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Page) side, and one fore and aft, are closed by means of iron
shutters, which revolve upon a pivot in the centre of one side, and are worked
by means of a cog-wheel on the inside in a very simple and expeditious manner.
They are liable, however, to derangement, and in the engagement with our fleet
two were actually so deranged as to prevent their being opened, while a third,
the after one, was shot away entirely, the pivot on which it revolved being
broken off, and it was through this that the fragment of shell entered which
wounded the rebel Admiral, as he was standing near directing a gunner to clear
away some splinters with which it had become filled,"
The two sketches given on page
584 illustrate in detail the conflict between FARRAGUT'S fleet and the rebel
gun-boats. One of these gives the portion of the conflict with the ram, in which
the Richmond was prominently engaged. The other illustrates the fight between
the Metacomet and the Selma, resulting in the surrender of the latter with 93
men, 18 of whom had been killed, and 22 wounded.
TYING her bonnet under her chin,
She hid her raven ringlets in;
But not alone in the silken snare
Did she catch her lovely floating
hair; For tying her bonnet under her chin, She tied a young man's heart within.
They were strolling together up
the hill, Where the wind comes blowing merry and chill; And it blew the curls a
All over the happy, peach-colored
Till, scolding and laughing, she
tied them in Under her beautiful, dimpled chin.
And it blew a color bright as the
bloom Of the pinkest fuschia's tossing plume All over the cheeks of the
prettiest girl That ever imprisoned a romping curl, Or, in tying her bonnet
under her chin, Tied a young man's heart within.
Steeper and steeper grew the
Madder, merrier, chillier still
The western wind blew down, and
played The wildest tricks with the little maid, As tying her bonnet under her
chin, She tied a young man's heart within.
0 Western Wind! do you think it
To play such tricks with her
floating hair?—To gladly, gleefully do your best
To blow her against the young
man's breast? When he as gladly folded her in And kissed her mouth and dimpled
O Ellery Vane ! you little
thought An hour ago, when you besought This country lass to walk with you After
the sun had dried the dew, What perilous danger you'd be in,
As she tied her bonnet under her
GEORGE AUGUSTUS SALA.
CHAPTER XL V.
SCHOOL OF HORSEMANSHIP.
RANELAGH ! Ranelagh ! Are you
quite sure ! Ranelagh ? Is the word no misprint, no clerical error? I think I
hear the judicious critic ask this question as he reads the last chapter of this
story, scratching his ear meanwhile. Then, he may haply fling the book by
altogether. Ranelagh ! Come, this exceeds human patience. Had I said White
Conduit House, that might have been barely tolerable. But Ranelagh ! Why, that
was a place whither Horace Walpole went when he was a beau, and the Miss
Gunnings when they were belles. It was altogether an eighteenth-century place,
devoted to periwigs, hoops, powder, patches, brocaded sacks, clocked hose,
high-heeled shoes, fans, small-swords, cocked-hats, and clouded canes. Our
great-grandmothers went to Ranelagh in sedan-chairs, and attended by little
black boys. A certain Mrs. Amelia Booth (wife of a captain in a marching
regiment, and known to a certain Mr. Henry Fielding) supped there one night,
more than a hundred years ago, in company with a clerical gentleman who had a
few words during the evening with a British nobleman.
To which I reply that I know what
I am about, and that there is reason in the roasting of eggs. The place of
amusement to which the Pilgrims repaired, after dining so well in Park Lane,
shall be Ranelagh, if you please. This is an age in which the exercise of some
discretion in literature is necessary. Your contemporaries will forgive every
thing but the naming of names. You may write and say the thing which is not; but
beware of giving utterance to that which is. You know that the Memoirs of the
candid Talleyrand are not to be published until full thirty years have elapsed
from the period of his lamented death. Some few of the contemporaries of Charles
Maurice, who might be compromised, are still alive; and the candid creature
could be discreet, even in the tomb, For a similar reason, the place I have in
my eye shall be Ranelagh. There are numbers of ladies and gentlemen still
extant, and flourishing like green bay-trees, who have heard the chimes at
mid-night in Ranelagh's leafy orchards, and have occasionally taken slightly
more lobster-salad than was good for them in those recesses. So, let the place I
have in my eye be Ranelagh ; though, if you choose to get a private Act of
Parliament, or the Royal Permission, or a License from the Herald's College, or
to exercise your own sweet will, there is nothing to prevent your calling it
Tivoli, or Marylebone, or Spring Gardens.
