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This was enough for our thief. He got ahead of them and ordered the supper; and when the cits arrived, he went to meet them and asked them for their cloaks. They, fancying him a waiter of the house, had no hesitation in giving them to him, and he laid them on one side. During supper he waited on the cits, napkin under arm, enjoyed a very good meal himself, picked out the newest cloaks, and made the best of his way to Paris with his plunder. We can imagine the disturbance when the affair came to be cleared up. But for all that, F. D. C. remarks regretfully, several of the cits brought actions for damages against mine host. “ Hence,” he adds sententiously, “at the present day we ought always to pay attention to those who see us and watch our doings." From the

year 1621 to 1623 Paris appears to have been troubled by a band of ruffians known as the Rougets and the Grisons, or the Reds and the Grays, from the colour of their clothing, and commanded by one Sieur de la Chesnaye. This hero was very particular in trying those whom he accepted into his band, making them live for two days in a room without food, in order to accustom them to fatigue, and forcing them to sleep bare-headed in the open air for three nights. One of the stories F. D. C. tells of these gentry is characteristic enough. A lawyer of Rouen, well mounted and well dressed, on nearing the Pont Neuf, found himself surrounded by six thieves, three dressed in red and three in gray, and all wearing lofty plumes in their hats, who ordered him to dismount. He did so, trembling in all his limbs. His purse was demanded; he readily gave it up, and was going to remount, when a robber, who pretended to be lame, came up and said he must borrow his horse, as he found it impossible to walk. Our lawyer walks onward with a very hang-dog look, we may be sure, but is scarcely opposite the Bronze Horse when he finds himself accosted by three more robbers. One of them says to him, “How dare you pass the Bronze Horse without taking off your hat?” Whereupon he whips off the lawyer's beaver-hat, and in it a diamond which had cost the wearer two hundred crowns. The unhappy lawyer goes onward more hang-dog than ever, but just opposite the Samaritaine he is assailed by another party, who bring up to him a man who had only his shirt on;

a very

hideous thing to witness at the season and in such weather,” remarks F. D. C. feelingly. “See," the eldest of the band says to him ; "here is a poor fellow I have brought you; you will do us the favour and courtesy of lending him your mantle, for he can hardly drag himself along in the present weather.” In fine, the lawyer was stripped of his cloak, and told that he might esteem him. self fortunate in not losing his life as well.

Incidentally I may remark, that in this book I find mention of a man who goes to mass with waxen hands hanging outside his cloak, while his real ones are at work underneath,-a trick frequently played in our omni. buses; and cheating by partners with dice, which exactly resembles our skittle-sharpers. Thus there is the story of a Limosin, whom the sharpers have been after for a long time in vain : they have tried the

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ring-dropping without success, and his pockets seem to be sewn up; but at last a German baron induces him to show him the Bronze Horse and the Pont Neuf, and falls into a fainting fit, which necessitates his removal to a hostelry, where they are joined by a pretended French gentleman, and dice are eventually introduced. But the Limosin is on his guard, and will not play till his head grows heated with wine, when he goes half-stakes with the German against the French gentleman; then the luck changes, and the Limosin loses fifty crowns, while the German turns the tables and accuses him of being in a conspiracy with the other man to swindle him. The finale is, perhaps, an improvement on the present system. Five or six other sharpers are in the room to lend a hand if necessary; they rush forward ostensibly to prevent a fight between the German and the Limosin, and contrive to give the latter an awful cudgelling and roll him in the gutter.

