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NO NAME.

BY THE AUTHOR OF "THE WOMAN IN WHITE," &c.

BETWEEN THE SCENES.

CHRONICLE OF EVENTS: PRESERVED IN CAPTAIN
WRAGGE'S DESPATCH BOX.

I.
[Chronicle for October, 1846.]

I HAVE retired into the bosom of my family.
We are residing in the secluded village of
Ruswarp, on the banks of the Esk, about two
miles inland from Whitby. Our lodgings are
comfortable, and we possess the additional blessing
of a tidy landlady. Mrs. Wragge and Miss
Vanstone preceded me here, in accordance with
the plan I laid down for effecting our retreat from
York. On the next day I followed them alone, with
the luggage. On leaving the terminus, I had the
satisfaction of seeing the lawyer's clerk in close
confabulation with the detective officer whose
advent I had prophesied. I left him in peaceable
possession of the city of York, and the whole
surrounding neighbourhood. He has returned
the compliment; and has left us in peaceable
possession of the valley of the Esk, thirty miles
away from him.

Remarkable results have followed my first
efforts at the cultivation of Miss Vanstone's
dramatic abilities.

I have discovered that she possesses
extraordinary talent as a mimic. She has the flexible
face,  the manageable voice, and the sharp
dramatic perception which fit a woman for
character-parts and disguises, on the stage. All
she now wants is teaching and practice to
make her sure of her own resources. The
experience of her, thus gained, has revived an
idea in my mind, which originally occurred to
me, at one of the "At Homes" of the late
inimitable Charles Mathews, comedian. I was in
the Wine Trade at the time, I remember. We
imitated the Vintage-processes of Nature, in a
back kitchen at Brompton; and produced a
dinner-sherry, pale and curious, tonic in character,
round in the mouth, a favourite with the
Court of Spain, at nineteen and sixpence a
dozen, bottles includedVide Prospectus of the
period. The profits of myself and partners were
small; we were in advance of the tastes of the
age, and in debt to the bottle merchant. Being
at my wits' end for want of money, and seeing
what audiences Mathews drew, the idea occurred
to me of starting an imitation of the great
Imitator himself, in the shape of an "At Home,"
given by a woman. The one trifling obstacle in
the way, was the difficulty of finding the woman.
From that time to this, I have hitherto failed to
overcome it. I have conquered it at last; I
have found the woman now. Miss Vanstone
possesses youth and beauty as well as talent.
Train her in the art of dramatic disguise;
provide her with appropriate dresses for different
characters; develop her accomplishments in
singing and playing; give her plenty of smart
talk addressed to the audience; advertise her as
A Young Lady at Home; astonish the public by
a dramatic entertainment which depends from
first to last on that young lady's own sole
exertions; commit the entire management of the
thing to my careand what follows, as a necessary
consequence? Fame for my fair relative,
and a fortune for myself.

I put these considerations, as frankly as usual,
to Miss Vanstone; offering to write the
Entertainment, to manage all the business, and to share
the profits. I did not forget to strengthen my case,
by informing her of the jealousies she would
encounter, and the obstacles she would meet,
if she went on the stage. And I wound up by
a neat reference to the private inquiries which
she is interested in making, and to the personal
independence which she is desirous of securing
before she acts on her information. "If you go
on the stage," I said, "your services will be
bought by a manager, and he may insist on his
claims just at the time when you want to get
free from him. If, on the contrary, you adopt
my views, you will be your own mistress and
your own manager, and you can settle your
course just as you like." This consideration
appeared to strike her. She took a day to consider
it; and when the day was over, gave her consent.

I had the whole transaction down in black
and white immediately. Our arrangement is
eminently satisfactory, except in one particular.
She shows a morbid distrust of writing her name
at the bottom of any document which I present
to her; and roundly declares she will sign
nothing. As long as it is her interest to provide
herself with pecuniary resources for the future,
she verbally engages to go on. When it ceases

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