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twenty years' war, he might have won a peerage, and my own hands, my word ought not to be doubteda monumental tomb in Westminster Abbey.
that the prisoner, William Linwood, is guiltless of the General Véray presently reseated himself; motioned offences laid to his charge. He came to France, as his subordinates to their places; the lieutenant- Father Meudon will, if necessary, be able to clearly secretary nibbed his pen with a business air, and the prove, for a perfectly legitimate, honest purpose'interrogatory of the self-constituted prisoner forthwith "That is true, messieurs !' exclaimed M. Meudon ; began.
"for an entirely innocent, laudable purpose.' *You acknowledge yourself,' said General Véray, As to his assumption of the character and attire of 'to be Webbe, captain of an English corsair lately an American and French citizen, and passing by the sunk by French gun-boats off Cherbourg ?'
name of Le Gros, all that was done by my direction and 'I repeat that I am Kirke Webbe, late captain of advice, and with no more thought on his part, that he the Scout privateer, which foundered off Cherbourg a thereby incurred the doom, than he had of lending few days since.'
himself to the work of a spy.' And that you are the Jacques Le Gros whom the 'I beg to reassert my thorough conviction,' said commander of the Columbia, an American ship, met Mr Tyler, again rising from his seat, 'that William with at St Malo?'
Linwood is guiltless of participation in the crimes of 'It would be absurd to deny that in presence of the the privateer Webbe.' gallant commander of the Columbia himself, who, to General Véray, after briefly consulting his colleagues avenge an injury done to him by a man, has endea- in an under-tone, said, addressing Webbe: voured to hunt to death a stripling, as innocent of “We are disposed to place faith in your declaration offence towards him—in a responsible sense—as your as regards the prisoner Linwood, and the execution of self, Monsieur le Général. That he has not succeeded the sentence passed against him will be respited, in in doing so,' added Webbe, “is solely due to the mag- order to a further investigation of his case. Have nanimous offer of the court to permit the boy to save you anything to urge on your own behalf ?' added the his own life by the sacrifice of his father's.'
general with abated sternness—the courage and gener. “You further admit,' continued the general, that osity of the self-immolated prisoner having somewhat you are the commander of the French cutter, won apparently upon the veteran's favour. L'Espiègle, and, when acting in that capacity, are Nothing that to-day would avail me!' replied known as Captain Jules Renaudin ?'
Webbe; and for the first time I detected a flush and 'Yes; and who in that capacity, it has been estab- tone of anxiety--slight and swiftly passing, but dislished by the unimpeachable evidence of the Moniteur, tinctly discernible by me who knew him so well, and beat off, with a slight vessel mounting only four guns, watched him with such breathless scrutiny. It resema British frigate of forty cannons, after a running- bled the irrepressible gleaming forth of the fierce fight of nearly an hour's duration, in which the ascend- disquietude of a practised gambler, when about to ency of French valour, compensating for any odds, turn the last decisive card upon which depends success was, as ever, strikingly displayed. That, messieurs, or ruin. you will in candour admit to be something per contra.' *Nothing that would to-day avail me! The mighty
Old stagers in such scenes as the members of the emperor who raised France so high amongst the nations court were, the man's cool audacity took them com- of the earth, has fallen : at this moment, the crownless pletely aback, and they mutely questioned each other monarch is being ignominiously driven forth into exile with interchanged looks of indignant astonishment as by kings who are indebted for their thrones to his to whether they could possibly have heard aright. generous forbearance; and who is there even amongst The mob of spectators, on the other hand, greeted the the veterans whose scarred brows the most directly privateer captain's jibing sarcasm with a buzz of satis- reflect the glory which he has shed over all Frenchfaction and approval. The French are no doubt an men, that will now respect the wishes of one so acute as well as brilliant people ; but for all that, he contemned, powerless, cast down, when by so doing or she who could suggest a compliment to their genius they must render themselves odious to the Bourbon or valour so outré, extravagant, that, if uttered without whom foreign bayonets have placed upon a throne laughing, would not be taken by the mass of them au based upon a thousand victories, won for France by sérieux, must, according to my experience, have a great the great emperor? It would be folly to expect such talent for invention. For myself, I was in doubt self-sacrificing fidelity in these degenerate days; and whether Webbe was comporting himself as such a I knew this morning, when I saw the white flag waving man might when certain that nothing on his part could from the tower of St Thomas's Church, that the time delay or accelerate the doom he liad challenged, or had passed when Napoleon's protection would have whether he might not possibly have some expedient in availed me. It may be as well, therefore, that an reserve which would save him under all circumstances. appeal certain to be fruitless should remain unspoken.' My superstitious reliance on his fortune or "luck' I should vainly attempt to describe the effect procould alone have suggested the latter hypothesis. duced by this speech. Affected, bombastic as it may Certain it was, however, that he had at all events sound in English ears, nothing could have been more perfectly succeeded in impressing the court with a skilfully suited to the tribunal it was designed to influthorough conviction of his reckless, devil-may-care ence. Even the miscellaneous crowd, who, if timesincerity.
