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THE TRAVELLER IN SPITE OF HIMSELF.
In a neat and comfortable cottage in the picturesque village of Bastock, lived a middle-aged gentleman of the name of Samuel Holt. The clean white paling in front of the beautiful little flower-garden before his door shewed he was a man of taste, while the coach-house and stables at the side shewed that he might also be considered a man of fortune. He was in truth in very comfortable circumstances. He had a considerable quantity of land-let to a respectable tenant, for he himself knew nothing about farming and the rest of his property consisted in about fifteen thousand pounds, which was lent on mortgage to a very wealthy baronet. Mr Holt might have altogether somewhere about a thousand a-year. He spent it in the true style of old Eng lish hospitality. His house was never empty; friends, when they came, were so kindly treated, that they found it extremely inconvenient to go away;-and what with coursings in the morning, comfortable dinners, pleasant companions, and extraordinary port-wine, Mr Samuel Holt was the happiest fellow in the world. His outward man was in exact correspondence to his internal tranquillity. He was stout, but not unwieldy; there was not a wrinkle on his brow; a fine open expression animated his countenance, and there was such a glorious ruddy hue of health upon his cheek, that his friends talked of him by no other name than Rosy Sam. "Well, my boys," said Rosy Sam, one fine September evening after dinner, "we'll drink our noble selvesI don't think I ever shot better in my life."
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Your second bird was beautifully managed," said Jack Thomson; "I never saw any gun carry so far_except once in Turkey, when the Reis Effendi shot a sea-mew at at a hundred and fifty yards."
"With a long bow I suppose," said Rosy Sam, who disbelieved every story, the scene of which was not laid in England.
No, with a long brass gun which went upon wheels."
"Well, well," replied Sam, "it may be all very true; but, thank God, I never saw, and never expect to see, any of them foreign parts.'
"You may live to see half the world yet; and if I were inclined to be a prophet, I should say you will be a very great traveller before you die,,
"I'd sooner be tried for murder."
"You may be both."
This last was said so solemnly that Rosy Sam almost changed colour. He passed it off with a laugh, and the conversation went on upon other subjects connected with Thomson's travels. All the evening, however, the prophetic announcement seemed to stick in poor Sam's throat, and when the party was about to separate for the night, holding the bed-candle in his hand, and assuming a degree of gravity which can only be produced by an extra bottle, he said, “I'll tell you what it is, Jack, here in this cottage have I lived, man and boy, for two-and-forty years. I never was out of the county in my life, and the farthest from home I ever was, was three-and-thirty miles. If you mean to say that I am to be a traveller in
my old age, the Lord have mercy on me, for a helpless dog should I be among the foreignarians-fellows that can't speak a word of English to save their souls, poor devils-but poh! poh! man, you can't be serious."
"I am serious as a bishop, I assure you. You will travel for several years."
"Poh! nonsense! I'll be d-d if I do-so, good-night." The party laughed at Sam's alarm; and retired to bed.
All that night Sam's dreams were of ships and coaches. He thought he was wrecked and half drowned, then that he was upset and had his legs broken by the hind wheel. He woke in a tremendous fright, for he fancied he was on the top of one of the pyramids, and could not get down again. He thought he had been on the pinnacle for several days, that he was nearly dying of thirst and hunger, and, on starting up, he found it was time to rise; so he hurried down stairs with the utmost expedition, as he was nearly famished for his breakfast. He was met at the breakfast parlour door by his old servant, Trusty Tommy, who gave him a letter, and said, “This here letter is just come from Mr Clutchit the attorney. His man says as how there must be an answer immediately, so I was just a comin' up to call ye."
"You would have found me knocking about the pyramids," said Rosy Sam, as he proceeded to open the letter.
"Fie for shame !" muttered old Trusty," to make use of such an expression. Ah! as good Mr Drawline says"
"Devil take you and Mr Drawline -Saddle the Curate this instant, and tell the gentlemen, when they come down, that I am forced to set off on business, but that I shall certainly be back to dinner.”
