This eBook was produced by David Widger
By Edward Bulwer-Lytton
IN WHICH WE RETURN TO WALTER. - HIS DEBT OF GRATITUDE TO
MR. PERTINAX FILLGRAVE. - THE CORPORAL'S ADVICE,
AND THE CORPORAL'S VICTORY.
Let a Physician be ever so excellent,
there will be those that censure him.
- Gil Blas.
We left Walter in a situation of that critical nature, that it would be
inhuman to delay our return to him any longer. The blow by which he had
been felled, stunned him for an instant; but his frame was of no common
strength and hardihood, and the imminent peril in which he was placed,
served to recall him from the momentary insensibility. On recovering
himself, he felt that the ruffians were dragging him towards the hedge,
and the thought flashed upon him that their object was murder. Nerved by
this idea, he collected his strength, and suddenly wresting himself from
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the grasp of one of the ruffians who had seized him by the collar, he had
already gained his knee, and now his feet, when a second blow once more
deprived him of sense.
When a dim and struggling consciousness recurred to him; he found that
the villains had dragged him to the opposite side of the hedge and were
deliberately robbing him. He was on the point of renewing an useless and
dangerous struggle, when one of the ruffians said, "I think he stirs, I
had better draw my knife across his throat."
"Pooh, no!" replied another voice, "never kill if it can be helped: trust
me 'tis an ugly thing to think of afterwards. Besides, what use is it? A
robbery, in these parts, is done and forgotten; but a murder rouses the
"Damnation, man! why, the deed's done already, he's as dead as a door-
"Dead!" said the other in a startled voice; "no, no!" and leaning down,
the ruffian placed his hand on Walter's heart. The unfortunate traveller
felt his flesh creep as the hand touched him, but prudently abstained
from motion or exclamation. He thought, however, as with dizzy and half-
shut eyes he caught the shadowy and dusk outline of the face that bent
over him, so closely that he felt the breath of its lips, that it was one
that he had seen before; and as the man now rose, and the wan light of
the skies gave a somewhat clearer view of his features, the supposition
was heightened, though not absolutely confirmed. But Walter had no
farther power to observe his plunderers: again his brain reeled; the dark
trees, the grim shadows of human forms, swam before his glazing eye; and
he sunk once more into a profound insensibility.
Meanwhile, the doughty Corporal had at the first sight of his master's
fall, halted abruptly at the spot to which his steed had carried him; and
coming rapidly to the conclusion that three men were best encountered at
a distance, he fired his two pistols, and without staying to see if they
took effect, which, indeed, they did not, galloped down the precipitous
hill with as much despatch, as if it had been the last stage to "Lunnun."
"My poor young master!" muttered he: "But if the worst comes to the
worst, the chief part of the money's in the saddle-bags any how; and so,
messieurs thieves, you're bit - baugh!"
The Corporal was not long in reaching the town, and alarming the loungers
at the inn-door. A posse comitatus was soon formed; and, armed as if they
were to have encountered all the robbers between Hounslow and the
Apennine, a band of heroes, with the Corporal, who had first deliberately
reloaded his pistols, at their head, set off to succour "the poor
gentleman what was already murdered."
They had not got far before they found Walter's horse, which had luckily
broke from the robbers, and was now quietly regaling himself on a patch
of grass by the roadside. "He can get his supper, the beast," grunted the
Corporal, thinking of his own; and bid one of the party try to catch the
animal, which, however, would have declined all such proffers, had not a
long neigh of recognition from the roman nose of the Corporal's steed,
striking familiarly on the straggler's ear, called it forthwith, to the
Corporal's side; and (while the two chargers exchanged greeting) the
Corporal seized its rein.
When they came to the spot from which the robbers had made their sally,
all was still and tranquil; no Walter was to be seen: the Corporal
cautiously dismounted, and searched about with as much minuteness as if
he were looking for a pin; but the host of the inn at which the
travellers had dined the day before, stumbled at once on the right track.
Gouts of blood on the white chalky soil directed him to the hedge, and
creeping through a small and recent gap, he discovered the yet breathing
body of the young traveller.