Besides, did not a gentleman, a
few pages since, make the profoundly philosophical, if not
entirely original remark, that
there was a river in Macedon and a river in Monmouth. How many Ptolemys were
there ? There may have been Ranelaghs and Ranelaghs. All were not necessarily
patronized by Horace Walpole and the Misses Gunning. Is there not a London in
Middlesex, and a London in Canada ? A Boulogne in the department of the Seine,
and a Boulogne in the department of the Pas de Calais? An Aix in Savoy, an Aix
in Provence, and an Aix in Rhenish Prussia ? An Alexandria in the land of Egypt,
and an Alexandria in the State of Virginia?
At all events, all the Ranelaghs
are gone by this time—your Ranelagh and my Ranelagh, Yes ; the pleasant place is
departed. The fifty thousand additional lamps are fled, and the gar-lands of
flowers, real and artificial, are dead, The plaster statues have reverted to
dust and their primitive gypsum ; the trees have been cut down ; their very
roots grubbed up. Bricks and mortar invade the once verdant expanse of the
Ramilies ground, No more balloons ascend from that Campus Martins. There are
wine-cellars where once the lake was; pantries and sculleries where once the
panorama of Moscow raised its cupolas of painted canvas, profusely festooned
with squibs and crackers, to the star-lit sky. Pulled down, laid waste, and laid
out again : such has been the fate of Ranelagh. Its present desolation of hods,
scaffold-poles, and places where rubbish may be shot, seems even more dreadful
than would be utter solitude and silence. Somebody Else—that ruthless and
immovable Somebody Else—has got hold of Ranelagh, and turned it to other uses.
May it, under its new aspect, be profitable to Somebody ! It is certain that
Ranelagh, as Ranelagh, never did pay Anybody.
Is it necessary to shed a few
sympathetic tears over the parterres, the fountains, the umbrageous alleys, the
labyrinths and grottoes, the supper-arbors, the long ball-room—over the
orchestra with its shell-shaped sounding-board, and the little hutch beneath,
where you purchased the creaming stout in brown jugs which might once have been
Toby Philpots, and have lived in the vales ? I should like so to weep a little ;
but, unfortunately, there is no time to weep. The Pilgrims and Madame Ernestine,
professor of the high school of horsemanship, are waiting. Let others mourn the
fiddlers who were wont to wear the cocked-hats ; the tipsy, fraudulent waiters,
alternately cringing and abusive ; the masters of the ceremonies, humble
disciples of the school of the immortal 5----; the money-takers ; the gipsy
fortune-teller and the prophetic hermit. They were all worthy folk, no doubt,
but have disappeared. So have the petrified fowls at five shillings each, the
ham cut so thin that it resembled the leaves of some fatty sensitive plant, and
curled into shrinking convolutions when you touched it ; the rack punch, so
called from its fames inflicting on you next morning the worst tortures of the
Tower of London and the Spanish Inquisition ; and that remarkable rose -pink
Champagne which never went round more than once, and never cost less than half a
guinea a bottle.
It was M'Variety, who, as Tom
Tuttleshell correctly observed, had hit upon the notable device of opening
Ranelagh in the winter, and at a shilling a head. The experiment was
disastrous---every experiment ended, in the long-run, at Ranelagh in
catastrophe-but its commencement was not destitute of a certain brilliance.
