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Charles Dickens, and W. M. Thackeray ligence and appreciation, and a display of were in their prime; he was afterwards as- genuine humorous power and versatility not sistant publisher of the Daily Telegraph for too frequently met with on the stage. the first seven months of its existence.
Mr. Brough likewise enjoys considerable He made his first appearance on the celebrity as an actor of burlesque parts, London stage at the Lyceum, under the when he never fails to put his audiences celebrated management of Madame Vestris in a good temper with themselves and with and Charles Mathews. The piece was an their entertainer, extravaganza, entitled “Prince Prettypet,” produced in December, 1854. Madame
MIDNIGHT. Vestris died, and Mr. Mathews retired from the management of the Lyceum.
AIL on, O silvern moon, through placid plains In 1858, Mr. Brough was again at the Still
, as Old Time, thy glory comes and wanes, Lyceum under Mr. E. Falconer's manage- And bears the secrets of the long ago. ment. He then deserted the stage, and was for five years on the Morning Star. He The white tombs glisten on the churchyard rise,
The dim woods sleep in shadows at thy feet; next gave entertainments —"Cinderella,” A silent world beneath thy watch-light lies, "Der Freischutz," &c.--at the Polytechnic, Ere yet the stillness and the morning meet. afterwards travelling in the provinces with a
Sail on, O stately, silvern moon, until “Ghost" performance, which he produced A reckless world forgets the tranquil night; “by command” at Windsor. Mr. Brough And newer sins, and joys, and sorrows fill played before the Queen and the late Prince A later story for thy morrow's light. Consort, with the members of the Savage Club, for the Lancashire Relief Fund, and
WHITEBAIT DINNERS. also visited Liverpool and Manchester for the same object He next joined Mr. Henderson at the THE Ministerial fish dinner at Greenwich
will, I am afraid, like many other good Prince of Wales's Theatre, Liverpool, after- old-fashioned customs, pass out of date bewards becoming a member of Mr. Cope- fore long; but as the circumstances conland's company at the Amphitheatre there; nected with these official “feeds” are not and next was associated with Mr. Saker at well known, a few notes on the subject the Alexandra Theatre there.
may possess some passing interest for our Mr. Brough came to London in October, readers. 1867, and has been playing at the Queen's In the early part of the last century, an and St. James's theatres, and now is engaged extraordinarily high tide in the Thames at the Holborn. In August next, Mr. Bou- broke down a part of the sea wall that procicault will open Covent Garden-at the tected the Essex marshes, near the village close of the opera season—with Mr. Brough of Dagenham. Many unsuccessful attempts as his stage manager.
were made to repair the inroad thus made At Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds, and the by the troubled waters, but for years without chief provincial towns, Mr. Brough has often success. About the year 1721, however, an performed, and is a great favourite with his engineer, Captain Perry by name, succeeded audiences. He has all the requisite qualities in mending the wall. This Captain Perry as an actor for the parts he plays; and to his was well known in his own time for his great great natural humour and fun he adds a con- practical skill in difficult engineering works scientious and careful study of the characters of this kind; and he had, in fact, been emhe undertakes.
ployed twenty years before by the great Tony Lumpkin, in “She Stoops to Con- Czar Peter in embanking various rivers in quer,” he played for a long time, with the Russia, but principally in building the quays, greatest success, at the St. James's Theatre; arsenals, and dockyards of St. Petersburg. and he is the best Tony on the stage. Uncle The work of stopping “Dagenham Breach," Ben in “Dearer than Life,” Spotty in "The as it was then called, was considered of such Lancashire Lass,” Sampson Burr in “The importance that an act of Parliament was Porter's Knot,” Mark Meddle in “London passed appointing a body of commissioners Assurance,” Robin Wildbriar in "Extremes," to superintend the operations. These comare among the best of Mr. Brough's assump- missioners-most of whom, by the way, were tions. He plays them with marked intel-City gentlemen—were in the habit of holding their board meetings on the spot; and, in vate friend or two, to escape for awhile, in true English fashion, usually crowned their this rural retreat, the cares of Parliamentary deliberations with a well-appointed dinner and mercantile duties. His most frequent each board-day.
