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

Letters of Jeames.

Jeames on Time Bargings.

“Peraps at this present momink of Railway Hagetation and unsafety the follying little istory of a young friend of mine may hact as an olesome warning to hother week and hirresolute young gents.

“Young Frederick Timmins was the horphan son of a respectable cludgyman in the West of Hengland. Hadopted by his uncle, Colonel T— — of the Hoss-Mareens, and regardless of expence, this young man was sent to Heaton Collidge, and subsiquintly to Hoxford, where he was very nearly being Senior Rangler. He came to London to study for the lor. His prospix was bright indead; and he lived in a secknd flore in Jerming Street, having a ginteal inkum of two hundred lbs. per hannum.

“With this andsum enuity it may be supposed that Frederick wanted for nothink. Nor did he. He was a moral and well-educated young man, who took care of his close; pollisht his hone tea-party boots; cleaned his kidd-gloves with injer rubber; and, when not invited to dine out, took his meals reglar at the Hoxford and Cambridge Club — where (unless somebody treated him) he was never known to igseed his alf-pint of Marsally Wine.

“Merrits and vuttues such as his coodnt long pass unperseavd in the world. Admitted to the most fashnabble parties, it wasn’t long befor sevral of the young ladies viewed him with a favorable i; one, ixpecially, the lovely Miss Hemily Mulligatawney, daughter of the Heast-Injar Derector of that name. As she was the richest gal of all the season, of corse Frederick fell in love with her. His haspirations were on the pint of being crowndid with success; and it was agreed that as soon as he was called to the bar, when he would sutnly be apinted a Judge, or a revising barrister, or Lord Chanslor, he should lead her to the halter.

“What life could be more desirable than Frederick’s? He gave up his mornings to perfeshnl studdy, under Mr. Bluebag, the heminent pleader; he devoted his hevenings to helegant sosiaty at his Clubb, or with his hadord Hemily. He had no cares; no detts; no egstravigancies; he never was known to ride in a cabb, unless one of his tip-top friends lent it him; to go to a theayter unless he got a horder; or to henter a tavern or smoke a cigar. If prosperraty was hever chocked out, it was for that young man.

“But SUCKMSTANCES arose. Fatle suckmstances for pore Frederick Timmins. The Railway Hoperations began.

“For some time, immerst in lor and love, in the hardent hoccupations of his cheembers, or the sweet sosiaty of his Hemily, Frederick took no note of railroads. He did not reckonize the jigantic revalution which with hiron strides was a walkin over the country. But they began to be talked of even in HIS quiat haunts. Heven in the Hoxford and Cambridge Clubb, fellers were a speculatin. Tom Thumper (of Brasen Nose) cleared four thousand lb.; Bob Bullock (of Hexeter), who had lost all his proppaty gambling, had set himself up again; and Jack Deuceace, who had won it, had won a small istate besides by lucky specklations in the Share Markit.

“HEVERY BODY WON. ‘Why shouldn’t I?’ thought pore Fred; and having saved 100 lb., he began a writin for shares — using, like an ickonominicle feller as he was, the Clubb paper to a prodigious igstent. All the Railroad directors, his friends, helped him to shares — the allottments came tumbling in-he took the primmiums by fifties and hundreds a day. His desk was cramd full of bank notes: his brane world with igsitement.

“He gave up going to the Temple, and might now be seen hall day about Capel Court. He took no more hinterest in lor; but his whole talk was of railroad lines. His desk at Mr. Bluebag’s was filled full of prospectisises, and that legal gent wrote to Fred’s uncle, to say he feared he was neglectin his bisniss.

“Alass! he WAS neglectin it, and all his sober and industerous habits. He begann to give dinners, and thought nothin of partys to Greenwich or Richmond. He didn’t see his Hemily near so often: although the hawdacious and misguided young man might have done so much more heasily now than before: for now he kep a Broom!

