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moment his step quits that door; but envy him when he enters its threshold ?- nay, envy rather that roofless Savoyard who has crept under yonder portico, asleep with his ragged arm round the cage of his stupid dormice! There, in that great barren drawing-room sits a
"Pale and elegant Aspasia."
Well, but the wife's face is not querulous now. Look again-anxious, fearful, secret, sly. Oh! that fine lady, a Vipont Crooke, is not contented to be wife to the wealthy, great Mr Darrell. What wants she? that he should be spouse to the fashionable fine Mrs Darrell? Pride in him! not a jot of it; such pride were unchristian. Were he proud of her, as a Christian husband ought to be of so elegant a wife, would he still be in Bloomsbury? Envy him! the high gentleman, so true to his blood, all galled and blistered by the moral vulgarities of a tuft-hunting, toad-eating mimic of the Lady Selinas. Envy him! well, why not? All women have their foibles. Wise husbands must bear and forbear. Is that all? wherefore, then, is her aspect so furtive, wherefore on his a wild, vigilant sternness? Tut, what so brings into coveted fashion a fair lady exiled to Bloomsbury as the marked adoration of a lord, not her own, who gives law to St James's! Untempted by passion, cold as ice to affection, if thawed to the gush of a sentiment, secretly preferring the husband she chose, wooed, and won, to idlers less gifted even in outward attractions;-all this, yet seeking, coquetting for, the éclat of dishonour! To elope? Oh, no, too wary for that, but to be gazed at and talked of, as the fair Mrs Darrell, to whom the Lovelace of London was so fondly devoted. Walk in, haughty son of the Dare-all. Darest thou ask who has just left thy house? Darest thou ask what and whence is the note that sly hand has secreted? Darest thou? -perhaps yes: what then? canst thou lock up thy wife canst thou poniard the Lovelace? Lock up the
air; poniard all whose light word in St James's can bring into fashion the matron of Bloomsbury! Go, lawyer, go, study briefs, and be parchment. Agonies agonies -- shot again through Guy Darrell's breast, as he looked on that large, most respectable house, and remembered his hourly campaign against disgrace! He has triumphed. Death fights for him: on the very brink of the last scandal, a cold, caught at some Vipont's ball, became fever; and so from that door the Black Horses bore away the Bloomsbury Dame, ere she was yetthe fashion! Happy in grief the widower who may, with confiding hand, ransack the lost wife's harmless desk, sure that no thought concealed from him in life will rise accusing from the treasured papers! But that pale proud mourner, hurrying the eye over sweet-scented billets, compelled, in very justice to the dead, to convince himself that the mother of his children was corrupt only at heart-that the Black Horses had come to the door in time-and, wretchedly consoled by that niggardly conviction, flinging into the flames the last flimsy tatters on which his honour (rock-like in his own keeping) had been fluttering to and fro in the charge of a vain treacherous fool! Envy you that mourner? No! not even in his release. Memory is not nailed down in the velvet coffin; and to great loyal natures, less bitter is the memory of the lost when hallowed by tender sadness, than when coupled with scorn and shame.
The wife is dead. Dead, too, long years ago, the Lothario! The world has forgotten them; they fade out of this very record when ye turn the page; no influence, no bearing have they on such future events as may mark what yet rests of life to Guy Darrell. But as he there stands and gazes into space, the two forms are before his eye as distinct as if living still. Slowly, slowly he gazes them down; the false smiles flicker away from their feeble lineaments; woe and terror on their aspects-they sink, they shrivel, they dissolve!
The wreck cast back from Charybdis. Souviens-toi de ta Gabrielle.
