Chapter First
The Wager in the Oyster-Cellar
"I SAY, gentlemen, shall we make a night of it?  That's the question gents. Shall we elevate the—the devil
along Chesnut street
*, or shall we subside quietly to our homes?  Let's toss up for it—which shall have the
night—brandy and oysters, or quilts and feather-beds?" And as he spoke, the little man broke loose from the
grasp of his friends, and retiring to the shelter of an awning-post, flung his cloak over his shoulder with a vast
deal of drunken dignity, while his vacant eyes were fixed upon the convivial group scattered along the pavement.

      "Brandy"— cried a gentleman distinguished by a very pursy figure, enveloped in a snow-white overcoat,
and a very round face, illuminated by a pear-shaped nose—"Brandy is a gentleman—a per—perfect gentleman.  
He leaves no head-ache next morning by way of a card.  Champagne's a sucker—a hypocritical scoundrel, who
first goes down your throat, smooth as oil, and then—a—a—very much so—how d—d irregular these bricks
are— puts a powder-mill in your head and blows it up—dam 'im!—Mem:—Byrnewood—d'ye hear? write to
the corporation to-morrow, about these curst mountainous pavements—" And having thus said, the pursy
gentleman retreated to the shelter of another awning-post, leaving the two remaining members of the convivial
party, in full possession of the pavement, which they laid out in any given number of
garden-plots without delay.

      "Byrnewood d'ye hear?" exclaimed the tallest gentleman of the twain, gathering his frogged overcoat closer
around him, while his mustachioed lip was wreathed in a drunken smile— "Look yonder at the statehouse
*
sing—singular phenomenon!  There's the original steeple and a duplicate. Two steeples, by Jupiter!  Remarkable
effect of moonlight ! Very—Doesn't it strike you, Byrnewood, that yonder watch-box is walking
across the street, to black the lamp-post's eyes—for—for making a face at him?"

      The gentleman thus addressed, instead of replying to the sagacious query of his friend, occupied a small
portion of his leisure time in performing an irregular Spanish dance along the pavement, terminating in a pleasant
combination of the cachuca,
* with a genuine New Jersey double-shuffle. This accomplished, he drew his well
proportioned figure to its full height, cast back his cloak from his shoulders, and turned his face to the moonlit
sky. As he gazed upon the heavens, clear, cold, and serene as death, the moon light falling over his features,
disclosed a handsome tho' pallid face, relieved by long curling locks of jet black hair. For a moment he seemed
intensely absorbed amid the intricacies of a philosophical reverie, for he frequently put his thumb to his nose, and
described circles in the air with his outspread fingers. At last tottering to a seat on a fire-plug, he delivered
himself of this remarkable expression of opinion—

      "Miller the Prophet's right!
* Right I say! The world—d—n the plug, how it shakes—the world is coming to
an end for certain—for, d'ye see boys—there's
two moons shining up yonder this blessed night sure as fate—"

      The scene would have furnished a tolerable good subject for an effective convivial picture.

      There, seated on the door-way step of a four storied dwelling, his arms crossed over his muscular chest, his
right hand grasping a massive gold-headed cane, Mr. Gustavus Lorrimer, commonly styled the handsome Gus
Lorrimer, in especial reference to his well-known favor among the ladies, presented to the full glare of the
moonbeams, a fine manly countenance, marked by a brilliant dark eye, a nose slightly aquiline, a firm lip clothed
with a mustache, while his hat tossed slightly to one side, disclosed a bold and prominent forehead, relieved by
thick clusters of rich brown hair. His dark eye at all times full of fire, shone with a glance of unmistakeable
humor, as he regarded his friend seated on the fire-plug directly opposite the doorway steps.

      This friend—Mr. Byrnewood, as he had been introduced to Lorrimer—was engaged in performing an
extemporaneous musical entertainment on the top of the fire-plug with his fingers, while his legs were entwined
around it, as though the gentleman was urging a first-rate courser at the top of his speed.

