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Lottery Ticket No. 3,060

Lottery Ticket No. 3,060 image
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We wort' a party oí' six - a Weai Afrioan Governor and bis wifc, a Commisaary General and his wife, a Chief Justice, and your humblc servant. A fever-stiicken lot wc wcre, and luid just escaped with our lives from an epidemie, to recruit health and strength in the salubrious climate of Tenorino - that beautiful island province of Old Spain. We had nioncy tospond ; as why should v.i' not, coming froin the gold and ivory coast ? and only required the health to enjoy it. We hadgreat animal spirits, tm, notwithstanding a manifest attenuution of our material persons, and wero thoroughly determined, carpen diem, notaday should pass without its excitement - some excursión, or picnic, or gapper party, or suincthing. We waited on the Governor Gene ral, and were reeeived with a flourish of trumpete, rather inconsistent with his Excellency's occupation, as we caine upon hini, coat off, lopping the dead leaves of his favorite tree-camellia. Then his Excelleney and suite returned our cali when we happimed to bc out ; which was botter htck, 1 must suy, than a vepetition of the painful interview that had taken place in the saloon of the Government House, where broken English and worse attempts ut Spanish had alniost eonfounded and angered us into something desperate. Mili this was insufficient excitement for emaneipated coast officials. A' i qnirod a fresh stimulant - soniethingnovel and staiilingand extravagant. " I have it .' " said the Governor ono moming, to our great relief, as we sat at breakfast, silent and mood}', ai-ound the taille d'hote of the only English hotel in Santa Cruz, " just the veiy thing! What can be more wildly, intensely delightful than - than gambling ? " The ladk-s shuddered and looked dismayed. "I don't me in that we should drop into the casino next door and stake our sovereigns on the monte tablo ; but why should we not go in for the lottcry ? " "What lottcry 't" we all askcd in a breath. " Why, the Madrid great prizo lottery ; see ; here is all about it." And then he roud aloud an English translation of a circular setting forth the advantages and inducements of a ticket in the great lottery of the yoar ; highest prize L20,000 sterling, and 150 other prizes, ranging downward so low as L10 but nothing short of that amount ; the ticket itself costing the moderate suin of L7. " Now there are six of ns," hc went on ; " and if I can induce Mr. Eobinson, our landlord, to take the seventh share, it will only come to a pound each - nol much to lose and so niuch to gain. What say you all 't " Of course we agrecd ; and forthwith our chicf sallied forth to confer with our host and to purehase the ticket. " It's all right, I have it - very well I went in time, for it was the very last lef t ; huw lucky we are!" exclaimed the Govornor, on his return, a few hours later ; and he flourished the lottery ticket bef ore our cyes. " I hope it will stick to us," remarked the Judge, doubtingly. " It is sure to be a prize," prophesied our sanguine Irish friend, the Commissary General. " At all events, ' never venture, never have,' " I added hopefully ; but the ladies remained silent. " And now," continued tho Governor, " since we cannot possibly learn the result for somc weeks, suppose we pass tho time elsuwhere than in this hot city. We have seen all that is to be seen ; and, for my part, I am sick of the cathedral, and the crowded plaza, and the inole, and Nclson's wound. We want rest and refreshing breezes in the highlands ; let us betake ourselves to tho mountain's brow, to Oratava, the Villa of the Peak." The proposition was hailed with the delight of people who had nothing better to suggest ; but a difficulty presentcd itself at the outset in the fact that none of us, except the Chief Justice, understood a word of the language, and in a Spanish hotel we should bo all adrift. However, in our dietrcss atid perplexity a deuê ix machina preeented himselfin the pcrson of an English-speaking Spanish gentleman who camo to cali upon us ; and, on the case being stated to him, lie iiiformed us that ho was himsclf desirous of visiting Oratava, and would gladly do so in our company. Accordiugly, ncxt day saw us all wending our way across the island in an omnibus drawn by a triangular arrangement, of