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And she did act, and how charmingly with what glee and what gusto! Rugge was beside himself with pride and rapture. He could hardly perform his own Baronial part for admiration. The audience, a far choicer and more fastidious one than that in the Surrey village, was amazed, enthusiastic.
"I shall live to see my dream come true! I shall have the great York Theatre!" said Rugge, as he took off his wig and laid his head on his pillow. "Restore her for the £100! not for thousands !"
Alas, my sweet Sophy; alas! Has not the joy that made thee perform so well, undone thee! Ah, hadst thou but had the wit to act horribly, and be hissed!
"Uprose the sun and uprose Baron Rugge."
Not that ordinarily he was a very early man; but his excitement broke his slumbers. He had taken up his quarters on the ground-floor of a small lodging-house close to his Exhibition; in the same house lodged his senior Matron, and Sophy herself. Mrs Gormerick, being ordered to watch the child and never lose sight of her, slept in the same room with Sophy, in the upper story of the
house. The old woman served Rugge for housekeeper, made his tea, grilled his chop, and for company's sake shared his meals. Excitement as often sharpens the appetite as takes it away. Rugge had supped on hope, and he felt a craving for a more substantial breakfast. Accordingly, when he had dressed, he thrust his head into the passage, and seeing there the maid-of-all-work unbarring the street door, bade her go up-stairs and wake the Hag, that is, Mrs Gormerick. Saying this, he extended a key; for he ever took the precaution, before retiring to rest, to lock the door of the room to which Sophy was consigned on the outside, and guard the key till the next morning.
The maid nodded, and ascended the stairs. Less time than he expected passed away before Mrs Gormerick made her appearance, her grey hair streaming under her nightcap, her form endued in a loose wrapper-her very face a tragedy.
"Powers above! What has happened?" exclaimed Rugge, prophetically.
"She is gone," sobbed Mrs Gormerick; and, seeing the lifted arm and clenched fist of the manager, prudently fainted away.
Corollaries from the problem suggested in Chapters VI. and VII.
Broad daylight, nearly nine o'clock indeed, and Jasper Losely is walking back to his inn from the place at
which he had dined the evening before. He has spent the night drinking, gambling, and though he
looks heated, there is no sign of fatigue. Nature, in wasting on this man many of her most glorious elements of happiness, had not forgotten a herculean constitutionalways restless and never tired, always drinking and never drunk. Certainly it is some consolation to delicate invalids, that it seldom happens that the sickly are very wicked. Criminals are generally athletic-constitution and conscience equally tough; large backs to their heads strong suspensorial muscles digestions that save them from the over-fine nerves of the virtuous. The native animal must be vigorous in the human being, when the moral safeguards are daringly overleapt. Jasper was not alone, but with an acquaintance he had made at the dinner, and whom he invited to his inn to breakfast; they were walking familiarly arm-in-arm. Very unlike the brilliant Losely-a young man under thirty, who seemed to have washed out all the colours of youth in dirty water. His eyes dull, their whites yellow; his complexion sodden. His form was thickset and heavy; his features pug, with a cross of the bull-dog. In dress, a specimen of the flash style of sporting man, as exhibited on the Turf, or more often, perhaps, in the Ring; Belcher neck cloth, with an immense pin representing a jockey at full gallop; cut away coat, corduroy breeches, and boots with tops of a chalky white. Yet, withal, not the air and walk of a genuine born and bred sporting man, even of the vulgar order. Something about him which reveals the pretender. A would-be hawk with a pigeon's liver-a would-be sportsman with a Cockney's nurture.
Samuel Adolphus Poole is an orphan of respectable connections. His future expectations chiefly rest on an uncle from whom, as godfather, he takes the loathed name of Samuel. He prefers to sign himself Adolphus; he is popularly styled Dolly. For his present existence he relies ostensibly on his salary as an assistant in the house of a London tradesman in a fashionable way of - business. Mr Latham, his employer, has made a considerable fortune, less by his shop than by discounting the
bills of his customers, or of other borrowers whom the loan draws into the net of the custom. Mr Latham connives at the_sporting tastes of Dolly Poole. Dolly has often thus been enabled to pick up useful pieces of information as to the names and repute of such denizens of the sporting world as might apply to Mr Latham for temporary accommodation. Dolly Poole has many sporting friends; he has also many debts. He has been a dupe, he is now a rogue; but he wants decision of character to put into practice many valuable ideas that his experience of dupe and his development into rogue suggest to his ambition. Still, however, now and then, wherever a shabby trick can be safely done, he is what he calls lucky." He has conceived a prodigious admiration for Jasper Losely, one cause for which will be explained in the dialogue about to be recorded; another cause for which is analogous to that loving submission with which some ill-conditioned brute acknowledges a master in the hand that has thrashed it. For at Losely's first appearance at the convivial meeting just concluded, being nettled at the imperious airs of superiority which that roysterer assumed, mistaking for effeminacy Jasper's elaborate dandyism, and not recognising in the bravo's elegant proportions the tigerlike strength of which, in truth, that tiger-like suppleness should have warned him, Dolly Poole provoked a quarrel, and being himself a stout fellow, nor unaccustomed to athletic exercises, began to spar; the next moment he was at the other end of the room full-sprawl on the floor; and, two minutes afterwards, the quarrel made up by conciliating banqueters, with every bone in his skin seeming still to rattle, he was generously blubbering out that he never bore malice, and shaking hands with Jasper Losely as if he had found a benefactor. But now to the dialogue.