In the utmost haste, and with no very pleasant expression, he managed to swallow three or four eggs, nearly a loaf of bread, and half a dozen cups of tea. His horse was soon at the door; he set off at a hand gallop, and left old Trusty Tommy with his mouth open, wondering what in the world it could be that induced his master to such unusual expedition. The motive was indeed a serious one. Mr Clutchit had discovered that there was a prior mort
gage over the estate upon which poor Sam's fifteen thousand was advanced, and their great object now was to get the mortgage transferred to some unincumbered security. The seven miles which intervened between the lawyer and his client were soon passed over. Hot and breathless our poor friend, who was now more rosy than ever, rushed into the business-room of Mr Clutchit. That gentleman, however, was nowhere to be found. On his table Sam saw a note directed to himself-he opened it, and found the following words "Dear sir,-By the strangest good luck I have this moment heard tha Sir Harry is at present in London I lose not a moment, as the coach is just starting, to obtain an interview with him there, and should strongly recommend your following by the eleven o'clock coach. Indeed you presence is indispensably necessary I shall only have the start of you by two hours.-Your obedient servant J. C."
Sam threw himself into a chair in an agony of grief and wonder.
"That infernal fellow Jack Thom son," he moaned out, " is certainl more than human. They say the learn wonderful things abroad. H has learned the second sight. Littl did I think two days ago, that I shoul ever have to hurry so far away fron home. London must be sevent miles off at least-oh lord! oh lord' quite out of my own dear countywhat is to become of me !"
While indulging in this moralizing fit the coach drove up to the doorSam mounted, almost unconsciou of what he did, and was whirled of before he had time to recover from his reverie. On arriving in London night was rapidly closing in. The house where the coach stopt was very neat comfortable sort of hostel· ry in the city, and our honest friend before proceeding to any other busi ness, solaced himself with the bes dinner the bill of fare would allow After refreshing himself with a soli tary pint of port, he set out in search of Mr Clutchit. But where to finc that gentleman was the difficulty; he had left no address in his note to his client, and the people of the inn could not tell where the nine o'clock coach. went to in London. They recommended him, however, to apply at various inns-the Dragon, the Swan,
self; but poor Sam was so fatigued, that he fell asleep before he had finished the operation. On awaking next morning, he looked to his companion's bed, but it was empty. He had told him, however, that he should rise very early, so he was not surprised at his absence. On getting up, and searching for his inexpressibles, they were nowhere to be found. In their place, he discover
the Bull-and-Mouth, and a variety of other great coach caravanseries, the very names of which were utterly unknown to the unsophisticated Sam. Away, however, he went, in total ignorance of his way, and much too independent and magnanimous to ask it. First one street was traversed, then another, and at last poor Sam was entirely lost. His great object now was to retrace his steps; but one turning was so like another, thated those of his late companion; and he could not distinguish those by which he had come, and in the midst of his perplexity, he recollected that he had forgotten to take notice of the name of the inn at which he had dined, and of course could not ask any one he met to tell him his way to it. Tired out by his day's exertions, and very much dispirited, he resolved to go into the first house of entertainment he came to, and resume his search early in the morning. He accordingly went into the next inn that presented itself. He took particular pains this time to impress its name upon his memory. The cabbage leaf was the sign of this tavern, and it was situated at the top of one of those narrow little streets in the neighbourhood of the Tower. Honest Sam, it will be seen, had travelled in the wrong direction; but now he was too much harassed and wearied to recover his mistake. On going into the bar, he was told by the bustling little landlady that he might have a bed; but they were really so full, that he must submit to share his room with another gentleman. Sam comforted himself with the reflection, that necessity has no law, and consented to the arrangement. After a Welsh rabbit, and a glass or two of brandy and water, he was shewn to his apartment. His fellow-lodger came into the room nearly at the same time, and Sam was somewhat pleased to see he was of a very decent exterior. They entered into conversation, and his new acquaintance promised, from his knowledge of the town, to be of considerable use in furthering Sam's enquiries after Mr Clutchit. He, - however, told him, that he had some business to transact very early in the morning, and took the precaution on these occasions, especially in the winter, of shaving at night. He accordingly proceeded to shave him