flrst a mulé, as leader, then two uiulcs, and then two horses in the shafte. The day was bright, warm and exliilaruting, the pace rapid, and the scenery exquisito and sublime ; more especially wheu wc reached an elevated plateau tliat commandcd a full view of the far-famod Peak, and the iron-bnimd ooast-lÜHi far as the cyo could reaoh washed by the ïnighticst bfeaken. But I liavo no intention of being descriptive ; abler pens tlian mino huve failed in the attcnipt t word-paiht this garden of the Ilesperides ; I ám only lingering en route in a tantalizing mood, to pile up your agony as regards " No 3,000." Our days passed pleasantly at Oratava. There were gardens to visit, ferns to collect, and an antediluvian treo to gaze I xml Nelion lost his Tight arm at the asfivult on Sant Crm, Teatrilïe, 1796, wortderingly i in its grund decay. Wo toük long rides, too, in the neighborhood ; and actually handled the lava tl.t, in d&ys ni yore, l':il swept down the mAea oí iha groot mountain. We descended into the suliry lowhmds and we olimbsd the snow-capped Peak, thus divoisii'ying our totuporatñre witliin the liour - "Foï tin-re m;iy be B110W on iitmn):im top, While theivV htrut i'.i tlie rolluy luluw." Ti'H' passed by unnoticod by ull ex ' - i li. t,o of US, inysolf and our wortlij friénd and intarpreter, the Spaniard Proporly speaking, (Kis gentleman was not a Bpamaid, aíthough ae wished to be considorod one, nor even was he it pativo i.v' ïéaerifEe. Ho was a scttlor fioni Gibraltar, and, as all tlio initiated knor, snch individuáis are yctept " Eock Soorpions," and as a. Rock Boorpion, thcroforo, 1 shall spcak of liim li(;iicií'irth. . Witli him I conooctod an abominable sóbeme. It was the day that the aews of the lottery migiif arrivo&om Madrid, and why j-hould we not anticípate it r" lt was a vilo, unfeebng, disgraeeful iwdertaking, as you shall soe ; but Onoo di' d' vil took pos808BÍon of us (and in no other w:iy oatt I aeooant for it), we entered heart aud soul into carrying out the details of tiie plot ae complotoly as our means would pemiit ot'. Tmprimi, we roquired official paper, and in the ill-eupplied shops of Oratava none was to bc had ; no papot was, in i'aet, procunible ezcept "gold-odged post," quite nnfitted for onr pui pose. However, we made the best of it. I snipped the edges with a pair of Hcissors, and when folded lengthwise the document assumed a formidable shape. But even this tiotitiiais rosomblttnce to " ;m official" was deniod us, as the laigest cnvelope in the stutioiiery establishment was not so largo ns somo I had myselt, una they were small nough. On tho subject-matter and stylo of composition we wcre, thercforo, coiupcllcd to rely, and in this rosicct wc vore not mistaken. I was aware that it had beun arranged liy t!ii! Govomor with Mr. llobinson, of the English hotel in Santa Cruz, that should the steainer arrive at any unnsual hour so as to prevent him sonding the ordinary post, and should our ticket, No. 3,060, bc the winner of' a prize, a special messeneer .should be dispatched with tho huppy intclligenco. Aeeoidingly the Rock Seorpion and I invested in a small boy mounted on a iixulu, and we instructcd the Lmp in what I mannor he was to act. These prepurations made to our entiro satisfaction, wo joined our party, and sat down composedly to the oll! podrida set beforc us. " Good gracious ! this is actually tho Ist of April ! " exclaimed tho Govemor, as he helped the dish, " tho day the stcamcr from Lisbon is due ; I wonder shall we hear anything 'i I don't think llobinson will disappoint us if we have had any luck." " You are too sanguine, deur; do bc loss hopeful, and we may win something," tiaid his wife. " For my part, I havo never givcn the thing u BCCOnd thought," boasted the Chièf Justice ; " the chances are a thousand to one ngainst us. Besidcs, I jiut little i'aith in these government managcd lotteries. Indeed, I disapprove of suoh gambling sources of revéame for any respectable country." "Thank you for your opinión of us," relurned the Koek Scoipion, saroastioally ; " bui still I don't supposo you would object to win a prize from us, would you P " " I shouldn't, at any rate," put in the Commisa&ry General. "Nor I, dcar," whispered his better half ; " for I should know what to do with such a god-send." " Oh f don't descérate the nanio ; rcmember, this is a gambling transaction," cricd the Governor's wife, who