Графични страници
PDF файл


Thank you,"

That next was the unhappy Duke of Monmouth. He from Italy. The Italian court claims temporal as well as had all the graces that become a man, except courage; spiritual sway; and those among us who bend to the double lacking which, he was no more true man than a woman is yoke are Englishmen, if you please, but in the first place true woman who lacks virtue. This claimant put into our they are Italians. hands testimony from St. Foix and others, that he was the Åvedik was first of all a Christian. But that was nothmost likely person for the honor in dispute.“ But," we ing to Rome or to France, whose king at the beginning of remarked, "you were certainly beheaded in England in the last century was the slave of Rome, and whose Ultra1685, and were never in a French prison in your life.” montane ambassador, Ferriol, at Constantinople, was eager The duke was about to bow, in acknowledgment of the to fulfil any cruel order that reached him from Paris or groundlessness of his case; but he suddenly put both hands from the Eternal City. Avedik simply asserted the rights up to his head, and walked daintily away, as if he were of his own church, and modestly requested of Ferriol that extremely anxious to keep it on his shoulders. The figure the Jesuits and Roman Catholic missionaries in the East who passed him, to take his place, had his hand on his hip. should confine themselves within the limits of the very We recognized at once, from that action, that François de abundant liberty which had been conceded to them. This Vendôme, Duc de Beaufort, was before us. The testimony was too avdacious : Rome, France, Jesuits, and missionto his right to be considered the man with the iron mask aries, conspired to annihilate Avedik. They conspired which document the duke placed in our hands

with such success, that the Grand Patriarch was seized in signed by Lagrange Chancel. The argument would not the Sultan's dominions, and flung into a French vessel, and hold water. This son of Cæsar de Vendôme, which conveyed to the prisons of Marseilles. There he was torCæsar had for his parents Henri Quatre and Gabrielle tured, and was then secretly transferred to Mont St. Mid'Estrées, had courage alone, by which he was distin- chel, in Normandy, where for about half a dozen years the guished. He was not ill-looking, but he was coarse, as- shattered man could hardly see an inch of sky from the cell pired to lead public affairs without the slightest capacity in which he was immured. for it, and was such a popularity hunter as to live in the The complete disappearance of the Grand Patriarch lowest parts of Paris, where he did not disdain to sit on a caused the wildest excitement in the East. The Turks post and talk politics to the people. He was once in were indignant at the outrage on the law of nations, for the prison at Vincennes, from which he made his escape. forcible removal of the patriarch was soon discovered; the When Condé succeeded him in captivity, that more illustri- Armenians trembled with rage and thirsted for revenge. ous prisoner had a book presented to him, which was to On the other hand, the grand monarch showed himself to solace him in his dreary confinement. Condé read the be the most unblushing of liars; and Ferriol, his representitle, “ The Imitation of Jesus Christ.”

tative at the Sublime Porte, proved himself to be worthy said the audacious prince; " but I prefer imitating the Duc of his office. They lied, and they called Heaven to witness de Beaufort." The duke's idea of statesmanship was not un- that they were speaking truth. They circulated reports of like that of the Dey of Algiers, who boxed the ears of the Avedik being seen in Asia, in Malta, in Spain. Those French consul, and was, in consequence, the last dey that wicked English had, no doubt, kidnapped him. Those Algiers has hitherto seen. “I think,” said François de equally wicked Dutch had most probably carried him ofi Vendôme to the President Bellièvre, " we might change for some villanous purpose or another. The patriarch's the face of affairs by slapping the cheek of the Duc friends went over half the world in search of him ; but they d'Elbeuf.” “ And I think,” rejoined the president, “ that were watched by Jesuit police whithersoever they went, that would change nothing except the face of the duke and nothing was heard of the poor victim of the French himself.” The only ground for seeing in de Beaufort the and Italian courts. man in the iron mask is, that in the famous but unsuccess- In his prison on Mont St. Michel, Avedik had not even ful attempt which he led in 1669 to raise the siege of the exercise of speech. No one could understand him. He Candia, where the Venetians were beleaguered by the could only attempt to communicate by signs, and that only Turks, he was slain, but his body was never recovered. once a day, when the chief keeper brought him his fool. For a long time his return was looked upon as a matter of He was tortured in body and in soul year after year. At course by the common people. When the story of the length a monk who could speak bis language was intromasked prisoner began to spread, popular reasoning jumped duced to his cell, to instruct him in true religion. The poor to the conclusion that the above grandson of Henri IV. patriarch, for the sake of breathing fresh air, yielded. He had been spirited away from Candia and shut up for life, was ordained a Roman Catholic priest, and was allowed to as the penalty of ill success.

