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often lifts its possessor into an element for which he is totally unfitted, and from which he falls exhausted, lower far than the sphere he had left! Mr Dudleigh's career afforded a striking illustration of the splendid but fluctuating fortunes of a great English merchant-of the magnificent results ensured by persevering industry, economy, prudence, and enterprise. Early in life he was cast upon the world, to do as he would, or rather could, with himself; for his guardian proved a swindler, and robbed his deceased friend's child of every penny that was left him. On hearing of the disastrous event, young Dudleigh instantly ran away from school, in his sixteenth year, and entered himself on board a vessel trading to the West Indies, as cabinboy. As soon as his relatives, few in number, distant in degree, and colder in affection, heard of this step, they told him, after a little languid expostulation, that as he had made his bed, so he must lie upon it; and never came near him again, till he had become ten times richer than all of them put together.
The first three or four years of young Dudleigh's novitiate at sea, were years of fearful, but not unusual hardship. I have heard him state that he was frequently flogged by the captain and mate, till the blood ran down his back like water; and kicked and cuffed about by the common sailors with infamous impunity. One cause of all this was obvious; his evident superiority over every one on board in learning and acquirements. To such an extent did his tormentors carry their tyranny, that poor Dudleigh's life became intolerable; and one evening, on leaving the vessel after its arrival in port from the West Indies, he ran to a public-house in Wapping, called for pen and ink, and wrote a letter to the chief owner of the vessel, acquainting him with the cruel usage he had suffered, and imploring his interference; adding, that if that application failed, he was determined to drown himself when they next went to sea. This letter, which was signed "Henry Dudleigh, cabin-boy," astonished and interested the person to whom it was addressed; for it was accurately, and even 'eloquently worded. Young Dudleigh was sent for, and after a
thorough examination into the nature of his pretensions, engaged as a clerk in the counting-house of the shipowners, at a small salary. He conducted himself with so much ability and integrity, and displayed such a zealous interest in his employers' concerns, that in a few years' time he was raised to the head of their large establishment, and received a salary of L.500 a-year, as their senior and confidential clerk. The experience he gained in this situation, enabled him, on the unexpected bankruptcy of his employers, to dispose most successfully of the greater proportion of what he had saved in their service. He purchased shares in two vessels, which made fortunate voyages; and the result determined him henceforth to conduct business on his own account, notwithstanding the offer of a most lucrative situation similar to his last. In a word, he went on conducting his speculations with as much prudence, as he undertook them with energy and enterprise.
The period I am alluding to may be considered as the golden age of the shipping interest; and it will occasion surprise to no one acquainted with the commercial history of those days, to hear that in little more than five years time, Mr Dudleigh could "write himself worth" L.20,000. He practised a parsimony of the most excruciating kind. Though every one on 'Change was familiar with his name, and cited him as one of the most "rising young men there," he never associated with any of them but on occasions of strict business. He was content with the humblest fare; and trudged cheerfully to and from the city to his quiet quarters near Hackney, as if he had been but a clerk luxuriating on an income of L.50 per annum. Matters went on thus prospering with him, till his thirty-second year, when he married the wealthy widow of a ship-builder. The influence which she had in his future fortunes, warrants me in pausing to describe her. She was about twenty-seven or twenty-eight years old; of passable person, as far as figure went, for her face was rather bloated and vulgar; somewhat of a dowdy in dress; insufferably vain, and fond of extravagant display; a termagant; with little or no intellect.
In fact, she was the perfect antipodes of her husband. Mr Dudleigh was a humble, unobtrusive, kind-hearted man, always intent on business, beyond which he did not pretend to know or care for much. How could such a man, it will be asked, marry such a woman?-Was he the first who has been dazzled and blinded by the blaze of a large fortune? Such was his case. Besides, a young widow is somewhat careful of undue exposures, which might fright away promising suitors. So they made a match of it; and he resuscitated the expiring business and connexion of his predecessor, and conducted it with a skill and energy, which in a short time opened upon him the floodgates of fortune. Affluence poured in from all quarters; and he was everywhere called by his panting, but distanced competitors in the city, the "fortunate" Mr Dudleigh.
