(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Children's Library | Advanced Microdevices Manuals | Linear Circuits Manuals | Supertex Manuals | Sundry Manuals | Echelon Manuals | RCA Manuals | National Semiconductor Manuals | Hewlett Packard Manuals | Signetics Manuals | Fluke Manuals | Datel Manuals | Intersil Manuals | Zilog Manuals | Maxim Manuals | Dallas Semiconductor Manuals | Temperature Manuals | SGS Manuals | Quantum Electronics Manuals | STDBus Manuals | Texas Instruments Manuals | IBM Microsoft Manuals | Grammar Analysis | Harris Manuals | Arrow Manuals | Monolithic Memories Manuals | Intel Manuals | Fault Tolerance Manuals | Johns Hopkins University Commencement | PHOIBLE Online | International Rectifier Manuals | Rectifiers scrs Triacs Manuals | Standard Microsystems Manuals | Additional Collections | Control PID Fuzzy Logic Manuals | Densitron Manuals | Philips Manuals | The Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly Debates | Linear Technologies Manuals | Cermetek Manuals | Miscellaneous Manuals | Hitachi Manuals | The Video Box | Communication Manuals | Scenix Manuals | Motorola Manuals | Agilent Manuals
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "My Life: or the Adventures of Geo. Thompson Being the Auto-Biography of an Author. Written by Himself."

The Project Gutenberg eBook, My Life: or the Adventures of Geo. Thompson,
by George Thompson


This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org





Title: My Life: or the Adventures of Geo. Thompson
       Being the Auto-Biography of an Author. Written by Himself.


Author: George Thompson



Release Date: April 29, 2009  [eBook #28635]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK MY LIFE: OR THE ADVENTURES OF GEO.
THOMPSON***


E-text prepared by Matt Whittaker, Suzanne Shell, and the Project
Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team (http://www.pgdp.net)



   **********************************************************************
   * Transcriber's Note:                                                *
   *                                                                    *
   * Obvious typographical errors were corrected and the use of hyphens *
   * was made consistent throughout. All other spelling and punctuation *
   * was retained as it appeared in the original text.                  *
   **********************************************************************





MY LIFE:

Or

The Adventures of Geo. Thompson.
Being the Auto-Biography of an
Author. Written by Himself.


  Why rove in _Fiction's_ shadowy land,
    And seek for treasures there,
  When _Truth's_ domain, so near at hand,
    Is filled with things most rare--
  When every day brings something new,
  Some great, stupendous change,
  Something exciting, wild and _true_,
  Most wonderful and strange!

  [ORIGINAL.]







{First published 1854}


[Illustration: Yellow Cover of Thompson's _My Life_. Original size 6 x
9-1/8". Courtesy, American Antiquarian Society.]




INTRODUCTION

_In which the author defineth his position._


It having become the fashion of distinguished novelists to write their
own lives--or, in other words, to blow their own trumpets,--the author
of these pages is induced, at the solicitation of numerous friends,
whose bumps of inquisitiveness are strongly developed, to present his
auto-biography to the public--in so doing which, he but follows the
example of Alexandre Dumas, the brilliant French novelist, and of the
world-renowned Dickens, both of whom are understood to be preparing
their personal histories for the press.

Now, in comparing myself with the above great worthies, who are so
deservedly distinguished in the world of literature, I shall be accused
of unpardonable presumption and ridiculous egotism--but I care not what
may be said of me, inasmuch as a total independence of the opinions,
feelings and prejudices of the world, has always been a prominent
characteristic of mine--and that portion of the world and the "rest of
mankind" which does not like me, has my full permission to go to the
devil as soon as it can make all the necessary arrangements for the
journey.

I shall be true and candid, in these pages. I shall not seek to conceal
one of my numerous faults which I acknowledge and deplore; and, if I
imagine that I possess one solitary merit, I shall not be backward in
making that merit known. Those who know me personally, will never accuse
me of entertaining one single atom of that despicable quality,
self-conceit; those who do not know me, are at liberty to think what
they please.--Heaven knows that had I possessed a higher estimation of
myself, a more complete reliance upon my own powers, and some of that
universal commodity known as "cheek," I should at this present moment
have been far better off in fame and fortune. But I have been
unobtrusive, unambitious, retiring--and my friends have blamed me for
this a thousand times. I have seen writers of no talent at all--petty
scribblers, wasters of ink and spoilers of paper, who could not write
six consecutive lines of English grammar, and whose short paragraphs for
the newspapers invariably had to undergo revision and correction--I have
seen such fellows causing themselves to be invited to public banquets
and other festivals, and forcing their unwelcome presence into the
society of the most distinguished men of the day.

I have spoken of my friends--now a word or two in regard to my enemies.
Like most men who have figured before the public, in whatever capacity,
I have secured the hatred of many persons, who, jealous of my humble
fame, have lost no opportunity of spitting out their malice and opposing
my progress. The friendship of such persons is a misfortune--their
enmity is a blessing.

I assure them that their hatred will never cause me to lose a fraction
of my appetite, or my nightly rest. They may consider themselves very
fortunate, if, in the following pages, they do not find themselves
immortalized by my notice, although they are certainly unworthy of so
great a distinction. I enjoy the friendship of men of letters, and am
therefore not to be put down by the opposition of a parcel of senseless
blockheads, without brain, or heart, or soul.

I shall doubtless find it necessary to make allusions to local places,
persons, incidents, &c. Those will add greatly to the interest of the
narrative. Many portraits will be readily recognized, especially those
whose originals reside in Boston, where the greater portion of my
literary career has been passed.

_The life of an author_, must necessarily be one of peculiar and
absorbing interest, for he dwells in a world of his own creation, and
his tastes, habits, and feelings are different from those of other
people. How little is he understood--how imperfectly is he appreciated,
by a cold, unsympathising world! his eccentricities are ridiculed--his
excesses are condemned by unthinking persons, who cannot comprehend the
fact that a writer, whose mind is weary, naturally longs for physical
excitement of some kind of other, and too often seeks for a temporary
mental oblivion in the intoxicating bowl. Under any and every
circumstance, the author is certainly deserving of some degree of
charitable consideration, because he labors hard for the public
entertainment, and draws heavily on the treasures of his imagination, in
order to supply the continual demands of the reading community. When the
author has led a life of stirring adventure, his history becomes one of
extraordinary and thrilling interest. I flatter myself that this
narrative will be found worthy of the reader's perusal.

And now a few words concerning my personal identity. Many have insanely
supposed me to be George Thompson, the celebrated English abolitionist
and member of the British Parliament, but such cannot be the case, that
individual having returned to his own country. Again--others have taken
me for George Thompson, the pugilist; but by far the greater part of the
performers in this interesting "Comedy of Errors" have imagined me to be
no less a personage than the celebrated "_One-eyed Thompson_," and they
long continued in this belief, even after that talented but most
unfortunate man had committed suicide in New York, and in spite of the
fact that his name was William H., and not George. Two circumstances,
however, seemed to justify the belief before the man's death:--he, like
myself, had the great misfortune to be deprived of an eye. How the
misfortune happened to _me_, I shall relate in the proper place. I have
written many works of fiction, but I have passed through adventures
quite as extraordinary as any which I have drawn from the imagination.

In order to establish my claim to the title of "author," I will
enumerate a few of the works which I have written:--

Gay Girls of New York, Dissipation, The Housekeeper, Venus in Boston,
Jack Harold, Criminal, Outlaw, Road to Ruin, Brazen Star, Kate
Castleton, Redcliff, The Libertine, City Crimes, The Gay Deceiver, Twin
Brothers, Demon of Gold, Dashington, Lady's Garter, Harry Glindon,
Catharine and Clara.

In addition to these works--which have all met with a rapid sale and
most extensive circulation--I have written a sufficient quantity of
tales, sketches, poetry, essays and other literary stock of every
description, to constitute half a dozen cart loads. My adventures,
however, and not my productions must employ my pen; and begging the
reader's pardon for this rather lengthy, but very necessary,
introduction, I begin my task.




CHAPTER I

_In which I begin to Acquire a Knowledge of the World._


I have always thought, and still think, that it matters very little
where or when a man is born--it is sufficient for him to know that he is
_here_, and that he had better adapt himself, as far as possible, to the
circumstances by which he is surrounded, provided that he wishes to
toddle through the world with comfort and credit to himself and to the
approbation of others. But still, in order to please all classes of
readers, I will state that some thirty years ago a young stranger
struggled into existence in the city of New York; and I will just merely
hint that the twenty-eighth day of August, in the year of our Lord one
thousand eight hundred and twenty-three, should be inserted in the next
(comic) almanac as having been the birth-day of a great man--for when an
individual attains a bodily weight of two hundred pounds and over, may
he not be styled _great_?

My parents were certainly respectable people, but they both
inconsiderately died at a very early period of my life, leaving me a few
hundred dollars and a thickheaded uncle, to whom was attached an
objectionable aunt, the proprietress of a long nose and a shrewish
temper. The nose was adapted to the consumption of snuff, and the temper
was effective in the destruction of my happiness and peace of mind. The
worthy couple, with a prophetic eye, saw that I was destined to become,
in future years, somewhat of a _gourmand_, unless care should be taken
to prevent such a melancholy fate; therefore, actuated by the best
motives, and in order to teach me the luxury of abstinence, they began
by slow but sure degrees to starve me. Good people, how I reverence
their memory!

One night I committed burglary upon a closet, and feloniously carried
off a chunk of bread and meat, which I devoured in the cellar.

"Oh, my prophetic soul--_my uncle_!" That excellent man caught me in the
act of eating the provender, and--my bones ache at this very moment as I
think of the licking I got! I forgot to mention that I had a rather
insignificant brother, four years older than myself, who became my
uncle's apprentice, and who joined that gentleman in his persecutions
against me. My kind relatives were rather blissful people in the way of
ignorance, and they hated me because they imagined that I regarded
myself as their superior--a belief that was founded on the fact that I
shunned their society and passed the greater portion of my time in
reading and writing.

I lived at that time in Thomas street, very near the famous brothel of
Rosina Townsend, in whose house that dreadful murder was committed
which the New York public will still remember with a thrill of horror. I
allude to the murder of the celebrated courtezan Ellen Jewett. Her
lover, Richard P. Robinson, was tried and acquitted of the murder,
through the eloquence of his talented counsel, Ogden Hoffman, Esq. The
facts of the case are briefly these:--Robinson was a clerk in a
wholesale store, and was the paramour of Ellen, who was strongly
attached to him. Often have I seen them walking together, both dressed
in the height of fashion, the beautiful Ellen leaning upon the arm of
the dashing Dick, while their elegant appearance attracted universal
attention and admiration. But all this soon came to a bloody
termination. Dick was engaged to be married to a young lady of the
highest respectability, the heiress of wealth and the possessor of
surpassing loveliness. He informed Ellen that his connection with her
must cease in consequence of his matrimonial arrangements, whereupon
Ellen threatened to expose him to his "intended" if he abandoned her.
Embarrassed by the critical nature of his situation, Dick, then, in an
evil hour, resolved to kill the courtezan who threatened to destroy his
anticipated happiness. One Saturday night he visited her as usual; and
after a splendid supper, they returned to her chamber. Upon that
occasion, as was afterwards proved on the trial, Dick wore an ample
cloak, and several persons noticed that he seemed to have something
concealed beneath it. His manner towards Ellen and also his words, were
that night unusually caressing and affectionate. What passed in that
chamber, and who perpetrated that murder the Almighty knows--_and,
perhaps, Dick Robinson, if he is still alive, also knows_![A] The next
morning (Sunday,) at a very early hour, smoke was seen to proceed from
Ellen's chamber, and the curtains of her bed were found to have been set
on fire. The flames were with difficulty extinguished, and there in the
half consumed bed, was found the mangled corpse of Ellen Jewett, having
on the side of her head an awful wound, which had evidently been
inflicted by a hatchet. Dick Robinson was nowhere to be found, but in
the garden, near a fence, were discovered his cloak and a bloody
hatchet. With many others, I entered the room in which lay the body of
Ellen, and never shall I forget the horrid spectacle that met my gaze!
There, upon that couch of sin, which had been scathed by fire, lay
blackened the half-burned remains of a once-beautiful woman, whose head
exhibited the dreadful wound which had caused her death. It had plainly
been the murderer's intention to burn down the house in order to destroy
the ghastly evidence of his crime; but fate ordained that the fire
should be discovered and extinguished before the _fatal wound_ became
obliterated. Robinson, as I said before, was tried and pronounced
guiltless of the crime, through the ingenuity of his counsel, who termed
him an "_innocent boy_." The public, however, firmly believed in his
guilt; and the question arises--"If Dick Robinson did not kill Ellen
Jewett, _who did_?" I do not believe that ever before was presented so
shameful an instance of perverted justice, or so striking an
illustration of the "glorious uncertainty of the law." It is rather
singular that Furlong, a grocer, who swore to an _alibi_ in favor of
Robinson, and who was the chief instrument employed to effect the
acquittal of that young man, some time afterwards committed suicide by
drowning, having first declared that his conscience reproached him for
the part which he played at the trial!

The Sabbath upon which this murder was brought to light was a dark,
stormy day, and I have reason to remember it well, for, in the
afternoon, that good old pilgrim--my uncle, of course,--discovered that
I had played truant from Sunday School in the morning, and for that
atrocious crime, he, in his holy zeal for my spiritual and temporal
welfare, resolved to bestow upon me a wholesome and severe flogging,
being aided and abetted in the formation of that laudable resolution by
my religious aunt and my sanctimonious brother, the latter of whom had
turned _informer_ against me. Sweet relatives? how I love to think of
them--and never do I fail to remember them in my prayers. Well, I was
lugged up into the garret, which was intended to be the scene of my
punishment. If I recollect rightly, I was then about twelve years of
age, and rather a stout youth considering my years. I determined to
rebel against the authority of my beloved kindred, assert my
independence, and defend myself to the best of my ability. "I have
suffered enough;" said I to myself, "and now I'm _going in_."

"Sabbath-breaker, strip off your jacket," mildly remarked by dear uncle
as he savagely flourished a cowhide of most formidable aspect and
alarming suppleness.

My reply was brief, but expressive:

"I'll see you d----d first," said I.

My uncle turned pale, my aunt screamed, and my brother rolled up the
white of his eyes and groaned.

"What, what did you say?" demanded my uncle, who could not believe the
evidence of his own senses, for up to that moment I had always tamely
submitted to the good man's amiable treatment of me, and he found it
impossible to imagine that I was capable of resisting him. Well, if
there ever _was_ an angel on earth, that uncle of mine was that
particular angel. Saints in general are provided with pinched noses,
green eyes, and voices like unto the wailings of a small pig, which is
suffering the agonies of death beneath a cart-wheel. And, if there ever
was a cherub, my brother _was_ certainly that individual cherub,
although, in truth, my pious recollections do not furnish me with the
statement that cherubs are remarkable for swelled heads and bandy legs.

"I say," was my reply to my uncle's astonished inquiry, "that I ain't
going to stand any more abuse and beatings. I've stood bad treatment
long enough from the whole pack of you. I'm almost starved, and I'm
kicked about like a dog. Let any of you three tyrants touch me, and I'll
show you what is to get desperate. I disown you all as relatives, and
hereafter I'm going to live where I please, and do as I please."

Furious with rage, my sweet-tempered uncle raised the cowhide and with
it struck me across the face. I immediately pitched into that portion of
his person where he was accustomed to stow away his Sabbath beans, and
the excellent man fell head over heels down the garret stairs, landing
securely at the bottom and failing to pick himself up, for the simple
reason that he had broken his leg. What a pity it would have been, and
what a loss society would have sustained, if, instead of his leg, the
holy man had broken his _neck_!

My dear brother, accompanied by my affectionate aunt, now choked me, but
I was not to be conquered just then, for "thrice is he armed who hath
his quarrel just." The lady I landed in a tub of impure water that
happened to be standing near; and she presented quite an interesting
appearance, kicking up her heels and squalling like a cat in
difficulties. My other assailant I hurled into a heap of ashes, and the
way he blubbered was a caution to a Nantucket whaleman. Rushing down the
stairs, I passed over the prostrate form of my crippled uncle, who
requested me to come back, so that he might kick me with his serviceable
foot; but, brute that I was, I disregarded him--requested him to go to a
place which shall be nameless--and then left the house as expeditiously
as possible, fully determined never to return, whatever might be the
consequences.

"I am now old enough, and big enough," I mentally reflected, "to take
care of myself; and to-morrow I'll look for work, and try to get a
chance to learn a trade. Where shall I sleep to-night? It's easy enough
to ask that question, but deuced hard to answer it. I wish to-day wasn't
Sunday!"

Rather an impious wish, but quite natural under the circumstances. I
felt in my pockets, to see if I was the proprietor of any loose change;
my search was magnificently successful, for I discovered that I had a
sixpence!

Yes, reader, a new silver sixpence, that glittered in my hand like a
bright star of hope, urging me on to enterprise--to exertions. So
fearful was I of losing the precious coin, that I continued to grasp it
tightly in my hand. I never had been allowed any pocket money, even on
the Fourth of July; and this large sum had come into my possession
through the munificence of a neighbor, as a reward for performing an
errand.

Not knowing where else to go, I went down on the Battery, and sheltered
myself under a tree from the rain, which fell in torrents. Rather an
interesting situation for a youth of twelve--homeless, friendless,
almost penniless! I was wet through to the skin, and as night came on, I
became desperately hungry, for I had eaten no dinner that day, and even
my breakfast had been of the _phantom_ order--something like the
pasteboard meals which are displayed upon the stage of the theatre.
However, I did not despair, for I was young and active, full of the hope
so natural to a youth ere rough contact with the world has crushed his
spirit. I was well aware of the fact that I was no fool, although I had
often been called one by my hostile and unappreciating relatives, whose
opinions I had ever held in most supreme contempt. As I stood under that
tree to shelter myself from the rain, I felt quite happy, for a feeling
of independence had arisen within me. I was now my own master, and the
consciousness that I must solely rely upon myself, was to me a source of
gratification and pride. I had not the slightest doubt of being able to
dig my way through the world in some way or other.

Night came on at last, black as the brow of a Congo nigger, and starless
as a company of travelling actors. I could not remain under the tree all
night, that was certain; and so I left it, although I could scarcely see
my hand before me. That hand, by the way, still tenaciously grasped the
invaluable sixpence. Groping my way out of the Battery, and guided by a
light, I entered the bar-room of a respectable hotel, where a large
number of well-dressed gentlemen were assembled, who were seeking
shelter from the storm, and at the same time indulging their convivial
propensities. Much noise and confusion prevailed; and two gentlemen,
who, as I afterwards learned, were officers belonging to a Spanish
vessel then in port, fell into a dispute and got into a fight, during
which one of them stabbed the other with a dirk-knife, inflicting a
mortal wound.

Officers were sent for, the murderer and his victim were removed, and
comparative quiet prevailed. I was seated in an obscure corner of the
bar-room, wondering how I should get through the night, when I was
unceremoniously accosted by a lad of about my own age. He was a rakish
looking youth, quite handsome withal, dressed in the height of fashion,
and was smoking a cigar with great vigor and apparent relish. It will be
seen hereafter that I have reason to remember this individual to the
very last day of my life. Would to heaven that I had never met him!

This youth slapped me familiarly on the shoulder, and said--

"Hallo, bub! why, you're wet as a drowned rat! Come and take a brandy
cocktail--it will warm you up!"

I had never drank a drop of liquor in my life, and I hadn't the faintest
idea of what a brandy cocktail was, and so I told my new friend, who
laughed immoderately as he exclaimed--

"How jolly green you are, to be sure; why, you're a regular _greenhorn_,
and I'm going to call you by that name hereafter. Have you got any tin?"

I knew that he meant money, and so I told him that I had but a sixpence
in the world.

"Bah!" cried my friend, as he drew his cigar from his mouth and
salivated in the most fashionable manner, "who are you, what are you and
what are you doing here? Come, tell me all about yourself, and it may
perhaps be in my power to do you a service."

His frank, off-hand manner won my confidence. I told him my whole story,
without any reserve; and he laughed uproariously when I told him how I
had pitched my tyrannical uncle down stairs.

"It served the old chap right," said he approvingly--"you are a fellow
of some spirit, and I like you. Come take a drink, and we can afterwards
talk over what is best to be done."

I objected to drink, because I had formed a strong prejudice against
ardent spirits, having often been a witness of its deplorable effects in
depriving men--and women, too--of their reason, and reducing them to the
condition of brute beasts. So, in declining my friend's invitation, I
told him my reasons for so doing, whereupon he laughed louder than ever,
as he remarked--

"Why, _Greenhorn_, you'd make an excellent temperance lecturer. But
perhaps you think I haven't got any money to pay the rum. Look
here--what do you think of _that_?"

He displayed a large roll of bank bills, and flourished them
triumphantly. I had never before seen so much money, except in the
broker's windows; and my friend was immediately established in my mind
as a _millionaire_, whose wealth was inexhaustible. I suddenly conceived
for him the most profound respect, and would not have offended him for
the world. How could I persist in refusing to drink with a young
gentleman of such wealth, and (as a necessary consequence) such
distinction? Besides, I suddenly felt quite a curiosity to drink some
liquor, just to see how it tasted. After all, it was only very low
people who got drunk and wallowed in the mire. _Gentlemen_ (I thought)
never get drunk, and they always seem so happy and joyous after they
have been drinking! How they shake hands, and swear eternal friendship,
and seem generously willing to lend or give away all they have in the
world! So thought I, as my mind was made up to accept the invitation of
my friend. It is singular that I had forgotten all about the murder
which had just taken place in that bar-room, and which had been directly
produced by intemperance.

"The fact is, my dear _Greenhorn_," said my friend, impressively, as he
flourished his hand after the manner of some aged, experienced and
eloquent orator, "the fact is, the _use_ of liquor, and its _abuse_, are
two very different things. A man (here he drew himself up) can drink
like a gentleman, or he can swill like a loafer, or a beast. Now _I_
prefer the gentlemanly portion of the argument, and therefore we'll go
up and take a gentlemanly drink. I shall be happy, young man, to
initiate you into the divine joys and mysteries of Bacchus--ahem!"

I looked at my friend with increased wonder, for he displayed an
assurance, a self-possession, an elegant _nonchalance_, that were far
beyond his years, for he was only about twelve years old--my own age
exactly. And then what language he used--so refined, glowing, and
indicative of a knowledge of the world! I longed to be like him--to
equal him in his many perfections--to sport as much money as he did, and
to wear as good "_harness_." I forgot to mention that he carried a
splendid gold watch, and that several glittering rings adorned his
fingers. "Who can he be?" was the question which I asked myself; and of
course, I could not find an answer.

"Felix," said my friend, addressing the bar-keeper in a style of
patronizing condescension, as we approached the bar, "Felix, my good
fellow, just mix us a couple of brandy cocktails, will you, and make
them _strong_, d'ye hear, for the night is wet, and I and my verdant
friend here, are about to travel in search of amusement, even as the
Caliph and his Vizier used to perambulate the streets of Baghdad. Come,
hurry up!"

The bar-keeper grinned, mixed the liquor, and handed us the tumblers. My
friend knocked his glass against mine, and remarked "here's luck," a
ceremony and an observation which both somewhat surprised me at the
time, although I have long since become thoroughly acquainted with what
was then a mystery. Many of my readers--indeed, I may say the greater
portion of them--will require no explanation of this matter; and as for
those who are in ignorance of it, I will simply say, long may they keep
so!

