Charles James Lever.

The adventures of Arthur O'Leary online

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THE ADVENTURES



OF



ARTHUR O'LEARY



CHARLES LEVER



LONDON
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS
Broadway, Ludgate Hill
GLASGOW, MANCHESTER, AND NEW YORtL



CHARLES LEVER'S WORKS.


THE "HARRY LORREQUCR" EDITION.


In Crown ivo, with Illustrations,


Harry Lorrequer.


The Dodd Family, vol. t.


Jack Hinton.


Tht Dodd Family, vol. a.


Charles O'Malley, vol I.


Luttrell of Arran.


Charles O'MaUey, voL •.


Davenport Dunn, voL i.


Con Cregan.


Davenport Dunn, vol. a.


The O'Donoghue.


The Bramleighs of Bishop's Folly


Tom Burke, vol. i.


Lord Kilgobbin.


Tom Burke, voL a.


The Martins of Cro' Martin, voL «.


One of Thenu


The Martins of Cro" Martin, vol. a.


llie Daltons, voL i-


That Boy of Norcott's.


The DaltoKs, VoU 2.


Thj Fortunes of Glencore.


The Knight of ©"wynne; »ti. 1.


Ei/ Jasper Carew.


The Knight of Owypne, ml i.


Maurice Tiemay.


Arthur 0'l.cary, ■ ! ■


A Day'i. Ride : A Life's Romanos.


Roland Cashel, t6L i.


Tony Butler.


Roland Cashel. voL ■.


Sir Brooke Fosbroob w


BaiTingtoo-


Horace Templeton.



PR



CONTENTS.





CHAP.

I.


The " AirwooD" .


• • •










PAOB
1




II.


The Passport — A Perilous Adventure — Mine Host op


en




THE Boar's Head ....








10




III.


Mine Host's Tale ....








25


04


IV.


Strange Characters ....








31


s


V.


The Smuggler's Stort ....








45


-


VI.
VII.


The Smuggler's '&to^y— {continued)
The Smuggler's Story — {concluded)








70

87




VIII.


Table-traits




.








124


■;


IX.


A DiLKlIMA .




« ■








132




X.

XL

XII.

XIII.

XIV.


Forest Life. . ,

Chateau Life

The Abbe's Story

The Chase .

A Narrow Escape





«

» «









160

181

. 197

. 215

. 229




XV.


A Mountain Adventure


• •








, 246


3


XVI.


The Bore — A Soldier of tf


IE Empire








. 219




XVII.


The Retreat from Leipsic


.








. r67




XVIIL


The Top of a Diligence


. •








. 276




XIX.


Bonn and Student Life


• •








. 286




XX.


The "Student" .





• .








. 303



-4338?!



!7



CONTEXTS.



CU\P.




PAOK


XXI.


TnK Tk.\vi.:i,ling Party . . . i <


, 316


XXII.


TuK Gamblixo-Room


. 326


XXIII.


A Wateking-Place Doctor . . . .


. 336


XXIV.


Sir Harry Wycherlky


. 344


XXV.


TuE Recovery Uousk . . . • •


. 356


XXVI.


Tub "Dream of Death"


. 361


XXVII.


The Strange Gcest


. 370


XXVIII.


"The Park"


. 378


XXIX.


The Baron's Story


. 384


XXX.


The Rapacious Officer ....


. 410


XXXI.


The FoRTB'^.op


. 425


XXXII.


A Play by Cummakd


. 432


XXXIII.


C0KCLU810M


. 443



THE ADVENTURES



OF



AKTIIUR O'LEAEY.



CHAPTER I.

THK " ATTWOOD."

Old "Woodcock says, that if Providence had not made him
a Justice of the Peace, he'd have been a vagabond himself.
No such kind interference prevailed in my case. I was a
vagabond from my cradle. I never could be sent to
school, alone, like other children — they always had to see
me there safe, and fetch me back again. The rambling
bump monopolized my whole head. I'm sure my god-
father must have been the Wandering Jew, or a king's
messenger. Here I am again, en route, and sorely puzzled
to know whither ? There's the fellow for my trunk.

