The Complete Works of



Charles Dickens > Somebody's Luggage > Story

Somebody's Luggage



The writer of these humble lines being a Waiter, and having come of
a family of Waiters, and owning at the present time five brothers
who are all Waiters, and likewise an only sister who is a Waitress,
would wish to offer a few words respecting his calling; first having
the pleasure of hereby in a friendly manner offering the Dedication
of the same unto JOSEPH, much respected Head Waiter at the Slamjam
Coffee-house, London, E.C., than which a individual more eminently
deserving of the name of man, or a more amenable honour to his own
head and heart, whether considered in the light of a Waiter or
regarded as a human being, do not exist.

In case confusion should arise in the public mind (which it is open
to confusion on many subjects) respecting what is meant or implied
by the term Waiter, the present humble lines would wish to offer an
explanation. It may not be generally known that the person as goes
out to wait is NOT a Waiter. It may not be generally known that the
hand as is called in extra, at the Freemasons' Tavern, or the
London, or the Albion, or otherwise, is NOT a Waiter. Such hands
may be took on for Public Dinners by the bushel (and you may know
them by their breathing with difficulty when in attendance, and
taking away the bottle ere yet it is half out); but such are NOT
Waiters. For you cannot lay down the tailoring, or the shoemaking,
or the brokering, or the green-grocering, or the pictorial-
periodicalling, or the second-hand wardrobe, or the small fancy
businesses,--you cannot lay down those lines of life at your will
and pleasure by the half-day or evening, and take up Waitering. You
may suppose you can, but you cannot; or you may go so far as to say
you do, but you do not. Nor yet can you lay down the gentleman's-
service when stimulated by prolonged incompatibility on the part of
Cooks (and here it may be remarked that Cooking and Incompatibility
will be mostly found united), and take up Waitering. It has been
ascertained that what a gentleman will sit meek under, at home, he
will not bear out of doors, at the Slamjam or any similar
establishment. Then, what is the inference to be drawn respecting
true Waitering? You must be bred to it. You must be born to it.

Would you know how born to it, Fair Reader,--if of the adorable
female sex? Then learn from the biographical experience of one that
is a Waiter in the sixty-first year of his age.

You were conveyed,--ere yet your dawning powers were otherwise
developed than to harbour vacancy in your inside,--you were
conveyed, by surreptitious means, into a pantry adjoining the
Admiral Nelson, Civic and General Dining-Rooms, there to receive by
stealth that healthful sustenance which is the pride and boast of
the British female constitution. Your mother was married to your
father (himself a distant Waiter) in the profoundest secrecy; for a
Waitress known to be married would ruin the best of businesses,--it
is the same as on the stage. Hence your being smuggled into the
pantry, and that--to add to the infliction--by an unwilling
grandmother. Under the combined influence of the smells of roast
and boiled, and soup, and gas, and malt liquors, you partook of your
earliest nourishment; your unwilling grandmother sitting prepared to
catch you when your mother was called and dropped you; your
grandmother's shawl ever ready to stifle your natural complainings;
your innocent mind surrounded by uncongenial cruets, dirty plates,
dish-covers, and cold gravy; your mother calling down the pipe for
veals and porks, instead of soothing you with nursery rhymes. Under
these untoward circumstances you were early weaned. Your unwilling
grandmother, ever growing more unwilling as your food assimilated
less, then contracted habits of shaking you till your system
curdled, and your food would not assimilate at all. At length she
was no longer spared, and could have been thankfully spared much
sooner. When your brothers began to appear in succession, your
mother retired, left off her smart dressing (she had previously been
a smart dresser), and her dark ringlets (which had previously been
flowing), and haunted your father late of nights, lying in wait for
him, through all weathers, up the shabby court which led to the back
door of the Royal Old Dust-Bin (said to have been so named by George
the Fourth), where your father was Head. But the Dust-Bin was going
down then, and your father took but little,--excepting from a liquid
point of view. Your mother's object in those visits was of a house-
keeping character, and you was set on to whistle your father out.
Sometimes he came out, but generally not. Come or not come,
however, all that part of his existence which was unconnected with
open Waitering was kept a close secret, and was acknowledged by your
mother to be a close secret, and you and your mother flitted about
the court, close secrets both of you, and would scarcely have
confessed under torture that you know your father, or that your
father had any name than Dick (which wasn't his name, though he was
never known by any other), or that he had kith or kin or chick or
child. Perhaps the attraction of this mystery, combined with your
father's having a damp compartment, to himself, behind a leaky
cistern, at the Dust-Bin,--a sort of a cellar compartment, with a
sink in it, and a smell, and a plate-rack, and a bottle-rack, and
three windows that didn't match each other or anything else, and no
daylight,--caused your young mind to feel convinced that you must
grow up to be a Waiter too; but you did feel convinced of it, and so
did all your brothers, down to your sister. Every one of you felt
convinced that you was born to the Waitering. At this stage of your
career, what was your feelings one day when your father came home to
your mother in open broad daylight,--of itself an act of Madness on
the part of a Waiter,--and took to his bed (leastwise, your mother
and family's bed), with the statement that his eyes were devilled
kidneys. Physicians being in vain, your father expired, after
repeating at intervals for a day and a night, when gleams of reason
and old business fitfully illuminated his being, "Two and two is
five. And three is sixpence." Interred in the parochial department
of the neighbouring churchyard, and accompanied to the grave by as
many Waiters of long standing as could spare the morning time from
their soiled glasses (namely, one), your bereaved form was attired
in a white neckankecher, and you was took on from motives of
benevolence at The George and Gridiron, theatrical and supper.
Here, supporting nature on what you found in the plates (which was
as it happened, and but too often thoughtlessly, immersed in
mustard), and on what you found in the glasses (which rarely went
beyond driblets and lemon), by night you dropped asleep standing,
till you was cuffed awake, and by day was set to polishing every
individual article in the coffee-room. Your couch being sawdust;
your counterpane being ashes of cigars. Here, frequently hiding a
heavy heart under the smart tie of your white neckankecher (or
correctly speaking lower down and more to the left), you picked up
the rudiments of knowledge from an extra, by the name of Bishops,
and by calling plate-washer, and gradually elevating your mind with
chalk on the back of the corner-box partition, until such time as
you used the inkstand when it was out of hand, attained to manhood,
and to be the Waiter that you find yourself.

