GREAT STORY TELLERS.
ARTEMUS WARD, GEORGE MACDONALD,
MAX ADELER, SAMUEL LOVER,
GREY DOLPHIN Richard Harris Barham
MOSES, THE SASSY Artemus Ward
MR. COLUMBUS CORIANDER'S GORILLA
THE FATE OF YOUNG CHUBB Max Adeler
BOOTS AT THE HOLLY-TREE INN Charles Dickens
THE ENTHUSIAST IN ANATOMY John Oxenford
"THE LIGHT PRINCESS" George Macdonald
LEGEND OF THE LITTLE WEAVER Samuel Lover
"He won't—won't he? Then bring me my boots," said the Baron.
Consternation was at its height in the castle of Shurland—a catiff had
dared to disobey the Baron; and—the Baron had called for his boots!
A thunderbolt in the great hall had been a bagatelle to it.
A few days before, a notable miracle had been wrought in the
neighborhood; and in those times miracles were not so common as they
are now; no royal balloons, no steam, no railroads,—while the few
saints who took the trouble to walk with their heads under their arms,
or to pull the Devil by the nose, scarcely appeared above once in a
century:—so the affair made the greatest sensation.
The clock had done striking twelve, and the Clerk of Chatham was
untrussing his points preparatory to seeking his truckle-bed; a half-
emptied tankard of mild ale stood at his elbow, the roasted crab yet
floating on its surface. Midnight had surprised the worthy functionary
while occupied in discussing it, and with his task yet unaccomplished.
He meditated a mighty draft: one hand was fumbling with his tags, while
the other was extended in the act of grasping the jorum, when a knock
on the portal, solemn and sonorous, arrested his fingers. It was
repeated thrice ere Emmanuel Saddleton had presence of mind sufficient
to inquire who sought admittance at that untimeous hour.
"Open! open! good Clerk of St. Bridget's," said a female voice, small
yet distinct and sweet,—an excellent thing in woman.
The Clerk arose, crossed to the doorway, and undid the latchet.
On the threshold stood a lady of surpassing beauty: her robes were
rich, and large, and full; and a diadem, sparkling with gems that shed
a halo around, crowned her brow: she beckoned the Clerk as he stood in
astonishment before her.
"Emmanuel!" said the lady; and her tones sounded like those of a silver
flute. "Emmanuel Saddleton, truss up your points, and follow me!"
The worthy Clerk stated aghast at the vision; the purple robe, the
cymar, the coronet,—above all, the smile; no, there was no mistaking
her; it was the blessed St. Bridget herself!
And what could have brought the sainted lady out of her warm shrine at
such a time of night? and on such a night? for it was dark as pitch,
and metaphorically speaking, 'rained cats and dogs.'
Emmanuel could not speak, so he looked the question.
"No matter for that," said the saint, answering to his thought. "No
matter for that, Emmanuel Saddleton; only follow me, and you'll see!"
The Clerk turned a wistful eye at the corner cupboard.
"Oh! never mind the lantern, Emmanuel; you'll not want it; but you may
bring a mattock and a shovel." As she spoke, the beautiful apparition
held up her delicate hand. From the tip of each of her long taper
fingers issued a lambent flame of such surpassing brilliancy as would
have plunged a whole gas company into despair—it was a 'Hand of
Glory,' [Footnote: One of the uses to which this mystic chandelier was
put, was the protection of secreted treasure. Blow out all the fingers
at one puff, and you had the money.] such a one as tradition tells us
yet burns in Rochester Castle every St. Mark's Eve. Many are the daring
individuals who have watched in Gundulph's Tower, hoping to find it,
and the treasure it guards; but none of them ever did.
"This way, Emmanuel!" and a flame of peculiar radiance streamed from
her little finger as it pointed to the pathway leading to the
Saddleton shouldered his tools and followed in silence.
The cemetery of St. Bridget's was some half-mile distant from the
Clerk's domicile, and adjoined a chapel dedicated to that illustrious
lady, who, after leading but a so-so life, had died in the odor of
sanctity. Emmanuel Saddleton was fat and scant of breath, the mattock
was heavy, and the Saint walked too fast for him: he paused to take
second wind at the end of the first furlong.
"Emmanuel," said the holy lady, good-humoredly, for she heard him
puffing: "rest awhile Emmanuel, and I'll tell you what I want with
Her auditor wiped his brow with the back of his hand, and looked all
attention and obedience.
"Emmanuel," continued she "what did you and Father Fothergill, and the
rest of you, mean yesterday by burying that drowned man so close to me?
He died in mortal sin, Emmanuel; no shrift, no unction, no absolution:
why he might as well have been excommunicated. He plagues me with his
grinning, and I can't have any peace in my shrine. You must howk him up
"To be sure, madame,—my lady,—that is, your holiness," stammered
Saddleton, trembling at the thought of the task assigned him. "To be
sure, your ladyship; only—that is—"
"Emmanuel," said the saint, "you'll do my bidding; or it would be
better you had!" and her eye changed from a dove's eye to that of a
hawk, and a flash came from it as bright as the one from her little
finger. The Clerk shook in his shoes; and, again dashing the cold
perspiration from his brow, followed the footsteps of his mysterious
The next morning all Chatham was in an uproar. The Clerk of St.
Bridget's had found himself at home at daybreak, seated in his own
armchair, the fire out,—and—the tankard of ale out too! Who had drunk
it?—where had he been?—how had he got home?—all was mystery!—he
remembered "a mass of things, but nothing distinctly;" all was fog and
fantasy. What he could clearly recollect was, that he had dug up the
Grinning Sailor, and that the Saint had helped to throw him into the
river again. All was thenceforth wonderment and devotion. Masses were
sung, tapers were kindled, bells were tolled; the monks of St. Romuald
had a solemn procession, the abbot at their head, the sacristan at
their tail, and the holy breeches of St. Thomas a Becket in the centre;
—Father Fothergill brewed a XXX puncheon of holy water. The Rood of
Gillingham was deserted; the chapel of Rainham forsaken; every one who
had a soul to be saved, flocked with his offering to St. Bridget's
shrine, and Emmanual Saddleton gathered more fees from the promiscuous
piety of that one week, than he had pocketed during the twelve
Meanwhile, the corpse of the ejected reprobate oscillated like a
pendulum between Sheerness and Gillingham Reach. Now borne by the
Medway into the Western Swale,—now carried by the refluent tide back
to the vicinity of its old quarters,—it seemed as though the River god
and Neptune were amusing themselves with a game of subaqueous
battledore, and had chosen this unfortunate carcass as a marine
shuttlecock. For some time the alternation was kept up with great
spirit, till Boreas, interfering in the shape of a stiffish "Nor'-
wester," drifted the bone (and flesh) of contention ashore on the
Shurland domain, where it lay in all the majesty of mud. It was soon
discovered by the retainers, and dragged from its oozy bed, grinning
worse than ever. Tidings of the godsend were of course carried
instantly to the castle; for the Baron was a very great man; and if a
dun cow had flown across his property unannounced by the warder, the
Baron would have pecked him, the said warder, from the topmost
battlement into the bottommost ditch,—a descent of peril, and one
which "Ludwig the Leaper," or the illustrious Trenck himself, might
well have shrunk from encountering.
"An't please your lordship—" said Peter Periwinkle.
"No, villain! it does not please!" roared the Baron.
His lordship was deeply engaged with a peck of Faversham oysters,—he
doted on shellfish, hated interruption at meals, and had not yet
despatched more than twenty dozen of the "natives."
"There's a body, my lord, washed ashore in the lower creek," said the
The Baron was going to throw the shells at his head; but paused in the
act, and said with much dignity,
"Turn out the fellow's pockets!"
But the defunct had before been subjected to the double scrutiny of
Father Fothergill and the Clerk of St. Bridget's. It was ill gleaning
after such hands; there was not a single maravedi.
We have already said that Sir Robert de Shurland, Lord of the Isle of
Sheppey, and of many a fair manor on the main land, was a man of
worship. He had rights of free-warren, saccage and sockage, cuisage and
jambage, fosse and fork, infang theofe and outfang theofe; and all
waifs and strays belonged to him in fee simple.
"Turn out his pockets!" said the knight.
"An't please you, my lord, I must say as how they was turned afore, and
the devil a rap's left."
"Then bury the blackguard!"
"Please your lordship, he had been buried once."
"Then bury him again, and be—" The Baron bestowed a benediction.
The seneschal bowed low as he left the room and the Baron went on with
"Scarcely ten dozen more had vanished, when Periwinkle reappeared.
"An't please you, my lord, Father Fothergill says as how it's the
Grinning Sailor, and he won't bury him anyhow."
"Oh! he won't—won't he?" said the Baron. Can it be wondered at that he
called for his boots?
Sir Robert de Shurland, Lord of Shurland and Minster, Baron of Sheppey
in comitatu Kent, was, as has been before hinted, a very great
man. He was also a very little man; that is, he was relatively great,
and relatively little—or physically little, and metaphorically great—
like Sir Sidney Smith and the late Mr. Buonaparte. To the frame of a
dwarf, he united the soul of a giant, and the valor of a gamecock.
Then, for so small a man, his strength was prodigious; his fist would
fell an ox, and his kick!—oh! his kick was tremendous, and, when he
had his boots on, would—to use an expression of his own, which he had
picked up in the holy wars—would "send a man from Jericho to June." He
was bull-necked and bandy-legged; his chest was broad and deep, his
head large and uncommonly thick, his eyes a little bloodshot, and his
nose retrousse with a remarkably red tip. Strictly speaking, the
Baron could not be called handsome; but his tout ensemble was
singularly impressive; and when he called for his boots, everybody
trembled and dreaded the worst.
"Periwinkle," said the Baron, as he encased his better leg, "let the
grave be twenty feet deep!"
"Your lordship's command is law."
"And, Perwinkle"—Sir Robert stamped his left heel into it's
receptacle—"and, Periwinkle, see that it be wide enough to hold not
"Ye—ye—yes, my lord."
"And, Periwinkle—tell Father Fothergill I would fain speak with his
"Ye—ye—yes, my lord."
The Baron's beard was peaked; and his mustache, stiff and stumpy,
projected horizontally like those of a Tom Cat; he twirled the one, he
stroked the other, he drew the buckle of his surcingle a thought
tighter, and strode down the great staircase three steps at a stride.
The vassals were assembled in the great hall of Shurland Castle; every
cheek was pale, every tongue was mute, expectation and perplexity were
visible on every brow. What would his lordship do? Were the recusant
anybody else, gyves to the heels and hemp to the throat were but too
good for him; but it was Father Fothergill who had said "I won't;" and
though the Baron was a very great man, the Pope was a greater, and the
Pope was Father Fothergill's great friend—some people said he was his
Father Fothergill was busy in the refectory trying conclusions with a
venison pasty, when he received the summons of his patron to attend him
in the chapel cemetery. Of course he lost no time in obeying it, for
obedience was the general rule in Shurland Castle. If anybody ever said
"I won't" it was the exception; and, like all other exceptions, only
proved the rule the stronger. The Father was a friar of the Augustine
persuasion; a brotherhood which, having been planted in Kent some few
centuries earlier, had taken very kindly to the soil, and overspread
the county much as hops did some few centuries later. He was plump and
portly, a little thick-winded, especially after dinner, stood five feet
four in his sandals, and weighed hard upon eighteen stone. He was,
moreover, a personage of singular piety; and the iron girdle, which, he
said, he wore under his cassock to mortify withal, might have been well
mistaken for the tire of a cart-wheel. When he arrived, Sir Robert was
pacing up and down by the side of a newly opened grave.
"Benedecite! fair son"—(the Baron was brown as a cigar)—
"Benedecite!" said the Chaplain.
The Baron was too angry to stand upon compliment. "Bury me that
grinning caitiff there!" he, pointing to the defunct.
"It may not be, fair son," said the friar, "he hath perished without
"Bury the body!" roared Sir Robert.
"Water and earth alike reject him," returned the Chaplain; "holy St.
"Bridget me no Bridgets!—do me thine office quickly, Sir Shaveling! or
by the Piper that played before Moses—" The oath was a fearful one;
and whenever the Baron swore to do mischief, he was never known to
perjure himself. He was playing with the hilt of his sword. "Do me
thine office, I say. Give him his passport to heaven."
"He is already gone to Hell!" stammered the Friar.
"Then do you go after him!" thundered the Lord of Shurland.
His sword half leaped from its scabbard. No!—the trenchant blade, that
had cut Suleiman Ben Malek Ben Buckskin from helmet to chin, disdained
to daub itself with the cerebellum of a miserable monk;—it leaped back
again;—and as the Chaplain, scared at its flash, turned him in terror,
the Baron gave him a kick!—one kick!—it was but one!—but such a one!
Despite its obesity, up flew his holy body in an angle of forty-five
degrees; then having reached its highest point of elevation, sunk
headlong into the open grave that yawned to receive it. If the reverend
gentleman had possessed such a thing as a neck, he had infallibly
broken it! as he did not, he only dislocated his vertebrae—but that
did quite as well. He was as dead as ditch-water!
"In with the other rascal!" said the baron—and he was obeyed; for
there he stood in his boots. Mattock and shovel made short work of it;
twenty feet of superincumbent mould pressed down alike the saint and
the sinner. "Now sing a requiem who list!" said the Baron, and his
lordship went back to his oysters.
The vassals at Castle Shurland were astounded, or, as the Seneschal
Hugh better expressed it, "perfectly conglomerated," by this event.
What! murder a monk in the odor of sanctity—and on consecrated ground
too! They trembled for the health of the Baron's soul. To the
unsophisticated many, it seemed that matters could not have been much
worse had he shot a bishop's coach-horse—all looked for some signal
judgment. The melancholy catastrophe of their neighbors at Canterbury
was yet rife in their memories; no two centuries had elapsed since
those miserable sinners had cut off the tail of the blessed St.
Thomas's mule. The tail of the mule, it was well known, had been
forthwith affixed to that of the Mayor; and rumor said it had since
been hereditary in the corporation. The least that could be expected
was, that Sir Robert should have a friar tacked on to his for the term
of his natural life! Some bolder spirits there were, 'tis true, who
viewed the matter in various lights, according to their different
temperaments and dispositions; for perfect unanimity existed not even
in the good old time. The verderer, roistering Hob Roebuck, swore
roundly, "'Twere as good a deed as to eat, to kick down the chapel as
well as the monk." Hob had stood there in a white sheet for kissing
Giles Miller's daughter. On the other hand, Simpkin Agnew, the bell-
ringer, doubted if the devil's cellar, which runs under the bottomless
abyss, were quite deep enough for the delinquent, and speculated on the
probability of a hole being dug in it for his especial accommodation.
The philosophers and economists thought, with Saunders McBullock, the
Baron's bagpiper, that a 'feckless monk more or less was nae great
subject for a clamjamphrey,' especially as 'the supply exceeded the
demand;' while Malthouse, the tapster, was arguing to Dame Martin that
a murder now and then was a seasonable check to population, without
which the isle of Sheppey would in time be devoured, like a mouldy
cheese, by inhabitants of its own producing. Meanwhile the Baron ate
his oysters and thought no more of the matter.
But this tranquillity of his lordship was not to last. A couple of
Saints had been seriously offended; and we have all of us read at
school that celestial minds are by no means insensible to the
provocations of anger. There were those who expected that St. Bridget
would come in person, and have the friar up again, as she did the
sailor; but perhaps her ladyship did not care to trust herself within
the walls of Shurland Castle. To say the truth, it was scarcely a
decent house for a female saint to be seen in. The Baron's gallantries,
since he became a widower had been but too notorious; and her own
reputation was a little blown upon in the earlier days of her earthly
pilgrimage; then things were so apt to be misrepresented—in short, she
would leave the whole affair to St. Austin, who being a gentleman,
could interfere with propriety, avenge her affront as well as his own,
and leave no loop-hole for scandal. St. Austin himself seems to have
had his scruples, though of their precise nature it would be difficult
to determine, for it were idle to suppose him at all afraid of the
Baron's boots. Be this as it may, the mode which he adopted was at once
prudent and efficacious. As an ecclesiastic, he could not well call the
Baron out—had his boots been out of the question; so he resolved to
have recourse to the law. Instead of Shurland Castle, therefore, he
repaired forthwith to his own magnificent monastery, situate just
without the walls of Canterbury, and presented himself in a vision to
its abbot. No one who has ever visited that ancient city can fail to
recollect the splendid gateway which terminates the vista of St. Paul's
street, and stands there yet in all its pristine beauty. The tiny train
of miniature artillery which now adorns its battlements is, it is true,
an ornament of a later date; and is said to have been added some
centuries after by a learned but jealous proprietor, for the purpose of
shooting any wiser man than himself, who might chance to come that way.
Tradition is silent as to any discharge having taken place, nor can the
oldest inhabitant of modern days recollect any such occurrence.
[Footnote: Since the appearance of the first edition of this Legend
"the guns" have been dismounted. Rumor hints at some alarm on the part
of the Town Council.] Here it was, in a handsome chamber, immediately
over the lofty archway, that the Superior of the monastery lay buried
in a brief slumber, snatched from his accustomed vigils. His mitre—for
he was a mitred Abbot, and had a seat in parliament—rested on a table
beside him: near it stood a silver flagon of Gascony wine, ready, no
doubt, for the pious uses of the morrow. Fasting and watching had made
him more than usually somnolent, than which nothing could have been
better for the purpose of the Saint, who now appeared to him radiant in
all the colors of the rainbow.
"Anselm!" said the beatific vision,—"Anselm! are you not a pretty
fellow to lie snoring there when your brethren are being knocked at
head, and Mother Church herself is menaced?—It is a sin and a shame,
"What's the matter?—Who are you?" cried the Abbot, rubbing his eyes,
which the celestial splendour of his visitor had set a-winking. "Ave
Maria! St. Austin himself! Speak, Beatissime! what would you with the
humblest of your votaries?"
"Anselm!" said the saint, a "brother of our order, whose soul Heaven
assoilzie! hath been foully murdered. He had been ignominiously kicked
to the death, Anselm; and there he lieth check-by-jowl with a wretched
carcass, which our sister Bridget has turned out of her cemetery for
unseemly grinning. Arouse thee, Anselm!"
"Ay, so please you, Sanctssime!" said the Abbot. "I will order
forthwith that thirty masses be said, thirty Paters, and thirty
"Thirty fools' heads!" interrupted his patron, who was a little
"I will send for bell, book, and candle—"
"Send for an inkhorn, Anselm. Write me now a letter to his Holiness the
Pope in good round terms, and another to the Sheriff, and seize me the
never-enough-to-be anathematized villain who hath done this deed! Hang
him as high as Haman, Anselm!—up with him!—down with his dwelling
place, root and branch, hearth-stone and roof-tree,—down with it all,
and sow the site with salt and sawdust."
St. Austin, it will perceived, was a radical reformer.
"Marry will I," quoth the Abbot, warming with the Saint's eloquence:
"ay, marry will I, and that instanter. But there is one thing you have
forgotten most Beatified—the name of the culprit."
"Robert de Shurland."
"The Lord of Sheppey! Bless me!" said the Abbot, crossing himself,
"won't that be rather inconvenient? Sir Robert is a bold baron, and a
powerful: blows will come and go, and crowns will be cracked and—"
"What is that to you, since yours will not be of the number?"
"Very true, Beatissime!—I will don me with speed and do your
"Do so, Anselm!—fail not to hang the Baron, burn his castle,
confiscate his estate, and buy me two large wax candles for my own
particular shrine out of your share of the property."
With this solemn injunction, the vision began to fade.
"One thing more!" cried the Abbot, grasping his rosary.
"What is that?" asked the Saint.
"O Beate Augustine, ora pro nobis!"
"Of course I shall," said St. Austin. "Pax vo-biscum!"—and Abbot
Anselm was left alone.
Within an hour all Canterbury was in commotion. A friar had been
murdered,—two friars—ten, twenty; a whole convent had been
assaulted, sacked, burnt,—all the monks had been killed, and all the
nuns had been kissed! Murder! fire! sacrilege! Never was city in such
an uproar. From St. George's gate to St. Dunstan's suburb, from the
Donjon to the borough of Staplegate, it was noise and hubbub. "Where
was it?"—"When was it?"—"How was it?" The Mayor caught up his chain,
the Aldermen donned their furred gowns, the Town Clerk put on his
spectacles. "Who was he?"—"What was he?"—"Where was he?"—He should
be hanged,—he should be burned,—he should be broiled,—he should be
fried,—he should be scraped to death with red-hot-oyster-shells! "Who
was he?"—"What was his name?"
The Abbot's Apparitor drew forth his roll and read aloud:—'Sir Robert
de Shurland, Knight banneret, Baron of Shurland and Minster, and Lord
The Mayor put his chain in his pocket, the Aldermen took off their
gowns, the Town Clerk put his pen behind his ear. It was a county
business altogether;—the Sheriff had better call out the posse
While saints and sinners were thus leaning against him, the Baron de
Shurland was quietly eating his breakfast. He had passed a tranquil
night, undisturbed by dreams of cowl or capuchin; nor was his appetite
more affected than his conscience. On the contrary, he sat rather
longer over his meal than usual; luncheon-time came, and he was ready
as ever for his oysters: but scarcely had Dame Martin opened his first
half-dozen when the warder's horn was heard from the barbican.
"Who the devil's that?" said Sir Robert. "I'm not at home, Periwinkle.
I hate to be disturbed at meals, and I won't be at home to anybody."
"An't please your lordship," answered the Seneschal, "Paul Prior hath
given notice that there is a body—"
"Another body!" roared the Baron. "Am I to be everlastingly plagued
with bodies? No time allowed me to swallow a morsel. Throw it into the
"So please you my lord, it is a body of horse,—and—and Paul says
there is a still large body of foot behind it; and he thinks, my lord—
that is, he does not know, but he thinks—and we all think, my lord,
that they are coming to—to besiege the castle!"
"Besiege the castle! Who? What? What for?"
"Paul says, my lord, that he can see the banner of St. Austin, and the
bleeding heart of Hamo de Crevecoeur, the Abbot's chief vassal; and
there is John de Northwood, the sheriff, with his red cross engrailed;
and Hever, and Leybourne, and Heaven knows how many more: and they are
all coming on as fast as ever they can."
"Periwinkle," said the Baron, "up with the draw-bridge; down with the
portcullis; bring me a cup of canary, and my nightcap. I won't be
bothered with them. I shall go to bed."
