The Professor, A Tale by Goliah Gahagan
"Why, then, the world's mine oyster."
I have often remarked that, among other ornaments and curiosities,
Hackney contains more ladies' schools than are to be found in almost
any other village, or indeed city, in Europe. In every green rustic lane,
to every tall old-fashioned house there is an iron gate, an ensign of blue
and gold, and a large brass plate, proclaiming that a ladies' seminary
is established upon the premises. On one of these plates is written—(or
rather was,—for the pathetic occurrence which I have to
relate took place many years ago)—on one of these plates, I say, was
engraven the following inscription:
Seminary for Young Ladies from three to twenty.
BY THE MISSES PIDGE.
The Misses Pidge took a limited number of young ladies, (as limited,
in fact, or as large as the public chose,) and instructed them in
those branches of elegant and useful learning which make the British
female so superior to all other shes. The younger ones learned the
principles of back-stitch, cross-stitch, bob-stitch, Doctor Watts's
hymns, and "In my cottage near a wood." The elder pupils diverged
at once from stitching and samplers: they played like Thalberg, and
pirouetted like Taglioni; they learned geography, geology, mythology,
entomology, modern history, and simple equations (Miss Z. Pidge);
they obtained a complete knowledge of the French, German, and
Italian tongues, not including English, taught by Miss Pidge; Poonah
painting and tambour (Miss E. Pidge); Brice's questions and
elocution (Miss F. Pidge); and, to crown all, dancing and gymnastics
(which had a very flourishing look in the Pidge prospectus, and
were printed in German text,)—Dancing and Gymnastics, we say,
by Professor Dandolo. The names of other professors and assistants
followed in modester type.
Although the signor's name was decidedly foreign, so English was
his appearance, and so entirely did he disguise his accent, that it was
impossible to tell of what place he was a native, if not of London, and
of the very heart of it; for he had caught completely the peculiarities
which distinguish the so-called cockney part of the City, and obliterated
his h's and doubled his v's, as if he had been for all his life in
the neighbourhood of Bow-bells. Signor Dandolo was a stout gentleman
of five feet nine, with amazing expanse of mouth, chest, and
whiskers, which latter were of a red hue.
I cannot tell how this individual first received an introduction to
the academy of the Misses Pidge, and established himself there.
Rumours say that Miss Zela Pidge at a Hackney ball first met him,
and thus the intimacy arose; but, since the circumstances took place
which I am about to relate, that young lady declares that she was not
the person who brought him to Bulgaria House,—nothing but the infatuation
and entreaties of Mrs. Alderman Grampus could ever have induced
her to receive him. The reader will gather from this, that Dandolo's
after-conduct at Miss Pidge's was not satisfactory,—nor was it;
and may every mistress of such an establishment remember that confidence
can be sometimes misplaced; that friendship is frequently
but another name for villany.
But to our story. The stalwart and active Dandolo delighted for
some time the young ladies at Miss Pidge's by the agility which he
displayed in the dance, as well as the strength and manliness of his
form, as exhibited in the new amusement which he taught. In a
very short time, Miss Binx, a stout young lady of seventeen, who had
never until his appearance walked half a mile without puffing like an
apoplectic Lord Mayor, could dance the cachouca, swarm up a pole
with the agility of a cat, and hold out a chair for three minutes without
winking. Miss Jacobs could very nearly climb through a ladder
(Jacob's ladder he profanely called it); and Miss Bole ring such
changes upon the dumb-bells as might have been heard at Edmonton,
if the bells could have spoken. But the most promising pupil of
Professor Dandolo, as indeed the fairest young creature in the establishment
of Bulgaria House, was Miss Adeliza Grampus, daughter of
the alderman whose name we have mentioned. The pride of her
mother, the idol of her opulent father, Adeliza Grampus was in her
nineteenth year. Eyes have often been described; but it would require
bluer ink than ours to depict the orbs of Adeliza; the snow
when it first falls in Cheapside is not whiter than her neck,—when it
has been for some days upon the ground, trampled by dustmen and
jarvies, trodden down by sweeps and gentlemen going to business,
not blacker than her hair. Slim as the Monument on Fish-street-hill,
her form was slender and tall: but it is needless to recapitulate her
charms, and difficult indeed to describe them. Let the reader think
of his first love, and fancy Adeliza. Dandolo, who was employed to
instruct her, saw her, and fancied her too, as many a fellow of his inflammable
temperament would have done in his place.
