Page images

“Will you informe mc- - for I am curious to know what may be their amount ?"

“ The question is one you have no right to ask - none whatever ; but, nevertheless, for once I will answer it seventeen shillings and ninepence."

“No more ?"
“I have named the precise sum.”

“ That is singular; because I am persuaded I saw a sovereign shaken out of one of the boxes."

“I should have been but too happy," returned the treasurer, without the slightest change of voice or manner, “ to have observed it, and to have carried it to the credit of the hospital; but I had no such

opportunity. There was no gold coin of any kind in either alms-box.'

Ruth met the treasurer's inquiring gaze with steady eye, and replied :-"I am positive there was! I saw -- I say it deliberately- a sovereign among the coin.”

“ Woman! be careful what you assert. I tell you, you are in error. No sovereign has lain upon this table to-day; in my presence, at least, or to my knowledge."

“ There has,” returned Ruth undauntedly. I affirm that you drew it from the heap; examined it; held it up to the light; satisfied yourself that it was genuine; and then placed it in your pocket.

“And have you taken the trouble,” said Mr. Pennethorne sarcastically, “ to come down from The Casualty Ward' to repeat to me this day-dream-this foolery—this flippant folly--this malignant falsehood ? ' Retract your statement instantly; and apologize for its base


“I adhere to it," replied his accuser, “because its foundation is truth; and I require that the committee may be summoned, if possible, this week, that I may lay the circumstances before them.”

“The committee shall be summoned, and to-morrow,” returned he fiercely, “ but for a different purpose-to decide on your instant and ignominious dismissal."

“Be the result what it may, I shall meet it with composure, since,"

“ Not a word, menial! - not another word !” said the treasurer furiously. Leave me: I choose to be alone!”

“Now, then, how do we stand ?" said Mrs. Coucher mournfully, as they ascended the stairs.

“Well, in the sight of Him who loathes hypocrisy and fraud," was Ruth's brave reply.


“Fool! you are dropping the Brentford ticket at Hammersmith Gate !"

ELLEN MIDDLETOX. The committee met; and looked, as all committees do when there is any delicious matter of a truly personal nature involved in their deliberations, overpoweringly solemn and important. Mr. Pennethorne conducted, as the legal phrase runs, his own case. “ well got up;" and he coloured it most adroitly. Nurse Dangerfield's character was skilfully blackened; and his own disinterested.

It was

ness, devotion to the Hospital's interests, and past labours in its cause, brought out in glowing relief. Poor Ruth was pronounced a dangerous character, and her removal a matter of pressing necessity. “There can be,” said the loudest, coarsest, and most fluent speaker of the party," but one opinion upon the point. This pestilent woman's dismissal is unavoidable, and must be summary.”

“ Hear! hear!" was the response; and a strongly condemnatory resolution was inserted in “ The Minute Book.” Thanks were voted to the chairman ; the customary disclaimer of any “right to such an unmerited compliment” was duly emphasized, and the meeting was on the point of closing, when it occurred to some brain less muddy than those around it “Whether it would not be as well, before they separated, to announce the decision they had arrived at, to the party whom it most deeply affected ?"

“Quite superfluous !" ejaculated the Treasurer; "a culpable waste of time!”

But the idea, once suggested, was caught up by another individual. It was observed, slowly and hesitatingly by the speaker, as though he had not made up his mind to the obvious justice of such a course

“Would it not be proper to hear Nurse Dangerfield's defence before we decide on her dismissal ?"

“By no means," said Mr. Pennethorne quickly ; « that would be an improper concession, an act of unmerited condescension-objectionable-highly so!"

But the committee thought otherwise, and the anxious woman was sent for. She repeated her accusation ; and such, 0 Truth! is thy mighty influence ! not without effect.

More than one committee-man felt gravelled by the calmness and clearness of her statement; and as for “ the Minute Secretary,” a decided partizan of Pennethorne's, he screwed up his lips when she finished, and in his heart wished his ally " well out of it.” She withdrew; the door closed on her, and an ominous pause ensued.

“She's a horribly ugly woman,” at length ejaculated the chairman; “but she expresses herself clearly and cleverly."

“ All liars do,” was the response.

"I can, with difficulty, persuade myself that Nurse Dangerfield belongs to that class,” insinuated a little man at the bottom of the table, in a timid tone.