I could wish here to offer a few respectful words on behalf of the
calling so long the calling of myself and family, and the public
interest in which is but too often very limited. We are not
generally understood. No, we are not. Allowance enough is not made
for us. For, say that we ever show a little drooping listlessness
of spirits, or what might be termed indifference or apathy. Put it
to yourself what would your own state of mind be, if you was one of
an enormous family every member of which except you was always
greedy, and in a hurry. Put it to yourself that you was regularly
replete with animal food at the slack hours of one in the day and
again at nine p.m., and that the repleter you was, the more
voracious all your fellow-creatures came in. Put it to yourself
that it was your business, when your digestion was well on, to take
a personal interest and sympathy in a hundred gentlemen fresh and
fresh (say, for the sake of argument, only a hundred), whose
imaginations was given up to grease and fat and gravy and melted
butter, and abandoned to questioning you about cuts of this, and
dishes of that,--each of 'em going on as if him and you and the bill
of fare was alone in the world. Then look what you are expected to
know. You are never out, but they seem to think you regularly
attend everywhere. "What's this, Christopher, that I hear about the
smashed Excursion Train? How are they doing at the Italian Opera,
Christopher?" "Christopher, what are the real particulars of this
business at the Yorkshire Bank?" Similarly a ministry gives me more
trouble than it gives the Queen. As to Lord Palmerston, the
constant and wearing connection into which I have been brought with
his lordship during the last few years is deserving of a pension.
Then look at the Hypocrites we are made, and the lies (white, I
hope) that are forced upon us! Why must a sedentary-pursuited
Waiter be considered to be a judge of horseflesh, and to have a most
tremendous interest in horse-training and racing? Yet it would be
half our little incomes out of our pockets if we didn't take on to
have those sporting tastes. It is the same (inconceivable why!)
with Farming. Shooting, equally so. I am sure that so regular as
the months of August, September, and October come round, I am
ashamed of myself in my own private bosom for the way in which I
make believe to care whether or not the grouse is strong on the wing
(much their wings, or drumsticks either, signifies to me,
uncooked!), and whether the partridges is plentiful among the
turnips, and whether the pheasants is shy or bold, or anything else
you please to mention. Yet you may see me, or any other Waiter of
my standing, holding on by the back of the box, and leaning over a
gentleman with his purse out and his bill before him, discussing
these points in a confidential tone of voice, as if my happiness in
life entirely depended on 'em.

I have mentioned our little incomes. Look at the most unreasonable
point of all, and the point on which the greatest injustice is done
us! Whether it is owing to our always carrying so much change in
our right-hand trousers-pocket, and so many halfpence in our coat-
tails, or whether it is human nature (which I were loth to believe),
what is meant by the everlasting fable that Head Waiters is rich?
How did that fable get into circulation? Who first put it about,
and what are the facts to establish the unblushing statement? Come
forth, thou slanderer, and refer the public to the Waiter's will in
Doctors' Commons supporting thy malignant hiss! Yet this is so
commonly dwelt upon--especially by the screws who give Waiters the
least--that denial is vain; and we are obliged, for our credit's
sake, to carry our heads as if we were going into a business, when
of the two we are much more likely to go into a union. There was
formerly a screw as frequented the Slamjam ere yet the present
writer had quitted that establishment on a question of tea-ing his
assistant staff out of his own pocket, which screw carried the taunt
to its bitterest height. Never soaring above threepence, and as
often as not grovelling on the earth a penny lower, he yet
represented the present writer as a large holder of Consols, a
lender of money on mortgage, a Capitalist. He has been overheard to
dilate to other customers on the allegation that the present writer
put out thousands of pounds at interest in Distilleries and
Breweries. "Well, Christopher," he would say (having grovelled his
lowest on the earth, half a moment before), "looking out for a House
to open, eh? Can't find a business to be disposed of on a scale as
is up to your resources, humph?" To such a dizzy precipice of
falsehood has this misrepresentation taken wing, that the well-known
and highly-respected OLD CHARLES, long eminent at the West Country
Hotel, and by some considered the Father of the Waitering, found
himself under the obligation to fall into it through so many years
that his own wife (for he had an unbeknown old lady in that capacity
towards himself) believed it! And what was the consequence? When
he was borne to his grave on the shoulders of six picked Waiters,
with six more for change, six more acting as pall-bearers, all
keeping step in a pouring shower without a dry eye visible, and a
concourse only inferior to Royalty, his pantry and lodgings was
equally ransacked high and low for property, and none was found!
How could it be found, when, beyond his last monthly collection of
walking-sticks, umbrellas, and pocket-handkerchiefs (which happened
to have been not yet disposed of, though he had ever been through
life punctual in clearing off his collections by the month), there
was no property existing? Such, however, is the force of this
universal libel, that the widow of Old Charles, at the present hour
an inmate of the Almshouses of the Cork-Cutters' Company, in Blue
Anchor Road (identified sitting at the door of one of 'em, in a
clean cap and a Windsor arm-chair, only last Monday), expects John's
hoarded wealth to be found hourly! Nay, ere yet he had succumbed to
the grisly dart, and when his portrait was painted in oils life-
size, by subscription of the frequenters of the West Country, to
hang over the coffee-room chimney-piece, there were not wanting
those who contended that what is termed the accessories of such a
portrait ought to be the Bank of England out of window, and a
strong-box on the table. And but for better-regulated minds
contending for a bottle and screw and the attitude of drawing,--and
carrying their point,--it would have been so handed down to

I am now brought to the title of the present remarks. Having, I
hope without offence to any quarter, offered such observations as I
felt it my duty to offer, in a free country which has ever dominated
the seas, on the general subject, I will now proceed to wait on the
particular question.

At a momentous period of my life, when I was off, so far as
concerned notice given, with a House that shall be nameless,--for
the question on which I took my departing stand was a fixed charge
for waiters, and no House as commits itself to that eminently Un-
English act of more than foolishness and baseness shall be
advertised by me,--I repeat, at a momentous crisis, when I was off
with a House too mean for mention, and not yet on with that to which
I have ever since had the honour of being attached in the capacity
of Head, {1} I was casting about what to do next. Then it were that
proposals were made to me on behalf of my present establishment.
Stipulations were necessary on my part, emendations were necessary
on my part: in the end, ratifications ensued on both sides, and I
entered on a new career.