Among the most curious biographies in the book is that of one Adraste, whose adventures I am compelled, Lowever, to pass over, because our author in this instance takes rather more than what is called the “license of the age." I will make one quotation, which, to me, is original, and is certainly particularly neat. Alluding to a banker given to usury, who had been to Italy, but had not on that account altered his propensities, F. D. C. quotes the well-known line:

"Cælum, non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt;" which he thus translates :

"Que bon cheval, ny meschant homme,

N'amende point d'aller à Rome.” In the “Roguery of Filemon” is an anecdote of how a purse may be secured, which possesses a certain amount of originality. Filemon and a friend or two were attending to their avocations in the palace when they noticed a very poorly dressed citizen of Lyons, who, however, had plenty of pistoles in his purse, come in. Filemon began to ridicule him, and say that he looked like one of themselves; but a comrade hinted that he was making a great mistake, for he had seen the stranger buy a pair of gloves and pull out a purse containing more than twenty-five pistoles to pay for them. “In that case I will have it, but in a new way,” said Filemon, with the decision of a great captain. The first thing the rogues did was to follow the Lyonnais, and make sure of the colour of his purse and the probable amount it contained, which they effected by watching him into a mercer's shop, where he made a purchase. After this Filemon followed him up and dropped into his pocket his own purse, a blue one, with the strings cut, and a pair of very fine scissors, such as were used in the purse-cutting trade. After a while Filemon began to display alarm and declared that he had been robbed, and boldly taxed the Lyonnais with being the thief. The latter became very angry, and asserted his innocence, but his seedy attire was against him. To make a long story short, he was searched by the indignant mob, and Filemon's purse found upon him. He had a narrow escape of his ears, for in those days cutpurses were under Lynch-law; but the fury of the throng attained its acme when another sharper came up, described the Lyonnais' purse exactly as he had seen it, and boldly claimed it as his own. The poor Lyonnais was with difficulty saved by the archers, and conveyed to the Little Chátelet, whence his friends eventually bailed him out, while the rogues were spending his money in riotous living. Filemon, I am not sorry to add, ended his days at the galleys.

As a boy I remember reading a capital story of a wager laid by a Bow-Street runner with a country gentleman, that the latter could not proceed from Oxford Circus to the Bank, viâ Holborn, on foot with a guinea without being robbed of it. The wager was accepted, and the country gentleman “ declared” to carry the guinea in his mouth, as the safest place. All went well till the country gentleman reached Holborn Bars, where a crowd was collected round a Jew pedlar-boy, whose box had been upset by some boor. The crowd sympathisingly helped the lad to pick up his traps; but he would not be comforted, because he had lost all his savings, consisting of a guinea. Says a boy, with a preternatural squint, while pointing to the country gentleman, “I see'd that gent pick it up and put it in his mouth.” The unliappy country gentleman was convicted on the clearest evidence; he was bonneted, had his coat split up the back, and was obliged, in addition, to pay the wager to the BowStreet runner.

As I said, the story is a capital one, but unhappily I find it, with very slight modification, in my Histoire des Larrons. In fact I find so many, I can hardly call them undesigned, coincidences, that I am beginning to fear lest my volume is not quite so rare as I had imagined it. Still, be this so or not, I am able to derive one consolation from it—that the thieving art has not at all progressed in an equal ratio with society.

In conclusion, I have one remark to make: in the poetical portion of his work, my friend F. D. C. is somewhat of a plagiarist. I have no doubt that he obtained most of his facts about the thieves of Paris from some Vidocq of the day, and that they are trustworthy; but it is suspicious to find him telling us the story of the hunchback's body, in the Arabian Nights' tales, as having actually occurred within his knowledge at Rouen; while one of the most lubricous stories in the Decameron,—the one, namely, in which an unhappy gallant falls among thieves, and is forced by them to rob a deceased bishop of his pastoral ring and crozier, --is told totidem verbis, as baving taken place in a town of the south of France. Still, in spite of these drawbacks, I am inclined to pin my faith on F. D. C., although I do not recommend his volume for family reading

L. W.

a

Aurora Flond.

CHAPTER XXXVII.

