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This manæuvre operated with the very best effect. The passers-by all remembered to have seen the very same face a short time ago as the face of a white man; and they all remembered to whom the face belonged. The laughing, therefore, never ceased from morning to night before the window of the china-works.
Now Mr. Goodchild received very early intelligence of what was going on, possibly through some persons specially commissioned by Mr. Whelp to trouble him with the news; and straightway he trotted off to the china-works, — not, to be sure, with any view of joining the laughers, but, on the contrary, to attack Mr. Whelp, and to demand the destruction of the bust. However, all his remonstrances were to no purpose; and the more anger he betrayed, so much the more did it encourage his antagonist.
Mr. Goodchild hurried home in a great passion, and wrote a note to the borough-reeve, with a pressing request that he would favor him with his company to supper that evening, to taste some genuine bottled London porter.
This visit, however, did not lead to those happy results which Mr. Goodchild had anticipated. True it was that he showed his discretion in not beginning to speak of the busts until the bottled porter had produced its legitimate effects upon the spirits of the borough-reeve: the worshipful man was in a considerable state of elevation ; but for all that he would not predict any favorable issue to the action against Mr. Whelp which his host was meditating. He shrugged his shoulders, and said that, on the former occasion, when Mr. Goodchild had urged the bench to pronounce for the non-resemblance of the busts, they had gone further, in order to gratify him, than they could altogether answer to their consciences; but really, to come now and call
upon the same bench to pronounce for the resemblance of the same identical busts, was altogether inadmissible.
Mr. Goodchild was on the brink of despair the whole night through; and when he rose in the morning, and put his head out of the window to inhale a little fresh air, what should be the very first thing that met him but a poisonous and mephitic blast from the window of his opposite neighbor, which in like manner stood wide open: for his sharp sight easily detected that the young barrister, his enemy, instead of the gypsum bust of Ulpian which had hitherto presided over his library, had mounted the black china bust of the King of Hayti.
Without a moment's delay Mr. Goodchild jumped into his clothes and hastened down to Mr. Whelp. His two principles of vitality, avarice and ambition, had struggled together throughout the night; but on the sight of his brother the stamp-master, thus posthumously · varnished with lamp-black, and occupying so conspicuous a station in the library of his mortal enemy, ambition had gained a complete victory. He bought up, therefore, the whole thirty-five busts; and understanding that the only black copy was in the possession of Mr. Tempest, he begged that, upon some pretext or other, Mr. Whelp would get it back into his hands, promising to pay all expenses out of his own purse.
Mr. Whelp shook his head; but promised to try what he could do, and went over without delay to the advocate's rooms. Meantime, the longer he stayed and made it evident that the negotiation had met with obstacles, so much the larger were the drops of perspiration which stood upon Mr. Goodchild's forehead, as he paced up and down his room in torment.
At last Mr. Whelp came over, but with bad news; Mr. Tempest was resolute to part with the bust at no price.
Mr. Goodchild, on hearing this intelligence, hastened to his daughter, who was still under close confinement, and, taking her hand, said: “Thoughtless girl, come and behold !” Then, conducting her to his own room, and pointing with his finger to Mr. Tempest's book-case, he said : “ See there! behold my poor deceased brother, the stampdistributor, to what a situation is he reduced, — that, after death, he must play the part of a black fellow, styling himself King of Hayti.
And is it with such a man, one who aims such deadly stabs at the honor and peace of our family, that you would form a clandestine connection ? I blush for you, inconsiderate child. However, sit down to my writing-desk, and this moment write what I shall dictate, verbatim et literatim ; and in that case I shall again consider and treat you as my obedient daughter.” Ida seated herself: her father laid a sheet of paper before her, put a pen into her hand, and dictated the following epistle, in which he flattered himself that he had succeeded to a marvel in counterfeiting the natural style of a young lady of seventeen :
Respectable and friendly Sir, Since the unfortunate masquerade, I have not had one hour of peace. My excellent and most judicious father has shut me up in my own apartments; and, according to special information which I have had, it is within the limits of possibility that my confinement may last for a year and a day. Now, therefore, whereas credible intelligence has reached me that you have, by purchase from the china-manufactory of the city, possessed yourself of a bust claiming to be the representation of a black fellow, who (most absurdly !)
styles himself King of Hayti; and whereas, from certain weighty reasons him thereunto moving, my father has a desire to sequestrate into his own hands any bust or busts purporting to represent the said black fellow; and whereas, further, my father has caused it to be notified to me, that immediately upon the receipt of the said bust, through any honorable application of mine to you, he will release me from arrest; therefore, and on the aforesaid considerations, I, Ida Goodchild, spinster, do hereby make known my request to you, that, as a testimony of those friendly dispositions which you have expressed, or caused to be expressed to me, you would, on duly weighing the premises, make over to me the bust aforesaid in consideration of certain moneys (as shall be hereafter settled) to be by me paid over unto you. Which request being granted and ratified, I shall, with all proper respect, acknowledge myself your servant and well-wisher, IDA GOODCHILD,
Manu propriâ.” The two last words the poor child knew not how to write, and therefore her father wrote them for her, and said, the meaning of these words is, that the letter was written with your own hand; upon which, in law, a great deal depends. He then folded up the letter, sealed it, and rang for a servant to carry it over to Mr. Tempest. not from me, do you hear, William! Don't say it comes from me: and if Mr. Tempest should cross-examine you, be sure you say I know nothing of it.”
“For the rest,” said Mr. Goodchild, “never conceit that I shall lend any the more countenance, for all this,
to your connection with the young visionary. As soon as the bust is once in my hands, from that moment he and I are strangers, and shall know each other no more.”
Mr. Goodchild had not for a long time been in such spirits as he was after this most refined tour d'addresse in diplomacy (as he justly conceived it). “The style,” said he,
“ cannot betray the secret: no, I flatter myself that I have hit that to a hair; I defy any critic, the keenest, to distinguish it from the genuine light, sentimental billetdoux style of young ladies of seventeen. How should he learn then? William dares not tell him for his life. And the fellow can never be such a brute as to refuse the bust to a young lady whom he pretends to admire. Lord ! it makes me laugh to think what a long face he'll show when he asks for permission to visit you upon the strength of this sacrifice; and I, looking at him like a bull, shall say, “ No, indeed, my good sir; as to the bust, what's that to me, my good sir? What do I care for the bust, my good sir? I believe it's all broken to pieces with a sledge-hammer, or else you might have it back again for anything I care. Eh, Ida, my girl, won't that be droll? Won't it be laughable to see what a long face he'll cut ?” But, but
Won't it be laughable to see what a long face the fellow will cut ?
If Ida had any particular wish to see how laughable a fellow looked under such circumstances, she had very soon that gratification ; for her father's under jaw dropped enormously on the return of the messenger. It did not perhaps require any great critical penetration to determine from what member of the family the letter proceeded: and independently of that, Mr. Tempest had (as the reader