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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesMemoirs Of Mr. Charles J. Yellowplush - MR. DEUCEACE AT PARIS - Chapter I. THE TWO BUNDLES OF HAY
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Memoirs Of Mr. Charles J. Yellowplush - MR. DEUCEACE AT PARIS - Chapter I. THE TWO BUNDLES OF HAY Post by :onetrickpony Category :Long Stories Author :William Makepeace Thackeray Date :April 2012 Read :1623

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Memoirs Of Mr. Charles J. Yellowplush - MR. DEUCEACE AT PARIS - Chapter I. THE TWO BUNDLES OF HAY

Lieutenant-General Sir George Griffin, K.C.B., was about seventy- five years old when he left this life, and the East Ingine army, of which he was a distinguished ornyment. Sir George's first appearance in Injar was in the character of a cabbingboy to a vessel; from which he rose to be clerk to the owners at Calcutta, from which he became all of a sudden a capting in the Company's service; and so rose and rose, until he rose to be a leftenant- general, when he stopped rising altogether--hopping the twig of this life, as drummers, generals, dustmen, and emperors must do.

Sir George did not leave any mal hair to perpetuate the name of Griffin. A widow of about twenty-seven, and a daughter avaritching twenty-three, was left behind to deploar his loss, and share his proppaty. On old Sir George's deth, his interesting widdo and orfan, who had both been with him in Injer, returned home--tried London for a few months, did not like it, and resolved on a trip to Paris; where very small London people become very great ones, if they've money, as these Griffinses had. The intelligent reader need not be told that Miss Griffin was not the daughter of Lady Griffin; for though marritches are made tolrabbly early in Injer, people are not quite so precoashoos as all that: the fact is, Lady G. was Sir George's second wife. I need scarcely add, that Miss Matilda Griffin wos the offspring of his fust marritch.

Miss Leonora Kicksey, a ansum, lively Islington gal, taken out to Calcutta, and, amongst his other goods, very comfortably disposed of by her uncle, Capting Kicksey, was one-and-twenty when she married Sir George at seventy-one; and the 13 Miss Kickseys, nine of whom kep a school at Islington (the other 4 being married variously in the city), were not a little envius of my lady's luck, and not a little proud of their relationship to her. One of 'em, Miss Jemima Kicksey, the oldest, and by no means the least ugly of the sett, was staying with her ladyship, and gev me all the partecklars. Of the rest of the famly, being of a lo sort, I in course no nothink; MY acquaintance, thank my stars, don't lie among them, or the likes of them.

Well, this Miss Jemima lived with her younger and more fortnat sister, in the qualaty of companion, or toddy. Poar thing! I'd a soon be a gally slave, as lead the life she did! Every body in the house despised her; her ladyship insulted her; the very kitching gals scorned and flouted her. She roat the notes, she kep the bills, she made the tea, she whipped the chocklate, she cleaned the canary birds, and gev out the linning for the wash. She was my lady's walking pocket, or rettycule; and fetched and carried her handkercher, or her smell-bottle, like a well-bred spaniel. All night, at her ladyship's swarries, she thumped kidrills (nobody ever thought of asking HER to dance!); when Miss Griffing sung, she played the piano, and was scolded because the singer was out of tune; abommanating dogs, she never drove out without her ladyship's puddle in her lap; and, reglarly unwell in a carriage, she never got anything but the back seat. Poar Jemima! I can see her now in my lady's SECKND-BEST old clothes (the ladies'-maids always got the prime leavings): a liloc sattn gown, crumpled, blotched, and greasy; a pair of white sattn shoes, of the color of Inger rubber; a faded yellow velvet hat, with a wreath of hartifishl flowers run to sead, and a bird of Parrowdice perched on the top of it, melumcolly and moulting, with only a couple of feathers left in his unfortunate tail.

