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“No more I do,” said Hayes: “and that's the truth on't. A man doth not like to have his wife's sins flung in his face, nor to be perpetually bullied in his own house by such a fiery sprig as that."
Mischief, sir-mischief only,” said Wood : “'tis the fun of youth, sir, and will go off as age comes to the lad. Bad as you may think him—and he is as skittish and fierce, sure enough, as a young colt—there is good stuff in him ; and though he hath, or fancies he hath, the right to abuse every one, by the Lord he will let none others do so! Last week, now, didn't he tell Mrs. Cat that you served her right in the last beating matter? and weren't they coming to knives, just as in your case? By my faith, they were. Ay, and at the 'Braund's Head,' when some fellow said that you were a bloody Bluebeard, and would murder your wife, stab. me if Tom wasn't up in an instant and knocked the fellow down for abusing of you !”
The first of these stories was quite true; the second was only a charitable invention of Mr. Wood, and employed, doubtless, for the amiable purpose of bringing the old and young men together. The scheme partially succeeded; for though Hayes was not so far mollified towards Tom as to entertain any affection for a young man whom he had cordially detested ever since he knew him, yet he felt more at ease and cheerful regarding himself : and surely not without reason. While indulging in these benevolent sentiments, Mrs. Catherine and her son arrived, and found, somewhat to their astonishment, Mr. Hayes seated in the back-parlour, as in former times;
and they were invited by Mr. Wood to sit down and drink.
We have said that certain bottles of mountain-wine were presented by the Count to Mrs. Catherine : these were, at Mr. Wood's suggestion, produced; and Hayes, who had long been coveting them, was charmed to have an opportunity to drink his fill. He forthwith began bragging of his great powers as a drinker, and vowed that he could manage eight bottles without becoming intoxicated.
Mr. Wood grinned strangely, and looked in a peculiar way at Tom Billings, who grinned too. Mrs. Cat's eyes were turned towards the ground : but her face was deadly pale.
The party began drinking. Hayes kept up his reputation as a toper, and swallowed, ona
three bottles' without
two, wincing. He grew talkative and merry, and began to sing songs and to cut jokes; at which Wood laughed hugely, and Billings after him. Mrs. Cat could not laugh; but sat silent. What ailed her? Was she thinking of the Count? She had been with Max that day, and had promised him, for the next night at tén, an interview near his lodgings at Whitehall
. It was the first time that she would see him alone. They were to meet (not a very cheerful place for a love-tryst) at St. Margaret's churchyard, near Westminster Abbey. Of this, no doubt, Cat was thinking ; but what could she mean by whispering to Wood, "No, no! for God's sake, not to-night!”
“She means we are to have no more liquor," said Wood to Mr. Hayes : who heard this sentence, and seemed rather alarmed.
“That's it, - no more liquor,” said Catherine, eagerly; "you have had enough to-night. Go to bed, and lock your door, and sleep, Mr. Hayes."
“But I say I've not had enough drink !” screamed Hayes; “I'm good for five bottles more, and wager I will drink them too.":
"Done, for a guinea !” said Wood. “ Done, and done!” said Billings.
“Be you quiet!" growled Hayes, scowling at the lad. “I will drink what I please, and ask no counsel of yours. And he muttered some more curses against young Billings, which showed what his feelings were towards his wife's son; and which the latter, for a wonder, only received with a scornful smile, and a knowing look at Wood.
Wells! the five extra bottles were brought, and drank by Mr. Hayes; and seasoned by many songs from the recueil of Mr. Thomas D'Urfey and others. The chief part of the talk and merriment was on Hayes's part ; as, indeed, was natural, --for, while he drank bottle after bottle of wine, the other two gentlemen confined themselves to small beer, -- both pleading illness as an excuse for their sobriety. }',
And now might we depict, with much accuracy, the course of Mr. Hayes's intoxication, as it rose from the merriment of the three-bottle point to the madness of the four--from the
uproarious quarrelsomeness of the sixth bottle to the sickly stupidity of the seventh; but we are desirous of bringing this tale to a conclusion, and must pretermit all consideration of a subject so curious, so instructive, and so delightful. Suffice it to say, as a matter of history, that Mr. Hayes did actually drink seven bottles of mountain-wine; and that Mr. Thomas Billings went to the “Braund's Head," in Bond Street, and purchased another, which Hayes likewise drank.
“ That'll do," said Mr. Wood to young Billings; and they led Hayes up to bed, whither, in truth, he was unable to walk himself.
* Mrs. Springatt, the lodger, came down to ask what the noise was.
5. "Tis only Tom Billings making merry with some friends from the country," answered Mrs. Hayes; whereupon Springatt retired, and the house was quiet.
Some scuffling and stamping was heard about eleven o'clock.
After they had seen Mr. Hayes to bed, Billings remembered that he had a parcel to carry to some person in the neighbourhood of the Strand; and, as the night was remarkably fine, he and Mr. Wood'agreed to walk together, and set forth accordingly.
