waxed inordinately, and I felt I could never eat a meal in
peace till I had severed my connection with the claret-
Accordingly, as soon as I had done with dinner, I sent my
compliments to the landlord and requested he should take
a glass of wine with me. He came ; we exchanged the nec-
essary civilities, and presently I approached my business.
*' By-the-bye," said I, " we had a brush down the road
to-day. I dare say you may have heard of it ? "
THE INN-KEEPER OF KIRKBY-LONSDALE 257
'' And I was so unlucky as to get a pistol ball in tlie
panel of my chaise/^ I continued, " which makes it simply
useless to me. Do you know any one likely to bny ? "
'' I can well understand that/' said the landlord. " I was
looking at it just now ; it's as good as ruined, is that chaise.
General rule, people don't like chaises with bullet holes."
^' Too much Romance of the Forest?'^ I suggested, re-
calling my little friend of 'the morning, and what I was
sure had been her favourite reading â€” Mrs. Radcliffe's novels.
'' Just so," said he. " They may be right, they may be
wrong ; I'm not the judge. But I suppose it's natural,
after all, for respectable people to like things respectable
about them ; not bullet holes, nor puddles of blood, nor
men with aliases."
I took a glass of wine and held it up to the light to
show that my hand was steady.
^^ Yes," said I, " I suppose so."
^'You have papers, of course, showing you are the
proper owner ? " he inquired.
''There is the bill, stamped and receipted," said I,
tossing it across to him.
He looked at it.
" This all you have ? " he asked.
'' It is enough, at least," said I. '' It shows you where
I bought and what I paid for it."
" Well, I don't know," he said. " You want some
paper of identification."
" To identify the chaise ? " I inquired.
" Not at all : to identify ijou," said he.
"My good sir, remember yourself!" said I. '' Tlie
title-deeds of my estate are in that despatch-box ; but you
do not seriously suppose that I should allow you to ex-
amine them ?"
258 ST. IVES
" Well, you see, this paper proves that some Mr. Ea-
moriiie paid seventy guineas for a chaise/' said the fellow.
" That's all well and good ; but who's to prove to me that
you are Mr. Eamornie ? "
^^ Fellow !" cried I.
" 0, fellow as much as you please ! " said he. " Fellow,
with all my heart ! That changes nothing. I am fellow,
of course â€” obtrusive fellow, impudent fellow, if you like â€”
but who are you ? I hear of you with two names ; I hear
of you running away with young ladies, and getting
cheered for a Frenchman, which seems odd ; and one
thing I will go bail for, that you were in a blue fright when
the post-boy began to tell tales at my door. In short, sir,
you may be a very good gentleman; but I don't know
enough about you, and 111 trouble you for your papers, or
to go before a magistrate. Take your choice ; if I'm not
fine enough, I hope the magistrates are."
" My good man," I stammered, for though I had found
my voice, I could scarce be said to have recovered my
wits, '' this is most unusual, most rude. Is it the custom
in Westmoreland that gentlemen should be insulted?"
" That depends," said he. " When it's suspected that
gentlemen are spies, it is the custom ; and a good custom
too. No, no," he broke out, perceiving me to make a
movement. '' Both hands upon the table, my gentleman I
I want no pistol balls in my chaise panels."
''Surely, sir, you do me strange injustice!" said I, now
the master of myself. " You see me sitting here, a monu-
ment of tranquillity : pray may I help myself to wine with-
out umbraging you ? "
I took this attitude in sheer despair. I had no plan, no
hope. The best I could imagine was to spin the business
out some minutes longer, then capitulate. At least, I
would not capitulate one moment too soon.
THE INN-KEEPER OF KIRKBY-LONSDALE 259
'' Am I to take that for no ? " he asked.
'^Referring to your former obliging proposal V said I.
(( My good sir, you are to take it, as you say, for ' No/
Certainly I will not show you my deeds ; certainly I will
not rise from table and trundle out to see your magistrates.
I have too much respect for my digestion, and too little
curiosity in justices of the peace."
He leaned forward, looked me nearly in the face, and
reached out one hand to the bell-rope. " See here, my fine
fellow ! " said he. " Do you see that bell-rope ? Let me
tell you, there^s a boy waiting below : one jingle, and he
goes to fetch the constable.''^
'^'^ Do 3^ou tell me so?" said I. '^AVell, there's no
accounting for tastes ! I have a prejudice against the
society of constables, but if it is your fancy to have one in
for the dessert " I shrugged my shoulders lightly.
