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able position possible for ascertaining how much mischief she had done. 1. On this occasion it may be observed, that the weather was peculiarly fine, and the bosom of Lake Erie as calm and as unruffled as the gentle canal in St James's Park. It was not therefore from any feeling of indisposition that my heroine thus withdrew herself, drawing the muslin curtains between herself and the rest of the world, so as to prevent any chance of her being seen; on the contrary, she never was in better health, or with spirits more on the alert to catch every thing which might come within reach of her ambushed ear.
Ere she had remained above ten minutes in the retreat thus cleverly chosen, two young ladies entered the cabin together, one of whom she immediately discovered to be the youngest of the two curious fair ones she had encountered on the deck.
“Oh my! This is jam, Arethusa,” exclaimed this pretty daughter of an ugly father, for she was in truth no less a personage than the sole heiress of Mr. Gabriel Monkton. “ We shall have some capital fun this frolic. Pa and ma between 'em have come right down upon a set of Englishers, who are sailing under false colours. There never was such a man as pa, I expect, for catching out folks of this sort!"
"Well! I'm sure that if I was at the top of the tree, he should just have a statue for it," replied the animated Arethusa, adding with still greater energy, “all the English are, to my fancy, first-rate disgusting. But what is it that your pa has found out this time ?"
“Oh my! It is just a proper Yankee bit of cleverness, I promise you; but I can't just go it all over now, 'cause I must go up again as soon as I have fixed my curls to help ma find out some more if she can; but I can tell you this much, that pa means to watch this major, as he calls himself, pretty close, and swears he shan't go on shore without having him at his heels. And what's to come next, I can't say, but pa will take care of that; and ma says, that she calculates upon our having the fun of seeing 'em marched off to prison. Come along, Arethusa, what a slow girl you are! I have done, fixed my hair, spit-curls and all, before you have done twiddling with your collar."
The fair friends then departed, leaving Mrs. Allen Barnaby to meditate on what she had heard. She did meditate, and to some purpose too, for before she again squeezed her ample person through the all too narrow entrance to the bed on which she reposed herself, she had fully arranged the mode and the means by which she should extricate her husband from the inconvenience likely to arise from her having stated that they came from one place, while he had as positively declared they came from another.
She knew better, however, than to make her way up to the deck by the stairs leading from the ladies' cabin, which might perchance betray rather too plainly to the young beauties, who had just taken that direction, how indiscreetly they had chosen the place of their late conference.
Passing through the gentlemen's cabin, therefore, and reaching the deck at its extremity, she was presently leaning over the gallery-rail at a point almost as far removed as possible from the retreat where she had so cleverly lain in ambush; and here, having for some time espied her, the cautious major at length ventured to join her.
“ Well,” said he, taking his place close at her side, and placing himself in an attitude that seemed to manifest great interest in the breaking of the “wavelets" against the planks of the vessel,“ well; have you made any discoveries, my dear?"
" Discoveries ?" she repeated, “ I believe I have made discoveries. But never mind, Donny; don't agitate yourself. I'll get you out of this scrape, as cleverly as I did from that of Big-Gang Bank.”
She then hastily but very intelligibly recited what she had heard, but upon his uttering a few expletives, indicative of some slight irritation of temper at the disagreeable turn the adventure seemed likely to take, she stopped him somewhat authoritatively, saying with an uplifted finger and a flashing eye,
“Not another word, Major Allen Barnaby, in the way of reproach or complaining, or I leave you to your fate ! Difficulties seem but to excite and expand my genius, and I feel the same happy confidence in my own powers, which I ever have done through every stage of my remarkable existence; but in order to enable me to put this to profit, you must give my powers full scope, major. If you will let me have my own way, and do exactly what I bid you, I'll have you on shore at Cleveland, without letting that odious scarecrow of a man know one bit about it, any more than that tall chimney there.”
“Set about it then,” returned her husband, with more sharpness of tone than was usual with him, for he was in truth too thoroughly vexed at the result of her tattling communications to be at all disposed to encourage the vapouring style she had assumed. For one moment she looked at him earnestly, and seemed doubting whether she should resent his want of politeness and abandon him to his fate, or generously forgive his, petulance, and again extend her helping hand to save him. The very wise second thought which suggested the impossibility of punishing the contumacious major alone, at once decided the question, and with a smile, half playful, half reproachful, she said,
“ Come, come, Donny, no sour looks, if you please; only be grateful, and acknowledge as you have sometimes done before, that I am your good angel, and I will take care that you shall be a free man still."