Besides this ornyment to their saloon, Lady and Miss Griffin kept a number of other servants in the kitching; 2 ladies'-maids; 2 footmin, six feet high each, crimson coats, goold knots, and white cassymear pantyloons; a coachmin to match; a page: and a Shassure, a kind of servant only known among forriners, and who looks more like a major-general than any other mortial, wearing a cock-hat, a unicorn covered with silver lace, mustashos, eplets, and a sword by his side. All these to wait upon two ladies; not counting a host of the fair sex, such as cooks, scullion, housekeepers, and so forth.

My Lady Griffin's lodging was at forty pound a week, in a grand sweet of rooms in the Plas Vandome at Paris. And, having thus described their house, and their servants' hall, I may give a few words of description concerning the ladies themselves.

In the fust place, and in coarse, they hated each other. My lady was twenty-seven--a widdo of two years--fat, fair, and rosy. A slow, quiet, cold-looking woman, as those fair-haired gals generally are, it seemed difficult to rouse her either into likes or dislikes; to the former, at least. She never loved any body but ONE, and that was herself. She hated, in her calm, quiet way, almost every one else who came near her--every one, from her neighbor, the duke, who had slighted her at dinner, down to John the footman, who had torn a hole in her train. I think this woman's heart was like one of them lithograffic stones, you CAN'T RUB OUT ANY THING when once it's drawn or wrote on it; nor could you out of her ladyship's stone--heart, I mean--in the shape of an affront, a slight, or real, or phansied injury. She boar an exlent, irreprotchable character, against which the tongue of scandal never wagged. She was allowed to be the best wife posbill-- and so she was; but she killed her old husband in two years, as dead as ever Mr. Thurtell killed Mr. William Weare. She never got into a passion, not she--she never said a rude word; but she'd a genius--a genius which many women have--of making A HELL of a house, and tort'ring the poor creatures of her family, until they were wellnigh drove mad.

Miss Matilda Griffin was a good deal uglier, and about as amiable as her mother-in-law. She was crooked, and squinted; my lady, to do her justice, was straight, and looked the same way with her i's. She was dark, and my lady was fair--sentimental, as her ladyship was cold. My lady was never in a passion--Miss Matilda always; and awfille were the scenes which used to pass between these 2 women, and the wickid, wickid quarls which took place. Why did they live together? There was the mistry. Not related, and hating each other like pison, it would surely have been easier to remain seprat, and so have detested each other at a distans.

As for the fortune which old Sir George had left, that, it was clear, was very considrabble--300 thousand lb. at the least, as I have heard say. But nobody knew how it was disposed of. Some said that her ladyship was sole mistriss of it, others that it was divided, others that she had only a life inkum, and that the money was all to go (as was natral) to Miss Matilda. These are subjix which are not praps very interesting to the British public, but were mighty important to my master, the Honrable Algernon Percy Deuceace, esquire, barrister-at-law, etsettler, etsettler.

For I've forgot to inform you that my master was very intimat in this house; and that we were now comfortably settled at the Hotel Mirabew (pronounced Marobo in French), in the Rew delly Pay, at Paris. We had our cab, and two riding horses; our banker's book, and a thousand pound for a balantz at Lafitt's; our club at the corner of the Rew Gramong; our share in a box at the oppras; our apartments, spacious and elygant; our swarries at court; our dinners at his excellency Lord Bobtail's and elsewhere. Thanks to poar Dawkins's five thousand pound, we were as complete gentlemen as any in Paris.

Now my master, like a wise man as he was, seaing himself at the head of a smart sum of money, and in a country where his debts could not bother him, determined to give up for the present every think like gambling--at least, high play; as for losing or winning a ralow of Napoleums at whist or ecarty, it did not matter; it looks like money to do such things, and gives a kind of respectabilaty. "But as for play, he wouldn't--oh no! not for worlds!--do such a thing." He HAD played, like other young men of fashn, and won and lost (old fox! he didn't say he had PAID); but he had given up the amusement, and was now determined, he said, to live on his inkum. The fact is, my master was doing his very best to act the respectable man: and a very good game it is, too; but it requires a precious great roag to play it.

