By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Ten Thousand a-Year (Vol. 2)
Author: Warren, Samuel, 1807-1877
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Ten Thousand a-Year (Vol. 2)" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

            TEN THOUSAND A-YEAR.

                 VOL. II.

  [Illustration: JE LE TIENS

        The Crest and Coat of Arms of
         Tittlebat Titmouse Esq M P
       according to the description of
  Sir Gorgeous Tintack, Garter King at Arms]


             THOUSAND A-YEAR.


          SAMUEL WARREN, F.R.S.

                VOL. II.


           University Press:


   CHAP.                                                          PAGE

      I. After the battle.--The behavior of the belligerents;
           and an adventurous project of Mr. Gammon's                1

     II. The last chance; and some profitable reflections.--A
           Quixote; and a friendly statesman, but with an
           eye to business                                          31

    III. Mr. Aubrey surrenders at discretion; and the opposing
           generals hold a council of war.--A glimpse of the
           Reverend Dismal Horror; and Mr. Quirk's entertainment
           to Mr. and Mrs. Tag-rag                                  60

     IV. Mr. Titmouse's magnificent kinsman, the Right Honorable
           the Earl of Dreddlington, G. C. B.--Farewell to
           Yatton!                                                  89

      V. Mr. Titmouse's first introduction to very high life
           indeed.--A dinner with an Earl, in Grosvenor
           Square                                                  134

     VI. Mr. Titmouse at Yatton, and the splendid festivities
           attending his inauguration                              170

    VII. A gentleman in difficulties pondering his position and
           prospects; never despair.--The Attorney-General,
           and Mr. Weasel, special pleader.--Suspense and
           trepidation                                             209

   VIII. Mr. Aubrey's interview with Mr. Gammon; followed
           by some philosophical reflections on life.--Messrs.
           Yahoo and Fitz-Snooks _versus_ Titmouse; and Gammon
           _versus_ them all.--Tippetiwink                         251

     IX. Titmouse become a great lion.--The Marquis Gants-Jaunes
           de Millefleurs; and the Reverend Morphine
           Velvet.--Mr. Titmouse presented at court after a
           slight accident to the Earl of Dreddlington             304

      X. A drop of the golden shower falls on Mr. Tag-rag, who
           receives promotion.--Mr. Titmouse receives the
           Earl of Dreddlington and Lady Cecilia, the Marquis
           Gants-Jaunes de Millefleurs, Mr. Venom Tuft, and
           Mr. Gammon, at Yatton.--Mr. Gammon and the
           Earl of Dreddlington.--Sapping and Mining.--Lady
           Cecilia and her three lovers; with her father's
           masterly diplomacy in favor of one of them              345

     XI. Mr. Aubrey in deep waters, where he meets with a
           companion.--News from Dr. Tatham                        399

    XII. A communication from Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and
           Snap.--Mr. Gammon in Vivian Street, after the
           manner of a snake in a dove-cote.--Mr. Quirk's
           contemplated action for breach of promise of
           marriage                                                429

   XIII. How Mr. Titmouse courted the Lady Cecilia.--Mr.
           Titmouse stands for the borough of Yatton, but
           unexpectedly encounters a formidable opponent           461

   NOTES                                                           485

            TEN THOUSAND A-YEAR.


"The Attorney-General did his work very fairly, I thought--eh, Lynx?"
said Mr. Subtle, as arm-in-arm with Mr. Lynx, he quitted the
Castle-gates, each of them on his way to their respective lodgings, to
prepare for the next day's work.

"Yes--he's a keen hand, to be sure: he's given us _all_ work enough; and
I must say, it's been a capital set-to between you! I'm _very_ glad you
got the verdict!"

"It wouldn't have done to be beaten on one's own dung-hill, as it
were--eh? By the way, Lynx, that was a good hit of yours about the
erasure--I ought, really, if it had occurred to me at the time, to have
given you the credit of it--'twas entirely yours, Lynx, I must say."

"Oh, no!"--replied Lynx, modestly. "It was a mere accident my lighting
on it; the merit was, the use you made of it!"

"To think of ten thousand a-year turning on that same trumpery

"But are you sure of our verdict on that ground, Mr. Subtle? Do you
think Lord Widdrington was right in rejecting that deed?"[1]

"Right? to be sure he was! But I own I got rather uneasy at the way the
Attorney-General put it--that the estate had once been vested, and
could not be subsequently de-vested by an alteration or blemish in the
instrument evidencing the passing of the estate--eh? that was a good
point, Lynx."

"Ay, but as Lord Widdrington put it--that could be only where the defect
was proved to exist after a complete and valid deed had been once

"True--true; that's the answer, Lynx; here, you see, the deed is
disgraced in the first instance; no proof, in fact, that it ever _was_ a
deed--therefore, mere waste paper."

"To be sure, _possession_ has gone along with the deed"----

"Possession gone along with it!--What then?--That is to say, the man who
has altered it, to benefit himself and his heirs, keeps it snugly in his
own chest--and then that is of itself to be sufficient to"----

"Ay--but what I'm afraid of, is this: that the presumption of forgery
arising from the alteration, is overcome by the presumption to the
contrary, arising from long-continued and consistent possession!--On the
other hand, however, it is certainly a general rule that the party
producing an instrument must account for the appearance of erasure or
alteration, to encounter the presumption of fraud!--I must say _that_
seems good sense enough!"...

"It's really been a very interesting cause," said Mr. Subtle.

"Very. Some capital points--that of Mortmain's on the stamp act"----

"Pish, Lynx! there's nothing in it! I meant the cause itself has been an
interesting one--uncommonly."

Mr. Subtle suddenly paused and stood still. "God bless my soul,
Lynx--I've made a blunder!"


"Yes--by Jove, a blunder! Never did such a thing since I've led a cause

"A blunder? Impossible!--What is it?" inquired Lynx, briskly, pricking
up his ears.

"It will be at least thirty or forty pounds out of our client's pocket.
I forgot to ask Widdrington for the certificate for the costs of the
special jury. I protest I never did such a thing before--I'm quite
annoyed--I hate to _overlook_ anything."

"Oh! is that all?" inquired Lynx, much relieved--"then it's all right!
While you were speaking to Mr. Gammon, immediately after the verdict had
been given, I turned towards Quicksilver to get him to ask for the
certificate--but he had seen a man with the new 'Times' containing the
Division on the Catholic claims, and had set off after him--so I took
the liberty, as you seemed very earnestly talking to Mr. Gammon, to name
it to the judge--and it's all right."

"Capital!--Then there isn't a single point missed!--And in a good two
days' fight that's something."

"D'ye think we shall keep the verdict, and get its fruits?"

"We shall keep the verdict, I've no doubt; there's nothing in
Widdrington's notes that we need be afraid of--but of course the Aubreys
will put us to bring another ejectment, perhaps several."

"Yes--certainly--there _must_ be a good deal of fighting before such a
property as Yatton changes hands," replied Lynx, with a complacent air;
for he saw a few pleasant pickings in store for him. "By the way," he
continued, "our client's a sweet specimen of humanity, isn't he?"

"Faugh! odious little reptile! And did you ever in all your life witness
such a scene as when he interrupted me in the way he did?"

"Ha, ha! Never! But, upon my honor, what an exquisite turn you gave the
thing--it was worth more than called it forth--it was admirable."

"Pooh--Lynx!" said Mr. Subtle, with a gratified air; "knack--mere
knack--nothing more. My voice trembled--eh?--at least so I intended."

"Upon my soul, I almost believed you were for the moment overcome, and
going to shed tears."

"Ah, ha, ha!--Delightful! I was convulsed with inward laughter! _Shed
tears!!_ Did the bar take it, Lynx?" inquired Mr. Subtle; for though he
hated display, he loved _appreciation_, and by competent persons. "By
the way, Lynx, the way in which you've got up the whole case does you
vast credit--that opinion of yours on the evidence was--upon my
word--the most masterly"--here he suddenly ceased and squeezed his
companion's arm, motioning him thereby to silence. They had come up with
two gentlemen, walking slowly, and conversing in a low tone, but with
much earnestness of manner. They were, in fact, Mr. Aubrey and Lord De
la Zouch. Mr. Subtle and Mr. Lynx crossed over to the other side of the
narrow street, and quickened their pace, so as soon to be out of sight
and hearing of the persons they seemed desirous of avoiding. Mr. Subtle
was, indeed, unable to bear the sight of the man whom his strenuous and
splendid exertions during the last two days had tended to strip of his
all--to thrust from the bright domain of wealth, prosperity,
distinction, into--as it were--outer darkness--the outer darkness of
poverty--of destitution.

"It's rather a nuisance for the Aubreys--isn't it?" quoth the
matter-of-fact Lynx.

"It's quite frightful!"--replied Mr. Subtle, in a tone of voice and with
a manner which showed how deeply he felt what he uttered. "And it's not
only what Mr. Aubrey will lose, but what he will be liable to--the
mesne profits--sixty thousand pounds."

"Oh!--you think, then, that we can't go beyond the _statute of
limitations_?--Eh?--is that so clear?" Mr. Subtle looked sharply at
Lynx, with an expression it would be difficult to describe.
"Well"--continued the impenetrable Lynx--"at all events, I'll look into
it." He felt about as much _sentiment_ in the matter as a hog eating
acorns would feel interest in the antiquity of the oak from which they
fell, and under whose venerable shade he was munching and stuffing

"By the way, Lynx--aren't you with me in _Higson and Mellington_?"

"Yes--and it stands first for to-morrow morning!"

"I've not opened my papers, and--why, we've a consultation fixed for ten
o'clock to-night! What's it all about?"

"It's _libel_ against a newspaper editor--the POMFRET COCKATRICE; and
our client's a clergyman. They've slandered him most abominably: they
say he entered the church as a wholesale dealer in tithes--and as to
religion--is an unbeliever and hypocrite!"

"Ay, ay?--that sounds a little like substantial damages!--Do they

"No--they've pleaded not guilty only."

"Who leads for the defender?"

"Mr. Quicksilver."

"Oh!--very well. We must have the consultation to-morrow morning, at the
Robing-room--ten minutes before the sitting of the court. I'm rather
tired to-night." With this the great leader shook hands with his modest,
learned, laborious junior--and entered his lodgings.

As soon as Titmouse had been ejected from the court, in the summary way
which the reader will recollect, merely on account of his having, with
some slight indecorum, yielded to the mighty impulse of his agitated
feelings, he began to cry bitterly, wringing his hands, and asking every
one about him if they thought he could get in again, because it was
"_his_ case" that was going on. His eyes were red and swollen with
weeping; and his little breast throbbed violently as he walked to and
fro from one door of the court to the other. "Oh, gents, will you get me
in again?" said he, in passionate tones, approaching two gentlemen, who,
with a very anxious and oppressed air, were standing together at the
outside of one of the doors--in fact, Lord De la Zouch and Mr. Aubrey;
and they quickly recognized in Titmouse the gentleman whose claims were
being at that instant mooted within the court. "_Will_ you get me in?
You seem such _respectable_ gents--'Pon my soul I'm going mad! It's my
case that's going on! I'm Mr. Titmouse"----

"We have no power, sir, to get you in," replied Lord De la Zouch,
haughtily: so coldly and sternly as to cause Titmouse involuntarily to
shrink from him.

"The court is crowded to the very door, sir--and we really have no more
right to be present in court, or get others into court, than you have,"
said Mr. Aubrey, with mildness and dignity.

"Thank you, sir! Thank you!" quoth Titmouse, moving with an apprehensive
air away from Lord De la Zouch, towards Mr. Aubrey, "Know quite well who
you are, sir! 'Pon my solemn soul, sir, sorry to do all this; but law's
law, and right's right, all the world over!"

"I _desire_ you to leave us, sir," said Lord De la Zouch, with
irrepressible sternness; "you are very intrusive. How can we catch a
syllable of what is going on while you are chattering in this way?"
Titmouse saw that Mr. Aubrey looked towards him with a very different
expression from that exhibited by his forbidding companion, and would
perhaps have stood his ground, but for a glimpse he caught of a huge,
powdered, broad-shouldered footman, in a splendid livery, one of Lord De
la Zouch's servants, who, with a great thick silver-headed cane in his
hand, was standing at a little distance behind, in attendance on the
carriage, which was in the Castle-yard. This man's face looked so ready
for mischief, that Titmouse slowly walked off. There were a good many
standers-by, who seemed all to look with dislike and distrust at
Titmouse. He made many ineffectual attempts to persuade the doorkeeper,
who had assisted in his extrusion, to readmit him; but the incorruptible
janitor was proof against a sixpence--even against a shilling; and at
length Titmouse gave himself up to despair, and thought himself the most
miserable man in the whole world--as very probably, indeed, he was: for
consider what a horrid interval of suspense he had to endure, from the
closing of Mr. Subtle's speech, till the delivery of the verdict. But at
length, through this portentous and apparently impenetrable cloud burst
the rich sunlight of success.

"Mr. Titmouse!--Mr. Titmouse!--Mr. Tit"----

"Here! Here I am! Here!"--exclaimed the little wretch, jumping off the
window-seat on which he had been sitting for the last hour in the dark,
half-stupefied with grief and exhaustion. The voice which called him was
a blessed voice--a familiar voice--the voice of Mr. Gammon; who, as soon
as the jury had begun to come back, on some pretence or other had
quitted his seat between Quirk and Snap, in order, if the verdict should
be for the plaintiff, to be the very first to communicate it to him. In
a moment or two Mr. Gammon had grasped both Mr. Titmouse's hands. "My
dear, dear Mr. Titmouse, I congratulate you! You are victorious! God
grant you long life to enjoy your good fortune! God bless you,
Titmouse!" He wrung Titmouse's hands--and his voice trembled with the
intensity of his emotions! Mr. Titmouse had grown very white, and for a
while spoke not, but stood staring at Mr. Gammon, as if hardly aware of
the import of his communication.

"No--but--is it so? Honor bright?" at length he stammered.

"It is indeed! My long labors are at length crowned with
success!--Hurrah, hurrah, Mr. Titmouse!"

"I've really _won_? It a'n't a joke or a dream?" inquired Titmouse, with
quickly increasing excitement, and a joyous expression bursting over his
features, which became suddenly flushed.

"A joke?--the best you'll ever have. A dream?--that will last your life.
Thank God, Mr. Titmouse, the battle's ours; we've defeated all their

"Tol de rol! Tol de rol! Tol de lol, lol, lol, rido!--Ah," he added in a
loud truculent tone, as Lord De la Zouch and Mr. Aubrey slowly passed
him--"done for you now--'pon my life!--turned the tables!--_that_ for
you!" said he, snapping his fingers; but I need hardly say that he did
so with perfect impunity, as far as those two gentlemen were concerned,
who were so absorbed with the grievous event which had just happened, as
scarcely to be aware of their being addressed at all.

"Aubrey, it's against you--all is lost; the verdict is for the
plaintiff!" said Lord De la Zouch, in a hurried agitated whisper, as he
grasped the hand of Mr. Aubrey, whom he had quitted for an instant to
hear the verdict pronounced. Mr. Aubrey for some moments spoke not.

"God's will be done!" at length said he, in a low tone, or rather in a
faint murmur. More than a dozen gentlemen, who came crowding out,
grasped his hand with fervent energy.

"God bless you, Aubrey! God bless you!" said several voices, their
speakers wringing his hands with great vehemence as they spoke.

"Let us go"--said Lord De la Zouch, putting Mr. Aubrey's arm in his own,
and leading him away from a scene of distressing excitement, too
powerful for his exhausted feelings.

"I am nothing of a fatalist," said Mr. Aubrey, after a considerable
pause, during which they had quitted the Castle-gates, and his feelings
had recovered from the shock which they had just before suffered;--"I am
nothing of a fatalist, but I ought not to feel the least surprise at
this issue, for I have long had a settled conviction that such _would_
be the issue. For some time before I had the least intimation of the
commencement of these proceedings, I was oppressed by a sense of
impending calamity"----

"Well, that may be so; but it does not follow that the mischief is
finally _done_."

"I am certain of it!--But, dear Lord De la Zouch, how much I owe to your
kindness and sympathy!" said Mr. Aubrey, with a slight tremor in his

"We are at this moment, Aubrey, firmer friends than we ever were before.
So help me Heaven! I would not lose your friendship for the world; I
feel it a greater honor than I am worthy of--I do, indeed," said Lord De
la Zouch, with great emotion.

"There's a great gulf between us, though, Lord De la Zouch, as far as
worldly circumstances are concerned--you a peer of the realm, I a

"Forgive me, Aubrey, but it is idle to talk in that way; I am hurt
beyond measure at your supposing it possible that under any

"Believe me, I feel the full value of your friendship--more valuable at
this moment than ever!"

"That a serious calamity has fallen upon you is certain;--which of us,
indeed, is safe from such a calamity? But who would bear it with the
calm fortitude which _you_ have already evinced, my dear Aubrey?"

"You speak very kindly, Lord De la Zouch; I trust I shall play the man,
now that the time for playing a man's part has come," said Mr. Aubrey,
with an air of mingled melancholy and resolution. "I feel an
inexpressible consolation in the reflection, that I cannot charge myself
with anything unconscientious; and, as for the future, I put my trust in
God. I feel as if I could submit to the will of Heaven with

"Don't speak so despondingly, Aubrey"----

"Despondingly?" echoed Mr. Aubrey, with momentary
animation--"Despondingly? My dear friend, I feel as if I were indeed
entering a scene black as midnight--but what is it to the _valley of the
shadow of death_, dear Lord De la Zouch, which is before all of us, and
at but a little distance! I assure you I feel no vain-glorious
confidence; yet I seem to be leaning on the arm of an unseen but
all-powerful supporter!"

"You are a hero, my dear Aubrey!" exclaimed Lord De la Zouch, with
sudden fervor.

"And that support will embrace those dearer to me than
life--dearer--far--far"----He ceased; his feelings quite overcame him,
and they walked on for some time in silence. Soon afterwards they
parted--for Lord De la Zouch perceived that his unfortunate companion
wished to be alone. He wrung Mr. Aubrey's hands in silence; and having
turned in the direction of his hotel, Mr. Aubrey made for his lodgings.
The streets were occupied by passengers, some returning from the Castle
after the great trial of the day; others standing here and there, in
little knots, conversing as he passed them; and he felt conscious that
the subject of their thoughts and conversation was himself and his
fallen fortunes. Several deep-drawn sighs escaped him, as he walked on,
the herald of such dismal tidings, to those whom he loved; and he felt
but for that which supported him from within, as it were, a fallen
angel, so far as concerned this world's honors and greatness. The
splendors of human pomp and prosperity seemed rapidly vanishing in the
distance. In the temporary depression of his spirits, he experienced
feelings somewhat akin to those of the heart-sickened exile, whose fond
eyes are riveted upon the mosques and minarets of his native city,
glittering in the soft sunlight of evening, where are the cherished
objects of all his tenderest thoughts and feelings; while his vessel is
rapidly bearing him from it, amid the rising wind, the increasing and
ominous swell of the waters, the thickening gloom of night--_whither_?
The Minster clock struck ten as he passed one of the corners of the vast
majestic structure, gray-glistening in the faint moonlight. The
melodious chimes echoed in his ear, and smote his subdued soul with a
sense of peculiar solemnity and awe; they forced upon him a reflection
upon the transient littleness of earthly things. Then he thought of
those dear beings who were awaiting his return, and a gush of grief and
tenderness overflowed his heart, as he quickened his steps, with an
inward and fervent prayer that Heaven would support them under the
misfortune which had befallen them. As he neared the retired row of
houses where his lodgings were situated, he imagined that he saw some
one near the door, as if on the look-out for his approach; and who, as
he drew nearer, suddenly entered them, and closed the door. This was a
person whom Mr. Aubrey did not at all suspect--it was his worthy friend
Dr. Tatham; who, unable to quit Yatton in time to hear the trial, had
early that morning mounted his horse, and after a long and hard ride,
reached York soon after Mr. Aubrey had set off for the Castle. Though
many of the county people then in York were aware that Mrs. and Miss
Aubrey were also there, a delicate consideration for their exquisitely
distressing situation restrained them from intruding upon their privacy,
which had been evidently sought for by the species of lodgings which
Mr. Aubrey had engaged. On the second day, the excellent Dr. Tatham had
been their welcome and instructive guest, scarce ever leaving them; Mr.
Aubrey's groom bringing word, from time to time, from his master, how
the trial went on. Late in the evening, urged by Kate, the doctor had
gone off to the Castle, to wait till he could bring intelligence of the
final result of the trial. He had not been observed by Mr. Aubrey amid
the number of people who were about; and had at length fulfilled his
mission, and been beforehand with Mr. Aubrey in communicating the
unfortunate issue of the struggle. The instant that Mr. Aubrey had set
his foot within the door, he was locked in the impassioned embrace of
his wife and sister. None of them spoke for some moments.

"Dearest Charles!--we've heard it all--we know it all!" at length they
exclaimed in a breath. "Thank God, it is over at last--and we know the
worst!--Are you well, dearest Charles?" inquired Mrs. Aubrey, with fond

"Thank God, my Agnes, I am well!" said Mr. Aubrey, much excited--"and
thank God that the dreadful suspense is at an end; and also for the
fortitude, my sweet loves, with which you bear the result. And how are
_you_, my excellent friend?" continued he, addressing Dr. Tatham, and
grasping his hands; "my venerable and pious friend--how it refreshes my
heart to see you! as one of the chosen ministers of that God whose
creatures we are, and whose dispensations we receive with reverent

"God Almighty bless you all, my dear friends!" replied Dr. Tatham,
powerfully affected. "Believe that all this is from HIM! He has wise
ends in view, though we see not nor comprehend them! _Faint not when you
are rebuked of Him! If ye faint in the day of adversity, your_
_strength is small!_ But I rejoice to see your resignation!"--Aubrey,
his wife, and sister, were for a while overcome with their emotions.

"I assure you all," said Aubrey, "I feel as if a very mountain had been
lifted off my heart! How blessed am I in such a wife and sister!" A
heavenly smile irradiated his pale features--and he clasped his wife,
and then his sister, in his arms. They wept as they tenderly returned
his embrace.

"God," said he, "that gave us all, has taken all: why should we murmur?
He will enable us, if we pray for His assistance, to bear with
equanimity our present adversity, as well as our past prosperity! Come,
Agnes! Kate! play the woman!"

Dr. Tatham sat silent by; but the tears ran down his cheeks. At length
Mr. Aubrey gave them a general account of what had occurred at the
trial--and which, I need hardly say, was listened to in breathless

"Who is that letter from, love, lying on the table?" inquired Mr.
Aubrey, during a pause in the conversation.

"It's only from Johnson--dearest!--to say the children are quite well,"
replied Mrs. Aubrey. The ruined parents, as if by a common impulse,
looked unutterable things at each other. Then the mother turned deadly
pale; and her husband tenderly kissed her cold cheek; while Kate could
scarcely restrain her feelings. The excitement of each was beginning to
give way before sheer bodily and mental exhaustion; and Dr. Tatham,
observing it, rose to take his departure. It was arranged that the
carriage should be at the door by eight o'clock in the morning, to
convey them back to Yatton--and that Dr. Tatham should breakfast with
them, and afterwards accompany them on horseback. He then took his
departure for the night, with a very full heart; and those whom he had
left, soon afterwards retired for the night; and having first invoked
the mercy and pity of Heaven, sank into slumber and brief forgetfulness
of the perilous position in which they had been placed by the event of
the day.

Somewhat different was the mode in which the night was spent by the
victorious party. Gammon, as has been seen, was the first to
congratulate Titmouse on his splendid success. The next was old
Quirk--who, with a sort of conviction that he should find Gammon
beforehand with him--bustled out of court, leaving Snap to pay the jury,
settle the court-fees, collect the papers, and so forth. Both Quirk and
Snap (as soon as the latter was at liberty) exhibited a courtesy towards
Titmouse which had a strong dash of reverence in it, such as was due to
the possessor of ten thousand a-year; but Gammon exhibited the tranquil
matter-of-fact confidence of a man who had determined to be, and indeed
knew that he _was_, the entire master of Titmouse.

"I--wish you'd call a coach, or something of that sort, gents.--I'm
devilish tired--I am, 'pon my soul!" said Mr. Titmouse, yawning, as he
stood on the steps between Quirk and Gammon, waiting for Snap's arrival.
He was, in fact, almost beside himself--bursting with excitement; and
could not stand still for a moment. Now he whistled loudly, and boldly;
then he hummed a bar or two of some low comic song; and repeatedly drew
on and off his damp gloves, with an air of petulant impetuosity. Now he
ran his hand through his hair with careless grace; and then, with arms
folded on his breast for a moment, looked eagerly, but with a would-be
languid air, at two or three elegant equipages, which, one by one, with
their depressed and disappointed occupants, rolled off. At length, Lord
Widdrington, amid a sharp impetuous cry of "Make way for the judge
there--make way for my Lord!" appeared in his robes, (holding his
three-cornered hat in his hand,) with a wearied air; and passing close
by Titmouse, was honored by him with a very fine bow indeed--his
Lordship not being, however, in the least aware of the fact--as he
passed on to his carriage. The steps were drawn up; the door was closed;
and amid a sharp blast of trumpets, the carriage drove slowly off,
preceded and followed by the usual attendants. All this pomp and
ceremony made a very deep impression upon the mind of Titmouse. "Ah,"
thought he, with a sudden sigh of mingled excitement and
exhaustion--"who knows but _I_ may be a judge some day? It's a devilish
pleasant thing, I'm sure! What a fuss he must make wherever he goes!
'Pon my life, quite delightful!" As there was no coach to be had, Mr.
Titmouse was forced to walk home, arm-in-arm with Mr. Quirk and Mr.
Gammon, and followed, at a little distance, by a knot of persons,
acquainted with his name and person, and feeling towards him a strange
mixture of emotions--dislike, wonder, contempt, admiration. Goodness
gracious! that strange little gentleman was now worth, it was said, ten
thousand a-year; and was squire of Yatton!! Old Quirk shook Titmouse's
hand with irrepressible enthusiasm, at least a dozen times on their way
to the inn; while Gammon now and then squeezed his arm, and spoke, in an
earnest tone, of the difficulties yet to be overcome. On reaching the
inn, the landlady, who was standing at the door, and had evidently been
on the look-out for her suddenly distinguished guest, received him with
several profound courtesies, and eager and respectful inquiries about
his health, as he had had no luncheon--and asking what he would be
pleased to have for his supper. She added, moreover, that fearing his
former bedroom might not have been to his mind, she had changed it, and
he would that night sleep in the very best she had.

"We must make a night on 't, eh?" quoth Mr. Quirk, with an excited air.
His partners assented to it, as did Mr. Titmouse; and cold beef,
sausages, fowl, ham, beefsteaks, and mutton-chops, were ordered to be in
readiness in half an hour's time. Soon afterwards Mr. Titmouse followed
the chambermaid to his new bedroom.

"This is the room we always give to quality folk--when we get them,"
said she, as she set his candle on the drawers, and looked round the
apartment with a little triumph.

"Ah--yes!--'pon my soul--quite right--always do your best for
quality!--Lovely gal--eh?" Here he chucked her under the chin, and
seemed disposed to imprint a kiss upon her cheek; but, with a "Lord
sir--that's not the way quality folks behave!" she modestly withdrew.
Titmouse, left alone, first threw himself on the bed; then started off,
and walked about; then sat down; then danced about; then took off his
coat; then threw himself on the bed again; hummed, whistled, and jumped
up again--in a sort of wild ecstasy, or delirium. In short, it was plain
that he was not master of himself. In fact, his little mind was agitated
by the day's event, like as would be a small green puddle by the
road-side, for a while, on a stone being suddenly flung into it by a
child. While Messrs. Quirk and Snap were, after their sort, as excited
as was even Mr. Titmouse himself, Gammon, retiring to his bedroom, and
ordering thither pens, ink, and paper, sat down and wrote the following

                                    "York, 5th April, 18--.

     "MY DEAR SIR,--The very first leisure moment I have, I devote to
     informing you, as one of the most intimate friends of our highly
     respected client, Mr. Titmouse, of the brilliant event which has
     just occurred. After a most severe and protracted struggle of two
     days, (the Attorney-General having come down special on the other
     side,) the jury, many of them the chief gentlemen of the county,
     have within this last hour returned a verdict in favor of our
     friend, Mr. Titmouse--thereby declaring him entitled to the whole
     of the estates at Yatton, (ten thousand a-year rent-roll, at least,)
     and, by consequence, to an immense accumulation of bygone rents,
     which must be made up to him by his predecessor, who, with all his
     powerful party, and in spite of the unscrupulous means resorted to
     to defeat the ends of justice, is dismayed beyond expression at
     the result of this grand struggle--unprecedented in the annals of
     modern litigation. The result has given lively satisfaction in
     these parts--it is plain that our friend Mr. Titmouse will very
     soon become a great _lion_ in society.

     "To you, my dear sir, as an early and valued friend of our
     interesting client, I sit down to communicate the earliest
     intelligence of this most important event; and I trust that you
     will, with our respectful compliments, communicate the happy news
     to your amiable family--who, I am persuaded, must ever feel a
     warm interest in our client's welfare. He is now, naturally enough,
     much excited with his extraordinary good fortune, to which we are
     only too proud and happy to have contributed by our humble, but
     strenuous and long-continued exertions. He begs me to express his
     cordial feelings towards you, and to say that, on his return to
     town, Satin Lodge will be one of the very first places at which he
     will call. In the mean time, I beg you will believe me, my dear sir,
     with the best compliments of myself and partners, yours most

                                                           "OILY GAMMON.

          &c. &c. &c."

"That, I think, will about do"--quoth Gammon to himself, with a
thoughtful air, as, having made an exact copy of the above letter, he
sealed it up and directed it. He then came down-stairs to supper, having
first sent the letter off to the post-office. What a merry meal was that
same supper! Mr. Titmouse, Mr. Quirk, and Mr. Snap, ate almost to
bursting; Gammon was more abstinent--but, overpowered by the
importunities of his companions, he took a far greater quantity than
usual of the bouncing bottled porter, the hard port, and fiery sherry,
which his companions drank as if they had been but water. Then came in
the spirits--with hot water and cold; and to these all present did ample
justice; in fact, it was very hard for any one to resist the other's
entreaties. Mr. Gammon in due time felt himself _going_--but seemed as
if, on such an occasion, he had no help for it. Every one of the
partners, at different stages of the evening, made--_more suo_--a speech
to Titmouse, and proposed his health; who, of course, replied to each,
and drank the health of each. Presently old Quirk sang a comic song, in
a very dismal key; and then he and Snap joined in a duet called,
"_Handcuff_ v. _Halter_;" at which Gammon laughed heartily, and listened
with that degree of pleased attention, which showed that he had
resolved, for once at least, to abandon himself to the low enjoyment of
the passing hour. Then Titmouse began to speak of what he should do, as
soon as he had "touched the shiners"--his companions entering into all
his little schemes with a sort of affectionate enthusiasm. At length old
Mr. Quirk, after by turns laughing, crying, singing, and talking, leaned
back in his chair, with his half-emptied tumbler of brandy and water in
his hand, and fell fast asleep. Gammon also, in spite of all he could
do, began--the deuce take it!--to feel and exhibit the effects of a
hasty and hearty meal, and his very unusual potations, especially after
such long abstinence and intense anxiety as he had experienced during
the previous two days. He had intended to have seen all his companions
under the table; but he began gradually to feel a want of control over
himself, his thoughts, and feelings, which a little disquieted him, as
he now and then caught glimpses of the extent to which it was
proceeding. "_In vino veritas_," properly translated, means--that
when a man is fairly under the influence of liquor, you see a strong
manifestation of his real character. The vain man is vainer; the
voluble, more voluble; the morose, more morose; the passionate, more
passionate; the detractor, more detracting; the sycophant, more
sycophantic, and so forth. Now Mr. Gammon was a cold, cautious,
long-headed schemer, and as the fumes of liquor mounted up into his
head, they did but increase the action and intensity of those qualities
for which, when sober, he was so pre-eminently distinguished; only that
there was a half-conscious want of coherency and subordination. The
impulse and the habit were present; but there seemed also a strange
disturbing force: in short--what is the use of disguising matters?--Mr.
Gammon was getting very drunk; and he felt very sorry for it--but it was
too late. In due time the dismal effort _not to appear drunk_, ceased--a
vast relief! Silent and more silent he became; more and more observant
of the motions of Snap and Titmouse; more and more complicated and
profound in his schemes and purposes; and at length he felt as if, by
some incomprehensible means, he were attempting to take _himself_
in--inveigling himself: at which point, after a vain attempt to
understand his exact position, with reference to himself, he slowly, but
_rather_ unsteadily, rose from his chair; looked with an unsettled eye
at Titmouse for nearly a minute; a queer smile now and then flitted
across his features; and he presently rang the bell. Boots having obeyed
the summons, Gammon with a turbid brain and cloudy eye followed him to
the door, with a most desperate but unavailing effort to walk thither
steadily. Having reached his room, he sat down with a sort of suspicion
that he had said or done something to commit himself. Vain was the
attempt to wind up his watch; and at length he gave it up, with a faint
curse. With only one stocking off, conceiving himself to be undressed,
after trying four or five times ineffectually to blow out his candle, he
succeeded, and got into bed; his head, however, occupying the place
assigned to his feet. He lay asleep for about half an hour--and then
experienced certain insupportable sensations. He was indeed miserable
beyond description; and lost all thoughts of what would become of
Titmouse--of Quirk and Snap--in his own most desperate indisposition.

"I say, Snap," quoth Titmouse, with a grin, and putting his finger to
his nose, as soon as Gammon had quitted the room in the manner above
described--"Mr. Quirk a'n't much company for us just now, eh? Shall we
go out and have some fun?"

"Walk will do us good--yes. Go where you like, Titmouse," replied Snap,
who, though young, was a thoroughly seasoned vessel, and could hold a
great deal of drink without seeming, or really being, much the worse for
it. As for Titmouse, happily for him! (seeing that he was so soon to
have the command of unlimited means, unless indeed the envious fates
should in the mean time interpose to dash the brimful cup from his eager
lips,) he was becoming more and more accustomed to the effects of drink;
which had, up to the moment I am speaking of, had no other effect than
to elevate his spirits up to the pitch of indefinite daring and
enterprise. "'Pon my life, Snap, couldn't we stand another tumbler--eh?
Warm us for the night air?" "What shall it be?" quoth Snap, ringing the

"Devil knows, and devil cares!" replied Mr. Titmouse, recklessly; and
presently there stood before the friends two steaming tumblers of what
they had ordered. Immediately after disposing of them, the two
gentlemen, quite _up to the mark_, as they expressed it--each with a
cigar in his mouth--sallied forth in quest of adventures. Titmouse felt
that he had now become a gentleman; and his tastes and feelings prompted
him to pursue, as early as possible, a gentlemanly line of
conduct--particularly in his amusements. It was now past twelve; and the
narrow old-fashioned streets of York, silent and deserted, formed a
strong contrast to the streets of London at the same hour, and seemed
scarcely to admit of much sport. But sport our friends were determined
to have; and the night air aiding the effect of their miscellaneous
potations, they soon became somewhat excited and violent. Yet it seemed
difficult to get up a _row_--for no one was visible in any direction.
Snap, however, by way of making a beginning, suddenly shouted "Fire!" at
the top of his voice, and Titmouse joined him; when having heard half a
dozen windows hastily thrown up by the dismayed inhabitants whom the
alarming sounds had aroused from sleep, they scampered off at their top
speed. In another part of the town they yelled, and whistled, and crowed
like cocks, and mewed like cats--the last two being accomplishments in
which Titmouse was very eminent--and again took to their heels. Then
they contrived to twist a few knockers off doors, pull bells, and break
a few windows; and while exercising their skill in this last branch of
the night's amusement, Titmouse, in the very act of aiming a stone which
took effect in the middle of a bedroom window, was surprised by an old
watchman waddling round the corner. He was a feeble asthmatic old man;
so Snap knocked him down at once, and Titmouse blew out the candle in
his lantern, which he then jumped upon and smashed to pieces, and
knocked its prostrate owner's hat over his eyes. Snap, on some strange
unaccountable impulse, wrested the rattle out of the poor creature's
hand, and sprang it loudly. This brought several other old watchmen from
different quarters; and aged numbers prevailing against youthful
spirit--the two gentlemen, after a considerable scuffle, were
overpowered and conveyed to the cage. Snap having muttered something
about demanding to look at the _warrant_, and then about an action for
malicious arrest and false imprisonment, sank on a form, and then down
upon the floor, and fell fast asleep. Titmouse for a while showed a very
resolute front, and swore a great many oaths, that he would fight the
Boots at the inn for five shillings, if he dared show himself; but all
of a sudden, his spirit collapsed, as it were, and he sank on the floor,
and was grievously indisposed for some hours. About nine o'clock, the
contents of the cage--viz. Snap, Titmouse, two farmers' boys who had
been caught stealing cakes, an old beggar, and a young pickpocket--were
conveyed before the Lord Mayor to answer for their several misdeeds.
Snap was wofully crestfallen. He had sent for the landlord of the inn
where they had put up, to come, on their behalf, to the Mansion-house;
but he told Quirk of the message he had received. Mr. Quirk, finding
that Gammon could not leave his room through severe indisposition--the
very first time that Mr. Quirk had ever seen or heard of his being so
overtaken--set off, in a very mortified and angry mood, in quest of his
hopeful client and junior partner. They were in a truly dismal pickle.
Titmouse pale as death, his clothes disordered, and a part of his
shirt-collar torn off; Snap sat beside him with a sheepish air, seeming
scarce able to keep his eyes open. At him Mr. Quirk looked with keen
indignation, but spoke neither to him, nor on his behalf. For Titmouse,
however, he expressed great commiseration, and entreated his Lordship to
overlook the little misconduct of which he (Titmouse) in a moment of
extreme excitement, had been guilty, on condition of his making amends
for the injury, both to person and property, of which he had been
guilty. By this time his Lordship had become aware of the names and
circumstances of the two delinquents; and after lecturing them very
severely, he fined them five shillings a-piece for being drunk, and
permitted them to be discharged, on their promising never to offend in
the like way again, and paying three pounds by way of compensation to
the watchman, and one or two persons whose knockers they were proved to
have wrenched off, and windows to have broken. His Lordship had delayed
the case of Messrs. Snap and Titmouse to the last; chiefly because, as
soon as he had found out who Mr. Titmouse was, it occurred to him that
he would make a sort of a little star, at the great ball to be given by
the Lady Mayoress that evening. As soon, therefore, as the charge had
been disposed of, his Lordship desired Mr. Titmouse to follow him, for a
moment, to his private room. There having shut the door, he gently
chided Mr. Titmouse for the indiscretion of which he had been guilty,
and which was not to have been expected from a gentleman of his
consequence in the county. His Lordship begged him to consider the
station which he was now called to occupy; and in alluding to the signal
event of the preceding day, warmly congratulated him upon it; and,
trusted by the way, that Mr. Titmouse would, in the evening, favor the
Lady Mayoress and himself with his company at the ball, where they would
be very proud of the opportunity of introducing him to some of the
gentry of the county, among whom his future lot in life was likely to be
cast. Mr. Titmouse listened to all this as if he were in a dream. His
brain (the little of it that he had) was yet in a most unsettled state;
as also was his stomach. When he heard the words "Lady Mayoress,"
"ball," "Mansion-house," "gentry of the county," and so forth, a dim
vision of splendor flashed before his eyes; and, with a desperate
effort, he assured the Lord Mayor that he should be "very uncommon proud
to accept the invitation, if he were well enough--but, just then, he
was uncommon ill."

His Lordship pressed him to take a glass of water, to revive him and
settle his stomach; but Mr. Titmouse declined it, and soon afterwards
quitted the room; and leaning on the arm of Mr. Quirk, set off
homeward--Snap walking beside him in silence, with a very quaint
disconcerted air--not being taken the least notice of by Mr. Quirk. As
they passed along, they encountered several of the barristers on their
way to court, and others, who recognized Titmouse; and with a smile,
evidently formed a pretty accurate guess as to the manner in which the
triumph of the preceding day had been celebrated. Mr. Quirk, finding
that Mr. Gammon was far too much indisposed to think of quitting York,
at all events till a late hour in the evening, and, indeed, that
Titmouse was similarly situated--with a very bad grace consented to
their stopping behind; and himself, with Snap--the former inside, the
latter outside--having paid most of the witnesses, leaving the
remainder, together with their own expenses at the inn, to be settled by
Mr. Gammon--set off for town by the two o'clock coach. It was, indeed,
high time for them to return; for the oppressed inmates of Newgate were
getting wild on account of the protracted absence of their kind and
confidential advisers. When they left, both Gammon and Titmouse were in
bed. The former, however, began to revive, shortly after the wheels of
the coach which conveyed away his respected copartners, and the sound of
the guard's horn, had ceased to be heard; and about an hour afterwards
he descended from his room, a great deal the better for the duties of
the toilet, and a bottle of soda-water with a little brandy in it. A cup
of strong tea, and a slice or two of dry toast, set him entirely to
rights--and then Gammon--the calm, serene, astute Gammon--was "himself
again." Had he said anything indiscreet, or in any way committed
himself, over-night?--thought he, as he sat alone, with folded arms,
trying to recollect what had taken place. He hoped not--but had no means
of ascertaining. Then he entered upon a long and anxious consideration
of the position of affairs, since the great event of the preceding
evening. The only definite object which he had ever had in view,
personally, in entering into the affair, was the obtaining that
ascendency over Titmouse, in the event of his becoming possessed of the
magnificent fortune they were in quest of for him, which might enable
him, in one way or another, to elevate his own position in society, and
secure for himself permanent and solid advantages. In the progress of
the affair, however, new views presented themselves to his mind.

Towards the close of the afternoon Titmouse recovered sufficiently to
make his appearance down-stairs. Soon afterwards, Gammon proposed a
walk, as the day was fine, and the brisk fresh country air would be
efficacious in restoring Titmouse to his wonted health and spirits. His
suggestion was adopted; and soon afterwards might have been seen,
Gammon, supporting on his arm his languid and interesting client Mr.
Titmouse, making their way towards the river; along whose quiet and
pleasing banks they walked for nearly a couple of hours in close
conversation; during which, Gammon, by repeated and various efforts,
succeeded in producing an impression on Titmouse's mind, that the good
fortune which seemed now within his reach, had been secured for him by
the enterprise, skill, and caution of him, Mr. Gammon, only; who would,
moreover, continue to devote himself to Mr. Titmouse's interests, and
protect him from the designs of those who would endeavor to take
advantage of him. Mr. Gammon also dropped one or two vague hints that
his--Titmouse's--continuance in the enjoyment of the Yatton property,
would always depend upon the will and power of him, the aforesaid Mr.
Gammon; in whose hands were most unsuspected, but potent weapons. And
indeed it is not at all impossible that such may prove to be really the

What a difference is there between man and man, in temper, and
disposition, and intellect! Compare together the two individuals now
walking slowly, arm-in-arm, beside the sweet Ouse; and supposing one to
have designs upon the other--disposed to ensnare and overreach him--what
chance has the shorter gentleman? Compare even their countenances--ah
me!--what a difference!

Gammon heard with uneasiness of Titmouse's intention to go to the Lady
Mayoress's ball that evening; and, for many reasons, resolved that he
should not. In vain, however, did Gammon try to persuade him that he was
asked only to be turned into ridicule, for that almost everybody there
would be in the interest of the Aubreys, and bitterly opposed to him,
Mr. Titmouse; in spite of these and all other representations, Titmouse
expressed his determination to go to the ball; on which Gammon, with a
good-natured smile, exclaimed, "Well, well!"--and withdrew his
opposition. Shortly after their return from their walk, they sat down to
dinner; and Gammon, with a cheerful air, ordered a bottle of champagne,
of which he drank about a glass and a half, and Titmouse the remainder.
That put him into a humor to take more wine, without much pressing; and
he swallowed, in rapid succession, a glass of ale, and seven or eight
glasses of red-hot port and fiery sherry. By this time, he had forgotten
all about the ball, and clamored for brandy and water. Gammon, however,
saw that his end was answered. Poor Titmouse was soon reduced to a state
of helplessness and insensibility; and within half an hour's time was
assisted to his bedroom in a truly deplorable condition! Thus Gammon had
the satisfaction of seeing his benevolent design accomplished, although
it pained him to think of the temporary inconvenience occasioned to the
unconscious sufferer; who had, however, escaped the devices of those who
wished publicly to expose his inexperience; and as for the means which
Gammon had resorted to in order to effect his purpose,--why, he may be
supposed to have had a remoter object in view, viz. early to disgust him
with intemperance.

Alas! how disappointed were the mayor and mayoress, that their queer
little lion did not make his appearance in the gay and brilliant scene!
How many had they told that he was coming! Their three daughters were
almost bursting with vexation and astonishment. They had been disposed
to entertain a warmer feeling than that of mere curiosity towards the
new owner of an estate worth ten thousand a-year--had drawn lots which
of them was first to dance with him; and had told all their friends on
which of them the lot had fallen. Then, again, many of the county people
inquired from time to time of the chagrined little mayor and mayoress
when "Mr. Ticklemouse," "Mr. Tipmouse," "Mr. Tipplebattle," or "whatever
his name might be," was coming; full of real curiosity, much tinctured,
however, with disgust and contempt, to see the stranger, who had
suddenly acquired so commanding a station in the county--so strong a
claim to their sympathy and respect! Then, again, there was a very great
lion there, exhibiting for a short time only, who also had wished to see
the _little_ lion, and expressed keen regrets that it was not there
according to appointment. The great lion was Mr. Quicksilver, who had
stepped in for about half an hour, merely to show himself; and when he
heard of the expected arrival of his little client, it occurred to Mr.
Quicksilver, who could see several inches beyond by no means a short
nose, that Mr. Titmouse had gained a verdict which would very soon make
him _patron of the_ _borough of Yatton_--that he probably would not
think of sitting for the borough himself, and that a little public
civility bestowed upon Mr. Titmouse, by the great Mr. Quicksilver, one
of the counsel to whose splendid exertions he was indebted for his all,
might be, as it were, _bread thrown upon the waters, to be found after
many days_. It was true that Mr. Quicksilver, in a bitter stream of
eloquent invective, had repeatedly denounced the system of close and
"rotten" boroughs; but his heart, all the while, secretly rebelled; and
he knew that a snug little borough was a thing on every account not to
be sneezed at. He sat for one himself, though he had also contested
several counties; but that was expensive and harassing work; and the
seat which he at present occupied, he had paid far too high a price for.
He had no objection to the existence of close boroughs in the abstract;
but only to so many of them being in the hands of the opposite party;
and the legislature hath since recognized the distinction, and acted
upon it. Here, however, was the case of a borough which was going to
change hands, and pass from Tory to Whig; and could Mr. Quicksilver fail
to watch it with interest? Was he, therefore, to neglect this
opportunity of slipping in for Yatton--and the _straw moving_, too, in
town--a general election looked for? So Mr. Quicksilver really regretted
the absence of the little lion--his little friend and client, Mr.

Thus, and by such persons, and on such grounds, was lamented the absence
of Mr. Titmouse from the ball of the Lady Mayoress of York; none,
however, knowing the cause which kept him from so select and
distinguished an assembly. Mr. Gammon, as soon as he had seen Mr.
Titmouse properly attended to, and had expressed an anxious sympathy for
him, set out for a walk--a quiet solitary walk round the ancient walls
of York. If on a fine night you look up into the sky, and see it
gleaming with innumerable stars, and then fix your eye intently,
_without wavering_, upon some one star; however vivid and brilliant may
be those in its immediate vicinity, they will disappear utterly, and
that on which your eye is fixed will seem alone in its glory--sole star
in the firmament. Something of this kind happened to Mr. Gammon when on
the walls of York--now slowly, then rapidly walking, now standing, then
sitting; all the objects which generally occupied his thoughts faded
away, before one on which his mind's eye was then fixed with unwavering
intensity--the image of Miss Aubrey. The golden fruit that was on the
eve of dropping into the hands of the firm--ten thousand pounds--the
indefinite and varied advantages to himself, personally, to which their
recent successes might be turned, all vanished. What would he not
undergo, what would he not sacrifice, to secure the favor of Miss
Aubrey? Beautiful being--all innocence, elegance, refinement:--to
possess her would elevate him in the scale of being; it would purify his
feelings, it would ennoble his nature. What was too arduous or desperate
to be undertaken in order to secure a prize so glorious as this? He fell
into a long revery, till, roused by a chill gust of night air, he rose
from his seat upon one of the niches in the walls;--how lonely, how
solitary he felt! He walked on rapidly, at a pace that suited the heated
and rapid current of thoughts that passed through his mind.

"No, I have not a chance--not a chance!" at length he thought to
himself--"That girl will be prouder in her poverty, than ever she would
have been in her wealth and splendor. Who am I?--a partner in the firm
of Quirk, Gammon, and Snap; a firm in bad odor with the profession;
looking for practice from polluted sources, with a host of miscreants
for clients--faugh! faugh! I feel contaminated and degraded! My name
even is against me; it is growing into a by-word!--We must push our
advantage--they must be driven from Yatton--he, she--all of them; yes,
all." He paused for a long time, and a sort of pang passed through his
mind. "They are to make way for--Titmouse!--for Titmouse!! And he, too,
loves her--_bah!_" He involuntarily uttered this sound fiercely, and
aloud. "But stay--he really is in love with Miss Aubrey--that I
know;--ah! I can turn it to good purpose; it will give me, by the way, a
hold upon the little fool; I will make him believe that through my means
he may obtain Miss Aubrey! Misery may make her accessible; I can easily
bring myself into contact with them, in their distress; for there are
the mesne profits--_the mesne profits!_ Heavens! how glorious, but how
dreadful an engine are _they_! They will help to batter down the high
wall of pride that surrounds _them_ and _her_; but it will require
infinite care and tact in the use of such an engine! I will be all
delicacy--gentleness--generosity; I will appear friendly to her, and to
her brother; and, if needs must be, why he must be _crushed_. There is
no help for it. He looks decidedly, by the way--a man of intellect. I
wonder how he bears it--how they all bear it--how _she_ bears it!
_Beggared beauty_--there's something touching in the very sound! How
little they think of the power that is at this moment in my hands!" Here
a long interval elapsed, during which his thoughts had wandered towards
more practical matters. "If they don't get a rule _nisi_, next term, we
shall be in a position to ask them what course they intend to pursue:
Gad, they may, if so disposed, hold out for--how very cold it is!"--he
buttoned his coat--"and, what have I been thinking of? Really I have
been dreaming; or am I as great a fool as Tittlebat?" Within a few
minutes' time he had quitted the walls, and descended through one of the
turreted gateways, into the town.


When, about seven o'clock on the morning after the delivery of the
verdict, which, if sustained, consigned the Aubreys to beggary, they met
to partake of a slight and hasty breakfast before setting off for
Yatton, the countenances of each bore the traces of great suffering, and
also of the efforts made to conceal it. They saluted each other with
fervent affection, each attempting a smile--but a smile, how wan and
forced! "The moment has arrived, dear Agnes and Kate," said Mr. Aubrey,
with a fond air but a firm voice, as his sister was preparing tea, in
silence, fearful of looking at either her brother or sister-in-law; "the
moment has arrived that is to try what stuff we are made of. If we have
any strength, this is the time to show it!"

"I'm sure I thought of you both almost all night long!" replied Miss
Aubrey, tremulously. "You have a lion's heart, dear Charles; and yet you
are so gentle with us"----

"I should be a poor creature indeed, Kate, to give way just when I ought
to play the man. Come, dear Kate, I will remind you of a noble passage
from our glorious Shakespeare. It braces one's nerves to hear it!" Then,
with a fine impressive delivery, and kindling with excitement as he went
on, Aubrey began--

                  "In the reproof of chance
    Lies the true proof of men. The sea being smooth
    How many shallow bauble boats dare sail
    Upon her patient breast, making their way
    With those of nobler bulk?
    But let the ruffian Boreas once enrage
    The gentle Thetis, and, anon, behold
    The strong-ribb'd bark through liquid mountains cut,
    Bounding between the two moist elements
    Like Perseus' horse; where's then the saucy boat,
    Whose weak untimber'd sides but even now
    Co-rivall'd greatness? Either to harbor fled,
    Or made a toast for Neptune!--Even so,
    Doth valor's show, and valor's worth divide,
    In storms of fortune."[3]

'Twas kindly meant of Aubrey; he thought to divert the excited feelings
of his wife and sister, and occupy their imagination with the vivid
imagery and noble sentiment of the poet. While he repeated the above
lines, his sister's eye had been fixed upon him with a radiant
expression of resolution, her heart responding to what she heard. She
could not, however, speak when he had ceased. For herself she cared not;
but when she looked at her brother, and thought of him, his wife, his
children, her fortitude yielded before the moving array, and she burst
into tears.

"Come, Kate--my own sweet, good Kate!" said he, cheerfully, laying his
hand upon hers, "we must keep constant guard against our _feelings_.
They will be ever arraying before our eyes the past--the dear,
delightful past--happy and beautiful, in mournful contrast with the
present, and stirring up, every moment, a thousand secret and tender
associations, calculated to shake our constancy. Whenever our eyes _do_
turn to the past, let it be with humble gratitude to God for having
allowed us all, in this changing world, so long an interval of
happiness; such, indeed, as falls to the lot of few. _What! shall we
receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?_"

"My own Charles!" exclaimed Mrs. Aubrey, rising and throwing her arms
round her husband, whose countenance was calm and serene, as was the
tone of the sentiments he expressed solemn and elevated. Miss Aubrey was
overcome with her stronger feelings, and buried her face in her
handkerchief. Shortly afterwards the carriage drew up, and Dr. Tatham
also made his appearance on horseback.

"Good-morning! good-morning, my friends," cried he, cheerfully, as he
entered, holding forth both his hands; "you can't think how fresh and
pleasant the air is! The country for me, at all times of the year! I
hate towns! Did you sleep well? I slept like a top all night long;--no,
I didn't either, by the way. Come, come, ladies! On with your bonnets
and shawls!" Thus rattled on worthy little Dr. Tatham, in order to
prevent anything being said which might disturb those whom he came to
see, or cause his own highly-charged feelings to give way. The sight of
Mrs. and Miss Aubrey, however, who greeted him in silence as they
hastily drew on their bonnets and shawls, overcame his ill-sustained
gayety; and before he could bustle back, as he presently did, to the
street door, his eyes were obstructed with tears, and he wrung the hand
of Mr. Aubrey, who stood beside him, with convulsive energy. They soon
set off, and at a rapid pace, Dr. Tatham riding along beside the
carriage. Yatton was about twelve miles off. For the first few miles
they preserved a tolerable show of cheerfulness; but as they perceived
themselves nearing Yatton, it became plainly more and more of an effort
for any of them to speak. Dr. Tatham, also, talked to them seldomer
through the windows. At one time he dropped considerably behind; at
another, he rode as much ahead.

"Oh, Charles, don't you dread to see Yatton?" said Miss Aubrey,
suddenly, as they turned a familiar corner of the road. Neither Mr. nor
Mrs. Aubrey answered her.

"When you come to the village," said Mr. Aubrey presently, to the
postilion, "drive through it, right up to the Hall, as quickly as you
can." He was obeyed. As they passed rapidly along with their windows up,
none of the wretched party seemed disposed to look through, but leaned
back, in silence, in their seats.

"God bless you! God bless you! I shall call in the evening," exclaimed
Dr. Tatham; as, having reached the vicarage, he hastily waved his hand,
and turned off. Soon they had passed the park gates; when had they
entered it before with such heavy hearts--with eyes so dreading to
encounter every familiar object that met them? Alas! the spacious park
was no longer theirs; not a tree, not a shrub, not a flower, not an inch
of ground; the trees all putting forth their fresh green leaves--nothing
was theirs; the fine old turreted gateway, too--an object always,
hitherto, of peculiar pride and attachment, their hearts seemed to
tremble as they rattled under it!

"Courage, my sweet loves! Courage! courage!" exclaimed Mr. Aubrey,
grasping each of their hands, and then they burst into tears. Mr. Aubrey
felt his own fortitude grievously shaken as he entered the old Hall, no
longer his _home_, and reflected, moreover--bitterest thought of
all--that he had been declared by the law to have been hitherto the
wrongful occupant of it; that he must forthwith proceed to "set his
house in order," and prepare for a dreadful reckoning with him whom the
law had declared to be the true owner of Yatton.

The formal result of the trial at York, was, as has been already
intimated, to declare Mr. Titmouse entitled to recover possession of
only that insignificant portion of the estates which were occupied by
Jacob Jolter; and that, too, only in the event of the first four days of
the ensuing term elapsing, without any successful attempt being made to
impeach, before the court, the propriety of the verdict of the jury. It
is a principle of our English law, that the verdict of a jury is, in
general, irreversible and conclusive; but, inasmuch as that verdict may
have been improperly obtained--as, for instance, either through the
misdirection of the judge, or his erroneous admission or rejection of
evidence; or may have no force in point of law by reason of the
pleadings of the party for whom it has been given, being insufficient to
warrant the court to award its final judgment upon, and in conformity
with, such verdict, or by reason of the discovery of fresh evidence
subsequently to the trial: therefore the law hath given the party who
failed at the trial, till the end of the first four days of the term
next ensuing, to show the court why the verdict obtained by his opponent
ought to go for nothing, and matters remain as they were before the
trial, or a new trial be had. So anxious is our law to afford the utmost
scope and opportunity for ascertaining what ought to be its decision,
which, when obtained, is, as hath been said, solemnly and permanently
conclusive upon the subject; such the effectual and practical corrective
of any error or miscarriage in the working of that noble engine--trial
by jury. Thus, then, it appears, that the hands of Mr. Titmouse and his
advisers were at all events stayed till the first four days of Easter
term should have elapsed. During the interval thus afforded to the
advisers of Mr. Aubrey, his case, as it appeared upon the notes of his
counsel on their briefs, with the indirect assistance and corroboration
derived from the short-hand writers' notes, underwent repeated and most
anxious examination in all its parts and bearings, by all his legal
advisers. It need hardly be said, that every point in the case favorable
to their client had been distinctly and fully raised by the
Attorney-General, assisted by his very able juniors, Mr. Sterling and
Mr. Crystal; and so was it with the counsel of Mr. Titmouse, as, indeed,
the result showed. On subsequent examination, none of them could
discover any false step, or any advantage which had been overlooked, or
taken inefficiently. Independently of various astute objections taken by
the Attorney-General to the reception of several important portions of
the plaintiff's evidence, the leading points relied on in favor of Mr.
Aubrey were--the impropriety of Lord Widdrington's rejection of the deed
of confirmation on account of the erasure in it; the effect of that
deed, assuming the erasure not to have warranted its rejection; and
several questions arising out of the doctrine of adverse possession, by
which alone, it had been contended at the trial, that the claim of the
descendants of Stephen Dreddlington had been peremptorily and finally
barred. Two very long consultations had been held at the
Attorney-General's chambers, attended by Mr. Sterling, Mr. Crystal, Mr.
Mansfield, the three partners in the firm of Runnington and Company, Mr.
Parkinson, and Mr. Aubrey--who had come up to town specially for the
purpose. Greatly to the surprise of all of them, he stated most
distinctly and emphatically, that he insisted on no ground of objection
being taken against his opponent, except such as was strictly just,
equitable, honorable, and conscientious. Rather than defeat him on mere
technicalities--rather than avail himself of mere positive rules of law,
while the RIGHT, as between the consciences of man and man, was
substantially in favor of his opponent--Mr. Aubrey declared, however
absurd or Quixotic he might be thought, that he would--if he had
them--lose fifty Yattons. _Fiat justitia, ruat cœlum._ "You mean to
say, Aubrey," interrupted the Attorney-General, mildly, after listening
for some time to his friend and client with evident interest, and
admiration of his pure and high-minded character--"that it would be
unconscientious of you to avail yourself of a fixed and beneficial rule
of law, established upon considerations of general equity and
utility--such, for instance, as that of adverse possession in order to
retain possession, while"----

"Pray, Mr. Attorney-General, if I had lent you five hundred pounds seven
or eight years ago, would you set up the _statute of limitations_
against me when I asked for re-payment?"

"Excuse me, Aubrey," replied the Attorney-General, with a faint flush
upon his handsome and dignified features; "but how idle all this is! One
would imagine that we were sitting in a school of casuistry! What are we
met for, in the name of common sense? For what, but to prevent the
rightful owner of property from being deprived of it by a trumpery
accidental erasure in one of his title-deeds, which time has deprived
him of the means of accounting for?" He then, in a very kind way, but
with a dash of peremptoriness, requested that the case might be left in
their hands, and that they might be given credit for resorting to
nothing that was inconsistent with the nicest and most fastidious sense
of honor. This observation put an end to so unprecedented an
interference; but if Mr. Aubrey supposed that it had had any effect upon
the Attorney-General, he was mistaken; for of course that learned and
eminent person secretly resolved to avail himself of every means that he
could think of, for overturning the verdict, and securing the Aubreys in
the possession of Yatton. He at the same time earnestly endeavored to
moderate the expectations of his client, declaring that he was by no
means sanguine as to the issue; that Lord Widdrington's rulings at _Nisi
Prius_ were very formidable things--in fact, rarely assailable; and
then, again, the senior puisne judge of the court--Mr. Justice
Grayley--had been consulted by Lord Widdrington at the trial, and
concurred with him in his principal ruling, now sought to be moved
against. At the close of the second consultation, on the night of the
first day in Easter term, (the Attorney-General intending to move on
the ensuing morning,) after having finally gone over the case in all its
bearings, and agreed upon the exact grounds of moving--the
Attorney-General called back Mr. Runnington for a moment, as he was
walking away with Mr. Aubrey, and whispered to him, that it would be
very proper to assume at once that the motion failed; and consider the
best mode of negotiating concerning the surrender of the bulk of the
property, and the payment of the mesne profits.

"Oh! Mr. Aubrey has quite made up his mind to the worst, Mr.

"Ah, well!" replied the Attorney-General, with a sigh; and about five
minutes after Mr. Runnington's departure, the Attorney-General stepped
into his carriage, which had been standing for the last hour opposite
his chambers. He drove down to the House of Commons, where he almost
immediately after delivered a long and luminous speech on one of the
most important and intricate questions that had been discussed during
the session!

At length arrived the morning of the second day in term. Lord
Widdrington was occupied for about a couple of hours in "going through
the bar"--_i. e._ calling on counsel to "move" in their order matters of
general business, before taking motions for new trials. About a quarter
of an hour before his Lordship had completed the round of the bar, the
Attorney-General came into court, and arranged all his books and papers
before him; Mr. Subtle sitting next to him, intending to take a note of
the grounds on which he moved.

"Does any other gentleman move?" inquired Lord Widdrington, looking over
the court. He received no answer.

"Mr. Attorney-General," said he; and the Attorney-General rose----

"If your Lordship pleases," he commenced, slowly rising and bowing--"in
a case of DOE on the Demise of TITMOUSE against JOLTER, tried before
your Lordship at the last assizes for the county of York, I have humbly
to move your Lordship for _a rule to show cause why a nonsuit should
not be entered, or why the verdict entered for the plaintiff should not
be set aside, and a New Trial had_." He proceeded to state the facts of
the case with great clearness and brevity. In like manner--with perfect
simplicity and precision--he stated the various points arising upon the
evidence, and the general grounds of law which have been already
specified; but I am so grateful to the reader for his patience under the
infliction of so much legal detail as was contained in the last chapter
of this history, that I shall now content myself with the above general
statement of what took place before the court. As soon as he had sat
down, the judges consulted together for a minute or two; and then--

"You may take a rule to show cause, Mr. Attorney-General," said Lord

"On all the grounds I have mentioned, my Lord?"

"Yes--on all of them. They are very well worth considering--Mr.
Solicitor-General, do you move?"

Up rose, thereupon, the Solicitor-General.

"I shall discharge your rule," whispered Mr. Subtle to the

"I'm not excessively sanguine,"--whispered the Attorney-General, leaning
his head close to Mr. Subtle, and with his hand before his mouth. Then
his clerk removed the battery of books which stood before him, together
with his brief; and taking another out of his turgid red bag, the
Attorney-General was soon deep in the details of an important shipping
case, in which he was going to move when next it came to his turn.

Thus the court had granted a "RULE NISI," as it is called, (_i. e._ it
commanded a particular thing to be done--"_unless_" sufficient
"_cause_" could be thereafter shown to the court why it should not be
done,) for either entering a nonsuit, or having a new trial. Now, had
this rule been obtained in the present day, nearly two years must have
elapsed, owing to the immense and perhaps unavoidable arrear of
business, before the other side could have been heard in answer to it.
Now, had such been the state of business at the time when the Rule in
_Doe_ d. _Titmouse_ v. _Jolter_ was moved for, see the practical effect
of it: had Mr. Aubrey, instead of the high-minded and conscientious man
he undoubtedly was, been a rogue, he might have had the opportunity of
getting in nearly twenty thousand pounds, and setting off with it to
spend upon the Continent, as soon as he found that the court had decided
against him: or, if the tenants should have been served with notice not
to pay their rents to any one but Mr. Titmouse--at all events not to Mr.
Aubrey--how were Mr. Aubrey and his family to have subsisted during this
interval?--and with the possibility that, at the end of some two years,
he might be declared to be the true owner of Yatton, and consequently
all the while entitled to those rents, &c., the non-payment of which
might have entailed upon him the most serious embarrassments! During the
same interval, poor Mr. Titmouse, heart-sick with hope deferred, might
have taken to liquor, as a solace under his misery, and drunk himself to
death before the rule was discharged--or brought his valuable life to a
more sudden and abrupt conclusion: which affecting event would have
relieved the court from deciding several troublesome points of law, and
kept the Aubreys in possession of the Yatton estates. Thus much for some
of the incidental effects of the law's delay! At the time, however,
concerning which I am writing, it was otherwise.[4] Shall I be believed
when I inform the reader that within ten or twelve days after the rule
_nisi_, in the present case, had been moved, "cause was shown" against
it, by Mr. Subtle and Mr. Lynx, and very admirably shown against it too.
(Mr. Quicksilver, fortunately for the interests of Mr. Titmouse, was
absent, attending a great meeting in the City, called by himself to
establish a society for the Moral and Intellectual Regeneration of
Mankind on the basis of Pure Reason.) The Attorney-General exerted
himself to the utmost in support of his rule. He felt that the
court--though scarcely at all interfering during his address--was
against him; yet he delivered, perhaps, one of the most masterly
arguments that had ever been heard in the place where he was speaking.
Mr. Sterling and Mr. Crystal, wisely avoiding the ground so admirably
occupied by the Attorney-General, contented themselves with
strengthening those positions which appeared to them less fortified by
authorities than the others; and then the court said they would take a
day or two's time to consider; "less on account," said Lord Widdrington,
"of the difficulty of the case, than the magnitude of the interests
which would probably be affected by their decision."

"You have them dead with you, Subtle," whispered the Attorney-General, a
slight expression of chagrin stealing over his features, as he heard the
observation of Lord Widdrington.

"I never doubted it," replied Mr. Subtle, with a confident air. Every
day afterwards, from the sitting to the rising of the court, did the
anxious Aubrey attend in the King's Bench, to hear the judgment of the
court delivered. At length arrived the last day of the term. Soon after
the sitting of the court, Lord Widdrington pronounced judgment in two or
three cases; but not seeing the Attorney-General (who was engaged before
the House of Lords) in his place, delayed giving judgment in the case of
"_Doe_ v. _Jolter_." About two o'clock he made his appearance; and
shortly afterwards, Lord Widdrington, after disposing of the matter then
before the court, said--"There was a case of Doe on the demise of
Titmouse against Jolter, in which, early in the term, a rule was
obtained by the Attorney-General, calling upon the lessor of the
plaintiff to show cause why"--and he proceeded to state the rule, and
then to deliver the written unanimous judgment of the court. A clear
statement of the facts out of which the questions submitted to the court
had arisen, and of those questions themselves, was listened to by Mr.
Aubrey in breathless suspense, before he could obtain the faintest
intimation of the judgment which the court was about to pronounce. Lord
Widdrington went on to dispose, one by one, with painful deliberation
and precision, of the several points presented for the decision of the
court. One or two were decided in favor of the defendant; but his
Lordship added, that it had become unnecessary to do so, in consequence
of the answers given by the witnesses to subsequent questions at the
trial, and which disposed of the doubts arising on the former ones. The
documentary evidence, subsequently put in, got rid of another difficulty
in the early part of the plaintiff's case, and rendered immaterial a
question put by the plaintiff's counsel, and strenuously objected to on
the part of the defendant, and which the court was of opinion, as had
been Lord Widdrington at the trial, ought not to have been allowed.
Then, as to the ADVERSE POSSESSION, on which very great stress had been
laid by the defendant's counsel, the court was of opinion that none
existed; since there had been a _disability_--indeed, a series of
disabilities,[5]--through infancy, coverture, and absence beyond seas,
of the various parties through whom the lessor of the plaintiff claimed.
Finally, as to the question concerning the ERASURE, the court was of
opinion, that the deed in which it occurred had been properly rejected;
inasmuch as the erasure was in a clearly material part of the deed, and
there were no recitals in the deed by which it could be helped. That it
was incumbent upon those proffering the deed in evidence, to account for
its altered appearance, although the deed was more than thirty years
old, and rebut the presumption of fraud arising therefrom. That the
erasure was a clear badge of fraud; and to hold otherwise, would be to
open a wide door to frauds of the most extensive and serious
description. That there had been no evidence offered to show that the
deed had ever been a valid deed; the very first step failed; and, in
short, in its then state, it was in contemplation of law _no deed at
all_; and, consequently, had been properly rejected. "For all these
reasons, therefore," concluded Lord Widdrington, "we are clearly of
opinion, that the verdict ought not to be disturbed, and the rule will
consequently be DISCHARGED."[6] As these last words were pronounced, a
mist seemed for a moment to intervene between Mr. Aubrey and everything
around him; for his thoughts had reverted to Yatton, and the precious
objects of his affection who were there, in sickening suspense, awaiting
the event which had that moment taken place. The words yet sounding in
his excited ears, seemed like the sentence of expulsion from Paradise
passed upon our dismayed and heart-broken first parents. Yes, in that
solemn region of matter-of-fact and common-place--that _dead
sea_--generally speaking--as far as feeling, sentiment, incident, or
excitement is concerned, the Court of King's Bench--there sat a man of
exquisite sensibility--pure and high-minded--whose feelings were for a
while paralyzed by the words which had fallen from the judgment-seat,
uttered with a cold, business-like, indifferent air--oh! how horridly
out of concert with the anxious and excited tone of him whom, with his
lovely family, they consigned, in fact, to destitution! After remaining
for about a quarter of an hour, during which brief interval he resumed
the control over his feelings which he had so long and successfully
struggled to maintain, he rose, and quitted the court. It was a heavy
lowering afternoon--one which seemed to harmonize with the gloomy and
desolate mood in which he slowly walked homeward. He encountered many of
his friends, on foot, on horseback, and in carriages, on their way down
to the Houses of Parliament; the very sight of them, in the morbid state
of his feelings, gave him a pang that was indescribable. With _them_
matters were the same as they had ever been--as they had till then been
with him--and as probably they would be with them to the end of their
career; but _he_ had been forced, suddenly and forever, to quit the
scene of high excitement and proud aspirations!--He heaved many deep
sighs, as he exchanged nod after nod with those he met, as he approached
Charing Cross. There he encountered Lord C----, the brilliant Foreign
Secretary, arm-in-arm with two eloquent and leading members of the
Government--all of them evidently in high spirits, on their way down to
the House.

"Ah!--Aubrey!--In town?--An age since we met!"--exclaimed they, in a
breath, shaking him cordially by the hand.--"You know, of course, that
the budget comes on to-night--eh?"----

"I was not aware of it,"--said Mr. Aubrey.

"I assure you," interrupted Lord C----, "our friends will do us great
service--very essential service, by being early in their
attendance!--You know that Mr. Quicksilver intends to come out against
us to-night in great force?--My dear Aubrey, you are going the wrong

"I am not going down to the House to-night!"

"Not going down?--Eh?--My dear Aubrey, you astonish me!--Have you
paired off? You can't think how I lament your absence!"

"I am returning to Yorkshire almost immediately."

"But surely you can come for an hour, or so, to-night--eh? Come! The
division won't come on till late. Don't let a trifle stand in the way!"

"I would _not_ let a trifle stand in the way," replied Mr. Aubrey, in a
tone and manner which at once arrested the attention of those whom he
was addressing, and suddenly reminded them of what, in their political
eagerness, they had for a moment lost sight of--namely, the perilous
position of his private affairs.

"My dear Aubrey, I beg a thousand pardons for intruding such matters
upon you," said Lord C----, with sudden earnestness; "but shall we have
an opportunity of meeting before you leave town?"

"I fear--_not_;--I set off by the mail to-morrow evening--and have in
the mean time much to attend to," said Mr. Aubrey, unable to repress a
sigh--and they parted. But for a determination not to yield to a morbid
sensibility, he would have got into a hackney-coach, and so have avoided
the "troops of friends," the hosts of "old familiar faces," all wending
down to the scene in which he had begun so eminently to distinguish
himself--but from which he seemed now to be forever excluded. He,
therefore, pursued his way on foot. One of those on whom his troubled
eye lit, was a well-known figure on horseback--the great Duke of ----,
on his way down to the House of Lords, going very slowly, his head
inclined on one side, his iron-cast features overspread with an
expression of stern thoughtfulness. He did not observe Mr. Aubrey--in
fact, he seemed too much absorbed with his own thoughts to observe or
recognize anybody; yet he now and then mechanically raised his finger to
his hat, in acknowledgment of the obeisances of those who saluted him
as he passed. Poor Aubrey sighed; and felt as if circumstances had
placed him at an immeasurable distance from the man whom, so lately, he
had entertained familiarly at dinner; that there seemed suddenly to
exist, as it were, a great and impassable gulf between them.

On reaching his house in Grosvenor Street, his heart fluttered while he
knocked and rang; and he seemed to himself to shrink from the accustomed
obsequious voice and manner of the powdered menial who admitted him.
Having ordered a slight dinner, he repaired to his library. The only
letter which had arrived since he had left in the morning, bore the
Grilston postmark, and was in the handwriting of Mrs. Aubrey. He opened
it with trembling eagerness. It was crossed--the dear familiar
handwriting!--from beginning to end, and full of heart-subduing
tenderness. Then it had a little enclosure, with a strange, straggling
superscription, "To my Papa;" and, on opening it, he read, in similar

     "My dear Papa, I love you very very much. Do come home. Mamma sends
     her love. Your dutiful son,

                                                        "CHARLES AUBREY.

     "P. S.--Agnes sends her love; she cannot write because she is so
     little. Please to come home directly.

                                                  "CHARLES A., YATTON."

Aubrey saw how it was--that Mrs. Aubrey had either affected to write in
her little son's name, or had actually guided his pen. On the outside
she had written in pencil--

     "Charles says, he hopes that you will answer his letter directly."

Aubrey's lip quivered, and his eyes filled with tears. Putting the
letters into his bosom, he rose and walked to and fro, with feelings
which cannot be described. The evening was very gloomy. Rain poured
down incessantly. He was the only person in that spacious and elegant
house, except the servants left in charge of it; and dreary and desolate
enough it appeared. He was but its nominal owner--their nominal master!
In order to save the post, he sat down to write home--(_home_! his heart
sank within him at the thought)--and informed Mrs. Aubrey and his sister
of the event for which his previous letters had prepared them; adding
that he should set off for Yatton by the mail of the ensuing night, and
that he was perfectly well. He also wrote a line or two, in large
printed characters, by way of answer to his little correspondent, his
son, towards whom--ah!--how his heart yearned! and having despatched his
packet, probably the last he should ever frank, he partook of a hasty
and slight dinner, and then resigned himself to deep meditation upon his
critical circumstances. He was perfectly aware of his precise position,
in point of law, namely, that he was safe in the possession of the
Yatton property, (with the exception of the trifle which was occupied by
Jolter, and had been the object of the action just determined,) till
another action should have been brought, directly seeking its recovery;
and that by forcing his opponent to bring such action, he might put him
to considerable risk of retaining his verdict, and thereby greatly
harass him, and ward off, indefinitely, the evil day from himself. By
these means he might secure time, possibly also, favorable terms for the
payment of the dreadful arrear of mesne profits, in which he stood
indebted to his successor. To this effect he had received several
intimations from Mr. Runnington, as upright and conscientious an adviser
as was to be found in the profession. But Mr. Aubrey had decided upon
his course; he had taken his ground, and intended to maintain it.
However sudden and unlooked-for had been the claim set up against him,
it had been deliberately and solemnly confirmed by the law of the land;
and he had no idea but of yielding to it a prompt and hearty obedience.
He resolved, therefore, to waste no time--to fritter away no energy in
feeble dalliance with trouble; but to face her boldly. He determined to
instruct Mr. Runnington, on the morrow, to write to his opponent's
solicitors, informing them that within three weeks' time, the estates at
Yatton would be delivered up to their client, Mr. Titmouse, and also to
arrange for the quickest possible disposal of his house in Grosvenor
Street, and his wines and his furniture, both there and at Yatton. He
resolved, moreover, to take forthwith the necessary steps for vacating
his seat in Parliament, by applying for the Stewardship of the Chiltern
Hundreds; and having determined on these arrangements, consequent upon
the adverse decision of the Court of King's Bench of that day, he
experienced the momentary relief and satisfaction of the seaman who has
completely prepared his vessel for the approaching storm. He felt,
indeed, relieved, for a while, from a dreadful pressure.

"And what, now, have I really to complain of?" said he to himself; "why
murmur presumptuously and vainly against the dispensations of
Providence? I thank God that I am still able to recognize His hand in
what has befallen me, and to believe that _He hath done all things
well_; that prosperity and adversity are equally, from Him, means of
accomplishing _His_ all-wise purposes! Is it for _me_, poor insect! to
question the goodness, the wisdom, or the justice of my Maker? I thank
God for the firm belief I have, that _He governs the world in
righteousness_, and that He has declared that He will protect and bless
those who sincerely endeavor to discover, and conform to His will
concerning them. He it was who placed me in my late condition of
prosperity and eminence; why should I fret, when He sees fit gently to
remove me from it, and place me in a different sphere of exertion and
suffering? If the dark heathen could spend a life in endeavoring to
steel his heart against the sense of suffering, and to look with
cheerless indifference upon the vicissitudes of life, shall I, a
Christian, shrink with impatience and terror from the first glimpse of
adversity? Even at the worst, how favored is my situation in comparison
of that of millions of my fellow-creatures? Shall I--may I not--lessen
my own sufferings, by the contemplation of those which the Almighty has
thought fit to inflict upon my brethren? What if I, and those whom I
love, were the subjects of direful disease--of vice--of dishonor? What
if I were the object of the just and universal contempt of mankind;
given up to a reprobate mind; miserable here, and without hope
hereafter? Here have I health, a loving family--have had the inestimable
advantages of education, and even now, in the imminent approach of
danger, am enabled to preserve, in some measure, a composure of feeling,
a resolution--which will support me, and those who are dearer to me than
life." Here his heart beat quickly, and he walked rapidly to and fro. "I
am confident that Providence will care for them! As for me, even in
sight of the more serious and startling peril which menaces me--what is
it to a Christian but a trial of his constancy? _There hath no
temptation taken you_, say the Scriptures written for our instruction,
_but such as is common to man_;[7] _but God is faithful, who will not
suffer you to be tempted above what ye are able, but will with the
temptation, also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it_."
This consolatory passage led Aubrey, in a calm and exalted mood of mind,
to meditate upon that picture of submission to manifold misfortune,
simple and sublime beyond all comparison or approach, drawn by the
pencil of one inspired with wisdom from on high--calculated at once to
solemnize, to strengthen, and elevate the heart and character of man;
and which is to be found in the first and second chapters of the _Book
of Job_. Oh reader! who, brilliant as may be at this moment your
position in life, may have been heretofore, or may be hereafter, placed
in circumstances of dreadful suffering and peril, suffer him whose
humble labors now for a moment occupy your attention, reverently to
refer you again and yet again, to that memorable passage of holy writ!
With danger surrounding him, with utter ruin staring him in the face,
Mr. Aubrey read this passage of Scripture; his shaken spirit gathered
from it calmness and consolation; and after a while, retiring early to
bed, he enjoyed a night of tranquil repose.

"These wretches are determined not to let the grass grow underneath
their feet, Mr. Aubrey," said Mr. Runnington, who, the next morning,
made his appearance at breakfast, pursuant to appointment; "within two
hours' time of the court's delivering judgment, yesterday afternoon, I
received the following communication." He handed to Mr. Aubrey this

                                      "_Saffron Hill, 25th April 18--._


                    "_Doe_ d. _Titmouse_ v. _Jolter_.

     "The rule for a new trial herein having been this day discharged,
     and the unanimous judgment of the court delivered in favor of the
     claims to the Yatton estate, of the lessor of the plaintiff, in the
     present action, we shall feel obliged by an intimation from you, at
     your earliest possible convenience, of the course which your client
     may think fit to adopt. You are, of course, aware that we are now
     in a situation to attack, successfully, the entire property at
     Yatton, at present in the possession of Mr. Aubrey; and that, had
     we thought fit, we might have sought and recovered it all in the
     action which has just been decided in favor of our client. It is
     now in our power greatly to _strengthen_ the evidence adduced at
     the late trial: and we beg to be informed whether it is your
     client's intention to put Mr. Titmouse to the enormous expense,
     and delay, of a second trial, the issue of which cannot be doubtful;
     or, with the promptitude and candor which are to be expected from
     a gentleman of the station and character of your client, at once
     to yield to our client the substantial fruits of his verdict.

     "If his reasonable wishes and expectations in this matter should be
     disregarded and frustrated, we would merely intimate that it will be
     for your client most seriously to weigh the consequences; to see
     whether such a line of conduct may not greatly prejudice his
     interests, and place him in a far worse position than, perhaps, he
     would otherwise have occupied. As we understand your client to be in
     town, we trust you will forgive us for requesting you immediately to
     communicate with him; and that at your earliest convenience you will
     enable us to announce the result to our client.--We are, gentlemen,
     your obedient servants,

                                                 "QUIRK, GAMMON, & SNAP.


"Well--I own I see nothing to find fault with," said Mr. Aubrey, calmly,
but with a suppressed sigh, as soon as he had read the letter.

"Rather quick work, too--is it not, Mr. Aubrey?--within an hour or two
after judgment pronounced in their favor:--but, to be sure, it's very
excusable, when you consider the line of business and the sort of
clients that Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap are accustomed to."

"I have made up my mind as to the course I shall adopt," said Mr.

"Oh, of course, that is quite clear!" said Mr. Runnington, pouring out
his coffee--"we shall stand another shot, and see if they've ammunition
enough left for the purpose: and we'll tender a bill of exceptions, and
carry the case into the Exchequer Chamber, and thence into the House of
Lords--ah! we'll _work_ them, I warrant them!"--and he rubbed his hands,
with a little excitement in his manner.

"Why, Mr. Runnington," answered Mr. Aubrey, gravely, "would it not be
wanton--most unconscientious--in me to put them to the expense and
anxiety of a second trial, when the whole case, on both sides, has been
fairly brought before both the court and the jury?"

"Good heavens, Mr. Aubrey!" exclaimed Mr. Runnington, with visible
amazement--"who ever heard of an estate of even one or two hundred
a-year being surrendered after one assault?"

"If it were ten thousand times ten thousand a-year, I would
submit--after such a trial as ours!" said Mr. Aubrey, calmly.

"How do we know what fraud and perjury may have been resorted to in
order to secure the late verdict, and which we may have the means of
exploding against the next trial? Ah, Mr. Aubrey, you don't know the
character of Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap in the profession; they
learn a fresh trick from every scoundrel, swindler, and thief, whose
case they undertake."

"I thought that fraud and perjury were never to be presumed, Mr.
Runnington! Besides, had we not the advantage of most eminent, acute,
and experienced counsel? How could it escape _them_?"

"I would only venture to remind you," said Mr. Runnington, firmly but
respectfully, "of the observations of the Attorney-General, at our last

"I thought I was unanswered, Mr. Runnington, though I did not feel at
liberty to press the matter," replied Mr. Aubrey, with a melancholy

"Excuse me, but we _must_ take the chance of a second trial," said Mr.

"I have decided upon the course I shall adopt," replied Mr. Aubrey,
calmly and determinedly--"I beg you, Mr. Runnington, to write this day
to the gentlemen upon the other side, and inform them that within three
weeks I shall be prepared to deliver up possession of Yatton."

"My dear sir!--Do I hear aright?" exclaimed Mr. Runnington, with some
agitation. "Deliver up possession of the estates? and within three
weeks? My ears are deceiving me!"

"That was what I said--or meant to say--Mr. Runnington," replied Mr.
Aubrey, rather peremptorily.

"I give you my honor, Mr. Aubrey, that in the whole course of my
practice I never heard of such a procedure!" said Mr. Runnington, with a
half-desperate air.

"And I shall further request you to state that the last quarter's rents
are in my banker's hands, and will be paid over to the order of Mr.

"Good gracious, Mr. Aubrey!" interrupted Mr. Runnington, with an air of
deep concern.

"I have well considered the position in which I am placed," said Mr.
Aubrey, with a serious air.

"It is very painful for me to mention the subject, Mr. Aubrey; but have
you adverted to the _mesne_ profits?"

"I have. It is, indeed, a very fearful matter: and I frankly own that I
see no way open before me, but to trust to the forbearance of"----

"Forbearance!--The _forbearance_ of Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap!! or
of any one counselled by them!"

"Why, what can I do? I might as well undertake to pay off the national
debt as the sum of sixty thousand pounds!"

"That's just the very thing," replied Mr. Runnington, with a dismayed

"Whatever honorable negotiation can effect, I leave it in your hands to
do. With reference to the time which may be allowed for liquidating this
frightful demand"--Mr. Aubrey changed color, but spoke with firmness--"I
must own this to be a matter which has occasioned me inexpressible
anxiety, Mr. Runnington. I really do not see what length of time will
enable me to discharge so vast a sum of money, or even to make any
sensible impression upon it. I am quite at the mercy of my enemies!"
Here both were silent for some time.

"At one time, I fancied that in a case so grievously hard as yours,"
said Mr. Runnington, with a sigh--"you might obtain relief from a Court
of Equity from the payment of the mesne profits, on the ground of your
total ignorance of the title of Titmouse; and I laid a case before the
most skilful lawyer in the Court of Chancery--but alas! the answer was
in the negative--that the court had no power whatever to deprive a man
of what he had proved to be his strict legal rights"----

"Nor can I, Mr. Runnington, see on what principle such an interference
could be supported![8] Besides--can I _entirely_ acquit myself of
negligence? Have I not been culpably forgetful of the suggestions which
you made to me at the time of my marriage settlement? No, no! I feel
myself bound hand and foot"----

At this moment a thundering appeal to the knocker of the door announced
an arrival; and presently the servant entered and stated that Lord
C---- had called, and was waiting in the library. After repeating two or
three directions to Mr. Runnington, Mr. Aubrey left him; and presently
entered the library, where Lord C---- was waiting to receive him. Lord
C---- was a middle-aged man, tall, of elegant person, with a very
handsome and intellectual countenance, and most winning address; he was
a thorough politician, and possessed of eloquence, immense practical
knowledge, and a commanding intellect. He was made for eminent office;
and got through the most complicated and harassing business with ease
and celerity. He had for several years entertained a sincere regard for
Mr. Aubrey, whom he considered to be a very rising man in the House of
Commons, and to have rendered him, on several occasions, special service
in debate. He had been much shocked to hear of the sudden misfortune
which had befallen Mr. Aubrey; and had now come to him with a sincere
desire to be of service; and also, not without a faint hope of
prevailing upon him to come down that evening, and support them in a
very close division. He was as kind-hearted a man as--a keen politician
_could_ be.

"I am really shocked beyond expression to hear all this," said he, after
Aubrey had, at his earnest request, explained the position in which he
was placed; the dreadful loss he had sustained, the still more dreadful
liabilities to which he was subject. "Really," exclaimed his Lordship,
"who can be safe? It might have happened to me--to any of us! Forgive
me, my dear Aubrey," he continued earnestly, "if I venture to express a
hope that at all events Mrs. Aubrey and your family are provided for,
and your very lovely sister; they, I trust, are out of the reach of
inconvenience?" Mr. Aubrey's lips quivered, and he remained silent.

"Allow me a friend's freedom, Aubrey, and let me repeat my question; are
your family provided for?"

"I will be frank, Lord C----," replied Mr. Aubrey, with a strong effort
to preserve his composure. "The little provision which had been made for
them, is lost, with Yatton; but for them--my wife, my children, my
sister--I could have submitted to this misfortune with unshrinking
fortitude; but they are, alas, involved in my ruin! My wife had nothing
when I married her; and of course the settlements I made on her were out
of the Yatton property; as also was the little income left my sister by
my father. With Yatton all is gone--that is the plain fact; and there is
no disguising it."

Lord C---- seemed much moved.

"The Duke of ----, I, and two or three other of your friends, were
talking about these matters last night; we wish we could serve you. What
is the sort of foreign service you would prefer, Aubrey?"

"_Foreign_ service?" echoed Mr. Aubrey, significantly.

"Yes; an entire change of scene would be highly serviceable in diverting
your thoughts from the distressing subjects which here occupy them, and
must continue to occupy them for some time to come. Can there be a doubt
of it?"

"It is very kindly meant, Lord C----; but do you really think I can for
a single moment entertain the idea of quitting the country to escape
from pecuniary liability?"

"That's the point, exactly; I decidedly think you ought to do so; that
you _must_," replied Lord C----, in a matter-of-fact manner.

"Nothing upon earth shall induce me to do so," replied Mr. Aubrey,
firmly. "The bare idea shocks me. It would be the meanest, most
unprincipled conduct--it would reflect disgrace on the king's service."

"Poh--this is mere eccentricity--knight-errantry; I'm sure that when you
are in a calmer mood you will think differently. Upon my honor, I never
heard of such absurdity as yours, in my life. Are you to stay at home,
to have your hands tied behind your back, and be thrust into prison--to
court destruction for yourself and your family?" Mr. Aubrey turned aside
his head, and remained silent.

"I must plead in favor of Mrs. Aubrey--your children--your sweet lovely
sister;--good God! it's quite shocking to think of what you are bringing
them to."

"You torture my feelings, Lord C----," said Mr. Aubrey, tremulously and
very pale; "but you do not convince my judgment. Every dictate of
conscience and honor combines to assure me that I should not listen to
your proposal."

"Good God! what an outrage on common sense!--But has anything been yet
said on the subject of these liabilities--these _mesne_ profits, as I
think you said they are called?"

"Nothing; but they follow as a matter of course."

"How is it that you owe _only_ sixty thousand pounds, Aubrey?"

"_Only_ sixty thousand!" echoed Mr. Aubrey, amazedly.

"At the rate of ten thousand a-year, you must have had at least a
hundred thousand pounds of the money belonging to your successor"----

"The statute of limitations prevents more than six years' arrears being

"But do you intend, Aubrey, to avail yourself of such a protection
against the just claims of this poor, unfortunate, ill-used gentleman?
Are not the remaining forty thousand pounds justly due--money of his
which you have been making away with? Will you let a mere technical rule
of law outweigh the dictates of honor and conscience?"

"I really don't exactly understand your drift, Lord C----," said Mr.
Aubrey, coloring visibly.

"Well--I will explain. Your sovereign has a right to command your
services; and, by obeying him and serving your country, you are enabled
to prevent a malignant opponent from ruining you and your family, by
extorting a vast sum of money not equitably due: I protest I see no
difference in principle, Aubrey, between availing yourself of the
statute of limitations, and of the call of the king to foreign
service;--but we must talk of this again. By the way, what is the name
of your worthy opponent? Tittlemouse, or some such strange name?"

"Titmouse!--By the way, you lose a seat for Yatton," said Aubrey, with a
faint smile.

Lord C---- pricked up his ears. "Ay, ay! how's that?"

"The gentleman whom you have named professes, I understand, Liberal
principles; probably he will sit for the borough himself; at all events,
he will return the member."

"He's a poor ignorant creature, isn't he? What has made him take up with
Liberal principles? By taking a little notice of him early, one
might--eh?--influence him;--but--of course you don't intend to vacate
this session?"

"I intend this day to apply for the Chiltern Hundreds; and this evening,
if you like, a new writ may be moved for the borough of Yatton."

"You _must_ come down to-night, my dear Aubrey, you really must," said
Lord C----, with undisguised anxiety--with more than he had shown during
the interview. "The numbers will run very close; they are stirring
heaven and earth!--Good heavens! my dear Aubrey, a vote's invaluable
to-night;--gad, you _sha'n't_ have the Chiltern Hundreds;[9] you mustn't
really apply for it--at all events, not till to-morrow."

"I shall sit no more in the House of Commons," said Mr. Aubrey, with a
sad determined air; "besides, I leave for Yatton by to-night's mail.
There are those waiting for me whom you would not have me disappoint,
Lord C----!"

"Not for worlds, my dear Aubrey," replied Lord C----, half absently. He
was intensely disappointed at not obtaining Mr. Aubrey's vote that
evening; and rose to go.

"Then I am to direct to Yatton, when I may have occasion to write to
you?" said he.

"For the next three weeks only--my movements after that period are not
yet fixed."

"Adieu, Aubrey; and I entreat of you to remember me most
sincerely to Mrs. Aubrey and your sister; and when you look at
them,--recollect--pray, recollect our conversation of to-day."

With this Lord C---- took his departure, and left poor Aubrey much
depressed. He quickly, however, roused himself, and occupied the
principal part of the day in making the necessary and melancholy
arrangements for breaking up his establishment in Grosvenor Street, and
disposing of his wines, books, and furniture at Yatton. He also
instructed a house-agent to look out for two or three respectable but
small houses in the outskirts of town, out of which might be chosen the
one appearing most suitable to himself and Mrs. Aubrey, on their arrival
in London. About eight o'clock he got into the York mail, and his heart
was heavy within him.


The result of a very long consultation between Mr. Runnington and his
partners, held on the day after his last interview with Mr. Aubrey, was,
that he drew up the following draft of a letter, addressed to Messrs.
Quirk, Gammon, and Snap:--

                                     "_Lincoln's Inn, 26th April 18--._


                    "_Doe_ d. _Titmouse_ v. _Jolter_.

     "In answer to your letter of yesterday, (the 25th inst.,) we beg to
     inform you, that after the judgment in this cause pronounced
     yesterday in the Court of King's Bench, our client, Mr. Aubrey,
     does not intend to resist the claim of Mr. Titmouse to the residue
     of the Yatton property. We now, therefore, beg to give you notice,
     that on the 17th of next month you will be at liberty, on behalf of
     your client, Mr. Titmouse, to take possession of all the property
     at Yatton, at present in the possession of Mr. Aubrey. The whole of
     the last quarter's rents, due at Ladyday, have been paid into the
     bank of Messrs. Harley at Grilston, and will, on the day above
     mentioned, be placed at the disposal of your client.

     "We are also instructed to request the delivery of your bill at as
     early a period as may suit your convenience, with a view to its
     immediate examination and settlement.

     "We cannot forbear adding, while thus implicitly following the
     instructions of our client, our very great surprise and regret at
     the course which he has thought fit to adopt; since we have the
     strongest reasons for believing, that had he been disposed to
     contest your client's claim farther, in accordance with advice
     received from a high quarter, his case would have been materially
     strengthened, and your difficulties greatly increased,
     and rendered, in fact, absolutely insuperable. We feel confident
     that the magnanimity displayed by our client, will be duly
     appreciated by _yours_.

               "We are, Gentlemen, your obedient servants,

                                                    "RUNNINGTON & CO.


"Really," said Mr. Runnington, when he had read over the above to his
partners, "I _must_ throw in a word or two about those accursed mesne
profits--yet it's a very ticklish subject, especially with such people
as these--eh?"

One partner shook his head, and the other looked very thoughtful.

"We must not compromise Mr. Aubrey," said the former of the two.

"We have had no instructions on that point," said the latter,--"on the
contrary, you told us yourself that your instructions were to announce
an unconditional surrender."

"That may be; but in so desperate a business as this, I do think we have
a discretion to exercise on behalf of himself and family, which I must
say, he seems quite incapable of exercising himself. Nay, upon my honor,
I think we are _bound_ not to forego the slightest opportunity of
securing an advantage for our client in this unrighteous claim!"

His partners seemed struck with his observation; and Mr. Runnington,
after a few moments' consideration, added the following postscript:--

     "P. S.--As to the _mesne profits_, by the way, of course we
     anticipate no difficulty in effecting an amicable arrangement
     satisfactory to both parties, due consideration being had for the
     critical position in which our client finds himself placed so
     suddenly and unexpectedly. Indeed, it is not difficult to conceive
     that Mr. Aubrey, in taking the step of which we have above
     advised you, must have contemplated"----(here Mr. Runnington paused
     for a considerable time,) "being met in a similar frank, liberal,
     and equitable spirit."

It was agreed, at length, that the whole amount and effect of the above
postscript ought to be regarded as a spontaneous suggestion of Messrs.
Runnington, not in any way implicating, or calculated in any event to
annoy, Mr. Aubrey; and a fair copy of the letter and postscript having
been made, it was signed by the head of the firm, and forthwith
despatched to Saffron Hill.