Guy Darrell turned hurriedly from the large house in the great square, and, more and more absorbed in reverie, he wandered out of his direct way homeward, clear and broad though it was, and did not rouse himself till he felt, as it were, that the air had grown darker; and looking vaguely round, he saw that he had strayed into a dim maze of lanes and passages. He paused under one of the rare lamp-posts, gathering up his recollections of the London he had so long quitted, and doubtful for a moment or two which turn to take. Just then, up from an alley fronting him at right angles, came sullenly, warily, a tall, sinewy, ill-boding_tatterdemalion figure, and seeing Darrell's face under the lamp, halted abrupt at the mouth of the narrow passage from which it had emergeda dark form filling up the dark aperture. Does that ragged wayfarer recognise a foe by the imperfect ray of the lamplight? or is he a mere vulgar footpad, who is doubting whether he should spring upon a prey? Hostile his look-his gesture-the sudden cowering down of the strong frame, as if for a bound; but still he is irresolute. What awes him? What awes the tiger, who would obey his blood-instinct without fear, in his rush on the Negro-the Hindoo-but who halts and hesitates at sight of the white man -the lordly son of Europe? Darrell's eye was turned towards the dark passage-towards the dark figure-carelessly, neither recognising, nor fearing, nor defying -carelessly, as at any harmless object in crowded streets, and at broad day. But while that eye was on him, the tatterdemalion halted; and, indeed, whatever his hostility, or whatever his daring, the sight of Darrell took him by so sudden a surprise, that he could not at once re-collect his thoughts, and determine how to approach the quiet unconscious man who, in reach of his spring, fronted his overwhelming physical strength
with the habitual air of dignified command. His first impulse was that of violence; his second impulse curbed the first. But Darrell now turns quickly, and walks straight on; the figure quits the mouth of the passage, and follows with a long and noiseless stride. It has nearly gained Darrell. With what intent? A fierce one, perhaps for the man's face is sinister, and his state evidently desperate-when there emerges unexpectedly from an ugly-looking court or cul de sac, just between Darrell and his pursuer, a slim, longbacked, buttoned-up, weasel-faced policeman. The policeman eyes the tatterdemalion instinctively, then turns his glance towards the solitary defenceless gentleman in advance, and walks on, keeping himself between the two. The tatterdemalion stifles an impatient curse. Be his purpose force, be it only supplication, be it colloquy of any kind, impossible to fulfil it while that policeman is there. True, that in his powerful hands he could have clutched that slim, long-backed officer, and broken him in two as a willow wand. that officer is the Personation of Law, and can stalk through a legion of tatterdemalions as a ferret may glide through a barn full of rats. The prowler feels he is suspected. Unknown as yet to the London police, he has no desire to invite their scrutiny. He crosses the way; he falls back; he follows from afar. The policeman may yet turn away before the safer streets of the metropolis be gained. No; the cursed Incarnation of Law, with eyes in its slim back, continues its slow stride at the heels of the unsuspicious Darrell. The more solitary defiles are already passed-now that dim lane, with its dead wall on one side. By the dead wall skulks the prowler; on the other side still walks The Law. Now-alas for the prowler shine out the thoroughfares, no longer dim nor desertedLeicester Square, the Haymarket,
Pall Mall, Carlton Gardens; Darrell is at his door. The policeman turns sharply round. There, at the corner near the learned Clubhouse, halts the tatterdemalion. Towards the tatterdemalion the policeman now advances quickly. The tatterdemalion is quicker still-fled like a guilty thought.
Back-back-back into that maze of passages and courts-back to the mouth of that black alley. There he halts again. Look at him. He has arrived in London but that very night, after an absence of more than four years. He has arrived from the sea-side on foot; see, his shoes are worn into holes. He has not yet found a shelter for the night. He had been directed towards that quarter, thronged with adventurers, native and foreign, for a shelter, safe, if squalid. It is somewhere near that court, at the mouth of which he stands. He looks round, the policeman is baffled, the coast clear. He steals forth, and pauses under the same gaslight as that under which Guy Darrell had paused before-under the same gaslight, under the same stars. From some recess in his rags he draws forth a large, distained, distended pocketbook-last relic of sprucer days-leather of dainty morocco, once elaborately tooled, patent springs, fairy lock, fit receptacle for banknotes,billets-doux,memoranda of debts of honour, or pleasurable engagements. Now how worn, tarnished, greasy, rapscallion-like, the costly bauble! Filled with what motley unlovable contents-stale pawn-tickets of foreign monts de piété, pledges never henceforth to be redeemed; scrawls by villanous hands in thievish hieroglyphics; ugly implements replacing the malachite penknife, the golden toothpick, the jewelled pencil-case, once so neatly set within their satin lappets. Ugly implements, indeed a file, a gimlet, loaded dice. Pell-mell, with such more hideous and recent contents, dishonoured evidences of gaudier summer life-locks of ladies' hair, love-notes treasured mechanically, not from amorous sentiment, but perhaps from some vague idea that they might be of use if those who gave the locks or wrote the notes