My friend tossed off his cocktail with the air of one who is used to it,
and rather liked it than otherwise; but I was not quite so successful,
for being wholly unacquainted with the science of drinking, the strength
of the liquor nearly choked me, to the intense amusement of my more
experienced friend, who advised me to try again. I _did_ try again, and
more successfully, the liquor went the way of all rum, and soon produced
the usual effects. Of course its influence on me was exceedingly
powerful, I being entirely unaccustomed to its use. A very agreeable
feeling of exhilaration stole over me--I thought I was worth just one
hundred thousand dollars--I embraced my friend and swore he was a
"trump"--I then noticed, with mild surprise, that he had been multiplied
into two individuals--there were two barkeepers now, although just
before I drank, there was but one--an additional chandelier had just
stepped in to visit the solitary one which had lighted the room--to
speak plainly, I saw double; and to sum the whole matter up in a few
words, I was, for the first time in my life, most decidedly and
incontestably _drunk_.

As nearly as I can remember, my friend linked his arm within mine, and
we passed out into the street--he partially supporting me, and keeping
me from falling. Two precious youths, of twelve years of age, we
certainly were--one staggering and trying to fall down, and the other
laughing, and holding him up!

The rain had ceased falling, and the stars were shining as if nothing
had happened. The cool air sobered me, and my friend congratulated me on
my recovery from a state of inebriety.

"After a little practice at the bar," said he--"it will take a good many
_tods_ to _floor_ you. Let me give you a few hints as regards drinking.
Never mix your liquor--always stick to one kind. After every glass, eat
a cracker--or, what is better, a pickle. Plain drinks are always the
best--far preferable to fancy drinks, which contain sugar, and lemons,
and mint, and other trash; although a mixed drink may be taken on a
stormy night, such as this has been. Drink ale, or beer, sparingly, and
only after dinner--for, taken in large quantities, it is apt to bloat a
person, and it plays the very devil with his internal arrangements.
Besides, it is filthy stuff, at best, being made of the most repulsive
materials and in the dirtiest manner. Always drink _good liquor_, which
will not hurt you, while the vile stuff which is sold in the different
bar-rooms will soon send you to your grave. If you pass a day or two in
drinking freely, do not miss eating a single meal, and if you do not
feel inclined to eat, _force_ yourself to do it; for, if you neglect
your food, that terrible fiend, _Delirium Tremens_, will have you in his
savage grasp before you know it. Every morning after a _spree_, take a
good stiff horn of brandy, and soon afterwards a glass of plain soda,
which will cool you off. Never drink gin--it is vulgar stuff, not fit to
be used by gentlemen.--When you desire to reform from drinking, never
break off abruptly, which is dangerous; but _taper off_ gradually--three
glasses to-day, two to-morrow, and one the next day. Never drink with
low people, under any circumstances, for it brings you down to their
level. When you go to a drinking party, or to a fashionable dinner, sit
with your back toward the sun--confine yourself to one kind of
liquor--take an occasional sip of vinegar--and the very devil himself
cannot drink you under the table! Now do you understand me, my dear
_greenhorn_?"

Such language and advice, emanating from a boy of twelve, astonished me,
and hurried me to the conclusion that he must be a very "_fast_" youth
indeed. I took a more particular survey of my new friend. He was not
remarkable handsome, but his face was flushing not with health, but
with drinking. A rosy tint suffused his full cheeks, and a delicate
vermillion colored the top of his well-formed nose. His form was
somewhat slighter than mine, but he looked vigorous and active. His
closely buttoned jacket developed a full breast, and a pair of muscular
arms. His small feet were encased in patent-leather boots. Upon his head
was a jaunty cloth cap, from beneath which flowed a quantity of fine,
curly hair. I really envied him his good looks, as also his mental
endowments. He saw that I admired him; and he liked me for it.

Such was _Jack Slack_, I may as well give his name at once, for I hate
the trickery of authors who keep the curiosity of their readers
painfully excited to the end of their narratives for the purpose of
producing an _effect_. My professional habits as a writer prompt me to
do the same; but I must not forget that I am writing my own history, and
not an effusion of my imagination, which seems to be a prolific mother,
for it hath produced many children, and (if I live) may produce many
more.

While I now write, the Sabbath bells are ringing in sweet harmony, and
through my open window comes the cool but mild breath of an autumnal
morning. Yes, it is Sunday, and all the holy associations of the sacred
day crowd upon me. I can almost see the village church, and the throng
of worshippers within it, listening to the fervent remarks and
exhortations of their pastor. Then I can fancy the gorgeous cathedral,
with its stained windows, its elaborate carvings, its pealing organs,
and its fashionable assembly of superficial worshippers. While others
are praying, pleasuring and sleeping, I am rushing my iron pen over the
spotless paper, and wishing that my penmanship could keep pace with my
thought.--This is a digression; but the reader will pardon it. There is
_one_ dear creature, I know, who, when her eyes scan these pages, will
understand me. But she, alas! is far away.

Where was I? Oh, speaking of Jack Slack. How well do I remember the
night upon which first I met him! I can see him now, with his
mischievous smiles, his eyes full of deviltry--his scornful lips--I can
almost hear his mocking laugh. Yes, although eighteen years have passed
since then, the remembrance of that night is fresh within me, as if its
occurrence were but things of yesterday.

May perdition seize the circumstances which led me to encounter him! He
was the foundation of my misfortunes in life. But for him, I might have
led a happy, tranquil life; unknown, it is true, but still happy. But,
poor fellow! he is dead now. He died by my hand, and I do not regret the
act, nor would I recall it, had I the power. But of this the reader
shall know hereafter.

That was my first night of dissipation--that was the occasion of my
initiation into the mysteries of debauchery. I had previously led a
necessarily regular and abstemious life--to bed at eight, up at six, at
school by nine, and so on. (By the way, I never learned any thing at
school--the master pronounced me the most stupid rascal in the concern;
and flogged me accordingly--good old man! All I ever learned was
acquired in a _printing office_.) Well, here was I at the age of twelve,
fairly launched upon the sea of city life, without a guide, protector,
or friend. What wonder is it that I became a reckless, dissipated
individual, careless of myself, my interests, my fame and fortune?

Jack Slack and I, arm-in-arm, entered Broadway, and proceeded at a
leisurely pace up that noble avenue. Many a courtezan did we meet, and
many a watchman did we salute with the compliments of the season. (There
were no _Brazen Stars_,[B] nor _M.P.'s_, then.) One lady of the pave,
whom my companion addressed in terms of complimentary gallantry,
said--"Little boy, go home to your mother and tell her she wants you!"

I am now about to make a humiliating confession, but I must not shrink
from it, inasmuch as I sat down with the determination of writing "the
truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." I allowed Jack to
persuade me to accompany him on a visit to a celebrated establishment in
Leonard street--a house occupied by accommodating ladies of great
personal attractions, who were not especially virtuous. That was of
course my first visit to a house of ill-fame; and without exactly
comprehending the nature of the place and its arrangements, I was deeply
impressed with the strangeness and novelty of everything that surrounded
me. The costly and elegant furniture--the brilliant chandeliers--the
magnificent but rather _loose_ French prints and paintings--the
universal luxury that prevailed--the voluptuous ladies, with their bare
shoulders, painted cheeks, and free-and-easy manners--the buxom,
bustling landlady, who was dressed with almost regal splendor and wore a
profusion of jewelry--the crowd of half-drunken gentlemen who were
drinking wine and laughing uproariously--all these things astonished and
bewildered me. My friend Jack appeared to be well known to the inmates
of the house, with whom he seemed to be an immense favorite.
Having--much to my dissatisfaction and disgust--introduced me to a lady,
he took possession of another one, and called for a couple of bottles of
wine. Jack and his lady were evidently upon the most intimate and
affectionate terms, while my female companion seemed inclined to be very
loving, but I did not appreciate her advances, being altogether
unaccustomed to such things. The champagne was brought, and I was
persuaded to drink freely of it. The consequence was that I soon became
helplessly intoxicated. I can indistinctly remember the dancing lights,
the popping of champagne corks--the noise, the confusion, the thrumming
of a piano, and the boisterous laughter--and then I fell into a
condition of complete insensibility.

When I awoke, I was astonished at my situation and naturally enough, for
I was in a strange apartment and snugly stowed away in a strange but
decidedly luxuriant bed. The room was handsomely furnished, but to my
additional surprise, many female garments were scattered about,
indicating that the regular inhabitant of the place was a lady. This
mystery was soon solved, for I was not the only inmate of the couch. My
companion was the lady to whom I had been introduced by Jack Slack.
Pitying my helpless condition--and, doubtless, prompted by the
mischievous Jack--she had carried me to bed, and had also retired
herself, being actuated by a benevolent anxiety for my safety. What a
delicate situation for a modest youth to be placed in! Having, to my no
small satisfaction, ascertained that the lady was fast asleep, I arose
so carefully and noiselessly as not to awaken her. In truth, I was
disgusted with the whole concern, and determined to leave it as speedily
as possible. A light was fortunately burning in the room, which enabled
me to move about with safety. A gold watch which lay upon the table
informed me that it was nearly midnight.--Leaving the chamber and its
sleeping inmate, I crept down stairs, and, on passing the door of the
principal sitting-room, the voice of Jack Slack, who was singing a comic
song amid the most enthusiastic applause, convinced me that my
interesting friend was still rendering himself a source of amusement and
an object of admiration. Without stopping to compliment him upon the
excellence of his performance, I approached the front door, turned the
key which was in the lock, unfastened the chain, and passed out into the
street, just as the clock of a neighboring steeple was proclaiming the
hour of twelve.

My head ached terribly after the champagne which I had so profusely
drank, and besides, I felt heavy and sleepy to an extraordinary degree.
Unable to resist the overpowering influence of my feelings, I sat down
upon the steps of a house and was fast asleep in less than a minute.
Then I dreamed of being seized in the powerful grasp of some gigantic
demon, and hurried away to the bottomless pit. I certainly felt
conscious of being moved about, but my oblivious condition would not
admit of arriving at any definite understanding of what was happening to
me. When I finally awoke, I found myself in an apartment that was far
different in its aspect from the luxurious chamber I had just quitted.
The floor, walls and ceiling of the apartment were of stone; there were
no windows, but a narrow aperture, high up in the wall, admitted the
feeble glimmer of daylight. There was an iron door, and a water-pipe,
and platform on which I lay, and on which reposed several gentlemen of
seedy raiment and unwholesome appearance. The place and the company, as
dimly revealed by the uncertain morning light, inspired me with emotions
of horror; and in my inexperience and ignorance, I said to myself--

"I must leave this place at once. How I came here is a mystery, but it
is certain that I cannot remain."

I arose from my hard couch, and approached the iron door with the
confident expectation of being able to pass out without any difficulty,
for I imagined that I had fallen into one of those cheap and wretched
lodging houses with which the city abounds. (By the way, I may hereafter
have something to say with reference to these cheap lodging-houses. Some
rich development may be made, which will rather astonish the
unsophisticated reader.)

To my surprise, I found that the door could not be opened; and then one
of my fellow-lodgers, who had been observing my movements, exclaimed:

"Are you going to leave us, my lad? Then leave us your card, or a lock
of your hair to remember you by."

"Will you be kind enough to tell me what place this is?" said I.

The man laughed loudly, as he replied--

"Why, don't you know? What an innocent youth you are, to be sure! How
the devil could you come here, without knowing anything about it? But I
suppose that you were drunk, which is a great pity for a boy like you.
Well, not to keep you in suspense, I must inform you that you are in the
_watch-house of the Tombs_!"

This information appalled me. To be in confinement--to be a prisoner--to
be associated with a company of outcasts, thieves and perhaps
murderers--was to me the height of horror. I looked particularly at the
man with whom I had been conversing. He was a savage-looking individual,
with a beard like that of a pirate, and an eye that spoke of blood and
outrage. He was roughly dressed, in a garb that announced him to be a
mariner.

In the course of a conversation that we fell into, he informed me that
he had committed a murder on the preceding evening, and that he expected
to be hung.

"We quarrelled at cards," said he, "and he gave me the lie--whereupon I
drew my death-knife and stabbed him to the heart. He died instantly; the
police rushed in, and here I am. My neck will be stretched, but I don't
care. What matters it how a man dies? When my time comes, I shall go
forth as readily and as cheerfully as if I were going to take a drink."

(I will here remark that I afterwards saw this man hung in the yard of
the _Tombs_. His history is in my possession, and I shall hereafter
write it.)[C]

At nine o'clock I was taken before the magistrate, who, after severely
reprimanding me for my misconduct, discharged me from custody, with the
remark that if I were brought there again he would be obliged to commit
me to the Tombs for the term of five days. Delighted at having obtained
my liberty, I posted out of the court room and found myself in Centre
street. My debauch of the preceding night had not spoiled my appetite,
by any means; and, as I still had in my possession the sixpence alluded
to before, I resolved to produce some breakfast forthwith. Aware that my
limited finances would not admit of my obtaining a very sumptuous
repast, and fully appreciating the necessity of economy, I entered the
shop of a baker and purchased three rolls at the rate of one cent per
copy. Thus provided, I repaired to a neighboring street pump, and made a
light but wholesome breakfast.

It was thus, reader, that your humble servant began to acquire a
knowledge of the world.

FOOTNOTES:

[A] The last that was heard of Robinson, he was in Texas, and it was
reported that he was married and wealthy, his right arm he had lost in
some battle, the name of which I do not remember.

[B] I have just written a story under this title, full of fact and fun,
and containing more truth than poetry. The reader can have it by
applying to the publisher of this work. It is well worthy of perusal.

[C] This work is now in active course of preparation. To the lovers of
exciting tales, this story will be one of particular attraction. It will
be issued by the publisher of this narrative.




CHAPTER II

_In which I become a Printer, and am introduced into certain mysteries
of connubial life._


Having breakfasted to my entire satisfaction and also to my great bodily
refreshment, I entered the Park, seated myself upon the steps of the
City Hall, and thought "what is best to be done?"--It was Monday
morning, and the weather was excellently fine. It was an excellent time
to search for employment. A sign on an old building in Chatham street
attracted my notice; upon it were inscribed the words, "Book and Job
Printing."

"Good!" was my muttered exclamation, as I left the Park and crossed
over towards the old building in question--"I'll be a printer! Franklin
was one, and he, like myself, was fond of rolls, because he entered
Philadelphia with one under each arm. Yes, I'll be a printer."

Entering the printing office, I found it to be a very small concern,
containing but one press and a rather limited assortment of type. The
proprietor of the office, whom I shall call Mr. Romaine, was a rather
intellectual looking man, of middle age. Being very industrious, he did
the principal portion of his work himself, occasionally, however, hiring
a journeyman when work was unusually abundant. As I entered he looked up
from his case and inquired, with an air of benevolence--

"Well, my lad, what can I do for _you_ this morning?"

"If you please, sir, I want to learn to be a printer," replied I,
boldly.

"Ah, indeed! Well, I was just thinking of taking an apprentice. But give
an account of yourself--how old are you, and who are you?"

I frankly communicated to Mr. Romaine all that he desired to know
concerning me, and he expressed himself as being perfectly satisfied. He
immediately set me to "learning the boxes" of a case of type; and in
half an hour I had accomplished the task, which was not very difficult,
it being merely an effort of memory.

It having been arranged that I should take up my abode in the house of
Mr. Romaine, I accompanied that gentleman home to dinner. He lived in
William street and his wife kept a fashionable boarding-house for
merchants, professional men, &c. Several of these gentlemen were married
men and had their wives with them. Mrs. Romaine, the wife of my
employer, was one of the finest-looking women I ever saw--tall,
voluptuous, and truly beautiful. She was about twenty-five years of age,
and her manners were peculiarly fascinating and agreeable. She was
always dressed in a style of great elegance, and was admirably adapted
to the station which she filled as landlady of an establishment like
that. I will remark that although she had been the wife of Mr. Romaine
for a number of years, she had not been blessed with offspring, which
was doubtless to her a source of great disappointment, to say nothing of
the _chagrin_ which a married woman naturally feels when she fails in
due time to add to the population of her country.

Accustomed as I had been to the economical scantiness of my uncle's
table, I was both surprised and delighted with the luxurious abundance
that greeted me on sitting down to dinner at Mrs. Romaine's. I was
equally well pleased with the sprightliness, intelligence and good-humor
of the conversation in which the ladies and gentlemen engaged, and also
with their refined and courteous bearing towards each other. I
congratulated myself on having succeeded in getting not only into
business, but also into good society.

"If my dearly-beloved relatives," thought I, "could see me now, they
might not be well pleased at my situation and prospects. Let them go to
Beelzebub! I will get on in the world, in spite of them!"

In a few days I began to be very useful about the printing office, for I
had learned to set type and to _roll_ behind the press; I also performed
all the multifarious duties of _devil_, and was so fortunate as to
secure the good will of my employer, who generously purchased for me a
fine new suit of clothes, and seemed anxious to make me as comfortable
as possible. His wife, also, treated me very kindly; but there was
something mysterious about this lady, which for a time, puzzled me
extremely. One discovery which I made rather astonished me, young as I
was, and caused me to do a "devil of a thinking." Mr. Romaine and his
wife occupied separate sleeping apartments, and there seemed to be an
aversion between them, although they treated each other with the most
formal and scrupulous politeness. But my readers will agree with me that
mere _politeness_ is not the only sentiment which should exist between a
husband and his wife. There was evidently something "rotten in Denmark"
between Mr. and Mrs. Romaine, and I determined, if possible, to
penetrate the mystery.

Mr. Romaine, who was professedly a pious man, was particularly in favor
of "remembering the Sabbath day to keep it holy," and he therefore
directed me to be very punctual in attendance at church and Sunday
school, and I obeyed his praiseworthy request until visions of literary
greatness and renown began to dawn upon me, whereupon, prompted by
gingerbread and ambition, and being moreover aided and abetted by
another printer's devil of tender years and literary aspirations, I, one
Sunday morning, entered the printing office, (of which I kept the key,)
and assisted by my companion, set up and worked off one hundred copies
of a diminutive periodical just six inches square, containing a _very_
brief abstract of the news of the day, a _very_ indifferent political
leader, and a few _rather_ partial theatrical criticisms. This extensive
newspaper we issued on three successive Sundays, circulating it among
our juvenile friends at the moderate rate of one cent a copy. On the
fourth Sunday we were caught in the act of printing our journal by Mr.
Romaine himself, who, although he with difficulty refrained from
laughing at the fun of the thing, gave us a long lecture on the crime of
Sabbath-breaking, and then made us distribute the type, forgetting that
we were breaking the Sabbath as much by taking our form to pieces as by
putting it together.

Mr. Romaine was also strongly opposed to theatres, but, nevertheless, I
visited the "little Frankin" four or five times every week, to see John
and Bill Sefton in the "Golden Farmer," and other thrilling melo-dramas,
a convenient ally, a garden and a shed enabled me to enter my chamber at
any hour during the night, without my employer's becoming aware of my
absence from home.

One night after having been to my favorite place of amusement, I
returned home about midnight. On entering the garden, I discovered to my
surprise a light streaming from the kitchen windows--a very unusual
occurrence. I crept softly up to one of the windows, and looking into
the kitchen, a scene met my gaze that filled me with astonishment.

Mrs. Romaine, arrayed in her night-dress only, was seated at a table,
and at her side was a young gentleman named Anderson, who boarded in the
house, and who was a prosperous merchant. His arm was around the lady's
waist, and her head rested affectionately upon his shoulder. She looked
uncommonly beautiful and voluptuous that night, I thought, young as I
was, I wondered not at the look of passionate admiration with which
Anderson regarded his fair companion, upon whose sensual countenance
there rested an expression of gratified love. Upon the table were the
remains of a supper of which they had evidently partaken; there were
also a bottle of wine and two glasses, partially filled. Mrs. Romaine
sipped her wine occasionally, as well as her paramour; and the guilty
pair seemed to be enjoying themselves highly. It was plain that the lady
was resolved to lose nothing by her estrangement from her husband; it
was equally plain that between her and Mr. Romaine there existed not the
smallest particle of love. I now ceased to wonder why the wedded pair
occupied separate apartments; and I came to the conclusion that
disappointment in the matter of children was the cause of their mutual
aversion. If I were writing a romance instead of a narrative of facts, I
would here introduce an imaginary tender conversation between the pair.
But as no such conversation took place I have none to describe.

"Well," said I to myself--"this is a pretty state of affairs, truly. I
guess that if Mr. Romaine suspected any thing of this kind, there would
be the very devil to pay, and no mistake. But it's no business of mine;
and so I'll climb into my window and go to bed."

My employer was a very good sort of a man, and I sincerely pitied him on
account of his unhappy connubial situation. I turned away from the
kitchen window, and began to mount the shed in order to reach my
chamber. I had nearly gained the roof of the shed, when a board gave way
and I was precipitated to the ground, a distance of about ten feet.
Fortunately I sustained no injury; but the noise aroused and alarmed the
loving couple in the kitchen. Mrs. Romaine, in her terror and dread of
discovery, gave utterance to a slight scream; while Mr. Anderson rushed
forth and seized me in a rather powerful grasp. I struggled, and kicked,
and strove to extricate myself, but it was all of no use. With many a
muttered imprecation Anderson dragged me into the kitchen, and swore
that if I did not remain quiet he would stab me to the heart with a
dirk-knife that he produced from his pocket.

"You young rascal," said he "who employed you to play the part of a spy?
Did Mr. Romaine direct you to watch us? Is he lurking outside, in the
garden? If so, let him beware, for I am a desperate man, one not to be
trifled with!"

I explained everything to the entire satisfaction of both the gentleman
and lady, whose countenances brightened when they found that matters
were far from being as bad as they expected.

"Now, my boy," said Anderson, "just do keep perfectly dark about this
business, and I'll make your fortune. You shall never want a dollar
while I live. As an earnest of what I may hereafter do for you, accept
this trifle, which will enable you to gratify your theatre-going
propensities to your heart's content."

The "trifle" was a ten dollar gold piece. I had never before possessed
so much money; and no millionaire ever felt richer than I did at that
moment. Delightful visions of dramatic treats arose before me, and I was
happy.

Mr. Anderson made me drink a couple of glasses of wine, which tasted
very good, and caused me to feel quite elevated. Then he told me that I
had better go to bed, and I fully agreed with him. So, bidding the
enamoured couple a patronizing good night and facetiously wishing them a
pleasant time together--the wine had made me bold and saucy--I left the
kitchen and began to ascend the stairs towards my own room with all the
silence and caution of which I was capable.

I was destined that night to make another astonishing discovery. Being
quite tipsy, I was deprived of my usual judgement, and suffered myself
to stumble against a table that stood upon one of the landings opposite
the chamber door of a young and particularly pretty widow named Mrs.
Raymond, who boarded in the house. She possessed a snug independent
fortune, and led a life of elegant leisure. Although demure in her looks
and reverend in her deportment, there was a whole troop of dancing
devils in her eyes that proclaimed the fact that her nature was not
exactly as cold as ice.

My collision with the table caused me to recoil, and I fell violently
against Mrs. Raymond's door, which burst open, and down I landed in the
very centre of the apartment.

I heard a scream, and then a curse. The scream was the performance of
the fair widow; the curse was the production of Mr. Romaine, my pious,
Sabbath-venerating and theatre-opposing employer, who, springing up from
the sofa upon which he had been seated by the side of the widow, seized
me by the throat and demanded how the devil I came there?

