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he be independent of the fetters of wedlock. No man, I repeat it, can be in the entire enjoy ment of life unless he be a young, unmarried man, with an attached elderly valet to wait upon him, I am so thoroughly persuaded of this fact, that nothing on earth but my love for you, Maria, could persuade me to relinquish "my unhoused, free condition." Nothing but my adoration of such a union of various beauties, and almost incongruous mental accomplishments, could have induced me to abandon my present state of luxurious independence; but, under my peculiar and most favoured circumstances, I only pass from a lower to a higher degree of happiness: True, the idle, the downy, the somewhat ignominious gratifications of celibacy are sacrificed; but they are exchanged for the pure and dignified enjoyment of labouring to secure an angel's happiness, beneath the cheering influence of her exhilarating smiles.
I thrust my hands into the pockets of my dressing gown, which, by-the-by, is far the handsomest piece of old brocade I have ever seen a large running pattern of gold holly hocks, with silver stalks and leaves, upon a rich, deep, Pampadour-coloured ground-and walking slowly backwards and forwards in my room, I continued-"There never was, there never can have been, so happy a fellow as my self! What on earth have I to wish for more? Maria adores me-I adore Maria. To be sure, she's detained at Brighton; but I hear from her regularly every morning by the post, and we are to be united for life in a fortnight. Who was ever so blessed in his love? Then again John Fraser-my old school-fellow! I don't believe there's anything in the world he would not do for me. I'm sure there's no living thing that he loves so much as myself, except perhaps his old uncle Simon, and his black mare.
I had by this time returned to the fireplace, and reseating myself, began to apostrophize my magnificent black Newfoundland, who, having partaken of my dinner, was following the advice and example of Abernethy, and sleeping on the rug as it digested-" And you too, my old Neptune, aren't you the best and handsomest dog in the universe?"
Neptune finding himself addressed, awoke leisurely from his slumbers, and fixed his eyes on mine with an affirmative expression.
"Ay, to be sure you are; and a capital swimmer too."
Neptune raised his head from the rug, and beat the ground with his tail, first to the right
hand and then to the left.
"And is he not a fine faithful fellow? And does he not love his master?"
Neptune rubbed his head against my hand, and concluded the conversation by again sinking into repose.
That dog's a philosopher," I said. "He never says a word more than is necessary. Then, again, not only blessed in love and friendship, and my dog; but what luck it was to sell, and in these times too, that old lumbering house of my father's, with its bleak, bare, hilly acres of chalk and stone, for eighty thousand pounds, and to have the money paid down on the very day the bargain was concluded. By-the-by, though, I had forgot: 1 may as well write to Messrs. Drax and Drayton about that money, and order them to pay it immediately in to Coutts's,-mighty honest people and all that: but faith, no solicitors should be trusted or tempted too far. It's a foolish way, at any time, to leave money in other people's hands-in anybody's handsand I'll write about it at once."
As I said, so I did. I wrote my commands to Messrs. Drax and Drayton to pay my eighty thousand pounds into Coutts's; and after de siring that my note might be forwarded to them the first thing in the morning, I took my candle, and accompanied by Neptune, who always keeps watch by night at my chamber door, proceeded to bed, as the watchman was calling "past twelve o'clock," beneath my window.
It is indisputably very beneficial for a man to go to bed thus early; it secures him such pleasant dreams. The visions that filled my imagination during sleep were not of a less animated nature than those of my waking lucubrations. I dreamed that it was daybreak on my wedding morning; that I was dressed in white satin and silver lace, to go and be married; that Maria, seated in a richly painted and gilt sedan chair, was conveyed to the church by the parson and clerk, who wore white favours in their wigs, and large nosegays in the breasts of their canonicals; that hands were joined by Hymen in person, who shook his torch over our heads at the altar, and danced a pas de deux with the bride down the middle of Regent Street, as we returned in procession from St. James's; that I walked by the side of Neptune, who was, in some unaccountable manner, identified with my friend John Fraser, and acted as father of the bride, and alarmed me in the midst of the ceremony by whispering in my ear that he had forgotten to order any breakfast for the party; that on returning to my house, which appeared to be | the pavilion at Brighton, I found a quantity
of money bags, full of sovereigns, each marked | priated it to himself; and never took the ordi
nary measure of leaving me a memorandum of the transaction! Why, sir, I might have drawn a bill this very morning-many things less improbable occur-and might have had my draft refused acceptance!"
