Cox's Diary by William Makepeace Thackeray
A DAY WITH THE
A NEW DROP-SCENE
AT THE OPERA.
DOWN AT BEULAH.
NOTICE TO QUIT.
On the 1st of January, 1838, I was the master of a lovely shop in
the neighborhood of Oxford Market; of a wife, Mrs. Cox; of a
business, both in the shaving and cutting line, established three-
and-thirty years; of a girl and boy respectively of the ages of
eighteen and thirteen; of a three-windowed front, both to my first
and second pair; of a young foreman, my present partner, Mr. Orlando
Crump; and of that celebrated mixture for the human hair, invented by
my late uncle, and called Cox's Bohemian Balsam of Tokay, sold in pots
at two-and-three and three-and-nine. The balsam, the lodgings, and
the old-established cutting and shaving business brought me in a
pretty genteel income. I had my girl, Jemimarann, at Hackney, to
school; my dear boy, Tuggeridge, plaited her hair beautifully; my wife
at the counter (behind the tray of patent soaps, cut as handsome a
figure as possible; and it was my hope that Orlando and my girl, who
were mighty soft upon one another, would one day be joined together in
Hyming, and, conjointly with my son Tug, carry on the business of
hairdressers when their father was either dead or a gentleman: for a
gentleman me and Mrs. C. determined I should be.
Jemima was, you see, a lady herself, and of very high connections:
though her own family had met with crosses, and was rather low. Mr.
Tuggeridge, her father, kept the famous tripe-shop near the "Pigtail
and Sparrow," in the Whitechapel Road; from which place I married her;
being myself very fond of the article, and especially when she served
it to me—the dear thing!
Jemima's father was not successful in business: and I married her,
I am proud to confess it, without a shilling. I had my hands, my
house, and my Bohemian balsam to support her!—and we had hopes from
her uncle, a mighty rich East India merchant, who, having left this
country sixty years ago as a cabin-boy, had arrived to be the head of
a great house in India, and was worth millions, we were told.
Three years after Jemimarann's birth (and two after the death of my
lamented father-in-law), Tuggeridge (head of the great house of
Budgurow and Co.) retired from the management of it; handed over his
shares to his son, Mr. John Tuggeridge, and came to live in England,
at Portland Place, and Tuggeridgeville, Surrey, and enjoy himself.
Soon after, my wife took her daughter in her hand and went, as in
duty bound, to visit her uncle: but whether it was that he was proud
and surly, or she somewhat sharp in her way, (the dear girl fears
nobody, let me have you to know,) a desperate quarrel took place
between them; and from that day to the day of his death, he never set
eyes on her. All that he would condescend to do, was to take a few
dozen of lavender-water from us in the course of the year, and to send
his servants to be cut and shaved by us. All the neighbors laughed at
this poor ending of our expectations, for Jemmy had bragged not a
little; however, we did not care, for the connection was always a good
one, and we served Mr. Hock, the valet; Mr. Bar, the coachman; and
Mrs. Breadbasket, the housekeeper, willingly enough. I used to powder
the footman, too, on great days, but never in my life saw old
Tuggeridge, except once: when he said "Oh, the barber!" tossed up his
nose, and passed on.
One day—one famous day last January—all our Market was thrown
into a high state of excitement by the appearance of no less than
three vehicles at our establishment. As me, Jemmy, my daughter, Tug,
and Orlando, were sitting in the back-parlor over our dinner (it being
Christmas-time, Mr. Crump had treated the ladies to a bottle of port,
and was longing that there should be a mistletoe- bough: at which
proposal my little Jemimarann looked as red as a glass of negus):—we
had just, I say, finished the port, when, all of a sudden, Tug bellows
out, "La, Pa, here's uncle Tuggeridge's housekeeper in a cab!"
And Mrs. Breadbasket it was, sure enough—Mrs. Breadbasket in deep
mourning, who made her way, bowing and looking very sad, into the
back shop. My wife, who respected Mrs. B. more than anything else in
the world, set her a chair, offered her a glass of wine, and vowed it
was very kind of her to come. "La, mem," says Mrs. B., "I'm sure I'd
do anything to serve your family, for the sake of that poor dear
Tuck-Tuck-tug-guggeridge, that's gone."
"That's what?" cries my wife.
"What, gone?" cried Jemimarann, bursting out crying (as little
girls will about anything or nothing); and Orlando looking very
rueful, and ready to cry too.
"Yes, gaw—" Just as she was at this very "gaw" Tug roars out,
"La, Pa! here's Mr. Bar, uncle Tug's coachman!"
It was Mr. Bar. When she saw him, Mrs. Breadbasket stepped
suddenly back into the parlor with my ladies. "What is it, Mr. Bar?"
says I; and as quick as thought, I had the towel under his chin, Mr.
Bar in the chair, and the whole of his face in a beautiful foam of
lather. Mr. Bar made some resistance.—"Don't think of it, Mr. Cox,"
says he; "don't trouble yourself, sir." But I lathered away and never
minded. "And what's this melancholy event, sir," says I, "that has
spread desolation in your family's bosoms? I can feel for your loss,
sir—I can feel for your loss."
I said so out of politeness, because I served the family, not
because Tuggeridge was my uncle—no, as such I disown him.
Mr. Bar was just about to speak. "Yes, sir," says he, "my master's
gaw—" when at the "gaw" in walks Mr. Hock, the own man!—the finest
gentleman I ever saw.
"What, YOU here, Mr. Bar!" says he.
"Yes, I am, sir; and haven't I a right, sir?"
"A mighty wet day, sir," says I to Mr. Hock—stepping up and making
my bow. "A sad circumstance too, sir! And is it a turn of the tongs
that you want to-day, sir? Ho, there, Mr. Crump!"
"Turn, Mr. Crump, if you please, sir," said Mr. Hock, making a bow:
"but from you, sir, never—no, never, split me!—and I wonder how
some fellows can have the INSOLENCE to allow their MASTERS to shave
them!" With this, Mr. Hock flung himself down to be curled: Mr. Bar
suddenly opened his mouth in order to reply; but seeing there was a
tiff between the gentlemen, and wanting to prevent a quarrel, I rammed
the Advertiser into Mr. Hock's hands, and just popped my shaving-brush
into Mr. Bar's mouth—a capital way to stop angry answers.
Mr. Bar had hardly been in the chair one second, when whir comes a
hackney-coach to the door, from which springs a gentleman in a black
coat with a bag.
"What, you here!" says the gentleman. I could not help smiling,
for it seemed that everybody was to begin by saying, "What, YOU
here!" "Your name is Cox, sir?" says he; smiling too, as the very
pattern of mine. "My name, sir, is Sharpus,—Blunt, Hone and
Sharpus, Middle Temple Lane,—and I am proud to salute you, sir;
happy,—that is to say, sorry to say that Mr. Tuggeridge, of Portland
Place, is dead, and your lady is heiress, in consequence, to one of
the handsomest properties in the kingdom."
At this I started, and might have sunk to the ground, but for my
hold of Mr. Bar's nose; Orlando seemed putrified to stone, with his
irons fixed to Mr. Hock's head; our respective patients gave a wince
out:—Mrs. C., Jemimarann, and Tug, rushed from the back shop, and we
formed a splendid tableau such as the great Cruikshank might have
"And Mr. John Tuggeridge, sir?" says I.
"Why—hee, hee, hee!" says Mr. Sharpus. "Surely you know that he
was only the—hee, hee, hee!—the natural son!"
You now can understand why the servants from Portland Place had
been so eager to come to us. One of the house-maids heard Mr.
Sharpus say there was no will, and that my wife was heir to the
property, and not Mr. John Tuggeridge: this she told in the
housekeeper's room; and off, as soon as they heard it, the whole
party set, in order to be the first to bear the news.
We kept them, every one in their old places; for, though my wife
would have sent them about their business, my dear Jemimarann just
hinted, "Mamma, you know THEY have been used to great houses, and we
have not; had we not better keep them for a little?"—Keep them, then,
we did, to show us how to be gentlefolks.
I handed over the business to Mr. Crump without a single farthing
of premium, though Jemmy would have made me take four hundred pounds
for it; but this I was above: Crump had served me faithfully, and have
the shop he should.
We were speedily installed in our fine house: but what's a house
without friends? Jemmy made me CUT all my old acquaintances in the
Market, and I was a solitary being; when, luckily, an old acquaintance
of ours, Captain Tagrag, was so kind as to promise to introduce us
into distinguished society. Tagrag was the son of a baronet, and had
done us the honor of lodging with us for two years; when we lost sight
of him, and of his little account, too, by the way. A fortnight
after, hearing of our good fortune, he was among us again, however;
and Jemmy was not a little glad to see him, knowing him to be a
baronet's son, and very fond of our Jemimarann. Indeed, Orlando (who
is as brave as a lion) had on one occasion absolutely beaten Mr.
Tagrag for being rude to the poor girl: a clear proof, as Tagrag said
afterwards, that he was always fond of her.
Mr. Crump, poor fellow, was not very much pleased by our good
fortune, though he did all he could to try at first; and I told him
to come and take his dinner regular, as if nothing had happened. But
to this Jemima very soon put a stop, for she came very justly to know
her stature, and to look down on Crump, which she bid her daughter to
do; and, after a great scene, in which Orlando showed himself very
rude and angry, he was forbidden the house—for ever!
So much for poor Crump. The Captain was now all in all with us.
"You see, sir," our Jemmy would say, "we shall have our town and
country mansion, and a hundred and thirty thousand pounds in the
funds, to leave between our two children; and, with such prospects,
they ought surely to have the first society of England." To this
Tagrag agreed, and promised to bring us acquainted with the very pink
of the fashion; ay, and what's more, did.
First, he made my wife get an opera-box, and give suppers on
Tuesdays and Saturdays. As for me, he made me ride in the Park: me
and Jemimarann, with two grooms behind us, who used to laugh all the
way, and whose very beards I had shaved. As for little Tug, he was
sent straight off to the most fashionable school in the kingdom, the
Reverend Doctor Pigney's, at Richmond.
Well, the horses, the suppers, the opera-box, the paragraphs in the
papers about Mr. Coxe Coxe (that's the way: double your name and
stick an "e" to the end of it, and you are a gentleman at once), had
an effect in a wonderfully short space of time, and we began to get a
very pretty society about us. Some of old Tug's friends swore they
would do anything for the family, and brought their wives and
daughters to see dear Mrs. Coxe and her charming girl; and when, about
the first week in February, we announced a grand dinner and ball for
the evening of the twenty-eighth, I assure you there was no want of
company: no, nor of titles neither; and it always does my heart good
even to hear one mentioned.
Let me see. There was, first, my Lord Dunboozle, an Irish peer,
and his seven sons, the Honorable Messieurs Trumper (two only to
dinner): there was Count Mace, the celebrated French nobleman, and
his Excellency Baron von Punter from Baden; there was Lady Blanche
Bluenose, the eminent literati, author of "The Distrusted" "The
Distorted," "The Disgusted," "The Disreputable One," and other poems;
there was the Dowager Lady Max and her daughter, the Honorable Miss
Adelaide Blueruin; Sir Charles Codshead, from the City; and
Field-Marshal Sir Gorman O'Gallagher, K.A., K.B., K.C., K.W., K.X., in
the service of the Republic of Guatemala: my friend Tagrag and his
fashionable acquaintance, little Tom Tufthunt, made up the party. And
when the doors were flung open, and Mr. Hock, in black, with a white
napkin, three footmen, coachman, and a lad whom Mrs. C. had dressed in
sugar-loaf buttons and called a page, were seen round the
dinner-table, all in white gloves, I promise you I felt a thrill of
elation, and thought to myself—Sam Cox, Sam Cox, who ever would have
expected to see you here?
