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in authority, drawing forth his staff of office; "You are my prisoner!"
"For what?" enquired the stranger.
"For suspicion," said the first.
a few days, perhaps a few weeks, but who refused to give any name; therefore sagaciously inferred, by combining the words in the one case with the want of them in the other, that the stranger was at all events a suspicious character, if not a dangerous one, and hence deemed it essential to his reputation to exert his prerogative, more particularly after he had been received in the doubtful manner which marked the nameless one's behaviour on the announcement that one "in authority under the King" desired to speak with him. He added, "Your worship can tell whether I've done my duty or not," by way of a suggestion to the utterance of his worship's praise for Master Sutor's diligence. Mr W., puffed up with the consequence of a man who was sensible that he had the power of officially bestowing or withholding praise, swered" assuredly,"-an ambiguous answer, which doubtless did not meet the cobbler's expectations; and then proceeded to interrogate the stranger, who had listened with the most exemplary patience, by requiring to know "What he had to say to the charge." "What charge?" asked the maledictus, quietly; a counterquestion which appeared rather to nonplus his worship, for in fact no direct charge had yet been made. The man of the staff looked at the justice, and the justice looked at the man of the staff, both perceiving the difficulty, but neither seeing any way of overcoming it, until at length the former desired the latter to name his charge. The constable reiterated his statement, concluding this time, very logically, that no honest man would be ashamed of his name-ergo, the prisoner was a rogue-a mode of reasoning with which Mr W., to judge by his affirmative nods, was satisfied; and commencing anew his interrogations, he asked, "What are you, sir?" putting on one of his sternest looks, no doubt thinking to awe the stranger. The latter, however, nothing daunted, pulled up and buttoned his coat, with the air of one thoroughly resolved not to comply with any of these inquisitorial demands, and, as coolly as before replied, "A man, sir." "Come, none of your jeers-do you know where you are, sir?" said Mr W., warming into anger. The other, most disregardingly, only responded, "Where
"Stuff and nonsense!" said the nameless one, in an impatient tone of ridicule; "Begone with you,"-and was turning away, when the constable, with all the dignity of a little mind, conscious of the possession of a portion of power, exclaimed, "I charge you all in the King's name to assist," and completed the capture by collaring the stranger, who, desisting from any further resistance, consented to be conducted to the nearest justice, the constable meanwhile making a pompous display of handcuffs, which, however, only provoked a smile. Having received this intelligence, I directed myself to the residence of the justice, a Mr W., a retired tradesman, whose capacity was but ill adapted for the station into which he had procured admission, under a system which prevails no longer, or at least not to the extent that it did. After a little dispute with some of the domestics, I was allowed to enter the room appropriated for examination, which the justice entered at another door simultaneously with myself. As I stood purposely at some distance behind the stranger, he did not observe me among the persons present. Mr W. having taken his seat at the head of the table, and demanded, with much pomposity, "Whom have we here, constable? the cobbler (for a cobbler was this same constable) enumerated the which had led him to exercise the authority of one of the mighty little conservators of the King's peace. His statement was sufficiently verbose and tautological, accompanied at frequent intervals with a complacent chuckle of self-congratulation upon his activity and discernment in his jackstick capacity. His story, divested of the extraneous verbiage with which he garnished it, was simply this. While sitting in his work-bin that morning, busily employed in making overalls for the understandings, some of his gossips brought him full confirmation of an account, whereof " he had only by parcels heard" the day before, owing to his absence at the market-town, "that a person had taken up his residence at the sign of the Bear, with the significant remark that he might stop
I have no business to be." On which the justice, becoming still warmer, exclaimed in a loud voice, "You are an old hand not your first examination, I'll be bound. How do you live, sirrah?" "Sometimes upon one thing, and sometimes another, sir!" said the stranger; and he even smiled, as the increasing wrath of the justice became more visible at these evasive answers. Very well, sir, very well; you can't expect to be discharged till we know something about you: so, if you don't choose, why, I may as well commit you at once- -(then, checking himself-for further examination." This covert threat did not at all shake the stranger's imperturbability; he continued to say nothing but when spoken to, and then answered indirectly; till his worship excited the examined by demanding in an accent of fury," What is your name, sirrah?" At which the stranger burst out as before with, "What the devil do you want with my name?" "Oh, oh!" exclaimed Mr W., exultingly, "you're swearing, are you?" and, as if rejoicing that he had found some means of venting his wrath with effect, he added, "I fine you five shillings," quite forgetting the futility of fining a person whom he had already condemned, in his own mind, as one deserving of much severer punishment.