£80,000, ranged in rows on a marble table; that I was beginning to empty them at the feet of the bride with an appropriate compliment-when my dream was suddenly interrupted by the hasty entrance of my valet, who stood pale and trembling by my bedside, and informed me, with an agitated voice, that he had carried my note, as ordered, to the office of Messrs. Drax and Drayton, the first thing in the morning, and he had seen Mr. Drax; but that Mr. Drayton had decamped during the night, taking away with him my £80,000 and £500 of his partner's.
I was horror-struck!-I was ruined!-what was to be done? The clock had not yet struck ten, but, early as it was, I was determined to rise immediately, and see Drax myself upon the subject. In an instant-in less than an hour-I was dressed, and on my way to Lincoln's Inn. Twenty minues after, I stood in the presence of Mr. Drax.
He appeared before me, among the last of the pig-tails, with his powdered head, his smooth black silk stockings, and his polished shoes, the very same immutable Mr. Drax whom I had remembered as a quiz from the earliest days of my childhood. There he stood, in the same attitude, in the same dress, the same man of respectability, calculation, and arrangement, that my father had always represented to me as the model of an attorney, but with a look of bewildered paleness, as placed suddenly in a situation where his respectability became doubtful, his calculations defeated, and all his arrangements discomposed.
"Oh, Mr. Luttrell!" he exclaimed, "I beg pardon, Mr. Lionel Luttrell, you've received intimation, then, of this most extraordinary occurrence;-what will the world think?what will they say? The house of Drax and Drayton! Such a long-established, such a respectable house!—and one of the partnersMr. Drayton, I mean-to abscond!"
"Oh, Mr. Drax, this torture will be the death of me. Sir-sir-I'm ruined, and I'm going to be married!"
"A most unfortunate event. But, Mr. Luttrell, you gay young men of fashion at the west end cannot possibly enter into the feelings of a partner and a man of business. My situation
Incapable of listening any longer to the lamentations of Mr. Drax, and perceiving that he was too much engrossed by the perplexities of his own affairs to yield any attention to my distresses, I seized my hat and hastily departed, to seek elsewhere for the advice and consolation I required.
"I'll go to John Fraser," I exclaimed; "he's always sensible, always right, always kind. He'll feel for me, at all events; he'll suggest what steps are best to be taken in this most painful emergency."
Upon this determination I immediately proceeded to act, and hastened toward Regent Street with the rapidity of one who feels impatient of every second that elapses between the conception and the execution of his purpose. As I was pressing forward on my hurried way, my thoughts absorbed in the anxiety of the moment, and my sight dazzled by the rapidity of my movements, and the confused succession of the passing objects, I was checked in my course by Edward Burrell-the Pet of the Dandies-"Stop, Lionel, my dear fellow, stop. I want to congratulate you."
"Congratulate me! Upon what?"
"On your appointment: Inspecting Postman for the district of St. Ann's, Soho:-of course you're he-none but personages of such elevated station could be justified in using such velocity of movement, and in running over so many innocent foot passengers."
Nonsense! Don't stop me! I've just heard of the greatest imaginable misfortune. Drayton, my attorney, has decamped, Heaven only knows to what country, and carried off the whole of my fortune."
"Oh! indeed! So you're one upon the innumerable list of bankrupts! A failure! a complete failure! Don't be angry, Lionel; I always said you were rather a failure. And so now the attorney-man-what's his name?-has absconded and ruined you for life by his successful speculations in hops."
"Merciful God! and can such cold-hearted treachery really be!"
