Fitz-Cowles and His Creditors
|In a large saloon, furnished in a style of magnificence, popularly known as the gingerbread style, with immense
red silk curtains along the windows, scattered patches of gilt, glittering around the cornices, and a colossal mirror
above the mantle, sate the four-and-thirty creditors, waiting for the appearance of the millionaire.
The softened light which came through the drawn curtains, gave a mild and shadowy effect to the figures of the
patient band, while it was quite delightful to witness the animated expression of their countenances, as gazing into
each others eyes, they seemed to wonder why in the deuce they were all penned up there together, like various
kinds of cattle at an Agricultural fair.
Bluffly Bulk, Esq., the fat lawyer, sat glaring upon the little bootmaker, Douzzle, as though he was wondering
what kind of a ‘fry’ the fellow would make for his breakfast; Michael O’Flannagan, the Parisian bootmaker, was
engaged in polishing his shoes on the handsome hearth-rug; Coddle St. Giles, gazed vacantly around with the
look of a man who has been feloniously decoyed into a den of thieves, while the rest of the four-and-thirty
creditors were occupied in examining their various bills, which they raised frequently in the light; and crushed
between their fingers, as though the action was productive of great peace of mind and tranquility of spirit.
A buz-buz of satisfaction, resounded through the saloon.
Col. Fitz-Cowles appeared in the doorway with Buzby Poodle, and Endymion at his back.
"Gentlemen—" said the Colonel, placing one hand between his back and his flashy morning-robe, while he
waved the other gently up and down—"I owe you money—"
"That you do—" muttered Bluffly Bulk, Esq., stamping his cane on the floor; and a buz-buz from the four-and-
thirty creditors, confirmed the truth of the sentiment. It was quite pleasing to see how much unanimity of feeling
existed on this point. Had there been only half the concurrence of opinion, visible in the doings of most of our
religious conventions, synods and conferences, the world would have been Christianized long ago.
"I owe you money and I mean to pay it—"
"He manes to pay it! Hurra! Three times, hur-rah!"
"I mean to make your fortunes. I should suppose you all want money rather bad?"
"Deuced bad." "Cursed bad." "Och, don’t I?" "Wife and children—one sick with the measles." "Starvation."
"Go to jail." "Out of wood, out of coal, out of ivory."
"If I don’t pay you this morning I suppose it will ruin you all?"
"Totally." "Have to leave the city." "Can’t think on’t." " Horrible." "Och whillaloo!" "Ruin me, root and branch!"
"Well, then, gentlemen, I will make your fortunes. You have a pleasing countenance, my friend Bluffly Bulk, a
respectable person. You shall oversee the hands. Yes, yes. That ‘ill just suit you. Mister Flannagan, imagine
yourself perched on the edge of a well, some hundred fathoms deep, telling the laborers below to mind their
eyes and be d——d to ‘em. ‘Hoist away my hearties’—d‘ye take? Coddle St. Giles, your remarkable talents
will here be called into requisition. You can take drawings of the mines—publish ‘em when we all get back—
splendid volume—letter press by Sylvester J. Petriken, of the Western Hem. Flunk, my dear friend Flunk, of the
firm of Flunk, Checkley & Co., Merchant Tailors, you can make up a lot of clothes for the miners! ‘Gad gents, I
like the plan altogether; it will suit our various talents. It will make our fortunes—"
"Gintlemen, me name is Mikey O’Flannagan, Bootmaker, from Paris, and me father fought with ould Boney,
and so ye see there’s some larnin’ in our family, but may the divil fly away wid me, if I can make out what the
Curnel manes—By Julias Caysar, but we’re all a-listenin to a gintleman from the Insane Hozpittal!"
"What in the d——l do you mean?" exclaimed Bluffly Bulk, growing like a turkey-cock in the face as he fixed
his eyes upon Fitz-Cowles, who stood in the centre of the saloon, in an attitude of deep abstraction—"Be so
kind as to explain yourself!"
"Yes the plan is feasible—" exclaimed Colonel Fitz-Cowles elevating his eyebrows with an absent stare—"But
there’s a rough desert to pass through before we reach the mines. Plenty of Mexicans and Texans—not to
mention the Indians and wild beasts. Still the mines are productive: on my father’s estate you know? I’m incog:
just now, but when the Company is in full operation, under the combined patronage of Santa Anna, the Mexican
government, and Sam Houston, I’ll make known the old man’s name—"
"Sir—" cried Bluffly Bulk in a voice of thunder—"Will you tell us what you mean?"