"Struck, by Jove, Gammon!" exclaimed Mr. Quirk, as, with the above
letter open in his hands, he hurried, the instant after he had read it,
into the room of his wily partner, and threw it down exultingly before
him. Gammon read it with apparent calmness, but a slight flush
overspread his cheek; and, as he finished the perusal, a subdued smile
of excitement and triumph stole over his acute and placid countenance.

"Lord, Gammon! isn't it glorious?" quoth Mr. Quirk, heatedly, rubbing
his hands together; "give us your hand, friend Gammon! We've fought a
precious hard battle together"--and he shook his partner's hand with
vehement cordiality. "This fellow Aubrey is a trump--isn't he?--Egad, if
I'd been in his shoes--one way or another, I'd have stuck at Yatton for
a dozen years to come--ah, ha!"

"Yes, I am sure you would--if you had been able," replied Gammon, dryly,
and with a smile--the real character of which was not perceived by Mr.

"Ay, that I would," replied he, with a triumphant chuckle--"but now to
come to business. By next quarter-day Titmouse will have £5,000 in hard
cash--half of it on the 17th of next month.--Lord! what have we done for
him!" he added with a sort of sigh.

"We've put an ape into possession of Paradise--that's all"--said Gammon,
absently and half aloud, and bitterly and contemptuously.

"Humph!--what of that?" said Mr. Quirk--"It answers _our_ purposes, at
any rate! By the way, Gammon, you see what's said about our bill--eh?
The sooner it's made out the better, I should say--and--ahem!
hem!--while Mr. Aubrey's on the tight rope he won't think of looking
down at the particular items, will he? I should say, _now's_ our time;
and we should strike while the iron's hot! I've got _rather_ a stiff
entry, I can assure you. I must say Snap's done his duty; and _I've_ not
had my eyes shut--or my pen idle! You know one _must_ live in these hard
times--eh?" Here Mr. Quirk winked very knowingly.

"You must not _overdo_ it, Mr. Quirk--but all that I leave, as usual, to
your admirable management, as to that of a first-rate man of business.
You know I'm a sad hand at accounts; but you and Snap are perfect
adepts--in short, I'm satisfied you'll do all that should be done."

"Ay, ay, trust us!" interrupted Quirk, quickly, with a significant nod,
and fancying himself and Snap already at work, plundering the poor
Aubreys. "And, by the way, Gammon, there are the mesne profits--that's a
mighty fine postscript of theirs, isn't it?" and replacing his
spectacles, he read it over aloud. "All my eye, of course!" he added, as
he laid down the letter--"but I suppose one must give 'em a little time;
it _is_ a little hard on him just at present; but then, to be sure,
that's _his_ look-out--not ours, or Titmouse's!--Off-hand, I should say
we ought to be content with--say--twenty thousand down, and the rest
within two years, so as to give him time to look about him a little"----

"That will be quite an after consideration," said Mr. Gammon, who, for
the last few minutes, had appeared lost in thought.

"Egad--an _after_ consideration? Hang me if I think so, Gammon! There's
a certain _bond_--eh? don't you recollect"----

"I assure you, Mr. Quirk, that my eye is fixed quite as steadily and
anxiously on that point as yours," said Gammon, gravely.

"Thank you--thank you, Gammon!" replied Quirk, with the air of a man
suddenly relieved from apprehension--"it couldn't possibly be in better
hands. Lud--to go wrong _there_! It would send me to my grave at a hand
gallop--it would, so help me Heaven, Gammon!--Titmouse--by the way--is a
queer hand to deal with--isn't he? Wasn't he strange and bumptious the
other day? Egad, it made me quake! Need we tell him, just yet," he
dropped his voice, "of the letter we've got? Couldn't we safely say only
that they have sent us word that we shall have Yatton by the 17th of
next month?"

"Very great caution is necessary, Mr. Quirk, just now"----

"You _don't_ think the young scamp's going to turn round on us, and snap
his fingers in our face, eh?" inquired Mr. Quirk, apprehensively,
violently twirling about his watch-key.

"If you leave him implicitly to me, you shall get all you want," replied
Gammon, very gravely, and very pointedly. Quirk's color changed a
little, as he felt the keen gray eye of Gammon fixed upon him, and he
involuntarily shrank under it.

"You'll excuse me, Gammon," at length said he, with rather a disturbed
air; "but there's no fathoming you, when you get into one of your
mysterious humors; and you always look so particularly strange whenever
we get on this subject! What can you know that I don't--or _ought_ not
to know?"

"Nothing--nothing, I assure you," replied Gammon, with a gay smile.

"Well, I should have _thought_ not. But, coming back to the main point,
if one could but _touch_ some part of that same ten thousand pounds, I
_should_ be a happy man!--Consider Gammon, what a draught there has been
on my purse for this last sixteen months! Ecod!--the sleepless nights it
has cost me!"

"Well, can you doubt being soon richly repaid, my dear sir? Only don't
be too hasty."

"I take it, Gammon, we've a lien on the rents now in the banker's hands,
and to become due next quarter-day, and on the first instalment of the
mesne profits, both for our bill of costs, and in respect of that same

"Mesne profits, Mr. Quirk?" echoed Gammon, rather quickly; "you seem to
take it for granted that they are all ready to be paid over! Even
supposing Titmouse not to grow restive, do you suppose it probable that
Mr. Aubrey, after so vast and sudden a sacrifice, can have more than a
very few thousands--probably hundreds--to keep him and his family from
immediate want, since we have reason to believe he has got no other
resources than Yatton?"

"Not got 'em--not got 'em? D--n him! then he must look sharp and _get_
'em, that's all! You know we can't be trifled with; we must look after
the interests of--Titmouse. And what's he to start with, if there's no
mesne profits forthcoming? But, hang it! they must; I should say a
gentle pressure, by-and-by, as soon as Aubrey's fairly got out of
Yatton, must produce money, or _security_--he must know quantities of
people of rank and substance that would rush forward, if they once heard
him squeal"----

"Ah, you're for putting the thumbscrews on at once--eh?" inquired
Gammon, with subdued energy, and a very strange sort of smile.

"Ay--capital--that's _just_ what I meant!"--quoth Quirk.

"Eugh! you heartless old reprobate!" thought Gammon, nearly on the point
of expressing as much; but his momentary excitement passed off
unobserved by Mr. Quirk. "And, I must say, I agree with you," added
Gammon, calmly, "we ought in justice to see you first reimbursed your
very heavy outlays, Mr. Quirk."

"Well, that's honorable, Gammon.--Oh, Gammon, how I _wish_ you would let
me make a friend of you!" suddenly added Mr. Quirk, eying wistfully his
surprised companion.

"If you have one sincere, disinterested friend in the world, Mr. Quirk,
I am he," said Mr. Gammon, throwing great warmth into his manner,
perceiving that Mr. Quirk was laboring with some communication of which
he wished to deliver himself.

"Gammon, Gammon! how I _wish_ I could think so!" replied Quirk, looking
earnestly, yet half distrustingly, at Gammon, and fumbling about his
hands in his pockets. The mild and friendly expression of Gammon's
countenance, however, invited communicativeness; and after softly
opening and shutting the two doors, to ascertain that no one was trying
to overhear what might be passing, he returned to his chair, which he
drew closer to Gammon, who noticed this air of preparation with not a
little curiosity.

"I may be wrong, Gammon," commenced Mr. Quirk, in a low tone; "but I do
believe you've always felt a kind of personal friendship towards me; and
there ought to be no secrets among friends. _Friends_, indeed? Perhaps
it's premature to mention so small a matter; but at a certain
silversmith's, not a thousand miles from the Strand, there's at this
moment in hand, as a present from me to you"--(Oh dear, dear! Mr. Quirk!
what a shocking untruth! and at your advanced period of life, too!)--"as
elegant a gold snuff-box as can be made, with a small inscription on the
lid. I hope you won't value it the less for its being the gift of old
Caleb Quirk"----he paused and looked earnestly at Mr. Gammon.

"My dear Mr. Quirk, you have taken me," said his bland partner,
apparently with great emotion, "quite by surprise. Value it? I will
preserve it to the latest moment of my life, as a memorial of one whom
the more I know of, the more I respect and admire!"

"You, Gammon, are in your prime--scarce even that--but I am growing
old"----tears appeared to glisten in the old gentleman's eyes; Gammon,
looking much moved, shook him cordially by the hand in silence,
wondering what upon earth was coming next. "Yes;--old Caleb Quirk's day
is drawing to a close--I feel it, Gammon, I feel it! But I shall leave
behind me--a--a--child--an only daughter, Gammon;" that gentleman gazed
at the speaker with an expression of respectful sympathy;--"Dora: I
don't think you can have known Dora so long, Gammon, without feeling a
_leetle_ interest in her!" Here Gammon's color mounted rapidly; and he
looked with feelings of a novel description at his senior partner. Could
it be possible that old Quirk wished to bring about a match between his
daughter and Mr. Gammon? That gentleman's thoughts were for a moment
confused. All he could do was to bow with an earnest--an anxious--a
deprecating air; and Mr. Quirk, rather hastily, proceeded,--"and when I
assure you, Gammon, that it is in your power to make an old friend and
his only daughter happy and proud,"--Gammon began to draw his breath
hurriedly, and to look more and more apprehensively at his senior
partner,--"in short, my dear friend Gammon, let me out with it at
once--my daughter's over head and ears in love with Titmouse! She is, so
help me Heaven!"

["Whew!" thought Gammon, suddenly and infinitely relieved.]

"Ah, my dear sir, is that all?" he exclaimed, and shook Mr. Quirk
cordially by the hand,--"at length you have made a friend of me indeed!
But, to tell you the truth, I have long suspected as much; I have

"Have you really? Hang me if anything can escape your lynx's
eyes!--Well! there _is_ no accounting for tastes, is there?--especially
among the women? Poor Dora's quite lost her heart--quite--she has--so
help me Heaven!" continued Mr. Quirk, energetically.

"Well, my dear sir, and why this _surprise_?" inquired Gammon,
earnestly. "I consider Titmouse to be a very handsome young fellow; and
that he is already rapidly acquiring very gentlemanly manners; and as to
his _fortune_--really--when one thinks of the thing--it would be most
desirable to bring it about! Indeed, the sooner his heart's fixed, and
his word's pledged, the better--for you must of course be aware that
there will be many schemers on the look-out to entrap his frank and
inexperienced nature--look, for instance, at Tag-rag."

"Eugh!" exclaimed Mr. Quirk, with a sudden motion of sickening
disgust--"the old beast! I smoked him long ago! Now, _that_ I call
villany, Gammon; infernal villany! Don't you?"

"Indeed, indeed, Mr. Quirk, I do; I quite agree with you! Upon my honor,
I think it is a part of even _my_ duty towards our confiding and
inexperienced client, if possible, to protect him against such infamous

"Right--right, Gammon; by Jove, you're quite right--I _quite_ agree
with you!" replied Quirk, earnestly, not observing the lambent smile
upon the features of his calm, crafty, and sarcastic companion.

"You see, however," said Gammon, "we've a very delicate and difficult
game to play with old Tag-rag. He's certainly a toad, ugly and
venomous--but then he's got a jewel in his head--he's got money, you
know, and, to serve _our_ purposes, we must really give him some hopes
about his daughter and Titmouse."

"Faugh! eugh! feugh! Nasty wretch! a little trollop! It makes one sick
to hear of her! And, by the way, now we're on that subject, Gammon, what
do we want of this wretch Tag-rag, now that Titmouse has actually got
the property?"

"Want of him? Money--security, my dear sir!--money!"

"But, curse me! (excuse me, Gammon,) why go to Tag-rag? _That's_ what I
can't understand! Surely any one will advance almost any amount of money
to Titmouse, with such security as he can now give!"

"Very possibly--probably"----

"Possibly? Why, I myself don't mind advancing him five thousand--nay,
ten thousand pounds--when we've once got hold of the title-deeds."

"My dear sir," interrupted Gammon, calmly, but with a very serious air,
and a slight change of color which did not happen to attract the notice
of his eager companion, "there are reasons why I should dissuade you
from doing so; upon my word there are; farther than that I do not think
it necessary to go; but I have gone far enough, I know well, to do you a
real service."

Mr. Quirk listened to all this with an air of the utmost amazement--even
open-mouthed amazement. "What reason, Gammon, _can_ there be against my
advancing money on a security worth at least twenty times the sum
borrowed?" he inquired with visible distrust of his companion.

"I can but assure you, that were I called upon to say whether I would
advance a serious sum of money to Titmouse on the security of the Yatton
estates, I should at all events require a most substantial _collateral_

"Mystery again!" exclaimed Mr. Quirk, a sigh of vexation escaping him.
"You'll excuse me, Gammon, but you'd puzzle an angel, to say nothing of
the devil! May I presume for one moment, so far on our personal and
professional relationship, as to ask what the reason is on which your
advice rests?"

"Mere caution--excessive caution--anxiety to place you out of the way of
all risk. Surely, is your borrower so soon to be pronounced firm in the

"If you know anything, Gammon, that I don't, it's your bounden duty to
communicate it! _Look at our articles!_"

"It is; _but do I_ know anything! Prove that, Mr. Quirk, and you need
trouble yourself no more!--but, in the mean while, (without saying how
much I feel hurt at your evident distrust,) I have but a word or two
further to add on this point."

When Mr. Gammon chose, he could assume an expression of feature, a tone
of voice, and a manner which indicated to the person he was addressing,
that he was announcing a matured opinion, an inflexible
determination--and this, moreover, in the calmest, quietest way
imaginable. Thus it was that he now said to Mr. Quirk, "My opinion is,
that you should get _some third party_ or parties to advance any
required sum, and prevail upon Tag-rag to join in a collateral security,
without--if possible--making him aware of the extent of liability he is
incurring. By exciting him with the ridiculous notion of an attachment
between his daughter and Titmouse, he may be induced to give his
signature, as to some complimentary matter of form only--Now, that's my
opinion, Mr. Quirk; not lightly or hastily formed; and it rests upon a
deep feeling of personal regard towards you, and also our common

Mr. Quirk had listened to this communication in perturbed silence, eying
the speaker with a ludicrous expression of mingled chagrin,
apprehension, and bewilderment. "Gammon," at length said he, affecting a
smile, "do you remember, when you, and I, and Dora, went to the play to
see some German thing or other--Foss was the name, wasn't it?"

"Faust--Faust," interrupted Gammon, curiously.

"Well; and now, what was the name of that fellow that was
always--Meph--Meph--what was it?"

"Mephistopheles," replied Gammon, unable to repress a smile.

"Ah--yes! so it was. That's all; I only wanted to think of the name--I'd
forgotten it. I beg your pardon, Gammon."

This was poor Mr. Quirk's way of being very sarcastic with his friend.
He thought that he had now cut him to the very quick.

"If it hadn't been for what's passed between us to-day, Gammon, I should
almost begin to think that you were not sincere in your friendship"----

"Did I ever deceive you? Did I ever attempt to overreach you in
anything, Mr. Quirk?"

"N--o--o--," replied Mr. Quirk--but not in the readiest manner, or most
confident tone in the world,--"I certainly can't say I ever found you
out--but I'll tell you what, we each keep a precious sharp look-out
after each other, too--don't we?" he inquired with a faint smile, which
seemed for a moment reflected upon the face of Gammon.

"How long," said the latter, "I am to be the subject of such unkind
suspicions, I do not know; but your nature is suspicious; and as every
one has his fault, that is the alloy in the otherwise pure gold of your
manly, generous, and straightforward character. Time may show how you
have wronged me. My anxious wish is, Mr. Quirk, to witness your daughter
occupying a position in which we may all be proud to see her." Here a
smile shot across Quirk's anxious countenance, like evening sunshine on
troubled waters.

"I do really believe, Gammon," said he, eagerly, "that Dora's just the
kind of girl to suit Titmouse"----

"So indeed, my dear sir, do I. There's a mingled softness and spirit in
Miss Quirk"----

"She's a good girl, a good girl, Gammon! I hope he'll use her well if he
gets her." His voice trembled. "She's got very much attached to him!
Gad, she's quite altered lately; and my sister tells me that she's
always playing dismal music when he's not there. But we can talk over
these matters at another time. Gad, Gammon, you can't think how it's
relieved me, to open my mind to you on this matter! We quite understand
each other _now_, Gammon--eh?"

"Quite," replied Gammon, pointedly; and Mr. Quirk having quitted the
room, the former prepared to answer Messrs. Runnington's letter. But
first he leaned back, and reflected on several points of their late
conversation. Of course, he had resolved that Miss Quirk should never
become Mrs. Titmouse! And what struck him as not a little singular was
this; viz. that Mr. Quirk should have made no observation on the
circumstance that Gammon allowed him to risk his daughter, and her all,
upon chances which he pronounced too frail to warrant advancing a
thousand or two of money! Yet so it was.

This was the answer he presently wrote to the letter of Messrs.

                                     "_Saffron Hill, 26th April 18--._


                      "_Doe_ d. _Titmouse_ v. _Jolter_.

     "We are favored with your letter of this day's date; and beg to
     assure you how very highly we appreciate the prompt and honorable
     course which has been taken by your client, under circumstances
     calculated to excite the greatest possible commiseration. Every
     expression of respectful sympathy, on our parts, and on that of our
     client, Mr. Titmouse, which you may think fit to convey to your
     distinguished client, is his.

     "We shall be prepared to receive possession of the Yatton estates
     on the day you mention--namely, the 17th May next, on behalf of our
     client, Mr. Titmouse; on whose behalf, also, we beg to thank you
     for your communication concerning the last quarter's rents.

     "With reference to the question of the mesne profits, we cannot
     doubt that your client will promptly pursue the same line of
     honorable conduct which he has hitherto adopted; and sincerely
     trust that a good understanding in this matter will speedily exist
     between our respective clients.

     "As you have intimated a wish upon the subject, we beg to inform
     you that we have given instructions for making out and delivering
     our bill herein.

                              "We are, Gentlemen,
                                    "Your obedient humble servants,
                                               "QUIRK, GAMMON, & SNAP.


Having finished writing the above letter, Gammon sat back in his chair,
with folded arms, and entered upon a long train of thought--revolving
many matters which were worthy of the profound consideration they then

When Gammon and Titmouse returned to town from York, they were fortunate
in having the inside of the coach to themselves for nearly the whole of
the way--an opportunity which Gammon improved to the utmost, by
deepening the impression he had already made in the mind of Titmouse,
of the truth of one great fact--namely, that he and his fortunes would
quickly part company, if Gammon should at any time so will--which never
would, however, come to pass, as long as Titmouse recognized and
deferred to the authority of Gammon in all things. In vain did Titmouse
inquire how this could be. Gammon was impenetrable, mysterious,
authoritative; and at length enjoined Titmouse to absolute secrecy
concerning the existence of the fact in question, on pain of the
infliction of those consequences to which I have already alluded. Gammon
assured him that there were many plans and plots hatching against him
(Titmouse;) but that it was in his (Gammon's) power to protect him from
them all. Gammon particularly enjoined him, moreover, to consult the
feelings, and attend to the suggestions of Mr. Quirk, wherever Mr.
Gammon did not intimate to the contrary; and wound up all by telling
him, that as he, Gammon, was the only person on earth--and this he
really believed to be the case, as the reader may hereafter see--who
knew the exact position of Titmouse, so he had devoted himself for his
life to the advancing and securing the interests of that fortunate

For about a fortnight after their return, Titmouse, at Gammon's
instance, continued at his former lodgings; but at length complained so
earnestly of their dismal quietude, and of their being out of the way of
"_life_," that Gammon yielded to his wishes, and, together with Mr.
Quirk, consented to his removing to a central spot--in fact, to the
CABBAGE-STALK HOTEL, Covent Garden--a queer enough name, to be sure; but
it was the family name of a great wholesale green-grocer, who owned most
of the property thereabouts. It was not without considerable uneasiness
and anxiety that Messrs. Quirk and Snap beheld this change of residence,
apprehensive that it might have the effect of estranging Titmouse from
them; but since Gammon assented to it, they had nothing for it but to
acquiesce, considering Titmouse's proximity to his splendid
independence. They resolved, however, as far as in each of them lay, not
to let themselves be forgotten by Titmouse. Pending the rule for the new
trial, Mr. Quirk had been so confident concerning the issue, that he
greatly increased the allowance of Titmouse; to an extent, indeed, which
admitted of his entering into almost all the gayeties that his as yet
scarce initiated heart could desire. In the first place, he constantly
added to his wardrobe. Then he took lessons, every other day, in "the
noble art of self-defence;" which gave him an opportunity of forming,
with great ease, at once an extensive and brilliant circle of
acquaintance. Fencing-rooms, wrestling-rooms, shooting-galleries, places
for pigeon-shooting, cock-fighting, dog-fighting, and billiard-rooms;
the water, and boat-racing--these were the dazzling scenes which
occupied the chief portion of each day. Then, in the evenings, there
were theatres, great and small, the various taverns, and other places of
nocturnal resort, which are the secret pride and glory of the
metropolis. In addition to this, at an advanced period of the night, or
rather very early hour in the morning, he sedulously strove to perfect
himself in those higher arts and accomplishments, formerly excelled in
by one or two of the more eminent of the youthful aristocracy, viz.
breaking windows, pulling bells, wrenching off knockers,[10]
extinguishing lamps, tripping up old women, watchmen, and children, and
spoiling their clothes;--ah, how often in his humbler days, had his
heart panted in noble rivalry of such feats as these, and emulation of
the notoriety which they earned for the glittering miscreants excelling
in them! Ah, Titmouse, Titmouse! Now is your time! _Macte novâ virtute,

That he could long frequent such scenes as these without forming an
extensive and varied acquaintance, would be a very unlikely thing to
suppose; and there was one who would fain have joined him in his new
adventures--one who, as I have already intimated, had initiated him into
the scenes with which he was now becoming so familiar; I mean Snap, who
had been at once his

    "Guide, philosopher, and friend;"

but who now had fewer and fewer opportunities of associating with him,
inasmuch as his (Snap's) nose was continually "kept at the grindstone"
in Saffron Hill, to compensate for the lack of attention to the business
of the office of his senior partners, owing to their incessant
occupation with the affairs of Titmouse. Still, however, he now and then
contrived to remind Titmouse of his (Snap's) existence, by sending him
intimations of interesting trials at the Old Bailey and elsewhere, and
securing him a good seat to view both the criminal and the
spectators--often persons of the greatest rank, fashion, and beauty; for
so it happened that, in this country, the more hideous the crime, the
more intense the curiosity of the upper classes of both sexes to witness
the miscreant perpetrator; the more disgusting the details, the greater
the avidity with which they are listened to by the distinguished
auditors;--the reason being plain, that, as they have exhausted the
pleasures and excitements afforded by their own sphere of action and
enjoyment, their palled and sated appetites require novel and more
powerful stimulants. Hence, at length, we see "fashionables" peopling
even the condemned cell--rushing, in excited groups, after the
shuddering malefactor, staggering, half palsied, and with horror-laden
eye, on his way to the gallows! As soon as old Quirk had obtained an
inkling of Titmouse's taste in these matters, he afforded him many
opportunities of gratifying it. Once or twice the old gentleman
succeeded in obtaining for him, even the gratification of shaking the
cold and pinioned hands of wretches within a few minutes' time of their
being led out for execution!

This is a brief and general account of the way in which Titmouse passed
his time, and laid the groundwork of that solid, extensive, and
practical acquaintance with men and things, which was requisite to
enable him to occupy with dignity and advantage the splendid station to
which he was on the point of being elevated.

But let us not lose sight of our early and interesting friends, the
Tag-rags--a thing which both Quirk and Gammon resolved should not happen
to Titmouse: for, on the very first Sunday after his arrival in town
from York, a handsome glass-coach might have been seen, about two
o'clock in the afternoon, drawing up opposite to the gates of Satin
Lodge; from which said coach, the door having been opened, presently
descended Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Titmouse. Now, the Tag-rags always
dined at about two o'clock on Sundays; and, on the present occasion,
Mr., Mrs., and Miss Tag-rag, together with a pretty constant visitor,
the Reverend Dismal Horror, were sitting at their dinner-table
discussing as savory a leg of roast pork, with apple-sauce, as could at
once have tempted and satisfied the most fastidious and the most
indiscriminating appetite.

"Oh, ma!" exclaimed Miss Tag-rag, faintly, changing color, as she caught
sight, through the blinds, of the approaching visitors--"if there isn't
Mr. Titmouse!" and almost dropping on the table her plate, in which,
with an air of tender gallantry, pious Mr. Horror was in the act of
depositing some greens, she flew out of the room, darted up-stairs, and
in a trice was standing, with beating heart, before her glass, hastily
twirling her ringlets round her trembling fingers, and making one or two
slight alterations in her dress. Her papa and mamma started up at the
same moment, hastily wiping their mouths on the corners of the
table-cloth; and, after a hurried apology to their reverend and
astounded guest, whom they begged "to go on eating till they came
back"--they bounced into the little drawing-room, in just time enough to
appear (as they thought) to have been seated there for some time; but
they were both rather red in the face, and flustered in their manner.
Yet, how abortive was their attempt to disguise the truly disgraceful
fact of their having been at dinner when their distinguished visitors
arrived! For, firstly, the house was redolent of the odors of roast
pork, sage and onion stuffing, and greens; secondly, the red-faced
servant girl was peering round the corner of the kitchen stairs, as if
watching an opportunity to whip off a small dinner tray that stood
between the dining-room and drawing-room; and thirdly, the visitors
caught a glimpse of the countenance of the reverend young guest, who was
holding open the dining-room door just wide enough to enable him to see
who passed on to the drawing-room; for, in truth, the name which had
escaped from the lips of Miss Tag-rag, was one which always excited
unpleasant feelings in the breast of her spiritual-minded friend.

"Ah! Mr. and Mrs. Tag-rag! 'Pon my soul--glad to see you--and--hope
you're all well?" commenced Titmouse, with an air of easy confidence and
grace. Mr. Gammon calmly introduced himself and Mr. Quirk.

"We were just going to sit down to--_lunch_," said Mr. Tag-rag,

"You won't take a little, will you, gentlemen?" inquired Mrs. Tag-rag,
faintly; and both the worthy couple felt infinite relief on being
assured that the great people "had already lunched." Neither Mr. nor
Mrs. Tag-rag could take their eyes off Mr. Titmouse, whose easy
nonchalance convinced them that he must have been keeping the society
of lords. He was just inquiring--as he ran his hand through his hair,
and gently smacked his slight ebony cane against his leg--after Miss
Tag-rag, when, pale and agitated, and holding in her hand a
pocket-handkerchief, which she had first suffused with musk and
bergamot, designed to overcome so much of the vulgar odor of dinner as
might be lingering about _her_--that interesting young lady entered.
Titmouse rose and received her in a familiar, forward manner; she
turning white and red by turns. She looked such a shrivelled little ugly
formal creature, that Titmouse conceived quite a hatred of her, through
recollecting that he had once thought such an inferior piece of goods
superfine! Old Quirk and Tag-rag, every now and then, cast distrustful
glances at each other; but Gammon kept all in a calm flow of small talk,
which at length restored those whom they had come to see, to something
like self-possession. As for Mr. Quirk, the more he looked at Miss
Tag-rag, the more pride and satisfaction he felt in reflecting upon the
unfavorable contrast she must present, in Titmouse's eyes, to Miss
Quirk. After a little further conversation, principally concerning the
brilliant success of Titmouse, Mr. Quirk came to the business of the
day, and invited Mr., Mrs., and Miss Tag-rag to dinner at Alibi House,
on the ensuing Sunday, at six o'clock--apologizing for the absence of
Miss Quirk, on the score of indisposition--she being at the time in the
highest possible state of health. Mrs. Tag-rag was on the point of
saying something deprecatory of their dining out on Sunday, as contrary
to their rule; but a sudden recollection of the earthly interests she
might peril by so doing, aided by a fearfully significant glance from
Mr. Tag-rag, restrained her. The invitation was, therefore, accepted in
a very obsequious manner; and soon afterwards their great visitors took
their departure, leaving Mr. and Mrs. and Miss Tag-rag in a state of
very great excitement. Goodness! could there be a doubt that there must
be some very potent attraction at Satin Lodge to bring thither Titmouse,
after all that had occurred? And where could reside the point of that
attraction, but in Miss Tag-rag?

As soon as their visitors' glass-coach had driven off--its inmates
laughing heartily at the people they had just quitted--Mr., Mrs., and
Miss Tag-rag returned to the dining-table, like suddenly disturbed fowl
returning to their roost, when the disturbance has ceased. Profuse were
their apologies to Mr. Horror; not aware, however, that he had improved
the opportunity afforded by their absence, to recruit his exhausted
energies with a couple of glasses of port wine from a decanter which
stood on the sideboard--a circumstance which he did not deem important
enough to mention. Vehemently suspecting as he did, what was the state
of things with reference to Mr. Titmouse and Miss Tag-rag, it was
somewhat of a trial of temper to the exemplary young pastor--and
calculated to interfere grievously with the preparation for his evening
duties--to have to listen, for the remainder of the afternoon, to the
praises of Titmouse, and speculations concerning the immensity of his
fortune--matters, indeed, (in his pious estimation,) _of the earth_,
_earthy_. In vain did the worthy minister strive, every now and then, to
divert the current of conversation into a more profitable channel--_i.
e._ towards himself; all he said was evidently lost upon her for whose
ear it was intended. She was in a revery, and often sighed. The
principal figures before her mind's eye were--TITTLEBAT TITMOUSE,
ESQUIRE, and THE REV. DISMAL HORROR. The latter was about twenty-six,
(he had been "called to the work of the ministry" in his sixteenth
year;) short in stature; his face slightly pitted with small-pox; his
forehead narrow; his eyes cold and watery; no eyebrows or whiskers; high
cheek-bones; his short dark hair combed primly forward over each
temple, and twisted into a sort of topknot in front; he wore no
shirt-collar, but had a white neck-handkerchief tied very formally, and
was dressed in an ill-made suit of black. He spoke in a drawling,
canting tone; and his countenance was overspread with a demure
expression of--CUNNING, _trying to look religious_. Then he was always
talking about himself, and his chapel, and the devil, and the bottomless
pit, and the number of souls which he had saved, and the number of those
whom he knew were damned, and many more who certainly would be damned;
and other cheerful and interesting matters of that sort, intrusted--it
would seem--to his confidential keeping. All this might be very well in
its way, began to think Miss Tag-rag--but it was possible to choke a dog
with pudding. Poor girl, can you wonder at her dwelling fondly upon the
image of Titmouse? So splendidly dressed, so handsome, such a
fashionable air, and with--ten thousand a-year! When she put all these
things together, it almost looked like a dream; such good fortune could
never be in store for a poor simple girl like herself. Yet there was
such a thing as--love at first sight! After tea they all walked down to
Mr. Horror's meeting-house. It was very crowded; and it was remarked
that the eloquent young preacher had never delivered a more impassioned
sermon from that pulpit: it was sublime. Oh, how bitterly he denounced
"worldly-mindedness!" What a vivid picture he drew of the flourishing
green bay-tree of the wicked, suddenly blasted in the moment of its
pride and strength; while the righteous should shine like stars in the
firmament forever and ever! Who cannot see here shadowed out the
characters of Titmouse and of Horror respectively?--who hesitate between
the two? And when at length, the sermon over, he sat down in his pulpit,
(the congregation also sitting and singing, which had a somewhat queer
effect,) and drew gracefully across his damp forehead his white
pocket-handkerchief, which had been given him by Miss Tag-rag; and
looked with an air of most interesting languor and exhaustion towards
Mr. Tag-rag's pew, where sat that young lamb of his flock--Miss
Tag-rag--her father the wealthiest man in the congregation, and she his
only child--he felt a most lively and tender interest in her
welfare--her spiritual welfare, and resolved to call the next morning;
entertaining an humble hope of finding that his zealous labors had not
been in vain, that he had not missed the mark at which he had been
secretly aiming! Was one fruit of the pious pastor's exertions the
benignant temper which Tag-rag, to the amazement of his shopmen, evinced
the next morning, for at least an hour? Would that the like good effects
had been visible in Mrs. and Miss Tag-rag; but--alas that I should have
to record it!--it was so far otherwise, that they laid aside some
fancy-fair work on which Mr. Horror had set them--for the whole week,
devoting it, instead, to the preparation of those dresses with which
they purposed the profanation of the ensuing Sunday.

That day at length arrived, and precisely at six o'clock a genteel fly
deposited the visitants from Satin Lodge at the splendid entrance to
Alibi House. There was the big footman--shoulder-knot, red breeches, and
all. Tag-rag felt a _little_ nervous. Before they had entered the gates,
the fond proud parents had kissed their trembling daughter, and
entreated her "to keep her spirits up!" The exhortation was needful; for
when she saw the sort of style that awaited them, she became not a
little agitated. When she entered the hall--ah! on a chair lay a glossy
new hat, and a delicate ebony walking-stick; so he had come--was then
up-stairs!--Miss Tag-rag trembled in every limb.

"I don't know, my dear," whispered Mrs. Tag-rag to her husband, with a
subdued sigh, as they followed the splendid footman up-stairs,--"it may
be all uncommon grand; but somehow I'm afraid we're doing wrong--it's
the Lord's Day--see if any good comes of it."

"Tut--hold your tongue! Let's have no nonsense," sternly whispered Mr.
Tag-rag to his submissive wife.

"Your name, sir?" quoth the footman, in a sort of gentlemanly way.

"Mr., Mrs., and Miss Tag-rag," replied Mr. Tag-rag, after clearing his
throat; and so they were announced, Miss Quirk coming forward to receive
the ladies with the most charming affability. There stood Titmouse, in
an easy attitude, with his hands stuck into his coat-pockets, and
resting on his hips, in a very delicate and elegant fashion. How
completely he seemed at his ease!

"Oh Lord!" thought the almost trembling Tag-rag, "that's the young
fellow I used to go on so to!"

In due time dinner was announced; and who can describe the rapture that
thrilled through the bosoms of the three Tag-rags, when Mr. Quirk
requested Mr. Titmouse to take down--Miss Tag-rag!! Her father took down
Mrs. Alias; Mr. Quirk, Mrs. Tag-rag; and Gammon, Miss Quirk. She really
might have been proud of her partner. Gammon was about thirty-six years
old; above the average height; with a very easy, calm, gentlemanly
appearance and address, and an intellectual and even handsome
countenance; though it occasionally exhibited, to a keen observer, a
sinister expression. He wore a blue coat, a plain white waistcoat, (not
disfigured by any glistening fiddle-faddle of pins, chains, or
quizzing-glasses,) black trousers, and plain black silk stockings. There
was at once an appearance of neatness and carelessness; and there was
such a ready smile--such a bland ease and self-possession about him--as
communicated itself to those whom he addressed. I hardly know, Mr.
Gammon, why I have thus noticed so particularly your outward appearance.
It certainly, on the occasion I am describing, struck me much; but there
are such things as _whited walls_ and _painted sepulchres_!

Dinner went off very pleasantly, the wines soon communicating a little
confidence to the flustered guests. Mrs. Tag-rag had drunk so much
champagne--an unusual beverage for her--that almost as soon as she had
returned to the drawing-room, she sat down on the sofa and fell asleep,
leaving the two young ladies to amuse each other as best they might; for
Mrs. Alias was very deaf, and moreover very stiff and distant, and sat
looking at them in silence. To return to the dining-room for a moment.
'T was quite delightful to see the sort of friendship that seemed to
grow up between Quirk and Tag-rag, as their heads got filled with wine;
at the same time each of them half unconsciously drawing closer and
closer to Titmouse, who sat between them--volubility itself. They soon
dropped all disguise--each plainly under the impression that the other
could not, or did not, observe him; and at length, impelled by their
overmastering motives, they became so barefaced in their
sycophancy--evidently forgetting that Gammon was present--that he could
several times, with only the utmost difficulty, refrain from bursting
into laughter at the earnest devotion with which these two worshippers
of the little golden calf strove to attract the attention of their
divinity, and recommend themselves to its favor.

At length the four gentlemen repaired to the drawing-room, whence issued
the sounds of music; and on entering, they beheld the two lovely
performers seated at the piano, engaged upon a duet. The plump
flaxen-haired Miss Quirk, in her flowing white muslin dress, her thick
gold chain and massive bracelets, formed rather a strong contrast to
her sallow skinny little companion, in a span-new slate-colored silk
dress, with staring scarlet sash; her long corkscrew ringlets glistening
in bear's grease; and as for their performance, Miss Quirk played boldly
and well through her part, a smile of contempt now and then beaming over
her countenance at the ridiculous incapacity of her companion. As soon
as the gentlemen made their appearance the ladies ceased, and withdrew
from the piano, Miss Tag-rag, with a sweet air of simplicity and
conscious embarrassment, gliding towards the sofa, where sat her mamma
asleep, but whom she at once awoke. Mr. Quirk exclaimed, as evidently
elevated with wine, he slapped his daughter on her fat back, "Ah, Dora,
my dove!" while Tag-rag kissed his daughter's cheek, and squeezed her
hand, and then glanced with a proud and delighted air at Titmouse, who
was lolling at full length upon the other sofa, picking his teeth. While
Miss Quirk was making tea, Gammon gayly conversing with her, and in an
undertone satirizing Miss Tag-rag, the latter young lady was gazing,
with a timid air, at the various elegant nick-nacks scattered upon the
tables and slabs. One of these consisted of a pretty little box, about a
foot square, with a glass lid, through which she saw the contents; and
they not a little surprised her. They were pieces of cord; and on
looking at one of the sides of the box, she read with a sudden
shudder,--"_With these cords were tied the hands of Arthur Grizzlegut,
executed for high treason, 1st May 18--. Presented, as a mark of
respect, to Caleb Quirk, Esq., by J---- K----._" Poor Miss Tag-rag
recoiled from the box as if she had seen it filled with writhing adders.
She took an early opportunity, however, of calling her father's
attention to it; and he pronounced it a "most inte_rest_ing object," and
fetched Mrs. Tag-rag to see it. She agreed, first, with her daughter;
and then with her husband. Quietly pushing her investigations, Miss
Tag-rag by-and-by beheld a large and splendidly bound volume--in fact,
Miss Quirk's album; and, after turning over most of the leaves, and
glancing over the "poetical effusions" and "prose sentiments" which few
fools can abstain from depositing upon the embossed pages, when
solicited by the lovely proprietresses of such works, behold--her heart
fluttered--poor Miss Tag-rag almost dropped the magnificent volume; for
there was the idolized name of Mr. Titmouse appended to some beautiful
poetry--no doubt his own handwriting and composition. She read it over
eagerly again and again:--

    "Tittlebat Titmouse Is My name,
      England Is My Nation,
    London Is My Dwelling-Place,
      And Christ Is My Salvation."

How exquisite--how touching its simplicity! She looked anxiously about
for writing implements! but not seeing any, was at length obliged to
trust to her memory; on which, indeed, the remarkable composition was
already inscribed in indelible characters. Miss Quirk, who was watching
her movements, guessed the true cause of her excitement; and a smile of
mingled scorn and pity for her infatuated delusion shone upon her face;
in which, however, there appeared a little anxiety when she beheld
Titmouse--(she did not perceive that he did so in consequence of a
motion from Gammon, whose eye governed his movements as a man's those of
his spaniel)--walk up to her, and converse with a great appearance of
interest. At length Mr. Tag-rag's "carriage" was announced. Mr. Quirk
gave his arm to Mrs. Tag-rag, and Mr. Titmouse to the daughter; who
endeavored, as she went down the stairs, to direct melting glances at
her handsome and distinguished companion. They evidently _told_, for she
could not be mistaken; he certainly once or twice squeezed her arm--and
the last fond words he uttered to her were, "'Pon my soul--it's early;
devilish sorry your going--hope you've enjoyed yourself!" As the
Tag-rags drove home, they were all loud in the praises of those whose
splendid hospitality they had been enjoying. Possessing a daughter, for
whom Quirk must naturally have wished to make so splendid a match as
that with Titmouse--but who was plainly engaged to Mr. Gammon--how kind
and disinterested was Mr. Quirk, in affording every encouragement in his
power to the passion which Titmouse had so manifestly conceived for Miss
Tag-rag! And was there ever so delightful a person as Gammon? How
cordially he had shaken the hands of each of them at parting! As for
Miss Tag-rag, she felt that if her heart had not been so deeply engaged
to Titmouse, she could have loved Mr. Gammon!

"I hope, Tabby," said Mrs. Tag-rag, with subdued excitement, as they
rattled homeward, "that when you're Mrs. Titmouse, you'll bring your
dear husband to hear Mr. Horror? You know, we ought to be grateful to
the Lord--for He has done it!"

"La, ma, how can I tell?" quoth Miss Tag-rag, petulantly. "I must go
where Mr. Titmouse chooses, of course; and no doubt he'll take sittings
in one of the West End churches; you know, _you_ go where _pa_ goes--_I_
go where Titmouse goes! But I _will_ come sometimes, too--if it's only
to show that I'm not above it, you know. La, what a stir there will be!
The three Miss Knipps--I do so hope they'll be there! I'll have your
pew, ma, lined with red velvet; it will look so genteel."

"I'm not quite so sure, Tabby, though," interrupted her father, with a
certain swell of manner, "that we shall, after a certain event, continue
to live in these parts. There's such a thing as retiring from business,
Tabby; besides, we shall nat'rally wish to be near you!"

"He's a _love_ of a man, pa, isn't he?" interrupted Miss Tag-rag, with
irrepressible excitement. Her father folded her in his arms. They could
hardly believe that they had reached Satin Lodge. That respectable
structure, somehow or other, now looked to the eyes of all of them
shrunk into most contemptible dimensions; and they quite turned up their
noses, involuntarily, on entering the little passage. What was it to the
spacious and splendid residence which they had quitted? And what, in all
probability, could _that_ be to the mansion--or any one, perhaps, of the
several mansions--to which Mr. Titmouse would be presently entitled,
and--in his right--some one else?

Miss Tag-rag said her prayers that evening very briefly--pausing for an
instant to consider, whether she might in plain terms pray that she
might soon become Mrs. Titmouse; but the bare thought of such an event
so excited her, that in a sort of confused whirl of delightful feeling,
she suddenly jumped into bed, and slept scarce a wink all night long.
Mr. and Mrs. Tag-rag talked together very fast for nearly a couple of
hours, sleep long fleeing from the eyes dazzled with so splendid a
vision as that which had floated before them all day. At length Mr.
Tag-rag, getting tired sooner than his wife, became very sullen, and
silent; and on her venturing--after a few minutes' pause--to mention
some new idea which had occurred to her, he told her furiously to "hold
her tongue, and let him go to sleep!" She obeyed him, and lay awake till
it was broad daylight. About eight o'clock, Tag-rag, who had overslept
himself, rudely roused her--imperiously telling her to "go down
immediately and see about breakfast;" then he knocked gently at his
daughter's door; and on her asking who it was, said in a fond way--"How
are you, Mrs. T.?"


While the brilliant success of Tittlebat Titmouse was exciting so great
a sensation among the inmates of Satin Lodge and Alibi House, there were
also certain quarters in the upper regions of society, in which it
produced a considerable commotion, and where it was contemplated with
feelings of intense interest; nor without reason. For indeed to you,
reflecting reader, much pondering men and manners, and observing the
influence of great wealth, especially when suddenly and unexpectedly
acquired, upon all classes of mankind--it would appear passing strange
that so prodigious an event as that of an accession to a fortune of ten
thousand a-year, and a large accumulation of money besides, could be
looked on with indifference in those regions where MONEY

    "Is like the air they breathe--if they have it not they die;"

in whose absence, all their "honor, love, obedience, troops of friends,"
disappear like snow under sunshine; the edifice of pomp, luxury, and
magnificence that "rose like an exhalation," so disappears--

    "And, like an insubstantial pageant faded,
    Leaves not a rack behind."

_Take away money_, and that which raised its delicate and pampered
possessors above the common condition of mankind--that of privation and
incessant labor and anxiety--into one entirely artificial, engendering
totally new wants and desires, is gone, all gone; and its occupants
suddenly fall, as it were, through a highly rarefied atmosphere,
breathless and dismayed, into contact with the chilling exigencies of
life, of which till then they had only heard and read, sometimes with a
kind of morbid sympathy; as we hear and read of a foreign country, not
stirring the while from our snug homes, by whose comfortable and
luxurious firesides we read of the frightful palsying cold of the polar
regions, and for a moment sigh over and shudder at the condition of
their miserable inhabitants, as vividly pictured to us by adventurous

If the reader had reverently cast his eye over the pages of that
glittering centre of aristocratic literature, and inexhaustible solace
against the _ennui_ of a wet day--I mean _Debrett's Peerage_, his
attention could not have failed to be riveted, among a galaxy of
brilliant but minor stars, by the radiance of one transcendent

                    Behold; hush; tremble!

     FLEECE; G. C. B., D. C. L., F. C. S., F. P. S., &c., &c., &c.;
     Lieutenant-General in the army, Colonel of the 37th regiment of
     light dragoons; Lord Lieutenant of ----shire; elder brother of the
     Trinity House; formerly Lord Steward of the Household; born the
     31st of March, 17--; succeeded his father, PERCY CONSTANTINE
     FITZ-URSE, as fifth Earl, and twentieth in the Barony, January
     10th, 17--; married, April 1, 17--, the Right Hon. Lady Philippa
     Emmeline Blanche Macspleuchan, daughter of Archibald, ninth Duke of
     Tantallan, K. T., and has issue an only child,


     "Town residence, Grosvenor Square.

     "Seats, Gruneaghoolaghan Castle, Galway; Tre-ardevoraeor Manor,
     Cornwall; Llmryllwcrwpllglly Abbey, N. Wales; Tully-clachanach
     Palace, N. Britain; Poppleton Hall, Hertfordshire.

     "Earldom, by patent, 1667; ---- Barony, by writ of summons,
     12th Hen. II."

Now, as to the above tremendous list of seats and residences, be it
observed that the existence of two of them, viz. Grosvenor Square and
Poppleton Hall, was tolerably well ascertained by the residence of the
august proprietor of them, and the expenditure therein of his princely
revenue of £5,000 a-year. The existence of the remaining ones, however,
the names of which the diligent chronicler has preserved with such
scrupulous accuracy, had become somewhat problematical since the era of
the civil wars, and the physical derangement of the surface of the earth
in those parts, which one may conceive to have taken place[11]
consequent upon those events; those imposing feudal residences having
been originally erected in positions so carefully selected with a view
to their security against aggression, as to have become totally
inaccessible--and indeed unknown, to the present inglorious and
degenerate race, no longer animated by the spirit of chivalry and

[I have now recovered my breath, after my bold flight into the
resplendent regions of aristocracy; but my eyes are still dazzled.]

The reader may by this time have got an intimation that Tittlebat
Titmouse, in a madder freak of Fortune than any which her
incomprehensible Ladyship hath hitherto exhibited in the pages of this
history, is far on his way towards a dizzy pitch of elevation,--viz.
that he has now, owing to the verdict of the Yorkshire jury, taken the
place of Mr. Aubrey, and become heir-expectant to the oldest barony in
the kingdom--between it and him only one old peer, and his sole child,
an unmarried daughter, intervening. Behold the thing demonstrated to
your very eye, in the Pedigree on the next page, which is only our
former one[12] a little extended.

                            Geoffrey de Drelincourt
                    Summoned as Baron, _by writ_, 12 Hen. II.
                          From him    .   descend
                   Henry Dreddlington, sixteenth Baron by writ,
                       created Earl of Dreddlington, 1667.
        |                          |
        |                          |
     Charles              Percy Dreddlington,
  (17th Baron                 _of Yatton_,
  and 2d Earl)        (younger brother of Charles)
        |                          |
        |              ____________|____________
     Geoffrey         |                         |
  (18th Baron         |                         |
  and 3d Earl)      Harry                    Charles
        |        Dreddlington              Dreddlington
        |                                       |
      Percy                                     |
  (19th Baron                        ___________|______________
  and 4th Earl)                     |                          |
        |                           |                          |
        |                        Stephen                    Geoffrey
     AUGUSTUS                  Dreddlington               Dreddlington
  (20th Baron and           (eldest brother)==            (2d brother)
     5th Earl)                      |                          |
        |                           |                          |
        |        _Gabriel Tittlebat Titmouse_==d^r       _Aubrey_==d^r
        |____                and sole heiress            and sole heiress
             |                      |                          |
             |                      |                          |
       LADY CECILIA        Gabriel T. Titmouse           Charles Aubrey
       (only child)                 |                          |
                                    |                          |
                            TITTLEBAT TITMOUSE           CHARLES AUBREY
                              (only child)              (eldest son and

From this I think it will appear, that on the death of Augustus, fifth
earl and twentieth baron, with no other issue than Lady Cecilia, the
earldom being then extinct, the barony would descend upon the Lady
Cecilia; and that, in the event of her dying without issue in the
lifetime of her father, Tittlebat Titmouse would, on the earl's death
without other lawful issue, become LORD DRELINCOURT, twenty-_first_ in
the barony! and in the event of her dying without issue, after her
father's death, TITTLEBAT TITMOUSE would become the twenty-_second_ LORD
DRELINCOURT; one or other of which two splendid positions, but for the
enterprising agency of Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, would have been
occupied by CHARLES AUBREY, ESQ.;--on considering all which, one cannot
but remember a saying of an ancient poet, who seems to have kept as keen
an eye upon the unaccountable frolics of the goddess Fortune, as this
history shows that I have. 'Tis a passage which any little schoolboy
will translate to his mother or his sisters--

        ----"Hinc apicem rapax
    Fortuna cum stridore acuto
    Sustulit, hic posuisse gaudet."[13]

At the time of which I am writing, the Earl of Dreddlington was about
sixty-seven years old; and he would have realized the idea of an
incarnation of the sublimest PRIDE. He was of rather a slight make, and,
though of a tolerably advanced age, stood as straight as an arrow. His
hair was glossy, and white as snow: his features were of an aristocratic
cast; their expression was severe and haughty; and I am compelled to say
that there was scarce a trace of intellect perceptible in them. His
manner and demeanor were cold, imperturbable, inaccessible; wherever he
went--so to speak--he radiated cold. Comparative poverty had embittered
his spirit, as his lofty birth and ancient descent had generated the
pride I have spoken of. With what calm and supreme self-satisfaction did
he look down upon all lower in the peerage than himself! And as for a
newly-created peer, he looked at such a being with ineffable disdain.
Among his few equals he was affable enough; and among his inferiors he
exhibited an insupportable appearance of condescension--one which
excited a wise man's smile of pity and contempt, and a fool's
anger--both, however, equally nought to the Earl of Dreddlington!--If
any one could have ventured upon a _post mortem_ examination of so
august a structure as the earl's carcass, his heart would probably have
been found to be of the size of a pea, and his brain very soft and
flabby; both, however, equal to the small occasions which, from time to
time, called for the exercise of their functions. The former was
occupied almost exclusively by two feelings--love of himself and of his
daughter, (because upon her would descend his barony;) the latter
exhibited its powers (supposing the brain to be the seat of the mind) in
mastering the military details requisite for nominal soldiership; the
game of whist; the routine of petty business in the House of Lords; and
the etiquette of the court. One branch of useful knowledge by the way he
had, however, completely mastered--that which is so ably condensed in
_Debrett_; and he became a sort of oracle in such matters. As for his
politics, he professed Whig principles--and was, indeed, a bitter though
quiet partisan. In attendance to his senatorial duties, he practised an
exemplary punctuality; was always to be found in the House at its
sitting and rising; and never once, on any occasion, great or small,
voted against his party. He had never been heard to speak in a full
House; first, because he never could summon nerve enough for the
purpose; secondly, because he never had anything to say; and lastly,
lest he should compromise his dignity, and destroy the _prestige_ of
his position, by not speaking better than any one present. His services
were not, however, entirely overlooked; for, on his party coming into
office for a few weeks, (they knew it could be for no longer a time,)
they made him Lord Steward of the Household; which was thenceforward an
epoch to which he referred every event of his life, great and small. The
great object of his ambition, ever since he had been of an age to form
large and comprehensive views of action and conduct, to conceive
superior designs, and to achieve distinction among mankind--was, to
obtain a step in the peerage; for considering the antiquity of his
family, and his ample, nay, _superfluous_ pecuniary means--so much more
than adequate to support his present double dignity of earl and
baron--he thought it but a reasonable return for his eminent political
services, to confer upon him the honor which he coveted. But his anxiety
on this point had been recently increased a thousand-fold by one
circumstance. A gentleman who held an honorable and lucrative official
situation in the House of Lords, and who never had treated the Earl of
Dreddlington with that profound obsequiousness which the earl conceived
to be his due--but, on the contrary, had presumed to consider himself a
man, and an Englishman, equally with the earl--had, a short time before,
succeeded in establishing his title to an earldom which had long been
dormant, and was, alas, of creation earlier than that of Dreddlington.
The Earl of Dreddlington took this untoward circumstance so much to
heart, that for some months afterwards he appeared to be in a decline;
always experiencing a dreadful inward spasm whenever the Earl of
Fitzwalter made his appearance in the House. For this sad state of
things there was plainly but one remedy--a MARQUISATE--at which the earl
gazed with the wistful eye of an old and feeble ape at a cocoa-nut, just
above his reach, and which he beholds at length grasped and carried off
by some nimbler and younger rival.

Among all the weighty cares and anxieties of this life, however, I must
do the earl the justice to say, that he did not neglect the concerns of
hereafter--the solemn realities of that Future revealed to us in the
Scriptures. To his enlightened and comprehensive view of the state of
things around him, it was evident that the Author of the world had
decreed the existence of regular gradations of society. The following
lines, quoted one night in the House by the leader of his party, had
infinitely delighted the earl--

      "Oh, where DEGREE is shaken,
    Which is the ladder to all high designs,
    The enterprise is sick!
    Take but DEGREE away--untune that string,
    And, hark! what discord follows! each thing meets,
    In mere oppugnancy!"[14]

When the earl discovered that this was the production of Shakespeare he
conceived a great respect for that writer, and purchased a copy of his
works, and had them splendidly bound. They were fated never to be
opened, however, except at that one place where the famous passage in
question was to be found. How great was the honor thus conferred upon
the plebeian poet, to stand amid a collection of royal and noble
authors, to whose productions, and those in elucidation and praise of
them, the earl's splendid-looking library had till then been
confined!--Since, thought the earl, such is clearly the order of
Providence in this world, why should it not be so in the next? He felt
certain that then there would be found corresponding differences and
degrees, in analogy to the differences and degrees existing upon earth;
and with this view had read and endeavored to comprehend the first page
or two of a very dry but learned book--Butler's _Analogy_--lent him by a
deceased kinsman--a bishop. This consolatory conclusion of the earl's
was greatly strengthened by a passage of Scripture, from which he had
once heard the aforesaid bishop preach--"_In my Father's house are_ MANY
MANSIONS; _if it had not been so, I would have told you_." On grounds
such as these, after much conversation with several old brother peers of
his own rank, he and they--those wise and good men--came to the
conclusion that there was no real ground for apprehending so grievous a
misfortune as the huddling together hereafter of the great and small
into one miscellaneous and ill-assorted assemblage; but that the rules
of precedence, in all their strictness, as being founded in the nature
of things, would meet with an exact observance, so that every one should
be ultimately and eternally happy--in the company of his equals. The
Earl of Dreddlington would have, in fact, as soon supposed, with the
deluded Indian, that in his voyage to the next world--

    "His faithful dog should bear him company;"

as that his Lordship should be doomed to participate the same regions of
heaven with any of his domestics; unless, indeed, by some, in his view,
not improbable dispensation, it should form an ingredient in their cup
of happiness in the next world, there to perform those offices--or
analogous ones--for their old masters, which they had performed upon
earth. As the earl grew older, these just, and rational, and Scriptural
views, became clearer, and his faith firmer. Indeed, it might be said
that he was in a manner ripening for immortality--for which his noble
and lofty nature, he secretly felt, was fitter, and more likely to be in
its element, than it could possibly be in this dull, degraded, and
confused world. He knew that there his sufferings in this inferior
stage of existence would be richly recompensed,--for sufferings indeed
he had, though secret, arising from the scanty means which had been
allotted to him for the purpose of maintaining the exalted rank to which
it had pleased God to call him. The long series of exquisite
mortifications and pinching privations arising from this inadequacy of
means, had, however, the earl doubted not, been designed by Providence
as a trial of his constancy, and from which he would, in due time, issue
like thrice-refined gold. Then also would doubtless be remembered in his
favor the innumerable instances of his condescension in mingling, in the
most open and courteous manner, with those who were unquestionably his
inferiors, sacrificing his own feelings of lofty and fastidious
exclusiveness, and endeavoring to advance the interests, and as far as
influence and example went, polish and refine the manners of the lower
orders of society. Such is an outline--alas, how faint and
imperfect!--of the character of this great and good man, the Earl of
Dreddlington. As for his domestic and family circumstances, he had been
a widower for some fifteen years, his countess having brought him but
one child, Lady Cecilia Philippa Leopoldina Plantagenet, who was, in
almost all respects, the counterpart of her illustrious father. She
resembled him not a little in feature, only that she partook of the
plainness of her mother. Her complexion was delicately fair; but her
features had no other expression than that of a languid hauteur. Her
upper eyelids drooped as if she could hardly keep them open; the upper
jaw projected considerably over the under one; and her front teeth were
prominent and exposed. Frigid and inanimate, she seemed to take but
little interest in anything on earth. In person, she was of average
height, of slender and well-proportioned figure, and an erect and
graceful carriage, only that she had a habit of throwing her head a
little backward, which gave her a singularly disdainful appearance. She
had reached her twenty-seventh year without having had an eligible offer
of marriage, though she would be the possessor of a barony in her own
right, and £5,000 a-year; a circumstance which, it may be believed, not
a little embittered her. She inherited her father's pride in all its
plenitude. You should have seen the haughty couple sitting silently side
by side in the old-fashioned yellow family chariot, as they drove round
the crowded park, returning the salutations of those they met in the
slightest manner possible! A glimpse of them at such a moment would have
given you a far more just and lively notion of their real character,
than the most anxious and labored description of mine.

Ever since the first Earl of Dreddlington had, through a bitter pique
conceived against his eldest son, the second earl, diverted the
principal family revenues to the younger branch, leaving the title to be
supported by only £5,000 a-year, there had been a complete estrangement
between the elder and the younger--the titled and the moneyed--branches
of the family. On Mr. Aubrey's attaining his majority, however, the
present earl sanctioned overtures being made towards a reconciliation,
being of opinion that Mr. Aubrey and Lady Cecilia might, by
intermarriage, effect a happy reunion of family interests; an object,
this, which had long lain nearer his heart than any other upon earth,
till, in fact, it became a kind of passion. Actuated by such
considerations, he had done more to conciliate Mr. Aubrey than he had
ever done towards any one on earth. It was, however, in vain. Mr.
Aubrey's first delinquency was an unqualified adoption of Tory
principles. Now all the Dreddlingtons, from time whereof the memory of
man runneth not to the contrary, had been firm unflinching Tories, till
the distinguished father of the present earl quietly walked over, one
day, to the other side of the House of Lords, completely fascinated by
a bit of ribbon which the minister held up before him; and ere he had
sat in that wonder-working region, the ministerial side of the House,
twenty-four hours, he discovered that the true signification of Tory,
was _bigot_--and of Whig, _patriot_; and he stuck to that version till
it transformed him into a GOLD STICK, in which capacity he died; having
repeatedly and solemnly impressed upon his son, the necessity and
advantage of taking the same view of public affairs, that so he might
arrive at similar results. And in the _way_ in which he had been
_trained up_, most religiously had gone the earl; and see the result:
he, also, had attained to eminent and responsible office--to wit, that
of Lord Steward of the Household. Now, things standing thus--how could
the earl so compromise his principles, and indirectly injure his party,
as by suffering his daughter to marry a Tory? Great grief and vexation
of spirit did _this_ matter, therefore, occasion to that excellent
nobleman. But, secondly, Aubrey not only declined to marry his cousin,
but clinched his refusal, and sealed his final exclusion from the
dawning good opinion and affections of the earl, by marrying, as hath
been seen, some one else--Miss St. Clair. Thenceforth there was a great
gulf between the Earl of Dreddlington and the Aubreys. Whenever they
happened to meet, the earl greeted him with an elaborate bow, and a
petrifying smile; but for the last seven years not one syllable had
passed between them. As for Mr. Aubrey, he had never been otherwise than
amused at the eccentric airs of his magnificent kinsman.--Now, was it
not a hard thing for the earl to bear--namely, the prospect there was
that his barony and estates might devolve upon this same Aubrey, or his
issue? for Lady Cecilia, alas! enjoyed but precarious health, and her
chances of marrying seemed daily diminishing. This was a thorn in the
poor earl's flesh; a source of constant _worry_ to him, sleeping and
waking; and proud as he was, and with such good reason, he would have
gone down on his knees and prayed to Heaven to avert so direful a
calamity--to see his daughter married--and with a prospect of
perpetuating upon the earth the sublime race of the Dreddlingtons.

Such being the relative position of Mr. Aubrey, and the Earl of
Dreddlington, at the time when this history opens, it is easy for the
reader to imagine the lively interest with which the earl first heard of
the tidings that a stranger had set up a title to the whole of the
Yatton estates; and the silent but profound anxiety with which he
continued to regard the progress of the affair. He obtained, from time
to time, by means of confidential inquiries instituted by his solicitor,
a general notion of the nature of the new claimant's pretensions; but
with a due degree of delicacy towards his unfortunate kinsman, his
Lordship studiously concealed the interest he felt in so important a
family question as the succession to the Yatton property. The earl and
his daughter were exceedingly anxious to _see_ the claimant; and when he
heard that that claimant was a gentleman of "decided Whig
principles"--the earl was very near setting it down as a sort of special
interference of Providence in his favor; and one that, in the natural
order of things, would lead to the accomplishment of his other wishes.
Who could say that, before a twelvemonth had passed over, the two
branches of the family might not be in a fair way of being reunited? And
that thus, among other incidents, the earl would be invested with the
virtual patronage of the borough of Yatton, and, in the event of their
return to power, his claim upon his party for his long-coveted
marquisate rendered irresistible? He had gone to the Continent shortly
before the trial of the ejectment at York; and did not return till a day
or two after the Court of King's Bench had solemnly declared the
validity of the plaintiff's title to the Yatton property, and
consequently established his contingent right of succession to the
barony of Drelincourt. Of this event a lengthened account was given in
one of the Yorkshire papers which fell under the earl's eye the day
after his arrival from abroad; and to the report of the decision of the
question of law, was appended the following paragraph:--

     "In consequence of the above decision, Mr. Aubrey, we are able to
     state on the best authority, has given formal notice of his
     intention to surrender the entire of the Yatton property without
     further litigation; thus making the promptest amends in his power
     to those whom he has--we cannot doubt unwittingly--injured. He has
     also accepted the Chiltern Hundreds, and has consequently retired
     from Parliament; so that the borough of Yatton is now vacant. We
     sincerely hope that the new proprietor of Yatton will either
     himself sit for the borough, and announce immediately his intention
     of doing so, or give his prompt and decisive support to some
     gentleman of decided Whig principles. We say _prompt_--for the
     enemy is vigilant and crafty. Men of Yatton! To the rescue!!!--Mr.
     Titmouse is now, we believe, in London. This fortunate gentleman is
     not only at this moment in possession of the fine property at
     Yatton, with an unencumbered rent-roll of from twelve to fifteen
     thousand a-year, and a vast accumulation of rents to be handed over
     by the late possessor, but is now next but one in succession to the
     earldom of Dreddlington and barony of Drelincourt, with the large
     family estates annexed thereto. We believe this is the oldest
     barony in the kingdom. It must be a source of great gratification
     to the present earl, to know that his probable successor professes
     the same liberal and enlightened political opinions, of which his
     Lordship has, during his long and distinguished public life, been
     so able, consistent, and uncompromising a supporter."

The Earl of Dreddlington was not a little flustered on seeing the above
paragraph; which he read over half a dozen times with increasing
excitement. The time had at length arrived for him to take decisive
steps; nay, duty to his newly-discovered kinsman required it.

Messrs. Titmouse and Gammon were walking arm-in-arm down Oxford Street,
on their return from some livery-stables, where they had been looking at
a horse which Titmouse was thinking of purchasing, when an incident
occurred which ruffled him not a little. He had been recognized and
publicly accosted by a vulgar fellow, with a yard-measure in his hand,
and a large parcel of drapery under his arm--in fact, by our old friend
Mr. Huckaback. In vain did Mr. Titmouse affect, for some time, not to
see his old acquaintance, and to be earnestly engaged in conversation
with Mr. Gammon.

"Ah, Titty!--Titmouse! Well, then--_Mister_ Titmouse--how are
you?--Devilish long time since we met!" Titmouse directed a look at him
which he wished could have blighted him, and quickened his pace without
taking any further notice of the presumptuous intruder. Huckaback's
blood was up, however--roused by this ungrateful and insolent treatment
from one who had been under such great obligations to him; and
quickening _his_ pace also, he kept alongside with Titmouse.

"Ah," continued Huckaback, "why do you cut me in this way, Titty? You
_aren't_ ashamed of me surely? Many's the time you've tramped up and
down Oxford Street with your bundle and yard-measure"----

"Fellow!" at length exclaimed Titmouse, indignantly, "'pon my life I'll
give you in charge if you go on so! Be off, you low fellow!--Dem vulgar
brute!" he subjoined in a lower tone, bursting into perspiration, for he
had not forgotten the insolent pertinacity of Huckaback's disposition.

"My eyes! Give me in charge? Come, I like that, rather--you vagabond!
Pay me what you owe me! You're a swindler! You owe me fifty pounds, you
do! You sent a man to rob me!"

"Will any one get a constable!" inquired Titmouse, who had grown as
white as death. The little crowd that was collecting round them began to
suspect, from Titmouse's agitated appearance, that there must be some
foundation for the charges made against him.

"Oh, go, get a constable! Nothing I should like better! Ah, my fine
gentleman--what's the time of day when chaps like you are wound up so

Gammon's interference was in vain. Huckaback got more abusive and noisy;
no constable was at hand; so, to escape the intolerable interruption and
nuisance, he beckoned a coach off the stand, which was close by; and,
Titmouse and he stepping into it, they were soon out of sight and
hearing of Mr. Huckaback. Having taken a shilling drive, they alighted,
and walked towards Covent Garden. As they approached the hotel, they
observed a yellow chariot, at once elegant and somewhat old-fashioned,
rolling away from the door.

"I wonder who that is," said Gammon; "it's an earl's coronet on the
panel; and a white-haired old gentleman was sitting low down in the

"Ah--it's no doubt a fine thing to be a lord, and all that--but I'll
answer for it, some of 'em's as poor as a church mouse," replied
Titmouse as they entered the hotel. At that moment the waiter, with a
most profound bow, presented him with a letter and a card, which had
only the moment before been left for him. The card was thus:

        |                               |
        |                               |
        |                               |
        | GROSVENOR SQUARE.             |
        |                               |

and there was written on it, in pencil, in rather a feeble and hurried
character--"For Mr. Titmouse."

"My stars, Mr. Gammon!" exclaimed Titmouse, excitedly, addressing Mr.
Gammon, who also seemed greatly interested by the occurrence. They both
repaired to a vacant table at the extremity of the room; and Titmouse,
with not a little trepidation, hastily breaking a large seal which bore
the earl's family arms, with their crowded quarterings and grim
supporters--better appreciated by Gammon, however, than by
Titmouse--opened the ample envelope, and, unfolding its thick gilt-edged
enclosure, read as follows:--

     "The Earl of Dreddlington has the honor of waiting upon Mr.
     Titmouse, in whom he is very happy to have, though unexpectedly,
     discovered so near a kinsman. On the event which has brought this
     to pass, the earl congratulates himself not less than Mr. Titmouse,
     and hopes for the earliest opportunity of a personal introduction.

     "The earl leaves town to-day and will not return till Monday next,
     on which day he begs the honor of Mr. Titmouse's company to dinner,
     at six o'clock. He may depend upon its being strictly a family
     _reunion_; the only person present, besides Mr. Titmouse and the
     earl, being the Lady Cecilia.

             "Grosvenor Square, Thursday.
         "TITTLEBAT TITMOUSE, ESQ., &c. &c."

As soon as Titmouse had read the above, still holding it in his hand, he
gazed at Gammon with mute apprehension and delight. Of the existence,
indeed, of the magnificent personage who had just introduced himself,
Titmouse had certainly heard, from time to time, since the commencement
of the proceedings which had just been so successfully terminated. He
had seen the brightness, to be sure; but, as a sort of remote splendor,
like that of a fixed star which gleamed brightly, but at too vast a
distance to have any sensible influence, or even to arrest his
attention. After a little while, Titmouse began to chatter very volubly;
but Gammon, after reading over the note once or twice, seemed not much
inclined for conversation: and, had Titmouse been accustomed to
observation, he might have gathered, from the eye and brow of Gammon,
that that gentleman's mind was very deeply occupied by some matter or
other, probably suggested by the incident which had just taken place.
Titmouse, by-and-by, called for pens, ink, and paper--"the very best
gilt-edged paper, mind"--and prepared to reply to Lord Dreddlington's
invitation. Gammon, however, who knew the peculiarities of his friend's
style of correspondence, suggested that _he_ should draw up, and
Titmouse copy the following note. This was presently done; but when
Gammon observed how thickly studded it was with capital letters, the
numerous flourishes with which it was garnished, and its more than
questionable orthography, he prevailed on Titmouse, after some little
difficulty, to allow him to transcribe the note which was to be sent to
Lord Dreddlington. Here is a copy of that courteous document:--

     "Mr. Titmouse begs to present his compliments to the Earl of
     Dreddlington, and to express the high sense he entertains of the
     kind consideration evinced by his Lordship in his call and note of

     "One of the most gratifying circumstances connected with Mr.
     Titmouse's recent success, is the distinguished alliance which his
     Lordship has been so prompt and courteous in recognizing. Mr.
     Titmouse will feel the greatest pleasure in availing himself of the
     Earl of Dreddlington's invitation to dinner for Monday next.

         "Cabbage-Stalk Hotel, Thursday.
       "The Right Honble. the EARL OF DREDDLINGTON, &c., &c."

"Have you a 'Peerage' here, waiter?" inquired Gammon, as the waiter
brought him a lighted taper. _Debrett_ was shortly laid before him; and
turning to the name of Dreddlington, he read over the paragraph which
had been already laid before the reader. "Humph--_'Lady Cecilia'_--here
she is--his _daughter_--I thought as much--I see!" This was what passed
through his mind, as--having left Titmouse, who set off to deposit a
card and the above "Answer" at Lord Dreddlington's--he made his way
towards the delectable regions in which their office was
situated--Saffron Hill. "'Tis curious--amusing--interesting, to observe
the social progress of this charming little fellow"--continued Gammon to

"_Tag-rag_--and his daughter;

"_Quirk_--and his daughter;

"_The Earl of Dreddlington_--and his daughter. How many more? Happy!
happy! happy Titmouse!"

       *       *       *       *       *

The sun which was rising upon Titmouse was setting upon the Aubreys.
Dear, delightful--now too dear, now too delightful--Yatton! the shades
of evening are descending upon thee, and thy virtuous but afflicted
occupants, who, early on the morrow, quit thee forever. Approach
silently you conservatory. Behold, in the midst of it, the dark slight
figure of a lady, solitary, motionless, in melancholy attitude--her
hands clasped before her: it is Miss Aubrey. Her face is beautiful, but
grief is in her eye; and her bosom heaves with sighs, which, gentle
though they be, are yet the only sounds audible. Yes, that is the sweet
and once joyous Kate Aubrey!

'Twas she indeed; and this was her last visit to her conservatory. Many
rare, delicate, and beautiful flowers were there. The air was laden with
the fragrant odors which they exhaled, as it were in sighs, on account
of the dreaded departure of their lovely mistress. At length she
stooped down, and, in stooping, a tear fell right upon the small sprig
of geranium which she gently detached from its stem, and placed in her
bosom. "Sweet flowers," thought she, "who will tend you as I have tended
you, when I am gone? Why do you look now more beautiful than ever you
did before?"--Her eye presently fell upon the spot on which, till the
day before, had stood her aviary. Poor Kate had sent it, as a present,
to Lady De la Zouch, and it was then at Fotheringham Castle. What a
flutter there used to be among the beautiful little creatures, when they
perceived Kate's approach! She turned her head away. She felt oppressed,
and attributed it to the closeness of the conservatory--the strength of
the odors given out by the numerous flowers; but it was sorrow that
oppressed her; and she was in a state at once of mental excitement and
physical exhaustion. The last few weeks had been an interval of
exquisite suffering. She could not be happy alone, nor yet bear the
company of her brother and sister-in-law, or their innocent and lovely
children. Quitting the conservatory with a look of lingering fondness,
she passed along into the house with a hurried step, and escaped,
unobserved, to her chamber--the very chamber in which the reader
obtained his first distant and shadowy glimpse of her; and in which, now
entering it silently and suddenly, the door being only closed, not shut,
she observed her faithful little maid Harriet, sitting in tears before a
melancholy heap of packages prepared for travelling on the morrow. She
rose as Miss Aubrey entered, and presently exclaimed passionately,
bursting afresh into tears, "Ma'am, I _can't_ leave you--indeed I can't!
I know all your ways; I won't go to any one else! I shall hate service!
and I know they'll hate _me_ too; for I shall cry myself to death!"

"Come, come, Harriet," faltered Miss Aubrey, "this is very foolish;
nay, it is unkind to distress me in this manner at the last moment."

"Oh, ma'am, if you _did_ but know how I love you! How I'd go on my knees
to serve you all the rest of the days of my life!"

"Don't talk in that way, Harriet; that's a good girl," said Miss Aubrey,
rather faintly, and, sinking into the chair, she buried her face in her
handkerchief, "you know I've had a great deal to go through, Harriet,
and am in very poor spirits."

"I know it, ma'am, I do; and that's why I can't _bear_ to leave you!"
She sank on her knees beside Miss Aubrey. "Oh, ma'am, if you would but
let me stay with you! I've been trying, ever since you first told me, to
make up my mind to part with you, and, now it's coming to the time, I
_can't_, ma'am--indeed, I can't! If you did but know, ma'am, what my
thoughts have been, while I've been folding and packing up your dresses
here! To think that I sha'n't be with you to unpack them! It's very
hard, ma'am, that Madam's maid is to go with her, and I'm not to go with

"We were obliged to make a choice, Harriet," said Miss Aubrey, with
forced calmness.

"Yes, ma'am; but why didn't you choose us both? Because we've both
always done our best; and, as for me, you've never spoke an unkind word
to me in your life"----

"Harriet, Harriet," said Miss Aubrey, tremulously, "I've several times
explained to you that we cannot any longer afford each to have our own
maid; and Mrs. Aubrey's maid is older than you, and knows how to manage

"What signifies _affording_, ma'am? Neither she nor I will ever take a
shilling of wages; I'd really rather serve you for nothing, ma'am, than
any other lady for a hundred pounds a-year! Oh, so happy as I've been
in your service, ma'am!" she added hastily, and burst into an agony of

"Don't, Harriet!--You would not, if you knew the pain you give me," said
Miss Aubrey, faintly. Harriet perceived Miss Aubrey's ill-concealed
agitation; and starting aside, poured out a glass of water, and forced
her pale mistress to swallow a little, which presently revived her.

"Harriet," said she, feebly, but firmly, "you have never once disobeyed
me, and _now_ I am certain that you will not. I assure you that we have
made all our arrangements, and cannot alter them. I have been very
fortunate in obtaining for you so kind a mistress as Lady Stratton.
Remember, Harriet, she was the oldest bosom friend of my"----Miss
Aubrey's voice trembled, and she ceased speaking for a minute or two,
during which she struggled against her feelings with momentary success.
"Here's the prayer-book," she presently resumed, opening a drawer in her
dressing-table, and taking out a small volume--"Here's the prayer-book I
promised you; it is very prettily bound, and I have written your name in
it, Harriet, as you desired. Take it, and keep it for my sake. Will

"Oh, ma'am," replied the girl, bitterly, "I shall never bear to look at
it! And yet I'll never part with it till I die!"

"Now leave me, Harriet, for a short time--I wish to be alone," said Miss
Aubrey; and she was obeyed. She presently rose and bolted the door; and
then, secure from interruption, walked slowly to and fro for some time;
and a long and deep current of melancholy thoughts and feelings
flowed through her mind and heart. She had but a short time before
seen her sister's sweet children put into their little beds for
the last time at Yatton; and together with their mother, had hung
fondly over them, kissing and embracing them--their destined little
fellow-wanderers--till her feelings compelled her to leave them. One by
one, all the dear innumerable ties which had attached her to Yatton, and
to everything connected with it, ever since her birth, had been severed
and broken--ties, not only the strength, but very existence of which,
she had scarce been aware of, till then. She had bade--as had all of
them--repeated and agonizing farewells to very dear and old friends. Her
heart trembled as she gazed at the objects familiar to her eye, and
pregnant with innumerable little softening associations, ever since her
infancy. Nothing around them now belonged to _them_--but to a
stranger--to one who--she shuddered with disgust. She thought of the
fearful position in which her brother was placed--entirely at the mercy
of, it might be, selfish and rapacious men--what indeed was to become of
all of them? At length she threw herself into the large old easy-chair
which stood near the window, and with a fluttering heart and hasty
tremulous hand, drew an open letter from her bosom. She held it for some
moments, as if dreading again to peruse it--but at length unfolded and
read a portion of it. 'Twas full of fervent and at the same time
delicate expressions of fondness; and after a short while, her hand
dropped, with the letter, upon her lap, and she burst into a passionate
flood of tears. After an interval of several minutes, she again took up
the letter--read a little farther--still more and more moved by the
generous and noble sentiments it contained--and at length, utterly
overcome, she again dropped her hand, and sobbed aloud long and
vehemently. "It cannot--cannot--no, it _cannot_ be," she murmured; and,
yielding to her feelings for a long while, her tears showered down her
pallid, beautiful cheeks.

At length, having resumed her perusal of the letter, she came to the
conclusion. In a kind of agony she pressed the signature to her lips;
and then hastily folding up the letter, replaced it whence she had taken
it, and continued sobbing bitterly. Alas, what additional poignancy did
this give to the agonies of her last evening at Yatton! She had,
however, become somewhat calmer by the time that she heard the door
hastily, but gently tapped at, and then attempted to be opened. Miss
Aubrey rose and unbolted it, and Mrs. Aubrey entered, her beautiful
countenance as pale and sad as that of her sister-in-law. The former,
however, was both wife and mother; and the various cares which these
relations had entailed upon her, at a bitter moment like the present,
served in some measure to occupy her thoughts, and prevent her from
being absorbed by the heart-breaking circumstances which surrounded her.
Suffering had, however, a little impaired her beauty; her cheek was very
pale, and her eye and brow were laden with trouble.

"Kate, dear Kate," said she, rather quickly, closing the door after her,
"what is to be done? Did you hear carriage-wheels a few moments ago? Who
do you think have arrived? As I fancied would be the case, the De la
Zouches!" Miss Aubrey trembled and turned pale. "You must see--you
_must_ see--Lady De la Zouch, Kate--they have driven from Fotheringham
on purpose to take--_once more_--a last farewell! 'Tis very painful, but
what can be done? You know what dear, dear, good friends they are!"

"Is Lord De la Zouch come, also?" inquired Miss Aubrey, apprehensively.

"I will not deceive you, dearest Kate, they are _all_ come; but _she_,
only, is in the house: they are gone out to look for Charles, who is
walking in the park." Miss Aubrey trembled violently; and after
evidently a severe struggle with her feelings, the color having entirely
deserted her face, and left it of an ashy whiteness, "I cannot muster
up resolution enough, Agnes," she whispered. "I know their errand!"

"Care not about their errand, love!" said Mrs. Aubrey, embracing her
fondly. "You shall not be troubled--you shall not be persecuted." Miss
Aubrey shook her head, and grasped Mrs. Aubrey's hand.

"They do not, Agnes, they _cannot_ persecute me," replied Miss Aubrey,
with energy. "It is a cruel and harsh word to use--and!--consider how
noble, how disinterested is their conduct; _that_ it is which subdues

Mrs. Aubrey embraced still more closely her agitated sister-in-law, and
tenderly kissed her forehead.

"Oh, Agnes!" faltered Miss Aubrey, pressing her hand upon her heart to
relieve the intolerable oppression which she suffered--"would to Heaven
that I had never seen--never thought of him!"

"Don't fear, Kate! that he will attempt to see you on so sad an occasion
as this. Delamere is a man of infinite delicacy and generosity!"

"I know he is--I know he is," gasped Miss Aubrey, almost suffocated with
her emotions.

"Stay, I'll tell you what to do; I'll go down and return with Lady De la
Zouch: we can see her here, undisturbed and alone, for a few moments;
and then, nothing painful _can_ occur. Shall I bring her?" she inquired,
rising. Miss Aubrey did not dissent; and, within a very few minutes'
time, Mrs. Aubrey returned, accompanied by Lady De la Zouch. She was
rather an elderly woman. Her countenance was still handsome; and she
possessed a very dignified carriage. She was of an extremely
affectionate disposition, and passionately fond of Miss Aubrey. Hastily
drawing aside her veil as she entered the room, she stepped quickly up
to Miss Aubrey, kissed her, and grasped her hands, for some moments, in

"This is very sad work, Miss Aubrey," said she at length, hurriedly
glancing at the luggage lying piled up at the other end of the room.
Miss Aubrey made no answer, but shook her head. "It was useless
attempting it, dear Kate--we _could_ not stay at home; we have risked
being charged with cruel intrusion; forgive me, dearest, will you?
_They_," said Lady De la Zouch, pointedly, "will not come near you!"
Miss Aubrey trembled. "I feel as if I were parting with an only
daughter, Kate," said Lady De la Zouch, with sudden emotion. "How your
mamma and I loved one another!" said she, fondly, and burst into tears.

"For mercy's sake, open the window; I feel suffocated," faltered Miss
Aubrey. Mrs. Aubrey hastily drew up the window, and the cool refreshing
breeze of evening quickly diffused itself through the apartment, and
revived the drooping spirits of Miss Aubrey, who walked gently to and
fro about the room, supported by Lady De la Zouch and Mrs. Aubrey, and
soon recovered a tolerable degree of composure. The three ladies
presently stood, arm-in-arm, gazing through the deep bay-window at the
fine prospect which it commanded. The gloom of evening was beginning to
steal over the landscape.

"How beautiful!" exclaimed Miss Aubrey, faintly, with a deep sigh.

"The window in the northern tower of the Castle commands a still more
extensive view," said Lady De la Zouch, looking earnestly at Miss
Aubrey, who, as if conscious of some agitating allusion, burst into
tears. After standing gazing through the window for some time longer,
they stepped back into the room, and were soon engaged in deep and
earnest conversation.

For the last three weeks Mr. Aubrey had addressed himself with calmness
and energy to the painful duties which had devolved upon him, of
_setting his house in order_. Immediately after quitting the
dinner-table that day--a mere nominal meal to all of them--he had
retired to the library, to complete the extensive and important
arrangements consequent upon his abandonment of Yatton; and after about
an hour thus occupied, he went forth to take a solitary walk--a
melancholy--a last walk about the property. It was a moment which
severely tried his fortitude; but that fortitude stood the trial. He was
a man of lively sensibilities, and appreciated, to its utmost extent,
the melancholy and alarming change which had come over his fortunes.
Surely even the bluntest and coarsest feelings which ever tried to
disguise and dignify themselves under the name of STOICISM--to convert
into bravery, and fortitude, a stupid, sullen insensibility--must have
been not a little shaken by such scenes as Mr. Aubrey had had to pass
through during the last few weeks--scenes which I do not choose to
distress the reader's feelings by dwelling upon in detail. Mr. Aubrey
had no mean pretensions to real philosophy; but he had still juster
pretensions to an infinitely higher character,--that of a CHRISTIAN. He
had a firm unwavering conviction that whatever befell him, either of
good or evil, was by the ordination of the Almighty--infinitely Wise,
infinitely Good;--and this was the source of his fortitude and
resignation. He felt himself here standing upon ground which was

To avert the misfortune which menaced him, he had neglected no rational
and _conscientious_ means. To retain the advantages of fortune and
station to which he had believed himself born, he had made the most
strenuous exertions consistent with a rigid sense of honor. What,
indeed, _could_ he have done, that he _had_ not done? He had caused the
claims of his opponent to be subjected to as severe a scrutiny as the
wit of man could suggest; _and they had stood the test_. Those claims,
and his own, had been each of them placed in the scales of justice;
those scales had been held up and poised by the pure and firm hands to
which the laws of God, and of the country, had committed the
administration of justice: on what ground could a just and reasonable
man quarrel with or repine at the issue? And supposing that a perverse
and subtle ingenuity in his legal advisers could have devised means for
delaying his surrender of the property to the individual who had been
solemnly declared its true owner, what real and ultimate advantage could
have been obtained by such a dishonorable line of conduct? Could the
spirit of the CHRISTIAN RELIGION tolerate the bare idea of it? Could
such purposes or intentions consist for one instant with the
consciousness that the awful eye of God was always upon every thought of
his mind, every feeling of his heart, every purpose of his will? A
thorough and lively conviction of God's moral government of the world
secured Aubrey a happy composure--a glorious and immovable resolution.
It enabled him to form a true estimate of things; it extracted the sting
from grief and regret; it dispelled the gloom which would otherwise have
settled portentously upon the future. Thus he had not _forgotten the
exhortation which spoke unto him, as unto a child: My son, despise not
thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of
him_. And if, indeed, religion had not done this for Mr. Aubrey, what
_could_ it have done, what would it have been worth? It would indeed
have been that which dull fools suppose it--a mere name, a melancholy
delusion. What hopeless and lamentable imbecility would it not have
argued, to have acknowledged the reality and influence of religion in
the hour of prosperity--and to have doubted, distrusted, or denied it in
the hour of adversity? When a child beholds the sun obscured by dark
clouds, he may think in his simplicity that it is gone forever; but a
MAN knows that behind is the sun, magnificent as ever; and that the next
moment, the clouds having rolled away, its glorious warmth and light
are again upon the earth. Thus is it, thought Aubrey with humble but
cheerful confidence, with the Almighty--who hath declared himself _the
Father of the spirits of all flesh_--

    "Behind a frowning Providence
      He hides a smiling face!
    Blind unbelief is sure to err,
      And scan His works in vain!
    God is His own interpreter,
      And He will make it plain!"

"Therefore, O my God!" thought Aubrey, as he gazed upon the lovely
scenes familiar to him from his birth, and from which a few short hours
were to separate him forever, "I do acknowledge Thy hand in what has
befallen me, and Thy mercy which enables me to bear it, as from Thee."
The scene around him was tranquil and beautiful--inexpressibly
beautiful. He stood under the shadow of a mighty elm-tree, the last of a
long and noble avenue, which he had been pacing in deep thought for
upwards of an hour. The ground was considerably elevated above the level
of the rest of the park. No sound disturbed the serene repose of the
approaching evening, except the distant and gradually diminishing sounds
issuing from an old rookery, and the faint low bubbling of a clear
streamlet which flowed not far from where he stood. Here and there,
under the deepening shadows cast by the lofty trees, might be seen the
glancing forms of deer, the only live things visible. "Life," said
Aubrey, to himself, with a sigh, as he leaned against the trunk of the
grand old tree under which he stood, and gazed with a fond and mournful
eye on the lovely scenes stretching before him, to which the subdued
radiance of the departing sunlight communicated a tone of tender
pensiveness; "life is, in truth, what the Scripture--what the voice of
nature--represents it--a long journey, during which the traveller stops
at many resting places. Some of them are more, others less beautiful;
from some he parts with more, from others with less regret; but _part he
must_, and pursue his journey, though he may often turn back to gaze
with lingering fondness and admiration at the scene which he has last
quitted. The next stage may be--_as all his journey might have
been_--bleak and desolate; but, through _that_ he is only passing: he
will not be condemned to stay in it, as he was not permitted to dwell in
the other; he is still journeying on, along a route which he cannot
mistake, to the point of his destination, his journey's end--the shores
of the vast, immeasurable, boundless ocean of eternity--HIS HOME!"

The deepening shadows of evening warned him to retrace his steps to the
Hall. Before quitting the spot upon which he had been so long standing,
he turned his head a little towards the right, to take a last view of an
object which called forth tender and painful feeling--it was the old
sycamore which his sister's intercession had saved from the axe. There
it stood, feeble and venerable object! its leafless silvery-gray
branches becoming in the fading light, dim and indistinct, yet
contrasting touchingly with the verdant strength of those near it. A
neat strong fence had been placed around it; but how much longer would
it receive such care and attention? Aubrey thought of the comparison
which had on a former occasion been made by his sister; and sighed
heavily as he looked his last at the old tree. Then he slowly walked on
towards the Hall. When about halfway down the avenue, he beheld two
figures apparently approaching him, but undistinguishable in the gloom
and the distance. As they neared him, he recognized Lord De la Zouch,
and Mr. Delamere. Suspecting the object of their visit, which a little
surprised him, since they had taken a final leave, and a very affecting
one, the day before, he felt a little anxiety and embarrassment. Nor was
he entirely mistaken. Lord De la Zouch, who advanced alone towards
Aubrey--Mr. Delamere turning back--most seriously pressed his son's suit
for the hand of Miss Aubrey, as he had often done before; declaring,
that though undoubtedly he wished a year or two first to elapse, during
which his son might complete his studies at Oxford, there was no object
dearer to the heart of Lady De la Zouch and himself, than to see Miss
Aubrey become their daughter-in-law. "Where," said Lord De la Zouch,
with much energy, "is he to look elsewhere for such an union of beauty,
of accomplishments, of amiability, of high-mindedness?" After a great
deal of animated conversation on this subject, during which Mr. Aubrey
assured Lord De la Zouch that _he_ would say everything which he
honorably could to induce his sister to entertain, or at all events, not
to discard the suit of Delamere; at the same time reminding him of the
firmness of her character, and the hopelessness of attempting to change
any determination to which she might have been led by her sense of
delicacy and honor,--Lord De la Zouch addressed himself in a very
earnest manner to matters more immediately relating to the personal
interests of Mr. Aubrey; entered with lively anxiety into all his future
plans and purposes; and once more pressed upon him the acceptance of
most munificent offers of pecuniary assistance, which, with many fervent
expressions of gratitude, Aubrey again declined. But he pledged himself
to communicate freely with Lord De la Zouch, in the event of an occasion
arising for such assistance as his Lordship had already so generously
volunteered. By this time Mr. Delamere had joined them, regarding Mr.
Aubrey with infinite earnestness and apprehension. All, however, he
said, was--and in a hurried manner to his father--"My mother is waiting
for you in the carriage, and wishes that we should immediately return."
Lord De la Zouch and his son again took leave of Mr. Aubrey. "Remember,
my dear Aubrey, remember the pledges you have repeated this evening,"
said the former. "I do, I will!" replied Mr. Aubrey, as they each wrung
his hands; and then, having grasped those of Lady De la Zouch, who sat
within the carriage powerfully affected, the door was shut; and they
were quickly borne away from the presence and the residence of their
afflicted friends. While Mr. Aubrey stood gazing after them, with folded
arms, in an attitude of melancholy abstraction, at the Hall door, he was
accosted by Dr. Tatham, who had come to him from the library, where he
had been, till a short time before, busily engaged reducing into writing
various matters which had been the subject of conversation between
himself and Mr. Aubrey during the day.

"I am afraid, my dear friend," said the doctor, "that there is a painful
but interesting scene awaiting you. You will not, I am sure, forbear to
gratify, by your momentary presence in the servants' hall, a body of
your tenantry, who are there assembled, having come to pay you--good
souls!--their parting respects."

"I would really rather be spared the painful scene," said Mr. Aubrey,
with emotion. "I am nearly unnerved as it is! Cannot you bid them adieu,
in my name? and say God bless them!"

"You _must_ come, my dear friend! If it _be_ painful, it will be but for
a moment; and the recollection of their hearty and humble expressions of
affection and respect will be pleasant hereafter. Poor souls!" he added
with not a little emotion, "you should see how crowded is Mr. Griffiths'
room with the presents they have each brought you, and which would
surely keep your whole establishment for months!--Cheeses, tongues,
hams, bacon, and I know not what beside!"

"Come, Doctor," said Mr. Aubrey, quickly, and with evidently a great
effort, "I will see them, my humble and worthy friends! if it _be_ but
for a moment; but I would rather have been spared the scene." He
followed Dr. Tatham into the spacious servants' hall, which he found
nearly filled by some forty or fifty of his late tenantry, who, as he
entered, rose in troubled silence to receive him. There were lights, by
which a hurried glance sufficed to show him the deep sorrow visible in
their countenances. "Well, sir," commenced one of them, after a moment's
hesitation--he seemed to have been chosen the spokesman of those
present--"we've come to tak' our leave; and a sad time it be for all of
us, and it may be, sir, for you." He paused, and added abruptly--"I
thought I could have said a word or two, sir, in the name of all of us,
but I've clean forgotten all; and I wish we could all forget that we
were come to part with you, sir;--but we sha'n't--no, never!--we shall
never see your like again, sir! God help you, sir!" Again he paused, and
struggled hard to conceal his emotions. Then he tried to say something
further, but his voice failed him.

"Squire, it may be law; but it be not justice, we all do think, that
hath taken Yatton from you, that was born to it," said one, who stood
next to him who had first spoken. "Who ever heard o' a scratch in a bit
of paper signifying the loss o' so much? It never were heard of afore,
sir, an' cannot be right!"

"You'll forgive me, Squire," said another, "but we shall never tak' to
t'new one that's coming after you!"

"My worthy--my dear friends," commenced Mr. Aubrey, with melancholy and
forced composure, as he stood beside Dr. Tatham, "this is a sad trial to
me--one which I had not expected, and am quite unprepared for. I have
had lately to go through many very painful scenes; but few more so than
the present. My dear friends, I can only say from my heart, God bless
you all! I shall never forget you, whom I have always respected, and
indeed been very proud of, as my tenantry, and whom I now, of course,
look at as my friends only. We shall _never_ forget you"----

"Lord Almighty bless you, sir, and Madam and Miss, and little Miss--and
the little squire!" said a voice, in a vehement manner, from amid the
throng, in tones which went to Mr. Aubrey's heart. His lips quivered,
and he ceased speaking for some moments. At length he resumed.

"You see my feelings are a little shaken by the sufferings which I have
gone through. I have only a word more to say to you. Providence has seen
fit, my friends, to deprive me of that which I had deemed to be my
birthright. God is good and wise; and I bow, as we must all bow, to His
will with reverence and resignation. And also, my dear friends, let us
always submit cheerfully to the laws under which we live. We must not
quarrel with their decision, merely because it happens to be adverse to
our own wishes. I, from my heart--and so must you, from
yours--acknowledge a firm, unshaken allegiance to the laws; they are
ordained by God, and He demands our obedience to them! society cannot
exist without them"--He paused. "I have to thank you," he presently
added in a subdued tone, "my worthy friends, for many substantial tokens
of your good-will, brought with you this evening. I assure you sincerely
that I value them far more"--he paused, and it was some moments before
he could proceed--"than if they had been of the most costly and splendid

"Lord, only hearken to t'squire!" called out a voice, as if on an
impulse of eager affection, which its rough, honest speaker could not
resist. This seemed entirely to deprive Mr. Aubrey of the power of
utterance, and he turned suddenly towards Dr. Tatham with an overflowing
eye and a convulsive quivering of the lips which showed the powerful
emotions with which he was contending. The next moment he stepped
forward and shook hands with those nearest. He was quickly surrounded,
and every one present grasped his hands, scarcely any of them able to
utter more than a brief but fervent "God bless you, sir!"

"I am sure, my friends," said Dr. Tatham, almost as much affected as any
of them, "that you cannot wish to prolong so afflicting a scene as this.
Mr. Aubrey is much exhausted, and has a long journey to take early in
the morning--and you had better now leave."

"Farewell! farewell, my kind and dear friends, farewell!--May God bless
you all, and all your families!" said Mr. Aubrey; and, most powerfully
affected, withdrew from a scene which he was not likely ever to forget.
He retired, accompanied by Dr. Tatham, to his library; where Mr.
Griffiths, his steward, was in readiness to receive his signature to
various documents. This done, the steward, after a few hurried
expressions of affection and respect, withdrew; and Mr. Aubrey had then
completed all the arrangements, and transacted all the business, which
had required his attention before quitting Yatton: which, at an early
hour in the morning, he was going to leave; having determined to go
direct to London, instead of accepting any of the numerous offers which
he had received from his friends in the neighborhood, to take up with
them his abode for, at all events, some considerable period. That,
however, would have been entirely inconsistent with the plans for his
future life, which he had formed and matured. He left the whole estate
in admirable order and condition. There was not a farm vacant, not a
tenant dissatisfied with the terms under which he held. Every document,
all the accounts connected with the estate, after having been carefully
examined by Mr. Parkinson, and Mr. Aubrey, and Mr. Griffiths, were in
readiness for the most scrupulous and searching investigation on the
part of Mr. Aubrey's successor and his agents.

