The Sequel to an Old English State Trial

WE propose to write that which has heretofore remained unwritten,— the true history of the Earl of Cardigan’s duel with Captain Harvey Garnett Phipps Tackett, and its sequel as embraced in the career, in this country, of Captain Tackett and the lady who was primarily the cause of the duel. In this recital there will be found all the elements of a sensational romance, but they are due entirely to the facts of this remarkable case, and in no manner or degree to the imagination of the writer.

March of 1854. came in, as old crones about country firesides said, like a lion ; full of howling, blustering winds, on which were borne, from early dawn to dawn again, great falls of snow and sleet, that piled themselves ankle-deep on street and pavement. That first day of March, 1854, was as uncomfortable a day for pedestrians as the imagination could well conceive ; yet the day following outrivalled it altogether, for. late in the afternoon, a slow, dogged rain-storm set in, so that when the lamps were lighted all out of doors was as a great lake of unclean, chilling slush, and those who had a few days before considered themselves fortunate in securing seats at the old Chestnut Street Theatre for this night’s performance, looked grimly into the puddled streets thinking of their penetrating damp and cold.

Yet when the curtain rose, a few hours later, upon the fine old comedy of “Speed the Plough,” Miss Lizzie Weston, turned to Dolly Davenport with the query, “ Is all the town here ?” The question was a natural one, for, except in the matter of great artists, those were not the palmy days of the old Chestnut; “ a beggarly account of empty boxes” was the rule then ; but this night there was meaning in the phrase, “ crowded from pit to dome”; the house was literally crowded with the culture, fashion, and wealth of the Quaker City. They had come there through the inclement night, not that they were especially interested in the play, but that they might do honor to the memory of a grand old gentleman, scholar, and soldier, Captain Harvey G. P. Tuckett, lately dead. He had died in abject poverty, on what were to him alien shores ; but to his name there liacl clung a halo of great deeds done under burning India suns on battle days; and there was vaguely whispered about him a legend of moral heroism,—of a no* ble service done later in the sacred name of woman. This Thursday night had been set apart at the theatre for the benefit of his widow, whose first appearance on any stage was widely announced by newspapers and dead walls. She played Margery in “ The Rough Diamond,” and played it so remarkably well that she astonished, not only her friends, but even the artists of the theatre. When Mr. Jefferson, who played Cousin Joe, led her off the stage, after the fall of the curtain, he said: “Accept my congratulations, madam ; no débutante ever played so well before, — nor ever will again,” he added impressively. Whereupon the widow looked into his face with her great frank eyes, and smilingly thanked him. But while hcr eyes rested' on the artist’s face, they w’ere asking a question of it, — this one : “ How much do you know, and how much do you guess ? ”

But of all the thousands who crowded the theatre that evening, — and they were mostly admirers, friends, or acquaintances of her late husband,—-few knew that that petite, vivacious, blackeyed lady, whose bare shoulders gleamed white as ivory, whose bright, piquant face, merry laughter, and cheery voice charmed to infatuation her audience, had once been the chief promoter of, and actor in, what came near being a tragedy jeoparding the lives of four gentlemen of England, and passing into the records of the law as one of the most remarkable cases in the English state trials.

On Tuesday, February 16, 1841, the present and seventh Earl of Cardigan, James Thomas Brudenelh representing an honorable English family, elevated to the peerage on the 29th day of June, 1611, was tried by his peers at the bar of the House of Lords for an assault, with intent to murder, alleged to have been committed by him in fighting a duel with Mr. H. G. P. Tuckett. The Earl had commanded the Eleventh Regiment of Hussars when serving in India, a year or two previous, and among his captains was Harvey Tuckett, a cadet, of an ancient and honorable family. Captain Tuckett was accompanied by his wife, a young English lady of exceeding prettiness, great charm of manner, and possessing very brilliant accomplishments and a shrewd wit. The families of the regiment, exiled from the charmed society of Belgravia, yet fitted by birth and education to be ot it, grew clannish in the atmosphere of India, and were bound together by ties of sympathy and taste unknown in even the more favored circles of home. The colonel of the regiment, an English peer, possessing in a remarkable degree bravery, culture, and wealth, was regarded by the families of his subordinates as something more than a -welcome guest, — as one who conferred distinguished honor by bis presence. The most beautiful and brilliant woman of that little society in India was Mrs. Margaret Tuckett, and upon her the Colonel bestowed his particular favor and countenance. The warm friendship that sprang up between them was not only permitted, but encouraged, by the chivairic old Captain, who, impressed with the belief that his young wife might have sympathies in common with the Earl outside of his own maturer life and thought, looked gratefully on the Colonel’s attentions to her, and heartily welcomed him to his home.

