Page images

tutes the chief food, of not only the poorer, now enjoy the use of, but from the interpobut of all classes of people, being also very sition of the gentleman above mentioned, or cheap.

from their own resolution, which the Portu. The clergy of Lisbon (if I recollect right, guese faculty call English obstinacy. it is an exclusive grant to one convent, all Nor is their skill in the other branches of the members of which are, and must be, of their profession superior to that in surgery. noble families) claim every tenth fish that is They have no idea of difference of constitubrought to market ; and no fisherman dares tion in individuals, either from habit or clic sell a single fish from his boat, before he has mate. Old and young, robust and delicate, brought them to market and paid his tithe, natives of warm climates, and those from the which is collected in a most unjust and arbis frozen regions of the north, are all treated trary manner. A man is appointed by these alike. Balsams and glysters form the whole priests, who attends as the boats arrive, the extent of their practice, and are alike preowners of which are obliged to count all their scribed in fevers, colds, gout, rheumatism, fish out before him, one by one ; and while debility, repletion, and all the opposites that they are so doing, he selecis, at his pleasure, “flesh is heir to.” every fine fish he sees (by means of a sharp So far are their medical men from possesshook which he holds for that purpose) : he ing that humanity which characterizes the does not take every tenth fish promiscuously, profession in England, that they would allow but thus selects the best tenth of the whole the whole human race to perish before they cargo. As an amazing quantity of fish is would put themselves to the least inconve-, brought to market, this tenth (which, after nience. As a proof of this, a very particular serving themselves, is retailed to hawkers friend of mine, whose son, a beautiful child and the stalls) must produce an immense about three years old, was dangerously ill, revenue to the convent, or convents. When applied personally to four of the first reputed , this tithe is thus selected, the poor fisherman, professional men in the city ; but it being in in return, receives a printed permit to dispose the middle of the day (July 31), they all of the remainder ; and the hawkers, who refused to attend till the evening, alleging carry fish in baskets through the city, are that the weather was too hot to stir out till obliged to purchase, daily, a permit for so then, doing.

I have been told, and I believe it, that on one occasion a surgeon was requested to visit a man who had been stabbed through the

body, but refused for a similar reason ; sayo The Portuguese surgeons are considered ing, however, that if the wounded man would to rank very low, when compared with those come to him, he would examine him. The of other nations ; but they cannot be ex. man died before he could procure surgical, pected to excel in so difficult an art, while aid.Athenæum. they are deprived of the means of acquirement-hospitals, schools for anatomy, and

mapanoor dissections, being unknown in the country. One day, a very fine girl of eight years of

THE OLD GENTLEM A N. age, coming from school, fell and broke her arm : an English surgeon was immediately sent for, but he being unfortunately from home, a Portuguese one was called in, who, to make assurance trebly sure, called in two others. This happy trio, perceiving that, For days, for weeks, for months, for years, from the fall, the flesh was turned blackish, did I labour and toil in the pursuit of one determined that a mortification had already bewildering, engrossing, overwhelming oba taken place in less than an hour, on a ject. Sleep was a stranger to my eyelids ; healthy young subject !), and, without any and night after night was passed in undivided, further ceremony, cut off the poor child's unmitigated application to the studies, by arm. The English surgeon, who had been which I hoped (vainly indeed) to attain the sent for in the first instance, now attended, much desired end; yet all through this long but only in time to lament his being from and painful period of my existence, lest those home when the accident happened ; as he who were my most intimate friends, and from assured me there was not the least occasion whom, except upon this point, I had no con. for amputation, the fracture and bruise being cealment, should discover, by some incautious no more than is usual in such accidents. word, or some unguarded expression, the Though I have here only cited one case, yet tendency of my pursuits, or the character of the practice is invariably the same. Off with my research. the limb, in all fractures, is, with them, what It was in the midst of this infatuation, that bleeding and hot water were with Dr. San-' one evening in summer, when every body grado, a universal cure. I know several per- was out of town, and not more than eight sons who would have lost a limb, which they hundred thousand nobodies were left in it, I






would go.

fight of time in the agreeable society of my ing the power of knowing the thoughts of friend.

others, you are never to reveal the fact that “I must be going,” said he ; “I must you actually do possess such a power; the just look in at Brooks's."