caught the Kfpression. "Ireally believe I should tiemble to touch money won so easily. I agree with the Judge, it cannot be right or proper - it's nae canny." " Halloa ! what's the row bolow "f" I oiied, on recognizing the clatter of the mulo's hoofs entering the paved jiatio of the establishment. An unintelligible shout now resounded in the quadrangular oourtyard, and involuntarily we all startcd to our feet, then, impelled by irresistible curiosity, rushed to the gallory ovei-looking the yard, and craned out necks to eatch sight of the indubitable " special messenger." But almost immediately dignity and docoruni returned to us and we resunied our soats silently at the table. I noticed that'we all closed our lips very closely (I did so, I supposo, from syrapathy), and that a pallid hue soemed to pervade our faces. it certainly seemed an age uritil our lugubrious waiter slowly entered the room and handed a broadly-sealed letter to the Govemor. " El Gobernador de , y los estrangoros Ingleses," he read aloud. "Yes, there is no mistaking the Pillars of Hercules," his Excelleney went on, glancing at the dollar-impressod seal ; and hero in the corner is a memo. from Kobinson : ' Please pay the messenger a dollar and a half.' Certainly - certainly. Here, Juan, money for the messeuger ; feed him, too ; " and he placed a handful of silver in the waiter's hand. " And now I think I have oarned the right to open this official from the lottery office at Santa Cruz ; but I ani sorry to say I cannot read it. However, it is certain that we havo won a prize, and, great or small, it is entirely my doing. I shall, therefore, claim you all as my guests for another month, and we shall spend it in Madeira. Do you consent r" " Oh, yes, yes," we all cried ; "but do open the letter." He broke the seal rudely, abstracted the document within, and flung the envelope under the table. Our cxeitement became intense. " Well, what is it P asked one of the ladies, impatiently. "1 cannot make it out ; the figures are many, but theamountisstatedin_Wí. - dollars ; do you read tho letter, Judge," and his Excelléncy handed the missive to the imperturbable Chief-Justice, who translated it slowly, with all its locution, pausing lor a moment as ho camc t the figures. It was merely a stitt' and formal announcement from the secretary to infonn his Excellency and the othcr English strangsn sojouming in the island tlirtt their ticket in tlio Madrid lottery, No. 3,060, was the successful h oidor of u prize which, reduocd to English currenoy, amountcd to the round suiu of L'9,000. Stunned we wero at first and utterly confounded ; then, as the Irish Coniniissöty General found his voico and uttered . a war-wlioop of joy, we all joined in a jubilant shout, and uiadness ruled the hour. Of course I was bound to be especial] y extravagant, and I must say my joy w;is gj&gant. "VTcll, suy -n-hnt one will, the love of pelt is only human nature aftor all," remarked the Chief Justice, seiitentiously. "I must congratúlate yoü, my dear frienils; on oïir exoeeding great good fortune." And tho Judge gravely stretolud lm tli his hand to grasp us all in turn. " It isn't every day that you and I (addressing me) come inforLl,28') 14s3 l-'2d ; that is our sharc and Mr. Bobinson'g, you know," (for ho had made a rapid mental calculation while some of us wore going through tho slow procoss of pencil and paporj. "Of öoune you married folk ftto "iititled to doublo sliaros." "Whot!" exolaimed Atrs. to her husband, the Coumdssary General, "run it indeed be possiblo that ■■ are aotuilly in pO3S638Í0Il of- of', lot ino sec, (and pen cil and paper,) of - oh, delightfu] ! '-'i,")71 8s 7d 'f Now, John, yon irtust promiso iuc i ono thing at onoe," and shedrow hi.s head down lovingly, so aa to import lier proposit ion whisponngly - "you must put uur thousand in the Bank of England for Toiniiiy, and lot tho interest acoumulato until he comes of age. Won'tyoupromiso, dear 't " The wunls rèached me, and foT the flret lame, strange asitmay appear, the villainy of the trick I was playing strook me as with its opeo palm mi tin; cheek, and 1 . folt the very roota of my huir grow red. Tdiuiny was their littlo lioy, eight yoars old, ut school in Englaud. Uut Uit! bal] had been sel a rollingdown hill now, and for the lifi: of nie 1 OOIlld not stop it. I eould not find words to teil thein it was a cruel, wivírhcd, mercileas impóstate. I