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went the whole way at the rate of course! But they say we chapstwelve miles an hour. We caught a that's us guards—is to be taken in, and very striking view of the newly opened go on as before with the trains"railroad soon after quitting Coventry “ Yes—and have you heard of the passing along over immensely high extraordinary way in which you're to arches, constructed with an eye equally be dressed up?" I enquired, affectto taste and strength. The sides of it ing to look very wise. were lined with people awaiting the “Dressed up, sir!" he replied, with arrival of the trains.
We caught, as
a curious air. we went on, occasional glimpses of the “ Dressed? why yes; there's an railroad as well in its incomplete as act of Parliament just passed by Mr its finished state. About ten miles Hume, saying that the guards of the beyond the latter portion of it we mail are to wear helmets." passed about thirty or forty horses “ Wear helmets !!” he echoedwaiting ready to be harnessed to the half incredulous, half apprehensive. omnibusses which were to convey the
“ Yes-wear helmets, to be sure, of passengers from the end of the finished bright brass, too"part to the Denbigh-Hall end ; and, “ Lord a' mercy! It can't be, noas might have been expected, a little how! D—d if I'll stand it; I'd rather bitter slang passed between our guard go to sea, and I will too! Why, I and coachman and the “ steam peo- never heard o' such a thing! What ple.” I rode outside for a considerable can be the use of it! What, is it helportion of the way, and very pleasant mets like them great guardsmen wears, it was. I had a good deal of conver- with horse-hair?' sation with the guard about railroads “ Oh, no; nothing half so fine, I -to which he was very strongly can assure you ; they're all bright opposed.
brass, and very large ones, too; by * You take my word for it, sir," the way, I'm afraid they'll make your said he, in a sad and knowing way, head ache.” “ them railroads will be the ruin of Ay, but that an't the worst; every Old England ! See how they're cut- one will laugh and point at me as I ting up the country in all directions! go along the road. But what's the If I was a gentleman and had land, use o' telling me all this? You're I'm blessed if I'd let 'em cut it to only a joking.” pieces as they do! What's to become “ Well, you'll soon see that; wait of the horses? We can't do without for a day or two, and you will hear them, any more than we can without more about it!” ships-and it's a cursed shame to de- - Well,” he exclaimed, with a puzstroy the brood of horses. I only wish zled and alarmed air, “them chaps in I was
a Member o' Parliamint ! Parliament has done some rum things Don't I! Wouldn't I speak my mind lately, any how; but I'm blessed if out !”
this don't beat 'em all hollow! Lord“ Why, I should have thought the a-mercy, put us guards in helmets ! horses would have rather liked to be Why won't hats do?" rid of so much hard and heavy At that moment we came in sight of work."
a very gay and animated scene- - the “ Oh, not at all, not at all, quite extremity of the London end of the different, sir; you can't know much newly-opened railroad. There were of horses, sir ; if you did, you'd know several thousands of persons collected, they love hard work when they're having come from all parts and great well fed and cleaned down—see how distances—all in holiday costumecomfortable these tits of ours will flags flying, tents and awnings erected look when they're rested a bit, and in short, a perfect fair going on. getting their bellies full, Lord love The guard gazed at it all with a very 'em ! And then, again, look at all sour look; as did the coachman, who the people along the road that it will turned round and said, “ Thomas, ruin, and quite chase out of the world what fools some people is to go out -what's to become of them all ? and kick up all this here rumpus, beThese things isn't thought of as they cause o' this here railroad_ha, ha!" ought to be !"
he concluded, with a faint and bitter « And will it affect you ?”.
laugh. “ Oh, send all us to the d-1, in Why, you see," replied the guard, “ it an't to be wondered at neither; a tion, before going to bed. There they steam-carriage is a rare thing on the were, dear little souls ;- but why road just now"
should I begin to twaddle at the end “ About as rare as a mail-coach or of my letter? stage-coach will be in a few months !” Thus, dearest Christopher, have I interposed.