reside in Paris, near the church of St. Surplice, to which Before we had gone through these details, the Duc de he was nominally attached, and to which he might be seen Beaufort raised his mask, swore he was killed and buried daily wending his painful way to attend at the celebration among the slain at Candia, and, replacing his hand on his of mass. hip, strode out of the room. He paused at the threshold as Then that very august and never-surpassed liar, his the next claimant was about to enter. The latter was a man, Most Christian Majesty, published the expression of his if one might judge by his gait, advanced in years. Ven- delight. A stranger, who had somehow found his unlucky dôme appeared to recognize him ; for he laughed aloud, way into Mont St. Michel, had, after trying tor half a dozen clapped him on the back, and said something that might years, succeeded in making himself understood; and who finu an equivalent in the English word humbug.

should he prove to be but the unaccountably lost patriarch! This word, however, is not applicable to the old man. He But, better still, his captivity had worked grace in hini. is Avedik, Grand Patriarch of the Armenians at Constan- He had embraced the orthodox faith, and the most Chris tinople. As we gaze at him with pity he makes no sign, he tian of kings, with a promptitude to be found in no heart sets up no claim. He submits in writing what has been but that of such a Christian and such a king, had immedisaid of him by others, and he begs to take his leave with- ately restored him to liberty, &c., &c., &c. The poor ex out further exchange of words. As he disappears through patriarch, whose adoption of Romanism prevented his the door, we turn to his story, one of the saddest on record. return to his old people, if he could have found funds for Avedik was of humble birth; his piety and learning raised the journey, was in a very few months carried to his grave. him to the patriarchal throne. He was on terms of the Avedik's claims to be the mysterious hero of the iron truest charity with the Armenians of the Romish Church; mask, unfounded as they are, are more reasonable than but the court of Rome assumed then, as it does now, to those put forward for Fouquet and Lauzun. We dismiss have sovereign rights over every nation in the world. Eng- the pair without further interview. The first fell from the lishmen must not be too prompt to pride themselves on very highest position, - one which was almost equal to that being exempt from this tyranny. The ecclesiastical Ital- of the king, Louis XIV., in grandeur, luxury, licentiousians exercise considerable rule among us, and aspire to ness and power. His long captivity was borne with dignimore. Long ago it was said that the pope's “ band ” in fied philosophy and will patient piety. His mother gloried Parliament voted according to orders conveyed by telegram in his fall, as she was sure his great consequent gain would be heaven. Lauzun was a profligate rascal. He was prof- governor of Pignerol, and the minister Louvois, Matthioli ligate when poor, profligate when rich. Profligacy was his is almost invariably called by his real name. He had a nature: no deep affliction could work the good in him servant with him, but his captivity was rendered almost which it did in Fouquet. Treason had brought the one, a intolerable by great and petty tyranny. His least suffering disregard of court rules, a general contemptuous impudence was in wearing the velvet mask. How his reason was preemployed against royal wishes, had brought the other, into served is in itself marvellous. He was tortured mentally, the same prison at Pignerol. There is no secret about if not bodily, in his living tomb. He must have desired their career: every day can be accounted for; and the only death, but he was not allowed to die. Attempt to commucause for wonder is, that any one ever cast either of them to nicate with the world without only brought fresh horrors play the part of the man in the iron mask.

as its penalty. If we may believe M. Loiseleur, who has “The man in the iron mask !” exclaims the last of our ransacked the French archives to find a solution to this claimant guests, as he advances to where we await him. question, Matthioli remained at Pignerol till 1693. After Ecce! Adsum! I am he, and my name and title — Count that date, his name, or the name assigned to him, never Matthioli!” We looked at this claimant, and thought occurs in any State document whatever. The last mention him marvellously like the thing he claimed to be. He made of him is in a letter from Louvois to Lapirade, who began his story; and, as we listened, we could not help now had succeeded to the post once held by St. Mars, as govand then murmuring, “ The real Simon Pure at last !” ernor at Pignerol, in 1681, in which year St. Mars was Nevertheless, we would not commit ourselves. This is the made governor of Exilles. The mention here made is as substance of Matthioli's story. It is all true. Does it not of a man who is dead : “ You have only to burn what reset at rest the question of identity ?

