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    Somebody's Luggage

    by Charles Dickens
    • Rate it:
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    CHAPTER I--HIS LEAVING IT TILL CALLED FOR

    The writer of these humble lines being a Waiter, and having come of a
    family of Waiters, and owning at the present time five brothers who are
    all Waiters, and likewise an only sister who is a Waitress, would wish to
    offer a few words respecting his calling; first having the pleasure of
    hereby in a friendly manner offering the Dedication of the same unto
    _Joseph_, much respected Head Waiter at the Slamjam Coffee-house, London,
    E.C., than which a individual more eminently deserving of the name of
    man, or a more amenable honour to his own head and heart, whether
    considered in the light of a Waiter or regarded as a human being, do not
    exist.

    In case confusion should arise in the public mind (which it is open to
    confusion on many subjects) respecting what is meant or implied by the
    term Waiter, the present humble lines would wish to offer an explanation.
    It may not be generally known that the person as goes out to wait is
    _not_ a Waiter. It may not be generally known that the hand as is called
    in extra, at the Freemasons' Tavern, or the London, or the Albion, or
    otherwise, is _not_ a Waiter. Such hands may be took on for Public
    Dinners by the bushel (and you may know them by their breathing with
    difficulty when in attendance, and taking away the bottle ere yet it is
    half out); but such are _not_ Waiters. For you cannot lay down the
    tailoring, or the shoemaking, or the brokering, or the green-grocering,
    or the pictorial-periodicalling, or the second-hand wardrobe, or the
    small fancy businesses,--you cannot lay down those lines of life at your
    will and pleasure by the half-day or evening, and take up Waitering. You
    may suppose you can, but you cannot; or you may go so far as to say you
    do, but you do not. Nor yet can you lay down the gentleman's-service
    when stimulated by prolonged incompatibility on the part of Cooks (and
    here it may be remarked that Cooking and Incompatibility will be mostly
    found united), and take up Waitering. It has been ascertained that what
    a gentleman will sit meek under, at home, he will not bear out of doors,
    at the Slamjam or any similar establishment. Then, what is the inference
    to be drawn respecting true Waitering? You must be bred to it. You must
    be born to it.

    Would you know how born to it, Fair Reader,--if of the adorable female
    sex? Then learn from the biographical experience of one that is a Waiter
    in the sixty-first year of his age.

    You were conveyed,--ere yet your dawning powers were otherwise developed
    than to harbour vacancy in your inside,--you were conveyed, by
    surreptitious means, into a pantry adjoining the Admiral Nelson, Civic
    and General Dining-Rooms, there to receive by stealth that healthful
    sustenance which is the pride and boast of the British female
    constitution. Your mother was married to your father (himself a distant
    Waiter) in the profoundest secrecy; for a Waitress known to be married
    would ruin the best of businesses,--it is the same as on the stage. Hence
    your being smuggled into the pantry, and that--to add to the
    infliction--by an unwilling grandmother. Under the combined influence of
    the smells of roast and boiled, and soup, and gas, and malt liquors, you
    partook of your earliest nourishment; your unwilling grandmother sitting
    prepared to catch you when your mother was called and dropped you; your
    grandmother's shawl ever ready to stifle your natural complainings; your
    innocent mind surrounded by uncongenial cruets, dirty plates,
    dish-covers, and cold gravy; your mother calling down the pipe for veals
    and porks, instead of soothing you with nursery rhymes. Under these
    untoward circumstances you were early weaned. Your unwilling
    grandmother, ever growing more unwilling as your food assimilated less,
    then contracted habits of shaking you till your system curdled, and your
    food would not assimilate at all. At length she was no longer spared,
    and could have been thankfully spared much sooner. When your brothers
    began to appear in succession, your mother retired, left off her smart
    dressing (she had previously been a smart dresser), and her dark ringlets
    (which had previously been flowing), and haunted your father late of
    nights, lying in wait for him, through all weathers, up the shabby court
    which led to the back door of the Royal Old Dust-Bin (said to have been
    so named by George the Fourth), where your father was Head. But the Dust-
    Bin was going down then, and your father took but little,--excepting from
    a liquid point of view. Your mother's object in those visits was of a
    house-keeping character, and you was set on to whistle your father out.
    Sometimes he came out, but generally not. Come or not come, however, all
    that part of his existence which was unconnected with open Waitering was
    kept a close secret, and was acknowledged by your mother to be a close
    secret, and you and your mother flitted about the court, close secrets
    both of you, and would scarcely have confessed under torture that you
    know your father, or that your father had any name than Dick (which
    wasn't his name, though he was never known by any other), or that he had
    kith or kin or chick or child. Perhaps the attraction of this mystery,
    combined with your father's having a damp compartment, to himself, behind
    a leaky cistern, at the Dust-Bin,--a sort of a cellar compartment, with a
    sink in it, and a smell, and a plate-rack, and a bottle-rack, and three
    windows that didn't match each other or anything else, and no
    daylight,--caused your young mind to feel convinced that you must grow up
    to be a Waiter too; but you did feel convinced of it, and so did all your
    brothers, down to your sister. Every one of you felt convinced that you
    was born to the Waitering. At this stage of your career, what was your
    feelings one day when your father came home to your mother in open broad
    daylight,--of itself an act of Madness on the part of a Waiter,--and took
    to his bed (leastwise, your mother and family's bed), with the statement
    that his eyes were devilled kidneys. Physicians being in vain, your
    father expired, after repeating at intervals for a day and a night, when
    gleams of reason and old business fitfully illuminated his being, "Two
    and two is five. And three is sixpence." Interred in the parochial
    department of the neighbouring churchyard, and accompanied to the grave
    by as many Waiters of long standing as could spare the morning time from
    their soiled glasses (namely, one), your bereaved form was attired in a
    white neckankecher, and you was took on from motives of benevolence at
    The George and Gridiron, theatrical and supper. Here, supporting nature
    on what you found in the plates (which was as it happened, and but too
    often thoughtlessly, immersed in mustard), and on what you found in the
    glasses (which rarely went beyond driblets and lemon), by night you
    dropped asleep standing, till you was cuffed awake, and by day was set to
    polishing every individual article in the coffee-room. Your couch being
    sawdust; your counterpane being ashes of cigars. Here, frequently hiding
    a heavy heart under the smart tie of your white neckankecher (or
    correctly speaking lower down and more to the left), you picked up the
    rudiments of knowledge from an extra, by the name of Bishops, and by
    calling plate-washer, and gradually elevating your mind with chalk on the
    back of the corner-box partition, until such time as you used the
    inkstand when it was out of hand, attained to manhood, and to be the
    Waiter that you find yourself.

    I could wish here to offer a few respectful words on behalf of the
    calling so long the calling of myself and family, and the public interest
    in which is but too often very limited. We are not generally understood.
    No, we are not. Allowance enough is not made for us. For, say that we
    ever show a little drooping listlessness of spirits, or what might be
    termed indifference or apathy. Put it to yourself what would your own
    state of mind be, if you was one of an enormous family every member of
    which except you was always greedy, and in a hurry. Put it to yourself
    that you was regularly replete with animal food at the slack hours of one
    in the day and again at nine p.m., and that the repleter you was, the
    more voracious all your fellow-creatures came in. Put it to yourself
    that it was your business, when your digestion was well on, to take a
    personal interest and sympathy in a hundred gentlemen fresh and fresh
    (say, for the sake of argument, only a hundred), whose imaginations was
    given up to grease and fat and gravy and melted butter, and abandoned to
    questioning you about cuts of this, and dishes of that,--each of 'em
    going on as if him and you and the bill of fare was alone in the world.
    Then look what you are expected to know. You are never out, but they
    seem to think you regularly attend everywhere. "What's this,
    Christopher, that I hear about the smashed Excursion Train? How are they
    doing at the Italian Opera, Christopher?" "Christopher, what are the
    real particulars of this business at the Yorkshire Bank?" Similarly a
    ministry gives me more trouble than it gives the Queen. As to Lord
    Palmerston, the constant and wearing connection into which I have been
    brought with his lordship during the last few years is deserving of a
    pension. Then look at the Hypocrites we are made, and the lies (white, I
    hope) that are forced upon us! Why must a sedentary-pursuited Waiter be
    considered to be a judge of horseflesh, and to have a most tremendous
    interest in horse-training and racing? Yet it would be half our little
    incomes out of our pockets if we didn't take on to have those sporting
    tastes. It is the same (inconceivable why!) with Farming. Shooting,
    equally so. I am sure that so regular as the months of August,
    September, and October come round, I am ashamed of myself in my own
    private bosom for the way in which I make believe to care whether or not
    the grouse is strong on the wing (much their wings, or drumsticks either,
    signifies to me, uncooked!), and whether the partridges is plentiful
    among the turnips, and whether the pheasants is shy or bold, or anything
    else you please to mention. Yet you may see me, or any other Waiter of
    my standing, holding on by the back of the box, and leaning over a
    gentleman with his purse out and his bill before him, discussing these
    points in a confidential tone of voice, as if my happiness in life
    entirely depended on 'em.

    I have mentioned our little incomes. Look at the most unreasonable point
    of all, and the point on which the greatest injustice is done us! Whether
    it is owing to our always carrying so much change in our right-hand
    trousers-pocket, and so many halfpence in our coat-tails, or whether it
    is human nature (which I were loth to believe), what is meant by the
    everlasting fable that Head Waiters is rich? How did that fable get into
    circulation? Who first put it about, and what are the facts to establish
    the unblushing statement? Come forth, thou slanderer, and refer the
    public to the Waiter's will in Doctors' Commons supporting thy malignant
    hiss! Yet this is so commonly dwelt upon--especially by the screws who
    give Waiters the least--that denial is vain; and we are obliged, for our
    credit's sake, to carry our heads as if we were going into a business,
    when of the two we are much more likely to go into a union. There was
    formerly a screw as frequented the Slamjam ere yet the present writer had
    quitted that establishment on a question of tea-ing his assistant staff
    out of his own pocket, which screw carried the taunt to its bitterest
    height. Never soaring above threepence, and as often as not grovelling
    on the earth a penny lower, he yet represented the present writer as a
    large holder of Consols, a lender of money on mortgage, a Capitalist. He
    has been overheard to dilate to other customers on the allegation that
    the present writer put out thousands of pounds at interest in
    Distilleries and Breweries. "Well, Christopher," he would say (having
    grovelled his lowest on the earth, half a moment before), "looking out
    for a House to open, eh? Can't find a business to be disposed of on a
    scale as is up to your resources, humph?" To such a dizzy precipice of
    falsehood has this misrepresentation taken wing, that the well-known and
    highly-respected OLD CHARLES, long eminent at the West Country Hotel, and
    by some considered the Father of the Waitering, found himself under the
    obligation to fall into it through so many years that his own wife (for
    he had an unbeknown old lady in that capacity towards himself) believed
    it! And what was the consequence? When he was borne to his grave on the
    shoulders of six picked Waiters, with six more for change, six more
    acting as pall-bearers, all keeping step in a pouring shower without a
    dry eye visible, and a concourse only inferior to Royalty, his pantry and
    lodgings was equally ransacked high and low for property, and none was
    found! How could it be found, when, beyond his last monthly collection
    of walking-sticks, umbrellas, and pocket-handkerchiefs (which happened to
    have been not yet disposed of, though he had ever been through life
    punctual in clearing off his collections by the month), there was no
    property existing? Such, however, is the force of this universal libel,
    that the widow of Old Charles, at the present hour an inmate of the
    Almshouses of the Cork-Cutters' Company, in Blue Anchor Road (identified
    sitting at the door of one of 'em, in a clean cap and a Windsor
    arm-chair, only last Monday), expects John's hoarded wealth to be found
    hourly! Nay, ere yet he had succumbed to the grisly dart, and when his
    portrait was painted in oils life-size, by subscription of the
    frequenters of the West Country, to hang over the coffee-room chimney-
    piece, there were not wanting those who contended that what is termed the
    accessories of such a portrait ought to be the Bank of England out of
    window, and a strong-box on the table. And but for better-regulated
    minds contending for a bottle and screw and the attitude of drawing,--and
    carrying their point,--it would have been so handed down to posterity.

    I am now brought to the title of the present remarks. Having, I hope
    without offence to any quarter, offered such observations as I felt it my
    duty to offer, in a free country which has ever dominated the seas, on
    the general subject, I will now proceed to wait on the particular
    question.

