The diary of C. Jeames De La Pluche, Esq., with his letters, by William Makepeace Thackeray

A Lucky Speculator.

“Considerable sensation has been excited in the upper and lower circles in the West End, by a startling piece of good fortune which has befallen James Plush, Esq., lately footman in a respected family in Berkeley Square.

“One day last week, Mr. James waited upon his master, who is a banker in the City; and after a little blushing and hesitation, said he had saved a little money in service, was anxious to retire, and to invest his savings to advantage.

“His master (we believe we may mention, without offending delicacy, the well-known name of Sir George Flimsy, of the house of Flimsy, Diddler, and Flash,) smilingly asked Mr. James what was the amount of his savings, wondering considerably how, out of an income of thirty guineas — the main part of which he spent in bouquets, silk stockings, and perfumery — Mr. Plush could have managed to lay by anything.

“Mr. Plush, with some hesitation, said he had been SPECULATING IN RAILROADS, and stated his winnings to have been thirty thousand pounds. He had commenced his speculations with twenty, borrowed from a fellow-servant. He had dated his letters from the house in Berkeley Square, and humbly begged pardon of his master for not having instructed the Railway Secretaries who answered his applications to apply at the area-bell.

“Sir George, who was at breakfast, instantly rose, and shook Mr. P. by the hand; Lady Flimsy begged him to be seated, and partake of the breakfast which he had laid on the table; and has subsequently invited him to her grand dejeuner at Richmond, where it was observed that Miss Emily Flimsy, her beautiful and accomplished seventh daughter, paid the lucky gentleman MARKED ATTENTION.

“We hear it stated that Mr. P. is of a very ancient family (Hugo de la Pluche came over with the Conqueror); and the new brougham which he has started bears the ancient coat of his race.

“He has taken apartments in the Albany, and is a director of thirty-three railroads. He proposes to stand for Parliament at the next general election on decidedly conservative principles, which have always been the politics of his family.

“Report says, that even in his humble capacity Miss Emily Flimsy had remarked his high demeanor. Well, ‘None but the brave,’ say we, ‘deserve the fair.’"— Morning Paper.

This announcement will explain the following lines, which have been put into our box2 with a West End post-mark. If, as we believe, they are written by the young woman from whom the Millionnaire borrowed the sum on which he raised his fortune, what heart will not melt with sympathy at her tale, and pity the sorrows which she expresses in such artless language?

If it be not too late; if wealth have not rendered its possessor callous; if poor Maryanne BE STILL ALIVE; we trust, we trust, Mr. Plush will do her justice.

2 The letter-box of Mr. Punch, in whose columns these papers were first published.



“Come all ye gents vot cleans the plate,
Come all ye ladies maids so fair — Vile I a story
vill relate
Of cruel Jeames of Buckley Square.
A tighter lad, it is confest,
Neer valked with powder in his air,
Or vore a nosegay in his breast,
Than andsum Jeames of Buckley Square.

“O Evns! it vas the best of sights,
Behind his Master’s coach and pair,
To see our Jeames in red plush tights,
A driving hoff from Buckley Square.
He vel became his hagwilletts,
He cocked his at with SUCH a hair;
His calves and viskers VAS such pets,
That hall loved Jeames of Buckley Square.

“He pleased the hup-stairs folks as vell,
And o! I vithered vith despair,
Missis VOULD ring the parler bell,
And call up Jeames in Buckley Square.
Both beer and sperrits he abhord,
(Sperrits and beer I can’t a bear,)
You would have thought he vas a lord
Down in our All in Buckley Square.

“Last year he visper’d ‘Mary Ann,
Ven I’ve an under’d pound to spare,
To take a public is my plan,
And leave this hojous Buckley Square.’
O how my gentle heart did bound,
To think that I his name should bear.
‘Dear Jeames.’ says I, ‘I’ve twenty pound;
And gev them him in Buckley Square.

“Our master vas a City gent,
His name’s in railroads everywhere,
And lord, vot lots of letters vent
Betwigst his brokers and Buckley Square:
My Jeames it was the letters took,
And read them all, (I think it’s fair,)
And took a leaf from Master’s book,
As HOTHERS do in Buckley Square.

Encouraged with my twenty pound,
Of which poor I was unavare,
He wrote the Companies all round,
And signed hisself from Buckley Square.
And how John Porter used to grin,
As day by day, share after share,
Came railvay letters pouring in,
‘J. Plush, Esquire, in Buckley Square.’

“Our servants’ All was in a rage —
Scrip, stock,
curves, gradients, bull and bear,
Vith butler, coachman, groom and page,
Vas all the talk in Buckley Square.
But O! imagine vot I felt
Last Vensday veek as ever were;
I gits a letter, which I spelt
‘Miss M. A. Hoggins, Buckley Square.’

“He sent me back my money true —
He sent me back my lock of air,
And said, ‘My dear, I bid ajew
To Mary Hann and Buckley Square.
Think not to marry, foolish Hann,
With people who your betters are;
James Plush is now a gentleman,
And you — a cook in Buckley Square.

“‘I’ve thirty thousand guineas won,
In six short months, by genus rare;
You little thought what Jeames was on,
Poor Mary Hann, in Buckley Square.
I’ve thirty thousand guineas net,
Powder and plush I scorn to vear;
And so, Miss Mary Hann, forget
For hever Jeames, of Buckley Square.’”


The rest of the MS. is illegible, being literally washed away in a flood of tears.

A Letter from “Jeames, of Buckley Square.”

“ALBANY, LETTER X. August 10, 1845.

