Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

strative proof that he was not forced out of the island, did not quit it in disgust, or leave it in a manner inconsistent with his royal character. Thus ended the reign of Theodore ; who arrived in a few days disguised in the habit of an Abbé, at Livonia; and thence, after a short stay, conveyed himself nobody knew where. The next year, however, he appeared at Paris, but was ordered to depart the kingdom in forty-eight hours. He precipitately embarked at Rouen, and arrived at Amsterdam, attended by four Italian domestics. He had not been long here before two citizens arrested him on a claim of 16,000 florins, but he soon obtained a protection, and found some merchants who engaged to furnish him with a great quantity of ammunition for his faithful islanders. He accordingly went on board a frigate of tifty-two guns, and two hundred and fifty men; but was soon afterwards, with two of his relations, seized at Naples, in the house of the Dutch consul, and sent prisoners to the fortress of Gaeta.

This unhappy monarch, whose courage had raised him to a throne, not by a succession of bloody acts, but by the free choice of an oppressed nation, for many years struggled with fortune, and left no means untried, which indefatigable policy, or solicitation of succours, could attempt, to recover his crown; at length he chose for his retirement a country where be might enjoy the participation of that liberty which he had so vainly endeavoured to fix to his Corsicans ;, but his situation here by degrees grew wretched, and he was reduced so low, as to be several years before his death a prisoner for debt in the King's Bench. To the honour of some private persons, a charitable contribution was set on foot for him in 1753, which supported him until the year 1756, when he died. In the year following, a tablet of marble was raised to his

memory in the church-yard of St. Ann's, Wesminster, which recorded the reverses of fortune he had experienced

DANIEL DANCER. Daniel Dancer, one of the most remarkable instances of the insatiable thirst of gold recorded in the history of human nature, was born in the year 1716, on Harrow-weald Common, in Middlesex. His youth was not distinguished for any particular passion or propensity, and it was not till he succeeded to the fortune which devolved to him by the death of his father, that he manifested the inordinate love of money, which rendered him miserable during the remainder of his life. His sister, whose disposition exactly corresponded with his own, continued to reside with him till her death.

The fare of this saving couple was invariably the same. They used constantly on a Sunday to boil a sticking of beef, with fourteen hard dumplings, and this was to last during the whole week.

On the death of his sister, finding himself lonesome, he hired a man for his companion, who was a proper counterpart of himself. This servant, Griffiths, had, by severe parsimony, contrived to accumulate 5001. out of wages which had never exceeded 101. per annum. At the time he hired with Mr. Dancer, he was about sixty years of age, and his wages were eighteenpence per week. He assisted his master in picking up bones, &c. accordingly, when they went out, they took different roads for the same purpose; but Griffiths having a taste for strong beer, would tipple a little, which was the cause of much altercation at night, when he returned home to his master.

From a principle of rigid economy, Mr. Dancer rarely washed his hands and face; and when he did, it was always without the assistance of either soap or towel. Dispensing with those articles of expensive luxury, he used, when the sun shone, to repair to a neighbouring pool, and after washing himself with sand, he would lie on his back in the sun to dry himself. 'His tattered garments, which were scarcely sufficient to cover his nakedness, were kept together by a strong hay-band, which he fastened round his body. His stockings were so patched, that not a vestige of the original could be perceived, and in cold and dirty weather he wound about his legs ropes of hay, so that his whole figure presented the most striking picture of misery that can possibly be conceived.

When his sister died, he had a pair of shects on his bed, which he would never suffer to be removed; but lay in them till they were worn out. He would not allow his house to be cleaned, and the room in which he lived was nearly filled with sticks he had collected from his neighbours' hedges. He was for many years his own cobbler, and the last pair of shoes he wore had become so large and ponderous, from the frequent soles and coverings they had received, that they rather resembled hog-troughs than shoes.

During the illness which terminated his mis-spent life, Lady Tempest accidentally calling upon him, found him laying in an old sack, which came up to his neck. To her remonstrances against the impropriety of such a situation, he replied, that having come into the world without a shirt, he was determined to go out of it in the same manner. She then requested him to have a pillow to raise his head, when he immediately ordered his old servant Griffiths to bring him a truss of hay for that purpose. Thus expired this miserable man, in October, 1794, in the 78th year of his age.

те

It took many weeks to explore the contents of his
dwelling. One of his escritoirs was the dungheap in
the cow-house, which contained nearly 25001.; and
in an old jackct, carefully tied, and strongly nailed
down to the manger, was the sum of 5001. in gold and
bank-notes.' In the chimney was about 2001. and an
old tea-pot contained bank-notes to the value of 6001.
The whole property which he left to Lady Tempest
and her brother, Captain Holmes, was about 30001.
per annum.

VAUX'S ACCOUNT OF Himself.
I generally spent the mornings, that is, from about
one o'clock to five P. M. (which are the fashionable
hours for shopping) in visiting the shops of jewellers,
watchmakers, pawnbrokers, &c. Having conceived
hopes that this species of robbery would turn to a
good account, and depending upon my own address
and appearance, I determined to make a circuit of
the town, and not to omnit a single shop in either of
those branches : and this scheme I actually executed
so fully, that I did not leave ten untried in all
London, for I made a point of commencing every day
in a certain street, and went regularly through it on
both sides the way. My practice was to enter a shop,
and request to look at gold seals, chains, brooches,
rings, or any other small articles of value; and while
examining them, and looking the shopkeeper in the
face, I contrived, by slight of hand, to conceal two or
three of them, sometimes more, in the sleeve of my
coat, which was purposely made wide. On this oc-
casion I purchased a trifling article to save appear.
ances ; at other times I took a card of the shop, pro-
mising to call again ; and as I generally saw the re-
maining goods returned to the window or place from
whence they were taken, before I left the shop, there
was hardly a probability of my being suspected, or of the property, being missed. In the course of my career I was never once detected in the fact, though on two or three occasions, so much suspicion arose, that I was obliged to exert all my effrontery, and to use very high language, in order, as the cant phrase is, to bounce the tradesman out of it ; and my fashionable appearance, and affected anger at his insinuations, had always the effect of convincing him that he was mistaken, and inducing him to apologize for the affront put upon me. I have even sometimes carried away the spoil notwithstanding what had passed, and I have often gone a second and a third time to the same shop, with as good success as at the first. To prevent accidents, however, I made it a rule never to enter a second shop with any stolen property about me; for as soon as I quitted the first, I privately conveyed my booty to Bromley, who was attending iny motions in the street, and herein I found himn eminently useful. By this course of depredations I acquired on the average about ten pounds a week, though I some. times neglected shopping for several days together. This was not, indeed, the only pursuit I followed, but was my principal morning's occupation; though if a favourable opportunity offered of getting a guinea by any other means, I never let it slip. In the evenings I generally attended one of the theatres, where I mixed with the best company in the boxes, and at the same time that I enjoyed the amusements of the place, I frequently conveyed pocket-books, snuff. boxes, and other portable articles, from the pockets of their proprietors into my own. Here I found the inconvenience of wanting a suitable companion, who might have received the articles I made prize of, in the same manner as Bromley did in the streets ; but though I knew many of the light-fingered gentry,

« AnteriorContinuar »