      His cloak thrown back from his shoulders, his slight though well-proportioned and muscular form, was
revealed to the eye, enveloped in a closely fitting black frock-coat. His face was very pale, and his long hair,
which swept in thick ringlets to his shoulders, was dark as a ravens wing, yet his forehead was high and massive,
his features regular, and his jet-black eye, bright as a flame-coal. His lips, now wreathing in the very silly smile
peculiar to all worshippers of the bottle-god, were, it is true, somewhat slight and thin, and when in repose
inclining to severity in expression; yet the general effect of his countenance was highly interesting, and his figure
manly and graceful in its outlines, although not so tall by half-a-head as the magnificent Gus Lorrimer.

      While he is beating a tattoo on the fire-plug, let us not forget our other friends, Col. Mutchins, in his snow-
white overcoat and shiny hat; and Mr. Sylvester J. Petriken, in his glazed cap and long cloak, as leaning against
opposite awning posts, they gaze in each others faces and afford a beautiful contrast for the pencil of our friend
Darley
*.

      Col. Mutchins face, you will observe, is very much like a picture of a dissipated full-moon, with a large red
pear stuck in the centre for a nose, while two small black beads, placed in corresponding circles of crimson
tape, supply the place of eyes. The Colonel's figure is short, thick-set, and corpulent; he is very broad across the
shoulders, broader across the waist, and very well developed in the region of the hands and boots. The
gentleman, clinging nervously to the opposite awning post, is remarkable for three things—smallness of stature,
slightness of figure, and slimness of legs. His head is very large, his face remarkable for its pallor, is long and
square—looking as though it had been laid out with a rule and compass—with a straight formal nose, placed
some distance above a wide mouth marked by two parallel lines, in the way of lips. His protuberant brow, faintly
relieved by irregular locks of mole-skin colored hair, surmounted by a high glazed cap, overarches two large,
oyster-like eyes, that roll about in their orbits with the regularity of machinery. These eyes remind you of nothing
more, than those glassy things which, in obedience to a wire, give animation to the expressive face of a Dresden
wax-doll.

      And over this scene of quadruple convivialism, shone the midnight moon, her full glory beaming from a
serene winter sky, upon the roofs and steeples of the Quaker City. The long shadows of the houses on the
opposite side of the way, fell darkly along the street, while in the distance, terminating the dim perspective, arose
the State-House buildings, with the steeple shooting upward into the clear blue sky.

      "That champagne—" hiccuped Mr. Petriken, clinging to the awning-post, under a painful impression that it
was endeavoring to throw him down—That champagne was very strong—and the oysters—Oh my—"

      "As mortal beings we are subject to sud—sudden sickness—" observed the sententious Mutchins, gathering
his awning-post in a fonder embrace.

      "I say, Byrnewood—how shall we terminate the night ? Did I understand you that the d—l was to be
raised? If so, let's start. Think how many bells are to be pulled, how many watch-boxes to be attacked, how
many—curse the thing, I believe I'm toddied—  watchmen to be licked. Come on boys?"

      "Hist! Gus! You'll scare the fire-plug. He's trying to run off with me—the scoundrel. Wait till I put the spurs
to him, I say!"

      "Come on boys. Let's go round to Smokey Chiffin's oyster cellar and have a cozy supper. Come on I say.
Take my arm, Byrnewood—there, steady—here Petriken, never mind the awning-post, take this other arm—
now Mutchins hook Silly's arm and let's travel—"

      But Mutchins—who, by the way, had been out in a buffaloe hunt the year before—was now engaged in an
imaginary, though desperate fight with a Sioux warrior, whom he belabored with terrific shrieks and yells.

      "D—n the fool—he'll have us all in the watch house—" exclaimed Lorrimer, who appeared to be the
soberest of the party by several bottles—"Fun is fun, but this thing of cutting up shines in Chesnut street, after
twelve, when it—keep steady Silly—amounts to yelling like a devil in harness is—un-un-der-stand me, no fun.
Come along, Mutchy my boy!"

      And arm in arm, linked four abreast, like horses very tastelessly matched, the boon companions tottered
along Chesnut street, toward Smokey Chiffin's oyster cellar, where they arrived, with but a single interruption.