One memorable day, four of his vessels, richly freighted, came, al most together, into port; and on the same day he made one of the most fortunate speculations in the funds which had been heard of for years; so that he was able to say to his assembled family, as he drank their healths after dinner, that he would not take a quarter of a million for what he was worth! And there, surely, he might have paused, nay, made his final stand, as the possessor of such a princely fortune, acquired with unsullied honour to himself, and, latterly, spent in warrantable splendour and hospitality. But no: As is and ever will be the case, the more he had, the more he would have. Not to mention the incessant baiting of his ambitious wife, the dazzling capabilities of indefinite increase to his wealth proved irresist ible. What might not be done by a man of Mr Dudleigh's celebrity, with a floating capital of some hundred and fifty thousand pounds, and as much credit as he chose to accept of? The regular course of his shipping business brought him in constantly magnificent returns, and he began to sigh after other collateral sources of money-making; for why should nearly one-half of his vast means lie unproductive? He had not long to look about, after it once became own that he was ready to employ
his floating capital in profitable speculations. The brokers, for instance, came about him, and he leagued with them. By and by the world heard of a monopoly of nutmegs. There was not a score to be had anywhere in London, but at a most exorbitant price-for the fact was, that Mr Dudleigh had laid his hands on them all, and by so doing cleared a very large sum. Presently he would play similar pranks with otto of roses; and as soon as he had quadrupled the cost of that fashionable article, he would let loose his stores on the gaping market-by which he gained as large a profit as he had made with the nutmegs. Commercial people will easily see how he did this. The brokers, who wished to effect the monopoly, would apply to him for the use of his capital, and give him an ample indemnity against whatever loss might be the fate of the speculation; and, on its proving successful, awarded him a very large proportion of the profits. This is the scheme by which many splendid fortunes have been raised, with a rapidity which has astonished their gainers as much as any one else! Then, again, he negotiated bills on a large scale, and at tremendous discounts; and, in a word, by these, and similar means, amassed, in a few years, the enor mous sum of half a million of money!
It is easy to guess at the concomitants of such a fortune as this. At the instigation of his wife-for he himself retained all his old unobtrusive and personally economical habits-he supported two splendid establishments-the one at the "West End" of the town, and the other near Richmond. His wife-for Mr Dudleigh himself seemed more like the hired steward of his fortune than its possessor was soon surrounded by swarms of those titled blood-suckers that batten on bloated opulence which has been floated into the sea of fashion. Mrs Dudleigh's dinners, suppers, routes, soirées, fetes champêtres, flashed astonishment on the town, through the columns of the obsequious prints. Miss Dudleigh, an elegant and really amiable girl, about seventeen, was beginning to get talked of as a fashionable beauty, and, report said, had refused coronets by dozens! While "young.
Harry Dudleigh" far out-topped the sight of any deserving object he had astonished Oxonians, by spending once served. about half as much again as his noble allowance. Poor Mr Dudleigh frequently looked on all this with fear and astonishment, and, when in the city, would shrug his shoulders, and speak of the "dreadful doings at the West!" I say, when in the cityfor as soon as he travelled westwards, when he entered the sphere of his WIFE's influence, his energies were benumbed and paralysed. He had too long quietly succumbed to her authority to call it in question now, and therefore he submitted to the splendid appearance he was compelled to support. He often said, however, that he could not understand what Mrs Dudleigh was at," but beyond such a hint he never presumed. He was seldom or never to be seen amid the throng and crush of company that crowded his house evening after evening. The first arrival of his wife's guests, was his usual signal for seizing his hat and stick, dropping quietly from home, and betaking himself either to some sedate city friend, or to his countryhouse, where he now took a kind of morbid pleasure in ascertaining that his gains were safe, and planning greater, to make up, if possible, he would say,' "for Mrs Dudleigh's awful extravagance." He did this so constantly, that Mrs Dudleigh began at last to expect and