Imatges de pÓgina
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Queen Charlotte, for “music, dancing, chapel. There could be no question of the burlettas, pantomime, and equestrian ex- fact, for upon hearing a peculiar clicking hibitions."

together of the nails of the forefinger and The undertaking proved a disastrous thumb-one of the signs or sounds Astley failure. Let him present what attractions had always employed in training his studhe might-even to the sparring exhibitions Billy had pricked up his ears, pranced and of Dutch Sam, and other famous pugilists dauced in a very remarkable manner. The -the public could not be induced to recognition was mutual. Billy's present patronise Astley's Middlesex Amphitheatre. proprietor was well content to part with After losing ten thousand pounds, he de him at a very moderate price, “ for," as he termined, in 1813, to dispose of it. “We'll explained, " though he's the best-tempered throw the bone, Johnny,” he said to his creature breathing, yet sometimes he does son, "and let the dogs fight for it. Some cut such very rum capers that we calls him

snap at it.” Elliston became the the Mountebank.” Forthwith Billy was purchaser of the Olympic Pavilion for a restored to his friends; all was forgiven, sum of two thousand eight hundred pounds, and he reappeared in the circus as though and the grant of a small annuity during he had never been absent from it, made the life of Astley. There was but one tea, went through all his " business," and payment of the annuity. On the 20th of so continued to do for many years, dying October, 1814, aged seventy-two, Astley at last of sheer old age, universally redied at his house adjoining the Amphi- spected and regretted. theatre in Paris, and was interred in the But a steed even more famous than cemetery of Père la Chaise. His son, Billy was Astley's charger, the Spanish Young Astley,” to whom he had be- Horse, given him by General Elliott after queathed the interest arising from his the German war. The Spanish Horse somewhat encumbered property, survived could perform all Billy's tricks and more; seven years only, dying in Paris in the could ungirth his own saddle, wash his own same house," the same bed, and the same feet in a pail of water, and, as some allege, bed-room," says one exact biographer-in even curry-comb himself. The Spanish 1821. The son was laid beside his father Horse is reputed to have lived to the in Père la Chaise.

mature age of forty-two. When his teeth Philip Astley was undoubtedly the best failed him, he subsisted upon a daily allowhorse-tamer of his time, and as a judge of ance of two half-quartern loaves. Even what may be called “ trick horse-flesh,” he after death he served the theatre of which has perhaps never been equalled. He ge- he had long been a main ornament and nerally obtained his stud from Smithfield, support. His hide was tanned and made caring, as he said, "little for shape, make, into a thunder drum, " which," writes an or colour; temper was the only considera- intimate friend of the deceased, was tion.” He rarely gave more than five placed on the prompt side of the orchestra, pounds for each. For this price he had and when its rumbling sounds died on the obtained his accomplished horse Billy, ears of those who knew the circumstances, a great popular favourite, playful as a it served to their recollection as a parting kitten with those he knew, and deeply knell.” The thunder drum probably went versed in all the learning of the circus. the way of many theatrical properties. It Billy could fire off pistols, take a tea-kettle must have perished in 1841—if it survived off a blazing fire, lay the cloth, arrange cups so long-when for a third time Astley's and saucers, and invite the clown to tea. amphitheatre was totally consumed by fire. All agreed that he could do everything but It has been said that Astley was unedutalk. But one day Billy was arrested by cated, and it may be added that he was a the sheriff, not on account of any extrava- man of somewhat violent temper. His gance of his own, but owing to the miscon- energetic nature was wont to find expresduct of a groom, one Saunders, to whom he sion in very intemperate language. But had been lent. Saunders had been many time out of mind fierce words and commi. years in Astley's employ, and had borrowed natory expletives have been considered iuBilly to exhibit him by way of private dispensable to the due carrying on of the speculation. This terminated in the prison business of the stage.

