The Puzzle, by Samuel Warren
of a Barrister, and Confessions of an Attorney
Tempus fugit! The space of but a few brief yesterdays seems to have
passed since the occurrence of the following out-of-the-way
incidents—out-of-the-way, even in our profession, fertile as it is in
startling experiences; and yet the faithful and unerring tell-tale and
monitor, Anno Domini 1851, instructs me that a quarter of a century has
nearly slipped by since the first scene in the complicated play of
circumstances opened upon me. The date I remember well, for the
Tower-guns had been proclaiming with their thunder-throats the victory of
Navarino but a short time before a clerk announced, "William Martin, with
a message from Major Stewart."
This William Martin was a rather sorry curiosity in his way. He was now
in the service of our old client, Major Stewart; and a tall, good-looking
fellow enough, spite of a very decided cast in his eyes, which the
rascal, when in his cups—no unusual occurrence—declared he had caught
from his former masters—Edward Thorneycroft, Esq., an enormously rich
and exceedingly yellow East India director, and his son, Mr. Henry
Thorneycroft, with whom, until lately transferred to Major Stewart's
service, he had lived from infancy—his mother and father having formed
part of the elder Thorneycroft's establishment when he was born. He had a
notion in his head that he had better blood in his veins than the world
supposed, and was excessively fond of aping the gentleman; and this he
did, I must say, with the ease and assurance of a stage-player. His name
was scarcely out of the clerk's lips when he entered the inner office
with a great effort at steadiness and deliberation, closed the door very
carefully and importantly, hung his hat with much precision on a brass
peg, and then steadying himself by the door-handle, surveyed the
situation and myself with staring lack-lustre eyes and infinite gravity.
I saw what was the matter.
"You have been in the 'Sun,' Mr. Martin?"
A wink, inexpressible by words, replied to me, and I could see by the
motion of the fellow's lips that speech was attempted; but it came so
thick that it was several minutes before I made out that he meant to
say the British had been knocking the Turks about like bricks, and
that he had been patriotically drinking the healths of the said
British or bricks.
"Have the goodness, sir, to deliver your message, and then instantly
leave the office."
"Old Tho-o-o-rney," was the hiccoughed reply, "has smoked the—the
plot. Young Thorney's done for. Ma-a-aried in a false name;
"What gibberish is this about old Thorney and young Thorney? Do you not
come from Major Stewart?"
"Ye-e-es, that's right; the route's arrived for the old trump; wishes
to—to see you"
"Major Stewart dying! Why, you are a more disgraceful scamp than I
believed you to be. Send this fellow away," I added to a clerk who
answered my summons. I then hastened off, and was speedily rattling over
the stones towards Baker Street, Portman Square, where Major Stewart
resided. As I left the office I heard Martin beg the clerk to lead him to
the pump previous to sending him off—no doubt for the purpose of
sobering himself somewhat previous to reappearing before the major,
whose motives for hiring or retaining such a fellow in his modest
establishment I could not understand.
"You were expected more than an hour ago," said Dr. Hampton, who was just
leaving the house. "The major is now, I fear, incapable of business."
There was no time for explanation, and I hastily entered the
sick-chamber. Major Stewart, though rapidly sinking, recognized me; and
in obedience to a gesture from her master the aged, weeping house-keeper
left the room. The major's daughter, Rosamond Stewart, had been absent
with her aunt, her father's maiden sister, on a visit, I understood, to
some friends in Scotland, and had not, I concluded, been made acquainted
with the major's illness, which had only assumed a dangerous character a
few days previously. The old soldier was dying calmly and
painlessly—rather from exhaustion of strength, a general failure of the
powers of life, than from any especial disease. A slight flush tinged the
mortal pallor of his face as I entered, and the eyes emitted a
"It is not more, my dear sir," I replied softly but eagerly to his look,
"than a quarter of an hour ago that I received your message."
