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ing remained uneffected, the threatened flagellation took place, and my back was punished for nothing that I could comprehend, but because I bore the thrice-devoted name of Smith! -the pocket allowances being put under stoppages to repay Mr E. the money immediately advanced to rebuild the shed, and purchase a fresh donkey and pigs. I have perhaps dwelt too long upon this story; but I really could not abstract it, warmed as I am by the recollection of my unmerited sufferings, and the remembrance of subsequent occurrences. Some two or three years after, how ever, I had the consolation of being acquitted of any share in the mischief, by the confession of the true delinquent after leaving the school.
“As I was so long a sojourner at House, you may suppose I saw many bid farewell to the mansion, and many new-comers in their place. I did so; but, as I am a living man, I do not believe that the Smiths ever diminished in number. However, though I continued every now and then to experience some annoyance from that little detestable five-lettered monosyllable, none of them came up to the striking one of the donkey and pigs, which perhaps you as heartily execrate as I did at the time." At this intimation of a dread on his part that he was ennuying me, I assured him that I was highly interested in his relation. Apparently satisfied with these assurances, he emptied his glass, replenished it, and pursued the thread of his discourse.
now about eighteen, when Mr E. one day called me in to his private study, and informed me that he had just received the news of the death of my supposed parents within a few hours of each other. I had visited them constantly during the holidays, and on my last visit perceived no signs of decay. I had often pleased myself with the idea of residing with them and cheering their old age, and this first disappointment shocked me extremely. They were a worthy pair,' continued Mr E., observing my agitation, and I regret their loss,
not only on their own account but on yours. Why I was selected to conduct your education I do not know; but when I received you from them, they gave me to understand that they were not at liberty to divulge any particulars concerning you till your present year; the funds assigned for your maintenance were transferred to me at the time of your removal here, but their sudden decease leaves us both in the dark as to your real parentage. The principal is still in my hands, and according to their directions is to continue with me till your majority; nor do I think you will find it the worse for my management. It is now time that you should mingle in general society, that you may wear off your school rust, and be qualified for the respectable rank it will be in your power to maintain. Though you must submit to remain with me for three years longer, I am not afraid of trusting you meanwhile.' I wept abundantly during this kind address, afflicted as I was, too, with the thoughts of my early protectors. I learned from him that I should have, chiefly from arrears of interest, and a judicious outlay of capital, an income of several hundreds a-year with which to enter the world. I was accordingly withdrawn from scholastic matters, a separate room was fitted up for me, and the servants ordered to wait on me as on himself. Pursuant to his plan, he introduced me to various parties, and at intervals I visited London; but wherever I went the execrable name of Smith met me, often as thickly packed as cages in a bird-fancier's. I could almost have imagined at that period that the surnames of Adam and Eve were Smith, and that the largest portion of the earth's inhabitants were Smithed, particularly after reading in a newspaper that a Scotchman had been discovered domiciliated among the Red Indians of America, and that he was a Smith.† I am now, however, satisfied, that when the mind has a name strongly impressed upon it, its attention is more readily drawn to it, and hence the appearance of its being unusually common. I will not detain
* "It is a name so spread o'er That one might think the first † A fact.
Sir' and Madam,' who bore it Adam."
Don Juan, Canto VII-XXV.