There are few situations in life which can be so improved by an
enterprising mind as that of a dancing-master,—I mean in a tender
or amatory point of view. The dancing-master has over the back,
the hands, the feet and shoulders of his pupils an absolute command;
and, being by nature endowed with so much authority, can speedily
spread his sway from the limbs to the rest of the body, and to the
mind inclusive. "Toes a little more out, Miss Adeliza," cries he with
the tenderest air in the world; "back a little more straight," and he
gently seizes her hand, he raises it considerably above the level of
her ear, he places the tips of his left-hand fingers gently upon the
young lady's spine, and in this seducing attitude gazes tenderly into
her eyes! I say that no woman at any age can stand this attitude
and this look, especially when darted from such eyes as those of
Dandolo. On the two first occasions when the adventurer attempted
this audacious manœuvre, his victim blushed only and trembled; on
the third she dropped her full eyelids and turned ghastly pale. "A
glass of water," cried Adeliza, "or I faint." The dancing-master
hastened eagerly away to procure the desired beverage, and, as he
put it to her lips, whispered thrillingly in her ear, "Thine, thine for
Miss Grampus sank back in the arms of Miss Binx, but not before
her raptured lover saw her eyes turning towards the ceiling, and her
clammy lips whispering the name of "Dandolo."
When Madame Schroeder, in the opera of Fidelio, cries, "Nichts,
nichts, mein Florestan," it is as nothing compared to the tenderness
with which Miss Grampus uttered that soft name.
"Dandolo!" would she repeat to her confidante, Miss Binx; "the
name was beautiful and glorious in the olden days; five hundred
years since, a myriad of voices shouted it in Venice, when one who
bore it came forward to wed the sea—the Doge's bride! the blue
Adriatic! the boundless and eternal main! The frightened Turk
shrunk palsied at the sound; it was louder than the loudest of the
cannon, or the stormy screaming of the tempest! Dandolo! how many
brave hearts beat to hear that name! how many bright swords flashed
forth at that resistless war-cry! Oh, Binx," would Adeliza continue,
fondly pressing the arm of that young lady, "is it not passing strange
that one of that mighty ducal race should have lived to this day, and
lived to love me! But I, too," Adeliza would add archly, "am, as
you know, a daughter of the sea."
The fact was, that the father of Miss Adeliza Grampus was a shellfishmonger,
which induced the young lady to describe herself as a
daughter of Ocean. She received her romantic name from her mother
after reading Miss Swipes's celebrated novel of Toby of Warsaw,
and had been fed from her youth upwards with so much similar literary
ware, that her little mind had gone distracted. Her father had
sent her from home at fifteen, because she had fallen in love with the
young man who opened natives in the shop, and had vowed to slay
herself with the oyster-knife. At Miss Pidge's her sentiment had
not deserted her; she knew all Miss Landon by heart, had a lock of
Mr. Thomas Moore's hair or wig, and read more novels and poetry
than ever. And thus the red-haired dancing-master became in her
eyes a Venetian nobleman, with whom it was her pride and pleasure
to fall in love.
Being a parlour-boarder at Miss Pidge's seminary, (a privilege
which was acquired by paying five annual guineas extra,) Miss Grampus
was permitted certain liberties which were not accorded to scholars
of the ordinary description. She and Miss Binx occasionally
strolled into the village by themselves; they visited the library unattended;
they went upon little messages for the Misses Pidge; they
walked to church alone, either before or after the long row of young
virgins who streamed out on every Sabbath day from between the
filigree iron railings of Bulgaria House. It is my painful duty to
state that on several of these exclusive walks they were followed, or
met, by the insidious and attentive teacher of gymnastics.
Soon Miss Binx would lag behind, and—shall I own it?—would
make up for the lost society of her female friend by the company of a
man, a friend of the professor, mysterious and agreeable as himself.
May the mistresses of all the establishments for young ladies in this
kingdom, or queendom rather, peruse this, and reflect how dangerous
it is for young ladies of any age,—ay, even for parlour-boarders—to go
out alone! In the present instance Miss Grampus enjoyed a more
than ordinary liberty, it is true: when the elder Misses Pidge would
remonstrate, Miss Zela would anxiously yield to her request; and
why?—the reason may be gathered from the following conversation
which passed between the infatuated girl and the wily maître de danse.
