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skilled in such matters, drew the inference, without auscultation, that the confectioner's
lovely daughter was suffering under a temporary disease of the heart. He consoled her as well as he could, and took his leave, full of wonder at the hasty exodus, of which he could not divine the cause. It was not only something to speculate upon but a subject to talk about, and the first person to tell the story to was the English gentleman whom he had made acquainted with Walter's love affair.
It must be observed, par parenthèse, that Walter rose greatly in the commissioner's estimation when he pictured him winning the affections of two at a time. “Le petit gaillard !"-such was his approving phrase -“ça commence bien! Il en aura joliment sur les bras !"
On reaching the hotel, Monsieur Dufourmantelle heard that Mr.Yates was asking for him, and infinite was his delight at being able to supply the information required, with the additional intelligence imparted by Mademoiselle Cécile-for which he received a gratuity that surprised him—that the travellers were lodged in the house of a relation of Madame Vermeil, at No. 10 in the Rue Coq-héron, so that when monsieur delivered the letter to the charming miss herself
, as he had promised, he could at the same time make known to her the writer's present address.
Having learnt all he wanted to know, Mr. Yates dispensed with the commissioner's further attendance, and lost no time in making his way to the cabaret in the Champ de Foire aux Boissons. He found Auguste Mercier in a stable at the back of the premises, engaged in the praiseworthy occupation of improving the appearance of a horse, which, without the embellishments he bestowed, would most likely remain on hand for a considerable length of time. The conversation which took place between the Keeper and his newly-acquired friend was long and interesting, particularly to the horse-dealer, who, from the earnest-money put into his hands by Mr. Yates, saw a very good chance of realising at least ten times the value of his notable Norman stud, by the transaction now proposed. He admitted that Pont de l'Arche was not his constant place of residence-indeed, for reasons which he did not enter into, he frequently shifted his ground—and that he was more familiar with Paris than with his own bed--an assertion which those who knew his habits would be little inclined to doubt. He had, he said, many friends in the capital, and also-- who has not ?—a few enemies-chiefly among the class who in a certain polite society bear the appellation of rousses (police)—"people,” he observed, “whom nobody can esteem.” As to scruples, Monsieur Auguste Mercier had fewer, if possible, than Mr. Yates himself. Of this the last words of their conversation afforded ample proof. is Which
like to have him-alive or dead ?” “ If it was only me,” replied the Keeper, “ I should
dead-dead by all manner of means. But there's another party to be considered so I'm afraid we must say alive."
“ Comme vous voudrez," said the other, with indifference; “ ça m'est égal !"
And thereupon the two shook hands over their foul bargain, and parted, Mr. Yates to report progress in England, the Norman to make progress in Paris.
AN HISTORICAL MEMOIR.
Thomas STUKELY was one of the most extraordinary characters of the memorable Elizabethau age. According to a poetic account, he was the son of a rich clothier in the west of England; but he was, rather, agreeably with an old chronicler, * a cadet of an ancient, wealthy, and worshipful family, seated near Ilfracombe. Probably he was brother of Sir Lewis Stukely, the sheriff of Devonshire, who arrested Raleigh when endeavouring to escape to the Continent. He is said to have been bred to mercantile pursuits, and certainly practised them, on one occasion, eccentrically. Whilst a younker, he was placed in the service of a bishop, doubtless in the honourable capacity of page; and seems to have learnt the vices appurtenant to his tricksy vocation, without deriving much leaven of decorum from his master. In later years, when he had obtained unenviable notoriety, he was celebrated in a contemporary ballad, entitled “ The famous History of Stout Stukely,” reprinted in Evans's collection. Unfortunately, the original broadside cannot be referred to, in order to see if this means of fame Sir John Falstaff was ambitious of—"a particular ballad of his own,” as the fat knight expressed it," with a picture of himself on the top”—included a rough idea of our hero's personal appearance. This rhythmical biography informs us that the gay servitor, while yet a juvenal, came up to town, and, when a man about it,
Maintained himself in gallant sort,
He gained the favour of a London dame. The lady was a city heiress, daughter of a rich alderman, named Curtis. The splendid figure, wit, and winning ways of “ Tom Stukely” (as those he would be familiar with called him), secured the fair prize ; they were married, and then,
In state and pleasure, many days they measure. After the death of old Curtis, his son-in-law squandered his riches in all sorts of extravagance, even presuming, says the chronicler in song,
To spend a hundred pound a day!
