Story type: Literature
FROM THE GERMAN.
IN WHAT MANNER MR. SCHNACKENBERGER MADE HIS ENTRY INTO B—-.
The sun had just set, and all the invalids at the baths of B—- had retired to their lodgings, when the harsh tones of welcome from the steeple announced the arrival of a new guest. Forthwith all the windows were garrisoned with young faces and old faces, pretty faces and ugly faces; and scarce one but was overspread with instantaneous merriment–a feu-de-joie of laughter, that travelled up the street in company with the very extraordinary object that now advanced from the city gates. Upon a little, meagre, scare-crow of a horse, sate a tall, broad-shouldered young fellow, in a great-coat of bright pea-green, whose variegated lights and shades, from soaking rains and partial dryings, bore sullen testimony to the changeable state of the weather for the last week. Out of this great-coat shot up, to a monstrous height, a head surmounted by a huge cocked hat, one end of which hung over the stem, the other over the stern of the horse: the legs belonging to this head were sheathed in a pair of monstrous boots, technically called ‘field-pieces,’ which, descending rather too low, were well plaistered with flesh-coloured mud. More, perhaps, in compliance with the established rule, than for any visible use, a switch was in the rider’s hand; for to attribute to such a horse, under such a load, any power to have quitted a pace that must have satisfied the most rigorous police in Poland, was obviously too romantic. Depending from his side, and almost touching the ground, rattled an enormous back-sword, which suggested to the thinking mind a salutary hint to allow free passage, without let or unseasonable jesting, to Mr. Jeremiah Schnackenberger, student at the University of X—-. He, that might be disposed to overlook this hint, would certainly pay attention to a second, which crept close behind the other in the shape of a monstrous dog, somewhat bigger than the horse, and presenting on every side a double tier of most respectable teeth. Observing the general muster of the natives, which his appearance had called to the windows, the rider had unslung and mounted a pipe, under whose moving canopy of clouds and vapours he might advance in greater tranquillity: and during this operation, his very thoughtful and serious horse had struck up a by-street–and made a dead stop, before his rider was aware, at the sign of the Golden Sow.
Although the gold had long since vanished from the stone beast, and, to say the truth, every part of the house seemed to sympathise admirably with the unclean habits of its patron image, nevertheless, Mr. Jeremiah thought proper to comply with the instincts of his horse; and, as nobody in the street, or in the yard, came forward to answer his call, he gave himself no further trouble, but rode on through the open door right forwards into the bar.
HOW MR. JEREMIAH CAME TO TAKE UP HIS QUARTERS AT THE GOLDEN SOW.
‘The Lord, and his angels, protect us!–As I live, here comes the late governor!’ ejaculated the hostess, Mrs. Bridget Sweetbread; suddenly startled out of her afternoon’s nap by the horse’s hoofs–and seeing right before her what she took for the apparition of Don Juan; whom, as it afterwards appeared, she had seen in a pantomime the night before.
‘Thunder and lightning! my good woman,’ said the student laughing, ‘would you dispute the reality of my flesh and blood?’
Mrs. Bridget, however, on perceiving her mistake, cared neither for the sword nor for the dog, but exclaimed, ‘Why then, let me tell you, Sir, it’s not the custom in this country to ride into parlours, and disturb honest folks when they’re taking their rest. Innkeeping’s not the trade it has been to me, God he knows: but, for all that, I’ll not put up with such work from nobody.’
‘Good, my dear creature; what you say is good–very good: but let me tell you, it’s not good that I must be kept waiting in the street, and no soul in attendance to take my horse and feed him.’
‘Oh, that base villain of a hostler!’ said the landlady, immediately begging pardon, and taking hold of the bridle, whilst Mr. Schnackenberger dismounted.
‘That’s a good creature,’ said he; ‘I love you for this: and I don’t care if I take up my quarters here, which at first was not my intention. Have you room for me?’
‘Room!’ answered Mrs. Sweetbread; ‘ah! now there’s just the whole Golden Sow at your service; the more’s the pity.’
On Mr. Jeremiah’s asking the reason for this superfluity of room, she poured out a torrent of abuse against the landlord of The Double-barrelled Gun, who–not content with having at all times done justice to his sign–had latterly succeeded, with the help of vicious coachmen and unprincipled postilions, in drawing away her whole business, and had at length utterly ruined the once famous inn of The Golden Sow. And true it was that the apartment, into which she now introduced her guest, showed some vestiges of ancient splendour, in the pictures of six gigantic sows. The late landlord had been a butcher, and had christened his inn from his practice of slaughtering a pig every week; and the six swine, as large as life, and each bearing a separate name, were designed to record his eminent skill in the art of fattening.
His widow, who was still in mourning for him, must certainly have understood Mr. Schnackenberger’s words, ‘I love you for this,’ in a sense very little intended by the student. For she brought up supper herself; and, with her own hand, unarmed with spoon or other implement, dived after and secured a little insect which was floundering about in the soup. So much the greater was her surprise on observing, that, after such flattering proofs of attention, her guest left the soup untouched; and made no particular application to the other dishes–so well harmonising with the general character of the Golden Sow. At last, however, she explained his want of appetite into the excess of his passion for herself; and, on that consideration, failed not to lay before him a statement of her flourishing circumstances, and placed in a proper light the benefits of a marriage with a woman somewhat older than himself.
Mr. Schnackenberger, whose good-nature was infinite, occasionally interrupted his own conversation with Juno, the great dog, who meantime was dispatching the supper without any of her master’s scruples, to throw in a ‘Yes,’ or a ‘No,’–a, ‘Well,’ or a ‘So, so.’ But at length his patience gave way, and he started up–saying, ‘Well: Sufficit: Now–march, old witch!’ This harmless expression she took in such ill part, that, for mere peace’ sake, he was obliged to lead her to the door and shut her out: and then, undressing himself, he stepped into bed; and, in defiance of the straw which everywhere stuck out, and a quilt of a hundred-weight, he sunk into a deep slumber under the agreeable serenade of those clamorous outcries which Mrs. Sweetbread still kept up on the outside of the door.
 The custom in North Germany is to sleep under a bed as well as upon one; consequently, when this happens to be a cheap one, it cannot be stuffed with feathers, down, etc., but with some heavier material.
IN WHICH OUR HERO POLISHES A ROUGH-RIDER.
‘Fire and furies!’ exclaimed Mr. Schnackenberger, as Juno broke out into uproarious barking about midnight: the door was opened from the outside; and in stepped the landlady, arrayed in a night-dress that improved her charms into a rivalry with those of her sign at the street-door; accompanied by a fellow, who, by way of salutation, cracked an immense hunting-whip.
‘So it’s here that I’m to get my own again?’ cried the fellow: and forthwith Mr. Jeremiah stepped out of bed, and hauled him up to the light of the lamp which the landlady carried.
‘Yes, Sir,’ said, the rough-rider, ‘it’s I, sure enough;’ and, to judge by the countenance of his female conductor, every accent of his anger was music of the spheres to her unquenchable wrath: ‘I’m the man, sure enough, whose horse you rode away with; and that you’ll find to be a true bill.’
‘Rode away with!’ cried Mr. Jeremiah: ‘Now, may the sweetest of all thunderbolts—-But, rascal, this instant what’s to pay? then take thy carrion out of the stable, and be off.’ So saying, Mr. Schnackenberger strode to the bed for his well-filled purse.
On these signs of solvency, however, the horse-dealer turned up the gentle phasis of his character, and said, ‘Nay, nay; since things are so, why it’s all right; and, in the Lord’s name, keep the horse as long as you want him.’
‘Dog! in the first place, and firstly, tell me what’s your demand? in the second place, and secondly, go to the d—-l.’
But whilst the rough-rider continued with low bows to decline the first offer, being satisfied, as it seemed, with the second, the choleric Mr. Schnackenberger cried out, ‘Seize him, Juno!’ And straightway Juno leaped upon him, and executed the arrest so punctually–that the trembling equestrian, without further regard to ceremony, made out his charge.
Forthwith Mr. Jeremiah paid down the demand upon the table, throwing in something extra, with the words, ‘That for the fright.’ The dealer in horse-flesh returned him a thousand thanks; hoped for his honour’s further patronage; and then, upon being civilly assured by Mr. Jeremiah, that if he did not in one instant walk down the stairs, he would, to his certain knowledge, have to fly down them; the rough-rider, in company with the landlady, took a rapid and polite leave of Mr. Schnackenberger; who was too much irritated by the affront to compose himself again to sleep.
HOW MR. SCHNACKENBERGER AND JUNO CONDUCT THEMSELVES WHEN THE HOUSE BECOMES TOO HOT TO HOLD THEM.
Day was beginning to dawn, when a smoke, which forced its way through the door, and which grew every instant thicker and more oppressive, a second time summoned Mr. Schnackenberger from his bed. As he threw open the door, such a volume of flames rolled in from the staircase–which was already on fire from top to bottom–that he saw there was no time to be lost: so he took his pipe, loaded it as quickly as possible, lighted it from the flames of the staircase, began smoking, and then, drawing on his pea-green coat and buckling on his sword, he put his head out of the window to see if there were any means of escape. To leap right down upon the pavement seemed too hazardous; and the most judicious course, it struck him, would be to let himself down upon the Golden Sow, which was at no great depth below his window, and from this station to give the alarm. Even this, however, could not be reached without a leap: Mr. Schnackenberger attempted it; and, by means of his great talents for equilibristic exercises, he hit the mark so well, that he planted himself in the very saddle, as it were, upon the back of this respectable brute. Unluckily, however, there was no house opposite; and Mrs. Sweetbread with her people slept at the back. Hence it was, that for a very considerable space of time he was obliged to continue riding the sign of the Golden Sow; whilst Juno, for whom he could not possibly make room behind him, looked out of the window, and accompanied her master’s text of occasional clamours for assistance, with a very appropriate commentary of howls.
Some Poles at length passed by: but, not understanding one word of German–and seeing a man thus betimes in the morning mounted on the golden sow, smoking very leisurely, and occasionally hallooing, as if for his private amusement, they naturally took Mr. Schnackenberger for a maniac: until, at length, the universal language of fire, which now began to burst out of the window, threw some light upon the darkness of their Polish understandings. Immediately they ran for assistance, which about the same moment the alarm-bells began to summon.
However, the fire-engines arrived on the ground before the ladders: these last were the particular objects of Mr. Jeremiah’s wishes: meantime, in default of those, and as the second best thing that could happen, the engines played with such a well-directed stream of water upon the window–upon the Golden Sow–and upon Mr. Jeremiah Schnackenberger, that for one while they were severally rendered tolerably fire-proof. When at length the ladders arrived, and the people were on the point of applying them to the Golden Sow, he earnestly begged that they would, first of all, attend to a case of more urgent necessity: for himself, he was well mounted–as they saw; could assure them that he was by no means in a combustible state; and, if they would be so good as to be a little more parsimonious with their water, he didn’t care if he continued to pursue his morning’s ride a little longer. On the other hand, Juno at the window to the right was reduced every moment to greater extremities, as was pretty plainly indicated by the increasing violence of her howling.