We are a bed business, and a coffee-room business. We are not a
general dining business, nor do we wish it. In consequence, when
diners drop in, we know what to give 'em as will keep 'em away
another time. We are a Private Room or Family business also; but
Coffee-room principal. Me and the Directory and the Writing
Materials and cetrer occupy a place to ourselves--a place fended of
up a step or two at the end of the Coffee-room, in what I call the
good old-fashioned style. The good old-fashioned style is, that
whatever you want, down to a wafer, you must be olely and solely
dependent on the Head Waiter for. You must put yourself a new-born
Child into his hands. There is no other way in which a business
untinged with Continental Vice can be conducted. (It were bootless
to add, that if languages is required to be jabbered and English is
not good enough, both families and gentlemen had better go somewhere

When I began to settle down in this right-principled and well-
conducted House, I noticed, under the bed in No. 24 B (which it is
up a angle off the staircase, and usually put off upon the lowly-
minded), a heap of things in a corner. I asked our Head Chambermaid
in the course of the day,

"What are them things in 24 B?"

To which she answered with a careless air, "Somebody's Luggage."

Regarding her with a eye not free from severity, I says, "Whose

Evading my eye, she replied,

"Lor! How should I know!"

- Being, it may be right to mention, a female of some pertness,
though acquainted with her business.

A Head Waiter must be either Head or Tail. He must be at one
extremity or the other of the social scale. He cannot be at the
waist of it, or anywhere else but the extremities. It is for him to
decide which of the extremities.

On the eventful occasion under consideration, I give Mrs. Pratchett
so distinctly to understand my decision, that I broke her spirit as
towards myself, then and there, and for good. Let not inconsistency
be suspected on account of my mentioning Mrs. Pratchett as "Mrs.,"
and having formerly remarked that a waitress must not be married.
Readers are respectfully requested to notice that Mrs. Pratchett was
not a waitress, but a chambermaid. Now a chambermaid MAY be
married; if Head, generally is married,--or says so. It comes to
the same thing as expressing what is customary. (N.B. Mr. Pratchett
is in Australia, and his address there is "the Bush.")

Having took Mrs. Pratchett down as many pegs as was essential to the
future happiness of all parties, I requested her to explain herself.

"For instance," I says, to give her a little encouragement, "who is

"I give you my sacred honour, Mr. Christopher," answers Pratchett,
"that I haven't the faintest notion."

But for the manner in which she settled her cap-strings, I should
have doubted this; but in respect of positiveness it was hardly to
be discriminated from an affidavit.

"Then you never saw him?" I followed her up with.

"Nor yet," said Mrs. Pratchett, shutting her eyes and making as if
she had just took a pill of unusual circumference,--which gave a
remarkable force to her denial,--"nor yet any servant in this house.
All have been changed, Mr. Christopher, within five year, and
Somebody left his Luggage here before then."

Inquiry of Miss Martin yielded (in the language of the Bard of A.1.)
"confirmation strong." So it had really and truly happened. Miss
Martin is the young lady at the bar as makes out our bills; and
though higher than I could wish considering her station, is
perfectly well-behaved.

Farther investigations led to the disclosure that there was a bill
against this Luggage to the amount of two sixteen six. The Luggage
had been lying under the bedstead of 24 B over six year. The
bedstead is a four-poster, with a deal of old hanging and valance,
and is, as I once said, probably connected with more than 24 Bs,--
which I remember my hearers was pleased to laugh at, at the time.

I don't know why,--when DO we know why?--but this Luggage laid heavy
on my mind. I fell a wondering about Somebody, and what he had got
and been up to. I couldn't satisfy my thoughts why he should leave
so much Luggage against so small a bill. For I had the Luggage out
within a day or two and turned it over, and the following were the
items:- A black portmanteau, a black bag, a desk, a dressing-case, a
brown-paper parcel, a hat-box, and an umbrella strapped to a
walking-stick. It was all very dusty and fluey. I had our porter
up to get under the bed and fetch it out; and though he habitually
wallows in dust,--swims in it from morning to night, and wears a
close-fitting waistcoat with black calimanco sleeves for the
purpose,--it made him sneeze again, and his throat was that hot with
it that it was obliged to be cooled with a drink of Allsopp's draft.

The Luggage so got the better of me, that instead of having it put
back when it was well dusted and washed with a wet cloth,--previous
to which it was so covered with feathers that you might have thought
it was turning into poultry, and would by-and-by begin to Lay,--I
say, instead of having it put back, I had it carried into one of my
places down-stairs. There from time to time I stared at it and
stared at it, till it seemed to grow big and grow little, and come
forward at me and retreat again, and go through all manner of
performances resembling intoxication. When this had lasted weeks,--
I may say months, and not be far out,--I one day thought of asking
Miss Martin for the particulars of the Two sixteen six total. She
was so obliging as to extract it from the books,--it dating before
her time,--and here follows a true copy:

1856.            No. 4.     Pounds s. d.
Feb. 2d, Pen and Paper             0 0 6
         Port Negus                0 2 0
         Ditto                     0 2 0
         Pen and paper             0 0 6
         Tumbler broken            0 2 6
         Brandy                    0 2 0
         Pen and paper             0 0 6
         Anchovy toast             0 2 6
         Pen and paper             0 0 6
         Bed                     0 3 0
Feb. 3d, Pen and paper             0 0 6
         Breakfast                 0 2 6
            Broiled ham            0 2 0
            Eggs                 0 1 0
            Watercresses         0 1 0
            Shrimps                0 1 0
         Pen and paper             0 0 6
         Blotting-paper            0 0 6
         Messenger to Paternoster
             Row and back         0 1 6
         Again, when No Answer     0 1 6
         Brandy 2s., Devilled
             Pork chop 2s.         0 4 0
         Pens and paper            0 1 0
         Messenger to Albemarle
             Street and back     0 1 0
         Again (detained), when
             No Answer             0 1 6
         Salt-cellar broken        0 3 6
         Large Liquour-glass
             Orange Brandy         0 1 6
         Dinner, Soup, Fish,
             Joint, and bird     0 7 6
         Bottle old East India
             Brown                 0 8 0
         Pen and paper             0 0 6
                                 2 16 6

Mem.: January 1st, 1857. He went out after dinner, directing
luggage to be ready when he called for it. Never called.

So far from throwing a light upon the subject, this bill appeared to
me, if I may so express my doubts, to involve it in a yet more lurid
halo. Speculating it over with the Mistress, she informed me that
the luggage had been advertised in the Master's time as being to be
sold after such and such a day to pay expenses, but no farther steps
had been taken. (I may here remark, that the Mistress is a widow in
her fourth year. The Master was possessed of one of those
unfortunate constitutions in which Spirits turns to Water, and rises
in the ill-starred Victim.)

My speculating it over, not then only, but repeatedly, sometimes
with the Mistress, sometimes with one, sometimes with another, led
up to the Mistress's saying to me,--whether at first in joke or in
earnest, or half joke and half earnest, it matters not:

"Christopher, I am going to make you a handsome offer."

