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LI E> RARY

OF THE

UNIVERSITY

Of ILLINOIS

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Digitized by the Internet Archive

in'2009 with funding from

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign



nttp://www.archive.org/details/rapeofgamporwona02maso



N



THE KAPE OF THE GAMP;



OR,

WON AT LAST!



^ ^ovd.



BY



C. WELSH-MASOX, B.A., Cam.



IN THREE VOLUMES.
YOL. II.



LONDON :

SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON, LOW & SEARLE,

CROWN BUILDINGS, 188, FLEET STREET.

1875.

(All rights rtserctd.)



LONDON'

PUlMKn iJY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SOSS,

5TAMF0UD STBEET AKI) CHAUING (JMUSb.



5^^ 3



CONTENTS OF VOL. II.



CHAPTER



I. De Gustibus xon est Disputandum 1

II. Sparring -^

III. Looking Nice

IV. Popery

V. Le YoLEUR CHEZ LUI 13*

YI. A Masked Battery 1*3

YII. Biter Bit 1^^

YIII. Oruna



1 1
103

7
8
221



WON AT LAST!



CHAPTEK I.

DE GUSTIBUS NON EST DISPUTANDUM.

As became the fatnre head of a firm of old
and fair repute, and also of a family whose
respectability was a gem of the purest
water, Frank Browne kept a watchful eye
upon himseK and his acquaintances. His
regard for Mr. Lane, though as sincere
as yours or mine might have been, was
nevertheless subject to the surveillance
of this orb. That Hubert was making
rapid progress under Mr. Lane's tuition,

VOL. II. B



2 WON AT LAST !

and becoming manful under the influence
of his friendship, Frank saw. Nor did
he fail to observe that by these means
his youngest brother would be able
better to advance his own interests in
hfe, and would avoid any serious risk
of becoming a charge upon the firm,
whereas upon this very object, poor
Frank had had grave fears three years
before. That Mr. Lane, without any
vulgar egotism or self-assertion, caused
himself to be respected wherever he
went, Frank also saw, and felt that the
acquaintance redounded to his own
credit. The old saw, ^^Noscitur ex sociis,"
never wears out. Mr. Lane, admired and
desired by women and men, poor and
rich, clerical and military, young and
old, led Frank by the arm into a current
of popular air. ^'We always thought
that young man had nothing in him^''
an old lady of Pedhngton would remark.



DE GUSTIBUS NON EST DISPUTAOT)UM. 3

figuratively; ''but Mr. Lane could never
put up with Ms society if it were so.
Evidently young Mr. Browne was not
appreciated in Hs own family, and
rejoices at the opportunity of intercourse
with a kindred spirit." "A master
spirit, I should say, my dear Mrs. Joy,"
suggested another matron. " The spirit
of a master, at any rate," facetiously
rejoined the first speaker. From which
the social axiom may be deduced (Parce,
precor, magistri,) that ladies httle know
upon what masculine friendships depend.
Moreover, even in the charmed circle
of the Maison Browne, where the blind
little god fluttered with felonious intent
in the gauzy curtains, as they rippled
like a silvery waterfall in the summer
breeze, or lurked (in winter) about and
among the substantial comforts of well-
carpeted rooms, darkened by the heavy
folds of crimson drapery, but ht with



4 WON AT LAST !

that joyous, homely blaze which makes
an EngHsh home a temple, and an
Enghsh hearth an altar to the gods —
even here Mr. Lane was never suspected
of a suspicion of flirtation. Wherefore
Frank reckoned him a safe friend for a
man with good-looking sisters in a scan-
dalous, radical borough like Pedlington.
And then the fact was not to be hastily
rejected by a prudent calculator, that
men who do not flirt usually do marry
sooner or later. Janet, beyond a doubt,
with her face and fortune, might do
better than marry Mr. Lane. Indeed,
there was no marriage so high in the
social scale as to be absolutely inac-
cessible to Janet, though for his part
Frank thought Nellie a very hving and
and breathing impersonation of Psyche,
and far superior in mere beauty to her
more fortunate sister. Yet, on the other
hand, Janet, with her romantic, wilful