"Arrah, man, and be quick at it!"
"Oblige us with some slight knowledge—"
"Guess he wants a straight-jacket. "
"Tell you what I mean? " exclaimed Fitz-Cowles, starting from his reverie—"With pleasure. You see
gentlemen, I propose to make your fortunes, by allowing you to enter your names, as stockholders of ‘the
Grand Montezuma Gold-Mining Company of the gold mines of Huancatepapetel, district of Tolpcaptl, South
Mexico—Algernon Fitz-Cowles, President, Bluffly Bulk, Secretary, Board of Directors as follows—’ you can
fill up the blank at your leisure you know? I will allow you, each to take ten shares of the capital stock at $100
per share; and we will say nothing about the small turns I owe you. Mere trifles you know. Bluffly, in
consideration of the post of Secretary, being tendered you, one hundred shares, will be the smallest number, you
can be permitted to take—"
Fitz-Cowles paused, and looked around to note the effects of his important proposition. There was a dead
silence in the Saloon. You might have heard a pin drop. The four and thirty Creditors, looked into one another’s
faces, but said nothing. Buzby Poodle and Dim the Creole, concealed themselves among the window curtains,
which quivered and shook, as with a sudden convulsion.
"Gentlemen d’ye like my proposition?" said Fitz-Cowles blandly—"Is it feasible? We can all go to
Huancatapepetel together; times are so hard in this city. Those that are married can take their families with them;
those that are single, will get families soon enough on their arrival at the mines. You are silent—it is with surprise
I suppose? Or d’ye want to advance some small amount on your shares? No, gentlemen. I can’t think of that!
The trifles I owe you one and all, will more than pay, for your shares—"
"Well, may I be rammed into a shot gun, and fired off at a nigger riot, if this is n’t the coolest thing I’ve heard
of for some time!" and as he spoke the fat lawyer started from his feet, and confronted Fitz-Cowles—"Zounds
Sir, what do you take me for?"
"A fine fat old gentleman—" replied Fitz-Cowles bowing—"Who would make a Capital Superintendent of the
mines. By Jupiter! Bluffly, that person of yours carries respectability in its every outline. It is worth at least a-
thousand shares to the company—"
The storm, long-gathering and silent in its growth, burst suddenly over the head of Fitz-Cowles. One and all
the four and thirty Creditors rose, one and all they poured forth their anger in broken words and bitter curses.
"J——s the villain!—" "The scoundrel—" "Swindler—" "This is wot I gits for his mini’tur!—" "I’m paid for the
fifteen coats and—" "Here’s the cash for my gloves!" "Tish is damdt pat—my wife sick and de shildren got de
measles—" "Hurrah! Let’s whack into ‘im!"
"This beats an Insolvent Schedule all hollow!" laughed Buzby Poodle, peeping out from behind the curtains—
"Gad! what a scene for the Black Mail! Four and thirty Creditors, of all shapes, sizes and patterns, surrounding
Fitz-Cowles, who greets ‘em with a commisserating smile! Ha—ha! Capital!"
"De High-Golly!" shouted Dim thrusting his head from the other curtain—"Dey look as if dey eat Massa up
widout any pepper or salt!"
"Gentlemen—will you hear me!" shouted Fitz-Cowles in a voice of thunder, as he gazed upon the four and
thirty threatening faces—"Will you or will you not? Am I to be insulted in my own house? Dim—go and call the
servants, and have these fellows trundled down stairs—"
"Well Sir, what do you propose?" cried Bluffly Bulk, his voice rising above the tumult—"No more humbug,
"You then reject my offer, made with the best feelings in the world, to combine you, one and all, into the
Grand Montezuma Gold-Mining Company of the Huancatepapetel—"
" ‘Huancatty-kettle-polly’ be d——d!" shouted Flunk the tailor pressing forward, as he shook his clenched
hand in the air.
"Pitch ‘Gwan-goett-polly’ to the divil!" screamed O’Flannagan the Boot Maker.