moment you admit yourself master of this .“ What, Sir," said I, recollecting his gró- supernatural faculty, you lose it." tesque dance under the wall in Blenheim Agreed, Sir," said I ; " but are these all street, over the way ?"

the conditions ?” “ All,” said my friend. “ No," replied he,“ in St. James's. To-morrow morning, when you awake, the

power will be your own; and so, Sir, I wish “ Have another bottle of claret,” said I, you a very good night.” * and a devil "

“ But, Sir," said I, anxious to be better At this word my friend appeared seriously assured of the speedy fulfilment of the wish angry, and I heard him mutter the word of my heart (for such indeed it was), “ may “cannibalism." It was then quite dark, and I have the honour of knowing your name and as I looked at his faee, I could discern no address." features, but only two brilliant orbs of bright “ Ha, ha, ha!" said the old gentleman : fire glittering like stars; those were his eyes, my nane and address_Ha, ha, ha!- my the light from which was reflected on his name is pretty familiar to you, young gentlehigh cheek bones and the sides of his nose, man; and as for my address, I dare say you leaving all the rest of his face nearly black. will find your way to me, some day or another, It was then I first heard a thumping against and so once more good night." the back of his chair, like a gentleman Saying which he descended the stairs and switching his cane;" I began to wish he quitted the house, leaving me to surmise who

my extraordinary visitor could be ; I never “Sir," said the old gentleman, “ any dis- knew; but I recollect, that after he was gone, guise with me is useless; I must take my I heard one of the old ladies scolding a leave; but you must not imagine that this servant girl for wasting so many matches in visit was unpremeditated, or that our meeting lighting the candles, and making such a was accidental : you last night, perhaps una terrible smell of brimstone in the house. consciously, invoked my aid in the pursuit to I was now all anxiety to get to bed, not which you have so long devoted yourself. because I was sleepy, but because it seemed The desire of your heart is known to me; to me as if going to bed would bring me and I know that the instant I leave you, you nearer to the time of getting up, when I will return to your fascinating study, vainly should be master of the miraculous power to seek that which you so constantly languish which had been promised me: I rang the to possess.”

bell—my servant was still out—it was un6 I desire " I was going to say,

no. usual for him to be absent at so late an hour. thing;” but the pale fire of his dreadful eyes I waited until the clock struck eleven, but he turned suddenly to a blood-red colour, and came not ; and resolving to reprimand him in glistened even more brightly than before, the morning, I retired to rest. while the thumping against the back of his Contrary to my expectation, and, as it chair was louder than ever.

seemed to me, the ordinary course of nature, “ You desire, young gentleman," said my considering the excitement under which I was visitor, “ to know the thoughts of others, and labouring, I had scarcely laid my head on my thirst after the power of foreseeing events pillow before I dropped into a profound slumthat are to happen : do you not ?".

ber, from which I was only aroused by my ser“ I confess, Sir," said I, convinced by the vant's entrance to my room. The instant I question, and by what had already passed, awoke I sat up in bed, and began to reflect that he, whoever he was, himself possessed on what had passed, and for a moment to the faculty he spoke of "I confess, that for doubt whether it had not been all a dream. such a power I have prayed, and studied, and However it was day-light; the period had laboured, and

arrived when the proof of my newly acquired " You shall possess it,” interrupted my power might be made. friend. “ Who I am, or what, matters little ; “ Barton,” said I to my man, " why were the power you seek is wholly in my gift. you not at home last night?"

You last night, as I have just said, invoked “ I had to wait, Sir, nearly three hours," me--you shall have it upon two conditions.” he replied, " for an answer to the letter which " Name them, Sir," said I.

you sent to Major Sheringham." The first is, that however well you know 6. That is not true," said I ; and to my what is to happen to others, you must remain infinite surprise, I appeared to recollect a in ignorance about yourself, except when series of occurrences of which I never had connected with them."

previously heard ; “you went to see your To thật," said I, “ I will readily sweetheart, Betsy Collyer, at Camberwell, agree.”

and took her to a tea garden, and gave her “ The other is, that whatever may be the cakes and cider, and saw her home again : conduct you adopt in consequence of possess you mean to do exactly the same thing on