should be raised in fortune, and could buy back the memorials of shame. Diving amidst these miscellaneous documents and treasures, the prowler's hand rested on some old letters, in clerk-like fair caligraphy, tied round with a dirty string, and on them, in another and fresher writing, a scrap that contained an address Samuel Adolphus Poole, Esq., Alhambra Villa, Regent's Park. "Tomorrow, Nix my Dolly; to-morrow," muttered the tatterdemalion; but to-night;-plague on it, where is the other blackguard's direction? Ah, here-" And he extracted from the thievish scrawls a peculiarly thievishlooking hieroglyph. Now, as he lifts it up to read by the gaslight, survey him well. Do you not know him? Is it possible? What! the brilliant sharper! The ruffian exquisite! Jasper Losely! Can it be? Once before, in the fields of Fawley, we beheld him out at elbows, seedy, shabby, ragged. But then it was the decay of a foppish spendthrift clothes distained, ill-assorted, yet still of fine cloth; shoes in holes, yet still pearl-coloured brodequins. But now it is the decay of no foppish spendthrift; the rags are not of fine cloth; the tattered shoes are not brodequins. The man has fallen far below the politer grades of knavery, in which the sharper affects the beau. And the countenance, as we last saw it, if it had lost much of its earlier beauty, was still incontestably handsome. What with vigour, and health, and animal spirits, then on the aspect still lingered light; now, from corruption, the light itself was gone. In that herculean constitution excess of all kinds had at length forced its ravage, and the ravage was visible in the ruined face. The once sparkling eye was dull and bloodshot. The colours of the cheek, once clear and vivid, to which fiery drink had only sent the blood in a warmer glow, were now of a leaden dulness, relieved but by broken streaks of angry red-like gleams of flame struggling through gathered smoke. The profile, once sharp and delicate like Apollo's, was now confused in its swollen outline; a few years more, and it would be gross as that of Silenus the nostrils, distended with incipient carbuncles,
which betray the gnawing fang that alcohol fastens into the liver. Evil passions had destroyed the outline of the once beautiful lips, arched as a Cupid's bow. The sideling, lowering, villanous expression which had formerly been but occasional, was now habitual and heightened. It was the look of the bison before it gores. It is true, however, that even yet on the countenance there lingered the trace of that lavish favour bestowed on it by nature. An artist would still have said, "How handsome that raggamuffin must have been!" And true is it also, that there was yet that about the bearing of the man, which contrasted his squalor, and seemed to say that he had not been born to wear rags, and loiter at midnight amongst the haunts of thieves. Nay, I am not sure that you would have been as incredulous now, if told that the wild outlaw before you had some claim by birth or by nurture to the rank of gentleman, as you would, had you seen the gay spendthrift in his gaudy day. For then he seemed below, and now he seemed above, the grade in which he took place. And all this made his aspect yet more sinister, and the impression that he was dangerous yet more profound. Muscular strength often remains to a powerful frame long after the constitution is undermined, and Jasper Losely's frame was still that of a formidable athlete; nay, its strength was yet more apparent now that the shoulders and limbs had increased in bulk, than when it was half-disguised in the lissom symmetry of exquisite proportion-less active, less supple, less capable of endurance, but with more crushing weight in its rush or its blow. It was the figure in which brute force seems so to predominate that in a savage state it would have worn a crown-the figure which secures command and authority in all societies where force alone gives the law. Thus, under the gaslight and under the stars, stood the terrible animal-a strong man embruted "SOUVIENS-TOI DE TA GABRIELLE." -There, still uneffaced, though the gold-threads are all tarnished and ragged, are the ominous words on the silk of the she-devil's love-token! But Jasper has now inspected the
direction on the paper he held to the lamp-light, and, satisfying himself that he was in the right quarter, restored the paper to the bulky distended pocketbook, and walked sullenly on towards the court from which had emerged the policeman who had crossed his prowling chase.
"It is the most infernal shame," said Losely between his grinded teeth, "that I should be driven to these wretched dens for a lodging, while that man who ought to feel bound to maintain me should be rolling in wealth, and cottoned up in a palace. But he shall fork out. Sophy must be hunted up. I will clothe her in rags like these. She shall sit at his street-door. I will shame the miserly hunks. But how track the girl? Have I no other hold over him? Can I send Dolly Poole to him? How addled my brains are !-want of food -want of sleep. Is this the place? Peuh!"