But the people took it ill that they should be desired to rescue a four-legged animal; and peremptorily refused.
‘My good lads,’ said the man upon the sow, ‘for heaven’s sake don’t delay any longer: one heaven, as Pfeffel observes, is over all good creatures that are pilgrims on this earth–let their travelling coat (which by the way is none of their own choosing) be what it may;–smooth like yours and mine, or shaggy like Juno’s.’
But all to no purpose: not Pfeffel himself in propria persona could have converted them from the belief that to take any trouble about such a brute was derogatory to the honour of the very respectable citizens of B—-.
However, when Mr. Jeremiah drew his purse-strings, and offered a golden ducat to him that would render this service to his dog, instantly so many were the competitors for the honour of delivering the excellent pilgrim in the shaggy coat, that none of them would resign a ladder to any of the rest: and thus, in this too violent zeal for her safety, possibly Juno would have perished–but for a huge Brunswick sausage, which, happening to go past in the mouth of a spaniel, violently irritated the appetite of Juno, and gave her courage for the salto mortale down to the pavement.
‘God bless my soul,’ said Mr. Schnackenberger, to the men who stood mourning over the golden soap-bubble that had just burst before their eyes, ‘what’s to be done now?’ and, without delay, he offered the ducat to him that would instantly give chase to Juno, who had already given chase to the sausage round the street corner, and would restore her to him upon the spot. And such was the agitation of Mr. Schnackenberger’s mind, that for a few moments he seemed as if rising in his stirrups–and on the point of clapping spurs to the Golden Sow for the purpose of joining in the chase.
FROM WHICH MAY BE DESCRIED THE OBJECT OF MR. SCHNACKENBERGER’S JOURNEY TO B—-, AND A PROSPECT OF AN INTRODUCTION TO HIGH LIFE.
Mr. Schnackenberger’s consternation was, in fact, not without very rational grounds. The case was this. Juno was an English bitch–infamous for her voracious appetite in all the villages, far and wide, about the university–and, indeed, in all respects, without a peer throughout the whole country. Of course, Mr. Schnackenberger was much envied on her account by a multitude of fellow students; and very large offers were made him for the dog. To all such overtures, however, the young man had turned a deaf ear for a long time, and even under the heaviest pecuniary distresses; though he could not but acknowledge to himself that Juno brought him nothing but trouble and vexation. For not only did this brute (generally called the monster) make a practice of visiting other people’s kitchens, and appropriating all unguarded dainties–but she went even to the length of disputing the title to their own property with he-cooks and she-cooks, butchers, and butchers’ wives, etc. and whosoever had once made acquaintance with the fore-paws of this ravenous lady, allowed her thenceforwards, without resistance, to carry off all sausages or hams which she might choose to sequestrate, and directly presented a bill to her master; in which bill it commonly happened that indemnification for the fright, if not expressly charged as one of the items, had a blank space, however, left for its consideration beneath the sum total. At length, matters came to that pass, that the reimbursement of Juno’s annual outrages amounted to a far larger sum than Mr. Schnackenberger’s own–not very frugal expenditure. On a day, therefore, when Juno had made an entire clearance of the larder appropriated to a whole establishment of day-labourers–and Mr. Schnackenberger had, in consequence, been brought into great trouble in the university courts, in his first moments of irritation he asked his friend Mr. Fabian Sebastian, who had previously made him a large offer for the dog, whether he were still disposed to take her on those terms. ‘Undoubtedly,’ said Mr. Sebastian–promising, at the same time, to lay down the purchase money on that day se’nnight, upon delivery of the article.
Delivery of the article would, no question, have been made upon the spot, had not the vendor repented of his bargain the next moment after it was concluded: on that account he still kept the dog in his own possession, and endeavoured, during the week’s respite, to dispose his friend’s mind to the cancelling of the contract. He, however, insisted on the punctual fulfilment of the treaty–letter and spirit. Never had Mr. Schnackenberger been so much disturbed in mind as at this period. Simply with the view of chasing away the nervous horrors which possessed his spirits, he had mounted his scare-crow and ridden abroad into the country. A remittance, which he had lately received from home, was still in his purse; and, said he to himself, suppose I were just to ride off to the baths at B—- about fifteen miles distant! Nobody would know me there; and I might at any rate keep Juno a fortnight longer! And exactly in this way it had happened that Mr. Schnackenberger had come to B—-.
At this instant, he was indebted to a lucky accident for a momentary diversion of his thoughts from the danger which threatened him in regard to Juno. Amongst other visitors to the baths, who were passing by at this early hour, happened to be the Princess of * *. Her carriage drew up at the very moment when Mr. Jeremiah, having dismounted from the sow, was descending the ladder: with her usual gracious manner, she congratulated the student upon his happy deliverance; and, finding that he was a countryman of her own, she invited him to a ball which she gave on the evening of that day, in honour of the King’s birthday.
Now it must be acknowledged that a ball-room was not exactly the stage on which Mr. Schnackenberger’s habits of life had qualified him for shining: however, the pleasure of a nearer acquaintance with the interesting princess–held out too flattering a prospect to allow of his declining her invitation. Just at this moment Juno returned.
Meantime the fire (occasioned probably by a spark falling from the landlady’s lamp amongst the straw under the staircase) had been extinguished: and Mrs. Sweetbread, who had at length been roused at the back, now made her appearance; and with many expressions of regret for what had happened to Mr. Schnackenberger, who had entirely re-established himself in her esteem by his gold-laden purse, and also by what she called his ‘very handsome behaviour’ to the horse-dealer, she requested that he would be pleased to step into one of her back rooms; at the same time, offering to reinstate his clothes in wearable condition by drying them as rapidly as possible: a necessity which was too clamorously urgent for immediate attention–to allow of the dripping student’s rejecting her offer.
IN WHAT MANNER MR. JEREMIAH PREPARED HIMSELF FOR THE BALL.
As Mr. Jeremiah stood looking out of the window for the purpose of whiling away a tedious forenoon, it first struck his mind–upon the sight of a number of men dressed very differently from himself–that his wardrobe would scarcely match with the festal splendour of the fete at which he was to be present in the evening. Even if it had been possible to overlook the tarnished lustre of his coat, not much embellished by its late watery trials upon the golden sow, yet he could not possibly make his appearance in a surtout. He sent therefore to one tailor after another: but all assured him that they had their hands much too full of business to undertake the conversion of his surtout into a dress coat against the evening; still less could they undertake to make a new one. Just as vainly did he look about for shoes: many were on sale; but none of them with premises spacious enough to accommodate his very respectable feet.
All this put him into no little perplexity. True it was, that Mrs. Sweetbread had spontaneously thrown open to his inspection the wardrobe of her deceased husband. But even he had contrived to go through this world in shoes of considerably smaller dimensions than Mr. Jeremiah demanded. And from a pretty large choice of coats there was not one which he could turn to account. For, to say nothing of their being one and all too short by a good half ell, even in the very best of them he looked precisely as that man looks who has lately slaughtered a hog, or as that man looks who designs to slaughter a hog.
Now, then, when all his plans for meeting the exigencies of his case had turned out abortive, suddenly a bold idea struck him. In a sort of inspiration he seized a pair of scissors, for the purpose of converting with his own untutored hand of genius his pea-green surtout into a pea-green frock. This operation having, in his own judgment, succeeded to a marvel, he no longer hesitated to cut out a pair of ball shoes from his neat’s-leather ‘field-pieces.’ Whatever equipments were still wanting could be had for money, with the exception of a shirt; and, as to that, the wedding shirt of the late Mr. Sweetbread would answer the purpose very passably.
What provoked our hero most of all were the new patent shoe-buckles, the fine points of which would not take firm hold of the coarse leather shoes, but on every bold step burst asunder–so that he was obliged to keep his eye warily upon them, and in consideration of their tender condition, to set his feet down to the ground very gently.
The hostess had just sunk pretty deep into her customary failing of intoxication, when he went to her and asked how he looked in his gala dress.
‘Look!’ said she; ‘why, like a king baked in gingerbread. Ah! now, such a man as you is the man for my money:–stout, and resolute, and active, and a man that—-‘
‘Basta! sufficit, my dear.’
‘To be sure, for his professional merit, I mustn’t say anything against the late Mr. Sweetbread: No, nobody must say anything against that: he was the man for slaughtering of swine; Oh! he slaughtered them, that it was beautiful to see! pigs in particular, and pigs in general, were what he understood. Ah! lord! to my dying day I shall never forget the great sow that he presented to our gracious princess when she was at the baths, two years come Michaelmas. Says her Highness to him, says she,–“Master,” says she, “one may see by your look that you understand how to fatten: anybody,” says she, “may see it in his face: a child may see it by the very look on him. Ah!” says her Highness, “he’s the man for swine: he was born to converse with hogs: he’s a heaven-born curer of bacon.”–Lord! Mr. Schnackenberger, you’ll not believe how these gracious words revived my very heart! The tears came into my eyes, and I couldn’t speak for joy. But, when all’s said and done, what’s fame? what’s glory? say I. A man like you is the man for me: but for such another lazy old night-cap as the late Mr. Sweetbread—-‘
‘Bah! sufficit, sweetheart;’ at the same time squeezing her hand, which she took as an intimation that she ought not to trouble herself with the past, but rather look forward to a joyous futurity.
As the hour drew near for presenting himself in the circle of the princess, Mr. Jeremiah recommended to her the most vigilant care of Juno, from whom he very unwillingly separated himself in these last days of their connection–and not until he had satisfied himself that it was absolutely impossible to take her with him to the ball. Another favourite, namely, his pipe, ought also, he feared, in strict propriety to be left behind. But in the first place, ‘who knows,’ thought he, ‘but there may be one room reserved for such ladies and gentlemen as choose to smoke?’ And, secondly, let that be as it might, he considered that the great meerschaum head of his pipe–over which he watched as over the apple of his eye–could nowhere be so safely preserved as in his own pocket: as to any protuberance that it might occasion, that he valued not at a rush. Just as little did he care for the grotesque appearance of the mouth-piece, which in true journeyman’s fashion stuck out from the opening of his capacious pocket to a considerable distance.
 ‘Meerschaum:’ I believe a particular kind of clay, called ‘sea-spray,’ from its fineness and lightness, from which the boles of pipes are made in Turkey–often at enormous prices, and much imported into Germany, where they are in great request. Such is the extent of my knowledge on the subject; or perhaps of my ignorance. But, in fact, I know nothing about it.
‘And now don’t you go and forget some people in the midst of all this show of powdered puppies,’ cried the landlady after him.
‘Ah! my darling!’ said he, laughing, ‘just mind Juno: have an eye to Juno, my darling;’ and for Juno’s sake he suppressed the ‘old witch,’ that his lips were itching a second time to be delivered of.
MR. SCHNACKENBERGER IS ENAMOURED, AND OF WHOM; AND WHAT PROSPECTS OPEN UPON HIM IN HIS PURSUIT OF ‘LA BELLE PASSION.’
At the hotel of the princess, all the resources of good taste and hospitality were called forth to give eclat to the fete, and do honour to the day; and by ten o’clock, a very numerous and brilliant company had already assembled.