To what other?" inquired the Treasurer with vehemence : “ To what other? Do I hear aright? Can a doubt be entertained by any reasonable being as to the flagrant falsehood of that woman's statements?"

“An adjournment! an adjournment!" demanded various voices; and in defiance of the Treasurer's earnest opposition, was eventually carried. Before it expired—and its duration was brief, for eight-andforty hours was its whole extent-Ruth was waylaid by a soft-voiced, slow-speaking gentleman, who begged to claim her attention for a feiv moments. He professed himself free from bias towards accuser or accused. He disclaimed all knowledge of Mr. Pennethorne, all previous acquaintance with his sentiments on this truly painful subject, and all prejudice in his favour. He begged to be understood as acting from private impulse, and solely from a sense of public duty. He then suggested to Ruth, that as the accusation was beset with difficulties, she should admit at the next meeting that it was possible she might have been mistaken ; that her eye-sight occasionally deceived her, and might have done so in that instance. If she would say as much as this, the soft-voiced gentleman, who "acted from private impulse," and from «

no previous concert with any party whatever," would pledge himself that she should retain her situation, and that the inquiry should die a natural death.

“No!” said Ruth firmly, “I will make no admission of any kind. The investigation shall go on. It ought to do so. If I have spoken the truth, the Treasurer is dishonest, and deserves exposure. If I have uttered falsehoods, no resolution which the committee can form can be too harsh for me. But-no compromise !"

“It is often politic," said, with a sigh, the soft-voiced gentleman.

“And rarely honest,” was Ruth's stern rejoinder. She turned upon her steps and left him.

The committee met next day in full force. No further adjournment; it was agreed on all hands.

If she could sleep, she says, she should do well.

Faithful Shepherdess, SHE sat upon Himerte's shore,

"I ever spoke but of thy name, Upon a glowing height;

I would not be denied ; The thyme that grew beneath her feet And when they said thy lance was Was bath'd in living light ;

good, Was never seen in western clime

I wept with joy and pride ; So beautiful a sight!

But when they spoke of broken vows She look'd upon a beauteous land,

I thought I should have died. A witching land, I ween;

" My violet locks and honey'd smile Below, the bappy swains and girls

You once could fondly praise ; Were tripping o'er the green ;

You used to think no other maid Their laughter was as clear and loud, Could trill such pleasant lays, As care had never been,

Or strike the barp with such a hand To that fair cheek and snowy arm,

To witch the woodland fays. E’en Venus' self might bow ;

- There was a lily grew within Her laughing locks of sunny hair

My plane-tree shaded bower, Flow o'er her marble brow;

And when my head was on your breast, She lifts her hazel eye and smiles

As oft at moonlit hour, She is a goddess now!

You ever said that I was like But evanescent is that smile ;

That gentle lily flower, She sighs adown the breeze;

“. The scorching sun has scath'd my She lowly stoops,

plant, And humbly droops

The genial dews have fled, Her head upon her knees,

And wither'd stem and drooping flower And thrilling sobs upheave her breast ; Show it is sore bested ; Sure she is ill at ease,

Yes! I am like that lily now, She breathes her plaint in bitter words,

That hangs its broken head !" With many a bitter groan ;

•Her plaint was echoed overhead, A sea-nymph heard it in her cave,

And echoed underground; That melancholy moan;

The dryads heard it in their glades, She travellid on a dolphin's back,

And murmur'd it around, And told it me alone.

And every leaf on every tree “Ah! Phaon, whither hast thou Aed

Took up the dreary sound. Across the ocean brine ?

A sea nymph heard it in her cave, The happy heart of other days

That melancholy moan, Can never more be mine ;

She travellid on a dolphin's back, Rhodopis has Charaxus' love,

And told it me alone. Why should her mistress pine ?

C. H, L



The following letter is full of sisterly feeling-we are afraid though, that the gentleman to whom it is addressed, was a bit of a scamp. When the lady first commenced, it is evident she could not stop: and if the parents were rich, the daughter has no capital. To John Wale, privet soger in the 59th Rigl of foot Mullingear Barrakes

with speed.

