my name was once a rallying-cry among the most astute
and dangerous spirits of London; and while I was out-
wardly an object for respect and consideration, my true
power resided in the most secret, terrible, and criminal re-
It is to one of the persons who then obeyed me
that I now address myself to deliver you from your bur-
den. They were men of many different nations and
dexterities, all bound together by a formidable oath, and
working to the same purposes ; the trade of the associa-
tion was in murder; and I who speak to you, innocent
as I appear, was the chieftain of this redoubtable crew."
"What?" cried Silas. "A murderer? And one
with whom murder was a trade ? Can I take your
hand ? Ought I to so much as accept your services ?
Dark and criminal old man, would you make an accom-
plice of my youth and my distress?"
The Doctor bitterly laughed.
"You are difficult to please, Mr. Scuddamore," said
he; "but I now offer you your choice of company be-
tween the murdered man and the murderer. If your
conscience is too nice to accept my aid, say so, and I
NEW ARABIAN NIGHTS
will immediately leave you. Thenceforward you can
deal with your trunk and its belongings as best suits
your upright conscience."
"I own myself wrong," replied Silas. "I should
have remembered how generously you offered to shield
me, even before I had convinced you of my innocence,
and I continue to listen to your counsels with gratitude."
" That is well," returned the Doctor; "and I perceive
you are beginning to learn some of the lessons of ex-
"At the same time," resumed the New-Englander,
"as you confess yourself accustomed to this tragical
business, and the people to whom you recommend me
are your own former associates and friends, could you
not yourself undertake the transport of the box, and rid
me at once of its detested presence ? "
"Upon my word," replied the Doctor, "I admire
you cordially. If you do not think I have already med-
dled sufficiently in your concerns, believe me, from my
heart I think the contrary. Take or leave my services
as I offer them ; and trouble me with no more words
of gratitude, for I value your consideration even more
lightly than I do your intellect. A time will come, if
you should be spared to see a number of years in health
and mind, when you will think differently of all this,
and blush for your to-night's behaviour."
So saying, the Doctor arose from his chair, repeated
his directions briefly and clearly, and departed from the
room without permitting Silas any time to answer.
The next morning Silas presented himself at the hotel,
where he was politely received by Colonel Geraldine,
and relieved, from that moment, of all immediate alarm
THE SUICIDE CLUB
about his trunk and its grisly contents. The journey
passed over without much incident, although the young
man was horrified to overhear the sailors and railway por-
ters complaining among themselves about the unusual
weight of the Prince's baggage. Silas traveled in a car-
riage with the valets, for Prince Florizel chose to be
alone with his Master of the Horse. On board the
steamer, however, Silas attracted his Highness's atten-
tion by the melancholy of his air and attitude as he stood
gazing at the pile of baggage ; for he was still full of dis-
quietude about the future.
" There is a young man," observed the Prince, "who
must have some cause for sorrow."
"That," replied Geraldine, "is the American for
whom I obtained permission to travel with your suite."
"You remind me that I have been remiss in cour-
tesy," said Prince Florizel, and advancing to Silas, he
addressed him with the most exquisite condescension in
"I was charmed, young sir, to be able to gratify the
desire you made known to me through Colonel Geral-
dine. Remember, if you please, that I shall be glad at
any future time to lay you under a more serious obliga-
And then he put some questions as to the political
condition of America, which Silas answered with sense
" You are still a young man," said the Prince; "but
I observe you to be very serious for your years. Per-
haps you allow your attention to be too much occupied
with grave studies. But, perhaps, on the other hand, I
am myself indiscreet and touch upon a painful subject"
NEW ARABIAN NIGHTS
"I have certainly cause to be the most miserable of
men," said Silas; "never has a more innocent person
been more dismally abused."
"I will not ask you for your confidence," returned
Prince Florizel. "But do not forget that Colonel Ger-
aldine's recommendation is an unfailing passport; and
that I am not only willing, but possibly more able than
many others, to do you a service."
Silas was delighted with the amiability of this great
personage; but his mind soon returned upon its gloomy
preoccupations ; for not even the favour of a Prince to a
Republican can discharge a brooding spirit of its cares.