servers, worshippers of the rising sun of the Bourbons, The prisoner's confession is ample warrant for his were still Frenchmen, murmured hesitating, timid condemnation to death as a spy,' said the general, applause; and General Véray, who had several times looking round upon the members of the court, and risen from his seat as if about to speak, and as often gathering their, on this occasion, unanimous suffrages, checked himself and sat down again, his keen, hard given with a curt 'Oui,' or silent nod. “Record the eyes flaming, softening the while, at the allusions to judgment,' he added, addressing the lieutenant- the past glory and present humiliation of the emperor, secretary.
burst out, the instant Webbe had concluded, with: Stern and sharp,' interposed Webbe, 'as may be *Perish the Bourbon flag and those who display it! the practice of such courts as these, it permits the It does not wave over Havre yet; and whilst I comaccused, I suppose, to speak a few words in defence or mand here, the emperor's authority shall be mainexplanation, before definitive judgment is pronounced?' tained intact, supreme as when his voice gave laws to Well, yes; say on, but be brief.'
Europe! But hope not, crafty, audacious man, that 'I have first to state most solemnly—and standing assertion unvouched by clearest proof will save you. as I do upon the brink of a grave voluntarily dug with Your word is nothing; but prove to me that you are
under the especial protection of his imperial majesty, and Kleber had just left the general-in-chief, who at which could only be for some signal service rendered the moment was observing the embarkation through a by you, an Englishman, to him or to France, and I telescope.' will set you free, though the Bourbon and his allies What became of the intentional assassin ?' were at the gates to forbid me doing so.'
He was shot within five minutes of his atrocious The proof is easy, conclusive,' said Webbe. “It attempt by a party of the 2d regiment of the line.' was for a signal service rendered to General Bonaparte, ‘How is it you remember so slight a circumstance as and therefore to France, that I obtained the protection the number of the regiment ?' which, a few moments since, I had no hope would Because the 2d of the line remained at Malta, and serve me in my present strait. It is true,' he added, I several times afterwards saw and even drank with drawing forth a folded, carefully kept paper- it is individuals of the firing-party' true I am an Englishman; but'
"The affair must have caused a great sensation in “What paper is that?' interrupted the general, with Malta ?' impatient vivacity.
It caused no public sensation whatever, inasmuch "One written in a kind of hieroglyphic hand, which as it was forbidden to speak of it, perhaps because those who have once seen it never fail
, I have been a disposition to murder is thought to be epidemical. told, to instantly recognise. Monsieur le Général' I know, at least, that one French soldier was punished added Webbe, ‘has no doubt, I perceive, upon that for alluding openly to the matter.' point.'
