The Baldu-m Librhn
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FOUR HUNDRED ILLUSTRATIONS
Oil;O(). OUTL'D)GE ANI) CO.. S0110 SQUARE
GROWING NOW DAMB MITCBELL FIRST IrCAME ACOQAInTBD
WITH H3R CAT.
IN the reign of Queen Anne, there lived near London
a venerable countess, named Greenford, who was very
rich, and possessed of large landed estates. She wa a
kind, benevolent lady, and delighted in giving alms to the
poor of her own and neighboring parihea Her noble
husband, Eustace Geofry, Earl of reenford, had fallen
gloriouly at the battle of Blenheim, on
the 3 Augr~, 1704. His aflioted
widow, fora long time, had openly
mourned hlos, sti wept for ha in
secret. As she was without children, and
felt very loely, she indulged in a strange
sort of fancy, but one which, m=t be
owned, did not at all diparage her
genuine virtues and excellent qduaties:
she was pM' tely food of saimals;
aid this parion might well e d a huple- one, dlee
all her favourites had died in her arms. Te most am ant
THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL
among them, a green parrot, having eaten unadvisedly
some parley, yielded to a dreadful attack of colic. An
indigestion, produced by a dish of fritters, had deprived
Lady Greenford of a most promising little pug; and a
third pet, who was nothing less than a Brazilian monkey,
having broken his chain and strayed into the garden, was
caught in a shower as he was gamboling among the trees,
which brought on a severe cold in the head, that soon after
carried him to his grave.
Lady Greenford next took a fancy to different kinds of
birds; but in this she was not more fortunate; for some of
them flew away, and the rest sickened, and died of the pip.
Borne down by so many sorrows, Lady Greenford was con-
tinay weeping and moaning; and her friends, moved by
her tre, strove to divert her mind. They offered her
squirrels, anary birds, white mice, and large cockatoos;
but all in va, she would not listen to them; she even
rjeted a lovely black and white spaniel that could play at
dominoes, dance the gavotte, eat salad, and make Greek
AND RHE CAT.
One day as she was coming out of church, she mw a
crowd of children running about, shouting, and laughing
most lustily. She had no sooner stepped into her caring
and was able to see over their heads, but he discovered
that the cause of this uproar was a poor oat, to whoe tail
these mischievous urchins had tied a large woepan. The
poor cat had bees asd about fr s m e, 6%ad e -d
quite exhausted; and when he slackened his pwe, his to
mentors made a ring round him, and began m e ma
with stones. The poor reatare held hWis heed bin4
THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL
conscious that none but enemies stood there, he resigned
himself to his fate with the fortitude of an ancient Roman.
Several stones had already struck him, when Lady Green-
ford, touched with compassion for the poor dumb animal,
stepped out of her carriage, forced her way through the
crowd, and exclaimed: "Whoever rescues the poor crea-
ture shall have a guinea I"
These words had a magical effect; for they converted
those, who a minute or two previously were the most cruel
tormentors of the poor beast, into so many deliverers: the
cat was now in danger of being smothered by them whilst
they contended for the honour of his preservation. At last,
a youthful Hercules, overturning his rivals, seized hold of
poor puss, and presented him half dead to the anxious
t Well done!" said she: "here, my brave boy, take the
AND HER OAT. 7
So she gave him a bright golden guinea, fresh sd
plump from the Mint; and then added: Relieve the poor
creature of his uneasy burden."
Whilst the youth was obeying her command, Lady
Greenford examined the poor beast she had saved. It was
the very type and sample of the gutter cat; whose native
ugliness was still increased by the effects of a long and
wearisome chance: his shaggy hair was soiled with mud,
and it was hard to perceive the colour of his coat through
these motley stains. So very lean was he, that his chine
bones could be seen and reckoned through his spare flesh;
he was so tiny and weak that a mouse might have beaten
him; he had but one thing in his favour, ani that was his
"Bless me! what an ugly cat said Lady Greenford,
musingly, after an attentive examination.
Just as she was stepping back to her carriage, the at
fixed upon her his large sea-green eyes, and aimed at her
a look that there is no describing,-a look of angled grati-
tude and complaint, yet, withal, so expressive, that it f.
cinated the good ady at onee; for in that one look she
read a whole speech of marvellous eloquence. It seemed
to say: "You yielded to a generous impulse; you saw that
I was weak, distressed, and persecuted, and you pitied me.
g THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL AND HER CAT.
But now that your compassion has been satisfied, you ex-
amine me, and my ugliness excites your contempt Alas !
I thought you good, but you are not good; you have only
the instinct of goodness, not goodness itself. Were you
truly charitable, you would feel for me the more on ac-
count of that very ugliness which displeases you; nay, you
would reflect that my troubles spring from my ill looks; and
that this same cause will once more expose me to the same
effects, if you cast me forth again unprotected at the mercy
of these ruthless boys. Make no boast of euch partial be-
nevolence! you have done me no service, for you have only
prolonged my misery: I am lone and unfriended, the whole
world turnb ay from me; I am condemned to die, let
my fate be.lfilled!"
Lady Greenford was moved to tears by this wonderful
cat. She thought of the doctrine of transmigration of
souls, and fancied that this extraordinary animal must have
been a great orator and moralist before he assumed his
present form. So she turned to her attendant, Dame
Mitchell, who was in the coach, and said:-
"Take the cat and carry it home."
What! do you mean to keep him, madame?" replied
"Cert.inly, I do: as long as I live this poor creature
shall have a seat at my table and a place at my hearth;
and if you wish to please me, you will treat him with the
same care and kindness as myself."
Madame, you shall be obeyed."
Very well then; let us now drive home."
HOW TUB CAT WAS I STALLED AS AN IniATY AT LADY t1 IXOs,
AND COMMITTED TO TEB CA OF DAMS MITICUSLL
LADY GREENFORD resided in a splendid maio,
on Cheyne Row, Chelea, facing the river Thames. She
lived there in seclusion, with her two head-servants, Dame
Mitchell, her howekeeper, and Mr. Sharpphi, who fulfilled
the office of butler and cook. Both of hem were some-
what advanced in years; and the counted, who was rather
facetious, and treated them with great familiarity, sed to
call them Daddy Sharpphiz, and Dame M
Dame Mitchell was favoured with a countenane that
beamed with candor and good-nature; but in the Mme
proportion as she wa fran and open, Daddy Shapphi
was lose and diwembling. The buler's wheedling m
10 THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL
was sufficient to deceive the young and inexperienced;
but, beneath the mask of his pretended good-nature, a keen
observer could detect his perverse disposition: his large,
staring, blue eyes showed duplicity; his wide nostrils bespoke
a violent temper; cunning sat astride on the tip of his long,
thin nose; while his bent for mischief was stamped upon
his mouth. Yet this man, to all appearance, had never
broken his trust; he had observed the strictest outward
honesty, and studiously concealed the blackness of his heart.
His ill-nature, like to a mine to which the match has not
yet been applied, only wanted an occasion to explode.
Sharpphiz disliked every kind of animal; but, in order
to humour his mistress, he pretended to be fond of them:
AND HER CAT. 11
so when he saw Dame Mitchell bring home the rescued
puss in her arms, he eaid to himself, "Here's another of
them! as if we had not enough before at home." He
could not forbear sending one glance of aversion towards
the new comer; but the next moment he checked himself,
and, putting on a feigned admiration, he cried out, Oh,
what a fine cat I what a pretty cat I never saw so fne a
cat before!" And then he fondled him with perfidious
"Do you really think so?" said Lady Greenford;
"then he is not so ugly after all?"
"Ugly, indeed! see, what fine eyes he has! But
were he ever so frightful, the favours you bestow upon
him would change him altogether."
I did not like him at first."
Those who displease us at first are usually our chief
favourites in the end," replied Daddy Sharpphiz senten-
tiouen they began to dress the cat, and though he hd,
THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL
like all other cats, a natural aversion to water, he seemed
to guess that these ablutions improved him, and bore them
with patient resignation. They then laid before him a
dish of broken scrape, which he eagerly devoured. After
this they regulated his mode of life; that is to sa, the
time for his meals, his daily occupation, and his lodging.
They then thought about a name for him. Dame Mitchel
and Daddy Sharpphiz suggested several high-sounding
ones, such as, Ratsbane, Featherpaw, and Grimalkin; but
the countess refused to make choice of any of them: she
wished to give him a name that would recall to mind the
circumstances under which the poor cat had been met
with; she therefore consulted an old bookworm on the fol-
lowing day, and he suggested the name of Mowmouth,
which is composed of two Hebrew words, signifying,
rescued from the saucepans.
A few days after, Mowmouth was no longer the same
cat: his coat had been most carefully polished; a nourish.
ing diet had rounded his shape; his whiskers stood up again
like those of a braggadocio of the seventeenth century;
his eyes glistened like emeralds; and he had become a living
proof of the influence of ease and good cheer in the im-
provement of the breed. He owed his present good looks
chiefly to Dame Mitchell, to whom he had vowed eternal
gratitude; but te felt, on the contrary, a mortal aversion
for Daddy Sharpphiz; and, as if he had divined him for
an enemy, he rejected whatever food the butler offered
Mowmouth lived on very happily, and every thing
seemed to smile around him; but sorrow, like the sword of
Damoles is for ever suspended over the heads of cats as
well a men. On the 24th of January, 1756, Mowmouth
exhibited a more than usual dejection: he sesrely replied
to the fond careers of Lady Greenford; he would not eat,
md spent the day squatted by the chimney corner, looking
at the fire with a ma and doleful eye. He foreboded some
AND HER CAT. 11
misfortune, which did really come to pass: that night a cou-
rier was dispatched from
the family country-seat,
in Worcestenhire, who
brought a letter to the
counties, from her youn-
ger sister, informing her
that she had broken one
of her leg by a fall from
her carriage, and tL't she
wanted to see her sole
surviving relative with.
out any lose of time. La-
dy Greenford was too
kind and affectionate to
hesitate a single mo-
ment: I will set out to-morrow," said she. Hereupon
Mowmouth, whose eyes were watching his benefactres,
uttered a doleful mewing.
Poor cat!" replied the lady, tenderly; I shall be
obliged to leave thee. I cannot carry thee with me, for
my sister bears a dislike to animals of your speaes--se
believes them to be treacherous. What unmerited obloquy I
In her youth it once happened, as she was stroking a yodg
cat, who was so much affected by her kindness that he
scratched her unintentionally. Was there any treachery
in that ?-no! it was a sign of sensibility rather; and yet,
ever since that day, my sister has sworn an everlasting
hatred to cats."
Mowmouth looked at his mistress, as much as to say,
SYou, at any rate, do us justice-you, a woman of so
superior a mindI"
After a moment's silence, the countess added, Dam
Mitchell, I trust this cat to your care."
We will take great care of him, my lady," md Dady
' _. i. -- '-* ** -'
14 THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL
"Do n't you meddle with him, I request," interrupted
Lady Greenford. "You know he has taken a dislike to you,
and the very eight of you puts him in a rage-for what
reason I cannot tell; but the truth is he cannot bear you."
