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^pMiiMiiflHflBiaMrii^Mk 



i 



TEN 



THOUSAND 



A YEAR. 



BT THS 



AUTHOR OP THE "DIARY OF A LONDON PHYSICIAN/' 



w^.w 



Fortonft mbto IbU ncfotio, et » 

Lndttm law>lentam ludere perdiiAX, 
TraiMBiiitat ineertot hoBorM, 
None mihl, none ftlll benlfiia. 
Lavdo nanentem: si celerM quatlt 
Penou, rMifno qua dedit, et mMt 
Virtut* me IotoIto, prob«iiiqQ« 
pAoptriem siiM dot« qwro. 

HoB.CAmM.Lib.lU,49L 



COMPLETE IN ONE VOLUME. 



PHILADELPHIA: 
CAREY AND HART., 



wrMMwmrmD bt l. johnioii. 



1841. 






• »♦ 






\.^ 



* • ■ • 

• • • . 
• • • • 



• • • . 



• • ' • 


«• * • 


• * « 


• • • 


• • a 


, • . 


• • •«• 




* * 


• • ? • • • 


.•? •*•• . 


• * • • • . 

• • ••^ : 


• * • • • • 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAB. 



CHAPTER L 



About ten o'dock on Sunday morning, 
in the month of July, 183—, the dazzling 
sanbeams which had for many hours irra- 
diated a little dismal back attic in one of Uie 
closest courts adjoining Oxford Street, in 
London, and stimulated with their intensi* 
ty the closed eyelids of a ^^oung man lyinff 
in bed, at length awoke him. He rubbeS 
his eyes for some time, to relieve himself 
irom the irritation he experienced in them ; 
and yawned and stretched his limbs with a 
heavy sense of weariness, as though his 
sleep had not refreshed him. He presently 
cast his eyes on the heap of clothes lying 
Huddled together on the backless chair by 
the bedside, and where he had hastily flung 
them about an hour after midnight; at which 
time he had returned from a gnreat draper's 
shop in Oxford Street, where ne served as' 
a shopman, and where he had nearly dropn 
ped asleep afler a long day's work, while 
in the act of nutting up the shutters. He 
could hardly keep ms eyes open while he 
undressed, short as was the time it took him 
to do so ; and on dropping exhausted into 
bed, there he had contmued in deep unbro- 
ken slumber till the moment he is presented 
to the reader. He lay for several minutes, 
stretching, yawning, and sighing, occasion- 
ally casting an irresolute eye towards the 
tiny fireplace, where lay a modicum of wood 
and coal, with a tinder-box and a match or 
two placed upon the hob, so that he could 
easily light his fire for the purposes of shav- 
ing and breakfasting. He stepped at length 
lazily out of bed, a^ when he felt his feet 
again, yawned and stretched himself, then 
he lit lus fire, placed his bit of a ketde on 
the top of it, and returned to bed, where he 
lay with his eyes fixed on the fire, watching 
thie crackling blaze insinuating itself through 
the wood and coal. Once, lK>wever, it be- 
ean to fail, so he had to get up and assist it 
by blowing and bits of paper; and it seem- 
ed in so precarious a state that he determin- 
ed not again to lie down, but sit on the bed- 
side, ashe did with his aims folded, ready 
to resume operations if necessary. In this 
posture he remained for some time, watch- 



ing his little fire, and listlessly listening 
to the discordant jangling of innumerable 
church-bells, clamorously calling the ci- 
tizens to their devotions. What passed 
through his mind was something like the 
following: — 

''Heig^o!— Oh, Lord!— Dull as ditch- 
water !— ^^This is my only holiday) yet 1 
don't seem to enjoy it— the fact is, 1 feel 
knocked up with my week's work. — Lord, 
what a life mine is, to be sure ! Here am 
I, in my eight-and-twentieth year, and for 
four long years have been one of Uie shop- 
men at Dowlas, Tagrag, Bobbin and Com- 
pany's — slaving from seven o'clock in the 
mominff till ten at night, and all for a sa*i 
lary of 35/. a year and my board! And 
Mr. Tagrag is always telling me how high 
he's raised my salary. Thirty-five pounds 
a year is all I have tor lodging and appear- 
ing like a gentleman ! Oh, Lord, it can't 
last, for sometimes I feel getting despe- 
rate-— such strange tlioughts ! Seven shil- 
lings a week do i pay for this cursed hole"— • 
he uttered these words with a bitter empha- 
sis, accompanied by a disgustful look round 
the little room— that one could'nt swing a 
cat in without touching the four sides I-— 
** Last winter, three of our gents, (t. e. his 
felloW'«hopmen} came to tea with me one 
Sunday mgrht ; and bitter cold as it was, 
we made tms d*-d doghole so hot we were 
obliged to open the windows ! And as for 
accommodations — ^I recollect I had to borrow 
two nastjT chairs from the people below, 
who on the next Sunday, borrowed my only 
decanter in return, and, hang them, cracked 
it !— Curse me, if this life is worth having ! 
It's all the very vanity of vanities, and no 
mistake! Fag, &g^ f^, all one's days, 
and-*-whatforl Tnirty-nve pounds a year, 
and ' no advanu!^ Bah, bells ! ring away 
till you're all cracked ! — Now do you think 
Fm going to be mewed up in church on this 
the only day out of the seven I've got to 
sweeten myself in, and sniff fresh air 1 A 
precious joke that would be ! Whew !— 
after all, I'd as leave sit here; for what's 
the use of my going outY Every body I 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



see out is liapp^, exeeptinff me, and the poor 
chaps that are like me !— ^ery body laughs 
when they see me, and know that I'm only 
a tallow-faced counter-jamper, for whom 
it*snouse to go out! — Oh, Lord! what's 
the use of beinff eood-looking, as some chaps 
say I am V — tlere he instinctiYely passed 
bis left hand through a profusion of sandy- 
coloured hair, and cast an eye towards the 
bit of fractured lookinff-glass that hung 
against the wall, and which, by faithfully 
representing to him a by no means plain set 
of^ features (despite the dismal hue of his 
hair) wheneyer he chose to appeal to it, had 
afforded him more enjoyment tnan any other 
object in the world for years. ^' Ah Lord ! 
many and many's the fine gal I've done my 
best to attract the notice of, while I was 
serving her in the shop, — ^that is, When I've 
seen her get out of a carriage ! There has 
been luck to many a chap like me, in the 
same line of speculation ; look at Tom Tar- 
ni8h-4iow dia he get Miss Twang, the rich 
piano-forte maker's daughter?— «nd now 
he's cut the shop, and lives at Hackney like 
a regular gentleman ! Ah ! that was a 
stroke ! But somehow, it has'nt answered 
with me yet: the gals don't take! Lord 
how I have set my eyes and ogled them — 
all of them don't seem to dislike the thing—- 
and sometimes they'll smile, in a sort of 
way that says I'm Kife— but 'tis no use, not 
a bit of it ! — ^My eyes ! catch me, by the 
way, ever nodding again to a lady on the 
Sunday, tiiat had smiled when I stared at 
her while serving her in the shop— «fter 
what happened to me a month or two ago 
in the Park ! Did'nt I feel like damaged 
goods, just then ! But it's no matter, wo- 
men are so different at different times! — 
Very likely I mismanaged the thing. By the 
way, what a precious puppy of a chap that 
fellow was that came up to her at the time 
she stepped out of the carriage to walk a 
bit! As for good looks— cut me to rib- 
bons" — another glance at the glass—** no ; 
I ain't afraid there, neither — Sut, — ^heigh- 
ho ; — ^I suppose he was, as they say, bom 
with a golden spoon in his mouth, and ne- 
ver so many thousand a year, to makeup to 
him for never so few brains ! He was un- 
common well-dressed though, I must own. 
What trowsers ! — ^they stuck so natural to 
him, he might have been bom in them. And 
his waistcoat, and satin stock — ^what an air ! 
And yet his figure was nothing very out 
of the way ! His gloves, as white as snow ! 
I've no doubt he wears a pair of them a day— 
my stars ! that's three and sixpence a day, 
for don't I know what they cost! — ^Whew ! 
if I had but the cash to carry on that sort of 
thing !— -And when he had seen her into her 
carnage— 4he horse he got on !— «nd what 



a tip-top groom — ^that chap's wages, I'll an- 
swer for it, were equal to my salary T' Here 
was a long pause.*-** Now, just for the fun 
of the thing, only suppose luck was to be- 
fall me. Say somebody was to leave me 
lots of cash, — many thousands a year, or 
something in that line! My stars! would'nt 
I go it with the best of them !" Another 
long pause. ** Grad, I really should hardly 
know how to begin to spend it! — ^I think, 
by the way, I'd buy a title to set off with— 
for what won't money buy 1 The thing's of- 
ten done ; tiiere was a great biscuit baker 
in this city, the other day, made a baronet 
of, all for his money — and why should'nt 
1 1" He grew a littie heated with the pro- 
gress of his reflections, clasping his hands 
with involuntary energy , as he stretched them 
out to their fullest extent, to give effect to a 
very hearty yawn, ** Lord, omy think how 
it would sound ! 

** Sib Tittlebat Titmouse, Baboret. 

**The very first place I'd go to after I'd 
got my titie, and was rigged out in Stultae's 
tip-top, should be— our cursed shop, to buy 
a dozen or two pair of white kid. What a 
flutter there would be among the poor pale 
devils as were standing, just as ever, be- 
hind the counters, at Dowlas, Tagrag, and 
Co.'s, when my carriage drew up, and I 
stepped into the shop ! Tagrag would come 
ana attend to me himself No he would'nt^ 
pride would'nt let him. I don't know, 
though; what would'nt he do to turn a pen- 
ny, and make two and ninepence into three 
and a peimy. I should'nt quite come Cap- 
tain Stiff over him; but I should treat him 
with a kind of an air, too, as if— hem ! how 
delightful !" A sigh and a pause. ** Yes, 
I should often come to the shop. Gad, it 
would be half the fun of my fortune ! And 
they would envy me, to be sure ! How one 
should enjoy it! I would'nt think of marry- 
ing till — ^and yet I won't say either ; if I get 
among some of them out and outers — those 
first-rate articles — ^that lady, for instance, the 
other day in the Park — ^I should like to see 
her cut me as she did, with ten thousand a 
year in my pocket ! Why, she'd be run- 
ning after me^OT there's no tmth in novels, 
which I'm sure there's oflen a great deal in. 
Oh, of cour8e,I might marry whom I pleas- 
ed. Who couldn't be got with ten tiiou- 
sandayear?" Another pause. ** I should 
go abroad to Russia directly; for they tell 
me there's a man lives there who could dye 
this hair of mine any colour I liked^-egad ! 
I'd come home as black as a crow, and 
hold up my head as high as any of them ! 
While I was about it, I'd have a touch at 
my eyebrows." — Crash went all his castie- 
bmlding at the sound of his tea-kettle, hiss- 



\ 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



ib^, whiszing, sputtering in tiie agonies of 
boiling over ; as if the intolerable heat of 
the fire had driven desoerate the poor crea^ 
ture placed upon it, who instinctively tried 
thus to extinguish tiie cause of its anguish. 
Having taken it off and placed it upon the 
hob, and placed on the fire a tiny fragment 
of fresh coal, he began to make preparations 
for shaving, by pouring some or the hot 
water into an old tea-cup, which was pre- 
sently to serve for the purpose of breakfast. 
Then he spread out a bit of crumpled whity- 
brown paper, that had folded up a couple 
of ciffars which he had bought over-night 
for the Sunday's special enjoyment— and 
which, if he had supposed they had come 
from any place beyonci the four Iseas, I ima- 

S'ne him to have been slightly mistaken, 
e placed this bit of paper on the little 
mantel piece ; drew his solitary, well-worn 
razor several times across the palm of his 
left hand ; dipped his brush, worn within 
the third of an inch to the stump, into the 
hot water ; presently passed it over as much 
of his face as he intended to shave ; then 
rubbed on the damp sur&ce a bit of, yellow 
soap— and in less than five minutes Mr. 
Titmouse was a shaved man. But mark— 
don't suppose that he had performed an ex- 
tensive operation. One would have thought 
him anxious to get rid of as much as possi- 
ble of his abominable sandy-coloured hair-*- 
quite the contrary. 

Every hair of his spreading whiskers was 
sacred from the toucn of steel; and a bushy 
crop of hair stretched underneath his chin, 
coming curled oat on each side of it, above 
his stock, like two little horns or tusks. 
An imperial— «. «. a dirt-coloured tuft of 
•hair, permitted to grow perpendicularly 
down the upper lip of puppies— and a pai^ 
of promising mostachios, poor Mr. Titmouse 
had been compelled to sacrifice some time 
before, to the tyrannical whimsies of his 
vulgar employers, Messrs. Dowlas and 
Tamg, who imagined them not to be ex- 
actly suitable appendages for counter-jump- 
ers. So that it will be seen that the space 
shaved over on this occasion was somewhat 
circumscribed. This operation over, he 
took out of hi3 trunk an old dirty-looking 
pomatum pot. A little of its contents, ex- 
tracted on the tips of bis two fore-fingers, 
he stroked carefully into his eyebrows; 
then spreading some on the palms of his 
hands, he ruDbed it vigorously into his 
stubborn hair and whiskers for some quarter 
of an hour ; and then combed and brushed 
his hair into half a dozen different disposi- 
tions—so fastidious in that matter was Mr. 
Titmouse. Then he dipped the end of a 
towel into a little water, and twisting it 
round his right foie-finger, passed it gently 



ov'er iiis face; carefully avoiding his eye- 
brows, and the hair at the top, sides, and 
bottom of his face, which he then wiped 
with a dry comer of the towel ; and no fur- 
ther did Mr. Tittlebat Titmouse think it 
necessarv to carry his ablutions^ Had he 
been able to **see himself as othere saw 
him," in respect of those neglected regions 
which lay somewhere behind and beneath 
his eare, he might not possibly have thought 
it superfluous to irritate them with a little 
soap and water; but, after all, he knew 
best; it might have given him cold; and 
besides, his hair was very thick and long 
behind, and might, perhaps, conceal any 
thing that was unsigntly. Then Mr. Tit- 
mouse drew from underneath the bed a 
bottle of Warren's *^ incomparable black- 
ing," and a couple of brushes, with great 
labour and skill polishing his boots up to a 
wonderful point of brilliancy. Having 
wajshed his nands, and replaced his black- 
ing implements under the bed, he devoted a 
few moments to boiling about three tea^ 
spoonfuls of coffee, (as it was styled on the 
paper from which he took, and in which he 
had bought it— whereas it was, in fact, 
chicory.) Then he drew forth from his 
trunk a calico shirt, with linen wristbands 
and collare, which had been worn only 
twice since its last washing—^*, e. on the 
preceding two Sundays — and put it on, 
taking great care not to rumple a very 
showy Soni, containing three little rows of 
frills; in the middle of one of which he 
stuck three ^* studs," connected together 
with two little gilt chains, looking exceed- 
ingly stylish— «6peciall}^ coupled with a 
span-new satin stock which he next buck- 
led round his neck. Having put on his 
bright boots, ^without, I am sorry to say, 
any stockings,^ he carefully insinuated his 
legs into a pair of white trousere, for the 
first time since their last washing; and 
what with his short straps and high hraces, 
they were so ti^ht that you would have 
feared their buretmg, if he should have sat 
hastily. I am almost afiraid that I shall hardly 
be believed, but it is a fact, that the next thing 
that he did was to attach a pair of spun to 
his boots :— but, to be sure, it was not tfii- 
powihle that he might intend to ride during 
the day. Then he put on a queer kind of 
unip waistcoat, which, in fact, was only a 
rolt^oUar of rather faded pea-green silk, 
and designed to set off a very fine flowered 
damson-coloured silk waistcoat ; over which 
he drew a massiye mosaic gold chain, (to 
purehase which, he had sold a serviceable 
silver watch,^ which had been carefully 
wrapped up in cotton wool; from which 
soft depositorv, also, he drew bis rihg, 
(those must have been sharp eyes that 



6 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR; 



could tell, at a distance, and in a hurry, 
that it was not diamond,) which he placed 
on the stumpy little finger of his red and 
thick right hand — and contemplated its 
sparkle with exquisite satisfaction. 

Having proceedea thus far with his toilet, 
he sat down to his breakfast, spreading the 
shirt he had taken off upon his lap, to pre- 
serve his white trowsers trom spot or stain — 
his thoughts alternating between his late 
wakin? vision and his purposes for the day. 
He had no butter, having used the last on 
tiie preceding morning ; so he was fain to 
put up with dry bread — and very dry and 
teeth-tiying it was, poor fellow — but his eye 
lit on his ring! Having swallowed two 
cups of his ^tMut-coffee, (eush I such stuff!) 
he resumed his toilet, by drawing out of 
his other trunk his blue surtout, with em- 
bossed silk buttons and velvet collar, and 
an outside pocket in the left breast. Having 
smoothed aown a few creases, he put it on : 
— ^then, before him the little vulgar fraction 
of a glass, he stood twitching about the 
collar, and sleeves, and front, so as to make 
them sit well; concluding with a careful 
elongation of the wristbands of his shirt, so 
as to show their whiteness gracefully be- 
yond the cuff of his coat-sleeve— and he 
succeeded in producing assort of white 
boundary line between me blue of his coat- 
sleeve and the red of his hand. At that 
useful member he could not help looking 
with a sigh, as he had oflen done before— 
for it was not a handsome hand. It 
was broad and red, and the fingers were 
thick and stumpy, with very coarse deep 
wrinkles at every joint. His nails also 
were flat and shapeless; and he used 
to be continually gnawing them till he 
had succeeded in getting them down to 
the quick— and they were a sight to set 
a Christian's teeth on edge. Then he ex- 
tracted from the first mentioned trunk a 
white pocket-handkerchief — an exemplary 
one, that had gone through four Sundays' 
show, (not use, be it understood,) and yet 
was capable of exhibition again. A pair of 
sky-coloured kid gloves next made their 
appearance ; which, however, showed such 
barefaced marks of former service as ren- 
dered indispensable a ten minutes' rubbing 
with bread crumbs. His Sunday hat, care- 
fully covered with silver-paper, wasKAext 
gently removed from its well-worn box— 
ahf^how lightly and delicately did he pass 
his smoothing hand round its glossy sur- 
face ! Lastly, he took down a thin black 
cane, with a gilt head, and full brown tas- 
sel, from a peg behind the door — and his 
toilet was complete. Laying down his cane 
for a moment, he passed his hands again 
through hifl hair, arraDging it so as to fiadl 



nicely on each side beneath his hat, whidi 
he then placed upon his head, with an ele- 
gant inclination towards the left side. He 
was really not bad-looking, in spite of his 
sandy-coloured hair. His forehead, to be 
sure, was contracted, and his eyes of a very 
light colour, and a trifle too protuberant; 
but his mouth was rather well-formed, and 
being seldom closed, exhibited very beauti- 
ful teeth ; and his nose was of that descrip- 
tion which generally passes for a Roman 
nose. His countenance wore generally a 
smile, and was expressive ofl— self-satisfac- 
tion; and surely « any expression is better 
than none at all. As for the slio^htest trace 
of intellect in it, I should be misleading the 
reader if I were to say any thing of the sort. 
He was about five feet five inches in height, 
and rather strongly set, with a little tenden- 
cy to round shoulders :— ibuthis limbs were 
pliant and his motions nimble. 

Here you have, then, Mr. Tittlebat Tit- 
mouse to the life— certainly no more than 
an average sample of his kind ; but as he is 
to go through a considerable variety of situ- 
ation and circumstance, I thought you would 
like to have him as distinctly before your 
mind's eye as it was in my power to present 
him. Well — ^he put his hat on, as I have 
said : buttoned the lowest two buttons of 
his surtout, and stuck his white pocket- 
handkerchief into the outside pocket in 
front, as already mentioned, disposing it so 
as to let a little of it appear above tlie edge 
of the pocket, with a sort of careful careless- 
ness — a graceful contrast to the blue ; drew 
on his gloves; took his cane in his hand; 
drainea the last sad remnant in his coffee- 
cup ; and, the sun shining in the full splen- 
dour of a July noon, and promising a glori- 
ous day, forth sallied this poor fellow, an 
Oxford Street Adonis, going forth conquer- 
ing and to conquer! Petty finery without, 
a pinched and stinted stomach within; a 
case of Back versus Belly, ^as the lawyers 
would say,) the plaintiff winningin a can- 
ter! Forth sallied, I say, Mr. Titmouse, 
down the narrow, creaking, close staircase, 
which he had not quitted before he heard 
exclaimed from an opposite window, '* My 
eyes, an^t^ that a swell !" He felt how true 
the observation was, and that at that mo- 
ment he was somewhat out of his element; 
so he hurried on, and soon reached the great 
broad street, apostrophized by the celebrated 
Opium-eater, with bitter feeling, as — ^^ Ox- 
ford Street !— stony-hearted step-mother ! — 
Thou that listenest to the sighs of orphans, 
and drinkest the tears of children." Here, 
though his spirits were not just then very 
buoyant, the poor dandy breathed more free- 
ly than when he was passing through the 
nasty crowded court (Closet Court) whidi 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAll. 



he had just quitted. He passed and met 
hundreds who, like himself, seemed released 
for a precious day's interval from intense 
toil and miserable confinement during the 
week ; but there -were not many of them 
who had any pretensions to vie with him in 
elegance of appearance— and that was a 
luxury ! Who could do justice to the air 
with which he strutted along 1 He felt as 
happy, poor soul, in his little ostentation, as 
his Corinthian rival in tip-to|) turnout, after 
twice as long, and as anxious, and fifly 
times as expensive, preparations for effec- 
tive public display ! ^« ay, my poor swell was 
grreatly the supenor of such an one as I have 
alluded to. Titmouse did^ to a great de- 

free, bedizen his back at the expense of his 
elly; whereas, the Corinthian exquisite, 
too often taking advantage of station and 
influence, recklessly both satiates his appe- 
tite within, and decorates his person with- 
out, at the expense of innumerable heart- 
achine creditors. I do not mean, however, 
to claim any real merit for Titmouse on this 
score, because I am not sure how he woiild 
act if he were to become possessed of his 
magnificent rival's means and opportunities 
for the peipetration of gentlemanly frauds 
on a magnificent scale. But we shall, per- 
haps, see by and by. He walked along 
with leisurely step ; for haste and perspira^ 
tion were vulgar, and he had the day before 
him. 

Observe the careless glance of self«atis- 
faction with which he occasionally regarded 
his brig:ht boots, with their martial appen- 
dage, giving out a faint tingling sound as 
he neavily trod the broad flags ; his spotless 
trowsers, his tight surtout, and the tip of 
white handkerchief peeping accidentally 
out in front ! A pleasant sight it was to 
behold him in a chance rencontre with some 
one ffenteel enouch to be recognized — as he 
stooa, resting on nis left le^; his left arm 
stuck upon nis hip; his nght lee easily 
bent outwards ; his ri^ht hand lightly hold- 
ing his ebon cane, with the gSt-head of 
which he occasionally tapped his teeth ; and 
his eyes, half-closed, scrutinizing the face 
and figure of each ^^ pretty gaP^ as she pass- 
ed ! This was indeed happiness, as far as 
his forlorn condition could admit of his en- 
joying it. He had no particular object in 
view. A tiff over-night with two of his 
shopmates had broken off a party which 
they had agreed the Sunday preceding in 
forming, to ffo to Greenwich on the ensuing 
Sunday; and this little circumstance a little 
soured his temper, depressed as were his 
spirits before. He resolved to-day to walk 
straight on, and dine somewhere a little way 
out of town, by way of passing the time till 
four o'clock, at which hour he intended to 



make his appearance in Hyde Park, « to see 
the fashions," which was his favourite Sun- 
day occupation. 

His condition was, indeed, forlorn in the 
extreme. To say nothing of his prc^spect* 
in life— -what was his present condition 1 
A shopman, with £35 a year, out of which 
he had to find his clothing, washing, lodg- 
ing, and all other incidentel expenses— his 
board being found him by his employers. 
He was five weeks in arrear to his landlady 
— a corpulent old termagant, whom nothing 
could have induced Mm to risk offending, 
but his overmastering love of finery ; for I 
grieve to say, that this deficiency had been 
occasioned hy his purchase of the ring he 
then wore with so much pride. How he 
had contrived to pacify heroic upon lie as 
he must have had recourse to— I know not. 
He was in debt, too, to his poor washerwo- 
man in six or seven shillings for nearly a 
auarter's washing; and owed five times 
lat amount to a little old tailor, who, with 
huge spectacles on his nose, turned up to 
him, out of a little cupboard which he oc- 
cupied in Closet Court, and which Tit- 
mouse had to pass whenever he went to or 
from his lodgings, a lean, sallow, wrinkled 
face, imploring Tiim to '* settle his small ac- 
count." All me cash in hand which he had 
to meet contin^ncies between that day and 
quarter-day, which was six weeks oft^ was 
about twenff-six shillings, of which he had 
taken one for the present day's expenses ! 

Revolving these somewhat dishearteninsr 
matters in his mind, he passed easily and 
leisurely along the whole length of Oxford 
Street. No one could have judged from his 
dressy appearance, the constant smirk on 
his face, and his confident air, how very 
miserable that poor dandy*was ; but three- 
fourths of his misery were occasioned by 
the impossibility he felt of his ever being 
able to indulge in his propensities for finery 
and display. Nothing better had he to oc- 
cupy his few thoughts. He had had only a 
plain mercantile education, as it is called, 
t. e, reading, writing, and arithmetic : be- 
yond a very moderate acquaintance with 
these he knew nothing whatever ; not hav- 
ing read more than a lew novels, and plays, 
and sporting newspapers. Deplorable, how- 
ever, as were his circumstances— 

* Hopequingi etamal in the homan bretst" 

And probably, in common with most who 
are miserable from straitened circumstances, 
he often conceived, and secretly relied upon, 
the possibility of an unexpected change for 
the better; he had heard and read of extra- 
ordinary cases of luck. Why might he not 
be one of the Lucmr % A rich girl might 
fall in love with him — ^that was, poor fellow * 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



in his consideratioii, the least unlikely way 
of lack's advent; or some one mi^ht leave 
him money ; or he might win a prize in the 
lottery;— all these, and other accidental 
modes of getting enriched, frequently occur- 
red to the well-reffulated mind of Mr. Titr 
tlebat Titmouse ; l>ut he never once thought 
of determined, unweaiying industry and 
perseverance in the way of his business 
conducing to such a result. 

Is his case a solitary one 1— -Dear reader, 
you may be unlike poor Tittlebat Titmouse 
in every respect except one ! 

On he walked towards Bayswater; and 
finding he was yet early, and considering 
that the farther he went from town the bet- 
ter prospect there was of his being able, 
with a little sacrifice of appearances, to get 
a dinner consistent with the means he car- 
ried about with him, vife. one shilling, 
he pursued his way a mile or two beyond 
Bayswater, and sure enough, came at length 
upon a nice little public house on the road- 
side, called the Squaretoes Arms. Very 
tired, and quite smothered with dust, he 
first sat down in a small backroom to rest 
himself; and took the opportunity to call 
for a clothes-brush and snoe-brush, to re- 
lieve his clothes and boots from the heavy 
dust upon them. Having thus attended to 
his outward man, as far as circumstances 
would permit, he bethought himself of his 
inner man, whose cravings he satisfied with 
a pretty substantia] mutton pie and a pint 
of porter. This fiire, together with a penny 
to the little girl who waited on him, cost 
him tenpence; and having somewhat re- 
freshed himself, he began to think of return- 
ing to town. Having lit one of his two ci- 
gars, he sallied forth, puffing along with an 
air of quiet enjivment. Dinner, however 
humble, seldom rails, especially when ao^ 
companied by a fair draught of good porter, 
in some considerable denee to tranquillize 
the animal spirits ; and Uiat soothing effect 
began soon to be experienced by Mr. T^ 
mouse. The sedative €au$e he erroneously 
attributed to the cigar he was smoking; 
whereas in fact the only tobacco he had 
imbibed was from the porter. But, how- 
ever that might be, he certainly returned to- 
wards town m a far calmer and even more 
cheerful humour than that in which he had 
quitted it an hour or two before. 

^As he approached Cumberland Gate, it 
wanted about a quarter to five; and the Park 
might be said to be at its acme of fashion, 
as far as that could be indicated by a 
sluggish stream of carriages, three and four 
abreast— K;oroneted panels in abundance— 
noble and well-known equestrians of both 
sexes, in troops — and some thousand pedes- 
trians of the same descriptioD. So continu- 



ous was the throng of carriages and hone* 
men, that Titmouse did not find it the easiest 
matter in the world to shoot across the foot- 

Eath in the minor circle. That, however, 
e safely accomplbhed, encountering no 
more senous nuschance than the subdued 
'* D — m your eyes ! " of a groom, between 
whom and his master Mr. Titmouse had 
presumed to intervene. What a crowd of 
elegant women, many of them young and 
beautiful, (who but such, to be sure, would 
become, or be allowed to become, pedestri- 
ans in the Park ?) he encountered as he slow- 
ly sauntered on, all of them obsequiously 
attended by brilliant beaux! Lords and 
ladies were here manifestly as plentiful as 
plebeians in Oxford Street. What an en- 
chanted ground ! — ^How delicious this sofV 
crush and flutter of aristocracy ! Poor Tit- 
mouse felt his utter insignificance. Many 
a sigh of dissatisfaction and envy escaped 
him; yet he stepped along with a tolerably 
assured air, looking every body he met 
straight in Uie face, and ooqasionally twirl- 
ing Sbont his little cane with an air which 
seemed to say— ^* Whatever opinion you 
may form of me, I have a very good opinion 
of myself." Indeed, was he not as much a 
man— an Englishman — as the best of them t 
What was the real difference between 
Count Do-'em-^U and Mr. Tittlebat Tit- 
mouse? Only that the Count had dark 
whiskers, and owed more money than Mr. 
Titmouse's creditors could be persuaded to 
allow him to owe! Would to heaven — 
thought Titmouse— that any one tailor would 
patronize him, as half-a-dozen had patro- 
nized the Count ! If pretty ladies of quality 
did not disdain a walxing advertisement of 
three or four first-rate tailors, like the Count, 
why should they turn up their noses at an as- 
sistant in an extensive wholesale and retail 
establishment in Oxford Street, conversant 
with the qualities and prices of the most 
beautiful articles of female attire ? Lean- 
ing against the railing in a studied attitude, 
and eyeing wistfully each eay and feshion- 
able equipage, wiu its often lovely, and 
sometimes haughty enclosure, as it rolled 
slowly past him, Mr. Titmouse became 
more and more convinced that the only real 
distinction between mankind was that effect- 
ed by money. Want of money alone had 
placed him in his present abject position. 
Abject indeed! By the great folk, who 
were passing him on all sides, he felt, well- 
dressed as he believed himself to be, that he 
was no more noticed than if he had been a 
pismire, a blue-bottle fly, or a black beetle ! 
He looked, and sighed— sighed, and look- 
ed — ^looked, and sighed again, in a kind of 
agony of vain longing. While his only 
day m the week for oreathing fresh air, and 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



appearing likd a gentleman in the world 
was rapidly drawing to a close, and he was 
beflrinning to think of returning to the dog* 
hole he had crawled out of in the morning, 
and the shop for the rest of the week ; the 
ffreat, the gay, and the happy folks he was 
looking at, were thinking of driving home 
to dress for their grand dinners, and to lay 
out every kind of fine amusement for the 
ensuin? week, and that was the sort of life 
they 1^ every day in the week. He heav- 
ed a profound sigh. At that moment a 
superb cab, with a gentleman in it dressed 
in ffreat elegance, and with a very keen and 
striking countenance, came up with a cab 
of still more exquisite structure and appoint- 
ments, in which sate a young man, evident- 
ly of consequence ; very handsome, with 
splendid mustachios ; perfectly well-dress- 
ed ; holdin? the reins and whip gracefully 
in his hands, ^listening in straw-colored 
kid gloves — and between the two gentlemen 
ensued the following low-toned colloquy, 
which it were to be wished that every such 
sighing simpleton Tas Titmouse must, I 
fear, now appear to tne reader) could have 
overheard.' 

'* Ah, Fitz ! '* said the former mentioned 
gentleman to the latter, who blushed scar- 
fet when he perceived who had addressed 
him — ^^ when did vou return to town 1 " 

" Last niffht only." 

** Enjoyed yourself, I hope T' 

♦' Pretty well — but I suppose you ^" 

" Sorry for it," interrupted the first speak- 
er in a lower tone, perceiving the vexation 
of his companion, ^'but cairt help it, you 
know." 

" When 1 " 

" To-morrow at nine. Monstrous sorry 
for it — 'pon my soul, Fitz, you really must 
look sharp, or the thing won't go on much 
longer." 

" Must it be, really 1" inquired the other, 
biting his lips — at that moment kissing his 
hand to a very beautiful girl, who slowly 
passed him in a coroneted chariol^^' must 
It really be, Joe ? " he repeated, turning to- 
wards his companion a pale and bitterly 
chagrined countenance. 

" roz, 'pon my life. Cage clean, how- 
ever, and not very full " 

" Would not Wednesday ? ** inquired 

the other, leaning forward towards the for- 
mer speaker's cab, and whispering with an 
air of intense earnestness. ^^"The fact is 

I've engagements at C 's on Monday 

and Tuesday nights with one or two coun- 
try cousins, and I mat/ be in condition— eht 
you understand ? " 

His companion shook his head distrust- 
fully. 

** Upon my word and honour as a gentle- 



man, it's the fact ! " said the other, in a 
low vehement tone. 

*• Then— say Wednesday, nine o'clock, 
A. M. You understand? No mistake, 
Fitz ! " replied his companion, looking him 
steadily in the face as he spoke. 

" ^f one— 'honour !"— After a pause— 
"Who is it?" 

His companion took a slip of paper out 
of his pocket, and in a whisper read from 
it-j»<Cabs, harness, &c., dgl97, 10«." 

" A villain ! It's been of only eighteen 
months' standing," interrupted the other, 
in an indignant mutter. 

" Between ourselves, he is rather a sharp 
hand. Then, I am sorry to say there's a 
detainer or two I have had a hint of- 



t» 



" D — n their souls !" exclaimed the other, 
with an expression of mingled disgust, 
vexation, and hatred, and adding, "Wed- 
nesday, nine" — drove off a picture of tran- 
quil enjoyment. 

I need hardly say that he was a fashion- 
able young spendthrift, and the other a 
sheriff's officer of the first water — the gen- 
teelest beak that ever was, known or heard 
o^who had been on the look-out for him 
several days, and with whom the happy 
youngster was doomed to spend some con- 
siderable time at a cheernil residence in 
Chancery Lane, bleeding gold at every pore 
the while;— -his only chance of avoiding 
which, was, as he had truly hinted, an 
honourable attempt on the purses of two 
hospitable country cousins, in the mean- 
while, at C 's ! And if he did not suc- 



ceed in that enterprise, so that he mtui go 
to cage, he lost the only chance he had ror 
some time of securing an exemption from 
such annoyance, by entering Parliament to 
protect the liberties of the people— an elo- 
quent and resolute champion of freedom in 
trade, religion and every tiling else; an 
abolitionist of every thing, including, espe- 
cially, negro slavery and imprisonment for 
debt— two execrable violations of the natu- 
ral rights of mankind. 

But we have, for several minutes, lost 
sight of the admiring Titmouse. 

" Why," thought he, am / thus spited 
by fortune 1 — ^*' The only thing she's given 
me is— 'nothing!" «*jW — n every thing f** 
exclaimed Mr. Titmouse aloud, at the same 
time starting off, to the infinite astonishment 
of an old peer, who had been for some mi- 
nutes standing leaning against the railing, 
close beside him, who was master of a mag- 
nificent fortune, "with all appliances and 
means to boot :"- with a fine grown-up fa- 
mily, his eldest son and heir having just 
gained a Double First, and promising won- 
ders ; many mansions in different parts of 
England ; exquisite taste and accomplish- 

3 



]<9 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAIt 



JOBot ; the representative of one of the old- 
est families in England ; bat who at that 
moment loathed every thing and every body, 
including himself, because the minister had 
that day intimated to him that he could not 
give hinra vacant riband, for which he had 
applied, unless he could command two 
more votes in the Lower House, and which 
at present he saw no earthly means of doing. 
Yes, the Earl of Cheviotdale and Mr. Tit^ 
tlebat Titmouse were both miserable men ; 
both had been hardly dealt with by fortune; 
both were greatly to be pitied; and both 
quitted the Park, about the same time« with 
a decided misanthropic tendency. 

