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I have lost my self-respect, but I have some excuse-I have, indeed; and
hear.” “ Hush, Godfrey! or I shall cry again, if you speak that way." Their mother entered soon afterwards, and, addressing Rebecca, said,
“Come, child, we have a great deal to do this evening for your brother; leave him at present.” Rebecca looked
for a moment in her mother's face, and, taking her hand in silence, left the room.
“ Poor boy !” said she, at length, “what has he done?”
“He has displeased your father very seriously; so much so, that I fear he will never forgive him.” “But he is so broken-hearted," urged Rebecca.
Very likely; but of course I cannot countenance him in anything of which your father disapproves, and therefore must forbid your seeing much of him.”
“ But, mother, he's going away,” said Rebecca, sadly.
know ?" “ He told me that nothing should detain him over to-night."
Mrs. Selborne hastily drew Rebecca back into the room they had left, and when they emerged from it again, which was in about an hour, they had evidently both been weeping. He left that evening, and sailed in about a week afterwards. The first chapter of this history found him after his arrival at his destination. We must now resume the record of events after the adventure narrated in the chapter immediately preceding this.
PROGRESSI V E. Cynthia (aside). Well, I find there are no fools so inconsiderable in themselves, but they can render other people contemptible by exposing their infirmities."
Double Dealer, by CONGREVE, We left Godfrey in the empty house with the wounded man, at the moment when the two were unexpectedly intruded upon.
The room was imperfectly lighted by the dying embers of the fire ; and though the persons entering were made aware by the shout of Godfrey's companion that the place was already occupied, they apparently could not well distinguish the persons of the occupants ; for one of them, kicking the fire with his foot, drew from it a half-burnt stick, which he blew into a flame, and with this advanced cautiously to the two strangers, whom he had no sooner examined, than, with a surprise almost equal to theirs, he drew back in silence.
“ Vas is de matter ?" said one of his companions.
He only replied by pointing to the two, who were now watching, in anxious suspense, the movements of their visitors—Godfrey occasionally looking keenly, but in vain, for some weapon of defence. “By Golly!” said the third, who appeared by his voice to be a half“D-n your soul ! whar you come from? whar you
bin ? You come 'coon over us, eh-you almighty blackguard ?”
Selborne's companion only glared on him helplessly.
“ Here, you sare!” said the first man, "you dam blackleg! Stay where you are till we square accounts.”
“ Set me up,” said the person addressed, to Godfrey. “We must make tracks out of this place mighty quick; we shan't have the chance soon.”
“You are right,” said Godfrey. “All that talk is not for nothing.”
“Quick's the word then," said his companion, rising from a reclining to a sitting posture, and, placing his hand on Godfrey's shoulder, he essayed to rise. More than one knife glittered as the motion was perceived by the three desperadoes, who rushed forward to intercept the egress of the two.
Just at that moment heavy footsteps sounded on the floor, and two bulky figures marched in, each armed with a heavy truncheon shod with iron, with which he smote the floor. The sound had an instantaneous effect on the three assailants. Their knives were quickly sheathed, and they were about to withdraw themselves from the room, when one of the new-comers interposed his person in the doorway, rapping at the same time on the pavement of the street.
“ What is the matter?” said one of the new-comers, who were no other than city watchmen.
“ Murder would have been the matter shortly, I have no doubt,” said Godfrey.
“ Those men—" his companion began.
But the persons alluded to made for the door ; and when the watchmen looked round, the retiring form of the last of the three was seen just making his escape.
“ Hilloo !-stop !-stop !" shouted the watehmen, starting in pursuit. After a short chace they returned by themselves, not having been successful in capturing the fugitives. As the latter had the advantage in numbers, perhaps they were as well pleased.
Selborne hastily related his story to them, and, explaining the necessity of guiding his companion to some place of rest, slipped half-a-dollar into the hand of a watchman, and requested him to call a cab, which he did presently.
“Where must I drive ye to, jintlemen?" asked the cabman.
“To the St. Charles. You had better come with me to-night,” said Godfrey, addressing the stranger; who briefly assenting, they were speedily on their way thither.