I do not know whether he comprehended or even distinctly heard what I
said, for his feeble but extremely anxious glance was directed whilst
I spoke to a large oil-portrait of Rosamond Stewart, suspended over
the mantel-piece. The young lady was a splendid, dark-eyed beauty,
and of course the pride and darling of her father. Presently
wrenching, as it were, his eyes from the picture, he looked in my
face with great earnestness, and bending my ear close to his lips, I
heard him feebly and brokenly say, "A question to ask you, that's
all; read—read!" His hand motioned towards a letter which lay open
on the bed; I ran it over, and the major's anxiety was at once
explained. Rosamond Stewart had, I found, been a short time
previously married in Scotland to Henry Thorneycroft, the son of the
wealthy East India director. Finding his illness becoming serious,
the major had anticipated the time and mode in which the young people
had determined to break the intelligence to the irascible father of
the bridegroom, and the result was the furious and angry letter in
reply which I was perusing. Mr. Thorneycroft would never, he
declared, recognize the marriage of his undutiful nephew—nephew,
not son; for he was, the letter announced, the child of an only
sister, whose marriage had also mortally offended Mr. Thorneycroft,
and had been brought up from infancy as his (Mr. Thorneycroft's) son,
in order that the hated name of Allerton, to which the boy was alone
legally entitled, might never offend his ear. There was something
added insinuative of a doubt of the legality of the marriage, in
consequence of the misnomer of the bridegroom at the ceremony.
"One question," muttered the major, as I finished the perusal of the
letter—"Is Rosamond's marriage legal?"
"No question about it. How could any one suppose that an involuntary
misdescription can affect such a contract?"
"Enough—enough!" he gasped. "A great load is gone!—the rest is with
God. Beloved Rosamond"—The slight whisper was no longer audible; sighs,
momently becoming fainter and weaker, followed—ceased, and in little
more than ten minutes after the last word was spoken, life was extinct. I
rang the bell, and turned to leave the room, and as I did so surprised
Martin on the other side of the bed. He had been listening, screened by
the thick damask curtains, and appeared to be a good deal sobered. I
made no remark, and proceeded on down stairs. The man followed, and as
soon as we had gained the hall said quickly, yet hesitatingly,
"Well, what have you to say?"
"Nothing very particular, sir. But did I understand you to say just now,
that it was of no consequence if a man married in a false name?"
"That depends upon circumstances. Why do you ask?"
"Oh, nothing—nothing; only I have heard it's transportation, especially
if there's money."
"Perhaps you are right. Anything else?"
"No," said he, opening the door; "that's all—mere curiosity."
I heard nothing more of the family for some time, except with reference
to Major Stewart's personal property, about £4000 bequeathed to his
daughter, with a charge thereon of an annuity of £20 a year for Mrs.
Leslie, the aged house-keeper; the necessary business connected with
which we transacted. But about a twelvemonth after the major's death, the
marriage of the elder Thorneycroft with a widow of the same name as
himself, and a cousin, the paper stated, was announced; and pretty nearly
a year and a half subsequent to the appearance of this ominous paragraph,
the decease of Mr. Henry Thorneycroft at Lausanne, in Switzerland, who
had left, it was added in the newspaper stock-phrase of journalism, a
young widow and two sons to mourn their irreparable loss. Silence again,
as far as we were concerned, settled upon the destinies of the
descendants of our old military client, till one fine morning a letter
from Dr. Hampton informed us of the sudden death by apoplexy, a few days
previously, of the East India director. Dr. Hampton further hinted that
he should have occasion to write us again in a day or two, relative to
the deceased's affairs, which, owing to Mr. Thorneycroft's unconquerable
aversion to making a will, had, it was feared, been left in an extremely
unsatisfactory state. Dr. Hampton had written to us, at the widow's
request, in consequence of his having informed her that we had been the
professional advisers of Major Stewart, and were in all probability those
of his daughter, Mrs. Henry Allerton.
We did not quite comprehend the drift of this curious epistle; but
although not specially instructed, we determined at once to write to Mrs.
