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feasible plan, proceeded to put it into execution. He had in the
warehouse some Government powder, and causing a keg of this to be
conveyed into his private office, he knocked out the head. He next
penned a note to Halsey, asking him to step down to the office "upon
important business;" adding in a postscript, "As I am liable to be
called out for a few moments at any time, in case you do not find me
in, please sit down and amuse yourself with the newspaper until I
return." He knew Halsey was at his counting-house, and would certainly
come if only to learn what signification a Government official
attached to the word "business." Then the Colonel procured a brief
candle and set it into the powder. His plan was to light the candle,
dispatch a porter with the message, and bolt for home. Having
completed his preparations, he leaned back in his easy chair and
smiled. He smiled a long time, and even achieved a chuckle. For the
first time in his life, he felt a serene sense of happiness in being
particularly wide awake. Then, without moving from his chair, he
ignited the taper, and put out his hand toward the bell-cord, to
summon the porter. At this stage of his vengeance the Colonel fell
into a tranquil and refreshing slumber.

* * * * *

There is nothing omitted here; that is merely the Colonel's present
address.

* * * * *




A TALE OF THE BOSPHORUS.


Pollimariar was the daughter of a Mussulman - she was, in fact, a
Mussulgirl. She lived at Stamboul, the name of which is an admirable
rhyme to what Pollimariar was profanely asserted to be by her two
sisters, Djainan and Djulya. These were very much older than
Pollimariar, and proportionately wicked. In wickedness they could
discount her, giving her the first innings.

The relations between Pollimariar and her sisters were in all respects
similar to those that existed between Cinderella and _her_ sisters.
Indeed, these big girls seldom read anything but the story of
Cinderella; and that work, no doubt, had its influence in forming
their character. They were always apparelling themselves in gaudy
dresses from Paris, and going away to balls, leaving their meritorious
little sister weeping at home in their every-day finery. Their father
was a commercial traveller, absent with his samples in Damascus most
of the time; and the poor girl had no one to protect her from the
outrage of exclusion from the parties to which she was not invited.
She fretted and chafed very much at first, but after forbearance
ceased to be a virtue it came rather natural to her to exercise a
patient endurance. But perceiving this was agreeable to her sisters
she abandoned it, devising a rare scheme of vengeance. She sent to the
"Levant Herald" the following "personal" advertisement:

"G.V. - Regent's Canal 10.30 p.m., Q.K.X. is O.K.! With coals at
48 sh-ll-ngs I cannot endure existence without you! Ask for
G-field St-ch. J.G. + ¶ pro rata. B-tty's N-bob P-ckles.
Oz-k-r-t! Meet me at the 'Turban and Scimitar,' Bebeck Road,
Thursday morning at three o'clock; blue cotton umbrella, wooden
shoes, and Ulster overskirt Polonaise all round the bottom.

One Who Wants to Know Yer."

The latter half of this contained the gist of the whole matter; the
other things were put in just to prevent the notice from being
conspicuously sensible. Next morning, when the Grand Vizier took up
his newspaper, he could not help knowing he was the person addressed;
and at the appointed hour he kept the tryst. What passed between them
the sequel will disclose, if I can think it out to suit me.

Soon afterwards Djainan and Djulya received cards of invitation to a
grand ball at the Sultan's palace, given to celebrate the arrival of a
choice lot of Circassian beauties in the market. The first thing the
wicked sisters did was to flourish these invitations triumphantly
before the eyes of Pollimariar, who declared she did not believe a
word of it; indeed, she professed such aggressive incredulity that she
had to be severely beaten. But she denied the invitations to the last.
She thought it was best to deny them.

The invitations stated that at the proper hour the old original
Sultana would call personally, and conduct the young ladies to the
palace; and she did so. They thought, at the time, she bore a striking
resemblance to a Grand Vizier with his beard shaven off, and this led
them into some desultory reflections upon the sin of nepotism and
family favour at Court; but, like all moral reflections, these came to
nothing. The old original Sultana's attire, also, was, with the
exception of a reticule and fan, conspicuously epicene; but, in a
country where popular notions of sex are somewhat confused, this
excited no surprise.

