Footman by James
CHAPTER I. SHOWING HOW LOW THE GOLD
FEVER MAY REDUCE A MAN.
IT was morning in Sydney harbor. The wharves were crowded with
shipping from all parts of the world which were already filled with
workmen busily engaged in unloading the cargoes. The hum of the
thousands in the city beginning their daily work, rose into the air
and spread far over the country.
It was a beautiful scene. Before the city spread the noble bay
which forms one of the finest harbors in the world, all smooth and
unruffled, for scarce a breath of wind disturbed the air. Encircling
the water rose the green shores, here verdant and smiling with
fertile meadows, and there wooded and shaded by pleasant groves or
orchards. Ships lay around upon the face of the water, from whose
masts floated the flag of many a nation, some slowly borne on by the
tide, with the wide spread sails flapping idly against the mast,
others swinging slowly, from their fast anchors. And queen of all
this peaceful scene-appeared the metropolis of Australia, with its
white houses, lofty spires, and thronged wharves-thus she
appeared-sitting in the prime of youth, laying aside her maidenhood
to wed the world.
Among a crowd of passengers who had just landed from one of the
newly arrived emigrant ships, two youths might be seen, whose
appearance denoted a station in life much above that of their fellow
voyagers. One was a tall man, with a noble figure, in which strength
and beauty were finely blended, and a countenance upon which rested
an expression of frankness. His features were handsome, his hair
being dark and glossy, his eyes black, and gleaming beneath his brows
as though they might read the soul. His companion was a merry-hearted
fellow, with lively features and a pleasant smile.
"Well, Melville, here we are at last," said the younger of the two.
"And now what do you propose to do?"
"Stay here of course. Why, Marden, my boy, what else is there to
"Have you forgotten all that we heard coming out?"
"What-that it is hard to live here now-that the emigrants
suffer-that the diggings are crowded? Why, I believe it."
"Well, what will you do?"
"I'll look out for a situation."
"Pray, how much money have you?"
"Just half a crown, my dear friend," said Melville, laughingly
tossing two silver pieces into the air.
"Half a crown! Whew! Why, I have five pounds, and expect to starve
"My dear boy. A man who has his wits about him need never starve in
"Well, I do not see what we can do in Sydney. I thought the
diggings were not more than twenty miles from here, and I find they
are more than a hundred miles from Melbourne,—which is, goodness
knows, how many miles from this place."
"Well, Marden, take, my advice and be philosophical."
"Be philosophical! It was very well to be so at Oxford, when a
fellow lost a few pounds or owed a debt to some tradesman, but it's
no go when a fellow is ever so many thousand miles from home, and
only in the possession of enough to keep him from starving."
"Do you know how much the immaculate Johnson, who came home so
rich, had when he landed at Melbourne?"
"Just sixpence halfpenny."
"The dickens! Now I tell you I'll put off Melbourne. That's the
land, my hearty!"
"Nonsense-you wont do any such thing."
"Yes, I must. I can't do anything here. I want to get to the
"Pooh, Marden. Don't be cast down. I don't care, though. I am worse
off than you."
"You can't leave here, unless you become a bootblack or a servant."
"By the lord Harry then, I would be a servant."
"What! you would-you, the brillliant, the aristocratic Melville-the
'double first' at Oxford? Bah!"
"Certainly. Why not? The truly great man is he who will not let
anything cast him down. In short, if the proud Dame Fortune tries to
knock him down she can't come it. That's the doctrine, my boy."
"Well, my mind is made up. I will go to Melbourne."
"What-go to Melbourne? O nonsense!"
"I will, certainly. What will you do here? Come with me to
Melbourne. We can find a situation there."
"No, not more easily than here. In fact I believe that it is much
"Hang it, I wish I had stayed at home."
"But since you are out here, put it through, Marden."
"Ah, well," said he, with a sigh. "I suppose I'll have to,—and I
must be off this morning for Melbourne. The sooner the better, for I
have little money left. We must part, old fellow. I don't see what
you can do here, though?"