He was a very ment of Saunders in the Fleet, and the despot in his theatre. He had the reputasale of Billy to the highest bidder. For tion of applying his whip indiscriminately three years the favourite was lost sight of. to his biped and quadruped players. PerAccidentally two of Astley's “riders” dis- haps it was only to the last named he recovered Billy drawing a cart in White-ferred, however, when he said to Mr. Harris,

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the manager of Covent Garden, who had Strange,” said Mr. Delabole, laying complained of the insubordination of his aside the newspaper, and advancing tocompany, “Why don't you serve your per-wards the rack, " that I did not notice this formers as I do mine? Never let 'em have last night. It must have been there, but I anything to eat till they've done acting." must have overlooked it in my eagerness When told by his master-carpenter that it to get at Irving's reply. From my dear would be impossible to produce a new play Philip, eh! Now, what can he want?” he by the time he had fixed for its perform- muttered, as he tore open the envelope and ance, he demanded angrily, “Who's Mr. hastily perused its contents. Impossible, sir ? I don't know him. I Mr. Delabole's eyebrows, at first upnever heard of him. He don't live in this lifted, then contracted, betokened astonishhouse, sir! and he never shall ! Go to ment and dissatisfaction at what he read. your work!”

He was obeyed, and the “Two or three days away from London, piece was duly forthcoming at the stated and he's to be married to-morrow week, date.

think you are dealing with and to travel for at least a month. What your horses ?” John Kemble asked him can take him away just now? You're a once, with superb scorn, when a dispute slippery customer, Master Philip,” conhad arisen in regard to the rent to be paid tinued Mr. Delabole, shaking his head as for the Liverpool Theatre, the property of he apostrophised his absent friend, “ a very the tragedian, which Astley had hired for slippery customer! And yet what a clever

'D-n you, sir!" cried Astley, fellow ! What an admirable notion that hotly, “and do you think you are going to was of getting Asprey to insist on old play Richard the Third over me !" But, Heriot's people keeping from the invalid with all his peremptory speech and rough- all letters and telegrams, anything touchness of manner, he seems to have been ing on business matters !

That secures affectionately regarded by the members of us from any chance of discovery during his company.

He was straightforward in the next few days, which are all important. his dealings with them, and had real con- Irving has now been informed that his sideration for their interests. Still it was friend has signed the memorandum of asnot advisable for them to run counter to sociation, thereby testifying to his belief in his opinions as a stage-manager. Of the the soundness of the concern. He will public he was certainly a most faithful ser- probably write or telegraph at once to vant, and laboured most assiduously for their Springside, but neither his letter nor his entertainment. And he succeeded in win- message will be shown to his friend. In ning a higher place in general regard for forty-eight hours, perhaps, in a week at equestrian performances than they had furthest, according to Asprey's idea, old ever previously attained. From first to Heriot will be dead. His illness will be last he constructed no fewer than nineteen sufficient excuse for his not having replied amphitheatres.

to his friend's inquiry, and Mr. Irving will

stand committed to the subscription of a CASTAWAY.

good round sum to prop the falling fortunes BY THE AUTHOR OF "BLACK SHEEP," "WRECKED IN

of the Terra del Fuegos mine.

“That cutting off the invalid from all

communication with the outside world was BOOK III.

Vane's idea, and the signature-how admir

ably it was done! but Master Philip must On the morning after the dinner given not think that I am paid in full, or that I by the directors of the Friendly Grasp In- intend to make no further use of that insurance Office, on the occasion of their formation which I was lucky enough to half-yearly audit, at which Doctor Asprey obtain. Now that he has done what I and Mr. Delabole had been present, the quire, he shall marry the widow without last-named gentleman, attired in a gorgeous any unpleasant suggestion on my part of dressing-gown, now and then making a Miss What's-her-name, the actress, and the slight addition to his toilet, now and then Chepstow register. But when he returns taking stray snatches of breakfast from to town I shall have to talk to him like a the well-laden table, and all the time parent about the investment of Mrs. Benglancing at the newspaper which he carried dixen's sixty thousand pounds. Meanabout with him, suddenly saw the end of while, I wonder what can take him away a letter sticking out from the rack which just now ? I will send for Gillman, andformed the usual receptacle for his corre- by Jove! I had forgotten it was Sunday !" spondence in his absence.

he cried, as the ringing of the church bells

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CHAPTER IX. A CRISIS.