(If this should meet her eye,--a lovely blue,--may she not take it
ill my mentioning that if I had been eight or ten year younger, I
would have done as much by her! That is, I would have made her a
offer. It is for others than me to denominate it a handsome one.)

"Christopher, I am going to make you a handsome offer."

"Put a name to it, ma'am."

"Look here, Christopher. Run over the articles of Somebody's
Luggage. You've got it all by heart, I know."

"A black portmanteau, ma'am, a black bag, a desk, a dressing-case, a
brown-paper parcel, a hat-box, and an umbrella strapped to a

"All just as they were left. Nothing opened, nothing tampered

"You are right, ma'am. All locked but the brown-paper parcel, and
that sealed."

The Mistress was leaning on Miss Martin's desk at the bar-window,
and she taps the open book that lays upon the desk,--she has a
pretty-made hand to be sure,--and bobs her head over it and laughs.

"Come," says she, "Christopher. Pay me Somebody's bill, and you
shall have Somebody's Luggage."

I rather took to the idea from the first moment; but,

"It mayn't be worth the money," I objected, seeming to hold back.

"That's a Lottery," says the Mistress, folding her arms upon the
book,--it ain't her hands alone that's pretty made, the observation
extends right up her arms. "Won't you venture two pound sixteen
shillings and sixpence in the Lottery? Why, there's no blanks!"
says the Mistress; laughing and bobbing her head again, "you MUST
win. If you lose, you must win! All prizes in this Lottery! Draw
a blank, and remember, Gentlemen-Sportsmen, you'll still be entitled
to a black portmanteau, a black bag, a desk, a dressing-case, a
sheet of brown paper, a hat-box, and an umbrella strapped to a

To make short of it, Miss Martin come round me, and Mrs. Pratchett
come round me, and the Mistress she was completely round me already,
and all the women in the house come round me, and if it had been
Sixteen two instead of Two sixteen, I should have thought myself
well out of it. For what can you do when they do come round you?

So I paid the money--down--and such a laughing as there was among
'em! But I turned the tables on 'em regularly, when I said:

"My family-name is Blue-Beard. I'm going to open Somebody's Luggage
all alone in the Secret Chamber, and not a female eye catches sight
of the contents!"

Whether I thought proper to have the firmness to keep to this, don't
signify, or whether any female eye, and if any, how many, was really
present when the opening of the Luggage came off. Somebody's
Luggage is the question at present: Nobody's eyes, nor yet noses.

What I still look at most, in connection with that Luggage, is the
extraordinary quantity of writing-paper, and all written on! And
not our paper neither,--not the paper charged in the bill, for we
know our paper,--so he must have been always at it. And he had
crumpled up this writing of his, everywhere, in every part and
parcel of his luggage. There was writing in his dressing-case,
writing in his boots, writing among his shaving-tackle, writing in
his hat-box, writing folded away down among the very whalebones of
his umbrella.

His clothes wasn't bad, what there was of 'em. His dressing-case
was poor,--not a particle of silver stopper,--bottle apertures with
nothing in 'em, like empty little dog-kennels,--and a most searching
description of tooth-powder diffusing itself around, as under a
deluded mistake that all the chinks in the fittings was divisions in
teeth. His clothes I parted with, well enough, to a second-hand
dealer not far from St. Clement's Danes, in the Strand,--him as the
officers in the Army mostly dispose of their uniforms to, when hard
pressed with debts of honour, if I may judge from their coats and
epaulets diversifying the window with their backs towards the
public. The same party bought in one lot the portmanteau, the bag,
the desk, the dressing-case, the hat-box, the umbrella, strap, and
walking-stick. On my remarking that I should have thought those
articles not quite in his line, he said: "No more ith a man'th
grandmother, Mithter Chrithtopher; but if any man will bring hith
grandmother here, and offer her at a fair trifle below what the'll
feth with good luck when the'th thcoured and turned--I'll buy her!"

These transactions brought me home, and, indeed, more than home, for
they left a goodish profit on the original investment. And now
there remained the writings; and the writings I particular wish to
bring under the candid attention of the reader.

I wish to do so without postponement, for this reason. That is to
say, namely, viz. i.e., as follows, thus:- Before I proceed to
recount the mental sufferings of which I became the prey in
consequence of the writings, and before following up that harrowing
tale with a statement of the wonderful and impressive catastrophe,
as thrilling in its nature as unlooked for in any other capacity,
which crowned the ole and filled the cup of unexpectedness to
overflowing, the writings themselves ought to stand forth to view.
Therefore it is that they now come next. One word to introduce
them, and I lay down my pen (I hope, my unassuming pen) until I take
it up to trace the gloomy sequel of a mind with something on it.

He was a smeary writer, and wrote a dreadful bad hand. Utterly
regardless of ink, he lavished it on every undeserving object--on
his clothes, his desk, his hat, the handle of his tooth-brush, his
umbrella. Ink was found freely on the coffee-room carpet by No. 4
table, and two blots was on his restless couch. A reference to the
document I have given entire will show that on the morning of the
third of February, eighteen fifty-six, he procured his no less than
fifth pen and paper. To whatever deplorable act of ungovernable
composition he immolated those materials obtained from the bar,
there is no doubt that the fatal deed was committed in bed, and that
it left its evidences but too plainly, long afterwards, upon the

He had put no Heading to any of his writings. Alas! Was he likely
to have a Heading without a Head, and where was HIS Head when he
took such things into it? In some cases, such as his Boots, he
would appear to have hid the writings; thereby involving his style
in greater obscurity. But his Boots was at least pairs,--and no two
of his writings can put in any claim to be so regarded. Here
follows (not to give more specimens) what was found in


"Eh! well then, Monsieur Mutuel! What do I know, what can I say? I
assure you that he calls himself Monsieur The Englishman."

"Pardon. But I think it is impossible," said Monsieur Mutuel,--a
spectacled, snuffy, stooping old gentleman in carpet shoes and a
cloth cap with a peaked shade, a loose blue frock-coat reaching to
his heels, a large limp white shirt-frill, and cravat to
correspond,--that is to say, white was the natural colour of his
linen on Sundays, but it toned down with the week.

"It is," repeated Monsieur Mutuel, his amiable old walnut-shell
countenance very walnut-shelly indeed as he smiled and blinked in
the bright morning sunlight,--"it is, my cherished Madame Bouclet, I
think, impossible!"

"Hey!" (with a little vexed cry and a great many tosses of her
head.) "But it is not impossible that you are a Pig!" retorted
Madame Bouclet, a compact little woman of thirty-five or so. "See
then,--look there,--read! 'On the second floor Monsieur L'Anglais.'
Is it not so?"