"To bed, my lord!" cried Periwinkle, with a look that seemed to say,
At this moment the shrill tones of a trumpet were heard to sound thrice
from the champaign. It was the signal for parley; the Baron changed his
mind; instead of going to bed, he went to the ramparts.
"Well, rapscallions! and what now?" said the Baron.
A herald, two pursuivants, and a trumpeter, occupied the foreground of
the scene; behind them, some three hundred paces off, upon a rising
ground, was drawn up in battle-array the main body of the
"Hear you, Robert de Shurland, Knight, Baron of Shurland and Minster,
and Lord of Sheppey, and know all men, by these presents, that I do
hereby attach you, said Robert, of murder and sacrilege, now, or of the
late, done and committed by you, the said Robert, contrary to the peace
of our Sovereign Lord the King, his crown and dignity: and I do hereby
require and charge you, the said Robert, to forthwith surrender and
give up your own proper person, together with the castle of Shurland
aforesaid, in order that the same may be duly dealt with according to
law. And here standeth John de Northwood, Esquire, good man and true,
sheriff of this his Majesty's most loyal county of Kent, to enforce the
same if need be, with his posse comitatus—"
"His what?" said the Baron.
"His posse comitatus, and—" "Go to Bath!" said the Baron.
A defiance so contemptuous roused the ire of the adverse commanders. A
volley of missiles rattled about the Baron's ears. Nightcaps avail
little against contusions. He left the walls, and returned to the great
hall. "Let them pelt away," quoth the Baron; "there are no windows to
break, and they can't get in." So he took his afternoon nap, and the
siege went on.
Towards evening his lordship awoke, and grew tired of the din. Guy
Pearson, too, had got a black eye from a brick bat, and the assailants
were clambering over the outer wall. So the Baron called for his Sunday
hauberk of Milan steel, and his great two-handed sword with the
terrible name:—it was the fashion in feudal times to give names to
swords: King Arthur's was christened Excalibar; the Baron called his
Tickletoby, and whenever he took it in hand, it was no joke.
"Up with the portcullis! down with the bridge!" said Sir Robert; and
out he sallied followed by the elite of his retainers. Then there was
a pretty to-do. Heads flew one way—arms and legs another; round went
Tickletoby, and, wherever it alighted, down came horse and man, the
Baron excelled himself that day. All that he had done in Palestine faded
in the comparison; he had fought for fun there, but now it was for life
and lands. Away went John de Northwood; away went William of Hever, and
Roger of Leybourne. Hamo de Crevecoeur, with the church vassals and the
banner of St. Austin, had been gone some time. The siege was raised, and
the Lord of Sheppey was left alone in his glory.
But, brave as the Baron undoubtedly was, and total as had been the
defeat of his enemies, it cannot be supposed that La Stoccata
would be allowed to carry it away thus. It has before been hinted that
Abbot Anselm had written to the Pope, and Boniface the Eight piqued
himself on his punctuality as a correspondent in all matters connected
with church discipline. He sent back an answer by return of post; and
by it all Christian people were strictly enjoined to aid in
exterminating the offender, on pain of the greater excommunication in
this world and a million of years of purgatory in the next. But then,
again, Boniface the Eight was rather at a discount in England just
then. He had affronted Longshanks, as the royal lieges had nicknamed
their monarch; and Longshanks had been rather sharp upon the clergy in
consequence. If the Baron de Shurland could but get the King's pardon
for what, in his cooler moments, he admitted to be a peccadillo, he
might sniff at the Pope, and bid him 'to do his devilmost.'
Fortune, who as the poet says, delights to favor the bold, stood his
friend on this occasion. Edward had been for some time collecting a
large force on the coast of Kent, to carry on his French wars for the
recovery of Guienne; he was expected shortly to review it in person;
but, then, the troops lay principally in cantonments about the mouth of
the Thames, and his majesty was to come down by water. What was to be
done?—the royal barge was in sight, and John de Norwood and Hamo de
Crevecoeur had broken up all the boats to boil their camp-kettles. A
truly great mind is never without resources.
"Bring me my boots!" said the Baron.
They brought him his boots, and his dapple-grey steed along with them.
Such a courser; all blood and bone, short-backed, broad-chested, and—
but that he was a little ewe-necked—faultless in form and figure. The
Baron sprang upon his back, and dashed at once into the river.
The barge which carried Edward Longshanks and his fortunes had by this
time nearly reached the Nore; the stream was broad and the current
strong, but Sir Robert and his steed were almost as broad, and a great
deal stronger. After breasting the tide gallantly for a couple of
miles, the knight was near enough to hail the steersman.
"What have we got here?" said the King. "It's a mermaid," said one.
"It's a grampus," said another. "It's the devil," said a third. But
they were all wrong; It was only Robert de Shurland. "Gramercy" said
the King, "that fellow was never born to be drowned!"
It has been said before that the Baron had fought in the Holy Wars; in
fact, he had accompanied Longshanks, when only heir-apparent, in his
expedition twenty-five years before, although his name is unaccountably
omitted by Sir Harris Nicolas in his list of crusaders. He had been
present at Acre when Amirand of Joppa stabbed the prince with a
poisoned dagger, and had lent Princess Eleanor his own tooth-brush
after she had sucked out the venom from the wound. He had slain certain
Saracens, contented himself with his own plunder, and never dunned the
commissariat for arrears of pay. Of course he ranked high in Edward's
good graces, and had received the honor of knighthood at his hands on
the field of battle.
In one so circumstanced, it cannot be supposed that such a trifle as
the killing of a frowsy friar would be much resented, even had he not
taken so bold a measure to obtain his pardon. His petition was granted,
of course, as soon as asked; and so it would have been had the
indictment drawn up by the Canterbury town-clerk, viz., "That he, the
said Robert de Shurland, &c., had then and there, with several, to wit,
one thousand pairs of boots, given sundry, to wit, two thousand kicks,
and therewith and thereby killed divers, to wit, ten thousand, Austin
friars," been true to the letter.
Thrice did the gallant grey circumnavigate the barge, while Robert de
Winchelsey, the chancellor and archbishop to boot, was making out,
albeit with great reluctance, the royal pardon. The interval was
sufficiently long to enable his Majesty, who, gracious as he was, had
always an eye to business, just to hint that the gratitude he felt
towards the Baron was not unmixed with a lively sense of services to
come; and that, if life were now spared him, common decency must oblige
him to make himself useful. Before the archbishop, who had scalded his
fingers with the wax in affixing the great seal, had time to take them
out of his mouth, all was settled, and the Baron de Shurland had
pledged himself to be forthwith in readiness, cum suis, to accompany
his liege lord to Guienne.
With the royal pardon secured in his vest, boldly did his lordship turn
again to the shore; and as boldly did his courser oppose his breadth of
chest to the stream. It was a work of no common difficulty or danger; a
steed of less "mettle and bone" had long since sunk in the effort; as
it was, the Baron's boots were full of water, and Grey Dolphin's
chamfrain more than once dipped beneath the wave. The convulsive snorts
of the noble animal showed his distress; each instant they became more
loud and frequent; when his hoof touched the strand, "the horse and his
rider" stood once again in safety on the shore.
Rapidly dismounting the Baron was loosening the girths of his demi-
pique, to give the panting animal breath, when he was aware of as ugly
an old woman as he ever clapped eyes upon, peeping at him under the
"Make much of your steed, Robert Shurland! Make much of your steed!"
cried the hag, shaking at him her long and bony finger." Groom to the
hide, and corn to the manger! He has saved your life, Robert Shurland,
for the nonce? but he shall yet be the means of your losing it for all
The Baron started: "What's that you say, you old faggot!" He ran round
by his horse's tail; the woman was gone!
The Baron paused: his great soul was not to be shaken by trifles! he
looked around him, and solemnly ejaculated the word "Humbug!" then
slinging the bridle across his arm, walked slowly on in the direction
of the castle.
The appearance, and still more, the disappearance of the crone, had,
however, made an impression; "'Twould be deuced provoking, though, if
he should break my neck after all." He turned and gazed at Dolphin with
the eye of a veterinary surgeon. "I'll be shot if he is not groggy!"
said the Baron.
With his lordship, like another great commander, "Once to be in doubt,
was once to be resolved:" it would never do to go to the wars on a
ricketty prad. He dropped the rein, drew forth Tickletoby, and, as the
enfranchised Dolphin, good easy horse, stretched out his ewe-neck to
the herbage, struck off his head at a single blow. "There, you lying
old beldame!" said the Baron; "now take him away to the knacker's."
Three years were come and gone. King Edward's French wars were over;
both parties having fought till they came to a standstill, shook hands,
and the quarrel, as usual, was patched up by a royal marriage. This
happy event gave his majesty leisure to turn his attention to Scotland,
where things, through the intervention of William Wallace, were looking
rather queerish. As his reconciliation with Philip now allowed of his
fighting the Scotch in peace and quietness, the monarch lost no time in
marching his long legs across the border, and the short ones of the
Baron followed him of course. At Falkirk, Tickletoby was in great
request; and in the year following, we find a contemporary poet hinting
at his master's prowess under the walls of Caerlaverock—
A quatrain which Mr. Simpkinson translates,
Ovec ens fu achiminez
Li beau Robert de Shurland
Ri kant seoit sur le cheval
Ne sembloit home ke someille.
With them was marching
The good Robert de Shurland,
Who, when seated on horseback,
Does not resemble a man asleep!
So thoroughly awake, indeed, does he seem to have proved himself, that
the bard subsequently exclaims in an ecstasy of admiration,
Si ie estoie une pucellete
Je li dourie ceur et cors
Tant est de lu bons li reeors.
If I were a young maiden,
I would give my heart and perso
So great is his fame!
Fortunately the poet was a tough old monk of Exeter; since such a
present to a nobleman, now in his grand climacteric, would hardly have
been worth the carriage. With the reduction of this stronghold of the
Maxwellsse, em to have concluded the Baron's military services; as on
the very first day of the fourteenth century we find him once more
landed on his native shore, and marching, with such of his retainers as
the wars had left him, towards the hospitable shelter of Shurland
Castle. It was then, upon that very beach, some hundred yards distant
from high-water mark, that his eye fell upon something like an ugly
woman in a red cloak. She was seated on what seemed to be a large
stone, in an interesting attitude, with her elbows resting upon her
knees, and her chin upon her thumbs The Baron started; the remembrance
of his interview with a similar personage in the same place, some three
years since, flashed upon his recollection. He rushed towards the spot,
but the form was gone:—nothing remained but the seat it had appeared
to occupy. This, on examination, turned out to be no stone, but the
whitened skull of a dead horse! A tender remembrance of the deceased
Grey Dolphin shot a momentary pang into the Baron's bosom: he drew the
back of his hand across his face; the thought of the hag's prediction
in an instant rose, and banished all softer emotions. In utter contempt
of his own weakness, yet with a tremor that deprived his redoubtable
kick of half its wonted force, he spurned the relic with his foot. One
word alone issued from his lips, elucidatory of what was passing in his
mind—it long remained imprinted on the memory of his faithful
followers—that word was "Gammon!" The skull bounded across the beach
till it reached the very margin of the stream:—one instant more and it
would be ingulfed for ever. At that moment a loud "Ha! ha! ha!" was
distinctly heard by the whole train to issue from its bleached and
toothless jaws: it sank beneath the flood in a horselaugh.
Meanwhile Sir Robert de Shurland felt an odd sort of sensation in his
right foot. His boots had suffered in the wars. Great pains had been
taken for their preservation. They had been "soled" and "heeled" more
than once:—had they been "goloshed," their owner might have defied
Fate! Well has it been said that "there is no such a thing as a
trifle." A nobleman's life depended upon a question of ninepence.
The Baron marched on: the uneasiness in his foot increased. He plucked
off his boot; a horse's tooth was sticking in his great toe!
The result may be anticipated. Lame as he was, his lordship, with
characteristic decision, would hobble on to Shurland; his walk increased
the inflammation; a flagon of aqua vitae did not mend matters. He was
in a high fever; he took to his bed. Next morning the toe presented the
appearance of a Bedfordshire carrot; by dinner time it had deepened to
beet-root; and when Bargrave, the leech, at last sliced it off, the
gangrene was too confirmed to admit of remedy. Dame Martin thought it
high time to send for Miss Margaret, who, ever since her mother's death,
had been living with her maternal aunt, the abbess, in the Ursuline
convent at Greenwich. The young lady came, and with her came one Master
Ingoldsby, her cousin-german by the mother's side; but the Baron was too
far gone in the dead-thraw to recognize either. He died as he lived,
unconquered and unconquerable. His last words were—"tell the old hag
she may go to—." Whither remains a secret. He expired without fully
articulating the place of her destination.
But who and what was the crone who prophesied the catastrophe?
Ay, "that is the mystery of this wonderful history."—Some say it was
Dame Fothergill, the late confessor's mamma; others, St. Bridget
herself; others thought it was nobody at all, but only a phantom
conjured up by conscience. As we do not know, we decline giving an
And what became of the Clerk of Chatham? Mr. Simkinson avers that he
lived to a good old age, and was at last hanged by Jack Cade, with his
inkhorn about his neck, for "setting boys copies." In support of this
he adduces his name "Emmanuel," and refers to the historian
Shakespeare. Mr. Peters, on the contrary, considers this to be what he
calls one of Simkinson's "Anacreonisms," inasmuch as, at the
introduction of Mr. Cade's reform measure, the Clerk, if alive, would
have been hard upon two hundred years old. The probability is that the
unfortunate alluded to was his great grandson.
Margaret Shurland in due course became Margaret Ingoldsby: her portrait
still hangs in the gallery at Tappington. The features are handsome,
but shrewdish, betraying, as it were, a touch of the old Baron's
temperament; but we never could learn that she actually kicked her
husband. She brought him a very pretty fortune in chains, watches, and
Saracen ear-rings; the barony, being a male fief, reverted to the
In the Abbey-church at Minster may yet be seen the tomb of a recumbent
warrior, clad in the chain-mail of the 13th century. His hands are
clasped in prayer; his legs, crossed in that position so prized by
Templars in ancient, and tailors in modern days, bespeak him a soldier
of the faith in Palestine. Close behind his dexter calf lies sculptured
in bold relief a horse's head: and a respectable elderly lady, as she
shows the monument, fails not to read her auditors a fine moral lesson
on the sin of ingratitude, or to claim a sympathizing tear to the
memory of poor "Grey Dolphin!"
RICHARD HARRIS BARHAM.
MOSES, THE SASSY;
THE DISGUISED DUKE.
My story opens in the classic presinks of Bostin. In the parler of the
bloated aristocratic mansion on Bacon street sits a luvly young lady,
whose hair is cuvered ore with the frosts of between 17 Summers. She
had just sot down to the piany, and is warblin the popler ballad called
"Smells of the Notion," in which she tells how with pensiv thought, she
wandered by a C beat shore. The son is settin in its horizon, and its
gorjus light pores in a golden meller flud through the winders, and
makes the young lady twice as beautiful nor what she was before, which
is onnecessary. She is magnificently dressed up in a Berage basque,
with poplin trimmins, More Antique, Ball Morals and 3 ply carpeting.
Also, considerable guaze. Her dress contains 16 flounders and her shoes
is red morocker, with gold spangles onto them. Presently she jumps up
with a wild snort, and pressin her hands to her brow, she exclaims,
"Methinks I see a voice!"
A noble youth of 27 summers enters. He is attired in a red shirt and
black trowis, which last air turned up over his boots; his hat, which
is a plug, being cockt onto one side of his classiual hed. In sooth, he
was a heroic lookin person, with a fine shape. Grease, in its barmiest
days near projuced a more hefty cavileer. Gazin upon him admirinly for
a spell, Elizy (for that was her name) organized herself into a tabloo,
and stated as follers:
"Ha! do me eyes deceive me earsight? No, I reckon not! That frame! them
store close! those nose! Yes, it is me own, me only Moses!"
He (Moses) folded her to his hart, with the remark that he was a
WAS MOSES OF NOBLE BIRTH?
Moses was foreman of Engine Co. No. 40. Forty's fellers had just bin
having an annual reunion with Fifty's fellers, on the day I intorjuce
Moses to my readers, and Moses had his arms full of trofees, to wit: 4
scalps, 5 eyes, 3 fingers, 7 ears (which he chawed off), and several
half and quarter sections of noses. When the fair Elizy recovered from
her delight at meetin Moses, she said:—"How hast the battle gonest?
"We chawed 'em up—that's what we did!" said the bold Moses.
"I thank the gods!" said the fair Elizy. "Thou did'st excellent well.
And Moses," she continued, layin her hed confidinly again his weskit,
"dost know I sumtimes think thou istest of noble birth?"
"No!" said he, wildly ketchin hold of hisself. "You don't say so!"
"Indeed do I! Your dead grandfather's sperrit comest to me the tother
"Oh no, I guess it's a mistake," sed Moses.
"I'll bet two dollars and a quarter he did!" replied Elizy. "He said:
'Moses is a Disguised Juke.'"
"You mean Duke," said Moses.
"Dost not the actors all call it Juke?" said she. That settled the
"I hev thought of this thing afore," said Moses abstractedly. "If it is
so, then thus it must be! 2 B or not 2 B! Which? Sow, sow! But enuff. O
life! life!—you're too many for me!" He tore out some of his pretty
yeller hair, stampt on the floor several times, and was gone.
THE PIRUT FOILED.
Sixteen long and weary years has elapst since the seen narrated in the
last chapter took place. A noble ship, the Sary Jane, is a-sailin from
France to Ameriky via the Wabash Canal. The pirut ship is in hot
pursoot of the Sary. The pirut capting isn't a man of much principle,
and intends to kill all the people on bored the Sary and confiscate the
walleables. The capting of the S. J. is on the pint of givin in, when a
fine lookin feller in russet boots and a buffalo overcoat rushes
forored and obsarves:
"Old man! go down stairs! Retire to the starbud bulk-hed! I'll take
charge of this Bote!"
"Owdashus cuss!" yelled the capting, "away with thee or I shall do mur-
"Skurcely," obsarved the stranger, and he drew a diamond-hilted-fish-
knife and cut orf the capting's hed. He expired shortly, his last words
bein, "We are governed too much."
"People!" sed the stranger, "I'm the Juke de Moses!"
"Old hoss!" sed a passenger, "methinks thou art blowin!" whareupon the
Juke cut orf his hed also.
"Oh that I should live to see myself a ded body!" screamed the
unfortnit man. "But don't print any verses about my deth in the
newspapers, for if you do I'll haunt ye!"
"People!" sed the Juke, "I alone can save you from yon bloody pirut!
Ho! a peck of oats!" The oats was brought, and the Juke, boldly mountin
the jibpoop, throwed them onto the towpath. The pirut rapidly
approached, chucklin with fiendish delight at the idee of increasin his
ill-gotten gains. But the leadin hoss of the pirut ship stopt suddent
on comin to the oats, and commenst for to devour them. In vain the
piruts swore and throwed stones and bottles at the hoss—he wouldn't
budge a inch. Meanwhile the Sary Jane, her hosses on the full jump, was
fast leavin the pirut ship!
"Onct agin do I escape deth!" said the Juke between his clencht teeth,
still on the jibpoop.
THE WANDERER'S RETURN.
The Juke was the Sassy! Yes, it was!
He had bin to France and now he was home agin in Bostin, which gave
birth to a Bunker Hill!! He had some trouble in getting hisself
acknowledged as Juke in France, as the Orleans Dienasty and Borebones
were fernest him, he finely conkered. Elizy knowed him right off, as
one of his ears and a part of his nose had bin chawed off in his fights
with opposition firemen durin boyhood's sunny hours. They lived to a
green old age, beloved by all, both grate and small. Their children, of
which they have numerous, often go up onto the Common and see the
This is my 1st attempt at writin a Tail & it is far from bein perfeck,
but if I have indoosed folks to see that in 9 cases out of 10 they can
either make Life as barren as the Dessert of Sarah, or as joyus as the
flower garding, my objeck will have bin accomplished, and more too.
MR. COLUMBUS CORIANDER'S GORILLA.
My article on the Origin of the Human Species had been months in
preparation. Much of the fame which I have since secured by its
publication in that widely circulated magazine, the Interoceanic
Monthly, is due to the fact that I spent weeks in deep investigations
in ethnological science, comparing results, and especially examining the
points of resemblance which exist in the brute creation and the nobler
race of man. To say that I utterly overthrew the Darwinian theory, and
quite demolished the tribe of pretenders who have since attempted to
imitate that great apostle of error, may not be strictly in accordance
with modesty, but hosts of candid friends will admit that it is strictly
true. I know very well that, though my untiring labors in the cause of
science are not yet thoroughly appreciated, an admiring posterity will
dwell with delight on the name of Samuel Simcox as the benefactor of his
race, who showed where that race had its birth and from what primitive
elements it sprang. For further particulars, see the Interoceanic
Monthly for June, 18—.
My favorite haunt during the progress of this article was Coriander's
Menagerie; having resolved that this should be the masterpiece of my
life, I spared neither labor nor expense upon it, and actually procured
a season ticket to the menagerie, and passed many pleasant hours in
watching the wild animals, studying their habits, and drawing many
valuable conclusions from their points of resemblance and difference.
Consequently, though the apes and monkeys had furnished me with an
inexhaustible fund of amusement and interest, I was delighted beyond
measure when it was announced that Coriander had secured a live gorilla
for his collection of wild beasts. An agent had been dispatched to
Africa, and had sent home, with great secrecy, a real live specimen of
this dreadful beast; and so well had all the negotiations been kept
that nobody knew of what was being done, until the monster was fairly
caged and on exhibition at Coriander's Menagerie. I entered with zest
upon a study of the creature's habits and peculiarities; and while the
idle curiosity of mere wonder-mongers kept a vast crowd about the cage
wherein the furious beast was confined, calmly I surveyed it from a
safe distance and made my scientific observations for the benefit of
mankind. And when vulgar wonder at the strange beast had somewhat
subsided, and I could get nearer the cage and watch the gorilla, I was
more and more impressed with the human traits which I discovered in the
extraordinary animal. His manner of reclining was, though impish, half
human; and his grotesque gait, as he sprang from side to side of the
narrow prison, was suggestive of his supposititious congener-man; even
his terrible howl, which rent the air of the museum constantly, had a
human shade of sound.
