The End of Devil Hawker by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The End of Devil Hawker

bySir Arthur Conan Doyle

Kobo ebook | June 18, 2013

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There is a fascinating little print shop around the comer of Drury Lane. When you pass through the old oaken doorway and into the dim dusty interior, you seem to have wandered into some corridor leading back through time, for on every side of you are the pictures of the past. But very specially I value that table on the left where lies the great pile of portrait prints heaped up in some sort of order of date: There you see the pictures of the men who stood round the throne of the young Victoria, of Melbourne, of Peel, of Wellington, and then you come on the D'Orsay and Lady Blessington period, and the long and wonderful series of H.B., the great, unknown John Doyle, who, in his day, was a real power in the land. Farther back still you come on the bucks and prize fighters of the Regency—the pompous Jackson, the sturdy Cribb, the empty Brummel, the chubby Alvanley. And then you may chance upon a face which you cannot pass without a second and a longer look. It is a face which Mephistopheles might have owned; thin, dark, keen, with bushy brows and fierce, alert eyes which glare out from beneath them. There is a full-length colored print which shows him to be tall and magnificently proportioned, with broad shoulders, slim waist, clad in a tightly-buttoned green coat, buckskin breeches and high Hessian boots. Below is the inscription: "Sir John Hawker"—and that is the Devil Hawker of the legends.

In his short but vivid career, the end of which is here outlined, Hawker was the bully of the town. The bravest shrank away from the angry, insolent glare of those baleful eyes. He was a famous swordsman and a remarkable pistol shot—so remarkable that three times he starred the kneecap of his man; the most painful injury which he could inflict. But above all, he was the best amateur boxer of his day, and had he taken to the ring it is likely that be would have made a name. His hitting is said to have been the most ferocious ever seen, and it was his amusement to try out novices at Cribb's rooms, which were his favorite haunt, and to teach them how to stand punishment. It gratified his pride to show his skill, and his cruel nature to administer pain to others. It was in these very rooms of Cribb that this little sketch of those days opens, where, as on a marionette stage, I would try to show you what manner of place it was and what manner of people walked London in those full-blooded, brutal and virile old days.

First, as to the place. It is at the corner of Panton Street, and you see over a broad, red-curtained door the sign: THOMAS CRlBB. DEALER IN LIQUOR AND TOBACCO, with the Union Arms printed above. The door leads into a tiled passage which opens on the left into a common bar behind which save on special evenings, a big, bull faced, honest John Bull of a man may be seen with two assistants of the sparring-partner type, handing out refreshment and imbibing gratis a great deal more than was good for their athletic figures. Already Tom is getting a waistline which will cause his trainer and himself many a weary day at his next battle: if , indeed, the brave old fellow has not already come to the last or his fights, when he defended the honor or England by breaking the cast-iron jaw of Molyneaux, the black.

Title:The End of Devil HawkerFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:June 18, 2013Publisher:WDS PublishingLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN:9990005567985

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