My wits had not entirely deserted me, and I managed to tell quite a
plausible story. I candidly confessed that I had been to the theatre and
stated that I had got into the house through the kitchen window. Of
course I said nothing about Anderson and Mrs. Romaine.

"You have been drinking," said Mr. Romaine, in a tone that was by no
means severe, "but I forgive you for that, and also for having disobeyed
me by going to the theatre. Be a good boy in future, and you shall never
want a friend while I live."

While he was speaking, I looked about the room. It was exquisitely
furnished with the most refined and elegant taste. Mrs. Raymond, who
still sat upon the sofa, blushed deeply as her eyes encountered mine.
She was _en deshabille_, and looked charming. I could not help admiring
the divine perfections of her form, as _revealed_ by the deliciously
careless attire which she wore. I did not wonder that my respected
presence confused her, for she had always held herself up as the very
pink and pattern of female propriety, and besides, she often lectured me
severely upon the enormity of some of my juvenile offences, which came
to her knowledge.

Mr. Romaine continued to address me, thus:

"If you will solemnly promise to say nothing about having seen me in
this room, I will reward you handsomely."

I readily gave the required promise, whereupon my pious employer
presented me with a five-dollar bill, which I received with all the
nonchalance in the world. I then withdrew, and reached my own room
without encountering any more adventures. Sleep did not visit me that
night, for my thoughts were too busily engaged with the discoveries
which I had made; and besides, the blissful consciousness of being the
possessor of the princely sum of fifteen dollars, would have kept me
awake, independent of anything else.

A day or two after these occurrences, while looking over one of the
morning newspapers, I saw an advertisement signed by my uncle, in which
that worthy man offered a reward for my apprehension. The notice
contained a minute description of my personal appearance and the clothes
which I had on when I "ran away." Although my garments had been
entirely changed, I was fearful that some one might recognize my person,
and carry me back to my uncle's house, where I had every reason to
expect far worse treatment than I had ever received before. But Mr.
Romaine, to whom I showed the advertisement, told me not to be at all
alarmed, as he would protect me at any risk. This assurance made me feel
much easier. I was never molested in consequence of that advertisement.

After the night on which I had detected the intrigue of my employer and
his wife, I began to live emphatically "in clover," and accumulated
money tolerably fast. All the parties concerned treated me with the
utmost consideration and respect. Mr. Romaine suffered me to do pretty
much as I pleased in the printing office, and so I enjoyed a very
agreeable and leisurely time of it, doing as much Sunday printing on my
own account as I desired, and going to the theatre as often as I wished.
Mr. Anderson would occasionally slip a five dollar note into my hand, at
the same time enjoining me to "keep mum;" Mrs. Romaine, with her own
fair hands, made me a dozen superb shirts, supplied me with
handkerchiefs, stockings and fancy cravats innumerable, and so arranged
it that when I returned from the theatre at night, a nice little supper
awaited me in the kitchen. These repasts she would sometimes share with
me, for, like a sensible woman, she was fond of all the good things of
this life, including good eating and drinking. Anderson would join us
occasionally, and a snug, cosy little party we made. Mrs. Raymond, the
pretty widow, was not backward in testifying to me how grateful she was
for my silence with reference to her frailty. She made me frequent
presents of money, and gave me an elegant and valuable ring, which I
wore until the "intervention of unfortunate circumstance" compelled me
to consign it to the custody of "my uncle"--not my beloved relative of
Thomas street, (peace to his memory, for he has gone the way of all
pork,)--but that accommodating uncle of mine and everybody else, Mr.
Simpson, who dwelleth in the _Rue de Chatham_, and whose mansion is
decorated with three gilded balls. Kind, convenient Uncle Simpson!

Ah! those were my halcyon days, when not a single care cast its shadow
o'er my soul. As I think of that season of unalloyed happiness, I
involuntarily exclaim, in the words of a fine popular song--

"I would I were a boy again!"

Three years passed away, unmarked by the occurrence of any event of
sufficient importance to merit a place in this narrative. When I reached
my fifteenth year, the fashionable boarding-house of Mrs. Romaine became
the scene of a tragedy so bloody, so awful and so appalling, that even
now, while I think and write about it, my blood runs cold in my veins.
That terrible affair can no more be obliterated from my memory than can
the sun be effaced from the arch of heaven; and to my dying day, its
recollection will continue to haunt me like a hideous spectre.

But I must devote a separate chapter to the details of that sanguinary
event. I would gladly escape from the task of describing it; but, of
course, were I to omit it, this narrative would be incomplete. Therefore
the unwelcome duty must be performed.




CHAPTER III

_In which is enacted a bloody tragedy._


I began to observe with considerable uneasiness, that Mr. Romaine
stealthily regarded his wife with looks of intense hatred and malignant
ferocity; then he would transfer his gaze from her to Mr. Anderson, who
was altogether unconscious of the scrutiny. My employer was usually a
very quiet man, but I knew that his passions were very violent, and
that, when once thoroughly aroused, he was capable of perpetrating
almost any act of savage vengeance. I began to fear that he suspected
the intimacy which existed between his adulterous wife and her paramour.
By the way it may be as well to remark that I had never told either
Anderson or Mrs. Romaine of the intrigue between Mr. Romaine and the
widow, Mrs. Raymond; and it is scarcely necessary to observe that I was
equally discreet in withholding from my employer and his "ladye love"
all knowledge of the state of affairs between the other parties.

I communicated my fears to Mr. Anderson, but he laughed at them saying--

"Nonsense, my dear boy--why should Romaine suspect anything of the kind?
I and Harriet (Mrs. Romaine) have always been very discreet and careful.
Our intimacy began three or four years ago; and as it has lasted that
length of time without discovery, it is scarcely likely to be detected
_now_. You are quite sure that you have given Romaine no hint of the
affair?"

"Do you think me capable of such base treachery?" I demanded, with an
offended air.

"Forgive me," said Anderson, "I did wrong to doubt you. Believe me, your
fears are groundless; however, I thank you for the caution, and shall
hereafter exercise additional care, so as to prevent the possibility of
discovery. Here is a ticket for the opera to-night; when you return,
which will be about midnight, come to Harriet's room, and we three will
sup like two kings and a queen."

Having dressed myself with unusual care, I went to the opera. While
listening to the divine strains of a celebrated _prima donna_, my
attention was attracted by a group occupying one of the most conspicuous
boxes. This group consisted of a youth apparently about my own age, and
two showy looking females whose dresses were cut so low as to reveal
much more of their busts than decency could sanction, even among an
opera audience. There could be no doubt as to the character of these two
women. I examined their youthful cavalier with attention; and soon
recognized my _quondum_ friend and pitcher--JACK SLACK. Jack was
magnificently dressed, and his appearance was truly superb. The most
fastidious Parisian exquisite--even the great Count D'Orsay himself
might have envied him the arrangement of his hair, the tie of his
cravat, the spotlessness of his white kids. He flourished a glittering,
jeweled _lorgnette_, and the way the fellow put on "French airs" must
have been a caution to the proudest scion of aristocracy in the house.

After a little while Jack saw me; and, having taken a good long stare at
me through his opera-glass, he beckoned me to come to him, at the same
time pointing significantly at one of his "lady" companions, as if to
intimate that she was entirely at my disposal. But I shook my head, and
did not stir, for I had no desire to resume my acquaintance with that
fascinating but mysterious youth. Perhaps I entertained a presentiment
that he was destined to become, to both of us, the cause of a great
misfortune.

Jack looked angry and disappointed, at my refusal to accept of his
hospitable invitation. He directed the attention of his women towards
me, and I saw that they were attempting to titter and sneer at my
expense;--but the effort was a total failure, for there was not a
better-dressed person in the house than I was. Having honored the
envious party with a smile of scorn,--which, I flattered myself, was
perfectly successful,--I turned towards the stage, and did not indulge
in another look at Jack or his friends during the remainder of the
opera. I am convinced that from that hour, Jack Slack became my mortal
foe.

At the conclusion of the performances, I left the house and saw Jack
getting into a carriage with the two courtezans. He observed me, and
uttered a decisive shout, to which I paid no attention, but hurried
home, anxious to make one of the little party in the apartment of Mrs.
Romaine, and quite ready to partake of the delicacies which, I knew,
would be provided.

On my arrival home, I immediately repaired to Mrs. Romaine's private
room, where I found that good lady in company with Mr. Anderson. We
three sat down to supper in the highest possible spirits. Alas! how
little did we anticipate the terrible catastrophe that was so soon to
follow!

The more substantial portion of the banquet having been disposed of, the
sparkling wine-cup was circulated freely, and we became very gay and
jovial. Unrestrained by my presence, and exhilarated by the rosy
beverage of jolly Bacchus, the lovers indulged in many little acts of
tender dalliance. Always making it a point to mind my own business, I
applied myself diligently to the bottle, for the wine was excellent and
the sardines had made me thirsty. I had just lighted a cigar, and was
resigning myself to the luxurious and deliciously soothing influence of
the weed, when the door was thrown violently open, and Mr. Romaine
rushed into the room.

His appearance was frightful! his face was dreadfully pale, and his eyes
glared with the combined fires of jealousy and rage. Intense excitement
caused him to quiver in every limb. In one hand he grasped a pistol, and
in the other a bowie knife of the largest and most formidable kind.

It was but too evident that my fears had been well founded, and that Mr.
Romaine had discovered the intimacy between Anderson and his wife.

The reader will agree with me that the "injured husband" was equally
culpable on account of his intrigue with the young and handsome widow,
Mrs. Raymond.--How prone are many people to lose sight of their own
imperfections while they censure and severely punish the failings of
those who are not a whit more guilty than themselves! The swinish
glutton condemns the drunkard--the villainous seducer reproves the
frequenter of brothels--the arch hypocrite takes to task the open,
undisguised sinner--and the rich, miserly old reprobate, whose wealth
places him above the possibility of ever coming to want, who would
sooner "hang the guiltless than eat his mutton cold," and who would not
bestow a cent upon a poor devil to keep him from starving--that old
rascal, perhaps, in his capacity as a magistrate, sentences to jail an
unfortunate man whom hunger has driven into the "crime" of stealing a
loaf of bread! Bah! ladies and gentlemen, take the _beams_ out of your
own eyes before you allude to the _motes_ in the optics of your fellow
beings. That's _my_ advice, free of charge.

On seeing her husband enter in that furious and threatening manner, Mrs.
Romaine, overcome with fear and shame--for she well knew that her guilt
had been detected--fell to the floor insensible. Anderson, confused and
not knowing what to say, sat motionless as a statue;--while I awaited,
with almost trembling anxiety, the issue of this most extraordinary
state of affairs.

Romaine was the first to break the silence, and he spoke in a tone of
voice that was singularly calm considering his physical agitation.

"Well, sir," said he, addressing Anderson--"you are enjoying yourself
finely--drinking my wine, devouring my provisions, and making love to my
wife in her own bed-chamber. Anderson, for some time past I have
suspected you and Harriet of being guilty of criminal intimacy. I have
noticed your secret signs, and have read and interpreted the language of
your eyes, whenever you and she have exchanged glances in my presence.
You both took me to be a weak fool, too blind and imbecile to detect
your adulterous intercourse; but I have now come to convince you that I
am a man capable of avenging his ruined conjugal honor!"

Anderson, recovering some degree of his usual self-possession, remarked,

"Your accusation, sir, is unjust. Your wife and myself are friends, and
nothing more. She invited me to sup with her here to-night and that is
all about it. If our intentions were criminal, would we have courted the
presence of a third party?"

With these words, Anderson pointed towards me, but Romaine, without
observing me at all, continued to address the paramour of his wife.

"Anderson, you are a liar, and the falsehoods which you have uttered,
only serve to increase your guilt, and confirm me in my resolution to
sacrifice both you and that guilty woman who lies yonder. Can I
disbelieve the evidence of my own eyes? Must I go into particulars, and
say that last night, at about this hour, in the kitchen--ha! you turn
pale--you tremble--your guilt is confessed. I would have killed you last
night, Anderson, but I had not the weapons. This knife and pistol I
purchased to-day, _and I shall use them_!

"Try and revive that _harlot_, for I would speak with her ere she dies!"

Anderson mechanically obeyed. Placing the insensible form of Mrs.
Romaine upon a sofa, he sprinkled water upon her face, and she was soon
restored to a state of consciousness. For a few moments she gazed about
her wildly; and then, when her eyes settled upon her husband, and she
saw the terrible weapons with which he was armed, she covered her face
with her hands and trembled in an agony of terror, for she knew that her
life was in the greatest possible danger.

Romaine now addressed his wife in a tone of calmness which was, under
the circumstances, far more terrible than the most violent outburst of
passion:

"Harriet," said he--"I now fully comprehend your reasons for requesting
to be allowed to occupy a separate apartment. You desired an opportunity
to gratify your licentious propensities without any restraint. Woman,
why have you used me thus? Have I deserved this infamous treatment? Have
I ever used you unkindly, or spoken a harsh word to you? Do you think
that I will tamely wear the horns which you and your paramour have
planted upon my brow? Do you think that I will suffer myself to be made
an object of scorn, and allow myself to be pointed at and ridiculed by a
sneering community?"

"Forgive me," murmured the unhappy wife--"I will not offend again. I
acknowledge that I have committed a grievous sin; but Heaven only knows
how sincerely I repent of it!"

"Your repentance comes too late," said Romaine, hoarsely--"Heaven may
forgive you, but _I_ shall not! You say that you will not offend again.
Having forever destroyed my happiness, my peace of mind, and my honor,
_you will not offend again_! You shall not have the opportunity,
wretched woman. You shall no longer survive your infamy. You and the
partner of your guilt must die!"

With these words, Romaine cocked his pistol and approached his wife,
saying, in a low, savage tone that evinced the desperate purpose of his
heart--

"Take your choice, madam; do you prefer to die by _lead_ or by _steel_?"

The miserable woman threw herself upon her knees, exclaiming--

"Mercy, husband--mercy! Do not kill me, for I am not prepared to die!"

"You call me husband _now_--you, who have so long refused to receive me
as a husband. Come--I am impatient to shed your blood, and that of your
paramour. Breathe a short prayer to Heaven, for mercy and forgiveness,
and then resign your body to death and your soul to eternity!"

So saying the desperate and half-crazy man raised on high the glittering
knife. Poor Mrs. Romaine uttered a shriek, and, before she could repeat
it, the knife descended with the swiftness of lightning, and penetrated
her heart. Her blood spouted all over her white dress, and she sank down
at the murderer's feet, a lifeless corpse!

Paralyzed with horror, I could neither move nor speak. Anderson also
stood motionless, like a bird which is subjected to the fascinating gaze
of a serpent. Notwithstanding the terrible danger in which he was
placed, he seemed to be rooted to the spot and incapable of making a
single effort to save himself by either resistance or flight.

The scene was most extraordinary, thrilling and awful. The luxurious
chamber--the failing lamp--the murderer, holding in his hand the bloody
knife--the doomed Anderson, whose soul was quivering on the brink of the
dread abyss of eternity; all these combined to form a spectacle of the
most strange and appalling character.

Romaine now raised his pistol and took deliberate aim at Anderson,
saying,

"My work is but half done; it is _your_ turn now! Are you ready?"

"Do not shoot me like a dog," implored the unfortunate young man, who,
to do him justice, possessed a considerable amount of courage--"give me,
at least, _some_ chance for my life. If I have wronged you, and I
candidly confess that I have, I am ready to give you the satisfaction of
a gentleman. Give me a pistol, place me upon an equal footing with
yourself, and we will settle the matter as becomes men of honor. This
boy, here, will be a witness of the affair."

To this proposition, Romaine scornfully replied,

"I admire your assurance, sir.--After seducing the wife, you want a
chance to shoot the husband. Well, as I am an accommodating man, it
shall be as you say, for I am sick of life and care not if I am killed.
But I have no other pistol. Stay!--suppose we _toss up_ a coin, and thus
decide which of us shall have this weapon, with the privilege of using
it. Here is a quarter of a dollar; I will throw it up in the air, and
when it falls upon the floor, if the _head_ is uppermost, the pistol is
_mine_; but if the _tail_ is uppermost, the pistol shall be _yours_. I
warn you that if I win, I shall show you no mercy; and, if you win, I
shall expect none from you. Do you agree to this?"

"I do," replied Anderson, firmly, "and I thank you for your fairness."

Romaine threw up the coin, which spun around in the air and landed upon
the carpet. How strange that it should have become the province of that
insignificant coin to decide which of those two men must die!

Romaine calmly took the dim lamp from the table, and knelt down upon the
carpet in a pool of his wife's blood.

"Watch me closely, and see that I do not touch the coin," said he, as he
bent eagerly over the life-deciding quarter of a dollar.

How my heart beat at that moment, and what must have been the sensation
of poor Anderson!

"_The head is uppermost, and I have won!_" said Romaine, in a hoarse
whisper--"come and see for yourself."

"I am satisfied, your word is sufficient," said Anderson, with a
shudder, as he folded his arms across his breast and seemed to abandon
himself to profound despair.

Romaine's pale face assumed an expression of savage delight, as he
raised the pistol and pointed it at the head of his intended victim,
saying--

"Then, sir, nothing remains but for me to avail myself of the favor
which fortune has conferred upon me. Young man, in five seconds I shall
fire!"

"Hold!" cried Anderson, "I have a favor to ask, which I am sure you will
not refuse to grant me. Before I die, let me write a couple of letters,
and make a few notes of the manner in which I wish my property to be
disposed of. It is the last request of a dying man."

"It is granted," said Romaine, "there, upon that _escritoire_, are
writing materials. But make haste, for I am impatient to finish this
disagreeable business."

Anderson sat down, and began to write rapidly. I longed to rush out and
give the alarm, so that the impending tragedy might be averted; but I
feared that any movement on my part might result in the passage of a
bullet through my brain, and therefore I remained quiet, for which I am
sure, no sensible reader will blame me.

Poor Anderson! tears gushed from his eyes and streamed down his cheeks
while he was writing one of the letters, which, as I afterwards
ascertained, was addressed to a young lady to whom he was engaged to be
married. He wrote two letters, folded, sealed and directed them; these
he handed to me, saying--

"Have the kindness to deliver these letters to the persons to whom they
are addressed. Will you faithfully promise to do this?"

I promised, of course; he shook hands with me, and bade me farewell;
then, calmly turning towards Romaine, he announced his readiness to die.
Up to that moment, I had tried to persuade myself that Anderson's life
would be spared, thinking that Romaine must have had enough of blood
after slaying his wife in that barbarous manner. But I was doomed to be
terribly disappointed. Scarcely had Anderson muttered the words, "I am
ready to die," when Romaine pulled the trigger of the upraised pistol,
and the young merchant fell dead upon the floor, the bullet having
penetrated his brain.

"Now I am satisfied, for I have had my revenge," said the murderer,
coolly, as he wiped the perspiration from his pallid brow.

"Blood-thirsty villain!" exclaimed I, unable longer to restrain my
indignation--"you will swing upon the gallows for this night's work!"

"Not so," rejoined Romaine, calmly, "for I do not intend to survive this
wholesale butchery, and did not, from the first. I was determined that
Anderson should die, at all events. _He won the pistol_, for the coin
fell with the tail uppermost. Had he stooped to examine it, I would have
blown out his brains, just the same. But hark! the boarders and inmates
of the house have been aroused by the report of the pistol, and they are
hastening here. The gallows--no, no, I must avoid _that_! They shall not
take me alive. Now, may heaven have mercy upon my guilty soul!"

With these words the unhappy man seized the Bowie knife and plunged it
into his heart, thus adding the crime of suicide to the two atrocious
murders which he had just committed.

Scarcely had this crowning point of the fearful tragedy been enacted,
when a crowd of people, half-dressed and excited, rushed into the room.
Among them was the beautiful widow, Mrs. Raymond. On seeing the bleeding
corpse of Romaine stretched upon the floor, she gave utterance to a
piercing scream and fell down insensible.

In the horror and confusion that prevailed, I was unnoticed. I
determined to leave the house, never to return, for I dreaded being
brought before the public, as a witness, being a great hater of
notoriety in any shape. (The reader may smile at this last remark; but I
assure him, or her, that my frequent appearance before the public as a
writer, has been the result of necessity--not of inclination.)

Accordingly, I left the house unobserved, and took lodgings for the
remainder of the night at a hotel. But sleep visited me not, for my mind
was too deeply engrossed with the bloody scenes which I had witnessed,
to suffer the approach of "tired nature's sweet restorer." In the
morning I arose early, and investigated the condition of my finances.
The result of this examination was highly satisfactory, for I found that
I was the possessor of a considerable sum of money.

I walked about the city until noon, uncertain how to act. I felt a
strong disposition to travel, and see the world;--but I could not make
up my mind in what direction to go. After a sumptuous dinner at Sandy
Welch's "Terrapin Lunch,"--one of the most famous _restaurants_ of the
day--I indulged in a contemplative walk up Broadway. Such thoughts as
these ran through my mind:--"I cannot help contrasting my present
situation with the position I was in, three years ago. Then I was almost
penniless, and gladly breakfasted on dry bread at a street pump; now I
have three hundred dollars in my pocket, and have just dined like an
epicurean prince. Then I was clad in garments that were coarse and
cheap; now I am dressed in the finest raiment that money could procure.
Then I had no trade; now I have a profession which will be to me an
unfailing means of support. But, alas! then I was comparatively
innocent, and ignorant of the wicked ways of the world; now, although
only fifteen years of age, I am too thoroughly posted up on all the
mysteries of city follies and vices. No matter: there's nothing like
experience, after all."

Comforting myself with this philosophical reflection, I strolled on. A
newsboy came along, bawling out, at the top of his voice--"Here's the
extra _Sun_, with a full account of the two murders and suicide in
William street last night--only one cent!" Of course I purchased a copy;
and, upon perusing the account, I could not help smiling at the
ludicrous and absurd exaggerations which it contained. It was a perfect
modern tragedy of _Othello_, with Romaine as the Moor, Mrs. Romaine as
Desdemona, and Anderson as a sort of cross between Iago and Michael
Cassio. I was not alluded to in any way whatever, which caused me to
rejoice exceedingly.[D]

Suddenly remembering the two letters which had been confided to my care
by the unfortunate Anderson, I resolved to deliver them immediately. One
was directed to a Mr. Sargent, in Pine street. I soon found the place,
which was a large mercantile establishment. Over the door was the sign
"_Anderson & Sargent_." This had been poor Anderson's place of business,
and Sargent had been his partner. I entered, found Mr. Sargent in the
counting-room, and delivered to him the letter. He opened it, read it
through coolly, shrugged his shoulders, and said--

"I have already been made acquainted with the full particulars of this
melancholy affair. Anderson was a clever fellow, and I'm sorry he's
gone, although his death will certainly promote my interests. He gives
me, in this letter, every necessary instruction as to the disposition of
his property, and he also directs me to present you with the sum of two
hundred dollars, both as an acknowledgement of your services and as a
token of his friendship. I will fill out a check for the amount
immediately."

This instance of Anderson's kindness and generosity, almost at the very
moment of his death, deeply affected me; and, at the same time, I could
not help feeling disgusted with the heartlessness displayed by Sargent,
who regarded the tragical death of his partner merely as an event
calculated to advance his own interests.