As the three marched off in stately array, poor little deserted
Pollimariar stood cowering at one side, with her fingers spread
loosely upon her eyes, weeping like - a crocodile. The Sultana said it
was late; they would have to make haste. She had not fetched a cab,
however, and a recent inundation of dogs very much impeded their
progress. By-and-by the dogs became shallower, but it was near eleven
o'clock before they arrived at the Sublime Porte - very old and fruity.
A janizary standing here split his visage to grin, but it was
surprising how quickly the Sultana had his head off.

Pretty soon afterwards they came to a low door, where the Sultana
whistled three times and kicked at the panels. It soon yielded,
disclosing two gigantic Nubian eunuchs, black as the ace of clubs,
who stared at first, but when shown a very cleverly-executed
signet-ring of paste, knocked their heads against the ground with
respectful violence. Then one of them consulted a thick book, and took
from a secret drawer two metal badges numbered 7,394 and 7,395, which
he fastened about the necks of the now frightened girls, who had just
observed that the Sultana had vanished. The numbers on the badges
showed that this would be a very crowded ball.

The other black now advanced with a measuring tape, and began gravely
measuring Djainan from head to heel. She ventured to ask the sable
guardian with what article of dress she was to be fitted.

"Bedad, thin, av ye must know," said he, grinning, "it is to be a
_sack_."

"What! a _sacque_ for a ball?"

"Indade, it's right ye are, mavourneen; it is fer a ball - fer a
cannon-ball - as will make yer purty body swim to the bothom nately as
ony shtone."

And the eunuch toyed lovingly with his measuring-tape, which the
wretched girls now observed was singularly like a bow-string.

"O, sister," shrieked Djainan, "this is - "

"O, sister," shrieked Djulya, "this is - "

"That horrid - "

"That horrid - "

_"Harem!"_

It was even so. A minute later the betrayed maidens were carried,
feet-foremost-and-fainting, through a particularly dirty portal, over
which gleamed the infernal legend: "Who enters here leaves soap
behind!" I wash my hands of them.

[Illustration]

Next morning the following "personal" appeared in the "Levant Herald:"

"P-ll-m-r-r. - All is over. The S-lt-n cleared his shelves of the old
stock at midnight. If you purchased the Circ-n B-ties with the money
I advanced, be sure you don't keep them too long on hand. Prices are
sure to fall when I have done buying for the H-r-m. Meet me at time
and place agreed upon, and divide profits. G - d V - r."

* * * * *




JOHN SMITH.

AN EDITORIAL ARTICLE FROM A JOURNAL. OF MAY 3rd, A.D. 3873.


At the quiet little village of Smithcester (the ancient London) will
be celebrated to-day the twentieth, centennial anniversary of this
remarkable man, the foremost figure of antiquity. The recurrence of
what, no longer than six centuries ago, was a popular _fête_ day, and
which even now is seldom allowed to pass without some recognition by
those to whom the word liberty means something more precious than
gold, is provocative of peculiar emotion. It matters little whether or
no tradition has correctly fixed the date of Smith's birth; that he
_was_ born - that being born he wrought nobly at the work his hand
found to do - that by the mere force of his intellect he established
our present perfect form of government, under which civilization has
attained its highest and ripest development - these are facts beside
which a mere question of chronology sinks into insignificance.

That this extraordinary man originated the Smitharchic system of
government is, perhaps, open to honest doubt; very possibly it had a
_de facto_ existence in various debased and uncertain shapes as early
as the sixteenth century. But that he cleared it of its overlying
errors and superstitions, gave it a definite form, and shaped it into
an intelligible scheme, there is the strongest evidence in the
fragments of twentieth-century literature that have descended to us,
disfigured though they are with amazingly contradictory statements of
his birth, parentage, and manner of life before he strode upon the
political stage as the liberator of mankind. It is stated that
Snakeshear - one of his contemporaries, a poet whose works had in their
day some reputation (though it is difficult to say why) - alludes to
him as "the noblest Roman of them all;" our ancestors at the time
being called Englishmen or Romans, indifferently. In the only fragment
of Snakeshear extant, however, we have been unable to find this
passage.

Smith's military power is amply attested in an ancient manuscript of
undoubted authenticity, which has just been translated from the
Japanese. It is an account of the water-battle of Loo, by an
eyewitness whose name, unfortunately, has not reached us. In this
battle it is stated that Smith overthrew the great Neapolitan general,
whom he captured and conveyed in chains to the island of Chickenhurst.

