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preferred to me was about as great a scamp as Dublin, rich enough in that commodity, had ever produced, a gambler and a roué. No doubt, this latter circumstance should have reconciled me to my lot; for it is a wonderful gratification on such occasions to be able to indulge in a good laugh at the choice which is made to your detriment. It had a contrary effect with me, however; and, lightly as I seemed to take it, I mentally swore that, sooner than resign the lady so coolly to such an unworthy rival, I would make my way to the city how I could, and compel the aforesaid gentleman some fine sunny morning to try conclusions among the daisies with me on the subject. The present was the first opportunity that afforded itself to enable me to put my designs in execution, and test the constancy of my ball-room inamorata, and was, of course, eagerly embraced. So I left home with a threefold chance of disposing of myself. Imprimis, I might have the luck to be shot in the contemplated duello; secondly, I might have the luck to get married ; and thirdly and lastly, if neither of these fatalities befell me, I was to go to Demerara and make ту fortune. And with these compound views I made my first entry into the metropolis, a passenger on the top of the Galway day-coach, and, like a true patriot, took up my quarters at «The Hibernian.'
It took me two mortal hours next morning after breakfast ere my looking-glass assured me I was all right, and complete in everything needful to a man who would fain look to advantage on the very important visit I was about paying. One bottle of port I emptied ere I felt my nerves up to proof on the occasion, and three Havannahs I consumed ere I could arrange the speech with which I intended to open the affair ; and at length, when all these preliminaries had been settled, I stood upon the steps ready to proceed to Mrs. Seymour's.
Well, what stopped me? By the powers! I had never up to that moment thought of finding out where Mrs. Seymour lived, barring that it was somewhere in Dublin ! The discovery left me almost breathless. Three days only could I remain in the city before the vessel sailed in which I had arranged to go, if go I should. What was to be done ? To depart without seeing Grace was out of the question ; but how to make her out, under the circumstances, was a problem that would bother Trinity. A lucky thought seized me amid my despair. I ran into one of those shops in which ladies' wear is the merchandise, and, while the simpering attendant was papering up the watch-riband which I purchased, took the liberty of inquiring whether he was honoured with the custom of one Miss Grace Seymour, a young lady with flaxen hair, light blue eyes, and about five feet three in her stockings. The man smiled in commiseration of my ignorance, and told me there wasn't a young lady in all Dublin, who was a young lady at all, but dealt with him, although, from their number, he was quite unable to particularise. In like manner I tried another, and another, and another, and so on, until I had my pockets crammed with a commodity of threads, tapes, and other small wares, enough to set up a seamstress, or form a very respectable assortment for a pedlar's basket ; but no Miss Grace Seymour was to be found ; and I could have almost danced with rage when obliged to confess to myself that my notable expedient had turned out a failure.
The second morning of my sojourn in Dublin arose without bringing me much additional hope, although I had lain awake half the previous night revolving the various modes whereby I might discover my lost one.
One plan after another had presented itself, and been rejected. To advertise for her in Saunders would probably give offence; to send round a bellman might have a similar result; and the only thing that seemed at all practicable or likely to succeed was, that I should provide myself with a map of the city, and perambulate every street that had the appearance of decency, when, if I had but patience enough to peruse the names on a few hundred brass plates, it was a moral impossibility but I would bring my labours to a happy consummation. Nor was even this without its difficulties; the foremost of which was, that reading of any kind had never been a very favourite accomplishment with me, much less the deciphering of all the cramp alphabets in which it pleased several of the Dublin gentry to conceal their names on their hall-doors, not to say that infernal running hand, so difficult to me to read at any time, a difficulty doubled by the circumstance of myself being almost running during the study. This
, however, with some others, I succeeded in surmounting, no doubt with great advantage to my education, owing to the great practice ; but it was all I had for my trouble. Not a single Mrs. Seymour could I detect in the whole city, although I had been ten hours or more occupied without cessation in the pursuit. (Hereafter let no man fall in love without first making himself acquainted with the geography of the lady. If he does, may he have to go look for her,-may he have to study brass plates until his face assumes the colour and nature of a candlestick, and after all be nothing the wiser. J Grace Seymour seemed lost to me for ever; and, what was worse, I had no chance even of getting a shot at my rival. Demerara was my doom ; it was vain to struggle against it any longer ; so I determined at last to meet it like a man, and, leaving matrimony and manslaughter to those whose luck lay in that line, abandon my hopes, and put an extinguisher on my enmities.