So the intimacy continued, and ripened, as such intimacies do, until — well—It was the old story which we have all heard and read so often. One day the Captain found upon the floor of his wife’s chamber a little note bearing the name and arms of Cardigan. He read it, — read of proposals touching nearly his honor ; and the old man’s wrath was high as he carried it to his brilliant young wife with savage threats and questionings : Where were the others ?

There were no others, — upon her soul, there were no others ; that one was the first and last, only withheld from him lest his anger against so powerful an enemy as the Karl should destroy him.

And he, poor chivalric dolt ! superb in his gentle faith, blind in his honest old heart, and as easy to be fooled as the Moor, believed her.

Then came the challenge to the Earl, and his sneering reply, “ Do you think I would condescend to fight with one of my own officers ?”

Upon that the plucky old man, whose life had been spent in the service, who had won preferment upon a dozen hard-fought fields, who had hoped that some day in the future he would terminate his honorable record in battle, gave up the hope then and there,— gave up, too, all his chances of promotion, — and, intent only upon vindicating his honor, threw up his commission, resigned the position the emoluments ot which were necessary tor his support in his declining years, and sundered the associations of half a century to remove the Earl’s excuse, and oblige him to an encounter. This done, he again challenged him. But the Karl, still finding a pretext for his refusal, again declined to fight.

Yet who, remembering that it was Cardigan who led that desperate charge of the “ gallant six hundred,”of whom Tennyson has sung, into and out of “ the jaws of death ” and “ the mouth of hell” at Balaklava, will doubt his courage ? Maybe some nobler heroism than he has ever shown on any field he showed that day, when he refused to fight with the old man to whose young wife he had written that little note bearing the name of Cardigan.

Shortly after the second challenge had been declined the Eleventh Hussars were ordered to England, where they arrived in due time, and were stationed at Brighton. Immediately following the regiment came Tuckett, pursuing his enemy like fate, and determined to find in England the satisfaction denied him in India. The opportunity of forcing a meeting upon Cardigan soon presented itself, when in turn the Earl became the challenger

In the year 1840 his Royal Highness Prince Albert was commissioned as Colonel of Cardigan’s old regiment, the Eleventh Hussars, the Earl ranking as Lieutenant-Colonel. In his new position it became his object to elevate its conduct and character so that it might gracefully and without reproach wear the honorable title it had won, — that of “Prince Albert’s Own.” While stationed at Brighton, where the Earl was busily intent upon carrying out his ideas of discipline, he occasioned great dissatisfaction among liis officers by the severity of his measures. The spirit of opposition became so strong, that finally reference was made to the War Office by his subordinate officers. The result wras that the troubles of the regiment became matter for newspaper discussion, and among the journals most severe on the conduct of the Earl was the Morning Chronicle, in which paper were published a series of letters over the signature of “ An Old Soldier.” They were characterized by great bitterness and personal ill-feeling against the Earl, who upon inquiry learning that their author was Captain Tuckett, immediately sent him a challenge by his friend Captain Douglass.

On the afternoon of the 12th of September, 1840, the meeting with his adversary so long sought for by the old soldier took place.

About five o’clock, P. M., from opposite directions two carriages approached that part of Wimbledon Common lying between Lord Spencer’s Park and a windmill owned by a Mr. Dann, who added to his business of a miller that of constable. Having arrived at the spot selected, the seconds made the usual preparations, and the principals were stationed at a distance of twelve yards. Both the Captain and the Earl fired simultaneously without effect, when some efforts were made by the seconds to induce a reconciliation ; but the old soldier w-as in terrible earnest, and meant mischief. He had sacrificed position, money, and preferment, only that he might stand as he then did, facing his enemy’s pistol, and covering him with his own. He had waited, too, a long while for this opportunity, — had dragged his old bones all the way from India to bring it about; and while he waited and struggled for it his heart was wearing itself out in despair lest the meeting should never take place. Perhaps the Earl cared no more to stop their deadly play than did the Captain ; so it again went on. They each received another pistol; and it was afterwards remarked among the club men, in terms not complimentary to the noble Earl, that he had on both occasions used rifled pistols, while the Captain’s were Only the usual smoothbore. They again fired, when Tuckett fell, having been shot in the hip,— and he carried with him to the day of his death an ugly wound and limp. Sir James Anderson, who accompanied the party as surgeon, went up immediately to the Captain ; and, although he bled very freely, his wound was pronounced not necessarily fatal. At this point Mr. Dann the miller, with fine discrimination, — the sport, which he did not wish to disturb, being overstepped up and arrested the whole party, and carried them before the magistrate at Wandsworth, by whom they were bound over to appear at the following Sessions to be held at the Central Criminal Court.

A prosecution was begun, and bills of indictment were laid before the Grand Jury against Captain Tuckett and his second, Captain Wainewright, and also against the Earl and his second, Captain Douglass. The charge was assault with intent to murder ; the penalty, if guilty, death.