“How was it that General Bonaparte did not, in None-none whatever: it is the emperor's char- return for such a service, recompense you in a more acter, and written when he was a young man. “I solid manner than by a recommendation to the “bons commend to the good offices of my friends and of offices" of Frenchmen, which might never have been of all Frenchmen, the bearer of this writing-a foreign the slightest service to you?' seaman who has just rendered me the greatest service 'I wished for no other recompense; and besides that one man can owe to another.-BONAPARTE, Gene- that, General Bonaparte himself embarked within, I ral of the Army of Egypt.” How came you by this ?' should say, a quarter of an hour of the occurrence.? sternly proceeded General Véray; and what was the “How is it that the document neither gives your great service spoken of ?'
name, nor states that you were an "English" seaman?' It happened,' said Webbe, in a voice which I strove "The omission not only of a name but of a date, as to persuade myself must be that of truth-so firm, you will have observed, I can only account for by clear, sonorous did it ring through the hushed hall the general's hurry. As to the expression “foreign ‘it happened that I was in Malta when the French seaman,” I go designated myself. It would have been army, on its way to Egypt, landed there and took as imprudent on my part, at that time, in Malta, to possession of the celebrated fortress of the Knights of afford a hint or suspicion that I was Webbe, captain St John. One morning, when the wind, having become of the English privateer Wasp, as to have made a favourable, the troops were re-embarking'
similar avowal the other day at St Malo.' "Stop!' thundered General Véray– stop till you *How has it happened that you have never sought have heard me say that I was at Malta with the army, to utilise this precious document during the many and distinctly remember all the circumstances, the years it has been in your possession ?' minutest, connected with the deed to which, I have “My vocation as captain of an English privateer was now no doubt, this paper refers. If you are “the incompatible with a request to the emperor for any foreign seaman” mentioned, you shall be instantly set other than a pecuniary reward; and I was too proud, at liberty ; if, on the contrary, I find you to be an and, I may add, not sufficiently necessitous, to ask for impostor, and if you are one, cool, astute, daring as alms, even of a Napoleon, in recompense of what, after you may be, detection is, be sure of it, inevitable- all, was but an act of common humanity. It is, you shall be as immediately shot. Go on,' added the however,' continued Webbe, 'not quite correct to say general, in a calmer, almost respectful tone, after that I have made no use of so precious a document, having keenly marked the effect, or, more correctly, since, but for a secret reliance that it might one day non-effect of his abrupt intimation and menace upon stand my puissant friend at a pinch, I might not have the privateer captain- go on; I begin to believe you ventured to play the hazardous game which, but for -and yet; but go on.'
the fortunate accident that it is General Véray who One morning,' resumed Webbe, when the wind commands at Havre, might this day have had a fatal having become favourable, the troops were re-embark- termination.' ing under the personal supervision of the commander- And may have that termination yet,' retorted the in-chief, a fanatical Maltese priest—a Spaniard, it was general—“though, so much do I respect a man of nerve said, by birth-suddenly rushed at the general, whose and courage, that I heartily wish the contrary. I shall back was towards him, with a naked poniard in his ask you but another question,' he continued, and if hand; and if he had not ended that great life, he would you answer that with the same readiness and precision most certainly have inflicted a severe wound upon the as you have all the previous ones, I can, and will doubt Man of Destiny, had not the “foreign seaman,” who you no longer.' chanced to be on the spot, perceived the danger in The general paused before putting that last decisive time to receive the assassin's blow upon his own arm. question, and my pulse beat wildly, my breath came Here is the cicatrice of the wound inflicted by the thick and short, for I again detected, or thought I poniard of the baffled priest,' added Webbe, turning did, the faint flush of disquietude which I had before up his right sleeve.
observed. It had seemed to me during the last ten *Silence !' exclaimed the general, checking a move- minutes that I was the spectator of a duel fought with ment of applause amongst the body of the audience. flashing, fatal weapons, in which from one moment to
All this may yet prove, so far as he prisoner is another a mortal stroke might be given and received.
