Chapter 92761978

See chapter in newspaper

Chapter NumberXX
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article92761978
Full Date1871-10-06
Page Number4
Corrections0
Word Count1875
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleNorthern Argus (Clare, SA : 1869 - 1954)
Trove TitleGood at Last
article text

GOOD AT LAST*

BY "PMIA."

CHAPTER XX.

In the part of London aristocratic

called Mayfair, the street named Cur- !

eon is considered fit to be the resi- ?

dence of many of the brightest lights of ] the fashionable world ; and the Hon. j Mrs- Stanhope, who believed her- j self one of such, had a town establish ment there, where she spent the

" season.'"

Amid the feelings that helped her r towards the enjoyment of life, that of

self-gratulation at Having nipped in the j bud the.cbanpeof be tween her nepbew.and Isabel Hillary. Bnt her gratification At this result of her scheming could not be said to be unalloyed -as Stanhope had lately be come ..such a demon of extravagance that hisregimental pay, bis aunt's air lowance to bufc/stnd all -the money that he could raise from fhe fashionable usurer .whom . he ...honored with bis patronage j ? were each and all insuffi cient. as he-phrased it, "to keep the pot boiling*." Theageiit, as he pro fessionally caUedliimselft was the Mr. Thompson, of Jermyn street, men tioned a" fewchapters ago as the per son through whom -Mrs. Stanhope was informed of her nephew's financial doings, and it was through him that

she had sow learned of Stanhope's ex- ; travagance. Witti this, however, the 1 readejr has. not much,to do; it is only j dragged on here, as a kind of overture to the entry of Mr. Thompson in pro pria persona, who has a part to perform in this-little drama.

This character kept an office in Jermyn street; where he lived seemed to be nobody's business,-at any rate, nobody knew. At-his-office, both by his clients and persons e-nployed by him,. ,he wasstyled " Captain" though =why, the ubiquitous nobody was as equally well informed as in the matter of his habitat; for with the ex

ceptions of a strutting walk, a closely

buttoned frock-coat, and a moustache, he had nothing abo.ut him which could -by the most in veterate inventor of complimentary titles-be termed mili tary/, It was a .title given to, himself for the reason >tbat be. thought it gave him greater influence with- tbe younget poTtibn of his clients (most of whom were officers and spendthrifts) thandf they bad.known ,him as never

having been anything eke than a civi- i

lian. ' ' ''

One ofihe pieces .of furniture that

Thompson's office contained was a : clerk nanied Watts. The time had been

when, ^Atts, livas a man of substance, , whe»,ras an. attorney ^pd gentleman .. by Act of Parliament, he held , first- i floor chambers in the .Inner Temple,

and kept{£hree clprks pretty well em- , ploy#d; whenliis name was quoted by the younger barristers as that of a man'trifh -whdm' it behoved them to be on the best of terms, asTbeiTiad no end of briefs to ' give. * "But all that 'was

changed.. Watts, in the ordinary , coHo^uisJisni^1 "liked his® glasfc."

Shame, u. wors'$ of' disgraceful .facts is , it, that some or, ,the most.. intellectual

and clever men, who should show - their-more ignorant brethren ,how God's noblest, work should live, are. often .the. greatest drunkards. From

being a leading attorney he <had be- .

come -'9 hanger-on at police courts- i toutm^for epiployment, and getting ! it only from .'the. lowest rank fn.. the .J army, of disreputables. . His, fees went .. almost as soon as earned,- .-and it was'' throtfgh 'Thompson's casnally becom- j ing ^i^ua^nted.with him andobserving

his ability, tbat .he:. had, Jbeen ,en gaged j as ilw .ll8llI!k,8»^3eA., ivNot-*- thai | Tbon^fifeon had any ' such thought as j that qf.gy/? paib fidleu, ;gre^tness or impecjuniose stalent. - His business

often madd it requisite that he should ! empl8f%'ah" attorney to assrie <tettain legal papers, matters which could only, perhaps, be^ attended to by a lawyer.He thought, .then, that i^,he

engaged Watts as -his clerk, - «ll' liis . legal; work Would be done cheaply, atad he coUl4,c)i8^ge h^clie^ts^the fulliees. On -ipfp&tji amppg. 1&| jptraates; he had found that Wattshad, some years previously, put a wrong name On a cheque whicL he bail cashed, thereby Tendering himself liable,,ha$ the swindled -person " chosen.. to -prosecute, to evfer soiriuchpenalservitude. By

means -of '. ibis :knowledge "he -had 4 frightened Watts ?" into~acceptiiig" Bis I emplpy^^nt ^d his wages, the latfer ] of whichwere so small that the reel- i pient* w»s «iotr periorceasoberman. j

Watts lived in a small street'in the ;j partof St- Gilefi' lying between New. i OxfafA s^t^d Browc street; a'' j very-respectable ^quarterto Hve in, j bnt quite in accordance -with his power

of pocket.' - *' ~~ r "r T~; ]

As be one evening opened the door of , the 'garret he called his home, he ? fancied be heard tbe sound of some one moaning as if in pain in the. room next'to his. - He was rather astonished at first, as he had always believed that apartment "to he untenanted The door was In father a delapidated. state, and had -neither -lock nor fastening. Old people,' as like to know all aboutotheir people's business; old Wattsit ; ; t