THE BRASS BUTTON BY CROSBY, BIRMINGHAM. MR. Matthew HARRISON and Captain Prodder were both accommodated with suitable entertainment at the sign of the “Crooked Rabbit;" but while the dog-fancier appeared to have ample employment in the neighbourhood,-employment of a mysterious nature, which kept him on the tramp all day, and sent him home at sunset, tired and hungry, to his hostelry,—the sailor, having nothing whatever to do, and a great burden of care upon his mind, found the time hang very heavily upon his hands ; although, being naturally of a social and genial temper, he made himself very much at home in his strange quarters. From Mr. Harrison the captain obtained much information respecting the secret of all the sorrow that had befallen his niece. The dog-fancier had known James Conyers from his boyhood; had known his father, the “swell" coachman of a Brighton Highflyer, or Sky-rocket, or Electric, and the associate of the noblemen and gentlemen of that princely era, in which it was the right thing for the youthful aristocracy to imitate the manners of Mr. Samuel Weller, senior. Matthew Harrison had known the trainer in his brief and stormy married life, and had accompanied Aurora's first husband as a humble dependent and hanger-on in that foreign travel which had been paid for out of Archibald Floyd's cheque-book. The bonest captain's blood boiled as he heard that shameful story of treachery and extortion practised upon an ignorant school-girl. Oh, that he had been by to avenge those outrages upon the child of the dark-eyed sister he had loved ! His rage against the undiscovered murderer of the dead man was redoubled when he remembered how comfortably James Conyers had escaped from his vengeance.

Mr. Stephen Hargraves, the Softy, took good care to keep out of the way of the “ Crooked Rabbit,” having no wish to encounter Captain Prodder a second time; but he still hung about the town of Doncaster, where he had a lodging up a wretched alley, hidden away behind one of the back streets,-a species of lair common to every large town, and only to be found by the inhabitants of the locality.

The Softy had been born and bred, and had lived his life, in such a narrow radius, that the uprooting of one of the oaks in Mellish Park could scarcely be a slower or more painful operation than the severing of those ties of custom which held the boorish hanger-on to the neighbourhood of the household in which he had so long been an inmate. But now that his occupation at Mellish was for ever gone, and liis patron, the trainer, dead, he was alone in the world, and had need to look out for a fresh situation.

But he seemed rather slow to do this. He was not a very prepos

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sessing person, it must be remembered, and there were not very many services for which he was fitted. Although upwards of forty years of age, he was generally rather loosely described as a young man who understood all about horses; and this qualification was usually sufficient to procure for any individual whatever some kind of employment in the neighbourhood of Doncaster. The Softy seemed, however, rather to keep aloof from the people who knew and could have recommended him; and when asked why he did not seek a situation, gave evasive answers, and muttered something to the effect that he had saved a little bit of money at Mellish Park, and had no need to come upon the parish if he was out of work for a week or two.

John Mellish was so well known as a generous paymaster, that this was a matter of surprise to no one. Steeve Hargraves had no doubt had pretty pickings in that liberal household. So the Softy went his way unquestioned, hanging about the town in a lounging, uncomfortable manner, sitting in some public-house taproom half the day and night, drinking his meagre liquor in a sullen and unsocial style peculiar to him self, and consorting with no one.

He made his appearance at the railway-station one day, and groped helplessly through all the time-tables pasted against the walls; but he could make nothing of them unaided, and was at last compelled to appeal to a good-tempered-looking official who was busy on the platform.

“I want th’ Liverpool trayuns,” he said, “and I can't find nowght about 'em here."

The official knew Mr. Hargraves, and looked at him with a stare of

open wonder.

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“My word! Steeve,” he said laughing, “what takes you to Liverpool ? I thought you'd never been farther than York in your life.”

” “Maybe I haven't," the Softy answered sulkily; "but that's no reason I shouldn't go now. I've heard of a situation at Liverpool as I think’ll suit me."

Not better than the place you had with Mr. Mellish.”

“ Perhaps not,” muttered Mr. Hargraves, with a frown darkening over his ugly face; “but Mellish Park be no pleace for me now, and arn't been for a long time past."

The railway official laughed.

The story of Aurora's chastisement of the half-witted groom was pretty well known amongst the townspeople of Doncaster; and I am sorry to say there were very few members of that sporting community who did not admire the mistress of Mellish Park something more by reason of this little incident in her history.

Mr. Hargraves received the desired information about the railway route between Doncaster and Liverpool, and then left the station.

A shabby-looking little man, who had also been making some inquiries of the same official who had talked to the Softy, and had consequently heard the above brief dialogue, followed Stephen Hargraves from the

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