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DAPPER AND SIR CHERRY BOUNCE.
THE verdure of the early spring re-clothed the trees with
their gay garments, and gave back its air of cheerfulness to the residence of
It was about mid-day; and the sun beamed brightly from a
heaven of unclouded blue. Nature appeared to be reviving from the despotism of
winter's rule; and the primrose peeped bashfully forth to welcome the return of
the feathered chorister of the grove.
The count and countess, with their lovely daughter, were
seated in the breakfast-parlour. The two ladies were occupied with their
embroidery the noble Italian exile himself was reading the Montoni Gazette,
which that morning's post had brought him.
Suddenly he tittered an exclamation of surprise, and then
appeared to read with additional interest and attention.
"What news from Castelcicala?" inquired the
"You remember that the Earl of Warrington applied to me
between three and four months ago for letters of introduction on behalf of a
lady of the name of Eliza Sydney?" said the count.
"And who was about to visit Castelcicala in order to
escape the persecution of that vile man who aspired to the hand of
Isabella," added the countess.
"The very same. She is a cousin of the Earl of
Warrington; and it appears that her presence has created quite a sensation in
Montoni. The Gazette of the 15th of last month contains the following
passage :- The fashionable circles of Montoni have lately received a
brilliant addition in the person of Miss Eliza Sydney, a near relative of the
Earl of Warrington, the noble Englishman who purchased some years ago the
beautiful villa at the extremity of the suburbs of Petrarca. Miss Sydney has
taken up her abode at the villa; and during the month that she has already
honoured our city with her presence, her agreeable manners, amiable qualities,
and great personal attraction, have won all hearts. It is even rumoured that the
highest person in the land has not remained indifferent to the attractions of
this charming foreigner- ' "
"Surely this latter sentence cannot allude to the
duke?" exclaimed the countess.
"It can allude to none other," answered the count:
" 'the highest person in the land.' Of course it means the duke.
But, after all, it is probably only one of those idle reports which so
frequently obtain vogue in the fashionable circles of all great cities "
"Or one engendered in the fertile brain of a newspaper
editor," said the countess. "Still it would be strange if, through your
letters of introduction "
"Oh! it is too absurd to speculate upon," interrupted the
"And yet your lordship is not unaccustomed to judge now
and then by the mere superficial appearances of things," said the countess
"I!" ejaculated the Italian noble.
answered the countess. "You believed Mr. Greenwood to be an honest man with
out examining into his real position "
"Ah! that one foolish step of mine!"
"And you pronounced Mr. Markham a villain without according him an opportunity of giving an
explanation," added the countess.
"Always Richard Markham!" cried the count angrily.
"Why do you perpetually throw his name in my teeth?"
"Because I think that you judged him too hastily," said
"Not at all! did he not admit that he had been in Newgate?"
A cold shudder crept over Isabella's frame.
"Yes; and so has our friend Mr. Armstrong, whom you
value so highly, and whose letter from Germany gave you so much pleasure
"Certainly I was pleased to receive that letter, because
I had not heard from Armstrong so long: I fancied that something had happened
to him. But, to return to what you were saying," continued the count; "Armstrong was incarcerated merely for a political
offence; and there is
something honourable in that."
"Mr. Markham may have been more unfortunate than guilty,"
said the countess. "At all events you have condemned without giving him a fair hearing.
I have even
asked you to refer to the newspapers of the period and read his case; but you
refuse to give him a single chance."
"Your ladyship is very quick to blame," said the count,
somewhat sarcastically; " but you forget how rejoiced you were some years
ago to discover that the chevalier Gilderstein, whose father was executed for
coining, was no relation of our family, as you had long deemed him to be : and
yet the chevalier was himself innocent of his father's offence."
"I certainly have expressed myself more than once in the
way you mention," returned the countess; "but I had so spoken without due
consideration. Now that a case is immediately present to my view, I am inclined
to feel and act mote charitably."
"But how could Mr. Markham justify himself?" exclaimed
the count. "Was not that attempt at burglary in this house so very
"Oh!" cried Isabella, colouring deeply; "let Mr.
Markham be guilty in other respects, I would pledge my existence he never, never
could have been a participator in that!"