"Just as you like Gentlemen. Pitch Huancatepapetel to the devil, by all means. But I was about to observe that
the various sums, which I owe you separately, taken in the lump, amount to something over three thousand
dollars. You are interested. Well now, my fellows here’s the difficulty. I’ve but a thousand dollars, cash in my
possession. You can divide it among you, if you like—"
"Now you, talk—" observed Bluffly Bulk, with a pleasing smile as though the previous remarks of Fitz-
Cowles had not risen even to the dignity of talk—"Of course my little fee of fifty dollars, will be satisfied out of
this sum, in precedence to all other claims—"
"Av course me little bill of thirty sivin dollars, sixty cents—" observed Mr. Flannagan, stepping briskly
forward, as he thrust his hands, deep into the vacuum of his great coat pockets—"Will take the prisidence of
your thrifling claims—"
"Of course, Curnel, my bill of two hundred and fifty, for Dry Goods—" mildly exclaimed McWhiley Mumshell,
pulling his ragged whiskers, with a hand, all glittering with costly rings—"My little bill will be considered, first of
"And is it the likes of ye, to stand afore me? The divil dhrag me under a harrow, but ould rat-face, ye’ve a dale
of impedence in them same whiskers."
"Curnel, don’t forgit the min’itur—" "Nor the horse-hire—" "Remember the gloves—" "Ishn’t I to be paidt for
my poots?" "De parfumerie Monsieur Viz-Cowle—" "Jist stand back there, will ye—" "Devil take your
impudence—I’m as good as you—" "Say that again—" "You’re another—" "My bill, Curnel—" "Mine, I say—"
"Wife and five children, won sick wid de measles—"
"Gentlemen—do be calm—" cried Fitz-Cowles as he viewed the gathering storm—"Remember gentlemen,
that you are gentlemen. Be calm, Flannagan—Quiet yourself, Bluffly—Soothe your excited feelings,
"Will you settle my bill—" shrieked Bluffly Bulk, red in the face with anger—"Yes or no!"
"Botherashin! Stand back auld porpise—and let me give him a receipt—Or is it a row ye’ve a-wantin—"
"D——d Irishman—" grated Bluffly between his teeth.
"D——d Irishman, am I? And me a Paryshian barn? For the sake of my ould man, who was an Irishman, and
who fit wid Boney at Watherloo—take that."
And with his clenched hand, he aimed a blow, full at the immense corporation of the fat lawyer. The blow
brushed Mumshell’s whiskers and took effect on the person of the lawyer. The effect was terrific. In an instant
the four and thirty Creditors, their bills in hand, were all mingled through each other, every man striking the man
who stood next to him, without regard to consequences, while Bluffly and Flannagan, went at it, tooth and nail,
exchanging fisticuffs with remarkable good will.
The scene was peculiar. A forest of fists, rising up and down, a mass of angry faces, all mingled together,
some four and thirty bodies of all sizes and descriptions, twisting and winding about, with so much rapidity, that
they all looked like the different limbs of some strange monster, undergoing a violent epipletic fit.
"Gentlemen, do be calm—"
"Go your death—Allez-vous votre mort!"—as we say in domestic French! "Hit ‘em again!—frappez duex
fois! That’s it! Give him another!—donnez lui un autre!"
"You scoundrel—I’ll prosecute you for damages—"
"Damages, you ould porpise—then by my father’s soul, I’ll damage you a thrifle more!"
"This is shameful! Show me the man who struck me in the eye—"
"Bi Gott! I vill murder somebodys tirectly—"
"Let me up! It wasn’t me that struck you!"
"I’ll take the wo’th of my gloves out o’ somebody—"
"Oh my h-eye! ‘Ere’s a purty minature for you!"
"Oh! whililoo! Any one here that’ll say I wasn’t a Paryshien born? Fight it out boys—lather it into one another!
Whoop! Say that black mark under yer eye isn’t a bit o’ patchwork—will ye? Jest say it! Come on six ov ye—
I ain’t pertikler which! Hurrah! There goes the lookin’ glass! Crack—smash—bang! Thry it agin—ould porpise!
This bates Watherloo—hurray, hurray!"
|Read on to see who next visits the cunning Fitz-Cowles.
Not some silly-named merchant, but someone of a much danger character.
Someone who provides a real threat to the Colonel.
Read on to see who receives
The Death Warrant