The limitation of jurisdiction of the judges of Old Bailey prevented them Irom trying the Earl, whose offence he was entitled by his rank to have inquired of and passed upon only by his peers. Under these circumstances the court determined not to try the others until the guilt or innocence of the Earl had been established. Parliament did not assemble until the 16th of January, 1841 ; and as soon thereafter as the forms of the House of Lords would permit the bill of indictment against the Earl was removed by a writ of certiorari from the lower court, that their Lordships might determine upon the matter.

The fact that the trial would not, as had been the ancient custom, take place in Westminster Hall, had become known to the public ; and also that the Painted Chamber which had been used for Parliamentary purposes by the peers since the destruction of the old House by fire, was being prepared for the imposing spectacle. For a period of sixty-four years no peer of England had thus claimed this peculiar privilege of his order, and the importance of the ceremonial affected alike all classes of the English public.

The eager desire evinced among the peeresses and others of the aristocracy to witness the trial rendered it necessary that great alterations should be made to secure their accommodation. But, notwithstanding the marvellous ingenuity manifested by the architect having the alterations in charge, he was unable to meet the requirements of the occasion.

The faithful chronicler of the spectacle, who is as minute in his descriptions and as fond of rank and glitter as old Pepys, says : “ The benches, galleries, and floor were covered with crimson cloth, and the walls themselves with paper in which that color was predominant; and the effect was to make the gorgeous robes of the peers and the splendid dresses of the peeresses stand out in dazzling relief.” And if the old Captain was there, — and doubtless he was, for his family were of the aristocracy too, — what scorn must have flashed out from under his shaggy white brows as he looked down from his seat in the gallery upon all this display, — upon “ the gorgeous robes of the peers and the splendid dresses of the peeresses,” knowing that the spectacle served but to make an English holiday for her Majesty’s nobility, that the solemnity was a shallow lie, that the enacted tornis of law were but a sham and mockery of justice.

Let us borrow more words of our chronicler, and read, with a smile we would fain repress as we think how strangely solemn a matter the issue of this trial would be to the grim old soldier who had sacrificed everything in defence of Margaret Tackett’s honor. It is a goodly show we cannot help confessing, and none of our managers could do anything half so well in the theatres ; but comparing all this grand preparation, — the great array of legal giants taking part in this tourney, its pomp and splendor, — comparing all this with its culmination, the beginning seems preposterously large for the ending, and looking down upon it we cannot help sharing in the old Captain s scorn of the show and all the actors in it. There never was before a play so gorgeously mounted ; but it was wretchedly performed, and the climax in the last act was worst of all. But this play of a peer being tried by their Lordships for a felony had not been played in England before for sixty-four years, when it came to a different conclusion ; and a spectacle so grand as to be worthy the attention of all England’s rank is certainly worth reading about, oven at this late day. Old Burke says : —

“ At a quarter before eleven o'clock the Lords’ speaker (Lord Denman), having robed in his private room, entered the House. A procession was formed the usual manner, his Lordship being preceded by the Purse-bearer with the Purse, the Sergeant with the Mace, the Black Rod carrying the Lord High Steward’s Staff) and Garter carrying his Sceptre.

Garter and Black Rod having taken their places at the bar, the Lord-Speaker proceeded to the Woolsack, when, being seated, prayers were read by the Bishop of Lichfield.

“ The Clerk-assistant of Parliament then proceeded to call over the peers, beginning with the junior baron.

“This necessary ceremony being completed, the Clerks of the Crown in Chancery and in the Queen’s Bench jointly made three reverences, and the Clerk oi the Crown in Chancery, on his knee, delivered the Commission to the Lord-Speaker, who gave it to the Clerk of the Crown in the Queen’s Bench to read, and both Clerks retired, with like reverences to the table.

“ The Sergeant-at-Arms then made proclamation, and the Lord-Speaker informed the peers that her Majesty’s Commission was about to be read, and directed that all persons should rise and be uncovered while the Commission was reading.

“ The Commission appointing Lord Denman as Lord High Steward was then read, and Garter and Black Rod, having made their reverences, proceeded to the Woolsack, and took their places on the right of the Lord High Steward, and both holding the Staff, presented it on their knees to his Grace.

His Grace rose, and, having made reverence to the throne, took his seat in the chair of state provided for him on the uppermost step but one of the tin one. Proclamation was then made for silence, when the Queen’s writ of certiorari to remove the indictment, with the return thereof, and the record of the indictment, were read by the Clerk of the Crown in the Queen’s Bench. The Lord High Steward then directed the Sergeant-at-Arms to bring the prisoner to the bar.

“The Earl of Cardigan immediately entered the House, and advanced to the bar, accompanied by the Yeomanusher. He made three reverences, one to his Grace the Lord High Steward, and one to the peers on either side, who returned his salute. The ceremony of kneeling was. dispensed with. The noble Earl, who was dressed in plain clothes, was conducted within the bar, where he remained standing while the Lord High Steward acquainted him with the nature of the charge against him.”