Walter was now conducted with much care to the inn; a Surgeon was already
in attendance; for having heard that a gentleman had been murdered
without his knowledge, Mr. Pertinax Fillgrave had rushed from his house,
and placed himself on the road, that the poor creature might not, at
least, be buried without his assistance. So eager was he to begin, that
he scarce suffered the unfortunate Walter to be taken within, before he
whipped out his instruments, and set to work with the smack of an
Although the Surgeon declared his patient to be in the greatest possible
danger, the sagacious Corporal, who thought himself more privileged to
know about wounds than any man of peace, by profession, however
destructive by practice, could possibly be, had himself examined those
his master had received, before he went down to taste his long-delayed
supper; and he now confidently assured the landlord, and the rest of the
good company in the kitchen, that the blows on the head had been mere
fly-bites, and that his master would be as well as ever in a week at the
And, indeed, when Walter the very next morning woke from the stupor,
rather than sleep, he had undergone, he felt himself surprisingly better
than the Surgeon, producing his probe, hastened to assure him he possibly
By the help of Mr. Pertinax Fillgrave, Walter was detained several days
in the town; nor is it wholly improbable, but that for the dexterity of
the Corporal, he might be in the town to this day; not, indeed in the
comfortable shelter of the old-fashioned inn, but in the colder quarters
of a certain green spot, in which, despite of its rural attractions, few
persons are willing to fix a permanent habitation.
Luckily, however, one evening, the Corporal, who had been, to say truth,
very regular in his attendance on his master; for, bating the
selfishness, consequent, perhaps, on his knowledge of the world, Jacob
Bunting was a good-natured man on the whole, and liked his master as well
as he did any thing, always excepting Jacobina, and board-wages; one
evening, we say, the Corporal coming into Walter's apartment, found him
sitting up in his bed, with a very melancholy and dejected expression of
"And well, Sir, what does the Doctor say?" asked the Corporal, drawing
aside the curtains.
"Ah, Bunting, I fancy it's all over with me!"
"The Lord forbid, Sir! you're a-jesting, surely?"
"Jesting! my good fellow, ah! just get me that phial."
"The filthy stuff!" said the Corporal, with a wry face; "Well, Sir, if I
had had the dressing of you - been half way to Yorkshire by this. Man's a
worm; and when a doctor gets un on his hook, he is sure to angle for the
devil with the bait - augh!"
"What! you really think that damned fellow, Fillgrave, is keeping me on
in this way?"
"Is he a fool, to give up three phials a day, 4s. 6d. item, ditto,
ditto?" cried the Corporal, as if astonished at the question; "but don't
you feel yourself getting a deal better every day? Don't you feel all
this ere stuff revive you?"
No, indeed, I was amazingly better the first day than I am now; I
progress from worse to worse. Ah! Bunting, if Peter Dealtry were here, he
might help me to an appropriate epitaph: as it is, I suppose I shall be
very simply labelled. Fillgrave will do the whole business, and put it
down in his bill - item, nine draughts - item, one epitaph.
"Lord-a-mercy, your honour," said the Corporal, drawing out a little red-
spotted pocket-handkerchief; "how can - jest so? - it's quite moving."
"I wish we were moving!" sighed the patient.
"And so we might be," cried the Corporal; "so we might, if you'd pluck up
a bit. Just let me look at your honour's head; I knows what a confusion
is better nor any of 'em."
The Corporal having obtained permission, now removed the bandages
wherewith the Doctor had bound his intended sacrifice to Pluto, and after
peering into the wounds for about a minute, he thrust out his under lip,
with a contemptuous, "Pshaugh! augh! And how long," said he, "does Master
Fillgrave say you be to be under his hands, - augh!"
"He gives me hopes that I may be taken out an airing very gently, (yes,
hearses always go very gently!) in about three weeks!"
The Corporal started, and broke into a long whistle. He then grinned from
ear to ear, snapped his fingers, and said, "Man of the world, Sir, - man
of the world every inch of him!"
"He seems resolved that I shall be a man of another world," said Walter.
"Tell ye what, Sir - take my advice - your honour knows I be no fool - throw
off them ere wrappers; let me put on scrap of plaister - pitch phials to
devil - order out horses to-morrow, and when you've been in the air half
an hour, won't know yourself again!"
"Bunting! the horses out to-morrow? - faith, I don't think I could walk
across the room."
"Just try, your honour."
"Ah! I'm very weak, very weak - my dressing-gown and slippers - your arm,
Bunting - well, upon my honour, I walk very stoutly, eh? I should not have
thought this! leave go: why I really get on without your assistance!"
"Walk as well as ever you did."
"Now I'm out of bed, I don't think I shall go back again to it."
