been as angry at Marion’s behaviour as I was.”

“And now her brother’s come home to-day–you’re sure to meet him–it’ll be an awkward meeting.”

“I can meet him or any man in England,” replied the youth. “If there’s any awkwardness about it, it sha’n’t be on my side.”

“Noo, John Chatterton, my young friend, I’m going to say some words to you that ye’ll no like. Ye’re very vain o’ yoursel’–but maybe at your time o’ life it’s not a very great fault to have a decent bump o’ self-conceit; you’re the best-hearted, most honourable-minded, pleasantest lad I know any where, and very like some nephews of my own in the Company’s service: ye’ll be a baronet when your father dies, and as rich as a Jew. But oh, John Chatterton, ye’re an ass–a reg’lar donkey, as a body may say, to get into tiffs of passion, and send back a beautiful girl’s letters, because some land-louping vagabond on the top of a coach told you some report or other about a Mr Smith”–

“_Captain_ Smith,” said Chatterton, biting his lips; “he’s a well known man; he was an ensign in this very regiment, succeeded to a large fortune, and retired: he’s a very old man.”

“He’s very fine fellow, and as gallant a soldier as ever lived,” answered the major; “and if you think that a man of six or seven-and-thirty is ow’r auld to marry, by my troth, Mister Chatterton, I tak’ the liberty to tell you that you labour under a very considerable mistake.”

Chatterton looked at the irate face of his companion, in which the crow-feet of forty years were distinctly visible, and perceived that he had gone on a wrong tack.

“Well, but then, major, what the deuce right had she to marry without giving me notice of her intentions?”

“Set ye up, and push ye forrit!–marry come up! as a body may say–who made you the young lassie’s guardian? If you were really engaged to her, why didn’t you go to Oakside at once and find out the truth, and then go instantaneously and kick the fellow you met on the top of the coach, round and round the barrack yard, till there was not enough of him left to plant your boot on?”

The young man looked down as if a little ashamed of himself.

“Never mind, major,” said he, “it can’t be helped now; so do, like a good fellow, go and find out the little rascal who insulted me so horribly just now. It would be an immense satisfaction to pull his nose with a regulation glove on.”

“But you must describe him, and tell me his name, for it would be a sad occurrence if I were to give your message to the wrong man.”

“You can’t mistake him; the most impudent-looking vulgarian in England. His name is Nicholas Clam, living in some unheard-of district near the Regent’s Park.”

“And the lady is his wife, is she?”

“Of course. Who the devil would walk with such a fellow that wasn’t obliged to do it by law?”

“Well, my young friend, I’ll see what’s to be done in this matter, and will bring you, most likely, a solemn declaration that he never shot at a popinjay in his life. And you’re really going to end the conversation without asking me for a loan? You’re not going to be like Virtus, _post nummos_ after the siller, as a body may say?”

“No, not to-day, thank you. The governor keeps me rather short just now, and won’t come down handsome till I’m married; but”–

“So you’ve lost that and the girl too–the lass and the tocher, as a body may say–all by the lies of a blackguard on the top of a coach? Ye’re a wild lad, John Chatterton, and so _vale, et memor esto mei–au revoir_, as a body may say.”

The major turned away on warlike thoughts intent, that is to say, with the intention of finding out Mr Clam, and enquiring into the circumstances of the insult to his friend. Mr Chatterton was also on the point of hurrying off, when a gentleman, who had overheard the last sentence of the sonorous-voiced major’s parting speech, stopped suddenly, as if struck by what was said, and politely addressed the youth.

“I believe, sir, I heard the name of Chatterton mentioned by the gentleman who has just left you?”

“Yes, he was speaking of him.”

“Of your regiment, sir?”

“Yes, we have a man of that name,” replied Mr Chatterton. “What the deuce can this fellow want?”

“I am extremely anxious to meet him,” continued the stranger, “as I have some business with him of the highest importance.”

“Oh, a dun, by Jupiter!” thought the young soldier. He looked at the stranger, a very well dressed gentlemanly man–too manlike for a tailor –too polished for a horse-dealer; his Wellingtons were brightly polished–he was perhaps his boot-maker. “Oh, you wish to see Mr Chatterton?” he said aloud.

“Very much,” replied the stranger. “I have some business with him that admits of no delay.”

“An arrest at least,” thought the youth. “I wish to heaven M’Toddy had not left me! Is it fair to ask,” he continued, aloud, “of what nature your business is with Mr Chatterton? I am his most intimate acquaintance; whatever you say to me is sure to reach him.”

“I must speak to him myself, sir,” replied the stranger, coldly. “Where am I likely to find him?”

“Oh, most likely at the bankers,” said the young man, by way of putting his questioner on the wrong scent. “He has just stept into an immense fortune from a maiden aunt, and is making arrangements to pay off all his debts.”

“There are some he will find it difficult to settle,” replied the stranger with a sneer, “in spite of his new-found wealth.”

“Indeed, sir! What an exorbitant Jew this fellow is; and yet I never signed any bond!”

“Yes, sir,” continued the other, with a bitterer sneer than before, “and at the same time such as he can’t deny. I have vouchers for every charge.”

“Well, he will not dispute your charges. I daresay they are much the same as those of other people in the same situation with yourself.”

“Are there others in that condition?” enquired the stranger; “what an unprincipled scoundrel!”

“Who, sir? How dare you apply such language to a gentleman?”

“I did not, sir, apply it to a gentleman; I applied it to Mr Chatterton.”

“To _me_, sir! It was to me! _I’m_ Mr Chatterton, sir; and now, out with your writ–whose suit? What’s the amount? Is it Stulz or Dean?”

The stranger steps back on this announcement, and politely but coldly lifted his hat.

“Oh, curse your politeness!” exclaimed the young man, in the extremity of anger. “Where’s the bill?”

“I don’t know your meaning, sir,” answered the stranger, “in talking about writs and bills; but”–

“Why–are you not a tailor, or a bootmaker, or something of the kind? Don’t you say you have claims on me, and don’t you talk of charges with vouchers, and heaven knows what? Come, let us hear. I’ll give you a promissory note, and I daresay my friend Major M’Toddy will give me his security.”

“I thought you had recently succeeded to a fortune, sir? but that, I suppose, was only another of your false and unfounded assertions. Do you know me, sir?”

“No–except that you are the most insulting scoundrel I ever met, and that I wish you were worth powder and shot.”

“Let that pass, sir,” continued the stranger, with a bitter smile. “Did you ever hear of Captain Smith, sir?”

“Of twenty, sir. I know fifteen Captain Smiths most intimately.”

“But I happen to be one of the five unhonoured by your acquaintance. You are acquainted with Mrs Smith; sir?”

“I’m acquainted with three-and-twenty, sir. What then?”

“I was in hopes, that the recollection of Oakside would have induced you to treat her name with more respect.”

Chatterton’s brow grew dark with rage. “So, then,” he said, lifting his hat with even more pride and coldness than his adversary–“so, then, you’re the Captain Smith I have heard of, and it was no false report? I am delighted, sir, to see you here, and to know that you are a gentleman, that I may, without degradation to her Majesty’s commission, put a bullet or two into your body. Your insulting conduct deserves chastisement, sir, and it shall have it.”

“With all my heart,” replied Captain Smith; the pleasure of calling you to account was the object of my visit. I accept your challenge–only wondering that you have spirit and honour enough left to resent an intentional affront. Can we meet to-night?”

“Certainly. I shall send a friend to you in half an hour. He is gone on a similar message to another person already; and I will let you know at what hour I shall be disengaged.”