Riots were his best delight,
With stately fcasting day and night.
In court and city thus he won renown. High and fastidious was he in his choice of society. Not a mere
swinge-buckler of the inns of court, but a dashing frequenter of the purlieus, at least, of the court-royal. The groom-porter's chamber, with its paraphernalia of cards and dice, were probably very well known to him. Like Raleigh, a somewhat congenial spirit, but more ambitious and guarded, he ruffled among the loftiest, resorting to those salons de luxe, the expensive ordinaries and taverns described to their life in “ The Fortunes of Nigel”—the “ Crockys” of the day, where the tables, covered with refined viands and luscious wines, gave but a prelude to deep play, and where, glittering in the newest device, one fed on cates, and then, it may be, diced with, and lost to, the young nobility.
The greatest gallants in the land
Had Stukely's purse at their command, says the ballad ; and, among our hero's faults, the imprudence of an excessive generosity was one of the foremost. Besides a few proofs of his ultra-liberality, there is somewhat to show that he had more of real worth in him than the boon companionship and profusion of a distinguished gallant, since, apart from subsequently gaining the countenance of foreign princes, he acquired, during his palmy days in London, the good-will of some of the highest personages. How far his virtue as a giver of exquisite banquets, his hospitable passion to shine at the head of dinner-tables in the London Taverns and Stars and Garters of three centuries ago,
served to instal him in the hearts of friends, is too cynical and dubious a question for us to put and solve.
Thus wasting lands, and living by this his lawless living,
Which he consumed lately, as you've heard. As we have ventured to suggest that he was a gamester, let us at least show that his taste for repartee was of a relish so salted and irrepressible as to lead him, on one fatal occasion, to stake and lose much for the sake of
There are two versions of his luckless sally; and he would even seem to have repeated his bad joke, the last time with wretched effect, and forgetful that a bon mot, to be bon, should, like an egg, be fresh laid. The ballad-monger's version requires some preface. After he had spent his wife's property, he treated her as an encumbrance, evincing little or no tenderness to his hapless better-half, who seems to have been touched by the stroke of extravagance, which, literally and metaphorically, took away all her tin; for, as the song says,
Whereat his wife şore grieved,
I'll make much more of thee,” said he,
And so he sold her clothes, and went his way. His excessive prodigality and cruel desertion of his wife, whose fortune had supplied his waste, were, deservedly, the principal causes of his failure to rise to political eminence-such as his various and pleasing talents, and
subsequent favour with high patrons, entitled him to hope for. Yet, above all, his insolent repetition of that heartless jest to Queen Elizabeth, as shall be retailed by-and-by, assuredly steeled her woman's heart against him, thereby frustrating every subsequent claim and step the profligate aspirer made to preferment.
Pausing to reflect on his characteristics, we perceive his strong impulse to receive rays of court favour, and become a refulgent star of state ; and it is likely that, prior to his having lost the social radiance he had obtained by burning his candle at both ends, he stood well for admission into the political firmament. He was certainly held by many men in higher than mere good-living estimation before the time of his disastrous drollery; was nearly related to the house of St. Leger, a family closely connected, through the Boleyns, to the queen, and was a follower of Sir William Cecil (the great minister, Burleigh), whose protégé he long continued to be; besides being, for the same period, favoured by the favourite, Leicester, and by the Sidneys, Herberts, and Somersets, the leading nobility of the time.
But he almost extinguished himself by his fatuous joke; for thenceforward he was a lost pleiad, or a dimly-visible planet; then an ignis fatuus ; and at last he burst and vanished, like a meteor. His disgrace, which is dateless, must have occurred subsequent to 1561, since in that year a close alliance being expected with Sweden by the projected marriage of Elizabeth to Eric xiv., the English people becoming curious about the history of that country, a descriptory book was published, and dedicated “To the ryght worshipfull and singular good mayster, Mayster Thomas Stewckley, Esquire." "To have been thus fed with soft dedication, our hero must have stood high in at least some opinions. Perhaps he was employed by the aspirant to the consortship of England in furthering the proposed match, and may have received in guerdon as gaudy a steed as one of the eighteen piebalds sent by the suitor as a marriage present to the young huntswoman queen. However exalted and prosperous his position might once have been, he ruined himself at court by his offence in insolently retorting, on majesty itself, his impudent and brutal jest to his wife.