DE GUSTIBUS XON EST DISPUTANDUM. 5

disposition, might form some prepos-
terous attacliment, and do mnch. worse,
both for herself and for Frank, than
to marry his honest friend. Fuller
evidently knew the secret of Lane's
parentage, and declared him to be " well
connected." This tahsmanic phrase
counted for much with Frank. Captain
Fuller himself belonging to a county
family in Oxfordshire, being himself the
head of his own branch of that family,
and speaking of a man as '' well con-
nected," gave that man, so to speak, a
patent of nobihty. Frank knew too
well that the same expression would not
have been apphed to him in the same
quarter, and never would be unless he
should marry into an aristocratic circle ;
and even in such a case the term would
strictly only apply to his children, and
revert to him incidentally. And yet his
father's brother was a squire, a small



6 WON AT LAST !

squire of a small parish, and less than
his ancestors, the race in its descent
having become *^ small by degrees and
gradually less." But the blot on the
escutcheon was that the uncle, who
intervened between Uncle Kobert, the
squire, and Walter Browne, Esq., the
sohcitor, had become a tradesman ; and
Alderman Theodore Browne, the pre-
sumptive heir to the estate, actually

kept a tea warehouse somewhere in
those regions dehcately intimated in
pohte circles by the initial letters E.G.
More than this, the tea shop kept him,
and very handsomely too. Indeed, this
man was in reahty a far more important
person than either the squire or the
lawyer, was governor of this institution,
chairman of that, and freeman of another.
He wore '^a brass chandeher- chain and no
end of ridiculous long toggery " (as Frank
Browne described it) on state occasions ;



DE GUSTIBUS NON EST DISPUTANDUM. 7

yet his nephew's Yigilant eye grew dim
with vain regret as he reflected upon this
wrong done to his house.

^*Why can't that fellow Lane," he
thought indignantly, ''utihze his con-
nections ? What is the use of a man
really having a clean 'scutcheon, and
money in the background too, as Fuller
says, unless he makes use of it ? Why
not make his sublime relations fork out ?
I would, in double quick time." (Alas !
for Frank's sagacity, Mr. Lane had only
one relative in the world ; and she was
not far off.) " Or why cannot he," con-
tinued Frank, still wasting the sweetness
of his wisdom, ^^ enter at one of the Inns
at once, and keep his terms, without
muddhng away time over another uni-
versity degree ? Surely he has foreign
degrees {and things) enough ! What is
the good of all those degrees ? I can't
see that Alfred was any the better for



8 WON AT LAST !

his, except that he assumed a kind of
academic or pedantic superiority to all
of us, and would scarcely open his mouth
for fear we should not understand what
he said. The poor old fellow once did
me the honour to call me a mere
mechanical screw. Now Lane, I must
admit, is not a prig or a pedant, hut if
he goes on at this rate, he will he forty
hefore he ever sees a hrief. Why, he
must he hard upon thirty now. I am
eight- and-twenty, and he seems much
older than I am; while Janet is only
eighteen. Oh yes, she is nineteen though,
and Nelly eighteen. These rehgious men
are always as proud as Lucifer. Either
his people have offended him, or he has
offended them ; and neither he nor they
will give in (if they're pious too) till
the crack of doom, and not then. I hate
such folly. Why can't he he a sensihle
fellow, and avail himself of his oppor-



. DE GUSTIBUS NON EST DISPUTANDUM. 9

tunities ? Splendid chances ! I would
back him through thick and thin. I
can tell you what, B. (what Christian
name can B. stand for?) — B. Lane, Esq.,
of Bonn and Gottingen, B.L., D.C.L.,
and Ph.D. (whatever that may he), it
is not every ugly, grim, red-headed
fellow who gets such a chance as I
more than suspect you have got."