"It is so," said Monsieur Mutuel.

"Good. Continue your morning walk. Get out!" Madame Bouclet
dismissed him with a lively snap of her fingers.

The morning walk of Monsieur Mutuel was in the brightest patch that
the sun made in the Grande Place of a dull old fortified French
town. The manner of his morning walk was with his hands crossed
behind him; an umbrella, in figure the express image of himself,
always in one hand; a snuffbox in the other. Thus, with the
shuffling gait of the Elephant (who really does deal with the very
worst trousers-maker employed by the Zoological world, and who
appeared to have recommended him to Monsieur Mutuel), the old
gentleman sunned himself daily when sun was to be had--of course, at
the same time sunning a red ribbon at his button-hole; for was he
not an ancient Frenchman?

Being told by one of the angelic sex to continue his morning walk
and get out, Monsieur Mutuel laughed a walnut-shell laugh, pulled
off his cap at arm's length with the hand that contained his
snuffbox, kept it off for a considerable period after he had parted
from Madame Bouclet, and continued his morning walk and got out,
like a man of gallantry as he was.

The documentary evidence to which Madame Bouclet had referred
Monsieur Mutuel was the list of her lodgers, sweetly written forth
by her own Nephew and Bookkeeper, who held the pen of an Angel, and
posted up at the side of her gateway, for the information of the
Police: "Au second, M. L'Anglais, Proprietaire." On the second
floor, Mr. The Englishman, man of property. So it stood; nothing
could be plainer.

Madame Bouclet now traced the line with her forefinger, as it were
to confirm and settle herself in her parting snap at Monsieur
Mutuel, and so placing her right hand on her hip with a defiant air,
as if nothing should ever tempt her to unsnap that snap, strolled
out into the Place to glance up at the windows of Mr. The
Englishman. That worthy happening to be looking out of window at
the moment, Madame Bouclet gave him a graceful salutation with her
head, looked to the right and looked to the left to account to him
for her being there, considered for a moment, like one who accounted
to herself for somebody she had expected not being there, and
reentered her own gateway. Madame Bouclet let all her house giving
on the Place in furnished flats or floors, and lived up the yard
behind in company with Monsieur Bouclet her husband (great at
billiards), an inherited brewing business, several fowls, two carts,
a nephew, a little dog in a big kennel, a grape-vine, a counting-
house, four horses, a married sister (with a share in the brewing
business), the husband and two children of the married sister, a
parrot, a drum (performed on by the little boy of the married
sister), two billeted soldiers, a quantity of pigeons, a fife
(played by the nephew in a ravishing manner), several domestics and
supernumeraries, a perpetual flavour of coffee and soup, a terrific
range of artificial rocks and wooden precipices at least four feet
high, a small fountain, and half-a-dozen large sunflowers.

Now the Englishman, in taking his Appartement,--or, as one might say
on our side of the Channel, his set of chambers,--had given his
name, correct to the letter, LANGLEY. But as he had a British way
of not opening his mouth very wide on foreign soil, except at meals,
the Brewery had been able to make nothing of it but L'Anglais. So
Mr. The Englishman he had become and he remained.

"Never saw such a people!" muttered Mr. The Englishman, as he now
looked out of window. "Never did, in my life!"

This was true enough, for he had never before been out of his own
country,--a right little island, a tight little island, a bright
little island, a show-fight little island, and full of merit of all
sorts; but not the whole round world.

"These chaps," said Mr. The Englishman to himself, as his eye rolled
over the Place, sprinkled with military here and there, "are no more
like soldiers--" Nothing being sufficiently strong for the end of
his sentence, he left it unended.

This again (from the point of view of his experience) was strictly
correct; for though there was a great agglomeration of soldiers in
the town and neighbouring country, you might have held a grand
Review and Field-day of them every one, and looked in vain among
them all for a soldier choking behind his foolish stock, or a
soldier lamed by his ill-fitting shoes, or a soldier deprived of the
use of his limbs by straps and buttons, or a soldier elaborately
forced to be self-helpless in all the small affairs of life. A
swarm of brisk, bright, active, bustling, handy, odd, skirmishing
fellows, able to turn cleverly at anything, from a siege to soup,
from great guns to needles and thread, from the broadsword exercise
to slicing an onion, from making war to making omelets, was all you
would have found.

What a swarm! From the Great Place under the eye of Mr. The
Englishman, where a few awkward squads from the last conscription
were doing the goose-step--some members of those squads still as to
their bodies, in the chrysalis peasant-state of Blouse, and only
military butterflies as to their regimentally-clothed legs--from the
Great Place, away outside the fortifications, and away for miles
along the dusty roads, soldiers swarmed. All day long, upon the
grass-grown ramparts of the town, practising soldiers trumpeted and
bugled; all day long, down in angles of dry trenches, practising
soldiers drummed and drummed. Every forenoon, soldiers burst out of
the great barracks into the sandy gymnasium-ground hard by, and flew
over the wooden horse, and hung on to flying ropes, and dangled
upside-down between parallel bars, and shot themselves off wooden
platforms,--splashes, sparks, coruscations, showers of soldiers. At
every corner of the town-wall, every guard-house, every gateway,
every sentry-box, every drawbridge, every reedy ditch, and rushy
dike, soldiers, soldiers, soldiers. And the town being pretty well
all wall, guard-house, gateway, sentry-box, drawbridge, reedy ditch,
and rushy dike, the town was pretty well all soldiers.

What would the sleepy old town have been without the soldiers,
seeing that even with them it had so overslept itself as to have
slept its echoes hoarse, its defensive bars and locks and bolts and
chains all rusty, and its ditches stagnant! From the days when
VAUBAN engineered it to that perplexing extent that to look at it
was like being knocked on the head with it, the stranger becoming
stunned and stertorous under the shock of its incomprehensibility,--
from the days when VAUBAN made it the express incorporation of every
substantive and adjective in the art of military engineering, and
not only twisted you into it and twisted you out of it, to the
right, to the left, opposite, under here, over there, in the dark,
in the dirt, by the gateway, archway, covered way, dry way, wet way,
fosse, portcullis, drawbridge, sluice, squat tower, pierced wall,
and heavy battery, but likewise took a fortifying dive under the
neighbouring country, and came to the surface three or four miles
off, blowing out incomprehensible mounds and batteries among the
quiet crops of chicory and beet-root,--from those days to these the
town had been asleep, and dust and rust and must had settled on its
drowsy Arsenals and Magazines, and grass had grown up in its silent

