[ocr errors]

held me and said, 'Major, you are not going to shirk him, sure?' Whereupon I gripped his hand and vowed I would have the dog's life.)

“Men of honour !' says the Count. I tell you the man is a deserter, a thief, and a swindler! He was my corporal, and ran away with a thou

"Dog, you lie!' I roared out, and made another cut at him with my cane; but the gentlemen rushed between us.

O bluthanowns !' says honest Macshane, “the lying scounthrel this fellow is ! Gentlemen, I swear be me honour that Captain Wood was wounded at Barcelona ; and that I saw him there; and that he and I ran away together at the battle of Almanza, and bad luck to us.'

"You see, my dear, that these Irish have the strongest imaginations in the world ; and that I had actually persuaded poor Mac that he and I were friends in Spain. Everybody knew Mac, who was a character in his way, and believed him.

“«Strike a gentleman !' says I. I'll have your blood, I will.'

“This instant,' says the Count, who was boiling with fury; and where


like.? * « Montague House," says I. "Good,' says he. And off we went. In good time, too, for the constables came in at the thought of such a disturbance, and wanted to take us in charge.

“But the gentlemen present, being military men, would not hear of this. Out came Mac's rapier, and that of half-a-dozen others; and the constables were then told to do their duty if they liked, or to take a crown-piece and leave us to ourselves. Off they went; and presently, in a couple of coaches, the Count and his friends, I and mine, drove off to the fields behind Montague House. Oh, that vile coffee-house! why did I enter it?

“We came to the ground. Honest Macshane was my second, and much disappointed because the second on the other side would not make a fight of it, and exchange a few passes with him ; but he was an old major, a cool old hand, as brave as steel, and no fool. Well, the swords are measured, Galgenstein strips off his doublet, and I my handsome cutvelvet in like fashion. Galgenstein Alings off his hat, and I

handed mine over-the lace on it cost me twenty pounds. I longed to be at him, for-curse him !--I hate him, and know that he has no chance with me at sword's-play.

“You'll not fight in that periwig, sure?' says Macshane. 'Of course not,' says I, and took it off.

May all barbers be roasted in flames; may all periwigs, bobwigs, scratchwigs, and Ramillies cocks frizzle in purgatory from this day forth to the end of time! Mine was the ruin of me: what might I not have been now but for that wig ? I gave

it over to Ensign Macshane, and with it went what I had quite forgotten, the large patch which I wore over one eye, which popped out fierce, staring, and lively as was ever any eye in the world.

"Come on!' says I, and made a lunge at my Count; but he sprang back (the dog was 'as active as a hare, and knew, from old times, that I was his master with the small-sword), and his second, wondering, struck up my blade.

“I will not fight that man, says he, looking mighty pale. 'I swear upon my honour that his name is Peter Brock : he was for two years my corporal, and deserted, running away with a thousand pounds of my moneys. Look at the fellow ! what is the matter with his eye? why did he wear a patch over it? But stop!' says he. 'I have more proof. Hand me my pocket-book.' And from it, sure enough, he produced the infernal proclamation announcing my desertion! 'See if the fellow has a scar across his left ear' (and I can't say, my dear, but what I have : it was done by a cursed Dutchman at the Boyne). Tell me if he has not got C.R. in blue upon his right arm? (and there it is sure enough). “Yonder swaggering Irishman may be his accomplice for what I know; but I will have no dealings with Mr. Brock, save with a constable for a second.''

“This is an odd story, Captain Wood,' said the old Major, who acted for the Count.

"A scounthrelly falsehood regarding me and my friend !' shouted out Mr. Macshane; "and the Count shall answer for it.'

"Stop, stop,' says the Major. Captain Wood is too gallant a gentleman, I am sure, not to satisfy the Count; and will show us that he has no such mark on his arm as only private soldiers put there.?

[ocr errors]

“Captain Wood,' says I, will do no such thing, Major. I'll fight that scoundrel Galgenstein, or you, or any of you, like a man of honour; but I won't submit to be searched like a thief!'

"No, in coorse,' says Macshane.
"'I must take my man off the ground,' says the Major.

Well, take him, sir,' says I, in a rage, and just let me have the pleasure of telling him that he's a coward and a liar ; and that my lodgings are in Piccadilly, where, if ever he finds courage to meet me, he may hear of me!'

"Faugh! I shpit on ye all,' cries my gallant ally Macshane. And sure enough he kept his word, or all but-suiting the action to it at any rate.

“And so we gathered up our clothes, and went back in our separate coaches, and no blood spilt.

"And is it thrue now,' said Mr. Macshane, when we were alone— is it thrue now, all these divvles have been saying?'

Ensign,' says I, “you're a man of the world ?' ""'Deed and I am, and Insign these twenty-two years.'