“But there’s a tumminus to hevery Railway. Fred’s was approachin: in an evil hour he began making TIME-BARGINGS. Let this be a warning to all young fellers, and Fred’s huntimely hend hoperate on them in a moral pint of vu!

“You all know under what favrabble suckemstanses the Great Hafrican Line, the Grand Niger Junction, or Gold Coast and Timbuctoo (Provishnal) Hatmospheric Railway came out four weeks ago: deposit ninepence per share of 20L. (six elephant’s teeth, twelve tons of palm-oil, or four healthy niggers, African currency)— the shares of this helegeble investment rose to 1, 2, 3, in the Markit. A happy man was Fred when, after paying down 100 ninepences (3L. 15s.), he sold his shares for 250L. He gave a dinner at the ‘Star and Garter’ that very day. I promise you there was no Marsally THERE.

“Nex day they were up at 3 1/4. This put Fred in a rage: they rose to 5, he was in a fewry. ‘What an ass I was to sell,’ said he, ‘when all this money was to be won!’

“‘And so you WERE an Ass,’ said his partiklar friend, Colonel Claw, K.X.R., a director of the line, ‘a double-eared Ass. My dear fellow, the shares will be at 15 next week. Will you give me your solemn word of honor not to breathe to mortal man what I am going to tell you?’

“‘Honor bright,’ says Fred.

“‘HUDSON HAS JOINED THE LINE.’ Fred didn’t say a word more, but went tumbling down to the City in his Broom. You know the state of the streets. Claw WENT BY WATER.

“‘Buy me one thousand Hafricans for the 30th,’ cries Fred, busting into his broker’s; and they were done for him at 4 7/8.


“Can’t you guess the rest? Haven’t you seen the Share List? which says:—

“‘Great Africans, paid 9d.; price 1/4 par.’

“And that’s what came of my pore dear friend Timmins’s time-barging.

“What’ll become of him I can’t say; for nobody has seen him since. His lodgins in Jerming Street is to let. His brokers in vain deplores his absence. His Uncle has declared his marriage with his housekeeper; and the Morning Erald (that emusing print) has a paragraf yesterday in the fashnabble news, headed ‘Marriage in High Life. — The rich and beautiful Miss Mulligatawney, of Portland Place, is to be speedily united to Colonel Claw, K.X.R.’


Jeames on The Gauge Question.

“You will scarcely praps reckonize in this little skitch4 the haltered linimints of 1, with woos face the reders of your valluble mislny were once fimiliar — the unfortnt Jeames de la Pluche, fomly so selabrated in the fashnabble suckles, now the pore Jeames Plush, landlord of the ‘Wheel of Fortune’ public house. Yes, that is me; that is my haypun which I wear as becomes a publican — those is the checkers which hornyment the pillows of my dor. I am like the Romin Genral, St. Cenatus, equal to any emudgency of Fortun. I, who have drunk Shampang in my time, aint now abov droring a pint of Small Bier. As for my wife — that Angel — I’ve not ventured to depigt HER. Fansy her a sittn in the Bar, smiling like a sunflower and, ho, dear Punch! happy in nussing a deer little darlint totsywotsy of a Jeames, with my air to a curl, and my i’s to a T!

4 This refers to an illustrated edition of the work.

“I never thought I should have been injuiced to write anything but a Bill agin, much less to edress you on Railway Subjix — which with all my sole I ABAW. Railway letters, obbligations to pay hup, ginteal inquirys as to my Salissator’s name, &c. &c., I dispize and scorn artily. But as a man, an usbnd, a father, and a freebon Brittn, my jewty compels me to come forwoods, and igspress my opinion upon that NASHNAL NEWSANCE— the break of Gage.