Mr. Titmouse walked along Piccadilly 
with a truly chopfallen and disconsolate 
air. He almost feit dissatisfied even with 
his personal appearance. Dress as he 
would, no one seemed to care a curse for 
him; and, to his momentarily jaundiced 
eye, he seemed equipped in only second- 
handed and shabby finery — and then he 
was really such a poor devil. Do not let 
the reader suppose that this was an unusual 
mood with Titmouse. No such thing. 
Like the Trishmaii who " married a wife to 
make him un^Uavf" and also not unlike 
the moth that wiuik^xalt the brightness that 
is her destruction ; so poor Titmouse, Sun- 
day after Sunday dressed himself out as 
elaborately as he had done on the present 
occasion, and then always betook himself 
to the scene he had just again witnessed, 
and which once, again had excited only 
those feelings of envy, bitterness, and de- 
spair, which I have been describing, and 
which, on every such occasion, he experi- 
enced with, if possible, increased intensity. 

What to do with himself till it was time 
to return to his cheerless lodgings he did 
not exactly know ; so he loitered along at a 
snail's pace. He stood for some time sta- 
ring at the passengers, their lugga^, the 
ooaches they were ascending and alighting 
froiUf and listening to the strange medley of 
coachmen's guards' and porters' vocifera- 
tions, and passengere' greetings and leave- 
takings— -always to be observed at the 
White Horse Cellar. Then he passed 
along, till a street row, near the Haymarket, 
attracted his attention and interested his 
feelings ; for it ended in a regular set-to be- 
tween two watermen attached to the adjoin- 
ing coacl^stand. Here he conceived nim- 
self looking on with an easy air of a swell ; 
and the orainaiy penalty (paying for his 
footinff) was attempted to be exacted from 
him; but he had nothing to be picked out 
of any of his pockets except that under his 
very nose, and which contained his white 
hand kerchief. This over, he struck into Lei* 
cester Square, where^ (he was in luck that 



night,) harrying up to.another crowd at the- 
further end, he found a man preaching with 
infinite energy. Mr. Titmouse looked on, 
and listened tor two or three minutes with 
apparent intermit; and then, with a coun- 
tenance in which pity Btniggled with con- 
tempt, muttered, loud enough to be heard 
by all near him, ** poor devil ; " and walk- 
ed off. He had not proceeded many steps, 
before it occurred to nim that a friend— one 
Robert Huckaback«-4nuch such another one 
as himself— lived in one of the narrow, din- 
gy streets in the neighbourhood. He de- 
termined to take the chances of his being at 
home, and if so, of spending the remainder 
of the evening with him. Huckaback's 
(}uarters were in the same ambitious prox- 
imity to heaven as his own; the only differ- 
ence being, that they were a trifle cheaper 
and larger. He answered the door himself, 
having only the moment before returned 
from his Sunday's excursion— i. e. the 
Jade Straw's Castle Tea Gardens, at High- 
bury, where, in company with several of his 
friends, he had **spent a jolly aflemoon." 
He ordered in a glass of negus from the ad- 
joining public house, after some discussion, 
which ended in an agreement that he should 
stand treat that night, and Titmouse on the 
ensuing one. As soon as the negus arrived, 
accompanied by two captains' biscuits, 
which looked so hard and hopeless that 
they would have made the nerves thrill 
wiUiin the teeth that attempted to masticate 
them, the candle was lit— Huckaback hand- 
ed a cigar to his friend ; both began to puff 
away, and chatter pleasantly concerning the 
many events of the day. 

"Any thing stirring in to-day's * Flash V " 
inquired Titmouse, as his eye caught sight 
of a copy of that able and interesting Sun- 
day newspaper, whioh Huckaback hiul hired 
for the evemng from the news-shop on the 
ground-floor of his lodgings. 

" Not knowing, can't say," answered his 
friend, removing his cigar with his ri^ht 
hand, and then, with closed eyes and in- 
flated cheeks, he verv slowly ejected the 
smoke which he had last inhaled, and rose 
and took down the paper from the shelf. 

" Here's a mark or a beastly porter pot 
that's been set upon it, by all that's holy ! 
It^s been at the publio house ! Too bad of 
Mrs. Coggs to send it to me in tiiis state !'* 
said he, handling it as though its touch were 
contamination. " Faugh ! how it stinks !" 

"What a horrid beast she must be!'* 
exclaimed Titmouse, in like manner expel- 
ling his mouthful of smoke. " But, since 
better can't be had, let's hear what news is 
in it. D— e, it's the only paper publish- 
ed, in my opinion, that's worth reading! 
Any fights a stining V 



TBN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



11 



*«JlaTenH come to them yet,** replied 
Huckaback, fixing his feet on another chair, 
and dmwing the candle closer to the paper. 
**It says, b}r the way, that the Duke of 
Diindorhead is certainly making up to Mrs. 
Thumps, the rich Nightman's widow ^-4i 
precious good hit that, isn't it 1 Yon know 
the Duke's as poor as a rat !" 

*^ Oh ! ihafM no news. It will quite set him 
up — and no mistake. Seen the Duke ever 1" 

«« Ye— es ! Oh, sereral times !"— This 
was a lie, and Tittlebat knew that it was. 

<« D>—-d good looking, I suppose V* 

^*Why—- imddling; I should say mid« 
dling. Know iome that needn't fear to 
compare with him— «h! Tittlebat f"-»«nd 
Huckaback winked archly at his friend. 

<«Ah, ha, ha!— a pretty joke! But, 
come that's a good chap! You can't be 
readin? both of them at once ipym us the 
other sheet, and set the candle rair betwixt 
us ! Come, fair's the word !'* 

Huckaback, thus appealed to, did as his 
friend requested ; and the two friends read 
and smoKed some minutes in silence. • 

** Well— I shall spell orer the adTcrtise* 
ments now," said Titmouse ; ** theie's a 
pretty lot of them— and I've read every 
thing else— preciotts little there is, Aere, be- 
sides ! So, nere goes !— One may hear of a 
prime situation, you know«-«nd I'm quite 
sick of Dowlas !'' 

Another interval of silence ensued. Huck- 
aback was deep in the details of a trial for 
murder ; and Titmouse, after havinp; glanced 
listlessly over the entertaining mat sheet 
of advertisements, was on the point of lay- 
ing down his half of the paper, when he 
suddenly started in his chair, and stam- 
mered— 

«* Hollo !— hollo !— Why— " 

«« What's the matter, lit t— eh 1" inquired 
Huckaback, gready astonished. 

For a moment, lltmouse made no answer, 
but fixed his eyes intently on the paper, 
which began to rustle in his trembling 
h»ids. What occasioned this eloquent 
outbreak, with its subsequent agitation, was 
the following advertisement: 

*« Next or Kjn<— Important. — ^The next 
of kin, if any such there be, of Gabriel Tit- 
tlebat Titmouse, formerly of Whithaven, 
cordwainer, and who died somewhere about 
the year 1793, in London, may hear of 
something of the GacAfiST possibub impor- 
TAHCB to nimself, or herself, or themselves, 
by immediately communicating with Messrs. 
Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, solicitors, Saf- 
fron Hill. No time is to be losU 9th July, 
183-. The third advertisement.'' 

^ By George ! Here tf a go !" exclaimed 
Huckaback, almost as much flustered. 
^ We aren't dreaming, Hucky, are we I 



»» 



inquired Titmouse, his eyes still glued to 
the newspaper. 

i» No—by George ! Never was either of 
us fellows so precious wide' awake in our 
lives before, that I'll answer for!" Tit- 
mouse sate still and silent, and turned very 
pale. 

«« Read it up. Hack ! — ^Let*s hear how it 
iounde, and then we shall believe it!" 

Huckaback read it aloud. 

**It sounds like something, don*t it?" 
inquired Titmouse, his colour a little return- 
ing. 

«* Uncommon !— -If this isn't something, 
then there's nothing in any thing any 
more !" 

"No! — now, do you really think sol" 
said Titmouse, seeking further confirmation 
than he had yet deriVM from his senses of 
sight and hearing. 

*iIdo,by ! What a go it is! Well, 

my poor old mother used to sav, * depend 
on it, wondere never ii;f7/ cease ;' and curse 
me if she ever said a truer word !" 

Titmouse again read over the advertise- 
ment; and then reliehting his frament ot 
cigar, puffed eamesSy in sileiice for some 
moments. 

**Snch things never happens to such a 
poor devil of a diap as me!" exelahned 
Huckaback widi a si^. 

«* What iff in the wud, I wonder?" mut- 
tered Titmouse. 

" Who knows— hem ! — who knows. But 
now reai/y-— " he paused, and once more 
read over me pregnant paragraph. ** It can't 
-1-no, it cofi'/ he— " 

«« What, Tit ? what can't be ?" interrupted 
Huckaback eagerly. 

«* Why, I've been thinking—- but what do 
you think, €^ ?-^t can't be a cursed hoax 
of the chaps in the premises at Dowlas'?" 

" Bo !— Is there any of 'em flush enough 
of money, to do the thing ? And how shocQd 
they think it would ever come to be seen 
by you ? Then, besides, there isn't a chap 
among them that could come up to the com- 
posing a piece of compositioa like that--no, 
not for a whole year's salary— tiiere isn't, 
by George !" 

««Ah! I don*t know," said Titmouse, 
doubtfuUv. ** But— honour 1— -do you really 
now think there's any thing in it?" 

M I do— hanged if I don't, Tit I" was the 
sententious answer. 

"Td de rel, de rol, de rol, de rol,— 
didl'em daddl'emf— bough !" almost shont> 
ed Titmouse, jumping up, snapping his fixH 
gers, and dancing about in a wild ecstacy, - 
which lasted for at least a minute. 

«« Give me your hand, Hucky," said he, 
almost breathless. " If I am a made nMu»->» 
tol de roly lol de rol^ lol de rol, lo!-* 



12 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



you see. Hack !— 4f I donH giTeyou the hand- 
Bomest breast-pin you ever saw ! No paste ! 
real diamond ! hunah ! I will, by jingo !'* 

Huckaback grasped and sc^ueezed his 
hand. " We've always been friends. Tit— 
haven't wel" said he affectionately. 

" My room won't hold me to-night!" con- 
tinued Titmouse; **I'm sure it won't. I 
feel as if I were swelling all over. I'll walk 
the streets all night. I couldn't sleep a wink, 
for the life of me. I'll walk about till the shop 
opens. ** Oh, faugh ! how nasty ! Confound 
the shop, and Dowlas, Tagrag, (especially 
Tagrag^,) and every tiling, and every body in 
it! Thirty-five pounds a year! See if I won't 
spend as much in cigars the first month !" 

** Cigars! Is that your ^1 Now, / 
should take lessons in boxing, to begin 
with. It's a deuced high thing, you may 
depend upon it, and you can't be fit compa- 
ny for swells without it. Tit!" 

** Whatever you like, whatever you like, 
Hucky ! I'm sorry to say it, but how pre- 
cious lucky that my fiither and mother's 
dead, and that I'm an only child— too-ra^ 
laddy ! too-ra-laddy !" Here he took such 
a sudden leap, that I am ashamed to say he 
split his trowsers very awkwardly, and that 
sobered him for a moment, while they made 
arrangements for cobbling it up as well as 
might be, with a needle aind thread, which 
Huckaback always had by him. 

** We're rather jumping in the dark a bit, 
aren't we. Tit?" inquired Huckaback, while 
his companion was repairing the breach.-— 
^ Let's look what it au means— here it is." 
He read it all aloud again-->* greaiut poui- 
hk im/N>rtofice"— what eon it mean f '* Why 
the deuce couldn't they speakout plainly t" 

** What 1 in a newspaper 1 Lord, Hucky ! 
how many Titmouses would start up on all 
sides, if tiiere isn't some already ! I won- 
der what ^gretdeit ponibie imporianc^ can 
mean now r' 

** Some one's left you an awful lot of mo- 
ney, of course." 

'« It's too good to be trae." 

**Or you may have made a $miiei 
you ain't such a bad-looking fellow when 
you're dressed as you are now." Mr. Tit- 
mouse was quite flustered with the mere 
supposition, and also looked as sheepish as 
his features could admit of. 

** E-e-e-eh, Hucky ! how very silly you 
are !" he simpered. 

. ** Or you may be found out heir to some 
great property, and all that kind of thing. 
But when do you intend to eo to Messrs. 
What's-their-namet I say, we sooner the 
hetter. Come, you've stitched them well 
enough, now; they'll hold you till you get 
home ; but I'd take off my straps if I were 
you. Why shouldn't we go to these gents 



now 1 Ah, heie tiiey are— Means. Quirk, 
Gammon, and Snap, solicitors." 

'*! wonder if they're great onest Did 
you ever hear of them bemre ?" 

^ Haven't I ! Their names is always in 
this same paper; they are continually get- 
ting people off, out of all kinds of scrapes," 

«*But, my dear fellow — Saffron Hiil,^^ 
Low, that; low, 'pon my soul! Never was 
near it in my life." 

"But they live there to be near the 
thieves. Lud, the thieves couldn't do with- 
out 'em ! But what's that to you ? Yon 
know 'a very dirty ugly toad has often got 
a jewel in his belly,' so Shakspeare or 
some one says. Isn't it enou^ for you. 
Tit, if they can make good their advertise- 
ment? Let's off, Tiw4et's off, I say; for 
you may not be able to get there to-morrow 
—your employers—" 

** My employers ! Do you think, Hucky, 
I'm going back to business after thisi" 

** Suppose it all turns out moonshine." 

*^ Lorn, but I won't suppose it ! It makes 
me sick to think of nothing coming of it! 
Let's go off at once and see what's to be 
done !" 

So Huckaback put the newspaper in his 
pocket, blew out the candle, and the two 
started on their important errand. It was 
well that their means had been too limited 
to allow of their indulging to a greater ex- 
tent than a glass of port wine negns (that 
was the name under which they £ank the 
^^pubUcan^M port"— «. «• a decoction of oak 
bark, logwood shavings, and a little brandy) 
between them ; otherwise, excited as were 
the feelings of each of them by the discove- 
ry of the evening, they must in all proba- 
bility have been guilty of some piece of ex- 
travagance in ^e streets. As it was, they 
talked very loudly as they went along, and 
in a tone of eonversationr pitched a little too 
high for their present circumstances, how- 
ever in mHsen it might be with the expect- 
ed circumstances of one of them. 

In due time they reached the residence 
of which they were in search. It was a 
large house, infinitely superior to all its din- 
gy neighbours ; and on a bright brass plate, 
a yard long at least, and a root wide, stood 
the awe-inspiring words, ** Quirk, Gam- 
mon, & Snap, Solicitobs." 

** Now, Tit," whispered Huckaback, af- 
ter they had paused for a second or two-« 
" now for it^— pluck up a spernt — ring J" 

•* I — ^I — ^feel all of a sudden uncommon 
funky — ^I think that last cigar of yours 
wasn't—" 

"Stuff, Tit— 4rinff away! ring away!-— 
Faint heart never wins !" 

" Well, it must be done ; so here goes, 
at any fate !" and with a short nervous Jerk 



TSN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



II 



be caased a staitlinff clatter within, which 
was 80 distinctly audible without, that both 
of them instinctiyely hemmed, as if to drown 
the noise which was so much greater than 
the J had expected. In a very few moments 
they heard some one undoing the fastenings 
of the door, and the gentlemen looked at one 
another with an expression of mingled ex- 
pectation and apprehension, A little old 
woman at length stood before them, with a 
candle in her hand. 

'* Who are you 1" she exclaimed, crustily. 

**Is this Messrs.— what is it Huck?-» 
Oh! Messrs. Quirk & Co.'s?" inquired 
Titmouse, tapping the end of his cane 
against his cnm, with a desperate effort to 
appear at his ease. 

'^ Why, where are your eyes 1 I should 
think you might haye seen what was wrote 
on this here plate— it's large enough, one 
could have thought, to be read by mem as 
can read 1 What's your business ? '' 

"We wanW-GiTe us the paper, Hucky" — 
he added, addressing his companion, who 
produced it in a moment; and Titmouse 
would have proceeded to possess the old 
woman of all his little heart, when she cut 
him short by saying, snappishly—** They 
aren't none on 'em in ; nor never is on 
Sundays— so you'll just call to-morrow, if 
you wants 'em. What's your names 1 " 

" Mr. Tittlebat Titmouae,"an8wered that 
gentleman, with very particular emphasis 
on every syllable. 

" Mr. fF%o?" exclaimed the old woman, 
opening her eyes, and raising her hand to 
the back of her ear. Mr. Titmouse repeat- 
ed his name more loudly and distinctly. 

" Tippetitippety !— what's that V* 

" No, no !'^ exclaimed Titmouse peevish- 
ly ;" I said Mr. Tit^l-bat Titmouse !— Will 
that suit V 

" Tick^a-tick-a-tick ! Well, gracious ! if 
ever I heard such a name. Oh!-— I see 
you're making a fool of me ! Get off, or 
I'll call a constable in. Oet along with 
yon, you couple of puppies ! Is this the 
way — " 

" I tell you," said Mr. Huckaback, " that 
this gentleman's name is Mr. Tittlebat Tit- 
mouse; and you'd better take care what 
you're at, old woman, for we've come on 
business of wital consequence." 

** I dare say it'll keep till to-morrow." 

The friends consultea for a moment, and 
then Titmouse asked if he might not go in 
and write a letter to Messrs. Quirk. 

** No," said she ; " how do I know who 
you are ? There's a public house close by, 
where you may write what you like, and 
bring it here, and they'll get it the first thing 
in the morning. So that's what you may 
take away with you!"— with which the 



complaisant old janitrix shut the door in 
their fkces. 

" Huck, I'm afraid there's nothing in it," 
said Titmouse despondingly, to his friend*- 
both of them remaining rooted to the spot. 

"Oudacious old toad!" muttered Hucka* 
back, indignantly. 

" Lf there was any thing in it," said Tit- 
mouse, with a deep sigh, " they must have 
made a deal of talk about it in the house : 
and this old thing must have heard my 
name often enough. It ain't so common a 
name, is it ?" 

(« I — ^I own I don't half like the looks of 




far take the old creature's advice. Here's 
the publi<5 house she told us of. Come, 
let's see what's to be donel" 

Titmouse, greatly depressed, followed his 
friend ; and they soon provided themselves 
with two glasses of stout, and implements 
for writing. That they made good use of 
their time and materials, let the following 
epistle prove. It was their joint compose ' 
tion, and here is an exact copy of it: — 

" To Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap. 

" Sir, 

" Your Names being put In an advertise- 
ment in this present Sunday Fkuhy News- 
paper of to Day's Date, Mr. T. T. begs to 
intorm your respectable House I feel anxi- 
ous to speak with them on this truly inie» 
reatine ntbjecij seeing it mentions the Name 
of G^riel Tittlebat Titmouse, which two 
last names of that Deceased Person my own 
name m, which I can any Day (as soon as 
possible) call and prove to you, by telling 
you the Same, truly. He bieing Engaged 
m Business during the week very close for 
the Present, I hope that if they Have any 
thing particular to say to Him, they will 
write to Me without the lea^t Delay, and 
please address, T. T., at Dowlas and Co.'s, 
No. 375. Oxford Street, Post-Paid, which 
will ensure its being duly Taken in by my 
Employers, and am. Gents, 

" Your's obediendy, 

Tittlebat Titmouse. 

««P. 8.— My Friend^ that is with me 
writing This, (Mr. Robert Huckaback,) 
can prove who I am if Necessitated to do 
so. 

<* N. B.-F-Shall have no objection to do 
the Liberal Thing if any thing suitable 
Turns up of it. T* T. 

^^ Sunday Evening, 9|7ll82— . 

*< Forgot to Say, I am the only Child of 
my Honoured Parents, who died ; before I 
knew them in Lawful Wedloc, and was 27 



14 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



last Birth Day, Never having Seen your 
Advertisement till this Night, wh, if Ne- 
cessary can prove." 

This perspicaous and truly elegant per- 
formance having heen thrice subjected to 
the critical examination of the friends, was 
then folded up, and directed to ** Messrs. 
Quirk and Co.;*' a great straggling wet 
wafer having first been put upon it. It was 
safely deposited, a few minutes afterwards, 
with the old woman of the house, and then 
the two West-End gentlemen hastened 
away from that truly plebeian part of the 
town. Under four different gas-lights did 
they stop, take out a newspaper, and spell 
over the advertisement; by which ingeni- 
ous process they at length succeeded in sa^ 
tisfying themselves that there was some- 
thing in it. They parted, however, with a 
considerable abatement of the excitement 
with which they had set out on the voyage 
of discovery. 

Mr. Titmouse did hot, on reaching his 
room, take off and lav aside his precious 
Sunday apparel with his accustomed care 
and deliberation. On the contrary, he peel- 
ed them off, as it were, and threw himself 
on the bed as quickly as possible, in order 
that he might calmly revolve the immense 
event of the day in his mind, which it had 
agitated like a stone thrown ii^to a stagnant 
pool by the roadside. Oh, how restless was 
he ! — ^not more so could he have been had 
he Iain between horse-hair sheets. He re- 
peatedly ^t up and walked two or three 
steps, which were all that his room admit- 
ted of, and then sunk into bed again, but not 
to sleep— till four or five o'clock ; having 
nevertheless to rise at half-past six, to re- 
sume his detested duties at Dowlas and 
Go.'s, whose shop he assisted in opening at 
seven o'clock as usual. When he and his 
shopmates were sitting together at break- 
^t, he could not help letting out a little, 
vaguely and mysteriously, about '* some- 
thing that might happen in ^e course of the 
day ;" and thereby succeeded in satisfyinsr 
his companions that he expected the visitor 
a policeman, for some row he had been con- 
cerned in over night. Well, eight, nine, 
ten o'clock wore away heavily, ani nothing 
transpired, alas! to vary the monotonous 
duties in which Mr. Titmouse was engaged ; 
bale after bale, and package after paclu^, 
he took down and put up again, at the bid- 
ding of pretty capricious customers; silk, 
satin, bombazines, crapes, muslins, ribands, 
gloves, he assisted in displaying and dispo- 
sing of as usual ; but it is certain that his 
powerfhl understanding could no loneer set- 
tle itself as before, upon his responsible and 
Bidaous duties : every other minute, he cast 



a feverish furtive slance towards the door. 
He almost dropped at one time, as a poet-, 
man crossed from the opposite side of the 
street, as if to enter their shop— then pass- 
ing on immediately, however, to the next 
door. Not a person, in short, entered the 
premises, tiiat ne did not scrutinize narrow- 
ly and anxiously, but in vain. No— buying 
and selling was the order of the day, as 
usual !— eleven o'clock struck and he sighed. 
** You don't seem well," said a pretty young 
woman, to whom, in a somewhat absent 
manner, he was exhibiting and describing the 
qualities of some cambric. ** Oh — y e co , 
uncommon!" he replied; ** never better, 
ma'am, than when so well employed," ac^ 
companying the latter words with what he 
conceived to be a very arch, but which was in 
fact a very impudent look at his fiiir custo- 
mer. At that moment, a voice called out to 
him from the further end of the shop near 
thfe door — ** Titmouse wanted !" 

^* Coming !" he shouted, tumine as white 
as the cambric beheld in his hands — ^which 
became suddenly cold and clammy ; while 
his heart went thump, thump, as he hastily 
exclaimed, to the astonished lady, '* Excuse 
me, ma'am, if you please-^ones," to the 
shopman next him, ** will you attend to this 
ladyl" and he hastened whither he had 
been called, amidst a prevalent grin and 
** hem !" fVom his companions on each side 
as he passed along the shop till he reached 
a middle-aged eentlemanly-looking person 
standing near £e door, and bowed to him. 

** Mr. Titmouse 1" inquired the stranger, 
blandly. 

" The same, sir, at your service," replied 
Titmouse, trembling involuntarily all over. 
The stranger slighuy inclined towards him, 
and — still more slightly — ^touched his hat ; 
fixing on him, at the same time, an in- 
quisitive penetrating eye that really abash- 
ed him. 

" You lefWjTou favoured us by leaving a 
note at our office last night, addressed to 
Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snapt" he 
inquired, lowering his voice to a whisper. 

** Yes, sir, hoping it was no" 

** Pray, Mr. Titmouse, can we be alone 
for about five or ten minutes?" 

«*I — ^I— don't exactly know, here^ sir; 
I'm afraid it's against the rules of the 
house — ^but— I'll ask. Here ij Mr. Taff- 
ra^. May I step into the cLoak-room wiUi 
this gentleman lor a few minutes, sir?'* he 
continued, addressing his imperious em- 
ployer, who, with a pen behind his right 
ear, his left hand in his breeches pocket, and 
his right hand impatiently tweedling about 
his watch seals, had followed Titmouse, on 
hearing him inquired for in the manner I 
have described, and stood at a yard or two's 



TBN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



15 



distance, eyeing the two with a fassy dis- 
satisfied look, wondering what on earth 
any one eouldvr^nt with one ofhis young men. 

As Mr. Tagrag will figure a little on my 
canvass by and by, I may as well here give 
the reader a slight sketch of that gentle- 
man. He was about fifty-two years old ; a 
great tyrant in his little way ; a compound 
of ignorance, selfishness, and conceit. He 
knew nothing on earth except the price of 
his goods, and how to make the most of his 
business. He was of middle size, with a 
tendency to corpulence ; and almost invaria- 
bly wore a black coat and waistcoat, a white 
neck-handkerchief very firmly tied, and gray 
trousers. He had a dull gray eye, with 
white eyelashes, and no eyebrows; a fore- 
head that seemed ashamed of his face, it re- 
treated so far and so abruptly back from it; 
his face was pretty deeply pitted with the 
sraall-pox; his nose— or rather semblance 
of a nose^-consisted of two great nostrils 
looking at you as it were, imprudently — 
out of the middle of his face ; there was a 
perfectly level space from cheekbone to 
cheekbone ; his wniskers, neatly and close- 
ly cut, came in points to each comer of his 
mouth, which was a verylarge, shapeless, 
sensual-looking affair. This may serve, for 
the present, to give you an idea of the man 
who had contrived to excite towards himself 
the hatred and contempt of every body over 
whom he had any control. 

" You know we never allow any thing 
of the sort," was his short reply, in a very 
disagreeable tone and manner, to the modest 
request of Titmouse, as above mentioned. 

*' May I beg the favour of a few minutes* 
private conversation with Mr. Titmouse," 
said the stranger, politely, ** on a matter of 
the last importance to him ! My name, sir, 
is Gammon, and I am a solicitor." 

'*Why, sir," answered Tagra?, some- 
what cowed by the calm and gentlemanly, 
but at the same time decisive manner of Mr. 
Gammon — ^'Mt's really very inconvenient, 
and decidedly against the rules of the house, 
for any of my young men to be. absent on 
business of their own, during my business 
hours; but— I suppose — what must be, must 
be— I'll give him ten minutes— he'd better 
not stay longer," looking significantly first 
at his watch, and then at Titmouse. ** It's 
only for the sake of the other young men, 
sir. In a large establishment like ours, 
we're obliged, you know, sir," &c. &c. &c. 
he added, m a low cringing tone, depreca- 
tory of the contemptuous air with which he 
feit that Mr. Gammon was regarding him. 
rhat gentleman, with a sliffht bow, and a 
supercilious smile, presently quitted the 
shop, accompanied by Titmouse. 

'^How far do you live firom this place, I 



Mr. Titmouse?" he inquired as soon as 
they had got into the street. 

**Not four minutes' walk, sir; buthem!" 
he was flustered at the idea of showing so 
eminent a person into his wretched room— 
^' Suppose we were to step into this tavern 
here, sir-— I dare say they've a room at our 
servic e " 

** Pray, allow metoask,Mr.Titmousey— - 
have you any private^ papers— family wri- 
tings, or things of that sort, at your rooms ?" 

Titmouse seemed considering. 

" I— I think I have, sir— -one or two— 
but they're of no consequence." 

>*Are you a judge, M^. Titmouse V' inqui- 
red Mr. Gammon, with a smile ; ^^ pray let 
us, my dear sir, at once to your rooms— time 
is very short and valuable. I should vast- 
ly like to look at these same insignificant 
papers of yours !" 

In less than two minutes' further time, 
Mr. Gammon was sitting at Titmouse's lit* 
tie rickety round table, athis lodgings, with 
a sheet of paper, and his pens and portable 
inkstand before him, asking him a number 
of questions concerning his birth and family 
connexions, and taking down liis answers 
very carefully— perhaps almost word for 
word. Mr. Titmouse was quite surprised 
at the knowledge which Mr. Gammon pos- 
sessed of the family history of the Fit- 
mouses. As for papers, &c., Mr. Titmouse 
succeeded in producing four or five old let- 
ters and memoranda from the bottom of his 
trunk, and the fly leaf of a Bible of his fa- 
ther's, which he did not recollect having 
opened before for very many years, and of 
which said entries, till pressed on the sub- 
ject by Mr. Gammon, he had been hardly 
even aware of the existence. With these 
several documents Mr. Gammon was so 
much struck that he proposed to take them 
away with him, for better and more leisure- 
ly examination, and safer custody, at their 
office ; but Mr. Titmouse significantly hint- 
ed at his very recent acquaintance with Mr. 
Gammon, who, he intimated, was at liberty 
to come and make exact copies of them 
whenever he pleased, in his (Mr. Titmouse's) 
presence. 

" Oh, certainly — ^yes," replied Mr. Gam- 
mon, slightly colouring at the distrust im- 
plied by this observation ; ^' I applaud your 
caution, Mr Titmouse. By all means keep 
them, and most carefully ; because, (I do not 
say that they are,) but it is quite possible, 
that they may become rather valuaole." 

" Thank you, sir : and now, hoping you'll 
excuse the liberty, I should uncommonly 
like to know what all this means— what is 
to turn up out of it all 1" 

" The law^, my dear sir, is proverbially 
uncertafaif— " 



li 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAH. 



*< Oh, Lord ! bat the law can give me a 

"7^ law never At nfe,"' interrupted Mr. 
Grammon, impressirely, with a bland smile. 

** Well then, how did you come, sir, to 
know that there ever was such a person as 
Mr. Gabriel Titmouse t I suppose he is my 
peat uncle, and what can come from him, 
if he was only a bit of a shoemaker 1 " 

** Ah, yes — exactly ; those are very inte- 
resting questions." 

" \ es, sir : and them and a great many 
more I was going to ask long ago, but I 
saw you were—" 

•* Sir, I perceire that we have positively 
been absent from your place of business 
nearly an hour — your employers will be get- 
ting rather impatient." 

"Meaning no oflTenee, sir — ^bother their 
impatience ; Pm impatient, I assure you, to 
know what all this means. Come, sir, see 
how openly I have tolS you every thing." 

" Wny, certainly, you see, Mr. Titmouse,*' 
said Gammon, wi^ an agreeable smile— 
(it was that smile of his ttiat bad been the 
making of Gammon) — " it is only candid 
in me to acknowledge that your curiosity is 
perfectly reasonable ; and i see no difficul- 
ty in admitting that /Aavehad a motive — " 
• *♦ Yes, sir — end all that— /know, sir," — 
hastily intemipted Titmouse, but without 
irritating or disturbing the placid speaker. 

" And that we waited with some anxiety 
for the result of our advertisement." 

"Ah, you can't escape from that^ you 
know, sir ! " interposed Mr. Titmouse, with 
a confident air. 

" But it is a maxim with ns,my dear sir, 
never to be premature in any thing, espe- 
cially when it may be ven^ prqudicial; 
you've really no idea, my dear Mr. Tit- 
mouse, of the world of mischief that is oflen 
done by precipitancy in legal matters ; and 
in the present step of the business— the 
present stage, my aear sir — ^1 really do see 
It necessary not to— do any thing prema- 
ture, and without consulting my partners." 

" Lord, sir !" exclaimed Tatmouse, getting 
more and more irritated and impatient as he 
reflected on the lengrth of his absence from 
Dowlas and Co.'s. 

" I quite feel for your anxiety — so per- 
fectly natural — ^" 

" Oh, dear sir! if you'd only tell me the 
koii W/— " 

" If, my dear sir, I were to disclose just 
now the exact object we had in writing that 
advertisement in the papers — " 

" How did you come to know of it at all, 
sir ! Come, there can't be any harm." 

" Not the least, my dear sir. It was in the 
course of business-— in the course of busi- 



»> 



"Is it money tiiat^s been left 
any thing of that sort ? " 

"It quite pains me, I assure you, Mr. 
Titmouse— -I think, by the way" — added 
Gammon, suddenly, as something occurred 
to him of their previous conversation, which 
he was not sure o^— »* you told me fliat that 
Bible was given you by your father." 

" Oh yes, sir ! yes — ^no doubt of it ; sure- 
ly thai can't signify, seeinghe is dead, and 
I'm his only soni" asked Titmouse, quick- 
ly and eagerly. 

" Oh, 'tis only a circumstance-— a mere 
circumstance ; but in business, you know, 
Mr. Titmouse, every little helps." 

" Why, meaning no offence, sir, I can't 
abide being* put off m this kind of way. See 
what I've told you— you've told me nothingr 
at all. I hope yon haven't been only ma- 
king me a cat's paw oft I hate being made 
a cat's paw of, sir !" 

" Gracious,* Mr. Titmouse ! how can yon 
imagine it? You are at this moment the 
object of a considerable share of our anxie- 
ty—" 

" Not n»eaning it rudely, sir — ^please to 
tell me at once, plainly, am I to be the bet- 
ter for any thing you're now about 1" 

" That may or may not be, sir," answer- 
ed Gammon, in the same imperturbabfo 
manner, drawing on his gloves, and rising 
from his chair. " In justice to yourself, and 
other parties concerned—" 

" Oh ! is any body to share in it?" ex- 
claimed Titmouse, alarmedly. 

" I am sure," said Grammon, smiling, 
that you will give us credit for consulting' 
your best interests. We sincerely desire to 
advance them; and this matter occupies 
a good deal of our time and anxiety. I^^— 
is really,'** looking at his watch, " an hour 
since we quitted your place of business— 
I fear I shall get into disgrace with your 
employers. Will you favor us with a call 
at our office to-morrow night, when the bu- 
siness of the day is over 1 When do you 
quit at night 1" 

" About a quarter to ten, sir ; but really— 
to-morrow night! Couldn't I come to- 
night, sirt" 

" Not to-night, I fear, my dear sir. We 
have a very important engagement. Let 
us say to-morrow night, at a quarter past 
ten— shall we say that hour 1 " 

" Well, sir, if not before— yes— I'll be 
with you. But I mtttt say " 

" Good-day, Mr. Titmouse." They were 
by this time in Oxford Street again. "Gocd- 
day, my dear sir — good-day — ^to-morrow 
night, as soon after ten as possible— «h ! 
Good-by." 

This was all that Mr. Titmouse could get 
out of Mr. Gammon, who, hailing & coach 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



17 



off* the stand beside them, popped into it, 
and it was soon making its way eastward. 
What a miserable mixture of doubts, hopes, 
and fears, had Mr. Gammon left Titmouse! 
He felt as if he were like a squeezed oranp;e ; 
he had told every thing he knew about him- 
self, and got nothing in return out of the 
smooth, imperturbable, impenetrable Mr. 
Gammon, but empty ciyilities.— ^' Lord, 
Lord ! '' thought Titmouse, as Mr. Gam- 
mon^s coach turned the comer; '^what 
would I give to know half about it that that 
man knows! But, Mr. Taflrag ! ffood gra- 
cious ! what will he say t It's struck twelve. 
Pve been an hour away-*-and he gave me 
ten minutes ! Shan't I catch it 1 '' 

And he did. Almost the very first person 
he met, on entering the shop, was his respect- 
ed employer, Mr. Tagrag, who, plucking 
his watch oat of his fob, and, looking furi- 
ously at it, motioned thetremblingTitmouse 
to follow him to the farther end of the long 
shop, where there happened to be then no 
customers. 