The story of this mad waggery in the face of the throne was long considered a good joke, since Lord Strafford repeats it in one of his missives to Laud : “Stukely told Queen Elizabeth, being blamed for not using his wife well, that he had already turned her into her petticoat, and if any man could make more of her, they might take her for him!" This jest would certainly have no prosperity in female ears; and Elizabeth, whose marked displeasures anent her courtiers' dealings with the fair sex are matters of history, could not pardon so bad a husband, who, with brazen audacity, proclaimed his cruelty with insolence to herself. Consequently our - ryght singular good mayster,” shunned by some and dunned by others, disappeared from London; and our next view of Master Reynard, who eked out his lion's hide with the fox's skin, is as an adventurer for America. Speculation of one sort or another was henceforth the lot of the mercantile prodigal. Had he lived in the present day, he might have made a glorious commercial traveller, or entered a house of business in New York. His temper and times inclined him to more romantic courses. The first of his schemes was an expedition, in which
he persuaded a number of enterprisers to join him, for the discovery of “ certain islands in the far west, towards Terra Florida.” This florid and wild project failed for want of money, and seems to have resulted in a wilder method of supplying the lack. It is stated in a contemporary memoir, republished in Lord Somers's Tracts, that the subject of it “fled out of England for piracies." Though the transition from prodigality to piracy was easy, it seems strange that our Lucifer, a stately voluptuary, at one time "joined with nobility and tranquillity, burgomasters, and great one-eyers,” should have fallen so low as to league, if not with "land-rakers," with sea-rakers, and “mad, mustachioed" et ceteras. Of what nature the piratic acts were does not come to light; but subsequent accusations tend to show that their character was not so grave as those ou foreign seas laid to Sir Walter Raleigh's charge, when the Spanish minister closed conference on the matter by quitting Cecil's cabinet in a rage, exclaiming, “Pirata! pirata!"
Our narrow seas were crowded with coasters, whose flags, of whatever nations they were badges of protection, were but fluttering lures to the hawks or ospreys of those seas-anti-protectionist birds, to whom free-traders were a prey. The sparse and puny guarda-costas of the time were seldom able to pounce on such wily crafts, generally mercantile in character, but occasionally piratic, and apt to be transformed by a streak of paint and change of sails into flying and unrecognisable phantom barks. Dan Chaucer's “ Marchant” used, when counting his losses by these sea-reavers, to exclaim :
Wold the sea were kept for anything,
Betwixen Middleburgh and Orewell! Sometimes a privateer's letter of marque converted a fast-sailing sloop, a mere bearer of burdens, into a raking cụtter, and covered her deck with a bristle of matchlocks and boarding pikes; or her bold commander assumed a roving commission to do as he liked on the Spanish main, under pretence of commercial adventure, or the false colour of a voyage of discovery. Whether the buccanieros of that chanceful main were the first aggressors in the nautical embroglios of the Elizabethan age,
is a moot point; but their compatriot argosies were unquestionably the main losers. “ A voyage to America,” observes an industrious writer, Mr. T. Wright, from whose instructive work, “ Queen Elizabeth and her Times,” we are gleaning largely, “was little better than a piratical expedition ; and the Drakes and the Raleighs, and, in fact, many of the nobles of that time, were in reality but freebooters on the sea.
The following relevant story is told in a curious book of jests printed in the reign of James I. : “Ăn earle in times past in this kingdome having made some prosperous voyages abroad, and returning with great prizes from the Spaniard, meeting with another young earle, who by his father's death was newly come to both his meanes and title; after some congratulation, they fell in discourse of divers sea-fights, and ships taken from the enemy. At length, • I wonder,' saith the soldier, earle, that your lordship being of such remarke in the court and kingdome, doth not for your greater honour undertake in your own person some noble enterprise at sea against the common enemy the Spaniard, as I and others