"'Tis so, indeed," said Daddy Shrpphiz, with a deep
sigh; but the cat is unjust, for I like imn though he does
not like me."
So is my sister unjust; the cats may like her, but
she does not like them: I bear with her prejudice, do you
bear with Mowmouth's" Having said this much in a
tone of authority, Lady Greenford turned to her house-
keeper: It is to you, Dame Mitchell, and to you alone,
that 1 trust him: mind you restore him to me well and
sound, and I will load you with favours. I am sixty-five,
you are ten years younger, it is therefore probable that
you will close my eyes --"
Oh, my lady why do you allude to such a painful
"Let me conclude. To provide against accidents, I
had already secured you a comfortable livelihood; but if
ou protect Mowmouth, aid preserve him against injury,
Swil give you a pension of one hundred pounds."
Oh, my lady," said Dame Mitchell, touched to the
quick, "there is no need of stimulating my duty by re-
wards: I like your cat with all my heart, and will always
be devoted to him."
I am convinced of it, and will, therefore, reward your
During this conference, Daddy Sharpphiz did all he
could to conceal his jealousy. Every thing for her, and
nothing for me I" said he. One hundred pounds a-year
w it's a fortune. Shall she have this? No! she never
The next day, as, early as eight o'clock in the morn-
ing, four mettlesome horses were put to the postchaise,
which was to carry the excellent dowager down to Wor-
AND HER CAT.
cestershire. She took a last leave of her pet, pressed him
to her boom, and entered her carriage. Up to that mo-
ment, Mowmouth had felt only a vague annety, but now
he knew all. He saw his benefactress ready to depart,
and, dreading to lose her, he sprang in after her.
You must stay here," sid Lady
Greenford, vainly endeavouring
to restrain her tears.
Who would believe it ?-the cat
In order to shorten this distre-
ing scene, Dme Mitchell seied
& Ithe cat by the shoulders, ad tore
Shim. away from the cushion d the
Soarriag, to which he clung with
his caws. The door was thenpt,
the horses started and p---d
and the equipage began to r ff
at the rate of ten miles an how.
Mowmouth twisted and writhe
about in 6 ast convulsion, and then failed away.
16 THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL AND HER CAT.
Lady Greenford put her head through the door of the
poetchaise, shook hir handkerchief, and exclaimed, "Dame
Mitchell, take care of my cat I"
Depend upon me, my lady: I promise you to keep
him fat and healthy i st your return." j
And I," mut d Daddy Sharpphi in a spulchral
voice, wear, that le shall die!"
CLOSING THE GOOD FILINGS OF DAMIB ITCRELL AND THE
WICKEDNB,8 Of DADDY SHARPPNII.
. J-.. 0, WL-
agreeably to the. trust
Mowmouth with a
truly motherly kina
neu: she took so mnoh
care of him, wad fed
him so well, that he grew to be one of the feet eats in the
fashionable neighbourod of Chelsea, which abounded, how-
ever, in cats of high degree. She was always watching
over him: she helped him to the best di~u, and put him
to sleep on the softest down. Lest he might chane to be
one day taken ill, she resolved to srtu ths complaints to
which cats are subject, and borrowed svel book which4o
THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL
treated on that important subject. Sheeven went so far in
the ardour of her zeal as to read the History of the Cat
Species," written by the erudite Francis Augustus Velvet-
paw, a Fellow of the principal Learned Societies, and Pre-
sident of the Feline Institution.
Dame Mitchell's good conduct was not prompted by any
sordid interest. She never thought of herself. Worthy
dame Frugal and easily satisfied, she was always sure to
have enough: all she desired was a little room, a loaf of
brown bread, and ag9up of tea; a stock of fuel during the
winter months, anda spinning-wheel. BIut she had her -
nephews and nieces, and her godchildren, w min she wished
to serve; and to these she already distributed, in her mind
Lady Gree.o.rd's legacy. I
The cottued and increasing prosper of Mowmouth
exasperated Daddy Sharpphiz:
he saw, with a kndof dread, that
the time was approaching when
the faithful guardian would be
rewarded; and he was always
pondering the means of carrying
off her four-footed ward, so as to
draw down their mistress's anger
upon her head. By continually
nursing his hatred and envy in
secret, he grew at length ;niiar
as it were with crime.
- "What's to be done," d he,
"to purify the house of pis hor-
Srid cat? By what means hall we
effect it ? By steel, b ison, or
by wat ? It shall water."
Hai resolution n len, he
lb htef nothing else but its execution. It not easy
Ito et poasu on of Mowmouth whom Dame Mitchell
avi let out of her might, and who, ditrutful of the butler,
AND H3R OAT.
always stood on his defence. Sharpphizs nthed seval
days for a favourable opportunity.
One evening, after an excellent supper, Mowmouth had
ensconced himself by the drawing-room ire, and was peace.
ably sleep at Dame Mitel's feet, when Daddy Sharp-
phiz ent the room.
SGood said the eat's asleep. Now to all of
How good you m t am and bep me oompay!"
dud the dame, polite. "I he I se you wel thi
Perftly well; but every body osanot m7y as min
Our gate.per, for instance, u in a dangerous stats; h
THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL
rheumatics worry him to death, and he wishes particularly
to see you for a moment. You always have a soothing
word to say to the distressed, and capital receipts to cure
them: so go and pay our poor friend a visit, for I am sure
the sight of you will relieve him."
Thereupon Dame Mitchell arose and went down to the
porter, who was really labouring under a violent attack of
"Now we ll settle the business," cried Daddy Sharp-
So he went on tiptoe into the ante-room, like a stealthy
wolf, and took up a covered basket which he had hidden
there in a cupboard.- Then he came back to the place
where Mowmouth lay sleeping, and seized him abruptly by
the nape of his neck: the poor creature suddenly awoke,
and saw himself suspended in the air, face to face with
Daddy Sharpphiz, his mortal enemy. In this frightful
situation he attempted to cry out, to struggle, to call for
help; but no time was allowed him. The cruel butler
plunged the poor cat into the basket, shut the lid upon
AND HER CAT.
him, and hastened down stairs, with haggard looks and hair
on end, like a man who knows he is committing a crime.
It was a fine night in February: the sky was calm and
clear, the weather cold and dry; the moon was shining in
all its splendour, but at intervals was overshadowed by a
few thick clouds which completely darkened its light
Daddy Sharpphiz had to cross the garden and go through
a small door, the key of which he had borrowed: he stole
along from shrub to shrub, taking care to avoid the paths
except when darkness hid him from view. He had partly
opened the door, when he heard on the outside a great noise
of people running and shouting; he shuddered m spite of
himself, stood stockstill, and listened.
"What a fool I am," said he, after a short and silent
examination; "I had forgotten this was the night of the
masqueral: it is nothing but a few maker 1"
THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL
And truly it was a troop of msquerader coming from
Ranelagh. Sharpphiz waited to let them pra, and then
hurried out. As soon as he reached the bank of the river,
he felt so elated at his success that e began to whistle the
gavotte and cut caper: his transpo odeliht reminded
you of a cannibal dancing round the body of is victim.
He ran alog a fast as his l wold crr him, bthe
side of the river, until he ame to Wertnimter-bridge,
then stopped in the very middle of it, held out the basket
beyond the parapet, turned it suddenly over, and then
lung the wretched Mowmouth into the dark waters of the
steam. The at, as he fell through the air, sent forth a
cy which sounded like a human voice. The murderer shud-
dered: but his emotion was only transient; and, thrusting
his hands into his pockets, he said in a bitter tone of
b m de o o ; try to t fe t
"Good by, my dear Mowmouth; try to #at safe to
AND HER CAT.
land. But, now I think of it," he added, "cats can swim
this rascal may yet escape 1 Pha I paha! it's a long way
from Lady Greenford's to Westminster-bridge."
Quieted by this reflection, the butler hurried along till
he reached the garden door, then ran up to his room, and
lay there in ambush, to see and enjoy Dame Mitchell's
lamentation. The good woman had stayed a long time with
the sick porter, but at length she left him to go and give
her cat the cup of sweet milk with which she used to treat
him every night.
She went leisurely up to the drawing-room, feeling
calm and not foreseeing the dreadful attrophe. Not
finding the cat where she had left him, she me thought
he ha blockaded himself behind the cushions of the so;
so she turned them over and over to look for him; she then
THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL
searched under the chairs and tables, and finally ran out
upon the landing, crying out,
Mowmouth! Mowmouth! where are you?"
"He does not answer me," said she: "but, when I
went down just now, Sharpphiz was with him; perhaps
he can tell me what's become of him."
So she went immediately and knocked at the butler's
door. He pretended to awake from a sound sleep, and in-
quired, in a harsh voice, what they wanted with him.
"Is not Mowmouth here?"
You know he never comes to my room; you know he
can't bear me."
"Alas where is he, then? I left him in the drawing-
room, near the fireplace, and now I can't find him any-
"Can he be lost?" said Daddy Sharpphiz; affecting
the most eager anxiety.
"Lost! no, that is impossible He must have hid
himself in some nook or corner. Let us look for him,"
aid the hypocrite; "let us look for him directly. Mow-
mouth is a dear creature, and deserves to have the whole
household called out of bed to search for him."
Every servant in the mansion was called up to assist in
AND HZn OAT.
the search; each carried a light, and one or other of them
groped into every hole and corner, from the cellar to the
garret, from the yard to the garden; while Sharpphiz led
the van with officious zeal. After a long and fruitless
search, Dame Mitchell, overcome with fatigue and excite-
ment, flung herself exhausted into an elbow-chair.
S"Alas!" said she, "I only left him for a short time,
and it was to perform an act of charity."
I begin to think that your cat is really lost," replied
Sharpphiz, bitterly. "Ths is a sad misfortune for you.
What will Lady Greenford say when she returns? She
will perhaps turn you away!"
Turn me away!" exclaimed Dame Mitchell, starting
and standing straight up all at once: but the next moment
she sunk bak, she changed colour, her eyes cosed, and
she fell into a ft.
Daddy Sharpphiz looked on without pity, without a
single touch of remorse; the ruthless villain even laughed
in his sleeve at her anguish.
THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL
DAME MITCHELL'S CAT DISPLAYS A QUICKNESS OF PARTS ABOVE HIS
CONDITION, AND SHOWS COURAGE IN ADVERSITY.
WE lost sight of Mowmouth the moment after he was
flung from Weatminster-bridge, when he remained strug-
gling in the water until he was fortunate enough to reach
the principal arch, to the ledge of which he was enabled to
cling. Thence he looked around him: the Thames ap-
peared to him a vast and boundless ocean, which he would
not have strength enough to cross. So, rather than attempt
,to make for a bank which it seemed hopeless for him to
reach, he preferred remaining where he was, even at the
risk of starvation, or of being drifted away by the tide.
At frst he mewed a signal of stress; but soon after, giv-
ing himself up for lost, he thought it was of no use to
AND HER CAT.
weary his lungs, and therefore waited for the course of
events with that patient resignation which formed a main
point in his character.