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Sunday, when Gill | use," he would remark, “ of a policeman man is probably enjoying his domestic dressing up himself as a butcher or a cabfelicity at Camden Town, and would object man, or what not ? He don't get rid of his to being disturbed. However, I will send policeman's hands, does he ? he don't get for him to-morrow morning, and put him rid of his policeman's feet, does he ? You on the scent again.”

could swear to both of 'em anywhere, just Mr. Delabole's guess as to the manner as if they were in berlins and bluchers. in which Mr. Gillman was spending his Besides, if you don't want to be seen don't Sabbath was not entirely correct. In an show yourself, leastways to make any ordinary way Mr. Gillman was in the mark. Did you see any one go by ?' perhabit of devoting himself to his family on haps they ask. "Yes,' says you, having a Sunday, and spending the morning in noticed, “I saw a butcher or a cabby.' No washing himself-a proceeding which, with one can tell what I am; all they could say

; him, was not daily but hebdomadal; getting is, “I saw a man, and not much of that rid of the growth of a straggling but stub- neither.' born beard, putting on his Sunday suit, Mr. Gillman's companion, however—for consisting of swallow-tail black coat, rusty he was not alone-evidently did not enterblack trousers, and black satin waistcoat tain the same idea. When he first entered very much frayed at the pockets, and his the room, his wideawake hat was pulled Sunday shirt, which was exuberant in down over his brow, the collar of his coat waving collar and bulging breast, but fell was pushed up over his ear, and it was not short in the matter of wristband. Thus until he had looked round and ascertained, magnificently arrayed, Mr. Gillman, after without doubt, that they were quite alone, presiding over the one o'clock dinner, and that he emerged from his wrappings, and smoking a long clay pipe, as he indoc- showed the somewhat worn and anxious trinated himself with the politics of the features of Mr. Philip Vane. Sunday newspaper, and glowed with de- The conference between this worthy pair light as he read the fulminations of Brutus had been long, and, on Philip Vane's part, against a dissipated aristocracy, would take animated. He had asked his questions the children for a very wretched and impetuously, cogitated over the replies, melancholy walk, from which they would and expressed his determination with a all return draggled, and wearied, and cross; vehemence which seemed to awake no reand Mr. Gillman would not recover his sponse in Mr. Gillman's quiet little frame. equanimity until, the children having been Drawing hieroglyphical figures with the duly slapped and sent to bed, he and Mrs. stem of the empty pipe on the beer-stained G. would settle down to a quiet "bit of table before him, Mr. Gillman sat, speaksupper" and a glass of " something hot,” ing only when he was spoken to, and then

which they would discuss their family packing his reply into the smallest possible and their neighbours until bedtime. compass.

This, however, was an extraordinary “ And that was the last time you heard occasion. It was, indeed, one o'clock, of her?” asked Philip Vane, after a pause and on Sunday; but instead of being at of some minutes' duration. home, dispensing portions of the baked "The very last," replied Mr. Gillman. shoulder of mutton and the potatoes · Employed in the telegraph-office at swimming beneath it in a brown dish, Mr. Springside?” Gillman was seated in an up-stairs room of Exactly; she and her sister got in the Dog and Duck at Mortlake, an un- there through the influence of a clergyman, touched glass of ale and a clean pipe on the name of table before him. Mr. Gillman was in his “Never mind his name," interrupted working-day suit, which was merely a Vane, “I don't want that now. All this shabby repetition of his Sabbath garb, coincides exactly with my own ideas upon minus the black satin waistcoat. He was the subject.”' engaged on a secret mission, and it was “I shall have a spare day or two this most important that he should not be re- week, Mr. V., I expect,” said Gillman, cognised; but though his whole life was “and I could run down to Springside if you passed in spying and dogging, in listening wish it, andand marking down, Mr. Gillman never “No, not the slightest occasion for you condescended to the adoption of disguise. to do that. You have brought the inquiry He had a very mean opinion of the detec- to a perfectly satisfactory conclusion. And tive police in general, and of their conduct there,” laying the note on the table, in such matters in particular. "What is the the ten pounds I promised you."