" Is this your ten minutes, sir, eh) '* 

" I am sorr y * * 

** Where the devil have you been, sir?" 

**With that gentleman, sir, and I really 
did not know—" 

*< You didn't know, sir! Who cares what 
you know, or don't know ? You know you 
oug^t to have been back fifty-five minutes 
ago, sir. You do, sir! Isn't your time 
ray property, sir! Don't I pay for it, sir? 
An hour!— *in the middle of the day ! My 
God ! I've not had such a thing happen this 
five years! I'll stop it out of your salary, 
sir.'' 

Titmouse did notattempt to interrupt him. 

^* What have you been gossiping about, 
sir 1 " 

** Something that he wanted to say to me, 
sir." 

"Impudence!— -do you suppose I don't 
see your impertinence? I ttwtj/, sir, in 
knowing what all this gossiping with that 
fellow has been about 1 " 



"Then you won't know, sir," replied 
Titmouse, doggedly ; returning to his usual 
station behind the counter. 

"You won't!!" 

** No, sir, 'you shan't know a single word 
about it." 

"Shan't know a single word about it! 
My God! Do you know whom you're 
talking to, sir 1 Do you really know who 
I am, sirf whom you are speaking to, 
sirt" 

"Mr. Tagrag, I presume, of the firm of 
Dowlas, Tagrag & Co."— one or two of 
his companions near him, almost turned pale 
at the audacity he was displaying. 

b9 



"And who are you, sir, that darie to pre- 
sume to bandy words with he, sir? "in- 
quired Tagrag, quivering with rage. 

"Tittlebat Titmouse, at your service," 
was the answer, in a glib tone, and with a 
sufiiciently saucy air. 

" You heard that, I hope ! " inquired Tag- 
rag with forced calmness, of a pale-fac^ 
young man, the nearest to him. 

" Ye— es," was the meekly reluctant 
4pswer. 

" This day month you leave, sir ! " said 
Mr. Tagrag, solemnIy-*-«s if conscious that 
he was passing a sort of sentence of death 
upon the presumptuous delinquent. 

" Very well, Mr. Tagrag — any thing that 

F leases you pleases your humble servant. 
will go this day month, and welcome— 
I've long wished " 

" Then you thanU leave, sir," said Tag- 
rag, furiously. 

"But I will, sir. You've given me 
warning ; and, if you haven't, now I ^ve 
fou warning," replied Titmouse ; turning, 
however, very pale, and experiencing a 
certain sudden sinkingNof the heart— -for this 
was a serious and most unlooked-for event, 
and for a while put out of his head all the 
agitating thoughts of th^ last few hours. 
I'oor Titmouse had enough to bear — ^what 
with the delicate raillery and banter of his 
accomplished companions for the rest of the 
day, and the galling tyranny of Mr. Tagrag, 
who dogged about him all day, setting him 
about the most menial and troublesome of- 
fices he could, and constantly saying morti- 
fying things to him before customers, and 
the state of miserable suspense in which 
Mr. Gammon had thought fit to leave him ; 
I say that surely all tms was enough for 
him to bear without having to encounter at 
night, as he did, on his return to his lodg- 
ings, his blustering landlady, who vowed 
that if she sold him out ana out, she'd be 
put off no longer — and his pertinacious and 
melancholy tailor, who, with sallow un- 
shaven face, told him of five children at 
home, all ill of the small-pox, and his wife 
in an hospital — and he implored a {)ayment 
on account. This sufferer succeeded in 
squeezing out of Titmouse seven shillings 
on account, and his landlady extorted ten ; 
which staved off a distress— direful word— 
for some week or two longer ; and so they 
left him in the possession of eight shillings, 
or so, to last till next (|uarter-day. He 
sighed heavily, barred his door, and sat 
down opposite his little table, on which was 
nothing but a solitary thin candle, and on 
which his eyes rested unconsciously, till 
the stench of it, burning right down in the 
socket, roused him from his wretched revery . 

3 



18 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAH. 



He then hastily threw off his clothes, and 
flnng himself on his hed, to pass a far more 
dismal night than he had known for years. 

He ran the gauntlet at Messrs. Dowlas, 
Tagrag & Oo.'s all Tuesday, as he had done 
on the day preceding. One should have 
supposed Uiat when his companions heheld 
him persecuted hy their common employer 
and master, whom they all equally hated, 
they would have made common cause with 
their suffering companion, or at all CTents 
given no countenance to his persecution; 
yet it was far otherwise. Without stopping 
to analyze the feeling which produced it, 
(and which the moderately reflectire reader 
may easily analyze for himself if so dis- 
posed,) I am gneyed to haye to say, that 
when all the young men saw that Taerag 
would hh gratified by their cutting poor Tit- 
mouse, who, with all his little yanities and 
emptiness, had never offended or injured 
any of them — they did so; and, when Tag- 
rag observed it, his miserable mind was 
more gratified with them by far than it had 
ever been before. He spoke to all of them 
with unusual blandness; to the sinner, Tit* 
mouse, with augmented bitterness. 

A few minutes after ten o'clock that ni^t, 
a gentle ringing of the bell of Messrs. Quirk, 
Gammon, and Snap's office, announced the 
arrival of poor Titmouse. The door was 

auickly opened by a clerk, who seemed in 
le act of^ouitting for the night. 

*'Ah — ^Mr. Titmouse, I presume 1" he 
inquired, with a kind of deference in his 
manner that Titmouse had never been ac- 
customed to. 

*<The same, sir— Uttlebat Titm#ltse." 

** Oh! allow me, sir, to condpct you in to 
Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, who 
are, I know, in expectation of seeing yon. 
It is very rarely that they are here at so late 
an hour.'* With this he led the way to an 
inner room, and opening a green-baixe door 
in the further side of it, announced Mr. Tit- 
mouse, and left him — sufficiently flustered. 
Three gentlemen were sitting at a large 
table, on which he saw, by the strong but 
circumscribed light of two large shaded 
candlesticks, were lying SLgreat number of 
papers and parchments. Trie three gentle- 
men rose wnen he entered, and Mr. Gam- 
mon came and shook hands with him. 

*^ Mr. Titmouse, let me introduce you to 
Mr. Quirk"— this was the senior partner, a 
short, stout, elderly gentleman, with a shi- 
ning bald head and white hair, and sharp 
black eyes, and who looked very earnestly 
at him— ^* and Mr. Snap"— this was the 
junior partner, having recently been pro- 
moted to be such after ten years' service in 
the office of managing clerk ; he was about 
|birty, particularly wul diessed, slight, ac- 



tiye, and with a ftce like a terrier, to harl, 
sharp and wiry!-— Mr. Gammon himself 
was about for^^ very genteel, with a ready 
bow, insinuating smite, and low tone of 
voice; his leok withal, acute and cautious. 

** A seat, Mr. Titmouse," said Mr. Quixk, 
placing a chair for him, on which he sat 
down, tiiey resuming theirs. 

** Punctual, Mr. Titmouse!" exclaimed 
Mr. Gammon, with a smile ; *« more so than 
I fear you were yesterday, after our long 
interview, eht Pray, what did that worthy 
person, Mr. Ragbag, say, on your retumi" 

**Say, ffentsr'— -(he tried to clear his 
throat, for he spoke somewhat more thickly, 
and his heart beat more perceptibly than 
usufd^— ** I'm ruined by it, and no mistake." 

^'Ftuined! I'm sorry to hear it," inter- 
posed Mr. Gammon, with a concerned air. 

**I am, indeed, sir. Such a towering 
rage as he has been in ever since ; and he's 
given me warning to go on the 10th of next 
month." He thought he observed a £unt 
smile flit over the faces of all three. 

«« He has, indeed!" 

**Dear me, Mr. THmoua^— what eanm 
did he allege for dismissing you ?" keenly 
inquired Mr. Quirk. 

»» Yes ^" 

"What!" 

«« Stopping out longer than I was allowed, 
and refusing to tell him what this gentie- 
man tind 1 1^ been talking about." 

"Don't think that'll do; sure it won't!" 
briskly exclaimed Mr. Snap ; " no just cause 
that," and he jumped up, whisked down a 
book from the shelves behind him, and 
eagerly turned over the leaves. 

" Never mind that now, Mr. Snap," said 
Mr. Quirk, rather petulantiy; "surely we 
have other matters to talk about to-night.',' 

" Asldng pardon, sir, but I think it does 
matter to me, sir," interposed Titmouse; 
" for on the l(Hh of next month I'm a beg- 
gar—being next door to it fiotv." 

^ Not Quite, we trust," said Mr. Gammon. 

" But Mr. Tagrag said he'd make me as 
good as one." 

" That's evidence to show malice," again 
eagerly interjected Mr. Snap, who was again 
tanly rebuffed by Mr. Quirk; even Mr. 
Gammon turning towards him with a sur^ 
prised — ** Really, Mr. Snap !" 

" So Mr. Tagraff said he'd make you a 
begffar?" inquired Afr. Quirk. 

"He vowed he would, sir!" 

"Ha, ha, ha!" laughed Mr. Quirk and 
Mr. Gammon— but such a laugh ! — ^not care- 
less, or hearty^ but subdued with a dash of 
deference in it. 

" Well— it perhaps may not signify much 
by that time ;" and he lauffhed again, fol- 
lowed by the Boit laugh of Mr. Gammon, 



TEN THQirSAND A YEAH. 



If 



and a kind of sharp quick sound like a bark, 
from Mr. Snap. 

*< But, gents, you'll excuse me if I say I 
tbink it 3oe$ signify to me^ and an't any 
laughing matter ! Without being rude, I'd 
rather come to business, if there's any to 
be done, without this laughin? at me." 

^'Laughing at you! my dear sir,-— no, 
no!" exclaimed all three in a breath — 
** laughing vfith you," said Mr. Quirk! 
" By the time you mention, you may per- 
haps be able to laugh at_ Mr. Ri^^bag, and 
every body else, fo r " 

— " Why should we mince the matter!" 
he whispered, in a low tone, to Mr. Gam- 
mon, who nodded acquiescence, and fixed 
his eyes earnestly on Titmouse. 

** I really thinK we are warranted in pre- 
paring to expect by that time an extraordi- 
nary change in your circumstances." 'Ht- 
mouse began to tremble violently, and his 
hands were bedewed with a cold moisture. 

^ I hear, sir," he murmured : and he also 
heard a faint ringing in his ears. 

**In all human probability, Mr. Tit- 
mouse," continued Mr. Quirk, himself a 
little excited with the important communi- 
cation that trembled on the tip of his tongue, 
*« vou will ere long be put into possession 
01 somewhere about Ten Thousand a year." 

The words seemed to have struCK Tit* 
mouse blind — as he saw nothing for some 
moments ; then every thing seemed swim- 
ming around him, and h6 felt a sort of faint* 
ness or sickness stealing over him. They 
had hardly been prepar^ for their commu- 
nications affecting their visiter so p(twer- 
fuUy. Mr. Snap hastened out and m with 
a glass of water; and the earnest attentions 
of the three soon restored Mr. Titmouse to 
his senses. It was a ^ood while, however, 
before he could appreciate the little convei^ 
sation which they now and then addressed 
to him, or estimate the full importance of 
the astounding event Mr. Quirx had just 
commuhicated. ** May I make free to ask 
for a little brandy and water, gents 1 I feel 
all over in a kind of tremble,'' said he, some 
half an hour afterwards. 

«tYes— by all means, Mr. Titmouse. 
Mr. Snap, will jou be kind enough to order 
Betty to bring m a ghiss of brandy and wa- 
ter from the Jolly Thieves, next doorl"— 
Snap shot out, gave the order, and returned 
in- a trice. The old woman, in a fbw mi^ 
nutes' time followed, with a large tumbler of 
dark brandy and water, quite hot, for which 
Mr. Gammon apologized, but Mr. Titmouse 
said he preferrra it so — and soon addressed 
himself to the inspiriting mixture. It quick- 
ly manifested its influence, reassuring him 
wonderfully. As he sat sipping it, Messrs. 



Quirk, Gammon, and Snap being eniraired 
in an earnest conversation, of wliich he 
could understand little or nothing, he had 
leisure to look about him, and obsiTved that 
there was lying before them a large sheet 
of paper, at which all of them often and 
earnestly looked, filled with lines. 



I 1 



I 



I 



I 



r 



1 



with writing at the ends of each of them, 
and round and square figures. When he 
saw ihem all bending over and scrutinizins 
this jnysterious object, it puzzled him (and 
many a better head than his has a pedigree 
puzzled before) sorely, and he began to sus- 
pect it was a sort of conjuring paper !«- 

" I hope, gents, that papers all right— 
eh?" said he, supported by the brandy, 
which he had nearly finished. They turned 
towards him with a smile of momentary 
surprise, and then— 

** We hope so— a vast deal depends on 
it,'* said Mr. Quirk, looking over his glasses 
at Titmouse. Now what ne had hinted at, 
as far as he could venture to do so, was a 
thought that glanced across his as yet un- 
settled brain, that there might have been 
invoked more than mere emikiy anUtanee , ^ 
but her prudently pressed the matter no far-' 
ther, that was all Messrs. Quirk, Gammon 
and Snap's look out ; he had been no party 
to any thing of the sc^ nor would he know- 
ingly ; he uso observed the same sheets of 
paper written all over, which Mr. Gammon 
had filled at his (Titmouse's) room, the day 
before; and many new and more odd-look- 
ing papers and parchments. Sometimes 
they addressed questions to him, but found 
it somewhat difficult to keen his attention 
up to any thing that was said to him for the 
wild visions diat were chasing one another 
through his heated brain; the passage of 
which said visions was not a little accele- 
rated by the large tumbler sof brandy and 
water which he had just taken. 

*«Then in fact," said Mr. Gammon, as 
the three simultaneously aat down, afler 
having been for some time standing poring 
over me paper before Mr. Quirk. " Tittle- 
bat's title accrued in 1818?" 

«< Precisely so," said Mr. Quirk, emphati- 
cally. 

"To be sure," confidently added Snap; 
who bavin? devoted himself exclusively all 
his life to ttie sharpest practice of the com- 
mon law, as it is called, knew about as 
much real property law as a sntp>*^ut it 
I would not do to appear ignorant, or taking 



20 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



no part in the matter, in the presence of the 
heir at law, and the future great client of 
the House. 

«« Well, Mr. Titmouse,'* at length said 
Mr. Quirk, laying aside his glasses— '* you 
are likely to be one of the luckiest men of 
your day! We may be mistaken, but it 
appears to us that your right is clear, and 
has been clear these ten or tweWe years, to 
the immediate enjoyment of a very fine es- 
tate in the north of England, worth some 
j09,000 or jeiO,000 a year, at the least !" 

" Yon don't say so !" 

*< We do, inde^ ; and are rery proud and 
happy indeed to be the honoured instruments 
of establishing your rights, my dear sir," 
said Mr. Gammon. 

*' Then all the money that's been spent 
this ten or twelre years is my money, is 
itl" 

** If we are right it is undoubtedly as you 
say," answered Mr. Quirk. 

** There'll be a jolly reckoning for some 
one, then, shortly— -eh 1 My eyes !" 

*< Ah, my dear Mr. Titmouse !" cried Mr. 
Grammon, with subdued ecstacy, as before 
his mind's eye rose visions of interminable 
proceedinflTS at law and inequity — hundreds 
upon hundreds of portly, r^ tape-tied ^* ca- 
ses," ** briefs," and '* motion papers," with 
Quirk, Gammon^ and Snap, at the bottom 
of each of them, and constantly under the 
eye of the court and the bar, and before the 
public— (the same kind of thoughts must 
nave passed through Snap's mind, for he 
rubbea his hands in silence with an excited 
air)— 

^*My dear Mr. Titmouse, you have a 
most just regard for your own interests! 
there will be a reckoning, and a very teni- 
ble one, ere long, for somebody— but weVe 
time enough for all that ! Only let us have 
the unspeakable happiness of seeing you 
once fairly in possession of your estates, and 
our office shall know no rest till you have 
got all you are entitled to— every farthing 
even !" 

** Oh, never fear our letting them rest!" 
said Mr. Quirk, judiciously aoconmiodating 
himself to the taste and apprehension of his 
excited auditor — ^'^ Those that must give up 
the goose, must give up the giblets also— 
ha, ha, ha !" Messrs. Gammon and Snap 
echoed the laugh, and enjoyed the joke of 
the head of the firm. 

** Ha, ha, ha !" lauffhed Mr. Titmouse, im- 
mensely excited by the conjoint influence of 
the brandy and the news of the night, '* capi- 
tal ! capital ! hurrah ! Such goings on there 
will be ! You're all of the ridit sort, I see ! 
Law for ever ! Let me shaxe hands with 
you all, genis ! Gome, if you please, all 
toge&er! all Mends to-night!" 



And he grasped each of the three readily 
proflTered right hands of Messrs. Quirk, 
Gammon and Snap, with an energy that 
was likely to make all the high contracting 
parties to that quadruple alliance remember 
Its ratification. 

** And is it all a ready-money affair, gents 
'-or rent, and all thai kind of thing?" 

'* Why, almost entirely the latter," an- 
swered Quirk, ** except the accumulations." 

" Then I'm a great landlord, am 1 1" 

'^Indeed, my dear Mr. Titmouse, you ar&— 
(that is, unless we have made a blunder 
such as our house is not often in tlie habit 
of making) and have two very fine houses 
in different parts of the country." 

«< Capital ! delightful ! I'U live in both 
of theoH— such gomgs on ! And is it quite 
up to the mark of 10,000/. a yearl" 

*' We really entertain no doubt." 

*« And such as I can spend all of it, evexy 
yearl" 

** Certainly — no doubt of it^— not the least. 
The rents are paid with most exemplary^- 
at least," added Mr. Gammon, with a cap- 
tivating and irresistible smile, and taking 
him affectionately by the hand — '* at least 
they will be, as soon as we have them fairly 
in our manaonemdnt" 

*^ Oh, you're to get it all in for me, are 
youl" he inquir^ briskly. The tiiree 
partnera bowed, with the most deprecating- 
ly disinterested air in the world, intimating 
mat, for his sake, they were ready to t^e 
upon themselves even that troublesome re- 
sponsibility. 

** Capital ! could'nt be better ! couldn't be 
better! Ah, ha, ha— you've catched the 
goose, and must brin^r me its eggs. Ah, ha, 
ha ! a touch in your hue, old gents !" 

*^Ha, ha, ha! excellent! ah, ha, ha!" 
laughed the threepartnera at the wit of their 
new client Mr. Titmouse joined them, and 
snapped his fingers in the air. 

''Lord — ^I've just tfaoudit of Dowlas, 
Tagrag and Company's-^ seem as if I 
hadn't seen of heard of them for Lord 
knows how long!— ^ut there they are! — 
fancy old Tagrag makingr me a beggar on 
the ten^ of next month— 4ia, ha, ha! shan't 
see that d d hob any more." 

'* There !" whispered Mr. Gammon, ap- 
prehensively, in the ear of Mr. Quirk; 
''didn't I tell you that that would be itl 
We've been monstrously foolish and pre- 
mature." 

"It won't do to go back to that— eugh! 
eh! will itl — ^you know what I mean! 
Fancy Tittlebat Titmouse standing be- 
hind " 

The partnera looked rather blank. 

" We could venture to suggest, Mr. Tit- 
mouse," said Mr. Grammon seriously, " the 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



21 



abaoluU neeemty there is for erery thing on 
your part and our parts to go on as quietly 
as before, for a little time to come ; to be 
sure and safe my dear sir, we must be 
aecretJ*^ 

'* Oh, I see, gents ! I see ; mum— ^mum^s 
the word, for the present ! But, I mtui say, 
if there is any one whom I want to hear of 
it sooner than another, it's 



»f 



Dowdy, Ragbag, and Co., I suppose ! 
ha, ha, ha !" interrupted Mr. Gammon, his 
partners echoino^ his laugh. 

"Ha, ha, ha! Cuss the cats— that's it 
^ha, ha, ha !*' echoed Mr. Titmouse ; who, 
getting up out of his chair, could not resist 
capering to and fro in somethinjr of the at- 
titude of a stage-dancer, whistling and 
humming by turns, and indulging in various 
other wild antics. 

** And now, gents, to do a bit of business 
~-when am I to begin scattering the shiners, 
ehl" he inquired, interrupting an earnest, 
low-toned conversation between the part- 
ners. 

** Oh, of course some delay is unavoida^ 
ble. All we have done, as yet, is to discover 
that, so far as we are advised, and can 
judge, you are the right owner; but very 
extensive operatibns must be immediately 
commenced, before you can be put in pos- 
session. Iliere are some who won't be 
persuaded to drop J6 10,000 a year out of 
their hands for the mere asking." 

"The devil there are! Who are they 
that want to keep me any longer out of 
what's my own-~what's justly mine? Eh 1 
I want to know ! Haven't they kept me 

out long enough?— d n 'm! Put 'em 

in prison directly— don't spare 'em— ras- 
cals !" 

" They'll probably ere long find their way 
in that direction — ^for, however he's to make 
up, poor devil, the mesne profits " 

" Mean profits ! — ^is that all you call them, 
gents. It's rogue's money — ^villian's pro- 
fits ! So don't spare 'em — ^he's robbed the 
fatherless, which I am, and an orphan! 
Keep me out of what's mine, indeed! — 
D d if he shall, though !" 

" My dear Mr. Titmouse," said Gammon 
gravely, " we are getting on too fast^— dread- 
fully too fast. It will never do : matters of 
Buch immense importance as these cannot 
be hurried on, or talked of, in this way."_ 

" I like that, sir !— I do, d e !" 

" You will, really, if you go on in this 
wild way, Mr. Titmouse, make us regret 
tlic trouble we have taken in the affair, and 
especially the promptness with which we 
have communicated to you the extent of 
your good fortune." 

" Beg pardon, I'm sure, gents, but mean 
no offence ; am monstrous obliged to you for 



what you've done for me^^ut, by Jove, it's 
taken me rather a-back, I own, to hear that 
I'm to be kept so long out of it all. Why 
can't you offer him, whoever he is that has 
my property, a handsome sum to go out 
at once? Gents, I'll own to you I'm 
most uncommon low— ^ever so low in my 
life— d d low ! ' Done up, and can't get 
what's justly mine ! What am I to do in 
the meanwhile ? Consider that, gents." 

" You are rather excited just now, Mr. 
Titmouse," said Mr. Quirk seriously ; " sup- 
pose we now break up, and resume our con- 
vereation to-morrow, when we are all in 
better and calmer trim ?" 

" No, sir, thanking you all the same; but 
I think we'd better go on with it now," re- 
plied Titmouse, impetuously. "Do you 
think I can stoop to go back to that nasty, 
beastly shop, and behind the counter?" 

" Our decided opinion, Mr. Titmouse," 
said Mr. Quirk, emphatically— his other 
partners getting very grave in their looks 
— ** that IS, if our opinion is worth offer* 
ingr ^»» 

"That remains to be seen," said Tit- 
mouse, with a pettish shake of the head. 

" Well, such as it is, we oiw it to you ; 
and it is, that for many reasons you con- 
tinue, for a little while longer, in your prfr> 
sent situation." 

" What ! own Tagrag for my master— 
and I worth JglO,000 a year?" 

" My dear sir, you've not got it yet." 

" Do you think you'd have told me what 
you have, if you weren't sure? No, no! 
you've gone too far ! I shall buret, I shall ! 
Me go on as before ! — ^they use me worse 
and worse every day. Gents, you'll excuse 
me^-I hope you will ; but business is busi- 
ness, gents— 4t is, and if you won't do mine, 
I must look out for them that will — ^'pon my 
soul, I must, and"— If Mr. Titmouse could 
have seen, or having seen, appreciated, the 
looks which the three partnere interohanged, 
on hearing this absurd, ungrateful, and ii^ 
Solent speech of his— -the expression that 
flitted across their shrewd faces; that was, 
intense contempt for him, hardly ovennas- 
tered and concealed by a vivid perception 
of their own interests, which was, of course, 
to manage^ to soothe, to conciliate him ! 

How the reptile propensities of his mean 
nature had thriven beneath the sudden sun- 
shine of unexpected prosperity !— ^ee alrea- 
dy his selfishness, truculence, rapacity, in 
full play ! 

" So, gents," said he, afler a long and keen 
expostulation with them on the same sub- 
ject, " I'm to go to-morrow morning to Dow- 
las and Co.'s, and to go on with Uie cursed 
life I led there to-day, all as if nothing had 
happened !" 



22 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



** In your present humor, Mr. Titmouse, 
h would be in vain to discuss the matter,** 
said Mr. Quirk. '* Again I tell you that the 
eourse we have recommended is, in our 
opinion, the proper one ; excuse me if I add, 
what can you do but adopt our advice !" 

'* Why, hang me, if I won't employ some- 
body else-— that's flat! So, good night, 
^ents ; you'll find that Tittlebat Titmouse 
isn't to be trifled with !" So saying, Mr. 
Titmouse clapped his hat on his head, 
bounced out or the room, and, no attempt 
being made to stop him, he was in the street 
in a twinkling. 

** Did you ever see such a little beast !" 
exclaimed Mr. Gammon with an air of dis- 
gust 

**• Beggar on horseback!'* exclaimed Snap. 

*' It won't do, however," said Mr. Quirk, 
with as chagrined an air as his partners, 
** for him to go at large in his present frame 
of mind— ^he may ruin the thing altogether." 

*' As good as JS500 a year out of the way 
of the office," said Snap. 

** Egad, that at least," said Mr. Gammon, 
seizing his hat, <* I'll after him, and bring 
him back at all hazards ; and we must really 
try and do something for him in the mean- 
while, to keep him quiet till the thing's 
brought a little into train." So out went 
after Titmouse, Mr. Gammon, from whose 
lips dropped persuasion sweeter than ho- 
ney ; and I should not be surprised if he 
were to be able to bring back that stubborn 
piece of conceited stupidity. 

As soon as Mr. Titmouse heard the street 
door sent after him with a kind of bang, he 
snapped his finders once or twice, byway of 
letting off a little of the inflammable air that 
was m him, and muttered, ** Pretty chaps 
those, upon my word ! I'll expose them all ! 
I'll apply to the Lord Mayor — they're a 
pack of swindlers they are ! This is the 
way they treat me, who've got a title to 
dSl 0,000 a year ! To be sure"— He stood 
still for a moment, and another moment, and 
dismay came quickly over him ; for it sud- 
denly occurred to him what hold had he ?ot 
on Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap U — 
what could he dol — what had he done ? 

Ah — the golden vision of the last few 
hours was fading away momentarily, like a 
dream ! Each second of his deep and rapid 
reflection, rendered more impetuous his 
desire and determination to return and 
make his peace with Messrs. Quirk, Gam- 
mon and Snap. By submission for the 
present he could get the whip-hand of them 
nereafter ! He viras in the act of turning 
round towards the office, when Mr. Gam- 
mon softly laid his hand upon the shoulder 
of his repentant client. 

** Mr. Titmouse ; my dear sir, what is the 



matter with you? How could we so mis- 
understand each other?" 

Titmouse's small cunning was on the qui 
vive, and he saw and followed up his ad- 
vantage. *< I am going," said he, in a re- 
solute tone, '* to speak to some one else, in 
the morning." 

^'That, of coarse, signifies nothing to 
any one but yourself. You will take any 
steps, my dear sir, that occur to you, and 
act as you may be advised." 

*' Monstrous kind of you to come and give 
me such good advice !" exclaiimed Titmouse, 
with a sneer. 

** Oh, don't mention it," said Ghmmon, 
coolly ; '* I came out of pure good nature, 
to assure you that our office, notwithstand- 
ing what has passed, entertains not the 
slightest personal ill-feeling towards you, 
in thus tnrowinff off their hands a very 
long, and dreadfully harassing aflair." 

'* Hem !" exclaimed Titmouse, once or 
twice. 

*^So good-night, Mr. Titmouse— good 
night! God bless you!" Mr. Gammon 
in the act of returning to his door, extended 
his hand to Mr. Tittlebat, who he instantly 
perceived vras melting rapidly. 

'* Why, sir — ^if I thought you all meant 
the correct thing— hem ! I say, the correct 
thing by me — ^I shouldn't so much mind a 
little disappointment for the time ; but you 
must own, Mr. Gammon, it is verr hard 
being kept out of one's own so long." 

" True, very true, Mr. Titmouse. Very 
hard it is, indeed, to bear, and we all felt 
deeply for you, and would have set every 
thing in train- 



»» 



" Would have- 



>9 



" Yes, my dear Mr. Titmouse, we would 
have done it, and brought you through every 
difficulty— over every obstacle." 

" Why — you don't — ^hardly — quite- 
mean to say you've given it all up ! — What, 
already !" exclaimed Titmouse, in evident 
alarm. 

Gammon had triumphed over Titmouse ! 
whom, nothing loth, he brought back, in 
two minutes' time, into the rpom which 
Titmouse had just before so rudely quitted. 
Mr. Quirk and Mr. Snap had their parts yet 
to perform. They were m the act of locking 
up desks and drawers, evidently on the 
move ; and received Mr. Titmouse with an 
air of cold surprise. 

^* Mr. Titmouse again !" exclaimed Mr. 
Quirk, taking his ^oves out of his hat. 
**Back again! — an unexpected honour." 

" Leave any thing behind ?" inquired Mr. 
Snap—" don't see any thinsf," 

" Oh no, sir ! no sir ! This gentleman, 
Mr. Gammon, and I, have made it all up, 
gents I I'm not vexed any more not the least.' 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



28 



^ Vexed, Mr. 'Htmouse!" echoed Mr. 
Quirk, with an air sternly ironical, " We 
are under gjeat obligations to you for your 
forbearance !*' 

*' Oh, come, gents !" said Titmouse, more 
and more disturbed, ** I w<u too warm, I 
dare say, — and I ask your pardon, all of 
you, gents ! I won't say another word, if 
you'll but buckle to busmess again— quite 
exactly in your own way — because, you 



'^ It's growing very late," said Mr. Quirk, 
coldly, and looking at his watch ; *' however, 
afler what you hare said, probably at some 
future time, when we've leisure to look into 
the thingj— " 

Poor Titmouse was ready to drop on his 
knees, in mingled agony and fright. 

*' May I be allowed to say," interposed 
the bland voice of Mr. Gammon, addressing 
himself to Mr. Quiik, ** that Mr. Titmouse 
a few minutes ago assured me, outside 
there, that if you could only be persuaded 
to let our house take up his case a!gain-^" 

** I did«-I did indeed, gents ! so help me 
— !" interrupted Mr. Titmouse, eaeerly 
backing with an oath the ready lie of Mr. 
Gammon. 

Mr. Quirk drew his hand across his 
chin, musingly, and stood silently for a few 
moments, evidenUy irresolute. 

** Well," said he at length, but in a very 



cool way, ** since that is so, probably we 
may be induced to resume our heavy labours 
in your behalf; and if you will favour us 
with a call to-morrow night, at the same 
hour, we may have, by that time, made up 
our minds as to the course we shall think 
fit to adopt." 

*' Lord ! sir, I'll be here as the clock 
strikes, and as meek as a mouse ; and pray, 
have it all in your own way for the future, 
gents— do !" 

" Good night, sir — ^good night !" exclaim- 
ed the partners, motioning towards the 
door. 

"Good night, gents!" said Titmouse, 
bowing veiT low, and feeling himself at tlie 
same time being bowed out ! As he passed 
out of the room, he cast a lingering look in 
their three frigid faces, as if uiey were an- 
gels sternly shutting him out from Paradise. 
What misery was his, as he walked slowly 
homeward, with much the same feelings 
(now that the fumes of the brandy had 
evaporated, and the reaction of excitement 
was coming on, aggravated by a recollection 
of the desperate check he had received Y as a 
sick and troubled man, who, suddenly 
roused out of a delicious dream, drops into 
wretched reality, as it were out of a fairy- 
land, which with all its dear innumerable 
delights, is melting overhead into thin air — 
disappearing/or ever* 



CHAPTER II. 



Closet Court had neyer looked so odious 
to Titmouse as it did when, harassed and 
depressed as I have described him, he ap- 

Sroached it about one o'clock, A. M. He 
uDff himself on his bed for a moment, di- 
rectly he had shut his door, intending pre- 
sently to rise and undress ; but sleep having 
got him prostrate secured her victoiy. She 
waved her black wand over him, and he 
woke not till eiffht o'clock in the morning. 
A second long-drawn sigh was preparinj^ 
to follow its predecessor, when he heard it 
strike eight and sprung off the bed in a 
fright ; for he ought to have been at the shop 
an hour ago. Dashing a little water into 
his face, and scarce staying to wipe it off, 
he ran down stairs, through the court, and 
along the street, never stopping till he had 
found his way into— «lmost the very arms 
of the dreaded Mr. Ta^rag; who, rarely 
making his appearance till about half-past 



nine, had, as the mischief would have it, 
happened to come down an hour and a half 
earlier than usual, on the only morning out 
of several hundreds on which Titmouse 
had been more than ten minutes beyond his 
time. 

" Yours, very respectfully, Mr. Titmouse, 
— ^Thomas Tagrag!" exclaimed that per- 
sonage with mock solemnity, bowing for- 
mally to his astounded and breathless shop- 
man. 

'* I—I — beg your pardon, sir ; but I wasn't 
very weU, and overslept myself," stammer- 
ed Titmouse. 

" Ne-ver mind, Mr. Titmouse, ne-ver 
mind-^t don't much signifV)" interrupted 
Mr. Tagrag, bitterly ; " you've just got an 
hour and a half to take this piece of silk, 
with my compliments, to Messrs. Shuttle 
and Weaver, in Dirt Street, Spitalfiolds, and 
ask them if they ar'n't ashamed to send it 



94 



tEN THOUSAND A YEAtL 



to a West-End hoose like mine, and bring 
back a better piece instead of it !" 

" Very well, 8iF--bat— before my break- 
fast, sir?" 

** Did I say a word about breakfast, sir 1 
You heard my orders, sir; yoa can attend 
to them or not, Mr. Titmouse, as you 
please !" 

