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never one to stand much questioning, and in his present state it would have been dangerous to cross him. By way of saying something anything at the moment I asked how were things going on here politically. He laughed his usual little quiet laugh, and called out to Caffarelli, who stood in the window. Come here, Carlo, and tell Lyle how we are getting on here. He wants to know if the ammunition has been yet served out for the bombardment; or are you waiting for the barricades?' He jumped up in his bed as he spoke, and then fell back again. The doctor ran hastily over, and cried out, 'That's exactly what I said would come of it. There's hæmorrhage again." And so we were turned out of the room, and the other doctors were speedily summoned, and it was only an hour ago I heard that he was going on favourably; but that in future a strict interdict should be put upon all visits, and none admitted to him but his physicians. Seeing this, there was no use deferring my departure, which would, besides, place my commission in jeopardy. I have already outstayed my leave by two mails.
"Caffarelli is to write to you about the villa, and take all your directions about getting it in order for your arrival. He says that there is only too much furniture; and as there are something like eighty odd rooms-it is called Palazzotto, a diminutive for palace !—the chances are that even you will have space enough for what you call 'to turn round in.' I am in no dread of your being disappointed in it, and I repeat once more, it is the most exquisitely beautiful spot I ever saw. I would rather own it than its larger brother, the great kingly palace on the opposite side of the bay.
and perhaps a shade smarter than his colleagues.'
Caffarelli promises to keep you informed about poor Maitland, of whom, notwithstanding all the doctors say, I do not augur too favourably. On every account, whether you really avail yourselves of it or not, do not refuse his offer of the villa; it would give him the deepest pain and mortification, knowing how I had fixed upon it before I heard of his being the owner. I am very sorry to leave him, and sorrier that I have not heard what he was so eager to tell me. I shall be very impatient till I hear from you, and know whether you concur in my conjecture or not.
"The King sent twice to-day to inquire after M., and has already announced his intention to come in person, so soon as the doctors deem such a visit safe. To see the names that were left to-day with the porter you would say it was one of the first men in Europe was causing all this public anxiety.
"I trust, my dear Alice, you will be satisfied with this long-winded epistle-the last, probably, you will get from me till I reach Calcutta. I had intended to have given you all the gossip of this pleasant place, which, even on the verge, as some think, of a revolution, has time and to spare for its social delinquencies; but Maitland has so engrossed my thoughts that he has filled my letter; and yet I have not told you one tithe of what I have heard about him from his friend Caffarelli. Indeed, in his estimation, M. has no equal living; he is not alone the cleverest, boldest, and most accomplished of men, but the truest and the best-hearted. Isatlate into the night last night listening to traits of his generosity-the poor people he has helped, the deserving creatures he had succoured, and the earnest way he had pressed claims on the Ministry for wretched families who had been friendless without him. I was dying to ask other questions about him, but I did not venture, and yet the man puzzles
me more than ever. Once, indeed, Caffarelli seemed on the verge of telling me something. I had asked what Maitland meant by saying that he should probably soon quit Italy Ab,' replied Caffarelli. laughing, 'then he has told you of that mad scheme of his; but of all things in the world, why go into the service of a Bey of Tunis?' 'A Bey of Tunis!' cried I, in such evident astonishment as showed I had heard of the project for the first time. Of course it was but a jest,' said Caffarelli, catching himself up quickly. The present Bey and Maitland lived together in Paris in their early days; and I have seen scores of letters entreating Maitland to come to Tunis, and offering him the command of a division, the place of a Minister-anything, in fact, that might be supposed to
tempt him. You may imagine yourself how likely it is that a man with all Europe at his feet would consent to finish his life in an African banishment.'
"If I could only have one week more here, I feel certain that Caffarelli would tell me everything that I want to learn, but I must up and away. My servant is already hurrying down my baggage, and I have not more time than to send my loves to you all.-Yours always, MARK LYLE.
"P.S.-Caff. is just the fellow to be made very useful, and likes it, so don't scruple to write to him as fully as you please. He has already told me of a first-rate chief-servant, a Maestro di Casa, for you; and, in fact, only commission him, and he'll improvise you a full household ready for your arrival. Adio!"
CHAPTER XLIII.-THE MAJOR AT BADEN.
Your Excellency has not added your address," said the clerk, obsequiously.
"The Tuileries when in Paris, Zarkoe - Zeloe when in Russia. Usually incog. in England, I reside in a cottage near Osborne. When at this side of the Alps, wherever be the royal residence of the Sovereign in the city I chance to be in." He turned to retire, and then, suddenly wheeling round, said, "Forward any letters that may come for me to my relative, who is now at the Trombetta, Turin."
