dining-room. Mrs Bags, the new cook, was seated
before the fire. On the table beside her was an
empty champagne bottle, the fellow to which pro-
truded its neck from a pail in one corner, where the
Major had put it to cool ; and another bottle of more
robust build, about half-full, was also beside her.
The countenance of Mrs Bags wore a pleasant and
satisfied, though not very intelligent smile, as she
gazed steadfastly on the ham that was roasting on
a spit before the fire ā at least one side of it was
done quite black, while the other oozed with warm
grease ; for the machinery which should have turned
it was not in motion.
" Caramba ! " exclaimed Carlota, with uplifted
hands. " Que picarilla ! " ā (What a knave of a
" Gracious heavens! " said my grandfather, "she's
roasting it ! Who ever heard of a roast ham ?"
LAZARO S LEGACY. 9
" A many years," remarked Mrs Bags, without
turning her head, and still smiling pleasantly, " have
I lived in gentlemen's families ā " Here this frag-
ment of autobiography was terminated by a hiccup.
" And the champagne bottle is empty," said
Owen, handling it. " A nice sort of cook this of
yours, Major. She seems to have constituted her-
self butler, too."
My grandfather advanced and lifted the other
bottle to his nose. " Tis the old rum," he ejacu-
lated with a groan. " But if the woman has drunk
all this 'twill be the death of her. Bags," he called,
" come here."
The spouse of Mrs Bags emerged from a sort of
scullery behind the kitchen ā a tall bony man, of
an ugliness quite remarkable, and with a very red
face. He was better known by his comrades as
Tongs, in allusion probably to personal peculiarities;
for the length of his legs, the width of his bony
hips, and the smallness of his head, gave him some
distant resemblance to that article of domestic iron-
mongery ; but as his wife called herself Mrs Bags,
and he was entered in the regimental books by that
name, it was probably his real appellation.
" Bun directly to Dr Fagan," said the Major,
" and request him to come here. Your wife has
poisoned herself with rum."
" 'Tisn't rum," said Bags, somewhat thickly ā
" 'tis fits."
10 TALES FROM "BLACKWOOD."
" Fits 1" said my grandfather.
" Fits," doggedly replied Mr Bags, who seemed
by no means disturbed at the alleged indisposition
of his wife ā " she often gets them."
" Don't alarm yourself, Major," said Owen, " I'll
answer for it she hasn't drunk all the rum. The
scoundrel is half-drunk himself, and smells like a
spirit-vault. You'd better take your wife away,"
he said to Bags.
" She can leave if she ain't wanted," said Private
Bags, with dignity: "we never comes where we
ain't wanted." And he advanced to remove the
lady. Mrs Bags at first resisted this measure, pro-
ceeding to deliver a eulogium on her own excellent
qualities, moral and culinary. She had, she said,
the best of characters, in proof of which she made
reference to several persons in various parts of the
United Kingdom, and, as she spoke, she smiled
more affably than ever.
" La picarilla no tiene v'ergucnza " (the wretch is
perfectly shameless), cried Carlota, who, having
hastily removed the ham from the fire, was now
looking after the rest of the dinner. The fowls,
cut up in small pieces, were boiling along with the
sheep's head, and, probably to save time, the esti-
mable Mrs Bags had put the rice and raisins des-
tined for a pudding into the pot along with them ā
certainly, as Owen remarked, a bold innovation in
LAZAEO'S LEGACY. 11
Still continuing to afford thern glimpses of her
personal history, Mrs Bags was at length persuaded
to retire along with her helpmate.
" What astonishing impudence," said the Major,
shutting the door upon her, "to pretend to be
a cook, and yet know no better than to roast a
Carlota, meanwhile, was busy in remedying the
disaster as far as she could ; cutting the ham into
slices and frying it, making a fricassee of the fowls,
and fishing the raisins out of the pot, exclaiming
bitterly all the while, in English and Spanish,
against the tunanta (equivalent to female scoundrel
or scamp) who had spoilt the only nice dinner her
pobrecito, her niiio, her querido (meaning my grand-
father), had been likely to enjoy for a long time,
stopping occasionally in her occupations to give
him a consolatory kiss. However, my grandfather
did not keep up the character of a martyr at all
well : he took the matter really very patiently ;
and when the excellent Carlota had set the dinner
on the table, and he tasted the fine flavour of the
maltreated ham, he speedily regained his accus-
" It is very strange," he said presently, while
searching with a fork in the dish before him, " that
a pair of fowls should have only three wings, two
legs, and one breast between them."