He made his appearans reglar at church--me carrying a handsome large black marocky Prayer-book and Bible, with the psalms and lessons marked out with red ribbings; and you'd have thought, as I graivly laid the volloms down before him, and as he berried his head in his nicely brushed hat, before service began, that such a pious, proper morl, young nobleman was not to be found in the whole of the peeridge. It was a comfort to look at him. Efry old tabby and dowyger at my Lord Bobtail's turned up the wights of their i's when they spoke of him, and vowed they had never seen such a dear, daliteful, exlent young man. What a good son he must be, they said; and oh, what a good son-in-law! He had the pick of all the English gals at Paris before we had been there 3 months. But, unfortunately, most of them were poar; and love and a cottidge was not quite in master's way of thinking.

Well, about this time my Lady Griffin and Miss G. made their appearants at Parris, and master, who was up to snough, very soon changed his noat. He sate near them at chapple, and sung hims with my lady: he danced with 'em at the embassy balls; he road with them in the Boy de Balong and the Shandeleasies (which is the French High Park); he roat potry in Miss Griffin's halbim, and sang jewets along with her and Lady Griffin; he brought sweet-meats for the puddle-dog; he gave money to the footmin, kissis and gloves to the sniggering ladies'-maids; he was sivvle even to poar Miss Kicksey; there wasn't a single soal at the Griffinses that didn't adoar this good young man.

The ladies, if they hated befoar, you may be sure detested each other now wuss than ever. There had been always a jallowsy between them: miss jellows of her mother-in-law's bewty; madam of miss's espree: miss taunting my lady about the school at Islington, and my lady sneering at miss for her squint and her crookid back. And now came a stronger caws. They both fell in love with Mr. Deuceace--my lady, that is to say, as much as she could, with her cold selfish temper. She liked Deuceace, who amused her and made her laff. She liked his manners, his riding, and his good loox; and being a pervinew herself had a dubble respect for real aristocratick flesh and blood. Miss's love, on the contry, was all flams and fury. She'd always been at this work from the time she had been at school, where she very nigh run away with a Frentch master; next with a footman (which I may say, in confidence, is by no means unnatral or unusyouall, as I COULD SHOW IF I LIKED); and so had been going on sins fifteen. She reglarly flung herself at Deuceace's head--such sighing, crying, and ogling, I never see. Often was I ready to bust out laffin, as I brought master skoars of rose-colored billydoos, folded up like cockhats, and smellin like barber's shops, which this very tender young lady used to address to him. Now, though master was a scoundrill and no mistake, he was a gentlemin, and a man of good breading; and miss CAME A LITTLE TOO STRONG (pardon the wulgarity of the xpression) with her hardor and attachmint, for one of his taste. Besides, she had a crookid spine, and a squint; so that (supposing their fortns tolrabbly equal) Deuceace reely preferred the mother-in-law.

Now, then, it was his bisniss to find out which had the most money. With an English famly this would have been easy: a look at a will at Doctor Commons'es would settle the matter at once. But this India naybob's will was at Calcutty, or some outlandish place; and there was no getting sight of a coppy of it. I will do Mr. Algernon Deuceace the justass to say, that he was so little musnary in his love for Lady Griffin, that he would have married her gladly, even if she had ten thousand pounds less than Miss Matilda. In the meantime, his plan was to keep 'em both in play, until he could strike the best fish of the two--not a difficult matter for a man of his genus: besides, Miss was hooked for certain.

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I said that my master was adoard by every person in my Lady Griffin's establishmint. I should have said by every person excep one,--a young French gnlmn, that is, who, before our appearants, had been mighty partiklar with my lady, ockupying by her side exackly the same pasition which the Honrable Mr. Deuceace now held. It was bewtiffle and headifying to see how coolly that young nobleman kicked the poar Shevalliay de L'Orge out of his shoes, and how gracefully he himself stept into 'em. Munseer de L'Orge was a smart young French jentleman, of about my master's age and good
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