Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

forsakes him after the first journey ; a second ruffian, which stretched his views become general and ele- me senseless upon the grass. mental, and he looks down from The villains, as it afterwards apthe high table-land of his own calm peared, rifled my pockets of my mind upon

the moral as well as the watch, loose cash and papers, but material landscape, both of which without discovering my hidden treaseem to be outspread before him sure ; and in this state of insensibifor his special observation and lity I was soon afterwards found by amusement. I assume his mind to some good Samaritans of the lower be calm, for he is only an agent ; orders, who, having ascertained he has the stimulus of business and that my pockets were empty, genethe excitement of hope, without the rously contented themselves with constant cares of the one, or the my hat and coat, as a fair remunepainful disappointment of the other. ration for the trouble of carrying

Whenever I have an idle hour me to the hospital of a large suburupon my hands, I love to devote it ban poor-house at no great distance. to billiards, which I consider a In this miserable establishment I healthy and delightful recreation. fell into the hands of two occasional In one of our great manufacturing nurses then in the place, who, upon

towns in the North, I had entered a exercising a more rigorous scrutiny | public house for this purpose, into my habiliments, with a view to

which, as I afterwards found, was those strays and waifs of plunder frequented by characters of the which such callous practitioners worst description ; and incautiously usually claim as their perquisite, mentioning that I was going to discovered the hidden bank-notes, walk to Mr. M'B's, who re- and divided them upon the spot as sided two or three miles off, for the the best security for mutual sepurpose of receiving a sum of mo- crecy. ney, I inquired the shortest road to My wound was shortly examined his residence. One of the party and dressed by the hospital surpresent told me there was a way geon ; but the severity of the blow, across the fields which would save combining with a violent cold half a mile, and gave me particular caught by lying upon the wet grass, instructions how to find it, adding produced a brain fever, which dethat it was a common thoroughfare, prived me of my faculties for seveand I should doubtless see some of ral days. In this state the nurse the men going or returning from the removed me from the public ward manufactory. Interested in my to a small detached room, under play, I pursued it rather longer the pretext of my disturbing the than usual, but at length hurried other patients, but in reality that away, discovered

the footpath she might have a private chamber across the fields, received the bank- in which to give little suppers to her notes, which, according to my inva- friends with the bank-notes which riable practice, I concealed in the she had pilfered from my person. lining of my waistcoat, and was re- It was in this small chamber that, turning briskly by the same path, on awaking to recovered consciousjust as the evening began to close ness, I found myself lying upon a around me, when, as I crossed a miserable truckle-bed, and felt that stile, I heard a rustling in the my arms were pinioned to my sides hedge, and on looking round beheld by a straight waistcoat, while I a villain advancing towards me with heard the hospital-clock toll the an uplifted bludgeon. I raised a hour of midnight, accompanied by stout stick with which I was pro- the hollow howling of the wind vided, to repel the assault ; but at through the two long wards into the same moment received a tre- which the building was divided. At mendous blow upon the head from first my faculties seemed but slowly

to recover their power ; and the at “Come, Mrs. Potts," quoth the tempt to arouse my memory to a worthy nurse, "you don't drink ; recollection of the past, only served fill your glass, fill your glass. Here to mix it up in one confused mass have I been drinking Madeira ever with the present. By degrees, since this lucky Godsend, to see if however, beginning to suspect that I could fancy it as well as Booth's I had suffered under a temporary best ; but it's sad watery, washy privation of reason, I endeavored, stuff, compared to blue ruin or heawithout speaking or moving, to di- vy wet. Howsomever, I put a botvine the meaning of the scene be- tle into this here bowl of punch, and fore me, which was well calculated I don't think it's much the worse." to confound and puzzle apprehen “ Hark! there's the gentleman sion.