After dinner, there was to be, as I said, an evening-party; and to
this Messieurs Tagrag and Tufthunt had invited many of the principal
nobility that our metropolis had produced. When I mention, among the
company to tea, her Grace the Duchess of Zero, her son the Marquis of
Fitzurse, and the Ladies North Pole her daughters; when I say that
there were yet OTHERS, whose names may be found in the Blue Book, but
shan't, out of modesty, be mentioned here, I think I've said enough to
show that, in our time, No. 96, Portland Place, was the resort of the
best of company.
It was our first dinner, and dressed by our new cook, Munseer
Cordongblew. I bore it very well; eating, for my share, a filly
dysol allamater dotell, a cutlet soubeast, a pully bashymall, and
other French dishes: and, for the frisky sweet wine, with tin tops to
the bottles, called Champang, I must say that me and Mrs. Coxe-
Tuggeridge Coxe drank a very good share of it (but the Claret and
Jonnysberger, being sour, we did not much relish). However, the
feed, as I say, went off very well: Lady Blanche Bluenose sitting
next to me, and being so good as to put me down for six copies of all
her poems; the Count and Baron von Punter engaging Jemimarann for
several waltzes, and the Field-Marshal plying my dear Jemmy with
Champagne, until, bless her! her dear nose became as red as her new
crimson satin gown, which, with a blue turban and bird-of- paradise
feathers, made her look like an empress, I warrant.
Well, dinner past, Mrs. C. and the ladies went off:—thunder-under-
under came the knocks at the door; squeedle-eedle-eedle, Mr.
Wippert's fiddlers began to strike up; and, about half-past eleven,
me and the gents thought it high time to make our appearance. I felt
a LITTLE squeamish at the thought of meeting a couple of hundred great
people; but Count Mace and Sir Gorman O'Gallagher taking each an arm,
we reached, at last, the drawing-room.
The young ones in company were dancing, and the Duchess and the
great ladies were all seated, talking to themselves very stately, and
working away at the ices and macaroons. I looked out for my pretty
Jemimarann amongst the dancers, and saw her tearing round the room
along with Baron Punter, in what they call a gallypard; then I peeped
into the circle of the Duchesses, where, in course, I expected to find
Mrs. C.; but she wasn't there! She was seated at the further end of
the room, looking very sulky; and I went up and took her arm, and
brought her down to the place where the Duchesses were. "Oh, not
there!" said Jemmy, trying to break away. "Nonsense, my dear," says I:
"you are missis, and this is your place." Then going up to her
ladyship the Duchess, says I, "Me and my missis are most proud of the
honor of seeing of you."
The Duchess (a tall red-haired grenadier of a woman) did not speak.
I went on: "The young ones are all at it, ma'am, you see; and so we
thought we would come and sit down among the old ones. You and I,
ma'am, I think, are too stiff to dance."
"Sir!" says her Grace.
"Ma'am," says I, "don't you know me? My name's Cox. Nobody's
introduced me; but, dash it, it's my own house, and I may present
myself—so give us your hand, ma'am."
And I shook hers in the kindest way in the world; but—would you
believe it?—the old cat screamed as if my hand had been a hot
'tater. "Fitzurse! Fitzurse!" shouted she, "help! help!" Up
scuffled all the other Dowagers—in rushed the dancers. "Mamma!
mamma!" squeaked Lady Julia North Pole. "Lead me to my mother,"
howled Lady Aurorer: and both came up and flung themselves into her
arms. "Wawt's the raw?" said Lord Fitzurse, sauntering up quite
"Protect me from the insults of this man," says her Grace.
"Where's Tufthunt? he promised that not a soul in this house should
speak to me."
"My dear Duchess," said Tufthunt, very meek.
"Don't Duchess ME, sir. Did you not promise they should not speak;
and hasn't that horrid tipsy wretch offered to embrace me? Didn't
his monstrous wife sicken me with her odious familiarities? Call my
people, Tufthunt! Follow me, my children!"
"And my carriage," "And mine," "And mine!" shouted twenty more
voices. And down they all trooped to the hall: Lady Blanche Bluenose
and Lady Max among the very first; leaving only the Field-Marshal and
one or two men, who roared with laughter ready to split.
"Oh, Sam," said my wife, sobbing, "why would you take me back to
them? they had sent me away before! I only asked the Duchess whether
she didn't like rum-shrub better than all your Maxarinos and
Curasosos: and—would you believe it?—all the company burst out
laughing; and the Duchess told me just to keep off, and not to speak
till I was spoken to. Imperence! I'd like to tear her eyes out."
And so I do believe my dearest Jemmy would!
A DAY WITH THE SURREY HOUNDS.
Our ball had failed so completely that Jemmy, who was bent still
upon fashion, caught eagerly at Tagrag's suggestion, and went down to
Tuggeridgeville. If we had a difficulty to find friends in town, here
there was none: for the whole county came about us, ate our dinners
and suppers, danced at our balls—ay, and spoke to us too. We were
great people in fact: I a regular country gentleman; and as such,
Jemmy insisted that I should be a sportsman, and join the county hunt.
"But," says I, "my love, I can't ride." "Pooh! Mr. C." said she,
"you're always making difficulties: you thought you couldn't dance a
quadrille; you thought you couldn't dine at seven o'clock; you thought
you couldn't lie in bed after six; and haven't you done every one of
these things? You must and you shall ride!" And when my Jemmy said
"must and shall," I knew very well there was nothing for it: so I sent
down fifty guineas to the hunt, and, out of compliment to me, the very
next week, I received notice that the meet of the hounds would take
place at Squashtail Common, just outside my lodge-gates.
I didn't know what a meet was; and me and Mrs. C. agreed that it
was most probable the dogs were to be fed there. However, Tagrag
explained this matter to us, and very kindly promised to sell me a
horse, a delightful animal of his own; which, being desperately
pressed for money, he would let me have for a hundred guineas, he
himself having given a hundred and fifty for it.
Well, the Thursday came: the hounds met on Squashtail Common; Mrs.
C. turned out in her barouche to see us throw off; and, being helped
up on my chestnut horse, Trumpeter, by Tagrag and my head groom, I
came presently round to join them.
Tag mounted his own horse; and, as we walked down the avenue, "I
thought," he said, "you told me you knew how to ride; and that you
had ridden once fifty miles on a stretch!"
"And so I did," says I, "to Cambridge, and on the box too."
"ON THE BOX!" says he; "but did you ever mount a horse before?"
"Never," says I, "but I find it mighty easy."
"Well," says he, "you're mighty bold for a barber; and I like you,
Coxe, for your spirit." And so we came out of the gate.
As for describing the hunt, I own, fairly, I can't. I've been at a
hunt, but what a hunt is—why the horses WILL go among the dogs and
ride them down—why the men cry out "yooooic"—why the dogs go
snuffing about in threes and fours, and the huntsman says, "Good
Towler—good Betsy," and we all of us after him say, "Good Towler—
good Betsy" in course: then, after hearing a yelp here and a howl
there, tow, row, yow, yow, yow! burst out, all of a sudden, from
three or four of them, and the chap in a velvet cap screeches out
(with a number of oaths I shan't repeat here), "Hark, to Ringwood!"
and then, "There he goes!" says some one; and all of a sudden, helter
skelter, skurry hurry, slap bang, whooping, screeching and hurraing,
blue-coats and red-coats, bays and grays, horses, dogs, donkeys,
butchers, baro-knights, dustmen, and blackguard boys, go tearing all
together over the common after two or three of the pack that yowl
loudest. Why all this is, I can't say; but it all took place the
second Thursday of last March, in my presence.
Up to this, I'd kept my seat as well as the best, for we'd only
been trotting gently about the field until the dogs found; and I
managed to stick on very well; but directly the tow-rowing began, off
went Trumpeter like a thunderbolt, and I found myself playing among
the dogs like the donkey among the chickens. "Back, Mr. Coxe,"
holloas the huntsman; and so I pulled very hard, and cried out, Wo!"
but he wouldn't; and on I went galloping for the dear life. How I
kept on is a wonder; but I squeezed my knees in very tight, and shoved
my feet very hard into the stirrups, and kept stiff hold of the scruff
of Trumpeter's neck, and looked betwixt his ears as well as ever I
could, and trusted to luck: for I was in a mortal fright, sure enough,
as many a better man would be in such a case, let alone a poor
As for the hounds, after my first riding in among them, I tell you
honestly, I never saw so much as the tip of one of their tails;
nothing in this world did I see except Trumpeter's dun-colored mane,
and that I gripped firm: riding, by the blessing of luck, safe through
the walking, the trotting, the galloping, and never so much as getting
There was a chap at Croydon very well known as the "Spicy Dustman,"
who, when he could get no horse to ride to the hounds, turned
regularly out on his donkey; and on this occasion made one of us. He
generally managed to keep up with the dogs by trotting quietly through
the cross-roads, and knowing the country well. Well, having a good
guess where the hounds would find, and the line that sly Reynolds (as
they call the fox) would take, the Spicy Dustman turned his animal
down the lane from Squashtail to Cutshins Common; across which, sure
enough, came the whole hunt. There's a small hedge and a remarkably
fine ditch here: some of the leading chaps took both, in gallant
style; others went round by a gate, and so would I, only I couldn't;
for Trumpeter would have the hedge, and be hanged to him, and went
right for it.
Hoop! if ever you DID try a leap! Out go your legs, out fling your
arms, off goes your hat; and the next thing you feel—that is, I
did—is a most tremendous thwack across the chest, and my feet jerked
out of the stirrups: me left in the branches of a tree; Trumpeter gone
clean from under me, and walloping and floundering in the ditch
underneath. One of the stirrup-leathers had caught in a stake, and
the horse couldn't get away: and neither of us, I thought, ever WOULD
have got away: but all of a sudden, who should come up the lane but
the Spicy Dustman!
"Holloa!" says I, "you gent, just let us down from this here tree!"
"Lor'!" says he, "I'm blest if I didn't take you for a robin."
"Let's down," says I; but he was all the time employed in
disengaging Trumpeter, whom he got out of the ditch, trembling and as
quiet as possible. "Let's down," says I. "Presently," says he; and
taking off his coat, he begins whistling and swishing down Trumpeter's
sides and saddle; and when he had finished, what do you think the
rascal did?—he just quietly mounted on Trumpeter's back, and shouts
out, "Git down yourself, old Bearsgrease; you've only to drop! I'LL
give your 'oss a hairing arter them 'ounds; and you—vy, you may ride
back my pony to Tuggeridgeweal!" And with this, I'm blest if he
didn't ride away, leaving me holding, as for the dear life, and
expecting every minute the branch would break.
It DID break too, and down I came into the slush; and when I got
out of it, I can tell you I didn't look much like the Venuses or the
Apollor Belvidearis what I used to dress and titivate up for my shop
window when I was in the hairdressing line, or smell quite so elegant
as our rose-oil. Faugh! what a figure I was!
I had nothing for it but to mount the dustman's donkey (which was
very quietly cropping grass in the hedge), and to make my way home;
and after a weary, weary journey, I arrived at my own gate.