"What packet, sir?"

" Eh ? What packet ? The vessel at the Tower stairs ? "

"Yes, sir; there are two with the steam up — tlie
Rotterdam and the Hamburgh."

" Which goes first ? "

"Why, I think the ' Attwood,' sir."

" Well, then, shove aboard the ' Attwood.' Where is
she for ? "

B



2 THE ADVENTURES OF ARTHUR o'lEARY.

" She's for Rotterdam. He's a queer cove, too," said

the fellow under bis teeth., as he moved out of the room ;
" and don't seem to care whive he goes."

A capital lesson in life may be learned from the few
moments ^T'ecC'di'n'g departrire' from an inn. The surly
waiter that always said "coming" when he was leaving
the room, and never came, now grown smiling and smirk-
ing ; the landlord expressing a hope to see yuu again, while
he watches your upthrown eyebrows at the exorbitancy
of his bill ; the Boots attentively looking from your feet to
your face, and back again ; the housemaid passing and
repassing a dozen times on her way nowhere, with a look
half saucy, half shy ; the landlord's son, an abortion of
two feet high, a kind of family chief-remembrancer, that
sits on a high stool in the bar, and always detects some-
thing you have had that was not "put down in the bill "
— two shillings for a cab, or a " brandy and water;" a
curse upon them all; this poll-tax upon travellers is utter
ruin ; your bill, compared to its dependencies, is but
Falstaff's " pennyworth of bread " to all the score for sack.

Well, here I am at last. " Take care, I say ! you'll
upset us. Shove off, Bill ; ship your oar ;" splash, spla:;h.
" Bear a hand. What a noise they make ! " bang ! crash !
buzz ! what a crowd of men in pilot coats and caps ;
women in plaid shawls and big reticules, band-boxes, bags,
and babies, and what higgling for sixpences with the
whorrynien !

All the places round the companion are taken by pale
ladies in black silk, with a thin man in spectacles beside
them ; the deck is littered with luggage, and little groups
seated thereon ; some ver^' strange young gentlemen, with
many-coloured waistcoats, are going to Greenwich, and
one as far as ^Margate ; a widow and daughters, rather
prettyish girls, for Heme B;iy ; a thin, bilious-looking man
of about fifty, with four outside coats, and a bear-skin
round his legs, reading beside the wheel, occasionally
taking a sly look at the new arrivals. — I've seen him
before ; he is the Secretary of Embas.sy at Constantinople ;
and here's a jolly-looking, ro.sy-chceked fellow, with a fat
florid face, and two dashing-looking girls in black velvet
Eh I who's this ? — Sir I'otcr, the steward calls hiiu ; a



THE " ATTWOOD." 3

London alderman going up the Rhine for two months —
he's got his courier, and a strong carriage, with the
springs well corded fur the pave ; — bat they come too fast
for counting ; so now I'll have a look after my berth.

Alas ! the cabin has been crowded all the while by some
fifty others, wi-angling, scolding, laughing, joking, com-
plaining, and threatening, and not a berth to be had.

"You've put me next the tiller," said one; "I'm over
the boiler," screamed another.

" I have the pleasure of speaking to Sir Willoughby
Steward," said the captain, io a tall, grey-headed, soldier-
like figure, with a closely-buttoned blue frock. " Sir
Willoughby, your berth is No 8."

" Eh ! that's the way they come it," whispers a Cockney
to his friend. " That 'ere chap gets a berth before us
all."

" I beg your pardon, sir," says the baronet, mildly, " I
took mine three days ago."

" Oh ! I didn't mean anything, " stammers out the
other, and sneaks off.

" Laura-Mariar — where's Laurar ? " calls out a shrill
voice from the aft-cabin.

