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Thomas Ingoldsby.

The Ingoldsby legends ; or, Mirth and marvels online

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L O N DON,
CHARD BENTLEY,

MDCCCLXXVl



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New eo\t\oN-



TO EICHAED BENTLEY, ESQ.



My dear Siu,

You wish me to collect into a single volume certain
rambling exti-acts from our family memoranda, many of
which have already appeared in the pages of your Mis-
cellany. At the same time you tell me that doubts are
entertained in certain quarters as to the authenticity of
their details.

Now with respect to their genuineness, the old oak
chest, in which the originals are deposited, is not more
familiar to my eyes than it is to your owTi ; and if its
contents have any value at all, it consists in the strict
veracity of the facts they record.

To convince the most incredulous, I can only add, that
shoidd business — pleasure is out of the question — ever
call them into the neighbourhood of Folkestone, let them
take the high road from Canterbury to Dover till they
reach the eastern extremity of Barham Downs. Here a
beautiful green lane diverging abruptly to the right, will
cany them through the Oxenden plantations and the un-
pretending village of Denton, to the foot of a veiy re-
spectable hill, — as hills go in this part of Europe. On
reaching its summit let them look straight before them,
— and if, among the hanging woods which crown the
opposite side of the valley, they cannot distinguish an
antiquated Manor-house of Elizabethan architecture, with



IV PREFACE.

its gable ends, stoue stancliions, and tortuous cLimrieya
rising above the surrounding trees, why — the soonei
they procure a pair of Dollond's patent spectacles the
better.

If, on the contraiy, they can manage to descry it, and,
proceeding some five or six furlongs through the avenue,
will ring at the Lodge-gate, — they cannot mistake the
stone lion with the Ingoldsby escutcheon (Ermine, a
saltire engrailed Gules,) in his paws, — they will be re-
ceived with a hearty old English welcome.

The papers in question having been written by different
],)arties, and at various periods, I have thought it advisable
to reduce the more ancient of them into a comparatively
modem phraseology, and to make my collateral ancestor.
Father John, especially, ' deliver himself like a man of
this Avorld ;' Mr. Maguire, indeed, is the only Gentleman
who, in his account of the late Coronation, retains his
own rich vernacular.

As to arrangement, I shall adopt the sentiment ex-
pressed by the Constable of Bourbon foiu- centuries ago,
teste Shakspeare, one which seems to become more fashion-
able every day,

' The Devil lake all order ! !— I'll to the throng !'

Believe me to be,

My dear Sir,
Yours, most indubitably and immeasurably,

THOMAS IXGOLDSBY.

Tappington Everard,
Jan. 2Qth, 1840.



PEEFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.



TO EICHAED BENTLEY, ESQ.

My dear Sir,

I SHOULD liavo replied sooner to your letter, but tLat
the last three days in January are, as you are aware,
always dedicated, at the Hall, to an especial hattue,
and the old house is full of shooting-jackets, shot-
belts, and 'double Joes.' Even the women wear per-
cussion caps, and your favourite (?) Rover, who, you may
remember, examined the calves of your legs with such
suspicious curiosity at Christmas, is as pheasant-mad as
if he were a biped, instead of being a genuine four-legged
scion of the Blenheim breed. I have managed, however,
to avail myself of a lucid interval in the general halluci-
nation, (how the rain did come down on Monday !) and
as you tell me the excellent friend whom you are in
the habit of styling ' a Generous and Enlightened Public '
has emptied your shelves of the first edition, and ' asks
for more,' why, I agree with you, it ivould be a w^ant of
respect to that very respectable personification, when
furnishing him with a further supply, not to endeavour,
at least, to amend my faults, which are few, and your
own, which are more numerous. I have, therefore, gone
to work con amove, supplying occasionally on my own
part a deficient note, or elucidatory stanza, and on yours



VI PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION,

knocking out, without remorse, your superfluous t's, and
now and then eviscerating your colo7i.