Off trotted Titmouse tngtanUr, tHthout 
his breakfast; and so Tasrag gained one 
object he had in view. Titmouse found 
this rather tiding: a five-mile walk before 
him with no inconsiderable load under his 
arm, having had nothing to eat since the 
preceding evening, when he had partaken 
of a delicate repast of thick slices of bread, 
smeared slightly over with salt butter, and 
moistened with a most astringent decoction 
of tea-leaves, sweetened with brown sugar, 
and discoloured with sky-blue milk. He 
had not even a farthing about him where- 
with to buy a penny roll ! As he went dis- 
consolately along, so many doubts and fears 
buzzed impetuously about him that they 
completely darkened his little soul, and be- 
wildered hia small understanding. 7Vn 
thousand a year ! — it was never meant for 
the like of him. He soon worked himself 
into a conviction that the whole thin^ was 
infinitely too good to be true ; the affair was 
desperate ; it had been all moonshine ; for 
some cunning purpose or another, Messrs. 
Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, had been— ah, 
here he was within a few yards of their re- 
sidence, the scene of last night's tra^c 
transactions ! As he passed Saffron Hill, 
he paused, looked up towards ^e blessed 
abod 



** Wh6(« cenuvd all bla hopes and fean,** 

Uttered a profound si?h, dnd passed slowly 
on towards Smithfield . The words, ** QutVA;, 
Gammon, and Snm,'*^ seemed to be written 
over every shop-window which he passed^ 
their images filled his mind's eye. What 
could thev be atl They had been all very 
polite and friendly— and of their own seek- 
ing : had he affronted them t How coldly 
and proudly they had parted with him over- 
night ! It was evident that they could stand 
no nonsense— they were great lawyers ; so 
he must (if they really would allow him to 
see them again) eat humble pie cheerfully 
till he had got all they had to ^ve him.— 
How he dreaded the coming nifht ! Per- 
haps they intended civilly to tefi him that 
they would have nothine more to do with 
him ;-*they would get the estate for them- 
selves, or some one else that would be more 
manageable ! They had taken care to tell 
him nothing at all about the nature of his 
pretensions to this mnd fortune. Oh, how 
crafty they were— mey had it all their own 



way ! — But what, after all, had he really 
done 1 The estates were his, if they were 
really in earnest— his, and no one's else ; and 
why should he be kept out of them at their 
will and pleasure t Suppose he were to say 
he would give them all he was entitled to 
for iS30,000 down, in casht Oh no; on 
second thoughts, that would be only two 
years' income ! But on ihe other hand— he 
dared hardly even to propose it to his 
thoughts— still suppose itsAouitf really turn 
out true ! Goodness gracious !— that day 
two months he mi^t to riding about in his 
carriage in the Panes, and poor devils look- 
ing at him, as he now looked on all those 
who liow rode. There he would be, hold- 
ing up his head with the best of them, in- 
stesd of slaving about as he was that mo- 
ment, carrying about that cursed bundle— 
ough! how he shrunk as he changed its 
position, to relieve his aching right arap ! 
Why was his mouth to be stopped ? — ^wKy 
might he not tell his shopmates? What 
would he not give for the luxury of telling 
it to the odious Tagragl If he were to do 
so, Mr. Tagrag, he was sure, would ask 
him to dinner the very next Sunday, at his 
country house at Clapham. Thoughts such 
as these so occupied his mind, that he did 
not for a long while observe that he was 
walking at a rapid rate towards the MQe- 
end roaid, having left Whitechapel church 
nearly half a mile behind him ! The possi- 
ble master of Jgl 0,000 a year felt fit to drop 
with fiitigue, and sudden apprehension of 
the storm he should have to encounter when 
he first saw Mr. Tagrag after so long an 
absence. He was detained for a cruel length 
of time at Messrs. Shuttle and Weaver's, 
who not having the required quantity of 
silk at that moment on their premises, had 
some difiiculty in obtaining it, after having 
sent for it to one or two neighbouring manu- 
factories ; by which means it came to pass 
that it was two o'4ock before Titmouse, 
completely exhausted and dispirited, and 
reeking with perspiration, had reached 
Dowlas and Company's. The gentlemen 
of the shop had finished their dinners. 

*' Go up stairs and get your dinner, sir!** 
exdaimea Tagrag impetuously, after having 
received Messrs. Shuttle and Weaver's 
message. 

Titmouse went up stairs hungry enough, 
and found himself the sole occupant of the 
lon^ cloee-«melling room in which his com- 
panions had been dining. His dinner was 
presently brought to him by a slatternly 
servant-girl, ft was in an uncovered basin, 
which appeared to contain nothing but the 
leavings of his companions— « savoury in- 
termixture of cold potatoes, broken meat, 
(chiefly bits of &t and gristle,) a little hot 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



95 



water having been thrown oyer it to make 
it appear warm and fresh-— (fauffh!) His 
plate (with a small pinch of sslt upon it) 
nad not been cleaned after its recent use, 
but evidently only hastily smeared over with 
a greasy towel, as also seemed his knife and 
fork, which, in their disgusting state, he 
was fain to put up with, uie table cloth on 
which he miffht have wiped them having 
been removed. A hunch of bread that 
seemed to have been tossing about in the 
pan for days, and half-a-pint of flat-looking 
and sour-smelling table-beer, completed the 
fare set before him; opposite which he sate 
for some minutes, too much occupied with 
his reflections to commence his repast. He 
was in the act of scooping out or the basin 
some of its invitinff contents, when—*' Tit- 
mouse !" ezclaimM the voice of one of his 
shopmates, peering in at him through the 
hall-open door, ** Mr. Tagrag wants you ! 
He says you've had plenty of time to finish 
your dinner !" 

** Oh, tell him, then, I'm only just begin* 
ning my dinner— eu^h ! such as it i8,^'r^ 
pliM Titmouse masticating the first mouth- 
ful with an appearance of no partieuJar 
relish,^ — ^for to the like of it he nad never 
before sat down since he had been in the 
honoured house he was then serving. 

In a few minutes Mr. Tagrag himself en- 
tered the room, stuttering — ^^'How much 
longer, sir; is it your pleasure to spend over 
your dinner, eh ?" 

''Not another moment, nr," answered 
Titmouse, lopking with ill-concealed dis- 
gust at i^e savoury victuals before him ; 
"if you'll only allow me a few minutes to 

§0 home and buy a penny roll instead of all 
lis " 

** Ve— ry good, sir ! Ve— nry parti-— en— 
larly good, Mr. Titmouse," replied Tagrag, 
with ul-subdued fury ; " any thing else that 
I can make a Utile memorandum of against 
the day of your leaving us V 

This hint of twofold terror, t. e, of with- 
holding the wretehed balance of salary that 
might be due to him, on the ^ound (^mis- 
conduct, and of also giving him a damning 
character, dispelled the small remains of 
Titmouse's appetite, and he rose to return 
to the shop, involuntarily clutching his fist 
as he brushed close past the tyrant Tagrag 
on the stairs, whom he would have been de- 
lighted to pitch down head-foremost; and 
ifhe had done so, none of his fellow-slaves 
below, in spite of their present sycophancy 
towards Tagrag, would have shown any 
particular alacrity in picking up their com- 
mon oppressor. Poor Tittlebat resumed his 
old situation behind the counter ; but how 
dififerent his present from his former air and 
manner! With his pen occasionally peep- 





ing pertly out of his bushy hair over his 
right ear, and his yard measure in his hand, 
no one, till Monday morning, had been more 
cheerful, smirking and nimble, than Tittlebat 
Titmouse. Alas, how crestfallen now 1 None 
of his companions could make him out, or 
guess what was in the wind ; so they very 
justly concluded that he had been doing 
something dreadfully disgraceful, the extent 
of which was known to "^grag and himself 
alone. Their jeers and banters were giving 
place to cold distrustful looks, that were 
much more trying to bear. How he longed 
to be able to burst upon their astounded 
minds with the pent up intelligence that was 
silently racking and splitting his little bo- 
som ! But if he did— the terrible firm of 
Quirk, Gammon, and Snap— oh ! the very 
thought of them glued his lips together. 
But then there was one whom he might 
surely make a confidant-— the excellent 
Huckaback, with whom he had no oppor- 
tunity of communicating since Sunday 
night. 

That gentleman was as close a prisoner 
at the establishment of Diaper and Sarsenet, 
in Tottenh^un-court Road, as Titmouse at 
Messrs. Dowlas's, of which said establish- 
ment he was as great an ornament as Tit- 
mouse of that of Messrs. Dowlas. They 
were about the same height, and equals in 
puppyism of manners, dress, and appear- 
ance; but Titmouse was much the better 
lookiiw. With equal conceit in their faces, 
that of Huckaback, square and flat, and sal- 
low, had an expression of ineffable impur 
dence that made a lady shudder, and a gen- 
tleman feel a tingling sensation in his nght 
toe. About his smaU black eyes there was 
a glimmer of low cunning ;— but I have not 
patience to paint the fellow any further* 
When Titmouse left the shop that night, a 
little after nine, he hurried to his lodgings, 
to make himself as imposing in his appear- 
ance before Messrs, Quirk, Grammon, and 
Snap, as his time and means would admit 
of. Behold, on the table lay a letter from 
Huckaback. It was written in a flourish- 
ing mercantile hand; and here Ib a copy 
of it: 

" Dear Tit, 

" I hope you are well, which is what 1 
can only middling say in respect c^ me. 
Such a row with my governors as I have 
had to-day ! I thought, as I had been in 
the house near upon eighteen months at J&25 
per annum, I might naturally ask for £Z0 
a year (which is what my Predecessor had,) 
when, would you believe it, Mr. Sharpeye 
(who is going to be taken in as a Partner,) 
to whom I named the thing, ris up in rage 
against me, and I were nad up into me 



26 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



eoanting-house, where both the eovernoTS 
was, and they gare it' me in such a way 
that yon never saw nor heard of; but it 
wasn't all on their own side, as you know 
me too well to think of. Yon would have 
thought I had been a going to rob the house. 
They said I was most audacious, and all 
that, and ungrateful, and what would I have 
nextl Mr. Diaper said times was come to 
such a pitch! ! smce he was first in the bu- 
siness, for salaries is risen to double, and 
not half the work done that was, and no 
gratitude — (cursed old curmudgeon!) He 
said if I left them just now, I might whistle 
for a character, except what I would not 
like ; but if he dont mind I'll eire him a 
trick of law about that— which orings me 
to what happened to-day with our lawyers, 
the people at Saffron Hill, whom 1 thought 
I would call in on to-day, being near the 
neighbourhood with some light goods, to 
seehow affairs was getting on, and stir them 
np a bit" — this almost took Titmouse's 
breath away — ^»* feeling most interested on 

rour account, as you know, dear Tit, I do. 
said I wanted to speak to one of the gen- 
tlemen on business of importance ; whereat 
I was quickly shown into a room where two 
gents was sitting. Having put down my 
parcel for a minute on the table, I said I 
was a very intimate friend of yours, and had 
called in to see how things went on about 
the advertisement ; whereat you never saw in 
your life how struck they looked, and stared 
at one another in speechless silence, till 
they said to me, what concerned me about 
the business ? or something of that nature, 
but in such a way that ris a rage in me di- 
rectly, all for your sake f for I did not like 
the looks of tlunss ;) ana says I, I said, we 
would let them Icnow we were not to be 
gammoned f whereat uprose the youngest 
of the two, and ringing the bell, he says to 
a ti^ht-laced young gentleman with a pen 
behind his ear, <Show him to the door,' 
which I was at once ; but, in doingso, let 
out a little of my mind to them. They're 
no better than they should be, you see if 
they are ; but when we Trick tiie property, 
we'll show them who is their masters, which 
consoles me. 6ood-by, keep your spirits 
up, and I will call and tell you more about 
it on Sunday. So farewell (I write this at 
Mr. Sharpeye's desk, who is coming down 
from dinner directly.) Your trae fnend, 

**R. Huckaback. 
" P. S. — Met a young Jew last night 
with a lot of prime cigars, and (knowing he 
mMt have stole them, they looked so good 
at the price) I bought one shilling's worth 
for me, and two shilling's worth for you, 
your salary belngr higher, and to say nothing 
ofyourchanoe8« 



All ^at part of the foregoing letter which 
related to its amiable writer's interview with 
Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, Tit- 
mouse read in a kind of spasm — he could 
not draw a breath, and felt a choking sen- 
sation coming over him. After a while, **I 
may spare myself^" thought he, ** the trou- 
ble of rigging out— Huckaback has doqe 
my business for me with Messrs. Quirk, 
Gammon, and Snap — ^mine will only be a 
walk in vain !" After what had occurred 
last night between him and them ! ! — and 
so urgently as he had been enjoined to keep 
the matter to himself! Of course Hucka- 
back would seem to have been sent by him ; 
seeing he appeared to have assumed the 
hectoring tone which Titmouse had tried so 
vainly over-niffht, and now so bitterly re- 
pented of, and ne had no doubt grossly in- 
sulted the arbiters of Titmouse's destiny, (for 
he knew Huckaback's impudence,) — ^he had 
even said that he (Titmouse) would not be 
GAMMONED by them. But time was pressing : 
with a beating heart he scrambled into a 
change of clothes— bottling up his wra& 
against the unconscious Huckaback till he 
should see that worthy. In a miserable 
state of mind he set on soon after for Saf- 
fron Hill at a quick psice, which soon be- 
came a tro£! and otten sharpened into a 
downright run. He saw, heara, and thought 
of nothing, as he hurried along Oxford Street 
and Holbom, but Quirk, Gammon, Snap, 
and Huckaback, and the reception which the 
latter had secured for him— -if, indeed, he 
was to be received at all. The magical 
words. Ten Thou§and A Year^ had not dis- 
appeared from the field of his troubled vi- 
sion; but how faintly and dimly they 
shone ! — ^like the Pleiades coldly glistening 
through intervening mists far off— oh ! at 
what a stupendous, immeasurable, and hope- 
less distance ! Imagine those stars gazed 
at by the anguished and despairing eyes of 
the bereavea lover, madly believing one of 
them to contain qbr who has just deoarted 
from his arms, and from this world, and 
you may form a notion of the agonized feel- 
ings—the absorbed contemplation of one 
dear, dazzling, but distant object, experi- 
enced on this occasion by Mr. Titmouse. No, 
no ; I don't mean seriously to pretend that 
so grand a thought as this eovld be enter- 
tained by his little optics intellectual ; you 
might as well suppose the tiny eye of a 
black beetie to be scanning the vague, fan- 
ciful, and mysterious figure and proportions 
of Orion, or a chimpanzee to m perusing 
and pondering over tneinmiortal Principia, 
1 repeat, that I have no desire of the sort, 
and am determined not again foolishly to 
attempt fine writing, which I now perceive 
I to be entirely out oi my line. In language 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



27 



more liefitting me and my subject, T may be 
allowed to say that there is no getting a 
quart into a pint pot; that Titmouse's mind 
was a half-pint — and it was brimful. All 
the while that I have been going on thus, 
however, Titmouse was hurrying down 
Holbom at a rattling rate. When at length 
he had reached SaSfron Hill, he was in a 
bath of perspiration. His face was quite 
red ; he breathed hard ; his heart beat vio- 
lently ; he had got a stitch in his side ; and 
he could not ^et his gloves on his hot and 
swollen hands. He stood for a moment 
with his hat off, wiping his reeking fore- 
head, and endeavounng to recover himself a 
little before entering the dreaded presence 
to which he had been hastening. He even 
fancied for a moment, that his eyes gave out 
sparks of lieht! While thus pausmg, St. 
Andrew's Church struck ten, half electrify- 
ing Titmouse, who bolted up the hill, and 
was soon standing opposite tne door. How 
the siffhtof it smote him, as it reminded 
him of the way in which, on the preceding 
Bight, he had bounded out of it! But that 
could not now be helped ; so ring went the 
bell, as softly, however, as he could ; for he 
recollected that it was a very loud bell, and 
he did not wish to offend. He waited some 
time, and nobody answered. He waited 
for nearly two minutes, and trembled, as- 
sailed by a thousand vague fears. He 
might not, however, have rung loud enough ; 
so— «gain, a little louder, did he venture to 
ring. Again he waited. There seemed 
something threatening in the great brass 
plate on the door, out of which, *^ Quirk, 
Gammon, and Snap," appeared to look at 
him ominously. While he thought of it, by 
the way, there was something very serious 
and stem in all their faces— he wondered 
that he had not noticed it before. What a 
drunken beast he had been to ffoon in their 
presence as he had ! — thought he ; then 
Huckaback's image flitted across his dis- 
turbed fancy. '' Ah !" thought he, «< that's 
the thing! That's it, depend upon it; this 
door will never be openea to m« again — ^he's 
done for me !*' He breathed faster, clench- 
ed his fist, and involuntarily raised it in a 
menacing way, when he heard himself ad- 
dressed — ^'^Oh ! dear me, sir, I hope I haven't 
kept you waiting," said the old woman whom 
he had before seen, fumbling in her pocket 
for the door-key. She had been evidently 
out shopping, having a plate in her left- 
hand, over which her apron was thrown. 
"Hope you've not been ringin|r long;, sirl" 
'* Oh, dear ! no, ma'am," replied Titmouse 
with anxious civility, and a truly miserable 
smile— ** Afraid I may have kept M«m wait- 
ing," he added, almost dreading to hear the 
answer. 



7 

'^ Oh no, sir, not at all — ^they've all been 
gone since a little after nine ; but there's a 
letter I was to give you !" She opened the 
door; Titmouse nearly dropping. "I'll 
get it for you, sir— let me see, where did I 
put it ?— Oh, in the clerk's room, I think." 
Titmouse followed her in. "Dear m^— 
where can it bel" she continued, peering 
about, and then snuffing the long wick of 
the candle which she had left burning for 
the last quarter of an hour, during her ab- 
sence. " I hope none of the clerks has put 
it away in mistake ! Well, it isn't here, 
any how." ' 

" Perhaps, ma'am, it's in their oum 
room"— suggested Titmouse, in a faint tone. 

" Oh, p'?aps it is ! " she replied. "We'll 
go and see"— and she led the way, follow- 
ed closely by Titmouse, who caught his 
breath as he passed the green baize door. 
Yes, there was the room— the scene of last^ 
night was transacted there, and came crowd- 
ing over his recollection ^— there was the 
green-shaded candlestick^the table cover- 
ed with papers— an arm-chair near it, in 
which, probably, Mr. Quirk had been sit- 
ting oiily an hour before, to write the letter 
they were now in quest of, and which 
might be to forbid him their presence for 
ever ! How dreary and deserted the room 
looked, thought he, as he peered about it in 
search of the dreaded letter ! 

" Oh, here it is !— well, I never !— who 
could have put it here, now 1 I'm sure I 
didn't Let me see— it was, no doubt," 
said the old woman, holding the letter in 
one hand, and putting the other to her 
head— 

" Never mind, ma'am," said Titmouse, 
stretching his hand towards her,— "now 
we've got it, it don't much signify." She 
save it to him. " Seem particularly anxious 
for me to get it— did they 1" he inquired, 
with a strong effort to appear uncon- 
cerned — the dreaded letter quite quivering 
in his fingers. 

" No, sir — ^Mr. Quirk only said I was to 
give it you when you called. B'lieve they 
sent it to you, but the clerk said he couldn't 
find your place out ; by the way, (excuse 
me, sir,) but your's is a funny name ! How 
I heard 'em laushing at it, to be sure ! 
What makes people grive such queer namesi 
Would you like to read it here, sir ?— , 
you're welcome." 

" No, thank you, madam— it's not of the 
least consequence," jie replied, with a des- 
perate air; and tossing it with attempted 
carelessness into his hat, which he put on 
his head, he very civilly wished her good- 
night^ and departed^very nearly inclined 
to sickness or faintness, or eomethinp of 
the sort, which the fresh air might perhaps 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



dispel. He quickly espied a lamp at a cor- 
ner, which promised to afford him an unin- 
tenrupted opportunity of inspecting his let- 
ter. He took it out of his hat. It was ad- 
dressed — simply, ^« Mr. Titmouse, Cocking 
Court, Oxford Street," (which accounted, 
perhaps, for the clerk's having been unable 
to find it;) and having been opened with 
trembling eagerness, thus it roaa :»• 

** Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap 
present their compliments to Mr. Titmouse, 
and are anxious to save him the trouble of 
his intended visit this evening. 

'* They exceedingly regret that obstacles 
(which it is to be hoped, nowever, may not 
prove ultimately insumlountable) exist in 
their way of prosecuting their intended in- 
quiries on behalf of Mr.Titmouse. 

*^ Since their last night's interview with 
him, circumstances which they could not 
have foreseen, and over which &ey have no 
control, have occurred, which render it un- 
necessary for Mr. T. to give himself any 
more anxie^ in the affair— at least, not un- 
til he shall have heard from Messrs. Q., G. 
and S. 

*^ If any thin^ of importance should here- 
afler transpire, it is not improbable that Mr. 
T. may hear from them. 

*• They were favoured, this afternoon, 
with a visit from Mr. T.'s friend — ^Mr. 
Hucklebottom. 
" Saffhm Hill, Wednefday ETen'g, I2th Julj, l8t-." 

When poor Titmouse had finished readr 
ing over this vague, frigid, and dishearten- 
ing note a secona time, a convulsive sob or 
two pierced his bosom, indicative of its be- 
ing mdeed swollen with sorrow; and at 
length overcome by his feelings, he cried 
bitterly— 4iot checked even by the occasional 
exclamations of one or two passers-by. 
He could not at all control himself. He 
felt as if he could have almost relieved him- 
self by banging his head a^inst the wall ! 
A tumultuous feeling of mingled grief and 
despair prevented his thoughts, for a long 
while, from settling on any one idea or o& 
Ject. At lengfth, when ttie violence of the 
storm had somewhat abated, on concluding 
a third perusal of the death-warrant to all 
his hopes, which he held in his hand, his 
eye lit upon the strange word which was 
intended to describe his friend Huckaback; 
and it instantly changed both the kind of 
his feelings, and the direction in which they 
had been rushing. Grief became rage ; and 
the stream foamed inouite a new direction— 
namely, towards Huclcaback. That fellow 
he considered to be the sole cause of the 
direful disaster which had befallen him. 
He utterly lost sight of one eireumstance, 
that one should have thought might have 



occurred to his thoughts at such a tim»^ 
viz. his own offensive and insolent beha* 
viour over-night, to Messrs. Quirk, Gam- 
mon, and Snap. But so it was :-— yes, up- 
on the devoted (but unconscious) head of 
Huckaback, was to descend the lightning 
rage of Tittlebat Titmouse. The fire that 
was thus quickly kindled within, soon dried 
up the source of his tears. He crammed 
the letter into his pocket, and started off al 
once in the direction of Leicester Square, 
breathing rage at every step— vires^u^ ao" 
ouirens eundo. His hands kept convulsive 
ly clenching togethet as he pelted along* 
Hotter and hotter became his rage as he 
neared the residence of Huckaback. When 
he had reached it, he sprung up stairs; 
knocked at his quondam friend^s door ; and 
on the instant of its being — doubtless some- 
what surprisedly— opened by Huckaback, 
who was undressing. Titmouse sprung U^ 
wards him, let fiy a goodly number of^vio- 
lent blows upon his face and breast— and 
down fell Huckaback upon the bed behind 
him, insensible, and bleeding profuselj 
from his nose. 

<«There! there"— gasped Titmouse, breath* 
less and exhausted, discharging a volley of 
oaths and opprobrious epithets at the victim 
of his furr. ^'Do it again! You will, 
won*t you 1 You* II go— and meddle again 
in other people's— you— «u-cu«cursed offi> 
cious"— But his rage was spent— the 
paroxysm was over; the silent and bleed- 
ing figure of Huckaback was before his 
eyes ; and he gazed at him terror-stricken* 
What had he done ! He sunk down on the 
bed beside Huckaback— then started up^ 
wringing his hands, and staring at him in 
an ecstasy of remorse and fridit. It was 
rather singular that the noise of such an as- 
sault riiomd have roused no one to inquire 
into it ; but so it was. Frightened almost 
out of his bewildered senses, he closed and 
bolted the door; and addressed himself, as 
well as he was able, to the recovery of 
Huckaback. Propping him up, and splash* 
ing cold water in his face. Titmouse at 
length discovered symptoms of revival, 
which he anxiously endeavoured to accele* 
rate, by putting to the lips of the slowly- 
awakening victim of his violence, some 
cold water in a tea-cup. He swallowed a 
little; and soon afterwards, opening his 
eyes, stared on Titmouse with a dull eye 
and bewildered air. 

«« What's been the matter t" at length 
he faintly inouired. 

'^ Oh, HucKy ! so glad to hear you speak 
again. It's 1—1— Htty ! I did it! Strike 
me, Hucky,as soon as you're well enough ! 
Do— kick me— any thing you choose! 1 
won't hinder you,'' cried Titmouse, sinking 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



29 



on his knees, and clasping his hands to- 
gether, as he perceived Huckaback rapidly 
reviving". 

((Why— -what m the matter!" repeat- 
ed that ^ntleman, with a wondering air, 
raising his hand to his nose, from which 
the blood was still trickling. The fact is, 
•that he had lost his senses, not so much 
from the violence of the injuries he had re- 
ceived, as from the suddenness with which 
they had been inflicted. 

«« I did it all— yes, I did ! '* continued Tit- 
mouse, gazing on him with a look of agony 
and remorse. 

**Why— I can't be awake— I can't!" 
said Huckaback, rubbing his eyes, and 
then staring at his staindl shirt-firont and 
hands. 

*' Oh, yes, you are— ^ou are! " groaned 
Titmouse ; *' and I'm going mad as fast as 
I can ! Do what you like to me ! Lick 
me if you please ! Call in a constable ! 
Send me to jail ! Say I came to rob you— 
any thing — ^I don't care what becomes of 
me!" 

** Why — ^what does all this iabber mean. 
Titmouse?" inquired Huckaback sternly, 
apparently meditating reprisals. 

^ Oh, yes, I see ! Now you are going to 

S've it me! I won't stir. So hit away, 
ucky." 

** Why— ^are you mad !" inquired Hucka- 
back, grasping him by the collar rather 
rou^ly. 

** Yes, quite ! Mad ! — ruined !— gone to 
the devil all at once !" 

" And what if you are 1 What did it 
matter to flie? What brought you to me, 
here 1" continued Huckaback, in a tone of 
increasincr vehemence. '^What have I 
done to offend you? How dare you come 
here? And at this time of night, too? 
Eh?" 

««What, indeed! Oh lud, oh lud, oh 
lud ! Kick me, I say— strike me ! You'll 
do me good, and bring me to my senses. 
JU!; to do all this to you ? And we've been 
such precious good friends always. I'm a 
brute, Hucky,— I've been mad, stark mad, 
Hucky— «na that's all I can say." 

Huckaback stared at him more and more ; 
and began at leneth to suspect how matters 
stood — namely, mat the Sunday's incident 
had turned Titmouse's head— he havinff 
also, no doubt, heard some desperate bad 
news during the. day, smashing all his 
hopes. A mixture of emotions kept him si- 
lent. Astonishment— apprehension— doubt 
—^ride— pique— resentment. He had been 
•<rueA»— his blood had been drawn — by the 
man there before him on his knees, former^ 
ly his friend, now, he supposed, a madman. 

*<Why, curse me, TMmouse, if I can 

c3 



make op my mind what to do to you !" he 
exclaimed. ** I — ^I — suppose you're going 
mad, or gone mad, and 1 must forgive you. 
But get away with you— out with you, or— > 
or— I'll call in ^' 

" Forgive me— forgive me, dear Hucky ! 
Don't send me away— I shall go and drown 
myself if you do." 

"What the d — ^1 do I care if you do? 
You'd much better have gone and done it 
|>efore you came here. Nay, be off and do 
it now, instead of blubbering here in this 
way." 

"Go on ! Hit away — it's doing me good — 
the worse the better !" sobbed Titmouse. 

" Come, come— none of this noise here 
I'm tired of it." 

"But, pray, don't send me away from 
you. I shall go straight to the devil if you 
do. I've no friend but you, Hucky. Yet 
I've been such a villain to you ! — But it 
quite put the devU into me, when all of a 
sudden I found it was you.** 

«« Me ! — ^Why what are you after ?" in- 
terrupted Huckaback, with an air of angry 
wonaer. 

"Oh dear, dear!" groaned Titmouse; 
if I've been a brute to you, which is quite 
true, you've been the ruin oft me clean! 
I'm clean done for, Huck. Cleaned out ! 
You've done my business forme; knocked 
it all in the head. I shan't never hear an^ 
more of ilr— they've said as much in their 
letter — they say that you've called—" 

Huckaback now began to have a glim- 
mering notion of his having been, in some 
eoBsioerable degree, connected with the 
mischief of the day— an unconscious agent 
in it. He audibly drew in his breath, as it 
were, as he more and more distinctly recol- 
lected his visit to Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, 
and Snap ; and adverted more particularly 
to his IhreaU^ uttered, too, in Titmouse's 
name, and as Lf by his authority. Whew ! 
here was a kettle of fish ! 

Now Strang and unaccountable as, at 
first thought. It may appear, the veiy cir- 
cumstance which one would have thought 
calculated to assuage his resentment against 
Titmouse— namely, that he had really tn- 
jured Titmouse most seriously, ^if not indeed 
irreparably,) and so provoked the drubbing 
which had just been administered to him— 
had quite the contrary effect. Paradoxical 
as it may seem, matter of clear mitigation 
was at once converted into matter of aggm- 
vation. Were the feelings which Hucka- 
back then experienced akin to that which 
often produces hatred of a person whom one 
has injured ? May it be thus accounted for? 
That there is a secret satisfoetion in the 
mere consciousness of being a sufferer— a 
maTQnf-«iid that, too, in the presence of a 



80 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



person whom one peroeires to be aware 
that he has wantonly injured; that one's 
braided spirit is soothed by ^e sight of his 
remorse— 4>y the consciousness that he is 
punishing himself infinitely more severely 
than we could punish him ; and of the 
claim one has obtained to the fiympaihy of 
every body who sees, or may hear of one's 
sufferings, ^thatrich and grateful balm to 
imured feehng.) But when, as in the case 
of Huckaback, feelings of this descriptioii 
(in a coarse and small way, to be sure, ac- 
cording to his kind) were suddenly encoun- 
tered by a consciousness of his having de- 
served his sufferings ; when die martyr felt 
himself quickly sinking into the culprit and 
offender; when, I say, Huckaback felt an 
involuntary consciousness that the gross 
indignities which Titmouse had just inflict- 
ed on him, had been justified by the provo- 
cation— -nay, far less, that his mischievous 
and impudent interference had deserved , » 
nay, when feelings of this sort, moreover, 
were sharpened by a certain tingling sense 
of physical pain from the blows which he 
haa received — ^the result was, that the sleep- 
ing lion of Huckaback's courage was very 
near awakening. 

<'/'m AajT a mtfMi, TV^mouM "— said 
Huckaback, knitting his brows, and ap- 
pearing inclined to raise his aim. There 
was an ominous paiise for a moment or two, 
during which Titmouse's feelings also un- 
derwent a slight alteration. His allusion 
to Huckaback's ruinous insult to Messrs. 
Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, unconsciously 
converted his remorse into rage, which it 
ivdier perhaps resuscitated. He rose from 
his knees. ^* Ah !^' said he, in quite an 
altered tone, '* you may look fierce ! you 
may ! — you'd better strilce me. Huckaback, 
do ! Finish the mischief you've begun this 
day ! Hit away-— you're quite safe,"— and 
he secretly prepared himself for the mis- 
chief which-— did not come. 

I think you will very rarely find an im- 

fudent man to be a courageous one;— ^dd 
luckaback had certainly considerable pre- 
tensions to ihe former character. 

** You have ruined rae ! yon have, Huck- 
aback ! " continued Titmouse, with increas- 
ing vehemence; **and I shall be cutting 
my throat — nay," striking his fist on the 
table, " I will.'^ 

** You don't say so ! " exclaimed Huck- 
aback, apprehensively* *^No, Titmouse, 
don'tF—don't think of it; it will all come 
right yet, depend on't ; you see if it don't !" 

^' Oh, no ! it's all done for— 4t's all up 
with me ! " 

«* But what's been done! — let us hear," 
said Huckaback, as he passed a wet towel 
lo and fro over his ensanguined features. 



It was by this time clear that the stonn 
which had for some time given out only a 
few faint fitful flashes or mckerings in the 
di^nce had passed away. Titmouse, with 
many grievous sighs, took oat the letter 
which had produced the paroxysms we 
have been describing, and read it aloud. 
*' And only see how they've spelled your 
name. Huckaback— look !" he added, hand- 
ing his friend the letter. 

'*How particular vulgar!" exclaimed 
Huckaback, with a contemptuous air, which, 
overspreading his features, naif closed as was 
his left eye, and swollen as was his cheek and 
nose, would have made him a queer object to 
one who had leisure to observe such matters. 
** And so this is all they say of me," he con- 
tinued. *' How do you come to know that 
I've been doing you a mischief? All I did 
was just to looK in as respectful as possible, 
to ask how you was, and they very civilly 
told me you was very well, and we part- 
ed " 

*' Nay, and that's a lie, Huckaback^ and 
you know it !" interrupted Titmouse. 

^ It's true, s6 help me — !" vehement* 
ly asseverated HucKaback. 

"Why, perhaps you'll deny that you 
wrote and told me all you said," interrupted 
Titmouse, indignantly, feeling in his pocket 
for Huckaback's letter, which *that worthy 
had at that moitient quite forgotten having 
sent, and certainly seemed rawer nonpluss- 
ed on being reminded of. 

«Oh-^p«y, if you mean tAol,— 4iem!" — 
he stammered. 

" Come, you know you're a liar. Hack— 
but it's no good now ; lisT or no liar, it's 
all over." 

"The pot and kettle, anyhow, Tit, as 
far as that goes— but let's spell over this 
letter; We haven't studied it yet; I'm a 
hand rather at getting at what's said in a 
letter !— Come"— and they drew their chairs 
together. Huckaback reading over the let- 
ter, slowly, alone; Titmouse's eves travel- 
ling incessantly fW>m his friend's counte- 
nance to the letter, and so back again, to 
gather what might be the effect of its perusal. 

"There's a glimpse of daylight yet. Tit- 
ty!" said Huckaback, as he conchided 
reading it 

"Now, is there really? Do tell me, 
HucW." 

" Why, first and foremost, how uncom- 
mon poUte they are, except that they 
haven^t manners enough to «pe\\ my name 
right." 

"Really — and so they are!" exelakoed 
Titmouse, rather elatedly. 

"And then, you see, there's another 
thing — if they'd meant to give the thing the 
go-by altog^er, what could have been 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR, 



M 



easier than to hare said aol-^at diey 
haven't said any thinff of the sort, so thej 
don't mean to giye it all up." 

**Lord, Hack! what would I give for 
ench a head as yours ! What you say is 

Jiuite true," said Titmouse, still morecheer- 
ully. 

'* To he sure, they do say there's an o6> 
9iaele—wa obstacle, you see— nay, its obsta- 
eles, which is several, and that" — i-*Tit- 
mouse's face fell. 

**But they say again, that it's — it's — 
curse their big words— they say it's— to be 
got over in time." 

«* Well— that's sometiiing, isn't itt" 

^ To be sure it is ; and ain't any thing 
better than nothing? But then, again, 
here's a stone in the other pocket-— ^ey say 
there's a eircumatance /—don't you hate cir- 
cumstances, Titty 1 — I do." 

<' So do I ! What does it meant I've 
often heard — ^isn't it a thing. And that may 
be any thing." 

** There's a ffreat dif— hem ! And they 
go on to say it's happened since you was 
Siere" 

** Curse me, then, if that don't mean^ou, 
Huckaback!" interrupted Titmouse, with 
returning anger. 

** No, that canH be it ; they said they'd 
no control over the circumstance ; — ^now they 
had over me ; for they ordered me to the 
door, and I went; ain't that so, Titty t-^ 
Lord, how my eyes does smart, to be sure!" 

This was judiciously thrown in at that 
moment by Huckaback, as a kind of set-off. 

** And don't I smart all over, inside and 
out, if it come to thati" inquired Titmouse, 
dolefully. 

*' There's nothing particular in thereat 
of the letter— -only unconmion civil, and 
sayinff if any thing turns up you shall 
hear.'' 

" / could make that out myself-^*-eo there's 
nothing in ^at— " said Titmouse^ quickly. 

" Well— if it is all over— what a pity ! 
Such things as we could have done, Titty, 
if we'd got the thinff— eh t" 

Titmouse groaned at this glimpse of the 
heaven he seemed shut out of for ever. 

" Can't you find any thing — nothing at 
all, comfortable-like, in the letter!" he in- 
quired, with a deep sigh. 

Huckaback ag^n took un the letter and 
spelt it over. *• Well," said he, strivinjr to 
give himself an appearance of thifiiting, 
^ there's something in it, that, after all, I 
don't seem quite to get at the bottom of — 
they've seemingly taken a deal of pains 
with it." 

And undoubtedly it was a document that 
had been pretty well considered by its 
framers, before being sent out; though. 



probably, they had baldly anticipated its 
being so soon afterwards subjected to the 
scrutiny of the acute intellects which were 
now enffaged upon it. 

**And then, again, you know they're 
lawyers ; and do they ever write any thing 
that hasn't got more in it than any body can 
find out! Theae gents that wrote this, 
they're a trick too keen for the thieves 
even— and how can we— hem!— but I won- 
der if that fat, old, bald-headed gent, with 
sharp eyes, was Mr. Quirk" 

^*To be sure it was," interrupted Tit- 
moose, with a half shudder. 