The Pet of the Dandies walked off, laughing' money. Master's in a great quandary about as immoderately as a "professed Exclusive" it,' says Mr. Robert, and so I suppose,' says ever dares to laugh. It had made what he he, that master and I are going out of town believed to be a pun:-That is, I suppose, I a little while to keep clear of the mess."" dare say the sentence is capable of some quibbling interpretation. The words are unintelligible unless they contain a pun. Whenever I hear one man talk nonsense, and find others laugh, I invariably conclude that he is punning; and if the last parting words of Edward Burrell really do exhibit a specimen of this vulgar kind of solecism, the puppy was more than indemnified for the distresses of his friend, as any punster would necessarily be, by the opportunity of hitching a joke upon them. "It will not be so with you, John Fraser!" I muttered to myself; and in a few seconds I rapped at the door of his lodgings in Regent Street.
"And so," continued the girl, perfectly regardless of my vehement ejaculation, "and so I told Mr. Robert I hoped luck would go with them; for you know, sir, it's all very well to have friends and such like, as long as they've got everything comfortable about them; but when they're broke up, or anything of that, why then it's another sort of matter, and we have no right to meddle or make in their concerns."
They detained me an age in the street-I rapped and rapped again, and then I rang, and at the ringing of the bell a stupid-looking, yellow-haired, steamy maid-servant, in a dirty lace-cap, issued from the scullery, wiping her crimson arms in her check apron, to answer the summons.
The girl was a perfect philosopher upon t the true Hume and Rochefoucault principles. She continued to promulge her maxims in the same low, monotonous, cold, languid vein: but I did not remain to profit by them. I hurried away to conceal my sorrow and my disappointment in the privacy of those apartments where. on the preceding evening, surrounded by s many comforts, I had proudly, perhaps toe proudly, contemplated my stock of happiness,
"Is Mr. Fraser at home?" I demanded, in, and had at large expatiated on my many dea voice of somewhat angry impatience.
"Mr. Fraser at home? No, sir, he an't." "Where's he gone to?"
"Where's he gone?" rejoined the girl, in a low drawling voice. "I'm sure, sir, I can't tell, not I."
ceitful topics of self-gratulation. How miserably was that stock of happiness now impaired! But, hopeful as I am by nature, my sanguine temperament still triumphed; and as I ascended the staircase to my apartment, Maria's image presented itself in smiles to my imagin ation, and I repeated to myself, "My fortune's gone!-my friend has deserted me!--but Maria, thou, dearest, still remainst to me. I'l tranquillize my mind by the sweet counsel of your daily letter, and then proceed to deliberate and act for myself." I knew that the post must by this time have arrived.
I approached the table where my cards and
"Heavens! how provoking! Did they start letters were constantly deposited; but no letter early?" was there. I could not believe my eyes; I rung and asked for my letters-none had arrived during my absence from home. "Had the post-boy gone by?" "Yes, many an hour ago." It was too true, then-even Maria was perfidious to my misfortunes. This was the severest blow of all. The cause of distrust was apparently slight-possibly accidental;-but, occurring at such a time, it fell with all the weight of a last and consummating calamity on one who was already overthrown. I clenched my teeth; I stamped upon the floor; I tossed about my arms with the vain and objectless passion of an angry child. My dog, amazed at the violence of my gesticulation, fixed his large dark eyes upon me, and stared with astonish
"Is his servant in the way?" "Is his servant in the way? other gentleman's gone too." "His servant gone with him? did they go?"
How did they go? Why, in a postchay and four, to be sure-they sent for him from Newman's."
No, sir, the
"Start early? no, to be sure, they started very late; as soon as ever master come home from dining in Russell Square."
"Russell Square!-what the devil should John Fraser do dining in Russell Square! How very distressing!"
'Master came home two hours before Mr. Robert expected him, and ordered four horses to be got ready directly."
Indeed! What can possibly have happened?"