Thomas Tuttleshell had done M'Variety much good since the beginning of the
winter season, He had made up many parties, and brought many lords there. He had
interested himself with editors, and affably presided at a supper of the elite
of intellect held to inaugurate the artificial skating pond. In fact, with the
exception of the capitalist in the wine trade, who was losing his weekly
hundreds in backing the manager of Ranelagh, Thomas Tuttleshell was M'Variety's
The manager was standing at the
water-wicket, keeping, as was his custom, a very sharp look-out both on the
pay-place and the free-list box, as the party from the Pilgrims' Club alighted
from their cab. It may be imagined how many cordial pressures of the hand he
bestowed on Tom, and how many sweeping bows he favored his illustrious visitors
with. M'Variety was a man in a chronic state of bankruptcy, but who constantly
arose, smiling and cheerful, as though refreshed by ruin. There never was,
perhaps, a debtor who was so much beloved by his creditors. Those to whom he
owed most were generally the first to help him to start afresh. It was the
opinion of the capitalist in the wine trade—an opinion frequently expressed as
he signed the weekly checks—that it was no good crying after spilt milk ; that a
man could not eat his cake and have it; that you could not always be turning
over your money ten times a year ; and that there was a deal of meat on M
'Variety yet. "Sir," the enthusiastic capitalist would exclaim, " if Ranelagh
was to be swallowed up by an earthquake next Saturday night, Mac would have the
neatest bill about the ruins (as patronized by royalty) to be seen at three
o'clock in the afternoon and nine o'clock at night, out in Sunday's ,paper, that
ever you saw. He is a man of spirit, Sir, is Mac." So the capitalist went on
signing checks and sending in cases upon eases of the rose-pink Champagne.
M'Variety always looked after his
small liabilities, and let the large ones take care of them-selves. He who would
owe much, and yet live undisturbed, should always pay his washer-woman. It is
astonishing when you owe a man thirty-seven thousand pounds to find how eager he
is to ask you to dinner, and to lend you an-other three thousand pounds to make
up the round sum. Mac always paid his small people.
He never treated his underlings
to an empty
treasury. The ghost walked
regularly at Ranelagh at three o'clock on Saturday afternoon, however spare the
promenaders on Friday night might have been. Thus it came about that the small
folks loved M'Variety, and that the master-carpenter—to whom he had presented a
silver snuff-box for his exertions in getting up the fire-work scaffolding for
the panorama of Moscow—declared, with tears in his eyes, that the governor was
the honestest soul he ever drove a nail for, and that if timber ever ran short
in the gardens, he'd cut down Bushey Park (at the risk of transportation for
life) sooner than the governor should want it. And finally, as Mac, whether it
was hail, rain, or sunshine with him, always entertained a retinue of old
pensioners, and took great care of an old grandmother (who considered him the
brightest genius of any age) and two spinster sisters down in Devonshire, he was
not, perhaps, on the whole, such a had sort of a fellow.
"Tip-toppers?" whispered the
manager to his friend, as he bustled officiously in advance of his guests.
"The very first," Thomas
returned. "An earl, a baron, and a foreign count : no end of a swell. The
conceited puppy," he added, men-tally, to compensate for his slightly
imaginative eulogium on Edgar Greyfaunt. It was a harm-! less peculiarity of our
friend that he always gave his aristocratic acquaintances a step in rank. Thus,
if you were a captain, he spoke of you as colonel; if you were an archdeacon, he
made you a bishop.
" Sure, I'm very much obliged to
you Tom," went on M'Variety. " Come and chop on Sun-day?"
" Thanks. Can't promise, but
" Well, I know you will if some
other swell doesn't turn up. This way, gentlemen. You're just in time for the
circus. Just a goin' to begin, as the showman said."
"Who is this Madame Ernestine,
Mr. M`Variety?" asked Sir William Long, quitting Lord Carlton's arm to walk with
" Famous French equestrian, my
lord. Just arrived from Paris. Turned all the people's heads there. Pay her a
"I am Sir William Long," the
baronet said, quietly, " and should be very much obliged if you would tell me
any thing definite about this Madame Ernestine, I am very curious, indeed, to
The manager indulged in a
subdued—a very subdued—whistle. He glanced at the baronet's face, and saw that
it wore an expression of earnest curiosity.