"How, Roderick," would Adeliza say, "how, in the days of our
first acquaintance, did it chance that you always addressed yourself to
that odious Zela Pidge, and never deigned to breathe a syllable to me?"
"My lips didn't speak to you, Addly," (for to such a pitch of familiarity
had they arrived,) "but my heyes did."
Adeliza was not astonished by the peculiarity of his pronunciation,
for, to say truth, it was that commonly adopted in her native home
and circle. "And mine," said she tenderly, "they followed when
yours were not fixed upon them, for then I dared not look upwards.
And though all on account of Miss Pidge you could not hear the accents
of my voice, you might have heard the beatings of my heart!"
"I did, I did," gasped Roderick; "I eard them haudibly. I never
spoke to you then, for I feared to waken that foul friend sispicion. I
wished to henter your seminary, to be continually near you, to make
you love me; therefore I wooed the easy and foolish Miss Pidge,
therefore I took upon me the disguise of—ha! ha!—of a dancing-master."
(And the young man's countenance assumed a grim and demoniac
smile.) "Yes; I degraded my name and my birthright,—I
wore these ignoble trappings, and all for the love of thee, my Adeliza!"
Here Signor Dandolo would have knelt down, but the road
was muddy; and, his trousers being of nankeen, his gallant purpose
But the story must out, for the conversation above narrated has
betrayed to the intelligent reader a considerable part of it. The fact
is, as we have said, that Miss Zela Pidge, dancing at the Hackney
assembly, was introduced to this man; that he had no profession,—no
means even of subsistence; that he saw enough of this lady to be
aware that he could make her useful to his purpose; and he who had
been, we believe it in our conscience, no better than a travelling
mountebank or harlequin, appeared at Bulgaria House in the character
of a professor of gymnastics. The governess in the first instance
entertained for him just such a penchant as the pupil afterwards
felt; the latter discovered the weakness of her mistress, and
hence arose Miss Pidge's indulgence, and Miss Grampus's fatal
"Mysterious being!" continued Adeliza, resuming the conversation
which has been broken by the above explanatory hints, "how did I
learn to love thee? Who art thou?—what dire fate has brought
thee hither in this lowly guise to win the heart of Adeliza?"
"Hadeliza," cried he, "you say well; I am not what I seem. I
cannot tell thee what I am; a tale of horror, of crime, forbids the
dreadful confession. But dark as I am, and wretched, nay, wicked
and desperate, I love thee, Hadeliza,—love thee with the rapturous
devotion of purer days: the tenderness of happier times! I am sad
now and fallen, lady; suffice it that I once was happy, ay, respectable."
Adeliza's cheek grew deadly pale, her step faltered, and she would
have fallen to the ground, had she not been restrained by the strong
arm of her lover. "I know not," said she, as she clung timidly to his
"I know not, I hask not, if guilt's in that art,
I know that I love thee, whatever thou hart."
"Gilt in my heart," said Dandolo, "gilt in the heart of Roderick?
No, never!" and he drew her towards him, and on her bonnet, her
veil, her gloves, nay, on her very cheeks, he imprinted a thousand
maddening kisses. "But say, my sweet one," continued he, "who
art thou? I know you as yet, only by your lovely baptismal name,
and your other name of Grampus."
Adeliza looked down and blushed. "My parents are lowly," she
"But how then came you at such a seminary?" said he; "twenty
pound a quarter, extras and washing not included."
"They are humble, but wealthy."
"Ha! who is your father?"
"An alderman of yon metropolis."
"An alderman! and what is his profession?"
"I blush to tell; he is—an oystermonger."
"AN OYSTERMONGER!" screamed Roderick in the largest capitals.
"Ha! ha! ha! this is too much!" and he dropped Adeliza's
hand, and never spoke to her during the rest of her walk. They
moved moodily on for some time, Miss Binx and the other young
man marching astonished in the rear. At length they came within
sight of the seminary. "Here is Bulgaria House," cried the maiden
steadily; "Roderick, we must part!" The effort was too much for
her: she flung herself hysterically into his arms.
But, oh, horror! a scream was heard from Miss Binx, who was
seen scuttling at double-quick time towards the school-house. Her
young man had bolted completely; and close at the side of the lovely
though imprudent couple, stood the angry—and justly angry—Miss
"Oh, Ferdinand," said she, "is it thus you deceive me? Did I
bring you to Bulgaria House for this?—did I give you money to buy
clothes for this, that you should go by false names, and make love
to that saucy, slammerkin, sentimental Miss Grampus? Ferdinand,
Ferdinand," cried she, "is this true,—can I credit my eyes?"
