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‘God bless me!’ cried Waldau, ‘and are you then a player?’

‘A player, it is true, but of the prince’s company; and, I swear to you,
vanity apart, not one of the worst.’

‘Then am I ruined - totally undone,’ ejaculated the town-clerk; ‘the
councillor will certainly kill me.’

Maurice ceased to laugh when he saw the terror of Waldau. He soon saw
his brother’s letter, which lay upon the table, and, opening it, found
not only that Pierre was still the same, but that his last hope - the
share of his father’s fortune - was for ever gone. He was burdened
with debts, the payment of which could no longer be postponed. ‘Ah! my
Louisa - ah, my promised happiness - farewell,’ cried he, mournfully.

This Louisa, of whom Maurice spoke, was the preserving angel of an
infirm mother and two sisters, for whom she procured, by her own
exertions, the necessaries of life. The obscure chamber which they
occupied was near that of the player; and they frequently saw each
other, and the innocence of the young girl, her simple candour, and the
boyish good temper of Maurice, soon gave rise to a tender and reciprocal
feeling. Poverty has at least this good effect, that it breaks down
some of those obstacles which beset the more exalted ranks. Wiesel soon
became the assiduous and indispensable friend of the family. Louisa,
daily more attracted by his amiable character, and charmed by the
frankness with which he expressed his affection, did not seek to conceal
that she loved him. The deplorable condition of their fortunes alone
stood in the way of their union they swore eternal constancy, and
resolved to wait for better times; but the letter of Pierre seemed to
make that time more distant than ever.

Maurice is obliged to quit the sick man to go to the theatre, and an old
woman comes to take his place. The weather is excessively severe, and
Waldau requests him to put on the old cloak which his brother has sent,
and in which, he adds, ‘Your father breathed his last.’ Maurice seizes
it, and, kissing it respectfully, goes out.

The councillor arrives, and, finding from Waldau that his brother has
had his letter, he runs, without waiting for an explanation, to the
hotel Felsenbourg, where the porter, in answer to his inquiries for
M. Wiesel, tells him he is in the theatre. He enters, and is first
terrified by seeing an old man on the stage dressed in the gray cloak of
his dead father; and no sooner has he recovered from his terror than he
finds that his brother is a player. He rushes out of the theatre, half
mad with rage.

Maurice, in the meantime, has returned to his sick friend, where he
finds his brother’s wife, for whom he has a warm affection. Quitting the
chamber, to fetch some medicine from a neighbouring apothecary, he
sees an old woman, who, looking at him very attentively, passes her
shrivelled hand several times over the collar of his coat.

Maurice, not quite understanding this familiarity, draws back, and looks
at her attentively. Her thin and colourless features were strangely
contrasted with the benevolent vivacity which seemed to animate them.
She asks him to sell his cloak, and, on his refusal, expresses some
surprise that he can be attached to such a rag.

‘No matter,’ he replies; ‘rag as it is, it is dear to me.’

‘Not for its beauty, surely?’

‘No; but if you must know, it’s my father’s legacy.’

‘Your father’s! Oh, my child, you ought to honour his memory; for no one
can deny that you are his son. Every feature resembles him, excepting
that you have a good-natured sort of smile in the corner of your mouth,
which he never had.

‘Oh, yes, he had once, but the world had deprived him of it?’

‘Say rather, that years had, child; for they do every thing in this
world; and even I, who now talk to you, if I had some few scores of
years less, would you have let me stand here in the snow so long? Oh,
no; you would have whipped this precious cloak over my shoulders.’

‘Go along, you old gipsey; such nymphs are not to my taste.’

‘Well, my son, the frankness of your heart pleases me, and I will reward

‘Oh, pray keep your rewards: I am not in want of them.’

‘How naturally that word want comes out of your mouth; and merely
because your head is full of it.’

‘Who are you, infernal sybil?’ said Maurice, drawing her towards the

‘The sight of my wrinkled face will give you no great pleasure, my
child, but, perhaps, my advice may. Listen to me, then. Go home to your
own chamber, lock the door, and rip up the collar of your cloak, and
when you have done so you will have nothing more to do but to pray to
God, as the great king Solomon did, to grant you wisdom.’ As she spoke
thus, the old woman hobbled hastily away.