«« Was it ! Well, then, I'd advise Old 
Nick to look sharp before he tackles that 
old gent, that's all!" 

'* Give me Mr. Gammon for my money- 
such an uncommon sentlemanlike— -he's 
quite taken to m e < 

*' Ah, that was he with the black velvet 
waistcoat, and white hands! But Aecan 
look stern, too. Tit! You should have 
seen him ring — ^hem!-— But what was I 
sajring about the letter! Don't you see 
they say they'll be sure to write if any thing 
tarns up !" 

<'So they do, to be sure! W^ell— I'd 
foi^t that !" interrupted Titmouse, bri^t* 
ening up. 

*'' Then, isn't there their advertisement in 
the Flash ! They hadn't their eye on any 
thing when they put it there, I dare say !«- 
They can't get out of that, any how !" 

** I begin to feel all of a sweat, Hucky ; 
I'm sure there's something in the wind, 
yet!" said Titmouse, dmwmg nearer still 
to his comforter. ** And more than that-^ 
would they have said half they did to . me 
last night " 

** Eh ! hollo, by the way ! I've not heard 
of what went on last night ! So you went 
to 'em ! Well— tell us all that hap|)ened-* 
and nothing hot the troth, be ntre you don't ; 
come. Titty !" said Huckaback snuffing the 
candle, and then turning eagerly to his 
companion. 

*< Well— they'd aueh a nmnber of aueer- 
looking papers before them, some witti old 
German-text writing, and others with zig- 
zag marks — and they were so uncommon 
polite— they all three got up as I went in, 
and made me bows, one after the other, and 
said, « Yours most obediently, Mr. Tit- 
mouse,' and a great many more sooh 
things." 

"Well— end then!" 

•*Why, Hucky, so help me—! and 
'pon my soul, that old gent, Mr. Quirk, 
told me"-— Titmouse's voice trembled at the 
recollection— " he says, *Sir, you're the 
real owner often thousand a year—' " 

•«La!" Cjlaculated Huokaback, opening 



8* 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



wider and wider his eyes and ears as his 
friend went on. 

** * And a title-^a lordj or something of 
that sorW-and youVe a great many countiy 
seats; and there's been £10^000 a year 
saving np for yon eyer since yon was bom— 
and heaps of interest— ' " 

" Lord, Tit ! you take my breath away/' 
gasped Huckaback, his eyes fixed intendy 
on his friend's face. 

** Yes ; and they said I might marry the 
most beaatifalest woman that ever my eyes 
saw for the asking." 

*' You'll forget poor Bob Huckaback, 
Tit !" murmured his friend, despondingly. 

** Not I"— 

** Have you been to Dowlas's to-day, af- 
ter hearing all this?" 

The thermometer seemed to have been 
plunged out of hot water into cold; Tit- 
mouse was down at zero in a trice. 

«« Oh ! that's it ! 'TIS all gone again !— 
What a fool I am! We've clean forgot 
this cursed letter ; and that leads me to Uie 
end of what took place last night. That 
cursed shop was wnat we split on !" 

«« Split on the shop! ehf What's the 
meaning of thati" inquired Huckaback, 
m-ith eager anxiety. 

** Why, that's the thing," continued Tit- 
mouse, in a faltering tone, and with a de- 
pressed look — ^^«That was whi(t I wanted 
to know myself; for they said I'd better go 
back ! ! So I said, ' Gents,' said I, « Fll 
be — ^^ if I'll go back to the shop any 
more ;'. and t snapped my fingers at them-^ 
so ! (for you know what a chap I am when 




any thing 

said then, in an humble way, * Wouldn't I 
please to ffo back to the shop. Just for a day 
or two, till things is got to rights a bit' 
' Not a day nor a minute !' said I, in an im- 
mense rase. * We think you'd better, real- 
ly,' said 3iey.» 'Then,' says 1, * if that's your 
plan, curse me if I won't cut with you all, 
and I'll employ some one else !' and-*-would 
you believe me ! out I went, bang ! into the 
street!" 

**Yourft<«,Tit!" 

'^They shouldn't have given me so much 
brandy and water as they did; I didn't 
well know what I was about, what with the 
news and the spirits (" 

'* And you went into the street ^" inquired 
Huckaback, with a kind of honor. 

«'! did, indeed." 

'* They'd given you the spirits to see what 
kind of chap you'a be if yon got the proper- 
ty—only to try you, depend on it!" 

«<Lord] I— I dare say they did!" ex- 
clsimed Titmouse, elevating his head with 



sodden anuoement; totally forgetting that 
that same brandy and water he had asked 
for — '* and me never to think of it at the 
timel" 

'* Now are you quite sure you wasn't in 
a dream last night, all the while ?" 

'' Oh, dear, 1 wish I had been — I do in- 
deed, Hucky !" 

*' Well — ^you went into the street— what 
then!" inquired Huckaback, with a sigh of 
exhausted attention. 

'' Why, when I'd got there I was fit to 
bite my tongue off, as one may suppose; 
but, just as I was a-tuming to go in again, 
who should come up to me but Mr. Gam- 
mon, saying, he humbly hoped there was 
no offence." 

'' Oh, glorious ! So it was all set right 
again, Uien^— eh 1" 

*' Why — ^I — ^I can't quite exactly say that 
much, either — ^but— when I went back, 
(bein^ obligated by Mr. Gammon being so 
pressing,) Sie other two was sitting as pale 
as death; and though Mr. Gammon ana me 
went on our knees to the old gent, it wasn't 
any use for a long time; and all that he 
could be got to say was, that perhaps I 
might look in again to-night— (but they firat 
mi^e me swear a solemn oath on the iBible 
never to tell any one any thing about the 
fortune)— and then — you went. Huckaback, 
and you did the business ; they of courso 
concluding I'd sent you !" 

'* Bother ! that can't be. Don't you see 
how civilly they speak of me in their letter 1 
They're afraid of me, you may depend on 
it. By the way. Tit, how much did you 
promise to come down, if you got the 
thing !" 

*'0w»« (loton/— I — ^really— by Jove, I 
didn't ! No ! — ^I'm sure I didn't !" answer- 
ed Titmouse, as if new light had burst in 
upon him. 

''Why, Tit, I never seed such a goose! 
That's it, depend upon it— it's the whole 
thing. That's what they're driving at, in 
the note ! — ^Why, Tit, where vHuyoui wits t 
D'ye think such gents as them — great law- 
yers, too— will work for nothing!— You 
write and tell them you will come down 
handsom&— say a couple of hundreds, be- 
sides expenses — Gad! 'twill set you on 
your pins again. Titty ! — ^Rot me ! now I 
think of it, if I didn't dream last night that 
you was a member of Parliament, or some- 
thing of that sort." 

" A member of Parliament ! And so 1 
shall, if all this turns up well." 

" You see if niy dream don't come true ! 
You see, Titty,' I'm always a-thinking of 
you, day and night. Never was tw^ fel- 
lows that was such close friends as we was 
from the beginning." 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



53 



They had heen aoquasnted with each 
other about a year. 

<^ Hucky, what a cruel scamp I was to 
behave to you in the manner I did--cttr8e 
me, if I couldn't cry to see your eye bung- 
ed up in that way !" 

** Pho ! dear Titty, I knew yon loved me, 
all the while— and meant no harm; you 
wasn't yourself when you did it— and be- 
sides, 1 deserved ten times more.— B* you 
had killed me, I should have liked you as 
much as ever ! " 

'*Give us y<mr hand, Hucky! Let's 
forgive one another ! " cried Titmouse, ez- 
cit^ly: and their hands were quickly 
locked together. 

**Ifwe don't mismanage the thing, we 
shall be all right yet. Titty ; but you won't 
do any thing without speudng tome first- 
will you, iftty 1" 

^ The thoughts of it all going right again 
is enough to set me wild, Huckjr! — But what 
shall we do to set the thing going again?" 

** Quarter ptui one /" quivered the voice 
of the paralytic watchman beneath, startling 
the friends out of their exciting colloquy; 
his warning being at the same tmie silently 
seconded by the long-wicked candle, burn- 
ing within half an inch of its socket. They 
hastily agreed that Titmouse should imme- 
diately write to Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, 
and Snap, a proper, t. e. a most abject let- 
ter, solemnly plcuging himself to obey their 
injnnctions in every thing for the iiituie, 
and offering them a handsome reward for 
their exertions, if successful. 

«« Well— good-nijrht, Huck ! good night," 
said Titmouse, nsing. «*I am not the 
least sleepy — ^I shan't sleep a wink all 
night long ! I shall sit up to write my let- 
ter—you haven't got a sheet of paper, here, 
by the way 1— I've used all mine." That 
was, he had, some months before, bought a 
sheet to write a letter, and had so used it. 

Huckaback produced a sheet, somewhat 
erampled, from a drawer. **I'd give a 
hundred if I had them !" said he ; «' I sha'n't 
care a straw for the hiding I've got to- 
night — ^though I'm a ketle sore aner it, 
too— end what the deuce am I to say tonnor- 
row^to Messrs. Diape r " 

** Oh, you can't hardly be at a loss for a 
lie that'll suit them^ surely !— So good night, 
Hucky— good night !" 

Huckaback wrung his friend's hand, and 
was in a moment or two alone. ** Haven't 
my fingers been itching all the while to be 
at the fellow ! " exclaimed he as he shut 
the door. **But, somehow, I've got too 
soft a sperrit, and can't bear to hurt any 
one; — and then — if the chap gets his 
jeiO,OOOayear— why— hem! Titty ain't 
ettch a bad fellow, in the main, after aU." 



If Titmouse had been many degrees 
higher in the grade of society, he wouuMl 
have met with hie Huekabaek ;-^a trifle more 
polished, perhaps, but hardly more quick- 
sighted or effective than, in his wa^, had 
b^n the vulgar being he had just quitted ! 

Titmouse hastened homeward. How it 
was, he knew not ; but the feelings of ela- 
tion with which he had quitted Huckaback 
did not last long; they rapidly sunk, in the 
cold night air, lower and lower, the farther 
he got Rom Leicester Square. He tried to 
recollect tvhai it was that had made him 
take so very different a view of his affairs 
from that with which he had entered Huck- 
aback's room. He had still a vague im- 
pression that they were not desperate ; that 
Huckaback had told him so, and somehow 
proved it^ but how he now knew not— he 
could not recollect. As Huckaback had 
gone on, from time to time. Titmouse's little 
mind seemed to him to comprehend and ap- 
preciate what was said, and to gather en- 
couragement from it; but now— consume 
it! — he stopped— rubbed his forehead—^ 
what the deuce w€u it? By the time tiiat 
he had reached his own door, he felt in as 
deploring and despairing a humour ^s ever. 
He sat down to write his letter at once ; 
but, after many vain efforts to express His 
meaning — ^his feelings being not in the least 
degree relieved by the many oaths he utter- 
ed— -he at length furiously dashed his pen, 
point-wise, upon the table, and thereby d^ 
stroyed the only implement of the sort 
which he possessed. Then he tore, rather 
than pulled off, his clothes ; blew out his 
candle with a furious ^mj^; and threw him- 
self on the bed— but in so doing banged the 
back of his head against the back of the 
bed— «nd which suffered most, for some 
time after, probably Mr. Titmouse was 
best able to tell. 

Hath, then— oh, IHtmouse ! fated to un- 
dergo much! — the blind jade Fortune, in 
her mad vagariee— she, the groddess whom 
thou hast so long foolishly worshipped — at 
length cast her sportful eye upon thee, and 
singled thee out to become the envy of mil- 
lions of admiring fools; by reason of the 
pranks she will presently make thee exhibit 
for her amusement? If this be indeed, as 
at present it promises, her intent, she truly, 
to me calmly watching her movements, ap- 
pears resolved first to wreak her spite upon 
thee to the uttermost, and make thee pass 
through intense sufferings! Oh me! Oh 
me ! Alas ! 

The accident, for such It was, by which. 

Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap became 

possessed of the important information 

I which put them into motion, as we have 

I seen, to find out by advertisement one y^ 

5 



84 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



unknown to them, it will not be necessary, 
for 8(Hne time, for me to explain. Theirs 
was a keen house, truly ; and they would 
not, one may be sure, have lightly commit- 
ted themselves to their present extent, 
namely, in inserting such an advertisement 
in the newspapers, and above all, goin? so 
far in their disclosures to Titmouse. Their 
prudence in the latter step, however, was 
very (questionable to themselves, even; and 
they immediately afterwards deplored to- 
gether the precipitation with which Mr. 
Qilirk had communicated to Titmouse the 
nature and extent of his possible good for- 
tune. It was Mr. Qmrk^s own doing, 
however, and after as much expostulation 
as the cautious Gammon could venture to 
use. He, however, had his motive, as 
well as Mr. Grammon. I say they had not 
lightly taken up the affair; they had not 
«« acted unadvisedly." They were fortified, 
first, by.the opinions of Mr. Mortmain, an 
able and experienced conveyancer; who 
thus wound up an abstrusely learned opinion 
on the voluminous ^^case'* which haa been 
submitted to him :^ 

«« • • Under all these circumstances, I 
am decidedly of opinion that the well-es- 
tablished rule of law above adverted to, viz., 
&c., &c., &c., is clearly applicable to the 
present case ; from which it follows, tliat 
the title to the estates in question is at this 
moment not in their present possessor, but 
in 1789 passed through Dame Dorothy 
Dreddlington into the female line, and ulti- 
mately vested in Grabriel Tittlebat Tit- 
mouse—who, however, seems not to have 
been at all aware of the existence of his 
rights, or he could hardly have been con- 
cerned in the pecuniary arrangements sanc- 
tioned at fol. 33 of the case. And his 
heirs— probably something may be heard 
of them by making carefiu inquiry in the 
neighborhood where he was last heard of, 
and issuing advertisements for his heir-at- 
law ; care of course being taken not to be 
so specific in the terms of such advertise- 
ments as to attract ^e notice of A B, (the 
party, I presume, now in possession.) If 
such persons should, by the means above 
suggested, be discovered, I advise proceed- 
ings to be commenced forthwith, under the 
advice of some gentleman of experience at 
the common law bar. 

** MoiTLDY Mortmain. 

•( Une. bm, January 19, ie2-.»> 

This was sufliciently gratifying to the 
*' House;'* but, to make assurance doubly 
sure, before embarking in so harassing and 
expensive an enterprise, the same ea»e^ (of 
eomse without Mr. Mortmain's opinion) 
was laid before a younger conveyancer; who, 



having much less business than Mr. Mort- 
main, would, it was thought, ^look into the 
case fully," diough receiving only one-third 
of the fee which had been paid to Mr. Mort- 
main. And Mr. Fussy Frankpledge— that 
was his name— c?t(2 *Mook into the case 
fully," and in doing so, turned over two- 
thirds of his little library, and by note, and 
verbally, gleaned the Opinions upon the sub- 
ject of some dozen or so of his ** learned 
niends ; " to say nothing of the ma^rnificent 
air with which he indoctrinated his eager 
and confiding pupils upon the subject. At 
length his imp or a clerk bore the precious 
result of his master's labours to Saffron 
Hill, in the s^pe of an ** opinion," three 
times as long as, and indescribably more 
difficult to understand than, the opinion of 
Mr. Mortmain, and which, if it demonstra- 
ted any thing beyond the prodigious cram 
which had been undergone by its writer for 
the purpose of producing it, demonstrated 
tIu8---oamely, that neither the party indica- 
ted by Mr. Mortmain, nor tne one then 
actually in possession, had any mors right 
to the estate than the aforesaid Mr. Frank- 
pledge; but that the happy individual so 
entitled was some third person. Messrs. 
Quirk and Gammon hummed and hawed a 
good deal on perusing these contradictory 
opinions of counsel learned in the law; and 
the proper result followed — i. e. a ^'consul- 
TATioN," which was to solder up all the 
differences between Mr. Mortmain ^and 
Mr. Frankpledge, or at all events strike 
out some light which might guide their 
clients on their adventurous way. 

Now Mr. Mortmain had been Mr. Quirk^s 
conveyancer for about three years; and 
Quirk was ready to suffer death in defence 
of any opinion of Mr. Mortmain. Mr. 
Gammon swore by Frankpledge, who was 
his brother-in-law, and of course a '* rising 
man." Mortmain belonged to the old 
school— -Frankpledge steered by the new 
liff hts. The former could point to hundreds 
of cases in &e Law Reports which had been 
ruled according to his opinion, and some 
fifty that had been overruled thereby; the 
latter, al^ou^jh he had been only five 
years in practice, had written an opinion 
which lea to a suit which had ended in a 
difference of opinion between the Court of 
Kin^r^s Bench and the Common Pleas, the 
credit of having done which was really not 
a bit tarnished by the decision of a Court of 
Error, without hearing the other side, 
againtt the opinion of^Mr. Frankpledge, 
fiut-^— 

Mr. Frankpledge quoted to many cases, 
and went to the bottom of every thing— and 
was 90 civil. 

Well, the ooDBultation came off, at length, 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



at Mr. Mortmain's chamberBy at eiffht 
o'clock in the erenin^. A few minutes be- 
fore that hoar, Messrs. Quirk and Gammon 
were to be seen in the clerk's room, in 
ciTil conTersation with that prim functionar 
rjj who explained to them that he did all 
Mr. Mortmain's drafting, pupils were jo 
idle ; that Mr. Mortmain did not score out 
much of what he (the aforesaid clerk) had 
drawn; that he noted up Mr. Mortmain's 
new cases for him in the reports, Mr. M. 
hayingr so little time; and that the other 
day the Vice Chancellor called on Mr. 
Mortmain, with sereral other matters of 
that sort, calculated to enhance the impor- 
tance of Mr. Mortmain, who, as tha clerk 
was asking Mr. Gammon, in a sood-na- 
tnred way, how long Mr. Frankpledge had 
been in practice, and where his chambers 
were, made his appearance, with a cheerful 
look and a bustline gait, having just walk- 
ed down from his house in Queen's Square, 
(somewhere in the wilds of Bedford Square, 
as Mrs. Gore delights to call them, in her 
West-End pleasantry,) with a comfortable 
bottle of ola port on board. Shortly after- 
wards, Mr. Frankpledge arrived, followed 
by his little clerk, bending beneath two 
bags of books, (unconscious bearer of as 
much law as had well nigh'split thousands 
of learned heads, broken tens of thousands 
of hearts, in the making of, being destined 
to have a similar but far greater effect in the 
applyi^ of,) and the consultation besan. 

As Frankpledge entered, he could not 
help casting a sheep's eye towards a table 
tiiat glistened with tueh an array of " pa- 
pers," (a tasteful arrangement of Mr. Mort> 
main's clerk before every consultation,) and 
down sat the two conveyancers and the 
two attorneys. I devoutly wish I had time 
to describe the scene at length; but greater 
events are pressing upon me. The two 
conveyancers fencM with one another for 
some time very guardedly and good-hu- 
mouredly; pleasant was it to observe the 
conscious condescension of Mortmain, the 
anxious energy and volubility of Frank- 
pledge. When Mr. Mortmain said any 
thinff that seemed weighty or pointed, 
Quiric looked with an elated air, a quick 
triumphant glance, at Gammon; who, in 
his turn, whenever Mr. Frankpledge quo- 
ted an *< old case" from Bendloe, Godsbolt, 
or the Year Books, (which, having always 
piqued himself in his almost exclusive ac- 
quaintance with the modem cases, he made 
a point of doing,) gazed at Quirk with a 
smile of placid superiority. Mr. Frank- 
pledge tallied almost the whole time : Mr. 
Mortmain immovable in the view of the 
case he had taken in his **opinion," listened 
with an attentive, good-natured ear, rumi- 



nating pleasantly the while upon the quality 
of the port he had been drinKing, (the first 
of the bin which he had tasted,) and the de- 
cision which the Chancellor nught come to 
on a case bfou^t into court, on his advice, 
and which had been argued that afternoon. 
At last Frankpledge unwittingly fell foul of 
a favourite crotchet of Mortmain's— and at 
it they went} hammer and ton^fs, for nearly 
twenty minutes, (it had nothing whatever 
to do with the case they were commenting 
upon.) In the end. Mortmain of course 
adhered to his points, and Frankpledge en- 
trenched himself in his books ; each slightly 
yielded to the views of the other on immap 
terial points, (or what could have appeared 
the use of the consultation ?) but did that 
which both had resolved upon doing from 
the first, t. e. sticking to his original opinion. 
Both had talked an amazing deal of deep 
law, which had at least one effect, viz., it 
&irly drowned both Quirk and Gammon, 
who, as they went home, with not (it must 
be owned) the clearest perceptions in the 
world of what had been going on, (though, 
before going to the consultation, each had 
really known a good deal about the case,) 
stood each stoutly by his conveyancer's 
opinion, each protesting that he had never 
been once misled — Quirk by Mortmain, or 
Gammon by Frankpledge--«nd each re- 
solved to give his man more of the business 
of the house than he had before. I grieve 
to add that they parted that night with a 
trifle less of cordiality than had been their 
wont. In the momino^, however, this little 
irritation and competition had passed away ; 
and they agreed, before giving up the case, 
to take the final opinion of Mr. Tresatlb — 
the gre^ Mr. Tresayle. He was, indeed, 
a wonderful conveyancer — a perfect miracle 
of real-property law-learning. He had 
such an enormous practice for forty-five 
years, ^at for the last ten he had never put 
his nose out of chambers for pure want of 
time, and at last of inclination; and had 
been so conversant with Norman French 
and law Latin, in the old English letter, 
that he had almost entirely forgotten how to 
write the modem English character. His 
opinions made tiieir appearance in three dif- 
ferent kinds of handwriting. First, one 
that none but he and his old clerk could 
make out ; secondly, one that none but he 
himself could read ; and thirdly, one that 
neither he, nor his clerk, nor any one on 
earth could decipher. The use of any one 
of these styles dep^ded on— the difficulty 
of the case to be answered. If it were an 
easy one, the answer was veiy judiciously 
put into No. I ; if rather difficult, it, of 
course, went into No. II ; and if exceedingly 
difficult, (and also impOTtant,) it was very 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



properly thrown into No. Ill ; being a ques- 
tion that really ought not to have bem asked, 
and did not deseire an answer. The fruit 
within these uncouth shells, howeYer, was 
pfedotts; Mr. Tresayle's law was supreme 
oyer eveiy body's else. It was currently re- 
ported tiliat Lord Eldon even (who was him- 
self slightly acquainted with such subjects) 
reverently defened to the authority of Mr. 
Tresayle; and would lie winking and knitting 
his shaggy eye brows, half the ni^ht, if he 
tiiought that Mr. Tresayle's opimon on a 
case and his own differed. This was the 
great authority, to whom, as in the last re- 
sort, Messrs. Quirk,' Gammon, and Snap, 
resolved to appeal. To his chambers they, 
within a day or two afier their consultation 
at Mr. Mortmain's, desoatched their case, 
with a highly respectable fee, and a special 
compliment to his clerk, hoping to hear 
from that awful quarter within two months 
—-which was the earliest avera^ period 
within which Mr. Tresayle's opimons found 
their way to his patient but anxious clients. 
It came, at lengtii, with a note fn»n Mr. 
Faithful, his clerk, intimating that they 
would find him at chambers the next morn- 
ing, prepared to explain the opinion to them ; 
having just had it read over to him by Mr. 
Tresayle, for it proved to be in No. II. The 
opinion occupied about two pages; and the 
hand-writing boro a strong resemblance to 
Chinese, or Arabic, with a quaint intermix- 
ture of the Uncial Greek character— it was 
impossible to contemplate it without a cer- 
tain feeling of awe ! In vain did old Quirk 
squint at it, from all quarters, for nearly a 
couple of hours (having first called in the 
assistance of a friend m his, an old attorney 
of fifty years' standing;) nay— eyen Mr. 
€rammon, foiled at length, could not for the 
life of him refrain from a soft curse or two. 
Neither of them could make any thin^ of 
it— (as for Snap, they never showed it to 
him ; it was not within his province-— «. e. 
the Insolvent Debtor's Court, the Old Bai- 
ley, the Clerkenwell Sessions, the inferior 
business of the Common Law Courts, and 
the worrying of the clerks of the office--a 
department in which he was perfection 
itself.) 

To thdr great delight, Mr. Tresayle's 
opinion completely corroborated Mr. Mort- 
main's, (neither whose nor Mr. Frank- 
pledge's had been laid before him.) No- 
tfaiiiff could be more terse, perspicuous, and 
conclusive than the great man's opinion. 
Mr. Quirk was in raptures, and immediate- 
ly set out for an engraving of Mr. Tresayle, 
which had lately come out, for which he 
paid 5a., and ordered it to be framed and 
nung up in his own room, where already 
grinned a quaint iMemblanoe in black pro- 



file, of Mr. Mortmain. In special good-hu- 
mour he assured Mr. Gammon, (who was 
plainly somewhat crestfallen aoout Mr. 
Franlipledge,) that every body must have ' 
a beginning; and he (Quirx) had been 
once only a oeginner. 

Once fairly on the scent, Mes^ra. Quirk 
and Gammon soon began secretlj but ener- 
g[etically to push their inquiries m all direc- 
tions. They discovered that Gabriel Tit- 
tlebat Titmouse, having spent the chief 
portion of his blissful days as a cobbler at 
iVhitehaven, had died in London, some- 
where about the year 1792 or 1793. At 
this point they stood for a long while, in 
spite of two advertisements to which they 
had been driven with the greatest reluc- 
tance, for fear of attracting me attention of 
those most interested in thwarting them. 
Even that part of the ^air had been managed 
somewhat skilfally. It was a stroke of 
Gammon's to advertise, not for ** Heir at 
Law," but ^Next of Kin^*^ as the reader 
has seen. The former might have chal- 
lenf^ed a notice of unfriendly curiosity, 
which the latter was hardly calculated to 
attract. At length*— at the *Uhird time 
of asking"— up turned Tittlebat Tit- 
mouse, in the way which we have seen 
His relationship with Mr. Gabriel Tittlebat 
Titmouse was indisputable ; in fact he was 
that <' deceased pereon's" heii^t-law. The 
reader may guess the chagrin of Mr. Gam- 
mon at the appearance, manner, and cha- 
racter of the person whom he fully believed, 
on firet seeing him at Messre. Dowlas's, to 
be the ri^tral owner of the fine estates 
held by one who, as against Mr. Titmouse, 
had no more real title to them than had Mr. 
Tagrag ; and for whom their house was to 
undertake the very grave responsibility of 
instituting such proceedings as would be 
requisite to place Air. Titmouse in the posi- 
tion which tney believed him entitled to oc- 
cupy — Shaving to encounter a hot and despe- 
rate opposition at every point, from those 
who had nine-tenths of the law— to wit, 
po99€»9i(m^-oji their side, on which they 
stood as upon a rock ; and with immense 
means for carrying on the war defensive. 

ThatMessra. Quirk, Gammon, and Snajp, 
did not contemplate undertaking all this, 
without having calculated upon its proving 
well worthy their while, was only reasona- 
ble. They were going voluntarily to be- 
come the means of conferring immense be- 
nefits upon one who was a total stranger to 
them— who had not a penny to expend upon 
the prosecution of his own rights. Setting 
aside certain difiiculties which collected 
Aemselves into two awkward words, Mauc- 
TOfANca and Champxrty, and stared them 
in .tibe face whenever they contemplated 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



37 



vny obvious method of secaring the just re- 
ward of their enterprise and toils — setting 
aside all thisy I say, it might turn out, only 
after a ruinous expenditure, that the high 
authorities which had sanctioned their pro- 
ceedings, in point of law, had expressed 
their favourable opinions on a state of facts, 
which, however plain and compact they 
looked on paper, could not be properly sub- 
stantiated, if keenly sifted, and determinedly 
resisted. All this, too— all their time, la- 
bour, fnd money, to go for nothing-— on be- 
half of a vulgar, selfish, ignorant, presump- 
tuous, ungrateful puppy, like 'fitmouse. 
Well indeed, therefore, might Mr. Gammon, 
as we have seen he did, give himself and 
partners a forty-eight hours* interval be- 
tween his interview with Titmouse and 
formal introduction to the firm, in which to 
consider their position and mode of proce- 
dure. The taste of his quality which that 
first interview afforded them all— so far sur- 
passing all that the bitter description of him 
given to them by Mr. Gammon had pre- 
pared them for—filled them with inexpressi- 
ole disgust, and would have induced them 
to throw up the whole affair — so getting 
rid both of it and him together. But then, 
on the other hand, there were certain very 
great advantages, both of a professional and 
even directly pecuniary kind, which it 
would have been madness, indeed, for any 
ofiice lightly to throw away. It was really, 
afler all, an unequal struggle between fil- 
ing and interest. If they should succeed in 
unseating the present wrongrful possessor 
of a very splendid property, and putting in 
his place the rightful owner, by means 
alone, of their own professional ability, 
perseverance, and heavy pecuniary outlay, 
(a fearful consideration truly !) what re- 
compense could be too great for such re- 
splendent services ? To say nothing of the 
eclat which it would gain for ^eir c%ce, in 
the profession, and in the world at large, 
and the substantial and permanent advan- 
tages, if, as they ought to be, they were en- 
trusted with the genera] managem^it of the 
property by the new and inexperienced, 
and coxmding owner-^-ay, but there was the 
rub ! What a disheartening and disgust- 
ing specimen of such new owner had dis- 
closed itself to their anxiously expecting 
but soon recoiling eyes— always, however, 
making due allowances for one or two 
cheerinff indications, on Mr. Titmouse's 
part, of a certain rapacious and litigious 
humour which might pleasantly and profi- 
tably occupy their energies for some time to 
come! Tneir position and interests had 
long made them sharp observers; but when 
did low and disgusting qualities ever be- 
fore force themselves into such revoltinff 

D 



prominence as his had done, in the very 
moment of an expected display of the better 
feelings of human nature— such as enthu- 
siastic gratitude 1 They had in their time 
to deal with some pleasant specimens of 
humanity, to be sure — ^but where any more 
odious and impracticable than Tittlebat Tit- 
mouse threatened to prove himself? What 
hold could they get upon such a character 
as hisi Beneath all his coarseness and 
weakness, there was a glimmer of low cun- 
ning, which might, exteris paribus^ keep 
their superior and practised astuteness in 
full play. These were difficulties, cheei^ 
less enough in the contemplation, truly ; but 
nevertheless, the partnere could not bear the 
idea of escaping from them by throwing up 
the affair altogether. Then came the ques- 
tion— How were they to manage Titmouse t 
— ^how acquire an early and firm hold of 
him, so as to convert him into a capital c/t- 
ent ? His fears and his interests were ob- 
viously the engines with which their expe* 
rienced hands were to work ; and several 
long and most anxious consultations had 
Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, had on 
this important matter. The first great 
question with them was — ^To what extent 
and when they should acquaint him with 
the nature of his expectations ? 

Gammon was for keeping him compara- 
tively in the dark, till success was within 
reach ; during that interval, (which mipfht 
be a long one,) by alternately stimulating 
his hopes and fears ; by habituating him to 
an entire dependence on them ; by persua- 
ding him of the extent of their exertions anjl 
sacrifices on his behalf— they might do 
something; mould him a little into shape 
fit for their purposes; and persuade him 
that his affairs must needs go to ruin, but 
in their hands. Something like this was 
the scheme of the cautious, acute, and placid 
Gammon. Mr. Quirk thought thus:— tell 
the fellow at once the whole extent of what 
we can do for him, viz. turn a half-starving 
linen draper's shopman into the owner of 
jS 10,001^ a year, and a great store of ready 
money. This will, in a manner, stun him 
into submission, and make him at once and 
fbr all what we want him to be. He will 
immediately fall prostrate with reverent 
gratitude—looking at us, moreover, as three 
ffods, who at our will, can shut him out of 
heaven. TTiata the way, said Mr. Quirk ; 
and Mr. Quirk had been forty years in 
practice-4iad made the business what it 
was— «till held half of it in his own hands 
rtwo-thirds of the remaining half beinsr 
Gammon's, and the residue Snap's^ ; and 
Gammon, moreover, had a very aistinct 
perception tiiat the funds for carrying on 
the war would come out of the tolerably 



38 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



well-«tored pockets of their senior partner. 
So, after a long discussion, he openly 
yielded his opinion to that of Mr. Quirky — 
cherishing, however, no very warm respect 
for it in his own bosom. As for Snap, that 
distinguished member of the firm was rery 
little consulted in the matter ; which had 
not been brought into that stage where his 
Dowerful energies could come into play. 
He had of course, howerer, heard a good 
deal of what was going on ; and knew that 
ere-long there would be the copying out and 
serving of the lord knows how many copies 
of declarations in ejectment, motions against 
the casual elector, and so forth — be was 
quite up to all those (juaint and anomalous 
proceedings. Well, it was agreed that the 
communication to 'Htmouse, on his first 
interview, of the full extent of his splendid 
expectations, should depend npon the dis- 
cretion of Mr. Quirk. The reader has seen 
the unexpected turn which matters took 
upon that important occasion: and if it 
proTed Quirk^s policy to be somewhat in- 
ferior in point of discretion and long-sighted- 
ness to that of Gammon, still it must be 
owned that the latter had cause to admire 
the rapid generalship with which the con- 
sequences of Quirk's false move had been 
retrieved by him — not ill seconded by Snap. 

What could have been more judicious 
than his reception of Titmouse, on the 
occasion of his being led in again by the 
subtle Gammon ? 

The next and greatest matter was how to 
obtain any hold upon such a person as Tit- 
mouse, so as to secure to Uiemselves, in the 
event of success, the remuneration to which 
they considered themselves entitled. Was 
it so p«rfectly clear that, if he felt disposed 
to resist it, they could compel him to pay 
the mere amount of their bill of costs 1 
Suppose he should turn round upon them, 
and nave their Bill Taxkd— Quirk grunted 
with fright at the bare thought. Then 
there was a slapping qtUddam honorarium 
extra^-undoubtedly tor (Ao/ they must, they 
feared, trust to the honour and gratitude of 
Titmouse ; and a pretty taste of his quality 
they had already experienced! Such a 
disposition as his to have to rely upon for 
the prompt settlement of a bill of thousands 
of pounds of costs ; and, besides that, to 
have it to look to for the payment of at least 
some Aye thousand pounds cfeueeur^— nay, 
and this was not all. Mr. Quirk had, as 
well as Mr. Gammon, cast many an anxious 
eye on the following passages from a cer- 
tain work entitled ilaekilone' 9 CommerUor 



by < maintaining' or assisting either party 
with money, or otherwise, to prosecute or 
defend it. * * It is an offence against 
public justice, as it keeps alive strife and 
contention, and perverts the remedial pro- 
cess of the law into an engine of oppres- 
sion. * * The punishment by common law 
is fine and imprisonment, and by statute 33 
Hen. Vin. c. 9, a forfeiture of jBlO !" 

«* Champerty— (campi oar/tiio)— -is a 
species of maintenance, ana punished in the 
same manner; being a bargain with a 

Slaintiff or defendant * campum partirij'* to 
ivide the land, or other matter sued for, 
between them, if they prevail at law; 
whereupon the champertor is to carry on 
the suit at his own expense. * * lliese 
pests of civil society, that are perpetually 
endeavouring to disturb the repose of their 
neighbours, and officiously interfering in 
other men's quarrels, even at the hazard of 
their own fortunes, were severely animad- 
verted on by the Roman law ; and they 
were punished by the forfeiture of a third 
part or their goods, and perpetual infamy." 



t» 



rtesf 



** Maintenarcb Lb an officious intermed- 
dling in a suit that no way belongs to one. 



These are pleasant passa^. 

Many were the conversations and consul- 
tations which the partners had had with 
Messrs. Mortmain and Frankpledge re- 
spectively, upon Uie interesting question, 
whether there were any mode of at once 
securing themselves against the ingratitude 
of Titmouse, and protecting themselves 
against the pen^ties of the law. It made 
Mr. Quirk*s bald head even flush all over 
whenever he thought of their bill being 
taxed, or contemplated himself the inmate 
of a prison, (above all, at his advanced time 
oflite,^ with mournful leisure to meditate 
upon the misdeeds that had sent him thither, 
to which profitable exercise the legislature 
would have specially stimulated him by a 
certain ySfi« above mentioned. As for Gam- 
mon, he knew there mtui be a way of doing 
the thing somehow or another; for his friend 
Frankpledge felt infinitely less difficulty in 
the way man Mortmain, whom he consi- 
dered a timid and old-fashioned practitioner. 