So much the more astounding must have been the entry of Mr. Jeremiah Schnackenberger; who, by the way, was already familiar to the eyes of many, from his very public entrance into the city on the preceding evening, and to others from his morning’s exhibition on the golden sow. His eyes and his thoughts being occupied by the single image of the fascinating hostess, of course it no more occurred to him to remark that his self-constructed coat was detaching itself at every step from its linings, whilst the pockets of the ci-devant surtout still displayed their original enormity of outline–than in general it would ever have occurred to him that the tout ensemble of his costume was likely to make, and had, in fact, made a very great sensation.
This very general attention to Mr. Schnackenberger, and the total unconsciousness of this honour on the part of Mr. Schnackenberger himself, did not escape the notice of the princess; and, at the first opportunity, she dispatched a gentleman to draw his attention to the indecorum of his dress–and to put him in the way of making the proper alterations. Laughter and vexation struggled in Mr. Schnackenberger’s mind, when he became aware of the condition of his equipments: and he very gladly accompanied the ambassador of his hostess into a private room, where clothes and shoes were furnished him, in which he looked like any other reasonable man. On his return to the ball-room, he lost no time in making his acknowledgments to the princess, and explaining the cause of his unbecoming attire. The princess, with a natural goodness of heart and true hospitality, was anxious to do what she could to restore her strange guest to satisfaction with himself, and to establish him in some credit with the company: she had besides discovered with pleasure that amidst all his absurdities, Mr. Schnackenberger was really a man of some ability: on these several considerations, therefore, she exerted herself to maintain a pretty long conversation with him; which honour Mr. Jeremiah so far misinterpreted, as to ascribe it to an interest of a very tender character. To Mr. Schnackenberger, who had taken up the very extraordinary conceit that his large person had some attractions about it, there could naturally be nothing very surprising in all this: and he felt himself called upon not to be wanting to himself, but to push his good fortune. Accordingly, he kept constantly about the person of the princess: let her move in what direction she would, there was Mr. Jeremiah Schnackenberger at hand ready to bewitch her with his conversation; and, having discovered that she was an amateur of botany, and purposed visiting a botanical garden on the following day, he besieged her with offers of his services in the capacity of guide.
‘Possibly, when the time comes,’ said the princess, aloud, ‘I shall avail myself of your goodness;’ and the visible displeasure, with which she withdrew herself from his worrying importunities, so obviously disposed all the bystanders to smile–that Mr. Schnackenberger himself became alive to his own betise, and a blush of shame and vexation suffused his countenance. What served at the moment greatly to exasperate these feelings, was the behaviour of a certain Mr. Von Pilsen–who had from the first paid uncommon attention to the very extraordinary phenomenon presented by Mr. Schnackenberger’s person–had watched the whole course of the persecutions with which he had distressed the princess–and at this moment seemed quite unable to set any bounds to his laughter. In extreme dudgeon, Mr. Schnackenberger hastened into one of the most remote apartments, and flung himself back upon a sofa. Covering his, eyes with his hands, he saw none of the numbers who passed by him. But the first time that he looked up, behold! a paper was lying upon his breast. He examined it attentively; and found the following, words written in pencil, to all appearance by a female hand: ‘We are too narrowly watched in this place. To-morrow morning about nine o’clock! The beautiful botanic gardens will secure us a fortunate rendezvous.’
‘Aye,’ said Mr. Jeremiah, ‘sure enough it’s from her!’ He read the note again and again: and the more unhappy he had just now been, so much the more was he now intoxicated with his dawning felicities.
IN WHICH JUNO PLAYS A PRINCIPAL PART.
The rattling of a chain through crashing glass and porcelain, which spread alarm through the ball-room, would hardly have drawn Mr. Schnackenberger’s attention in his present condition of rapturous elevation, had not the well-known voice of Juno reached his ears at the same moment. He hurried after the sound–shocked, and to be shocked. The fact was simply this: Juno had very early in the evening withdrawn herself from the surveillance of the Golden Sow, and had followed her master’s steps. Often ejected from the mansion of the princess, she had as often returned; so that at last it was thought best to chain her up in the garden. Unfortunately, a kitten belonging to a young female attendant of the princess had suddenly run past; Juno made a rush after it; the chain broke away from the woodwork of the kennel; the panic-struck kitten retreated into the house–taking the first road which presented: close upon the rear of the kitten pressed Juno and her chain; close upon the rear of Juno pressed the young woman in anguish for her kitten’s life, and armed with a fly-flapper; and, the road happening to lead into the ball-room, the whole train–pursuers and pursued–helter-skelter fell into the quarters of the waltzers. The kitten attempted to take up a position behind a plateau on one of the side-boards: but from this she was immediately dislodged by Juno; and the retreat commencing afresh right across the side-boards which were loaded with refreshments, all went to wreck–glasses and china, all was afloat–sherbet and lemonade, raspberry-vinegar and orgeat: and at the very moment when Mr. Jeremiah returned, the belligerent powers dripping with celestial nectar–having just charged up a column of dancers–were wheeling through the door by which he had entered: and the first check to the wrath of Juno was the seasonable arrest of her master’s voice.
That the displeasure of the dancers, who had been discomposed and besprinkled by Juno, fell entirely upon her master, was pretty evident from their faces. Of all the parties concerned, however, none was more irritated than the young woman; she was standing upon the stairs, caressing and fondling her kitten, as Mr. Schnackenberger went down, leading Juno in his pocket-handkerchief; and she let drop some such very audible hints upon the ill-breeding and boorishness of certain pretended gentlemen, that Mr. Schnackenberger would, without doubt, have given her a very severe reprimand–if he had not thought it more dignified to affect to overlook her.
WHICH TREATS OF EXPERIMENTS NOT VERY COMMON AT BIRTHDAY FETES.
‘Now, my dears,’ said Mr. Von Pilsen to a party who were helping him to laugh at the departed Mr. Schnackenberger, ‘as soon as the fellow returns, we must get him into our party at supper.’
‘Returns?’ exclaimed another; ‘why I should fancy he had had enough of birthday fetes for one life.’
‘You think so?’ said Von Pilsen: ‘so do not I. No, no, my good creature; I flatter myself that I go upon pretty sure grounds: I saw those eyes which he turned upon the princess on making his exit: and mind what I say, he takes his beast home, and—-comes back again. Therefore, be sure, and get him amongst us at supper, and set the barrel abroach. I wouldn’t for all the world the monster should go away untapped.’
The words were scarce uttered, when, sure enough, the body, or ‘barrel,’ of Mr. Schnackenberger did roll into the room for a second time. Forthwith Von Pilsen and his party made up to him; and Pilsen having first with much art laboured to efface any suspicions which might have possessed the student’s mind in consequence of his former laughter, proceeded to thank him for the very extraordinary sport which his dog had furnished; and protested that he must be better acquainted with him.
‘Why, as to that,’ said Mr. Schnackenberger, ‘a better acquaintance must naturally be very agreeable to me. But, in respect to the dog, and what you call the sport, I’m quite of another opinion; and would give all I’m worth that it had not happened.’
‘Oh! no,’ they all declared; ‘the fete would have wanted its most brilliant features if Mr. Schnackenberger or his dog had been absent. No, no: without flattery he must allow them to call him the richest fund of amusement–the brightest attraction of the evening.’ But Schnackenberger shook his head incredulously; said he wished he could think so: but with a deep sigh he persisted in his own opinion; in which he was the more confirmed, when he perceived that the princess, who was now passing him to the supper-room, turned away her eyes the moment she perceived him.
In this state of mind Mr. Jeremiah naturally, but unconsciously, lent himself to the designs of his new acquaintances. Every glass that the devil of mischief and of merry malice poured out, did the devil of Schnackenberger’s despair drink off; until at last the latter devil was tolerably well drowned in wine.
About this time enter Juno again–being her second (and positively last) appearance upon these boards. Mr. Jeremiah’s new friends paid so much homage to the promising appearance of her jaws, that they made room for her very respectfully as she pressed up to her master. He, whose recent excesses in wine had re-established Juno in the plenitude of her favour, saw with approving calmness his female friend lay both her fore-paws on the table–and appropriate all that remained on his plate, to the extreme astonishment of all present.
‘My friend,’ said Mr. Jeremiah, to a footman who was on the point of pulling away the unbidden guest, ‘don’t you, for God’s sake, get into any trouble. My Juno understands no jesting on these occasions: and it might so happen that she would leave a mark of her remembrance with you, that you would not forget so long as you lived.’
‘But I suppose, Sir, you won’t expect that a dog can be allowed to sup with her Highness’s company!’
‘Oh! faith, Sir, credit me–the dog is a more respectable member of society than yourself, and many a one here present: so just leave me and my Juno unmolested. Else I may, perhaps, take the trouble to make an example of you.’
The princess, whose attention was now drawn, made a sign to the servant to retire; and Von Pilsen and his friends could scarcely keep down their laughter to a well-bred key, when Mr. Schnackenberger drew his pipe from his pocket–loaded it–lit it at one of the chandeliers over the supper-table–and, in one minute, wrapped the whole neighbourhood in a voluminous cloud of smoke.
As some little damper to their merriment, however, Mr. Schnackenberger addressed a few words to them from time to time:–‘You laugh, gentlemen,’ said he; ‘and, doubtless, there’s something or other very amusing,–no doubt, infinitely amusing, if one could but find it out. However, I could make your appetites for laughing vanish–aye, vanish in one moment. For, understand me now, one word–one little word from me to Juno, and, in two minutes, the whole room shall be as empty as if it had been swept out with a broom. Just the first that I look at, no matter whom, she catches by the breast–aye, just you, Sir, or you, Sir, or you, Mr. Von Pilsen,’ (fixing his eye upon him) ‘if I do but say–seize him, Juno!’ The word had fled: and in the twinkling of an eye, Juno’s fore-paws, not over clean, were fixed in the elegant white silk waistcoat of Mr. Von Pilsen.
This scene was the signal for universal uproar and alarm. Even Mr. Jeremiah, on remarking the general rising of the company, though totally unaware that his harmless sport had occasioned it, rose also; called the dog off: and comforted Von Pilsen, who was half dead with fright, by assuring him that had he but said–‘Bite him, Juno!’–matters would have ended far worse.
On Mr. Schnackenberger’s standing up, his bodily equilibrium was manifestly so much endangered, that one of the company, out of mere humanity, offered his servant to see him safe home. A slight consciousness of his own condition induced our hero to accept of this offer: through some misunderstanding, however, the servant led him, not to the Golden Sow, but to the Double-barrelled Gun.
Mr. Schnackenberger, on being asked for his number, said ‘No. 5;’ that being the number of his room at the Golden Sow. He was accordingly shown up to No. 5: and, finding a bed under an alcove, he got into it dressed as he was; and, in one moment, had sunk into a profound slumber.
WHICH NARRATES AN ENGAGEMENT ON UNEQUAL TERMS–FIRST FOR ONE SIDE, THEN FOR THE OTHER.