with any of you my meditations during the three years preceding the termination of my legal infancy but to add, that first among them was the determination to drop my name as soon as my power equalled my will. My romantic imagination often raised some bright images of connubial felicity; but none of the belles dames whom I encountered reached my standard of female excellence, so that my attentions never exceeded respect. My time was mostly spent in study, and occasional communications with the magazines. Some of my productions met with applause which common sense would suppose I should have at least possessed alone; but the signature of Smith left me but a small portion of my earnings. There were too many Smiths communicating with the magazines. On one occasion some of my rhymes, on which I had bestowed more than common pains, appearedas if I was to be mortified in proportion to my efforts-actually preceded and followed by some really miserable verses compared with those of your humble servant, with the very selfsame signature attached to them; and on another, the editor formally requested his Smith correspondents to affix some distinguishing mark, as he had been a good deal troubled with the nominal (certainly only nominal) similarities. I should weary your patience were I to relate all the little disagreeable situations in which that every-point-of-the-compass name involved me; suffice it to say, that I at length attained my twenty-first year. Resolved to settle in London, where I imagined I could put my design into execution, I proceeded accordingly to that city, accompanied by Mr E., for the purpose of being invested by him with the sole control of my money, which was laid out in the public funds, and for every farthing of which he faithfully accounted. For a rational use of it, he had already prepared me by the admirable manner in which he had gradually accustomed me to the value of money. After a short stay, he left me with many affectionate admonitions and demonstrations of regard. In pursuance of my determination, my first letter to him contained a request that he would in future address me as Mr Jones-a name which I pitched upon by mere
accident-forgetful that this was also a travelled appellation. I assigned no reason, nor did he seek for one. You are doubtless surprised at my early sensitiveness about a name. If the motives I have mentioned will not account for it, I can give you no other, unless you suppose me afflicted with a peculiar madness which the Stoics were wont to ascribe to every one. If you are inclined to smile at it, do so; but allow me to answer in the language of Horace
'Qui me deridet, caudam trahat.'
"My first lodging, which I obtained without difficulty, from being personally known as a friend of Mr E., was in a boarding-house kept by the widow of a naval officer, whose table was frequented by a select and fashionable party, and where I consequently mingled in the best society. Though a proper degree of selfesteem restrained me from plunging into the vortex of dissipation, it did not altogether prevent my joining in some of the gay scenes of the sphere in which I was moving. The theatres, balls, masquerades, and entertainments of all kinds, were acceptable to me; not because I was really enraptured with the trifles which form the bulk of amusements at such places, but because I loved to see every one happy about me-such a sight causing a feeling of happiness to myself. I desired also to see life in all its various grades; but my timidity withheld me from going too far without a guide, and as yet I had none. I ventured once, in my eagerness, to bribe a beg gar to take me to a beggar's feast somewhere near Saffron Hill; but as I could not support the character properly, the deceit was detected, and I scarcely escaped with a whole skin by leaping through a window. The man who introduced me was expelled from their fraternity, and became very troublesome in his demands upon me, in consideration of his silence, and his loss, as the fellow had the impu dence to term it. For the former, as it turned out, I owed him nothing; and the pressgang soon after rid me of any further importunity on account of the latter. This adventure increased my caution, and I confined myself to my own circle
Among the individuals whom I met
at one of the fashionable coffeehouses which I attended, was a Member of Parliament who had the same name as that which I had assumed-Jones -and who honoured me with his particular notice. Through his instrumentality I procured admission into the Club-house, a source of real gratification to my literary propensities, as an extensive library and all the periodicals and new publications were at my command. On reviewing the list of names, I found the Smiths as abundant as ever, though rather sorry to find that I was not the only Jones; nevertheless, I congratulated myself on the execution of my determination. I was, of course, extremely flattered by such attention from a man of Mr Jones's rank. He singled me out on every opportunity, and I certainly enjoyed his company; for, as he had been a traveller, and was a man of intelligence, he possessed a fund of anecdote relating to the different countries he had passed through, which afforded me much information. He amused himself once or twice in endeavouring to trace a relationship; but, as may be expected, his genealogy was not very correct, seeing that he had the name of his fathers, and I one that might literally be called my own. By his means I had often the pleasure of being present at the debates in the two Houses; and learning my wishes, as our intimacy increased, to see some of the scenes of upper life, he undertook to be my mentor. Under his auspices visited different places, and above all the various gambling-houses; but to these last I had no inducement to pay a second visit, otherwise than to gratify my conductor. Their prison-like entrances leading to a splendid interior, where, save those interested in the establishment, all the inmates appeared horribly flushed with the fire of a most tremendous and destroying anxiety, reminded me of the hall of Eblis in the tale of Caliph Vathek; and the sight of torture, whether wilful or inflicted by others, furnished no delight to my acutely sensitive mind. I, however, accompanied Jones several times, pursuant to his own wish; but somehow or other always withstood any invitations to join in any game, by insisting upon my ignorance of the subject. An early contracted aversion to gambling of every description, was not lessened
by the torments of fierce ardour depicted in the faces of those who were engaged in play. Finding my aversion unconquerable, he applauded my resolution, and related a number of instances in which poverty had ensued from too earnest a pursuit after an increase of competence at the gamblingtables. He enlightened me also as to a variety of methods by which unprincipled villains deceive the unwary, with a view, as he expressed himself, of putting me completely on my guard. I was obliged to him for his instructions; but I have since painfully experienced that no man can be capable of profiting by such lessons till his heart has be come to a certain degree hardened. While the fulness of native generosity remains, he is defenceless; in proportion as this suffers abstraction, and its place is supplied by a fixed determination to credit no one without a most rigid investigation, his safety is increased.