"I can earn a living, I have no friends to be ashamed of me here in
the antipodes. I suppose yonder is the vessel for Melbourne," said
he, pointing to one at the next wharf, on which was a notice to that
"Yes, that is the one."
"Well, I will help to carry your baggage there. Mine will remain
here. I am sorry we must separate, but since we seek our fortunes,
let us do what we think best. Come on."
And the two youths bearing Marden's trunk, walked over to the
Melbourne packet, which was soon to start. Many others appeared upon
the wharves who were about to leave Sydney. Some were pale and sickly
looking, others appeared like desperadoes; others had a faint gleam of
hope on their countenances, but ah, very faint.
"Look at those who have starved here, Melville. Can you stay? No,
come. Let me go back and help you here with your trunk."
"No, no, I will remain."
"But, old fellow, do let me divide this money with you."
"Thank you, Marden, you are a generous fellow-too generous. But I
would not think of it. I have no fear but that I can live."
An hour after Melville stood watching the packet, as with all sails
set, she left the wharf, and sailed slowly out of the harbor. The
wind springing up carried them away, and Melville, as the vessel
lessened in the distance, bade good-by to the last of those friends
which reminded him of home.
"Now courage!" he murmured to himself—"just let us sit down and
form some plans."
He walked over to his trunk, and sat for a while. Strange situation
for a well born and well educated gentleman! To be on a foreign
shore, with but half a crown in money, and a few clothes in a small
trunk as his worldly goods. After a while he opened the trunk, and
taking out a piece of cake, made his morning meal.
"And now for business," said he, shouldering his trunk.
He walked off with it to a small boarding-house near by, where he
opened it and took out all his good clothes. These he carried to a
pawnbroker's who gave him twelve pounds for the lot.
"Hurrah!" he cried, "twelve pounds! That I think will help me along
He then bought a suit of rough clothes, and going to his lodgings,
put them on, after which he went back and sold his last suit of good
clothes for three pounds more.
"Fifteen pounds I have now. Good-again! I will have my watch yet to
sell if anything happens. But nonsense, with fifteen pounds I can
make a fortune. I may as well prepare now for prosperity at the
On the following morning there appeared among the strange crowds of
people who throng the Australian capital, a man of most striking
appearance. His air was high bred, but his clothes were coarse, and
he walked up and down with a large barrow filled with confectionary.
He looked around upon all the people with a smile of unutterable
complacency, as though he were perfectly content with himself and the
It was Melville!
"Ha, ha, ha!" he chuckled to himself. "I think I see myself
starving. By Jove, wouldn't Aldborough laugh if he were to see me
here? And my eldest brother, the baronet-the head of the
family-hem-shouldn't I like him to see me now! Ha, ha!"
"Confectionary, confectionary," he cried, bursting into a louder
tone of voice, which rang forth clear and deep-toned, as a bell.
"Confectionary!" and then he added with grotesque modulations of his
"By Jove, how this reminds me of the little fellow in London. I'll
go the complete candy-seller. I might as well."
"Ladies and gentlemen! Here's your fine candy, lozenges, apples,
oranges, cakes and tarts! Heeeere's your chance!"
He displayed the most imperturbable calmness, walked up to ladies
in the streets with the utmost nonchalance, to sell his things, and
they, pleased with his uncommonly handsome face and fascinating
manner, invariably bought.
"The ladies! Bless their kind little hearts!" said he, gazing after
the last two whom he met. "And that little one-what eyes! what a
smile! Who can she be, and where does she live? She looked so
bewitchingly at me! I'll follow, and see where she lives."
Melville slowly walked after them, keeping at a proper distance.
When they stopped at a house or shop, he also stopped at another,
till they went on again. Our hero saw the younger occasionally
glancing back toward him, and almost fancied that she encouraged him.
"What a lovely creature!" he muttered to himself. "Ah, there is her
house, now. By Jove I have it!"
He marked it carefully, and passing by saw the name upon the
door-plate. Henry Inglis.