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“Thank you, sir,” said Gillman, taking that sort of thing. Now, my course is up the note and folding it away in a recess pretty plain before me. There are three of his greasy pocket-book. “You have kept persons possessed of information, by disyour word in this. I look to you to keep it closing which they could, if they chose, in the other matter."

prevent my marriage, or annul it after it " What other matter ?"

had taken place, and get me two years' “Regarding keeping it from our governor hard labour. One of these, and the most that I have been working for you in this dangerous, is Delabole ; but I have squared matter. I would not have it known to him, and closed his mouth by-doing what Mr. D. for ten times ten pounds. It is not he wished. The other two are Madge 50 much the “sack,” which I should receive and the parson. And of these, I look upon prompt; but it is the unforgiving nature Madge as far the most important. When of that man which I know, and the harm he the parson confronted me the other day, would do me throughout the rest of my he was evidently acting on Madge's belife.”

half, not, I should say, under instructions * You need not fear. It suited our friend from her, but in that sort of chivalrous to employ you to make inquiries respecting spirit which influences such men. Any a certain portion of my family history; it appeal I make must be made to Madge snited me to pay you to issue a second edi- direct, and must not come through him. tion of your discoveries for my especial be- He would not hear of any compromise, and hoof. I am not likely to see much of Mr. D., it would be impossible for him in his posias you call him, for some time to come, tion not to take notice of a direct infracand I certainly should not think of saying tion of the law. He is but a poor creature anything which would render your position mentally, if one may judge from the manwith him less confidential than it is. And ner in which he was hoodwinked by my now I don't think I need detain you any sudden penitence on the only occasion of longer."

our meeting. When I go to Springside Business being thus pronounced to be to-morrow, my first inquiry must be for at an end, Mr. Gillman thought himself at him. I must ask him where Madge is to liberty to drink the ale, which he did at be found, leading him to think that I am one long draught, and putting on a very thoroughly sorry for having been a naughty shiny and napless hat, took his leave of his boy, and wish to come back to her and to patron and departed.

live happy ever after. When I find out “ That was ten pounds well spent,” said where Madge is, and get her by herself Philip Vane, as he started on his return to out of Mr. Drage's range, there will not, I town in the hansom cab which had brought think, be much difficulty in dealing with him down, and had been waiting for him her. Whatever affection she may have some little distance up the road. “The had for me—and there is no doubt she information picked up by that fellow com- was deuced fond of me at one time-must pletely coincides with what flashed into my have passed away, so that will be no obmind about Madge, directly her name stacle to her going abroad. She was always was mentioned by the parson at Spring- ambitious, and if I agree to give her a side. Springside-how curiously that place handsome allowance, or the money downhas become associated with me! First, in that's a better plan-and she hears that connexion with that old Heriot, and now she can live in luxury and comfort, on conwith Madge. Bah !” he continued, re- dition that she does not allow herself to be pressing a shudder, “I hate to think of betrayed in making any more confidences that business. So long as the old man is such as she made to her clerical friend, and alive, the merest allusion to him, to the place keeps herself thoroughly to herself, I think where he lives, or to the infernal company, there is very little doubt that she will sends a shiver through me. If Asprey had agree. At all events, as Mrs. Bendixen is not given such an account of him, I would within a very few days to become Mrs. never-there, it's no use dwelling on that. Philip Vane, it is quite time some steps It is easy enough now to understand were taken in regard to the lady who now how this parson had established such an holds that title. influence over Madge as to induce her to confide that neat little episode in her life The autumnal sun, without much warmth to him. It seems that he obtained for her in it to be sure, but doing its best to make the position by which she was enabled to things look bright and cheerful, was shining make her living ; so there is no wonder in over Springside in the early afternoon of her being grateful and confiding, and all the next day, and tempting the strongest of the invalids, who had made it their that he had brought the mare into town. head-quarters for the winter, into the Instead of going straight home to the streets. There was a little more excite- Bungalow, he would take a stiffish ride ment than usual in Springside, for it was round the country in the hope of thus “mail morning,” and nearly all the inha- driving away this attack of low spirits. bitants of the Indian colony there located So the captain, admirably got up after had received letters, the generally interest- his neat, trim, soldierly fashion, and looking news of which they were anxious to ing infinitely better and sounder than discuss with their common friends. On many a youngster of half his age, went such occasions the club was certain to be riding through the streets, jauntily return. filled, and it was incumbent on every ing the salutations which showered upon Springside settler to take down his budget him from right and left. He had passed of gossip and contribute it to the general the boundary of the town, and was crossstock.

