no one was likely to be there â much to Lettice Rougham's discon-
tent. But we must not do Lettice an injustice. The little damsel,
though volatile, had a really good heart, and felt the sincerest
sympathy for her young mistress. She often shed tears on her
account, and declared her belief to Lucy that Miss Clare was
dying of a broken heart. And Lucy began to share her appre-
The person who was last to notice the altered state of Clare's health
was the very first who ought to have discerned it ; and he might
have continued still longer unconscious of the change â for Clare
made no complaint to him â if Mrs. Lacy had not thought it her
duty to communicate her misgivings to him. To do him justice,
Fairlie was greatly shocked. He enjoined that every attention
should be paid his daughter, and that she should have the
best advice. Mrs. Lacy shook her head despondingly, as if she
thought this would be of no avail ; but she promised compliance.
For several days after this, Fairlie was extremely solicitous
about Clare, and paid her frequent visits, but by degrees he be-
came less uneasy, and in the end succeeded in persuading himself
that his fears were groundless. Clare was ill, no doubt â but not
dangerously so. And he was confirmed in this opinion, because,
notwithstanding Mrs. Lacy's entreaties, she declined all medical
advice. Fairlie's heart was so hardened by covetousness, that it
was scarcely susceptible of any tender emotion, and in his blind
pursuit of gain he cared not if he sacrificed all that should have
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 183
been dear to him. Compared with the vast stake for which he
was playing, all other matters appeared of minor interest ; but
when the object he aimed at was obtained, he promised himself
to watch over his daughter carefully. Meantime (so he thought),
she could take little harm.
From what has been premised, it will be easily imagined that
Clare's unexpected visit occasioned her father great surprise, and
some little misgiving. Both were silent for a few minutes, during
which Fairlie regarded her with natural anxiety. She had evi-
dently collected all her energies for the interview â and the flush
on her cheek deceived him. He thought her looking better ; and
told her so.
" I know not if I am better or worse," she replied, in feeble
accents; " but I did not come to speak about my ailments. What
I have to say relates to yourself and Gage."
Fairlie's brow darkened, and he appeared disposed to check her.
*' Father, I beseech you to listen to me," she pursued. " You
have wronged this young man, who was entrusted to your care,
and over whose interests it was your duty to watch, grievously
wronged him â but it is not too late to remedy the injustice."
The steward shook his head, but made no other reply. Â«
" For the sake of his father, who was your patron, and to whom
you owe everything â for the poor misguided young man's own
sake, whom you once professed to regard â for my sake, if you
have any love left for me â I implore you to save him."
Still Fairlie maintained an obstinate silence.
" Do not turn a deaf ear to all my entreaties. Speak to me, I
beg of you."
" What can I say ? I can do nothing for him."
" Father," Clare said, with a solemn earnestness, " this is the last
request I have to make of you. Discharge Gage's debts. Set him
" What monstrous absurdity you talk, girl ! " Fairlie cried,
angrily. "I pay this prodigal's debts. Stuff and nonsense!
What good would it do him if I did ? He would be exactly in
the same position two months hence. I am sorry you have trou-
bled yourself to come to me, Clare, if this is your sole business.
Believe me. Gage deserves no consideration."
" He deserves every consideration on your part, father. I
184 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
am told he is in danger of arrest. Is this true? You do
not deny it. Father, will you stand by quietly and allow the
son of your benefactor to be dragged to gaol? Oh! shame!
And she burst into a paroxysm of tears.
" The law must take its course. I cannot prevent it," Fairlie
said, in an inexorable voice.
"Do you tell me this?" Clare cried, raising her head, and re-
garding him scornfully.
" Well then, I wont prevent it â if you will have the truth."
Clare made an effort, and arose.
" Farewell, father !" she said ; " we meet no more in this world."
" Sit down, girl â sit down," Fairlie cried. " I entreat â I com-
mand you. It is for you, and you alone, that I have laboured to
acquire a fortune. I have no other child â no other object of
affection. All will be yours one day. Why should my gains be
wasted on a prodigal?"
" Give him back his own. I will have none of it."
" Clare, you drive me mad. Let things take their course. He
must have a severe lesson. It may do him good, and perhaps some
plan may be devised for aiding him hereafter."
" And meanwhile he is to be thrown into prison by your privity â
by your contrivance."
" By my privity â by my contrivance, Clare ?"
" Yes, you make yourself a party to the wrong by not prevent-
ing it. But I have said my say. Farewell!"
