The Project Gutenberg eBook of Pelham — Volume 02

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Title: Pelham — Volume 02

Author: Baron Edward Bulwer Lytton Lytton

Release date: March 1, 2005 [eBook #7616]
Most recently updated: December 30, 2020

Language: English

Credits: This eBook was produced by David Widger


This eBook was produced by David Widger



             Alea sequa vorax species certissima furti
             Non contenta bonis, animum quoque perfida mergit;—
             Furca, furax—infamis, iners, furiosa, ruina.
             Petrarch: Dial.

I dined the next day at the Freres Provencaux; an excellent restaurateur's, by-the-by, where one gets irreproachable gibier, and meets no English. After dinner, I strolled into the various gambling houses, with which the Palais Royal abounds.

In one of these, the crowd and heat were so great, that I should immediately have retired if I had not been struck with the extreme and intense expression of interest in the countenance of one of the spectators at the rouge et noir table. He was a man about forty years of age; his complexion was dark and sallow; the features prominent, and what are generally called handsome; but there was a certain sinister expression in his eyes and mouth, which rendered the effect of his physiognomy rather disagreeable than prepossessing. At a small distance from him, and playing, with an air which, in its carelessness and nonchalance, formed a remarkable contrast to the painful anxiety of the man I have just described, sate Mr. Thornton.

At first sight, these two appeared to be the only Englishmen present besides myself; I was more struck by seeing the former in that scene, than I was at meeting Thornton there; for there was something distingue in the mien of the stranger, which suited far worse with the appearance of the place, than the bourgeois air and dress of my ci-devant second.

"What! another Englishman?" thought I, as I turned round and perceived a thick, rough great coat, which could possibly belong to no continental shoulders. The wearer was standing directly opposite the seat of the swarthy stranger; his hat was slouched over his face; I moved in order to get a clearer view of his countenance. It was the same person I had seen with Thornton that morning. Never to this moment have I forgotten the stern and ferocious expression with which he was gazing upon the keen and agitated features of the gambler opposite. In the eye and lip there was neither pleasure, hatred, nor scorn, in their simple and unalloyed elements; but each seemed blent and mingled into one deadly concentration of evil passions.

This man neither played, nor spoke, nor moved. He appeared utterly insensible of every feeling in common with those around. There he stood, wrapt in his own dark and inscrutable thoughts, never, for one instant, taking his looks from the varying countenance which did not observe their gaze, nor altering the withering character of their almost demoniacal expression. I could not tear myself from the spot. I felt chained by some mysterious and undefinable interest; my attention was first diverted into a new channel, by a loud exclamation from the dark visaged gambler at the table; it was the first he had uttered, notwithstanding his anxiety; and, from the deep, thrilling tone in which it was expressed, it conveyed a keen sympathy with the overcharged feelings which it burst from.

With a trembling hand, he took from an old purse the few Napoleons that were still left there. He set them all at one hazard, on the rouge. He hung over the table with a dropping lip; his hands were tightly clasped in each other; his nerves seemed strained into the last agony of excitation. I ventured to raise my eyes upon the gaze, which I felt must still be upon the gambler—there it was fixed, and stern as before; but it now conveyed a deeper expression of joy than of the other passions which were there met. Yet a joy so malignant and fiendish, that no look of mere anger or hatred could have so chilled my heart. I dropped my eyes. I redoubled my attention to the cards—the last two were to be turned up. A moment more!—the fortune was to the noir. The stranger had lost! He did not utter a single word. He looked with a vacant eye on the long mace, with which the marker had swept away his last hopes, with his last coin, and then, rising, left the room, and disappeared.

The other Englishman was not long in following him. He uttered a short, low, laugh, unobserved, perhaps, by any one but myself; and, pushing through the atmosphere of sacres and mille tonnerres, which filled that pandaemonium, strode quickly to the door. I felt as if a load had been taken from my bosom, when he was gone.


             Reddere person ae scit convenientia cuique.
                          —Horace: Ars Poetica.

I was loitering over my breakfast the next morning, and thinking of the last night's scene, when Lord Vincent was announced.

"How fares the gallant Pelham?" said he, as he entered the room.

"Why, to say the truth," I replied, "I am rather under the influence of blue devils this morning, and your visit is like a sun-beam in November."

"A bright thought," said Vincent, "and I shall make you a very pretty little poet soon; publish you in a neat octavo, and dedicate you to Lady D—e. Pray, by the by, have you ever read her plays? You know they were only privately printed?"

"No," said I, (for in good truth, had his lordship interrogated me touching any other literary production, I should have esteemed it a part of my present character to return the same answer.)

"No!" repeated Vincent; "permit me to tell you, that you must never seem ignorant of any work not published. To be recherche, one must always know what other people don't—and then one has full liberty to sneer at the value of what other people do know. Renounce the threshold of knowledge. There every new proselyte can meet you. Boast of your acquaintance with the sanctum, and not one in ten thousand can dispute it with you. Have you read Monsieur de C—'s pamphlet?"

"Really," said I, "I have been so busy."

"Ah, mon ami!" cried Vincent, "the greatest sign of an idle man is to complain of being busy. But you have had a loss: the pamphlet is good. C- -, by the way, has an extraordinary, though not an expanded mind; it is like a citizen's garden near London: a pretty parterre here, and a Chinese pagoda there; an oak tree in one corner, and a mushroom bed in the other. You may traverse the whole in a stride; it is the four quarters of the globe in a mole-hill. Yet every thing is good in its kind; and is neither without elegance nor design in its arrangement."

"What do you think," said I, "of the Baron de—, the minister of—?"

"Of him!" replied Vincent—

           "'His soul
           Still sits at squat, and peeps not from its hole.'"

"It is dark and bewildered—full of dim visions of the ancient regime;—it is a bat hovering about the chambers of an old ruin. Poor, antique little soul! but I will say nothing more about it,—

                   "'For who would be satirical
                   Upon a thing so very small'"
                   as the soul of the Baron de—?"

Finding Lord Vincent so disposed to the biting mood, I immediately directed his rabies towards Mr. Aberton, for whom I had a most inexpressible contempt.

"Aberton," said Vincent, in answer to my question, if he knew that aimable attache—"Yes! a sort of man who, speaking of the English embassy, says we—who sticks his best cards on his chimney-piece, and writes himself billets-doux from duchesses. A duodecimo of 'precious conceits,' bound in calf-skin—I know the man well; does he not dress decently, Pelham?"

"His clothes are well made," said I; "but no man can dress well with those hands and feet!" "Ah!" said Vincent, "I should think he went to the best tailor, and said, 'give me a collar like Lord So and So's,'; one who would not dare to have a new waistcoat till it had been authoritatively patronized, and who took his fashions, like his follies, from the best proficients. Such fellows are always too ashamed of themselves not to be proud of their clothes—like the Chinese mariners, they burn incense before the needle!"

"And Mr. Howard de Howard," said I, laughing, "what do you think of him?"

"What! the thin secretary?" cried Vincent.

"He is the mathematical definition of a straight line—length without breadth. His inseparable friend, Mr. Aberton, was running up the Rue St. Honore yesterday in order to catch him."

"Running!" cried I, "just like common people—when were you or I ever seen running?"

"True," continued Vincent; "but when I saw him chasing that meagre apparition, I said to Bennington, 'I have found out the real Peter Schlemil!' 'Who?'(asked his grave lordship, with serious naivete) 'Mr. Aberton,'said I; 'don't you see him running after his shadow?' But the pride of the lean thing is so amusing! He is fifteenth cousin to the duke, and so his favourite exordium is, 'Whenever I succeed to the titles of my ancestors.'It was but the other day, that he heard two or three silly young men discussing church and state, and they began by talking irreligion—(Mr. Howard de Howard is too unsubstantial not to be spiritually inclined)—however he only fidgeted in his chair. They then proceeded to be exceedingly disloyal. Mr. Howard de Howard fidgeted again;—they then passed to vituperations on the aristocracy—this the attenuated pomposity (magni nominis umbra) could brook no longer. He rose up, cast a severe look on the abashed youths, and thus addressed them— 'Gentlemen, I have sate by in silence, and heard my King derided, and my God blasphemed; but now in attacking the aristocracy, I can no longer refrain from noticing so obviously intentional an insult. You have become personal.' But did you know, Pelham, that he is going to be married?"

"No," said I. "I can't say that I thought such an event likely. Who is the intended?"

"A Miss—, a girl with some fortune. 'I can bring her none,' said he to the father, 'but I can make her Mrs. Howard de Howard.'"

"Alas, poor girl!" said I, "I fear that her happiness will hang upon a slender thread. But suppose we change the conversation: first, because the subject is so meagre, that we might easily wear it out, and secondly, because such jests may come home. I am not very corpulent myself."

"Bah!" said Vincent, "but at least you have bones and muscles. If you were to pound the poor secretary in a mortar, you might take him all up in a pinch of snuff."

"Pray, Vincent," said I, after a short pause, "did you ever meet with a
Mr. Thornton, at Paris?"

"Thornton, Thornton," said Vincent, musingly; "what, Tom Thornton?"

"I should think, very likely," I replied; "just the sort of man who would be Tom Thornton—has a broad face, with a colour, and wears a spotted neckcloth; Tom—what could his name be but Tom?"

"Is he about five-and-thirty?" asked Vincent, "rather short, and with reddish coloured hair and whiskers?"

"Precisely," said I; "are not all Toms alike?"

"Ah," said Vincent, "I know him well: he is a clever, shrewd fellow, but a most unmitigated rascal. He is the son of a steward in Lancashire, and received an attorney's education; but being a humorous, noisy fellow, he became a great favourite with his father's employer, who was a sort of Mecaenas to cudgel players, boxers, and horse jockies. At his house, Thornton met many persons of rank, but of a taste similar to their host's: and they, mistaking his vulgar coarseness for honesty, and his quaint proverbs for wit, admitted him into their society. It was with one of them that I have seen him. I believe of late, that his character has been of a very indifferent odour: and whatever has brought him among the English at Paris—those white-washed abominations—those 'innocent blacknesses,' as Charles Lamb calls chimney sweepers, it does not argue well for his professional occupations. I should think, however, that he manages to live here; for wherever there are English fools, there are fine pickings for an English rogue."

"Ay," said I, "but are there enough fools here, to feed the rogues?"

"Yes, because rogues are like spiders, and eat each other, when there is nothing else to catch; and Tom Thornton is safe, as long as the ordinary law of nature lasts, that the greater knave preys on the lesser, for there cannot possibly be a greater knave than he is. If you have made his acquaintance, my dear Pelham, I advise you most soberly to look to yourself, for if he doth not steal, beg, or borrow of you, Mr. Howard de Howard will grow fat, and even Mr. Aberton cease to be a fool. And now, most noble Pelham, farewell. Il est plus aise d'etre sage pour les autres que de l'etre pour soi-meme."