" Here, ma," replies a pretty girl, who is arranging
her ringlets at a glass, much to the satisfaction of a
young fellow in a braided frock, that stands gazing at
her in the mirror with something very like a smile on hia

There's no mistaking that pair of dark-eyed fellows
with aquiline noses and black ill-shaven beards — Ham-
bui'gh or Dutch Jews, dealers in smuggled lace, cigars,
and Geneva watches, and occasionally small money-
lenders. How they scan the company, as if calculating
the profit they might turn them to ! The very smile they
wear seems to say, " Comme c'est doux de tromper les
C/trefiois." * But, halloa ! there was a splash ! we are
moving, and the river is now more amusing than the
passengers.

I should like to see the man that ever saw London
from the Thames ; or any part of it, save the big dome of

* How sweet it is to take the Christians in.

B 2



4 THE ADVENTURES OF ARTHUR o'lEART.

St. Pftiil's, the top of tlie Monament, or the gable of the
great black wharf inscribed with " Hodgson's Pale Ale."
What a devil of a row they do make ! I thought we were
into that fellow. See, here's a wherry actually under
our bow ; where is she now ? are they all lost already ?
No ! there they go, bobbing up and down, and looking
after us, as if asking why we didn't sail over them.
Ay ! there comes an Indiaman, and that little black slug
that's towing her up against the stream, is one of the
Tug Company's craft ; and see how all the others at
anchor keep tossing and pitching about as we pass by,
like an awkward room-full of company, rising at each
new arrival.

There's Greenwich ! a fine thing Greenwich. I like
the old fellows that the First Lord always makes stand in
front, without legs or arms ; a cheery sight : and there's
a hulk, or an hospital ship, or something of that kind.

*' That's the ' Hexcellent,' " said a shrill voice behind
me.

" Ah ! I know her, she's a revenue cruiser."

Lord! what liars the Cockneys are ! The plot thickens
every moment ; here come little bright green and gold
things, shooting past like dragon-Hies skimming the
water, steaming down to Gi-ave.send. What a mob of
parasols cover the deck, and what kissing of hands and
waving of handkerchiefs to anonymous acquaintances
nowhere. More .steamers — here's the " Boulogne boat,"
followed by the Ostender, and there, rounding the reach,
comes the Ramsgate ; and a white funnel, they say, is the
Cork packet ; and yonder, with her steam escaping, is the
Edinburgh, her deck crowded with soldiers.

" Port — port it is — steady there — steady."

" Do you dine, sir?" quoth the steward to the pale gen-
tleman. A faint "Yes." "And the ladies too?" A
more audible " Xo."

" I say, steward," cries Sir Peter, " what's the hour for
dinner? "

*' Four o'clock, sir, after we pass Gravesend."
' Bring me some brandy and water and a biscuit,
then."

" Lud, p'i ! "



THE " ATTWOOD.

*' To be sure, dear, we shall be sick in the pool. They
Kay there's a head wind."

How crowded the}' are on the fure-part of the vessel !
six carriages and eight horses ; the latter belong to a
Dutch dealer, who, by the bye, seems a shrewd fellow, and
well knowing the exti-eme sympathy between horses and
asses, leaves the care of his to some Cockneys, who come
down every half-hour to look after the tarpaulins, inspect
the coverings, see the knee-caps safe, and ask if they
want " 'ay ; " and all this, that to soine others on l)oard
they may appear as sporting characters, well versed in
turf affairs, and quite up to stable management.

When the life and animation of the crowded river is
passed, how vexatious it is to hear for the thousandth time
the dissertations on English habits, customs, and constitu-
tion, delivered by some ill-informed, under-bred fellow or
o^her to some eager German — a Frenchman, happily, is
too self-sufficient ever to listen — who greedily swallows
the farrago of absurdity, which, according to the politics
of his informant, represents the nation in a plethora o*^
prosperity, oi the last stage of inevitable ruin. I sc!..,rcely
know which I detest the more ; the insane toryism of the
one is about as sickening as the rabid radicalism of the
other. The absurd misapprehensions foreigners entertain
about us, are, in nine cases out of ten, communicated by
our own people ; and in this way, I have always remarked
a far greater degree of ignorance about England and the
English to prevail among those who have passed some
weeks in the country, than among such as had never
visited our shores. With the foi'mer, the Thames Tunnel
is our national boast ; raw beef and boxing our national
predilections ; the public sale of our wives a national
practice.