“Forgive me, my Barnaby,” said the again smiling major ; “ if I permitted myself to doubt for a moment that my cause was a safe one, if you undertook its defence. But what in the world is it that you propose to do, my dear love? I protest to you that I think this business is a very awkward one.”
“ Not a bit of it," replied his wife, cheerily. “Pray, my dear, do you think you have sufficient strength of mind to endure with tolerable composure the seeing me exceedingly ill again ?"
“That expressive word, again, reassures me, my charming Barnaby; for it at once turns the threatened illness into an admirable jest. But do you really think, my dear, that you could put off this trick again, so as to get me free from this devilish steam-boat, without being followed by this grim Gabriel ?"
“ The old trick, Donny, with the assistance of a new one following it," she replied, “ will, I think, suffice to do all we want. But I don't believe it is quite a new trick either, for I remember hearing something very like it before; but it is not the worse for that, you know, if it serves our turn. And now listen, and you shall know what I mean to do, and what I mean you to do. You will see me presently walking down the ladies' stairs into the little cabin ; when I get there I will wash my face, you know, Donny, just as I did before, and when this is done I will crawl up again, looking very poorly indeed. And then you must help me to the sofa, and then I must lie down, and then you must go and bring Patty to me, and then I must send her to borrow one of the ladies' smell. ing-bottles, and then I suppose they will come to me, when I shall take care to make them understand, that heavenly beautiful as their great big lake may be, the movement of the boat on it makes me very ill. In short, I shall make every body understand that I am determined to land at the first stopping-place, which I understand is called Cleveland.”
Mrs. Allen Barnaby paused for an instant to take breath, upon which the major ventured to hint that he greatly doubted if the mere circumstance of their landing at Cleveland, instead of Sandusky would suffice to distance Mr. Gabriel Monkton, if indeed he were as determined to track him, as the language she had overheard seemed to indicate.
A whole volume of laughing scorn Aashed from the eyes of my heroine as she listened to these words.
“ You doubt it, major, do you? And to tell you the truth, my dear, I doubt it too. Depend upon it, if I thought he could be so easily put off, I should give myself no further trouble about the matter. You must hear a little more first, if you please, before you venture to decide whether my scheme will answer or not. After having clearly given these ladies to understand that I mean to land at Cleveland, I shall declare myself unable to sit up any longer, and you and Patty must help me down stairs, and lay me upon the bed. Well then, imagine us all down there as snug as possible of course, you know, as well as I do, that whenever any thing happens which takes any of the ladies' husbands into the ladies' cabin, all the other females, as they call themselves, keep clear of it, as if they thought that he was a shark going to swallow them all up. We shall therefore have the cabin entirely to ourselves, and then I will dress you in my large long cloak, petticoats, and all that, and you shall put on my large Leghorn sun-bonnet and white lace veil, and Patty shall help you up to the deck exactly when the boat stops, which they say is just when it is getting dark. The passage and all that, you know, is paid already. Tornorino shall go with you, and if any questions are asked about the Major,' Patty shall say that you are going on to Sandusky, because you expect some one to meet you there on business, and that we shall travel by land under the escort of the Don to join you there. What do you say to this, major ?”
“But what on earth is to become of you, my dear, if you remain here on board by yourself?" demanded the major, affectionately.
“Don't trouble yourself about me, my dear,” she replied, gaily. “ There's a number of shabby-looking woinen on board, and I mean, as soon as it gets dusk, to go up amongst them dressed quite differently from what I am now. There's that old tartan cloak, you know, will cover me up completely, and I have no doubt in the world that I shall get out of the boat with the rest of the riff-raff, without any single soul taking notice of me. You know their way of always making every body pay at the half-way station, and that prevents any body's being looked after, when they step on shore.”