"A finely sounding name. I heard her friend call her Emily-Emily
Inglis. Ah, how dear is the name! If I were but rich, now. But I can
adore her image till I become so. Yet what hope is there in this
contemptible business Bah! never mind. I'll stick to it till
something turns up."
On the following morning, Melville dressed as before, with his
barrow of confectionary, went along Summer street where Mr. Inglis
resided. It was a large stone house, four stories high, and one of
the best in Sydney. He rang at the door and after a time Emily
herself came. She started, and a half smile came across her beautiful
face. Melville himself for the first time in his life, felt
embarrassed-but he spoke up, and in the tone of a courtier, said:
"Fair maiden-can a poor confectioner offer you anything this
"What have you?" said she, with a sweet smile.
He brought in his trays and the beautiful girl bent down over them,
while her long, dark tresses hid her face from view. Melville's heart
beat with delight.
"You will find there as good candy as any in the city," he said at
length, in a business way.
She selected a large quantity.
"O thank you, thank you, fair lady, for your kindness to a poor man
"You are a stranger here, are you not?"
"Yes, I arrived only yesterday morning."
"Yes, and another friend came with me, but he is off to Melbourne."
"And will you not go?"
"I decided to stay here when he left, and now I could not-would not
leave this place for the world."
"You are prospering, then?" said she, with embarrassment, for
Melville's dark eyes rested meaningly upon her.
"Yes, and happy. I have my little—"
"Emmie," said a voice at the head of the stairs.
"Yes, pa, I am coming. Please bring some more to-morrow, good man,"
added she, in a louder voice, "and if you hear of a footman who wants
a place, send him here."
"Thank you, miss," said he, in the tone of a hawker, again, "I will
do so. I am very much obliged, miss, for your custom, miss, and I
hope it. will be continued, if I can do anything to please you,
CHAPTER II. HE "STOOPS TO CONQUER."
"Emily," said Mr. Inglis to his daughter, "what a strange servant
is this new one of ours. He is one of the handsomest and boldest
fellows in the world-looks as much like a gentleman as I do, and yet
he is a servant. I declare I feel quite a reluctance to order him
about. And when I ride out, it is awkward to have such a noble
looking fellow as my servant, riding behind my carriage. He is an
energetic fellow, I saw him selling confectionary before he came
here. Did not you say he sold some to you?"
"Yes," said Emily, faintly.
"And yet he is not impudent, but is perfectly obedient. I cannot
make him out, however. He performs everything smilingly, as though it
were an excellent joke. I wonder who he can be?"
"He is an Englishman."
"Certainly, and he is well-educated. I know so. It is amusing to
see how popular he is with the servants. Ha, ha, he has got them all
to admire and try to imitate him. You should have heard a lecture
which he delivered last night to them. I stood out in the yard, and
attracted by some noise, looked in. There our new servant was, with a
short pipe in his mouth, and a mug of ale beside him. The others
called out for a speech. Upon which he rose from the chair and got
upon the table, and spoke to them."
"What did he say?"
"O I cannot tell you half of it. He made the wittiest and most
brilliant speech I ever heard. It was interspersed with laughable
anecdotes and poetical quotations flowed in throngs from him. The
happiest hits and the most lively sallies. O, I was totally overcome!
He kept them in continual roars of laughter, and I could scarcely
contain myself. But now I must attend to some business. Emily, where
is my desk?"
"In the dining room," said she, ringing the bell.
Melville came to obey the summons.
"Henry," said Mr. Inglis, somewhat awkwardly, "you may a-will it be
convenient? a-to-my writing desk-hem?"
"Certainly, sir, a moment, sir—," and Melville disappeared.
In a short time he laid the desk before Mr. Inglis, and stood in a
corner of the room waiting any further orders.
"Emily, I am in an awkward situation. There are some French
merchants in Melbourne to whom I have to write, and I have forgotten
my French. Could you write a letter in that language?"
"Not grammatically, I fear."
"I beg your pardon, sir," said Melville, coming forward. "If you
are willing, sir, I will write it."