“Agreed,” said Captain Smith; and the enemies, after a deep and formal bow on either side, pursued their way in different directions.

CHAPTER III.

In the meanwhile Mr Nicholas Clam, and the lady leaning on his arm, had proceeded in silence, for the lady’s thoughts were so absorbed that she paid no attention to the many prefatory coughs with which her companion was continually clearing his throat. He thought of fifty different ways of commencing a conversation, and putting an end to the rapid pace they were going at. But onward still hurried the lady, and breathless, tired, disconcerted, and very much perplexed, Mr Clam was obliged to continue at her side.

“This all comes of Mrs Moss writing a book,” he muttered, “and being a philosophical character. What business had she to go publishing all that wonderful big volume above my mantel-piece–‘Woman’s Dignity; developed in Dialogues?’ Without that she never would have found out that I could not be a sympathizing companion without the advantages of travel, and I never should have left number four, to be quarrelled with by every whipper-snapper of a soldier, and dragged to death by a woman unknown–a synonymous personage, as Mrs M. would say, that I encountered in a coach. ‘Pon my word, ma’am,” he added aloud, driven to desperation by fear of apoplexy from the speed they were hurrying on with, “this is carrying matters a little too far, or a great deal too fast at least. Will you let me ask you one question, ma’am?”

“Certainly, sir,” replied the lady; “but oh, do not delay!”

“But I must delay though, for who do you think can have breath enough both to speak and run? And now, will you tell me, ma’am, what all this is about–why that young soldier and I were forced to quarrel–what you came down from London for, and what you are going to do at the barracks?”

“You will hear it all, sir; you shall know all when we arrive. But do not harrow my feelings at present, I beseech you. It may all end well, if we are in time; but if not”–

The look of the lady, and her tone as she said this, did not by any means contribute to Mr Clam’s satisfaction. However, he perceived at once that further attempts to penetrate the mystery would be useless, and he kept musing on the strangeness of the circumstance, as profoundly puzzled as before. On getting into the barrack-yard, the lady muffled herself in her veil more closely than ever, and asked one of the soldiers she met in the archway, if Captain Hope “was in his room?”

“He’s not come ashore yet, ma’am,” said the soldier, “we expect him every moment with the last detachment from the transport.”

“Not come yet?” exclaimed the lady; “which way will they march in?”

“Up the Main Street, and across the drawbridge,” said the soldier, goodnaturedly.

“I wished to see him–to see him alone. Oh, how unfortunate he is not arrived!”

“Now, ‘pon my word,” muttered Mr Clam, “this is by no means a favourable specimen of woman’s dignity developed in dialogues. I wish my infernal thirst for knowledge and swelling-out the intellect hadn’t led me into an acquaintance with a critter so desperate fond of the soldiers; and Captain Hope, too! Oh, I see how it is–this here lady, in spite of all her veils and pretences, is no better than she should be; or rather, a great deal worse. Think of Mrs M. falling into hysterics about a Captain Hope! It’s a case of a breach of promise. What should we do now, ma’am?” he said, anxious to disengage himself, and a little piqued at the want of confidence his advances had hitherto been received with. “If you’ll tell me the whole story, I shall be able to advise”–

“Oh, you will know it all ere long. Soldier,” she said to the man who had answered her former questions, “is there any lady in the barrack–the wife of one of the officers?”

“There’s our colonel, ma’am–at least the colonel’s wife, ma’am; she’s inspecting the regiments baggage in the inner court”

“Come, come!” said the lady hurriedly, on hearing this, and again Mr Clam was forced along. In the inner court a stout lady, dressed in a man’s hat and a green riding-habit without the skirts, was busily employed in taking the numbers of an amazing quantity of trunks and boxes, and seeing that all was right, with the skill and quickness of the guard of a heavy coach. She looked up quickly when she saw Mr Clam and his companion approach.

“I hope you will pardon me, madam, for addressing you,” said the latter, dropping Mr Clam’s arm, and lifting her veil.

“Be quick about it,” said the colonel’s wife; “I’ve no time to put off. Hand down that box, No. 19, H. G.,” she continued to a sergeant who was perched on the top of the luggage.

“I wished to see you on a very interesting subject, madam.”

“Love, I’ll bet a guinea–who has deserted you now?–that green chest, Henicky, No. 34.”

“There is an officer in this regiment of the name of Chatterton?”

“Yes, he’s one of my young men, though I’ve not seen him yet. What then?”

“Can I speak to you for a minute alone?”

“If it’s on regimental business, I shall listen to you, of course; but if it’s some nonsensical love affair, you must go to Colonel Sword. I never trouble myself about such matters.”

“If I could see Colonel Sword, madam”–

“Why can’t you see him? Go into the commandant’s room. You’ll find him rocking the cradle of Tippoo Wellington, my youngest son! That other box, Henicky, L. M. And who is this old man with you?” continued Mrs Sword. “Your attorney, I suppose? See that you aren’t ducked at the pump before you get out, old man; for I allow no lawyers inside these walls.”

“Ma’am?” enquired Mr Clam, bewildered at the sudden address of the officer in command.

“It’s a fact, as you’ll find; so, make haste, young woman, and Sword will settle your business.”

“Captain Hope is not come on shore yet, I believe?” said the lady.

“Charlie Hope? No! he’s bringing the men and baggage. Has _he_ deserted you too? Go to Sword, I tell you; and let your legal friend retreat without beat of drum. How many chests is this, Henicky?”

The Amazonian Mrs Sword proceeded with her work, and Mr Clam stood stupified with surprise. His companion, in the mean time, proceeded as directed to the commandant’s house, and in a short time found herself in presence of Colonel Sword.

The colonel was a tall thin man, with a very pale face, and a very hooked nose. He was not exactly rocking the cradle of Tippoo Wellington, as supposed by his wife, but he was reposing in an easy attitude, with his head thrown back, and his feet thrown forward, and his hands deeply ensconced in his pockets. The apparition of a stranger roused him in a moment. He was as indefatigable in politeness, as his wife had been in her regimental duties.

“I was in hopes of finding my brother, Captain Hope, in the barracks, sir,” she began; “but as I am disappointed, I throw myself on your indulgence, in requesting a few minutes’ private conversation.”

“A sister of Captain Hope? delighted to see you, my dear–did you see Mrs Sword as you came in?”

“For a minute, but she was busy, and referred me to you.”

“She’s very good, I am sure,” said the colonel.–“How can I be of use?”

“I have a sister, Colonel Sword, very thoughtless, and very young. She became acquainted about a year ago with Mr Chatterton of your regiment–they were engaged–all the friends on both sides approved of the match, and all of a sudden Mr Chatterton wrote a very insulting letter, and withdrew from his engagement.”

“The devil he did? Is your sister like you, my dear?”

“We are said to be like, but she is much younger–only eighteen.”

“Then this Chatterton is an ass. Good God! what chances silly fellows throw away! And what would you have me do?”

“Prevent a duel, Colonel Sword. My brother is hot and fiery; Mr Chatterton is rash and headstrong. There will be enquiries, explanations, quarrels, and bloodshed. Oh, Colonel, help me to guard against so dreadful a calamity. I was anxious to see Charles, to tell him that the rupture was on Marion’s side–that she had taken a dislike to Chatterton. We have kept it secret from every body yet. I haven’t even told my husband.”

“You’re married, then?”

“To Captain Smith, once of this regiment.”