In his Political History of the Twentieth Century, the late
Mimble - or, as he would have been called in the time of which he
writes, _Mister_ Mimble - has this luminous sentence: "With the single
exception of Coblentz, there was no European government the Liberator
did not upset, and which he did not erect into a pure Smitharchy; and
though some of them afterward relapsed temporarily into the crude
forms of antiquity, and others fell into fanciful systems begotten of
the intellectual activity he had stirred up, yet so firmly did he
establish the principle, that in the Thirty-second Century the
enlightened world was, what it has since remained, practically
Smitharchic."

It may be noted here as a curious coincidence, that the same year
which saw the birth of him who established rational government
witnessed the death of him who perfected literature. In 1873, Martin
Farquhar Tupper - next to Smith the most notable name in history - died
of starvation in the streets of London. Like that of Smith, his origin
is wrapped in profoundest obscurity. No less than seven British cities
claimed the honour of his birth. Meagre indeed is our knowledge of
this only bard whose works have descended to us through the changes of
twenty centuries entire. All that is positively established is that
during his life he was editor of "The Times 'magazine,'" a word of
disputed meaning - and, as quaint old Dumbleshaw says, "an accomplished
Greek and Latin scholar," whatever "Greek" and "Latin" may have been.
Had Smith and Tupper been contemporaries, the iron deeds of the former
would doubtless have been immortalized in the golden pages of the
latter. Upon such chances does History depend for her materials!

Strangely unimpressible indeed must be the mind which, looking
backward through the vista of twenty centuries upon the singular race
from whom we are supposed to be descended, can repress a feeling of
emotional interest. The names of John Smith and Martin Farquhar
Tupper, blazoned upon the page of the dim past, and surrounded by the
lesser names of Snakeshear, the first Neapolitan, Oliver Cornwell,
Close, "Queen" Elizabeth, or Lambeth, the Dutch Bismarch, Julia Cæsar,
and a host of contemporary notables are singularly suggestive. They
call to mind the odd old custom of covering the body with "clothes;"
the curious error of Copernicus and other wide guesses of antique
"science;" the lost arts of telegramy, steam locomotion, and printing
with movable types; and the exploded theory of gunpowder. They set us
thinking upon the zealous idolatry which led men to make pious
pilgrimages to the then accessible regions about the North Pole and
into the interior of Africa, which at that time was but little better
than a wilderness. They conjure up visions of bloodthirsty "Emperors,"
tyrannical "Kings," vampire "Presidents," and useless
"Parliaments" - strangely horrible shapes contrasted with the serene
and benevolent aspect of our modern Smithocracy!

Let us to-day rejoice that the old order of things has for ever passed
away; let us be thankful that our lot has been cast in more wholesome
days than those in which John Smith chalked out the better destinies
of a savage race, and Tupper sang divine philosophy to inattentive
ears. And yet let us keep green the memory of whatever there was of
good - if any - in the dark pre-Smithian ages, when men cherished quaint
superstitions and rode on the backs of "horses" - when they passed
_over_ the seas instead of under them - when science had not yet dawned
to chase away the shadows of imagination - and when the cabalistic
letters A.D., which from habit we still affix to the numerals
designating the age of the world, had perhaps a known signification.

* * * * *




SUNDERED HEARTS.


Deidrick Schwackenheimer was a lusty young goatherd. He stood six feet
two in his _sabots_, and there was not an ounce of superfluous bone or
brain in his composition. If he had a fault, it was a tendency to
sleep more than was strictly necessary. The nature of his calling
fostered this weakness: after being turned into some neighbour's
pasture, his animals would not require looking after until the owner
of the soil turned them out again. Their guardian naturally devoted
the interval to slumber. Nor was there danger of oversleeping: the
pitchfork of the irate husbandman always roused him at the proper
moment.