bocame for the nonco a speechless hypocrito, and kept up tho farce with a nervous oagorness that must have boen qniokly dotooted liad they boen in their sober sonsos. All I oould do was to jump about and clap my hands like a drivoling idiot, but in their present state of delirium, any passionate excess was unh ceded. It was soon feit by all that the dinner tablo was no place to discuss private intentions, and as, of comsc, no onc could oat, we Boparated into natural groups. The Governor and liis wife entered the big sittiug-rooiii and seated tliemsolves in close conference on a sofa in a remóte corner. The Commissary General and bis spouso retired to their rooms to talk of littlc Tommy and that bargain about tho thousand pounda ; while tho Chief Justice, who luid at length oaught tlie prevailing enthusiasm, soized me olosely by tho arm and muttered gutturally : " Come out and walk - I want air. Hang it, man ! " lio went on as we gained tho Street) " I despiso woalth, and only regard money for the comforts it brings ; but to give away a pound haphazard and to get back L1,285 14s 3 l-2d, all fornothing ! come, step out ! " Ho was tall, and I am short, and liis strides were long. I teil you I had to kiep at a run by his sido during that sixmilo walk up hill and down dalo. He spoko not again until wo reached the hotel ; no doubt his thoughts wero gi ven up to tho contempla tion of our woudcrful luck, and he was mentally revicwing the sceno at the tuble. Suddenly we encountered the waitor. " I wish I had seen that messenger - whero is lic ? Did you givo him the money ï " asko'd the Judge, in Spanish. " No, senor," was Juan's reply ; the muchacho liad disappeared, he (Juan) had retumed the dinero to his Excollency, and the latter had allowed him to keep so much, - and the lugubrious croature displayed to our viow fivo bright shillings. " Very extraordinary ! " murmurcd tlio Judge, appealing to me, and his face feil in & fearfully portentous manner. I folt a cold shiver run down my back, and a sirange huskiness in my tliroat, but I was not obligcd to say anything, so we hurried up stairs. " Tho messenger bas gono back to Santa Cruz without his'douceur," says tlie Governor, in a reassuring tone, advancing to us. " Poor boy ' he could not, of course, road Eobinson's memo., and, porhaps, thought that he was not to be paid until his return ; it don't matter much, but let me teil you what does. I have just boen rclating to my wife a circumstanco that happened to me in Spain yoars ago. Tliis is not the. first time, I should teil you, that I have dabbled in lotterics, and on ono occasion, when my brother and I were staying in Madrid, wo took a ticket in a small lottery. Tho ticket was only a couple of dollars, and the highest prize was one hundred pounds. We won it ' This is, perhaps, why my ambitious thoughts made me imagino that wo had a chance of tho twenty thousand pounds now. But we have done very well and I should uot grumble. When we went to tho office ncxt day to be paid, what do you think they offorcd us i Coppers, sir, coppors ! ' Gold and silver have we none,' they told us, ' tako the coppers . or leave thom.' They werc piled up in bags in a corner ready counted for us, and what were we to do ? Of courso wo took theni ; but, gracious ! what a job it was. I had first to go to the alcalde and obtain from him a guard of' soldiers ; then we hired men and wheelburrows, and in this way conveyed our hundrcd pound of coppers to our hotel. Now thiuk of it for a moment, if they played us tho sanio trick here - nine thousand pounds in coppers ' Gold, as you are aware, is at a high premium ; so are bilis of exchango ; no chance of our being paid by either medium. My belief, then, is that they will pay us in silver, and my idea is this ; as the Secretary directa us to attend at the office to inorrow to present our ticket and reecive our prizc, I purpose that you and I (addressing me) ride down to Santa Cruz by moonlight. It is only twenty-seven miles and we'll take our time and be ready after breakfast to attend when the lottery office opens at ten o'clock. Thon when we ascurtain thoir method of paying us, we can make our arrangements. I shall ask my friend, the Govenior, for a military guard, and we can cart tho bags of silver up here for distribution. Now go out and hire two surefooted ponies, and direct them to be sent here for us after supper." Naturally