“SIR — Has a reglar suscriber to your emusing paper, I beg leaf to state that I should never have done so, had I supposed that it was your abbit to igspose the mistaries of privit life, and to hinjer the delligit feelings of umble individyouals like myself, who have NO IDEER of being made the subject of newspaper criticism.

“I elude, sir, to the unjustafiable use which has been made of my name in your Journal, where both my muccantile speclations and the HINMOST PASHSN OF MY ART have been brot forrards in a ridicklus way for the public emusemint.

“What call, sir, has the public to inquire into the suckmstansies of my engagements with Miss Mary Hann Oggins, or to meddle with their rupsher? Why am I to be maid the hobjick of your REDICULE IN A DOGGRIL BALLIT impewted to her? I say IMPEWTED, because, in MY time at least, Mary Hann could only sign her + mark (has I’ve hoften witnist it for her when she paid hin at the Savings Bank), and has for SACRIFICING TO THE MEWSES and making POATRY, she was as HINCAPIBLE as Mr. Wakley himself.

“With respect to the ballit, my baleaf is, that it is wrote by a footman in a low famly, a pore retch who attempted to rivle me in my affections to Mary Hann — a feller not five foot six, and with no more calves to his legs than a donkey — who was always a-ritin (having been a doctor’s boy) and who I nockt down with a pint of porter (as he well recklex) at the 3 Tuns Jerming Street, for daring to try to make a but of me. He has signed Miss H’s name to his NONSINCE AND LIES: and you lay yourself hopen to a haction for libel for insutting them in your paper.

“It is false that I have treated Miss H. hill in HANY way. That I borrowed 20lb of her is TREW. But she confesses I paid it back. Can hall people say as much of the money THEY’VE lent or borrowed? No. And I not only paid it back, but giv her the andsomest pres’nts: WHICH I NEVER SHOULD HAVE ALLUDED TO, but for this attack. Fust, a silver thimble (which I found in Missus’s work-box); secknd, a vollom of Byrom’s poems; third, I halways brought her a glas of Curasore, when we ad a party, of which she was remarkable fond. I treated her to Hashley’s twice, (and halways a srimp or a hoyster by the way,) and a THOWSND DELIGIT ATTENTIONS, which I sapose count for NOTHINK.

“Has for marridge. Haltered suckmstancies rendered it himpossable. I was gone into a new spear of life — mingling with my native aristoxy. I breathe no sallible of blame against Miss H., but his a hilliterit cookmaid fit to set at a fashnable table? Do young fellers of rank genrally marry out of the Kitching? If we cast our i’s upon a low-born gal, I needn say it’s only a tempory distraction, pore passy le tong. So much for HER claims upon me. Has for THAT BEEST OF A DOCTOR’S BOY he’s unwuthy the notas of a Gentleman.

“That I’ve one thirty thousand lb, AND PRAPS MORE, I dont deny. Ow much has the Kilossus of Railroads one, I should like to know, and what was his cappitle? I hentered the market with 20lb, specklated Jewdicious, and ham what I ham. So may you be (if you have 20lb, and praps you haven’t)— So may you be: if you choose to go in & win.

“I for my part am jusly PROWD of my suxess, and could give you a hundred instances of my gratatude. For igsample, the fust pair of hosses I bought (and a better pair of steppers I dafy you to see in hany curracle,) I crisn’d Hull and Selby, in grateful elusion to my transackshns in that railroad. My riding Cob I called very unhaptly my Dublin and Galway. He came down with me the other day, and I’ve jest sold him at 1/4 discount.

“At fust with prudence and modration I only kep two grooms for my stables, one of whom lickwise waited on me at table. I have now a confidenshle servant, a vally de shamber — He curls my air; inspex my accounts, and hansers my hinvitations to dinner. I call this Vally my TRENT VALLY, for it was the prophit I got from that exlent line, which injuiced me to ingage him.

“Besides my North British Plate and Breakfast equipidge — I have two handsom suvvices for dinner — the goold plate for Sundays, and the silver for common use. When I ave a great party, ‘Trent,’ I say to my man, ‘we will have the London and Bummingham plate today (the goold), or else the Manchester and Leeds (the silver).’ I bought them after realizing on the abuf lines, and if people suppose that the companys made me a presnt of the plate, how can I help it?

“In the sam way I say, ‘Trent, bring us a bottle of Bristol amid Hexeter!’ or, ‘Put some Heastern Counties in hice!’ HE knows what I mean: it’s the wines I bought upon the hospicious tummination of my connexshn with those two railroads.

“So strong, indeed, as this abbit become, that being asked to stand Godfather to the youngest Miss Diddle last weak, I had her christened (provisionally) Rosamell — from the French line of which I am Director; and only the other day, finding myself rayther unwell, ‘Doctor,’ says I to Sir Jeames Clark, ‘I’ve sent to consult you because my Midlands are out of horder; and I want you to send them up to a premium.’ The Doctor lafd, and I beleave told the story subsquintly at Buckinum P-ll-s.

“But I will trouble you no father. My sole objict in writing has been to CLEAR MY CARRATER— to show that I came by my money in a honrable way: that I’m not ashaymd of the manner in which I gayned it, and ham indeed grateful for my good fortune.

“To conclude, I have ad my podigree maid out at the Erald Hoffis (I don’t mean the Morning Erald), and have took for my arms a Stagg. You are corrict in stating that I am of hancient Normin famly. This is more than Peal can say, to whomb I applied for a barnetcy; but the primmier being of low igstraction, natrally stickles for his horder. Consurvative though I be, I MAY CHANGE MY OPINIONS before the next Election, when I intend to hoffer myself as a Candydick for Parlymint.

“Meanwhile, I have the honor to be, Sir,

“Your most obeajnt Survnt,


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