" But what's this ? our paddles are backed. Anything
wrong, steward ? "

"No, sir, only another passenger coming aboard."

" How they pull, and there's a stiff sea running, too.
A queer figure that is in the stern sheets ; what a beard
he has ! "

I had just time for the observation, when a tall, athletic
man, wrapped in a wide blue cloak, sprang on the deck—



6 THE ADVENTURES OF ARTHUR O LEART.

his eyes were shaded by larp^e green spectacles and the
l.)voad brim of a very projecting hat; a black beard a
labbi might have envied, descended from his chin, and
hung down upon his bosom ; he chucked a crown-piece
to the boatman as he leaned over the bulwark, and then
turning to the steward, called out —

"Eln Jem! all right r "

"Yes, sir, all right," said the man, touching his hat
res pec till 11}'.

The tall figure immediately disappeared down the com-
panion ladder, leaving me in the most puzzling state of
doubt as to what manner of man he could possibly be.
Had the problem been more easy of solution I should
scarcely have resolved it when he again emerged — but
how changed ! The bi'oad beaver had given place to a
bhie cloth foraging cap with a gold band around it; the
beard had disajjpeared totally, and left no successor save
a well-rounded chin ; the spectacles also had vanished,
and a pair of sharp, intelligent grey eyes, with a most
uncommon degree of knowingness in their expression,
shone forth ; and a thin and most accurately curled
moustache graced his upper lip, and gave a character of
Vandykism to his features, Avhich were really handsome.
In person he was some six feet two, tiracefuUy but strongly
built ; his costume, without anything ai)proaching con-
ceit, was the perfection of fashionable attire — even to his
gloves there was nothing which d'Orsay could have criti-
cized ; while his walk was the very type of that mode of
progression which is only learned thoroughly by a daily
stroll down St. James's-strcet, and the frequent practice
of passing to and irom Crockford's, at all hours of the
day and night.

The expression of his features was something so striking,
1 could not lielp noting it. There was a jauntinet,b, an
ea.se, no smirking, half-bred, self-satistied look, such as a
London linendraper might wear on his tiip to Margate ;
but a consummate sense of his own personal attractions
and great natural advantages had given a character to hig
Jeatures which seemed to say — it's quite clear there's no
coming up tome; don't try it — nascUur nonjit. Ilis very
voice implied it. The veriest commonplace fell irom him



THE ** ATTWOOD."



with a lonk, a smile, a gesture, a something or other that
iiiiide it tell ; and men repeated his sayings without know-
ing that his was a liquor that was lost in decanting. The
way in which he scanned the passengers — and it was done
in a second — -was the practised observance of one who
reads character at a glance. Over the Cockneys, and they
were numerous, his eyes merely passed without bestowing
any portion of attention ; while to the lady part of thf>
company his look was one of triumphant satisfaction, such
as Louis XIV. might liave bestowed when he gazed at the
thousands in the garden of Versailles, and exclaimed,
" Out ! ce sont mns si/Jefs.'"* Such was the Honourable
Jack Smallbranes, younger son of a peer, ex-captain in the
Life Guards, winner of the Derby, but now the cleared-
out man of fashion flying to the Continent to escape from
the Fleet, and cautiously coming aboard in disguise below
Gravesend, to escape the bore of a bailiff, and what he
called the horror of bills " detested."