One rainy day, when the great hall of the museum was unusually vacant
of visitors, I almost leaned against the cage in my eager watch of the
movements of the gorilla. I fancied him roaming his native African
jungles, the terror of every living thing, or rearing, with a strange
grotesque solicitude, his young family. I wondered how much akin to
human love and hate were the passions that raged beneath that hairy
breast, and how much of real feeling was in the loud and anguished howl
that occasionally burst from those fanglike jaws. Thus speculating, I
drew incautiously near the bars of the cage where the monster
restlessly paced up and down, and was inexpressibly startled at feeling
his hot breath on my cheek, while from his huge, hairy lips came the
sound—"Sam!" I actually jumped with astonishment, whereupon the
creature beseechingly said: "Hush, hush, for Heaven's sake do not leave
me!" I mustered courage enough to ask what all this meant. The gorilla
answered: "I am your old friend, Jack Gale; don't leave me."
So Coriander's famous gorilla was no other than my old crony, Jack
And this is how Jack happened to be a gorilla:
Coriander's keepers were too watchful to permit much conversation, but
taking from the gorilla—for such he still was to me—the address of
Jack Gale, No. 1283, Morusmulticaulis Street, I went home to revise
some of my deductions relative to the origin of the human species,
founded on observations of the gorilla in a state of comparative
wildness. The menagerie closed at ten o'clock in the evening, and
precisely at half-past ten I was at Jack's lodgings, to which I climbed
up four flights of crooked and very dark stairways. The room was small
and cheerless; the windows were carefully guarded by thick curtains;
three or four swinging bars depended from the ceiling for the practice
of its inmate in acrobatic exercises; across the foot of the bed lay a
well-dressed gorilla's skin, and at a small table, and absorbing the
contents of a pot of beer, sat the wearer of this discarded robe. This
was the haunt of the African gorilla. He told his story in a few words.
"When you and I were used to talk with each other along the Tallapoosa
and Athens wire, I never thought to meet you as a live gorilla; but
here I am. After the war was over and the Government discharged so many
telegraph operators, it was hard scratching for a while; and after you
and I left the Decapolis office, I was well-nigh broke more than once,
only a few cents standing between me and beggary. But I kept a stiff
upper lip and struggled up to Cincinnati, where I met with Coriander.
He was out there with his menagerie and was about to come on to this
city and open a big show. He is a great old villain, but he has the
sweetest, nicest little daughter that ever was given to man. You
haven't seen Clara Coriander, have you? No? Well, you have not seen the
loveliest and best girl in the world, then. But, as I was saying, old
Coriander was preparing for a year's campaign in this city, and
allotted a great deal on a real, live gorilla which had been captured
in the wilds of Africa somewhere. Oh, curse that gorilla; I wish I had
been dead before I ever heard of him."
And here Jack groaned.
"I love Clara Coriander. I suppose you have guessed that out already.
But it was the old story; poor young man, without fortune or friends;
cruel parents determined that their only daughter shall not marry a
beggar; young lady inconsolable and devoted to aforesaid young man, but
dreadfully afraid of papa, whose only child she is. Well, Coriander
came on here and I followed, the old man giving me the job of writing
his posters and advertisements—to keep me from starving, I suppose.
The long-expected Gooroo arrived from Zanzibar, but no gorilla was
there on board for Mr. Coriander; there was a skin of that celebrated
animal, the beast himself having departed this life off the island of
St. Helena, an imitation of the example of another much-feared person
who once resided in that locality.
"Coriander was frantic. The great card of his menagerie was not to be
his. His long-cherished plans were a wreck; his money was spent for
naught; he had no gorilla. After all, I rather like the old wretch
(Coriander, I mean). He has an absolute passion for his 'profession,'
as he calls it, and was more in despair because he had no gorilla, than
because it was a bad financial operation, which left him without that
for which he had spent so much money. He was wretched in his
disappointment, and postponed indefinitely the opening of his
menagerie, though my elegant advertisements were in all the papers, and
our flaming posters covered the walls of the city from one end to the
other. Gloom reigned in the house of Coriander.
"This was my opportunity. I was in love with Clara and without any
permanent occupation. Presenting myself before the old man, I said:
'Mr. Coriander, you want a gorilla?'
"'To be sure,' said he, testily.
"'I will furnish you with one.'
"'The devil you will!'
"'Look here,' said I, stepping back a few paces. Grasping the top of a
heavy wardrobe that stood in the room, I swung myself up, clambered
along the top, sprang up and down over chairs and tables, raced around
the room with huge strides and jumps, and finally wound up my
performances by rushing at the astonished Coriander, and, beating my
breast, gave a terrific howl, that fairly made the old man quail as he
writhed in his chair. I had not been practicing for nothing, evidently.
Coriander was actually frightened.
"'What does this mean,' he gasped, with some rage mingled with his
"'I am the live gorilla from the wilds of Africa,' said I. 'Give me my
skin that arrived by the Gooroo from Zanzibar, and I will scare
this city out of its senses when the menagerie opens, after a brief
delay on account of the difficulty of preparing for the enormous
additions, which a discriminating public will be delighted to see.'
"Old Coriander embraced me with tears in his eyes, declaring that I was
a real genius, and was born to the show business.
"'But,' said I, 'though I am poor and need the money which you will pay
me, I have one other condition, and that is that you shall give me your
daughter's hand if I succeed.'
"The old man was rather taken aback at this, and flatly refused at
first; and we wrangled over the matter for two or three days, but,
after seeing me in the skin of the gorilla, and go through my antics
and performances, he reluctantly gave in and agreed that after one year
of gorilla life in his service, I should have the happiness of marrying
Clara. He only stipulated that I should not hereafter tell anybody of
the cheat, and that not even Clara should know of it now.
"I am aware that my profession is not high art as you call it, and on
hot days it is precious uncomfortable. But what won't a fellow do under
the pressure of an exchequer in distress, and enticed by the promise of
the hand of the prettiest and best girl in the world? The pay is not
much, but I keep soul and body together, which is more than some poor
devils do in this great city. By the way, Sam, have you got five
dollars about you?"
Now, if there was anything that Jack Gale specially loved, it was the
state of being in debt. He was never so happy as when in debt, and when
by accident, or the interference of friends, he got out of it, he was
uneasy and wretched, apparently, until he got in again. The normal
condition of the man was debt; so when he asked me for a loan, I could
not help laughing; and I told him that he had undoubtedly found one of
the greatest privations of his gorilla life to be the difficulty of
contracting new debts.
"That's a fact," said Jack. "The menagerie opens at eight o'clock in
the morning; it takes me a good hour to get myself up for the day; and
we don't shut up until ten o'clock at night; so you see my professional
duties are very confining, and a real, live African gorilla is not
supposed to have first-rate credit with the people who poke stale
sandwiches and peanuts through his cage-bars by day."
I promised Jack that if old Seanecks, of the Interoceanic Monthly,
accepted my article on the Origin of the Human Species, I would divide
the proceeds with him. Jack and I had shared and shared alike with our
little gains too often in years gone by, for me to remember which owed
the other now. Besides, I told him that I had studied his habits as a
gorilla, and he had some claim upon the profits of an article in which
his personal peculiarities figured so largely.
During the next few days I observed the characteristics of Coriander's
African gorilla with new interest. He performed wonderfully well; it
was difficult to realize that the hairy, ravening, agile, and
grotesquely-moving beast, from which every visitor shrank back aghast,
was only jolly Jack Gale serving out his hard servitude for an
anticipated bride, very much after the ancient fashion of Laban's
kinsman. The cunning rascal had a fashion of leaping at the bars when
curious people came too near, driving them away from a narrow
inspection by his hideous yells and angry mouthings. But his roars,
which were really artistic in their brutal sonorousness, served us a
good purpose. As I was night editor on the Daily Highflyer, and
kept pretty close from ten until three o'clock in the morning, and Jack
was caged until the hour at which I went to work, it was not easy for
us to meet. So we exchanged the salutations of the day and a few scraps
of news by using our old signals, learned long ago in the telegraph
office. Instead of the rat-tat-tat of the little instrument so familiar
to both of us, Jack, by a series of long or short howls and grunts,
gave me his message, to which I replied by careless taps of my cane or
hand, nobody suspecting that my casual movements meant anything, nor
supposing for an instant that a sudden burst of African forest yells,
which sent a fat lady nearly into hysterics, and made two small
children howl with apprehension, merely meant "She with the pink bonnet
is my Clara."
And it must be confessed that Clara Coriander was an exceedingly
attractive young person. Blonde, slight in figure, and with one of
those fair transparent complexions that make you think of a light
shining through an alabaster vase, Clara Coriander was certainly as
lovely a girl as one ever lays eyes upon. Besides, she was an only
daughter, and old Coriander had grown rich in the menagerie business.
Jack was a lucky dog (gorilla, I should say), to gain her hand—if he
ever did; but one could not help thinking, as he noted her dainty
manner and delicate, somewhat distingue face, that she was
hardly the girl to fancy a fellow who had personated a gorilla, even
for her hand. I was afraid that Jack had made a mistake in thus
debasing himself to the absurd passion of her cruel parent for the
possession of a gorilla. Moreover, by debarring himself from her
society for a greater portion of the time (Sundays only excepted), he
left the field open for some more fortunate rival who might, in the
meantime, carry off the prize.
But Jack felt sure that he was all right, and by a precious bit of
deception he had led Clara to believe that he was hard at work, night
and day, at some legitimate calling, earning money for his future
ambitious designs in life. The poor little thing believed in him, but
Jack said it was very hard for him to be obliged to see his beloved
flirting, right before his eyes at the menagerie (for the girl had a
taste for natural history, and was there often), with some perfumed
dangler who was in love with her pretty face and old Coriander's money.
On these occasions, he hated himself for his mean disguise, and found
satisfaction in howling at the gay party in such dreadful fashion as
sent them quaking from his cage; and then he cursed himself for having
driven away his lovely angel, and was smitten with sudden remorse as he
saw her rose-hued cheeks blanch at his terrific cries. At such times he
could with difficulty restrain himself from shouting: "Don't be
frightened, dear, it's only Jack!" But he was fortunately preserved
from such an untimely exposure.
Old Seanecks was very mean, and, though he accepted my article on the
Origin of the Human Species, only paid me the pitiful sum of twenty
dollars for that valuable contribution to knowledge. Twenty dollars for
the labor and thought of weeks! Was ever anything so absurd! And there
was Jack confidently expecting at least twenty-five dollars to purchase
a birth-day present for Clara. Jack loved to make presents, and the
deeper he got into debt, the more presents did he bestow on his
friends. Such another whole-souled fellow as he was, to be sure.
But I pocketed the disappointment along with the money and went
straightway to the menagerie. There was quite a little crowd about
Jack's cage, standing at a respectful distance. In his capacity as the
real African gorilla, Jack had just avenged himself on a dangerous
rival by snatching off his matchless wig. This gentleman had long
deceived his friends with his ambrosial locks, but Jack's quick eye had
discovered the cheat, and he seized a favorable moment to make a grab
for it. To his inexpressible joy, it came off in his paw, and the
discomfitted gallant stood with his bare poll in the presence of the
giggling and amused Clara Coriander. The amateur gorilla was in a
frenzy of delight, and tore up and down his cage, scattering Mr.
Jonquil's chestnut curls with savage glee. Old Coriander afterwards had
to pay for the wig, of course, but he was so delighted with the stroke
of showman genius displayed in its destruction, that he paid the bill
without a murmur. None but a wild and savage animal, of course, would
"snatch a gentleman bald-headed," as the old man expressed it. I
suppose some of my readers, who now recollect the occurrence, will
agree with Mr. Coriander in his opinion.
After the little crowd which this amusing affair had drawn around the
cage, dispersed in various directions, I drew near enough to hand Jack
a ten-dollar note, which was his share of the proceeds of my article in
Interoceanic Monthly. He snatched it furtively, for the keepers
were not far off, and cramming it into his ferocious jaws (lined with
blood-red velvet), he howled in his usual staccato style, "Didn't I
scalp old Jonquil, though!"
One of the keepers approaching me, said, suspiciously, "Look a-here,
young man, you make entirely too free with that ere beast. He's awful,
he is, and some day he'll just go for you, if you ain't keerful. Why,
this afternoon, he jest tore a gentleman's skelp clean off his head,
and he was borne out in a fainting condition. Jest see the hair of him
all scattered over the cage."
I humbly thanked him for the caution, and drew off, asking for
information as to the creatures's habits. He was very talkative, and
enlightened me with much valuable knowledge relative to his diet,
averring that he invariably was fed before the menagerie was opened,
the raw meat and live rabbits which he devoured exasperating him by
their blood to that degree, that it was not safe for any person but the
keeper to come into his sight. The gorilla enjoyed this confidential
communication, and roared his approval thus: "He's the head liar of
Jack and I kept up a casual correspondence from day to day by means of
our telegraphic signals, for I had little time to see him when off
duty. Occasionally I strolled in of an evening to commiserate his
ennui and cheer him up with a friendly sign, or when opportunity
offered, to chat furtively with the man-gorilla, who swore dreadfully
at the bad bargain which he had made. His confinement was growing
excessively irksome, and though his constant exercise kept him in good
bodily health, poor Jack lost his spirits and grew positively wretched
in mind. One night, when I had managed to find time to visit him at his
"den" in Morusmulticaulis Street, he grew quite plaintive over his
"Hang it, Sam," said he, "you have no idea how mad it makes me to think
that I have shut myself up in that cage for a year, and with no chance
of getting out without telling Clara what I have been doing. And there
she goes pottering about the out the least idea that Jack, unhappy
Jack, is glowering at her from his cursed gorilla prison, longing to
say the words that would bring confusion and dismay upon all of us. And
then when I see some other fellow flirting around with her, and old
Coriander leering over her head at me, knowing full well how aggravated
I am, why, it just makes me wild."
I comforted Jack as well as I could, and bade him hope that some stroke
of luck would yet deliver him from his voluntary thraldom and bring him
to his love. He was hopeful that old Coriander would find the gorilla
business unprofitable, and would offer to buy him off, or consent to
shorter terms. He vowed one day that unless relief soon came, he would
address the crowd about his cage and inform them that he was an
unmitigated humbug; that he was no gorilla at all, but only a
distressed gentleman, John Gale by name, temporarily held in duress by
that old rascal, Columbus Coriander. But he restrained himself and
waited. It was well that he did.
One evening, finding an unemployed half-hour at my disposal, I
sauntered into the menagerie hall, and watched the poor weary beasts
slowly composing themselves to their unquiet slumbers. It was nearly
time to close the show for the night, and not many people were left to
stroll about among the cages. Old Coriander was there with his fat
wife, the lovely Clara floating about in a cloudy white dress, and
followed by a train of admiring swains. The poor gorilla was stretched
at full length on the floor of his cage, with his face sullenly turned
to the rear partition. Passing by the poor fellow, with a little pang
of regret, I stopped before a cage of apes, poor Jack's next door
neighbors. No wonder that he felt blue sometimes.
Suddenly there was a rush of hurrying feet; a strange confusion
pervaded the whole place, lately so quiet and still; and above the
pungent odor of the menagerie, I detected that of burning wood. The
place was on fire, and instantly everybody ran for the exits. The hall
was filled with blinding smoke; the red tongues of flame thrust
themselves eagerly through the thin partitions which separated the main
exhibition hall from the lumber-rooms in the rear. And the people who
rushed selfishly down the narrow stairways fled not only from the
flames, but from the poor beasts who cowered in their cages, or roared
angrily as they caught the mad excitement around them. The scene was
terrible; the crackling, roaring fires sweeping out into the long room;
the wild terror of the caged animals; the shrieks and cries of flocks
of suddenly-liberated strange birds; and the surging clouds of smoke
which rolled through the high arches overhead. Passing near the
gorilla's cage I heard Jack's voice, as he yelled with stentorian
lungs: "Will nobody let me out? Oh, will nobody let me out?" Quick as
thought I ran behind his cage, and unfastened the narrow flap that
closed the opening. In another moment the African gorilla was out and
across the hall, to where a blonde young lady in a white dress was
being helplessly borne along by old Coriander, also encumbered by the
stout mother of Miss Clara—for Jack had seen that his beloved was in
mortal danger. Raising the fainting girl in his strong arms, the hairy
monster rushed down the stairs, astounding the coming firemen with the
sight of a ferocious gorilla carrying off a respectable young lady,
whose flaxen curls lay lovingly over the dreadful shoulders of the
beast, which, with ludicrous failure, endeavored to caress the pallid
face of the young lady with his hairy jaws, stiff with padding and
whalebone, and nicely lined with blood-red velvet.
The gorilla fled up the street, bearing his dainty burden—for, once in
sight, he could not stop with out exposure. Plodding travellers on the
illuminated sidewalks were startled by the swift apparition of a
gorilla carrying off a young lady, who was borne into dark alleys to be
eaten in the obscurity of some hidden den. Casual wayfarers through
back streets shrieked and ran as they beheld a flaming hairy dragon
leaping with enormous strides, and carrying the corpse of a nice young
person hanging over his shoulder. Good Mrs. Harris, who keeps the
lodging-house at No. 1283, Morusmulticaulis Street, fell down in a
deadly swoon at her own doorway, as she was returning from a class-
meeting, to see the Evil One, equipped with the traditional head,
horns, and tail, breathing fire and sulphurous smoke, violently
deporting a beautiful young lady, who had for love of dress and other
worldly vanities, sold herself to Old Nick. Vaulting over the prone
body of the insensible Mrs. Harris, Jack eluded his few pursuers, and
darted up the stairs to his own private den, were he shut and locked
himself and his fair burthen from the world.
The lovely Clara revived shortly, and opening her eyes shut them again
with a great scream. She was in the den of the African gorilla. There
was more fainting, and more anguish on the part of Jack, who cursed his
luck and his folly together. "It's Jack; it's only Jack," he cried,
with real agony, as he tore off his mask; and the young lady, slowly
returning to her senses, once more opened her eyes and beheld her
lover, a real African gorilla from his chin downwards, but possessing a
very resolute yet anxious human head, very like Jack Gale's, with the
scalp and grinning jaws of the defunct monster hanging behind his ears.
This was an extraordinary situation; a nice young lady in a strange
garret, confronted by an erratic young man in semi-gorilla costume; his
countenance flushed with excitement and exercise; his eyes wild with
anxiety and alarm, and his whole manner that of a person who is in a
state of utter quandary. The truth of history compels me to record the
fact that Miss Clara Coriander threw up her hands and laughed as she
would die. She was a sensible girl, and liked a good joke. Old
Coriander's plans were laid bare to her clear vision in one moment; she
saw through the whole trick; and laughed in the face of the astonished
Mr. Gale. "Oh, Jack," she said, as soon as she could recover her
breath, "how could you be such a fool? Where Oh, oh, oh!" To all of
which Jack could only reply by instalments. But by secluding the young
lady on the stairway, he succeeded in preparing for their return to the
Coriander mansion. Through the half-deserted streets the young couple
went in different guise from that in which they had before astonished
those who saw them flee. The gorilla delivered up the old man's
daughter, and was glad to be told that the menagerie, not quite ruined,
must needs he closed for a few months for repairs.
The show opened again in due season with new attractions, under the
management of Coriander and Gale. But in all the lines of cages of rare
beasts, no African gorilla was to be found. In lieu thereof they showed
a handsomely stuffed skin of the much lamented beast, which came to an
untimely end in consequence of a cold caught by exposure at the great
menagerie fire. Coriander's heart relented when Jack saved his daughter
from the burning building, and he found his inventive genius invaluable
in the show business.
I have seen the only young gorilla born on American soil, of which
there is any account. It has pink cheeks and blue eyes, and is learning
to answer to the name of Clara Gale.
THE FATE OF YOUNG CHUBB
When Mr. Chubb, the elder, returned from Europe, he brought with him
from Geneva, a miniature musical-box, long and very narrow, and
altogether of hardly greater dimensions, say, then a large pocket-
knife. The instrument played four cheerful little tunes, for the
benefit of the Chubb family, and they enjoyed it. Young Henry Chubb
enjoyed it to such an extent that one day, just after the machine had
been wound up ready for action he got to sucking the end of it, and in
a moment of inadvertence it slipped, and he swallowed it. The only
immediate consequence of the accident was that a harmonic stomach-ache
was organized upon the interior of Henry Chubb and he experienced a
restlessness which he well knew would defy the soothing tendencies of
peppermint and make a mockery of paregoric.
And Henry Chubb kept his secret in his own soul and in his stomach,
also determined to hide his misery from his father, and to spare the
rod to the spoiled child—spoiled, at any rate, as far as his digestive
apparatus was concerned.
But that evening, at the supper table, Henry had eaten but one mouthful
of bread, when strains of wild, mysterious music were suddenly wafted
from under the table. The family immediately made an effort to discover
whence the sounds came, although Henry Chubb set there filled with
agony and remorse and bread and tunes, and desperately asserted his
belief that the music came from the cellar where the hired girl was
concealed with a harp. He well knew that Mary Ann was unfamiliar with
the harp, but he was frantic with anxiety to hide his guilt. Thus it is
that one crime leads to another.
But he could not disguise the truth forever, and that very night, while
the family was at prayers, Henry all at once began to hiccup, and the
musicbox started off without warning, with "way down on the Swanee
River," with variations. Whereupon the paternal Chubb arose from his
knees and grasped Henry kindly but firmly by his hair and shook him up,
and inquired what he meant by such conduct.
And Henry asserted that he was practicing something for a Sunday-school
celebration, which old Chubb intimated was a singularly thin
Then they tried to get up that music-box, and every time they would
seize Henry by the leg and shake him over the sofa-cushion, or would
pour some fresh variety of emetic down his throat, the instrument would
give some fresh sport, and joyously grind out "Listen to the Mocking
Bird," or "Thou'lt Never Cease to love."
At last, they were compelled to permit that musical box to remain
within the sepulchral recesses of the epigastrium of young Chubb. To
say that the unfortunate victim of the disaster was made miserable by
his condition, would be to express in the feeblest manner the state of
his mind. The more music there was in his stomach, the wilder and more
chaotic became the discord in his soul. As likely as not, it would
occur that while he lay asleep in bed in the middle of the night, the
works would begin to revolve, and would play "Home, Sweet Home," for
two or three hours, unless the peg happened to slip, when the cylinder
would switch back again to "way down upon the Swanee River" and would
rattle out that tune with variations and fragments of the scales, until
Henry's brother would kick him out of bed in wild despair, and sit on
him in a vain effort to subdue the serenade, which, how ever,
invariably proceeded with fresh vigor when subjected to unusual
And when Henry Chubb went to church it frequently occurred that, in the
very midst of the most solemn portion of the sermon, he would feel a
gentle disturbance under the lower button of his jacket, and presently,
when everything was hushed, the undigested engine would give a
preliminary buzz, and then reel off "Listen to the Mocking Bird," and
"Thou'lt Never Cease to Love," and scales and exercises, until the
clergyman would stop and glare at Henry over his spectacles, and
whisper to one of the deacons.