" Really, you know," I added, '' this is vastly entertaining.
I assure you, I am looking on, with all the interest of a
man of the world, at the development of your highly origi-
He continued to study my face without speech, his hand
still on the button of the bell-rope, his eyes in mine ; this
was the decisive heat. My face seemed to myself to dislimn
under his gaze, my expression to change, the smile (with
which I had begun) to degenerate into the grin of the man
upon the rack. I was besides harassed with doubts. An
innocent man, I argued, would have resented the fellow's
impudence an hour ago ; and by my continued endurance
of the ordeal, I was simply signing and sealing my confes-
sion ; in short, I had reached the end of my powers.
'^ Have you any objection to my putting my hands in my
breeches pockets ? " I inquired. " Excuse me mentioning
it, but you showed yourself so extremely nervous a moment
260 ST. IVES
My voice was not all I could have wished, but it sufficed.
I could hear it tremble, but the landlord apparently could
not. He turned away and drew a long breath, and you
may be sure I was quick to follow his example.
" You^re a cool hand at least, and that's the sort I like,''
said he. " Be you what you please, I'll deal square. I'll
take the chaise for a hundred pound down, and throw the
^'^I beg your pardon," I cried, wholly mystified hy this
form of words.
'^^ You pay me a hundred down," he repeated, ''and I'll
take the chaise. It's very little more than it cost," he
added, with a grin, ''and you know you must get it off
your hands somehow."
I do not know when I have been better entertained than
by this impudent proposal. It was broadly funn}^ and I
suppose the least tempting offer in the world. For all that,
it came very welcome, for it gave me the occasion to laugh.
This I did with the most complete abandonment, till the
tears ran down my cheeks ; and ever and again, as the fit
abated, I would get another view of the landlord's face, and
go off into another paroxysm.
" You droll creature, you will be the death of me yet ! "
I cried, drying my eyes.
My friend was now wholly disconcerted ; he knew not
where to look, nor yet what to say ; and began for the first
time to conceive it possible he was mistaken.
"You seem rather to enjoy a laugh, sir," said he.
" 0, yes ! I am quite an original," I replied, and laughed
Presently, in a changed voice, he offered me twenty
pounds for the chaise ; I ran him up to twenty-five, and
closed with the offer : indeed, I was glad to get anything ;
and if I haggled, it was not in the desire of gaiu, but with
THE INN-KEEPER OF KIKKBY-LONSDALE 261
the view at any price of securing a safe retreat. For,
although hostilities Avere suspended, he was yet far from
satisfied ; and I could read his continued suspicions in the
cloudy eye that still hovered about my face. At hist they
took shape in words.
"' This is all very well/'' says he : " you carry it oil well ;
but for all that, I must do my duty."
I had my strong effect in reserve ; it was to burn my
ships with a vengeance ! I rose. " Leave the room," said
I. " This is insuiferable. Is the man mad ?" And then,
as if already half ashamed of my passion : " I can take a joke
as well as any one," I added ; " but this passes measure.
Send my servant and the bill."
When he had left me alone, I considered my own valour
with amazement. I had insulted him ; I had sent him
away alone ; now, if ever, he would take what was the only
sensible resource, and fetch the constable. But there was
something instinctively treacherous about the man, which
shrank from plain courses. And, with all his cleverness,
he missed the occasion of fame. Kowley and I were suffered
to walk out of his door, with all our baggage, on foot, with
no destination named, except in the vague statement that
we were come '' to view the lakes " ; and my friend only
watched our departure with his chin in his hand, still
I think this one of my great successes. I was exposed,
unmasked, summoned to do a perfectly natural act, which
must prove my doom and which I had not the slightest
pretext for refusing. I kept my head, stuck to my guns,
and, against all likelihood, here I was once more at liberty
and in the king's highway. This was a strong lesson never
to despair ; and at the same time, how many hints to be
cautions ! and what a perplexed and dubious business the
whole question of my escape now appeared ! That I should
262 ST. IVES
have risked perishing upon a trumpery question of a
jjourhoire, depicted, in lively colours, the perils that per-
petually surrounded us. Though, to be sure, the initial
mistake had been committed before that ; and if I had not
suffered myself to be drawn a little deep in confidences to
the innocent Dolly, there need have been no tumble at tlie
inn of Kirkby-Lonsdale. I took the lesson to heart, and
promised myself in the future to be more reserved. It was
none of my business to attend to broken chaises or ship-
wrecked travellers. I had my hands full of my own
affairs ; and my best defence would be a little more natural
selfishness and a trifle less imbecile good-nature.
