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Full text of "Memoirs Of Joseph Grimaldi"

90

3IEHOIRS OF JOSEPH GEIMALDI.

"Tes, sir, it is," replied the other. "Pray, may I inquire
why you ask the question ?"

"Because," answered the stranger, pointing to a man who'
stood among a little group of people hard by," because I just
now heard that gentleman mention it to a companion."

The person whom the young man pointed out was a very well
known character about Clerkenwell and its vicinity, being an
object of detestation with the whole of the neighbourhood. This
man was Lucas," Old Lucas" was his familiar appellation,
and he filled the imposing office of parish constable. Parish
constables are seldom very popular in their own districts, but
Old Lucas was more unpopular than any man of the same class;
and if the stories wnich are current of him be correct, with very
good reason, unless the man was dreadfully belied. In short,
he was a desperate villain. It was very generally understood of
him, that where no real accusation existed against a man,
his course of proceeding was to invent a false one, and to bolster
it up with the most unblushing perjury, and an ingenious
system of false evidence, which he had never any difficulty in
obtaining, for the purpose of pocketing certain small sums which,
under the title of " expenses," were paid upon the conviction of
the culprit.

Being well acquainted with this man's reputation, Grimaldi
was much astonished, and not at all pleasantly so, by the infor-
mation he had just received; and he inquired with considerable
anxiety and -apprehension, whether the young man was quite
certaia that it was his name which the constable had mentioned.

"Q,uite certain," was the reply. "I can't have made any
mistake upon the subject, because he wrote it down in his book."

" "Wrote it down in his book!" exclaimed Grimaldi.

"Yes, he did, indeed,"replied the other:.." and more than
that, I heard him'say to another man beside him, that' he could
lay hold of yon whenever he wanted you.'"

" The devil he did 1" exclaimed. Grimaldi. " "What on earth
can he want with me ?  "Well, sir, at all events I have to thankBeard, Mr. Grimaldi; Mynheer Bed Beard, Mr. Gomery ; Dutch