mains of the little pieces of pockets on which Matthioli and Count Matthioli was born in Italy in the year 1640. He his man have written, and which you found in the lining was a member of a family which had produced brave of their vests, in which they had concealed them.” This soldiers, ripe scholars, astute diplomatists.

Their reputa

refers to one of the many attempts made to convey information and his own wits formed all the count's patrimony. tion beyond the gloomy prison, as to the presence there of All that he needed in addition was opportunity. For this a captive whom King Louis had condemned to be buried he waited; and, when he found it, seized it. . Audacious, alive, out of the world's sight and knowledge, forever. clever, ostentatious, he hung about courts till a man was From the date of the official letter referring to the above wanted who possessed qualities for transacting secret busi- attempt, the name of Matthioli, all allusion to his case, ness between princes, and who would not be suspected of entirely cease. The inference is that in that year he being an agent at all.

died. Just cast your eye on the map. Look at Pignerol. You “ And M. Marius Topin,” remarked our guest,“ to say see that whoever holds it holds the way into Savoy. Louis nothing of M. Roux, M. Delort, and Milor George Agar XIV. held the place, and therefore held that way also.

Now look at that other strong position, Casale. It is the “ Lord Dover, you mean.

He was Mr. Ellis when he key of the road into Milan. Louis XIV., coveting Milan, wrote about you." wished to purchase the key rather than go to war for it. Very good; and he did it with an air as if he had been Casale belonged to the Duke of Mantua; Matthioli was the first to discover that I was the real homme au masque commissioned to negotiate with the duke for the sale of de fer. But M. Topin has been more busy about me than that stronghold; and the Duke of Mantua, being an imbe- anybody else. Be good enough to recall what he has to cile, was overcome by the plausibility of the French king's say as to my having died in 1693.” agent, and undertook to sell the place without much hag- “M. Topin cannot deny that all notice of you ceases at gling for the price of it. The negotiation was kept secret, that date ; but here is his theory. Let it be stated in genbut Matthioli was amply rewarded. He dined and danced eral terms. at Versailles, enjoyed every sort of delight which Paris “Matthioli was shut up in Pignerol in 1679. He was liberally gives to all who liberally pay for it, and then, not removed thence, in 1694, to the isles of Ste. Marguerite being wanted further, and, perhaps, because his loquacity and St. Honorat, whither M. de St. Mars had been transwas not to the taste of his employers, he was invited to ferred as governor from the Exilles. In 1697 St. Mars was withdraw. At all events, voluntarily or not, Matthioli promoted to the governorship of Bastille, and he took with returned to Savoy, and made journeys into Italy. Whether him a prisoner only known as the old prisoner from Pignerol.' he was dissatisfied with the acknowledgment of his services This captive, who was masked, at least in the presence of made by the king of France, or whether his garrulity was any person but St. Mars, died in 1703. He was buried in uncontrollable, he soon communicated to the king's enemies the neighboring churchyard of St. Paul, where the dust of the fact that Louis XIV. was about to be master of the Rabelais lay, then undisturbed. The certificate of his burial road into Italy, as well as into Savoy, and could make use gave his name as Marchialy, and his age seemingly about of it whenever it suited his convenience, his caprice, his forty-five. Now, in 1703, Matthioli was sixty-three years of vengeance, or his ill-temper at having nothing better to

