Page images
PDF
EPUB

HOW JEREMIAH TUBBS BECAME ENGAGED IN THE IRISH

ELECTIONS OF 1852.

N EXT OF KIN.-If the Next of Kin or relations of William Farraday,

I Cordwainer, formerly of Aldgate-street (who ran away to sen in or about the year 1815), will apply to Messrs. Swanguill and Broomsgrove, Solicitors, Red Lion-square, London, they will hear of something to their advantage ; or any person giving such information respecting the Next of Kin or relations of the said William Farraday as shall lead to their discovery, will be handsomely rewarded.-Times, August -th, 1850.

I.

JEREMIAH HODGSON TUBBS, general provision-dealer and grocer, kept a tidy little shop at the corner of High-street, Islington; his receipts were not very large, certainly, but they were comfortable ; nor yet was his acquaintance so very extended either, but still it was very respectable. And as he sat in the commercial room of the Peacock tavern on a Saturday evening, smoking his pipe, and sipping between whiffs his cold brandy-andwater, he was as respected and as exemplary an elderly gentleman as any in London. He was yet a bachelor, though many a fair dame had thrown out her lures and meshes to birdlime obdurate Tubbs into matrimony, For instance, Miss Mary Straker, the fashionable milliner and modiste de Paris in the neighbouring street, had decked out her windows--not unmindful, however, of her sweet self-in the most glorious array and blending of varied hues. She had worked him slippers and nightcaps, sent him Valentines on that saint's day, and made herself remarkable towards him when they met at the tea-drinkings in the neighbourhood; nay, finally, as a last resource, deluged him with anonymous letters, containing threats, like a Miss Bailey of yore, to appear against him in a very spiritual and, to say the least of it, dégagé attire while he slumbered at night, or sent others with taunts of his breaking hearts and filching affections only as he would a rosebud, to pluck them in pieces and fing them to the winds ; but it was all of no effect, for poor Miss Straker had to betake herself to a tom-cat and spectacles, while the object of her hopes was a bachelor still. Bessy Chaplin, the chemist's daughter, too, tried her little endeavours against Tubbs' stony heart; she sent him nosegays and sweet lozenges, pictured to him the delights and comfort of a nurse in sickness who had a little knowledge of medicine, and planted herself daily in her father's upper window, and gazed fondly on the butter-firkins and carmine face of their owner, the general provision-dealer. She copied out all the poetry she could get hold of from the magazines and newspapers, and sent it as her own to the unromantic Jeremiah, and was perpetually inquiring after his health, and felt sure he must be ill, which, to a gentleman in particularly robust health, were very unpleasant insinuations. So, to put a stop to all such persecutions, Tubbs hailed a hackney-coach one fine morning, handed into it Nancy Farraday, his housekeeper, and driving off to All Saints' church, they became man and wife, much to the scandal and jealousy of the neighbourhood, the hysterics of Miss Straker, and the anger of Miss Chaplin, who calmed her ruffled breast, however, by following the example, and eloping with a veterinary surgeon who was about to emigrate to Australia, where, from their combined knowledge of pharmacy, they practised as doctors in ordinary to that island.

II.

YEARS have rolled onwards, and the fruits of the union of Jeremiah Tubbs with Nancy Farraday were one son and one daughter. Julia Ann was a tall, thin, angular young lady of some twenty summers, plain in face, but very susceptible in heart, highly romantic, and much given to circulating libraries and affaires de cour, hardly out of one (referring to either libraries or love affairs) but she was into another. In the latter she had experienced many disappointments. She clandestinely met and loved one whom she believed was a gallant captain of hussars, with immense estates in Norfolk, and who had promised to make her his wife; but he turned out, upon due inquiry, to be simply a full private of the Horse Guards Blue, of very disreputable character. She then fell desperately in love with a Signor Nicolo, a professor of music, who faithfully vowed they should be married, and then they were to fly to the sunny clime of Italy, and revel in everlasting bliss on the banks of the Lake of Como; but, unfortunately, Signor Nicolo proved to be Duncan Nichol of Glasgow, a married man, with a sickly wife and a large family in that famous burgh. Miss Julia's brother, John Hodgson Tubbs, was a great overgrown, awkward hobbledehoy, about seventeen to eighteen years of age, whose only aim in life seemed to be “ to be thought fast.He was a member of the Divine Apollo Club, and though he did not sing himself, he joined loudly in the chorus to his friend Jobkins' song. He was "great” (as he expressed it) with the Bloomer who kept the bar where their club was held, and whom he styled “ a spiffy girl,” and who had been graciously pleased to accept of a pair of very Brummagem-looking earrings, set with paste diamonds, with which he had presented her. He consumed many cabbages, under the belief they were prime Havannah cigars ; frequented Rosherville and Vauxhall, and the pit of the Adelphi Theatre; and had even gone so far as to treat the Bloomer to a private box at the Surrey, when his theatrical madness was at its full. He had not knocked down a policeman, nor committed a little amateur pickpocketing as yet, but his inclination was willing, though, alas! the consequences calmed the desire. He had been on an omnibus to Epsom races, where he had lost all his money upon backing the pea to be under a particular thimble, and had had his pocket eased of his gold watch while an uncommon pretty gipsy was assuring him, from the crosses on his left palm, he was destined to marry the blue-eyed daughter of an earl.