      "Hao-pao-twel-o-glor-a-a-damuley-mor!"

      This mysterious combination of sounds emanated from a stout gentleman in a slouching hat, and four or five
overcoats, who, with a small piece of cord-wood in his hand met our party breast to breast, as they were
speeding onward in full career.

      "I say stranger—do that over again—will yo'?" shrieked Petriken, turning his square face over his shoulder
and gazing at the retreating figure with the cord-stick and the overcoats—"Jist do that again if you please. Let
me go I tell you, Gus. Don't you see, this is some—dis-dis-tinguished vocal -ist from London?  What a pathos
there is in his voice—so deep—so full—why Brough is nothing to him! Knock Wood, and Seg-Seguin— and
Shrival— and a dozen more into a musical cocked-hat, and they can't equal our mys-myste-rious friend—"

      "I say you'd better tortle on my coveys—" cried he of the great coats and cord stick, in a subterranean
voice—" Or p'r'aps, my fellers, ye'd like to tend Mayor Scott's tea-party—would ye?"

      "Thank you kindly—" exclaimed Gus Lorrimer in an insinuating tone, "otherwise engaged. But my friend—if
you will allow me to ask—what do you mean by that infernal noise you produced just now? Let us into the lark?"

      The gentleman of the cord stick and overcoats, was however beyond hearing by this time, and our friends
moved on their way. Byrnewood observing in an under tone, somewhat roughened by hiccups, that on his soul,
he believed that queer old cove, in the slouched hat, meant by his mysterious noise to impart the important truth
that it was half -past twelve o'clock and a moonlight morning.

      Descending into Smokey Chiffin's subterranean retreat, our friends were wailed upon by a very small man,
with a sharp face and a white apron, and a figure so lank and slender, that the idea involuntarily arose to the
spectators mind, of whole days and nights of severe training, having been bestowed upon a human frame, in
order to reduce it to a degree of thinness quite visionary.

      "Come my 'Virginia abstraction'—" exclaimed Lorrimer—"Show us into a private room, and tell us what
you've got for supper—"

      "This way sir—this way gents—" cried Smokey Chiffin, as the thin gentleman was rather familiarly styled—
"What got for supper? Woodcock sir? excellent sir. Venison sir; excellent sir. Oysters sir, stewed, sir, fried sir,
roasted sir, or in the shell sir. Excellent sir. Some right fresh, fed on corn-meal sir. What have sir? Excellent sir.
This way gents—"

      And as he thus delivered his bill of fare, the host, attended by his customers, disappeared from the
refrectory proper, through an obscure door into the private room.

      There may be some of our readers who have never been within the confines of one of those oyster-caverns
which abound in the Quaker City.  For their especial benefit, we will endeavor to pencil forth a few of the most
prominent characteristics of the "Oyster Saloon by Mr. Samuel Chiffin."

      Lighted by flaring gas-pipes, it was divided into two sections by a blazing hot coal stove. The section
beyond the stove, wrapt in comparative obscurity, was occupied by two opposing rows of 'boxes,' looking very
much like conventual stalls, ranged side by side, for the accommodation of the brothers of some old-time
monastery. The other section, all light, and glitter, and show, was ornamented at its extreme end, by a
tremendous mirror, in which a toper might look, time after time, in order to note the various degrees of
drunkenness through which he passed.  An oyster-box, embellished by a glorious display of tin signs with gilt
letters, holding out inviting manifestations of "oysters stewed fried or in the shell," occupied one entire side of this
section, gazing directly in the face of the liquor bar placed opposite, garnished with an imposing array of
decanters, paint gilding, and glasses.

      And the company gathered here? Not very select you may be sure.  Four or five gentlemen with seedy
coats and effloresent noses were warming themselves around the stove, and discussing the leading questions of
the leading questions of the day; two individuals whose visits to the bar had been rather frequent, were kneeling
in one corner, swearing at a very ragged dog, whom they could'nt persuade to try a glass of 'Imperial
Elevator,' and seated astride of a chair, silent and alone, a young man whose rakish look and ruffled attire
betrayed the medical student on his first 'spree' was endeavouring to hold himself steady, and look uncommonly
sober; which endeavour always produces, as every body knows, the most ridiculous phase of drunkenness.

