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in old times, almost every abbey, hall, or manor house had its stew or fish-pond for the supply of the establishment.
A something struck upon the heart of the guilty man, as the horsemen drew up and commenced a clamorous summons for admittance, that the arrival of the party had reference to Walter Greville's late misdeeds, and that he himself was not altogether uncared for and uncalled on. He felt a sinking at the heart as he listened to the sound of their repeated blows upon his fore-door, which gradually resolved itself into a palpitation of that organ, and which, alihough he was a stranger to fear, completely (for the moment) unmanned him; and almost fastened him to the spot he stood on. Suddenly, however, recovering his energies, he darted to the door of his chamber, and groping his way along the corridor, called to his servants not to draw bolt or bar until he had ascertained the business of these visitors. The order, however, came too late, as the door had been the more readily opened from the leader of the party demanding admittance in the Queen's name, having a warrant for the apprehension of one Nicholas Oldcraft, for the murder of Sir William Marstoke of Marstoke Hall.
Master Oldcraft, who had likewise heard these awful words, just as he sprung into the hall, stayed no further circumstance, but, like many a better man, turned, and fled from the wrath to come. Retracing his steps, he once more gained his chamber, and, aster securing the door, hastily drew back a sliding pannel in the wainscoting immediately behind his bed, and which admitted him into the garden of the hall, whence he intended to go and conceal himself in the adjoining mill, or escape by the fish.ponds beyond it.
The hunt, however, was fairly up sooner than he imagined, and he found, on emerging from the passage into the garden, that the mill was in possession of several of the party who had gained admittance to the hall. Still the mill was his only chance, and creeping along a dark and overshadowed walk beside the stream, he endeavoured to gain it. The miller, who stood near the mill-door, was listening with open mouth to the recital of one of the men-at-arms from Warwick, as he gained the end of the walk, and Oldcraft, seeing nothing better for it, quietly stepped across the wood-work, and, as the mill was not at work, concealed himself in the wheel.
Strange news, indeed,' quoth the burly miller, as he moved across the platform, and strange times these we live in. Well, I always did say these Oldcrafts war no good, constable. I never liked the man in my life; and for the 'oman - Well, I says nothin'—it's no business o'mine, and so I'll e'en go arter what is.'
In saying this, the miller stepped up and turned the water on his mill; the next moment a piercing shriek rang out amidst the rush of waters from beneath where he stood. The miller, hastening back in alarm, turned off the water, and stopped the wheel. It was, however, too late; and the body of the wretched Oldcraft, severed in twain, floated out with the gushing tide.
However strange this tale may appear, it is mainly derived from actual facts. Such a murder, so contrived, and so followed, did actually take place in Queen Elizabeth's reign. Such a will, with the living murderer introduced into the bed with the dead body of his victim, and where he personated the testator, whilst the housebold sat round without suspicion of the fraud, was actually made; and even such a circumstance as a man concealed in the wheel of a mill, and cut in twain on the waters being turned on, is no coinage of the brain.
A STRIKING INCIDENT.
BY H. R. ADDISON.
MRS. MACHEwel was the wife of one of the first civilians in Bengal. Jealous of her rank and precedence, she never went abroad without her gold sticks and branch-lights. As these expressions may be as unintelligible as Sanscrit itself to the uninitiated reader, I must begin by explaining that, as there is little or no difference in the birth of the preponderating mass of British residents in India, it has been wisely settled that all persons in the service should take rank according to the post they hold, and the number of years they have served ; thus holding out a chance of high honour and precedence to all who choose to remain long in the country. Where the aristocratic distinctions of hereditary title are almost unknown, the aristocracy of wealth naturally springs up. It is, therefore, not to be wondered at that the civilian is looked upon with far greater respect than the gallant officer, who, preferring glory to guineas, and abandoning the accumulation of sovereigns to risk his life with pleasure for the sovereign of his loved country, wears the little gold 'he possesses on his outward habiliments, willing to exchange the feverish throb of conscious wealth for the light heart and gaudy trappings of war.
After the Governor-General, the Supreme Council, and the Puisne Judges, come the senior merchants, according to their posts and standing; then the superior field-officers, the junior merchants, military officers, according to their grades, indigo planters, and persons without official situations, half-castes, natives, and parish dogs. Thus I think I have given the whole chain. · Humanum est errare. I may be wrong, but I think not.