I had to comply, but my heart misgave me as I passcd out, to notico that the ladies were in close consultation, and that tho Secrotary's letter was in one of thoir hands. All this while the Hoek Scorpion was disregarded and forgotten by everybody. He had feit himself de trop, and had betaken himself to his ehamber, but I now passed him in the verandah, on his way to the sitting room as I hurried out. I hurried out indeed, but not upon the errand I had undertuken, but to think - think - think. My head ached with tho thoughts of the wrong I was inflicting - with the miserable dread of diacovery beforo I could uplaiii matten, and with tho innumerable plans that I formed and rejoci td to brouk the killing, unpimloiiable news that No. 3,0(50 was a delusion and a snare. When I returned to the sitting-room I fouud our party in confusión and a vi:iy B;ibel of voices in hot dispute concemirrtho letter. " I say that gold-edged paper was uever used in an official i'orni before ; look at that ; it is plain that the vilo wretch, whoever be is, that has playod 08 this dastardly trick, tried to clip off all tho gold, but lef t so much to teil the tale P' and the Govornor's wife, who was tho speaker, huid np to view the tiniest bit of gold edgo at the corner of the abominable produetion. " That, coupled with the (lisappeuranee of tho uiessenger, is conclusivo ovidenco. in niy opinión." :is.é'i)ii1 tho Chief Juaiice. "On! I havo expluinc'l his abseaoe, I Ühought," aid the Oovornor, who still hoped against hope. " If I thought it was a trick played us by any garlio oating Spa&iard, growlud tho Irish Cojnmissary General, looking ominously across at the trembling Rock i Scorjiion, and elevating his voice as ho went along, " I would grip niy blackthorn by thïs"- and hc grasped it in the middle - " and I would clutoh the follow tight ■round tbc throat, so'( - aml hc performed the mimie gosturc - " ;md I would thjjUsh him witUin tin inch of bis miserable lito. I would, by hcuvcns ' " His wife moantJiuo had disappeared from the room, md returriéd ia hu tinisliod with that floreo vow of Tengeaaod Erropreseible teara coureed down bvr oheeks m she advancod to thegroup, with im envolopo in her hand. "A Manchester envelopo nevor camo out ot' a Spaniah lottery oilioo," she sobbed forth. " Soe, there- thore is the tradoiiiitrk!" Oh! poor littlc Tommy; how hard it is 1," boor tliis oruel disappointmt-nt .' " - md sht' kanod against her big, angry iiusbtmd. W'liy don't you suggest Bomething?" askod the Judge, suddenly tamiag sluirp round toward poor, silont, shivering me. "Do you think it ;i hoax, a contemptible, unitM'ling, practical joke ut our expense, or what do you think ? " "I can't think," I returnod, sadly- M?d it was ccrtainly the best answer I could have made, tbr wc were evidently TOBpooted, under the circumstanees. BhorÜy afterward the Koek Seorpion and I lolt the room, and I made him, on pain of an immediate sound beating from that awt'ul blackthorn, indite anothfr letter, setting forth that the secretary was sorry to ini'onn the English strangers that :, ()()() was not the number of the winning ticket ; that the right figure was 3,061. It was a poor, lame attempt at gettiiig out of the scrape, a sort of hystcrical won't-you-forgivo-me style of thing, and I nu thoroughly ashamed of it. But it was transmitted to the Governor in due course, and when he oponed it the farce vas at an end, the tragedy commenccd. Some people nevor credit a thing cntirely until they see it in black and white ; and there it was in black and white, in laean, base, deccitful words that soemod to shrink from showing th selves in jutent black aud white. It was the straw that broke the camel's back. " I would not have plaj-ed such a trick on a cat," sighed the Governor as the flush of incipient fever mounted to his brow, and he retircd to his room, followed silently jy his wife. TThe Commissary General ndvanccd a step and clutched his blackthom ïiienacingly, but, yielding to his gentle wife, he, too, quietly withdrew. For an instant the Chief Justice hesita ttd, and glared with frenzied eye at the two miserable culprits on tho sofa, then seizing his hat he planted it finnly on the back of his head and stalked out of the house into the noiseless streets and, on, on, en ; over mountain and plain sWen:tii(l-twenty miles down into Santa Cruz. How I pussed that night I cannot teil ; it ws not