awake,” cried Mrs. Potts, as I gave Close to the blazing hearth was a an involuntary groan at this approlarge round table, whereon were priation of my money:—“Well, neflaring three unsnuffed tallow-can- ver mind if he is,” replied Mrs. dles, and in the centre of which Graves. "Lord love you, he's as fumed a brimming and capacious mad as a March bare ; knows no bowl, surrounded by a profuse dis- more what he's talking about than play of viands, liquors, lemons, su- the Pope of Rome.' _“Oh, ay, gar, bottles, and glasses. On the cracked in the upper-story is he? mantel-piece were phials, boxes, they're rummish customers to deal lint, rags, cataplasms and surgical with, those crazy chaps; but I don't instruments ; and on the fire be- dislike 'em, for one's not bound to neath, a kettle of goodly dimensions pay any attention to their freaks was singing its quiet tune to two and fancies. It isn't as if one had female figures who completely filled Christians to deal with, a couple of wide arm-chairs beside 'em played me a slippery trick, the board, eating, drinking, and though, some years ago. I was chuckling with infinite perseverance dosing away in my chair, not much and complacency. As one of them caring to get up and notice his clahad her back to the bed, I could mor for water, when, would you be*not catch a glimpse of her face ; lieve it, ma'am ? he jumps out of but I observed a pair of red Atlan- bed, and ere you could say Jack tean shoulders, the flesh of which, Robinson, whips me up in his arms, heaving up on either side of the and claps me right slap upon a great shoulder-strap, seemed anxious to blazing fire !" escape from the restraint of its

“Lord!" exclaimed Mrs. Graves, bandages. This, as I found by shrieking with laughter till her their conversation, was Mrs. Potts, whole system swagged with repeata visitant to my appointed nurse ed undulations, "how shocking! Mrs. Graves, who sat opposite to but it was monstrous comical though, her in all the dignity of voluminous warn't it?"_“Not so comical neiand undulating fat ; and I was ena- ther, ma'am, if I hadn't happened bled to make the further discovery to have a thick stuff gown on, and a that they were carousing upon the couple of flannel petticoats, so that spoil which had been ferreted from I got off for this here burn upon the lining of my waistcoat. Fal- my arm and the loss of my clothes. staff typifying Mother Pratt, the fat Business runs shameful slack, now, woman of Brentford, was not a Mrs. Graves ; no good jobs stirring; whit more corpulent and cumber- though, to be sure, the little bundle some than these triple-chinn'd har- of flimsies done up so knowing in pies; and as their dialogue pro- this chap's waistcoat was a famous ceeded, I was more than once haul ; but we have no nice fevers; tempted to wish that I had Ford's a terrible time since we had a good cudgel in my hand, and Ford's vi- measles among the children, and no gor and good-will for its exercise. influenzy this here season as there

can

was last. People are scandalous very way they served me when healthy to what they used to be. Alderman Sowerby's lady hopped Then that unlucky vaccine spoils the twig. Howsomever, they got trade shamefully. Old Mother Tibbs nothing by it ; for, in packing up remembers when she used to lay my box, a large white lace veil slipout eighteen or twenty children ped in by mere accident : and as every year, all dead of the small- they never sent for it, of course I pos, and come in for all their clothes, warn't bound to give it up.” besides pickings and perquisites." “ These accidents will happen to

“Very true, very true, Mrs. the most careful of us, Mrs. Graves. Potts, our's is a starving business; Ha! ha! ha! and really they we must make the most of jobs now; shouldn't look too closely into these so fill t'other glass, and pick a bit matters, for our perquisites now-dmore of the pigeon pie. Here's to days are no great shakes. What's you, ma'am. Howsomever, I have peck and perch, and a pound a no reason to complain ; for, what week? Why, I got as much twenwith gentlemen's broken limbs from ty year ago, when I was in the wet gigs, and their shooting themselves, line and went out a-suckling. I've or one another, in the sporting sea- known the day, too, when a hint of son, there's always some lucky mis- a good subject to a resurrectionfortune or another turning up. man was worth a couple of guineas ; 'Twas but last month I set a chap but Lord love you! they make of this sort upon his crutches, who such a fuss about the matter now-ahad eighty-three shots lodged in his days, that the poor fellows calf, by his friend Capt. Blinken- hardly get salt to their porridge, sop, when taking aim at a hare—" And then folks dies such shabby