[-226-] "You speak warmly, Signora," said the count, whose brow
contracted. "You forget that I myself overheard him talking with some one
over the wall of the garden only a few hours before the entrance of the burglars
"We have many cases upon record," interrupted Isabella
enthusiastically, "in which men have been unjustly convicted on an almost
miraculous combination of adverse circumstances. Suppose that Mr. Markham was,
in the first instance, made the victim of rogues and villains, and sacrificed by
them to screen their own infamy, - suppose he underwent his punishment in
Newgate, being innocent, - will you sympathise with and commiserate him? or will
you scorn and repulse him? Oh! my dear father, no kindness would be too great
towards a being who has suffered through the fallibility of human laws! Suppose
that one of the villains who plunged him - innocent - into all that misery, repented
of the evil, and signed a confession of his own enormity and of Mr. Markham's
guiltlessness ;- then would you remain thus prejudiced? Oh! no - my dear father,
you never would! your nature is too noble!"
dearest Isabella, let us drop this conversation. In the first place, it is not
likely that your romantic idea of one of the villains whom you bring upon your
fanciful stage, signing such a confession "
"Oh! my dear father," exclaimed
Isabella, a ray of joy flashing from her large black eyes; "if such were
the case "
"Well - if such were the case," added the count
impatiently, "the entire mystery of the burglary remains to be cleared up
to my satisfaction; and therefore, with your permission, we will leave this
subject - now, and for ever!"
Isabella's head dropped upon her bosom; and her countenance
wore an expression of the most profound disappointment and grief.
Scarcely had the conversation thus received a rude check and
the count resumed the perusal of his paper, when Sir Cherry Bounce and Captain
Smilax Dapper were announced.
"Here we are - the two inseparables, strike me!" ejaculated the
gallant hussar. "How is the signora this morning? somewhat melancholy -
"It seems that you have nothing to make you melancholy,
Captain Dapper," said the count, who did not experience the greatest possible
amount of delight at the arrival of the two young gentlemen, although he was far
too well bred to show his annoyance.
"Beg pardon, count - on the contrary, smite me!"
returned Captain Dapper: "I have a great deal to be melancholy for. I lost
six hundred pounds last night at cards - blow me for a fool that I was! I must
confess, however, that I wasn't half awake."
"Yeth - and Thmilackth inthithted upon my thitting down
and playing too; and I lotht thwenty poundth."
"And got scolded by your mamma into the bargain, far
sitting up too late," said the Captain.
"Nonthenth,Thmilackth!" exclaimed Sir Cherry; "I
dare thay my mother allowth me ath gweat a lithenth ath your'th."
"Well we won't quarrel, Cherry," said the officer. "But
what do you think, count? I and Cherry dined together at the Piazza,
Covent-Garden, where we got the most unexceptionable turtle and the most
approved venison. The iced punch was superlative - the charges, of course.
comparative. Well, in the evening, while I and Cherry were sipping our claret -
Cherry was admitting confidentially to me that he really hates claret, and only drinks because it is
"Oh! naughty Thmilackth!"
"Hold your tongue, Cherry. Well - a couple of gentlemen
came into the coffee-room. There was no one else there besides me and Cherry and
the new comers. So they began whispering together for a few moments; and at
length one of them rushes forward, catches Cherry in his arms, and cries out, 'Oh!
my dear Smith - my friend Smith - how glad I am to meet with you again!'
Cherry coloured up to the eyes "
"Oh! what an infamouth falthhood!"
"You did, and you were so frightened you could not speak
a word. I was obliged to tell the loving gentleman that your name was not Smith;
and then he begged pardon, and said he never saw in his life such a resemblance
to an old school-fellow of his as Cherry was. Well, we laughed over the mistake:
the two gentlemen rang for claret; and we all sate down to
the same table together. We drank several bottles of wine, and then adjourned to
another place to sink it all with brandy-and-water. Cherry was quite top-heavy;
but I was as sober as a judge "
"Why did you woll in the mud, then?"
"Why? because I tripped against a stone. Well, then we
were foolish enough to go to a gambling- house with these gentlemen; and there
I lost, and Cherry lost."
"And the two gentlemen won, I suppose?" said the count,
"Oh! of course," answered Captain Dapper.
"How foolish of two mere boys like you to think of going
to a gambling-house," exclaimed the count. "Do you not see that the two
gentlemen who accosted you in so strange a manner in the coffee-room of an
hotel, perceived you to be a couple of greenhorns?"
"They might have thought so of Cherry," cried the
captain, colouring deeply, and twirling his moustachios; "but they couldn't
have formed such an opinion of me - an officer in her majesty's service -
strike, smite, and blow me!"
"I'm thure I don't look tho veway gween ath you think,"
said Sir Cherry Bounce, now falling into a sulky fit with his friend the
"Oh! I know perfectly well that they were regular
gentlemen," continued the captain; "for they gave us their cards; and one
was Sir Rupert Harborough. The other was Mr. Chichester."
"Sir Rupert Harborough and Mr. Chichester!" exclaimed
Isabella, on whom the mention of these names produced a strange effect.
"Yes," answered Captain Dapper; "and so you see that
they were proper gentlemen, and it was all luck. But strike such luck as mine!"