The train arrived at Charing Cross, where the officers
of the Revenue respected the baggage of Prince Florizel
in the usual manner. The most elegant equipages were
in waiting ; and Silas was driven, along with the rest,
to the Prince's residence. There Colonel Geraldine
sought him out, and expressed himself pleased to have
been of any service to a friend of the physician's, for
whom he professed a great consideration.
"I hope, "he added, " that you will find none of your
porcelain injured. Special orders were given along the
line to deal tenderly with the Prince's effects."
And then, directing the servants to place one of the
carriages at the young gentleman's disposal, and at once
to charge the Saratoga trunk upon the dickey, the Colonel
shook hands and excused himself on account of his oc-
cupations in the princely household.
Silas now broke the seal of the envelope containing
the address, and directed the stately footman to drive
him to Box Court, opening off the Strand. It seemed as
if the place were not at all unknown to the man, for he
THE SUICIDE CLUB
looked startled and begged a repetition of the order. It
was with a heart full of alarms, that Silas mounted into
the luxurious vehicle, and was driven to his destination.
The entrance to Box Court was too narrow for the pas-
sage of a coach; it was a mere footway between rail-
ings, with a post at either end. On one of these posts
was seated a man, who at once jumped down and ex-
changed a friendly sign with the driver, while the foot-
man opened the door and inquired of Silas whether he
should take down the Saratoga trunk, and to what
number it should be carried.
" If you please," said Silas. " To number three."
The footman and the man who had been sitting on
the post, even with the aid of Silas himself, had hard
work to carry in the trunk; and before it was depos-
ited at the door of the house in question, the young
American was horrified to find a score of loiterers look-
But he knocked with as good a countenance as he
could muster up, and presented the other envelope to
him who opened.
" He is not at home," said he, " but if you will leave
your letter and return to-morrow early, I shall be able
to inform you whether and when he can receive your
visit. Would you like to leave your box ? " he added.
"Dearly," cried Silas; and the next moment he re-
pented his precipitation, and declared, with equal em-
phasis, that he would rather carry the box along with
him to the hotel.
The crowd jeered at his indecision and followed him
to the carriage with insulting remarks ; and Silas, cov-
ered with shame and terror, implored the servants to con-
NEW ARABIAN NIGHTS
duct him to some quiet and comfortable house of enter-
tainment in the immediate neighbourhood.
The Prince's equipage deposited Silas at the Craven
Hotel in Craven Street, and immediately drove away,
leaving him alone with the servants of the inn. The
only vacant room, it appeared, was a little den up four
pairs of stairs, and looking towards the back. To this
hermitage, with infinite trouble and complaint, a pair
of stout porters carried the Saratoga trunk. It is need-
less to mention that Silas kept closely at their heels
throughout the ascent, and had his heart in his mouth
at every corner. A single false step, he reflected, and
the box might go over the banisters and land its fatal
contents, plainly discovered, on the pavement of the hall.
Arrived in the room, he sat down on the edge of his
bed to recover from the agony that he had just endured ;
but he had hardly taken his position when he was re-
called to a sense of his peril by the action of the boots,
who had knelt beside the trunk, and was proceeding
officiously to undo its elaborate fastenings.
" Let it be! " cried Silas. " I shall want nothing from
it while I stay here."
"You might have let it lie in the hall, then," growled
the man ; " a thing as big and heavy as a church. What
you have inside, I cannot fancy. If it is all money, you
are a richer man than me."
"Money ?" repeated Silas, in a sudden perturbation.
"What do you mean by money ? I have no money, and
you are speaking like a fool."
"All right, Captain," retorted the boots with a wink.
"There's nobody will touch your lordship's money.
I'm as safe as the bank," he added; "but as the box is
THE SUICIDE CLUB
heavy, I shouldn't mind drinking something to your
Silas pressed two Napoleons upon his acceptance,
apologising, at the same time, for being obliged to
trouble him with foreign money, and pleading his re-
cent arrival for excuse. And the man, grumbling with
even greater fervour, and looking contemptuously from
the money in his hand to the Saratoga trunk and back
again from the one to the other, at last consented to
For nearly two days the dead body had been packed
into Silas's box ; and as soon as he was alone the unfor-
tunate New-Englander nosed all the cracks and openings
with the most passionate attention. But the weather
was cool, and the trunk still managed to contain his
He took a chair beside it, and buried his face in his
hands, and his mind in the most profound reflection.