Having received the check, I withdrew from the august presence of Mr.
Sargent, who was a tall, thin, hook-nosed personage, of unwholesome
aspect and abrupt manners. I drew the money at the bank, and then
hastened to deliver the other letter, which was addressed to Miss Grace
Arlington, whose residence was designated as being situated in one of
the fashionable squares up-town. I had no difficulty in finding the
house, which was of the most elegant and aristocratic appearance. My
appeal to the doorbell was responded to by a smart-looking female
domestic, who, on learning my errand, ushered me into the presence of
her mistress. Miss Grace Arlington was a very lovely and delicate young
lady, whose soft eyes beamed with tenderness and sensibility, whose
voice was as sweet as the music of an angel's harp, while her step was
as light as the tread of a fairy whose tiny feet will not crush the
leaves of a rose. When I handed her the letter, and she recognized the
well known handwriting, she bestowed upon me a winning and grateful
smile which I shall never forget. My heart misgave me as she opened the
missive, for I could well divine its contents; and I almost reproached
myself for being the messenger of such evil tidings. I watched her
closely as she read. She was naturally somewhat pale, but I saw her face
grow ghastly white before she had read two lines. When she had finished
the perusal of the fatal letter, she pressed her hand upon her breast,
murmured "Oh God!" and would have fallen to the floor if I had not
caught her in my arms.

"Curses on my stupidity!" I muttered, as I placed her insensible form
upon a sofa--"I ought to have prepared her gradually for the terrible
announcement which I knew that letter to contain!"

I rang the bell furiously, and the almost deafening summons was answered
by half-a-dozen female servants, who, on seeing the condition of their
young Mistress, set up a loud chorus of screams. The uproar brought Mr.
Arlington, the father of the young lady, to the scene. He was a
fine-looking old gentleman, a retired merchant and a _millionaire_. I
hastened to explain to him all that had occurred, and Anderson's letter,
which lay upon the floor, confirmed my statements. Mr. Arlington was
horror-struck, for he, as well as his daughter, had until that moment
been in happy ignorance of the bloody affair. The old gentleman had
first established Anderson in business, and he had always cherished for
that unfortunate young man the warmest friendship. No wonder, then, that
he was overpowered when he became aware of the tragical end of him whom
he had expected so shortly to become his son-in-law.

A celebrated physician, who resided next door, was sent for. He happened
to be at home, and arrived almost instantly. He knelt down beside the
broken-hearted girl, and, as his fingers touched her wrist, a look of
profound grief settled upon his benevolent face.

"Well, Doctor," exclaimed Mr. Arlington, breathlessly, "what is the
matter with my child? She will recover soon, will she not? It is merely
a fainting fit produced by the reception of unwelcome news."

"Alas, sir!" replied the Doctor, in a tone of deep sympathy, as he
brushed away the tears from his eyes--"I may as well tell you the
melancholy truth at once. The sudden shock caused by the unwelcome news
you speak of, has proved fatal; your daughter is dead!"

Poor old Arlington staggered to a seat, covered his face with his hands,
and moaned in the agony of his spirits. Notwithstanding all his wealth,
how I pitied him!

Seeing that I could be of no service whatever, I left the house of
mourning and walked down town in a very thoughtful mood. I had already
begun to enter upon an experience such as few youths of fifteen are ever
called upon to encounter; and I wondered what the dim, uncertain Future
had in store for me.

However, as the reader will see in the next chapter, I did not long
suffer my mind to be intruded upon by melancholy reflections.

FOOTNOTES:

[D] Many of my New York readers will remember the "William Street
Tragedy," to which I have alluded. The bloody event created the most
intense excitement at the time of its occurrence. Having witnessed the
horrible affair, I have truly related all the facts concerning it.




CHAPTER IV

_In which I set forth upon my travels, and met with a great misfortune._


Having plenty of means at my disposal, I determined to enjoy myself to
the full extent of my physical and intellectual capacity, for I
remembered the graceful words of the charming poet who sung--

  "Go it while you're young:
  For, when you get old, you can't!"

Behold me, at the age of fifteen, fairly launched upon all the
dissipations of a corrupt and licentious city! It is not without a
feeling of shame that I make these confessions; but truth compels me to
do so. I soon became thoroughly initiated into all the mysteries of high
and low life in New York. In my daily and nightly peregrinations I
frequently encountered my old friend Jack Slack; we never spoke, but on
the contrary regarded each other with looks of enmity and defiance.
Stronger and stronger within me grew the presentiment that this
mysterious youth was destined to become my evil genius and the cause of
a great misfortune. Therefore, whenever I met him, I could not help
shuddering with dread.

Three years passed away in this manner, and I had reached the age of
eighteen, with an unimpaired constitution and a firm belief that I was
destined to exist for ever. I had lived luxuriously upon the earnings of
my pen, for I was a regular contributor to the Knickerbroker Magazine
and other popular periodicals. Having accumulated considerable money,
notwithstanding my extravagance, I resolved to take a Southern tour,
visiting Philadelphia, Washington, and other cities of note.
Accordingly, one fine day, I found myself established in comfortable
quarters, at the most fashionable hotel in the "city of brotherly love."
I became a regular frequenter of the theatres and other places of
amusement, and formed the acquaintance of many actors and literary
people. It was here that I had the honor of being introduced to Booth,
the great tragedian, now dead; to "Ned Forrest," the American favorite;
to "Uncle" J.R. Scott, as fine a man as ever drank a noggin of ale or
ate a "dozen raw," and to Major Richardson, the author of "Wacousta,"
and the "Monk Knight of St. John," the latter being one of the most
voluptuous works ever written. Poor Major! his was a melancholy end. He
was formerly a Major in the British army, and was a gentleman by birth,
education and principle. Possessing a fine person, a generous heart and
the most winning manners, he was a general favorite with his associates.
He became the victim of rapacious publishers, and grew poor. Too proud
to accept of assistance from his friends, he retired to obscure lodgings
and there endeavored to support himself by the productions of his pen.
But his spirit was broken and his intellect crushed by the base
ingratitude of those who should have been his warmest friends. Often
have I visited him in his garret--for he actually occupied one; and,
with a bottle of whiskey before us, we have condemned the world as being
full of selfishness, ingratitude and villainy. Winter came on, and the
Major had no fuel, nor the means of procuring any. I have repeatedly
called upon him and found him sitting in the intensely cold atmosphere
of his miserable apartment, wrapped in a blanket and busily engaged in
writing with a hand that was blue and trembled with the cold. He firmly
refused to receive aid, in any shape, from his friends; and they were
obliged to witness his gradual decay with sad hearts. The gallant Major
always persisted in denying that he needed anything; he swore his garret
was the most comfortable place in the world, and that the introduction
of a fire would have been preposterous; he always affirmed with a round
military oath, that he "lived like a fighting-cock," and was never
without his bottle of wine at dinner; yet I once came upon him rather
unexpectedly, and found him dining upon a crust of bread and a red
herring. Sometimes, but rarely, he appeared at the theatres, and, upon
such occasions, he was always scrupulously well-dressed, for Major
Richardson would never appear abroad otherwise than as a gentleman.
Want, privation and disappointment finally conquered him; he grew thin,
and haggard, and melancholy, and reserved, and discouraged the visits of
his friends who used to love to assemble at his humble lodgings and
avail themselves of his splendid conversational powers, or listen to his
personal reminiscences and racy anecdotes of military life. One morning
he was found dead in his bed; and his death caused the most profound
grief in the breasts of all who knew him as he deserved to be known, and
who respected him for his many excellent qualities of head and heart.
His remains received a handsome and appropriate burial; and many a tear
was shed o'er the grave of him who had been a gallant soldier and a
celebrated author, but a truly wronged and most unfortunate man.

The reader will, I am sure, pardon this digression, for I was anxious to
do justice to the memory of a much-valued friend and literary brother. I
now resume the direct course of my narrative, and come to the darkest
portion of my career.

One night, in a billiard room, I had a very unpleasant encounter with an
old acquaintance. I observed, at one of the tables, a young man whose
countenance seemed strangely familiar to me, although I did not
immediately recognize him. He was dressed in the extreme of fashion, and
his upper lip was darkened by an incipient moustache--the result,
doubtless, of many months of industrious cultivation. A cigar was in his
mouth, and a billiard-cue was in his hand; and he profusely adorned his
conversation with the most extravagant oaths. Altogether, he seemed to
be a very "fast" young man; and I puzzled my brain in endeavoring to
remember where I had met him before.

Suddenly, he raised his eyes, and their gaze encountered mine; then I
wondered that I had not before recognized "my old friend," Jack Slack!

"This fellow is my evil genius; he follows me everywhere," thought I,
turning to leave the saloon. Would to heaven that I had never entered
it! But regrets are useless now.

Jack stepped after me, and detained me. I instantly saw that trouble was
about to come.

"Greenhorn," said Jack, with an air of angry reproach, as he laid his
hand upon my shoulder--"why do you so continually avoid me? What in the
devil's name have I ever done to deserve this treatment? Have I ever
injured you in any way? Damn it, we are equal in age, and in
disposition--let us be friends. I can put you in a way, in this city, to
enjoy the tallest kind of sport. Give me your hand, and let's go up to
the bar and take a social drink."

"Jack," said I, seriously and very calmly--"I will shake hands with you
in friendship, but I candidly confess that I do not like you; and I
believe that it will be better for us both not to associate together at
all. Observe me!--I have no hard feelings against you;--you are a clever
fellow, and generous to a fault; but something whispers to me that we
must not be companions, and I therefore respectfully desire you not to
speak to me again. Good night."[E]

I turned to go, but Jack placed himself directly in my path, and said,
in a voice that was hoarse with passion--

"Stay and hear me. We must not part in this way. Do you think that I
will tamely submit to be _cut_ in a manner so disgraceful? Do you think
that I am going to remain the object of an unfounded and ridiculous
prejudice? Explain yourself, and apologize, or by G----, it will be the
worse for you!"

"Explain myself--apologize!" I scornfully repeated--"you are a fool, and
don't know to whom you are talking. Let me go."

"No!" passionately screamed my enraged antagonist, who was somewhat
intoxicated--"you must stay and hear me out. I may as well throw off the
mask at once. Know, then, that I hate you like hell-fire, and that, the
very first time I saw you, I resolved to make you as bad as myself.
Therefore did I induce you to drink, and visit disreputable places. The
cool contempt with which you have always treated me, had increased my
hatred ten-fold. I thirst for vengeance, and _I'll fix you yet_!"

"Do your worst," said I, contemptuously; and again did I essay to take
my departure. Meanwhile, during the quarrel, the frequents of the saloon
had gathered around and appeared to enjoy the scene highly.

"If he has given you any cause of offence, Jack, why don't you pitch
into him?" suggested a half-drunken fellow who bore the enviable
reputation of being a most expert pickpocket.

Jack unfortunately adopted the suggestion, and struck me with all his
force. I of course returned the blow, with very tolerable effect.--Had
the row commenced and terminated in mere _fisticuffs_ all would have
been well, and I should not now be called upon to write down the details
of a bloody tragedy.

Drawing a dirk-knife from his breast, Jack attacked me with the utmost
fury. I then did what any other person, situated as I was, would have
done--I acted in my own defence. "Self-defence" is universally
acknowledged to be the "first law of nature." There was I, a stranger,
savagely attacked by a young man armed with a dangerous weapon, and
surrounded by his friends and associates--a desperate set, who seemed
disposed to assist in the task of demolishing me.

I quickly drew from my pocket a pistol, without which, at that time, I
never travelled. Before, however, I could cock and level it, my
infuriated enemy dashed his dirk-knife into my face, and the point
entered my right eye. It was fortunate that the weapon did not penetrate
the brain, and cause my instant death.

Maddened by the horrible pain which I suffered, and believing myself to
be mortally wounded, I raised the pistol and discharged it. Jack Slack
fell to the floor, a corpse, his head being shattered to pieces. _I
never regretted the act._

A cry of horror and dismay burst from the lips of all present, on
witnessing this dreadful but justifiable deed of retribution.

"Gentlemen," said I, as the blood was trickling down my face--"I call
upon you all to witness that I slew this young man in self-defence. He
drove me to commit the deed, and I could not avoid it. I am willing and
anxious to abide the decision of a jury of my countrymen; therefore,
send for an officer, and I will voluntarily surrender myself into his
custody."

Scarcely had I uttered these words, when the excruciating torment which
I suffered caused me to faint away. When I recovered, I found myself in
a prison-cell, with a bandage over my damaged optic, and a physician
feeling my pulse.

"Ah!" said I, looking around, "I am in _limbo_, I see. Well, I do not
fear the result. But, doctor, am I seriously injured--am I likely to
kick the bucket?"

"Not at all," was the doctor's encouraging reply--"but you have lost the
sight of your eye."

"Oh, is _that_ all?" said I with a laugh--"well, I believe that it is
said in the Bible somewhere, that it is better to enter the kingdom of
heaven with one eye than to go to the devil with two."

The physician departed for his home, and I departed for the land of
dreams. The pain of my wound had considerably mitigated, and I slept
quite comfortably.

I have always been somewhat of a philosopher in the way of enduring the
ills of life, and I tried to reconcile myself to my misfortune and
situation with as good a grace as possible. In this I succeeded much
better than might have been expected. When a person loses an eye and is
at the same time imprisoned for killing another individual, it is
certainly natural for that unfortunate person to yield to despair; but,
seeing the uselessness of grief, I resolved to "face the music" with all
the courage of which I was possessed.

Two or three days passed away, and I became almost well--for, to use a
common expression, I owned the constitution of a horse. The newspapers
which I was allowed to send out and purchase, made me acquainted with
something that rather surprised me, for they communicated to me the
information that Jack Slack, the young gentleman to whom I had presented
a ticket of admission to the other world, was a person whose _real_ name
was John Shaffer, _alias_ Slippery Jack, _alias_ Jack Slack. His
profession was that of a pickpocket, in which avocation he had always
been singularly expert. He was well known to the police, and had been
frequently imprisoned. I was gratified to see that the newspapers all
justified me in what I had done, and predicted my honorable discharge
from custody. That prediction proved correct; for, after I had been in
confinement a week, the Grand Jury failed to bring a bill of indictment
against me, and I was consequently set at liberty.

Tired of Philadelphia, I went to Washington. A New York member of
Congress, with whom I was well acquainted, volunteered to show me the
"lions;" and I had the honor of a personal introduction to Mr. Van Buren
and other distinguished official personages. Some people would be
surprised if they did but know of the splendid dissipation that prevails
among the "dignitaries of the nation" at Washington.

I have seen more than one member of the United States Senate staggering
through the streets, from what cause the reader will have no difficulty
in judging. I have seen a great statesman, since deceased, carried from
an after-dinner table to his chamber. I have seen the honorable
Secretary of one of the National departments engaged in a brawl in a
brothel. I have seen Representatives fighting in a bar-room like so many
rowdies, and I have heard them use language that would disgrace a beggar
in his drink. I need not allude to the many outrageous scenes which have
been enacted in the councils of the nation; for the newspapers have
already given them sufficient publicity.

Leaving Washington, I journeyed South, and, after many adventures which
the limits of this work will not permit me to describe, I arrived in the
City of New Orleans. I had no difficulty in procuring a lucrative
situation as reporter on a popular daily newspaper; and enjoyed free
access to all the theatres and other places of amusement.--I remained in
New Orleans just one year; but, not liking the climate,--and finding,
moreover, that I was living too "_fast_," and accumulating no money,--I
resolved to "pull up stakes" and start in a Northerly direction.
Accordingly, I returned to Philadelphia.

It would have been much better for me had I remained in New Orleans, for
the hardest kind of times prevailed in the "Quaker City," on my arrival
there. It was almost impossible to obtain employment of any description;
and many actors, authors and artists, as well as mechanics, were most
confoundedly "hard up." I soon exhausted the contents of my purse; and,
like the Prodigal Son, "began to be in want."

One fine day, in a very disconsolate mood, I was wandering through an
obscure street, when I encountered a former lady acquaintance, whom, I
trust, the reader has not forgotten.

But the particulars of that unexpected encounter, and the details of
what subsequently transpired, are worthy of a separate chapter.

FOOTNOTES:

[E] It is singular, but it is true, that a few nights prior to the
tragical occurrences which I am about to relate, I saw, in a dream, a
perfect and exact fore-shadow of the whole melancholy affair! Who can
explain this mystery?




CHAPTER V

_I encountered a lady acquaintance, and, like a knight errant of old,
became the champion of beauty._


A musical voice pronounced my name; and looking up, I saw a very
handsome woman seated at the window of a rather humble wooden tenement,
the first floor of which was occupied as a cheap grocery. I immediately
recognised my old acquaintance, Mrs. Raymond, the pretty widow of the
fashionable boarding-house in William street, New York--she who had
carried on an intrigue with Mr. Romaine. I have, in a former chapter,
described the terrible affair in which Romaine slew his wife and
Anderson her paramour--and then killed himself.

I need scarcely say that this encounter with Mrs. Raymond, under such
peculiar circumstances, rather astonished me. I had known her as a lady
of wealth, and the most elegant and fastidious tastes; and yet here I
found her living in an obscure and disreputable portion of the city, and
occupying a house which none but the victims of poverty would ever have
consented to dwell in.

"Wait until I come down and conduct you up stairs," said Mrs. Raymond;
and she disappeared from the window.

In a few moments she opened the door leading to the upper part of the
house; and having warmly shaken hands with me, she desired me to follow
her. I complied, and was shown into an apartment on the second floor.

"This is my room, and my only one; don't laugh at it," said Mrs.
Raymond, with a melancholy smile.

I looked around me. The room was small, but scrupulously clean; and,
notwithstanding the scantiness and humility of the furniture, a certain
air of refinement prevailed. I have often remarked that it is impossible
for a person who has been accustomed to the elegancies of life, to
become so low, in fortune or character, as to entirely lose every trace
of former superiority.

  "You may break, you may ruin the vase, if you will,
  But the scent of the roses will cling 'round it still!"

Mrs. Raymond's apartment merely contained a fine table, two or three
common chairs, a closet, a bed, and a harp--the relic of better and
happier days. The uncarpeted floor was almost as white as snow--and
certainly no snow could be purer or whiter than the drapery of her
unpretending couch.

We sat down--I and my beautiful hostess--and entered into earnest
conversation. I examined the lady with attention. She had lost none of
her former radiant beauty, and I fancied that a shade of melancholy
rather enhanced her charms. Her dress was coarse and plain, but very
neat, like everything else around her. Never before, in the course of my
rather extensive experience, had I beheld a more interesting and
fascinating woman; and never shall I forget that day, as we sat together
in her little room, with the soft sunlight of a delightful May afternoon
pouring in through the windows.

  "It haunts me still, though many a year has fled,
  Like some wild melody."

"My dear friend," said Mrs. Raymond, accompanying her words with a look
of the deepest sympathy, "I see that you have met with a great
misfortune. Pardon me, if--"

"You shall know all," said I; and then I proceeded to make her
acquainted with all that had happened to me since the occurrence of the
William street tragedy. Of course, I did not omit to give her the full
particulars of my fatal affray with Jack Slack, as that accounted for
the "great misfortune" to which she had alluded. When I had finished my
narration, the lady sighed deeply and said--

"Ah, my friend, we have both been made the victims of cruel misfortune.
You see me to-day penniless and destitute; I, formerly so rich, courted
and admired. Have you the time and patience to listen to my melancholy
story?"

I eagerly answered in the affirmative; and Mrs. Raymond spoke as
follows:--

"After that terrible affair in William street--the recollection of which
still curdles my blood with horror--I took up my abode in a private
family at the lower end of Broadway. I soon formed the acquaintance of a
gentleman of fine appearance, and agreeable address, named Livingston,
who enjoyed the enviable reputation of being a person of wealth and a
man of honor. I was pleased with him, and noticing my partiality, he
made violent love to me. Tired of living the life of a single
woman--desirous of securing a protection, and wishing to become an
honorable wife instead of a mistress--I did not reject him, for he moved
in the very highest circles, and seemed to be in every way
unobjectionable. I will not weary you with the details of our courtship;
suffice it to say that we were married. We took an elegant house in one
of the up-town avenues; and, for a time, all went well. After a while, I
discovered that my husband had no fortune whatever; but I loved him too
well to reproach him--and besides, he had never represented himself to
me as being a man of wealth; it was the circle in which he moved which
had bestowed upon him that reputation. Also, I considered that my
fortune was sufficient for us both. Therefore, the discovery of his
poverty did not in the least diminish my regard for him. It was not long
before the extensive demands which he kept constantly making upon my
purse, alarmed me; I feared that he had fallen into habits of gambling;
and I ventured to remonstrate with him upon his extravagance. He
confessed his fault, entreated my forgiveness, and promised amendment.
Of course, I forgave him; for a loving wife can forgive anything in her
husband but _infidelity_. But he did _not_ reform; he continued his
ruinous career; and my fortune melted away like snow beneath the rays of
the sun. The man possessed such an irresistible influence over me, that
I never could refuse an application on his part for money. I believed
that he sincerely loved me, and that was enough for me--I asked for no
more. I entertained romantic notions of 'love in a cottage.'

"At length my fortune was all gone--irrevocably gone. 'No matter,' I
thought--'I have still my dear husband left; nothing can ever take him
away from me. I will share poverty with him, and we shall be happy
together.' We gave up our splendid mansion, and sold our magnificent
furniture, and rented a small but respectable house. And now my blood
boils to relate how that villain Livingston served me--for he was a
villain, a cool, deliberate, black-hearted one. He deserted me, carrying
off with him what little money and the few jewels I still possessed,
thus leaving me entirely destitute. But what added to my
affliction,--nay, I should rather say my maddening rage, was a note
which the base scoundrel had written and left behind him, in which he
mockingly begged to be excused for his absence, and stated that he had
other wives to attend to in other cities. 'I never loved you,' he wrote
in that infamous letter, every word of which is branded upon my heart as
with a pen of fire--'I never loved you, and my only object in marrying
you was to enjoy your fortune; I have no further use for you. It may
console you to know that the principal portion of the large sums of
money which you gave me from time to time, was applied, not as you
imagined to the payment of gambling debts, but to the support of two
voluptuous mistresses of mine, whom I kept in separate establishments
that were furnished with almost regal splendor. Thus did you
unconsciously contribute to the existence of two rivals, who received a
greater share of my attentions than you did. In conclusion, as you are
now without resources, I would advise you to sell your charms to the
highest bidder. There are many wealthy and amorous gentlemen in New
York, who will pay you handsomely for your smiles and kisses. I shall
not be jealous of their attentions to my _sixth wife_! I intend to marry
six more within the next six months. Yours truly, LIVINGSTON.' Thus wrote
the accursed wretch, for whom I had sacrificed everything--fortune,
position in society, and friends; for who among my fashionable
acquaintances, would associate with an impoverished and deserted wife?
Not one. Furious at Livingston's treatment of me, I resolved to follow
him, even unto the end of the earth, in order to avenge my wrongs. By
careful inquiry, I learned that he had taken his departure for the
western part of the state of Pennsylvania. You will hardly credit it,
but it is God's truth, that being without money to pay travelling
expenses, I actually set out _on foot_, and travelled through New Jersey
until I reached this city. I subsisted on the road by soliciting the
hospitality of the farmers, which was in most cases grudgingly and
scantily bestowed, for _benevolence_ is not a prominent characteristic
of the New Jersey people,[F] and besides, there was certainly something
rather suspicious in the idea of a well-dressed woman travelling on
foot, and alone. On my arrival here in Philadelphia, I found myself worn
out and exhausted by the fatiguing journey which I had performed. Having
called upon some kind Quaker ladies of whose goodness I had often heard,
I told them my sad history, which aroused their warmest sympathies. They
placed me in this apartment, paid a month's rent in advance, purchased
for me the articles of furniture which you see, and obtained for me some
light employment. I worked industriously, and almost cheerfully, my
object being to earn money enough to carry me to Pittsburg, in Western
Pennsylvania, where, I have reason to believe, the villain has located
himself.