"Well, she ain't young, Sir
William," he made answer.
"If she is the person I mean she
must be forty years of age, or thereabout."
" You may bet your money on that
horse, Sir William," acquiesced the manager. "Hope you'll excuse my familiarity,
but I've always found the swells most affable. His Grace the Duke of Darbyshire
comes here twice a week, thanks to my friend Tom Tuttleshell. Invaluable fellow,
Tom. His grace wanted to drive his four-in-hand over the artificial lake, but I
was obliged to refuse him, for fear of accidents, and the newspapers, and that
sort of thing. Ah ! you've no idea what a hard life mine is, and what a manager
has to put up with. Those licensing magistrates are enough to worry one into the
grave. Only think. That stupid old Sergeant Timberlake, the chairman, was nearly
giving a casting vote against our shop, on the ground that skating was immoral,
and that colored lamps led to drinking."
"Believe in my sympathy, Mr.
M`Variety; but this Madame Ernestine, now. You say that she is not young?"
She's no chicken, and that's a
fact ; but this is, of course, entre nous. Ladies in her profession are never
supposed to grow old."
"Is she handsome ?"
" Makes up uncommonly well at
night ; doesn't spare the ' slap,' you know, the red and white," responded Mr.
"Can you tell me any thing more
about her? I have a particular object in inquiring, far beyond any impertinent
"All communications strictly
confidential, eh ? Well, I don't mind telling you, Sir William, though it's
against my rules. My standing orders to my stage-door keeper, when any questions
are asked him by parties—and some have been asked by the very first in the
land—about the ladies and gentlemen of the company, is to tell 'em to find out,
and if they ain't satisfied with that, to write to Notes and Queries. That
generally satisfies the Paul Prys, and you don't know how we're bothered with 'em.
Now, to tell you the honest truth about Madame Ernestine, she's about the most
mysterious party I ever knew, and I have known a few mysterious parties in my
time, Sir William."
" I have no doubt of it, Mr.
M'Variety; pray proceed."
"I can't make out whether she's a
French-woman or an Englishwoman. She speaks one language as well as the other.
She swears like a trooper and drinks like a fish, which ain't very uncommon in
the horse-riding profession; but then she gives herself all sorts of fine-lady
airs, and treats you as if you were a door-mat. She says she was married to a
tremendous swell, an Englishman, who is dead, and that she is a lady in her own
right. My treasurer, Van Post, won't believe it, and you'd find it rather hard
to meet with a sharper customer than Billy Van Post. ' If she's a lady,' says
he, ' why don't she go to her relations ?' "
" Is she talented?"
"Clever at Old Scratch, to whom,
I think, she's first cousin. But, to tell you the honest truth, Sir William,
she's too old for the kick-out business. At her time of life the swells don't
care about seeing her jump
through the hoops. It's time for her to cover up her ankles, Sir - William. Tom
Tuttleshell told her so, and she offered to knock him down for it; but we got
her to listen to reason at last. You see, Tom found her out for me in Paris, and
I pay her a thumping salary."
"But does it pay you to do so?"
"That's just it, Sir William.
You'd hardly credit it, but it does pay tremendously. That ingenious fellow, Tom
Tuttleshell, put me up to the dodge of the high school of horsemanship which he
had seen at Franconi's. It's as easy as lying," pursued the candid Mr. M'Variety;
"and it ain't far off from lying, any way."
" What may this novel invention
"Just this : You've got a Iady
rider that's clever—first-rate, mind, but gassy. Well, you just put her into a
riding-habit and a man's hat, and you give her a trained horse and a
side-saddle, and she makes him go through all kind of capers to slow music, and
the audience they go half wild with excitement. It's a new thing, Sir William,
and tickles 'em. The British public are very capricious, and have got tired of
the Three Graces on one horse, and the Swiss Shepherdess on her milk-white
steed, and such like."
