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plot to bring about their union, as a skilful mason rears a solid fabric from the ruins of the building he destroys, and feeling this inspiration, at least, that if his hopes should not entirely succeed, the prosecution of them might serve to dissipate the melancholy of his present disappointed situation.
He had scarcely reached his Albergo, when, looking towards the Mole, he beheld Herman in close converse with a gondolier, and rightly surmising this might be some emissary in the scheme to delude the Marquis which his quandum college friend had partly revealed to him, Vallardi watched them through a long conference, and then beckoned the gondolier to his chamber.
Giacomo Perendelli was a time-serving as well as tide-serving personage, with a disposition like his gondola, ever pliant to other people's purposes-a spirit to tug against difficulties as well as the stream, and a visage tanned into something even less blushful than bronze. With a few condescending familiarities of word and manner, a glass of good wine, and the display of a well-stored purse carelessly thrown on the table, the Count purchased some very valuable secrets from the double-locked sanctuary of his guest's bosom. Giacomo had been hired by the Marquis Posillipo, this
very morning, at the price of twenty golden ducats, paid him in hand, to repair at night-fall to the place of public execution, and to cut down from the gibbet, the body of a malefactor hanged at noon; which he engaged to convey, in his close covered bark, to a pavilion adjoining the Marquis's mansion on the banks of the grand canal, for certain philosophical experiments to be made thereon: this was a task of some difficulty and danger, but a laudable desire to advance the march of philosophy had enhanced the golden inducements most satisfactorily, and the boatman and his employer parted mutually content with their arrangements.
Giacomo returning to the Mole, humming his barcarole and chinking his ducats by way of accompaniment, encountered the German scholar, by whom he had been selected and envoyed to the Marquis, as a character worthy of such important confidence and trust. Herman soon gleaned full particulars of their interview, and by a douceur of ten silver piastras, in a silken purse that had seen better days, induced him to undertake another enterprise. This was, to substitute a living body for the corpse, and thereby spare the delicate conscience of the gondolier the sin of robbing the State, and the pollution of contact with an executed thief. It was proposed and agreed to, that some sturdy-figured fellow from the country should be bribed to undertake the arduous part of the defunct--some healthy, longlegged rustic, who might make what the old ladies denominate,
a very pleasant corpse"—that he should be conveyed into the Marquis's study, by means of a secret key, granted to Herman that he might enter at all hours; and that he should be instructed to lie still and motionless on the table prepared for him, until Herman should give a concerted signal, when he should leap from the study window into Giacomo's gondola, to be in readiness for that purpose; and that by a few stout pulls at the oar, they should cross the canal and be screened from observation by the shades of night. The gondolier hesitated and stipulated, but on the solemn assurance that the whole affair was but merely the performance of a harmless joke, he conceded to wit as he had before yielded to philosophy, and volunteered the services of his kinsman Molino, a strapping miller just enlisted in the new legion of grenadiers, promising to fulfil the whole of his instructions to the letter. In this contract the scholar had the best security for its fulfilment, the payment of forty golden ducats being contingent on the successful performance of the enterprise, and he knew by the buffets he had himself encountered in the world, how eagerly industrious individuals like Giacomo, strive, as the old song says of our London watermen, “ to earn an honest penny.” In fact, the Venetian was gifted with a peculiar tact and relish for penny getting, and very soon convinced Count Vallardi, that notwithstanding his other double deep en-, gagement, he was willing to serve him for the pure love of money, even more strenuously than all his reverence for wit and philosophy could ensure.
“ Trust any thing to Giacomo Perendelli, noble signor,'' said he, "and rely on it —"
At this moment a heavy sea struck the side of the vessel, washed over the deck, swept a score of uncongenial matters from the table into the laps of the surrounding listeners, and threw the saloon of the Britannia and its inmates into a state of commotion, both local and personal, physical and mental, external and internal, that precluded all attention to the story-teller; and it was not for a good half-hour that Mr. Strangeways was able to continue his narration.
(To be continued.)
Chirurgus medico quo differt scilicet iste
Enecat hec suum enecat ille manu
Jardicus hi fauiunt quid facit ille esto.
Betwixt the surgeon and the doctor's call
To Felix Odd-Vein, Esq. E.M.C.; T.O.C.
June 28, 1838.
MY DEAR ODD-VEIN,
You have applied to me at the most unfortunate time possible, to supply you with an amusing article for your present momentous work. Let me tell you, sir, that I consider it a most serious undertaking to comply with your request. How, may I ask, can I judge what will please your most gracious readers and supporters, sequestered as I am in the country, seeing nothing, hearing nothing but country clowns and country wit made up of ill-natured scandal, my neighbour's troubles, suc. cesses, and quarrels. Had you but given me a hint of what my tale was to consist, whether serious comic, or comic serious, melodramatic, farcical, operatical, conversational, or merely narrative, I might have been able to judge how far my poor abilities would answer your purpose. Poor I call them, merely as speaking in the usual way of one editor to another; but to you, my dear Odd-Vein, my cousin and companion, I can but acknowledge the truth. I have the highest opinion of my own capabilities for obliging you, but really the time you have fixed upon for making your request, is any thing but propitious;-my pen, my mind, my ideas, my eyes-write, dwell
, think, see but one object-our most gracious and youthful Queen Victoria. Has she not this day been crowned ?-are not the streets resounding with the rejoicings of her loyal and affectionate subjects? Yet you have the conscience, man, to quit all this toimmure my poor self up in a dismal room to save you trouble. You try to flatter me into your wishes, to inflame my vanity : I tell you, coz., I have none. I am perhaps in this world the only man without vanity. Not but that I can justly appreciate my own worth, and wonderful powers of invention, but which powers at the present moment require an unusual rest, from which they will not be disturbed.