*Your look quails not,' at length resumed the general, 'On the esplanade overlooking the great harbour.' and your aspect seems to challenge and defy the
"Were any officers present with General Bonaparte menaced question; which in itself is to me a more at the time?'
satisfactory reply than you could make in words, for Not exactly present. Murat was sitting reading a after all, one who has shewn himself to be so intimately newspaper upon one of the cannons a few yards off; acquainted with the Malta affair, will not find it a
difficult one to answer. Nevertheless, it shall be put. Malta when the attempt was made upon Bonaparte's It is this: Where did General Bonaparte write this life, and Hans Kliebig was one of the crew of the Wasp, document, and where did he procure the paper and which was dodging about off and on in the vicinity of ink?'
the island. Hans had the misfortune to be killed a "The paper and ink were supplied by an invalide few weeks afterwards in a brush with an armed French who had been partially crippled by an accident on transport, and the paper in question fell into my board the Guillaume Tell
, I believe, and who was just hands. It was not, however, till General Bonaparte then returning from the great harbour, where he had and Captain Webbe had. respectively become emperor been to write letters for such of his embarking comrades and Captain Jules Renaudin, that it occurred to me as could not write themselves. The table used by that such a testimonial might some day prove a General Bonaparte was one end of a big drum.' trump-card in the very ticklish game to which I was *Enough. I am satisfied. You are free.'
inextricably committed. And now as to matters of A burst of applause from the changeful crowd pressing moment. Madame de Bonneville has been followed the general's decision, which was, however, arrested and lodged in prison.' sternly rebuked and silenced.
"Say you so ? That is indeed a swift commending * By my authority, as the general commanding in of the poisoned chalice to her own lips.' Havre,' said General Véray, 'I revoke and annul the 'She is charged with having fled from her creditore, findings of the court-martial upon all the accused, and, as a consequence, with fraudulent bankruptcy. since it is manifestly impossible to pardon the chief She must, of course, be liberated by the immediate offender and punish his subordinates, and I order that payment of her creditors in full.' they be forthwith set at liberty. Record my decree in Pray, who must of course liberate Louise Féron by form,' he added to the lieutenant-secretary, and I will the immediate payment of her creditors in full ?' sign it at once.
'I-you-your family; all of us who, from various Captain Lenoir,' said the general, after the for- motives, are interested in not setting such a plotmality of signing had been gone through with, you will ting, unscrupulous devil at defiance. In the note you escort the acquitted prisoners to their homes. As for received from me in the early part of the day, I you, Monsieur le Capitaine Webbe,' added the veteran, apprised you that I had been compelled to compromise with a grim smile, 'I advise you to quit France with with her Ah, the reverend Father Meudon, the out delay. A government may be installed here to- very person I have been wishing to see and speak with!' morrow from which I shall not be able to protect you, "That wish has been reciprocal, Monsieur Webbe,' and in whose eyes the emperor's protection would be a replied M. Meudon, as he shook hands with me in crime, instead of, as with me, an inviolable safeguard. silent gratulation of my escape from that day's perils; The court is dissolved.'