I MEET A CHEERFUL EXTRAVAGAI^T
I PASS over the next fifty or sixty leagues of our journey
without comment. The reader must be growing weary of
scenes of travel ; and for my own part I have no cause to
recall these particular miles with any pleasure. We were
mainly occupied with attempts to obliterate our trail,
which (as the result showed) were far from successful ; for
on my cousin following, he was able to run me home with
the least possible loss of time, following the claret-coloured
chaise to Kirkby-Lonsdale, where I think the landlord
must have wept to learn what he had missed, and tracing
us thereafter to the doors of the coach office in Edinburgh
without a single check. Fortune did not favour me, and
why should I recapitulate the details of futile precautions
which deceived nobody, and wearisome arts which proved
to be artless ?
The day was drawing to an end when Mr. Rowley and I
bowled into Edinburgh, to the stirring sound of the guard's
bugle and the clattering team. I was here upon my field
of battle ; on the scene of my former captivity, escape and
exploits ; and in the same city Avith my love. My heart
expanded ; I have rarely felt more of a hero. All down
the Bridges, I sat by the driver with my arms folded and
my face set, unflinchingly meeting every eye, and prepared
every moment for a cry of recognition. Hundreds of the
population were in the habit of visiting the Castle, where
264 ST. IVES
it was my practice (before the days of Flora) to make my-
self conspicuous among the prisoners ; and I think it an ex-
tr ordinary thing that I should have encountered so few to
recognise me. But doubtless a clean chin is a disguise in
itself ; and the change is great from a suit of sulphur yel-
low to fine linen, a well-fitting mouse-coloured great-coat
furred in black, a pair of tight trousers of fashionable cut,
and a hat of inimitable curl. After all, it was more likely
that I should have recognised our visitors, than that they
should have identified the modish gentleman with the mis-
erable prisoner in the Castle.
I was glad to set foot on the flagstones, and to escape
from the crowd that had assembled to receive the mail.
Here we were, with but little daylight before us, and that
on Saturday afternoon, the eve of the famous Scottish
Sabbath, adrift in the New Town of Edinburgh, and over-
laden with baggage. We carried it ourselves. I would
not take a cab, nor so much as hire a porter, who might
afterwards serve as a link between my lodgings and the
mail, and connect me again with the claret-coloured chaise
and Aylesbury. For I was resolved to break the chain of
evidence for good, and to begin life afresh (so far as re-
gards caution) with a new character. The first step was to
find lodgings, and to find them quickly. This w^as the
more needful as Mr. Rowley and I, in our smart clothes and
with our cumbrous burthen, made a noticeable appearance
in the streets at that time of the day and in that quarter of
the town, which was largely given up to fine folk, bucks
and dandies and young ladies, or respectable professional
men on their way home to dinner.
On the north side of St. James's Square I was so happy
as to spy a bill in a third-floor window. I was equally in-
different to cost and convenience in my choice of a lodging
" any port in a storm " was the principle on which I was
I MEET A CHEERFUL EXTRAVAGANT 2C5
prepared to act ; and Rowley and I made at once for the
common entrance and scaled the stair.
We were admitted by a very sour-looking female in bom-
bazine. I gathered she had all her life been depressed by
a series of bereavements, the last of which might veiy well
have befallen her the day before ; and I instinctively low-
ered my voice when I addressed her. She admitted she
had rooms to let^even showed them to us â€” a sitting-room
and bedroom in a suite, commanding a fine prospect to the
Firth and Fifeshire, and in themselves well proportioned
and comfortably furnished, with pictures on the wall,
shells on the mantelpiece, and several books upon the table,
which I found afterwards to be all of a devotional charac-
ter, and all presentation copies, " to my Christian friend, '*
or ''to my devout acquaintance in the Lord, Bethiah
McRanken." Beyond this my ''Christian friend '' could
not be made to advance : no, not even to do that which
seemed the most natural and pleasing thing in the world â€”
I mean to name her price â€” but stood before us shaking
her head, and at times mourning like tlie dove, the picture
of depression and defence. She had a voice the most
querulous I have ever heard, and with this she produced a
whole regiment of difficulties and criticisms.
She could not promise us attendance.
"Well, madam," said I, "and Avhat is my servant
" Him ? " she asked. " Be gude to us ! Is he your ser-
vant ? "
" I am sorry, ma^am, he meets with your disapproval."
