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where they were mean enough to suspect him of stealing a jewel-box out of a bedroom - and the injured man and my relatives soon parted. But, inclining (with my usual cynicism) to think that he did steal the valuables, think of his life for the month or two whilst he still remains in the service! He shows the officers over the house, agrees with them that the coup must have been made by persons familiar with it; gives them every assistance ; pities his master and mistress with a manly compassion ; points out what a cruel misfortune it is to himself as an honest man, with his living to get and his family to provide for, that this suspicion should fall on him. Finally he takes leave of his place, with a deep, though natural melancholy that ever he had accepted it. What's a thousand pounds to gentlefolks! A loss, certainly, but they will live as well without the diamonds as with them. But to John his Hihhonor was worth more than diamonds, his Ihonor was. Whohever is to give him back his character? Who is to prevent hany one from saying, “ Ho yes. This is the footman which was in the family where the diamonds was stole? ” &c.
I wonder has John prospered in life subsequently? If he is innocent he does not interest me in the least. The interest of the case lies in John's behavior supposing him to be guilty. Imagine the smiling face, the daily service, the orderly performance of duty, whilst within John is suffering pangs lest discovery should overtake him. Every bell of the door which he is obliged to open may bring a police officer. The accomplices may peach. What an exciting life John's must have been for a while. And now, years and years after, when pursuit has long ceased, and detection is impossible, does he ever revert to the little transaction? Is it possible those diamonds cost a thousand pounds? What a rogue the fence must have been who only gave him so and so! And I pleasingly picture to myself an old ex-footman and an ancient receiver of stolen goods meeting and talking over this matter, which dates from times so early that her present Majesty's fair image could only just have begun to be coined or forged.
I choose to take John at the time when his little peccadillo is suspected, perhaps, but when there is no specific charge of robbery against him. He is not yet convicted : he is not even on his trial; how then can we venture to say he is guilty ? Now think what scores of men and women walk the world in a like predicament; and what false coin passes current ! Pinchbeck strives to pass off his history as sound coin. He knows it is only base metal, washed over with a thin varnish of learning. Poluphloisbos puts his sermons in circulation : sounding brass, lacquered over with white metal, and marked with the stamp and image of piety. What say you to Drawcansir's reputation as a military commander ? to Tibbs's pretensions to be a fine gentleman? to Sapphira's claims as a poetess, or Rodoessa's as a beauty? His bravery, his piety, high birth, genius, beauty
each of these deceivers would palm his falsehood on us, and have us accept his forgeries as sterling coin. And we talk here, please to observe, of weaknesses rather than crimes. Some of us have more serious things to hide than a yellow cheek behind a raddle of rouge, or a white poll under a wig of jetty curls. You know, neighbor, there are not only false teeth in this world, but false tongues : and some make up a bust and an appearance of strength with padding, cotton, and what not? while another kind of artist tries to take you in by wearing under his waistcoat, and perpetually thumping, an immense sham heart. Dear sir, may yours and mine be found, at the right time, of the proper size and in the right place.
And what has this to do with half-crowns, good or bad ? Ah, friend! may our coin, battered, and clipped, and defaced though it be, be proved to be Sterling Silver on the day of the Great Assay!
“STRANGE TO SAY, ON CLUB PAPER.”
BEFORE the Duke of York's column, and between the 66 Athenæum” and “United Service” Clubs, I have seen more than once, on the esplanade, a preacher holding forth to a little congregation of badauds and street-boys, whom he entertains with a discourse on the crimes of a rapacious aristocracy, or warns of the imminent peril of their own souls. Sometimes this orator is made to 66
by brutal policemen. Sometimes, on a Sunday, he points to a white head or two visible in the windows of the Clubs to the right and left of him, and volunteers a statement that those quiet and elderly Sabbathbreakers will very soon be called from this world to another, where their lot will by no means be so comfortable as that which the reprobates enjoy here, in their arm-chairs by their
At the end of last month, had I been a Pall Mall preacher, I would have liked to send a whip round to all the Clubs in St.
James's, and convoke the few members remaining in London to hear a discourse sub Dio on a text from the Observer newspaper. I would have taken post under the statue of Fame, say, where she stands distributing wreaths to the three Crimean Guardsmen. (The crossing-sweeper does not obstruct the path, and I suppose is away at his villa on Sundays.) And, when the congregation was pretty quiet, I would have begun :
In the Observer of the 27th September, 1863, in the fifth page and the fourth column, it is thus written :
“ The codicil appended to the will of the late Lord Clyde, executed at Chatham, and bearing the signature of Clyde, F. M., is written, strange to say, on a sheet of paper bearing the • Athenæum Club' mark.”
What the codicil is, my dear brethren, it is not our business to inquire. It conveys a benefaction to a faithful and attached friend of the good Field-Marshal. The gift may be a lakh of rupees, or it may be a house and its contents — furniture, plate, and wine-cellar. My friends, I know the wine-merchant, and, for the sake of the legatee, hope heartily that the stock is large.
Am I wrong, dear brethren, in supposing that you expect a preacher to say a seasonable word on death here? don't, I fear you are but little familiar with the habits of preachers, and are but lax hearers of sermons.
