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ing to the manner in which it is solved and, at the same ame, not to be con-
POSTHUMOUS LETTERS OF CHARLES EDWARDS, ESQ.
Medhurst, 1816. THANKS for your congratulations ; we lashed across the deck, to avoid and take mine in return,
on your has being washed off ourselves,) and lower ving escaped free with life, and, what masts groaning, and creaking, and is more important still, without disfi- straining, as if well inclined, if the gurement. Really, to see a man, in hubbub lasted, to make away after these times, go through ten years' ser their companions. vice untouched-Talavera, Busaco, Never was so frightened before in Salamanca, and Waterloo ; besides all my life—which I attribute entirely duels, bye skirmishes, and occasional to my having lately become “ leaps out of window ; might almost nied.' In the onset of the affair, a make one a believer in “ The Special trifle of a sea took us ; beat in all the Grace," or the Mussulman doctrine of quarter boards on our weather side ; predestination.
and carried away six water casks, and Your kind papers met me at Fal. four pigs, besides the cook-house, the mouth, where I landed, from a pilot- cook in it, and the binnacle. It was boat, on the 14th, after contending night—dark as pitch, and raining. So thirty hours with such a gale as the black, that the man at the helm could very spirit of larceny might have given not have seen shore if his bowsprititself up for lost in. One whole night end had run against it. And then, on we had of it, and best part of two days, a sudden, by the flashes of lightning with top-masts struck, top-gallant half a minute long-the whole hopemasts rolled away, hatches battened less, interminable prospect of white down, dead-lights shut in, boats gone, foaming water opened before you ; spars washed off, (except a few that with the piges, and the casks, and the
hen-coops, each riding off upon a ser and desperate 'prentices, into water parate wave as big as Westminster butts and fish ponds; but no advenAbbey.
turers (at least I don't recollect any) Beggary, time out of mind, has been ever jump off London Bridge, where valiant. He must be brave (perforce) the food" has an angry, threatening who has no breeches; but the holder appearance. Man, even where he is to of exchequer bills hates instinctively be a slave and a fool, finds a satisfacto find himself one moment trespassing tion in being a slave and a fool in his upon the moon-flying upwards, to own way. One gentleman conceits to impugn the dog-star, as if out of a die in battle ; another has a fancy to swing nine times as high as the gibbet pass in his bed. Many part by corroHaman was hanged upon; and, the sive sublimate and laudanum, who next, to be sunk down into a cursed would live on if they were bound to bottomless black chasm, with the wa use the knife. There are obstacles to ter, on three sides at least of him, the application of the “ bare bodkin” above the pitch of his top-gallant yard, more than the high-souled Hamlet the whole bed of sea, in the ordinary could descend to think of; and, for course of fluids coming to their level, myself, if I were going to be drowned, being to close fifty feet over his head I confess I should like to meet my fate within the next half second.
in quiet water. And then, in the midst of the pro But here I am, my friend, on shore ; voking darkness, which hides the ex every thought of danger (and of watent of your danger, and enables you ter) over; master of myself, ten years to add just two hundred per cent to it, of life and youth, and a hundred thouarises a vast array of multifarious clat- sand pounds of fortune that I never ters, to terrify those who don't know hoped for. Your letter is most wel. their import, and those who do. First, come. For excuses, let them trouble your jeopardy is suggested by the lively neither of us. A lapse of intercourse rattling of the thunder, the pelting of is not necessarily a breach of friend. the rain, and the hoarse roar of the ship; and, if it were, the act that wind in the rigging. Next, you be- made the lapse was mine. “Man come interested in the rending and proposes," as somebody says, shivering of sails, the rocking and God disposes ;"—few sublunary resqueaking of yards and masts, the solves can stand against the force of choking and hiccuping of pumps, circumstances. I took my course seven and the frequent crashes of a years since—at least I think so- not thing gone!"-expecting the next as a man who was without friends, thing that * goes” to be yourself. The but like a man who wished to keep lighter accompaniments consisting them. When the sheet-anchor could chiefly, in a perpetual rush of boiling not hold my vessel, it was as well to water under your bow, and the blow- drive, and keep the kedge on board. ing of a score of grampuses (who are Fools“ try” their friends, and lose evidently waiting for you) in it; these them-pressing on a toy of glass, as last performers (doubtless the original though it were a rock of adamant. tritons) spouting, and committing all They forget the very first condition kinds of singeries in their hilarity; upon which they hold the feeling they obviously esteeming it a mistake of are trusting to; void the lease, and Providence that it should not be à yet marvel when the lord enters for tempest always!