These calculations and musings of
Frank were the burden of similar musings
and calculations which passed through
his mind at various times on the subject
of his new fiiend. With Frank, feeling
and calculation always went hand in
hand, or rather, we should say, that
from long habit, feeling had become
subservient to interest, and that he
never allowed free scope to the former
without carefully considering its relation
to the latter. For example, it is incum-
bent upon this chronicler, with an eye



10 WON AT LAST !

to veracity, to admit that Frank Browne
hated his brother Albert, yet not with
that mahgnant hatred which would
prompt a Mexican to use his stiletto,
or a Japanese to meditate upon a " happy
despatch," but with a genteel and even
domestic kind of hatred, knowing that
Albert would be, if absent, a permanent
charge of two hundred a year on the
profits of the fii'm. But Albert having
the privilege of drawing two hundred
net, or drawing one hundred and living
at home, was counselled by Frank to
adopt the latter course. This saved
nearly seventy pounds a year, adding
the value of Albert's services to the
difference between the actual cost of
his maintenance and the hundred pounds
which he annually resigned, for what
he facetiously termed ^^ the amenities
of home." Again, Mr. Browne had
insured his life heavily in favour of Mrs.



DE GUSTIBUS NON EST DISPUTAOT)UM. 11

Browne, tlms by special agreement secur-
ing to her, in the event of his death, an
annuity for hie, in which he directed
that Joan (if still unmarried) should
participate. But as this latter provision
would, in any case, terminate with Mrs.
Browne's Hfe, it was still probable that
sister Joan would be returned upon the
hands of the finn. Pretty Nelly was a
charge upon the same devoted enterprise
of eighty pounds a year till manied, and
of fifty pounds a year for life after mar-
riage. For tying up all which charges
securely Frank entertained a hearty
detestation of his respectable papa, and
thought this feeling was based upon a
sense of injustice done to himself. To
persons of a more excitable temperament
it must remain a mystery how the father
and son could have dwelt together under
the same roof. Yet they did so, had done
so, and intended to do so until death



12 WON AT LAST !

should them part. Frank, however, took
some credit to himself for not wishing to
hasten that consummation. Talking to
Mr. Lane one evening about the old
parish church, and the changes which the
new rector had introduced, he said, '' One
comfort is, that now the choir will make
such a row it will be immaterial whether
any one miserable sinner responds or not.
Some fellows think it necessary to repeat
all the responses, like a parish clerk; I
don't."

^^ I do," briefly rejoined Mr. Lane.

** Well," continued Frank, *' there's no
accounting for tastes. But how, my dear
fellow, can I say that '^ the burden of my
sins is intolerable," when they don't
bother me haK as much as one new Act ?
and I have to bear them the best way I
can, eternally. Or how can I honestly
call myself ^' a miserable sinner," when I
never even wish to brain the Governor ? —
and he has used me shamefully."



DE GUSTIBUS NON EST DISPUTANDUM. 13

Mr. Lane gently suggested that the
value of these phrases was relative, and
that a lofty ideal of virtue induced a
somewhat depreciatory view of one's own
merits.

*' If I had my own way with the
Liturgy," said Frank, "I should adopt
some expressions a httle more consistent
with self-respect."

But Frank would scarcely have hated
his father so cordially had it not been for
that sore about his work. Mr. Browne
had thought proper to bind Frank to
certain payments after his. death, in part
because he chose not to cui-tail his estab-
hshment while his daughters were of
marriageable age, and partly because, as
the price of his admission to the firm,
Frank would be duly called upon to make
such payments. But Frank knew that
his father had no wish to impoverish him
by these charges, nor to reduce the firm