On market-days alone, its Great Place suddenly leaped out of bed.
On market-days, some friendly enchanter struck his staff upon the
stones of the Great Place, and instantly arose the liveliest booths
and stalls, and sittings and standings, and a pleasant hum of
chaffering and huckstering from many hundreds of tongues, and a
pleasant, though peculiar, blending of colours,--white caps, blue
blouses, and green vegetables,--and at last the Knight destined for
the adventure seemed to have come in earnest, and all the Vaubanois
sprang up awake. And now, by long, low-lying avenues of trees,
jolting in white-hooded donkey-cart, and on donkey-back, and in
tumbril and wagon, and cart and cabriolet, and afoot with barrow and
burden,--and along the dikes and ditches and canals, in little peak-
prowed country boats,--came peasant-men and women in flocks and
crowds, bringing articles for sale. And here you had boots and
shoes, and sweetmeats and stuffs to wear, and here (in the cool
shade of the Town-hall) you had milk and cream and butter and
cheese, and here you had fruits and onions and carrots, and all
things needful for your soup, and here you had poultry and flowers
and protesting pigs, and here new shovels, axes, spades, and bill-
hooks for your farming work, and here huge mounds of bread, and here
your unground grain in sacks, and here your children's dolls, and
here the cake-seller, announcing his wares by beat and roll of drum.
And hark! fanfaronade of trumpets, and here into the Great Place,
resplendent in an open carriage, with four gorgeously-attired
servitors up behind, playing horns, drums, and cymbals, rolled "the
Daughter of a Physician" in massive golden chains and ear-rings, and
blue-feathered hat, shaded from the admiring sun by two immense
umbrellas of artificial roses, to dispense (from motives of
philanthropy) that small and pleasant dose which had cured so many
thousands! Toothache, earache, headache, heartache, stomach-ache,
debility, nervousness, fits, fainting, fever, ague, all equally
cured by the small and pleasant dose of the great Physician's great
daughter! The process was this,--she, the Daughter of a Physician,
proprietress of the superb equipage you now admired with its
confirmatory blasts of trumpet, drum, and cymbal, told you so: On
the first day after taking the small and pleasant dose, you would
feel no particular influence beyond a most harmonious sensation of
indescribable and irresistible joy; on the second day you would be
so astonishingly better that you would think yourself changed into
somebody else; on the third day you would be entirely free from
disorder, whatever its nature and however long you had had it, and
would seek out the Physician's Daughter to throw yourself at her
feet, kiss the hem of her garment, and buy as many more of the small
and pleasant doses as by the sale of all your few effects you could
obtain; but she would be inaccessible,--gone for herbs to the
Pyramids of Egypt,--and you would be (though cured) reduced to
despair! Thus would the Physician's Daughter drive her trade (and
briskly too), and thus would the buying and selling and mingling of
tongues and colours continue, until the changing sunlight, leaving
the Physician's Daughter in the shadow of high roofs, admonished her
to jolt out westward, with a departing effect of gleam and glitter
on the splendid equipage and brazen blast. And now the enchanter
struck his staff upon the stones of the Great Place once more, and
down went the booths, the sittings and standings, and vanished the
merchandise, and with it the barrows, donkeys, donkey-carts, and
tumbrils, and all other things on wheels and feet, except the slow
scavengers with unwieldy carts and meagre horses clearing up the
rubbish, assisted by the sleek town pigeons, better plumped out than
on non-market days. While there was yet an hour or two to wane
before the autumn sunset, the loiterer outside town-gate and
drawbridge, and postern and double-ditch, would see the last white-
hooded cart lessening in the avenue of lengthening shadows of trees,
or the last country boat, paddled by the last market-woman on her
way home, showing black upon the reddening, long, low, narrow dike
between him and the mill; and as the paddle-parted scum and weed
closed over the boat's track, he might be comfortably sure that its
sluggish rest would be troubled no more until next market-day.

As it was not one of the Great Place's days for getting out of bed,
when Mr. The Englishman looked down at the young soldiers practising
the goose-step there, his mind was left at liberty to take a
military turn.

"These fellows are billeted everywhere about," said he; "and to see
them lighting the people's fires, boiling the people's pots, minding
the people's babies, rocking the people's cradles, washing the
people's greens, and making themselves generally useful, in every
sort of unmilitary way, is most ridiculous! Never saw such a set of
fellows,--never did in my life!"

All perfectly true again. Was there not Private Valentine in that
very house, acting as sole housemaid, valet, cook, steward, and
nurse, in the family of his captain, Monsieur le Capitaine de la
Cour,--cleaning the floors, making the beds, doing the marketing,
dressing the captain, dressing the dinners, dressing the salads, and
dressing the baby, all with equal readiness? Or, to put him aside,
he being in loyal attendance on his Chief, was there not Private
Hyppolite, billeted at the Perfumer's two hundred yards off, who,
when not on duty, volunteered to keep shop while the fair
Perfumeress stepped out to speak to a neighbour or so, and
laughingly sold soap with his war-sword girded on him? Was there
not Emile, billeted at the Clock-maker's, perpetually turning to of
an evening, with his coat off, winding up the stock? Was there not
Eugene, billeted at the Tinman's, cultivating, pipe in mouth, a
garden four feet square, for the Tinman, in the little court, behind
the shop, and extorting the fruits of the earth from the same, on
his knees, with the sweat of his brow? Not to multiply examples,
was there not Baptiste, billeted on the poor Water-carrier, at that
very instant sitting on the pavement in the sunlight, with his
martial legs asunder, and one of the Water-carrier's spare pails
between them, which (to the delight and glory of the heart of the
Water-carrier coming across the Place from the fountain, yoked and
burdened) he was painting bright-green outside and bright-red
within? Or, to go no farther than the Barber's at the very next
door, was there not Corporal Theophile -

"No," said Mr. The Englishman, glancing down at the Barber's, "he is
not there at present. There's the child, though."

A mere mite of a girl stood on the steps of the Barber's shop,
looking across the Place. A mere baby, one might call her, dressed
in the close white linen cap which small French country children
wear (like the children in Dutch pictures), and in a frock of
homespun blue, that had no shape except where it was tied round her
little fat throat. So that, being naturally short and round all
over, she looked, behind, as if she had been cut off at her natural
waist, and had had her head neatly fitted on it.

"There's the child, though."

To judge from the way in which the dimpled hand was rubbing the
eyes, the eyes had been closed in a nap, and were newly opened. But
they seemed to be looking so intently across the Place, that the
Englishman looked in the same direction.