JASPER."Yes, Poole, my hearty, as you say, that fellow trumping my best club lost me the last rubber. There's no certainty in whist, if one has a spoon for a partner."
POOLE." No certainty in every
rubber, but next to certainty in the long run, when a man plays as well as you do, Mr Losely. Your winnings to-night must have been pretty large, though you had a bad partner almost every hand ;-pretty largeeh?"
JASPER (carelessly). -"Nothing to talk of a few ponies!"
POOLE." More than a few; I should know."
JASPER." Why? You did not play after the first rubber."
POOLE." No, when I saw your play on that first rubber, I cut out, and bet on you; and very grateful to you I am. Still you would win more with a partner who understood your game.'
The shrewd Dolly paused a moment, and leaning significantly on Jasper's arm, added, in a half whisper, “I do ; it is a French
Jasper did not change colour, but a quick rise of the eyebrow, and a slight jerk of the neck, betrayed some little surprise or uneasiness; however, he rejoined without hesitation-" French, ay! In France there is more dash in playing out trumps than there is with English players."
"And with a player like you," said Poole, still in a half whisper, "more trumps to play out."
Jasper turned round sharp and short; the hard, cruel expression of his mouth, little seen of late, came back to it. Poole recoiled, and his bones began again to ache. "I did not mean to offend you, Mr Losely, but to caution."
"There were two knowing coves, who, if they had not been so drunk, would not have lost their money without a row, and they would have seen how they lost it; they are sharpers you served them rightdon't be angry with me. You want a partner-so do I; you play better than I do, but I play well; you shall have two-thirds of our winnings, and when you come to town I'll introduce you to a pleasant set of young fellows -green.'
Jasper mused a moment. "You know a thing or two, I see, Master Poole, and we'll discuss the whole
subject after breakfast. hungry?-No!-I am! Hillo-who's that?
His arm was seized by Mr Rugge. "She's gone-fled," gasped the manager, breathless. "Out of the lattice-fifteen feet high-not dashed to pieces-vanished?"
Go on and order breakfast," said Losely to Mr Poole, who was listening too inquisitively. He drew the manager away. "Can't you keep your tongue in your head before strangers the girl is gone?"
"Out of the lattice, and fifteen feet high!"
Any sheets left hanging out of the lattice?" "Sheets!
'Then she did not go without help somebody must have thrown up to her a rope-laddernothing so easy-done it myself scores of times for the descent of 'maids who love the moon,' Mr Rugge. But at her age there is not a moonat least there is not a man in the moon; one must dismiss, then, the idea of a rope-ladder-too precocious. But are you quite sure she is gone? not hiding in some cupboard? Sacre! very odd. Have you seen Mrs Crane about it ?"
"Yes, just come from her; she thinks that villain Waife must have stolen her. But I want you, sir, to come with me to a magistrate."
"Magistrate! I-why?-nonsense -set the police to work."
"Your deposition that she is your lawful child, lawfully made over to me, is necessary for the InquisitionI mean Police.'
"Hang it, what a bother! I hate magistrates, and all belonging to them. Well, I must breakfast ; I'll · see to it afterwards. Oblige me by not calling Mr Waife a villaingood old fellow in his way." "Good! Powers above!"
would have known him; such a remarkable face-one eye, too."
"Well, well, do what you think best. I'll call on you after breakfast; let me go now. Basta! basta !”
Losely wrenched himself from the manager, aud strode off to the inn; then, ere joining Poole, he sought Mrs Crane.
"This going before a magistrate," said Losely, "to depose that I have made over my child to that blackguard showman-in this town too -after such luck as I have had, and where bright prospects are opening on me, is most disagreeable. And supposing, when we have traced Sophy, she should be really with the old man—awkward! In short, my dear friend, my dear Bella"-(Losely could be very coaxing when it was worth his while)" you just manage this for me. I have a fellow in the next room waiting to breakfast; as soon as breakfast is over I shall be off to the race-ground, and so shirk that ranting old bore; you'll call on him instead, and settle it somehow." He was out of the room before she could
Mrs Crane found it no easy matter to soothe the infuriate manager when he heard Losely was gone to amuse himself at the race-course. Nor did she give herself much trouble to pacify Mr Rugge's anger, or assist his investigations. Her interest in the whole affair seemed over. Left thus to his own devices, Rugge, however, began to institute a sharp, and what promised to be an effective investigation. He ascertained that the fugitive certainly had not left by the railway, or by any of the public conveyances; he sent scouts over all the neighbourhood; he enlisted the sympathy of the police, who confidently assured him that they had a network over the three kingdoms;' no doubt they have, and we pay for it; but the meshes are so large that anything less than a whale must be silly indeed if it consent to be caught. Rugge's suspicions were directed to Waite-he could collect, however, no evidence to confirm them. No person answering to Waife's description had been seen in the town. Once, indeed, Rugge was close on the right scent; for, insisting upon Waife's one
eye and his possession of a white dog, he was told by several witnesses that a man blind of two eyes, and led by a black dog, had been close before the stage, just previous to the performance. But then the clown had spoken to that very man; all the Thespian company had observed him; all of them had known Waife familiarly for years; and all deposed that any creature more unlike to Waife than the blind man could not be turned out of Nature's workshop. But where was that blind man? They found out the wayside inn in which he had taken a lodging for the night; and there it was ascertained that he had paid for his room beforehand, stating that he should start for the racecourse early in the morning. Rugge himself set out to the race-course to kill two birds with one stone-catch Mr Losely-examine the blind man himself.
