Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

have seen to-night an illustration of certain window I was to go in, and if what I have preached over and over not it was a sign they had gone out to again, the endeavor of the artists to re- dinner or to bed. When I did find them member that they are presenting, not in we never parted until half-past two only in personal appearance, but in or three in the morning. Then was the manner, the picture of what is past and time to see Thackeray at his best, begone, of another era, of another age cause then he was like a boy ; he did not almost, certainly of another generation. attempt to be the genius of the party; I wish to tell this to you two who have he would let Robinson or me do the presented these characters so admir- entertaining while he would be the auably. I shall go back to London and dience. It did not matter how ridicsay 'I have seen acting.'

ulous or impossible might be the things Thackeray then lived with a very I said, he would laugh till the tears ran great and dear friend of mine and my down his face; such an unsophisticated, father's, and they had rooms ogether in gentle-hearted creature as he was. He Houston Street. I had a house next gave a large dinner at which I rememdoor but one to them, and this is how ber were Mr. Denning Duer, my father, I became so intimate with Thackeray. George William Curtis, W. Robinson, myThe name of this gentleman was Will- self, and others, eighteen in all. It was the

most delightful evening that could possibly be imagined. Thackeray two nights before had been to see my father play Shylock, and he said : “Wallack, that is the first Shylock who ever gave me the idea of what an ill-used man he was." On that evening I remember my father telling a story, which many an old actor here will recollect. It was the tale of a shipwreck as told by a clergyman who was on board, and the same scenes as described afterward by an old sailor, the captain of the maintop. Thackeray's gentle and generous nature was so aroused by it that the tears ran down his face. Certainly one of the finest things my father did was the telling of that story. George Curtis and I sang a duet, I remember, "Drink to Me only with Thine Eyes," and we were asked to repeat it three or four times. This all took place about

the year 1855. On one occasion Tyrone Power.

there was to be a dinner party

of four. Thackeray said it iam Duer Robinson, a member of an might probably be the last time he should old and well-known family, a family meet us convivially during this visit, so whose property was confiscated in Revo- we agreed to dine together with him in lutionary times because they stuck to Robinson's rooms. The party was to conthe King. Thackeray I suppose took a sist of Mr. Robinson, Thackeray, my fathfancy to me; at any rate it was under- er, and myself. The hour arrived, and I stood every night when I came home came with a message from my father, who from acting that if I saw a light in a was laid up with the gout, one of his bad

[graphic]

attacks, and could not accept. After wait- me wish you a pleasant evening with ing a long time for Thackeray at last the Wallacks, and let me ask you to acthere came a ring at the bell, and the cept this little gift as a remembrance

[graphic][subsumed][merged small]

waiter brought up a large parcel and a of the many, many pleasant days and note from him to say that a letter he had nights we have passed together. The received compelled him to pack up as gift was a beautiful silver vase. I nevquickly as possible and start for England er saw Thackeray again, but our short by the first steamer, and he added : “By and intimate association is one of the the time you receive this, dear William, I most delightful reminiscences of my shall be almost out of the harbor. Let life.

Limiam

[graphic][merged small]

THREE BAD MEN.

By W. M. Taber.

I.

He who guided the first man to the

boat had returned for the three others PON a dark night some as their names were called, and now took decades ago, a man car- his seat in the van, and was followed by rying a lantern made the black-coated party, and they drove short turns on a muddy off into the darkness, while the man with road, close by the shore the lantern stepped into the barge and of a gloomy looking the oarsmen bent to their work. lake.

[graphic]

The boat was overloaded, yet in any Two oarsmen sat in a barge not far well-regulated party no accident need away, and the trio waited an hour of un- have been feared, but Beckstein seemed broken silence. Then as the dampness uneasy and occasionally evinced an showed a disposition to turn into rain, ardent desire to clutch the neck of the the upright waiter betrayed signs of im- gentleman for whom he had already patience, and cursed the lateness of the signified his antipathy. hour, and as he spoke, the sound of ap As the distance from the shore inproaching wheels was heard. Through creased, lights were neared ; had day the mud they came at good speed, until broken suddenly they would have been the horses were seen, panting and foam- discovered shining from the windows of ing, and then the vehicle itself, a sort of a large, rugged stone building, standing van, very long and narrow. The moment with its outhouses on a small island. the horses were pulled up, a man in a But in the darkness, the lights alone black coat jumped off the box-seat, and were visible, these, and others swinging pulling out a note-book, consulted it by in the hands of men who awaited the the light of the van lamp.

barge on a stone jetty. “How many ? ” said the man with the Suddenly Beckstein sprang to his lantern, producing a note-book, too. feet and over the oarsmen in an effort

“Four. First, Andrew Beckstein." to reach the man he regarded as his

Two more men bad by this time enemy. The rowers started up to dealighted from the van. One placed his tain him, and the violent motion provhand on the other's shoulder and guided ing disastrous to the overloaded boat, him as though he were blind ; yet he it capsized, and all were in the water tocould not have been blind, for he saw gether. Those on the jetty, notified by the man with the lantern well enough, cries and shouts of some misadventure, and said to him : “ You will have to pay pulled speedily to the rescue in another for this, you devil.”

boat, and found the oarsmen supportOf this complimentary speech, the ing Beckstein and Stork, and the gentleparty addressed took no notice, but man of the lantern supporting himself. made a check in his note-book.