you some of the results of my first “Yes-yes, I suppose it's too true!" professional expedition ; and if it shall exclaimed the guard, with a sigh of have pleased you, and your readers, I vexation, and did not seem disposed to · shall be indeed repaid for the trouble carry on the conversation. At the I have taken in thus recording the innext place, where we changed horses, cidents and impressions of a “ First I saw him talking very earnestly, at Circuit." It is the last sketch of the the bar of the public-house, with the kind that I shall give you ; but why landlord ; and from the looks they do not you prevail upon some of my both gave me, from time to time, I am brethren, both in my own circuit and satisfied that the guard was talking the five others, to do as I have done ? over the affair of the helmet!! What I know there are many, very very put such an absurd joke into my head many, who could easily far exceed in I know not; and when at length, interest and power the sketches here before getting inside again, I unde- given ; who have treasured up many ceived him, he seemed really relieved, a striking scene—why do they not -but told me he know'd of a brother thus worthily use their leisure? Let guard whom "
he'd frighten prettily me call upon them, dear, good old about it the next time he saw him; Christopher, even in your name, to for it was a capital joke!"
come forward with the choice fruits After eating a hearty dinner at of observation and experience :-Up, Stony-Stratford we turned inside, and
arouse ye, my merry men of the rumbled off once more. We all of us Northern, Midland, Oxford, Norfolk, fell asleep, being sufficiently tired with Western and Home Circuits, Chrisour long day's journey ; and when I topher will receive you— Maga will woke it was at half-past eleven at the rejoice in your contributions; and that Angel at Islington, where were the will be the best service she has ever usual crowd and hubbub to be seen been rendered by, dear and venerable when a coach comes or goes. In a sir, your humble and zealous friend, twinkling, however, I got into a cab and old contributor, with my portmanteau, and in less than
· X. Y, Z. a quarter of an hour was at home,
Given from my Chambers, on the where I found all well—my wife, how- 8th floor of No. 37, Fig Tree ever, too pleased with my arrival to Court, in Lincoln's Inn, Westdo justice to the snug supper that minster, on the 10th day of presently made its appearance. I had this present June, 1838. a peep at my children, at her sugges.
Rome was not built in a day; nei told them, that so many marvels took ther was the town of Monxom always their rise in it: there were ghosts in so large and populous as at present. it without number ; one or two elopeForty or fifty years ago, indeed, it ments whispered every week, and more was little more than a village. A deaths every morning reported than if post twice a week kept it in some sort the College of Physicians had sat in of connexion with the world, but when the Town Hall. by any accident, such as a break down The principal repertory of nowsof the mail-cart-for Macadam was at the man from whom Rumour rethat time in the future tense, or the ceived her heaviest burdens-was a hopeless drunkenness of Tim Swigs, gentleman of the name of Huggings. the postman—for the Temperance We lay particular emphasis on the Society was then unknown ; when by last syllable, as he himself, when anany accident of this kind the regular nouncing name and titles to a stranger, communication was interrupted, it was used to give his card, and add, in a always remarked that more news were very distinct voice, “ Huggings, sir ; stirring in Monxom than when all the you observe the 'g'?” newspapers--and there were three Some few years before the inci. taken in by various inhabitants and dents we are about to relate, he had all the private letters had arrived. All settled in the best house of the princimen, especially in country towns, pal street of Monxom. Bright red seem born penny-a-liners. Prodigious bricks, picked out with lines of white, accidents are produced on the spur of gave evidence of his taste, and a little the moment by the most prosaic-look- red-faced boy, smelling strongly of the ing of mortals; fires are described with stable as he opened the green street a glow of enthusiasm, and their de- door, left no doubt of his respectastructive ravages among hay-ricks, bility, for in fact he kept a gig. Some barns, and princely residences, attend mystery hung over his previous life ; ed with great loss of life, are painted it was not even known from what in the most appalling colours, by peo- neighbourhood he had come, but nople who have no credit among their body could doubt that whatever it friends for any sort of talent, but might be that induced him to keep whose imagination is in fact as majes- silence over the past, it was nothing tic as that of Milton. But imagination that affected his honour-for Hugis the most capricious of all the facul- gings was almost chivalrous in his ties.
