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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesMemoirs Of Mr. Charles J. Yellowplush - MR. DEUCEACE AT PARIS - Chapter II. "HONOR THY FATHER."
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Memoirs Of Mr. Charles J. Yellowplush - MR. DEUCEACE AT PARIS - Chapter II. 'HONOR THY FATHER.' Post by :indianahoosiers Category :Long Stories Author :William Makepeace Thackeray Date :April 2012 Read :1954

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Memoirs Of Mr. Charles J. Yellowplush - MR. DEUCEACE AT PARIS - Chapter II. "HONOR THY FATHER."

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 looks, but not possest of half my master's impidince. Not that that quallaty is uncommon in France; but few, very few, had it to such a degree as my exlent employer, Mr. Deuceace. Besides De L'Orge was reglarly and reely in love with Lady Griffin, and master only pretending: he had, of coars, an advantitch, which the poor Frentchman never could git. He was all smiles and gaty, while Delorge was ockward and melumcolly. My master had said twenty pretty things to Lady Griffin, befor the shevalier had finished smoothing his hat, staring at her, and sighing fit to bust his weskit. O luv, luv! THIS isn't the way to win a woman, or my name's not Fitzroy Yellowplush! Myself, when I begun my carear among the fair six, I was always sighing and moping, like this poar Frenchman. What was the consquints? The foar fust women I adoared lafft at me, and left me for something more lively. With the rest I have edopted a diffrent game, and with tolerable suxess, I can tell you. But this is eggatism, which I aboar.

Well, the long and the short of it is, that Munseer Ferdinand Hyppolite Xavier Stanislas, Shevalier de L'Orge, was reglar cut out by Munseer Algernon Percy Deuceace, Exquire. Poar Ferdinand did not leave the house--he hadn't the heart to do that--nor had my lady the desire to dismiss him. He was usefle in a thousand different ways, gitting oppra-boxes, and invitations to French swarries, bying gloves, and O de Colong, writing French noats, and such like. Always let me recommend an English famly, going to Paris, to have at least one young man of the sort about them. Never mind how old your ladyship is, he will make love to you; never mind what errints you send him upon, he'll trot off and do them. Besides, he's always quite and well-dresst, and never drinx moar than a pint of wine at dinner, which (as I say) is a pint to consider. Such a conveniants of a man was Munseer de L'Orge--the greatest use and comfort to my lady posbill; if it was but to laff at his bad pronunciatium of English, it was somethink amusink; the fun was to pit him against poar Miss Kicksey, she speakin French, and he our naytif British tong.

My master, to do him justace, was perfickly sivvle to this poar young Frenchman; and having kicked him out of the place which he occupied, sertingly treated his fallen anymy with every respect and consideration. Poar modist, down-hearted little Ferdinand adoured my lady as a goddice! and so he was very polite likewise to my master--never venturing once to be jellows of him, or to question my Lady Griffin's right to change her lover, if she choase to do so.

Thus, then, matters stood; master had two strinx to his bo, and might take either the widdo or the orfn, as he preferred: com bong lwee somblay, as the Frentch say. His only pint was to discover how the money was disposed off, which evidently belonged to one or other, or boath. At any rate he was sure of one; as sure as any mortal man can be in this sublimary spear, where nothink is suttin except unsertnty.

. . . . . .

A very unixpected insident here took place, which in a good deal changed my master's calkylations.

One night, after conducting the two ladies to the oppra, after suppink of white soop, sammy-deperdrow, and shampang glassy (which means eyced), at their house in the Plas Vandom, me and master droav hoam in the cab, as happy as possbill.

"Chawls you d----d scoundrel," says he to me (for he was in an exlent humer), "when I'm married, I'll dubbil your wagis."

This he might do, to be sure, without injuring himself, seeing that he had us yet never paid me any. But, what then? Law bless us! things would be at a pretty pass if we suvvants only lived on our WAGIS; our puckwisits is the thing, and no mistake.

I ixprest my gratitude as best I could; swoar that it wasn't for wagis I served him--that I would as leaf weight upon him for nothink; and that never, never, so long as I livd, would I, of my own accord, part from such an exlent master. By the time these two spitches had been made--my spitch and his--we arrived at the "Hotel Mirabeu;" which, us every body knows, ain't very distant from the Plas Vandome. Up we marched to our apartmince, me carrying the light and the cloax, master hummink a hair out of the oppra, as merry as a lark.

