William Makepeace Thackeray.

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swamped, for the boat was not above three feet long ;
and I was astonished at his dwelling in the cottage too ;
for though a two-storied one, it was not above five feet
high ; and I am sure the fisherman was six feet without
his shoes.

As he was standing at the door of his cot, looking at
some young persons of the neighbourhood who were
dancing a reel, a scream was heard, as issuing from the
neighbouring forest, and a lady with dishevelled hair, and
a beautiful infant in her hand, rushed in. What meant
that scream ? We were longing to know, but the
gallery insisted on the reel over again, and the poor
injured lady had to wait until the dance was done before
she could explain her unfortunate case.

It was briefly this : she was no other than Adela,
Countess of Glencairn ; the boy in her hand was Glen-
cairn's only child ; three years since her gallant husband
had fallen in fight, or, worse still, by the hand of the

He had left a brother, Clanronald. What was the
conduct of that surviving relative ? Was it fraternal to-
wards the widowed Adela ? Was it avuncular to the
orphan boy ? Ah, no ! For three years he had locked
her up in his castle, under pretence that she was mad,
pursuing her all the while with his odious addresses.
But she loathed his suit ; and refusing to become Mrs.
(or Lady) Clanronald, took this opportunity to escape
and fling herself on the protection of the loyal vassals of
her lord.

She had hardly told her pathetic tale when voices
were heard without. Cries of * Follow, follow ! ' re-
sounded through the wild wood ; the gentlemen and
ladies engaged in the reel fled, and the Countess and her
child, stepping into the skiff, disappeared down a slope,


to the rage and disappointment of Clanronald, who now
arrived a savage-loolcing nobleman indeed ! and followed
by two ruffians of most ferocious aspect, and having in
their girdles a pair of those little notchy dumpy swords,
with round iron hilts to guard the knuckles, by which I
knew that a combat would probably take place ere long.
And the result proved that I was right.

Flying along the wild margent of the sea, in the next
act, the poor Adela was pursued by Clanronald ; but
though she jumped into the waves to avoid him, the un-
happy lady was rescued from the briny element, and
carried back to her prison ; Clanronald swearing a
dreadful oath that she should marry him that very day.

He meanwhile gave orders to his two ruffians,
Murdoch and Hamish, to pursue the little boy into the
wood, and there there murder him.

But there is always a power in melodramas that
watches over innocence j and these two wretched ones
were protected by THE WARLOCK OF THE GLEN.

All through their misfortunes, this mysterious being
watched them with a tender interest. When the two
ruffians were about to murder the child, he and the
fisherman rescued him their battle-swords (after a
brief combat of four) sank powerless before his wizard
staff, and they fled in terror.

Haste we to the Castle of Glencairn. What cere-
mony is about to take place ? What has assembled those
two noblemen, and those three ladies in calico trains ?
A marriage ! But what a union ! The Lady Adela is
dragged to the chapel-door by the truculent Clanronald.
4 Lady,' he says, * you are mine. Resistance is unavail-
ing. Submit with good grace. Henceforth, what
power on earth can separate you from me ? '

1 MINE CAN,' cries the Warlock of the Glen, rushing
in. ' Tyrant, and assassin of thy brother ! know that
Glencairn Glencairn, thy brother and lord, whom thy
bravos were commissioned to slay know that, for three


years, a solemn vow (sworn to the villain that spared his
life, and expired yesterday) bound him never to reveal his
existence know that he is near at hand ; and repent,
while yet there is time.'

The Lady Adela's emotion may be guessed when she
heard this news ; but Clanronald received it with con-
temptuous scepticism. 'And where is this dead man
come alive ? ' laughed he.

' HE is HERE,' shouted the Warlock of the Glen ; and
to fling away his staff to dash off his sham beard and
black gown to appear in a red dress, with tights and
yellow boots, as became Glencairn's Earl was the work
of a moment. The Countess recognised him with a
scream of joy. Clanronald retired, led off by two
soldiers; and the joy of the Earl and Countess was
completed by the arrival of their only son (a clever little
girl of the Hebrew persuasion) in the arms of the fisher-

The curtain fell on this happy scene. The fiddlers
had ere this disappeared. The ginger-beer boy went
home to a virtuous family that was probably looking
out for him. The respectable family in the boxes went
off in a fly. The little audience spread abroad, and
were lost in the labyrinths of the city. The lamps of
the Theatre Royal were extinguished : and all all was


(From the DeviFs Dyke]

WHEN the exultant and long-eared animal described in
the fable revelled madly in the frog-pond, dashing about
his tail and hoof among the unfortunate inhabitants of


that piece of water, it is stated that the frogs remon-
strated, exclaiming, * Why, O donlcey, do you come kick-
ing about in our habitation ? It may be good fun to you
to lash out, and plunge, and kick in this absurd manner,
but it is death to us : ' on which the good-natured
quadruped agreed to discontinue his gambols ; and left
the frogs to bury their dead and rest henceforth undis-
turbed in their pool.