Struggling for breath, he exclaimed : “Beckstein-right.”

“Where are the Billingtons ?” “Henry Stork."

“Were they with you? I see noth“ Stork, yes."

ing, no one. “Herbert Billington.”

“Some object is floating off there to “ Yes.”

the right.” “ And John Billington.”

The rowers pulled in the direction “ All expected.

What made you indicated, and the object proved to be a late?”

hat. On the inside were the initials “ Bad roads, and a bit of the harness H. B. broke. We were delayed an hour. The boat was allowed to drift around Sorry to have kept you waiting. Good- for a time, all eyes intently fixed upon night.”

the black water, but in vain. No cry VOL. IV.-78

99

[ocr errors]

was heard, no body was seen, no life was slammed in that empty house, you'd saved.

better give me no more to drink.” “Could they have got ashore ?”

That's all right, John," said Mr. 'Impossible," said the man of the Trumper; “you can't tell the direction lantern ; “I looked for them the moment of sounds in a fog. Everybody knows we went over. They must have got un- that. der the boat and gone down immedi- “I don't,” said John, shaking his ately. They are drowned as surely as I head. am soaked.'

Mr. Trumper was awakened from a The next day that part of the lake sound slumber that night by a touch was dragged, with no success; but a upon his shoulder.

He started up, river was its inlet and a river its outlet, blinking sleepily, and found his wife and there were strong currents ; and it standing shivering by the bedside. was decided that the bodies had been What's the matter? house afire ? swept away.

he said, uttering his greatest dread

first. II.

“Thomas," said Mrs. Trumper, "I'm

afraid." THREE bad men lived on Cripplegate · What is it, then?” said her husHill. One was tall and the others were band, waking up rapidly now. short; one was dark and the others were “John Ridley was right; the ghosts fair; whatever one was, the others were are walking in that house to-night.” not, except that all were wicked-of “Nonsense ; go to bed ; rats, more that there could be no doubt. This rep- likely,” said Mr. Trumper. utation was not so much due to what Look, Thomas, look! do rats carry people knew about them as to what was candles? and sure enough, the fog unknown. Honesty needs no mystery, having lifted and Mr. Trumper being and these men were strange characters able to overlook the street from his pocertainly, as may be judged from the sition in bed, he saw lights fitting from following authentic account of their ar- the windows of the brick house. He rival and residence in the neighbor- rubbed his eyes, but it was no delusion. hood.

Gradually he made out a man's tall figNearly opposite Mr. Trumper's pub- ure, very thin, with clothes hanging lic house there had been a large, square loose about him, and a face that seemed brick building of many windows, unoc- almost covered with black hair. Then cupied for many years, which of course a window was opened, a shutter closed was said to be haunted, like all other with a loud noise, and he saw no more. gloomy houses without mortal tenants. Mr. Trumper was startled, it must be One day a thick fog settled down on owned, but he owed his reputation of a Cripplegate Hill; it was a busy day for wise man, in the neighborhood, to a cerTrumper, for men came running in tain gift of common sense, and he was every few minutes, to drive the fog out not to be frightened into a belief in any of themselves on the displacement prin- supernatural agency. ciple ; and just after dark a man reeled “There was a fog all day," he thought into the public room with his teeth to himself, “ and some people have chattering as much from fear as cold. moved in under its cover, and a precious

“ What's the matter, John ?” said queer lot they must be;" and having jolly Tom Trumper ; "seen a ghost ? ” reassured his wife with this view of the

"You can laugh,” said the man sul- case, he went to sleep again. lenly ; “but I've heard one.”

But if he expected to have his curiI thought ghosts were silent. Where osity gratified next morning he was did you hear him, Johnny ?”

doomed to disappointment, for no signs “At the house across the way. Tom of occupants were visible about the Trumper, you know that nobody has house across the way. Throughout the been in that place for going back as far day the new tenants were the great as you can remember. Well, coming topic of discussion, and even the cause by just now, if I didn't hear a window of some excitement, but all surmises

« AnkstesnisTęsti »