A whole party was assembled there. Tagrag, who had come back;
their Excellencies Mace and Punter, who were on a visit; and a number
of horses walking up and down before the whole of the gentlemen of the
hunt, who had come in after losing their fox! "Here's Squire Coxe!"
shouted the grooms. Out rushed the servants, out poured the gents of
the hunt, and on trotted poor me, digging into the donkey, and
everybody dying with laughter at me.
Just as I got up to the door, a horse came galloping up, and passed
me; a man jumped down, and taking off a fantail hat, came up, very
gravely, to help me down.
"Squire," says he, "how came you by that there hanimal? Jist git
down, will you, and give it to its howner?"
"Rascal!" says I, "didn't you ride off on my horse?"
"Was there ever sich ingratitude?" says the Spicy. "I found this
year 'oss in a pond, I saves him from drowning, I brings him back to
his master, and he calls me a rascal!"
The grooms, the gents, the ladies in the balcony, my own servants,
all set up a roar at this; and so would I, only I was so deucedly
ashamed, as not to be able to laugh just then.
And so my first day's hunting ended. Tagrag and the rest declared
I showed great pluck, and wanted me to try again; but "No," says I,
"I HAVE been."
THE FINISHING TOUCH.
I was always fond of billiards: and, in former days, at Grogram's
in Greek Street, where a few jolly lads of my acquaintance used to
meet twice a week for a game, and a snug pipe and beer, I was
generally voted the first man of the club; and could take five from
John the marker himself. I had a genius, in fact, for the game; and
now that I was placed in that station of life where I could cultivate
my talents, I gave them full play, and improved amazingly. I do say
that I think myself as good a hand as any chap in England.
The Count and his Excellency Baron von Punter were, I can tell you,
astonished by the smartness of my play: the first two or three
rubbers Punter beat me, but when I came to know his game, I used to
knock him all to sticks; or, at least, win six games to his four: and
such was the betting upon me; his Excellency losing large sums to the
Count, who knew what play was, and used to back me. I did not play
except for shillings, so my skill was of no great service to me.
One day I entered the billiard-room where these three gentlemen
were high in words. "The thing shall not be done," I heard Captain
Tagrag say: "I won't stand it."
"Vat, begause you would have de bird all to yourzelf, hey?" said
"You sall not have a single fezare of him, begar," said the Count:
"ve vill blow you, M. de Taguerague; parole d'honneur, ve vill."
"What's all this, gents," says I, stepping in, "about birds and
"Oh," says Tagrag, "we were talking about—about—pigeon-shooting;
the Count here says he will blow a bird all to pieces at twenty
yards, and I said I wouldn't stand it, because it was regular
"Oh, yase, it was bidgeon-shooting," cries the Baron: "and I know
no better sbort. Have you been bidgeon-shooting, my dear Squire? De
fon is gabidal."
"No doubt," says I, "for the shooters, but mighty bad sport for the
PIGEON." And this joke set them all a-laughing ready to die. I
didn't know then what a good joke it WAS, neither; but I gave Master
Baron, that day, a precious good beating, and walked off with no less
than fifteen shillings of his money.
As a sporting man, and a man of fashion, I need not say that I took
in the Flare-up regularly; ay, and wrote one or two trifles in that
celebrated publication (one of my papers, which Tagrag subscribed for
me, Philo-pestitiaeamicus, on the proper sauce for teal and
widgeon—and the other, signed Scru-tatos, on the best means of
cultivating the kidney species of that vegetable—made no small noise
at the time, and got me in the paper a compliment from the editor). I
was a constant reader of the Notices to Correspondents, and, my early
education having been rayther neglected (for I was taken from my
studies and set, as is the custom in our trade, to practise on a
sheep's head at the tender age of nine years, before I was allowed to
venture on the humane countenance,)—I say, being thus curtailed and
cut off in my classical learning, I must confess I managed to pick up
a pretty smattering of genteel information from that treasury of all
sorts of knowledge; at least sufficient to make me a match in learning
for all the noblemen and gentlemen who came to our house. Well, on
looking over the Flare-up notices to correspondents, I read, one day
last April, among the notices, as follows:—
"'Automodon.' We do not know the precise age of Mr. Baker of
Covent Garden Theatre; nor are we aware if that celebrated son of
Thespis is a married man.
"'Ducks and Green-peas' is informed, that when A plays his rook to
B's second Knight's square, and B, moving two squares with his
Queen's pawn, gives check to his adversary's Queen, there is no
reason why B's Queen should not take A's pawn, if B be so inclined.
"'F. L. S.' We have repeatedly answered the question about Madame
Vestris: her maiden name was Bartolozzi, and she married the son of
Charles Mathews, the celebrated comedian.
"'Fair Play.' The best amateur billiard and ecarte player in
England, is Coxe Tuggeridge Coxe, Esq., of Portland Place, and
Tuggeridgeville: Jonathan, who knows his play, can only give him two
in a game of a hundred; and, at the cards, NO man is his superior.
"'Scipio Americanus' is a blockhead."
I read this out to the Count and Tagrag, and both of them wondered
how the Editor of that tremendous Flare-up should get such
information; and both agreed that the Baron, who still piqued himself
absurdly on his play, would be vastly annoyed by seeing me preferred
thus to himself. We read him the paragraph, and preciously angry he
was. "Id is," he cried, "the tables" (or "de DABELS," as he called
them),—"de horrid dabels; gom viz me to London, and dry a
slate-table, and I vill beat you." We all roared at this; and the end
of the dispute was, that, just to satisfy the fellow, I agreed to play
his Excellency at slate-tables, or any tables he chose.
"Gut," says he, "gut; I lif, you know, at Abednego's, in de
Quadrant; his dabels is goot; ve vill blay dere, if you vill." And I
said I would: and it was agreed that, one Saturday night, when Jemmy
was at the Opera, we should go to the Baron's rooms, and give him a
We went, and the little Baron had as fine a supper as ever I saw:
lots of Champang (and I didn't mind drinking it), and plenty of
laughing and fun. Afterwards, down we went to billiards. "Is dish
Misther Coxsh, de shelebrated player?" says Mr. Abednego, who was in
the room, with one or two gentlemen of his own persuasion, and several
foreign noblemen, dirty, snuffy, and hairy, as them foreigners are.
"Is dish Misther Coxsh? blesh my hart, it is a honor to see you; I
have heard so much of your play."
"Come, come," says I, "sir"—for I'm pretty wide awake—"none of
your gammon; you're not going to book ME."
"No, begar, dis fish you not catch," says Count Mace.
"Dat is gut!—haw! haw!" snorted the Baron. "Hook him! Lieber
Himmel, you might dry and hook me as well. Haw! haw!"
Well, we went to play. "Five to four on Coxe," screams out the
Count.—"Done and done," says another nobleman. "Ponays," says the
Count.—"Done," says the nobleman. "I vill take your six crowns to
four," says the Baron.—"Done," says I. And, in the twinkling of an
eye, I beat him once making thirteen off the balls without stopping.
We had some more wine after this; and if you could have seen the
long faces of the other noblemen, as they pulled out their pencils
and wrote I.O.U.'s for the Count! "Va toujours, mon cher," says he
to me, "you have von for me three hundred pounds."
"I'll blay you guineas dis time," says the Baron. "Zeven to four
you must give me though." And so I did: and in ten minutes THAT game
was won, and the Baron handed over his pounds. "Two hundred and sixty
more, my dear, dear Coxe," says the Count: "you are mon ange gardien!"
"Wot a flat Misther Coxsh is, not to back his luck," I hoard Abednego
whisper to one of the foreign noblemen.
"I'll take your seven to four, in tens," said I to the Baron.
"Give me three," says he, "and done." I gave him three, and lost the
game by one. "Dobbel, or quits," says he. "Go it," says I, up to my
mettle: "Sam Coxe never says no;" and to it we went. I went in, and
scored eighteen to his five. "Holy Moshesh!" says Abednego, "dat
little Coxsh is a vonder! who'll take odds?"
"I'll give twenty to one," says I, "in guineas."
"Ponays; yase, done," screams out the Count.
"BONIES, done," roars out the Baron: and, before I could speak,
went in, and—would you believe it?—in two minutes he somehow made
. . . . . .
Oh, what a figure I cut when my dear Jemmy heard of this
afterwards! In vain I swore it was guineas: the Count and the Baron
swore to ponies; and when I refused, they both said their honor was
concerned, and they must have my life, or their money. So when the
Count showed me actually that, in spite of this bet (which had been
too good to resist) won from me, he had been a very heavy loser by
the night; and brought me the word of honor of Abednego, his Jewish
friend, and the foreign noblemen, that ponies had been betted;—why,
I paid them one thousand pounds sterling of good and lawful
money.—But I've not played for money since: no, no; catch me at THAT
again if you can.
A NEW DROP-SCENE AT THE OPERA.
No lady is a lady without having a box at the Opera: so my Jemmy,
who knew as much about music,—bless her!—as I do about Sanscrit,
algebra, or any other foreign language, took a prime box on the
second tier. It was what they called a double box; it really COULD
hold two, that is, very comfortably; and we got it a great bargain—
for five hundred a year! Here, Tuesdays and Saturdays, we used
regularly to take our places, Jemmy and Jemimarann sitting in front;
me, behind: but as my dear wife used to wear a large fantail gauze hat
with ostrich feathers, birds-of-paradise, artificial flowers, and tags
of muslin or satin, scattered all over it, I'm blest if she didn't
fill the whole of the front of the box; and it was only by jumping and
dodging, three or four times in the course of the night, that I could
manage to get a sight of the actors. By kneeling down, and looking
steady under my darling Jemmy's sleeve, I DID contrive, every now and
then, to have a peep of Senior Lablash's boots, in the "Puritanny,"
and once actually saw Madame Greasi's crown and head-dress in
What a place that Opera is, to be sure! and what enjoyments us
aristocracy used to have! Just as you have swallowed down your three
courses (three curses I used to call them;—for so, indeed, they are,
causing a deal of heartburns, headaches, doctor's bills, pills, want
of sleep, and such like)—just, I say, as you get down your three
courses, which I defy any man to enjoy properly unless he has two
hours of drink and quiet afterwards, up comes the carriage, in bursts
my Jemmy, as fine as a duchess, and scented like our shop. "Come, my
dear," says she, "it's 'Normy' to—night" (or "Annybalony," or the
"Nosey di Figaro," or the "Gazzylarder," as the case may be). "Mr.
Foster strikes off punctually at eight, and you know it's the fashion
to be always present at the very first bar of the aperture." And so
off we are obliged to budge, to be miserable for five hours, and to
have a headache for the next twelve, and all because it's the fashion!
After the aperture, as they call it, comes the opera, which, as I
am given to understand, is the Italian for singing. Why they should
sing in Italian, I can't conceive; or why they should do nothing BUT
sing. Bless us! how I used to long for the wooden magpie in the
"Gazzylarder" to fly up to the top of the church- steeple, with the
silver spoons, and see the chaps with the pitchforks come in and carry
off that wicked Don June. Not that I don't admire Lablash, and
Rubini, and his brother, Tomrubini: him who has that fine bass voice,
I mean, and acts the Corporal in the first piece, and Don June in the
second; but three hours is a LITTLE too much, for you can't sleep on
those little rickety seats in the boxes.