Another day, however, remained to be disposed of,—the eighteenth of June, the anniversary of undying Waterloo,-a day which need never hang heavy on a resident in Dublin, since it affords the dwellers of the fair city one of the most agreeable holidays in their calendar,—the day of 'the big review,' which, as all the world knows, is held annually in the Phænix Park on that day of many reminiscences. Hither I proposed be taking myself, in order to drown the lugubrious thoughts which I could not prevent now and then from getting the better of me; for, to tell the truth, I found I had managed to get deeper into love than is either prudent or convenient for any gentleman who is fond of enjoying his natural rest in the night, and getting up with an appetite for breakfast in the morning. To the Park accordingly I repaired, amid a very whirlwind of hacks, coaches, carriages, britzkas, jaunts, jingles, gigs, garrons, and every other locomotive engine of any denomination whatsoever, which even Irish ingenuity could apply to such a use. Erin go bragh it's the only spot on the habitable earth where a rookawn 's kept up as it ought to be—the only place where a holiday is properly treated.
The Lord Lieutenant and I arrived on the ground together, he on a dashing charger, I the sixth occupant of an old yellow jingle. Bang went the artillery to salute us; his Majesty's lieges shouted in rivalry ; the bands struck up their music in unison; and if the lookers on didn't grow merry, that you and I may !
Wearied at length with the glare of shifting brilliancy which the magnificent spectacle presented, I turned my eyes to reconnoitre the carriages
nigh to which I had posted myself
, and while my gaze roved from one to another, fixed them at last on a face which strongly arrested my attention, although I could not immediately recollect when I had met the body whereunto it appertained, so many countenances had flitted before me during the last few days. He (for it was a whisker-bearing face) was sitting in the driving-seat of a dashing carriage, with that sort of cool dégagé air which a man involuntarily assumes when he reposes on his own cushions. The more difficulty I found in remembering the gentleman, the more my brains racked themselves in pursuit of him, so that at length I succeeded; and as the circumstance of our first interview will have something to do with my adventure, I may as well tell it now as at any other time.
The first evening that I spent in the city, having nothing to occupy me, or keep me out of mischief
, I went, as bad luck would have it, to the Quay gaming-house, with the intent of converting all the shillings in my pocket into pounds, and then returning contented to my quarters. That the result was contrary to my expectations I need hardly say; for if such a transmutation was that night performed in favour of any greenhorn, I wasn't the fortunate individual. In fact, I lost all the money I had about me; and, being naturally a little nettled at my ill success, retired sulkily from the table, and threw myself into a chair placed in the recess of one of the windows, which, on account of the heat of the weather, had been left open. The river beneath flowed quietly on, illuminated partly by the brilliant gas-lights, partly by the more placid effulgence of the summer moon ; and while I was indulging in the reveries which the sight of it and the opposite shipping called up in my mind, my attention was at length caught, and my dream interrupted, by the voices of persons engaged in earnest conversation within a pace or two of where I sat, but from whom I was apparently concealed by the curtain.
I couldn't-by Jove, I couldn't !' was the tenour of the first words I remarked. “Don't ask me, Hall. It's more than human nature could bear to think of breaking off with such a mine of Peru in a small way. Why, man, I expect we'll knock fifty out of him to-night, and maybe as much more to-morrow.'
•D—! muttered the other, will you never have sense ? I tell you I'll give you up my share of the bond altogether, if you only sue him at once. That's the point that I'm scheming for all along-on account of which I got him to pass the bond at all; and it will be all to no purpose if you delay much longer. I must have him in my power at any cost.'
'So you shall, old boy,' returned the first speaker ; 'but not till we suck the last penny out of him. Contrary to rule, you know, to quarrel with a man as long as he shows “tin.” A day or two will make no difference to you,
am sure, and then "Say to-morrow, Desmond, if you please,” rejoined the other, in a tone of entreaty. "You don't know how important it is. She's treating me like a dog, and will until he breaks her down ; and he'll do nothing to help me that way, as long as he can avoid it. But once you sue him, he must come into the terms I dictate to him as the price of my relieving him, do you see, or go to jail. Don't you see now?'
Before any reply was made to this last urgent appeal, a hurried step
approached the confederates, and a third person in a hasty whisper addressed them.
* The lad 's in the room. If he sees you together, he'll smoke what you're at,' was the intimation given by the party who joined them; an intimation which had the effect of causing them to separate the moment it was uttered, but not before I was enabled to note the persons and faces of the swindlers, for such I had no doubt they were.