"Na, I never said that. But he's young. He'll be a
great breaker, Fm thinkin'. Ay ! he^'ll be a great respon-
sibeelity to ye, like. Does he attend to his releegion ? "
" Yes, m'm," returned Rowley, with admirable promp-
titude, and, immediately closing his eyes, as if from habit_,
266 ST. IVES
repeated the following distich with more celerity than
fervour ; â€”
" Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,
Bless the bed that I lie on ! "
"Nhm!" said the lady, and maintained an awful si-
'' Well, ma'am/' said I, '^it seems we are never to hear
the beginning of your terms, let alone the end of them.
(Jome â€” a good movement ! and let us be either off or on."
She opened her lips slowly. '' Ony raferences ? " she
inquired, in a voice like a bell.
I opened my pocket-book and showed her a handful of
bank-bills. "\ think, madam, that these are unexception-
able," said I.
" Ye'll be wantin' breakfast late ? " w^as her reply.
^'^ Madam, we want breakfast at whatever hour it suits
you to give it, from four in the morning till four in the
afternoon !" I cried. " Only tell us your figure, if your
mouth be large enough to let it out ! ''
'' I couldnae give ye supper the nicht," came the echo.
" We shall go out to supper, you incorrigible female ! "
I vowed, between laughter and tears. '' Hereâ€” this is
going to end ! I want you for a landladyâ€” let me tell you
that ! â€” and I am going to have my way. You won't tell
me what you charge ? Very well ; I will do without ! I
can trust you ! You don't seem to know when you have a
good lodger ; but I know perfectly when I have an honest
landlady ! Rowley, unstrap the valises ! "
Will it be credited ? The monomaniac fell to rating me
for my indiscretion ! But the battle was over ; these were
her last guns, and more in the nature of a salute than of
renewed hostilities. And presently she condescended on
very moderate terms, and Rowley and I were able to escape
I MEET A CHEERFUL EXTRAVAGANT 267
in quest of supper. Much time had, however, been lost ;
the sun was long down, the lamps glimmered along the
streets, and the voice of a watchman already resounded in
the neighbouring Leith Eoad. On our first arrival I had
observed a place of entertainment not far off, in a street
behind the Register House. Thither we found our way,
and sat down to a late dinner alone. But we had scarce
given our orders before the door opened, and a tall young
fellow entered with something of a lurch, looked about
him, and approached the same table.
*' Give you good evening, most grave and reverend se-
niors ! " said he. '' AVill you permit a wanderer, a pilgrim
â€” the pilgrim of love, in short â€” to come to temporary anch-
or under your lee ? I care not who knows it, but I have
a passionate aversion from the bestial practice of solitary
feeding ! "
" You are welcome, sir,'' said I, ''if I may take upon
me so far to play the host in a public place.''
He looked startled, and fixed a hazy eye on me, as he sat
*' Sir," said he, *' you are a man not without some tinct-
ure of letters, I perceive ! What shall we drink, sir ? "
I mentioned I had already called for a pot of porter.
'' A modest pot â€” the seasonable quencher ? " said he.
'' Well, I do not know but what I could look at a modest
pot myself ! I am, for the moment, in precarious health.
Much study hath heated my brain, much walking wearied
my â€” well, it seems to be more my eyes ! "
" You have walked far, I daresay ? " I suggested.
" Not so much far as often," he replied. " There is in
this cityâ€” to which, I think, yon are a stranger ? Sir, to
your very good health, and our better acquaintance !â€”
there is, in this city of Dunedin, a certain implication of
streets which reflects the utmost credit on the designer and
268 ST. IVES
the publicans â€” at every hundred yards is seated the Judi-
cious Tavern, so that persons of contemphitive mind are
secure, at moderate distances, of refreshment. I have been
doing a trot in that favoured quarter, favoured by art and
nature. A few chosen comrades â€” enemies of publicity
and friends to wit and wine â€” obliged me with their society.
' Along the cool, sequestered vale of Register Street we
kept the uneven tenor of our way,' sir.'^
^' It struck me, as you came in '' I began.
" 0, don't make any bones about it ! '' he interrupted.
^' Of course it struck you ! and let me tell you, I w^as dev-
ilish lucky not to strike myself. When I entered this
apartment I shone ' with all the pomp and prodigality of
brandy and water,' as the poet Gray has in another place
expressed it. Powerful bard. Gray ! but a niminy-piminy
creature, afraid of a petticoat and a bottle â€” not a man, sir,
not a man ! Excuse me for being so troublesome, but what
the devil have I done with my fork ? Thank you, I am
sure. Temulentiaf quoad me ipsuMy hrevis colligo est. I
sit and eat, sir, in a London fog. I should bring a link-
boy to table with me ; and I would too, if the little brutes
were only washed ! I intend to found a Philanthropical
Society for Washing the Deserving Poor and Shaving Sol-
diers. I am pleased to observe that, although not of an
unmilitary bearing, you are apparently shaved. In my
calendar of the virtues, shaving comes next to drinking.