"Would not, if I was your honour."
"And after so much exercise, I really fancy I've a sort of an appetite."
"Like a beefsteak?"
"Pint of wine?"
"Why that would be too much - eh?"
"Go, then, my good Bunting; go and make haste - stop, I say that d - d
fellow - " "Good sign to swear," interrupted the Corporal; "swore twice
within last five minutes - famous symptom!"
"Do you choose to hear me? That d - d fellow, Fillgrave, is coming back in
an hour to bleed me: do you mount guard - refuse to let him in - pay him
his bill - you have the money. And harkye, don't be rude to the rascal."
"Rude, your honour! not I - been in the Forty-second - knows discipline -
only rude to the privates!"
The Corporal, having seen his master conduct himself respectably toward
the viands with which he supplied him - having set his room to rights,
brought him the candles, borrowed him a book, and left him for the
present in extremely good spirits, and prepared for the flight of the
morrow; the Corporal, I say, now lighting his pipe, stationed himself at
the door of the inn, and waited for Mr. Pertinax Fillgrave. Presently the
Doctor, who was a little thin man, came bustling across the street, and
was about, with a familiar "Good evening," to pass by the Corporal, when
that worthy, dropping his pipe, said respectfully, "Beg pardon, Sir - want
to speak to you - a little favour. Will your honour walk in the back-
"Oh! another patient," thought the Doctor; "these soldiers are careless
fellows - often get into scrapes. Yes, friend, I'm at your service."
The Corporal showed the man of phials into the back-parlour, and, hemming
thrice, looked sheepish, as if in doubt how to begin. It was the Doctor's
business to encourage the bashful.
"Well, my good man," said he, brushing off, with the arm of his coat,
some dust that had settled on his inexpressibles, "so you want to consult
"Indeed, your honour, I do; but - feel a little awkward in doing so - a
stranger and all."
"Pooh! - medical men are never strangers. I am the friend of every man who
requires my assistance."
"Augh! - and I do require your honour's assistance very sadly."
"Well - well - speak out. Any thing of long standing?"
"Why, only since we have been here, Sir."
"Oh, that's all! Well."
"Your honour's so good - that - won't scruple in telling you all. You sees
as how we were robbed - master at least was - had some little in my
pockets - but we poor servants are never too rich. You seems such a kind
gentleman - so attentive to master - though you must have felt how
disinterested it was to 'tend a man what had been robbed - that I have no
hesitation in making bold to ask you to lend us a few guineas, just to
help us out with the bill here, - bother!"
"Fellow!" said the Doctor, rising, "I don't know what you mean; but I'd
have you to learn that I am not to be cheated out of my time and
property. I shall insist upon being paid my bill instantly, before I
dress your master's wound once more."
"Augh!" said the Corporal, who was delighted to find the Doctor come so
immediately into the snare; - "won't be so cruel surely, - why, you'll
leave us without a shiner to pay my host here."
"Nonsense! - Your master, if he's a gentleman, can write home for money."
"Ah, Sir, all very well to say so; - but, between you and me and the bed-
post - young master's quarrelled with old master - old master won't give
him a rap, - so I'm sure, since your honour's a friend to every man who
requires your assistance - noble saying, Sir! - you won't refuse us a few
guineas; - and as for your bill - why - " "Sir, you're an impudent
vagabond!" cried the Doctor, as red as a rose-draught, and flinging out
of the room; "and I warn you, that I shall bring in my bill, and expect
to be paid within ten minutes."
The Doctor waited for no answer - he hurried home, scratched off his
account, and flew back with it in as much haste as if his patient had
been a month longer under his care, and was consequently on the brink of
that happier world, where, since the inhabitants are immortal, it is very
evident that doctors, as being useless, are never admitted.
The Corporal met him as before.
"There, Sir," cried the Doctor, breathlessly, and then putting his arms
akimbo, "take that to your master, and desire him to pay me instantly."
"Augh! and shall do no such thing."
"No, for shall pay you myself. Where's your wee stamp - eh?"
And with great composure the Corporal drew out a well-filled purse, and
discharged the bill. The Doctor was so thunderstricken, that he pocketed
the money without uttering a word. He consoled himself, however, with the
belief that Walter, whom he had tamed into a becoming hypochondria, would
be sure to send for him the next morning. Alas, for mortal expectations!
- the next morning Walter was once more on the road.