    At a momentous period of my life, when I was off, so far as concerned
    notice given, with a House that shall be nameless,--for the question on
    which I took my departing stand was a fixed charge for waiters, and no
    House as commits itself to that eminently Un-English act of more than
    foolishness and baseness shall be advertised by me,--I repeat, at a
    momentous crisis, when I was off with a House too mean for mention, and
    not yet on with that to which I have ever since had the honour of being
    attached in the capacity of Head, {1} I was casting about what to do
    next. Then it were that proposals were made to me on behalf of my
    present establishment. Stipulations were necessary on my part,
    emendations were necessary on my part: in the end, ratifications ensued
    on both sides, and I entered on a new career.

    We are a bed business, and a coffee-room business. We are not a general
    dining business, nor do we wish it. In consequence, when diners drop in,
    we know what to give 'em as will keep 'em away another time. We are a
    Private Room or Family business also; but Coffee-room principal. Me and
    the Directory and the Writing Materials and cetrer occupy a place to
    ourselves--a place fended of up a step or two at the end of the Coffee-
    room, in what I call the good old-fashioned style. The good
    old-fashioned style is, that whatever you want, down to a wafer, you must
    be olely and solely dependent on the Head Waiter for. You must put
    yourself a new-born Child into his hands. There is no other way in which
    a business untinged with Continental Vice can be conducted. (It were
    bootless to add, that if languages is required to be jabbered and English
    is not good enough, both families and gentlemen had better go somewhere
    else.)

    When I began to settle down in this right-principled and well-conducted
    House, I noticed, under the bed in No. 24 B (which it is up a angle off
    the staircase, and usually put off upon the lowly-minded), a heap of
    things in a corner. I asked our Head Chambermaid in the course of the
    day,

    "What are them things in 24 B?"

    To which she answered with a careless air, "Somebody's Luggage."

    Regarding her with a eye not free from severity, I says, "Whose Luggage?"

    Evading my eye, she replied,

    "Lor! How should _I_ know!"

    --Being, it may be right to mention, a female of some pertness, though
    acquainted with her business.

    A Head Waiter must be either Head or Tail. He must be at one extremity
    or the other of the social scale. He cannot be at the waist of it, or
    anywhere else but the extremities. It is for him to decide which of the
    extremities.

    On the eventful occasion under consideration, I give Mrs. Pratchett so
    distinctly to understand my decision, that I broke her spirit as towards
    myself, then and there, and for good. Let not inconsistency be suspected
    on account of my mentioning Mrs. Pratchett as "Mrs.," and having formerly
    remarked that a waitress must not be married. Readers are respectfully
    requested to notice that Mrs. Pratchett was not a waitress, but a
    chambermaid. Now a chambermaid _may_ be married; if Head, generally is
    married,--or says so. It comes to the same thing as expressing what is
    customary. (N.B. Mr. Pratchett is in Australia, and his address there is
    "the Bush.")

    Having took Mrs. Pratchett down as many pegs as was essential to the
    future happiness of all parties, I requested her to explain herself.

    "For instance," I says, to give her a little encouragement, "who is
    Somebody?"

    "I give you my sacred honour, Mr. Christopher," answers Pratchett, "that
    I haven't the faintest notion."

    But for the manner in which she settled her cap-strings, I should have
    doubted this; but in respect of positiveness it was hardly to be
    discriminated from an affidavit.

    "Then you never saw him?" I followed her up with.

    "Nor yet," said Mrs. Pratchett, shutting her eyes and making as if she
    had just took a pill of unusual circumference,--which gave a remarkable
    force to her denial,--"nor yet any servant in this house. All have been
    changed, Mr. Christopher, within five year, and Somebody left his Luggage
    here before then."

    Inquiry of Miss Martin yielded (in the language of the Bard of A.1.)
    "confirmation strong." So it had really and truly happened. Miss Martin
    is the young lady at the bar as makes out our bills; and though higher
    than I could wish considering her station, is perfectly well-behaved.

    Farther investigations led to the disclosure that there was a bill
    against this Luggage to the amount of two sixteen six. The Luggage had
    been lying under the bedstead of 24 B over six year. The bedstead is a
    four-poster, with a deal of old hanging and valance, and is, as I once
    said, probably connected with more than 24 Bs,--which I remember my
    hearers was pleased to laugh at, at the time.

    I don't know why,--when DO we know why?--but this Luggage laid heavy on
    my mind. I fell a wondering about Somebody, and what he had got and been
    up to. I couldn't satisfy my thoughts why he should leave so much
    Luggage against so small a bill. For I had the Luggage out within a day
    or two and turned it over, and the following were the items:--A black
    portmanteau, a black bag, a desk, a dressing-case, a brown-paper parcel,
    a hat-box, and an umbrella strapped to a walking-stick. It was all very
    dusty and fluey. I had our porter up to get under the bed and fetch it
    out; and though he habitually wallows in dust,--swims in it from morning
    to night, and wears a close-fitting waistcoat with black calimanco
    sleeves for the purpose,--it made him sneeze again, and his throat was
    that hot with it that it was obliged to be cooled with a drink of
    Allsopp's draft.

    The Luggage so got the better of me, that instead of having it put back
    when it was well dusted and washed with a wet cloth,--previous to which
    it was so covered with feathers that you might have thought it was
    turning into poultry, and would by-and-by begin to Lay,--I say, instead
    of having it put back, I had it carried into one of my places
    down-stairs. There from time to time I stared at it and stared at it,
    till it seemed to grow big and grow little, and come forward at me and
    retreat again, and go through all manner of performances resembling
    intoxication. When this had lasted weeks,--I may say months, and not be
    far out,--I one day thought of asking Miss Martin for the particulars of
    the Two sixteen six total. She was so obliging as to extract it from the
    books,--it dating before her time,--and here follows a true copy:

    Coffee-Room.
    1856. No. 4. Pounds s. d.
    Feb. 2d, Pen and Paper 0 0 6
    Port Negus 0 2 0
    Ditto 0 2 0
    Pen and paper 0 0 6
    Tumbler broken 0 2 6
    Brandy 0 2 0
    Pen and paper 0 0 6
    Anchovy toast 0 2 6
    Pen and paper 0 0 6
    Bed 0 3 0
    Feb. 3d, Pen and paper 0 0 6
    Breakfast 0 2 6
    Broiled ham 0 2 0
    Eggs 0 1 0
    Watercresses 0 1 0
    Shrimps 0 1 0
    Pen and paper 0 0 6
    Blotting-paper 0 0 6
    Messenger to Paternoster
    Row and back 0 1 6
    Again, when No Answer 0 1 6
    Brandy 2s., Devilled
    Pork chop 2s. 0 4 0
    Pens and paper 0 1 0
    Messenger to Albemarle
    Street and back 0 1 0
    Again (detained), when
    No Answer 0 1 6
    Salt-cellar broken 0 3 6
    Large Liquour-glass
    Orange Brandy 0 1 6
    Dinner, Soup, Fish,
    Joint, and bird 0 7 6
    Bottle old East India
    Brown 0 8 0
    Pen and paper 0 0 6
    Pounds 2 16 6

    Mem.: January 1st, 1857. He went out after dinner, directing luggage to
    be ready when he called for it. Never called.

    * * * * *

    So far from throwing a light upon the subject, this bill appeared to me,
    if I may so express my doubts, to involve it in a yet more lurid halo.
    Speculating it over with the Mistress, she informed me that the luggage
    had been advertised in the Master's time as being to be sold after such
    and such a day to pay expenses, but no farther steps had been taken. (I
    may here remark, that the Mistress is a widow in her fourth year. The
    Master was possessed of one of those unfortunate constitutions in which
    Spirits turns to Water, and rises in the ill-starred Victim.)

    My speculating it over, not then only, but repeatedly, sometimes with the
    Mistress, sometimes with one, sometimes with another, led up to the
    Mistress's saying to me,--whether at first in joke or in earnest, or half
    joke and half earnest, it matters not:

    "Christopher, I am going to make you a handsome offer."

    (If this should meet her eye,--a lovely blue,--may she not take it ill my
    mentioning that if I had been eight or ten year younger, I would have
    done as much by her! That is, I would have made her a offer. It is for
    others than me to denominate it a handsome one.)

    "Christopher, I am going to make you a handsome offer."

    "Put a name to it, ma'am."

    "Look here, Christopher. Run over the articles of Somebody's Luggage.
    You've got it all by heart, I know."

    "A black portmanteau, ma'am, a black bag, a desk, a dressing-case, a
    brown-paper parcel, a hat-box, and an umbrella strapped to a
    walking-stick."

    "All just as they were left. Nothing opened, nothing tampered with."

    "You are right, ma'am. All locked but the brown-paper parcel, and that
    sealed."

    The Mistress was leaning on Miss Martin's desk at the bar-window, and she
    taps the open book that lays upon the desk,--she has a pretty-made hand
    to be sure,--and bobs her head over it and laughs.

    "Come," says she, "Christopher. Pay me Somebody's bill, and you shall
    have Somebody's Luggage."

    I rather took to the idea from the first moment; but,

    "It mayn't be worth the money," I objected, seeming to hold back.

    "That's a Lottery," says the Mistress, folding her arms upon the book,--it
    ain't her hands alone that's pretty made, the observation extends right
    up her arms. "Won't you venture two pound sixteen shillings and sixpence
    in the Lottery? Why, there's no blanks!" says the Mistress; laughing and
    bobbing her head again, "you _must_ win. If you lose, you must win! All
    prizes in this Lottery! Draw a blank, and remember, Gentlemen-Sportsmen,
    you'll still be entitled to a black portmanteau, a black bag, a desk, a
    dressing-case, a sheet of brown paper, a hat-box, and an umbrella
    strapped to a walking-stick!"

    To make short of it, Miss Martin come round me, and Mrs. Pratchett come
    round me, and the Mistress she was completely round me already, and all
    the women in the house come round me, and if it had been Sixteen two
    instead of Two sixteen, I should have thought myself well out of it. For
    what can you do when they do come round you?

    So I paid the money--down--and such a laughing as there was among 'em!
    But I turned the tables on 'em regularly, when I said:

    "My family-name is Blue-Beard. I'm going to open Somebody's Luggage all
    alone in the Secret Chamber, and not a female eye catches sight of the
    contents!"

    Whether I thought proper to have the firmness to keep to this, don't
    signify, or whether any female eye, and if any, how many, was really
    present when the opening of the Luggage came off. Somebody's Luggage is
    the question at present: Nobody's eyes, nor yet noses.

    What I still look at most, in connection with that Luggage, is the
    extraordinary quantity of writing-paper, and all written on! And not our
    paper neither,--not the paper charged in the bill, for we know our
    paper,--so he must have been always at it. And he had crumpled up this
    writing of his, everywhere, in every part and parcel of his luggage.
    There was writing in his dressing-case, writing in his boots, writing
    among his shaving-tackle, writing in his hat-box, writing folded away
    down among the very whalebones of his umbrella.

    His clothes wasn't bad, what there was of 'em. His dressing-case was
    poor,--not a particle of silver stopper,--bottle apertures with nothing
    in 'em, like empty little dog-kennels,--and a most searching description
    of tooth-powder diffusing itself around, as under a deluded mistake that
    all the chinks in the fittings was divisions in teeth. His clothes I
    parted with, well enough, to a second-hand dealer not far from St.
    Clement's Danes, in the Strand,--him as the officers in the Army mostly
    dispose of their uniforms to, when hard pressed with debts of honour, if
    I may judge from their coats and epaulets diversifying the window with
    their backs towards the public. The same party bought in one lot the
    portmanteau, the bag, the desk, the dressing-case, the hat-box, the
    umbrella, strap, and walking-stick. On my remarking that I should have
    thought those articles not quite in his line, he said: "No more ith a
    man'th grandmother, Mithter Chrithtopher; but if any man will bring hith
    grandmother here, and offer her at a fair trifle below what the'll feth
    with good luck when the'th thcoured and turned--I'll buy her!"

    These transactions brought me home, and, indeed, more than home, for they
    left a goodish profit on the original investment. And now there remained
    the writings; and the writings I particular wish to bring under the
    candid attention of the reader.

    I wish to do so without postponement, for this reason. That is to say,
    namely, viz. i.e., as follows, thus:--Before I proceed to recount the
    mental sufferings of which I became the prey in consequence of the
    writings, and before following up that harrowing tale with a statement of
    the wonderful and impressive catastrophe, as thrilling in its nature as
    unlooked for in any other capacity, which crowned the ole and filled the
    cup of unexpectedness to overflowing, the writings themselves ought to
    stand forth to view. Therefore it is that they now come next. One word
    to introduce them, and I lay down my pen (I hope, my unassuming pen)
    until I take it up to trace the gloomy sequel of a mind with something on
    it.

    He was a smeary writer, and wrote a dreadful bad hand. Utterly
    regardless of ink, he lavished it on every undeserving object--on his
    clothes, his desk, his hat, the handle of his tooth-brush, his umbrella.
    Ink was found freely on the coffee-room carpet by No. 4 table, and two
    blots was on his restless couch. A reference to the document I have
    given entire will show that on the morning of the third of February,
    eighteen fifty-six, he procured his no less than fifth pen and paper. To
    whatever deplorable act of ungovernable composition he immolated those
    materials obtained from the bar, there is no doubt that the fatal deed
    was committed in bed, and that it left its evidences but too plainly,
    long afterwards, upon the pillow-case.

    He had put no Heading to any of his writings. Alas! Was he likely to
    have a Heading without a Head, and where was _his_ Head when he took such
    things into it? In some cases, such as his Boots, he would appear to
    have hid the writings; thereby involving his style in greater obscurity.
    But his Boots was at least pairs,--and no two of his writings can put in
    any claim to be so regarded. Here follows (not to give more specimens)
    what was found in

    CHAPTER II--HIS BOOTS

    "Eh! well then, Monsieur Mutuel! What do I know, what can I say? I
    assure you that he calls himself Monsieur The Englishman."

    "Pardon. But I think it is impossible," said Monsieur Mutuel,--a
    spectacled, snuffy, stooping old gentleman in carpet shoes and a cloth
    cap with a peaked shade, a loose blue frock-coat reaching to his heels, a
    large limp white shirt-frill, and cravat to correspond,--that is to say,
    white was the natural colour of his linen on Sundays, but it toned down
    with the week.

    "It is," repeated Monsieur Mutuel, his amiable old walnut-shell
    countenance very walnut-shelly indeed as he smiled and blinked in the
    bright morning sunlight,--"it is, my cherished Madame Bouclet, I think,
    impossible!"

    "Hey!" (with a little vexed cry and a great many tosses of her head.)
    "But it is not impossible that you are a Pig!" retorted Madame Bouclet, a
    compact little woman of thirty-five or so. "See then,--look there,--read!
    'On the second floor Monsieur L'Anglais.' Is it not so?"

    "It is so," said Monsieur Mutuel.

    "Good. Continue your morning walk. Get out!" Madame Bouclet dismissed
    him with a lively snap of her fingers.

    The morning walk of Monsieur Mutuel was in the brightest patch that the
    sun made in the Grande Place of a dull old fortified French town. The
    manner of his morning walk was with his hands crossed behind him; an
    umbrella, in figure the express image of himself, always in one hand; a
    snuffbox in the other. Thus, with the shuffling gait of the Elephant
    (who really does deal with the very worst trousers-maker employed by the
    Zoological world, and who appeared to have recommended him to Monsieur
    Mutuel), the old gentleman sunned himself daily when sun was to be had--of
    course, at the same time sunning a red ribbon at his button-hole; for was
    he not an ancient Frenchman?

    Being told by one of the angelic sex to continue his morning walk and get
    out, Monsieur Mutuel laughed a walnut-shell laugh, pulled off his cap at
    arm's length with the hand that contained his snuffbox, kept it off for a
    considerable period after he had parted from Madame Bouclet, and
    continued his morning walk and got out, like a man of gallantry as he
    was.

    The documentary evidence to which Madame Bouclet had referred Monsieur
    Mutuel was the list of her lodgers, sweetly written forth by her own
    Nephew and Bookkeeper, who held the pen of an Angel, and posted up at the
    side of her gateway, for the information of the Police: "Au second, M.
    L'Anglais, Proprietaire." On the second floor, Mr. The Englishman, man
    of property. So it stood; nothing could be plainer.

    Madame Bouclet now traced the line with her forefinger, as it were to
    confirm and settle herself in her parting snap at Monsieur Mutuel, and so
    placing her right hand on her hip with a defiant air, as if nothing
    should ever tempt her to unsnap that snap, strolled out into the Place to
    glance up at the windows of Mr. The Englishman. That worthy happening to
    be looking out of window at the moment, Madame Bouclet gave him a
    graceful salutation with her head, looked to the right and looked to the
    left to account to him for her being there, considered for a moment, like
    one who accounted to herself for somebody she had expected not being
    there, and reentered her own gateway. Madame Bouclet let all her house
    giving on the Place in furnished flats or floors, and lived up the yard
    behind in company with Monsieur Bouclet her husband (great at billiards),
    an inherited brewing business, several fowls, two carts, a nephew, a
    little dog in a big kennel, a grape-vine, a counting-house, four horses,
    a married sister (with a share in the brewing business), the husband and
    two children of the married sister, a parrot, a drum (performed on by the
    little boy of the married sister), two billeted soldiers, a quantity of
    pigeons, a fife (played by the nephew in a ravishing manner), several
    domestics and supernumeraries, a perpetual flavour of coffee and soup, a
    terrific range of artificial rocks and wooden precipices at least four
    feet high, a small fountain, and half-a-dozen large sunflowers.

    Now the Englishman, in taking his Appartement,--or, as one might say on
    our side of the Channel, his set of chambers,--had given his name,
    correct to the letter, LANGLEY. But as he had a British way of not
    opening his mouth very wide on foreign soil, except at meals, the Brewery
    had been able to make nothing of it but L'Anglais. So Mr. The Englishman
    he had become and he remained.

    "Never saw such a people!" muttered Mr. The Englishman, as he now looked
    out of window. "Never did, in my life!"

    This was true enough, for he had never before been out of his own
    country,--a right little island, a tight little island, a bright little
    island, a show-fight little island, and full of merit of all sorts; but
    not the whole round world.

    "These chaps," said Mr. The Englishman to himself, as his eye rolled over
    the Place, sprinkled with military here and there, "are no more like
    soldiers--" Nothing being sufficiently strong for the end of his
    sentence, he left it unended.

    This again (from the point of view of his experience) was strictly
    correct; for though there was a great agglomeration of soldiers in the
    town and neighbouring country, you might have held a grand Review and
    Field-day of them every one, and looked in vain among them all for a
    soldier choking behind his foolish stock, or a soldier lamed by his ill-
    fitting shoes, or a soldier deprived of the use of his limbs by straps
    and buttons, or a soldier elaborately forced to be self-helpless in all
    the small affairs of life. A swarm of brisk, bright, active, bustling,
    handy, odd, skirmishing fellows, able to turn cleverly at anything, from
    a siege to soup, from great guns to needles and thread, from the
    broadsword exercise to slicing an onion, from making war to making
    omelets, was all you would have found.

    What a swarm! From the Great Place under the eye of Mr. The Englishman,
    where a few awkward squads from the last conscription were doing the
    goose-step--some members of those squads still as to their bodies, in the
    chrysalis peasant-state of Blouse, and only military butterflies as to
    their regimentally-clothed legs--from the Great Place, away outside the
    fortifications, and away for miles along the dusty roads, soldiers
    swarmed. All day long, upon the grass-grown ramparts of the town,
    practising soldiers trumpeted and bugled; all day long, down in angles of
    dry trenches, practising soldiers drummed and drummed. Every forenoon,
    soldiers burst out of the great barracks into the sandy gymnasium-ground
    hard by, and flew over the wooden horse, and hung on to flying ropes, and
    dangled upside-down between parallel bars, and shot themselves off wooden
    platforms,--splashes, sparks, coruscations, showers of soldiers. At
    every corner of the town-wall, every guard-house, every gateway, every
    sentry-box, every drawbridge, every reedy ditch, and rushy dike,
    soldiers, soldiers, soldiers. And the town being pretty well all wall,
    guard-house, gateway, sentry-box, drawbridge, reedy ditch, and rushy
    dike, the town was pretty well all soldiers.

    What would the sleepy old town have been without the soldiers, seeing
    that even with them it had so overslept itself as to have slept its
    echoes hoarse, its defensive bars and locks and bolts and chains all
    rusty, and its ditches stagnant! From the days when VAUBAN engineered it
    to that perplexing extent that to look at it was like being knocked on
    the head with it, the stranger becoming stunned and stertorous under the
    shock of its incomprehensibility,--from the days when VAUBAN made it the
    express incorporation of every substantive and adjective in the art of
    military engineering, and not only twisted you into it and twisted you
    out of it, to the right, to the left, opposite, under here, over there,
    in the dark, in the dirt, by the gateway, archway, covered way, dry way,
    wet way, fosse, portcullis, drawbridge, sluice, squat tower, pierced
    wall, and heavy battery, but likewise took a fortifying dive under the
    neighbouring country, and came to the surface three or four miles off,
    blowing out incomprehensible mounds and batteries among the quiet crops
    of chicory and beet-root,--from those days to these the town had been
    asleep, and dust and rust and must had settled on its drowsy Arsenals and
    Magazines, and grass had grown up in its silent streets.

    On market-days alone, its Great Place suddenly leaped out of bed. On
    market-days, some friendly enchanter struck his staff upon the stones of
    the Great Place, and instantly arose the liveliest booths and stalls, and
    sittings and standings, and a pleasant hum of chaffering and huckstering
    from many hundreds of tongues, and a pleasant, though peculiar, blending
    of colours,--white caps, blue blouses, and green vegetables,--and at last
    the Knight destined for the adventure seemed to have come in earnest, and
    all the Vaubanois sprang up awake. And now, by long, low-lying avenues
    of trees, jolting in white-hooded donkey-cart, and on donkey-back, and in
    tumbril and wagon, and cart and cabriolet, and afoot with barrow and
    burden,--and along the dikes and ditches and canals, in little
    peak-prowed country boats,--came peasant-men and women in flocks and
    crowds, bringing articles for sale. And here you had boots and shoes,
    and sweetmeats and stuffs to wear, and here (in the cool shade of the
    Town-hall) you had milk and cream and butter and cheese, and here you had
    fruits and onions and carrots, and all things needful for your soup, and
    here you had poultry and flowers and protesting pigs, and here new
    shovels, axes, spades, and bill-hooks for your farming work, and here
    huge mounds of bread, and here your unground grain in sacks, and here
    your children's dolls, and here the cake-seller, announcing his wares by
    beat and roll of drum. And hark! fanfaronade of trumpets, and here into
    the Great Place, resplendent in an open carriage, with four gorgeously-
    attired servitors up behind, playing horns, drums, and cymbals, rolled
    "the Daughter of a Physician" in massive golden chains and ear-rings, and
    blue-feathered hat, shaded from the admiring sun by two immense umbrellas
    of artificial roses, to dispense (from motives of philanthropy) that
    small and pleasant dose which had cured so many thousands! Toothache,
    earache, headache, heartache, stomach-ache, debility, nervousness, fits,
    fainting, fever, ague, all equally cured by the small and pleasant dose
    of the great Physician's great daughter! The process was this,--she, the
    Daughter of a Physician, proprietress of the superb equipage you now
    admired with its confirmatory blasts of trumpet, drum, and cymbal, told
    you so: On the first day after taking the small and pleasant dose, you
    would feel no particular influence beyond a most harmonious sensation of
    indescribable and irresistible joy; on the second day you would be so
    astonishingly better that you would think yourself changed into somebody
    else; on the third day you would be entirely free from disorder, whatever
    its nature and however long you had had it, and would seek out the
    Physician's Daughter to throw yourself at her feet, kiss the hem of her
    garment, and buy as many more of the small and pleasant doses as by the
    sale of all your few effects you could obtain; but she would be
    inaccessible,--gone for herbs to the Pyramids of Egypt,--and you would be
    (though cured) reduced to despair! Thus would the Physician's Daughter
    drive her trade (and briskly too), and thus would the buying and selling
    and mingling of tongues and colours continue, until the changing
    sunlight, leaving the Physician's Daughter in the shadow of high roofs,
    admonished her to jolt out westward, with a departing effect of gleam and
    glitter on the splendid equipage and brazen blast. And now the enchanter
    struck his staff upon the stones of the Great Place once more, and down
    went the booths, the sittings and standings, and vanished the
    merchandise, and with it the barrows, donkeys, donkey-carts, and
    tumbrils, and all other things on wheels and feet, except the slow
    scavengers with unwieldy carts and meagre horses clearing up the rubbish,
    assisted by the sleek town pigeons, better plumped out than on non-market
    days. While there was yet an hour or two to wane before the autumn
    sunset, the loiterer outside town-gate and drawbridge, and postern and
    double-ditch, would see the last white-hooded cart lessening in the
    avenue of lengthening shadows of trees, or the last country boat, paddled
    by the last market-woman on her way home, showing black upon the
    reddening, long, low, narrow dike between him and the mill; and as the
    paddle-parted scum and weed closed over the boat's track, he might be
    comfortably sure that its sluggish rest would be troubled no more until
    next market-day.