But I have it;—for your own and your reader's amusement, if they will pardon and overlook my many errors, and keep in mind that I am merely relating the follies and actions, good, bad, and indifferent, of others, and that invention has nothing whatever to do with the following pages. I will give a true and particular account of the great doings of this mighty town, in commemoration of the Coronation of our beloved Queen of the entrance into this celebrated place of a company of what shall I call them ?--Comedians.—Yes, truly, they were Comedians, Tragedians, Melodramatics, Piratics, Farceatics, Pantomimics-in all
of which they met with the most distinguished success and enthusiastic and unbounded applause.
The audience consisted of the head doctor, who looked like a groom-the lame apothecary and his little apprentice, not a yard high-the fat overseer and his pretty wife-the gentry, i.e. retired tradespeople, and bankrupts from London, in the boxes; petty shopkeepers in the pit; and sweeps and coal-heavers in the gallery-all of whom laughed most heartily at Jane Shore, cried most woefully at Tom and Jerry, hooted, hissed until they were hoarse, clapped their hands until they were so tired, that the poor devils of actors were allowed to conclude their magnificent performance in peace.
Keep in mind, my dear Odd-Vein, if at any time I am dull, it is from my strict regard to veracity and the laudable and generous wish of smoothing over the errors of my fellow creatures, and of placing their great and good qualities in the best light.
My dear Felix, I faithfully promise to enlist into your service with
my whole heart and soul-to invoke all kind angels and gossiping dames to my assistance—to creep into Tea and Chat parties, both of males and females, and to partake of the scandal, the popular and universal theme of all parties. All this, that I may say I have contributed my mite to the highly finished, original, and entertaining Collection of Tales, Oddities, and Comments, edited by the talented and laughter-loving Felix OddVein. But, gentle coz., don't be jealous, for it is my firm belief that all of your numerous readers will now and for evermore warmly, energetically, and most anxiously enquire after Your faithful friend and assistant,
THE ADVENTURES OF A POOR GENTLEMAN IN SEARCH
OF A LIVING.
Containing a faithful account of the large and mighty Town of
All-Tops, not one thousand miles from the great Metropolis, and of the entrance into this loyal, generous and hospitable town of the celebrated company of Comedians, Tragedians, 8c. fc. headed by the well known manager, Love Ease, Esq.
On the ever to be noted Thursday the 28th of June, 1838, rendered memorable to the present generation, and to be handed
down to posterity, as the blessed day that secured to England its brightest ornament, our beauteous, youthful and beloved Queen Victoria-when even the infant lifted up its little hands, and, with laughing eyes and lisping tongue, cried, “God save the Queen”--the mighty town of All-Tops was at the early hour of five in the morning in unusual bustle, pouring forth all its dwellers for the purpose of hastening and arrangeing the procession, the feast, and other amusements intended to celebrate this joyous and happy day.
How many hearts beat with expectation, with fears concerning the weather! never in our uncertain climate to be depended on. How great then was the universal joy, when the sun burst forth in all its splendour, when not a cloud could be discerned, not a speck upon the clear blue Italian-looking sky, that could token change-all was happiness, anticipated pleasure 'and merriment; the bells ringing, the boys and men huzzaing—the white dresses, blue ribbons, and silver medals portraying the countenance of our youthful and beloved Victoria—the streets ornamented with wreaths, boughs, and flags of every device, pesented a most cheerful, most exhilirating aspect-strangers pouring in from all parts, anxious to become witnesses to the great doings of this mighty town, which were expected and intended to exceed every thing of the kind that ever had or ever would take place in this liberal town, or any other.
The celebrated company of comedians, known and honoured as the most talented that ever graced a theatre, wherever it might be, having arrived late on the preceding evening, anxious to do their best towards showing their loyalty and filling their pockets, were rehearsing, puffing, quarrelling and gabbling--one proposing this and another that—all giving different opinions—each considering his own as best, and indignant that it was not adopted with applause. The
manager, poor easy soul, sitting quietly in one corner, wrapt in his own agreeable thoughts—his little skipping, jumping wife running about, calling to one, directing another, scolding the poor devil who enacted the distinguished and useful parts of prompter, scene shifter and painter, candle snuffer, bill deliverer, and a host of other honourable and distinguished posts ; but who on this memorable occasion was converted into a carpenter, not one being procurable on such a day, trying with his utmost might and best abilities to erect the scenery, and make presentable the dilapidated loft, the only place in this large and celebrated town that could be procured by this dignified band; more frequently, poor fellow, hammering his fingers than the nails, which unpleasant mistake caused him to contort his countenance with such zeal and activity,
as to afford infinite amusement to a graceless urchin, the son of Mrs. Playall
, the leading lady in tragedy, comedy, melo-drama, farce, pantomime, singing, dancing,