The stranger, meanwhile, appeared internally vexed at this slip of the tongue; and, relapsing into his former coolness, drew forth a purse well stocked with gold, and extracting a guinea therefrom, threw it carelessly on the table, declaring that he had no change, and should be much obliged if his worship would hand him sixteen shillings. This unconcern, together with the sight of the purse, at last began to suggest some doubts to Mr W., if his humming and hawing be any criterion, as to the exact propriety of pursuing the business any further.
pause of perplexity, with the usual obstinate reluctance of ignorant minds to acknowledge themselves in error, he announced his intention of remanding the stranger till the London officers had been written to. At this ,point he was interrupted by the stranger's remarking, that as they did not seem disposed to give him his change, and as he was neither bound to pay a guinea, or to have silver at a mo
ment's notice, he might as well repocket it; and, suiting the action to the word, he dropped the coin into the purse, which he forthwith con.. signed to its breeches receptacle. While the justice was regarding his demeanour with a look of mingled doubt and vexation, uncertain how to frame his next remark preparatory, a fisherman, whom I immediately recognised as a person with whom I had had frequent conversations in my seacoast rambles, was ushered into the room, loudly averring that he had something of confidence to communicate concerning the prisoner at the bar,-i. e. the bottom of his worship's table. Upon his information being desired by the worthy worship of the peace, the fisher, with the expanding consequence of one whom circumstances have raised from a long insignificance into a moment of notoriety, and as though, like Simon, he had become one "to catch men," deposed that the culprit," the day before, had met him on the beach, and asked, in a very particular manner, what vessels passed that coast. On hearing this evidence, Mr W. gave several sagacious nods, the commencement of which resembled the movements of a Chinese image in a grocer's shop, while the conclusion was like the motion of a knocker when plied by the experienced hand of some fashionable Johnny; then folding his arms he flung himself back in his chair, as if thoroughly satisfied as to what course he ought to adopt with the puzzling nameless one. "So, sirrah, there is reason for suspicion. Very well, many a man has been tried and hanged by a false name : we shall see if there is no means to punish a rogue without one. Vessels, indeed! you must be content with a coach this time. Make out the mittimus," addressing himself to a linendraper's man, who acted as clerk. At these words, the stranger, losing all his self-possession, passionately roared out, "For what?" in a voice of thunder, which sounded through the very walls.
"For-for-for," said the other, trying to hammer out a reply,—" for suspicion."
Of what?" cried the unknown again. This response seemed to astound and upset the man of the peace; till at last, recollecting himself, he observed"Now I think of it, clerk, I'll commit
him at once for six weeks, as a vagrant and vagabond-we shall see then how things turn out in the mean time." "As a vagabond?" will you, said the stranger, with a glance of fire. And the aliquis quorum was about to recriminate, when I, impelled by an uncontrollable burst of feeling, stepped forward, and desired to offer a few remarks. His worship, upon learning that they were to be in favour of the "culprit," was at first indisposed to listen to me, and required a proper description of myself.
Fortunately, I had credentials about me sufficient to prove that I was, as I had represented myself, a London attorney-an announcement which caused a general silence while I addressed the bench-alias, the man in the elbow chair. I made a few observations upon the case, gently hinting that there was such a thing as an action for false imprisonment that there was no law to punish a man merely for refusing to tell his name; and finally, suggest ed that the landlord of the Bear should be sent for. This being done, Mr B. stated, in answer to some questions from me, that, excepting the gentleman's unaccountable antipathy to having a name, he had acted as much like a gentleman as any gentleman he had ever had in his house; and moreover, that he had been talking that very morning of staying at his inn for a month. I then examined the fisherman as to his having seen me before, and, upon his reply in the affirmative, I asked him if I had not put the very selfsame question to him in regard to what vessels sailed along the coast, and receiving his an swer to the same effect, I begged to know if his worship thought he would be justified in committing me. In conclusion, I urged the necessity of the acceptance of bail, and tendering a fifty-pound note, offered to become a surety for the stranger's re-appearance. All this time the stranger had been surveying me, as I thought, with some degree of dissatisfaction. Whether I succeeded in effecting a revolution in his worship's sentiments I cannot tellcertain it is I did in his actions; but reluctant, seemingly, to lose his object, he observed" He has been swearing, however."