Maurice put his hand to the collar of his cloak, and thought he heard a
noise like the rustling of paper. He hastened back to Marie and the town
clerk, and told them of his adventure.

‘Just heaven!’ cried Waldau, ‘it must be so. You remember your late
father, Maurice, and his eternal apprehensions, which all the locks
in the world could not have quieted. You know, too, that he was often
obliged to come to this city for the purpose of receiving large sums of
money. What would a suspicious man do in such a case? He would convert
his money, not into gold, but into paper, because they might easily be

I do not doubt, from the story of the old woman, who has perhaps been
his hostess, his housekeeper, or some faded flower of the mysterious
garland of the past, that this cloak served your father for a strong
box. Better acquainted with handling ducats than a needle, he probably
had recourse to this old woman. You know it was upon his return from a
journey that he died. Marie, open the collar quickly - Maurice, take my
scissors, they are in my bag - quick.’

Marie uttered a joyful exclamation, as she felt papers through the fold
of the cloth. At the same moment, a loud noise was heard, and Maurice

The unhappy Pierre, upon quitting the theatre in a state of distraction,
had fallen into the canal, and, although he was quickly extricated,
he had only time to mention the place of his abode before he died. The
noise was caused by persons bringing home his corpse. In the confusion
which followed, the cloak, now become so important an object, was
stolen, and all searches and inquiries for its recovery were fruitless.

When the first grief for the death of Pierre is over, Maurice finds that
his father’s property, which he divides with his brother’s widow, is
enough to enable him to marry his Louisa: he returns to Berling, and on
the day fixed for the wedding, on which also Waldau is married to Marie,
the old woman appears at the door in the old cloak. Maurice brings her
into the middle of the room.

‘Who are you?’ said he, ‘and whence did you get this cloak? - What brings
you here? - Quick - speak - explain yourself.’

‘You put a great many questions at once,’ said the old woman. ‘What
brings me here? - your good stars. As to the cloak - it is mine, for I
bought it.’

While she spoke, Maurice looked at her, distrustingly. ‘This old woman,’
said he to himself, ‘has duped me once, and would willingly do so again.
She has found the money in the cloak, and has now come to make a merit
of restoring just so much of it as she thinks fit.’

The old woman seemed to comprehend what was passing in his mind. ‘I see
what you think,’ said she; ‘but why, Mr. Giddybrain, did you despise
my advice? why did you so easily abandon this precious cloak? Did I not
find it one fine day hanging up before the shop of my neighbour, the old
clothesman, who told me he bought it of a porter? and what would become
of the bills for twenty thousand florins which are sewed up in it, if
I had not bought them at the exorbitant price of three silver pieces?
There, take your own; keep it more safely for the future, and thank
heaven for having preserved the life of your father’s nurse.’

Maurice embraces the old woman, who receives the praises and thanks
of every body present. ‘Well, children,’ said she, ‘since you are all
happy, you must find some little corner among you for me, where I may
end my days in peace.’

‘O, yes!’ said Marie, with warmth, ‘you shall never quit us.’

A few days afterwards you might have thought that the old woman had
never quitted the ancient dwelling, so much did the two families seem
to look upon her as a mother. Their happiness was such as springs from
humble virtue. Piety, innocence, and gentleness, adorned their lives,
and their days had passed in an uniform and peaceable manner, when,
about a year after the return of the old nurse, she appeared one morning
before Maurice in the same attitude as on the day of his marriage,
and covered with the same old cloak. He offered to embrace her, but,
repulsing him, ‘Gently,’ said she, ‘take care.’ - ‘Do you bring me
another treasure, then, my good mother?’ She smiled as she opened the
cloak; - it was a son, which his Louisa had just given him.


[Illustration: 347]


As a sort of proëmium to the relation of the following adventure, I
must preadmonish my readers, that I have always entertained a monstrous
aversion to being roused from a comfortable sleep, by the appalling cry
of “murder.” Heaven defend us! the very thought of such matters, even in
broad day-light, causes a queer sensation about one’s throat and fifth
rib: but at the solemn hour of midnight, - “just as the clock strikes
twelve,” - when the winds are howling, and casements creaking, with
all the other paraphernalia of a portentous night (vide ‘Mysteries of
Udolpho’) - oh! it festers up the faculties, and acts as a scare-crow
to the senses. Having premised thus much, and not in the least doubting
that I have touched a sympathetic string in every bosom, I will
forthwith proceed to relate my adventure.