My duty to your illustrious friend thus performed, I
have a crow to pluck with him. — Why will he persist —
as you tell me he does persist — in calling me hy all sorts
of names but those to which I am entitled hy birth and
baptism — my ' Sponsorial and Patronymic appellations,'
as Dr. Pangloss has it ? — Mrs. Malaprop complains, and
with justice, of an ' assault upon her parts of speech,' but
to attack one's very existence — to deny that one is a
person in esse, and scarcely to admit that one onay be a
person in posse, is tenfold cruelty ; — ' it is pressing to
death, whipping, and hanging !' — let me entreat all such
likewise to remember, that as Shakspeare beautifully
expresses himself elsewhere — I give his words as quoted
by a very worthy Baronet in a neighboi^ring county,
when protesting against a defamatory placard at a
general election —

' Who steals my pujse steals stufi"! —
'Twas mine — 'tisn't his — nor nobody else's !
But he who runs a^yay with my Good Name,
Eobs me of what does not do him any good.
And makes me deuced poor ! !'*

In order utterly to squabash and demolish every gain-
eayer I had thoiight, at one time, of asking my old and
esteemed friend, Eichard Lane, to crush them at once with
his magic pencil, and to transmit my features to posterity,
where all his Avorks are sure to be ' delivered according
to the direction ;' but somehow the noble-looking profiles
which ho has recently executed of the Kemble family

* A reading which seems mostmiaccouutably to liave escaped the
researches of all modern Shakspearians, including the rival editors
of the uow and illustrated versions.



I'liKFACE TO THE SECOND KDITrOX.



Vll



put me a little out of conceit of my own, while the
undisguised amusement which my ' Mephistopheles Eye-
brow,' as he termed it, afforded him, in the ' full face,'
induced me to lay aside the design. Besides, my dear
Sir, since, as has well been obsei^ed, ' there never was a
married man yet who had not somebody remarkably like
him walking about town,' it is a thousand to one but my
lineaments might, after all, out of sheer perverseness, be
ascribed to any body rather than to the real owner. I
have therefore sent you, instead thereof, a fair sketch of
Tappington, taken from the Folkestone road (I tore it




last night out of Julia Simpkinson's oJhuni) ; get Gilks to
make a woodcut of it. And now, if any miscreant (I
use the word only in its primary and ' Pickwickian '
sense of 'Unbeliever,') ventures to throw any further



Vlli PRtTACE TO THE SECOND EDITION'.

doubt upon the matter, why, as Jack Cade's friend says
in the play, ' There are the chimneys in my father's
house, and the bricks are alive at this day to testify it !'
' Why veiy well then — we hope here be truths !'
Heaven be with you, my dear Sir ! — I was getting a
little excited ; but you, who are mild as the milk that
dews the soft whisker of the new-weaned kitten, will
forgive me when, wdping away the nascent moisture
from my brow, I ' pull in,' and subscribe myself,

Yours quite as much as his own,

THOMAS IXGOLDSBY.

TAPPnfGTON EVERAED,

Feb. 2nd, iSlS,



xs



CONTENTS.



jptrst Series.



I'KE SPECTRE OF TAPPINGTON

THE NUESE'S STOKY — THE HAND OF GLORY .,

PATTY MORGAN THE MILKMAID'S STORY — ' LOOK AT TJIE

CLOCK •• •• ■• *■ •• ••

GREY DOLPHIN ..
THE GHOST
THE CYNOTAPH ..

MBS. BOTHERBy's STORY — THE LEECH OF FOLKESTONi;
LEGEND OF HAMILTON TIGHE ..
THE witches' FROLIC
SINGULAR PASSAGE IN THE LIFE OF TllJi LATE HENRY

HARRIS, D.D.
THE JACKDAW OF EHEIMS
A LAY OF ST. DUNSTAN
A LAY OF ST. GENGULPHUS
A LAY OF ST. ODILLE
A LAY OF ST. NICHOLAS
THE LADY KOHESIA ..
THE TRAGEDY

MR. BARNEY MAGUIRe's ACCOUNT OF THE CORONATION
THE 'MONSTRE' BALLOON

HON. MR. SUCKLETHUMBKIN's STORY — THE EXECUTION
SOME ACCOUNT OF A NEW PLAY"
MR. PETERS'S STORY — THE BAGMAN'S DOG
APPENDIX..



PAGE
1



31
37
55

G2
67
92
95

108
129
132
140
148
154
161
168
171
174
177
180
188
201



CONTENTS.



THE BLACK M0U6QUETA1KE ..

SIB BDPERT THE FEARLESS

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE . •

THE AUTO-DA-FE . .

THE INGOLDSBY PENANCE ..

NETLEY ABBEY ..

FRAGMENT

NELL COOK

KOBSEBY BE3IINISCENCES

AUNT FANNY

MISADVENTURES AT MARGATE

THH smuggler's LEAP ..

BLOUDIE JACKE OF SHREWSBERRIE ..

THE BABES IN THE WOOD

THE DEAD DRUMMER

A BOW IN AN OMNIBUS (bOX) ..

THE LAY OF ST. CUTHBEBT..

THE LAY OF ST. ALOYS

THE LAY OF THE OLD WOMAN CLOTHED :y GREY

BAISING THE DEVIL

THE LAY OF ST. MEDABD ..