If he were not speedily relieved, no question but he
must be speedily discovered. Alone in a strange city,
without friends or accomplices, if the Doctor's intro-
duction failed him, he was indubitably a lost New-
Englander. He reflected pathetically over his ambitious
designs for the future ; he should not now become the
hero and spokesman of his native place of Bangor,
Maine; he should not, as he had fondly anticipated,
move on from office to office, from honour to honour; he
might as well divest himself at once of all hope of being
acclaimed President of the United States, and leaving
behind him a statue, in the worst possible style of art,
to adorn the Capitol at Washington. Here he was,
chained to a dead Englishman doubled up inside a Sara-
NEW ARABIAN NIGHTS
toga trunk; whom he must get rid of, or perish from
the rolls of national glory !
I should be afraid to chronicle the language employed
by this young man to the Doctor, to the murdered man,
to Madame Zephyrine, to the boots of the hotel, to the
Prince's servants, and, in a word, to all who had been
ever so remotely connected with his horrible misfortune.
He slunk down to dinner about seven at night; but
the yellow coffee-room appalled him, the eyes of the
other diners seemed to rest on his with suspicion, and
his mind remained upstairs with the Saratoga trunk.
When the waiter came to offer him cheese, his nerves
were already so much on edge that he leaped half-way
out of his chair and upset the remainder of a pint of ale
upon the table-cloth.
The fellow offered to show him the smoking-room
when he had done; and although he would have much
preferred to return at once to his perilous treasure, he
had not the courage to refuse, and was shown down-
stairs to the black, gas-lit cellar, which formed, and pos-
sibly still forms, the divan of the Craven Hotel.
Two very sad betting men were playing billiards,
attended by a moist, consumptive marker; and for
the moment Silas imagined that these were the only
occupants of the apartment. But at the next glance
his eye fell upon a person smoking in the farthest cor-
ner, with lowered eyes and a most respectable and
modest aspect. He knew at once that he had seen the
face before ; and in spite of the entire change of
clothes, recognised the man whom he had found seated
on a post at the entrance to Box Court, and who had
helped him to carry the trunk to and from the carriage.
THE SUICIDE CLUB
The New-Englander simply turned and ran, nor did he
pause until he had locked and bolted himself into his
There, all night long, a prey to the most terrible im-
aginations, he watched beside the fatal boxful of dead
flesh. The suggestion of the boots that his trunk
was full of gold inspired him with all manner of new
terrors, if he so much as dared to close an eye; and the
presence in the smoking-room, and under an obvious dis-
guise, of the loiterer from Box Court convinced him that
he was once more the centre of obscure machination.
Midnight had sounded some time, when, impelled
by uneasy suspicions, Silas opened his bedroom door
and peered into the passage. It was dimly illuminated
by a single jet of gas; and some distance off he per-
ceived a man sleeping on the floor in the costume of an
hotel under-servant. Silas drew near the man on tip-
toe. He lay partly on his back, partly on his side, and
his right forearm concealed his face from recognition.
Suddenly, while the American was still bending over
him, the sleeper removed his arm and opened his eyes,
and Silas found himself once more face to face with the
loiterer of Box Court.
"Good night, sir," said the man, pleasantly.
But Silas was too profoundly moved to find an an-
swer, and regained his room in silence.
Towards morning, worn out by apprehension, he fell
asleep on his chair, with his head forward on the trunk.
In spite of so constrained an attitude and such a grisly
pillow, his slumber was sound and prolonged, and he
was only awakened at a late hour and by a sharp tap-
ping at the door.
NEW ARABIAN NIGHTS
He hurried to open, and found the boots without.
"You are the gentleman who called yesterday at Box
Court ? " he asked.
Silas, with a quaver, admitted that he had done so.
"Then this note is for you," added the servant, prof-
fering a sealed envelope.
Silas tore it open, and found inside the words : "Twelve
He was punctual to the hour; the trunk was carried
before him by several stout servants; and he was him-
self ushered into a room, where a man sat warming him-
self before the fire with his back towards the door. The
sound of so many persons entering and leaving, and the
scraping of the trunk as it was deposited upon the bare
boards, were alike unable to attract the notice of the
occupant; and Silas stood waiting, in an agony of fear,
until he should deign to recognise his presence.