Now the precedence of these fictitious grades in society is not by any means confined to the ball-room or the dinner-table. It would not content these persons only to be distinguished by being handed into the banquet, or out of the room, before others of less pretensions; but they require the same deference to be shown to them even in the very streets. When I say they, I do not mean the poor straw.coloured gentlemen themselves, who are better engaged than in running about showing off their distinctions. I allude to their wives, who are as proud of these demonstrations of dignity as a well-bred peacock is of his superb tail. They therefore dash about, distinguished in their rank according to the following graduating scale.
Number one has her palanquin not only surrounded by a crowd of bearers and kidtmutgars calling out the hyperbolical virtues and attributes of their master, shouting out to every one to make way for the Cousin of the Moon, and the Wise Star of the West, but also prove the superior rank of their lord by brandishing about a golden or silver-gilt cudgel, which marks the rank of the person they serve; and at night, in order that his glory shall even shine through the darkness, they bear branched-candlesticks, with wax-candles lighted in them, thus proclaiming that the person they attend has reached the highest honours in the Company's service. VOL. X.
Number two is only entitled to carry silver sticks, and no branche lights.
Number three is attended by several of her servants, bearing spears with long red tassels.
Number four may have as many servants and followers as she likes; but not a spear, not a stick, not a.candlestick may she allow to appear; while, worse than all, if number four meets number three in a narrow road, or on a ram part, or any other place where there is only properly room for one, number four must allow herself to be pushed into the ditch, or down the declivity, to make way for her superior, her only consolation being that she well knows number three will be served with just as little ceremony if she meets number two, and so on.
Having thus premised, we will return to the thread of our narrative. A propos to Mrs. Machewel. Her son, a fine lad of sixteen, had just arrived from Europe. Unacquainted with all the details I have just given, careless, goodnatured, and impetuous, he stood on little ceremony with his more staid and pompous parent; and, as he was an only son, he feared little the chidings of his mother, or the long harangues of his 'old governor,' as he was wont to call
The morning after his arrival he saw his mamma's palanquin, with its numerous suite, standing ready before the porch to take her out shopping to the Loll Bazaar. Now, it so happened that at that very instant Master Tom was considering how he could best get conveyed to Fort William, where he was anxious to go and call upon some of his friends, who had come out to India on board the same ship with him; so, without asking permission, Tom jumped into the palanquin, and trotted off to the Fort, fortunately having by accident closed ihe blinds; for on his way he passed the less aristocratic palanquins of several junior civilians, who would have instantly laid a complaint against the young soldier, had they known that he had thus dared to borrow the honours only reserved for old civilians. Had they done so, Tom Machewel would inevitably have been severely punished. Arrived in the barracks, our hero was perfectly happy. He laughed, jested, and joined in all the practical jokes and boisterous exercises which make India endurable ; for, strange to say, the dolce far niente of other warm climates is here exchanged for rackets, fives, and similar violent games.
Amongst other treasures poured upon our youngster by his com. rades, with whom he was an universal favourite, was a very large monkey of the ourang-outang species, who walked upright, leaning on a stick, could drink a glass of grog, and play a thousand amusing antics, to the delight of his now proud possessor.
How to get this animal to his residence was a puzzle to poor Tom, who, with the usual impetuosity of his character, was dying to send it home directly, but was gravely assured by every one that no In. dian would touch him, or have anything to do with such an animal for the world. It is true Jack Sharp offered to take him to Calcutta in his buggy (all gigs are so called in Bengal,) if he would wait till the evening. Tom hated procrastination, and therefore laid a plan for packing him off forthwith.
First of all, the jolly ensign desired his mother's palanquin to be brought up into the long barrack-passage, and sending off the ser
yants, managed with the help of his comrades to thrust Jacko, stick and all, into it, and closing the doors, fastened them so that the animal could not get out. He next took a scrap of paper, and scribbled on it:
'DEAR MOTHER,—I don't dine at home to-day. Take great care of the monkey you will find in the palanquin. Give him something to eat, and pay every attention to bim as you love Your affectionate son,
He then recalled the bearers, the punes,* and the kidtmutgars, and desired them to take the palanquin home, and deliver the note, which he gave to one of the gold sticks, to his mother, and on no account to disturb a sick gentleman who was lying inside the vehicle, or presume to undo the doors till they arrived at his father's house. With these orders, the men jolted merrily across the esplanade which lies between the city of Calcutta and the citadel which protects it.