The courts, he said, were now setting 
their faces strongly against the doctrine of 
maintenance, as bemg rounded on a bygone 
state of things, {uMsarde raiione eeuat ei 
ipsa lex, was his favourite maxim.) There 
was no wrong without a remedy, he said ; 
and was there not wrong in the case of a 
poor man wrongfully deprived of his ownl 
And how could this be remedied, if the old 
law of maintenance stood like a bugbear in 
the way of humane and spirited pra<^tition- 
ers 1 Was no one to be able to take up the 
cause of the oppressed, encouraged by the 
prospect of an ample recompense 1 If it 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



39 



was said^et the claimant sue in forma 
pauperis.- but then he must swear that he is 
not worth five pounds ; and a man may not 
be able to take that oath, and yet be un- 
equal to the commencement of a suit re- 
quiring the outlay of thousands. More- 
over, a pretty prospect it was for such a 
suitor, {in forma pauperis,) if he should 
happen to be nonsuited — ^to be '* put to his 
election, whether to be whipped or pay the 
costs."* Thus reasoned within himself 
that astute person, Mr. Frankpledge ; and 
at length satisfied himself that he had framed 
an instrument which would ^'meet the 
case" — that "would hold water." I am 
not very well versed in legal matters ; but 
to the best of my recollection it was some- 
thing in the nature of a bond, conditioned to 
pay the sum of ten thousand pounds to 
Messra^ Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, within 
two months of Titmouse's being put into 
possession of the rents and profits. The 
condition of that bond was, as its framer be- 
lieved, drawn in a masterly manner, and his 
draft was lying before Messre. Quirk, Gam- 
mon, and Snap, on the Wednesday morning 
-^'. e. the day after Htmouse's interview wiu 
them— and had succeeded at length in exci- 
ting the approbation of Mr. Quirk himself; 
when- — ^whew !— down came a note from Mr. 
Frankpledge, to the effect that, " since prepa- 
ring the draft bond," he had "had reason 
slightly to moeffjTy his original opinion," ow- 
ing to his " having lit upon a latb case,"iin 
which an instrument precisely similar to the 
one which he had prepared for his admiring 
clients, had been held totally ** ineffectu^ 
and void both at law and in equity." I say, 
Mr. Frankpl edge's note was to that effect; 
for 80 ingeniously had he framed it— so ef- 
fectually concealed his retreat beneath a 
little cloud of contradictory authorities, like 
as the ink-fish, they say, eludeth its pursu- 
ers — that his clients cursed the law, not 
their draftsmen: and, moreover, by pru- 
dently withholding the name of the "late 
case," he at all events, for a while, had 
prevented their observing that it was senior 
to some eight or ten cases which (inde&ti- 
gable man !) he had culled for them out of 
3ie legal garden, and arrayed on the back 
of the draft. Slightly disconcerted were 
Messrs. Quirk ana Gammon, it may be be- 
lieved at this new view of the "result of 
the authorities." " Mortmain is always 
right !" said Quirk, lookin? hard at €ram- 
mon; who observed simply that one day 
Frankpledge would be as old as Mortmain 
then was, by which time (tlionghthe) I also 
know where you will be, my old friend, if 
there's any truth in the Scriptures ! In this 

• BlackatODS, toI. ill. p. 400, whers h !■ tuted, how- 
ever, ** tkat prtcUce \» bow dlioMd.*' 



pleasant frame of mind were the partners, 
when the impudent apparition of Hucka- 
back presented itself, in the manner which 
has been described. Huckaback's com- 
mentary on the disgusting text of Titmouse 
overnight, (as a lawyer would say, in ana- 
logy to a well-known term, "Coke upon 
Littleton,"^ produced an effect upon their 
minds which may be guessed at. It was 
while their minds were under these two 
soothing influences, t. e. of the insolence of 
Huckaback, and the' vacillation of Frank- 
pledge, that Mr. Gammon had penned the 
note to Titmouse, (surely, under the cir- 
cumstances, one of extraordinary tempe- 
rance and forbearance,) which had occasion- 
ed Titmouse the agonies which I have been 
attempting faintly to describe ;— and that 
Quirk, summoning Snap into the room, 
had requested him to give orders for denial 
to Titmouse if he should again make his 
appearance at the office; which injunction 
Snap forthwith delivered in the clerk's 
room, in a tone and manner that were a 
model of the imperative mood. 

A day or two afterwards, Mr. Quirk, 
(who was a man that stuck like a limpet to 
a rock to any point which occurred to him,) 
in poring over that page in the fourth vol- 
ume of olackstone's Commentaries, where 
were to be found the passages which have 
been already quoted, (and which both Quirk 
and Gammon nad long had off by heart,) 
as he sate one day at dinner, at home, 
whither he had taken the volume in ques- 
tion, fancied he had at last hit upon a nota- 
ble crotchet, which, the more he thought of, 
the more he was struck with ; determining 
to pay a visit in the morning to Mr. Mort- 
main. The spark of light that had twinkled 
till it kindled in the tinder of his mind, was 
struck by his hard head out of the follow- 
ing sentence of the text in question : — 

"A man may, however, maintain the 
suit of his near kinsman, servant, or poor 
NEIGHBOUR, out of charity and compassion, 
with impunity; otherwise, the punishment 
is," &c., &c. 

Now, it seemed to Mr. Quirk, that the 
words which I have placed in italics and smalb 
capitals, exactly met the case of poor Tit- 
tleoat Titmouse. He stuck to that view of 
the case, till he almost began to think that 
he really had a kind of a sort of a charity 
and compassion for poor Tittlebat— kept oat 
of his rights-— tyrannized over by a vulgar 
draper in Oxford Street — ^where, too, no 
doubt, he was half-starved. " It's a ffreat 
blessing that one's got the means — and the 
inclination, to serve one's poor neighbour"— 
thought Quirk, as he slowly swallowed 
another glass of the toine thai makeih glad 
the heart of nuifi— and also softens it ;— for 



40 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



the more he drank, (what else had he to en- 
joy 1— for he had been a widower,) the 
more and more pitiful became his mood — 
the more sensitive was he to compassionate 
suggestions ; and by the time that he had 
fimshed the decanter, he was actually in 
tears. These Tirtuous feelings brought 
their own reward, too— for, firom time to 
time they conjured up the faint image of a 
bond conditioned for the payment of ten 

THOUSAND POUNDS ! 

To chanee the metaphor a little— by the 
time that old Quirk had reached his office 
in the mominff, the heated iron had cooled; 
if his heart had retained any of the maudlin 
* softness of the preceding evening, the fol- 
lowing pathetic letter from Titmouse might 
have made a very deep impression upon it, 
and fixed him in the benevolent and disin- 
terested mind of the old lawyer as indeed 
his " poor neighbour/' The following is 
an exact copy of it. It had been written by 
Titmouse, all out of his own head ; and 
with Ms own hand had he left it, at a late 
hour on the night before. 

*'To Messrs, Quirk, Gammon, and Snap. 
" Gents, 
•*Yr Este^nM Favour his now before 
Me, which muat <atf have Given me Much 
Concern, seeii^I Thought it was All Made 
up betwixt us That was of Such an Uh- 
pieasant Nature on Tuesday night (ultimo) 
wh I most humbly Own (and Acknowledge) 
was all alone and iniirely of my Own Fault, 
and Not in the Least Your*s which beha- 
ved to me. Must say, in the most Respect- 
ful and superior manner that was possible 
to think Of, for I truly say I never was in 
the Company of Such Imminent and Supe- 
rior Gents before In my Life wh will take 
my Oath sincerely Of, Gents. Please to 
consider the Brandy (wh do think tvas Un- 
common Siiff) such a fiustrum As I Was In 
before, to, wh was Evident to All of Us 
there then Assemblid and very natral like 
to be the Case Seeing I have nevir known 
what Peas of Mind was since I behaved in 
Such a Oudaeious way wh truly was the case 
I can't Deny to Such Gents as Yourselfs 
that were doing me such Good Fortune 
And Kindness to me as it would Be a 
Dreadful sin and ahame (such as Trust I 
can never be Guil^ of) to be (wh am not) 
and never Can Be insensible Of, Gents do 
Consider all this Favourably because of my 
humble Amends wh I here Make with the 
greatest Trouble in my Mind that I have 
Bad Ever Since, it was all of the Sperrits 
I Tooke wh made me Go On at such a Rate 
wh was always (be^ to Assure 3rr respe 
house) the Case Smee my birth when 



I took Sperrits near so little Since I had the 
Measles when I was 3 Years Old as I Well 
Recollect and hope it will be Born in Mind 
what is Often Said, and I'm sure I've read 
it Somewhere Else that People that is 
Drunk Always speaks the Direct Contrary^ 
wiu of their True and Real Thoughts, (wh 
am Certain never was any Thing Truer in 
my case) so as I get the Money or Wliat 
not, do whatever you like wh are quite wel- 
come to Do if you please, and No questions 
Asked, don't Mind saying by The Way it 
shall Be As Good as j8200 note in The 
way of your Respe House if I Get the 
Estate of wh am much in want of. Mr* 
Gamon (wh is the most Upright gent that 
ever I came across in All my Life) will tell 
you that I Was Quite Cut up when he 
came Afler me in that kind Way and told 
him Then how I loved yr Respecte House 
and would do all in My power to Serve 
You, which see if I don't, 1 was in Such a 
rage with the Fellow (He's only in a iSiVtio- 
lion in Trottexdiaih C : Road) Huckaback 
which is his true name it was an oudacioiis 
thing, and have griven him such a precious 
Good hiding last Night as you never saw 
when on his Bendid Knees He asked the 
pardon of your Respectable House, say^ 
nothing Of Me wh wd not allow because I 
said I would Not Forgive Him because be 
had not injured me : But you, wh I wonder 
at his Impudence in Calling on Professional 
Gents llKe you, if I get the Estate shall 
never cease to Think well of you and mean 
While how full of Trouble I am Often 
T%inking tf Death which is the End of 
Every Tiling And then in that Case who 
will the Property Go to Seeing I Have 
never a Brother or Sister Behind me. And 
Therefore Them That wd Get it I Feel Sure 
of wd Not do So Well by you (if You will 
Only believe me) So Gents. This is All 
at present That I will Make so bold to trou* 
ble you With about my Unhappy Affairs 
Only to say that am used most Intolerably 
Bad now In The Shop quite Tyranicall Ana 
Mr. Taffraff as Set Them All Against Me 
and I snalf Never Get another Situatn for 
want of a Charr which he will give me 
sayg nothg at Present of the Sort of Victules 
wh give me Now to Eat Since Monday last. 
For Which am Sure the Devil must have 
Come In to That Gentleman (Mr. Tanaff^ 
he was only himself in a situation in Hoi* 
bom once, getts the Business by marryg 
the widow wh wonder At for he is nothing 
particular to Look At) I am yrs 

<< Humbly to Command 
Till Death (always Humbly Begging par* 
don for the bad Conduct wh was guilty of 
when In Liquor Especially On an Empty 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



41 



Stomach, Having Taken No&inff all that 
Day excepting what I could not Eat,) 

" Your's most Respy 
** Tittlebat Titmouse. 

"P. S. WiU Bring That young Man 
with Tears in his .Eyes to Bcp jr pardon 
Over again If Yoii Like wh will Solemnly 
Swear if Required That he did it all of His 
evm Head And th^t Hare ^ven it him For 
it in the Way That is Written Ahore And 
humbly Trust You Will make Me So happy 
Once more by Writing To Me Tif it is only 
a Line) to say You have Thought No more 
of it. T. T. No. 9 Closet Ct. Oxford St 

This touching epistle, I was sa^rin?, 
might have brought tears into Mr. Quirk's 
eyes, \£ he had oeen uted to the melting 
mood, which he was not; having never 
been seen to shed a tear but once-— when 
five-sixths of his little bill of costs (dSl95, 
I5s. id.) were taxed off in an action on a 
Bill of Exchange for £20. As it was, he 
tweedled the letter about in his hands for 
about five minutes, in ji musing mood, and 
then stepped with it into Mr. Gammon's 
toom. That gentleman took the letter with 
an air of curiosilj, and read it over ; at every 
sentence, (if indeed a sentence was in it) 
bursting into soft laughter. 

** Ha, ha, ha!" he laughed on concluding 
it—*' a comical gentleman, Mr. Titmouse, 
upon my honour T" 

^' Funny — ^is'nt it rather 1" interposed 
Mr. Quirk, standing with his hands fum- 
bling in his breeches pockets. 

*' What a crawling, despicable rascal ! — 
ha, ha, ha !" 

" Why — ^I don't quite say that, either," 
said Quirk, doubtingly — ** I— 4on't exactly 
look at it in Mo/ light" 

**My dear sir!" exclaimed Gammon, 
leaning back in his chair, and laughing 
rather Heartily— at least for him. 

" You can't leave off that laugh of yours," 
said Quirk, a little tartly ; ** but I must sav 
I don't see any thing in the letter to laugh 
at so particularly. It is written in a most 
respectful manner, and shows a proper feel- 
ing towards the house." 

** Ay ! see how he speaks of me /" inter- 
rupted Gammon, with such a smile. 

** And doesn't he speak so of me t and all 
ofusV 

'* He'll let the house tread on him till he 
can tread on the house, I dare say." 

**But you must own, Mr. Gammon, it 
shows we've licked him into shape a bit- 
ch 1" 

'*0h, it's a little vile creeping reptile 
now, and so it will be to the eiSi or the 

o9 



chapter-— of our proceedinss; and when 
we've done every thing — ^really, Mr. Quirk ! 
if one ivere apt to lose one's temper, it would 
be to see such a thing as that put into 
possession of such a fortune." 

•* That may be, Mr. Gammon ; but 1 real- 
ly — trust— I've a higher feeling — to right— 
the injured " He could go no further. 

" Hem !" exclaimed Gammon. 

The parties smiled at one another. A 
touch, or an attempted touch at disinterested- 
ness — and at Quirk's time of life ! 

" But he's now in a humour for training, 
at all events — ^isn't he 1" exclaimed Quirk ; 
** we've something now to go to work upon 
— gradually." 

" Isn't uiat a leaf out of my book, Mr. 
Quirk ? isn't that exactly what " 

»* Well, well — ^what does it signify ?" in- 
terrupted Quirk, rather petulantly; "I've 
ffot a crotchet that'll do for us, yet, about 
uie matter of law, and makes all right and 
tight — so I'm going to Mortmain." 

" I've got a Tittle idea of my own of that 
sort, Mr. Quirk," said Gammon ; " I've pot 
an extract from Co-Litt— . I can't imagine 
how either of them could have missed 
it, and, as Frankpledge dines with me 
to-day, we shall talk it all over. But, by 
the way, Mr. Quirk, I should say, with all 
deference, that we'll take no more notice of 
this fellow till we've got some screw tight 
enough." 

" Why— «11 that may be very well ; but 
you see. Gammon, the fellow seems the 
real heir, after all — and if he don't get it, 
no one can ; and if he don't— tye don't, eh 1" 

"There's a very fije** deal of force in 
that observation, Mr. Quirk," said Gammon 
emphatically : — and tolerably well pleased 
with one another, they parted. Ir Quirk 
might be compared to an old file. Gammon 
was ^e oil! — so they got on, in the main, 
very well together. It hardly signifies what 
was the resmt of their interviews with their 
two conveyancers. They met in the morn- 
ing on ordinary business ; and as each made 
no allusions whatever to the " crotchet" of 
the day before, it may be inferred that each 
had been satisfied by his conveyancer of 
having found a mare^ nest 

" I think, by the way," said Mr. Gam- 
mon to Mr. Quirk, before they parted on 
the previous evening, " it may be as well, 
all things considers, to acknowledge the 
receipt of the fellow's note— eh 'i-^-'CanU do 
any narm, you know, and civility costs 
nothing— hem !" 

"The very thing I was thinking of," 
replied Quirk, as he always did on hearing 
any suggestion from Mr. Gammon. So by 
that night's post was despatched (post-paid) 
the following note to Mr. Titmouse : 



42 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



** Messrs. Qiuik, Gammon, and Snap 
haTe the pleasure of acknowledging the 
receipt of Mu Titmouse's polite letter of 
last night's date; and earnestly beg that he 
will not distress himself about the little in- 
cident that occurred at their office on Tues- 
day night, and which thj^ assure him they 
have quite forgotten. They made all al- 
lowances, however their feeling suffered at 
the time. They beg Mr. T. will give them 
credit for not losinfir sight of his interests, 
to the best of their a3)ility , obstructed as they 
are, however, by numerous serious difficul- 
ties. If they should be in any degree here- 
after overcome, he may rest assur^ of their 
promptly communicatrnff with him; and till 
then they trust Mr. T. vrSi not inconvenience 
himself by calling on or writing to them. 

" SaAron HUl, 19th Joly, IBi^ 

»« P. S.— Messrs. Q., G. and S. regret to 
hear that any unpleasantness has arisen 
(Gammon could hardly write for laughins) 
between Mr. Titmouse and his friend Mr. 
Hicklebagle, who, they assure him, mani- 
fested a very warm interest on behalf of 
Mr. T., and conducted himself with the 
greatest propriety on the occasion of his 
calling upon Messrs. Q., G. and S. They 
happened at that moment to be engaged in 
matters of the highest importance ; which 
will, they trust, explain any appearance of 
abruptness they might have exhibited to- 
wards that gentleman. Perhaps Mr. Tit- 
mouse will he so obliging as to intimate as 
much to Mr. Hickerbag.** 

There was an obvious reason for this 
palite allusion to Huckaback. Gammon 
thought it very possible that that gentleman 
might be in Mr. Titmouse's confidence, and 
exercise a powerful influence over him 
hereafter; and which influence Messrs. Q., 
<jr. and S. might find it well worth their 
while to secure beforehand. 

The moment that Titmouse, with breath- 
less haste, had read over this mollifying 
document, which being directed to his lodg- 
ings correctly, he of course did not obtain tul 
about ten o'clock, he hastened to his friend 
Huckaback. That gentleman, who seemed 
now virtually recognised by Messrs. Quirk, 
Gammon, and Snap, as 'ntmouse's confi- 
dant, shook his head ominously, exclaiming 
-^* Blarney, blarney !" and a bitter sneer 
settled on his disagreeable features, till he 
had read down to the postscript ; the perusal 
of which, effected a sudden change in his 
feeliiiffs. He declared with a great oath, 
that Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, 
were '* perfect gentlemen," and would ** ao 
the ri^nt thing, Titmouse might depend 
vpon It;" an assurance which greatly 



cheered Titmouse, to whose keen disoenf^ 
ment it never once occurred to refer Hucka- 
back's altered tone to the right cause, viz., 
the lubricating quality of the postscript; 
and since Titmouse did not allude to it, no 
more did Mr. Huckaback, although his 
own double misnomer stuc^ a little in his 
throat. So effectual, indeed, had been that 
most skilful postscript upon the party whom 
it had been aimed at, that he exerted himself 
unceasingly to revive Titmouse's confidence 
in Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap ; and 
so far succeeded, that Titmouse returned to 
his lodgings at a late hour, a somewhat 
happier if not a wis^ man than he had left 
them. Bj the time, however, that he had 
got into bed, having once more spelt over 
uie note in question, he Ml as despondent 
as ever, and thought that Huckaback had 
not known what he had been talking about. 
He also adverted to an apparently^ careless 
allusion by Huckaback to tne injuries which 
had been inflicted upon him by Titmouse 
on the Wednesday night: and which, by 
the way. Huckaback determined it should 
be no Ukult of hie if Titmoiise easily forgot I 
He hardly knew why— 4)ut he disliked this 
particularly. Whom had he, however, in 
the world, btit Huckaback % In company 
with him alone. Titmouse felt that his pent' 
up feelings could discharge themselves. 
Huckaback had certainly a wonderful knack 
of keeping up Titmouse's spirits, whatever 
cause ne rancied he might really have fer 
depression. In short, he longed for the 
Sunday mornings— ushering in a day of rest 
and sympathy. HHtmouse would indeed 
then have to look back upon an agitating 
and miserable week, what with the dismissal 
upsetting of his hopes, in the manner I have 
described, and the tyrannical treatment he 
experienced at Dowlas and Co.'s^ Mr. 
Tagrag be^an, at length, in some degree, 
to relax his aetiet exertions against Tit- 
mouse, simply because of the trouble it 
gave him to xeep them up. He attributed 
3ie pallid cheek and depressed manner of 
Titmouse entirely to the discipline which 
had been inflicted upon him at the shop, and 
was gratified at perceiving that all his other 
young men seemed, especially in his pre- 
sence, to have imbibed his hatred of Tit- 
mouse. What produced in Tagrag this 
hatred of Titmouse 1 Simply what had 
taken place on Monday. Mr. Ta^rag's 
dignity and power had oeen doggedly set 
at naught by one of his shopmen, who had 
since refused to make the least submission, 
or offer any kind of apology. Such conduct 
struck at the root ot subordination in his 
establishment. Again, there is perhaps 
nothing in the world so calculated to enrage 
a petty and yulgar miQd to the highest 



TEN THOUSAND A YIlAH. 



48 



SitcK of malignity, as the calm persevering 
efiance of an inferior, whom it strives to 
deapt$e^ while it is only hating, which it at 
the same time feels to be the case. Tagrag 
now and then looked towards Titmouse, as 
he stood behind the counter, as if he could 
have murdered him. Titmouse attempted 
once or twice, during the week, to obtain a 
situation elsewhere, l)ut in Tain. He could 
expect no character from Tagrag ; and when 
the 10th of August should have arrived, 
what was to become of him t These were 
the kind of thoughts oAen passing through 
his mind during the Sunday, which he and 
Huckaback spent together in unceasing 
conyersation on the one^absorbing event of 
the last week. Titmouse, poor puppy, had 
dressed himself with just as much care as 
usual ; but as he was giving the finishing 
touches at his toilet, pumping up grievous 
sighs every half minute, the sum of his 
reflections might be stated in the miserable 
si^ficance of a quaint saving of Poor 
Richard^s,— '* How hard is it to make an 
empty sack stand upright r' 

Although the sun shone as vividly and 
beautifully as on the preceding Sunday, to 
Titmouse's saddened eye there seemed a 
soTt of grloom every where. Up and down 
the Park he and Huckaback walked, to- 
wards the close of the afternoon $ but Tit- 
mouse had not so elastic a strut as before. 
He felt empty and sinking. Every body 
seemed to know what a sad pretender he 
^as ; and they quitted the magic cirele much 
earlier than had been usual with Titmouse. 
What with the fatLgrueof a lonff day's saun- 
ter, the vexation of having haa but a hasty, 
inferior, and unrefie^ng meal, which did 
not deserve the name of dinner, and their 
unpleasant thoughts, both seemed depressed 
as they walked uong the streets. At length 
they arrived at the open doors of a gloomy- 
lookinff building,*into which two or three 
sad and prim-looking people were entering. 
After walUng a few paces past the door — 
*<.D'ye know, Huck," said Titmouse, ston- 
ping, ^*Vye often thought that— that— there's 
something in JReHgton,*' 

" To be sure there is, for those that like it— 
who doubts it t It's all very well in its place, 
no doubt," replied Huckaback, with much 
surprise, whien increased, as he felt himself 
slowly being swayed round towards the buil- 
ding in question. ^ Weill but what of that 1" 

*^ Oh, nothing ; but — hem ! hem !" replied 
Titmouse, sinking his voice to a whisper— 
(«a touch of— icTigion— would not be so 
much amiss, just now. I feel-«-uncommon 
inclined that way, somehow." 

** Religion's all very well for them that 
has much to be thankful for; but devil take 
me ! what have either you or me to *^^" 



" But, Huck«-4iow do you know but we 
might get something to be thankful for, by 
prapng — ^I've often heard of great things ; — 
come.'' 

Huckaback stood for a moment irresolute, 
twirling about his cane, and looking rather 
distastefully towards the dingy building. 
'*To be sure," said he, faintly. Titmouse 
drew him nearer; but he suddenly started 
back.^-^< No ! oh, 'tis only a meeting-house. 
Tit! Curse Dissenters, how I hate 'em! 
No-^I won't pray in a meeting-house, let 
me be bad as 1 may. Give me a regulai^ 
like, respectable church, with a proper 
steeple, and parson, and prayers, and all 
that." 

Titmouse secretly acknowledged the force 
of these observations; and the intelligent 
and piously disposed couple, with perhaps 
a just, but certainly a somewhat suaden re* 
gard for or^odoxy, were not long before 
Uiey had found their way into a church 
where evening service was being performed. 
They ascended ^e gallery stairs ; and see- 
ing no reason to be ashamed of being at 
church, down they both went, with loud 
clattering steps and a bold air, into the very 
centra] seat in the front of the galleiy, whicn 
happened to be vacant. Titmouse paid a 
most exemplary attention to what was ^ 
ing on, kneeling, sitting, and standing with 
exact propriety, in the proper places ; join- 
ing audibly in the responses, and keeping 
his eyes pretty steadily on the prayer-book, 
which he found lying th^:e. He even re- 
buked Huckaback for whispering during 
one of the most solemn parts of the service, 
that ** there was a pretty gal in the next 
pew!"-— He thought that the clergyman 
was an uncommon fine preacher, aj^ said 
some things that he musi have meant for 
him (Titmoose) in particular. 

^ Curse me, Hucky !" said he heatedly, 
as soon as they quitted the church, and were 
fairly in the street—*' Curse me if— if— «ver 
I felt so comfortable-like in my mind before, 
as I do now— I'll go ne^t Sunday again." 

** Lord, Tit, you don't really mean-^t's 
deuced dull." 

'* Hang me if I don't, though ! and if any 
thing should come of it— if I do but get the 
estate. I wonder now, where Mr, Gammon 
eoes to church— I should like to know !— 
I'd go there regularly. But if I clo get the 
thing-— you see if I don't." 

«' Ah, I don't know ; it's not much use 
praying for money. Tit ; I've tried it myself, 
once or twice, but it didn't answer." 

** I'll take my oath you were staring at 
the gals all the while, Hucky !" 

"Ah, Titty!" Huckaback winked bis 
eje, and put the tip of his forefinger to the 
tip of his nose, and laughed. 



CHAPTER III. 



Titmouse continued in what he doubtless 
iinagined to be a devout frame of mind, for 
several minutes after quitting the church, at 
the door of which I left him. But close b^ 
the aforesaid church, the devil had a thn- 
ying little establishment, in the shape of a 
cigar shop: in which a showily aressed 
young Jewess sat behind the counter, right 
underneath a glaring gas-light— with a thin 
stripe of greasy black velvet across her fore- 
head, and long ringlets that rested on her 
shoulders-r-bandying slang with two or 
three other such puppies as Titmouse and 
Huckaback. Our mends entered and pur- 
chased a cigar a piece, which they lit on 
the spot; and after each of them had ex- 
changed an impudent wink with the Jewess, 
out they went, puffing away— all the remains 
of their piety ! When they had come to the 
end of their cigars, they parted, each speed- 
ing homeward. Titmouse, on reaching his 
lodgings, sunk into profound depression. 
He felt an awful conyiction that his visit to 
the cigar-shop had entirely spoiled the effect 
of his previous attendance at the church, 
and that, if so disposed, he might now sit 
and whistle for his ten thousand a year. 
Thoughts such aS' these droye him nearly 
distracted. If, indeed, he had foreseen 
having to go through such another week as 
the one just oyer, 1 think it not impossible 
that before the arriyal of the ensuing Sun- 
day, Mr. Titmouse might have afforded a 
little employment to that ancient but gloomy 
functionary, a coroner, and his jury. At ^at 
time, however, inquests of this sort were 
matter-of-fact and melancholy affairs enough; 
which I doubt not would haye been rawer 
a dwtuuive from suicide, in the estimation of 
one who miffht be supposed ambitious of the 
eclcU of amodem inquest; where, indeed, such 
strange antics are played by certain new per- 
formers as would suffice to revive the corpse, 
(if it were a corpse that had ever had a spark 
of sense or spirit in it,) and make it kick 
the coroner out of the room. But to one of 
80 high an ambition as Tittlebat Titmouse, 
how delightful would it not have been, to 
anticipate becoming (what had been quite 
impracticable during life^ the object of public 
attention after his deatn — by means of a 
flaming dissertation by the coroner upon his 
own zeal and spirit— the nature and extent 
of his rights, powers, and duties; — when 
high doctors are brow-beaten, the laws set I 



at defiance, and public decency plucked by 
the beard, and the torn and bleeding hearts 
of suryiving relatives still further agonized 
by an exposure, all quiverinor under the re- 
cent stroKe, to the gaping vulgar ! Indeed, 
I sometimes think that me object of certain 
coroners now-a-days is two-fold, — ^first, pub- 
lic — ^to disgust people with suicide, by show- 
ing what horrid proceedings will take place 
oyer their carcasses ; and secondly, private 
-^to get the means of studying anatomy by 
post morttmsy which the said coroner never 
could procure in his own practice ; which 
enable us to account for some things one 
has lately seen, viz.: that if a man come to 
his death by means of a wagon crushing 
his legs, the coroner institutes an exact ex- 
amination of the structure of the lungs and 
heart, I take it to be now getting into a 
rule— the propriety whereof, some people 
think, cannot oe doubted— -namely, that bo- 
dies ought now to be opened only to prove 
that they ought not to have been opened ; 
an inquest must be held, in order to demon- 
strate that it need not have been held, ex- 
cept that certain fees thereby find their way 
into tiie pocket of the aforesaid coroner, 
which would otherwise not haye done so. 
In short, such a coroner as I haye in my 
eye may be compared to a great ape squat- 
ting on a corpse, furiously chattering and 
spitting all around it; and I am glad that it 
hath at last had wit enough first to thut the 
door before proceeding to its horrid tricks. 

Touching the^ moral of suicide, it is the 
way which some have of cutting the Oor- 
dian knot of tiie difficulties of life ; which 
haying been done, possibly the yery first 
thing that is made manifest to the spirit, 
after taking its mad leap in tiie dark, is — 
how yery easily the said knot might haye 
been untiid ; nay, that it was on the very 
point of being untied, if the impatient spint 
had stayed only a moment lon^r :— « dis- 
mal discovery, which may excite ineffable 
grief at the folly and horror of the crime of 
which such spirit has been guilty. But ah ! 
it is too late ! The triumphant fiend has 
secured his victim. I said that it was not 
impoaaible that Mr. Titmouse might, under 
the circnmstances alluded to, haye done the 
deed which has called forth the aboye yery 
natural and profound reflections ; but, upon 
the whole, it is hardly probable, for he knew 
that by doing so he would (first) irreparably 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



46 



injure society, by depriving it of an enlight- 
ened and invaluable member; (secondly,) 
inflict great indignity on his precious body, 
of which, during life, he had always taken 
the most affectionate care, by securing for 
it a burial in a cross road, at night time, 
with a stake run through it,* ^nd moreover, 
peril the little soul that had just leaped out 
of it, by not having any burial service said 
over his aforesaid remains; and (lastly) 
lose all chance of enjoying ten thousand 
a year — at least upon earth. I own I was 
a little startled (as i dare say was the reader) 
at a passage of mournful significance, in 
Mr. Titmouse's last letter to Messrs. Quirk, 
Gammon, and Snap, viz. : '* How full of 
trouble I am, ifUn thinkitu^ of dtaih^ which 
is the end of every thing ;'^ but on carefully 
considering the context, I am disposed to 
think that the whole was only a aevice of 
Titmouse's, either to rouse the fears, or 
stimulate the feelings, or excite the hopes, 
of the three arbiteis of his destiny to whom 
it was addressed. Mr. Gammon, he thought, 
might be thereby moved to pity; while Mr. 
Quirk would probably be operated upon by 
fears, lest the sad contingency pointed at 
might deprive the house of one who would 
richly repay their exertions ; and by hopes 
of indefinite advantage, if they could by 
any means prevent its happening. I have 
often questioned Titmouse on the subject, 
but he would only wink his eye, and say 
he ** knew whai to be aC^ as well as any 
one! That these gentlemen really did 
keenly scrutinize, ana carefully weigh every 
expression in that letter, ridiculous as it 
was, and contemj^tible as, I fear, it showed 
its writer to be, is certain; but it did not 
occur to them to compare with it, at least, 
the spirit and intention of their own answer 
to it. Did the latter document contain less 
cmming and insincerity, because it was 
couched in somewhat superior phraseology % 
They could conceal their selfish and over^ 
reaching designs, while poor Titmouse 
exposed all his little mean-mindedness and 
hypocrisy, simply because he had not 
learned how to conceal it effectually. 'Twas 
indeed a battle for the very same dbject, bnt 
between unequal combatants. Each was 
trying to take the other in. If Messrs. 
Quirk, Gammon, and Snap despised and 
loathed the man to whom th^ exhibited 
such anxious courtesy, Titmouse hated and 
feared those whom his interests compelled 
him for a while to conciliate. Was there, 
in fact, a pin to choose between them^- 



* A very learned pert on tells roe that thii mode of 
treating the remalna of a /cf« i» $e, ihoufh prevail- 
inr ai the time when the events occurred which are 
abnve narrated, wai toon afterward* (t. «. on the 8tb 
•r July, 16S3,) aboUalMd bj ha of PatlUuMnt. 



except, perhaps, that Titmouse was lA a 
manner, excused by his necessities 1 But, 
in the meanwhile, his circumstances were 
becoming utterly desperate. He continued 
to endure great suffering at Mr. Tagrag's 
during the day— the constant butt of uie 
ridicule and insult of his amiable compa- 
nions, and the victim of his employer's vile 
spirit of hatred and oppression. His spirit, 
(such as it ^as^ in Snort, was very nearly 
broken. Though he seized every opportu- 
nity that offered to inquire for another 
situation, he was unsuccessful ! for all 
whom he applied to spoke of the airid cAo- 
raeier they should require, '' before taking 
a new hand into their establishment." His 
occupation at nights, after quitting the shop, 
was twofold only- *«ither tocall upon Hucka- 
back, (whose sympathy, however, he was 
exhausting rapidly,) or solace his feelings 
by walking down to Saffron Hill, and lin- 
gering, about the closed office of Messrs. 
Quirk, Gammon, and Snap — there was a 
kind of gratificatitm even in that ! He once 
or twice felt flustered even on catching 
a glimpse of the old housekeeper returning 
from some little errand. How he would 
have rejoiced to get into her good graces, 
and accompany her into even the kitchei^^ 
when be would be in the premises, and 
conversing with one of the establishment of 
those who he believed could, with a stroke 
of their pens, turn this wilderness of a worid 
into a paradise for him ! But he dared not 
make any overtures in that quarter, for fear 
of their getting to the notice of the dreaded 
Messrs. Quiric, Gammon, and Snap. 

At length, no more than three or four 
shillings stood between him and utter 
destitution; and the only person in the 
world whom he could apply to for even the 
most trivial assistance, was Huckaback — 
whom, however, he knew to be scarcely any 
better off than himself; and whom, more- 
over, he felt to be treating him more and more 
coldly, as the week wore on without his 
hiring of any the least tidings from Saffron 
Hill. Huckaback evidently felt now scarcely 
any interest or pleasure in the visits of his 
melancholy friend, and was plainly disin- 
clined to talk about his affairs. At length 
he quite turned up his nose with disgust, 
whenever Titmouse took out the well-worn 
note of Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, 
which was almost dropping to pieces with 
being constantly carriea about in his pocket, 
taken in and out, folded and unfolded for 
the purpose of conning over its contents, as 
if there might yet linger in it some hitherto 
undiscovered source of consolation. Poor 
litmouse, therefore, looked at it on every 
such occasion with as eager and vivid an 
interest as ever; but it was glanced at by 



46 



TEP^ THOUSAND A YEAR. 