About five in the morning, two worthy hosiers of the
Strand, who were very fond of ngling, came to east their
fishing-lines from the parapet of the bridge. For in these
quiet days, when steambots were unknown, and the
boom of old Father Thames was less encumbered with
ee kind of craft than it is now, the disciples of old
Walton tranquilly pursued their sport from this now
"You are out betimes, neighbour Cotton," said the
THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL
last comer of the two;
the same errand."
"it seems that we are both here on
"And in good time, too, I trow, friend Shorthose;
there has been a swell of tide last night, the fish are
coming up in shoals, and one must be unhandy indeed not
to watch any.
Suppose we make a match, neighbour Cotton; let us
fah in concert, share the booty between us, and breakfast
"Agreed cried Cotton. And then, as their right
AND HER CAT.
hands held the fishing-rods, they struck each other on the
left hand to ratify the treaty.
When Mowmouth saw the two lines let down, his
hopes began to revive. As soon as they came within reach
he laid hold of them with his claws, and the anglers,
feeling an unusual weight, exclaimed, in one breath,
"There's a bite! there's a bite!" and hastened to draw
up their lines.
S"I'l bet you I've caught a barbel said
Mr. Cotton; and he would have rubbed his
hands with glee, had they both been disen-
"I must have a fine carp on my hook!"
replied Mr. Shorthose.
He had scarcely finished his sentence before
Mowmouth leaped upon the parpet.
S "We are duped cried the two fishermen;
and they ran afer the unlucky quadruped so
wonderfully rescued from the stream, but the
at ran faster than they did and got away easily.
As soon as he found himself alone again, he stopped to take
breath, examined the houses, and not finding any of them
like his own, very naturally concluded his home was not
there It was necessary, however, to get a birth some-
where, for he was shivering with cold and panting after the
pursuit he had undergone: nor could he stay longer in the
street without exposing himself to an inflammation of the
lungs. Guided by the light of an oven, he made his way
into the underground workshop of a famous baker, quoted
himself behind a pile of bread-baskets, and gradually fel
y and by he was roused by his hunger.
Mowmouth was the offspring of poor parents, who had
turned him adrift at a tender age; he had been reared in
the street, obliged to find his own living, and had his cha-
racter formed m the school of adversity. He was there-
THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL
fore a perfect master of the art and mystery of catching rats
and mice, which cats of noble houses often neglect to prac-
tise. He set himself on the watch, and surprised a mouse
-who had left its hole to eat the flour; he sprang upon the
rash adventurer, describing what geometricians call a
parabola, and bit his mouth to prevent his crying. But
this chase, although skilfully managed and occasioning little
noise, attracted the attention of the young journeyman
"Hold, here's a cat!" cried the lad, seizing a shovel
The master baker turned round, and seeing Mowmouth
eating a mouse, said to the young journeman, "Don't
hurt him; you see he is doing us a service.
"But where, I wonder, did he come from?"
What matter, if he is useful here," replied the baker,
who was a baker of cultivated mind, and whose learning
had reached the fourth class. Eat, puss, eat, continued
he," stooping to caress Mowmouth; "swallow as many
mice as you can, there will still be too many remaining."
The cat took advantage of this permission. After he
AND HER CAT.
had appeased his appetite, he wished to withdraw and go in
search of Lady Greenford's house; but the baker prevented
Stop a bit," said he, "I wanted a good cat; and as
Qd has sent me one, I should never forgive myself were
I to let him go. Hollo, Jamese close up every opening,
and if the rogue tries to make off, give him three or four
blows with the broom."
Thus it happened that Mowmouth's host became his
tyrant: so true it is that personal interest will deprave and
corrupt the best natures. Our cat, as if he had understood
what was doing sprang without hesitation upon the shoul-
ders of the jolp.heyman, and thence into the public way.
A new dange, 'however, presented itself: startled by this
sudden apparition, a huge bull-dog couched before him.
Mowmouth would have gladly avoided so disproportioned
a struggle; but the dogs eyes were riveted upon him: he
wated every move; turned with Mowmouth frt to the
right and then to the left, and growled in a threat
veae. Both stood still upon the watch: the bull-Aog wit
THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL
his paws stretched out, his teeth closed, his body drawn
back: the cat with his mouth open, his back erect, his head
down and projecting. Neither seemed inclined to commence
hostilities. At length the dog rushed upon his adversary;
but the latter adroitly turned aside, leaped over him, and
fled along the bank of the river. The bull-dog hurried in
pursuit: away they ran, darting through the crowd, and
gliding between the carriages; while all the stray dogs
they encountered instinctively joined in the pursuit, so that
in a minute or two the unhappy Mowmouth had between
twenty and thirty of them at his heels.
"I am undone," said he; "but at least I will sell my
He stood with his back to the wall and assumed a look
of dance: gnashing his teeth, his hair on end, he looked
upon his numerous enemies with an eye so menacing that
al drew back with one accord. Taking advantage of their
perplexity, Mowmouth wheeled suddenly about, and sped
AND HEI CAT.
up a wall. He was now beyond the reach of the dogs, but
was not yet out of danger: if he did but slip, if his strength
forsook him, if the plaster of the wall should give way
beneath his claws, behold there were twenty open mouths
hungering for their prey, and ready to mangle him the
minute he fell.
Meanwhile Dame Mitchell had spent the night in tears
and sobs: she could not be comforted for the loss of Mow-
mouth; she was for ever calling on him in a voice of
lamentation; and (if the old song may be relied on) she
was heard to cry from the window, "Who will restore him
The next day, at the first blush of morning, the trea-
cherous Sharpphiz appeared before Dame Mitchell, and
said to her, "Well, my dear fellow-servant, have you
"No, alas!" muttered she: "have you any tidings
respecting him ?"
"Nothing certain," returned the butler, who only
wanted to tease the poor woman; "but I dreamt about
him the whole night. I saw him in my dream, pale and
wan, like a cat in very bad health."
"Where was it you saw him?"
"I fancied he was in a garden, at the foot of a lilao-
On hearing this Dame Mitchell ran out into the garden,
where, as you may guess, she did not find her missing
favourite. The whole of that day Sharpphiz took pleasure
in deluding her with false expectations, which were of course
only followed by disappointments, which became more and
more bitter every time.
"Dame Mitchell," said he to her, "just now, a I was
passing by the pantry door, I thought I heard the mewing
of a cat."
Dame Mitchell hastened into the pantry, but saw no
thing of her favourite.
THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL
Another time he came up to her out of breath, and ex-
claimed, At length we have caught himl I am all but
certain he is groping about in the cellar."
And then the credulous dame would venture into the
dark vaults of the cellar, where nothing but rate were to be
As it was growing dusk, Sharpphiz began to hum the
words which have been transmitted to us i the following
Dame Mitchell make haste,
I have found out your cat:
He is up in the garret,
Giving chase to a rat;
With his sword in his paw,
And his gun made of straw."
There was a cruel mockery in these words. For to
sert that Mowmouth was hunting the rats with a sword
and a gun made of straw, was alleging a thing altogether
AND HER CAT.
improbable. But Dame Mitchell's grief and anxiety had
so greatly disturbed her, that she sought for any thing to
feed her hopes.
"In the garret, is he?" cried the dame, without no-
ticing the rest of the sentence. Let us go, my dear sir,
let us go there and look for him. Let me lean on your
arm, for I am so perplexed, so disconcerted, and so spent
with fatigue, that I have not strength enough left to go
They both bent their way to the garret, and Dame
Mitchell, with a lantern in her hand, went through and
rummaged every attic. But no living creature was to be
"You have been mistaken once more," muttered the
Not so, not so," answered the wicked butler; "let us
continue the search, and we shall fnd him at last: I know
we shall. We have not looked in that nook yonder, behind
the wood bundles."
The credulous damewent up
to the spot pointed out to her,
and, to the utter amazement of
the deceitful Sharpphiz, the
cat, whom he thought he had
drowned, lay there alive and
hearty, and his eyes gleamed
with indignation at his foe.
"It is he, it is he, indeed!" cried Dame Mitchell, in
ecstasy, as she caught up Mowmouth in her arms. Oh I
my dear, dear Mster Sharpphi I my good and trusty
friend, how thankful I am that you brought me here I"
The surly butler was not much gratified with these
prise, which he felt he did not deserve. Pale, shivering,
rooted to the spot where he was standing, he hung down
his head in the presence of his victim, thus unacountably
toured to life. And yet there was no wonder in it:
89 TH HISTORY OF DAMW MITCHELL AND HER CAT.
Mowmouth, hunted by lhe dogs, had climbed over a wall,
and leaping along from street to street, from garden to gar-
den, from one house-top to another, had at last made his way
home; and, fearing the implacable resentment of his deadly
foe, he had dreaded to show himself, but lay skulking in
DAMI MITCRHLL'I CAT BAIFLES HIS ENEMY.
OVERJOYED at the recovery of her charge, and fearing
she might be again deprived of Mowmouth; and of the
benefits she anticipated to derive from her care of him,
Dame Mitchell became still more attentive and watchfuL
Mowmouth, on his part, knowing the man he had to deal
with, determined to shun the butler, or, if needs were, to
eight him with teeth and claws. As for Daddy SharppQ
it wa enough for him to know his designs h d been wu-
strated to make him persist in them; and he now desired the
rn of poor, innocent Mowmouth, not out of mere jealousy
to Dame Mitchell, but out of enmity to the cat himself.
Oh, intolerable vexation!" cried he, in a bitter tone;
I ought to hide myself in a desert, or bury myself in the
bowels of the earth! What, 11 Jeremy Sharpphiz, a ma-
ture man, a man of learning and experience, and, I may ven-
ture to my, a delightful companion, am overcome, bafed,
and duped by a ptitil cat I I left him at the bottom of
the river, and found him afterwards at the top of the houe.
I wanted to sever him from his protectreas, andhave onl
strenthened their attachment. I carried
to theja ret to torment her, instead of which I.hd to wit-
neM ir delight. The at I believed to e MA d Ls ap
88 THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL
peared again to flout me. But he shall soon cease to brave
me." And then Daddy Sharpphiz sunk into a fit of deep
and gloomy meditation.
Mowmouth had not yet
dined, and he strove, by
expressive mewings, to sig-
nify that he should be glad
of some refreshment. Dame
Mitchell immediately said
to him(for she used to speak
to him as to a rationalcrea-
Have patience, sir, you
shall be attended to di-
She went down to the
drawing-room, where she ,
generally sat since Lady
Greenford's departure: and the cat, who followed her, was
manifestly disappointed on seeing her go towards Sharp-
hi's apartment. Neverthelys, he entered it along with
he4 being persuaded that, in the presence of so faithful a
friend, the butler durst not attempt any new treason.
When she knocked at the door, Daddy Sharpphiz had
st taken up a piece of green paper inscribed with this
--i..: -- ~- .
AND HER CAT.
"That's the thing for me," said he, putting the paper
in his pocket; ratsbane must also be cattbane, and our
loving Mowmouth shall prove it."
"What can I do for you, worthy Dame Mitchell?"
"It is five o'clock, Mr. Sharpphiz, and you are for-
getting my cat."