Now it so happened that Master Jacko was not particularly pleased with the motion of his conveyance, and began to get fidgetty. He strove to open the doors, but, as I said before, they were locked. He examined every corner of the carriage, and at length found the windows, which open at the foot of it, and which Tom had never thought of. One of these Jacko managed to open, and though he could not get through it, he found great delight in sitting at it, grinning and chuckling, and poking his stick through the aperture at the heads of the bearers, who were within half a yard of him.
The poor men feeling a rude blow every now and then inflicted on their turbans, hastened their pace as fast as they could, for every fresh stroke they fancied was a hint to hurry on; so they increased their speed, and struggled to exert themselves more and more with each poke. Never did bearers travel faster, impelled by this uncouth but clear notice to make haste. They astonished every one who met them by their rapid strides : they even dared to call out as the strokes became more frequent, entreating the buwough sahib' to relent, assuring him they were doing all they could to get on. The punes were actually so out of breath that they could no longer shout out the titles of the Great Machewel.' The fresh relay were preparing to relieve their brethren with terror, when a sudden, sharp, well directed blow, brought one of the bearers to the ground, and with him, of course, the palanquin. At this unexpected jerk Jacko popped his head out of the front window, and with an unearthly cry, began to grin in the most terrific manner.
The Indians gave but one glance. They beheld, as they believed, the devil ; the devil in his worst and ugliest form. The sick gentleman had probably been eaten up by him. They gave one roaring chorus of affrighted screams, and without again looking round, set off as bard as they could run. · Some civilians of rank who were passing, seeing from a short distance the fall of the palanquin, and the flight of the bearers, rushed up to assist their friend, (for froin his distinguishing honours they recoguized the equipage of Machewel), and extricate him from his vnpleasant position. Followed by their servants, they actually de
• Messengers. It is from this word we have derived the word pawn, applicable to the lowest grade of chessmen.
scended from their own palanquins, and ran across to the succour of their colleague. With some difficulty they burst open the doors Mr. Maloney put forth his hand to help his friend out. To bis horror he felt it suddenly bitten. Calcott put forward his head to look for Machewel, but he suddenly received a blow on it. The next minute out sprang Jacko, who with a cry of delight bounded off towards Chowringee, where he was shortly afterwards recaptured and brought back to the fort.
In the meantime the offended civilians laid a formal complaint against Machewel for thus allowing his monkey to usurp the high honours of a judicial functionary, and only consented to receive an apology on the conditions that Jacko should be put to death, and Tom Machewel sent up to join his regiment.
These terms were complied with. Had they not been consented to, Machewel (père) might have got into a sad scrape.
A LITTLE TALK ABOUT BARTHOLOMEW FAIR
PAST AND PRESENT.
BY ALBERT SMITH.
By the time this sheet is in the hands of the reader Bartholomew fair will be spoken of as a festival that once was an annual celebration, the account of which must henceforward be added, in the shape of an appendix, to the succeeding editions of Struti's 'Sports and Pastimes. For a long period its health has been visibly declining, from the effects of a shattered and depraved constitution. The same year that beheld the abolition of the clinbing-boys-who whilome peopled the locality whereon it was held, for their yearly banquet, when the kind-hearted Charles Lamb felt it no degradation to sup with them, — has also witnessed the extinction of the fète, to celebrate whose return the clergy imps' assembled amongst the cattlepens, then and there to discuss the hissing sausages and small ale, which benevolence had provided for them.
Certainly better times and places for reflection might be found in London tban Smith field on a fair-day: and yet we confess to have fallen into a day-dream on the fifth of the past month, when we paid what will probably be our last visit to this departed festival. We are indebted for our vision to no romance of poetic situation. We were sitting on the handle of a gaudily-painted hand-cart containing penny ginger-beer, by the side of a small perambulating theatre, which set forth the vicissitudes of a servant-maid;' and in spite of the unceasing noise on every side, we could not desist from indulging in a mental daguerreotype of events connected with the fair and its localities.
We first called to inind the period when Smithfield was 'a plain, or smoothe fielde,' from which circumstance, according to old Fitzstephen, it derived its name; and when, instead of the London butchers and country drovers, a gay train of gallant knizhis and