We read a great deal about Cincinnatus cultivating his
cabbages, and we hear of Washington's retirement when
the active period* of his career had passed over; and a
hundred similar instances are quoted for our admiration
of men who could throw themselves at once from all the
whirlwind excitement of great events, and seek in the
humblest and least obtrusive position, an occupation and
an enjoyment. But I doubt very much if your ex-man of
fashion, your ci-devant winner of the Derb}^ — the adored
of Almack's — the enfant cheri of Crockford's and the
Clarendon, whose equipage was a model, whose plate was
perfection, for whom life seemed too short for all the
fascinations wealth spread around him, and each day
brought the one embari^assment how to enjoy enough — I
repeat it, I doubt much if he, when the hour of his abdi-
cation arrives — and that it will arrive sooner or later not
even himself entertains a doubt — when Holditch protests,
and Bevan proceeds ; when steeds are sold at Tattersall's
and pictures at Christie's ; when the hounds pass over to
the next new victim, and the favourite for the St. Leger,
backed with mighty odds, is now entered under another
name ; when in lieu of the bright eyes and honied words

* Yes ! tliese are my subjects.



8 THE ADVENTURES OF ARTHUR o'lEARY.

that make life a fairy tale, his genii are black-whiskered
bailiH's and auctioneers' appraisers — if he, when the tide
ut Ibrtinie sets in so strong against him, can not only
sustain liimself for a while against it, and when too
powerful at last, can lie upon the current and float as gaily
down, as ever he did joyously up, the stream — then, say 1,
all your ancient and modern instances are far below him.
All your warriors and statesmen are but poor pretenders
compared to him, they have retired like rich shop-keepers,
to live on the interest of their lortuue, which is fame j
while he, deprived of all the accessories which gave him
rank, place, and power, must seek within his own resources
ior all the i'uture springs of his pleasure, and be satisfied to
stand sjiectator of the game in which he was once the
})rincipal ])layer. A most admirable specimen of this
philosopliy was presented by our new passenger, who, as
he lounged against the binnacle, and took a deliberate
survey of his fellow-travellers, formed the very ideal of
unbroken ease and undisturbed enjoyment. He knew he
was ruined ; he knew he had neither house in town or
country ; neither a steed, nor a yacht, iior a preserve ; he
was fully aware that Storr and Mortimer, who but yester-
day would have given him a mountain of silver, would not
trust him with a mustard-pot to-day ; tliat even the " legs "
would laugh at him if he offered the odds on the Derby ;
and yet if you w^ere bound on oath to select the happiest
fellow on board, by the testimony of your eyes, the choice
would not have taken you five minutes. His attitude was
ease itself; his legs slightly crossed, perhaps the better to
exhibit a very well-rounded instep, which shone ibrth in
all the splendour of French varnish ; his travelling cap
jauntily thrown on one side so as to display to better
advantage his perfumed locks, that floated in a ^.'raceful
manner somewhat lengthily on his neck; the shawl around
his neck had so much of negligence as to show that the
sjilendid enamel pin that fastened it was a thing of little
moment to the wearer. Ail wore in keeping with the
nonchalant ease and self-satisfaction of his look, as with
half-droof)ing lids he surveyed the deck, caressing with his
jewelled fingers the silky line of his moustache, and
evidently enjoying in hie inmost soul the triumphant scene



THE " ATTWOOD." 9

of conquest bis very appearance excited. Indeed, a less
practised observer than himself could not fail to remark
the unequivocal evidences the lady portion of the com-
munity bore to his success : the old ones looked boldly at
him with that fearless intrepidity that characterizes con-
scious security ; their property was insured, and they cared
not how near the fire came to them ; the very young
participated in the sentiment from an opposite reason —
theirs was the unconsciousness of danger ; but there was
a middle term, what Balzac calls " lafenime de trente ans,"
and she either looked over the bulwarks, or at the funnel,
or on her book, anywhere in short but at our friend, who
appeared to watch this studied denial on her part with the
same kind of enjoyment the captain of a frigate would
contemplate the destruction his broadsides were making on
his enemy's rigging; and perhaps the latter never deemetl
his conquest more assured by the hauling down of the
enemy's colours than did the " Honourable Jack," when a
let-down veil convinced him that the lady could bear no
more.