I, forget him I" exclaimed the butler, joining his hands,
as if he felt grieved by the remark: "I was this moment
thinking of hmn. I am going to make him such a nice de-
licious pie that he will long for it every day."
Thank you, Mr. Sharpphiz; I shall not fail to inform
the countess of your attention to her favourite. I have
received a letter from
her this very day: she
% f2)amy ^/ *tells me that she will
( ell c/iV shortly return home,
S that se trusts to fnd
el Ja y /Q dd. Mowmouth in good
case, and that she
de~a. means to give me a
You will readily con-
ceive my delight, Mr. Sharpphiz. My sister is left a widow
with four children to bring up, to whom I send every year
all my little savings; hitherto this assistance has been very
trifling, but now, thanks to the Countess's presents, these
poor children may be sent to school and afterwards put to
learn a good trade."
As she spoke, Dame Mitchell's eyes glistened with joy
through her tears, for she felt the delight which springs
from the contemplation of good deeds. But the wicked
butler was not moved. He had so fully resigned himself
to his evil passions that they completely enslavqdhim, and
smothered by degrees every good feeling, as the foul tares
if allowed to grow, stifle the wholesome corn.
One would have thought that Mowmouth understood
40 THE HISTORY Of DAMN MITCHELL
what this man said; for he crawled up to the place where
Dame Mitchell had sat down to chat for a while, and, after
entreating her with his looks, began to pull her by the
gown, as much as to may, "Let us go away from here."
"Take care I" said the excellent dame, "you will tear
But Mowmouth repeated the action.
"Do you want to go out?" resumed the dame.
Mowmouth capered briskly.
"Positively," added she, "this cat is never at his ease
out of the drawing-room."
So she got up and left the room: Mowmouth leading
the way and jumping for joy.
A quarter of an hour later, the butler had prepared a
most savoury pie, made of poultry, the best whit6 bread,
and other ingredients, deservedly esteemed by gourmands.
After having intiodueed
a large dose of ratbase,
he set it down in the ante-
chamber to the drawing-
room, and, throwing open
the door, he cried out,-
"Sire your dinner is
On beholding this deli
eate fare, Mowmoaih
trembled with delight,
for confess it we mva
he was something of a
_y _IU~ ----r*--l~rr--~*uy_
AND MRs ATc. 41
iinty fbeder. He stntad out his nse towardathe
3ut the moment after he drew it sway with an *reot bk;
or a moet noxious and villanous mell ad penetrat hi
oostrila. He walked round the pkte, smelt it again, sd
thn again drew away front it. The agadiou ar al bha
onelt the pojion.
"How ainglar this is a.d Dameitehhll; s4 aa r
winly offering he plat to her eat, a b wet to look f
Sharpphi, to tell him what she had see The tmiter
heard her with suppressed vexation.
"What!" mid he, "did he refuse to ett? In that
cas, I suppose, he was not hungry."
I oppose e too, Mr. Sh hi, for your pie loha a
splendid one; I should not d it rmysf; sma I m
almost tempted to taste it, to set Mowmouth an empil."
Whain Dmddy 6i7
phis haud this obseo
vatib, a spite of big
boardaes, d bar, bhe
could not help dshd
deuing. For a me
ment he shrunk with
horror from his crime,
and he said, eagerly,
to the worthydame,-
J j "For Heavem s sake
"And why so, pray? Is there any thing unvhlsome
in the pie?"
'No, of coune not," stammered Daddy 3aW~
"butfood for a catis not food fora Cistian. We t al
keep our places, and not debase the dignity nhumn
Dame Mitbell yielded to this reasoning, and sda with
"We, welet Mowmouth do so be lMM i I woot
THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL
submit to all his whims and fancies; I shall give him
The next day the pasty was still untouched. The but-
ler had hoped that hunger would have urged the cat to
feast upon the poisoned food, but Mowmouth knew how to
bear misfortune; so he endured abstinence, and lived upon
scrape and dry crusts, and shrunk with dismay every time
his guardian presented to him the fatal dish, which was at
last forgotten and put away in a corner of a cupboard in
Daddy Sharpphiz waxed very wrath when he saw that
his plot had not succeeded. His wish to get rid of Mow-
mouth became quite a mania: he thought of it by day and
by night. Every letter received from Lady Greenford, in
which she inquired about the cat, and renewed her promise
of rewarding Dame Mitchell, only served to goad on the
blind fury of their enemy. He devised the most villanous
schemes to encompass the death of Mowmouth without im-
plicating himself, but none of them appeared to him to be
so sure in their effects as he wished. At length, however,
he resolved on this one:-
In Dame Mitchell's room stood a marble
bust of the Great Duke of Marlbo-
rough, which represented him in a
Roman cuirass and a wig interwoven
with laurels. Behind this bust was an
oval window which gave light to a
staircase, and exactly beneath it, in
Dame Mitchell's room, lay the soft
cushion which was Mowmouth's bed,
so that the bust would be certain to
smash him, if the bust could only con-
S trive to fall of itself.
So, one evening, Daddy Sharpphiz
S stole, without making the least noise,
ato Dame Mitfhel's chamber, opened the oval window,
AND HER CAT.
taking care not to shut it to again, and then as softly with-
drew. At midnight, when the whole of the domestics were
asleep, he took his stand on the staircase, facing the oval
window, and leaned heavily back against the banisters,
and with the help of a long broom, pushed the bust over,
which fell down upon the cushion with a terrific crash.
The wicked man had foreseen the effect of this manenuvre:
it was the signal of his triumph, and Mowmouth's death.
Nevertheless, when he heard the bust roll upon the floor,
he was seized with a panic, and fled back in terror to his
Dame Mitchell had started up in bed, out of her deep t
she was in utter darkness and could get no light; for in those
days they had not the advantage of our modern lueifers.
At first her surprise and affright were so great, that dhe
could not collect her senses; but se soon began to cry outp
"Thieves! thieveal" as loud as she could bawl The whole
house was roused in a trice, and all the servants came rua,
aijgOn to know what was the matter. Sharpphia ate
THE HISTORY OF DAMN MITCHELL
lst of ll, with a long cotton nightcap
altogether in a very elegant nightgear.
on his head, and
"What has been going on?" he aced.
"I see it now," replied.the housekeeper; "it is the
but of the Great Duke of Marlborough which has fallen
"Psha!" mid Daddy Sharpphiz, feigning astonishment;
"but, if so, your at mst have been struck on the head by
But, as he uttered this speech, Mowmoath crept fre
uer the bed, and sprag up to Dame Mitchel for p
section. The butler was tmdertruk.
AWD iKE CAT. 4
Every body knows how light is the sleep of a at: Mow-
mouth, whose custom was to seep with one eye at a time,
had got up at once on hearing a noise behind the oval; like
most animals he was inquisitive, and tried to find out what-
ever asteoihed him. He therefore stationed himself i the
middle of the room, the better to observe what could be the
reason why a long broom should enter at that late hour,
and by so strange a channel. Frightened by the fall of the
bust, he ran under the bed to a place of refuge.
They gave Dame Mitchell a glass of water, with some-
thing else in it, to restore her spirits; they kicked up the
great warrior, who had broken both his nos and inB, and
had lost half his wig in the fray; uad then e y went
back to bed cw 11. .
wml always mpe me I uppoe I hi aot e e hto
send him to sleep with hi- forefrths befe my lady e-
turs. Dme Mitbell will have the pension of one hundred
46 THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL AND HER CAT.
pounds, whilst I shall continue as poor as Job. That
abominable cat distrusts me; whatever I myself attempt
against him is doomed to mioarry :-poeitively I must have
ilg -:!b 77L
HOW DADDY SHAKRPPHI IMPARTED HIS VILLANOUS DSCIOIN TO
80 then Daddy Sharpphiz began to look about him foi
an accomplice. His frst thought had been to choose him
among the servants of the household; but he reflected that
they were all of them on the best terms with Dame Mit-
chell, that they might sell him, and have him ignominiously
expelled from a mansion in which he filled so honourable
and lucrative a poet; and yet he wanted an accomplice:
From what rank ought he to choose him? what should be
his age? and on what terms
ought he to agree with him?
SBrooding over these thoughts,
the butler went out one morn-
Sing, about half-past six o'clock,
to saunter along the river-side.
As soon as he had passed the
doorway, he remarked, on the
Opposite side of the street, a tall
rawboned woman, clad in a dress
of showy colours. This o
woman had hollow eyes, a yellow, tawny skin, a nose peked
like a parrot's, and a face all covered with wrinkles. She'was
THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL
talking to a lad of fourteen, or thereabout, whose clothes were
in tatters, but whose countenance was open and sprightly.
Daddy Sharpphiz thought he remembered this funny old
woman, though he could not tell where he had seen her.
If he had been less moody and thoughtful, he would have
taken more time to recollect, but his wish to do away with
the cat completely occupied his attention; so he went along,
with heavy brow, his head bent down, his arms crossed over
his breast, and his eyes fixed towards the earth, as if he
expected the wished-for accomplice to rise up before him.
He wandered along in this state for some time, and so much
had his evil passions inflamed him, that the morning breeze
fanned him without cooling his blood; nor could the sight
of the clear blue sky. or the singing of the birds, as they
chased one another along the banks of the stream, awaken
in him those calm and tender feelings, with which all good
people are inspired at the dawn of day.
When he returned, the old woman was gone; but her
juvenile companion was still at the same spot, sitting on a
post, and seemed to be scanning Lady Greenford's mansion
with steadfast attention. Sharpphiz went up to him, and
addressed him in these terms:-
"What are you doing there, my lad?"
Nothing at all; I am looking at that house."
"Tlat I could have told you; but why do you look
Because I think it very grand, and should like to live
in it; how happy one must be inside of it !"
Why, ye, replied the butler, emphatically; "people
dolive there very comfortably. Who was that woman you
were speaking to just now ?"
"It was Mrs Crustychin."
Mr. Crustychin, the famous fortune-teller, who lives
under.at the other endf tihe street?"
The very same."
"Do you know her?"
AND aln or.
"I should think I did I I run on errands for her."
"Indeed. Pray what did the old woman ay to you?"
She told me, if I could enter the mansion a a servet,
I should lead a pleasant life."
"Lady Greenford is from home, my man; and her
establishment is quite complete."
What a pity!" replied the lad, sighing deeply.
Sharpphiz went on a step or two, as if to go in, put hi
hand to the knocker, and thenturned round and walked
back to the boy.
"What's your name?"
Nicholas; after my father: but I am anwe frequealy
oaded by the nickname of Cranky."
What trade do you follow?"
As yet I have none: my father works on the .rivr;
a for me, I live how I cn, from hand to anouh. l ran
oa errands; I catch birds and sell them; Igik.iq,,r~ty
THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL
nails out of the gutters and sell them to the storekeepers; I
hold gentlemen horses, and open the doors of hackney
coaches; sometimes I play dummy in the booths at a fair;
A: ;0. .
at others, act the character of Jack the lamplighter; and
now and then I sing a sea song to amuse the sailors.