14 WON AT LAST !

to a lower rank in the rising generation.
On the contrary, this very prospect
sonred the old Tory against the yonng
Tory, the latter declaring that the Board
of Guardians, and the Turnpike Trust,
and the Commissioners of all sorts of
local institutions were a parcel of un-
blessed Kadicals, and that he would chuck
their clerkships into the gutter. It far-
ther leaked out that an aspiring young
solicitor of contraband prochvities had
been making interest among the Justices
of the Peace for the reversion of their
clerkship, which office Mr. Browne,
senior, considered the crowning glory of
his professional career, and was naturally
anxious to secure for his son after him.
Frank had heard of this mine, and had
neglected to countermine, the truth being
that he disHked all these clerkships, and
thought that he saw his way so to in-
crease the office-work as to be indepen-



DE GUSTIBUS NON EST DISPDTANDUM. 15

dent of them. But why should he exert
himseK to do so during his father's Hfe-
time ? "I am only to have two hundred
pounds a year till he dies," Frank would
say to a particular friend who was calmly
endeavouring to reason him into a more
filial state of mind on this suhject. *^ And
what would be the use of my making
money for him to put by for Albert, who
will end by eloping with a scullery-maid
and marrying her, and having nineteen
children with hare-hps and no roofs to
their mouths? "

But Frank extended his animosities no
further. Perhaps he thought Joan a fool
not to have married and got off his hands
(prospectively) when she had her chance,
and perhaps he despised her accordingly.
He also thought his mother weak for
conspiring with his father against him.
But, for that matter, his opinion was that
a wife should side with her husband in all



16 WON AT LAST !

things (his wrong heing right for her) ;
and Frank resolved that whenever he
took a wife, that devoted lady should
perform such a duty to him.

Eobert, the soldier, was already com-
fortably provided for ; Mr. Browne's elder
brother, the territorial head of the
family, having charged his paternal acres
with an annuity of two hundred pounds
a year for his military nephew. And
though Hubert was an expense and a
present burden on the finances of the
house, yet Frank more than suspected
that his father had a private purse laid
aside for starting that young gentleman
in life, so careful had the good man
always proved himseK to leave his house
in order if he should be called away.
Moreover, Frank was proud of the boy,
and liked him; for Hubert was bashful,
ingenuous, and brave, and excellent in all
the athletic sports of youth. To what



DE GUSTIBUS NON EST DISPUTANDUM. 17

extent Frank's generosity might have
endowed his younger brother is doubtful ;
but, if necessary, he certainly would have
played the elder brother's part with some
degree of beneficence and with con-
scious pride.

Nelly, too, was a permanent entry in
Frank's good books. When he could
spare the time, he was almost always
pleased to take her where she would ; for
was she not both ladylike and beautiful ?
And was he not in some measure her
patron and guardian ? Yet he would
caution her sagely, after one of her
innocent skirmishes with the ruder sex,
in which she invariably fought single-
handed against odds.

*' You shouldn't have too many fellows
about you, my Nelly," he would sa}^ to
her. ^^ It keeps the best sort of fellows
at a distance, and will make all the
women mad if you don't drop it. That

VOL. TI. c



18 WON AT LAST !

sort of thing is very well for a debutante
for the first few months, as long as it's
the fashion for every one to pet her. But
you must pitch half of them overhoard
now. Depend upon it, a girl who goes
about like a comet, with a ridiculous long
train of idiots, will never get a berth
among the stars."

'' Pray interpret, Mr. Oracle," says
Nelly, demurely.

'^ I mean, dear, that a woman without
birth or fortune who encourages more
than one admirer at a time has very little
chance of being bien vue in good society."

Perhaps Frank's pronunciation of the
vue is not strictly Parisian. Perhaps his
sister desires a Httle reprisal.

^^ Bien who?" she asks innocently.
^^ Bien vousV What does it mean,
Msieu' Mentor 1 "

'' Oh, if you want lessons in colloquial
French, you had better send for our
linguist," Frank retorts.



DE GUSTIBUS NON EST DISPUTANDUM. 19

** I will tell Mr. Lane what you say.
See if I don't," Nelly rejoins. ''I am
sure he does not regard me in the hght
of a comet."