NEW TRACES OF THE FATE OF GEOFFREY LESTER. - WALTER AND THE
CORPORAL PROCEED ON A FRESH EXPEDITION. - THE CORPORAL IS
ESPECIALLY SAGACIOUS ON THE OLD TOPIC OF THE WORLD. - HIS
OPINIONS ON THE MEN WHO CLAIM 'KNOWLEDGE THEREOF. - ON THE
ADVANTAGES ENJOYED BY A VALET. - ON THE SCIENCE OF SUCCESSFUL
LOVE. - ON VIRTUE AND THE CONSTITUTION. - ON QUALITIES TO BE
DESIRED IN A MISTRESS, - A LANDSCAPE.
This way of talking of his very much enlivens the
conversation among us of a more sedate turn.
- Spectator, No. 3.
Walter found, while he made search himself, that it was no easy matter,
in so large a county as Yorkshire, to obtain even the preliminary
particulars, viz. the place of residence, and the name of the Colonel
from India whose dying gift his father had left the house of the worthy
Courtland, to claim and receive. But the moment he committed the inquiry
to the care of an active and intelligent lawyer, the case seemed to
brighten up prodigiously; and Walter was shortly informed that a Colonel
Elmore, who had been in India, had died in the year 17 - ; that by a
reference to his will it appeared that he had left to Daniel Clarke the
sum of a thousand pounds, and the house in which he resided before his
death, the latter being merely leasehold at a high rent, was specified in
the will to be of small value: it was situated in the outskirts of
Knaresborough. It was also discovered that a Mr. Jonas Elmore, the only
surviving executor of the will, and a distant relation of the deceased
Colonel's, lived about fifty miles from York, and could, in all
probability, better than any one, afford Walter those farther particulars
of which he was so desirous to be informed. Walter immediately proposed
to his lawyer to accompany him to this gentleman's house; but it so
happened that the lawyer could not, for three or four days, leave his
business at York, and Walter, exceedingly impatient to proceed on the
intelligence thus granted him, and disliking the meagre information
obtained from letters, when a personal interview could be obtained,
resolved himself to repair to Mr. Jonas Elmore's without farther delay;
and behold, therefore, our worthy Corporal and his master again mounted,
and commencing a new journey.
The Corporal, always fond of adventure, was in high spirits.
"See, Sir," said he to his master, patting with great affection the neck
of his steed, "See, Sir, how brisk the creturs are; what a deal of good
their long rest at York city's done'em. Ah, your honour, what a fine town
that ere be! - yet," added the Corporal, with an air of great superiority,
"it gives you no notion of Lunnun, like - on the faith of a man, no!"
"Well, Bunting, perhaps we may be in London within a month hence."
"And afore we gets there, your honour, - no offence, - but should like to
give you some advice; 'tis ticklish place, that Lunnun, and though you be
by no manner of means deficient in genus, yet, Sir, you be young, and I
be - " "Old, - true, Bunting," added Walter very gravely.
"Augh - bother! old, Sir, old, Sir! - A man in the prime of life, - hair
coal black, (bating a few grey ones that have had, since twenty - care,
and military service, Sir,) - carriage straight, - teeth strong, - not an
ail in the world, bating the rheumatics - is not old, Sir, - not by no
manner of means, - baugh!"
"You are very right, Bunting; when I said old, I meant experienced. I
assure you I shall be very grateful for your advice; and suppose, while
we walk our horses up this hill, you begin lecture the first. London's a
fruitful subject. All you can say on it won't be soon exhausted."
"Ah, may well say that," replied the Corporal, exceedingly flattered with
the permission he had obtained, "and any thing my poor wit can suggest,
quite at your honour's sarvice - ehem! - hem! You must know by Lunnun, I
means the world, and by the world means Lunnun, - know one - know t'other.
But 'tis not them as affects to be most knowing as be so at bottom.
Begging your honour's pardon, I thinks gentlefolks what lives only with
gentlefolks, and call themselves men of the world, be often no wiser nor
Pagan creturs, and live in a gentile darkness."
"The true knowledge of the world," said Walter, "is only then for the
Corporals of the Forty-second, - eh, Bunting?"