I proffered the fine, which was accepted; and the unknown was then discharged upon my security-some
words reaching my ears from the constable about reward, and from the fisherman about expenses.
On leaving the justice's house, we walked some distance without interchanging a word; I, in the practice of my unobtrusive system, preserving a studied silence. Presently he thrust his arm within mine, and began to address me in the style of "Pierre to Jaffier."
"'Twas not well done. I would have seen," said he, "that justice and his peace blockhead at the lowest regions of Tartarus, before I would have yielded a point to them. I am too indifferent to all that can happen; however, I ought not to be the less obliged to you for your kindness-a stranger as I am; for, after all, your interference has probably saved me from the unpleasant consequence of my obstinacy. I am not insensible to the delicacy of your behaviour last night; but remember, you are to dine with me to-day; you shall then judge whether or not I have cause to hate a name, as you have perceived I do." Upon this we parted for a few hours, leaving me, as may be supposed, anxious to learn the reasons of his extraordinary aversion to a cogno
I will not trouble the reader with an uninteresting detail of the various conjectures which I formed in the interim; and I have the less authority for doing so, as none of them approached the truth. If any one who may peruse this account, entertain any doubts as to the correctness of this general assertion, I pray them to lay aside this paper for a few moments, and employ themselves in arranging their ideas in as many combinations as their patience will permit. From the failure of their own fancies they will the more readily believe that I did not hit the mark. Those who are disposed to take my own word, may proceed with me at once to the stranger's relation.
I waited on the stranger, according to invitation, in the afternoon; and, as I am not writing professedly for cooks, it will be sufficient to say that the dinner was excellent and abundant, with no want of concomitants. That affair transacted, including a few incidental remarks, he bade me select my liquor and light my cigar, and on complying with his hospitable mandates,
he disposed himself to commence his narration, which he did, as near as I can recollect, in the following words— his tones, which were at first tremulous, becoming composed as he proceeded.
"When I left the metropolis, with the intention of abiding in a spot where in all likelihood I might be perfectly unknown, I certainly imagined that I should have escaped any further annoyance; but the ridiculous scene at the justice's this morning makes me dubious of success any where. The justice was nearer the truth, perhaps, than he himself suspected, when he said that it was not my first examination; but his deductions from that supposition were altogether wrong.
'We do but row, we're steer'd by fate,' says Hudibras; and it does appear to me as if the steerage were completely taken out of my hands: one name was a plague to me, half-a-dozen others did me as much disservice, and the want of one is just as troublesome. But I must resolve this enigmatical talk. You must know, then, that I am the son of I know not whom. I will credit my senses that I am of sober flesh and blood; but to whom I owe these said attributes of humanity I am in the most profound ignorance. The first time that I may be said to be cognisant of my existence, I was under the care of an aged and respectable couple, named Smith, in a little village in Bedfordshire, who appeared to have nothing to do but to attend to me. Them I addressed by the endearing appellation of father and mother; and had their respective paternity and max ternity been actual, they could not have evinced more solicitude for my welfare. It was, therefore, with the deepest sorrow that I learned, in my tenth year, that I was to be translated to a school in Oxfordshire, conducted by a Mr E., a man of spotless integrity, as I have every reason to acknowledge. There appeared to be some necessity in the case; for the guardians of my early years were as grieved as myself at the moment of separation. Be that as it may, the separation took place, and I found myself in a situation to which the comparative solitude of my former one gave additional novelty. Here
I was duly docketed and classed as Master Edward Smith, the first cog
nomen by which I was distinguished, and here my cognominal troubles began. I was of a quiet and docile disposition, and had been always more partial to reading than to those trifling amusements, a fondness for which is the usual characteristic of children; and being now placed in a more extended field of study, I was not slow in availing myself of the advantages offered by it. My consequent attention and progress procured me the good-will of principal and assistants; but unfortunately, and as if to detract from my happiness, there were six or seven other Smiths in the school, which was pretty numerous, and several of these being Edwards, in spite of the utmost vigilance, it was not always possible to avoid a confounding of names, and with them the per, sons who bore them. Thus, for instance, at the end of one half-year, I was inexpressibly mortified to find a parcel of black marks set down to my account for absence from prayers, neglect in attendance on the matin bell, improper disposition of the chairs and baskets in the bedrooms, with a variety of other delinquencies, which those who have been schoolboys will readily remember; and I