" No, no, girl â we must not part thus."
" I will only remain on your consenting to discharge Gage's,
"Well, if I agree to do as you would have me â though
against my own inclination â against every dictate of common
sense â will you show yourself more tractable in future?"
" In all reasonable matters."
" Ay, but you may consider what I require unreasonable."
" Let me know it, then."
"Will you marry as I would have you do?"
" I have far other thoughts than those of marriage, father.
âHave you made choice of a husband for me?"
"Two gentlemen aspire to that happiness â Sir Randal de
Meschines and Mr. Freke."
" I would rather be led to the grave than wed either of them.'*
" Nay, I but said this to try you," Fairlie cried, alarmed by her
increasing paleness. " Be assured I will never sacrifice you to a
gambler or a rake, and both these persons are such. I have other
designs in regard to you."
" Trouble yourself no more about me. Let me go."
And she tottered towards the door, but ere she could reach it
her strength utterly failed her, and she sank upon a chair.
"What ails you?" her father cried, springing towards her.
" A sudden faintness," she replied. " It will pass off soon."
Just then there was a noise of hasty footsteps without, and in
another instant the door flew open, and Lettice Rougham rushed
into the room.
" Oh, Miss Clare!" Lettice screamed, "it has happened just as
we expected. They've arrested him."
" Peace ! hold your tongue, hussy !" !5'airlie cried. '^ Don't you
see your mistress is ill. Bring something to revive her."
" Here, miss, smell at this bottle. Oh dear ! dear ! what will
become of him ? I won't be silent," she said to Fairlie. " Poor
Mr. Monthermer is arrested, miss. They're going to take him
" Arrested ! " Clare cried, looking at her father.
" Yes, miss ; and the servants say it's Mr. Fairlie's doing. They
all cry shame upon him â and well they may. I cry ^ shame,' too.
Nay, you may look as angry at me as you please, sir. I ain't a
Clare seemed to regain her strength as suddenly as she had
" Give me your arm, Lettice," she cried, " and help me forth. I
will set him free."
" You ! how will you do it ? " Fairlie exclaimed.
" Come with me, and you shall see ! " she rejoined.
*' I cannot face him," Fairlie said, shrinking back.
" But you must â you shall!" Lettice cried, laying hold of his
hand, and dragging him along. " Your presence is necessary."
Fairlie would have resisted, but his daughter's looks compelled
him to accompany her.
As soon as the coast was clear, the two eavesdroppers issued
)m their respective hiding-places, and met face to face. They
186 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
stared at each other in silence for a few moments ; and then both
burst into a roar of laughter.
" What I were you there ?" Beau Freke asked, pointing towards
the back of the screen.
"And were you there?" Sir Randal rejoined, pointing to the
closet. " I thought you were gone ; but I find you have as much
curiosity as myself. Well, we have had listeners' luck. We have
heard ourselves called gamblers and rakes; but at the same time
we have learnt something it was expedient to know. F.airlie has
duped us, and means to cast us off. So far as I am concerned, he
shall find this no easy task."
" If he thinks to get rid of me, he'll find himself deucedly mis-
taken," Beau Freke said. " I'll stick to him like a leech."
'^ Marriage with his daughter is of course out of the question,
after what we have heard. But we will find other means of
bringing him to book. If he proposes to enjoy his ill-gotten gains
in quiet, he must pay us a heavy per-centage as hush-money."
" Exactly," Beau Freke replied, laughing. " He shan't easily
get out of our toils, that I promise him. But let us see what
they are about. A hundred to one he don't pay Gage's debts."
" I take you,'* Sir Randal replied, as they left the room together.
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 187
A HASH PROMISE.
Ruin now stared our reckless hero in the face. Yet, surprising
to relate, considering the dire extremities to which he was re-
duced, his spirit remained unbroken. Beset by a host of duns,
who would take no more excuses ; every present means of supply
exhausted; without a hope for the future; deserted by his friends,
and with the Fleet Prison only in prospect; it was certainly
wonderful that he could preserve even a show of cheerfulness.
His gaiety inight be assumed, but at any rate it imposed upon
his attendants, and excited their admiration. On the morn-
ing of the last day it seemed likely he would spend in his own
house, he arose late, and made his toilet with his customary
dehberation and care â chatting all the while gaily with Chasse-
mouche and Bellairs, as they assisted him to dress, and brought
him his chocolate. Both valets were so captivated by his pleasantry
and good-humour, that they deferred to the last moment a dis-
agreeable communication which they had to make to him. At
length, however, their avocations ended, Bellairs felt compelled to
broach the subject, which he did with considerable hesitation.