“An interesting ewent in a noble family with which I once very nearly had the honor of being kinected, acurd a few weex sins, when the Lady Angelina S— — daughter of the Earl of B—— cres, presented the gallant Capting, her usband, with a Son & hair. Nothink would satasfy her Ladyship but that her old and attacht famdyshamber, my wife Mary Hann Plush, should be presnt upon this hospicious occasion. Captain S—— was not jellus of me on account of my former attachment to his Lady. I cunsented that my Mary Hann should attend her, and me, my wife, and our dear babby acawdingly set out for our noable frend’s residence, Honeymoon Lodge, near Cheltenham.

“Sick of all Railroads myself, I wisht to poast it in a Chay and 4, but Mary Hann, with the hobstenacy of her Sex, was bent upon Railroad travelling, and I yealded, like all husbinds. We set out by the Great Westn, in an eavle Hour.

“We didnt take much luggitch — my wife’s things in the ushal bandboxes — mine in a potmancho. Our dear little James Angelo’s (called so in complament to his noble Godmamma) craddle, and a small supply of a few 100 weight of Topsanbawtems, Farinashious food, and Lady’s fingers, for that dear child, who is now 6 months old, with a PERDIDGUS APPATITE. Likewise we were charged with a bran new Medsan chest for my lady, from Skivary & Morris, containing enough Rewbub, Daffy’s Alixir, Godfrey’s cawdle, with a few score of parsles for Lady Hangelina’s family and owsehold: about 2000 spessymins of Babby linning from Mrs. Flummary’s in Regent Street, a Chayny Cresning bowl from old Lady Bareacres (big enough to immus a Halderman), & a case marked ‘Glass,’ from her ladyship’s meddicle man, which were stowed away together; had to this an ormylew Cradle, with rose-colored Satting & Pink lace hangings, held up by a gold tuttle-dove, &c. We had, ingluding James Hangelo’s rattle & my umbrellow, 73 packidges in all.

“We got on very well as far as Swindon, where, in the Splendid Refreshment room, there was a galaxy of lovely gals in cottn velvet spencers, who serves out the soop, and 1 of whom maid an impresshn upon this Art which I shoodn’t like Mary Hann to know — and here, to our infanit disgust, we changed carridges. I forgot to say that we were in the seeknd class, having with us James Hangelo, and 23 other light harticles.

“Fust inconveniance: and almost as bad as break of gage. I cast my hi upon the gal in cottn velvet, and wanted some soop, of coarse; but seasing up James Hangelo (who was layin his dear little pors on an Am Sangwidg) and seeing my igspresshn of hi —‘James,’ says Mary Hann, ‘instead of looking at that young lady — and not so VERY young neither — be pleased to look to our packidges, & place them in the other carridge.’ I did so with an evy Art. I eranged them 23 articles in the opsit carridg, only missing my umberella & baby’s rattle; and jest as I came back for my baysn of soop, the beast of a bell rings, the whizzling injians proclayms the time of our departure — & farewell soop and cottn velvet. Mary Hann was sulky. She said it was my losing the umberella. If it had been a COTTON VELVET UMBERELLA I could have understood. James Hangelo sittn on my knee was evidently unwell; without his coral: & for 20 miles that blessid babby kep up a rawring, which caused all the passingers to simpithize with him igseedingly.

“We arrive at Gloster, and there fansy my disgust at bein ableeged to undergo another change of carridges! Fansy me holding up moughs, tippits, cloaks, and baskits, and James Hangelo rawring still like mad, and pretending to shuperintend the carrying over of our luggage from the broad gage to the narrow gage. ‘Mary Hann,’ says I, rot to desperation, ‘I shall throttle this darling if he goes on.’ ‘Do,’ says she —‘and GO INTO THE REFRESHMENT room,’ says she — a snatchin the babby out of my arms. Do go,’ says she, youre not fit to look after luggage,’ and she began lulling James Hangelo to sleep with one hi, while she looked after the packets with the other. Now, Sir! if you please, mind that packet! — pretty darling — easy with that box, Sir, its glass — pooooty poppet — where’s the deal case, marked arrowroot, No. 24?’ she cried, reading out of a list she had. — And poor little James went to sleep. The porters were bundling and carting the various harticles with no more ceremony than if each package had been of cannonball.