                   This is a notable couple—and have met
                   But for some secret knavery.
                                 —The Tanner of Tyburn.

I had now been several weeks in Paris, and I was not altogether dissatisfied with the manner in which they had been spent. I had enjoyed myself to the utmost, while I had, as much as possible, combined profit with pleasure; viz. if I went to the Opera in the evening, I learned to dance in the morning; if I drove to a soiree at the Duchesse de Perpignan's, it was not till I had fenced an hour at the Salon des Assauts d'Armes; and if I made love to the duchess herself it was sure to be in a position I had been a whole week in acquiring from my master of the graces; in short, I took the greatest pains to complete my education. I wish all young men who frequented the Continent for that purpose, could say the same.

One day (about a week after the conversation with Vincent, recorded in my last chapter) I was walking slowly along one of the paths in the Jardin des Plantes, meditating upon the various excellencies of the Rocher de Cancale and the Duchesse de Perpignan, when I perceived a tall man, with a thick, rough coat, of a dark colour (which I recognized long before I did the face of the wearer) emerging from an intersecting path. He stopped for a few moments, and looked round as if expecting some one. Presently a woman, apparently about thirty, and meanly dressed, appeared in an opposite direction. She approached him; they exchanged a few words, and then, the woman taking his arm, they struck into another path, and were soon out of sight. I suppose that the reader has already discovered that this man was Thornton's companion in the Bois de Boulogne, and the hero of the Salon de Jeu, in the Palais Royal. I could not have supposed that so noble a countenance, even in its frowns, could ever have wasted its smiles upon a mistress of that low station to which the woman who had met him evidently belonged. However, we all have our little foibles, as the Frenchman said, when he boiled his grandmother's head in a pipkin.

I myself was, at that time, the sort of person that is always taken by a pretty face, however coarse may be the garments which set it off; and although I cannot say that I ever stooped so far as to become amorous of a chambermaid, yet I could be tolerably lenient to any man under thirty who did. As a proof of this gentleness of disposition, ten minutes after I had witnessed so unsuitable a rencontre, I found myself following a pretty little bourgeoise into a small sort of cabaret, which was, at the time I speak of (and most probably still is), in the midst of the gardens. I sat down, and called for my favourite drink of lemonade; the little grisette, who was with an old woman, possibly her mother, and un beau gros garcon, probably her lover, sat opposite, and began, with all the ineffable coquetries of her country, to divide her attention between the said garcon and myself. Poor fellow, he seemed to be very little pleased by the significant glances exchanged over his right shoulder, and, at last, under pretence of screening her from the draught of the open window, placed himself exactly between us. This, however ingenious, did not at all answer his expectations; for he had not sufficiently taken into consideration, that I also was endowed with the power of locomotion; accordingly I shifted my chair about three feet, and entirely defeated the countermarch of the enemy.

But this flirtation did not last long; the youth and the old woman appeared very much of the same opinion as to its impropriety; and accordingly, like experienced generals, resolved to conquer by a retreat; they drank up their orgeat—paid for it—placed the wavering regiment in the middle, and left me master of the field. I was not, however, of a disposition to break my heart at such an occurrence, and I remained by the window, drinking my lemonade, and muttering to myself, "After all, women are a great bore."

On the outside of the cabaret, and just under my window, was a bench, which for a certain number of sous, one might appropriate to the entire and unparticipated use of one's self and party. An old woman (so at least I suppose by her voice, for I did not give myself the trouble of looking, though, indeed as to that matter, it might have been the shrill treble of Mr. Howard de Howard) had been hitherto engrossing this settlement with some gallant or other. In Paris, no women are too old to get an amant, either by love or money. In a moment of tenderness, this couple paired off, and were immediately succeeded by another. The first tones of the man's voice, low as they were, made me start from my seat. I cast one quick glance before I resumed it. The new pair were the Englishman I had before noted in the garden, and the female companion who had joined him.

"Two hundred pounds, you say?" muttered the man; "we must have it all."

"But," said the woman, in the same whispered voice, "he says, that he will never touch another card."

The man laughed. "Fool," said he, "the passions are not so easily quelled—how many days is it since he had this remittance from England?"

"About three," replied the woman.

"And it is absolutely the very last remnant of his property?"

"The last."

"I am then to understand, that when this is spent there is nothing between him and beggary?"

"Nothing," said the woman, with a half sigh.

The man laughed again, and then rejoined in an altered tone, "Then, then will this parching thirst be quenched at last. I tell you, woman, that it is many months since I have known a day—night—hour, in which my life has been as the life of other men. My whole soul has been melted down into one burning, burning thought. Feel this hand—ay, you may well start—but what is the fever of the frame to that within?"

Here the voice sunk so low as to be inaudible. The woman seemed as if endeavouring to sooth him; at length she said—"But poor Tyrrell—you will not, surely, suffer him to die of actual starvation?"

The man paused for a few moments, and then replied—"Night and day, I pray to God, upon my bended knees, only one unvarying, unceasing prayer, and that is—'When the last agonies shall be upon that man—when, sick with weariness, pain, disease, hunger, he lies down to die—when the death-gurgle is in the throat, and the eye swims beneath the last dull film—when remembrance peoples the chamber with Hell, and his cowardice would falter forth its dastard recantation to Heaven—then—may I be there?"

There was a long pause, only broken by the woman's sobs, which she appeared endeavouring to stifle. At last the man rose, and in a tone so soft that it seemed literally like music, addressed her in the most endearing terms. She soon yielded to their persuasion, and replied to them with interest. "Spite of the stings of my remorse," she said, "as long as I lose not you, I will lose life, honour, hope, even soul itself!"

They both quitted the spot as she said this.

O, that woman's love! how strong is it in its weakness! how beautiful in its guilt!


             At length the treacherous snare was laid,
             Poor pug was caught—to town convey'd;
             There sold. How envied was his doom,
             Made captive in a lady's room!
                          —Gay's Fables.

I was sitting alone a morning or two after this adventure, when Bedos entering, announced une dame. This dame was a fine tall thing, dressed out like a print in the Magasin des Modes. She sate herself down, threw up her veil, and, after a momentary pause, asked me if I liked my apartment?

"Very much," said I, somewhat surprised at the nature of the interrogatory.

"Perhaps you would wish it altered in some way?" rejoined the lady.

"Non—mille remercimens!" said I—"you are very good to be so interested in my accommodation."

"Those curtains might be better arranged—that sofa replaced with a more elegant one," continued my new superintendant.

"Really," said I, "I am too, too much flattered. Perhaps you would like to have my rooms altogether; if so, make at least no scruple of saying it."

"Oh, no," replied the lady, "I have no objection to your staying here."

"You are too kind," said I, with a low bow.

There was a pause of some moments—I took advantage of it.

"I think, Madame, I have the honour of speaking to—to—to—" "The mistress of the hotel," said the lady, quietly. "I merely called to ask you how you did, and hope you were well accommodated."

"Rather late, considering I have been six weeks in the house," thought I, revolving in my mind various reports I had heard of my present visitor's disposition to gallantry. However, seeing it was all over with me, I resigned myself, with the patience of a martyr, to the fate that I foresaw. I rose, approached her chair, took her hand (very hard and thin it was too), and thanked her with a most affectionate squeeze.

"I have seen much English!" said the lady, for the first time speaking in our language.

"Ah!" said I, giving another squeeze.

"You are handsome, garcon," renewed the lady.

"I am so," I replied.

At that moment Bedos entered, and whispered that Madame D'Anville was in the anti-room.

"Good heavens!" said I, knowing her jealousy of disposition, "what is to be done? Oblige me, Madame," seizing the unfortunate mistress of the hotel, and opening the door to the back entrance—"There," said I, "you can easily escape. Bon jour."

Hardly had I closed the door, and put the key in my pocket, before Madame
D'Anville entered.

"Do you generally order your servants to keep me waiting in your anti- room?" said she haughtily.

"Not generally," I replied, endeavouring to make my peace; but all my complaisance was in vain—she was jealous of my intimacy with the Duchesse de Perpignan, and glad of any excuse to vent her pique. I am just the sort of man to bear, but never to forgive a woman's ill temper, viz.—it makes no impression on me at the time, but leaves a sore recollection of something disagreeable, which I internally resolve never again to experience. Madame D'Anville was going to the Luxembourg; and my only chance of soothing her anger was to accompany her.

Down stairs, therefore, we went, and drove to the Luxembourg; I gave Bedos, before my departure, various little commissions, and told him he need not be at home till the evening. Long before the expiration of an hour, Madame D'Anville's ill humour had given me an excuse for affecting it myself. Tired to death of her, and panting for release, I took a high tone—complained of her ill temper, and her want of love—spoke rapidly— waited for no reply, and leaving her at the Luxembourg, proceeded forthwith to Galignani's, like a man just delivered from a strait waistcoat.

Leave me now, for a few minutes, in the reading-room at Galignani's, and return to the mistress of the hotel, whom I had so unceremoniously thrust out of my salon. The passage into which she had been put communicated by one door with my rooms, and by another with the staircase. Now, it had so happened, that Bedos was in the habit of locking the latter door, and keeping the key; the other egress, it will be remembered, I myself had secured; so that the unfortunate mistress of the hotel was no sooner turned into this passage than she found herself in a sort of dungeon, ten feet by five, and surrounded, like Eve in Paradise, by a whole creation— not of birds, beasts, and fishes, but of brooms, brushes, unclean linen, and a wood-basket. What she was to do in this dilemma was utterly inconceivable; scream, indeed, she might, but then the shame and ridicule of being discovered in so equivocal a situation, were somewhat more than our discreet landlady could endure. Besides, such an expose might be attended with a loss the good woman valued more than reputation, viz. lodgers; for the possessors of the two best floors were both Englishwomen of a certain rank; and my landlady had heard such accounts of our national virtue, that she feared an instantaneous emigration of such inveterate prudes, if her screams and situation reached their ears.

Quietly then, and soberly, did the good lady sit, eyeing the brooms and brushes as they grew darker and darker with the approach of the evening, and consoling herself with the certainty that her release must eventually take place.

Meanwhile, to return to myself—from which dear little person, I very
seldom, even in imagination, digress—I found Lord Vincent at
Galignani's, carefully looking over "Choice Extracts from the best
English Authors."

"Ah, my good fellow!" said he, "I am delighted to see you; I made such a capital quotation just now: the young Benningtons were drowning a poor devil of a puppy; the youngest (to whom the mother belonged) looked on with a grave earnest face, till the last kick was over, and then burst into tears. 'Why do you cry so?' said I. 'Because it was so cruel in us to drown the poor puppy!' replied the juvenile Philocunos. 'Pooh," said I, "'Quid juvat errores mersa jam puppe fateri.'" Was it not good?—you remember it in Claudian, eh, Pelham? Think of its being thrown away on those Latinless young lubbers! Have you seen any thing of Mr. Thornton lately?"