The opera is bad enough; but what is that to the bally? You SHOULD
have seen my Jemmy the first night when she stopped to see it; and
when Madamsalls Fanny and Theresa Hustler came forward, along with a
gentleman, to dance, you should have seen how Jemmy stared, and our
girl blushed, when Madamsall Fanny, coming forward, stood on the tips
of only five of her toes, and raising up the other five, and the foot
belonging to them, almost to her shoulder, twirled round, and round,
and round, like a teetotum, for a couple of minutes or more; and as
she settled down, at last, on both feet, in a natural decent posture,
you should have heard how the house roared with applause, the boxes
clapping with all their might, and waving their handkerchiefs; the pit
shouting, " Bravo!" Some people, who, I suppose, were rather angry at
such an exhibition, threw bunches of flowers at her; and what do you
think she did? Why, hang me, if she did not come forward, as though
nothing had happened, gather up the things they had thrown at her,
smile, press them to her heart, and begin whirling round again faster
than ever. Talk about coolness, I never saw such in all MY born days.
"Nasty thing!" says Jemmy, starting up in a fury; "if women WILL
act so, it serves them right to be treated so."
"Oh, yes! she acts beautifully," says our friend his Excellency,
who along with Baron von Punter and Tagrag, used very seldom to miss
coming to our box.
"She may act very beautifully, Munseer, but she don't dress so; and
I am very glad they threw that orange-peel and all those things at
her, and that the people waved to her to get off."
Here his Excellency, and the Baron and Tag, set up a roar of
"My dear Mrs. Coxe," says Tag, "those are the most famous dancers
in the world; and we throw myrtle, geraniums, and lilies and roses at
them, in token of our immense admiration!"
"Well, I never!" said my wife; and poor Jemimarann slunk behind the
curtain, and looked as red as it almost. After the one had done the
next begun; but when, all of a sudden, a somebody came skipping and
bounding in, like an Indian-rubber ball, flinging itself up, at least
six feet from the stage, and there shaking about its legs like mad, we
were more astonished than ever!
"That's Anatole," says one of the gentlemen.
"Anna who?" says my wife; and she might well be mistaken: for this
person had a hat and feathers, a bare neck and arms, great black
ringlets, and a little calico frock, which came down to the knees.
"Anatole. You would not think he was sixty-three years old, he's
as active as a man of twenty."
"HE!" shrieked out my wife; "what, is that there a man? For shame!
Munseer. Jemimarann, dear, get your cloak, and come along; and I'll
thank you, my dear, to call our people, and let us go home."
You wouldn't think, after this, that my Jemmy, who had shown such a
horror at the bally, as they call it, should ever grow accustomed to
it; but she liked to hear her name shouted out in the crush- room, and
so would stop till the end of everything; and, law bless you! in three
weeks from that time, she could look at the ballet as she would at a
dancing-dog in the streets, and would bring her double-barrelled
opera-glass up to her eyes as coolly as if she had been a born
duchess. As for me, I did at Rome as Rome does; and precious fun it
used to be, sometimes.
My friend the Baron insisted one night on my going behind the
scenes; where, being a subscriber, he said I had what they call my
ONTRAY. Behind, then, I went; and such a place you never saw nor
heard of! Fancy lots of young and old gents of the fashion crowding
round and staring at the actresses practising their steps. Fancy
yellow snuffy foreigners, chattering always, and smelling fearfully of
tobacco. Fancy scores of Jews, with hooked-noses and black muzzles,
covered with rings, chains, sham diamonds, and gold waistcoats. Fancy
old men dressed in old nightgowns, with knock- knees, and dirty
flesh-colored cotton stockings, and dabs of brick- dust on their
wrinkled old chops, and tow-wigs (such wigs!) for the bald ones, and
great tin spears in their hands mayhap, or else shepherds' crooks, and
fusty garlands of flowers made of red and green baize. Fancy troops
of girls giggling, chattering, pushing to and fro, amidst old black
canvas, Gothic halls, thrones, pasteboard Cupids, dragons, and such
like. Such dirt, darkness, crowd, confusion and gabble of all
conceivable languages was never known!
If you COULD but have seen Munseer Anatole! Instead of looking
twenty, he looked a thousand. The old man's wig was off, and a
barber was giving it a touch with the tongs; Munseer was taking snuff
himself, and a boy was standing by with a pint of beer from the
public-house at the corner of Charles Street.
I met with a little accident during the three-quarters of an hour
which they allow for the entertainment of us men of fashion on the
stage, before the curtain draws up for the bally, while the ladies in
the boxes are gaping, and the people in the pit are drumming with
their feet and canes in the rudest manner possible, as though they
Just at the moment before the little bell rings and the curtain
flies up, and we scuffle off to the sides (for we always stay till
the very last moment), I was in the middle of the stage, making
myself very affable to the fair figgerantys which was spinning and
twirling about me, and asking them if they wasn't cold, and such like
politeness, in the most condescending way possible, when a bolt was
suddenly withdrawn, and down I popped, through a trap in the stage,
into the place below. Luckily I was stopped by a piece of machinery,
consisting of a heap of green blankets and a young lady coming up as
Venus rising from the sea. If I had not fallen so soft, I don't know
what might have been the consequence of the collusion. I never told
Mrs. Coxe, for she can't bear to hear of my paying the least attention
to the fair sex.
STRIKING A BALANCE.
Next door to us, in Portland Place, lived the Right Honorable the
Earl of Kilblazes, of Kilmacrasy Castle, County Kildare, and his
mother the Dowager Countess. Lady Kilblazes had a daughter, Lady
Juliana Matilda MacTurk, of the exact age of our dear Jemimarann; and
a son, the Honorable Arthur Wellington Anglesea Blucher Bulow MacTurk,
only ten months older than our boy Tug.
My darling Jemmy is a woman of spirit, and, as become her station,
made every possible attempt to become acquainted with the Dowager
Countess of Kilblazes, which her ladyship (because, forsooth, she was
the daughter of the Minister, and Prince of Wales's great friend, the
Earl of Portansherry) thought fit to reject. I don't wonder at my
Jemmy growing so angry with her, and determining, in every way, to put
her ladyship down. The Kilblazes' estate is not so large as the
Tuggeridge property by two thousand a year at least; and so my wife,
when our neighbors kept only two footmen, was quite authorized in
having three; and she made it a point, as soon as ever the Kilblazes'
carriage-and-pair came round, to have out her own carriage-and-four.
Well, our box was next to theirs at the Opera; only twice as big.
Whatever masters went to Lady Juliana, came to my Jemimarann; and
what do you think Jemmy did? she got her celebrated governess, Madame
de Flicflac, away from the Countess, by offering a double salary. It
was quite a treasure, they said, to have Madame Flicflac: she had been
(to support her father, the Count, when he emigrated) a FRENCH dancer
at the ITALIAN Opera. French dancing, and Italian, therefore, we had
at once, and in the best style: it is astonishing how quick and well
she used to speak—the French especially.
Master Arthur MacTurk was at the famous school of the Reverend
Clement Coddler, along with a hundred and ten other young
fashionables, from the age of three to fifteen; and to this
establishment Jemmy sent our Tug, adding forty guineas to the hundred
and twenty paid every year for the boarders. I think I found out the
dear soul's reason; for, one day, speaking about the school to a
mutual acquaintance of ours and the Kilblazes, she whispered to him
that "she never would have thought of sending her darling boy at the
rate which her next-door neighbors paid; THEIR lad, she was sure, must
be starved: however, poor people, they did the best they could on
Coddler's, in fact, was the tip-top school near London: he had been
tutor to the Duke of Buckminster, who had set him up in the school,
and, as I tell you, all the peerage and respectable commoners came to
it. You read in the bill, (the snopsis, I think, Coddler called it,)
after the account of the charges for board, masters, extras, young
nobleman (or gentleman) is expected to bring a knife, fork, spoon, and
goblet of silver (to prevent breakage), which will not be returned; a
dressing-gown and slippers; toilet- box, pomatum, curling-irons, The
pupil must on NO ACCOUNT be allowed to have more than ten guineas of
pocket-money, unless his parents particularly desire it, or he be
above fifteen years of age. WINE will be an extra charge; as are
warm, vapor, and douche baths. CARRIAGE EXERCISE will be provided at
the rate of fifteen guineas per quarter. It is EARNESTLY REQUESTED
that no young nobleman (or gentleman) be allowed to smoke. In a place
devoted to THE CULTIVATION OF POLITE LITERATURE, such an ignoble
enjoyment were profane.
"CLEMENT CODDLER, M. A.,
"Chaplain and late tutor to his Grace the Duke of Buckminster.
"MOUNT PARNASSUS, RICHMOND, SURREY."
To this establishment our Tug was sent. "Recollect, my dear," said
his mamma, "that you are a Tuggeridge by birth, and that I expect you
to beat all the boys in the school; especially that Wellington
MacTurk, who, though he is a lord's son, is nothing to you, who are
the heir of Tuggeridgeville."
Tug was a smart young fellow enough, and could cut and curl as
well as any young chap of his age: he was not a bad hand at a wig
either, and could shave, too, very prettily; but that was in the old
time, when we were not great people: when he came to be a gentleman,
he had to learn Latin and Greek, and had a deal of lost time to make
up for, on going to school.
However, we had no fear; for the Reverend Mr. Coddler used to send
monthly accounts of his pupil's progress, and if Tug was not a wonder
of the world, I don't know who was. It was
General behavior excellent.
English very good.
French tres bien.
And so on:—he possessed all the virtues, and wrote to us every
month for money. My dear Jemmy and I determined to go and see him,
after he had been at school a quarter; we went, and were shown by Mr.
Coddler, one of the meekest, smilingest little men I ever saw, into
the bedrooms and eating-rooms (the dromitaries and refractories he
called them), which were all as comfortable as comfortable might be.
"It is a holiday, today," said Mr. Coddler; and a holiday it seemed
to be. In the dining-room were half a dozen young gentlemen playing
at cards ("All tip-top nobility," observed Mr. Coddler);—in the
bedrooms there was only one gent: he was lying on his bed, reading
novels and smoking cigars. "Extraordinary genius!" whispered Coddler.
"Honorable Tom Fitz-Warter, cousin of Lord Byron's; smokes all day;
and has written the SWEETEST poems you can imagine. Genius, my dear
madam, you know—genius must have its way." "Well, UPON my word,"
says Jemmy, "if that's genius, I had rather that Master Tuggeridge
Coxe Tuggeridge remained a dull fellow."
"Impossible, my dear madam," said Coddler. "Mr. Tuggeridge Coxe
COULDN'T be stupid if he TRIED."
Just then up comes Lord Claude Lollypop, third son of the Marquis
of Allycompane. We were introduced instantly: "Lord Claude Lollypop,
Mr. and Mrs. Coxe." The little lord wagged his head, my wife bowed
very low, and so did Mr. Coddler; who, as he saw my lord making for
the playground, begged him to show us the way.—"Come along," says my
lord; and as he walked before us, whistling, we had leisure to remark
the beautiful holes in his jacket, and elsewhere.
About twenty young noblemen (and gentlemen) were gathered round a
pastry-cook's shop at the end of the green. "That's the grub- shop,"
said my lord, "where we young gentlemen wot has money buys our
wittles, and them young gentlemen wot has none, goes tick."
Then we passed a poor red-haired usher sitting on a bench alone.