"In my moments of leisure, I longed for some means of recreation; for I
saw no company, and was very lonesome. So I wrote on to New York, and
through the agency of a kind friend, had my harp sent out to me here,
the rest of my poor furniture being presented to that friend. Then did
the divine charm of music lighten the burden of my sorrows. One
circumstance rather discouraged me: I found that with the utmost
industry I could not earn more than sufficient to pay my rent and other
necessary expenses, although I lived frugally, almost on bread and
water, except on Sundays, when I would manage to treat myself to a cup
of tea. You may smile at these trifling details, my dear friend, but I
mention them to show you the hardships and privations to which poor
women are often exposed. My landlady, who keeps the grocery store down
stairs, is a coarse, vulgar, hard-hearted woman; and, when I was thrown
out of employment in consequence of the hardness of the times, and could
not pay her rent, she not only abused me dreadfully, but annoyed me by
making the most infamous suggestions, proposing that I should embrace a
life of prostitution, and offering to procure me plenty of 'patrons.' I,
of course, indignantly repelled the horrible proposals--but, would you
believe it? she actually introduced into my apartment an old,
gray-haired and well-dressed libertine, for a purpose which you can
easily imagine. The old villain, however, decamped when I displayed a
small dagger, and declared that I would kill myself rather than become
his victim. This conduct of mine still further incensed my landlady
against me; and I expect every moment to be turned out into the street.
It is true that I might raise a small sum of money by the sale of my
harp, which is a very superior instrument, but as it was the gift of my
first husband, I cannot endure the thought of parting with it, for there
are associated with it some of the fondest recollections of my life. I
am sure that if those kind Quaker ladies had known the character of this
house and the neighborhood around it, they would not have placed me
here. Heaven only knows what I have suffered, and still suffer. I live
in constant dread that some ruffian, instigated by my landlady, who
wishes to gratify both her avarice and malignity, may break in upon me
some time when I am off my guard, and make me the victim of a brutal
outrage. This fear keeps me awake nights, and makes my days miserable.
Nor is this all; I have not tasted food since the day before yesterday."

"Good God!" I exclaimed--"is it possible? Oh, accursed be the
circumstances which have made us both so misfortunate; and doubly
accursed be that scoundrel Livingston, the author of all your sorrows.
By heavens! I will seek him out, and terribly punish him for his base
conduct towards you. Yes, my dear Mrs. Raymond--for such I shall
continue to call you, notwithstanding your marriage to that monster
Livingston--rest assured that your wrongs shall be avenged.--The villain
shall rue the day when he made a play-thing of a woman's heart, robbed
her of her fortune, and then left her to poverty and despair!"

[This language of mine may seem rather theatrical and romantic; but the
reader will please to remember that I was only nineteen years of age at
the time of its utterance--a period of life not remarkable for sobriety
of language or discretion of conduct. Were that interview to take place
_to-day_, I should probably thus express myself:--"My dear Mrs. Raymond,
I advise you to forget the d----d rascal and put on the tea-kettle,
while I rush out and negotiate for some _grub_!"]

Mrs. Raymond gratefully pressed my hand, and said--

"I thank you for thus espousing my cause;--but, my dear friend, _mine_
must be the task of punishing the villain. No other hand but _mine_
shall strike the blow that will send his black, polluted soul into
eternity!"

These fierce words, which were pronounced with the strongest emphasis,
caused me to look at my fair hostess with some degree of astonishment;
and no wonder--for the quiet, elegant lady had been suddenly transferred
into the enraged and revenge-thirsting woman. She looked superbly
beautiful at that moment;--her cheeks glowed, her eyes sparkled, and her
bosom heaved like the waves of a stormy sea.

"Well," said I--"we will discuss that matter hereafter. Have the
goodness to excuse my absence for a few minutes. I have a little errand
to perform."

She smiled, for she knew the nature of my errand. I went down stairs and
walked up the street, in the greatest perplexity; for--let me whisper it
into your ear, reader, I had not a sufficient amount of the current coin
of the realm in my pockets to create a gingle upon a tomb-stone.

"What the devil shall I do?" said I to myself--"here I have constituted
myself the champion and protector of a hungry lady, and haven't enough
money to purchase a salt herring! Shall I _show up_ my satin waistcoat?
No, d----n it, that won't do, for I _must_ keep up appearances. Can't I
borrow a trifle from some of my friends? No, curse them, they are all as
poverty-stricken as I am! I have it!--I'll test the benevolence of some
_gospel-wrestler_, and borrow the devil's impudence for the occasion."

I walked rapidly into a more fashionable quarter of the city, looking
attentively at every door-plate. At last I saw the name, "_Reverend
Phineas Porkley_."[G] That was enough. Without a moment's hesitation I
mounted the steps and rang the bell savagely. The door was opened by a
fat old flunkey with a red nose of an alarming aspect. I rushed by him
into the hall, dashed my hat recklessly upon the table, and shouted--

"Where's Brother Porkley? Show me to him instantly! Don't dare say he's
out, for I know that he's at home! It's a matter of life and death!
Woman dying--children starving--and the devil to pay generally. Wake
Snakes, you fat porpoise, and conduct me to your master!"

The flunkey's red nose grew pale with astonishment and fear; yet he
managed to stammer out--

"'Pon my life, sir--really, sir--Mr. Porkley, sir--he's at home,
certainly, sir--in his library, sir--writing his next Sunday's sermons,
sir--can't see any one, sir--"

"Catiff, conduct me to his presence!" I exclaimed, in a deep voice,
after the manner of the dissatisfied brigand who desires to "mub" the
false duke in his own ancestral halls.

Not daring to disobey, the trembling flunkey led the way up one flight
of stairs and pointed to a door, which I abruptly opened. There, in his
library, sat Brother Porkley, a monstrously fat man with a pale, oily
face that contained about as much expression as the surface of a cheese.

But how was Brother Porkley engaged when I intruded upon him? Was he
writing a sermon, or attentively perusing some good theological work?
Neither. Oh, then perhaps the excellent man was at prayer. Wrong again.
He was merely smoking a short pipe and sipping a glass of brandy and
water, like a sensible man--for is it not better to take one's comfort
than to play the part of a hypocrite? _I_ think so.

"My dear Brother Porkley," cried I, rushing forward and grasping the
astonished parson by the hand, which I shook with tremendous violence,
"I come on a mission of Charity and Love! I come as a messenger of
Benevolence! I come as a dove of Peace with the olive branch in my claw!
Porkley, greatest philanthropist of the age, _come down_, for suffering
humanity requires your assistance!"

"What do you mean, sir?" demanded the reverend Falstaff, as he vainly
strove to extricate his hand from my affectionate grasp, "who are you
and what do you want?"

"Brother," said I, in a broken voice, as I dashed an imaginary tear from
the tip end of my nose, "in the next street there dwells a poor but
pious family, consisting of a widow woman and her twelve small children.
They live in a cellar, sir, one hundred feet below the surface of the
earth, in the midst of darkness, horror and bull-frogs, which animals
they are compelled to eat in a raw state, in order to exist. Yes _sir_!"

"But what is all this to me?"

"Much, sir, you are a Christian--a clergyman--and a trump. If you do not
assist that distressed family, your reputation for benevolence will not
be worth the first red cent. Those children are howling for
food--bull-frogs being scarce--and that fond mother is dying of
small-pox."

"Small-pox!"

"Yes _sir_! I have attended her during the last five nights, and fear
that I am infected with the disease; but I am willing to lose my life in
the holy cause of charity."

"Good God, sir! You will communicate the disease to _me_! Let go my
hand, sir, and leave this house before you load the air with
pestilence!"

"No, _sir_! I couldn't think of leaving until you have done something
for the relief of that distressed widow and her twelve small children."

"D----n the distressed widow and--bless my soul! what am I saying? My
good young man, what will satisfy you?"

"Five dollars, reverend sir."

"Here, then, here is the money. Now go, go quickly. Every moment that
you remain here is pregnant with evil. Pray make haste!"

"But won't you come and pray with the distressed widow and her--"

"No! If I do may I be--blessed! _Will_ you go!"

"I'm off, old Porkhead!"

With these words I bolted out of the library, stumbled over a corpulent
cat that was quietly reposing on the landing, descended the stairs in
two leaps, upset the fat flunkey in the hall, and gained the street in
safety with my booty--a five dollar city bill. I hastened back towards
the residence of Mrs. Raymond, but stopped at an eating-saloon on the
way and loaded myself with provisions ready cooked. I did not forget to
purchase two bottles of excellent wine. Thus provided, I entered the
apartment of Mrs. Raymond, who received me with a smile of gratitude and
joy which I shall never forget.

We sat down to the table with sharp appetites, and did full justice to
the repast, which was really most excellent. The wine raised our
spirits, and, forgetting our misfortunes, merrily did we chat about old
times in New York, carefully omitting the slightest allusion to the
bloody affair in William street. When we had finished one bottle, Mrs.
Raymond favored me with an air upon her harp, which she played with
exquisite skill. After executing a brilliant Italian waltz, she played
and sang that plaintive song:

  "The light of other days have faded,
  And all their glory's past."

Just as the song was finished, there came a loud knocking at the door.

"It is my landlady," said Mrs. Raymond, in a low tone, "conceal
yourself, and you will see how she treats me."

I stepped into the closet; but through a crevice in the door I could see
all that transpired.

A fat, vulgar-looking woman entered with a consequential air, and a face
inflamed by drink, gave her a peculiarly repulsive appearance. Of course
she was utterly unconscious of my presence in the house. Taking up her
position in the middle of the apartment, she placed her hands upon her
hips, and said, in a hoarse and angry voice--

"Come up out o' that! _You're_ a pretty one to be playing and singing,
when you owe me for two months' rent. You have been feasting, too, I
see. Where did you get the money? Why didn't you pay it to _me_? Have
you any money left?"

"No I have not."

"Come up out o' that! Why the devil don't you sell that humstrum of
yours, that harp, I mean, and raise the wind? It will bring a good ten
dollars, I'll be sworn. And why don't you take my advice and earn money
as other women do? You are handsome, the men would run after you like
mad. That nice, rich old gentleman, Mr. Letcher, that I brought to see
you, would have given you any amount of money if you had only treated
him kindly--but you frightened him away. Come up out o' that! Now, what
do you mean to do? I can't let you stay here any longer unless you raise
some money. This evening I'll fetch another nice gentleman here; and if
you cut up any of your _tantrums_ with _him_, I'll bundle you out into
the street this very night."

"If you bring any man here to molest me," said Mrs. Raymond,
spiritedly--"I will stab him to the heart, and then kill myself."

"Come out o' that," screamed the landlady, approaching Mrs. Raymond with
a threatening look, "don't think to frighten me with your tragical
airs. I must have my money, and so I'll take this harp and sell it, in
spite of you!"

She seized upon the instrument and was about to carry it off, when I
rushed forth from my place of concealment, exclaiming--

"Come up out o' that! Drop that instrument, you old harridan, or I'll
drop _you_! Do not imagine that this lady is entirely friendless. I am
here to protect her."

The astounded landlady put down the harp and began to mutter many
apologies, for I was extremely well dressed, and she probably believed
me to be some person of consequence who had become the protector and
patron of Mrs. Raymond.

"Oh, sir--I'm sure, sir--I didn't mean, sir--if I had known, sir--I beg
a thousand pardons, sir--"

"Come up out o' that!" cried I, "leave the room, instantly."

The landlady vanished with a celerity that was rather remarkable,
considering her extreme corpulence.

After a short pause, Mrs. Raymond said to me--

"You see to what abuse my circumstances subject me."

"Would to God my circumstances were such as to render you that
assistance you so much need; would that I could raise you from such
unendurable misery! But to speak without equivocation, my condition is
as penniless as your own."

"Then you can, indeed, sympathize with my distress."

"Most sincerely; but you must not go alone in quest of that villainous
husband;--and money will be necessary."

"This harp will--"

"Oh, no--you can never part with it."

"I must."

"Then let it be but temporarily. There is a pawnbroker's shop on the
next square, there we can redeem it--if you can for a time endure to
have it removed from your sight."

"No matter," said my heroine, undauntedly, "a wronged woman can endure
anything when she is in pursuit of vengeance. The weather is delicious;
we will travel leisurely, and have a very pleasant time. Should our
money become exhausted, we will solicit the hospitality of the good old
Pennsylvania farmers, who are renowned for their kindness to travellers,
and who will not refuse a bite and a sup, or a night's shelter, to two
poor wanderers. If you refuse to accompany me, I will go alone."

"I will go with you to the end of the earth!" I exclaimed, with
enthusiasm, for I could not help admiring the noble courage of that
beautiful woman, whose splendid countenance now glowed with all the
animation of anticipated vengeance.

She pressed my hand warmly, in acknowledgement of my devotion; and then,
having put on her bonnet and shawl, she announced herself as being in
readiness to set out.

"I have no valuables of any kind," said she, "and the landlady is
welcome to this furniture, which will discharge my indebtedness to her.
I shall return to this house no more."

I shouldered the harp, and we left the house without encountering the
amiable landlady.

To reach the nearest pawnbroker's, it was necessary to pass through one
of the principal streets. To my dismay a crowd of actors, reporters and
others were assembled upon the steps of a hotel. The rascals spied me
out before I could cross over; and so, putting on as bold a front as
possible, I walked on pretending not to notice them, while a "running
commentary," something like the following, was kept up until I was out
of hearing:

"_Stag his knibbs_,"[H] said the "heavy man" of the Arch street theatre.

"Thompson, give us a tune!" bawled out a miserable wretch of a light
comedian, or "walking gentleman."

"Jem Baggs, the _Wandering Minstrel_, by G----!" yelled a pitiful demon
of a newspaper reporter.

"Who is that magnificent woman accompanying him?" inquired a dandy
editor, raising his eye-glass and surveying my fair companion with an
admiring gaze.

"Egad! she's a beauty!" cried all the fellows, in a chorus. Mrs. Raymond
blushed and smiled. It was evident that these expressions of admiration
were not displeasing to her.

"Excuse those gentlemen," said I to her, apologetically--"they are all
particular friends of mine."

"I am not offended; indeed they are very complimentary," responded the
lady, with a gay laugh. She had the most musical laugh in the world, and
the most beautiful one to _look at_, for it displayed her fine, pearly
teeth to the most charming advantage.

We reached the pawnbroker's and I went boldly in while Mrs. Raymond
waited for me outside the door, for I did not wish her to be exposed to
the mortification of being stared at by those who might be in the shop.

The pawnbroker was a gentleman of Jewish persuasion, and possessed a
nose like the beak of an eagle. He took the instrument and examined it
carefully,

"Vat is dish?" said he, "a harp? Oh, dat is no use. We have tousands
such tings offered every day. Dere is no shecurity in mushical
instruments. Vat do you want for it?"

"Ten dollars," I replied, in a tone of decision.

"Can't give it," said the Israelite--"it ish too moosh. Give you eight."

"No," said I, taking up the harp and preparing to depart.

"Here, den," said _my uncle_, "I will give you ten, but only shust to
_oblishe_ you--mind dat."

I duly thanked him for his willingness to _oblige_ me. Uncle Moses gave
me the ticket and money; and I left the shop and rejoined Mrs. Raymond,
to whom I handed over the duplicate and the X.

"I will take the ticket," said she, smiling--"but you shall keep the
money, for I appoint you my cashier."

At the suggestion of my fair friend we now sought out a cheap
second-hand clothing establishment, which, fortunately, was kept by a
woman, who, when matters were confidentially explained to her, readily
entered into our plan. Mrs. Raymond and the woman retired into a rear
apartment, while I remained in the shop.

Half or three-quarters of an hour passed away. At last the door of the
inner apartment was opened and there entered the shop a young person
whom I did not immediately recognize. This person seemed to be a very
beautiful boy, neatly dressed in a cloth jacket and cap, and possessing
a form of the most exquisite symmetry. This pretty and interesting lad
approached me, and tapping me playfully upon the cheek, said--

"My dear fellow, how do you like me now? Have I not made a change for
the better? How queenly I feel in this strange rig!"

It was of course Mrs. Raymond who addressed me. Her disguise was
perfect; never before had I seen so complete a transformation, even upon
the stage. No one would have suspected her to be otherwise than what she
seemed, a singularly delicate and handsome boy, apparently about sixteen
years of age.

I congratulated the lady upon the admirable appearance which she made in
her newly adopted costume, but expressed my regret that she should have
been compelled to part with her magnificent hair.

"There was no help for it," said she, laughing. "I confess that I
experienced some regret when I felt my hair tumbling from my shoulders;
but the loss was unavoidable, for those tresses would have betrayed my
sex. This good woman, here, proved to be a very expert barber."
Reflecting that a coarse suit of clothes would be just as good and
better, for a dusty road, than a fine suit of broadcloth, I made a
bargain with the proprietress of the shop to exchange my garments for
coarse ones of fustian, she giving me a reasonable sum to
counter-balance the great superiority of my wardrobe. This arrangement
was speedily completed, and I found myself suddenly transformed into a
rustic looking individual, who, in appearance, certainly deserved the
title of a perfect "greenhorn."

All parties being satisfied, I and my fair companion departed. In the
evening, having supped, we went to the theatre, where I revenged myself
upon the "heavy man," and the "light comedian," who had in the afternoon
made merry at my expense for carrying the harp, by getting up a hiss for
the former gentleman, who knew not one single word of his part, and by
hitting the latter individual upon the nose with an apple, for which
latter feat (as the actor was a great favorite,) I was hounded out of
the theatre, and narrowly escaped being carried to the watch-house. I
and my fair friend then took lodgings for the night at a neighboring
hotel.

FOOTNOTES:

[F] Some people imagine that New Jersey belongs to the United States.
That opinion I hold to be erroneous.

[G] In this, as in several other cases, I have used a fictitious name,
inasmuch as a number of the persons alluded to in this narrative are
still living.

[H] It is not generally known among "outsiders," that circus people and
actors are in the habit of using among themselves a sort of flash
language which enables them to converse about professional and other
affairs without being understood by outside listeners. If I had room, I
could relate many amusing anecdotes under this head. "_Stag his knibbs_"
signifies "_Look at him_."




CHAPTER VI

_In which is introduced a celebrated Comedian from the Theatre Royal,
Drury Lane, London._


The next morning, bright and early, "two travellers might have been
seen" crossing one of the ponderous bridges that lead over the
Schuylkill from Philadelphia to the opposite shore. The one was a stout
young cavalier, arrayed in fustian brown; the other was a pretty youth,
attired in broadcloth blue, and brilliant was his flashing eye, and
coal-black was his hair. By my troth, good masters, a fairer youth ne'er
touched the light guitar within the boudoir of my lady.

"Now, by my knightly oath," quoth he in fustian brown, "my soul expands
in the soft beauty of this rosy morn, my blood dances merrily through
every vein, and I feel like eating a thundering good breakfast at the
next hostelrie.--What sayest _thou_, fair youth?"

"Of a truth, Sir George," quoth he in broadcloth blue, in a voice of
liquid melody, "I am hungered, and would gladly sit me down before a
flagon of coffee, and a goodly platter of ham and eggs."

"Bravely spoken," quoth the stout young cavalier, with watering mouth;
and then, relapsing into silence, the train journeyed onward.

Soon they paused before a goodly hostelrie, which bore upon its swinging
signboard the device of "The Pig and the Snuffers."

"What ho, within there! House, house, I say!" hastily roared the youth
in fustian brown, as he vigorously applied his cowhide boot to the door
of the inn.

Forth came mine host of the Pig and Snuffers--a jovial knave and a right
merry one, I ween, with mighty paunch and nose of ruby red. Now, by the
rood! a funnier knight than this same Rupert Harmon, ne'er drew a
foaming tankard of nut-brown ale, or blew a cloud from a short pipe in a
chimney corner.

"Welcome, my masters--a right good welcome," quoth the fat host of the
Pig and Snuffers.

"Bestir thyself, knave," quoth the cove in fustian brown, as he entered
the inn followed by the pretty youth in broadcloth blue--"beshrew me, I
am devilish hungry, and athirst likewise. Knave, a stoup of sack, and
then let ham, eggs and coffee smoke upon the festive board!"

"To hear is to obey," said he of the Pig and Snuffers, as he waddled out
of the room in order to give the necessary instructions for breakfast.

It came! Ha, ha! Shall I attempt to describe that breakfast? Nay--my
powers are inadequate to the task.

But, dropping the style of my friend, G.P.R. James, the great English
novelist, I shall continue my narrative in my own humble way.

We breakfasted, and cheerfully set out upon our journey. The weather was
delightful; the odor of spring flowers perfumed the air, and the soft
breeze made music amid the branches of the trees. On every side of us
were the evidences of agricultural prosperity--fine, spacious
farm-houses, immense barns, vast orchards, and myriads of thriving
domestic animals. Sturdy old Dutch farmers, jogging leisurely along in
their great wagons to and from the city, saluted us with a hearty "good
morrow;" and one jolly old fellow who was returning home after having
disposed of a quantity of produce, insisted upon giving us a "lift" in
his wagon. So we got in, and about dark reached the farmer's home--a
substantial and comfortable mansion that indicated its owner to be a man
of considerable wealth.

I was surprised at the powers of endurance exhibited by my fair friend,
who after a pretty hard day's journey, exhibited not the slightest
symptom of fatigue. She kept up a most exuberant flow of spirits, and
seemed delighted with the novelty of the journey which we had commenced.
She was truly a charming companion, full of wit, sentiment and
intelligence; and I look back upon those days with a sigh of regret--for
such unalloyed happiness I shall never see again.

The good old farmer, with characteristic hospitality, declared that we
should go not further that night; and we gladly availed ourselves of his
kindness. He introduced us to his wife--a fine old lady, and a famous
knitter of stockings--and also to his only daughter, a plump, rosy, girl
about eighteen years old. This damsel surveyed my disguised companion
with a look of the most intense admiration; and I saw at once that she
had actually fallen in love with Mrs. Raymond!

"There will be some fun here," said I to myself--"I must keep dark and
watch the movements. The idea of a woman falling love with one of her
own sex, is rather rich!"

After a capital supper--ye gods, what German sausages!--I accepted the
old farmer's invitation to inspect his barn, cattle, &c. My fair friend
was taken possession of by the amorous Dutch damsel, who seemed to be
particularly anxious to display the beauties of her _dairy_, which is
always the pride of a farmer's daughter. I could not help laughing at
the look of comical embarrassment which poor Mrs. Raymond assumed, when
the buxom young lady seized her and dragged her off.

I of course praised the farmer's barn and stock with the air of a judge
of such matters, and we returned to the house, where I applied myself to
the task of entertaining the old lady, and in this I succeeded so well,
that she presented me with a nice pair of stockings of her own knitting.

After a while, my fair friend and the farmer's daughter returned;--and I
noticed that Mrs. Raymond looked exceedingly annoyed and perplexed,
while the countenance of the Dutch damsel exhibited anger and
disappointment. I could easily guess how matters stood; but, of course,
I said nothing.