after many strange surmises, and coming at last to the conclusion that he was robbed, he quietly slipt them on, and proceeded down stairs. His watch he had luckily put under his pillow, and there had not been above two pounds in his pockets; he found a few shillings in an old purse, a penknife, two keys, and a set of very fine teeth, carefully fitted up, and apparently never used, in the pocket of the habiliments which were left. These circumstances staggered him as to the predatory habits of his companion; and he resolved to say nothing on the subject, as he had still some hopes of the stranger's making his appearance as he had promised, and clearing up the mystery. He waited some time after breakfast with this expectation; and at last telling the landlady he should be back at a certain hour, he went out in hopes of falling in with his companion on the street. He walked down towards the river, and gazed with astonishment on the innumerable shipping. Wondering more and more at the strangeness and immensity of the scene, he thought of returning to where he had slept. Just as he was leaving the river, he saw several men go into one of the barges, and begin dragging the shallow part of the water. "What are those men after?" said Sam to a person who stood watching them. They be draggin' for the body of a gentleman as was murdered last night, and the folks thinks that he was may hap thrown into the river."-"Dreadful!" said Sam, turning pale at the horrid supposition. "I hope they won't find it; it would be the death of me." And shuddering lest they should pull up a mangled body in his sight, he rushed from the spot. On reaching the inn, he entered it, and was going into the bar, when two stout men rushed up
on him, the landlady crying " That's the man," and threw him down with all their force. One held him by the throat, while the other handcuffed him in a moment. They then hustled him out of the house, forced him into a hackney-coach, and drove off at an amazing pace.
Sam was so much astonished at the rapidity of the whole transaction, that he could scarcely summon breath to ask his conductors what they meant. At last he said, "What the devil can be the meaning of all this? Is this the way to treat a country gentleman ?". "How bloody well he sports the Johnnie," said one of the men to the other, without attending to Sam's questions. "He'll queer the beaks if the tide stands his friend, and rolls off the stiffun." No, there ben't no chance of that," responded the other, for they've set to so soon with the drags. I'll bet a gallon of gin to a pint o' purl, he dies in his shoes, with his ears stuff'd with cotton." "Do you mean me, you scoundrel ?" cried Sam, who did not quite understand them, but perceived that they spoke of him rather disrespectfully. "Come, come, master, none of your hard words; we aint such scoundrels as to Burke our bedfellow howsomever." At this moment, at the corner of a street, Sam saw Mr Clutchit hurrying as if on very urgent business. He pushed his head out of the window and hollo'd-" Clutchit, Clutchit! Here's a pretty go!" and held out his manacled hands. But his companions pulled him forcibly back, and he did not know whether his attorney had perceived him or not. Soon after this the coach stopt at a dingy-looking house with iron gratings before the windows. "We gets out here, my covey," said one of the men," but I daresay we shall join company again on our way to Newgate. You insulting scoundrel," said Sam, "I hope never to see your ugly face again." No, nor Jack Ketch's neither but mizzle, mizzle, I say his, worship's been waiting this hour." They then proceeded into a dark room which was crowded with people. They all made way for Sam and his two con ductors, till they stood directly in front of three gentlemen in comfortable arm-chairs. Call the first
witness," said one of the gentlemen,
Here Sam, whose astonishment now gave place to rage and indignation, started up, and said to the magistrates, "Harkee, gentlemen, I'll be dd if I don't make you pay for this. How dare you"
Officers, look close to the prisoner," said one of their worships. "I recommend you, prisoner, to say nothing till the examination is concluded." - And Sam sat down again, wondering where all this would end. "You say the prisoner came to your house about ten o'clock-had you any conversation with him ?" "No, your worship; he only had his supper, and two glasses of brandy and water."- "He then went to bed?"" Yes; I shewed him up to number nine."- "Was it a singlebedded room?"-" No, there were two beds in it."-" Describe its situation.""It is just at the top of the first stair, which fronts the side door into the lane."-" Could that door “ be opened without wakening the house?""Yes; we never keep it closed with more than a latch, 'cause of the watermen getting quietly down to the river."-"Was the other bed in the same room occupied?"-" Yes; a gentleman slept in it." You saw no more of the prisoner that night. Well, in the morning, when did you see him ?" "He came down to breakfast, but seemed very low and uneasy.”"Did he say any thing to you about his companion ?"-" Yes; he sighed, and said he was sure he would never come back." "When did he leave the house ?"-" He went down towards the river in about half an hour."" Very well-you may stand down. Call the next witness."