guest was, as he was familiarly called, “Old As the inland water could not be alto- George Rose," secretary to the Treasury, and gether drained away, and the water remain- an elder brother of the Trinity House. Sir ing-afterwards dignified with the name of Robert also was an active member of that Dagenham Lake or Reach-was found to fraternity. Many was the joyous day these afford a plentiful supply of fresh-water fish, two worthies passed at Dagenham Reach, the “dinner” received an additional attrac- undisturbed by the storms that then raged tion; and at each meeting of the commis- in the political atmosphere of Whitehall and sioners a dish of fresh fish was served up in St. Stephen's Chapel. Mr. Rose once intithe board-room—the latter being situated in mated to Sir Robert that Mr. Pitt, of whose a building, erected for the accommodation of friendship they were both justly proud, would the superintendents, close to the flood gates, no doubt much delight in the comfort of and usually known on the river as the Breach such a retreat. Sir Robert cordially accepted House. This annual fish dinner afterwards the suggestion. A day was named, and the came to be an institution. Luckily for its Premier was accordingly invited, and repermanent establishment, under the old com-ceived with great cordiality at the "fishing missioners the dinner was held just about cottage.” He was so well pleased with his the time when Parliament broke up in the visit, and the hospitality of the baronetautumn. One year Mr. Pitt, who was always they were all considered two if not three a great favourite with the City men, was in- bottle men—that, on taking leave, Mr. Pitt vited by the commissioners to partake of readily accepted an invitation for the followtheir annual fish dinner.
ing year, Sir Robert engaging to remind him The dinner, under such odd circumstances, at the proper time. For a few years, Mr. was a pleasing novelty to the great ministers; Pitt, accompanied by “Old George Rose," and, as it was annually repeated, Mr. Pitt were regular annual visitors at Dagenham brought his political colleagues and private Reach. But the distance was great for those friends with him. The commissioners- days. Railways had not yet started into several of whom, like Sir Robert Preston, Sir existence, and the going and coming was William Curtis, Sir Robert Wigram, Captain considered somewhat inconvenient. Cotton, and others, had their own country But Sir Robert-hearty Briton as he was houses close at hand-used to contribute —was equal to the occasion. Why not dine wines from their cellars, and fruit from their nearer London?
Greenwich was suggested gardens to the dessert; and in time, as the as the new meeting place for the three anoccasion grew more luxurious, turtle and cients of the Trinity House—for Pitt was venison were added to the original service also a distinguished member of that august of fish.
fraternity. Thus, before long, this so-called fish dinner The party was now changed from a trio became a kind of ministerial banquet, whither to a quartette, Mr. Pitt having requested to a dozen or a dozen and a half of the officials be allowed to bring Lord Camden. The ice of Downing-street and Whitehall were accus- thus broken, a fifth guest was soon added to tomed to proceed in the Royal and Admi- the number-namely, Mr. Long, afterwards ralty barges.
Lord Farnborough. All still were the guests Another account, differing from that we of Sir Robert Preston; but, one by one, have just given, connects the history of other men of position all the Tory school ministerial fish dinners more intimately with - were invited; until at last Lord Camden Sir Robert Preston, one of the commis- reasonably remarked that, as they were all sioners before mentioned. The other story dining at a tavern, it was only fair that Sir is this:
Robert should be released from the expense. Sir Robert, who was a merchant prince, It was then arranged that the dinner should a baronet of Scotland and Nova Scotia, and be given as usual by Sir Robert Prestonsometime member of Parliament for Dover, that is to say, at his invitation—and he inhad a cottage on the banks of Dagenham sisted on still contributing a buck and chamLake. He called it his fishing cottage; and pagne; but the rest of the charges of mine often in the spring went thither with a pri-host were thenceforward defrayed by the several guests; and on this arrangement the sure Max would come early.. It was past dinners. continued to be held annually till noon, and he came not. Janet admired his the death of Mr. Pitt. Sir Robert Preston delicacy. He would not call till after the was requested, in the following year, to sum- usual hour, for fear we should think he was mon the several guests, the list of whom by anxious about the fortune. At three o'clock, this time included most of the Cabinet Minis: Janet. became uneasy. She was sure that he ters.. The time for meeting was usually after was ill, and feared to alarm her. James was Trinity Monday, a short period before the sent with a note. The note was returned, end of the session.. By degrees, a meeting with a message that Mr. Max De Crespin which was originally for private conviviality was out, and would not return to Grammont seems, owing to the long tenure of office by Lodge that day. the Tories, to have partaken of a political- Brave Janet! She could almost hate us or at least, semi-political character.
for having a bad thought of Max! He was Sir Robert Preston, the founder of the obliged to go out with the Colonel,, or the whole affair, died; but the "fish dinner," Colonel was keeping him a prisoner. She thoroughly established by long custom, sur- knew how her poor Max.was suffering. vived. Mr. Long, now Lord Farnborough, Janet went to her room. We agreed that undertook to supply Sir Robert's place, and the Colonel would try and stop the marriage, to annually summon the several guests to and Nancy was certain it would kill Janet. the "Ministerial fish dinner;" the private “But, pa, we have money." secretary of the late Sir Robert Preston fur- “Yes, Nancy, but not £30,000. With nishing to the private secretary of Lord Farn- what we have of our own, and what will borough the names of the noblemen and come from Joseph's, property,,we, may have gentlemen who had been usually invited. £8,000." Up to the decease of the baronet, the in- “Go to Colonel De Crespin, pa, and tell vitations had been sent privately; and the him Janet shall have all we possess. Tell him party was certainly limited, for some time, she loves Max; but don't let. Janet know of. after, to the members of the Cabinet.