During the evening, my fair friend had an opportunity of speaking to me
in private; and she said to me, with a deep blush, although she could
not help smiling as she spoke--

"I have something to tell you which is really very awkward and
ridiculous, yet you can't think how it vexes me. Now don't laugh at me
in that provoking manner, but listen. That great, silly Dutch girl,
after showing me her dairy, which is really a very pretty affair and
well worth seeing, suddenly made the most furious love to me--supposing
me, of course, to be what I seem, a boy. I was terribly confused and
frightened, and knew not what to say, nor how to act. Throwing her fat
arms around me, she declared that I was so handsome that she could not
resist me, and that I must become her lover. I told her that I was too
young to know anything about love; and then the creature volunteered to
teach me all about it. Then I intimated that I could not think of
marrying at present, as I was too poor to support a wife; but she
laughed at the idea of matrimony, and said that she only wanted me to be
her little lover. Finally I effected my release by promising to meet her
about midnight, in the orchard by the gate. Now, is not all this very
dreadful--to be persecuted by a big, unrelenting Dutch girl in this
manner?"

I roared with laughter. It was rude and ungallant, I confess; but how
could I help it? Mrs. Raymond made a desperate effort to become angry;
but so ludicrous was the whole affair, that she could not resist the
contagious influence of my mirth; and she, too, almost screamed with
laughter.

When our mirth had somewhat subsided, I inquired--

"Well, are you going to keep an appointment with the Dutch Venus?"

"What an absurd question! Of course not! She may wait by the orchard
gate all night, for what _I_ care--the great, lubbery fool!"

"What do you say to _my_ meeting her at the appointed time and place? I
will act as your representative, and make every satisfactory
explanation."

"You shall do no such thing. How dare you make such a proposition? I am
perfectly astonished at your impudence!"

The next morning, after breakfast, we prepared to depart. I saw that the
farmer's daughter regarded my fair friend with a ferocious look. The
damsel had probably passed two or three hours in the night air, waiting
for her "faithless swain."

Having thanked the good old farmer for his hospitality, and received his
blessing in return, we departed.

It is not my intention to weary the reader with the details of each
day's travel; indeed, my limited space would not admit of such
particularity. I shall, however, as briefly as possible, relate such
incidents of the journey as I may deem especially worthy of mention.
When we reached Lancaster, we discovered that our funds had entirely
given out, for we had lived expensively at taverns on the way, instead
of exercising a judicious economy. How to raise a fresh supply of money
was now the question, and one most difficult to be answered. But an
unexpected stroke of good fortune was in store for us. Strolling into
the bar-room of the principal hotel, I saw a play-bill stuck up on the
wall. This I read with avidity; and then, to my great satisfaction, I
became aware of the fact that an old friend of mine, one Bill Pratt, a
travelling actor and manager, had "just arrived in Lancaster with a
talented company of comedians, who would that evening have the honor of
appearing before the ladies and gentlemen of the above named place in a
series of entertainments at once Moral, Chaste, Instructive and
Classical, at the Town Hall. Admission--twelve-and-a-half cents."

So read the play-bill. I and my fair friend immediately posted to the
Town Hall, and there I found Brother Pratt busily engaged in arranging
his stage, putting up his scenery, &c. He was prodigiously glad to see
me.[I] Among his company I recognized several old acquaintances. I
introduced my travelling companion to the ladies and gentlemen of the
profession; and I do not think that any of them suspected her true sex.
We all dined together at the hotel; and a merry party we certainly were,
"within the limits of becoming mirth." Wit sparkled, conundrums puzzled,
bad puns checked, and rich jokes awoke the laughing echoes of the old
dining-hall. Happy people are those travelling actors--happy because
they are careless, and, in the enjoyment of to-day, think not of the
morrow. Are they not true philosophers?

  "Oh, what's the use of sighing,
  Since time is on the wing--
  To-morrow we'll be dying,
  So merrily, merrily sing--
  Tra, la, la!"

After dining in company with Brother Pratt I seated myself upon the
piazza; and, while we smoked our cheroots, we recalled the past, dwelt
upon the present, and anticipated the future.

After a considerable amount of desultory conversation, the Brother
suddenly asked me--

"Who is that handsome little fellow with whom you are travelling?"

"Oh, he ran away from home in order to see something of the world, as
well as to avoid being apprenticed to a laborious trade," was my reply,
for I did not consider it at all necessary to let my friend into the
secret.

"He's a lad of spirit, and I like him," rejoined the Brother. "If he
went upon the stage, what a splendid court page he'd make! But where are
you going? Tell me all about it."

I told the Brother all that was necessary for him to know.

"And so," said he, reflectively, "you are entirely out of funds. That's
bad. We must raise you some cash, in some way or other. I will
immediately cause bills to be printed, announcing that 'the manager has
the pleasure of informing his numerous patrons that he has, at enormous
expense, succeeded in effecting a brief engagement with Mr. George
Thompson, the celebrated comedian from the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane,
London, who will make his first appearance in his celebrated character
of Robert Macaire, in the great drama of that name, as performed by him
upwards of two hundred nights before crowded and fashionable audiences
including the royalty, nobility and gentry of England, who greeted him
with the most terrific and enthusiastic yells of applause, and Her
Majesty the Queen was so delighted with the masterly and brilliant
representation, that she presented Mr. Thompson with a magnificent
diamond ring valued at five thousand pounds sterling, which ring will be
exhibited to the audience at the conclusion of the performance.' How
will _that_ do, my boy? We'll raise the price of admission to
twenty-five cents on account of the extra attraction. I'll play Jaques
Strop, the house will be crammed, and you will go on your way rejoicing,
with a full pocket."

"I say, old fellow," I gravely remarked--"are you not laying it on a
_little too thick_?"

"Not at all," coolly replied the brother as he carefully knocked the
ashes off the end of his cigar, "not at all. Humbug is the order of the
day. I'll get a flashy ring to represent the one presented to you by
the queen. You know enough about stage business to play the part of
Robert Macaire very respectably and you also know that I am not very
slow in Jaques Strop. You'll make a hit, depend on it. I'll get you the
book, and you can look over the part. What you don't learn you can
gag.[J] I'll announce you for to-morrow night. Leave all to me; I'll
arrange everything. Let's go in and drink!"

I was soon master of the part; and, at the end of the next day's
rehearsal, I was found to be "dead letter perfect." The manager and the
members of his company congratulated me on the success which I was sure
to meet with. Meanwhile, the town had been flooded with bills, which
made the same extravagant announcement that Brother Pratt had suggested
to me. Public expectation and curiosity were worked up to the highest
pitch; and a crowd of excited people assembled in front of the principal
hotel, in anticipation of the sudden arrival of the "distinguished
comedian" in a splendid coach drawn by four superb white horses, and
attended by a retinue of servants in magnificent livery.

Evening came, and the large hall was crowded almost to suffocation,
although the price of tickets had been doubled. I was full of
confidence, having fortified myself by imbibing several glasses of
brandy and water. Just before going on the stage Brother Pratt was, to
use a common expression, "pretty well over the bay." Well, to make a
long story as short as possible, I went on at the proper time, followed
by Jaques Strop. My appearance was greeted with a perfect whirlwind of
applause, which lasted four or five minutes. Taking off my dilapidated
beaver, I gracefully bowed my thanks and then began the part which
commences thus:

     "Come along, comrade, put your best leg foremost. What are you
     afraid of? We are out of danger now, and shall soon reach the
     frontier."

I may say without egotism, that I got through the part remarkably well,
and I certainly kept the audience in a continual roar of laughter. Mrs.
Raymond occupied a front seat;--and her encouraging smile sustained me
throughout the play. When the piece was over, I was loudly called for.

"Now, my boy," said Brother Pratt to me, "go in front of the curtain and
make a rip-staving speech--I know you can do it. Say that at the urgent
solicitation of the manager, you have consented to appear to-morrow
night as Jem Baggs, in the Wandering Minstrel."

"Very good," said I, "but these people will now want to see the ring
which Queen Victoria presented to me. How shall I manage that?"

"Easy enough," replied the Brother, as he drew from his pocket and
handed me a big brass ring ornamented with a piece of common glass about
the size of a hen's egg.

Out I stepped in front of the curtain. A bouquet as large as a cabbage
struck me in the face, and fell at my feet. The giver of this delicate
compliment was an ancient female very youthfully dressed. I picked up
the bouquet, and pressed it to my heart. This was affecting, it melted
the audience to tears. Silence having been obtained, I made a bombastic
speech, which Brother Pratt afterwards declared to be the best he had
ever heard delivered in front of the "green baize." I spoke of being a
stranger in a strange land, of the warm welcome which I received, of
eternal gratitude, of bearing with me beyond the ocean the remembrance
of their kindness, admitted that I was closely allied to the British
aristocracy, but declared that my sentiments were purely republican and
in favor of the "Star-Spangled Banner."

Here there was a tempest of applause and when it had subsided, the
orchestra, consisting of a fiddle and a bass-drum, struck up the
favorite national air which my words had suggested. Then I exhibited the
diamond ring which had been presented to me by the Queen of England;
and, as the spectators viewed the royal gift, the most profound silence
prevailed among them. When I had sufficiently gratified them by
displaying the lump of brass and glass, I remarked that I would appear
on the next evening as Jem Baggs in the Wandering Minstrel. This
announcement was received with shouts of approbation; and bowing almost
to the foot-lights, I withdrew.

The next night, the audience was equally large and enthusiastic, and my
"farewell speech" was so deeply affecting, that there was not a dry eye
in the house.

Brother Pratt urged me to become a regular member of his company; but,
although he offered me a good salary, and glowingly depicted the
pleasant life of a strolling player, I declined, not having any ambition
in that way. Besides, it was my duty to get on to Pittsburg with Mrs.
Raymond, without any unnecessary delay.

Having received nearly fifty dollars as my share of the proceeds, I took
my leave of Brother Pratt and his company; and, accompanied, of course,
by my fair friend, resumed my journey.

I wish I had sufficient time and space to describe all the adventures
through which we passed, prior to our arrival in Pittsburg. But such
details would occupy too much room, and I must make the most of the few
pages that are left for me to occupy.

We crossed the Alleghanies, and, taking the canal at Johnstown, soon
reached Pittsburg. Here we made some essential improvements in our
garments, and put up at a respectable hotel, Mrs. Raymond still
sustaining her masculine character.

By diligent inquiry, we learned that the villain, Livingston, was in the
city; and my fair friend prepared to avenge the base wrongs which he had
inflicted upon her.

FOOTNOTES:

[I] All who have the good fortune to know Bill Pratt _alias_ "The
Original Beader," will acknowledge that a wittier, funnier or better man
never breathed.

[J] This word, in theatrical parlance, signifies "to employ language
which the author of the play never wrote."




CHAPTER VII

_A deed of blood and horror._


We had no difficulty in ascertaining the place of Livingston's abode;
for he was well known in the city. He resided in a handsome house
situated on one of the principal streets; and we discovered that the
lawless rascal was actually engaged in the practice of the law!

"My dear friend," said Mrs. Raymond to me one day, as we were strolling
along the banks of the river, "I will not suffer you to involve yourself
in any trouble on my account. You must have nothing to do with this
Livingston. You must remain entirely in the back-ground. To me belongs
the task of punishing him. I tell you frankly that I shall kill the man.
He is not fit to live, and he must not be permitted to continue his
career of villainy. Whatever may be my fate, do not, I entreat you, by
unhappy on my account. When I have shed the heart's blood of Livingston,
I shall be willing to die upon the scaffold. To the very last moment of
my life, I shall cherish for you a sentiment of the most affectionate
gratitude; you sacrificed all your own plans in order to accompany me
here, and, throughout the entire long journey, you have treated me with
a degree of kindness and attention, which I can never forget while life
remains. But a truce to melancholy; let us change the subject."

"With all my heart," said I; and leaving the river side, we walked up
into the centre of the city.

We passed an elegant dwelling-house on the door of which was a silver
plate bearing the name "Livingston." This was the residence of the
villain who ruined Mrs. Raymond.

A carriage drove up before the door, and from it leaped a tall,
fine-looking man, dressed in the height of fashion. He assisted a
beautiful and elegantly attired lady to alight from the vehicle, and
conducted her into the house.

"That man is Livingston, and that woman must be _one of his wives_,"
said Mrs. Raymond, with a bitter smile, as she placed her hand in her
bosom, where, I knew, she carried a dirk-knife.

"My friend," resumed she, after a pause, "leave me; I may as well
perform my bloody task now, as at any other time. I will invent some
pretext for requesting an interview with Livingston, and then, without
uttering a single word, I will stab him to the heart. Farewell, forget
me, and be happy!"

"Stay," said I--"you must not leave me thus. Let me persuade you to
abandon, at least for the present, your terrible design with reference
to Livingston. You are agitated, excited; wait until you are cool, and
capable of sober reflections."

Mrs. Raymond regarded me with a look of anger, as she said,
passionately--

"And was it for the purpose of giving me such advice as _this_, that you
accompanied me from Philadelphia to this city? You knew, all the while,
the object of my journey, and yet now, in the eleventh hour, when an
excellent opportunity presents itself for the accomplishment of that
object, you seek to dissuade me from my purpose. Have I entirely
mistaken your character? Are you really as weak-minded, and as devoid of
courage and spirit, as your language would seem to indicate? When that
young ruffian mutilated you in Philadelphia, didn't you consider that
you acted perfectly right? Well, this Livingston has destroyed the
happiness of my life, and transformed me from a lady of wealth into a
penniless beggar. Say does he not deserve to _die_?"

"Why--yes," was my reluctant reply--"but then it seems too terrible to
go about the horrible business deliberately, and in cold blood."

"He coolly and deliberately planned and effected the ruin of my peace,
happiness and fortune," rejoined Mrs. Raymond, in a tone of fixed
determination--"and it is therefore but just that he should be coolly
and deliberately slain. Once more, farewell; by everything sacred, I
swear that you shall not turn me from my purpose. My regard for you is
great--but, if you seek to detain me by force, your heart shall be made
acquainted with the point of my knife!"

"I have no idea of using force," said I, reproachfully--"but, if I
_had_, no such threat as the one which you have just now made, would
deter me. Go, my friend, go--do as you will; but I will go with you, for
I swear that I will not leave you."

This announcement deeply affected Mrs. Raymond, who embraced me and
begged my pardon for the language which she had used.

"Forgive me, my best, my only friend," said she--"the loyalty and
devotion which you have always manifested towards me should have
prompted different expressions.--If you are _determined_ to accompany
me, and see me through this business, _follow me_."

I obeyed, hoping to be able to prevent the perpetration of the terrible
deed which she meditated.

She rang the bell at the door, which was opened by a servant.

"I wish to see your master, instantly, on particular business," said the
disguised woman.

"What name, sir?" demanded the servant.

"It matters not. Say to Mr. Livingston that two gentlemen wish to see
him on business of the greatest importance."

The servant disappeared, but soon returned, saying that she would
conduct us to her master.

We followed her into a handsomely furnished library, where Mr.
Livingston was seated, looking over some letters. He glanced at us
carelessly, and said--

"Well, young gentlemen, what can I do for you to-day? Do you wish to
consult me on any matter of law? I am entirely at your service."

It was evident that the villain did not recognize the woman whom he had
so basely wronged.

Mrs. Raymond uttered not one single word, but, thrusting her hand into
her bosom, she slowly approached the author of her ruin, who still
continued to peruse his letters in entire unconsciousness of the
terrible danger that hung over him.

I watched Mrs. Raymond with the closest attention, fully determined to
spring forward at the critical moment and prevent the desperate woman
from accomplishing her deadly purpose.

It was a deeply interesting and thrilling scene, and one which I shall
never forget. There sat the intended victim, whose soul was hovering on
the awful precincts of an endless eternity; there stood the avenger of
her own wrongs, her right hand nervously grasping the hilt of the weapon
in her bosom, her face deadly pale, and her eyes flashing with wild
excitement. And there I stood, trembling with agitation, and ready to
spring forward at the proper time to prevent the consummation of a
bloody tragedy.

Mr. Livingston suddenly looked up from his letters, and started when he
beheld the pale and wrathful countenance of Mrs. Raymond, whose eyes
were fixed upon him with an expression of the most deadly hatred.

"Your face seems strongly familiar to me; have we not met before?" asked
Livingston.

"Yes," calmly replied Mrs. Raymond--"we _have_ met before."

"That voice!" cried the doomed villain--"surely I know it. Who are you,
and what want you with me?"

"I am the victim of your treacherous villainy, and I want revenge!"
screamed Mrs. Raymond, as, with the quickness of lightning, and before I
could prevent her, she drew her weapon and plunged it into the heart of
Livingston, who fell from his chair to the floor and died instantly.

"Now I am satisfied," said the woman, as she coolly wiped the blood from
the blade of her knife.

Language cannot depict the horror which the contemplation of this bloody
deed caused within me. True, I had myself slain a human being--but then
it was done in self-defence, and amid all the heat and excitement of a
personal contest. _This_ deed, on the contrary, had been committed,
coolly and deliberately; and, although Mrs. Raymond's wrongs were
undoubtedly very great, I really could not find it in my heart to
justify her in what she had done.

How bitterly I reproached myself for not having adopted some effectual
means of hindering the performance of that appalling deed, even at the
risk of incurring Mrs. Raymond's severe and eternal displeasure! I felt
myself to be in some measure an accessory to the crime; and I feared the
law would, at all events, consider me as such.

"What is done cannot be helped now," said I to Mrs. Raymond, who stood
calmly surveying the body of her victim--"come let us leave the house
and seek safety in flight. We may possibly escape the consequence of
this bloody act."

"No," said the woman--"_I_ shall not stir an inch. I have relieved the
world of a monster, and now I am ready to receive my reward, even if it
be the scaffold. But go, my friend--go, and secure your own safety."

"No, I will not leave you, even if I have to share your fate," was my
reply. That was a very foolish determination, I admit; for how could my
remaining with her, do her any good? I was merely placing myself in a
position of the utmost peril. But I thought it wrong to desert Mrs.
Raymond in that dark and trying hour; and therefore, as she refused to
escape, I resolved to remain with her.

Some one softly opened the door, and a female voice said--

"My dear, are you particularly engaged? May I come in?"

Hearing no reply, the fair speaker entered with a smile on her rosy
lips. This lady was the newly-made wife of Livingston. She had been, of
course, in happy ignorance of his true character, and of the fact that
he was already the husband of several wives.

On seeing us, she evinced surprise, for she knew not of her husband
having visitors. Suddenly, her eyes fell upon Livingston's bleeding
corpse, which lay upon the floor. On seeing this horrid spectacle, she
gave utterance to a piercing scream, and fell down insensible.

That shrill, agonizing scream penetrated every part of the house, and
brought all the inmates to the library, to see what had happened. Horror
took possession of the group, as they gazed upon the awful scene. For a
few minutes, there reigned the most profound silence. This was at last
broken by one of the male servants, who demanded--

"Who has done this?"

"I did it," replied Mrs. Raymond, calmly, "I alone am guilty. Here is
the weapon with which I did the deed. This young man here is entirely
innocent; he tried to prevent the act, but I was too quick for him. Let
me be conveyed at once to prison."

Officers being sent for, soon arrived and took us both into custody,
notwithstanding the passionate protestations of Mrs. Raymond that I had
no hand whatever in the affair.

"That must be shown to the satisfaction of higher authorities than we
are," said one of the officers. "At all events, it is our duty to secure
this young man as a witness. If he is innocent, he will doubtless be
able to prove it."

Half an hour afterwards, I was an inmate of the Pittsburg jail, in an
apartment adjoining that occupied by Mrs. Raymond, whose real sex still
remained undiscovered.




CHAPTER VIII

_An Escape, and a Triumph._


After a few weeks' incarceration, Mrs. Raymond, in accordance with my
advice, made known the secret of her sex to the chief officer of the
prison, to whom she also communicated the great wrongs which she had
suffered at the hand of Livingston. The officer, who was a good and
humane man, was deeply affected by this narrative. He immediately placed
Mrs. Raymond in a more comfortable room and caused her to be provided
with an abundance of female garments, which she now resumed. Her story,
of course, was given in all the newspapers; and it excited the deepest
sympathy in her behalf. One editor boldly asserted that no jury could be
found to convict the fair prisoner under the circumstances. As regarded
my case, the propriety of my immediate discharge from custody was
strongly urged, an opinion in which I fully concurred.

I shall dwell upon these matters as briefly as possible. I was first
brought to trial, and the jury acquitted me without leaving their seats;
Mrs. Raymond was merely convicted of manslaughter in the fourth degree,
so great was the sympathy that existed in her behalf, and the judge
sentenced her to be imprisoned during the term of two years. Although I
considered her particularly fortunate in receiving a punishment so
comparatively light, I resolved to effect her liberation in some way or
other.

I may as well here remark that the last wife and victim of Livingston
never survived the blow. She soon died of a broken heart.

My first step was to repair to Harrisburg, the capitol city of the
State, in order to solicit Mrs. Raymond's pardon from Governor Porter,
who was renowned, and by some parties strongly condemned, for his
constant willingness to bestow executive clemency upon prisoners
convicted of the most serious offences.[K] I easily obtained an
interview with his Excellency, whom I found to be a very clever sort of
personage. Having made known my errand, and related all the particulars
of Mrs. Raymond's case, I urged her claims to mercy with all the
eloquence of which I was master.

The Governor listened to me with attention; and, when I had concluded,
he said--

"My inclination strongly prompts me to pardon this most unfortunate
lady; but I have recently pardoned so many convicted prisoners, that the
press and the people generally are down on me, and I really dare not
grant any more pardons at present. I will, however, commute the lady's
sentence from two years to one."

With this partial concession I was obliged to be contented. The
necessary documents were made out, and with them I posted back to
Pittsburg. When I entered the cell of my fair friend and told her what I
had effected in her behalf, she burst into tears of gratitude and joy.
One long year taken off her sentence, was certainly something worth
considering.

"Courage, my friend!" said I, "even if you are obliged to serve out the
remnant of your sentence, which I trust will not be the case, a year
will soon pass away. I shall not leave Pittsburg until you are free. You
will see me often; and I will take care that you are abundantly provided
with everything that can contribute to your comfort. Keep up a good
heart; you have at least one friend who will never desert you."

Three months passed away, during which time I gained an excellent
subsistence by writing for various newspapers and magazines. Three times
every week I had an interview with Mrs. Raymond, whom I caused to be
supplied with every comfort and luxury as allowed by the rules of the
prison. She had just nine months to serve, when one day I was
unexpectedly enabled to effect her liberation in the following manner.

I had called upon her, as usual. After an interview of about half an
hour's duration, I bade her adieu and left her apartment. To gain the
street, it was necessary to pass through the office of the prison. In
that office were generally seated three or four turnkeys, one of whom
always went and locked Mrs. Raymond's door after my leaving her.

Upon entering the office on the occasion to which I now refer, I found
but one turnkey there, and he was _fast asleep_. I instantly resolved to
take advantage of the lucky circumstance which good fortune had thrown
in my way.

Hastening back to Mrs. Raymond's cell, I briefly told her the state of
affairs and bade her follow me. She obeyed, as might be supposed,
without much reluctance. We passed through the office and out into the
street; but, before departing, I transferred the key from the inside to
the outside of the door and locked the sleeping turnkey in, so that
there could be no possibility of his immediately pursuing us, when he
should awaken and discover the flight of his prisoner.