The chambermaid made her appearance. prisoner's room this morning, what On going into the did you see?"-" Nothing particular at first. But in a little I thought the beds and carpet more tumbled
than usual. I looked into the other
A witness next appeared, who deposed, that, having an appointment with Abraham Reeve, the person supposed to be murdered, he proceeded to the Cabbage Leaf, and found it all in an uproar at the suspected murder. Abraham Reeve was by profession a dentist; and had that morning fixed to furnish the witness with a handsome set of ivories.
"Please your worship," said one of the officers, who had conducted the unfortunate Samuel to the office, on searching the prisoner, we found this here in his breeches pocket;" and saying this, he held up a complete set of false teeth."
saying any thing to criminate himself; and asked him if he wished to make any observation before being remanded on suspicion. Thus adjured, Rosy Sam, who was, alas! now no longer rosy, essayed to speak.
"Upon my honour, this is a most curious business. All that I know about the matter is, that the man who slept in my room must have got up very early in the morning, and stolen my breeches. I am a man of fortune my name is Samuel Holt, Esq. of Bastock Lodge-and as to stealing 787 98
But his harangue was here interrupted by a new witness, who exclaimed, "Please your worships, this swindler of a fellow cheated me last night out of an excellent dinner and a pint of old port." And poor Sam, on looking round at his new assailant, recognised the landlord of the inn where the coach had stopt. Casting his eyes up to Heaven, in sheer despair, he sat down in his seat, and muttered, "It is my firm belief I shall be hanged, because a cursed fellow of a dentist took a fancy to my breeches. But it all comes of travelling. May the devil take Jack Thomson!" But at this moment a prospect of safety dawned upon him, for Mr Clutchit entered the office. "Isay, Clutchit!" cried the prisoner in an ecstasy," Just tell these people, will you, that I never murdered a dentistconfound his breeches-but that I am Sam Holt of BastockRosy Sam
Mr Clutchit, thus addressed, bore witness to the respectability of his client, and begged to be made acThe magistrates upon this shook quainted with the circumstances of their heads, and a thrill went through the case. On hearing the name of the Court, as if the murder were the missing individual, he exclaimed, transacted before their eyes. The "O, he's safe enough this very purse also was recognised by the morning he was arrested at Westlandlady; and even the evidence of minster for debt, and is snugly lodthe person whom Sam had address-ged in the Fleet. A stout good-comed by the side of the river, when plexioned man, a dentist, about twothey were dragging for the corpse, and forty years of age, and much told very much against him. That such a figure as Mr Holt."witness stated, that the prisoner such a figure," cried Sam; turned very pale when he saw what clothes fit each other, as if the tailor they were about; and after seeming had measured us both." excessively agitated for a long while, had said, as if unconsciously, "It will be death to me if they find him." The evidence, by various concurring circumstances, was very strong against our unfortunate friend. The magistrate cautioned him against
Mr Clutchit's evidence altered the appearance of the question, and a messenger was dispatched to the Fleet to ascertain whether the dentist was really there. In a short time he returned to the Court with the following letter: