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that the scaffold was falling. The shillings a-week. Do you say done?” crowd fell back in terror, while the Before I could collect myself to undermen upon the scaffolding, not knowing stand what this offer might mean, a in what quarter the danger existed, dozen others were crowding around stood in terrified groups, or madly me with a number of similar proposals. rushed to the ladders to escape. The “ You don't know the rule amongst mad shouts and screams of those be- these fellows," said the landlord, ad. neath added to the confusion, and ren. dressing me; “but it is this, that dered it impossible to convey warning whoever touches the broom first after to those in peril. At this instant a its owner is killed, succeeds to the man was seen approaching the weak crossing. It's yours now, to work or part of the scaffold, and though at dispose of, as you like best." every step he took, the ill-fated pole i He'll never work it - he doesn't swerved farther and farther from the know the town,” said one. right line, he was utterly unconscious “He'd not know Charley Fox froin of his danger, and seemed only bent Big Hullescoat the tailor.” on gaining
a rope, which, fastened by “ He'd splash Colonel Hanyer, and one end above, hung down to the porch sweep clean for the Duke of Queensbeneath. Wild cries and yells were raised to warn him of his peril, but • And forget to have change for not heeding, nor, perhaps, hearing Lord Bute,” cried another - a sally so them, he seized the cord and swung generally applauded, that it showed a himself free of the scaffold.
full appreciation of its truthfulness. In an instant the fabric gave way,
" I'll try it, nevertheless, gentleand, bending over, came down with a men,” said I, addressing the company terrible crash of falling beams and respectfully; "and if the landlord splintered timber. It fell so close to will only give me credit for half-awhere I stood, that it struck down an guinea's worth of liquor, we'll drink old man with whom I had been con- my accession to office at once." versing the moment before. Strangely This was agreeably received by all, too, amidst that dense throng, this was even the landlord, who ushered us into the only serious injury inflicted; but an inner room to enjoy ourselves. he was struck dead – at least, he only If I had not transgressed too freely lingered for the few minutes it took to already on my readers' patience by carry him to a neighbouring public- details which have no immediate bearhouse, where he expired.
ing on my own life, I should bave been “It's old Harry; be always said greatly tempted to revive some recolhe'd die at his crossing,” said the pub- lections of that evening, one of the lican, as he recognised the features. strangest I ever passed. Assuredly
“He thought it was them new- the guild of which I suddenly found fashioned curricles would do for bim, myself a member was not one in which though," said another. “ He said so I could have either expected laws and to me last week, for he was getting regulations, or looked for anything like too old to escape when he saw them a rigid etiquette; yet such was precisely coming."
the case. The rules, if not many, “ Old! I should think he was. He were imperative, while the require. was on that there crossing at the coro- ments to obtain success were considernation-a matter of fifty years ago.'
able. It was not enough to know “Say forty, my good friend, and every remarkable character about town, you'll be nigher the mark; but even but you should also have a knowledge forty sufficed to leave him well off for of their tone and temper. Some should the rest of his days, if he had but be dunned with importunity; others bad prudence to know it.”
never asked for a farthing; a Scotch As I stood thus listening, I leaned accent went far with General Dundas; upon the broom which I had taken a jest never failed with Mr. Sheridan. from the old man's hand when I lifted Besides this, an unfailing memory for
every one who bad crossed during the “ I'll give you a matter of ten pounds day was indispensable, and if this gift for it, master,” said a gruff-looking extended to chairs and coaches, all the fellow, addressing me, while he touched better was it. the broom with bis knuckle. “ Five My brethren, I must do them the down on the nail, and the rest ten justice to say, were no niggards of in
formation. To me, perhaps, they felt natures, we think nothing too great or a sense of exultation in describing the too exalted for us ! dignity of the craft — perhaps they Be this as it may, my struggles were hoped to deter me from a career so very painful; and, far from conforming surrounded with difficulties. They easily to the exigencies of my lot, little knew that they were only stimu- each day's experience rendered them lating the curiosity of one to whom still harder to me. Two entire days any object or any direction in life was passed over without my having received a boon and a blessing. Hardship and a farthing. I could not bring myself neglect had so far altered my appear- to ask for payment, and the crowd ance, that, even had I cared for it, any passed on, unheeding me. Some who artificial disguisement was unnecessary. seemed prepared with the accustomed My beard and mustache covered the mite replaced it in their pockets, when lower part of my face, and my hair, they saw what seemed my indifference. long and lank, hung heavily on my One young fellow threw me a penny neck behind. But, were it otherwise, as he went, but I could not have how few had ever known me! There stooped for it, had my life been on the were none to blush for me - none to issue. What a wonderful thing is forfeel implicated in what they might tune! - or rather, how rarely can we have called the disgrace of my position. plot for ourselves any combination of I reasoned thus-I went even farther, circumstances so successful as those and persuaded myself there was some- that arise from what we deem accident. thing akin to heroism in thus braving These that seemed evidences of failure the current of opinion, and stemming were the first promises of prosperity. the strong tide of the world's preju- My comrades had given me the nickdice. If this be my fitting station in name of “ Gentleman Jack.” The life, thought I, there is no impropriety sobriquet attracted notice to me, and in my abiding by it; and if, perchance, to my habit of never making a demand; I might have worthily filled a higher and long ere I came to learn the cause, one, the disgrace is not with me, but I found myself deriving all the advanwith that world that treated me so tage of it. Few now went by without harshly.
paying; many gave me silver, some Though all these arguments satisfied even accompanying the gift with a me thoroughly, as I thought over passing salutation, or a word of recogthem, they did not give me the support nition. Slight as these were, and inI had hoped for. When the hour came significant, they were far more precious for me to assume my calling, I am to me than any praises I have ever lisalmost ashamed to say how I shrunk tened to in my days of prosperity! from it. I grieve to think how much I gradually came to know all the more easy for me had it been to com- celebrities of the town, and be myself mit a crime, than to go forth, broom known by them. How like a dream in hand, and earn my livelihood! But does it seem to me, as I think over I was determined to go on, and I did those days! When Alderman Whitso. The first week or so was absolute bread would give me a shilling, and misery; I scarcely dared to look any Wilkes borrow a crown of me; when one in the face.
lf, perchance, I Colonel O'Kelly would pay me with a caught an eye fixed upon me, I ima- wink, and Sir Philip Francis with a gined I was recognised! I dreaded to curse ; when Baron Geramb, frizzed, utter a word, lest my voice might be- mustached, and decorated, lounged tray me. I was repeatedly questioned lazily along on the arm of Admiral about old Harry, and what bad be- Payne, followed by a gorgeouslycome of him; and I could see, that equipped chasseur, a rare sight in with all my attempts at disguise, my those days. Nor is it altogether an accent attracted attention, and men old man's prejudice makes me think looked at me with curiosity, and even that the leaders of fashion in those suspicion. Is it not strange that there times had more unmistakably the signs should be more real awkwardness in of being “ Grand Seigneurs” than the maintaining a station that one deems men of our own day. below him,
than in the assumption of a I have said that the tide of fortune rank as unquestionably above his own? had turned with me, and to an extent Perhaps our self-love is the cause of it, scarcely credible. Many days saw my and that in our estimate of our own gains above a guinea ; once or twice they more than doubled that amount. equalled two entire days in profit. I have frequently read in newspapers Thus did I vacillate betwixt good announcements of the fortunes accumu- and evil influences — now yielding-lated by men in the very humblest now resisting- but always gaining stations-statements which, with less some little advantage over selfishness experience than my own, I might have and narrow-mindedness, by the trainhesitated to believe ; but now I know ing of that best of teachers—adversity them to be credible. I know, too, How my trials might have ended, had that many of the donors who contemp- the course of my life gone on unintertuously threw their penny as they ruptedly, I cannot even guess. Whepassed, were far poorer than the reci. ther the bad might have gained the pient of their bounty.
ascendant, or the good triumphed, I If time did not reconcile me to my know not. An incident, too slight to lot, yet a certain hardihood to brave advert to, save in its influence upon destiny in any shape, fortified me. I my fate, suddenly gave another direcreasoned repeatedly with myself on this tion to my destiny; and though, as I wise. --Fate can scarcely have anything have said, in itself a mere trifle, yet, lower in store for me ; from this there for its singularity, as well as in its can be no descent in fortune. If, then,
consequences, requires a mention ; and I can here maintain within me the shall have-albeit a short one-a chapfeelings which moved me in happier ter of its own. days, and live unchanged in the The incident I am about to relate, midst of what might have been degra. has pot - at least so far as I knowdation, there is yet a hope that I ever been made public. Up to three may emerge to hold a worthy station
years ago, I could have called a witamong my fellow-men.