It certainly was not according to the order of
12 TALES FEOM "BLACKWOOD."
nature ; nevertheless the fact was so, all my grand-
father's researches in the dish failing to bring to
light the missing members. This, however, was
subsequently explained by the discovery of the
remains of these portions of the birds in the scul-
lery, where they appeared to have been eaten after
being grilled ; and Mrs Bags' reason for adopting
this mode of cooking them was also rendered ap-
parent ā viz. that she might secure a share for
herself without immediate detection.
However, all this did not prevent them from
making the best of what was left, and the Major's
face beamed, as he drank Carlota's health in a glass
of the remaining bottle of champagne, as brightly
as if the dinner had been completely successful.
" It is partly my fault, Owen," said the Major,
" that you haven't a joint of mutton instead of this
sheep's head. I ought to have been sharper. The
animal was actually sold in parts before he was
killed. Old Clutterbuck had secured a haunch,
and he a single man, you know ā 'tis thrown away
upon him. I offered him something handsome for
his bargain, but he wouldn't part with it."
" We're lucky to get any," returned Owen.
" Never was such a scramble. Old Fiskin, the
commissary, and Mrs 'Regan, the Major's wife,
both swore the left leg was knocked down to
them; neither would give in, and it was put up
again, when the staff doctor, Pursum, who had just
LAZAEO'S LEGACY. 13
arrived in a great hurry, carried it off by bidding
eightpence more than either. Not one of the three
has spoken to either of the others since ; and people
say," added Owen, " Mrs O'Regan avers openly
that Fiskin didn't behave like a gentleman."
" God knows ! " said my grandfather, " 'tis a
difficult thing in such a case to decide between
politeness and a consciousness of being in the right.
Fiskin likes a good dinner."
The dinner having been done justice to, Car-
lota removed the remains to a side-table, and the
Major was in the act of compounding a bowl of
punch, when there was a knock at the door. " Come
in," cried Carlota.
A bght and timid step crossed the narrow pas-
sage separating the outer door from that of the
room they sat in, and there was another hesitating
tap at this latter. " Come in," again cried Carlota,
and a young girl entered with a basket on her
" 'Tis Esther Lazaro," said Carlota in Spanish.
" Come in, child ; sit here and tell mo what you
Esther Lazaro was the daughter of a Jew in the
town, whose occupations were multifarious, and
connected him closely with the garrison. He dis-
counted officers' bills, furnished their rooms, sold
them everything they wanted ā all at most exorbi-
tant rates. Still, as is customary with military
14 TALES FROM "BLACKWOOD."
men, while perfectly aware that they could have
procured what he supplied them with elsewhere at
less expense, they continued to patronise and abuse
him rather than take the trouble of looking out for
a more liberal dealer. As the difficulties of the gar-
rison increased, he had not failed to take advantage
of them, and it was even said he was keeping back
large stores of provisions and necessaries till the
increasing scarcity should enable him to demand his
own terms for them.
His daughter was about fifteen years old ā a
pretty girl, with hair of the unusual colour of
chestnut, plaited into thick masses on the crown of
her head. Her skin was fairer than is customary
with her race ā her eyes brown and soft in expres-
sion, her face oval, and her figure, even at this
early age, very graceful, being somewhat more pre-
cocious than an English girl's at those years. She
was a favourite with the ladies of the garrison, who
often employed her to procure feminine matters for
them. Cavlota, particularly, had always treated her
with great kindness ā and hence the present visit.
She had come, she said timidly, to ask a favour ā a
great favour. She had a little dog that she loved.
(Here a great commotion in the basket seemed to say
she had brought her protege with her.) He had
been given to her by a young school friend who was
dead, and her father would no longer let her keep
it, because, he said, these were no times to keep
LAZARO'S LEGACY. 15
such creatures, when provisions, even those fit for
a dog, were so clear. He was a very good little
dog ā would the Senora take him ?
"Let us look at him, Esther," said Owen ā "I
see you have brought him with you."
"He is not pretty," said Esther, blushing as she
produced him from the basket. He certainly was
not, being a small cur, marked with black and
white, like a magpie, with a tail curling over his
back. He did not appear at all at Ins ease in
society, for he tried to shrink back again into the
"He was frightened," she said, "for he had
been shut up for more than a month. She had
tried to keep him in her bedroom, unknown to her
father, feeding him with part of her own meals ;
but he had found it out, and had beaten her, and
threatened to kill the dog if ever he saw it again."