Perhaps five minutes had elapsed before the man
turned leisurely about, and disclosed the features of
Prince Florizel of Bohemia.
"So, sir, "he said with great severity, "this is the
manner in which you abuse my politeness. You join
yourselves to persons of condition, I perceive, for no
other purpose than to escape the consequences of your
crimes; and I can readily understand your embarrass-
ment when I addressed myself to you yesterday."
"Indeed," cried Silas, " I am innocent of everything
And in a hurried voice, and with the greatest ingen-
uousness, he recounted to the Prince the whole history
of his calamity.
''I see I have been mistaken," said his Highness,
THE SUICIDE CLUB
when he had heard him to an end. " You are no other
than a victim, and since I am not to punish you, you
may be sure I shall do my utmost to help. And now,"
he continued, "to business. Open your box at once,
and let me see what it contains."
Silas changed colour.
" I almost fear to look upon it," he exclaimed.
"Nay," replied the Prince, "have you not looked at
it already ? This is a form of sentimentality to be re-
sisted. The sight of a sick man, whom we can still
help, should appeal more directly to the feelings than
that of a dead man who is equally beyond help or harm,
love or hatred. Nerve yourself, Mr. Scuddamore," and
then, seeing that Silas still hesitated, " I do not desire to
give another name to my request," he added.
The young American awoke as if out of a dream, and
with a shiver of repugnance addressed himself to loose
the straps and open the lock of the Saratoga trunk. The
Prince stood by, watching with a composed countenance
and his hands behind his back. The body was quite
stiff, and it cost Silas a great effort, both moral and
physical, to dislodge it from its position, and discover
Prince Florizel started back with an exclamation of
"Alas! "he cried, "you little know, Mr. Scuddamore,
what a cruel gift you have brought me. This is a young
man of my own suite, the brother of my trusted friend;
and it was upon matters of my own service that he has
thus perished at the hands of violent and treacherous
men. Poor Geraldine," he went on, as if to himself,
" in what words am I to tell you of your brother's fate ?
NEW ARABIAN NIGHTS
How can I excuse myself in your eyes, or in the eyes ol
God, for the presumptuous schemes that led him to this
bloody and unnatural death? Ah, Florizel! Florizel!
when will you learn the discretion that suits mortal life,
and be no longer dazzled with the image of power at
your disposal ? Power ! " he cried ; ' ' who is more pow-
erless ? I look upon this young man whom I have sac-
crificed, Mr. Scuddamore, and feel how small a thing it
is to be a Prince."
Silas was moved at the sight of his emotion. He tried
to murmur some consolatory words, and burst into
tears. The Prince, touched by his obvious intention,
came up to him and took him by the hand.
"Command yourself," said he. "We have both
much to learn, and we shall both be better men for
Silas thanked him in silence, with an affectionate
" Write me the address of Doctor Noel on this piece
of paper," continued the Prince, leading him towards
the table; "and let me recommend you, when you are
again in Paris, to avoid the society of that dangerous
man. He has acted in this matter on a generous inspi-
ration ; that I must believe ; had he been privy to young
Geraldine's death he would never have despatched the
body to the care of the actual criminal."
"The actual criminal!" repeated Silas in astonish-
" Even so," returned the Prince. " This letter, which
the disposition of Almighty Providence has so strangely
delivered into my hands, was addressed to no less a per-
son than the criminal himself, the infamous President of
THE SUICIDE CLUB
the Suicide Club. Seek to pry no further in these peri-
lous affairs, but content yourself with your own miracu-
lous escape, and leave this house at once. ! have press-
ing affairs, and must arrange at once about this poor
clay, which was so lately a gallant and handsome youth. "
Silas took a grateful and submissive leave of Prince
Florizel, but he lingered in Box Court until he saw him
depart in a splendid carriage on a visit to Colonel Hen-
derson, of the police. Republican as he was, the young
American took off his hat with almost a sentiment of
devotion to the retreating carriage. And the same night
he started by rail on his return to Paris.