Rosamond Thorneycroft or Allerton, who with her family was still abroad,
and in the meantime take such formal steps in her behalf as might appear
We were not long in doubt as to the motives of the extremely civil
application to ourselves on the part of the widow of the East India
director. The deceased's wealth had been almost all invested in land,
which went, he having died intestate, to his nephew's son, Henry
Allerton; and the personals in which the widow would share were
consequently of very small amount. Mrs. Thorneycroft was, therefore,
anxious to propose, through us, a more satisfactory and equitable
arrangement. We could of course say nothing till the arrival of Mrs.
Rosamond Allerton, for which, however, we had only a brief time to wait.
There were, we found, no indisposition on that lady's part to act with
generosity towards Mr. Thorneycroft's widow—a showy, vulgarish person,
by the way, of about forty years of age—but there was a legal difficulty
in the way, in consequence of the heir-at-law being a minor. Mrs.
Thorneycroft became at length terribly incensed, and talked a good deal
of angry nonsense about disputing the claim of Henry Allerton's son to
the estates, on the ground that his marriage, having been contracted in
a wrong name, was null and void. Several annoying paragraphs got in
consequence into the Sunday newspapers, and these brought about a
About twelve o'clock one day, the Widow Thorneycroft bounced
unceremoniously into the office, dragging in with her a comely and rather
interesting-looking young woman, but of a decidedly rustic complexion and
accent, and followed by a grave, middle-aged clergyman. The widow's large
eyes sparkled with strong excitement, and her somewhat swarthy features
were flushed with hot blood.
"I have brought you," she burst out abruptly, "the real Mrs.
"No, no!" interrupted the young woman, who appeared much
agitated—"Thorneycroft, not Allerton!"—
"I know, child—I know; but that is nothing to the purpose. This young
person, Mr. Sharp, is, I repeat, the true and lawful Mrs. Henry
"Pooh!" I answered; "do you take us for idiots? This," I added with some
sternness, "is either a ridiculous misapprehension or an attempt at
imposture, and I am very careless which it may be."
"You are mistaken, sir," rejoined the clergyman mildly. "This young woman
was certainly married by me at Swindon church, Wilts, to a gentleman of
the name of Henry Thorneycroft, who, it appears from the newspapers,
confirmed by this lady, was no other than Mr. Henry Allerton. This
marriage, we find, took place six months previously to that contracted
with Rosamond Stewart. I have further to say that this young woman, Maria
Emsbury, is a very respectable person, and that her marriage-portion, of
a little more than eight hundred pounds, was given to her husband, whom
she has only seen thrice since her marriage, to support himself till the
death of his reputed father, constantly asserted by him to be imminent."
"A story very smoothly told, and I have no doubt in your opinion quite
satisfactory; but there is one slight matter which I fancy you will find
somewhat difficult of proof—I mean the identity of Maria Emsbury's
husband with the son or nephew of the late Mr. Thorneycroft."
"He always said he was the son of the rich East Indian, Mr.
Thorneycroft," said the young woman with a hysterical sob; "and here,"
she added, "is his picture in his wedding-dress—that of an officer of
the Gloucestershire Yeomanry. He gave it me the day before the wedding."
I almost snatched the portrait. Sure enough it was a miniature of Henry
Allerton—there could be no doubt about that.
Mr. Flint, who had been busy with some papers, here approached and
glanced at the miniature.
I was utterly confounded, and my partner, I saw, was equally dismayed;
and no wonder, entertaining as we both did the highest respect and
admiration for the high-minded and beautiful daughter of Major Stewart.
The Widow Thorneycroft's exultation was exuberant.
"As this only legal marriage," said she, "has been blessed with no issue,
I am of course, as you must be aware, the legitimate heiress-at-law, as
my deceased husband's nearest blood-relative. I shall, however," she
added, "take care to amply provide for my widowed niece-in-law."