A gentleman may be a low-minded ruffian without six-
pence, but he will always be close shaved. See me, with
the eye of fancy, in the chill hours of the morning, say
about a quarter to twelve, noon â€” see me awake ! First
thing of all, without one thought of the plausible but un-
satisfactory small beer, or the healthful though insipid
soda-water, I take the deadly razor in my vacillating
grasp ; I proceed to skate upon the margin of eternity.
I MEET A CHEERFUL EXTRAVAGANT 209
Stimulating thought ! I bleed, perliaps, but with medica-
ble wounds. The stubble reaped, I pass out of my cham-
ber, calm but triumphant. To employ a hackneyed phrase,
I would not call Lord AVellington my uncle I I, too, liave
dared, perhaps bled, before the imminent deadly shaving
In this manner the bombastic fellow continued to enter-
tain me all through dinner, and by a common error of
drunkards, because he had been extremely talkative him-
self, leaped to the conclusion that he had chanced on very
genial company. He told me his name, his address ; he
begged we should meet again ; finally he proposed that I
should dine with him in the country at an early date.
^'^The dinner is official," he explained. ^^The office-
bearers and Senatus of the University of Cramond â€” an
educational institution in which I have the honour to be
Professor of Nonsense â€” meet to do honour to our friend
Icarus, at the old-established Jiowffy Cramond Bridge. One
place is vacant, fascinating stranger, â€” I offer it to you ! "
'^'^ And who is your friend Icarus ?" I asked.
" The aspiring son of Daedalus ! " said he. " Is it pos-
sible that you have never heard the name of Byfield ? "
'' Possible and true,'' said I. -
*^ And is fame so small a thing ?" cried he. " Byfield,
sir, is an aeronaut. He apes the fame of a Lunardi, and
is on the point of offering to the inhabitants â€” I beg your
pardon, to the nobility and gentry of our neighbourhood
â€” the spectacle of an ascension. As one of the gentry
concerned, I may be permitted to remark that I am un-
moved. I care not a Tinker's Damn for his ascension.
No more â€” I breathe it in your ear â€” does anybody else.
The business is stale, sir, stale. Lunardi did it, and over-
did it. A whimsical, fiddling, vain fellow, by all accounts
â€” for I was at that time rocking in my cradle. But once
270 ST. IVES
was enough. If Lnnardi went up and came down, there
was the matter settled. We prefer to grant the point.
We do not want to see the experiment repeated ad nau-
seam by Byfield, and Brown, and Butler, and Brodie, and
Bottomley. Ah ! if they would go up and not come down
again ! But this is by the question. The University of
Cramond delights to honour merit in the man, sir, rather
than utility in the profession ; and Byfield, though an
ignorant dog, is a sound, reliable drinker, and really not
amiss over his cups. Under the radiance of the kindly
jar, partiality might even credit him with wit/^
It will be seen afterwards that this was more my busi-
ness than I tliought it at the time. Indeed, I was im-
patient to be gone. Even as my friend maundered ahead,
a squall burst, the jaws of the rain were opened against
the coffee-house windows, and at that inclement signal I
remembered I was due elsewhere.
THE COTTAGE AT NIGHT
At the door I was nearly blown back by the nnbridled
violence of the squall, and Eowley and I must shout our
parting Avords. All the Avay along Princes Street (whither
my way led) the wind hunted me behind and screamed in
my ears. The city was flushed with bucketf uls of rain that
tasted salt from the neighbouring ocean. It seemed to
darken and lighten again in the vicissitudes of the gusts.
Now you would say the lamps had been blown out from
end to end of the long thoroughfare ; now, in a lull, they
would revive, re-multiply, shine again on the wet pave-
ments, and make darkness sparingly visible.
By the time I had got to the corner of the Lothian Road
there was a distinct improvement. For one thing, I had
now my shoulder to the wind ; for a second, I came in the
lee of my old prison-house, the Castle ; and, at any rate,
the excessive fury of the blast was itself moderating. The
thought of what errand I was on re-awoke within me, and
I seemed to breast the rough weather with increasing ease.
With such a destination, what mattered a little buifeting