"No," said I, "I've not, but I am determined to have that pleasure soon."

"You will do as you please," said Vincent, "but you will be like the child playing with edged tools."

"I am not a child," said I, "so the simile is not good. He must be the devil himself, or a Scotchman at least, to take me in."

Vincent shook his head. "Come and dine with me at the Rocher," said he; "we are a party of six—choice spirits all."

"Volontiers; but we can stroll in the Tuileries first, if you have no other engagement."

"None," said Vincent, putting his arm in mine.

As we passed up the Rue de la Paix, we met Sir Henry Millington, mounted on a bay horse, as stiff as himself, and cantering down the street as if he and his steed had been cut out of pasteboard together.

"I wish," said Vincent, (to borrow Luttrel's quotation,) "that that master of arts would 'cleanse his bosom of that perilous stuff.' I should like to know in what recess of that immense mass now cantering round the corner is the real body of Sir Henry Millington. I could fancy the poor snug little thing shrinking within, like a guilty conscience. Ah, well says Juvenal,

"'Mors sola fatetur Quantula sint hominum corpuscula.'"

"He has a superb head, though," I replied. I like to allow that other people are handsome now and then—it looks generous."

"Yes," said Vincent, "for a barber's block: but here comes Mrs. C—me, and her beautiful daughter—those are people you ought to know, if you wish to see human nature a little relieved from the frivolities which make it in society so like a man milliner. Mrs. C—has considerable genius, combined with great common sense."

"A rare union," said I.

"By no means," replied Vincent. "It is a cant antithesis in opinion to oppose them to one another; but, so far as mere theoretical common sense is concerned, I would much sooner apply to a great poet or a great orator for advice on matter of business, than any dull plodder who has passed his whole life in a counting-house. Common sense is only a modification of talent—genius is an exaltation of it: the difference is, therefore, in the degree, not nature. But to return to Mrs. C—; she writes beautiful poetry—almost impromptu; draws excellent caricatures; possesses a laugh for whatever is ridiculous, but never loses a smile for whatever is good. Placed in very peculiar situations, she has passed through each with a grace and credit which make her best eulogium. If she possesses one quality higher than intellect, it is her kindness of heart: no wonder indeed, that she is so really clever—those trees which are the soundest at the core produce the finest fruits, and the most beautiful blossoms."

"Lord Vincent grows poetical," thought I—"how very different he really is to that which he affects to be in the world; but so it is with every one—we are all like the ancient actors: let our faces be ever so beautiful, we must still wear a mask."

After an hour's walk, Vincent suddenly recollected that he had a commission of a very important nature in the Rue J. J. Rousseau. This was—to buy a monkey. "It is for Wormwood," said he, "who has written me a long letter, describing its' qualities and qualifications. I suppose he wants it for some practical joke—some embodied bitterness—God forbid I should thwart him in so charitable a design!"

"Amen," said I; and we proceeded together to the monkey-fancier. After much deliberation we at last decided upon the most hideous animal I ever beheld—it was of a—no, I will not attempt to describe it—it would be quite impossible! Vincent was so delighted with our choice that he insisted upon carrying it away immediately.

"Is it quite quiet?" I asked.

"Comme un oiseau," said the man.

We called a fiacre—paid for monsieur Jocko, and drove to Vincent's apartments; there we found, however, that his valet had gone out and taken the key.

"Hang it," said Vincent, "it does not signify! We'll carry le petit monsieur with us to the Rocher."

Accordingly we all three once more entered the fiacre, and drove to the celebrated restaurateur's of the Rue Mont Orgueil. O, blissful recollections of that dinner! how at this moment you crowd upon my delighted remembrance! Lonely and sorrowful as I now sit, digesting with many a throe the iron thews of a British beef-steak—more anglico— immeasurably tough—I see the grateful apparitions of Escallopes de Saumon and Laitances de Carps rise in a gentle vapour before my eyes! breathing a sweet and pleasant odour, and contrasting the dream-like delicacies of their hue and aspect, with the dire and dure realities which now weigh so heavily on the region below my heart! And thou, most beautiful of all—thou evening star of entremets—thou that delightest in truffles, and gloriest in a dark cloud of sauces—exquisite foie-gras!— Have I forgotten thee? Do I not, on the contrary, see thee—smell thee— taste thee—and almost die with rapture of thy possession? What, though the goose, of which thou art a part, has, indeed, been roasted alive by a slow fire, in order to increase thy divine proportions—yet has not our Almanach—the Almanach des Gourmands—truly declared that the goose rejoiced amid all her tortures—because of the glory that awaited her? Did she not, in prophetic vision, behold her enlarged and ennobled foie dilate into pates and steam into sautees—the companion of truffles—the glory of dishes—the delight—the treasure—the transport of gourmands! O, exalted among birds—apotheosised goose, did not thy heart exult even when thy liver parched and swelled within thee, from that most agonizing death; and didst thou not, like the Indian at the stake, triumph in the very torments which alone could render thee illustrious?

After dinner we grew exceedingly merry. Vincent punned and quoted; we laughed and applauded; and our Burgundy went round with an alacrity, to which every new joke gave an additional impetus. Monsieur Jocko was by no means the dullest in the party; he cracked his nuts with as much grace as we did our jests, and grinned and chatted as facetiously as the best of us. After coffee we were all so pleased with one another, that we resolved not to separate, and accordingly we adjourned to my rooms, Jocko and all, to find new revelries and grow brilliant over Curacoa punch.

We entered my salon with a roar, and set Bedos to work at the punch forthwith. Bedos, that Ganymede of a valet, had himself but just arrived, and was unlocking the door as we entered. We soon blew up a glorious fire, and our spirits brightened in proportion. Monsieur Jocko sate on Vincent's knee—Ne monstrum, as he classically termed it. One of our compotatores was playing with it. Jocko grew suddenly in earnest—a grin- -a scratch and a bite, were the work of a moment.

"Ne quid nimis—now," said Vincent, gravely, instead of endeavouring to soothe the afflicted party, who grew into a towering passion. Nothing but Jocko's absolute disgrace could indeed have saved his life from the vengeance of the sufferer.

"Where shall we banish him?" said Vincent.

"Oh," I replied, "put him out in that back passage; the outer door is shut; he'll be quite safe;" and to the passage he was therefore immediately consigned.

It was in this place, the reader will remember, that the hapless Dame du
Chateau was at that very instant in "durance vile." Bedos, who took the
condemned monkey, opened the door, thrust Jocko in, and closed it again.
Meanwhile we resumed our merriment.

"Nunc est bibendum," said Vincent, as Bedos placed the punch on the table. "Give us a toast, Dartmore."

Lord Dartmore was a young man, with tremendous spirits, which made up for wit. He was just about to reply, when a loud shriek was heard from Jocko's place of banishment: a sort of scramble ensued, and the next moment the door was thrown violently open, and in rushed the terrified landlady, screaming like a sea-gull, and bearing Jocko aloft upon her shoulders, from which "bad eminence" he was grinning and chattering with the fury of fifty devils. She ran twice round the room, and then sunk on the floor in hysterics. We lost no time in hastening to her assistance; but the warlike Jocko, still sitting upon her, refused to permit one of us to approach. There he sat, turning from side to side, showing his sharp, white teeth, and uttering from time to time the most menacing and diabolical sounds.

"What the deuce shall we do?" cried Dartmore.

"Do?" said Vincent, who was convulsed with laughter, and yet endeavouring to speak gravely; "why, watch like L. Opimius, 'ne quid respublica detrimenti caperet.'"

"By Jove, Pelham, he will scratch out the lady's beaux yeux," cried the good-natured Dartmore, endeavouring to seize the monkey by the tail, for which he very narrowly escaped with an unmutilated visage. But the man who had before suffered by Jocko's ferocity, and whose breast was still swelling with revenge, was glad of so favourable an opportunity and excuse for wreaking it. He seized the poker, made three strides to Jocko, who set up an ineffable cry of defiance, and with a single blow split the skull of the unhappy monkey in twain. It fell with one convulsion on the ground, and gave up the ghost.

We then raised the unfortunate landlady, placed her on the sofa, and Dartmore administered a plentiful potation of the Curacoa punch. By slow degrees she revived, gave three most doleful suspirations, and then, starting up, gazed wildly around her. Half of us were still laughing—my unfortunate self among the number; this the enraged landlady no sooner perceived than she imagined herself the victim of some preconcerted villainy. Her lips trembled with passion—she uttered the most dreadful imprecations; and had I not retired into a corner, and armed myself with the dead body of Jocko, which I wielded with exceeding valour, she might, with the simple weapons with which nature had provided her hands, have for ever demolished the loves and graces that abide in the face of Henry Pelham.

When at last she saw that nothing hostile was at present to be effected, she drew herself up, and giving Bedos a tremendous box on the ear, as he stood grinning beside her, marched out of the room.

We then again rallied around the table, more than ever disposed to be brilliant, and kept up till day break a continued fire of jests upon the heroine of the passage. "Cum qua (as Vincent observed) clauditur adversis innoxia simia fatis!"


                   Show me not thy painted beauties,
                   These impostures I defy.
                                 —George Withers.

      The cave of Falri smelt not more delicately—on every side appeared
      the marks of drunkenness and gluttony. At the upper end of the cave
      the sorcerer lay extended, etc.
                —Mirglip the Persian, in the "Tales of the Genii."

I woke the next morning with an aching head and feverish frame. Ah, those midnight carousals, how glorious they would be if there was no next morning! I took my sauterne and sodawater in my dressing-room; and, as indisposition always makes me meditative, I thought over all I had done since my arrival at Paris. I had become (that, God knows, I soon manage to do) rather a talked of and noted character. It is true that I was every where abused—one found fault with my neckcloth—another with my mind—the lank Mr. Aberton declared that I put my hair in papers, and the stuffed Sir Henry Millington said I was a thread-paper myself. One blamed my riding—a second my dancing—a third wondered how any woman could like me, and a fourth said that no woman ever could.

On one point, however, all—friends and foes—were alike agreed; viz. that I was a consummate puppy, and excessively well satisfied with myself. A la verite, they were not much mistaken there. Why is it, by the by, that to be pleased with one's-self is the surest way of offending every body else? If any one, male or female, an evident admirer of his or her own perfections, enter a room, how perturbed, restless, and unhappy every individual of the offender's sex instantly becomes: for them not only enjoyment but tranquillity is over, and if they could annihilate the unconscious victim of their spleen, I fully believe no Christian toleration would come in the way of that last extreme of animosity. For a coxcomb there is no mercy—for a coquet no pardon. They are, as it were, the dissenters of society—no crime is too bad to be imputed to them; they do not believe the religion of others—they set up a deity of their own vanity—all the orthodox vanities of others are offended. Then comes the bigotry—the stake—the auto-da-fe of scandal. What, alas! is so implacable as the rage of vanity? What so restless as its persecution? Take from a man his fortune, his house, his reputation, but flatter his vanity in each, and he will forgive you. Heap upon him benefits, fill him with blessings: but irritate his self-love, and you have made the very best man an ingrat. He will sting you if he can: you cannot blame him; you yourself have instilled the venom. This is one reason why you must not always reckon upon gratitude in conferring an obligation. It is a very high mind to which gratitude is not a painful sensation. If you wish to please, you will find it wiser to receive—solicit even—favours, than accord them; for the vanity of the obliger is always flattered—that of the obligee rarely.