Thus murmuring he now reached the arch of the court, and was swallowed up in its gloom. A few strides, and he came into a square open space, only lighted by the skies. A house, larger than the rest, which were of the meanest order, stood somewhat back, occupying nearly one side of the quadrangle-old, dingy, dilapidated. At the door of this house stood another man, applying his latchkey to the lock. As Losely approached, the man turned quickly, half in fear, half in menace a small, very thin, impishlooking man, with peculiarly restless features that seemed trying to run away from his face. Thin as he was, he looked all skin and no bones-a goblin of a man whom it would not astonish you to hear could creep through a keyhole. Seeming still more shadowy and impalpable by his slight, thin, sable dress, not of cloth, but a sort of stuff like alpaca. Nor was that dress ragged, nor, as seen but in starlight, did it look worn or shabby; still you had but to glance at the creature to feel that it was a child in the same Family of Night as the ragged felon that towered by its side. The two outlaws stared at each other. "Cutts!" said Losely, in the old rollicking voice, but in a hoarser, rougher key-" Cutts, my boy, here I am, welcome me !"
"What! General Jas. !" returned Cutts, in a tone which was not without a certain respectful awe, and then proceeded to pour out a series of questions in a mysterious language, which may be thus translated and abridged: "How long have you been in England? how has it fared with you? you seem very badly off? coming here to hide? nothing very bad, I hope? what is it?"
Jasper answered in the same language, though with less practised mastery of it-and with that constitutional levity which, whatever the time or circumstance, occasionally gave a strange sort of wit, or queer, uncanny, devil-me-care vein of drollery? to his modes of expression. Three months of the worst luck man ever had a row with the gens-d'armes-long story-three of our pals seized-affair of the galleys for them, I suspect· French frogs
can't seize me-fricasseed one or two of them-broke away-crossed the country-reached the coast-found an honest smuggler-landed off Sussex with a few other kegs of brandy -remembered you - preserved the address you gave me and condescend to this rat-hole for a night or
Let me in-knock up somebody -break open the larder-I want to cat-I am famished-I should have eaten you by this time, only there's nothing on your bones."
The little man opened the door— a passage black as Erebus. "Give me your hand, General." Jasper was led through the pitchy gloom for a few yards; then the guide found a gas-cock, and the place broke suddenly into light. A dirty narrow staircase on one side; facing it, a sort of lobby, in which an open door showed a long sanded parlour, like that in public-houses-several tables, benches, the walls whitewashed, but adorned with sundry ingenious designs made by charcoal or the smoked ends of clay-pipes. A strong smell of stale tobacco and of gin and rum. Another gaslight, swinging from the centre of the ceiling, sprang into light as Cutts touched the tapcock.
"Wait here," said the guide. will go and get you some supper." "And some brandy," said Jasper.
VOL LXXXIII-NO. DX.
The bravo threw himself at length on one of the tables, and, closing his eyes, moaned. His vast strength had become acquainted with physical pain. In its stout knots and fibres, aches and sharp twinges, the dragon-teeth of which had been sown years ago in revels or brawls, which then seemed to bring but innocuous joy and easy triumph, now began to gnaw and grind. But when Cutts reappeared with coarse viands and the brandy-bottle, Jasper shook off the sense of pain, as does a wounded wild beast that can still devour; and after regaling fast and ravenously, he emptied half the bottle at a draught, and felt himself restored and fresh.
Shall you fling yourself amongst the swell fellows who hold their club here, General?" asked Cutts; "'tis a bad trade, every year it gets worse. Or have you not some higher game in your eye?"
I have higher game in my eye. One bird I marked down this very night. But that may be slow work, and uncertain. I have in this pocketbook a bank to draw upon meanwhile."
"How-forged French billets de banque-dangerous."
Pooh!-better than that-letters which prove theft against a respectable rich man."
Ah, you expect hush-money?" Exactly so. I have good friends in London."
Among them, I suppose, that affectionate adopted mother' who would have kept you in such order."
"Thousand thunders! I hope not. I am not a superstitious man, but I fear that woman as if she were a witch, and I believe she is one. You remember black Jean, whom we called Sans culotte. He would have filled a churchyard with his own brats for a five-franc piece; but he would not have crossed a churchyard alone at night for a thousand Naps. Well, that woman to me is what a churchyard was to black Jean. No; if she is in London, I have but to go to her house and say, 'Food, shelter, money;' and I would rather ask Jack Ketch for a rope."
"How do you account for it, General? She does not beat you-she is 2 H