We might contrast the vault where the warrior's remains lie shrouded and coffined, with that in which his worldly provision of wine is stowed away. Spain and Portugal and France — all the lands which supplied his store — as hardy and obedient subaltern, as resolute captain, as colonel daring but prudent — he has visited the fields of all. In India and China he marches alway's unconquered ; or at the head of his dauntless Highland brigade he treads the Crimean snow; or he rides from conquest to conquest in India once more ; succoring his countrymen in the hour of their utmost need ; smiting down the scared mutiny, and trampling out the embers of rebellion ; at the head of an heroic army, a consummate chief. And now his glorious old sword is sheathed, and his honors are won; and he has bought him a house, and stored it with odest cheer for his friends (the good old man put water in his own wine, and a glass or two sufficed him) — behold the end comes, and his legatee inherits these modest possessions by virtue of a codicil to his lordship’s will, written, " strange to say, upon a sheet of paper, bearing the · Athenæum Club'mark.” It is to this part of the text, my brethren, that I
address myself particularly, and if the remarks I make are offensive to any of you, you know the doors of our meetinghouse are open, and you can walk out when you will. Around us are magnificent halls and palaces frequented by such a multitude of men as not even the Roman Forum assembled together. Yonder are the Martium and the Palladium. Next to the Palladium is the elegant Viatorium, which Barry gracefully stole from Rome. By its side is the massive Reformatorium : and the the Ultratorium rears its granite columns beyond. Extending down the street palace after palace rises magnificent, and under their lofty roofs warriors and lawyers, merchants and nobles, scholars and seamen, the wealthy, the poor, the busy, the idle assemble. Into the halls built down this little street and its neighborhood the principal men of all London come to hear or impart the news; and the affairs of the state or of private individuals, the quarrels of empires or of authors, the movements of the court, or the splendid vagaries of fashion, the intrigues of statesmen or of persons of another sex yet more wily, the last news of battles in the great occidental continents, nay, the latest betting for the horse-races, or the advent of a dancer at the theatre all that men do is discussed in these Pall Mall agoræ, where we of London daily assemble.
Now among so many talkers, consider how many false reports must fly about : in such multitudes imagine how many disappointed men there must be; how many chatterboxes ; how many feeble and credulous (whereof I mark some specimens in my congregation); how many mean, rancorous, prone to believe ill of their betters, eager to find fault; and then, my brethren, fancy how the words of my text must have been read and received in Pall Mall! (I perceive several of the congregation looking most uncomfortable. One old boy with a dyed moustache turns purple in the face, and struts back to the Martium : another, with a shrug of the shoulder and a murmur of “Rubbish,” slinks away in the direction of the Togatorium, and the preacher continues.) The will of Field-Marshal Lord Clyde - signed at Chatham, mind, where his lordship died is written, strange to say, on a sheet of paper bearing the 6 Athenæum Club” mark !
The inference is obvious. A man cannot get Athenæum paper except at the “ Athenæum.” Such paper is not sold at Chatham, where the last codicil to his lordship’s will is dated. And so the painful belief is forced upon us, that a Peer, a Field-Marshal, wealthy, respected, illustrious, could pocket paper at his Club, and carry it away with him to the country.
One fancies the hall-porter conscious of the old lord's iniquity, and holding down his head as the Marshal passes the door. What is that roll which his lordship carries? Is it his Marshal's bâton gloriously won? No; it is a roll of foolscap conveyed from the Club. What has he on his breast, under his greatcoat? Is it his Star of India? No; it is a bundle of envelopes, bearing the head of Minerva, some sealing-wax, and a half-score of pens.
Let us imagine how in the hall of one or other of these Clubs this strange anecdote will be discussed. “ Notorious screw,” says Sneer.
old fellow's avarice has long been known.”
"Suppose he wishes to imitate the Duke of Marlborough,” says Simper.
6. Habit of looting contracted in India, you know; ain't so easy to get over, you know,” says Snigger.
- When officers dined with him in India,” remarks Solemn, “it was notorious that the spoons were all of a different pat
· Perhaps it isn't true. Suppose he wrote his paper at the Club?” interposes Jones.
6. It is dated at Chatham, my good man,” says Brown. “A man if he is in London says he is in London. A man if he is in Rochester says he is in Rochester. This man happens to forget that he is using the Club paper; and he happens to be found out: many men don't happen to be found out. I've seen literary fellows at Clubs writing their rubbishing articles ; I have no doubt they take away reams of paper. They crib thoughts: why shouldn't they crib stationery? One of your literary vagabonds who is capable of stabbing a reputation, who is capable of telling any monstrous falsehood to support his party, is surely capable of stealing a ream of paper.”
6 Well, well, we have all our weaknesses,” sighs Robinson. “ Seen that article, Thompson, in the Observer about Lord Clyde and the Club paper? You'll find it up stairs. In the third column of the fifth page towards the bottom of the page. I suppose he was so poor he couldn't afford to buy a quire of paper. Hadn't fourpence in the world. Oh, no!
“And they want to get up a testimonial to this man's memory a statue or something !” cries Jawkins. • A man who wallows in wealth and takes paper away from his Club! I don't say he is not brave. Brutal courage most men have. I don't say he was not a good officer: a man with such experience must have been a good officer unless he was a born fool.