Isabella's countenance was suddenly irradiated with a gleam
of the purest and most heart-felt joy; - the tears started to her eyes - but they were tears of
happiness ;-and, fearful that her emotions would be observed, she hurried
from the room.
"Ah! but you didn't hear Cherry's adventure about the
bird, did you, count?" demanded Dapper still continuing the conversation
The count shook his head.
"Why, this was it, said the gallant captain of hussars.
"A waggish friend of mine, whose name is Dawson, dined with me and Cherry
the other day; and the conversation turned upon birds. Cherry said he was very
fond of choice birds; and Dawson immediately observed, 'If you like to accept of
it, I will make you a present of a very beautiful and curious bird. I bought it
the other day at Snodkins's [-227-] the bird-fancier's in Castle Street; and you may have
it :- it
is still there. All you have to do is to take a cage with you, call, and ask for
Mr. Dawson's Poluphloisboio.' Of course Cherry was quite delighted ;-
almost hugged my friend Dawson; and all the rest of the evening he could think
and talk of nothing but the bird with a hard name. At length he thought of
asking how large a cage he ought to take with him. 'The largest you have got,'
replied Dawson. So the evening passed away; and next morning, before the clock
struck nine, there was Cherry, rattling up Regent Street as fast as he could in
a hack-cab, with a huge parrot-cage jolting on his knees. Well, he reached
Castle Street, found out Snodkins's, and said, 'Pleathe, I have come for Mithter
Dawthon'th Poluphloithboio. ' - 'For Mr. Dawson's what?' cried Snodkins.-
Mithter Dawthon'th Poluphoithboio,' repeated Cherry.- 'And what the devil is
that? and who the deuce are you?' roared Snodkins, who thought that Cherry had
come to make a fool of him.- 'The thing ith a bird; and my name ith Thir Cherway
Bounthe,' was the reply.-' And my name is Snodkins,' said the fellow; 'and I
don't understand being made a fool of by you.'-'Mithter Dawthon bought a bird
here a few dayth ago,' persisted Cherry; 'and he thayth I may have it. Here'th
the cage: tho give me the bird.'- Snodkins was now inclined to believe that it
was all right; so he brought down the bird, put it into the cage, and Cherry
drove triumphantly home with it. His mamma was sitting at breakfast when he
entered with the cage in his hand. 'Here, ma,' said Cherry "
"I don't thay Ma more than you do, Thmilackth,'"
interrupted the youthful baronet.
"Yes, you do, Cherry," returned Dapper: "I have
heard you a hundred times. But let me tell the story out. Well - Cherry's mamma
exclaims, 'Lor, boy, what have you got there? - 'A Poluphloithboio, ma, that my
fwiend Dawthon gave me.' - 'A what, Cherry!' shrieks the old lady.- 'A Poluphloithboio,
ma,' answers Cherry, bringing the cage close up to his ma.- 'A Poluphloisboio!' ejaculates mamma:
'why, you stupid boy, it is nothing more or
less than a hideous old owl!' -and so it was: and there the monster sate upon the
perch, blinking away at a furious rate and looking as stupid as - as Cherry
himself - smite him!"
Isabella had returned to the apartment and resumed her seat a
few moments before this story was finished; and Captain Dapper appeared very
much annoyed and surprised that she did not condescend to laugh at the recital.
"By the by," he observed, after a moment's pause, "I
have something to tell you all - strike me!"
"Oh! yeth - about Wichard Markham," said Sir Cherry.
The count made a movement of impatience; the countess looked
up from her embroidery; and a deep blush mantled upon the cheek, and a sudden
tremor passed through the frame, of the lovely Isabella.
"Yes - about Richard Markham," continued the hussar
officer. "I and Cherry were riding in the neighbourhood of his house the
other day "
"And we thaw the two ath tweeth."
"Yes - and something else too;- for we saw one of the
sweetest, prettiest, most interesting young ladies - the signora herself
excepted - walking in the garden "
"Well, well," said the count impatiently; "perhaps
Mr. Markham is married, and you saw his wife - that it all."
continued Dapper; "for she was close by the railings that skirt the aide of
the road running behind his house; and we saw an old butler-looking kind of a fellow go up to her, and I heard
him call her 'Miss.' "
"Mr. Markham and his affairs are not of the slightest
interest to us, Captain Dapper," said the count: "we do not even wish to
hear his name mentioned. Isabella, my love, let us have some music."
But no reply was given to the request of the count, who was
seated in such a way that he could not see his daughter's place at the
Isabella had again left the room.
Of what nature were the emotions which agitated the bosom of
that beauteous - that amiable creature?
Wherefore had she first sought her own chamber to conceal
tears of joy?
And why had she now retired once more, to hide the out-pourings
of an intense anguish?
chapter < | THE MYSTERIES OF LONDON
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