"O!" said he presently. "I thought as much. The Corporal's there."

The Corporal, a smart figure of a man of thirty, perhaps a thought
under the middle size, but very neatly made,--a sunburnt Corporal
with a brown peaked beard,--faced about at the moment, addressing
voluble words of instruction to the squad in hand. Nothing was
amiss or awry about the Corporal. A lithe and nimble Corporal,
quite complete, from the sparkling dark eyes under his knowing
uniform cap to his sparkling white gaiters. The very image and
presentment of a Corporal of his country's army, in the line of his
shoulders, the line of his waist, the broadest line of his Bloomer
trousers, and their narrowest line at the calf of his leg.

Mr. The Englishman looked on, and the child looked on, and the
Corporal looked on (but the last-named at his men), until the drill
ended a few minutes afterwards, and the military sprinkling dried up
directly, and was gone. Then said Mr. The Englishman to himself,
"Look here! By George!" And the Corporal, dancing towards the
Barber's with his arms wide open, caught up the child, held her over
his head in a flying attitude, caught her down again, kissed her,
and made off with her into the Barber's house.

Now Mr. The Englishman had had a quarrel with his erring and
disobedient and disowned daughter, and there was a child in that
case too. Had not his daughter been a child, and had she not taken
angel-flights above his head as this child had flown above the

"He's a "--National Participled--"fool!" said the Englishman, and
shut his window.

But the windows of the house of Memory, and the windows of the house
of Mercy, are not so easily closed as windows of glass and wood.
They fly open unexpectedly; they rattle in the night; they must be
nailed up. Mr. The Englishman had tried nailing them, but had not
driven the nails quite home. So he passed but a disturbed evening
and a worse night.

By nature a good-tempered man? No; very little gentleness,
confounding the quality with weakness. Fierce and wrathful when
crossed? Very, and stupendously unreasonable. Moody? Exceedingly
so. Vindictive? Well; he had had scowling thoughts that he would
formally curse his daughter, as he had seen it done on the stage.
But remembering that the real Heaven is some paces removed from the
mock one in the great chandelier of the Theatre, he had given that

And he had come abroad to be rid of his repudiated daughter for the
rest of his life. And here he was.

At bottom, it was for this reason, more than for any other, that Mr.
The Englishman took it extremely ill that Corporal Theophile should
be so devoted to little Bebelle, the child at the Barber's shop. In
an unlucky moment he had chanced to say to himself, "Why, confound
the fellow, he is not her father!" There was a sharp sting in the
speech which ran into him suddenly, and put him in a worse mood. So
he had National Participled the unconscious Corporal with most
hearty emphasis, and had made up his mind to think no more about
such a mountebank.

But it came to pass that the Corporal was not to be dismissed. If
he had known the most delicate fibres of the Englishman's mind,
instead of knowing nothing on earth about him, and if he had been
the most obstinate Corporal in the Grand Army of France, instead of
being the most obliging, he could not have planted himself with more
determined immovability plump in the midst of all the Englishman's
thoughts. Not only so, but he seemed to be always in his view. Mr.
The Englishman had but to look out of window, to look upon the
Corporal with little Bebelle. He had but to go for a walk, and
there was the Corporal walking with Bebelle. He had but to come
home again, disgusted, and the Corporal and Bebelle were at home
before him. If he looked out at his back windows early in the
morning, the Corporal was in the Barber's back yard, washing and
dressing and brushing Bebelle. If he took refuge at his front
windows, the Corporal brought his breakfast out into the Place, and
shared it there with Bebelle. Always Corporal and always Bebelle.
Never Corporal without Bebelle. Never Bebelle without Corporal.

Mr. The Englishman was not particularly strong in the French
language as a means of oral communication, though he read it very
well. It is with languages as with people,--when you only know them
by sight, you are apt to mistake them; you must be on speaking terms
before you can be said to have established an acquaintance.

For this reason, Mr. The Englishman had to gird up his loins
considerably before he could bring himself to the point of
exchanging ideas with Madame Bouclet on the subject of this Corporal
and this Bebelle. But Madame Bouclet looking in apologetically one
morning to remark, that, O Heaven! she was in a state of desolation
because the lamp-maker had not sent home that lamp confided to him
to repair, but that truly he was a lamp-maker against whom the whole
world shrieked out, Mr. The Englishman seized the occasion.

"Madame, that baby--"

"Pardon, monsieur. That lamp."

"No, no, that little girl."

"But, pardon!" said Madame Bonclet, angling for a clew, "one cannot
light a little girl, or send her to be repaired?"

"The little girl--at the house of the barber."

"Ah-h-h!" cried Madame Bouclet, suddenly catching the idea with her
delicate little line and rod. "Little Bebelle? Yes, yes, yes! And
her friend the Corporal? Yes, yes, yes, yes! So genteel of him,--
is it not?"

"He is not -?"

"Not at all; not at all! He is not one of her relations. Not at

"Why, then, he--"

"Perfectly!" cried Madame Bouclet, "you are right, monsieur. It is
so genteel of him. The less relation, the more genteel. As you

"Is she -?"

"The child of the barber?" Madame Bouclet whisked up her skilful
little line and rod again. "Not at all, not at all! She is the
child of--in a word, of no one."

"The wife of the barber, then -?"

"Indubitably. As you say. The wife of the barber receives a small
stipend to take care of her. So much by the month. Eh, then! It
is without doubt very little, for we are all poor here."

"You are not poor, madame."

"As to my lodgers," replied Madame Bouclet, with a smiling and a
gracious bend of her head, "no. As to all things else, so-so."

"You flatter me, madame."

"Monsieur, it is you who flatter me in living here."

Certain fishy gasps on Mr. The Englishman's part, denoting that he
was about to resume his subject under difficulties, Madame Bouclet
observed him closely, and whisked up her delicate line and rod again
with triumphant success.

"O no, monsieur, certainly not. The wife of the barber is not cruel
to the poor child, but she is careless. Her health is delicate, and
she sits all day, looking out at window. Consequently, when the
Corporal first came, the poor little Bebelle was much neglected."

"It is a curious--" began Mr. The Englishman.

"Name? That Bebelle? Again you are right, monsieur. But it is a
playful name for Gabrielle."

"And so the child is a mere fancy of the Corporal's?" said Mr. The
Englishman, in a gruffly disparaging tone of voice.

"Eh, well!" returned Madame Bouclet, with a pleading shrug: "one
must love something. Human nature is weak."

("Devilish weak," muttered the Englishman, in his own language.)

