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"The whole neighbourhood was speedily astir. On the road, below the burning Etna of refuse just described, the doctor, by aid of the dog, and the parish constable, with a lantern, discovered, to their horror, a great pool of blood. The sagacious Dexter led the two men straight thence to the house of its master. But Dick Dimper was not at home, and it was a good hour afterwards before he put in an appearance, white and scared-looking, with a blood-patch upon the knee of his trousers, and a face torn as if by finger-nails down the half of its great, smooth-shaven surface. He had taken a drop too much overnight, he said in explanation of these appearances, and had tumbled down by the roadside, where he went to sleep. The scratches on his face had been done by the brambles in his pillow, he supposed; while as to the mess in which his clothing was-well, they knew that a man who was top-heavy was never very particular where or how he made his bed.
"It is a lie you are telling us, Dick,' the doctor said between his teeth. It is a lie; and you know it. The constable and I searched the only part of the road where you could have got that blood about you, and you were not there either ten minutes or an hour ago. Now, where were you, and what has become of your wife?'
"It was a bold hypothesis Dr. Wentworth acted on,and one which might have had its due effect upon a less cunning scoundrel than Dimper. Him it placed instantly upon his guard.
"How should I know?' he replied sullenly. 'She was at home when I ate my supper and went out for my last drink at eleven o'clock. She is here now for all I know-or ought to be.'
"You know very well she is not,' rejoined the doctor angrily. He was a choleric man, and utterly unfit for the cool work of cross-examination.
"Perhaps you can tell where she is,' returned Dick. Seems to me you know more about her than I do. Maybe you've looked her up since I left: although, as far as I could judge, there was nothing the matter with her to make her want a doctor.'
"The deliberately insolent way in which this was said fairly maddened Wentworth. A moment later Dick had measured his length on the floor, and all hope of obtaining information from him was at an end.
"Some of the best police skill of the whole country was brought to bear upon the case. For the greater part of a fortnight the famous Bow Street runner, Charley Mugginson, and a couple of his most trusted assistants, were down on the spot,
searching high and low, night and day, for a clue to the fate of Polly Dimper. The ponds were dragged, divers were sent down the Blue Pool, the canal was let out, and the adjoining river scrutinised from source to sea. The floors of Dick's house were raised, the walls were sounded, his garden was dug up, with much of the surrounding ground, but all to no purpose. The populace, with whom Mary was a great favourite, were in a frenzy about her disappearance, connected with which they set afloat the wildest, most revolting rumours. One of these, suggested doubtless by the episodes of the dog and the doctor, had reference to the possibility of the murdered woman's body having been cut up and distributed amongst the Kershaw Kennels, to which Dick had always easy access. The detectives at length retired baffled from the hunt; public excitement, when Dick, whose existence in the place had been made unbearable, left it for good, visibly declined and continued to decline gradually but surely, until it was eventually killed outright, with forty miserable human beings, by a colliery explosion. -Dick's, house stands there by the roadside unto this day, unoccupied still, its unholy walls fast falling into ruin beneath the curse which is believed to be resting upon them.
"It has been a rather long story, Mr. Jellicoe, but it is over now, and you know how the stain came on 'Ivanhoe."
"I wish you could have given me the sequel," I replied, somewhat sadly belike, for the fate of that poor young creature was weighing heavily upon my spirits.
"That," said the son of Alister, solemnly, "will never be told until the sea gives up its dead, and the soul of the beautiful girl-wife, tried as by fire, shall ascend to its God from the grave in the burning cinder tip, where, in all human probability, it was that her ruthless husband gave her murdered body burial."