"That's Mr. Hicks, the Husher, ma'am," says my lord. "We keep him,
for he's very useful to throw stones at, and he keeps the chaps'
coats when there's a fight, or a game at cricket.—Well, Hicks, how's
your mother? what's the row now?" "I believe, my lord," said the
usher, very meekly, "there is a pugilistic encounter somewhere on the
premises—the Honorable Mr. Mac—"
"Oh! COME along," said Lord Lollypop, "come along: this way, ma'am!
Go it, ye cripples!" And my lord pulled my dear Jemmy's gown in the
kindest and most familiar way, she trotting on after him, mightily
pleased to be so taken notice of, and I after her. A little boy went
running across the green. "Who is it, Petitoes?" screams my lord.
"Turk and the barber," pipes Petitoes, and runs to the pastry-cook's
like mad. "Turk and the ba—," laughs out my lord, looking at us.
"HURRA! THIS way, ma'am!" And turning round a corner, he opened a
door into a court-yard, where a number of boys were collected, and a
great noise of shrill voices might be heard. "Go it, Turk!" says one.
"Go it, barber!" says another. "PUNCH HITH LIFE OUT!" roars another,
whose voice was just cracked, and his clothes half a yard too short
Fancy our horror when, on the crowd making way, we saw Tug
pummelling away at the Honorable Master MacTurk! My dear Jemmy, who
don't understand such things, pounced upon the two at once, and, with
one hand tearing away Tug, sent him spinning back into the arms of his
seconds, while, with the other, she clawed hold of Master MacTurk's
red hair, and, as soon as she got her second hand free, banged it
about his face and ears like a good one.
"You nasty—wicked—quarrelsome—aristocratic" (each word was a
bang)—"aristocratic—oh! oh! oh!"—Here the words stopped; for what
with the agitation, maternal solicitude, and a dreadful kick on the
shins which, I am ashamed to say, Master MacTurk administered, my
dear Jemmy could bear it no longer, and sunk fainting away in my
DOWN AT BEULAH.
Although there was a regular cut between the next-door people and
us, yet Tug and the Honorable Master MacTurk kept up their
acquaintance over the back-garden wall, and in the stables, where
they were fighting, making friends, and playing tricks from morning
to night, during the holidays. Indeed, it was from young Mac that we
first heard of Madame de Flicflac, of whom my Jemmy robbed Lady
Kilblazes, as I before have related. When our friend the Baron first
saw Madame, a very tender greeting passed between them; for they had,
as it appeared, been old friends abroad. "Sapristie," said the Baron,
in his lingo, "que fais-tu ici, Amenaide?" "Et toi, mon pauvre
Chicot," says she, "est-ce qu'on t'a mis a la retraite? Il parait que
tu n'es plus General chez Franco—" CHUT!" says the Baron, putting his
finger to his lips.
"What are they saying, my dear?" says my wife to Jemimarann, who
had a pretty knowledge of the language by this time.
"I don't know what 'Sapristie' means, mamma; but the Baron asked
Madame what she was doing here? and Madame said, 'And you, Chicot,
you are no more a General at Franco.'—Have I not translated rightly,
"Oui, mon chou, mon ange. Yase, my angel, my cabbage, quite right.
Figure yourself, I have known my dear Chicot dis twenty years."
"Chicot is my name of baptism," says the Baron; "Baron Chicot de
Punter is my name."
"And being a General at Franco," says Jemmy, "means, I suppose,
being a French General?"
"Yes, I vas," said he, "General Baron de Punter—n'est 'a pas,
"Oh, yes!" said Madame Flicflac, and laughed; and I and Jemmy
laughed out of politeness: and a pretty laughing matter it was, as
you shall hear.
About this time my Jemmy became one of the Lady-Patronesses of that
admirable institution, "The Washerwoman's-Orphans' Home;" Lady de
Sudley was the great projector of it; and the manager and chaplain,
the excellent and Reverend Sidney Slopper. His salary, as chaplain,
and that of Doctor Leitch, the physician (both cousins of her
ladyship's), drew away five hundred pounds from the six subscribed to
the Charity: and Lady de Sudley thought a fete at Beulah Spa, with the
aid of some of the foreign princes who were in town last year, might
bring a little more money into its treasury. A tender appeal was
accordingly drawn up, and published in all the papers:—
"BRITISH WASHERWOMAN'S-ORPHANS' HOME.
"The 'Washerwoman's-Orphans' Home' has now been established seven
years: and the good which it has effected is, it may be confidently
stated, INCALCULABLE. Ninety-eight orphan children of Washerwomen
have been lodged within its walls. One hundred and two British
Washerwomen have been relieved when in the last state of decay. ONE
HUNDRED AND NINETY-EIGHT THOUSAND articles of male and female dress
have been washed, mended, buttoned, ironed, and mangled in the
Establishment. And, by an arrangement with the governors of the
Foundling, it is hoped that THE BABY-LINEN OF THAT HOSPITAL will be
confided to the British Washerwoman's Home!
"With such prospects before it, is it not sad, is it not lamentable
to think, that the Patronesses of the Society have been compelled to
reject the applications of no less than THREE THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED
AND ONE BRITISH WASHERWOMEN, from lack of means for their support?
Ladies of England! Mothers of England! to you we appeal. Is there
one of you that will not respond to the cry in behalf of these
deserving members of our sex?
"It has been determined by the Ladies-Patronesses to give a fete at
Beulah Spa, on Thursday, July 25; which will be graced with the first
foreign and native TALENT; by the first foreign and native RANK; and
where they beg for the attendance of every WASHERWOMAN'S FRIEND."
Her Highness the Princess of Schloppenzollernschwigmaringen, the
Duke of Sacks-Tubbingen, His Excellency Baron Strumpff, His
Excellency Lootf-Allee-Koolee-Bismillah-Mohamed-Rusheed-Allah, the
Persian Ambassador, Prince Futtee-Jaw, Envoy from the King of Oude,
His Excellency Don Alonzo di Cachachero-y-Fandango-y-Castanete, the
Spanish Ambassador, Count Ravioli, from Milan, the Envoy of the
Republic of Topinambo, and a host of other fashionables, promised to
honor the festival: and their names made a famous show in the bills.
Besides these, we had the celebrated band of Moscow-musiks, the
seventy-seven Transylvanian trumpeters, and the famous Bohemian
Minnesingers; with all the leading artists of London, Paris, the
Continent, and the rest of Europe.
I leave you to fancy what a splendid triumph for the British
Washerwoman's Home was to come off on that day. A beautiful tent was
erected, in which the Ladies-Patronesses were to meet: it was hung
round with specimens of the skill of the washerwomen's orphans;
ninety-six of whom were to be feasted in the gardens, and waited on by
Well, Jemmy and my daughter, Madame de Flicflac, myself, the Count,
Baron Punter, Tug, and Tagrag, all went down in the chariot and
barouche-and-four, quite eclipsing poor Lady Kilblazes and her
There was a fine cold collation, to which the friends of the
Ladies-Patronesses were admitted; after which, my ladies and their
beaux went strolling through the walks; Tagrag and the Count having
each an arm of Jemmy; the Baron giving an arm apiece to Madame and
Jemimarann. Whilst they were walking, whom should they light upon
but poor Orlando Crump, my successor in the perfumery and hair-
"Orlando!" says Jemimarann, blushing as red as a label, and holding
out her hand.
"Jemimar!" says he, holding out his, and turning as white as
"SIR!" says Jemmy, as stately as a duchess.
"What! madam," says poor Crump, "don't you remember your shopboy?"
"Dearest mamma, don't you recollect Orlando?" whimpers Jemimarann,
whose hand he had got hold of.
"Miss Tuggeridge Coxe," says Jemmy, "I'm surprised of you.
Remember, sir, that our position is altered, and oblige me by no more
"Insolent fellow!" says the Baron, "vat is dis canaille?"
"Canal yourself, Mounseer," says Orlando, now grown quite furious:
he broke away, quite indignant, and was soon lost in the crowd.
Jemimarann, as soon as he was gone, began to look very pale and ill;
and her mamma, therefore, took her to a tent, where she left her along
with Madame Flicflac and the Baron; going off herself with the other
gentlemen, in order to join us.
It appears they had not been seated very long, when Madame Flicflac
suddenly sprung up, with an exclamation of joy, and rushed forward to
a friend whom she saw pass.
The Baron was left alone with Jemimarann; and, whether it was the
champagne, or that my dear girl looked more than commonly pretty, I
don't know; but Madame Flicflac had not been gone a minute, when the
Baron dropped on his knees, and made her a regular declaration.
Poor Orlando Crump had found me out by this time, and was standing
by my side, listening, as melancholy as possible, to the famous
Bohemian Minnesingers, who were singing the celebrated words of the
"Ich bin ya hupp lily lee, du bist ya hupp lily lee.
Wir sind doch hupp lily lee, hupp la lily lee."
"Chorus—Yodle-odle-odle-odle-odle-odle hupp! yodle-odle-aw-o-o-o!"
They were standing with their hands in their waistcoats, as usual,
and had just come to the "o-o-o," at the end of the chorus of the
forty-seventh stanza, when Orlando started: "That's a scream!" says
he. "Indeed it is," says I; "and, but for the fashion of the thing,
a very ugly scream too:" when I heard another shrill "Oh!" as I
thought; and Orlando bolted off, crying, "By heavens, it's HER voice!"
"Whose voice?" says I. "Come and see the row," says Tag. And off we
went, with a considerable number of people, who saw this strange move
on his part.
We came to the tent, and there we found my poor Jemimarann
fainting; her mamma holding a smelling-bottle; the Baron, on the
ground, holding a handkerchief to his bleeding nose; and Orlando
squaring at him, and calling on him to fight if he dared.
My Jemmy looked at Crump very fierce. "Take that feller away,"
says she; "he has insulted a French nobleman, and deserves
transportation, at the least."
Poor Orlando was carried off. "I've no patience with the little
minx," says Jemmy, giving Jemimarann a pinch. "She might be a
Baron's lady; and she screams out because his Excellency did but
squeeze her hand."
"Oh, mamma! mamma!" sobs poor Jemimarann, "but he was t-t-tipsy."
"T-t-tipsy! and the more shame for you, you hussy, to be offended
with a nobleman who does not know what he is doing."
"I say, Tug," said MacTurk, one day soon after our flareup at
Beulah, "Kilblazes comes of age in October, and then we'll cut you
out, as I told you: the old barberess will die of spite when she
hears what we are going to do. What do you think? we're going to
have a tournament!" "What's a tournament?" says Tug, and so said his
mamma when she heard the news; and when she knew what a tournament
was, I think, really, she WAS as angry as MacTurk said she would be,
and gave us no peace for days together. "What!" says she, "dress up
in armor, like play-actors, and run at each other with spears? The
Kilblazes must be mad! "And so I thought, but I didn't think the
Tuggeridges would be mad too, as they were: for, when Jemmy heard that
the Kilblazes' festival was to be, as yet, a profound secret, what
does she do, but send down to the Morning Post a flaming account of
"THE PASSAGE OF ARMS AT TUGGERIDGEVIILLE!