I should like to have watched the proceedings ou deck,
where, although no acquaintance had yet been formed, the
indications of such were clearly visible. The alderman's
daughters evincing a decided preference for walking on
that side where Jack was standing, he studiously perform-
ing some small act of courtesy from time to time as they
passed, removing a seat, kicking any small fragment of
rope, &c. ; but the motion of the packet warned me that
note-takingr was at an end, and the best thiuo" I could do
would be to " compose " myself.

" What's the number, sir?" said the steward, as I stag.
gei'ed down the companion.

" I have got no berth," said I, mournfully.

" A dark horse, not placed," said the Honourable Jack,
smiling pleasantly as he looked after me, while 1 threv/
myself on a sofa, and cursed the sea.



10 THE ADVENTURES OF ARTHUR o"leaRY.



CHAPTER II.

THE ^A^SPORT — A PFK1L0C8 ADVENTURE— MINE HOST 0? THE BOAR'B

HEAD.

If the noise nncl bustle -which attend a wedding, like
trumpets in a battle, are intended as provisions against
reflection, so firmly do I feel the tortures of sea-sickness
are meant as antagonists to all the terrors of drowning,
and all the horrors of shipwreck.

Let him who has felt the agonies of that internal earth-
quake which the "pitch and toss '' motion of a ship com-
municates — who knows what it is to have his diaphragm
vibrating between his ribs and the back of his throat,
confess how little to him was all the confusion which he
listened to over head! how poor the interest he took in
the welfare of the craft wherein he was " only a h)dger,"
and how narrowed were all his sympathies witliiu the
small circle of bottled porter, and brandy and water, the
steward's infallibles in suffering.

I lay in my narrow crib, moodily pondering over these
things, now wondering within myself what charms of
travel could recompense such agonies as these ; now mutr
tering a curse, " not loud, but deep," on the heavy
gentleman whose ponderous tread on the quarter-deck
seemed to promenade up and down the surface of my own
pericranium. The greasy steward, the jolly captain, the
brown-faced, black-whiskered king's messenger, who snored
away on the sofa, all came in for a share of my maledic-
tions, and 1 took out my cares in curses upon the whole
party. [Meanwhile I could distinguish, amid the other
sounds, the elastic tread of certain light feet that pattered
upon the quarter-deck; and I could not mistake the
assured footstep which accompanied them, nor did I need
the liappy roar of laughter that mixed with the noise to
satisfy myself that the " Honourable Jack " was then
cultivating the alderman's daught(;rs, discoursing moat



THE PASSPORT. 11

eloquently upon the fascinations of those exclusive circles
ulierein be was wont to move, and explaining, on the
cleai-est pi"inciples, what a frightful chasm his absence
must create in the London world — how deplorably flat
the season would go off, where he was no actor — and
wondering who, among the aspirants of high ambitioiL
would venture to assume his line of character, and supplj?
his place, either on the turf or at the table.

But at length the stage of semi-stupor came over me ;
the noises became commixed in my head, and I lost all
consciousness so completel}^, that, whether from brandy
or sickness, I fancied I saw the steward flirting with the
ladies, and the "Honourable Jack " skipping about with
a white apron, uncorking porter bottles, and changing
sixpences.

******

The same effect which the announcement of dinner
produces on the stiff party in the drawing-room, is caused
by the information of being alongside the quay, to the
passengers of a packet. It is true the procession is not
so formal in the latter as in the former case. The tur-
baned dowagers that take the lead in one, would more
than probably be last in the other ; but what is lost in
decorum, is more than made up in hilarity. What
hunting for carpet-bags 1 what opening and shutting of
lockers ! what researches into portmanteaus, to extricate



Online LibraryCharles James LeverThe adventures of Arthur O'Leary → online text (page 1 of 40)