The young woman made a profound rustic courtesy, and tears of unaffected
gratitude, I observed, filled her eyes.
The game was not, however, to be quite so easily surrendered as they
appeared to imagine. "Tut! tut!" exclaimed Mr. Flint bluntly—"this may
be mere practice. Who knows how the portrait has been obtained?"
The girl's eyes flashed with honest anger. There was no practice about
her I felt assured. "Here are other proofs: My husband's signet-ring,
left accidentally, I think, with me, and two letters which I from
curiosity took out of his coat-pocket—the day, I am pretty sure it was,
after we were married."
"If this cumulative circumstantial evidence does not convince you,
gentlemen," added the Rev. Mr. Wishart, "I have direct personal testimony
to offer. You know Mr. Angerstein of Bath?"
"Well, Mr. Henry Thorneycroft or Allerton, was at the time this marriage
took place, on a visit to that gentleman; and I myself saw the
bridegroom, whom I had united a fortnight previously in Swindon church,
walking arm-and-arm with Mr. Angerstein in Sydney Gardens, Bath. I was at
some little distance, but I recognized both distinctly, and bowed. Mr.
Angerstein returned my salutation, and he recollects the circumstance
distinctly. The gentleman walking with him in the uniform of the
Gloucestershire Yeomanry was, Mr. Angerstein is prepared to depose, Mr.
Henry Thorneycroft or Allerton."
"You waste time, reverend sir," said Mr. Flint with an affectation of
firmness and unconcern he was, I knew, far from feeling. "We are the
attorneys of Mrs. Rosamond Allerton, and shall, I dare say, if you push
us to it, be able to tear this ingeniously-colored cobweb of yours to
shreds. If you determine on going to law, your solicitor can serve us; we
will enter an appearance, and our client will be spared unnecessary
They were about to leave, when, as ill-luck would have it, one of the
clerks who, deceived by the momentary silence, and from not having been
at home when the unwelcome visitors arrived, believed we were disengaged,
opened the door, and admitted Mrs. Rosamond Allerton and her aunt, Miss
Stewart. Before we could interpose with a word, the Widow Thorneycroft
burst out with the whole story in a torrent of exultant Volubility that
it was impossible to check or restrain.
For awhile contemptuous incredulity, indignant scorn, upheld the assailed
lady; but as proof after proof was hurled at her, reinforced by the grave
soberness of the clergyman and the weeping sympathy of the young woman,
her firmness gave way, and she swooned in her aunt's arms. We should have
more peremptorily interfered but for our unfortunate client's deprecatory
gestures. She seemed determined to hear the worst at once. Now, however,
we had the office cleared of the intruders without much ceremony and, as
soon as the horror-stricken lady was sufficiently recovered, she was
conducted to her carriage, and after arranging for an early interview on
the morrow, was driven off.
I found our interesting, and, I feared, deeply-injured client much
recovered from the shock which on the previous day had overwhelmed her;
and although exceedingly pale—lustrously so, as polished Parian
marble—and still painfully agitated, there was hope, almost confidence,
in her eye and tone.
"There is some terrible misapprehension in this frightful affair, Mr.
Sharp," she began. "Henry, my husband, was utterly incapable of a mean or
dishonest act, much less of such utter baseness as this of which he is
accused. They also say, do they not," she continued, with a smile of
haughty contempt, "that he robbed the young woman of her poor dowry—some
eight hundred pounds? A proper story!"
"That, I confess, from what little I know of Mr. Henry Thorneycroft,
stamps the whole affair as a fabrication; and yet the Reverend Mr.
Wishart—a gentleman of high character, I understand—is very positive.
The young woman, too, appeared truthful and sincere."
"Yes—it cannot be denied. Let me say also—for it is best to look at
the subject on its darkest side—I find, on looking over my letters,
that my husband was staying with Mr. Angerstein at the time stated. He
was also at that period in the Gloucestershire Yeomanry. I gave William
Martin, but the other day, a suit of his regimentals very little the
worse for wear."