“Ah, an old friend. Give me your hand, my dear–we must keep those wild young fellows in order. If I see them look at each other, I’ll put them both in arrest. But what can be the meaning of Chatterton’s behaviour? I hear such good reports of him from all hands! M’Toddy writes me he is the finest young man in the corps.”

“I can’t pretend to guess. He merely returned all my sister’s letters, and wished her happy in her new position.”

“What position was that?”

“A very unhappy one. She has been ill and nervous ever since.”

“So she liked the rascal. Strange creatures you girls are! Well, I’ll do my best. I’ll give my wife a hint of it, and you may depend on it, if she takes it in hand, there will be no quarrelling under her–I mean under my command. If you go towards the harbour, you’ll most likely encounter your brother. In the meantime, I will go to Chatterton, and take all necessary precautions. And Captain Smith knows nothing of this?”

“Nothing.–He was on a visit at Oakside, my sister’s home, and I took the opportunity of his absence, to run down and explain matters to Charles. I must return to town immediately; for if I am missed, my husband will make enquiries, and he will be more difficult to pacify than my brother.” So saying, they parted after a warm shake of the hand–but great events had occurred in the meantime in the barrack-yard.

“Who is that young woman?” said the Colonel’s wife, to our astonished friend Mr Clam. “Have you lost your tongue, sir?–who is she, I say?”

“If you were to draw me with horses, I could’nt tell you, ma’am–‘pon my solemn davit,” said Mr Clam.

“Oh, you won’t tell, won’t you?” returned the lady, cocking her hat, and leaving the mountain of baggage to the care of her friend Sergeant Henicky. “I tell you, sir, I insist on knowing; and if you don’t confess this moment, I shall perhaps find means to make you.”

“Me, ma’am? How is it possible for me to confess, when I tell you I know nothing about her? I travelled with her from London in the coach–am very likely to get shot by a young soldier on her account–brought her here at a rate that has taken away all my breath–and know no more about her than you do.”

“A likely story!–but it won’t do for me, sir; no, sir–I see you are an attorney–ready to prosecute some of my poor young men for breach of promise; but we stand no nonsense of that kind in the gallant Sucking Pidgeons. So, trot off, old man, and take your decoy-duck with you, or I think its extremely likely you’ll be tost in a blanket. Do you hear?–go for your broken-hearted Desdemona, and double-quick out of the yard. I’ll teach a set of lawyers to come playing the Jew to my young men. They shall jilt every girl in England if they think proper, and serve them right too–and no pitiful green-bag rascal shall trouble them about such trifles–right about face–march”–

“Madam,” said Mr Clam, in the extremity of amazement and fear, “did you ever happen to read ‘Woman’s Dignity, developed in Dialogues?’ It’s written by my friend, Mrs Moss, No. 5, Waterloo Place, Wellington Road, Regent’s Park–in fact, she’s my next door neighbour–a clever woman, but corpulent, very corpulent–you never met with ‘Woman’s Dignity, developed in Dialogues?'”

“Woman’s idiocy, enveloped in petticoats! Who the devil cares about woman, or her dignity either? I never could bear the contemptible wretches. No–give me a man–a good, stout-hearted, front-rank man–there’s some dignity there–with the eye glaring, nostril widening, bayonet fixed, and double-quick the word, against the enemies’ line. But woman’s dignity!–let her sit and sew–work squares for ottomans, or borders for chair-bottoms–psha!–beat a retreat, old man, or you’ll be under the pump in two minutes. I’ll teach you to talk nonsense about your women–I will–as sure as my name is Jane Sword and I command the Sucking Pigeons!”

“Pigeons don’t suck, ma’am. Mrs M. lent me book of nat’ral history”–

“You’ll find they’ll bite, tho’–Henicky, take a corporal’s guard, and”–

“Oh no, for heaven’s sake, ma’am!” exclaimed Mr Clam. “Your servant, ma’am. I’m off this moment.”

The unhappy victim of Mrs Moss’s advice to travel for the improvement of his mind, thought it best to follow the orders of the military lady in the riding-habit, and retired as quickly as he could from the barrack yard. But, on arriving at the outer archway, shame, or curiosity, or some other feeling, made him pause. “Am I to go away,” he thought, “after all, without finding out who the lady is or what business brought her here–what she knows about Chatterton–and what she wants with Hope? There’s a mystery in it all. Mrs M. would never forgive me if I didn’t find it out. I’ll wait for the pretty critter–for she is a pretty critter, in spite of her not telling me her story–I think I never saw such eyes in my life. Yes–I’ll wait.” Mr Clam accordingly stopped short, and looked sharply all round, to watch if his fair companion was coming. She was still detained in the colonel’s room.

“Will you pardon me for addressing a stranger, sir?” said a gentleman, politely bowing to Mr Clam.

“Oh, if it’s to ask what o’clock it is, or when the coach starts, or any thing like that, I shall be happy to answer you, sir, if I can,” replied Mr Clam, whose liking for new acquaintances had not been much increased by the events of the day.

“I should certainly not have taken the liberty of applying to you,” continued the stranger, “if it had not been under very peculiar circumstances.”

“Are they very peculiar, sir?” enquired Mr Clam.

“Yes–as you shall have explained to you some other time.”

“Oh, you won’t tell them now, won’t you? Here’s another mystery. ‘Pon my word, sir, so many queer things happen in this town, that I wish I had never come into it. I came down only to-day per coach”–

“That’s fortunate, sir; if you are a stranger here, your service to me will be greater.”

“What is it you want? My neighbour in No. 5–a very talented woman, but big, uncommonly big–says in her book, never purchase the offspring of the sty enveloped in canvass–which means, never meddle with any thing you don’t know.”

“You shall know all–but I must first ask, if you are satisfied, will you be my friend in a troublesome matter in which I am a party?”

“Oh, you’re in a troublesome matter too, are you?–as for me, I came down from London with such a critter, so pretty, so gentle, such a perfect angel to look at!”

“Oh, I don’t wish to have your confidence in such affairs. I am pressed for time,” replied the stranger, smiling.

“But I tell you, I am trying to find out what the matter is that you need my help in.”

“I beg pardon. I thought you were telling me an adventure of your own”–

“Well sir, this beautiful critter asked my help, just as you’re doing–dragged me hither and thither, first asking for one soldier, then another.”

“And finally, smiling very sweetly on yourself. I know their ways–said the stranger.

“Do you, now? Not joking?–Oh lord! the sooner the better, for such lips to smile with, are not met with every day. Well sir, then there came up a puppy fellow of the name of Chatterton.”

“Oh, Chatterton!” said the stranger; “that is curious.”

“And insulted us, either her or me I forget which; but I blew him up, and he said he would send a friend to me”–here a new thought seemed to strike Mr Clam–his countenance assumed a very anxious expression– “you’re not his friend, sir?” he asked.

“No sir; far from it. He is the very person with whom I have the quarrel.”

“You’ve quarrelled with him too? Another breach of promise?–a wild dog that Chatterton.”

“Another breach! I did not know that that was _your_ cause of quarrel.”

“Nor I; ‘pon my solemn davit, I’m as ignorant as a child of what my quarrel is about; all that I know is, that my beautiful companion seemed to hate the sight of him.”

“Then I trust you won’t refuse me your assistance, since you have insults of your own to chastise. I expect his message every moment. My name is Captain Smith.”

“And mine, Nicholas Clam, No. 4, Waterloo Place, Welling”–

“Then, gentlemen,” said Major M’Toddy, lifting his hat, “I’m a lucky man–_fortunatus nimium_, as a body may say, to find you both together; for I am charged with an invitation to you from my friend Mr Chatterton.”