Half an hour after came the true claimant; who, being also drunk, went right up-stairs without troubling the waiter; and forthwith getting into bed, laid himself right upon Mr. Jeremiah Schnackenberger.
‘D—-n this heavy quilt,’ said the student, waking up and recollecting the hundred-pounder of the preceding night; and, without further ceremony, he kicked the supposed quilt into the middle of the room.
Now began war: for the ‘quilt’ rose up without delay; and Mr. Schnackenberger, who had been somewhat worse handled than his opponent by the devil of drunkenness, would doubtless have come by the worst, had he not in his extremity ejaculated ‘Juno!’ whereupon she, putting aside all selfish considerations, which at the moment had fastened her to a leg of mutton in the kitchen, rushed up on the summons of duty, and carried a reinforcement that speedily turned the scale of victory. The alarm, which this hubbub created, soon brought to the field of battle the whole population of the inn, in a very picturesque variety of night-dresses; and the intruding guest would in all likelihood have been kicked back to the Golden Sow; but that the word of command to the irritated Juno, which obviously trembled on his lips, was deemed worthy of very particular attention and respect.
IN WHICH UNFORTUNATE LOVE MEDITATES REVENGE.
At half-past ten on the following morning, at which time Mr. Schnackenberger first unclosed his eyes, behold! at the foot of his bed was sitting my hostess of the Golden Sow. ‘Aye,’ said she, ‘I think it’s time, Sir: and it’s time, I think, to let you know what it is to affront a creditable body before all the world.’
‘Nay, for God’s sake, old one, what’s the matter?’ said Mr. Schnackenberger, laughing and sitting bolt upright in bed.
‘Old? Well, if I have a few more years on my head, I’ve a little more thought in it: but, perhaps, you’re not altogether so thoughtless as I’ve been fancying in your actings towards me poor unfortunate widow: if that’s the case, you are a base wicked man; and you deserve–‘
‘Why, woman, how now? Has a tarantula bit you; or what is it? Speak.’
‘Speak! Aye, I’ll speak; and all the world shall hear me. First of all come you riding into my bar like a crazy man: and I, good easy creature, let myself be wheedled, carry you meat–drink–everything–with my own hands; sit by your side; keep you in talk the whole evening, for fear you should be tired; and, what was my reward? “March,” says you, “old witch.” Well, that passed on. At midnight I am called out of my bed–for your sake: and the end of that job is, that along of you the Sow is half burned down. But for all that, I say never an ill word to you. I open the late Mr. Sweetbread’s clothes-presses to you: his poor innocent wedding-shirt you don over your great shameless body; go off; leave me behind with a masterful dog, that takes a roast leg of mutton from off the spit; and, when he should have been beat for it, runs off with it into the street. You come back with the beast. Not to offend you, I say never a word of what he has done. Off you go again: well: scarce is your back turned, when the filthy carrion begins running my rabbits up and down the yard; eats up all that he can catch; and never a one would have been left to tell the tale, if the great giantical hostler (him as blacked your shoes) hadn’t ha’ cudgelled him off. And after all this, there are you hopping away at the ball wi’ some painted doll–looking babies in her eyes–quite forgetting me that has to sit up for you at home pining and grieving: and all isn’t enough, but at last you must trot off to another inn.’
‘What then,’ said Mr. Schnackenberger, ‘is it fact that I’m not at the Golden Sow?’
‘Charming!’ said Mrs. Sweetbread; ‘and so you would make believe you don’t know it; but I shall match you, or find them as will: rest you sure of that.’
‘Children!’ said Mr. Schnackenberger to the waiter and boots, who were listening in astonishment with the door half-open; ‘of all loves, rid me of this monster.’
‘Aye, what!’ said she in a voice of wrath; and put herself on the defensive. But a word or two of abuse against the landlord of the Double-barrelled Gun, which escaped her in her heat, irritated the men to that degree, that in a few moments afterwards Mrs. Sweetbread was venting her wrath in the street–to the wonder of all passers-by, who looked after her until she vanished into the house of a well-known attorney.
Meantime, Mr. Schnackenberger, having on inquiry learned from the waiter in what manner he had come to the inn–and the night-scene which had followed, was apologizing to the owner of No. 5,–when, to his great alarm the church clock struck eleven. ‘Nine,’ he remembered, was the hour fixed by the billet: and the more offence he might have given to the princess by his absurdities over-night, of which he had some obscure recollection, so much the more necessary was it that he should keep the appointment. The botanic garden was two miles off: so, shutting up Juno, he ordered a horse: and in default of boots, which, alas! existed no longer in that shape, he mounted in silk stockings and pumps; and rode off at a hand gallop.
MR. SCHNACKENBERGER’S ENGAGEMENT WITH AN OLD BUTTERWOMAN.
The student was a good way advanced on his road, when he descried the princess, attended by another lady and a gentleman approaching in an open carriage. As soon, however, as he was near enough to be recognised by the party in the carriage, the princess turned away her head with manifest signs of displeasure–purely, as it appeared, to avoid noticing Mr. Jeremiah. Scarcely, however, was the carriage past him, together with Mr. Von Pilsen, who galloped by him in a tumult of laughter, when the ill-fate of our hero so ordered it, that all eyes which would not notice him for his honour should be reverted upon his disgrace. The white turnpike gate so frightened our rider’s horse, that he positively refused to pass it: neither whip nor spur would bring him to reason. Meantime, up comes an old butterwoman. At the very moment when she was passing, the horse in his panic steps back and deposits one of his hind legs in the basket of the butterwoman: down comes the basket with all its eggs, rotten and sound; and down comes the old woman, squash, into the midst of them. “Murder! Murder!” shouted the butterwoman; and forthwith every individual thing that could command a pair or two pair of legs ran out of the turnpike-house; the carriage of the princess drew up, to give the ladies a distant view of Mr. Schnackenberger engaged with the butterwoman; and Mr. Von Pilsen wheeled his horse round into a favourable station for seeing anything the ladies might overlook. Rage gave the old butterwoman strength; she jumped up nimbly, and seized Mr. Schnackenberger so stoutly by the laps of his coat, that he vainly endeavoured to extricate himself from her grasp. At this crisis, up came Juno, and took her usual side in such disputes. But to do this with effect, Juno found it necessary first of all to tear off the coat lap; for, the old woman keeping such firm hold of it, how else could Juno lay her down on her back–set her paws upon her breast–and then look up to her master, as if asking for a certificate of having acquitted herself to his satisfaction?
 In the original–‘eine marketenderin,’ a female sutler: but I have altered it, to save an explanation of what the old sutler was after.
To rid himself of spectators, Mr. Jeremiah willingly paid the old woman the full amount of her demand, and then returned to the city. It disturbed him greatly, however, that the princess should thus again have seen him under circumstances of disgrace. Anxious desire to lay open his heart before her–and to place himself in a more advantageous light, if not as to his body, yet at all events as to his intellect–determined him to use his utmost interest with her to obtain a private audience; ‘at which,’ thought he, ‘I can easily beg her pardon for having overslept the appointed hour.’
IN WHICH GOOD LUCK AND BAD LUCK ARE DISTRIBUTED IN EQUAL PROPORTIONS.
The good luck seemed to have anticipated Mr. Schnackenberger’s nearest wishes. For on reaching the Double-barrelled Gun, whither he arrived without further disturbance than that of the general gazing to which he was exposed by the fragment of a coat which survived from the late engagement, a billet was put into his hands of the following tenor: ‘Come and explain this evening, if you can explain, your astonishing neglect of this morning’s appointment. I shall be at the theatre; and shall do what I can to dismiss my attendants.’
But bad luck came also–in the person of a lawyer. The lawyer stated that he called on the part of the landlady of the Golden Sow, to put the question for the last time in civil terms, ‘whether Mr. Schnackenberger were prepared to fulfil those just expectations which he had raised in her heart; or whether she must be compelled to pursue her claims by due course of law.’
Mr. Schnackenberger was beginning to launch out with great fury upon the shameless and barefaced impudence of such expectations: but the attorney interrupted him; and observed with provoking coolness, ‘that there was no occasion for any warmth–no occasion in the world; that certainly Mrs. Sweetbread could not have framed these expectations wholly out of the air: something (and he grinned sarcastically), something, it must be supposed, had passed: now, for instance, this wedding-shirt of the late Mr. Sweetbread–she would hardly, I think, have resigned this to your use, Mr. Schnackenberger, unless some engagements had preceded either in the shape of words or of actions. However, said he, this is no part of my business: what remains for me to do on this occasion is to present her account; and let me add, that I am instructed to say that, if you come to a proper understanding with her on the first point, no further notice will be taken of this last part of my client’s demand.
The unfortunate Mr. Schnackenberger considered the case most ruefully and in awful perturbation. He perspired exceedingly. However, at length–‘Come, I don’t care,’ said he, ‘I know what I’ll do:’ and then sitting down, he drew up a paper, which he presented to Mr. Attorney; at the same time, explaining to him that, rather than be exposed in a court of justice as a supposed lover of Mrs. Sweetbread’s, he was content to pay the monstrous charges of her bill without applying to a magistrate for his revision: but upon this condition only, that Mrs. Sweetbread should for herself, heirs, and assigns, execute a general release with regard to Mr. Jeremiah Schnackenberger’s body, according to the form here drawn up by himself, and should engage on no pretence whatever to set up any claim to him in times to come.
The attorney took his leave for the purpose of laying this release before his client: but the landlord of the Double-barrelled Gun, to whom in confidence Mr. Jeremiah disclosed his perilous situation, shook his head, and said, that if the other party signed the release on the conditions offered, it would be fortunate: as in that case, Mr. Schnackenberger would come off on much easier terms than twenty-three other gentlemen had done, who had all turned into the Golden Sow on different occasions, but not one of whom had ever got clear of the Golden Sow without an expensive contest at law. ‘God bless my soul!’ said Mr. Schnackenberger, who now ‘funked' enormously; ‘if that’s the case, she might well have so much spare room to offer me: twenty-three gentlemen! God bless my soul!’
 If any reader should happen not to be acquainted with this word, which, however, is fine old English, and classical at Eton, &c.–the; nearest synonym which I remember at this moment is Expavesco.
At this instant, a servant brought back the shoes and clothes of Mr. Schnackenberger’s own manufacture, which had been pulled off and left at the hotel of the princess. The student gave up the pumps and the borrowed coat to the astonished servant, with an assurance that he would wait on her Highness and make his personal excuses to her, on account of ‘a little accident’ which had that morning befallen the coat. He then dispatched his own coat to a quarter where something or other might be done to fit it for this sublunary world.
IN WHAT WAY MR. JEREMIAH SUPPLIES THE WANT OF HIS COAT.
The play-hour was arrived; and yet no coat was forthcoming from the tailor: on the contrary, the tailor himself was gone to the play. The landlord of the Double-barrelled Gun, who would readily have lent one, was off upon a rural excursion, and not expected at home before the next morning; and the waiter, whose assistance would not have been disdained in such a pressing emergency, was of so spare and meagre a habit, that, in spite of furious exertions on the part of Mr. Schnackenberger, John’s coat would not let itself be entered upon by this new tenant. In this exigency, John bethought him of an old clothesman in the neighbourhood. There he made inquiries. But he, alas! was out on his summer rounds with his whole magazine of clothes; no one article being left with his wife, except a great box-coat, such as is technically called a ‘dreadnought,’ for which it was presumed that no demand could possibly arise at this season of the year.