    As it was not one of the Great Place's days for getting out of bed, when
    Mr. The Englishman looked down at the young soldiers practising the goose-
    step there, his mind was left at liberty to take a military turn.

    "These fellows are billeted everywhere about," said he; "and to see them
    lighting the people's fires, boiling the people's pots, minding the
    people's babies, rocking the people's cradles, washing the people's
    greens, and making themselves generally useful, in every sort of
    unmilitary way, is most ridiculous! Never saw such a set of
    fellows,--never did in my life!"

    All perfectly true again. Was there not Private Valentine in that very
    house, acting as sole housemaid, valet, cook, steward, and nurse, in the
    family of his captain, Monsieur le Capitaine de la Cour,--cleaning the
    floors, making the beds, doing the marketing, dressing the captain,
    dressing the dinners, dressing the salads, and dressing the baby, all
    with equal readiness? Or, to put him aside, he being in loyal attendance
    on his Chief, was there not Private Hyppolite, billeted at the Perfumer's
    two hundred yards off, who, when not on duty, volunteered to keep shop
    while the fair Perfumeress stepped out to speak to a neighbour or so, and
    laughingly sold soap with his war-sword girded on him? Was there not
    Emile, billeted at the Clock-maker's, perpetually turning to of an
    evening, with his coat off, winding up the stock? Was there not Eugene,
    billeted at the Tinman's, cultivating, pipe in mouth, a garden four feet
    square, for the Tinman, in the little court, behind the shop, and
    extorting the fruits of the earth from the same, on his knees, with the
    sweat of his brow? Not to multiply examples, was there not Baptiste,
    billeted on the poor Water-carrier, at that very instant sitting on the
    pavement in the sunlight, with his martial legs asunder, and one of the
    Water-carrier's spare pails between them, which (to the delight and glory
    of the heart of the Water-carrier coming across the Place from the
    fountain, yoked and burdened) he was painting bright-green outside and
    bright-red within? Or, to go no farther than the Barber's at the very
    next door, was there not Corporal Theophile--

    "No," said Mr. The Englishman, glancing down at the Barber's, "he is not
    there at present. There's the child, though."

    A mere mite of a girl stood on the steps of the Barber's shop, looking
    across the Place. A mere baby, one might call her, dressed in the close
    white linen cap which small French country children wear (like the
    children in Dutch pictures), and in a frock of homespun blue, that had no
    shape except where it was tied round her little fat throat. So that,
    being naturally short and round all over, she looked, behind, as if she
    had been cut off at her natural waist, and had had her head neatly fitted
    on it.

    "There's the child, though."

    To judge from the way in which the dimpled hand was rubbing the eyes, the
    eyes had been closed in a nap, and were newly opened. But they seemed to
    be looking so intently across the Place, that the Englishman looked in
    the same direction.

    "O!" said he presently. "I thought as much. The Corporal's there."

    The Corporal, a smart figure of a man of thirty, perhaps a thought under
    the middle size, but very neatly made,--a sunburnt Corporal with a brown
    peaked beard,--faced about at the moment, addressing voluble words of
    instruction to the squad in hand. Nothing was amiss or awry about the
    Corporal. A lithe and nimble Corporal, quite complete, from the
    sparkling dark eyes under his knowing uniform cap to his sparkling white
    gaiters. The very image and presentment of a Corporal of his country's
    army, in the line of his shoulders, the line of his waist, the broadest
    line of his Bloomer trousers, and their narrowest line at the calf of his
    leg.

    Mr. The Englishman looked on, and the child looked on, and the Corporal
    looked on (but the last-named at his men), until the drill ended a few
    minutes afterwards, and the military sprinkling dried up directly, and
    was gone. Then said Mr. The Englishman to himself, "Look here! By
    George!" And the Corporal, dancing towards the Barber's with his arms
    wide open, caught up the child, held her over his head in a flying
    attitude, caught her down again, kissed her, and made off with her into
    the Barber's house.

    Now Mr. The Englishman had had a quarrel with his erring and disobedient
    and disowned daughter, and there was a child in that case too. Had not
    his daughter been a child, and had she not taken angel-flights above his
    head as this child had flown above the Corporal's?

    "He's a "--National Participled--"fool!" said the Englishman, and shut
    his window.

    But the windows of the house of Memory, and the windows of the house of
    Mercy, are not so easily closed as windows of glass and wood. They fly
    open unexpectedly; they rattle in the night; they must be nailed up. Mr.
    The Englishman had tried nailing them, but had not driven the nails quite
    home. So he passed but a disturbed evening and a worse night.

    By nature a good-tempered man? No; very little gentleness, confounding
    the quality with weakness. Fierce and wrathful when crossed? Very, and
    stupendously unreasonable. Moody? Exceedingly so. Vindictive? Well;
    he had had scowling thoughts that he would formally curse his daughter,
    as he had seen it done on the stage. But remembering that the real
    Heaven is some paces removed from the mock one in the great chandelier of
    the Theatre, he had given that up.

    And he had come abroad to be rid of his repudiated daughter for the rest
    of his life. And here he was.

    At bottom, it was for this reason, more than for any other, that Mr. The
    Englishman took it extremely ill that Corporal Theophile should be so
    devoted to little Bebelle, the child at the Barber's shop. In an unlucky
    moment he had chanced to say to himself, "Why, confound the fellow, he is
    not her father!" There was a sharp sting in the speech which ran into
    him suddenly, and put him in a worse mood. So he had National
    Participled the unconscious Corporal with most hearty emphasis, and had
    made up his mind to think no more about such a mountebank.

    But it came to pass that the Corporal was not to be dismissed. If he had
    known the most delicate fibres of the Englishman's mind, instead of
    knowing nothing on earth about him, and if he had been the most obstinate
    Corporal in the Grand Army of France, instead of being the most obliging,
    he could not have planted himself with more determined immovability plump
    in the midst of all the Englishman's thoughts. Not only so, but he
    seemed to be always in his view. Mr. The Englishman had but to look out
    of window, to look upon the Corporal with little Bebelle. He had but to
    go for a walk, and there was the Corporal walking with Bebelle. He had
    but to come home again, disgusted, and the Corporal and Bebelle were at
    home before him. If he looked out at his back windows early in the
    morning, the Corporal was in the Barber's back yard, washing and dressing
    and brushing Bebelle. If he took refuge at his front windows, the
    Corporal brought his breakfast out into the Place, and shared it there
    with Bebelle. Always Corporal and always Bebelle. Never Corporal
    without Bebelle. Never Bebelle without Corporal.

    Mr. The Englishman was not particularly strong in the French language as
    a means of oral communication, though he read it very well. It is with
    languages as with people,--when you only know them by sight, you are apt
    to mistake them; you must be on speaking terms before you can be said to
    have established an acquaintance.

    For this reason, Mr. The Englishman had to gird up his loins considerably
    before he could bring himself to the point of exchanging ideas with
    Madame Bouclet on the subject of this Corporal and this Bebelle. But
    Madame Bouclet looking in apologetically one morning to remark, that, O
    Heaven! she was in a state of desolation because the lamp-maker had not
    sent home that lamp confided to him to repair, but that truly he was a
    lamp-maker against whom the whole world shrieked out, Mr. The Englishman
    seized the occasion.

    "Madame, that baby--"

    "Pardon, monsieur. That lamp."

    "No, no, that little girl."

    "But, pardon!" said Madame Bonclet, angling for a clew, "one cannot light
    a little girl, or send her to be repaired?"

    "The little girl--at the house of the barber."

    "Ah-h-h!" cried Madame Bouclet, suddenly catching the idea with her
    delicate little line and rod. "Little Bebelle? Yes, yes, yes! And her
    friend the Corporal? Yes, yes, yes, yes! So genteel of him,--is it
    not?"

    "He is not--?"

    "Not at all; not at all! He is not one of her relations. Not at all!"

    "Why, then, he--"

    "Perfectly!" cried Madame Bouclet, "you are right, monsieur. It is so
    genteel of him. The less relation, the more genteel. As you say."

    "Is she--?"

    "The child of the barber?" Madame Bouclet whisked up her skilful little
    line and rod again. "Not at all, not at all! She is the child of--in a
    word, of no one."

    "The wife of the barber, then--?"

    "Indubitably. As you say. The wife of the barber receives a small
    stipend to take care of her. So much by the month. Eh, then! It is
    without doubt very little, for we are all poor here."

    "You are not poor, madame."

    "As to my lodgers," replied Madame Bouclet, with a smiling and a gracious
    bend of her head, "no. As to all things else, so-so."

    "You flatter me, madame."

    "Monsieur, it is you who flatter me in living here."

    Certain fishy gasps on Mr. The Englishman's part, denoting that he was
    about to resume his subject under difficulties, Madame Bouclet observed
    him closely, and whisked up her delicate line and rod again with
    triumphant success.

    "O no, monsieur, certainly not. The wife of the barber is not cruel to
    the poor child, but she is careless. Her health is delicate, and she
    sits all day, looking out at window. Consequently, when the Corporal
    first came, the poor little Bebelle was much neglected."

    "It is a curious--" began Mr. The Englishman.

    "Name? That Bebelle? Again you are right, monsieur. But it is a
    playful name for Gabrielle."

    "And so the child is a mere fancy of the Corporal's?" said Mr. The
    Englishman, in a gruffly disparaging tone of voice.

    "Eh, well!" returned Madame Bouclet, with a pleading shrug: "one must
    love something. Human nature is weak."

    ("Devilish weak," muttered the Englishman, in his own language.)

    "And the Corporal," pursued Madame Bouclet, "being billeted at the
    barber's,--where he will probably remain a long time, for he is attached
    to the General,--and finding the poor unowned child in need of being
    loved, and finding himself in need of loving,--why, there you have it
    all, you see!"

    Mr. The Englishman accepted this interpretation of the matter with an
    indifferent grace, and observed to himself, in an injured manner, when he
    was again alone: "I shouldn't mind it so much, if these people were not
    such a"--National Participled--"sentimental people!"

    There was a Cemetery outside the town, and it happened ill for the
    reputation of the Vaubanois, in this sentimental connection, that he took
    a walk there that same afternoon. To be sure there were some wonderful
    things in it (from the Englishman's point of view), and of a certainty in
    all Britain you would have found nothing like it. Not to mention the
    fanciful flourishes of hearts and crosses in wood and iron, that were
    planted all over the place, making it look very like a Firework-ground,
    where a most splendid pyrotechnic display might be expected after dark,
    there were so many wreaths upon the graves, embroidered, as it might be,
    "To my mother," "To my daughter," "To my father," "To my brother," "To my
    sister," "To my friend," and those many wreaths were in so many stages of
    elaboration and decay, from the wreath of yesterday, all fresh colour and
    bright beads, to the wreath of last year, a poor mouldering wisp of
    straw! There were so many little gardens and grottos made upon graves,
    in so many tastes, with plants and shells and plaster figures and
    porcelain pitchers, and so many odds and ends! There were so many
    tributes of remembrance hanging up, not to be discriminated by the
    closest inspection from little round waiters, whereon were depicted in
    glowing lines either a lady or a gentleman with a white
    pocket-handkerchief out of all proportion, leaning, in a state of the
    most faultless mourning and most profound affliction, on the most
    architectural and gorgeous urn! There were so many surviving wives who
    had put their names on the tombs of their deceased husbands, with a blank
    for the date of their own departure from this weary world; and there were
    so many surviving husbands who had rendered the same homage to their
    deceased wives; and out of the number there must have been so many who
    had long ago married again! In fine, there was so much in the place that
    would have seemed more frippery to a stranger, save for the consideration
    that the lightest paper flower that lay upon the poorest heap of earth
    was never touched by a rude hand, but perished there, a sacred thing!