“Oh! he wants to make it up, does he, and asks us to dinner? No. I won’t go,” said Mr Clam.

“Then you know the alternative, I suppose!” said the Major.

“To pay for my own dinner at the inn,” replied Mr Clam; “of course I know that.”

The Major threw a glance at Mr Clam, which he would probably have taken the trouble to translate into two or three languages, although it was sufficiently intelligible without any explanations, but he had no time. He turned to Captain Smith, and said:–

“I’m very sorry, Captain Smith, to make your acquaintance on such a disagreeable occasion. I’ve heard so much of you from mutual friends, that I feel as if I had known you myself, _quod facit per alium facit per se_–I’m Major M’Toddy of this regiment.”

“I have long wished to know you, Major, and I hope even this matter need not extend any of its bitterness to us.”

The gentlemen here shook hands very cordially–

“Well, that’s a rum way,” said Mr Clam, “of asking a fellow to go out and be shot at. But this whole place is a mystery. I’ll listen, however, and find out what this is all about.”

“And noo, Captain Smith, let me say a word in your private ear.”

“Privateer! that’s a sort of ship,” said Mr Clam.

“I hate eaves-droppers,” continued the Major, with another glance at Mr Clam–“_odi profanum vulgus_, as a body may say–and a minute’s talk will maybe explain matters.”

“I doubt the power of a minute’s talk for any such purpose,” said Captain Smith, with a smile; “but,” going a few yards further from Mr Clam at the same time–“I shall listen to you with pleasure.”

“Weel, then, I canna deny–_convenio_, as a body may say–that in the first instance, you played rather a severe trick on Mr Chatterton.”

“I play a trick!” exclaimed Captain Smith; “I don’t understand you. But proceed, I beg. I will not interrupt you.”

“But then, on the other hand, it’s not to be denied that Mr Chatterton’s method of showing his anger was highly reprehensible.”

“His anger, Major M’Toddy!”

“‘Deed ay, just his anger–_ira furor brevis_–and it’s really very excusable in a proud-spirited young man to resent his being jilted in such a sudden and barefaced manner.”

“_He_ jilted! but again I beg pardon–go on.”

“Nae doubt–_sine dubio_, as a body may say–the lassie had a right to change her mind; and if she thought proper to prefer you to him, I canna see what law, human or divine”–

“Does the puppy actually try to excuse himself on so base a calumny as that Marion preferred me? Major M’Toddy, I am here to receive your message; pray deliver it, and let us settle this matter as soon as possible.”

“Whar’s the calumny?” said the major. “You wadna have me to believe, Captain Smith, that the lady does not prefer you to him?”

“Now perhaps she does, for she has sense enough and pride enough, I hope, to despise him; but never girl was more attached to a man in the world than she to Chatterton. Her health is gone–she has lost the liveliness of youth. No, no–I am much afraid, in spite of all that has passed, she is fond of the fellow yet.”

“How long have you suspected this?” enquired the major.

“For some time; before my marriage, of course, I had not such good opportunities of judging as I have had since.”

“Of course, of course,” said the major, in a sympathizing tone; “it’s bad business. But if you had these suspicions before, what for did you marry?”

“Why? Do you think things of that sort should hinder a man from marrying the girl he likes? Mrs Smith regrets it as much as I do.”

“Then what for did she not tell Chatterton she was going to marry you?”

“What right had he to know, sir?”

“A vera good right, I think; or if he hadna, I wad like to know wha had?”

“There, sir, we differ in opinion. Will you deliver your message, name your place and hour, and I shall meet you. I shall easily get a friend in this town, though I thought it better at one time to apply to a civilian; but I fear,” he added, with a smile, “my friend Mr Clam will scarcely do.”

“I really dinna ken–I positively don’t know, as a body may say, how to proceed in this matter. In the first place, if your wife is over fond of Chatterton.”

“My wife, sir?”

“‘Deed ay–_placens uxor_, as a body may say–I say if your wife continues to like Chatterton, you had better send a message to him, and not he to you.”

“So I would, if she gave me occasion, Major M’Toddy; but if your friend boasts of any thing of that kind, his conduct is still more infamous and intolerable than I thought it.”

“But your ainsel’–your own self told me so this minute.”

“You mistake, sir. I say that Marion Hope, my wife’s sister, is still foolish enough to like him.”

“Your wife’s sister! You didna marry Chatterton’s sweetheart?”

“No, sir–her elder sister.”

“Oh, lord, if I had my fingers round the thrapple o’ that leein’ scoundrel on the tap of the coach! Gie me your hand, Captain Smith–it’s all a mistake. I’ll set it right in two minutes. Come with me to Chatterton’s rooms–ye’ll make him the happiest man in England. He’s wud wi’ love–mad with affection, as a body may say. He thought you had run off with his sweetheart, and it was only her sister!”

Captain Smith began to have some glimmerings of the real state of the case; and Mr Clam was on the point of going up to where they stood to make further enquiries for the improvement of his mind, when his travelling companion, again deeply veiled, laid her hand on his arm.

“Move not for your life!” she said.

“I’m not agoing to move, ma’am.”

“Let them go,” she continued; “we can get down by a side street. If they see me, I’m lost.”

“Lost again! The mystery grows deeper and deeper.”

“One of these is my husband.”

Mr Clam drops her arm. “A married woman, and running after captains and colonels! Will you explain a little ma’am, for my head is so puzzled, that hang me if I know whether I stand on my head or my heels?”

“Not now–sometime or other you will perhaps know all; but come with me to the beach–all will end well.”

“Will it?–then I hope to heaven it will end soon, for an hour or two more of this will kill me.”

The two gentlemen, in the meantime, had disappeared, and Mr Clam was on the eve of being hurried off to the harbour, when a young officer came rapidly towards them.

“Charles!” cried the lady, and put her arms round his neck.

“There she goes!” said Mr Clam–“another soldier!–She’ll know the whole army soon.”

“Mary!” exclaimed the soldier–“so good, so kind of you to come to receive me.”

“I wished to see you particularly,” she said, “alone, for one minute.”

The brother and sister retired to one side, leaving Mr Clam once more out of ear-shot.

“More whispering!” muttered that disappointed gentleman. “This can never enlarge the intellect or improve the mind. Mrs M. is a humbug–not a drop of information can I get for love or money. Nothing but whisperings here, closetings there–all that comes to my share is threats of shootings and duckings under pumps. I’ll go back to Waterloo Place this blessed night, and burn ‘Woman’s Dignity’ the moment I get home.”

“Then let us go to Chatterton’s rooms,” said the young officer, giving his arm to his sister; “I have no doubt he will explain it all, and I shall be delighted to see your husband.”

“She’s going to see her husband! She’s the wickedest woman in England,” said Mr Clam, who caught the last sentence.

“Still here'” said a voice at his ear–“lurking about the barracks!”

He looked round and saw the irate features of the tremendous Mrs Sword. He made a rapid bolt and disappeared, as if he had a pulk of Cossacks in full chase at his heels.

The conversation of the good-natured Colonel Sword with Chatterton had opened that young hero’s eye so entirely to the folly of his conduct, that it needed many encouraging speeches from his superior to keep him from sinking into despair.–“That I should have been such a fool,” he said, “as to think that Marion would prefer any body to me!” Such was the style of his soliloquy, from which it will be perceived, that in spite of his discovery of his stupidity, he had not entirely lost his good opinion of himself–“to think that she would marry an old fellow of thirty-six! What will she think of me! How lucky I did not write to my father that I had broken matters off. Do you think she’ll ever forgive me, colonel?”