'^If all the men were like Lane,
my dear," Frank adds, "it would not
matter so much. But some fellows have
no dignity or reticence. If a pretty girl
smiles upon them, they fancy they have
made a conquest, and go and prattle
about it. Then other girls get hold of
the story and set up a scream of horror ;
being deadly jealous because their own
smiles don't tell. Then a lot of old cats
(and pottering old men who are no better)
take up the cry, until the poor girl's
name and fame are caterwauled over half
the house-tops in the town."

But taking all things into consider-
ation, Frank's fraternal affection inclined
most towards Janet. She would never
cost him a shilling : that was clear.



20 WON AT LAST !

Again, she would probably marry, and
might happen to have no children, and
to leave her money to his. At soma
future time she would probably take Joan
off his hands, or even Nelly, if that little
luminary should come to grief among the
pitiless stars. A hundred things might
happen. And in that other respectj
Janet was no comet. If she was a Httle
too reserved with women, at least she
held her own among men. No jackass
could boast of her favour. Indeed, Frank
had been much puzzled at her jpoco
cur ante social airs, and at the absolute
indifference with which she met the ad-
vances of her admirers, until he began
to suspect her covert preference for his
saturnine friend. At first, too, he only
reckoned that a girhsh freak, and thought,
shrewdly enough, that her wish to be
admired or noticed by Mr. Lane was
evanescent, and provoked by his apparent



DE GUSTIBUS NON EST DISPUTANDUM. '21

unconsciousness of her charms. How-
ever that might be, Janet's manner was
very nice, and quite up to Frank's ideal.
Some persons objected to her silent habit,
and set it down variously to pride, shy-
ness, or stupidity. But Frank liked it.
He objected to a woman who was " all
jaw, like a sheep's head" (his own ex-
pression for feminine elocution), and de-
clared with emphasis that the highest
gift the gods could bestow on a girl
already endowed with beauty was the art
of saying Httle, but saying that Httle
gracefully. And then Janet made a rule
of only dancing once with the same man
at a ball, though not seldom hardly
pressed to yield a point in favour of some
champion in scarlet and gold, or some
swell in the civil costume of a waiter.
This being evident, and indeed ob\dous,
excited the T\Tath of faded wallflowers,
and Frank saw that if she had been less



22 WON AT LAST !

circumspect tongues would wag about
her. Besides which, in any social diffi-
culty she always appealed to Frank, and
never disputed his sentence. She re-
spected his opinion and enjoyed his little
jokes, often slyly inventing an occasion
for him to repeat the latter. At any
moment she would pop on her tiny
thimble and deftly mend his gloves.
Jouvin hadn't a girl in his factory who
could touch her. Every Monday she
attended to the buttons on his shirts,
which services seemed rather to be a
pleasure than a burden to her. On one
occasion she actually proposed to darn
his socks ; but that he forbade. He
wouldn't have her delicacy of touch and
handhng degraded to such mechanic
drudgery. Happy Frank ! Here and
there a husband would exchange his
wife for such a sister.

** A gem of sisters you are, my Janet,"



DE GUSTEBUS NON EST DISPUTANDUM. 23

he would say to her. " I wonder what
sort of a wife you'll make ? "

And once only she answered (and
Frank, passing languidly to another sub-
ject, still pondered on the answer), "That
depends upon whether I get my hushaiid
or no."

^^ My husband'' Frank repeats in so-
liloquy later in the day. ' ' And by that
you mean Joan's Bete-noir, Vavii de noire
maison, my Veiled Prophet of Gottingen,
and by Zeus (if I remember aright, he
presided over fiiendship), the only man I
ever knew worthy of the name of friend.
I am not quite a Yicar's Moses, but
I could trust Lane if he had got into
the centre of a maze, and very few
other men I know round a corner, i.e. if
their opportunity jumped T\ith their
desire, and no fear of consequences
impended."