Then the sexton would suddenly tack up the aisle and clutch the unhappy
Mr. Chubb by the collar, and scud down the aisle again to the
accompaniment of "Home Sweet Home," and then incarcerate Henry in the
upper portion of the steeple until after church. But the end came at
last, and the miserable boy found peace. One day, while he was sitting
in school, endeavoring to learn his multiplication table to the tune of
"Thou'lt Cease to Love," his gastric juice triumphed. Something or
other in the music-box gave way all at once, the springs were unrolled
with alarming force, and Henry Chubb, as he felt the fragments of the
instruments hurled right and left among his vitals, tumbled over on the
floor and expired.
At the post-mortem examination they found several pieces of "Home,
Sweet Home" in his liver, while one of his lungs was severely torn by a
fragment of "Way down upon the Swanee river."
Particles of "Listen to the Mocking Bird" were removed from his heart
and breast-bone, and three brass pegs of "Thou'lt Never Cease to Love"
were found firmly driven into his fifth rib.
They had no music at the funeral. They lifted the machinery out of him
and buried him quietly in the cemetery. Whenever the Chubbs buy musical
boxes now, they get them as large as a piano, and chain them to the
wall. MAX ADLER.
BOOTS AT THE HOLLY-TREE INN.
Before the days of railways, and in the time of the old Great North
Road, I was once snowed up at the Holly-tree Inn. Beguiling the days of
my imprisonment there by talking at one time or other with the whole
establishment, I one day talked with the Boots, when he lingered in my
Where had he been in his time? Boots repeated when I asked him the
question. Lord, he had been everywhere! And what had he been? Bless
you, he had been everything you could mention a'most.
Seen a good deal? Why, of course he had. I should say so, he could
assure me, if I only knew about a twentieth part of what had come in
his way. Why, it would be easier for him, he expected, to tell what he
hadn't seen than what he had. Ah! A deal, it would.
What was the most curious thing he had seen? Well! He didn't know. He
couldn't momently name what was the curiousest thing he had seen,
unless it was a Unicorn,—and he see him once at a Fair. But supposing
a young gentleman not eight years old was to run away with a young woman
of seven, might I think that a queer start? Certainly? Then that was a
start as he himself had had his blessed eyes on, and he had cleaned the
shoes they run away in,—and they was so little that he couldn't get his
hand into 'em.
Master Harry Walmer's father, you see, he lived at the Elmses, down
away by Shooter's Hill there, six or seven mile from Lunnon. He was a
gentle man of spirit, and good-looking, and held his head up when he
walked, and had what you may call fire about him. He wrote poetry, and
he rode, and he ran, and he cricketed, and he danced, and he acted, and
he done it all equally beautiful. He was uncommon proud of Master Harry
as was his only child; but he didn't spoil him neither. He was a
gentleman that had a will of his own. and a eye of his own, and that
would be minded. Consequently, though he made quite a companion of the
fine bright boy and was delighted to see him so fond of his fairy
books, and was never tired of hearing him say, my name is Norval, or
hearing him sing his songs about Young May Moons is beaming love, and
When he as adores thee has left but the name, and that; still he kept
the command over the child, and the child was a child, an it's to be
wished more of 'em was!
How did Boots happen to know all this? Why, through being under-
gardener. Of course he couldn't be under-gardener, and be always about,
in the summer time, near the windows on the lawn, a mowing, and
sweeping, and weeding, and pruning, and this and that, without getting
acquainted with the ways of the family. Even supposing Master Harry
hadn't come to him one morning early, and said, "Cobbs, how should you
spell Norah, if you was asked?" and then begun cutting it in print all
over the fence.
He couldn't say that he had taken particular notice of children before
that: but really it was pretty to see them two mites a going about the
place together, deep in love. And the courage of the boy! Bless your
soul, he'd have throwed off his little hat, and tucked up his little
sleeves, and gone in at a Lion, he would, if they had happened to meet
one, and she been frightened of him. One day he stops, along with her,
where Boots was hoeing weeds in the gravel, and says, speaking up,
"Cobbs," he says, "I like you." "Do you, sir? I'm proud to hear
it." "Yes, I do, Cobbs. Why do I like you, do you think, Cobbs?" "Don't
know, Master Harry, I am sure." "Because Norah likes you, Cobbs."
"Indeed, sir? that's very gratifying." "Gratifying, Cobbs? It's better
than millions of the brightest diamonds to be liked by Norah."
"Certainly, sir." "You're going away, ain't you, Cobbs?" "Yes, sir."
"Would you like another situation, Cobbs?" "Well, sir, I shouldn't
object, if it was a good 'un." "Then, Cobbs," said he," you shall be
our Head Gardener when we are married." And he tucks her in her little
sky-blue mantle, under his arm, and walks away.
Boots could assure me that it was better than a picture, and equal to a
play, to see them babies, with their long, bright, curling hair, their
sparkling eyes, and their beautiful light tread, a rambling about the
garden, deep in love. Boots was of opinion that the birds believed they
was birds, and kept up with 'em, singing to please 'em. Sometimes they
would creep under the Tulip-tree, and would sit there with their arms
round one another's necks, and their soft cheeks touching, a reading
about the Prince, and the Dragon, and the good and bad enchanters, and
the king's fair daughter. Sometimes he would hear them planning about
having a house in a forest, keeping bees and a cow, and living entirely
on milk and honey. Once he came upon them by the pond, and heard Master
Harry say, "Adorable Norah, kiss me, and say you love me to
distraction, or I'll jump in head-foremost." And Boots made no question
he would have done it if she hadn't complied. On the whole, Boots said
it had a tendency to make him feel as if he was in love himself,—only
he didn't exactly know who with.
"Cobbs," said master Harry, one evening, when Cobbs was watering the
flowers, "I am going on a visit, this present Midsummer, to my
grandmamma's at York."
"Are you indeed, sir? I hope you'll have a pleasant time. I am going
into Yorkshire, myself, when I leave here."
"Are you going to your grandmamma's, Cobbs?"
"No, sir. I haven't got such a thing."
"Not as a grandmamma, Cobbs?"
The boy looked on at the watering of the flowers for a little while,
and then said, "I shall be very glad indeed to go, Cobbs,—Norah's
"You'll be all right then, sir," says Cobbs, "with your beautiful
sweetheart by your side."
"Cobbs," returned the boy, flushing, "I never let anybody joke about
it, when I can prevent them."
"It wasn't a joke, sir," says Cobbs, with humility,—"wasn't so meant."
"I am glad of that, Cobbs, because I like you, you know, and you're
going to live with us.—Cobbs!"
"What do you think my grandmama gives me when I go down there?"
"I couldn't so much as make a guess, sir."
"A Bank of England five-pound note, Cobbs."
"Whew!" says Cobbs, "that's a spanking sum of money, Master Harry."
"A person could do a good deal with such a sum of money as that,—
couldn't a person, Cobbs?"
"I believe you, sir!"
"Cobbs," said the boy, "I'll tell you a secret. At Norah's house, they
have been joking her about me, and pretending to laugh at our being
engaged—pretending to make game of it, Cobbs!"
"Such, sir," says Cobbs, "is the depravity of human nature."
The boy, looking exactly like his father, stood for a few minutes with
his glowing face towards the sunset, and then departed with, "Good-
night, Cobbs. I'm going in."
If I was to ask Boots how it happened that he was a going to leave that
place just at that present time, well, he couldn't rightly answer me.
He did suppose he might have stayed there till now if he had been
anyways inclined. But, you see, he was younger then, and he wanted
change. That's what he wanted,—change. Mr. Walmers, he said to him
when he gave him notice of his intentions to leave, "Cobbs," he says,
"have you anything to complain of? I make the inquiry because if I find
that any of my people really has anything to complain of, I wish to
make it right if I can." "No, sir," says Cobbs; "thanking you, sir, I
find myself as well situated here as I could hope to be anywheres. The
truth is, sir, that I am going to seek my fortune." "O, indeed, Cobbs?"
he says: "I hope you may find it." And Boots could assure me—which he
did, touching his hair with his bootjack as a salute in the way of his
present calling—that he hadn't found it yet.
Well, sir! Boots left the Elmses when his time was up, and Master
Harry, he went down to the old lady's at York, which old lady would
have given that child the teeth out of her head (if she had had any),
she was so wrapped up in him. What does that Infant do—but cut away
from that old lady's with his Norah, on a expedition to go to Gretna
Green and be married!
Sir, Boots was at this identical Holly-Tree Inn (having left it several
times to better himself, but always come back through one thing or
another), when one summer afternoon, the coach drives up, and out of
the coach gets them two children. The Guard says to our Governor, "I
don't quite make out these little passengers, but the young gentleman's
words was, that they was to be brought here." The young gentleman gets
out; hands his lady out; gives the Guard something for himself; says to
our Governor "We're to stop here to-night, please. Sitting-room and two
bed-rooms will be required. Chops and cherry pudding for two!" and
tucks her, in her little sky-blue mantle, under his arm, and walks into
the house much bolder than Brass.
Boots leaves me to judge what the amazement of that establishment was,
when these two tiny creatures all alone by themselves was marched into
the Angel,—much more so, when he, who had seen them without their
seeing him, give the Governor his views of the expedition they was
upon. "Cobbs," says the Governor, "if this is so, I must set off myself
to York, and quiet their friends minds. In which case you must keep
your eye upon 'em, and humor 'em, till I come back. But before I take
these measures, Cobbs, I should wish you to find from themselves
whether your opinions is correct." "Sir, to you," says Cobbs, "that
shall be done directly."
So Boots goes up-stairs to the Angel, and there he finds Master Harry,
on a enormous sofa,—immense at any time, but looking like the Great
Bed of Ware, compared with him,—a drying the eyes of Miss Norah with
his pocket-handkechref. Their little legs was entirely off the ground,
of course, and it really is not possible for Boots to express to me how
small them children looked.
"It's Cobbs! It's Cobbs!" cried Master Harry, and comes running to him,
and catching hold of his hand. Miss Norah comes running to him on
t'other side and catching hold of his t'other hand, and they both jump
"I see you a getting out, sir," says Cobbs, "I thought it was you. I
thought I couldn't be mistaken in your height and figure. What's the
object of your journey, sir?—Matrimonial?"
"We are going to be married, Cobbs, at Gretna Green," returned the boy.
"We have run away on purpose. Norah has been in rather low spirits,
Cobbs; but she'll be happy, now we have found you to be our friend."
"Thank you, sir, and thank you, miss," says Cobbs, "for your good
opinion. Did you bring any luggage with you, sir!"
If I will believe Boots when he gives me his word and honor upon it,
the lady had got a parasol, a smelling-bottle, a round and a half of
cold buttered toast, eight peppermint drops, and a hair-brush,—
seemingly a doll's. The gentleman had got about half a dozen yards of
string, a knife, three or four sheets of writing-paper folded up
surprising small, a orange, and a Chaney mug with his name upon it.
"What may be the exact nature of your plans, sir?" says Cobbs.
"To go on," replied the boy,—which the courage of that boy was
something wonderful!—"in the morning, and be married to-morrow."
"Just so, sir," says Cobbs. "Would it meet your views, sir, if I was to
When Cobbs said this, they both jumped for joy again, and cried out, "O
yes, yes, Cobbs! Yes!"
"Well, sir," says Cobbs, "if you will excuse my having the freedom to
give an opinion, what I should recommend would be this. I'm acquainted
with a pony, sir, which, put in a pheayton that I could borrow, would
take you and Mrs. Harry Walmers, Junior (myself driving, if you
approved), to the end of your journey in a very short space of time. I
am not altogether sure, sir, that this pony will be at liberty to-
morrow, but even if you had to wait over to-morrow for him, it might be
worth your while. As to the small account here, sir, in case you was to
find yourself running at all short, that don't signify; because I'm a
part proprietor of this inn, and it could stand over."
Boots assures me that when they clapped their hands, and jumped for joy
again, and called him "Good Cobbs!" and "Dear Cobbs!" and bent across
him to kiss one another in the delight of their confiding heart, and he
felt himself the meanest rascal for deceiving 'em that ever was born.
"Is there any thing you want just at present, sir?" says Cobbs,
mortally ashamed of himself.
"We should like some cake after dinner," answered Master Harry, folding
his arms, putting out one leg and looking straight at him, "and two
apples,—and jam. With dinner we should like to have some toast and
water. But Norah has always been accustomed to half a glass of currant
wine at dessert. And so have I."
"It shall be ordered at the bar, sir," says Cobbs; and away he went.
Boots has the feeling as fresh upon him at this minute of speaking as
he had then, that he would far rather have it out in half a dozen
rounds with the Governor, then have combined with him; and that he
wished with all his heart there was any impossible place where those
two babies could make an impossible marriage, and live impossibly happy
ever afterwards. However, as it couldn't be, he went into the
Governor's plans, and the Governor set off for York in half an hour.
The way in which the women of that house—without exception—every one
of 'em—married and single—took to that boy when they heard the
story, Boots considers surprising. It was as much as he could do to
keep 'em from dashing into the room and kissing him. They climbed up
all sorts of places, at the risk of their lives, to look at him through
a pane of glass. They were seven deep at the keyhole. Ihey were out of
their minds about him and his bold spirit.
In the evening, Boots went into the room to see how the runaway couple
was getting on. The gentleman was on the window-seat, supporting the
lady in his arms, she had tears upon her face, and was lying very tired
and half asleep, with her head upon his shoulder.
"Mrs. Henry Walmers, Junior, fatigued, sir?" says Cobbs.
"Yes, she is tired, Cobbs: but she is not used to be away from home,
and she has been in low spirits again. Cobbs, do you think you could
bring a biffin, please?"
"I ask your pardon, sir," says Cobbs. "What was it you—?"
"I think a Norfolk biffin would rouse her, Cobbs. She is very fond of
Boots withdrew in search of the required restorative, and when he
brought it in, the gentleman handed it to the lady, and fed her with a
spoon, and took a little himself; the lady being heavy with sleep, and
rather cross. "What should you think, sir," says Cobbs, "of a chamber
candlestick?" The gentleman approved; the chamber-maid went first, up
the great staircase; the lady, in her sky-blue mantle, followed,
gallantly escorted by the gentleman; the gentleman embraced her at her
door, and retired to his own apartment, where Boots softly locked him
Boots couldn't but feel with increased acuteness what a base deceiver
he was, when they consulted him at breakfast (they had ordered sweet
milk-and-water, and toast and currant jelly, over-night), about the
pony. It really was as much as he could do, he don't mind confessing to
me, to look them two young things in the face, and think what a wicked
old father of lies he had grown up to be. Howsomever, he went on a
lying like a Trojan about the pony. He told 'em that it did so
unfort'nately happen that the pony was half clipped, you see, and that
he couldn't be taken out in that state, for fear it should strike to
his inside. But that he'd be finished clipping in the course of the
day, and that to-morrow morning at eight o'clock the pheayton would be
ready. Boots's view of the whole case, looking back upon it in my room,
is, that Mrs. Harry Walmers, Junior, was beginning to give in. She
hadn't had her hair curled when she went to bed, and she didn't seem
quite up to brushing it herself, and its getting in her eyes put her
out. But nothing put out Master Harry. He set behind his breakfast-cup,
a tearing away at the jelly, as if he had been his own father.
After breakfast, Boots is inclined to consider that they drawed
soldiers,—at least, he knows that many such were found in the
fireplace, all on horseback. In the course of the morning, Master Harry
rang the bell,—it was surprising how that there boy did carry on,—and
said, in a sprightly way, "Cobbs, is there any good walks in this
"Yes, sir," say Cobbs. "There's Love Lane."
"Get out with you, Cobbs;"—that was that there boy's expression,—
"Begging your pardon, sir," says Cobbs, "there really is Love Lane. And
a pleasant walk it is, and proud shall I be to show it to yourself and
Mrs. Harry Walmers, Junior."
"Norah, dear," said Master Harry, "this is curious. We really ought to
see Love Lane. Put on your bonnet, my sweetest darling, and we will go
there with Cobbs."
Boots leaves me to judge what a beast he felt himself to be, when that
young pair told him, as they jogged along together, that they had made
up their minds to give him two thousand guineas a year as head
gardener, on account of his being so true a friend to 'em. Boots could
have wished at that moment that the earth would have opened and
swallered him up, he felt so mean, with their beaming eyes a-looking at
him, and believing him. Well, sir, he turned the conversation as well
as he could, and he took 'em down Love Lane to the water-meadows, and
there Master Harry would have drownded himself, in half a moment more,
a getting out a water-lily for her,—but nothing daunted that boy.
Well, sir, they were tired out. All being so new and strange to 'em,
they was tired as tired could be. And they laid down on a bank of
daisies, like the children of the wood, leastways meadows, and fell
Boots don't know—perhaps I do,—but never mind, it don't signify
either way—why it made a man fit to make a fool of himself to see them
two pretty babies a lying there in the clear, still, sunny day, not
dreaming half so hard when they was asleep as they done when they was
awake. But, Lord! when you come to think of yourself, if you know, and
what game you have been up to ever since you was in your own cradle,
and what a poor sort of a chap you are, and how it's always either
Yesterday with you, or else To-morrow, and never To-day, that's where
Well, sir, they woke up at last, and then one thing was getting pretty
clear to Boots, namely, that Mrs. Harry Walmerses, Junior's temper was
on the move. When Master Harry took her round the waist, she said he
"teased her so;" and when he says, "Norah, my young May Moon, your
Harry tease you?" she tells him, "Yes; and I want to go home!"
A biled fowl, and baked bread-and-butter pudding, brought Mrs. Walmers
up a little; but Boots could have wished, he must privately own to me,
to have seen her more sensible of the voice of love, and less
abandoning of herself to currants. However, master Harry, he kept up,
and his noble heart was as fond as ever. Mrs. Walmers turned very
sleepy about dusk, and began to cry. Therefore, Mrs. Walmers went off
to bed as per yesterday; and Master Harry ditto repeated.
About eleven or twelve at night comes back the Governor in a chaise,
along with Mr. Walmers and an elderly lady. Mr. Walmers looks amused
and very serious, both at once, and says to our missis, "We are much
indebted to you, ma'am for your kind care of our little children, which
we can never sufficiently acknowledge. Pray ma'am, where is my boy?"
Our missis says, "Cobbs has the dear child in charge, sir, Cobbs, show
Forty!" Then he says to Cobbs, "Ah, Cobbs! I am glad to see you.
I understood you was here!" And Cobbs says, "Yes, sir. Your most
I may be surprised to hear Boots say it, perhaps; but Boots assures me
that his heart beat like a hammer, going up stairs. "I beg your pardon,
sir," says he, while unlocking the door; "I hope you are not angry with
Master Harry. For Master Harry is a fine boy, sir, and will do you
credit and honor." And Boots signifies to me, that, if the fine boy's
father had contradicted him in that daring state of mind in which he
then was, he thinks he should have "fetched him a crack," and taken the
But Mr. Walmers only says, "No, Cobbs. No, my good fellow. Thank you!"
And the door being opened, goes in. Boots goes in too, holding the
light, and he sees Mr. Walmers go up to the bedside, bend gently down,
and kiss the little sleeping face. Then he stands looking at it for a
minute, looking wonderfully like it (they do say he ran away with Mrs.
Walmers); and then he gently shakes the little shoulder.
"Harry, my dear boy! Harry!"
Master Harry starts up and looks at him. Looks at Cobbs too. Such is
the honor of that mite, that he looks at Cobbs, to see whether he has
brought him into trouble.
"I am not angry, my child. I only want you to dress yourself and come
Master Harry dresses himself quickly. His breast begins to swell when
he has nearly finished, and it swells more and more as he stands at
last, a looking at his father: his father standing looking at him, the
quiet image of him.
"Please may I"—the spirit of that little creature, and the way he kept
his rising tears down!—"please dear pa—may I—kiss Norah before I
"You may, my child."
So he takes Master Harry by his hand, Boots leads the way with the
candle, and they come to that other bedroom, where the elderly lady is
seated by the bed and poor little Mrs. Harry Walmer, Junior, is fast
asleep. There the father lifts the child up to the pillow, and he lays
his little face down for an instant by the little warm face of poor
unconscious little Mrs. Harry Walmers, Junior, and gently draws it to
him—a sight so touching to the chamber-maids who are peeping through
the door, that one of them calls out, "It's a shame to part 'em!" But
the chamber-maid was always, as Boots informs me, a soft-hearted one.
Not that there was any harm in that girl. Far from it.
Finally, Boots says, that's all about it. Mr. Walmers drove away in the
chaise, having hold of Master Harry's hand. The elderly lady and Mrs.
Harry Walmers, Junior, that was never to be (she married a Captain long
afterwards, and died in India), went off next day. In conclusion, Boots
puts it to me whether I hold with him in two opinions: firstly, that
there are not many couples on their way to be married who are half as
innocent of guile as those two children; secondly, that it would be a
jolly good thing for a great many couples on their way to be married,
if they could only be stopped in time, and brought back separately.
THE ENTHUSIAST IN ANATOMY.
The youth whom we shall call "Tom"—and nothing but "Tom," was one of
those individuals who labor with a fierce, burning anxiety to burst
through the trammels imposed upon them by a limited education,—one of
those votaries of science, whose energy seems to grow all the more,
because it has nothing to feed upon. He was very slightly formed, and
had eyes so bright and shining that when one gazed on him, one was
inclined to overlook all his other thin, sharply defined features.
Never was there a more complete appearance of a clear intelligence in a
The few half-pence which Tom was enabled to save from his scanty
earnings at a laborious trade, he regularly expended at the bookstall;
and on one occasion was highly delighted at picking up a small book on
anatomy. The work was one of those that had long been superseded by
more modern and better treatises, and the little plates were as ill and
coarsely done as possible. Nevertheless, with him it had not the
disadvantage of comparison. He thought it a mine of science yet
unexplored, and he suffered his whole soul to be absorbed by it.
