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will give it over : by the Lord, an I do not, I am a villain : I'll be damned for never a king's son in Christendom. P. Henry. Where shall we take a purse to-morrow, Jack ?

Falstaff. Where thou wilt, lad ; I'll make one: an I do not, call me villain, and baffle me.”

We must take care how we speak of Macheath, or we shall be said to be getting political again. Fielding's “ Jonathan Wild the Greatis also, in this sense, caviare to the multitude.” But we would say more of hin, if we had room. Count Fathom, a deliberate scoundrel, compounded of the Jonathan Wilds and the more equivocal Cagliostros and other adventurers, is a thief not at all to our taste. We are continually obliged to call his mother to our recollection, in order to bear hin. The only instance in which the character of an absolute profligate pickpocket was ever made comparatively welcome to our graver feelings, is in the extraordinary novel of “ Manon L'Escaut" by the Abbé Prevost. It is the story of a young man so passionately in love with a profligate female, that he follows her through every species of vice and misery, even when she is sent as a convict to New Orleans. His love, indeed, is returned. He is obliged to subsist upon her vices; and, in return, is induced to help her with his own, becoming a cheat and a swindler to supply her outrageous extravagances.

On board the convict ship (if we recollect) he waits on her through every species of squalidness; the convict-dress and her shaved head only redoubling his love by the help of pity. This seems a shocking and very immoral book; yet multitudes of very reputable people have found a charm in it. The fact is, not only that Manon is beautiful, sprightly, really fond of her lover, and, after all, bccomes reformed; but that it is delightful, and ought to be so, to the human heart, to see a vein of sentiment and real goodness looking out through all this callous surface of guilt. It is like meeting with a tree in a squalid hole of a city, flower, or'a frank face, in a reprobate purlieu. The capabilities of human nature are not compromised. The virtue alone seems natural ;

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the guilt, as it so often is, seems artificial, and the result of some bad education, or other circumstance. Nor is anybody injured. It is one of the shallowest of all shallow notions to talk of the harm of such works. Do we think nobody is to be harmed but the virtuous? Or that there are not privileged harms and vices to be got rid of, as well as unprivileged ? No good-hearted person will be injured by reading “Manon L'Escaut." There is the belief in goodness in it; a faith, the want of which does so much harm both to the vicious and to the overrighteous.

The prince of all robbers, English or foreign, is undoubtedly Robin Hood. There is a worthy Scottish namesake of his, Rob Roy, who has lately had justice done to all his injuries by a countryman; and the author, it seems, has now come down from the borders to see the Rob of the elder times well treated. We were obliged to tear ourselves away from his first volume,* to go to this ill-repaying article. But Robin Hood will still remain the chief and “gentlest of thieves.”

He acted upon a larger scale, or in opposition to a larger injustice,—to a whole political system. He “ shook the superflux” to the poor,

and showed the heavens more just.” However, what we have to say of him we must keep till the trees are in leaf again, and the greenwood shade delightful.

We dismiss, in one rabble-like heap, the real Jonathan Wilds, Abershaws, and other heroes of the Newgate Calendar, who have no redemption in their rascality. And after them, for gentlemen-valets, may go the Barringtons, Major Semples, and other sneaking rogues, who held on a tremulous career of iniquity, betwixt pilfering and repenting. Yet Jack Sheppard must not be forgotten, with his ingenious and daring breaks out of prison ; nor Turpin, who is said to have ridden his horse with such swiftness from York to London, that he was enabled to set up an alibi. We have omitted to notice the celebrated Bucca. neers of America; but these are fellows with regard to whom

* Or“ Ivanhoe.”

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we are willing to take Dogberry's advice, and “steal out of their company."

All hail, thou most attractive of scapegraces ;-thou most accomplished of gentlemen of the road ;-thou, worthy to be called one of "the minions of the moon,”—Monsieur Claude Du Val,—whom we have come such a long and dangerous journey to see!