in bed ; a stupor carne over me, and I suppose I remained on that hard horse-hair sofa. The sight of the Rock Scorpion I loathed, and I told him so. As, therefore, he had no friend loft among UB, he departed at daylight ; and I have not since sot eyes 'upon him. A physieian was summoned next morning to attend the Govemor, and he recommendcd chango to tho mild warmth of Santa Cruz so soon as. his Exoellenoy could bc ciafily movod. There was, therofore, good excuse for them to remain in their rooms ; but so also did the Commissary General and his wife, without excuse. It was evident I was to bo " cut ; " and I sat down to a sorrowful mcal all alone and choking with miiiglod remorse and pain. So passed that day and another. On the thii'd, tho Governor was to leave, and he was resting in the big sitting room awaiting his conveyanco when I chanced to enter. The sight of him as he lay there pa? e and dojected oppressed me greatly ; I think toars fillcd my eyes, for, noticinr; my emotion, he held out his hand and pardoned me. " I feol sure you had no idea of the length you were going to," ho said, simply ; "but, my boy, remember that ater sacra Jumes is universal, and that you hurt a man to tho quick when you touch his pocket. That money was ours to all intenta and purposes ; we had already de - termined what to do with it, and you have deprived us of that pleasure. It was the most dangerous of practical jokes." Ho spoke truly, but reproof was unneeded ; the crime carried its own punishinent. Little further passed at our interview, and he left shortly af ter for Santa Cruz, while I, relicved boyond measure by our rcconeiliution, sallied out for a day's excursión. I roturned late in the evening, and was ougagod in my solitary supper, when suddenly my Irish friend oponed his door and came forward. " The Governor bas made up with you, I understand," he said, almost gruftly ; " and so shall I. Tip us your fist, old boy. I can't bear to ace you all alone, and yet I hato you, for you have nearly killed me and my poor wife" - and hc squeezed my hand unmercifully - " but you are not out of the wood yot, lot mo teil you ; you forget that thiE Judge wasn't such an old friend of yours, and he is not so weak as to make up in a hurry, not without satisfaction, you undorstand. Kcmember you aro in a foreign country ; and, I ain sorry to have to say, he lias written to me to the effect that he will have you out." It was not a comforting reflection that instantly oecurred to my mind : " Havo you oscaped tho perils of pe.ítilental África to fall now by the bullet of a judicial dueliflt : " " I am fully awarc of the eonsoquences of my unwanautable liberty," I replied, " and am bound to give hiin tho satisfaction he requires, arrange it when and where you like." " I'll see what I can do," he replied, carolessly ; " ineantimo we shall roniain on hero quictly. And now como and make your poaco with my wife." It was fully a weck aftor this that ' arranged to return to Santa Cruz, wit! the idoa of having the duel over at once ono way or the other, and I rodo acros the country all alone, ariiving as nigh feil at the hotel. The English mail steamcr had com into port, and, anxious for letters, I wen at once to Mr. Kobinson's office. " You are still in time for dinner, if you hurry," he said ; " a largo number o passengers came ashore to dine hore, anc you may know somc of thein. I hastoned to tho tubln Fhote, but as advanced along the corridor to the doo of the dining-room, I was arrestcd b hearing my own name mingled wit shouts of laughter from the conipany, an ono voice clear above the othors, as thoug causing the mirth by some recital. It was the Goveruor'g, and hc was i tho act of narrating, with all emliellisl ment andin his own quaint, irtesistib] niiiuiM ;■, ïln' luitory triek and its conso quencos. I stodcï in the doorway. " And there he isj tho villain ! " oricii liin Eioellency, poiiitiiig at me with theatrical flourish. "There stands tlio horrid contrivcr of this detestable praoticiil joke - gave us nino thousaud pounda, gentlemen, and then ' robbed us of that which not nriches him, and makes us poor indeed.' " I was receivod with cheers, long and loud ; and, amid it all, the Chiof Justice, who was present, held out the hand of good-fyllowship, and thore was poace onoc inore in tin.1 lnnd. Tuh'da wltitur rvsu.


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