Cox's Diary, by William Makepeace Thackeray

Family Bustle.

Tuggeridge vowed that I should finish my days there, when he put me in prison. It appears that we both had reason to be ashamed of ourselves; and were, thank God! I learned to be sorry for my bad feelings toward him, and he actually wrote to me to say —

“SIR — I think you have suffered enough for faults which, I believe, do not lie with you, so much as your wife; and I have withdrawn my claims which I had against you while you were in wrongful possession of my father’s estates. You must remember that when, on examination of my father’s papers, no will was found, I yielded up his property, with perfect willingness, to those who I fancied were his legitimate heirs. For this I received all sorts of insults from your wife and yourself (who acquiesced in them); and when the discovery of a will, in India, proved MY just claims, you must remember how they were met, and the vexatious proceedings with which you sought to oppose them.

“I have discharged your lawyer’s bill; and, as I believe you are more fitted for the trade you formerly exercised than for any other, I will give five hundred pounds for the purchase of a stock and shop, when you shall find one to suit you.

“I enclose a draft for twenty pounds to meet your present expenses. You have, I am told, a son, a boy of some spirit: if he likes to try his fortune abroad, and go on board an Indiaman, I can get him an appointment; and am, Sir, your obedient servant,


It was Mrs. Breadbasket, the housekeeper, who brought this letter, and looked mighty contemptuous as she gave it.

“I hope, Breadbasket, that your master will send me my things at any rate,” cries Jemmy. “There’s seventeen silk and satin dresses, and a whole heap of trinkets, that can be of no earthly use to him.”

“Don’t Breadbasket me, mem, if you please, mem. My master says that them things is quite obnoxious to your sphere of life. Breadbasket, indeed!” And so she sailed out.

Jemmy hadn’t a word; she had grown mighty quiet since we have been in misfortune: but my daughter looked as happy as a queen; and Tug, when he heard of the ship, gave a jump that nearly knocked down poor Orlando. “Ah, I suppose you’ll forget me now?” says he with a sigh; and seemed the only unhappy person in company.

“Why, you conceive, Mr. Crump,” says my wife, with a great deal of dignity, “that, connected as we are, a young man born in a work —”

“Woman!” cried I (for once in my life determined to have my own way), “hold your foolish tongue. Your absurd pride has been the ruin of us hitherto; and, from this day, I’ll have no more of it. Hark ye, Orlando, if you will take Jemimarann, you may have her; and if you’ll take five hundred pounds for a half-share of the shop, they’re yours; and THAT’S for you, Mrs. Cox.”

And here we are, back again. And I write this from the old back shop, where we are all waiting to see the new year in. Orlando sits yonder, plaiting a wig for my Lord Chief Justice, as happy as may be; and Jemimarann and her mother have been as busy as you can imagine all day long, and are just now giving the finishing touches to the bridal-dresses: for the wedding is to take place the day after tomorrow. I’ve cut seventeen heads off (as I say) this very day; and as for Jemmy, I no more mind her than I do the Emperor of China and all his Tambarins. Last night we had a merry meeting of our friends and neighbors, to celebrate our reappearance among them; and very merry we all were. We had a capital fiddler, and we kept it up till a pretty tidy hour this morning. We begun with quadrills, but I never could do ’em well; and after that, to please Mr. Crump and his intended, we tried a gallopard, which I found anything but easy: for since I am come back to a life of peace and comfort, it’s astonishing how stout I’m getting. So we turned at once to what Jemmy and me excels in-a country dance; which is rather surprising, as we was both brought up to a town life. As for young Tug, he showed off in a sailor’s hornpipe: which Mrs. Cox says is very proper for him to learn, now he is intended for the sea. But stop! here comes in the punchbowls; and if we are not happy, who is? I say I am like the Swish people, for I can’t flourish out of my native HAIR.

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The University of Adelaide Library
University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:00