do believe the little wretches who rejoiced in the name of Smith, which to me was a cause of torment, often wilfully contrived to throw the blame upon me. The correct performance of my tasks, however, being repeated propria personâ, could never be disputed. With such vexations, sometimes trifling, sometimes serious, several years glided on, till at last that which I then considered the crowning one occurred. One summer's afternoon, a number of the boys were allowed to go out by themselves, among whom my evil genius caused me to be included. I have already hinted, my inclination not being adapted for the rough fun which boys generally seek on such occasions, I withdrew from the rest, and reclining sub tegmine of some tree or other, no matter which, in the neighbouring fields, I set myself to the quiet enjoyment of a volume of Hume and Smollett which I had borrowed from the principal's library. The exploits of our Fifth Henry so attracted my attention, that I suffered the other boys to return some time before me. When I reached the house, the footman, with an ominous formality, desired me to
proceed immediately to the schoolroom, where the first thing that struck me was all the Smiths congregated together in front of the principal's desk, in which Mr. E. himself was enthroned, the four teachers flanking right and left. Having obeyed Mr E,'s com mand to take a station foremost among the said Smiths, he began to interrogate me in a most unwonted tone, as to where I had been and what I had been doing. Alarmed as I was at such a sudden display, I gathered up nerve enough to answer him. To the next question-" Was there any one to corroborate my story?"-I was obliged to answer in the negative, as indeed I had none except Hume and Smollett, and I need tell you they were not available witnesses. The other little vagabonds held together in a tale, till, though still ignorant of these, to me, awful proceedings, I wished myself at Agincourt before I had indulged in my solitary mood. It is not improbable that they were prompted to revenge upon my accustomed disdain of their petty amusements. After a few more queries, I ventured to propose one, with a view to ascertain what was the matter; but all the answer I received was, "I am sorry appearances are so much against you, and that you probably know more than you acknowledge.' This I thought very hard from Mr E., who had always shown so much partiality to me; but I now see that he was a perfect school Brutus, who suffered no private feelings to interfere with his notions of justice. Mr E. then desired the footman to usher in Mrs Smith, (Smith again,) who made her appearance accordingly, in the shape of a decrepid old woman hobbling upon a stick; but her lameness and figure were misfortunes which I am not the one to ridicule, I will therefore only say that she was very unlike the Mrs Smith of my early years. From her story, repeated at the request of Mr E., I first learned what all the parade was about. It appeared that several of the boys having been amusing themselves with gunpowder and fireworks near this old wo. man's cottage, one of them maliciously threw a squib into a shed at a little distance, with design doubtless only to terrify two pigs and a donkey contained in it; the squib, however, communicating with some straw, not only frightened the animals, but was the cause of their
being burned, together with the shed. A lad, who came up at the time, heard the boy nearest the shed addressed by his companions as they took to flight by the, to me, unlucky name of Smith; and this, as none of them could be recognised, was the only clue she possessed to the perpetrator of the mischief, besides being previously aware that the gang belonged to Mr E.'s school. The sight of the tears coursing each other over her aged cheeks as she detailed her losses, and the expected consequences touching my heart, rather generously constituted, made me put my hand in my pocket, always well supplied by my savings, and offer the amount to her. I glanced at Mr E., and thought I saw a smile of approbation beaming upon his features; but a whisper from a new writing-master, who had been a lawyer's clerk, gathered them up again into formidable and revengeful wrinkles, while he forbade the application of the money to the intended purpose. He then sermonized a little on the heinousness of falsehood, and required the solemn denials of the Smiths, which I gave with at least as much truth as any of them. Mr E., thus unable to discover the real actor of the deed, exhibited some of the signs of the irritabile genus; and reasoning in this manner, that, as the Smiths of that afternoon's party could and would not make any discovery, they were all participes criminis, he announced his intention on the morrow, if the actual delinquent was not forthcoming, to subject all the Smiths of that set to a severe flogging, and to appropriate their pocket-money to a joint purse to repair the old woman's damage. With this warning we were dispatched to our beds. My growing detestation of the name of Smith was now at its full height, and I internally vowed, on the first opportunity, to put myself hors-du-catalogue of Smith. I found that a common name was a common pest; but I had yet to learn that a name might place a person in a yet more awkward predicament. In the bedroom, some of my schoolfellows (uncursed, lucky mortal, with the name of Smith) informed me that my prolonged absence had principally fixed suspicion on me, as it was generally attributed to fear. The next morning, the required discovery hav