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The room, though bare, was not uncheerful. The sun was shining in at the window—near which sate a lady at work, who had been gay and beautiful once, but in whose faded face kindness and tenderness still beamed. Through all his errors and reckless mishaps and misfortunes, this faithful creature adored her husband, and thought him the best and cleverest, as indeed he was one of the kindest of men. Nothing ever seemed to disturb the sweetness of his temper; not debts; not duns: not misery: not the bottle: not his wife's unhappy position, or his children's ruined chances. He was perfectly fond of wife and children after his fashion: he always had the kindest words and smiles for them, and ruined them with the utmost sweetness of temper. He never could refuse himself or any man any enjoyment which his money could purchase; he would share his last guinea with Jack and Tom, and we may be sure he had a score of such retainers. He would sign his name at the back of any man's bill, and never pay any debt of his own. He would write on any side, and attack himself or another man with equal indifference. He was one of the wittiest, the most amiable, and the most incorrigible of Irishmen. Nobody could help liking Charley Shandon who saw him once, and those whom he ruined could scarcely be angry with him.
When Pen and Warrington arrived, the Captain (he had been in an Irish militia regiment once, and the title remained with him) was sitting on his bed in a torn dressing-gown, with a desk on his knees, at which he was scribbling as fast as his rapid pen could write. Slip after slip of paper fell off the desk wet on to the ground. A picture of his children was hung up over his bed, and the youngest of them was pattering about the room.
Opposite the Captain sate Mr. Bungay, a portly man of stolid countenance, with whom the little child had been trying a conversation.
"Papa's a very clever man," said she; "mamma says so.""Oh, very," said Mr. Bungay.
"And you're a very rich man, Mr. Bundy," cried the child, who could hardly speak plain.
"Mary!" said Mamma, from her work.
"Oh, never mind," Bungay roared out with a great laugh; "no harm in saying I'm rich—he, he—I am pretty well off, my little dear."
"If you're rich, why don't you take papa out of piz'n?" asked the child.
Mamma at this began to wipe her eyes with the work on which she was employed. (The poor lady had hung curtains up in the room, had brought the children's picture and placed it there, and had made one or two attempts to ornament it.) Mamma began to cry; Mr. Bungay turned red, and looked fiercely out of his bloodshot little eyes; Shandon's pen went on, and Pen and Warrington arrived with their knock.
Captain Shandon looked up from his work. "How do you do, Mr. Warrington?" he said. "I'll speak to you in a minute. Please sit down, gentlemen, if you can find places," and away went the pen again.
Warrington pulled forward an old portmanteau—the only available seat—and sate down on it with a bow to Mrs. Shandon, and a nod to Bungay; the child came and looked at Pen solemnly; and in a couple of minutes the swift scribbling ceased; and Shandon, turning the desk over on the bed, stooped and picked up the papers.
"I think this will do," said he. "It's the prospectus for the Pall Mali Gazette."
"And here's the money for it," Mr. Bungay said, laying down a five-pound note. "I'm as good as my word, I am. When I say I'll pay, I pay."
"Faith that's more than some of us can say," said Shandon, and he eagerly clapped the note into his pocket.
WHICH IS PASSED IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF LUDGATE HILL.
UR imprisoned Captain announced, in smart and emphatic language in his prospectus, that the time had come at last when it was necessary for the gentlemen of England to band together in defence of their common rights and their glorious order, menaced on all sides by foreign revolutions, by intestine radicalism, by the artful calumnies of mill-owners and cotton-lords, and the stupid hostility of the masses whom they gulled and led. "The ancient monarchy was insulted," the Captain said, "by a ferocious republican rabble. The Church was deserted by envious dissent, and undermined by stealthy infidelity. The good institutions, which had made our country glorious, and the name of English Gentlemen the proudest in the world, were left without defence, and exposed to assault and con