Well, this is an unforeseen digression: let me return! I had mixed, of late, very little with the English. My mother's introductions had procured me the entree of the best French houses; and to them, therefore, my evenings were usually devoted. Alas! that was a happy time, when my carriage used to await me at the door of the Rocher de Cancale, and then whirl me to a succession of visits, varying in their degree and nature as the whim prompted: now to the brilliant soirees of Madame De—, or to the appartemens au troisieme of some less celebrated daughter of dissipation and ecarte;—now to the literary conversaziones of the Duchesse de D—s, or the Vicomte d'A—, and then to the feverish excitement of the gambling house. Passing from each with the appetite for amusement kept alive by variety; finding in none a disappointment, and in every one a welcome; full of the health which supports, and the youth which colours all excess or excitation, I drained, with an unsparing lip, whatever that enchanting metropolis could afford.

I have hitherto said but little of the Duchesse de Perpignan; I think it necessary now to give some account of that personage. Ever since the evening I had met her at the ambassador's, I had paid her the most unceasing attentions. I soon discovered that she had a curious sort of liaison with one of the attaches—a short, ill-made gentleman, with high shoulders, and a pale face, who wore a blue coat and buff waistcoat, wrote bad verses, and thought himself handsome. All Paris said she was excessively enamoured of this youth. As for me, I had not known her four days before I discovered that she could not be excessively enamoured of any thing but an oyster pete and Lord Byron's Corsair. Her mind was the most marvellous melange of sentiment and its opposite. In her amours she was Lucretia herself; in her epicurism, Apicius would have yielded to her. She was pleased with sighs, but she adored suppers. She would leave every thing for her lover, except her dinner. The attache soon quarrelled with her, and I was installed into the platonic honours of his office.

At first, I own that I was flattered by her choice, and though she was terribly exigeante of my petits soins, I managed to keep up her affection, and, what is still more wonderful, my own, for the better part of a month. What then cooled me was the following occurrence:

I was in her boudoir one evening, when her femme de chambre came to tell us that the duc was in the passage. Notwithstanding the innocence of our attachment, the duchesse was in a violent fright; a small door was at the left of the ottoman, on which we were sitting. "Oh, no, no, not there," cried the lady; but I, who saw no other refuge, entered it forthwith, and before she could ferret me out, the duc was in the room.

In the meanwhile, I amused myself by examining the wonders of the new world into which I had so abruptly immerged: on a small table before me, was deposited a remarkably constructed night-cap; I examined it as a curiosity: on each side was placed une petite cotelette de veau cru, sewed on with green-coloured silk (I remember even the smallest minutiae), a beautiful golden wig (the duchesse never liked me to play with her hair) was on a block close by, and on another table was a set of teeth, d'une blancheur eblouissante. In this manufactory of a beauty I remained for a quarter of an hour; at the end of that time, the abigail (the duchesse had the grace to disappear) released me, and I flew down stairs like a spirit from purgatory.

From that moment the duchesse honoured me with her most deadly abhorrence. Equally silly and wicked, her schemes of revenge were as ludicrous in their execution as remorseless in their design: at one time I narrowly escaped poison in a cup of coffee—at another, she endeavoured to stab me to the heart with a paper cutter.

Notwithstanding my preservation from these attacks, this new Messalina had resolved on my destruction, and another means of attempting it still remained, which the reader will yet have the pleasure of learning.

Mr. Thornton had called upon me twice, and twice I had returned the visit, but neither of us had been at home to benefit by these reciprocities of politesse. His acquaintance with my mysterious hero of the gambling house and the Jardin des Plantes, and the keen interest I took, in spite of myself, in that unaccountable person, whom I was persuaded I had seen before in some very different scene, and under very different circumstances, made me desirous to increase a connoissance, which, from Vincent's detail, I should otherwise have been anxious to avoid. I therefore resolved to make another attempt to find him at home; and my headache being somewhat better, I took my way to his apartments in the Faubourg St. Germain.

I love that quartier—if ever I went to Paris again I should reside there. It is quite a different world from the streets usually known to, and tenanted by the English—there, indeed, you are among the French, the fossilized remains of the old regime—the very houses have an air of desolate, yet venerable grandeur—you never pass by the white and modern mansion of a nouveau riche; all, even to the ruggedness of the pave, breathes a haughty disdain of innovation—you cross one of the numerous bridges, and you enter into another time—you are inhaling the atmosphere of a past century; no flaunting boutique, French in its trumpery, English in its prices, stares you in the face; no stiff coats and unnatural gaits are seen anglicising up the melancholy streets. Vast hotels, with their gloomy frontals, and magnificent contempt of comfort; shops, such as shops might have been in the aristocratic days of Louis Quatorze, ere British vulgarities made them insolent and dear; public edifices, still redolent of the superb charities of le grand monarque—carriages with their huge bodies and ample decorations; horses, with their Norman dimensions and undocked honours; men, on whose more high though not less courteous demeanour, the revolution seems to have wrought no democratic plebeianism—all strike on the mind with a vague and nameless impression of antiquity; a something solemn even in gaiety, and faded in pomp, appear to linger over all you behold; there are the Great French people unadulterated by change, unsullied with the commerce of the vagrant and various tribes that throng their mighty mart of enjoyments.

The strangers who fill the quartiers on this side the Seine pass not there; between them and the Faubourg there is a gulf; the very skies seem different—your own feelings, thoughts—nature itself—alter, when you have passed that Styx which divides the wanderers from the habitants; your spirits are not so much damped, as tinged, refined, ennobled by a certain inexpressible awe—you are girt with the stateliness of Eld, and you tread the gloomy streets with the dignity of a man, who is recalling the splendours of an ancient court where he once did homage.

I arrived at Thornton's chambers in the Rue St. Dominique. "Monsieur, est-il chez lui?" said I to the ancient porteress, who was reading one of Crebillon's novels.

"Oui, Monsieur, au quatrieme," was the answer. I turned to the dark and unclean staircase, and, after incredible exertion and fatigue, arrived, at last, at the elevated abode of Mr. Thornton.

"Entrez," cried a voice, in answer to my rap. I obeyed the signal, and found myself in a room of tolerable dimensions and multiplied utilities. A decayed silk curtain of a dingy blue, drawn across a recess, separated the chambre a coucher from the salon. It was at present only half drawn, and did not, therefore, conceal the mysteries of the den within; the bed was still unmade, and apparently of no very inviting cleanliness; a red handkerchief, that served as a nightcap, hung pendant from the foot of the bed; at a little distance from it, more towards the pillow, were a shawl, a parasol, and an old slipper. On a table, which stood between the two dull, filmy windows, were placed a cracked bowl, still reeking with the less of gin-punch, two bottles half full, a mouldy cheese, and a salad dish; on the ground beneath it lay two huge books, and a woman's bonnet.

Thornton himself sat by a small consumptive fire, in an easy chair; another table, still spread with the appliances of breakfast, viz. a coffee-pot, a milk-jug, two cups, a broken loaf, and an empty dish, mingled with a pack of cards, one dice, and an open book de mauvais gout, stood immediately before him.

Every thing around bore some testimony of the spirit of low debauchery; and the man himself, with his flushed and sensual countenance, his unwashed hands, and the slovenly rakishness of his whole appearance, made no unfitting representation of the Genius Loci.

All that I have described, together with a flitting shadow of feminine appearance, escaping through another door, my quick eye discovered in the same instant that I made my salutation.

Thornton rose, with an air half careless and half abashed, and expressed, in more appropriate terms than his appearance warranted, his pleasurable surprise at seeing me at last. There was, however, a singularity in his conversation, which gave it an air both of shrewdness and vulgarity. This was, as may before have been noted, a profuse intermixture of proverbs, some stale, some new, some sensible enough, and all savouring of a vocabulary carefully eschewed by every man of ordinary refinement in conversation.

"I have but a small tenement," said he, smiling; "but, thank Heaven, at Paris a man is not made by his lodgings. Small house, small care. Few garcons have indeed a more sumptuous apartment than myself."

"True," said I; "and if I may judge by the bottles on the opposite table, and the bonnet beneath it, you find that no abode is too humble or too exalted for the solace of the senses."

"'Fore Gad, you are in the right, Mr. Pelham," replied Thornton, with a loud, coarse, chuckling laugh, which, more than a year's conversation could have done, let me into the secrets of his character. "I care not a rush for the decorations of the table, so that the cheer be good; nor for the gew-gaws of the head-dress, as long as the face is pretty—'the taste of the kitchen is better than the smell.' Do you go much to Madame B—'s ion the Rue Gretry—eh, Mr. Pelham?—ah, I'll be bound you do."

"No," said I, with a loud laugh, but internal shiver; "but you know where to find le bon vin et les jolies filles. As for me, I am still a stranger in Paris, and amuse myself but very indifferently."

Thornton's face brightened. "I tell you what my good fell—I beg pardon— I mean Mr. Pelham—I can shew you the best sport in the world, if you can only spare me a little of your time—this very evening, perhaps?"

"I fear," said I, "I am engaged all the present week; but I long for nothing more than to cultivate an acquaintance, seemingly so exactly to my own taste."

Thornton's grey eyes twinkled. "Will you breakfast with me on Sunday?" said he.

"I shall be too happy," I replied

There was now a short pause. I took advantage of it. "I think," said I,
"I have seen you once or twice with a tall, handsome man, in a loose
great coat of very singular colour. Pray, if not impertinent, who is he?
I am sure I have seen him before in England."

I looked full upon Thornton as I said this; he changed colour, and answered my gaze with a quick glance from his small, glittering eye, before he replied. "I scarcely know who you mean, my acquaintance is so large and miscellaneous at Paris. It might have been Johnson, or Smith, or Howard, or any body, in short."

"It is a man nearly six feet high," said I, "thin, and remarkably well made, of a pale complexion, light eyes, and very black hair, mustachios and whiskers. I saw him with you once in the Bois de Boulogne, and once in a hell in the Palais Royal. Surely, now you will recollect who he is?"