In a few weeks he had transferred the entire contents of the work into
his own brain; and though he invariably carried the book in his pocket,
it was more out of respect to it, as an old friend, than from any
further benefit to be derived from it. The names of eery bone,
cartilage, ligament, and muscle of which he had read, were deeply
imprinted in his mind; and he could have passed with glory through the
sharpest examination, provided it had been based on the contents of the
But Tom, in spite of his knowledge, was too intelligent not to perceive
the defective state of his acquirements. He soon felt that his anatomy
was after all, a science of names, rather than of things—that though
he could have described accurately all the intricate bones of the
skull, and all the muscles of the extremities, his descriptions would
have been little more than a repetition of words committed to memory.
He had not seen a single real object connected with his science. If he
could but have set eyes upon a skeleton, what an advantage it would
We once read of a celebrated anatomist, who, far from admiring human
beauty, regarded the skin, as an impertinent obstacle to the
acquisition of science, concealing, as it does, the play of the
muscles. Whether such a clear notion as this ever entered the mind of
our hero, we cannot say, but certainly if some tall, lean beggar passed
him on the road, he would clutch convulsively at his knife, and follow
the man with a sad, wistful look.
One autumnal evening he sat in the ale-house parlor, watching the smoke
of his pipe, and indulging in his own reflections; for though the
conversation in the room was noisy and animated, it had no interest for
him. Devoted to his own pursuits, births, deaths and marriages were to
him things of nought, and he paid no heed to the constant discussions
which were held in the village, on the extraordinary case of old
Ebenezer Grindstone, who had been thought extremely rich, but in whose
house not a farthing had been found after his decease, to the great
disappointment of his creditors.
Soon, however, there was such a violent dash of rain against the
window, that even Tom was compelled to start, when he saw the door
open, and a stranger enter, completely muffled in a cloak. The new
comer stood before the fire as if to dry himself, and seemed to be of
the same taciturn disposition as Tom, for he made no answer to the
different questions that were addressed to him, nor did he even
condescend to look at the speakers. The shower having ceased, the moon
shining brightly through the window, the stranger walked out again,
without the sign of leave-taking.
"That be a queer chap," said the ostler, "I'll run and see where he's
going," and he followed the stranger, who had awakened a curiosity in
every one except Tom. Scarcely five minutes had elapsed, when the
ostler rushed into the room, pale as death.
"Udds buddikins!" said he, and it was not before a glass of spirits had
been poured down his throat, that he could state the cause of his
alarm. "Old chap just gone out got no proper face like—only a death's
head—he just looked around on me in the moonlight."
"Do you mean to say," exclaimed Tom, "that he is nothing but a
"Aye, sure I do," said the ostler.
"And which way did he go?"
"Why, towards the church-yard, sure," said the ostler. Tom waited for
no more, but, dashing down his pipe, he rushed out of the room, and
tore along the road to the churchyard. When he had got there, he saw
the stranger standing by the tomb of old Ebenezer Grindstone. The moon
was shining full upon him, and, as Tom approached, the cloak fell down,
leaving nothing but a bare skeleton before him.
"Thank my stars!" exclaimed Tom, "I have seen a skeleton at last!"
"Young man!" said the skeleton, in a hollow voice, while it hideously
moved its jaws, "attend!"
"How beautifully," cried Tom, enraptured, "can I see the play of the
"Attend!" repeated the skeleton; "but, rash man! what are you about?"
it added, turning suddenly round. The fact is, Tom was running his
fingers down the vertebrae, and counting to see if their number
corresponded with that given in his book. "Seven cervical, twelve
dorsal!" he cried with immense glee.
The skeleton lost all patience, and, raising its arm, shook its fist
angrily at Tom, who, with his eyes fixed on the elbow, merely shouted
his joy, at perceiving the "ginglymoid" movement.
The skeleton, who had been accustomed to terrify other people, was
completely amazed at the scientific position taken by the young
anatomist. In fact, the most extraordinary scene that can be conceived
presently occurred; for the apparition, feeling panic-struck at Tom's
coolness and scientific spirit, darted away from him, and endeavored to
escape by dodging among the tomb-stones. Tom was too anxious to pursue
his studies to allow himself to be baffled in this way; and putting
forth all his strength, soon overtook the skeleton, and held him tight,
a conversation ensued, in the course of which the skeleton explained
that he was old Grindstone himself, who had buried a quantity of money
underground, and could not rest in peace till it was dug up and
distributed among the creditors. This office he requested Tom to
"It will be some trouble," said Tom, "and the affair is none of mine—
but lookye—I'm willing to comply with your request, if, as a reward,
you will allow me to come and study you every night for the next month.
You may then retire to rest for as long a time as you please."
"Agreed," said the skeleton; and, quite recovered from his alarm, he
shook hands with Tom in ratification of the bargain.
Tom found the money, distributed it among the creditors, and passed
every night for the next month in the old churchyard, observing his
beloved skeleton, which as it moved into any position he desired, gave
him an opportunity of studying the motion of the bones, in a way that
had not been enjoyed by any other anatomist.
The young enthusiast, sitting at midnight with the strange assistant to
his pursuits, would have been a delightful sight, had any one possessed
the courage to stop and look at the party. When the month had expired,
Tom and his good friend shook hands and parted with great regret; but
Tom had completely retained in his mind all he had seen and laid the
foundation of that profound anatomical science by which he was
afterwards so much distinguished.
It is needless to add that this is the true account of the early career
of the celebrated Dr.——, and that all others are baseless
"THE LIGHT PRINCESS"
WHAT! NO CHILDREN?
Once upon a time, so long ago that I have quite forgotten the date,
there lived a king and queen who had no children.
"And the king said to himself: 'All the queens of my acquaintance have
children, some three, some seven, and some as many as twelve; and my
queen has not one. I feel ill-used.' So he made up his mind to be cross
with his wife about it. But she bore it all like a good, patient queen,
as she was. Then the king grew very cross indeed. But the queen
pretended to take it all as a joke, and a very good one too.
"'Why don't you have any daughters, at least?' said he, 'I don't say
sons; that might be too much to expect.'
"'I am sure, clear king, I am very sorry,' said the queen.
"'So you ought to be,' retorted the king; 'you are not going to make a
virtue of that, surely.'
"But he was not an ill-tempered king; and, in any matter of less
moment, he would have let the queen have her own way, with all his
heart. This, however, was an affair of state.
"The queen smiled.
"'You must have patience with a lady, you know, dear king,' said she.
"She was, indeed, a very nice queen, and heartily sorry that she could
not oblige the king immediately.
"The king tried to have patience, but he succeeded very badly. It was
more than he deserved, therefore, when, at last, the queen gave him a
daughter,—as lovely a little princess as ever cried."
WON'T I, JUST?
The day drew near when the infant must be christened. The king wrote
all the invitations with his own hand. Of course somebody was
"Now it does not generally matter, if somebody is forgotten; but you
must mind who. Unfortunately, the king forgot without intending it; and
the chance fell upon the Princess Makemnoit, which was awkward; for the
princess was the king's own sister, and he ought not to have forgotten
her. But she made herself so disagreeable to the old king, their
father, that he had forgotten her in making his will; and so it was no
wonder that her brother forgot her in writing his invitations. But poor
relations don't do anything to keep you in mind of them. Why don't
they? The king could not see into the garret she lived in, could he?
She was a sour, spiteful creature. The wrinkles of contempt crossed the
wrinkles of peevishness, and made her face as full of wrinkles as a pat
of butter. If ever a king could be justified in forgetting anybody,
this king was justified in forgetting his sister, even at a
christening. And then she was so disgracefully poor! She looked very
odd, too. Her forehead was as large as all the rest of her face, and
projected over it like a precipice. When she was angry, her little eyes
flashed blue. When she hated anybody, they shone yellow and green. What
they looked like when she loved anybody, I do not know; for I never
heard of her loving anybody but herself, and I do not think she could
have managed that, if she had not somehow got used to herself. But what
made it highly imprudent in the king to forget her, was—that she was
awfully clever. In fact, she was a witch; and when she bewitched
anybody, he very soon had enough of it: for she beat all the wicked
fairies in wickedness, and all the clever ones in cleverness. She
despised all the modes we read of in history, in which offended fairies
and witches have taken their revenges; and, therefore, after waiting
and waiting in vain for an invitation, she made up her mind at last to
go without one, and make the whole family miserable, like a princess
and a philosopher.
"She put on her best gown, went to the palace, was kindly received by
the happy monarch, who forgot that he had forgotten her, and took her
place in the procession to the royal chapel. When they were all
gathered around the font, she contrived to get next to it, and throw
something into the water. She maintained a very respectful demeanor
till the water was applied to the child's face. But at that moment she
turned round in her place three times, and muttered the following
words, loud enough for those beside her to hear:—
"Light of spirit, by my charms, Light of body, every part, Never weary
human arms—Only crush thy parent's heart!"
"They all thought she had lost her wits, and was repeating some foolish
nursery rhyme; but a shudder went through the whole of them. The baby,
on the contrary, began to laugh and crow; while the nurse gave a start
and a smothered cry, for she thought she was struck with paralysis; she
could not feel the baby in her arms. But she clasped it tight, and said
"The mischief was done."
SHE CAN'T BE OURS.
Her atrocious aunt had deprived the child of all her gravity. If you
ask me how this was effected, I answer: In the easiest way in the
world. She had only to destroy gravitation. And the princess was a
philosopher, and knew all the ins and outs of the laws of
gravitation as well as the ins and outs of her boot-lace. And being
a witch as well, she could abrogate those laws in a moment, or at least
so clog their wheels and rust their bearings, that they could not work
at all. But we have more to do with what followed than with how it was
"The first awkwardness that resulted from this unhappy privation was
that the moment the nurse began to float the baby up and down, she flew
from her arms towards the ceiling. Happily, the resistance of the air
brought her ascending career to a close within a foot of it. There she
remained, horizontal as when she left her nurse's arms, kicking and
laughing amazingly. The nurse in terror flew to the bell, and begged
the footman, who answered it, to bring up the house-steps directly.
Trembling in every limb, she climbed upon the steps, and had to stand
upon the very top, and reach up, before she could catch the floating
tail of the baby's long clothes.
"When the strange fact came to be known, there was a terrible commotion
in the palace. The occasion of its discovery by the king was,
naturally, a repetition of the nurse's experience. Astonished that he
felt no weight when the child was laid in his arms, he began wave her
up and—not down, for she slowly ascended to the ceiling as before, and
there remained floating in perfect comfort and satisfaction, as was
testified by her peals of tiny laughter. The king stood staring up in
speechless amazement and trembled so that his beard shook like grass in
the wind. At last, turning to the queen, who was just as horror-struck
as himself, he said, gasping, staring, and stammering:—
"'She can't be ours, queen.'
"Now the queen was much cleverer than the king, and had begun already
to suspect that 'this effect defective came by cause.'
"'I am sure she is ours,' answered she. 'But we ought to have taken
better care of her at the christening. People who were never invited
ought not to have been present.'
"'Oh, ho!' said the king, tapping his forehead with his forefinger, 'I
have it all. I've found her out. Don't you see it, queen? Princess
Makemnoit has bewitched her.'
"'That's just what I say,' answered the queen.
"'I beg your pardon, my love, I did not hear you. John, bring the steps
I get on my throne with.'
"For he was a little king with a great throne, like many other kings.
"The throne-steps were brought, and set upon the dining-table, and John
got upon the top of them. But he could not reach the little princess,
who lay like a baby-laughter-cloud in the air, exploding continuously.
"'Take the tongs, John,' said his majesty, and getting up on the table,
he handed them to him.
"John could reach the baby now, and the little princess was handed down
by the tongs."
WHERE IS SHE.
One fine summer day, a month after these her first adventures, during
which time she had been very carefully watched, the princess was lying
on the bed in the queen's own chamber, fast asleep. One of the windows
was open, for it was noon, and the day so sultry that the little girl
was wrapped in nothing less ethereal than slumber itself. The queen
came into the room, and, not observing that the baby was on the bed,
opened another window. A frolicsome fairy wind, which had been watching
for a chance of mischief, rushed in at the one window, and, taking its
way over the bed where the child was lying, caught her up, and rolling
and floating her long like a piece of flue, or a dandelion-seed,
carried her with it through the opposite window, and away. The queen
went downstairs, quite ignorant of the loss she had herself occasioned.
When the nurse returned, she supposed that her majesty had carried her
off, and, dreading a scolding delayed making inquiry, about her. But,
hearing nothing, she grew uneasy, and went at length to the queen's
boudoir, where she found her majesty.
"'Please your majesty, shall I take the baby?' said she.
"'Where is she?' asked the queen.
"'Please forgive me. I know it was wrong.'
"'What do you mean?' said the queen looking grave.
"'Oh! don't frighten me, your majesty!' exclaimed the nurse, clasping
"The queen saw that something was amiss, and fell down in a faint. The
nurse rushed about the palace, screaming, 'My baby! my baby!'
"Every one ran to the queen's room. But the queen could give no orders.
They soon found out, however, that the princess was missing, and in a
moment the palace was like a beehive in a garden. But in a minute more,
the queen was brought to herself by a great shout and clapping of
hands. They had found the princess fast sleep under a rosebush to which
the wind puff had carried her, finishing its mischief by shaking a
shower of red rose-leaves all over the little white sleeper. Startled
by the noise the servants made, she woke; and furious with glee,
scattered the rose-leaves in all directions, like a shower of spray in
"She was watched more carefully after this, no doubt; yet it would be
endless to relate all the odd incidents resulting from this peculiarity
of the young princess. But there never was a baby in a house, not to
say a palace, that kept a household in such constant good-humor, at
least below stairs. If it was not easy for her nurses to hold her,
certainly she did not make their arms ache. And she was so nice to play
at ball with! There was positively no danger of letting her fall. You
might throw her down, or knock her down, or push her down, but but you
couldn't let her down. It is true, you might let her fly into
the fire or the coal-hole, or through the window; but none of these
accidents had happened as yet. If you heard peals of laughter
resounding from some unknown region, you might be sure enough of the
cause. Going down into the kitchen, or the room you would find
Jane and Thomas, and Robert and Susan, all and sum, playing at ball
with the little princess. She was the ball herself and did not enjoy it
the less for that. Away she went, flying from one to another,
screeching with laughter. And the servants loved the ball itself better
even than the game. But they had to take care how they threw her, for,
if she received an upward direction, she would never come down with out
WHAT IS TO BE DONE.
But above stairs it was different. One day, for instance, after
breakfast, the king went into his counting-house, and counted out his
money. The operation gave him no pleasure.
"'To think,' said he to himself, 'that every one of these gold
sovereigns weighs a quarter of an ounce, and my real, live flesh-and-
blood princess, weighs nothing at all!'
"And he hated his gold sovereigns, as they lay with a broad smile of
self-satisfaction all over their yellow faces.
"The queen was in the parlor, eating bread and honey. But at the second
mouthful, she burst out crying, and could not swallow it. The king
heard her sobbing. Glad of anybody, but especially of his queen, to
quarrel with, he dashed his gold sovereigns into his money-box, clapped
his crown on his head, and rushed into the parlor.
"'What is all this about?' exclaimed he. 'What are you crying for,
"'I can't eat it,' said the queen, looking ruefully it the honey-pot.
"'No wonder!' retorted the king. 'You've just eaten your breakfast,—
two turkey eggs, and three anchovies.'
"'Oh! that's not it!' sobbed her majesty. It's my child, my child!'
"' Well, what's the matter with your child? She's neither up the
chimney nor down the draw-well. Just hear her laughing. Yet the king
could not help a sigh, which he tried to turn into a cough, saying:—
"'It is a good thing to be light-hearted, I am sure, whether she be
ours or not.'
"'It is a bad thing to be light-headed, answered the queen, looking,
with prophetic soul, far into the future.
"'Tis a good thing to be light-handed,' said the king.
"'Tis a bad thing to be light-fingered,' answered the queen.
"'Tis a good thing to be light-footed,' said the king.
"'Tis a bad thing,' began the queen; but the king interrupted her.
"'In fact.' said he, with the tone of one who concludes an argument in
which he has had only imaginary opponents, and in which, therefore, he
has come off triumphant,—'in fact, it is a good thing altogether to be
"'But it is a bad thing altogether to be light-minded.' retorted the
queen, who was beginning to lose her temper.
"This last answer quite discomfited his majesty, who turned on his
heel, and betook himself to his counting-house again. But he was not
half-way towards it, when the voice of his queen, overtook him:—
"'And it's a bad thing to be light-haired," screamed she, determined to
have more last words, now that her spirit was roused.
"The queen's hair was black as night; and the king's had been, and his
daughter's was golden as morning. But it was not this reflection on his
hair that troubled him; it was the doubled use of the word light. For
the king hated all witticisms, and punning especially. And besides he
could not tell whether the queen meant light-haired or light-heired;
for why might she not aspirate her vowels when she was ex-asperated
"He turned upon his other heel, and rejoined her. She looked angry
still, because she knew that she was guilty, or, what was much the
same, knew that he thought so.
"'My dear queen,' said he, 'duplicity of any sort is exceedingly
objectionable between married people, of any rank, not to say kings and
queens; and the most objectionable form it can assume is that of
"'There!' said the queen, 'I never made a jest, but I broke it in the
making. I am the most unfortunate woman in the world!'
"She looked so rueful, that the king took her in his arms; and they sat
down to consult.
"'Can you bear this?' said the king.
"'No I can't,' said the queen.
"'Well, what is to be done?' said the king.
"'I'm sure I don't know,' said the queen. 'But might you not try an
"To my old sister, I suppose you mean?' said the king.
"'Yes,' said the queen.
"'Well, I don't mind,' said the king.
"So he went the next morning to the garret of the princess, and, making
a very humble apology, begged her to undo the spell. But the princess
declared, with a very grave face, that she knew nothing at all about
it. Her eyes, however, shone pink, which was a sign that she was not
happy. She advised the king and queen to have patience, and to mend
their ways. The king returned disconsolate. The queen tried to comfort
"'We will wait till she is older. She may then be able to suggest
something. She will know at least how she feels, and explain things to
"'But what if she should marry!' exclaimed the king, in sudden
consternation at the idea.
"'Well, what of that?' rejoined the queen.
"'Just think? If she were to have any children! In the course of a
hundred years the air might be as full of floating children as of
gossamers in autumn.'
"'That is no business of ours,' replied the queen. 'Besides, by that
time, they will have learned to take care of themselves.'
"A sigh was the king's only answer.
"He would have consulted the court physicians; but he was afraid they
would try experiments upon her."
SHE LAUGHS TOO MUCH.
Meantime, notwithstanding awkward occurrences, and griefs that she
brought her parents to, the little princess laughed and grew,—not fat,
but plump and tall. She reached the age of seventeen, without having
fallen into any worse scrape than a chimney; by rescuing her from
which, a little bird-nesting urchin got fame and a black face. Nor,
thoughtless as she was, had she committed any thing worse than laughter
at everybody and everything that came in her way. When she heard that
General Clanrunfort was cut to pieces with all his forces she laughed;
when she heard that the enemy was on his way to besiege her papa's
capital, she laughed hugely; but when she heard that the city would
most likely be abandoned to the mercy of the enemy's soldiery,—why
then she laughed immoderately. These were merely reports invented for
the sake of experiment. But she never could be brought to see the
serious side of anything. When her mother cried she said:—
"'What queer faces mamma makes! And she squeezes water out her cheeks?
"And when her papa stormed at her, she laughed, and danced round and
round him, clapping her hands, and crying:—
"'Do it again, papa. Do it again! It's such fun. Dear funny papa!'
"And if he tried to catch her, she glided from him in an instant; not
in the least afraid of him, but thinking it part of the game not to be
caught. With one push of her foot, she would be floating in the air
above his head; or she would go dancing backwards and forwards and
sideways, like a great butterfly. It happened several times, when her
father and mother were holding a consultation about her in private,
that they were interrupted by vainly repressed outbursts of laughter
over their heads; looking up with indignation, saw her floating at full
length in the air above them, whence she regarded them with the most
comical appreciation of the position.
"One day an awkward accident happened. The princess had come out upon
the lawn with one of her attendants, who held her by the hand. Spying
her father at the other side of the lawn, she snatched her hand from
the maid's and sped across to him. Now when she wanted to run alone her
custom was to catch up a stone in each hand, so that she might come
down again after a bound. Whatever she wore as part of her attire had
no effect in this way; even gold, when it thus became as it were a part
of herself, lost all its weight for the time. But whatever she only
held in her hands retained its downward tendency. On this occasion she
could see nothing to catch up, but a huge toad, that was walking across
the lawn as if he had a hundred years to do it in. Not knowing what
disgust meant, for this was one of her peculiarities, she snatched up
the toad, and bounded away. She had almost reached her father, and he
was holding out his arms to receive her and take from her lips the kiss
which hovered on them like butterfly on a rosebud, when a puff of wind
blew her aside into the arms of a young page, who had just been
receiving a message from his majesty. Now it was no great peculiarity
in the princess that once she was set a-going, it always cost her time
and trouble to check herself. On this occasion there was no time. She
must kiss,—and she kissed the page. She did not mind it much;
for she had no shyness on his composition; and she knew, besides, that
she could not help it. So she only laughed like a musical-box. The poor
page fared the worst. For the princess, trying to correct the
unfortunate tendency of the kiss, put out her hands to keep her off the
page; so that, along with the kiss, he received on the other cheek a
slap with a huge black toad, which she poked right into his eye. He
tried to laugh too; but it resulted in a very odd contortion of
countenance, which showed that there was no danger of him pluming
himself on the kiss. Indeed it is not safe to be kissed by princesses.
As for the king, his dignity was greatly hurt, and he did not speak to
the page for a whole month.
"I may here remark that it was very amusing to see her run, if her mode
of progression could properly be called running. For first, she would
make a bound; then having alighted, she would run a few steps, and make
another bound. Sometimes she would fancy she had reached the ground
before she actually had, and her feet would go backwards and forwards,
running upon nothing at all, like those of a chicken on its back. Then
she would laugh like the very spirit of fun; only in her laugh there
was something missing. What it was I find myself unable to describe. I
think it was a certain tone, depending upon the possibility of
sorrow,—morbidezza, perhaps. She never smiled."