"Do you know French?" said Mr. Inglis, in surprise.
"As well as English, sir."
A chair was given him, and he wrote at his master's diction. After
it was over, Mr. Inglis thanked him, and said:
"I wish there was another here who could relieve me in a similar
way. I have to write a Spanish letter to a Spanish house in that
rendez-vous of all nations, and I don't know a single word of the
"I know it perfectly, sir," said Melville, very meekly.
"You!-Spanish! Why, sir-why I mean-you are a prodigy! Can you write
"I should be delighted to do it."
And Melville wrote another, after which he carried the two to the
"There now! What can I make of a man like that? He knows far more
than I do, and acts as though he had been accustomed to the best
society. How on earth came he to be a footman?"
Emily's heart beat-she knew why, but she said nothing.
Several weeks passed away, and it was a lovely evening. The sun was
fast descending behind the western hills, and a cool breeze from the
ocean blew refreshingly upon the city. Many carriages rolled along
the roads which led into the country. Men of all classes promenaded
the streets after the toils of the day, and nearly all labor had
Emily and her father rode along one of the avenues which lie
without the city. It was a quiet place, for few people were there.
Around lay green fields, orchards and groves, pastures where cattle
grazed, and vast fields filled with flocks of sheep. Melville rode
behind at a little distance, gazing upon Emily as though his whole
soul were wrapt up in her.
"What will not a man do for love? Here am I a servant for Emily's
sake. Beautiful girl. I would do a thousand times as much to gain
some of those tender glances which she at times bestows upon me."
"Emily," said her father, "Is not your horse restive? He starts. I
fear he will be troublesome."
"O no, father, it is only his spirit." Melville gazed anxiously at
the horse, which occasionally started, rearing a little and swinging
his head in a vicious manner.
"Take care! O heavens!" suddenly cried Mr. Inglis, as Emily's horse
started at the sight of a blasted tree. He snatched at the reins. The
horse, disturbed by this unexpected attack, reared up and pranced
"Father! O save me!" cried the terrified girl. Her father sprang
once more at the reins-the horse darted forward, and then with a wild
neigh, stretched out his head, and away he went, away, away, with the
speed of the wind!
"O God! O heaven!" cried the father, in agony.
For a moment Melville paused-for an instant-and then lashing his
horse he rushed on furiously in pursuit of the frightened steed of
Emily. On they went, the pursuing and the pursued. People who were in
the road, seeing the fierce beast, shrank away. Emily, pale as marble,
still kept her seat, clinging to her horse, but every moment expecting
death. She heard the voice of one pursuing, and her heart told her who
Away they went, and nothing was gained on either side. Melville
shuddered, and beat his horse to increase his speed-a little was
gained, but not enough to admit of hope. On they went. At length the
road took a long winding around a spot where the ground made a
descent, and ended in a deep gully. Emily's horse followed the road
and sped on in his headlong course.
Melville suddenly paused, and looked at the gully. The ground
descended gently, the gully was about twelve feet wide, but its
perpendicular sides descended to an unseen depth-stones and rocks
were strewed around on both sides.
Melville shut his mouth tightly, and lashed his horse. With one
spring he cleared the stone wall of the field, and then dashed
furiously over the stony ground. It was a fearful sight. Emily saw it
as she clung closely to her horse, and the yawning gulf and the
fearful deed of Melville took away all thought of herself. She
screamed in agony!
But on went the brave horse-on to the deep gully. He
prepared-Melville lashed him. One spring-one bound-and the deep chasm
was cleared, and away he went-the brave youth, up the other side.
Another bound and he was over into the road, just as the horse of
Emily, all foaming and perspiring, came up. He rushed before the
horse, and with a giant grasp seized the bridle and stopped his
furious career. The jerk threw Emily backward. She fell into
Melville's outstretched arms.
The horse stood trembling. Melville dismounted, and took Emily to a
seat near by. She looked at him so kindly, so tenderly, that a flood
of happiness rushed through his soul.