“Forgive you, my, dear fellow?” said the colonel; “girls, as Mrs Sword says, are such fools, they’ll forgive any thing.”

“And Captain Smith!–a fine gentlemanly fellow–the husband of Marion’s sister–I have insulted him–I must fight him, of course.”

“No fighting here, young man; you must apologize if you’ve done wrong; if not, he must apologize to you; Mrs Sword would never look over a duel between two Sucking Pigeons.”

“Then _I_ must apologize.”

“Ye canna have a better chance–you can’t have a better opportunity, as a body may say,” said the bilingual major, entering the room, “for here’s Captain Smith ready to accept it.”

“With all his heart, I assure you,” said that gentleman, shaking Chatterton’s hand; “so I beg you’ll say no more about it.”

“This is all right–just as it should be,” said the Colonel. “Captain Smith, you’ll plead poor Chatterton’s cause with the offended lady.”

“Perhaps the culprit had better be his own advocate–he will find the court very favourably disposed; and as the judge is herself at the Waterloo hotel”–

“Marion here!” exclaimed Chatterton; “good heavens, what an atrocious ass I have been!”

“She is indeed,” replied the Captain. “I knew she would be anxious to receive her brother Charles on his landing, and as I had wormed out from her the circumstances of this lover’s quarrel”–

“_Amantium ira amoris redintegratio est_–as a body may say,” interposed Major M’Toddy.

“And was determined to enquire into it, I thought that the pretence of welcoming Captain Hope would allay any suspicion of my intention; and so, with her good mother’s permission, I brought her down, leaving my wife in Henley Street”–

“Where she didn’t long remain,” said no other than Captain Charles Hope, himself leading in Mrs Smith, the mysterious travelling acquaintance of Mr Clam.

“Do you forgive me,” she said to her husband, “for coming down without your knowledge?”

“I suppose I must,” said Captain Smith, laughing, “on condition that you pardon me for the same offence?”

“And noo, then,” said Major M’Toddy, “I propose that we all, together and singly, _conjunctim ac separatim_–as a body may say–go down instanter to the Waterloo Hotel. We can arrange every thing there better than here, for we must hear the other side–_audi alteram partem_, as a body may say.”

“This will be a regular _jour de noce_, as you would say, Major,” remarked Colonel Sword, giving his arm to Mrs Smith.

“It’s a _nos non nobis_, poor auld bachelors–as a body may say,” replied the Major, and the whole party proceeded to the hotel.

Mr Clan, on making his escape from the fulminations of Mrs Sword, had been rejoiced to see his carpet-bag still resting against the wall under the archway of the inn, as he had left it when he first arrived.

“Waiter!” he cried; and the same long-haired individual in the blue coat, with the napkin over his arm, came to his call.

“Is there any coach to London this evening?”

“Yes, sir–at half-past six.”

“Thank heaven!” exclaimed Mr Clam, “I shall get out of this infernal town. Waiter!”

“Yes, sir.”

“I came from London to-day with a lady–close veiled, all muffled up. She is a married woman, too–more shame for her.”

“Yes, sir. Do you dine before you go, sir.” said the waiter, not attending to Mr Clan’s observations.

“No. Her husband doesn’t know she’s here; but, waiter, Mr Chatterton does.” Mr Clam accompanied this piece of information with a significant wink, which, however, made no sensible impression on the waiter’s mind.

“Yes, Chatterton does; for you may depend on it, by this time he’s found out who she is.”

“Yes, sir. Have you secured a place, sir?”

“Now, she wouldn’t have her husband know she is here for the world.”

“Outside or in, sir? The office is next door”–continued the waiter.

“Then, there’s a tall gentleman, who speaks with a curious accent. I wonder who the deuce _he_ can be.”

“No luggage but this, sir? Porter will take it to the office, sir.”

“Nor that dreadful he-woman in the hat–who the mischief can _she_ be? What had Chatterton done?–who is the husband?–who is the lady? Waiter, is there a lunatic asylum here?”

“No, sir. We’ve a penitentiary.”

“Then, ‘pon my davit, the young woman”–

But Mr Clam’s observation, whatever it was–and it was evidently not very complimentary to his travelling companion–was interrupted by the entrance of the happy party from Chatterton’s rooms.

Mr Clam looked first at the colonel and Captain Hope, and Mrs Smith–but they were so busy in their own conversation, that they did not observe him. Then followed Major M’Toddy, Captain Smith, and Mr Chatterton.

“Here’s our civil friend,” said the Major–“_amicas noster_, as a body may say.”

“Oh, by Jove!” said Mr Chatterton, “I ought to teach this fellow a lesson in natural history.”

“He’s the scientific naturalist that called you popinjay,” continued the major–“_ludit convivia miles_, as a body may say.”

“He’s the fellow that refused to be my friend, and told me some foolish story of his flirtations with a lady he met in the coach,” added Captain Smith.

“Gentlemen,” said Mr Clam, “I’m here in search of information; will you have the kindness to tell me what we have all been fighting, and quarrelling, and whispering and threatening about for the last two hours? My esteemed and talented neighbour, the author of ‘Women’s Dignity developed in Dialogues'”–

“May gang to the deevil,” interposed Major M’Toddy–_abeat in malam crucem_, as a body may say–We’ve no time for havers, _i prae, sequar_, as a body may say. What’s the number of her room?”

“No. 14,” said the Captain, and the three gentlemen passed on.

“_Her_ room!” said Mr Clam, “another lady! Waiter!”

“Yes sir.”

“I’ll send you a post-office order for five shillings, if you’ll find out all this, and let me know the particulars–address to me, No. 4, Waterloo Place, Wellington Road, Regent’s Park, London. I’ve done every thing in my power to gain information according to the advice of Mrs M., but it’s of no use. Let me know as soon as you discover any thing, and I’ll send you the order by return of post.”

“Coach is coming, sir,” said the waiter.

“And I’m going; and very glad I am to get out of the town alive. And as to the female banditti in the riding habit, with all the trunks and boxes; if you’ll let me know”–

“The coach can’t wait a moment, sir.”

Mr Clam cast a despairing look as he saw his last hope of finding out the mystery disappear. He stept into the inside of the coach–

“Coachman,” he said, with his foot on the step–“There’s no lady inside, is there?”

“No, sir.”

“Then drive on; if there had been, I wouldn’t have travelled a mile with her.” The roll of the coach drowned the remainder of Mr Clam’s eloquence; and it is much feared that his enquiries have been unsuccessful to the present day.

* * * * *

THE EAST AND SOUTH OF EUROPE.

A Steam-voyage to Constantinople, by the Rhine and Danube, in 1840-41, and to Portugal, Spain, &c. By the Marquis of Londonderry. In 2 vols. 8vo.

We have a very considerable respect for the writer of the Tour of which we are about to give extracts in the following pages. The Marquis of Londonderry is certainly no common person. We are perfectly aware that he has been uncommonly abused by the Whigs–which we regard as almost a necessary tribute to his name; that he has received an ultra share of libel from the Radicals–which we regard as equally to his honour; and that he is looked on by all the neutrals, of whatever colour, as a personage too straightforward to be managed by a bow and a smile. Yet, for all these things, we like him the better, and wish, as says the old song–

“We had within the realm
Five hundred good as he.”

He is a straightforward, manly, and high-spirited noble, making up his mind without fee or reward, and speaking it with as little fear as he made it up; managing a large and turbulent population with that authority which derives its force from good intention; constant in his attendance on his parliamentary duty; plainspoken there, as he is every where; and possessing the influence which sincerity gives in every part of the world, however abounding in polish and place-hunting.