The inhabitants of Brighton are the frogs and I dare
say they will agree as to the applicability of the rest of
the simile. It might be good fun to me to ' mark their
manners, and their ways survey'; but could it be alto-
gether agreeable to them ? I am sorry to confess it has
not proved so, having received at least three hundred
letters of pathetic remonstrance, furious complaint,
angry swagger, and threatening omens, entreating me
to leave the Brightonians alone. The lodging-house
keepers are up in arms. Mrs. Screw says she never let
her lodgings at a guinea a day, and invites me to occupy
her drawing and bed-room for five guineas a week. Mr.
Squeezer swears that a guinea a day is an atrocious
calumny : he would turn his wife, his children, and his
bed-ridden mother-in-law out of doors if he could get
such a sum for the rooms they occupy (but this, I sus-
pect, is a pretext of Squeezer's to get rid of his mother-
in-law, in which project I wish him luck). Mrs. Slop
hopes she may never again cut a slice out of a lodger's
joint (the cannibal !) if she won't be ready at the most
crowdidest of seasons to let her first-floor for six pounds ;
and, finally, Mr. Skiver writes : 'Sir, Your ill-advised
publication has passed like a whirlwind over the lodging-
houses of Brighton. You have rendered our families
desolate, and prematurely closed our season. As you
have destroyed the lodging-houses, couldn't you, now,
walk into the boarding-houses, and say a kind word to
ruin the hotels?'

And is it so ? Is the power of the Commissioner's


eye so fatal that it withers the object on which it falls ?
Is the condition of his life so dreadful that he destroys
all whom he conies near ? Have I made a post-boy
wretched five thousand lodging-house keepers furious
twenty thousand Jews unhappy ? If so, and I really
possess a power so terrible, I had best come out in the
tragic line.

I went, pursuant to orders, to the Swiss Cottage, at
Shoreham, where the first object that struck my eye was

the scene above, in the green lake there, which I am
credibly informed is made of pea-soup : two honest girls
were rowing about their friend on this enchanting
water. There was a cloudless sky overhead rich treats
were advertised for the six frequenters of the gardens ; a
variety of entertainments was announced in the Hall of
Amusement Mr. and Mrs. Aminadab (here, too, the



Hebrews have penetrated) were advertised as about to sing
some of their most favourite comic songs, and

But no y I will not describe the place. Why should
my fatal glance bring a curse upon it ? The pea-soup
lake would dry up leaving its bed a vacant tureen
the leaves would drop from the scorched trees the
pretty flowers would wither and fade the rockets would
not rise at night, nor the rebel wheels go round the
money-taker at the door would grow mouldy and die in
his moss-grown and deserted cell Aminadab would lose
his engagement. Why should these things be, and this
ruin occur ? James ! pack the portmanteau and tell the
landlord to bring the bill ; order horses immediately
this day I will quit Brighton.

Other appalling facts have come to notice ; all
showing more or less the excitement created by my

The officers of the i5Oth Dragoons, accused of look-
ing handsome, solemn, and stupid, have had a meeting
in the messroom, where the two final epithets have been
rescinded in a string of resolutions.

But it is the poor yellow-breeched postillion who has
most suffered. When the description of him came out,
crowds flocked to see him. He was mobbed all the way
down the Cliff; wherever he drove his little phaeton,
people laughed, and pointed with the finger and said,
* That is he.' The poor child was thus made the
subject of public laughter by my interference and what
has been the consequence ? In order to disguise him as
much as possible, his master has bought him a hat.

The children of Israel are in a fury too. They do
not like to ride in flys, since my masterly description of
them a fortnight since. They are giving up their houses
daily. You read in the Brighton papers, among the

departures, * Nebuzaradan, Esquire, and family for

London;* or, * Solomon Ramothgilead, Esquire, has
quitted his mansion in Marine Crescent ; circumstances

BRIGHTON IN 1847 319

having induced him to shorten his stay among us ; ' and
so on. The people emigrate by hundreds ; they can't
bear to be made the object of remark in the public
walks and drives and they are flying from a city of
which they might have made a new Jerusalem.




HAVE the kindness, my dear Pugsby, to despatch me a
line when they have done painting the smoking-room at
the Megatherium, that I may come back to town.
After suffering as we have all the year, not so much
from the bad ventilation of the room, as from the
suffocating dulness of Wheezer, Snoozer, and Whiffler,
who frequent it, I had hoped for quiet by the seashore
here, and that our three abominable acquaintances had
quitted England.

I had scarcely been ten minutes in the place, my ever-
dear Pugsby, when I met old Snoozer walking with
young De Bosky, of the Tatters-and-Starvation Club,
on the opposite side of our square, and ogling the girls
on the Cliff, the old wretch, as if he had not a wife and
half-a-dozen daughters of his own in Pocklington Square.
He hooked on to my arm as if he had been the Old Man
of the Sea, and I found myself introduced to young De
Bosky, a man whom I have carefully avoided as an
odious and disreputable tiger, the tuft on whose chin has
been always particularly disagreeable to me, and who is
besides a Captain, or Commodore, or some such thing,
in the Bundelcund Cavalry. The clink and glitter of


his spurs is perfectly abominable : he is screwed so tight
in his waistband that I wish it could render him speech-
less (for when he does speak he is so stupid that he sends
you to sleep while actually walking with him) ; and as
for his chest, which he bulges out against the shoulders
of all the passers-by, I am sure that he carries a part of
his wardrobe in it, and that he is wadded with stockings
and linen as if he were a walking carpet-bag.

This fellow saluted two-thirds of the carriages which
passed with a knowing nod, and a military swagger so
arrogant, that I feel continually the greatest desire to
throttle him.

Well, sir, before we had got from the Tepid
Swimming Bath to Mutton's the pastrycook's, whom
should we meet but Wheezer, to be sure. Wheezer
driving up and down the Cliff at half-a-crown an hour,
with his hideous family, Mrs. Wheezer, the Miss
Wheezers in fur tippets and drawn bonnets with spring
flowers in them, a huddle and squeeze of little Wheezers
sprawling and struggling on the back seat of the
carriage, and that horrible boy whom Wheezer brings
to the Club sometimes, actually seated on the box of
the fly, and ready to drive, if the coachman should be
intoxicated or inclined to relinquish his duty.

Wheezer sprang out of the vehicle with a cordiality
that made me shudder. * Hullo, my boy!' said he,
seizing my trembling hand. * What ! you here ? Hang
me if the whole Club isn't here. I'm at 56 Horse
Marine Parade. Where are you lodging ? We're out
for a holiday, and will make a jolly time of it.'

The benighted, the conceited old wretch ! He
would not let go my hand until I told him where I
resided at Mrs. Muggeridge's in Black Lion Street,
where I have a tolerable view of the sea, if I risk the
loss of my equilibrium and the breakage of my back,
by stretching three-quarters of my body out of my
drawing-room window.

BRIGHTON IN 1847 321

As he stopped to speak to me, his carriage of course
stopped likewise, forcing all the vehicles in front and
behind him to halt or to precipitate themselves over
the railings on to the shingles and the sea. The cabs,
the flys, the shandrydans, the sedan-chairs with the poor
old invalids inside ; the old maids', the dowagers'
chariots, out of which you see countenances scarcely
less deathlike ; the stupendous cabs, out of which the
whiskered heroes of the gallant Onety-oneth look down
on us people on foot ; the hacks mounted by young
ladies from the equestrian schools, by whose sides the
riding-masters canter confidentially everybody stopped.
There was a perfect strangury in the street ; and I
should have liked not only to throttle De Bosky, but to
massacre Wheezer, too.

The wretched though unconscious being insisted on
nailing me for dinner before he would leave me ; and I
heard him say (that is, by the expression of his counten-
ance, and the glances which his wife and children cast
at me, I knew he said), ' That is the young and dashing
Folkstone Canterbury, the celebrated contributor to

The crowd, sir, on the Cliff was perfectly frightful.
It is my belief nobody goes abroad any more. Every-
body is at Brighton. I met three hundred at least of
our acquaintances in the course of a quarter of an hour,
and before we could reach Brunswick Square I met
dandies, City men, Members of Parliament. I met my
tailor walking with his wife, with a geranium blooming
in his wretched button-hole, as if money wasn't tight
in the City, and everybody had paid him everything
everybody owed him. I turned and sickened at the
sight of that man. * Snoozer,' said I, * I will go on
the Pier.'