"O thank you, my brave preserver!"
"I am recompensed beyond all that I can hope, in seeing you safe."
"Where is my father?"
"He is coming. There he is! He will be here in a few moments."'
"You did a terrible thing," she said, as she thought shudderingly
of the gully.
"Did you see me?"
"It was an awful thing to see. I shuddered."
"O then, happy am I if I can gain the smallest share of
sympathy-the smallest thought from you."
"You risked your life, too,"—she did not finish, but looked at
him, and their eyes met. Hers fell down.
She did not reply, but lowered her head. Through the thick ringlets
of hair which clustered around her head, Melville could see a gentle
blush which overspread her lovely features.
"Emily-speak, Emily-can you think well of me."
She raised her eyes and again they met his.
What the impassioned youth might have said, we cannot tell, but he
was prevented from speaking by Mr. Inglis, who at this moment came
up. He leaped from his horse.
"Emily, my child, are you saved!" he cried, rushing towards her,
and folding her in his arms.
"Yes, I am alive, dear father, and there is my preserver."
"Noble, brave youth. May the richest blessings of Heaven descend on
you. You have saved my child from death. I saw you risk your own at
that terrible chasm. O that I could fittingly reward you!"
There was one reward which he could give.
CHAPTER III. FORTUNE FAVORS THE
Mr. Inglis again sat in his parlor, and Emily was near. There was a
thoughtful expression upon his face. Occasionally she glanced at her
father, to see what he was doing, or perchance to endeavor to
discover what thoughts were in his mind.
"Emily," said he, at length.
"I know not how to reward Henry. What can I do? I am in want of a
head clerk. I wonder if he understands business. I will ask him." And
he rang the bell.
"Good morning," said Mr. Inglis, grasping his hand. "I can have you
as a servant no longer. Permit me to esteem you as a friend, for
surely you are my equal, and you have laid me under unspeakable
obligations to you. Do you know anything of business?"
"What kind, sir?"
"Any kind-shipping business."
"Yes sir, thoroughly. I have been in situations where I learned
"Take off this servile dress. Live in my house as my friend, and if
you wish, I will take you as my head clerk."
"Your clerk, Mr. Inglis! How-how can I thank you?"
"Think not of thanks. That is my business. Come with me and I will
show you what is to be done."
And the two departed. Melville first went to purchase more
appropriate clothing, and then went to Mr. Inglis's office.
A year passed away. Melville had been prosperous beyond all his
hopes. Immense profits could then be obtained from chartering ships
and from exporting wool. Materials of food and clothing for the gold
regions at Melbourne, could also be sold at enormous profits. Mr.
Inglis had kindly advanced him money to commence independent
speculations. This he had so well used, that at the end of the year
the original amount had increased ten-fold.
"Ten thousand pounds! In one year too! And at the same time
punctually fulfilling every duty as clerk. Mr. Melville, you are the
paragon of clerks. With your genius and energy you will soon be among
the wealthiest in the country. You have now a fortune of your own. I
have long wanted a partner in my business, for I am growing old. You
can enter without feeling any great inferiority. Will you do so?"
"You are overwhelming me with kindness," said Melville, in a
faltering voice. "How can I ever repay you? To be in partnership with
you, is such a grateful thing to me that I can never thank you
"O there is no need of thanks. I am happy to do this. One like you,
I may say without flattery, can very rarely be found. But how very
strange is the fate which threw you in my way! What wonderful
circumstances! A servant in my family! A gentleman like you to be a
servant? What led you to it? Surely you could have gained a living in
a less unpleasant way."
"It has turned out my blessing," said Melville.
In the evening, Melville, the new made partner sat alone with Emily
in the parlor. It was dark, and the heavy curtains which hung before
the window increased the gloom. The moon's rays entered and fell
softly upon the floor.
"What a strange life yours has been," said Emily.
"Yes. Do you remember when you saw me first?"
"Well-I always shall remember it-the young confectioner with his
box of candy."
"I will bless that box of candy forever."
"I have often wondered why you became a servant."