At nightfall Deidrick would marshal his flock and drive it homeward to
the milking-yard. Here he was met by the fair young Katrina
Buttersprecht, the daughter of his employer, who relieved the tense
udders of their daily secretion. One evening after the milking,
Deidrick, who had for years been nourishing a secret passion for
Katrina, was smitten with an idea. Why should she not be his wife? He
went and fetched a stool into the yard, led her tenderly to it, seated
her, and _asked_ her why. The girl thought a moment, and then was at
some pains to explain. She was too young. Her old father required all
her care. Her little brother would cry. She was engaged to Max
Manglewurzzle. She amplified considerably, but these were the
essential points of objection. She set them before him _seriatim_ with
perfect frankness, and without mental reservation. When she had done,
her lover, with that instinctive sense of honour characteristic of the
true goatherd, made no attempt to alter her decision. Indeed, he had
nodded a heart-broken assent to each separate proposition, and at the
conclusion of the last was fast asleep. The next morning he jocundly
drove his goats afield and appeared the same as usual, except that he
slept a good deal more, and thought of Katrina a good deal less.

[Illustration]

That evening when he returned with his spraddling milch-nannies, he
found a second stool placed alongside the first. It was a happy
augury; his attentions, then, were not altogether distasteful. He
seated himself gravely upon the stool, and when Katrina had done
milking, she came and occupied the other. He mechanically renewed his
proposal. Then the artless maid proceeded to recapitulate the
obstacles to the union. She was too young. Her old father required all
her care. Her little brother would cry. She was engaged to Max
Manglewurzzle. As each objection was stated and told off on the
_fraülein's_ fingers, Deidrick nodded a resigned acquiescence, and at
the finish was fast asleep. Every evening after that Deidrick proposed
in perfect good faith, the girl repeated her objections with equal
candour, and they were received with somnolent approval. Love-making
is very agreeable, and by the usuage of long years it becomes a
confirmed habit. In less than a decade it became impossible for
Katrina to enjoy her supper without the regular proposal, and Deidrick
could not sleep of a night without the preliminary nap in the
goat-yard to taper off his wakefulness. Both would have been wretched
had they retired to bed with a shade of misunderstanding between them.

And so the seasons went by. The earth grayed and greened herself anew;
the planets sailed their appointed courses; the old goats died, and
their virtues were perpetuated in their offspring. Max Manglewurzzle
married the miller's daughter; Katrina's little brother, who would
have cried at her wedding, did not cry any at his own; the aged
Buttersprecht was long gathered to his fathers; and Katrina was
herself well stricken in years. And still at fall of night she defined
her position to the sleeping lover who had sought her hand - defined it
in the self-same terms as upon that eventful eve. The gossiping
_frauen_ began to whisper it would be a match; but it did not look
like it as yet. Slanderous tongues even asserted that it ought to have
been a match long ago, but I don't see how it could have been, without
the girl's consent. The parish clerk began to hanker after his fee;
but, lacking patience, he was unreasonable.

The whole countryside was now taking a deep interest in the affair.
The aged did not wish to die without beholding the consummation of the
love they had seen bud in their youth; and the young did not wish to
die at all. But no one liked to interfere; it was feared that counsel
to the woman would be rejected, and a thrashing to the man would be
misunderstood. At last the parson took heart of grace to make or mar
the match. Like a reckless gambler he staked his fee upon the cast of
a die. He went one day and removed the two stools - now worn extremely
thin - to another corner of the milking-yard.

That evening, when the distended udders had been duly despoiled, the
lovers repaired to their trysting-place. They opened their eyes a bit
to find the stools removed. They were tormented with a vague
presentiment of evil, and stood for some minutes irresolute; then,
assisted to a decision by their weakening knees, they seated
themselves flat upon the ground. Deidrick stammered a weak proposal,
and Katrina essayed an incoherent objection. But she trembled and
became unintelligible; and when he attempted to throw in a few nods of
generous approval they came in at the wrong places. With one accord
they arose and sought their stools. Katrina tried it again. She
succeeded in saying her father was over-young to marry, and Max
Manglewurzzle would cry if she took care of him. Deidrick executed a
reckless nod that made his neck snap, and was broad awake in a minute.
A second time they arose. They conveyed the stools back to their
primitive position, and began again. She remarked that her little
brother was too old to require all her care, and Max would cry to
marry her father. Deidrick addressed himself to sleep, but a horrid
nightmare galloped rough-shod into his repose and set him off with a
strangled snort. The good understanding between those two hearts was
for ever dissipated; neither one knew if the other were afoot or on
horseback. Like the sailor's thirtieth stroke with the rope's-end, it
was perfectly disgusting! Their meetings after this were so
embarrassing that they soon ceased meeting altogether. Katrina died
soon after, a miserable broken-spirited maiden of sixty; and Deidrick
drags out a wretched existence in a remote town, upon an income of
eight _silbergroschen_ a week.