I went, and to find what ? Whiffler, by all that is
unmerciful ! Whiffler, whom we see every day, in the
same chair, at the Megatherium. Whiffler, whom not


to sec is to make all the good fellows at the Club
happy. I have seen him every day, and many times a
day since. At the moment of our first rencontre I was
so w/H, so utterly overcome by rage and despair, that I
would have flung myself into the azure waves sparkling
calmly around me, but for the chains of the Pier.

I did not take that aqueous suicidal plunge I resolved
to live, and why, my dear Pugsby ? Who do you think
approached us ? Were you not at one of his parties
last season r I have polked in his saloons. I have
nestled under the mahogany of his dining-room at least
one hundred and twenty thousand times. It was Mr.
Goldmore, the East India Director, with Mrs. G. on
his arm, and oh, heavens ! Florence and Violet
Goldmore, with pink parasols, walking behind their

* What ! you here ! ' said the good and hospitable man,
holding out his hand, and giving a slap on the boards
(or deck, I may say) with his bamboo ; * hang it, every
one's here. Come and dine at seven. Brunswick

I looked in Violet's eyes. Florence is rather an old
bird, and wears spectacles, so that looking in her eyes is
out of the question. I looked in Violet's eyes, and
said I'd come with the greatest pleasure.

4 As for you, De Bosky' (I forget whether I
mentioned that the whiskered Bundelcund buck had
come with me on to the Pier, whither Snoozer would
not follow us, declining to pay the twopence) l as for
yoUj De Bosky, you may come or not, as you like.'

* Won't I,* said he, grinning, with a dandified
Bundelcund nod, and wagging his odious head.

I could have wrenched it off and flung it in the
ocean. But I restrained my propensity, and we agreed
that, for the sake of economy, we would go to Mr
Goldmore's in the same fly.

BRIGHTON IN 1847 3*3


THE very first spoonful of the clear soup at the
Director's told me that my excellent friend Paradol (the
chef who came to Mr. Goldmore, Portland Place, when
Guttlebury House was shut up by the lamented levanting
of the noble Earl) was established among the furnaces
below. A clear brown soup, none of your filthy, spiced,
English hell-broths, but light, brisk, and delicate,
always sets me off for the evening : it invigorates and
enlivens me, my dear Pugsby : I give you my honour
it does and when I am in a good humour, I am, I flatter
myself what shall I say ? well, not disagreeable.

On this day, sir, I was delightful. Although that
booby De Bosky conducted Miss Violet Goldmore
downstairs, yet the wretch, absorbed in his victuals, and
naturally of an unutterable dulness, did not make a
single remark during dinner, whereas I literally blazed
with wit. Sir, I even made one of the footmen laugh
a perilous joke for the poor fellow, who, I dare say,
will be turned off in consequence. I talked sentiment
to Florence (women in spectacles are almost always
sentimental) ; cookery to Sir Harcourt Gulph, who
particularly asked my address, and I have no doubt
intends to invite me to his dinners in town ; military
affairs with Major Bangles of the Onety-oneth Hussars,
who was with the regiment at Aliwal and Ferozeshah,
and drives about a prodigious cab at Brighton, with a
captured Sikh behind, disguised as a tiger ; to Mrs.
Goldmore I abused Lady Toddle-Rowdy's new carriages
and absurd appearance (she is seventy-four if she is a
day, and she wears a white muslin frock and frilled
trousers, with a wig curling down her old back, and I
do believe puts on a pinafore, and has a little knife and
fork and silver mug at home, so girlish is she) : I say, in


a word and I believe without fear of contradiction
that I delighted everybody.

* Delightful man I said Mrs. Bangles to my excellent
friend Mrs. Goldmore.

* Extraordinary creature ; so odd, isn't he ? ' replied
that admirable woman.

* What a flow of spirits he has ! ' cried the charming

I And yet sorrows repose under that smiling mask,
and those outbreaks of laughter perhaps conceal the
groans of smouldering passion and the shrieks of wither-
ing despair,' sighed Florence. * It is always so : the
wretched seem to be most joyous. If I didn't think that
man miserable, I couldn't be happy,' she added, and
lapsed into silence. Little Mrs. Diggs told me every
word of the conversation, when I came up, the first of
the gentlemen, to tea.

'Clever fellow that,' said (as I am given to under-
stand) Sir Harcourt Gulph. * I liked that notion of his
about croquignoles a la pouffarde : I will speak to
Moufflon to try it.'