" I really am concerned, sir," he said, " to disturb your gaiety
by any unpleasant observations, but it is only right you should be
informed â ahem ! You know what I want to say, Chasse-
mouche, â help me out with the sentence."
" Parbleu ! I am almost too much embarrassed to speak," the
French valet said ; " but I trust monsieur will forgive me. He
has been the best of masters, and I shall be quite dSsoU to lose
"Exactly my sentiments, sir," Bellairs subjoined. '^I dm
188 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
grieved beyond measure that I can no longer have the honour of
" Why should you leave me?" Gage demanded, regarding them
with well-feigned astonishment. " You both give me entire satis-
" If I were to consult my own feelings, sir, I should never leave
you," Bellairs replied ; " but "
" I see how it is," Gage cried, with a laugh. " You want your
wages increased. Well, speak to Fairlle."
" You are very good, sir, and both Chassemouche and myself
appreciate your generous intentions. You have always behaved
to us like a gentleman ^"
" Like a prince I should say," the Frenchman interposed.
"Exactly, â like a prince. We have never had the slightest
cause of complaint â have we, Chassemouche?"
" Not the slightest," the French valet responded. "Our new
master is very different."
"Your new master!" Gage cried. "'Sdeath! have you en-
gaged yourselves without giving me notice?"
" We would not do anything unhandsome to you for the world,
sir," said Bellairs; "but Mr. Fairlle made it a point that his
arrangement with us should remain secret till he gave us permis-
sion to disclose it."
^^ So Mr. Fairlle takes you off my hands, eh ? " Gage said.
"Not us alone, sir," Bellairs replied; "he has engaged the
" What ! without saying a word to me ? " Gage exclaimed.
" He did not appear to think that necessary, sir," Bellairs re-
plied. " Pardon my freedom, sir â but, devoted as we are to you,
we could not have remained so long in your service if Mr. Fairlle
had not undertaken to pay our wages."
"'Apparently, then, you had no confidence in my ability to
pay you ?"
" We had every confidence in your desire to do so ; but we
feared a day might arrive when you would lack the means. For-
give me for adding that that evil day has come."
A brief pause ensued, during which Gage, who was evidently
much put out by what he had just heard, strove to regain his
composure. At length Chassemouche ventured to offer an obser-
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 189
" If monsieur will condescend to take my advice," he said,
" he will get out of the house as quietly and as speedily as pos-
sible, and keep out of the way of his creditors."
" What ! fly, Chasseraouche. No, I will stand my ground to
the last. Fairlie will never allow me to be molested."
" Upon my faith, sir, I don't like to say it, but I almost believe
he has planned your arrest," Mr. Bellairs observed.
" Oh ! you calumniate him," Gage cried. " He is incapable of
"Well, time will show, sir," the valet rejoined; "and I only
hope you may prove correct in your estimate of our new master.
But if you should be tempted to take an airing in the Park this
morning, let me recommend you to go out by the back-door.
You will find it the safest means of exit. Your creditors arc
abroad by hundreds, sir. The street is full of them â tailors,
coach -builders, wig-makers, shoe-makers, jewellers, hosiers, glovers,
linendrapers, silk-mercers, lace-embroiderers, pastrycooks, poul-
terers, butchers, saddlers, watchmakers, wine-merchants â all your
tradesmen are on the look-out for you."
" Tlie devil ! have none of them been paid?"
"Nobody has been paid, sir â since your arrival in town,'*
Bellairs replied. " You have lived entirely on credit."
" 'Sdeath ! this is scandalous," Gage exclaimed. " How has my
money gone ? Fairlie would tell me at the gaming-table ; but
though I have, lost large sums, all cannot have disappeared in this
manner. I have been cheated most abominably â but by whom ?
â It is too late now to inquire â fool! fool that I have been."
And loading himself with reproaches, which we can scarcely con-
sider unmerited, he sank into a chair, while the two valets, think ^
ing their presence no longer desirable, slipped out of the room.
Gage continued lost in deep and painful reflection, until aroused
by a slight touch on the shoulder, when, looking up, he beheld Mrs.
Jenyns standing beside him.
" You seem greatly disturbed," she said.