ness to its truth; but I am now the I will not affirm that this feeling was only survivor of those who once could not heightened by an almost resentful have corroborated my tale. Still I am sense of the world's treatment of me- not without hope, that there are some a feeling which, combat how I would, living who, having heard the circumhourly gained more and more posses- stances before, will generously exonesion of me. To struggle against this rate me from any imputation of being growing misanthropy, I formed the re- the inventor. solve that I would devote all my earn- This preface may excite in my read. ings of each Sunday to charity. It was er the false expectation of something but too easy, in my walk of life, for deeply interesting; and I at once and me to know objects of want and suffer- most explicitly own that I have none ing. The little close in which I lived such in store for him. It is, I repeat -near Seven Dials – was filled with for the third time, an incident only cusuch ; and amongst them I now dis- rious from those engaged in it, and only pensed the seventh of my gains; in claiming a mention in such a history as reality far more, since Sunday almost mine.
AN ACCOUNT OF SOME STRANGE DISTURBANCES IN AN OLD HOUSE IN
It is not worth telling, this story of primitive; and, in short, our arrangemine - at least, not worth writing. ments pretty nearly as simple as those Told, indeed, as I have sometimes been of a bivouac. Our new plan was, therecalled upon to tell it, to a circle of intel. fore, executed almost as soon as conligent and eager faces, lighted up by a ceived. The front drawing-room was good after-dinner fire on a winter's our sitting-room. I had the bedroom evening, with a cold wind rising and over it, and Tom the back bedroom wailing outside, and all snug and cosy on the same floor, which nothing could within, it has gone off — though I say
have induced me to occupy. it, who should not- indifferent well. The house, to begin with, was a very But it is a venture to do as you would old one. It had been, I believe, newly bave me. Pen, ink, and paper are fronted about fifty years before ; but, cold vehicles for the marvellous, and with this exception, it had nothing a "reader” decidedly a more critical modern about it. The agent who animal than a " listener.” If, how. bought it and looked into the titles for ever, you can induce your friends to my uncle, told me that it was sold, read it after nightfall, and when the along with much other forfeited profireside talk has run for a while perty, at Chichester-House, I think, in on thrilling tales of shapeless terror; 1702; and had belonged to Sir Thomas in short, if you will secure me the Hacket, who was Lord Mayor of Dub“mollia tempora fundi," I will go to lin in James II.'s time. How old it my work, and say my say, with better was then, I can't say; but, at all events, heart. Well, then, these conditions it had seen years and changes enough presupposed, I shall waste no more to have contracted all that mysterious words, but tell you simply how it all and saddened air, at once exciting and happened.
depressing, which belongs to most old My cousin (Tom Ludlow) and I stu- mansions. died medicine together. I think he There had been very little done in would have succeeded, had he stuck to the way of modernising details ; and, the profession; but he preferred the perhaps, it was better so; for there Church, poor fellow, and died early, a was something queer and by-gone in sacrifice to contagion, contracted_in the very walls and ceilings — in the the noble discharge of his duties. For shape of doors and windows_in the my present purpose, I say enough of odd diagonal site of the chimneypieces his character when I mention, that he -in the beams and ponderous cornices was of a sedate but frank and cheerful -not to mention the singular solidity nature; very exact in his observance of all the wood-work, from the banis. of truth, and not by any means like ters to the window-frames, which hopemyself — of an excitable or nervous lessly defied disguise, and would have temperament.