He, therefore-^itbout meaning offence or anything 'pf She *ort, bnt i mih^do.'+d&i sthat- Wheii people -left their, doorsopen there could' be no TOis^fln their'partjW exclude 'visitors

-pushed; into his neighbor's chaniber, i and there«&W aman lying asleep on the grobnd, without bedstead/ bedj or

bedding. ln'ftct,!ltberB waB nothing'

. Written enwaislj for thiijoum*!. Bight of tepnb UsUngnmA

in the room but the man himself.

was t<ran&, deeenliydressed, 3nd^3>ut,

jfor dbe carewota aiid an£&us expres-" sion *fin * nis tfecoi ? handsome.,., T Ills moans .dnl notrseeto; to pe. cawed

any bodily pam^so much as uy the working- of some"* mental agony expe rienced by him in his dreams. Alter nately he was,by gesticulation and whis pers, pleading with some dearly-loved mistress,-or struggling to free him self from an imaginary somebody who

had hold of him.

Watts, among- his iieas, sras possesed of one uhat brandy wafs the specific ; for all things, a sort of summunbomm,

its efficacy being proved to his under standing by the fact that when any tbing-ailed his OWIL mind ot carcase, a drop' of it always t: made' a man of him." In spite of his poverty he had still managed to keep a bottle of that , wonderful man-making -liquid in his

room. He ran back for it. While he was in a state of-quandary as to whether .he should, pour it down the gullet of the sleeper or wake him, he was saved the need of consideration

by that person's starring to his feet and seizing his visitor by the throat,

'demanding - in;- terms';' -'somewhat' savoring of j3ifi_oxdec.6f Jtalk commonly . called bullying-what on earth he 'wanted there. His coat and waistcoat .were off, and on account of his excited manner and* movement his fehirt had 'fallen back frorti his shoulder, revealing to Watts' sight that there was on the flesh of that shoulder something that 'its owner coold never have been born with, and that was the letter " D" in dented on the shoulder. Watts knew well that this was the brand of de serters from the army. 'His eyes were instantly fixed on the disfigured

spot.

By this, of course, the reader will have seen that it was Stephen whom Watts has discovered as a neighbor. He had managed his escape from the barracks successfully, and having parted from Willis, had trudged1 up to London, taking care to keep away from any main roads in' the day time. After wandering about the great city on, the day of his arrival there-looking for employment, -which he-could not ob tain, as he had neither character nor reference through which he could charm the hearts of any prospective masters-he had at ilast"engagedr.tbe room in which he had been found sleeping by the old clerk.

Aft soon as he found that he had no reason to fear a detefctive in the milS Waits, lie let go histhold, and apolo gised for his strange behavior, telling the old . man that he had had some frightful dreams, which had led him to think that ne was being annoyed, and he had before he jvas properly awake mistaken his visitor for the annoyer.

Watte soon learned from him that he wanted was well. educated, - ber sides being well-mannered, and was willing lo do anything that he was able to earn a livelihood- . One thing. Watts, told him, was awkward,\his never having been engaged in the metropolis.; But the fcl£rk promised to speak to iris own employer on the sub ject; he knew that Thompson often engaged persons< to 5 do clerical work for him, without troubling much who they were, or where they came from; as he paid them so little for their ser vices that he really had no right to expect jthat they .should possess jany character at all to speak of.

. In the course of a few days, then, behold Stephen fixed, as a New Yorker would say, in Thompson's office, and, for a wonder, at a.; good salary. Thompson, seeing that Stephen was a smart, gentlemanly fellow, thought by getting,, him into society, he might be able ^thrdngh his good manners and address to push the financial- agency to more extended connections than it had hitherto en joyed

'Among the clients of Thompson was ja: young banker named Hariord, the sole representative,Q?i«he very old firm of Harford, West, arid Go., reputedly bne of the strongest in London. Truth was, though, it was far from being so. The father of the present Harford had, instead of putting money into his purse, done his little best by horse racing ian# gambling to-; empty that receptacle ; and when he died be had, legacy fashion, left his son Alfred a most respectably sized debt to pay off. One of his creditors was Thompson, to whom? iand through whom he owed above £30,000. That debt, instead of being; lessened^ was .'increasing at a rather rapid rater through the renewal of acceptances and other accommoda tion. "Thompson liad for sometime been in a manner fidgetty as to the money, but could get no satisfactory informa tion from the'banker, as to the state of affairs. He had little doubt but that by pressing him the money might be paid; but that after all might only be cutting the bellows open to see where the "'Wind came from, or killing the goose for the sake of getting the eggs.

Before Stephen was long with him, it'struck him that by making Harford engage him in .some responsible posi tion in. the bank, a spy on the banker's

actions would 1be teecured.

' Stephen at : demurred to' the proposition, but Thompson had wormed out of Watts all die latter knew of the new clerk-the letter "D" included; so Stephen was obliged to consent' Go tile arrangement, noping " that the banker would''refuse to take Mm, and making mental reservations as to the amount of information he would give

Thompson , if he were dbligfed lo ^e to'

work at the banker's desk.

(To be continued.J