"You forget to state, Rosamond," said Miss Stewart, who was sitting
beside her niece, "that Martin, who was with his young master at Bath, is
willing to make oath that no such marriage took place as asserted, at
"That alone would, I fear, my good madam, very little avail. Can I see
"Certainly." The bell was rung, and the necessary order given.
"This Martin is much changed for the better, I hear?"
"O yes, entirely so," said Miss Stewart. "He is also exceedingly attached
to us all, the children especially; and his grief and anger, when
informed of what had occurred, thoroughly attest his faithfulness and
Martin entered, and was, I thought, somewhat confused by my apparently
unexpected presence. A look at his face and head dissipated a
half-suspicion that had arisen in both Flint's mind and my own.
I asked him a few questions relative to the sojourn of his master
at Bath, and then said, "I wish you to go with me and Bee this
As I spoke, something seemed to attract Martin's attention in the
street, and suddenly turning round, his arm swept a silver pastil-stand
off the table. He stooped down to gather up the dispersed pastils, and as
he did so, said, in answer to my request, "that he had not the slightest
objection to do so."
"That being the case, we will set off at once, as she and her friends are
probably at the office by this time. They are desirous of settling the
matter off-hand," I added with a smile, addressing Mrs. Allerton, "and
avoiding, if possible, the delays and uncertainties of the law."
As I anticipated, the formidable trio were with Mr. Flint. I introduced
Martin, and as I did so, watched, with an anxiety I could hardly have
given a reason for, the effect of his appearance upon the young woman. I
observed nothing. He was evidently an utter stranger to her, although,
from the involuntary flush which crossed his features, it occurred to me
that he was in some way an accomplice with his deceased master in the
cruel and infamous crime which had, I strongly feared, been perpetrated.
"Was this person present at your marriage?" I asked.
"Certainly not. But I think—now I look at him—that I have seen him
somewhere—about Swindon, it must have been."
William Martin mumbled out that he had never been in Swindon; neither, he
was sure, had his master.
"What is that?" said the girl, looking sharply up, and suddenly
coloring—"What is that?"
Martin, a good deal abashed, again mumbled out his belief that young Mr.
Thorneycroft, as he was then called, had never been at Swindon.
The indignant scarlet deepened on the young woman's face and temples, and
she looked at Martin with fixed attention and surprise. Presently
recovering, as if from some vague confusedness of mind, she said, "What
you believe, can be no consequence—truth is truth, for all that."
The Rev. Mr. Wishart here interposed, remarking that as it was quite
apparent we were determined to defend the usurpation by Miss Rosamond
Stewart—a lady to be greatly pitied, no doubt—of another's right, it
was useless to prolong or renew the interview; and all three took
immediate leave. A few minutes afterward Martin also departed, still
vehemently asserting that no such marriage ever took place at Swindon or
No stone, as people say, was left unturned by us, in the hope of
discovering some clue that might enable us to unravel the tangled web of
coherent, yet, looking at the character of young Mr. Allerton,
improbable circumstance. We were unsuccessful, and unfortunately many
other particulars which came to light but deepened the adverse complexion
of the case. Two respectable persons living at Swindon were ready to
depose on oath that they had on more than one occasion seen Maria
Emsbury's sweetheart with Mr. Angerstein at Bath—once especially at the
theatre, upon the benefit-night of the great Edmund Kean, who had been
playing there for a few nights.
The entire case, fully stated, was ultimately laid by us before eminent
counsel—one of whom is now, by the by, a chief-justice—and we were
advised that the evidence as set forth by us could not be contended
against with any chance of success. This sad result was communicated by
me to Mrs. Allerton, as she still unswervingly believed herself to be,
and was borne with more constancy and firmness than I had expected. Her
faith in her husband's truth and honor was not in the slightest degree
shaken by the accumulated proofs. She would not, however, attempt to
resist them before a court of law. Something would, she was confident,
thereafter come to light that would vindicate the truth, and confiding in
our zeal and watchfulness, she, her aunt, and children, would in the
meantime shelter themselves from the gaze of the world in their former
retreat at Lausanne.