His early career, too, has been manly. He was a soldier, and a gallant one. His mission to the Allied armies, in the greatest campaign ever made in Europe, showed that he had the talents of council as well as of the field; and his appointment as ambassador to Vienna, gave a character of spirit, and even of splendour, to British diplomacy which it had seldom exhibited before, and which, it is to be hoped, it may recover with as little delay as possible.

We even like his employment of his superfluous time. Instead of giving way to the fooleries of fashionable life, the absurdities of galloping after hares and foxes, for months together, at Melton, or the patronage of those scenes of perpetual knavery which belong to the race-course, the Marquis has spent his vacations in making tours to the most remarkable parts of Europe. It is true that Englishmen are great travellers, and that our nobility are in the habit of wandering over the Continent. But the world knows no more of their discoveries, if they make such, or of their views of society and opinions of governments, if they ever take the trouble to form any upon the subject, than of their notions of the fixed stars. That there are many accomplished among them, many learned, and many even desirous to acquaint themselves with what Burke called “the mighty modifications of the human race,” beginning with a land within fifteen miles of our shores, and spreading to the extremities of the earth, we have no doubt. But in the countless majority of instances, the nation reaps no more benefit from their travels than if they had been limited from Bond Street to Berkeley Square. This cannot be said of the Marquis of Londonderry. He travels with his eyes open, looking for objects of interest, and recording them. We are not now about to give him any idle panegyric on the occasion. We regret that his tours are so rapid, and his journals so brief. He passes by many objects which we should wish to see illustrated, and turns off from many topics on which we should desire to hear the opinions of a witness on the spot. But we thank him for what he has given; hope that he will spend his next autumn and many others as he has spent the former; and wish him only to write more at large, to give us more characters of the rank with which he naturally associates, draw more contrasts between the growing civilization of the European kingdoms and our own; and, adhering to his own straightforward conceptions, and telling them in his own sincere style, give us an annual volume as long as he lives.

Steam-boats and railways have produced one curious effect, which no one anticipated. Of all _levellers_ they are the greatest. Their superiority to all other modes of travelling crowds them with the peer as well as the peasant. Cabinets, and even queens, now abandon their easy, but lazy, equipages for the bird-like flight of iron and fire, and though the “special train” still sounds exclusive, the principle of commixture is already there, and all ranks will sweep on together.

The Marquis, wisely adopting the bourgeois mode of travelling, set forth from the Tower Stairs, on a lovely morning at the close of August 1840. Fifty years ago, the idea of a general, an ambassador, and a peer, with his marchioness and suite, embarking on board the common conveyance of the common race of mankind, would have been regarded as an absolute impossibility; but the common sense of the world has now decided otherwise. Speed and safety are wisely judged to be valuable compensations for state and seclusion; and when we see majesty itself, after making the experiment of yachts and frigates, quietly and comfortably return to its palace on board a steamer, we may be the less surprised at finding the Marquis of Londonderry and his family making their way across the Channel in the steamer Giraffe. Yet it is to be remarked, that though nothing can be more miscellaneous than the passengers, consisting of Englishmen, Frenchmen, Germans, and Yankee; of Jews, Turks, and heretics; of tourists, physicians, smugglers, and all the other diversities of idling, business, and knavery; yet families who choose to pay for them, may have separate cabins, and enjoy as much privacy as is possible with specimens of all the world within half-an-inch of their abode.

The voyage was without incident; and after a thirty hours’ passage, the Giraffe brought them to the Brill and Rotterdam. It has been an old observation that the Dutch clean every thing but themselves; and nothing can be more matter of fact than that the dirtiest thing in a house in Holland is generally the woman under whose direction all this scrubbing has been accomplished. The first aspect of Rotterdam is strongly in favour of the people. It exhibits very considerable neatness for a seaport–the Wapping of the kingdom; paint and even gilding is common on the outsides of the shops. The shipping, which here form a part of the town furniture, and are to be seen every where in the midst of the streets, are painted with every colour of the rainbow, and carved and ornamented according to such ideas of taste in sculpture as are prevalent among Dutchmen; and the whole exhibits a good specimen of a people who have as much to struggle with mud as if they had been born so many eels, and whose conceptions of the real colour of the sky are even a shade darker than our own.

The steam-boats also form a striking feature, which utterly eluded the wisdom of our ancestors. There are here, bearing all colours, from all the Rhenish towns, smoking and suffocating the Dutch, flying past their hard-working, slow-moving craft; and bringing down, and carrying away, cargoes of every species of mankind. The increase of Holland in wealth and activity since the separation from Belgium, the Marquis regards as remarkable; and evidently having no _penchant_ for our cousin Leopold, he declares that Rotterdam is at this moment worth more solid money than Antwerp, Brussels, and, he believes, “all Leopold’s kingdom together.”

At Antwerp, he happened to arrive at the celebration of the fête in honour of Rubens. “To commemorate the painter may be all very well,” he observes; “but it is not very well to see a large plaster-of-Paris statue erected on a lofty pedestal, and crowned with laurels, while the whole population of the town is called out for fourteen days together, to indulge in idleness and dissipation, merely to announce that Rubens was a famed _Dutch_ painter in times long past.” We think it lucky for the Marquis that he had left Antwerp before he called Rubens a Dutch painter. We are afraid that he would have hazarded a summary application of the Lynch law of the Flemish avengers of their country.

“If such celebrations,” says the Marquis, “are proper, why not do equal honour to a Shakspeare, a Pitt, a Newton, or any of those illustrious men by whose superior intelligence society has so greatly profited?” The obvious truth is, that such “celebrations” are not to our taste, that there is something burlesque, to our ideas, in this useless honour; and that we think a bonfire, a discharge of squibs, or even a discharge of rhetoric, and a display of tinsel banners and buffoonery, does not supply the most natural way of reviving the memory of departed genius. At the same time, they have their use, where they do not create their ridicule. On the Continent, life is idle; and the idlers are more harmlessly employed going to those pageants, than in the gin-shop. The finery and the foolery together also attract strangers, the idlers of other towns; it makes money, it makes conversation, it makes amusement, and it kills time. Can it have better recommendations to ninety-nine hundredths of mankind?

In 1840, when this tour was written, all the politicians of the earth were deciding, in their various coffee-houses, what all the monarchs were to do with the Eastern question. Stopford and Napier were better employed, in battering down the fortifications of Acre, and the politicians were soon relieved from their care of the general concerns of Europe. England settled this matter as she had often done before, and by the means which she has always found more natural than protocols. But a curious question is raised by the Marquis, as to the side on which Belgium might be inclined to stand in case of an European struggle; his opinion being altogether _for_ the English alliance.

“France could undoubtedly _at first_ seize possession of a country so close to her empire as to be in fact a province. But still, with Antwerp and other fortresses, Holland in the rear, and Hanover and Germany at hand, and, above all, England, aiding perhaps with a British army, the independence of King Leopold’s throne and kingdom might be more permanently secured by adhering to the Allies, than if he linked himself to Louis Philippe, in whose power alone, in case of non-resistance to France, he would ever afterwards remain; and far better would it be, in my opinion, for this founder of a Belgian monarchy, if he would achieve for his dynasty an honourable duration, to throw himself into the arms of the many, and reap advantages from all, than to place his destiny at the mercy of the future rulers of France.”