On this report being made, to the great astonishment of the waiter, Mr. Jeremiah said, ‘Well, then, let us have the dreadnought. If the Fates ordain that I should go to the play in the dog-days apparelled in a dreadnought, let not me vainly think of resisting their decrees.’
‘But,’ said the waiter, shrugging his shoulders, ‘the people—-‘
‘The what?’ said Mr. Schnackenberger: ‘the people–was it you said; the people? Pray how many people do you reckon to a man? No, Sir, do as I bid you; just bring me the dreadnought and a round hat.’
The waiter obeyed: and, although the dreadnought was by one good ell too short, yet Mr. Jeremiah exulted in his strange apparel, because he flattered himself that in such a disguise he could preserve a strict incognito; with a view to which he also left Juno behind, recommending her to the vigilant attentions of the waiter.
WHICH CONTAINS A PLAY WITHIN A PLAY.
All the world was astonished, when from the door of the Double-barrelled Gun a man stepped forth on the hottest day in August, arrayed as for a Siberian winter in a dreadnought, guarded with furs, and a hat pressed down, so as almost to cover his face. The train of curious persons who attended his motions naturally grew larger at every step.
Whosoever had hitherto doubted whether this man were mad–doubted no longer when he was seen to enter the theatre; where in the lightest summer-clothing the heat was scarcely supportable.
Within the theatre, the attention of all people was directed so undividedly upon himself, that even Mr. Schnackenberger began to opine that he had undertaken something extraordinary: so much the more, thought he, will it be prudent to hide my face, that I may not again compromise my dignity in the presence of her Highness. But this concealment of his face raised the strongest suspicions against him. Throughout the whole house–pit–boxes–and galleries–there was but one subject of conversation, viz. the man in the dreadnought; and, whilst in all other parts the house was crowded to excess, upon his bench no soul would sit: and he created as much superfluity of room as he had found at the Golden Sow. At length the manager waited upon him, and requested that he would either retire from the theatre, or that he would explain what could have induced him to make his appearance in a costume which had spread alarm and anxiety through the public mind; and which was likely to do a serious injury to the receipts of the night.
At this moment several children began to cry–taking him for black Robert. The consequence was, that, as they could not be pacified, the first scene was mere dumb show to the audience; and some giddy young people set up a loud ‘off, off, Dreadnought!’ which cry was instantly seconded by the public. Nevertheless, as the princess at that instant entered her box, Mr. Schnackenberger, however hard pressed, thought it became him to maintain his post to the last extremity. This extremity forthwith appeared in the shape of three armed soldiers, who, on behalf of the police, took him into custody. Possibly Mr. Jeremiah might have shown himself less tractable to the requests of these superannuated antiquities–but for two considerations; first, that an opportunity might thus offer of exchanging his dreadnought for a less impressive costume; and, secondly, that in case of his declining to accompany them, he saw signs abroad that a generous and enlightened public did very probably purpose to kick him out; a conjecture which was considerably strengthened by the universal applause which attended his exit at quick time.
 In the original Knecht Rupert. The allusion is to an old Christmas usage of North Germany: a person comes in disguise, in the character of an ambassador from heaven, with presents for all the young children who are reported to him as good and obedient: but those who are naughty he threatens and admonishes. See Coleridge’s Friend, vol. ii. p. 322.
Mr. Schnackenberger was escorted by an immense retinue of old street-padders and youthful mud-larks to the city gaol. His own view of the case was, that the public had been guilty of a row, and ought to be arrested. But the old Mayor, who was half-deaf, comprehended not a syllable of what he said: all his remonstrances about ‘pressing business’ went for nothing: and, when he made a show of escaping upon seeing the gloomy hole into which he was now handed, his worship threatened him with drawing out the city guard.
From one of this respectable body, who brought him straw to lie upon, and the wretched prison allowance of food, he learned that his examination could not take place that day nor even the next; for the next was a holiday, on which Mr. Mayor never did any business. On receiving this dolorous information, Mr. Schnackenberger’s first impulse was to knock down his informant and run away: but a moment’s consideration satisfied him–that, though he might by this means escape from his cell, he could have no chance of forcing the prison gates.
IN WHAT WAY MR. JEREMIAH ESCAPES; AND WHAT HE FINDS IN THE STREET.
A most beautiful moonlight began at this juncture to throw its beams in the prison, when Mr. Schnackenberger, starting up from his sleepless couch, for pure rage, seized upon the iron bars of his window, and shook them with a fervent prayer, that instead of bars it had pleased God to put Mr. Mayor within his grasp. To his infinite astonishment, the bars were more obedient to his wrath than could have been expected. One shake more, and like a row of carious teeth they were all in Mr. Schnackenberger’s hand.
It may be supposed that Mr. Schnackenberger lost no time in using his good fortune; indeed, a very slight jump would suffice to place him at liberty. Accordingly, when the sentinel had retired to a little distance, he flung his dreadnought out of the window–leaped upon it–and stood without injury on the outside of the prison.
‘Who goes there?’ cried the alarmed sentinel, coyly approaching the spot from which the noise issued.
‘Nobody,’ said the fugitive: and by way of answer to the challenge–‘Speak, or I must fire’–which tremulously issued from the lips of the city hero, Mr. Schnackenberger, gathering up his dreadnought to his breast, said in a hollow voice, ‘Fellow, thou art a dead man.’
Straightway the armed man fell upon his knees before him, and cried out–‘ah! gracious Sir! have mercy upon me. I am a poor wig-maker; and a bad trade it is; and I petitioned his worship, and have done for this many a year, to be taken into the city guard; and yesterday I passed–‘
‘Passed my examination, your honour:–his worship put me through the manual exercise: and I was ‘triculated into the corps. It would be a sad thing, your honour, to lose my life the very next day after I was ‘triculated.’
‘Well,’ said Mr. Jeremiah, who with much ado forbore laughing immoderately, ‘for this once I shall spare your life: but then remember–not a word, no sound or syllable.’
‘Not one, your honour, I vow to heaven.’
‘And down upon the spot deliver me your coat, side arms, and hat.’
But the martial wig-maker protested that, being already ill of a cold, he should, without all doubt, perish if he were to keep guard in his shirt-sleeves.
‘Well, in that case, this dreadnought will be a capital article: allow me to prescribe it–it’s an excellent sudorific.’
Necessity has no law: and so, to save his life, the city hero, after some little struggle, submitted to this unusual exchange.
‘Very good!’ said Mr. Schnackenberger, as the warrior in the dreadnought, after mounting his round hat, again shouldered his musket:–‘Now, good-night;’ and so saying, he hastened off to the residence of the Mayor.
MR. JEREMIAH’S NIGHT INTERVIEW WITH THE MAYOR UPON STATE AFFAIRS.
‘Saints in heaven! is this the messenger of the last day?’ screamed out a female voice, as the doorbell rang out a furious alarum–peal upon peal–under that able performer, Mr. Jeremiah Schnackenberger. She hastened to open the door; but, when she beheld a soldier in the state uniform, she assured him it was all over with him; for his worship was gone to bed; and, when that was the case, he never allowed of any disturbance without making an example.
‘Aye, but I come upon state business.’
‘No matter,’ said the old woman, ‘it’s all one: when his worship sleeps, business must sleep: that’s the law, I’ll assure you, and has been any time since I can think on. He always commits, at the least.’
‘Very likely; but I must speak to him.’
‘Well, then, take the consequences on yourself,’ said she: ‘recollect, you’re a state soldier; you’ll be brought to a court-martial; you’ll be shot.’
‘Ah! well: that’s my concern.’
‘Mighty well,’ said the old woman: ‘one may as well speak to the wind. However, I‘ll get out the way: I‘ll not come near the hurricane. And don’t you say, I didn’t warn you.’
So saying, she let him up to her master’s bed-room door, and then trotted off as fast and as far as she could.
At this moment Mr. Mayor, already wakened and discomposed by the violent tintinnabulation, rushed out: ‘What!’ said he, ‘am I awake? Is it a guardsman that has this audacity?’
‘No guardsman, Mr. Mayor,’ said our hero; in whose face his worship was vainly poring with the lamp to spell out the features of some one amongst the twelve members of the state-guard; ‘no guardsman, but a gentleman that was apprehended last night at the theatre.’
‘Ah!’ said the Mayor, trembling in every limb, ‘a prisoner, and escaped? And perhaps has murdered the guard?–What would you have of me–me, a poor, helpless, unfortunate man?’
And, at every word he spoke, he continued to step back towards a bell that lay upon the table.
‘Basta,’ said Mr. Schnackenberger, taking the bell out of his hands. ‘Mr. Mayor, I’m just the man in the dreadnought. And I’ve a question to ask you, Mr. Mayor; and I thought it was rather long to wait until morning; so I took the liberty of coming for an answer to-night; and I’d think myself particularly obliged to you for it now:–Upon what authority do you conceive yourself entitled to commit me, an innocent man, and without a hearing, to an abominable hole of a dungeon? I have not murdered the guard, Mr. Mayor: but I troubled him for his regimental coat, that I might gain admittance to your worship: and I left him the dreadnought in exchange.’
‘The dreadnought?’ said the Mayor. ‘Aye: now this very dreadnought it was, Sir, that compelled me (making a low bow) to issue my warrant for your apprehension.’ And it then came out, that in a list of stolen goods recently lodged with the magistrates, a dreadnought was particularly noticed: and Mr. Mayor having seen a man enter the theatre in an article answering to the description, and easily identified by a black cross embroidered upon the back, was obliged by his duty to have him arrested; more especially as the wearer had increased the suspicion against himself by concealing his face.
This explanation naturally reconciled Mr. Schnackenberger to the arrest: and as to the filthy dungeon, that admitted of a still simpler apology, as it seemed that the town afforded no better.
‘Why then, Mr. Mayor,–as things stand, it seems to me that in the point of honour I ought to be satisfied: and in that case I still consider myself your prisoner, and shall take up my quarters for this night in your respectable mansion.’
‘But no!’ thought Mr. Mayor: ‘better let a rogue escape, than keep a man within my doors that may commit a murder on my body.’ So he assured Mr. Schnackenberger–that he had accounted in the most satisfactory manner for being found in possession of the dreadnought; took down the name of the old clothesman from whom it was hired; and lighting down his now discharged prisoner, he declared, with a rueful attempt at smiling, that it gave him the liveliest gratification on so disagreeable an occasion to have made so very agreeable an acquaintance.
MISERY ACQUAINTS MR. SCHNACKENBERGER WITH STRANGE BEDFELLOWS.