Claude Du Val, according to a pleasant account of him, in the “Harleian Miscellany," was born at Domfront in Normandy, in the year 1643, of Pierre du Val, miller, and Marguerite de la Roche, the fair daughter of a tailor. Being a sprightly boy, he did not remain in the country, but became servant to a person of quality at Paris; and with this gentleman he came over to England at the time of the Restoration. It is difficult to say, which came over to pick the most pockets and hearts,-Charles II., or Claude Du Val. Be this as it may,

courses " of life (“ for,” says the contemporary historian, “I dare not call them vices"), soon reduced him to the necessity of going upon the road; and here "he quickly became so famous, that in a proclamation for the taking several notorious highwaymen, he had the honour to be named first.” He took, says his biographer, “the generous way of padding;” that is to say, he behaved with exemplary politeness to all coaches, especially those in which there were ladies; making a point of frightening them as amiably as possible; and insisting upon returning any favourite trinkets or keepsakes for which they chose to appeal to him with “their most sweet voices."

It was in this character that he performed an exploit which is the eternal feather in the cap of highway gentility. We will relate it in the words of our informer. Riding out with some of his confederates, “he overtakes a coach, which they had set overnight, having intelligence of a booty of £400 in it. In the coach was a knight, his lady, and only one serving-maid, who, perceiving five horsemen making up to them, presently imagined that they were beset ; and they were confirmed in this appre

hension, by seeing them whisper to one another, and ride backwards and forwards. The lady, to show she was not afraid, takes a flageolet out of her pocket, and plays : Du Val takes the hint, plays also, and excellently well, upon a flageolet of his own; and in this posture he rides up to the coach-side. 'Sir,' says he, to the person in the coach, ‘ your lady plays excellently, and I doubt not but that she dances as well; will you please to walk out of the coach, and let me have the honour to dance one currant with her upon the heath ?' 'Sir,' said the person in the coach, “I dare not deny anything to one of your quality and good mind; you seem a gentleman, and your request is very reasonable :' which said, the lacquey opens the boot, out comes the knight, Du Val leaps lightly off his horse, and hands the lady out of the coach. They danced, and here it was that Du Val performed marvels; the best master in London, except those that are French, not being able to show such footing as he did in his great riding French boots. The dancing being over, he waits on the lady to her coach. As the knight was going in, says Du Val to him, “Sir, you have forgot to pay the music.' “No, I have not,' replies the knight, and, putting his hand under the seat of the coach, pulls out a hundred pounds in a bag, and delivers it to him ; which Du Val took with a very good grace, and courteously answered, “Sir, you are liberal, and shall have no cause to repent your being so; this liberality of yours shall excuse you the other £300,' and, giving him the word, that if he met with any more of the crew, he might pass undisturbed, he civilly takes his leave of him.

“This story, I confess, justifies the great kindness the ladies had for Du Val; for in this, as in an epitome, are contained all things that set a man off advantageously, and make him appear, as the phrase is, much a gentlemin. First, here was valour, that lie and but four more durst assault a knight, a lady, a waiting gentlewoman, a lacquey, a groom that rid by to open the gates, and the coachman, they being six to five, odds at football ; and, besides, Du Val had much the worst cause, and


reason to believe that whoever should arrive would range themselves on the enemy's party. Then he showed his invention and sagacity, that he could, sur le champ, and without studying, make that advantage of the lady's playing on the flageolet. He evinced his skill in instrumental music by playing on his flageolet ; in vocal by his singing ; for (as I should have told you before), there being no violins, Du Val sung the currant himself. He manifested his agility of body by lightly dismounting off his horse, and with ease and freedom getting up again when he took his leave; his excellent deportment, by his incomparable dancing, and his graceful manner of taking the hundred pounds; his generosity in taking no more ; his wit and eloquence, and readiness at repartees, in the whole discourse with the knight and lady, the greatest part of which I have been forced to omit.”

The noise of the proclamation made Du Val return to Paris ; but he came back in a short time for want of money. His reign, however, did not last long after his restoration. He made an unlucky attack, not upon some ill-bred passengers, but upon several bottles of wine, and was taken, in consequence, at the Hole-in-the-Wall, in Chandos Street. His life was interceded for in vain. He was arraigned and committed to Newgate, and executed at Tyburn in the twenty-seventh year of his age-showers of tears from fair eyes bedewing his fate, both while alive in prison, and while dead at the fatal tree.

Du Val's success with the ladies of those days, whose amatory taste was of a turn more extensive than enlarged, seems to have made some very well-dressed English gentlemen jealous. The writer of Du Val's life, who is a man of wit, evidently has something of bitterness in his railleries upon this point ; but he manages them very pleasantly. He pretends that he is an old bachelor, and has never been able to make his way with his fair countrywomen on account of the French valets that have stood

He says he had two objects in writing the book. “ One is, that the next Frenchman that is hanged may not

in his way.

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