"And well I may be disturbed. Peg," he replied. "I have
jiiot a guinea left in the world â nor do I know which way to turn
[to obtain one. You smile as if you^idn't believe me â but I swear
you it is the truth. House, servants, equipages, pictures, plate
â all my possessions are gone. Fairlie has taken everything, or
190 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
will take everything; and I am only waiting tlie moment when he
will turn me out of doors, and consign me to the ^ tender mercies'
of the pack of creditors who are lurking without to seize me.
But I may balk them all yet. At least they shall not have an
opportunity of deriding me in my misfortunes."
" I divine your desperate purpose," Mrs. Jenyns rejoined.
" But you need not have recourse to pistol, sword, or poison for
the present. Your case is not quite so hopeless as you imagine."
" You give me new life, Peg. Is there chance of escape from
this frightful dilemma?"
" TranquilUse yourself, or I won't open my lips. I have just
seen Fairlie. He appeared inexorable at first, but I found a way
to move him. I managed to frighten him out of a thousand
"And you have got the money with you? It may save me
" You shall have it, provided you promise to use it as I direct.
Half the sum must be devoted to the repayment of Arthur
^^It could not be better applied. And the other five hundred,
what is to be done with it?"
" You must try your luck with the dice. I am sure you will
be successful. I dreamed last night that you won back all your
fortune at hazard."
" May the dream be realised ! I will play as if my life were on
the stake. And so it will be, for if I lose "
"Pshaw! you mustn't think of losing. You must resolve to
" I will win !" Gage exclaimed.
" Stop ! half your gains are to be mine, whatever the amount.
Is this a bargain?"
" Then here's the money. Place the amount of your debt to
Arthur Poynings within an envelope, and I will take care that the
packet is safely delivered to him."
" I shall not readily forget the obligation you have conferred
on me. Peg," Gage replied, as he wrote a brief note to Arthur,
and folded the bank-notes within it. " You have taken a great
weight from my brqast in enabling me to make this payment," he
added, giving the letter to her.
THE SPENDTHKIFT. 191
" The debt is only transferred," she replied. " And now, adieu,
for a short time. Do not attempt to quit your room till I return.
And then you must hasten to the Groom-Porter's ! Your luck
will have a turn. Mind ! half your gains are to be mine."
*' My hand upon it," he rejoined. " If I should be lucky enough
to win a hundred thousand â as I hope I may be â fifty thousand
will be yours!"
" And you will allow no one to dissuade you from playing ?"
^^ No one is likely to make the attempt â but if made, it will
" Enough," Mrs. Jenyns replied. " Au plaisir !" And with a
smile of triumph she withdrew.
The interview with the pretty actress dissipated all Gage's
gloomy fancies, and aroused an entirely different train of thought
Giving the reins to his imagination, he beheld himself seated at
the gaming-table, with piles of gold and rolls of bank-notes before
him, the result of successful play.
192 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
While Gage was indulging in these delusive dreams, Mr. Bel-
lairs hurriedly entered, showing by his countenance that some-
thing alarming had occurred.
" Come with me, sir â quick ! â quick ! â not a moment is to be
lost," the valet cried. " The bailiffs are in the house, and are
making their way up-stairs. You must hide in some out-of-the-
way corner till the danger be past. Ha! it is too late. They
are at hand."
" Fasten the door, Bellairs. Don't let them in !" Gage shouted.
The valet endeavoured to obey the injunction, but before he
could accomplish it, two sturdy, harsh-featured men, armed with
bludgeons, burst into the room.
"Ha ! ha ! we're a little too quick for you, my friend," the fore-
most of the twain vociferated. " Here we have him, Martin," he
added, with a coarse laugh, to his brother bailiff.
"Ay, ay, Ned Craggs," the other rejoined â " that be the gem'-
man, sure enough." And with these words he rushed up to Gage
with his companion, and exhibiting a writ, cried, " You are our
prisoner, Mr. Monthermer. We arrest you at the suit of Mr. Isaac
Nibbs, of Billiter-lane, scrivener."
" Keep off, rascals, if you value your lives !" Gage exclaimed,
springing back, and drawing his sword. " I know nothing what-
ever of Mr. Nibbs, and never had any dealings with him."
" There you are in error, sir," cried a civil-spoken little man,
appearing at the door. This personage was plainly attired in a
suit of rusty black, and wore a long cravat, grey stockings, and
square-cut shoes. " You are in error, sir, I repeat," he continued,
ThÂ« Arrest.â P. 192.