Mr. Aubrey's library was already carefully packed up, and was to follow
him, on the ensuing day, to London, by water, as also were several
portions of the furniture--the residue of which was to be sold off
within a day or two's time. How difficult--how very difficult had it
been for them to choose which articles they would part with, and which
retain! The favorite old high-backed easy-chair, which had been worked
by Miss Aubrey herself; the beautiful ebony cabinet, which had been
given by her father to her mother, who had given it to Kate; the little
chairs of Charles and Agnes--and in which Mr. Aubrey and Kate, and all
their brothers and sisters--long since deceased--had sat when children;
Mrs. Aubrey's piano; these, and a few other articles, had been
successfully pleaded for by Mrs. Aubrey and Kate, and were to accompany
or rather follow them to London, instead of passing, by the auctioneer's
hammer, into the hands of strangers. The two carriage-horses, which had
drawn old Mrs. Aubrey in the family coach for many years, were to be
turned to grass, for the rest of their days, at Lady Stratton's. Poor
old Peggy was, in like manner, to have to herself a little field
belonging to Dr. Tatham. Little Charles's pony, a beautiful animal, and
most reluctantly parted with, was sent as a present, in his name, to
little Sir Harry Oldfield, one of his play-fellows. Hector, the
magnificent Newfoundland dog, was, at the vehement instance of Pumpkin,
the gardener, who had almost gone upon his knees to beg for the animal,
and declared that he loved the creature like a son--as I verily believe
he did, for they were inseparable, and their attachment was
mutual--given up to him, on his solemn promise to take great care of
him. Then there was a poor animal which they hardly knew how to dispose
of. It was a fine old favorite staghound, stone-blind, quite gray about
the head, and so very feeble, that it could but just crawl in and out of
its commodious kennel, and lie basking in the genial sunshine; wagging
its tail when any one spoke to it, and affectionately licking the hand
that patted it. Thus had it treated Mr. Aubrey, that very morning, as he
stood by, and stooped down to caress it for the last time. It was, at
his earnest request, assigned to Dr. Tatham, kennel and all; indeed the
worthy little doctor would have crammed the whole of his little premises
in a similar way, in order to have the more "keepsakes" and "memorials"
of his friends. Miss Aubrey's beautiful Blenheim spaniel, with its
brilliant black eyes, and long glossy graceful ears, was to accompany
her to London.

As for the servants--the housekeeper was going to keep the house of her
brother, a widower, at Grilston, and the butler was going to marry, and
quit service. As for the rest, Mr. Parkinson had, at Mr. Aubrey's
desire, written about them to Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap; and Mr.
Gammon had sent word that such members of the establishment as chose,
might continue at Yatton, at all events till the pleasure of Mr.
Titmouse, upon the subject, should have been known. All the servants had
received a quarter's wages that morning from Mr. Griffiths, in the
presence of Mr. Aubrey, who spoke kindly to each, and earnestly
recommended them to conduct themselves respectfully towards his
successor. Scarce any of them could answer him, otherwise than by an
humble bow, or courtesy, accompanied by sobs and tears. One of them did
contrive to speak, and passionately expressed a wish that the first
morsel Mr. Titmouse ate in the house might choke him--a sally which
received so very grave a rebuke from Mr. Aubrey, as brought the hasty
offender to her knees, begging forgiveness; which, I need hardly say,
she received, but with a very serious admonition. Many of them most
vehemently entreated to be allowed to accompany Mr. Aubrey and his
family to London, and continue in their service, but in vain. Mr. Aubrey
had made his selection, having taken only his own valet, and Mrs.
Aubrey's maid, and one of the nursery-maids, and declaring that on no
consideration would he think of being accompanied by any other of the

There were some twenty or thirty poor old infirm cottagers, men and
women, who had been for years weekly pensioners on the bounty of Yatton,
and respecting whom Mr. Aubrey felt a painful anxiety. What could he do?
He gave the sum of fifty pounds to Dr. Tatham for their use; and
requested him to press their claims earnestly upon the new proprietor of
Yatton. He also wrote almost as many letters, as there were of these
poor people, on their behalf to his friends and neighbors. Oh, it was a
moving scene which had occurred at each of their little cottages, when
their benefactors, Mr. Aubrey, his wife, and sister, severally called to
bid them farewell, and receive their humble and tearful blessings! But
it was the parting with her school, which neither Kate nor her brother
saw any probability of being kept up longer than for a month or two
after their departure, which had occasioned Kate the greatest distress.
There were several reasons, which will occur to the reader, why no
application could be made, about the matter, from her, or on her
account, to Mr. Titmouse; even if she had not had reason to anticipate,
from what she had heard of his character, that he was a person unlikely
to feel any interest in such an institution. Nor had she liked to
trouble or burden the friends whom she left behind her, with the
responsibility of supporting and superintending her little
establishment. She had nothing for it, therefore, but to prepare the
mistress, and her scholars, for the breaking up of the school, within a
month of her departure from Yatton. She gave the worthy woman, the
mistress, a present of a five-pound note; and five shillings to each of
the children. She felt quite unequal to the task of personally taking
leave of them, as she had intended, and several times attempted. She
therefore, with many tears, wrote the following lines, and gave them to
Dr. Tatham, to read aloud in the school, when their good and beautiful
writer should be far on her way towards London. The little doctor paused
a good many times while he read it, and complained of his glasses.

     "My dear little girls,--You know that I have already bid each of
     you good-by; and though I tried to say something to all of you at
     once, I was not able, because I was so sorry to part with you, and
     tell you that my little school must be given up. So I have written
     these few lines, to tell you that I love you all, and have tried to
     be a good friend to you. Be sure not to forget your spelling and
     reading, and your needle. Your mothers have promised to hear you
     say your catechisms; you must also be sure to say your prayers, and
     to read your Bibles, and to behave very seriously at church, and to
     be always dutiful to your parents. Then God will bless you all! I
     hope you will not forget us, for we shall often think of you when
     we are a great way off; and Dr. Tatham will now and then write and
     tell us how you are going on. Farewell, my dear little girls; and
     may God bless and preserve you all! This is the prayer of both of
     us--Mrs. Aubrey and
                                                    "CATHERINE AUBREY.

         "_Yatton, 15th May 18--._"

The above was not written in the uniform and beautiful hand usual with
Miss Aubrey; it was, on the contrary, rather irregular, and evidently
written hastily; but Dr. Tatham preserved it to the day of his death,
and always thought it beautiful.

On the ensuing morning, at a very early hour, Dr. Tatham left the
vicarage, to pay his last visit to friends whom it almost broke his
heart to part with, in all human probability forever. He started, but on
a moment's reflection ceased to be surprised, at the sight of Mr. Aubrey
approaching him from the direction of the little churchyard. He was
calm, but his countenance bore the traces of very recent emotion. They
greeted each other in silence, and so walked on for some time,
arm-in-arm, slowly, towards the Hall. It was a dull heavy morning,
almost threatening rain. The air seemed full of oppression. The only
sounds audible were the hoarse clamorous sounds issuing from the old
rookery, at some distance on their left. Mr. Aubrey and Dr. Tatham
interchanged but few words, as they walked along the winding pathway to
the Hall. The first thing which attracted their eyes, after passing
under the gateway, was the large old family carriage, standing opposite
the Hall door, where stood some luggage, sufficient for the journey,
ready to be placed upon it; the remainder having been sent on the day
before to London. How mournful was the sight! On entering the Hall, they
found its heart-broken inmates all up, and dressed. The children were
taking their last breakfast in the nursery; Charles making many
inquiries of the weeping servants, which they could answer only by tears
and kisses. In vain was the breakfast-table spread for the senior
travellers. There sat poor Kate, in travelling trim, before the antique
silver urn, attempting to perform, with tremulous hand, her accustomed
office; but neither she, nor Mrs. Aubrey, was equal to the task; which,
summoning the housekeeper into the room, they devolved upon her, and
which she was scarce able to perform. Mr. Aubrey and Dr. Tatham were
standing there; but neither of them spoke. A short time before, Mr.
Aubrey had requested the servants to be summoned, as usual, to morning
prayer in the accustomed room, and requested Dr. Tatham to officiate. As
soon, however, as the sorrowful little assemblage was collected before
him, he whispered to Mr. Aubrey that he felt unequal to go through the
duty with the composure which it required; and after a pause, he said,
"Let us kneel down;" and in a low voice, often interrupted by his own
emotions, and the sobs of those around him, he read, with touching
simplicity and solemnity, the ninety-first psalm; adding the Lord's
prayer, and a very tremulous benediction.

The bitter preparations for starting at an early hour, seven o'clock,
were soon afterwards completed. Half smothered with the kisses and
caresses of the affectionate servants, little Charles and Agnes were
already seated in the carriage, on the laps of their two attendants,
exclaiming eagerly, "Come, papa! come, mamma! What a while you are!"
Just then, poor Pumpkin, the gardener, scarce able to speak, made his
appearance, his arms full of nosegays, which he had been culling for the
last two hours--having one a-piece for each of the travellers, servants,
and children, and all. The loud angry bark of Hector was heard from time
to time, little Charles calling loudly for him; but Pumpkin had fastened
him up, for fear of his starting off after the carriage. At length,
having scarcely tasted breakfast, the travellers made their appearance
at the Hall door. Kate and Mrs. Aubrey were utterly overcome at the
sight of the carriage, and wept bitterly. They threw their arms
passionately around, and fervently kissed, their venerable friend and
pastor, Dr. Tatham, who was grievously agitated. Then they tore
themselves from him, and hastily got into the carriage. As he stood
alone, bareheaded, on their quitting him, he lifted his hands, but could
scarce utter a parting benediction. Mr. Aubrey, almost overpowered with
his emotions, then grasped his hand, whispering, "Farewell, my dear and
venerable friend! Farewell!" "The Lord God of thy fathers bless thee!"
murmured Dr. Tatham, clasping Mr. Aubrey's hand in both of his own, and
looking solemnly upward. Mr. Aubrey, taking off his hat, turned towards
him an unutterable look: then, waving his hand to the group of agitated
servants standing within and without the door, he stepped into the
carriage; the door was shut; and they rolled slowly away. Outside the
park gates were collected more than a hundred people, to bid them
farewell--all the men, when the carriage came in sight, taking off their
hats. The carriage stopped for a moment. "God bless you all! God bless
you!" exclaimed Mr. Aubrey, waving his hand, while from each window was
extended the white hand of Kate and Mrs. Aubrey, both of which were
fervently kissed and shaken by those who were nearest. Again the
carriage moved on; and quickening their speed, the horses soon bore them
out of the village. Within less than half an hour afterwards, the
tearful eyes of the travellers, as they passed a familiar turning of the
road, had looked their last on Yatton!

       *       *       *       *       *

NOTE _concerning the law of_ ERASURES _and_ ESTOPPELS.

I. ERASURES.--The question--What is the effect of an erasure, an
interlineation, or alteration apparent in a material part of a deed
above thirty years old, when offered in evidence?--has led to much
discussion both among professional and general readers of this work, as
well at home as abroad; and many communications upon the subject have
been received by the author. Lord Widdrington at the trial, and
subsequently he and the full court, held, in the case of _Doe_ d.
_Titmouse_ v. _Jolter_, that such an erasure was fatal to the case of
the party who relied on the instrument in which it was exhibited. In
constructing this portion of the story, the author, aware of some
difference of opinion on the subject among lawyers, relied upon the
following passage in a work of great and long-established authority,
(BULLER'S _Nisi Prius_, p. 255,) in which the law is thus laid down--"If
there be any [material] blemish, by razure or interlineation, in a deed,
it ought to be proved, though it were above thirty years old, by the
witnesses if living, and if dead, by proving the handwriting of at least
one of the witnesses, and also the hand of the party, _in order to
encounter the presumption arising from the blemishes in the deed_."
Such, also, is the law laid down in Lord Chief Baron Gilbert's Treatise
on Evidence, (p. 89,) and the proposition appears adopted, and these two
high authorities cited, in the last edition, (the ninth,) of that
celebrated standard text-book, PHILLIPS _on Evidence_, p. 205, published
since the former edition of this work. There is an impression, however,
that this strict rule would not _now_ be acted upon; on the ground that
the presumption resulting from a continued possession, in conformity
with the effect of a deed with erasure or interlineation, is strong
enough to overcome the presumption of forgery afforded by the
alterations themselves. Still it is possible to foresee great danger
arising out of the adoption of such a rule: for a man enjoying an estate
in lands, less than one of fee simple, may alter the deed so as to give
to himself that superior estate, and then, after a lapse of thirty
years, produce the deed so altered, and thereby defeat the innocent
party challenging his title to the property. Possibly it would now be
submitted as a question for a jury to decide, _whether the alteration
had been made previously or subsequently to the delivery of the deed?_
for if _previously_, the deed remains valid and binding. A deed thirty
years old is called "an ancient document," and is said to "prove
itself"--_i. e._ to require no proof of its execution, provided it shall
have been produced from a custody which may be reasonably and naturally
explained, even though not the strictly proper legal custody.--See the
late case of Doe _d._ Neale _v._ Sampler, 8 _Adolphus and Ellis' Rep._
151; and Doe _d._ Wildgoose _v._ Pearce, 2 _Moody and Robinson_, 240. As
to the point made by the Attorney-General, at the trial, that where the
right is once vested--_i. e._ the instant after the execution of the
deed--_such execution_ creating a title to the land in question--that
right and title cannot be affected by any subsequent alteration of the
deed;--it has been affirmed to be good law in a recent solemn decision
of the Court of Exchequer, and confirmed in a Court of Error.--_See
Davidson_ v. _Cooper_, 11 Meeson _v._ Welsley, 799-800. "The moment
after the execution of the deed, it has become valueless," said Lord
Abinger, "except as affording _evidence_ of the fact that it had been
executed." In this case, in which the author was engaged, (in 1843,) the
whole doctrine of erasures was thoroughly canvassed; and it was decided,
on error, that when an instrument, (whether under seal or not,) which is
_the foundation_ of a right sought to be enforced, is altered in a
material part, even by a stranger, without the privity of the party
affected by it, such alteration makes the instrument utterly void. The
Scotch law respecting erasures is exceedingly stringent; and even goes
farther than that laid down by Lord Widdrington.

II. ESTOPPEL.--Both this doctrine, and that of erasures, as illustrated
by this work, formed the subject of elaborate investigation in an
article in the _American Jurist_ for 1842, (vol. xxvii. pp. 50, et sec.)
The question relating to estoppel, is thus stated there in abstract
terms. "If the son and heir-apparent of a tenant in fee-simple, conveys
the land thus held, and afterwards dies in his father's lifetime, is the
heir of the father, who also makes his pedigree through the son,
estopped by that son's conveyance?" The conclusion arrived at is, that,
according to Lord Coke, if such conveyance had been with warranty, the
heir would be bound, if assets descended to him from the son.[A] But
statute 4 and 5 Anne, c. 16 § 22, makes void as against his heir all
collateral warranties made by an ancestor who has no estate of
inheritance, in _possession_; and the Act just passed, (1844--stat. 7
and 8 Vict. c. 76 § 5,) permitting the alienation of contingent
interests, expressly declares that it shall not enable any heir to
dispose of his _expectancy_.

  [A] By "Warranty," is meant the clause with which deeds of feoffment
  formerly concluded, and by which the feoffor agreed that he and his
  heirs would "warrant, acquit, and forever defend the feoffee and his
  heirs against all persons." This old form has long been obsolete;
  and may be considered to have been, by two late statutes, abolished.

In this story an heir is represented as conveying away his expectancy;
and the author has received an obliging communication on the subject,
from one of the greatest conveyancers who ever lived--Mr. Preston--to
the following effect. "The rule of law is--_Qui non habet, ille non dat:
nemo potest plus juris in alium transferre, quam ipse habet._ Therefore
a grant by an expectant heir, _simpliciter_, is void. But the doctrine
of _estoppels_ (a 'cunning learning,' says Lord Coke) affords exceptions
to this general rule." A feoffment with warranty binds an heir, however,
not by estoppel, but by _rebutter_, "in order to avoid circuity of
action, which is not favored by the law."--(Co. Litt. 265 a.) He might
be estopped by a lease for years, and by matter of record--or by fine
and recovery, before those methods of assurance were abolished; but a
conveyance by Lease and Release would not bind the heir, on the
subsequent descent of the estate: for he had _no right at all_ at the
time of the release, made, but that once in the ancestor; after whose
decease the heir may enter in to the land against his own release.--(Co.
Litt. 265 a.) "The late vice-chancellor, Sir John Leach," says Mr.
Preston, "once decided that a release _did_ operate as an estoppel, in
conformity with my argument before him; but Lord Lyndhurst on appeal,
contrary to his own first impression, on Sir Edward Sugden's handing up
to him my own Book on Conveyancing, as a _contre projet_ to my attempt
to support the vice-chancellor's decision, overruled that decision."


Rank is very apt to attract and dazzle vulgar and feeble optics; and the
belief that such is its effect upon mankind generally, is unspeakably
gratifying to a vain and ignorant possessor of that rank. Of the truth
of one part of this observation, take as an illustration the case of
Tittlebat Titmouse; of the other, that of the Earl of Dreddlington. The
former's dinner engagement with the latter, his august and awful
kinsman, was an event of such magnitude as to absorb almost all his
faculties in the contemplation of it, and also occasion him great
anxiety in preparing for an effective appearance upon so signal an
occasion. Mr. Gammon had repeatedly, during the interval, instructed his
anxious pupil, if so he might be called, as to the manner in which he
ought to behave. He was--Heaven save the mark, poor Titmouse!--to assume
an air of mingled deference, self-possession, and firmness; not, on the
one hand, to be overawed by the greatness with which he would be brought
into contact, nor, on the other, unduly elated by a sense of his own
suddenly acquired importance. He was, on the contrary, to steer evenly
between the extremes of timorousness and temerity--to _aim_, at least,
at that happy mean, so grateful to those able to appreciate the effort,
and object, of those who had attained to it. Titmouse was to remember
that, great as was the Earl of Dreddlington, he was yet _but a
man_--related, too, by consanguinity, to him, the aforesaid Titmouse;
who might, moreover, before many years should have elapsed, become
himself Lord Drelincourt, and by consequence equally entitled, with the
present possessor of that resplendent rank, to the homage of mankind. At
the same time that the earl's advanced years gave him a natural claim to
the reverence of his young kinsman--(whom his Lordship was about to
introduce into the sublime regions of aristocracy, and also of political
society)--Titmouse might extract a few ingredients of consolation from
the reflection, that his income probably _exceeded_, by a third, that of
the Earl of Dreddlington. This is the sum of Mr. Gammon's _general_
instructions to his eager and excited pupil; but he also gave Titmouse
many minor hints and suggestions. He was to drink very little
wine--(whereat Titmouse demurred somewhat vehemently, and asked "How the
d--l he was to _get his steam_ up without it?")--and on no account to
call for beer or porter, to which plebeian beverages, indeed, he might
consider himself as having bid a long and last adieu;--to say
occasionally, only, "my Lord" and "your Lordship," in addressing the
earl--and "your Ladyship," in addressing Lady Cecilia;--and, above all,
never to appear in a hurry, but to do and say whatever he had to do and
say calmly; for that the nerves of aristocracy were very delicate, and
could not bear a bustle, or the slightest display of energy or feeling.
Then, as to his _dress_--Gammon, feeling himself treading on very
doubtful ground, intimated merely that the essence of true fashion was
_simplicity_--but here Titmouse grew fidgety, and his Mentor ceased.

During the night which ushered in the eventful day on which Titmouse
dined with the Earl of Dreddlington, our friend got but very little
sleep. Early in the morning he engaged a most respectable glass-coach
to convey him westward in the evening, in something like style; and
before noon, his anxieties were set at rest by the punctual arrival of
various articles of dress, decoration, and scent--for Titmouse had a
great idea of scents. As for his new watch and its brilliant gold
guard-chain--ambitious reader! you should have seen them! About
half-past four o'clock Titmouse retired to his bedroom, and resigned
himself into the hands of Mr. Twirl, the tip-top hairdresser from the
Strand, whose agreeable manipulations, and still more agreeable
small-talk, occupied upwards of an hour; Titmouse, from time to time,
giving the anxious operator abundant notice of the high quarter in which
his handiwork was likely soon to be scrutinized.

"Pray-a, can you tell me," quoth Titmouse, drawlingly, shortly after
Twirl had commenced his operations, "how long it will take me to get
from this infernal part of the town to Grosvenor Square? _Dem_ long way,
isn't it, Mr. What's-your-name?"

"Grosvenor Square, sir?" said Twirl, glibly, but with a perceptible dash
of deference in his tone; "why it _is_ as one might say a tolerable way
off, certainly; but you can't well miss your way _there_, sir, of all
places in town"----

"My coachman," interrupted Titmouse, with a fine air, "of course, had I
thought of it, _he_ must know, dem him, of course!"

"Oh! to be sure, sir. There's none but people of the most _highest_ rank
lives in that quarter, sir. Excuse me, sir, but I've a brother-in-law
that's valet to the Duke of Dunderwhistle there"----

"Indeed! How far off is that from Lord Dreddlington's?" inquired
Titmouse, carelessly.

"Lord Dreddlington's, sir?--Well, I never! Isn't it particular strange,
if that's where you're going, sir--it's next door to the Duke's--the
very next door, sir!"

"'Pon my life, is it indeed? How devilish odd!"

"Know the Earl of Dreddlington then, I presume, sir?"

"Ya-as, I should think so; he's my--my--relation, that's all; and
devilish near too!"

Mr. Twirl instantly conceived a kind of reverence for the gentleman upon
whom he was operating.

"Well, sir," he presently added in a still more respectful tone than
before, "p'r'aps you'll think it a liberty, sir; but, do you know, I've
several times had the honor of seeing his Lordship in the street at a
little distance--and there's a--a family likeness between you, sir--'pon
my word, sir. It struck me, directly I saw you, that you was like some
_nob_ I'd seen at the other end of the town." [Here Titmouse experienced
pleasurable sensations, similar to those said to be enjoyed by a cat
when you pass your hand down its glossy coat in the right direction.]
"Will you allow me, sir, to give your hair a good brushing, sir, before
I dress it? I always like to take the _greatest_ pains with the hair of
my quality customers!--Do you know, sir, that I had the honor of
dressing his Grace's hair for a whole fortnight together, once when my
brother-in-law was ill; and though p'r'aps I oughtn't to say it, his
Grace expressed the highest satisfaction at my exertions, sir."

"'Pon my life, and _I_ should say you were an uncommon good hand--I've
known lots worse, I assure you; men that would have spoiled the best
head of hair going, by Jove!"

"Sir, you're very kind. I assure you, sir, that to do justice to a
_gent's_ hair requires an uncommon deal of practice, and a sort of
_nat'ral_ talent for it besides. Lord, sir! how much depends on a gent's
hair, don't it? Of two coming into a room, it makes all the difference,
sir! Believe me, sir, it's no use being well-dressed, nay, nor
good-looking, if as how the hair a'n't done--what I call--_correct!_"

"By Jove, I really think you're nigh about the mark," said Titmouse;
and after a pause, during which Mr. Twirl had been brushing away at one
particular part of the head with some vehemence, "Well," he exclaimed
with a sigh, ceasing for a moment his vigorous exertions--"I'm _blest_
if I can manage it, do what I will!"

"Eh? What's that? What is it?" inquired Titmouse, a little alarmedly.

"Why, sir, it's what we gents, in our profession, calls a _feather_,
which is the most _hobstinatest_ thing in nature."

"What's a _feather_?" quoth Titmouse, rather faintly.

"You see, sir, 'tis when a small lot of hair on a gent's head _will_
stick up, do all we can to try and get it down; and (excuse me, sir,)
_you've_ got a regular rattler!" Titmouse put up his hand to feel, Twirl
guiding it to the fatal spot; there it was, just as Twirl had described

"What's to be done?" murmured Titmouse.

"I'm afraid, sir, you don't use our OSTRICH GREASE and RHINOCEROS
MARROW, sir."

"Your _what_?" cried Titmouse, apprehensively, with a dismally distinct
recollection of the tragedy of the Cyanochaitanthropopoion, and the
Damascus Cream, and the Tetaragmenon Abracadabra; matters which he at
once mentioned to Mr. Twirl.

"Ah, it's not _my_ custom, sir," quoth Twirl, "to run down other gents'
inventions; but my real opinion is, that they're all an imposition--a
rank imposition, sir. I didn't like to say it, sir; but I soon saw there
had been somebody a-prac_ti_sing on your hair."

"What, is it _very_ plain?" cried Titmouse, with a kind of horror,
starting up and stepping to the glass.

"No, sir--not so _very_ plain; only _you've_ got, as I might say,
_accustomed_ to the sight of it; but when it's properly curled, and
puckered up, and frizzed about, it won't show--nor the feather neither,
sir; so, by your leave, here goes, sir;" and, after about a quarter of
an hour's more labor, he succeeded in parting it right down the middle
of the head, bringing it out into a bold curl towards each eyebrow, and
giving our friend quite a new and very fascinating appearance, even in
his own eyes. And as for the color--it really was not so very marked,
after all; a little purple-hued and mottled, to be sure, in parts, but
not to a degree to attract the eye of a casual observer. Twirl having
declared, at length, his labors completed--regarding Titmouse's head
with a look of proud satisfaction--Titmouse paid him half a crown, and
also ordered a pot of ostrich grease and of rhinoceros marrow, (the one
being _suet_, the other _lard_, differently scented and colored,) and
was soon left at liberty to proceed with the important duties of the
toilet. It took him a good while; but in the end he was supremely
successful. He wore black tights, (_i. e._ pantaloons fitting closely to
his legs, and tied round his ankles with black ribbons,) silk stockings,
and shoes with glittering silver buckles. His white neckerchief was tied
with great elegance, not a superfluous wrinkle being visible in it. His
shirt-front of lace, had two handsome diamond pins, connected together
by a little delicate gold chain, glistening in the midst of it. Then he
had a white waistcoat edge, next a crimson one, and lastly a glorious
sky-blue satin waistcoat, spangled all over with gold flowers
inwrought--and across it hung his new gold watch-guard, and his silver
guard for his eyeglass, producing an inconceivably fine effect. His coat
was of a light brown, of exquisite cut, fitting him as closely as if he
had been born in it, and with burnished brass buttons, of sugar-loaf
shape. 'Twas padded also with great judgment, and really took off more
of his round-shouldered awkwardness of figure than any coat he had ever
worn before. Then he had a fine white pocket-handkerchief, soaked in
lavender water; and immaculate white kid gloves. Thus habited, he stood
before his glass, bowing fifty different times, and adjusting his
expression to various elegant forms of address. He was particularly
struck with the combined effect of the two curls of his hair towards
each eye, and the hair underneath his chin curved upwards on each side
of his mouth in complete symmetry. I have ascertained from Mr. Titmouse
himself, that on this memorable occasion of his first introduction to
NOBILITY, every item of dress and decoration was entirely new; and when
at length his labors had been completed, he felt great composure of
mind, and a consciousness of the decisive effect which he must needs
produce upon those into whose presence he was so soon to be ushered. His
"carriage" was presently announced; and after keeping it standing for a
few minutes, (which he conceived to be usual with fine people,) he
gently placed his hat upon his head; drew on one glove, took his little
ebony cane in his hand; and, with a hurried inward prayer that he might
be equal to the occasion, stepped forth from his apartment and passed on
to the glass-coach. Such a brilliant little figure, I will take upon
myself to say, had never before issued, nor will perhaps ever again
issue, from the Cabbage-Stalk Hotel. The waiters whom he passed,
inclined towards him with instinctive reverence. He was _very_ fine, to
be sure; but who could, they justly thought, be dressed too finely that
had ten thousand a-year, and was gone to dine with a lord in Grosvenor

Titmouse was soon on his way towards that at once desired and dreaded
region. He gazed with a look of occasional pity and contempt, as he
passed along, at the plebeian pedestrians, and the lines of shops on
each side of the narrow streets, till increasing indications of superior
modes of existence presented themselves; and then he began to feel not a
little fidgety and nervous. The streets grew wider; the squares greater;
hackney-coaches (unsightly objects!) became fewer and fewer, giving
place to splendid vehicles--coaches, and chariots--with one, two, and
even three footmen, in elegant liveries, clustering behind, with long
canes, cockades, and shoulder-knots; crimson, blue, green, bear and
tiger skin hammercloths, with burnished coronets and crests upon them;
sleek coachmen with wigs and three-cornered hats, and horses that pawed
the ground with very pride; ladies within, glistening in satin, lace,
and jewels--their lords beside them, leaning back with countenances so
stern and haughty; oh, by all that was grand and tremendous! Titmouse
felt himself getting now within the very vortex of greatness and
fashion, and experienced a frequent fluttering and catching of the
breath, and a sense of indefinite distressing apprehension. He was,
however, now _in for it_--and there was no retreat. As he neared
Grosvenor Square, he heard, ever and anon, terrific thundering noises at
the doors opposite which these splendid vehicles had drawn up--as if the
impatient footmen were infuriated because the doors did not fly open of
themselves, at the sound of the approaching carriage-wheels. At length
he entered Grosvenor Square, that "pure empyrean" of earthly greatness.
Carriages rolled calmly and haughtily past him, others dashed
desperately in different directions. At each side of Lord Dreddlington's
house, were carriages setting down with tremendous uproar. Mr. Titmouse
felt his color going, and his heart began to beat much faster than
usual. 'Twas quite in vain that he "hemmed" two or three times, by way
of trying to reassure himself: he felt that his hour was come; and would
have been glad, at the moment, of any decent excuse for driving off home
again, and putting off the evil day a little longer. Opposite the
dreaded door had now drawn up Mr. Titmouse's glass-coach; and the decent
coachman--whose well-worn hat, and long, clean, but threadbare blue
coat, and ancient-looking top-boots, bespoke their wearer's
thriftiness--slowly alighting, threw the reins on his quiet horses'
backs, and gave a modest _rat-tat-tat-tat-tat_ at the door without

"What name shall I give, sir?" said he, returning to his coach, and
letting down the loud clanking steps, with such a noise as seemed to
indicate his desire to show the solid metal structure of them!

"Titmouse--Mr. Titmouse;" replied our friend, hurriedly, as the lofty
door was thrown open by the corpulent porter; disclosing several footmen
in light blue liveries, with silver shoulder-knots, and powdered heads,
standing in the hall waiting for him.

"Mr. Titmouse!" exclaimed the coachman to the servants: then, having
returned to the coach--"When shall I come back for you, sir?" he
inquired of his flustered fare.

"D-- me, sir--don't bother _me_," faltered Titmouse, quitting the
vehicle with great trepidation: and the next moment he was in the hands
of the Philistines--the hall door was closed upon him. All his presence
of mind had evaporated; the excellent lessons given him by Mr. Gammon
had disappeared like breath from the surface of a mirror. Though Lord
Dreddlington's servants had never before seen in the house so strange an
object as poor little Titmouse, they were of far too highly polished
manners to appear to notice anything unusual. They silently motioned him
up-stairs with a bland courteous air, he carrying his little
agate-headed cane in one hand, and his new hat in the other. A
gentlemanly person in a full black dress suit, opened the drawing-room
door for him, with an elegant inclination, which Titmouse very
gracefully returned. A faint mist seemed to be in the drawing-room for a
second or two, during which Titmouse heard his name gently whispered by
the gentleman who had introduced him; quickly clearing away, however,
he beheld, at the upper end, but two figures, that of an old gentleman,
and a young lady--they were, in fact, the Earl of Dreddlington and Lady
Cecilia. Now--if truth must be told--that great man had not been a whit
behindhand, in the matter of dress, with the little creature now
trembling before him; being, in truth, full as anxious to make an
effective first appearance in the eyes of Mr. Titmouse, as he in those
of the Earl of Dreddlington. And each had, in his way, completely
succeeded. There was little or no substantial difference between them.
The Right Honorable the Earl of Dreddlington was an old experienced
fool, and Tittlebat Titmouse a young inexperienced one. They were the
same species of plant, but had grown in different soils. The one had
had to struggle through a neglected existence by the dusty, hard
road-side of life; the other had had all the advantage of hot-house
cultivation--its roots striking deep into, and thriving upon, the rich
manure of sycophancy and adulation!--We have seen how anxious was our
little friend to appear as became the occasion, before his great
kinsman; who in his turn had several times during the day exulted
secretly in the anticipation of the impression which must be produced
upon the mind of Titmouse by the sudden display, in the earl's person,
of the sublimest distinctions which society can bestow, short of
royalty. It had once or twice occurred to the earl, whether he could
find any fair excuse for appearing in his full general's uniform; but on
maturer reflection, governed by that simplicity and severity of taste
which ever distinguished him, he had abandoned that idea, and appeared
in a plain blue coat, white waistcoat, and black knee-breeches. But on
his left breast glittered one or two foreign orders, and across his
waistcoat was the broad red ribbon of the Bath. His hair was white and
fine; his cold blue eye and haughty lip gave him an expression of
severe dignity: and he stood erect as an arrow. Lady Cecilia reclined on
the sofa, with an air of languor and _ennui_ which had become habitual
to her; and was dressed in glistening white satin, with a necklace of
large and very beautiful pearls. The earl was standing in an attitude of
easy grace to receive his guest, as to whose personal appearance, by the
way, he was quite in the dark--Mr. Titmouse might be a great or a little
man, and forward or bashful; and require a corresponding demeanor and
address on the part of the earl. "Gracious Powers!" he involuntarily
exclaimed to himself, the instant his eye caught sight of Titmouse, who
approached slowly, making profound and formal obeisances. The earl stood
rooted to the spot which he had occupied when Titmouse entered. If his
servants had turned an ape into the drawing-room, his Lordship could
scarcely have felt or exhibited greater amazement than he now
experienced, for a moment. "Ah, Heavens!" thought he, "what a fool have
we here? what creature is this?" Then it flashed across his mind;--"May
this be THE FUTURE LORD DRELINCOURT?" He was on the point of recoiling
from his suddenly-discovered kinsman in dismay, (as for Lady Cecilia,
she gazed at him, through her glass, in silent horror, after a faint
exclamation, on his first becoming visible, of "Gracious! Papa!") when
his habitual self-command came to his assistance; and, advancing very
slowly a step or two towards Titmouse--who, after a hurried glance
around him, saw no place to deposit his hat and cane upon except the
floor, on which he accordingly dropped them--the earl extended his hand,
slightly compressed the tips of Titmouse's fingers, and bowed
courteously, but with infinite concern in his features.

"I am happy, Mr. Titmouse, to make your acquaintance," said the earl,
slowly--"Sir, I have the honor to present you to my daughter, the Lady
Cecilia." Titmouse, who by this time had got into a sort of cold
sweat--a condition from which the earl was really not _very_ far
removed--made a very profound and formal bow, (he had been taking
lessons from a posture-master to one of the theatres,) first to the
earl, and then to Lady Cecilia, who rose about two inches from the sofa,
with an almost audible sigh, and then sank again upon it, without
removing her eyes from the figure of Titmouse, who went on bowing, first
to the one and then to the other, till the earl had engaged him in

"It gives me pleasure, sir, to see that you are punctual in your
engagements. I am so too, sir; and owe to it no small portion of any
success which I may have had in life. Punctuality, sir, in small
matters, leads to punctuality in great matters." This was said very
deliberately, and with a sort of freezing grandeur.

"Oh yes, my Lord! quite so, your Lordship," stammered Titmouse, suddenly
recollecting a part of Gammon's instructions; "to be sure--wouldn't have
been behind time, your Lordship, for a minute, my Lord; uncommon bad
manners, if it please your Lordship"----

"Will you be seated, sir?" interrupted the earl, dignifiedly motioning
him to a chair, and then sitting down beside him; after which his
Lordship seemed, for a second or two, to forget himself; staring in
silence at Titmouse, and then in consternation at Lady Cecilia. "I--I--"
said he, suddenly recollecting himself, "beg your par--sir, I mean--I
congratulate you upon--your recent success. Sir, it must have been
rather a surprise to you?"

"Oh yes, sir--my Lord, most uncommon, may it please your
Lordship--particular--but _right is right_--please your Lordship"----

["Oh Heavens! merciful Heavens! How horrid is all this! Am I awake or
only dreaming? 'Tis an idiot--and what's worse, a vulgar idiot! _And
this thing may become Lord Drelincourt!_" This was what was passing
through Lord Dreddlington's mind, while his troubled eye was fixed upon

"It is, indeed, Mr. Titmouse," replied his Lordship, "very true, sir;
what you say is correct. Quite so; exactly." His eye was fixed on
Titmouse, but his words were uttered, as it were, mechanically, and in a
musing manner. It flitted for a moment across his mind, whether he
should ring the bell, and order the servant to show out of the house the
fearful imp which had just been shown into it; but at that critical
moment he detected poor Titmouse's eye fixed with a kind of reverent
intensity upon his Lordship's glittering orders. 'Twas a lucky look,
that, for Titmouse, since it began to melt away the ice which was
beginning to incrust the little heart of his august relative. 'Twas
evident that the poor young man had not been accustomed to society,
thought the earl, with an approach towards the compassionate mood. He
was frightfully dressed, to be sure; and as for his speech, he was
manifestly overawed by the Presence in which he found himself; [that
thought melted a little more of the ice.] Yet, was it not evident that
he had _some_ latent power of appreciating real distinction, when he
beheld it? [his Lordship's little heart here lost _all_ the ice which
had begun so suddenly to collect round it.] And again;--he has actually
thrust out the intolerable Aubrey, and is now lawful owner of Yatton--of

"Did you see the review, to-day, sir?" inquired the earl, rather
blandly--"His Majesty was there, sir, and seemed to enjoy the scene."
Titmouse, with a timid air, said that he had not seen it, as he had been
at a boatrace upon the river; and after a few more general
observations--"Will you permit me, sir? It is from A QUARTER requiring
the highest--a-hem!" said the earl, as a note was brought him, which he
immediately opened and read. Lady Cecilia, also, appearing to be
reading, Titmouse had a moment's breathing time and interval of relief.
What would he have given, he thought, for some other person, or several
persons, to come in and divide the attention--the intolerably oppressive
attention of the two august individuals then before him! He seized the
opportunity to cast a furtive glance around the room. It opened into a
second, which opened into a third: how spacious, each, and lofty! And
glittering glass chandeliers in each! What chimney and pier glasses!
What rich flowered satin curtains--they must have cost twelve or
fourteen shillings a-yard at least!--The carpets, of the finest
Brussels--and they felt like velvet to the feet;--then the brackets, of
marble and gold, with snowy statues and vases glistening upon each;
chairs so delicate, and gilded all over--he almost feared to sit down on
them. What would the Quirks and Tag-rags think of this! Faugh--only to
think for a moment of Alibi House and Satin Lodge!--Then there was the
Lady Cecilia--a lady of high rank! How rich her dress--and how haughtily
beautiful she looked as she reclined upon the sofa! [she was in fact
busy conning over the new opera, which was to come out the next
evening.] And the Earl of Dreddlington--there he was, reading,
doubtless, some letter from the king or one of the royal family--a man
of great rank--resplendent in his decorations--all just according to
what he had seen in pictures, and heard and read of--what must that red
ribbon have cost? Ay, indeed, poor Lord Dreddlington, it had cost you
the labor of half a life of steadfast sycophancy, of watchful
manœuvring, and desperate exertion! And at last, the minister tossed
it to you in a moment of disgust and despair--mortally perplexed by the
conflicting claims of two sulky dukes and a querulous old marquis, each
of whom threatened to withdraw his "_influence and support_," if his
_rival's_ claims were preferred! He had never seen any of such a
breadth.--It must have been manufactured on purpose for the earl! How
white were his hands! And he had an antique massive signet-ring on his
forefinger, and two glittering rings at least on each of his little
fingers--positively Titmouse at length began to regard him almost as a
god:--and yet the amazing thought occurred that this august being was
allied to him by the ties of relationship! Such were the thoughts and
reflections passing through the mind of Titmouse, during the time that
Lord Dreddlington was engaged in reading his letter--and afterwards
during the brief intervals which elapsed between the various
observations addressed to him by his Lordship.

The gentleman in black at length entered the room, and advancing slowly
and noiselessly towards the earl, said in a gentlemanlike manner,
"Dinner, my Lord;" and retired. Into what new scenes of splendid
embarrassment was this the signal for Mr. Titmouse's introduction?
thought our friend, and trembled.

"Mr. Titmouse, will you give your arm to the Lady Cecilia?" said the
earl, motioning him to the sofa. Up jumped Titmouse, and approached
hastily the recumbent beauty; who languidly arose, arranged her train
with one hand, and with the other, having drawn on her glove, just
barely touched the proffered arm of Titmouse, extended towards her at a
very acute angle, and at right angles with his own body--stammering,
"Honor to take your Ladyship--uncommon proud--this way, my Lady." Lady
Cecilia took no more notice of him than if he had been a dumb waiter;
walking beside him in silence--the earl following. To think that a
nobleman of high rank was walking _behind_ him!

Would to heaven, thought the embarrassed Titmouse, that he had two
fronts, one for the earl behind, and the other to be turned full towards
Lady Cecilia! The tall servants, powdered and in light blue liveries,
stood like a guard of honor around the dining-room door. That room was
extensive and lofty: what a solitary sort of state were they about to
dine in! Titmouse felt cold, though it was summer; and trembled as he
followed, rather than led, his haughty partner to her seat; and then was
motioned into his own by the earl, himself sitting down opposite an
antique silver soup tureen! A servant stood behind Lady Cecilia; another
behind Titmouse; and a third on the left of the earl; while on his
right, between his Lordship and the glistening sideboard, stood a portly
gentleman in black, with a bald head and--Titmouse thought--a somewhat
haughty countenance. Though Titmouse had touched nothing since
breakfast, he felt not the slightest inclination to eat, and would have
given the world to have dared to say as much, and be at once relieved
from a vast deal of anxiety. Is it indeed easy to conceive of a
fellow-creature in a state of more complete thraldom, at that moment,
than poor little Titmouse? A little animal under the suddenly exhausted
receiver of an air-pump, or a fish just plucked out of its own element,
and flung gasping and struggling upon the grass, may serve to assist
your conceptions of the position and sufferings of Mr. Titmouse. The
earl, who was on the look-out for it, observed his condition with secret
but complete satisfaction; here he beheld the legitimate effect of rank
and state upon the human mind. Titmouse got through the soup--of which
about half a dozen spoonfuls only were put into his plate--pretty
fairly. Anywhere else than at Lord Dreddlington's, Titmouse would have
thought it poor, thin, watery stuff, with a few green things chopped up
and swimming in it; but now he perceived that it had a sort of superior
flavor. How some red mullet, enclosed in paper, puzzled poor Titmouse,
is best known to himself.

"The Lady Cecilia will take wine with you, Mr. Titmouse, I dare say,
by-and-by," observed the earl, blandly; and in a moment's time, but with
perfect deliberation, the servants poured wine into the two glasses.
"Your Ladyship's health, my Lady"--faltered Titmouse. She slightly
bowed, and a faint smile glimmered at the corners of her mouth--but
unobserved by Titmouse.

"I think you said, Mr. Titmouse," quoth the earl, some time afterwards,
"that you had not yet taken possession of Yatton?"

"No, my Lord; but I go down the day after to-morrow--quite--if I may say
it, my Lord--quite in style"--answered Titmouse, with humble and
hesitating jocularity of manner.

"Ha, ha!"--exclaimed the earl, gently.

"Had you any acquaintance with the Aubreys, Mr. Titmouse?" inquired the
Lady Cecilia.

"No, my Lady--yes, your Ladyship, (I beg your Ladyship's pardon)--but,
now I think of it, I had a slight acquaintance with Miss Aubrey."
[Titmouse, Titmouse, you little wretch, how dare you say so?]

"She is considered pretty in the country, I believe," drawled Lady
Cecilia, languidly.

"Oh, most uncommon lovely!--_middling_, only middling, my Lady, I should
say"--added Titmouse, suddenly; having observed, as he fancied, rather a
displeased look in Lady Cecilia. He had begun his sentence with more
energy than he had yet shown in the house; he finished it hastily, and
colored as he spoke--feeling that he had, somehow or another, committed

"Do you form a new establishment at Yatton, sir?" inquired the earl, "or
take to any part of that of your predecessor?"

"I have not, please your Lordship, made up my mind yet exactly--should
like to know your Lordship's opinion."

"Why, sir, I should be governed by circumstances--by circumstances, sir;
when you get there, sir, you will be better able to judge of the course
you should pursue." Titmouse made an humble obeisance.

"Do you intend, Mr. Titmouse, to live in town, or in the country?"
inquired Lady Cecilia.

"A little of both, my Lady--but mostly in town; because, as your
Ladyship sees, the country is _devilish_ dull--'pon my life, my Lady--my
Lord--beg a thousand pardons," he suddenly added, bowing to both, and
blushing violently. Here he _had_ committed himself, and awfully; but
his august companions bowed to him very kindly, and he presently
recovered his self-possession.

"Are you fond of hunting, Mr. Titmouse?" inquired the earl.

"Why, my Lord, can't exactly say that I am--but your Lordship sees,
cases alter circumstances, and when I get down there among the country
gents, p'r'aps I may do as they do, my Lord."

"I presume, Mr. Titmouse, you have scarcely chosen a town residence
yet?" inquired Lady Cecilia.

"No, my Lady--not fixed it yet--was thinking of taking Mr. Aubrey's
house in Grosvenor Street, understanding it is to be sold;" then turning
towards the earl--"because, as your Lordship sees, I was thinking of
getting into _both_ the nests of the old birds, while both are warm"--he
added with a very faint smile.

"Exactly; yes--I see, sir--I understand you," replied Lord Dreddlington,
sipping his wine. His manner rather discomposed Titmouse, to whom it
then very naturally occurred that the earl might be warmly attached to
the Aubreys, and not relish their being spoken of so lightly; so
Titmouse hastily and anxiously added--"Your Lordship sees I was most
_particular_ sorry to make the Aubreys turn out. A most uncommon
respectable gent, Mr. Aubrey: I assure your Lordship I think so."

"I had not the honor of his acquaintance, sir," replied the earl,
coldly, and with exceeding stiffness, which flustered Titmouse not a
little; and a pause occurred in the conversation for nearly a minute.
Dinner had now considerably advanced, and Titmouse was beginning to grow
a _little_ familiar with the routine of matters. Remembering Gammon's
caution concerning the wine, and also observing how very little was
drunk by the earl and Lady Cecilia, Titmouse did the same; and during
the whole of dinner had scarcely four full glasses of wine.

"How long is it," inquired the earl, addressing his daughter, "since the
Aubreys took that house?" Lady Cecilia could not say. "Stay--now I
recollect--surely it was just before my appointment to the Household.
Yes; it was about that time, I now recollect. I am alluding, Mr.
Titmouse," continued the earl, addressing him in a very gracious manner,
"to an appointment under the Crown of some little distinction, which I
was solicited to accept at the personal instance of his Majesty, on the
occasion of our party coming into power--I mean that of Lord Steward of
the Household."

"Dear me, my Lord! Indeed! Only to think, your Lordship!" exclaimed
Titmouse, with such a profound deference in his manner as encouraged the
earl to proceed.

"That, sir, was an office of great importance, and I had some hesitation
in undertaking its responsibility. But, sir, when I had once committed
myself to my sovereign and my country, I resolved to give them my best
services. I had formed plans for effecting very extensive alterations,
sir, in that department of the public service, which I have no doubt
would have given great satisfaction to the country, as soon as the
nature of my intentions became generally understood; when faction, sir,
unfortunately prevailed, and we were compelled to relinquish office."

"Dear me, my Lord! How particular sorry I am to hear it, my Lord!"
exclaimed Titmouse, as he gazed at the baffled statesman with an
expression of respectful sympathy.

"Sir, it gives me sincere satisfaction," said the earl, after a pause,
"to hear that our political opinions agree"----

"Oh yes! my Lord, quite; _sure_ of that"----

"I assure you, sir, that some little acquaintance with the genius and
spirit of the British constitution has satisfied me that this country
can never be safely or advantageously governed except on sound Whig
principles."--He paused.

"Yes, my Lord; it's quite true, your Lordship"--interposed Titmouse,

"That, sir, is the only way I know of, by which aristocratic
institutions can be brought to bear effectively upon, to blend
harmoniously with the interests of the lower orders--_the people_, Mr.
Titmouse." Titmouse thought this wonderfully fine, and sat listening as
to an oracle of political wisdom. The earl, observing it, began to form
a much higher opinion of his little kinsman. "The unfortunate gentleman,
your predecessor at Yatton, sir, if he had but allowed himself to have
been guided by those who had mixed in public affairs before he was
born," said the earl, with great dignity----

"'Pon my word, my Lord, he was, I've heard, a d--d Tory!--Oh my Lady! my
Lord! humbly beg pardon," he added, turning pale; but the fatal word had
been uttered, and heard by both; and he felt as if he could have sunk
through the floor.

"Shall I have the honor of taking another glass of wine with you, sir?"
inquired the earl, rather gravely and severely, as if wishing Mr.
Titmouse fully to appreciate the fearful breach of etiquette of which he
had just been guilty, by swearing in such a presence. After they had
bowed to each other, a very awkward pause occurred, which was at length
broken by the considerate Lady Cecilia.

"Are you fond of the opera, Mr. Titmouse?"

"Very, my Lady--most particular," replied Titmouse, who had been there
once only.

"Do you prefer the opera, or the ballet? I mean the music or the

"Oh I understand your Ladyship. 'Pon my word, my Lady, I prefer them
both. The dancing is most uncommon superior; though I must say, my Lady,
the lady dancers there do most uncommonly--_rather_, I should say"--He
stopped abruptly; his face flushed, and he felt as if he had burst into
a perspiration. What the deuce was he about? It seemed as if some devil
within were urging him on, from time to time, to commit himself. Good
gracious! another word, and out would have come his opinion as to the
shocking indecency of the ballet!

"I understand you, sir; I quite agree with you," said Lady Cecilia,
calmly; "the ballet _does_ come on at a sad late hour; I often wish they
would now and then have the ballet first."

"'Pon my life, my Lady," quoth Titmouse, eagerly snatching at the plank
which had been thrown to him; "that _is_ what I meant--nothing else,
upon my soul, your Ladyship!"

"Do you intend taking a box there, Mr. Titmouse?" inquired her Ladyship,
with an appearance of interest in the expected answer.

"Why, your Ladyship, they say a box there is a _precious_ long
figure;--but in course, my Lady, when I've got to rights a little with
my property--your Ladyship understands--I shall do the correct thing."

Here a very long pause ensued. How dismally quiet and deliberate was
everything! The very servants, how noiselessly they waited! Everything
done just when it was wanted, yet no hurry, or bustle, or noise; and
they looked so composed--so much at their ease. He fancied that they had
scarce anything else to do than look at him, and watch all his
movements; which greatly embarrassed him, and he began to _hate_ them.
He tried hard to inspirit himself with a reflection upon his own
suddenly acquired and really great personal importance; absolute master
of Ten Thousand a-Year, a relation of the great man at whose table he
sat, and whose hired servants they were; but then his timorously raised
eye would light, for an instant, upon the splendid _insignia_ of the
earl; and he felt as oppressed as ever. What would he not have given for
a few minutes' interval, and sense of complete freedom and independence?
And were these to be his feelings ever hereafter? Was this the sort of
tremulous apprehension of offence, and embarrassment as to his every
move, to which he was to be doomed in high life? Oh that he had but been
_born_ to it, like the earl and the Lady Cecilia!

"Were you ever in the House of Lords, Mr. Titmouse?" inquired Lord
Dreddlington, suddenly, after casting about for some little time for a
topic on which he might converse with Titmouse.

"No, my Lord, never--should most uncommon like to see it, my
Lord"--replied Titmouse, eagerly.

"Certainly, it is an impressive spectacle, sir, and well worth seeing,"
said the earl, solemnly.

"I suppose, my Lord, your Lordship goes there every day?"

"Why, sir, I believe _I am_ pretty punctual in my attendance. I was
there to-day, sir, till the House rose. Sir, I am of opinion that
hereditary legislators--a practical anomaly in a free state like
this--but one which has innumerable unperceived advantages to recommend
it--Sir, our country expects at our hands, in discharge of so grave a
trust--in short, if we were not to be true to--we who are in a peculiar
sense the guardians of public liberty--if we were once to betray our
trust--Let me trouble you sir, for a little of that----," said the earl,
using some foreign word which Titmouse had never heard of before, and
looking towards a delicately constructed fabric, as of compressed snow,
which stood before Titmouse. A servant was in a twinkling beside him,
with his Lordship's plate. Ah me! that I should have to relate so sad an
event as presently occurred to Titmouse! He took a spoon; and, imagining
the glistening fabric before him to be as solid as it looked, brought to
bear upon it an adequate degree of force, even as if he had been going
to scoop out a piece of Stilton cheese--and inserting his spoon at the
summit of the snowy and deceitful structure, souse to the bottom went
spoon, hand, coat-cuff, and all, and a very dismal noise evidenced that
the dish on which the aforesaid spoon had descended, with so much
force--was no longer a dish. It was, in fact, broken in halves, and the
liquid from within, ran about on the cloth.... A cluster of servants was
quickly around him.... A mist came over his eyes; the color deserted his
cheek; and he had a strange feeling, as if verily the end of all things
was at hand.

"I beg you will think nothing of it--for it really signifies nothing at
all, Mr. Titmouse," said the earl, kindly, observing his agitation.

"Oh dear! oh my Lord--your Ladyship--what an _uncommon_ stupid ass!"
faltered Titmouse.

"Pray _don't_ distress yourself, Mr. Titmouse," said Lady Cecilia,
really feeling for his evident misery, "or you will distress _us_."

"I beg--humbly beg pardon--please your Lordship--your Ladyship. I'll
replace it with the best in London the very first thing in the morning."
Here the servant beside him, who was arranging the table-cloth, uttered
a faint sound of suppressed laughter, which disconcerted Titmouse still

"Give yourself no concern--'tis only a _trifle_, Mr. Titmouse!--You
understand, ha, ha?" said the earl, kindly.

"But if your Lordship will only allow me--expense is no object. I know
the very best shop in Oxford Street."

"Suppose we take a glass of champagne together, Mr. Titmouse?" said the
earl, rather peremptorily; and Titmouse had sense enough to be aware
that he was to drop the subject. It was a good while before he recovered
even the little degree of self-possession which he had had since first
entering Lord Dreddlington's house. He had afterwards no very distinct
recollection of the manner in which he got through the rest of dinner,
but a general sense of his having been treated with the most kind and
delicate forbearance--no _fuss_ made. Suppose such an accident had
occurred at Satin Lodge, or even Alibi House!

Shortly after the servants had withdrawn, Lady Cecilia rose to retire.
Titmouse, seeing the earl approaching the bell, anticipated him in
ringing it, and then darted to the door with the speed of a lamplighter
to open it, as he did, just before a servant had raised his hand to it
on the outside. Then he stood within, and the servant without, each
bowing, and Lady Cecilia passed between them with stately step, her eyes
fixed upon the ground, and her lip compressed with the effort to check
her inclination to a smile--perhaps, even laughter. Titmouse was now
left alone with Lord Dreddlington; and, on resuming his seat, most
earnestly renewed his entreaties to be allowed to replace the dish
which he had broken, assuring Lord Dreddlington that "money was no
object at all." He was encountered, however, with so stern a negative by
his Lordship, that, with a hurried apology, he dropped the subject; but
the earl very good-naturedly added that he had perceived the _joke_
intended by Mr. Titmouse--which was certainly a very good one! This
would have set off poor Titmouse again; but a glance at the face of his
magnificent host sealed his lips.

"I have heard it said, Mr. Titmouse," presently commenced the earl,
"that you have been engaged in mercantile pursuits during the period of
your exclusion from the estates which you have just recovered. Is it so,

"Ye-e-e-s--sir--my Lord"--replied Titmouse, hastily considering whether
or not he should altogether _sink the shop_; but he dared hardly venture
upon so very decisive a lie--"I was, please your Lordship, in one of the
greatest establishments in the mercery line in London--at the west end,
my Lord; most confidential, my Lord; management of everything; but,
somehow, my Lord, I never _took to it_--always felt a cut above it--your
Lordship understands?"

"Perfectly, sir; I can quite appreciate your feelings. But, sir, the
mercantile interests of this great country are not to be
overlooked!--Those who are concerned in them, are frequently respectable

"Begging pardon, my Lord--no, they a'n't--if your Lordship only knew
them as well as I do, my Lord. Most uncommon low people. Do anything to
turn a penny, my Lord; and often sell damaged goods for best."

"It is very possible, sir, that there may exist irregularities,
_eccentricities_, ha! ha! of that description; but upon the whole, sir,
I am disposed to think that there are many very decent persons engaged
in trade. I have had the happiness, sir, to assist in passing measures
that were calculated, by removing restrictions and protective duties, to
secure to this country the benefits of free and universal competition.
We have been proceeding, sir, for many years, on altogether a wrong
principle--that of protecting native industry and enterprise; but, not
to follow out this matter farther, I must remind you, sir, that your
acquaintance with the principles and leading details of mercantile
transactions--undoubtedly one of the mainsprings of the national
greatness--may hereafter be of use to you, sir."

"Yes, my Lord, 'pon my soul--when I'm furnishing my houses in town and
country, I mean to go to market myself--please your Lordship, I know a
trick or two of the trade, and can't be taken in, my Lord. For instance,
my Lord, there's Tag-rag--a-hem! hem!" he paused abruptly, and looked
somewhat confusedly at the earl.

"I did not mean _that_ exactly," said his Lordship, unable to resist a
smile. "Pray, fill your glass, Mr. Titmouse." He did so. "You are of
course aware that you have the absolute patronage of the borough of
Yatton, Mr. Titmouse?--It occurs to me, that as our political opinions
agree, and unless I am presumptuous, sir, in so thinking--I may be
regarded, in a political point of view, as the head of the family--you
understand me, I hope, Mr. Titmouse?"

"Exactly, my Lord--'pon my soul, it's all correct, my Lord."

"Well--then, sir, the family interests, Mr. Titmouse, must be looked

"Oh! in course, my Lord, only too happy--certainly, my Lord, we shall, I
hope, make a very _interesting_ family, if your Lordship so pleases--I
_can_ have no objection, my Lord!"

"It was a vile, a disgraceful trick, by which Ministers popped in their
own man for our borough, Mr. Titmouse."

[Lord Dreddlington alluded to the circumstance of a new writ having been
moved for, immediately on Mr. Aubrey's acceptance of the Chiltern
Hundreds, and, before the Opposition could be prepared for such a step,
sent down, without delay, to Yatton, and Sir Percival Pickering, Bart.,
of Luddington Court, an intimate friend of Mr. Aubrey's, and a keen
unflinching Tory, being returned as member, before the Titmouse
influence could be brought for even one moment into the field; the few
and willing electors of that ancient and loyal borough being only too
happy to have the opportunity of voting for a man whose principles they
approved--probably the last they would have of doing so.]

"Yes, my Lord--Sir What-d'ye-call-him _was_ a trifle too sharp for us,
in that business, wasn't he?"

"It has succeeded, sir, for the moment, but"--continued his Lordship, in
a very significant and stately manner--"it is quite possible that their
triumph may be of very short duration--Mr. Titmouse. Those who, like
myself, are at headquarters--let me see you fill your glass, Mr.
Titmouse.--I have the honor to congratulate you, sir, on the recovery of
your rights, and to wish you health and long life in the enjoyment of
them," quoth the earl, with an air of the loftiest urbanity.

"May it please your Lordship, your Lordship's most uncommon
polite"--commenced Titmouse, rising and standing while he spoke--for he
had had experience enough of society, to be aware that when a
gentleman's health is drunk on important occasions, it becomes him to
rise and acknowledge the compliment in such language as he can
command--"and am particularly proud--a--a--I beg to propose, my Lord,
your Lordship's very _superior_ good health, and many thanks." Then he
sat down; each poured out another glass of claret, and Titmouse drank
his off.

"It is extremely singular, sir," said the earl, musingly, after a
considerable pause, "the reverses in life that one hears of!"

[I cannot help pausing, for a moment, to suggest--what must have become
of the earl and his daughter, had they been placed in the situation of
the unfortunate Aubreys?]

"Yes, my Lord, your Lordship's quite true, 'pon my word!--Most uncommon
_ups_ and _downs!_ Lord, my Lord, only to fancy _me_, a few months ago,
trotting up and down Oxford Street with my yard mea"----He stopped
short, and colored violently.

"Well, sir," replied the earl, with an expression of bland and dignified
sympathy--"however humble might have been your circumstances, it is a
consolation to reflect that _the Fates ordained it_. Sir, there is
nothing dishonorable in being poor, when--you cannot help it! Reverses
of fortune, sir, have happened to some of the greatest characters in our
history. You remember Alfred, sir?" Titmouse bowed assentingly; but had
he been questioned, could have told, I suspect, as little about the
matter--as the earl himself.

"Allow me, sir, to ask whether you have come to any arrangement with
your late opponent concerning the back-rents?" inquired the earl, with a
great appearance of interest.

"No, my Lord, not yet; but my solicitors say they'll soon _have the
screw on_, please your Lordship--that's just what they say--their very

"Indeed, sir!" replied the earl, gravely. "What is the sum to which they
say you are entitled, sir?"

"Sixty thousand pounds, my Lord, at least--quite set me up at starting,
my Lord--won't it?" replied Titmouse, with great glee; but the earl
shuddered involuntarily for a moment, and sipped his wine in silence.

"By the way, Mr. Titmouse," said he, after a considerable pause--"I
trust you will forgive me for suggesting whether it would not be a
prudent step for you to go to one of the universities, for at least a

"Humbly begging your Lordship's pardon, am not I too old? I've heard
they're all a pack of overgrown schoolboys there--and learn nothing but
a bit of some old languages that a'n't the least use now-a-days, seeing
it a'n't _spoke_ now, anywhere"--replied Titmouse--"Besides, I've talked
the thing over with Mr. Gammon, my Lord"----

"Mr. Gammon? Allow me, sir, to ask who that may be?"

"One of my solicitors, my Lord; a most remarkable clever man, and an
out-and-out lawyer, my Lord. It was he that found out all about my case,
my Lord. If your Lordship was only to see him for a moment, your
Lordship would say what a _remarkable_ clever man that is!"

"You will forgive my curiosity, sir--but it must have surely required
very ample means to have carried on so arduous a lawsuit as that which
has just terminated so successfully?"

"Oh yes, my Lord!--Quirk, Gammon, and Snap did all that; and, between me
and your Lordship, I suppose I shall have to come down a pretty long
figure, all on the _nail_, as your Lordship understands; but I mean them
to get it all out of that respectable gent, Mr. Aubrey!"--By quietly
pressing his questions, the earl got a good deal more from Titmouse than
he was aware of, concerning Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap; and in
doing so, conceived a special dislike for Gammon. The earl gave him some
pretty decisive hints about the necessity of being on his guard with
such people--and hoped that he would not commit himself to anything
important without consulting his Lordship, who would of course give him
the advantage of his experience in the affairs of the world, and open
his eyes to the designs of those whose only object was to make a prey of
him. Titmouse began to feel that here, at length, he had met with a
_real_ friend--one whose suggestions were worthy of being received with
the profoundest deference. Soon afterwards, he had the good fortune to
please the earl, beyond expression, by venturing timidly to express his
admiration of the splendid ribbon worn by his Lordship; who took the
opportunity of explaining that and the other marks of distinction he
wore, and others which he was entitled to wear, at great length and with
much minuteness--so that he at length caused Titmouse to believe that
he, Lord Dreddlington--the august head of the family--must have rendered
more signal service, somehow or other, to his country, and also done
more to win the admiration and gratitude of foreign countries, than most
men of former or present times. His Lordship might not, perhaps, have
intended it; but he went on till he had almost DEIFIED himself in the
estimation of his little listener!--One very natural question was
perpetually trembling on the tip of Titmouse's tongue; viz. how and when
he could get such things for _himself_.

"Well, Mr. Titmouse," at length observed the earl, after looking at his
watch--"shall we adjourn to the drawing-room? The fact is, sir, that
Lady Cecilia and I have an evening engagement at the Duchess of
Diamond's. I much regret being unable to take you with us, sir; but, as
it is, shall we rejoin the Lady Cecilia?" continued his Lordship,
rising. Up jumped Titmouse; and the earl and he were soon in the
drawing-room; where, besides the Lady Cecilia, sat another lady, to whom
he was not introduced in any way. This was Miss Macspleuchan, a distant
connection of the earl's late countess--a very poor relation, who had
entered the house of the Earl of Dreddlington, in order to eat the
bitter, bitter bread of dependence. Poor soul! you might tell, by a
glance at her, that she had not thriven upon it. She was about thirty,
and so thin! She was dressed in plain white muslin; and there was a
manifest constraint and timidity about her motions, and a depression in
her countenance; whose lineaments showed that if she could have been
happy, she might have appeared handsome. She had a most ladylike air;
and there was thought in her brow and acuteness in her eye, which
however, as it were, habitually watched the motions of the earl and the
Lady Cecilia, with deference and anxiety. Poor Miss Macspleuchan felt
herself gradually sinking into a sycophant; the alternative being
_that_, or starvation. She was very accomplished, particularly in music
and languages, while the Lady Cecilia really knew scarcely anything--for
which reason, principally, she had long ago conceived a bitter dislike
to Miss Macspleuchan, and inflicted on her a number of petty but
exquisite mortifications and indignities; such, perhaps, as none but a
sensitive soul could fully appreciate; for the earl and his daughter
were exemplary persons in the proprieties of life, and would not do such
things _openly_. She was a sort of companion of Lady Cecilia, and
entirely dependent upon her and the earl for her subsistence. She was
sitting on the sofa beside Lady Cecilia, when Titmouse re-entered the
drawing-room; and the latter eyed him through her glass with infinite
_nonchalance_, even when he had advanced to within a few feet of her. He
made Miss Macspleuchan, as she rose to take her seat and prepare tea, a
most obsequious bow. Absurd as was the style of its performance, she saw
that there was politeness in the intention; 'twas moreover a courtesy
towards herself, that was unusual from the earl's guests; and these
considerations served to take off the edge of the ridicule and contempt
with which Lady Cecilia had been preparing her to receive their
newly-discovered kinsman. After standing for a second or two near the
sofa, Titmouse ventured to sit himself down upon it--on the very edge
only--as if afraid of disturbing Lady Cecilia, who was reclining on it
with an air of languid hauteur.

"So you're going, my Lady, to a dance to-night, as my Lord says?" quoth
Titmouse, respectfully; "hope your Ladyship will enjoy yourself!"

"We regret that you do not accompany us, Mr. Titmouse," said Lady
Cecilia, slightly inclining towards him, and glancing at Miss
Macspleuchan with a faint and bitter smile.

"Should have been most uncommon proud to have gone, please your
Ladyship," replied Titmouse, as a servant brought him a cup of tea.
"These cups and saucers, my Lady, come from abroad, I suppose? Now, I
dare say, though they've _rather_ a funny look, they cost a good deal?"

"I really do not know, sir; I believe we have had them some time."

"'Pon my life, my Lady, I like them amazing!" Seeing her Ladyship not
disposed to talk, Titmouse became silent.

"Are you fond of music, Mr. Titmouse?" inquired the earl, presently;
observing that the pause in the conversation had become embarrassing to

"Very, indeed, my Lord; is your Lordship?"

"I am rather fond of _vocal_ music, sir--of the opera."

This the earl said, because Miss Macspleuchan played upon the piano very
brilliantly, and did not sing. Miss Macspleuchan understood him.

"Do you play upon any instrument, Mr. Titmouse?" inquired Lady Cecilia,
with a smile lurking about her lips, which increased a little when
Titmouse replied in the negative;--but added that, he had once begun to
learn the _clarionet_ some years before, but could not manage the notes.
"Excuse me, my Lady, but what an uncommon fine piano that is!" said
he.--"If I may make so bold, will your Ladyship give us a tune?"

"I dare say Miss Macspleuchan will play for you, Mr. Titmouse, if you
wish it," replied Lady Cecilia, coldly.

Some time afterwards, a servant announced to her Ladyship and the earl
that the carriage was at the door; and presently they both retired to
their dressing-rooms to make some slight alteration in their dress;--the
earl to add an order or two, and Lady Cecilia to place upon her haughty
brow a small tiara of brilliants. As soon as they had thus retired--"I
shall feel great pleasure, sir, in playing for you, if you wish it,"
said Miss Macspleuchan, in a voice of such mingled melancholy and
kindness as must have gone to Titmouse's heart, had he possessed one. He
jumped up, and bowed profoundly. She sat down to the piano, and played
with great ease and brilliancy such music as she supposed would suit her
auditor--namely, waltzes and marches--till the door opened, and Lady
Cecilia reappeared drawing on her gloves, with the glittering addition
which I have mentioned--followed presently by the earl.

"Well, sir," said he, with dignified affability, "I need not repeat how
highly gratified I feel at our introduction to each other. I trust you
will henceforth consider yourself no stranger here"----

"Oh, 'pon my life, my Lord! your Lordship's most particular polite!"
exclaimed Titmouse, in a low tone, and with a sudden and profound bow.

"And that on your return from Yorkshire," continued the earl, drawing on
his gloves, "you will let us see you: we both feel great interest in
your good fortunes. Sir, I have the honor to wish you a good evening!"
He extended his gloved hand to his distinguished little kinsman, whose
hand, however, he touched with little more than the ends of his fingers.

"We exceedingly regret that we must leave you, Mr. Titmouse," said Lady
Cecilia, with forced seriousness; "but as we wish to leave the duchess's
early, in order to go to another ball, we must _go_ early. Good-evening,
sir," and having dropped him a slight formal courtesy, she quitted the
drawing-room followed by the earl, Titmouse making four or five such
bows as provoked a smile from all who witnessed them. The next moment he
was alone with Miss Macspleuchan. Her unaffected, good-natured address
made him feel more at home within the next five minutes, than he had
been since entering that frigid scene of foolish state--since being in
the oppressive presence of the greatness just departed. She felt at
first a contempt for him bordering upon disgust, but which very soon
melted into pity. What a wretched creature was _this_ to be put into
such a dazzling position! What might be the design of Providence in
placing such a being in the possession of such wealth and rank, at the
expense of the virtuous Aubreys?

Titmouse soon got pretty communicative with Miss Macspleuchan, and told
her about the Tag-rags, Miss Tag-rag, and Miss Quirk, both of whom were
absolutely dying of love for him, and thought he was in love with them,
which was not the case--far from it. Then he hinted something about a
most particular uncommon lovely gal that had his heart, and he hoped to
have hers, as soon as he had got all to rights at Yatton. Then he
described the splendid style in which he was going down to take
possession of his estates. Having finished this, he told her that he had
been the morning before to see a man hanged for murdering his wife; that
he had been into the condemned cell, and then into the press-room, and
had seen his hands and arms tied, and shaken hands with him; and he was
going into such a sickening minuteness of detail, that to avoid it Miss
Macspleuchan, who felt both shocked and disgusted, suddenly asked him if
he was fond of heraldry; and rising from the sofa, she went into the
second room, where, on an elegant and antique stand, lay a huge roll of
parchment, on a gilded stick, splendidly mounted and most superbly
illuminated,--it was about three-quarters of a yard in breadth, and some
ten or twenty feet in length. This was the _Pedigree of the
Dreddlingtons_. She was giving him an account of Simon de Drelincourt,
an early ancestor of the earl's, who had come over with William the
Conqueror, and performed stupendous feats of valor at the battle of
Hastings, Titmouse listening in open-mouthed awe, and almost trembling
to think that he had broken a valuable dish belonging to a nobleman who
had such wonderful ancestors; not, at the moment, adverting to the
circumstance that he was himself descended from the very same ancestors,
and had as rich blood in him as the earl and Lady Cecilia--when a
servant entered and informed him in a whisper that "his carriage had
arrived." He considered that etiquette required him to depart

"Beg your pardon; but if ever you should come down to my estate in the
country, shall be most uncommon proud to see your Ladyship."

"I beg your pardon; you are mistaken, sir," interrupted Miss
Macspleuchan, hastily, and blushing scarlet; the fact being that
Titmouse had not caught her name on its having been once or twice
pronounced by Lady Cecilia; and very naturally concluded that she also
must be a lady of rank. Titmouse was, however, so occupied with his
efforts to make a graceful exit, that he did not catch the explanation
of his mistake; and, bowing almost down to the ground, reached the
landing, where the tall servant, with a very easy grace, gave him his
hat and cane, and preceded him down-stairs. As he descended, he felt in
his pockets for some loose silver, and gave several shillings between
the servants who stood in the hall to witness his departure; after
which, one of them having opened the door and gently let down the steps
of the glass-coach, Titmouse popped into it.

"Home, sir?" inquired the servant, as he closed the door.

"The Cabbage-Stalk Hotel, Covent Garden," replied Titmouse, with an
affected drawl.

His answer was communicated to the coachman, who thereupon addressed a
sharp argument to the brace of meek and skinny horses, standing with
downcast heads before him--which they lifted up--then they got into
motion--and away rumbled the glass-coach. As soon as its distinguished
inmate had become calm enough to reflect upon the events of the evening,
he came to the conclusion that the Earl of Dreddlington was a very great
man indeed; the Lady Cecilia very beautiful, but rather proud; and Miss
Macspleuchan (Lady Somebody, as he supposed) one of the most interesting
ladies whom he had ever met with; that there was something _uncommon_
pleasing about her: in short, he felt a sort of grateful attachment
towards her; but how long it would have lasted after his hearing that
she was only a plain miss, and a poor relation, I leave the acute reader
to conjecture.


Mr. Gammon was with Titmouse about half-past nine o'clock the next
morning, not a little anxious to hear how that young gentleman had got
on over-night; but met with a totally different reception from any that
he had before experienced.

He imagined for a few minutes that Lord Dreddlington had been _pumping_
Titmouse; had learned from him his position with respect to Gammon, in
particular; and had injected distrust and suspicion into the mind of
Titmouse, concerning him. But Gammon, with all his acuteness, was quite
mistaken. The truth was, 'twas only an attempt on the part of poor
Titmouse to assume the composed demeanor, the languid elegance, which he
had observed in the distinguished personages with whom he had spent the
preceding evening, and which had made a very deep impression on his
little mind. He drawled out his words, looked as if he were half asleep,
and continually addressed Gammon as "Sir," and "Mr. Gammon," just as the
Earl of Dreddlington had constantly addressed him--Titmouse. Our friend
was sitting at breakfast, on the present occasion, in a most gaudy
dressing-gown, and with the newspaper before him; in short, his personal
appearance and manner were totally different from what Gammon had ever
previously witnessed; and he looked now and then at Titmouse, as if for
a moment doubting his identity. Whether or not he was now on the point
of throwing overboard those who had piloted him from amid the shoals of
poverty into the open sea of affluence, shone upon by the vivid
sunlight of rank and distinction, Gammon did not know; but he contracted
his brow, and assumed a certain sternness and peremptoriness of tone and
bearing, which were not long in reducing Titmouse to his proper
dimensions; and when at length Mr. Gammon entered upon the delightful
subject of the morrow's expedition, telling him that he, Gammon, had now
nearly completed all the preparations for going down to, and taking
possession of Yatton in a style of suitable splendor, according to the
wish of Titmouse--this quickly melted away the thin coating of
mannerism, and Titmouse was "himself again." He immediately gave Mr.
Gammon a full account of what had happened at Lord Dreddlington's, and,
I fear, of a great deal more, which _might_, possibly, have happened,
but certainly _had_ not, _e. g._ his Lordship's special laudation of Mr.
Gammon as a "monstrous fine lawyer," which Titmouse swore were the very
exact words of his Lordship, who "would have been most happy to see Mr.
Gammon," and a good deal to the like effect. Also that he--Titmouse--had
been "most uncommon thick" with "Lady Cicely," (so he pronounced her
name;) and that both she and Lord Dreddlington had "pressed him very
hard to go with them to a ball _at a duke's_!" He made no mention of the
broken trifle-dish; said they had nearly a dozen servants to wait on
them, and that there were twenty different sorts of wine, and no end of
courses, at dinner. That the earl wore a star, and garter, and
ribbons--which Gammon erroneously thought as apocryphal as the rest; and
had told him that he--Titmouse--might one day wear them, and sit in the
House of Lords; and had, moreover, advised him most strenuously to get
into Parliament as soon as possible, as the "cause of the people wanted
strengthening." [As Lord Coke, somewhere says, in speaking of a spurious
portion of the text of Lyttleton, "_that arrow came never out of
Lyttleton's_ _quiver_"--so Gammon instantly perceived that the last
sentence came never out of Titmouse's own head, but came plainly marked
as that of a wise and able man and statesman.]

As soon as Titmouse had finished his little romance, Gammon proceeded to
the chief object of his visit--their next day's journey. He said that he
much regretted to inform Titmouse that Mr. Snap had expressed a very
anxious wish to witness the triumph of Mr. Titmouse; and that unless he
had some particular objection--"Oh none, 'pon honor!--poor
Snap!--devilish good chap in a small way!" said Titmouse, in a most
condescending manner, and at once gave his consent--Gammon informing him
that Mr. Snap would be obliged to return to town by the next day's
coach. The reader will smile when I tell him, and if a lady, will frown
when she hears, that Miss Quirk was to be of the party--a point which
her anxious father had secured some time before. Mrs. Alias had declared
that she saw no objection, as Mr. Quirk would be constantly with his
daughter, and Gammon had appeared most ready to bring about so desirable
a result. He had also striven hard, unknown to his partners, to increase
their numbers, by the Tag-rags, who might have gone down, all three of
them, if they had chosen, by coach, and so have returned. Gammon
conceived that this step might not have been unattended with advantage
in several ways; and would, moreover, have secured him a considerable
source of amusement. Titmouse, however, would not listen to the thing
for one moment, and Gammon was forced to give up his little scheme. Two
dashing young fellows, fashionable friends of Titmouse, (who had picked
them up, Heaven only knows where, but they never deserted him,)
infinitely to Gammon's annoyance, were to be of the party. He had seen
them but once, when he had accompanied Titmouse to the play, where they
soon joined him. One was a truly disgusting-looking fellow--a Mr. PIMP
YAHOO--a man about five-and-thirty years old, tall, with a profusion of
black hair parted down the middle of his head, and falling down in long
clustering curls from each temple upon his coat-collar. His whiskers
also were ample, and covered two-thirds of his face, and spread in
disgusting amplitude round his throat. He had also a jet-black tuft--an
imperial--depending from his underlip. He had an execrable eye--full of
insolence and sensuality; in short, his whole countenance bespoke the
thorough debauchee and ruffian. He had been, he said, in the army; and
was nearly connected, according to his own account--as with fellows of
this description is generally the case--with "some of the first families
in the North!" He was now a man of pleasure about town--which contained
not a better billiard-player, as the admiring Titmouse had had several
painful opportunities of judging. He was a great patron of the
ring--knowing all their secrets--all their haunts. He always had plenty
of the money of other people, and drove about in a most elegant cab, in
which Titmouse had often had a seat; and as soon as Mr. Yahoo had
extracted from his communicative little companion all about himself,
that astute gentleman made it his business to conciliate Titmouse's good
graces by all the arts of which he was master--and he succeeded. The
other chosen companion of our friend was Mr. ALGERNON FITZ-SNOOKS; a
complete fool. He was the sole child of a rich tradesman--who had
christened him by the sounding name given above; and afterwards added
the patrician prefix to the surname, which also you see above, in order
to gratify his wife and son. The youth had never "taken to
business"--but was allowed to saunter about, doing, and knowing,
nothing, till about his twenty-second year, when his mother died, as
also a year afterwards did his father, bequeathing to his hopeful son
some fifty thousand pounds--absolutely and uncontrolledly. Mr. Algernon
Fitz-Snooks very judiciously thought that youth was the time to enjoy
life; and before he had reached his thirtieth year, he had got through
all his fortune except about five or six thousand pounds--in return for
which, he had certainly got _something_; viz. an impaired constitution
and a little experience, which _might_, possibly, at some future time,
be useful. He had a pleasing face, regular features, and interesting
eyes; his light hair curled "deliciously;" and he spoke in a sort of
lisp and in a low tone--and, in point of dress, always "turned out"
beautifully. _He_, also, had a cab, and was a great friend of Mr. Yahoo,
who had introduced him into a great deal of high society, principally in
St. James's Street; where both he and Mr. Yahoo had passed a great deal
of their time, especially during the night! There was no intentional
_mischief_ in poor Fitz-Snooks: nature had made him only a fool--his
prudent parents had done the rest; and if he fell into vice, it was only
because--as people say--"he couldn't help it." Such were the chosen
companions of Titmouse; the one a fool, the other a rogue--and "he
_must_," he said, "have them down to the _jollifying_ at Yatton." A
groom and a valet--both impudent knaves, and both newly hired the day
before--would complete the party of the morrow. Gammon assured Titmouse
that he had taken all the pains in the world to get up a triumphant
entry into Yatton; his agents at Grilston, Messrs. Bloodsuck and
Son--the Radical electioneering attorneys of the county--who were well
versed in the matter of processions, bands, flags, &c. &c. &c., had by
that time arranged everything, and they were to be met, when within a
mile of Yatton, by a grand procession. The people at the Hall, also,
were under orders from Mr. Gammon, through Messrs. Bloodsuck and Son, to
have all in readiness--and a banquet prepared for nearly a hundred
persons--in fact, all comers were to be welcome. To all this Titmouse
listened with eyes glistening, and ears tingling with rapture; but can
any tongue describe his emotion, on being apprised that the sum of
£2,500, in the banker's hands, was now at his disposal--that it would be
doubled in a few weeks--and that a check for £500, drawn by Mr. Titmouse
on the London agents of the Grilston bankers, had been honored on the
preceding afternoon? Titmouse's heart beat fast, and he felt as if he
could have worshipped Gammon. As for the matter of carriages, Mr. Gammon
said, that probably Mr. Titmouse would call that morning on Mr. Axle, in
Long Acre, and select one to his mind--it must of course be one with two
seats--and Mr. Gammon had pointed out several which were, he thought,
eligible, and would be shown to Mr. Titmouse. That would be the carriage
in which--he presumed--Mr. Titmouse himself would travel; the second,
Mr. Gammon had taken the liberty of already selecting. With this, Mr.
Gammon (just as the new valet brought in no fewer than a dozen boxes of
cigars ordered over-night by Titmouse) shook his hand and departed,
saying that he should make his appearance at the Cabbage-Stalk the next
morning, precisely at eleven o'clock--about which time it was arranged
they were all to start. Titmouse hardly knew how to contain himself, on
being left alone. About an hour afterwards, he made his appearance at
Mr. Axle's: who, worthy and indefatigable man, carried on two
businesses, one public, _i. e._ that of a coach-builder--one private,
_i. e._ that of a money-lender. He was a rich man--a very obliging and
"accommodating" person, by means of which latter quality he had amassed
a fortune of, it was believed, a hundred thousand pounds. He never made
a fuss about selling on credit--or lending, taking back, or exchanging,
carriages of all descriptions; nor in discounting the bills of his
customers, to any amount. He proved generally right, in each case, in
the long rim. He would supply his fashionable victim with as splendid a
chariot, and funds to keep it some time going, as he or she could
desire; well knowing that in due time, after they should have taken a
few turns in it about the parks, and a few streets and squares in the
neighborhood, it would quietly drive up to one or two huge dingy fabrics
in a different part of the town, where it would deposit its burden, and
then return to its maker very little the worse for wear; who took it
back at about a twentieth part of its cost, and soon again disposed of
it in a way equally advantageous to himself. Mr. Axle showed Mr.
Titmouse very obsequiously over his premises, pointing out (as soon as
he knew who his visitor was,) the carriages which Mr. Gammon had the
day before desired should be shown to him; and which Mr. Titmouse,
with his glass stuck in his eye--where it was kept by the pure force
of muscular contraction--examined with something like the air of a
connoisseur--occasionally rapping with his agate-headed cane--now
against his teeth, then against his legs. He did not seem perfectly
satisfied with any of them; they looked--he said--"devilish plain and

"Hollo--Mr. Axletree, or whatever your name is--what have we _here_?
'Pon my soul, the very thing!"--he exclaimed, as his eye caught a
splendid object--the state-carriage of the ex-sheriff, with its
gorgeously decorated panels: which, having been vamped up for some six
or seven successive shrievalties--(being on each occasion heralded to
the public by laudatory paragraphs in the newspapers, as entirely new
and signal instances of the taste and magnificence of the
sheriff-elect)--seemed now _perfunctus officio_. Mr. Axle was staggered
for a moment, and scarce supposed Mr. Titmouse to be in earnest--Gammon
having given him no inkling of the real character of Titmouse; but
observing the earnest steadfast gaze with which he regarded the
glittering object, having succeeded in choking down a sudden fit of
laughter, Mr. Axle commenced a most seductive eulogium upon the splendid
structure--remarking on the singularity of the circumstance of its
happening just at that exact moment to be placed at his disposal by its
former owner--a gentleman of great distinction, who had no longer any
occasion for it. Mr. Axle declared that he had had numerous applications
for it already; on hearing which, Titmouse got excited. The door was
opened--he got in; sat on each seat--"Don't it hang beautifully?"
inquired the confident proprietor, testing, by pressure, the elasticity
of the springs, as he spoke.

"Let me see, who was it that was after it yesterday? Oh--I think it was
Sir Fitzbiscuit Gander; but I've not _closed_ with him yet!"

"What's your price, Mr. Axletree?" inquired Titmouse, rather heatedly,
as he got out of the carriage.

After some little higgle-haggling he bought it!!!--for there was nothing
like closing at once, where there was keen competition! Mr.
Gammon--thought Titmouse--could not have seen this beautiful vehicle
when making his choice on the preceding morning! For the rest of the day
he felt infinitely elated at his fortunate purchase; and excited his
imagination by pictures of the astonishment and admiration which his
equipage must call forth on the morrow. Punctual to his appointment, Mr.
Gammon, a few moments before the clock had struck eleven on the ensuing
morning, drew up to the Cabbage-Stalk, as near at least as he could get
to it, in a hackney-coach, with his portmanteau and carpet-bag. I say
as near as he could; for round about the door stood a little crowd,
gazing with a sort of awe on a magnificent vehicle standing there, with
four horses harnessed to it. Gammon looked at his watch, as he entered
the hotel, and asked why the sheriff's carriage was standing at the
door. The waiter to whom he spoke, seemed nearly splitting with
laughter, which almost disabled him from answering that the carriage in
question was that of Mr. Titmouse, ready for setting off for Yorkshire.
Mr. Gammon started back--turned pale, and seemed nearly dropping an
umbrella which was in his hand.

"Mr. Titmouse's!" he echoed incredulously.

"Yes, sir--been here for this hour, at least, packing, such a crowd all
the while; everybody thinks it's the sheriff, sir," replied the waiter,
scarce able to keep his countenance. Mr. Gammon rushed up-stairs with
greater impetuosity than he had perhaps ever been known to exhibit
before, and burst into Mr. Titmouse's room. There was that gentleman,
with his hat on, his hands stuck into his coat-pockets, a cigar in his
mouth, and a tumbler of brandy and water before him. Mr. Yahoo, Mr.
Fitz-Snooks, and Mr. Snap were similarly occupied; and Mr. Quirk was
sitting down with his hands in his pockets, and a glass of negus before
him, with anything but a joyful expression of countenance.

"Is it possible, Mr. Titmouse"----commenced Gammon, almost breathlessly.

"Ah, how d'ye do, Gammon?--punctual!" interrupted Titmouse, extending
his hand.

"Forgive me--but can it be, that the monstrous thing now before the
door, with a crowd grinning around it, is _your carriage_?" inquired
Gammon, with dismay in his face.

"I--rather--think--it _is_," replied Titmouse, slightly disconcerted,
but striving to look self-possessed.

"My _dear_ sir," replied Gammon, in a kind of agony, "it is
_impossible!_ It never can be! Do you mean to say that you bought it at
Mr. Axle's?"

"I should rather think so," replied Titmouse, with a piqued air.

"He's been grossly imposing on you, sir!--Permit me to go at once and
get you a proper vehicle."

"'Pon my life, Mr. Gammon, _I_ think that it's a monstrous nice thing--a
great bargain--and I've bought it and paid for it, that's more."

"Gentlemen, I appeal to _you_," confidently said Gammon, turning in an
agony to Mr. Yahoo and Mr. Fitz-Snooks.

"As for _me_, sir," replied the former, coolly, at the same time
knocking off the ashes from his cigar;--"since you ask my opinion, I
confess I rather like the idea--ha! ha! 'Twill produce a _sensation_;
that's something in this dull life!--Eh, Snooks?"

"Ay--a--I confess I was a little shocked at first, but I think I'm
getting over it now," lisped Mr. Fitz-Snooks, adjusting his
shirt-collar, and then sipping a little of his brandy and water. "I look
upon it, now, as an excellent joke; egad, it beats Chitterfield hollow,
though _he_, too, has done a trick or two lately."

"Did you purchase it as a joke, Mr. Titmouse?" inquired Gammon, with
forced calmness, nearly choked with suppressed fury.

"Why--a--'pon my life"--said Titmouse, with a desperate effort to appear
at his ease--"if you ask _me_--wonder you don't see it! Of course I
did!--Those that don't like it may ride, you know, in the other--can't
they? Eh?"

"We shall be hooted at, laughed at, wherever we go," said Mr. Gammon,

"Exactly--that's the _novelty_ I like," said Mr. Yahoo, looking, as he
spoke, at Mr. Gammon with a smile of ineffable insolence.

Mr. Gammon made him no reply, but fixed an eye upon him, under which he
became plainly rather uneasy. He felt outdone. Talk of SCORN!--the eye
of Gammon, settled at that instant upon Mr. Yahoo, was its complete and
perfect representative; and from that moment the wretch Yahoo felt
something like _fear_ of the eye of man, or of _submission_ to it. When,
moreover, he beheld the manner in which Titmouse obeyed Gammon's
somewhat peremptory request to accompany him out of the room for a
moment, he resolved, if possible, to make a friend of Gammon. That
gentleman failed, on being alone with Titmouse, in shaking his
resolution to travel in the splendid vehicle standing at the door.
Titmouse said that he had bought and paid for the carriage; it suited
his taste--and where was the harm of gratifying it? Besides, it was
already packed--all was prepared for starting. Gammon thereupon gave it
up; and, swallowing down his rage as well, and as quickly as he could,
endeavored to reconcile himself to this galling and most unexpected

It seemed that Miss Quirk, however really anxious to go down to
Yatton--to do anything, in short, calculated to commit Mr. Titmouse to
her--was quite staggered on discovering, and shocked at seeing, the kind
of persons who were to be their travelling companions. As for Mr. Yahoo,
she recoiled from him with horror at the very first glance. What decent
female, indeed, would not have done so? She had retired to a bedchamber,
soon after entering the Cabbage-Stalk; and, seeing her two unexpected
fellow-travellers, presently sent a chambermaid to request her papa to
come to her.

He found her considerably agitated. She wished earnestly to return to
Alibi House; and consented to proceed on her journey only on the
express promise of Mr. Titmouse and her papa, that no one should be in
the carriage in which she went except her papa and Mr. Gammon--unless,
indeed, Mr. Titmouse should think proper to make himself the fourth.

Mr. Quirk, on this, sent for Mr. Gammon, who, with a somewhat bad grace,
("Confound it!" thought he, "everything seems going wrong,") undertook
to secure Mr. Titmouse's consent to that arrangement.

While Messrs. Quirk and Gammon were closeted together, one of the
waiters entered the room occupied by Mr. Titmouse and his friends, and
informed him that a lad had brought a parcel for him, which he, the
aforesaid lad, had received special orders to deliver into the hands of
Mr. Titmouse. Accordingly there was presently shown into the room a
little knock-kneed lad, in tarnished livery, in whom Titmouse
recollected the boy belonging to Mr. Tag-rag's one-horse chaise; and who
gave a small parcel into Mr. Titmouse's hands, "with Mrs. and Miss
Tag-rag's respectful respects."

As soon as he had quitted the room, "By Jove! What have we here?"
exclaimed Titmouse, just a _little_ flustered as he cut open the string
of the parcel. Inside was a packet wrapped up in white paper, and tied
in a pretty bow, with narrow white satin ribbons. This again, and
another still, within it, having been opened--behold, there stood
exposed to view, three fine cambric pocket-handkerchiefs, each of which,
on being examined, proved to be marked with the initials "T. T." in
_hair_; and Mr. Yahoo happening to unfold one of them, (in so doing,
dropped upon it some of the ashes of his cigar,) lo! in the centre
was--also done in hair--the figure of a heart transfixed with an
arrow!!! Mr. Yahoo roared; and Mr. Fitz-Snooks lisped, "Is she pretty,
Tit? Where's her nest? Any _old_ birds?--eh?"

Titmouse colored a little; then grinned, and put his finger to the side
of his nose, and winked his eye, as if favoring the bright idea of Mr.
Fitz-Snooks. On a sheet of gilt-edged paper, and sealed with a seal
bearing the tender words, "_Forget me not_," was written the following:

     "SIR--Trusting you will excuse the liberty, I send you three best
     cambric pocket-handkerchiefs, which my daughter have marked with
     her own hair, and beg your acceptance of, hoping you may be
     resigned to all the good fortune that may befall you, which is the
     prayer of, dear sir, yours respectfully,

                                                       "MARTHA TAG-RAG.

     "P. S.--My daughter sends what you may please to wish and accept:
     and hope we have the great happiness to see you here again, when
     you return to town from your noble mansion in the country.

       "_Satin Lodge, 18th May 18--._"

"Oh! the naughty old woman! Fie! Fie!" exclaimed Mr. Yahoo, with his
intolerable smile.

"'Pon my soul, there's nothing in it," said Titmouse, reddening.

"Where's Satin Lodge?" lisped Mr. Fitz-Snooks.

"It is a country-house on the--the Richmond road," said Titmouse, with a
little hesitation; and just then the return of Gammon, who had resumed
his usual calmness of manner, relieved him from his embarrassment. Mr.
Gammon had succeeded in effecting the arrangement suggested by Mr. Quirk
and his daughter; and within about a quarter of an hour afterwards,
behold the ex-sheriff's resplendent but cast-off carriage filled by Miss
Quirk and Titmouse, and Mr. Quirk and Gammon--the groom and valet
sitting on the coach-box; while in the other, a plain yellow carriage,
covered with luggage, sat Mr. Yahoo, Mr. Fitz-Snooks, and Mr. Snap, all
of them with lighted cigars--Snap never having been so happy in all his
life as at that moment.

Mr. Titmouse had laid aside his cigar in compliment to Miss Quirk; who
wore a long black veil, and an elegant light shawl, and looked
uncommonly like a young bride setting off--oh, heavens!--thought
she--that it _had_ been so!--on her wedding excursion. Mr. Gammon
slouched his hat over his eyes, and inclined his head downwards, almost
collapsed with vexation and disgust, as he observed the grins and
tittering of the group of spectators gathered round the carriage and
doorway; but Titmouse, who was most splendidly dressed, took off his hat
on sitting down, and bowed several times to--as he supposed--the
admiring crowd.

"Get on, boys!" growled Mr. Gammon; and away they rattled, exciting
equal surprise and applause whereever they went. Whoever had met them,
must have taken Titmouse and Miss Quirk for a newly-married
couple--probably the son or daughter of one of the sheriffs who had lent
the state carriage to add _éclat_ to the interesting occasion!

With the exception of the sensation produced at every place where they
changed horses, the only incident during their journey worth noticing,
occurred at the third stage from London. As they came dashing up to the
door of the inn, their advent setting all the bells of the establishment
ringing, and waiters and hostlers scampering up to them like mad, they
beheld a plain and laden dusty travelling-carriage, waiting for
horses--and Gammon quickly perceived it to be the carriage of the
unfortunate Aubreys! The travellers had alighted. The graceful figure of
Miss Aubrey, her face pale, and wearing an expression of manifest
anxiety and fatigue, was standing near the door, talking kindly to a
beggar-woman, with a cluster of half-naked children around her; while
little Aubrey was romping about with Miss Aubrey's beautiful little
spaniel Cato; Agnes looking on and laughing merrily, and trying to
escape from the hand of her attendant. Mr. and Mrs. Aubrey were talking
together, close beside the carriage-door. Gammon observed all this, and
particularly that Mr. Aubrey was scrutinizing their appearance, with a
sort of half-smile on his countenance, melancholy as it was.

"Horses on!" said Gammon, leaning back in the carriage.

"That's a monstrous fine woman standing at the inn door, Titmouse--eh?"
exclaimed Mr. Yahoo, who had alighted for a moment, and stood beside the
door of Titmouse's carriage, his execrable eye settled upon Miss Aubrey.
"I wonder who and what she is? By Jove, 'tis the face--the figure of an
angel! egad, they're _somebody_; I'll look at their panels!"

"I know who it is," said Titmouse, rather faintly; "I'll tell you

"Now, _now_! my dear fellow. Our divinity is vanishing," whispered Mr.
Yahoo, eagerly, as Miss Aubrey, having slipped something into the
beggar's hand, stepped into the carriage. As soon as her brother had
entered, the door was closed, and they drove off.

"Who's that, Mr. Titmouse?" inquired Miss Quirk, with a little
eagerness, observing--women are very quick in detecting such
matters--that both Gammon and Titmouse looked rather embarrassed.

"It's the--the Aubreys," replied Titmouse.

"Eh! By Jove!--is it?" quickly inquired old Quirk, putting his head out
of the window; "how very odd, to meet the old birds? Egad! their nest
must be yet warm--ha! ha!"

"What! dear papa, are those the people you've turned out? Gracious! I
thought I heard some one say that Miss Aubrey was pretty! La! I'm sure
_I_ thought--now what do _you_ think, Mr. Titmouse?" she added, turning
abruptly and looking keenly at him.