"Ah, why should you wonder? Emily, can you not guess? Would any
light cause make me do it?"
She was silent.
"Blessed be the day when I became a menial. I saved you from death
through that. O, do you ask what made me? A light had beamed across
my path. I had seen you, Emily."
Still no reply.
"I would have done anything. To see you daily-to be near you-to
hear your voice. O, it was joy to me such as I cannot describe. And I
thought at times that you looked kindly at me—that you saw through
my motive-that you-yes, Emily, that you even cared something for me.
Did you not, Emily? Did you not?"
A low reply sounded gently in his ears:
"Emily, my own Emily. Would you call it presumption in me if I told
you that I loved you? You know it already; you must know it. Can I
hope, dearest Emily?"
A low reply again came, which sent a thrill of rapture to the heart
of Melville. He wound his arms lovingly around the happy Emily, and—
"Halloo, what are you two people doing over there in the corner?"
said the voice of Mr. Inglis, half suffocated with laughter. "Fine
doings-hem. Speak up, sir. What is this."
Melville with his arm around the waist of Emily, and her hand in
his, walked up to Mr. Inglis.
"I have been seeking another partner, sir."
"Ho, ho-you have, have you?"
"Yes sir, and I thought—"
"You thought, did you, sir, and pray, sir, what business had you to
think? Were you not sure of it-sure of her, you young dog, and of me
also? I love you, my brave young friend, and I felt an affection for
you when you first came here. Take her and be my son. You saved her
life and she is yours. But be silent, now-none of your thanks. I tell
you I wont put up with them."
The happy party sat down. Melville by the side of Emily, and Mr.
Inglis opposite them, viewing them with the utmost delight.
"But Henry, tell us something of your former life. Whose son are
"I was going to say, 'the son of my father,' but that not being
sufficiently definite, I will tell you my father's name. I am the
younger son of Sir Edmund Melville, Melville Hall, Warwickshire,
"The-ahem!" cried Mr. Inglis. "A baronet's son! Whew, and you were
"I entered at Eton, nobody cared for me at home. I went through
Oxford, took first honor in the university, then went home, but being
only a cipher-alias a younger son, they treated me coldly. My father
advised me to join the army. I told him I would see the army shot
first. My mind was made up to come here. Two hundred guineas
constituted all my fortune. All these I spent either before or during
the passage out. When I landed here I only had a half crown!"
"Good heavens, only half a crown!"
"All that I had in the world, except my clothes. I sold them and
commenced the business of confectioner. You know the rest."
"Why did you decide to be a servant? Ah, I know now. You look down
at that little witch of a girl who is almost crying with joy."
"I'm not, pa. What nonsense!"
"Crying with joy. and she looks knowingly at you. Ah, ha? You have
been rehearsing the play of 'She stoops to conquer,' only it was the
gentleman in this case. But now all your troubles are over."
"All over. I am happy."
And his large, dark eyes gleamed with the joy which dwelt within
"Will three weeks be too soon, Emmie dearest?" said he, in a
"Nonsense, Henry," and there came a smothered "don't," for Mr.
Inglis had left them alone for a little time.
A few days afterward Melville was standing upon a wharf watching
some passengers who landed from a vessel late from Melbourne.
Suddenly he started. "Why, Marden," he cried, springing forward to
grasp the hand of a forlorn looking individual in a tattered hat and
tattered coat. "Where are you bound, young 'un?"
"Home? how is that? Have you made your fortune?"
"No. I'm as poor as a rat. Only earned enough to take me back. Hang
the gold country! But I declare, you look as if you had made your
"I have. But tell me, would you go home if you could get a good
"Then stay. But first come to a hotel and 'renovate.' If you want
money, I can lend."
"Hurrah! I don't want money. Since I am sure of a situation, I will
lay aside the ragamuffin character, and be once more a gentleman."
"And in two weeks hold yourself in readiness to—"
"To attend my—"
"My—well, my wedding."
And he did attend his wedding—and a happy occasion the event
proved to all.