"The days of chivalry are NOT past. The fair Castellane of
T-gg-r-dgeville, whose splendid entertainments have so often been
alluded to in this paper, has determined to give one, which shall
exceed in splendor even the magnificence of the Middle Ages. We are
not at liberty to say more; but a tournament, at which His Ex-l-ncy
B-r-n de P-nt-r and Thomas T-gr-g, Esq., eldest son of Sir Th—s
T-gr-g, are to be the knights-defendants against all comers; a QUEEN
OF BEAUTY, of whose loveliness every frequenter of fashion has felt
the power; a banquet, unexampled in the annals of Gunter; and a ball,
in which the recollections of ancient chivalry will blend sweetly with
the soft tones of Weippert and Collinet, are among the entertainments
which the Ladye of T-gg-ridgeville has prepared for her distinguished
The Baron was the life of the scheme; he longed to be on horseback,
and in the field at Tuggeridgeville, where he, Tagrag, and a number
of our friends practised: he was the very best tilter present; he
vaulted over his horse, and played such wonderful antics, as never
were done except at Ducrow's.
And now—oh that I had twenty pages, instead of this short chapter,
to describe the wonders of the day!—Twenty-four knights came from
Ashley's at two guineas a head. We were in hopes to have had Miss
Woolford in the character of Joan of Arc, but that lady did not
appear. We had a tent for the challengers, at each side of which
hung what they called ESCOACHINGS, (like hatchments, which they put
up when people die,) and underneath sat their pages, holding their
helmets for the tournament. Tagrag was in brass armor (my City
connections got him that famous suit); his Excellency in polished
steel. My wife wore a coronet, modelled exactly after that of Queen
Catharine, in "Henry V.;" a tight gilt jacket, which set off dear
Jemmy's figure wonderfully, and a train of at least forty feet. Dear
Jemimarann was in white, her hair braided with pearls. Madame de
Flicflac appeared as Queen Elizabeth; and Lady Blanche Bluenose as a
Turkish princess. An alderman of London and his lady; two magistrates
of the county, and the very pink of Croydon; several Polish noblemen;
two Italian counts (besides our Count); one hundred and ten young
officers, from Addiscombe College, in full uniform, commanded by
Major-General Sir Miles Mulligatawney, K.C.B., and his lady; the
Misses Pimminy's Finishing Establishment, and fourteen young ladies,
all in white: the Reverend Doctor Wapshot, and forty-nine young
gentlemen, of the first families, under his charge—were SOME only of
the company. I leave you to fancy that, if my Jemmy did seek for
fashion, she had enough of it on this occasion. They wanted me to
have mounted again, but my hunting-day had been sufficient; besides, I
ain't big enough for a real knight: so, as Mrs. Coxe insisted on my
opening the Tournament—and I knew it was in vain to resist—the Baron
and Tagrag had undertaken to arrange so that I might come off with
safety, if I came off at all. They had procured from the Strand
Theatre a famous stud of hobby-horses, which they told me had been
trained for the use of the great Lord Bateman. I did not know
exactly what they were till they arrived; but as they had belonged to
a lord, I thought it was all right, and consented; and I found it the
best sort of riding, after all, to appear to be on horseback and walk
safely a-foot at the same time; and it was impossible to come down as
long as I kept on my own legs: besides, I could cuff and pull my steed
about as much as I liked, without fear of his biting or kicking in
return. As Lord of the Tournament, they placed in my hands a lance,
ornamented spirally, in blue and gold: I thought of the pole over my
old shop door, and almost wished myself there again, as I capered up
to the battle in my helmet and breastplate, with all the trumpets
blowing and drums beating at the time. Captain Tagrag was my
opponent, and preciously we poked each other, till, prancing about, I
put my foot on my horse's petticoat behind, and down I came, getting a
thrust from the Captain, at the same time, that almost broke my
shoulder-bone. "This was sufficient," they said, "for the laws of
chivalry;" and I was glad to get off so.
After that the gentlemen riders, of whom there were no less than
seven, in complete armor, and the professionals, now ran at the ring;
and the Baron was far, far the most skilful.
"How sweetly the dear Baron rides," said my wife, who was always
ogling at him, smirking, smiling, and waving her handkerchief to him.
"I say, Sam," says a professional to one of his friends, as, after
their course, they came cantering up, and ranged under Jemmy's bower,
as she called it:—"I say, Sam, I'm blowed if that chap in harmer
mustn't have been one of hus." And this only made Jemmy the more
pleased; for the fact is, the Baron had chosen the best way of winning
Jemimarann by courting her mother.
The Baron was declared conqueror at the ring; and Jemmy awarded him
the prize, a wreath of white roses, which she placed on his lance; he
receiving it gracefully, and bowing, until the plumes of his helmet
mingled with the mane of his charger, which backed to the other end of
the lists; then galloping back to the place where Jemimarann was
seated, he begged her to place it on his helmet. The poor girl blushed
very much, and did so. As all the people were applauding, Tagrag
rushed up, and, laying his hand on the Baron's shoulder, whispered
something in his ear, which made the other very angry, I suppose, for
he shook him off violently. "Chacun pour soi," says he, "Monsieur de
Taguerague,"—which means, I am told, "Every man for himself." And
then he rode away, throwing his lance in the air, catching it, and
making his horse caper and prance, to the admiration of all beholders.
After this came the "Passage of Arms." Tagrag and the Baron ran
courses against the other champions; ay, and unhorsed two apiece;
whereupon the other three refused to turn out; and preciously we
laughed at them, to be sure!
"Now, it's OUR turn, Mr. CHICOT," says Tagrag, shaking his fist at
the Baron: "look to yourself, you infernal mountebank, for, by
Jupiter, I'll do my best!" And before Jemmy and the rest of us, who
were quite bewildered, could say a word, these two friends were
charging away, spears in hand, ready to kill each other. In vain
Jemmy screamed; in vain I threw down my truncheon: they had broken
two poles before I could say "Jack Robinson," and were driving at
each other with the two new ones. The Baron had the worst of the
first course, for he had almost been carried out of his saddle. "Hark
you, Chicot!" screamed out Tagrag, "next time look to your head!" And
next time, sure enough, each aimed at the head of the other.
Tagrag's spear hit the right place; for it carried off the Baron's
helmet, plume, rose-wreath and all; but his Excellency hit truer
still—his lance took Tagrag on the neck, and sent him to the ground
like a stone.
"He's won! he's won!" says Jemmy, waving her handkerchief;
Jemimarann fainted, Lady Blanche screamed, and I felt so sick that I
thought I should drop. All the company were in an uproar: only the
Baron looked calm, and bowed very gracefully, and kissed his hand to
Jemmy; when, all of a sudden, a Jewish-looking man springing over the
barrier, and followed by three more, rushed towards the Baron. "Keep
the gate, Bob!" he holloas out. "Baron, I arrest you, at the suit of
Samuel Levison, for—"
But he never said for what; shouting out, "Aha!" and
"Sapprrrristie!" and I don't know what, his Excellency drew his sword,
dug his spurs into his horse, and was over the poor bailiff, and off
before another word. He had threatened to run through one of the
bailiff's followers, Mr. Stubbs, only that gentleman made way for him;
and when we took up the bailiff, and brought him round by the aid of a
little brandy-and-water, he told us all. "I had a writ againsht him,
Mishter Coxsh, but I didn't vant to shpoil shport; and, beshidesh, I
didn't know him until dey knocked off his shteel cap!"
. . . . . .
Here was a pretty business!
OVER-BOARDED AND UNDER-LODGED.
We had no great reason to brag of our tournament at
Tuggeridgeville: but, after all, it was better than the turn-out at
Kilblazes, where poor Lord Heydownderry went about in a black velvet
dressing-gown, and the Emperor Napoleon Bonypart appeared in a suit of
armor and silk stockings, like Mr. Pell's friend in Pickwick; we,
having employed the gentlemen from Astley's Antitheatre, had some
decent sport for our money.
We never heard a word from the Baron, who had so distinguished
himself by his horsemanship, and had knocked down (and very justly)
Mr. Nabb, the bailiff, and Mr. Stubbs, his man, who came to lay hands
upon him. My sweet Jemmy seemed to be very low in spirits after his
departure, and a sad thing it is to see her in low spirits: on days of
illness she no more minds giving Jemimarann a box on the ear, or
sending a plate of muffins across a table at poor me, than she does
taking her tea.
Jemmy, I say, was very low in spirits; but, one day (I remember it
was the day after Captain Higgins called, and said he had seen the
Baron at Boulogne), she vowed that nothing but change of air would do
her good, and declared that she should die unless she went to the
seaside in France. I knew what this meant, and that I might as well
attempt to resist her as to resist her Gracious Majesty in Parliament
assembled; so I told the people to pack up the things, and took four
places on board the "Grand Turk" steamer for Boulogne.
The travelling-carriage, which, with Jemmy's thirty-seven boxes and
my carpet-bag, was pretty well loaded, was sent on board the night
before; and we, after breakfasting in Portland Place (little did I
think it was the—but, poh! never mind), went down to the Custom
House in the other carriage, followed by a hackney-coach and a cab,
with the servants, and fourteen bandboxes and trunks more, which were
to be wanted by my dear girl in the journey.
The road down Cheapside and Thames Street need not be described: we
saw the Monument, a memento of the wicked Popish massacre of St.
Bartholomew;—why erected here I can't think, as St. Bartholomew is
in Smithfield;—we had a glimpse of Billingsgate, and of the Mansion
House, where we saw the two-and-twenty-shilling-coal smoke coming out
of the chimneys, and were landed at the Custom House in safety. I
felt melancholy, for we were going among a people of swindlers, as all
Frenchmen are thought to be; and, besides not being able to speak the
language, leaving our own dear country and honest countrymen.
Fourteen porters came out, and each took a package with the
greatest civility; calling Jemmy her ladyship, and me your honor; ay,
and your honoring and my ladyshipping even my man and the maid in the
cab. I somehow felt all over quite melancholy at going away. "Here,
my fine fellow," says I to the coachman, who was standing very
respectful, holding his hat in one hand and Jemmy's jewel-case in the
other—"Here, my fine chap," says I, "here's six shillings for you;"
for I did not care for the money.
"Six what?" says he.
"Six shillings, fellow," shrieks Jemmy, "and twice as much as your
"Feller, marm!" says this insolent coachman. "Feller yourself,
marm: do you think I'm a-going to kill my horses, and break my
precious back, and bust my carriage, and carry you, and your kids,
and your traps for six hog?" And with this the monster dropped his
hat, with my money in it, and doubling his fist put it so very near
my nose that I really thought he would have made it bleed. "My
fare's heighteen shillings," says he, "hain't it?—hask hany of these
"Why, it ain't more than seventeen-and-six," says one of the
fourteen porters; "but if the gen'l'man IS a gen'l'man, he can't give
no less than a suffering anyhow."
I wanted to resist, and Jemmy screamed like a Turk; but, "Holloa!"
says one. "What's the row?" says another. "Come, dub up!" roars a
third. And I don't mind telling you, in confidence, that I was so
frightened that I took out the sovereign and gave it. My man and
Jemmy's maid had disappeared by this time: they always do when
there's a robbery or a row going on.
I was going after them. "Stop, Mr. Ferguson," pipes a young
gentleman of about thirteen, with a red livery waistcoat that reached
to his ankles, and every variety of button, pin, string, to keep it
together. "Stop, Mr. Heff," says he, taking a small pipe out of his
mouth, "and don't forgit the cabman."
"What's your fare, my lad?" says I.
"Why, let's see—yes—ho!—my fare's seven-and-thirty and
The fourteen gentlemen holding the luggage, here burst out and
laughed very rudely indeed; and the only person who seemed
disappointed was, I thought, the hackney-coachman. "Why, YOU
rascal!" says Jemmy, laying hold of the boy, "do you want more than
"Don't rascal ME, marm!" shrieks the little chap in return.