When Mr. Schnackenberger returned home from his persecutions, he found the door of the Double-barrelled Gun standing wide open: and, as he had observed a light in his own room, he walked right up-stairs without disturbing the sleeping waiter. But to his great astonishment, two gigantic fellows were posted outside the door; who, upon his affirming that he must be allowed to enter his own room, seemed in some foreign and unintelligible language to support the negative of that proposition. Without further scruple or regard to their menacing gestures, he pressed forwards to the chamber door; but immediately after felt himself laid hold of by the two fellows–one at his legs, the other at his head–and, spite of his most indignant protests, carried down-stairs into the yard. There he was tumbled into a little depot for certain four-footed animals–with whose golden representative he had so recently formed an acquaintance no less intimate;–and, the height of the building not allowing of his standing upright, he was disposed to look back with sorrow to the paradise lost of his station upon the back of the quiet animal whom he had ridden on the preceding day. Even the dungeon appeared an elysium in comparison with his present lodgings, where he felt the truth of the proverb brought home to him–that it is better to be alone than in bad company.
Unfortunately, the door being fastened on the outside, there remained nothing else for him to do than to draw people to the spot by a vehement howling. But the swine being disturbed by this unusual outcry, and a general uproar taking place among the inhabitants of the stye, Mr. Schnackenberger’s single voice, suffocated by rage, was over-powered by the swinish accompaniment. Some little attention was, however, drawn to the noise amongst those who slept near to the yard: but on the waiter’s assuring them that it was ‘only a great pig who would soon be quiet,’ that the key could not be found, and no locksmith was in the way at that time of night, the remonstrants were obliged to betake themselves to the same remedy of patience, which by this time seemed to Mr. Jeremiah also the sole remedy left to himself.
WHOSE END RECONCILES OUR HERO WITH ITS BEGINNING.
Mr. Schnackenberger’s howling had (as the waiter predicted) gradually died away, and he was grimly meditating on his own miseries, to which he had now lost all hope of seeing an end before daylight, when the sudden rattling of a key at the yard door awakened flattering hopes in his breast. It proved to be the waiter, who came to make a gaol delivery–and on letting him out said, ‘I am commissioned by the gentlemen to secure your silence;’ at the same time putting into his hand a piece of gold.
‘The d—-l take your gold!’ said Mr. Schnackenberger: ‘is this the practice at your house–first to abuse your guests, and then have the audacity to offer them money?’
‘Lord, protect us!’ said the waiter, now examining his face, ‘is it you? but who would ever have looked for you in such a dress as this? The gentlemen took you for one of the police. Lord! to think what a trouble you’ll have had!’
And it now came out, that a party of foreigners had pitched upon Mr. Jeremiah’s room as a convenient one for playing at hazard and some other forbidden games; and to prevent all disturbance from the police, had posted their servants, who spoke not a word of German, as sentinels at the door.
‘But how came you to let my room for such a purpose?’
‘Because we never expected to see you to-night; we had heard that the gentleman in the dreadnought had been taken up at the theatre, and committed. But the gentlemen are all gone now; and the room’s quite at your service.’
Mr. Schnackenberger, however, who had lost the first part of the night’s sleep from suffering, was destined to lose the second from pleasure: for the waiter now put into his hands the following billet: ‘No doubt you must have waited for me to no purpose in the passages of the theatre: but alas! our firmest resolutions we have it not always in our power to execute; and on this occasion, I found it quite impossible consistently with decorum to separate myself from my attendants. Will you therefore attend the hunt to-morrow morning? there I hope a better opportunity will offer.’
It added to his happiness on this occasion that the princess had manifestly not detected him as the man in the dreadnought.
IN WHICH MR. SCHNACKENBERGER ACTS UPON THE AMBITIOUS FEELINGS OF A MAN IN OFFICE FOR AN AMIABLE PURPOSE.
Next morning, when the Provost-marshal came to fetch back the appointments of the military wig-maker, it struck our good-natured student that he had very probably brought the poor fellow into an unpleasant scrape. He felt, therefore, called upon as a gentleman, to wait upon the Mayor, and do his best to beg him off. In fact, he arrived just in time: for all the arrangements were complete for demonstrating to the poor wig-maker, by an a posteriori line of argument, the importance of valour in his new employment.
Mr. Schnackenberger entreated the Mayor to be lenient: courage, he said, was not every man’s business: as a wig-maker, the prisoner could have had little practice in that virtue: the best of wigs were often made by cowards: ‘and even as a soldier,’ said he, ‘it’s odds if there should be such another alarm for the next hundred years.’ But all in vain: his judge was too much incensed: ‘Such a scandalous dereliction of duty!’ said he; ‘No, no: I must make an example of him.’
Hereupon, Mr. Jeremiah observed, that wig-makers were not the only people who sometimes failed in the point of courage: ‘Nay,’ said he, ‘I have known even mayors who by no means shone in that department of duty: and in particular, I am acquainted with some who would look exceedingly blue, aye d—-lish blue indeed, if a student whom I have the honour to know should take it into his head to bring before the public a little incident in which they figured, embellished with wood-cuts, representing a retreat by forced marches towards a bell in the background.’
Mr. Mayor changed colour; and pausing a little to think, at length he said–‘Sir, you are in the right; every man has his weak moments. But it would be unhandsome to expose them to the scoffs of the public.’
‘Why, yes, upon certain conditions.’
‘Which conditions I comply with,’ said his worship; and forthwith he commuted the punishment for a reprimand and a short confinement.
On these terms Mr. Schnackenberger assured him of his entire silence with respect to all that had passed.
IN WHICH THE HOPES OF TWO LOVERS ARE WRECKED AT ONCE.
‘Beg your pardon, Sir, are you Mr. Schnackenberger?’ said a young man to our hero, as he was riding out of the city gate.
‘Yes, Sir, I’m the man; what would you have with me?’ and, at the same time looking earnestly at him, he remembered his face amongst the footmen on the birth-night.
‘At the Forester’s house–about eleven o’clock,’ whispered the man mysteriously.
‘Very good,’ said Mr. Schnackenberger, nodding significantly; and forthwith, upon the wings of rapturous anticipation, he flew to the place of rendezvous.
On riding into the Forester’s court-yard, among several other open carriages, he observed one lined with celestial blue, which, with a strange grossness of taste, exhibited upon the cushions a medley of hams, sausages, etc. On entering the house, he was at no loss to discover the owner of the carriage; for in a window-seat of the bar sate the landlady of the Golden Sow, no longer in widow’s weeds, but arrayed in colours brighter than a bed of tulips.
Mr. Schnackenberger was congratulating himself on his quarrel with her, which he flattered himself must preclude all amicable intercourse, when she saw him, and to his horror approached with a smiling countenance. Some overtures towards reconciliation he saw were in the wind: but, as these could not be listened to except on one condition, he determined to meet her with a test question: accordingly, as she drew near, simpering and languishing,
‘Have you executed?’ said he abruptly, ‘Have you executed?’
‘Have I what?’ said Mrs. Sweetbread.
‘Executed? Have you executed the release?’
‘Oh! you bad man! But come now: I know—-‘
At this moment, however, up came some acquaintances of Mrs. Sweetbread’s, who had ridden out to see the hunt; and, whilst her attention was for one moment drawn off to them, Mr. Schnackenberger slipped unobserved into a parlour: it was now half-past ten by the Forester’s clock; and he resolved to wait here until the time fixed by the princess. Whilst sitting in this situation, he heard in an adjoining room (separated only by a slight partition) his own name often repeated: the voice was that of Mr. Von Pilsen; loud laughter followed every sentence; and on attending more closely, Mr. Schnackenberger perceived that he was just terminating an account of his own adventures at the Golden Sow, and of his consequent embroilment with the amorous landlady. All this, however, our student would have borne with equanimity. But next followed a disclosure which mortified his vanity in the uttermost degree. A few words sufficed to unfold to him that Mr. Von Pilsen, in concert with the waiter of the Double-barrelled Gun and that young female attendant of the princess, whose kitten had been persecuted by Juno, had framed the whole plot, and had written the letters which Mr. Schnackenberger had ascribed to her Highness. He had scarce patience to hear out the remainder. In some way or other, Von Pilsen had so far mistaken our hero, as to pronounce him ‘chicken-hearted:’ and upon this ground, he invited his whole audience to an evening party at the public rooms of the Double-barrelled Gun–where he promised to play off Mr. Schnackenberger as a glorious exhibition for this night only.
Furious with wrath, and moreover anxious to escape before Von Pilsen and his party should see him, and know that this last forgery no less than the others had succeeded in duping him into a punctual observance of the appointment, Mr. Schnackenberger rushed out of the room, seized his horse’s bridle–and was just on the point of mounting, when up came his female tormentor, Mrs. Sweetbread.
‘Come, come, now,’ said she, smiling in her most amiable manner; ‘we were both under a mistake yesterday morning: and both of us were too hasty. The booby of a lad took you to the Gun, when you wanted nothing but the Sow: you were a little “fresh,” and didn’t know it; and I thought you did it on purpose. But I know better now. And here I am to fetch you back to the Sow: so come along: and we’ll forget and forgive on both sides.’
So saying, she would have taken his arm most lovingly: but Mr. Schnackenberger stoutly refused. He had nothing to do with her but to pay his bill; he wanted nothing of her but his back-sword, which he had left at the Sow; and he made a motion towards his stirrup. But Mrs. Sweetbread laid her hand upon his arm, and asked him tenderly–if her person were then so utterly disgusting to him that, upon thus meeting him again by his own appointment, he had at once forgotten all his proposals?
‘Proposals! what proposals?’ shrieked the persecuted student; ‘Appointment! what appointment?’
‘Oh, you base, low-lived villain! don’t you go for to deny it, now: didn’t you offer to be reconciled? didn’t you bid me to come here, that we might settle all quietly in the forest? Aye, and we will settle it: and nothing shall ever part us more; nothing in the world; for what God has joined—-‘
‘Drunken old witch!’ interrupted Mr. Jeremiah, now sufficiently admonished by the brandy fumes which assailed him as to the proximate cause of Mrs. Sweetbread’s boldness; ‘seek lovers elsewhere.’ And hastily turning round to shake her off, he perceived to his horror that an immense crowd had by this time assembled behind them. In the rear, and standing upon the steps of the Forester’s house, stood Von Pilsen and his party, convulsed with laughter; immediately below them was the whole body of the hunters, who had called here for refreshment–upon whose faces struggled a mixed expression of merriment and wonder: and at the head of the whole company stood a party of butchers and butchers’ boys returning from the hunt, whose fierce looks and gestures made it evident that they sympathized with the wrongs of Mrs. Sweetbread, the relict of a man who had done honour to their body–and were prepared to avenge them in any way she might choose. She, meantime, whose whole mighty love was converted into mighty hatred by the opprobrious words and fierce repulse of Mr. Schnackenberger, called heaven and earth, and all present, to witness her wrongs; protested that he had himself appointed the meeting at the Forest-house; and in confirmation drew forth a letter.
At sight of the letter, a rattling peal of laughter from Mr. Von Pilsen left no room to doubt, in our student’s mind, from whose witty manufactory it issued; and a rattling peal of wrath from the butchers’ boys left no room to doubt in anybody’s mind what would be its consequences. The letter was, in fact, pretty much what Mrs. Sweetbread alleged: it contained a large and unlimited offer of Mr. Schnackenberger’s large and unlimited person; professed an ardour of passion which could brook no delay; and entreated her to grant him an interview for the final arrangement of all preliminaries at the Forest-house.