"D—your eyes!" said the signor angrily as he darted at her a
withering look, and retired down the street. His curses might be
heard long after he had passed. He never appeared more at Bulgaria
House, for he received his dismissal the next day.
That night all the front windows of the Miss Pidges' seminary
were smashed to shivers. * * *
On the following Thursday two places were taken in the coach to
town. On the back seat sate the usher, on the front the wasted and
miserable Adeliza Grampus.* * *
But the matter did not end here. Miss Grampus's departure elicited
from her a disclosure of several circumstances which, we must
say, in no degree increased the reputation of Miss Zela Pidge. The
discoveries which she made were so awkward, the tale of crime and
licentiousness revealed by her so deeply injurious to the character of
the establishment, that the pupils emigrated from it in scores. Miss
Binx retired to her friends at Wandsworth, Miss Jacobs to her relations
in Houndsditch, and other young ladies not mentioned in this
history to other and more moral schools; so that absolutely, at the
end of a single half year, such had been the scandal of the story, the
Misses Pidge were left with only two pupils,—Miss Dibble, the articled
young lady, and Miss Bole, the grocer's daughter, who came in
exchange for tea, candles, and other requisites supplied to the establishment
by her father.
"I knew it, I knew it!" cried Zela passionately, as she trod the
echoing and melancholy school-room; "he told me that none ever
prospered who loved him,—that every flower was blighted upon which
he shone! Ferdinand, Ferdinand! you have caused ruin there"
(pointing to the empty cupboards and forms); "but what is that to
the blacker ruin here!" and the poor creature slapped her heart, and
the big tears rolled down her chin, and so into her tucker.
A very, very few weeks after this, the plate of Bulgaria House was
removed for ever. That mansion is now designated "Moscow Hall,
by Mr. Swishtail and assistants:"—the bankrupt and fugitive Misses
Pidge have fled, Heaven knows whither! for the steamers to Boulogne
cost more than five shillings in those days.
Alderman Grampus, as may be imagined, did not receive his daughter
with any extraordinary degree of courtesy. "He was as grumpy,"
Mrs. G. remarked, "on the occasion as a sow with the measles."—But
had he not reason? A lovely daughter who had neglected her
education, forgotten her morals for the second time, and fallen almost
a prey to villains! Miss Grampus for some months was kept in close
confinement, nor ever suffered to stir, except occasionally to Bunhill-row
for air, and to church for devotion. Still, though she knew him
to be false,—though she knew that under a different, perhaps a prettier
name, he had offered the same vows to another,—she could not but
think of Roderick.
That Professor (as well—too well—he may be called!) knew too
well her father's name and reputation to experience any difficulty in
finding his abode. It was, as every City man knows, in Cheapside;
and thither Dandolo constantly bent his steps: but though he
marched unceasingly about the mansion, he never (mysteriously)
would pass it. He watched Adeliza walking, he followed her to
church; and many and many a time as she jostled out at the gate of
the Artillery-ground, or the beadle-flanked portal of Bow, a tender
hand would meet hers, an active foot would press upon hers, a billet
discreetly delivered was as adroitly seized, to hide in the recesses of
her pocket-handkerchief, or to nestle in the fragrance of her bosom!
Love! Love! how ingenious thou art! thou canst make a ladder of a
silken thread, or a weapon of a straw; thou peerest like sunlight into
a dungeon; thou scalest, like forlorn hope, a castle wall; the keep is
taken!—the foeman has fled!—the banner of love floats triumphantly
over the corpses of the slain!
Thus, though denied the comfort of personal intercourse, Adeliza
and her lover maintained a frequent and tender correspondence.
Nine times at least in a week, she by bribing her maid-servant, managed
to convey letters to the Professor, to which he at rarer intervals,
though with equal warmth, replied.
"Why," said the young lady in the course of this correspondence,
"why, when I cast my eyes upon my Roderick, do I see him so wofully
changed in outward guise? He wears not the dress which formerly
adorned him. Is he poor?—is he in disguise?—do debts oppress
him, or traitors track him for his blood? Oh that my arms might
shield him!—Oh that my purse might aid him! It is the fondest wish
"P.S.—Aware of your fondness for shell-fish, Susan will leave a
barrel of oysters at the Swan with Two Necks, directed to you, as
"P.S.—Are you partial to kippered salmon? The girl brings three
pounds of it wrapped in a silken handkerchief. 'Tis marked with
the hair of
"P.S.—I break open my note to say that you will find in it a small
pot of anchovy paste: may it prove acceptable. Heigho! I would
that I could accompany it.