The quartette was seated around the fire after supper. Tubbs, senior, with slippers on his feet and spectacles on his nose, was spelling over the

Times newspaper ; Julia was deep into the sympathies of Blanche de Courcy, pining for her absent lover on the plains of war; Tubbs, junior, was eyeing the burning coal, and wondering if Candlewick would win the Dinner Stakes, which he had backed him for at a betting-office from the information of “ Newminster,” in Bell's Life, “whose mouth was not for falsehood framed ;" and Mrs. Tubbs was chewing the cud of supper and sweet fancies, and then occasionally dozing off for forty winks.

“Halloa, my dear !” exclaimed Tubbs. " Next of kin — William Farraday-Aldgate-street-went to sea.' Why, is not that your brother Bill p»

“Eh? what?” said Mrs. Tubbs, shaking her head to arouse her faculties. “Read it all out, my dear, will you ?”

Accordingly, Tubbs read forth the paragraph we have quoted above.

“ It is him, my dear. What can they want with us?” said Mrs. Tubbs.

“ Humph! no saying,” replied Jeremiah. “ Perhaps to pay for his coffin. He was always a ne'er-do-well."

“ Delightfully mysterious,” chimed in Miss Julia. “A plant,” observed Tubbs, junior, oracularly.

“ I'll talk the matter over with neighbour Pumpkin,” said Tubbs. “He is a long-headed, shrewd fellow, that Pumpkin. So come, my dear, light our bedroom candle, put out the lamp, and let us to bed. Good night, young people."

III. “INVEST your money ?” said Mr. Broomsgrove, as he sat nursing his left leg and meditating in his office, Red Lion-square, before the obese figure of Tubbs.

“ Yes, invest it,” said Tubbs ; « railways are down, funds up, and thirty thousand pounds is a fairish lump. Mortgage, eh?"

“N-no,” said Broomsgrove. “Plenty of money in the market; you won't get more than three-and-a-quarter on a safe mortgage. Had it offered last week.”

“Humph! ecod !”

“ There are the encumbered estates in Ireland. Good investments to be made there. Look out sharp and you will buy at seventeen years' purchase.”

“ And get shot like a woodcock for my trouble,” hastily observed

Tubbs.

Oh, nonsense !” said Broomsgrove. “And what need for you ever to go over to Ireland, pray ? Employ an agent."

* Ah! I did not think of that, sir. Good idea, that.”

“Now, I have the plan of the estate of Ballymactarbarry in my officea valuable freehold estate in Munster, near the great sea-port of Limerick, with an excellent stone-built mansion, in a fine domain of about eighty acres, with pleasure-grounds, rookery, garden, &c.,” said Broomsgrove; and holloaing down a long tube, screamed, “Bring up the plan of the Ballymactarbarry estate, G 15."

Now, while the pair are poring over the plan of the Ballymactarbarry estate, let us inquire how Tubbs, the general provision-dealer, became possessed of so large an amount of ready money as thirty thousand pounds.

When William Farraday ran away from Aldgate-street to sea, he worked his way out before the mast to the mouth of the Ganges, and landing at Calcutta, came to the conclusion that he preferred living on dry land than rolling about on the stormy waves ; and accordingly set to work to obtain some other employment. In this he fortunately succeeded, namely, as errand-boy in a wealthy merchant's office. From errand-boy he rose to be clerk, and from a clerk to be a merchant ; and having realised seventy to eighty thousand pounds sterling, he wished to leave it to some one. His only relation was his sister Nancy, who, when he left England, was kitchen-wench in some gentleman's family in Lincolnshire ; the chances, were, therefore, she had either changed her name through marriage, or else, perhaps, had changed the scene altogether by the common

debt of nature. Mr. Farraday had, therefore, intended to found a hospital in London for decayed shoemakers, and will the whole of his property away for that purpose; but before the necessary legal deeds could be executed, Mr. Farraday departed from this life by that common eastern issue, the total loss of his liver.

Dying intestate, therefore, his affairs were handed over to the firm of Swanquill and Broomsgrove, who, after no few advertisements, no little trouble, a large bill of costs, and a trial, incontestably proved that Jeremiah Tubbs, in wedding his housekeeper, Ann Farraday, had taken to wife the future heiress of seventy thousand pounds.