age.” do. When this betrayal of his confidence became known “ But you know how careless the French are in spelling to the grand monarch, he was less desirous to seize his names, especially the names of foreigners. Marchialy is neighbor's territory than he was to seize Matthioli. The nearer to Matthioli than many foreign names are to the count was unsuspicious, and, moreover, he was in a foreign proper orthography of them; and as for calling me State ; but he was secretly arrested, nevertheless, ingly about forty-five, when I was really sixty-three, did violation of foreign territory was nothing to the French you ever know a Frenchman or French woman, of over king, and in May, 1679, the great Catinat, who was often threescore who would not, with the utmost alacrity, describe employed to catch very small birds, and liked the sport, themselves as four or five and forty? If they have no difkidnapped Matthioli on the territory of Savoy, and carried ficulty in thus disregarding their own ages, do you suppose him to Pignerol, where he was made a close prisoner. they would have any delicacy in misrepresenting that of “ No one knows the name of this rascal,” said Catinat, other people, particularly of foreigners ?” not even the officers who helped to arrest him.” Pro- We could not help smiling at this ingenious way of putvisionally, the count was called by the name of Lestang. ting the argument, which has a one-sided sort of truth in At the foot of the royal warrant for his perpetual imprison

it. Our visitor manifested some uneasiness. He confessedment were the words, in Louis's own hand, “Let no human ly had hoped that his claim would be established; and at being ever know what has become of this man.” Father, one moment M. Topin, with his cart-load of documents, mother, wife, friends, — they only knew he had disappeared. seemed to be very near it; but then came M. Loiseleur, They could not tell whether he were dead or alive" They with other documents to show that Matthioli was at Pignerol themselves were dead, when he was still enduring death in from 1679 to 1693, and that much about him between those life. Tristius leto leli genus.

dates, and all about him after the later one, is mere conjecIn the correspondence between St. Mars, the cautious ture.

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


“Do you mean to say that there never was a man in the have been accumulated all the ideas that sprang from simiiron mask at all?"

lar incidents, just as the legend of William Tell grew out “Far from it; but”.

of a succession of corresponding stories in various countries, “ But? Can you cite one who has better claim than the earliest of which is as remote as the third century. M. myself?”

Baring Gould has followed other writers in showing how "Perhaps. Listen. In the year 1687,- in which year the legend of William Tell took root in Switzerland, after both M. Topin and M. Loiseleur agree that you were still it had flourished in various distant lands; but he failed to immured in the dungeon at Pignerol, - St. Mars quitted record that the incident is among the old romantic histories his post at Exilles, to assume the governorship of the is- of Scotland, and that in the days of King Malcolm Canlands of St. Marguerite and Honorat (with the castle, in- more, a chief in Bræmar, named M'Leod, acquired the seccluding the prison), in the Gulf of Provence. There went ond name of Hardy, from performing the feat which has with the governor a state prisoner. The official commands now become the exclusive property of Switzerland, in the to St. Mars were, that the prisoner should be guarded, that person of the imaginary hero, William Tell. he should never be seen or heard by persons on the road, As an illustration of the care with which certain prisonand that even those who had him in custody should never ers in the Bastille were kept from the sight of a single indisec his face. Accordingly, he was conveyed from Exilles vidual not belonging to the prison, there is no better illus(on the frontier of Piedmont) to the islands in the Gulf of tration than the following. Many years ago a surgeon, Provence, in a litter hung on wheels and consisting only of bearing the now honored name of Nélaton, used to frequent oil-cloth. A man might as well try to look through a mile- the Café Procope. One of his many stories was to the stone as through such a substance. The oil-cloth perhaps effect that when he was chief assistant to a surgeon, close rather covered the litter than formed it. However this may to the Porte St. Antoine, he was once sent to the Bastille to be, neither door nor window was visible to passers-by. In bleed a prisoner who had been taken ill. The governor the roof alone there was a small square opening, by which took him into a room where the patient was seated; but the the occupant might be the better enabled just to breathe a head of the latter was entirely covered by a napkin, wbich little. Every man on the route who saw it go by, closely was fastened by a knot at the back of the neck. For an guarded, knew that it contained the justice du roi, which apoplectic patient the napkin treatment was the very was much worse than English 'justices' justice.' They worst that could have been adopted. But secrecy was the shuddered, crossed themselves, wondered, made absurd chief object. A prisoner, however, even though condemned guesses, passed on their way, and soon forgot all about it. to secret absolu, needed air; and it was then that the velvet At a brief halt at an inn for moderate refreshment, the mask was worn, that he might not be recognized while takprisoner was conveyed to a room surrounded by guards. ing exercise. The napkin was certainly a ruder way of He sat at table with St. Mars only, and he retained his hiding a man's features; but this way was adopted on a sudmask while taking his short repast, lest any one suddenly den emergency, and perhaps after the disuse of the velvet entering should get a sight of his face. Eating with the vizor, which has given rise to such a large number of men mask on was easy, the steel springs enabling the wearer to in iron masks. perform that function. If, however, the wearer had opened his mouth to speak instead of eat, he would, if he were a state prisoner of the first importance, have done so at the