emphatically proclaimed their antiquiMy uncle Ludlow – Tom's father ty through any conceivable amount of while we were attending lectures, pur- modern finery and varnish. chased three or four old houses in Aun. An effort had, indeed, been made to gier-street, one of which was unoccu- the extent of papering the drawingpied. He resided in the country, and rooms; but somehow, the paper looked Tom proposed that we should take up raw and out of keeping; and the old our abode in the untenanted house, so woman, who kept a little dirt-pie of a long as it should continue unlet; a move shop in the lane, and whose daughterwhich would accomplish the double a girl of two and fifty- was our soliend of settling us nearer alike to our tary handmaid, coming in at sunrise, lecture-rooms and to our amusements, and chastely receding again so soon as and of relieving us from the weekly she had made all ready for tea in our charge of rent for our lodgings. state apartment; - this woman, I say,
Our furniture was very scant - our remembered it, when old Judge Hor. whole equipage remarkably modest and rocks(who, having earned the reputation ofa particularly changing judge,"ended dreams, my troubles took a definite by hanging himself, as the coroner's jury form, and the same vision, without an found, under an impulse of " tempo- appreciable variation in a single detail, rary insanity," with a child's skipping- visited me at least (on an average) rope, over the massive old banisters) every second night in the week, resided there, entertaining good com- Now, this dream, nightmare, or inpany, with fine venison and rare old fernal illusion -- which you please — of port. In those halcyon days, the which I was the miserable sport, was drawing-rooms were hung with gilded on this wise :-I saw, or thought I saw, leather, and, I dare say, cut a good fi- with the most abominable distinctness, gure, for they were really spacious although at the time in profound darkrooms.
ness, every article of furniture and acThe bedrooms were wainscotted, but cidental arrangement of the chamber the front one was not gloomy; and in in which I lay. This, as you know, it the cosiness of antiquity quite over
is incidental to ordinary nightmare. came its sombre associations. But the Well, while in this clairvoyant condiback bedroom, with its two queerly- tion, which seemed but the lighting up placed melancholy windows, staring of the theatre in which was to be exhi. vacantly at the foot of the bed, and bited the monotonous tableau of hor. with the shadowy recess to be found in ror, which made nay nights insupportmost old houses in Dublin, like a large able, my attention invariably became, ghosty closet, which, from congeniality I know not why, fixed upon the winof temperament, had amalgamated wití dows opposite the foot of my bed ; the bedchamber, and dissolved the and, uniformly with the same effect. partition. At night-time, this "alcove" A sense of dreadful anticipation always -as our « maid" was wont to call it- took slow but sure possession of me. I had, in my eyes, a specially sinister became somehow conscious of a sort of and suggestive character. Tom's dis- horrid but undefined preparation going tant and solitary candle glimmered forward in some unknown quarter, and vainly into its darkness. There it was by some unknown agency, for my toralways overlooking him-always itself ment; and, after an interval, which alimpenetrable. But this was only part ways seemed to me of the same length, of the effect. The whole room was, I a picture suddenly flew up to the wincan't tell how, repulsive to me. There dow, where it remained fixed, as if by was, I suppose, in its proportions and an electrical attraction, and my discifeatures, a latent discord - a certain pline of horror then commenced, to last mysterious and indescribable relation, perhaps for hours. The picture thus which jarred indistinctly upon some se- mysteriously glued to the window. cret sense of the fitting and the safe, panes, was the
portrait of an old man, and raised indefinable suspicions and in a crimson flowered silk dressingapprehensions of the imagination. On gown, the folds of which I could now dethe whole, as I began by saying, no- scribe, with a countenance embodying thing could have induced me to pass a a strange mixture of intellect, sensu. night alone in it.
ality, and power, but withal sinister I had never pretended to conceal and full of malignant omen. His from poor Tom my superstitious weak- nose was hooked, like the beak of a ness; and he, on the other hand, most vulture ; bis eyes large, grey, and unaffectedly ridiculed my tremors. The prominent, and lighted up with a sceptic was, however, destined to re- more than mortal cruelty and coldness. ceive a lesson, as you shall hear. These features were surmounted by a
We had not been very long in occu- crimson velvet cap, the hair that pation of our respective dormitories, peeped from under which was white when I began to complain of uneasy with while the eyebrows retained nights and disturbed sleep. I was, I their original blackness. Well I resuppose, the more impatient under member every line, hue, and shadow this annoyance, as I was usually a of that stony countenance, and well I sound sleeper, and by no means prone may! The gaze of this hellish visage to nightmares. It was now, however, was fixed upon me, and mine returned my destiny, instead of enjoying my it with the inexplicable fascination of customary repose, every night to "sup nightmare, for what appeared to me full of horrors." After a preliminary to be hours of agony. At lastcourse of disagreeable and frightful "The cock he crew, away then fiew"