breach of covenant. A man must peA man may be as stout as Hercules, rish-this is an arrangement in nature and yet not care to be eaten by ceta- — before he can be regretted. The ceous fishes. Did you never observe tragic poet dares not, for all Parnassus, that the people who bring themselves to save his hero in the last scene. You subaqueous terminations in and about are mistaken, and you do me injustice, London, almost always choose to when you say, that I had no“ friend” conclude in something like smooth (at the time you refer to) but yourself. water? Nursery maids take the New Ì tell you, that at the very moment River and the Paddington Canal,- when, upon deliberation, I“ took serlovers, the “ Serpentine,” and the vice" as a private soldier-an act of “Bason” in Hyde Park ;---stock-job- which I am more proud than of any I bers' go to Westminster Bridge and ever performed in my whole life !-at Blackfriars ;-whipped school-boys, that very moment I had a letter in my
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hand from a woman-God bless her! should take again. Assistance from
bankers the rough-rider" knows Few people will give away, even when it shall be “ quarter day!” Yestheir money, to a crouching coward terday my estate was an empty stoa dependant,a hanger-on; and yet mach, and Chelsea was my inheriwhat else than these can he be who tance ! and to-day, there is a gentleconsents to live upon the bounty of man who cannot stand straight in my another ? The romantic generosity of presence, shews the rent-roll of my Mrs —'s character was excited by í landed property;" and talks of what she took to be a corresponding
farms, “ feoffments," principle of chivalry in mine. She fisheries,” waifs," strays," and would have saved a man, (she guessed « commonable rights !"from death,) whom certain qualities, Come to me, if possible, for I am which she liked, went to endanger; full of business ; and my head might and forgot to think of the folly which be in a better condition for transacthad brought him into peril, in surprise ing it. People who inherit fortunes at the unshrinking obduracy with from their fathers, never guess even at which he stood to meet it. Why, you the real advantages of wealth. You see, a man's very vanity, in a situation never got a true feeling of the delilike this, leaves him no choice but to ciousness of having money-no, not be cut up and devoured. From the even from seeing half your acquaintmoment that I listened to a thought ances go without it. But, for me! I of safety, I ceased to be the hero that am just bursting as from darkness inthe laıly took me for. I should have to the broad blaze of sunshine-from been absolutely an impostor if I had bondage into freedom uncontrolledaccepted her offer; for, the very in- from childish helplessness, into the stant that I even paused upon it, it strength and power of a giant! My became the property of somebody else. quarrel always with life was, that a You must be burned-there is no help man could not work his way into a for it-if you wish to be a martyr. house in Grosvenor Square, until a You must die (though it is unplea narrower house might serve his desant) before your name can be embla- sires, and be more than sufficient for zoned on your tomb. I desire to wrong his necessities. There was no path by no man's feeling ; but the course you which a man could make a fortune to complain of 'is the course which I himself, and sit down to dissipate it
in profusion, even at thirty. I had a gonist. I“ abode my time" in sufferthought once of going to the bar-I ing and in silence-but that time is scarcely know how or why. But, come at last! and what I owe in the when I peeped into a court of law, and world, both of good and ill, please saw the bare results of years of puzzle Heaven ! shall now be paid to the utment !-the “damned Hebrew, or most farthing. If it was sport while parehment as thick as a board,” what the poor bear was chained, the scene was the net product of eyes pored out, may change now he has broke free. I and brains distracted ! and the Chan- have never complained of the abuse of cellor himself, the enfant gate of fo- strength by others, let none complain rensic fortune, -suffering arguments, of its reasonable exercise by me. I and reconciling absurdities, for eight will ask no account for what has been or ten hours every day—even if he got done in the past, but the right shall off for that!—I found myself, (with be mine to do now for the future. I the power of locomotion, and two will seek for no combat with any man shirts,) incomparably the richer man alive; but it shall go hard, if, with of the two! His lordship had the some, I have not the benefit of a vic. peerage; but I could walk ' the
tory. sweet air." He held the seat of ho And this seems very heroical, all of nour; but I was at liberty to “ depart it, and very foolish, when I meant to the court." Like the Frenchman in be in the best humour in the world? Montaigne's tale, who had his choice But the fact is, I have had a touch or to be hanged or married, I cried, two of the piquant here-my recollec“ Drive on the cart !"-it was cheaper tion just a little stirred up since my to starve than (on such terms) to earn arrival. I came to England, prepared the money! But now-when I have to be pleased at all points. Home the money, Robert-and have it-as shews delightfully, to the imaginaonly it becomes worth having-with tion at least, after six years' absence. out the earning !-when I have it ho And then there was the white bread nourably too, and conscientiously-in in the hotels of Falmouth, and its my own undoubted right! no kidnap blue-eyed Saxon beauties and the inped prodigy of ninety to break in upon comparable fresh butter-and the my graceful leisure, with fables of ca cream !-I felt my heart cleave to my jolement, plunder, and desertion ! no country the moment I sat down to heiress wife, even though young and
breakfast. So I saddled at once, findbeautiful, made bold by an unreason ing my cavalry sain et sauf, (which I able settlement, to hint that my ex had shipped from Figuera a week betravagancies, or infidelities, are com fore me,) and rode at a round rate mitted, in all senses, at her cost! through Cornwall, Devonshire, and -the luxury-the splendour - the Somerset, purposing, as “greatness” free agency-that all my life I have “thrust upon me,” to lose no been thirsting for, are mine! Not a time in taking possession of it; but, wild scheme that I have dreamed of when I got to Bath, an idea struck but takes “ local habitation," and a me—it was for the first time that shew of' accomplishment! Not a light Sir Walter Beauvoir—(my grandfawish but now seems feasible, fitting ther's executor)--that it might not be only unpossessed, because I may pos pleasant, under all“ existing circumsess it when I will. How many a stances,” for me to have to introduce woman have I adored-and fled from myself to the worthy Baronet. - lest I might make her estate as des We had not been always strangers, perate as my own! How many a man, in times past, the Beauvoir family, whom I could have trampled, have I and your very devoted servant; and suffered to insult over me, when those there had been a cessation of usualatI loved might have been injured by tention to him, at a certain time when my triumph! I was prudent, and for perhaps he was not acting so cautiousbearing, and humble, where the tem ly as he might have done. Whether pers of some would have given way. I distrusted my own merits, or their I was modest, and shunned collision, friendship, ''I wrote a formal letter where I felt myself the weaker vessel. of announcement, covered all over I did not care even to be fought with, with family arms and black wax, and where the contest would have been sent it forward by a courier, address. felt a matter of hardship by my anta ed to Sir Walter; which donc, I again
put on, with as much speed as I could in admiration of his curvetting, that I muster, wishing to get a peep, if pose was fain to command the locking of sible, at my property, without being his stable door. recognized as the owner of it.