POOR JAMES WYMPER. peril of his life. This prisoner may have been the old prisoner from Pignerol,' or the old prisoner from Provence,' WHEN he was a child they called him “poor little James." who went with St. Mars to the Bastile. Some men who He wasn't little, and he wasn't poor, so far as worldly goods saw the litter pass, conjectured that the tenant of it might went; nor did those who called him “poor” use the word be the Duc de Beaufort, which was an absurd conjecture. in kindness towards the motherless, neglected boy. He Others guessed at a son of Cromwell, which was more ab- had red eyelids. No power could brush his hair smooth, surd still. Long after human curiosity concerned itself or keep the knees of his trousers clean. He had a wonderabout this mysterious prisoner, kept in the strictest confine- ful faculty for cutting his fingers, and wrapping them up ment by St. Mars, human conjecture was quite as busy. in unpleasant-looking rags. He always had a cold in his The first guesses ever made as to his identity were the two head. At the age of twelve he could barely read two syllanamed above. They were the first seeds, out of which the bles. His only use in the world appeared to be to serve legend has so grown that many volumes cannot contain it, as an awful example to naughty boys, who would play for it still spreads, and seems to defy being checked. with knives, and disliked soap and water; and for this purMoreover, the prisoner whom the guessing public took for pose he was used pretty freely. They sent him to a big Beaufort, or for a son of Cromwell, is spoken of in a ministe- school, where he did nothing but get bullied ; and when rial despatch, A.D. 1691, as the prisoner who had been his father died, and left him very poor in a new sense of under the guard of St. Mars for twenty years ; that is, since the word, the distant relative who took him in charge, out 1671. Now, count,” we said with emphasis to our silent of charity, could find no better employment for him than to friend," you were not arrested till 1679; and when that sweep out the office and run of errands. By this time he despatch was written, you were at Pignerol, and the mys- had ceased to be “poor little James,” and became poor terious prisoner was still with St. Mars in the Gulf of James Wymper. Provence."

He could do nothing good of himself, and by some curi“We were, at all events, in the Bastille together when ous perversity set himself to undo the good others had St. Mars became governor, towards the close of the cen- done. He had a craze for taking things to pieces, by no

means equalled by his capacity to put them together again. “ That may be, but there is no proof of the alleged fact. He complained that they did not give him time, and deYou disappear from official notice altogether in 1693. A clared that, this granted, the condition of the victims of his mysterious prisoner, named Marchialy, died in the Bastile handiwork would be improved. Be this as it might be, in 1703. That is all we know, and all that we are ever every piece of mechanism that fell in his way, from his likely to know; and there rests the famous legend. M. To- cousin's sewing-machine to the great hydraulic press at his pin still identifies you with Marchiali ; but M. Loiseleur protector's works, was made to suffer. has demonstrated that the argument has no ground to stand He had a fatal aptitude for being always in the way.

He seemed to be all elbows. He could not move ten steps, to The claimant left the room with some demonstration of save his life, without treading upon some one's toes, or updisgust.

setting something. When you spoke to him, he was always But this is really the condition to which the legend has in a fog. “The boy is half an idiot,” groaned the worthy come. It was born of the fact that a prisoner was, for some cotton-spinner, whose bread he ate. reason or other, masked. The last known to be so was the At the age of eighteen he bad made only two friends in one who died in 1703. M. Loiseleur thinks that on the last the world, a blacksmith and a cat, — an evil-minded black

[ocr errors]




her own,

[ocr errors]


tom, who swore at every one else, and bit savagely when him in her way when he was an errand-boy, and somehow any one attempted to put him through the tricks which she could not be hard upon him now. There was somepoor James Wymper had taught him. Amateur hammer- thing half ludicrous, half melancholy, in his helplessness, ing at the forge did not improve untidy Jim's appearance; that disarmed them all. Bessy declared him to be the and his cat not being in a show — did not increase his largest baby she had ever seen; persisted in speaking of him income. He ran errands for his cousin like a boy, when he as it, and scandalized the matrons by inquiring gravely, had attained man's estate, until one day when he ran one after tea, which of them was going to put it to bed. for himself — and did not come back again.