Sometimes it is all compact, notions. His politeness to the fair and ready for action at the slightest sex was unbounded; and there were hint; at other times dead and inert as not a few of the gentle spinsters of an exploded cracker. But this we Monxom, of an age when the illusions think will be universally remarked, of youth are past, who wondered that that it seems to grow and expand it- a person with such an unbounded self in exact proportion to the listen- power of paying compliments stopped er's power of belief. A fire, in any short at such unsatisfactory manifesaccount of it, given to a person of a tations of his admiration. But Hugsceptical tnrn of mind, is as quiet and gings was manifestly a bachelor of the well-behaved as possible, and contents most adamantine heart; and people, at itself with destroying the roof of a last, became persuaded that a bosom pig-stye ; but told to some blockhead that had been indurated by fifty-seven with a mouth the size of a church- winters was impervious to the most door, and a capacity for swallowing piercing of Cupid's glances. With all wonders, how it swells and dilates it- the inhabitants of Monxom Huggings self! how it spreads its horrific ter- was on the friendliest terms. If there rors over half a county! immolates was any exception to this sweeping the hapless inhabitants of whole assertion of his universal friendship, streets, and at last dies away only for it was, perhaps, to be found in the Jack of something more to destroy! person of a certain Mr Pike, who It was, perhaps, froin the vast ability considered himself deeply injured by displayed by the population of Mon- the tittle-tattle propensities of Mr xom, in firmly believing whatever was Huggings, and, in fact, was persuaded
that the reports set afloat concerning day to a serious busy-looking little him owed their origin to the inven- man, who did not seem inclined to tion of that very loquacious gentle. long tarrying, “ have you heard of man, and were the cause of his failure Joe Brown's accident ?" in obtaining the coronership of the “ No,” said the Doctor, “ but" county. This incident had occurred “ That's strange ! poor Joe fell a year or two previous to this time; over the Cliff into the dry ditch, two. and a secret grudge had existed ever and-twenty feet particular descent, since between the two personages, and if he had not had the volubility which only required a little provoca. of a bird he must have been dashed to tion to break into open war. In any pieces--wonderful escape, wasn't it?” war of words, Huggings would have “ Not true," said the little Dochad infinitely the advantage. He had tor, who did not indulge in long a fine sonorous voice-great power of speeches; “ I saw him this morning. wind-a tall, though somewhat feeble But excuse me at this moment, I am figure—and a power of eloquence pushed for time.” peculiar to himself-an attachment to “ Ha! to see Widow Gowlandpolysyllables, without much regard to that's a wise sensible sort of fellow. their usual signification, seemed the Now, I've known practitioners of the chief characteristic of his style ;-but, sanguinary art step into the shoes of perhaps, the large brick house we have the departed husband when the intermentioned, the little boy, and the esting widow was lamenting her loss horse and gig, had something to do over the tombstone of the deceased with the uniform triumph of his decla- one of the patients on a monument, matory efforts ; for there is no denying as Shakspeare says, smiling at griefthat wealth is as powerful an ingre- eh, Doctor ?" A nudge accompanied dient in conversational success this last observation, which, however, ~ action-action-action,” in the elo- seemed to have no effect on the Escuquence of the ancient orator.
lapius. It was impossible to go down Swal- “ Shakspeare—ah ! that reminds low Street, which in those days was me"--he said, and was hurrying off, the Bond Street of Monxom, any day when the persevering Huggings, apof the summer or winter, between the parently struck with his manner, dehours of one and three, without seeing tained him, a tall old gentleman, but still retain- “ Doctor, I see there's something in ing the jauntiness of youth, swinging the wind. Out with it, for I am dishis cane with an air of great authority, solved to find it out. What about and stopping every person he met to Shakspeare ?" have a minute or two's chat. With " Oh, nothing, nothing," said the one he would be grave and serious, Doctor, “ only some patients I relating some dreadful accident or have"whispering some terrible suspicion ; “ Of that name? Who are they? with another gay and familiar, punch. Where do they live ?" ing him on the breast with his long “ An accident--a wound-an inci. forefinger, or clapping him on the dent," stammered the Doctor ; " they shoulder with his open hand, telling, are at the White Lion. I must see you may be sure, some amusing anec- my other patients—but no-by-the-by, dote, or giving the launch to a laugh- it is necessary for you to know the able piece of scandal; and then re- whole story. You may be able to help suming his walk to go through the me to develope the whole mystery." same formalities with the next person “ With all my heart. How odd it he encountered. A wild light-grey is that I haven't heard of it before ! restless eye, very flexible eyebrows, à Well?" long thin nose, and very prominent Dr Wilkins put his arm into that of chin, formed the principal features of Huggings, and slowly pursued his a countenance not unpleasing in its way. general expression; while a very flashy • This morning I was called to the style of dress, and a magnificent way White Lion,” he began, “at about one of walking, were sure to attract the o'clock. A ball and masquerade, you notice of the most superficial observer recollect, took place last night in the This was Mr Huggings.