But all these trades, sir, put together, are not worth one
honest calling, and I find it hardrto get bread every day."
"I feel for you," replied Dady Sharpphiz, and I am
almost inclined to give you an opportunity of doing well.
Tell me, Crankey, have you a taste for cookery?"
"Egadl I am fond of eating and drinking; but my
means are too limited to indulge my taste."
"I don't want to know, you booby, if you like good
living I merely ask you if you have any skill in cookery."
"I have never triedmy mand at it."
"Well, Crankey, I willinstruct you: come, follow me: I
will feed and clothe you at my own expense until the arrival
of Lady Greenford. She s a good-natured woman, and
Will most likely keep you; but, if she should not, your
AND HER CAT.
education will have been partly begun, and you may get
another place elsewhere."
Do you belong to the establishment of the oountem ?"
"I am her butler," said Daddy Sharpphiz, haughtily.
The lad's eyes sparkled with joy;
he bowed very low to the butler,
and said with delight, "Oh, sir,
how grateful do I feel!"
Nicholas was installed the same day,
and heartily welcomed by the other
servants He was a spruce, lively
boy, good-humoured, active, and
serviceable; and, although he felt awkward in his new
livery and new offle, he showed a great d"l of willingness
Nicholas," said the butler, a few days after, to his new
THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL
friend, "it is well for you to know the house. There is in
this*house a powerful favourite who rules like a sovereign,
whose will is law, whose whims must be obeyed-and that
favourite is a cat. If you wish to be in the good books of
the whole household, you must try to please Mowmouth;
and if the cat, Mowmouth, honours you with his countenance,
you may depend upon winning the favour both of Lady
Greenford and her housekeeper, Dame Mitchell."
"The cat shall be my friend, and I will be the cat's
friend," returned the young fellow, with assurance.
And truly, after this hint, he loaded Mowmouth with so
much attention, caresses, and good offices, that the latter,
though distrustful by nature, conceived a lively attachment
to Nicholas; he would follow him with pleasure, look
kindly upon him, and invite him by his gambols to play.
Dame Mitchell was almost jealous of the young lad; whilst
Daddy Sharpphiz, who had his end in view, laughed in his
sleeve, and rubbed his hands with glee.
One evening he called Nicholas into his room, and
carefully shdt the door, after looking to see that there
were no eaves-droppers. "Mowmouth is your friend," said
he to him; "you have followed my instructions to the
I am likely to stop, am I not?" asked the lad.
Very likely; are you happy in your place."
Perfectly so; for I who used to live on dry amd
AND HER CAT.
bread, have now got my four meals a day; I used to wear
a dirty smock-frock full of holes, and breeches full of patches,
and now I am dressed like a prince; I don't suffer from the
cold, and instead of sleeping in the open air, I have an ex-
cellent bed to lie in, in which I dream of gingerbread and
Daddy Sharpphiz leant his chin on his right hand, and
looked full in the boy's face, as he replied; And suppose,
now, you were obliged to go back to the vagabond life I took
"I think I should die of grief, if I was."
"And you would do any thing to keep your present
"I would do any thing."
Any thing, without exception?"
"Well, this is what I command you to do. Mowmouth
follows you every where; to-morrow you shall entice him
into the garden, at nightfall; you shall put him into a bag
which I have made for i he purpose, you shall pull up the
strings of the bag-
"And then?" said Nicholas, beginning to state.
A-- i., ..^~ iL. --*-*
THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL
We will each take a stick, and beat the bag until we
have killed the beast."
"Never never!" cried the
poor lad, whose hair stood on
end with fright.
"Then tie up your things
and go about your business;
I discharge you."
"You turn me away!" cried
young Nicholas, lifting his
hands towards heaven.
S"I will not even allow you
five minutes' warning to be
off; you depend upon me in this house, on me alone I"
The unfortunate Nicholas began to cry, and the butler
added in a fierce voice; "Come, make no faces I pull off
your clothes, put on your tatters, and be off."
After this speech, Sharpphiz took down from a cupboard
the miserable rags that Nicholas had on the day he entered
his place; he held them disdainfully between his finger and
thumb, and threw them on the floor. The lad looked with
a heavy heart at the clothes he then wore, compared them
with his old ones, and as the comparison was not in their
favour, he sobbed aloud. Still he was resolved not to
purchase his finery at the price of a murder, and by a
treacherous act. He took off his coat, and his waiooat,
AND HER CAT.
without faltering; but, at the thought of relinquishing his
new shoes, to go barefooted, as formerly, over roads of
gravel and broken glss, the unhappy Nicholas could not
help hesitating a little, and Daddy Sarpphiz, who narrowly
watched him, availed himself like a consummate diplomatist
of the circumstance.
"Blockhead!* said he, "you reject the opportunity of
being happy, when your happiness can be secured at so easy
a rate. If I spoke to you of killing a man, I could under-
stand I could approve of your scruples; but I simply ask
you to destroy a cat, a pitiful cat I Why should you shrink
from it ? What is a cat ? Nothing! less than nothing. Nobody
sets any value on a cat; the pie-men cook them, and serve
them up to their customers, the most renowned physicians
try their experiments upon them, and kill them by hun-
dreds. So little are they valued, that when one of them
gives birth to seven or eight kittens only one is kept, and
the rest flung into the river."
"But Mowmouth is grown up, Mowmouth is reared
and bred," said Nicholas, sadly; "and, what's more than
all, I love him."
You love him! you dare to love him I" cried the but-
ler, with immoderate rage. Well, for my part, I hate
him; and he shall diel"
"But what has he done to you?"
"Never mind; I say he shall die! That's enough."
"Forgive him," cried Nicholas; falling down upon his
knees before the unrelenting Sharpphiz.
"I will not forgive him," answered the butler, snarl-
ingly. "I will not forgive either him or you. Come,
go; be off this instant I It rains in torrents: you will be
soaked with wet, and die of cold this night-so much the
better! Ah you love Mowmouthl Doyou?"
A fierce and heavy rain, mingled with hail, was heard
to beat against the window frames of the room, and the
wind began to howl along the galleries of the man-
50 THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL AND HER CAT.
sion. Poor Nicholas bethought him of the cold he was
about to suffer, the privations which awaited him, the
smallness of his means, the largeness of his appetite, and
how painful it was to lie all the long night under the bleak
arches of a bridge. Evil thoughts seized him, as he mut-
tered to himself the words of Daddy Sharpphiz: What
is a cat?"
"Mr. Sharpphiz," said he, still weeping, do not turn
me away; I will do whatever you bid me.
To-morrow, at the hqur of twi-
light, you must entice Mow-
mouth into the garden."
"Yes, Mr. Sharpphiz."
"You must then put him into
Yes, Mr. Sharpphiz."
And strike when I strike."
The reply to this last injunction
did not come spontaneously.
Nicholas changed colour, his legs sunk beneath him; at
length he bent his head, and letting one of his arms fall
straight by the side of his body, he stammered out, in a low,
Yes, Mr. Sharpphiz."
HOW DADDY SHARPIHII It RAISED TO TBS RIGHT OF HUMAN BLISS, AND
DAME MITCHBLL'S CAT FALLS INTO THB LOWEST DEPTH OF MISIEY.
SHARPPHIZ had fixed upon the morrow to put an end
to the existence of Mowmouth, because he knew it was the
day on which Dame Mitchell would be going to carry her
savings to the coach-office for her sister.
Nicholas had been very dejected during the entire day,
and when the fatal hour had arrived, his misgivings of the
previous day again assailed him. When Dame Mitchell
said to him, before she went out:-" Watch over Mow-
mouth, I leave him to your care, and play with him, to
keep up his spirited whilst I am away;" the worthy lad felt
his heart sink within him, and his native honesty rebelled.
Come, there is not a moment to be lost," said Daddy
Sharpphiz, "here's the bag; go you, and look for the at."
Nicholas once more entreated the butler to be merciful:
he was eloquent, there was grief even in his voice, he de
livered a most moving address, but without gaining his
cause. The monster was implacable, and repeated his
threats; nothing les than the cat's death would satify
him; and Nicholas, subdued by the spirit of evil, was
forced to obey.
Mowmouth was accordingly enticed into the arden;
he followed his perfidious friend with as much reiance as
the lamb follows the butcher, and, when least he expected
THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL
the trick, he found himself immured in the bag which
was meant to be his
who had hid himself,
armed with two
enormous clubs, one
of which he offered
his accomplice; and,
then seizing the bag,
he cried out,"Come! -
now to work, and
give no quarter."
Nicholas did not
hear him-he was
quite bewildered: his haggard eyes rolled in their sockets,
his face was deadly pale, his mouth open, his arm unnerved.
Daddy Sharpphiz, stimulated by the hope of immediate
vengeance, did not notice his companion; but throwing down
the bgon the ground, he raised his stick, and was about
itl y it lustily, when the small garden-door was opened.
S ed interruption muttered he. "Nicholas, hide
in the thicket; I will join you directly;" and
going up to the person who had just entered the gar-
den, he was petrified to behold Dame Mitchell. At first
he fancied she had been led to return by some fleeting
suspicion, or instinctive presentiment; but her first word
set his mind at rest on that score.
"I am obliged to put off my walk, for I have just
described Lady Greenford's carriage; it is obliged to go a
roundabout way, on account of the mending of the road,
and I have managed to get here before her, by coming in
through the little gate. Come, Mr. Sharph; come, as
fast as you can, to meet our good mistress.
"I will follow you directIT, madam," said the butler;
then using his hand a speaking trumpet, he cried out to
Nicholas, Strike on yurelfl strike till the cat has
AND HER CAT.
oeased to move and thereupon he overtook Dame Mit-
chell in the front-yard, where all the servants had already
fallen into line, like a well-disciplined battalion.
On alighting from her carriage Lady Greenford ho-
noured her servants with a look of kindness, embraced her
housekeeper with touching familiarity, and inquired after
Your favourite is quite well," sid Dame Mitchell,
he grows perceptibly fat and handsome every day; but
one may say, without stretching the truth, that his moral
qualities are even superior to his physical advantages."
Poor thing if he did not love me, he would be
an ungrateful monster; for since our separation I have
thought of him perpetually. Death has bereaved me of
many creatures whom I cherished, but Mowmouth shall
live to comfort my old age."
As soon as the Countess had given the orders eonse-
quent upon her arrival, she requested Dame Mitchell to
bring Mowmouth to her. The latter replied, "He will be
deligted to ee you again, madam; he i now in the gar-
de, under the care of Nicholas, a young lad whom the
60 THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL AND HER CAT.
butler thought fit to engage: the rogue and the cat have
become two intimate friends."
The housekeeper then went to the garden, and found Ni-
cholas by himself, sitting on a bench, and peeling, with a look
of abtraction, a branch of box-tree which he had in his hand.
My lad," said she, the Countess desires you to take
Mowmouth to her."
"Mowmouth!" stammered out Nicholas, shuddering at
the sound of that name, as if he had been stung by a wasp.
"Yes, Mowmouth; I thought he was with you."
He has just Ilt me; some people who wv pawsing
by made a nose whh ffttened him, and he ran off and
took shelter h the *ubber."