Whilst this letter was reading, Mr. Schnackenberger perceived that there was no time to be lost: no Juno, unfortunately, was present, no ‘deus ex machina’ to turn the scale of battle, which would obviously be too unequal, and in any result (considering the quality of the assailants) not very glorious. So, watching his opportunity, he vaulted into his saddle, and shot off like an arrow. Up went the roar of laughter from Von Pilsen and the hunters: up went the roar of fury from the butchers and their boys: in the twinkling of an eye all were giving chase; showers of stones sang through the trees; threats of vengeance were in his ears; butchers’ dogs were at his horse’s heels; butchers’ curses were on the wind; a widow’s cries hung upon his flight. The hunters joined in the pursuit; a second chase was before them; Mr. Pilsen had furnished them a second game. Again did Mr. Schnackenberger perspire exceedingly; once again did Mr. Schnackenberger ‘funk’ enormously; yet, once again did Mr. Schnackenberger shiver at the remembrance of the Golden Sow, and groan at the name of Sweetbread. He retained, however, presence of mind enough to work away at his spurs incessantly; nor ever once turned his head until he reached the city gates, which he entered at the pas de charge, thanking heaven that he was better mounted than on his first arrival at B—-.
IT NEVER RAINS BUT IT POURS.
Rapidly as Mr. Schnackenberger drove through the gates, he was arrested by the voice of the warder, who cited him to instant attendance at the town-hall. Within the memory of man, this was the first time that any business had been transacted on a holiday; an extraordinary sitting was now being held; and the prisoner under examination was—-Juno. ‘Oh! heaven and its mercies! when will my afflictions cease?’ said the exhausted student; ‘when shall I have a respite?’ Respite there could be none at present; for the case was urgent; and, unless Juno could find good bail, she was certain of being committed on three very serious charges of 1. trespass; 2. assault and battery; 3. stealing in a dwelling-house. The case was briefly this: Juno had opened so detestable an overture of howling on her master’s departure for the forest, that the people at the Double-barrelled Gun, out of mere consideration for the city of B—-, had found it necessary to set her at liberty; whereupon, as if the devil drove her, forthwith the brute had gone off in search of her old young enemy the kitten, at the hotel of the princess. She beat up the kitten’s quarters again; and again she drove in the enemy pell-mell into her camp in the kitchen. The young mistress of the kitten, out of her wits at seeing her darling’s danger, had set down a pail of milk, in which she was washing a Brussels’ veil and a quantity of Mechlin lace belonging to the princess–and hurried her kitten into a closet. In a moment she returned, and found–milk, Brussels’ veil, Mechlin lace, vanished–evaporated into Juno’s throat, ‘abiit–evasit–excessit–erupit!’ only the milk-pail, upon some punctilio of delicacy in Juno, was still there; and Juno herself stood by, complacently licking her milky lips, and expressing a lively satisfaction with the texture of Flanders’ manufactures. The princess, vexed at these outrages on her establishment, sent a message to the town-council, desiring that banishment for life might be inflicted on a dog of such revolutionary principles, whose presence (as she understood) had raised a general consternation throughout the city of B—-.
Mr. Mayor, however, had not forgotten the threatened report of a certain retreat to a bell, illustrated by wood-cuts; and therefore, after assuring her Highness of his readiness to serve her, he added, that measures would be adopted to prevent similar aggressions–but that unhappily, from peculiar circumstances connected with this case, no further severities could be inflicted. Meantime, while this note was writing, Juno had contrived to liberate herself from arrest.
Scarce had she been absent three minutes, when in rushed to the town-council the eternal enemy of the Mayor–Mr. Deputy Recorder. The large goose’s liver, the largest, perhaps, that for some centuries had been bred and born in B—-, and which was destined this very night to have solemnised the anniversary of Mrs. Deputy Recorder’s birth; this liver, and no other, had been piratically attacked, boarded, and captured, in the very sanctuary of the kitchen, ‘by that flibustier (said he) that buccaneer–that Paul Jones of a Juno.’ Dashing the tears from his eyes, Mr. Deputy Recorder went on to perorate; ‘I ask,’ said he, ‘whether such a Kentucky marauder ought not to be outlawed by all nations, and put to the ban of civilised Europe? If not’–and then Mr. Deputy paused for effect, and struck the table with his fist–‘if not, and such principles of Jacobinism and French philosophy are to be tolerated; then, I say, there is an end to social order and religion: Sansculotterie, Septemberising, and red night-caps, will flourish over once happy Europe; and the last and best of kings, and our most shining lights, will follow into the same bottomless abyss, which has already swallowed up (and his voice faltered)–my liver.’
‘Lights and liver!’ said Mr. Schnackenberger; ‘I suppose you mean liver and lights; but, lord! Mr. Recorder, what a bilious view you take of the case! Your liver weighs too much in this matter; and where that happens, a man’s judgment is sure to be jaundiced.’
However, the council thought otherwise: Mr. Deputy’s speech had produced a deep impression; and, upon his motion, they adjudged that, in twelve hours, Juno should be conducted to the frontiers of the city lands, and there solemnly outlawed: after which it should be free to all citizens of B—- to pursue her with fire and sword; and even before that period, if she were met without a responsible guide. Mr. Schnackenberger pleaded earnestly for an extension of the armistice; but then arose, for the second time, with Catonic severity of aspect, Mr. Deputy Recorder; he urged so powerfully the necessity of uncompromising principle in these dangerous times, insisted so cogently on the false humanity of misplaced lenity, and wound up the whole by such a pathetic array of the crimes committed by Juno–of the sausages she had robbed, the rabbits she had strangled, the porcelain she had fractured, the raspberry-vinegar she had spilt, the mutton she had devoted to chops (‘her own “chops,” remember,’ said Mr. Schnackenberger), the Brussels’ veil, and the Mechlin lace, which she had swallowed, the domestic harmony which she had disturbed, the laws of the land which she had insulted and outraged, the peace of mind which she had invaded, and, finally, (said he) ‘as if all this were not enough, the liver–the goose’s liver–my liver–my unoffending liver’–(‘and lights,’ said Mr. Schnackenberger) ‘which she has burglariously and inhumanly immolated to her brutal propensities:’ on all this Mr. Deputy executed such a bravura, and the sins of Juno chased each other so rapidly, and assumed so scarlet a hue, that the council instantly negatived her master’s proposition; the single dissentient voice being that of Mr. Mayor, who, with tears in his eyes, conjured Mr. Schnackenberger not to confound the innocent with the guilty.
IN WHICH MISFORTUNE EMPTIES HER LAST VIAL UPON THE HEAD OF MR. SCHNACKENBERGER.
Exhausted by the misfortunes of the day, towards evening Mr. Jeremiah was reposing at his length, and smoking in the window-seat of his room. Solemn clouds of smoke expressed the gloomy vapours which rested on his brain. The hours of Juno’s life, it seemed to him, were numbered; every soul in B—-was her sworn foe–bipeds and quadrupeds, men, women, dogs, cats, children, kittens, deputy-recorders, rabbits, cooks, legs-of-mutton, to say nothing of goose-livers, sausages, haunches of venison, and ‘quilts.’–If he were to take country-lodgings for her, and to send her out of B—-, what awaited her there? Whither could she go, but some butcher–some butterwoman–some rough-rider or other had a private account to settle with her?–‘Unhappy creature!’ ejaculated the student, ‘torment of my life!’
At this moment Mr. Schnackenberger’s anxious ruminations were further enforced by the appearance of the town-crier under his window: inert as the town-council were in giving effect to their own resolutions, on this occasion it was clear that they viewed the matter as no joke; and were bent on rigorously following up their sentence. For the crier proclaimed the decree by beat of drum; explained the provisos of the twelve hours’ truce, and enjoined all good citizens, and worthy patriots, at the expiration of that period, to put the public enemy to the sword, wherever she should be found, and even to rise en masse, if that should be necessary, for the extermination of the national robber–as they valued their own private welfare, or the honour and dignity of the state.
‘English fiend!’ said Mr. Schnackenberger, ‘will nothing reclaim thee? Now that I am rid of my German plague, must I be martyred by my English plague?’ For be it mentioned that, on our hero’s return from the council, he had received some little comfort in his afflictions from hearing that Mrs. Sweetbread had, upon her return to B—-, testified her satisfaction with the zealous leader of the butchers’ boys, by forthwith bestowing upon him her widowed hand and heart, together with the Sow and its appurtenances. ‘English fiend!’ resumed Mr. Schnackenberger, ‘most edacious and audacious of quadrupeds! can nothing be done for thee? Is it impossible to save thy life?’ And again he stopped to ruminate. For her metaphysics it was hopeless to cure; but could nothing be done for her physics? At the university of X—- she had lived two years next door neighbour to the Professor of Moral Philosophy, and had besides attended many of his lectures without any sort of benefit to her morals, which still continued of the very worst description. ‘But could no course of medical treatment,’ thought her master, ‘correct her inextinguishable voracity? Could not her pulse be lowered? Might not her appetite, or her courage, be tamed? Would a course of tonics be of service to her? Suppose I were to take her to England to try the effect of her native air; would any of the great English surgeons or physicians be able to prescribe for her effectually? Would opium cure her? Yet there was a case of bulimy at Toulouse, where the French surgeons caught the patient and saturated him with opium; but it was of no use; for he ate as many children after it as before. Would Mr. Abernethy, with his blue pill and his Rufus pill, be of any service to her? Or the acid bath–or the sulphate of zinc–or the white oxide of bismuth?–or soda-water? For, perhaps, her liver may be affected. But, lord! what talk I of her liver? Her liver’s as sound as mine. It’s her disposition that’s in fault; it’s her moral principles that are relaxed; and something must be done to brace them. Let me consider.’
 This man, whose case I have read in some French Medical Memoirs, was a desperate fellow: he cared no more for an ounce of opium, than for a stone of beef, or half a bushel of potatoes: all three would not have made him a breakfast. As to children, he denied in the most tranquil manner that he ate them. ”Pon my honour,’ he sometimes said, ‘between ourselves, I never do eat children.’ However, it was generally agreed, that he was paedophagous, or infantivorous. Some said that he first drowned them; whence I sometimes called him the paedobaptist. Certain it is, that wherever he appeared, a sudden scarcity of children prevailed.–Note of the Translator.
At this moment a cry of ‘murder, murder!’ drew the student’s eyes to the street below him; and there, to afflict his heart, stood his graceless Juno, having just upset the servant of a cook’s shop, in the very act of rifling her basket; the sound of the drum was yet ringing through the streets; the crowd collected to hear it had not yet withdrawn from the spot; and in this way was Juno expressing her reverence for the proclamation of the town-council of B—-.
‘Fiend of perdition!’ said Mr. Schnackenberger, flinging his darling pipe at her head, in the anguish of his wrath, and hastening down to seize her. On arriving below, however, there lay his beautiful sea-foam pipe in fragments upon the stones; but Juno had vanished–to reappear no more in B—-.