Gardens. Every thing went on bril“ Ha, Doctor!” he exclaimed one liantly, and nothing occurred to in
terrupt the festivities till a scream was every living soul. It might ruin my heard from one of the alleys, just be character for ever." fore the fireworks began. Hobbs, the Dr Wilkins looked at the agilandlord, on hurrying to the spot, tated countenance of his companion found a young lady, dressed as an In- with some surprise. “ Certainly, it dian sultana, fainting on the grass you wish it kept secret, I will say with a wound recently inflicted. He nothing about it ; but at the same had her conveyed into the house, time don't you think it a where, indeed, she had arrived that what strange thing that your name very day, attended by a maid-ser- should”. vant, and sent off immediately for me. “ Not my name,” interrupted HugOn examination I found a considerable gings, “ some one else's name; but contusion on the lower part of the who is she?" thorax, but the skin not perforated.
“ A beautiful young creature The alarm and agitation kept the pa- splendid black eyes, and a voice fit for tient silent, and she would give no a tragedy queen.' account of the particulars.”
- Confound her voice, I wish she “ So the impetrator of this infamous had made a better use of it! And she attempt is not discovered ?” enquired and a maid-servant arrived yesterday Huggings.
at the White Lion-went to the mas“ No."
querade in the evening, and there she “ Nor even suspected ?" continued was stabbed?" the querist.
- Not stabbed ; there was no per“ No - but, by-the-by, do you foration of the external cutis ; a slight know any person of the same name abrasion only, and a contusion of some with yourself?”
magnitude. “ Here ? No; why do you ask ? 6 And who did it?" There may, indeed, be people of the “ A figure was observed gliding out name of Huggins; but with a 'g' not of the alley where the assault was one. Of that I am sure."
made, but no one recognised him." “ Well,” said the Doctor, “ I only “ And his dress?" enquired ; for it struck me at the time “ I don't know-a simple domino, I as a curious coincidence that the excla- believe ; but excuse me now, I must mation of the young lady, on being go my rounds, and you have already brought a little to herself, was Hug- detained me too long.” gings.'
“ Not a word of the girl's exclama• Not with the 'g'?” exclaimed the tion," again said Huggings, solemnly, astonished auditor.
as he parted from his friend and “ So it was pronounced to me by watched him down the street. “ If the maid. I observed it particularly, such a rumour came to the ears of that for it isn't the common mode of spell- fellow Pike he would prove me to be ing.”
the murderer, to a certainty. Con“ Nobody heard it but the maid ?” found all masquerades, and dominoes, " No one.”
and tragedy queens! That infernal “ Then, for Heaven's sake, as you Shakspeare is the root of all evil. value my honour and respectability, What could be the meaning of her let it go no further. Keep it from mentioning my name ?”
An attempted murder was an affair business, by enquiring more particuof too much consequence to be pre- larly into the previous life of the newsvented from being the general topic of loving Mr Huggings, and discover, if conversation in the town of Monxom. possible, what connexion there could All the reserve of the mysterious Dr be between his very unromantic apWilkins was of no avail. In the pellation and the beautiful heroine of course of a few hours every thing was the adventure. Among those who inknown, except, indeed, the exclamation terested themselves particularly in the of Huggings's name, which he kept a business the most active was Mr Pike, profound secret ; determining, at the the defeated candidate for the coronersame time, to get to the bottom of the ship of the county, in whose peculiar