    "Nothing of the solemnity of Death here," Mr. The Englishman had been
    going to say, when this last consideration touched him with a mild
    appeal, and on the whole he walked out without saying it. "But these
    people are," he insisted, by way of compensation, when he was well
    outside the gate, "they are so"--Participled--"sentimental!"

    His way back lay by the military gymnasium-ground. And there he passed
    the Corporal glibly instructing young soldiers how to swing themselves
    over rapid and deep watercourses on their way to Glory, by means of a
    rope, and himself deftly plunging off a platform, and flying a hundred
    feet or two, as an encouragement to them to begin. And there he also
    passed, perched on a crowning eminence (probably the Corporal's careful
    hands), the small Bebelle, with her round eyes wide open, surveying the
    proceeding like a wondering sort of blue and white bird.

    "If that child was to die," this was his reflection as he turned his back
    and went his way,--"and it would almost serve the fellow right for making
    such a fool of himself,--I suppose we should have him sticking up a
    wreath and a waiter in that fantastic burying-ground."

    Nevertheless, after another early morning or two of looking out of
    window, he strolled down into the Place, when the Corporal and Bebelle
    were walking there, and touching his hat to the Corporal (an immense
    achievement), wished him Good-day.

    "Good-day, monsieur."

    "This is a rather pretty child you have here," said Mr. The Englishman,
    taking her chin in his hand, and looking down into her astonished blue
    eyes.

    "Monsieur, she is a very pretty child," returned the Corporal, with a
    stress on his polite correction of the phrase.

    "And good?" said the Englishman.

    "And very good. Poor little thing!"

    "Hah!" The Englishman stooped down and patted her cheek, not without
    awkwardness, as if he were going too far in his conciliation. "And what
    is this medal round your neck, my little one?"

    Bebelle having no other reply on her lips than her chubby right fist, the
    Corporal offered his services as interpreter.

    "Monsieur demands, what is this, Bebelle?"

    "It is the Holy Virgin," said Bebelle.

    "And who gave it you?" asked the Englishman.

    "Theophile."

    "And who is Theophile?"

    Bebelle broke into a laugh, laughed merrily and heartily, clapped her
    chubby hands, and beat her little feet on the stone pavement of the
    Place.

    "He doesn't know Theophile! Why, he doesn't know any one! He doesn't
    know anything!" Then, sensible of a small solecism in her manners,
    Bebelle twisted her right hand in a leg of the Corporal's Bloomer
    trousers, and, laying her cheek against the place, kissed it.

    "Monsieur Theophile, I believe?" said the Englishman to the Corporal.

    "It is I, monsieur."

    "Permit me." Mr. The Englishman shook him heartily by the hand and
    turned away. But he took it mighty ill that old Monsieur Mutuel in his
    patch of sunlight, upon whom he came as he turned, should pull off his
    cap to him with a look of pleased approval. And he muttered, in his own
    tongue, as he returned the salutation, "Well, walnut-shell! And what
    business is it of _yours_?"

    Mr. The Englishman went on for many weeks passing but disturbed evenings
    and worse nights, and constantly experiencing that those aforesaid
    windows in the houses of Memory and Mercy rattled after dark, and that he
    had very imperfectly nailed them up. Likewise, he went on for many weeks
    daily improving the acquaintance of the Corporal and Bebelle. That is to
    say, he took Bebelle by the chin, and the Corporal by the hand, and
    offered Bebelle sous and the Corporal cigars, and even got the length of
    changing pipes with the Corporal and kissing Bebelle. But he did it all
    in a shamefaced way, and always took it extremely ill that Monsieur
    Mutuel in his patch of sunlight should note what he did. Whenever that
    seemed to be the case, he always growled in his own tongue, "There you
    are again, walnut-shell! What business is it of yours?"

    In a word, it had become the occupation of Mr. The Englishman's life to
    look after the Corporal and little Bebelle, and to resent old Monsieur
    Mutuel's looking after _him_. An occupation only varied by a fire in the
    town one windy night, and much passing of water-buckets from hand to hand
    (in which the Englishman rendered good service), and much beating of
    drums,--when all of a sudden the Corporal disappeared.

    Next, all of a sudden, Bebelle disappeared.

    She had been visible a few days later than the Corporal,--sadly
    deteriorated as to washing and brushing,--but she had not spoken when
    addressed by Mr. The Englishman, and had looked scared and had run away.
    And now it would seem that she had run away for good. And there lay the
    Great Place under the windows, bare and barren.

    In his shamefaced and constrained way, Mr. The Englishman asked no
    question of any one, but watched from his front windows and watched from
    his back windows, and lingered about the Place, and peeped in at the
    Barber's shop, and did all this and much more with a whistling and tune-
    humming pretence of not missing anything, until one afternoon when
    Monsieur Mutuel's patch of sunlight was in shadow, and when, according to
    all rule and precedent, he had no right whatever to bring his red ribbon
    out of doors, behold here he was, advancing with his cap already in his
    hand twelve paces off!

    Mr. The Englishman had got as far into his usual objurgation as, "What bu-
    si--" when he checked himself.

    "Ah, it is sad, it is sad! Helas, it is unhappy, it is sad!" Thus old
    Monsieur Mutuel, shaking his gray head.

    "What busin--at least, I would say, what do you mean, Monsieur Mutuel?"

    "Our Corporal. Helas, our dear Corporal!"

    "What has happened to him?"

    "You have not heard?"

    "No."

    "At the fire. But he was so brave, so ready. Ah, too brave, too ready!"

    "May the Devil carry you away!" the Englishman broke in impatiently; "I
    beg your pardon,--I mean me,--I am not accustomed to speak French,--go
    on, will you?"

    "And a falling beam--"

    "Good God!" exclaimed the Englishman. "It was a private soldier who was
    killed?"

    "No. A Corporal, the same Corporal, our dear Corporal. Beloved by all
    his comrades. The funeral ceremony was touching,--penetrating. Monsieur
    The Englishman, your eyes fill with tears."

    "What bu-si--"

    "Monsieur The Englishman, I honour those emotions. I salute you with
    profound respect. I will not obtrude myself upon your noble heart."

    Monsieur Mutuel,--a gentleman in every thread of his cloudy linen, under
    whose wrinkled hand every grain in the quarter of an ounce of poor snuff
    in his poor little tin box became a gentleman's property,--Monsieur
    Mutuel passed on, with his cap in his hand.

    "I little thought," said the Englishman, after walking for several
    minutes, and more than once blowing his nose, "when I was looking round
    that cemetery--I'll go there!"

    Straight he went there, and when he came within the gate he paused,
    considering whether he should ask at the lodge for some direction to the
    grave. But he was less than ever in a mood for asking questions, and he
    thought, "I shall see something on it to know it by."

    In search of the Corporal's grave he went softly on, up this walk and
    down that, peering in, among the crosses and hearts and columns and
    obelisks and tombstones, for a recently disturbed spot. It troubled him
    now to think how many dead there were in the cemetery,--he had not
    thought them a tenth part so numerous before,--and after he had walked
    and sought for some time, he said to himself, as he struck down a new
    vista of tombs, "I might suppose that every one was dead but I."

    Not every one. A live child was lying on the ground asleep. Truly he
    had found something on the Corporal's grave to know it by, and the
    something was Bebelle.

    With such a loving will had the dead soldier's comrades worked at his
    resting-place, that it was already a neat garden. On the green turf of
    the garden Bebelle lay sleeping, with her cheek touching it. A plain,
    unpainted little wooden Cross was planted in the turf, and her short arm
    embraced this little Cross, as it had many a time embraced the Corporal's
    neck. They had put a tiny flag (the flag of France) at his head, and a
    laurel garland.

    Mr. The Englishman took off his hat, and stood for a while silent. Then,
    covering his head again, he bent down on one knee, and softly roused the
    child.

    "Bebelle! My little one!"

    Opening her eyes, on which the tears were still wet, Bebelle was at first
    frightened; but seeing who it was, she suffered him to take her in his
    arms, looking steadfastly at him.

    "You must not lie here, my little one. You must come with me."

    "No, no. I can't leave Theophile. I want the good dear Theophile."

    "We will go and seek him, Bebelle. We will go and look for him in
    England. We will go and look for him at my daughter's, Bebelle."

    "Shall we find him there?"

    "We shall find the best part of him there. Come with me, poor forlorn
    little one. Heaven is my witness," said the Englishman, in a low voice,
    as, before he rose, he touched the turf above the gentle Corporal's
    breast, "that I thankfully accept this trust!"

    It was a long way for the child to have come unaided. She was soon
    asleep again, with her embrace transferred to the Englishman's neck. He
    looked at her worn shoes, and her galled feet, and her tired face, and
    believed that she had come there every day.

    He was leaving the grave with the slumbering Bebelle in his arms, when he
    stopped, looked wistfully down at it, and looked wistfully at the other
    graves around. "It is the innocent custom of the people," said Mr. The
    Englishman, with hesitation. "I think I should like to do it. No one
    sees."

    Careful not to wake Bebelle as he went, he repaired to the lodge where
    such little tokens of remembrance were sold, and bought two wreaths. One,
    blue and white and glistening silver, "To my friend;" one of a soberer
    red and black and yellow, "To my friend." With these he went back to the
    grave, and so down on one knee again. Touching the child's lips with the
    brighter wreath, he guided her hand to hang it on the Cross; then hung
    his own wreath there. After all, the wreaths were not far out of keeping
    with the little garden. To my friend. To my friend.

    Mr. The Englishman took it very ill when he looked round a street corner
    into the Great Place, carrying Bebelle in his arms, that old Mutuel
    should be there airing his red ribbon. He took a world of pains to dodge
    the worthy Mutuel, and devoted a surprising amount of time and trouble to
    skulking into his own lodging like a man pursued by Justice. Safely
    arrived there at last, he made Bebelle's toilet with as accurate a
    remembrance as he could bring to bear upon that work of the way in which
    he had often seen the poor Corporal make it, and having given her to eat
    and drink, laid her down on his own bed. Then he slipped out into the
    barber's shop, and after a brief interview with the barber's wife, and a
    brief recourse to his purse and card-case, came back again with the whole
    of Bebelle's personal property in such a very little bundle that it was
    quite lost under his arm.

    As it was irreconcilable with his whole course and character that he
    should carry Bebelle off in state, or receive any compliments or
    congratulations on that feat, he devoted the next day to getting his two
    portmanteaus out of the house by artfulness and stealth, and to
    comporting himself in every particular as if he were going to run
    away,--except, indeed, that he paid his few debts in the town, and
    prepared a letter to leave for Madame Bouclet, enclosing a sufficient sum
    of money in lieu of notice. A railway train would come through at
    midnight, and by that train he would take away Bebelle to look for
    Theophile in England and at his forgiven daughter's.

    At midnight, on a moonlight night, Mr. The Englishman came creeping forth
    like a harmless assassin, with Bebelle on his breast instead of a dagger.
    Quiet the Great Place, and quiet the never-stirring streets; closed the
    cafes; huddled together motionless their billiard-balls; drowsy the guard
    or sentinel on duty here and there; lulled for the time, by sleep, even
    the insatiate appetite of the Office of Town-dues.

    Mr. The Englishman left the Place behind, and left the streets behind,
    and left the civilian-inhabited town behind, and descended down among the
    military works of Vauban, hemming all in. As the shadow of the first
    heavy arch and postern fell upon him and was left behind, as the shadow
    of the second heavy arch and postern fell upon him and was left behind,
    as his hollow tramp over the first drawbridge was succeeded by a gentler
    sound, as his hollow tramp over the second drawbridge was succeeded by a
    gentler sound, as he overcame the stagnant ditches one by one, and passed
    out where the flowing waters were and where the moonlight, so the dark
    shades and the hollow sounds and the unwholesomely locked currents of his
    soul were vanquished and set free. See to it, Vaubans of your own
    hearts, who gird them in with triple walls and ditches, and with bolt and
    chain and bar and lifted bridge,--raze those fortifications, and lay them
    level with the all-absorbing dust, before the night cometh when no hand
    can work!