"Eighty-three shots! that's a shriveled atomies of late, that large lot ain't it ? "

they're scarcely worth the cutting “Yes, but one wouldn't be nig- up. If one could get hold of a nice gardly with a friend, you know. proper young man, now, shot in a Ha! ha! ha!

duel." 'Ay, ay, you will have your Ay, Mrs. Potts, or this here laugh, Mrs. Graves ; but you were gentleman that's lying on the bed ; always a wag. Well, my last job he's in the prime of life, stout and was with Lady Psha! I healthy, just the proper age and shall forget my own name next. subject for dying ; but somehow Lady What-d'ye-call—she as had my mind misgives me strangely the fine funeral t'other day ; it's no that the chap will recover.” odds for her name, and a pretty “Let us hope not,- let us hope plague she was !--Always a grum- not ; it would be a monstrous shame: bling 'cause I took snuff. Will you -here's to you, Mrs. Graves.” have a pinch, Mrs. Graves ? That's “ It would really be a pity," rethe second lady of quality as I had plied the latter, refilling her glass; the job on.

Last Michaelmas was “ for, what with the flimsies in a year (I remember it by the fa- waistcoat, and what with the body, mous goose my nevy sent me out of he might be ane of the prettiest Yorkshire) that I laid out Lady jobs we have had a long while.” Augustus Yellowley, at last, after In this strain the conversation she had gone on shilly-shallying for continued some time longer, and as seren or eight weeks; and, would I knew my helpless state, and really you believe it, ma'am? they were apprehended that these harpies shabby enough not to let me have might strangle or make way with an Ingey shawl, though she died in me if they suspected my recovery, it, pretending I wasn't entitled to I remained perfectly still

, pretendnothing but the body-linen.” ing to be asleep, until the huge

“Well, Mrs. Potts, that's the bowl of Madeira punch being com

pletely emptied, my two compa- obtain the dismissal of the nurses, nions began to nod at one another, and compel them to refund the reand finally snored so unmercifully mainder of their plunder. As to that I was effectually prevented the scoundrels who had attacked from joining in the chorus. Wait- me, although I had no doubt they ing impatiently the arrival of the were the same with whom I had medical attendant next morning, I been playing billiards, I had no communicated to him the recovery means of identifying them, so I left of my senses, imploring that I might them for the present uninterrupted be instantly sent to a friend's house in their progress to the gallows ; in the town, as I felt quite able to and mounting my nag and compabear the removal. Here

my health nion, for he deserves both appelwas in a few days perfectly re-esta- lations, I joyfully turned my back blished, and it was my first care to upon this unlucky town.

A PASS OF THE ABRUZZI, THE BRIGAND'S HOME.

BY DELTA.

“ When we are with our comrades met

Under the forest bough,
What once we were we all forget,

Nor think what we are now."-SIR WALTER SCOTT.

It was on a surly October day, brimmed chapeau was slouched over that, after having taken a peep at his eyes; and a Spanish cloak of the ancient regal palace of Scone, I blue frieze, ample of fold, with a found myself, by three in the after- red collar, of the poodle-dog style noon, with my feet on the fender, of beauty, clasped tightly about his within the Salutation Inn at Perth. neck, left not much of his counteI had secured my seat to Edinburgh nance visible ; save a pair of little in the Spread Eagle ; so had nought black eyes, that glanced like a rat's, to do, but look forward to my soli- and two promontories, which might tary dinner, for which preparations be guessed as the tips of his nose were making. A volume of Wash- and chin. Immense bunches of ington Irving's Tales of a Traveller lanky hair overhung his ears; and, lay on a side-table ; and I endea- altogether, his air was that of a subvored to fill up the interim vacuity, stantial Lowland grazier. over the pages of that accomplished The wife-for so the “my dears” and admirable writer.