Dame Mitchell sent half an hour c in running
about the garden, and then returned-& Lar y Greenford,
and sid to her, Mowmouth is absent for the moment,
my lady, but don't be uneasy; he left us once before, and
we found him again in the garret."
Let him be sought for directly I I will not wait; I
must see him at once.
Alas! the wish could hardly be gratified, if we might
trust to the words which were exchanged, in the dark,
between Sharpphiz and his accomplice.
"Well, did you strike?"
Yes, Mr. Sharp-
phis, I struck till tliecat
left off stirring."
"What have you
done with the body?"
"I threw it into the
"Was he really
He no longer moved."
Bedes, the bag was tightly drawn," said the butler:
"justice is done I"
DAME MITCHELL LOOKING FOR HER CAT.
SEVERAL days passed away in painful suspense; but,
like the great General Marlborough, the cat did not return.
The despair of Lady Greenford was deep-seated. She con-
stantly caned to mind her
Mowmouth's pretty ways, his
good nature, his attachment
to her, his superior intelli-
gence. Generous in her mis-
fortune, she did not reproach
Dame Mitchell; but rather
sought to appease the poor
woman, who was overwhelmed
S with grief. She said to her
one evening, "How can you help an irresistible misfortune ?
We must submit to the decrees of Providence."
"I am of your opinion," replied Dame Mitchell; "if I
believed, like you, that Mowmouth was dead, I would
resign myself without a murmur to his loes; but I think
he is still living: I fancy him wandering about the town,
exposed to all manner of ill-treatment, and to the sauce-
pans of a host of cruel persecutors."
"Go, go, you only deceive yourself; Mowma t is dead,
or he would have come back to us by this time."
THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL
"Something convinces me he is still living; and, if
your ladyship were only to apply-"
"To whom ?"
To our neighbour, Mrs. Crustychin, the famous for-
tune-teller, who predicts what is to happen in the future,
draws the cards, removes freckles from the face, reads the
book of fate, and cures the toothach."
Fie, fie, Dame Mitchell I Can you, who are a woman
of sense, place any reliance on the tricks of an impostor?"
"But, my lady, I am not the only one; the greatest
lords and ladies visit Mrs. Crustychin: she is more learned
and not so dear as other fortune-tellers, and, for the small
sum of ten shillings, will show young girls the faces of their
"That's enough, that's enough," replied the Countess,
drily. Dame Mitchell held her tongue; but her mind was
made up, and as soon as she had a moment to spare, she ran
off to the house of Mrs. Crustychin, whom she found in a
spacious apartment richly furnished, for she gained a great
deal of money by cheating the public: black velvet hang-
ings, dotted with tinsel stars, covered the walls; and in the
middle of the room stood a square table, on which were
placed several obelisks, made of painted tin; bottles, con-
. _ _A~kb -w,__
AND HER CAT.
tainig various reptiles, preserved in spirit.; and numerous
chemical instruments; the very uses of which were unknown
to the sorceress, but which she had placed there to impose
upon the weak people by whom she was consulted. She at
first exhibited some little embarrassment at the sight of
Dame Mitchell; but after shutting a glass-door which led
into another room, she returned to receive her new client,
and said to her with a solemn voice,
"What is it you wish for ?"
"To inquire mto the pst, the present, and the future."
I can satisfy your wishes," replied Mrs. Crustychin,
"but you seek after high game, and that will cost you three
"Here they are; and I willingly give them."
Mrs. Crustychin pocketed the money, not without a
twinge or two of regret that she had not asked a good deal
more, and thus began:
Tell me the month, and the day of your birth?"
"The 24th of May, 1698."
Tell me the first letters of your Christian name, sur-
name, and native place."
"A, M, I, L, S."
Dame Mitchell was called Amelia Rachel, and had been
twelve years the widow of Francis Mitchell, a butter-taster
in London; and was born at Houghton-le-Spring.
SWhich is your favourite lower ?"
After these customary questions, the fortune-teller
examined some coffee-grounds m a saucer, and said, "Phal-
darus, genius of occult science, informs me that you are in
quest of a being that you dearly love."
Dame Mitchell started in her seat with surprise. Mrs.
Crustychin continued: "This being is not a man; it is a
quadruped, and either a dog or a cat;-and a spirit reveals
to me that it is a cat."
Dame Mitchell grew more and more satisfied; and the
THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL
fortune-teller, without giving her time to recover herself,
took up a pack of cards, shufled them, had them cut three
several times, set the table in symmetrical order, and gravely
Your cat is the knave of clubs; let us see what he is
after. One, two, three, four; the ten of spades! He is a
rover, and fond of travelling; he sets out at night to see
the lions of London. One, two, three, four; the queen of
spades! This is a woman who makes ermine furs out of
catskins! One, two, three, four; the knave of spades!
This is a rag merchant. One, two, three, four; the king
of spades! This is a pieman. The meeting of these three
persons terrifies me.
e, two, three, four;
clubs! One, two, three,
four; clubs again! One,
two, three, four; more
clubs I Your cat will
make money for these '
three persons: the rag-
merchant wants to kill
him, to sell his skin to >
the furrier, and his body
to the pieman, who will serve him up to his customers
as very nice tender veal Now let us see whether your
cat will be able to elude his persecutors? One, two, three,
four; seven of spades! Alas, it's all over, madam, your
poor cat is no more !"
"The cannibals have eaten him!" exclaimed Dame
Mitchell, thunderstruck by this revelation, and she heard
in her fancy a doleful mewing, the last cry of agony uttered
by Mowmouth; but it was no illusion this time: a cat had
really mewed, and was still mewing in the adjoining room.
A pane in the glase-door was suddenly burst in and shat-
tered to pieces, and Mowmouth in person fell at Dame
AND HER CAT. 68
From the top of a cupboard he had caught sight of his
affectionate guardian, had called upon her several times;
and, as she did not answer
him, in his delirium he had
sprung against the door,
through which he had just
forced his way.
"What! my cat was
here all the while!" said
Dame Mitchell; ou
must have stolen him!
But my mistress is power-
fil; my mistress is Lady
Greenford; and she will
have you punished as you
As she vented these
threats, the housekeeper
put Mowmouth under her ann, and was leaving the room,
when Mrs. Crustychin stopped her, and said to her: "Do
not ruin me, I implore you; I did not steal the cat."
Then how does he happen to be here ?"
"I received him from a young lad named Nicholas; he
gave me this cat, which I had long coveted, and whose
singular shape, and almost supernatural manners, was
likely to make him a most triumphant assistant in cabalis-
tic conjurations. That's the whole truth; and, now I
beg of you not to injure me, through your mistress."
The Countess will act as she pleases," answered Dame
Mitchell disdainfully, and she vanished with her cat. She
made but one step from Mrs. Crustychin's to the mansion;
and seemed to have on the Ogre's seven league boots. She
went straight to the drawing-room, where she arrived puff-
ing and blowing, and not being able to speak, she held up
Mowmouth to Lady Greenford. The Countess on recog-
nising the cat, uttered a cry of joy so loud, that the whole
THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL
neighbourhood of Cheyne Walk was quite frightened from
Sharpphiz was present at this touching scene; but on
beholding the cat, he was so dumfounded, that he lost his
reason for a moment. He fancied that this cat, so often
recovered, must be a fantastic being, capable of speaking
like the beasts in fables, and he cried out with amazement
"I am undone I Mowmouth will denounce me I"
CONCLUIION.-BATIsriCTORY TO ALL, EXCBPT TUH CULPRIT.
AS son as Lady Geenford d learnt how Mowmouth
was recovered, she summoned young Nicholas to her
"I will go for him," said the butler eagerly, for he
wanted to prepare his accomplice, and was ruminating
what pretext to use.
No, stay here! you let him into the house, you shall
see him discharged, and that may teach you to be more
cautious, for the time to come, whom you set trust in."
Sharpphiz remained, and, having recovered himself after
his first sense of stupefaction, he resolved boldly to deny
the charge if Nicholas durst accuse him.
When he was ushered into the drawing-room, Nicholas
did not wait to be questioned. "My lady," said he, "the
presence of your oat explains to me why you have sent for
me here; but I am not so guilty as I appear; allow me to
"What would be the use?" replied Lady Greenfoed;
"you cannot cear yourself."
The butler now fancied he ought to brave it out, md
observed ironically: "I am curious to see by what unlikely
story this blackguard will try to impose on you;" and as he
said this slowly and measuredly, he seemed to add with hs
eyes: "If you dare to accuse me, beware!"
THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL
Undismayed by this threat, Nicholas thus began: "I
must own it, my lady, I entered this mansion with the
design of stealing your cat; the fortune-teller wanted him
to play the part of the spirit Astorath, and she had bribed
me with the promise of a silver crown-piece and a pair of
strong shoes. But I was so well treated, and Mowmouth
was so nice a cat, that I gave up my guilty design; never,
no never, should I have fulfilled it, had I not seen the
necessity of removing Mowmouth, and screening him from
the malice of an enemy, all the more dangerous because he
Whom does he allude to ?" inquired Daddy Sharpphiz.
"To you! to you, who said to me: Kill Mowmouth, or
I will turn you away. "
"II what I said sol you impudent liar Oh, Lady
Greenford, you know me too well not to distinguish between
my solemn denial and the declaration of this ungrateful
"Nicholas," said the Countess, knitting her brows,
"you have made a very grave charge; have you any proofs
to sustain it?"
AND HER CAT.
"Proofs! no, alas my lady, I have none; but I am
ready to protest to you-
"Enough," interrupted the Countess; "do not add
calumny to the crime of theft: leave my sight this instant."
Poor Nicholas wanted to be heard again; but, at a sign
from Lady Greenford, the butler seized him by the collar,
and thrust him from the door without further ceremony,
and gave him, as they went down the staircase, so good a
kicking as made him even with his dupe. v
However the sins of Daddy Sharpphiz were not to go
unpunished much longer; that very day, Dame Mitchell,
on going to clean out the cupboard in the ante-chamber, was
much astonished to find there three dead rats and mice.
She was wondering how they had died, when her eyes fell
upon the famous pie which her cat had refused to eat, and
which had been left there and forgotten. Two mice lay
dead in the very plate, so subtle and violent was the poison.
This new discovery tore away the veil which concealed the
past transgressions of Daddy Sharpphiz. Dame Mitchell,
guessing thereby that the charges of young Nicholas were
THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL
well founded, hastened to apprize Lady Greenford, who
advised her to take no notice, but send for the butler.
"Have you got any ratsbane?" said she.
"Yes, my lady, I must have some left."
"Put it in the ante-chamber then; you have not yet
thought to do so."
No, my la:ly; I did not know there were rats in that
part of the mansion."
Lady Greenford wrote to a celebrated chymist, who,
having analysed the pie, declared that it contained a pro-
digious quantity of poison. The butler's crime was now
made manifest; but fresh charges were soon raised against
him. The adventure of the two hosiers of the Strand,
Shorthoee and Cotton, had spread abroad; Nicholas heard
it related, and discovered a witness who had seen Sharpphiz
throw the cat over the bridge. The butler, confounded
and overwhelmed, did not wait to be discharged; he fed
AND HER CAT.
from the mansion, and, in order to avoid Lady Greenford's
vengeance, he embarked as a cook on board a merchant
vessel sailing for Virginia.