"So I have," said he, with a careless laugh. "It is somewhat new to me to be in a town where I am unknown. Address my letters to the care of His Highness the Duke of Lauenburg-Gluckstein;' and with a little gesture of his hand to imply that he did not exact any royal honours at his departure, he strutted out of the bank and down the street.
Few met or passed without turning to remark him, such was the contrast between his stature and his gait; for while considerably below the middle size, there was an insolent pretension in his swagger-a defiant impertinence in the stare of his fiery eyes, that seemed to seek a quarrel with each that looked at him. His was indeed that sense of overflowing prosperity, that, if it occasionally inclines the right-minded to a feeling of gratitude and thankfulness, is just as certain to impel the men of a different stamp to feats of aggressiveness and insol
ence. Such was indeed his mood, and he would have hailed as the best boon of Fate the occasion for a quarrel and a duel.
The contempt he felt for the busy world that moved by, too deep in its own cares to interpret the defiance he threw around him, so elevated him, that he swaggered along as if the flagway were all his
Was he not triumphant? What had not gone well with him? Gold in his pocket, success in a personal combat with a man so highly placed that it was a distinction to him for life to have encountered: the very peremptory order he received to quit Naples at once, was a recognition of his importance that actually overwhelmed him with delight; and he saw in the vista before him, the time when men would stop at the windows of printshops to gaze on the features of “Le fameux M'Caskey."
There was something glorious in his self-conceit, for there was nothing he would not dare to achieve that estimation which he had already conceived of his own abilities. At the time I now speak of, there was a momentary lull in the storm of Italian politics caused by Count Cavour's crafty negotiations with the Neapolitan Government negotiations solely devised to induce that false sense of security which was to end in downfall and ruin. Whether M'Caskey had any forebodings of what was to come or not, he knew well that it was not the moment for men like himself to be needed. "When the day of action comes, will come the question, 'Where is M'Caskey!' Meanwhile I will be off to Baden. I feel as though I ought to break the bank."
To Baden he went. How many are there who can recall that bustling, pretentious, over-dressed little fellow, who astonished the pistolgallery by his shooting, and drove the poor maitre d'armes to the verge of despair by his skill with the rapier, and then swaggered into the
play-room to take the first chair he pleased, only too happy if he could provoke any to resent it. How he frowned down the men and ogled the women; smiling blandly at the beauties that passed, as though in recognition of charms their owners might well feel proud of, for they had captivated a M'Caskey! How sumptuous, too, his dinner; how rare and curious his wines; how obsequious were they who waited on him; what peril impended over the man that asked to be served before him!
Strong men-men in all the vigour of their youth and strengthmen of honour and men of tried courage, passed and repassed, looked at, but never dreamed of provoking him. Absurd as he was in dress, ridiculous in his overweening pretension, not one ventured on the open sneer at what each in his secret heart despised for its vulgar insolence. And what a testimony to pluck was there in all this! for to what other quality in such a man's nature had the world consented to have paid homage?
Not one of those who made way for him would have stooped to know him. There was not a man of those who controlled his gravity to respect a degree of absurdity actually laughable, who would have accepted his acquaintance at any price; and yet, for all that, he moved amongst them there, exacting every deference that was accorded to the highest, and undeniably inferior to none about him.
What becomes of the cant that classes the courage of men with the instincts of the lowest brutes in presence of a fact like this? or must we not frankly own, that in the respect paid to personal daring we read the avowal that, however constituted men may be, courage is a quality that all must reverence?
Not meeting with the resistance he had half hoped for, denied none of the claims he preferred, M'Caskey became bland and courteous. He vouchsafed a nod to the croupier at the play-table, and manifested, by
a graceful gesture as he took his seat, that the company need not rise as he deigned to join them.
In little more than a week after his arrival he had become famous; he was splendid, too, in his largesses to waiters and lackeys; and it is a problem that might be somewhat of a puzzle to resolve, how far the sentiments of the very lowest class can permeate the rank above them, and make themselves felt in the very highest; for this very estimation, thus originating, grew at last to be at least partially entertained by others of a very superior station. It was then that men discussed with each other who was this strange Count of what nation? Five modern languages had he been heard to talk in, without a flaw even of accent. What country he
served? Whence and what his resources? It was when newspaper correspondents began vaguely to hint at an interesting stranger, whose skill in every weapon was only equalled by his success at play, &c., that he disappeared as sudden ly as he had come, but not without leaving ample matter for wonder in the telegraphic despatch he sent off a few hours before starting, and which, in some form more or less garbled, was currently talked of in society. It was addressed to M. Mocquard, Tuileries, Paris, and in these words: "Tell the E. I shall meet him at Compiègne on Saturday."