Oh, friends and brethren, if you did but know how slight an act may
sunder for ever the bonds of love - how easily one may wreck the peace
of two faithful hearts - how almost without an effort the waters of
affection may be changed to gall and bitterness - I suspect you would
make even more more mischief than you do now.

* * * * *




THE EARLY HISTORY OF BATH.


Bladud was the eldest son of a British King (whose name I perfectly
remember, but do not choose to write) _temp_. Solomon - who does not
appear to have known Bladud, however. Bladud was, therefore, Prince of
Wales. He was more than that: he was a leper - had it very bad, and the
Court physician, Sir William Gull, frequently remarked that the
Prince's death was merely a question of time. When a man gets to that
stage of leprosy he does not care much for society, particularly if no
one will have anything to do with him. So Bladud bade a final adieu to
the world, and settled in Liverpool. But not agreeing with the
climate, he folded his tent into the shape of an Arab, as Longfellow
says, and silently stole away to the southward, bringing up in
Gloucestershire.

Here Bladud hired himself out to a farmer named Smith, as a
swineherd. But Fate, as he expressed it in the vernacular, was
"ferninst him." Leprosy is a contagious disease, within certain
degrees of consanguinity, and by riding his pigs afield he
communicated it to them; so that in a few weeks, barring the fact that
they were hogs, they were no better off than he. Mr. Smith was an
irritable old gentleman, so choleric he made his bondsmen
tremble - though he was now abroad upon his own recognizances. Dreading
his wrath, Bladud quitted his employ, without giving the usual week's
notice, but so far conforming to custom in other respects as to take
his master's pigs along with him.

We find him next at a place called Swainswick - or Swineswig - a mile or
two to the north-east of Bath, which, as yet, had no existence, its
site being occupied by a smooth level reach of white sand, or a stormy
pool of black water, travellers of the time disagree which. At
Swainswick Bladud found his level; throwing aside all such nonsense
as kingly ambition, and the amenities of civilized society - utterly
ignoring the deceitful pleasures of common sense - he contented his
simple soul with composing _bouts rimés_ for Lady Miller, at
Batheaston Villa; that one upon a buttered muffin, falsely ascribed by
Walpole to the Duchess of Northumberland, was really constructed by
Bladud.

A brief glance at the local history of the period cannot but prove
instructive. Ralph Allen was then residing at Sham Castle, where Pope
accused him of doing good like a thief in the night and blushing to
find it unpopular. Fielding was painfully evolving "Tom Jones" from an
inner consciousness that might have been improved by soap and any
water but that of Bath. Bishop Warburton had just shot the Count Du
Barré in a duel with Lord Chesterfield; and Beau Nash was disputing
with Dr. Johnson, at the Pelican Inn, Walcot, upon a question of
lexicographical etiquette. It is necessary to learn these things in
order the better to appreciate the interest of what follows.

During all this time Bladud never permitted his mind to permanently
desert his calling; he found family matters a congenial study, and he
thought of his swine a good deal, off and on. One day while baiting
them amongst the hills, he observed a cloud of steam ascending from
the valley below. Having always believed steam a modern invention,
this ancient was surprised, and when his measly charge set up a wild
squeal, rushing down a steep place into the aspiring vapour, his
astonishment ripened into dismay. As soon as he conveniently could
Bladud followed, and there he heard the saw - I mean he saw the herd
wallowing and floundering multitudinously in a hot spring, and
punctuating the silence of nature with grunts of quiet satisfaction,
as the leprosy left them and clave to the waters - to which it cleaves
yet. It is not probable the pigs went in there for a medicinal
purpose; how could they know? Any butcher will tell you that a pig,
after being assassinated, is invariably boiled to loosen the hair. By
long usage the custom of getting into hot water has become a habit
which the living pig inherits from the dead pork. (See Herbert Spencer
on "Heredity.")

Now Bladud (who is said to have studied at Athens, as most Britons of
his time did) was a rigid disciple of Bishop Butler; and Butler's line


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