After a long avoidance of the painful subject, the king and queen
resolved to hold a counsel of three upon it; and so they sent for the
princess. In she came, sliding and flitting and gliding from one piece
of furniture to another, and put herself at last in an arm chair, in a
sitting posture. Whether she could be said to sit, seeing she
received no support from the seat of the chair, I do not pretend to
"'My dear child,' said the king, you must be aware that you are not
exactly like other people.'
"'O you dear funny papa! I have got a nose and two eyes and all the
rest. So have you. So has mamma.'
"'Now be serious, my dear, for once,' said the queen.
"'No, thank you, mamma; I had rather not.'
"'Would you not like to be able to walk like other people?' said the
"'No indeed, I should think not. You only crawl. You are such slow
"'How do you feel, my child?' he resumed, after a pause of
"'Quite well, thank you.'
"'I mean, what do you feel like?'
"'Like nothing at all, that I know of.'
"'You must feel like something.'
"'I feel like a princess, with such a funny papa and such a dear pet of
"'Now really!" began the queen; but the princess interrupted her
"'Oh! yes,' she added, 'I remember. I have a curious feeling sometimes,
as if I were the only person that had any sense in the whole world.'
"She had been trying to behave herself with dignity; but now she burst
into a violent fit of laughter, threw herself backwards over the chair,
and went rolling about the floor in an ecstasy of enjoyment. The king
picked her up easier than one does a down quilt, and replaced her on
her former relation to the chair. The exact preposition expressing this
relation I do not happen to know.
"'Is there nothing you wish for?' resumed the king, who had learned by
this time that it was quite useless to be angry with her.
"'O you dear papa!—yes,' answered she.
"'What is it, my darling?'
"'I have been longing for it,—oh such a time; Ever since last night.'
"'Tell me what it is.'
"'Will you promise to let me have it?'
"The king was on the point of saying yes; but the wiser queen checked
him with a single motion of her head.
"'Tell me what it is first? said he.
"'No, no. Promise first'
"'I dare not What is it?'
"'Mind I hold you to your promise. It is—to be tied to the end of a
string,—a very long string indeed, and be flown like a kite. Oh, such
fun! I would rain rose-water, and hail sugar-plums, and snow whipt-
cream, and, and, and—'
"A fit of laughing checked her; and she would have been off again, over
the floor, had not the king started up and caught her just in time.
Seeing that nothing but talk could be got out of her, he rang the bell,
and sent her away with two of her ladies-in-waiting.
"'Now, queen,' he said, turning to her majesty, 'what is to be done?'
"'There is but one thing left,' answered she. 'Let us consult the
college of metaphysicians.'
"'Bravo?' cried the king; 'we will.'
"Now at the head of this college were two very wise Chinese
philosophers, by name, Hum-Drum, and Kopy-Keck. For them the king went,
and straight-way they came. In a long speech, he communicated to them
what they knew very well already,—as who did not?—namely, the
peculiar condition of his daughter in relation to the globe on which
she dwelt and requested them to consult together as to what might be
the cause and probable cure of her infirmity. The king laid
stress upon the word, but failed to discover his own pun. The queen
laughed; but Hum-Drum and Kopy-Keck heard with humility and retired in
silence. Their consultation consisted chiefly in propounding and
supporting, for the thousandth time, each his favorite theories. For
the condition of the princess afforded delightful scope for the
discussion of every question arising from the the division of thought,—
in fact of all the Metaphysics of the Chinese Empire. But it is only
justice to say that they did not altogether neglect the discussion of
the practical question, what was to be done?
"Hum-Drum was a Materialist, and Kopy-Keck was a Spiritualist. The
former was slow and sententious; the latter was quick and flighty; the
latter had generally the first word; the former the last.
"'I assert my former assertion.' began Kopy-Keck, with a plunge. 'There
is not a fault in the princess, body, or soul; only they are wrong put
together. Listen to me now, Hum-Drum, and I will tell in brief what I
think. Don't speak. Don't answer me. I won't hear you till I
have done. At that decisive moment, when souls seek their appointed
habitations, two eager souls met, rebounded, lost their way, and
arrived each at the wrong place. The soul of the princess was one of
those, and she went far astray. She does not belong by rights to this
world at all, but to some other planet, probably Mercury. Her
proclivity to her true sphere destroys all the natural influence which
this orb would otherwise possess over her corporeal frame. She cares
for nothing here. There is no relation between her and this world.
"'She must therefore be taught, by the sternest compulsion, to take an
interest in the earth as the earth. She must study every department of
its history,—its animal history; its vegetable history; its mineral
history; its social history; its moral history; its political history;
its scientific history; its literary history; its musical history; its
artistical history; above all, its metaphysical history. She must begin
with the Chinese Dynasty, and end with Japan. But, first of all, she
must study Geology, and especially the history of the extinct races of
animals,—their natures, their habits their loves, their hates their
revenges. She must—'
"'Hold, h-o-o-old!' roared Hum-Drum. 'It is certainly my turn now. My
rooted and insubvertible conviction is that the cause of the anomalies
evident in the princess' condition are strictly and solely physical.
But that is only tantamount to acknowledging that they exist. Hear my
opinion. From some cause or other, of no importance to our inquiry, the
motion of her heart has been reversed. That remarkable combination of
the suction and the force pump works the wrong way,—I mean in the case
of the unfortunate princess: it draws in where it should force out, and
forces out where it should draw in. The offices of the auricles and the
ventricles are subverted. The blood is sent forth by the veins, and
returns by the arteries. Consequently it is running the wrong way
through all her corporeal organism,—lungs and all. Is it then at all
mysterious, seeing that such is the case, that on the other particular
of gravitation as well, she should differ from normal humanity? My
proposal for the cure is this:—
"'Phlebotomize until she is reduced to the last point of safety. Let it
be effected, if necessary, in a warm bath. When she is reduced to a
state of perfect asphyxia, apply a ligature to the left ankle, drawing
it as tight as the bone will bear. Apply, at the same moment, another
of equal tension around the right wrist. By means of plates constructed
for the purpose, place the other foot and hand under the receivers of
two air-pumps. Exhaust the receivers. Exhibit a pint of French brandy,
and await the result.'
"'Which would presently arrive in the form of grim Death, said Kopy-
"'If it should, she would yet die in doing our duty,' retorted Hum-
"But their majesties had too much tenderness for their volatile
offspring to subject her to either of the schemes of the equally
unscrupulous philosophers. Indeed, the most complete knowledge of the
laws of nature would have been unserviceable in her case; for it was
impossible to classify her. She was a fifth imponderable body, sharing
all the other properties of the ponderable."
TRY A DROP OF WATER.
Perhaps the best thing for the princess would have been falling in
love. But how a princess who had no gravity at all could fall into
anything, is a difficulty, perhaps the difficulty. As for her own
feelings on the subject, she did not even know that there was such a
beehive of honey and stings, to be fallen into. And now I come to
mention another curious fact about her.
"The palace was built on the shore of the loveliest lake in the world,
and the princess loved this lake more than father or mother. The root
of this preference, no doubt,—although the princess did not recognize
it as such,—was that the moment she got into it, she recovered the
natural right of which she had been so wickedly deprived,—namely,
gravity. whether this was owing to the fate that water had been
employed as the means of conveying the injury, I do not know. But it is
certain that she could swim and dive like the duck that her old nurse
said she was. The way that this alleviation of her misfortune was
discovered, was as follows: One summer evening, during the carnival of
the country, she had been taken upon the lake by the king and queen, in
the royal barge. They were accompanied by many of the courtiers in a
fleet of little boats. In the middle of the lake, she wanted to get
into the lord chancellor's barge, for his daughter, who was a great
favorite with her, was in with her father, The old king rarely
condescended to make light of his misfortune, but on this occasion he
happened to be in a particularly good-humor, and as the barges
approached each other, he caught up the princess to throw her into the
chancellor's barge. He lost his balance, however, and dropping into the
bottom of the barge, lost his hold of his daughter, not, however,
before imparting to her the downward tendency of his own person, though
in a somewhat different directions for as the king fell into the boat,
she fell into the water. With a burst of delighted laughter, she
disappeared in the lake. A cry of horror ascended from the boats. They
had never seen the princess go down before. Half the men were under
water in a moment, but they had all, one after another, come up to the
surface again for breath, when,—tinkle, tinkle, babble and gush, came
the princess' laugh over the water from far away. There she was,
swimming like a swan. Nor would she come out for king or queen,
chancellor or daughter. But though she was obstinate, she seemed more
sedate than usual. Perhaps that was because a great pleasure spoils
laughing. After this the passion of her life was to get into the water,
and she was always the better behaved and the more beautiful, the more
she had of it. Summer and winter it was all the same, only she could
not stay quite so long in the water when they had to break the ice to
let her in. Any day, from morning till evening, she might be descried,—
a streak of white in the blue water,—lying as still as the shadow of
a cloud, or shooting along like a dolphin, disappearing, and coming up
again far off, just where one did not expect her. She would have been
in the lake of a night too, if she could have had her way, for the
balcony of her window overhung a deep pool in it, and through a shallow
reedy passage she could have swum out into the wide wet water, and no
one would have been any the wiser. Indeed, when she happened to wake in
the moonlight, she could hardly resist the temptation. But there was
the sad difficulty of getting into it. She had as great a dread of the
air as some children have of water. For the slightest gush of wind
would blow her away, and a gust might arise in the stillest moment.
And, if she gave herself a push towards the water and just failed of
reaching it, her situation would be dreadfully awkward, irrespective of
the wind, for at best there she would have to remain, suspended in her
nightgown till she was seen and angled for by somebody from the window.
"'Oh! if I had my gravity,' thought she, contemplating the water, 'I
would flash off this balcony like a long white sea-bird, headlong into
the darling wetness. Heigh-ho!'
"This was the only consideration that made her wish to be like other
"Another reason for being fond of the water was, that, in it alone, she
enjoyed any freedom. For she could not walk out without a cortege,
consisting in part of a troop of light horse, for fear of the liberties
which the wind might take with her. And the king grew more apprehensive
with increasing years, till, at last, he would not allow her to walk
abroad without some twenty silken cords fastened to as many parts of
her dress, and held by twenty noblemen. Of course horseback was out of
the question. But she bade good by to all this ceremony, when she got
into the water. So remarkable were its effects upon her, especialy, in
restoring her for the time to the ordinary human gravity, that, strange
to say, Hum-Drum and Kopy-Keck agreed in recommending the king to bury
her alive for three years, in the hope that, as the water had done her
so much good, the earth would do her yet more. But the king had some
vulgar prejudices against the experiment, and would not give consent.
Foiled in this, they yet agreed in another recommendation, which,
seeing that the one imported his opinions from China and the other from
Thibet, was very remarkable indeed. They said, that if water of
external origin and application could be so efficatious, water from a
deeper source might work a perfect cure; in short, that if the poor,
afflicted princess could by any means be made to cry, she might recover
her lost gravity.
"But how was this to be brought about? Therein lay the difficulty. The
philosophers were not wise enough for this. To make the princess cry
was as impossible as to make her weigh. They sent for a professional
beggar, commanded him to prepare his most touching oracle of woe,
helped him, out of the court charity-box, to whatever he wanted for
dressing up, and promised great rewards in the event of his success.
But it was all in vain. She listened to the mendicant artist's story,
and gazed at his marvellous make-up till she could contain herself no
longer, and went into the most undignified contortions for relief,
shrieking,—positively screeching with laughter.
"When she had a little recovered herself, she ordered her attendants to
drive him away, and not give him a single copper; whereupon his look of
mortified discomfiture wrought her punishment and his revenge, for it
sent her into violent hysterics, from which she was with difficulty
"But so anxious was the king that the suggestion should have a fair
trial, that he put himself in a rage one day, and rushing up to her
room, gave her an awful whipping. But not a tear would flow. She looked
grave, and her laughing sounded uncommonly like screaming,—that was
all. The good old tyrant, though he put on his best gold spectacles to
look, could not discover the smallest cloud in the serene blue of her
PUT ME IN AGAIN.
It must have been about this time that the son of a king, who lived a
thousand miles from Lagobel, set out to look for the daughter of a
Queen. He travelled far and wide but as sure as he found a princess he
found some fault with her. Of course he could not marry a mere woman,
however beautiful; and there was no princess to be found worthy of him.
Whether the prince was so near perfection that he had a right to demand
perfection itself, I cannot pretend to say. All I know is, that he was
a fine, handsome, brave, generous, well-bred and well-behaved youth, as
all princes are.
"In his wanderings, he had come across some reports about our princess;
but, as everybody said she was bewitched, he never dreamed that she
could bewitch him. For what indeed could a prince do with a princess
that had lost her gravity? Who could tell what she might not lose next?
She might lose her visibility, or her tangibility; or, in short, the
power of making impressions upon the radical sensorium; so that he
should never be able to tell whether she was dead or alive. Of course,
he made no further inquiries about her.
"One day he lost sight of his retinue in a great forest. These forests
are very useful in delivering princes from their courtiers, like a
sieve that keeps back the bran. Then the princes get away to follow
their fortunes. In this, they have the advantage of the princesses, who
are forced to marry before they have had a bit of fun. I wish our
princesses got lost in a forest sometimes.
"One lovely evening, after wandering about for many days, he found that
he was approaching the outskirts of this forest; for the trees had got
so thin that he could see the sunset through them; and he soon came
upon a kind of heath. Next, he came upon signs of human neighborhood;
but, by this time it was getting late, and there was nobody in the
fields to direct him.
"After travelling for another hour, his horse, quite worn out with long
labor and lack of food, fell, and was unable to rise again. So he
continued his journey on foot. At length, he entered another wood,—not
a wild forest, but a civilized wood, through which a footpath led him
to the side of a lake. Along this path, the prince pursued his way
through the gathering darkness. Suddenly, he paused, and listened.
Strange sounds came across the water. It was, in fact, the princess
laughing. Now, there was something odd in her laugh, as I have already
hinted; for the hatching of a real hearty laugh requires the incubation
of gravity; and, perhaps, this was how the prince mistook the laughter
for screaming. Looking over the lake, he saw something white in the
water; and, in an instant, he had torn off his tunic, kicked off his
sandals, and plunged in. He soon reached the white object, and found
that it was a woman. There was not light enough to show that she was a
princess, but quite enough to show that she was a lady, for it does not
want much light to see that.
"Now, I cannot tell how it came about,—whether she pretended to be
drowning, or whether he frightened her, or caught her so as to embarass
her; but certainly he brought her to shore in a fashion ignominious to
a swimmer, and more nearly drowned than she ever expected to be; for
the water had got into her throat as often as she had tried to speak.
"At the place to which he bore her, the bank was only a foot or two
above the water, so he gave her a strong lift out of the water, to lay
her on the bank. But, her gravitation ceasing the moment she left the
water, away she went, up into the air, scolding and screaming:—
"'You naughty, naughty, NAUGHTY, NAUGHTY, man!'
"No one had ever succeeded in putting her into a passion before. When
the prince saw her ascend he thought he must have been bewitched, and
have mistaken a great swan for a lady. But the princess caught hold of
the topmost cone upon a lofty fir. This came off; but she caught at
another, and in fact, stopped herself by gathering cones, dropping them
as the stalks gave way. The prince, meantime, stood in the water,
forgetting to get out. But the princess disappearing, he scrambled on
shore, and went in the direction of the tree. He found her climbing
down one of the branches, towards the stem. But in the darkness of the
wood, the prince continued in some bewilderment as to what the
phenomenon could be; until, reaching the ground, and seeing him
standing there, she caught hold of him, and said:—
"'I'll tell papa.'
"'Oh, no, you won't!' rejoined the prince.
"'Yes, I will,' she persisted. 'What business had you to pull me down
out of the water, and throw me to the bottom of the air? I never did
you any harm.'
"'I am sure I did not mean to hurt you.'
"'I don't believe you have any brains; and that is a worse loss than
your wretched gravity. I pity you.'
"The prince now saw that he had come upon the bewitched princess, and
had already offended her. Before he could think what to say next, the
princess, giving a stamp with her foot that would have sent her aloft
again, but for the hold she had of his arm, said angrily:
"'Put me up directly.'
"'Put you up where, you beauty?' asked the prince.
"He had fallen in love with her, almost, already; for her anger made
her more charming than anyone else had ever beheld her; and, as far as
he could see, which certainly was not far, she had not a single fault
about her, except, of course, that she had no gravity. A prince,
however, must be incapable of judging of a princess by weight. The
loveliness of a foot, for instance, is hardly to be estimated by the
depth of the impression it can make in mud!
"'Put you up where, you beauty?' said the prince.
"'In the water, you stupid!' answered the princess. "'Come, then,' said
"The condition of her dress, increasing her usual difficulty in
walking, compelled her to cling to him; and he could hardly persuade
himself that he was not in a delightful dream, notwithstanding the
torrent of musical abuse with which she overwhelmed him. The prince
being in no hurry, they reached the lake at quite another part, where
the bank was twenty-five feet high at least. When they stood at the
edge, the prince, turning towards the princess, said:—
"'How am I to put you in?'
"'That is your business,' she answered, quite snappishly. 'You took me
out,—put me in again.'
"'Very well,' said the prince; and, catching her up in his arms, he
sprang with her from the rock. The princess had just time to give one
delightful shriek of laughter before the water closed over them. When
they came to the surface, the princess, for a moment or two, could not
even laugh, for she had gone down with such a rush, that it was with
difficulty that she recovered her breath. The moment they reached the
"'How do you like falling in?' said the prince.
"After a few efforts, the princess panted out:—
"'Is that what you call falling in?'
"'Yes,' answered the prince,'I should think it a very tolerable
"'It seemed to me like going up,' rejoined she.
"'My feeling was certainly one of elevation, too,' the prince conceded.
"The princess did not appear to understand him, for she retorted his
"'How do you like falling in?'
"'Beyond everything,' answered he; 'for I have fallen in with the only
perfect creature I ever saw.'
"'No more of that; I am tired of it,' said the princess.
"Perhaps she shared her father's aversion to punning.
"'Don't you like falling in, then?' said the prince.
"'It is the most delightful fun I ever had in my life,' answered she.
'I never fell before. I wish I could learn. To I think I am the only
person in my father's kingdom that can't fall!'
"Here the poor princess looked almost sad.
"'I shall be most happy to fall in with you any time you like,' said
the prince devotedly.
"'Thank you. I don't know. Perhaps it would not be proper. But I don't
care. At all events, as we have fallen in, let us have a swim
"' With all my heart,' said the prince.
"And away they went, swimming, and diving, and floating, until at last
they heard cries along the shore, and saw lights glancing in all
directions. It was now quite late, and there was no moon.
"'I must go home,' said the princess. 'I am very sorry, for this is
"'So am I,' responded the prince. 'But I am glad I haven't a home to go
to,—at least, I don't exactly know where it is.'
"'I wish I hadn't one either,' rejoined the princess: 'it is so stupid!
I have a great mind,' she continued, 'to play them all a trick. Why
couldn't they leave me alone? They won't trust me in the lake for a
single night! You see where that green light is burning? That is the
window of my room. Now if you would just swim there with me very
quietly, and when we are all but under the balcony, give me such a
push—up you call it—as you did a little while ago, I should be
able to catch hold of the balcony, and get in at the window; and then
they may look for me till to-morrow morning!'
"With more obedience than pleasure," said the prince, gallantly; and
away they swam, very gently.
"'Will you be in the lake tomorrow night?' the prince ventured to ask.
"'To be sure I will. I don't think so. Perhaps,'—was the princess'
somewhat strange answer.
"But the prince was intelligent enough not to press her further; and
merely whispered, as he gave her the parting lift: 'Don't tell.' The
only answer the princess returned was a roguish look. She was already a
yard above his head. The look seemed to say: 'Never fear. It is too
good fun to spoil that way.'
"So perfectly like other people had she been in the water, that even
yet the prince could scarcely believe his eyes when he saw her ascend
slowly, grasp the balcony, and disappear through the window. He turned,
almost expecting to see her still by his side. But he was alone in the
water. So he swam away quietly, and watched the lights roving about the
shore for hours after the princess was safe in her chamber. As soon as
they disappeared he landed in search of his tunic and sword, and after
some trouble, found them again. Then he made the best of his way round
the lake to the other side. There the wood was wilder, and the shore
steeper,—rising more immediately towards the mountains which
surrounded the lake on all sides, and kept sending it messages of
silvery streams from morning to night, and all night long. He soon
found a spot whence he could see the green light in the princess' room,
and where, even in the broad daylight, he would be in no danger of
being discovered from the opposite shore. It was a sort of cave in the
rock, where he provided himself a bed of withered leaves, and lay down
too tired for hunger to keep him awake. All night long he dreamed that
he was swimming with the princess."
LOOK AT THE MOON.
Early the next morning, the prince set out to look for something to
eat, which he soon found at a forester's hut, where, for many following
days, he was supplied with all that a brave prince could consider
necessary. And, having plenty to keep him alive for the present, he
would not think of wants not yet in existence. Whenever Care intruded,
this prince always bowed him out in the most princely manner.
"When he returned from his breakfast to his watch-cave, he saw the
princess already floating about in the lake, attended by the king and
queen,—whom he knew by their crowns,—and a great company in lovely
little boats, with canopies of all the colors of the rainbow, and flags
and streamers of a great many more. It was a very bright day, and soon
the prince, burned up with the heat, began to long for the water and
the cool princess. But he had to endure till the twilight; for the
boats had provisions on board, and it was not till the sun went down,
that the gay party began to vanish. Boat after boat drew away to the
shore, following that of the king and queen, till only one, apparently
the princess' own boat, remained. But she did not want to go home even
yet, and the prince thought he saw her order the boat to the shore
without her. At all events, it rowed away; and now, of all the radiant
company, only one white speck remained. Then the prince began to sing.
"And this was what he sang:
Lift thine eyes,
By the might
Of thine eyes.
Oars of snow,
Oar her hither.
Soft and slow,
Oar her hither
"Stream behind her
O'er the lake,
In her wake
Following, following for her sake,
"Cling about her,
Part not from her,
Cold and true
Kisses round her.
Lap me round,
That have left her;
Make me glad,
For he had
Kissed her ere ye left her.
"Before he had finished his song, the princess was just under the
place where he sat, and looking up to find him. Her ears had led her
"'Would you like a fall, princess?' said the prince, looking down.
"'Ah! there you are. Yes, if you please, prince,' said the princess
"How do you know I am a prince, princess,' said the prince.
"'Because you are a very nice young man, prince, said the princess.
"'Come up then, princess.'
"'Fetch me, prince.'