    All went prosperously, and he got into an empty carriage in the train,
    where he could lay Bebelle on the seat over against him, as on a couch,
    and cover her from head to foot with his mantle. He had just drawn
    himself up from perfecting this arrangement, and had just leaned back in
    his own seat contemplating it with great satisfaction, when he became
    aware of a curious appearance at the open carriage window,--a ghostly
    little tin box floating up in the moonlight, and hovering there.

    He leaned forward, and put out his head. Down among the rails and wheels
    and ashes, Monsieur Mutuel, red ribbon and all!

    "Excuse me, Monsieur The Englishman," said Monsieur Mutuel, holding up
    his box at arm's length, the carriage being so high and he so low; "but I
    shall reverence the little box for ever, if your so generous hand will
    take a pinch from it at parting."

    Mr. The Englishman reached out of the window before complying,
    and--without asking the old fellow what business it was of his--shook
    hands and said, "Adieu! God bless you!"

    "And, Mr. The Englishman, God bless _you_!" cried Madame Bouclet, who was
    also there among the rails and wheels and ashes. "And God will bless you
    in the happiness of the protected child now with you. And God will bless
    you in your own child at home. And God will bless you in your own
    remembrances. And this from me!"

    He had barely time to catch a bouquet from her hand, when the train was
    flying through the night. Round the paper that enfolded it was bravely
    written (doubtless by the nephew who held the pen of an Angel), "Homage
    to the friend of the friendless."

    "Not bad people, Bebelle!" said Mr. The Englishman, softly drawing the
    mantle a little from her sleeping face, that he might kiss it, "though
    they are so--"

    Too "sentimental" himself at the moment to be able to get out that word,
    he added nothing but a sob, and travelled for some miles, through the
    moonlight, with his hand before his eyes.

    CHAPTER III--HIS BROWN-PAPER PARCEL

    My works are well known. I am a young man in the Art line. You have
    seen my works many a time, though it's fifty thousand to one if you have
    seen me. You say you don't want to see me? You say your interest is in
    my works, and not in me? Don't be too sure about that. Stop a bit.

    Let us have it down in black and white at the first go off, so that there
    may be no unpleasantness or wrangling afterwards. And this is looked
    over by a friend of mine, a ticket writer, that is up to literature. I
    am a young man in the Art line--in the Fine-Art line. You have seen my
    works over and over again, and you have been curious about me, and you
    think you have seen me. Now, as a safe rule, you never have seen me, and
    you never do see me, and you never will see me. I think that's plainly
    put--and it's what knocks me over.

    If there's a blighted public character going, I am the party.

    It has been remarked by a certain (or an uncertain,) philosopher, that
    the world knows nothing of its greatest men. He might have put it
    plainer if he had thrown his eye in my direction. He might have put it,
    that while the world knows something of them that apparently go in and
    win, it knows nothing of them that really go in and don't win. There it
    is again in another form--and that's what knocks me over.

    Not that it's only myself that suffers from injustice, but that I am more
    alive to my own injuries than to any other man's. Being, as I have
    mentioned, in the Fine-Art line, and not the Philanthropic line, I openly
    admit it. As to company in injury, I have company enough. Who are you
    passing every day at your Competitive Excruciations? The fortunate
    candidates whose heads and livers you have turned upside down for life?
    Not you. You are really passing the Crammers and Coaches. If your
    principle is right, why don't you turn out to-morrow morning with the
    keys of your cities on velvet cushions, your musicians playing, and your
    flags flying, and read addresses to the Crammers and Coaches on your
    bended knees, beseeching them to come out and govern you? Then, again,
    as to your public business of all sorts, your Financial statements and
    your Budgets; the Public knows much, truly, about the real doers of all
    that! Your Nobles and Right Honourables are first-rate men? Yes, and so
    is a goose a first-rate bird. But I'll tell you this about the
    goose;--you'll find his natural flavour disappointing, without stuffing.

    Perhaps I am soured by not being popular? But suppose I AM popular.
    Suppose my works never fail to attract. Suppose that, whether they are
    exhibited by natural light or by artificial, they invariably draw the
    public. Then no doubt they are preserved in some Collection? No, they
    are not; they are not preserved in any Collection. Copyright? No, nor
    yet copyright. Anyhow they must be somewhere? Wrong again, for they are
    often nowhere.

    Says you, "At all events, you are in a moody state of mind, my friend."
    My answer is, I have described myself as a public character with a blight
    upon him--which fully accounts for the curdling of the milk in _that_
    cocoa-nut.

    Those that are acquainted with London are aware of a locality on the
    Surrey side of the river Thames, called the Obelisk, or, more generally,
    the Obstacle. Those that are not acquainted with London will also be
    aware of it, now that I have named it. My lodging is not far from that
    locality. I am a young man of that easy disposition, that I lie abed
    till it's absolutely necessary to get up and earn something, and then I
    lie abed again till I have spent it.

    It was on an occasion when I had had to turn to with a view to victuals,
    that I found myself walking along the Waterloo Road, one evening after
    dark, accompanied by an acquaintance and fellow-lodger in the gas-fitting
    way of life. He is very good company, having worked at the theatres,
    and, indeed, he has a theatrical turn himself, and wishes to be brought
    out in the character of Othello; but whether on account of his regular
    work always blacking his face and hands more or less, I cannot say.

    "Tom," he says, "what a mystery hangs over you!"

    "Yes, Mr. Click"--the rest of the house generally give him his name, as
    being first, front, carpeted all over, his own furniture, and if not
    mahogany, an out-and-out imitation--"yes, Mr. Click, a mystery does hang
    over me."

    "Makes you low, you see, don't it?" says he, eyeing me sideways.

    "Why, yes, Mr. Click, there are circumstances connected with it that
    have," I yielded to a sigh, "a lowering effect."

    "Gives you a touch of the misanthrope too, don't it?" says he. "Well,
    I'll tell you what. If I was you, I'd shake it of."

    "If I was you, I would, Mr. Click; but, if you was me, you wouldn't."

    "Ah!" says he, "there's something in that."

    When we had walked a little further, he took it up again by touching me
    on the chest.

    "You see, Tom, it seems to me as if, in the words of the poet who wrote
    the domestic drama of The Stranger, you had a silent sorrow there."

    "I have, Mr. Click."

    "I hope, Tom," lowering his voice in a friendly way, "it isn't coining,
    or smashing?"

    "No, Mr. Click. Don't be uneasy."

    "Nor yet forg--" Mr. Click checked himself, and added, "counterfeiting
    anything, for instance?"

    "No, Mr. Click. I am lawfully in the Art line--Fine-Art line--but I can
    say no more."

    "Ah! Under a species of star? A kind of malignant spell? A sort of a
    gloomy destiny? A cankerworm pegging away at your vitals in secret, as
    well as I make it out?" said Mr. Click, eyeing me with some admiration.

    I told Mr. Click that was about it, if we came to particulars; and I
    thought he appeared rather proud of me.

    Our conversation had brought us to a crowd of people, the greater part
    struggling for a front place from which to see something on the pavement,
    which proved to be various designs executed in coloured chalks on the
    pavement stones, lighted by two candles stuck in mud sconces. The
    subjects consisted of a fine fresh salmon's head and shoulders, supposed
    to have been recently sent home from the fishmonger's; a moonlight night
    at sea (in a circle); dead game; scroll-work; the head of a hoary hermit
    engaged in devout contemplation; the head of a pointer smoking a pipe;
    and a cherubim, his flesh creased as in infancy, going on a horizontal
    errand against the wind. All these subjects appeared to me to be
    exquisitely done.

    On his knees on one side of this gallery, a shabby person of modest
    appearance who shivered dreadfully (though it wasn't at all cold), was
    engaged in blowing the chalk-dust off the moon, toning the outline of the
    back of the hermit's head with a bit of leather, and fattening the down-
    stroke of a letter or two in the writing. I have forgotten to mention
    that writing formed a part of the composition, and that it also--as it
    appeared to me--was exquisitely done. It ran as follows, in fine round
    characters: "An honest man is the noblest work of God. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
    0. Pounds s. d. Employment in an office is humbly requested. Honour
    the Queen. Hunger is a 0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 sharp thorn. Chip chop,
    cherry chop, fol de rol de ri do. Astronomy and mathematics. I do this
    to support my family."

    Murmurs of admiration at the exceeding beauty of this performance went
    about among the crowd. The artist, having finished his touching (and
    having spoilt those places), took his seat on the pavement, with his
    knees crouched up very nigh his chin; and halfpence began to rattle in.

    "A pity to see a man of that talent brought so low; ain't it?" said one
    of the crowd to me.

    "What he might have done in the coach-painting, or house-decorating!"
    said another man, who took up the first speaker because I did not.

    "Why, he writes--alone--like the Lord Chancellor!" said another man.

    "Better," said another. "I know his writing. He couldn't support his
    family this way."

    Then, a woman noticed the natural fluffiness of the hermit's hair, and
    another woman, her friend, mentioned of the salmon's gills that you could
    almost see him gasp. Then, an elderly country gentleman stepped forward
    and asked the modest man how he executed his work? And the modest man
    took some scraps of brown paper with colours in 'em out of his pockets,
    and showed them. Then a fair-complexioned donkey, with sandy hair and
    spectacles, asked if the hermit was a portrait? To which the modest man,
    casting a sorrowful glance upon it, replied that it was, to a certain
    extent, a recollection of his father. This caused a boy to yelp out, "Is
    the Pinter a smoking the pipe your mother?" who was immediately shoved
    out of view by a sympathetic carpenter with his basket of tools at his
    back.

    At every fresh question or remark the crowd leaned forward more eagerly,
    and dropped the halfpence more freely, and the modest man gathered them
    up more meekly. At last, another elderly gentleman came to the front,
    and gave the artist his card, to come to his office to-morrow, and get
    some copying to do. The card was accompanied by sixpence, and the artist
    was profoundly grateful, and, before he put the card in his hat, read it
    several times by the light of his candles to fix the address well in his
    mind, in case he should lose it. The crowd was deeply interested by this
    last incident, and a man in the second row with a gruff voice growled to
    the artist, "You've got a chance in life now, ain't you?" The artist
    answered (sniffing in a very low-spirited way, however), "I'm thankful to
    hope so." Upon which there was a general chorus of "You are all right,"
    and the halfpence slackened very decidedly.

    I felt myself pulled away by the arm, and Mr. Click and I stood alone at
    the corner of the next crossing.

    "Why, Tom," said Mr. Click, "what a horrid expression of face you've
    got!"

    "Have I?" says I.

    "Have you?" says Mr. Click. "Why, you looked as if you would have his
    blood."

    "Whose blood?"

    "The artist's."

    "The artist's?" I repeated. And I laughed, frantically, wildly,
    gloomily, incoherently, disagreeably. I am sensible that I did. I know
    I did.

    Mr. Click stared at me in a scared sort of a way, but said nothing until
    we had walked a street's length. He then stopped short, and said, with
    excitement on the part of his forefinger:

    "Thomas, I find it necessary to be plain with you. I don't like the
    envious man. I have identified the cankerworm that's pegging away at
    _your_ vitals, and it's envy, Thomas."

    "Is it?" says I.

    "Yes, it is," says be. "Thomas, beware of envy. It is the green-eyed
    monster which never did and never will improve each shining hour, but
    quite the reverse. I dread the envious man, Thomas. I confess that I am
    afraid of the envious man, when he is so envious as you are. Whilst you
    contemplated the works of a gifted rival, and whilst you heard that
    rival's praises, and especially whilst you met his humble glance as he
    put that card away, your countenance was so malevolent as to be terrific.
    Thomas, I have heard of the envy of them that follows the Fine-Art line,
    but I never believed it could be what yours is. I wish you well, but I
    take my leave of you. And if you should ever got into trouble through
    knifeing--or say, garotting--a brother artist, as I believe you will,
    don't call me to character, Thomas, or I shall be forced to injure your
    case."

    Mr. Click parted from me with those words, and we broke off our
    acquaintance.

    I became enamoured. Her name was Henrietta. Contending with my easy
    disposition, I frequently got up to go after her. She also dwelt in the
    neighbourhood of the Obstacle, and I did fondly hope that no other would
    interpose in the way of our union.

    To say that Henrietta was volatile is but to say that she was woman. To
    say that she was in the bonnet-trimming is feebly to express the taste
    which reigned predominant in her own.