In short, he becomes secure as he becomes suspicious. But to return to my tale: Jones hinted that my talents deserved a more elevated sta. tion, and proposed that I should seek a seat in the House, offering to support me with his interest, and if necessary with his purse. In the innocence of my heart, I admired his apparently disinterested friendship; but though I promised to watch for the first favourable occasion, my spirit would not allow me to be under any pecuniary obligation.
"Thus we went on for a time, till one morning, as we were conversing toge ther at the club-house, a letter was brought to him by the waiter. Excusing himself for his rudeness in interrupting our conversation, he proceeded to read the letter with every visible token of perturbation; and while laying it down again, he muttered, I can't help it!' As this exclamation made me involuntarily cast an enquiring eye at him, he requested me to read the letter, which I delicately declined doing. He then insisted on informing me that the purport of it was to require the immediate payment of a balance of L.100 for election expenses in the borough which he represented, with a hint that, if the demand was not satisfied, his seat in Parliament would be endangered. "If,' said he, I had not lent a large sum to Sir yesterday,
I could have paid it with ease; as it is, they must wait till next week, and in the mean time do as they please; their profits are large enough if they waited seven years.'
"I, who had suffered no particular mishap in the world except what resulted from the abhorred name of Smith, readily gave credence to his words, and felt sincerely concerned at the prospect of his being thus injured. I was far from spending the whole of my income, and had generally some accumulations at my banker's, which at this time amounted to about two hundred pounds. I therefore freely offered to accommodate him with the required sum. At first he displayed some scruples, which I overcame without much difficulty, I remember now, and be agreed to accept it as a loan. The conversation then turned to other matters, during which I took a check from my pocketbook, and, if I may believe my senses, drew upon my banker for one hundred pounds, and handed the paper to him, with the feelings that I was doing a service to a worthy man.
"This was my situation with respect to Mr J., when, on the evening of the following day, on my return home from a short country excursion, Mrs L., my landlady, with a most puzzling countenance, observed, that she had long regretted the course I was pursuing, and had often been on the point of warning me of the consequences, but a dislike to interfere with other people had hindered her; now, however, she must speak, or her own reputation would be compromised. This prologue made me silently wonder what was now to be enacted, while she went on to inform me that Mr T., the officer, had been enquiring for me. I no doubt looked astonished at this announcement, as I had neither the honour of his acquaintance, nor been engaged in any transaction which brought me under his cognisance. I therefore gave utterance to the thought that I supposed he wanted my evidence, though upon what I could not divine; and was turning away when Mrs L. remarked that it was the first time such company had called at her house, that she was not used to it, and hoped it would not occur again. Nettled at her insinuation about I knew not what, I an
"Searching the house!' I ejacu lated.
"Yes, sir,' said she. • Now, as I do not wish my house to be noted as harbouring doubtful characters, I shall be obliged to you to leave it instantly. If you will waive your notice, Iwill give up your last quarter's board. No person has ever been taken into custody in my house, and I hope I shall escape the disgrace yet.'
"You shall, most assuredly,' replied I. You will tell Mr T. that Ishall be at the - Club-house every morning.' I then paid my bill, and was going up stairs, when a loud knock at the door was heard. Mrs L. hastened to open it herself. I caught the words, Must have him now,' and her rejoinder, He will be at Club-house in the morning.' There was also a sound as of money falling to the ground; but to this fact I cannot pledge myself. I was allowed to pack up my things unmolested, and a coach having been summoned, I left the house in a state of the utmost perplexity.