Thornton was evidently disconcerted. "Oh!" said he, after a short pause, and another of his peculiarly quick, sly glances—"Oh, that man; I have known him a very short time. What is his name? let me see!" and Mr. Thornton affected to look down in a complete reverie of dim remembrances.

I saw, however, that, from time to time, his eye glanced up to me, with a restless, inquisitive expression, and as instantly retired.

"Ah," said I, carelessly, "I think I know who he is!"

"Who!" cried Thornton, eagerly, and utterly off his guard.

"And yet," I pursued, without noticing the interruption, "it scarcely can be—the colour of the hair is so very different."

Thornton again appeared to relapse into his recollections. "War—Warbur— ah, I have it now!" cried he, "Warburton—that's it—that's the name—is it the one you supposed, Mr. Pelham?"

"No," said I, apparently perfectly satisfied. "I was quite mistaken. Good morning, I did not think it was so late. On Sunday, then, Mr. Thornton— au plaisir!"

"A d—d cunning dog!" said I to myself, as I left the apartments.
"However, on peut-etre trop fin. I shall have him yet."

The surest way to make a dupe is to let you victim suppose you are his


                          Voila de l'erudition.
                                 —Les Femmes Savantes.

I found, on my return, covered with blood, and foaming with passion, my inestimable valet—Bedos!

"What's the matter?" said I.

"Matter!" repeated Bedos, in a tone almost inarticulate with rage; and then, rejoicing at the opportunity of unbosoming his wrath, he poured out a vast volley of ivrognes and carognes, against our Dame du Chateau, of monkey reminiscence. With great difficulty, I gathered, at last, from his vituperations, that the enraged landlady, determined to wreak her vengeance on some one, had sent for him into her appartement, accosted him with a smile, bade him sit down, regaled him with cold vol-au-vent, and a glass of Curacoa, and, while he was felicitating himself on his good fortune, slipped out of the room: presently, three tall fellows entered with sticks.

"We'll teach you," said the biggest of them—"we'll teach you to lock up ladies, for the indulgence of your vulgar amusement;" and, without one other word, they fell upon Bedos, with incredible zeal and vigour. The valiant valet defended himself, tooth and nail, for some time, for which he only got the more soundly belaboured. In the meanwhile the landlady entered, and, with the same gentle smile as before, begged him to make no ceremony, to proceed with his present amusement, and when he was tired with the exercise, hoped he would refresh himself with another glass of Curacoa.

"It was this," said Bedos, with a whimper, "which hurt me the most, to think she should serve me so cruelly, after I had eaten so plentifully of the vol-au-vent; envy and injustice I can bear, but treachery stabs me to the heart."

When these threshers of men were tired, the lady satisfied, and Bedos half dead, they suffered the unhappy valet to withdraw; the mistress of the hotel giving him a note, which she desired, with great civility, that he would transmit to me on my return. This, I found, inclosed my bill, and informed me that my month being out on the morrow, she was unwilling to continue me any longer, and begged I would, therefore, have the bonte to choose another apartment.

"Carry my luggage forthwith," said I, "to the Hotel de Mirabeau:" and that very evening I changed my abode.

I am happy in the opportunity this incident affords me of especially recommending the Hotel de Mirabeau, Rue de la Paix, to any of my countrymen who are really gentlemen, and will not disgrace my recommendation. It is certainly the best caravansera in the English quartier.

I was engaged that day to a literary dinner at the Marquis D'Al—; and as I knew I should meet Vincent, I felt some pleasure in repairing to my entertainer's hotel. They were just going to dinner as I entered. A good many English were of the party. The good natured (in all senses of the word) Lady—, who always affected to pet me, cried aloud, "Pelham, mon joli petit mignon, I have not seen you for an age—do give me your arm."

Madame D'Anville was just before me, and, as I looked at her, I saw that her eyes were full of tears; my heart smote me for my late inattention, and going up to her, I only nodded to Lady—, and said, in reply to her invitation, "Non, perfide, it is my turn to be cruel now. Remember your flirtation with Mr. Howard de Howard."

"Pooh!" said Lady—, taking Lord Vincent's arm, "your jealousy does indeed rest upon 'a trifle light as air.'"

"Do you forgive me?" whispered I to Madame D'Anville, as I handed her to the salle a manger. "Does not love forgive every thing?" was her answer.

"At least," thought I, "it never talks in those pretty phrases."

The conversation soon turned upon books. As for me, I never at that time took a share in those discussions; indeed, I have long laid it down as a rule, that a man never gains by talking to more than one person at a time. If you don't shine, you are a fool—if you do, you are a bore. You must become either ridiculous or unpopular—either hurt your own self- love by stupidity, or that of others by wit. I therefore sat in silence, looking exceedingly edified, and now and then muttering "good!" "true!" Thank heaven, however, the suspension of one faculty only increases the vivacity of the others; my eyes and ears always watch like sentinels over the repose of my lips. Careless and indifferent as I seem to all things, nothing ever escapes me: the minutest erreur in a dish or a domestic, the most trifling peculiarity in a criticism or a coat, my glance detects in an instant, and transmits for ever to my recollection.

"You have seen Jouy's 'Hermite de la Chaussee D'Antin?'" said our host to
Lord Vincent.

"I have, and think meanly of it. There is a perpetual aim at something pointed, which as perpetually merges into something dull. He is like a bad swimmer, strikes out with great force, makes a confounded splash, and never gets a yard the further for it. It is a great effort not to sink. Indeed, Monsieur D'A—, your literature is at a very reduced ebb; bombastic in the drama—shallow in philosophy—mawkish in poetry, your writers of the present day seem to think, with Boileau—

"'Souvent de tous nos maux la raison est le pire.'"

"Surely," cried Madame D'Anville, "you will allow De la Martine's poetry to be beautiful?"

"I allow it," said he, "to be among the best you have; and I know very few lines in your language equal to the two first stanzas in his 'Meditation on Napoleon,' or to those exquisite verses called 'Le Lac;' but you will allow also that he wants originality and nerve. His thoughts are pathetic, but not deep; he whines, but sheds no tears. He has, in his imitation of Lord Byron, reversed the great miracle; instead of turning water into wine, he has turned wine into water. Besides, he is so unpardonably obscure. He thinks, with Bacchus—(you remember, D'A—, the line in Euripides, which I will not quote), that 'there is something august in the shades;' but he has applied this thought wrongly—in his obscurity there is nothing sublime—it is the back ground of a Dutch picture. It is only a red herring, or an old hat, which he has invested with such pomposity of shadow and darkness."

"But his verses are so smooth," said Lady—.

"Ah!" answered Vincent.

         "'Quand la rime enfin se trouve au bout des vers,
           Qu'importe que le reste y soit mis des travers.'"

"Helas" said the Viscount D'A—t, an author of no small celebrity himself; "I agree with you—we shall never again see a Voltaire or a Rousseau."

"There is but little justice in those complaints, often as they are made," replied Vincent. "You may not, it is true, see a Voltaire or a Rousseau, but you will see their equals. Genius can never be exhausted by one individual. In our country, the poets after Chaucer in the fifteenth century complained of the decay of their art—they did not anticipate Shakspeare. In Hayley's time, who ever dreamt of the ascension of Byron? Yet Shakspeare and Byron came like the bridegroom 'in the dead of night;' and you have the same probability of producing—not, indeed, another Rousseau, but a writer to do equal honour to your literature."

"I think," said Lady—, "that Rousseau's 'Julie' is over-rated. I had heard so much of 'La Nouvelle Heloise' when I was a girl, and been so often told that it was destruction to read it, that I bought the book the very day after I was married. I own to you that I could not get through it."

"I am not surprised at it," answered Vincent; "but Rousseau is not the less a genius for all that: there is no story to bear out the style, and he himself is right when he says 'ce livre convient a tres peu de lecteurs.' One letter would delight every one—four volumes of them are a surfeit—it is the toujours perdrix. But the chief beauty of that wonderful conception of an empassioned and meditative mind is to be found in the inimitable manner in which the thoughts are embodied, and in the tenderness, the truth, the profundity of the thoughts themselves: when Lord Edouard says, 'c'est le chemin des passions qui m'a conduit a la philosophie,' he inculcates, in one simple phrase, a profound and unanswerable truth. It is in these remarks that nature is chiefly found in the writings of Rousseau: too much engrossed in himself to be deeply skilled in the characters of others, that very self-study had yet given him a knowledge of the more hidden recesses of the heart. He could perceive at once the motive and the cause of actions, but he wanted the patience to trace the elaborate and winding progress of their effects. He saw the passions in their home, but he could not follow them abroad. He knew mankind in the general, but not men in the detail. Thus, when he makes an aphorism or reflection, it comes home at once to you as true; but when he would analyze that reflection, when he argues, reasons, and attempts to prove, you reject him as unnatural, or you refute him as false. It is then that he partakes of that manie commune which he imputes to other philosophers, 'de nier ce qui est, et d'expliquer ce qui n'est pas.'"

There was a short pause. "I think," said Madame D'Anville, "that it is in those pensees which you admire so much in Rousseau, that our authors in general excel."

"You are right," said Vincent, "and for this reason—with you les gens de letters are always les gens du monde. Hence their quick perceptions are devoted to men as well as to books. They make observations acutely, and embody them with grace; but it is worth remarking, that the same cause which produced the aphorism, frequently prevents its being profound. These literary gens du monde have the tact to observe, but not the patience, perhaps not the time, to investigate. They make the maxim, but they never explain to you the train of reasoning which led to it. Hence they are more brilliant than true. An English writer would not dare to make a maxim, involving, perhaps, in two lines, one of the most important of moral truths, without bringing pages to support his dictum. A French essayist leaves it wholly to itself. He tells you neither how he came by his reasons, nor their conclusion, 'le plus fou souvent est le plus satisfait.' Consequently, if less tedious than the English, your reasoners are more dangerous, and ought rather to be considered as models of terseness than of reflection. A man might learn to think sooner from your writers, but he will learn to think justly sooner from ours. Many observations of La Bruyere and Rochefoucault—the latter especially—have obtained credit for truth solely from their point. They possess exactly the same merit as the very sensible—permit me to add—very French line in Corneille:—

"'Ma plus douce esperance est de perdre l'espoir.'"

The Maquis took advantage of the silence which followed Vincent's criticism to rise from table. We all (except Vincent, who took leave) adjourned to the salon. "Qui est cet homme la?" said one, "comme il est epris de lui-meme." "How silly he is," cried another—"how ugly," said a third. What a taste in literature—such a talker—such shallowness, and such assurance—not worth the answering—could not slip in a word— disagreeable, revolting, awkward, slovenly, were the most complimentary opinions bestowed upon the unfortunate Vincent. The women called him un horreur, and the men un bete. The old railed at his mauvais gout, and the young at his mauvais coeur, for the former always attribute whatever does not correspond with their sentiments, to a perversion of taste, and the latter whatever does not come up to their enthusiasm, to a depravity of heart.