Here (observes my Arabian Author) is the end of THE
HISTORY OF THE PHYSICIAN AND THE SARATOGA TRUNK.
Omitting some reflections on the power of Providence,
highly pertinent in the original, but little suited to our
occidental taste, I shall only add that Mr. Scuddamore
has already begun to mount the ladder of political fame,
and by last advices -was the Sheriff of bis native town.
THE ADVENTURE OF THE HANSOM CAB
LIEUTENANT BRACKENBURY RICH had greatly distin-
guished himself in one of the lesser Indian hill wars.
He it was who took the chieftain prisoner with his own
hand; his gallantry was universally applauded; and
when he came home, prostrated by an ugly sabre cut
and a protracted jungle fever, society was prepared to
welcome the Lieutenant as a celebrity of minor lustre.
But his was a character remarkable for unaffected mod-
esty ; adventure was dear to his heart, but he cared little
for adulation ; and he waited at foreign watering-places
and in Algiers until the fame of his exploits had run
through its nine days' vitality and begun to be forgotten.
He arrived in London at last, in the early season, with
as little observation as he could desire ; and as he was
an orphan and had none but distant relatives who lived
in the provinces, it was almost as a foreigner that he in-
stalled himself in the capital of the country for which he
had shed his blood.
On the day following his arrival he dined alone at a
military club. He shook hands with a few old com-
rades, and received their congratulations; but as one
and all had some engagement for the evening, he found
himself left entirely to his own resources. He was in
THE SUICIDE CLUB
dress, for he had entertained the notion of visiting a
theater. But the great city was new to him ; he had
gone from a provincial school to a military college, and
thence direct to the Eastern Empire; and he promised
himself a variety of delights in this world for explora-
tion. Swinging his cane, he took his way westward.
It was a mild evening, already dark, and now and then
threatening rain. The succession of faces in the lamp-
light stirred the Lieutenant's imagination; and it seemed
to him as if he could walk for ever in that stimulating
city atmosphere and surrounded by the mystery of four
million private lives. He glanced at the houses, and
marvelled what was passing behind those warmly-
lighted windows ; he looked into face after face, and
saw them each intent upon some unknown interest,
criminal or kindly.
"They talk of war," he thought, "but this is the
great battlefield of mankind."
And then he began to wonder that he should walk so
long in this complicated scene, and not chance upon so
much as the shadow of an adventure for himself.
"All in good time," he reflected. "I am still a
stranger, and perhaps wear & strange air. But I must
be drawn into the eddy before long."
The night was already well advanced, when a plump
of cold rain fell suddenly out of the darkness. Bracken-
bury paused under some trees, and as he did so he
caught sight of a hansom cabman making him a sign that
he was disengaged. The circumstance fell in so happily
to the occasion that he at once raised his cane in answer,
and had soon ensconced himself in the London gondola.
"Where to, sir?" asked the driver.
NEW ARABIAN NIGHTS
"Where you please," said Brackenbury.
And immediately, at a pace of surprising swiftness,
the hansom drove off through the rain into a maze of
villas. One villa was so like another, each with its front
garden, and there was so little to distinguish the de-
serted lamp-lit streets and crescents through which the
flying hansom took its way, that Brackenbury soon lost
all idea of direction. He would have been contented to
believe that the cabman was amusing himself by driv-
ing him round and round and in and out about a small
quarter, but there was something businesslike in the
speed which convinced him of the contrary. The man
had an object in view, he was hastening towards a defi-
nite end; and Brackenbury was at once astonished at
the fellow's skill in picking a way through such a laby-
rinth, and a little concerned to imagine what was the
occasion of his hurry. He had heard tales of strangers
falling ill in London. Did the driver belong to some
bloody and treacherous association ? and was he him-
self being whirled to a murderous death ?
The thought had scarcely presented itself, when the
cab swung sharply round a corner and pulled up before
the garden gate of a villa in a long and wide road. The
house was brilliantly lighted up. Another hansom had
just driven away, and Brackenbury could see a gentle-
man being admitted at the front door and received by
several liveried servants. He was surprised that the
cabman should have stopped so immediately in front of
a house where a reception was being held ; but he did
not doubt it was the result of accident, and sat placidly