      These Oyster Cellers are queer things. Like the caverns of old story, in which the Giants, those ante-
diluvian rowdies, used to sit all day long, and use the most disreputable arts to inveigle lonely travellers into their
clutches, so these modern dens, are occupied by a jolly old Giant of a decanter, who too often lures the
unsuspecting into his embrace. A strange tale might be told, could the stairway leading down into the Oyster
Celler be gifted with the power of speech. Here Youth has gone down laughing merrily, and here Youth has
come up, his ruddy cheek wrinkled and his voice quavering with premature age. Here Wealth has gone down,
and kept going down until at last he came up with his empty pocket, turned inside out, and the gripe of grim
starvation on his shoulder. Here Hope, so young, so gay, so light-hearted has gone down, and came up
transformed into a very devil with sunken cheeks, bleared eyes, and a cankered heart. Oh merry cavern of the
Oyster Celler, nestling under the ground so close to Independence Hall, how great the wonders, how mighty the
doings, how surprising the changes accomplished in your pleasant den, by your jolly old Giant of a Decanter !

      It is here in this Oyster Celler, that we open the fearful tragedy which it is the painful object of our narrative,
to tell. Here amid paint, and glitter and gilding, amid the clink of glasses and the roar of drinking songs, occurred
a scene, which trifling and insipid as it may appear to the casual observer, was but the initial letter to a long and
dreary alphabet of crime, mystery and bloodshed.

      In a room, small and comfortable, lighted by gas and warmed by a cheerful coal-fire, around a table
furnished with various luxuries, and garnished with an array of long necked bottles, we find our friends of the
convivial party. Their revel had swelled to the highest, glass clinked against glass, bottle after bottle had been
exhausted, voices began to mingle together, the drinking song and the prurient story began to pass from lip
to lip, while our sedate friend, Smokey Chiffin, sate silently on the sofa, regarding the drunken bout with a glance
of quiet satisfaction.

      "Let me see—let me see—" he murmured quietly to himself—"Four bottles o' Cham, at two dollars a
bottle—four times two is eight. Hum—hum. They'll drink six more. Let's call it twelve altogether. Say twenty-
four shiners for supper and all. Hum— hum—Gus pays for all. That fellow Petrikin's a sponge. Wonder when
Col. Mutchins will call for the cards? Don't know who this fellow Byrnewood is? New face—may be he's a
roper* too? We'll see—we'll see."

      "Give us your hand, Gus"—cried Byrnewood, rising from his seat and flinging his hand unsteadily across the
table—"Damme, I like you old fellow. Never—never—knew until to-night—met you at Mutchin's room—wish
I'd known you all my life—Give us your hand, my boy!"

      Calm and magnificent, Gustavus extended his hand, and exclaimed, in a voice, which champagne could not
deprive of its sweetness, that it gave him pleasure to know such a regular bird as Mister Byrnewood; great
pleasure; extraordinary pleasure.

      "You see, fellows, I believe I'll take a spree for three days—wont go home, or to the store in Front street.
Mean to keep it up until after Christmas. Wants three days o' Christmas—mean to jolly—ha—ha—how the
room reels."

      "Gentle-men—I don't know what is the matter with me—"observed Petriken, who rested his elbows
helplessly on the table, as he looked around with his square face, lengthened into a vacant stare—"There's
somethin' queer a-goin' on with my eyes. I seem to see spiders—lots o' 'em—playin' corner-ball with roaches.
See anything o' the kind, Mutchins?"

      "Why—why—" replied that sententious gentleman as his red round face was overspread by a
commiserating smile—"Why the fact is—Silly—you've been drinkin'.  By the bye does'nt it strike you that
there's something queer going on with that gas light. I say, Smokey, is'nt there a beetle tryin' to mash his brains
out against that gas-pipe?"