No doubt this is sound advice; and if the decision were to depend on himself, there can be as little doubt that he would be wiser in accepting the honest aid of England, than throwing his crown at the feet of France. But he reigns over a priest-ridden kingdom, and Popery will settle the point for him on the first shock. His situation certainly is a singular one; as the uncle of the Queen of England, and the son-in-law of the King of France, he seems to have two anchors dropped out, either of which might secure a throne in ordinary times. But times that are _not_ ordinary may soon arise, and then he must cut both cables and trust to his own steerage. If coldness is prudence, and neutrality strength, he may weather the storm; but it would require other qualities to preserve Belgium.

Brussels was full of English. The Marquis naturally talks in the style of one accustomed to large expenditure. The chief part of the English residents in Brussels, are families “who live there on three or four thousand a-year–far better as to luxuries and education than they could in England for half as much more.” He evidently thinks of three or four thousand a-year, as others might think of as many hundreds. But if any families, possessed of thousands a-year, are living abroad for the mere sake of _cheaper_ luxuries and _cheaper_ education, we say, more shame for them. We even can conceive nothing more selfish and more contemptible. Every rational luxury is to be procured in England by such an income. Every advantage of education is to be procured by the same means. We can perfectly comprehend the advantages offered by the cheapness of the Continent to large families with narrow incomes; but that the opulent should abandon their country, their natural station, and their duties, simply to drink champagne at a lower rate, and have cheaper dancing-masters, we must always regard as a scandalous dereliction of the services which every man of wealth and rank owes to his tenantry, his neighbours, and his nation. Of course, we except the traveller for curiosity; the man of science, whose object is to enlarge his knowledge; and even the man of rank, who desires to improve the minds of his children by a view of continental wonders. Our reprobation is, of the habit of living abroad, and living there for the vulgar and unmanly purpose of self-indulgence or paltry avarice. Those absentees have their reward in profligate sons, and foreignized daughters, in giving them manners ridiculous to the people of the Continent, and disgusting to their countrymen–morals adopting the grossness of continental life, and general habits rendered utterly unfit for a return to their country, and, of course, for any rational and meritorious conduct, until they sink into the grave.

The Marquis, who in every instance submitted to the rough work of the road, took the common conveyance by railroad to Liege. It has been a good deal the custom of our late tourists to applaud the superior excellence of the continental railroads. Our noble traveller gives all this praise the strongest contradiction. He found their inferiority quite remarkable. The materials, all of an inadequate nature, commencing with their uncouth engine, and ending with their ill-contrived double seats and carriages for passengers. The attempts made at order and regularity in the arrangements altogether failed. Every body seemed in confusion. The carriages are of two sorts–the first class, and the _char-à-banc_. The latter are all open; the people sit back to back, and face to face, as they like, and get at their places by scrambling, squeezing, and altercation. Even the Marquis had a hard fight to preserve the seats which he had taken for his family. At Malines, the train changes carriages. Here a curious scene occurred. An inundation of priests poured into all the carriages. They came so thick that they were literally thrown back by their attempt to squeeze themselves in; “and their cocked hats and black flowing robes gave them the appearance of ravens with their wide-spreading wings, hovering over their prey in the vehicles.”

Travelling, like poverty, brings one acquainted with strange companions; and, accustomed as the Marquis was to foreign life, one railway traveller evidently much amused him. This was a personage who stretched himself at full length on a seat opposite the ladies, “his two huge legs and thighs clothed in light blue, with long Spanish boots, and heavy silver spurs, formed the foreground of his extended body. A black satin waistcoat, overlaid with gold chains, a black velvet Spanish cloak and hat, red beard and whiskers, and a face resembling the Saracen’s on Snow-Hill, completed his _ensemble_.” He was probably some travelling mountebank apeing the Spanish grandee.

Aix-la-Chapelle exhibited a decided improvement on the City of the Congress five-and-twenty years ago. The principal streets were now paved, with fine _trottoirs_, the buildings had become large and handsome, and the hotels had undergone the same advantageous change. From Liege to Cologne the country exhibited one boundless harvest. The vast cathedral of Cologne at last came in sight, still unfinished, though the process of building has gone on for some hundred years. The extraordinary attempt which has been made, within the last few months, to unite Protestantism with Popery, in the completion of this gigantic building, will give it a new and unfortunate character in history. The union is impossible, though the confusion is easy, and the very attempt to reconcile them only shows to what absurdities men may be betrayed by political theories, and to what trivial and temporary objects the highest interests of our nature may be sacrificed. Cologne, too, is rapidly improving. The free navigation of the Rhine has done something of this, but the free passage of the English has done a great deal more. A perpetual stream of British travellers, flowing through Germany, benefits it, not merely by their expenditure, but by their habits. Where they reside for any length of time, they naturally introduce the improvements and conveniences of English life. Even where they but pass along, they demand comforts, without which the native would have plodded on for ever. The hotels are gradually provided with carpets, fire-places, and a multitude of other matters essential to the civilized life of England; for if civilization depends on bringing the highest quantity of rational enjoyment within the reach of general society, England is wholly superior in civilization to the shivering splendours of the Continent. Foreigners are beginning to learn this; and those who are most disposed to scoff at our taste, are the readiest to follow our example.

The streets of Cologne, formerly dirty and narrow, and the houses, old and tumbling down, have given way to wide spaces, handsome edifices, and attractive shops. The railway, which we have lent to the Continent, will shortly unite Brussels, Liege, and Cologne, and the three cities will be thereby rapidly augmented in wealth, numbers, and civilization.

The steam-boats on the Rhine are in general of a good description. The arrangements are convenient, considering that at times there are two hundred passengers, and that among foreigners the filthy habit of smoking, with all its filthy consequences, is universal; but, below decks, the party, especially if they take the _pavillion_ to themselves, may escape this abomination. The Rhine has been too often described to require a record here; but the rapturous nonsense which the Germans pour forth whenever they write about the national river, offends truth as much as it does taste. The larger extent of this famous stream is absolutely as dull as a Dutch pond. The whole run from the sea to Cologne is flat and fenny. As it approaches the hill country it becomes picturesque, and its wanderings among the fine declivities of the Rheingate exhibit beautiful scenery. The hills, occasionally topped with ruins, all of which have some original (or invented) legend of love or murder attached to them, indulge the romance of which there is a fragment or a fibre in every bosom; and the general aspect of the country, as the steam-boat breasts the upward stream, is various and luxuriant. But the German architecture is fatal to beauty. Nothing can be more _barbarian_ (with one or two exceptions) than the whole range of buildings, public and private, along the Rhine; gloomy, huge, and heavy–whether palace, convent, or chateau, they have all a prison-look; and if some English philanthropist, in pity to the Teutonic taste, would erect one or two “English villas” on the banks of the Rhine, to give the Germans some idea of what architecture ought to be, he would render them a national service, scarcely inferior to the introduction of carpets and coal-fires.

Johannisberg naturally attracts the eye of the English traveller, whose cellar has contributed so largely to its cultivation. This mountain-vineyard had been given by Napoleon to Kellerman; but Napoleon’s gifts were as precarious as himself, and the Johannisberg fell into hands that better deserved it. At the peace of 1814 it was presented by the Emperor Francis to the great statesman who had taught his sovereign to set his foot on the neck of the conqueror of Vienna. The mountain is terraced, clothed with vineyards, and forms a very gay object to those who look up to it from the river. The view from the summit of the hill is commanding and beautiful, but its grape is _unique_. The chief portion of the produce goes amongst the principalities and powers of the Continent; yet as the Englishman must have his share of all the good things of the earth, the Johannisberg wine finds its way across the Channel, and John Bull satisfies himself that he shares the luxury of Emperors.

