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But prosecute this farther villany, and be assured I will put thee to death like a foul reptile, whose very slaver is fatal to humanity. Rely upon this as if Machiavel had sworn it; for so sure 'as you keep your purpose, so surely will I prosecute my. revenge.--Follow me, Lance, and leave him to think on what I have told him."
Lance had, after the first shock, sustained a very easy part in this rencontre; for all he had to do, was to point the butt of his whip, in the manner of a gun, at the intimidated Frenchman, who, lying on his back, and gazing at random on the skies, had as little the power or purpose of resistance as any pig which had ever come under his own slaughter-knife.
Summoned by his master from the easy duty of guarding such an unresisting prisoner, Lance remounted his horse, and they both rode off, leaving their discomfited antagonists to console themselves for their misadventure as they best could. But consolation was hard to come by in the circumstances. The French artist had to lament the dispersion of his spices, and the destruction of his magazine of sauces an enchanter despoiled of his magic wand and talisman, could scarce have been in more desperate extremity. Chiffinch had to mourn the downfall of his intrigue, and its premature discovery. “To this fellow, at least,” he thought, “I can have bragged none-here my evil genius alone has betrayed me.
With this infernal discovery, which may cost me so dear on all hands, champagne had nought to do. If there be a flask left unbroken, I will drink it after dinner, and try
may not even yet suggest some scheme of redemption and of revenge.
With this manly resolution he prosecuted his journey to London.
A man so various, that he seemed to be
We must now transport the reader to the magnificient hotel in Street, inhabited at this time by the celebrated George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, whom Dryden has doomed to a painful immortality by the few lines which we have prefixed to this chapter. Ai id the gay and the licentious of the laughing court of Charles, the Duke was the most licentious and most gay; yet while expending a princely fortune, a strong constitution, and excellent talents, in pursuit of frivolous pleasures, he failed not to nourish deeper and more extensive designs, in which he only failed from want of that fixed purpose and regulated perseverance essential to all important enterprises, but particularly in politics,
It was long past noon; and the usual hour of the Dule's levee- if any thing could be termed usual where all was irregular—had been long past. His hall was filled with lacqueys and footmen, in the most splendid liveries; the interior apartments, with the gentlemen and pages of his household, arrayed
as persons of the first quality, and in that respect, rather exceeding than falling short of the Duke in personal splendour. But his anti-chamber, in particular, might be compared to a gathering of eagles to the slaughter, were not the simile too dignified to express that vile race, who by a hundred devices, all tending to one common end, live upon
the wants of needy greatness, or administer to the pleasures of summer-teeming luxury, or stimulate the wild wishes of lavish and
wasteful extravagance, by devising new modes and fresh motives of profusion. There stood the Projector, with his mysterious brow, promising unbounded wealth to whomsoever might chuse to furnish the small preliminary sum necessary to change egg-shells into the great arcanum. There was Captain Seagull, undertaker for a foreign settlement, with the map under his arm of Indian or American kingdoms, beautiful as the primitive Eden, waiting the bold occupants, for whom a generous patron should equip two brigantines and a flyboat. Thither came, fast and frequent, the gamesters, in their different forms and calling. This light, young, gay in appearance, the thoughtless youth of wit and pleasure the pigeon rather than the rook-but at heart the same sly, shrewd, coldblooded calculator as yonder old hard-featured professor of the same science, whose eyes are grown dim with watching the dice at midnight; and whose fingers are even now assisting his mental computation of chances and of odds. The fine arts, too_I would it were otherwise-have their professors amongst this sordid train. The poor poet, half ashamed, in spite of habit, of the part which he is about to perform, and abashed by consciousness at once of his base motive and his shabby black coat, lurks in yonder corner for the favourable moment to offer his dedication. Much better attired, the architect presents his splendid vision of front
and wings, and designs a palace, the expense of which may transfer the employer to a jail. But uppermost of all, the favourite musician, or singer, who waits on my lord to receive, in solid gold, the value of the dulcet sounds which solaced the banquet of the preceding evening.
Such, and many such like, were the morning attendants of the Duke of Buckingham-all genuine descendants of the daughter of the horse-leech, whose cry is “Give, give.”
But the levee of his grace contained other and very different characters, and was indeed as various as his own opinions and pursuits. Besides many of the young nobility and wealthy gentry of England, who made his Grace the glass at which they dressed themselves for the day, and who learn. ed from him how to travel, with the newest and best grace, the general Road to Ruin, there were
, others of a graver character-discarded statesmen, political spies, opposition orators, servile tools of administration, men who met not elsewhere, but who regarded the Duke's mansion as a sort of neutral ground; sure, that if he was not of their opinion to-day, the very circumstance rendered it most likely he should think with them to-morrow. The Puritans themselves did not shun intercourse with a man whose talents must have rendered him formi-. dable, even if they had not been united with high rank and an immense fortune. Several grave personages, with black suits, short cloaks, and bandstrings of a formal cut, were mingled, as we see their portraits in a gallery of paintings, among the gallants who ruffled in silk and embroidery. It is true, they escaped the scandal of being supposed intimates of the duke, by their business being supposed to refer to money matters. Whether these grave and professing citizens mixed politics with money-lending, was not known; but it had been
long observed that the Jews, who in general confine themselves to the latter department, had become for some time faithful attendants at the Duke's levee.
It was high-tide in the anti-chamber, and had been so for more than an hour, ere the Duke's gentleman in ordinary ventured into his bed-chamber, carefully darkened, so as to make midnight at noonday, to know his Grace's pleasure. His soft and serene whisper, in which he asked whether it were his Grace's pleasure to rise, was briefly and sharply answered by the counter questions,
66 Who waits? -What's o'clock?"
“ It is Jerningham, your Grace,” said the attendant. 66
" It is one afternoon; and your Grace appointed some of the people without at eleven.”
6. Who are they? - What do they want?”
“ Psha! it will keep cold. Those who make all others wait, will be the better of waiting in their turn. Were I to be guilty of ill breeding, it should rather be to a King than a beggar.”
“ The gentlemen from the city."
“I am tired of them tired of their all cant, and no religion-all Protestantism, and no charity. Tell them to go to Shaftesbury--to Aldersgate Street with them that's the best market for their wares."
“Jockey, my lord, from Newmarket."
6 Let him ride to the devil--he has horse of mine, and
spurs of his own. Any more?” “The whole anti-chamber is full, my lordknights and squires, doctors and dicers."
The dicers, with the doctors in their pockets, I presume.”
“ Counts, captains and clergymen."
“ You are alliterative, Jerningham,” said he Duke;" and that is a proof you are poetical. Hand me my writing things."
Getting half out of bed-thrusting one arm into