I was tolerably well furnished with cash, and my fair friend, at my
suggestion, purchased an elegant bonnet and shawl--for, it will be
remembered, she had resumed the garments appropriate to the female sex.
As for myself, I was exceedingly well dressed, and no alteration in my
costume was necessary, in order to present a respectable appearance.

I entertained no serious apprehensions of any great effort being made to
capture the fugitive, she having had but nine months to serve, and being
therefore a person of but little importance when viewed as a prisoner.
Moreover, I hoped that the kind-hearted chief officer of the prison
would charitably refrain from making any extraordinary exertions in the
matter. But these considerations did not prevent me from exercising a
reasonable degree of caution.

We left Pittsburg that evening, for Philadelphia, where we arrived in
due season. I immediately sought and procured employment as a writer, at
a liberal salary. A few days after our arrival in Philadelphia, Mrs.
Raymond said to me--

"My dear friend, I am not going to remain a burden to you. Listen to the
plan which I have to propose. I think of going upon the stage."

"What, and becoming an actress?"

"Yes. I flatter myself that my voice and figure are both passable; and I
really think that I possess some talent for the theatrical profession. A
respectable actress always receives a good salary. If the plan meets
with your approbation, I shall place myself under the tuition of some
competent teacher; and my _debut_ shall be made as soon as advisable."

I did not attempt to dissuade Mrs. Raymond from carrying out this plan,
which I thought, in fact, to be a very excellent idea. Once successfully
brought out upon the stage, she would have a profession which would be
to her an unfailing means of support.

According to the best of my judgment, she possessed every mental and
physical qualification necessary to constitute a good actress. Beautiful
and sprightly, talented and accomplished--possessing, too, the most
exquisite taste and skill as a vocalist and musician, I saw no reason
why she should not succeed upon the stage as well, and far better, than
many women a thousand times less talented. Therefore, encouraged by my
cordial approbation of her plan, and acting in accordance with my
recommendation, the fair aspirant to dramatic honors placed herself
under the instructions of a popular and well-known actor, who was fully
capable of the task which he had undertaken.

A few months passed away, and my fair friend announced herself as being
nearly in readiness to make her first appearance. I was delighted with
the rapid and satisfactory progress which she had made. The recitations
with which she occasionally favored me, were delivered in the highest
style of the elocutionary art, and convinced me that she was destined to
meet with the most unbounded success.

She proposed making her _debut_ as _Beatrice_, in Shakespeare's glorious
comedy, "Much Ado About Nothing,"--a character well calculated to
display her arch vivacity and charming sprightliness. I saw her rehearse
the part, and was satisfied that she _must_ achieve a brilliant
triumph,--an opinion that was fully concurred in by her gratified
instructor, and also by the manager and several of the leading actors
and actresses of the theatre.

The eventful evening came at last, and the house was crowded in every
part. Seating myself in a private box in company with the actor who had
instructed Mrs. Raymond, I awaited her appearance with the utmost
confidence. The curtain arose, and the play commenced. When _Beatrice_
came on, a perfect storm of applause saluted her. Her appearance, in her
elegant and costly stage costume, was really superb. Perfectly
self-possessed, and undaunted by the sea of faces spread out before her,
she went on with her part, and was frequently interrupted by deafening
shouts of approval. The _Benedict_ of the evening being a very fine
actor, and the _Dogberry_ being as funny a dog as ever created a broad
grin or a hearty laugh--the entire comedy passed off in the most
admirable manner; and, at its conclusion, my fair friend being loudly
called for, she was led out in front of the curtain by _Benedict_. A
shower of bouquets now saluted her; and, having gracefully acknowledged
the kindness of the audience, she retired.

This decided success caused the manager to engage Mrs. Raymond at a
liberal salary. She subsequently appeared with equal success in a round
of the best characters; and the press, and every tongue, became eloquent
in her praise. She was now in a fair way to acquire a fortune as great
as the one which she had lost through the villainy of Livingston.

Thinking her worthy of a higher position than that of a mere stock
actress, I advised her, after a year's sojourn in Philadelphia, to
travel as a _star_. To this she eagerly assented, and accordingly I
accompanied her to New York, where she was immediately engaged by the
late Thomas S. Hamblin, of the Bowery Theatre.[L] Her success at this
popular establishment was unprecedented in the annals of dramatic
triumphs. Night after night was she greeted by crowded, enthusiastic and
enraptured audiences. In short, she became one of the most celebrated
actresses of the day.

FOOTNOTES:

[K] It is related of Governor Porter as an illustration of his pardoning
propensities, that once, after his term of office had expired, a
gentleman accidentally ran against him in the street. "I beg your
pardon," said the gentleman. "I cannot grant it," said Mr. Porter, "for
I am no longer Governor."

[L] I have not, for reasons that will be easily understood, given the
name which Mrs. Raymond assumed, after her adoption of the dramatic
profession.




CHAPTER IX

_An accident--a suicide--and a change of residence._


A dreadful accident abruptly terminated Mrs. Raymond's brilliant
professional career. One night, while she was dressing in her private
room at the theatre, a camphene lamp exploded and her face was
shockingly burned. Her beauty was destroyed forever, and her career
upon the stage was ended. Thus was the public deprived of a most
delightful source of entertainment, and thus was a popular actress
thrown out of the profession just as she had reached the pinnacle of
fame, and just as she was in a fair way to acquire a handsome fortune.

It would be impossible for me to describe the grief, consternation and
horror of the unfortunate lady, on account of this melancholy accident.
In vain did I attempt to console her, she refused to be comforted. She
abandoned herself to despair; and I caused her to be closely and
constantly watched, fearing that she might attempt to commit suicide.

The play-going public soon found a new idol, and poor Mrs. Raymond was
forgotten. Her face was terribly disfigured, and it was very fortunate
that her sight was not destroyed. When she became well enough, she
endeavored to gain a situation as a teacher of music; but she was
unceremoniously rejected by every person to whom she applied, on account
of the repulsiveness of her countenance. This of course, still further
increased the dark despair that overshadowed her soul.

"My friend," said she to me one day, "I shall not long survive this
terrible misfortune. My heart is breaking, and death will ere long put
an end to my sufferings."

"Come, come," said I, "where is your philosophy? Have you not passed
through trials as great as this? While there is life, there is hope; and
you will be happy yet."

I uttered these commonplace expressions because I knew not what else to
say. Mrs. Raymond replied, with a mournful smile--

"Ah! with all your knowledge of the world, you know not how a woman
feels when she has been suddenly deprived of her beauty. The miser who
loses his wealth--the fond mother from whom death snatches away her
darling child; these bereaved ones do not feel their losses more acutely
than does a once lovely woman feel the loss of her charms. Do not talk
to me of philosophy, for such language is mockery."

I visited my unfortunate and no longer fair friend very often, but all
my attempts to cheer her up signally failed. She persisted in declaring
that she was not long for this world; and I began to believe so myself,
for she failed rapidly. I saw that she was provided with every comfort;
but alas! happiness was beyond her reach forever.

One evening I set out to pay her a visit. On my arrival at the house in
which she had taken apartments, the landlady informed me that she had
not seen Mrs. Raymond during the whole of that day.

"It is very singular," remarked the woman, "I knocked five or six times
at the door of her chamber, but she gave me no answer, although I know
she has not gone out."

These words caused a dreadful misgiving to seize me. Fearing that
something terrible had happened, I rushed up stairs, and knocked loudly
upon the door of Mrs. Raymond's chamber. No answer being returned, I
burst open the door, and my worst fears were realized, for there, upon
the floor lay the lifeless form of that most unfortunate woman. She had
committed suicide by taking arsenic.

This dreadful event afflicted me more deeply than any other occurrence
of my life. I had become attached to Mrs. Raymond on account of a
certain congeniality of disposition between us. We had travelled far
together, and shared great dangers. That was another link to bind us
together. Besides I admired her for her talent, and more particularly
for her heroic resolution. She was, altogether, a most extraordinary
woman, and, under the circumstances, it was no wonder that her tragical
end should have caused within me a feeling of the most profound sorrow.

Having followed her remains to their last resting-place, I did something
that I was very accustomed to do--I sat down to indulge in a little
serious reflection, the result of which was that I determined to go to
Boston, for New York had become wearisome to me. Besides, I knew that
Boston was the grand storehouse of American literature--the "Athens of
America," and I doubted not my ability to achieve both fame and money
there.

To Boston I accordingly went. On the first day of my arrival, I crossed
over to Charlestown for the purpose of viewing the Bunker Hill Monument.
Having satisfied my curiosity, I strolled into a printing office, fell
into conversation with the proprietor, and the result was that I found
myself engaged at a moderate salary to edit and take the entire charge
of a long-established weekly newspaper of limited circulation, entitled
the "Bunker Hill Aurora and Boston Mirror." This journal soon began to
increase both in reputation and circulation, for I filled it with good
original tales and with sprightly editorials. Yet no credit was awarded
to me, for my name never appeared in connection with my productions, and
people imagined that W----, the proprietor, was the author of the
improvements which had taken place.

"Egad!" the subscribers to the _Aurora_ would say--"old W---- has waked
up at last. His paper is now full of tip-top reading, whereas it was
formerly not worth house-room!"

How many instances of this kind have I seen--of writers toiling with
their pens and brains for the benefit and credit of ungrateful wretches
without intellect, or soul, or honor, or common humanity! Charlestown is
probably the meanest and most contemptible place in the whole
universe--totally unfit to be the dwelling-place of any man who calls
himself _white_. The inhabitants all belong to the _Paul Pry_ family. A
stranger goes among them, and forthwith inquisitive whispers concerning
him begin to float about like feathers in the air. "Who is he? What is
he? Where did he come from? What's his business? _Has he got any money?_
(Great emphasis is laid on this question.) Is he married, or single?
What are his habits? Is he a temperance man? Does he smoke--does he
drink--does he chew? Does he go to meeting on Sundays? What religious
denomination does he belong to? What are his politics? Does he use
profane language? What time does he go to bed--and what time does he get
up? Wonder what he had for dinner to-day?" &c., &c., &c.

During my residence in Charlestown, where I lived three years, I became
acquainted with the celebrated editor and wit, Corporal Streeter, who
was my next-door neighbor. I dwelt, by the way, in an old-fashioned
house situated on Wood street. Two ancient pear trees sadly waved their
branches in front of the house, and they are still there, unless some
despoiling hand has cut them down--which Heaven forbid! If ever I
re-visit that place, I shall gaze with reverence at the old house--for
in it I passed some of the happiest days of my life. The antique edifice
I christened "The Hermitage." The squalling cats of that neighborhood
afforded me a fine opportunity for pistol practice.

At the end of three years, I had a slight "misunderstanding" with Mr.
W----, the proprietor of the Aurora, one of the most stupendously mean
men it was ever my misfortune to encounter. He was worthy of being the
owner of the only newspaper in Charlestown, alias, "Hogtown." Having
civilly requested Mr. W---- to go to the devil at his earliest
convenience, I left him and his rookery in disgust, and shifted my
quarters over to Boston.

Here I engaged largely in literary pursuits, and began to write a series
of novels. These were well received by the public, as every Bostonian
will recollect.

In my next chapter, I shall tell the reader how a gentleman got into
difficulties.




CHAPTER X

_Six weeks in Leverett Street Jail._


A popular actor who was a personal friend of mine[M] took a farewell
benefit at the National Theatre. At his invitation, and just before the
close of the evening's performances, I attempted to enter the stage door
for his purpose of seeing him in his dressing-room, as he intended to
sup with me and several friends. A half-drunken Irishman attached to the
stage department in some menial capacity, stopped me and insolently
ordered me out. I treated the Greek, of course, with the contempt which
he merited, whereupon he called another overgrown bog-trotter to his
assistance, and the twain forthwith attacked me with great fury. Finding
myself in danger of receiving rather rough treatment, I drew a small
pocket pistol and aimed at their shins, being determined that one of
them, at least, should hobble around upon crutches for a short time. The
cap on the pistol, however, refused to explode, and the two vagabonds
immediately caused me to be arrested, charging me with "assault and
battery with the intent to kill!" I was forthwith accommodated with a
private apartment in Leverett Street jail, where I remained six weeks,
during which time I enjoyed myself tolerably well, being amply provided
with good dinners, not prison fare, but from the outside, candles,
newspapers, books, writing materials, &c. During my imprisonment, I
wrote "The Gay Deceiver," and "Venus in Boston." My next door neighbor
was no less a personage than Dr. John W. Webster, who was afterwards
executed for the murder of Dr. Parkman. Webster was a great glutton, and
thought of nothing but his stomach, even up to the very hour of his
death. On account of his "position in society," (!) every officer of the
prison became his waiter; and a certain ruffianly turnkey, who was in
the habit of abusing poor prisoners in the most outrageous manner, would
fawn to the Doctor like a hungry dog to a benevolent butcher.

Webster was very polite to me, frequently sending me books and
newspapers--favors which I as often reciprocated. He once sent me a jar
of preserves, a box of sardines and a bottle of wine. The latter gift I
highly appreciated, wines and liquors of every kind being prohibited
luxuries. That night I became very happy and jovial; but I did not leave
the house.

Dr. Webster was confident of being acquitted; but the result proved how
terribly he was mistaken. Probably, in the annals of criminal
jurisprudence, there never was seen a more striking instance of equal
and exact justice, than was afforded by the trial, conviction and
execution of John W. Webster. Money, influential friends, able counsel,
prayers, petitions, the _prestige_ of a scientific reputation failed to
save him from that fate which he merited as well as if he had been the
most obscure individual in existence.

After six weeks imprisonment, I was brought to trial before Chief
Justice Wells. I was defended by a very tolerable lawyer, to whom I paid
twenty-five dollars in consideration of his conversing five minutes with
a jury of my peers, the said jury consisting of twelve hungry
individuals who wanted to go out to dinner. When my legal adviser had
made a few well-meaning remarks, the jury retired to talk the matter
over among themselves; and, after about fifteen minutes absence, they
returned and expressed their opinion that I was "not guilty." This
opinion induced me to believe that they were very sensible fellows
indeed. Not for a moment did I think of demanding a new trial; that
would have been impertinent, as doubting the sagacity of the jury. My
two Irish prosecutors left the court-room in a rage; and two more
chop-fallen disappointed and mortified Greeks were never seen. The Judge
took his departure, the spectators dispersed, and I crossed the street
and dined sumptuously at Parker's, with a large party of friends.

Very many of my Boston readers will remember a long series of articles
which I wrote and published about that time, in the columns of one of
the newspapers, entitled "Mysteries of Leverett Street Jail." In those
sketches I gave the arrangements of the Jail, and its officers,
"particular fits;" and the manner in which the fellows writhed under the
inflictions, was a caution to petty tyrants generally. The startling
revelations which I made created great excitement throughout the whole
community; and I have good reason to believe that those exposures were
the means of producing a far better state of affairs in the interior of
the "stone jug."

I have thus, very briefly, given the extent of my experience with
reference to the old Leverett Street Jail. Unlawful ladies and gentlemen
are now accommodated in an elegant establishment in Cambridge street,
for the old Jail has been levelled to the ground to make room for
"modern improvements."--I visited it just before the commencement of its
destruction, and gazed at my old apartment "more in sorrow than in
anger." There were my name and a few verses, which I had written upon
the wall. There was the rude table, upon which I had penned two novels,
which, from their tone, seem rather to have emanated from a gilded
_boudoir_. There, too, in the grated window, was a little flower-pot in
which I had cultivated a solitary plant. That poor plant had withered
and died long ago, for the prisoners who succeeded me probably had no
taste for such "trash." I took and carefully preserved the dead remains
of my floral favorite--"for," said I to myself--"they will serve to
remind me of a dark spot in my existence."

And now, with the reader's permission, I will turn to matters of a more
cheerful character.

FOOTNOTES:

[M] I allude to Mr. W.G. Jones, now deceased.




CHAPTER XI

"_The Uncles and Nephews._"


Ring up the curtain! Room there for the Boston Players. Let them
approach our presence, not as they appear upon the stage, in rouge, and
spangles, and wigs, and calves and cotton pad; but as they look in broad
daylight, or in the bar-room when the play is over, arrayed in garments
of a modern date, wearing their own personal faces, swearing their own
private oaths, and drinking real malt out of honest pewter, instead of
imbibing dusty atmosphere from pasteboard goblets. Room, I say!

There is an intimate connection between the press and the stage, that is
a congeniality of character, habit, taste, feeling and disposition,
between the writer and the actor. The press and the stage are, in a
measure, dependent on each other. The newspaper looks to the theatre for
light, racy and readable items, with which to adorn its columns, like
festoons of flowers gracefully hung around columns of marble. The
theatre looks to the newspaper for impartial criticisms and laudatory
notices. Show me a convivial party of actors, and I will swear there are
at least two or three professional writers among them. I know many
actors who are practical printers, fellows who can wield a
composing-stick as deftly as a fighting sword. Long life and prosperity
to the whole of them, say I; and bless them for a careless, happy,
pleasure-loving, bill-hating and beer-imbibing race of men. Amen.

There is one point of resemblance between the hero of the sock and
buskin and the Knight of the quill. The former dresses up his person and
adopts the language of another, in order to represent a certain
character; the latter clothes his ideas in an appropriate garb of words,
and puts sentiments in the mouths of his characters which are not always
his own. But I was speaking of the Boston Players.

Admitting the foregoing argument to be correct, it is not to be wondered
at that I became extensively acquainted among the members of the
theatrical profession. My name was upon the free list of every theatre
in the city; and every night I visited one or more of the houses--not to
see the play, but to chat in the saloons with the actors and literary
people who in those places most did congregate. After the play was over,
we all used to assemble in an ale-house near the principal theatre; and
daylight would often surprise us in the midst of our "devotions." A
curious mixed-up set we were to be sure! I will try to recollect the
most prominent members of our club. First of all there was the
argumentative and positive Jim Prior, who might properly be regarded as
President of the club. Then came H.W. Fenno, Esq., the gentlemanly
Treasurer of the National. He, however, seldom tarried after having
once "put the party through." The eccentric "Old Spear" was generally
present, seated in an obscure corner smoking a solitary cigar. Comical
S.D. Johnson and his hopeful son George were usually on hand to enliven
the scene; and so was Jim Ring, alias J. Henry, the best negro
performer, next to Daddy Rice, in the United States. Chunkey Monroe, who
did the villains at the National; and, towering above him might be seen
his cousin, Lengthy Monroe, who enacted the hard old codgers at the same
establishment. That fine fellow, Ned Sandford, must not be forgotten;
neither must Sam Lake, the clever little dancer. Rube Meer was
invariably to be found in company with a pot of malt; and he was usually
assisted by P. Jones, a personage who never allowed himself to be funny
until he had consumed four pints. Charley Saunders, the comedian and
dramatist, the author of "Rosina Meadows" and many other popular
plays--kept the "table in a roar," by his wit and also by his
excruciatingly bad puns. Bird, of "Pea-nut Palace" notoriety, held forth
in nasal accents to Bill Colwell, the husband of the pretty and
accomplished Anna Cruise. Big Sam Johnson, a heavy actor, a gallant
Hibernian and a splendid fellow, discussed old Jamaica with his friend
and boon companion, Sam Palmer, alias "Chucks." The mysterious Frank
Whitman captures his brother-actor at the Museum, Jack Adams, and
imprisoning him in a corner from which there was no escape, imparts to
him the most tremendous secrets. Ned Wilkings--one of the best reporters
in the city--tells the last "funny thing" to John Young; while Joe
Bradley, proprietor of the Mail, touches glasses with Jim McKinney.
Meanwhile, the two waiters, Handiboe and Abbott, circulate around with
the greatest activity, fetching on the liquors and removing the dirty
glasses, from which they slyly contrive to drain a few drops now and
then, for their bodily refreshment. As an instance of the "base uses" to
which genius may "come at last," I will state that Handiboe, whom we now
find in such a menial position, was once quite a literary character;
while poor Abbott, to whom I now throw a few small coins in charity, was
a setter of type. The rest of the party is made up of Pete Cunningham,
Sam Glenn, Bill Dimond, Jim Brand, Bill Donaldson, Dan Townsend, Jack
Weaver, Cal Smith, and a host of others whom it would puzzle the very
devil himself to remember.

Such was the "Uncle and Nephew Club," of which I had the honor to be a
prominent member. Almost every man belonging to it was a wit, a punster
or a humorist of some kind; and I will venture to say, that had some
industrious individual taken the pains to preserve and publish one-half
the good things that were said at our meetings, a large volume might be
formed that would be no contemptible specimen of genius. Whenever a
member had the audacity to perpetrate some shocking bad pun, and such
enormities were frequent, the offender was sentenced to undergo some
ludicrous punishment; and the utmost good-humor and hilarity always
prevailed.

I will now relate a rather amusing adventure in which I participated
with others of the "Uncles and Nephews."

One night we were assembled, as usual, at our head-quarters. The Fourth
of July was to "come off" the next day, and we determined to have some
fun. Accordingly, a couple of stout messengers were despatched to the
theatre, armed with the necessary authority and keys, and they soon
returned laden with dresses from the wardrobe. These garments the party
proceeded to assume; and we were quickly transformed into as
picturesque-looking a crowd as any that ever figured at a masquerade
ball. As for myself, I made a very tolerable representation of Falstaff;
while Richard, Othello, Macbeth, Hamlet, Shylock, and other gentlemen of
Shakespeare's creation, gave variety to the procession. Then there was a
clown in full circus costume, accompanied by Harlequin in his glittering
shape-dress. We sadly longed for a sprightly Columbine; but then we
consoled ourselves with Pantaloon, admirably rendered by P. Jones.

Our "music" consisted of a bass-drum, which was tortured by the clown; a
fish-horn beautifully played upon by Sam Palmer; a dinner-bell whose din
was extracted by Jack Adams. Having formed the procession on the
side-walk, the music struck up, and we marched.

Our first halting-place was at the saloon of Peter Brigham, at the head
of Hanover street. Here we filed in, and great excitement did our
extraordinary appearance create. A mob soon collected before the door,
attracted by our grotesque costumes as well as by the infernal noise of
our "musical" instruments, upon which we continued to perform with
undiminished vigor. Peter Brigham was in agonies, and rushed about the
saloon like an insane fly in a tar barrel. The frightened waiters
abandoned their posts and fled. The mob outside cheered vociferously;
and Harlequin began to belabor poor Pantaloon with his gilded lath to
the immense amusement of the spectators.

Peter Brigham at length mounted a chair, and said--

"Gentlemen, will you hear me? (Hoarse growl from the bass-drum.) I
cannot suffer this noise and racket to go on in my house. (Blast of
defiance from the fish-horn.) You know I have always tried to keep a
decent and respectable place. (Peal of sarcastic laughter from the
dinner bell.) I have a proposition to make.--(Hear! hear!) If you will
promise to leave the house quietly, I will treat you all to as much
champagne as you can drink." (Yell of acceptance from the bass-drum,
fish-horn and dinner-bell! Great excitement generally.)