      "Gentlemen—I will give you a toast!" exclaimed Lorrimer, as he stood erect, the bold outline of his manly
form, his handsome face, the high forehead relieved by thick masses of brown hair, the aquiline nose, the
rounded chin, and the curving lip darkened by a mustache, all shown to advantage in the glowing light—
"Gentlemen fill your glasses—no heeltaps! WOMAN!"

      "WOMAN!" shrieked the other three, springing unsteadily to their feet, and raising their glasses on high—
WOMAN! Three times three—hip-hip-hurrah!"

      "Women!" muttered Sylvester Petriken—"Women for ever! when we're babies she nusses us, when we're
boys she lathers us, when we're men she bedevils and bewitches us!"

      "Woman—" muttered Colonel Mutchins—" without her what 'ud life be? A dickey without a plete, a collar
without starch!"

      "We can't help it if we fascinate 'em?" exclaimed Byrnewood—"Can we Gus?"

      "All fate, my boy—all fate. By the bye—set down boys. I've got a nice little adventure of my own to tell.
Smokey—bring us some soda to sober off with "

      "Gentlemen—" cried Petriken, sinking heavily in his chair—"Did any of you see the last number of my
magazine? 'The Ladies' Western Hemisphere and Continental Organ.'  Offers the following inducements to sub—
subscribers—one fashion-plate and two steel engravings per number—48 pages, octavo—Sylvester J. Petriken,
Editor and Proprietor, office 209 Drayman's alley, up stairs. Damme, Mutchins, what's your idea of fleas?"

      There was not, it is true, the most visible connexion between the Ladies' Continental Organ and the peculiar
insect, so troublesome to young puppies and very small kittens, yet as Mr. Petriken was not exactly sober, and
Col. Mutchins very far from the temperance pledge, the idea seemed to tickle them both immensely and they
joined in a hearty laugh, which terminated in another glass from a fresh bottle of champagne.

      "Let's have your story, Gus!" shouted Byrnewood—"Let's have your story! Damme—life's but a porcelain
cup—to-day we have it, tomorrow we hav'nt—why not fill it with sweetness?"

      As he said this, in tones indistinct with liquor he flung his long curling hair back from his brow, and tossed
his glass unsteadily on high.

      Life a porcelain cup, why not fill it with sweetness? Great God of Mercy! Could the terrible future, which
was to break, in a few brief hours, with all its horrors, on the head of this young man, who now sat
unconsciously at the drinking board, have at that moment assumed a tangible form, it would have stood like an
incarnate devil at his shoulder, its outstretched hand, pouring the very gall of despair into the cup of his life,
crowding it to the brim with the wormwood of death.

      "Well boys for my story. It's a story of a sweet girl, my boys—a sweet girl about sixteen, with a large blue
eye, a cheek like a ripe peach, and a lip like a rose-bud cleft in two—"

      "Honor bright Gus. Damme, that's a quotation from my last Ladies' Western Hem. Damme Gus—"

      "Byrnewood do hold poor Silly down. There's this material difference, boys, between a ripe peach or a
cleft rose-bud, and a dear little woman's lips or cheek. A ripe peach won't throb and grow warm if you lay your
cheek against it, and I never yet heard of a rose-bud that kissed back again. She's as lovely a girl as ever trod
the streets of the Quaker City. Noble bust—slender waist—small feet and delicate hands. Her hair? damme,
Byrnewood, you'd give your eyes for the privilege of twining your hands through the rich locks of her dark
brown hair—"

      "Well, well, go on. Who is this girl; uncover the mystery!"

      "Patience, my boy, patience. A little of that soda if you please. Now, gentlemen, I want you to listen
attentively, for let me tell you, you don't hear a story like mine every day in the year."

      Half sobered by the combined influences of the soda water and the interest of Lorrimer's story, Byrnewood
leaned forward, fixing his full dark eyes intently upon the face of Gus, who was seated opposite; while Col.
Mutchins straightened himself in his chair, and even Petriken's vacant face glowed with a momentary aspect of
sobriety.

