THE DUKE OF BRIDGEWATER. 163
myself down—yes, I did it myself. It's right I should suffer—perfectly right—I
don't make any moan."
"Brought you down from whar ? Whar was you brought down from ?" "Ah, you would not believe me ; the world never believes—let it pass—'tis
no matter. The secret of my
" The secret of your birth ? Do you mean to say------"
" Gentlemen," says the young man, very solemn, "I will reveal it to you, for I feel I may have confidence in you. By rights I am a duke !"
Jim's eyes bugged out when he heard that; and I reckon mine did, too. Then the bald-head says : " No ! you can't mean it ? "
" Yes. My great-grandfather, eldest son of the Duke of Bridge-water, fled to this country about the end of the last century, to breathe the pure air of freedom ; married here, and died, leaving a son, his own father dying about the same time. The second son of the late duke seized the title and estates—the infant real duke was ignored. I am the lineal descendant of that infant—I am the rightful Duke of Bridge water; and here am I, forlorn, torn from my high estate, hunted of men, despised by the cold world, ragged, worn, heart-broken, and degraded to the companionship of felons on a raft!"
Jim pitied him ever so much, and so did I. We tried to comfort him, but he said it warn't much use, he couldn't be much comforted ; said if we was a mind to