The wine was produced, and the facility with which it was disposed of,
caused Mr. Brigham to stare. He endured its consumption, however, with
the most philosophical fortitude, until we began to drink toasts, make
speeches, and exhibit other indications of a design on our part to
"tarry yet awhile." Peter then reminded us of our promise; and, as
gentlemen of honor, we fulfilled the same by immediately falling into
procession and marching out of the saloon. Away we went down Hanover
street, followed by the admiring and hooting crowd. We entered the
establishment of Theodore Johnson, and were hospitably received by the
prince of good fellows, who, assisted by Chris Anderson, "did the
honors" with the utmost liberality. Sam Palmer and P. Jones, here
favored the company with a broad-sword combat; after which I, as
Falstaff, gave a few recitations--the performances concluded with Abbott
as _Jocks_, the Brazilian ape. Our next visit was to the Pemberton
House, then under the control of Uriah W. Carr, a very small man, both
physically and morally. Uriah received us very churlishly, and
peremptorily refused to "come down" with the hospitality of the season.
He was particularly down on me for having once written and published
some verses concerning him. The following is all that I can recollect of
that interesting production:--

  "Tis comical, indeed it is
  To see him mix a punch--
  He puts two drops of liquor in,
  And then he eyes the _lunch_;
  He struts about most pompously,
  Then stands before the fire,
  Just like a little bantam-cock,
  This comical Uriah!"

Inasmuch as Uriah refused to bring on the "bush" for either love or
money, we determined to help ourselves. Therefore, every man appointed
himself a bar-keeper _pro tem_. Wines, liquors and cigars were disposed
of with marvelous celerity, and poor little Uriah danced about and tore
his hair in the agony of his spirits. Meanwhile, a large number of
actors and others, boarding at the Pemberton, joined us, being ushered
in by Charles Dibden Pitt, a performer of great elegance and power, then
playing a brilliant star engagement--at the Museum. This gentleman is
decidedly "one of the boys," and goes in for a "good time." At his
suggestion, a committee was appointed to descend to the kitchen and
bring up provisions. Ned Abbot and Bill Ball performed this duty in the
most admirable and satisfactory manner. They departed for the lower
regions, and soon returned laden both with substantials and delicacies.
Then, such a feast!--or, rather, such a banquet! Champagne flowed like
water, for we had discovered a closet filled with baskets of the foaming
beverage. The whole company was of course soon in a state of glorious
elevation. The song and jest went round unceasingly, and peals of jovial
laughter trooped away like merry elves upon the midnight air. We were in
excellent humor to adopt the prayer of the following who said--

  "Oh, let us linger late to-night,
  Nor part while wit and song are bright;
  And, Joshua, make the sun stand still,
  That we of joy may have our fill!"

There was one gentleman who refused to participate in the festivities of
the occasion. This was little Uriah, the landlord, who gazed upon the
progress of the banquet with a troubled brow; yet he did not dare to
openly remonstrate, through fear of offending Mr. Pitt, and other
valuable boarders.

Unfortunately for the harmony of the festival, a party of drunken
students from Cambridge dropped in, and I instantly saw that a row was
inevitable. After unceremoniously helping themselves to drink, the
students gazed at our strange-looking company superciliously, and one of
them remarked with a sneer--

"What fools are these, dressed up in this absurd manner? Oh, they must
be monkies, the property of some enterprising organ-grinder. Let them
dance before me, for my soul is heavy, and I would be gay!"

Here little Billy Eaton, the writer, who was one of our party, fired up
and obligingly offered to fight and whip the man with the heavy soul,
for and in consideration of the trifling sum of one cent. This handsome
offer was accepted; but, before the gentlemen could strip for the
combat, a general collision took place between all the hostile parties.
Chairs were brandished, canes were flourished and decanters were hurled,
to the great destruction of mirrors and other fragile property. The bar
was overturned, and the din of battle was awful to hear. Notwithstanding
the uproar and confusion that prevailed, I could not help noticing poor
Uriah, who, in the dimly-lighted hall, was quietly dancing an insane
polka, accompanying his movements by low howls of despair. The little
man had temporarily lost his few wits, that was plain. The combat raged
with undiminished fury. Our clown attacked a student with his bass-drum,
one end of which burst in, imprisoning the representative of the seat of
learning, who found it impossible to extricate himself from his musical
predicament. Sam Palmer, with his fish-horn, did tremendous execution;
while Jack Adams was equally effective with his dinner-bell which, at
every blow, sounded forth a note of warning. The heroic P. Jones
performed prodigies of valor, and covered himself with glory. This
wonderful young man, having planted himself behind a rampart of chairs,
placed himself in the position of a pugilistic frog, and boldly defied
his enemies to "come on and be punched." At the commencement of the
fight, Abbott coiled himself up under the table, and was seen no more;
while Handiboe fled for safety to the cole-hole. The battle was at its
height, and the bird of victory seemed about to perch upon the banner of
the "Uncles and Nephews," when some reckless, hardened individual turned
off the gas, thus producing total darkness. This made matters ten times
worse than ever, for it was impossible to distinguish friends from foes.
Suddenly, in rushed a posse of watchmen, headed by the renowned Marshal
Tukey, and bearing torches. Many of the combatants were arrested, and
but few contrived to make their escape. I had the honor of figuring
among the unlucky ones; and, with my companions passed the night in
durance vile. In the morning, when day light feebly penetrated our
gloomy dungeon, what a strange-looking spectacle presented itself!
Stretched upon the floor in every imaginable picturesque attitude, were
about a score of men, the majority of them arrayed in the soiled and
torn theatrical dresses. These unhappy individuals afforded a most
melancholy sight, as many of them had black eyes, bruised noses and
battered visages.

"D----d pretty fools we've made of ourselves," said Macbeth, one of
whose optics had been highly discolored.

"Yes," groaned Othello, whose black eyes were only partially concealed
by the yellow color which he had smeared over his face--"and here we are
in the jug, where we shall be compelled to remain all day, and lose all
the fun of the Fourth of July."

"That isn't the worst of it," sighed Hamlet, whose royal frontispiece
had received severe damage--"I am on the bills to play twice this
afternoon and once this evening, and my being absent will cause me to be
_forfeited_, if not discharged. D----n those college students! What the
devil became of them? They all got clear, I suppose."

"No," said I--"they are in a separate apartment. Of course the officers
would not put them in with us, for that would be encouraging a renewal
of the fight."

"My head aches horribly," remarked Richard, Duke of Gloster--"I would
give my kingdom for a drink!"

"And I," observed Shylock--"would like a pound of flesh, providing it
were beefsteak, for I am almost famished."

"Hah! what a hog!" growled Cardinal Richelieu, one side of whose face
had been "cove in" most dreadfully--"to think of _eating_ at such a time
as this!"

"Hark," said Claude Melnott, whose handsome countenance had been knocked
completely out of shape, and who looked as if he had just returned from
the wars rather the worse for wear; "hark! Don't you hear the sound of
artillery, and of music? The ceremonies and festivities of the glorious
day have commenced. Would to Heaven that I were with Pauline, in our
palace on the lake of Como!"

"Dry up, you fool!" angrily exclaimed the aged and venerable King Lear,
whose nasal organ exhibited signs of its having sustained a violent
contusion--"I haven't closed an eye during the whole night, and now you
keep me awake with your infernal jabbering. Shut up, I say!"

"Oh, shut up be blowed!" said P. Jones--"how can a man shut up when he
thinks of the good _budge_ (rum) he loses by being shut up here? Rube
Meer, isn't this too bad?"

"Worse than the time when I sent on a fishing excursion with Jim Morse,"
groaned poor Rube, as he fumbled in his pocket for a match with which to
light his pipe, "has anybody got a rope with which a fellow could
contrive to hang himself?"

"I say, Jack Adams," said Sam Palmer, who was dressed as Don Caesar de
Bezas, "what will Harry Smith and old Kimball say, when we don't make
our appearance to-day, the busiest day in the whole year?"

"I care not," replied Jack, as he fondly pressed the portrait of his
Katy to his lips, "so long as this blessed consolation is left me, the
world may do its worst! Frown on, ye fiends of misfortune! I defy ye
all, so long as my Katy Darling remains but true!"

"That's the one!" shouted the bold Dick Brown, as "usher" at the
National Theatre, "let us have the song of Katy Darling, and all join in
the chorus."

This was done; and from the depths of that gloomy dungeon rolled forth
the words, in tones of thunder--

  "Did they tell thee I was false, Katy Darling?"

Suddenly, to our great joy, the ponderous iron door of the dungeon was
unlocked and thrown open, and an officer announced that he had orders to
release us all, provided that we would engage to satisfy the landlord of
the Pemberton House for the damage he had sustained. This we of course
agreed to do, it being understood that the college students should be
compelled to pay one-half the amount, which was certainly no more than
right, as they had perpetrated half the damage, and had commenced the
row in the first place. The landlord having received sufficient
security that his damages would be made whole, we were all set at
liberty, to our most intense delight, for we had anticipated being
imprisoned during the whole of that glorious day.

We left the house of bondage, and, as we passed through the already
crowded streets, our fantastic dresses and strange appearance generally,
collected a mob at our heels, which, in broad daylight, was certainly
rather annoying. However, we soon reached the theatre, and resumed our
own proper habiliments.

It was announced upon the bills of the theatre that a certain actor
would that evening deliver an original Fourth of July poem. That poem I
had engaged to write, yet not a single line had I committed to paper.
The actor was in a terrible quandary, and swore that his failure to
recite the poem, as announced, would render him unpopular with the
public and ruin him forever. Telling him to keep cool and call again in
two hours, I sat down to my writing-desk and dashed off a poem of
considerable length. My pen flew with the rapidity of lightning, words
and ideas crowded upon me in overwhelming numbers, and in three-quarters
of an hour my work was done! I sent for the actor who was astonished at
the brief space of time in which I had performed the task. Having heard
me read the poem, he declared himself to be delighted with it; and, with
all due humility and modesty, I must say that the production did possess
considerable merit. I had avoided the usual stereotyped allusions to the
"star spangled banner," to the "Ameri-eagle," to the "blood of our
forefathers," &c.;--and had dwelt principally upon the sublime moral
spectacle afforded by an oppressed people arising in their might to
throw off the yoke of bondage and assert their independence as a nation.
The actor soon committed the poem to memory; and, having rehearsed it
over to me and found himself perfect, he departed. That night he recited
it from the stage to a dense audience; and, during its delivery and at
its conclusion, I had the satisfaction of listening to the most
delicious music that an author's ears can ever know, the clapping of
hands, and deafening peals of applause.




CONCLUSION

_My Parting Bow._


Several years have passed since the date of the events last narrated.
Those years have been crowded with adventures full as extraordinary as
those already detailed; but alas! neither time nor space will at
present, admit of my giving them to the public. Perhaps, at some future
time, I may make up for this deficiency, if my life is spared.

The reader may rest assured of one thing:--that _not one single word of
fiction or exaggeration has been introduced into these pages_. Why
should I wander in the realms of romance, when there are more startling
facts at my command than I can possibly make use of? Is not truth
stranger than fiction? Every day's experience proves such to be the
case.

I cannot close up these pages without availing myself of the opportunity
to return my thanks in this public manner, to several gentlemen from
whom I have received courtesies and acts of kindness. First and
foremost, there is Jerry Etheridge, a man of great political influence
and historical learning. To this distinguished gentleman I am indebted
for an act of generosity that rescued me from a serious embarrassment. I
am not the only recipient of his bounty, for I know many others who have
applied to him in times of need, and who have left him, encouraged by
his cheering words and relieved by his liberality. He is one of those
true philanthropists who never publish their good deeds to others. I
consider that when one man befriends another and then tells of it, all
obligation ceases to exist between the parties, and no gratitude is due
the one who confers the benefit, which he bestows, perhaps just on
purpose to acquire a reputation for whole-souled benevolence, and not
out of any particular good-will to the other. I am also under obligation
to Mr. W.R. GOODALL, the promising young American actor, who will one
day, I predict, occupy a most elevated position in the profession which
he has adopted, and for which he is peculiarly qualified. Who that ever
heard his famous imitations, as Jeremiah Clip, will hesitate to admit
that he is a young man of the most extraordinary talent? NED SANDFORD
and JIM LANERGAN, both of whom are now while I write this, playing at
the Broadway Theatre, I return my most sincere thanks for favors
received; and I trust that they will pardon me for making this public
allusion to them. Finally, to every person who has, through
disinterested motive, treated me with kindness and consideration, I
would say--friends, your goodness shall never be forgotten while life
remains.

I have many bitter enemies, and they will, I presume, continue to snarl
at my heels like mongrel curs. Their miserable attempts to injure me
will only rebound back upon themselves. I am above the reach of their
malignity, and shall pursue my own independent course regardless of
their spleen.

Nearly one year has now elapsed since I left Boston--a place that I
cannot but regard with some degree of affectionate remembrance; for,
with all its faults, I like it still.

It is possible that I may hereafter continue to write tales for the
public amusement. Should I conclude to continue in my business as a
writer, I shall always, as heretofore, labor to produce that which is
interesting, exciting and founded on truth, and entirely unobjectionable
in a moral point of view. Unlike many so-called writers who throw off a
quantity of trash and care not how it fills up space, I am always
willing to bestow time and toil upon my work, for the sake of my own
credit, for the purpose of securing the rapid and extensive sale of the
book--and in order to give the public perfect satisfaction.

Reader, fare thee well! We may never meet again; but I thank thee for
accompanying me from the beginning to


THE END



***END OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK MY LIFE: OR THE ADVENTURES OF GEO.
THOMPSON***


******* This file should be named 28635.txt or 28635.zip *******


This and all associated files of various formats will be found in:
http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/2/8/6/3/28635



Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions
will be renamed.

Creating the works from public domain print editions means that no
one owns a United States copyright in these works, so the Foundation
(and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United States without
permission and without paying copyright royalties.  Special rules,
set forth in the General Terms of Use part of this license, apply to
copying and distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works to
protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm concept and trademark.  Project
Gutenberg is a registered trademark, and may not be used if you
charge for the eBooks, unless you receive specific permission.  If you
do not charge anything for copies of this eBook, complying with the
rules is very easy.  You may use this eBook for nearly any purpose
such as creation of derivative works, reports, performances and
research.  They may be modified and printed and given away--you may do
practically ANYTHING with public domain eBooks.  Redistribution is
subject to the trademark license, especially commercial
redistribution.



*** START: FULL LICENSE ***

THE FULL PROJECT GUTENBERG LICENSE
PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE YOU DISTRIBUTE OR USE THIS WORK

To protect the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting the free
distribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work
(or any other work associated in any way with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg"), you agree to comply with all the terms of the Full Project
Gutenberg-tm License (available with this file or online at
http://www.gutenberg.org/license).


Section 1.  General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works

1.A.  By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree to
and accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property
(trademark/copyright) agreement.  If you do not agree to abide by all
the terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return or destroy
all copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in your possession.
If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work and you do not agree to be bound by the
terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the person or
entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph 1.E.8.

1.B.  "Project Gutenberg" is a registered trademark.  It may only be
used on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people who
agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement.  There are a few
things that you can do with most Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
even without complying with the full terms of this agreement.  See
paragraph 1.C below.  There are a lot of things you can do with Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works if you follow the terms of this agreement
and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works.  See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C.  The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation ("the Foundation"
or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collection of Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works.  Nearly all the individual works in the
collection are in the public domain in the United States.  If an
individual work is in the public domain in the United States and you are
located in the United States, we do not claim a right to prevent you from
copying, distributing, performing, displaying or creating derivative
works based on the work as long as all references to Project Gutenberg
are removed.  Of course, we hope that you will support the Project
Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting free access to electronic works by
freely sharing Project Gutenberg-tm works in compliance with the terms of
this agreement for keeping the Project Gutenberg-tm name associated with
the work.  You can easily comply with the terms of this agreement by
keeping this work in the same format with its attached full Project
Gutenberg-tm License when you share it without charge with others.

1.D.  The copyright laws of the place where you are located also govern
what you can do with this work.  Copyright laws in most countries are in
a constant state of change.  If you are outside the United States, check
the laws of your country in addition to the terms of this agreement
before downloading, copying, displaying, performing, distributing or
creating derivative works based on this work or any other Project
Gutenberg-tm work.  The Foundation makes no representations concerning
the copyright status of any work in any country outside the United
States.

1.E.  Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1.  The following sentence, with active links to, or other immediate
access to, the full Project Gutenberg-tm License must appear prominently
whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg-tm work (any work on which the
phrase "Project Gutenberg" appears, or with which the phrase "Project
Gutenberg" is associated) is accessed, displayed, performed, viewed,
copied or distributed:

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org

1.E.2.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is derived
from the public domain (does not contain a notice indicating that it is
posted with permission of the copyright holder), the work can be copied
and distributed to anyone in the United States without paying any fees
or charges.  If you are redistributing or providing access to a work
with the phrase "Project Gutenberg" associated with or appearing on the
work, you must comply either with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1
through 1.E.7 or obtain permission for the use of the work and the
Project Gutenberg-tm trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or
1.E.9.

1.E.3.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is posted
with the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distribution
must comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and any additional
terms imposed by the copyright holder.  Additional terms will be linked
to the Project Gutenberg-tm License for all works posted with the
permission of the copyright holder found at the beginning of this work.

1.E.4.  Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of this
work or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg-tm.

1.E.5.  Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute this
electronic work, or any part of this electronic work, without
prominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 with
active links or immediate access to the full terms of the Project
Gutenberg-tm License.

1.E.6.  You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary,
compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, including any
word processing or hypertext form.  However, if you provide access to or
distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg-tm work in a format other than
"Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other format used in the official version
posted on the official Project Gutenberg-tm web site (www.gutenberg.org),
you must, at no additional cost, fee or expense to the user, provide a
copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a means of obtaining a copy upon
request, of the work in its original "Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other
form.  Any alternate format must include the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7.  Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying,
performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg-tm works
unless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8.  You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providing
access to or distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works provided
that

- You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from
     the use of Project Gutenberg-tm works calculated using the method
     you already use to calculate your applicable taxes.  The fee is
     owed to the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark, but he
     has agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the
     Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.  Royalty payments
     must be paid within 60 days following each date on which you
     prepare (or are legally required to prepare) your periodic tax
     returns.  Royalty payments should be clearly marked as such and
     sent to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the
     address specified in Section 4, "Information about donations to
     the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation."

- You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies
     you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he
     does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg-tm
     License.  You must require such a user to return or
     destroy all copies of the works possessed in a physical medium
     and discontinue all use of and all access to other copies of
     Project Gutenberg-tm works.

- You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of any
     money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the
     electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days
     of receipt of the work.

- You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free
     distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm works.

1.E.9.  If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work or group of works on different terms than are set
forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writing from
both the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation and Michael
Hart, the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark.  Contact the
Foundation as set forth in Section 3 below.

1.F.

1.F.1.  Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerable
effort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofread
public domain works in creating the Project Gutenberg-tm
collection.  Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works, and the medium on which they may be stored, may contain
"Defects," such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurate or
corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other intellectual
property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or other medium, a
computer virus, or computer codes that damage or cannot be read by
your equipment.

1.F.2.  LIMITED WARRANTY, DISCLAIMER OF DAMAGES - Except for the "Right
of Replacement or Refund" described in paragraph 1.F.3, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the Project
Gutenberg-tm trademark, and any other party distributing a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work under this agreement, disclaim all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal
fees.  YOU AGREE THAT YOU HAVE NO REMEDIES FOR NEGLIGENCE, STRICT
LIABILITY, BREACH OF WARRANTY OR BREACH OF CONTRACT EXCEPT THOSE
PROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH F3.  YOU AGREE THAT THE FOUNDATION, THE
TRADEMARK OWNER, AND ANY DISTRIBUTOR UNDER THIS AGREEMENT WILL NOT BE
LIABLE TO YOU FOR ACTUAL, DIRECT, INDIRECT, CONSEQUENTIAL, PUNITIVE OR
INCIDENTAL DAMAGES EVEN IF YOU GIVE NOTICE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH
DAMAGE.

1.F.3.  LIMITED RIGHT OF REPLACEMENT OR REFUND - If you discover a
defect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you can
receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending a
written explanation to the person you received the work from.  If you
received the work on a physical medium, you must return the medium with
your written explanation.  The person or entity that provided you with
the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy in lieu of a
refund.  If you received the work electronically, the person or entity
providing it to you may choose to give you a second opportunity to
receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund.  If the second copy
is also defective, you may demand a refund in writing without further
opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4.  Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forth
in paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you 'AS-IS', WITH NO OTHER
WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO
WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTIBILITY OR FITNESS FOR ANY PURPOSE.

1.F.5.  Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain implied
warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types of damages.
If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreement violates the
law of the state applicable to this agreement, the agreement shall be
interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer or limitation permitted by
the applicable state law.  The invalidity or unenforceability of any
provision of this agreement shall not void the remaining provisions.

1.F.6.  INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, the
trademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyone
providing copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in accordance
with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with the production,
promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works,
harmless from all liability, costs and expenses, including legal fees,
that arise directly or indirectly from any of the following which you do
or cause to occur: (a) distribution of this or any Project Gutenberg-tm
work, (b) alteration, modification, or additions or deletions to any
Project Gutenberg-tm work, and (c) any Defect you cause.


Section  2.  Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg-tm

Project Gutenberg-tm is synonymous with the free distribution of
electronic works in formats readable by the widest variety of computers
including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers.  It exists
because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations from
people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with the
assistance they need are critical to reaching Project Gutenberg-tm's
goals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg-tm collection will
remain freely available for generations to come.  In 2001, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secure
and permanent future for Project Gutenberg-tm and future generations.
To learn more about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation
and how your efforts and donations can help, see Sections 3 and 4
and the Foundation web page at http://www.gutenberg.org/fundraising/pglaf.


Section 3.  Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive
Foundation

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non profit
501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of the
state of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the Internal
Revenue Service.  The Foundation's EIN or federal tax identification
number is 64-6221541.  Contributions to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent
permitted by U.S. federal laws and your state's laws.

The Foundation's principal office is located at 4557 Melan Dr. S.
Fairbanks, AK, 99712., but its volunteers and employees are scattered
throughout numerous locations.  Its business office is located at
809 North 1500 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887, email
business@pglaf.org.  Email contact links and up to date contact
information can be found at the Foundation's web site and official
page at http://www.gutenberg.org/about/contact

For additional contact information:
     Dr. Gregory B. Newby
     Chief Executive and Director
     gbnewby@pglaf.org

Section 4.  Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg-tm depends upon and cannot survive without wide
spread public support and donations to carry out its mission of
increasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can be
freely distributed in machine readable form accessible by the widest
array of equipment including outdated equipment.  Many small donations
($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exempt
status with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulating
charities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the United
States.  Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes a
considerable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep up
with these requirements.  We do not solicit donations in locations
where we have not received written confirmation of compliance.  To
SEND DONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any
particular state visit http://www.gutenberg.org/fundraising/donate

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where we
have not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibition
against accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states who
approach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot make
any statements concerning tax treatment of donations received from
outside the United States.  U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg Web pages for current donation
methods and addresses.  Donations are accepted in a number of other
ways including checks, online payments and credit card donations.
To donate, please visit:
http://www.gutenberg.org/fundraising/donate


Section 5.  General Information About Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works.

Professor Michael S. Hart is the originator of the Project Gutenberg-tm
concept of a library of electronic works that could be freely shared
with anyone.  For thirty years, he produced and distributed Project
Gutenberg-tm eBooks with only a loose network of volunteer support.

Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks are often created from several printed
editions, all of which are confirmed as Public Domain in the U.S.
unless a copyright notice is included.  Thus, we do not necessarily
keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper edition.

Most people start at our Web site which has the main PG search facility:

     http://www.gutenberg.org

This Web site includes information about Project Gutenberg-tm,
including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how to
subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.