Some time after they heard that this vessel had been
wrecked on the coast of Newfoundland, and that the savages
had eaten Mr. Sharpphiz. The story goes on to say that
as he was breathing his last, he uttered but one name, that
of Mowmouth. But what brought that name to his guilty
mind? Was it remorse ? or was it merely the last outburst
of a hatred that nothing could appease? The story has left
this point undetermined.
Lady Greenford's health had been much impaired by
the severe shocks she had formerly experienced at the lows
of her pet animals. The tenderness and docility of Mow-
mouth might possibly have served to reconcile her to life.
But that respectable lady had reached an age when affliction
is the more bitterly felt. Dame Mitchel was grieved to
find her one morning dead in her bed; yet her face was
so placid, and bore so truly the impress of her many good
7' THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL
qualities, that she seemed only to be sleeping. She was
just entering upon her seventy-ninth year.
By her will, which was in the custody of her solicitor,
she had secured to Mowmouth and her housekeeper an
income of one hundred and twenty pounds, to revert to the
survivor in case one of the legatees should die.
Dame Mitchell retired to her sister's, whose children
she provided for, one and all. She fixed upon a pretty
little cottage at Richmond as her residence; it was situated
near the river, with a sloping lawn before it.
Nicholas, reinstated in his old situation, had atoned for
his misconduct by a long course of good behaviour. He
might have risen to a high rank as a cook, but he felt
more inclined to serve the state, and enlisted at the age of
AND HER CAT.
sixteen in a regiment of foot. He took part in the expe-
dition to Quebec, under the great General Wolfe, and was
made corporal after the capture of that city on the 13th of
September, 1759. As soon as he had obtained his dis-
charge, he returned to live with Dame Mitchell, for whom
he felt a truly filial attachment. To the stormy periods
of their lives peaceful and happy days now succeeded, the
course of which was enlivened by the growing qualities of
Our cat had, henceforward, no enemy: but, on the
contrary, won the esteem and affection of all his tribe.
His adventures had brought him into notice. Besides the
song, of which we grieve to say only two verses remain,
the poets of that age wrote in his praise a round number of
odes and epistles which have not reached posterity. The
most distinguished men of that time went to see him, and
on one occasion even His Majesty King George the Second
stopped with him for a few minutes, on his way to
Hampton Court. A great lady at court chose Mowmouth
a mate, who was both gentle and pretty, and whose paw he
gratefully accepted. He soon became a father; and this
event completed both his own happiness and that of Dame
Mitchell, for that excellent woman was delighted with the
growing progeny of her beloved cat.
Reader, you wish, perhaps, to know what afterwards
became of Mowmouth? He died! but not until he had
run a long and happy career. His eyes, as they were
about to close, were blessed with the sight of his afflicted
children and grand-children, who were grouped around his
bed. His mortal remains were not treated like those of
common cats. Dame Mitchell caused a magnificent monu-
ment of white marble to be raised to his memory. This
monument was of a colossal size; but the only record we
now possess of it, is an engraving, in the seventh volume of
the "Archbologia," which represents the figure of Mow-
mouth in a sitting posture; an article accompanying it
74 THE HISTORY OF DAME MITCHELL AND HER CAT.
informs us that, according to a custom prevailing at that
time in the sepulture of illustrious personages, they en-
graved upon the base of the tomb of Mowmouth an epitaph
which a learned professor of the University of Oxford had
composed to his honour.
N 1I~( H CA ('K V' R.
WHICH SHOWS HOW THB AUTHOR WAS FORCED TO RELATE TBH HISTORY
OF THE NUT-CRACKER Or MUREMBIEG.
THERE was a juvenile party at the house of my friend
Lord M---- ; and I had helped to add to the number
and noise of the company by taking my little daughter.
It is true that in half an hour, during which I joined in
four or five games of blind-man's buff, hot cockles, and hunt
the slipper-in spite of the noise which was made by a.
couple of dozen of delightful little rogues of from eight to
ten years old, and who seemed to try which would talk the
loudest-I slipt out of the drawing-room, and sought a
certain snug parlour which I knew, and where I hoped to
enjoy a little peace for an hour or so. I
I had effected my retreat with as much skill as success
escaping not only without being perceived by the juvenile
guests, which was not very difficult, considering how intent
they were upon their games, but also unnoticed by their
parents, which was not so easy a matter. I had reached the
wished-for parlour, when I observed, on entering it, that it
was for the moment converted into a supper-room, the side.
boards being heaped up with confectionery and other re-
freshments. Now as these appearances seemed. to pimaij
that I should not be disturbed until supper-time, I threw
myself into a comfortable arm-chair, quite delighted wits
the idea that I was about to enjoy an hour's peace after the
dreadful noise which had deafened me in the drawing-room.
I don't know exactly how it was, but at the end of about
ten minutes I fell fast asleep.
I cannot say how long I had thus lost all knowledge of
what was passing around, when I was suddenly aroused by
loud peals of laughter. I opened my eyes in terror, and
saw nothing but the beautifully-painted ceiling over my
head. Then I tried to get up; but the attempt was useless,
for I was fastened to my chair as firmly as Gulliver was on
the shore of Lilliput.
I immediately understood in what a scrape I had got
myself: I had been surprised in the enemy's country, and
was a prisoner of war.
The best thing for me to do in such a case was to put a
good face upon the matter, and treat for my liberty.
My first proposal was to take my conquerors the very
next morning to Farrance's, and treat them to anything they
liked; but, unhappily, the moment was not well chosen for
such an offer: I was addressing myself to an audience already
well stuffed with tarts, and whose hands were filled with
My proposal was therefore refused in plain terms.
I then offered to take the entire party to Vauxhall next
evening, and amuse them with the exhibition of fire-works.
This proposal was well received by the little boys; but
the little girls would not listen to it, because they were
dreadfully afraid of fire-works: they could not endure the
noise of the crackers, and the smell of the gunpowder an-
I was about to make a third offer, when I heard a sweet
little musical voice whispering in the ears of a companion
certain words which made me tremble: "Ask paps, who
writes novels, to tell us some pretty story."
I was on the point of protesting against this; but my
voice was drowned by cries of" Oh I yes, a story-we will
have a story I"
"But, my dear children," I said, as loud as I could,
"you ask me the most difficult thing in the world. A story
indeed I Ask me to recite one of Gay's fables, or My name
is Norval,' if you will; and I may consent. But, a story I"
We don't want anything out of the 'Speaker,'" cried
the children altogether: "we want a story !"
"My dear little friends, if--"
"There's no if in the cause: we will have a story 1"
"But, my dear little friends, I sy again- "
"There is no but: we will have a story 1"
"Yes; we will have a story we will have a story "r
now echoed on all sides, and in a manner which was too
positive to object to any longer.
"Well," I said, with a sigh: if you must, you must."
"Ah I that's capital," cried my little tormentors.
"But I must tell you one thing," said I: "the story I
am about to relate is not my own."
Never mind that, so long as it amuses us."
I must confess that I was a little vexed to think that my.
audience set so light a value upon my own writings.
Whose tale is it, then, sir?" asked a pretty voice, be-
longing, no doubt, to some little being more curious than
"It is by Hoffian, miss. Have you ever heard of
"No, sir; I never heard of him."
"And what is the name of your story, sir?" asked a
young gentlemen, who, being the son of the nobleman that
gave the party, felt a right to question me.
The Nut-cracker of Nuremberg," was my answer.
"Does the title please you, my dear Henry?"
"Hem I I don't think the title promises anything par-
ticulirly fine. But, never mind; go on! If it does not
please us, we will stop you, and you must begin another;
and so on, I can tell you, until you really do fix upon a
One moment !" I exclaimed. I will not accept those
conditions. If you were grown-up persons, well and good 1"
Nevertheless, those are our conditions: if not, a prisoner
you must remain with us for ever."
"My dear Henry, you are a charming boy--well
brought up-and I shall be much surprised if you do not
some day become Prime Minister of England. Let me
go free, and I will do all you ask."
"On your word of honour?'
"On my word of honour."
At the same moment I felt the thousand threads that
held me suddenly become loose: each of the little tormentors
had set to work to untie a knot; and in half a minute I was
Now as every one must keep his word, even when it is
pledged to children, I desired my audience to sit round me;
and when the children had all placed themselves in a manner
so comfortable that I fancied they would soon fall off to sleep
ia their chairs, I began my story in the following manner.
ONCE upon a time there lived at Nuremberg, in Germany,
a jude of great respectability, and who was called Jdge
Silbehus, which means "silver-house."
This judge had a son and a daughter. The son was
nine yeas old, and was named Fritz: the daughter, who was
sevn d a half, was called Mary.
.T w'ere two beautiful children; but so different in
a&i o and features, that no one would have believed
them to be brother and sister. ..
THE HISTORY OF A NUT-CRACKER.
Fritz was a fine stout boy,
with ruddy cheeks and roguish
look. He was very impatient,
S@a$ndnm ped on Iowhen-
*ever he ed r for
he thought f eveyt& in
the world hai been made for
his amusement, or to ui his
fancy. In this huni* he
Should rei until .jadge,
annoyed his dl',and
screams, or by his stampig,
came out of his study, and,
raising his fore-finger, said with
a frown, "Master Frits I
make S ih h
that the earth would
open and swallow him
As for his mother,
it was no matter how
much or how often she
raised her fore-finger;
for Frits did not mind
her at all.
His iter Marywa, s,
on the contrary, a deli-
0alndpalehi o with
1M hair curling natur-
THE HIGOTRY 01 A NUT-CRACKEt
like a flood of golden light
upon a vase of alabaster. She
was sweet, amiable, bashful,
and kin .o aljO were in
sorrol it er dolls:
she obedient to her
and never contra-
dicted her governess, Miss
Trudchen; so that Mary was
beloved by every one.
Now, the 24th of Decem-
ber, 17..., had arrived. You
all know, my dear young
friends, that the 24th of De-
cember is called Christmas
Eve, being the day before
the one on which the Re-
deemer Jesus was born.
But I must now explain something to you. You hav
all heard, perhaps, that every country has its peulir customs;
and the best read amongst you ae are e that Nuremb
in Germany, is a town famous for its toys pupets,
playthings, of which it sports gmet
quantities to other countries. You will
admit, therefore, that the little boys
and girls of Nurember ouht to be
the happiest children in e worl
unless, indeed, they are like the i
habitants of =Otend, who aseen oelyti
delight in their oysters for the purpe
of sending then to foreign Us a*
(ermesy, beiskg 'quite a
BlR mnitty IaEngland1 has sltog im
r a- r castoas. l Eg &
Yeals Day U the gnd
tkl ing presents, so that many purmi
THE HISTORY OF A NUT-CRACKER
would be very glad if the year
always commenced with the
2nd of January. But in Ger-
many the great day for presents
is the 24tih of December, the
one preceding Christmas Day.