The next _lion_ is Ehrenbreitstein, lying on the right bank of the Rhine, the most famous fortress of Germany, and more frequently battered, bruised, and demolished, than any other work of nature or man on the face of the globe. It has been always the first object of attack in the French invasions, and, with all its fortifications, has always been taken. The Prussians are now laying out immense sums upon it, and evidently intend to make it an indigestible morsel to the all-swallowing ambition of their neighbours; but it is to be hoped that nations are growing wiser–a consummation to which they are daily arriving by growing poorer. Happily for Europe, there is not a nation on the Continent which would not be bankrupt in a single campaign, provided England closed her purse. In the last war she was the general paymaster: but that system is at an end; and if she is wise, she will never suffer another shilling of hers to drop into the pocket of the foreigner.

The Prussians have formed an entrenched camp under cover of this great fortress, capable of containing 120,000 men. They are obviously right in keeping the French as far from Berlin as they can; but those enormous fortresses and entrenched camps are out of date. They belonged to the times when 30,000 men were an army, and when campaigns were spent in sieges. Napoleon changed all this, yet it was only in imitation of Marlborough, a hundred years before. The great duke’s march to Bavaria, leaving all the fortresses behind him, was the true tactic for conquest. He beat the army in the field, and then let the fortresses drop one by one into his hands. The change of things has helped this bold system. Formerly there was but one road through a province–it led through the principal fortress–all the rest was mire and desolation. Thus the fortress must be taken before a gun or a waggon could move. Now, there are a dozen roads through every province–the fortress may be passed out of gun-shot in all quarters–and the “grand army” of a hundred and fifty thousand men marches direct on the capital. The _têtes-du-pont_ on the Niemen, and the entrenched camp which it had cost Russia two years to fortify, were turned in the first march of the French; and the futility of the whole costly and rather timorous system was exhibited in the fact, that the crowning battle was fought within hearing of Moscow.

Beyond Mayence the Rhine reverts to its former flatness, the hills vanish, the shores are level, but the southern influence is felt, and the landscape is rich.

Wisbaden is the next stage of the English–a stage at which too many stop, and from which not a few are glad to escape on any terms. The Duke of Nassau has done all in his power to make his watering-place handsome and popular, and he has succeeded in both. The Great Square, containing the assembly-room, is a very showy specimen of ducal taste. Its colonnades and shops are striking, and its baths are in the highest order. Music, dancing, and promenading form the enjoyment of the crowd, and the gardens and surrounding country give ample indulgence for the lovers of air and exercise. _The_ vice of the place, as of all continental scenes of amusement, is gambling. Both sexes, and all ages, are busy at all times in the mysteries of the gaming-table. Dollars and florins are constantly changing hands. The bloated German, the meagre Frenchman, the sallow Russian, and even the placid Dutchman, hurry to those tables, and continue at them from morning till night, and often from night till morning. The fair sex are often as eager and miserable as the rest. It is impossible to doubt that this passion is fatal to more than the purse. Money becomes the price of every thing; and, without meaning to go into discussion on such topics, nothing can be clearer than that the female gambler, in this frenzy of avarice, inevitably forfeits the self-respect which forms at least the outwork of female virtue. Though the ancient architecture of Germany is altogether dungeon-like, yet they can make pretty imitations. The summer palace of the duke at Biberach might be adopted in lieu of the enormous fabrics which have cost such inordinate sums in our island. “The circular room in the centre of the building is ornamented with magnificent marble pillars. The floor is also of marble. The galleries are stuccoed, with gold ornaments encrusted upon them. From the middle compartment of the great hall there are varied prospects of the Rhine, which becomes studded here with small islands: and the multitudinous orange, myrtle, cedar, and cypress trees on all sides render Biberach a most enchanting abode.”

The Marquis makes some shrewd remarks on the evident attention of the Great Powers to establish an interest among the little sovereignties of Germany. Thus, Russia has married “her eldest daughter to an adopted Bavarian. The Cesarowitch is married to a princess of Darmstadt,” &c. He might have added Louis Philippe, who is an indefatigable advocate of marrying and giving in marriage. Austria is extending her olive branches as far as she can; and all princes, now having nothing better to do, are following her example.

Yet, we altogether doubt that family alliances have much weight in times of trouble. Of course, in times of peace, they may facilitate the common business of politics. But, when powerful interests appear on the stage, the matrimonial tie is of slender importance; kindred put on their coats-of-mail, and, like Francis of Austria and his son-in-law Napoleon, they throw shot and shell at each other without any ceremony. It is only in poetry that Cupid is more powerful than either Mammon or Mars.

The next _lion_ is Frankfort–a very old lion, ’tis true, but one of the noblest cities of Germany, connected with high recollections, and doing honour, by its fame, to the spirit of commerce. Frankfort has been always a striking object to the traveller; but it has shared, or rather led the way to the general improvement. Its shops, streets, and public buildings all exhibit that march, which is so much superior to the “march of mind,” panegyrised by our rabble orators–the march of industry, activity, and invention; Frankfort is one of the liveliest and pleasantest of continental residences.

But the Marquis is discontented with the inns; which, undoubtedly, are places of importance to the sojourner–perhaps of much more importance than the palaces. He reckons them by a “sliding scale;” which, however, is a descending one–Holland bad, Belgium worse, Germany the third degree of comparison. Some of the inns in the great towns are stately; but it unluckily happens that the masters and mistresses of those inns are to the full as stately, and that, after a bow or curtsey at the door to their arriving guests, all their part is at an end. The master and mistress thenceforth transact their affairs by deputy. They are sovereigns, and responsible for nothing. The _garçons_ are the cabinet, and responsible for every thing; but they, like superior personages, shift their responsibility upon any one inclined to take it up; and all is naturally discontent, disturbance, and discomfort. We wonder that the Marquis has not mentioned the German _table-d’hôte_ among his annoyances; for he dined at it. Nothing, in general, can be more adverse to the quiet, the ease, or the good-sense of English manners. The _table-d’hôte_ is essentially vulgar; and no excellence of _cuisine_, or completeness of equipment, can prevent it from exhibiting proof of its original purpose, namely–to give a cheap dinner to a miscellaneous rabble.

German posting is on a par with German inns, which is as much as to say that it is detestable, even if the roads were good. The roughness, mire, and continual ascents and descents of the roads, try the traveller’s patience. The only resource is sleep; but even that is denied by the continual groanings of a miserable French horn, with which the postilion announces his approach to every village.

“Silence, ye wolves, while tipsy Mein-Herr howls, Making night hideous; answer him, ye owls.”

The best chance of getting a tolerable meal in the majority of these roadside houses, is, to take one’s own provisions, carry a cook, if we can, and, if not, turn cooks ourselves; but the grand hotels are too “grand” for this, and they insist on supplying the dinner, for which the general name is _cochonerrie_, and with perfect justice.

On the 12th of September, the Marquis and his family arrived at Nuremberg, where the Bavarian court were assembled, in order to be present at a Camp of Exercise. To the eye of an officer who had been in the habit of seeing the armies of the late war, the military spectacle could not be a matter of much importance, for the camp consisted of but 1800 men. But he had been a comrade of the king, when prince-royal, during the campaigns of 1814 and 1815; and, as such, had helped (and not slightly) to keep the tottering crown on the brow of Bavaria. He now sent to request the opportunity of paying his respects; but Germany, absurd in many things, is especially so in point of etiquette. Those