I'AGE

203
220
228
238
255
266
270
271
277
279
285
288
294
304
309
319
323
334
343
356
358



CONTENTS.



XI



^bi'rli ^cvtES.



THE LORD OF TIIOULOUSE ..

THE wedding-day; or, iuk buccaneer

THE BLASPHEMEE's WARNING

THE BKOTHEKS OF BIRCHINGTON

THE KNIGHT AND THE LADY

THE HOUSE-WARMING

THE FORLORN ONE ..

OERBY JARVIS'S WIG

UNSOPHISTICATED WISHES ..

HERMANN ; OR, THE BROKEN SI'EAE

HINTS FOR AN HISTORICAL PLAY ..

MARIE MIGNOT

TEE TRUANTS

THE POPLAR

MY LETTERS ..

KEW-MADE HONOUR

THE CONFESSION

BONG

EPIGRAM

EPIGRAM ..

60N0 ..

AS I LAYE A-THYNKYNGE



CURSE



366
377
388
406
415
423
434
435
450
452
454
456
457
460
461
464
464
465
466
466
466
467



. c



C{)e JngoltJgljp legenD?^



THE SPECTRE OE TAPPIXGTOX.

^ TT is very odd, ttiough ; what can have become of them ?' said
i- Charles Seaforth, as he peeped under the valance of an old-
fashioned bedstead, in an old-fashioned apartment of a still more
old-fashioned manor-house ; ' 'tis confoundedly odd, and I can't make
it out at all. Why, Barney, where are they ?— and where the d — 1
are you ?'

No answer was returned to this appeal ; and the lieutenant, who
was, in the main, a reasonable person — at least as reasonable a per-
son as any young gentleman of twenty-two in 'the service' can
fairly be expected to be— cooled when he reflected that his servant
could scarcely reply extempore to a summons which it was impos-
sible he should hear.

An application to the bell was the considerate result ; and the
footsteps of as tight a lad as ever put pipe-clay to belt sounded along
the gallery.

'Come in!' said his master. An ineffectual attempt upon the
door reminded Mr. Seaforth that he had locked himself in. *By
Heaven ! this is the oddest thing of all,' said he, as he turned the
key and admitted Mr. Maguire into his dormitory.

' Barney, where are my pantaloons ?'

' Is it the breeches ?' asked the valet, casting an inquiring eye
round the apartment; — 'is it the breeches, sir?'

' Yes ; what have you done with them '?'

' Sure then your honour had them on when you went to bed, and
it's hereabout they'll be, I'll be bail ;' and Barney lifted a fashion-
able tunic from a cane-backed arm-chair, proceeding in his examin-
ation. Bat the search was vain : there was the tunic aforesaid ,

B



2 THE SPECTRE OF TAI'PIKGTON.

there was a smart-looking kerseymere waistcoat ; but the most in>
jwrtant article of all in a gentleman's wardrobe was still wanting.

' Where can they be ?' asked the master, with a strong accent on
the auxiliary verb.

' Sorrow a know I knows,' said the man.

'It must have been the devil, then, after all, who has been here
and carried them off!' cried Seaforth, staring full into Barney's
face.

Mr. Maguire was not devoid of the superstition of his country-
men, still he looked as if he did not quite subscribe to the sequitur.

His master read incredulity in his countenance. ' Why, I tell
you, Barney, I put them there, on that arm-chair, when I got into
bed ; and, by Heaven ! I distinctly saw the ghost of the old fellow
they told me of, come in at midnight, put on my pantaloons, and
walk away with them.'

' May be so,' was the cautious reply.

* I thought, of course, it was a dream ; but then — where the d — J
ftre the breeches ?'

The question was more easily asked than answered. Barney
renewed his search, while the lieutenant folded his arms, and, lean-
ing against the toilet, sunk into a reverie.

' After all, it must be some trick of my laughter-loving cousins,'
said Seaforth.

'Ah! then, the ladies!' chimed in Mr. Maguire, though the
observation was not addressed to him ; ' and will it be Miss Caroline
or Miss Fanny, that's stole your honour's things ?'

' I hardly know what to think of it,' pursued the bereaved lieu-
tenant, still speaking in soliloquy, with his eye resting dubiously on
the chamber-door. 'I locked myself in, that's certain; and — but
there must be some other entrance to the room — pooh ! I remember
— the private staircase ; how could I be such a fool ?' and he crosseti
the chamber to where a low oaken doorcase was dimly visible in a
distant corner. He paused before it. Nothing now interfered to
screen it from observation ; but it bore tokens of having been at
some earlier period concealed by tapestry, remains of which yet
clothed the walls on either side the portal.