" Polrecito 1 " (poor little thing) said the good
Carlota ā "we shall take good care of it. Toma"
(take this), offering him a bit of meat. But he
crept under her chair, with his tail so depressed, in
his extreme bashfulness, that the point of it came
out between his forelegs.
Carlota would have made the young Jewess dine
there forthwith, at the side-table still spread with
the remains of the dinner, for social differences of
position were lost in the general misery ; but she
refused to take anything, only sipping once from a
16 TALES FROM "BLACKWOOD."
glass of wine that Carlota insisted on making her
drink of. Then she rose, and, having tied the end
of a string that was fastened to the dog's collar to
the leg of the table, to prevent his following her,
took her leave, thanking Carlota very prettily.
" A Dios, SciJicho!" she said to the little dog,
who wagged his tail and gave her a piteous look as
she turned to go away ā " A Dios, Sancho," she re-
peated, taking hirn up and kissing him very affec-
tionately. The poor child was ready to cry.
" Come and see liim every day, my child," said
Carlota, " and when better times come you shall
have him again."
Lazaro the Jew was seated towards dusk that
evening in a sort of office partitioned off by an open
railing from a great store filled with a most motley
collection of articles. Sofas, looking-glasses, wash-
ing-stands ā bales of goods in corded canvass ā
rows of old boots purchased from officers' servants
ā window curtains lying on heaps of carpeting and
matting ā bedsteads of wood and iron ā crockery
and glass ā were all piled indiscriminately. Simi-
lar articles had also overflowed along the passage
down the wooden steps leading to the square stone
court below, which was lumbered with barrels,
LAZAKO'S LEGACY. 17
packing-cases, and pieces of old iron. This court
was entered from the street, and an arched door on
one side of it, barred and padlocked, opened on a
large warehouse, which nobody except the Jew had
set foot in for many months.
The Jew himself was a spare, rather small man,
with a thin eager face, small sharp features, and a
scanty beard. Being by descent a Barbary Jew, he
wore the costume peculiar to that branch of his
race ā a black skull-cap ; a long-skirted, collarless,
cloth coat, buttoned close, the waist fastened with
a belt; loose light-coloured trousers and yellow
slippers ā altogether he looked somewhat Like an
overgrown Blue-coat Boy. He was busied in turn-
ing over old parchment-covered ledgers, when an
Von Dessel was a captain in Hardenberg's Hano-
verian regiment. He was a square, strong-built
man, about forty, with very light hair, as was appa-
rent since the governor's order had forbidden the
use of powder to the troops, in consequence of the
scarcity of flour. His thick, white, overhanging
eyebrows, close lips, and projecting under jaw,
gave sternness to his countenance.
" Good afternoon, captain," said the Jew ; " what
I do for you to-day, sare?"
" Do for me ! By Gott, you have done for me
already, with your cursed Hebrew tricks," said the
18 TALES FROM "BLACKWOOD."
captain. The German and the Jew met on a neu-
tral ground of broken English.
" I always treat every gentleman fair, sare," said
the Jew. " I tell you, captain, I lose by that last
bill of yours."
" Der teufel! who gains, then?" said Von Des-
sel, " for you cut me off thirty per cent."
The Jew shrugged his shoulders.
" I don't make it so, sare : the siege makes it so.
"When the port is open, you shall have more better
" Well, money must be had," said the German.
" What will you give now for my bill for twenty
The Jew consulted a book of figures ā then made
some calculations on paper ā then appeared to con-
" Curse you, speak ! " said the choleric captain.
" You have made up your mind about how much
roguery long ago."
" Captain, sare, I give you feefty dallars," said
The captain burst forth with a volley of German
" Captain," said the Jew presently, " I like to
please a gentleman if I can. I give you one box of
cigars besides ā real Cubas ā one.hundred and feefty
in a box."
The captain at this broke forth again, but checked
'LAZAKO'S LEGACY. 19
himself presently on the entrance of the Jew's
daughter, who now returned from the Major's. She
advanced quietly into the room, made a little bow to
the captain, took off and laid aside her shawl, and,
taking up some work, sat down and began to sew.
Von Dessel resumed his expostulation in a milder
tone. The Jew, however, knew the money was
necessary to him, and only yielded so far as to in-
crease his box of cigars to two hundred ; and the
captain, finding he could get no better terms from
him, was forced to agree. While the Jew was
drawing out the bills, the German gazed attentively
at Esther, with a good deal of admiration expressed
in his countenance.