It was pretty far on in the morning before Godfrey got to bed, and he imagined he had barely closed his eyes when he was aroused by the sound of a gong, whereat he started up, and found broad daylight in the room. Dressing himself, he made his way to the office to find in what part of the house his friends were disposed, and the obliging clerk despatched a porter to show him the way to their room. however, was empty; and Godfrey, supposing them to have gone down stairs, was just leaving when he saw an open letter lying on the floor. He picked it up for the purpose of discovering the owner, and, perceiving the handwriting to be Jones's, was folding it with the view of returning it to its owner, when he caught a glimpse of his own name. Now, though he was going to fold it without reading, yet the fact of his name occurring there stimulated his curiosity; and, glancing his eye down the paper,
saw his name frequently repeated. Selborne was mortal. Though a more honourable fellow than he did not exist, yet he was not proof against a temptation like the present, which accident had thus thrown in his way. He, therefore, opened the document out, and read it from beginning to end. Every word related to himself. It was apparently an unfinished letter to a friend of Jones's, and concerned a
trifling incident which had escaped Godfrey's recollection, but was narrated with an amount of absurd exaggeration and puerile falsehood he hardly conceived a friend of his capable of constructing. To crown the whole, the other side of the sheet contained a disagreeable and offensive caricature of himself. The letter was addressed to a person of whom Selborne knew nothing. The language was far from complimentary, and, whenever his name occurred, it was usually coupled with such an humbling and spiteful adjective as made his ears tingle.
To say that Godfrey was angry, would poorly describe the mortification and wrath which excited him as he perused and reperused the paper. He was at a loss to know how he had awakened the man's hostility. After he had almost made himself master of the composition, he folded it up, and put it into his pocket.
“ The fellow is almost too contemptible for notice who can descend to an act of this kind,” said he to himself. “ Still, for a complete stranger to know me only by a ridiculous description like this is too bad.”
So saying, he walked out, and proceeded to the room in which he had left the stranger, where he found him in the act of dressing,
“ Where the devil is that Selborne ?” asked Mr. Jones at the breakfasttable, where himself, Wright, and Metcalfe were seated.
“ Don't know,” said Metcalfe, with his mouth full ; " gone off on a cruise, I dare say:
“I don't think he would,” said Wright; “I don't think he would leave us so unceremoniously.”
“I think he would,” said the imperturbable Jones ; "he is unceremonious and strange enough; ay, and singular enough.”
“He is strange and singular in one respect," said the voice of Godfrey at his elbow (for he had just entered); "he is singular in having believed a word you ever said, Mr. Jones; and he is strange in being as unlike you as possible, though it may be a matter of Opinion whether he is worse on that account or not."
“What do you mean by that, sir ?" said Jones.
“Well, if you want it explained, he cares nothing for your bad opinion, or he would kick you handsomely for a thing like this,” said Selborne, handing him the letter; "nor for your good one, for he can get along without it:" and he turned away.
Jones was too much confused to reply.
“ Hush, hush !” said Wright, shaking hands with Godfrey. know listeners never hear good of themselves, and it does not do to be too thin-skinned.”
“ That is true,” said Selborne; “ but in order to live at ease in the society of some people, one ought to be deaf and blind altogether, or else have the hide of an ox.” He was apparently only a little nettled, and no one who did not know the contents of the letter could estimate his self-control, as he seated himself without introducing his new acquaintance. The latter person, though rather pale, was much recovered.
“Who is your friend ?" whispered Wright.
“Selborne introduced him as Mr. Manasseh Mudge, and then related his ramble of the previous evening: “Quite an adventure,” replied Wright; "you may.
thank you have come off safely. But what do you intend doing to-day."
“I have one call to make in the morning, and, unless an engagement springs from it, am at liberty for the rest of the day,” said Selborne.
“What do you say to an evening at the theatre ?" said Wright; “we are all talking of going.”
“ At your service," replied Godfrey. “I do not care much about it, but shall be glad for the sake of your company."
“Very well; we meet here to dinner at three, and can surely manage to pass the time in the neighbourhood until seven. It is an appointment, recollect."
“ Very good, 'I shall be punctual,” said Selborne, motioning to the waiter to reach him the cream-jug. The jug was on the opposite side of the table, and the waiter, without ceremony, inserted his dirty finger into the spout, and in that manner lifted it over to our hero, who, in helping himself
, carefully tilted the vessel on one side. A gentleman opposite, noticing the motion, turned round to the unlucky waiter, who was a raw Irishman, and spoke to him sternly and slowly :
“ How dare you put your thumb into the nose of that pitcher, sir !" The man did not reply, but only blinked and stood still
. Three gentlemen, one of whom was talking very loudly, now entered the room. The topic on which they were conversing was apparently a political one, for the words “loco-foco” and “democratic" occurred frequently.
“What ticket do you go for ?” said one of the gentlemen. “ I'm a real thunder and lightning loco-foco," said he.