Sir Walter's communication was I got to Medhurst before my mes less offensive than I had expected ; senger; but found myself already cried but my mind was made up as to how at the very Market-cross! I had I should proceed. Fight always at been hatching devices all the way, to once, if possible, where you desire to know what people thought about me. be quiet-you are sure of peace, after I might have spared myself the pains. men know that there is nothing to be Most of my grandfather's tenants held: got by going to war with you. These beneficial leases ; and their“ prophe- Beauvoirs are of your gens de coterietic souls” were on the qui vive. My your people of the “ real caste” and “ listing for a horse soldier,” and tone” -(that is, your people who, “ going off with the Major's lady” singly, would be hunted down as owls the whole history was afield, with ade and bedlamites ; but who, as a “set," ditions, alterations, and exaggerations. have managed to make their jointe I sent for a hair-dresser, and had it stock impudence imposing.) I susall (without asking) in five minutes. pected the reception that I should My father's unreasonable postpone- meet from them; and I waited upon ment gave some offence; my most- good Sir Walter without my scabbard. to-be-lamented succession still more. There is a recipe in some old book I was to make a seraglio of the ma “ How to avoid being tossed by a mad nor-house in a fortnight; and to get bull.” And the instruction given is rid of the last acre in a year.
“ Toss him!” Try the experiment Next day, I sent my own servant upon the first coxcomb who fancies to Beauvoir, with a note, setting forth that you are his inferior;-charge first, my arrival, and requesting an inter- and give him to understand roundly view. Signor José wore his foreign that you fancy he is yours. Be coldly , livery, and red Montero cap; and de- supercilious with all “ important parted, upon a very curious Spanish caitiffs, and most punctual be your horse, that I have brought over with attention to the matter in debate; but me, with half the population of Med- let no temptation prevail with you to hurst at his heels. In truth, the touch on any earthly point beyond it. horse-you shall see him when we In business all men are equal. The meet—was a monture fit for Murat casting of an account knows no disa in person ! No whipped and curbed- tinction of persons. But remember, up restive English jade, that you that he (whoever he is) stands a baba thrust spurs into, and, when he flinch- bler, convict, who utters one word es, call it spirit; but a beast that will except to state the sum total of it. Get eat of his master's bread, and drink of an observation about the weather, you his cup; never felt a spur in all his reply with some" Thirteen and ninelife, and knows switches and halters pence!" and your interlocutor is dead. only by report. On my affirmation! A syllable de trop will enable you to (my attorney shall make affidavit of decline “ general communication," it)-he is the very steed—the real where no approach to such a state was Rabican-sung of by Ariosto—who ever intended. Poor Sir Walter came cheats the sand of his shadow, and on down, loaded to the very muzzle, to the snow leaves no mark of his foot- repress
repress “ familiarity” on my part; step! Who was begotten of the flame, but I found him guilty of " familia and of the wind ! Who might pace arity” himself, and made him bear the dry-shod upon make his trot- penalty of it, before six sentences had toir of a zephyr; and for speed !--I been exchanged between us. forget the rest of the poetry; but I “ The late gales”—there was no know I bought the animal when he “ Happy to see me at Beauvoir !"was a colt, and have pampered him “The late gales had rendered my pase ever since, till he is as fleet as a roe sage from the continent difficult? buck, and as fierce, in any hands but “ It had not been pleasant.”—This my own, as a three-days-taken tiger. came after we were seated ; and after
And noon brought this inestimable a salutation such as might pass bequadruped back, with an answer to tween the automaton chess-player and my letter, and with so many clowns the ghost in Don Juan. VOL. XVI.