As for me, I went home, enriched with two new observations; first, that one may not speak of any thing relative to a foreign country, as one would if one was a native. National censures become particular affronts.

Secondly, that those who know mankind in theory, seldom know it in practice; the very wisdom that conceives a rule, is accompanied with the abstraction, or the vanity, which destroys it. I mean that the philosopher of the cabinet is often too diffident to put into action his observations, or too eager for display to conceal their design. Lord Vincent values himself upon his science du monde. He has read much upon men, he has reflected more; he lays down aphorisms to govern or to please them. He goes into society; he is cheated by the one half, and the other half he offends. The sage in the cabinet is but a fool in the salon; and the most consummate men of the world are those who have considered the least on it.


                   Falstaff. What money is in my purse?
                   Page. Seven groats and two-pence.
                                 —Second Part of Henry IV.

En iterum Crispinus.

The next day a note was brought me, which had been sent to my former lodgings in the Hotel de Paris: it was from Thornton.

"My dear Sir," (it began)

"I am very sorry that particular business will prevent me the pleasure of seeing you at my rooms on Sunday. I hope to be more fortunate some other day. I should like much to introduce you, the first opportunity, to my friends in the Rue Gretry, for I like obliging my countrymen. I am sure, if you were to go there, you would cut and come again—one shoulder of mutton drives down another.

"I beg you to accept my repeated excuses, and remain,

"Dear Sir,
"Your very obedient servant,
"Thomas Thornton.

"Rue St. Dominique,

"Friday Morning."

This letter produced in me many and manifold cogitations. What could possibly have induced Mr. Tom Thornton, rogue as he was, to postpone thus of his own accord, the plucking of a pigeon, which he had such good reason to believe he had entrapped? There was evidently no longer the same avidity to cultivate my acquaintance as before; in putting off our appointment with so little ceremony, he did not even fix a day for another. What had altered his original designs towards me? for if Vincent's account was true, it was natural to suppose that he wished to profit by any acquaintance he might form with me, and therefore such an acquaintance his own interests would induce him to continue and confirm.

Either, then, he no longer had the same necessity for a dupe, or he no longer imagined I should become one. Yet neither of these suppositions was probable. It was not likely that he should grow suddenly honest, or suddenly rich: nor had I, on the other hand, given him any reason to suppose I was a jot more wary than any other individual he might have imposed upon. On the contrary, I had appeared to seek his acquaintance with an eagerness which said but little for my knowledge of the world. The more I reflected, the more I should have been puzzled, had I not connected his present backwardness with his acquaintance with the stranger, whom he termed Warburton. It is true, that I had no reason to suppose so: it was a conjecture wholly unsupported, and, indeed, against my better sense; yet, from some unanalysed associations, I could not divest myself of the supposition.

"I will soon see," thought I; and wrapping myself in my cloak, for the day was bitterly cold, I bent my way to Thornton's lodgings. I could not explain to myself the deep interest I took in whatever was connected with (the so-called) Warburton, or whatever promised to discover more clearly any particulars respecting him. His behaviour in the gambling house; his conversation with the woman in the Jardin des Plantes; and the singular circumstance, that a man of so very aristocratic an appearance, should be connected with Thornton, and only seen in such low scenes, and with such low society, would not have been sufficient so strongly to occupy my mind, had it not been for certain dim recollections, and undefinable associations, that his appearance when present, and my thoughts of him when absent, perpetually recalled.

As, engrossed with meditations of this nature, I was passing over the Pont Neuf, I perceived the man Warburton had so earnestly watched in the gambling house, and whom I identified with the "Tyrrell," who had formed the subject of conversation in the Jardin des Plantes, pass slowly before me. There was an appearance of great exhaustion in his swarthy and strongly marked countenance. He walked carelessly on, neither looking to the right nor the left, with that air of thought and abstraction which I have remarked as common to all men in the habit of indulging any engrossing and exciting passion.

We were just on the other side of the Seine, when I perceived the woman of the Jardin des Plantes approach. Tyrrell (for that, I afterwards discovered, was really his name) started as she came near, and asked her, in a tone of some asperity, where she had been? As I was but a few paces behind, I had a clear, full view of the woman's countenance. She was about twenty-eight or thirty years of age. Her features were decidedly handsome, though somewhat too sharp and aquiline for my individual taste. Her eyes were light and rather sunken; and her complexion bespoke somewhat of the paleness and languor of ill-health. On the whole, the expression of her face, though decided, was not unpleasing, and when she returned Tyrrell's rather rude salutation, it was with a smile, which made her, for the moment, absolutely beautiful.

"Where have I been to?" she said, in answer to his interrogatory. "Why, I went to look at the New Church, which they told me was so superbe."

"Methinks," replied the man, "that ours are not precisely the circumstances in which such spectacles are amusing."

"Nay, Tyrrell," said the woman, as taking his arm they walked on together a few paces before me, "nay, we are quite rich now to what we have been; and, if you do play again, our two hundred pounds may swell into a fortune. Your losses have brought you skill, and you may now turn them into actual advantages."

Tyrrell did not reply exactly to these remarks, but appeared as if debating with himself. "Two hundred pounds—twenty already gone!—in a few months all will have melted away. What is it then now but a respite from starvation?—but with luck it may become a competence."

"And why not have luck? many a fortune has been made with a worse beginning," said the woman.

"True, Margaret," pursued the gambler, "and even without luck, our fate can only commence a month or two sooner—better a short doom than a lingering torture."

"What think you of trying some new game where you have more experience, or where the chances are greater than in that of rouge et noir?" asked the woman. "Could you not make something out of that tall, handsome man, who Thornton says is so rich?"

"Ah, if one could!" sighed Tyrrell, wistfully. "Thornton tells me, that he has won thousands from him, and that they are mere drops in his income. Thornton is a good, easy, careless fellow, and might let me into a share of the booty: but then, in what games can I engage him?"

Here I passed this well-suited pair, and lost the remainder of their conversation. "Well," thought I, "if this precious personage does starve at last, he will most richly deserve it, partly for his designs on the stranger, principally for his opinion of Thornton. If he was a knave only, one might pity him; but a knave and fool both, are a combination of evil, for which there is no intermediate purgatory of opinion—nothing short of utter damnation."

I soon arrived at Mr. Thornton's abode. The same old woman, poring over the same novel of Crebillon, made me the same reply as before; and accordingly again I ascended the obscure and rugged stairs, which seemed to indicate, that the road to vice is not so easy as one generally supposes. I knocked at the door, and receiving no answering acknowledgment, opened it at once. The first thing I saw was the dark, rough coat of Warburton—that person's back was turned to me, and he was talking with some energy to Thornton (who lounged idly in his chair, with one ungartered leg thrown over the elbow.)

"Ah, Mr. Pelham," exclaimed the latter, starting from his not very graceful position, "it gives me great pleasure to see you—Mr. Warburton, Mr. Pelham—Mr. Pelham, Mr. Warburton." My new-made and mysterious acquaintance drew himself up to his full height, and bowed very slightly to my own acknowledgment of the introduction. A low person would have thought him rude. I only supposed him ignorant of the world. No real gentleman is uncivil. He turned round after this stiff condescension de sa part, and sunk down on the sofa, with his back towards me.

"I was mistaken," thought I, "when I believed him to be above such associates as Thornton—they are well matched."

"My dear Sir," said Thornton, "I am very sorry I could not see you to breakfast—a particular engagement prevented me—verbum sap. Mr. Pelham, you take me, I suppose—black eyes white skin, and such an ancle;" and the fellow rubbed his great hands and chuckled.

"Well," said I, "I cannot blame you, whatever may be my loss—a dark eye and a straight ancle are powerful excuses. What says Mr. Warburton to them?" and I turned to the object of my interrogatory.

"Really," he answered drily, and without moving from his uncourteous position, "Mr. Thornton only can judge of the niceties of his peculiar tastes, or the justice of his general excuses."

Mr. Warburton said this in a sarcastic, bitter tone. Thornton bit his lip, more, I should think, at the manner than the words, and his small grey eyes sparkled with a malignant and stern expression, which suited the character of his face far better than the careless levity and enjouement which his glances usually denoted.

"They are no such great friends after all," thought I; "and now let me change my attack. Pray," I asked, "among all your numerous acquaintances at Paris, did you ever meet with a Mr. Tyrrell?"

Warburton started from his chair, and as instantly re-seated himself. Thornton eyed me with one of those peculiar looks which so strongly reminded me of a dog, in deliberation whether to bite or run away.

"I do know a Mr. Tyrrell!" he said, after a short pause.

"What sort of a person is he?" I asked with an indifferent air—"a great gamester, is he not?"

"He does slap it down on the colours now and then," replied Thornton. "I hope you don't know him, Mr. Pelham!"

"Why?" said I, evading the question. "His character is not affected by a propensity so common, unless, indeed, you suppose him to be more a gambler than a gamester, viz. more acute than unlucky."

God forbid that I should say any such thing," replied Thornton; "you won't catch an old lawyer in such imprudence."

"The greater the truth, the greater the libel," said Warburton, with a sneer.

"No," resumed Thornton, "I know nothing against Mr. Tyrrell—nothing! He may be a very good man, and I believe he is; but as a friend, Mr. Pelham, (and Mr. Thornton grew quite affectionate), I advise you to have as little as possible to do with that sort of people."

"Truly," said I, "you have now excited my curiosity. Nothing, you know, is half so inviting as mystery."

Thornton looked as if he had expected a very different reply; and Warburton said, in an abrupt tone—"Whoever enters an unknown road in a fog may easily lose himself."

"True," said I; "but that very chance is more agreeable than a road where one knows every tree! Danger and novelty are more to my taste than safety and sameness. Besides, as I never gamble myself, I can lose nothing by an acquaintance with those who do."

Another pause ensued—and, finding I had got all from Mr. Thornton and his uncourteous guest that I was likely to do, I took my hat and my departure.

"I do not know," thought I, "whether I have profited much by this visit. Let me consider. In the first place, I have not ascertained why I was put off by Mr. Thornton—for as to his excuse, it could only have availed one day, and had he been anxious for my acquaintance, he would have named another. I have, however, discovered, first, that he does not wish me to form any connection with Tyrrell; secondly, from Warburton's sarcasm, and his glance of reply, that there is but little friendship between those two, whatever be the intimacy; and, thirdly, that Warburton, from his dorsal positions, so studiously preserved, either wished to be uncivil or unnoticed." The latter, after all, was the most probable; and, upon the whole, I felt more than ever convinced that he was the person I suspected him to be.


             Tell how the fates my giddy course did guide,
             The inconstant turns of every changing hour.
                          —Pierce Gaveston, by M. Drayton.

             Je me retire donc.—Adieu, Paris, adieu!