Space will not permit us to chronicle the arguments and asseverations with which Mr. Broomsgrove induced our friend, Tubbs, to invest the thirty thousand pounds of ready money lying idle in the Bank of Calcutta on an Irish estate, but simply inform our kind and courteous reader he did succeed (for the sly dog of a lawyer had a 'heavy mortgage on these lands); and that Tubbs, general provision-dealer, of High-street, Islington, became Jeremiah Tubbs, Esquire, of Ballymactarbarry Castle, a magistrate and deputy-lieutenant for the county of Limerick, with votes and a stake in the country.

IV. « WHAT a delightful account of Killarney this is !" said Miss Julia Tubbs, as she languished over the pages of the New Monthly, “ although I do not believe a syllable the cynical creature says about the beggars. The Irish ones we see in England are very interesting objects, I am sure, with such a nice flow of spirits; and I am told they are far more so in their native land. So do, papa, let us go to Ireland, and we can take Ballymactarbarry on our way there. For what is the use of having a property, if we are never to see it ?”

"Ah, I should like to see our property very much. Besides, it is the scene of Charley O'Malley's early life," said Tubbs, junior, who had applied for an ensigncy in the Loyal Diddlesex Militia, and had already ordered his uniform.

“ What lovely creatures the wild Kathleens and Norahs must be!" said Julia, with a deep sigh, as “ Moore's Melodies" flashed across her mind.

“ Jobkins says they are not half so 'stunning as they are painted," said the younger Tubbs, as a vision of the oily-faced Bloomer came full tilt upon his imagination.

Mrs. Tubbs was having a very indigestible sleep after dinner, and only snored heavily.

Mr. Tubbs, having no individual opinion of his own, but a very general one of other people's, immediately gave in to the wishes of his children to visit Ireland, simply observing,

“ Neighbour Pumpkin and the newspapers thought the island very quiet, and the nature of the people quite changed.”

At this point we shall now allow each branch of the Tubbs family to express their own individual views on their trip to Ireland and their own property. With a graceful bow, then, and, we trust, a few rounds of applause, and, perchance, a stray bouquet from some fair lady's hands,

[ocr errors]

we make our exit from the boards; and, while the little bell tinkles and the green curtain drops upon our endeavours to please and amuse, we wish our readers adieu !

V.

No. 1.–From Tubbs, at Ballymactarbarry Castle, to Pumpkin, at High-street,

Islington. DEAR PUMPKIN,—To escape the heat and bustle of a London election, I arrived here after a very unpleasant voyage from Holyhead to Kingstown, when we were all horse-de-combat, as Jully expresses it, which I conclude means very sick. From thence we proceeded to Limerick per train, and, having slept at Cruise's hotel, set off next day for our castle. I must own I was disappointed with it, for Ballymactarbarry on paper, and Ballymactarbarry in reality, is just as different as that American place Mr. Chuzzlewit mentions in his « Life and Adventures." There was a splendid lodge, with an old rusty iron gate, and a very dirty, slatternly woman, with ten almost naked children, keeping the said lodge, in a state of filth and vermin only to be equalled by the parlieus of Smithfield-market. The hens had grovelled up pleasant resting-places in the flower-plats, and a flock of ducks and geese were foraging in the shrubberies. There was not a vestige of a tree to be seen anywhere, and the whole scene was very bleak and blank, unbroken save by an elderly beggar with bagpipes, who had built himself a hut in the middle of our drive, and which Jully said was " very picturesque indeed.” On arriving at the castle, which is a square, masonic-looking building, something like a farm-house in England, and but little better than the lodge, we were welcomed by a busy little woman, who was delighted to see "himself,” as she would call me, and very much to see Jully, who, she said, was very like Lady Blessington, whom she remembered when first married, at Fethard Barracks. John she compared to the late proprietor, who, I understand, was a whiskey-drinking, red-faced, fox-hunting, six-feet-four gentleman, with debauchery as plainly written in his face as it is on this paper. While, being short of a comparison for my good woman, she declared she was a cross between Dan O'Connell and the Duchess of Leinster. Upon her showing us over the house, we found the pig had taken up his quarters in our best bed-room, and showed great disinclination to move away; and a party of pet hens were cackling over their incubations on a chasely-carved oak cabinet in the drawing-room : if I allude to there being no paper on many of the walls, no water in the pipes, or no cleanliness anywhere, so very cursorily, it is because they became matters of such very minor considerations after a short sojourn in Munster, you no longer remark them. I had not been there many days before my votes were, of course, solicited; and having indefinite ideas upon politics, like the present government, I sold my votes to each candidate, and voted for none, and recommended my tenants to do so likewise!

It was on the 12th of July—but I ought to tell you what occurred before. Our female servants, particularly Biddy, had informed me how Father O'Neil had denounced ME as a hypocrite from the altar, pointing out forcibly that I was not a hypocrite for selling my vote, but, after doing so, for not giving it; and as I still persisted in my determination, it appeared I was cursed !!! As a faithful Protestant, the priest might as well have blessed me, for all I cared; but Biddy was very anxious upon

« PreviousContinue »