"for I was told you were about to fight a duel with It was not long after three o'clock when I emerged Monsieur Tyler, the American captain.' from that stilling hall into the free air: in but little “It was fought an hour since,' said Webbe; "at least, more than an hour I had, as it were, passed from life I was twice fired at by Mr Tyler, which was held by to death; and back from death to life! My brain the seconds to have afforded him complete satisfaction, swam with the rush and conflict of emotions so acute as, not being hit, it certainly did me. I hardly need and violent, and, darting away in a kind of delirium say that I did not return his fire. And now, my dear from the escorting soldiers, I pushed my way through Linwood,' he added, 'I have to request, with leave of the crowd in I neither knew nor cared what direction, this reverend gentleman, that you inform Mrs Linwood so that I could obtain sufficient space to think, to that we, Father Meudon and I, wish to speak with her breathe in. That fevered tumult of the mind sub- for a few minutes privately.' sided, and I presently found myself in La Rue Meaning that I may not be present ?' Bombardée, whither I do not now ask the reader to “That is my meaning. I am anxious to consult Mrs accompany me. There are incidents in the lives of Linwood and Monsieur Meudon upon a matter chiefly us all before which, though an angel would smile as personal to myself, and for the present only them.' he looked thereon, it is imperative to draw a veil. • Not having the slightest wish, Captain Webbe, to
We dined late on that day; and I was sitting alone, force myself upon your confidence, I will at once as evening closed in, over the dessert, when Captain convey your message to Mrs Linwood.' Webbe made his appearance. The torturing ordeal That private council of three lasted for perhaps an through which he had so lately passed, had not left a hour, at the end of which, Webbe and M. Meudon left perceptible trace upon his buoyant, elastic spirits; and the house together without seeing me, and my mother it was not long before I knew that his resolution to herself not very long afterwards sent a message to marry his son to Maria Wilson was as fixed and deter- say she was about to retire to rest-my father had mined as ever. He said he should probably quit France done so some time before-and advised me, after a in a few days for Jersey, though not for the reason day of such painful excitement, to do the same. suggested by General Véray, as he had nothing to fear I was in no humour to comply with such sensible from the Bourbon government, which, there was no advice. This avoidance of me gave strength to the longer any doubt, would be formally proclaimed in suspicion which had begun to dawn upon me, that the Havre on the morrow.
private conference related to some scheme hatched in • Which formal proclamation,' added Webbe, 'would Webbe's fertile brain for bringing about a reconcilehave taken place some hours too late for us, but for ment, and if a reconcilement, the immediate marriage my success in bamboozling the illustrious General of his son with Miss Wilson. My mother was, Webbe Véray to-day.'
knew, strongly desirous of promoting the match, lest, "That elaborate story was then a fabrication—the forsooth, her precious son should throw himself away imperial voucher a forgery!'
upon a mere nobody, whom God had nevertheless You have an unconquerable propensity, Master gifted with rarest personal and moral loveliness and Linwood, to jump at extreme conclusions: the imperial grace. I was not so clear with respect to Father voucher was perfectly genuine, and the story, with one Meudon's part in the plot, unless, indeed, they were slight variance, true throughout-the slight variance about to attempt carrying their point by a coup de main being, that the name of the foreign seaman was Hans as it were, and celebrating the marriage forthwith. Kliebig instead of Kirke Webbe.'
Absurd ! impossible !--I must have lost my senses • How on earth, then, came you in possession of the to imagine such a thing. Equally absurd to fear, to important document ?'
suppose that romantic, hero-admiring Maria Wilson * By a very natural sequence of causes. I was at I could possibly be induced to unite herself with the
wretched craven that, in her presence, had crawled in "Be it so; and how much greater, sublimer, therethe dust before- been spurned, in her sight, by the fore, the effort which enabled him to triumph over that booted foot of an insolent Frenchman, and resented it physical and moral weakness, that But the disnot. Never, never, never !
cussion, I perceive, irritates you, so I will just glance The eccentric pas seul which accompanied my arrival over the incidents of the last delightful hour, and take at that delightful conviction, was arrested by a brisk leave. I was to go, you understand, to the Hôtel de rat-tat at the street door, presently followed by a step France, where Mademoiselle Wilson, Madame Dupré, ascending the stairs, which I believed to be that of and Mademoiselle de Bonneville, or Waller, are stayFather Meudon. I was right-it was Father Meudon; ing—not ostensibly as reconciler of estranged lovers, his round face and black eyes sparkling with radiant but to speak with Captain Webbe, who would precede bonhomie, with goodness enlivened by benevolent me there by a few minutes. Having in that manner joy, and a few gleams, perhaps, of gratified self-esteem. introduced myself, it was arranged that Madame
* Ah, my young friend,' he exclaimed, almost run- Dupré should refer to the doings at the Hôtel de Ville, ning to, and then tightly embracing me," allow me to and question me thereon-opportunity for me to again congratulate you! This is, indeed, a day of dilate upon those agitating occurrences in a sense happiness. But where is madame your mother?' favourable to the young Webbe, who sat apart in an 'In bed, long since.'