March 11th 1832. DEAR BROTHER we have taken this oppertunity of righting these few lines to you oping to find you in good health as leaves us all at present thank god for it and we have heard from your sister elizabeth and we got a letter from her a fortnight after you whent from home and her letter was a three weeks a comming over and she is at brighton yet and has gotten a nother baby and it is a girl and we have never heard from joseph yet and thomas keanshell is dead and thomas matthews has gotten married to bess steels and samuel is a going to mark stubbings's the 19th of march and my father and mother is very willing to buy you of from sodgering if you will promise to be steddy you must promise without fail not to list for a solger a gain and you must send us word a gain how to send the money and we durst not trust it to you and you must get your sergent to right your letter for robert Matthews said that your mother would be forsed to take it to either Mr. Wood or other ways to Mr. foulghatorbe to right a letter to your captain to send the money and your sister elizabeth wanted you to go over to brighton but you war gone back a gain and she wanted you to seend a letter to her and you must direct wen you seend direct for 14 blucher place rusell square brighton sussex and you must promise not to go again for if you come to get of and goes again it will make my father and mother go of on theire heads and go crased if you do go a gain and betty and ann and atkinson's best respects to you hoping you are in good health as it leaves them all at present thank god for it amen and you never sent Mr. thompson a newspaper and your farther is left of cutting turnips for the sheep a fortnight since and he is a lambing the hews so no more of this from us all at the present time through our lord jesus christ be with us all for evermore amen.

A document drawn up (after dinner) in the hand-writing of Richard Brinsley Sheridan.

We do hereby most solemnly engage that we will diligently and punctually attend to the affairs of the Theatre in every department, and assiduously apply ourselves to the business of it until every embarrassment shall be removed and every debt and demand upon it discharged. And we pledge ourselves to the performance of this promise by every consideration that can bind men of common sense and common honesty. Mr. Peake to keep this paper.

Witness J. AJCKIN.

October 26, 1798.

Dear fellows, they all meant it at the time this must have been written after the circulation of a few glasses of port. Mr. Grubb was subsequently, for some years in a state of outlawry for the debts of the theatre.

To those persons who are desirous of acquiring a fine flow of clear, nervous language, we recommend a perusal of the following letter, addressed to “S. J. Arnold, Esq., Proprietor, English Opera House;" it accompanied a Drama presented for performance, equally well written!

13th May, 1828. SIR.-In submitting the accompanied, permit me to hope that you may consider it worthy of your acceptance the Terms I would suggest Reciprocal under auspicious Patronage meet Remuneration through Publication Be assured that the Expence of its Production would be Trivial. The Scenery being available among the General Stock of a Theatre. Would feel obliged by an Immediate Answer, Together If you have room for an Officiate Copy-est and Messenger. And as opportunity afforded or occasion required Dress for Gigantic or Auxiliary characters. To Mr. O. Smith I beg leave to refer whom I have reason to apprehend will Renew those favoured Opinions of the Merit He Express'd of its Repletion as an Original production on his favour'd perusal previous to the construction of the Allegory. Since which you are the first Thespian Proficiant to whom it has been submitted and I have no occasion to doubt that if you do not avail yourself of this offer, You will not permit Extenuation. As I cannot calculate on your convenient Leisure a Line addressed to me commanding my presence to a favour'd Interview more fully to explain would be punctually attended to by Sir Your most obedient Humble Servant 1, Southampton Place, Holborn.

In General Utility should Dutifully contribute to aid the Stage Manager Idealy or on Revivals from Mems of upwards of 500 Pieces as produced at the Amphitheatre Cobourg, Royalty and Drury Lane these 13 years past.

N. B. The Entity Depicted as an Original Semblance, is not founded on Fiction but as a character challenging Nautical Professors (Liverpoolers) connected with the Slave Trade More Over Drawn from an actual Occurrence In the West Indies when I was there. The cause of production together with the name and commander I can Detail particulars of.

The next is an amusing specimen of English, from the celebrated Madame Mara to Dr. Arnold (without date, or place of residence).

Dr. Doctor; I am rader ashamt to send you the inclosed so dirty but I suppose it has been since two days in the greassy Pocket of one of the Porters who wanted to impose upon my. After having returned it several times under some nonsensical Pretext, he this morning told me, that he knew a person who would delivered Save if I would not regard 3 shillings for his trouble, I thankt him and Said I believed I should find somebody who would do it for less. If I was not so very ill and weake I would write it over again but I hope you will excuse me ;

« PreviousContinue »