When I returned home, I found on my table the following letter from my mother:

"My dear Henry,

"I am rejoiced to hear you are so well entertained at Paris—that you have been so often to the D—s and C—s; that Coulon says you are his best pupil—that your favourite horse is so much admired—and that you have only exceeded your allowance by a L1,000; with some difficulty I have persuaded your uncle to transmit you an order for L1,500, which will, I trust, make up all your deficiencies.

"You must not, my dear child, be so extravagant for the future, and for a very good reason, namely, I do not see how you can. Your uncle, I fear, will not again be so generous, and your father cannot assist you. You will therefore see more clearly than ever the necessity of marrying an heiress: there are only two in England (the daughters of gentlemen) worthy of you—the most deserving of these has L10,000 a year, the other has L150,000. The former is old, ugly, and very ill tempered; the latter tolerably pretty, and agreeable, and just of age; but you will perceive the impropriety of even thinking of her till we have tried the other. I am going to ask both to my Sunday soirees, where I never admit any single men, so that there, at least, you will have no rivals.

"And now, my dear son, before I enter into a subject of great importance to you, I wish to recal to your mind that pleasure is never an end, but a means—viz. that in your horses and amusements at Paris—your visits and your liaisons—you have always, I trust, remembered that these were only so far desirable as the methods of shining in society. I have now a new scene on which you are to enter, with very different objects in view, and where any pleasures you may find have nothing the least in common with those you at present enjoy.

"I know that this preface will not frighten you as it might many silly young men. Your education has been too carefully attended to, for you to imagine that any step can be rough or unpleasant which raises you in the world.

"To come at once to the point. One of the seats in your uncle's borough of Buyemall is every day expected to be vacated; the present member, Mr. Toolington, cannot possibly live a week, and your uncle is very desirous that you should fill the vacancy which Mr. Toolington's death will create. Though I called it Lord Glenmorris's borough, yet it is not entirely at his disposal, which I think very strange, since my father, who was not half so rich as your uncle, could send two members to Parliament without the least trouble in the world—but I don't understand these matters. Possibly your uncle (poor man) does not manage them well. However, he says no time is to be lost. You are to return immediately to England, and come down to his house in—shire. It is supposed you will have some contest, but be certain eventually to come in.

"You will also, in this visit to Lord Glenmorris, have an excellent opportunity of securing his affection; you know it is some time since he saw you, and the greater part of his property is unentailed. If you come into the House you must devote yourself wholly to it, and I have no fear of your succeeding; for I remember, when you were quite a child, how well you spoke, 'My name is Norval,' and 'Romans, countrymen, and lovers,' I heard Mr. Canning speak the other day, and I think his voice is quite like yours; in short, I make no doubt of seeing you in the ministry in a very few years.

"You see, my dear son, that it is absolutely necessary you should set out immediately. You will call on Lady—, and you will endeavour to make firm friends of the most desirable among your present acquaintance; so that you may be on the same footing you are now, should you return to Paris. This a little civility will easily do: nobody (as I before observed), except in England, ever loses by politeness; by the by, that last word is one you must never use, it is too Gloucester-place like.

"You will also be careful, in returning to England, to make very little use of French phrases; no vulgarity is more unpleasing. I could not help being exceedingly amused by a book written the other day, which professes to give an accurate description of good society. Not knowing what to make us say in English, the author has made us talk nothing but French. I have often wondered what common people think of us, since in their novels they always affect to pourtray us so different from themselves. I am very much afraid we are in all things exactly like them, except in being more simple and unaffected. The higher the rank, indeed, the less pretence, because there is less to pretend to. This is the chief reason why our manners are better than low persons: ours are more natural, because they imitate no one else; theirs are affected, because they think to imitate ours; and whatever is evidently borrowed becomes vulgar. Original affection is sometimes ton—imitated affectation, always bad.

"Well, my dear Henry, I must now conclude this letter, already too long to be interesting. I hope to see you about ten days after you receive this; and if you could bring me a Cachemire shawl, it would give me great pleasure to see your taste in its choice. God bless you, my dear son.

"Your very affectionate

"Frances Pelham."

"P.S. I hope you go to church sometimes: I am sorry to see the young men of the present day so irreligious. Perhaps you could get my old friend, Madame De—, to choose the Cachemire—take care of your health."

This letter, which I read carefully twice over, threw me into a most serious meditation. My first feeling was regret at leaving Paris; my second, was a certain exultation at the new prospects so unexpectedly opened to me. The great aim of a philosopher is, to reconcile every disadvantage by some counterbalance of good—where he cannot create this, he should imagine it. I began, therefore, to consider less what I should lose than what I should gain, by quitting Paris. In the first place, I was tolerably tired of its amusements: no business is half so fatiguing as pleasure. I longed for a change: behold, a change was at hand! Then, to say truth, I was heartily glad of a pretence of escaping from a numerous cohort of folles amours, with Madame D'Anville at the head; and the very circumstance which men who play the German flute and fall in love, would have considered the most vexatious, I regarded as the most consolatory.

There was yet another reason which reconciled me more than any other to my departure. I had, in my residence at Paris, among half wits and whole roues, contracted a certain—not exactly grossierete—but want of refinement—a certain coarseness of expression and idea which, though slight, and easily thrown off, took in some degree from my approach to that character which I wished to become. I know nothing which would so polish the manners as continental intercourse, were it not for the English debauches with which that intercourse connects one. English profligacy is always coarse, and in profligacy nothing is more contagious than its tone. One never keeps a restraint on the manner when one unbridles the passions, and one takes from the associates with whom the latter are indulged, the air and the method of the indulgence.

I was, the reader well knows, too solicitous for improvement, not to be anxious to escape from such chances of deterioration, and I therefore consoled myself with considerable facility for the pleasures and the associates I was about to forego. My mind being thus relieved from all regret at my departure, I now suffered it to look forward to the advantages of my return to England. My love of excitement and variety made an election, in which I was to have both the importance of the contest and the certainty of the success, a very agreeable object of anticipation.

I was also by this time wearied with my attendance upon women, and eager to exchange it for the ordinary objects of ambition to men; and my vanity whispered that my success in the one was no unfavourable omen of my prosperity in the other. On my return to England, with a new scene and a new motive for conduct, I resolved that I would commence a different character to that I had hitherto assumed. How far I kept this resolution the various events hereafter to be shown, will testify. For myself, I felt that I was now about to enter a more crowded scene upon a more elevated ascent; and my previous experience of human nature was sufficient to convince me that my safety required a more continual circumspection, and my success a more dignified bearing.


             Je noterai cela, Madame, dans mon livre.

I am not one of those persons who are many days in deciding what may be effected in one. "On the third day from this," said I to Bedos, "at half past nine in the morning, I shall leave Paris for England."

"Oh, my poor wife!" said the valet, "she will break her heart if I leave her."

"Then stay," said I. Bedos shrugged his shoulders.

"I prefer being with Monsieur to all things."

"What, even to your wife?" The courteous rascal placed his hand to his heart and bowed. "You shall not suffer by your fidelity—you shall take your wife with you."

The conjugal valet's countenance fell. "No," he said, "no; he could not take advantage of Monsieur's generosity."

"I insist upon it—not another word."

"I beg a thousand pardons of Monsieur; but—but my wife is very ill, and unable to travel."

"Then, in that case, so excellent a husband cannot think of leaving a sick and destitute wife."

"Poverty has no law; if I consulted my heart and stayed, I should starve, et il faut vivre."

"Je n'en vois pas la necessite," replied I, as I got into my carriage. That repartee, by the way, I cannot claim as my own; it is the very unanswerable answer of a judge to an expostulating thief.

I made the round of reciprocal regrets, according to the orthodox formula. The Duchesse de Perpignan was the last—(Madame D'Anville I reserved for another day)—that virtuous and wise personage was in the boudoir of reception. I glanced at the fatal door as I entered. I have a great aversion, after any thing has once happened and fairly subsided, to make any allusion to its former existence. I never, therefore, talked to the Duchess about our ancient egaremens. I spoke, this morning, of the marriage of one person, the death of another, and lastly, the departure of my individual self.

"When do you go?" she said, eagerly.

"In two days: my departure will be softened, if I can execute any commissions in England for Madame."

"None," said she; and then in a low tone (that none of the idlers, who were always found at her morning levees, should hear), she added, "you will receive a note from me this evening."

I bowed, changed the conversation, and withdrew. I dined in my own rooms, and spent the evening in looking over the various billets-doux, received during my sejour at Paris.

"Where shall I put all these locks of hair?" asked Bedos, opening a drawer full.

"Into my scrap-book."

"And all these letters?"

"Into the fire."

I was just getting into bed when the Duchesse de Perpignan's note arrived—it was as follows:—

"My dear Friend,

"For that word, so doubtful in our language, I may at least call you in your own. I am unwilling that you should leave this country with those sentiments you now entertain of me, unaltered, yet I cannot imagine any form of words of sufficient magic to change them. Oh! if you knew how much I am to be pitied; if you could look for one moment into this lonely and blighted heart; if you could trace, step by step, the progress I have made in folly and sin, you would see how much of what you now condemn and despise, I have owed to circumstances, rather than to the vice of my disposition. I was born a beauty, educated a beauty, owed fame, rank, power to beauty; and it is to the advantages I have derived from person that I owe the ruin of my mind. You have seen how much I now derive from art I loathe myself as I write that sentence; but no matter: from that moment you loathed me too. You did not take into consideration, that I had been living on excitement all my youth, and that in my maturer years I could not relinquish it. I had reigned by my attractions, and I thought every art preferable to resigning my empire: but in feeding my vanity, I had not been able to stifle the dictates of my heart. Love is so natural to a woman, that she is scarcely a woman who resists it: but in me it has been a sentiment, not a passion.

"Sentiment, then, and vanity, have been my seducers. I said, that I owed my errors to circumstances, not to nature. You will say, that in confessing love and vanity to be my seducers, I contradict this assertion—you are mistaken. I mean, that though vanity and sentiment were in me, yet the scenes in which I have been placed, and the events which I have witnessed, gave to those latent currents of action a wrong and a dangerous direction. I was formed to love; for one whom I did love I could have made every sacrifice. I married a man I hated, and I only learnt the depths of my heart when it was too late.

"Enough of this; you will leave this country; we shall never meet again— never! You may return to Paris, but I shall then be no more; n'importe—I shall be unchanged to the last. Je mourrai en reine.

"As a latest pledge of what I have felt for you, I send you the enclosed chain and ring; as a latest favour, I request you to wear them for six months, and, above all, for two hours in the Tuileries tomorrow. You will laugh at this request: it seems idle and romantic—perhaps it is so. Love has many exaggerations in sentiment, which reason would despise. What wonder, then, that mine, above that of all others, should conceive them? You will not, I know, deny this request. Farewell!—in this world we shall never meet again, and I believe not in the existence of another. Farewell!