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

were given in the spirit of sincerity, which laboured to attain, I contented myself with has hitherto characterized your conduct; but resolving to be more cautious in future, and you must be aware that the plan of going to less freely, or frequently, exhibit my mystethe Opera was started, not because you happen rious quality. to have a box, but because you expect to After the little disagreeable adventure I meet Sir Henry Witherington, with whom have just recounted, I thought perhaps I you were so much pleased at Lady G's, on had better proceed to the Temple, and conThursday, and to whom you consigned the sult my lawyer, who, as well as being procustody of your fan, on condition that he fessionally concerned for me, had been for a personally returned it in safety at the Opera long time my intimate acquaintance. I knew to night; as I have no desire to be the foil what the decision of the justices would be, of any thing in itself so intrinsically brilliant but I thought the attendance of a legal adas your newly discovered baronet, I must viser would make the affair more respectable decline your proposal.

in the eyes of the public, and I accordingly “ Your mother's kindness in sanctioning bent my steps citywise. the invitation would have been more deeply When I reached the Temple, my worthy felt, if I did not know that the old lady Maxwell was at home; as usual his greet. greatly approves of your new acquaintance, ings were the warmest, his expressions the and suggested to you the necessity of having kindest. I explained my case, to which he me to play propriety during the evening, cali listened attentively, and promised his assistup her carriage, and hand her to it, while Sir ance, but in a moment I perceived that, howHenry was making the amiable to you, and ever bland and amiable his conduct to me escorting you in our footsteps. Tell Mrs. might appear, he had several times during Hayward that, however much she and you the preceding spring told his wife that he may enjoy the joke, I have no desire to be believed I was mad. In corroboration of admitted as a “ safe man,” and that I which I recollected that she had, on the occasuggest her offering her cotelette to Sir sion of my three or four last visits, placed Henry as well as her company. With sympa. herself at the greatest possible distance from thetic regards,

me in the drawing room, and had always Believe me, dear Miss Hayward, rung the bell to have her children taken Yours

away the moment I entered. This note I immediately despatched, over In pursuance of my cautious resolution, joyed that the power I possessed enabled me however, I took no notice of this ; but when to penetrate the flimsy mask with which Mrs. I spoke of the length of time which had Hayward had endeavoured to disguise her elapsed since I had seen Mrs. Maxwell, I real views and intentions, and had scarcely found out from what was passing in her finished breakfast before Mr.Fitman, my tailor, husband's mind, that she had determined was ushered in, in company with a coat of never to be at home when I called, or ever the prevailing colour, and the most fashion- dine in her own house if I was invited. able cut: in less than five minutes it was on, Maxwell, however, promised to be with me in and the collar, the cuffs, the sleeves, and the the morning, in time to attend the magis. skirts, became at once the objects of the trates, and I knew he ineant to keep his author's admiration.

promise ; so far I was easy about that affair, “Him is quite perfect, I declare," said the and made several calls on different acquainttailor, who of course was a foreigner. ances, few of whom were at home-some

After his high eulogium upon the cloth, I were--but as I set down the exclusion, which told him that it was not what he represented, I found so general, as the result of the wild and actually detailed the place at which he abstracted manner consequent upon my abhad bought it, and the name of the shop- struse studies, and my heart-wearing anxiety, keeper who had sold it; this irritated the I determined now to become the gayest most tailor, who became extremely insolent, and agreeable person possible, and, profiting by our interview ended with my kicking him experience, keep all my wisdom to myself. down stairs, from the bottom of which, he I went into the water-colour exhibition, at proceeded to the police-office, in my own Charing-cross; there I heard two artists com. street, and procured a warrant for the assault, plimenting each other, while their hearts by which I was compelled to appear before were bursting with mutual envy. There too the magistrates on the following day, know. I found a mild modest-looking lady, listening, before I went, the whole course the case ing to the bewitching nothings of her hus. would take, and the decision they would band's particular friend ; and I knew, as I make, in precisely the terms which they sub- saw her frown and abruptly turn away from sequently adopted.

him with every appearance of real indig. Still, however, I stood alone in power, un- nation, that she had at that very moment men. less indeed my old friend in green did actually tally resolved to elope with him the following share the talent I possessed, and not being night. In Flarding's shop I found authors able to make up my mind to put an end to congregated to “ laugh the sultry hours the enjoyment of an object I had so long away,” each watching to catch his neighVOL. I.


« PreviousContinue »