' This way they must have come,' said Seaforth ; ' I wish with all
my heart I had caught them !'

' Och ! the kittens !' sighed Mr. Barney Maguire.

But the mystery was yet as far from being solved as before. True,



THE SPECTRE OF TAI'PIXGTON. 3.

there tuas the ' oilier door ;' bat then that, too, on examina-tion, was
even more firmly secured than the one which opened on the gallery,
— two heavy bolts on the inside effectually prevented any coup de
main on the lieutenant's bivouac from that quarter. He was more
puzzled than ever ; nor did the minutest inspection of the walls and
floor throw any light upon the subject : one thing only was clear, —
the breeches were gone ! ' It is very singular,' said the lieutenant.



Tappington (generally called Tapton) Everard is an antiquated
but commodious manor-house in the eastern division of the county
of Kent. A former proprietor had been high-sheriff in the days of
Elizabeth, and many a dark and dismal tradition was yet extant of
the licentiousness of his life, and the enormity of his offences. The
Glen, which the keeper's daughter was seen to enter, but never
known to quit, still frowns darkly as of yore ; while an ineradicable
bloodstain on the oaken stair yet bids defiance to the united energies
of soap and sand. But it is with one particular apartment that a
deed of more especial atrocity is said to be connected. A stranger
guest — so runs the legend — arrived unexpectedly at the mansion of
the ' Bad Sir Giles.' They met in apparent friendship; but the ill-
concealed scowl on their master's brow told the domestics that the
visit was not a welcome one ; the banquet, however, was not spared ;
the wine-cup circulated freely, — too freely, perhaps, — for sounds of
iliscord at length reached the ears of even the excluded servin<^-men,^
as they were doing their best to imitate their betters in the lower
hall. Alarmed, some of them ventured to approach the parlour;
one, an old and favoured retainer of the house, went so far as to
break in upon his master's privacy. Sir Giles, already high in oath,
fiercely enjoined his absence, and he retired ; not, however, before he
had distinctly heard from the stranger's lips a menace that ' there
was that within his pocket which could disprove the knight's rii^ht
to issue that or any other command within the walls of Tapton.'

The intrusion, though momentary, seemed to have produced a
beneficial effect ; the voices of the disputants fell, and the conversa-
tion was carried on thenceforth in a more subdued tone, till, as even-
ing closed in, the domestics, when summoned to attend with lights,
found not only cordiality restored, but that a still deeper carouse
was meditated. Fresh stoups, and from the choicest bins, were pro-
duced ; nor was it till at a late, or rather early hour, that f ho
revellers sought their chambers.



4 THE SPECTRE OF TAPPINGTON.

The one allotted to the stranger occupied the first floor of the
eastern angle of the building, and had once been the favourite apart-
ment of Sir Giles himself. Scandal ascribed this preference to the
facility which a private staircase, communicating with the grounds,
had aiforded him, in the old knight's time, of following his wicked
courses unchecked by parental observation ; a consideration which
ceased to be of weight when the death of his father left him uncon-
trolled master of his estate and actions. From that period Sir Giles
had established himself in what were called the ' state apartments,'
and the ' oaken chamber ' was rarely tenanted, save on occasiouB of
extiuordinary festivity, or when the yule log drew an unusually
large accession of guests around the Christmas hearth.

On this eventful night it was prepared for the unknown visitor,
who sought his couch heated and inilainod from his midnight orgies,
and in the morning was found in his bed a swollen and blackened
corpse. No marks of violence appeared upon the body ; but the
livid hue of the lips, and certain dark-coloured spots visible on the
skin, aroused suspicions which those who entertained them were too
timid to express. Apoplexy, induced by the excesses of the pre-
ceding night. Sir Giles's confidential leech pronounced to be the
cause of his sudden dissolution. The body was buried in peace ; and
though some shook their heads as they witnessed the haste with
which the funeral rites were hurried on, none ventured to murmur.
Other events arose to distract the attention of the retainers ; men's
minds became occupied by the stirring politics of the day ; while
the near approach of that formidable armada, so vainly arrogating to
itself a title which the very elements joined with human valour to
disprove, soon interfered to weaken, if not obliterate, all remem-
brance of the nameless stranger who had died within the walls of
Tapton Everard.