Perhaps you'd like a few pieces ?' says I.

Faith and I should ; for, to tell you the secred thrut, I've not tasted mate these four days.'

“Well then, Ensign, it is true,' says I; "and as for meat, you shall have some at the first cook-shop.' I bade the coach stop until he bought a plateful, which he ate in the carriage, for my time was precious. I just told him the whole story : at which he laughed, and swore that it was the best piece of generalship he ever heard on. When his belly was full, I took out a couple of guineas and gave them to him. Mr. Macshane began to cry at this, and kissed me, and swore he never would desert me: as, indeed, my dear, I don't think he will ; for we have been the best of friends ever since, and he's the only man I ever could trust, I think.

“I don't know what put it into my head, but I had a scent of some mischief in the wind; so stopped the coach a little before I got home, and, turning into a tavern, begged Macshane

before me to my lodging, and see if the coast was clear : which he did; and came back to me as pale as death, saying that the house was full of constables. The cursed quarrel at the Tilt-yard had, I suppose, set the beaks upon me; and a

to go

to go

pretty sweep they made of it. Ah, my dear! five hundred pounds in money, five suits of laced clothes, three periwigs, besides laced shirts, swords, canes, and snuff-boxes; and all

back to that scoundrel Count. "It was all over with me, I saw-no more being a gentleman for me; and if I remained to be caught, only a choice between Tyburn and a file of grenadiers. My love, under such circumstances, a gentleman can't be particular, and must be prompt: the livery-stable was hard by where I used to hire my coach to go to Court,-ha! ha!—and was known as a man of substance. Thither I went immediately. 'Mr. Warmmash,' says I, 'my gallant friend here and I have a mind for a ride and a supper at Twickenham, so you must lend us a pair of your best horses.' Which he did in a twinkling, and off we rode.

“We did not go into the Park, but turned off and cantered smartly up towards Kilburn; and, when we got into the country, galloped as if the devil were at our heels. my love, it was all done in a minute : and the Ensign and I found ourselves regular knights of the road, before we knew where we were almost. Only think of our finding you and your new husband at the “Three Rooks'! There's not a greater fence than the landlady in all the country. It was she that put us on seizing your husband, and introduced us to the other two gentlemen, whose names I don't know any more than the dead.”

Bless you,

[blocks in formation]

“And what became of the horses ? " said Mrs. Catherine to Mr. Brock, when his tale was finished.

“Rips, madam," said he; "mere rips. We sold them at Stourbridge fair, and got but thirteen guineas for the two."

"And-and-the Count, Max; where is he, Brock ?” sighed she.

"Whew!" whistled Mr. Brock. "What, hankering after him still? My dear, he is off to Flanders with his regiment; and I make no doubt, there have been twenty Countesses of Galgenstein since your time."

"I don't believe any such thing, sir,” said Mrs. Catherine, starting up very angrily.

“ If you did, I suppose you'd laudanum him; wouldn't you?”

“Leave the room, fellow,” said the lady. But she recollected herself speedily again ; and, clasping her hands, and looking very wretched at Brock, at the ceiling, at the floor, at her husband (from whom she violently turned away her head), she began to cry piteously: to which tears the Corporal set up a gentle accompaniment of whistling, as they trickled one after another down her nose.

I don't think they' were tears of repentance; but of regret for the time when she had her first love, and her fine clothes, and her white hat and blue feather." Of the two, the Corporal's whistle was much more innocent than the girl's sobbing: he was a rogue ; but a good-natured old fellow, when his humour was not crossed. Surely our novel-writers make a great mistake in divesting their rascals of all gentle human qualities; they have such- and the only sad point to think of is, in all private concerns of life, abstract feelings, and dealings with friends, and so on, how dreadfully like a rascal is to an honest man. The man who murdered the Italian boy, set him first to play with his children, whom he loved, and who doubtless deplored his loss.

[merged small][ocr errors]

THE ADVENTURES OF THE AMBASSADOR, MR. MACSHANE. If we had not been obliged to follow history in all respects, it is probable that we should have left out the last adventure of Mrs. Catherine and her husband, at the inn at Worcester, altogether; for in truth, very little came of it, and it is not very romantic or striking. But we are bound to stick closely, above all, by THE TRUTH—the truth, though it be not particularly pleasant to read of or to tell.. As anybody may read in the “Newgate Calendar,” Mr. and Mrs. Hayes were taken at an inn at Worcester; were confined there; were swindled by persons who pretended to impress the bridegroom for military service. What is one to do after that? Had we been writing novels instead of authentic histories, we might have carried them anywhere else we chose : and we had a great mind to make Hayes philosophizing with Bolingbroke,

« 前へ次へ »