" I can't take the money now," said he, after
signing the bills. "lam going on duty. Bring it
to me to-morrow morning, at nine o'clock."
"I'm afraid I can't, sare," said Lazaro ; "too
mock business. Couldn't you send for it, captain?"
" Not possible," said tke German ; but you must
surely kave somebody tkat migkt bring it ā some
trustwortky person you know." And kis eye rested
"Tkere's my dater, sare," said tke Jew ā "I
skall send ker, if tkat will do."
" Good," said tke captain, " do not forget," and
quitted tke room forthwith.
He was scarcely gone when a pair with whom
the reader is already slightly acquainted, Mr and
20 TALES FROM "BLACKWOOD."
Mrs Bags, presented themselves. The effects of
their morning conviviality had in a great measure
" Your servant, sir," said Bags. The Jew nodded.
"We've got a few articles to dispose of," pur-
sued Mr Bags, looking round the room cautiously.
" They was left us," he added in a low tone, " by
a diseased friend."
"Ah!" said the Jew, "never mind where you
got 'em. Be quick ā show them."
Mrs Bags produced from under her cloak, first a
tin tea-kettle, then a brass saucepan ; and Mr Bags,
unbuttoning his coat, laid on the table three knives
and a silver fork. Esther, passing near the table
at the time, glanced accidentally at the fork, and
recognised the Flinders crest ā a talbot, or old
"Father," said she hastily, in Spanish, "don't
have anything to do with that ā it must be stolen."
But the Jew turned so sharply on her, telling her
to mind her work, that she retreated.
The Jew took up the tea-kettle, and examined
the bottom to see that it was sound ā did the same
with the saucepan ā looked at the knives narrowly,
and still closer at the fork ā then ranged them
before him on the table.
" For dis," said he, laying his hand on the tea-
kettle, " we will say one pound of rice ; for dis (the
saucepan) two pounds of corned beef ; for de knives,
LAZARO'S LEGACY. 21
a bottle of rum ; and for de fork, seex ounces of the
" Curse your tea !" said Mr Bags.
"Yes!" said Mrs Bags, who had with difficulty
restrained herself during the process of valuation,
" we doesn't want no tea. And the things is worth
a much more than what you say : the saucepan's
as good as new, and the fork 's silver ā "
" Plated," said the Jew, weighing it across his
"A many years," said Mrs Bags, "have I lived
in gentlemen's families, and well do I know plate
from silver. " I've lived with Mrs Milson of Pid-
ding Hill, where everything was silver, and nothing
plated, even to the handles of the doors; and a
dear good lady she was to me ; many's the gown
she giv me. And I've lived with ā "
Here the Jew unceremoniously interrupted the
train of her recollections by pushing the things
from before him. " Take what I offer, or else take
your things away," said he, shortly.
Mr and Mrs Bags grumbled considerably. The
tea they positively refused at any price : Mr Bags
didn't like it, and Mrs Bags said it disagreed with
her. So the Jew agreed to give them instead
another bottle of rum, a pound of onions, and two
pounds of beef; and with these terms they at
length closed, and departed with the results of their
22 TALES FROM "BLACKWOOD."
During tlie altercation, a soldier of another regi-
ment had entered, and stood silently awaiting his
turn to be attended to. He was a gaunt man, with
want written legibly in the hollows of his face and
the dismal eagerness of his eye. He now came
forward, and with trembling hands unfolded an old
gown, and handed it to the Jew.
" 'Tis no good to me," said the latter, giving it
back, after holding it against the light; " nothing
" But my wife has no other," said the man : " 'tis
her last stitch of clothes, except her petticoat and
a blanket. I've brought everything else to you."
The Jew shrugged his shoulders and spread out
his hands, in token that he could not help it.
" I swear 'tis her last ! " reiterated the man, as if
he really fancied this fact must give the garment
as much value in the Jew's eyes as in his own.
"I tell you I won't have it!" said the Jew,
" Give me only a loaf for it, or but one pound of
potatoes," said the soldier : " 'tis more than my
wife and four children have had among them for
two days. Half-rations for one, among six of us, is
too hard to live."
" A pound of potatoes," said the Jew, "is worth
four reals and a half ā eighteenpence ; your wife's
gown is worth ā nothing!"
" Then take this," said the man, beginning fran-
LAZARO-'S LEGACY. 23
tically to pull off his uniform coat; "any tiling is
better than starving."