Those who have travelled in the north of Scotland, may perchance
recollect the road between Kincardine and Dingwall. On the right, stands
a decently snug tenement, from which a swinging appendage announces to
all peregrinators, that excellent entertainment is there provided for
“man and beast.” In those parts it was my fortune to be travelling, on
a bleak November evening, with no remarkably near prospect of supper
or bed, when my eyes were suddenly gladdened by the appearance of the
afore-mentioned sign; and so, it appears, were those of my horse, for
without receiving previous notice from me, he instinctively halted
at the door. I alighted, and after a comfortable supper, found myself
snugly deposited in bed, next floor but one to the sky, the other floors
being pre-engaged. But scarcely had gentle sleep diffused its balm over
my eyelids, when I was aroused by a horrible confusion of noises in
an adjoining apartment, from which I was separated only by a slight
partition. First, I heard sundry stampings, and divers violent
exclamations; then I plainly distinguished halfstifled cries of murder,
and, at last, the groans of one, as it were, in his last agony. I was
on my feet in the twinkling of an eye, and the reader may imagine that
there was no occasion to make use of my hands in doffing my night-cap;
the first sound of the word “murder” caused that to deposit itself very
quietly on my pillow. My first movement was towards the door, from
which I as quickly retreated, on discovering a murderous-looking person
through the half-opened door of the next apartment; not, however, before
I had uttered a yell loud enough to rouse all the inmates of the house.
I next made towards the window, but there saw nothing, save a fearful
profundity, which, I was well aware, was terminated by a yard, paved
with rough stones.’Twas agony.

My last resource was the chimney, in which I forthwith proceeded to
enshell myself, taking good care to leave the space of a yard or two
between me and the floor. Scarcely had I thus disposed of myself, when
the landlord entered my apartment, followed by his wife and domestics;
whose voice I no sooner distinguished, than I began very _coolly_
to descend: but, unfortunately, this being my first attempt at
chimney-sweeping, I made such an unsweeper-like descent, that the
landlord and his train, thinking Old Nick was at hand, scampered off,
myself following with all imaginable speed. Helter-skelter we rushed
down the first flight of stairs; at the bottom of which, finding a door
half open, with a night-capped head protruding, in order, no doubt, to
discover the cause of such a disturbance, we all burglariously entered,
knocking down in our tumultuous incourse, the lawful possessor. There
at length the foremost of our party wheeled to the right about, and
the landlady, discovering me, hastily asked me what was the matter.
I explained, as well as I could, the cause of my alarm; to which
explanation, turning up the whites of her eyes, she replied, half
festily, half laughing, “Quwhy, Gude safe us, Sir, ’twas nae mair than
just Sanders Mac Grabbit, ane o’ the play-folk, a skirlin the bit
tregedy, as he’s ganging to play in our barn like.” - “Um!” re-answered
I; and in less than five minutes my nasal organ was playing bass to my
next door neighbour’s treble.


[Illustration: 352]



_The Editor sitting with his hands in his breeches’ pockets, leaning
back in his chair, and looking very earnestly at the ceiling. In about
ten minutes he gets up and walks to the window, breathes hard upon
the glass, and flourishes a capital R with his finger in the wet he has
made. Looks at his watch, and rings the Printer’s bell. Enter Printer._

_Editor_. How much matter have you got, Mr. Pica?

_Mr. P. (After a pause.)_ Not more than two columns, Sir.

_Editor_. The devil! - How many ads * can you muster to-day?

_Mr. P._ Three columns and a half, Sir, including quacks; but I must use
“When men of education and professional skill,” and the “Real blessing
to mothers.”

_Editor_. Have you no standing matter? ** _Mr. P_. Not a line, Sir,
I used the last of the standing matter yesterday, the account of the
“American sea-serpent,” which was left out full two months ago, to make
room for the “Fire in Fleet-street.”

_Editor. (Musing.)_ Very well: I’ll touch your bell as soon as I have
any copy ready.

* Advertisements.

** Articles already composed, or in type, but not yet used;
such as good jokes that will keep a week or two - murders in
America - or curious discoveries in the East Indies; that
will read as well at Christmas as in the dog-days.