[Here follows 'a description of the THAMES AT MIDNIGHT, in a finc historical style ; with an account of Lambeth, Westminster, the Savoy, Baynard's Castle, Arundel House, the Temple ; of Old London Bridge, with its twenty arches, on which be houses builded, so that it seemeth rather a continuall street than a bridge”; of Bankside, and the Globe” and the “ Fortune” Theatres ; of the ferries across the river, and of the pirates who infest the same, namely, tinklermen, petermen, hebbermen, trawlermen; of the feet of barges that lay at the Savoy steps, and of the long lines of slim wherries sleeping on the river-banks and basking and shining in the moonbeams. A combat on the river is described, that takes place between the crews of a tinklerman's boat and the water-bailiff's. Shouting his war-cry, "St. Mary Overy à la rescousse!” the water-bailiff sprung at the throat of the tinklerman captain. The crews of both vessels,
as if aware that the struggle of their ciiefs would decide the contest, ceased hostilities, and awaited on their respective poops the issue of the death-shock. It was not long coming. "Yield, dog! said the water; bailiff. The tinklerman could not answer,--for his throat was grasped too tight in the iron clench of the city champion ; but drawing his snickersnee, he plunged it seven times in the bailiff's chest : still the latter fell
The death-rattle gurgled in the throat of his opponent; his arms fell heavily to his side. Foot to foot, each standing at the side of his boat, stood the two brave men,--they were both dead!
* In the name of St. Clement Danes,” said the master, "give way, my inen !” and, thrust. ing forward his halberd (seven feet long, richly decorated with velvet and brass nails, and having the city arms, argent, a cross gules, and in the first quarter a dagger displayed of the second), he thrust the tinklerman's boat away from his own ; and at once the bodies of the captains plunged down, down, down, down in the unfathomable waters.
After this follows another episode. Two masked ladies quarrel at the door of a tavern overlooking the Thames : they turn out to be Stella and Vanessa, who have followed Swift thither; who is in the act of reading Gulliver's Travels to Gay, Arbuthnot, Bolingbroke, and Pope. Two fellows are sitting shuddering under a doorway; to one of them Tom Billings flung a sixpence. He little knew that the names of those two young men were-Samuel Johnson and Richard Savage.]
ANOTHER LAST CHAPTER.
MR. HAYES did not join the family the next day; and it appears that the previous night's reconciliation was not very durable; for when Mrs. Springátt: asked Wood for Hayes, Mr. Wood stated that Hayes had gone away without saying whither he was bound, or how long he might be absent. only said, in rather a sulky tone, that he should probably pass the night at a friend's house. “For my part, I know of no friend he hath,” added Mr. Wood; "and pray heaven that he may not think of deserting his poor wife, whom he hath beaten and ill-used so already!”. In this prayer Mrs. Springatt joined ; and so these two worthy people parted.
What business Billings was about cannot be said ; but he was this night bound towards Marylebone Fields, as he was the night before for the Strand and Westminster; and, although the night was very stormy and rainy, as the previous evening had been fine, old Wood good-naturedly resolved upon accompanying him; and forth they sallied together.
Mrs. Catherine, too, had her business, as we have seen;
but this was of a very delicate nature. At nine o'clock, she had an appointment with the Count; and faithfully, by that hour, had found her way to St. Margaret's churchyard, near Westminster Abbey, where she awaited Monsieur de Galgenstein.
The spot was convenient, being very lonely, and at the same time close to the Count's lodgings at Whitehall. His Excellency came, but somewhat after the hour; for, to say the truth, being a freethinker, he had the most firm belief in ghosts and demons, and did not care to pace a churchyard alone. He was comforted, therefore, when he saw a woman muffled in a cloak, who held out her hand to him at the gate, and said, “Is that you ?” He took her hand, it was very clammy and cold ; and at her desire he bade his confidential footman, who had attended him with a torch, to retire, and leave him to himself.
The torch-bearer retired, and left them quite in darkness; and the pair entered the little cemetery, cautiously threading their way among the tombs. They sat down on one, underneath a tree it seemed to be; the wind was very cold, and its piteous howling was the only noise that broke the silence of the place. Catherine's teeth were chattering, for all her wraps; and when Max drew her close to him, and encircled her waist with one arm, and pressed her hand, she did not repulse him, but rather came close to him, and with her own damp fingers feebly returned his pressure.
The poor thing was very wretched and weeping. She confided to Max the cause of her grief. She was alone in the world, ---alone and penniless. Her husband had left her; she had that very day received a letter from him which confirmed all that she had suspected so long. He had left her, carried away all his property, and would not return!
If we say that a selfish joy filled the breast of Monsieur de Galgenstein, the reader will not be astonished. A heartless libertine, he felt glad at the prospect of Catherine's ruin ; for he hoped that necessity would make her his own. He clasped the poor thing to his heart, and vowed that he would replace the husband she had lost, and that his fortune should be hers.
“Will you replace him?” said she.