I opened the door of our salong. There was lights already in the room; an empty shampang bottle roalin on the floar, another on the table; near which the sofy was drawn, and on it lay a stout old genlmn, smoaking seagars as if he'd bean in an inn tap-room.

Deuceace (who abommunates seagars, as I've already shown) bust into a furious raige against the genlmn, whom he could hardly see for the smoak; and, with a number of oaves quite unnecessary to repeat, asked him what bisniss he'd there.

The smoaking chap rose, and, laying down his seagar, began a ror of laffin, and said, "What! Algy my boy! don't you know me?"

The reader may praps recklect a very affecting letter which was published in the last chapter of these memoars; in which the writer requested a loan of five hundred pound from Mr. Algernon Deuceace, and which boar the respected signatur of the Earl of Crabs, Mr. Deuceace's own father. It was that distinguished arastycrat who was now smokin and laffin in our room.

My Lord Crabs was, as I preshumed, about 60 years old. A stowt, burly, red-faced, bald-headed nobleman, whose nose seemed blushing at what his mouth was continually swallowing; whose hand, praps, trembled a little; and whose thy and legg was not quite so full or as steddy as they had been in former days. But he was a respecktabble, fine-looking old nobleman; and though it must be confest, 1/2 drunk when we fust made our appearance in the salong, yet by no means moor so than a reel noblemin ought to be.

"What, Algy my boy!" shouts out his lordship, advancing and seasing master by the hand, "doan't you know your own father?"

Master seemed anythink but overhappy. "My lord," says he, looking very pail, and speakin rayther slow, "I didn't--I confess--the unexpected pleasure--of seeing you in Paris. The fact is, sir, said he," recovering himself a little; "the fact is, there was such a confounded smoke of tobacco in the room, that I really could not see who the stranger was who had paid me such an unexpected visit."

"A bad habit, Algernon; a bad habit," said my lord, lighting another seagar: "a disgusting and filthy practice, which you, my dear child, will do well to avoid. It is at best, dear Algernon, but a nasty, idle pastime, unfitting a man as well for mental exertion as for respectable society; sacrificing, at once, the vigor of the intellect and the graces of the person. By-the-by, what infernal bad tobacco they have, too, in this hotel. Could not you send your servant to get me a few seagars at the Cafe de Paris? Give him a five-franc piece, and let him go at once, that's a good fellow."

Here his lordship hiccupt, and drank off a fresh tumbler of shampang. Very sulkily, master drew out the coin, and sent me on the errint.

Knowing the Cafe de Paris to be shut at that hour, I didn't say a word, but quietly establisht myself in the ante-room; where, as it happened by a singler coinstdints, I could hear every word of the conversation between this exlent pair of relatifs.

"Help yourself, and get another bottle," says my lord, after a sollum paws. My poar master, the king of all other compnies in which he moved, seamed here but to play secknd fiddill, and went to the cubbard, from which his father had already igstracted two bottils of his prime Sillary.

He put it down before his father, coft, spit, opened the windows, stirred the fire, yawned, clapt his hand to his forehead, and suttnly seamed as uneezy as a genlmn could be. But it was of no use; the old one would not budg. "Help yourself," says he again, "and pass me the bottil."

"You are very good, father," says master; "but really, I neither drink nor smoke."

"Right, my boy: quite right. Talk about a good conscience in this life--a good STOMACK is everythink. No bad nights, no headachs-- eh? Quite cool and collected for your law studies in the morning?-- eh?" And the old nobleman here grinned, in a manner which would have done creddit to Mr. Grimoldi.

Master sate pale and wincing, as I've seen a pore soldier under the cat. He didn't anser a word. His exlent pa went on, warming as he continued to speak, and drinking a fresh glas at evry full stop.

"How you must improve, with such talents and such principles! Why, Algernon, all London talks of your industry and perseverance: you're not merely a philosopher, man; hang it! you've got the philosopher's stone. Fine rooms, fine horses, champagne, and all for 200 a year!"

"I presume, sir," says my master, "that you mean the two hundred a year which YOU pay me?"