"Oh! 'pon my life, I--I--see nothing at all in her--devilish plain, I
should say--infernally pale, and all that!"

They were soon on their way again. Titmouse quickly recovered his
equanimity, but Gammon continued silent and thoughtful for many--many
miles; and the reader would not be surprised at it, if he knew as well
as I do the thoughts which the unexpected sight of that
travelling-carriage of Mr. Aubrey had suggested to Mr. Gammon.

As they approached the scene of triumph and rejoicing, and ascertained
that they were within about a mile of the peaceful little village of
Yatton, the travellers began to look out for indications of the kind
which Mr. Gammon had mentioned to Titmouse, viz. a band and procession,
and an attendant crowd. But however careful and extensive might have
been the arrangements of those to whom that matter had been intrusted,
they were likely to be sadly interfered with by a circumstance which,
happening just then, might, to a weaker and more superstitious mind than
that of Mr. Titmouse, have looked a little ominous--namely, the
occurrence of a tremendous thunder-storm. It was then about five o'clock
in the afternoon. The whole day had been overcast, and the sky
threatening; and just as the two carriages came to that turning in the
road which gave them the first glimpse of the Hall--only, however, the
tops of the great antique brick chimneys, which were visible above the
surrounding trees--a fearful, long-continued flash of lightning burst
from the angry heavens, followed, after an interval of but a second or
two, by a peal of thunder which sounded as if a park of artillery was
being repeatedly discharged immediately overhead.

"Mind your horses' heads, boys," called out Mr. Gammon; "keep a tight

Miss Quirk was dreadfully alarmed, and clung to her father; Titmouse
also seemed disconcerted, and looked to Gammon, who was perfectly calm,
though his face was not free from anxiety. The ghastly glare of the
lightning was again around them--all involuntarily hid their faces in
their hands--and again rattled the thunder in a peal lasting more than
half a minute, and seeming to be in frightful contiguity, as it were
only a few yards above their heads. Down, then, came the long-suspended
rain, pouring like a deluge, and so it continued, with frequent returns
of the thunder and lightning, for nearly a quarter of an hour. The last
turning brought them within sight of the village, and also of some fifty
or sixty persons crowding under the hedges, on each side--these were the
triumphant procession; musicians, flagmen, footmen, horsemen, all
dripping with wet, and constituting surely a spectacle piteous to
behold. Out, however, they all turned, true to their orders, as soon as
they saw the carriages, which immediately slackened their speed--the
rain also somewhat abating. The flagman tried desperately to unroll a
wet banner, of considerable size, with the words:--


in gilded letters; while the band (consisting of a man with a big drum,
another with a serpent, a third with a trumpet, a fourth with a bassoon,
two with clarionets, and a boy with a fife) struck up--"_See the
conquering hero comes!_" They puffed and blew lustily; bang! bang! bang!
went the drum; but the rain, the thunder, and the lightning woefully
interfered with their harmony. 'Twould have made your heart ache to see
the wet flag clinging obstinately to the pole, in spite of all the
efforts of its burly bearer! But now for the procession--first, on
horseback, was Barnabas Bloodsuck, (senior,) Esq.; beside him rode his
son, Barnabas Bloodsuck, (junior,) Esq.; then came the Reverend Gideon
Fleshpot, solemn simpleton, the vicar of Grilston, the only Radical
clergyman in that part of the country; beside him, the Reverend Smirk
Mudflint, a flippant, bitter, little Unitarian parson, a great crony of
Mr. Fleshpot, and his surname singularly enough exactly designating the
qualities of his brain and heart. Next to these, alone in his one-horse
chaise, (looking like a pill-box drawn by a leech,) came the little fat
Whig apothecary, Gargle Glister, Esq. Following him came, also in a gig,
Going Gone, Esq., the auctioneer--the main prop of the Liberal side,
being a most eloquent speaker--and Mr. Hic Hæc Hoc, a learned
schoolmaster, who undertook to teach the rudiments of Latin, viz. the
Latin grammar up as far as the irregular verbs. Then there were Mr.
Centipede, the editor, and Mr. Woodhouse, the publisher and proprietor
of the "YORKSHIRE STINGO," for which, also, Mr. Mudflint wrote a great
deal. These, and about a dozen others, the flower of the "party"
thereabouts, disdainful of the inclement weather, bent on displaying
their attachment to the new owner of Yatton, and solacing each his
patient inner man with anticipation of the jolly cheer awaiting him at
the Hall, formed the principal part of the procession; the rest
consisting of rather a miscellaneous assortment of scot-and-lot and
potwalloper-looking people, all very wet and hungry, and very frequently
casting looks of devout expectation towards the Hall. Scarcely a
villager of Yatton was to be seen stirring; nor did any of the tenants
of the estate join in the procession; even had they not felt far
otherwise disposed, they had luckily a complete excuse for their
non-appearance in the deplorable state of the weather. Sometimes the
band played; then a peal of thunder came; then a cry of "hurra!
Titmouse forever! hurra!" then the band, and then the thunder, and rain!
rain! rain! Thus they got to the park gates, where they paused, the
half-drowned men and boys shouting, "Titmouse forever! hurra--a--a!" Mr.
Titmouse bobbing about, now at one window, then at the other, with his
hat off, in the most gracious manner. Really it seemed almost as if the
elements were indicating the displeasure of heaven at Mr. Titmouse's
assumption of Yatton; for just as he was passing under the old gateway,
out flashed the lightning more vividly than it had yet appeared, and the
thunder bellowed and reverberated among the woods as though it would
never have ceased. The music and shouting now ended suddenly; carriages,
horsemen, pedestrians, quickened their pace in silence, as if anxious to
get out of the storm; the horses now and then plunging and rearing
violently. Titmouse was terribly frightened, in spite of his desperate
efforts to appear unconcerned. He was as pale as death, and looked
anxiously at Gammon, as if hoping to derive courage from the sight of
his rigid countenance. Miss Quirk trembled violently, and several times
uttered a faint scream: but her father, old Mr. Quirk, did not seem to
care a pinch of snuff about the whole matter; he rubbed his hands
together cheerily, chucked his daughter under the chin, rallied
Titmouse, and now and then nudged and jeered Gammon, who seemed disposed
to be serious and silent. Having drawn up opposite the Hall door, it was
opened by Mr. Griffiths, with a saddened, but still respectful look and
manner; and in the same way might be characterized some six or seven
servants standing behind him, in readiness to receive the new-comers.
The half-drowned musicians tried to strike up "Rule Britannia," as the
hero of the day, Mr. Titmouse, descended from his carriage, Mr.
Griffiths holding an umbrella for him, and bounded out of the rain with
a hop, step, and jump into the Hall, where the first words he was heard
to utter, were--

"What a devilish rum old place!"

"God bless you! God bless you! God bless you, Titmouse!" exclaimed old
Mr. Quirk, grasping him by the hand as soon as he had entered. Titmouse
shook hands with Miss Quirk, who immediately followed a female servant
to an apartment, being exceedingly nervous and agitated. Gammon seemed a
little out of spirits; and said simply, "You know, Mr. Titmouse, how
fervently _I_ congratulate you."

"Oh! my dear boy, Tit, do, for Heaven's sake, if you want the thunder
and lightning to cease, order those wretched devils off--send them
anywhere, but do stop their cursed noise, my dear boy!" exclaimed Mr.
Yahoo, as soon as he had entered, putting his fingers to his ears.

"Mr. what's-your-name," said Titmouse, addressing Mr. Griffiths, "I'll
trouble you to order off those fellows and their infernal noise. Demme!
there's a precious row making up above, and surely _one at a time_ will

"Ah, ha, capital joke, by Jove! capital!" said Mr. Fitz-Snooks,
arranging his shirt-collar.

"A--Titmouse--by Jupiter!" said Mr. Yahoo, as, twirling his fingers
about in his long black hair, of which he seemed very proud, he glanced
about the Hall, "this a'n't so much amiss! Do you know, my dear boy, I
rather like it; it's substantial, antique, and so forth!"

"Who are those dem ugly old fellows up there?" presently exclaimed
Titmouse, as, with his glass stuck into his right eye, and his hands
into his coat-pockets, he stood staring at the old-fashioned pictures.

"Some of them, sir," replied Mr. Griffiths, with an irrepressible sigh,
"are ancestors of the Dreddlingtons, others of the Aubrey families. They
are very old, sir," continued Mr. Griffiths, "and are much admired, and
Mr. Aubrey desired me to say, that if you should be disposed to

"Oh confound him, he may have 'em all, if he'll pay for 'em, if that's
what he wants: I shall soon send them packing off!" Mr. Griffiths bowed,
and very nearly shed a tear. By this time the Hall was crowded with the
gentlemen who had formed part of the procession, and who came bowing and
scraping to the new lord of Yatton, congratulating him, and wishing him
health and happiness. As soon as he could disengage himself from their
flattering but somewhat troublesome civilities, Tweedle (his valet) came
and whispered, "Will you dress, sir? All is ready," and Titmouse
followed him to the dressing-room which had formerly been young Mrs.
Aubrey's. 'Twas the first time that Titmouse had ever experienced the
attentions of a valet; and he was quite nonplussed at the
multitudinousness and elegance of the arrangements around him. Such
quantities of clothes of all sorts--dressing-implements, curling-irons,
combs, brushes, razors, a splendid dressing-case, scents in profusion,
oils, bear's-grease, four or five different sorts of soaps, &c. &c. &c.;
all this gave Titmouse a far livelier idea of his altered circumstances,
of his having really become a GENTLEMAN, than anything which he had up
to that moment experienced. He thought his valet one of the cleverest
and most obliging men in the world, only somewhat oppressive with his
attentions; and at length Mr. Titmouse said he preferred _this_ time,
dressing alone, and so dismissed his obsequious attendant; whom,
however, he was soon obliged to summon to his assistance after all, not
knowing the proper uses of several implements about him. Having
completed his toilet, he descended into the drawing-room; which, as well
as the dining-room, was ready prepared for the banquet, covers being
laid for forty or fifty, and good substantial fare provided for at least
as many more, in the servants' hall, where operations had already
commenced. On entering the drawing-room, his appearance seemed to
produce a great sensation; and after a momentary and embarrassing pause,
the only county gentleman who was present, advanced and introduced
himself, his wife and daughter. This was Harkaway Rotgut Wildfire,
Baronet, a tall and somewhat corpulent man of about fifty, very choleric
and overbearing; his countenance showing the hard life he had led, his
nose being red, and his forehead and mouth beset with pimples. He had
been a bitter political opponent of Mr. Aubrey, and once a member for
the county; but had so crippled his resources by hunting and
horse-racing, as to compel the sacrifice of their town amusements; viz.
his seat in the House of Commons, and Lady Wildfire's box at the opera.
This had soured both of them not a little, and they had completely sunk
out of the county circle, in which they had once been sufficiently
conspicuous. Sir Harkaway had an eye to the borough of Yatton on the
happening of the next election, as soon as he had obtained an inkling
that the new proprietor of Yatton was a very weak young man; and hence
his patronizing presence at Yatton, in consequence of the invitation
respectfully conveyed to him in Mr. Titmouse's name, through Messrs.
Bloodsuck and Son. Besides Lady Wildfire and her daughter, both of whom
had inquired with a sort of haughty curiosity about the lady who had
accompanied Mr. Titmouse from town--a point which had been at length
cleared up to their satisfaction--there were about a dozen ladies, the
wives of the gentlemen who had borne so distinguished a part in the
triumphal procession. They certainly looked rather a queer set; and none
of them dared to speak either to Lady Wildfire or her daughter till
spoken to by them. Never had old Yatton beheld within its walls so
motley a group; and had the Aubreys continued there, hospitable as they
were, accessible and charitable as they were, I leave the reader to
guess whether such creatures ever _would_ have found their way thither.
By such guests, however, were the two principal tables crowded on this
joyous occasion, and about half-past six o'clock the feast commenced,
and a feast it certainly was, both elegant and substantial, nothing
having been spared that money could procure. Mr. Aubrey had a fine
cellar of wines at Yatton, which, owing to some strange
misunderstanding, had been sold by private contract, not among his own
friends in the neighborhood, as Mr. Aubrey had intended, and imagined
that he had directed, but to Mr. Titmouse. Choice, indeed, were these
wines, and supplied on the present occasion in wanton profusion.
Champagne, Burgundy, and claret, flowed like water, and the rich old
port, sherry, and madeira in like manner;--these last, however, not
being confined to the two principal rooms, but finding their way into
the servants' hall, where they there drank without stint. Merriment
echoed uproariously from all parts of the old Hall, and Mr. Titmouse was
universally declared to be a very fine fellow, and likely to become by
far the most popular man in the county. The Reverend Mr. Fleshpot said
grace, and the Reverend Mr. Mudflint returned thanks; and shortly
afterwards Sir Harkaway arose, and, his eye fixed firmly on the
adjoining borough, and also on the jolly table which promised to be ever
open to him at Yatton, he proposed the health of the distinguished
proprietor of Yatton, in a very flattering and energetic speech. The
toast was received with the utmost enthusiasm; the gentlemen shouted and
jingled their glasses on the table, while the ladies waved their
handkerchiefs; indeed the scene was one of such overpowering excitement,
that Miss Quirk burst into tears, overcome by her emotions; her papa
winking very hard to those about him, and using every exertion in his
power to point the attention of those present to the probability that a
very near and tender relationship was about to exist between that young
lady and Mr. Titmouse. Mr. Gammon, who sat next to Titmouse, assured him
that it was absolutely necessary for him to make a speech to the
company, in acknowledgment of the compliment which had just been paid

"I shall put my foot into it--by jingo I shall! You must help me!" he
whispered to Mr. Gammon, in an agony of trepidation and a mist of
confusion, as he rose from his chair, being welcomed in the most
enthusiastic manner, by applause of every kind, lasting for several
minutes. At length, when the noise had subsided into a fearful silence,
he stammered out, prompted incessantly by Mr. Gammon, something
exceedingly like the following, if, indeed, he did not use these very

"Mr.--I beg pardon--_Sir_ Hark--away, and gentlemen--gentlemen and
ladies, am most uncommon, monstrous--particular happy to--to--(eh?
_what_ d'ye say, Mr. Gammon?) see you all here--at this place--here--at
Yatton.--(_Applause._) Ladies and gentlemen--I say--hem!--unaccustomed
as--(_much applause_, during which Titmouse stooped and whispered to
Gammon--"Curse me if I can catch a word you say!") Happy and proud to
see you all here--at Yatton--homes of my ancestry--known to you
all--centuries. Enjoyed yourselves, I hope--(_great applause_)--and hope
you'll often come and do the same--(_still greater applause._)
Particular glad to see the ladies--(_applause_)--often heard of the
beauties of Yatton--never believed it--no--beg pardon, mean I now see
them--(_applause._) Am fond of horses--(_applause_)--racing, hunting,
and all that. (Here Sir Harkaway, extending his hand, publicly shook
that of the eloquent speaker.) Sorry to turn out the--the--old
bird--but--nest not _his_--mine all the while--(_sensation_)--bear him
no ill-will--(_applause._) Political principles--(_profound silence._)
Liberal principles--(_loud applause_)--rights of the people--religious
liberty and all that--(_vociferous applause_)--found at my post in the
hour of danger--enemy stole a march on me--(_great laughter and
applause._) Won't detain you--ladies and gentlemen--drink your good
healths, and many happy returns of the day." Down sat Mr. Titmouse,
exhausted by his maiden speech; and quite overpowered, moreover, by the
extraordinary applause with which he was greeted at its conclusion. In
due course, many other toasts were drunk; among them were--"_Lady
Wildfire and the married ladies._" "_Miss Wildfire and the single
ladies._" "_Sir Harkaway Rotgut Wildfire._" "_Religious Liberty_," (to
which Mr. Mudflint responded in a very eloquent speech.) "_The Liberty
of the Press;_" "_Messrs Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, the enterprising,
skilful, and learned professional advisers of Mr. Titmouse._" Dancing
was now loudly called for; and the hall was speedily prepared for it. By
this time, however, it was past eleven o'clock; the free potations of
all the gentlemen, and indeed (to be candid) of more than one of the
ladies, were beginning to _tell_, and the noise and confusion were very
great. Fierce confused sounds issued from the servants' hall, where it
proved that a great fight was going on between Pumpkin the gardener, and
a man who insisted on shouting "Titmouse forever--down with Aubrey!"
Pumpkin, I am not sorry to say, had much the best of it, and beat his
opponent, after a severe encounter, into silence and submission. Then
there were songs sung in all the rooms at once--speeches made,
half-a-dozen at the same time; in short, never before had such doings
been witnessed, or such uproar heard, within the decorous, dignified,
and venerable precincts of Yatton. Scenes ensued which really baffle
description. Mr. Titmouse, of course, drank prodigiously, although Mr.
Gammon never left his side, and checked him fifty times when he was
about to fill his glass. The excitement thus produced by wine will, I
trust, in some measure mitigate the reader's indignation at hearing of a
little incident which occurred, in which Titmouse was concerned, and
which, about half past three or four o'clock in the morning, served to
bring that brilliant entertainment to a somewhat abrupt and rather
unpleasant termination. Scarcely knowing where he was, or what he was
about, I am sorry to say, that while standing, as well as he could,
beside Miss Wildfire, to dance for the fifth time with her--a plump,
fair-faced, good-natured girl of about nineteen or twenty--he suddenly
threw his arms around her, and imprinted half-a-dozen kisses on her
forehead, lips, cheek, and neck, before she could recover from the
confusion into which this monstrous outrage had thrown her. Her faint
shriek reached her father's ears, while he was, in a distant part of the
room, persecuting Miss Quirk with drunken and profligate impertinence.
Hastily approaching the quarter whence his daughter's voice had issued,
he beheld her just extricated from the insolent embrace of the
half-unconscious Titmouse, and greatly agitated. With flaming eye and
outstretched arm, he approached his unfortunate little host, and seizing
hold of his right ear, almost wrung it out of his head, Titmouse
actually yelling with the pain which he experienced. Still retaining his
hold, uttering the while most fearful imprecations--Sir Harkaway gave
him three violent kicks upon the seat of honor, the last of them sending
him spinning into the arms of old Mr. Quirk, who was hurrying up to his
relief, and who fell flat on the floor with the violent concussion. Then
Miss Quirk rushed forward and screamed; a scene of dreadful confusion
ensued; and at length the infuriated and half-drunken baronet, forced
away by his wife and his daughter, aided by several of the company,
quitted the Hall, and got into his carriage, uttering fearful threats
and curses all the way home; without once adverting to the circumstance,
of which also Lady Wildfire and her daughter were not aware, that he had
been himself engaged in perpetrating nearly the same sort of misconduct
which he had so severely and justly punished in poor Titmouse. As for
Mr. Yahoo and Mr. Fitz-Snooks, they had been in quest of similar sport
the whole night; and had each of them, in pursuing their adventures in
the servants' hall, very narrowly escaped much more serious indignities
and injuries than had fallen to the lot of the hospitable owner of the

About half-past four o'clock, the sun was shining in cloudless splendor,
the air cleared, and all nature seeming freshened after the storm of the
preceding day; but what a scene was presented at Yatton! Two or three
persons, one with his hat off, asleep; another grasping a half-empty
bottle; and a third in a state of desperate indisposition, were to be
seen, at considerable distances from each other, by the side of the
carriage-road leading down to the park gates. Four or five horses, ready
saddled and bridled, but neglected, and apparently forgotten by both
servants and masters, were wandering about the fine green old court
opposite the Hall door, eating the grass, and crushing with their hoofs
the beautiful beds of flowers and shrubs which surrounded it. Mr.
Glister's gig had got its wheels entangled with the old sundial--having
been drawn thither by the horse, which had been put into it at least two
hours before; opposite the Hall door stood the post-chaise which had
brought Mr. and Mrs. Mudflint and their daughter. The latter two were
sitting in it, one asleep--the other, Mrs. Mudflint, anxiously on the
look-out for her husband, from time to time calling to him, but in vain;
for about half an hour before, he had quitted the room where he, Mr.
Fleshpot, Mr. Going Gone, and Mr. Centipede had been playing a rubber at
whist, till all of them had nearly fallen asleep with their cards in
their hands, and made his way to the stables; where, not finding his
chaise in the yard, or his horses in the stalls, he supposed his wife
and daughter had gone home, whither he followed them by the footpath
leading through the fields which stretched along the high-road to
Grilston; and along which said fields he was, at that moment,
staggering, hiccuping, not clearly understanding where he was, nor where
he had last seen his wife and daughter. Candles and lamps were still
burning and glimmering in some of the rooms; and in the servants' hall
there were some dozen or so of the lower kind of guests, who, having
awakened from a deep sleep, were calling for more ale, or wine, or
whatever else they could get. Some of the old family servants had fled
hours before from scenes of such unwanted riot, to their bedrooms, and,
having locked and barricaded the doors, had gone to sleep. Mr. Griffiths
sat in an old armchair in the library, the picture of misery; he had
been repeatedly abused and insulted during the night, and had gone
thither, unable to bear the sight of the disgusting revelry that was
going forward. In short, at every point that caught the eye, were
visible the evidences of the villanous debauchery which had prevailed
for the last seven hours; and which, under the Titmouse dynasty, was
likely to prevail at all times thereafter. As for Mr. Titmouse, half
stunned with the treatment which he had experienced at the hands of Sir
Harkaway, he had been carried to bed--where his excessive,
miscellaneous, and long-continued potations aggravating the effect of
the serious injuries which he had sustained, he lay sprawling, half
undressed, in a truly deplorable condition. Mr. Glister, who had been
summoned to his bedside upwards of an hour before, sat now nodding in
his chair beside his patient; and pretty nearly in a state of similar
exhaustion were his valet and the housekeeper, who had, from time to
time, wiped her eyes and sobbed aloud when thinking of past times, and
the horrid change which had come over old Yatton. Mr. Yahoo, Mr.
Fitz-Snooks, Mr. Snap, Mr. Quirk, and Miss Quirk, (the last having
retired to her bedroom in the utmost terror, at the time of Titmouse's
mischance,) were in their respective chambers, all of them probably
asleep. Poor Hector, chained to his kennel, having barked himself hoarse
for several hours, lay fast asleep, no one having attended to him, or
given him anything to eat since Mr. Titmouse's arrival. Gammon had
retired from the scene, in disgust and alarm, to his bedroom, some three
hours before; but unable to sleep--not, however, with excess of wine,
for he had drunk very little--had arisen about four o'clock, and was at
that moment wandering slowly, with folded arms and downcast countenance,
up and down the fine avenue of elm-trees, where, it may be recollected,
Mr. Aubrey had spent a portion of the last evening of his stay at

Such is _my_ account of that memorable entertainment--and as fair an
account as I know how to give of the matter; but it is curious to
observe how very differently the same thing will strike different
people. As soon as the grateful Mr. Centipede had recovered from the
excitement occasioned by the part which he had borne in the splendid
festival, he set to work, with the pen of a ready writer, and in the
next number of the "YORKSHIRE STINGO," there appeared the following
interesting account of the

     "FESTIVITIES _at_ YATTON HALL, _on the occasion of_ POSSESSION
            _being taken by_ TITTLEBAT TITMOUSE, ESQUIRE.

     "Yesterday this interesting event came off with signal _éclat_.
     Notwithstanding the very unfavorable state of the weather,  about
     five o'clock in the evening an imposing cavalcade, comprising many
     of the leading gentry and yeomanry of this part of the county, on
     foot and on horseback, preceded by an admirable band, and a large
     and splendid banner, bearing the inscription--'_Welcome to
     Yatton_,' went out to meet the above distinguished gentleman, whose
     _cortège_, in two carriages, made its appearance in the village
     about half-past five. The band immediately struck up 'See the
     Conquering Hero comes!' which inspiriting air, however, was nearly
     drowned in the shout which welcomed the new proprietor of the noble
     estate of Yatton. His carriage was of the most tasteful, splendid,
     and unique description, and attracted universal admiration. Mr.
     Titmouse repeatedly bowed through the carriage-windows, in graceful
     acknowledgment of the cordial welcome and congratulations with
     which he was received. He was dressed in a light blue surtout, with
     velvet collar, full black stock, and a rich velvet waistcoat of
     plaid pattern. His countenance is handsome and expressive, his eye
     penetrating, and his brow strongly indicative of thought. He
     appears to be little more than twenty-five years old; so that he
     has before him the prospect of a long and brilliant career of
     happiness and public usefulness. Tables were spread in all the
     chief apartments, groaning beneath the most costly viands. All the
     luxuries of the season were there; and the wines (which we believe
     were those of Mr. Aubrey) were of the first description. Grace was
     said by the exemplary vicar of Grilston, the Rev. Mr. Fleshpot; and
     the Rev. Mr. Mudflint returned thanks. Sir Harkaway Rotgut Wildfire
     (whose amiable lady and accomplished daughter were present)
     proposed the health of Mr. Titmouse in a brief, but manly and
     cordial address; and the manner in which Mr. Titmouse acknowledged
     the toast, which was drunk with the greatest possible
     enthusiasm--the simplicity, point, and fervor which characterized
     every word he uttered--were such as to excite lively emotion in all
     who heard it, and warrant the highest expectations of his success
     in Parliament. Nothing could be more touching than his brief
     allusions to the sufferings and privations which he had
     undergone--nothing more delicate and forbearing than the feeling
     which pervaded his momentary allusion to the late occupant of
     Yatton. When, however, he distinctly avowed his political
     principles as those of a dauntless champion of civil and religious
     liberty among all classes of his Majesty's subjects--the applause
     was long and enthusiastic. After dinner, the great hall was cleared
     for dancing, which was opened by Mr. Titmouse and Miss Wildfire;
     Lady Wildfire being led out by the Honorable [!] Mr. Yahoo, an
     intimate friend of Mr. Titmouse. We should not omit to mention that
     Miss Quirk (the only daughter of Caleb Quirk, Esq., the head of the
     distinguished firm of Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, of London, to whose
     untiring and most able exertions is owing the happy change which
     has taken place in the ownership of the Yatton property)
     accompanied her father, at the earnest request of Mr. Titmouse, who
     danced several sets with her; and it is whispered--but we will not
     anticipate family arrangements. Sir [!] Algernon Fitz-Snooks, a
     distinguished fashionable, also accompanied Mr. Titmouse, and
     entered with great spirit into all the gayeties of the evening. The
     'light fantastic toe' was kept 'tripping' till a late, or rather
     very early hour in the morning--when the old Hall was once more
     (for a time) surrendered to the repose and solitude from which it
     has been so suddenly and joyously aroused."

[In another part of the paper was contained an insulting paragraph,
charging Mr. Aubrey with being a party to the "flagrant and iniquitous
job," by which Sir Percival Pickering had been returned for the borough;
and intimating pretty distinctly, that Mr. Aubrey had not gone without
"_a consideration_" for his share in the nefarious transaction.]

A somewhat different account of the affair appeared in the "YORK TRUE
BLUE" of the same day.

     "YATTON HALL.--We have received one or two accounts of the orgies
     of which this venerable mansion was yesterday the scene, on
     occasion of Mr. Titmouse taking possession. We shall not give
     publicity to the details which have been furnished us--hoping that
     the youth and inexperience of the new owner of Yatton (all
     allowance, also, being made for the very natural excitement of such
     an occasion) will be deemed a palliative in some measure of the
     conduct then exhibited. One fact, however, we may mention, that a
     very serious _fracas_ arose between Mr. Titmouse and a certain
     well-known sporting baronet, which is expected to give employment
     to the gentlemen of the long robe at the ensuing assizes. Nor can
     we resist adverting to a circumstance, which our readers will, we
     trust, credit, on being assured that we witnessed it with our own
     eyes--that Mr. Titmouse positively travelled in the cast-off state
     carriage of the Lord Mayor of London!!!! Nothing, by the way, could
     be more absurd and contemptible than the attempt at a 'Procession'
     which was got up--of which our accounts are ludicrous in the
     extreme. Will our readers believe it, that the chief personages
     figuring on the occasion, were the editor and publisher of a
     certain low Radical print--which will no doubt, this day, favor its
     readers with a flaming description of this 'memorable affair!'"

       *       *       *       *       *

Titmouse, assisted by his attentive valet, made a desperate attempt to
get up, and present himself the next day at dinner. Aided by a glass of
pretty strong brandy and water, he at length got through the fatiguing
duties of the toilet, and entered the drawing-room, where his travelling
companions were awaiting his arrival--dinner being momentarily expected
to be announced. He was deadly pale; his knees trembled; his temples
throbbed; his eyes could not bear the light; and everything seemed in
undulating motion around him, as he sank in silent exhaustion on the
sofa. After a few minutes' continuance, he was compelled to leave the
room, leaning on Gammon's arm, who conducted him to his chamber, and
left him in charge of his valet, who got him again into bed, and there
he lay, enduring much agony, (Dr. Goddart being sent for,) while his
friends were enjoying themselves at dinner.

Snap had set off the ensuing day for town, by the first coach, pursuant
to the arrangements already spoken of; but I think that old Mr. Quirk
would have made up his mind to continue at Yatton until something
definite had been done by Titmouse, in two matters which absorbed all
the thoughts of the old gentleman--his daughter and the _Ten Thousand
Pounds_ bond. Miss Quirk, however, intense as was her anxiety to become
the affianced bride of Titmouse, and as such the mistress of the
delightful domain where at present she dwelt only as a guest, and in a
very embarrassing position--was not so blind to all perception of
womanly delicacy as to prolong her stay; and at length prevailed upon
her father to take their departure on the day but one after that on
which they had arrived. Mr. Quirk was perfectly miserable. He vehemently
distrusted Titmouse--and feared and detested Gammon. As for the former
gentleman, he had not made any definite advances whatever towards Miss
Quirk, nor afforded to any one the slightest evidence of a promise of
marriage, either express or implied. He chattered to Miss Quirk an
infinite deal of vulgar absurdity--but that was all, in spite of the
innumerable opportunities afforded him by the lady and her anxious
parent. Was Titmouse acting under the secret advice of that deceitful
devil Gammon?--thought Mr. Quirk, in an ecstasy of perplexity and
apprehension. Then as to the other matter--but there Gammon had almost
as deep a stake, in proportion, as Quirk himself. On the morning of his
departure, he and Gammon had a very long interview, in which they
several times came to high words; but in the end Gammon vanquished his
opponent as usual; allayed all his apprehensions; and accounted for all
Titmouse's conduct in the most natural way in the world. "Look at his
position just now," quoth Gammon--"the excitement, the novelty, the
bewilderment, the indisposition he is experiencing: surely, surely
_this_ is not a moment to bring him to book!" In short, Gammon at length
brought Quirk, who had received the first intimation of the matter with
a sudden _grunt_ of surprise and anger, to acknowledge the propriety of
Gammon's remaining behind, to protect Titmouse from the designing Yahoo
that had got hold of him; and solemnly pledged himself, as in the sight
of Heaven, to use his utmost efforts to bring about, as speedily as
possible, the two grand objects of Mr. Quirk's wishes. With this the old
gentleman was fain to be satisfied; but entered the chaise which was to
convey Miss Quirk and himself to Grilston, with as rueful a countenance
as he had ever exhibited in his life. Mr. Titmouse was sufficiently
recovered to be present at the departure of Miss Quirk, who regarded his
interesting and languid looks with an eye of melting sympathy and
affection. With half a smile and half a tear, she slipped into his hand,
as he led her to the chaise, a little sprig of heart's ease, which he at
once stuck into the button-hole of his coat.

"'Pon my soul--must you go? Devilish sorry you can't stay to have seen
some fun!--The old gent" (meaning her father) "don't quite seem to like
it--he, he!" said he, in a low tone; then he handed her into the chaise,
she dropping her veil to conceal the starting tear of mingled
disappointment, and desire, and disgust, and they drove off, Titmouse
kissing his hand to her as he stood upon the steps; and, as soon as they
were out of sight, he exchanged a very significant smile with Mr.

The next day, Titmouse rose about ten o'clock, almost entirely recovered
from his indisposition. Accompanied by Mr. Yahoo and Mr. Fitz-Snooks,
with whom he was conversing as to the course he should take with
reference to Sir Harkaway--whom, however, they advised him to treat with
silent contempt, as he, Titmouse, was clearly in the wrong--he took a
stroll about noon, down the path leading to the park gates. They all
three had cigars in their mouths, Titmouse walking between them, as
odious-looking a little puppy, sure, as man ever saw--puffing out his
smoke slowly, and with half-closed eye, his right hand stuck into his
coat-pocket, and resting on his hip. These three figures--Heaven save
the mark!--were the new lord of Yatton and his select friends!

"By jingo, surely here comes a parson," quoth Titmouse; "what the devil
can he want here?"--'Twas Dr. Tatham, who slowly approached them,
dressed in his Sunday suit, and leaning on his old-fashioned
walking-stick, given him many, many years ago by the deceased Mrs.

"Let's have some sport," said Fitz-Snooks.

"We must look devilish serious--no grinning till the proper time," said

"Hallo--you sir!" commenced Titmouse, "who are you?" Dr. Tatham took off
his hat, bowed, and was passing on.

"_Devilish_ cool, upon--my--soul--sir?" said Titmouse, stopping, and
staring impudently at the worthy little doctor, who seemed taken quite
by surprise.

"My worthy old gentleman," said Yahoo, with mock respect, "are you aware
who it was that asked you a question?"

"I am not, sir," replied Dr. Tatham, quietly but resolutely.

"My name is Tittlebat Titmouse, at your service--and you are now in my
grounds," said Titmouse, approaching him with an impudent air.

"Am I really addressed by Mr. Titmouse?" inquired Dr. Tatham, somewhat

"Why, 'pon my life, I _think_ so, unless I'm changed lately; and by
Jove, sir--_now_, who are you?"

"I am Dr. Tatham, sir, the vicar of Yatton: I _had_ intended calling at
the Hall, as a matter of courtesy; but I fear I am intruding"----

"Devil a bit--no, 'pon honor, no! you're a very good old fellow, I don't
doubt!--Pray--a--is that little church outside, yours?"

"It is, sir," replied Dr. Tatham, seriously and sternly; his manner
completely abashing the presumptuous little coxcomb who addressed him.

"Oh--well--I--I--'pon my soul, happy to see you, sir--you'll find
something to eat in the Hall, I dare say"----

"Do you preach in that same little church of yours next Sunday?"
inquired Mr. Yahoo, whose gross countenance had filled Dr. Tatham with
unspeakable aversion.

"I preach there _every_ Sunday, sir, twice," he replied gravely and

"You see, sir," lisped Fitz-Snooks, "the prayers are so--so--_devilish_
long and tiresome--if you could--eh?--shorten 'em a little?"--

Dr. Tatham slowly turned away from them, and, disregarding their calls
to him, though their tone of voice was greatly altered, walked back
again towards the gate, and quitted the park for the first time in his
life, with feelings of mortal repugnance. On reaching his little study,
he sat down in his old armchair, and fell into a sad revery, which
lasted more than an hour; and then he rose, and went to see the old
blind stag-hound fed--and looked at it, licking his hands, with feelings
of unusual tenderness; and the doctor shed a tear or two as he patted
its smooth gray old head.

On Saturday morning, Mr. Titmouse, at Mr. Gammon's instance, had fixed
to go over the estate, accompanied by that gentleman, and by Mr. Waters
and Dickons, to give all the information required of them, and point out
the position and extent of the property. To an eye capable of
appreciating it, in what admirable order was everything! but Titmouse
quickly tired of it, and when about a mile from the Hall, discovered
that he had left his cigar-box behind him; at which he expressed
infinite concern, and, greatly to the annoyance of Gammon, and the
contempt of his two bailiffs, insisted on returning home; so they
re-entered the park. How beautiful it was! Its gently undulating
surface, smooth as if overspread with green velvet; trees great and
small, single and in clumps, standing in positions so picturesque and
commanding; the broad, babbling, clear trout-stream winding through
every part of the park, with here and there a mimic fall, seen faintly
flashing and glistening in the distance; herds of deer suddenly startled
amid their green pastures and silent shades, and moving off with
graceful ease and rapidity; here and there a rustic bridge over the
stream; here an old stone bench placed on an elevation commanding an
extensive prospect; there a kind of grotto, or an ivy-covered
summer-house; then the dense, extensive, and gloomy woods, forming a
semicircular sweep round the back of the Hall; all around, nearly as far
as the eye could reach, land of every kind in the highest state of
cultivation, plentifully stocked with fine cattle, and interspersed with
snug and substantial farms.

All this, thought Titmouse, might do very well for those who fancied
that sort of thing; but as for _him_, how the devil could he have
thought of leaving his cigars behind him? Where, he wondered, were Yahoo
and Fitz-Snooks? and quickened his pace homeward.

On Gammon the scene which they had been witnessing had made a profound
impression; and as his attention was now and then called off from
contemplating it, by some ignorant and puerile remark of the proprietor
of the fine domain, he felt a momentary exasperation at himself for the
part he had taken in the expulsion of the Aubreys, and the introduction
of such a creature as Titmouse. That revived certain other thoughts,
which led him into speculations of a description which would have
afforded uneasiness even to the little idiot beside him, could he have
been made aware of them. But the cloud that had darkened his brow was
dispelled by a word or two of Titmouse. "Mr. Gammon, 'pon my soul you're
devilish dull to-day," said he. Gammon started; and with his winning
smile and cheerful voice, instantly replied, "Oh, Mr. Titmouse, I was
only thinking how happy you are; and that you deserve it!"

"Yes; 'pon my soul it ought all to have been mine at my birth!--Don't it
tire you, Mr. Gammon, to walk in this up-and-down, zig-zag,
here-and-there sort of way? It does _me_, 'pon my life! What would I
give for a cigar at this moment!"

The next day was the Sabbath, tranquil and beautiful; and just as the
little tinkling bell of Yatton church had ceased, at half-past ten
o'clock, Dr. Tatham rose, in his reading-desk, and commenced the
service. The church was quite full, for every one was naturally anxious
to catch a glimpse of the new tenants of the squire's pew. It was empty,
however, till about five minutes after the service had commenced, when a
gentleman walked slowly up to the church door; and having whispered an
inquiry of the old pew-opener which was the squire's pew, she led him
into it--all eyes settled upon him; and all were struck with his
appearance, his calm keen features, and gentlemanly figure. 'Twas, of
course, Gammon; who, with the utmost decorum and solemnity, having stood
for half a minute with his hat covering his face, during which time he
reflected that Miss Aubrey had sat in that pew on the last occasion of
his attendance at the church, turned round, and behaved with the
greatest seriousness and reverence throughout the service, paying
marked attention to the sermon. Gammon was an unbeliever, but he thought
Dr. Tatham an amiable and learned enthusiast, but who was most probably
in earnest; and he felt disposed to admit, as his eye glanced round the
attentive and decent congregation, that the sort of thing was not
without its advantages. Almost all present took him for Titmouse, and
watched every turn of his countenance with intense interest; and, in
their simplicity, they rejoiced that Mr. Aubrey's successor was, at all
events, so grave and respectable-looking a man; and they fancied that he
frequently thought, with kindness and regret, of those whose seat he was
occupying. About the middle of the service, the main-door of the church
standing wide open, the congregation beheld three gentlemen, smoking
cigars, and laughing and talking together, approaching the porch. They
were dressed very finely indeed; and were supposed to be some of the
great friends of the new squire. They stopped when within a few yards of
the church; and after whispering together for a moment, one of them,
having expelled a mouthful of smoke, stepped forward to the door,
holding his cigar in one hand, and with the other taking off his hat.
There was a faint smirk on his face, (for he did not catch the stern
countenance of Gammon anxiously directed towards him,) till he beheld
Dr. Tatham's solemn eye fixed upon him, while he made a momentary pause.
Titmouse blushed scarlet; made a hesitating but most respectful bow;
and, stepping back a few paces, replaced his hat on his head, and lit
his cigar from that of Mr. Fitz-Snooks, within view, perhaps
unconsciously, of more than half the congregation. Then the three
gentlemen, after Mr. Titmouse had spoken a word or two to them, burst
out into a laugh, and quitted the churchyard.


Aubrey's sudden plunge into the cold and deep stream of trouble,
had--the first shock over--served, as it were, to brace his nerves. 'Tis
at such a time, and on such an occasion, that the temper and quality of
the soul are tried; whether it be weak in seeming strength, or strong in
seeming weakness. How many are there, walking with smiling complacent
confidence along the flowery bank, who, if suddenly bidden to strip and
enter, would turn pale and tremble as they reluctantly prepared to obey
the stern mandate; and, after a convulsive shudder, a faint shriek, a
brief struggle, disappear from the surface, paralyzed, never to be seen
again! In such a point of view, let me hope that the situation of
Aubrey, one of deepening difficulty and danger--the issue of which, hid
in the darkness of the future, no earthly intelligence could
predict--will excite in the thoughtful reader an anxiety not unmingled
with confidence.

The enervating effects of _inactivity_ upon the physical structure and
energies of mankind, few can have failed to observe. Rust is more fatal
to metal than wear. A thorough-bred racer, if confined in stable or
paddock, or a boxer, born of the finest muscular make, if prematurely
incarcerated in jail, will, after a few years, become quite unable to
compete with those vastly their inferiors in natural endowments and
capabilities; however they may, with careful training, be restored to
the full enjoyment and exercise of their powers. Thus is it with the
temper and intellect of man, which, secluded from the scenes of
_appropriate_ stimulus and exercise, become relaxed and weakened. What
would have become of the glorious spirit and powers of Achilles, if
his days had all melted away in the tender, delicate, emasculating
inactivity and indulgence of the court of Lycomedes? The language
of the ancient orator concerning his art may be applied to _life_,
that not only its greatness, but its enjoyment, consists in
action--_action_--ACTION. The feelings, for instance, may become so
morbidly sensitive, as to give an appearance of weakness to the whole
character; and this is likely to be specially the case of one born with
those of superior liveliness and delicacy, if he be destined to move
only in the realms of silent and profound abstraction and
contemplation--in those refined regions which may be termed a sort of
paradise; where every conceivable source of enjoyment is cultivated for
the fortunate and fastidious occupants, to the very uttermost, and all
those innumerable things which fret, worry, and harass the temper, the
head, and the heart of the dwellers in the rude regions of ordinary
life--most anxiously weeded out; instead of entering into the throng of
life, and taking part in its constant cares and conflicts--scenes which
require all his energies always in exercise, to keep his place, and
escape being trodden under foot. Rely upon it, that the man who feels a
tendency to shrink from collision with his fellows, to run away with
distaste or apprehension from the great practical business of life, does
not enjoy moral or intellectual health; will quickly contract a silly
conceit and fastidiousness, or sink into imbecility and misanthropy; and
should devoutly thank Providence for the occasion, however momentarily
startling and irritating, which stirs him out of his lethargy, his
_cowardly_ lethargy, and sends him among his fellows--puts him, in a
manner, upon a course of training; upon an experience of comparative
suffering, it may be of sorrow, requiring the exercise of powers of
which he had before scarcely been conscious, and giving him presently
the exhilarating consciousness that he is exhibiting himself--a MAN.

"It is probable," says the late Mr. Foster, in his Essay on "Decision of
Character"--"that the men most distinguished for decision, have not, in
general, possessed a large share of tenderness: and it is easy to
imagine that the laws according to which our nature is formed, will with
great difficulty allow the combination of the refined sensibilities,
with a hardy, never shrinking, never yielding constancy. Is it not
almost of the essence of this constancy, to be free from even the
_perception_ of such impressions as cause a mind, weak through
susceptibility, to relax, or to waver?--No doubt, this firmness consists
partly in overcoming feelings--but it may consist partly, too, in not
having them." The case I am contemplating is perhaps the difficult,
though by no means, I am persuaded, uncommon one--of a person possessing
these delicate sensibilities, these lively feelings; yet with a native
strength of character beneath, which, when the occasion for its display
has arisen--when it is placed in a scene of constant and compulsory
action, will fully evince and vindicate itself. It is then "that another
essential principle of decision of character," to quote from another
part of the same essay, "will be displayed; namely, a total incapability
of surrendering to indifference or delay the serious determinations of
the mind. A strenuous will accompanies the conclusions of thought, and
constantly urges the utmost efforts for their practical accomplishment.
The intellect is invested, as it were, with a glowing atmosphere of
passion, under the influence of which the cold dictates of reason take
fire, and spring into active powers."

There is, indeed, nothing like throwing a man of the description we are
considering, upon his own resources, and compelling him to exertion.
Listen, ye languid and often gifted victims of indolence and _ennui_, to
the noble language of one blessed with as great powers as perhaps were
ever vouchsafed to man--Edmund Barke!

    "DIFFICULTY is a severe instructor, set over us by the Supreme
    ordinance of a parental guardian and legislator, who knows us
    better than we know ourselves, as He loves us better, too. _Pater
    ipse colendi, haud facilem esse viam voluit._ He that wrestles with
    us, strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill; our antagonist
    is our helper. This amicable contest with difficulty, obliges us to
    an intimate acquaintance with our object, and compels us to
    consider it in all its relations; it will not suffer us to be

The man, moreover, whose disposition is one of sterling excellence,
despite the few foibles which it may have contracted in comparative
solitude and inactivity, when he is compelled to mix indiscriminately
with the great family of man, oh, how patient and tolerant becomes he of
the weakness and errors of others, when thus constantly reminded of, and
made to feel his own! Oh, how pitiful! how very pitiful is he!--How his
heart yearns and overflows with love, and mercy, and charity towards his
species, _individually_--whose eye looks oft on their grievous
privations, their often incurable distress and misery!--and who in the
spirit of a heavenly philanthropy penetrates even to those deserted

    "Where hopeless anguish pours her moan,
    And lonely want retires to die!"

It may be that some of the preceding observations are applicable to many
individuals of the purest and most amiable characters, and powerful and
cultivated intellects, in the higher classes of society, whose
affluence exempts them from the necessity of actively intermingling
with the concerns of life, and feeling the consciousness of individual
responsibility,--of having a personal necessity for anxious care and
exertion. They are assured that a position of real precariousness and
danger, is that which is requisite for developing the energies of a man
of high moral and intellectual character; as it will expose to
destruction one of a contrary description.

I have endeavored, in previous portions of this history, to delineate
faithfully the character of Mr. Aubrey--one (how idle and childish would
have been the attempt!) by no means _perfect_, yet with very high
qualities. He was a man of noble simplicity of character, generous,
confiding, sincere, affectionate: possessing a profound sense of
religion, _really influencing his conduct in life;_ an intellect of a
superior order, of a practical turn, of a masculine strength--as had
been evidenced by his successful academical career, his thorough mastery
of some of the most important and difficult branches of human knowledge,
and by his aptitude for public business. He was at the same time
possessed of a sensibility that was certainly excessive. He had a morbid
tendency to pensiveness, if not melancholy, which, with a feeble
_physical_ constitution, was partly derived from his mother, and partly
accounted for by the species of life which he had led. From his early
youth he had been addicted to close and severe study, which had given
permanence and strength to his naturally contemplative turn. He had not,
moreover, with too many possessed of his means and station, entered,
just at the dawn and bloom of manhood, upon that course of dissipation
which is a sure and speedy means of destroying "the freshness of thought
and of feeling," which "never again can be theirs," and inducing a
_lowered tone_ of feeling, and a callousness which some seem to consider
necessary to enable them to pass through life easily and agreeably. He,
on the contrary, had stepped out of the gloom and solitude of the
cloister into the pure and peaceful region of domestic life, with all
its hallowed and unutterable tendernesses, where the affections grew
luxuriantly; in the constant society of such women as his mother, his
sister, his wife, and latterly his lovely children. Then he was
possessed, all this while, of a fine fortune--one which placed him far
beyond the necessity for anxiety or exertion. With such tastes as these,
such a temperament as his, and leading such a life as his, is it
surprising that the tone of his feelings should have become somewhat
relaxed? The three or four years which he had spent in Parliament, when
he plunged into its fierce and absorbing excitement with characteristic
ardor and determination, though calculated to sharpen the faculties, and
draw forth the resources of his intellect, subjected him to those
alternations of elevation and depression, those extremes of action and
reaction, which were not calculated to _correct_ his morbid tendencies.

Therefore came there up to him a messenger from Heaven, with trouble and
affliction in his countenance, telling him to descend from the happy
solitude of his high mountain, into the dismal hubbub and conflict in
the plain beneath. He came down with humility and awe, and with reverent
resignation; and was--instantly surrounded!--

A weak man would have been confused and stunned, and so sunk helpless
into the leaden arms of despair. But it was not so with Aubrey. There
was that dormant energy within, which, when appealed to, quickly shook
off the weakness contracted by inaction, and told him to _be up and
doing_; and that, not with the fitfulness of mere impulse, but the
constant strength of a well regulated mind, conscious of its critical
position; and also of a calm inflexible determination to vanquish
difficulty, and if possible escape the imminent danger, however long
and doubtful might prove the conflict. Above all, he was consoled and
blessed by the conviction, that nothing could befall him that was not
the ordination of Providence,

      ----"supremely wise,
    Alike in what it gives and what denies;"

that His was the ordering of the sunshine and the gloom, the tempest and
the calm of life. This was to Aubrey--this is--as the humble writer of
these pages (who has had in his time his measure of anxiety and
affliction) has in his soul a profound and intimate persuasion and
conviction of--the only source of real fortitude and resignation, amid
the perplexities, and afflictions, and dangers of life. Depend upon it,
that a secret and scarce acknowledged disbelief, or at least doubt and
distrust of the very existence of God, and of His government of the
world--HIS REAL PRESENCE AND INTERFERENCE with the men and the things of
the world--lies at the bottom of almost all impatience and despair under
adverse circumstances. How can he be impatient, or despairing, who
believes not only the existence of God, and His moral government of the
world, but that He has mercifully vouchsafed to reveal and declare
expressly that the infliction of suffering and sorrow is directly from
Himself, and designed solely for the advantage of His creatures? _If ye
endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he
whom the father chasteneth not? We have had fathers of our flesh which
corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in
subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a
few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit,
that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now, no chastening for the
present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it
yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which_ _are
exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the
feeble knees._ While thus benignantly teacheth the voice of God, thought
Aubrey, shall I rather incline mine ear to the blighting whisper of the
Evil One--_a liar, and the father of a lie_, who would fain that I
should become _a fool, saying within my heart there is no God_--or, if I
cannot but believe that there is one, provoking me to _charge Him
foolishly, to curse Him and die_? Not so, however, had Aubrey read the
Scriptures--not so had he learned the Christian religion.

The last time that we caught a glimpse of the ruined family, they had
arrived nearly at the end of their long and melancholy journey from
Yatton to the metropolis. When before had such been the character of
their journey to town? Had they not ever looked forward with pleasure
towards the brilliant gayeties of the season; their re-entrance into an
extensive and splendid circle of friends--and he into the delightful
excitement of political life--the opening of the parliamentary campaign?
Alas, how changed now all this! how gloomy and threatening the aspect of
the metropolis, whose dusky outskirts they were entering! With what
feelings of oppression--of vague indefinite apprehension--did they now
approach it: their spirits heavy, their hearts bleeding with their
recent severance from Yatton! _Now_, distress, desertion, dismay, seemed
associated with the formidable name of "London." They had now no place
of their own awaiting, thoroughly prepared for them, their welcome
arrival--but must drive to some quiet and inexpensive family hotel for
temporary shelter. As their eyes caught familiar point after point in
their route through the suburbs--now passed at a moderate pace, with a
modest pair of horses; formerly dashed past by them in their carriage
and four--there were very few words spoken by those within the carriage.
Both the children were fast asleep. Poor Kate, as they entered
Piccadilly, burst into tears: her pent-up feelings, suddenly gave way,
and she cried heartily; Mrs. Aubrey also weeping. Mr. Aubrey was calm,
but evidently oppressed with profound anxiety. Still he affectionately
grasped their hands, and, in something which was designed for a cheerful
tone and manner, besought them to restrain their feelings, and thank
Heaven that so far they had got on safely.

"I shall be better presently, Charles," said Miss Aubrey, passionately,
burying her face in her handkerchief, "but I feel quite _afraid_ of

Over the pavement they rattled, meeting carriages rolling in all
directions--for it was about the dinner-hour, and in the height of the
season; and it was the casual but vivid evidence thus afforded of their
desolate position, this sudden glimpse of old familiar scenes, which had
momentarily overcome the fortitude of Miss Aubrey. They drove to a quiet
family hotel in a retired street running parallel with Piccadilly; they
were all wearied, both in mind and body, and after a very slight repast,
and much anxious and desponding conversation, they bade each other
affectionate adieus, and retired to rest. They rose in the morning
refreshed with repose, and in a much more tranquil mood of mind than
could have been expected.

"Now we enter," said Aubrey, with a cheerful smile, "upon the real
business of life; so we must discard sentiment--we must not think of the
past, but the future."

At their request, they, shortly after breakfast, accompanied him to the
house agent who had been commissioned by Mr. Runnington to look out two
or three residences from which, on their arrival in town, they might
easily select that deemed most suitable for their purposes. One was
particularly recommended to them; and after due inquiry, within three
days after their arrival in town, they engaged it. 'Twas a small, but
convenient, airy, and comfortable house, within five minutes' walk of
Hyde Park, and situated in Vivian Street--a recently completed one--and
as quiet and retired as they could have wished. The rent, too, was
moderate--fifty pounds a-year. Though none of the houses in the street
were large, they were all strictly private residences, and had an air of
thorough respectability. Mr. Aubrey's house had but one window to the
dining-room, and two to the drawing-room. The passage and staircase were
sufficiently commodious, as were the chief apartments. At the back of
the house was a small garden, about twenty yards in length, and about
ten yards in width, with several lilacs, laburnums, and shrubs; and a
considerable portion of the wall was covered with ivy. Was not this a
delightful place for the children to play about in? The back parlor, a
somewhat small one certainly, looked into this garden, and was at once
appropriated to be a library for Mr. Aubrey. Within a week's time, all
their luggage, furniture, &c., had arrived in town from Yatton; and they
had quite sufficient to furnish their little residence out of the wreck
of the equipments of the old Hall--adapted as it was, under the tasteful
superintendence of Mrs. and Miss Aubrey, with equal regard to elegance,
simplicity, and economy. How busy were they all for a fortnight! Many
and many an irrepressible sigh, and rebellious tear, would the sight of
these old familiar objects, in their new situation, occasion them! Some
half dozen family pictures hung upon the wall. Over the mantel-piece was
suspended a piece of beautiful embroidery--by poor old Mrs. Aubrey, many
years before--of the arms of the family. In the dining-room was the old
high-backed chair in which she had sat for twenty years and more. In the
drawing-room was Miss Aubrey's favorite ebony inlaid cabinet, and Mrs.
Aubrey's piano; and, in short, everywhere might be seen the delicate
traces of dear, dear, graceful, and elegant _woman_--touching nothing
that she adorns not! What with the silk curtains, and a carpet of
simple but tasteful pattern, and the various articles of furniture and
ornament, all possessing a kind of _old family air_--all from Yatton, I
declare there was a sort of richness about the general aspect of the
drawing-room; and when Mrs. Aubrey and Kate came to fetch Mr. Aubrey out
of his little library to witness the completion of their labors, he
gazed round him for a while, looked at each object, and then at the two
dear fond beings standing beside him, awaiting his opinion with womanly
eagerness; but he could not express his feelings. He kissed each of them
very tenderly and in silence, and then they were a little overcome. His
library, also, though _very_ small, was as snug and comfortable as a
bookworm could have desired. All the sides were covered with books, and
in the middle were the library-table and armchair which he had used in
Grosvenor Street, and which were, it must be owned, on too large a scale
for the little room to which they had been removed.

That this oppressed family were not incessantly and very painfully
reminded of the contrast afforded by their present to their former
circumstances, I do not pretend to assert; but it very, very seldom
formed a topic of _conversation_ between any of them. When, however, the
little bustle and occupation of arranging their house was over, and Mrs.
Aubrey and Kate were left a good deal to themselves--Mr. Aubrey being
either absent from home, or in his library, engaged in matters of the
last importance to them all--then they would talk together with
increasing eagerness and excitement about past times, and their recent
troubles and bereavements; not displaying then--sweet souls!--_quite_
that degree of resignation and fortitude which they strove to exhibit in
the presence of Mr. Aubrey.

    "Some natural tears they dropt, but wiped them soon."

They passed a good deal of their time in-doors in needlework,
_practical_ family needlework, an art in which they were not
particularly accomplished, but which they quickly acquired from a
seamstress whom they kept engaged constantly in the house for several
weeks. Then sometimes they would sit down to the piano; at other times
they would read--on all occasions, however, frequently falling into
conversation on the all-engrossing topic of their expulsion from Yatton.
Now and then, they could scarcely refrain from a melancholy smile, when
they remarked upon their shrunken personal importance. "Really, Agnes,"
said one day Miss Aubrey, "I feel just as one can fancy a few poor newly
shorn sheep must feel! So light and cold! So much _less_ than they were
half an hour before! Surely they must hardly know what to make of

"Then, I suppose, mamma," said Charles, who was sitting on a stool
beside them--making believe to write on a small slate--"I am a _little_
sheep?" They both looked at the child with silent tenderness, and
presently thought of Him who "_tempers the wind_ to the shorn lamb."

Their proximity to the parks was delightful, and many a pleasant hour
did they pass there with the children; and then returning home, would
occupy themselves with writing letters--and long ones they usually
were--to early and loved friends, especially to Dr. Tatham, with whom
Miss Aubrey kept up a constant correspondence. I ought to have mentioned
before, that Mr. Aubrey, in bringing his favorite valet up to town with
him, had no other design than, with that kind thoughtfulness for which
he was remarkable, to have an opportunity of securing for him a good
situation; and that he succeeded in doing, after about a fortnight's
interval; but the poor fellow was quite confounded when he first heard
that he was to quit the service of Mr. Aubrey, and, almost falling on
his knees, begged to be permitted to continue and receive no wages, and
he should be a happy man. Mr. Aubrey was, however, firm; and on parting
with him, which he did with no little emotion, put two guineas into his
hand as a present, and wished him health and happiness. The poor
fellow's deep distress at parting with the family sensibly affected them
all, and reminded them vividly of one of the latest and bitterest scenes
at Yatton. On his departure, their little establishment consisted but of
three female servants, a cook, a housemaid, and a nursery-maid. It took
them some little time to familiarize themselves with the attendance of a
female servant at dinner! That was one little matter--and another was
Charles' now and then complaining of being tired, and inquiring why his
mamma did not drive in the carriage as she used to do, and how he should
like to go with her!--which brought home to them, in a lively manner,
their altered circumstances--their fallen fortunes. Many, many were the
anxious calculations they made together, of the probable amount of their
annual expenditure--which at length, inexperienced as they were, they
fixed at from £300 to £400, including everything; his wife and sister
eagerly assuring Mr. Aubrey, and persuading each other, that as for
clothes--_their_ wardrobe would, with care, last them for three or four
years to come--so that _that_ was an item which might be almost
altogether excluded from the account; except by the way, the
children--yes, _they_ should be always well-dressed; that all agreed
upon. Then there was their education--oh, Kate would see to _that_!
Could they, in this manner, with rigid and persevering economy, hold on
their way for a year or two? was a question they often asked one
another, with beating hearts. If they could, then, they said, they
should be happy; for they had _health_--they had peace of mind; their
consciences were not oppressed by a sense of misconduct--and they were
able to put their trust in Providence.

Mr. Aubrey resolved to live in strict privacy; and they consequently
communicated their residence to but one or two of their numerous
friends, and to them only in confidence. To have acted otherwise, would
have seriously interfered with the arrangements which, long ago
contemplated, he had now fixed upon. It would have been perpetually
calling their attention to the contrast between former days and scenes,
and the present; opening their wounds afresh; and moreover, subjecting
them to kind and generous importunities and offers, which, however
delicate, would have been exquisitely painful and trying to an honorable
pride. But it is time that I should proceed to give a more particular
account of the position, the personal feelings, and the purposes and
prospects of Mr. Aubrey.

From the moment when he received the first intimation of the
desperate assault about to be made upon his fortunes, he felt a
conviction--whether arising from weakness, or superstition, or any
other cause it concerns me not here to say--that the issue would be a
disastrous one for him; and, the first alarm and confusion over, he
addressed himself with serious calmness, with deep anxiety, to the
determination of his future course of life. A man of his refined taste
and feeling would inevitably appreciate exquisitely--with, indeed, a
most agonizing intensity--the loss of all those superior enjoyments--the
deliciæ of life--to which he had been from his birth accustomed. _Semper
enim delicatè ac molliter vixit._ I speak not here of the mere exterior
"appliances and means" of wealth and station, but of the fastidious and
sensitive condition of _feeling_ and temper, which such a state of
things is calculated to engender in a person of his description. He
could part with the one; but how could he divest himself of the other?
Even had he been alone in the world, and not surrounded with objects of
the tenderest regard, whose safety or ruin was involved in his own, one
of the results of his opponent's success--namely, his claim to the mesne
profits--was calculated to fetter all his movements, to hang like a
millstone round his neck; and that effect, indeed, it had. Still he
played the man--resolved to act promptly, and with the best
consideration he could give to his critical position. He had not yet
reached the prime of life; had a fair share of health; had been blessed
with the inestimable advantages of a thorough--a first-rate
education--and, above all, had followed out his early advantages by
laborious and systematic study. He had not only made accurate,
extensive, and valuable acquisitions of knowledge, but learned how to
use them--to turn them to practical account. What would, he thought,
have become of him, had he--or those before him--neglected his
education? Then he had acquired a considerable familiarity with business
habits, in the House of Commons; and had friends and connections who
might be of essential service to him, if he could but first succeed in
acquiring such a position as would enable him to avail himself of their
good offices. Surely all _these_ were cheering considerations! Had he
not even advantages superior to those possessed by many in entering upon
some one of the scenes of honorable struggles for a livelihood, and even
for distinction? He surveyed all the professions with much deliberation.
The army and navy were of course out of the question. There was the
_Church:_ but no--his soul recoiled from the degradation and guilt of
entering that holy calling from mercenary motives, merely as a means of
acquiring a livelihood; and he would rather have perished, than prefer
the prayer uttered by the doomed descendants of one whose lamentable
case is left on record--who _came and_ _crouched for a piece of silver,
and a morsel of bread, saying, Put me, I pray thee, into one of the
priest's offices, that I may eat a piece of bread._[15] A personage of
very high distinction in the Church--of eminent piety and learning--who
was aware of the misfortunes of Aubrey, and well acquainted with his
pure and exemplary character--his learning and acquirements--his fitness
for the ministerial office--wrote to him, offering him every facility
for taking orders, and assuring him that he need not wait long before he
should be placed in a situation of public usefulness. Though he assured
Mr. Aubrey that he believed himself consulting the best interests, both
of Mr. Aubrey and of the Church--the scruples of Mr. Aubrey were not to
be overcome; and he wrote to the kind and venerable prelate, a letter
declining his offers, and assigning reasons which filled him with
profound respect for Mr. Aubrey. Then literature, for which--for real
substantial literature--he possessed superior qualifications, was
proverbially precarious. As for _teaching_--he felt quite unfit for it;
he had not the least inclination for it; 'twas a cheerless scene of
exertion; in which, as it were, he felt his energies _perishing in the
using_. The BAR was the profession to which his tastes and inclinations,
and, he hoped, his qualifications, pointed him. One of the first things
he did, on reaching London, was to apply for information to one
consummately qualified to guide him in the matter. He wrote to the
Attorney-General, soliciting an interview at his chambers upon the
subject of entering the profession; and received an immediate answer,
appointing ten o'clock on Saturday, on which day the Attorney-General
expected to be partially free from public engagements. Precisely at that
hour, Mr. Aubrey entered the chambers of that distinguished person,
whose arrival he had anticipated. Poor Aubrey felt a little nervous and
depressed as the fussy clerk showed him into the room--_as he fancied_,
and only fancied--with an air of patronizing civility, as if aware of
his diminished personal consequence. He stood for a minute or two very
close to Mr. Aubrey, with a sort of confidence in his manner as he
rubbed his hands, and glibly observed on the innumerable engagements of
the Attorney-General, which slightly--_very slightly_--displeased Mr.
Aubrey, suggesting the idea of undue familiarity. He answered the
voluble clerk therefore courteously, but with an evident disinclination
to prolong the conversation, and was quickly left alone. Poor
Aubrey's pride had taken the alarm. Was it possible that the man
had been presuming to give him a hint not to occupy much of the
Attorney-General's time? Was it even possible that it had been done in
consequence of an intimation from the Attorney-General himself? Oh,
no--his own good sense came presently to his assistance, and banished so
absurd a notion. There were three tables in the room, and each was laden
with briefs, some of them of prodigious bulk. Seven or eight very recent
ones were placed on the table opposite to which his vacant chair was
standing; the very sight of all this oppressed Aubrey: how could one
man's head manage so much? He was ruminating on such matters--and
especially upon the powerful, versatile, and practised intellect which
was requisite successfully to cope with such perpetually accumulating
difficulties, independently of the harassing responsibilities and
occupations of political office, when the Attorney-General entered. He
was a tall and handsome man, about forty-five, with an extremely
graceful and gentlemanlike carriage. There was a slight dash of
negligence in it; while his manner was fraught with cheerful composure.
He looked quite a man of the world; you would have thought that he could
have nothing to do but lounge at his club; ride round the Park; saunter
into the House of Lords for an hour or two; and then surrender himself
to the pleasures of society. There was not a trace of anxiety or
exhaustion about him; yet had he been engaged during the whole of the
preceding day conducting a very great political cause, (one of high
treason,) not having concluded his reply till nine o'clock at night!
There was a playful smile about his mouth; his ample forehead seemed
unfurrowed by a wrinkle; and his bright penetrating hazel eyes seemed
never the worse for wear with all the tens of thousands of brief sheets
on which they had travelled for the last twenty years.

"Ha--Aubrey--I'm a few minutes behind time, I'm afraid!--How are you?"
said he, with a cheerful air, grasping his saddened visitor very
cordially by the hand.

"Good-morning, Mr. Attorney--_Cum tot sustineas, et tanta negotia
solus_"--commenced poor Aubrey, pointing to the piles of briefs.

"Pho, my dear Aubrey; nonsense! _They've_ enough of my time, surely,
without grudging me half an hour's conversation with a friend--ah, ha!"
They were both quickly seated--and within a minute or two's time the
Attorney-General--_more suo_--had _got to business_--the business of the
visit. Aubrey perceived the rapidity of the movement; but nothing could
be _kinder_ than the manner of his companion, however distinct and
decisive his intimation that time was very precious. He approved
entirely of Mr. Aubrey's coming to the bar, and strongly recommended him
not to lose one day in entering upon the serious practical study of it;
informing him that, as an university man, within three years' time he
would be eligible to be called to the bar. "I'll call you myself,
Aubrey, if you will allow me," said he; but before that period had
arrived, he had taken his seat upon the Woolsack, as Lord High
Chancellor of England!

"Undoubtedly," said he, among other things, when pressed by Aubrey
about the difficulties to be encountered in adopting the legal
profession--"the acquisition of the _technical_ knowledge will be for
some little time rather troublesome; but a twelvemonth's steady study by
a man who is in earnest, and accustomed to real _work_, will make a vast
inroad on it. Everything you master, you see, helps to master so much
more. Three years' serious application to the law, by a man like you, my
dear Aubrey, will place you far a-head of the mob of men at the bar.
Besides, 'tis not the study but the _practice_ of the law that teaches
law most effectually.... Always have an eye to _principle_, referring
_everything_ to it. Resolve thoroughly to understand the smallest
details; and it will be a wonderful assistance in fixing them for
practical use in your mind, to learn as much as you can, of the
_reasons_ and _policy_ in which they originated. You'll find Reeves'
History of the English Law of infinite service to you; I should study it
in the evenings; 'tis full of interest and value in every point of view.
I read every word of it, very carefully, soon after I left college; and,
by the way, I'll tell you another book, by which I did the same--the
State Trials: ay, you could hardly believe me, if I were to tell you how
much I have read of them--speeches, examinations, cross-examination of
witnesses, reply, and summing up. That's where I first learned how to
examine and cross-examine a witness! Consider, the counsel employed
were, you know, generally first-rate men, and exerted themselves, on
such occasions, to the utmost, and the records of their procedure show
you the best possible style of doing business. And there you also learn
a great deal of _constitutional_ law.... You ask me how I get through so
much? To be sure, one _has_ enough to do, and I'm afraid I neglect a
good deal; but the great secret is--_attention_, and to _one thing_ at a
time. The sun's rays scattered are comparatively powerless; condense
them, they are irresistible:--but all this you know, Aubrey, as well
as, or better than I do.... Certainly, law is difficult; but its
difficulty is often greatly overrated, especially by imperfectly
educated, and ill-disciplined, _quick_, _sharp_ men. _You_ will find it
a very different matter. What is wanted is a clear head; a good memory;
strong common sense; fixity of purpose; an aptitude for analysis and
arrangement: before these combined, the difficulties of law fly like the
morning mist before the sun.--_Tact_ with the court, and a jury, is
acquired by practice, to a considerable extent, in the absence even of
natural endowments. And as for _you_, Aubrey--upon my honor, I've often
listened with great satisfaction to you in the House; few ever made
clearer statements of facts, or reasoned more closely and cogently than
you did; with practice, you would have become--and you soon will
become--a formidable debater. In your new profession you will find
_facts_ become quite different things from what they have ever hitherto
appeared; flexible, elastic, accommodating--you may do anything with
them--twist, and turn, and combine; ha! ha! Aubrey!" [Here the
Attorney-General laughed in the plenitude of his own conscious power.]
"In a word, Aubrey, if you _determine_ to get on at the bar, you _will_:
and if you can but get a bit of a _start_ at the beginning; now, for
instance, there's Runningtons' house--one of the very first in
London--why if _they_ would push you--your fortune's made. But you must
make up your mind to wait a little: you can't get into a great business
by a hop, step, and a jump, believe me. Certainly _I_ have no cause to
be dissatisfied; I've done pretty well; but I can tell you that eight
years passed over me before I earned enough a-year to pay my laundress!
With me, accident supplied the place of _connection_: but only suppose
how I must have worked in the mean time to be able to do business when
it came to me! I know it's said that I was always an idle man; but
people were a good deal mistaken about that matter, I can promise them!
What _idiots_, indeed, to suppose such a thing! Why, my very first start
lifted me into a business of a thousand a-year; and, in the name of
common sense, how could I have got through it, if I hadn't worked
beforehand? Bah!--Now, if Runningtons'--one of the first firms in the
profession--will stand by you, I'll guarantee your making £300 your
first year! and if they _won't_, why, don't despair, you'll have to wait
a little longer; but it will come at last, depend on it, if you continue
on the look-out! Besides, you can help _me_ a little bit, eh? It will be
a sort of introduction, you know; but we've time enough to see about
that.--I recommend you to get at once into the chambers of some
hard-working man, with a good deal of general business, particularly
Pleading--let me see"--Here the Attorney-General paused, and stroked his
chin for a moment or two in a musing manner, "Ah, yes, there's WEASEL,
the very man for your purpose. He's a good pleader, and a neat
draftsman; gets through his work very _cleanly_--ah! Weasel's a
clear-headed painstaking little fellow--all for law; and he's got a good
deal of it. He's not a very polished person, Weasel, ha! ha! but he's an
honorable, right-minded man--shall I introduce you? Well, by-and-by,
I'll walk over with you.--As to books? oh! why--I suppose you've looked
into Blackstone? He's a fine fellow, Blackstone, and deserves all that
has been said in his praise. Many think that he's only to be glanced at,
at the beginning of their studies; never believe it! He's good to the
end of the chapter! I've a profound respect for Blackstone; it's the
only book I've read four or five times through--ay, from cover to cover;
he makes law lovely! Stick to Blackstone by all means! Reeves--oh! I
mentioned _him_, you know. Then I should go, I think, to Coke on
Littleton; but we shall have several opportunities of talking over
_these_ matters. I really believe, Aubrey, that you are doing a very
wise thing in coming to the bar. If you've health, and the average
opportunities, (though I think you will have _more_,) I'll undertake to
say that in a few years' time you will realize an income--which _may_ be
a great one--but which (whatever it may be) you'll _earn_, as you did
not the one you've lost; and you'll enjoy it, my dear Aubrey, ten
thousand times more! All that I can do for you, I will--command me! By
the way," he added, assuming a somewhat anxious expression of
countenance and a manner very different from that free, buoyant,
off-hand one in which, for the last twenty minutes, he had been
speaking, (Aubrey feeling all the while the easy commanding power and
simplicity of the resplendent intellect with which he was communing,)
"I'm almost afraid to ask; but how do you come on, about the----Mesne

"I have heard nothing whatever about them, as yet," replied Aubrey,
sighing; his face suddenly overshadowed with gloom. A moment's pause
ensued; which was interrupted by the Attorney-General saying in a very
earnest and feeling manner, "I hope to Heaven you'll be able to get some
favorable arrangement made! You've not seen anything of Mr. Titmouse's
attorneys, I suppose?"

"Oh, no!" replied Aubrey, sighing, "nor heard anything from them!"

"_I've_ had very little to do with them; Quirk, Gammon, and Snap--these
are the people, eh?" Mr. Aubrey nodded. "Quirk is a stubborn
wooden-headed fellow--an old hedgehog! Egad! that man's compounded more
felonies, the old scamp, than any man in England! I should like to have
him in the witness-box for a couple of hours, or so! I think I'd tickle
him a little," said the Attorney-General, with a bitter smile. "They say
he's a confidential adviser to a sort of Thieves' Association! But
there's Gammon: I've had several things to do with _him_. He is a
superior man, that Gammon, a very superior man. A keen dog! I recollect
him being principal witness in a cause when I was for the plaintiff; and
he completely baffled Subtle--ah, ha, how well I recollect it!--Subtle
lost his temper at last, because he couldn't make Gammon lose _his_! Ah,
how cleverly the fellow twisted and turned with Subtle for nearly an
hour! ah, ha--Subtle looked so chagrined!--Have you seen Mr. Gammon?"

"No, I've had no occasion."

"He has a pleasing, gentlemanlike appearance; rather a striking face.
_He's_ the man you'll have to deal with in any negotiations on the
subject I named. You must mind what you're about with him. You mustn't
think me intrusive, Aubrey; but, have they sent in their bill yet?"

Mr. Aubrey involuntarily shuddered, as he answered in the negative.

"I'd give a trifle to know how the plague such people ever came to be
concerned in such a case. 'Tis quite out of their way--which is in the
criminal line of business!--They'll make their client pay for it through
the nose, I warrant him:--By the way, what an inconceivably ridiculous
little ass that Titmouse is--I saw him in court at York. If he'd only go
on the stage, and act _naturally_, he'd make his fortune as a
fool!"--Mr. Aubrey faintly smiled at this sally; but the topics which
the Attorney-General had just before touched upon, had not a little
oppressed his spirits.

"As this is comparatively an idle day with me," said the
Attorney-General, "and I've got ten minutes more at your
service--suppose I go with you at once--nothing like the present
moment--to Mr. Weasel's?"

"I am greatly obliged to you," replied Aubrey--and both rose to
go. "Say I shall be back in a few minutes," said the Attorney-General,
in answer to his clerk, who reminded him as he passed, that Mr.
Sergeant Squelch and Mr. Putty would be there in a moment or two's
time. As they crossed the court--"How do you do, Mr. Putty?" said the
Attorney-General, with lofty civility, to a grinning little confident
personage who met him, exclaiming with flippant familiarity,
"How do you do, Mr. Attorney?--Coming to your chambers--you don't

"I perfectly recollect it, Mr. Putty, I shall return presently. Perhaps,
if convenient, you will have the goodness to wait for a few
minutes"--replied the Attorney-General, somewhat stiffly, and passed on,
arm-in-arm with Mr. Aubrey.

"Now, that forward little imp's name, Aubrey, is Putty," whispered the
Attorney-General. "He was a glazier by trade; but just as he finished
his apprenticeship, an uncle left him a few hundred pounds, with
which--would you believe it?--nothing would suit him but decking himself
in a wig and gown, and coming to the bar--ah, ha!--The fellow's
creeping, however, into a little business, positively! They say he has a
cousin who is one of the officers to the sheriff of Middlesex, and puts
a good many little things in his way! He's my junior in an action of
libel against a newspaper, for charging his father-in-law--a baker who
supplies some workhouse with bread--with making it of only one-third
flour, one-third rye, and the remainder _saw-dust_--ah, ha, ha!--I dared
hardly look at the judges while I moved the Rule for a New Trial, for
fear of laughing! This is the case in which we're going to have the
consultation he spoke of--but here's Mr. Weasel's." They mounted a
narrow, dingy-looking, well-worn staircase--and on the first floor,
beheld "MR. WEASEL" painted over the door. On the Attorney-General's
knocking, as soon as his clear silvery voice was heard asking for Mr.
Weasel, and his dignified figure had been recognized by the clerk, who
had one pen in his mouth, and another behind his ear--that humble
functionary suddenly bent himself almost double three or four times; and
with flustered obsequiousness assured the great man that Mr. Weasel was
quite at liberty. The next moment the Attorney-General and Mr. Aubrey
were introduced into Mr. Weasel's room--a small dusky apartment
wretchedly furnished, the walls being lined with book-shelves, well
filled--and the table at which he was writing, and a chair on each side
of him, strewed with draft paper, which he was covering at a prodigious
rate. He was, in fact, drawing a "Declaration" in an action for a
_Breach of promise of Marriage_, (taking a hasty pinch of fiery Welsh
snuff every three minutes;) and his task seemed to be rendered very
difficult, by the strange conduct of the defendant--surely the most
fickle of mankind--who, with an extraordinary inconsistency, not knowing
his own mind for a day together, had promised to marry Miss M'Squint,
the heart-broken plaintiff, _firstly_, within a reasonable time;
_secondly_, on a given day; _thirdly_, on the defendant's return from
the Continent; _fourthly_, on the death of his father, (both of which
events were averred to have taken place;) _fifthly_, when the defendant
should have cut his wise teeth, (which it was averred he had;) and
lastly, on "_being requested_" by the lady--which it was averred she had
done, and in the most precise and positive manner, that she had been
_ready and willing, and then_ [what will the ladies say?] "_tendered and
offered herself to marry the said defendant_," who had then wholly
neglected and refused to do any such thing. One notable peculiarity of
the case was, that all these promises had been made, and all these
events appeared to have come to pass in one particular place--and that
rather an odd one, viz. in "_the parish of Saint Mary Le Bow, in the
ward of Cheap, in the city of London_."[16] If you had been better
acquainted with Mr. Weasel's associations and mode of doing business,
you would have discovered that, in _his_ imagination, almost all the
occurrences of life took place at this same spot! But to return--thus
was that astute little pleader engaged when they entered. He was a
bachelor, upwards of forty; was of spare make, of low stature, had a
thin, sharp, sallow face, and short stiff black hair; there was an
appearance about the eyes as if they were half-blinded with being
incessantly directed to white paper; he had a furrowed forehead, a small
pursed-up mouth--one hardly knew why, but really there was something
about his look that instantly suggested to you the image of the creature
whose name he bore. He was a ravenous lawyer, darting at the point and
pith of every case he was concerned in, and sticking to it--just as
would his bloodthirsty namesake at the neck of a rabbit. In _law_ he
lived, moved, and had his being. In his dreams he was everlastingly
spinning out pleadings which he never could understand, and hunting for
cases which he could not discover. In the daytime, however, he was more
successful. In fact, everything he saw, heard, or read of--wherever he
was, whatever he was doing, suggested to him questions of law, that
might arise out of it. At his sister's wedding (whither he had not gone
without reluctance) he got into a wrangle with the bridegroom, on a
question started by himself, (Weasel,) whether an _infant_ was liable
for goods supplied to his wife, before marriage. At his grandmother's
funeral he got into an intricate discussion with a puzzled proctor about
_bona notabilia_, with reference to a pair of horn spectacles, which the
venerable deceased had left behind her in Scotland, and a poodle in the
Isle of Man; and at church, the reading of the parable of the _Unjust
Steward_, set his devout, ingenious, and fertile mind at work for the
remainder of the service, as to the modes of stating the case,
now-a-days, against the offender, and whether it would be more advisable
to proceed civilly or criminally; and if the former, at law or in
equity. He was a hard-headed man; very clear and acute, and accurate in
his legal knowledge; every other sort he despised, if, indeed, he had
more than the faintest notion, from hearsay, of its existence. He was a
Cambridge man; and there had read nothing but mathematics, in which he
had made a decent figure. As soon as he had taken his degree, he
migrated to the Temple, where he had ever since continued engaged in the
study, and then the successful practice, of the law, as a special
pleader under the bar. He had a very large business, which he got
through ably and rapidly. He scarcely ever went into society; early want
of opportunity for doing so, had at length abated his desire for it--to
say nothing of his want of _time_. When, as was seldom the case, he
ventured out for a walk, he went, muttering to himself, at a postman's
pace, to get the greatest quantity of exercise in the smallest space of
time. He was not a bad-tempered man, but, from the absorbing and
harassing nature of his employments, he had become nervous, fidgety, and
irritable. His tone of voice was feeble, his utterance hesitating, his
manner hurried. What a laughable contrast between him and his visitor!
The Attorney-General coming to Mr. Weasel's chambers, suggested the idea
of a magnificent mastiff suddenly poking his head into the little kennel
of a querulous pug-dog; and I suppose Mr. Aubrey might be likened to a
greyhound accompanying the aforesaid mastiff! On seeing his visitors,
Mr. Weasel instantly got up with a blush of surprise, and a little hurry
and embarrassment of manner. His clerk put out a couple of chairs, and
down they sat. The Attorney-General came to the point in about half a
minute, and the matter was very quickly settled; it being arranged that
within a day or two's time, as soon as the forms necessary for admitting
Mr. Aubrey to an Inn of Court should have been completed, he should
commence his attendance at Mr. Weasel's, from ten o'clock till five

"It's a comical-looking little animal, isn't it?" quoth the
Attorney-General, with a laugh, as soon as they had got out of hearing.

"Certainly, I don't feel particularly prepossessed"----

"Oh, pho! He's the very man for you--the very man. There's no nonsense
with Weasel; you may learn an infinite deal of law from him, and that is
all you want. He's a very inoffensive fellow; and I've no doubt you'll
soon like his chambers greatly, if you're in earnest in studying the
law. You go or not, of course, as you choose; whatever you do is
perfectly voluntary; pay him his hundred guineas, and then, if you like,
you may get many thousand pounds' worth out of him in the twelvemonth.
Now, I _must_ bid you good-morning--I've really not another moment to
spare. God bless you, my dear Aubrey; and," he added with great
kindness, and a very pointed manner, "whenever you may think it worth
your while to talk over your affairs with me, come without notice or
ceremony--wherever I may be, I shall be delighted to see you!" Then they
parted. Mr. Aubrey was not aware of a certain stroke of delicacy and
generosity on the part of the Attorney-General; viz. that immediately on
the _Rule_ for a new trial being discharged, he had sent for Mr.
Runnington, and insisted on returning every sixpence of his
fees--upwards of six hundred guineas--desiring that Mr. Aubrey should
not be made acquainted with it, if by any means Messrs. Runnington could
conceal it from him!

A little fatigued and harassed by several important matters, which kept
him engaged till a late hour in the afternoon, he reached Vivian Street
in a depressed and desponding mood. Just as he turned the corner, he
beheld, at about twenty yards' distance, Mrs. Aubrey and Miss Aubrey
slowly walking homeward, on their return from the Park. Mrs. Aubrey held
Charles by the hand, who was dancing and frisking wildly about, and Miss
Aubrey's beautiful little Cato she was leading along by a slender chain.
They were in half-mourning; there was such an air of elegant simplicity
about them--their figures, their carriage, so easy and graceful! Aubrey,
as he neared them, gazed at them with mingled feelings of pride and

"Oh, my papa! my papa!" suddenly exclaimed Charles, who, happening to
turn round, had caught sight of his father, and ran eagerly down to him:
with what a thrill of love did he take in his arms the beautiful
breathless boy, and how his heart yearned towards his wife and sister,
as they also turned quickly round to meet him, after a long day's
absence! How inexpressibly dear were they to him--how, that day, he
enjoyed their quiet little dinner-table--the romp with his children
afterwards--and a long evening of eager and interesting conversation,
after the little ones had gone to bed, Mrs. Aubrey and Kate busy, the
while, with some slight matter of needlework! They had received several
letters from Yorkshire, which they read to him. One was from poor Dr.
Tatham, who, though he concealed a good deal that would have occasioned
needless pain, yet gave them a melancholy notion of the altered state of
things at the Hall. Though it was rather late before they retired to
rest on the evening of the ensuing Sunday, Mr. Aubrey was to be found
seated in his study by half-past four on Monday morning, perusing, with
profound attention, stimulated by the strong observation of the
Attorney-General, the second volume of Blackstone's Commentaries,--a
work with which he had already a very tolerable familiarity. 'Twas
really a thing to be thankful for that Mr. Aubrey, with so many
absorbing anxieties, such distracting apprehensions concerning the
future, _could_ command his attention in the way he did. To be sure, he
felt that it was plainly life-and-death work with him; but he might have
derived great encouragement from perceiving himself possessed of that
faculty of concentrating the attention, which the Attorney-General had
spoken of as so essential an attribute of a lawyer. The way in which he
parcelled out his time was this: From the time that he entered his study
till breakfast-time, he resolved to read law--from ten o'clock till four
or five, was to be spent at Mr. Weasel's chambers--and the evenings were
to be devoted to the society of his children, his wife, and sister, and
also to certain occasional literary efforts, from which he hoped to
derive some little increase to his means. This was severe work; but it
was probably the most fortunate and salutary thing in the world for
Aubrey, that his energies should be thus occupied, and his mind kept
from the corroding effects of constant reflection upon his misfortunes,
and dismal apprehensions concerning the future. After he had spent a few
days in Mr. Weasel's chambers, a good deal of his prejudice against that
gentleman began to wear off. Mr. Aubrey found him all that the
Attorney-General had described him as being--a very acute and able
lawyer, with a constant current of important, varied, and instructive
business running through his chambers, and every disposition to render
his utmost assistance to Mr. Aubrey, whom he quickly found out to be a
man of very superior intellect, and most seriously bent upon acquiring a
knowledge of the profession. Mr. Weasel was not blessed with the power
of formally communicating elementary knowledge; Mr. Aubrey had, as it
were, to _extort_ from him what he wanted, with something like a painful
effort. The real advantages of his position, were, the innumerable
practical hints and suggestions as to the mode of dealing with
miscellaneous business, which he derived from a watchful attention to
whatever passed in chambers--to the mode, in which Weasel hunted up and
applied his law, and reduced the facts involved in litigation into legal
shape and language, in the process of pleading. The penetrating eye of
Mr. Aubrey, thus closely fixed on everything that came under his notice,
quickly began to discover and appreciate the good sense, the practical
utility of most of the positive rules of law which he saw in operation;
and at the end of a fortnight or three weeks, he began to feel interest
in the study upon which he had so vigorously entered, and in which he
felt himself making real progress. Mr. Weasel, during even that time,
perceived the prodigious superiority of Mr. Aubrey over another pupil,
who had nearly completed his second year in Mr. Weasel's chambers, after
a twelvemonth spent in a conveyancer's; not, of course, in respect of
legal knowledge, but of intellectual power and aptitude for
business.--Mr. Aubrey would return to Vivian Street about six o'clock
each evening, a little fatigued with a very long day's work, (for he was
never later than five o'clock in entering his study, in the morning;)
but he was quickly cheered and refreshed by the sight of the fond and
lovely beings whom he there rejoined, and who had been counting the very
minutes till he returned. Every day knit that little family together, if
possible, in stronger bonds of love; for they clung to each other with a
feeling of having been thrust out of the great gay world together, and
sent, as it were, upon a pilgrimage afar, amid scenes of increasing
gloom, difficulty, and danger. Each day that bore them farther from that
of their expulsion from Yatton, mellowed, as it were, their
recollections of past scenes, and poured upon their wounded feelings the
soothing balm of pious resignation; and sometimes, also, faint and
trembling beams of hope concerning the future, would steal across the
gloomy chambers of their hearts. Thank God, the view of the past
presented to them no occasion for shame, for remorse, for
self-condemnation! They trusted that, in their day of wealth and
distinction, many as had been their shortcomings, they had not been
found wilfully neglecting the duties imposed upon them. Therefore they
derived a just consolation from a view of the past. But the

    "Shadows, clouds, and darkness rested on it."

Their hearts involuntarily fluttered and shrank within them, when they
gazed upon the threatening gloom which hung over it. Their straitened
circumstances--an honorable poverty--had been a burden light, indeed, to
bear. They were very happy in one another's company; their house, though
small, was convenient, and even elegantly comfortable; they had health;
Mr. Aubrey had constant exercise for an active and vigorous mind, in the
acquisition of the learning of a noble profession, the practice of which
might possibly hereafter raise all of them to even affluence and
distinction--at all events, might secure them the substantial comforts
of life. But he would have moments of heaviness and trepidation. When
engaged in his little study, in the profound solitude and silence of the
early morning, while he was thus straining his faculties to their
utmost, on behalf of the sweet innocent beings--his wife--his
children--his sister--sleeping above, he would sometimes lean back in
his chair, with a very deep sigh, and sink into a revery--oh, how sad
and painful!--deepening occasionally into agony; but he would suddenly
arouse himself, and resume his studies with a powerful effort at
abstraction--with additional intensity of application.--How, indeed,
could he be otherwise than momentarily _paralyzed_, when he surveyed his
truly alarming, his tremendous pecuniary liabilities? Bills of
costs--Heaven only knew to what amount--due to Messrs. Quirk, Gammon,
and Snap; to his own attorneys, Messrs. Runnington; and to Mr.
Parkinson: and then--sickening and fearful object!--the Mesne
Profits--what _was_ to become of them all? The mind which, in the
presence of such disturbing forces as these, could apply its energies so
successfully as did that of Mr. Aubrey to the acquisition of knowledge,
with any degree of calmness, must surely have been of no common order,
and have undergone no slight discipline; but, alas! alas! what could all
this have availed him, unless he had been vouchsafed assistance from on
high? When the _waters were come in unto his soul_; when he was _sinking
in deep mire, where there was no standing_; when he was _come into deep
waters, where the floods overflowed him_--whither was he to look but to
one quarter, and that ABOVE, with earnest, and faithful, and constant
supplication to the Almighty?

The constant apprehension of very great evil--_suspense_--is a state
almost as terrible and insupportable, especially to those of lively
susceptibilities, as that produced by the infliction of the evil. Every
morning when Aubrey left home, he dreaded to think of what might happen
before his return; and when he quitted the Temple, he experienced a
sinking of the heart, when he thought of what might have transpired in
his absence. In fact, they all of them felt like those whom the ominous
silence and repose of surrounding nature--a portentous calm and gloom
overhead--fill with trembling apprehension of the coming storm. Their
fears are quickened by the occasional falling of large spreading drops
of rain through the sultry sky, not a breath of air stirring. Upward is
oft turned the pale cheek and apprehensive eye towards the black
accumulating clouds, from which may soon flame the destructive
lightning--what, in such a case, is there to rely upon, but the mercy of
Him around whose throne are clouds and darkness, and the whirlwind and
tempest His ordering?

The little family were sitting one morning at their usual early and
simple breakfast, and Mr. Aubrey was reading aloud, for his wife and
sister's suggestions, a second article which he had commenced
over-night, designed for a recently-established Review--having, some
fortnight before, sent off his first effort, about which, however, he
had as yet heard nothing; and Kate was playfully patting his cheek, and
telling him that, for all he might say to the contrary, a particular
expression was not, in her opinion, "_elegant English!_"

"It _is_, you pert puss," insisted Aubrey, with a good-natured laugh;
and then, turning to Mrs. Aubrey, "What do _you_ say, Agnes?"

"Oh--why--I really like it very much as it is."

"I sha'n't alter it," said Aubrey, laughing.

"Then I'll alter it when you're gone," quoth Kate, jauntily, and
bringing her beautiful laughing face so near his own, with a kind of air
of defiance, that he kissed her forehead, and said it should be as she

Just then a knock at the door announced a visitor, who proved to be Mr.
Runnington. Why it was they hardly knew; but they all slightly changed
color. He had called so early, he said, to insure seeing Mr. Aubrey
before he went to the Temple; and, though he had been shown into the
study, Mr. Aubrey insisted on his joining the breakfast-table.

"We've very plain fare for you, however," said he, as Mr. Runnington
yielded to his wishes.

Mr. Aubrey perceived, with some uneasiness, that the kind and
thoughtful countenance of Mr. Runnington wore rather an anxious
expression. And indeed so it was. When he looked at those who sat before
him--lovely, elegant, yet with a plainly forced cheerfulness--reflected
on the sufferings which they had passed through, and those which were
but too evidently in store for them--and for the first bitter instalment
of which he had come to prepare Mr. Aubrey--could he but feel very deep
sympathy for them? As soon as he had retired with Mr. Aubrey to the
study, in a low tone he explained his errand, which was to apprise him
that, the evening before, Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap's BILL had
come in.

"Well, show it me, if you please," said Mr. Aubrey, calmly, extending
his hand.

"My dear sir, why do you suppose I have it _with me_?" inquired Mr.
Runnington, with a concerned air. "You are not accustomed to such
matters--God forbid you should be! It is too bulky for me to have
brought with me, and lies at our office!"

"What is the _amount_ of it, then?" inquired Mr. Aubrey, dreading to
hear the answer; while Mr. Runnington took out of his pocket-book a slip
of paper, which he handed to Mr. Aubrey, and on which the latter
read--"£3,946, 14s. 6d." He gazed at it for some moments in silence, and
became very pale. Mr. Runnington could hardly bear to look at him, and
think of the two lovely women in the adjoining room, who were so
fearfully interested in the intelligence which had so dismayed Mr.

"This is a very--large--amount," said the latter at length, with
suppressed emotion.

"It is a most serious affair," replied Mr. Runnington, shaking his head
and sighing.

"Then there is yours--and Mr. Parkinson's."

"Oh, Mr. Aubrey--_sufficient for the day is the evil thereof_."

"Will you oblige me by saying what is the probable amount of _your_
bill?" inquired Mr. Aubrey, with a calmness which seemed lent to him by

"Oh! I assure you we have thought nothing at all about it, nor shall we
for some time to come, Mr. Aubrey. We have not the slightest intention
of troubling ourselves, or you, with the matter till you may be in a
position to attend to it without serious inconvenience."

"But _do_ favor me with something like a _notion_," pressed the unhappy

"Why--perhaps I am hardly doing right in mentioning it; but whenever our
bill is sent in, it will be less by some six hundred and fifty pounds,
by the noble generosity of the Attorney-General, who has returned all
his fees"----

"Returned all his fees!" echoed Mr. Aubrey, starting, while the color
rushed into his cheek, and the expression of his countenance was of
pride struggling with astonishment, and gratitude, and admiration. He
profoundly appreciated the conduct of his distinguished friend; and at
the same time felt a _totally new_ and very painful sense of pecuniary

"I feel, Mr. Aubrey, that I have broken my promise to the
Attorney-General, who extracted from me a solemn pledge, to endeavor so
to manage the matter as that you should never know it. What is it, after
all--noble as it is--to the Attorney-General, with his £12,000 or
£15,000 a-year?"

"Oh--do not talk _so_, Mr. Runnington; I am overpowered, oppressed.
Never in all my life have I experienced feelings like those by which I
am now agitated!" He rose, and stood opposite the window for a few
minutes, neither of them speaking. Then he returned to his seat.

"How much does that leave me your debtor?"

"Why--really it is hard to say, unprepared--I should imagine--if you
will really force me to speak of such an unpleasant topic--that our
account is reduced to some £1,500 or £1,600--about which"----

"Then there is Mr. Parkinson's," said Aubrey, in a low tone, but with a
desperate air; presently adding--"Here are some £6,000 or £7,000 to
start with; and _then_ we come to the mesne profits--gracious, gracious
God!" he suddenly added with a visible shudder. He folded his arms
convulsively, and gazed, for a second or two, at Mr. Runnington, with an
eye, the expression of which was overpowering. In his face Mr.
Runnington beheld no longer the melancholy mildness to which he had been
accustomed, but a sternness and power were apparent in his features,
which Mr. Runnington had not imagined them capable of exhibiting. They
told of a strong soul thoroughly roused, and excited, and in agony. At
that moment a knocking was heard at the door, as of very little fingers.
"Come in!" exclaimed Mr. Aubrey, with unusual quickness and sternness.
He was obeyed--and Charles's little face peeped into the room timidly.
He was evidently quite startled by the tone in which he had been
addressed. "Come in, my child!" said Mr. Aubrey, rather tremulously,
when he saw that it was _his son_, and observed the apprehensiveness
overspreading his little features. Charles immediately advanced, with a
serious submissive air, saying--"This letter is just come--Mamma sent me
with it, dear papa"----

"Give it me, Charles," said Mr. Aubrey, extending his hand for it, while
with the other he gently placed the child upon his lap, and kissed him.
"I'm not angry with you, Charles," said he, tenderly.