"As to that, Sir," quoth the Corporal, "'tis not being of this calling or
of that calling that helps one on; 'tis an inborn sort of genus the
talent of obsarving, and growing wise by obsarving. One picks up crumb
here, crumb there: but if one has not good digestion, Lord, what
sinnifies a feast? - Healthy man thrives on a 'tatoe, sickly looks pale on
a haunch. You sees, your honour, as I said afore, I was own sarvant to
Colonel Dysart; he was a Lord's nephy, a very gay gentleman, and great
hand with the ladies, - not a man more in the world; - so I had the
opportunity of larning what's what among the best set; at his honour's
expense, too, - augh! To my mind, Sir, there is not a place from which a
man has a better view of things than the bit carpet behind a gentleman's
chair. The gentleman eats, and talks, and swears, and jests, and plays
cards and makes love, and tries to cheat, and is cheated, and his man
stands behind with his eyes and ears open, - augh!"
"One should go to service to learn diplomacy, I see," said Walter,
"Does not know what 'plomacy be, Sir, but knows it would be better for
many a young master nor all the Colleges; - would not be so many bubbles
if my Lord could take a turn now and then with John. A-well, Sir! - how I
used to laugh in my sleeve like, when I saw my master, who was thought
the knowingest gentleman about Court, taken in every day smack afore my
face. There was one lady whom he had tried hard, as he thought, to get
away from her husband; and he used to be so mighty pleased at every
glance from her brown eyes - and be d - d to them! - and so careful the
husband should not see - so pluming himself on his discretion here, and
his conquest there, - when, Lord bless you, it was all settled 'twixt man
and wife aforehand! And while the Colonel laughed at the cuckold, the
cuckold laughed at the dupe. For you sees, Sir, as how the Colonel was a
rich man, and the jewels as he bought for the lady went half into the
husband's pocket - he! he! - That's the way of the world, Sir, - that's the
way of the world!"
"Upon my word, you draw a very bad picture of the world: you colour
highly; and, by the way, I observe that whenever you find any man
committing a roguish action, instead of calling him a scoundrel, you show
those great teeth of yours, and chuckle out 'A man of the world! a man of
"To be sure, your honour; the proper name, too. 'Tis your green-horns who
fly into a passion, and use hard words. You see, Sir, there's one thing
we larn afore all other things in the world - to butter bread. Knowledge
of others, means only the knowledge which side bread's buttered. In
short, Sir, the wiser grow, the more take care of oursels. Some persons
make a mistake, and, in trying to take care of themsels, run neck into
halter - baugh! they are not rascals - they are would-be men of the world.
Others be more prudent, (for, as I said afore, Sir, discretion is a pair
of stirrups;) they be the true men of the world."
"I should have thought," said Walter, "that the knowledge of the world
might be that knowledge which preserves us from being cheated, but not
that which enables us to cheat."
"Augh!" quoth the Corporal, with that sort of smile with which you see an
old philosopher put down a sounding error from the lips of a young
disciple who flatters himself he has uttered something prodigiously
fine, - "Augh! and did not I tell you, t'other day, to look at the
professions, your honour? What would a laryer be if he did not know how
to cheat a witness and humbug a jury? - knows he is lying, - why is he
lying? for love of his fees, or his fame like, which gets fees; - Augh! is
not that cheating others? - The doctor, too, Master Fillgrave, for
instance? - " "Say no more of doctors; I abandon them to your satire,
without a word."
"The lying knaves! Don't they say one's well when one's ill - ill when
one's well? - profess to know what don't know? - thrust solemn phizzes into
every abomination, as if larning lay hid in a - ? and all for their
neighbours' money, or their own reputation, which makes money - augh! In
short, Sir - look where will, impossible to see so much cheating allowed,
praised, encouraged, and feel very angry with a cheat who has only made a
mistake. But when I sees a man butter his bread carefully - knife steady -
butter thick, and hungry fellows looking on and licking chops - mothers
stopping their brats - 'See, child - respectable man - how thick his
bread's buttered! - pull off your hat to him:' - When I sees that, my heart
warms: there's the true man of the world - augh!"
"Well, Bunting," said Walter, laughing, "though you are thus lenient to
those unfortunate gentlemen whom others call rogues, and thus laudatory
of gentlemen who are at best discreetly selfish, I suppose you admit the
possibility of virtue, and your heart warms as much when you see a man of
worth as when you see a man of the world?"
"Why, you knows, your honour," answered the Corporal, "so far as vartue's
concerned, there's a deal in constitution; but as for knowledge of the
world, one gets it oneself!"
"I don't wonder, Bunting - as your opinion of women is much the same as