"And the Corporal," pursued Madame Bouclet, "being billeted at the
barber's,--where he will probably remain a long time, for he is
attached to the General,--and finding the poor unowned child in need
of being loved, and finding himself in need of loving,--why, there
you have it all, you see!"

Mr. The Englishman accepted this interpretation of the matter with
an indifferent grace, and observed to himself, in an injured manner,
when he was again alone: "I shouldn't mind it so much, if these
people were not such a"--National Participled--"sentimental people!"

There was a Cemetery outside the town, and it happened ill for the
reputation of the Vaubanois, in this sentimental connection, that he
took a walk there that same afternoon. To be sure there were some
wonderful things in it (from the Englishman's point of view), and of
a certainty in all Britain you would have found nothing like it.
Not to mention the fanciful flourishes of hearts and crosses in wood
and iron, that were planted all over the place, making it look very
like a Firework-ground, where a most splendid pyrotechnic display
might be expected after dark, there were so many wreaths upon the
graves, embroidered, as it might be, "To my mother," "To my
daughter," "To my father," "To my brother," "To my sister," "To my
friend," and those many wreaths were in so many stages of
elaboration and decay, from the wreath of yesterday, all fresh
colour and bright beads, to the wreath of last year, a poor
mouldering wisp of straw! There were so many little gardens and
grottos made upon graves, in so many tastes, with plants and shells
and plaster figures and porcelain pitchers, and so many odds and
ends! There were so many tributes of remembrance hanging up, not to
be discriminated by the closest inspection from little round
waiters, whereon were depicted in glowing lines either a lady or a
gentleman with a white pocket-handkerchief out of all proportion,
leaning, in a state of the most faultless mourning and most profound
affliction, on the most architectural and gorgeous urn! There were
so many surviving wives who had put their names on the tombs of
their deceased husbands, with a blank for the date of their own
departure from this weary world; and there were so many surviving
husbands who had rendered the same homage to their deceased wives;
and out of the number there must have been so many who had long ago
married again! In fine, there was so much in the place that would
have seemed more frippery to a stranger, save for the consideration
that the lightest paper flower that lay upon the poorest heap of
earth was never touched by a rude hand, but perished there, a sacred

"Nothing of the solemnity of Death here," Mr. The Englishman had
been going to say, when this last consideration touched him with a
mild appeal, and on the whole he walked out without saying it. "But
these people are," he insisted, by way of compensation, when he was
well outside the gate, "they are so"--Participled--"sentimental!"

His way back lay by the military gymnasium-ground. And there he
passed the Corporal glibly instructing young soldiers how to swing
themselves over rapid and deep watercourses on their way to Glory,
by means of a rope, and himself deftly plunging off a platform, and
flying a hundred feet or two, as an encouragement to them to begin.
And there he also passed, perched on a crowning eminence (probably
the Corporal's careful hands), the small Bebelle, with her round
eyes wide open, surveying the proceeding like a wondering sort of
blue and white bird.

"If that child was to die," this was his reflection as he turned his
back and went his way,--"and it would almost serve the fellow right
for making such a fool of himself,--I suppose we should have him
sticking up a wreath and a waiter in that fantastic burying-ground."

Nevertheless, after another early morning or two of looking out of
window, he strolled down into the Place, when the Corporal and
Bebelle were walking there, and touching his hat to the Corporal (an
immense achievement), wished him Good-day.

"Good-day, monsieur."

"This is a rather pretty child you have here," said Mr. The
Englishman, taking her chin in his hand, and looking down into her
astonished blue eyes.

"Monsieur, she is a very pretty child," returned the Corporal, with
a stress on his polite correction of the phrase.

"And good?" said the Englishman.

"And very good. Poor little thing!"

"Hah!" The Englishman stooped down and patted her cheek, not
without awkwardness, as if he were going too far in his
conciliation. "And what is this medal round your neck, my little

Bebelle having no other reply on her lips than her chubby right
fist, the Corporal offered his services as interpreter.

"Monsieur demands, what is this, Bebelle?"

"It is the Holy Virgin," said Bebelle.

"And who gave it you?" asked the Englishman.


"And who is Theophile?"

Bebelle broke into a laugh, laughed merrily and heartily, clapped
her chubby hands, and beat her little feet on the stone pavement of
the Place.

"He doesn't know Theophile! Why, he doesn't know any one! He
doesn't know anything!" Then, sensible of a small solecism in her
manners, Bebelle twisted her right hand in a leg of the Corporal's
Bloomer trousers, and, laying her cheek against the place, kissed

"Monsieur Theophile, I believe?" said the Englishman to the

"It is I, monsieur."

"Permit me." Mr. The Englishman shook him heartily by the hand and
turned away. But he took it mighty ill that old Monsieur Mutuel in
his patch of sunlight, upon whom he came as he turned, should pull
off his cap to him with a look of pleased approval. And he
muttered, in his own tongue, as he returned the salutation, "Well,
walnut-shell! And what business is it of YOURS?"

Mr. The Englishman went on for many weeks passing but disturbed
evenings and worse nights, and constantly experiencing that those
aforesaid windows in the houses of Memory and Mercy rattled after
dark, and that he had very imperfectly nailed them up. Likewise, he
went on for many weeks daily improving the acquaintance of the
Corporal and Bebelle. That is to say, he took Bebelle by the chin,
and the Corporal by the hand, and offered Bebelle sous and the
Corporal cigars, and even got the length of changing pipes with the
Corporal and kissing Bebelle. But he did it all in a shamefaced
way, and always took it extremely ill that Monsieur Mutuel in his
patch of sunlight should note what he did. Whenever that seemed to
be the case, he always growled in his own tongue, "There you are
again, walnut-shell! What business is it of yours?"

In a word, it had become the occupation of Mr. The Englishman's life
to look after the Corporal and little Bebelle, and to resent old
Monsieur Mutuel's looking after HIM. An occupation only varied by a
fire in the town one windy night, and much passing of water-buckets
from hand to hand (in which the Englishman rendered good service),
and much beating of drums,--when all of a sudden the Corporal

Next, all of a sudden, Bebelle disappeared.

She had been visible a few days later than the Corporal,--sadly
deteriorated as to washing and brushing,--but she had not spoken
when addressed by Mr. The Englishman, and had looked scared and had
run away. And now it would seem that she had run away for good.
And there lay the Great Place under the windows, bare and barren.

In his shamefaced and constrained way, Mr. The Englishman asked no
question of any one, but watched from his front windows and watched

Index Index

Other Authors Other Authors

Charles Dickens. Copyright © 2022,
Contact the webmaster
Disclaimer here. Privacy Policy here.