« I'm one of the greatest kind of democrats. I go for universal annexation, for extension of the blessed stars and stripes over every enslaved monarchy on the earth. That's what I say. Free soil don't suit my hook no how, and I don't believe in whiggism. But when you ask my vote for a real enlightened citizen, with out-and-out democratic principles, why, I'm thar.”
“Who's your man this time ?" asked his friend, who was no other than Mr. Snag
“ Kascaddy,” replied the first speaker. “He's my man. horse, he is, and no two ways about that. There's no free soil about him. That don't suit his hook. It smells too much of abolitionism and barn-burning for him."
“What are these?” said he, observing Godfrey and his friends. Strangers, I reckon."
Mr. Snag looked for a moment, and then said, “ Just arrived, I expect. One of 'em's a smart fellow—met him yesterday. I should know that fellow with them. By –, they're in queer company! that's—”
“ Hush!- who is it?" said his friend. Here they spoke inaudibly.
The noise of voices had not escaped our friends seated at breakfast, and Godfrey had noticed Mr. Snag and intended to renew his acquaintance with him presently. Mr. Mudge, on seeing them, was suddenly taken sick, and left the table, although he had been conversing freely but a moment before. Godfrey followed very shortly afterwards to inquire after him, but he found that he had left the hotel without any address behind him. He then returned to the breakfast-room in the hope of seeing Mr. Snag, but he and his party had gone, a circumstance which at first astonished him, but did not afterwards, when he observed how universal was the rapidity with which every meal was despatched.
He now made his way down stairs and into the street, and, after some directions, made sure he should have no difficulty in finding the person to whom his letter of introduction (he had only one) was addressed.
He passed down several streets bearing French appellations, until he
came to one which, by appearance, was a promenade, for gaily-dressed people were passing up and down. Godfrey's attention was attracted by a window in which were displayed clusters of artificial flowers, unusually beautiful and brilliant in colour and arrangement. He stayed for a moment to admire the taste with which the various colours were blended, and, when just going, very naturally glanced behind the flowers, and there saw a very pretty girl with a sprightly and sparkling pair of eyes looking very hard at him. When these eyes encountered his, they fell, and he could hardly say whether he admired the owner more before than now, when she glanced downwards and resumed her work, her eyes fringed with dark and drooping lashes.
There was no embarrassment or coquetry in her demeanour. At first, when he saw her, she attracted him by her sprightly and inquiring glance ; now more so, when that glance was withdrawn. There was something so quiet and matronly, yet so girlish and demure in her expression, that Godfrey lingered about the window till he was half ashamed. At last he made up his mind, and, returning to the charge, boldly marched into the shop, and inquired the name of the street. The young lady listened to his question with an unmoved countenance, and, when he had finished, shook her head, saying, as she ran out of the room,
“Je ne parle pas l'Américan.”
“Confound you !" thought Godfrey ; "you will bring in some old lady that I do not care to see, and for whom I shall have to invent a lot of questions."
He judged truly, for an elderly lady returned with her, who understood English very well, and she directed him as he desired.
He darted a reproachful glance at the young lady, whose eye he did not again succeed in catching, and marched out ; but as he went he stopped to read the name over the door, which bore the following inscription in gilt letters :
“ Mademoiselle Floretta Lorone, Fabricateur des Fleurs.”
“ Floretta !hum!—a pretty name, and a pretty little flower-maker too. I must make a memorandum of the street, or I shan't find it again,” said Godfrey, suiting the action to the word. He kept repeating the name Floretta to himself several times, until he had reached the counting-house of the gentleman to whom his letter was directed.
“Orlando Forrest, Attorney-at-Law," was inscribed on the door-post, and, by way of security, on the wall in various places up a high fight of stairs.' When Godfrey reached the summit, he entered a door, which opened at once into a large public office, where a number of clerks were employed. On inquiring for Mr. Forrest, he was shown into a species of railed enclosure, where sat in dignified seclusion the gentleman in question—a middle-aged, fresh-coloured man, of short stature, who pointed with one hand to a seat, while with the other he received Godfrey's letter. He read it carefully, while the latter person remained standing; and when he had got through, he held out his hand, saying,
“ Take a seat, sir ; I shall be happy to be of service. What is your object in coming here?"
“Employment,” replied Godfrey. • Of what nature ?” “I hardly know," said Godfrey ; “I studied a short period at college."
“Ah!" said he, “a clergyman. The market is overstocked; and they are a class of persons generally not much thought of here. We