THE SPENDTHRIFT. X93
in very mild accents. " You borrowed five thousand pounds from
me, for which you gave me your bond."
" I recollect nothing about it," Gage replied.
" Possibly so slight a circumstance may have escaped your re-
collection, sir," Isaac Nibbs replied. " But I happen to have the
instrument by me. Here it is," he added, producing a parchment.
" The money was paid on your behalf to Mr. Fairlie. You will
not, I presume, attempt to deny your own signature ?"
" I deny that I ever received the five thousand pounds. I have
been cheated !" Gage cried.
" I shall not argue the point with you, sir," Mr. Nibbs rejoined,
with undisturbed politeness. " It is sufficient for me that I have
your bond. Officers, do your duty."
But Gage stood on his defence, and with his sword kept the
bailiffs at bay.
" Come, come, sir," Craggs cried, " it's of no use. You musjt
not resist the law."
At this moment the door was suddenly thrown open, and two
more personages stepped into the room. These were Sir Hugh
Poynings and his son Arthur. Gage was greatly disconcerted by
their appearance, and taking advantage of his confusion, the bailiffs
rushed upon him, and disarmed him.
" I am sorry to see you in this position. Gage," Sir Hugh said,
advancing. " I heard you were in difficulties, and came to see if
I could be of any use."
" Spare me your commiseration. Sir Hugh," the young man
replied, proudly ; " I do not desire it."
" Nay, you utterly mistake me. Gage," the old baronet replied,
kindly. "Far be it from me to insult you in your distress. I
would aid you if I can. What is the sum for which you are
arrested ? "
" Five thousand pounds," one of the bailiffs replied.
" 'Sdeath ! that's not a trifle," Sir Hugh ejaculated â " and more
than I like to throw away. Cannot this matter be arranged ? "
" Only by payment of the debt. Sir Hugh," Mr. Nibbs rejoined.
*' I would not interfere with your generous purpose, sir, if it
could profit Gage," Arthur observed ; " but this is merely a small
part of his liabilities. As you have seen, the house is full of his
194 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
creditors, and if lie is liberated from this person, he will be seized
by the others."
" That's true, Arthur," Gage replied. " I cannot accept Sir
Hugh's assistance. And let me tell you that the money you
so handsomely advanced me the other day at White's chocolate-
house will be repaid you by a friend."
"â Do not concern yourself about it," Arthur replied.
"We are losing time here," Mr. Nibbs said to the bailiflfs.
" Bring your prisoner along. Place him in a coach, and convey
him to the spunging-house in Chancery-lane."
" And is it come to this ! " Sir Hugh groaned. " Oh ! Gage,
it grieves me to the soul to see your father's son in such a dis-
graceful predicament. I would help you if I could â but, as
Arthur rightly says, it is impossible."
"If another day had been allowed me, this would not have
happened, Sir Hugh," the young man replied, as he quitted the
room in custody of the bailiffs.
By this time, the rest of the creditors had obtained admittance
to the house, and the large entrance-hall was crowded by them. On
seeing Gage, as he descended the staircase, with a bailiff on either
side, and closely followed by Nibbs, the whole party set up a furious
cry, and held up their bills to him, demanding instant payment.
It was no very pleasant thing, it must be owned, to run the gauntlet
of a pack of infuriated and disappointed creditors, and Gage vainly
endeavoured to mollify them by expressions of regret. His ex-
planations and apologies were treated with derision. The tumult
was at its highest, when all at once a diversion was made by the
entrance of Clare Fairlie and her father into the hall, and the
clamour partially ceased.
To meet Clare under circumstances so degrading to himself
aggravated Gage's distress almost beyond endurance. He was
covered with shame and confusion. His proud heart swelled
almost to bursting, and averting his gaze from her, he be-
sought the bailiffs to move on, and pass through the crowd
as quickly as possible. "Take me wherever you please," he cried.
"Only don't â for Heaven's sake â detain me here." But though
the officers were willing enough to comply with the request, it
could not be accomplished, owing to the pressure from the crowd,
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 195
who derived too much amusement from their victim's distress to let
him easily escape. Driven to desperation, Gage then tried to shake
off Craggs's grasp, and might have succeeded in getting free from
one bailiff, if the other had not lent his powerful aid to restrain
him. Pinioned by these two sturdy fellows, he was compelled to
At the head of the staircase stood Sir Hugh Poynings and
his son, by no means uninterested spectators of the scene. It