The prisoner was arraigned in the usual form, for firing at Harvey Garnett Phipps Tuckett, on the 12th of September, with intent to kill and murder him. The second count charged him with firing at the said Harvey Garnett Phipps Tuckett with intent to maim and disable him ; and the third count varied the charge, with intent to do him some grievous bodily harm.

The clerk then asked, “ How say you, James Thomas, Earl of Cardigan, are yon guilty or not ? ”

The Earl, in a firm voice, replied, “ I am not, my Lords.”

The clerk, “ How will you be tried ? ”

The Earl of Cardigan answered, “ By toy peers.”

Mr. Wacldington opened the pleadings.

The Attorney-General, Sir John, afterwards Lord Campbell, addressed their Lordships.

The Earl of Cardigan was tried under an act of Parliament, entitled “ An Act to amend the Laws relating to Offences against the Person.” It received the royal assent July 17, 1837 (I Vict. c. 85). Under this act, to shoot at a person and inflict a wound dangerous to life, or to aid and abet in the same, was a capital offence.

The argument of Sir John Campbell was one of the most masterly efforts of forensic eloquence, in the manner of “ how not to do it,” probably ever delivered, even by that astute and rankaspiring lawyer. Against the noble prisoner he roared “ as gently as a sucking clove but was as eloquent withal as “any nightingale.”

His speech concluded, Sir James Anderson, Dann the miller, his wife and son, and the constable, Busaine, who laid the charge on which the Earl was tried, were then produced and examined.

But, at the close of the case, it was objected by Sir William Pellet, on behalf of the Earl of Cardigan, that there was no evidence to show that the person against whom the shot was discharged was Mr. Harvey Garnett Phipps Tuckett. The card of Mr. Harvey Tuckett, handed by that gentleman to Dann the miller, had been put in“ But,” said Sir William, with charming naivete, “that might be quite another person from the individual named, in the indictment.”

Of course, the Attorney-General was heard on the other side, and he said a matter of delicacy had prevented him from placing Captain Tuckett upon the stand; after a short deliberation, the Lord High Steward announced that the evidence which fixed the identity of the person was insufficient, and the peers thereupon declared the noble defendant not guilty.

Thus was concluded this trial, than which none in the annals of the law was more remarkable for pomp and circumstance, and an utter absence of dignity and justice.

From a remark made by the learned Attorney-General, in his address to the Lords, Captain Tuckett was led to believe that the prosecution against him would be relentlessly pressed ; this induced him to flee the country, which he did, hastening his departure for America.

I laving selected Philadelphia as a place of residence, he, almost immediately after his arrival, began the publication of “ Tuckett’s Monthly Insurance Journal,” a small folio paper devoted to the principles of insurance, as its name implied. During the few years of its existence he conducted it with rare ability and a curious fidelity to the interests of the insured as well as of the companies ; and although his journal received its principal support from the latter, yet he never failed to throw the weight of his influence against them when he believed they were either unable or unwilling to do justice to the public whose patronage they solicited. The temptation to do otherwise was often sore with him, for in those early days, and in later ones too, his poverty was bitter and hard. He bad been used, for a term of years as long as most men’s lives, to the world’s best comforts and most of its luxuries ; and the numberless proposals he received from doubtful companies to bolster up their weakness by a few words of commendation in his journal would have placed him in ease again, had he accepted them. On the especial subject of life insurance, or, as he always wrote it, assurance, he was an oracle, and no man in America so thoroughly as he enjoyed the confidence of those learned in the science of statistics as applied to mortality. The subject seemed to have no mysteries to him ; his active research and profound study had explored them all, and discovered them to be only so many demonstrable mathematical facts.

There was this curious contradiction in the old soldier’s character, — while he scorned the dirty bribe offered by the tottering companies, he never hesitated to eke out his scanty income by contracting debts which he had no present prospect of liquidating. He may have had his little dream, like the rest of us, of ample wealth coming to him some day through his newest enterprise. When it came, he probably meant to pay all that he owed. Tut it never came to him, though duns did; and these he received with so courtly a grace, with such honor to themselves and such simple regret at his own inability to pay. that the roughest of them went away feeling not altogether unkindly toward him.

By the learning, energy, and fearless independence with which he conducted his paper, as well as by his great charm of manner and personal magnetism, he won the admiration and respect of some of the ablest and best people of the Quaker City. There was something, too, very pathetic in the story of this bronzed old soldier, exiled in the evening of his life, bravely fighting for daily bread. His exile was shared by his young wife, who clung to him in his ruined fortunes with a devotion rare and beautiful to sec. However his story may have preceded him, there was one peculiarity about the old chevalier, — lie never referred to it in any way : on that subject his lips were always sealed. He courted no sympathy or recognition in his isolation, but his hands were brave as his heart, and they did brave work to win comforts for the petite lady whom he loved so well. That wound in the hip might have been ever so painful, but he never regretted that he risked receiving it fighting for her honor. His work was often base and menial enough, comprising as it did all the drudgery of a newspaper office ; but in those days of temptation he wrote no line that his truest admirer need fear to read.