"E. P."

"A most sensible effusion," said I to myself, when I had read this billet; "and yet, after all, it shows more feeling and more character than I could have supposed she possessed." I took up the chain: it was of Maltese workmanship; not very handsome, nor, indeed, in any way remarkable, except for a plain hair ring which was attached to it, and which I found myself unable to take off, without breaking. "It is a very singular request," thought I, "but then it comes from a very singular person; and as it rather partakes of adventure and intrigue, I shall at all events appear in the Tuileries, tomorrow, chained and ringed."


Thy incivility shall not make me fail to do what becomes me; and since thou hast more valour than courtesy, I for thee will hazard that life which thou wouldst take from me.—Cassandra, "elegantly done into English by Sir Charles Cotterell."

About the usual hour for the promenade in the Tuileries, I conveyed myself thither. I set the chain and ring in full display, rendered still more conspicuous by the dark coloured dress which I always wore. I had not been in the gardens ten minutes, before I perceived a young Frenchman, scarcely twenty years of age, look with a very peculiar air at my new decorations. He passed and repassed me, much oftener than the alternations of the walk warranted; and at last, taking off his hat, said in a low tone, that he wished much for the honour of exchanging a few words with me in private. I saw, at the first glance, that he was a gentleman, and accordingly withdrew with him among the trees, in the more retired part of the garden.

"Permit me," said he, "to inquire how that ring and chain came into your possession?"

"Monsieur," I replied, "you will understand me, when I say, that the honour of another person is implicated in my concealment of that secret."

"Sir," said the Frenchman, colouring violently, "I have seen them before —in a word, they belong to me!"

I smiled—my young hero fired at this. "Oui, Monsieur," said he, speaking very loud, and very quick, "they belong to me, and I insist upon your immediately restoring them, or vindicating your claim to them by arms."

"You leave me but one answer, Monsieur," said I; "I will find a friend to wait upon you immediately. Allow me to inquire your address?" The Frenchman, who was greatly agitated, produced a card. We bowed and separated.

I was glancing over the address I held in my hand, which was—C.
D'Azimart, Rue de Bourbon Numero—, when my ears were saluted with—

"'Now do you know me?—thou shouldst be Alonzo.'"

I did not require the faculty of sight to recognize Lord Vincent. "My dear fellow," said I, "I am rejoiced to see you!" and thereupon I poured into his ear the particulars of my morning adventure. Lord Vincent listened to me with much apparent interest, and spoke very unaffectedly of his readiness to serve me, and his regret at the occasion.

"Pooh." said I, "a duel in France, is not like one in England; the former is a matter of course; a trifle of common occurrence; one makes an engagement to fight, in the same breath as an engagement to dine; but the latter is a thing of state and solemnity—long faces—early rising—and willmaking. But do get this business over as soon as you can, that we may dine at the Rocher afterwards."

"Well, my dear Pelham," said Vincent, "I cannot refuse you my services; and as I suppose Monsieur D'Azimart will choose swords, I venture to augur every thing from your skill in that species of weapon. It is the first time I have ever interfered in affairs of this nature, but I hope to get well through the present.

"'Nobilis ornatur lauro collega secundo,'

as Juvenal says: au revoir," and away went Lord Vincent, half forgetting all his late anxiety for my life, in his paternal pleasure for the delivery of his quotation.

Vincent is the only punster I ever knew with a good heart. No action to that race in general is so serious an occupation as the play upon words; and the remorseless habit of murdering a phrase, renders them perfectly obdurate to the simple death of a friend. I walked through every variety the straight paths of the Tuileries could afford, and was beginning to get exceedingly tired, when Lord Vincent returned. He looked very grave, and I saw at once that he was come to particularize the circumstances of the last extreme. "The Bois de Boulogne—pistols—in one hour," were the three leading features of his detail.

"Pistols!" said I; "well, be it so. I would rather have had swords, for the young man's sake as much as my own: but thirteen paces and a steady aim will settle the business as soon. We will try a bottle of the chambertin to-day, Vincent." The punster smiled faintly, and for once in his life made no reply. We walked gravely and soberly to my lodgings for the pistols, and then proceeded to the engagement as silently as Christians should do.

The Frenchman and his second were on the ground first. I saw that the former was pale and agitated, not, I think, from fear, but passion. When we took our ground, Vincent came to me, and said, in a low tone, "For God's sake, suffer me to accommodate this, if possible?"

"It is not in our power," said I, receiving the pistol. I looked steadily at D'Azimart, and took my aim. His pistol, owing, I suppose, to the trembling of his hand, went off a moment sooner than he had anticipated— the ball grazed my hat. My aim was more successful—I struck him in the shoulder—the exact place I had intended. He staggered a few paces, but did not fall.

We hastened towards him—his cheek assumed a still more livid hue as I approached; he muttered some half-formed curses between his teeth, and turned from me to his second.

"You will inquire whether Monsieur D'Azimart is satisfied," said I to
Vincent, and retired to a short distance.

"His second," said Vincent, (after a brief conference with that person,) "replies to my question, that Monsieur D'Azimart's wound has left him, for the present, no alternative." Upon this answer I took Vincent's arm, and we returned forthwith to my carriage.

"I congratulate you most sincerely on the event of this duel," said Vincent. "Monsieur de M—(D'Azimart's second) informed me, when I waited on him, that your antagonist was one of the most celebrated pistol shots in Paris, and that a lady with whom he had been long in love, made the death of the chain-bearer the price of her favours. Devilish lucky for you, my good fellow, that his hand trembled so; but I did not know you were so good a shot."

"Why," I answered, "I am not what is vulgarly termed 'a crack shot'—I cannot split a bullet on a penknife; but I am sure of a target somewhat smaller than a man: and my hand is as certain in the field as it is in the practice-yard."

"Le sentiment de nos forces les augmente," replied Vincent. "Shall I tell the coachman to drive to the Rocher?"


             Here's a kind host, that makes the invitation,
             To your own cost to his fort bon collation.
             —Wycherly's Gent. Dancing Master.

      Vous pouvez bien juger que je n'aurai pas grande peine a me
      consoler d'une chose dont je me suis deja console tant de fois.
      —Lettres de Boileau.

As I was walking home with Vincent from the Rue Mont-orgueil, I saw, on entering the Rue St. Honore, two figures before us; the tall and noble stature of the one I could not for a moment mistake. They stopped at the door of an hotel, which opened in that noiseless manner so peculiar to the Conciergerie of France. I was at the porte the moment they disappeared, but not before I had caught a glance of the dark locks and pale countenance of Warburton—my eye fell upon the number of the hotel.

"Surely," said I, "I have been in that house before."

"Likely enough," growled Vincent, who was gloriously drunk. "It is a house of two-fold utility—you may play with cards, or coquet with women, selon votre gout."

At these words I remembered the hotel and its inmates immediately. It belonged to an old nobleman, who, though on the brink of the grave, was still grasping at the good things on the margin. He lived with a pretty and clever woman, who bore the name and honours of his wife. They kept up two salons, one pour le petit souper, and the other pour le petit jeu. You saw much ecarte and more love-making, and lost your heart and your money with equal facility. In a word, the marquis and his jolie petite femme were a wise and prosperous couple, who made the best of their lives, and lived decently and honourably upon other people.

"Allons, Pelham," cried Vincent, as I was still standing at the door in deliberation; "how much longer will you keep me to congeal in this 'eager and nipping air'—'Quamdiu nostram patientiam abutere Catilina.'"

"Let us enter," said I. "I have the run of the house, and we may find—" "'Some young vices—some fair iniquities'" interrupted Vincent, with a hiccup—

         "'Leade on good fellowe,' quoth Robin Hood,
           Lead on, I do bid thee.'"

And with these words, the door opened in obedience to my rap, and we mounted to the marquis's tenement au premiere.

The room was pretty full—the soi-disante marquise was flitting from table to table—betting at each, and coquetting with all; and the marquis himself, with a moist eye and a shaking hand, was affecting the Don Juan with the various Elviras and Annas with which his salon was crowded. Vincent was trying to follow me through the crowd, but his confused vision and unsteady footing led him from one entanglement to another, till he was quite unable to proceed. A tall, corpulent Frenchman, six foot by five, was leaning, (a great and weighty objection,) just before him, utterly occupied in the vicissitudes of an ecarte table, and unconscious of Vincent's repeated efforts, first on one side, and then on the other, to pass him.

At last, the perplexed wit, getting more irascible as he grew more bewildered, suddenly seized the vast incumbrance by the arm, and said to him in a sharp, querulous tone, "Pray, Monsieur, why are you like the lote tree in Mahomet's Seventh Heaven?"

"Sir!" cried the astonished Frenchman.

"Because," (continued Vincent, answering his own enigma)—"because, beyond you there is no passing!"

The Frenchman (one of that race who always forgive any thing for a bon mot) smiled, bowed, and drew himself aside. Vincent steered by, and, joining me, hiccuped out, "In rebus adversis opponite pectora fortia."

Meanwhile I had looked round the room for the objects of my pursuit: to my great surprise I could not perceive them; they may be in the other room, thought I, and to the other room I went; the supper was laid out, and an old bonne was quietly helping herself to some sweetmeat. All other human beings (if, indeed, an old woman can be called a human being) were, however, invisible, and I remained perfectly bewildered as to the non- appearance of Warburton and his companion. I entered the Salle a Jouer once more—I looked round in every corner—I examined every face—but in vain; and with a feeling of disappointment very disproportioned to my loss, I took Vincent's arm, and we withdrew.

The next morning I spent with Madame D'Anville. A Frenchwoman easily consoles herself for the loss of a lover—she converts him into a friend, and thinks herself (nor is she much deceived) benefited by the exchange. We talked of our grief in maxims, and bade each other adieu in antitheses. Ah! it is a pleasant thing to drink with Alcidonis (in Marmontel's Tale) of the rose-coloured phial—to sport with the fancy, not to brood over the passion of youth. There is a time when the heart, from very tenderness, runs over, and (so much do our virtues as well as vices flow from our passions) there is, perhaps, rather hope than anxiety for the future in that excess. Then, if Pleasure errs, it errs through heedlessness, not design; and Love, wandering over flowers, "proffers honey, but bears not a sting." Ah! happy time! in the lines of one who can so well translate feeling into words—

           "Fate has not darkened thee; Hope has not made
           The blossoms expand it but opens to fade;
           Nothing is known of those wearing fears
           Which will shadow the light of our after years."
           —The Improvisatrice.

Pardon this digression—not much, it must be confessed, in my ordinary strain—but let me, dear reader, very seriously advise thee not to judge of me yet. When thou hast got to the end of my book, if thou dost condemn it or its hero—why "I will let thee alone (as honest Dogberry advises) till thou art sober; and, if thou make me not, then, the better answer, thou art not the man I took thee for."