_Mr. P._ The men are all standing still, Sir, just now If you have any
matter which you intend to use a week hence, they may as well be going
on with it.

_Editor. (Rummages among his papers.)_ Here, take this “Romantic
suicide.” It will do for any day when you want half a column for the
back page.

_[Exit Mr. Pica; and a minute after, enter reading boy, in a hurry._

_Boy._ Copy - if you please, Sir!

_Editor_. I have just given Mr. Pica half a column.

_Boy_. Oh - I beg your pardon, Sir - I did not see Mr. Pica - I came from
down stairs. _[Exit._

_Editor: (Puts his hands into his breeches’ pockets again, and begins to
whistle a tune.)_ This will not do - -I must write something - but what it
is to be about I know no more than the monument. _(Nibs his pen - settles
his inkstand - and gets his paper ready)_. The parliament is up - the law
courts have adjourned for the long vacation - the Opera House and the
Winter Theatres have closed - and at the Haymarket and English Opera
House, they have both brought out pieces which are having a run - nothing
stirring - not even a case of decent oppression in a night constable - or
of tyranny in a police magistrate. Whigs and Tories have shaken
hands, and political delinquencies are too common to be either new
or scandalous. The editor of a daily paper may be aptly compared to a
galley slave. When the winds roar, and the tempest is abroad, and the
waves swell, his bark moves along swiftly; but when the calm comes, and
the sky is serene, and the breeze is hushed, and the sea is smooth, it
is then he must ply the oar, and tug, and pull, and toil, to give the
vessel motion. - _( Takes his pen and writes furiously.)_ That will do
for one of those short leaders * about nothing - . which look very
much as if they alluded to something that could not be mentioned,
_(Reads.)_ - “There are certain rumours afloat - upon a delicate subject
which has lately occasioned a great sensation in particular quarters.
We are in possession of facts connected with this extraordinary affair,
which we may perhaps feel ourselves at liberty to mention in a few days.
Meanwhile, all we can say at present is, that disclosures _must_ take
place, however painful they may be to _more than one distinguished_
individual. We shall only add, that the Duke of Wellington left town
yesterday in his travelling chariot, with four horses, for Windsor,
after a private interview of nearly three hours with an Illustrious
Personage; and that it is reported his Grace ordered summonses for a
cabinet council this day, before his departure from London. We shall
not lose sight of this business.” _(Rings the Printer’s bell - Mr. Pica
enters.)_ Make this the first leader, and you may as well put it in
double leads. **

* “Leaders”, are those important articles in a paper, which
are printed in large letters, and wherein the editorial _We_
is supposed to utter oracles _de omnibus rebus_.

** “Double leads” is a technical phrase for a mode of
printing which is employed only when an article is either
supposed to be, or is wished to be supposed, super-import-
ant. The lines stand wide apart, and look like the bars of a

_Mr. P._ Very well, Sir. There’s a long police case just come in, of
a baronet’s daughter taken up for shoplifting; and an account of the
bursting of a gasometer, which killed eleven men, three boys, and an old
woman, who lived in a front garret over the way.

_Editor_. Use them both, the shop-lifting under the head of “Mysterious
Charge of Theft,” and the accident to the gasometer under that of
“Tremendous Explosion! - Fifteen Lives Lost!”

_Mr. P._ We shall do better with the _ads_. than I expected. Robins
has just sent a long list of his auctions, which he says must go in
to-morrow; and Kidd’s clerk has left eight or ten good book _ads._, so I
shall be able to make out a full page without using the quacks. *

* It is necessary to remark here, by way of explanation,
that there are gradations of rank and respectability in
advertisements; and that a high aristocratical feeling
pervades their location in a well regulated paper. The
_quack ads_., alluded to by Mr. Pica, are those benevolent
offers of aid to the afflicted, which announce that
“rheumatism and lumbago are effectually relieved by a new
process;” that the most excruciating toothache is allayed in
one minute by an unrivalled anodyne cement; that “gout is
cured without medicine, in a few hours,” and “blotched faces
in no time at all;” that red whiskers are changed in a
single night to beautiful shades of brown or black;” that
“the healthy functions of the stomach and intestinal canal,
are restored by an improved domestic instrument,” &c. &c.
These are never allowed to show their faces in the genteel
company of the other advertisements, unless there happens to
be a lack of gentility, but herd together in what is
technically called the, “back page” of the paper.