He did catch Mr Losely, and very nearly caught something else for that gentleman was in a ring of noisy horsemen, mounted on a hired hack, and loud as the noisiest. When Rugge came up to his stirrup, and began his harangue, Losely turned his hack round with so sudden an appliance of bit and spur, that the animal lashed out, and its heel went within an inch of the manager's cheek-bone. Before Rugge could recover, Losely was in a hand-gallop. But the blind man! Of course Rugge did not find him? You are mistaken; he did. The blind man was there, dog and all. The manager spoke to him, and did not know him from Adam.
Nor have you or I, my venerated readers, any right whatsoever to doubt whether Mr Rugge could be so stolidly obtuse. Granting that blind sailor to be the veritable William Waife-William Waife was a man of genius, taking pains to appear an ordinary mortal. And the anecdotes of Munden, or of Bamfylde Moore Carew, suffice to tell us how Protean is the power of transformation in a man whose genius is mimetic. But how often does it happen to us, venerated readers, not to recognise a man of genius, even when he takes no particular pains to escape detection! A man of genius may be for ten years
our next-door neighbour-he may dine in company with us twice aweek-his face may be as familiar to our eyes as our arm-chair-his voice to our ears as the click of our parlourclock-yet we are never more astonished than when all of a sudden, some bright day, it is discovered that our next-door neighbour is a man of genius. Did you ever hear tell of the life of a man of genius, but what there were numerous witnesses who deposed to the fact, that until, perfidious dissembler, he flared up and set the Thames on fire, they had never seen anything in him-an odd creature, perhaps a good creatureprobably a poor creature;-But a MAN of GENIUS! They would as soon have suspected him of being the Cham of Tartary Nay, candid readers, are there not some of you who refuse to the last to recognise the man of genius, till he has paid his penny to Charon, and his passport to immortality has been duly examined by the customhouse officers of Styx! When one-half the world drag forth that same next-door neighbour, place him
on a pedestal, and have him cried, "O yez! O yez! Found a man of genius! Public property-open to inspection!" does not the other half the world put on its spectacles, turn up its nose, and cry, " That a man of genius, indeed! Pelt him!-pelt him?" Then of course there is a clatter, what the vulgar call a shindy," round the pedestal. Squeezed by his believers, shied at by his scoffers, the poor man gets horribly mauled about, and drops from the perch in the midst of the row. Then they shovel him over, clap a great stone on his relics, wipe their foreheads, shake hands, compromise the dispute, the one half the world admitting, that though he was a genius he was still an ordinary man; the other half allowing, that though he was an ordinary man, he was still a genius. And so on to the next pedestal with its "Hic stet," and the next great stone with its "Hie jacet."
The manager of the Grand Theatrical Exhibition gazed on the blind sailor, and did not know him from Adam!
The aboriginal Man-eater, or Pocket Cannibal, is susceptible of the refining influences of Civilisation. He decorates his lair with the skins of his victims; he adorns his person with the spoils of those whom he devours. Mr Losely introduced to Mr Poole's friends dresses for dinner; and, combining elegance with appetite,
eats them up.
Elated with the success which had rewarded his talents for pecuniary speculation, and dismissing from his mind all thoughts of the fugitive Sophy and the spoliated Rugge, Jasper Losely returned to London in company with his new friend, Mr Poole. He left Arabella Crane to perform the same journey, unattended; but that grim lady, carefully concealing any resentment at such want of gallantry, felt assured that she should not be long in London without being honoured by his visits.
In renewing their old acquaintance, Mrs Crane had contrived to establish over Jasper that kind of influence which a vain man, full of schemes that are not to be told to all the world, but which it is convenient to discuss with some confidential friend who admires himself too highly not to respect his secrets, mechanically
yields to a woman whose wits are superior to his own.
It is true that Jasper, on his return to the metropolis, was not magnetically attracted towards Podden Place; nay, days and even weeks elapsed, and Mrs Crane was not gladdened by his presence. But she knew that her influence was only suspended-not extinct. The body attracted was for the moment kept from the body attracting, by the abnormal weights that had dropped into its pockets. Restore the body thus temporarily counterpoised to its former lightness, and it would turn to Podden Place as the needle to the Pole. Meanwhile, oblivious of all such natural laws, the disloyal Jasper had fixed himself as far from the reach of the magnet as from Bloomsbury's remotest verge is St James's animated centre. The apartment he