that floated between them pointed Indeed, so much was I interested, her out to be—was externally the that, however impatient before, I reverse of all this. She was shrifelt annoyed when the horn blew; veled and scraggy, one of Pharaoh's and half reluctantly took my seat in lean kine ; with a treble-toned the coach, into which two passen- voice, which omened her capability gers had alrerdy stepped. They of scolding. Ever and anon, she appeared, from several circum- made a silent appeal to her snuffstances, to be husband and wife. box,—but, without this, her devo

The lord and master of the twain tion to the « noxious weed” of Sir was a gentleman of some fifty-five Walter Raleigh might have been years, or, “ By'r lady,” as Falstaff shrewdly imagined, from a certain says, “inclining to three-score.” expression of the nose and mouth, He had cosied himself into a cor- peculiar to all votaries of the herb. ner, which he left not unoccupied, The halcyon days of courtship being a personage of imposing di- having no doubt long ago passed mensions. A low-crowned, broad- over between them, they found little

to say to each other, -and nothing beauty, which downcast eyes and a to me. As we passed over Kinnoul mournful silence could not obscure. Hill, twilight was setting in ; and A richly furred cloak was thrown the day died away beyond the sum across her shoulders, to protect her mits of the western Grampians. The from the damps of evening, and from eyes of the grazier, who sat like a the cold, which, after sunset, frePolar bear in the corner, began to quently becomes almost piercing in gather straws ; and, at a rough rut these elevated regions. It was evion the road, I could perceive the dent that her fate had been a mehead of Madame nodding a la man- lancholy one, and that probably the darin,

darkness of it was not yet over. The evening was cloudy and She traveled under the escort of without frost; and I had occasionally the holy father ; and, not unlikely, a glimpse of the evening star, over her destiny was the convent. the flying rack. The banks and At a small way-side inn, we forests by the way-side looked som- changed horses, and proceeded bre and gloomy; and, resting my without dismounting from the vehichin on the umbrella between my cle. Our road now became more knees, imagination transported me steep and rugged; and crack, to the mountain solitudes of the crack, went the whip of the driver. Appenines and the Abruzzi ; As we slowly wound along the asamongst which I had formerly tra- cent, we had time to survey the veled, and whither an excellent magnificent and ever-varying scepicture, which I had recently seen, nery around us.

The wild fowl carried my recollections.

sprang from the thickets; and, as One scene, however, was upper- the bright sunshine shot from the most in my mind. Never shall I west, the alternations of light and forget the events of that evening. shade became extremely picturThe Estafette had left Distria at esque, in the rugged outlines of the three, and we expected to reach wooded crags, and the slumbrous Rocca Priori by nightfall; the day- twilight of the vallies, into which a light being yet tolerably long, and hundred streamlets fell sparkling. eked out by an early moonrise. The

poor animals soon became Here were we three strangers, jaded ; and many a associated accidentally - compa

and Corpo del Bacco !was usnions in travel for the last two days tered by the irritated brandisher of -and bound together only by one the thong. tie of unity, that of reaching our Evening was setting in apace, rendezvous in company.

and the Capuchin fidgeted about, Methinks I see him yet :-oppo- as if he was uneasy. Looking across site to me, with his back towards to me, he ejaculated with something the horses—a pair of sorry nags, in of anxiety, "I fear we shall get sorrier harness-squatted a lusty belated here. We are yet seven Capuchin friar ; whose conversa- miles from our destination, and tional powers had been gradually these very passes around us have, wearing themselves out in anecdotes not long ago, been the scenes of of monastic life, so full of pathos robbery and murder. The village and simple beauty, as would have of Rocca Priori should have been almost weaned an alderman, to se- reached by this time :—that ever clude himself from all the world we shall reach it, I now much doubt." congregated at a civic feast, and Per l'amor di Dio ! say not so ;" have made him abhor the bare men- exclaimed the beautiful Signora, tion of calapash and calapee : and, starting in alarm. “Let me not fall by my side, sate an elegantly form- alive into the hands of these ruffian ed female, through whose close banditti! Methought I was about veil I could yet snatch traces of a to enter a peaceful sanctuary ;

Cospetto !"

« НазадПродовжити »