"Then the prince took off his scarf, then his sword-belt, then his
tunic, and tied them all together, and let them down. But the line was
far too short. He unwound his turban, and added it to the rest, when it
was all but long enough, and his purse completed it. The princess just
managed to lay hold of the knot of money, and was beside him in a
moment. This rock was much higher than the other, and the splash and
the dive were tremendous. The princess was in ecstasies of delight and
their swim was delicious.
"Night after night, they met, and swam about in the dark, clear lake,
where such was the prince's delight, that (whether the princess' way of
looking at things infected him, or he was actually getting light-
headed) he often fancied that he was swimming in the sky instead of the
lake. But when he talked about being in heaven, the princess laughed at
"When the moon came, she brought them fresh pleasure. Everything looked
strange and new in her light, with an old, withered, yet unfading
newness. When the moon was nearly full, one of their great delights
was, to dive deep in the water, and then, turning round, look up
through it at the great blot of light close above them, shimmering and
trembling and wavering, spreading and contracting, seeming to melt
away, and again grow solid. Then they would shoot up through it; and
lo! there was the moon, far off, clear and steady and cold, and very
lovely, at the bottom of a deeper and bluer lake than theirs, as the
"The prince soon found out that, while in the water, the princess was
very like other people. And, besides this, she was not so forward in
her questions, or pert in her replies at sea as on shore. Neither did
she laugh so much; and when she did laugh it was more gently. She
seemed altogether more modest and maidenly in the water than out of it.
But when the prince, who had really fallen in love when he fell in the
lake, began to talk to her about love, she always turned her head
towards him and laughed. After a while, she began to look puzzled, as
if she were trying to understand what he meant, but could not—
revealing a notion that he meant something. But as soon as ever she
left the lake, she was so altered, that the prince said to himself: 'If
I marry her, I see no help for it, we must turn merman and mermaid, and
go out to sea once."
The princess' pleasure in the lake had grown to a passion, and she
could scarcely bear to be out of it for an hour. Imagine, then, her
consternation, when, diving with the prince one night, a sudden
suspicion seized her, that the lake was not so deep as it used to be.
The prince could not imagine what had happened. She shot to the surface
and, without a word, swam at full speed towards the higher side of the
lake. He followed, begging to know if she was ill, or what was the
matter. She never turned her head, or took the smallest notice of his
question. Arrived at the shore she coasted the rocks with minute
inspection. But she was not able to come to a conclusion, for the moon
was very small, and so she could not see well. She turned therefore and
swam home, without saying a word to explain her conduct to the prince,
of whose presence she seemed no longer conscious. He withdrew to his
cave, in great perplexity and distress.
"Next day she made many observations, which, alas! strengthened her
fears. She saw that the banks were too dry, and that the grass on the
shore and the trailing plants on the rocks were withering away. She
caused marks to be made along the borders, and examined them day after
day, in all directions of the wind, at last the horrible idea became a
certain fact,—that the surface of the lake was slowly sinking.
"The poor princess nearly went out of the little mind she had. It was
awful to her, to see the lake which she loved more than any living
thing, lie dying before her eyes. It sank away, slowly vanishing. The
tops of rocks that had never been seen before began to appear far down
in the clear water. Before long, they were dry in the sun. It was
fearful to think of the mud that would lie baking and festering full of
lovely creatures dying, and ugly creatures coming to life, like the
unmaking of a world. And how hot the sun would be without any lake! She
could not bear to swim in it, and began to pine away. Her life seemed
bound up with it, and, ever as the lake sank, she pined. People said
she would not live an hour after the lake was gone. But she never
"Proclamation was made to all the kingdom, that whosoever should
discover the cause of the lake's decrease would be rewarded after a
princely fashion. Hum-Drum and Kopy-Keck applied themselves to their
physics and metaphysics, but in vain. No one came forward to suggest a
"Now the fact was, that the old princess was at the root of the
mischief. When she heard that her niece found more pleasure in the
water than any one else had out of it, she went into a rage, and cursed
herself for her want of foresight.
"'But,' said, 'I will soon set all right. The king and the people shall
die of thirst; their brains shall boil and frizzle in their skulls,
before I shall lose my revenge.
"And she laughed a ferocious laugh, that made the hairs on the back of
her black cat, stand erect with terror.
"Then she went to an old chest in the room, and, opening it, took out
what looked like apiece of dried sea-weed. This she threw into a tub of
water. Then she threw some powder into the water, and stirred it with
her bare arm, muttering over it words of hideous sound, and yet more
hideous import. Then she set the tub aside, and took from her chest a
huge bunch of a hundred rusty keys, that clattered in her shaking
hands. Then she sat down and proceeded to oil them all. Before she had
finished, out from the tub, the water of which had kept a slow motion
ever since she had ceased stirring it, came the head and half the body
of a huge gray snake. But the witch did not look round. It grew out of
the tub, waving itself backwards and forwards with a slow, horizontal
motion, till it reached the princess, when it laid its head upon her
shoulder, and gave a low hiss in her ear. She started—but with joy;
and, seeing the head resting on her shoulder, drew it towards her and
kissed it. Then she drew it all out of the tub, and wound it round her
body. It was one of those dreadful creatures which few have ever
beheld,—the White Snakes of Darkness.
"Then she took the keys and went down cellar; and, as she unlocked the
door, she said to herself:—
"'This is worth living for'!
"Locking the door behind her, she descended a few steps into the
cellar, and crossing it, unlocked another door into a dark, narrow
passage. This also she locked behind her, and descended a few more
steps. If any one had followed the witch-princess, he would have heard
her unlock exactly one hundred doors, and descend a few steps after
unlocking each. When she had unlocked the last, she entered a vast
cave, the roof of which was supported by huge natural pillars of rock.
Now this roof was the underside of the bottom of the lake.
"She then untwined the snake from her body and held it by the tail high
above her. The hideous creature stretched up its head towards the roof
of the cavern, which it was just able to reach. It then began to move
its head backwards and forwards, with a slow, oscillating motion, as if
looking for something At the same moment, the witch began to walk round
and round the cavern, coming nearer to the centre every circuit; while
the head of the snake described the same path over the roof that she
did over the floor. for she held it up still. And still it kept slowly
oscillating. Round and round the cavern they went thus, ever lessening
the circuit, till, at last, the snake made a sudden dart, and clung
fast to the roof with its mouth. 'That's right, my beauty?' cried the
princess; 'drain it dry.'
"She let it go, left it hanging, and sat down on a great stone, with
her black cat, who had followed her all around the cave, by her side.
Then she began to knit, and mutter awful words. The snake hung like a
huge leech, sucking at the stone; the cat stood with his back arched,
and his tail like a piece of cable, looking up at the snake; and the
old woman sat and knitted and muttered. Seven days and seven nights
they sat thus; when suddenly the serpent dropped from the roof, as if
exhausted, and shrivelled up like a piece of dried sea-weed on the
floor. The witch started to her feet, picked it up, put it in her
pocket, and looked up at the roof. One drop of water was trembling on
the spot where the snake had been sucking. As soon as she saw that, she
turned and fled, followed by her cat. She shut the door in a terrible
hurry, locked it, and, having muttered some frightful words, sped to
the next, which also she locked and muttered over: and so with all the
hundred doors, till she arrived in her own cellar. There she sat down
on the floor ready to faint, but listening with malicious delight to
the rushing of the water, which she could hear distinctly through all
the hundred doors.
"But this was not enough. Now that she had tasted revenge, she lost her
patience. Without further measures, the lake would be too long in
disappearing. So the next night, with the last shred of the dying old
moon rising, she took some of the water in which she had revived the
snake, put it in a bottle, and set out, accompanied by her cat. Ere she
returned, she had made the entire circuit of the lake, muttering
fearful words as she crossed every stream, and casting into it some of
the water out of her bottle. When she had finished the circuit, she
muttered yet again, and flung a handful of the water towards the moon.
Every spring in the country ceased to throb and bubble, dying away like
the pulse of a dying man. The next day there was no sound of falling
water to be heard along the borders of the lake. The very courses were
dry; and the mountains showed no silvery streaks down their dark sides.
And not alone had the fountains of mother Earth ceased to flow; for all
the babies throughout the country were crying dreadfully,—only without
WHERE IS THE PRINCE?
Never since the night when the princess left him so abruptly, had the
prince had a single interview with her. He had seen her once or twice
in the lake; but as far as he could discover, she had not been in it
any more at night. He had sat and sung, and looked in vain for his
Nereid; while she, like a true Nereid, was wasting away with her lake,
sinking as it sank, withering as it dried. When at length he discovered
the change that was taking place in the level of the water, he was in
great alarm and perplexity. He could not tell whether the lake was
dying because the lady had forsaken it; or whether the lady would not
come because the lake had begun to sink. But he resolved to know so
much at least.
"He disguised himself, and, going to the palace, requested to see the
lord chamberlain. His appearance at once gained his request; and the
lord chamberlain being a man of some insight, perceived that there was
more in the princess solicitation than met the ear. He felt likewise
that no one could tell whence a solution of the present difficulties
might arise. So he granted the prince's prayer to be made shoeblack to
the princess. It was rather knowing in the prince to request such an
easy post; for the princess could not possibly soil as many shoes as
"He soon learned all that could be told about the princess. He went
nearly distracted; but, after roaming about the lake for days, and
diving in every depth that remained, all that he could do was to put an
extra polish on the dainty pair of boots that was never called for.
"For the princess kept her room, with the curtains drawn to shut out
the dying lake. But she could not shut it out of her mind for a moment.
It haunted her imagination so that she felt as if her lake were her
soul, drying up within her, first to become mud, and then madness and
death. She brooded over the change, with all its dreadful
accompaniments, till she was nearly out of her mind. As for the prince,
she had forgotten him. However much she had enjoyed his company in the
water, she did not care for him without it, But she seemed to have
forgotten her father and mother too.
"The lake went on sinking. Small slimy spots began to appear, which
glittered steadily amidst the changeful shine of the water. These grew
to broad patches of mud, which widened and spread, with rocks here and
there, and floundering fishes and crawling eels swarming about. The
people went everywhere catching these, and looking for anything that
might have been dropped into the water.
"At length the lake was all but gone; only a few of the deepest pools
"It happened one day that a party of youngsters found themselves on the
brink of one of these pools in the very centre of the lake. It was a
rocky basin of considerable depth. Looking in, they saw at the bottom
something that shone yellow in the sun. A little boy jumped in and
dived for it. It was a plate of gold, covered with writing. They
carried it to the king.
"On one side of it stood these words:—
"'Death alone from death can save,
Love is death, and so is brave.
Love can fill the deepest grave.
Love loves on beneath the wave.'
"Now this was enigmatical enough to the king and courtiers. But the
reverse of the plate explained it a little. Its contents amounted to
"'If the lake should disappear, they must find the hole through which
the water ran. But it would be useless to try to stop it by any
ordinary means. There was but one effectual mode. The body of a living
man could alone stanch the flow. The man must give himself of his own
will; and the lake must take his life as it filled. Otherwise the
offering would be of no avail. If the nation could not provide one
hero, it was time it should perish.'"
HERE I AM.
This was a very disheartening revelation to the king. Not that he was
unwilling to sacrifice a subject, but that he was hopeless of finding a
man willing to sacrifice himself. No time could be lost, however; for
the princess was lying motionless on her bed, and taking no nourishment
but lake-water, which was now none of the best. Therefore the king
caused the contents of the wonderful plate of gold to be published
throughout the country.
"No one, however, came forward.
"The prince having gone several days' journey into the forest, to
consult a hermit whom he had met there on his way to Lagobel, knew
nothing of the oracle till his return.
"When he had acquainted himself with all the particulars, he sat down
"'She would die, if I didn't do it; and life would be nothing to me
without her; so I shall lose nothing by doing it. And life will be as
pleasant to her as ever, for she will soon forget me, and there will be
so much more beauty and happiness in the world. To be sure, I shall not
see it.'—Here the poor prince gave a sigh.—'How lovely the lake will
be in the moonlight, with that glorious creature sporting in it like a
wild goddess! It is rather hard to be drowned by inches, though. Let me
see,—that will be seventy inches of me to drown.'—Here he tried to
laugh, but could not—'The longer the better, however,' he resumed;
'for can I not bargain that the princess shall be beside me all the
time? So I can see her once more,—kiss her perhaps, who knows?—and
die looking into her eyes. It will be no death. At least I shall not
feel it. And to see the lake filling for the beauty again!—All right I
I am ready.'
"He kissed the princess' boot, laid it down, and hurried to the king's
apartment. But feeling, as he went, that anything sentimental would be
disagreeable, he resolved to carry off the whole affair with burlesque.
So he knocked at the door of the king's counting-house, where it was
all but a capital crime to disturb him. When the king heard the knock,
he started up, and opened the door in a rage. Seeing only the
shoeblack, he drew his sword. This, I am sorry to say, was his usual
mode of asserting his regality, when he thought his dignity was in
danger. But the prince was not in the least alarmed.
"'Please your majesty, I'm your butler.' said he.
"'My butler! you lying rascal! What do you mean?'
"'I mean, I will cork your big bottle.'
"'Is the fellow mad?' bawled the king, raising the point of his sword.
"'I will put a stopper,—plug,—what you call it, in your leaky lake,
grand monarch,' said the prince.
"The king was in such a rage, that before he could speak he had time to
cool, and to reflect that it would be great waste to kill the only man
who was willing to be useful in the present emergency, seeing that, in
the end, the insolent fellow would be as dead as if he had died by his
majesty's own hand.
"'Oh!' said he, at last, putting up his sword with difficulty,—it was
so long; 'I am obliged to you, you young fool? Take a glass of wine?'
"'No, thank you,' replied the prince.
"'Very well,' said the king. 'Would you like to run and see your
parents before you make your experiment?'
"'No, thank you,' said the prince.
"'Then we will go and look for the hole at once,' said his majesty, and
proceeded to call some attendants.
"'Stop, please your majesty; I have a condition to make,' interposed
"'What!' exclaimed the king; 'a condition! and with me! How dare you?'
"'As you please,' said the prince, coolly. 'I wish your majesty good-
"'You wretch! I will have you put in a sack, and stuck in the hole.'
"'Very well, your majesty,' replied the prince, becoming a little more
respectful, least the wrath of the king should deprive him of the
pleasure of dying for the princess. 'But what good will that do your
majesty? Please to remember that the oracle says that the victim must
"'Well, you have offered yourself,' retorted the king.
"'Yes, upon one condition.'
"'Condition again!' roared the king, once more drawing his sword.
'Begone! Somebody else will be glad enough to take the honor off your
"'Your majesty knows it will not be easy to get one to take my place.'
"'Well, what is your condition?' growled the king, feeling that the
prince was right.
"'Only this,' replied the prince: 'that, as I must on no account die
before I am fairly drowned, and the waiting will be rather wearisome,
the princess, your daughter, shall go with me, feed me with her own
hands, and look at me now and then, to comfort me; for you must confess
it is rather hard. As soon as the water is up to my eyes, she may go
and be happy, and forget her poor shoeblack.'
"Here the prince's voice faltered, and he very nearly grew sentimental,
in spite of his resolutions.
"'Why didn't you tell me before what your condition was? Such a fuss
about nothing!' exclaimed the king.
"'Do you grant it?' persisted the prince.
"'I do,' replied the king
"'Very well. I am ready.'
"'Go and have some dinner, then, while I set my people to find the
"The king ordered out his guards, and gave directions to the officers
to find the hole in the lake at once. So the bed of the lake was marked
out in divisions, and thoroughly examined; and in an hour or so the
hole was discovered. It was in the middle of a stone, near the centre
of the lake, in the very pool where the golden plate had been found. It
was a three-cornered hole, of no great size. There was water all round
the stone, but none was flowing through the hole."
THIS IS VERY KIND OF YOU.
The prince went to dress for the occasion, for he was resolved to die
like a prince. "When the princess heard that a man had offered to die
for her, she was so transported that she jumped off the bed, feeble as
she was, and danced about the room for joy. She did not care who the
man was; that was nothing to her. The hole wanted stopping; and if only
a man would do, why, take one. In an hour or two more, everything was
ready. Her maid dressed her in haste, and they carried her to the side
of the lake. When she saw it, she shrieked, and covered her face with
her hands. They bore her across to the stone, where they had already
placed a little boat for her. The water was not deep enough to float
it, but they hoped it would be, before long. They laid her on cushions,
placed in the boat wines and fruits and other nice things, and
stretched a canopy over all.
"In a few minutes, the prince appeared. The princess recognized him at
once; but did not think it worth while to acknowledge him.
"'Here I am,' said the prince. 'Put me in.
"'They told me it was a shoeblack,' said the princess.
"'So I am,' said the prince. 'I blacked your little boots three times a
day, because they were all I could get of you. Put me in.'
"The courtiers did not resent his bluntness, except by saying to each
other that he was taking it out in impudence.
"But how was he to be put in? The golden plate contained no
instructions on this point. The prince looked at the hole, and saw but
one way. He put both his legs into it, sitting on the stone, and,
stooping forward, covered the two corners that remained open with his
two hands. In this uncomfortable position he resolved to abide his
fate, and, turning to the people, said:—
"'Now you can go.'
"The king had already gone home to dinner.
"'Now you can go,' repeated the princess after him, like a parrot.
"The people obeyed her, and went.
"Presently a little wave flowed over the stone, and wetted one of the
prince's knees. But he did not mind it much. He began to sing, and the
song he sang was this:—
"'As a world that has no well,
Darkly bright in forest-dell:
As a world without the gleam
Of the downward-going stream;
As a world without the glance
Of the ocean's fair expanse;
As a world where never rain
Glittered on the sunny plain,—
Such, my heart, thy world would be,
If no love did flow in thee.
"'As a world without the sound
Of the rivulets under ground;
Or the bubbling of the spring
Out of darkness wandering;
Or the mighty rush and flowing
Of the river's downward going;
Or the music-showers that drop
On the out-spread beech's top;
Or the ocean's mighty voice,
When his lifted waves rejoice,—
Such my soul, thy world would be,
If no love did sing in thee.
"'Lady, keep thy world's delight;
Keep the waters in thy sight;
Love hath made me strong to go,
For thy sake, to realms below,
Where the water's shine and hum
Through the darkness never come
Let, I pray, one thought of me
Spring, a little well, in thee;
Lest thy loveless soul be found
Like the dry and thirsty ground.'
"'Sing again, prince. It makes it less tedious,' said the princess.
"But the prince was too much overcome to sing any more. And a long
"'This is very kind of you, prince,' said the princess at last, quite
coolly, as she lay in the boat with her eyes shut.
"' I am sorry I can't return the compliment,' thought the prince; 'but
you are worth dying for, after all.'
"Again a wavelet, and another, and another, flowed over the stone, and
wetted both the prince's knees thoroughly; but he did not speak or
move. Two—three—four hours passed in this way, the princess
apparently fast asleep, and the prince very patient. But he was much
disappointed in his position, for he had none of the consolation he had
"At last he could bear it no longer.
"'Princess!' said he.
"But at the moment, up started the princess, crying:—
"'I'm afloat! I'm afloat!'
"'And the little boat bumped against the stone.
"'Princess!' repeated the prince, encouraged by seeing her wide awake,
and looking eagerly at the water.
"'Well?' said she, without once looking around.
"'Your papa promised that you should look at me; and you haven't looked
at me once.'
"'Did he? Then I suppose I must. But I am so sleepy!'
"'Sleep, then, darling, and don't mind me,' said the poor prince.
"'Really, you are very good,' replied the princess. 'I think I will go
to sleep again.'
"'Just give me a glass of wine and a biscuit, first,' said the prince
"'With all my heart,' said the princess, and gaped as she said it.
"She got the wine and the biscuit, however, and coming nearer with
"'Why, prince,' she said, 'you don't look well? Are you sure you don't
"'Not a bit,' answered he, feeling very faint indeed. 'Only, I shall
die before it is of any use to you, unless I have something to eat.'
"'There, then!' said she, holding out the wine to him.
"'Ah! you must feed me. I dare not move my hands. The water would run
"'Good gracious!' said the princess, and she began at once to feed him
with bits of biscuit, and sips of wine.
"As she fed him, he contrived to kiss the tips of her fingers now and
then. She did not seem to mind it, one way or the other. But the prince
"'Now for your own sake, princess,' said he, 'I cannot let you go to
sleep. You must sit and look at me, else I shall not be able to keep
"'Well, I will do anything I can to oblige you,' answered she, with
condescension, and, sitting down, she did look at him, and kept looking
at him, with wonderful steadiness, considering all things.
"The sun went down, and the moon came up, and gush after gush the
waters were flowing over the rock. They were up to the prince's waist,
"'Why can't we go and have a swim?' said the princess. 'There seems to
be water enough just about here.'
"'I shall never swim more,' said the prince.
"'Oh! I forgot,' said the princess, and was silent.
"So the water grew and grew, and rose up and up on the prince. And the
princess sat and looked at him. She fed him now and then. The night
wore on. The waters rose and rose. The moon rose likewise, higher and
higher, and shone full on the face of the dying prince. The water was
up to his neck.
"'Will you kiss me, princess?' said he, feebly, at last, for the fun
was all out of him now.
"'Yes, I will,' answered the princess, and kissed him with a long,
sweet, cold kiss.
"'Now,' said he, with a sigh of content, 'I die happy.'
"He did not speak again. The princess gave him some wine for the last
time: he was past eating. Then she sat down again, and looked at him.
The water rose and rose. It touched his chin. It touched his lower lip.
It touched between his lips. He shut them hard to keep it out. The
princess began to feel strange. It touched his upper lip. He breathed
through his nostrils. The princess looked wild. It covered his
nostrils. Her eyes looked scared, and shone strange in the moonlight.
His head fell back; the water closed over it; and the bubbles of his
last breath bubbled up through the water. The princess gave a shriek,
and sprang into the lake.
"She laid hold first of one leg, then of the other, and pulled and
tugged, but she could not move either. She stopped to take breath, and
that made her think that he could not get any breath. She was frantic.
She got hold of him, and held his head above the water, which was
possible, now his hands were no longer on the hole. But it was of no
use, for he was past breathing.