    She consented to walk with me. Let me do her the justice to say that she
    did so upon trial. "I am not," said Henrietta, "as yet prepared to
    regard you, Thomas, in any other light than as a friend; but as a friend
    I am willing to walk with you, on the understanding that softer
    sentiments may flow."

    We walked.

    Under the influence of Henrietta's beguilements, I now got out of bed
    daily. I pursued my calling with an industry before unknown, and it
    cannot fail to have been observed at that period, by those most familiar
    with the streets of London, that there was a larger supply. But hold!
    The time is not yet come!

    One evening in October I was walking with Henrietta, enjoying the cool
    breezes wafted over Vauxhall Bridge. After several slow turns, Henrietta
    gaped frequently (so inseparable from woman is the love of excitement),
    and said, "Let's go home by Grosvenor Place, Piccadilly, and
    Waterloo"--localities, I may state for the information of the stranger
    and the foreigner, well known in London, and the last a Bridge.

    "No. Not by Piccadilly, Henrietta," said I.

    "And why not Piccadilly, for goodness' sake?" said Henrietta.

    Could I tell her? Could I confess to the gloomy presentiment that
    overshadowed me? Could I make myself intelligible to her? No.

    "I don't like Piccadilly, Henrietta."

    "But I do," said she. "It's dark now, and the long rows of lamps in
    Piccadilly after dark are beautiful. I _will_ go to Piccadilly!"

    Of course we went. It was a pleasant night, and there were numbers of
    people in the streets. It was a brisk night, but not too cold, and not
    damp. Let me darkly observe, it was the best of all nights--FOR THE
    PURPOSE.

    As we passed the garden wall of the Royal Palace, going up Grosvenor
    Place, Henrietta murmured:

    "I wish I was a Queen!"

    "Why so, Henrietta?"

    "I would make _you_ Something," said she, and crossed her two hands on my
    arm, and turned away her head.

    Judging from this that the softer sentiments alluded to above had begun
    to flow, I adapted my conduct to that belief. Thus happily we passed on
    into the detested thoroughfare of Piccadilly. On the right of that
    thoroughfare is a row of trees, the railing of the Green Park, and a fine
    broad eligible piece of pavement.

    "Oh my!" cried Henrietta presently. "There's been an accident!"

    I looked to the left, and said, "Where, Henrietta?"

    "Not there, stupid!" said she. "Over by the Park railings. Where the
    crowd is. Oh no, it's not an accident, it's something else to look at!
    What's them lights?"

    She referred to two lights twinkling low amongst the legs of the
    assemblage: two candles on the pavement.

    "Oh, do come along!" cried Henrietta, skipping across the road with me. I
    hung back, but in vain. "Do let's look!"

    Again, designs upon the pavement. Centre compartment, Mount Vesuvius
    going it (in a circle), supported by four oval compartments, severally
    representing a ship in heavy weather, a shoulder of mutton attended by
    two cucumbers, a golden harvest with distant cottage of proprietor, and a
    knife and fork after nature; above the centre compartment a bunch of
    grapes, and over the whole a rainbow. The whole, as it appeared to me,
    exquisitely done.

    The person in attendance on these works of art was in all respects,
    shabbiness excepted, unlike the former personage. His whole appearance
    and manner denoted briskness. Though threadbare, he expressed to the
    crowd that poverty had not subdued his spirit, or tinged with any sense
    of shame this honest effort to turn his talents to some account. The
    writing which formed a part of his composition was conceived in a
    similarly cheerful tone. It breathed the following sentiments: "The
    writer is poor, but not despondent. To a British 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
    Public he Pounds s. d. appeals. Honour to our brave Army! And also 0 9
    8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 to our gallant Navy. BRITONS STRIKE the A B C D E F G
    writer in common chalks would be grateful for any suitable employment
    HOME! HURRAH!" The whole of this writing appeared to me to be
    exquisitely done.

    But this man, in one respect like the last, though seemingly hard at it
    with a great show of brown paper and rubbers, was only really fattening
    the down-stroke of a letter here and there, or blowing the loose chalk
    off the rainbow, or toning the outside edge of the shoulder of mutton.
    Though he did this with the greatest confidence, he did it (as it struck
    me) in so ignorant a manner, and so spoilt everything he touched, that
    when he began upon the purple smoke from the chimney of the distant
    cottage of the proprietor of the golden harvest (which smoke was
    beautifully soft), I found myself saying aloud, without considering of
    it:

    "Let that alone, will you?"

    "Halloa!" said the man next me in the crowd, jerking me roughly from him
    with his elbow, "why didn't you send a telegram? If we had known you was
    coming, we'd have provided something better for you. You understand the
    man's work better than he does himself, don't you? Have you made your
    will? You're too clever to live long."

    "Don't be hard upon the gentleman, sir," said the person in attendance on
    the works of art, with a twinkle in his eye as he looked at me; "he may
    chance to be an artist himself. If so, sir, he will have a
    fellow-feeling with me, sir, when I"--he adapted his action to his words
    as he went on, and gave a smart slap of his hands between each touch,
    working himself all the time about and about the composition--"when I
    lighten the bloom of my grapes--shade off the orange in my rainbow--dot
    the i of my Britons--throw a yellow light into my cow-cum-_ber_--insinuate
    another morsel of fat into my shoulder of mutton--dart another zigzag
    flash of lightning at my ship in distress!"

    He seemed to do this so neatly, and was so nimble about it, that the
    halfpence came flying in.

    "Thanks, generous public, thanks!" said the professor. "You will
    stimulate me to further exertions. My name will be found in the list of
    British Painters yet. I shall do better than this, with encouragement. I
    shall indeed."

    "You never can do better than that bunch of grapes," said Henrietta. "Oh,
    Thomas, them grapes!"

    "Not better than _that_, lady? I hope for the time when I shall paint
    anything but your own bright eyes and lips equal to life."

    "(Thomas, did you ever?) But it must take a long time, sir," said
    Henrietta, blushing, "to paint equal to that."

    "I was prenticed to it, miss," said the young man, smartly touching up
    the composition--"prenticed to it in the caves of Spain and Portingale,
    ever so long and two year over."

    There was a laugh from the crowd; and a new man who had worked himself in
    next me, said, "He's a smart chap, too; ain't he?"

    "And what a eye!" exclaimed Henrietta softly.

    "Ah! He need have a eye," said the man.

    "Ah! He just need," was murmured among the crowd.

    "He couldn't come that 'ere burning mountain without a eye," said the
    man. He had got himself accepted as an authority, somehow, and everybody
    looked at his finger as it pointed out Vesuvius. "To come that effect in
    a general illumination would require a eye; but to come it with two
    dips--why, it's enough to blind him!"

    That impostor, pretending not to have heard what was said, now winked to
    any extent with both eyes at once, as if the strain upon his sight was
    too much, and threw back his long hair--it was very long--as if to cool
    his fevered brow. I was watching him doing it, when Henrietta suddenly
    whispered, "Oh, Thomas, how horrid you look!" and pulled me out by the
    arm.

    Remembering Mr. Click's words, I was confused when I retorted, "What do
    you mean by horrid?"

    "Oh gracious! Why, you looked," said Henrietta, "as if you would have
    his blood."

    I was going to answer, "So I would, for twopence--from his nose," when I
    checked myself and remained silent.

    We returned home in silence. Every step of the way, the softer
    sentiments that had flowed, ebbed twenty mile an hour. Adapting my
    conduct to the ebbing, as I had done to the flowing, I let my arm drop
    limp, so as she could scarcely keep hold of it, and I wished her such a
    cold good-night at parting, that I keep within the bounds of truth when I
    characterise it as a Rasper.

    In the course of the next day I received the following document:

    "Henrietta informs Thomas that my eyes are open to you. I must ever
    wish you well, but walking and us is separated by an unfarmable abyss.
    One so malignant to superiority--Oh that look at him!--can never never
    conduct

    HENRIETTA

    P.S.--To the altar."

    Yielding to the easiness of my disposition, I went to bed for a week,
    after receiving this letter. During the whole of such time, London was
    bereft of the usual fruits of my labour. When I resumed it, I found that
    Henrietta was married to the artist of Piccadilly.

    Did I say to the artist? What fell words were those, expressive of what
    a galling hollowness, of what a bitter mockery! I--I--I--am the artist.
    I was the real artist of Piccadilly, I was the real artist of the
    Waterloo Road, I am the only artist of all those pavement-subjects which
    daily and nightly arouse your admiration. I do 'em, and I let 'em out.
    The man you behold with the papers of chalks and the rubbers, touching up
    the down-strokes of the writing and shading off the salmon, the man you
    give the credit to, the man you give the money to, hires--yes! and I live
    to tell it!--hires those works of art of me, and brings nothing to 'em
    but the candles.

    Such is genius in a commercial country. I am not up to the shivering, I
    am not up to the liveliness, I am not up to the wanting-employment-in-an-
    office move; I am only up to originating and executing the work. In
    consequence of which you never see me; you think you see me when you see
    somebody else, and that somebody else is a mere Commercial character. The
    one seen by self and Mr. Click in the Waterloo Road can only write a
    single word, and that I taught him, and it's MULTIPLICATION--which you
    may see him execute upside down, because he can't do it the natural way.
    The one seen by self and Henrietta by the Green Park railings can just
    smear into existence the two ends of a rainbow, with his cuff and a
    rubber--if very hard put upon making a show--but he could no more come
    the arch of the rainbow, to save his life, than he could come the
    moonlight, fish, volcano, shipwreck, mutton, hermit, or any of my most
    celebrated effects.

    To conclude as I began: if there's a blighted public character going, I
    am the party. And often as you have seen, do see, and will see, my
    Works, it's fifty thousand to one if you'll ever see me, unless, when the
    candles are burnt down and the Commercial character is gone, you should
    happen to notice a neglected young man perseveringly rubbing out the last
    traces of the pictures, so that nobody can renew the same. That's me.

    CHAPTER IV--HIS WONDERFUL END

    It will have been, ere now, perceived that I sold the foregoing writings.
    From the fact of their being printed in these pages, the inference will,
    ere now, have been drawn by the reader (may I add, the gentle reader?)
    that I sold them to One who never yet--{2}

    Having parted with the writings on most satisfactory terms,--for, in
    opening negotiations with the present Journal, was I not placing myself
    in the hands of One of whom it may be said, in the words of Another,
    {2,}--resumed my usual functions. But I too soon discovered that peace
    of mind had fled from a brow which, up to that time, Time had merely took
    the hair off, leaving an unruffled expanse within.

    It were superfluous to veil it,--the brow to which I allude is my own.

    Yes, over that brow uneasiness gathered like the sable wing of the fabled
    bird, as--as no doubt will be easily identified by all right-minded
    individuals. If not, I am unable, on the spur of the moment, to enter
    into particulars of him. The reflection that the writings must now
    inevitably get into print, and that He might yet live and meet with them,
    sat like the Hag of Night upon my jaded form. The elasticity of my
    spirits departed. Fruitless was the Bottle, whether Wine or Medicine. I
    had recourse to both, and the effect of both upon my system was
    witheringly lowering.

    In this state of depression, into which I subsided when I first began to
    revolve what could I ever say if He--the unknown--was to appear in the
    Coffee-room and demand reparation, I one forenoon in this last November
    received a turn that appeared to be given me by the finger of Fate and
    Conscience, hand in hand. I was alone in the Coffee-room, and had just
    poked the fire into a blaze, and was standing with my back to it, trying
    whether heat would penetrate with soothing influence to the Voice within,
    when a young man in a cap, of an intelligent countenance, though
    requiring his hair cut, stood before me.

    "Mr. Christopher, the Head Waiter?"

    "The same."

    The young man shook his hair out of his vision,--which it impeded,--to a
    packet from his breast, and handing it over to me, said, with his eye (or
    did I dream?) fixed with a lambent meaning on me, "THE PROOFS."

    Although I smelt my coat-tails singeing at the fire, I had not the power
    to withdraw them. The young man put the packet in my faltering grasp,
    and repeated,--let me do him the justice to add, with civility:

    "THE PROOFS. A. Y. R."

    With those words he departed.