"I've not been naughty, you know, dear papa!" said he, with innocent

"No, no, my little love." The ruined FATHER could say no more; but
putting aside the child's flowing curly locks from his temples, as it
were mechanically, he gazed on his little face for a moment, and then
folded him in his arms with unspeakable tenderness. Mr. Runnington rose,
and stood for some moments gazing through the window, unwilling that his
own emotion should be observed. When Mr. Aubrey opened the letter, it
proved to be from the publisher of the Review to which he had sent his
article, enclosing a check for forty guineas, expressing an earnest
desire that he would continue his contributions, and assuring him that
the editor considered the article "in every way admirable." As soon as
he had glanced over the letter--"You little messenger of hope and
mercy!" he thought, again kissing his son, who sat passively gazing at
the agitated countenance of his FATHER--"I cannot, I will not despair!
You have brought me, as it were, a ray of light from heaven, piercing
the fearful gloom of my situation; 'tis a token, surely, that I am not
forgotten: I feel as though an angel, momentarily brightening the night
of sorrow, had come and whispered in my ear--'COURAGE!'" His features
began to resume their natural serenity of expression. "Take it in to
your mamma," said he, kissing little Charles, and despatching him with
the letter. Shortly afterwards, as soon as he had recovered the command
of his manner sufficiently to avoid occasioning uneasiness to Mrs. and
Miss Aubrey, he proposed to Mr. Runnington that they should walk towards
the Temple; and bidding adieu to those whom he left behind him, without
giving them an opportunity to ask him as to the nature of Mr.
Runnington's errand, but leaving them in high spirits at the letter
which he had sent in to them, he quitted the house arm-in-arm with Mr.
Runnington. I am persuaded that if that gentleman had had no one to
consult, he would, serious as was the amount of his claim, have
relieved Mr. Aubrey altogether from liability to _him_; but he had four
partners; their own pecuniary outlay had been considerable; the thing,
therefore, was practically quite out of the question. As they walked
along, in the course of much anxious conversation, Mr. Runnington told
Mr. Aubrey that he considered Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap's bill to
be most outrageous and profligate in its charges; and that it might, on
taxation--a process which he explained to Mr. Aubrey--be reduced,
probably, by at least _one-half_. But he also reminded Mr. Aubrey of the
power which they held in their hands, in respect of the mesne profits;
and intimated his opinion, that in all probability they had constructed
their account with an eye to such considerations--namely, that it should
be discharged without rigorous scrutiny into its constituent items,
before they would listen to any proposed terms for the payment of the
mesne profits; and that Mr. Aubrey's position, with respect to Messrs.
Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, was one requiring the greatest possible
deliberation and circumspection on his part, especially in the matter of
the bill which had just been delivered in by them.

"I see! The whole," said Mr. Aubrey, "comes to this: they will relieve
me from liability to Mr. Titmouse, for as much of what may be due to
him, as they can divert into their own pockets!"

"That certainly seems very much like it," replied Mr. Runnington,
shrugging his shoulders; "but you will leave all such considerations and
matters to us; and rely on our vigilance and discretion. At what may
appear to us the exact moment for doing so with effect, depend upon our
most cautious interference. We know, Mr. Aubrey, the kind of people we
have to deal with. Mr. Titmouse is very likely to be merely a puppet in
their hands--at least in those of Mr. Gammon, who is a very long-headed
man; and with him, I have no doubt, our negotiations will have to be
carried on."

"That is just what the Attorney-General said--and he invited me,
moreover, to converse with him whenever I might consider that his advice
would be useful."

"Could you have a better adviser? He has a most penetrating sagacity,
long exercised--in short, his qualifications are consummate; and I
should not hesitate about consulting him in a friendly way, whenever we
feel at a loss."

"Why should I disguise anything from you, Mr. Runnington?"--said
Aubrey--"you ought to know the exact state of my affairs. I have a
little family plate, which I could not bear to part with; my books; and
the remnants of the furniture at Yatton, which I have saved in order to
furnish our present residence. Besides this, the outside of all that I
am possessed of--and I have no expectations, nor has my wife nor my poor
sister, from any quarter--is a sum of about £3,000 in the funds, and
£423 at my banker's. Those are my circumstances; they appall me merely
in stating them:--Why, I owe double the sum I have named, for lawyers'
bills only. I have not enough, without parting with my books and plate,
to discharge even Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap's bill!"

"It would be cruel and absurd in me not to express at once, Mr. Aubrey,
my conviction that your situation is fearfully critical; and that your
sole hope is in the moderation which may be hoped for from Messrs.
Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, and their client, Mr. Titmouse. Serious as are,
at present, your other liabilities--to that one, of the mesne profits,
they are but as a bucket of water to the Thames. As we are talking, Mr.
Aubrey, in this candid and unrestrained manner, I will tell you my chief
source of apprehension on your account, with reference to Messrs. Quirk,
Gammon, and Snap: namely, that they may possibly speculate on your
being able, if placed in real peril, to call around you, in your
extremity, a host of wealthy and powerful friends--as security, or

"They will find themselves, then, utterly mistaken," said Mr. Aubrey,
sternly. "If they and their client are really capable of such shocking
brutality--such wanton oppression--let them do their worst: I am
resigned. Providence will discover a shelter for my poor wife and
children, and my dear, devoted, high-spirited sister; and as for myself,
rather than satiate the rapacity of such wretches, by plundering
good-natured and generous friends, I will spend the remainder of my days
in prison!"

Mr. Aubrey was evidently not a little excited while he said this; but
there was that in his tone of voice, and in his eye, which told Mr.
Runnington that he meant what he said; and that, as soon as it should
have come to the point of oppression and injustice, no man could resist
more powerfully, or endure with a more dignified and inflexible
resolution. But Mr. Runnington expressed strong hopes that it would not
come to such an issue. He consoled Mr. Aubrey with assurances that, as
for their own demand, it might stand over for years; and that so, he was
sure, would it be with the far lesser demand of Mr. Parkinson; and that
if, by a great effort, sufficient could be raised to discharge promptly
the bill of Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, some much more favorable
arrangement respecting the amount and mode of payment of the mesne
profits might be effected--leaving Mr. Aubrey, in the mean time, leisure
to apply himself vigorously to his studies for the bar, for which Mr.
Runnington assured him that he considered him peculiarly qualified; and
pledged himself to back him with all the influence he had, or could

"Gracious Heaven, Mr. Runnington!" said Aubrey, with a little
excitement, "is it not very nearly intolerable that I should pass the
prime of my days in thraldom to such people as these, and be encircled
by the chains of such a man as this Titmouse is represented as being? I
will not call myself his foe, nor his victim; but I am the one through
whose sudden destitution he has obtained a splendid fortune. I did not
_knowingly_ deprive him of it--he must be bereft of all the ordinary
feelings of humanity, to place me, whom he has already stripped of all,
upon the rack--the rack of extortion! Oh! put me in his place, and him
in mine--do you think I would not have been satisfied with what I had
gained? Would _I_ have alarmed and tortured him by calling for an
account of what he had spent with a firm, a reasonable persuasion that
it was his own--profoundly unconscious of its being another's? Oh, no! I
would not only have forgiven him all, but endeavored to secure him from
future want!" He sighed. "Oh, that I were at this moment a free man!
_pauper--sed in meo ære_; that I had but five hundred pounds to keep
me and mine for a year or two--with a mind at ease, and fit for study!
but here we are at the Temple. When shall we meet again--or shall I hear
from you?"

"Very shortly," replied Mr. Runnington, who for the last few minutes had
been listening to Mr. Aubrey in respectful and sympathizing silence; and
shaking him warmly by the hand, with much cordiality and fervency of
manner, he pledged himself to do all in his power to promote his


When Mr. Aubrey arrived at Mr. Weasel's chambers, he looked dejected and
harassed; yet, exerting his powers of self-command, he at once addressed
himself, calmly and vigorously, to the business of the day. From time to
time he peremptorily excluded the distressing thoughts and recollections
arising out of his morning's interview with Mr. Runnington; and
succeeded in concentrating his attention upon a case of more than usual
intricacy and multifariousness of details, which Mr. Weasel, having
glanced over, had laid aside for a more leisurely perusal. He handed it,
however, to Mr. Aubrey soon after his arrival, with something
approaching to a secret satisfaction, in the expectation of its "proving
too much for him;" but he was mistaken. Mr. Aubrey left a little earlier
than usual; but not before he had sent in the voluminous "case" to Mr.
Weasel's room by the clerk, together with a half-sheet of draft paper,
containing a brief summary of the results at which he had arrived; and
which not a little surprised Mr. Weasel. The case did not happen to
involve much technical knowledge; but, as well in respect of the
imperfect manner in which it was drawn up, as of the confusion worse
confounded of the transactions themselves, out of which the questions
arose, there were required persevering attention, strength of memory,
and great clear-headedness. In short, Weasel owned to himself that Mr.
Aubrey had taken a very masterly view of the case; and how would his
estimate of his pupil's ability have been enhanced, by a knowledge of
the situation in which he was placed--one so calculated to distract his
attention, and prevent that hearty and complete devotion to legal
studies, without which Mr. Weasel well knew how vain was the attempt to
master them?

"Have you read Aubrey's opinion on that troublesome case--I mean the
Cornish Bank?" inquired Weasel, taking a pinch of snuff, of Mr.
Thoroughpace, another pupil who had just sat down beside Mr. Weasel, to
see him "settle" [_i. e._ score out, interline, and alter] a pleading
drawn by the aforesaid Thoroughpace. That gentleman replied in the
negative. "He's got a headpiece of his own, I can tell you!---Egad,
somehow or another, he always contrives to hit the nail on the head!"

"I'd a sort of notion, the very first day he came, that he was a
superior man," replied Thoroughpace. "He makes very few notes--seems to
trust entirely to his head"----

"Ah! a man may carry that too far," interrupted Mr. Weasel, thrusting a
pinch of snuff up his nose.

"Then I wish _I_ could," replied Thoroughpace. "Isn't there such a thing
as making _the hand engross the business of the head_?" Mr.
Weasel--recollecting that in his library stood twelve thick folio
volumes of manuscript "precedents," which he had been fool enough to
copy out with his own hand during his pupilage, and the first year or
two of his setting up in business--hemmed, and again applied to his
snuff-box. "How do you get on with Aubrey in the pupils' room?" he

"Why, I didn't like him at first. Very reserved, and is not without
_hauteur_. Even now, though very courteous, he says little, appears
entirely absorbed by his studies; and yet he seems to have something or
other pressing on his mind."

"Ah! I dare say! Law's no trifle, I warrant him! No doubt it's
_teasing_ him!" replied Weasel, rather complacently.

"Do you know I should doubt it! I never saw a man to whom it seemed to
_yield_ so easily.--He's a particularly _gentlemanlike_ person, by the
way; and there's something very attractive in his countenance. He seems
highly connected."

"Oh--why, you've heard of the great cause of _Doe_ d. _Titmouse_ v.
_Jolter_, a Yorkshire ejectment case, tried only last spring
assizes?--That case, you know, about the effect of an _erasure_.--Well,
he's the defendant, and has, I hear, lost everything."

"You astonish me! By Jove, then, he had need work!"

"Shall _we_ set to work, Mr. Thoroughpace?" said Weasel, suddenly,
looking at his watch lying on his desk. "I've promised to let them have
these pleas by six o'clock--or the other side will be signing judgment;"
and plunging his pen into the inkstand, to work he went, _more suo_, as
if such a man as his pupil, Mr. Aubrey, had never existed. Weasel was
not at all a hard-hearted man; but I verily believe that if a _capias ad
satisfaciendum_ (_i. e._ final process to take the body into custody to
satisfy debt and costs) against Charles Aubrey, Esquire, had come into
Mr. Weasel's chambers to be "_settled_" as requiring special
accuracy--after humming and hawing a bit--and taking an extra pinch of
snuff, he would have done his duty by the document faithfully, marked
his _seven-and-sixpence_ in the corner, and sent it out indifferently
with other papers; consoling himself with this just reflection, that the
thing _must_ be done by _somebody!_ and he might as well have the _fee_
as any one else!

On Mr. Aubrey's return home to dinner, he found that his sister had
received another long letter from Dr. Tatham, to which was appended a
postscript mentioning Mr. Gammon in such terms as suggested to Mr.
Aubrey a little scheme which he resolved to carry into effect on the
morrow--namely, to call himself at the office of Messrs. Quirk, Gammon,
and Snap, and seek an interview with Mr. Gammon, who, Dr. Tatham stated,
had quitted Yatton for town only the day before the doctor had written
to Miss Aubrey. After a very restless and unhappy night, during which he
was tormented by all kinds of dismal dreams, Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and
Snap figuring in each as the stern and mysterious arbiters of his
earthly destiny, he resolved to put an end to his present insupportable
suspense--to learn at once the extent of what he had either to hope or
to fear--by calling that very afternoon at Saffron Hill. For that
purpose, he quitted Mr. Weasel's at the early hour of three o'clock; and
straightway bent his steps towards those delectable localities--through
Fetter Lane to Hatton Garden, thence inquiring his way to Saffron Hill.
He was not long in finding the house of which he was in quest, his eye
being soon attracted by the great, gleaming brass-plate with the words
"QUIRK, GAMMON, and SNAP," as prominent and threatening as ever those
names had appeared to Titmouse in the day of _his_ agony and suspense.
_He_ had stood gazing at them with idiot longing and vulgar
apprehension, as the reader has seen. How very different a person now
looked at them with feelings of intense interest and overmastering
anxiety, as at the names of those who had him completely in their
power--his fortunes, his _liberty_, his livelihood, and that of the dear
beings whose interests, whose all on earth, whose personal safety--were
bound up in his! Mr. Aubrey, with a jaded air, dressed in a buttoned
black surtout, and with an umbrella under his arm, entered the hall,
where were sitting and standing several strange-looking people--one or
two suffering evidently great agitation; in fact, relatives of prisoners
whose trials for capital offences were coming on the next day at
Newgate--and made his way into a room, on the door of which he read
"Clerks' Room."

"Now, sir, your name and business?" said a showily dressed
Jewish-looking youth, with copious curls, lolling at a desk from which
he did not move, and speaking in a tone of very disagreeable assurance.

"Is Mr. Gammon within? my name is Aubrey," he added, taking off his hat;
and there was a certain _something_ in his voice, countenance, and
bearing--a certain courtly superiority--which induced the personage whom
he had addressed to slip off his stool, and exhibit as polite an air as
_he_ could possibly assume.

"Mr. Gammon is in his room, sir, and alone. I believe he is rather
busy," said the youth, going towards Mr. Gammon's room--"but I've no
doubt you can see him."

The fact was, that at that very moment Mr. Gammon was engaged drawing up
"Instructions to prepare Declaration" in an action for mesne profits
against Mr. Aubrey! He had only the day before returned from Yatton,
where circumstances had occurred which had quickened their intended
proceeding against that unfortunate gentleman--that being the first
quarter to which, at Mr. Titmouse's suggestion, they were to look for a
considerable supply of ready money. That morning, in the very room into
which Mr. Aubrey was to be presently shown, had taken place a long
discussion between Mr. Quirk and Mr. Gammon, on the very subject which
had now brought to their office Mr. Aubrey. Mr. Quirk was for making
short work of it--for "going straight a-head"--and getting the whole
£60,000 or security for the greater portion, and £20,000 down! Gammon,
however, was of opinion that that was mere madness; that by attempting
to proceed to extremities against so unfortunate a sufferer as Mr.
Aubrey, they could not fail of drawing down on themselves and their
client universal execration--(at _that_, Quirk only grunted and
grinned;) and, moreover, of driving Mr. Aubrey desperate, and forcing
him either to quit the country, or accept the protection of the
insolvent laws--at this Mr. Quirk looked serious enough. Gammon had, in
the end, satisfied his senior partner that their only chance was in
gentleness and moderation; and the old gentleman had, as usual, agreed
to adopt the plan of operations suggested by Gammon. The latter
personage had quite as keen a desire and firm determination as the
former, to wring out of their wretched victim the very last farthing
which there was the slightest probability of obtaining; for Titmouse had
pointed to that quarter for the discharge of his ten thousand pound
bond, and bill of costs (which--by the way--contained some three hundred
items, slightly varied in language, which stood also charged in their
bill to Mr. Aubrey!) then twenty--or at least fifteen thousand pounds,
were to be handed over to himself, Titmouse; and all the rest that could
be got, Mr. Gammon might appropriate to his own use. Such was the
prospective partition of the spoil!--Mr. Gammon's inquiries into Mr.
Aubrey's circumstances, had completely convinced him, however, that it
would be impossible to extract any considerable sum from that
unfortunate gentleman; and that if they could contrive to get payment of
their bill against him--perhaps substantial security for a portion--say
four or five thousand pounds--of the mesne profits; and his own personal
responsibility for the payment of any portion of the remainder,
hereafter--they had better rest satisfied--and look for liquidation of
their own heavy claim, to a mortgage upon the Yatton estates. Mr. Gammon
had also proposed to himself certain other objects, in dealing with Mr.
Aubrey, than the mere extraction of money from him; and, in short,
prompted by considerations such as those above intimated, he had come to
the determination, an hour or so before Mr. Aubrey's most unexpected
visit, to be at once prepared with the necessary means for setting in
motion legal proceedings for the recovery of the arrear of mesne
profits. But we are keeping Mr. Aubrey waiting, all this while, in the
outer office.

"Have I the honor to address Mr. Gammon?" commenced Mr. Aubrey,
courteously, on being shown into the room--not announced by name, but
only as "_a gentleman_"--where Gammon sat busily engaged writing out the
"Instructions" for framing the rack on which it was designed to extend
his unconscious visitor!

"Sir, my name _is_ Gammon," he replied, coloring a little--and rising,
with an expression of very great surprise--"I believe I have the honor
of seeing Mr. Aubrey?--I beg you will allow me to offer you a chair"--he
continued with forced calmness of manner, placing one as far distant as
was possible from the table, and, to make assurance doubly sure, seating
himself between Mr. Aubrey and the table; expecting to hear his visitor
at once open the subject of their bill, which they had so recently sent

"Will you suffer me, Mr. Aubrey," commenced Gammon, with a bland and
subdued air, not fulsome, but extremely deferential, "before entering on
any business which may have brought you here, to express deep and
sincere sympathy with your sufferings, and my _personal_ regret at the
share we have had in the proceedings which have ended so adversely for
your interests? But our duty as professional men, Mr. Aubrey, is often
as plain as painful!"

"I feel obliged, sir," said Mr. Aubrey, with a sigh, "for your kind
expressions of sympathy--but I cannot for a moment conceive any apology
necessary. Neither I, nor my advisers, that I am aware of, have ever
had cause to complain of harsh or unprofessional treatment on your part.
Your proceedings certainly came upon me--upon all of us--like a
thunder-stroke," said Mr. Aubrey, with a little emotion. "I trust that
you have given me credit, Mr. Gammon, for offering no vexatious or
unconscientious obstacles."

"Oh, Mr. Aubrey! on the contrary, I am at a loss for words to express my
sense of your straightforward and high-minded conduct; and have several
times intimated my sentiments on that subject to Messrs.
Runnington"--Mr. Aubrey bowed--"and again I anxiously beg that you will
give me credit for feeling the profoundest sympathy"--he paused, as if
from emotion; and such might well have been excited, in any person of
ordinary feeling, by the appearance of Mr. Aubrey--calm and
melancholy--his features full of anxiety and exhaustion, and his figure,
naturally slender, evidently somewhat emaciated.

["I wonder," thought Gammon, "whether he has any _insurances on his
life_!--He certainly has _rather_ a consumptive look--I should like to
ascertain the fact--and in what office--and to what extent."]

"I trust, most sincerely, Mr. Aubrey, that the mental sufferings which
you must have undergone, have not affected your health?" inquired
Gammon, with an air of infinite concern.

"A little, certainly, sir, but, thank God, I believe not materially; I
never was very robust," he replied with a faint sad smile.

["_How like his sister!_"--thought Gammon, watching his companion's
countenance with real interest.]

"I am not quite sure, Mr. Gammon," continued Aubrey, "that I am
observing etiquette in thus coming to you, on a matter which you may
consider ought to have been left to my solicitors, and who know nothing
of my present visit--but"----

"An honorable mind like yours, Mr. Aubrey, may surely act according to
its own impulses with safety! As for etiquette, I know of no
professional rule which I break, in entering into a discussion with you
of any topic connected with the action which has recently been
determined," said Gammon, cautiously, and particularly on his guard, as
soon as his penetrating eye had detected the acuteness which was mingled
with the sincerity and simplicity of character visible in the oppressed
countenance of Mr. Aubrey.

"I dare say you can guess the occasion of my visit, Mr. Gammon?"

["There goes _our bill_!--Whew!--What now?" thought Gammon.]

Mr. Gammon bowed, with an anxious, expectant air.

"I allude to the question yet remaining between your client, Mr.
Titmouse, and me--the mesne profits"----

"I feared--I expected as much! It gave me infinite anxiety, as soon as I
found you were approaching the subject!"

"To me it is really a matter of life and death, Mr. Gammon. It is one
pressing me on, almost to the very verge of despair!"

"Do not, Mr. Aubrey," said Gammon, in a tone and with a look which
touched the heart of his agitated companion, "magnify the mischief.
Don't--I beg--imagine your position to be one so hopeless! What is there
to stand in the way of an amicable adjustment of these claims? If I had
my way, Mr. Aubrey--and if I thought I should not be acting the part of
the unjust steward in Scripture--I would write sixty thousand farthings
for sixty thousand pounds!"

"You have named the sum for which I believe I am legally liable to Mr.
Titmouse," said Mr. Aubrey, with forced composure; "it is, however, a
sum as completely out of my power to pay or secure--or even a quarter of
it--as to give him one of the stars."

"I am aware, Mr. Aubrey, that you must have had many calls upon you,
which must have temporarily crippled your resources"----

"Temporarily!" echoed Mr. Aubrey, with a sickening smile.

"I devoutly trust that it _is_ only temporary! For your own and family's
sake," he added quickly, observing the watchfulness with which his every
look and word was regarded by his companion. "Any proposal, Mr. Aubrey,"
he continued with the same apparent kindness of manner, but with serious
deliberation, "which you may think proper to make, I am ready--eager--to
receive and consider in a liberal spirit. I repeat--If I, only, had to
be consulted--you would leave this room with a lightened heart; but to
be plain and candid, our client, Mr. Titmouse, is a very difficult
person to deal with! I pledge my word of honor to you--[_Oh Gammon!
Gammon! Gammon!_]--that I have repeatedly urged upon Mr. Titmouse to
release you from all the rents which had been received by you previously
to your having legal notice of the late proceedings." I suppose Gammon
felt that this declaration was not received as implicitly as he desired,
and had expected; for with a slight stiffness, he added, "I assure you,
sir, that it is a fact. I have always been of opinion that the law is
harsh, and even faulty in principle, which, in such a case as
yours--where the possessor of an estate, to which he believed himself
born, is ousted by a title of which he had no previous knowledge, nor
MEANS of knowledge"--Gammon uttered this very pointedly, and with his
eye fixed searchingly upon that of Mr. Aubrey--"requires him to make
good the rents which he had so innocently appropriated to his own use.
That is my _opinion_, though it may be wrong. I am bound to say,
however, that as the law now stands--if Mr. Titmouse should, contrary to
my advice, determine to stand upon his strict rights"----Gammon paused,
shook his head, shrugged his shoulders, and looked with melancholy
significance at Mr. Aubrey.

"I am entirely at his mercy! that I perfectly understand. I do trust,
however, that in the name of our common humanity he will have some
consideration for the helpless--the miserable situation in which I am so
unexpectedly placed," said Aubrey, with mournful energy. "Never having
imagined it necessary to save money"----

"Oh no--nor, with such an income as yours was, to resort, I fear, to any
of the ordinary modes of providing against emergencies--by _insurance_
of your life, for instance"--interposed Gammon, sighing.

"No--sir! nothing of the sort"--["Ah!--the deuce you have not!" thought
Gammon]--"and I confess--I now bitterly feel--how improvident I have
been! My situation is so deplorable and desperate, that disguise would
be absurd, even could I stoop to it; and I declare, in the presence of
Heaven, Mr. Gammon, that without giving up the little remnant of plate I
have preserved, and my books, I am unable to liquidate even the amount
of your bill sent in the day before yesterday"--Gammon gazed at Aubrey
mournfully, but in silence--"and if my miserable remnant of means _be_
so appropriated, we are _literally beggars_"--he paused, and his voice

"Indeed--indeed, you distress me beyond measure, Mr. Aubrey," said
Gammon, in a low tone.

"If you can but secure me, sir--and that is the object of this intrusion
upon you--a merciful interval, to prepare myself for the profession
which I have entered--the bar--whatever earnings I might obtain, after
leaving a bare maintenance for myself and family, shall be devoted
faithfully to liquidate the heavy claims upon me! For myself, Mr.
Gammon, I do not care about living upon bread and water for the next ten
years; but there are others"--his voice trembled. "Sir," he suddenly
added with almost passionate energy, "by every consideration which can
influence a gentleman, I conjure you to interfere between me and utter
immediate ruin!"

This was the real thrilling language of the heart; but it failed to
produce the least impression upon Gammon, in whom it excited only
intense chagrin and disappointment. "Oh, that it were but in my power,"
said he, however, with great energy, "to send you out of this room a
free man! If I alone were to be consulted," he continued with vivacity,
"I would instantly absolve you from all demands--or at least give you
your own time, and take no other security than your word and honor!"

"Oh! what a happy--happy man! what a happy family should we be if
only"----he could not finish the sentence, for he was greatly moved.

["Here's an infernal business!" thought Gammon to himself, and, bending
down his head, he covered his eyes with his hands;--"worse, far worse
than I had suspected. I would take five pounds for all _my_ residuary
interest in the sixty thousand pounds!! I've not the least doubt that
he's speaking the truth. But the _bill_ part of the business is highly
unsatisfactory! I should like my friend Quirk to be here just now!
Surely, however, Mr. Aubrey must be able to get security? With such
friends and connections as his!--If one could only get one or two of
them to join him in a bond for ten thousand pounds--stay--that won't
exactly do either--by the way--I _must_ have my thumb upon him!"]

"I am so profoundly affected by the situation in which you are placed,
Mr. Aubrey," said Gammon, at length appearing to have subdued his
emotion, and feeling it necessary to say something, "that I think I may
take upon myself to say the instructions which we have received _shall
not_ be acted upon, come what may. Those must be really monsters, not
men, Mr. Aubrey, who could press upon one in your position; and that
such should be attempted by one who has succeeded to your former
splendid advantages, is inconceivably shocking. Mr. Aubrey, _you shall
not be crushed_--indeed you shall not, so long as I am a
member--possibly not the least influential one--of this firm, and have
any weight with your formidable creditor, Mr. Titmouse. I cannot do
justice to my desire to shelter you and yours, Mr. Aubrey, from the
storm you dread so justly!" There was a warmth, an energy in Gammon's
manner, while saying all this, which cheered the drooping heart of his
wretched visitor. "What I am about to say, Mr. Aubrey, is in complete
confidence," continued Gammon, in a low tone. Mr. Aubrey bowed, with a
little anxious excitement in his manner. "May I rely implicitly upon
your honor and secrecy?"

"Most implicitly, sir. What you desire me to keep within my own breast,
no one upon earth shall know from _me_."

"There are serious difficulties in the way of serving you. Mr. Titmouse
is a weak and inexperienced young man, naturally excited to a great
pitch by his present elevation, and already embarrassed for want of
ready money. You may imagine, sir, that his liabilities to us are of
considerable magnitude. You would hardly credit, Mr. Aubrey, the amount
of mere money out of pocket for which he stands indebted to us; our
outlay during the last two years having considerably crippled our own
pecuniary resources in an extensive practice like ours, and driven us to
incur responsibilities which are beginning to occasion us personally
considerable anxiety. Of course, Mr. Aubrey, we must look to Mr.
Titmouse to be speedily reimbursed: he insists upon our immediately
calling upon you; and I have reason to suspect that he has at his elbow
one or two very heartless advisers, who have suggested this to him; for
he follows it most pertinaciously. That he cannot meet the liabilities I
have alluded to out of his annual income, without swallowing it up
entirely for eighteen months or two years, is certain. I regret to say
that Mr. Quirk and Mr. Snap encourage his disposition to press you;--do
not be alarmed, my dear sir!" he continued, observing the deadly
paleness of Mr. Aubrey, whose eye was riveted upon that of Gammon; "for
I declare that _I will_ stand between you and them; and it is enough for
me to say, moreover, that I have the _power_ of doing so. I am--but this
is committed specially and sacredly to your confidence--_the only person
living who happens to possess the means of controlling Mr. Titmouse_;
and since you have entered this room, I have resolved to _exercise_ my
powers. Now, bearing in mind that I have no legal authority from him,
and am, at the same time, only one of a firm, and assuring you that I am
entailing a serious personal responsibility upon myself in what I am
doing, let me throw out for your consideration my general notion of what
I think ought to be done--merely my off-hand notion."

"I perfectly understand you, sir--and am penetrated by a sense of
gratitude! I listen to you with inexpressible anxiety," said Mr. Aubrey.

"Had I been consulted," continued Mr. Gammon, "we should have proposed
to you, with reference to our bill, (which I frankly acknowledge
contains a much more liberal entry than would probably be allowed on
taxation, but with equal truth I declare that it is none of _my_
doing,")--Gammon knew the credit for candor which this acknowledgment of
a fact, of which Messrs. Runnington would quickly apprise Mr. Aubrey
after examining the bill, was likely to obtain for him with Mr.
Aubrey--"I say, I should have _proposed_ to you, in the first instance,
the payment of our bill by easy instalments, during the next three or
four years, provided you could have obtained partial security. But I am
only one of three, and I know the determination of Mr. Quirk and Mr.
Snap, not to listen to any proposal with reference to the mesne profits
which is not based upon--in short, they say, _the bill must be paid at
once without being looked into_--I mean," he added quickly, "without its
being subjected to the harassing and protracted scrutiny which a
distrustful, an ungrateful client, or unreasonable opponent, has it too
frequently in his power to inflict. Oh, let me disguise nothing from
you, my dear sir, in a conversation of this kind between two gentlemen!"
continued Gammon, with an admirable air of frankness, for he perceived
that Mr. Aubrey looked slightly staggered. "I am ashamed to acknowledge
that our bill does contain exorbitant entries--entries which have led to
very frequent and fierce disputes between me and my partners. But _what
is to be done_? Mr. Quirk is--to be completely candid with you--the
moneyed man of the firm; and if you were but to glance at the articles
of our partnership"--Gammon shrugged his shoulders and sighed--"you
would see the tyrannical extent of power over us which he has thereby
secured! You observe how candid I am--perhaps foolishly so."

["I've not quite mastered him--I can tell it by his eye"--thought
Gammon--"is this a game of chess between us? I wonder whether, after
all, Messrs. Runnington are aware of his being here--knowing and
trusting to his ability--and have put him thoroughly on his guard? He is
checking strong feelings incessantly, and evidently weighing every word
I utter. Misery has sharpened faculties naturally acute."]

"Pray do not say so, Mr. Gammon, I fully appreciate your motives. I am
devoured with anxiety for an intimation of the nature of the terms which
you were about, so kindly, to specify."

"_Specify_, Mr. Aubrey, is perhaps rather too strong a term--but to
proceed. Supposing the preliminary matter which I have alluded to
satisfactorily arranged, I am disposed to say, that if you could find
security for the payment of the sum of ten thousand pounds within a
year, or a year and a half"--[Mr. Aubrey's teeth almost chattered at the
mention of it]--"I--I--that is, _my_ impression is--but--I repeat--it is
only _mine_"--added Gammon, earnestly--"that the rest should be left to
your own honor, giving at the same time a personal undertaking to pay at
a future--a very distant day--in the manner most convenient to
yourself--the sum of ten thousand pounds more--making in all only
one-third of the sum due from you; and receiving an absolute release
from Mr. Titmouse in respect of the remaining two-thirds, namely, forty
thousand pounds."

Mr. Aubrey listened to all this with his feelings and faculties strung
to the utmost pitch of intensity; and when Gammon had ceased,
experienced a transient sense, as if the fearful mountain which had
pressed so long on his heart were moving.

"Have I made myself intelligible, Mr. Aubrey?" inquired Gammon, kindly,
but very gravely.

"Perfectly--but I feel so oppressed and overwhelmed with the magnitude
of the topics we are discussing, that I scarcely at present appreciate
the position in which you would place me. I must throw myself, Mr.
Gammon, entirely upon your indulgence!"

Gammon looked a little disappointed.

"I can imagine your feelings, sir," said he, as, thrusting into a heap
the papers lying on the table, he threw them into a drawer, and then
took a sheet of paper and a pencil; and while he made a few memoranda of
the arrangement which he had been mentioning, he continued--"You
see--the grand result of what I have been hastily sketching off is--to
give you ample time to pay the amount which I have named, and to relieve
you, at once, _absolutely_ from no less a sum than FORTY THOUSAND
POUNDS," said he, with emphasis and deliberation, "for which--and with
interest--you will otherwise remain liable to the day of your
death;--there can be no escape," he continued with pointed significance
of manner--"except, perhaps, into banishment, which, with your feelings,
would be worse than death--for it would--of course--be a _dishonorable_
exile--to avoid just liabilities;--and those who bear your name would,
in such an"----

"Pray, sir, be silent!" exclaimed Mr. Aubrey, in a tone and manner which
electrified Gammon, who started in his chair. Mr. Aubrey's face was
whitened; his eye glanced lightning at his companion. Dagon-like, Gammon
had put forth his hand and touched the ark of Aubrey's honor. Gammon
lost his color, and for, perhaps, the first time in his life, quailed
before the majesty of man; 'twas also the majesty of suffering; for he
had been torturing a noble nature. Neither of them spoke for some
time--Mr. Aubrey continuing highly excited--Gammon gazing at him with
unfeigned amazement. The paper which he held in his hand rustled, and he
was obliged to lay it down on his lap, lest Mr. Aubrey should notice
this evidence of his agitation.

"I am guilty of great weakness, sir," said at length Mr. Aubrey--his
excitement only a little abated. He stood erect, and spoke with stern
precision; "but you, perhaps unconsciously, provoked the display of it.
Sir, I am ruined; I am a beggar: we are all ruined; we are all beggars:
it is the ordering of God, and I bow to it. But do you presume, sir, to
think that at last my HONOR is in danger? and consider it necessary, as
if you were warning one whom you saw about to become a criminal, to
expatiate on the nature of the meditated act by which I am to disgrace
myself and my family?" Here _that family_ seemed suddenly standing
around him: his lip quivered; his eyes filled; he ceased speaking; and
trembled with excessive emotion.

"This is a sally equally unexpected, Mr. Aubrey, and, permit me to add,
unwarrantable," said Gammon, calmly, having recovered his
self-possession. "You have entirely misunderstood me, sir; or I have
ill-explained myself. Your evident emotion and distress touch my very
soul, Mr. Aubrey." Gammon's voice trembled. "Suffer me to tell
you--unmoved by your violent rebuke--that I feel an inexpressible
respect and admiration for you, and am miserable at the thought of one
word of mine having occasioned you an instant's uneasiness." When a
generous nature is thus treated, it is apt to feel an excessive
contrition for any fault or extravagance which it may have committed--an
excessive appreciation of the pain which it may have inflicted on
another. Thus it was, that by the time Gammon had done speaking, Mr.
Aubrey felt ashamed and mortified at himself, and conceived an
admiration of the dignified forbearance of Gammon, which quickly
heightened into respect for his general character as it appeared to
Aubrey, and fervent gratitude for the disposition which he had evinced,
from first to last, so disinterestedly to serve a ruined man. He seemed
now to view all that Gammon had proposed in quite a new light--through
quite another medium; and his excited _feelings_ were in some danger of
disturbing his _judgment_.

"As I am a man of business, Mr. Aubrey," said Gammon, shortly
afterwards, with a very captivating smile--how frank and forgiving
seeming his temper, to Aubrey!--"and this is a _place_ for business,
shall we resume our conversation? With reference to the first ten
thousand pounds, it can be a matter of future arrangement as to the mode
of securing its payment; and as for the remaining ten thousand, if I
were not afraid of rendering myself personally liable to Mr. Titmouse
for neglecting my professional duty to him, I should be content with
your verbal promise--your mere word of honor, to pay it, as and when you
conveniently could. But in justice to myself, I really must take a
_show_ of security from you. Say, for instance, two promissory notes,
for £5,000 each, payable to Mr. Titmouse. You may really regard them as
matters of mere form; for, when you shall have given them to me, they
will be deposited _there_," (pointing to an iron safe,) "and not again
be heard of until you may have thought proper to inquire for them. The
influence which I happen to have obtained over Mr. Titmouse, you may
rely upon my exercising with some energy, if ever he should be disposed
to press you for payment of either of the instruments I have mentioned.
I tell you candidly that they must be _negotiable_ in point of form; but
I assure you, as sincerely, that I will not permit them to be
negotiated. _Now_, may I venture to hope that we understand each other?"
added Gammon, with a cheerful air; "and that this arrangement, if I
shall be only able to carry it into effect, is a sufficient evidence of
my desire to serve you, and will relieve you from an immense load of
anxiety and liability?"

"An immense--a crushing load, indeed, sir, if Providence shall in any
manner (to me at present undiscoverable) enable me to perform _my_ part
of the arrangement, and if _you_ have but power to carry your views into
effect," replied Mr. Aubrey, sighing heavily, but with a look of

"Leave that to _me_, Mr. Aubrey; I will undertake to do it; I will move
heaven and earth to do it--and the more eagerly, that I may thereby hope
to establish a kind of set-off against the misery and loss which my
professional exertions have unfortunately contributed to occasion
you--and your honored family!"

"I feel deeply sensible of your very great--your unexpected kindness,
Mr. Gammon; but still, the arrangement suggested is one which occasions
me dreadful anxiety as to my being ever able to carry out _my_ part of

"Never, never despair, Mr. Aubrey! Heaven helps those who help
themselves; and I really imagine I see your powerful energies already
beginning to surmount your prodigious difficulties! When you shall have
slept over the matter, you will feel the full relief which this proposed
arrangement is so calculated to afford your spirits. Of course, too, you
will lose no time in communicating to Messrs. Runnington the nature of
the proposal. I can predict that they will be not a little disposed to
urge upon you its completion. I cannot, however, help once more
reminding you, in justice to myself, Mr. Aubrey, that it is _but_ a
proposition, in making which, I hope it will not prove that I have been
carried away by my feelings much further than my duty to my client or
his interests "----

Mr. Aubrey was afraid to hear him finish the sentence, lest the faint
dawn of hope should disappear from the dark and rough surface of the sea
of trouble upon which he was being tossed. "I _will_ consult, as you
suggest, sir, my experienced and honorable professional advisers; and
am strongly inclined to believe that they will feel as you predict. I am
of course bound to defer to _them_,"----

"Oh, certainly! certainly! I am very strict in the observance of
professional etiquette, Mr. Aubrey, I assure you; and should not think
of going on with this arrangement, except with their concurrence, acting
on your behalf. One thing I have to beg, Mr. Aubrey, that either you or
they will communicate the result of your deliberations to _me_,
personally. I am very desirous that the suggested compromise should be
broken to my partners and our client by _me._--By the way, if you will
favor me with your address, I will make a point of calling at your
house, either late in the evening or early in the morning."

[As if Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap had not kept eagle eyes upon his
every movement since quitting Yatton, with a view to any sudden
application for a writ of _Ne Exeas_, which a suspicious approach of his
towards the sea-coast might render necessary!]

"I am infinitely obliged to you, sir--but it would be far more
convenient for both of us, if you could drop me a line, or favor me with
a call at Mr. Weasel's, in Pomegranate Court in the Temple."

Gammon blushed scarlet: but for this accidental mention of the name of
Mr. Weasel, who was one of the pleaders occasionally employed by Messrs.
Quirk, Gammon, and Snap in heavy matters--in all probability Mr. Aubrey
might, within a day or two's time, have had to exercise his faculties,
if so disposed, upon a declaration of Trespass for Mesne Profits, in a
cause of "TITMOUSE _v._ AUBREY!"

"As you choose, Mr. Aubrey," replied Gammon, with difficulty concealing
his feelings of pique and disappointment at losing the opportunity of a
_personal introduction by Mr. Aubrey to his family_. After a few words
of general conversation, Gammon inquiring how Mr. Aubrey liked his new
profession, and assuring him, in an emphatic manner, that he might rely
upon being supported, from the moment of his being called to the bar, by
almost all the common-law business of the firm of "Quirk, Gammon, and
Snap"--they parted. It had been to Mr. Aubrey a memorable interview--and
to Gammon a somewhat arduous affair, taxing to an unusual extent his
great powers of self-command, and of dissimulation. As soon as he was
left alone, his thoughts instantly recurred to Aubrey's singular burst
of hauteur and indignation. Gammon had a stinging sense of submission to
superior energy--and felt indignant with himself for not having at the
moment resented it. Setting aside this source of exquisite irritation to
the feelings of a proud man, he felt a depressing consciousness that he
had not met with his usual success in his recent encounter with Mr.
Aubrey; who had been throughout cautious, watchful, and courteously
_distrustful_. He had afforded occasional glimpses of the unapproachable
pride of his nature--and Gammon had crouched! Was there anything in
their interview--thought he, walking thoughtfully to and fro in his
room--which, when Aubrey came to reflect upon--for instance--had Gammon
disclosed too much concerning the extent of his influence over Titmouse?
His cheek slightly flushed; a sigh of fatigue and excitement escaped
him; and gathering together his papers, he began to prepare for quitting
the office for the day.

Mr. Aubrey left Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap's office with feelings
of mingled exhaustion and despondency. As he walked down Saffron Hill--a
dismal neighborhood!--what scenes did he witness! Poverty and profligacy
revelling, in all their wild and revolting excesses! _Here_, was an
Irishman, half-stupefied with liquor and bathed in blood, having just
been rescued from a savage fight in a low underground public-house
cellar, by his squalid wife, with dishevelled hair and a filthy infant
in her arms--who walked beside him cursing, pinching, and striking
him--reproaching him with the knowledge that she and her seven children
were lying starving at home. Presently he stumbled; she with her
wretched infant falling down with him; and she lay striking, and
scratching, and abusing him till some one interfered.

_There_, was a woman--as it were a bloated mass of filth steeped in
gin--standing with a drunken smile at an old-clothes stall, pawning a
dirty little shirt, which she had a few minutes before stripped from the
back of one of her four half-naked children!

A little farther on, was a noisy excited crowd round two men carrying a
shutter, on which was strapped the bleeding body (a handkerchief spread
over the face) of a poor bricklayer, who had fallen a few minutes before
from the top of some scaffolding in the neighborhood, and was at that
instant in the agonies of death--leaving behind him a wife and nine
children, for whom the poor fellow had long slaved from morning to
night, and who were now ignorant of the frightful fate which had
befallen him, and that they were left utterly destitute.

_There_, was a skinny little terrified urchin, about eight years old,
with nothing to conceal his dirty, half-starved body, but a tattered
man's coat, pinned round him; dying with hunger, he had stolen a
villanous-looking bare bone--scarce a halfpenny worth of meat upon it;
and a brawny constable, his knuckles fiercely dug into the poor little
offender's neck, (with his tight grasp,) was leading him off, followed
by his shrieking mother, to the police-office, whence he would be
committed to Newgate; and thence, after two or three months'
imprisonment, and being flogged--miserable little wretch!--by the common
hangman, (who had hanged the child's father some six months before,) he
would be discharged--to return probably several times and undergo a
similar process; then to be transported; and finally be hanged, as had
been his father before him.

These startling scenes passed before Mr. Aubrey, in the course of a five
minutes' walk down Saffron Hill--during which period he now and then
paused, and gazed around him with feelings of pity, of astonishment, of
disgust, which presently blended and deepened into a dark sense of
horror. These scenes, to some so fatally familiar--_fatally_, I mean, on
account of the INDIFFERENCE which familiarity is apt to induce--to Mr.
Aubrey, had on them all the frightful glare of _novelty_. He had never
witnessed anything of the sort before; and had no notion of its
existence. The people residing on each side of the Hill, however, seemed
accustomed to such scenes; which they appeared to view with the same
dreadful indifference with which a _lamb led to the slaughter_ is beheld
by one who has spent his life next door to the slaughter-house. The Jew
clothesman, before whose shop-window, arrested by the horrifying
spectacle of the bleeding wretch borne along to the hospital--Mr. Aubrey
had remained standing for a second or two--took the opportunity to
assail him, with insolent and pertinacious importunities to purchase
some articles of clothing! A fat baker, and a greasy eating-house
keeper, stood each at his door, one with folded arms, the other with his
hands thrust into his pockets--both of them gazing with a grin at two
curs fighting in the middle of the street--oh, how utterly insensible to
the ravenous want around them! The pallid spectres haunting the
gin-shop--a large splendid building at the corner--gazed with sunken
lack-lustre eye, and drunken apathy, at the shattered man who was being
borne by.

Ah, God! what scenes were these! And of what other hidden wretchedness
and horror did they not indicate the existence! "Gracious mercy!"
thought Aubrey, "what a world have I been living in! And this dismal
aspect of it exposed to me just when I have lost all power of relieving
its wretchedness!"--here a thrill of anguish passed through his
heart--"but woe, woe is me! if at this moment I had a thousand times ten
thousand a-year, how far would it go amid the scenes similar to this,
_abounding_ in this one city? Oh God! what unutterable horror must be in
store for those who, intrusted by Thee with an overflowing abundance,
disregard the misery around them in guilty selfishness and indolence,
or"--he shuddered--"expend it in sensuality and profligacy! Will DIVES
become sensible of his misconduct, only when he shall have entered upon
his next stage of existence, and of punishment? Oh, merciful Creator!
how is my heart wrung by the sight of horrors such as these? Awful and
mysterious Author of our existence, _Father of the spirits of all
flesh_, are these states of being which Thou hast ordained? Are these
Thy children? Are these my fellow-creatures? Oh, help me! help me! my
weak heart faints; my clouded understanding is confounded! I
cannot--insect that I am!--discern the scope and end of Thy economy, of
Thy dread government of the world; yet blessed be the name of my God!--I
KNOW that _thou reignest!_ though _clouds and darkness are around thee!_
_righteousness and judgment are the habitation of thy throne!_ _with
righteousness shalt thou judge the world_, AND THE PEOPLE WITH EQUITY!"

Like as the lesser light is lost in the greater, so, in Aubrey's case,
was the lesser misery he suffered, merged in his sense of the greater
misery he witnessed. What, after all, was his position, in comparison
with that of those now before and around him? What cause of thankfulness
had he not, for the merciful mildness of even the dispensations of
Providence towards him? Such were his thoughts and feelings, as he stood
gazing at the objects which had called them forth, when his eye lit on
the figure of Mr. Gammon approaching him. He was threading his way,
apparently lost in thought, through the scenes which had so powerfully
affected Mr. Aubrey; who stood eying him with a sort of unconscious
intensity, as if secure from his observation, till he was actually
addressed by him.

"Mr. Aubrey!" exclaimed Gammon, courteously saluting him. Each took off
his hat to the other. Though Aubrey hardly intended it, he found himself
engaged in conversation with Gammon, who, in a remarkably feeling tone,
and with a happy flattering deference of manner, intimated that he could
guess the subject of Mr. Aubrey's thoughts, namely, the absorbing
matters which they had been discussing together.

"No, it is not so," said Mr. Aubrey, with a sigh, as he walked
on--Gammon keeping easily beside him--"I have been profoundly affected
by scenes which I have witnessed in the immediate neighborhood of your
office, since quitting it; what misery! what horror!"

"Ah, Mr. Aubrey!"--exclaimed Gammon, echoing the sigh of his companion,
as they slowly ascended Holborn Hill, separate, but side by side--"what
a checkered scene is life! Guilt and innocence--happiness and
misery--wealth and poverty--disease and health--wisdom and
folly--sensuality and refinement--piety and irreligion--how strangely
intermingled we behold them, wherever we look on life--and how
difficult, to the philosopher, to detect the principle"----

"Difficult?--Impossible! Impossible! God alone can do so!"--exclaimed
Mr. Aubrey, thoughtfully.

"Comparison, I have often thought," said Gammon, after a pause--"of
one's own troubles with the greater misfortunes endured by others, is
beneficial or prejudicial--consolatory or disheartening--according as
the mind of him who makes the comparison is well or ill
regulated--possessed or destitute, of moral and religious principle!"

"It is so, indeed," said Mr. Aubrey. Though not particularly inclined to
enter into or prolong conversation, he was pleased with the tone of his
companion's remark.

"As for me," proceeded Gammon, with a slight sigh--"the absorbing
anxieties of professional life; and, too, in a line of professional life
which, infinitely to my distaste, brings me constantly into scenes such
as you have been observing, have contributed to render me, I fear, less
sensible of their real character; yet can I vividly conceive the effect
they must, when first seen, produce upon the mind and heart of a
compassionate, an observant, a reflecting man, Mr. Aubrey!"

Gammon looked a gentleman; his address was easy and insinuating, full of
delicate deference, without the slightest tendency to cant or
sycophancy; his countenance was an intellectual and expressive one; his
conversation that of an educated and thinking man. He was striving his
utmost to produce a favorable impression on Mr. Aubrey; and, as is very
little to be wondered at, he succeeded. By the time that they had got
about twenty yards beyond Fetter Lane, they might have been seen walking
together, arm-in-arm. As they approached Oxford Street, they suddenly
encountered Mr. Runnington.

"God bless me, Mr. Aubrey!" said he, surprisedly--"and Mr. Gammon? How
do you do, Mr. Gammon?"--he continued, taking off his hat with a little
formality, and speaking in a corresponding tone; but he was encountered
by Gammon with greatly superior ease and distance, and was not a little
nettled at it; for he was so palpably foiled with his own weapons.

"Well--I shall now resign you to your legitimate adviser, Mr. Aubrey,"
said Gammon, with a smile; then, addressing Mr. Runnington, in whose
countenance pique and pride were abundantly visible--"Mr. Aubrey has
favored me with a call to-day, and we have had some little discussion on
a matter which he will explain to you. As for me, Mr. Aubrey, I ought to
have turned off two streets ago--so I wish you good-evening."

Mr. Aubrey and he shook hands as they exchanged adieus: Mr. Runnington
and he simply raised each his hat, and bowed to the other with cold
politeness. As Mr. Runnington and Mr. Aubrey walked westward together,
the former, who was a very cautious man, did not think fit to express
the uneasiness he felt at Mr. Aubrey's having entered into anything like
confidential intercourse with one whom he believed to be so subtle and
dangerous a person as Mr. Gammon. He was, however, very greatly
surprised when he came to hear of the proposal which had been made by
Mr. Gammon, concerning the mesne profits; which, he said, was so
unaccountably reasonable and liberal, considering the parties by whom it
was made, that he feared Mr. Aubrey must be lying under some mistake. He
would, however, turn it anxiously over in his mind, and consult with his
partners; and, in short, do whatever they conceived best for Mr.
Aubrey--that he might depend upon. "And, in the mean time, my dear sir,"
added Mr. Runnington, with a smile designed to disguise considerable
anxiety, "it may be as well for you not to have any further personal
communication with these parties, whom you do not know as well as we do;
but let _us_ negotiate with them in everything, even the very least!"
Thus they parted; and Mr. Aubrey entered Vivian Street with a
considerably lighter heart than he had ever before carried into it. A
vivid recollection of the scenes which he had witnessed at Saffron Hill,
caused him exquisitely to appreciate the comforts of his little home,
and to return the welcomes and caresses which he received, with a kind
of trembling tenderness and energy. As he folded his still blooming but
somewhat anxious wife fondly to his bosom, kissed his high-spirited and
lovely sister, and fondled the prattling innocents who came clambering
up upon his lap, he forgot, for a while, the difficulties but remembered
the _lessons_, of the day.

We must, however, now return to Yatton, where some matters had
transpired which are not unworthy of being recorded. Though Mr. Yahoo
paid rather anxious court to Mr. Gammon, who was very far too much for
him in every way, 'twas plain that he dreaded and disliked, as much as
he was despised by, that gentleman. Mr. Gammon had easily extracted from
Titmouse evidence that Yahoo was endeavoring, from time to time,
artfully to set him against his protector, Mr. Gammon. This was
_something_; but more than this--Yahoo, a reckless rollicking villain,
was obtaining a growing ascendency over Titmouse, whom he was rapidly
initiating into all kinds of vile habits and practices; and, in short,
completely corrupting him. But, above all, Gammon ascertained that Yahoo
had already commenced, with great success, his experiments upon the
purse of Titmouse. Before they had been a week at Yatton, down came a
splendid billiard-table with its appendages from London, accompanied by
a man to fix it--as he did--in the library, which he quickly denuded of
all traces of its former character; and here Yahoo, Titmouse, and
Fitz-Snooks would pass a good deal of their time. Then they would have
tables and chairs, with cards, cigars, and brandy and water, placed upon
the beautiful "soft, smooth-shaven lawn," and sit there playing
_écarté_, at once pleasantly soothed and stimulated by their cigars and
brandy and water, for half a day together. Then Yahoo got up frequent
excursions to Grilston, and even to York; where, together with his two
companions, he had "great sport," as the newspapers began to intimate
with growing frequency and distinctness. Actuated by that execrable
licentiousness with reference to the female sex, by which he was
peculiarly distinguished, and of which he boasted, he had got into
several curious adventures with farmers' girls, and others in the
vicinity of Yatton, and even among the female members of the
establishment at the Hall; in which latter quarter Fitz-Snooks and
Titmouse began to imitate his example. Mr. Gammon had conceived a horrid
loathing and disgust for the miscreant leader into these enormities;
and, but for certain consequences, would have despatched him with as
much indifference as he would have laid arsenic in the way of a bold
voracious rat, or killed a snake. As it was, he secretly caused him to
experience, on one or two occasions, the effects of his good-will
towards him. Yahoo had offered certain atrocious indignities to the
sweetheart of a strapping young farmer; whose furious complaints coming
to Mr. Gammon's ears, that gentleman, under a pledge of secrecy, gave
him two guineas to be on the look-out for Yahoo, and give him the best
taste he could of a pair of Yorkshire fists. A day or two afterwards,
the Satyr fell in with his unsuspected enemy. Yahoo was a strongly-built
man, and an excellent bruiser; but was at first disposed to shirk the
fight, on glancing at the prodigious proportions of Hazel, and the fury
flaming in his eyes. The instant, however, that he saw the fighting
attitude into which poor Hazel had thrown himself, Yahoo smiled,
stripped, and set to. I am sorry to say that it was a good while before
Hazel could get one single blow at his accomplished opponent; whom,
however, he at length began to wear out. Then he gave the Yahoo a
miserable pommelling, to be sure; and finished by knocking out five of
his front teeth, viz. three in the upper, and two in the under
jaw--beautifully white and regular they certainly had been; and the loss
of them caused him great affliction on the score of his appearance, and
also, not a little interfered with the process of cigar-smoking. It
would, besides, have debarred him, had he been so disposed, from
enlisting as a soldier, inasmuch as he could not bite off the end of his
cartridge: wherefore, it would seem, that Hazel had committed the
offence of _Mayhem_.[17] Mr. Gammon condoled heartily with Mr. Yahoo, on
hearing of the brutal attack which had been made upon him; and as the
assault had not been committed in the presence of a witness, strongly
recommended him to bring an action of trespass _vi et armis_ against
Hazel, which Gammon undertook to conduct to--a nonsuit. While they were
conversing in this friendly way together, it suddenly occurred to Gammon
that there was another service which he could render to Mr. Yahoo, and
with equally strict observance of the injunction, _not to let his left
hand know what his right hand did_; for he loved the character of a
secret benefactor. So he wrote up a letter to Snap, (whom he knew to
have been treated very insolently by Yahoo,) desiring him to go to two
or three Jew bill-brokers and money-lenders, and ascertain whether they
had any paper by them with the name of "Yahoo" upon it:--and in the
event of such being discovered, he was to act in the manner pointed out
by Gammon. Off went Snap like a shot, on receiving this letter; and the
very first gentleman he applied to, viz. a Mr. SUCK'EM DRY, proved to be
possessed of an acceptance of Yahoo's for £200, for which Dry had given
only twenty-five pounds, on speculation. He readily yielded to Snap's
offer, to give him a shy at Mr. Yahoo _gratis_--and put the document
into the hands of Snap; who forthwith delivered it, confidentially, to
Swinddle Shark, gent., one &c., a little Jew attorney in Chancery Lane,
into whose office the dirty work of Quirk, Gammon, and Snap was
swept--in cases where they did not choose to appear. I wish the
mutilated Yahoo could have seen the mouthful of glittering teeth that
were displayed by the hungry Jew, on receiving the above commission. His
duties, though of a painful, were of a brief and simple description.
'Twas a plain case of _Indorsee_ v. _Acceptor_. The affidavit of debt
was sworn the same afternoon; and within an hour's time afterwards, a
thin slip of paper was delivered into the hands of the under-sheriff of
Yorkshire, commanding him to take the body[18] of Pimp Yahoo, if he
should be found in his bailiwick, and him safely keep--out of harm's
way--to enable him to pay £200 _debt_ to Suck'em Dry, and £24, 6s. 10d.
_costs_ to Swindle Shark. Down went that little "infernal machine" to
Yorkshire by that night's post.

Nothing could exceed the astonishment and concern with which Mr. Gammon,
the evening but one afterwards, on returning to the Hall from a ride to
Grilston, heard Titmouse and Fitz-Snooks--deserted beings!--tell him
how, an hour before, two big vulgar fellows, one of them with a long
slip of paper in his hands, had called at the Hall, asked for the
innocent unsuspecting Yahoo, just as he had made an admirable
_coup_--and insisted on his accompanying them to the house of one of the
aforesaid bailiffs, and then on to York Castle. They had brought a
tax-cart with them for his convenience; and into it, between his two new
friends, was forced to get the astounded Yahoo--smoking, as well as he
could, a cigar, with some score or two of which he had filled all his
pockets, and swearing oaths enough to have lasted the whole neighborhood
for a fortnight at least. Mr. Gammon was quite shocked at the indignity
which had been perpetrated, and asked why the villains had not been kept
till he could have been sent for. Then, leaving the melancholy Titmouse
and Fitz-Snooks to themselves for a little while, he took a solitary
walk in the elm avenue, where--grief has different modes of expressing
itself--he relieved his excited feelings by reiterated little bursts of
gentle laughter. As soon as the _York True Blue_ had, among other
intimations of fashionable movements, informed the public that "_The
Hon._ Pimp Yahoo" had quitted Yatton Hall for York Castle, where he
intended to remain and receive a large party of friends--it was
gratifying to see how soon, and in what force, they began to muster and
rally round him. "_Detainers_"[19]--so that species of visiting cards is
called--came fluttering in like snow; and in short, there was no end of
the messages of civility and congratulation which he received from those
whom, in the season of his prosperity, he had obliged with his valuable
countenance and custom.

Ah me, poor Yahoo, completely done! Oft is it, in this infernal world of
ours, that the best concerted schemes are thus suddenly defeated by the
envious and capricious fates! Thus were thy arms suddenly held back from
behind, just as they were encircling as pretty, plump a pigeon as ever
nestled in them with pert and playful confidence, to be plucked! Alas,
alas! And didst thou behold the danger to which it was exposed, as it
fluttered upward unconsciously into the region where thine affectionate
eye detected the keen hawk in deadly poise? Ah me! Oh dear! What shall I
do? What can I say? How vent my grief for the Prematurely Caged?

Poor Titmouse was very dull for some little time after this sudden
abduction of this bold and brilliant spirit, and spoke of bringing an
action, at the suggestion of Fitz-Snooks, against the miscreant who had
dared to set the law in motion at Yatton, under the very nose of its
lord and master. As soon, however, as Gammon intimated to him that all
those who had lent Yahoo money, might now rely upon that gentleman's
honor, and whistle back their cash at their leisure, Titmouse burst out
into a great rage; telling Gammon that he, Titmouse, had only a day or
two before lent Yahoo £150!! and that he was a "cursed scamp," who had
known, when he borrowed, that he could not repay; and a Detainer, at the
suit of "Tittlebat Titmouse, Esq.," was one of the very earliest that
found its way into the sheriff's office; this new creditor becoming one
of the very bitterest and most relentless against the fallen Yahoo,
except, perhaps, Mr. Fitz-Snooks. That gentleman having lent the amiable
Yahoo no less a sum than thirteen hundred pounds, remained easy all the
while, under the impression that certain precious documents called
"I.O.U.'s" of the said Yahoo were as good as cash. He was horribly
dismayed on discovering that it was otherwise; that _he_ was not to be
paid before all other creditors, and immediately; so he also sent a very
special message in the shape of a Detainer, backed by a great number of

In process of time Mr. Yahoo bethought himself of getting
"_white-washed_;" but when he came to be inspected, it was considered
that he was not properly _seasoned_; so the operation was delayed for
two years, under a very arbitrary statute, which enacted, "that if it
should appear that the said prisoner had contracted any of his debts
_fraudulently_, or by means of _false pretences_, or _without having had
any reasonable or probable expectation, at the time when contracted, of
paying the same_," &c. &c. &c., "or should be indebted for damages
recovered in any _action for criminal conversation_, or _seduction_, or
for _malicious injuries_, &c. &c., such prisoner should be discharged as
to such debts and damages, so soon only as he should have been in
custody at the suit of such creditors for a period or periods not
exceeding two years." Such is the odious restraint upon the liberty of
the subject, which at this day, in the nineteenth century, is suffered
to disgrace the statute law of England; for, in order to put _other
Yahoos_ upon their guard against the cruel and iniquitous designs upon
them, I here inform them that the laws under which Mr. Yahoo suffered
his two years' incarceration, (every one of his debts, &c., coming under
one or other of the descriptions above mentioned,) are, _proh pudor_!
re-enacted and at this moment in force, and in augmented stringency,[20]
as several most respectable gentlemen, if you could only get access to
them, would tell you.

Yahoo having been thus adroitly disposed of, Mr. Gammon had the
gratification of finding that mischievous simpleton, Fitz-Snooks, very
soon afterwards take his departure. He pined for the pleasures of the
town, which he had money enough to enjoy for about three years longer,
with economy; after which he might go abroad, or to _the dogs_--wherever
they were to be found. 'Twas indeed monstrous dull at Yatton; the game
which Yahoo had given him a taste for was so very _strictly preserved_
there! and the birds so uncommon shy and wild, and strong on the wing!
Besides, Gammon's presence was a terrible pressure upon him; overawing
and benumbing him, in spite of several attempts which he had made, when
charged with the requisite quantity of wine, to exhibit an impertinent
familiarity, or even defiance. As soon as poor Titmouse had bade
Fitz-Snooks good-by, shaken hands with him, and lost sight of
him--Titmouse was at Yatton, _alone with Gammon_, and felt as if a spell
were upon him.--He was completely cowed and prostrate. Yet Gammon laid
himself out to the very uttermost, to please him, and reassure his
drooping spirits. Titmouse had got into his head that the mysterious and
dreadful Gammon had, in some deep way or other, been at the bottom of
Yahoo's abduction, and of the disappearance of Fitz-Snooks, and would,
by-and-by, do as much for _him_! He had no feeling of _ownership_ of
Yatton; but of being, as it were, only tenant-at-will thereof to Mr.
Gammon. Whenever he tried to reassure himself, by repeating that it did
not signify--for Yatton was his own--and he might do as he liked; his
feelings might be compared to a balloon, which, with the eyes of eager
and anxious thousands upon it, yet cannot get inflated sufficiently to
rise one inch from the ground. How was it? Mr. Gammon's manner towards
him was most uncommonly respectful; what else could he wish for? Yet he
would have given a thousand pounds to that gentleman to take himself
off, and never show his nose again at Yatton! It annoyed him, too, more
than he could express, to perceive the deference and respect which every
one at the Hall manifested towards Mr. Gammon. Titmouse would sometimes
stamp his foot, when alone, with childish fury on the ground, when he
thought of it. When at dinner, and sitting together afterwards, Gammon
would rack his invention for jokes and anecdotes to amuse Titmouse--who
would certainly give a kind of laugh; exclaim, "Bravo! Ha, ha! 'Pon my
life!--capital!--By Jove! Most uncommon good! you don't say so?"--and go
on, drinking glass after glass of wine, or brandy and water, and smoking
cigar after cigar, till he felt fuddled and sick, in which condition he
would retire to bed, and leave Gammon, clear and serene in head and
temper, to his meditations. When, at length, he broached the subject of
_their bill_--a frightful amount it was; of the moneys advanced by Mr.
Quirk, for his support for eight or nine months on a liberal scale, and
which mounted up to a sum infinitely larger than could have been
supposed; and lastly, of the bond for ten thousand pounds, as the just
reward to the firm for their long-continued, most anxious, and
successful exertions on their client's behalf--Titmouse mustered up all
his resolution, as for a last desperate struggle; swore they were
robbing him; and added, with a furious snap of the fingers, "they had
better take the estate themselves--allow him a pound a-week, and send
him back to Tag-rag's." Then he burst into tears, and cried like a
child, long and bitterly.

"Well, sir," said Gammon, after remaining silent for some time, looking
at Titmouse calmly, but with an expression of face which frightened him
out of his wits, "if this is to be really the way in which I am to be
treated by you--I, the only _real disinterested_ friend you have in the
world, (as you have had hundreds of opportunities of ascertaining;) if
my advice is to be spurned, and my motives suspected; if your first and
deliberate engagements to our firm are to be wantonly broken"----

"Ah, but, 'pon my soul, I was humbugged into making them," said
Titmouse, passionately.

"Why, you little miscreant!" exclaimed Gammon, starting up in his chair,
and gazing at him as if he would have scorched him with his eye, "Do you
DARE to say so? If you have no gratitude--have you lost your _memory_?
What were you when I dug you out of your filthy hole at Closet Court?
Did you not repeatedly go down on your knees to us? Did you not promise,
a thousand times, to do infinitely more than you are now called upon to
do? And is this, you insolent--despicable little insect!--is _this_ the
return you make us for putting you, a beggar--and very nearly too, an

"You're most uncommon polite," said Titmouse, suddenly and bitterly.

"Silence, sir! I am in no humor for trifling!" interrupted Gammon,
sternly. "I say, is _this_ the return you think of making us; not only
to insult us, but refuse to pay money actually advanced by us to save
you from starvation--money, and days and nights, and weeks and months,
and _many_ months of intense anxiety, expended in discovering how to put
you in possession of a splendid fortune?--Poh! you miserable little
trifler!--why should I trouble myself thus? Remember--remember,
Tittlebat Titmouse," continued Gammon, in a low tone, and extending
towards him threateningly his thin forefinger, "I who made you, will in
one day--one single day--unmake you--will blow you away like a bit of
froth; you shall never be seen, or heard of, or thought of, except by
some small draper whose unhappy shopman you may be!"

"Ah!--'pon my life! Dare say you think I'm uncommon frightened! Ah, ha!
Monstrous--particular good!" said Titmouse, desperately.

Gammon perceived that he trembled in every limb; and the smile which he
tried to throw into his face was so wretched, that, had you seen him at
that moment, and considered his position, much and justly as you now
despise him, you must have pitied him. "You're always now going on in
this way!--It's all so very likely!" continued he. "Why, 'pon my soul,
am not I to be A LORD one of these days? Can you help that? Can you send
a lord behind a draper's counter? 'Pon my soul, what do you say to that?
I like that, uncommon"----

"What do I say?" replied Gammon, calmly, "why, that I've a great mind to
say and do something that would make you--would dispose you to--jump
head foremost into the first sewer you came near!"

Titmouse's heart was lying fluttering at his throat.

"Tittlebat, Tittlebat!" continued Gammon, dropping his voice, and
speaking in a very kind and earnest manner, "if you did but know the
extent to which an accident has placed you in my power! at this moment
in my power! Really I almost tremble, myself, to think of it!" He rose,
brought his chamber-candlestick out of the hall--lit it--bade Titmouse
good-night, sadly but sternly--and shook him by the hand--"I may rid you
of my presence to-morrow morning, Mr. Titmouse. I shall leave you to
_try to enjoy Yatton_! May you find a _truer_--a more powerful friend
than you will have lost in me!" Titmouse never shrank more helplessly
under the eye of Mr. Gammon than he did at that moment.

"You--you--_won't_ stop and smoke another cigar with a poor devil, will
you, Mr. Gammon?" he inquired faintly. "It's somehow--most uncommon
lonely in this queer, large, old-fashioned"----

"No, sir," replied Gammon, peremptorily--and withdrew, leaving Titmouse
in a state of mingled alarm and anger--the former, however,

"By jingo!" he at length exclaimed with a heavy sigh, after a revery of
about three minutes, gulping down the remainder of his brandy and water,
"If that same gent, Mr. Gammon, a'n't the--the--devil--he's the very
best imitation of him that ever I heard tell of!" Here he glanced
furtively round the room; then he got a little flustered; rang his bell
quickly for his valet, and, followed by him, retired to his

The next morning the storm had entirely blown over. When they met at
breakfast, Titmouse, as Gammon had known would be the case, was all
submission and respect; in fact, it was evident that he was thoroughly
frightened by what had fallen from Gammon, but infinitely more so by the
_manner_ in which he had spoken over-night. Gammon, however, preserved
for some little time the haughty air with which he had met Titmouse; but
a few words of the latter, expressing deep regret for what he had said
through having drunk too much--poor little soul!--over-night, and his
unqualifyingly submitting to every one of the requisitions which had
been insisted on by Mr. Gammon--quickly dispersed the cloud settled on
that gentleman's brow, when he entered the breakfast-room.

"_Now_, my dear Mr. Titmouse," said he, very graciously, "you show
yourself the gentleman I always took you for--and I forget, forever,
all that passed between us, so unpleasantly, last night. I am sure it
will never be so again: for now we _entirely_ understand each other?"

"Oh yes--'pon my life--quite entirely!" replied Titmouse, meekly, with a
crestfallen air.

Soon after breakfast they adjourned, at Gammon's request, to the
billiard-room; where, though that gentleman knew how to handle a cue,
and Titmouse did not, he expressed great admiration for Titmouse's play,
and felt great interest in being shown by him how to get a ball, now and
then, into each pocket at one stroke, a masterly manœuvre in which
Titmouse succeeded two or three times, and Gammon not once, during their
hour's play. Upon that occasion had occurred the conversation in which
Titmouse made the suggestion we have already heard of, viz. that Gammon
should immediately clap the screw upon Aubrey, with a view to squeezing
out of him at least sufficient to pay the £10,000 bond, and their bill
of costs, immediately; and Titmouse urged Gammon at once to send Aubrey
packing after Yahoo to York Castle, as an inducement to an early
settlement of the remainder. Gammon, however, assured Mr. Titmouse, that
in all probability Mr. Aubrey had not a couple of thousand pounds in the

"Well, that will do to begin with," said Titmouse, "and the rest _must_
come, sooner or later--eh, by Jove?"

"Leave him to me, my dear Titmouse, or rather to Mr. Quirk--who'll
_wring_ him before he's done with him, I warrant you! But, in the mean
while, if I work day and night, I will relieve you from this claim of
Mr. Quirk: for, in fact, I have little or no _real_ interest in the

"You'll take a slapping slice out of the bond, eh? Aha, Mr. Gammon!--But
what were you saying you'd do for me?"

"I repeat, that I am your only disinterested friend, Mr. Titmouse; I
shall never see a hundred pounds of what is going into Mr. Quirk's
hands; who, I must say, however," added Gammon, with sudden caution,
"has richly earned what he's going to get--but--to say the truth, by
following my directions throughout. I was saying, however, that I had
hit upon a scheme for ridding you of your difficulties. Though you have
only just stepped into your property, and consequently people are very
shy of advancing money on mortgage, if you'll only keep quiet, and leave
the affair entirely to me, I will undertake to get you a sum of possibly
twenty thousand pounds."

"My eyes!" exclaimed Titmouse, excitedly; quickly, however, adding with
a sad air--"but then, what a lot of it will go to old Quirk?"

"He _is_ rather a keen and hard--ahem! I own; but"----

"'Pon my life, couldn't we _do_ the old gent?"

"On no consideration, Mr. Titmouse; it would be a fatal step for
you--and indeed for me."

"What! and can _he_ do anything, too? I thought it was only you."--The
little fool had brought a glimpse of color into Gammon's cheek--but
Titmouse's volatility quickly relieved his tripping Prospero. "By the
way--'pon my life--sha'n't I have to pay it all back again! There's a
go! I hadn't thought of that."

"I shall first try to get it out of Mr. Aubrey," said Gammon, "and then
out of another friend of yours. In the mean while we must not drop the
Tag-rags just yet." They then got into a long and confidential
conversation together; in the course of which, Titmouse happened to pop
out a little secret of his, which till then he had managed to keep from
Gammon, and which occasioned that gentleman a great and sudden inward
confusion--one which it was odd that so keen an observer as Titmouse
did not perceive indications of in the countenance of Gammon; viz.
his--Titmouse's--fervent and disinterested love for Miss Aubrey. While
he was rattling on with eager volubility upon this topic, Gammon, after
casting about a little in his mind, as to how he should deal with this
interesting discovery, resolved for the present to humor the notion, and
got out of Titmouse a full and particular account of his original
"_smite_," as that gentleman called his passion for Miss Aubrey--the
indelible impression she had made on his heart--the letter which he had
addressed to her--[here Gammon's vivid fancy portrayed to him the sort
of composition which must have reached Miss Aubrey, and he nearly burst
into a gentle fit of laughter]--and, with a strange candor, or rather,
to do him justice, with that frank simplicity which is characteristic of
noble natures--he at length described his unlucky encounter with Miss
Aubrey and her maid, in the winter; whereat Gammon felt a sort of sudden
inward spasm, which excited a certain twinging sensation in his right
toe--but it passed away--'twas after all, only a little juvenile
indiscretion of Titmouse's; but Gammon, with rather a serious air,
assured Titmouse that he had probably greatly endangered his prospect
with Miss Aubrey.

"Eh? Why, devil take it! a'n't I going to offer to her, though she's got
nothing?" interrupted Titmouse, with astonishment.

"True!--Ah, I had lost sight of that. Well, if you will pledge yourself
to address no more letters to her, nor take any steps to see her,
without first communicating with me--I think I can promise--hem!" he
looked archly at Titmouse.

"She's a most _uncommon_ lovely gal"--he simpered sheepishly. The fact
was that Gammon had conceived quite another scheme for Titmouse--wholly
inconsistent with his pure, ardent, and enlightened attachment to Miss
Aubrey; 'twas undoubtedly rather a bold and ambitious one, but Gammon
did not despair; for he had that confidence in himself, and in his
knowledge of human nature, which always supported him in the most
arduous and apparently hopeless undertakings.

There was a visible alteration for the better in the state of things at
Yatton, as soon as Messrs. Yahoo and Fitz-Snooks had been disposed of.
Now and then a few of the distinguished people who had honored Mr.
Titmouse by going out in procession to meet and welcome him, were
invited to spend a day at Yatton; and generally quitted full of
admiration of the dinner and wines, the unaffected good-nature and
simplicity of their hospitable host, and the bland, composed, and
intellectual deportment and conversation of Mr. Gammon. When rent-day
arrived, Mr. Titmouse, attended by Mr. Gammon, made his appearance in
the steward's room, and also in the hall; where, according to former
custom, good substantial fare was set out for the tenants. They received
him with a due respect of manner; but--alas--where was the cheerfulness,
the cordiality, the rough, honest heartiness of days gone by, on such
occasions? Few of the tenants stayed to partake of the good things
prepared for them; a circumstance which greatly affected Mr. Griffiths,
and piqued Mr. Gammon; as for Titmouse, however, he said, with a laugh,
"Curse 'em! let 'em leave it alone, if they a'n't hungry!" and any faint
feeling of mortification which he might have experienced, was dissipated
by the intelligence of the amount paid into his banker's. Gammon was
sensible that the scenes which had been exhibited at Yatton on the first
night of his protégé's arrival, had seriously injured him in the
neighborhood and county, and was bent upon effacing, as quickly as
possible, such unfavorable impressions, by prevailing on Titmouse to
"purge and live cleanly"--at all events for the present.

Let me pause now, for a moment, to inquire, ought not this favored young
man to have felt happy? Here he was, master of a fine estate, producing
him a splendid unencumbered rent-roll; a delightful residence,
suggesting innumerable dear and dignified associations connected with
old English feeling; a luxurious table, with the choicest liqueurs and
wines, in abundance: he might smoke the finest cigars that the world
could produce, from morning to night, if so disposed; had unlimited
facilities for securing a distinguished personal appearance, as far as
dress and decoration went; had all the amusements of the county at his
command; troops of servants, eager and obsequious in their attentions;
horses and carriages of every description which he might have chosen to
order out--had, in short, all the "appliances and means to boot," which
could be desired or imagined by a gentleman of his station and
affluence. Mr. Gammon was, though somewhat stern and plain-spoken, still
a most sincere and powerful friend, deeply and disinterestedly
solicitous about his interests, and protecting him from villanous and
designing adventurers; then he had in prospect the brilliant mazes of
fashionable life in town--oh, in the name of everything that this world
can produce, and of the feelings it should excite, ought not Titmouse to
have enjoyed life--to have been happy? Yet he was not; he felt, quite
independently of any constraint occasioned by the presence of Mr.
Gammon, full of deplorable and inexpressible wearisomeness, which
nothing could alleviate, but the constant use of cigars, and brandy and
water. On the first Sunday after the departure of Fitz-Snooks, Titmouse
was prevailed upon to accompany the devout and exemplary Gammon to
church; where, barring a good many ill-concealed yawns and constant
fidgetiness, he conducted himself with tolerable decorum. Yet still the
style of his dress, his air, and his countenance, filled the little
congregation with feelings of great astonishment, when they thought that
_that_ was the new Squire of Yatton, and for a moment contrasted him
with his simple and dignified predecessor, Mr. Aubrey. As for the worthy
vicar, Dr. Tatham, Gammon resolved to secure his good graces, and
succeeded. He called upon the worthy vicar soon after having heard from
Titmouse, of his, Yahoo's, and Fitz-Snooks' encounter with Dr. Tatham;
and expressed profound concern on being apprised of the rude
treatment which he had encountered. There was a gentleness and
affability--tempering at once and enhancing his evident acuteness and
knowledge of the world--which quite captivated the little doctor. But,
above all, the expressions of delicate sympathy and regret with which he
now and then alluded to the late occupants of Yatton, and towards whom
the stern requisitions of professional duty had caused him to play so
odious a part, and his minute inquiries about them, drew out almost all
that was in the little doctor's heart concerning his departed friends.
Gammon gazed with deep interest at the old blind stag-hound, and feeble
old Peggy; and seemed never tired of hearing the doctor's little
anecdotes concerning them. He introduced Titmouse to the vicar; and, in
his presence, Gammon declared his (Titmouse's) hatred and contempt for
the two fellows who were with him when first he saw Dr. Tatham; who
thereupon banished from his heart all recollection of the conduct which
had so deeply hurt his feelings. Gammon, on another occasion, infinitely
delighted the doctor by calling on a Monday morning, and alluding with
evident interest and anxiety to certain passages in his sermon of the
day before, and which led to a very lengthened and interesting
discussion. In consequence of what then transpired, the doctor suddenly
bethought himself of routing out an old sermon, which he had once
preached before the judges of assize:--and during the week he touched it
up with a good deal of care for the ensuing Sunday--when he had the
satisfaction of observing the marked and undeviating attention with
which Mr. Gammon sat listening to him; and that candid inquirer after
truth afterwards stepped into the little vestry and warmly complimented
the doctor upon his very satisfactory and masterly discourse. Thus it
was that Dr. Tatham came to pen a postscript to one of his letters to
Mrs. Aubrey, to which I have formerly alluded, and of which said
postscript the following is a copy:----

     "P. S. By the way, the altered state of things at the Hall, I am of
     opinion, is entirely owing to the presence and the influence of a
     Mr. Gammon--one of the chief of Mr. Titmouse's solicitors, and to
     whom he seems very firmly attached. I have lived too long in the
     world to form hasty opinions, and am not apt to be deceived in my
     estimate of mankind; but I must say, I consider Mr. Gammon to be a
     very superior man, as well in character and intellect, as in
     acquirements. He possesses great acuteness and knowledge of the
     world, general information, a very calm and courteous address--and
     above and beyond all, is a man of very enlightened religious
     feeling. He comes constantly to church, and presents a truly
     edifying example to all around, of decorum and attention. You would
     be delighted to hear the discussions we have had on points which my
     sermons have suggested to him. He is really an uncommonly acute
     man, and I assure you it requires some little logical skill to
     contend with him in argument. I preached a sermon lately, specially
     aimed at him, which, thank God! I have every reason to believe has
     been attended with happy effects, and allayed some startling doubts
     which had been for years tormenting him. I am sure that my dear
     friend" (_i. e._ Mr. Aubrey) "would be delighted with him. I had
     myself, I assure you, to overcome a very strong prejudice against
     him--a thing I always love to attempt, and have in a measure, in
     the present instance, succeeded. He speaks of you all frequently,
     with evident caution, but at the same time with the deepest respect
     and sympathy."

This postscript it was, which, as I have already intimated, suggested to
Mr. Aubrey to seek the interview with Gammon which has been described,
and during which it was frequently present to his mind.

While, however, under the pressure of Mr. Gammon's benumbing presence
and authority, Titmouse was for a brief while leading this sober retired
life at Yatton--why, he hardly knew, except that Gammon willed it--a
circumstance occurred which suddenly placed him on the very highest
pinnacle of popularity in metropolitan society. I hardly know how to
suppress my feelings of exultation, in retracing the rapid steps by
which Mr. Titmouse was transformed into a LION of the first magnitude.
Be it known that there was a MR. BLADDERY PIP, a fashionable novelist,
possessed of most extraordinary versatility and power; for he had at the
end of every nine months, during the last nine years, produced a novel
in three volumes--each succeeding one eclipsing the splendor of its
predecessor, (in the judgment of the accomplished and disinterested
newspaper critics)--in the "masterly structure of the plot"--the "vivid
and varied delineation of character"--the "profound acquaintance with
the workings of the human heart"--"exquisite appreciation of life in all
its endless varieties"--"piercing but delicate satire"--"bold and
powerful denunciations of popular vices"--"rich and tender domestic
scenes"--"inimitable ease and grace"--"consummate tact and
judgment"--"reflection coextensive with observation"--"the style
flowing, brilliant, nervous, varied, picturesque," _et cetera_, _et
cetera_, _et cetera_. We have, in the present day, thank Heaven! at
least two or three hundred such writers; but at the time about which I
am speaking, Mr. Bladdery Pip was pretty nearly alone in his glory.
Such was the man, to whose trading brain it suddenly occurred, on
glancing over the newspaper report of the trial of _Doe on the Demise of
Titmouse_ v. _Jolter_, to make the interesting facts of the case the
basis of a new novel, on quite a new plan, and which was infinitely to
transcend all his former works, and, in fact, occasion quite a
revolution in that brilliant and instructive species of literature! To
work went Mr. Pip, within a day or two after the trial was over, and in
an incredibly short space of time had got to the close of his labors.
Practice had made him perfect, and given him infinite facility in the
production of first-rate writing. The spirited publisher (Mr. Bubble)
then quickly set to work to "get the steam up"--but ah! how secretly and
skilfully! For some time there appeared numerous intimations in the
daily papers, that "the circles of ton" were "on the _qui vive_" in
expectation of a certain forthcoming work, &c. &c. &c.--that
"disclosures of a very extraordinary character" were being looked
for--"attempts had been made to suppress," &c. &c.--"compromising
certain distinguished," &c., and so forth; all these paragraphs being in
the unquestionable [!] _editorial_ style, and _genuine_ [!] indications
of a mysterious under-current of curiosity and excitement, existing in
those regions which were watched with reverential awe and constancy by
the occupants of the lower regions. As time advanced, more frequent
became these titillations of the public palate--more distinct these
intimations of what was going forward, and might be shortly expected,
from the appearance of the long-promised work. Take for instance the
following, which ran the round of every newspaper, and wrought up to a
high pitch the curiosity of three-fourths of the fools in the country:--

     "The efforts made to deprive the public of the interesting and
     peculiar scenes contained in the forthcoming novel, and--in
     short--to suppress it, have entirely failed, owing to the
     resolution of the gifted author, and the determination of the
     spirited publisher; and their only effect has been to accelerate
     the appearance of the work. It will bear the exciting and _piquant_
     title--'TIPPETIWINK;' and is said to be founded on the remarkable
     circumstances attending the recent trial of a great ejectment cause
     at York. More than one noble family's history is believed to be
     involved in some of the details which will be found in the
     forthcoming publication, for which, we are assured, there are
     already symptoms of an unprecedented demand. The 'favored few' who
     have seen it, predict that it will produce a prodigious sensation.
     The _happy audacity_ with which facts are adhered to, will, we
     trust, not lead to the disagreeable consequences that appear to be
     looked for, in certain quarters, with no little anxiety and dismay.
     When we announce that its author is the gifted writer of 'THE
     we trust we are violating no literary confidence."

There was no resisting this sort of thing. In that day, a skilfully
directed play of puffs laid prostrate the whole of the sagacious
fashionable world; _producing_ the excitement of which they affected to
chronicle the existence. The artilleryman, in the present instance, was,
in fact, a hack writer, hired by Mr. Bubble--in fact, kept by him
entirely--to perform services of this degrading description--and he sat
from morning to night in a back-room on Mr. Bubble's premises, engaged
in spinning out these villanous and lying paragraphs concerning every
work published, or about to be published, by Mr. Bubble. Then that
gentleman hit upon another admirable device. He had seven hundred copies
printed off; and allowing a hundred for a _first_ edition, he varied the
title-pages of each of the remaining six hundred by the words: "_Second_
Edition"--"_Third_ Edition"--"_Fourth_ Edition"--"_Fifth_
Edition"--"_Sixth_ Edition"--and "_Seventh_ Edition."

By the time, however, that the fourth edition had been announced, there
existed a real rage for the book. The circulating libraries at the West
End of the town were besieged by applicants for a perusal of the work;
and "notices," "reviews," and "extracts," began to make their appearance
with increasing frequency in the newspapers. The idea of the work was
admirable. _Tippetiwink_, the hero, was a young gentleman of ancient
family--an only child--kidnapped away in his infancy by the malignant
agency of "the demon _Mowbray_," a distant relative, of a fierce temper
and wicked character, who by these means had succeeded to the enjoyment
of the estate, and would have come, in time, to the honors and domains
of the most ancient and noble family in the kingdom, that of the _Earl
of Frizzleton_. Poor Tippetiwink was at length, however, discovered by
his illustrious kinsman, by mere accident, in an obscure capacity, in
the employ of a benevolent linen-draper, _Black-bag_, who was described
as one of the most amiable and generous of linen-drapers; and, after a
series of wonderful adventures, in which the hero displayed the most
heroic constancy, the earl succeeded in reinstating his oppressed and
injured kinsman in the lofty station which he ought always to have
occupied. His daughter--a paragon of female loveliness--the _Lady
Sapphira Sigh-away_--evinced the deepest interest in the success of
_Tippetiwink_; and at length--the happy result may be guessed by the
astute and experienced novel-reader. Out of these few and natural
incidents, Mr. Bladdery Pip was pronounced at length, by those (_i. e._
the aforesaid newspaper scribes) who govern, if they do not indeed
constitute, PUBLIC OPINION, to have produced an imperishable record of
his genius; avoiding all the faults, and combining all the excellences,
of all his former productions. The identity between Titmouse and
_Tippetiwink_, Lord Dreddlington and _Lord Frizzleton_, Lady Cecilia and
_Lady Sapphira_, and Mr. Aubrey and the "_demon Mowbray_," was quickly
established. The novel passed speedily into the _tenth edition_! An
undoubted, and a very great sensation was produced; extracts descriptive
of the persons, particularly that of Titmouse, and the earl, and Lady
Cecilia, figuring in the story, were given in the London papers, and
thence transferred into those all over the country. The very author of
the book, Mr. Bladdery Pip, became a prodigious LION, and dressing
himself in the most elaborate and exquisite style, had his portrait,
looking most intensely intellectual, prefixed to the tenth edition. Then
came portraits of "Tittlebat Titmouse, Esq.," (for which he had never
sat,) giving him large melting eyes, a very pensive face, and a most
fashionable appearance. The Earl of Dreddlington and Lady Cecilia became
also a lion and lioness. Hundreds of opera-glasses were directed, at
once, to their opera-box; innumerable were the anxious salutations they
received as they drove round the Park--and round it they went three or
four times as often as they had ever done before. 'Twas whispered that
the king had read the book, and drank the earl's health, under the name
of Lord Frizzleton--while the queen did the same for Lady Cecilia as
Lady Sapphira. Their appearance produced a manifest sensation at both
the levee and drawing-room.--Majesty looked blander than usual as they
approached. Poor Lord Dreddlington, and Lady Cecilia, mounted in a trice
into the seventh heaven of rapturous excitement; for there was that
buoyant quality about their heads which secured them a graceful and
rapid upward motion. They were both unutterably _happy_; living in a
gentle delicious tumult of exalted feeling. Irrepressible exultation
glistened in the earl's eyes; he threw an infinite deal of blandness and
courtesy into his manners wherever he was, and whomsoever he addressed;
as if he could now easily afford it, confident in the inaccessible
sublimity of his position. It was slightly laughable to observe,
however, the desperate efforts he made to maintain his former frigid
composure of manner--but in vain; his nervousness looked almost like a
sudden, though gentle accession of St. Vitus's dance. Innumerable were
the inquiries after Titmouse--his person--his manners--his
character--his dress, made of Lady Cecilia by her friends. Young ladies
tormented her for his autograph. 'T was with her as if the level surface
of the Dead Sea had been stirred by the freshening breeze.

When a thing of this sort is once fairly set going, where is it to end?
When fashion does go mad, her madness is wonderful; and she very soon
turns the world mad. Presently the young men appeared everywhere in
black satin stocks, embroidered, some with flowers, and others with
gold, and which went by the name of "_Titmouse-Ties_;" and in hats, with
high crowns and rims a quarter of an inch in depth, called
"_Tittlebats_." All the young blades about town, especially the clerks
and shopmen in the city, dressed themselves in the most extravagant
style; an amazing impetus was given to the cigar trade--whose shops were
crowded, especially at nights; and every puppy that walked the streets
puffed cigar-smoke in your eyes. In short, pert and lively _Titmice_
might be seen hopping about the streets in all directions. As for
Tag-rag, wonders befell him. A paragraph in a paper pointed him out as
the original of _Black-bag_, and his shop in Oxford Street as the scene
of Titmouse's service. Thither quickly poured the tide of fashionable
curiosity, and custom. His business was soon trebled. He wore his best
clothes every day, and smirked and smiled, and bustled about amid the
crowd in his shop, in a perfect fever of excitement. He began to think
of buying the adjoining premises, and adding them to his own; and set
his name down as a subscriber of a guinea a-year to the "Decayed
Drapers' Association." Those were glorious times for Mr. Tag-rag. He was
forced to engage a dozen extra hands; there were seldom less than fifty
or a hundred persons in his shop at once; strings of carriages stood
before his door, sometimes two deep, and continual strugglings occurred
between the coachmen for precedence. In fact, Mr. Tag-rag believed that
the MILLENNIUM (about which he had often heard wonders from Mr. Dismal
Horror, who, it seemed, knew all about it--a fact of which he had first
persuaded his congregation, _and then himself_) was coming in earnest.


The undulations of the popular excitement in town, were not long in
reaching the calm retreat of Mr. Titmouse in Yorkshire. To say nothing
of his having on several occasions observed artists busily engaged in
sketching different views of the Hall and its surrounding scenery, and,
on inquiry, discovered that they had been sent from London for the
express purpose of presenting to the excited public sketches of the
"residence of Mr. Titmouse," a copy of the inimitable performance of Mr.
Bladdery Pip--viz. "TIPPETIWINK," (tenth edition) was sent down to Mr.
Titmouse by Gammon; who also forwarded to him, from time to time,
newspapers containing those paragraphs which identified Titmouse with
the hero of the novel, and also testified the profound impression which
it was making upon the thinking classes of the community. Was Titmouse's
wish to witness the ferment he had so unconsciously produced in the
metropolis, unreasonable? Yatton was beginning to look duller daily,
even before the arrival of this stimulating intelligence from town;
Titmouse feeling quite out of his element. So--Gammon _non
contradicente_--up came Titmouse to town. If he had not been naturally a
fool, the notice he attracted in London must soon have made him one. He
had been for coming up in a post-chaise and four; but Gammon, in a
letter, succeeded in dissuading him from incurring so useless an
expense, assuring him that men of even as high consideration as himself,
constantly availed themselves of the safe and rapid transit afforded by
the royal mail. His valet, on being appealed to, corroborated Mr.
Gammon's representations; adding, that the late hour in the evening at
which that respectable vehicle arrived in town would effectually shroud
him from public observation. Giving strict and repeated orders to his
valet to deposit him at once "in a first-rate West-End hotel," the
haughty lord of Yatton, plentifully provided with cigars, stepped into
the mail, his valet perching himself upon the box-seat. That gifted
functionary was well acquainted with town, and resolved on his master's
taking up his quarters at the Harcourt Hotel, in the immediate vicinity
of Bond Street.

The mail passed the Peacock, at Islington, about half-past eight
o'clock; and long before they had reached even that point, the eager and
anxious eye of Titmouse had been on the look-out for indications of his
celebrity. He was, however, compelled to own that both people and places
seemed much as usual--wearing no particular air of excitement. At this
he was a little chagrined, till he reflected on the vulgar ignorance of
the movements of the great, for which the eastern regions of the
metropolis were proverbial, and also on the increasing duskiness of the
evening, the rapid pace at which the mail rattled along, and the
circumstance of his being concealed inside. When his humble
hackney-coach (its driver a feeble old man, with a wisp of straw for a
hat-band, and sitting on the rickety box like a heap of dirty old
clothes, and the flagging and limping horses looking truly miserable
objects) had rumbled slowly up to the lofty and gloomy door of the
Harcourt Hotel, it seemed to excite no notice whatever. A tall waiter,
in a plain suit of black evening dress, with his hands stuck behind his
coat-tails, continued standing in the ample doorway, eying the plebeian
vehicle which had drawn up, with utter indifference--conjecturing,
probably, that it had come to the wrong door. With the same air of
provoking superciliousness he stood till the valet, having jumped down
from his seat beside the driver, ran up, and in a peremptory sort of way
exclaimed, "MR. TITMOUSE of Yatton!" This stirred the waiter into
something like energy.

"Here, sir!" called out Mr. Titmouse from within the coach; and on the
waiter's slowly approaching, the former inquired of him in a
sufficiently swaggering manner--"Pray, has the _Earl of Dreddlington_
been inquiring for me here to-day?" The words seemed to operate like
magic; converting the person addressed, in a moment, into a
slave--supple and obsequious.

"His Lordship has not been here to-day, sir," he replied in a low tone,
with a most courteous inclination, gently opening the door, and
noiselessly letting down the steps. "Do you alight, sir?"

"Why--a--have you room for me, and my _fellow_ there?"

"Oh yes, sir! certainly.--Shall I show you into the coffee-room, sir?"

"The coffee-room? Curse the coffee-room, sir! Demme, sir, do you suppose
I'm a commercial traveller? Show me into a private room, sir!" The
waiter bowed low; and in silent surprise led Mr. Titmouse to a very
spacious and elegantly-furnished apartment--where, amid the blaze of six
wax candles, and attended by three waiters, he supped, an hour or two
afterwards, in great state--retiring about eleven o'clock to his
apartment, overcome with fatigue--and brandy and water: having
fortunately escaped the indignity of being forced to sit in the room
where an English nobleman, two or three county members, and a couple of
foreign princes, were sitting sipping their claret, some writing
letters, and others conning over the evening papers. About noon, the
next day, he called upon the Earl of Dreddlington; and though, under
ordinary circumstances, his Lordship would have considered the visit
rather unseasonable, he nevertheless received his fortunate and now
truly distinguished kinsman with the most urbane cordiality. At the
earl's suggestion, and with Mr. Gammon's concurrence, Titmouse, within
about a week after his arrival in town, took a set of chambers in the
Albany, together with the elegant furniture which had belonged to their
late tenant, a distinguished fashionable, who had shortly before
suddenly gone abroad upon a mission of great importance--_to himself_:
viz. to avoid his creditors. Mr. Titmouse soon began to feel, in various
ways, the distinction which was attached to his name--commencing, as he
did at once, the gay and brilliant life of a man of high fashion, and
under the august auspices of the Earl of Dreddlington. Like as a cat,
shod with walnut-shells by some merry young scapegrace, doubtless feels
more and more astounded at the clatter it makes in scampering up and
down the bare echoing floors and staircases; so, in some sort, was it
with Titmouse, in respect of the sudden and amazing _éclat_ with which
all his appearances and movements were attended in the regions of
fashion. 'Tis a matter of indifference to a fool, whether you laugh
_with_ him or _at_ him; so as that you do but laugh--an observation
which will account for much of the conduct both of Lord Dreddlington and
Titmouse. In this short life, and dull world, the thing is--to create a
_sensation_, never mind how; and every opportunity of doing so should be
gratefully seized hold of, and improved to the uttermost, by those who
have nothing else to do, and have an inclination to distinguish
themselves from the common herd of mankind, and show that they have not
lived in vain. Lord Dreddlington had got so inflated by the attention he
excited, that he set down everything he witnessed to the score of
deference and admiration. His self-conceit was so intense, that it
consumed every vestige of sense he had about him. He stood in solitary
grandeur upon the lofty pillar of his pride, inaccessible to ridicule,
and insensible indeed of its approach, like _vanity_ "on a monument
smiling at" _scorn_. Indeed,

    "His soul was like a star, and dwelt apart."