calculate on his absence, as a matter of course, whenever she gave a party; and her goodnatured, accommodating husband too easily acquiesced, on the ground, as his wife took care to give out, of his health's not bearing late hours and company. Though an economical, and even parsimonious man in his habits, Mr Dudleigh had as warm and kind a heart as ever glowed in the breast of man. I have heard many accounts of his systematic benevolence, which he chiefly carried into effect at the periods of temporary relegation to the city, above spoken of. Every Saturday evening, for instance, he had a sort of levee, numerously attended by merchants' clerks and commencing tradesmen, all of whom he assisted most liberally with both" cash and counsel," as he good
ouredly called it. Many a one of them owes his establishment in life to Mr Dudleigh, who never lost
A far different creature Mrs Dudleigh! The longer she lived, the more she had her way, the more frivolous and heartless did she become-the more despotic was the sway she exercised over her husband. Whenever he presumed to " lecture her," as she called it, she would stop his mouth, with referring to the fortune she had brought him, and ask him triumphantly," what he could have done without her cash and connexions!" Such being the fact, it was past all controversy that she ought to be allowed" to have her fling, now they could so easily afford it!" The sums she spent on her own and her daughter's dress were absolutely incredible, and almost petrified her poor husband when the bills were brought to him. Both in the articles of dress and party-giving, Mrs Dudleigh was actua ted by a spirit of frantic rivalry with her competitors; and what she wanted in elegance and refinement, she sought to compensate for in extravagance and ostentation. It was to no purpose that her trembling husband, with tears in his eyes, suggested to her recollection the old saying, " that fools make feasts, and wise men eat them;" and that, if she gave magnificent dinners and suppers, of course great people would come and eat them for her; but would they thank her? Her constant answer was, that they " ought to support their station in society"-that "the world would not believe them rich, unless they shewed it that they were," &c. &c. &c. Then, again, she had a strong plea for her enormous expenditure in the "bringing out of Miss Dudleigh," in the arrayment of whom, panting milliners "toiled in vain." In order to bring about this latter object, she induced, but with great difficulty, Mr Dudleigh to give his bankers orders to accredit her separate cheques; and so prudently did she avail herself of this privilege for months, that she completely threw Mr Dudleigh off his guard, and he allowed a very large balance to lie in his bankers' hands, subject to the unrestricted drafts of his wife. Did the reader never happen to see in society that horrid harpy, an old dowager, whose niggard jointure dri
her to cards? Evening after even-
lic dinners of the great companies,
About a fortnight after Mr Dudleigh had informed Mrs Dudleigh of the new lodgment he had made at his banker's, she gave a very large evening-party at her house, in Square. She had been very successful in her guests ne occasion, having engaged the attendance of my Lords This, and my Ladies That, innumerable. Even the high and haughty Duke of had deigned to look in for a few moments, on his way to a party at Carlton-House, for the purpose of sneering at the "splendid cit," and extracting topics of laughter for his royal host. The whole of
Square, and one or two of the adjoining streets, were absolutely choked with carriagesthe carriages of HER guests! When you entered her magnificent apart
ments, and had made your way
My dear!-my dear-my-mymy dear Mr Dudleigh," stammered his wife, without rising from her chair," what is the matter, love?"
Matter, madam?—why, by -that you've ruined me-that's all! -Where's the L.20,000 I placed in Messrs -'s hands a few days ago? -Where-WHERE is it, Mrs Dudleigh?" he continued almost shouting, and advancing nearer to her, with his fist clenched.
Henry dear Henry !-mercy,
"Henry, indeed! Mercy ?-Silence, madam! How dare you deny me an answer? How dare you swin
VOL. XXX. NO, CLXXXII.
dle me out of my fortune in this
square. It is not at all won!derful, that though Mr Dudleigh's name was well known as an eminent and responsible mercantile man, his bankers, with whom he had but recently opened an account, should decline paying his bill, after so large a sum as L.20,000 had been drawn out of their hands by Mrs Dudleigh. It looked suspicious enough, truly!
"Mrs Dudleigh!-where-wHERE is my L 20,000 ?" he shouted almost at the top of his voice; but Mrs Dudleigh heard him not; for she had fallen fainting into the arms of Lady