      "I see, boys, that you expect some thing nice. (Smokey put some more coal on that fire.) Well Byrnewood,
you must know I'm a devil of a fellow among the girls—and—and—d—n the thing, I don't know how to get at
it. Well, here goes. About two weeks ago I was strolling along Chesnut street towards evening, with Boney
(that's my big wolf dog, you know?)  at my heels. I was just wondering where I should spend the evening;
whether I should go to see Forrest at the Walnut, or take a turn round town; when who should I see walking
ahead of me, but one of the prettiest figures in the world, in a black silk mantilla, with one of these saucy kiss-
me-if-you-dare bonnets on her head. The walk of the creature, and a little glimpse of her ankle excited my
curiosity, and I pushed ahead to get a view of her face. By Jupiter, you never saw such a face! so soft, so
melting, and—damme—so innocent. She looked positively bewitching in that saucy bonnet, with her hair parted
over her forehead, and resting each cheek in a mass of the richest curls, that ever hung from the brow of mortal
woman—"

      "Well, Gus, we'll imagine all this. She was beautiful as a houri, and priceless as the philosopher's stone—"

      "Byrnewood you are too impatient. A pretty woman in a black silk mantilla, with a lovely face peeping from
a provoking bonnet, may seem nothing to you, but the strangest part of the adventure is yet to come. As I
looked in the face of this lovely girl, she, to my utter astonishment addressed me in the softest voice in the world,
and—"

      "Called you by name?"

      "No. Not precisely. It seems she mistook me for some gentleman whom she had seen at a country
boarding-school. I took advantage of her mistake, walked by her side for some squares along Chesnut street,
and—"

      "Became thoroughly acquainted with her, I suppose?" suggested Byrnewood.

      "Well, you may judge so, when I mention one trifling fact for your consideration. This night, at three o'clock,
this innocent girl, the flower of one of the first families in the city, forsaking home and friends, and all that these
sweet girls are wont to hold dear, will seek repose in my arms—"

      "She can't be
much—" exclaimed Byrnewood, over whose face a look of scornful incredulity had been
gathering for some few moments past—"Pass that champagne, Petriken my boy. Gus, I don't mean to offend
you, but I rather think you've been humbugged by some 'slewer?' "*

      A frown darkened over Lorrimer's brow, and even as he sate, you might see his chest heave and his form
dilate.

      "Do you mean to doubt my word—
Sir?"

      "Not at all, not at all. But you must confess, the thing looks rather improbable. (Will you smoke, Col.?)
May I ask whether there was any one in company with the lady when first you met her?"

      "A Miss something or other—I forget her name. A very passable beauty of twenty and upwards, and I may
add, a very convenient one, for she carried my letters, and otherwise favored my cause with the sweet girl."

      "And this 'sweet girl' is the flower of one of the first families in the city?" asked Byrnewood with a half
formed sneer on his upper lip.

      "She is—" answered Lorrimer, lighting a cigar.

      "And this girl, to-night, leaves home and friends for you, and three hours hence will repose in your arms?"

      "She will—" and Lorrimer vacantly eyed a column of smoke winding upward to the ceiling.

      "You will not marry her?"

      "Ha-ha-ha ! You're ahead of me now. Only a pretended marriage, my boy. As for this 'life interest' in a
woman, it don't suite my taste. A nice little sham marriage, my boy, is better than ten real ones—"

      "You would be a d—d fool to marry a woman who flung herself in your power in this manner. How do
know she is respectable? Did you ever visit her at her father's house?  What is her name?  Do enlighten us a
little—"

      "You're 'cute, my boy, mighty 'cute, as the Yankee says, but not so 'cute as you think. Her name? D'ye
think I m so particularly verdant as to tell it? I know her name, could tell you the figure of her fathers wealth, but
have never been inside of the threshold of her home. Secret meetings, secret walks and even an assumed name,
are oftentimes wonderfully convenient."