ing the road near a little sub-station of the Captain Cleethorpe, in whom long years railway, within some three miles of the of home residence had not in the least cooled principal terminus, when a man, suddenly his love for the East and his interest in emerging from the narrow lane leading to Indian affairs, had long taken the lead in the station, caused the mare to swerve, and the discussions which cropped up on such her owner to be grateful for the possession occasions. But when Sir Geoffry Heriot of an excellent cavalry seat. It did not joined the colony, the captain, with a good take the captain an instant to recover him. grace, yielded to his senior officer the posi- self, and as he patted the mare's neck and tion which the latter's age, experience, and soothed her, he looked round for the cause clear-headed common sense enabled him to of the commotion. hold against all comers. Indeed, after a This was a tall, bright-looking young very short time, the old general's impe- man, well set up, and of springy, active tuosity of manner, and sharp caustic style step, who advanced towards the horseman, of conversation, grew to be so much re- and was raising his hat, apparently about lished, that the chance of his attendance at to apologise for the disturbance which he the club was held up as an attraction, and had involuntarily created. As soon, howmany an invalid, whom nothing else would ever, as he approached near enough to ever bave induced to venture out, wrapped discern the features of the gentleman himself in wondrous mufflers, and braved whom he was about to address, he hesithe night air, on the chance of hearing tated, stopped, and then, without saying “old Heriot tackle a griff.”

a word, pulled his hat over his eyes and The news that the old general was strode rapidly away. seriously ill had spread a gloom over this The captain gazed after him in extreme day's meeting, and even those who had wonderment, not unmixed with disgust. He been most opposed to him in argument was very punctilious in his notions of on social and political questions joined in breeding and behaviour, and though there lamenting his absence and its cause, ac- had been no necessity for an apology, yet knowledging, as they did, that, though for the young man to come forward merely censorious and irritating, he was always a to scowl and disappear, was a breach of perfectly honourable and gentlemanly op- manners of which Captain Cleethorpe did ponent. True it was that the arrival of not at all approve. Captain Cleethorpe, who had come straight “ The man must be mad,” Cleethorpe from Wheatcroft, with the news that there muttered to himself, looking after the was a decided improvement in Sir Geoffry's rapidly retreating figure," or what on

“ condition that day, had a cheering influence earth can have induced him to rush away on the assemblage. But the old man's ab- like that, as soon as he recognised me? For sence was most noticeable; a dozen occa- he did recognise me, I am sure of that, and sions arose on which, as it was felt by most that was the cause of his trouble. Couldn't present, he would have dashed in with be one of my quarter-sessions friends ? some trenchant remarks, which would have That young fellow was too well-looking, had the effect of changing the whole line too frank and bright for a jail-bird. Too of the argument. On Captain Cleethorpe, - stay - where have I seen that face

especially, this feeling fell with fullest before ? somewhere, I'll be sworn. That force'; he owned to himself that he was expression of pain and trouble which flitted dull and dispirited, and impressed with a across it for an instant seemed quite consciousness of an impending something familiar to me. Now let me think this which he could not explain. He was glad out quietly."

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