It may be imagined, from the text of this note, that Adeliza had
profited not a little by the perusal of Mrs. Swipes's novels; and it
also gives a pretty clear notion of the condition of her lover. When
that gentleman was a professor at Bulgaria House, his costume had
strictly accorded with his pretensions. He wore a black German coat
loaded with frogs and silk trimming, a white broad-brimmed beaver,
hessians, and nankeen tights. His costume at present was singularly
changed for the worse: a rough brown frock-coat dangled down to the
calves of his brawny legs, where likewise ended a pair of greasy
shepherd's-plaid trousers; a dubious red waistcoat, a blue or bird's-eye
neckerchief, and bluchers, (or half-boots,) remarkable for thickness
and for mud, completed his attire. But he looked superior to
his fortune; he wore his grey hat very much on one ear; he incessantly
tugged at his smoky shirt-collar, and walked jingling the halfpence
(when he had any) in his pocket. He was, in fact, no better
than an adventurer, and the innocent Adeliza was his prey.
Though the Professor read the first part of this letter with hope
and pleasure, it may be supposed that the three postscripts were still
more welcome to him,—in fact, he literally did what is often done in
novels, he devoured them; and Adeliza, on receiving a note from him
the next day, after she had eagerly broken the seal, and with panting
bosom and flashing eye glanced over the contents,—Adeliza, we say,
was not altogether pleased when she read the following:
"Your goodness, dearest, passes belief; but never did poor fellow
need it more than your miserable, faithful Roderick. Yes! I am
poor,—I am tracked by hell-hounds,—I am changed in looks, and
dress, and happiness,—in all but love for thee!
"Hear my tale! I come of a noble Italian family,—the noblest,
ay, in Venice. We were free once, and rich, and happy; but the
Prussian autograph has planted his banner on our towers,—the talents
of his haughty heagle have seized our wealth, and consigned
most of our race to dungeons. I am not a prisoner, only an exile.
A mother, a bed-ridden grandmother, and five darling sisters, escaped
with me from Venice, and now share my poverty and my home.
But I have wrestled with misfortune in vain; I have struggled with
want, till want has overcome me. Adeliza, I want bread!
"The kippered salmon was very good, the anchovies admirable.
But, oh, my love! how thirsty they make those who have no means
of slaking thirst! My poor grandmother lies delirious in her bed,
and cries in vain for drink. Alas! our water is cut off; I have none
to give her. The oysters was capital. Bless thee, bless thee! angel
of bounty! Have you any more sich, and a few shrimps? My sisters
are very fond of them.
"Half-a-crown would oblige. But thou art too good to me already,
and I blush to ask thee for more. "Adieu, Adeliza,
"Bell-yard, June —."
A shade of dissatisfaction, we say, clouded Adeliza's fair features
as she perused this note; and yet there was nothing in it which the
tenderest lover might not write. But the shrimps, the half-crown,
the horrid picture of squalid poverty presented by the count, sickened
her young heart; the innate delicacy of the woman revolted at the
thought of all this misery.
But better thoughts succeeded: her breast heaved as she read and
re-read the singular passage concerning the Prussian autograph, who
had planted his standard at Venice. "I knew it!" she cried, "I
knew it!—he is of noble race! O Roderick, I will perish, but I will
Alas! she was not well enough acquainted with history to perceive
that the Prussian autograph had nothing to do with Venice, and had
forgotten altogether that she herself had coined the story which this
adventurer returned to her.
But a difficulty presented itself to Adeliza's mind. Her lover asked
for money,—where was she to find it? The next day the till of the
shop was empty, and a weeping apprentice dragged before the Lord
Mayor. It is true that no signs of the money were found upon him;
it is true that he protested his innocence; but he was dismissed the
alderman's service, and passed a month at Bridewell, because Adeliza
Grampus had a needy lover!
"Dearest," she wrote, "will three-and-twenty and sevenpence
suffice? 'Tis all I have: take it, and with it the fondest wishes of
"A sudden thought! Our apprentice is dismissed. My father
dines abroad; I shall be in the retail establishment all the night,
No sooner had the Professor received this note than his mind was
made up. "I will see her," he said; "I will enter that accursed shop."