As we have said, his journal was too honorably conducted to be remunerative ; for the general public in those days, when life insurance was yet young with us, cared little for scientific dissertations upon it. The influence of his ideas spread, through being copied here and there by the daily press ; but their circulation in this way brought him no benefit. God knows how he managed to live through years of very bitter penury, — through the harassing importunities of hundreds oi unsatisfied duns, through the pain and weakness inseparable from a feeble, diseased, and time-worn body ! But, however he lived, there by his side, with most loving patience and devotion, with unspeakable tenderness for him, was Margaret Tuckett, to whom in India had come that letter signed “ Cardigan.” Whatever of love or faith she gave to him he rendered back tenfold. His lover-like devotedness to her, his admiration for her person, mind, and heart, were something wonderful to see in such a weather-beaten, fortune-deserted old hulk as lie then was. They never went abroad one without the other; and as they slowly made their way about the streets, men and women paused, turned, and looked after them, — a queer, quaint couple always. He, tall as a grenadier, bronzed, white-haired, wore a mustache white and fierce as that of one of Napoleon’s Old Guard. He bore little resemblance to his countrymen, and looked more like a veteran of the First Empire risen from his grave at Wagcam, and taking a view of our new world. The little lady by his side was dressed in solemnest black, her face entirely hidden by a veil of the closest and thickest texture. People who had never heard of the Earl of Cardigan, or his famous duel and subsequent trial by his peers, looked wonderingly after that strange couple as they made their way up the street, — the man towering above the little lady half a length, her hand resting confidingly on his arm, her face entirely hidden, her voice attuned to the very ecstasy of tenderness, her low laughter rippling up to him, and making pleasant music in his heart. All sorts of people meeting them wondered what their story was, well knowing that only some awful need of each other, or some great tragedy, had brought them so close together in life.

How devoted she was to this “fond, foolish old man,” who might have been, so "far as his age went, almost twice her father! With what a clinging touch she held his arm in those long winter walks ; how tenderly she caressed those poor old hands that did such brave work for her ; how patient and gentle she was with him always when that old wound, won in her battle, reopened and bled, as it would sometimes do ; into what wonderful prettiness she wreathed her face and arranged her too scant wardrobe ! Why, a sleuth-hound was not more faithful, an angel more gentle, a houri more winsome, a mother with her child more patient!

Those were Margaret Tuckett’s days of grace ; but as they come to us all, and oftenest leave us too, they left her, and came no more.

This strange couple did not visit much, nor could they entertain many people ; for they lived in a tawdry boarding house on Walnut Street, where the rooms were small, and the table was always from bad to worse. But hundreds of people who never exchanged a word with him felt themselves drawn toward the old man by a feeling of personal friendship, through causes which they could not explain. They knew his name, knew in a measure the record of his life as a soldier, and maybe dimly knew the story of his exile ; and so, as from afar off, they were his friends. His life was so chivalric, simple, and honorable, so wrapped about, too, with loving tenderness by the woman whose fame he had defended, that we, who knew him well, sorrowed deeply when he died. It was on an early January morning, just as the sun was rising over the drowsy, sombre town, that he was called. Overnight the snow had fallen, and yet lay untrodden on the streets and pavements. Death came to him without physical pain and touched him gently. He wras dying in abject poverty as he took Margaret Tuckett’s hand for the last time. He held it close to his heart, and when it was near the end with him he gravely bade her kiss him. With a cry of unutterable love she threw herself upon his breast, and kissed the fast-whitening lips of the conquered soldier. “ I never doubted you, Margaret; I honored myself in the love and faith I gave you always.” He said this slowly, and even as the words lingered on his lips the solemn farewell smile was on his face. For a moment, an infinite peace tilling them, his eyes rested on the rising sun; and after that, until they closed forever, they dwelt on his young wile’s face ; and greater love or more loyal faith than were in them no man ever saw.

After a while, some women who stood there separated the two hands, the quick and the dead, and carried the young widow to her room. We who stood about her that morning thought that she would soon follow where the old soldier had led. We had never seen grief so great and bitter as hers. She well might sorrow for her dead, for he who lay within there had sacrificed much for her, — had wrecked his noble, simple life upon his faith in her.

Such faith as his should have had, at least, the recompense of desert. That hot morning in India when he held the letter signed “ Cardigan ” above her head and fiercely demanded, Where were the others ? she had answered him in tones so true and honest as to carry conviction with them into his faithful old heart, There were no others. Upon her soul, there were no others.