This being the unhappy lady's final determination, I gave the other side
notice that we should be ready on a given day to surrender possession of
the house and effects in South Audley Street, which the Widow
Thorneycroft had given up to her supposed niece-in-law and family on
their arrival in England, and to re-obtain which, and thereby decide the
whole question in dispute, legal proceedings had already been commenced.
On the morning appointed for the purpose—having taken leave of the
ladies the day previously—I proceeded to South Audley Street, to
formally give up possession, under protest, however. The niece and aunt
were not yet gone. This, I found, was owing to Martin, who, according to
the ladies, was so beside himself with grief and rage that he had been
unable to expedite as he ought to have done, the packing intrusted to his
care. I was vexed at this, as the Widow Thorneycroft, her protégée, and
the Rev. Mr. Wishart, accompanied by a solicitor, were shortly expected;
and it was desirable that a meeting of the antagonistic parties should be
avoided. I descended to the lower regions to remonstrate with and hurry
Martin, and found, as I feared, that his former evil habits had returned
upon him. It was not yet twelve o'clock, and he was already partially
intoxicated, and pale, trembling, and nervous from the effects, it was
clear to me, of the previous night's debauch.
"Your mistress is grossly deceived in you!" I angrily exclaimed; "and if
my advice were taken, you would be turned out of the house at once
without a character. There, don't attempt to bamboozle me with that
nonsense; I've seen fellows crying drunk before now."
He stammered out some broken excuses, to which I very impatiently
listened; and so thoroughly muddled did his brain appear, that he either
could not or would not comprehend the possibility of Mrs. Allerton and
her children being turned out of house and home, as he expressed it, and
over and over again asked me if nothing could yet be done to prevent it.
I was completely disgusted with the fellow, and sharply bidding him
hasten his preparations for departure, rejoined the ladies, who were by
this time assembled in the back drawing-room, ready shawled and bonneted
for their journey. It was a sad sight. Rosamond Stewart's splendid face
was shadowed by deep and bitter grief, borne, it is true, with pride and
fortitude; but it was easy to see its throbbing pulsations through all
the forced calmness of the surface. Her aunt, of a weaker nature, sobbed
loudly in the fullness of her grief; and the children, shrinking
instinctively in the chilling atmosphere of a great calamity, clung,
trembling and half-terrified, the eldest especially, to their mother. I
did not insult them with phrases of condolence, but turned the
conversation, if such it could be called, upon their future home and
prospects in Switzerland. Some time had thus elapsed when my combative
propensities were suddenly aroused by the loud dash of a carriage to the
door, and the peremptory rat-tat-tat which followed. I felt my cheek
flame as I said, "They demand admittance as if in possession of an
assured, decided right. It is not yet too late to refuse possession, and
take the chances of the law's uncertainty."
Mrs. Allerton shook her head with decisive meaning. "I could not bear
it," she said in a tone of sorrowful gentleness. "But I trust we shall
not be intruded upon."
I hurried out of the apartment, and met the triumphant claimants. I
explained the cause of the delay, and suggested that Mrs. Thorneycroft
and her friends could amuse themselves in the garden whilst the
solicitor and I ran over the inventory of the chief valuables to be
This was agreed to. A minute or two before the conclusion of this
necessary formality, I received a message from the ladies, expressive of
a wish to be gone at once, if I would escort them to the hotel; and
Martin, who was nowhere to be found, could follow. I hastened to comply
with their wishes; and we were just about to issue from the front
drawing-room, into which we had passed through the folding-doors, when we
were confronted by the widow and her party, who had just reached the
landing of the great staircase. We drew back in silence. The mutual
confusion into which we were thrown caused a momentary hesitation only,
and we were passing on when the butler suddenly appeared.