He did, and to his ruin.* * *
That night Mrs. Grampus and her daughter took possession of the
bar or counter, in the place which Adeliza called the retail establishment,
and which is commonly denominated the shop. Mrs. Grampus
herself operated with the oyster-knife, and served the Milton morsels
to the customers. Age had not diminished her skill, nor had wealth
rendered her too proud to resume at need a profession which she
had followed in early days. Adeliza flew gracefully to and fro with
the rolls, the vinegar bottle with perforated cork, and the little pats
of butter. A little boy ran backwards and forwards to the Blue Lion
over the way, for the pots of porter, or for the brandy and water,
which some gentlemen take after the play.
Midnight arrived. Miss Grampus was looking through the window,
and contrasting the gleaming gas which shone upon the ruby
lobsters, with the calm moon which lightened up the Poultry, and
threw a halo round the Royal Exchange. She was lost in maiden
meditation, when her eye fell upon a pane of glass in her own window:
squeezed against this, flat and white, was the nose of a man!—that
man was Roderick Dandolo! He seemed to be gazing at the
lobsters more intensely than at Adeliza; he had his hands in his
pockets, and was whistling Jim Crow.
Miss Grampus felt sick with joy; she staggered to the counter,
and almost fainted. The Professor concluded his melody, and entered
at once into the shop. He pretended to have no knowledge of
Miss Grampus, but aborded the two ladies with easy elegance and
"Good evening, ma'am," said he, bowing profoundly to the elder
lady. "What a precious hot evening, to be sure!—hot, ma'am, and
hungry, as they say. I could not resist them lobsters, 'specially when
I saw the lady behind 'em."
At this gallant speech Mrs. Grampus blushed, or looked as if she
would blush, and said,
"Law, indeed, ma'am," playfully continued the Professor; "you're
a precious deal better than law,—you're divinity, ma'am; and this, I
presume, is your sister?"
He pointed to Adeliza as he spoke, who, pale and mute, stood
fainting against a heap of ginger-beer bottles. The old lady was
quite won by this stale compliment.
"My daughter, sir," she said. "Addly, lay a cloth for the gentleman.
Do you take hoysters, sir, hor lobsters? Both is very fine."
"Why, ma'am," said he, "to say truth, I have come forty miles
since dinner, and don't care if I have a little of both. I'll begin, if
you please, with that there, (Lord bless its claws, they're as red as
your lips!) and we'll astonish a few of the natives afterwards, by your
Mrs. Grampus was delighted with the manners and the appetite of
the stranger. She proceeded forthwith to bisect the lobster, while
the Professor in a dégagé manner, his cane over his shoulder, and a
cheerful whistle upon his lips, entered the little parlour, and took possession
of a box and a table.
He was no sooner seated than, from a scuffle, a giggle, and a smack,
Mrs. Grampus was induced to suspect that something went wrong in
"Hadeliza!" cried she; and that young woman returned blushing
now like a rose, who had been as pale before as a lily.
Mrs. G. herself took in the lobster, bidding her daughter sternly
to stay in the shop. She approached the stranger with an angry
air, and laid the lobster before him.
"For shame, sir!" said she solemnly; but all of a sudden she began
to giggle like her daughter, and her speech ended with an "Have
We were not behind the curtain, and cannot of course say what
took place; but it is evident that the Professor was a general lover of
Mrs. Grampus returned to the shop, rubbing her lips with her fat
arms, and restored to perfect good-humour. The little errand-boy
was despatched over the way for a bottle of Guinness and a glass
of brandy and water.
"Hot with!" shouted a manly voice from the eating-room, and
Adeliza was pained to think that in her presence her lover could eat
He ate indeed as if he had never eaten before: here is the bill as
written by Mrs. Grampus herself.
|"Two lobsters at 3s. 6d.
|2 Bottils Doubling Stott
|11 Doz. Best natifs
|14 Pads of Botter
|4 Glasses B & W.
|Bredd (love & ½)
|Brakitch of tumler
|"To Samuel Grampus,
|"At the Mermaid in Cheapside.|
"Shell-fish in all varieties. N.B. a great saving in taking a quantity."
"A saving in taking a quantity," said the stranger archly. "Why,
ma'am, you ought to let me off very cheap;" and the Professor, the
pot-boy, Adeliza, and her mamma, grinned equally at this pleasantry.