_Editor_. So much the better: I abominate “Nervous complaints and
debility,” or the “Patent bug destroyer by steam only,” side by
side with, “Thirty-five thousand pounds wanted” - “The daughter of a
clergyman” - “Books published this day.” - _(Exit Printer, laughing at
the humourous vein of the Editor.)_ - Well! one leader only: I must write
something else. No Paris papers - no Dutch mail - no Flander’s mail - no
German mail - no mail from Buenos Ayres - no New York papers! By-the-bye,
it will look like a piece of information to announce that there
is nothing. _(Writes._’) - “We have seldom known a day so barren of
intelligence of every description. There has not been a single arrival
from the Continent, nor any ship, letters, or papers from the other side
of the Atlantic. Whether this profound calm may be considered as the
harbinger of a coming storm we know not; but when we remember the
ominous complexion of the advices last received from the East of Europe,
and the louring aspect of affairs in general in the transatlantic
hemisphere, it is not unreasonable to conclude that our next accounts
from both quarters will be important. Our readers have not forgotten the
opinion we expressed on Tuesday, and the comprehensive view we took on
Wednesday, of the whole of our political relations. We are standing,
as it were, upon the crater of a volcano, which may break forth every
moment. The attitude of Russia is equivocal - the intentions of France
are doubtful - Austria still wears her mask (though we are not deceived
by it) - while the Peninsula becomes more and more embarrassing to the
great powers of Europe. If we turn our eyes towards the United States
of North America, what do we behold? Alas! this question needs no answer
from us. And if we look at the new republics of South America, does
not the same scene present itself? But we will not pursue this painful
theme. A few hours, in all probability, will put us in possession of
facts that will more than justify all our predictions.” _(A knock at the
door.)_ Come in. (Dr. Froth _enters_.) Froth, how are you?

_Dr. F_. Quite well, at your service, my friend.

_Editor._ Thank you - but you may keep your health for yourself, and your
service for your other friends - you shall not physic me.

_Dr. F._ Ha! ha! ha! very good - you are always brilliant - any news

_Editor_. Not a syllable, that I have heard - have you any?

_Dr. F. (Looking grave.)_ The king is very ill!

_Editor_. Indeed!

_Dr. F_. He is, by Jove! It wont do to mention it, because of the way
in which it came to my ears; but you may depend upon it he is in a very
ticklish situation just now.

_Editor_. How do you mean? _(Dr. F. points to his head, with a very
significant look.)_ Pooh! I don’t believe a word of it! where did
you hear it? _(Dr. F. looks round the room, and then whispers in the
Editor’s ear.)_ That should be good authority, but - -

_Dr. F_. It is a fact, and you’ll hear more about it, before long. I met
Mr. Peel on his way to Downing-street as I came here, and he appeared
very agitated. He was walking uncommonly fast, though the day is so
hot. But I’ll not interrupt you any longer, for I know your time
is precious - so good bye. Do you happen to have the Haymarket card
disengaged this evening? And if you _could_ spare me your Vauxhall
ticket for next Friday I should be very much obliged to you. And when
you have no _other_ use for it, I wish you would remember me for Mathews
and Yates at the Adelphi. I have promised Mrs. Froth to take her; and
she particularly desired me to ask you whether you have orders for any
of the minor theatres? She does not care which - the Cobourg, or the
Surrey, or Astley’s - -but she wants to give our cook a treat before the
season is over.

_Editor._ My Haymarket card is engaged this evening, I know; but the
English Opera House is at liberty, if that will do.

_Dr. F_. Thank you, I’ll take it - and perhaps you’ll keep the Haymarket
for me to-morrow evening? Can I have Vauxhall on Friday?

_Editor._ Yes.

_Dr. F_. You are a fine fellow - You’ll not forget Mathews and the
minors - Good bye.

_Editor._ No, no. _(Exit Dr. Froth.)_ - D - n these tickets - it is half
my business every day to remember to whom they are promised. _( Writes.
)_ -

“There is a painful rumour in circulation this morning, in the highest
quarters, upon a subject which is too delicate to mention explicitly. We
hope it may prove altogether unfounded, or at leastmuch exaggerated: but
the peculiar sources, from which we derive our information, justifies us
in attaching more than ordinary weight to the distressing report. Should

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