"The very sum, my boy; the very sum!" cries my lord, laffin as if he would die. "Why, that's the wonder! I never pay the two hundred a year, and you keep all this state up upon nothing. Give me your secret, O you young Trismegistus! Tell your old father how such wonders can be worked, and I will--yes, then, upon my word, I will--pay you your two hundred a year!"

"Enfin, my lord," says Mr. Deuceace, starting up, and losing all patience, "will you have the goodness to tell me what this visit means? You leave me to starve, for all you care; and you grow mighty facetious because I earn my bread. You find me in prosperity, and--"

"Precisely, my boy; precisely. Keep your temper, and pass that bottle. I find you in prosperity; and a young gentleman of your genius and acquirements asks me why I seek your society? Oh, Algernon! Algernon! this is not worthy of such a profound philosopher. WHY do I seek you? Why, because you ARE in prosperity, O my son! else, why the devil should I bother my self about you? Did I, your poor mother, or your family, ever get from you a single affectionate feeling? Did we, or any other of your friends or intimates, ever know you to be guilty of a single honest or generous action? Did we ever pretend any love for you, or you for us? Algernon Deuceace, you don't want a father to tell you that you are a swindler and a spendthrift! I have paid thousands for the debts of yourself and your brothers; and, if you pay nobody else, I am determined you shall repay me. You would not do it by fair means, when I wrote to you and asked you for a loan of money. I knew you would not. Had I written again to warn you of my coming, you would have given me the slip; and so I came, uninvited, to FORCE you to repay me. THAT'S why I am here, Mr. Algernon; and so help yourself and pass the bottle."

After this speach, the old genlmn sunk down on the sofa, and puffed as much smoke out of his mouth as if he'd been the chimley of a steam-injian. I was pleased, I confess, with the sean, and liked to see this venrabble and virtuous old man a-nocking his son about the hed; just as Deuceace had done with Mr. Richard Blewitt, as I've before shown. Master's face was, fust, red-hot; next, chawk- white: and then sky-blew. He looked, for all the world, like Mr. Tippy Cooke in the tragady of Frankinstang. At last, he mannidged to speek.

"My lord," says he, "I expected when I saw you that some such scheme was on foot. Swindler and spendthrift as I am, at least it is but a family failing; and I am indebted for my virtues to my father's precious example. Your lordship has, I perceive, added drunkenness to the list of your accomplishments, and, I suppose, under the influence of that gentlemanly excitement, has come to make these preposterous propositions to me. When you are sober, you will, perhaps, be wise enough to know, that, fool as I may be, I am not such a fool as you think me; and that if I have got money, I intend to keep it--every farthing of it, though you were to be ten times as drunk, and ten times as threatening as you are now."

"Well, well, my boy," said Lord Crabs, who seemed to have been half asleep during his son's oratium, and received all his sneers and surcasms with the most complete good-humor; "well, well, if you will resist, tant pis pour toi. I've no desire to ruin you, recollect, and am not in the slightest degree angry but I must and will have a thousand pounds. You had better give me the money at once; it will cost you more if you don't."

"Sir," says Mr. Deuceace, "I will be equally candid. I would not give you a farthing to save you from--"

Here I thought proper to open the doar, and, touching my hat, said, "I have been to the Cafe de Paris, my lord, but the house is shut."

"Bon: there's a good lad; you may keep the five francs. And now, get me a candle and show me down stairs."

But my master seized the wax taper. "Pardon me, my lord," says he. "What! a servant do it, when your son is in the room? Ah, par exemple, my dear father," said he, laughing, "you think there is no politeness left among us." And he led the way out.

"Good night, my dear boy," said Lord Crabs,

"God bless you, sir," says he. "Are you wrapped warm? Mind the step!"

And so this affeckshnate pair parted.

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Master rose the nex morning with a dismal countinants--he seamed to think that his pa's visit boded him no good. I heard him muttering at his brexfast, and fumbling among his hundred pound notes; once he had laid a parsle of them aside (I knew what he meant), to send 'em to his father. "But no," says he at last, clutching them all up together again, and throwing them into his escritaw, "what harm can he do me? If he is a knave, I know another who's full as sharp. Let's see if we cannot beat him at his own weapons."
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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
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