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THE MURDERED PUMP.
A STORY OF A WINTER'S NIGHT.
HE hero of the following sketch is a real per
son, and the main points in it, the pump and the refuge in the cellar, are recorded as facts. The latter took place in the house of Sir John
Trevor, the Master of the Rolls, a kinsman of Mr. Lloyd's, who was a proud and irritable Welshman.
TIME. The Beginning of the Last Century.
Gentlemen, of the names of LANE and LLOYD, coming towards an old
Lane. No, you can't. Your very Yes is a No. You merely say it to contradict.
Lloyd. No, I don't.
Lane. Pooh, nonsense! And then you must draw your sword, forsooth, and add fury to folly. You'll get some tremendous lesson some day, and you really need it. I should like to give it you.
Lloyd. (Violently.) Take care, George Lane. (LLOYD stumbles.)
Lane. Take you care, of the gutter. I shan't pick you up. I shall leave you to cool yourself. Lloyd. (Hiccuping.)
No, you won't. Lane. Oh, what, you remember my carrying you home last Thursday, do you? And this is your gratitude.
Lwyd. Damn gratitude! I'll not be insulted.
Yes, you will, — by forgiveness. You'll insult others, and be forgiven.
Lloyd. No, I won't. Nobody shall forgive Roderick Lloyd. I should like to see 'em. (Standing still, putting his hand on his sword, and trying to speak very loudly.) Who forgives me? Who forgives Lloyd, I say? Come into the court, you rascal.
Lane. (Laughing.) Come along. Nonsense.
Lane. Of North Wales, Marshal to Baron Price, and so forth. Come along, and don't be an ass.
Lloyd. Fire and fury! A what? (Drawing his sword, and coming on.) A prothonotary called — (He stumbles against the Pump.) Who the devil are you? Get out of the way.
Lane. (A side.) A good thing, faith. He shall have it out.
Lane. He says he defies your toasting-fork, and your Welsh-rabbit to boot.
Lloyd. Blood and thunder ! (He runs the Pump through the body.)
Lloyd. Pink'd an infernal Welsh-rabbit - I mean a toasting, damnation
this way. Here, down the lane. The constables are coming, and you've done it at last, by Heavens !
[Exeunt down Chancery Lane.
SCENE II. Daylight in a cellar. Lloyd and LANE discovered listening.
Lane. It's nobody, depend on't. It's too early. Nobody is stirring yet. Don't be down-hearted, Rory. You're a brave man, you know; and the worse the luck, the greater the lion.
Lloyd. But I've left my sword in him.
Lloyd. Oh, that punch, that punch! and that cursed fool should say, - Progers. I shall come to shame, George. Oh, I shall. To shame and to suffering. (He walks to and fro.) Lane. No, no.
The sword had no name on it?
poor fool, I
Lloyd. No, no. But name and address. Oh, wouldn't it be better if you would go out and see how matters are going on?
Lane. What, the crowd, and all that? No, I think best not. We are too well known hereabouts.
Lloyd. Then why didn't you go further?
Lane. You were too far gone already, Rory. I don't mean to jest. You can't suppose me guilty of that. But it's a phrase, you know.
You were very drunk, and to say the truth, very wilful.
Lloyd. Oh, I was, I was.
Lane. I was twenty minutes getting you away from that apple-woman, and half an hour, I'm sure, in persuading you to rise from the door-way. (Lloyd groans.) Then
you wouldn't let me take your sword (for I was afraid of some mischief), and you must have stood, I think, ten minutes against that shopwindow, damning us all round — all the friends you had been disputing with.
Lloyd. Oh, don't tell me all that again. It's cruel of you, George. Listen! great Heavens, listen !
Lane. It's only some milkman.
Lloyd. Only a milkman! How do you know? Besides, what do you mean by “only a milkman ?" Can't a milkman hang me? Can't a milkman be furious ? furious about a man that's killed?
Lane. Pray, sit down, and be easy.. Sir John, 'tis true, doesn't appear; but that's his way.
He never stands by a friend, you know; that is to say, openly. But secretly he can do any thing; and he will. I tell you again, that I woke him directly we came into the house, and he gave me his solemn oath that he would smuggle you into Wales, in the boot of his carriage. It is not a very big boot, but it's better than nothing.
Lloyd. Oh, a paradise, a paradise, if I were but in it. But repeat to me, George. What sort of a man was it that I had the misfortune to - to— Tell me he was a bad fellow at any rate-a mohawk-a gallows bird, or something of that sort.
Lane. I wish I could. But he was a young gentleman, plainly in liquor himself.
Lloyd. Didn't he carry himself very stiffly?
Lane. Not a bit. He was quite silent, and, in fact, evidently did not hear a word you uttered.
Lloyd. How strange, how horribly strange! and that I should have had all those drunken fancies !
Lane. That's your way, you know, owing to your confounded temper. I beg your pardon.
Lloyd. Oh, I beg yours everybody's- his.
Lane. You do? Roderick Lloyd beg pardon! Is it positively come to that? to that, which you have sworn a thousand times you would never do to any man living, be the circumstances what they might. Well, this is a change. Ah, ha! (Laughing.) A change and a lesson, eh, Rory? And you'll be a good boy, and never do the like again, I suppose ?
Lloyd. (Astonished.) What has come to you? Is this kindness? Is this humanity?
Lane. Yes, Rory, very good kindness indeed, and very good humanity; for I have now a piece of news to tell you, that will pay you for all you have suffered, and me for all that you have ever made me suffer; for what with frights for you, and perils of fights for you, and some three or four flounderings, in the gutter, there has been no mean balance, let me tell you, on the side of your old friend. So, mark me, you didn't leave your sword in the man, for I've got it; and you didn't do him any inischief at all, for you couldn't; and he was no man whatsoever, Rory, for he was a Pump.
Lloyd. A Pump?-Swear it. Shout it. Make me sure of it somehow or other, and I'm in heaven.
Lane. (Tenderly.) Do you think I'd play with you, Rory, any longer, and in a way like this?
(Here Mr. RODERICK LLOYD, Prothonotary of North Wales, after embracing his friend, jumps and dances in ecstasy about the cellar.)
Lloyd. By Heaven, it's almost worth going through misery, in order to taste of such happiness.
Lane. That's one of the very points I have so often insisted on in our disputes. Hail to your new metaphysics, Rory ;- to your enlightened theosophy.
Lloyd. Come ; let's to breakfast then somewhere, out of this infernal cellar. I own my lesson, George. You might have let me off too, a little sooner, I think, eh? Spared me a few sharp sentences. (They prepare to go.)
Lane. I'm afraid you're growing a little disconcerted, Rory.
Lloyd. No, I don't. Oh, damn it, come along. (Looking red, and laughing with his companion.) You won't tell anybody, will you, George?
Lane. Haven't I the blood of the Lloyds in me. Am I not a gentleman, Rory?
Lloyd. You are, you are. So we will drink gallons of tea to settle that