“ It's rather unkind for you to jest so, Bessy,” said poor Fears were entertained that he had come to a bad end. Mrs. Bryce,“ when you see how distressed I am.

What on The police were put in motion, and rewards offered; but earth am I to do ?his friend the blacksmith, upon being pressed, said that he “I suppose it's too old for the Foundling ?” mused had gone to “Mereker," cat and all.

Bessy. I do not think that his relations were broken-hearted. “ Bessy, be quiet !” said her mother. I fancy that good Mr. Bryce the cotton-spinner was rather “ You dear old darling," said the pert one afterwards, glad to be rid of his wife's cousin, the errand-boy. His “don't you see that we cannot treat this thing seriously wife, who was not unkind to the forlorn lad in a way of without making it doubly painful for dear Mrs. Bryce? It

- a very cold way it was, — sighed several times will all come right in the end." apropos of nothing, and murmured, “Poor James Wym- “Yes, my dear; but when is the end to begin ?

It was to begin by special arrangement the next day,

after breakfast; when the following conversation took Five years passed, and Mrs. Bryce was left a widow, by place : no means so well provided for as she expected to be. Now, James,” said his cousin, “ we shall not be interMoreover, there was a lawsuit about the will, and a squab- rupted for some time, and you must really give me your ble in the winding-up of the partnership. She was glad to serious attention." “ get shut,” as her defunct lord would have said, of Man- “ Yes, Cousin Margaret.” chester; and seeing an advertisement to the effect that a “ You see, James, you are a man now, and must act and widow lady, having a house too large for her, pleasantly be treated — do you understand ? treated, like other situated on the Thanies near Maidenhead, was prepared to people.” share it with just such a person as herself, transported her- “ That's just what I want to be.” self thither, after a due exchange of references and such- “Well, then, I must tell you frankly, that I am much anlike formalities, and found no reason to regret what she noyed by your coming here as you did.” had done.

" It wasn't my fault that it rained, Cousin Margaret. I The other widow does not figure much in this story; and wish it hadn't,” he replied piteously. therefore it will be enough to say that she was a quiet, lady- “ I'm not speaking of your coming in wet, and spoiling like woman, rather afraid of her partner in housekeeping, the chairs, sir: I am much annoyed at your coming here at with a daughter, aged eighteen, who ruled the pair, and all." made the place very pleasant.

The good widow thought that she would get on best by Bessy Jervoice was not pretty. Besides her eyes she being angry; but it was no use. had not a good feature in her face; but it was a good face, “ Where else was I to go to ?” he asked.

earnest and loving, with a sub-current of fun running “How you found me out, I cannot think,” sighed the vicunder it (as the stream runs under the water-lilies), and tim. The observation was an unlucky one. rippling out constantly. Her figure and her hair were “ Ah, ha!” he chuckled : “you thought I was a stupid, simply perfection. Her little thoroughbred hands were did you ?” ever busy, and the patter of her dainty feet was pleasant And then followed a long, weary story of how, passing music in many a poor cottage.

through Manchester, he had seen this person, and spoken Things went on very smoothly at the river-side villa un- to that, and obtained the clew by which he had hunted his til one rainy day, when, without a “with your leave," or listener down. What made it more provoking was the “ by your leave," or letter, or telegram, or message, or any credit he took for this cleverness. He warmed to his subother sort of preparation, in marches poor James Wymper, ject as he went on, and finished with the air of a man who dripping with rain, and splashed with mud up to his hat! had rendered an important service, and expected to have

If you please, Cousin Margaret, I've come back,” he it promptly recognized. said, subsiding in his old low-spirited way into an amber- This threw his victim's cut-and-dried speeches off the satin drawing-room chair, which in two minutes he soaked line. through and through.

“ Oh dear, oh dear!" she cried. “ It doesn't matter how That was all. No excuse, no petition ; a simple an- you found me out : you have done so. The question is, nouncement that he had come back, conveyed in a manner What am I to do with you, now you're here? What am I to which made it sufficiently clear that he intended to remain. do with you ?” “If you please, Cousin Margaret, l've come back.” Not “ I don't know, Cousin Margaret." another word did he say, and relapsed into thinking of You don't know! A pretty answer for a man of five something else, as usual.

or six and twenty. Now look here, James Wymper. I Interrogated respecting his luggage, he replied that it should like to do something for you,


your poor mother's was on the hall-table; and there, sure enough, was found a sake, but I cannot; and — and you have no right to thrust sodden bundle, containing a soiled flannel shirt, a pair of yourself upon me like this, and — and — are you attending slippers, two pipes, a cloth cap without a peak, and a sail- to me, James Wymper ? ” or's knife. In answer to further inquiries, he stated that “ Yes, Cousin Margaret,” he replied with a jerk, coming his means were eightpence, that he had been living in suddenly out of his fog. America, that he had walked from Liverpool, and that he “ What was I saying? wanted something to eat. When dried and fed, and asked “That you would like to do something for me, for my what he was going to do, he said, “ Whatever you please; poor

mother's sake." and, appearing to consider that all difficulty was thus dis- “That was only half what I said, sir. How dare you posed of, he went to sleep.

pick out my words like that! I went on to say that I Poor Mrs. Bryce was at her wits' end. Ordinary hints couldn't do any thing for you; and I can't. I've not the were thrown away upon such a man. When she said she

I'm very poor; I can hardly manage for myself. supposed he was going on to London, he replied, Oh dear, My husband left me very badly off.” no! he had come from London. When she told him she was

* Did he leave me any thing ?” only a lodger in the house, he observed that it was a very “You! after your conduct — running away, and frightnice house to lodge in. I have said that she was kind to ening us as you did ? Is it likely ?


on it.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

“I know it was wrong to run away, Cousin Margaret; but, “poor James Wymper;" and, like the proverbial prophet, you see, I've come back again,” he said with the utmost had little credit in his own country. gravity.

One morning was marked with an unusual event, — poor This was conclusive. For the last half-hour she had been James Wymper received a letter with American stamps trying to din into his head that he had no business to come back; and here he was, taking credit for having returned, Amongst the visitors at Willow Bank — the Thames-side as an act which was to cancel all the offences of his youth! villa of Mrs. Jervoice — was a certain Mr. Augustus Bailey, Perceiving that his reply had troubled her, he proceeded to a young gentleman of pleasing and varied accomplishments. promise upon his word of honor that he would never, He could sing you music-hall songs nearly as well as the never run away again. What was to be done with such a “great comiques," his masters. He could imitate most celeman? Talking was clearly useless. One of two courses brated actors, and was a mighty punster. For the better only remained, to endure him, or call a policeman and exhibition of such talents a butt was indispensable, and he turn him out, neck and crop.

found one ready made in poor James Wymper. It is need Mrs. Bryce did not call a policeman.

less to observe that poor James Wymper did not love Mr. The conduct of poor James Wymper during the next Augustus Bailey; but it was curious that a usually amiable two or three days was what, in another man, would have girl like Bessy Jervoice should encourage the latter in salroused the indignation of all concerned by its almost sub- lies which were often as ungenerous as they were insolent. lime audacity. The proceedings of Mr. Charles Mathews “ I want you to put my sewing-machine in good order, in “ Cool as a Cucumber" are timid and retiring in com- Mr. Wymper,” said Bessy one day; "and mind it works parison with those of Mrs. Jervoice's unwelcome guest. If smoothly, for I've got to make a dress in a hurry.” the house and all it contained had belonged to him, and its

“ What for?" asked he. inhabitants were dependents upon his bounty, he could not “A picnic." have behaved more freely; and all this with an air of inno- “ What's a picnic ?” cence which utterly disarmed opposition.

“ Don't tease.” "Oh, never mind me!” was his refrain : “I don't want to Very well.” And he set to work on the sewing-matrouble anybody. I'll do it all for myself. I'm all right. You chine. let me alone and see.”