The one addressed as Hall was a young man of rather gentlemanly exterior, with a good deal of the buck about him, in the way of gold chains, rings, &c. The other, Desmond, was as neat a pattern of a genteel ruffian as a painter need ask for. Curiosity drove me to follow them, and see against whom were their machinations directed; and it was not long until I perceived Desmond seated at a table, and deeply immersed in the mysteries of some game that was all heathen Greek to me, being neither five-and-ten nor scobeen, beyond which my acquaintance with the flats' extended not; while opposed to him was the gentleman whom I now recognized in the driving-seat. As the latter appeared rather unskilled in the game, Mr. Hall had undertaken, with praiseworthy disinterestedness, to instruct him in its ways of pleasantness and profit, thereby sacrificing all his own private amusement for the evening. But whether Mr. Hall was or was not competent to the office, all I can say is, that a pretty kettle of fish they were making of it between them; and notwithstanding that, two heads being usually counted better than one, Mr. Desmond was fighting at a proverbial disadvantage, still he contrived to gather to himself the rather considerable funds of the new-comer with a rapidity quite unaccountable to any one who was ignorant of the terms on which he stood with that gentleman's instructor. The stranger grew pale and nervous. Mr. Hall, indignant at the unmerited losses of his friend, cursed the cards and the card-maker. But Fortune changed not her course, nevertheless; in fine, she ran in one full tide into Desmond's pockets, and soon put an end to the unequal contest.
The stranger rose to depart, and I prepared to follow him, with the intent of giving him a charitable hint or two, conveying my opinions and suspicions, and the matters whereon they were founded, which I had sense enough to abstain from doing while he continued in the house. I was a little deterred by observing Hall arrange to accompany him with an expression of the deepest sympathy; but the conduct of that worthy was so infernally ugly, that I could not in conscience conceal it; and accordingly, when they stood arm in arm in the street, after the wellwatched door closed behind them, I was there likewise, and gently touching the victim's shoulder, begged the pleasure of a moment's private conversation with him.
D— it, sir!' exclaimed he, giving vent to all his smothered wrath, and, I suppose, utterly unconscious of what I had said, do you mean to insult me, sir ? or do you want to shoulder me into the river ?
I, of course, disclaimed having any such truculent intention ; but this had only the effect of making my gentleman grow more warlike, and ultimately Hall and he began to show fight like a pair of Trojans. As I was afraid the former might prove a more trusty auxiliary in a row than at the gaming-table ; besides that I was not a little incensed at the brutal manner in which his dupe seemed disposed to resent my well-meant in
terference, I declined the honour of being martyred on his behalf, and, leaving him to discover at his leisure the confederacy of which he was the willing victim, fled, I know not how or where, into a labyrinth of lanes and alleys, where the darkness saved me from pursuit, and also from the danger of meeting my adversaries on my way home; for there I had to stay until the daylight enabled me with difficulty to extricate myself.
Such were the circumstances under which I formed the acquaintance of the gentleman in the driving-seat, who, to do him justice, carried about him the look of a bona fide gentleman, and a handsome one into the bargain ; and in the mood of discontent under which I laboured at the moment of recognizing him, it is not to be expected that I should take much trouble to shun his notice, or the rencontre to which such a notice would be likely to lead. Beyond this passive hostility, however, it was impossible for me to proceed, inasmuch as the carriage to which the aforesaid driving-seat was an appendage, had for its occupant a lady, who seemed, by the by, to be much more intent on philandering with her good-looking escort than in watching the maneuvres of the field; but, as her back was partly turned to me, I couldn't tell whether or not her face deserved all the attention he paid her, though I was rather inclined to think it did ; for, somehow or other, a scamp, like the unlucky cavalier, generally manages to appropriate a beauty.
My curiosity was at last satisfied, and more than satisfied. The cavalry in one of their evolutions dashed by, seriously incommoding the pedestrians at the outer ring, and creating a hubbub which caused every one to turn their eyes in that direction. Mine met the lady's. Holy Saint Bridget! it was Grace Seymour herself, -as handsome,-ay, twice as handsome as ever. A thrill of joy gushed through my every nerve, and I almost jostled down half-a-dozen people in my attempt to approach her. But fancy my dismay when she withdrew her look, without affording the slightest symptom of
recog nition, turning away with as much coolness as if I was a mere gauger's apprentice!
Bewildered by this unaccountable slight, I still gazed, unable to recover myself ; but not even a passing glance did I meet in return. Her whole attention was occupied by the man in the driving-seat, who so fully answered the description given to me of my rival ! Oh ! the surpassing bitterness of that moment !-bitterness which I mentally swore that I would return tenfold on the head of him whom I suspected of supplanting me, and with whom I had already such a good ground of quarrel. To watch him closely until some opportunity of exchanging cards with him should occur, was therefore my only resource, as, from the shortness of my stay, the matter would brook no postponement; and while I accordingly kept my eyes fixed on him, I observed that his were, for some reason unknown, fastened in another direction, and that too with such an expression of consternation, as left me no doubt that he saw something there more than he liked. A half-suppressed exclamation escaped him after a moment or two. He sprang to the ground from his elevated position, and crouching beside the carriage, spoke a few hurried words of explanation to the terrified girl, and, before I could recover from my surprise sufficiently to note his movements, he had retired among the crowd, leaving her to the mercy of the charitable.