attitude of the profoundest dejection. I do not think Madame is right, and you also ought to have been I was ever so eloquent before,' continued M. Meudon in bed long since. So ought I; but never mind, I shall with swelling self-esteem; and the result was that the not leave Havre to-night, so there is still time for me way having been judiciously prepared by me, the to sit down and take just one glass of wine with you. proposition of reconcilement was made in a direct You do not know what that fierce, gentle, mean, manner by Madame Dupré, and seconded, enforced by generous Captain Webbe wished to consult Madame every body. Such an appeal, judiciously prepared for Linwood and me upon,' added the exulting priest. as I stated, could not be permanently resisted; and at 'No, but I may tell you now, for the mission with length Mademoiselle Wilson yielded reluctantly-yes, which he intrusted me is accomplished, the object reluctantly, I must admit that—to our entreaties. With gained, completely, finally! Blessed are the peace- a modest grace which would have delighted you, as it makers. Gloria!
did me, she rose from her chair, and gliding towards • What is accomplished completely, finally ?' Webbe fils, who was fairly sobbing with excitement,
"The reconcilement of two youthful lovers, whom a said, in the sweetest voice in the world: “Let the misunderstanding—no, not a misunderstanding, that past be forgotten, Harry Harry, by the way,' is not true-whom, what shall I say?-a misfortune, M. Meudorr interrupted himself to inquire, 'is an yes, a misfortune, had estranged. Ah! the beauty, the endearing variation of Henry, is it not?' grace, the ingenuous candour of that young girl! I Repressing with difficulty a malediction upon both give you my word,' added M. Meudon, proffering me Harry and Henry, I asked the priest if he had his snuff-box, that never, to my recollection, have I finished. seen a more charming person than Mademoiselle Marie You are ill, very ill,' said he-that is clear, and Wilson. Do not be impatient, my young friend; that I will no longer detain you from needful rest, than is no doubt a platitude to you who know Mademoiselle to say that the reconcilement was perfect; and that Wilson; but'
to-morrow Marie Wilson and Harry Webbe will be But—but me no buts,' I rudely interrupted. 'If married by Monsieur Pousard, the Protestant minister you have anything to tell me, tell it.'
at Ingouville—both bride and bridegroom being, Father Meudon looked grave, almost offended for a unhappily for themselves, members of the heretical moment, but his happy face, refusing to be wrinkled Anglican church. And now, my dear young friend, into that expression, relaxed immediately. "You are go to bed at once, and good-night.' evidently suffering from febrile irritation,' said he; I think I must have fainted after M. Meudon went
nevertheless, I should like to make you a participator away, for I had no recollection of the interval-more in the pleasure I have this evening experienced.' than an hour-which elapsed from the time he left
*Proceed, Monsieur Meudon: I will listen in re till I crept to bed, not to sleep, but to toss about in spectful silence.
feverish unrest till towards the morning, when I dozed "Well, this is what has occurred since I left you: off into dreamy broken slumber, during which the Monsieur le Capitaine Webbe explained to madame terrible events of the day oppressed my struggling your mother the estrangement that had taken place faculties with shadowy incongruous terrors. Suddenly between the lovers, and its cause-before known both light and calm took the place of darkness and tumult. to you and me. Madame Linwood shewed the liveliest I stood before an altar near a bride, Maria Wilson; anxiety to remove that estrangement; and when but the next moment my grandame Linwood replaced Monsieur Webbe hinted that I, as an entirely disin-ber, and called upon ‘Master William’ to come nearer. terested person, could do so more effectually than any I vainly strove to do so; my limbs seemed to be one he knew, madame entreated me to exert myself to manacled, till, with the fierceness of the struggle, I the utmost to bring about so desirable a result. I awoke. consented, the more willingly that the young Webbe's Awoke to find my dream in part realised—that good heroic sacrifice of himself to-day, rather than betray Dame Linwood was bending over and calling upon his father, had given him, spite of previous prejudice, Master William to arouse himself
, in a voice broken a high place in my esteem.'