Bessy took a seat beside him, and, mollified by bis obediHis first great exploit was to precipitate himself upon a ence, condescended to explain the rites and mysteries of : washing and wringing machine which he found, out of or- picnic. This one was got up by Mr. Augustus Bailey; and der and disused, in a cellar; and whether he had improved as she narrated -- it was * Mr. Bailey will provide" this, in dexterity, or sufficient time was granted him for the real- and · Mr. Bailey thinks” that; until the workman threw ization of his ideas, need not be discussed here. The result down his screw-driver in a passion, and exclaimed, “ Conwas satisfactory. Not only did he put the thing into work- found Mr. Bailey!” Bessy was astonished. She got as ing order, but he worked it himself, to the intense delight far as, “Why, you're not jeal when she became very of Bossy and consternation of the cook.

red, and checked herself. Many other useful things he did. He made a wind-mill “ I'm not what ?” asked poor James Wymper. which pumped water up to the top of the house, and saved “ You're not so stupid as you try to make out, sir." the sixpence a day which had been paid to a boy for this “ That's not what you were going to say.” labor. "He mended an old boat there was, and took Bessy “How do you know?” out for rows on the river. He became that young lady's “ You said, “You are not jel' — something." right-hand man in her garden. Before a month was over, “ Not jelly then, or salt, or sugar, that you should melt in not only had Cousin Margaret become quite resigned to have a shower,” she replied. The last-quoted opinion of the him on her hands, but Mrs. Jervoice refused to accept any great Augustus had been that it was sure to rain, and so remuneration for his board and lodging, declaring that he this observation of Miss Bessy was not as inappropriate as it was well worth his keep. It was something, you see, for may at first appear. But why should she have blushed so? these lone women to have a man about the house who could And if she had really intended to tell him he was not jelly, and would put his hand to this and that. He did not cut why did she not go on and say it? Besides, he had not conhis fingers now.

founded Mr. Bailey because that authority had predicted Before this satisfactory condition of affairs had been ar- rain, and Miss Bessy knew so. She flattered herself that rived at, tailor and hosier had been set to work, and really, she had got very cleverly out of a difficulty, and the blush poor James Wymper brightened up wonderfully in appear

changed to a smile; but she had only made bad worse. To ance under their hands. If his head had not been so big, tell a man that he will not suffer under the rain on a and his elbows and knees so uncomfortably conspicuous, he stated occasion naturally implies that he may be subjected would not have been a bad-looking man. He was evidently

to a wetting on such occasion; and a good-hearted one. He would do any thing in his power,

6 Oh, then I'm to go!” said poor James. poor fellow, for any one; was, in fact, rather too active some- This was a poser. He had not been invited, and there times, when he had been longer than usual in one of his was a reason why he could not be. He looked up from fogs, on which occasions he would labor like an amiable bull his work with such a happy smile on his great broad face in a china shop, and cause some consternation. Of course that Bessy's heart smote her. he made friends with the nearest blacksmith.

“ Well, you see, the gentlemen are mostly friends of Mr. In the early days, when he had not ceased to be considered Bailey. We invite them, you know, but you won't be a nuisance, and an intruder, Bessy had stood his friend. One hurt if I tell you the truth, James Wymper ? " always takes an interest in those one befriends, and Bessy took

“ Does truth hurt?a great interest in poor James Wymper- drawing him out, “ Sometimes. The fact is, that it is customary at water encouraging him, and defending him against practical jokes; picnics for the gentlemen to provide the boats and music but as time passed, this young person's feelings towards him and wine; and that costs money, you know.” appeared to undergo a change. Instead of praising what he “Oh! so I cannot go because I have not got money to did, and encouraging him to farther exertion, she found

pay my share, eh ?fault, and snubbed him. She ceased to make fun of him as “ You would not like to place yourself under an obliga“ it.” and had a store of little bitter disparaging remarks- tion to Mr. Bailey and his friends, I suppose ? ” she said about his dependence, his want of self-respect, and so on —

with a sneer. ready to shoot at him. “I think you are too severe on poor “ I wish you would not curl your lip so when you speak, James Wymper,” Mrs. Jervoice would say: "he is really Miss Jervoice. That does hurt,” he said, with a low voice very willing, and one must not expect too much of him, and bended head.

“I beg your pardon!" If another man had done what he did, he would not “Oh, never mind ! But suppose," he continued gayly, have been damned with such faint praise; but he was only as though a bright thought had struck him, “ I were to

[ocr errors]

poor fellow.”

« ПредишнаНапред »