He did not conceive it possible for any one to laugh at _him_, or
anything he might choose to do, or any one he might think fit to
associate with and introduce to the notice of society--which kind office
he forthwith performed for Titmouse, to whose odd person, and somewhat
eccentric dress and demeanor, his Lordship (who imagined that the same
operation was going on in the minds of other people) was growing daily
more reconciled. Thus, that which had at first so shocked his Lordship,
he got at length perfectly familiar and satisfied with, and began to
suspect whether it had not been assumed by Titmouse, out of a daring
scorn for the intrusive opinions of the world, which showed a loftiness
of spirit akin to his Lordship's own. Besides, in another point of
view--suppose the manner and appearance of Titmouse were ever so absurd,
so long as his Lordship chose to tolerate them, who should venture to
gainsay them? So the earl asked him frequently to dinner; took him with
them when his Lordship and Lady Cecilia went out in the evenings; gave
him a seat in his carriage in going down to the House; and invited him
to accompany him and Lady Cecilia when they either drove or rode round
the Park. As for the matter of riding, Titmouse's assiduous attention at
the riding-school, enabled him to appear on horseback without being
_glaringly_ unequal to the management of his horse, which, however, he
more than once induced to back somewhat threateningly upon those of Lady
Cecilia and the earl. Titmouse happening to let fall, at the earl's
table, that he had that day ordered an elegant chariot to be built for
him, his Lordship intimated that a cab was the usual turn-out of a
bachelor man of fashion; whereupon Titmouse the next day countermanded
his order, and was fortunate enough to secure a cab which had just been
completed for a young nobleman who was unable to pay for it, and whom,
consequently, the builder did not care about disappointing. He soon
provided himself with a great horse and a little tiger. What pen can do
justice to the feelings with which he first sat down in that cab,
yielding upon its thoroughly well-balanced springs, took the reins from
his little tiger, and then heard him jump up behind! As it was a trifle
too early for the Park, he suddenly bethought himself of exhibiting his
splendors before the establishment of Mr. Tag-rag; so he desired his
little imp behind to run and summon his valet, who in a trice came down;
and in answer to a question, "whether there wasn't something wanting
from a draper or hosier," was informed glibly, that six dozen of best
cambric pocket handkerchiefs, a dozen or two pair of white kid gloves,
half-a-dozen stocks, and various other items were "wanting"--(_i. e._ by
the valet himself, for Titmouse was already profusely provided with
these articles.) Off, however, he drove--occupied with but one idea--and
succeeded, at length, in reaching the Oxford Street establishment,
before the door of which five or six carriages were standing. I should
say that, at the moment of Mr. Titmouse's strutting into that scene of
his former miserable servitude, he experienced a gush of delight
sufficient to have effaced all recollection of the wretchedness,
privation, and oppression, endured in his early days. There was
presently an evident flutter among the gentlemen engaged behind the
counter--for, thought they--it must be "the great Mr. Titmouse!" Mr.
Tag-rag, catching sight of him, bounced out of his little room, and
bustled up to him through the crowd of customers, bowing, scraping,
blushing, and rubbing his hands, full of pleasurable excitement, and
exhibiting the most profound obsequiousness. "Hope you're well, sir," he
commenced in a low tone, but instantly added, in a louder voice,
observing that Mr. Titmouse chose to appear to have come merely upon
business, "what can I have the honor to do for you, sir, this morning?"
And handing him a stool, Tag-rag, with a respectful air, received a very
liberal order from Mr. Titmouse, and called for a shopman to make a
minute of the precious words which fell from the lips of Mr. Titmouse.

"Dear me, sir, is that your cab?" said Tag-rag, as, having accompanied
Titmouse, bowing at every step, to the door, they both stood there for a
moment, "I never saw such a beautiful turn-out in my life, sir"----

"Ya--a--s. Pretty well--pretty well; but that young rascal of mine's
dirtied one of his boots a little--dem him!" and he looked terrors at
the tiger.

"Oh dear!--so he has; shall I wipe it off, sir? _Do_ let one of my young

"No, it don't signify much. By the way, Mr. Tag-rag," added Mr.
Titmouse, in a drawling way, "all well at--at--demme if I've not, at
this moment, forgot the name of your place in the country"----

"Satin Lodge, sir," said Tag-rag, meekly, but with infinite inward

"Oh--ay, to be sure. One sees, 'pon my soul, such a lot of
places--but--eh?--all well?"

"All very well, indeed, sir; and constantly talking of you, sir,"
replied Tag-rag, with an earnestness amounting to intensity.

"Ah--well! My compliments--" here he drew on his second glove, and moved
towards his cab, Tag-rag accompanying him--"glad they're well. If ever
I'm driving that way--good-day!" In popped Titmouse--up jumped his tiger
behind--crack went his whip--and away darted the horse and splendid
vehicle--Tag-rag following it with an admiring and anxious eye.

As Mr. Titmouse sat in his cab, on his way to the Park, dressed in the
extreme of the mode; his glossy hat perched sideways on his bushy,
well-oiled, but somewhat mottled hair; his surtout lined with velvet;
his full satin stock, spangled with inwrought gold flowers, and
ornamented with two splendid pins, connected together with delicate
double gold chains; his shirt-collar turned down over his stock; his
chased gold eyeglass stuck in his right eye; the stiff wristbands of his
shirt turned back over his coat-cuffs; and his red hands concealed in
snowy kid gloves, holding his whip and reins with graceful ease: when he
considered the exquisite figure he must thus present to the eye of all
beholders, and gave them credit for gazing at him with the same sort of
feelings which similar sights had, but a few months before, excited in
_his_ despairing breast, his little cup of happiness was full, and even
brimming over. This, though I doubt whether it was a just reflection,
was still a very natural one; for he knew what his own feelings were,
though not how weak and absurd they were; and of course judged of others
by himself. If the Marquis of Whigborough, with his £200,000 a-year, and
5,000 independent voters at his command, had been on his way down to the
House, absorbed with anxiety as to the effect of the final threat he was
going to make to the Minister, that, unless he had a few strawberry
leaves promised him, he should feel it his duty to record his vote
against the great BILL for "_Giving Everybody Everything_," which stood
for a third reading that evening; or the great Duke of ----, a glance of
whose eye, or a wave of whose hand, was sufficient to have lit up an
European war, and who might at that moment have been balancing in his
mind the fate of millions of mankind, as depending upon his _fiat_ for
peace or war:--I say, that if both, or either of these personages, had
passed or met Mr. Titmouse, in their cabs, (which they were mechanically
urging onward, so absorbed the while with their own thoughts, that they
scarce knew whether they were in a cab or a handbarrow, in which latter,
had it been before their gates, either of them might, in his
abstraction, have seated himself;) Titmouse's superior acquaintance with
human nature assured him, that the sight of his tip-top turn-out, could
not fail of attracting their attention, and nettling their pride.
Whether Milton, if cast on a desolate island, but with the means of
writing _Paradise Lost_, would have done so, had he been certain that no
human eye would ever peruse a line of it; or whether Mr. Titmouse, had
he been suddenly deposited in his splendid cab, in the midst of the
desert of Sahara, with not one of his species to fix an envying eye upon
him, would nevertheless have experienced a great measure of
satisfaction, I am not prepared to say. As, however, every condition of
life has its mixture of good and evil, so, if Titmouse had been placed
in the midst of the aforesaid desert at the time when he was last before
the reader, instead of dashing along Oxford Street, he would have
escaped certain difficulties and dangers which he presently encountered.
Had an ape, not acquainted with the science of driving, been put into
Titmouse's place, he would probably have driven much in the same style,
though he would have had greatly the advantage over his rival in respect
of his simple and natural appearance; being, to the eye of correct
taste, "when unadorned, adorned the most." Mr. Titmouse, in spite of the
assistance to his sight which he derived from his _neutral_[21] glass,
was continually coming into collision with the vehicles which met and
passed him, on his way to Cumberland Gate. He got into no fewer than
four distinct _rows_ (to say nothing of the flying curses which he
received in passing) between the point which I have named, and Mr.
Tag-rag's premises. But as he was by no means destitute of spirit, he
sat in his cab, on these four occasions, cursing and blaspheming like a
little fiend; till he almost brought tears of vexation into the eyes of
one or two of his opponents, (cads, cab-drivers, watermen,
hackney-coachmen, carters, stage-coachmen, market-gardeners, and
draymen,) who unexpectedly found their own weapon--_i. e.
slang_--wielded with such superior power and effect, for once in a way,
by a swell--an aristocrat. The more manly of his opponents were filled
with secret respect for the possessor of such unsuspected powers. Still
it was unpleasant for a person of Mr. Titmouse's distinction to be
engaged in these conflicts; and he would have given the world to have
conquered his conceit so far as to summon his little tiger within, and
surrender to him the reins. Such a ridiculous confession of his own
incapacity, however, he could not think of, and he got into several
little disturbances in the Park; after which he drove home: the battered
cab had to be taken to the maker's, where the injuries it had sustained
were repaired, however, for the trifling sum of forty pounds.

The position obtained for Titmouse by the masterly genius of Mr.
Bladdery Pip, was secured and strengthened by much more substantial
claims upon the respect of society than those derived from literary
genius. Rumor is a dame always looking at objects through very strong
magnifying-glasses; and who, guided by what she saw, soon gave out that
Titmouse was patron of three boroughs; had a clear rent-roll of thirty
thousand a-year; and had already received nearly a hundred thousand
pounds in hard cash from the previous proprietor of his estates, as a
compensation for the back rents, which that usurper had been for so many
years in the receipt of. Then he was--in truth and fact--very near in
succession to the ancient and distinguished Barony of Drelincourt, and
the extensive estates thereto annexed. He was young; by no means
ill-looking; and was--unmarried. Under the mask of _naïveté_ and
eccentricity, it was believed that he concealed great natural acuteness,
for the purpose of ascertaining who were his real and who only his
pretended friends and well-wishers, and that his noble relatives had
given in to his little scheme, for the purpose of aiding him in the
important discovery upon which he was bent. Infinite effect was thus
given to the earl's introductions. Wherever Titmouse went, he found new
and delightful acquaintances; and invitations to dinners, balls, routs,
soirées, came showering daily into his rooms at the Albany, where also
were left innumerable cards, bearing names of very high fashion. All who
had daughters or sisters in the market, paid eager and persevering court
to Mr. Titmouse, and still more so to the Earl of Dreddlington and Lady
Cecilia, his august _sponsors_; so that--such being the will of that
merry jade Fortune--they who had once regarded him as an object only of
shuddering disgust and ineffable contempt, and had been disposed to
order their servants to show him out again into the streets, were now,
in a manner, _magnified and made honorable_ by means of their connection
with him; or rather, society, through his means, had become suddenly
sensible of the commanding qualities and pretensions of the Earl of
Dreddlington and the Lady Cecilia. In the ball-room--at Almack's
even--how many young men, handsome, accomplished, and of the highest
personal consequence and rank, applied in vain for the hand of haughty
beauty, which Mr. Titmouse had only to ask for, and obtain! Whose was
the opera-box into which he might not drop as a welcome visitor, and be
seen lounging in envied familiarity with its fair and brilliant inmates?
Were there not mothers of high fashion, of stately pride, of sounding
rank, who would have humbled themselves before Titmouse, if thereby he
could have been brought a suitor to the feet of one of their delicate
and beautiful daughters? But it was not over the fair sex alone that the
magic of Mr. Titmouse's name and pretensions had obtained this great and
sudden ascendency; he excited no small attention among men of
fashion--great numbers of whom quickly recognized in him one very fit to
become their butt and their dupe. What signified it to men secure of
their own position in society, that they were seen openly associating
with one so outrageously absurd in his dress--and vulgar and ignorant
beyond all example? So long as he bled freely, and "_trotted out_,"
briskly and willingly, his eccentricities could be not merely tolerated,
but humored. Take, for instance, the gay and popular MARQUIS
GANTS-JAUNES DE MILLEFLEURS; but he is worth a word or two of
description, because of the position he had contrived to acquire and
retain, and the influence which he managed to exercise over a
considerable portion of London society. The post he was anxious to
secure was that of the leader of _ton_; and he wished it to appear that
that was the sole object of his ambition. While, however, he affected to
be entirely engrossed by such matters as devising new and exquisite
variations of dress, equipage, and cookery, he was, in reality, bent
upon graver pursuits--upon gratifying his own licentious tastes and
inclinations, with secrecy and impunity. He really despised _folly_,
cultivating and practising only _vice_; in which he was, in a manner, an
epicure. He was now about his forty-second year; had been handsome; was
of bland and fascinating address; variously accomplished; of exquisite
tact; of most refined taste. There was, however, a slight fulness and
puffiness about his features--an expression in his eye which spoke of
_satiety_--and spoke truly. He was a very proud, selfish, heartless
person; but these qualities he contrived to disguise from many of even
his most intimate associates. An object of constant anxiety to him, was
to ingratiate himself with the younger and weaker branches of the
aristocracy, in order to secure a distinguished _status_ in society, and
he succeeded. To gain this point, he taxed all his resources; never were
so exquisitely blended, as in his instance, with a view to securing his
_influence_, the qualities of dictator and parasite: he always appeared
the _agreeable equal_ of those whom, for his life, he dared not
seriously have offended. He had no fortune; no visible means of making
money--did not sensibly sponge upon his friends, nor fall into
conspicuous embarrassments; yet he always lived in luxury.--Without
money, he in some inconceivable manner always contrived to be in the
possession of money's worth. He had a magical power of soothing
querulous tradesmen. He had a knack of always keeping himself, his
_clique_, his sayings and doings, before the eye of the public, in such
a manner as to satisfy it that he was the acknowledged leader of
fashion. Yet was it in truth no such thing--but only a _false_ fashion;
there being all the difference between him, and a man of real
consequence, in society, that there is between mock and real
pearl--between paste and diamond. It was true that young men of sounding
name and title were ever to be found in his train, thereby giving real
countenance to one from whom they fancied (till they found out their
mistake) that they themselves derived celebrity; thus enabling him to
effect a lodgement in the outskirts of aristocracy; but he could not
penetrate inland, so to speak, any more than foreign merchants can
advance farther than to Canton, in the dominions of the Emperor of
China.[22] He was only tolerated in the regions of real rank and
fashion--a fact of which he had a very galling consciousness; though it
did not, apparently, disturb his equanimity, or interrupt the systematic
and refined sycophancy by which alone he could secure his precarious

With some sad exceptions, I think that Great Britain has reason to be
proud of her aristocracy. I do not speak now of those gaudy flaunting
personages, of either sex, who, by their excesses or eccentricities, are
eternally obtruding themselves, their manners, dress, and equipage, upon
the offended ear and eye of the public; but of those who occupy their
exalted sphere in simplicity, in calmness, and in unobtrusive dignity
and virtue. I am no flatterer or idolater of the nobility. I have a
profound sense of the necessity and advantage of the _institution_: but
I shall ever pay its _members_, personally, an honest homage only, after
a stern and keen scrutiny into their personal pretensions; thinking of
them ever in the spirit of those memorable words of Scripture--"_Unto
whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required_," and that not
hereafter only, but HERE also. No one would visit their faults and
follies with a more unsparing severity than I; yet making all just
allowances for their peculiar perils and temptations, exposed, as they
are, especially at the period of their entrance upon life, to sedulous
and systematic sycophancy, too often also to artful and designing
profligacy. Can, however, anything excite greater indignation and
disgust in the mind of a thoughtful and independent observer than the
instances occasionally exhibited of persons of rank presumptuously
imagining that they enjoy a sort of prescriptive immunity from the
consequences of misconduct? An insolent or profligate nobleman is a
spectacle becoming every day more dangerous to exhibit in this country;
of that he may be assured.

Such are _my_ sentiments--those of a contented member of the middle
classes, with whom are all his best and dearest sympathies, and who
feels as stern a pride in his "Order," and determination to "_stand by
it_" too, as ever was felt or avowed by the haughtiest aristocrat for
_his_; of one who, with very little personal acquaintance with the
aristocracy, has yet had opportunities of observing their conduct; and
sincerely and cheerfully expresses his belief, that very, very many of
them are worthy of all that they enjoy--are bright patterns of honor,
generosity, loyalty, and virtue; that, indeed, of by far the greater
proportion of them it may be said that they

    "Have borne their faculties so meek--have been
    So clear in their great office, that their virtues
    Will plead like angels."

And finally, I say these are the sentiments of one who, if that Order
were in jeopardy, would, with the immense majority of his brethren of
the middle classes, freely shed his blood in defence of it: for its
preservation is essential to the well-being of society, and its
privileges are really ours.

To return, however, to the marquis. The means to which, as I have above
explained, he resorted for the purpose, secured him a certain species of
permanent popularity. In matters of dress and equipage, he could really
set the fashion; and being something of a practical humorist, and
desirous of frequent exhibitions of his influence in order to enhance
his pretensions with his patrons--and being also greatly applauded and
indulged by the tradespeople profiting by the vagaries of fashion, he
was very capricious in the exercise of his influence. He seized the
opportunity of the advent of my little hero, to display his powers very
advantageously. He waved his wand over Titmouse, and instantly
transformed a little ass into a great lion. 'Twas the marquis, who with
his own hand had sketched off, from fancy, the portrait of Titmouse,
causing it to be exhibited in almost every bookseller's shop-window.
Well knew the marquis, that had he chosen to make his appearance once or
twice in the parks, and leading streets and squares, in--for
instance--the full and imposing evening costume of the clown at the
theatre, with cunningly colored countenance, capacious white
inexpressibles, and tasteful cap and jacket--within a few days' time
several thousands of clowns would make their appearance about town,
turning it into a vast pantomime. Could a more striking instance of the
marquis's power in such matters have been exhibited, than that which had
actually occurred in the case of Titmouse? Soon after the novel of
Tippetiwink had rendered our friend an object of public interest, the
marquis happened, somewhere or other, to catch a glimpse of the
preposterous little ape. His keen eye caught all Titmouse's personal
peculiarities at a glance; and a day or two afterwards he appeared in
public, a sort of splendid edition of Titmouse--with quizzing-glass
stuck in his eye and cigar in his mouth; taper ebony cane; tight
surtout, with the snowy corner of a white handkerchief peeping out of
the outside breast-pocket; hat with scarce any rim perched slantingly on
his head; satin stock bespangled with inwrought gold flowers;
shirt-collar turned down; and that inimitable strut of his!--'Twas
enough; the thoughtful young men about town were staggered for a moment;
but their senses soon returned. _The marquis_ had stamped the thing with
his fiat; and within three days' time, that bitter wag had called forth
a flight of _Titmice_ which would have reminded you, for a moment, of
the visitation of locusts brought upon Egypt by Moses. Thus had been
effected the state of things, recorded towards the close of the
preceding chapter of this history. As soon as the marquis had seen a few
of the leading fools about town fairly in the fashion, he resumed his
former rigid simplicity of attire; and, accompanied by a friend or two
in his confidence, walked about the town enjoying his triumph;
witnessing his trophies--"Tittlebats" and "Titmouseties" filling the
shop-windows on the week-days, and peopling the streets on Sundays. The
marquis was not long in obtaining an introduction to the quaint little
_millionaire_, whose reputation he had, conjointly with his
distinguished friend Mr. Bladdery Pip, contributed so greatly to extend.
Titmouse, who had often heard of him, looked upon him with inconceivable
reverence, and accepted an invitation to one of the marquis's
_recherché_ Sunday dinners, with a sort of tremulous ecstasy. Thither on
the appointed day he went accordingly, and, by his original humor,
afforded infinite amusement to the marquis's other guests. 'Twas lucky
for Titmouse that, getting dreadfully drunk very early in the evening,
he was utterly incapacitated from accompanying his brilliant and
good-natured host to one or two scenes of fashionable entertainment, in
St. James's Street, as had been arranged between the marquis and a few
of his friends!

Let us pause now to ask whether this poor little creature was not to be
pitied? Did he not seem to have been plucked out of his own sphere of
safe and comparatively happy obscurity, only in order to become every
one's game--an object of everybody's cupidity and cruelty? May he not be
compared to the flying-fish, who, springing out of the water to avoid
his deadly pursuer there, is instantly pounced upon by his ravenous
assailants in the air? In the lower, and in the upper regions of
society, was not this the condition of poor Tittlebat Titmouse? Was not
his long-coveted advancement merely a transition from scenes of vulgar
to refined rapacity? Had he, ever since "_luck_ had happened to him,"
had one single _friend_ to whisper in his ear one word of pity and of
disinterested counsel? In the splendid regions which he had entered,
who regarded him otherwise than as a legitimate object for plunder or
ridicule, the latter disguised by the _designing_ only? Was not even his
dignified and exemplary old kinsman, the Earl of Dreddlington, Right
Honorable as he was, influenced solely by considerations of paltry
self-interest? Had he not his own ridiculous and mercenary designs to
accomplish, amid all the attentions he vouchsafed to bestow upon
Titmouse? 'Twas, I think, old Hobbes of Malmesbury who held, that the
natural state of mankind was one of war with each other. One really sees
a good deal in life, especially after tracing the progress of society,
that would seem to give some color to so strange a notion. 'Twas, of
course, at first a matter of downright fisticuffs--of physical strife,
occasioned, in a great measure, by our natural tendencies, according to
him of Malmesbury; and aggravated by the desire which everybody had, to
take away from everybody else what he had. In process of time we have,
in a measure, dropped the physical part of the business; and instead of
punching, scratching, kicking, biting, and knocking down one another,
still true to the original principles of our nature, we are all
endeavoring to circumvent one another: everybody is trying to take
everybody in; the moment that one of us has got together a thing or two,
he is pounced upon by his neighbor, who in his turn falls a prey to
another, and so on in endless succession. We cannot effectually help
ourselves, though we are splitting our heads to discover devices by way
of laws, to restrain this propensity of our nature: it will not do; we
are all overreaching, cheating, swindling, robbing one another, and, if
necessary, are ready to ruin, maim, and murder one another in the
prosecution of our designs. So is it with nations as with individuals,
and minor collections of individuals. Truly, truly, we are a precious
set, whether the sage of Malmesbury be right or wrong in his

The more that the earl and Lady Cecilia perceived of Titmouse's
popularity, the more eager were they in parading their connection with
him, and openly investing him with the character of a protégé. In
addition to this, the Lady Cecilia had begun to have now and then a
glimmering notion of the objects which the earl was contemplating. If
the earl, having taken him down to the House of Lords, and secured him a
place at the bar, would, immediately on entering, walk up to him, and be
seen for some time--august instructor!--condescendingly pointing out to
him the different peers by name, as they entered, and explaining to his
intelligent auditor the period, and mode, and cause, of the creation and
accession of many of them to their honors, and also the forms,
ceremonies, and routine of business in the House; so Lady Cecilia was
not remiss in availing herself, in her way, of the little opportunities
which presented themselves. She invited him, for instance, one day early
in the week, to accompany them to church on the ensuing Sunday, and
during the interval gave out among her intimate friends that they might
expect to see Mr. Titmouse in her papa's pew. The lion accepted the
invitation; and, on the arrival of the appointed hour, might have been
seen in the earl's carriage, driving to attend the afternoon's service,
at the Reverend MORPHINE VELVET'S chapel--_Rosemary_ Chapel, near St.
James's Square. 'Twas a fashionable chapel; a chapel _of Ease_: rightly
so called, for it was a very _easy_ mode of worship, discipline, and
doctrine that was there practised and inculcated. If I may adopt without
irreverence the language of Scripture, but apply it very differently, I
should say that Mr. Morphine Velvet's yoke was _very_ "easy," his burden
_very_ "light." He was a popular preacher; middle-aged; sleek, serene,
solemn in his person and demeanor. He had a very gentlemanlike
appearance in the pulpit and reading-desk. There was a sort of soothing,
winning elegance and tenderness in the tone and manner in which he
"_prayed_" and "_besought_" his "dearly beloved brethren, as many as
were there present, to accompany him," their bland and graceful pastor,
"to the throne of the heavenly grace!" Fit leader was he of such a
flock. He read the prayers remarkably well, in a quiet and subdued tone,
very distinctly, and with marked emphasis and intonation--in fact, in a
most gentlemanly manner--having sedulously studied under a crack
theatrical teacher of elocution, who had given him several "points"--in
fact, a new reading entirely of one of the clauses in the Lord's Prayer;
and which, he had the gratification of perceiving, produced a striking,
if not, indeed, a startling effect. On the little finger of the hand
which he used most, was to be observed the sparkle of a diamond ring;
and there was a sort of careless grace in the curl of his hair, which it
had taken his hairdresser at least half an hour, before Mr. Velvet's
leaving home for his chapel, to secure. In the pulpit he was calm and
fluent. _That_, he rightly considered, ought not to be the scene for
attempting intellectual display. He took care, therefore, that there
should be nothing in his sermons to arrest the _understanding_, or
unprofitably occupy it; addressing himself entirely to the feelings and
fancy of his cultivated audience, in frequently interesting and even
charming imaginative compositions. On the occasion I am speaking of, he
took for his text a fearful passage of Scripture, 2 Cor. iv. 3,--"_But
if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost._" If any words
were calculated to startle such a congregation as was arrayed before Mr.
Velvet, out of their guilty and fatal apathy, were not these? Ought not
their minister to have looked round him and trembled? So one would have
thought; but "_dear_ Mr. Velvet" knew his mission and his flock better.
He presented them with an elegant description of heaven, with its
crystal battlements, its jasper walls, its buildings of pure gold, its
foundations of precious stones; its balmy air, its sounds of mysterious
melody, its overflowing fulness of everlasting happiness--amid which
friends, parted upon earth by the cruel stroke of death, recognize and
are reunited to each other, never more to pronounce the agonizing word
"adieu!" And would his dear hearers be content to lose all this--content
to _enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season_? Forbid it, eternal
mercy!--But lest a strain like this should disturb or distress his
hearers, he took the opportunity to enforce and illustrate the
consolatory truth that--

    "Religion never was design'd
    To _make our pleasures less_;"

and presently resuming the thread of his discourse, went on to speak of
the unquestionably serious consequences attending a persevering
indifference to religion; and proceeded to give striking instances of it
in--the merchant in his counting-house, and on 'change; the lawyer in
his office; the tradesman in his shop; the operative in the manufactory;
showing how each was absorbed in his calling--_laboring for the meat
which perisheth_, till he had lost all appetite and relish for spiritual
food, and never once troubled himself about "the momentous concerns of
hereafter!" Upon these topics he dwelt with such force and feeling, that
he sent his distinguished congregation away--those of them, at least,
who could retain any recollection of what they had heard for five
minutes after entering their carriages--with lively fears that there was
a very black look-out, indeed, for--the kind of persons whom Mr. Velvet
had mentioned--viz. tailors, milliners, mercers, jewellers, and so
forth; and who added graver offences, and of a more positive character,
to the misconduct which he had pointed out--in their extortion and their
rapacity! Would that some of them had been present!--Thus was it that
dear Mr. Velvet sent away his hearers overflowing with Christian
sympathy; very well pleased with Mr. Velvet, but infinitely better
pleased with themselves! The deep impression he had made, was evidenced
by a note which he received that evening from the Duchess of Broadacre;
most earnestly begging permission to copy his "beautiful sermon," in
order to send it to her sister, Lady Belle Almacks, who (through early
dissipation) was ill of a decline at Naples. I may as well here mention,
that about the time of which I am speaking, there came out an engraved
portrait of "the Rev. Morphine Velvet, M. A., Minister of Rosemary
Chapel, St. James," and a very charming picture it was, representing the
aforesaid Mr. Velvet in pulpit costume and attitude, with hands
gracefully outstretched, and his face directed upward, with a heavenly
expression; suggesting to you the possibility that some fine day, when
his hearers least expected it, he might gently rise out of his pulpit
into the air, like Stephen, with heaven open before him, and _be no more
seen of men!_

Four or five carriages had to set down before that containing the Earl
of Dreddlington, Lady Cecilia, and Mr. Titmouse, could draw up; by which
time there had accumulated as many in its rear, so eager were the pious
aristocrats to get into this _holy retreat_. As Titmouse, holding his
hat and cane in one hand, while with the other he arranged his hair,
strutted up the centre aisle, following the earl and Lady Cecilia, he
could hardly repress the exultation with which he thought of a former
visit of his to that very fabric some two years before. _Then_, on
attempting to enter the body of the chapel, the vergers had politely but
firmly repulsed him; on which, swelling with vexation, he had ascended
to the gallery, where, after having been kept standing for ten minutes
at least, he had been beckoned by the pew-opener towards, and squeezed
into, the furthermost pew, close at the back of the organ, and in which
said pew were two powdered footman. If disgusted with his mere
contiguity, guess what must have been his feelings when his nearest
companion good-naturedly forced upon him a part of his prayer-book;
which Titmouse, ready to spit in his face, held with his finger and
thumb, as though it had been the tail of a snake! _Now_, how changed was
all! He had become an aristocrat; in his veins ran some of the richest
and oldest blood in the country; his brow might ere long be graced by
the coronet which King Henry II. had placed upon the brow of the founder
of his family, some seven hundred years before; and a tall footman, with
powdered head, glistening silver shoulder-knot, and sky-blue livery, and
carrying in a bag the gilded implements of devotion, was humbly
following behind him! What a remarkable and vivid contrast between his
present and his former circumstances, was present at that moment to his
reflecting mind! As he stood, his hat covering his face, in an attitude
of devotion--"I wonder," thought he, "what all these nobs and swells
would say, if they knew the sort of figure I had cut here on the last
time?" and again--"'Pon my life, what would I give for--say
Huckaback--to see me just now!" What an elegant and fashionable air the
congregation wore! Surely there _must_ be something in religion, when
people such as were around him came so punctually to church, and behaved
so seriously! The members of that congregation were, indeed, exemplary
in their strict discharge of their public religious duties! Scarce one
of them was there who had not been at the opera till twelve o'clock
over-night; the dulcet notes of the singers were still thrilling in
their ears, the graceful attitudes of the dancers still present to their
eyes. Every previous night of the week had they been engaged in the
brilliant ball-room, and whirled in the mazes of the voluptuous waltz,
or glittering in the picturesque splendor of fancy dress, till three,
four, and five o'clock in the morning: yet here they were in the house
of God, in spite of all their exhaustion, testified by the heavy eye,
the ill-suppressed yawn, the languor and ennui visible in their
countenances, prepared to accompany their polite pastor, "with a pure
heart and humble voice, unto the throne of the heavenly grace," to
acknowledge, with lively emotion, that they "had followed too much the
devices and desires of their own hearts;" praying for "mercy upon them,
miserable offenders," that God would "restore them, being penitent," so
that "they might thereafter lead a godly, righteous, and sober life."
Here they were, punctual to their time, decorous in manner, devout in
spirit, earnest and sincere in repentance and good resolutions--knowing,
nevertheless the while, how would be spent the remainder of the
season--of their _lives_; and yet resolving to attend to the
respectfully affectionate entreaties of Mr. Velvet, to be "_not hearers
only, but doers of the word_." Generally, I should say, that the state
of mind of most, if not all of those present, was analogous to that of
persons who sit in the pump-room, to drink the Bath or Cheltenham
waters. Everybody did the same thing; and each hoped that, while sitting
in his pew, what he heard would, like what he drank at the pump-room, in
some secret mode of operation, insensibly benefit the hearer, without
subjecting him to any unpleasant restraint or discipline--without
requiring active exertion, or inconvenience, or sacrifice. This will
give you a pretty accurate notion of Lord Dreddlington's state of mind
upon the present occasion. With his gold glasses on, he followed with
his eye, and also with his voice, every word of the prayers, with rigid
accuracy and unwavering earnestness; but as soon as Mr. Velvet had
mounted the pulpit, and risen to deliver his discourse, the earl quietly
folded his arms, closed his eyes, and, in an attentive posture,
dignifiedly composed himself to sleep. Lady Cecilia sat beside him
perfectly motionless during the whole sermon, her eyes fixed languidly
upon the preacher. As for Titmouse, he bore it pretty well for about
five minutes; then he pulled his gloves off and on at least twenty
times; then he twisted his handkerchief round his fingers; then he
looked with a vexed air at his watch; then he stuck his glass in his
eye, and stared about him. By the time that Mr. Velvet had ceased,
Titmouse had conceived a very great dislike to him, and was indeed in a
fretful humor. But when the organ struck up, and they rose to go; when
he mingled with the soft, crushing, fluttering, rustling, satin-clad
throng--nodding to one, bowing to another, and shaking hands with a
third, he felt "himself again." The only difference between him and
those around him was, that _they_ had learned to bear with calm
fortitude what had so severely tried _his_ temper. All were glad to get
out: the crash of carriages at the door was music in their ears--the
throng of servants delightful objects to their eyes--they were, in
short, in the dear world again, and breathed as freely as ever!

Mr. Titmouse took leave of the earl and Lady Cecilia at their
carriage-door, having ordered his cab to be in waiting--as it was; and
entering it, he drove about leisurely till it was time to think of
dressing for dinner. He had accepted an invitation to dine with a party
of officers in the Guards, and a merry time they had on't. Titmouse in
due time got blind drunk; and then one of his companions, rapidly
advancing towards the same happy state, seized the opportunity, with a
burned cork, to blacken poor Titmouse's face all over--who thereupon
was pronounced to bear a very close resemblance to one of the black boys
belonging to the band of the regiment; and thus, when dead drunk,
afforded nearly as much fun to his companions as when sober. As he was
quite incapable of taking care of himself, they put a servant with him
into his cab, (judging his little tiger to be unequal to the

Titmouse passed a sad night, but got better towards the middle of the
ensuing day; when he was sufficiently recovered to receive two visitors.
One of them was young Lord Frederic Feather, (accompanied by a friend,)
both of whom had dined in company with Titmouse over-night; and his
Lordship it was, who, having decorated Titmouse's countenance in the way
I have described--so as to throw his valet almost into fits on seeing
him brought home--imagining it might possibly come to his ears who it
was that had done him such a favor, had come to acknowledge and
apologize for it frankly and promptly. When, however, he perceived what
a fool he had got to deal with, he suddenly changed his course--declared
that Titmouse had not only done it himself, but had then presumed to act
similarly towards his Lordship, whose friend corroborated the
charge--and they had called to receive, in private, _an apology_!
Titmouse's breath seemed taken away on first hearing this astounding
version of the affair. He swore that he had done nothing of the sort,
but had _suffered_ a good deal; dropping, however, from the tight rope,
on observing the stern looks of his companions, he protested that at all
events "he did not recollect" anything of the kind; on which they smiled
good-naturedly, and said that _that_ was very possible. Then Titmouse
made the requisite apology; and thus this "awkward affair" ended. Lord
Frederic continued for some time with Titmouse in pleasant chat; for he
foresaw that, "hard up" as he frequently was, Mr. Titmouse was a friend
who might be exceedingly serviceable. In fact, poor Lord Frederic could,
on that very occasion, have almost gone on his knees for a check of Mr.
Titmouse upon his bankers for a couple of hundred pounds. Oh, thought
that "noble" young spark--what would _he_ have given to be in Titmouse's
position, with his twenty thousand a-year, and a hundred thousand pounds
of hard cash! But, as the reader well knows, poor Titmouse's resources,
ample as they were, were upon a far less splendid scale than was
supposed. Partly from inclination, and partly through a temporary sense
of embarrassment, occasioned by the want of ready money, Titmouse did
not spend a tenth part of the sum which it had been everywhere supposed
he could disburse freely on all hands: and this occasioned him to be
given credit for possessing all that rumor assigned to him; and,
moreover, for a disposition not to squander it. He had several times
been induced to try his hand at écarté, rouge et noir, and hazard; and
had, on the first occasion or two, been a little hurried away, through
deference to his distinguished associates, and bled rather freely; but
when he found that it was a matter of _business_--that he must
_pay_--and felt his purse growing lighter, and his pocket-book, in which
he kept his bank-notes, rapidly shrinking in dimensions as the evening
wore on, he experienced vivid alarm and disgust, and an increasing
disinclination to be "victimized;" and his aversion to play was
infinitely strengthened by the frequent cautions of his distinguished
and disinterested monitor, the Earl of Dreddlington.

But there was one step in Mr. Titmouse's upward progress which he
presently took, and which is worthy of special mention; I mean his
presentation at court by the Earl of Dreddlington. The necessity for
such a move was explained to Titmouse by his illustrious kinsman, a day
or two after the appearance of the ordinary official announcement of the
next levee. This momentous affair was broached by the earl, one day
after dinner, with an air of almost mysterious anxiety and interest.
Had, indeed, that stately and solemn old simpleton been instructing his
gaping protégé, in the minutely-awful etiquettes requisite for the due
discharge of his duties, as an ambassador sent upon a delicate and
embarrassing mission to the court of his Sacred Majesty the King of
Sulkypunctilio, he could not have appeared more penetrated by a sense of
the responsibility he was incurring. He commenced by giving Titmouse a
very long history of the origin and progress of such ceremonies, and a
minute account of the practical manner of their observance, all of
which, however, was to Titmouse only like breathing upon a
mirror--passing as quickly out of one ear as it had entered into the
other. When, however, the earl came to the point of dress, Titmouse was
indeed "a thing all ear, all eye," his little faculties being stimulated
to their utmost. The next morning he hurried off to his tailor, to order
a court dress. When it had been brought home for trial, and he had put
it on, upon returning to his room in his new and imposing costume, and
glancing at his figure in the glass, his face fell; and he felt
infinitely disappointed. It is to be remembered in candor, however, that
he had not on lace ruffles at his coat-cuffs, nor on his shirt-front.
After gazing at himself for a few moments in silence, he suddenly
snapped his fingers, and exclaimed to the tailor, who, with the valet,
was standing beside him, "Curse me if I like this thing at all!"

"Not like it, sir!" exclaimed Mr. Clipclose, with astonishment.

"No, I don't, demme! Is _this_ a court dress? It's a quaker's made into
a footman's! 'Pon my soul, I look the exact image of a footman; and a
devilish vulgar one too!" The two individuals beside him turned
suddenly away--looking in different directions--and from their noses
there issued the sounds of ill-suppressed laughter.

"Oh, sir--I beg a thousand pardons!"--quickly exclaimed Mr. Clipclose,
"what can I have been thinking about? There's the sword--we've quite
forgot it!"

"Ah--'pon my life, I thought there was _something_ wrong!" quoth
Titmouse, as Mr. Clipclose, having brought the sword from the table at
the other end of the room, where he had laid it upon entering, buckled
it upon his distinguished customer.

"I flatter myself that _now_, sir"--commenced he.

"Ya--as--Quite the correct thing! 'Pon my soul--must say--most uncommon
striking!"--exclaimed Titmouse, glancing at his figure in the glass,
with a triumphant smile. "Isn't it odd, now, that this sword should make
all the difference between me and a footman, by Jove?" Here his two
companions were seized with a simultaneous fit of coughing.

"Ah, ha--it's _so_, a'n't it?" continued Titmouse, his eyes glued to the

"Certainly, sir," replied Mr. Clipclose, "it undoubtedly gives--what
shall I call it? a grace--a finish--a sort of commanding
appearance--especially to a figure that becomes it"--he continued with
cool assurance, observing that the valet understood him. "But--may I,
sir, take so great a liberty? If you are not accustomed to wear a
sword--as I think you said you had not been at court before--I beg to
remind you that it will require particular care to manage it, and
prevent it from getting between"----

"Demme, sir!" exclaimed Titmouse, turning round with an offended
air--"d'ye think I don't know how to manage a sword? By all that's
tremendous"--and plucking the taper weapon out of its scabbard, he
waved it over his head; and throwing himself into the first
position--he had latterly paid a good deal of attention to fencing--with
rather an excited air, he went through several of the preliminary
movements. 'Twas a subject for a painter, and exhibited a very striking
spectacle--as an instance of power silently concentrated, and ready to
be put forth upon an adequate occasion. The tailor and the valet, who
stood separate from each other, and at a safe and respectful distance
from Mr. Titmouse, gazed at him with silent admiration.

When the great day arrived--Titmouse having thought of scarce anything
else in the interval, and teased every one whom he had met with his
endless questions and childish observations on the subject--he drove up,
at the appointed hour, to the Earl of Dreddlington's; whose carriage,
with an appearance of greater state than usual about it, was standing at
the door. On alighting from his cab, he skipped so nimbly up-stairs,
that he could not have had time to observe the amusement which his
figure occasioned even to the well-disciplined servants of the Earl of
Dreddlington. Much allowance ought to have been made for them. Think of
Mr. Titmouse's little knee-breeches, white silks, silver shoe-buckles,
shirt ruffles and frills, coat, bag, and sword; and his hair, plastered
up with bear's grease, parted down the middle of his head, and curling
out boldly over each temple; and his open countenance irradiated with a
subdued smile of triumph and excitement! On entering the drawing-room he
beheld a really striking object--the earl in court costume, wearing his
general's uniform, with all his glistening orders, standing in readiness
to set off, and holding in his hand his hat, with its snowy plume. His
posture was at once easy and commanding. Had he been standing to Sir
Thomas Lawrence, he could not have disposed himself more effectively.
Lady Cecilia was sitting on the sofa, leaning back, and languidly
talking to him; and, from the start which they both gave on Titmouse's
entrance, it was plain that they could not have calculated upon the
extraordinary transmogrification he must have undergone, in assuming
court costume. For a moment or two, each was as severely shocked as when
his absurd figure had first presented itself in that drawing-room. "Oh,
heavens!" murmured Lady Cecilia: while the earl seemed struck dumb by
the approaching figure of Titmouse. That gentleman, however, was totally
changed from the Titmouse of a former day. He had now acquired a due
sense of his personal importance, a just confidence in himself.
Greatness had lost its former petrifying influence over him. And, as for
his appearance on the present occasion, _he_ had grown so familiar with
it, as reflected in his glass, that it never occurred to him that the
case might be different with others who beheld him for the first time.
The candor upon which I pride myself urges me to state, however, that
when Titmouse beheld the military air and superb equipments of the
earl--notwithstanding that Titmouse, too, wore a sword--he felt himself
_done_. He advanced, nevertheless, pretty confidently--bobbing about,
first to Lady Cecilia, and then to the earl; and after a hasty
salutation, observed,--"'Pon my life, my Lord, I hope it's no offence,
but your Lordship _does_ look most remarkable fine." The earl made no
reply, but inclined towards him magnificently--not seeing the meaning
and intention of Titmouse, but being affronted by his words.

"May I ask what your Lordship thinks of _me_? First time I ever appeared
in this kind of thing, my Lord--ha! ha, your Lordship sees!" As he
spoke, his look and voice betrayed the overawing effects of the earl's
splendid appearance, which was rapidly freezing up the springs of
familiarity, if not, indeed, of flippancy, which were bubbling up within
the little bosom of Titmouse, on his entering the room. His manner
became involuntarily subdued and reverential. The Earl of Dreddlington
in plain clothes, and in full court costume, were two very different
persons; though his Lordship would have been terribly mortified if he
had known that any one thought so. However much he now regretted having
offered to take Titmouse to the levee, there was no escape from the
calamity; so, after a few minutes' pause, his Lordship rang the bell,
and announced his readiness to set off. Followed by Mr. Titmouse, the
earl slowly descended the stairs; and when he was within two or three
steps of the hall floor, it distresses me to relate, that his Lordship
suddenly fell nearly flat upon his face, and, but for his servants'
rushing up, would have been seriously hurt. Poor Titmouse had been the
occasion of this dismal disaster; for his sword getting between his
legs, down he went against the earl, who went naturally down upon the
floor, as I have mentioned. Titmouse was not much hurt, but terribly
frightened, and became as pale as death when he looked at the earl; who
appeared a little agitated, but, not having been really injured, soon
recovered a considerable measure of self-possession. Profuse were poor
Titmouse's apologies, as may be supposed; but much as he was distressed
at what had taken place, a glance at the angry countenances with which
the servants regarded him, as if inwardly cursing his stupidity and
clumsiness, stirred up his spirit a little with a feeling of resentment.
He would have given a hundred pounds to have been able to discharge
every one of them on the spot!--

"Sir--enough has been said," quoth the earl, rather coldly and
haughtily, tired of the multiplied apologies and excuses of Titmouse. "I
thank God, sir, that I am not hurt, though at my time of life a fall is
not a slight matter. Sir," continued the earl, bitterly--again
interrupting Titmouse--"_you_ are not so much to blame as your tailor;
he should have explained to you how to wear your sword!" With this,
having cut Titmouse to the very quick, the earl motioned him towards the
door. They soon entered the carriage; the door was closed; and, with a
brace of footmen behind, away rolled these two truly distinguished
subjects to pay their homage to Majesty--which might well be proud of
such homage!--They both sat in silence for some time. At length--"Beg
your Lordship's pardon," quoth Titmouse, with some energy; "but I wish
your Lordship only knew how I _hate_ this cursed skewer that's pinned to
me:" and he looked at his sword, as if he could have snapped it into
halves, and thrown them through the window.

"Sir, I can appreciate your feelings. The sword was not to blame; and
_you_ have my forgiveness," replied the still ruffled earl.

"Much obliged to your Lordship," replied Titmouse, in a somewhat
different tone from any in which he had ever ventured to address his
august companion; for he was beginning to feel confoundedly nettled at
the bitter contemptuous manner which the earl observed towards him. He
was also not a little enraged with himself; for he knew he had been in
fault, and thought of the neglected advice of his tailor. So his natural
insolence, like a reptile just beginning to recover from its long
torpor, made a faint struggle to show itself--but in vain; he was quite
cowed and overpowered by the Presence in which he was, and he wished
heartily that he could have recalled even the few last words he had
ventured to utter. The earl had observed his presumptuous flippancy of
manner, though without appearing to do so. His Lordship was accustomed
to control his feelings; and on the present occasion made some effort to
do so, for fear of alienating Titmouse from him by any display of
offended dignity.

"Sir, it is a very fine day," he observed in a kind manner, after a
stern silence of at least five minutes.

"Remarkable fine, my Lord. I was just going to say so," replied
Titmouse, greatly relieved; and presently they fell into their usual
strain of conversation.

"We must learn to bear these little annoyances calmly," said the earl,
graciously, on Titmouse's again alluding to his mishap;--"as for me,
sir, a person in the station to which it has pleased Heaven to call me,
for purposes of its own, has his peculiar and very grave
anxieties--substantial anx"----

He ceased suddenly. The carriage of his old rival, the Earl of
Fitz-Walter, passed him; the latter waved his hand courteously; the
former, with a bitter smile, was forced to do the same; and then
relapsing into silence, showed that _the iron was entering his soul_.
Thus the earl in his own person afforded a striking illustration of the
truth of the observation which he had been making to Titmouse. Soon,
however, they had entered the scene of splendid hubbub, which at once
occupied and excited both their little minds. Without, was the eager
crowd, gazing with admiration and awe at each equipage, with its
brilliant occupants, that dashed past them:--then the life-guardsmen, in
glittering and formidable array, their long gleaming swords and polished
helmets glancing and flashing in the sunlight. Within, were the tall
yeomen of the guard, in black velvet caps and scarlet uniforms, and with
ponderous partisans, lining each side of the staircase--and who, being
in the exact military costume of the time of Henry the Eighth, forcibly
recalled those days of pomp and pageantry to the well-informed mind of
Mr. Titmouse. In short, for the first time in his life, he beheld, and
was overwhelmed by, the grandeur, state, and ceremony which fence in the
dread approaches to MAJESTY. He was, fortunately, far too much
bewildered and flustered, to be aware of the ill-concealed tittering and
even laughter which his appearance excited, wherever he went. In due
course he was borne on, and issued in due form into the presence
chamber--into the immediate presence of Majesty. His heart palpitated;
his dazzled eye caught a hasty glimpse of a tall magnificent figure and
a throne. Advancing--scarce aware whether on his head or his heels--he
reverently paid his homage--then rising, was promptly ushered out
through a different door; with no distinct impression of anything that
he had witnessed!--'twas all a dazzling blaze of glory--a dim vision of
awe! Little was he aware, poor soul, that the king had required him to
be pointed out upon his approach, having heard of his celebrity in
society; and that he had had the distinguished honor of occasioning to
Majesty a very great effort to keep its countenance. It was not till
after he had quitted the palace for some time, that he breathed freely
again. Then he began to feel as if a vast change had been effected in
him by some mysterious and awful agency--that he was penetrated and
pervaded, as it were, by the subtle essence of royalty--like one having
experienced the sudden, strange, thrilling, potent influence of
electricity. He imagined that now the stamp of greatness had been
impressed upon him; that his pretensions had been ratified by the
highest authority upon earth. 'Twas as if wine had been poured into a
stream, intoxicating the _tittlebats_ swimming about in it!--As for me,
however, seriously speaking, I question whether anything more than an
_imaginary_ change had come over my friend. Though I should be sorry to
quote against him language with which I have reason to believe he was
not _critically_ acquainted, I cannot help expressing an opinion that
Horace must have had in his eye a ROMAN TITMOUSE, when he penned those
bitter lines--

    "Licèt superbus ambules pecuniâ
    --Videsne Sacram metiente te Viam
      Cum bis ter ulnaram togâ,
    Ut ora vertat huc et huc euntium,
      Liberrima indignatio?
    --'Sectus flagellis hic triumviralibus
      Præconis ad fastidium,
    Arat Falerni mille fundi jugera,
      Et Appiam mannis terit!'"[23]

While Titmouse was making this splendid figure in the upper regions of
society, and forming there every hour new and brilliant connections and
associations--in a perfect whirl of pleasure from morning to night--he
did not ungratefully manifest a total forgetfulness of the amiable
persons with whom he had been so familiar, and from whom he had received
so many good offices, in his earlier days and humbler circumstances. Had
it not, however--to give the devil his due--been for Gammon, (who was
ever beside him, like a mysterious pilot, secretly steering his little
bark amid the strange, splendid, but dangerous seas which it had now to
navigate,) I fear that, with Titmouse, it would have been--out of sight
out of mind. But Gammon, ever watchful over the real interests of his
charge, and also delighted, through the native goodness of his heart, to
become the medium of conferring favors upon others, conveyed from time
to time, to the interesting family of the Tag-rags, special marks of Mr.
Titmouse's courtesy and gratitude. At one time, a haunch of _doe_
venison would find its way to Mr. Tag-rag, to whom Gammon justly
considered that the distinction between buck and doe was unknown; at
another, a fine work-box and a beautifully bound Bible found its way to
good Mrs. Tag-rag; and lastly, a gay guitar to Miss Tag-rag, who
forthwith began twang-twang, tang-a-tang-tanging it, from morning to
night, thinking with ecstasy of its dear distinguished donor; who,
together with Mr. Gammon, had, some time afterwards, the unspeakable
gratification, on the occasion of their being invited to dine at Satin
Lodge, of hearing her accompany herself with her beautiful instrument
while singing the following exquisite composition, for both the words
and air of which she had been indebted to her music-master, a youth with
black mustaches, long dark hair parted on his head, shirt-collars
à-la-Byron, and eyes full of inspiration!

                         TO HIM I LOVE.


                      Ah me! I feel the smart
  _Affettuosamente._  Of Cupid's cruel dart
                      Quivering in my heart,
                                Heigho, ah! whew!


                      With him I love
                      Swiftly time would move;
  _Allegro._          With his cigar,
                        And my guitar,
                          We'd smoke and play
                          The livelong day,
                                Merrily, merrily!
                                Tang-a-tang, tang-a-tang?


                      When he's not near me,
  _Adagio, et         O! of life I'm weary--
  con molto           The world is dreary--
  espressione._           Mystic spirits of song,
                          Wreathed with cypress, come along!
                            And hear me! hear me!
                                  Heigho, heigho--
  _Teneramente._                  Tootle, tootle, too,

Such were the tender and melting strains which this fair creature (her
voice a _little_ reedy and squeaking, it must be owned) poured into the
sensitive ear of Titmouse; and such are the strains by means of which,
many and many a Miss Tag-rag has captivated many and many a Titmouse; so
that sentimental compositions of this sort have become deservedly
popular, and do honor to our musical and poetical character as a nation.
I said that it was on the occasion of a dinner at Satin Lodge, that Mr.
Titmouse and Mr. Gammon were favored by hearing Miss Tag-rag's voice,
accompanying her guitar; for when Mr. Tag-rag had sounded Mr. Gammon,
and found that both he and Titmouse would be only too proud and happy to
partake of his hospitality, they were invited. A very crack affair it
was, (though I have not time to describe it)--given on a far more
splendid scale than Mr. Tag-rag had ever ventured upon before. He
brought a bottle of _champagne_ all the way from town with his own
hands, and kept it nice and cool in the kitchen cistern for three days
beforehand; and there was fish, soup, roast mutton, and roast ducks,
roast fowls, peas, cabbage, cauliflowers, potatoes, vegetable marrows;
there was an apple-pie, a plum-pudding, custards, creams, jelly, and a
man to wait, hired from the tavern at the corner of the hill. It had not
occurred to them to provide themselves with champagne glasses, so they
managed as well as they could with the common ones--all but Titmouse,
who with a sort of fashionable recklessness, to show how little he
thought of champagne, poured it out into his _tumbler_, which he
two-thirds filled, and then drank off its contents at a draught! Mr.
Tag-rag trying to disguise the inward spasm it occasioned him, by a very
grievous smile. He and Mrs. Tag-rag exchanged anxious looks; the whole
of their sole bottle of champagne was gone already--almost as soon as it
had been opened!

"I always drink this sort of stuff out of a tumbler; I do--'pon my
life," said Titmouse, carelessly; "it's a devilish deal more pleasant
than sipping it out of wine glasses!"

"Ye-e-s--of course it is, sir," said Mr. Tag-rag, rather faintly.
Shortly afterwards, Titmouse offered to take a glass of champagne with
Miss Tag-rag!--Her father's face flushed; and at length, with a bold
effort, "Why, Mr. Titmouse," said he, trying desperately to look
unconcerned--"the--the fact is, I never keep more than a dozen or so in
my cellar--and most unfortunately I found this afternoon that six
bottles had--burst--I assure you."

"'Pon my soul, sorry to hear it," quoth Titmouse, in a patronizing way;
"must send you a dozen of my own--I always keep about fifty or a hundred
dozen. Oh, I'll send you half a dozen!"

Tag-rag scarcely knew, for a moment, whether he felt pleased or
mortified at this stroke of delicate generosity. Thus it was that
Titmouse evinced a disposition to shower marks of his favor and
attachment upon the Tag-rags, in obedience to the injunctions of Gammon,
who assured him that it continued to be of very great importance for him
to secure the good graces of Mr. Tag-rag. So Mr. Titmouse now drove up
to Satin Lodge in his cab, and then rode thither, followed by his
stylish groom; and on one occasion, artful little scamp! happening to
find no one at home but Miss Tag-rag, he nevertheless alighted, and
stayed for nearly ten minutes, behaving precisely in the manner of an
accepted suitor, aware that he might do so with impunity since there was
no witness present; a little matter which had been suggested to him by
Mr. Gammon. Poor Miss Tag-rag's cheek he kissed with every appearance of
ardor, protesting that she was a monstrous lovely creature; and he left
her in a state of delighted excitement, imagining herself the destined
mistress of ten thousand a-year--the blooming bride of the gay and
fashionable Mr. Titmouse. When her excellent parents heard of what had
that day occurred between Mr. Titmouse and their daughter, they also
looked upon the thing as quite settled, and were eager in their
expressions of gratitude to Providence. In the mean while, the stream of
prosperity flowed steadily in upon Mr. Tag-rag, his shop continuing
crowded; his shopmen doubled in number:--in fact, he at length actually
received, instead of giving payment, for allowing young men to serve a
short time in so celebrated an establishment, in order that they might
learn the first-rate style of doing business, and when established on
their own account, write up over their doors--"Timothy Tape, _late from
Tag-rag & Co., Oxford Street_."

Determined to make hay while the sun shone, he resorted to several
little devices for that purpose, such as a shirt-front with frills in
the shape of a capital "T," and of which, under the name of "_Titties_,"
he sold immense numbers among the Eastern _swells_ of London. At length
it occurred to Gammon to suggest to Titmouse a mode of conferring upon
his old friend and master a mark of permanent, public, and substantial
distinction; and this was, the obtaining for him, through the Earl of
Dreddlington, an appointment as one of the _royal tradesmen_--namely,
draper and hosier to the king. When Mr. Tag-rag's disinterested and
indefatigable benefactor, Gammon, called one day in Oxford Street, and,
motioning him for a moment out of the bustle of his crowded shop,
mentioned the honor which Mr. Titmouse was bent upon doing his utmost,
at Mr. Gammon's instance, to procure for Mr. Tag-rag, that respectable
person was quite at a loss for terms in which adequately to express his
gratitude. Titmouse readily consented to name the thing to the great
man, and urge it in the best way he could; and he performed his promise.
The earl listened to his application with an air of anxiety. "Sir," said
he, "the world is acquainted with my reluctance to ask favors of those
in office. When I was in office myself, I felt the inconvenience of such
applications abundantly. Besides, the appointment you have named,
happens to be one of considerable importance, and requiring great
influence to procure it. Consider, sir, the immense number of tradesmen
there are of every description, of whom drapers and hosiers (according
to the last returns laid before Parliament at the instance of my friend
Lord Goose) are by far the most numerous. All of them are naturally
ambitious of so high a distinction: yet, sir, observe, that there is
only one king and one royal family to serve. My Lord Chamberlain is, I
have no doubt, harassed by applicants for such honors as you have

Hereat Titmouse got startled at the unexpected magnitude of the favor he
had applied for; and, declaring that he did not care a curse for
Tag-rag, begged to withdraw his application. But the earl, with a mighty
fine air, interrupted him--"Sir, you are not in the least presuming upon
your relationship with me, nor do I think you overrate the influence I
may happen--in short, sir, I will make it my business to see my Lord
KO-TOO this very day, and sound him upon the subject."

That same afternoon an interview took place between the two
distinguished noblemen, Lord Dreddlington and Lord Ko-too. Each
approached the other upon stilts. After a display of the most delicate
tact on the part of Lord Dreddlington, Lord Ko-too, who made a mighty
piece of work of it, promised to consider the application.


Within a day or two afterwards, Mr. Tag-rag received a letter from the
Lord Chamberlain's office, notifying him that his Majesty had been
graciously pleased to appoint him draper and hosier to his Majesty! It
occasioned him feelings of tumultuous pride and pleasure, similar to
those with which the Earl of Dreddlington would have received tidings of
his long-coveted marquisate having been conferred upon him. He started
off, within a quarter of an hour after the receipt of the letter, to a
carver and gilder a few doors off, and gave orders for the immediate
preparation of a first-rate cast, gilded, of the royal arms; which, in
about a week's time, might be seen, a truly resplendent object,
dazzlingly conspicuous over the central door of Mr. Tag-rag's
establishment, inspiring awe into the minds of passers-by, and envy into
Mr. Tag-rag's neighbors and rivals. He immediately sent off letters of
gratitude to Mr. Titmouse, and to "the Right Honorable, the Most Noble
the Earl of Dreddlington;" to the latter personage, at the same time,
forwarding a most splendid crimson satin flowered dressing-gown, as "an
humble token of his gratitude for his Lordship's mark of particular

Both the letter and the dressing-gown gave great satisfaction to the
earl's valet, (than whom they never got any farther,) and who, having
tried on the glistening addition to his wardrobe, forthwith sat down and
wrote a very fine reply, in his Lordship's name, to the note which had
accompanied it, taking an opportunity to satisfy his conscience, by
stating to the earl the next morning that a Mr. Tag-rag had "_called_"
to express his humble thanks for his Lordship's goodness. He was,
moreover, so well satisfied with this specimen of Mr. Tag-rag's
articles, that he forthwith opened an account with him, and sent a very
liberal order to start with. The same thing occurred with several of the
subordinate functionaries at the palace; and--to let my reader, a little
prematurely, however, into a secret--this was the extent of the
additional custom which Mr. Tag-rag's appointment secured him; and, even
for these supplies, I never heard of his getting paid. But it did
wonders with him in the estimation of the world. 'Twas evident that he
was in a fair way of becoming the head house in the trade. His
appointment caused no little ferment in that nook of the city with which
he was connected. The worshipful Company of Squirt-Makers elected him a
member; and on a vacancy suddenly occurring in the ward to which he
belonged, for he had a considerable shop in the city also, he was made a
common council-man. Mr. Tag-rag soon made a great stir as a champion of
civil and religious liberty. As for church and county rates, in
particular, he demonstrated the gross injustice and absurdity of calling
upon one who had no _personal_ occasion for the use of a church, of a
county bridge, a county jail, or a lunatic asylum, to be called upon to
contribute to the support of them. A few speeches in this strain
attracted so much attention to him, that several leading men in the ward
(a very "liberal" one) intimated to him that he stood the best chance of
succeeding to the honor of alderman on the next vacancy; and when he and
Mrs. Tag-rag were alone together, he would start the subject of the
expenses of the mayoralty with no little anxiety. He went to the chapel
no longer on foot, but in a stylish sort of covered gig, with a kind of
coal-scuttle shaped box screwed on behind, into which was squeezed his
footboy, (who, by the way, had a thin stripe of crimson let into each
leg of his trousers, upon Mr. Tag-rag's appointment to an office under
the Crown;) he was, also, always a trifle later in arriving at the
chapel, than he had been accustomed to be. He had a crimson velvet
cushion running along the front of his pew, and the Bibles and
hymn-books very smartly gilded. He was presently advanced to the honored
post of chief deacon; and on one occasion, in the unexpected absence of
the central luminary of the system, was asked to occupy the chair at a
DISCORD; when he took the opportunity of declaring his opinion, which
was enthusiastically cheered, that the principles of free trade ought to
be applied to religion; and that the voluntary system was that which was
designed by God to secure the free blessings of competition in spiritual
teaching. As for Satin Lodge, he stuck two little wings to it; and had
one of the portraits of Tittlebat Titmouse (as Tippetiwink) hung over
his drawing-room mantel-piece, splendidly framed and glazed.

Some little time after Tag-rag had obtained the royal appointment, which
I have been so particular in recording, Gammon, _happening_ to be
passing his shop, stepped in, and observing Mr. Tag-rag, very cordially
greeted him; and then, as if it had been a thought of the moment only,
without taking him from the shop, intimated that he had been westward,
engaged in completing the formal details of a rearrangement of the
greater portion of Mr. Titmouse's extensive estates, upon which that
gentleman had recently determined, and the sight of Mr. Tag-rag's
establishment had suggested to Mr. Gammon, that possibly Mr. Tag-rag
would feel gratified at being made a party--for form's sake--to the
transaction; as Mr. Gammon was sure that Mr. Titmouse would feel
delighted at having associated with the Earl of Dreddlington, and one
or two other persons of distinction, in the meditated arrangement, the
name of so early and sincere a friend as Mr. Tag-rag; "one who,
moreover"--here Gammon paused, and gave a smile of inexpressible
significance, "but it was not for _him_ to hint his suspicions"----

"Sir--I--I--_will_ you come into my room?" interrupted Tag-rag, rather
eagerly, anxious to have a more definite indication of Mr. Gammon's
opinion; but that gentleman, looking at his watch, pleaded want of time,
and suddenly shaking Mr. Tag-rag by the hand, moved towards the door.

"You were talking of signing, sir--Have you got with you what you want
signed? I'll sign anything!--anything for Mr. Titmouse; only too
proud--it's quite an honor to be in any way connected with him!" Gammon,
on hearing this, felt in his pockets, as if he supposed that he should
find there what he perfectly well knew had been lying ready, cut and
dried, in his safe at Saffron Hill for months.

"I find I have not got the little document with me," said he,
carelessly; "I suppose it's lying about, with other loose papers, at the
office, or I may have left it at the earl's"--[though Gammon's objects
required him here to allude to the Earl of Dreddlington, I think it only
fair to say that he had never been, for one instant in his life, in that
great man's company.]

"I'll tell you what, Mr. Gammon." said Tag-rag, considering--"Your
office is at Saffron Hill? Well, I shall be passing in your direction
to-morrow, on my way to my city establishment, about noon, and will look
in and do all you wish."

"Could you arrange to meet the earl there?--or, as his Lordship's
movements are--ah, ha!--not very"----

"Should be most proud to meet his Lordship, sir, to express my personal

"Oh, the earl never likes to be reminded, Mr. Tag-rag, of any little
courtesy or kindness he may have conferred! But if you will be with us
about twelve, we can wait a little while; and if his Lordship should not
be punctual, we must even let you sign first, ah, ha!--and explain it to
his Lordship on his arrival, for I know your time is very precious, Mr.
Tag-rag! Gracious! Mr. Tag-rag, what a constant stream of customers you
have!--I heard it said, the other day, that you were rapidly absorbing
all the leading business in your line in Oxford Street."

"You're very polite, Mr. Gammon! Certainly, I've no reason to complain.
I always keep the best of everything, both here and in the city, and
sell at the lowest prices, and spare no pains to please; and it's hard

"Ah, how do you do?" quoth Gammon, suddenly starting, and bowing to some
one on the other side of the way, whom he did _not_ see. "Well,
good-day, Mr. Tag-rag--good-day! To-morrow at twelve, by the way?"

"I'm yours to command, Mr. Gammon," replied Tag-rag; and so they parted.
Just about twelve o'clock the next day, the latter, in a great bustle,
saying he had fifty places to call at in the city, made his appearance
at Saffron Hill.

"His Lordship a'n't here, I suppose?" quoth he, after shaking hands with
Mr. Quirk and Mr. Gammon. The latter gentleman pulled out his watch,
and, shrugging his shoulders, said with a smile, "No--we'll give him
half an hour's grace."

"Half an hour, my dear sir!" exclaimed Tag-rag, "I couldn't stay so
long, even for the high honor of meeting his Lordship. I am a man of
business, he isn't; first come first served, you know, eh? All fair
that!" There were a good many recently engrossed parchments and writings
scattered over the table, and from among them Gammon, after tossing
them about for some time, at length drew out a sheet of foolscap. It was
stamped, and there was writing upon the first and second pages.

"Now, gentlemen, quick's the word--time's precious!" said Tag-rag,
taking up a pen and dipping it into the inkstand. Gammon, with an
unconcerned air, placed before him the document he had been looking for.
"Ah, how well I know the handwriting! That flourish of his--a sort of
boldness about it, a'n't there?" said Tag-rag, observing the signature
of Titmouse immediately above the spot on which he was going to place
his own; there being written in pencil, underneath, the word
"Dreddlington," evidently for the intended signature of the earl. "I'm
between two good ones, at any rate, eh?" said Tag-rag. Gammon or Quirk
said something about a "term to attend the inheritance"--"trustee of an
outstanding term"--"legal estate vested in the trustees"--"too great
power to be put in the hands of any but those of the highest honor."

"Stay!" quoth Gammon, ringing his little hand-bell--"nothing like
regularity, even in trifles." He was answered by one of the clerks, a
very dashing person--"We only wish you to witness a signature," said
Gammon. "Now, we shall release you, Mr. Tag-rag, in a moment. Say 'I
deliver this as my act and deed'--putting your finger on the little
wafer there."

So said and so did Mr. Tag-rag as he had been directed; the clerk wrote
his name under the witnessing clause, "Abominable Amminadab;" and from
that moment Mr. Tag-rag had unconsciously acquired an interest in the
future stability of Mr. Titmouse's fortunes, to the extent of some FORTY

"_Now_, gentlemen, you'll make my compliments to his Lordship, and if he
asks how I came to sign before him, explain the hurry I was in. Time and
tide wait for no man. Good-morning, gentlemen; good-morning; best
regards to our friend, Mr. Titmouse." Gammon attended him to the door,
cordially shaking him by the hand, and presently returned to the room he
had just quitted, where he found Mr. Quirk holding in his hand the
document just signed by Tag-rag; which was, in fact, a joint and several
bond, conditioned in a penalty of forty thousand pounds, for the due
repayment, by Titmouse, of twenty thousand pounds, and interest at five
per cent, about to be advanced to him on mortgage of a portion of the
Yatton property. Gammon, sitting down, gently took the instrument from
Mr. Quirk, and with a bit of India-rubber calmly effaced the pencilled
signature of "_Dreddlington_."

"You're a ve--ry clever fellow, Gammon!" exclaimed Mr. Quirk, presently,
with a sort of sigh, and after, as it were, holding his breath for some
time. Gammon made no reply. His face was slightly pale, and wore an
anxious expression. "It will do _now_," continued Mr. Quirk, rubbing his
hands, and with a gleeful expression of countenance.

"That remains to be seen," replied Gammon, in a low tone.

"Eh? What? Does anything occur--eh? By Jove, no screw loose, I hope?"

"No--but we're in _very deep water_ now, Mr. Quirk"----

"Well--devil only cares, so long as _you_ keep a sharp look-out, Gammon.
I'll trust the helm to you! I'll pit you against Old Nick any day,
friend Gammon!"

As Gammon did not seem in a talkative mood, Quirk shortly afterwards
left him.

Now, though Mr. Tag-rag is no favorite of mine, I begin to feel a good
deal of anxiety on his behalf. I wish he had not been in so vast a
"hurry," in a matter which required such grave deliberation, as
"signing, sealing, and delivering." When a man is called on to go
through so serious a ceremony, it would be well if he could be apprised
of the significance of the formula--_"I deliver this as my act and
deed."_ Thus hath expressed himself upon this point, a great authority
in the law, old Master Plowden. 'T is a passage somewhat quaint in form,
but not the less forcible and important in substance:--

     "Words are oft _spoken_ unadvisedly, and pass from men lightly and
     inconsiderately; but, where the agreement is by _deed_, there is
     more time for deliberation; for when a man passes a thing by deed,
     first, there is the determination of the mind to do it, and upon
     that he causes it to be _written_, which is one part of
     deliberation; and, afterwards, he _puts his seal to it_, which is
     another part of deliberation; and, lastly, he _delivers the writing
     as his deed_, which is the consummation of his resolution. So that
     there is great deliberation used in the making of deeds, for which
     reason they are received as a _lien_, final to the party, and are
     adjudged to bind the party, without examining upon what cause or
     consideration they were made."[24]

Possibly some one now reading these pages hath had most dismal
experience in the matter above mentioned; and I hope that such dismal
experience, a due reflection will avert from many a reader. As for
Tag-rag, it may turn out that our fears for him are groundless:
nevertheless _one hates to see men do important things in a
hurry_:--and, as we shall lose sight of Mr. Tag-rag for some time, there
can be no harm in wishing him well out of what he has just done.

    "If it were _done_ when 't is done, then 't were well
    It were done _quickly_"--

and not otherwise.

The London season was now advancing towards its close. Fine ladies were
sated and exhausted with operas, concerts, balls, routs, soirées,
assemblies, bazaars, fêtes, and the Park. Their lords were getting
tired of their clubs during the day, and hurried dinners, late hours,
foul air, and long speeches, at the two Houses; where, however they
might doze away the time, they could seldom get the luxury of a
downright nap for more than an hour or two together--always waking, and
fancying themselves in the tower of Babel, and that it was on fire, so
strange and startling were the lights and the hubbub! The very
whippers-in were looking jaded and done--each being like a Smithfield
drover's dog on a Monday night, which at length can neither bark nor
bite in return for a kick or a blow, and, hoarse and wearied, falls
asleep on his way home--a regular somnambulist. Where the Earl of
Dreddlington and Lady Cecilia were to pass their autumn, was a question
which they were beginning to discuss rather anxiously. Any one glancing
over their flourishing list of residences in England, Scotland, Wales,
and Ireland, which were paraded in the Peerages and Court Guides, would
have supposed that they had an ample choice before them: but the reader
of this history knows better. The mortifying explanation--mortifying to
the poor earl--having been once given by me, I shall not again do so.
Suffice it to say, that Poppleton Hall, Hertfordshire, had its
disadvantages; there they must keep up a full establishment, and receive
county company and other visitors--being in arrear with much
hospitality. 'Twas expensive work, also, at the watering-places; and
expensive and also troublesome to go abroad at the earl's advanced
period of life. Pensively ruminating on these matters one evening, they
were interrupted by a servant bringing in a note, which proved to be
from Titmouse--inviting them, in terms of profound courtesy and great
cordiality, to honor Yatton, by making a stay there during as great a
portion of the autumn as they could not better occupy. Mr. Titmouse
frankly added, that he could not avoid acknowledging some little degree
of selfishness in giving the invitation--namely, in expressing a hope
that the earl's presence would afford him, if so disposed, an
opportunity of introducing his host to any of the leading members of the
county who might be honored by the earl's acquaintance; that, situated
as Titmouse was, he owned to an increasing anxiety on that point. He
added, that he trusted the earl and Lady Cecilia would consider Yatton,
while they were there, as in all respects their own residence, and that
no exertion should be wanting to render their stay as agreeable as
possible. The humble appeal of Titmouse prevailed with his august
kinsman; who, on the next day, sent him a letter saying that his
Lordship fully recognized the claims which Mr. Titmouse had upon him as
the head of the family, and that his Lordship should feel very glad in
availing himself of the opportunity which offered itself, of placing Mr.
Titmouse on a proper footing of intercourse with the people of the
county. That, for this purpose, His Lordship should decline any
invitations they might receive to pass their autumn elsewhere, &c. &c.
&c. In plain English, they jumped (but as decorously as possible) at the
invitation. It had emanated originally from Gammon, who, from motives of
his own, had suggested it to Titmouse, bade him act upon it, and had
drawn up the letter conveying it. I say, from motives of his own, Gammon
was bent upon becoming personally acquainted with the earl, and fixing
himself, if possible, thoroughly in his Lordship's confidence. He had
contrived to ascertain from Titmouse, without that gentleman's being,
however, aware of it, that the few occasions on which his (Gammon's)
name had been mentioned by the earl, it had been accompanied by
slighting expressions--by indications of even dislike and suspicion.
Give him, however, thought he, but the opportunity, and he could very
soon change the nature of the earl's feelings towards him. As soon,
therefore, as the earl's acceptance of the invitation had been
communicated to Gammon, he resolved to be one of the guests at Yatton
during the time of the earl's stay--a step, into the propriety of which
he easily brought Mr. Quirk to enter, but which he did not, for the
present, communicate to Titmouse, lest he should, by prematurely
disclosing it to the earl, raise any obstacle, arising out of an
objection on the part of his Lordship; who, if he but found Gammon
actually _there_, must submit to the infliction with what grace he
might. In due time it was notified on the part of the earl, by his man
of business, to Mr. Titmouse, (who had gone down to Yatton,) through
_his_ man of business, that the earl, and a formidable portion of his
establishment, would make their appearance at Yatton by a named day. The
earl had chosen to extend the invitation to Miss Macspleuchan and also
to as many attendants as he thought fit to take with him, instead of
letting them consume their board wages in entire idleness in town or at
Poppleton. Heavens! what accommodation was required, for the earl, for
the Lady Cecilia, each of their personal attendants, Miss Macspleuchan,
and five servants! Then there were two other guests invited, in order to
form company and amusement for the earl--the Marquis Gants-Jaunes de
Millefleurs, and a Mr. Tuft. Accommodation must be had for these; and,
to secure it, Mr. Titmouse and Mr. Gammon were driven to almost the
extremities of the house. Four servants, in a sort of baggage-wagon,
preceded the arrival of the earl and Lady Cecilia by a day or two, in
order to "arrange everything;" and, somehow or another, one of the first
things that was done with this view, was to install his Lordship's chief
servants in the quarters of Mr. Titmouse's servants, who, it was
suggested, should endeavor to make themselves as comfortable as they
could in some little unfurnished rooms over the stables! And, in a word,
before Mr. Titmouse's grand guests had been at the Hall four-and-twenty
hours, there was established there the same freezing state and solemn
ceremony which prevailed in the earl's own establishment. Down came at
length, thundering through the village, the earl's dusty
travelling-carriage and four; himself, Lady Cecilia, and Miss
Macspleuchan within, his valet and Lady Cecilia's maid behind: presently
it wound round the park road, crashing and flashing through the gravel,
and rattling under the old gateway, and at length stood before the Hall
door--the reeking horses pulled up with a sudden jerk, which almost
threw them all upon their haunches. Mr. Titmouse was in readiness to
receive his distinguished visitors; the carriage-door was opened--down
went the steps--and in a few moments' time the proud old Earl of
Dreddlington and his proud daughter, having entered the Hall, had become
the guests of its flustered and ambitious little proprietor. While all
the visitors--great and small--are occupied in their dressing-rooms,
recovering themselves from the cramp and fatigue of a long journey, and
are preparing to make their appearance at dinner, let me take the
opportunity to give you a sketch of the only one of them, of the smaller
sort, to whom you are at present a stranger: I mean Mr. Tuft--Mr. VENOM

Oft hath an inexperienced mushroom-hunter, deceived at a distance, run
up to secure what seemed to be a fine cluster of mushrooms, growing
under the shade of a stately tree, but which, on stooping down to gather
them, he discovers with disappointment and disgust to be no mushrooms at
all, but vile, unwholesome--even poisonous funguses: which, to prevent
their similarly deluding others, he kicks up and crushes under foot. And
is not this a type of what often happens in society? Under the "cold
shade of aristocracy," how often is to be met with--the SYCOPHANT?--Mr.
Venom Tuft was one of them. His character was written in his face.
Disagreeable to look at--though _he_ thought far otherwise--he yet
contrived to make himself pleasant to be listened to, for a while, by
the languid and _ennuyé_ fashionable. He spoke ever--

                      "In a _toady's_ key,
    With bated breath and whispering humbleness."

His person was at once effeminate and coarse; his gesture and address
were cringing--there was an intolerable calmness and gentleness about
them at all times, but especially while laboring in his vocation. He had
the art of administering appropriate and acceptable flattery by a look
only, deferential and insinuating--as well as by words. He had always at
command a copious store of gossip, highly seasoned with scandal; which
he collected and prepared with industry and judgment. Clever toadies are
generally bitter ones. With sense enough to perceive, but not spirit
enough to abandon their odious propensities, they are aware of the
ignominious spectacle they exhibit before the eyes of men of the least
degree of independence and discernment, and whose open contempt they
have not power or manliness enough to resent. Then their smothered rage
takes an inward turn; it tends to, and centres in the tongue, from which
it falls in drops of scalding virus; and thus it is, that the functions
of sycophant and slanderer are so often found united in the same
miserable individual. Does a sycophant fancy that his patron--if one may
use such a term--is not aware of his degrading character and position?
Would that he could but hear himself spoken of by those in whose
presence he has last been prostrating himself! If he could but for one
moment "see himself as others see him"--surely he would instantly
wriggle out of the withering sight of man! But Mr. Tuft was not an
everyday toady. Being a clever man, it occurred to him as calculated
infinitely to enhance the value of his attentions, if he could get them
to be regarded as those of a man of some ability and reputation. So
reasonable a wish, as thus to rise to eminence in the calling in life to
which he had devoted himself--viz. toadyism--stimulated him to
considerable exertion, which was in time rewarded by a measure of
success; for he began to be looked on as _something_ of a literary man.
Then he would spend his mornings in reading up, in those quarters whence
he might cull materials for display in society at a later period of the
day; when he would watch his opportunity, or, if none presented itself,
make one, by diverting the current of conversation into the channel on
which was the gay and varied bordering of his very recent acquisitions.
All his knowledge was of this gossiping _pro hâc vice_ character.----He
was very skilful in administering his flattery. Did he dine with his
Grace, or his Lordship, whose speech in the House appeared in that or
the preceding day's newspapers? Mr. Tuft got it up carefully, and also
the speech in answer to it, with a double view--to show himself at home
in the question! and then to differ a little with his Grace, or his
Lordship, in order to be presently convinced, and set right by them! Or
when conversation turned upon the topics which had, over-night, called
up his Grace or his Lordship on his legs, Mr. Tuft would softly break in
by observing that such and such a point had been "admirably put in the
debate by _some one_ of the speakers--he did not recollect whom;" and on
being apprised of, and receiving a courteous bow from, the great man
entitled to the undesigned compliment, look _so_ surprised--almost,
indeed, piqued! Carefully, however, as he managed matters, he was soon
found out by _men_, and compelled to betake himself, with ten-fold
ardor, to the women, with whom he lasted a little longer. _They_
considered him a great literary man; for he could quote and criticise a
good deal of poetry, and abuse many novels. He could show that what
everybody else admired was full of faults; what all condemned was
admirable: so that the fair creatures were forced to distrust their own
judgment, in proportion as they deferred to his. He would allow no one
to be entitled to the praise of literary excellence except individuals
of rank, and one or two men of established literary reputation, who had
not thought it worth their while to repel his obsequious advances, or
convenient not to do so. Then he would polish the poetry of fine ladies,
touch up their little tales, and secure their insertion in fashionable
periodicals. On these accounts, and of his piquant tittle-tattle, no
soirée or conversazione was complete without him, any more than without
tea, coffee, ice, or lemonade. All toadies hate one another; but his
brethren both hated and feared Mr. Tuft; for he was not only so
successful himself, but possessed and used such engines for _depressing
them_. Mr. Tuft had hoped to succeed in being popped in by one of his
patrons for a snug little borough; but the great man got tired of him,
and turned him off, though the ladies of the family still secured him
occasional access to the dinner-table. He did not, however, make a very
grateful return for such good-natured condescensions. Ugly and ungainly
as he was, he yet imagined himself possessed of personal attractions for
the ladies, and converted their innocent and unsuspecting familiarities,
which had emanated from those confident in their purity and their
elevation, into tokens of the ascendency he had gained over them; and of
which, with equal cruelty, folly, and presumption, he would afterwards
boast pretty freely. Till this came, however, to be suspected and
discovered, Mr. Tuft visited a good many leading houses in town, and
spent no inconsiderable portion of each autumn at some one or other of
the country mansions of his patrons--from whose "castles," "halls,"
"abbeys," "priories," and "seats," he took great pride in dating his
letters to his friends. I must not forget to mention that he kept a
book, very gorgeously bound and embellished, with silver-gilt clasps,
and bearing on the back the words--"Book of Autographs;" but I should
have written it--"Trophies of Toadyism." This book contained autograph
notes of the leading nobility, addressed familiarly to himself, thus:--

     "The Duke of Walworth presents his compliments to Mr. Tuft, and
     feels particularly obliged by," &c.

     "The Duchess of Diamond hopes Mr. Tuft will not forget to bring
     with him this evening," &c.

     "The Marquis of M---- has the honor to assure Mr. Tuft that," &c.

     "Dear Mr. Tuft,

     "Why were you not at ---- House last night? We were dreadfully dull
     without you! X ---- just as stupid as you always say he _is_."

     [This was from a very pretty and fashionable countess, whose
     initials it bore.]

     "If Mr. Tuft is dead, Lady Dulcimer requests to be informed when
     his funeral will take place, as she, together with a host of
     mourners, intends to show him a last mark of respect."

     "Dear Mr. Tuft,

     "The poodle you brought me has got the mange, or some horrid
     complaint or other, which is making all his hair fall off. Do come
     and tell me what is to be done. Where can I send the sweet
     suffering angel?--Yours,

                                                       ARABELLA D----."

     [This was from the eldest and loveliest daughter of a very great

     "The Lord Chancellor presents his compliments, and begs to
     acknowledge the receipt of Mr. Venom Tuft's obliging present of his
     little '_Essay on Greatness_.'"

These are samples, taken at random, of the contents of Mr. Tuft's book
of autographs, evidencing abundantly the satisfactory terms of intimacy
upon which he lived with the great; and it was ecstasy to him, to see
this glittering record of his triumphs glanced over by the envious
admiring eyes of those in his own station in society. How he delighted
to be asked about the sayings and doings of the exclusive circles! How
confidentially would he intimate the desperate condition of a sick
peer--an expected _éclaircissement_ of some fashionable folly and
crime--or a move to be made in the Upper House that evening! Poor Tuft
little suspecting (lying so snug in his shell of self-conceit) how
frequently he fell, on these occasions, among the Philistines--and was,
unconsciously to himself, being trotted out by a calm sarcastic
hypocrite, for the amusement of the standers-by, just as a little monkey
is poked with a stick to get up and exhibit himself and his tricks. Such
was Mr. Tuft, a great friend and admirer of "the marquis," through whose
influence he had procured the invitation from Titmouse, in virtue of
which he was now dressing in a nice little room at the back of the Hall,
overlooking the stables; being bent upon improving his already tolerably
familiar acquaintance with the Earl of Dreddlington and Lady Cecilia,
and also extracting from the man whose hospitality he was enjoying,
materials for merriment among his great friends against the next season.

When the party had collected in the drawing-room in readiness for
dinner, you might have seen Mr. Tuft in earnestly respectful
conversation with the Lady Cecilia; Mr. Gammon standing talking to Miss
Macspleuchan, with an air of courteous ease and frankness--having
observed her sitting neglected by everybody; the earl conversing now
with the marquis, then with Titmouse, and anon with Tuft, with whom he
appeared to be particularly pleased. Happening at length to be standing
near Gammon--a calm, gentlemanlike person of whom he knew nothing, nor
suspected that his keen eye had taken in his Lordship's true character
and capacity at a glance; nor that he would, in a few hours' time,
acquire as complete a mastery over his said Lordship, as ever the
present famous _hippodamist_ at Windsor,[25] by touching a nerve in the
mouth of a horse, reduces him to helpless docility and submission--the
earl and he fell into casual conversation for a moment or two. The air
of deference with which Gammon received the slight advances of the great
man, was exquisite and indescribable. It gave him clearly to understand
that his lofty pretensions were known to, and profoundly appreciated by,
the individual whom he was addressing. Gammon said but little: that
little, however, how significant and decisive! He knew that the earl
would presently inquire of Titmouse who the unknown visitor was; and
that on being told, in the conceited and probably disparaging manner
which Gammon knew Titmouse would adopt, if he supposed it would please
the earl, that "it was only Mr. Gammon, one of his solicitors," he would
sink at once and forever beneath the notice of the earl. He resolved,
therefore, to anticipate--to contrive that it should ooze out easily and
advantageously from himself, so that he could see the effect it had upon
the earl, and regulate his movements accordingly. Gammon sat down before
the fortress of the earl's pride, resolved that, for all it appeared so
inaccessible and impregnable, it should fall, however his skill and
patience might be taxed in the siege. Till he had cast his piercing eye
upon the earl, Gammon had felt a little of the nervousness which one may
imagine would be experienced by Van Amburgh, who, on being called into
the presence of majesty to give a specimen of his skill upon an animal
concealed from him, of whose name and qualities he was ignorant--should
summon all his terrors into his eye, and string his muscles to their
highest tension; and, on the door being opened, turn with smiling
scorn--if not indignation--from a sucking pig, a calf, an ass, or a
chicken. Something similar were the feelings experienced by Gammon, as
soon as he had scanned the countenance and figure of the Earl of
Dreddlington. He quickly perceived that the dash of awe which he had
thrown into his manner was producing its due effect upon that most
magnificent simpleton. Watching his opportunity, he gently introduced
the topic of the recent change of ownership which Yatton had undergone;
and in speaking of the manner in which Mr. Titmouse had borne his sudden
prosperity--"Yes, my Lord," continued Gammon, with apparent
carelessness, "I recollect making some such observation to him, and he
replied, 'Very true, _Mr. Gammon_'"--Gammon finished his sentence
calmly; but he perceived that the earl had withdrawn himself into his
earldom. He had given a very slight start; a little color had mounted
into his cheek; a sensible hauteur had been assumed, and by the time
that Gammon had done speaking, the space between them had been--as Lord
Dreddlington imagined, unobservedly--increased by two or three inches.
Gammon was a _man_--an able and a proud man--and he felt galled; but,
"let it pass," he presently reflected--"let it pass, you pompous old
idiot; I will one day repay it with interest." The earl separated from
him, Gammon regarding him as a gaudy craft sheering off for a while, but
doomed to be soon sunk. Mr. Tuft, (who was the son of a respectable
retired tobacconist,) having ascertained that Gammon was only Mr.
Titmouse's attorney, conducted himself for a while as though there were
no such person in the room; but being a quick observer, and catching
once or twice the faint sarcastic smile with which Gammon's eye was
settled on him, he experienced a very galling and uneasy consciousness
of his presence. The marquis's superior tact and perception of character
led him to treat Gammon very differently--with a deference and anxiety
to please him, which Gammon understood thoroughly--in fact, he and the
marquis had many qualities in common, but Gammon was the man of _power_.
During dinner he sat beside Miss Macspleuchan, and was almost the only
person who spoke to her--in fact, he said but little to any one else. He
took wine with Titmouse with a marked, but guarded, air of _confidence_.
The marquis took wine with Gammon with an air of studied courtesy. The
earl's attention was almost entirely engrossed by Mr. Tuft, who sat next
to him, chattering in his ear like a little magpie perched upon his
shoulder. The marquis sat next to the Lady Cecilia; for whose amusement,
as far as his cautious tact would allow him, he from time to time drew
out their little host. At length, in answer to a question by the
marquis, the earl let fall some pompous observation, from which the
marquis, who was getting very tired of the vapid monotony which pervaded
the table, ventured to differ pretty decisively. Tuft instantly sided
with the earl, and spoke with infinite fluency for some minutes: Gammon
saw in a moment that he was an absurd pretender; and watching his
opportunity, for the first time that he had interchanged a syllable with
him, with one word exposing a palpable historical blunder of poor
Tuft's, overthrew him as completely as a bullet from a crossbow
dislodges a tomtit from the wall on which he is hopping about,
unconscious of his danger. 'Twas a thing that there could be no mistake
about whatever.

"That's a _settler_, Tuft," said the marquis, after a pause: Tuft
reddened violently, and gulped down a glass of wine; and presently, with
the slightly staggered earl, became a silent listener to the discussion
into which the marquis and Gammon had entered. Obtuse as was the earl,
Gammon contrived to let him see how effectually he was supporting his
Lordship's opinion, which Mr. Tuft had so ridiculously failed in. The
marquis got slightly the worst of the encounter with Gammon, whose
object he saw, and whose tact he admired; and with much judgment
permitted Gammon to appear to the earl as his successful defender, in
order that he might himself make a friend of Gammon. Moreover, he was
not at all annoyed at witnessing the complete and unexpected
discomfiture of poor Tuft, whom, for all his intimacy with that
gentleman, the marquis thoroughly despised.

However it might possibly be that his grand visitors enjoyed themselves,
it was far otherwise with Mr. Titmouse; who, being compelled to keep
sober, was quite miserable. None of those around him were drinking
men:--and the consequence was, that he would retire early to his
bedroom, and amuse himself with brandy and water, and cigars, leaving
his guests to amuse themselves with cards, billiards, or otherwise, as
best they might. He did, indeed, "stand like a cipher in the great
account;" instead of feeling himself the Earl of Dreddlington's host, he
felt himself as one of his Lordship's inferior guests, struggling in
vain against the freezing state and etiquette which the earl carried
with him wherever he went, like a sort of atmosphere. In this extremity
he secretly clung to Gammon, and reposed upon his powerful support and
sympathy more implicitly than ever he had done before. As the shooting
season had commenced, and game was plentiful at Yatton, the marquis and
Tuft found full occupation during the day, as occasionally did Mr.
Gammon. Mr. Titmouse once accompanied them; but having contrived very
nearly to blow his own hand off, and also to blow out the eyes of the
marquis, it was intimated to him that he had better go out alone for
the future--as he did accordingly, but soon got tired of such solitary
sport. Besides--hares, pheasants, partridges--old and young, cock or
hen--'twas all one--none of them seemed to care one straw for him or his
gun, let him pop and blaze away as loud and as long, as near or as far
off, as he liked. The only thing he hit--and that plump--was one of his
unfortunate dogs, which he killed on the spot; and then coming up with
it, stamped upon the poor creature's bleeding carcass, saying with a
furious oath--"Why didn't you keep out of the way, then, you brute?"

The earl was really anxious to perform his promise of introducing, or
procuring introduction for Titmouse, to the leading nobility and gentry
of the county; but it proved a more difficult task than his Lordship had
anticipated--for Titmouse's early doings at Yatton had not yet been
forgotten. Some of the haughty Whig gentry joined with their Tory
neighbors in manifesting their open contempt and dislike, for one who
could so disgrace the name and station to which he had been elevated
in the county; and the earl had to encounter one or two somewhat
mortifying rebuffs, in the course of his efforts for the establishment
of his young kinsman. There were some, however, whom mere political
considerations--others, whom deference for the earl's rank, and
unwillingness to hurt his feelings--induced to receive the new Squire of
Yatton on a footing of formal intimacy and equality; so that his
Lordship's dignified exertions were not entirely useless. The whole
party at the Hall attended the earl to church on the Sundays--entirely
filling the squire's pew and the adjoining one; their decorous conduct
presenting a very edifying spectacle to the humble congregation, and
suggesting a striking contrast between the present, and the former,
visitors of Mr. Titmouse. Worthy Dr. Tatham was asked several times to
dinner, at the earl's instance; by whom he was treated on such occasions
with great, though stately, courtesy. The only persons with whom the
little doctor felt at his ease, were Mr. Gammon and Miss Macspleuchan,
who treated him with the utmost cordiality and respect. What became
during the day of the two ladies, I hardly know. There was no instrument
at Yatton: bagatelle-board, and novels from a circulating library at
York, frequent rides and drives through the grounds and about the
country, and occasional visits to and from one or two families with whom
Lady Cecilia had a town acquaintance, occupied their day; and in the
evening, a rubber at whist, or écarté, with the earl--sometimes, too,
with the marquis and Mr. Tuft, both of whom lost no opportunity of
paying marked attention to Lady Cecilia, with a view of dissipating as
far as possible the inevitable ennui of her situation--would while away
the short evenings, very early hours being now kept at the Hall. 'Twas
wonderful that two such men as the marquis and Mr. Tuft could stay so
long as they did at so very dull a place, and with such dull people.
Inwardly they both voted the earl an insufferable old twaddler; his
daughter a piece of languid insipidity; and one would have thought it
daily more irksome for them to keep up their courtly attentions. They
had, however, as may presently be seen, objects of their own in view.

As Gammon, a little to the earl's surprise, continued apparently a
permanent guest at the Hall, where he seemed ever engaged in
superintending and getting into order the important affairs of Mr.
Titmouse, it could hardly be but that he and the earl should be
occasionally thrown together; for as the earl did not shoot, and never
read books, even had there been any to read, he had little to do, when
not engaged upon the expeditions I have alluded to, but saunter about
the house and grounds, and enter into frivolous, but solemn and formal
conversation with almost any one he met. The assistance which Gammon had
rendered the earl on the occasion of their first meeting at dinner, had
not been forgotten by his Lordship, but had served to take off the edge
from his preconceived contemptuous dislike for that gentleman. Gammon,
however, steadily kept in the background, resolved that all advances
should come from the earl. When, once or twice, his Lordship inquired,
with what Gammon saw to be only an affected carelessness, into the state
of Mr. Titmouse's affairs, Mr. Gammon evinced a courteous readiness to
give him _general_ information; but with an evident caution and anxiety,
not unduly to expose, even to the earl--to Mr. Titmouse's distinguished
kinsman, the state of his property. He would, however, disclose
sufficient to demonstrate his zeal and ability on behalf of Mr.
Titmouse's interests, his consummate qualifications as a man of
business; and from time to time perceived that his display was not lost
upon the earl. Mr. Gammon's anxiety, in particular, to prevent the
borough of Yatton from being a second time wrested out of the hands of
its proprietor, and returning, by a corrupt and profligate arrangement
with Ministers, a Tory to Parliament, gave the earl peculiar
satisfaction. He was led by the mention of this topic into a long
conversation with Mr. Gammon upon political matters; and, at its close,
was greatly struck with the soundness of his views, the decision and
strength of his liberal opinions, and the vigor and acuteness with which
he had throughout agreed with everything the earl had said, and
fortified every position he had taken; evincing, at the same time, a
profound appreciation of his Lordship's luminous exposition of political
principles. The earl was forced to own to himself, that he had never
before met with a man of Mr. Gammon's strength of intellect, whose
views and opinions had so intimately and entirely coincided--were,
indeed, identical with his own. 'Twas delightful to witness them upon
these occasions--to observe the air of reverence and admiration with
which Gammon listened to the lessons of political wisdom which fell,
with increasing length and frequency, from the lips of his Lordship.

     "[Greek: Tou kai apo glôssês melitos glukiôn reen authê.]"

Nor was it only when they were alone together, that Gammon would thus
sit at the feet of Gamaliel; he was not ashamed to do so openly at the
dinner-table; but, ah! how delicately and dexterously did he conceal
from the spectators the game he was playing--more difficult to do so,
though it daily became--because, the more willing Gammon was to receive,
the more eager the earl was to communicate instruction! If, on any of
these occasions, oppressed by the multifariousness of his knowledge, and
its sudden overpowering confluence, he would pause in the midst of a
little series of half-formed sentences, Gammon would be, at hand, to
glide in easily, and finish what the earl had begun, out of the earl's
ample and rich materials, of which Gammon had caught a glimpse, and only
worked out the earl's own, somewhat numerous, half-formed illustrations.
The marquis and Mr. Tuft began, however, at length to feel a little
impatient at observing the _way_ which Gammon was making with the earl;
but of what use was it for them to interfere? Gammon was an exceedingly
awkward person to meddle with; for having once got fair play, by gaining
the earl's ear, his accuracy, readiness, extent of information upon
political topics, and admirable temper, told very powerfully against his
two opponents, who at length interfered less and less with him; the
marquis only _feeling_ pique, but Tuft also _showing_ it. Had it been
otherwise, indeed, with the latter gentleman, it would have been odd;
for Gammon seemed to feel a peculiar pleasure in demolishing him. The
marquis, however, once resolved to show Gammon how distinctly he
perceived his plan of operations, by waiting till he had accompanied the
poor earl up to a climax of absurdity; and then, with his eye on Gammon,
bursting into laughter. Seldom had Gammon been more ruffled than by that
well-timed laugh; for he felt _found out_!