Aj^res le bal. The Tuesday morning



24 WON AT LAST !

has arrived, the languid, washed-out, limp,
pallid November morning, when (as the
Reverend Melanchthon Marmaduke ele-
gantly expresses his dolorous sentiments
on this subject) — ^when '^the jaded vota-
ries of Terpsichore silently regret those
nocturnal excesses amidst which they
have pandered to the World, the Flesh,
and the Devil." Our penitent votaries
have indeed submitted to the filial pen-
ance, and eaten a more or less hearty
breakfast at 8.45 a.m. They have apolo-
gised to their guest. Miss Philadelphia
Lyte, for that pandering to the Powers of
Evil on the very evening of her arrival.
They have explained to her that it was
the first of the three great '' Hunt Balls "
of the season, from which no fair Pedling-
tonian dares to absent herself, under
penalty of omission from the future list.
She has graciously condoned their ofi'ence,
with a sly remark that the first ball was



DE GUSTIBUS NON EST DISPUTAXDUM. 25

dedicated in all probability only to the
world, the second and third to the flesh
and that person in black. Moreover, that
the Pedlingtonian huntsmen used in her
day to understand the conditions of a
successful ball far too well to strike out
such pretty names as those of Janet and
Nelly Browne. And poor Frank is now —
for business must be attended to — sitting
before his mirror, making his office toilet
in his dressing-room, when he sees the
reflection of Janet's face, somewhat
sad, above his own in the mirror. But
this Adonis imperturbably continues the
disposition of his neck-tie. If the reflec-
tion were (supposing such a thing pos-
sible) that of a disembodied sire, his
languid utterance would neither fail nor
falter.

'' Dropped a shilling and picked up six-
pence, Janet ? " he calmly inquires.

A httle fleeting smile passes over the



26 WON AT LAST !

reflection of Janet's face, leaving gloom
as before.

" Ee — aw ! " cries Frank, playfully
drawing the first note in a shrill falsetto
from the recesses of his stomach, and
bawling out the second in a bronchial
bass, at the same time drawing a linen
cloth round his neck and shoulders, and
beginning to operate on his scanty locks
with a pair of ivory-backed hair-brushes.

''I wish you wouldn't," pleads a voice
behind him, in a tone half of petulant
anger, half amusement.

"Ah, but, my dear," urges Frank,
wilfully misunderstanding her — '' ah, but,
my dear, if my hair were in the smallest
degree dishevelled, or not quite ambrosial,
we should lose the only client we have
left. And then what would become of
Sister, and Nelly, and Berty ? "

''Don't be redic'lous," retorts Janet,
with difficulty suppressing a laugh.



DE GUSTIBUS NON EST DISPUTANDUM. 27

" Stoopid ball, was it not ? "' Frank
asks, as she gives him the lead.

^' Odious I " she replies vdili energy.
"Odious! What did you try to make
Mr. Martin tipsy for ? "

" I ? " exclaims Frank, in a tone of
grievous injury. "It was Fuller. The
ruffian ! And then made me ashamed to
be seen with him by laughing in that
uproarious maimer."

"Z didn't see anything to laugh at,"
says Janet.

"Nor did I," Frank quietly adds, still
plying the elegant hair-brushes.

" Then why did you go on like that ? "
Janet inquires.

By way of answer Frank throws up his
chin in a most asinine manner, and again
cries, " Ee — aw!" so irresistibly that
Janet fairly laughs against her will, and
blushes delightfully. She knows that
this bray is understood to be an imita-



28 WON AT last!

tion of Martin's laugh. And Martin,
though only nineteen years of age, is an
elegant young man, an only son, and is
devoted to Janet.

Frank now turns his chair half round
(it turns upon a screw, hke a Sybarite's
music-stool), and devotes considerable
attention to his finger-nails, which he
trims with an instrument of ivory. Look-
ing up at Janet for a moment, quite


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