"Love and water brought back all her strength. She got under the water,
and pulled and pulled with her whole might, till, at last, she got one
leg out. The other hastily followed. How she got him into the boat she
never could tell; but when she did she fainted away. Coming to herself,
she seized the oars, kept herself steady as best she could, and rowed
and rowed, though she had never rowed before. Round rocks, and over
shallows, and through mud, she rowed, till she got to the landing
stairs of the palace. By this time, her people were on the shore, for
they had heard her shriek. She made them carry the prince to her own
room, and lay him in her bed, and light a fire, and send for the
"'But the lake, your Highness,' said the chamberlain, who, roused by
the noise, came in, in his nightcap.
"'Go and drown yourself in it,' said she.
"This was the last rudeness of which the princess was ever guilty, and
one must allow that she had good cause to feel provoked with the lord
"Had it been the king himself, he would have fared no better. But both
he and the queen were fast asleep. And the chamberlain went back to
bed. So the princess and her old nurse were left with the prince.
Somehow, the doctors never came. But the old nurse was a wise woman,
and knew what to do.
"They tried everything for a long time without success. The princess
vas nearly distracted between hope and fear, but she tried on and on,
one thing after another, and everything over and over again.
"At last, when they had all but given it up, just as the sun rose, the
prince opened his eyes."
LOOK AT THE RAIN!
The princess burst into a passion of tears, and fell on the floor.
There she lay for an hour, and her tears never ceased. All the pent-up
crying of her life was spent now. And a rain came on, such as had never
been seen in that country. The sun shone all the time, and the great
drops, which fell straight to the earth, shone likewise. The palace was
in the heart of a rainbow. It was a rain of rubies, and sapphires, and
emeralds, and topazes. The torrents poured from the mountains like
molten gold, and if it had not been for its subterraneous outlet, the
lake would have overflowed and inundated the country. It was full from
shore to shore.
"But the princess did not heed the lake. She lay on the floor and wept.
And this rain within doors was far more wonderful than the rain out of
doors. For when it abated a little, and she proceeded to rise, she
found, to her astonishment, that she could not. At length, after many
efforts, she succeeded in getting upon her feet. But she tumbled down
again directly. Hearing her fall, her old nurse uttered a yell of
delight, and ran to her, screaming:—
"'My darling child! She's found her gravity!'
"'Oh! that's it, is it?' said the princess rubbing her shoulder and her
knee alternately. 'I consider it very unpleasant. I feel as if I should
be crushed to pieces.'
"'Hurrah!' cried the prince, from the bed. 'If you're all right,
princess, so am I. How's the lake?'
"'Brimful! answered the nurse.
"'Then we're all jolly.'
"'That we are indeed!' answered the princess, sobbing.
"And there was rejoicing all over the country that rainy day. Even the
babies forgot their past troubles, and danced and crowed amazingly. And
the king told stories, and the queen listened to them. And he divided
the money in his box, and she the honey in her pot, to all the
children. And there was such jubilation as was never heard of before.
"Of course the prince and princess were betrothed at once. But the
princess had to learn to walk, before they could be married with any
And this was not so easy, at her time of life, for she could walk no
more than a baby. She was always falling down and hurting herself.
"'Is this the gravity you used to make so much of?' said she one day to
the prince. 'For my part, I was a great deal more comfortable without
"' No, no; that's not it. This is it,' replied the prince, as he took
her up, and carried her about like a baby, kissing her all the time.
'This is gravity.'
"'That's better,' said she. 'I don't mind that so much.'
"And she smiled the sweetest, loveliest smile in the prince's face. And
she gave him one little kiss, in return for all his, and he thought
them overpaid, for he was beside himself with delight. I fear she
complained of her gravity more than once after this, notwithstanding.
"It was a long time before she got reconciled to walking. But the pain
of learning it was quite counterbalanced by two things, either of which
would have been sufficient consolation. The first was, that the prince
himself was her teacher; and the second, hat she could tumble into the
lake as often as she pleased. Still, she preferred to have the prince
jump in with her, and the splash they made before was nothing to the
splash they made now.
"The lake never sank again. In process of time it wore the roof of the
cavern quite through, and was twice as deep as before.
"The only revenge the princess took upon her aunt was to tread pretty
hard on her gouty toe the next time she saw her. But she was sorry for
it the very next day, when she heard that the water had undermined her
house, and that it had fallen in the night, burying her in its ruins;
whence no one ever ventured to dig up her body. There she lies to this
"So the prince and princess lived and were happy, and had crowns of
gold, clothes of cloth, shoes of leather, and children of boys and
girls, not one of whom was ever known, on the most critical occasion,
to lose the smallest atom of his or her due proportion of gravity."
THE LEGEND OF THE LITTLE WEAVER.
You see, there was a Waiver lived, wanst upon a time, in Duleek here,
hard by the gate, and a very honest, industherous man he was, by all
accounts. He had a wife, and of coorse they had childhre, and small
blame to them, and plenty of them, so that the poor little Waiver was
obleeged to work his fingers to the bone a'most, to get them the bit
and the sup; but he did'nt begridge that, for he was an industherous
crayther, as I said before, and it was up airly and down late wid him,
and the loom was never standin' still. Well, it was one mornin' that
his wife called to him, and he sittin' very busy throwin' the shuttle,
and, says she, "Come here," says she, "jewel, and ate the breakquest,
now that it's ready." But he niver minded her, but went on workin': So
in a minit or two more says she, callin' out to him again, 'Arrah! lave
off slavin' yourself, my darlin', and ate your bit of breakquest while
it is hot."
"Lave me alone," says he, and he dhruv the shuttle faster nor before.
Well, in a little time more, she goes over to him where he sot, and,
says she, coaxin' him like, "Thady, dear," says she, "the stirabout
will be stone cowld, if you don't give over that weary work and come
and ate it at wanst."
"I'm busy with a patthern here that is brakin my heart." says the
Waiver, "and intil I complate it, and masther it intirely, I won't
"Oh, think of the illigant stirabout, that'll be spilte intirely."
"To the divil with the stirabout," says he.
"God forgive you," says she, "for cursing your good breakquest."
"Aye, and you too," says he,
"Troth, you're as cross as two sticks this blessed morning, Thady,"
says the poor wife, "and it's a heavy handful I have of you when you
are craked in your temper; but stay there if you like, and let your
stirabout grow cowld, and not one o' me'll ax you agin," and with that
off she went, and the Waiver, sure enough. was mighty crabbed, and the
more the wife spoke to him the worse he got, which, you know, is only
Well, he left the loom at last, and wint over to the stirabout, and
what would you think but when he luked at it, it was as black as a
crow; for you see it was the hoighth o' summer, and the flies lit upon
it to that degree, that the stirabout was fairly covered with ihem.
"Why then bad luck to your impidence," says the Waiver, "would no place
sarve you but that? and is it spiling my breakquest yez are, you dirty
And with that, being altogether craked tempered at the time, he lifted
his hand, and he made one great slam at the dish of stirabout, and
killed no less than threescore and tin flies at the one blow. It was
threescore and tin exactly, for he counted the carcasses one by one,
and laid them out on a clane plate, for to view them.
Well, he felt a powerful spirit risin' in him, when he seen the
slaughter he done at one blow, and with that he got as consaited as the
very dickens, and not a stroke more work he'd do that day, but out he
wint, and was fractious and impidint to everyone he met, and was
squarin' up into their faces and sayin':
"Look at that fist! that's the fist that killed threescore and tin at
With that all the neighbors thought he was cracked, and faith the poor
wife herself thought the same, when he kem home in the evenin', after
shpendin' every rap he had in dhrink, and swaggering about the place,
and lookin' at his hand every minit.
"Indade an' your hand is very dirty, sure enough, Thady jewel," said
the poor wife, and thrue for her, for he rowled into a ditch comin'
home, "you'd betther wash it, darlin'." "How dare you say dirty to the
greatest hand in Ireland," says he, going to bate her.
"Well, it's not dirty," says she.
"It's throwin' away my time I have been all my life," says he, "livin'
with you at all, and stuck at a loom nothin' but a poor Waiver, whin
it's Saint George or the Dhraggin I ought to be, which is two of the
sivin champions of Christendom."
"Well, suppose they christened him twice as much," says the wife,
"sure, what's that to us?"
"Don't put in your prate." says he, "you ignorant shtrap," says he,
"you're vulgar, woman,—you're vulgar—mighty vulgar; but I'll have
nothin' more to say to any dirty snakin' trade agin—divil a more
waivin' I'll do."
"Oh, Thady dear, and what'll the childre do then!"
"Let them go and play marvels," said he.
"That would be but poor feedin' for them, Thady."
"They shan't want for feedin'," says he, "for it's a rich man I'll be
soon, and a great man too."
"Usha, but I'm glad to hear it, darlin'—though I donna how it's to be,
but I think you had betther go to bed, Thady."'
"Don't talk to me of any bed, but the bed of glory, woman," says he—
lookin' mortial grand.
"Oh, God sind we'll all be in glory yet," says the wife, crassin'
herself, "but go to sleep, Thady, for this present."
"I'll sleep with the brave yit," says he.
"Indeed, and a brave sleep will do you a power o' good, my darlin',"
"And it's I that will be the knight!" says he.
"All night, if you plaze, Thady," says she.
"None o' your coaxin'," says he, "I'm detarmined on it, and I'll set
off immediately, and be a knight arriant."
"A what?" says she.
"A knight arriant, woman."
"Lord be good to me, what's that?" says she.
"A knight arriant is a rale gintleman," says he, "goin' round the world
for sport, with a swoord by his side, takin' whatever he plazes for
himself, and that's a knight arriant," says he.
Well sure enough, he wint about among his neighbors the next day, and
he got an owld kettle from one, and a saucepan from another, and he
took them to the tailor, and he sewed him up a suit of tin clothes like
any knight arriant, and he borrowed a pot lid, and that he was very
partikler about, bekase it was his shield, and he wint to a friend
o' his, a painther and glazier, and made him paint on his shield in big
"I'M THE MAN OF ALL MIN THAT KILLED THREESCORE AND TIN AT A BLOW."
"When the people sees that," says the Waiver to himself, "the sorra
one will dar' for to come near me."
And with that he found the wit to scour out the small iron pot for him
for says he, "it will make an illigant helmet—and when it was done, he
put it on his head, and the wife said, "Oh murther, Thady jewel, is it
puttin' a great heavy iron pot on your head you are, by way iv a hat?"
"Sartainly," says he, "for a knight arriant should always have a
weight on his brain."
"But, Thady dear," said the wife, "there's a hole in it, and it can't
keep out the weather."
"It will be the cooler," says he, puttin' it on him,—"besides, if I
don't like it, it is aisy to stop it up with a wisht o' straw, or the
like o' that."
"The three legs of it looks mighty quare, stickin up," says she.
"Every helmet has a spike stickin' out o' the top of it," says the
Waiver, "and if mine has three, it is only the grandther it is"
"Well," says the wife, getting bitther at last, "all I can say is, it
isn't the first sheep's head was dhressed in it."
"Your sarvent ma'am," says he; and off he set.
Well, he was in want of a horse, and so he wint to a field hard by,
where the miller's horse was grazin' that used to carry the ground corn
around the counthry.
"This is the idintical horse for me," says the Waiver, "he is used to
carryin' flour and male; and what am I but the flower o' shovelry in a
coat of mail; so that the horse won't be put out of his way in the
But as he was ridin' him out of the field, who should see him but the
"Is it stalin' my horse, you are, honest man?" says the miller.
"No," says the Waiver, "I am only goin, to exercise him," says he, "in
the cool o' the evenin', it will be good for his health."
"Thank you kindly," said the miller, "but lave him where he is, and
you'll obleege me."
"I can't afford it," says the Waiver, running his horse at the ditch.
"Bad luck to your impidence," says the miller. "you've as much tin
about you as a thravelin' tink but youv'e more brass. Come back here,
you vagabone," says he.
But he was late;—away galloped the Waiver, and tuk the road to Dublin,
for he thought the best thing he could do was to go to the King o'
Dublin (for Dublin was a grate place then, and had a king iv its own),
and he thought maybe the King o' Dublin would give him work. Well, he
was four days goin' to Dublin, for the baste was not the best, and the
roads worse, not all as one was now; but there was no turnpike then,
glory be to God! whin he got to Dublin he wint shtraight to the palace,
and whin he got into the coort yard, he let his horse go and graze
about the place, for the grass was growin' out betune the stones:
everythin' was flourishin' thin in Dublin, you see.
Well, the king was lookin' out in his dhrawin' room, for divarshun,
whin the Waiver came in, but the Waiver purtended not to see him, and
he wint over to a stone sait under the windy—for you see there was
stone sates all round about the place for the accommodation of the
people, for the king was a dacent obleegin' man,—well, as I said, the
Waiver wint over and lay down on one of the sates, just undher the
king's windy, and purtended to go asleep: but he tuk care to turn out
the front of his shield that had the letthers an it—well, my dear,
with that the king calls out to wan of the lords of his coort that was
shtandin' behind him, howldin' up the skirt iv his coat, accordin' to
raison, and says he:
"Look here," says he, "what do you think of a vagabone like that,
comin' under my very to nose go to sleep? It's thrue I'm a very good
king," says he, "and I 'commodate the people by having sates for them
to sit down and enjoy the raycreation and contimplation of seein' me
here lookin' out o' my drawing room windy for divarsion; but that is no
raison they're to make a hotel iv the place, and come and sleep here.
Who is it at all?" says the king.
"Not a one o' me knows, plaze your majesty."
"I think he must be a furriner," says the king, "bekase his dress is
"And doesn't know manners, more betoken," says the lord.
"I'll go and circumspect him myself," says the king,—"folly me," says
he to the lord, waivin' his hand at the same time in the most
Down he wint accordainly, followed by the lord, and whin he wint over
to where the Waiver was lyin', sure the first thing he seen was his
shield with the big letthers an it, and with that says he to the lord
"by dad," says he, "this is the very man I want."
"For what, plaze your majesty?" says the lord.
"To kill that vagabone dhraggin'," says the king.
"Sure, do you think he could kill him," says the lord, "whin all the
stoutest lords in the land wasn't aquil to it, but never kem back, and
was ate up alive by the cruel desaiver."
"Sure, don't you see there," says the king pointin' at the shield,
"that he killed threescore and tin at one blow, and the man that done
that I think is a match for anything."
So with that he went over to the Waiver and shook him by the shoulder
for to wake him, and the Waiver rubbed his eyes as if just wakened, and
the king says to him: "God save you," says he.
"God save you kindly," says the Waiver, purtendin' he was quite
unknowst who he was spakin to.
"Do you know who I am?" says the king, "that you make so free, good
"No indade," says the waiver, "you have the advantage of me."
"To be sure I have," says the king, mighty high; "sure, aint I the king
o' Dublin," says he.
The Waiver dropped down on his two knees forninst the king, and says
he, "I beg God's pardon and yours for the liberty I tuk, plaze your
holiness I hope you'll excuse it."
"No offence," says the king, "get up, good man. And what brings you
here," says he.
"I'm in want of work, plaze your rivirence," says the Waiver.
"Well, suppose I give you work?" says the king.
"I'll be proud to sarve you, my lord," says the Waiver.
"Very well," says the king, "you killed threescore and tin at one blow,
I undershtan'," says the king.
"Yis," says the Waiver, "that was the last thrifle o' work I done, and
I'm afeard my hand'll go out o' practice if I don't get some job to do,
"You shall have a job to do immidiately," says the king. "It's not
threescore and tin or any fine thing like that, it is only a blaguard
dhraggin, that is disturbin' the counthry and ruinating my tinanthry
wid aitin' their powlthry, and I'm lost for want of eggs," says the
"Troth, thin plaze your worship," says the waiver, "you look as yellow
as if you'd swallowed twelve yolks this minit."
"Well, I want this dhraggin to be killed," says the king. "It will be
no throuble in life to you; and I am only sorry that it isn't betther
worth your while, for he isn't worth fearin' at all; only I must tell
you that he lives in the county Galway, in the middle of a bog, and he
has an advantage in that."
"Oh, I don't value it in the laste," says the Waiver, "for the last
three-score and tin I killed was in a soft place."
"When will you undhertake the job, then?" says the king.
"Let me at him at wanst," says the Waiver.
"That is what I like," says the king, "you're the very man for my
money," says he.
"Talkin' of money," says the waiver, "by the same token I'll want a
thrifle o' change from you for my thravellin' charges."
"As much as you plaze," says the king, and with the word, he brought
him into his closet, where there was an owld stockin' in an owld chest,
burstin' wid golden guineas.
"Take as many as you plaze," says the king, and sure enough, my dear,
the little waiver stuffed his tin clothes as full as they could howld
"Now I'm ready for the road," says the waiver.
"Very well," says the king; "but you must have a fresh horse," says he.
"With all my heart," says the waiver, who thought he might as well
exchange the miller's owld garron for a betther.
And maybe its wondthering you are, that the Waiver would think of goin'
to fight the dhraggin afther what he heerd about him, whin he was
purtendin' to be asleep; but he had no sitch notion, all he intended
was to fob the goold; and ride back to Duleek with his gains and a good
horse. But you see, 'cute as the Waiver was, the king was 'cuter still;
for these high quolity, you see, is great desaivers; and so the horse
the Waiver was put an was learned an purpose, and, sure, the minit he
was mounted, away powdhered the horse, and the divil a toe he'd go but
right down to Galway.
Well, for four days he was goin' ever more, antil at last the Waiver
seen a crowd o' people runnin' as if owld Nick was at their heels, and
they shoutin' a thousand murdhers, and cryin' "The dhraggin, the
dhraggin!" and he couldn't stop the horse nor make him turn back, but
away he pelted right forninst the terrible baste that was comin' up to
him, and there was the most nefarious smell o' sulphur, savin' your
presence, enough to knock you down; and, faith, the Waiver seen he had
no time to lose, and so he threw himself off the horse, and made to a
three that was growin' nigh hand, and away he clambered up into it as
nimble as a cat; and not a minit had he to spare, for the dhraggin kem
up in a powerful rage, and he devoured the horse, body and bones, in
less than no time; and thin he began to sniffle and scent about for the
Waiver, and at last he clapt his eye on him, where he was, up in the
three, and says he:
"In troth you might as well come down out o' that," says he, "for I'll
have you as sure as eggs is mate."
"Divil a foot I'll go down," says the Waiver.
"Sorra care I care," says the dhraggin, "for you're as good as ready
money in my pocket this minit; for I'll lie undher this tree" says he,
"and sooner or later you must fall to my share."
And sure enough he sot down, and began to pick his teeth with his tail,
afther the heavy breakquest he made that mornin' (for he ate a whole
village, let alone a horse) and he got dhrowsy at last, and fell
asleep; but before he wint to sleep, he wound himself all round about
the three, all as one as a lady windin' ribbon round her finger, so
that the waiver could not escape.
Well, as soon as the Waiver knew he was dead asleep, by the snorin' of
him—and every snore he get out of him was like a clap o' thunder—that
minit the Waiver began to creep down the three as cautious as a fox,
and he was very nigh hand the bottom, whin bad cess to it, a thievin'
branch he was dipindin' an bruk, and down he fell right a top of the
dhraggin: but if he did good luck was an his side, for where should he
fall but with his two legs right acrass the draggin's neck, and my
jew'l, he laid howlt o' the baste's ears, and there he kept his grip,
for the dhraggin wakened and endayvored for to bite him, but, you see,
by raison the Waiver was behind his ears, he could not come at him, and
with that, he endayvored for to shake him off; but the divil a stir
could he stir the waiver; and though he shuk all the scales in his
body, he cud not turn the scale agin the Waiver.
"By the hokey, this is too bad, intirely," says the dhraggin; "but if
you won't let go," says he, "by the powers o' wild fire, I'll give you
a ride that'll astonish your sivin small sinses, my boy;" and with
that, away he flew like mad, and where do you think did he fly? by dad,
he flew straight for Dublin, divil a less. But the Waiver bein' an his
neck was a great disthress to him, and he would rather have had him an
inside passenger; but anyway he flew and he flew till he kem slap up
agin the palace of the king, or bein' blind with the rage he never seen
it, and he knocked his brains out; that is, the small trifle he had, and
down he fell spacheless. An' you see, good luck would have it, that the
king o' Dublin was lookin' out in his dhrawin room windy for divarshun,
that day also, and whin he seen the Waiver ridin' an the fiery dhraggin
(for he was blazin' like a tar barrel) he called out to his coortyers to
come and see the show.
"By the powdhers of war here comes the knight arriant," says the king
"riding the dhraggin that's all a fire, and if he gets into the palace
yis must be ready with the fire ingines [Footnote: Showing the antiquity
of these machines.] says he" for to put him out.
But whin they seen the dhraggin fall outside, they all run down stairs
and scampered into the palace yard for to circumspect the curiosity;
and by the tune they got down, the Waiver had got off the dhraggin's
neck, and, running up to the king, says he,
"Plaze your holiness," says he, "I did not think myself worthy of
killin' this facetious baste, so I brought him to yourself for to do
him the honor of decripitation by your own royal five fingers. But I
tamed him first, before I allowed him the liberty for to dar' to appear
in your royal prisance, and you'll oblige me if you'll just make your
mark upon the onruly baste's neck."
And with that the king, sure enough, drew out his swoord and took the
head off the dirty brute, as clane as a new pin. Well, there was
great rejoicin' in the coort that the dhraggin was killed, and says the
king to the little Waiver, says he.
"You are a knight arriant as it is so it would be no use for to knight
you over agin; but I will make you a lord," says he.
"Oh Lord!" says the Waiver, thunderstruck like at his own good luck.
"I will," says the king, "and as you're the first man I ever heerd tell
of that rode a dhraggin, you shall be called Lord Mount Dhraggin," says
"And where's my estates? plaze your holiness," says the Waiver, who
always had a sharp look out after the main chance.
"Oh, I didn't forget that," says the king, "It's my royal pleasure to
provide well for you, and for that raison I make you a present of all
the dhraggins in the world, and give you power over thim from this
out," says he.
"Is that all?" says the Waiver.
"All?" says the king, "why you ongrateful little vagabone, was the like
ever given to any man before?"
"I believe not indeed," says the Waiver: "many thanks to your Majesty."
"But that is not all I do for you," says the king; "I'll give you my
daughter too in marriage," says he.
Now you see that was nothin' more than what he promised the Waiver in
his first promise; for by all accounts the king's daughter was the
greatest dhraggin ever was seen, and had the divil's own tongue, and a
beard a yard long, which she purtinded was put an her by way of a
penance, by Father Mulcahy, her confissor; but it was well known was in
the family for ages, and no wondher it was so long, by raison of that