"And the high-school horse ?"
"Perfection. When Tom first dug
out Madame Ernestine in Paris she was very low down in the world, going round
the fairs, I have heard say, as a spotted girl, or a mermaid, or a giantess, or
something not worth five-and-twenty bob a week, at all events. She was quite
broken, in fact, and good for nothing but to make play with the brandy-bottle.
Well, Tom saw there was something in her, and that she was exactly the kind of
party for the high-school business, and he managed to pick up a horse from an
Italian fellow that kept a wax-work show—Venti something his name was ; and that
horse and the madame have turned me in a pretty penny since I opened. I wish
every thing else in the gardens had turned out as profitably," M'Variety added,
with a half-sigh.
"And the madame, as you call her,
is a success ?"
"Draws tremendously. As I warned
you, she's no great shakes as to youth or good looks; but for pluck, action, and
general `go,' that woman," the manager continued, confidentially, "may be
considered a Ripper. Fear ! She doesn't know what fear is. Five-barred gates !
She'd take the wall of the King's Bench Prison, chevaux de frise and all, and
leap over the Surrey Hills into the bargain. She's a Ripper, Sir William, and
nothing but a Ripper."
" Is she alone—I mean, does she
live alone ?"
"Yes and no. Husband's dead, so
she says. That I told you. The wax-work Italian says he's her uncle, but he's
abroad. She has a fresh servant about once every fortnight after she's broken
the old one's head with a water-jug. Barring that, I think she's alone. Stay,
there's a little chit of a girl that lives with her —a niece, or cousin, or
dependent of some kind, though Billy Van Post, my treasurer, will have it that
she's the madame's daughter. A quiet little girl she is, and would be pretty if
she wasn't so thin and pale. Like a little ghost she is. The madame leads her an
" And the name of this little
"There you ask more than I can
tell you. My wife calls her a little angel, and the people about the gardens
have nicknamed her Cinderella. She gets more kicks than half-pence from the
madame; and I sometimes feel inclined to interfere, only we like to leave these
foreign horse-riders to themselves as much as we can. The madame has a devil of
a temper. Twice I've been obliged to go bail for her good behavior at Lambeth
Police Court after she and the water jug and her dressers have fallen out."
"It is the countess," thought Sir
William Long. "Poor little Lily !" To Mr. M'Variety he went on, abstractedly : "
It is pretty, very pretty, indeed."
The conversation to which I have
striven to give coherent sequence had in reality been made up of disjointed
fragments strewn about by the voluble M'Variety as they wandered through the
gardens. Long before its close they had entered the wooden pavilion fitted up as
a circus, and ensconced themselves in the manager's own private box. Here Lord
Carlton, after ex-pressing to Tom Tuttleshell his opinion that M'Variety was a
worthy, a very worthy fellow, went placidly to sleep. Tom, who was one of the
most placable of creatures, and had quite forgotten Edgar's offensive manner
toward him, would have been very happy to entertain the young man with a lively
description of every thing and every body connected with Ranelagh ; but the
sultan chose to continue superciliously sulky, and Tom, seeing that he was
merely wasting his words, slipped out of the box and had a walk round the
gardens, where he found numbers of people who felt amazingly flattered and
patronized by his condescending to talk to them.
Sir William Long was too much
engaged with his own thoughts to notice the departure of Tom, or of the polite
manager, who, when his guests were seated, withdrew to see after one of his
thousand - and - one concernments about the gardens. Between the slumbering peer
and the simpering dandy--who was looking at the audience in the hope, and with
the expectation, that they were looking at and ad-miring him — Sir William Long
had ample scope to think. The memories came rushing over him. In the desert of a
misspent life two or three oases started up. His remembrance went back to a
dinner at Greenwich, to a little timid girl he had petted, and made playful love
to, to a kiss he had printed on her forehead. How many years had passed since
that dinner, and yet how many hundreds of times he had re-