Were there ?

Years after the old Captain, who should have died in harness, with a General’s star upon his breast, was dead,—when her memory of him had grown dim, and stale as “twice-told tales,” — when the wolf was clamorous at her door, while hunger sat within, and no other help seemed near,—that dazzling little lady, whose dainty prettiness seemed perennial, wrote to the noble Earl a letter of which the following is partly a copy : —

“ Under the pressure of great necessity, and by the advice of friends, I am about to publish certain letters written by your Lordship to me in India.

“The object of this note is to desire that I may be permitted to dedicate the volume to your Lordship.

“Your early friend,


It appears there were enough to form a volume, but they were never published. “ That letter to the Earl brought me a hundred pounds sterling,” she naively said, in speaking of this matter afterwards.

We doubt if becky Sharp, keen as was her wit, ever black-mailed Lord Steyne.

A great concourse of people followed the old Captain to his grave, and among them were doctors of law, divinity, and medicine, leaders in art, literature, and finance ; even Fashion, who hates poor men’s funerals, sent her votaries to do honor to this old man’s remains. And the day after they did better : they sent well-filled purses to his widow.

The days succeeding his death were curious ones at his little dark office in Harmony Court. From early morning until night it was literally under siege by creditors. They came as the locusts into Egypt, with hungry maws ; but, alas for them ! their Egypt, represented by that bare office, gave them nothing to feed upon. It was all barren. The luxurious habits which life in the army had instilled into and left witli the Captain the publication of his journal failed to gratify. So he preyed on the wine and cigar merchant, on the dealer in fine groceries and fruit; and when we went into an examination of those bills, it was frightful to contemplate the extent to which he had preyed on them all.

The estate awed, chiefly for wines and

cigars. $9,000.00

The assets were

Item, I pine table, value . . . . $ 1.00

“ 2 do. chairs.1.25

“ 2 bottles ink.50

“ 1 bundle Ins. Journals . . 1.oo

“ Subscription list, title, etc. of Insurance Journal, available value .. o, 00

Total..$ ;$3.75

It must be clear to any one that $ 9,000 cannot be paid with $ 3.75We respectfully submitted the matter to that hungry swarm of creditors; and they saw, without any exhaustive demonstration on our part, that they were destined never to be paid. They made wry faces, and grumbled somewhat, but not one of them uttered a rough word against the dead old Captain. Notwithstanding his ugly habit of buying costly wines without cash, they had honored the old fellow in his lifetime, and they would not abuse him when dead.

And now came the time when Margaret Tuckett, with her few hundreds in hand, must look abroad to discover what hope or chaece of bread and meat the world had to offer her. Gently as we could, we, her friends, suggested this necessity to her, but begged she would choose her own ample convenience, and not be hurried in her choice. Her capital was her few hundreds, her beauty, youth, and wit. “ The first,” she said, “ will not last long; I will try what maybe done with the others. I choose the stage.”

Her mourning garments were a week old when she so decided. — and when she laid them off forever. Then there came a change over this woman’s life, the like of which, for suddenness and completeness, no man has ever seen. As if those black robes, which she had worn unceasingly since that India letter was discovered, were chains that bound her body, soul, and mind, she threw them off, and appeared the woman God had made her. It was a different woman from the one we had known, walking timidly through life by the side of the old chevalier. Another one, electric with energy, self-reliant, dazzling in her wit, quick in resources, radiant in undiscovered charms, a woman for ail men to love, but one whom no man could love wisely. It may be that she had not forgotten the old soldier, that she had that within which, passing show, caused her to lay aside her suit of solemn black. But she no longer than this little week continued to wear the grave’s uniform; " rich as her purse could buy ” of gaycolored gowns was now her attire. And they were modest withal, and became her ; for among the little lady’s many accomplishments was a thorough understanding of the art of dress.

So with her little capital of money, her rare prettiness, her dainty, sprightly manners, her dazzling shoulders, piquant wantonness, charming voice and laughter, the petite lady betook herself to the theatre. We have told how for one night the learned, wealthy, and fashionable citizens of the town crowded the house to participate in her debut. But no manager offered her an engagement on desirable terms, despite of her success, and already her hundreds were gone for silks and laces. But the benefit had been a real one to her purse to the extent of ten or twelve hundred dollars.

When managers refused her terms, she astonished her husband’s friends by her Napoleonic energy. “If managers will not engage me, I will turn manager and engage others,”she said. Time has wrought wondrous changes in people, but none such as it made in this creature. We who knew her in the days of the old Captain knew none so reticent or shy as she; none about whom was so closely wrapped the mantle of retiring, modest womanhood ; none so timid of herself, so weak or dependent.

When she announced her determination to lease a theatre, we mildly protested, and ventured to inquire if she had measured in her mind the extent of the trouble she proposed to undertake as a manager.