“At last — bang goes a package marked ‘Glass,’ and containing the Chayny bowl and Lady Bareacres’ mixture, into a large white bandbox, with a crash and a smash. ‘It’s My Lady’s box from Crinoline’s!’ cries Mary Hann; and she puts down the child on the bench, and rushes forward to inspect the dammidge. You could hear the Chayny bowls clinking inside; and Lady B.‘s mixture (which had the igsack smell of cherry brandy) was dribbling out over the smashed bandbox containing a white child’s cloak, trimmed with Blown lace and lined with white satting.

“As James was asleep, and I was by this time uncommon hungry, I thought I WOULD go into the Refreshment Room and just take a little soup; so I wrapped him up in his cloak and laid him by his mamma, and went off. There’s not near such good attendance as at Swindon.


“We took our places in the carriage in the dark, both of us covered with a pile of packages, and Mary Hann so sulky that she would not speak for some minutes. At last she spoke out —

“‘Have you all the small parcels?’

“‘Twenty-three in all,’ says I.

“‘Then give me baby.’

“‘Give you what?’ says I.

“‘Give me baby.’

“‘What, haven’t y-y-yoooo got him?’ says I.


“O Mussy! You should have heard her sreak! WE’D LEFT HIM ON THE LEDGE AT GLOSTER.

“It all came of the break of gage.”

Mr. Jeames Again.

“DEAR MR. PUNCH — As newmarus inquiries have been maid both at my privit ressddence, ‘The Wheel of Fortune Otel,’ and at your Hoffis, regarding the fate of that dear babby, James Hangelo, whose primmiture dissappearnts caused such hagnies to his distracted parents, I must begg, dear sir, the permission to ockupy a part of your valuble collams once more, and hease the public mind about my blessid boy.

“Wictims of that nashnal cuss, the Broken Gage, me and Mrs. Plush was left in the train to Cheltenham, soughring from that most disgreeble of complaints, a halmost BROKEN ART. The skreems of Mrs. Jeames might be said almost to out-Y the squeel of the dying, as we rusht into that fashnable Spaw, and my pore Mary Hann found it was not Baby, but Bundles I had in my lapp.

“When the Old Dowidger Lady Bareacres, who was waiting heagerly at the train, herd that owing to that abawminable Brake of Gage the luggitch, her Ladyship’s Cherrybrandy box, the cradle for Lady Hangelina’s baby, the lace, crockary and chany, was rejuiced to one immortial smash; the old cat howld at me and pore dear Mary Hann, as if it was huss, and not the infunnle Brake of Gage, was to blame; and as if we ad no misfortns of our hown to deplaw. She bust out about my stupid imparence; called Mary Hann a good for nothink creecher, and wep, and abewsd, and took on about her broken Chayny Bowl, a great deal mor than she did about a dear little Christian child. ‘Don’t talk to me abowt your bratt of a babby’ (seshe); ‘where’s my bowl? — where’s my medsan? — where’s my bewtiffle Pint lace? — All in rewing through your stupiddaty, you brute, you!’

“‘Bring your haction aginst the Great Western, Maam,’ says I, quite riled by this crewel and unfealing hold wixen. ‘Ask the pawters at Gloster, why your goods is spiled — it’s not the fust time they’ve been asked the question. Git the gage haltered aginst the nex time you send for MEDSAN and meanwild buy some at the “Plow”— they keep it very good and strong there, I’ll be bound. Has for us, WE’RE a going back to the cussid station at Gloster, in such of our blessid child.’

“‘You don’t mean to say, young woman,’ seshe, ‘that you’re not going to Lady Hangelina: what’s her dear boy to do? who’s to nuss it?’