“You are perfectly right, my dear Barnaby, as to that, and I do declare that, considering the hour for landing, and all the other circumstances, I see no reason in the world why the plot should not succeed. Besides, it is your invention, you know, and that gives me confidence, for every thing you do succeeds."
“ Why, I must confess,” she replied, "that I have rarely taken it into my head to plot and plan without succeeding. However, though I take credit to myself for the invention, or at any rate for the adopting it, you must please to remember, Donny, that a good deal of its success, must depend upon yourself. I am quite sure that this fellow expects somehow or other to make a good thing of catching you. There are a good many queer tricks, you know, practised in this country, of one sort or another, and I take it these Yankees are up to a thing or two as well as your friends at New Orleans. Perhaps he suspects that you have not been visiting their glorious and immortal institutions for nothing, and may hope that if he keeps you in sight for a day or two, something may turn up about you, my dear, which might make somebody or other very grateful to him for having looked after
you a little."
“And that's precisely what will happen, Mrs. Allen Barnaby, as surely as your graceful and ever charming form hangs over this rail. So far you understand the circumstances of the case to perfection. But I do not exactly perceive how any exercise of my own peculiar talents upon this occasion, can in any way assist in enabling us to avoid the catastrophe we anticipate."
“ Your own peculiar talent, Donny, may have been more necessary to get you into the scrape than out of it; nevertheless, my dear, I have sufficient confidence in your general cleverness and ability, to feel assured of your passing with more than credit, with honour, through that part of the business which must inevitably fall to your share," said Mrs. Allen Barnaby. “And
what part of the business may that be, my dear?" demanded the major. “If it means the walking under your garments with equal grace to yourself, I must fail; the thing is impossible."
“ Tranquilize your spirits, my love, on that point,” returned the lady, with a playfully tender smile; “ nothing of the sort will be necessary. In about two hours it will be quite dark enough for you to walk as you will under my garments, without any eye being likely to perceive the difference. Your part of the acting must take place immediately. After
you have left me upon the sofa with Patty listening to my groans, you must assume a very unfond and unfeeling air (foreign to your heart, my love, of course, but absolutely necessary to your circumstances), and having sought and found your agreeable new acquaintance, Mr. Gabriel Monkton, you must tell him that I am horribly sick, and then you must swagger a little about the horrid bore of travelling with women, and then you must swear that you would not miss seeing
the person you are to meet at Sandusky for all the sick women in the world, but add, with some little show of softer feeling, that for all that, you are not such a brüte either, as to insist upon my going on; and then you may speak of the excellent qualities of Tornorino, and the perfect satisfaction with which you can trust me to his care, and to that of my daughter. It is in this scene, my dear major, that you must display the talent for which I give you credit. When you have performed this, you must conclude by telling him that you must intrude into the ladies' cabin in order to apprize the ladies of your party that they must - land at Cleveland without you; and then you may walk off to find us, taking care ostentatiously to proclaim as you go, your regret at the necessity which obliges you to take the liberty of entering that apartment, and taking care also that Gabriel does not lose sight of you a moment sooner than is absolutely necessary. Five minutes' retreat with Patty and me, will suffice for your toilet. You must make our good Tornorino understand his part in our little domestic drama, and school him to knock at the door of the cabin as soon as the boat reaches Cleveland. He must give you his arm through the gentlemen's cabin, the stairs from which open upon the deck close to the gangway by which they go ashore. I shall follow at some distance after, with a bundle and basket, like one of the market women; and of course you are none of you to take any notice of me, but depend upon it I will take very good care of myself. Tornorino must set about collecting all our luggage for landing at Cleveland, and place it near the gangway. And now, Mr. Major, what do you say to it? Do you feel competent to undertake your part ?"
"I think I may venture to say that I do," he replied ; “ so now let us begin. Move the first, is your descending to the cabin in order to remove that slight and unnecessary addition to your charms, which | fashion, my dear love, has induced you to adopt. Go, then ! and rely upon it that I shall neither mistake the order of the subsequent scenes, ypor forget my cue."
Perfectly satisfied with the spirit of active obedience which she tead in her clever husband's eye, she gave him an approving nod, and *moved off.
ON THE ART-UNIONS.
That Picture-Raffles will conduce to nourish
March.-VOL. LXVII. XO. CCLXVII.