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LONDON [Vol. II]
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was six o'clock on the evening following the incidents related in the two
Mr. Greenwood had just concluded an early dinner (early
for him) after having devoted the greater part of the day to business in the
City, and a small portion of it to his fair Georgian, for whom he had taken
elegantly furnished apartments in Suffolk Street, Pall Mall.
Having disposed of his last glass of champagne, the
honourable member for Rottenborough rang the bell.
Lafleur made his appearance.
"Is the chaise ordered for seven precisely?"
inquired Mr. Greenwood.
"Yes, sir — seven precisely, sir,"
answered the valet.
"Did you write to my agent at Rottenborough to tell
him that I should pass through that town at half-past eight, and that although I
wished to preserve a strict incognito, yet I should not mind being recognised
while the horses are changing at the inn?" [-145-]
mentioned all that, sir," replied Lafleur; "and I suggested that he
had better get together a hundred or so of persons in the tap-room, to be ready
to rush out and cheer you."
"That was well thought of, Lafleur. I have already
sent a paragraph to the morning newspaper in which I am a shareholder, stating
that I was enthusiastically cheered as I passed through Rottenborough. It will
appear to-morrow morning. Have you renewed my positive orders to the policeman
on the beat to take all beggars into custody who are found loitering near my
"I have, sir. One woman, with three whimpering
children, was dragged off to the station-house half an hour ago, for looking too
earnestly down the area windows," said Lafleur. "Her husband has just
been to beg you to intercede with the Inspector for her release. He said he was
a hard-working man, and that it must be a mistake, as his wife was no
"And what did you say, Lafleur?" demanded Mr.
"I said nothing, sir: I merely banged the door in
"That was right and proper. I am determined to put
down vagrancy. Nothing is more offensive to the eye than those crawling wretches
who are perpetually dinning in one's ears a long tale about their being
Yes, sir — it is very disagreeable,
sir," observed Lafleur.
"The free and independent electors of Rottenborough
have not sent me to Parliament for nothing, I can assure you," continued
"No, sir," responded Lafleur.
"And I, from my place in the House, will denounce
this odious system of mendicancy," added Mr. Greenwood.
"Yes, sir," observed Lafleur.
"By-the-by, did you send the letter I gave you just
now to the post?"
The valet answered in the affirmative.
"I am glad of that. It was to the Reverend Dr.
Beganuph — the rector of some place in some county — I
am sure I forget where. However — the reverend gentleman is having
the parish church enlarged — or made smaller — I really
forget which, — but I know [-146-] it's
something of the kind; — and as he has sent a circular to all
persons whose names are in the Court Guide, soliciting subscriptions, I
cannot, of course, refuse to contribute my mite of five pounds to the pious
work — especially as the list of subscribers is to be advertised in
the principal London and provincial papers. We must support the Church, Lafleur."
"Yes, sir — decidedly, sir,"
observed the valet.
"What would become of us without the Church?"
continued Mr. Greenwood. "It is the source from which flow all the
blessings of Christian love, hope, benevolence, and charity. Hark! Lafleur, I do
really believe there is a woman singing a ballad in the street! Run out and give
her into custody this minute."
"Beg your pardon, sir," said the valet
"it's only the muffin-boy."
"Oh! that's different," observed Mr.
Greenwood, rising from his seat. "The chaise will be here at seven, you
"You and Filippo will accompany me. Tell Filippo to
see that his fire-arms are in good order; and do you attend to mine as well as
your own. Not that I apprehend any danger on such a road as that on which we are
about to travel: still it is better to be prepared."
"Decidedly, sir," answered Lafleur, not a
muscle of his countenance betraying any extraordinary emotion.
"Take a lamp to my study," said Greenwood;
"and then go and see about the fire-arms. Let my case of pistols be put
inside the chaise."
"Yes, sir;" — and Lafleur was
about to leave the room, when he suddenly recollected himself, and said,
"If you please, sir, your boot-maker sent your new slippers this morning,
wrapped up in a piece of the Weekly Dispatch. I thought I had better
mention it, sir."
"By God, you have done well to acquaint me with
this infamy, Lafleur!" cried Mr. Greenwood, desperately excited. "The
scoundrel! he reads the Dispatch, does he? — the journal that
possesses more influence over the masses than even pulpits, governments,
sovereigns, or religious tracts! The villain! I always thought that man was a
democrat at heart; because one day when I told him if he didn't vote for the
Tory Churchwarden he would lose my custom, he smiled — yes, smiled!