When the earl and his astute companion were alone, the latter would
listen with lively interest, over and over again, never wearied, to his
Lordship's magnificent accounts of what he had intended to do, had he
only continued in office, in the important department over which he had
presided, viz. the Board of Green Cloth; and more than once put his
Lordship into a soft flutter of excitement, by hinting at rumors which,
he said, were rife--that in the event of a change of ministers, which
was looked for, his Lordship was to be President of the Council. "Sir,"
the earl would say, "I should not shrink from the performance of my duty
to my sovereign, to whatever post he might be pleased to call me. The
one you mention, sir, has its peculiar difficulties; and if I know
anything of myself, sir, it is one for which--I should say--I am
peculiarly qualified. Sir, the duty of presiding over the deliberations
of powerful minds, requires signal discretion and dignity, because, in
short, especially in affairs of state--Do you comprehend me, Mr.

"I understand your Lordship to say, that where the occasion is one of
such magnitude, and the disturbing forces are upon so vast a scale, to
moderate and guide conflicting interests and opinions"----

"Sir, it _is_ so; _tantas componere lites, hic labor, hoc opus_,"
interrupted the earl, with a desperate attempt to fish up a fragment or
two of his early scholarship; and his features wore for a moment a
solemn commanding expression, which satisfied Gammon of the sway which
his Lordship would have had when presiding at the council-board. Gammon
would also occasionally introduce the subject of heraldry, asking many
anxious questions concerning that exalted science, and also respecting
the genealogies of leading members of the peerage, with which he safely
presumed that the earl would be, as also he proved, perfectly familiar;
and his Lordship would go on for an hour at once upon these interesting
and most instructive subjects.

Shortly after luncheon one day, of which only Gammon, the earl, and the
two ladies, were in the Hall to partake, Mr. Gammon had occasion to
enter the drawing-room, where he found the earl sitting upon the sofa,
with his massive gold spectacles on, leaning over the table, engaged in
the perusal of a portion of a work then in course of periodical
publication, and which had only that morning been delivered at the Hall.
The earl asked Gammon if he had seen it, and was answered in the

"Sir," said the earl, rising and removing his glasses, "it is a
remarkably interesting publication, showing considerable knowledge of a
very difficult and all-important subject, and one, in respect of which
the lower orders of the people in this country--nay, I lament to be
obliged to add, the great bulk of the middle classes also, are wofully
deficient--I mean heraldry, and the history of the origin, progress, and
present state of the families of the old nobility and gentry of this
country." The work which had been so fortunate as thus to meet with the
approbation of the earl, was the last monthly number of a History of the
County of York, of which, as yet, only thirty-eight seven-and-sixpenny
quarto numbers had made their appearance. It formed an admirable and
instructive publication, every number of which had contained a
glorification of some different Yorkshire family. The discriminating
patronage of Mr. Titmouse for this inestimable performance, had been
secured by a most obsequious letter from the learned editor, but more
especially by a device of his in the last number, which it would have
been strange indeed if it could have failed to catch the eye, and
interest the feelings of the new aristocratical owner of Yatton.
Opposite to an engraving of the Hall, was placed a magnificent
genealogical tree, surmounted by a many-quartered shield of armorial
bearings, both of which purported to be an accurate record of the
ancestral glories of the house of "TITMOUSE of YATTON!" A minute
investigation might indeed have detected that the recent flight of
_Titmice_ which were perched on the lower branches of this imposing
pedigree, bore nearly as small a proportion to the long array of
chivalrous Drelincourts and Dreddlingtons which constituted the massive
trunk, as did the paternal coat[26] (to which the profound research and
ingenuity of Sir GORGEOUS TINTACK, the Garter king-at-arms, had
succeeded in demonstrating the inalienable right of Titmouse) to the
interminable series of quarterings, derived from the same source, which
occupied the remainder of the escutcheon. At these mysteriously
significant symbols, however, Mr. Titmouse, though quite ready to
believe that they indicated some just cause or other of family pride,
had looked with the same appreciating intelligence which you may fancy
you see a chicken displaying, while hesitatingly clapping its foot upon,
and quaintly cocking its eye at, a slip of paper lying in a yard,
covered over with algebraic characters and calculations. Far otherwise,
however, was it with the earl, in whose eyes the complex and recondite
character of the production infinitely enhanced its value, and struck in
his bosom several deep chords of genealogical feeling, as he proceeded,
in answer to various anxious inquiries of Gammon, to give him a very
full and minute account of the unrivalled splendor and antiquity of his
Lordship's ancestry. Now be it understood that Gammon--while prosecuting
the researches which had preceded the elevation of Mr. Titmouse to that
rank and fortune of which the united voice of the fashionable world had
now pronounced him so eminently worthy--had made himself pretty well
acquainted with the previous history and connections of that ancient and
illustrious house, of which the Earl of Dreddlington was the head; and
his familiarity with this topic, though it did not _surprise_ the earl,
because he conceived it to be every one's duty to acquaint himself with
such momentous matters, rapidly raised Gammon in the good opinion of his
Lordship; to whom at length, it occurred to view him in quite a new
light; viz. as the chosen instrument by whose means (under Providence)
the perverse and self-willed Aubrey had been righteously cast down from
that high place, which his rebellious opposition to the wishes and
political views of his liege lord had rendered him unworthy to occupy;
while a more loyal branch had been raised from obscurity to his
forfeited rank and estates. In fact, the earl began to look upon Gammon
as one, whose just regard for his Lordship's transcendent position in
the aristocracy of England had led even to anticipate his Lordship's
possible wishes; and proceeded accordingly to rivet this spontaneous
allegiance, by discoursing with the most condescending affability on the
successive noble and princely alliances which had, during a long series
of generations, refined the ancient blood of the Drelincourts into the
sort of super-sublimated ichor which at present flowed in his own veins.
The progress of the earl's feelings was watched with the greatest
interest by Mr. Gammon, who perceived the increasing extent to which
respect for him was mingling with his Lordship's sublime
self-satisfaction; and, watching the opportunity, struck a spark into
the dry tinder of his Lordship's vain imagination, blew it gently--and
saw that it caught and spread. Confident in his knowledge of the state
of affairs, and that his Lordship had reached the highest point of
credulity, Gammon had the almost incredible audacity to intimate, in a
hesitating but highly significant manner, his impression, that the
recent failure in the male line of the princely house of
in right of the marriage of one of his ancestors, during the Thirty
Years' War, with a princess of that august line, in a situation to
claim, if such should be his Lordship's pleasure, the dormant honors and
sovereign rank attached to the possession of that important
principality. The earl appeared for a few moments transfixed with awe!
The bare possibility of such an event seemed too much for him to
realize; but when further conversation with Gammon had familiarized his
Lordship with the notion, his mind's eye involuntarily and naturally
glanced to his old rival, the Earl of Fitz-Walter: what would _he_ say
to all this? How would _his_ little honors pale beside the splendors of
his Serene Highness the Prince of Hoch-Stiffelhausen Narrenstein
Dummleinberg! He was not sorry when Mr. Gammon, soon afterwards, left
him to follow out unrestrainedly the swelling current of his thoughts,
and yield himself up to the transporting ecstasies of anticipated
sovereignty. To such a pitch did his excitement carry him, that he might
shortly afterwards have been seen walking up and down the Elm Avenue,
with the feelings and air of an old KING.

Not satisfied, however, with the success of his daring experiment upon
the credulity and inflammable imagination of the aspiring old
nobleman--whom his suggestion had set upon instituting extensive
inquiries into the position of the Dreddlington family with reference
to the foreign alliances which it had formed in times past, and of which
so dazzling an incident might really be in existence--it occurred to Mr.
Gammon, on another occasion of his being left alone with the earl, and
who, he saw, was growing manifestly more pleased with the frequent
recurrence of them, to sink a shaft into a new mine. He therefore, on
mere speculation, introduced, as a subject of casual conversation, the
imprudence of persons of rank and large fortune devolving the management
of their pecuniary affairs so entirely upon others--and thus leaving
themselves exposed to all the serious consequences of employing
incompetent, indolent, or mercenary agents. Mr. Gammon proceeded to
observe that he had recently known an instance of a distinguished
nobleman, (whose name--oh, Gammon!--he for very obvious reasons
suppressed,) who, having occasion to raise a large sum of money by way
of mortgage, left the sole negotiation of the affair to an agent, who
was afterwards proved to have been in league with the lender, (the
mortgagee,) and had permitted his employer to pay, for ten or twelve
years, an excess of interest over that for which he might, had he
chosen, have obtained the requisite loan, which actually made a
difference in the distinguished borrower's income of a thousand a-year!
Here, looking out of the northeast corner of his eye, the placid
speaker, continuing unmoved, observed the earl start a little, glance
somewhat anxiously at him, but in silence, and slightly quicken the pace
at which he had been walking. Gammon presently added, in a careless sort
of way, that accident had brought him into professional intercourse with
that nobleman--[Oh, Gammon! Gammon!]--whom he was ultimately
instrumental in saving from the annual robbery which was being inflicted
upon him. It was enough; Gammon saw that what he had been saying had
sunk like lead into the mind of his noble and acute companion, who, for
the rest of the day, seemed burdened and oppressed with either it or
some other cause of anxiety; and, from an occasional uneasy and wistful
eye which the earl fixed upon him at dinner, he felt conscious that not
long would elapse, before he should hear something from the earl
connected with the topic in question--and he was not mistaken. The very
next day they met in the park; and after one or two casual observations,
the earl remarked that, by the way, with reference to their yesterday's
conversation, it "_did so happen_"--very singularly--that the earl had a
friend who was placed in a situation very similar to that which had been
mentioned by Mr. Gammon to the earl; it was a _very intimate_
friend--and therefore the earl would like to hear what was Mr. Gammon's
opinion of the case. Gammon was scarcely able to refrain from a smile,
as the earl went on, evincing every moment a more vivid interest in
behalf of his mysterious "_friend_," who at last stood suddenly
confessed as the Earl of Dreddlington himself; for in answer to a
question of Mr. Gammon, his Lordship unwittingly spoke _in the first
person_! On perceiving this, he got much confused; but Gammon passed it
off very easily; and by his earnest confidential tone and manner, soon
soothed and reconciled the earl to the vexatious disclosure he had
made--vexatious only because the earl had thought fit, so very
unnecessarily, to make a mystery of an everyday matter. He rather
loftily enjoined Mr. Gammon to secrecy upon the subject, to which Gammon
readily pledged himself, and then they entered upon an unrestrained
discussion of the matter. Suffice it to say, that in the end Gammon
assured the earl that he would, without any difficulty, undertake to
procure a transfer of the mortgage at present existing on his Lordship's
property, which should lower his annual payments by at least one and a
half per cent: and which, on a rough calculation, would make a
difference of very nearly five hundred a-year in the earl's favor. But
Gammon explicitly informed the earl that he was not to suppose that he
had been overreached, or his interests been in any way neglected, in the
original transaction; that it had been conducted on his Lordship's
behalf, by his solicitor, Mr. Mudge, one of the most respectable men in
the profession; and that a few years made all the difference in matters
of this description; and before he, Mr. Gammon, would interfere any
further in the business, he requested his Lordship to write to Mr.
Mudge, enclosing a draft of the arrangement proposed by Mr. Gammon, and
desiring Mr. Mudge to say what he thought of it. This the earl did; and
in a few days' time received an answer from Mr. Mudge, to the effect
that he was happy that there was a prospect of so favorable an
arrangement as that proposed, to which he could see no objection
whatever; and would co-operate with Mr. Gammon in any way, and at any
time, which his Lordship might point out. Mr. Gammon was, in fact,
rendering here a real and very important service to the earl; being an
able, acute, and energetic man of business--while Mr. Mudge was very
nearly superannuated--had grown rich and indolent, no longer attending
to his practice with pristine energy; but _pottering_ and dozing over
it, as it were, from day to day; unable, from his antiquated style of
doing business, and the constantly narrowing circle of his connections,
to avail himself of those resources which were open to younger and more
energetic practitioners, with more varied resources. Thus, though money
was now much more plentiful, and consequently to be got for a less sum
than when, some ten years before, the earl had been compelled to borrow
to a large amount upon mortgage, old Mr. Mudge had suffered matters to
remain all the while as they were; and so they _would_ have remained,
but for Gammon's accidental interference: the earl being not a man of
business--one who could not bear to allude to the fact of his property
being mortgaged--who did not like even to _think_ of it; and concluded
that good old Mr. Mudge kept a sufficiently sharp eye upon his noble
client's interest. The earl gave Mr. Mudge's letter to Mr. Gammon, and
requested him to lose no time in putting himself into communication with
Mr. Mudge, for the purpose of effecting the suggested transfer. This
Gammon undertook to do; and perceiving that he had fortunately made so
strong a lodgement in the earl's good opinion, whose interests now bound
him, in a measure, to Mr. Gammon, that gentleman thought that he might
safely quit Yatton and return to town, in order to attend to divers
matters of pressing exigency. Before his departure, however, he had a
very long interview with Titmouse, in the course of which he gave that
now submissive personage a few simple, perspicuous, and decisive
directions, as to the line of conduct he was to pursue, and which alone
could conduce to his permanent interests: enjoining him, moreover, to
pursue that line, on terror of the consequences of failing to do so. The
Earl of Dreddlington, in taking leave of Mr. Gammon, evinced the utmost
degree of cordiality consistent with the stateliness of his demeanor. He
felt, in fact, real regret at parting with a man of such superior
intellect--one evincing such a fascinating deference towards himself,
(the earl:) and it glanced across his Lordship's mind, that such a man
as Mr. Gammon would be the very fittest man who could be thought of, in
respect of tact, energy, and knowledge, to become prime minister to--his
Serene Highness the Prince of Hoch-Stiffelhausen Narrenstein

The longer that the earl continued at Yatton--in which he could not
have more thoroughly established himself if he had in the ordinary way
engaged it for the autumn--the more he was struck with its beauties; and
the oftener they presented themselves to his mind's eye, the keener
became his regrets at the split in the family interests which had so
long existed, and his desire to take advantage of what seemed almost an
opportunity, specially afforded by Providence, for reuniting them. As
the earl took his solitary walks, he thought with deep anxiety of his
own advanced age, and sensibly increasing feebleness. The position of
his affairs was not satisfactory. When he died, he would leave behind
him an only child--and that a daughter--on whom would devolve the
splendid responsibility of sustaining, alone, the honors of her ancient
family. Then there was his newly discovered kinsman, Mr. Titmouse, sole
and unembarrassed proprietor of this fine old family property;
simple-minded and confiding, with a truly reverential feeling towards
them, the heads of the family; also the undoubted, undisputed proprietor
of the borough of Yatton; who entertained and avowed the same liberal
and enlightened political opinions, which the earl had ever maintained
with dignified consistency and determination; and who, by a rare
conjunction of personal merit and of circumstance, had been elevated to
an unprecedented pitch of popularity, in the highest regions of society;
and who was, moreover, already next in succession, after himself and the
Lady Cecilia, to the ancient barony of Drelincourt and the estates
annexed to it. How little was there, in reality, to set against all
this? An eccentricity of manner, for which nature only, if any one, was
to blame; a tendency to extreme modishness in dress, and a slight
deficiency in the knowledge of the etiquette of society, but which daily
experience and intercourse were rapidly supplying; and a slight
disposition towards the pleasures of the table, which no doubt would
disappear on the instant of his having an object of permanent and
elevating attachment. Such was Mr. Titmouse. He had as yet, undoubtedly,
made no advances to Lady Cecilia, nor evinced any disposition to do so,
though numerous and favorable had been, and continued to be, the
opportunities for his doing so. Might not this, however, be set down
entirely to the score of his excessive diffidence--distrust of his
pretensions to aspire after so august an alliance as that with the Lady
Cecilia? Yet there certainly was another way of accounting for his
conduct: had he got already entangled with an attachment elsewhere?--Run
after in society, as he had been, in a manner totally unprecedented
during his very first season--had his affections been inveigled?--When
the earl dwelt upon this dismal possibility, if it were when he was
lying awake in bed, he would be seized with a fit of intolerable
restlessness--and getting up, wrap himself in his dressing-gown, and
pace his chamber for an hour together, running over, in his mind, the
names of all the women he knew who would be likely to lay snares for
Titmouse, in order to secure him for a daughter. Then there was the Lady
Cecilia--but she, he knew, would not run counter to his wishes, and he
had, therefore, no difficulty to apprehend on _that_ score. She had ever
been calmly submissive to his will; had the same lofty sense of family
dignity that he enjoyed; and had often concurred in his deep regrets on
account of the separation of the family interests. She was still
unmarried--and yet, on her father's decease, would be a peeress in her
own right, and possessed of the family estates. The fastidiousness which
alone, thought the earl, had kept her hitherto single, would not, he
felt persuaded, be allowed by her to interfere, for the purpose of
preventing so excellent a family arrangement as would be effected by her
union with Titmouse. Once married--and being secured suitable
settlements from Titmouse--if there should prove to be any
incompatibility of temper or discrepancy of disposition, come the worst
to the worst, there was the shelter of a separation and separate
maintenance to look to; a thing which was becoming of daily
occurrence--which implied no real reproach to either party--and left
them always at liberty to return to each other's society--when so
disposed. And as for the dress and manners of Titmouse, granting them to
be a little extravagant, would not, in all probability, a word from her
suffice to dispel his fantastic vulgarity--to elevate him into a
gentleman? Thus thought her fond and enlightened parent, and thus--in
point of fact--thought also she; from which it is evident, that
Titmouse, once brought to the point--made sensible where his duty and
his privilege converged--it would be a straightforward plain-sailing
business. To bring about so desirable a state of things as this--to give
the young people an opportunity of thoroughly knowing and endearing
themselves to each other, were among the objects which the earl had
proposed to himself, in accepting the invitation to Yatton. Time was
wearing on, however, and yet no decisive step had been taken. Lady
Cecilia's icy coldness--her petrifying indifference of manner, her
phlegmatic temperament and lofty pride, were qualities, all of which
were calculated rather to check than encourage the advances of a suitor,
especially of such an one as Titmouse; but, though the earl did not know
it, there were others whose ardor and impatience to possess themselves
of such superior loveliness, could not be similarly restrained or
discouraged. Will not the reader find it difficult to believe, that Mr.
Venom Tuft, having been long on the look-out for--Heaven save the
mark!--an aristocratic wife, had conceived it not impossible to engage
the affections of Lady Cecilia--to fascinate her by the display of his
brilliant acquirements; and that the comparative seclusion of Yatton
would afford him the requisite opportunity for effecting his wishes? Yet
even so it really was: intoxicated with vanity, which led him to believe
himself peculiarly agreeable to women, he at length had the
inconceivable folly and presumption, on the morning after an evening in
which he fancied that he had displayed peculiar brilliance, to intimate
to her that his affections were no longer under his own control, having
been taken captive by her irresistible charms. Vain thought! as well
might a cock-sparrow have sought to mate himself with the stately swan!
It was for some time rather difficult for the Lady Cecilia to understand
that he was seriously making her a proposal. At length, however, she
comprehended him: evincing the utmost degree of astonishment which her
drooping eyelids and languid hauteur of manner would permit her to
manifest. When poor Tuft found that such was the case, his face burned
like fire, and he felt in a fierce fluster within.

"You haven't mistaken me for Miss Macspleuchan, Mr. Tuft, have you?"
said Lady Cecilia, with a faint smile. "You and Mr. Titmouse and the
marquis, I hear, sat much longer after dinner last night than usual!"
Tuft was utterly confounded. Was her Ladyship insinuating that he was
under the influence of wine? He was for a while speechless.

"I assure you, Lady Cecilia"----at length stammered he.

"Oh--now I understand!--You are rehearsing for Lady Tawdry's private
theatricals? Do you play there next month? Well, I dare say you'll make
a delicious Romeo." Here the earl happening to enter, Lady Cecilia, with
a languid smile, apprised him that Mr. Tuft had been rehearsing, to
admiration, a love-scene which he was studying for Lady Tawdry's
theatricals; on which the earl, in a good-natured way, said that he
should like to witness it, if not too much trouble to Mr. Tuft. If that
gentleman could have crept up the chimney without being observed, he
would have employed the first moment of sooty repose and security, in
praying that the Lady Cecilia might bring herself to believe, that he
had really been doing what at present he feared she only affected to
believe, viz. that he had been only playing at love-making. He resolved
to outstay the earl, who, indeed, withdrew in a few minutes' time,
having entered only for the purpose of asking Lady Cecilia a question;
and on her Ladyship and her would-be lover being again alone--

"If I have been guilty of presumption, Lady Cecilia"----commenced Tuft,
with tremulous earnestness, looking a truly piteous object.

"Not the least, Mr. Tuft," said she, calmly smiling; "or, even if you
_have_, I'll forgive it on one condition"----

"Your Ladyship has only to intimate"----

"That you will go through it all with Miss Macspleuchan; or, couldn't we
get up a sweet scene with my maid? Annette is a pretty little thing, and
her broken English"----

"Your Ladyship is pleased to be exceedingly severe; but I feel that I
deserve it. Still, knowing your Ladyship's good-nature, I will venture
to ask one great favor, which, if you refuse, I will within an hour quit
Yatton; that your Ladyship will, in mercy to my feelings, mention this
little scene to no one."

"If you wish it, Mr. Tuft, I will preserve your secret," she replied in
a kinder and more serious manner than he had ever witnessed in her; and,
when he had escaped into solitude, he could hardly tell whom he hated
most--himself, or the Lady Cecilia. Several days afterwards, the Marquis
Gants-Jaunes de Millefleurs, purposing to quit Yatton on his way
northward, sought a favorable opportunity to lay himself--the
brilliant, irresistible marquis--at the feet of the all-conquering Lady
Cecilia, the future Lady Drelincourt, peeress in her own right, and
mistress of the family estates. He had done the same kind of thing half
a dozen times to as many women--all of them of ample fortune, and most
of them also of rank. His manner was exquisitely delicate and winning;
but Lady Cecilia, with a slight blush, (for she was really pleased,)
calmly refused him. He saw it was utterly in vain; and for a few moments
felt in an unutterably foolish position. Quickly recovering himself,
however, he assumed an air of delicate raillery, and put her into such
good humor, that, forgetful in the moment of her promise to poor Tuft,
she, in the "strictest confidence in the world," communicated to the
marquis the offer which Mr. Tuft had been beforehand with him in making
to her! The marquis's cheek flushed and tingled; and, without being able
to analyze what passed through his mind, the result may be stated as an
intolerable feeling, that he and Tuft were a couple of sneaking
adventurers, and worse--of ridiculous and exposed adventurers. For
almost the first time in his life, he felt such an embarrassment amid
the momentary conflict of his thoughts and feelings, as kept him silent.
At length, "I presume, Lady Cecilia," said he, in a low tone, with an
air of distress, and a glance which did more in his behalf with Lady
Cecilia than a thousand of his most flattering and eloquent speeches,
"that I shall, in like manner, afford amusement to your Ladyship and Mr.

"Sir," said she, haughtily, and coloring--"Mr. Tuft and the Marquis
Gants-Jaunes de Millefleurs, are two very different persons. I am
surprised, Monsieur le Marquis, that you should have made such an

Hereupon he felt greatly consoled, and perfectly secure against being
exposed to Tuft, as Tuft had been exposed to him. Yet he was mistaken.
How can the reader forgive Lady Cecilia for her double breach of
promise, when he is informed, that only a day or two afterwards, Tuft
and she being thrown together, partly out of pity to her rejected and
bitterly mortified suitor, partly from an impulse of womanly vanity, and
partly from a sort of glimpse of even-handed justice requiring such a
step, as a kind of reparation to Tuft for her exposure of him to the
marquis--she ("in the strictest confidence," however) informed him that
his example had been followed by the marquis; utterly forgetful of that
excellent maxim, "begin nothing of which you have not well considered
the end." It had not occurred to her Ladyship as being a thing almost
certain to ensue upon her breach of faith, that Tuft would ask her
whether she had violated _his_ confidence. He did so: she blushed
scarlet--and though, like her august papa, she could have _equivocated_
when she could not have _lied_, here she was in a dilemma from which
nothing but a fib could possibly extricate her; and in a confident tone,
but with a burning cheek, she told a falsehood, and had, moreover, the
pain of being conscious, by Mr. Tuft's look, that he did not believe
her.--Nothing could exceed the comical air of embarrassment of the
marquis and Mr. Tuft, whenever, after this, they were alone together!
How fearful lest--how doubtful whether--each knew as much as the other!

To return, however, to the Earl of Dreddlington, (who was utterly in
ignorance of the marquis and Mr. Tuft's proposals to Lady Cecilia,) the
difficulty which at present harassed his Lordship was, how he could,
without compromising his own dignity, or injuring his darling scheme by
a premature development of his purpose, sound Titmouse upon the subject.
How to break the ice--to broach the affair--was the great problem which
the earl turned over and over again in his mind. Now, be it observed,
that when a muddle-headed man is called upon at length _to act_--however
long beforehand he may have had notice of it--however assured he may
have been of the necessity for eventually taking one course or another,
and consequently, however ample the opportunity had for consideration,
he remains confused and irresolute up to the very _last instant_--when
he acts, after all, merely as the creature of caprice and impulse! 'Twas
thus with Lord Dreddlington. He had thought of half a dozen different
ways of commencing with Titmouse, and decided upon adopting each; yet,
on the arrival of the anxiously looked for moment, he had lost sight of
them all, in his inward fluster and nervousness.

'Twas noon, and Titmouse, smoking a cigar, was walking slowly up and
down, his hands stuck into his surtout pockets, and resting on his hips,
in the fir-tree walk at the end of the garden--the spot to which he
seemed, during the stay of his grand guests, to have been tacitly
restricted for the enjoyment of the luxury in question. As soon as
Titmouse was aware of the earl's approach, he hastily tossed aside his
cigar. The earl "begged" he would take another; and tried to calm and
steady himself, by a moment's reflection upon his overwhelming
superiority over Titmouse in every respect; but it was in vain.

Now--to pause for a moment--what anxiety and embarrassment would not his
Lordship have been spared, had he been aware of one little fact; viz.
that Mr. Gammon was unconsciously, secretly, and potently, his friend,
in the great matter which lay so near to his heart? For so, in truth, it
was. He had used all the art he was master of, and availed himself of
all his mysterious power over Titmouse, to get him to make, at all
events, an _advance_ to his distinguished kinswoman. Considering,
however, how necessary it was "to be off with the old love before he was
on with the new," he had commenced operations by satisfying Titmouse
how vain and hopeless, and, indeed, unworthy of him, was his passion for
poor Miss Aubrey. Here, however, Gammon had not so much difficulty to
contend with as he had anticipated; for Miss Aubrey's image had been
long ago jostled out of Titmouse's recollection, by the innumerable
brilliant and fashionable women among whom he had been latterly thrown.
When, therefore, Gammon veraciously informed him that Miss Aubrey had
_fallen into a decline_! and that, moreover, when he (Gammon) had,
according to his promise to Titmouse, taken an opportunity of pressing
his wishes upon her, she had scornfully scouted the bare notion of such
a thing!

"'Pon--my soul! The--devil--she did!" said Titmouse, with an air of
insolent astonishment. "The gal's a devilish pretty gal, no doubt," he
presently continued, knocking the ashes off his cigar with an
indifferent air; "but--it's too good a joke--'pon my soul it is; but d'
ye think, Gammon, she ever supposed I _meant_ marriage? By Jove!" Here
he winked his eye at Gammon, and then slowly expelled a mouthful of
smoke. Gammon had grown pale with the conflict excited within him, by
the last words of the execrable little miscreant. He controlled his
feelings, however, and succeeded in preserving silence.

"Ah--well!" continued Titmouse, after another whiff or two, with an air
of commiseration, "if the poor gal's _booked_ for kingdom come--eh? it's
no use; there's no harm done. Deuced poor, all of 'em, I hear! It's
devilish hard, by the way, Gammon, that the prettiest gals are always
the soonest picked off for the churchyard!" As soon as Gammon had
completely mastered his feelings, he proceeded to excite the pride and
ambition of Titmouse, by expatiating upon the splendor of an alliance
with the last representative of the elder branch of so ancient and
illustrious a house; in fact, when Gammon came, he said, to think of it,
he feared it was _too_ grand a stroke, and that Lady Cecilia would not
entertain the notion for a moment. He told Titmouse that she had refused
crowds of young lords: that she would be a peeress of the realm in her
own right, with an independent income of £5,000 a-year; and have
mansions, seats, and castles, in each of the four quarters of the
kingdom! Topics such as these excited and inflated Titmouse to the full
extent desired by Mr. Gammon; who, moreover, with great solemnity of
manner, gave him distinctly to understand, that on his being able to
effect an alliance with the Lady Cecilia, absolutely depended his
continuance in, or expulsion from, the possession of the whole Yatton
property. Thus it came to pass, that Titmouse was penetrated by a far
keener desire to ally himself to the Lady Cecilia, than ever the earl
had experienced to bring about such an auspicious event; and at the very
moment of Titmouse's catching sight of the earl, while pacing up and
down the fir-tree walk, inhaling the soothing influence of his cigar--as
I a short time ago presented him to the reader--he was tormenting
himself with apprehensions that such a prize was too splendid for _him_
to draw, and asking himself the constantly recurring question, how, in
the name of all that was funny, could he set the thing a-going? When
Greek met Greek, _then_ came--it was said--the tug of war: and when the
Earl of Dreddlington and Titmouse--a great fool and a little fool?--came
to meet each other, impelled by the same wishes, and restrained by
similar apprehensions, it was like the encounter of two wily
diplomatists, sitting down with the intention of outwitting each other,
in obtaining an object, in respect of which their aim was, in
fact--unknown to each other--precisely coincident; this hidden
coincidence being the exact point which their exquisite manœuvres
had succeeded in reciprocally masking: it being quite possible for
Talleyrand and Pozzo di Borgo, thus pitted against each other, to have
separated, after a dozen long conferences, each having failed to secure
their common object--peace.

"Well, Mr. Titmouse"--commenced the earl, blandly, stepping at once,
with graceful boldness, out of the mist, confusion, and perplexity which
prevailed among his Lordship's ideas, few as they were--"_what are you
thinking about_?--For you _seem_ to be thinking!" and a courteous little
laugh accompanied the last words.

"'Pon--'pon my life--I--I--_beg_ your Lordship's pardon--but
it's--monstrous odd your Lordship should have known it"--stammered
Titmouse; and his face suddenly grew of a scarlet color.

"Sir," replied the earl, with greater skill than he had ever evinced in
his whole life before--(such is the effect of any one's being intensely
_in earnest_)--"it is not at all odd, when it happens that--the
probability is--that--we are, perhaps--mind, sir, I mean
possibly--thinking _about the same thing_!" Titmouse grew more and more
confused, gazing in silence, with a strange simpering stare, at his
noble companion, who, with his hands joined behind him, was walking
slowly along with Titmouse.

"Sir," continued the earl, in a low tone--breaking a very awkward
pause--"it gives me sincere satisfaction to assure you, that I can fully
appreciate the delicate embarrassment which I perceive you are now"----

"My Lord--your Lordship's most _uncommon_ polite"--quoth Titmouse,
suddenly taking off his hat, and bowing very low. The earl moved his hat
also, and slightly bowed, with a proudly gratified air; and again
occurred a pause, which was broken by Titmouse.

"Then your Lordship thinks--a--a--that--_it will do_?" he inquired very
sheepishly, but anxiously.

"Sir, I have the honor to assure you, that as far as I am concerned, I
see no obst"----

"Yes--but excuse me, my Lord--your Lordship sees--I mean--my Lord, your
Lordship sees----doesn't your Lordship?"

"Sir, I think--nay, I believe I _do_"--interrupted the earl, wishing to
relieve the evident embarrassment of his companion--"but--I see--nothing
that should--alarm you."

[How interesting to watch the mysterious process by which these two
powerful minds were gradually approximating towards understanding each
other! 'Twas a sort of _equation_ with an unknown quantity, in due
course of elimination!]

"Doesn't your Lordship, indeed?" inquired Titmouse, rather briskly.

"Sir, it was a saying of one of the great--I mean, sir, it is--you must
often have heard, sir--in short, _nothing venture, nothing have_!"

"I'd venture a precious deal, my Lord, if I only thought I could get
what _I'm_ after!"

"Sir?" exclaimed the earl, condescendingly.

"If your Lordship would only be so particular--so uncommon kind--as to
name the thing to her Ladyship--by way of--eh, my Lord? A sort of
breaking the ice, and all that"----

"Sir, I feel and have a just pride in assuring you, that the Lady
Cecilia is a young lady of that superior delicacy of"----

"_Does_ your Lordship really think I've a _ghost_ of a chance?"
interrupted Titmouse, anxiously. "_She_ must have named the thing to
your Lordship, no doubt--eh, my Lord?"

This queer notion of the young lady's delicacy a little staggered her
distinguished father for a moment or two. What was he to say? She and
he had really often named the thing to each other; and here the question
was put to him plumply. The earl scorned a flat lie, and never
condescended to equivocation except when it was absolutely necessary.

"Sir," he said hesitatingly; "undoubtedly--If I were to say--that now
and then, when your attentions have been so pointed"----

"'Pon my life, my Lord, I never meant it; if your Lordship will only
believe me," interrupted Titmouse, earnestly; "I beg a thousand
pardons--I mean no harm, my Lord."

"Sir, there is no harm done," said the earl, kindly. "Sir, I know human
nature too well, or I have lived thus long to little purpose, not to be
aware that we are not always master of our own feelings."

"That's exactly it, my Lord! Excuse me, but your Lordship's hit the
thing off to a T, as folks say!"

"Do not imagine, Mr. Titmouse, that I think your attentions may have
been _unpleasant_ to the Lady Cecilia--by no means; I cannot, with
truth, say any such thing!"

"Oh, my Lord!" exclaimed Titmouse, taking off his hat, bowing, and
placing his hand upon his breast, where his little heart was palpitating
with unusual force and distinctness.

"_Faint heart_, says the proverb, Mr. Titmouse, ah, ha!" quoth the earl,
with gentle gayety.

"Yes, my Lord, it's enough to make one faint indeed! Now, if your
Lordship--(I'm not used to this sort of thing, my Lord)--would just make
a sort of beginning for me, my Lord, with the Lady Cicely, to set us
going, my Lord--the least shove would do, my Lord--because, my Lord,
_courtship's_ a very--a--a"----

"Well, Mr. Titmouse," said the earl, with a gracious smile, "since your
modesty is so overpowering--I'll try--to become your ambassador to the
Lady Cecilia. If, Mr. Titmouse," his Lordship presently added in a
serious tone, "you are fortunate enough to succeed in engaging the
affections of the Lady Cecilia, you will discover that you have secured
indeed an invaluable prize."

"To be sure, my Lord! And consider, too, her Ladyship's uncommon high
rank--it's so particular condescending.--By the way, my Lord, will
she--if she and I can hit it off, so as to marry one another--be called
_Mrs. Titmouse_, or shall I be called _Lord Titmouse_? I wonder how that
will be, my Lord? 'Tis only, your Lordship understands, on Lady Cicely's
account I ask, because it's, in course, all one to _me_ when once we're

The earl was gazing at him as he went on, with an expression of mingled
surprise and concern: presently, however, he added with calm
seriousness, "Sir, it is not an unreasonable question, though I should
have imagined that you could hardly--be--but--in short, the Lady Cecilia
will retain her rank, and become the Lady Cecilia Titmouse--that is,
during my life; but on my demise, she succeeds to the barony of
Drelincourt, and then will be called, of course, Lady Drelincourt."

"And what shall _I_ be then, my Lord?" inquired Titmouse, eagerly.

"Sir, you will of course continue Mr. Titmouse."

"'Pon my life, my Lord--shall I indeed?" he interrupted with a
crestfallen air, "must we be called _Mr. Titmouse and Lady Drelincourt_?
Excuse me, my Lord, but it don't sound at all like man and wife."

"Sir, so it always has been, and will be, and so it ever ought to be,"
replied the earl, gravely.

"Well but, my Lord, (excuse me, my Lord)--but marriage is a very serious
thing, my Lord, your Lordship knows"----

"It is, sir, indeed," replied the earl, gloom visibly overspreading his

"Suppose," continued Titmouse, "Lady Cicely should die before me?"

The earl, remaining silent, fixed on Titmouse the eye of a FATHER--a
father, though a very foolish one; and presently, with a sensible tremor
in his voice, replied, "Sir, these are rather singular questions--but,"
he paused for some moments--"in such a mournful contingency as the one
you have hinted at"----

"Oh, my Lord! I humbly beg pardon--of course, I should be, 'pon my soul,
my Lord, most uncommon sorry"--interrupted Titmouse, with a little alarm
in his manner.

"I was saying, sir--that in such an event, if Lady Drelincourt left no
issue, you would succeed to the barony; but should she leave issue, they
will be called Honorable"----

"What!--'the Honorable Tittlebat Titmouse,' if it's a boy, and the
'Honorable Cecilia Titmouse,' if it's a girl?"

"Sir, it will be so--unless you should choose to take the name and arms
of Dreddlington, on marrying the sole heiress"----

"Oh! indeed, my Lord? 'Pon my life, my Lord, _that's_ worth
considering--because--betwixt your Lordship and I, I a'n't over and
above pleased with my own name. What will it cost to change it, now, my

"Sir," said the earl, struck with the idea, "that is really a thing
worth considering. But as for the _expense_--in an affair of such
magnitude, sir, I presume it would not be a matter of serious

After some further conversation, the earl came plump upon the great
pivot upon which the whole arrangement was to turn--settlements and
jointures--oh, as to them, Titmouse, who was recovering from the shock
of the discovery that his marriage, however it might degrade the Lady
Cecilia, would not ennoble him--promised everything--would leave
everything in the hands of his Lordship. Soon afterwards they separated;
the earl suggesting to him, that probably in a matter of infinite
delicacy, like that on which they had been conversing, he would keep his
own counsel--to which also Titmouse pledged himself. Soon afterwards,
and before seeing his daughter, with an anxious, but not an excited air,
he ordered his horse, and took a long ride, accompanied only by his
groom: and if ever in his whole life he had attempted serious
REFLECTION, it was on the occasion of that same long, slow, and solitary
ride; then, for the first time, he forgot his peerage, and thought only
of the _man_--and the father.

But to what purpose? Shortly after his return, he sought the Lady
Cecilia, and performed his promise, by preparing her to receive,
probably on the ensuing day, the proposals of TITTLEBAT TITMOUSE.

The desired opportunity occurred the next day. Titmouse had slept like a
top all night, after smoking in his bedroom a great many cigars, and
drinking several tumblers of brandy and water. Lady Cecilia, however,
had passed a very uneasy, and almost a sleepless night, and did not make
her appearance at the breakfast-table. Understanding that her Ladyship
was in the drawing-room, and alone, about noon, Titmouse, who had
bestowed during the interval more than usual pains upon his dress,
gently opened the door, and observing her reclining alone on the sofa,
he closed the door behind him, with a sudden beating of the heart, and
approached her, bowing profoundly. Poor Lady Cecilia immediately sat up,
very pale and trembling.

"Good-morning, good-morning, Lady Cicely," commenced Titmouse, with
evident agitation, taking a chair and sitting down in it, plump opposite
to her.

"You aren't well this morning, are you, Lady Cicely?" he continued,
observing how pale she looked, and that she did not seem disposed to

"I am quite well," she replied in a low tone: and then each was silent.

"It's beginning to look like winter a little, eh, Lady Cicely?" said he,
after an embarrassing pause, looking through the windows--and his words
diffused an icy coldness over Lady Cecilia. 'Twas an overcast day; and a
strong wind was stripping the sere and yellow leaves in great numbers
from the lofty trees which were not far distant, and gave forth a
melancholy, rushing, moaning sound.

"Certainly it is getting rather cheerless," replied Lady Cecilia, after
several moments' pause. Titmouse turned pale; and twirling his fingers
in his hair, fixed upon her a stupid and most embarrassing look, under
which her eyes fell towards the ground, and remained looking in that

"I--I--hope his Lordship's been saying a good word for me, Lady Cicely?"
he inquired with an absurdly sheepish air.

"My father mentioned your name to me yesterday," she replied, trembling

"'Pon my soul, monstrous kind!" said Titmouse, trying desperately to
look at his ease. "_Said_ he'd break the ice for me." Here ensued
another pause. "Everybody must have a beginning, you know. 'Pon my
solemn honor, Lady Cicely, all he said about me is quite true."
Profoundly as was Lady Cecilia depressed, she looked up at Titmouse for
a moment with evident surprise. "Now, Lady Cicely, just as between
friends, didn't he tell you something _very_ particular about me?
Didn't he? Eh?" She made him no answer.

"I dare say, Lady Cicely, though somehow you look sad enough, you a'n't
_vexed_ to see me here? Eh? There's many and many a woman in London that
would--but it's no use now. 'Pon my soul, I love you, I do, Lady
Cicely;" she trembled violently, for he was drawing his chair nearer to
her. She felt sick--sick almost to death; and a mist came for a moment
over her eyes.

"I know it's--it's a monstrous unpleasant piece of--I mean, it's an
awkward thing to do; but I hope you love _me_, Lady Cicely, eh! a
little?" Her head hung down, and a very scalding tear oozed out and
trickled down her cheek. "Hope you aren't sorry, dear Lady Cicely? _I'm_
most uncommon proud and happy! Come, Lady Cicely." He took the thin
white hand that was nearest him, and raised it to his lips. Had his
perceptions been only a trifle keener, he could not have failed to
observe a faint thrill pervade Lady Cecilia as he performed this act of
gallantry, and an expression of features which looked very much like
disgust. He had, however, seen love made on the stage, frequently; and,
as he had seen lovers do there, he now dropped down on one knee, still
holding Lady Cecilia's hand in his, and pressing it a second time to his

"If your Ladyship will only make me--so happy--as to be--my wife--'pon
my life you're welcome to all I have; and you may consider this place
entirely your own! Do you understand me, dearest Lady Cicely? Come! 'Pon
my life--I'm quite distracted--do you love me, Lady Cicely? Only say the
word." A faint--a very faint sound issued from her lips--'twas--blush
for her, my lady reader--"YES." [Oh, poor Lady Cecilia! Oh, fatal--fatal

"Then, as true as God's in heaven, dear gal, I love you," said he, with
ardor and energy; and rising from his knee, he sat down beside her upon
the sofa--placed an arm round her waist; with his other hand grasped
hers--and--imprinted a kiss upon the pale cheek which had been so
haughtily withdrawn from the presumptuous advances of the Marquis de
Millefleurs, and from some half dozen others; several of whom had been
men of commanding pretensions--elegant in person and manners--of great
accomplishments--of intellect--of considerable fortune--of good family;
but in her opinion, and that of the earl her father, not of family good
_enough_, nor fortune considerable _enough_, to entitle any of them to
an alliance with her.

"'Pon my life, Lady Cicely, you _are_ a most lovely gal," quoth
Titmouse, with increasing energy--"and now you're all my own! Though I
_am_ only plain Mr. Titmouse, and you'll be Lady Cicely still--I'll make
you a good husband!" and again he pressed her hand and kissed her cold
cheek. But slow and dull as were the Lady Cecilia's feelings, they were
becoming too much excited to admit of her continuing much longer in the

"I'm sure--you'll--excuse--me, Mr. Titmouse," said she, rising, and
speaking quickly and faintly. When she had regained her room, she wept
bitterly for upwards of an hour; and Miss Macspleuchan, well aware of
the cause of it, knew not how to console one who had so deliberately
immolated herself before the hideous little image of Mammon; who, in
degrading herself, had also--and Miss Macspleuchan, a true lady, when
alone, shed bitter and scalding tears, and her bosom swelled with
wounded pride and indignation at the thought--degraded her whole sex. In
due time, however, the _Aurora_, a fashionable morning London newspaper,
thus announced to the public, as an _auspicious_ event, the one which I
have so faithfully, feeling much pain the while, described to the

     "It is rumored that Mr. Titmouse, who so lately recovered the very
     large estates of Yatton, in Yorkshire, and whose appearance in the
     fashionable world has created so great a sensation, and who is
     already connected, by consanguinity, with the ancient and noble
     family of Dreddlington, is about to form a closer alliance with it,
     and is now the accepted suitor of the lovely and accomplished Lady
     Cecilia Philippa Leopoldina Plantagenet, sole daughter and heiress
     of the Right Hon. the Earl of Dreddlington, and next in succession
     to the barony of Drelincourt, the most ancient, we believe, in the


Behold now, thoughtful reader--for in your eyes it is anxiously desired
that this history may find favor--the dreadful--the desperate reverse in
Mr. Aubrey's circumstances. He has suddenly fallen from a very
commanding position in society: from that of a high-born English
gentleman, possessed of a fine unencumbered income, and all of luxury
and splendor, and of opportunity for gratifying a disposition of noble
munificence, that it can secure--and whose qualifications and prospects
justified him in aspiring to the highest senatorial distinction:--behold
him, I say, with his beloved and helpless family, sunk--lower than into
straitened circumstances--beneath even poverty--into the palsying
atmosphere of _debt_--and debt, too, inextricable and hopeless. Seeing
that no one can be so secure, but that all this, or something of the
like kind, may one day or other happen to him, 'tis hoped that it will
be found neither uninteresting nor uninstructive to watch carefully and
closely the present condition and _conduct_ of the Aubreys.

Bound hand and foot--so to speak--as Mr. Aubrey felt himself, and
entirely at the mercy of Mr. Titmouse and his solicitors, Messrs. Quirk,
Gammon, and Snap, what could he do but submit to almost any terms on
which they chose to insist? It will be recollected that Mr. Gammon's
proposal was,[28] that Mr. Aubrey should forthwith discharge, without
scrutiny, their bill of £3,946, 14s. 6d.; give sufficient security for
the payment of the sum of £10,000 to Mr. Titmouse, within twelve or
eighteen months' time, and two promissory notes for the sum of £5,000
each, payable at some future period, as to which he had to rely solely
on the sincerity and forbearance of Mr. Gammon, and the ratification of
his acts by Mr. Titmouse. This proposal was duly communicated by the
unfortunate Aubrey to Messrs. Runnington, who obtained from Messrs.
Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, a fortnight's time in which to deliberate upon
it. Messrs. Runnington almost immediately advised him to accept the
proposed terms as unquestionably fair, and, under the circumstances,
much more lenient than could have been expected. This might be so; but
yet, how dismaying and hopeless to _him_ the idea of carrying them into
effect! _How, indeed, was it to be done?_ First of all, how were Messrs.
Runnington's and Mr. Parkinson's bills to be got rid of--the former
amounting to £1,670, 12s., the latter to £756? And how were Mr. Aubrey
and his family to _live_ in the mean while, and how, moreover, were to
be met the expenses of his legal education? As was intimated in a former
part of this history, all that Mr. Aubrey had, on settling in London,
was £3,000 stock (equal to £2,640 of money) and £423 in his banker's
hands:--so that all his cash in hand was £3,063! and if he were to
devote the whole of it to the discharge of the three attorneys' bills
which he owed, he would still leave a gross balance unpaid of £3,310,
6s. 6d.! And yet for _him_ to talk of _giving security_ for the payment
of £10,000 within eighteen months, and his own notes of hand for £10,000
more! It was really almost maddening to sit down and contemplate all
this. But he must not fold his arms in impotence and despair--he must
look his difficulties straight in the face, and do the best that was in
his power. He resolved to devote every farthing he had, except £200, to
the liquidation of Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap's account, and (in
smaller proportion) of those also of Messrs. Runnington and Mr.
Parkinson; if necessary he resolved, though his heart thrilled with
anguish at the thought, to sell his books, and the remnant of old family
plate that he had preserved. Then he would strain every nerve to
contribute towards the support of himself and of his family--poor
oppressed soul!--by his literary exertions, in every moment that he
could spare from his legal studies; and practise the severest economy
that was consistent with health, and the preservation of a respectable
exterior. He resolved also, though with a shudder, to commit himself to
Gammon and Titmouse's mercy, by handing to them (though a fearful farce
it seemed) his two notes of hand for £10,000--_payable on demand_--for
such Gammon intimated was usual in such a case, and would be required in
the present one. But whither was he to look for security for the payment
of £10,000 within eighteen months' time? This was a matter which indeed
staggered him, and almost prostrated his energies whenever he directed
them to the subject; it occasioned him inexpressible agitation and
anguish. Individuals there were, he believed--he knew--who would
cheerfully enter into the desired security on his behalf; but what a
mockery! For them to be asked to secure _his_ payment of the sum, at the
time mentioned, was, in effect, palpably asking them to pay the money
for him; and in that light they could not but view such an application.
The reader will easily understand the potency of such considerations
upon so sensitive and high-minded a person as Mr. Aubrey. While
revolving these distracting and harassing topics in his mind, the name
of Lord De la Zouch always presented itself to him. Had he not
solemnly--repeatedly--_pledged_ himself to communicate with that kind,
and wealthy, and generous nobleman, in such an emergency as the present?
His Lordship's income was at least eighty or a hundred thousand pounds
a-year; his habits were simple and unostentatious, though he was of a
truly munificent disposition; and he had not a large and expensive
family--his only child being Mr. Delamere. He had ever professed, and,
as far as he had hitherto had an opportunity, proved himself to be a
devoted, a most affectionate friend to Mr. Aubrey:--did not Providence,
then, seem to point him out distinctly as one who should be applied to,
to rescue from destruction a fallen friend? And why should Aubrey
conjure up an array of imaginary obstacles, arising out of a diseased
delicacy? And whom were such scruples reducing to destitution along with
him!--his wife, his children, his devoted and noble-minded sister! But,
alas! the thought of sweet Kate suggested another source of exquisite
pain and embarrassment to Aubrey, who well knew the ardent and
inextinguishable passion for her entertained by young Delamere. 'Twas
true that, to pacify his father, and also not to grieve or harass Miss
Aubrey by the constant attentions with which he would have otherwise
followed her, he had consented to devote himself with great assiduity
and ardor to his last year's studies at Oxford; yet was he by no means
an infrequent visitor at Vivian Street, resolutely regardless of the
earnest entreaties of Miss Aubrey, and even of her brother. Not that
there was ever anything indelicate or obtrusive in his attentions;--how
could it be? Alas! Kate really loved him, and it required no very great
acuteness in Delamere to discover it. He was as fine, handsome a young
fellow as you could see anywhere; frank, high-spirited, accomplished,
with an exceedingly elegant deportment, and simple, winning manners--and
could she but be touched with a lively sense of the noble
disinterestedness of his attachment to her! I declare that Kate wrote
him several letters, in _bonâ fide_ dissuasion of his addresses, and
which wore such a genuine and determined air of repulsion, as would have
staggered most men; but young Delamere cared not one straw for any of
them: let Kate vary her tone as she pleased, he told her simply that he
had sent them to his mother, who said they were very good letters
indeed; so he would make a point of reading all she would send him, and
so forth. When Kate, with too solemn an emphasis to be mistaken or
encountered with raillery, assured him that nothing upon earth should
prevail upon her to quit her present station in her brother's family, at
all events until he had completely surmounted all his troubles,
Delamere, with looks of fond admiration, would reply that it signified
nothing, as he was prepared to wait her pleasure, and submit to any
caprice or unkindness in which her heart would allow her to indulge. I
must own that poor Kate was, on more than one occasion of his exhibiting
traits of delicate generosity towards her brother, so moved and melted
towards her lover, that she could--shall I say it?--have sunk into his
arms in silent and passionate acquiescence; for her heart had, indeed,
long been really his.--But whither am I wandering?--To return, then--I
say, that when Mr. Aubrey adverted for a moment to this state of things,
was it not calculated a thousand-fold to enhance the difficulty of his
applying _to the father of Delamere_? So indeed it was; and, torn with
conflicting emotions and considerations of this kind, nearly the whole
of the fortnight granted to him for deliberation had elapsed, before he
could make up his mind to apply to Lord De la Zouch. At length, however,
with a sort of calm desperation, he determined to do so; and when he had
deposited in the Post-Office his letter--one in every line of which the
noble and generous person to whom it was addressed might easily detect
the writhings of its writer's wounded spirit--the quiverings of a broken
heart--he looked indeed a melancholy object. The instant that, by
dropping his letter into the box, he had irrecoverably parted with all
control over it, and to Lord De la Zouch it must go, Aubrey felt as if
he would have given the world to recall it. Never had he heaved so many
profound sighs, and felt so utterly miserable and destitute, as during
his walk homeward that afternoon. Those dear beings did not know of the
step he had intended to take; nor did he tell them that he had taken it.
When he saw his sister he felt sick at heart; and during the whole of
the evening was so oppressed and subdued, that the faint anxious
raillery of lovely Mrs. Aubrey and Kate, and the unconscious
sportiveness of his children, served only to deepen the gloom which was
around his spirit!--He had requested Lord De la Zouch to address his
answer to him at the Temple; and sure enough, by return of post, Mr.
Aubrey found lying on his desk, on reaching the Temple three or four
mornings afterwards, a letter addressed, "Charles Aubrey, Esq., at
---- Weasel's, Esq., No. 3, Pomegranate Court, Temple, London;" and
franked, "DE LA ZOUCH."

"I shall return presently," said Mr. Aubrey to the clerk, with as much
calmness as he could assume, having put the letter into his pocket,
resolving to go into the Temple gardens and there read it, where any
emotion which it might excite, would be unobserved. Having at length
seated himself on a bench, under one of the old trees near the river,
with a somewhat tremulous hand he took out, and opened the letter, and
read as follows:--

                                 "_Fotheringham Castle, 18th July 18--._


     "If you really value my friendship, never pain my feelings again by
     expressions, such as are contained in your letter, of distrust as
     to the issue of _any_ application of yours to me. Has  anything
     that has ever hitherto passed between us, justified them? For
     Heaven's sake, tell your solicitors not to lose a moment in
     procuring the necessary instruments, and forwarding them to me
     through Messrs. Framlingham, _my_ solicitors. I will execute
     immediately all that are sent, and return them by the next post, or
     mail. If you will but at once set about this in a business-like
     way, I will forgive and forget all the absurd and _unkind_ scruples
     with which your letter abounds. Since you would probably make a
     mighty stir about it, I shall not at present dwell upon the
     _inexpressible pleasure_ it would give me to be allowed to
     emancipate you at once from the vulgar and grasping wretches who
     are now harassing you, my very dear Aubrey, and to constitute
     myself your creditor instead of them. But on further consideration,
     I suppose you would distress yourself on the ground of _my
     restricted_ means rendering it so much more difficult for me, than
     for them, to give you time for the payment of your debt!! Or will
     you PLAY THE MAN, and act at once in the way in which, I assure
     you, upon my honor, I would act by you, on a similar solicitation,
     were our situations reversed? By the way, I intend to insist on
     being your _sole surety_; unless, indeed, your creditors doubt my
     solvency, in which case I hope we shall be able, among our common
     friends, to find a sufficient co-surety!--

     "And now, dear Aubrey, how get you on with law? Does she smile, or
     scowl upon you? I wonder why you did not go to the fountain-head,
     and become at once a pupil to your friend, the Attorney-General.
     Who is the gentleman whom you are reading with? He certainly has
     rather a curious name! Well, my dear Aubrey, may Heaven in its own
     good time crown your virtuous efforts--your unconquerable
     resolution--with success! Won't it be odd if, when I am dead and
     gone, and my son is occupying my present place on the benches of
     the House of Lords, you should be sitting on the woolsack? More
     unlikely things than this have come to pass: look at----!

     "How are dear Mrs. Aubrey and Miss Aubrey, and your darling little
     ones? Though we are going in a fortnight's time to fill this old
     place, (the ----s, the ----s, and the ----s, and others, are
     coming,) we shall be, till then, quite deserted, and so, after they
     are gone. Would that we could insist on all of you taking up your
     abode with us! Have you seen Geoffrey lately? He tells me that he
     is working very hard indeed at Oxford; and so says his tutor. But I
     have my doubts; for it is more than ever I did. Pray write me by
     return. I am ever, my dear Aubrey, yours, faithfully and
                                                          "DE LA ZOUCH."


     "P. S. On further consideration, let _your_ people send the deeds,
     &c., at once on to me, direct from themselves;--'tis a private
     matter, which is of no consequence to any one but ourselves. No one
     else, indeed, except your own solicitors, and your opponents, need
     know anything about it. Neither Lady De la Zouch nor my son will
     have the least inkling of the matter."

No language of mine can do justice to the feelings with which Mr.
Aubrey, after many pauses, occasioned by absolutely irrepressible
emotion, perused the foregoing letter. Its generosity was infinitely
enhanced by its delicacy; and both were exquisitely appreciated by a man
of his susceptibility, and in his circumstances. His eyes--his heart,
overflowed with unutterable gratitude towards the Almighty, and the
noble instrument of his mercy. He could have flown on the wings of the
wind to the dear beings in Vivian Street, with joyous face and light
elastic step, to make them participators in his joy. He rose and walked
to and fro by the river side with most exhilarated spirits. The sky was
cloudless: the sun shone brilliantly; and innumerable brisk and busy
craft were moving to and fro upon the swelling bosom of the magnificent
Thames. Gladness was in his soul. The light without was typical of that
within. Several times he was on the point of starting off to Vivian
Street; but, on consideration, he resolved to go to Messrs. Runnington,
and put them into instant communication with Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and
Snap; and matters having been set in train for the speediest possible
settlement, Mr. Aubrey returned to chambers; but quitted them an hour
earlier than usual, to brighten the countenances of those he loved, by
the joyous intelligence he bore. But he found that they also had
cheering news to communicate; so that this was indeed a memorable day to

Lady Stratton, not only a relative, but a devoted bosom friend of the
late Mrs. Aubrey, had, it may easily be believed, never ceased to take a
lively interest in the fortunes of the unhappy Aubreys. She was now far
advanced in years, and childless; and though she enjoyed an ample life
income, derived from the liberality of her husband, Sir Beryl Stratton,
Baronet, who had died some twenty or thirty years before; yet, seeing no
necessity for saving money, she had followed the noble example of her
deceased friend Mrs. Aubrey, and bestowed annually all her surplus
income in the most liberal and systematic charity. Many years before,
however, she had resolved upon making a provision for Miss Aubrey, whom
she loved as if she had been her mother; and the expedient she had
resorted to (quite unknown to the Aubreys) was to insure her life for
the sum of £15,000, the whole of which sum she had intended to bequeath
to Miss Aubrey. The premiums on so large an insurance, were heavy annual
drains upon her purse; and, together with her long-continued charities,
and the expenditure necessary to support her station, left her but
stinted means for contributing to the relief of the ruined Aubreys. With
some difficulty, however, the old lady, in one way or another,
principally by effecting a loan from the insurance company upon her
policy, had contrived to raise a sum of £2,000; and Miss Aubrey had that
morning received a letter from her, full of tenderness, begging her to
present the sum in question (for which Lady Stratton had lodged a credit
with her bankers in London) to her brother Mr. Aubrey, to dispose of as
he pleased--trusting that it might be effectual in relieving him from
the difficulties which were more immediately pressing upon him. Never
had they spent so happy an evening together since they had quitted
Yatton. In the excitement of the hour, even Aubrey felt for a while as
if they now saw their way through all their embarrassments and dangers.
Can the reader imagine what must have been the feelings of Miss Aubrey
when she first heard of, and afterwards reflected upon, the princely
munificence of Lord De la Zouch? If he can, it is well--it is more than
I am equal to describing. Her agitation kept her awake more than half
the night; and when she appeared at breakfast, her brother's quick eye
detected in her countenance the traces of a severe conflict of feelings.
With him also much of the excitement occasioned by the two occurrences
above mentioned, had disappeared by the time that he took his seat in
his little study at his usual early hour. First of all, he felt very
uneasy in receiving so large a sum from Lady Stratton, whom he knew to
be by no means rich--at all events, not rich enough to part with so
considerable an amount without inconvenience; and he resolved not to
accept of her proffered kindness, unless she would allow him to transmit
to her his bond for the repayment, together with interest on what he
might borrow. Surely this was an unnecessary step; yet where is the man
who, on all occasions, acts precisely as a calm and reflecting observer
of his conduct, _long afterwards_, could have wished him to act? One
must make allowance for the feelings which prompted him--those of a
highly honorable and independent and over-sensitive man, who felt
himself oppressed already by the weight of pecuniary obligation which he
had incurred, and sought for the semblance of relief to his feelings by
receiving that as a _loan_, only, which had been nobly proffered as a
gift; and thus, as it were, in point of fact destroying all the grace
and courtesy of the benefaction; but it is useless discussing the
matter. I regret that Mr. Aubrey should have allowed himself to be
influenced by such considerations; but so it was--and worthy Lady
Stratton was informed by him in a letter certainly abounding in
expressions of heartfelt gratitude and affection, that he had availed
himself of her generous assistance, but only on the terms of his being
allowed to deposit his bond for the repayment of it, with interest, with
her solicitors; expressing his hope that ere long he should be enabled
to fulfil every engagement into which he might have entered.

This seasonable assistance enabled him to make the following arrangement
for liquidating the sums due on account of his sickening attorney's

    Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap's bill was  £3,946 14 6
    Messrs. Runnington's                         1,670 12 0
    Mr. Parkinson's                                756  0 0
                                                £6,373  6 6

These were his liabilities. Then his assets were:--

    Money in the funds                               £2,640
    Money at his banker's                               423
    Advanced by Lady Stratton                         2,000

    Therefore, from             £6,373 6 6
    Deduct                       5,063 0 0
    And there remained          £1,310 6 6

As soon as he had made the foregoing statement on a slip of paper early
in the morning in his study, (as already intimated,) he averted his eye
from it, for a moment, with a sort of cold shudder. Were he to devote
every farthing of assets that he had, he still could not come within
£1,310 odd of his mere attorney's bills. What was he to do? The result
of a long and anxious morning's calculation and scheming was to
appropriate £4,000 of his assets thus--(if he could prevail upon his
creditors to be for the present content with it:)--

    To Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap                £2,500
    Messrs. Runnington                                 1,000
    Mr. Parkinson                                        500

If this arrangement could be effected, then he would be able to reserve
in his own hands £1,063, and retain liabilities as under:--

    Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap's (balance)  £1,446 14 6
    Messrs. Runnington's (ditto)                    670 12 0
    Mr. Parkinson's (ditto)                         256  0 0
                                                 £2,373  6 6

Heavy was his heart at beholding this result of even the most favorable
mode of putting his case: but he placed the memoranda in his
pocket-book, and repaired to his dressing-room; and having completed his
toilet, appeared at breakfast with as cheerful a countenance as he could
assume. Each of the three assembled, perceived, however, that the others
were _striving_ to look gay and happy. Suffice it to say, that within a
week's time, Messrs. Runnington received the necessary security from
Lord De la Zouch, who had thereby bound himself in the penal sum of
£20,000 that Mr. Aubrey should, on or before the 24th day of January
18--, (that is, in eighteen months' time from the date of the bond,) pay
the principal sum of £10,000, with interest at 5 per cent; and this
instrument, together with Mr. Aubrey's two promissory-notes for £5,000
each, and also cash to the amount of £2,500 in part payment of their
bill, having been delivered to Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap--who,
after a great deal of reluctance on the part of Mr. Quirk, finally
consented to allow the balance of £1,446, 14s. 6d. to stand over--they
gave him, first, a receipt for so much on account of their own bill; and
secondly, an instrument by which Tittlebat Titmouse, for the
considerations therein expressed, did "_remise, release, and forever
quit claim_," unto Charles Aubrey, his heirs, executors, and
administrators, all other demands whatsoever, [_i. e._ other than the
said sum of £20,000.] By this arrangement Mr. Aubrey was absolutely
exonerated from the sum of £40,000, in which he stood indubitably
indebted to Mr. Titmouse; and so far he had just cause for
congratulation. But was not his situation still one calculated to
depress and alarm him more and more every time that he contemplated it?
Where was he to find the sum requisite to release Lord De la Zouch from
any part of his enormous liability? For with such a surety in their
power as that great and opulent peer, was it likely that Messrs. Quirk,
Gammon, and Snap, would be otherwise than peremptory and inflexible when
the day of payment arrived? And if so, with what feelings must Mr.
Aubrey see his noble and generous friend called upon to pay down nearly
£11,000 for him? And was he not liable at any moment upon his own two
notes for £5,000 each? And were they not likely to insist speedily on
the discharge of their own serious balance of £1,446 odd? What more
probable, than that persons such as they and their client were
represented to be, would, as soon as they decently could, proceed to
extremities with him, in the confidence that the sight and the sound of
his agonies would call in powerful and affluent friends to his

Still pressed, as indeed he was, his spirit had by no means lost its
elasticity, supported as he was by a powerful, an unconquerable
WILL--and also by a devout reliance upon the protection of Providence.
Though law is indeed an exhausting and absorbing study, and it was
pursued by Mr. Aubrey with unflagging energy, yet he found time (those
who choose may find time enough for everything) to contribute sensibly
to the support of himself and his family by literary labors, expended
principally upon compositions of an historical and political character,
and which were forwarded from time to time to the distinguished Review
which has been already mentioned. To produce, as he produced, articles
of this description--of considerable length and frequency--requiring
ready, extensive, and accurate knowledge, and careful composition;
original and vigorous in their conception and their execution, and by
their intrinsic merit arresting, immediately on their appearance, the
attention of the public; I say, to do such things--and only in those
precious intervals which ought to have been given to the relaxation of
his strained mental and physical powers--and under the pressure, too, of
such overpowering anxieties as were his--argued surely the possession of
superior energies--of an indomitable resolution. All this while,
moreover, he contrived to preserve an unruffled _temper_--which, with a
man of such sensibilities as his, afforded indeed a signal instance of
self-control; and in short, on all these grounds, Mr. Aubrey appears
really entitled to our deepest sympathy and respect. I spoke of his
anxieties. Suppose, thought he, health should fail him, what was to
become of him, and of those absolutely dependent upon him? Suppose
illness should invade the dear members of his family, what was in
prospect but destitution--or surrendering them up--bitter and
heart-breaking contingency!--to the precarious _charity_ of others. What
would avail all his exhausting labors in the acquisition of professional
knowledge, while his liberty was entirely at the command of Mr.
Titmouse, and Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, who might, at any moment,
actuated by mercenary motives, or impelled by caprice, blight all his
prospects, and incarcerate him in a prison! Yet, under this burden--to
adopt the language of Sir Henry Spelman on an analogous occasion, "_non
ingentem solum, sed perpetuis humeris sustinendum_"--Mr. Aubrey stood
firmly. He felt that he was called upon to sustain it; a blessed spirit
ever, as it were, beside him, whispering the consolatory assurance, that
all this was ordered and designed by the Supreme Disposer of events, as
a _trial_ of his constancy, and of his faith, and that the _issue_ was
with HIM. It is mercifully ordained, that "hope springs eternal in the
human breast," and that, too, in every turn and variety of mortal
misery. It was so with Aubrey. So long as he felt his health unimpaired,
and his mental energies in full vigor, he looked on these blessings as a
sort of guarantee from Heaven that he should be able to carry on a
successful, though it might be a long and wearisome, struggle with
adverse circumstances. Still it cost him a very painful effort to assume
and preserve that exterior of tranquillity, which should calm and assure
the beloved beings associated with him in this hour of peril and
suffering; and oftener than they chose to let him know of it, did the
keen eye of a wife's, and sister's love, detect the gloom and oppression
which darkened his countenance, and saddened his manner. Theirs was,
notwithstanding all I have said, a happy little home. He was generally
punctual to his dinner-hour, to a moment; knowing the thousand fears on
his account which would otherwise assail the fond beings who were
counting the minutes till his arrival. When they had once thus met, they
seldom separated till bed-time. Sometimes Miss Aubrey would sit down to
her piano, and accompany herself in some song or air, which equally,
whether merry or mournful, revived innumerable touching and tender
recollections of former days; and she often ceased, tremulously and in
tears, in which she was not unfrequently joined by both of those who had
been listening to her. Then he would betake himself to his labors for
the rest of the evening (not quitting the room), they either assisting
him--fair and eager amanuenses! or themselves reading, or engaged at
needlework. Oh! it was ecstasy, too, to that poor oppressed father to
enter into the wild sports and gambols of his light-hearted little ones,
Charles and Agnes, who always made their appearance for about a couple
of hours after dinner; to tell them "stories;" to listen to theirs; to
show them pictures; to hear Charles read; and to join heartily in their
frolics, even rolling about on the floor with them! But when he paused
for a moment, and his wife and Kate succeeded him as their playmates,
for a short interval; when his eye followed their movements--what sudden
and sharp pangs would pass through his heart, as he thought of the
future, and what was to become of them!--And when their maid arrived at
the appointed hour, causing all sport instantly to cease, and longing
looks to be directed to papa and mamma, saying as plainly as could be
said, "only a _few_ minutes more," how fondly would he embrace them! and
when he felt their tiny arms clasping his neck and caressing him, and
their kisses "all over" his face, feelings were excited within him,
which were too deep for utterance--which defy description. 'Tis said--I
know not with what truth--of Robespierre, as an instance of his fearful
refinement in cruelty, that a person of distinction who had become
obnoxious to him he formally condemned to death, but allowed to remain
in the torturing, the excruciating presence of his lovely family; he and
they aware, all the while, that his doom was _irrevocable_, inevitable;
and he momentarily liable to the summons to the guillotine, and which
in fact--oh, horror!--came at length, when they were all seated
together, one day, at the breakfast-table! Oh, the feelings with which
that unfortunate person must have daily regarded the countenances of
those around him! How applicable to his condition the heart-breaking
strains of Medea--

    [Greek:  Pheu pheu, ti prosderkesthe m' ommasin, tekna;
    Ti prosgelate ton panustaton gelôn;
    Ai, ai, ti drasô; Kardia gar oichetai,
    Gunaikes, omma phaidron ôs eidon teknôn.][29]

The above passage was one which very frequently, on the occasions I have
alluded to, occurred to the mind of Mr. Aubrey; for he felt himself
indeed every moment at the mercy of those to whom he owed such a fearful
amount of money, and for which he was liable, at any moment selected by
malice or rapacity, to be plucked from his little home, and cast into

Oh, happy ye, now reading these pages, _unto whom the lines are fallen
in pleasant places! yea, who have a goodly heritage_; who live, as it
were, in a _land flowing with milk and honey_; with whom life glides
away like a tranquil and pleasant dream; who are not sternly bidden _to
eat your bread with quaking, and drink your water with trembling and
with carefulness_,[30] nor _in vain to rise up early_, to _sit up late,
to eat the bread of sorrows_; who have, indeed, _no thought for the
morrow_;--oh, ye who have leisure and ample means to pursue the objects
of an honorable ambition, undisturbed by daily fears for daily bread--by
terror, lest implacable creditors should at length frustrate all your
efforts, drive you from your position in society, and precipitate you
and yours into ruin;--I say, oh ye! do I appeal to you in vain? Do you
turn from this painful portion of my narrative with indifference, or
contempt, or wearisomeness? If the mere _description_, brief though it
may be, of the sufferings of the Aubreys be trying and unpleasing to
you, what must have been to them the actual _endurance_? Poor Aubrey! As
he walked along the crowded thoroughfares, morning and evening, between
the Temple and Vivian Street, what a disheartening consciousness he felt
of his personal insignificance! Which of the passengers, patrician or
plebeian, who met or passed him, cared--if personally unknown to
him--one straw for him, or _would_ have cared a straw for him, had they
even known the load of misery and misfortune under which he staggered
past them? Every time that he thus passed between the scene of his
absorbing labors at the Temple, and that green spot--his house in Vivian
Street--in the world's wide desert, where only his heart was refreshed
by the never-failing spring of domestic love and tenderness, he felt, as
it were, but a prisoner out upon parole! It is easy to understand that,
when a man walks along the streets of London, depressed in spirit, and
alarmed by the consciousness of increasing pecuniary embarrassment, his
temper is likely to become irritable, his deportment forbidding, his
spirit stern and soured, particularly against those who appeal to his
charity; which then, indeed, he might be pardoned for feeling, and
bitterly--_to begin at home_. It was not so, however, with Aubrey, whose
constant feeling was--_Haud ignarus mali, miseris succurrere disco_; and
though it may appear a small thing to mention, I feel gratification in
recording of him, that, desperate as were his circumstances, infinitely
enhanced to him as was the value of money, he went seldom unprovided
with the means of relieving the humbler applicants for charity whom he
passed in the streets--of dropping some small token of his love and pity
into the trembling and feeble hand of _want_--of those whose necessities
he felt to be greater even than his own. Never, indeed, did the timid
eye of the most tattered, starved, and emaciated object suffered to
crawl along the streets, catch that of Mr. Aubrey, without making his
heart acknowledge the secret bond of misery which bound them
together--that he beheld a brother in bondage, and on whom he cheerfully
bestowed the humble pittance which he believed that Providence had yet
left at his disposal!--Prosperity and adversity have equally the effect,
upon an inferior mind and heart, of generating _selfishness_. The one
encourages, the other forces it. Misery is apt to think its own
sufferings greater than those of any one else--and naturally. The eye,
as it were, is filled with the object--that is to say, of distress and
danger--which is nearest--which is in such fearful contiguity, obscuring
from view all remoter objects, at once scaring away presence of mind,
and centring its hopes and fears upon _self_. Not so, however, is it
when a noble nature is the sufferer--and more especially when that
nature is strengthened and brightened by the support and consolation
derived from philosophy--and, above all, religion. To many a strong
spirit, destitute of such assistance, alas! how often, under similar
circumstances, have come--ghastly visitants!--_Despair_ and _Madness_,
with their hideous attendant SUICIDE, to do their bidding?

To Mr. Aubrey the Sabbath was indeed not only a day for performing the
public services of religion, but also a day of real rest from the labors
of life. It was not one, to him, of puritanical gloom or excitement, but
of sincere, cheerful, fervent, enlightened devotion. It would have been
to the reader, I think, not an uninteresting sight to behold this
unfortunate and harassed family at church. They took almost the only pew
which was vacant in the gallery--in a church not far distant from Vivian
Street--a pew just holding themselves and little Charles; who, since
their arrival in town, had begun to accompany them to the morning
service. There was something in their appearance--punctual as they were
in both the morning and evening--which could hardly fail to have
interested any one who observed them. There were two very elegant and
lovely women, dressed in simple half-mourning: a man of calm,
gentlemanly manners, and an intellectual countenance, but overshadowed
with deep seriousness, if not melancholy--as, indeed, was the case with
the whole of the little group, except the beautiful child, Charles. If
their mere appearance was thus calculated to interest those around, who
beheld them so punctual in their attendance, how much would that
interest have been increased, had the beholder known their singular and
melancholy history? Here were individuals, whose condition was testing
the reality of the consolations of religion, exhibiting humility,
resignation, faith, a deep delight in attending the house of HIM who had
permitted such dreadful disasters to befall them, and whose will it yet
seemed to be that they should pass through deeper sufferings than they
had yet experienced. His temple seemed, indeed, to them, a refuge and
shelter from the storm. To Mr. Aubrey every portion of the church
service was precious, for its purity, its simplicity, its solemnity, its
fervor, its truly scriptural character, its adaptation to every
imaginable condition of feeling and of circumstance, indeed, "to all
sorts and conditions of men." A little incident fraught with much
interest, occurred to them shortly after they commenced their attendance
at the church. An occasional sermon was preached one evening by a
stranger, from the words "_Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him_,"
on behalf of a neighboring dispensary. Mr. Aubrey was soon struck by the
unusual strength and beauty of the sermon, in point of composition--the
fervor and simplicity of the preacher. Its language was at once chaste
and forcible; its reasoning clear and cogent; its illustration apt and
vivid; its pathos genuine. As he went on, Mr. Aubrey became more and
more convinced that he had seen or heard the preacher before; and on
inquiring, afterwards, his name, his impressions proved to be
correct;--the clergyman had been at Oxford, at the very same college
with him, and this was the first time that they had since come within
sight of each other. Mr. Aubrey very soon afterwards had an opportunity
of introducing himself to the clergyman, and was recognized, and they
renewed their early friendship. Mr. Neville--for that was his name--poor
soul, had nothing upon earth to support himself with, but an afternoon
lectureship in one of the city churches, from which he derived about £75
a-year; and on this sum alone he had contrived, for the last four or
five years, to support both himself and his wife--a very amiable and
fond woman. Fortunately, they had no children; but they had seen much
affliction, each of them being in but precarious health, and a sad
proportion of his little income was, consequently, devoted to doctors'
bills. He was an admirable scholar; a man of very powerful
understanding, and deeply read in metaphysics and divinity. Yet this
wretched pittance was all he could procure for his support; and pinching
work for them, poor souls, it was indeed, to "make ends meet." They
lived in very small but creditable lodgings; and amid all their
privations, and with all the gloom of the future before them, they were
as cheerful a little couple as the world ever saw. They dearly loved,
and would have sacrificed everything for each other; and so long as they
could but keep their chins above water, and he realize the stern and
noble feeling, "pauper, _sed in meo ære_," they cared not for their
exclusion from most of the comforts and all the elegancies of life. They
were, both of them, entirely resigned to the will of Heaven as to their
position--nay, in all things. She generally accompanied him
whithersoever he went; but on the occasion to which I have been
alluding, the good little creature was lying at home in bed, enduring
great suffering; and the thought of it made the preacher's heart very
heavy, and his voice to falter a little, several times during his
sermon. He was perfectly delighted when Mr. Aubrey introduced himself;
and when the latter had heard all his friend's little history--who had
indeed a child-like simplicity and frankness, and told Mr. Aubrey
everything he knew about himself--Mr. Aubrey wrung his hand with great
emotion, almost, indeed, too great for expression. It seemed that a
bishop, before whom poor Neville had accidentally preached seven years
before, had sent for him, and expressed such a very high opinion of his
sermon, as led him reasonably to look for some little preferment at his
Lordship's hands; but in vain. Poor Neville had no powerful friends, and
the bishop was overwhelmed with applicants for everything he had to give
away; so it is not much to be wondered at, that, in time, he totally
lost sight of Mr. Neville, and of the hopes which had blossomed, but to
be blighted. What touched Mr. Aubrey to the soul, was the unaffected
cheerfulness with which poor Mr. Neville--now in his fortieth
year--reconciled himself to his unpromising circumstances; the calmness
with which he witnessed the door of preferment evidently _shut upon him
forever_. Mr. Aubrey obtained from him his address; and resolved that,
though, for reasons long ago explained, he had withdrawn from almost
every one of his former friends and associates, yet with this poor, this
neglected, but happy clergyman, he would endeavor to renew and cement
firmly their early-formed but long-suspended friendship. And when, on
his return to Vivian Street, (whither Mrs. and Miss Aubrey had proceeded
alone, at his request, while he walked on with Mr. Neville,) he told
them the little history which I have above indicated to the reader, how
the hearts of all of them went forth towards one who was in many
respects a fellow-sufferer with themselves, and, _practising what he
preached_, was really a pattern of resignation to the will of God; of
humble but hearty faith in His mercy and loving-kindness!

Mr. Aubrey was not long in paying his promised visit to Mr. Neville,
accompanied by Mrs. Aubrey. 'Twas a long and not very agreeable walk for
them towards St. George's in the East; and on reaching a small row of
neat houses, only one story high, and being shown into Mr. Neville's
very little sitting-room, they found Mrs. Neville lying on a little
rickety sofa near the fire, looking very ill, and Mr. Neville sitting
before her, with a number of books on the table, and pen, ink, and
paper, with which he was occupied preparing his next Sunday's sermon;
but there was also a slip of paper on the table of a different
description, and which had occasioned both of them great distress; viz.
a rather peremptory note from their medical man, touching the payment of
his "trifling account" of £14 odd. Where poor Neville was to obtain such
a sum, neither he nor his wife knew: they had already almost deprived
themselves of necessary food and clothing to enable them to appease
another urgent creditor; and this new and sudden demand of an old claim,
had indeed grievously disquieted them. They said nothing about it to Mr.
and Mrs. Aubrey, who soon made themselves at home, and by their
unaffected simplicity and cordiality of manner, relieved their humble
hosts from all anxiety. They partook of tea, in a sufficiently homely
and frugal style; and before they rose to go they exacted a promise,
that, as soon as Mrs. Neville should have recovered, they would both
come and spend a long day in Vivian Street. They soon became very
intimate; and, Mrs. Neville's health at length being such as to preclude
her from attending at all to her needle, the reader will possibly think
none the less of Mrs. Aubrey and Kate, when he hears that they insisted
on taking that task upon themselves, (a matter in which they were
becoming somewhat expert,) and many and many an hour did these two
charming women spend, both in Vivian Street and at Mrs. Neville's, in
relieving her from her labors--particularly in preparing her slight
stock of winter clothing. And now that I am on this point, I may as well
mention another not less amiable trait in Kate; that, hearing of a
girl's school about to be founded in connection with the church which
they attended, and in support of which several ladies had undertaken to
prepare various little matters, such as embroidery, lace, pictures, and
articles of fancy and ornament, Kate also set to work with her pencil
and brushes. She was a very tasteful draughtswoman, and produced four or
five such delicate and beautiful sketches, in water color, of scenes in
and about Yatton, as made her a very distinguished contributor to the
undertaking; each of her sketches producing upwards of two guineas. She
also drew a remarkably spirited crayon sketch of the pretty little head
of Charles--who accompanied her to the place where her contributions
were deposited, and delivered it in with his own hand.--Thus, in short,
were this sweet and amiable family rapidly reconciling themselves to
their altered circumstances--taking real pleasure in the new scenes
which surrounded them, and the novel duties devolving upon them; and as
their feelings became calmer, they felt how true it is that happiness in
this world depends not upon mere external circumstances, but upon THE
MIND--which, contented and well regulated, can turn everything around it
into a source of enjoyment and thankfulness--making indeed _the
wilderness to bloom and blossom as the rose_.

They kept up--especially Kate--a constant correspondence with good old
Dr. Tatham; who, judging from the frequency and the length of his
letters, which were written with a truly old-fashioned distinctness and
uniformity of character, must have found infinite pleasure in his task.
So also was it with Kate, who, if she had even been writing to her
lover--nay, between ourselves, what would Mr. Delamere have given to
have had addressed to himself one of the long letters, crossed down to
the very postscript, full of sparkling delicacy, good nature, and good
sense, which so often found their way to the "Rev. Dr. Tatham, Vicarage,
Yatton, Yorkshire!" They were thus apprised of everything of moment that
transpired at Yatton, to which their feelings clung with unalienable
affection. Dr. Tatham's letters had indeed almost always a painful
degree of interest attached to them. From his frequent mention of Mr.
Gammon's name--and almost equally _favorable_ as frequent--it appeared
that he possessed a vast ascendency over Mr. Titmouse, and was, whenever
he was at Yatton, in a manner, its moving spirit. The doctor represented
Titmouse as a truly wretched creature, with no more sense of religion
than a monkey; equally silly, selfish, and vulgar--unfeeling and
tyrannical wherever he had an opportunity of exhibiting his real

It exquisitely pained them, moreover, to find pretty distinct
indications of a sterner and stricter rule being apparent at Yatton,
than had ever been known there before, so far as the tenants and
villagers were concerned. Rents were now required to be paid with the
utmost punctuality; many of them were raised, and harsher terms
introduced into their leases and agreements. In Mr. Aubrey's time a
distress or an action for rent was a thing literally unheard of in any
part of the estate; but nearly a dozen had occurred since the accession
of Mr. Titmouse. If this had been at the instance of the ruling spirit,
Mr. Gammon personally had certainly got none of the odium of the
proceeding; every letter announcing a resort to hostile measures
expressly purporting to be authorized by Mr. Titmouse himself; Mr.
Gammon on most of such occasions, putting in a faint word or two in
favor of the tenant, but ineffectually. The legal proceedings were
always conducted in the name of "Bloodsuck and Son," whose town agents
were, "Quirk, Gammon, and Snap;" but _their_ names never came under the
eye of the defendants! No longer could the poor villagers, and poorer
tenants, reckon on their former assistance from the Hall in the hour of
sickness and distress: cowslip wine, currant wine, elderberry wine, if
made, were consumed in the Hall. In short, there was a discontinuance of
all those innumerable little endearing courtesies, and charities, and
hospitalities, which render a good old country mansion the very _heart_
of the neighborhood. The doctor in one of his letters, intimated, with a
sort of agony, that he had heard it mentioned by the people at the Hall
as probable, that Mr. Titmouse--the little Goth--would pull down that
noble old relic, the turreted gateway; but that Mr. Gammon was
vehemently opposed to such a measure; and that, if it were preserved
after all, it would be entirely owing to the taste and the influence of
that gentleman. Had Dr. Tatham chosen, he could have added a fact which
would indeed have saddened his friends--viz. that the old sycamore,
which had been preserved at the fond entreaties of Kate, and which was
hallowed by so many sad and tender associations, had been long ago
removed, as a sort of eyesore: Mr. Gammon had, in fact, directed it to
be done; but he repeatedly expressed to Dr. Tatham, confidentially, his
regret at such an act on the part of Titmouse. The doctor could also
have told them that there had been a dog-fight in the village, at which
Mr. Titmouse was present! Persons were beginning to make their
appearance too, at Yatton, of a very different description from any who
had been seen there in the time of the Aubreys--persons, now and then,
of loose, and wild, and reckless characters. Mr. Titmouse would often
get up a fight in the village, and reward the victor with five or ten
shillings! Then the snug and quiet little "Aubrey Arms" was
metamorphosed into the "Titmouse Arms" and another set up in opposition
to it, and called "The Toper's Arms;" and it was really painful to see
the increasing trade driven by each of them. They were both full every
night, and often during the day also; and the vigilant, and
affectionate, and grieved eye of the good vicar noticed several seats in
the church, which had formerly been occupied every Sunday morning and
afternoon, to be--empty! In his letters, he considerately sank the
grosser features of Titmouse's conduct, which would have only uselessly
grieved and disgusted his beloved correspondents. He informed them,
however, from time to time, of the different visitors at the Hall,
particularly of the arrival and movements of their magnificent kinsfolk,
the Earl of Dreddlington and Lady Cecilia, the Marquis Gants-Jaunes de
Millefleurs and Mr. Tuft--the novel state and ceremony which had been
suddenly introduced there--at which they all ceased reading for a
moment, and laughed, well knowing the character of Lord Dreddlington. At
length, some considerable time after Mr. Titmouse's grand visitors had
been at the Hall, there came a letter from Dr. Tatham, sent by a private
hand, and not reaching Vivian Street till the evening, when they were
sitting together, after dinner, as usual, and which contained
intelligence that was received in sudden silence, and with looks of
astonishment; viz. _that Mr. Titmouse had become the acknowledged suitor
of the Lady Cecilia_!! Mr. Aubrey, after a moment's pause, laughed more
heartily than they had heard him laugh for many months--getting up, at
the same time, and walking once or twice across the room--Mrs. Aubrey
and Miss Aubrey gazed at each other for a few moments, without speaking
a word; and you could not have told whether their fair countenances
showed more of amusement or of disgust at the intelligence. "Well! it is
as I have often told you, Kate," commenced Mr. Aubrey, after a while
resuming his seat, and addressing his sister with an air of good-humored
raillery; "you've lost your chance--you've held your head so high. Ah,
'tis all over now--and our fair cousin is mistress of Yatton!"

"Indeed, Charles," quoth Kate, earnestly, "I do think it's too painful a
subject for a joke."

"Why, Kate!--You must bear it as well"----

"Pho, pho--nonsense, Charles! To be serious--did you ever hear anything
so shocking as"----

"Do you mean to tell me, Kate," commenced her brother, assuming suddenly
such a serious air as for a moment imposed on his sister, "that to
become mistress of dear old Yatton--which was _offered_ to you, you
know--you would not have consented, when it came to the point, to
become--Mrs. _Titmouse_?" For an instant, Kate looked as if she would
have made, in the eye of the statuary, an exquisite model of beautiful
disdain--provoked by the bare idea even, and put forward, as she knew,
in raillery only. "You know, Charles," said she at length, calmly, her
features relaxing into a smile, "that if such a wretch had ten thousand
Yattons, I would, rather than marry him--oh!"--she shuddered--"spring
from Dover cliff into the sea!"

"Ah, Kate, Kate!" exclaimed her brother, with a look of infinite pride
and fondness. "Even supposing for a moment that you had no prev"----

"Come, Charles, no more nonsense," said Kate, patting his cheek, and
slightly coloring.

"I say, that even if"----

"Only fancy," interrupted Kate, "_Lady Cecilia_--TITMOUSE! I see her
before me now. Well, I protest it is positively insufferable; I could
not have thought that there was a woman in the whole world--why"--she
paused, and added laughingly, "how I should like to see their

"What!" said Mrs. Aubrey, with a sly smile, first at her husband, and
then at Kate, "as a model for a certain _other_ correspondence that I
can imagine--eh, Kate!"

"Nonsense, nonsense, Agnes!--what a provoking humor you are both in this
evening," interrupted Kate, with a slight pettishness; "what we've heard
makes _me_ melancholy enough, I assure you!"

"I suppose that about the same time that Lady Cecilia Titmouse goes to
court," said her brother, "so will the Honorable Mrs. Dela"----

"If you choose to tease me, Charles, of course I cannot help it," quoth
Kate, coloring still more; but it required no _very_ great acuteness to
detect that the topic was not excessively offensive.

"Mrs. De"----

"Have done, Charles!" said she, rising; and, putting her arm round his
neck, she pressed her fair hand on his mouth; but he pushed it aside

"Mrs. De--Dela--Delamere," he continued.

"I will finish it for you, Charles," said Mrs. Aubrey, "the Honorable
Mr. and Mrs. Delamere"----

"What! do _you_ turn against me too?" inquired Kate, laughing very

"I wonder what her stately Ladyship's feelings were," said Aubrey, after
a pause, "the first time that her elegant and accomplished lover
_saluted_ her!!"

"Eugh!" exclaimed both Kate and Mrs. Aubrey, in a breath, and with a
simultaneous shudder of disgust.

"I dare say poor old Lord Dreddlington's notion is, that this will be a
fine opportunity for bringing about his favorite scheme of _reuniting
the families_--Heaven save the mark!" said Mr. Aubrey, just as the
twopenny postman's knock at the door was heard; and within a few
moments' time the servant brought up-stairs a letter addressed to Mr.
Aubrey. The very first glance at its contents expelled the smile from
his countenance, and the color from his cheek: he turned, in fact, so
pale, that Mrs. Aubrey and Kate also changed color--and came and stood
with beating hearts, and suddenly suspended breath, one on each side of
him, looking over the letter while he was reading it. As I intend
presently to lay a copy of it before the reader, I shall first state a
few circumstances, which will make it appear that this same letter may
be compared to a shell thrown into a peaceful little citadel, by a
skilful, though distant and unseen engineer--in short, I mean Mr.


The astute and determined person mentioned at the close of our last
chapter, had long been bent upon securing one object--namely, access to
Mr. Aubrey's family circle, for reasons which have been already
communicated to the reader. That Mr. Aubrey was, at all events, by no
means _anxious_ for such a favor, had been long before abundantly
manifest to Gammon, and yet not in a way to give him any legitimate, or
excusable, grounds of offence. The Aubreys had, he acknowledged, and
especially in their present circumstances, an unquestionable right to
receive or reject, as they thought fit, any overtures to acquaintance.
Nothing, he felt, could be more unexceptionably courteous than Mr.
Aubrey's demeanor; yet had it been such as to satisfy him, that unless
he resorted to some means of unusual efficacy, he never could get upon
visiting terms with the Aubreys. The impression which Miss Aubrey had
originally produced in his mind, remained as distinct and vivid as ever.
Her beauty, her grace, her elevated character, (of which he had heard
much on all hands,) her accomplishments, her high birth--all were
exquisitely appreciated by him, and conspired to constitute a prize, for
the gaining of which he deemed no exertion too great, no sacrifice too
serious, no enterprise too hazardous. He had, moreover, other most
important objects in view, to which a union with Miss Aubrey was in fact
essential. She was, again, the only person, the sight of whom had in any
measure given vitality to his marble heart, exciting totally new
thoughts and desires, such as stimulated him to a fierce and inflexible
determination to succeed in his purposes. He was, in short, prepared to
make almost any sacrifice, to wait any length of time, to do or suffer
anything that man could do or suffer, whether derogatory to his personal
honor or not--in order either to secure the affections of Miss Aubrey,
or, at all events, her consent to a union with him. Having early
discovered the spot where Mr. Aubrey had fixed his residence, Mr. Gammon
had made a point of lying in wait on a Sunday morning, for the purpose
of ascertaining the church to which they went; and having succeeded, he
became a constant, an impassioned, though an unseen observer of Miss
Aubrey, from whom he seldom removed his eyes during the service. But
this was to him a highly unsatisfactory state of things: he seemed, in
fact, not to have made, nor to be likely to make, the least progress
towards the accomplishment of his wishes, though much time had already
passed away. He was so deeply engrossed with the affairs of
Titmouse--which required his presence very frequently at Yatton, and a
great deal of his attention in town--as to prevent his taking any
decisive steps for some time in the matter nearest his heart. At length,
not having seen or heard anything of Mr. Aubrey for some weeks, during
which he--Gammon--had been in town, he resolved on a new stroke of

"Mr. Quirk," said he one day to his excellent senior partner, "I fancy
you will say that I am come to flatter you; but, Heaven knows!--if there
_is_ a man on the earth with whom I lay aside disguise, that man is my
friend Mr. Quirk. Really, it does seem, and mortifying enough it is to
own it, as if events invariably showed that you are right--that I am
wrong"--(Here Mr. Quirk's appearance might have suggested the idea of a
great old tom-cat who is rubbed down the right way of the fur, and does
everything he can to testify the delight it gives him, by pressing
against the person who affords him such gratification,)--"especially in
financial matters"----

"Ah, Gammon, Gammon! you're really past finding out!--Sometimes, now, I
declare I fancy you the very keenest dog going in such matters, and at
other times, eh?--not _particularly_ brilliant. When you've seen as much
of this world's villany, Gammon, as I have, you'll find it as necessary
as I have found it, to lay aside one's--one's--I say--to lay aside all
scrup----that is--I mean--one's _fine feelings_, and so forth; you
understand, Gammon?"

"Perfectly, Mr. Quirk"----

"Well--and may I ask, Gammon, what is the particular occasion of that
screwed-up forehead of yours? Something in the wind?"

"Only this, Mr. Quirk--I begin to suspect that I did very wrong in
recommending you to give an indefinite time to that Mr. Aubrey for
payment of the heavy balance he owes us--by Heavens!--see how coolly he
treats us!"

"Indeed, Gammon, I think so!--Besides--_'tis_ an uncommon heavy balance
to owe so long, eh?--Fifteen hundred pounds, or thereabouts?--Gad, it's
_that_, at least!"--Gammon shrugged his shoulders and bowed, as if
resigned to any step which Mr. Quirk might think proper to take.

"He's a villanous proud fellow, that Aubrey, eh?--Your tip-top debtors
generally _are_, though--when they've got a bit of a hardship to harp

"Certainly we ought, when we had him in our power"----

"Ah!--D'ye recollect, Gammon? the _thumbscrew_? eh? whose fault was it
that it wasn't put on? eh? Tell me that, friend Gammon! Are you coming
round to old Caleb Quirk's matter-of-fact way of doing business? Depend
on't, the old boy has got a trick or two left in him yet, gray as his
hair's grown."

"I bow, my dear sir--I own myself worsted--and all through that absurd
weakness I have, which some choose to call"----

"Oh Lord, Gammon! Bubble, bubble and botheration--ah, ha!--Come, there's
nobody here but you and me--and eh? _old Bogy_ perhaps--so, why that
little bit of blarney?"

"Oh! my dear Mr. Quirk, spare me that cutting irony of yours. Surely
when I have made the sincere and humiliating submission to which you
have been listening--but, to return to business. I assure you that I
think we ought to lose not a moment in getting in our balance, or at
least coming to some satisfactory and definite arrangement concerning
it. Only pinch him, and he'll bleed freely, depend on it."

"Ah, ha! Pinch him, and he'll bleed! That's _my_ thunder, Gammon, ah,
ha, ha!--By Jove! that's it to a T!--I always thought the fellow had
blood enough in him if we only squeezed him a little. So let Snap be off
and have a writ out against Master Aubrey."

"Forgive me, my dear Mr. Quirk," interrupted Gammon, blandly--"we must
go very cautiously to work, or we shall only injure ourselves, and
prejudice our most important--and _permanent_ interests. We must take
care not to drive him desperate, poor devil, or he may take the benefit
of the act, and"----

"What a cursed scamp he would be to"----

"Certainly; but _we_ should suffer more than he"----

"Surely, Gammon, they'd _remand_ him! Eighteen months at the very

"Not an hour--not a minute, Mr. Quirk," said Gammon, very earnestly.

"The deuce they wouldn't? Well, Law's come to a pretty point! And so
lenient as we've been!"

"What occurs to _me_ as the best method of procedure," said Gammon,
after musing for a moment--"is, for you to write a letter to him
immediately--civil but peremptory--just one of those letters of yours,
my dear sir, in which no living man can excel you--_suaviter in modo,
fortiter in re_, Mr. Quirk."