"I passed a sleepless night at a hotel, in vain endeavouring to surmise what had put me under judicial surveillance; but my confidence of innocence, whatever it might be, determined me to present myself at once at the police-office. The next morning, on my road thither, I called at the club-house, intending to stay only a few minutes, but had scarcely entered, when the waiter intimated that a gentleman outside desired to speak to me. When the gentleman -Mr T. himself-in a low tone, announced that I was his prisoner ;
Prisoner! for what?' I exclaimed, unconscious of the tone of voice in which I asked the question, the sudden loudness of which brought several of the members out to hear the answer -For forgery!' I was then taken before the magistrates, where a solicitor formally stated that a certain banker (not mine) had cashed a check for £500, purporting to be signed by person of the name of Edward
Jones, and had paid the money to a
of this examination was my being re. manded till the attendance of Mr Jones and my banker could be procured; and I thus became an inmate of the house of correction for that night.
"Atthe re-examination next day, my banker stated, that for a considerable time past I had kept an account with "Thus were the horrors of the Smith him as Edward Jones; and that, as he persecution amplified ;-I had been received my dividends, he was fully flogged for being engaged in the burn- assured that I had property sufficient ing of an old woman's shed and appur- to set me above any temptation to distenances, and now stood a chance of honesty. He added, too, without any being as innocently hanged for forgery, hint from me, that I lived very consiand all on account of a cursed coinci- derably within my income, and that he dence of names. I had no idea that had repeatedly paid over the residue, there was another Edward Jones keep- by my order, to different public chariing money at a banker's; and execrated ties. All this was very well; but the my folly in not changing the Christian answer to a question from the solicitor, as well as the surname. How much that the check which I mentioned had misery should I have been spared! never been presented at his house, had was aroused from this and similar re- a slightly balancing effect: Mrs L. flections by the voice of the magistrate was next called on, and I have no desiring to know if I intended any de- doubt that vexation at being thus fence. My request to see the check brought before the public, contrary was complied with, and it was no won- to her wishes, led her to expatiate der that I gazed on it for some time things of no moment into matters of in a mute astonishment, which it re- magnitude, with a view to her own quired the magistrate again to inter- vindication. After stating, therefore, rupt. The coincidence was completed. that during my early residence in her By some slight of hand the direction house my conduct had been exceedhad been varied. My banker's name ingly steady, she professed herself stood first, but not alone, as I had rea- bound to add that I had latterly beson to suppose when I drew the check; come rather gay, that I had been seen another name now appeared, which it coming out of a gambling-house, and was then explained distinguished two had even been known to mingle with firms, the principals of which bore beggars. This was the first blow at similar names. The body of the the value of my banker's evidence. writing was to all appearance my Mr Jones, my very worthy and esteemown, but there was a thickening about ed friend, was also present, but with the strokes of the signature, and a the most consummate effrontery denied little flourishing, which made me ra- that any money dealings had ever ther doubtful of its being mine, though passed between us. Enraged at this there was a great resemblance. But unexpected villany, I burst into a raas to L.500, that I positively never pid narration of all that had passed, inserted. I stated my impression can- and inveighed against him as having didly and honestly, without having endeavoured to seduce me to gambling; recourse to any equivocation or chi but he coolly replied, that I furnished canery, for which there was some another proof of my ingratitude. Then opening; but here again my nicety of turning to the bench, he continued, sentiment restrained me from alluding that, considering me a very promising to Jones further than to acknowledge young gentleman, he had taken some that I drew a check upon my bankers interest in me, but my allegations rein his favour. My address was re- specting him were utterly false; he warded by a damning smile of incre- deeply regretted that I had resigned dibility, which played over the coun- myself to dissipation, and that he tenances of my hearers; and certainly, had implicated himself with me in when I put all the incidents together, any way. I was thus deprived I can forgive them for it. The issue of my only means of defence: no
* A fact.