And so he reads the Dispatch — the people's journal — the
vehicle of all argument against our blessed constitution — the
champion to which all who fancy themselves oppressed, fly as naturally as bees
to flowers! Lafleur," added Mr. Greenwood, solemnly, "you will send to
that boot-maker, and tell him to show his face no more at the house of the
Member for Rottenborough."
And Lafleur left the room.
A few minutes afterwards Mr. Greenwood repaired to his
study, where the lamp had already been placed upon the table.
He then opened his iron safe, and drew forth a large
canvass bag full of sovereigns. This he consigned to a tin box, resembling those
in which lawyers keep their clients' papers. Three more bags, of the same size
as the first, were taken from the safe and stowed away in this japanned case.
"Four thousand pounds!" murmured Greenwood to
himself. "How many a family would be made happy with only the hundredth
part of that sum! But those who want the glittering metal should toil for it as
I have done."
Mr. Greenwood, having thus complimented himself upon
those "toils" whereby he had gained his wealth, proceeded to take a
large portfolio from the iron safe.
Partially opening its various compartments, so as to
obtain a glance at the contents, he smiled still more complacently than when his
eyes lingered on the canvas bags.
"Sixteen thousand pounds in Bank of England
notes," he exclaimed aloud, as he consigned the portfolio to the tin case.
"And these twenty thousand pounds, judiciously applied in Paris, will
produce me twenty-five thousand clear gain — twenty-five thousand at
His really handsome countenance wore an expression of
triumph, as he carefully locked the tin case, and placed the key in his pocket.
"My combinations are admirable! Thirty thousand
pounds, already embarked in these Parisian speculations, have prepared the way
for enormous gains: and now," continued Greenwood, — "now
this sum," — and he glanced towards the tin box — "will
strike the decisive blow! It is a glorious science — that of the
financier! And who is more subtle than I! True — I have experienced
some losses during the past week — a few thousands: but they are
nothing! I was wrong to job as I did in the English funds. The fluctuations in
the French securities are the means by which brilliant fortunes can be made! The
timid talk of the great risks — Pshaw! Let them combine their
projects as I have done!"
He ceased, and surveyed himself complacently in the
mirror above the mantel.
He then rang the bell.
Lafleur appeared in about a minute; but so calm,
composed, and unruffled was his countenance, that no living soul would have
suspected that he had been attentively listening at the door of the study all
the while his master was transferring the treasure from the iron safe to the tin
"Bring me my upper coat and travelling cap, Lafleur,"
said Mr. Greenwood, not choosing to lose sight of his tin box.
Lafleur once more disappeared, and speedily returned
with his master's travelling attire.
He announced at the same time that the chaise was at the
In a few minutes, Mr. Greenwood was ensconced in the
vehicle. The tin box was stowed away under the seat: and his case of pistols lay
by his side, within convenient reach.
Filippo and Lafleur mounted the dickey: the postillions
cracked their whips; and the equipage rolled rapidly away from Spring Gardens.
At half-past eight o'clock precisely the vehicle drove
up to the door of the principal inn of which the town of Rottenborough could
The ostlers seemed to bungle in a very unusual manner,
as they changed the horses; and full five minutes elapsed ere they could loosen
the traces. In a word, they punctually obeyed the directions of Mr. Greenwood's
agent in that famous town.
Suddenly the door of the tap-room burst open and vomited
forth about eighty of such queer and suspicious-looking fellows, that no prudent
man would [-147-] have walked down a dark lane
where he knew any one of them to be lurking.
Out they came — in most admirable
disorder — pell-mell — jostling, hustling, pushing,
larking with each other.
"Hooray, Greenwood! brayvo, Greenwood!" they
shouted, at the tops of voices somewhat disguised in liquor. "Greenwood for
ever! Down with the Tories!"
"No — no!" shouted a little man,
dressed in deep black, and who suddenly appeared at the head of the mob:
"down with the Liberals, you mean!"
"Oh — ah! so it is!" cried the
mob; and then they shouted louder than ever, "Hooray for Greenwood! Down
with the Liberals! The Tories for ever!"