"However, never mind the pay, missis," continued he; "we an't
agoing to quarrel about that. Hadd another glass of brandy and
water to the bill, and bring it me, when it shall be as I am now."
"Law, sir," simpered Mrs. Grampus, "how's that?"
"Reseated, ma'am, to be sure," replied he as he sank back upon
the table. The old lady went laughing away, pleased with her
merry and facetious customer; the little boy picked up the oyster-shells,
of which a mighty pyramid was formed at the Professor's feet.
"Here, Sammy," cried out shrill Mrs. Grampus from the shop,
"go over to the Blue Lion and get the gentleman his glass: but no,
you are better where you are, pickin' up them shells. Go you, Hadeliza;
it is but across the way."
Adeliza went with a very bad grace; she had hoped to exchange
at least a few words with him her soul adored; and her mother's jealousy
prevented the completion of her wish.
She had scarcely gone, when Mr. Grampus entered from his dinner-party.
But, though fond of pleasure, he was equally faithful to
business: without a word, he hung up his brass-buttoned coat, put on
his hairy cap, and stuck his sleeves through his apron.
As Mrs. Grampus was tying it, (an office which this faithful lady
regularly performed,) he asked her what business had occurred during
"Not so bad," said she; "two pound ten to-night, besides one
pound eight to receive;" and she handed Mr. Grampus the bill.
"How many are there on 'em?" said that gentleman smiling, as
his eye gladly glanced over the items of the account.
"Why, that's the best of all: how many do you think?"
"If four did it," said Mr. Grampus, "they wouldn't have done
"What do you think of one?" cried Mrs. G. laughing, "and he an't
done yet. Haddy is gone to fetch him another glass of brandy and
Mr. Grampus looked very much alarmed. "Only one, and you
say he an't paid?"
"No," said the lady.
Mr. Grampus seized the bill, and rushed wildly into the dining-room:
the little boy was picking up the oyster-shells still, there were
so many of them; the Professor was seated on the table, laughing as
if drunk, and picking his teeth with his fork.
Grampus, shaking in every joint, held out the bill: a horrid thought
crossed him; he had seen that face before!
The Professor kicked sneeringly into the air the idle piece of
paper, and swung his legs recklessly to and fro.
"What a flat you are," shouted he in a voice of thunder, "to
think I'm a goin' to pay! Pay! I never pay—I'm Dando!"
The people in the other boxes crowded forward to see the celebrated
stranger; the little boy grinned as he dropped two hundred
and forty-four oyster-shells, and Mr. Grampus rushed madly into his
front shop, shrieking for a watchman.
As he ran, he stumbled over something on the floor,—a woman and
a glass of brandy and water lay there extended. Like Tarquinia reversed,
Elijah Grampus was trampling over the lifeless body of Adeliza.
Why enlarge upon the miserable theme? The confiding girl,
in returning with the grog from the Blue Lion, had arrived at the
shop only in time to hear the fatal name of Dando. She saw him,
tipsy and triumphant, bestriding the festal table, and yelling with
horrid laughter! The truth flashed upon her—she fell!
Lost to worldly cares in contemplating the sorrows of their idolized
child, her parents forgot all else beside. Mrs. G. held the vinegar-cruet
to her nostrils; her husband brought the soda-water fountain
to play upon her; it restored her to life, but not to sense. When
Adeliza Grampus rose from that trance she was a MANIAC!
But what became of the deceiver? The gormandizing ruffian, the
lying renegade, the fiend in human shape, escaped in the midst of
this scene of desolation. He walked unconcerned through the shop,
his hat cocked on one side as before, swaggering as before, whistling
as before: far in the moonlight might you see his figure; long, long
in the night-silence rang his demoniac melody of Jim Crow!
When Samuel the boy cleaned out the shop in the morning, and
made the inventory of the goods, a silver fork, a plated ditto, a dish,
and a pewter pot were found to be wanting. Ingenuity will not be
long in guessing the name of the thief.
Gentles, my tale is told. If it may have deterred one soul from
vice, my end is fully answered: if it may have taught to school-mistresses
carefulness, to pupils circumspection, to youth the folly of
sickly sentiment, the pain of bitter deception; to manhood the crime,
the meanness of gluttony, the vice which it occasions, and the wicked
passions it fosters; if these, or any of these, have been taught by
the above tale, Goliah Gahagan seeks for no other reward.
Note. Please send the proceeds as requested per letter; the
bearer being directed not to give up the manuscript without.