Huckaback with a half-avened eye, and a 
cold, drawling, yawninor, ^^Ya—a — as — ^I 
see— I— dare— 4a^ !'' As his impressions 
of Titmouse's bright prospects were thus 
being rapidly effaced, his smarting recollec- 
tions of the drubbinff he had received be- 
distincter ana more frequent; his 



came 



feelings of resentment more lively, and not 
the less so, because the expression of them 
had been stifled, (while he had considered 
the star of Titmouse to be in the ascendant,) 
till the time for setting them into motion 
and action had gone by. In fact the pre- 
sence of Titmouse, suggesting such thoughts 
and recollections, became intolerable to 
Huckaback; and Titmouse's perceptions 
(dull as they naturally were, but a littie 
quickened by recent suffering) save him 
more and more distinct notice of this cir- 
cumstance, at the precise time when he 
meditated applying for the loan of a few 
shillings. These feelings made him as 
humble towards Huckaback, and as patient 
of his increasing rudeness and ill-humour, 
as he felt abject towards Messrs. Quirk, 
Gainmon, and Snap ; for, unless he could 
succeed in wringing some trifling loan from 
Huckaback, (if he really had it in his power 
to advance him any things) he could not 
conjecture what was to become of him.^— 
Various faint but unadroit hints and feelers 
of his had been thrown away, for Hucka- 
back either did not, or could not, compre- 
hend tiiem. But at length a sudden and 
fearful pressure compellra him to spesdc out. 
Gripe, the collector, called one morning for 
the poor's rates due from Mrs. Squallop, 
(Titmouse's landlady,) and cleaned her out 
of almost every penny of ready money which 
she had by her. This threw the good wo- 
man upon her resources, to replenish her 
empty pocket— and down she came upon 
Titmouse-— or rather, up she went to him; 
for his heart sunk within him one night on 
his return from the shop, having only just 
taken off his hat and lit his candle, as he 
heard the fat old termagant's well-known 
heavy step ascending the stairs, and ap- 
proaching nearer and nearer to his door.— 
Her louif imperative single knock vibrated 
through his heart, and he was ready to drop. 

««0h, Mrs. Sauallop! How d'ye do, 
Mrs. Squallop 1'' commenced Titmouse, 
faintiy, when he had onened the door. 
" Won't you take a chair r' offering to the 
panting dame almost the only chair he had. 

" No— I ain't come to stay, Mr. Titmouse, 
because, d'ye see, in coorse you've got a 
pound, at least, ready for me, as you pro- 
mised long ago— and never more welcome ; 
there's old Gripe has been here tonday, and 
))ad his hodious rates— (drat the poor, say 
I! them as can't work, should starve!— 



rates is a robbery ^)— but howsomdever he's 
cleaned me out to-day ; so, in coorse, I come 
up to you. Got it 1" 

" I — ^I— I — ^'pon my life, Mrs. Squallop, 
I'm uncommon sorry—" 

** Oh, botiier your sorrow, Mr. Htmouse ! 
—out with the needful, for I can't stop pa- 
lavering here." 

*» 1—3 can't, so help me — !'* gasped 
Titmouse, with the calmness of desperation. 

" You can't ! And marry, sir, why not, 
may I make bold to ask ?" inquired Mi^. 
Squallop, afler a moment's pause, striving 
to choke down her rage. 

«> P'r'aps you can get blood out of a stone, 
Mrs. Squallop ; it's what I can't," replied 
Titmouse, striving to screw his courage up 
to the sticking place, to encounter one who 
was plainly bent upon midchief. '^I've 
pot two shillings — ^tnere they are," throw- 
ing them on the table ; ** and cuss me if 
I've another rap in the world; there 
ma'am !" 

»* You're a liar, tiien, that's flat!" ex- 
claimed Mrs. Squallop, slapping her hand 
upon the table, with a violence that made 
the candle quiver on it, and almost fall 
down. ** You have the AtmperafKf," said 
she, commencing the address she had been 
preparing in her own mind ever since Mr. 
Gripe had quitted her house, *Mo stand 
there and tell me you've got nothing in the 
world but them ttoo shillings! Heugh! 
Out on you, you oudacious fellow! — ^you 
jack-a-dandy ! You tell me you haven't 
got more than them two shillings, and yet 
turns out every Sunday morning of your life 
like a lord, with your pins, and your rings, 
and your chains, and your fine coat, and 
your gloves, and your spurs, and your dan- 
dy cane-*ough! you whipper-snapper! 
You're a cheat— you're a swindler," jacK-«- 
dandy ! You're tiie contempt of the whole 
court, you are, you jack-a-dandy ! You've 
got all my rent on your back, and have had 
every Sunday for uiree montiis, you cheat ! 
— ^you low rellow ! — ^you ungrateful chap ! 
You're a-robbing the widow and fatheriess ! 
Look at me, and my six fatherless children 
down there, you good-for-nothing, nasty, 
proud puppy !— ^ugh ! it makes me sick to 
see you. You dress yourself out like my 
lord mayor ! You've bought a gold chain 
with my rent, you rascally cheat! You 
dress yourself outi — ^Ha, ha!— you're a 
nasty-, mean-looking, humpty-dumpty, car- 
roty-headed—" 

** You'd better not say that again, Mrs. 
Squallop." 

*' Not say it again ! — ^ha, ha ! Hoighty- 
toighty, carroty-haired jack-a-dandy! — ^why, 
yon hop-o-my-thumb ! d'ye think I won't 
say whatever I choose, and in my own 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAB. 



47 



boase 1 You're a 'Htmouso by name and 
by nature ; there ain't a cockroach crawling 
down stairs that ain't more respectable-like 
and better behaved than you. You're a 
bimpudent cheat, and dandy, and a knave, 
and a liar, and a red-haired rascal — and that 
in your teeth ! Ough ! Your name stinks 
in the court. You're a-taking of every body 
in as will trust you to a penny's amount. 
There's noor old Cox, the tailor, with a sick 
wife ana children, whom you've cheated 
this many months, all of his not having 
spirit to summon you! But /'// set him 
upon you ; you see if I don't — and I'll have 
my own, too, or I wouldn't five thai for the 
laws !" shouted Mrs. Squallop, at the same 
time snapping her fingers in bis face, and 
then pausing for breath after ber eloquent 
invective. 

** Now what is the use," said Titmouse 
gently, being completely cowed — ^*'now 
what good can it do to go on in this way, 
Mrs. Squallop 1" 

** Missus me no Missus, Mr. Titmouse, 
but pay me my rent, you jack-a-dandy ! — 
YouVe got my rent on your back, and on 
your little fingers ; and I'll have it off before 
I've done with you, I warrant you. I'm 
your landlady,- and FU seH you out; I'll 
nave old Thumbscrew here the first thing 
in the morning, and distrain every thing, 
and you, too, you jackdaw, if any one would 
buy you, which tbey won't! I'll have my 
rent at- last; I've been too easy with you, 
you ungrateful chap ; for, mark, even Mr. 
Gripe uns morning says, * haven't you a 
gentleman lodger up above 1 get him to pay 
you your own,' says he ; and so I will. I'm 
sick of all this, and V\\ have my rights ! 
Here's my son, Jem, a far betterrlooking 
chap than you, though he hasnU got hair 
like a mop all under bis chin, and he's 
obligated to work from one week's end to 
anouier in a paper cap and fustian jacket; 
and yoo^— you painted jackanapes! But 
now I have got you and I'll turn you inside 
out, though I know there's nothing in you ! 
But I'll try to get at your fine coats, and 
spars and trowsera, your chains and pins, 
and make something of them before I've 
done with you, you jack-a-dandy !"— and 
the virago shook tier fist at him, looking as 
though she had not yet uttered even half 
that was in her heart towards him. 

Alas! alas! unhappy Titmouse, much- 
enduring son of sorrow! I perceive that 
you now feel the sharpness of an angry 
lemale tongue; and indeed to me, not in 
the least approving of the many coarse and 
heart-splitting expressions which she uses, 
it seems nevertheless, that she is not very 
(ar off the mark in much that she hath said ; 
for, in truth in your conduct there is not a 



little that to me, piteously inclined towards 
you as I am, yet appeareth obnoxious to the 
edge of this woman's reproaches. But 
think not^ O bewildered and not-with-suf- 
ficient^istinctness-disceming-the-nature-of- 
things Titmouse ! that she hath only a sharp 
and Ditter tongue. In this woman behold a 
mother, and it may be that she will soften 
before you, who have plainly, as I hear, 
neither father nor mother. Oh me ! 
Titmouse trembled violently; his lips 

Suivered, and the long pent-up tears forced 
leir way at length over nis eyelids, and fell 
fast down his cheeks. 

"Ay, you may well cry!— you may! 
But it's too late ! — ^it's my turn to cry now ! 
Don't you think that I feel for my own flesh 
and blood, that is, my six children ? And 
isn't what's mine theirs 1 And aren't you 
keeping the fatherless out of their own? 
It's too bad of you — ^it is ! and you know it 
is," continued Mra. Squallop, vehemently. 

" They^ve got a mother to take— care cf 
them," Titmouse sobbed ; " but there's been 
no one in the— the— world that cares a straw 
for me — this twenty— yeare !" He fairly 
wept aloud. 

" Well, Uien, more's the pity for you. If 
you had, they wouldn't have let you make 
such a puppy of yourself— -and at your land- 
lady's expense, too. You know you're a 
fool," said Mra. Squallop, dropping her 
voice a little ; for she was a mother, after 
all, and she knew that what poor Titmouse 
had just stated was auite true. She tried 
hard to keep up the nre of her wrath, by 
forcing into her thoughts every aggrravating 
topic against Titmouse that she could think 
of; but it became every moment harder and 
harder to do so, for she was consciously 
softening rapidly towards the weeping and 
miserable ooject on whom she had been 
heaping such violent and bitter abuse. He 
was a great fool, to be snre ; he was very 
fond of fine clothes — ^he knew no better — he 
had, however, paid his rent well enough, 
till lately — ^he was a very quiet, well dis- 
posed lodger, for all she had known — he 
nad given her youngest child a pear not 
long ago. Really, she thought, I may have 
gone a little too far. 

"Come— it ain't no use crying in this 
way. It won't put money into your pocket, 
nor my rent into mine. You know you've 
wronged me, and I mtut. be paid," she 
added but in a still lower tone. She tried 
to cough away a certain rising disagreeable 
sensation about her throat, that kept in- 
creasing ; for Titmouse, having turned his 
back to hide the extent of his emotions, 
seemed half choked with suppressed sobs. 

"So you won't speak a word — not a 
word — ^to the woman you've injured so 



48 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



mach !** inquired Mis. SqnalTop, trying to 
assume a harsher tone, but her eyes were a 
little obstructed with tears. 

** I — l—canU speak,** sobbed Titmouse ; 
**I— I feel ready to drop— evenr body hates 
me." Here he paused ; and for some mo- 
ments neither spoke. ''IVebeen kept on 
my legs the whole day about the town by 
Mr. Tugrag, and had no dinner. I — ^I-^ 
wish I was £2e<u2/ I do !-— you may take all 
I have— here it is'*— continued Titmouse, 
pushing with his foot towards Mrs. Saual- 
lop the old hair trunk that contained all his 
little finery — *'I shan't want them much 
longer— for I'm turned out of my situation." 

Tnis was too much for Mrs. Squallop, 
and she was obliged to wipe her full eyes 
with the comer of ner apron, without saying 
a word. Her heart smote her for the misery 
she had inflicted on one who seemed quite 
broken down. Pity suddenly flew, fluttering 
his wings-— soft dove ! — ^into her heart, and 
put to mght in an instant all her enraged 
feelings. '*Come, Mr. Titmouse," said 
she, in quite an altered tone—'* never mind 
me f I'm a plain-spoken woman enough, I 
dare say— and often say more than I mean 
— for I know I ain't over particular when 
my blood's up— but— I— 1 wouldn't hurt a 
hair of your head, boor chap! — ^for all I've 
'Said — ^no, not for double the rent you owe 
me. Come ! don't ffo on so, Mr. Iltmouse 
— what's the use ! it°s all quite— over — I'm 
so sorry — Lud! if I'd really thought" — she 
almost sobbed — ^*» you'd been so— so— why, 
I'd have waited till to-morrow night before 
I'd said a word. But, Mr. Titmouse, since 
you haven't had any dinner, won't you have 
a mouthful of something— a bit of bread and 
cheese 1 — Pll soon fetch you up a bit, and a 
drop of beer — we've just had it in for our 
supper." 

" Noj thank you— I can't— I can't eat." 

«« Oh, bother i1^ but you thall! I'll go 
down and fetch it up in half a minute, as 
sure as my name's Squallop !" And out of 
the room, and down stairs she bustled, glad 
of a moment to recover herself. 

** Lord-a^mercy !" said she, on entering 
her room, to her eldest daughter and a neigh- 
bour who had just come m to supper— 4md 
while she hastily cut a thick hunch of bread, 
and a good slice of cheese— >* there I've 
been a rating that poor chap, up at the top 
room Qny dandy lodser, you know,) like 
any thmg— «nd I really don't think he's 
had a morsel of victuals in his belly this 
precious day; and I've made him cry, poor 
soul ! as if his heart would break, rour 
us out half a pint of that beer, Sally— « ^ood 
half pint, mmd !— I'm going to take it up 
stain directly, I've gone a deal too far 
with him, I do tfaink--but it's all of that 



nasty old Gripe— Pve been Wrong all &e 
day through it ! How I hate the sight of 
old Gripe!-— What odious-looking people 
they do get to collect the rates and taxes, to 
be sure! — ^Poor chap," she continued, as 
she wiped out a plate with her apron, and 
put into it the bread and cheese, with a 
knife-—*' he offered me a chair when I went 
in, so uncommon civil-like, it took a good 
while before I could get myself into the hu- 
mour to give it to lum as I wanted. And 
he's no rather nor mother, (half of which 
has happened to you, Sal, and the rest vrill 
happen one of these days, you know !} and 
he's not such a very bad Jod^r, aAer all, 
though he does get a little behind-hand now 
and then, ftnd though he turns out every 
Sunday like a lord, poor fool— as my poor 
husband used to say, ' with a shining back 
and empty belly.'" 

'« But that's no reason why honest people 
should be kept out of their own, to feed nis 
pride," interposed her neighbour, a skinny 
old widow, who had never had chick nor 
child, and was always behind-hand vrith 
her own rent ; but whose effects were not 
worth distraining upon. *'I'd get hold of 
some of his fine crinlcum-crankums and gim- 
cracks for security like, if I were you. I 
would, indeed." 

"Why — ^no, poor soul— I don't hardly 
like ; he's a vain creature, and puts eyery 
thing he can on his back, to be sure ; but he 
ain't quite a roeue, neither." 

" An, ha, Mrs. Squallop — ^you're such a 
simple soul! Won't my fine ^ntleman 
make off with his finery after to-night 1" 

»• Well, I shouldn't have thought it ! To 
be sure he may! Really, there can't be 
much harm in asking him (in a kind way) 
to deposit one of his fine things with me, 
by way of security — that ring of his, you 
know,— eh t— Well, I'll toy it," said Mre. 
Squallop, as she set off up staira. 

"I know what / should do, if he was^ 
lodger of mine, that's all," said her visiter, 
(as Mre. Squallop quitted the room,) vexed 
to find their supper so considerably and un- 
expectedly diminished, especially as to the 
pot of porter, which she strongly suspected 
would not be replenished. 

"There," said Mre. Squallop, setting 
down on the table what she had brought for 
Titmouse, " there's a bit of supper for you; 
and you're welcome to it, I'm sure, Mr. 
Titmouse." 

"Thank you, thank you — ^I can't eat," 
said he, casting, however, upon the victuals 
a hungry eye, which beliea what he said, 
while m his heart he longed to be left alon* 
i^ith them for about three minutes. 

" Come, don't be ashamed — ^fall to wore 
—it's good wholesome yietaals," said she, 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



49 



lifting the table near to the edge of the bed, 
on the side of which he was sitting, and 
taking up the two shillings lying on the 
table-^'and capital beer I warrant me: 
you'll sleep like a top after it.'' 

'* You're uncommon kind, Mrs. Squallop; 
but I shan't get a wink of sleep to-night, 
for thinking." 

*' Oh, bother your thinking ! Let me see 
you begin to eat a bit. Well, I suppose 
you don't like to eat and drink before me, 
80 I'll go." Here arose a sudden conflict 
in the good woman's mind, whether or not 
she would act on the suggestion which had 
been put into her head down stairs. She 
was on the point of yielding to the impidse 
of her own good-natured, though coarse feel- 
ings ; but at last <« I — ^I---dare say, Mr. Tit- 
mouse, you mean what's right and straight- 
forward," she stammered. 

*' Yes, Mrs. Squallop, you may keep those 
two shillings ; they're the last rarthing I've 
left in the whole world." 

'« No— hem ! hem !— a hem ! I was just 
suddenly a thinking-— now can't you guess, 
Mr. Titmouse I" 

««What, Mrs. Squallop?" inquired Tit- 
mouse, meekly, but anxiously. 

«* Why-"Suppose now— if it were only to 
raise ten shillings with old Balls, round the 
comer, on one of those fine things of yours-* 
your ring, say." Titmouse's heart sunk 
within him. " Well— well— never mind — 
don't fear," said Mrs. Squallop, observing 
him suddenly turn pale again. '* I — I only 
thought— but never mind fit don't signify— 
gooanight! we can talk about that to-mor- 
row—good night — a good night's rest to 
Tou, Mr. Titmouse !" and the next moment 
he heard her heavy step descending the 
stairs. Several minutes had elapsed before 
he could recover from the agitation into 
which he had been thrown by ner last pro- 
posal ; but within ten minutes of her quit- 
ting the room, there stood before him, on 
the table, an empty plate and jug. 

'( The beast ! the fat old toad !" thou^hthe, 
the instant that he had finished masticating 
what had been supplied to him by re^ 
charity and good-nature,— ** the vulgar 
wretch ! — the nasty canting old hypocrite ! 
«— I saw what she was driving at all the 
while!— She had her eye on my ring!— 
She'd have me pawn it at old Balls'--4ia, 
ha! Catch me! that's all! Seven shil- 
lings a week for this nasty hole !— I'll be 
bound I pay nearly half the rent of the 
whole house— the old cormorant !— out of 
what she gets from me ! How I hate her ! 
More than half my salary goes into her 
greasy pocket ! Cuss me if I couldn't have 
kicked her down stairs— porter, bread and 
cheese, and all— while she was standing 

7 



canting there ! A snivelling old beldame ! 
Pawn my ring ! !— Lord ! !' Here he be- 
gan to undress. "Ha! I'm up to her; 
she'll be coming here to-morrow, with that 
devil. Thumbscrew, to distrain, I'll be 
sworn. Well — ^I'll take care of these, any 
how ;" and, kneeling down, and unlocking 
his trunk, he took out of it his guard chain, 
breastpin, studs, and ring, carefully folded 
them up in paper, and depositing them in 
his trousers' pocket, resolved that hence- 
forth their nightly resting-place should be*- 
under his pillow; while during the day 
they should accompany his person whither- 
soever he went. Next he bethought him- 
self of the two or three important papers 
to which Mr. Gammon had referred ; and, 
with tremulous eagerness, read them over 
once or twice, but without being able to ex- 
tract from them the slighest meaning. 
Then he folded them up in a half-sheet of 
writing paper, which he proceeded to stitch 
carefully beneath the lining of his waistcoat: 
after which he blew out his sUm candle, 
and with a heavy sigh got into bed. For 
some moments after he had blown out the 
candle, did the image of it remain on his 
aching and excited retina ; and just so long 
did the thoughts of ten thousand a year 
dwell on his fancy, fading, however, quickly 
away amid the thickening gloom of doubts, 
and fears, and miseries which oppressed 
him. There he lies, stretched on his bed, 
a wretched figure, lying on his breast, his 
head buried beneath his feverish arms. 
Anon, he turns round upon his back, 
stretches his weary limbs to their uttermost, 
folds his arms on his breast, then buries 
them beneath the pillow, under his head. 
Now he turns on his right aide, then on his 
left— presently he starts up, and with mut- 
tered curses shakes his little pillow, fling- 
ing it down angrily. He cannot sleep — ^he 
cannot rest— he cannot keep still. Burst- 
ing with irritability, he gets out of bed, and 
steps to the window, which opening wide, 
a slight gush of fresh air cools his hot face 
for a moment or two. His wearied eye 
looks upwards and beholds the moon shi- 
ning overhead in cold splendour, tuminff 
the clouds to gold as they flit past her, ami 
shedding a softened lustre upon the tiled 
roofs and irregular chimney-pots — the only 
objects visible to him. No sound is heard, 
but occasionally the dismal cry of a disap- 
pointed eat, ue querulous voice of the 
watchman, and the echo of the rumbling 
hubbub of Oxford Street. O, miserable 
Titmouse ! of what avail is it for thee thus 
to fix thy sorrowful lack-lustre eye upon 

the cold queen of night. 

• • • • ♦ 

At that moment there happened to be 



TEN THOUSAND A TEAR. 



alA!> gtxukf^ at die tame glofriooa object,! 
bat at sonie two hoodred mties distaiice 
from London, a somewhat different persoo, , 
with Yery difierent feeJings, and in rerj dif- 
ferent eiiennuiiancea. It was one of the 
angeU o( the eartb— a pore^iearted and 
rerf bean tifai yoang woman; who, after a 
day of peaeefuU tnnoeeot, and efaaiitable 
employment, and haTing joat qnitled the 
piano, where her exquisite strains bad 
soothr^ and delisted the feelings of her 
brother, haraiwed with political anxieties, 
had retired to her chamber for the night. A 
few moments before she was presented to 
the reader, she had extinguished her taper, 
and dtsmiMed her maid without her harinfir 
diiicharged more than half her accustomed 
duties — telling her that she should finish 
undressing by the light of the moon, which 
then poured her soft radiance into erery 
comer of the spacious but old-fashioned 
chamber in whicn she sat. Then she drew 
her chair to the window recess, and push- 
ing open the window sat before it, half un- 
dressed as she was, her head leaning on 
her hand, gazing upon the scenery before 
her with tranquil admiration. Silence 
reigned absolutely. Not a sound issued 
from the ancient j^oyes, which spread far 
and wide on all sides of the fine old man- 
sion in which she dwelt— solenrn solitudes, 
nor yet less soothing than solemn ! Was 
not the solitude enhanced by a glimpse she 
caught of a restless fawn, glancing in the 
distance across the arenue, as he silently 
changed the tree under which he slept? 
Then the gentle breeze would enter her 
window, laden with sweet scents of which 
he had just been rifling the coy flowers be- 
neath, in their dewy repose, tended and 
{letted during the day by ner own delicate 
land ! Beautiful moon !— cold and chaste 
in th^ skyey palace, studded with brilliant 
and innumeraole gems, and shedding down 
thy rich and tender radiance upon this love- 
ly seclusion— was there upon the whole 
earth a more exquisite countenance then 
turned towards thee than hers ? Wrap thy 
white robe, dearest Kate, closer round thy 
fair bosom, lest the night breeze do thee 
hurt ! Thy rich tresses, half uncurled, are 
growing damp— so it is time that thy blue 
eyes should seek repose. Hie thee, then, to 
yon antique conch, with its quaint canrings 
and satin draperies dimly visible in the dusky 
shade, inviting thee to sleep : and having 
first bent in cheerful reverence before thy 
Maker— to bed !— to bed !— dear Kate, no- 
thing disturbing thy serene thoughts, or 
agitating that neautiful bosom. Hush! 
hush ! Now she sleeps. 

It is well that thine eyes are closed in 
sleep; for, behold-^ee !— the brightness 



without is disappearing; sadness and gkwn 
are settling on the 6ce of natore ; the tran- 
quil niglit is changing her aspect; clcods 
are gathering, winds are moaning; the 
moon is gone: but sleep on, sweet Kate- 
sleep on, dreaming not of dariK days before 
thee ! — Oh, that Uioa cooldst sleep on till 

the brightness returned ! 

• • • • • 

After haviii^ stood thus leaning against 
the window for neariy half an hoar, Tit- 
moose, heavily sighing, letumed to bed- 
but there he tossed about in wretched rest- 
lessness till neariy four o*clock in the morn- 
ing. If he now and then sank into forget- 
fulness for a while, it was only to be ha- 
rassed by the dreadful image of'^Mrs. Squal- 
lop, shouting at him, tearing his hair, cuf- 
fing him, flinging a pot of p<Nter in his face, 
opening his boxes, tossing his clothes about, 
taking out his invaluable ornaments; by 
Tagrag ti^lring him out oi the shop ; and 
Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, dash- 
ing past him in a fine carriage, with six 
horses, and paying no attention to him as he 
ran shouting and breathless afVer &em; 
Huckaback following, kicking and pinching 
him behind. These were the few little bite 
of different-coloured glass in a mental kalei- 
doscope, which, turned capriciously round, 
produce those innumerable fantastic combi- 
nationa out of the simple and ordinary 
events of the day, which we call dlreoms— 
tricks of the wild sisters Fancy, when so- 
ber Reason has left her seat for a while. But 
this is fitter for the Royal Society than the 
bedroom of Tittlebat Titmouse; and I beg 
the reader's pardon. 

About six o'clock. Titmouse rose and 
dressed himself; and slipping noiselessly 
and swiftly down stairs, and out of the 
court, in order to avoid all possibility of en- 
countering his landlady or his tailor, soon 
found himself in Oxford Street.^ Not many 
people were stirring there. One or two men 
who passed him were smoking their moip- 
ing's pipe with a half-awakened air, as if 
they had only just got out of a snug bed, in 
which they always slept every moment that 
they \aj upon it. Titmouse almost envied 
them! What a saualid fi^re he looked, 
as he paced up and down, till at length he 
saw tlie porter of Messrs. Dowlas & Co. 
opening the shop door. He soon entered it, 
and commenced another joyous day in that 
delightful establishment. The amiable Mr. 
Tagni^ continued unaltered. 

" You're at liberty to take yourself off", 
sir, this very day — ^this moment, sir ; and a 
good riddance," said he, bitterly, during 
the course of the day, after demanding of 
Titmouse how he dared to give himself 
such sullen airs; ^^asd then we shall see 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



61 



how charming easy it is for gents like you ' 
to set another sitiwation, sir ! Your looks 
and manner is quite a recommendation, sir ! 
If I was you, sir, I'd raise my terms! 
You're worth double what I give, sir!" 
Titmouse made no reply. What tlie d — 1 
do you mean, sir, by not answering me— 
eh, sir 1" suddenly demanded Tagrag with 
a look of fury. 

'« I don't know what you'd have me say, 
sir. What am I to say, sir?" inquired 
Titmouse with a sigh. 

*^ What, indeed ! I should like to catch 
you! Say, indeed! Only say a word-^ 
and out you go, neck and crop. Attend to 
that old lady coming in, sir. And mind, 
sir, I've got my eye on you !"* Titmouse 
did as he was bid ; and Tagrag, a bland 
smile beaming in his attractive features, 
hurried down towards the door, to receive 
some lady-customers, whom he observed 
alighting from a carriage ; and that moment 
you would have sworn that he was one of 
the kindest-hearted, sweetest-tempered men 
in the world. 

When at length this day had come to a 
close. Titmouse, instead of repairing to his 
lodgings, set off, with a heavy heart, to 
pay a visit to his excellent friend Hucka- 
back, whom he knew to have received his 
quarter's salary the day before, and from 
whom he faintly hoped to succeed in extort- 
ing some trifling loan. '* If you want to 
learn the value of money, try to borrow 
wme^^ says poor Richard— and Titmouse 
was now going to learn that useful but bit- 
ter lesson. Oh, how disheartening was 
that gentleman's reception of him ! Hucka- 
back, in answering the modest knock of 
Titmouse, suspecting who was his visiter, 
opened the door but a little way, and in 
that little way, with his hand on the latch, 
he stood with a plsLlnly repulsive look. 

*«0h! it's you, Titmouse, is itl'^ he 
commenced coldly. 

^* Yes. I— I just want to speak a word 
to you— only a word or two, Hucky, if you 
aren't busy f" 

'< Why, I was just goin? to go— but what 
d^ye want, Titmouse?" he inquired, in a 
freezing manner, not stirring from where 
he stood. 

** Lei me come inside a minute,'* implored 
Titmouse, feeling as if his heart were really 
dropping out of him ; and, in a most ungra- 
cious manner. Huckaback motioned him in. 
"Well?" commenced Huckaback, with 
a chilling distrustful look. 

" Why, Huck, I know you're a good- 
natured chap— you couUnU just for a short 

time lend me ten shill " 

"No, I'm hanged if I can: and that's 



flat !" briskfy interrupted Huckaback, find- 
ing his worst suspicions confirmed. 

" Why, Hucky 9 wasn't you only yester- 
day paid your salary?" 

"Well! — suppose I was! — ^what then? 
You're a monstrous cool hand, Titmouse !— 
I never ! So I'm to lend to you, when I'm 
starving myself! I've received such a lot, 
haven't I?" 

"I thoug[ht we'd always been friends, 
Hucky," said Htmouse, Mntly ; " and so 
we shouldn't mind helping one another a 
bit ! Don't you remember, I lent you half- 
a-crown?" 

" Half-a-erown !^-and that's nine months 
ago!" 

"Do, Hucky, do! I've positively not a 
sixpence in the whole world." 

"Ha, ha! a pretty chap to borrow! you 
can pay so well ! oy George, l^tmouse, 
you're a cool hand." 

"If you won't lend me, 1 must starve." 

" Go to my uneleUJ'^ Titmouse groaned 
aloud. — ^'*Well, and why not? What of 
that?" continued Huckaback, sharply and 
bitterly. "I dare say it wouldn't be the 
first time you've done such a trick, no more 
than me. I've been obli^ted to do it. 
Why shouldn't you? Am't there that 
ring?" 

"Oh, Lord! oh, Lord! that's just what 
Mrs. Squallop said last night." 

"Whew! sheU down on you, is she? 
And you've the face to come to me ! Fern— 
that's a-going to be sold up, come to borrow ! 
Lord, that's good, any how ! A queer use 
that to make of one's friends ;— it's a taking 
of them in, I say !" 

"Oh, Huck, Huck, if you only knew 
what a poor devil " 

" Yes, that's what I was a-saying ; but 
it ain^t poor devils one lends money to so 
easily, 1 warrant me; though you ain't 
such a poor devil— you're only shamming! 
Where's your guard-chain, your studs, your 
breast-pin, your ring, and all that. Sell 
'emi if not, any how, paton 'em. Can't 
eat your cake and have it; fine back must 
have emptv belly with us sort of chaps." 

" If you'll oiuy be so kind as to lend me 
ten shillings," continued Titmouse, in an 
imploring tone, "I'll bind myself by a 
solemn oath to pay you -the very first mo- 
ment I get what IS due to me from Dowlas 
& Co." Here he was almost choked by 
the sudden recollection that he had almost 
certainly nothing to receive. 

" You've some property in the moon, too, 
that's coming to you, you know!" said 
Huckaback, with an insulting sneer. 

" I know what you're driving at," said 
poor Titmouse ; he continued eagerly, " and 



62 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



if anj thing should ever come up from 
Messrs. Quirk, Ga m " 

»* Yough ! faugh ! pish ! stuff!" burst out 
Huckaback, in a tone of contempt and dis- 
^st; ^^ never thought there was any thing 
in it, and now know it ! It's all in my eye, 
and all that !" 

" Oh, Hucky, Hucky ! Yoo don't say 
so !" groaned Titmouse, bursting into tears; 
'« you didn't ahoays say so." 

** It's enough that I say it now then ; will 
that do ?" interrupted Huckaback, in^)etu- 
ously. 

*' Oh, Lord, Lord ! what is to become of 
me 1" cried Titmouse, with a face full of 
anguish. 

At this moment, the following was the 
course of thought passings through the mind 
of Mr. Huckaback : — ^It is not certain that 
nothing will come of the fellow's affair with 
Messrs. Quirk, Ganmion, and Snap. It 
was hardly likely they would have gone as 
for as Titmouse represented (lawyers as 
they were) unless they had seen Tery sub- 
stantial grounds for doing so* Besides, 
even though Titmouse might not get ten 
thousand a year, he mi^t yet succeed in 
obtaining a rery splendid sum of money; 
and if he (Huckaback) could but get a little 
slice out of it ! Titmouse was now nearly 
desperate, and would promise any thing; 
and if he could but be wheedled into giving 
any thing in writing — Well, thought Hucka- 
back, I'll try it, however ! 

<* Ah, Titmouse, you're civil enou^ now^ 
and would promise any thing," said Hucka- 
back, appearing to hesitate ; *' but when you 
get your money you'd forget." 

** Forget my promise ! dear Hucky ! only 
try me--<io try me but once, that's all! 
Ten shillings is worth more to me now than 
a hundred pounds may be by and by." 

'•Ay, so you say nowf but dVe mean to 
tell me, that if I was now to advance you 
ten shillinp out of my poor little salary," 
continued Huckaback apparently carelessly, 
**youM, for instance, pay me a hundred 
pounds out of your thousands 1" 

"Only try me— do try me!" said Tit- 
mouse eagerly. 

" Oh, I dare not say," interrupted Hucka- 
back, smiling incredulously, and chinking 
some money in his trowsers' pocket. Tit- 
mouse heard it, and (as the phrase is) 
his teeth watered; and he immediately 
swore such a tremendous oath as I dare not 
set down in writing, that if Huckaback 
would that evening lend him ten shillings, 
Titmouse would give him one hundred 
pounds out of the very first moneys he got 
from the estate. 

" Ten shillings is a slapping slice out of 



my little salary — ^I shall have, by Georgv?, 
to go without a many things I'd intended 
getting; it's worth ten pounds to me just 
now." 

" Why, 'tis worth a hundred Xjome! Mrs. 
Squallop will sell me out, bag and baggage, 
if I don t give her something to-morrow." 

" Well, if I really thought— ^would you 
mind giving me, now, a mt of black and 
white for itl" 

^* I'll do any thing you like; only let me 
feel the ten shillings in my fingers." 

"Well, no sooner said than done, if 
you're a man of your word," said Hucka- 
back, in a trice producing a bit of paper, 
and a pen and ink. " So, only just tor the 
fun of it ! but Lord ! what stuff! — ^I'm only 
bargaining for a hundred pounds of moon- 
shine. Ha, ha ! I shall never see the colour 
of your money, not I ; so 1 may as well say 
two hundred when I'm about it, as one 
hundred—" 

"Why, hem! Two hundred, Huck, t> 
rather a large figure ; one hundred's odds 
enough, I'm sure." 

*• P'raps, Tit, you forget the licking you 
gave me the other day. Suppose I was to 
go to an attorney, and get the law of you, 
what a sight of damages I should hav»» 
three hundred pounds at least." 

Titmouse appeared even yet hesitating. 

" Well, then !" said Huckaback, flingine^ 
down his pen, " suppose 1 have them yet." 

" Come, come, Hucky, 'tis all past and 
gone, all that" 

"Is itl Well, I never! I shall never 
be again the same man I was before that 
licking. I've a sort of a - ' a of a — ^feeling 
inside, as if my breast was— I shall carry 
it to my grave, if I sha'nt!" 

It never once occurred to Titmouse, not 
having his (riend Mr. Gammon at his elbow, 
that the plaintiff in the action o^ Huckaback 
V. Titmouse might have been slightly at a 
loss for a witness of the assault ; out some- 
thing quite as good in its way — a heaven- 
sent sugreestion— <lt£{ occur to him. 

" Ah,'*^ said Titmouse suddenly, " that's 
true ; and uncommon sorry am I ; but still, 
a hundred pounds is a hundred pounds, and 
a large sum for the use of ten shillings and 
a licking; but never you think it's all moon- 
shine alK)ut my business with Messre. Quirk, 
Gammon, and Snap ! You should only have 
heard what Fvt heard to-day from these 
gents ; but I won't split as^ain either." 