Then the little man in black, who was none other than
the honourable member's agent, rushed up to the carriage window, exclaiming,
"Ah! Mr. Greenwood! — you are discovered, you see! Very pretty,
indeed, to think of passing through Rottenborough incog., — you
who are the hope and the glory of the town! Luckily a party of gentlemen — all
independent electors," added the lawyer, glancing round at the ragged and
half-drunken mob, "were partaking of some little wholesome refreshment
together — quite accidentally — in the tavern; and thus
they are blessed with an opportunity of paying their respects to their
representative in our glorious Parliament!"
"Brayvo, Greenwood!" ejaculated the crowd of
"gentlemen," when the little lawyer had concluded his speech.
"Gentlemen," said Mr. Greenwood, thrusting his
bead out of the chaise-window, "you cannot conceive the delight which I
experience at this most unexpected — most unlooked-for, and entirely
spontaneous expression of your good feeling towards me. Gentlemen, when I behold
an enlightened — an independent — a respectable — and
an intelligent assembly thus coming forward to signify an approval of my
parliamentary career, I meet with an ample recompense for all my exertions and
toils to maintain the interests of the great constituency of Rottenborough.
Gentlemen, the eyes of the world are upon you at this moment — "
"Then the vorld can see in the dark without
spectacles," cried one of the free and independent inhabitants of
"Yes, gentlemen," continued Greenwood,
unabashed by this interruption, which raised a general titter; "the eyes of
the world are upon you; for when Rottenborough thus emphatically expresses
itself in favour of its member, it is avowing its stanch adherence to the true
principles of Conservatism. This is a great fact, gentlemen; and so long as
Rottenborough remains faithful to those principles, the democratic disturbers of
the public peace must look on and tremble!"
With this splendid finale, Mr. Greenwood sank back in
the chaise, which immediately drove rapidly away, amidst the uproarious shouts
of the ragamuffins and tatterdemallions whom the lawyer had convoked, according
to Lafleur's written instructions, for the occasion.
The ragamuffins and tatterdemallions were, however, well
recompensed for their trouble; for they were copiously regaled with beer and
tobacco before the arrival of the honourable member; and as soon as the member
had departed a supper of boiled tripe and onion-sauce was served up to them. The
entertainment concluded with a quarrel and battle amongst the convivialists,
several of whom took home with them broken heads and black eyes as trophies of
Meantime the travelling-chaise roiled along the road.
The night was beautiful, clear, and frosty; and the moon
rode high in the heavens.
Newington was passed; and Mr. Greenwood was just falling
into a delicious sleep, when four men, wearing masks, and enveloped in thick
pilot-coats, rushed from a hedge.
The horses were stopped suddenly; and two of the
ruffians presented pistols at the heads of the postillions, menacing them with
instant death if they offered any resistance.
Greenwood lowered the windows of the chaise, and holding
a pistol in each hand, exclaimed, "I'll shoot the first who dares approach
Filippo leapt to the ground on one side, and Lafleur
followed him so closely, that he fell over the Italian, one of whose pistols
went off by the shock, but without doing any mischief. Before he could make an
effort to rise, Lafleur struck him on the head with the butt-end of one of his
weapons, and laid him senseless on his back.
Meantime, while the Lully Prig and Long Bob took charge
of the postillions, as above stated, the Resurrection Man and the Buffer rushed
up to the door of the chaise.
Greenwood fired point-blank at Tidkin's head but without
the slightest effect.
The door was opened; and the Resurrection Man sprang
into the vehicle.
Greenwood fired his second pistol; but it merely singed
his assailant's hair.
Then the Member of Parliament was dragged into the road,
and bound hand and foot almost in the twinkling of an eye.
This being done, the Resurrection Man hastened to search
the chaise, and speedily secured the tin-box.
He gave a long shrill whistle: this was a signal to
announce his success; for it had been previously agreed amongst the ruffians
that they should not utter a word more than might be absolutely necessary, so
that their voices might not be afterwards recognised, in case suspicion fell
upon them. Moreover, the Resurrection Man's voice was well known to Greenwood;
and thus this precaution was not an useless one.
The four robbers and Lafleur now beat a rapid retreat
towards an adjacent chalk-pit, the Buffer leading the way, and the Resurrection
Man carrying the box.
chapter < | THE MYSTERIES OF
LONDON [Vol. II]
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