For whom his eyes, in silent prayer,
Beau Nash is not, I think, undeserving of notice in the pages of the National Magazine. He was a king, though uncrowned, and a brilliant figure in the society of the last century. The histories of monarchs infinitely less interesting have been written; why then should we not devote a brief sketch to the last despot that Wales produced? His realm indeed was the ball-room, and his laws did not claim anything more than power to decide when a dance should begin and end, whether the great ladies who flocked to Bath should, or should not, wear aprons, what games should be played at the cardtables, how the gay world should kill time, and how the pursuit of pleasure during a brief season might be elevated to the dignity of a serious occupation. His life was passed in a laborious kind of trifling that amuses us if only from the exaggerated solemnity with which it was carried on. He fretted his hour on the stage, very gorgeous and dignified, convinced that he was playing a great part, and, what was more, convincing others. It is possible, therefore, that, as Mr. Oliver Goldsmith remarked in the preface to his Life* of Nash, the history of this eighteenth century, Cyrus Bantam may "supply a vacant hour with innocent amusement, however it may fail to open the heart, or improve the understanding." I may note that I have used pretty freely the materials collected by Goldsmith, which, as he informs us with some pride, were extracted from original papers left by Nash. Goldsmith, with his easy Bohemian ways, probably had a good deal of sympathy with the immortal Beau, and though, perhaps, the life was a mere piece of bookmaking, it forms none the less very pleasant reading of the gossiping anecdotage type.
Nash was born at Swansea, October 8th, 1674. His Christian name was Richard. His father was in trade, a fact, perhaps, of which the son in his days of Bath celebrity was not particularly proud, though on one occasion, being laughed at on this score, he neatly enough remarked that, if he rarely mentioned his father, it was "not because" - to keep his own words
* London: Printed for J. Newbery, in St. Paul's Churchyard, and W. Frederick, at Bath. MDCCLXII.-Newbery, of course, often einployed Goldsmith in such work.
"I have any reason to be ashamed of him, but because he has some reason to be ashamed of me." Nash's mother was related to the Col. Poyer who was put to death by Cromwell for defending Pembroke Castle. Up to the time of his going to Bath and ascending there his tinsel throne Nash's life was not particularly eventful or brilliant. He went to Jesus College, Oxford, after leaving Carmarthen School, but soon had to retire in consequence of some love-intrigue, over which his biographer passes with charitable brevity. He then entered into a regiment of the line, became disgusted with the routine, and determined to try what the law would do for him. Joining at the Middle Temple, he hung about town for some years, always in money difficulties, always involved in some affair of what Goldsmith euphemistically denominates "gallantry," and never, one need hardly say, caring very much for the jurum nodos et legum enigmata. This continued till Nash was somewhere about thirty, and then came the opening, of which he was quick to take advantage. He was invited to Bath to act as master of the ceremonies. Bath was coming into fashion. Readers of Pepys's Diary will remember that he stayed there with his wife, and the number of Guides to the town show that from the last thirty years of the seventeenth century it gradually became a fashionable resort. Chapman's "Thermo Rediviva: the city of Bath described," published in 1673, was followed by Pierce's Memoirs of Bath (1697), in which the author stated that there were then twenty-six physicians resident in Bath. Venner's rather well-known book had been published so far back as 1628. What, however, gave a great impulse to the prosperity of the town was the visit of the Queen in 1703. After that it was the fashion to go to Bath for the season, and naturally enough the authorities made new arrangements to meet the requirements of their new visitors. Their selection of Nash was a happy inspiration. He at once re-organised the somewhat crude and chaotic structure of Bath society. It was a case of "let there be Nash-and there was light." He started musical entertainments; he persuaded the town to build assembly rooms (not the "new rooms "which Acres admired so much); new streets were laid out, and the new square became the fashionable promenade. In Smollett's Humphrey Clinker Mr. Matthew Bramble describes the latter as follows:-" The square, though irregular, is on the whole pretty well laid out, spacious and airy; and in my opinion, by far the most wholesome and agreeable situation in Bath, especially the upper side of it; but the avenues to it are mean [why are eighteenth century writers so fond of this word?-Johnson perpetually uses it], dirty, dangerous, and indirect. Its communication with the baths is through the yard of an inn, where the poor, trembling valetudinarian is carried in a chair, betwixt the heels of a