AND SET YOU DOWN THAT IN ALEPPO ONCE–OTHELLO.
The first thing Mr. Schnackenberger did was to draw his purse-strings, and indemnify the cook-maid. The next thing Mr. Schnackenberger did was to go into the public-room of the Gun, call for a common pipe, and seat himself growling in a corner.–Of all possible privileges conferred by the laws, the very least desirable is that of being created game: Juno was now invested with that ‘painful pre-eminence;’ she was solemnly proclaimed game: and all qualified persons, i. e. every man, woman, and child, were legally authorised to sink–burn–or destroy her. ‘Now then,’ said Mr. Schnackenberger to himself, ‘if such an event should happen–if any kind soul should blow out the frail light of Juno’s life, in what way am I to answer the matter to her purchaser, Mr. Fabian Sebastian?’ Such were the thoughts which fumed away from the anxious mind of Mr. Schnackenberger in surging volumes of smoke.
Together with the usual evening visitors of the public-rooms at the Gun, were present also Mr. Von Pilsen, and his party. Inflamed with wine and insolence, Mr. Von Pilsen began by advancing the following proposition: That in this sublunary world there are marvellous fools. ‘Upon this hint’ he spake: and ‘improving’ his text into a large commentary, he passed in review various sketches from the life of Mr. Schnackenberger in B—-, not forgetting the hunting scene; and everywhere threw in such rich embellishments and artist-like touches, that at last the room rang with laughter.
Mr. Jeremiah alone sat moodily in his corner, and moved no muscle of his face; so that even those, who were previously unacquainted with the circumstances, easily divined at whose expense Mr. Von Pilsen’s witty performance proceeded.
At length Von Pilsen rose and said, ‘Gentlemen, you think, perhaps, that I am this day in the best of all possible humours. Quite the contrary, I assure you: pure fiction–mere counterfeit mirth–put on to disguise my private vexation; for vexed I am, and will be, that I can find nobody on whom to exercise my right arm. Ah! what a heavenly fate were mine, if any man would take it into his head to affront me; or if any other man would take it into his head to think that I had affronted him, and would come hither to demand satisfaction!’ So saying, he planted himself in a chair in the very middle of the saloon; and ever and anon leered at Mr. Schnackenberger in so singular a manner, that no one could fail to see at whom his shafts were pointed.
Still it seemed as if our hero had neither ears nor eyes. For he continued doggedly to work away at his ‘cloud-compelling’ pipe ([Greek: nephelegereta Schnakenberger]), without ever looking at his challenger.
When at length he rose, everybody supposed that probably he had had badgering enough by this time, and meant to decamp quietly. All present were making wry faces, in order to check their bursting laughter, until Mr. Schnackenberger were clear of the room; that done, each prepared to give free vent to his mirth and high compliments to Mr. Von Pilsen, upon the fine style in which he had ‘done execution upon Cawdor.’ Decamping, however, entered not into Mr. Schnackenberger’s military plans; he rather meant to encamp over against Von Pilsen’s position: calmly, therefore, with a leisurely motion, and gradu militari, did he advance towards his witty antagonist. The latter looked somewhat paler than usual: but, as this was no time for retreating, and he saw the necessity of conducting the play with spirit to its denouement,–he started up, and exclaimed: ‘Ah! here is the very man I was wishing for! framed after my very heart’s longing. Come, dear friend, embrace me: let us have a fraternal hug.’
‘Basta!’ cried Mr. Jeremiah, attaching his shoulder, and squeezing him, with a right hand of ‘high pressure,’ down into his chair–‘This is a very good story, Mr. Von Pilsen, that you have told us: and pity it were that so good a story should want a proper termination. In future, therefore, my Pilsen,
When you shall these unhappy deeds relate,
be sure you do not forget the little sequel which I shall furnish: tell it to the end, my Pilsen:
And set you down that in Aleppo once–‘
Here the whole company began to quake with the laughter of anticipation–
‘And set you down that in Aleppo once–
when a fribble–a coxcomb–a puppy dared to traduce a student from the university of X—-
I took the circumcised dog by the nose, And smote him thus—-‘
at the same time breaking his pipe calmly on the very prominent nose of Mr. Von Pilsen.
Inextinguishable laughter followed from all present: Mr. Von Pilsen quitted the room forthwith: and next morning was sought for in vain in B—-.
WHICH CONTAINS A DUEL–AND A DEATH.
Scarcely had Mr. Schnackenberger withdrawn to his apartment, when a pair of ‘field-pieces’ were heard clattering up-stairs–such and so mighty as, among all people that on earth do dwell, no mortal wore, himself only except, and the student, Mr. Fabian Sebastian. Little had he thought under his evening canopy of smoke, that Nemesis was treading so closely upon his heels.
‘Sir, my brother,’ began Mr. Student Fabian, ‘the time is up: and here am I, to claim my rights. Where is the dog? The money is ready: deliver the article: and payment shall be made.’
Mr. Schnackenberger shrugged his shoulders.
‘Nay, my brother, no jesting (if you please) on such serious occasions: I demand my article.’
‘What, if the article have vanished?’
‘Vanished!’ said Mr. Fabian; ‘why then we must fight, until it comes back again.–Sir, my brother, you have acted nefariously enough in absconding with goods that you had sold: would you proceed to yet greater depths in nefariousness, by now withholding from me my own article?’
So saying, Mr. Fabian paid down the purchase money in hard gold upon the table. ‘Come, now, be easy,’ said Mr. Schnackenberger, ‘and hear me.’
‘Be easy, do you say? That will I not: but hear I will, and with all my heart, provided it be nothing unhearable–nor anything in question of my right to the article: else, you know, come knocks.’ ‘Knocks!’ said Jeremiah: ‘and since when, I should be glad to know, has the Schnackenberger been in the habit of taking knocks without knocking again, and paying a pretty large per centage?’
‘Ah! very likely. That’s your concern. As to me, I speak only for myself and for my article.’ Hereupon Mr. Schnackenberger made him acquainted with the circumstances, which were so unpalatable to the purchaser of ‘the article,’ that he challenged Mr. Schnackenberger to single combat there and then.
‘Come,’ said Mr. Fabian; ‘but first put up the purchase money: for I, at least, will practise nothing that is nefarious.’
Mr. Schnackenberger did so; redeemed his sword from Mrs. Sweetbread by settling her bill; buckled it on; and attended Mr. Fabian to the neighbouring forest.
Being arrived at a spot suitable to their purpose, and their swords drawn, Mr. Schnackenberger said–‘Upon my word it’s a shocking thing that we must fight upon this argument: not but it’s just what I have long expected. Junonian quarrels I have had, in my time, 747; and a Junonian duel is nothing more than I have foreseen for this last week. Yet, after all, brother, I give you my honour that the brute is not worth a duel: for, fools as we have been in our rivalship about her, between ourselves she is a mere agent of the fiend, and minister of perdition, to him who is so unhappy as to call her his.’
‘Like enough, my brother; haven’t a doubt you’re in the right, for you know her best: still it would be nefarious in a high degree if our blades were to part without crossing each other. We must tilt a bit: Sir, my brother, we must tilt. So lunge away at me; and never fear but I’ll lunge as fast as you.’
So said–so done: but scarce had Mr. Sebastian pushed his first ‘carte over the arm,’ which was well parried by his antagonist, when, with a loud outcry, in rushed Juno; and, without troubling herself about the drawn swords, she drove right at the pit of Mr. Sebastian’s stomach, knocked the breath out of his body, the sword out of his hand, and himself upon his back.
‘Ah! my goddess, my Juno!’ cried Mr. Schnackenberger; ‘Nec vox hominem sonat, oh Dea certe!’
‘Nec vox hominem sonat?’ said Mr. Fabian, rising: ‘Faith, you’re right there; for I never heard a voice more like a brute’s in my life.’
‘Down then, down, Juno,’ said Mr. Schnackenberger, as Juno was preparing for a second campaign against Mr. Fabian’s stomach: Mr. Fabian, on his part, held out his hand to his brother student–saying, ‘all quarrels are now ended.’ Mr. Jeremiah accepted his hand cordially. Mr. Fabian offered to resign ‘the article,’ however agitating to his feelings. Mr. Jeremiah, though no less agitated, protested he should not. ‘I will, by all that’s magnanimous,’ said Mr. Fabian. ‘By the memory of Curtius, or whatever else is most sacred in self-sacrifice, you shall not,’ said Mr. Jeremiah. ‘Hear me, thou light of day,’ said Mr. Fabian kneeling. ‘Hear me,’ interrupted Mr. Jeremiah, kneeling also: yes, the Schnackenberger knelt, but carefully and by circumstantial degree; for he was big and heavy as a rhinoceros, and afraid of capsizing, and perspired freely. Mr. Fabian kneeled like a dactyle: Mr. Jeremiah kneeled like a spondee, or rather like a molossus. Juno, meantime, whose feelings were less affected, did not kneel at all; but, like a tribrach, amused herself with chasing a hare which just then crossed one of the forest ridings. A moment after was heard the report of a fowling-piece. Bitter presentiment of the truth caused the kneeling duelists to turn their heads at the same instant. Alas! the subject of their high-wrought contest was no more: English Juno lay stretched in her blood! Up started the ‘dactyle;’ up started the ‘spondee;’ out flew their swords; curses, dactylic and spondaic, began to roll; and the gemini of the university of X, side by side, strode after the Junonicide, who proved to be a forester. The forester wisely retreated, before the storm, into his cottage; from an upper window of which he read to the two coroners, in this inquest after blood, a section of the forest-laws, which so fully justified what he had done–that, like the reading of the English riot act, it dispersed the gemini, both dactylic and spondaic, who now held it advisable to pursue the matter no further.
‘Sir, my brother,’ said Mr. Fabian, embracing his friend over the corpse of Juno, ‘see what comes of our imitating Kotzebue’s plays! Nothing but our nefarious magnanimity was the cause of Juno’s untimely end. For had we, instead of kneeling (which by the way seemed to “punish” you a good deal), had we, I say, vested the property in one or other of us, she, instead of diverting her ennui by hunting, would have been trotting home by the side of her master–and the article would have been still living.’
THE FUNERAL GAMES.
‘Now then,’ said Mr. Schnackenberger, entering the Double-barrelled Gun with his friend,–‘Now, waiter, let us have Rhenish and Champagne, and all other good things with which your Gun is charged: fire off both barrels upon us: Come, you dog, make ready–present; for we solemnise a funeral to-day:’ and, at the same time, he flung down the purchase-money of Juno upon the table. The waiter hastened to obey his orders.
The longer the two masters of Juno drank together, the more did they convince themselves that her death was a real blessing to herself, who had thus obviously escaped a life of severe cudgelling, which her voracity would have entailed upon her: ‘yes,’ they both exclaimed; ‘a blessing to herself–to her friends in particular–and to the public in general.’
To conclude, the price of Juno was honourably drunk up to the last farthing, in celebration of her obsequies at this one sitting.
[Greek: Hos hoi g’amphiepon taphon Hektoros hippodamoio.]
END OF ‘MR. SCHNACKENBERGER.’