“‘YOU nuss it, Maam,’ says I. ‘Me and Mary Hann return this momint by the Fly.’ And so (whishing her a suckastic ajew) Mrs. Jeames and I lep into a one oss weakle, and told the driver to go like mad back to Gloster.

“I can’t describe my pore gals hagny juring our ride. She sat in the carridge as silent as a milestone, and as madd as a march Air. When we got to Gloster she sprang hout of it as wild as a Tigris, and rusht to the station, up to the fatle Bench.

“‘My child, my child,’ shreex she, in a hoss, hot voice. ‘Where’s my infant? a little bewtifle child, with blue eyes — dear Mr. Policeman, give it me — a thousand guineas for it.’

“‘Faix, Mam,’ says the man, a Hirishman, ‘and the divvle a babby have I seen this day except thirteen of my own — and you’re welcome to any one of THEM, and kindly.’

“‘As if HIS babby was equal to ours,’ as my darling Mary Hann said, afterwards. All the station was scrouging round us by this time — pawters & clarx and refreshmint people and all. ‘What’s this year row about that there babby?’ at last says the Inspector, stepping hup. I thought my wife was going to jump into his harms. ‘Have you got him?’ says she.

“‘Was it a child in a blue cloak?’ says he.

“‘And blue eyse!’ says my wife.

“‘I put a label on him and sent him on to Bristol; he’s there by this time. The Guard of the Mail took him and put him into a letter-box,’ says he: ‘he went 20 minutes ago. We found him on the broad gauge line, and sent him on by it, in course,’ says he. ‘And it’ll be a caution to you, young woman, for the future, to label your children along with the rest of your luggage.’

“If my piguniary means had been such as ONCE they was, you may emadgine I’d have ad a speshle train and been hoff like smoak. As it was, we was obliged to wait 4 mortial hours for the next train (4 ears they seemed to us), and then away we went.

“‘My boy! my little boy!’ says poor choking Mary Hann, when we got there. ‘A parcel in a blue cloak?’ says the man. ‘No body claimed him here, and so we sent him back by the mail. An Irish nurse here gave him some supper, and he’s at Paddington by this time. Yes,’ says he, looking at the clock, ‘he’s been there these ten minutes.’

“But seeing my poor wife’s distracted histarricle state, this good-naterd man says, ‘I think, my dear, there’s a way to ease your mind. We’ll know in five minutes how he is.’

“‘Sir,’ says she, ‘don’t make sport of me.’

“‘No, my dear, we’ll TELEGRAPH him.’

“And he began hopparating on that singlar and ingenus elecktricle inwention, which aniliates time, and carries intellagence in the twinkling of a peg-post.

“‘I’ll ask,’ says he, ‘for child marked G. W. 273.’

“Back comes the telegraph with the sign, ‘All right.’

“‘Ask what he’s doing, sir,’ says my wife, quite amazed. Back comes the answer in a Jiffy —

“‘C. R. Y. I. N. G.’

“This caused all the bystanders to laugh excep my pore Mary Hann, who pull’d a very sad face.

“The good-naterd feller presently said, ‘he’d have another trile;’ and what d’ye think was the answer? I’m blest if it wasn’t —

“‘P. A. P.’

“He was eating pap! There’s for you — there’s a rogue for you — there’s a March of Intaleck! Mary Hann smiled now for the fust time. ‘He’ll sleep now,’ says she. And she sat down with a full hart.


“If hever that good-naterd Shooperintendent comes to London, HE need never ask for his skore at the ‘Wheel of Fortune Otel,’ I promise you — where me and my wife and James Hangelo now is; and where only yesterday a gent came in and drew this pictur5 of us in our bar.

5 This refers to an illustrated edition of the work.

“And if they go on breaking gages; and if the child, the most precious luggidge of the Henglishman, is to be bundled about this year way, why it won’t be for want of warning, both from Professor Harris, the Commission, and from

“My dear Mr. Punch’s obeajent servant,


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University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005

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