"What's the coach to me? Vy, you may go in an omlibus for sixpence
if you like; vy don't you go and buss it, marm? Vy did you call my
cab, marm? Vy am I to come forty mile, from Scarlot Street, Po'tl'nd
Street, Po'tl'nd Place, and not git my fare, marm? Come, give me a
suffering and a half, and don't keep my hoss avaiting all day." This
speech, which takes some time to write down, was made in about the
fifth part of a second; and, at the end of it, the young gentleman
hurled down his pipe, and, advancing towards Jemmy, doubled his fist,
and seemed to challenge her to fight.
My dearest girl now turned from red to be as pale as white Windsor,
and fell into my arms. What was I to do? I called "Policeman!" but
a policeman won't interfere in Thames Street; robbery is licensed
there. What was I to do? Oh! my heart beats with paternal gratitude
when I think of what my Tug did!
As soon as this young cab-chap put himself into a fighting
attitude, Master Tuggeridge Coxe—who had been standing by laughing
very rudely, I thought—Master Tuggeridge Coxe, I say, flung his
jacket suddenly into his mamma's face (the brass buttons made her
start and recovered her a little), and, before we could say a word
was in the ring in which we stood (formed by the porters, nine
orangemen and women, I don't know how many newspaper-boys, hotel-
cads, and old-clothesmen), and, whirling about two little white fists
in the face of the gentleman in the red waistcoat, who brought up a
great pair of black ones to bear on the enemy, was engaged in an
But la bless you! Tug hadn't been at Richmond School for nothing;
and MILLED away one, two, right and left—like a little hero as he
is, with all his dear mother's spirit in him. First came a crack
which sent a long dusky white hat—that looked damp and deep like a
well, and had a long black crape-rag twisted round it—first came a
crack which sent this white hat spinning over the gentleman's cab and
scattered among the crowd a vast number of things which the cabman
kept in it,—such as a ball of string, a piece of candle, a comb, a
whip-lash, a little warbler, a slice of bacon,
The cabman seemed sadly ashamed of this display, but Tug gave him
no time: another blow was planted on his cheekbone; and a third,
which hit him straight on the nose, sent this rude cabman straight
down to the ground.
"Brayvo, my lord!" shouted all the people around.
"I won't have no more, thank yer," said the little cabman,
gathering himself up. "Give us over my fare, vil yer, and let me git
"What's your fare, NOW, you cowardly little thief?" says Tug.
"Vy, then, two-and-eightpence," says he. "Go along,—you KNOW it
is!" and two-and-eightpence he had; and everybody applauded Tug, and
hissed the cab-boy, and asked Tug for something to drink. We heard
the packet-bell ringing, and all run down the stairs to be in time.
I now thought our troubles would soon be over; mine were, very
nearly so, in one sense at least: for after Mrs. Coxe and Jemimarann,
and Tug, and the maid, and valet, and valuables had been handed
across, it came to my turn. I had often heard of people being taken
up by a PLANK, but seldom of their being set down by one. Just as I
was going over, the vessel rode off a little, the board slipped, and
down I soused into the water. You might have heard Mrs. Coxe's shriek
as far as Gravesend; it rung in my ears as I went down, all grieved at
the thought of leaving her a disconsolate widder. Well, up I came
again, and caught the brim of my beaver-hat—though I have heard that
drowning men catch at straws:—I floated, and hoped to escape by hook
or by crook; and, luckily, just then, I felt myself suddenly jerked by
the waistband of my whites, and found myself hauled up in the air at
the end of a boat-hook, to the sound of "Yeho! yeho! yehoi! yehoi!"
and so I was dragged aboard. I was put to bed, and had swallowed so
much water that it took a very considerable quantity of brandy to
bring it to a proper mixture in my inside. In fact, for some hours I
was in a very deplorable state.
NOTICE TO QUIT.
Well, we arrived at Boulogne; and Jemmy, after making inquiries,
right and left, about the Baron, found that no such person was known
there; and being bent, I suppose, at all events, on marrying her
daughter to a lord, she determined to set off for Paris, where, as he
had often said, he possessed a magnificent —— hotel he called
it;—and I remember Jemmy being mightily indignant at the idea; but
hotel, we found afterwards, means only a house in French, and this
reconciled her. Need I describe the road from Boulogne to Paris? or
need I describe that Capitol itself? Suffice it to say, that we made
our appearance there, at "Murisse's Hotel," as became the family of
Coxe Tuggeridge; and saw everything worth seeing in the metropolis in
a week. It nearly killed me, to be sure; but, when you're on a
pleasure-party in a foreign country, you must not mind a little
inconvenience of this sort.
Well, there is, near the city of Paris, a splendid road and row of
trees, which—I don't know why—is called the Shandeleezy, or Elysian
Fields, in French: others, I have heard, call it the Shandeleery; but
mine I know to be the correct pronunciation. In the middle of this
Shandeleezy is an open space of ground, and a tent where, during the
summer, Mr. Franconi, the French Ashley, performs with his horses and
things. As everybody went there, and we were told it was quite the
thing, Jemmy agreed that we should go too; and go we did.
It's just like Ashley's: there's a man just like Mr. Piddicombe,
who goes round the ring in a huzzah-dress, cracking a whip; there are
a dozen Miss Woolfords, who appear like Polish princesses, Dihannas,
Sultannas, Cachuchas, and heaven knows what! There's the fat man, who
comes in with the twenty-three dresses on, and turns out to be the
living skeleton! There's the clowns, the sawdust, the white horse
that dances a hornpipe, the candles stuck in hoops, just as in our own
My dear wife, in her very finest clothes, with all the world
looking at her, was really enjoying this spectacle (which doesn't
require any knowledge of the language, seeing that the dumb animals
don't talk it), when there came in, presently, "the great Polish act
of the Sarmatian horse-tamer, on eight steeds," which we were all of
us longing to see. The horse-tamer, to music twenty miles an hour,
rushed in on four of his horses, leading the other four, and skurried
round the ring. You couldn't see him for the sawdust, but everybody
was delighted, and applauded like mad. Presently, you saw there were
only three horses in front: he had slipped one more between his legs,
another followed, and it was clear that the consequences would be
fatal, if he admitted any more. The people applauded more than ever;
and when, at last, seven and eight were made to go in, not wholly, but
sliding dexterously in and out, with the others, so that you did not
know which was which, the house, I thought, would come down with
applause; and the Sarmatian horse- tamer bowed his great feathers to
the ground. At last the music grew slower, and he cantered leisurely
round the ring; bending, smirking, seesawing, waving his whip, and
laying his hand on his heart, just as we have seen the Ashley's people
do. But fancy our astonishment when, suddenly, this Sarmatian
horse-tamer, coming round with his four pair at a canter, and being
opposite our box, gave a start, and a—hupp! which made all his horses
stop stock- still at an instant.
"Albert!" screamed my dear Jemmy: "Albert! Bahbahbah—baron!" The
Sarmatian looked at her for a minute; and turning head over heels,
three times, bolted suddenly off his horses, and away out of our
It was HIS EXCELLENCY THE BARON DE PUNTER!
Jemmy went off in a fit as usual, and we never saw the Baron again;
but we heard, afterwards, that Punter was an apprentice of
Franconi's, and had run away to England, thinking to better himself,
and had joined Mr. Richardson's army; but Mr. Richardson, and then
London, did not agree with him; and we saw the last of him as he
sprung over the barriers at the Tuggeridgeville tournament.
"Well, Jemimarann," says Jemmy, in a fury, "you shall marry Tagrag;
and if I can't have a baroness for a daughter, at least you shall be
a baronet's lady." Poor Jemimarann only sighed: she knew it was of no
use to remonstrate.
Paris grew dull to us after this, and we were more eager than ever
to go back to London: for what should we hear, but that that monster,
Tuggeridge, of the City—old Tug's black son, forsooth!— was going to
contest Jemmy's claim to the property, and had filed I don't know how
many bills against us in Chancery! Hearing this, we set off
immediately, and we arrived at Boulogne, and set off in that very same
"Grand Turk" which had brought us to France.
If you look in the bills, you will see that the steamers leave
London on Saturday morning, and Boulogne on Saturday night; so that
there is often not an hour between the time of arrival and departure.
Bless us! bless us! I pity the poor Captain that, for twenty-four
hours at a time, is on a paddle-box, roaring out, "Ease her! Stop
her!" and the poor servants, who are laying out breakfast, lunch,
dinner, tea, supper;—breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea, supper
again;—for layers upon layers of travellers, as it were; and most of
all, I pity that unhappy steward, with those unfortunate tin-basins
that he must always keep an eye over. Little did we know what a storm
was brooding in our absence; and little were we prepared for the
awful, awful fate that hung over our Tuggeridgeville property.
Biggs, of the great house of Higgs, Biggs, and Blatherwick, was our
man of business: when I arrived in London I heard that he had just
set off to Paris after me. So we started down to Tuggeridgeville
instead of going to Portland Place. As we came through the lodge-
gates, we found a crowd assembled within them; and there was that
horrid Tuggeridige on horseback, with a shabby-looking man, called
Mr. Scapgoat, and his man of business, and many more. "Mr.
Scapgoat," says Tuggeridge, grinning, and handing him over a sealed
paper, "here's the lease; I leave you in possession, and wish you
"In possession of what?" says the rightful lady of Tuggeridgeville,
leaning out of the carriage-window. She hated black Tuggeridge, as
she called him, like poison: the very first week of our coming to
Portland Place, when he called to ask restitution of some plate which
he said was his private property, she called him a base-born
blackamoor, and told him to quit the house. Since then there had
been law squabbles between us without end, and all sorts of writings,
meetings, and arbitrations.
"Possession of my estate of Tuggeridgeville, madam," roars he,
"left me by my father's will, which you have had notice of these
three weeks, and know as well as I do."
"Old Tug left no will," shrieked Jemmy; "he didn't die to leave his
estates to blackamoors—to negroes—to base-born mulatto story-
tellers; if he did may I be ——-"
"Oh, hush! dearest mamma," says Jemimarann. "Go it again, mother!"
says Tug, who is always sniggering.
"What is this business, Mr. Tuggeridge?" cried Tagrag (who was the
only one of our party that had his senses). "What is this will?"
"Oh, it's merely a matter of form," said the lawyer, riding up.
"For heaven's sake, madam, be peaceable; let my friends, Higgs,
Biggs, and Blatherwick, arrange with me. I am surprised that none of
their people are here. All that you have to do is to eject us; and
the rest will follow, of course."
"Who has taken possession of this here property?" roars Jemmy,
"My friend Mr. Scapgoat," said the lawyer.—Mr. Scapgoat grinned.
"Mr. Scapgoat," said my wife, shaking her fist at him (for she is a
woman of no small spirit), "if you don't leave this ground I'll have
you pushed out with pitchforks, I will—you and your beggarly
blackamoor yonder." And, suiting the action to the word, she clapped
a stable fork into the hands of one of the gardeners, and called
another, armed with a rake, to his help, while young Tug set the dog
at their heels, and I hurrahed for joy to see such villany so properly
"That's sufficient, ain't it?" said Mr. Scapgoat, with the calmest
air in the world. "Oh, completely," said the lawyer. "Mr.
Tuggeridge, we've ten miles to dinner. Madam, your very humble
servant." And the whole posse of them rode away.
LAW LIFE ASSURANCE.