"Gammon, you're a gentleman, every inch of you--you are, upon my soul!
If there _is_ one thing in which I----but _you're_ a hand at a letter of
that sort, too! And _you_ have managed these people hitherto; why not go
on to the end of the chapter?"

"Mr. Quirk, I look upon this letter as rather an important one--it ought
to come from the head of the firm, and to be decisively and skilfully
expressed, so as at once to----eh? but you know exactly what ought to be

"Well--leave it to me,--leave it to me, Gammon: I think I _do_ know how
to draw up a teaser--egad! You can just cast your eye over it as soon

"If I return in time from Clerkenwell, I will, Mr. Quirk," replied
Gammon, who had, however, determined not to disable himself from saying
with literal truth that he had not seen one line of the letter which
might be sent! and, moreover, resolving to make his appearance at Mr.
Aubrey's almost immediately after he should, in the course of the post,
have received Mr. Quirk's communication:--with every appearance and
_expression_ of distress, agitation, and even disgust; indignantly
assuring Mr. Aubrey that the letter had been sent without Mr. Gammon's
knowledge--against his will--and was entirely repudiated by him; and
that he would take care, at all hazards to himself, to frustrate any
designs on the part of his coarse and hard-hearted senior partner to
harass or oppress Mr. Aubrey. With this explanation of precedent
circumstances, I proceed to lay before the reader an exact copy of the
elegant letter of that old cat's-paw, Mr. Quirk, to Mr. Aubrey, the
arrival of which had produced the sensation to which I have already

                                  "_Saffron Hill, 30th September 18--._

     "SIR,--We trust you will excuse our reminding you of the very large
     balance (£1,446, 14s. 6d.) still remaining due upon our
     account--and which we understood, at the time when the very
     favorable arrangement to you, with respect to Mr. Titmouse, was
     made, was to have been long before this liquidated. Whatever
     allowances we might have felt disposed, on account of your peculiar
     situation, to have made, (and which we _have_ made,) we cannot but
     feel a little surprised at your having allowed several months to
     elapse without making any allusion thereto. We are satisfied,
     however, that you require only to be reminded thereof, to have your
     immediate attention directed thereto, and to act in that way that
     will conduce to liquidate our very heavy balance against you. We
     are sorry to have to press you; but being much pressed ourselves
     with serious outlays, we are obliged to throw ourselves (however
     reluctantly) upon our resources; and it gives us pleasure to
     anticipate, that you must by this time have made those arrangements
     that will admit of your immediate attention to our over-due
     account, and that will render unnecessary our resorting to hostile
     and compulsory proceedings of that extremely painful description
     that we have always felt extremely reluctant to, particularly with
     those gentlemen that would feel it very disagreeable. We trust that
     in a week's time we shall hear from you to that effect, that will
     render unnecessary our proceeding to extremities against you, which
     would be extremely painful to us.--We remain, sir, yours, most

                                                 "QUIRK, GAMMON, & SNAP.


     "P. S.--We should have no objection, if it would materially relieve
     you, to take your note of hand for the aforesaid balance (£1,446,
     14s. 6d.) at two months, with interest, and good security. Or say,
     £800 down in two months, and a _warrant of attorney_ for the
     remainder, at two months more."

As soon as they had finished reading the above letter, in the way I have
described, Mrs. Aubrey threw her arms round her silent and oppressed
husband's neck, and Kate, her bosom heaving with agitation, returned to
her seat without uttering a word.

"My own poor Charles!" faltered Mrs. Aubrey, and wept.

"Never mind, Charles--let us hope that we shall get through even
_this_," commenced Kate; when her emotion prevented her proceeding. Mr.
Aubrey appeared to cast his eye again, but mechanically only, over the
dry, civil, heart-breaking letter.

"Don't distress yourself, my Agnes," said he, tenderly, placing her
beside him, with his arm round her--"it is only reasonable that these
people should ask for what is their own; and if their manner is a little

"Oh, I've no patience, Charles!--it's the letter of a vulgar,
hard-hearted fellow," sobbed Mrs. Aubrey.

"Yes--they are wretches!--cruel harpies!" quoth Kate,
passionately--"they know that you have almost beggared yourself to pay
off by far the greater part of their abominable bill; and that you are
slaving day and night to enable you to"----here her agitation was so
excessive as to prevent her uttering another word.

"I must write and tell them," said Aubrey, calmly but with a countenance
laden with gloom--"it is all I can do--that if they will _have patience
with me, I will pay them all_."

"Oh, they'll put you in prison, Charles, directly"--said Kate, almost
frantically; and rising, she threw herself into his arms, and kissed him
with a sort of frenzied energy. "We're _very_ miserable, Charles--are we
not? It's hard to bear indeed," she continued, gazing with agonizing
intensity on his troubled features. Mrs. Aubrey wept in silence.

"Are you giving way, my brave Kate, beneath this sudden and momentary
gust on the midnight sea of our trouble?" inquired her brother, proudly
but kindly gazing at her, and with his hand gently pushing from her pale
cheeks her disordered hair.

"Human nature, Charles, must not be tried too far--look at Agnes, and
the darling little loves"----

"I am not likely to consult their interests, Kate, by yielding to
unmanly emotion--am I, sweet Agnes?" She made him no reply, but shook
her head, sobbing bitterly.

"Pray what do you think, Charles, of your friend _Mr. Gammon_, now?"
inquired Kate, suddenly and scornfully. "Oh, the smooth-tongued villain!
I've always hated him!"

"I must say there's something about his eye that is anything but
pleasing," said Mrs. Aubrey; "and so I thought when I saw him at York
for a moment."

"He's a hypocrite, Charles--depend upon it, and in this letter he has
thrown off the mask"--interrupted Kate.

"But _is_ it _his_ letter? How do we know that he has had anything to do
with it?" inquired her brother, calmly--"It is much more probable that
it is the production of old Mr. Quirk alone, for whom Mr. Gammon has, I
know, a profound contempt. The handwriting is Mr. Quirk's; the style is
assuredly not Mr. Gammon's; and the whole tone of the communication is
such as satisfies me that neither was the composition of the letter, nor
the idea of sending it, his; besides, he has really shown on every
occasion a straightforward and disinterested"----

"Oh, Charles, it is very weak of you to be so hood-winked by such a
fellow; I shudder to think of him! One of these days, Charles, you will
be of my opinion, and recollect what I now say!"--While she thus spoke,
and Mrs. Aubrey was, with a trembling hand, preparing tea, a double
knock was heard at the street door.

"Heavens, Charles! who can that possibly be, and at this time of night?"
exclaimed Kate, with alarmed energy.

"I really cannot conjecture"--replied Mr. Aubrey, with an agitation of
manner which he found it impossible to conceal--"we've certainly but
very few visitors--and it is so late." The servant in a few minutes
terminated their suspense, and occasioned them nearly equal alarm and
amazement, by laying down on the table a card bearing the name of MR.

"Mr. Gammon!" exclaimed all three, in a breath, looking apprehensively
at each other--"Is he _alone_?" inquired Mr. Aubrey, with forced

"Yes, sir."

"Show him into the study, then," replied Mr. Aubrey, "and say I will be
with him in a few moments' time."

"Dear Charles, don't, dearest, think of going down," said his wife and
sister, with excessive alarm and agitation; "desire him to send up his

"No, I shall go and see him, and at once," replied Mr. Aubrey, taking
one of the candles.

"For Heaven's sake, Charles, mind what you say to the man: he will watch
every word you utter. And, dearest, don't stay long; consider what
tortures we shall be in!" said poor Mrs. Aubrey, accompanying him to the
door, and trembling from head to foot.

"Rely on my prudence, and also that I shall not stop long," he replied;
and descending the stairs, he entered the study. In a chair near the
little book-strewn table sat his dreaded visitor--suggesting to his
disturbed vision the idea of a deadly snake coiled up before him.
Instantly, on seeing Mr. Aubrey, Gammon rose, with distress and
agitation visible in his countenance and deportment. Mr. Aubrey, with
calmness and dignity, begged him to resume his seat; and when he had
done so, sat down opposite to him, with a sternly inquisitive look,
awaiting his visitor's errand. He was not kept long in suspense.

"Oh, Mr. Aubrey!" commenced Mr. Gammon, with a somewhat tremulous voice,
"I perceive, from your manner, that my fears are justified, and that I
am an intruder--a dishonorable and hypocritical one I must indeed
appear; but, as I have done nothing to forfeit my right to be treated as
should be one gentleman by another, I request you to hear me. This visit
appears indeed unseasonable; but, late this afternoon, I made a
discovery which has shocked me severely, nay, I may say, disgusted me
beyond expression. Am I right, Mr. Aubrey, in supposing that this
evening you have received a letter from Mr. Quirk, and about the balance
due on our account?"

"I have, sir," replied Mr. Aubrey, coldly.

"I thought as much," muttered Gammon, with suppressed
vehemence--"execrable, heartless, sordid old----And he _knew_,"
continued Gammon, addressing Mr. Aubrey in an indignant tone, "that my
word was solemnly pledged to you."

"I have no intention of making any complaint, or uttering any
reproaches, sir," said Mr. Aubrey, eying his agitated companion

"But _I_ have, Mr. Aubrey," said Gammon, haughtily. "My senior partner
has broken faith with me. Sir, you have already paid more than will
cover what is justly due to us; and I recommend you, after this, to
_have the bill taxed_. You will thereby get rid of every farthing of the
balance now demanded; and I give you this recommendation _bonâ fide_,
and upon the honor of a gentleman." Notwithstanding the air of sincerity
with which this was uttered, a cold thrill of apprehension and suspicion
passed through Mr. Aubrey's heart, and he felt confident that some
subtle and dangerous manœuvre was being practised upon him--that he
was urged to take some hostile step for instance--which would be
unsuccessful, and yet afford a pretext to Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and
Snap, to treat him as one guilty of a breach of faith, and _warrant them
in proceeding to extremities_. He regarded Mr. Gammon's words as the
hissing of a serpent, and shuddered.

"I have no intention, sir, to do anything of the kind," said Mr. Aubrey.
"The original agreement between us was, that your bill should not be
taxed. I adhere to it; and whatever course you may feel disposed to
adopt, I shall take no steps whatever of the kind you mention. At the
same time it is utterly impossible for me to pay"----

"Mr. Aubrey!" interrupted Gammon, imploringly.

"And what you do intend to do, for Heaven's sake, sir, do quickly, and
keep me not in suspense."

"I perceive, Mr. Aubrey, that notwithstanding what I have said, I am
distrusted," replied Gammon, with a somewhat proud and peremptory tone
and manner.--"I excuse it; you are justly irritated, and have been
insulted: so have I, too, sir; and I choose to repeat to you, upon my
sacred word of honor as a gentleman, and in the sight of Heaven, that I
entirely disown and scout this whole procedure; that I never knew
anything about it till, accidentally, I discovered lying on Mr. Quirk's
desk, after his departure this evening from the office, a rough draft of
a letter which I presumed you had received; especially as, on a strict
inquiry of the clerks, I found that a letter had been put into the post,
addressed to you. Nay, more; Mr. Quirk, whose rapacity increases--I
grieve to own--with his years, has been for many weeks harassing me
about this detestable business, and urging me to consent, but in vain,
to such an application as he has now meanly made behind my back,
regardless of the injury it was calculated to do my feelings, and,
indeed, the doubt it must throw over my sincerity and honor, which I
prize infinitely beyond life itself. Only a fortnight ago, Mr. Aubrey,
this old man solemnly pledged himself," continued Gammon, with
suppressed fury, "never to mention the matter to either me or you,
again, for at least a couple of years, unless something extraordinary
should intervene!--If the letter which you have received be a transcript
of the rough draft which I have read, it is a vulgar, unfeeling, brutal
letter, and contains, moreover--for why should I keep faith with even my
senior partner, who has so outrageously broken faith with me?--two or
three wilfully false statements. I therefore feel it due to myself to
disavow all participation in this miserable product of fraud and
extortion--and if you still distrust me, I can only regret it, but shall
not presume to find fault with you for it. I am half disposed, on
account of this, and one or two other things which have happened, to
close my connection with Mr. Quirk from this day--forever. He and I have
nothing in common; and the species of business which he and Mr. Snap
chiefly court and relish, is perfectly odious to me. But if I should
continue in the firm, I will undertake to supply you with one pretty
conclusive evidence of my sincerity and truth in what I have been saying
to you--namely, that on the faith and honor of a gentleman, you may
depend upon hearing no more of this matter from any member of our firm,
except from me, and that at a very remote period. Let the _event_, Mr.
Aubrey, speak for itself."--While Gammon was speaking with eloquent
earnestness and fervor, he had felt Mr. Aubrey's eye fixed on him with
an expression of stern incredulity--which, however, he at length
perceived, with infinite inward relief and pleasure, to be giving way as
he went on.

"Certainly, Mr. Gammon"--said Mr. Aubrey, in a very different tone and
manner from that which he had till then adopted--"I will not disguise
from you that the letter you have mentioned, has occasioned me--and my
family--deep distress and dismay; for it is utterly out of my power to
comply with its requisitions: and if it be intended to be really acted
on, and followed up"--he paused, and with difficulty repressed his
emotions, "all my little plans are forever frustrated--and I am at your
mercy--to go to prison, if you choose, and there end my days."--He
paused--his lip trembled, and his eyes were for a moment obscured with
starting tears. So also was it with Mr. Gammon, who looked for some time
aside. "But,"--resumed Mr. Aubrey,--"after the explicit and voluntary
assurance which you have given me, I feel it impossible not to give you
implicit credence. I can imagine no motive for what would be otherwise
such elaborate and dreadful deception!"

"_Motive_, Mr. Aubrey! The only motive I am conscious of, is one
supplied by profound sympathy for your misfortunes--admiration of your
character--and my sole object is, your speedy extrication from your very
serious embarrassments. I am in the habit, Mr. Aubrey," he continued in
a lower tone, "of concealing and checking my feelings--but there _are_
occasions"--he paused, and added with a somewhat faltering voice--"Mr.
Aubrey, it pains me inexpressibly to observe that your anxieties--your
severe exertions--I trust in God I may not rightly add, your
_privations_--are telling on your appearance. You are certainly much
thinner." It was impossible any longer to distrust the sincerity of Mr.
Gammon--to withstand the arts of this consummate actor. Mr. Aubrey held
out long, but at length surrendered entirely, and fully believed all
that Gammon had said:--entertaining, moreover, commensurate feelings of
_gratitude_, towards one who had done so much to protect him from
rapacious avarice, and the ruin into which it would have precipitated
him; and of _respect_, for one who had evinced such an anxious,
scrupulous, and sensitive jealousy for his own honor and reputation, and
resolute determination to vindicate it against suspicion. Subsequent
conversation served to strengthen his favorable disposition towards
Gammon, and the same effect was also produced when he adverted to his
previous and unwarrantable distrust and disbelief of that gentleman. He
looked fatigued and harassed; it was growing late; he had come, on his
errand of courtesy and kindness, a great distance: why should not Mr.
Aubrey ask him up-stairs, to join them at tea? To be sure, Mr. Aubrey
had hitherto felt a disinclination--he scarce knew why--to have any more
than mere business intercourse with Mr. Gammon, a member of such a firm
as Quirk, Gammon, and Snap--and, moreover, Mr. Runnington had more than
once let fall expressions indicative of vehement suspicion of Mr.
Gammon; so had the Attorney-General; but what had Gammon's _conduct_
been? Had it not practically given the lie to such insinuations and
distrust, unless Mr. Aubrey was to own himself incapable of forming a
judgment on a man's line of conduct which had been so closely watched as
that of Gammon, by himself, Aubrey? Then Miss Aubrey had ever, and
especially that very evening--expressed an intense dislike of Mr.
Gammon--had avowed, also, her early and uniform disgust--'twould be
extremely embarrassing to her suddenly to introduce into her presence
such an individual as Gammon: again, he had promised to return quickly,
in order to relieve their anxiety: why should he not have the
inexpressible gratification of letting Mr. Gammon himself, in his own
pointed and impressive manner, dispel all their fears? He would,
probably, not stay long.

"Mr. Gammon," said he, having balanced for some moments these
conflicting considerations in his mind, "there are only Mrs. Aubrey, and
my sister, Miss Aubrey, up-stairs. I am sure they will be happy to see
me return to them in time for tea, accompanied by the bearer of such
agreeable tidings as yours. Mr. Quirk's letter, to be frank, reached me
when in their presence, and we all read it together, and were distressed
and confounded at its contents." After a faint show of reluctance to
trespass on the ladies so suddenly, and at so late an hour, Mr. Gammon
slipped off his great-coat, and with intense but suppressed feelings of
exultation at the success of his scheme, followed Mr. Aubrey up-stairs.
He was not a little flustered on entering the room and catching a first
glimpse of the two lovely women--and one of them _Miss Aubrey_--sitting
in it, their faces turned with eager interest and apprehension towards
the door, as he made his appearance. He observed that both of them
started, and turned excessively pale.

"Let me introduce to you," said Mr. Aubrey, quickly, and with a bright
assuring smile, "a gentleman who has kindly called to relieve us all
from great anxiety--Mr. Gammon: Mr. Gammon, Mrs. Aubrey--Miss Aubrey."
Mr. Gammon bowed with an air of deep deference, but with easy
self-possession; his soul thrilling within him at the sight of her whose
image had never been from before his eyes since they had first seen her.

"I shall trespass on you for only a few minutes, ladies," said he,
diffidently, approaching the chair towards which he was motioned. "I
could not resist the opportunity so politely afforded me by Mr. Aubrey
of paying my compliments here, and personally assuring you of my utter
abhorrence of the mercenary and oppressive conduct of a person with
whom, alas! I am closely connected in business, and whose letter to you
of this evening I only casually became acquainted with, a few moments
before starting off hither. Forget it, ladies; I pledge my honor that it
shall _never be acted on_!" This he said with a fervor of manner that
could not but make an impression on those whom he addressed.

"I'm sure we are happy to see you, Mr. Gammon, and very much obliged to
you, indeed," said Mrs. Aubrey, with a sweet smile, and a face from
which alarm was vanishing fast. Miss Aubrey said nothing; her brilliant
eyes glanced with piercing anxiety, now at her brother, then at his
companion. Gammon felt that he was distrusted. Nothing could be more
prepossessing--more bland and insinuating, without a trace of
fulsomeness, than his manner and address, as he took his seat between
these two agitated but lovely women. Miss Aubrey's paleness rather
suddenly gave way to a vivid and beautiful flush; and her eyes presently
sparkled with delighted surprise on perceiving the relieved air of her
brother, and the apparent cordiality and sincerity of Mr. Gammon. When
she reflected, moreover, on her expressions of harshness and severity
concerning him that very evening, and of which he now appeared so
undeserving, it threw into her manner towards him a sort of delicate and
charming embarrassment. Her ear drank in eagerly every word he uttered,
so pointed, so significant, so full of earnest good-will towards her
brother. Their visitor's manner was that of a gentleman; his countenance
and conversation were those of a man of intellect. Was _this_ the keen
and cruel pettifogger whom she had learned at once to dread and to
despise? They and he were, in a word, completely at their ease with one
another, within a few minutes after he had taken his seat at the
tea-table. Miss Aubrey's beauty shone that evening with even unwonted
lustre, and appeared as if it had not been in the least impaired by the
anguish of mind which she had so long suffered. 'Tis quite impossible
for me to do justice to the expression of her full beaming blue eyes--an
expression of mingled passion and intellect--of blended softness and
spirit--such as, especially in conjunction with the rich tones of her
voice, shed something like madness into the breast of Gammon. She, as
well as her lovely sister-in-law, was dressed in mourning, which
infinitely set off her dazzling complexion, and, simple and elegant in
its drapery, displayed her exquisite proportions to the greatest
possible advantage. "Oh, my God!" thought Gammon, with a momentary
thrill of disgust and horror: "and this is the transcendent creature of
whom that little miscreant, Titmouse, spoke to me in terms of such
presumptuous and revolting license!" What would he not have given to
kiss the fair and delicate white hand which passed to him his antique
tea-cup! Then Gammon's thoughts turned for a moment inward--_why, what a
scoundrel was he_! At that instant he was, as it were, reeking with his
recent lie. He was there on cruel, false pretences, which alone had
secured him access into that little drawing-room, and brought him into
contiguity with the dazzling beauty beside him--pure, and innocent as
beautiful;--he was a fiend beside an angel. What an execrable hypocrite
was he! He caught, on that memorable occasion, a sudden glimpse even of
his own real inner man--of his infernal SELFISHNESS and HYPOCRISY--and
involuntarily shuddered! Yes--he was striving to fascinate his
_victims_!--those whom he was fast pressing on to the verge of
destruction--against whom he was, at that moment, meditating profound
and subtle schemes of mischief! At length they all got into animated

Though infinitely charmed by the unaffected simplicity and frankness of
their manners, he experienced a sad and painful consciousness at not
having made the least _way_ with them. Though physically near to them,
he seemed yet really at an unapproachable distance--and particularly
from Miss Aubrey. He felt that the courtesy bestowed upon him was
accidental, the result merely of his present position, and of the
intelligence which he had come to communicate. It was not
_personal_--'twas nothing to _Gammon himself_; it would never be
renewed, unless he should renew his device! There was not the faintest
semblance of _sympathy_ between them and him. Fallen as they were into a
lower sphere, they had yet about them, so to speak, a certain atmosphere
of conscious personal consequence, derived from high birth and
breeding--from superior feelings and associations--from a native
frankness and dignity of character, which was indestructible and
inalienable; and which chilled and checked undue advances of any sort.
They were still the Aubreys of Yatton, and he in their presence, still
Mr. Gammon of the firm of Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, of Saffron Hill--and
all this, too, without--on the part of the Aubreys--the least effort,
the least intention, or even consciousness. No, there had not been
exhibited towards him the faintest indication of hauteur. On the
contrary, he had been treated with perfect cordiality and frankness.
Yet, dissatisfaction and vexation were, he scarce knew at the moment
why, pervading his whole soul. Had he accurately analyzed his own
feelings he would have discovered the real clause--_in his own
unreasonable, unjustifiable wishes and intentions_! But to return, they
talked of Titmouse, and his mode of life and conduct--of his expected
alliance with the Lady Cecilia, at the mention of which Gammon's quick
eye detected a passing smile of scorn on Miss Aubrey's fine countenance,
that was _death to all his own fond and ambitious hopes_. After he had
been sitting with them for scarcely an hour, he detected Miss Aubrey
stealthily glancing at her watch, and at once arose to take his
departure with a very easy and graceful air, expressing an apprehension
that he had trespassed upon their kindness. He was cordially assured to
the contrary; but at the same time was not invited either to prolong
his stay, or renew his visit. Miss Aubrey made him, he thought, as he
inclined towards her, _rather_ a formal courtesy; and the tone of
voice--soft and silvery--in which she said "good-night, Mr. Gammon,"
fell on his eager ear, and sank into his vexed heart, like music. On
quitting the house, a deep sigh of disappointment escaped him. As he
gazed for a moment with longing eyes at the windows of the room in which
Miss Aubrey was sitting, he felt profound depression of spirit. He had
altogether _failed_; and he had a sort of insupportable consciousness
that he deserved to fail, on every account. Her image was before his
mind's eye every moment while he was threading his way back to his
chambers in Thavies' Inn. He sat for an hour or two before the remnant
of his fire, lost in a revery; and sleep came not to his eyes till a
very late hour in the morning.

Just as the tortuous mind of Gammon was loosing hold of its sinister
purposes in sleep, Mr. Aubrey might have been seen taking his seat in
his little study, having himself spent a restless night. 'Twas little
more than half-past four o'clock when he entered, candle in hand, the
scene of his early and cheerful labors, and sat down before his table,
which was covered with loose manuscripts and books. His face was
certainly overcast with anxiety, but his soul was calm and resolute.
Having lit his fire, he placed his shaded candle upon the table, and
leaning back for a moment in his chair, while the flickering increasing
light of his crackling fire and of the candle, revealed to him, with a
sense of indescribable snugness, his shelves crammed with books, and the
window covered with an ample crimson curtain, effectually excluding the
chill morning air--he reflected with a heavy sigh upon the precarious
tenure by which he held the little comforts yet thus left to him. Oh,
thought he--if Providence saw fit to relieve me from the frightful
pressure of liability under which I am bound to the earth, at what
labor, at what privation would I repine! What gladness would not spring
up in my heart!--But rousing himself from vain thoughts of this kind, he
began to arrange his manuscripts; when his ear caught a sound on the
stair--'twas the light stealthy step of his sister, coming down to
perform her promised undertaking--not an unusual one by any means--to
transcribe for the press the manuscript which he expected to complete
that morning. "My sweet Kate," said he, tenderly, as she entered with
her little chamber light, extinguishing it as she entered,--"I am really
grieved to see you stirring so early--do, dearest Kate--go back to bed."
But she kissed his cheek affectionately, and refused to do any such
thing; and telling him of the restless night she had passed, of which
indeed her pale and depressed features bore but too legible evidence,
she sat herself down in her accustomed place, nearly opposite to him;
gently cleared away space enough for her little desk, and then opening
it, was presently engaged in her delightful task--for to her it _was_
indeed delightful--of copying out her brother's composition. Thus she
sat, silent and industrious--scarce opening her lips, except to ask him
to explain an illegible word or so--opposite to her doting brother, till
the hour had arrived--eight o'clock--for the close of their morning
toil. The reader will be pleased to hear that the article on which they
had been thus engaged--and which was the discussion of a question of
foreign politics, of great difficulty and importance--produced him a
check for sixty guineas, and excited general attention and admiration.
Oh, how precious was this reward of his honorable and severe toil! How
it cheered him who had earned it, and those who were, alas! entirely
dependent upon his exertions! And how sensibly, too, it augmented their
little means! Grateful, indeed, were all of them for the success which
had attended his labors!

As I do not intend to occupy the reader with any details relating to Mr.
Aubrey's Temple avocations, I shall content myself with saying that the
more Mr. Weasel and Mr. Aubrey came to know of each other, the more
Aubrey respected his legal knowledge and ability, and he, Aubrey's
intellectual energy and successful application; which, indeed,
consciously brought home to Aubrey its own reward, in the daily
acquisition of solid learning, and increasing facility in the use of it.
His mind was formed for THINGS, and was not apt to occupy itself with
mere _words_, or technicalities. He was ever in quest of the principles
of law--of its reason, and spirit. He quickly began to appreciate the
sound practical good sense on which almost all its chief rules are
founded, and the effectual manner in which they are accommodated to the
innumerable and ever-varying exigencies of human affairs. The mere forms
and technicalities of the law, Mr. Aubrey often thought might be
compared to short-hand, whose characters to the uninitiated appear
quaint and useless, but are perfectly invaluable to him who has seen the
object, and patiently acquired the use of them. Whatever Mr. Aubrey's
hand found to do, while studying the law, he did it, indeed, _with his
might_--which is the grand secret of the difference in the success of
different persons addressing themselves to legal studies. Great or
small, easy or difficult, simple or complicated, interesting or
uninteresting, as might be the affair submitted to him, he made a point
of mastering it thoroughly, and, as far as possible, _by his own
efforts_; which generated, early, a habit of self-reliance which no one
better than he knew the value of--how inestimable, how indispensable,
not to the lawyer merely, but to any one intrusted with the responsible
management of affairs. In short, he secured that satisfaction and
success which are sure to attend the exertions of a man of superior
sense and spirit, who is in earnest about that which he has undertaken.
He frequently surprised Mr. Weasel with the exactness and extent of his
legal information--with his acuteness, clear-headedness, and tenacity in
dealing with matters of downright difficulty: and Mr. Weasel had once or
twice an opportunity of expressing his very flattering opinion
concerning Mr. Aubrey to the Attorney-General. The mention of that
eminent person reminds me of an observation which I intended to have
made some time ago. The reader is not to imagine, from my silence upon
the subject, that Mr. Aubrey, in his fallen fortunes, was heartlessly
forgotten or neglected by the distinguished friends and associates of
former and more prosperous days. It was not they who withdrew from him,
but he who withdrew from them; and that, too, of set purpose, resolutely
adhered to, on the ground that it could not be otherwise, without
seriously interfering with the due prosecution of those plans of life on
which depended not only his _all_, and that of those connected with
him--but his fond hopes of yet extricating himself, by his own personal
exertions, from the direful difficulties and dangers which at present
environed him--of achieving, with his own right hand, independence. Let
me not forget here to state a fact which I conceive infinitely to
redound to poor Aubrey's honor--viz. that he thrice refused offers made
him from very high quarters, of considerable _sinecures, i. e._ handsome
salaries for purely nominal services--which he was earnestly and
repeatedly reminded would at once afford him a liberal maintenance, and
leave the whole of his time at his own disposal, to follow any pursuit
or profession which he chose. Mr. Aubrey justly considered that it was
very difficult, if not indeed impossible, for any honorable and
high-minded man to be a sinecurist.--He who holds a sinecure, is, in my
opinion, plundering the public; and how it can be more contrary to the
dictates of honor and justice, deliberately to defraud an individual,
than deliberately and audaciously to defraud that collection of
individuals called the public, let casuists determine. As for Mr.
Aubrey, _he_ saw stretching before him the clear, straight, bright line
of honor, and resolved to follow it, without faltering or wavering, come
what come might. He resolved that, with the blessing of Providence, his
own exertions should procure his bread, and, if such was the will of
Heaven, lead him to distinction among mankind. He had formed this
determination, and resolved to work it out--never to pause, nor give
way, but to die in the struggle. Such a spirit must conquer whatever is
opposed to it. What is _difficulty_? Only a word indicating the degree
of strength requisite for accomplishing particular objects; a mere
notice of the necessity for exertion; a bugbear to children and fools;
an effective stimulus to men.

Mr. Gammon experienced little trouble in wheedling Mr. Quirk out of his
purpose of enforcing payment, by Mr. Aubrey, of the balance of his
account; demonstrating to the old gentleman the policy of waiting a
little longer. He pledged himself, when the proper time came, to adopt
measures of undoubted efficacy--assuring his for some time sullen
senior, in a low tone, that since his letter had reached Mr. Aubrey,
circumstances had occurred which would render it in the last degree
dangerous to press that gentleman upon the subject. What that was, which
had happened, Mr. Gammon, as usual, refused to state. This was a
considerable source of vexation to Mr. Quirk: but he had a far greater
one, in the decisive and final overthrow of his fondly-cherished hopes
concerning his daughter's alliance with Titmouse. The paragraph in the
_Aurora_, announcing Mr. Titmouse's engagement to his brilliant
relative, the Lady Cecilia, had emanated from the pen of Mr. Gammon; who
had had several objects in view in giving early publicity to the event.
_Happening_(!) on the morning on which it appeared, to be glancing over
the fascinating columns of the _Aurora_ at a public office, (the paper
taken in at their own establishment being the _Morning Growl_,) he made
a point of purchasing that day's _Aurora_; and on returning to Saffron
Hill, he inquired whether Mr. Quirk were at home. Hearing that he was
sitting alone, in his room--in rushed Mr. Gammon, breathless with
surprise and haste, and plucking the newspaper out of his pocket,--"By
Heavens, Mr. Quirk!"--he almost gasped as he doubled down the paper to
the place where stood the announcement in question, and put it into Mr.
Quirk's hands,--"this young fellow's given you the slip, after all!
See!--The moment that my back is turned"----

Mr. Quirk having, with a little trepidation, adjusted his spectacles,
perused the paragraph with a somewhat flushed face. He had, in fact, for
some time had grievous misgivings on the subject of his chance of
becoming the father-in-law of his distinguished client, Mr. Titmouse;
but now his faintest glimmering of hope was suddenly and completely
extinguished, and the old gentleman felt quite desolate. He looked up,
as soon as he had finished reading, and gazed ruefully at his indignant
and sympathizing companion.

"It seems all up, Gammon, certainly--don't it?" said he, faintly, with a
flustered air.

"Indeed, my dear Mr. Quirk, it does! You have my sincerest"----

"Now comes t'other end of the thing, Gammon! You know every promise of
marriage has two ends--one joins the heart, and t'other the pocket;
_out_ heart, _in_ pocket--so _have at him_, Gammon--have at him, by
Jove!" He rose up and rubbed his hands as he stood before the fire.
"Breach of promise--thundering damages--devilish deep purse--special
jury--broken heart, and all that! I wish he'd written her--by the
way--more letters! Adad, I'll have a shot at him by next assizes--a writ
on the file this very day! What d'ye think on't, friend Gammon, between
ourselves?" quoth Mr. Quirk, heatedly.

"Why, my dear sir--to tell you the truth--aren't you really well out of
it? He's a miserable little upstart--he'd have made a wretched husband
for so superior a girl as Miss Quirk."

"Ay--ay! ay! She _is_ a good girl, Gammon--there you're right; would
have made the best of wives--my eyes, (between ourselves!) how that'll
go to the jury! Gad, I fancy I see'em--perhaps all of'em daughters of
their own."

"Looking at the thing calmly, Mr. Quirk," said Gammon,
gravely--apprehensive of Mr. Quirk's carrying too far so very absurd an
affair--"where's the _evidence_ of the promise?--Because, you know,
there's certainly _something_ depends on that--eh?"

"Evidence? Deuce take you, Gammon! where are your wits? Evidence?
Lots--lots of it! A'n't there I--her father? A'n't I a competent[31]
witness? Wait and see old Caleb Quirk get into the box. I'll settle his
hash in half a minute."

"Yes--if you're believed, perhaps."

"_Believe_ be----! Who's to be believed, if her own father isn't?"

"Why, you may be too much swayed by your own feelings!"

"_Feelings_ be----! It's past all that; he has none--so he must pay, for
he _has_ cash! He ought to be made an example of!"

"Still, to come to the point, Mr. Quirk, I vow it quite _teases_
me--this matter of the evidence"----

"Evidence? Why, Lord bless my soul, Gammon," quoth Quirk, testily,
"haven't _you_ had your eyes and ears open all this while? Gad, what a
crack witness you'd make! A man of your--your intellect--serve a friend
at a pinch--and in a matter about his daughter? Ah, how often you've
seen'em together--walking, talking, laughing, dancing, riding--writ in
her album--made her presents, and she him. _Evidence?_ Oceans of it, and
to spare! Secure Subtle--and I wouldn't take £5,000 for my verdict!"

"Why, you see, Mr. Quirk," said Gammon, very seriously--"though I've
striven my utmost these six months to bring it about, the artful little
scamp has never given me the least thing that I could lay hold of, and
_swear_ to."

"Oh, you'll _recollect_ enough, in due time, friend Gammon, if you'll
only turn your attention to it; and if you'll bear in mind it's life and
death to my poor girl. Oh Lord! I must get my sister to break it to her,
and I'll send sealed instructions to Mr. ---- Weasel, shall we say? or
Lynx? ay, Lynx; for he'll then have to fight for his own pleadings; and
can't turn round at the trial and say, 'this is not right,' and 'that's
wrong,' and, '_why_ didn't you have such and such evidence?' Lynx is the
man; and I'll lay the venue in Yorkshire, for Titmouse is devilish
disliked down there; and a special jury will be only too glad to give
him a desperate slap in the chops! We'll lay the damages at twenty
thousand pounds! Ah, ha! I'll teach the young villain to break the
hearts of an old man and his daughter. But, egad," he pulled out his
watch, "half-past two; and Nicky Crowbar sure to be put up at three! By
Jove! it won't do to be out of the way; he's head of the gang, and they
always come down very liberally when they're in trouble. Snap!
Amminadab! hollo! who's there? Drat them all, why don't they speak?"
The old gentleman was soon, however, attended to.

"Are they here?" he inquired, as Mr. Amminadab entered.

"Yes, sir, all three; and the coach is at the door, too. Nicky Crowbar's
to be up at three, sir"----

"I see--I know--I'm ready," replied Mr. Quirk, who was presently seated
in the coach with three gentlemen, to whom he minutely explained the
person of Mr. Nicky Crowbar, and the place at which it was quite certain
that Mr. Crowbar could _not_ have been at half-past eleven o'clock on
Tuesday night the 9th of July, seeing that it did so happen that at that
precise time he was elsewhere, in company with these very three
gentlemen--to wit, at Chelsea, and _not at Clapham_! In short, this was
a first-rate ALIBI.

Though Mr. Gammon thus sympathized with one of the gentle beings who had
been "rifled of all their sweetness," I grieve to say that the other,
Miss Tag-rag, never occupied his thoughts for one moment. He neither
knew nor cared whether or not she was apprised of the destruction of all
_her_ fond hopes, by the paragraph which had appeared in the _Aurora_.
He felt, in fact, that he had really done enough, on the part of Mr.
Titmouse, for his early friend and patron, Mr. Tag-rag, on whom the
stream of fortune had set in strong and steady; and, in short, Mr.
Gammon knew that Mr. Tag-rag had received a substantial memento of his
connection with Tittlebat Titmouse. How truly disinterested a man was
Mr. Gammon towards all with whom he came in contact! What had he not
done, as I have been saying, for the Tag-rags? What for Mr. Titmouse?
What for the Earl of Dreddlington? What for Mr. Quirk, and even Snap? As
for Mr. Quirk, had he not been put in possession of his long-coveted
bond for £10,000? of which, by the way, he allotted £1,000 only to the
man--Mr. Gammon--by whose unwearying exertions and consummate ability he
had obtained so splendid a prize, and £300 to Mr. Snap! Then, had not
Mr. Quirk also been paid his bill against Titmouse of £5,000 and
upwards, and £2,500 by Mr. Aubrey? And, governed by the articles of
their partnership, what a _lion's half_ of this spoil had not been
appropriated to the respectable old head of the firm? Mr. Gammon did
undoubtedly complain indignantly of the trifling portion allotted to
him, but he was encountered by such a desperate pertinacity on the part
of Mr. Quirk as baffled him entirely, and caused him to abandon his
further claim in disgust and despair. Thus, the £20,000 obtained by Mr.
Titmouse, on mortgage of the Yatton property, was reduced at once to the
sum of £5,000;--but out of this handsome balance had yet to come, first,
£800, with interest, due to Mr. Quirk for subsistence-money advanced to
Titmouse; secondly, £500 due to Mr. Snap, for moneys alleged to have
been also lent by him to his friend Titmouse at different times, in the
manner which has been already explained to the reader--Snap's demand for
repayment being accompanied by _verbatim_ copies--such he stated them to
be--of between forty and fifty memoranda--many of them in pencil--notes
of hand, receipts, I. O. U.'s, &c., in whose handwriting the figures
representing _the sums lent_, and the times when, could not be
ascertained, and did not signify: it being, in point of law, good _primâ
facie_ evidence for Snap, in the event of a trial, simply to produce the
documents and prove the signature of his friend Mr. Titmouse.[32] That
gentleman discharged a volley of imprecations at Snap's head, on
receiving this unexpected claim, and referred it to Mr. Gammon; who,
after subjecting it to a _bonâ fide_ and very rigorous examination,
found it in vain to attempt to resist, or even diminish it; such perfect
method and accuracy had Snap observed in his accounts, that they secured
him a clear gain of £350; the difference between that sum and £500,
being the amount actually and _bonâ fide_ advanced by him to Titmouse.
Deducting, therefore, £1,300, (the amount of the two minor demands of
£800 and £500 above specified,) there remained to Mr. Titmouse out of
the £20,000 the sum of £3,700; and he ought to have been thankful; for
he _might_ have got _nothing_--or even have been brought in debtor to
Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap. I say that Mr. Gammon would seem, from
the above statement of accounts, not to have been dealt with in any
degree adequately to his merits. He felt such to be his case; but soon
reconciled himself to it, occupied as he was with arduous and extensive
speculations, amid all the complication of which he never for a moment
lost sight of one object, viz.--_himself_. His schemes were boldly
conceived, and he went about the accomplishment of them with equal
patience and sagacity. Almost everything was at present going on as he
could have wished. He had contrived to place himself in a very
convenient fast-and-loose sort of position with reference to his
fellow-partners--one which admitted of his easily disengaging himself
from them, whenever the proper time should have arrived for taking such
a step. He was absolute and paramount over Titmouse, and could always
secure his instant submission, by virtue of the fearful and mysterious
talisman which he occasionally flashed before his startled eyes. He had
acquired great influence, also, over the Earl of Dreddlington--an
influence which was constantly on the increase; and had seen come to
pass an event which he judged to be of great importance to him--namely,
the engagement between Titmouse and the Lady Cecilia. Yet was there one
object which he had proposed to himself as incalculably valuable and
supremely desirable--as the consummation of all his designs and wishes;
I mean the obtaining the hand of Miss Aubrey--and in which he had yet a
fearful misgiving of failure. But he was a man whose courage rose with
every obstacle; and he fixedly resolved within himself, to succeed, at
any cost. 'Twas not alone his exquisite appreciation of her personal
beauty, her grace, her accomplishments, her lovely temper, her lofty
spirit, her high birth--objects all of them dazzling enough to a man of
such a powerful and ambitious mind, and placed in such circumstances in
life as Gammon. There were certain other considerations, intimately
involved in all his calculations, which--as may possibly become apparent
hereafter--rendered success in this affair a matter of vital
consequence--nay, indispensable. Knowing, as I do, what had passed at
different times between that proud and determined girl and her constant
and enthusiastic lover, Mr. Delamere, I am as certain as a man can be of
anything that has not actually happened, that, though she may possibly
not be fated to become Mrs. Delamere, she will certainly NEVER
become--MRS. GAMMON!--Loving Kate as I do, and being thoroughly
acquainted with Gammon, I feel deep interest in his movements, and am
watching them with great apprehension:--she, lovely, innocent,
unsuspicious; he, subtle, selfish, unscrupulous, desperate! And he has
great power in his hands: is he not silently surrounding his destined
prey with unperceived, but apparently inextricable meshes? God guard
thee, my Kate, and reward thy noble devotion to thy brother and his
fallen fortunes! Do we chide thee for clinging to them with fond
tenacity in their extremity, when thou art daily importuned to enter
into that station which thou wouldst so adorn?

Gammon's reception by the Aubreys, in Vivian Street--kind and
courteous though it had surely been--had ever since rankled in his
heart. Their abstaining from a request to him to prolong his stay, or to
renew his visit, he had noted at the time, and had ever since reflected
upon it with pique and discouragement. Nevertheless, he was resolved at
all hazards to become at least an occasional visitor in Vivian Street.
When a fortnight had elapsed without any further intimation to Mr.
Aubrey concerning the dreaded balance due to the firm, Gammon ventured
to call upon him, for the purpose of assuring Mr. Aubrey that it was no
mere temporary lull; that he might divest his mind of all uneasiness on
the subject; and of asking whether he (Gammon) had not told Mr. Aubrey
truly that he both could and would restrain the hand of Mr. Quirk. Could
Mr. Aubrey be otherwise than grateful for such active, effectual, and
manifestly disinterested kindness? Again Gammon made his appearance at
Mrs. Aubrey's tea-table--and was again received with all the sweetness
and frankness of manner which he had formerly experienced from her and
Miss Aubrey. Again he called, on some adroit pretext or another--and
once heard Miss Aubrey's rich voice and exquisite performance on the
piano. He became subject to emotions and impulses of such a sort as he
had never before experienced; yet, whenever he retired from their
fascinating society, he was conscious of an aching void, as it were,
within--he perceived the absence of all sympathy towards him; he felt
_indignant_--but that did not quench the ardor of his aspirations. 'Tis
hardly necessary to say, that on every occasion, Gammon effectually
concealed the profound and agitating feelings which the sight of Miss
Aubrey called forth in him; and what a tax was this upon his powers of
self-control! How he laid himself out to amuse and interest them all!
With what racy humor would he describe the vulgar absurdities of
Titmouse--the stately eccentricities of the Dreddlingtons! With what
eager and breathless interest was he listened to! Few men could make
themselves more completely agreeable than Gammon; and the ladies really
took pleasure in his society; Kate being, all the while, about as far
from any notion of the real state of his feelings, as is my fair reader
of what is at this moment going on in the dog-star. Her reserve towards
him sensibly lessened; why, indeed, should she feel it, towards one of
whom Dr. Tatham spoke so highly, and who appeared to justify his
eulogium? Moreover, Mr. Gammon took special care to speak in the most
unreserved and unqualified manner of the mean and mercenary character of
Mr. Quirk--of the miserable style of business in which he, Mr. Gammon,
was compelled, for only a short time longer, he trusted, to participate,
and which was really revolting to his own feelings. He did his best, in
short, to cause himself to appear a sensitive and high-minded man, whose
unhappy fate it had been to be yoked with those who were the reverse.
Mr. Aubrey regarded him from time to time with silent anxiety and
interest, as one who had it in his power, at any instant he might
choose, to cause the suspended sword to fall upon him; at whose will and
pleasure he continued in the enjoyment of his present domestic
happiness, instead of being incarcerated in prison; but who had hitherto
evinced a disposition of signal forbearance, sincere good-nature, and
disinterestedness. They often used to speak of him, and compare the
impression which his person and conduct had produced in their minds; and
in two points they agreed--that he certainly exhibited anxiety to render
himself agreeable; and that there was a certain _something_ about his
eye which none of them liked. It seemed as though he had in a manner two
natures; and that one of them was watching the effect of the efforts
made by the other to beguile!


While, however, the Fates thus seemed to frown upon the aspiring
attempts of Gammon towards Miss Aubrey, they smiled benignantly enough
upon Titmouse, and his suit with the Lady Cecilia. The first shock
over--which no lively sensibilities or strong feelings of her Ladyship
tended to protract, she began to get familiar with the person, manners,
and character of her future lord, and in a measure reconciled to her
fate. "When people understand that they _must_ live together," said a
very great man, "they learn to soften, by mutual accommodation, that
yoke which they know that they cannot shake off; they become good
husbands and wives, from the necessity of remaining husbands and wives,
for necessity is a powerful master in teaching the duties which it
imposes."[33] The serene intelligence of Lady Cecilia having satisfied
her that "IT WAS HER FATE" to be married to Titmouse, she resigned
herself to it tranquilly, calling in to her assistance divers
co-operative reasons for the step which she had agreed to take. She
could thereby accomplish at all events one darling object of her
papa's--the reunion of the long and unhappily-severed family interests.
Then Yatton was certainly a delightful estate to be mistress of--a
charming residence, and one which she might in all probability calculate
on having pretty nearly to herself. The rent-roll was large and
unencumbered, and would admit of a handsome jointure. On her accession
to her own independent rank, the odious name of Titmouse would disappear
in the noble one of Lady Drelincourt, peeress in her own right, and
representative of the oldest barony in the kingdom. Her husband would
then become a mere cipher--no one would ever hear of him, or inquire
after him, or think or care about him--a mere mote in the sunbeam of her
own splendor. But, above all, thank Heaven! there were many ways in
which a _separation_ might be brought about--never mind how soon after
marriage: and a separation was becoming almost a matter of course,
implying nothing derogatory to the character, or lessening to the
personal consequence of the lady--who indeed was almost, as of course,
recognized as an object of sympathy, rather than of suspicion or scorn.
These were powerful forces, all impelling her in one direction--and
irresistibly. How could it be otherwise with one like _her_--a mere
creature of circumstance? Notwithstanding all this, however, there were
occasions when Titmouse was presented to her in a somewhat startling and
sickening aspect. It sometimes almost choked her to see him--ridiculous
object!--in the company of gentlemen--to witness their treatment of him,
and then reflect that he was about to become her--lord and master. One
day, for instance, she accompanied the earl in the carriage to witness
the hounds throw off, not far from Yatton, and where a very brilliant
field was expected. There were, in fact, about two hundred of the
leading gentlemen of the county assembled--and, dear reader, do try to
picture to yourself the figure which Titmouse must have presented among
them--his quizzing-glass screwed into his eye, and clad in his little
pink and leathers!--What a _seat_ was his! How many significant and
scornful smiles, and winks, and shrugs of the shoulders did his
appearance occasion among his bold and high-bred companions! And only
about four or five minutes after they had "gone away"--on the occasion
in question, this unhappy little sinner was thoroughly found out by the
noble animal he rode; and who equally well knew _his own business_, and
what he had _on_! In trying to take a dwarf wall, on the opposite side
of an old green horsepond by the road-side, he urged his horse with that
weak and indecisive impulse which only disgusted him; so he suddenly
drew back at the margin of the pond--and over head and heels flew
Titmouse, descending plump on his head into the deep mud, where he
remained for a moment or two, up to his shoulders, his little legs
kicking about in the air--

"Who's that?" cried one--and another--and another--without stopping, any
more than the Life Guards would have stopped for a sudden individual
casualty in the midst of their tremendous charge at Waterloo--till the
very last of them, who happened to be no less a person than Lord De la
Zouch, seeing, as he came up, the desperate position of the fallen
rider, reined up, dismounted, and with much effort and inconvenience
aided in extricating Titmouse from his fearful yet ludicrous
position--and thus fortunately preserved to society one of its brightest
ornaments. As soon as he was safe---a dismal spectacle to gods and
men--his preserver, not disposed, by discovering who Titmouse was, to
supererogatory courtesy, mounted his horse, leaving Titmouse in the care
of an old woman whose cottage was not far off, and where Titmouse,
having had a good deal of the filth detached from him, remounted his
horse and turned its head homewards--heartily disposed, had he but
_dared_, cruelly to spur, and kick, and flog it; and in this
pickle--stupid, and sullen, and crestfallen--he was overtaken and
recognized by Lord Dreddlington and Lady Cecilia, returning from the

This was her future husband----

Then again--poor Lady Cecilia!--what thought you of the following, which
was one of the letters he addressed to you?--Well might Miss Aubrey
exclaim, "how I should like to see their correspondence!"

                       "The Albanny, Picadilly, London, 12th Oct. 18--.


     "I take Up My pen To Inform you of Arriving safe Here, where Am
     sorry how^r. To say There Is No One which one knows except
     Tradespeople Going About and so Dull on Acc^t. of Customers Out of
     Town, Dearest love You Are the Girl of my Heart As I am of Your's,
     and am particular Lonely Alone Here and wish to be There _where she
     Is_ how I Long to Fold My dearest girl in My Arms hope You Don't
     Forget Me As soon As I am Absent do You often Think of _me_ w^h. I
     do indeed of _you_, and looking Forward to The Happy Days When We
     are United in the Happy bonds of Hymmen, never To part Again
     dearest I Was Driving yesterday In my New Cabb In the park, where
     whom Sh^d. I Meet but That Miss Aubrey W^h. they say (Between you
     And I and The post) is Truly in a Gallopping Consumption on Acc^t.
     Of my Not Having Her A likely thing indeed that I ever car'd for
     Such an individule w^h. Never Did Only of you, Dearest What shall I
     Send you As A Gift Shall it Be In The cloathing Line, For there Is
     a Wonderful Fine and Choice Assortm^t. of Cashmere Shawls and Most
     Remarkable Handsome Cloaks, All Newly arrived fr. Paris, Never
     Think Of The price w^h. Betwixt Lovers Goes For Nothing. However
     _Large the Figure_ Only Say what You Shall have and Down It shall
     Come And Now dearest Girl Adieu.

                 'Those Can't meet Again, who Never Part.'

     dearest Your's to command till death.             T. TITMOUSE.

     "P. T. O.--Love and Duty To My Lord (of Course) who shall Feel only
     Too happy to Call My Father-In-Law, the Sooner The better."

When poor Lady Cecilia received this exquisite epistle, and had read
over only half a dozen lines of it, she flung it on the floor; threw
herself down on the sofa in her dressing-room; and remained silent and
motionless for more than an hour. When she heard Miss Macspleuchan
knock at her door for admittance, Lady Cecilia started up, snatched the
letter from the floor, and thrust it into her dressing-case, before
admitting her "humble companion."

A succession of such letters as the above might have had the effect upon
Lady Cecilia's "_attachment_" to Titmouse, which the repeated affusion
of cold water would have upon the thermometer; but the crack-brained
Fates still favored Mr. Titmouse, by presently investing him with a
character, and placing him in a position, calculated to give him
personal dignity, and thereby redeem and elevate him in the estimation
of his fastidious and lofty mistress--I mean that of candidate for a
seat in Parliament--for the representation of a borough in which he had
a commanding influence:--but this brings me to topics which must not be
lightly handled.

After a national commotion commensurate with the magnitude of the boon
which had been sought for, the great BILL FOR GIVING EVERYBODY
EVERYTHING had passed into a law, and the people were frantic with joy.
Its blooming first fruits were of a sort calculated to satisfy the
public expectation, viz.--two or three earls were turned into marquises,
and one or two marquises into dukes, and deservedly; for these great men
had far higher titles to the gratitude and admiration of the country, in
exacting this second Magna Charta from King ----, than the stern old
barons in extorting the first from King John--namely, they parted with
vast substantial political power, for only a nominal _quid pro quo_, in
the shape of a bit of ribbon or a strawberry leaf. Its next immediate
effect was to cleanse the Augean stable of the House of Commons, by
opening upon it the floodgates of popular will and popular opinion; and
having utterly expelled the herd of ignorant and mercenary wretches
which had so long occupied and defiled it, their places were to be
supplied by a band of patriots and statesmen, as gifted as
disinterested--the people's own enlightened, unbiased, and deliberate
choice. Once put the government of the country--it was said--the
administration of affairs--into hands such as these, and the inevitable
result would be, the immediate regeneration of society, and the securing
the greatest happiness to the greatest number. It was fearfully apparent
that, under the old system, we had sunk into irredeemable contempt
abroad, and were on the very verge of ruin and anarchy at home. So
blessedly true is it, that when things come to the worst, they begin to
mend! In short, the enlightened and enlarged constituencies began
forthwith to look out for fit objects of their choice--for the best men;
men of independent fortune; of deep stake in the welfare of the country;
of spotless private and consistent public character; who, having had
adequate leisure, opportunity, inclination, and capacity, had fitted
themselves to undertake, with advantage to the nation, the grave
responsibilities of statesmen and legislators. Such candidates,
therefore, as Mr. Tittlebat Titmouse, became naturally in universal
request; and the consequence was, such a prodigious flight of Titmice
into the House of Commons--but whither am I wandering? I have to do with
only one little borough--that of Yatton in Yorkshire. The Great Charter
operated upon it, by _first_, in a manner, _amputating_ it of one of its
members; _secondly_, extending its boundary--Grilston, and one or two of
the adjacent places, being incorporated into the new borough; _thirdly_,
by the introduction of the new qualification of voters. I have
ascertained from a very high quarter--in fact, from a Cabinet Minister,
_since deceased_[34]--a curious and important fact; viz. that had Mr.
Titmouse failed in recovering the Yatton property, or been of different
political opinions, in either of these cases, the little borough of
Yatton was doomed to utter extinction: a circumstance which shows the
signal vigilance, the accurate and comprehensive knowledge of local
interest and capabilities, evinced by those great and good men who were
remodelling the representation of the country. How little did my hero
suspect that his political opinions, as newly-installed owner of Yatton,
formed a topic of anxious discussion at more than one Cabinet council,
previous to the passing of the Great Bill! Upon such considerations did
it--in fact--depend whether Yatton should be at once deposited in the
sepulchre of "_Schedule A_;" or added to the dismal rank of surviving,
but _maimed_ ones in "_Schedule B._" As its boundary was extended, so
the constituency of Yatton was, as I have said, enlarged; the invaluable
elective franchise being wisely given to those most in need of the
advantages it could _immediately_ procure; and the fleeting nature of
whose interest naturally enhanced their desire to consult the welfare of
those who had a permanent and deep stake in its prosperity. Though,
however, the change effected by the new act had so considerably added to
the roll of electors, it had not given ground for serious apprehension
as to the security of the seat of the owner of the Yatton property.
After a very long and private interview between Gammon and Titmouse, in
which something transpired which may be referred to hereafter, it was
agreed that--(the New Writs having been issued within one week after the
calmed and sobered new constituencies had been organized--which
organization, again, had been wisely effected within a week or two after
the passing of the act which had created them)--Mr. Titmouse should
instantly scare away all competition, by announcing his determination to
start for the borough. As soon as this was known, a deputation from a
club of the new electors in Grilston waited upon Mr. Titmouse--to
propose the pecuniary terms on which their support was to be obtained.
Hereat he was somewhat startled--but Gammon saw in it the legitimate
working of the new system; and--nothing was ever better managed!--nobody
was in any mischievous secret--neither party compromised; and yet the
happy result was--that _one hundred and nine_ votes were in a trice
secured in Grilston alone for Mr. Titmouse. Then Gammon appointed
Messrs. Bloodsuck and Son the local agents of Titmouse; for whom he
wrote an address to the electors--and, Titmouse promising to have it
printed forthwith, Mr. Gammon returned to town for a day or two. Nothing
could have been more skilful than the document which he had prepared--at
once terse, comprehensive, and showy; meaning everything, or
nothing--(_dolosus semper versatur in generalibus_, was an observation
of Lord Coke's on which Gammon had kept his eye fixed in drawing up his
"Address.") Yet it came to pass, that on the evening of the day of
Gammon's departure, a Mr. Phelim O'Doodle, a splendid billiard-player,
(in fact he had commenced life in the capacity of _marker_ to a
billiard-table near Leicester Square,) and also one of the first members
returned--only a few days before--for an Irish borough in the Liberal
interest, chanced to take Yatton in his way to Scotland, (where he was
going to officiate professionally at a grand match at billiards, at the
house of an early patron, Sir Archibald M'Cannon,) from London; and
being intimate with Mr. Titmouse, from whom (to conceal nothing from the
reader) he had borrowed a little money a few months before, to enable
him to present himself to his intelligent and enthusiastic
constituency--they sat down to canvass the merits of the Address which
the astute but _absent_ Gammon had prepared for Titmouse. Mr. O'Doodle
pronounced it "divilish tame, and _maiger_;" comparing it to toddy, with
the _whiskey omitted_: and availing himself of Gammon's draft as far as
he approved of it, he drew up the following, which put Titmouse into an
ecstasy; and he sent it off the very next morning for insertion in the
_Yorkshire Stingo_. Here is an exact copy of that judicious and able
performance--which I must own I consider quite a model in its way.

       "_To the worthy and independent Electors of Yatton._

     "GENTLEMEN,--His Majesty having been pleased to dissolve the late
     Parliament, under very remarkable and exciting circumstances, and,
     in the midst of the transports of enthusiasm arising out of the
     passing of that second Great Charter of our Liberties, _the Act for
     Giving Everybody Everything_, with kindly wisdom, to call upon you
     to exercise immediately the high and glorious privilege of choosing
     your representative in the New Parliament, I beg leave to announce
     myself as a candidate for that distinguished honor. Gentlemen, long
     before I succeeded in establishing my right to reside among you in
     my present capacity, I felt a deep interest in the welfare of the
     tenants of the property, and especially of those residing in the
     parts adjacent, and who are now so happily introduced into the
     constituency of this ancient and loyal borough. I trust that the
     circumstance of my ancestors having resided for ages within it,
     will not indispose you to a favorable reception of their descendant
     and representative. Gentlemen, my political opinions are those
     which led to the passing of the Great Measure I have alluded to,
     and which are bound up in it. Without going into details, which are
     too multifarious for the limits of such an Address as the present,
     let me assure you, that though firmly resolved to uphold the
     agricultural interests of this great country, I am equally anxious
     to sustain the commercial and manufacturing interests; and whenever
     they are unhappily in fatal conflict with each other, I shall be
     found at my post, zealously supporting _both_, to the utmost of my
     ability. Though a sincere and firm member and friend of the
     Established Church, I am not insensible to the fearful abuses which
     at present prevail in it; particularly in its revenues, which I am
     disposed to lessen and equalize--devoting  the surplus capital to
     useful purposes connected with the State, from which she derived
     them, as history testifies. I am bent upon securing the utmost
     possible latitude to every species of Dissent. In fact, I greatly
     doubt whether any form of religion ought to be '_established_' in a
     free country. While I am resolved to uphold Protestantism, I think
     I best do so, by seeking to remove all restrictions from the
     Catholics, who, I am persuaded, will sacredly abstain from
     endeavoring to promote their own interests at the expense of ours.
     The infallible page of history establishes their humility,
     meekness, and moderation. Gentlemen, depend upon it, the
     established religion is most likely to flourish when surrounded by
     danger, and threatened by persecution; it has an inherent vitality
     which will defy, in the long run, all competition, and there _must_
     be competition, or there can be no triumph. Gentlemen, I am for
     Peace, Retrenchment, and Reform, which are in fact the Three Polar
     Stars of my political conduct. I am an advocate for quarterly
     Parliaments, convinced that we cannot too often be summoned to give
     an account of our stewardship--and that the frequency of elections
     will occasion a wholesome agitation, and stimulus to trade. I am
     for extending the elective franchise to all, except those who are
     actually the inmates of a prison or a poor-house on the day of
     election; and for affording to electors the inviolable secrecy and
     protection of the Ballot. I am an uncompromising advocate of civil
     and religious liberty all over the globe; and, in short, of giving
     the greatest happiness to the greatest number. Gentlemen, before
     concluding, I wish to state explicitly, as the result of long and
     deep inquiry and reflection, that I am of opinion that every
     constituency is entitled, nay, bound, to exact from a candidate for
     its suffrages the most strict and minute pledges as to his future
     conduct in Parliament, in every matter, great or small, that can
     come before it; in order to prevent his judgment being influenced
     and warped by the dangerous sophistries and fallacies which are
     broached in Parliament, and protect his integrity from the base,
     sinister, and corrupt influences which are invariably brought to
     bear on public men. I am ready, therefore, to pledge myself to
     anything that may be required of me by any elector who may honor me
     with his  support. Gentlemen, such are my political principles,
     and I humbly hope that they will prove to be those of the electors
     of this ancient and loyal borough, so as to warrant the legislature
     in having preserved it in existence, amid the wholesale havoc which
     it has just made in property of this description. Though it is not
     probable that we shall be harassed by a contest, I shall make a
     point of waiting upon you all personally, and humbly answering all
     questions that may be put to me: and should I be returned, rely
     upon it, that I will never give you occasion to regret your display
     of so signal an evidence of your confidence in me.--I have the
     honor to be, Gentlemen, your most obedient and humble servant,

                                                           "T. TITMOUSE.

       "Yatton, 3d December, 18--."

"Upon my soul, if that don't carry the election hollow," said Mr.
O'Doodle, laying down his pen, and mixing himself a fresh tumbler of
half-and-half brandy and water, "you may call me bog-trotter to the end
of my days, and be ---- to me!"!!!

"Why--a--ya--as! 'pon my life it's quite a superior article, and no
mistake"--quoth Titmouse; "but--eh? d'ye think they'll ever believe I
writ it all? Egad, my fine fellow, to compose a piece of composition
like that, by Jove!--requires--and besides, suppose those dem fellows
begin asking me all sorts of questions and thingembobs, eh? You
_couldn't_ stay and go about with one a bit? Eh, Phelim?"

"Fait, Titty, an' it's mighty little awake to the way of _doing
business_, that ye are! ah, ha! Murder and thieves! what does it signify
what you choose to say or write to them? they're only _pisintry_:
and--the real point to be looked at is this--all those that you can
_command_--d'ye see--of course you will, or send 'em to the right about;
and those that you can't--that's the _new_ blackguards round
about--_buy_, if it's necessary, fait!"

"Oh, that's _done_!--It _is_, 'pon my soul!" whispered Titmouse.

"Oh? Is it in earnest you are? Then you're M. P. for the borough; and on
the strength of it, I'll replenish!" and so he did, Titmouse following
his example; and in a pretty state were they, some hour or two
afterwards, conducted to their apartments.

It is difficult to describe the rage of Gammon on seeing the Address
which had been substituted for that which he had prepared, with so much
caution and tact: but the thing was done, and he was obliged to submit.
The Address duly appeared in the _Yorkshire Stingo_. It was also
placarded liberally all over the borough, and distributed about,
exciting a good deal of interest, and also much approbation among the
new electors. It was thought, however, that it was a piece of
supererogation, inasmuch as there could be no possible doubt that Mr.
Titmouse would _walk over the course_.

In this, however, it presently proved that the _quidnuncs_ of Yatton
were terribly mistaken. A copy of the _Yorkshire Stingo_, containing the
foregoing "Address," was sent, on the day of its publication, by Dr.
Tatham to Mr. Aubrey, who had read it aloud, with feelings of mingled
sorrow and contempt, on the evening of its arrival, in the presence of
Mrs. Aubrey, Miss Aubrey, and also of one who was by no means an
unfrequent visitor, Mr. Delamere. The Aubreys were sad enough; and he
endeavored to dissipate the gloom which hung over them, by ridiculing,
very bitterly and humorously, the pretensions of the would-be member for
Yatton--the presumed writer (who, however, Kate protested, without
giving her reasons, could never have been Mr. Titmouse) of the precious
"Address." He partially succeeded. Both Aubrey and he laughed heartily
as they went more deliberately over it; but Kate and Mrs. Aubrey spoke
very gravely and indignantly about that part of it which related to the
Established Church and the Protestant Religion.

"Oh dear, dear!" quoth Kate at length, with a sudden burst of
impetuosity, after a considerable and rather melancholy pause in the
conversation; "only to think that such an odious little wretch is to
represent the dear old----What would I not give to see him defeated!"

"Pho, Kate," replied her brother, rather sadly, "who is there to oppose
him? Pickering told me, you know, that he should not go into the House
again; and even if he felt disposed to contest Yatton, what chance could
he have against Mr. Titmouse's influence?"

"Oh, I'm sure all the old tenants hate the little monkey, to a man--and
that _you_ know, Charles, right well!"

"That may be, Kate, but they must vote for him, or be turned out of"----

"Oh, I've no _patience_, Charles, to hear of such things!" interrupted
his sister, with not a little petulance in her manner.

"Do you mean to say, that you should like to see a rival start to
contest your dear old borough with Mr. Titmouse?" inquired Mr. Delamere,
who had been listening to the foregoing brief colloquy in silence, his
eyes fixed with eager delight on the animated and beautiful countenance
of Miss Aubrey.

"_Indeed_ I should, Mr. Delamere," cried Kate, eagerly--"I would give
five guineas, if I had it"--adding, however, with a sudden sigh, looking
at her brother; "but--heigh-ho!--as Charles says, how absurd it is to
fret one's self about it--about a thing we can't help--and--a place one
has no longer--alas!--any concern with!" As she said this, her voice
fell a little, and her eyes filled with tears. But her little sally had
been attended with consequences she never could have dreamed of.

Mr. Delamere took leave of them shortly afterwards, without
communicating a word of any intentions he might have conceived upon the
subject to any of them. But the first place he went to, in the morning,
was a great banker's, who had been appointed the principal acting
executor of the Marquis of Fallowfield, a very recently deceased uncle
of Delamere's, to whom his Lordship had left a legacy of £3,000; and
'twas to get at this same legacy that was the object of Delamere's visit
to Sir Omnium Bullion's. For some time the worthy baronet--who had not
then even proved the will--would not listen to the entreaties of the
eager young legatee: but the moment that he heard of the purpose for
which it was wanted, Sir Omnium being a very fierce Tory, and who had
_lost_ his own snug borough by the Bill for _Giving Everybody
Everything_, instantly relented. "There, my fine fellow, that's a piece
of pluck I vastly admire! Sign _that_," said Sir Omnium, tossing to him
an "I. O. U. £3,000," and drawing him a check for the amount: wishing
him, with all imaginable zeal and energy, good speed. Delamere's
excitement would not allow him to wait till the evening, for the mail;
so, within a couple of hours' time of effecting this delightful
arrangement with Sir Omnium, he was seated in a post-chaise and four,
rattling at top-speed on his way to Yorkshire.

Sufficiently astonished were Lord and Lady De la Zouch, when he
presented himself to them at Fotheringham; but infinitely more so, when
he named the object of his coming down, and with desperate entreaties
besought his father's sanction for the enterprise. 'Twas very hard for
Lord De la Zouch to deny anything to one on whom he doted as he did upon
this, his only child. His Lordship, moreover, was one of the keenest
politicians living; and as for elections, he was an old campaigner, and
had stood several desperate contests, and spent immense sums upon them.
And here was his son, to use a well-known phrase, indeed a _chip of the
old block_!--Lord De la Zouch, in short, really felt a secret pleasure
in contemplating the resemblance to his early self--and after a little
demur he began to give way. He shook his head, however, discouragingly;
spoke of Delamere's youth--barely two-and-twenty; the certainty of
defeat, and the annoyance of being beaten by such a creature as
Titmouse; the suddenness and lateness of the move--and so forth.

More and more impetuous, however, became his son.

"I'll tell you what, sir," said Lord De la Zouch, scarce able to speak
with the gravity he wished, "it strikes me that this extraordinary,
expensive, absurd, and hopeless scheme of yours, is all the result
of--eh? I see--I understand! It's done to please--Come, now, be frank,
sir! how long, before you left town, had you seen Miss"----

"I pledge my word, sir," replied Delamere, emphatically, "that neither
Miss Aubrey, nor Mr. nor Mrs. Aubrey--whom, however, I certainly saw the
very night before I quitted town, and even conversed with on the subject
of Mr. Titmouse's Address--has interchanged one syllable with me on the
subject of my starting for the borough; and I believe them to be at this
moment as ignorant of what I am about as you, sir, were, the moment
before you saw me here."

"It is enough," said his father, seriously, who knew that his son,
equally with himself, had a rigorous regard for truth on all occasions,
great and small--"and had it even been otherwise, I--I--eh? I don't
think there's anything _very_ monstrous in it!" He paused, and smiled
kindly at his son--and added, "Well--I--I--we certainly shall be laughed
at for our pains; it's really a madcap sort of business, Geoffrey;
but"--Lord De la Zouch had given way--"I own that I should not like to
have been thwarted by _my_ father on an occasion like the present; so,
let it be done, as you've set your heart upon it. And," he added with a
smile, "pray, Mr. Delamere, have you considered what I shall have to pay
for your sport?"

"Not one penny, sir!" replied his son, with a certain swell of manner.

"Ay, ay!" exclaimed his Lordship, briskly--"How's that, sir?"

Then Delamere told him of what he had done; at which Lord De la Zouch
first looked serious, and then burst into laughter at the eagerness of
old Sir Omnium to aid the affair. Lord De la Zouch well knew that the
old baronet was infinitely exasperated against those who had robbed him
of his borough! Never was "_Schedule A_" mentioned in his presence
without a kind of spasm passing over his features! as though it were the
burial-ground where lay one long and fondly loved! "No, no," said his
Lordship, "that must not stand; I won't have _any_ risk of Sir Omnium's
getting into a scrape, and shall write off to request him to annul the
transaction--with many thanks for what he has done--and I'll try whether
I have credit enough with my bankers--eh, Geoffrey?"

"You are very kind to me, sir, but really I would rather"----

"Pho, pho--let it be as I say; and now, go and dress for dinner, and,
after that, the sooner you get about _your_ 'Address,' the better. Let
me see a draft of it as soon as it is finished. Let Mr. Parkinson be
sent for immediately from Grilston, to see how the land lies; and, in
short, if we _do_ go into the thing, let us dash into it with
spirit--I'll write off and have down from town--a-hem!" his Lordship
suddenly paused--and then added--"And hark 'ee, sir--as to that
Address of yours, I'll have no despicable trimming, and trying to catch
votes by vague and flattering"----

"Trust me, sir!" said Delamere, with a proud smile, "mine shall be, at
all events, a contrast to that of my '_honorable opponent_.'"

"Go straight a-head, sir," continued Lord De la Zouch, with a lofty and
determined air; "nail your colors to the mast. Speak out in a plain,
manly way, so that no one can misunderstand you. I'd rather a thousand
times over see you beaten out of the field--lose the election like a
gentleman--than win it by any sort of _trickery_, especially as far as
the profession of your political sentiments and opinions is concerned.
Bear yourself so, Geoffrey, in this your maiden struggle, that when it
is over, you may be able to lay your hand on your heart, and say, 'I
have _won_ honorably'--or 'I have _lost_ honorably.' So long as you can
feel and say _this_, laugh at election bills--at the long faces of your
friends--the exulting faces of your enemies.--Will you bear all this in
mind, Geoffrey?"

"I will, I will, sir," replied his eager son; and added, with an excited
air, "won't it come on them like"----

"Do you hear that bell, sir?" said Lord De la Zouch, laughing, and
moving away. Delamere bowed, and with a brisk step, a flushed cheek, and
an elated air, betook himself to his dressing-room, to prepare for

Shortly afterwards, Mr. Parkinson made his appearance, and to his
infinite amazement was invested instantly with the character of agent
for Mr. Delamere, as candidate for the borough! After he and the earl
had heard the following Address read by Delamere, they very heartily
approved of it. Mr. Parkinson took it home with him; it was in the
printer's hands that very night, and by seven o'clock in the morning,
was being stuck up plentifully on all the walls in Grilston, and in
fact, all over the borough:--

       "_To the Independent Electors of the Borough of Yatton._

     "GENTLEMEN--I hope you will not consider me presumptuous, in
     venturing to offer myself to your notice as a candidate for the
     honor of representing you in Parliament. In point of years, I am, I
     have reason to believe, even younger than the gentleman whom I have
     come forward to oppose. But, indeed, for the fact of his being
     personally a comparative stranger to you, I should have paused long
     before contesting with him the representation of a borough on which
     he has unquestionably certain legitimate claims. The moment,
     however, that I had read his Address, I resolved to come forward
     and oppose him. Gentlemen, the chief ground on which I am induced
     to take this step, is, that I disapprove of the tone and spirit of
     that Address, and hold opinions entirely opposed to all those which
     it expresses, and which I have no hesitation in saying I consider
     to be unworthy of any one seeking so grave a trust as that of
     representing you in Parliament. As for my own opinions, they are in
     all essential respects identical with those of the gentlemen who
     have, during a long series of years, represented you, and
     especially with those of my highly honored and gifted friend, Mr.
     Aubrey. Gentlemen, my own family is not unknown to you, nor are the
     opinions and principles which for centuries they have consistently
     supported, and which are also mine.

     "I am an affectionate and uncompromising friend of our glorious and
     venerable Established Church, and of its union with the State;
     which it is my inflexible determination to support by every means
     in my power, as the most effectual mode of securing civil and
     religious liberty. I am disposed to resist any further concessions
     either to Roman Catholics or Dissenters, because I think that they
     cannot be made safely or advantageously. Gentlemen, there _is_ a
     point at which toleration becomes anarchy; and I am desirous to
     keep as far from that point as possible.

     "I earnestly deprecate putting our Agricultural or Commercial and
     Manufacturing interests into _competition_ with each
     other, as needless and mischievous. Both are essential elements in
     the national welfare; both should be upheld to the utmost: but if
     circumstances _should_ unhappily bring them into inevitable
     conflict, I avow myself heart and soul a friend to the Agricultural

     "Gentlemen, I know not whether it would be more derogatory to your
     character, or to mine, to exact or give _pledges_ as to my conduct
     on any particular measure, great or small, which may come before
     Parliament. It appears to me both absurd and ignominious, and
     inconsistent with every true principle of representation. One,
     however, I willingly give you--that I will endeavor to do my duty,
     by consulting your interests as a part of the general interests of
     the nation. I trust that I shall never be found uncourteous or
     inaccessible; and I am confident that none of you will entertain
     unreasonable expectations concerning my power to serve you
     individually or collectively.

     "Gentlemen, having entered into this contest, I pledge myself to
     fight it out to the last; and, if I fail, to retire with good
     humor. My friends and I will keep a vigilant eye on any attempts
     which may be made to resort to undue influence or coercion; which,
     however, I cannot suppose will be the case.

     "Gentlemen, this is the best account I can give you, within the
     limits of such an Address as the present, of my political opinions,
     and of the motives which have induced me to come forward; and I
     shall, within a day or two, proceed to call upon you personally. In
     the mean while I remain, Gentlemen, your faithful servant,

                                             "GEOFFREY LOVEL DELAMERE.

       "_Fotheringham Castle, 7th Dec. 18--._"

Two or three days afterwards there arrived at Mr. Aubrey's, in Vivian
Street, two large packets, franked "DE LA ZOUCH," and addressed to Mr.
Aubrey, containing four copies of the foregoing "Address," accompanied
by the following hurried note:--

                                      "_Fotheringham, 8th Dec. 18--._

     "MY DEAR AUBREY--What think you of this sudden and somewhat
     Quixotic enterprise of my son? I fear it is quite  hopeless--but
     there was no resisting his importunities. I must say he is going
     into the affair (which has already made a prodigious stir down
     here) in a very fine spirit. His _Address_ is good, is it not? The
     only thing I regret is, his entering the lists with such a creature
     as that fellow Titmouse--and, moreover, being _beaten_ by
     him.--Yours ever faithfully and affectionately,

                                                        "DE LA ZOUCH.

     "P. S.--You should only see little Dr. Tatham since he has heard of
     it. He spins about the village like a humming-top! I hope that, as
     far as his worldly interests are concerned, he is not acting
     imprudently: but _I_ will take care of that, for I love and
     reverence the little doctor. Our dear love to the ladies. (In great

This letter was read with almost suspended breath, by Mr. Aubrey, and
then by Mrs. and Miss Aubrey. With still greater emotion were the
printed enclosures opened and read. Each was held in a trembling hand,
its reader's color going and coming. Miss Aubrey's heart beat faster and
faster; she turned very pale--but with a strong effort recovered
herself. Then taking the candle, she withdrew with a hasty and excited
air, taking her copy of the Address with her to her own room; and there
burst into tears, and wept for some time. She felt her heart dissolving
in tenderness towards Delamere! It was some time before she could summon
resolution enough to return. When she did, Mrs. Aubrey made a faint
effort to rally her; but each, on observing the traces of the other's
recent and strong emotion, was silent, and with difficulty preserved any
semblance of a calm demeanor.

Equally strong emotions, but of a very different description, were
excited in the bosoms of certain persons at Yatton Hall, by the
appearance of Mr. Delamere's Address. 'Twas Mr. Barnabas Bloodsuck,
(junior,)--a middle-sized, square-set young man, of about thirty, with a
broad face, a very flat nose, light frizzly hair, and deep-set gray
eyes--a bustling, confident, hard-mouthed fellow--who, happening to be
stirring in the main street of Grilston early in the morning of the 8th
December 18--, beheld a man in the act of sticking up Mr. Delamere's
Address against a wall. Having prevailed on the man to part with one,
Mr. Bloodsuck was within a quarter of an hour on horseback, galloping
down to Yatton--almost imagining himself to be carrying with him a sort
of hand-grenade, which might explode in his pocket as he went on. He was
ushered into the breakfast-room, where sat Mr. Gammon and Mr. Titmouse,
just finishing their morning meal.

"My stars--good-morning! gents,--but here's a kettle of fish!" quoth Mr.
Bloodsuck, with an excited air, wiping the perspiration from his
forehead; and then plucking out of his pocket the damp and crumpled
Address of Mr. Delamere, he handed it to Mr. Gammon, who changed color
on seeing it, and read it over in silence.

Mr. Titmouse looked at him with a disturbed air; and having finished his
mixture of tea and brandy, "Eh--e--eh, Gammon!--I say"--he
stammered--"what's in the wind? 'Pon my soul, you look--eh?"

"Nothing but a piece of good fortune, for which you are indebted to your
distinguished friend, Mr. Phelim O'Something," replied Gammon, bitterly,
"whose precious Address has called forth for you an opponent whom you
would not otherwise have had."

"Hang Mr. O'Doodle!" exclaimed Titmouse; "I--'pon my precious soul--I
always thought him a-a fool and a knave. I'll make him pay me the money
he owes me!" and he strode up and down the room, with his hands thrust
furiously into his pockets.

"You had perhaps better direct your powerful mind to this Address,"
quoth Mr. Gammon, with a blighting smile, "as it slightly concerns
you;" and handing it to Titmouse, the latter sat down to try and obey

"That cock won't _really_ fight, though, eh?" inquired Mr. Bloodsuck, as
he resumed his seat after helping himself to an enormous slice of cold
beef at the side table.

"I think it _will_," replied Mr. Gammon, thoughtfully: and presently
continued after a pause, with a visible effort to speak calmly, "it is
useless to say anything about the haughty intolerant Toryism it
displays; that is all fair; but _is_ it not hard, Mr. Bloodsuck, that
when I had written an Address which would have effectually"----

"Mr. Phelim O'Doodle owes me three hundred pounds, Gammon, and I hope
you'll get it for me at once; 'pon my soul, he's a most cursed scamp,"
quoth Titmouse, furiously, looking up with an air of desperate chagrin,
on hearing Gammon's last words. That gentleman, however, took no notice
of him, and proceeded, addressing Mr. Bloodsuck, "I have weighed every
word in that Address. _It means mischief._ It has evidently been well
considered; it is calm and determined--and we shall have a desperate
contest, or I am grievously mistaken."

"E--e--eh? E--h? What, Gammon?" inquired Titmouse, who, though his eye
appeared, in obedience to Gammon, to have been travelling over the
all-important document which he held in his hand, had been listening
with trembling anxiety to what was said by his companions.

"I say that we are to have a contested election: that you won't walk
over the course, as you might have done. Here's a most formidable
opponent started against you!"

"What? 'Pon my soul--for _my_ borough? For Yatton?"

"Yes, and one who will fight you tooth and nail."

"'Pon--my--precious soul! What a cursed scamp! What a most infernal
black----Who is it?"

"No _blackguard_, sir," interrupted Gammon, very sternly; "but--a
gentleman, perhaps, even, every way equal to yourself," he added with a
cruel smile, "the Honorable Mr. Delamere, the son and heir of Lord De la

"By jingo! you don't say so! Why, he's a hundred thousand a-year,"
interrupted Titmouse, turning very pale.

"Oh, _that_ he has, at least," interposed Mr. Bloodsuck, who had nearly
finished a rapid and most disgusting breakfast; "and two such bitter
Tories you never saw or heard of before--for, like father, like son."

"Egad! is it?" inquired Titmouse, completely crestfallen. "Well! and
what if--eh, Gammon? Isn't it?"

"It is a very serious business, sir, indeed," quoth Gammon, gravely.

"By Jove--isn't it a cursed piece of--impudence! What? Come into _my
borough_? He might as well come into my house! Isn't one as much mine,
as the other? It's as bad as housebreaking--but we're beforehand with
him, anyhow, with those prime chaps at Gr----" Mr. Bloodsuck's teeth
chattered; he glanced towards the door; and Gammon gave Titmouse a look
which almost paralyzed, and at all events silenced him.

"They'll bleed freely?" said Bloodsuck, by-and-by, with a desperate
effort to look concerned--whereas he was in a secret ecstasy at the
profitable work in prospect for their house.

"Lord De la Zouch would not have entered into this thing if he had not
some end in view which he considers attainable--and as for money"----

"Oh, as for that," said Bloodsuck, with a matter-of-fact air, "ten
thousand pounds to him is a mere drop in the bucket."

"O Lord! O Lord! and must _I_ spend money too?" inquired Titmouse, with
a look of ludicrous alarm.

"We must talk this matter over alone, Mr. Bloodsuck," said Gammon,
anxiously--"shall we go to Grilston, or will you fetch your father

"'Pon my soul, Gammon," quoth Titmouse, desperately, and snapping his
finger and thumb, "those cursed Aubreys, you may depend on 't, are at
the bottom of all this"----

"_That_ there's not the least doubt of," quoth Bloodsuck, as he buttoned
up his coat with a matter-of-fact air; but the words of Titmouse caused
Mr. Gammon suddenly to dart first at one, and then at the other of the
speakers, a keen penetrating glance; and presently his expressive
countenance showed that _surprise_ had been succeeded by deep chagrin,
which soon settled into gloomy thoughtfulness.


[Footnote 1: NOTE 1. Page 1.

See _post_, Chapter V., Preliminary Note.]

[Footnote 2: NOTE 2. Page 5.

An important and salutary improvement in the law of libel, especially in
the case of newspapers, was effected in 1843, by statute 6 and 7 Vict.
c. 96. Till then the TRUTH was inadmissible as a _justification_ on a
criminal prosecution for libel--the rule being that the greater the
truth the greater was the libel--by which was meant its greater tendency
to a breach of the peace. Now, however, the defendant may _defend_
himself against an indictment or information, by pleading that the
charge was true, and that it was for the public benefit that it should
have been published; but he must specially state in his plea the
particular facts by reason of which it was for the public benefit. If
such plea, or evidence in support of it, should be false or malicious,
the act allows that circumstance to be taken into consideration in
awarding punishment. A serious amount of fine, imprisonment, and hard
labor, may be inflicted for publishing, or threatening (with intent to
extort money) to publish, a false and malicious libel. In _civil_
proceedings a defendant may plead that he was not guilty of _actual_
malice or _gross_ negligence; and offered to publish, or published, a
full apology, in which case he may pay money into court by way of
amends; and in all actions of defamation he may show an apology, or
offer of one, in mitigation of damages. This statute does not extend to

[Footnote 3: NOTE 3. Page 32.

Troilus and Cressida, i. 3.]

[Footnote 4: NOTE 4. Page 40.

The great increase of business alone, is the cause of the accumulation
of arrears--especially in the Queen's Bench, which is almost overpowered
by the enormous pressure of its criminal business. All the three
superior courts have recently adopted post-terminal fittings, to enable
them to despatch their arrears; an act of Parliament having been passed
(stat. 1 and 2 Vict. c. 32) for that purpose.]

[Footnote 5: NOTE 5. Page 42.

If the reader will refer to vol. i. p. 490, he may see how the
_disabilities_ here alluded to arose, and affected the case. The
doctrine of "adverse possession" is founded on the anxiety of our law to
secure quietude of title. It gives every reasonable facility for the
assertion of just rights against wrongful possessors of property; but
with equal reasonableness fixes a limit to immunity from the
consequences of negligent acquiescence under usurpation, considering it,
in a word, better policy to protect a person in possession, than to
encourage a struggle for it among strangers. _Vigilantibus non
dormientibus jura subveniunt_, is the maxim of the common law, on which
also the statute law has often acted, and recently with great effect, by
stat. 3 and 4 Will. 4, c. 27, (passed on the 24th July 1833.) By its
provisions, many of the most subtle and difficult questions concerning
the nature of "possession" are got rid of; and the period of twenty
years from the commencement of the rights of possession, fixed as that
within which alone an action or suit in equity for the recovery of lands
must be brought--unless a party was, when his right accrued, laboring
under the _disability_ of infancy, coverture, insanity, or absence
beyond seas: in any of which cases an extension of _ten_ years is
allowed: but it is expressly provided, that however numerous such
disabilities may have been--however long and uninterruptedly they may
have lasted--_forty_ years shall be absolutely the limit within which
the action or suit must be brought from the time of the _right first
accruing_. If the statute "once begin to run," as the lawyers say,
"nothing can stop it." The above constitute some of the boldest and best
of the great alterations recently effected in our English system of real
property law. A far longer period than the present one was requisite to
constitute "adverse possession" at the time mentioned in the text.]

[Footnote 6: NOTE 6. Page 43.

See _post_, Chapter V., Preliminary Note.]

[Footnote 7: NOTE 7. Page 49.

"[Greek: 'Anthropinos]," signifies in this place, (1 Corinth. x. 13,)
says a commentator on this memorable passage of Scripture, "such as is
suited to the nature and circumstances of man; such as every man may
reasonably expect, if he consider the nature of his body and soul, and
his situation in the present world."]

[Footnote 8: NOTE 8. Page 54.

It might be inferred, from a somewhat loose statement in an English law
treatise, that in a case like that of Mr. Aubrey--viz. of possession of
property in entire ignorance that it belonged to another--a Court of
Equity would protect against the rightful owner's claim for the mesne
profits. Such, however, is by no means the case. Mr. Titmouse had
recovered at law--by the superior strength of his title, and without
requiring any assistance whatever from a Court of Equity; the mesne
profits, therefore, were absolutely his--and any interference, by a
Court of Equity, to deprive him of them, would have been an act of
direct spoliation. Such a notion, therefore, is utterly destitute of
foundation. If Mr. Titmouse had been compelled to seek the assistance of
a Court of Equity in order to prosecute his claim, and had clearly been
guilty of negligence or fraud; it is possible that some terms might have
been imposed upon him, with reference to the mesne profits to be wrung
from his comparatively-speaking innocent opponent--but even then, it is
conceived that Equity would be very slow and jealous in exercising such
a stretch of power. The Roman law took a different view of the subject,
regarding him--_qui justas causas habuisset quare bona ad se pertinere
existimasset_, (Dig. Lib. v. Tit. iii. 1, 20, &c.)--with great leniency,
and exempting him from payment of mesne profits accrued previous to the
action. According to the law of Scotland, a _bonâ fide_ possessor
evicted (i. e. turned out) by a person having a better right, is
entitled to retain the fruits or profits (called "_violent profits_")
which he may have reaped or received during his _bonâ fide_ possession.
It would seem, however, that this doctrine is based not solely upon the
_bonâ fide_ ignorance of the ousted party, but upon the concurring
_negligence_ and _delay_ of his victorious opponent.]

[Footnote 9: NOTE 9. Page 58.

It is by no means a matter of course, to apply for and obtain this
nominal appointment, which occasions _ipso facto_ the vacating a seat in
Parliament. It is a matter of discretion with the Chancellor of the
Exchequer; and he has _refused_ it during the present session [1844] to
several applicants.]

[Footnote 10: NOTE 10. Page 75.

This species of sport has recently, alas! been seriously interfered
with, by the increased power given, in such cases, to the police

[Footnote 11: NOTE 11. Page 91.

See Dr. Bubble's "Account of the late Landslips, and of the Remains of
Subterranean Castles."--Quarto Edition, Vol. III. pp. 2000-2008.]

[Footnote 12: NOTE 12. Page 91.

_Ante_, Vol. 1., p. 441.]

[Footnote 13: NOTE 13. Page 93.

Horace, Carm. 1. 34, _ad finem._]

[Footnote 14: NOTE 14. Page 96.

Troilus and Cressida, i. 3.]

[Footnote 15: NOTE 15. Page 224.

1 Samuel, ch. ii., v. 36.]

[Footnote 16: NOTE 16. Page 234.

It may be as well to apprise the reader, that this strange mode of
pleading has been lately superseded by one more reasonable and

[Footnote 17: NOTE 17. Page 281.

"_Mayhem_," saith Blackstone, "is a battery attended with this
aggravating circumstance: that thereby the party injured is forever
disabled from making so good a defence against future external injuries,
as before he might have done. Among these defensive members are reckoned
not only arms and legs, but a finger, an eye, and a _fore-tooth_; but
the loss of one of the _jaw_-teeth, is no _mayhem_ at common law, for
they can be of no use in fighting."--3 _Black. Comm._ p. 121.]

[Footnote 18: NOTE 18. Page 282.

In the year 1838, arrest on mesne process was abolished by statute 1 and
2 Vict. c. 110, (which recited that "the power of arrest upon mesne
process was unnecessarily extensive and severe, and ought to be
relaxed,") except in cases where a debtor may be arrested by order of a
judge, to prevent his quitting the kingdom. In the year 1844, the
legislature went so far (stat. 7 and 8 Vict. c. 96, § 58) as to abolish
arrest on _final_ process, in all cases of debts not exceeding £20,
independently of costs. The policy of this measure is gravely

[Footnote 19: NOTE 19. Page 283.

A _detainer_ signifies a writ, by means of which a prisoner, once
arrested, may be detained at the suit of any _other_ creditor.]

[Footnote 20: NOTE 20. Page 285.

The last acts of the kind are those for abolishing Arrest on Mesne
Process (see _ante_, p. 282, note) and amending the Insolvent Laws,
(stat. 1 and 2 Vict. c. 110, § 78, and 7 and 8 Vict. c. 96, § 59.)]

[Footnote 21: NOTE 21. Page 312.

For a really _short_-sighted person a concave glass, and for a too
_long_-sighted man a convex glass, is requisite: but simpletons who wear
a glass for mere appearance' sake, have one through which they can
really see--_i. e._ a piece of common window-glass. Three-fourths of the
young men about town wear the last kind of glass.]

[Footnote 22: NOTE 22. Page 316.

Since this was written, Great Britain has, by the demonstration of her
irresistible naval and military power, and by the wisdom of her
diplomacy, totally changed our relations with China--which has opened to
us five of her ports, ceded to us a great island, and entered into a
commercial treaty with us!]

[Footnote 23: NOTE 23. Page 339.

Hor. Carm. V., iv.]

[Footnote 24: NOTE 24. Page 352.

Plowden's _Commentaries_, 308, a, (Sharrington _v._ Strotton.)]

[Footnote 25: NOTE 25. Page 362.

About the time when this was originally written, there was a person who,
chiefly at Windsor, occasioned much surprise and curiosity by the power
which he appeared to exercise over horses, by touching, as he alleged, a
particular nerve within the mouth.]

[Footnote 26: NOTE 26. Page 372.

Per bend Ermine and Pean, two lions rampant combatant, counter-changed,
armed and langued Gules; surmounted by three bendlets undee Argent, on
each three fleurs-de-lis Azure; on a chief Or, three TITMICE volant
proper; all within a bordure gobonated Argent and Sable.

CREST.--On a cap of maintenance a Titmouse proper, ducally gorged Or,
holding in his beak a woodlouse embowed Azure. Motto--"_Je le tiens._"

_Note._--The Author was favored, on the first appearance of this portion
of the work, with several complimentary communications on the subject of
Sir Gorgeous Tintack's feats in heraldry: and one gentleman eminent in
that science, and to whom the author is indebted for the annexed
spirited drawing, has requested the author to annex to the separate
edition, as he now does, the two following very curious extracts from
old heraldic writers:--the first, supporting the author's ridicule of
the prevalent folly of devising complicated coats of arms; and the
second being a very remarkable specimen of the extent to which an
enthusiast in the science was carried on its behalf.

_First_--"An other thing that is amisse, as I take it, and hath great
neede to be reformed, is the quartering of many markes in one shield,
coate, or banner; for sithence it is true that such markes serue to no
other vse, but for a commander to lead by, or to be known by, it is of
necessitie that the same should be _apparent_, _faire_, and _easie to be
understoode_: so that the quartering of many of them together, doth
hinder the vse for which they are provided.--As how is it possible for
a plaine unlearned man to discover and know a sunder, six or
eight--sometimes thirty or forty several marks clustered altogether in
one shield or banner, nay, though he had as good skill as _Robert
Glower_, late Somerset that dead is, and the eies of an egle, amongst
such a confusion of things, yet should he never be able to decipher the
errors that are dalie committed in this one point, nor discover or know
one banner or standard from an other, be the same neuer so
large?"--_Treatise on the True Use of Armes--by Mr. Sampson Erdswicke_,
[a famous antiquary in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.]

[_Secondly._--An extract from the _Book of St. Alban's_, written late in
the fifteenth century, by _Dame Juliana Berners, Abbess of St.

"_Cain_ and all his offspring became _churls_ both by the curse of God,
and his own father. _Seth_ was made a _gentleman_, through his father
and mother's blessing, from whose loins issued _Noah_, a _gentleman_ by
kind and lineage. Of Noah's sons, _Chem_ became a churl by his father's
curse, on account of his gross barbarism towards his father. _Japhet_
and _Shem_, Noah made gentlemen. From the offspring of gentlemanly
Japhet came _Abraham_, _Moyses_, and the Prophets, and also the King of
the right line of Mary, of whom that only absolute gentleman[X] Jesus
was borne; perfite God and perfite man according to his manhood, King of
the land of Juda, and the Jewes, and _gentleman_ by his Mother Mary,
princess of coate Armour."

  [X] One of our oldest dramatists speaks of our Saviour in an earnest
  sense as "the _first true gentleman_ that ever lived."]

[Footnote 27: NOTE 27. Page 374.

I vehemently suspect myself guilty of a slight anachronism here; this
ancient and illustrious monarchy having been mediatized by the congress
of Vienna in 1815--its territories now forming part of the parish of
Hahnroost, in the kingdom of ----.]

[Footnote 28: NOTE 28. Page 399.

_Ante_, p. 265.]

[Footnote 29: NOTE 29. Page 415.

[Greek: Mêdeia], 1036-9. _Anglicé_: Alas, alas, my children! why do you
fondly fix your eyes upon me? Why beams upon me _that last smile_ of
yours? Oh, woe! woe! is me! What shall I do? For now that I have seen
the bright eyes of my little ones, my heart is broken!]

[Footnote 30: NOTE 30. Page 415.

Ezek. xii. 18.]

[Footnote 31: NOTE 31. Page 453.

Since this work was published, a very important statute (6 and 7 Vict.
c. 85) was passed, in the year 1843, for removing the incompetency to
give evidence, by reason of any crime, or _interest_.]

[Footnote 32: NOTE 32. Page 456.

When once a man's necessities have compelled him to subscribe his name
to the three magical letters "I. O. U.," he is liable for the sum
specified in it to any one simply producing it, though it be addressed
to no one, and no proof be given that "U" means the plaintiff, (see
_Curtis_ v. _Rickards_, Manning and Grainger, 46; and _Douglas_ v.
_Hone_, 12 Adolphus and Ellis, 641,) unless the defendant be able to
adduce clear evidence impeaching the plaintiff's right to recover.]

[Footnote 33: NOTE 33. Page 461.

The late venerable and gifted Lord Stowell, in the case of _Evans_ v.
_Evans_, 1 Consistory Reports, p. 36.]

[Footnote 34: NOTE 34. Page 466.

Some have imagined this to be an allusion to a disclosure pretended by
M. Thiers, a few years ago, _after the death of Lord Holland_, to have
been made to him by that nobleman, of what had passed at a Cabinet


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Ten Thousand a-Year (Vol. 2)" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.