"What has happened? Oh, Mr. Robert told us all about what happened; says he, My master's great friend, Mr. Luttrell, is clean ruined; his lawyer man's run off with all his
ment, as well he might, at the agitated passion | inspection of my fellow-creatures, discharged of his master. I saw, or imagined I saw, an expression of tenderness and commiseration in his looks; and in an agony of tears-don't laugh at me, for in the same situation, under the same circumstances, you probably would have done the same-I flung myself down on the floor by his side, exclaiming, "Yes, Neptune, everything on earth has forsaken me but you-my fortune-my friend-my lovewith my fortune; and you, you alone, my good old faithful dog, are constant to me in the hour of my affliction!" I started up and paced my apartment backwards and forwards with wide and hurried strides, fevered with the rapid succession of painful events, bewildered in mind, afflicted at heart, perplexed in the ex
itself in vehement exclamations of indignant passion. "Fool!-idiot that I was to trust them! Nothing on earth shall ever induce me now to look upon them again. Oh, Maria! I should have thought it happiness enough to have died for you; and you to desert me-to fall away from me too, at the moment when a single smile of yours might have indemnified me for all the wrongs of fortune, all the treachery of friendship! As to Fraser, men are all alike,-selfish by nature, habit, education. They are trained to baseness, and he is the wisest man who becomes earliest acquainted with suspicion. He is the happiest who, scorning their hollow demonstrations of attachment, constrains every sympathy of his nature within the close imprisonment of a cold and unparticipating selfishness; but I'll be revenged. Fallen as I am—sunk, impoverished, despised as Lionel Luttrell may be, the perfidious shall yet be taught to know that he will not be spurned with impunity, or trampled on without reprisal!"
Impelled by that restlessness of body which results from the agitation of the mind, I took up my hat, called Neptune to follow me, and prepared to seek abroad that distraction for my grief which could not be found in the quiet of my home. In leaving the room my eye accidentally glanced toward my pistols. My hand was on the lock of the door. I perceived that to approach the place where they lay was like tempting hell to tempt me; but a thought flashed across my mind, that to die were to punish the unworthy authors of my sorrowwere to strike imperishable remorse to the hearts of Maria and of John;-and I took the pistols with me, muttering, as I concealed them in my breast, "Perhaps I may want them."
In this frame of mind, wandering through hack and retired streets, with no other motive to direct me than the necessity of locomotion, I at length found myself on the banks of the Thames, at no great distance from Westminster Bridge. My boat was kept near this place. On the water I should be delivered from all apprehension of observing eyes. I should be alone with my sorrow; and, unfavourable as the season and the weather were, I proceeded to the spot where my boat was moored. "Bad time for boating, Mr. Luttrell," said Piner, who had the charge of my wherry; "it's mortal cold, and there's rain getting out there to the windward." But careless of his good-natured remonstrances, I seized the oars impatiently-my balance was lost-and, in a moment of from his hand, and proceeded in angry silence time, I found myself engaged in a desperate to the boat. I pushed her off, and rowed struggle for existence with the dark, deep rapidly up the river towards Chelsea, with waters of the Thames. I cannot swim. Death Neptune lying at my feet. When I thus found myself alone upon the water, with none to know, or mark, or overhear me, my grief, breaking through all the restraints that had confined it as long as I was exposed to the
At these words, some violence of gesture accompanying the vehemence of my sentiment, interfered with the repose of Neptune, who was quietly sleeping at the bottom of the boat. The dog vented his impatience in a quick and angry growl. At that moment my irritation amounted almost to madness. 'Rightright!" I exclaimed, my very dog turns against me. He withdraws the mercenary attachment which my food had purchased, now that the sources which supplied it have become exhausted." I imputed to my dog the frailties of man, and hastened, in the wild suggestion of the instant, to take a severe and summary vengeance on his ingratitude. I drew forth a pistol from my breast, and ordered him to take to the water. I determined to shoot him as he was swimming, and then leave him there to die. Neptune hesitated in obeying me. He was scarcely aroused, perhaps he did not comprehend my command. My impatience would brook no delay. I was in no humour to be thwarted. Standing up in the boat, I proceeded, with a sudden effort of strength, to cast the dog into the river. My purpose failed
death in all its terrors-instantaneous, inevitable death, was the idea that pressed upon my mind, and occupied all its faculties. But poor Neptune required no solicitation. He no sooner witnessed the danger of his master than
he sprang forward to my rescue, and sustaining | established at Thomas's Hotel. Come to us
my head above the water, swam stoutly away with me to the boat.