We knew not what this meant, until we received a strange document
from Higgs, in London—which begun, "Middlesex to wit. Samuel Cox,
late of Portland Place, in the city of Westminster, in the said
county, was attached to answer Samuel Scapgoat, of a plea, wherefore,
with force and arms, he entered into one messuage, with the
appurtenances, which John Tuggeridge, Esq., demised to the said Samuel
Scapgoat, for a term which is not yet expired, and ejected him." And
it went on to say that "we, with force of arms, viz, with swords,
knives, and staves, had ejected him." Was there ever such a monstrous
falsehood? when we did but stand in defence of our own; and isn't it a
sin that we should have been turned out of our rightful possessions
upon such a rascally plea?
Higgs, Biggs, and Blatherwick had evidently been bribed; for would
you believe it?—they told us to give up possession at once, as a
will was found, and we could not defend the action. My Jemmy refused
their proposal with scorn, and laughed at the notion of the will: she
pronounced it to be a forgery, a vile blackamoor forgery; and
believes, to this day, that the story of its having been made thirty
years ago, in Calcutta, and left there with old Tug's papers, and
found there, and brought to England, after a search made by order of
Tuggeridge junior, is a scandalous falsehood.
Well, the cause was tried. Why need I say anything concerning it?
What shall I say of the Lord Chief Justice, but that he ought to be
ashamed of the wig he sits in? What of Mr. —— and Mr. ——, who
exerted their eloquence against justice and the poor? On our side,
too, was no less a man than Mr. Serjeant Binks, who, ashamed I am,
for the honor of the British bar, to say it, seemed to have been
bribed too: for he actually threw up his case! Had he behaved like
Mr. Mulligan, his junior—and to whom, in this humble way, I offer my
thanks—all might have been well. I never knew such an effect
produced, as when Mr. Mulligan, appearing for the first time in that
court, said, "Standing here upon the pidestal of secred Thamis; seeing
around me the arnymints of a profission I rispict; having before me a
vinnerable judge, and an enlightened jury—the counthry's glory, the
netion's cheap defender, the poor man's priceless palladium: how must
I thrimble, my lard, how must the blush bejew my cheek—"(somebody
cried out, "O CHEEKS!" In the court there was a dreadful roar of
laughing; and when order was established, Mr. Mulligan
continued:)—"My lard, I heed them not; I come from a counthry
accustomed to opprission, and as that counthry—yes, my lard, THAT
IRELAND—(do not laugh, I am proud of it)—is ever, in spite of her
tyrants, green, and lovely, and beautiful: my client's cause,
likewise, will rise shuperior to the malignant imbecility—I repeat,
the MALIGNANT IMBECILITY—of those who would thrample it down; and in
whose teeth, in my client's name, in my counthry's—ay, and MY OWN—I,
with folded arrums, hurl a scarnful and eternal defiance!"
"For heaven's sake, Mr. Milligan"—("MULLIGAN, ME LARD," cried my
defender)—"Well, Mulligan, then, be calm, and keep to your brief."
Mr. Mulligan did; and for three hours and a quarter, in a speech
crammed with Latin quotations, and unsurpassed for eloquence, he
explained the situation of me and my family; the romantic manner in
which Tuggeridge the elder gained his fortune, and by which it
afterwards came to my wife; the state of Ireland; the original and
virtuous poverty of the Coxes—from which he glanced passionately,
for a few minutes (until the judge stopped him), to the poverty of
his own country; my excellence as a husband, father, landlord; my
wife's, as a wife, mother, landlady. All was in vain—the trial went
against us. I was soon taken in execution for the damages; five
hundred pounds of law expenses of my own, and as much more of
Tuggeridge's. He would not pay a farthing, he said, to get me out of
a much worse place than the Fleet. I need not tell you that along
with the land went the house in town, and the money in the funds.
Tuggeridge, he who had thousands before, had it all. And when I was
in prison, who do you think would come and see me? None of the Barons,
nor Counts, nor Foreign Ambassadors, nor Excellencies, who used to
fill our house, and eat and drink at our expense,—not even the
I could not help now saying to my dear wife, "See, my love, we have
been gentlefolks for exactly a year, and a pretty life we have had of
it. In the first place, my darling, we gave grand dinners, and
everybody laughed at us."
"Yes, and recollect how ill they made you," cries my daughter.
"We asked great company, and they insulted us."
"And spoilt mamma's temper," said Jemimarann.
"Hush! Miss," said her mother; "we don't want YOUR advice."
"Then you must make a country gentleman of me."
"And send Pa into dunghills," roared Tug.
"Then you must go to operas, and pick up foreign Barons and
"Oh, thank heaven, dearest papa, that we are rid of them," cries my
little Jemimarann, looking almost happy, and kissing her old pappy.
"And you must make a fine gentleman of Tug there, and send him to a
"And I give you my word," says Tug, "I'm as ignorant a chap as ever
"You're an insolent saucebox," says Jemmy; "you've learned that at
your fine school."
"I've learned something else, too, ma'am; ask the boys if I
haven't," grumbles Tug.
"You hawk your daughter about, and just escape marrying her to a
"And drive off poor Orlando," whimpered my girl.
"Silence! Miss," says Jemmy, fiercely.
"You insult the man whose father's property you inherited, and
bring me into this prison, without hope of leaving it: for he never
can help us after all your bad language." I said all this very
smartly; for the fact is, my blood was up at the time, and I
determined to rate my dear girl soundly.
"Oh! Sammy," said she, sobbing (for the poor thing's spirit was
quite broken), "it's all true; I've been very, very foolish and vain,
and I've punished my dear husband and children by my follies, and I do
so, so repent them!" Here Jemimarann at once burst out crying, and
flung herself into her mamma's arms, and the pair roared and sobbed
for ten minutes together. Even Tug looked queer: and as for me, it's
a most extraordinary thing, but I'm blest if seeing them so miserable
didn't make me quite happy.—I don't think, for the whole twelve
months of our good fortune, I had ever felt so gay as in that dismal
room in the Fleet, where I was locked up.
Poor Orlando Crump came to see us every day; and we, who had never
taken the slightest notice of him in Portland Place, and treated him
so cruelly that day at Beulah Spa, were only too glad of his company
now. He used to bring books for my girl, and a bottle of sherry for
me; and he used to take home Jemmy's fronts and dress them for her;
and when locking-up time came, he used to see the ladies home to their
little three-pair bedroom in Holborn, where they slept now, Tug and
all. "Can the bird forget its nest?" Orlando used to say (he was a
romantic young fellow, that's the truth, and blew the flute and read
Lord Byron incessantly, since he was separated from Jemimarann). "Can
the bird, let loose in eastern climes, forget its home? Can the rose
cease to remember its beloved bulbul?—Ah, no! Mr. Cox, you made me
what I am, and what I hope to die—a hairdresser. I never see a
curling-irons before I entered your shop, or knew Naples from brown
Windsor. Did you not make over your house, your furniture, your
emporium of perfumery, and nine-and-twenty shaving customers, to me?
Are these trifles? Is Jemimarann a trifle? if she would allow me to
call her so. Oh, Jemimarann, your Pa found me in the workhouse, and
made me what I am. Conduct me to my grave, and I never, never shall
be different!" When he had said this, Orlando was so much affected,
that he rushed suddenly on his hat and quitted the room.
Then Jemimarann began to cry too. "Oh, Pa!" said she, "isn't he—
isn't he a nice young man?"
"I'm HANGED if he ain't," says Tug. "What do you think of his
giving me eighteenpence yesterday, and a bottle of lavender-water for
"He might as well offer to give you back the shop at any rate,"
"What! to pay Tuggeridge's damages? My dear, I'd sooner die than
give Tuggeridge the chance."
Tuggeridge vowed that I should finish my days there, when he put me
in prison. It appears that we both had reason to be ashamed of
ourselves; and were, thank God! I learned to be sorry for my bad
feelings toward him, and he actually wrote to me to say—
"SIR,—I think you have suffered enough for faults which, I
believe, do not lie with you, so much as your wife; and I have
withdrawn my claims which I had against you while you were in
wrongful possession of my father's estates. You must remember that
when, on examination of my father's papers, no will was found, I
yielded up his property, with perfect willingness, to those who I
fancied were his legitimate heirs. For this I received all sorts of
insults from your wife and yourself (who acquiesced in them); and when
the discovery of a will, in India, proved MY just claims, you must
remember how they were met, and the vexatious proceedings with which
you sought to oppose them.
"I have discharged your lawyer's bill; and, as I believe you are
more fitted for the trade you formerly exercised than for any other,
I will give five hundred pounds for the purchase of a stock and shop,
when you shall find one to suit you.
"I enclose a draft for twenty pounds to meet your present expenses.
You have, I am told, a son, a boy of some spirit: if he likes to try
his fortune abroad, and go on board an Indiaman, I can get him an
appointment; and am, Sir, your obedient servant,
It was Mrs. Breadbasket, the housekeeper, who brought this letter,
and looked mighty contemptuous as she gave it.
"I hope, Breadbasket, that your master will send me my things at
any rate," cries Jemmy. "There's seventeen silk and satin dresses,
and a whole heap of trinkets, that can be of no earthly use to him."
"Don't Breadbasket me, mem, if you please, mem. My master says
that them things is quite obnoxious to your sphere of life.
Breadbasket, indeed!" And so she sailed out.
Jemmy hadn't a word; she had grown mighty quiet since we have been
in misfortune: but my daughter looked as happy as a queen; and Tug,
when he heard of the ship, gave a jump that nearly knocked down poor
Orlando. "Ah, I suppose you'll forget me now?" says he with a sigh;
and seemed the only unhappy person in company.
"Why, you conceive, Mr. Crump," says my wife, with a great deal of
dignity, "that, connected as we are, a young man born in a work—"
"Woman!" cried I (for once in my life determined to have my own
way), "hold your foolish tongue. Your absurd pride has been the ruin
of us hitherto; and, from this day, I'll have no more of it. Hark ye,
Orlando, if you will take Jemimarann, you may have her; and if you'll
take five hundred pounds for a half-share of the shop, they're yours;
and THAT'S for you, Mrs. Cox."
And here we are, back again. And I write this from the old back
shop, where we are all waiting to see the new year in. Orlando sits
yonder, plaiting a wig for my Lord Chief Justice, as happy as may be;
and Jemimarann and her mother have been as busy as you can imagine all
day long, and are just now giving the finishing touches to the
bridal-dresses: for the wedding is to take place the day after
to-morrow. I've cut seventeen heads off (as I say) this very day; and
as for Jemmy, I no more mind her than I do the Emperor of China and
all his Tambarins. Last night we had a merry meeting of our friends
and neighbors, to celebrate our reappearance among them; and very
merry we all were. We had a capital fiddler, and we kept it up till a
pretty tidy hour this morning. We begun with quadrills, but I never
could do 'em well; and after that, to please Mr. Crump and his
intended, we tried a gallopard, which I found anything but easy: for
since I am come back to a life of peace and comfort, it's astonishing
how stout I'm getting. So we turned at once to what Jemmy and me
excels in—a country dance; which is rather surprising, as we was both
brought up to a town life. As for young Tug, he showed off in a
sailor's hornpipe: which Mrs. Cox says is very proper for him to
learn, now he is intended for the sea. But stop! here comes in the
punchbowls; and if we are not happy, who is? I say I am like the
Swish people, for I can't flourish out of my native HAIR.