There was a sob, and Janet came in. She
had not gone to her room,, but had been GUMMER'S FORTUNE.
listening to our conversation. She kissed By. JOHN BAKER HOPKINS.
Nancy again and again.
“Oh, dear Nancy, it's hard for you to CHAPTER XVII.
give me all; but I shall die, and Max will LOVE.
die, if we are parted. But, no I cannot I WENT to the old office to consult
Purrem, take all from you."
Mrs. Gummer beckoned me from the me; but at the last moment she said she was not well enough. She told me afterwards that “Go, Tom, and quickly, and do what she felt sure we should lose the fortune, and Nancy says. And bring Max back with she was afraid to hear the bad news. Purrem you. Do it very quickly, for the sake of our assured me that Sparkes & Son were too child." rich and too highly connected to commit a The Colonel saw me in the library. He fraud. We called on Sparkes, and saw the fa- did not shake hands with me, or offer me a ther and son. They gave Purrem the papers, seat. I told him we would give all we had and he knew at a glance that Joseph's fortune to Max, that Janet was a noble girl, and was only £4,000. Sparkes senior behaved that she loved his son. kindly. He said his son excused Mrs. Gum- “Not badly played, but it won't do, Mr. mer's violent language, as the great disap- Gummer, The mistake about the pounds pointment was partly, the fault of his. Cal. and rupees was barely possible, though I cutta correspondent.
am convinced you were aware that your When I returned to Corcyra Villa, I had cousin was not worth £40,000. We may no need to speak. My face told the tale. waive that point, but we cannot waive the Mrs. Gummer and Nancy cried. Janet was lie about the £100,000. Mr. Thomas Gumthinking of her lover, and not of the loss of mer, since you have the audacity to come fortune.
here, I tell you, coolly and deliberately, you She had been dressed by nine, for slie was are a trickster."
I could hardly bear with that; but I it will be better for all of us. Our life here thought of Janet, and did not resent the has been like a dreadful dream after going to insult. And I saw, too, that it would be bed on a hot supper. This sort of gentility impossible to convince any one that I was may be good, but not for us, Tom. If an innocent. I was mad with myself for so eel had been taken out of the Thames, and easily crediting the story of the £100,000. laid on a bed of hothouse flowers in the
“How you expected to succeed passes Garden of Eden, that fish would have been comprehension. Perhaps you thought the unhappy and dying to be back in his native marriage might take place before the com- mud and water. It's the same with men as pletion of the settlement. Possibly, you with fish, Tom, who never do so well as think your acting and the acting of your when they are breathing the air they were daughter, and the paltry £7,000 or £8,000, born to." will bribe us. You are a fool as well as a rogue. And now go, and beware how you
CHAPTER XVIII. or any of your family dare again to address a De Crespin." As the Colonel concluded, he rang the SOLOMON had many wives, and most
likely more than one clever woman bell, and passed out of the side door. amongst them. Depend upon it, some of
For a long, long hour I walked about. I the wisest proverbs were the inventions of his dared not go home. What could I say to better halves. The pretty words about the Janet? There was no hope, none whatever. virtuous wife, and the ugly words about If Janet died, it was the fault of her father. possible rivals, are just what a wife would I had brought all this misery on my child say. If Mrs. Gummer had lived in Soloby not contradicting the false report in the mon's days, and had been a Mrs. Solomon, papers.
she would have ruled in that establishment, Janet, as soon as she saw me, said- and written a Book of Proverbs every day.
“You need not tell me, pa. I know the When any annoyances—and there were worst. Read that."
plenty of them---made me snappish, Mrs. It was a note from Max:-
Gummer would preach about the folly of “After the discovery of the infamous at being vexed. tempt to trick me and my family, I need
Some men, Gummer, never cut their hardly tell you that our acquaintance will wisdom teeth in this world. When you entirely cease. It is not likely that I shall were up, you were lickspittled; and now you meet you; but if so, you will be pleased to
are down, the lickspitters spit at you. The take notice that I shall regard you as a lickspittling does harm you, if you care for stranger."
it; and the other won't harm you, if you
don't care for it." Janet kept up wonderfully that evening. Our disappointment was the talk of the No crying, no hysterics, no complaining. town, as if it had been placarded by a bill
When bidding her good night, Mrs. Gum- sticker across the sky. The Green Lanes. mer said
Herald, in large letters and lines wide apart, “My dear Janet, do not fret about the regretted “to have to confirm the painful heartless villain."
and astounding report as to an imposition “Ma, never say that again. Whoever respecting an amazing fortune, and to state speaks. ill of him I must hate."
that many persons would be heavy sufferers." Janet was about the next day, and for Why, it was this Herald that set afloat the days. Still no crying, no hysterics, and no story of the £100,000; and yet it turned. complaining; but she did not eat, and round, and charged us with fraud! Nancy told us she did not sleep. We had The milkman opened the game.