directly; or if this wicked theft of Mr. Drayton's-which, by-the-by, will compel us to have a smaller, a quieter, and therefore a hap pier home than we otherwise should have had
compels you to be busy among law people, and occupies all your time this morning, pray come to dinner at seven-or if not to dinner, at all events you must contrive to be with us in Berkeley Square some time this evening. My aunt desires her best love, and believe me, dearest Lionel, your ever affectionate
When once reseated there, as I looked upon my preserver shaking the water from his coat as composedly as if nothing extraordinary had happened, my conscience became penetrated with the bitterest feelings of remorse and shame. Self-judged, self-corrected, self-condemned, I sat like a guilty wretch in the presence of that noble animal, who, having saved my life at the very moment I was meditating his destruction, seemed of too generous a nature to imagine that the act he had performed exceeded the ordinary limits of his service, or deserved any special gratitude from his master. I felt as one who had in intention committed murder on his benefactor, and, as I slowly rowed towards the land, eloquent in the praise of the unconscious Neptune, the recollection of my perilous escape-the complete conviction of my having in one instance been mistaken in my anger and perhaps most unromantic as it may sound-the physical operation of my cold bath and my wet habiliments-all these causes united, operated so effectually to allay the fever of my irritated passions, that the agitation of my mind was soothed. Mine was now the spirit of one in sorrow, not in anger. Humbled in mine own opinion, my indignation against Maria and John Fraser, for their cruel desertion of my distresses, was exchanged for a mingled sentiment of tenderness and forgiveness. On reaching the landing-place I has tened to take possession of the first hackneycoach, and, calling Neptune into it, drove off to my lodgings in Conduit Street.
On arriving at my apartments the first object that presented itself to my eye was a note from Maria. I knew the peculiar shape of the billet before I was near enough to distinguish the handwriting. All the blood in my veins seemed to rush back towards my heart, and there to stand trembling at the seat of life and motion. I shook like a terrified infant. Who could divine the nature of the intelligence which that note contained? I held the paper some minutes in my hand before I could obtain sufficient command over myself to open it. That writing conveyed to me the sentence of my future destiny. Its purport was pregnant of the misery or happiness of my after-life. At length, with a sudden, a desperate effort of resolution, I burst the seal asunder, and read
"Dearest Lionel, I did not write yesterday, because my aunt had most unexpectedly determined to return to town to-day. We left Brighton very early this morning, and are
"MARIA." And she was really true! This was by far the kindest, the tenderest note I had ever received. Maria was constant, and my wicked suspicions only were in fault. Oh, Heavens! how much was I to blame! How severely did my folly deserve punishment!
The operations of the toilet are capable of incalculable extension or diminution. They can, under certain circumstances, be very npidly despatched. In five minutes after the first reading of Maria's note, I was descending the staircase, and prepared to obey her sum mons. My valet was standing with his hand on the lock of the street door, in readiness to expedite my departure, when the noise of rapidly-approaching wheels was heard. A carriage stopped suddenly before the house-the rapper was loudly and violently beaten with a hurried hand-the street door flew open-and John Fraser, in his dinner dress of the last evening, pale with watching, and fatigue, and travel, and excitement, burst like an unex pected apparition upon my sight. He rushed towards me, seized my hand, and shaking it with the energy of an almost convulsive joy, exclaimed, "Well, Lionel, I was in timethought I should be. The fellows drove capi tally-deuced good horses too, or we should never have beat him."
"What do you mean? Beat whom?"
The rascal Drayton, to be sure. Did not they tell you I had got scent of his starting, and was off after him within an hour of his departure?"
"No, indeed, John, they never told me that." "Well, never mind. I overtook him within five miles of Canterbury, and horsewhipped him within an inch of his life.”
"Oh, I've lodged that at Coutts's. I thought it best to put that out of danger at once. So I drove to the Strand, and deposited your eighty thousand pounds in a place of security before I proceeded here to tell you that it was safe."