“ Quite well,” she replied ; “ I once managed a theatre in England,—at least, a strolling company,”

“Then,” we asked, “that was not your first appearance on any stage, the other night, as you instructed us to make the newspapers and dead walls announce?

“O no; I had played dozens of times before in England.”

Then the truth was that Margaret had been a strolling player, picking up odd shillings in the barns and inns of England ; had gone tramping about from town to town, starving and feasting by turns, until at last she had strolled to London, and found a place vacant for her youth and wit and beauty, in one of the minor theatres on the Surrey side of the town.

And this was the woman who had sent two gentlemen of England to Wimbledon Common to crack away at each other with pistols, and had brought one of them to the bar of the House of Lords to be tried tor bis noble life, while the other and the two accomplices waited in the court below tor the issue of the trial, which would decide whether they should live or die.

There was one question that long hung upon our lips, but never found utterance, —Who were your friends and companions in that vagrant, strolling life ; and did the old Captain, whose descent was clean and honorable, whose friends were among the noble and learned of England, know of your early career, and if so, how did he come to marry you, Margaret Tuckett?” We let the opportunity of asking this question go by, and she never again alluded to her old life of starving and strolling.

It may seem incredible that this young woman, unaided and alone, who only a Jew months before seemed the most helpless and dependent of her sex, should go down to Baltimore, secure a lease of the largest theaiie in the town, and be able to gather about her altogether the finest company of artists ever assembled on that stage. But she did it. And that was the smallest part of her labors. In seven weeks from the time she first entered the city, having from five hundred to a thousand dollars in her purse, she owed to certain citizens of that tooconfiding place over thirteen thousand dollars. When she leased the Front Street Theatre, it was a dirty old shell, devoid of scenery, wardrobe, and properties. In seven weeks there was no more elegant theatre in America; it was resplendent with gilt, bronze, paint, velvet carpets, delicate-tinted paper, and plush-covered seats. Painters, carpenters, chandelier-makers, paper-hangets, upholsterers, costumers, dealers in carpets, in paints, in curtains of silk and lace, in woollens and cottons, in canvas and lumber, all hurried to her aid, and gave her their best of skill 01 mcichandise ; and with such slaves to answer her summons and do hei bidding the old shell became fair and stately as the palace of Aladdin, and on its opening night, September I, 1855, 110 window in it all was leit unfinished. It was wonderful, for it was all wrought by the shrewd wit, the dazzling shoulders, and pretty face of one young woman, who spoke in the tones ol an angel, and charmed like a devil.

We do not intend to write the history of her management of the old front Street Theatre. It would be simply a chapter of disaster and fraud. The little lady came to grief in one short season. Her treasurer deposited the receipts in bank until they amounted to several thousands of dollars, then withdrew them, and absconded. Her actors were unpaid week after week, her gas and printers’ bills were left unsettled ; good wives began to make ugly speeches about her ; people grew shy of the theatre; until at length she was reduced to all sorts of expedients to keep her company together. Creditors grew deaf to the flute-like voice, that had charmed never wisely, blind to the gleaming shoulders and the pretty cajoling manners ; the actor refused to act, the gas-man to light the lamps, and the printer to supply the bills. It was a long and desperate fight, and was so full of nerve and pluck, that, despite all the wrong and fraud there were underneath, we cannot help wishing she had come better out of it. Poor Becky Sharp was wont to think that with a few thousand pounds sterling she could have been good ; but ever so many thousands would not have helped Margaret Tuckett, and that is the pity of it all. The fond old Captain helped her sail along clean waters for a while ; but when he was gone, she drifted away into the dark seas because she loved them best.

But to the last there were some whom she was able to attract and keep devoted to her. We remember that on one occasion the "leading lady’ of the company, whose salary was unpaid, sent word to the theatre in the morning that she would not play that evening unless all arrearages were paid. The treasury was empty, money could not be had; it was resolved to change the play, though the bills were already posted. At that moment the husband of the refractory actress was announced, with the message that he came for his wife’s salary. Margaret Tuckctt had him in, flattered and cajoled him, until he took out his pocket-book, and loaned the enchantress sufficient money to pay his wife’s salary, making one condition only, and that was — silence.

In another of her extremities, it was suggested that she should have a complimentary benefit tendered her by her creditors, when she could invite them all to be present

“ The idea is a good one,” she said; “ but there is one objection to it. ’

“ What objection ? ” was asked.