with joyful, tenderest emotion. As soon as we could *The heroism of refusing to purchase shameful life speak of anything but the joy of again seeing each by butchering his own father! Bah!'
other, I learned that immediately upon the receipt of Not heroism in you, my young friend, nor in others my mother's letter, sent through Mr Dillwhyn, Mr physically and morally constituted like you, would and Mrs Waller hurried to Portsmouth, communicated there be heroism in such an act. You would do so as with Mrs Linwood, and hired a fast-sailing cutter, readily and instantly as you would interpose your in which all three embarked for Havre, where they person between your mother and the uplifted dagger arrived shortly after the substitution of the white flag of an assassin ; but the young Webbe is, you know, for the tricolor gave notice that the port of Havre was physically, morally, a-a
at last unsealed to the nations so long at enmity with A coward! out with it a wretched coward! You France. will say nothing truer than that, reverend sir, if you • It is late-nearly eleven o'clock,' said Dame talk for a week.'
Linwood, 6 and Mrs Waller is waiting with nervous
impatience for you to rise and bring her recovered pounds odd belonging to her niece, who was to be comdaughter to her arms. We have sent for Webbe, but pensated for her loss of fortune by marriage with rich he, his son, and the aspiring shoemaker who proposes according to French ideas, rich William Linwood, to espouse Lucy Hamblin, are gone to some distance, my noble self. There is nothing else of importance, Í it seems to make arrangements for a marriage between think, which the narrative itself does not sufficiently Webbe's son and a Miss Wilson, which is to take explain ; and now as to the results that followed the place to-day.'
elucidation of the plot, and the defeat of the plotters, I rose at once, and hastened down stairs to the tiny in which those readers who insist upon what is drawing-room. The first person I saw on entering it called poetical justice—a myth, I fear, which has no was my grandfather Waller, the tall, portly gentleman tribunal in this unpoetical, work-a-day world-will of my childhood. I did not recognise him, but he find themselves disappointed. greeted me with affectionate cordiality, and turning In the first place, abundant care was taken that my round, presented me to bis wife, Mrs Waller.
father's vindication before the world should be full, Heavens and earth! Mrs Waller was Maria Wilson complete, unchallengeable. It was so; and he lived to herself, wanting only the bloom and freshness of a good old age in happiness and honour. youthful life; and ah! now I remembered where I No one was disposed to deal harshly-I ought perhad seen the sweetly pensive expression of face which haps to say justly—with Captain Kirke Webbe; and had so struck me when I first beheld the Jersey about three weeks subsequent to the final frustration maiden! Mrs Waller's portrait to be sure, forgetful, of his marriage project, he sailed with his wife and senseless dolt that I had been, once shewed to me by son, and something like three thousand pounds in his Mrs Linwood, wore that peculiar expression, as still pocket, for the Cape de Verd Islands--the reward did the beautiful original.