The Jew laughed. "What!" said he, "you
think I don't know better than to buy a soldier's
necessaries, eh ? Ah, ah ! no such a fool, I think,
my friend. What your captain say? ā eh?"
The man struck his hand violently on tha table.
"Then give me ā or lend me," said he, " some food,
much or little, and I'll work for you every hour I'm
off duty till you're satisfied. I will, Mr Lazaro, so
help me God!"
"I got plenty of men to work for me," said
Lazaro ; " don't want any more. Come again, when
you've got something to sell, my friend."
The man rolled up the gown without speaking,
then lifted it over his head, and dashed it into the
furthest corner of the store. He was hurrying from
the place, when, as if unwilling to throw away his
last chance, he turned back, gathered it up, and,
thrusting it under his arm, quitted the store with
lingering steps, as if he even yet hoped to be called
back. No such summons reached him, however ;
but, immediately after he was gone, Esther rose
and stole softly down the stairs. She overtook him
at the street-door opening from the court before
mentioned, and laid her hand on his arm. The
man turned and glared on her. ' ' What ! ā he'll buy
it, will he?" said he.
"Hush!" said Esther ā "keep it for your poor
2i TALES FIIOM "BLACKWOOD."
wife. Look ; I have no money, but take these,"
and she placed in his hand two earrings hastily
detached from her ears.
The man stood looking at her for a space, as if
stupified, without closing his hand on the trinkets
that lay on the palm ; then, suddenly rousing him-
self, he swore, with tears in his eyes, that for this
service he would do for her anything on earth she
should require from him ; but she only begged him
to go away at once, and say nothing, lest her father
should overhear the transaction, who would certainly
be angry with her for it.
Bags and his wife had stopt in a corner of the
court to pack up their property in a commodious
form for conveyance, and had witnessed this scene
in silence. As soon as the soldier had, in compli-
ance with Esther's entreaties, disappeared, Bags
" And your father would be angry, would he, my
dear?" said he.
" Oh, very ā oh, so angry! Please don't stop me,"
she said, trying to pass him.
" And what'll ye give me not to tell him, now?"
asked Mr Bags. " Ain't ye got nothing for me?"
" No ā oh, no ā indeed, nothing. Do let me pass."
" Yes, you have ; you've got this, I think," said
Bags, snatching at a silver-mounted comb ghstening
in her hair, which, thus loosened, all fell down on
her shoulders as she darted past him. " And
LAZARO S LEGACY. 25
now," said Mr Bags, inspecting his prize, " I think
me and that 'ere cheating Jew is quits for the
silver fork. I'll allow it's plaited now."
Early the next morning (the 12th of April) a
rumour went through the town that an English
fleet was signalled as in sight. The news roused
the starving people like electricity. The pale
spectres of men that, on the previous day, had
stalked so gauntly through the dreary streets ā the
wretched, sinking women, and children careworn as
grandfathers ā poured forth, with something like a
natural light in their hollow eyes, to witness the
joyful spectacle. The sea-wall of the city was like
the margin of a vast pool of Bethesda, thronged with
hopeful 'wretches awaiting the coming of the angel.
The streets were instantly deserted. Those who
could not leave their homes got on the housetops,
but the great mass of the population spread itself
along the line-wall, the Grand Parade and Alameda,
and the heights skirting the chief slopes of the
Kock. Moors and Jews, Spaniards and English,
citizens and soldiers, men, women, and children, of
all ages, grades, and nations, ranged themselves
indiscriminately wherever they could obtain a view
of the sea.
26 TALES FROM "BLACKWOOD."
For some time the wished-for sight was delayed
by a thick fog that spread itself across the Straits
and the entrance of the bay. A murmur rose from
each successive rank of people that forced itself
into a front place on the line-wall. Terrible doubts
flew about, originating no one knew where, but
gaining strength and confirmation as they passed
from mouth to mouth. On the summit of the Kock
behind them the signal for a fleet flew steadily from
the mast at Middle Hill ; but still in this, as in all
crowds, were some of little faith, who were full of
misgivings. Many rushed up to the signal- station,
unable to bear the pain of the delay. My grand-
father noticed the Jew Lazaro among the throng,
watching the event with an anxious eye, though
his anxiety was from the opposite cause to that of
most of the spectators. The arrival of supplies
would at once bring down the price of provisions,
and rob him, for the present, of his expected pro-
fits ; and as each successive rumour obtained cre-