I 1 really shall mention in the Bank parlour to-
morrow,' the Director remarked, ' what he said about
the present crisis, and his project for a cast-iron
currency : that man is by no means the trifler he
pretends to be.'

4 Where did he serve ? ' asked Bangles. c If he can
manoeuvre an army as well as he talks about it, demmy,
he ought to be Commander-in-Chief. Did you hear,
Captain De Bosky, what he said about pontooning the
echelons, and operating with our reserve upon the right
bank of the river at Ferozeshah ? Gad, sir, if that
manoeuvre had been performed, not a man of the Sikh
army would have escaped : ' in which case of course
Major Bangles would have lost the black tiger behind
his cab ; but De Bosky did not make this remark. The
great stupid hulking wretch remarked nothing ; he

BRIGHTON IN 1847 325

gorged himself with meat and wine, and when quite
replete with claret, strutted up to the drawing-room, to
show his chest and his white waistcoat there.

I was pouring into Violet's ear (to the discomfiture
of Florence, who was knocking about the tea-things
madly) some of those delightful nothings with which a
well-bred man in society entertains a female. I spoke
to her about the last balls in London about Fanny
Finch's elopement with Tom Parrot, who had nothing
but his place in the Foreign Office about the people
who were at Brighton about Mr. Midge's delightful
sermon at church last Sunday about the last fashions,
and the next que sais-je? when that brute De Bosky
swaggered up.

'Ah, hum, haw,' said he, * were you out raiding to-
day, Miss Goldmaw ? '

Determined to crush this odious and impertinent
blunderer, who has no more wit than the horses he
bestrides, I resolved to meet him on his own ground,
and to beat him even on the subject of horses.

I am sorry to say, my dear Pugsby, I did not confine
myself strictly to truth ; but I described how I had
passed three months in the Desert with an Arab tribe ;
how I had a mare, during that period, descended from
Boorawk, the mare of the Prophet, which I afterwards
sold for 50,000 piastres to Mahomet Ali ; and how,
being at Trebizond, smoking with the sanguinary Pasha
of that place, I had bitted, saddled, and broke to carry a
lady, a grey Turkoman horse of his which had killed
fourteen of his grooms, and bit off the nose of his Kislar

* Do join us in our ride to-morrow,' cried Violet ; * the
Downs are delightful.'

4 Fairest lady, to hear is to obey,' answered I, with a
triumphant glance at De Bosky. I had done his business,
at any rate.

Well, sir, I came at two o'clock, mounted on one of


Jiggot's hacks an animal that I know, and that goes as
easy as a sedan-chair and found the party assembling
before the Director's house, in Brunswick Square.
There was young Goldmorc the lovely Violet, in a
habit that showed her form to admiration, and a perfectly
ravishing Spanish tuft in her riding-hat, with a little
gold whip and a little pair of gauntlets a croquer, in a
word. Major Bangles and lady were also of the party :
in fact, we were * a gallant company of cavaliers,' as
James says in his novels ; and with my heels well down,
and one of my elbows stuck out, I looked, sir, like the
Marquis of Anglesea. I had the honour of holding
Violet's little foot in my hand, as she jumped into her
saddle. She sprang into it like a fairy.

Last of all, the stupid De Bosky came up. He came
up moaning and groaning. 'I have had a kick in the
back from a horse in the livery-stables,' says he ; ' I
can't hold this horse will you ride him, Canterbury ? '
His horse was a black, wicked-looking beast as ever I
saw, with bloodshot eyes and a demoniacal expression.

What could I do, after the stories about Boorawk and
the Pasha of Trebizond ? Sir, I was obliged to get off
my sedan-chair, and mount the Captain's Purgatory,
as I call him a disgusting brute, and worthy of his

Well, sir, off we set, Purgatory jumping from this
side of the road to t'other, shying at Miss Pogson, who
passed in her carriage (as well he might at so hideous a
phenomenon) plunging at an apple-woman and stall
going so wild at a baker's cart that I thought he would
have jumped into the hall door where the man was
delivering a pie for dinner and flinging his head back-
wards, so as to endanger my own nose every moment.
It was all I could do to keep him in. I tugged at both
bridles till I tore his jaws into a fury, I suppose.

Just as we were passing under the viaduct, whirr came
the steaming train with a bang, and a shriek, and a

BRIGHTON IN 1847 3*7

whizz. The brute would hold in no longer : he ran
away with me.

I stuck my feet tight down in the stirrups, and
thought of my mother with inexpressible agony. I

Online LibraryWilliam Makepeace ThackerayComplete works (Volume 22) → online text (page 24 of 31)