“ The house would not hold half of them,” replied this frank little ffoman,

But shortly afterwards there came an evening when certainly a good number of them were present, and they came in no amiable mood either. The play was “ The Golden Farmer,” in which Mr. J. Sleeper Clarke was cast for the part of Jemmy Twitcher. But Mr. Clarke had fared no better in the matter of prompt payment of salary than many others, and there were whispers about the town that day that the great comedian would render the evening’s performance unusually attractive by making some personal explanations before the curtain. Throughout the day there had been hundreds of his friends and admirers applying at the box office for places, and when the doors opened they appeared there in great force, veryr bulgy and overloaded as to pockets and handkerchiefs ; all which meant to the initiated that, if Mr. Clarke did not play that night, there should be no Golden Farmer nor Jemmy Twitcher. Margaret Tuckctt was one of the initiated, and she meant that the audience should see both the Farmer and Jemmy, At the usual hour Mr. Clarke made his appearance at the wing, dressed for the part, but those who stood nearest to him said he meant mischief. The callboy summoned Jemmy Twitcher; but Jemmy informed the manager that he could not go on the stage until his salary was paid. The manager requested him to look over to the opposite wing. He looked, and there he saw Margaret Tuekett, dressed as he was dressed, coolly walking on to the stage ready to play' Jemmy Twitcher. You see, the little lady had not strolled and played and starved for nothing. As for Mr. Clarke, he was simply an immense failure, and only awaiting his final overthrow. And this came to him a moment later; he started to go upon the stage to make those personal explanations, when an officer seized him by the collar, crooked and pressed his finger under his ear “in a very painful manner,” as Mr. Clarke asserts, when he tells this story on himself, which he sometimes does with striking effect. Thereupon Jemmy Twitcher made his first appearance in any street, “and,” adds this charming actor, “in that very absurd character I found my way home.”

But Margaret Tuckett’s victory was not yet won ; for her audience, finding her and not Mr. Clarke upon the stage, grew mad as a bull when a red rag is waved before its eyes, and from every quarter of the house there were hurled upon the stage unwholesome eggs, cabbages, and other unsavory vegetables. The hubbub, the roar, and the riot of the Old Park frolic was mild and harmless in comparison ; but amid all that shocking din and rain of animal and vegetable decay the little stroller stood her ground, and, nothing daunted, went on with her part. After a while there came a lull in the riot, when the audience heard the Golden Farmer ask Jemmy the question, “Jemmy, can you be honest ? ”

“ I don’t know. I never tried,” came her answer, resonant and ringing, — an answer which she so pointed and aimed, in her superb daring, that it seemed to be made for and flung at every creditor and dupe before her.

The spirited challenge was at once taken up by those who were hit; and when the laughter had died away, some one proposed cheers for Jemmy Twitcher, which were heartily given. When the noise had subsided, she walked quietly to the foot-lights, removed the cap which covered the pretty head, bowed low to the mocking acknowledgment, and then continued her part, to have all her humor appreciated and her jokes keenly applauded.

At last, when lenders came no more to lend, when her actors could live no longer upon promises, when the band refused to play, and when those alone who were on the “free list” came to see the show, the reign of the little woman was brought to an inglorious close. It was a Saturday night in March, 1856. It ended with a flash of her old wit, a fling at the stockholders, who were closing the house for unpaid rent. The play she selected for this night was “ The Rent Day.” A more beggarly account of empty boxes was never seen there. More people were on the stage than in front.

On the following Thursday we dined with her in her room over the stage, for she had no other home now than the theatre. She had lost nothing of her wit, charm, or vivacity in that hard fight; but her energy was all gone. It went out of her that night when the curtain fell upon her for the last time. A table from the banqueting-halls of the stage was laid with a decent cloth, and upon it there was little more than would supply the feast of the Barmecide. In the centre there was one solitary covered dish. We raised the lid and asked, “What have we here ? ”

“ That, — O, that is my last silk dress. I dined off my opera-glass yesterday.”

Years afterwards, and in the town where she had sent misery, poverty, and desolation into at least one happy home, she gathered the fruits she had sown. They were bitter and plenteous, for she had sowed with a free hand since the old chevalier had died. Margaret Tuckett sank into low depths of want and sorrow. The days of lovers, friends, and luxuries were over with her now. Her okl prettiness was still shining dimly in every line of her face, in every wave of her hand, in every graceful curve of her body ; but the plucky spirit, which once impelled her to brave an infuriated mob, was gone, and in a noisome room of a filthy tenementhouse, in a poor street, she lived by her skill, or inspiration, as a spiritual medium.

But the end was not here. More years went by, and Margaret Tuckett had found her way into the auriferous wilderness of Colorado. It was along flight she took there with her friend, suggesting memories, we should suppose, of that earlier iliglit with the old Captain. If it did but recall that, with all its profundity of meaning, we may know that the grand old soldier’s outraged faith was amply avenged.

There, in Colorado, she died.

Was Margaret Tuckett guilty out there in India? Were Mrs. Rawdon Crawley and my Lord Steyne guilty ? We do not know. The chronicler of that veracious history has left us in ignorance ; and as he gave to Becky, let us give to Margaret, the benefit of the doubt.