promised by my mother and grandmother having been Instantly I seized the clue to the whole Webbe- paid to him. He departed in high spirits, and I must Féron mystery. All was clear now; and simultaneous be excused for saying I could have better spared & with that conviction, was the flashing thought that I better man. might yet be in time to prevent the detested marriage Maria Wilson, alias Clémence de Bonneville, espoused with young Webbe. With a scarcely articulate cry, honest Jacques Sicard, and the happy pair finally intended to explain that I would bring Mrs Waller domiciled themselves in a handsome villa upon the her daughter, I dashed out of the room, down the Havre côte. · Madame de Bonneville was supported stairs, into the street, hailed a passing empty fiacre, by her niece in undeserved competence, which she did and was swiftly driven off to the Hôtel de France. not, however, live long to enjoy. She was drowned Maria Wilson and Clémence, both dressed as brides, about six months after her niece's marriage, while were there alone, Madame Dupré herself being crossing in an open boat from Havre to Honfleur. temporarily absent. I said they must both come Light flows upon the paper as I write down the last with me at once upon a matter of life and death. paragraph which I shall pen-light and warmth-a They yielded mechanically, as it were, to the fiery pale, cold reflex of the soul-sunshine which has shed a impulse communicated to them, and in less than ten glory over my noon of life, and now gilds the evening minutes the fiacre set us all three down at No. 12 of my days : This, copied from the London Times: Rue Bombardée. The street door opened—I seized Married at St James's Church, William Linwood, Maria Wilson's hand—we ascended the stairs, closely Esq., grandson of Anthony Waller, Esq., of Cavendish followed by Clémence; and dragging the terrified girl Square, to Lucy Hamblin, daughter of Mrs Waller by as it were towards Mrs Waller, I exclaimed: 'Your a former marriage.' daughter, madam, your lost child !' I heard the cry Vale, vale. and sob of maternal recognition, and then the room, the figures swam around me, and I knew nothing more till some half-hour afterwards, when having, by the help of vinegar, burnt feathers, and other stimulants,
THE FOSSIL-FINDER OF LYME-REGIS. regained consciousness, I learned that the drama had What trifling incidents may and often do become at last been finally played out. Webbe, who returned to important in the course of years! We are eren the Hôtel de France a few minutes after we left it, attempted sometimes to view them as preternatural, or once hurried to the Rue Bombardée with the desperate designed by Providence to be harbingers to future hope of being yet in time to prevent Miss Wilson from events. seeing my mother : the Wallers arrival he had not We were led to this reflection when reviewing someheard of. In presence of the scene which there awaited thing we witnessed at Lyme-Regis. We were sojournhim, he saw that further deception would be useless, ing there in beautiful weather in the year 1800. A absurd, impolitic, and he at once acknowledged that day or two before, a company of strolling equestrians Maria Wilson was the long-lost Lucy Hamblin; had arrived, and displayed their agility in various Clémence, the true Maria Wilson !
performances; but they presented no departure in I have little to add, and that little must be very any point from what we had seen, and for many years briefly set down. Webbe's version of his and Louise after continued to witness in the out-of-door exhibition Féron's substitution of one child for another was, that of vaulting, and the grand finale of Billy Button's till about three years before negotiations were opened journey to Brentford. In the middle of the performwith my mother, they were really not aware that ance, tickets were issued for a lottery, in which there existed an indelible mark which would render copper tea-kettles, gown-pieces, legs of mutton, and the scheme of passing off the niece of Madame de a silver watch were the prizes. In those days, no Bonneville—who was really the sister of Captain charge was made for admission into the field, the Wilson's wife by the same mother, though not by the riders were remunerated by the profits upon the lotsame father, and had in her younger days as often tery. Good roads now enable equestrians to carry gone by the name of Broussard as Féron--for the true about a tent with them, and a charge is made for each heiress, impossible. They believed the assertion in admission-ticket. the hand-bill to be a mere ruse, intended to frighten On this evening, attracted by the vaulting, crowds the abductors into restoring the child. That discovery of towns-people were seen making their way to the made, a compact was ultimately entered into by which Rackfield, through the narrow and ancient streets of Madame de Bonneville consented that young Webbe that borough, by the Cockmoile or prison, Monmouth should marry the true heiress upon condition that she, Street, and the church. Madame de Bonneville, received the twenty thousand Expecting the arrival of our invalid aunt, we had
END OF KIRKE WEBBE, THE PRIVATEER CAPTAIN.