      "Gus, here is a hundred dollar bill on the Bank of North America. I am, as you see, somewhat interested in
your story. I will stake this hundred dollars that the girl who seeks your arms to-night, is not respectable, is not
connected with one of the first families in the city, and more than all has never been any better than a common
lady of the sidewalk—"

      "Book that bet, Mutchins. You heard it, Silly. And now, Byrnewood, here is another hundred, which I will
deposit with yours in Mutchins' hands until the bet is decided. Come with me and I'll prove to you that you've
lost. You shall witness the wedding—ha, ha—and to your own sense of honor will I confide the secret of the
lady's name and position—"

      "The bet is booked and the money is safe"—murmured the sententious Mutchins, enclosing the notes in the
leaves of his pocket-book—"I've heard of many rum go's but
this is the rummest go of all."

      "If I may be allowed to use the expression, this question involves a mystery. A decided mystery. For
instance, what's the lady's name? There is a point from which Hypothesis may derive some labor. What's in a
name—as Shakspeare says. I say, gents, let's pick out a dozen names, and toss up which shall have it?"

      This rather profound remark of Mr. Petriken's was received with unanimous neglect.

      It was observable that during this conversation, both Lorrimer and Byrnewood had been gradually
recovering from the effects of their debauch. Lorrimer seemed somewhat offended at the distrust manifested by
Byrnewood; who, in his turn, appeared to believe the adventure just related with very many doubts and
modifications.

      Lorrimer leaned over the table and whispered in Sylvester's ear.

      "Damme—damme my fellow—" murmured Sylvester, apparently in reply to the whispered remark of his
friend—"It cannot be done. Why man it's a penitentiary offence."

      Lorrimer again hissed a meaning whisper in the ear of the little man.

      "Well, well, as it is your wish I'll do it. A cool fifty, did you say? You think a devlish sight of the girl—do
you then? I must provide myself with a gown and prayer book? I flatter myself I'll rather become them—three
o'clock, did you say?"

      "Aye—aye—" answered Lorrimer, turning to the rubicund face of Col. Mutchins and whispering hurriedly
in his ear.

      A pleasant smile overspread the face of the benevolent man, and his pear-shaped nose seemed to grow
expressive for a single moment.

      "D—d good idea? I'll be your too-confiding uncle? Eh? Stern but relenting? I'll bless the union with my
benediction—
I'll give the bride away?"

      "Come along Byrnewood. Here Smokey is the money for our supper. Mark you gentlemen, Mr. Petriken
and Col. Mutchins—the hour is three o' clock. Don't fail me, if the d—l himself stands in the way. Take my arm
Byrnewood and let's travel—"

"Then 'hey for the wedding.' Daylight will tell who wins!"

      And as they left the room arm in arm, bound on the adventure so suddenly undertaken, and so full of
interest and romance, Petriken looked vacantly in Mutchins face, and Mutchins returned the look with a steady
gaze that seemed to say—'How much did he give you, old boy?'

      Whether Sylvester translated the look in this manner, it is difficult to tell, but certain it is, that as he poured a
bumper from a fresh bottle of champagne, he motioned the Colonel to do the same, and murmured in an absent
manner, or perhaps by way of a sentiment, the remarkable words—

      "Fifty dollars! Egad that 'ill buy two steel engravings and three fashion plates for the next number of the
Ladies' Western Hemisphere. ' Economy is wealth,' and the best way to learn to fly is to creep—creep very
low, remarkably low, d—d low—
always creep!"
* This genteel term
is applied to a well
dressed edition of
the vulgar stool-
pigeon, used by
gamblers, to decoy
the unwary into
their dens. The
stool-pigeon is the
loafer decoy, the
roper is very
aristocratic,
prevails in the large
hotel and is called
a—gentleman.
(Lippard's note)
* A cant term used
by profligates for
female servants of
indifferent
character.
(Lippard's note)
Don't miss next week's chapter, in which we learn of Lorrimer's unfortunate victim:

                           Mary, the Merchant's Daughter

Leaning gently forward, her shawl falling carelessly from her shoulders, and her bonnet thrown back from
her brow, the fair girl impressed a kiss on the cheek of her father, while the glossy ringlets of her hair mingled
their luxuriant brown with the white locks of the kind old man . . . .
Continue reading
Notes to
Book First,
Chapter First
Quaker City
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