His to call in Dr. Bungay. The doctor was master had told him to ask for our little bill, kind to us, and sorry for our misfortune. as two of his cows had gone out of milk, and He urged an immediate change of scene. he had to buy fresh stock. The milkman
“Tom," said Mrs. Gummer, “ the doctor was so astonished at the prompt payment of is right, and the sooner we take his prescrip- his account, that it was several minutes betion the better for the poor dear girl, who fore he could screech “Yoh!" can never forget the wretch whilst she is in The butcher, who had insisted upon a these hateful Green Lanes. Moreover, Tom, 1 quarterly account, wrote to me on one of his billheads with a split skewer—and, like let put in upon every stick and stiver you all butchers, with blue ink-to say that have got. Your plate, and what can be meat was such a price in the market, that moved by hand, ought to be pawned for he was drove to look for money from where trifles, and the tickets hid out of sight; and it was his due. The baker was urgent when you are through the Court, you will for a settlement by reason of an unexpected have something to fall back upon for next call from his millers. The person from to nothing." whom I hired the horses was panic-stricken. This very honest person was disgusted He arrived at Corcyra Villa at ten o'clock at when I ordered her to go about her business. night. He had no wish to kick up a dust, Mr. Lazarus, who had pointedly refused but he wasn't shoed yesterday, and hire for a to let me have a bill for some bracelets preseason must be in advance, and there must sented to the Misses De Crespin, sent a be some sort of a security for valuable cattle. man with a broken nose and bullet head, After a volley of abuse, he said he did not with orders to wait for the money or the want to be hard upon me, but he would goods. The husband of Madame, our millitake his cattle and a month's hiring. I ner, came for her account. closed with the bargain. Our coachman “Sir, if it should be one Queen, Madame demanded three months' wages; and when would say, "Votre Majestie, vhat you our he put the coin into his pocket remarked— terms call is toujours argent content,' and
"It is the oddest five-wheel turn-out, and from this maison me go not without des mothe most staggering pull-up on the haunches, nies of Madame ma femme." I ever heerd on."
Long afterwards, looking over the banker's James was fetched home by his mother. book, I noticed that all the cheques I drew
“Poor she might be, and poor she were; at this time were cashed immediately. but no one could say of her, as said the The churchwarden, a tea-dealer, wrote to truth, that she set up for being what she did say that he was informed we were about to not pretend to. Keeping her hands from leave the neighbourhood, and as there were picking and stealing was what she had done numerous applications for pews, he should and would do so long as there was breath be pleased to have ours at his disposal, and in her body. There was people who made would remit the balance of rent paid in ada meal of shame, and drank after it; but thankful she was to be very different. A loss Mrs. Gummer remarkedof wages, what was no more than the due of “Miserable sinners who are not well off her boy James, was what they could not are not liked in the middle aisle pews of a afford; but that was better than his being in genteel church; but, to my thinking, Guma service that would be a blight upon his mer, many of your middle aisle pewers on character.”
earth will be glad of a back gallery free seat This excellent creature, who smelt strongly in Heaven, and won't get even standing of Jamaica rum, paused to rub her eyes room.' with the corner of her apron.
I gave her
“Matilda, if it were not for Janet, I would the wages due, and a month's money in lieu stick to Corcyra Villa, keep the pew, and defy of notice. Like the milkman, she was asto- the Green Lanes gentility.” nished, and it took her a full minute to tie “And I wouldn't. For, Gummer, aggraup the cash in a pocket handkerchief. vating hornets don't hurt the hornets so
“Mr. Gummer,” she said, putting her face much as the aggravator. Crush a hornet, or unpleasantly near to mine, "if you want a fight shy of him; and if you are in a nest, help in need, you will find it in me. I've get away how you can, and as quick as you known what it is to have everything took, can.” and if you are wise, Mr. Gummer, you will Is it worth while to mention that the put away what is valuable and can be moved; single curate visited us no more? When he and that can be done at nights, under my met Nancy, he was so busy studying the shawl, without a soul suspecting what is clouds that he did not see her. Poor fellow ! going on.”
He had his bread to get, and he would I told her I did not understand what she have lost his curacy if he had been civil to meant.
people under a cloud. “Well, surely, Mr. Gummer, it isn't just That wretched, hateful purveyor-butcher, towards your family for your creditors to be Busted, called on me, and bullied me.