Moreover, in Germany, child-
ren's presents are given in a
peculiar way. A large shrub
is placed upon a table in the
drawing-room; and to all its
branches are hung the toys to
be distributed among the child-
ren. Such play-thng s a re
tohevyo he o to the shrub,
areplaed on table; and
the children are then told that
it is their guardian angel who
sends them all those pretty
Story. This is a very innocent
THS HISTORY OF A NUT-CRACLR.
deception, after all; and perhaps it can scarcely be called a
deception, because all the good things of this world e sent
to us by heaven.
I need scarcely tell you that amongst those children of
Nuremberg who received most
presents were the son and daugh-
ter of Judge Silberhaus; for
-besides their father and mother,
who doted on them, they also
had a godfather who loved them
4 dearly, and whose name was
I must describe in a few words the portrait of this illus-
trious person, who
occupied in the town
of Nuremberg as i-
tion almost as high
as that of Judge Sil-
melmayer, who was a
gr= t physics an 7d
doctor of medicine,
was by no means a
person. He was a tall
thin man, about six
feet high, but who j
eooI- very much, -
so mt, in spite of
the lent of i leg ,
he hes -- .ik
is fll, without.
His eoowa u uawrn-i
THE HISTORY OF A NUT-CRACKEL.
kled as a golden rennet that has withered and fallen from
the tree. Being blind of the right eye, he wore a black
patch; and, being entirely bald, he wore a shining and
frizzled wig, which he had made himself with spun glasses,
such as you may have seen the glas-blowers spin at the
Adelaide Gallery or Polytechnic Institution. He was, how-
ever, compelled, for fear of damaging this ingenious con-
trivance, to carry his hat under his arm. His remaming eye
was sparking and bright, and seemed not only to perform its
own duty, but that of its absent compaon, so rapidly did it
glance round any room which Godfther Droeselmayer was
desirous to scrutinize in all points, or fix itself upon any
person whose secret thoughts he wished to read.
Now, Godfather Drosselmayer, who was a learned doctor,
did not follow the example of those physicians who allow
their patients to die, but occupied his time in giving
life to dead things: I mean that, by studying the formation
of men and animals, he had gained so deep a knowledge of
the manner in which they are made, that he was able to
manufacture men who could walk, bow to each other, and go
through their exercise with a musket. He also made ladies
who danced, and played upon the harpsichord, the harp, and
the viol; dogs that ran, carried, and barked; birds that flew,
hopped, and sang; and fish that swam, and ate crumbs of
bread. He had even succeeded in making puppets and
images of Punch utter a few
words--not many, it is true,
but such as apa," "mam-
certainly harsh, and always
the same in sound; because
you can very well understand
that all this war done merely
by mean of machinery con.
cesed intlb Oa ; and o -dahanr y can ever perform
the same wonders as the beings which God has created.
TBB HISTORY OF A NUT-CRACMER. Is
Nevertheless, in spite of all difficulties, Godfather Driw
selmayer did not despair of being some day able to make real
men, real women, real dogs, rea birds, and real fish. It is
scarcely necessary to add tht his two god-children, to whom
he had promised the first proofs of his success in this line,
awaited the happy moment with great impatience.
Godfather Dro-~ elmayer, having reached te of
perfection in mechanical science, was a mo to
his friends. Thus, for instance, if a te-p
of Judge Silberhaus got out of order, in p
of the usual clock-makers-if the hands
if the tick-tick seemed to go badly-or if
would not move-Godfather Droeselmayer
sent for; and he hastened to the house as he d,
for he was a man devoted to the art of
no sooner shown the poor cock, than he iit,
took out the works, and placed them between his knees. Then,
THE HISTORY OF A NUT-CRACKER.
with his eye glittering like a carbuncle, and his wig laid upon
the floor, he drew from his pocket a number of little tools
which he had made himself, and the proper use of which he
alone knew. Choosing the most pointed one, he plunged it
into the very midst of the works, to the great alarm of little
Mary, who could not believe that the poor clock did dot suffer
from the operation. But in a short time,
when the old gentleman had touched
the works in various parts, and placed
them again in their case, or on their
stand, or between the four pillars of the
time-piece, as the case might be, the
clock soon began to revive, to tick as
loud as ever, and to strike with its shrill
clear voice at the proper time; a circum-
stance that gave new life, as it were, to
the room itself, which without it seemed a melancholy place.
Moreover, in compliance with the wishes of little Mary,
who was grieved to see the kitchen dog turning the spit,
Godfather Drosselmayer made a wooden dog, which, by
means of mechanism connected inside, turned the spit
without annoyance to itself. Turk, who had done this
duty for three years, until he had become quite shaky all
over, was now able to lie down in peace in front of the
kitchen fire, and amuse himself by
watching the movements of his suc- I
Thus, after the judge, after the
judge' wife after rit, and after
iy, the dog Turk was certainly I
the nextinate of the house who hd
most reason to love and respect God- 'I
faitherDroelmayer. Turkwasindeed I
grateful, aad showed his joy, when-
ever DroI mayer drew near the
house, by leaizag up against the tan -
TRZ HISTORY OF A NUT-CRACKUL 1
door and wagging his tail,
even before the old gentleman
On the evening of the 24th of .
December, just as the twilight was
approaching, Fritz and Mary, who.
had not been allowed to enter the
drawing-room all day, were huddled
together in a corner of the dining-
parlour. Mis Trudchen, the go-
verness, was knitting near the wn-
dow, to which she had moved her
chair, in order to catch the last rays
of day-light. The children were
seed' with a kind of vague fer,
because candles had not been
brought into the room, according
GODPAPA DROgMUiTU lE WOOD=n DOG.
THE HISTORY OF A NUT-CRACKER.
to custom so
they were talk-
ing in a low tone
to each other,
just as children
talk when they
it Fritz," aid
Mary, I am
sure papa and
for ever since
the morning I
have heaf a
rer t dealgoi
on in the iZda
we were forbid-
den to enter."
a And I know," mid Fritz, "by the way Turk barked
tea minutes ago, that GodfIther Droelmayer has arrived."
"Oh II wonder what our dear kind godfather has
brought us" exclaimed Mary, clapping he little hands.
"I am sure it will be a beautiful garden, planted with trees,
and with a beautiful river running between banks, covered
with flowers. And on the river, too, there will be some
silver swans with collars of gold, and a little girl will bring
them sweet-cake, which thek will eat out of her apron."
"In the fit place, Miss," mid Fritz, in that authoritative
tone which was natural to him, and which his parents con-
sidered to be one of his greatest faults, a you must know that
wans do not eat sweet-,ke."
"I tho ht they did," snered Mary; "but a you we
a year and a half older than I, you must mknow bet.
-..MW- .>-, l
THE HISTORY OF A NUT-CRACKIB.
Fritz towed up his head with
San air of importance.
m- "And, for my part," he con-
tinued, "I feel certain that if
Godfather Dromselmayer bi
Anything at a it will be a
with 9olaiers to watch it, cannons
S' to defend it, and enemies to
S / ? i | ,"- attack it. We sha then have
some famous battles 1"
"I do not like battles, said Mary. If he does bring a
castle, as you think he will, it muqt be for you: I shall, how-
ever, take care of the wounded."
"Whatever it is that he brings," returned Frits, "you
know very well that it is neither for you nor for me; because
the toys which Godfather Drowelmayer gives us are always
taken away again immediately afterward, under pretence
that they really are works of great art. Then, you know,
they are always '~Uinto that great cupboard with the glass
doors, and on the top shelves, which papa himself can only
reach when he stands upon a chair. So, after all, I much
prefer the toys which papa and mamma ive us, and which
we are allowed to play with until we reak them into a
"And so do I," answered Mary; only we must not say
so to godfather."
"And why not?"
Because he would feel annoyed to think that we do not
like his toys as much as those which papa and mamma give
us. He gives them to us, thinking toplease us; and it would
be wrong to tell him the contrary."
"Oh nonsense," cried Frits.
"Miss Mary is quite right, Master Frits," said Dame
Ioadhen, who was geealy very silent, and only spoke on
uome," said Mary hastily, in order to prevent Frit from
,I - --
THE HISTORY OF A NUT-CRACEIR.
giving an impudent
answer to the poor
governess; "let us
guess what our pa-
rents intend to give
mamma- but upon
condition that she
would not scold-
that Miss Rose,. my
doll, grows more and
more awkward, in
spite of the lessons
which I am constant-
ly giving her; and
that she does nothing but fill upon her nose, which never
fails to leave most ds greeable marks upon her fice; o that
take her into
face does not -
at all corres-
pond wth her
"And I," said Fritz, "did not hesitate to sure papa
that a nice little horse would look admirably well in my
stables; I also took the opportunity to inform him that no
army can possibly exist without cavalry, and that I want a
squadron of husmars to complete the division which I
These words made Miss Trudchen conclude that the
moment was favourable for her to speak a second time.
S"aster Frits and Miss Mr," said she, "you know
very well that it is your u n angel who sends and
blesses all those fine toys which are given to you. Do' not
4: __ i~UL, r
TRnl nIroB or A NUT-CBACXu. 19
therefore sy beforehand what you wmnt; because the angel
knows much better than you what will please you."
Oh1" cried Fritz; "and yet last yea heent me foot
soldiers, although, a I have just aid, I should have been
better satisfied with a squadron of husar."
For my part I have only to thank my good angel,"
said Mary; "for I did but ak for a dol last ear, and Iaot
only had the doll, but also a beautiful white dove, with red
feet and beak."
In the meantime the night had altogether drawn in, and
the children, who by degrees spoke lower and lower, sa
grew closer and closer together, fancied that they heard th
wings of their guardian angels fluttering near them, and a
sweet music in the distance, like that of an organ saoompny-
ing the Hymn of the Nativity, beneath the gloomy arches of
a cathedral Presently a sudden light shone upon the wall
for a moment, and Frnt and Mary believed that it was their
guardian angel, who, after depositing the toys in the draw-
TIM HISTORY OF A NUT-ORACUIRI
ing-room, flew away in the midst of a golden lustre to visit
other children who were expecting him with the smie
impatience a themselves.
Immediately afterwards a bell ag--the door was thrown
violently open-and so strong a lightburst into the apartment
that the children were daailed, and uttered cries of surprise
The judge and his wife then appeared at the door, and
took thehands of their children, saying, Come, little dears,
and se what the guardian angels have sent you."
. The children hastened to the drawing-room; and Miss
Trudohea, having placed her work upon a chair, followed
113 C3I3nTIAu TBSU.
MY dear children, you all know the beautiful toy-stalls in
the Soho Bazsar, the Pantheon, and the Lowther Arcade;
and your parents have often taken you there, to permit you
to choose whatever you liked best. Then you have stopped
short, with longing eyes and open mouth; and you have
experienced a pleasure
which you will never
again know in your lives
-no, not even when you
become men and acquire
titles or fortunes. Well,
that same joy was felt
by Frits an 4 Marywhen
they entered the draw-
ing-room and mw the
was &m the middle of the table, an covered with b oms