Years rolled on : the ' Bad Sir Giles ' had himself long since gone
to his account, the last, as it was believed, of his immediate line ;
though a few of the older tenants were sometimes heard to speak of
an elder brother, who had disappeared in early life, and never in-
herited the estate. Eumours, too, of his having left a son in foreign
lands, were at one time rife ; but they died away, nothing occurring
to support them : the property passed unchallenged to a collateral
branch of the family, and the secret, if secret there were, was buried
in Denton churchyard, in the lonely grave of the mysterious
stranger. One circumstance alone occurred, after a long-intervening



THE SPECTRE OF TAPPINGTON. 5'

period, to revive the memory of these transactions. Some workmen
employed in grubbing an old plantation, for the purpose of raising
on its site a modern shrubbery, dug up, in the execution of their
task, the mildewed remnants of what seemed to have been once a
garment. On more minute inspection, enough remained of siDcen
slashes and a coarse embroidery, to identify the relics as having oucc
formed part of a pair of trunk hose ; while a few papers which fell
from them, altogether illegible from damp and age, were by the un-
learned rustics, conveyed to the then owner of the estate.

Whether the squire was more successful in deciphering them was
never known; he certainly never alluded to their contents; and
little would have been thought of the matter but for the incon-
venient memory of one old woman, who declared she heard her
grandfather say, that when the 'stranger guest' was poisoned,
though all the rest of his clothes were there, his breeches, the sup-
posed repository of the supposed documents, could never be found.
The master of Tapton Everard smiled when he heard Dame Jones's
hint of deeds which might impeach the validity of his own title in
favour of some unknown descendant of some unknown heir ; and the
stoiy was rarely alluded to, save by one or two miracle-mongers,
who had heard that others had seen the ghost of old Sir Giles, in his
night-cap, issue from the postern, enter the adjoining copse, and
wring his shadowy hands in agony, as he seemed to search vainly
for something hidden among the evergreens. The stranger's death-
room had, of course, been occasionally haunted from the time of hijs
decease ; but the periods of visitation had latterly become veiy rare
— even Mrs. Botherby, the housekeeper, being forced to admit that,
during her long sojourn at the manor, she had never ' met with any-
thing worse than herself ;' though, as the old lady afterwards added
upon more mature reflection, * I must say I think I saw the devil
once.''

Such was the legend attached to Tapton Everard, and such the
story which the lively Caroline Ingoldsby detailed to her equally
mercurial cousin, Charles Sealbr^h, lieutenant in the Hon. East India
Company's second regiment of Bombay Fencibles, as ann-in-ann
they promenaded a gallery decked with some dozen grim-looking
ancestral portraits, and, among others, with that of the redoubted
Sir Giles himself. The gallant commander had that very morning
paid his first visit to the house of his maternal uncle, after an
absence of several years passed with his regiment on the arid plains



€ THK Sl'KCTItK OF TAPI'INGTON.

of Hindostan, whence he was now returned on a three years' fur-
lough, lie had gone out a ho}' — he returned a man ; but the im-
pression made upon Ids youthful fancy by his favourite cousin
remained unimpaired, and to Tapton he directed his steps, even
before he sought the home of his widowed mother, — comforting
himself in this breach of hlial decorum by the retiection that, as the
manor was so little out of his way, it would be unkind to pass, as
it were, the door of his relatives, without just looking in for a few
hours.

But he found his uncle as hospitable, and his cousin more charm-
ing than ever ; and the looks of one, and the requests of the other,
soon precluded the possibility of refusing to lengthen the ' few
hours ' into a few days, though the house was at the moment full of
visitors.

The Peterses were there from Kamsgate ; and Mr., Mrs., and the
two Miss Simpkinsons, from Bath, had come to pass a month with
the family; and Tom Ingoldsby had brought down his college
friend the Honourable Augustus Sucklethumbkin, with his groom
and pointers, to take a fortnight's shooting. And then there was
Mrs. Ogleton, the rich young widow, with her large black eyes,
who, people did say, was setting her cap at the young squire, though
Mrs. Botherby did not believe it ; and, above all, there was Made-
moiselle Pauline, herfemme ae chambre, who * mo7i-Dieu''d^ every-
thing and everybody, and cried ' Quel horreurV at Mrs. Botherby's
cap. In short, to use the last-named and much-respected lady's
own expression, the house was * choke-full ' to the very attics, — all
save the ' oaken chamber,' which, as the lieutenant expressed a most
magnanimous disregard of ghosts, was forthwith appropriated to his
particular accommodation. Mr. Maguire meanwhile was fain to
share the apartment of Oliver Dobbs, the squire's own man: a
jocular proposal of joint occupancy having been first indignantly
rejected by ' Mademoiselle,' though preferred with the ' laste taste in



Online LibraryThomas IngoldsbyThe Ingoldsby legends ; or, Mirth and marvels → online text (page 1 of 43)