    A. Y. R.? And You Remember. Was that his meaning? At Your Risk. Were
    the letters short for _that_ reminder? Anticipate Your Retribution. Did
    they stand for _that_ warning? Out-dacious Youth Repent? But no; for
    that, a O was happily wanting, and the vowel here was a A.

    I opened the packet, and found that its contents were the foregoing
    writings printed just as the reader (may I add the discerning reader?)
    peruses them. In vain was the reassuring whisper,--A.Y.R., All the Year
    Round,--it could not cancel the Proofs. Too appropriate name. The
    Proofs of my having sold the Writings.

    My wretchedness daily increased. I had not thought of the risk I ran,
    and the defying publicity I put my head into, until all was done, and all
    was in print. Give up the money to be off the bargain and prevent the
    publication, I could not. My family was down in the world, Christmas was
    coming on, a brother in the hospital and a sister in the rheumatics could
    not be entirely neglected. And it was not only ins in the family that
    had told on the resources of one unaided Waitering; outs were not
    wanting. A brother out of a situation, and another brother out of money
    to meet an acceptance, and another brother out of his mind, and another
    brother out at New York (not the same, though it might appear so), had
    really and truly brought me to a stand till I could turn myself round. I
    got worse and worse in my meditations, constantly reflecting "The
    Proofs," and reflecting that when Christmas drew nearer, and the Proofs
    were published, there could be no safety from hour to hour but that He
    might confront me in the Coffee-room, and in the face of day and his
    country demand his rights.

    The impressive and unlooked-for catastrophe towards which I dimly pointed
    the reader (shall I add, the highly intellectual reader?) in my first
    remarks now rapidly approaches.

    It was November still, but the last echoes of the Guy Foxes had long
    ceased to reverberate. We was slack,--several joints under our average
    mark, and wine, of course, proportionate. So slack had we become at
    last, that Beds Nos. 26, 27, 28, and 31, having took their six o'clock
    dinners, and dozed over their respective pints, had drove away in their
    respective Hansoms for their respective Night Mail-trains and left us
    empty.

    I had took the evening paper to No. 6 table,--which is warm and most to
    be preferred,--and, lost in the all-absorbing topics of the day, had
    dropped into a slumber. I was recalled to consciousness by the
    well-known intimation, "Waiter!" and replying, "Sir!" found a gentleman
    standing at No. 4 table. The reader (shall I add, the observant reader?)
    will please to notice the locality of the gentleman,--_at No. 4 table_.

    He had one of the newfangled uncollapsable bags in his hand (which I am
    against, for I don't see why you shouldn't collapse, while you are about
    it, as your fathers collapsed before you), and he said:

    "I want to dine, waiter. I shall sleep here to-night."

    "Very good, sir. What will you take for dinner, sir?"

    "Soup, bit of codfish, oyster sauce, and the joint."

    "Thank you, sir."

    I rang the chambermaid's bell; and Mrs. Pratchett marched in, according
    to custom, demurely carrying a lighted flat candle before her, as if she
    was one of a long public procession, all the other members of which was
    invisible.

    In the meanwhile the gentleman had gone up to the mantelpiece, right in
    front of the fire, and had laid his forehead against the mantelpiece
    (which it is a low one, and brought him into the attitude of leap-frog),
    and had heaved a tremenjous sigh. His hair was long and lightish; and
    when he laid his forehead against the mantelpiece, his hair all fell in a
    dusty fluff together over his eyes; and when he now turned round and
    lifted up his head again, it all fell in a dusty fluff together over his
    ears. This give him a wild appearance, similar to a blasted heath.

    "O! The chambermaid. Ah!" He was turning something in his mind. "To
    be sure. Yes. I won't go up-stairs now, if you will take my bag. It
    will be enough for the present to know my number.--Can you give me 24 B?"

    (O Conscience, what a Adder art thou!)

    Mrs. Pratchett allotted him the room, and took his bag to it. He then
    went back before the fire, and fell a biting his nails.

    "Waiter!" biting between the words, "give me," bite, "pen and paper; and
    in five minutes," bite, "let me have, if you please," bite, "a", bite,
    "Messenger."

    Unmindful of his waning soup, he wrote and sent off six notes before he
    touched his dinner. Three were City; three West-End. The City letters
    were to Cornhill, Ludgate-hill, and Farringdon Street. The West-End
    letters were to Great Marlborough Street, New Burlington Street, and
    Piccadilly. Everybody was systematically denied at every one of the six
    places, and there was not a vestige of any answer. Our light porter
    whispered to me, when he came back with that report, "All Booksellers."

    But before then he had cleared off his dinner, and his bottle of wine. He
    now--mark the concurrence with the document formerly given in
    full!--knocked a plate of biscuits off the table with his agitated elber
    (but without breakage), and demanded boiling brandy-and-water.

    Now fully convinced that it was Himself, I perspired with the utmost
    freedom. When he became flushed with the heated stimulant referred to,
    he again demanded pen and paper, and passed the succeeding two hours in
    producing a manuscript which he put in the fire when completed. He then
    went up to bed, attended by Mrs. Pratchett. Mrs. Pratchett (who was
    aware of my emotions) told me, on coming down, that she had noticed his
    eye rolling into every corner of the passages and staircase, as if in
    search of his Luggage, and that, looking back as she shut the door of 24
    B, she perceived him with his coat already thrown off immersing himself
    bodily under the bedstead, like a chimley-sweep before the application of
    machinery.

    The next day--I forbear the horrors of that night--was a very foggy day
    in our part of London, insomuch that it was necessary to light the Coffee-
    room gas. We was still alone, and no feverish words of mine can do
    justice to the fitfulness of his appearance as he sat at No. 4 table,
    increased by there being something wrong with the meter.

    Having again ordered his dinner, he went out, and was out for the best
    part of two hours. Inquiring on his return whether any of the answers
    had arrived, and receiving an unqualified negative, his instant call was
    for mulligatawny, the cayenne pepper, and orange brandy.

    Feeling that the mortal struggle was now at hand, I also felt that I must
    be equal to him, and with that view resolved that whatever he took I
    would take. Behind my partition, but keeping my eye on him over the
    curtain, I therefore operated on Mulligatawny, Cayenne Pepper, and Orange
    Brandy. And at a later period of the day, when he again said, "Orange
    Brandy," I said so too, in a lower tone, to George, my Second Lieutenant
    (my First was absent on leave), who acts between me and the bar.

    Throughout that awful day he walked about the Coffee-room continually.
    Often he came close up to my partition, and then his eye rolled within,
    too evidently in search of any signs of his Luggage. Half-past six came,
    and I laid his cloth. He ordered a bottle of old Brown. I likewise
    ordered a bottle of old Brown. He drank his. I drank mine (as nearly as
    my duties would permit) glass for glass against his. He topped with
    coffee and a small glass. I topped with coffee and a small glass. He
    dozed. I dozed. At last, "Waiter!"--and he ordered his bill. The
    moment was now at hand when we two must be locked in the deadly grapple.

    Swift as the arrow from the bow, I had formed my resolution; in other
    words, I had hammered it out between nine and nine. It was, that I would
    be the first to open up the subject with a full acknowledgment, and would
    offer any gradual settlement within my power. He paid his bill (doing
    what was right by attendance) with his eye rolling about him to the last
    for any tokens of his Luggage. One only time our gaze then met, with the
    lustrous fixedness (I believe I am correct in imputing that character to
    it?) of the well-known Basilisk. The decisive moment had arrived.

    With a tolerable steady hand, though with humility, I laid The Proofs
    before him.

    "Gracious Heavens!" he cries out, leaping up, and catching hold of his
    hair. "What's this? Print!"

    "Sir," I replied, in a calming voice, and bending forward, "I humbly
    acknowledge to being the unfortunate cause of it. But I hope, sir, that
    when you have heard the circumstances explained, and the innocence of my
    intentions--"

    To my amazement, I was stopped short by his catching me in both his arms,
    and pressing me to his breast-bone; where I must confess to my face (and
    particular, nose) having undergone some temporary vexation from his
    wearing his coat buttoned high up, and his buttons being uncommon hard.

    "Ha, ha, ha!" he cries, releasing me with a wild laugh, and grasping my
    hand. "What is your name, my Benefactor?"

    "My name, sir" (I was crumpled, and puzzled to make him out), "is
    Christopher; and I hope, sir, that, as such, when you've heard my ex--"

    "In print!" he exclaims again, dashing the proofs over and over as if he
    was bathing in them.--"In print!! O Christopher! Philanthropist!
    Nothing can recompense you,--but what sum of money would be acceptable to
    you?"

    I had drawn a step back from him, or I should have suffered from his
    buttons again.

    "Sir, I assure you, I have been already well paid, and--"

    "No, no, Christopher! Don't talk like that! What sum of money would be
    acceptable to you, Christopher? Would you find twenty pounds acceptable,
    Christopher?"

    However great my surprise, I naturally found words to say, "Sir, I am not
    aware that the man was ever yet born without more than the average amount
    of water on the brain as would not find twenty pounds acceptable.
    But--extremely obliged to you, sir, I'm sure;" for he had tumbled it out
    of his purse and crammed it in my hand in two bank-notes; "but I could
    wish to know, sir, if not intruding, how I have merited this liberality?"

    "Know then, my Christopher," he says, "that from boyhood's hour I have
    unremittingly and unavailingly endeavoured to get into print. Know,
    Christopher, that all the Booksellers alive--and several dead--have
    refused to put me into print. Know, Christopher, that I have written
    unprinted Reams. But they shall be read to you, my friend and brother.
    You sometimes have a holiday?"

    Seeing the great danger I was in, I had the presence of mind to answer,
    "Never!" To make it more final, I added, "Never! Not from the cradle to
    the grave."

    "Well," says he, thinking no more about that, and chuckling at his proofs
    again. "But I am in print! The first flight of ambition emanating from
    my father's lowly cot is realised at length! The golden bow"--he was
    getting on,--"struck by the magic hand, has emitted a complete and
    perfect sound! When did this happen, my Christopher?"

    "Which happen, sir?"

    "This," he held it out at arms length to admire it,--"this Per-rint."

    When I had given him my detailed account of it, he grasped me by the hand
    again, and said:

    "Dear Christopher, it should be gratifying to you to know that you are an
    instrument in the hands of Destiny. Because you _are_."

    A passing Something of a melancholy cast put it into my head to shake it,
    and to say, "Perhaps we all are."

    "I don't mean that," he answered; "I don't take that wide range; I
    confine myself to the special case. Observe me well, my Christopher!
    Hopeless of getting rid, through any effort of my own, of any of the
    manuscripts among my Luggage,--all of which, send them where I would,
    were always coming back to me,--it is now some seven years since I left
    that Luggage here, on the desperate chance, either that the too, too
    faithful manuscripts would come back to me no more, or that some one less
    accursed than I might give them to the world. You follow me, my
    Christopher?"

    "Pretty well, sir." I followed him so far as to judge that he had a weak
    head, and that the Orange, the Boiling, and Old Brown combined was
    beginning to tell. (The Old Brown, being heady, is best adapted to
    seasoned cases.)

    "Years elapsed, and those compositions slumbered in dust. At length,
    Destiny, choosing her agent from all mankind, sent You here, Christopher,
    and lo! the Casket was burst asunder, and the Giant was free!"

    He made hay of his hair after he said this, and he stood a-tiptoe.

    "But," he reminded himself in a state of excitement, "we must sit up all
    night, my Christopher. I must correct these Proofs for the press. Fill
    all the inkstands, and bring me several new pens."

    He smeared himself and he smeared the Proofs, the night through, to that
    degree that when Sol gave him warning to depart (in a four-wheeler), few
    could have said which was them, and which was him, and which was blots.
    His last instructions was, that I should instantly run and take his
    corrections to the office of the present Journal. I did so. They most
    likely will not appear in print, for I noticed a message being brought
    round from Beauford Printing House, while I was a throwing this
    concluding statement on paper, that the ole resources of that
    establishment was unable to make out what they meant. Upon which a
    certain gentleman in company, as I will not more particularly name,--but
    of whom it will be sufficient to remark, standing on the broad basis of a
    wave-girt isle, that whether we regard him in the light of,--{3} laughed,
    and put the corrections in the fire.

    FOOTNOTES

    {1} Its name and address at length, with other full particulars, all
    editorially struck out.

    {2} The remainder of this complimentary sentence editorially struck out.

    {3} The remainder of this complimentary parenthesis editorially struck
    out.
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