"A gentleman," he said, "an officer, is at the door, who wishes to see a
Miss Maria Emsbury, formerly of Swindon."
I stared at the man, discerned a strange expression in his face,
and it glanced across me at the same moment that I had heard no
knock at the door.
"See Miss Emsbury!" exclaimed the Widow Thorneycroft, recovering her
speech—"there is no such person here!"
"Pardon me, madam," I cried, catching eagerly at the interruption, as a
drowning man is said to do at a straw—"this young person was at least
Miss Emsbury. Desire the officer to walk up." The butler vanished
instantly, and we all huddled back disorderly into the drawing-room, some
one closing the door after us. I felt the grasp of Mrs. Allerton's arm
tighten convulsively round mine, and her breath I heard, came quick and
short. I was hardly less agitated myself.
Steps—slow and deliberate steps—were presently heard ascending the
stairs, the door opened, and in walked a gentleman in the uniform of a
yeomanry officer, whom at the first glance I could have sworn to be the
deceased Mr. Henry Allerton. A slight exclamation of terror escaped Mrs.
Allerton, followed by a loud hysterical scream from the Swindon young
woman, as she staggered forward towards the stranger, exclaiming, "Oh,
merciful God!—my husband!" and then fell, overcome with emotion, in his
"Yes," said the Rev. Mr. Wishart promptly, "that is certainly the
gentleman I united to Maria Emsbury. What can be the meaning of
"Is that sufficient, Mr. Sharp?" exclaimed the officer, in a voice that
removed all doubt.
"Quite, quite," I shouted—"more than enough!"
"Very well, then," said William Martin, dashing off his black curling
wig, removing his whiskers of the same color, and giving his own light,
but now cropped head of hair and clean-shaved cheeks to view. "Now, then,
send for the police, and let them transport me—I richly merit it. I
married this young woman in a false name; I robbed her of her money, and
I deserve the hulks, if anybody ever did."
You might have heard a pin drop in the apartment whilst the repentant
rascal thus spoke; and when he ceased, Mrs. Allerton, unable to bear up
against the tumultuous emotion which his words excited, sank without
breath or sensation upon a sofa. Assistance was summoned; and whilst the
as yet imperfectly-informed servants were running from one to another
with restoratives, I had leisure to look around. The Widow Thorneycroft,
who had dropped into a chair, sat gazing in bewildered dismay upon the
stranger, who still held her lately-discovered niece-in-law in his arms;
and I could see the hot perspiration which had gathered on her brow run
in large drops down the white channels which they traced through the
thick rouge of her cheeks. But the reader's fancy will supply the best
image of this unexpected and extraordinary scene. I cleared the house of
intruders and visitors as speedily as possible, well assured that matters
would now adjust themselves without difficulty.
And so it proved. Martin was not sent to the hulks, though no question
that he amply deserved a punishment as great as that. The self-sacrifice,
as he deemed it, which he at last made, pleaded for him, and so did his
pretty-looking wife; and the upshot was, that the mistaken bride's dowry
was restored, with something over, and that a tavern was taken for them
in Piccadilly—the White Bear, I think it was—where they lived
comfortably and happily, I have heard, for a considerable time, and
having considerably added to their capital, removed to a hotel of a
higher grade in the city, where they now reside. It was not at all
surprising that the clergyman and others had been deceived. The disguise,
and Martin's imitative talent, might have misled persons on their guard,
much more men unsuspicious of deception. The cast in the eyes, as well as
a general resemblance of features, also of course greatly aided the
Of Mrs. Rosamond Allerton, I have only to say, for it is all I know, that
she is rich, unwedded, and still splendidly beautiful, though of course
somewhat passé compared with herself twenty years since. Happy, too, I
have no doubt she is, judging from the placid brightness of her aspect
the last time I saw her beneath the transept of the Crystal Palace, on
the occasion of its opening by the Queen. I remember wondering at the
time, if she often recalled to mind the passage in her life which I have