Could anything be more delightfully intimate? While the crafty idlers of Baden were puzzling their heads as to who he might be who could thus write to an imperial secretary, the writer was travelling at all speed through Switzerland, but so totally disguised in appearance that not even the eye of a detective could have discovered in the dark-haired, black-bearded, and sedate - looking Colonel Chamberlayne the fiery-faced and irascible Count M'Caskey.
A very brief telegram in a cipher well known to him was the cause of his sudden departure. It ran
thus: "Wanted at Chambery in all haste." And at Chambery, at the Golden Lamb, did he arrive with a speed which few save himself knew how to compass. Scarcely had he entered the arched doorway of the inn, than a traveller, preceded by his luggage, met him. They bowed, as people do who encounter in a passage, but without acquaintance; and yet in that brief courtesy the stranger had time to slip a letter into M'Caskey's hand, who passed in with all the ease and unconcern imaginable. Having ordered dinner, he went to his room to dress, and then, locking his door, he read :—
The Cabinet courier of the English Government will pass Chambery on the night of Saturday the 18th, or on the morning of Sunday
the 19th. He will be the bearer of three despatch-bags, two large and one small one, bearing the letters F. O. and the number 18 on it. You are to possess yourself of this, required. If you succeed, make for if possible-the larger bags are not best and speediest, bearing in mind Naples by whatever route you deem that the loss may possibly be known at Turin within a brief space.
"If the contents be as suspected, and all goes well, you are a
M'Caskey read this over three several times, dwelling each time on the same places, and then he arose and walked leisurely up and down the room. He then took out his guide-book and saw that a train started for St Jean de Maurienne at six, arriving at eight,—a short train, not in correspondence with any other; and as the railroad ended there, the remainder of the journey, including the passage of Mont Cenis, must be performed by carriage. Of course, it was in this short interval the feat must be accomplished, if at all.
The waiter announced "his Excellency's" dinner while he thus cogitated, and he descended and dined heartily; he even ordered a bottle of very rare chambertin,
which stood at eighteen francs in the carte. He sipped his wine at his ease; he had full an hour before the train started, and he had time for reflection as well as enjoyment. "You are to possess yourself of this," muttered he, reading from a turned-down part of the note—"had you been writing to any other man in Europe, Signor Conte Caffarelli, you would have been profuse enough of your directions: you would have said, 'You are to shoot this fellow-you are to waylay him-you are to have him at tacked and come to his rescue,' and a score more of suchlike contrivances; but to me-to ME-there was none of this. It was just as Bonaparte said to Dessaix at Marengo-Ride through the centre' -he never added how. A made man! I should think so! The man has been made some years since, sir. Another bottle, waiter, and mind that it be not shaken. Who was it-I can't remember-stopped a Russian courier with despatches for Constantinople? Ay, to be sure, it was Long Wellesley; he told me the story himself. It was a clumsy trick, too; he upset his sledge in the snow, and made off with the bags, and got great credit for the feat at home."
"The train will start in a quarter of an hour, sir," said the waiter.
cheap thing, and take the diligence; and Poynder will be on the look-out for some one to join him, and pay half the post-horses and all the postilions. There are half-adozen more of these fellows on this dodge,' but I defy the craftiest of them to know me now;" and he took out a little pocket-glass, and gazed complacently at his features. "Colonel Moore Chamberlayne, A.D.C., on his way to Corfu, with despatches for the Lord High Commissioner. A very soldierlike fellow too," added he, arranging his whiskers, "but, I shrewdly suspect, a bit of a Tartar. Yes, that's the ticket," added he, with a smile at his image in the glass, "despatches of great importance for Storks at Corfu."
Arrived at St Jean, he learned that the mail train from France did not arrive till 11.20, ample time for all his arrangements. He also learned that the last English messenger had left his calèche at Susa, and, except one light carriage with room for only two, there was nothing on that side of the mountain but the diligence. This conveyance he at once secured, ordering the postilion to be in the saddle and ready to start, if necessary, when the mail train came in. is just possible," said he, "that the friend I am expecting may not arrive, in which case I shall await the next train; but if he comes, you must drive your best, my man, for I shall want to catch the first train for Susa in the morning." Saying this, he retired to his room, where he had many things to do,so many, indeed, that he had but just completed them when the shriek of the engine announced that the train was coming-the minute after, the long line dashed into the station and came to a stand.
CHAPTER XLIV.-THE MESSENGER'S FIRST JOURNEY.
As the train glided smoothly into the station, M'Caskey passed down the platform peering into each car
VOL. XCVI.-NO. DLXXXVII.
riage as if in search of an expected friend. "Not come," muttered he, in a voice of displeasure loud enough