"Ehl What? Heard from those gents 
at Saffron Hill?" interrupted Huckaback 
briskly; "come. Titty, out with it^— out 
with it; no secrets between friends. Titty.'* 

" No, I'll be if I do— I won't spoil 

it all again; and now, since I've let out ad 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



63 



niQch, which I didn't mean to do, I'll tell 
you something else— ten shillings is no use 
to me, I must have a pound." 

"Titty, Titty!" exclaimed Huckaback 
with unaffected concern. 

" And won't give more than fifW for it 
when I get my property either,"-^Hucka- 
back whistled aloud, and with a significant 
air buttoned up the pocket which contained 
the money ; intimating that now the nego- 
tiation was all at an end, for that Titmouse's 
new terms were quite out of the question ;— 
*^ for I know where I can get twenty pounds 
easily, only I liked to come to 9i friend 
first.^' 

^' You aren^t behaving much like a friend 
to one as has always been a fast friend of 
yours. Titty ! Jl pound ! — I haven't got it 
to part with, thars flat; so, if that's your 
fi^re, why, you must even go to your other 
fhend, and leave poor Hucky." 

*'Well, I don't mind saying only ten 
shillings," c^uoth Titmouse, fearing that he 
had been gomg on raiher too fast. 

**Ah, that's something reasonable-like. 
Titty ! and, to meet you like a friend, I'll 
take fifty pounds instead of a hundred ; but 
yoH won't object now to — ^you know— a de- 
poeite; that ring of yours. Well, well ! it 
tton't signify, since it goes against you : so 
now, here goes, a bit of paper for ten shil- 
lings, ha, ha !" and taking a pen, after a 
pause, in which he called to mind as much 
of the phraseology of money securities as 
he could, he drew up the following stringent 
do9ument : 

** Know all Men that you are bound to 
Mr. R. Huckaback Promising the bearer on 
Demand to Pay Fifty Pounds in cash out of 
the Estate, if yon Gret it. 

«« (Witness,) 22d July, 182-. 
"R. Huckaback.'' 

*• There, Titty — if you're an honest man, 
and would do as you would be done by," 
said Huckaback, after signing his own 
name as above, handing me pen to Tit- 
mouse, " sign that ; just to show your ho- 
nour, like— >7or, in course, I sha'n't ever come 
on you for the money— ^t as much as you 
may." 

A blessed thought occurred to poor Tit- 
mouse in his extremity, viz.: that there was 
no stamp on the above instrument, (and he 
had never seen a promissory note or bill of 
exchange without one;) and he si^pned it 
instantly, with many fervent expressions of 
gratitude. Huckaback received the valuable 
security with apparently a careless air; 
and after cramming it into his pocket, as if 
it had been in lefiity only a bit of waste 
paper, counted oat ten shillings into the 

■ 9 



eager hand of Titmouse ; who, having thus 
most unexpectedly succeeded in his mission, 
soon afterwards departed— each of these 
pair of worthies fancying that he had suc- 
ceeded in cheating the other. Huckaback 
having very cordially shaken Titmouse by 
the hand, heartily damned him upon shut- 
ting the door on him ; and then anxiously 
perused and re-perused his *^ security," 
wondering whether it was possible for 'fit- 
mouse at any time thereafter to evade it, 
and considering by what means he could 
acquaint himself with the progress of Tit- 
mouse's affairs. The latter gentleman, as 
he hurried homeward, dwelt for a long 
while upon only one thought — ^liow fortu- 
nate was the omission of bis friend to have 
a stamp upon his security! When and 
where, thought he, was it that he had heard 
nothing would do without a stamp 1 How- 
ever, he had got the ten shillings safe ; and 
Huckaback might wait for his nfty pounds 
till— But in the meanwhile he. Titmouse, 
seemed to stand a fair chance of going to 
the dogs : the ten shillings, which he had 
obtained with so much difficulty, were to 
find their way immediately into the pockets 
of his landlady, whom it ^ight pacify but 
for a day or two, and what quarter was he 
now to look to for the smallest assistance ? 
What was to become of him 1 Titmouse 
was a miserable fool; but thoughts such as 
these, in such circumstances as his, would 
force themselves into the mind of even a 
fool! How could he avoid— oh, horrid 
thought !—4oon parting with, or at least 
pawning, his rmg and other precious 
trinkets! He burst into a perspiration at 
the mere thought of seeing them hanging 
ticketed for sale in the window of old Balls 1 
As he slowly ascended the stairs which led 
to his apartment, he felt as if he were fol- 
lowing some unseen conductor to a dungeon. 
He was not aware that all this while, 
although he heard nothing from them, he 
occupied almost exclusively the thoughts 
of those distinguished practitioners in the 
law, Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap. 
They, in common with Huckaback, had an 
intense desire to share in his anticipated 
good fortune, and determined to do so ac- 
cording to their opportunities. The excellent 
Huckaback (a model of a usurer on a small 
scale) promptly and adroitly seized hold of 
the very first opportunity that presented 
itself, for securing a little return hereafter 
for the ten shillings, with which he had so 
generously parted when he could so ill af- 
ford it; while Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and 
Snap were racking their brains, and, from 
time to time, those of Messrs. Mortmain 
and Frankpledge, to discover some instni- 
ment strong and largo enough to cut a fat 



54 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR: 



slice for themselves oat of the fortune they 
were endeavouring, for that purpose, to put 
within tlie reach of Mr. Titmouse. A rule 
of three mode of stating the matter would 
be thus: as the inconvenience of Hucka- 
back's parting with his ten shillings and 
his waiver of damages for a very cruel 
assault, were to his contingent gain, here- 
after, of fifty pounds: so were Messrs. 
Quirk, Gammon, and Snap's risk, exer- 
tions, outlay, and benefit conferred on 'Ht- 
mouse, to their contingent gain of ten thou- 
sand pounds. The principal point of dif- 
ference between them was—as to the mode 
of securing their future recompense; in 
which it may have been observed by the 
attentive reader, with respect to the pre- 
cipitancy of Huckaback, and hesitating 
caution of Messrs. Quirk, Grammon, and 
Snap, that—** thtu fools (e. g. Huckaback) 
rushed in where angels (t. e, Messrs. Quirk, 
Gammon, and Sna,^) feared to tread,^^ Let 
me not, however, for a moment, insinuate 
that both these parties were actuated by 
only one motive, t. e. to make a prey of 
this little monkey TniUionaire. It is true 
that Huckaback appears to have driven 
rather a hard bargain with his distressed 
friend, (and almost every one that, being 
similarly situated, has occasion for such 
services as Titmouse sought from Hucka- 
back, will find himself called upon to pay 
nearly the same price for them ;) but it was 
attended with one good effect ; lor the spe- 
cific interest in Titmouse's future prosperity, 
acquired by Huckaback, quickened his en- 
er^es and sharpened his wits in the service 
of his friend. But for this, indeed, it is 
probable that Mr. Huckaback's door would 
nave been as hopelessly closed against Mr. 
Titmouse as was that of Messrs. Quirk, 
Gammon, and Snap. Some two or three 
nights afier the little transaction between 
the two friends which I have been descri- 
bing, Huckaback called upon Titmouse, 
and after greeting him rather cordially, told 
him that he had come to put him up to a 
trick upon the Safiron Hill people, that 
would tickle them into a little activity in 
his affairs. The trick was — the sending a 
letter to those gentlemen calculated to — ^but 
why attempt to characterize it t I have the 
original document lying before me, which 
was sent by Titmouse Ae very next morn- 
ing to Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, 
and here follows a verbatim copy of it: 

''No. 9 ClMet Court, Oxford Street. 

•'To Messrs. Quirk & Co. 

"Gents. — Am Sorry to Trouble You, 
But Being Drove quite desperate at my 
Troubles (which have brot me to my Last 
Penny a Week ago) and Mrs, Sqnallop my 



Landlady Wd distrain on Me only tliat tliere 
is nothing To distrain on. Am Determined 
to Go Abroad in a Week's Time, and shall 
Never come Any More back again with 
Great Grief wh Is What I now Write To 
tell You Of (Hoping you Will please Take 
No notice of it) So Need give Yourselves 
No Further Concern ^th my Concerns 
Seeing The Estate is Not To Be Had and 
Am Sorry You Shd Have Had so Much 
trouble With My Affairs wh cd not Help. 
Shd have Much liked The Thing, only it 
Was Not Worth Stoppingr For, or Would, 
but Since it Was not God's Will be Done 
which it will. Havg raised a Trifle On my 
Future Prospects (wh am Certain There is 
Nothing In) from a True /HVfuf"— Need 
it be guessed at whose instance these words 
found their way into the letter! — " wh was 
certainly uncommon inconvenient to That 
Person But He wd do Anything to Do me 
good as he says Am going to raise A Little 
More from a Gent That does Things of Thai 
Nature wh will help me with Expense in 
Going Abroad (which place I never mean 
to Return from). Have fixed for the 10th 
To Go on wh Day Shall Take leave of Mr. 
Tagrag (who on my Return Shall be fflad 
to See Buried or in the Workhouse). Have 
wrote This letter Only to Save trouble wb 
Trust You wd not have taken* 
"And Remain, 

" Gents, 
" Yr humble Unworthy Servt. 
"T. Titmouse." 
" P. &— Hope you will particularljr Re- 
member me to Mr, Gammon. What is to 
become of me, know nothing, being so trou- 
bled. Am Humbly determined not to em- 
ploy any Gents in This matter except your 
most Respectable House, and shd be most 
Truly soriy to Go Abroad wh am really 
Often thinking of in Eameit. (Unless 
something Speedily Turns Up, favourable,) 
T. T. —Shd like (By the way) to know if 
you shd be so disposed what yr respe house 
wd take for my Chances Down {Out and 
out) In a Round Sum (^Ready Money) And 
hope if they Write it will be oy Next Post 
or shall be goike Abroad.'' 



»» 



Old Quirk, as soon as he had finished 
the perusal of this skilful document, started, 
a little disturbed, from his seat, and bustled 
into Mr. Gammon's room, with Mr. Tit- 
mouse's open letter iii his hand.— "Gam- 
mon," said he, "just cast your eyes over 
this, will youl Really, we must look after 
Titmouse, or he'll be gone !" Mr. Gammon 
took the letter rather eagerly, read delibe- 
rately through it, and then looked up at his 
fidgety partner, who stood anxiously eyeing 
him, and smUed. 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



«* Well, Gammon, I really thitik-— eh ? — 
Don't you t" 

'' Upon my word, Mr. Quirk, this nearly 
equals his former letter ; and it also seems 
to have produced on you the desired ef- 
fect." 

«« Well, Gammon, and whatof thaf^? Be- 
cause my heart don't happen to be quite a 
piece of flint, you^re always—" 

** You might have been a far wealthier 
man than you are, but for tiiat soft heart of 
Tours, Mr. Quirk," said Gammon, with a 
bland smile. 

^' I know I might. Gammon— I know it. 
I thank my God I'm not so keen after bu- 
siness that I can't feel for this poor soul—* 
really, his state's quite deplorable !" 

*^ Then, my dear sir, put your hand into 
your pocket at once, as I was suggesting 
last night and allow him a weekly sum." 

*' A — ^hem ! hem ! Gammon"— said Quirk, 
sitting down, thrustinff his hands into his 
waistcoat pockets, and looking very earn- 
estly at Gammon. 

«'Well, then"— that gentleman shrug- 
ging his shoulders in answer to the mute 
appeal — ^** write and say you loon'^-^'tis 
soon done, and so the matter ends,"- 

** Why, Gammon, you see, if he goes 
abroad,'' said Quirk, after a long pause—* 
*• we lose him for ever." 

**Pho!— ^ abroad! He's too much 
for you, Mr. Quirk-— he is, indeed, ha, 
bar 

^'You're fond of a laugh at my expense. 
Gammon; it's quite pleasant-— you can't 
think how I like It!" 

** I be^ your pardon, Mr. Quirk— but you 
really misunderstood me; I was laughing 
only at the absurd inconsistency of the fel- 
low ; he's a most transparent fool, and takes 
U8 for such. Go abroad ! Ridiculous pre- 
tence! In his precious postscript he un- 
does all — he says he Is only often UUnking 
of going — pshaw ! That the wretch is in 
great distress, isyery probable-^utitmust 
go hard with him before he either commits 
suicide or goes abroad, I warrant him ; I've 
no fears on thai score— but there i$ a point 
in the letter that may be worth consider- 
ing-— I mean the fellow's hint about bor- 
rowinff money on his prospects." 

^* Yes, to be sure— 4he yery thing that 
struck fii«."— Gammon faintly smiled* — ^* I 
never thought much about the other part of 
the letter — all stuff about ffoing abroad— 
Pho!— But, to be sure, if he's trying to 
raise money, he may get into keen hands- 
do you really think he hoi /" 

^* Oh, no— of course it's only a little lie 
of his— or he must have found out some 
greater fool than himself, which I had not 
supposed possible. But however that may 



be, I really think, Mr. Quirk, its high time 
that we should take some decided steps." 
. "Well,— yes, it may be," said Quirk, 
slowly — ^^*and I must say that Mortmain 
encouraged me a good deal the day before 
yesterday." 

** Well, and you know what Mr. Frank- 
pledi 

" Oh, as to Frankpledge— hem !" 

" What of Mr. Frankpledge, Mr. Quirk 1" 
inquired Gammon, rather tartly. 

" There ! There ! — ^Always the way — ^but 
what does it signify 1 — Come, come, Gam- 
mon, we know each other too well to quar- 
rel ! — ^I don't mean any.thinfir disrespectful 
to Mr. Frankpledge, out when Mortmain 
has been one's conveyancer these thirty- 
three years, and never onc&— hem !— but, 
however, he tells me that we are standing 
on sure ground, or that he don't know what 
sure ground is, and sees no objection to our 
even taking preliminary steps in the matter, 
which indeea I begin to think it high time 
to do!— And as for securing ourselves in re- 
spect of any advances to Titmouse— he 
suggests our taking a bond, conditioned—- 
say, for the payment of dSSOO or JSIOOO on 
demand, nnaer cover of which one might 
advance him, you know, just such sums as 
and when we please ; one could stop when 
one thought fit, one could begin wim three 
or four pounds a-week, and increase as his 
prospects improve— eh 1" 

"You know Vve no objection to such an 
arrangement; but consider, Mr. Quirk, we 
must have patience; it will take a long 
while to ffet our verdict, you know, and per- 
haps as long to Beeure it afterwaurds ; and 
this horrid little wretch all the while on our 
hands; what the deuce to do with him, I 
really don't know !" 

" Humph, humph !" grunted Quirk, look- 
ing very earnestly ana uneasily at Gam- 
mon. 

"And what I chiefly fear is this,— sup- 
pose he should get dissatisfied with the 
amount of our advances, and, knowing the 
state and prospects of the cause, should turn 
restive?" 

"Ay, confound it, Gammon, all that 
should be looked to, shouldn't it 1" inter- 
rupted Quirk, with an exceedingly cha- 
grined air. 

"To be snTe,"continued Gammon, thought- 
fully ; " b^ that time he may have got sub- 
stantial friends about him, whom he could 
persuade to become security to us for further 
and past advances." 

" Nay, now you name the thing. Gam- 
mon; it was what I was thinking of only 
the other day;" he dropped his voice— 
"isn't there one or two ot our own clients 1 
hem!" 



56 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



u 



Why, certainly, there's old Fang; I 
don't think it impossihle he might be indu- 
ced to do a little asory — ^it*8 all he lives for, 
Mr. Quirk; and the security is good in 
reality, though perhaps not exactly market- 
able." 

'^ Nay ; but on second thoughts, why not 
do it ourselves, if any thing can be made 
ofiti" 

" That, however, will be for future con- 
sideration. In the mean time, we'd better 
send for Titmouse, and manage him a little 
more— <li8creetly, eht We did not exact- 
ly hit it off last time, did we, Mr. Quirk ?*' 
said Gammon smiling rather sarcastically. 
*' We must keep him at Tagrag's, if the 
thing can be done, for the present, at all 
events." 

«( To be sure ; he couldn't then come buz- 
zing about us, like a gad-iiy ; he'd drive us 
mad in a week, I'm sure." 

" Oh, I'd rather give up every thinflr than 
submit to it. It can't be difficult ioT us, 
I should think, to bind him to our own 
terms— to put a bridle in the ass's mouth ! 
Let us say that we insist on his signing an 
undertaking to act implicitly according to 
our directions in every thing." 

*' Ay, to be sure ; on pain of our instantly 
turning him to the right-about. I fancy it 
will do, now !" 

•* And, now, Mr. Quirk," said Gammon, 
with as much of peremptoriness in his tone 
as he could venture upon to Mr. Quirk, 
*' you really must do me the favour to leave 
the management of this little wretch to me. 
You see, he seems to have taken — Heaven 
save the mark !— a fancy to me, poor fel- 
low !—^nd— and — ^it must be owned, we 
miscarried sadly, the other night, on a cer- 
tain g^rand occasion — eh !" 

Quirk shook his head dissentingly. 

** Well, then," continued Gammon, "one 
thing I am determined on : one or the other 
of us, Mr. Quirk, shall undertake Htmouse, 
solely and singly. Pray» for Heaven's 
sake, tackle him yourself-— a disagreeable 
duty ! You know, my dear sir, how inva- 
riably I leave every thing of real importance 
and difficulty to your very superior tact and 
experience.'' 

'^ Come, come. Gammon, that's a drop 
of sweet oil." 

Quirk might well say so, for he felt its 
softening, smoothing effects already. 

" Upon my word and honour, Mr. Quirk, 
I'm in earnest. Pshaw!— and you must 
know it I know you too well, my dear 
sir, to attempt to—'' 

** Certainly, I most say, those must ^t 
up very early that can find Caleb Quirk 
napping,"— Uammon felt at that moment 
that for several yean he must have been a 



very early riser. And so the matter was 
arranged in the manner which Gammon had 
wishraand determined upon,— 4. e. that Mr. 
Titmouse should be left entirely to his man- 
agement; and, after some little discussion 
as to the time and manner of the meditated 
advances, the partners parted. On entering 
his own room, Quirk, ciosinghis door, stood 
leaning against the side of the window, with 
his hands in his pockets, and his eyes in- 
stinctively resting on his banker^s book, 
which lay on the table. He was in a very 
brown study; the subject on which his 
thoughts were busied being the prudence or 
imprudence of leaving Titmouse thus in the 
hands of Gammon. It might be all very 
well for Quirk to asseri his self-confidence? 
when in Gammon's presence, but he did 
not really feel it. He never left Gammon 
after any little difference of opinion, how- 
ever friendly, withouta secret suspicion that 
somehow or another Gammon had been too 
much for him, and always gained his pur- 

Sose, without giving Quirk any handle of 
issatisfaction. In fad. Quirk was tho- 
roughly afraid of Gammon, and Gammon 
knew It. In the present instance, an unde- 
finable but increasing suspicion and dissa- 
tisfaction forced him presently back again 
into Gammon's room. 

" I say, Gammon, you understand, eh t— 
Fair play, you know," he commenced, with 
a sly embarrassed air, ill concealed under a 
forced smile. 

** Pray, Mr. Quirk, what may be your 
meaning 1" inquired Gammon, with unu- 
sual tartness, vnth an astonished air, and 
blushing violently, which was not surpri- 
sing ; for ever since Quirk had quitted him. 
Gammon's thoughts had been occupied 
with only one question, viz.: how he should 
go to work with Titmouse to satisfy him 
mat he (Gammon^ was the only member 
of the firm that had a real disinterested re- 
gard for him, and so acquire a valuable 
control over him. Thus occupied, the ob- 
servation of Quirk had completely taken 
Gammon aback ; and he lost his presence 
of mind, of course his temper quickly fol- 
lowing. " Will you favour me, Mr. Quirk, 
with an explanation of your extraordinarily 
absurd and offensive observation ?" said he, 
reddening more and more as he looked at 
Mr. Quirk. 

" You're a queer hand. Gammon," replied 
Quirk, with almost an equally surprised 
and embarrassed air, for he could not resist 
a sort of conviction that Gammon had fa- 
thomed what had been passing in his mind. 

" What did you mean, Mr. Quirk, by 
your singular observation just now 1" said 
Gammon calmly, having recovered his pre- 
•enoe of mind. 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



W 



«* Mean t Why, that— we're bath queer 
hands, Gammon, ha, ha, ha!" answered 
Quirk, with an anxious laugh. 

'*I shall leave Titmouse entirely— «n/tr«- 
li/y Mr. Quirk, in your hands ; I will have 
nothing whatever^ do with him. I am 
quite sick of him and his affairs, already ; I 
cannot bring myself to undertake such an 
affair, and that was what I was thinking 
of, when — " 

<« Eh ? indeed ! Well, to be sure ! Only 
think!" said Quirk, dropping his voice, 
looking to see that the two doors were 
shut, and resuming the chair which he had 
lately quitted, ** What do you think has 
been occurring to hm in my own room, just 
now 1 Whether it would suit us better to 
throw this monkey overboard, put ourselves 
confidentially in communication with the 
party in possession, and tell him that— 
nem !— 4iem ! — for ar— eh t Yon understand 
a con-si-de-ra-tion— « suttofrfe con-ei-de-ra- 
tion." 

'< Mr. Quirk! Heavens !'' Gammon was 
really amazed. 

" Well ? You needn't open your eyes so 
very wide, Mr. Gammon — ^why shouldn't 
it be donet You know we- shouldn't be 
satisfied with a trifle, of course. But sup- 
pose he'd agree to buy our silence with four 
or five tiiousand pounds, really, it's well 
worth considering! Upon my soul. Gam- 
mon, it is a hard thing on him, no fault of 
his, and it is very hara for him to tum out, 
and for such a^-engh !-— such a wretch as, 
Titmouse! you'd feel it yourself, Gammon, 
if you were in his place, and I'm sure that 
you'd think that four or five tho u " 

**But is not Titmouse our jdoot fiecgA- 
hour ?*\ said Gammon, with a sly smile. 

** Why, that's only one way of looking 
at it, Grammon ! PCThaps the man we are 
going to eject does avast deal of good with 
the property ; certainly he bears a very high 
name in the county— and fimcy Titmouse 
with ten thousand a year ! " 

'« Mr. Quirk, Mr. Quirk, it's not to be 
thought of for a moment— not for a mo- 
ment," interrupted Gammon, seriously, and 
even somewhat peremptorily—'* nothing 
should persuade 9ii« to be any party to 
such ^" 

At this moment Snap burst into the room 
with a heated appearance, and a chagrined 
air 

" Pitch V. Gtub:^ 

This was a little pet action of poor 
Snap's: it was for slander uttered by the 
defendant, a green-grocer, against the plain- 
tiff, charging the plaintiff with having the 
mange, on account of which a lady relused 
to marry him. 

«' Pitch V. Grub, just been tried at Guild- 



hall . Witness bang up to the mark— -^ords 
and damages proved ; slapping speech from 
Serjeant Shout.— Verdict for plaintiff, one 
farthing; and Lord Lumpington said, as 
the jury had given plaintiff one farthing for 
damages, he would give him another for 
costs,* and that would make a halfpenny; 
on which the defendant's attorney tendered 
me— 4 halfpenny on the spot. Laughter in 
court — move for new tiiaf first day of next 
term, and tip his lordship a rattler in the 
next Sunday's JV^mA." 

**Mr. Quirk, once for all, if these kind of 
actions are to go on, I'll leave the firm, 
come what will." It flickered across his 
mind that Titmouse would be a capital cli- 
ent to start with on his own account. '* I 
protest our names will quite stink in the 
profession." 

** Good, Mr. Ganunon, good !" interrupted 
Snap, warmly ; ** your little action for the 
usury penalties the other day came off so 
uncommon well ! " 

**Let me tell you, Mr. Snap," intep* 
rupted Gammon, reddening— 

*^ Pho ! Come ! Can't be helped — fortune 
of the war,"— interrupted the head of the 
finn— >* J^Pt/eA M/ben/^-^f course we've 
security for costs out of pocket." 

Now, the feet was, that poor Snap had 
picked up Pitch at one of the police offices, 
and, in his zeal for business, had undertap 
ken his case on pure speculation, relying 
on the apparent strength of the plaintiff's 
case— Pitch being only a waterman attach- 
ed to a coach-stand. When, therefore, the 
very ominous question of Mr. Quirk met 
Snap's ear,,he suddenly happened (at least 
he tnought so) to hear himself called fhnn 
the clerk's room, and bolted out of Mr. 
Gammon's room rather unceremoniously. 

<' Snap will be the ruin of the firm, Mr. 
Quirk," said Gammon, with an air of dis- 
gust. "But I really must get on with the 
brief I'm drawing; so, Mr. Quirk, we can 
talk about Mr. Titmouse to-morrow !" 

The brief he was drawing up was for a 
defendant who was going to nonsuit the 
plaintiff, (a man with a large family, who 
had kindly lent the defendant a considerap 
ble sum of money,) solely because of the 
ward of a stamp. 

Quirk differed in opinion with Gammon, 
and, as he resumed his seat at his desk, he 
could not help writing the words, " Quirk 

• I suppoM DiyMlf to tM alluding here to a Terr 
oppreselTe ttatute, paseed to clip the wlnga of auch 

?!entlemen at Mr. Snap, by wbleh it la enaeted that 
n actions for slander, if the Jury find a Terdict under 
forty ihilltngs, t. g.^ ni in the case in the text, for one 
.ferthinir, the plaintiff shall be entitled to recover from 
the defendant only as much costs as damages, i. «. 
another farthing j a provision which has made ma- 
ny a poor pettifogger sneak oat of court with a Om 
in hie ear. 

8 



S8 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



and Sfuip^'* and thinking how well such a 
finn would sound and work— for Snap was 
Terilj a chip of the old block ! 

There will probably never be wanting 
those who will join in abusing and ridicu- 
ling attorneys and solicitors. Why! In 
almost every action at law, or suit in equi- 
ty, or proceeding which may, or may not, 
lead to one, each client conceives a natural 
dislike for his opponent's attorney or soli- 
citor. Jf the plainiiff succeeds, he n^iea ihe 
defendant's attorney for putting him (the 
said plaintiflT) to so much expense, and 
causing him so much vexation and danger, 
and, when he comes to settle with his own 
attorney, there is not a little heart-burning 
in looking at his bill of costs, however rea- 
sonable. Jf theplaitUifffaiU, of course it is 
through the ignorance aad unskilfulness of 
his attorney or solicitor; and he hates 
almost equally his own and his opponent's 
attorney. Precisely so is it with a success- 
fid or unsuccessful defendant. In fact, 
an attorney or solicitor is almost always 
obliged to be acting adoently to tome one of 
whom he at once makes an enemy, for an at- 
torney's weapons must necessarily )>e point- 
ed almost invariably at our pockets! He is ne- 
necessarily, also, called into action in cases 
when all the worst passions of our natAre— 
our hatred and revenge, and our self-interest 
—-are set in motion. Consider the mischief 
that might be constantly done on a grand scale 
in society, if the vast majority of attorneys 
and solicitors were not honourable and able 
men! Conceive them for a moment, dis- 
posed every where to stir up litigation, by 
availing themselves of their perfect acquain- 
tance vrith almost all men's circumstances— 
artfully inflaming irritable and vindictive 
clients, kindlinff, instead of stifling, family 
dissensions, and fomenting public strife-^ 
why, were they to do only a hundreth part 
of what it is thus in their power to do, our 
courts of justice would soon be doubled, to- 
gether with the number of our judges, coun- 
sel, and attorneys. 

But not all this body of honourable and 
valuable men are entitled to this tribute of 
praise. There are a few Quirks, several 
Gammons, and many Snaps, in the profes- 
sion of the law— men whose character and 
doings often make fools visit the sins of in- 
dividuals upon the whole species; nay, 
there are far worse, as \ have heard, but I 
must return to my narrative. 

On Friday night, the 23th of July, 183-, 
•the state of Mr. Titmouse's affairs was this : 
he owed his landlady Jgl 9j.; his washer- 
woman, 68.; his tailor, £i 8s. — in all, three 
jniineas; besides 10». to Huckaback, (for 
Tittlebat's notion was, that on repayment 
at any time of 10».y Huckaback would be 



bound to deliver up to him the document or 
voucher which he had given him,) and a 
weekly accruing rent of la, to his landlady, 
besides some very small sums for washing, 
tea, bread and butter, &c. To meet these seri- 
ous liabilities he had^-«o/ one farthing. 

On returning to his lodgings that night, 
he found a line from Thumbscrew, his land- 
lady's broker, informing him that, unless by 
ten o'clock on the next morning liis arrears 
of rent were paid, he should distrain, and 
she would also give him notice to quit at 
the end of the week ; that nothing could in- 
duce her to give him further time. He sat 
down in dismay on reading this thrcateningr 
document ; and, in sitting down, his eye fell 
on a bit of paper lying on the floor, which 
must have been thrust under the door. 
From the marks on it, it was evident that 
he must have trod upon it in entering. It 
proved to be a summons from the Court of 
bequests, for £\ 8«., due to Job Cox, his 
tailor. He deposited it mechanically on the 
table ; and for a minute he dared hardly 
breathe. 

This seemed something really like a m- 



«M. 



After a silent agonj of half an hour's du- 
ration, he rose trembling from his chair, blew 
out his candle, and, in a few minutes' time 
might have been seen standing with a pale 
and troubled face before the window of old 
Balls, the pawn broker, peering through 
the suspended articles— 'Watches, sugar- 
tongs, rings, brooches, spoons, pins, brace- 
lets, knives and forks, seals, chains, &c. — 
to see whether any one else than old Balls 
were within. Having at len8:th watched out a 
very pale and wretched-looking woman. 
Titmouse entered to take her place; and 
after interchanging a few words with the 
white-haired and hard-hearted old pawn- 
broker, produced his ffuard-chain, his breast- 
pin, and his ring, and obtained three pounds 
two shillings and sixpence, on the security 
of them. With this sum he slunk out of 
the shop, and calling on Cox, his tailor, 
paid his trembling old creditor the full 
amount of his claim {£\ 8s.,) together virith 
4s., the expense of the summons — simply 
asking for a receipt, without uttering an- 
other word, for he felt almost choked. 

In the same way he dealt with Mrs. 
Squallop, his landlady — not uttering one 
word in reply to her profuse and voluble 
apologies, but pressing his lips between his 
teeth till the blood came from them, while 
his heart seemed bursting within him. 
Then he walked up stairs with a desperate 
air—- with eightcenpence in his pocket— 
ail his ornaments gone-^hls washerwoman 
yet unpaid-— his rent going on — several 
other little matters unsettled ; and the lOtb 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



09 



of Aogost approaching, when he expected 
to be dismissed penniless from Mr. Ta^- 
racr's, and thrown on his own resources for 
subsistence. When he had regained his 
room, and, having shut the door, had re- 
seated himself at his table, he felt for a mo- 
ment, as if he could have yelled. Starva- 
tion and Despair, two fiends, seemed sitting 
beside him in shadowy ghastliness, chilling 
and palsjring him — ^petrifying his heart with- 
in hun. What WM he to do? Why had he 
been bom 1 Wh^ was he so much more 
persecuted and miserable than any one else? 
Visions of his ring, his breast-pin, his studs, 
stuck in a bit of (^rd, with their price writ- 
ten above them, and hanging exposed to his 
▼iew in old Balls* window, almost frenzied 
him. Thoughts such as these at length 
began to suggest others of a dreadful na- 
ture The means were at that in- 
stant within his reach A sharp 

knock at the door startled him out of the 
stupor into which he was sinking. He lis- 
tened for a moment, as if he were not cer- 
tain that the sound was a real one. There 
seemed a ton weight upon his heart, which 
a mighty sigh comd lift for an instant, but 
not remove; and he was in the act of heav- 
ing a second such sigh, as he languidly 
opened the door, expecting to encounter Mr. 
Thumbscrew, or some of his myrmidons, 
who might not know of his recent settle- 
ment with his landlady. 

"Is this Mr.— Tit— Titmouse's V in- 
quired a genteel-looking young man. 

'* Yes," replied Titmouse, sadly. 

" Are you Mr. Titmouse 1 " 

" Yes," he replied more faintly than be- 
fore. 

'• Oh— I have brought you, sir, a letter 
from Mr. Gammon, of the firm of Quirk, 
Gammon, and Snap, solicitors, Safiron 
Hill," said the stranger, anconscious that his 
words shot a flash of light into a little abyss 
of sorrow before him. "He begged me to 
give this letter into your own hands, and said 
he hoped you'd send him an answer by the 
first mormng's post." 

"Yes— oh — ^I seo— certainly — ^to be sure 
—with pleasure— how is Mr. Gammon t — 
uncommon kind of him— very humble re- 
spects to him— take care to answer it"— 
stammered Titmouse, in a breath, hardly 
knowing whether he was standing on his 
head or his heels, and not quite certain 
where he was. 

" Good evening, sir," replied the stran- 
ger, evidently a little surprised at Tit- 
mouse's manner, and withdrew. Titmouse 
shut his door. With prodigious trepida^ 
tion of hand and flutter of spirits, he opened 
the letter— «n enclosure meeting his eyes in 
the shape of a bank note. 



" Oh Lord !" he mormured, turning 
white as the sheet of paper he held. Then 
the' letter dropped from his hand, and he 
stood as if stupified for some moments; but 
presently rapture darted through him; a 
five-pound bank note was in his hand, 
and It had been enclosed in the following 
letter : 

"35, ThETie't Inn, 89ih July, 189-. 
" My dear Mr. Titmouse, 

" V our last note, addressed to our firm, 
has given me the greatest pain, and I has- 
ten, on my return from the country, to for- 
ward you the enclosed trifle, which I sin- 
cerely hope will be of temporary service to 
you. May I beg the favour of your compa* 
ny on Sunday evening next, at seven o'clock, 
to take a glass of wine with me ? I shall 
be quite alone, and disengaged ; and may 
have it in my power to make you some im- 
portant communications concerning matters 
m which, I assure yoa, I feel a very deep 
interest on your account. Begging the fa- 
vour of an early answer to-morrow morning, 
I trust you will believe me, ever, my dear 
sir, your most faithful humble servant, 

"OiLV Gammon. 

" Tittlebat Titmouse, Esq." 

The first balmy drop of the long-expected 
golden shower had at length fallen upon the 
panting Titmouse. How polite — nay, how 
affectionate and respectful — was the note of 
Mr. Gammon! and, for the first time in 
his life, he saw himself addressed " Tittle- 
bat Titmouse, Esquire." If his room had 
been large enough to admit of it. Titmouse 
would have skipped round it again and 
again in his frantic ecstacy. Having at 
length read over and over again the blessed 
letter of Mr. Gammon, he hastily folded it 
up, crumpled up the bank note in his hand, 
clapped his hat on his head, blew out his 
candle, ruslied down stairs as if a mad dog 
were at his heels, and in three or four mi- 
nutes' time was standing breathless before 
old Balls, whom he almost electrified by 
asking, with an eager and joyous air, for a 
return of the articles which he had only an 
hour before pawned with him ; at the same 
time laying down the duplicates and the 
bank note. The latter old Balls scrutinized 
with the most anxious exactness, and even 
suspicion— but it seemed perfectly unexcep- 
tionable ; so he gave him back his precious 
ornaments, and the change out of his note, 
mimu a trifling sum for interest. Titmouse 
then started ofi* at top-speed to Huckaback; 
but it suddenly occurring to him as possible 
that that gentleman, on hearing of his good 
fortune, might look for an immediate repav- 
ment of the ten shillings he had recently 



60 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



lent to Titmouse, he stopped short— paused 
^^ind returned home. Tiiere he had hardly 
been seated amoment^when down he pelted 
again, to buy a sheet of paper and a wafer 
or two, to write his letter to Mr. Gammon ; 
which havin? obtained, he returned at the 
same speed, almost oyertuming his fat land- 
lady, who looked after him as If he were a 
mad cat scampering up and down stairs, 
and fearing that he had gone suddenly cra- 
zy. The note he wrote to Mr. Grammon 
was so exceedingly extrayagant, that, can- 
did as I have, I trust, hitherto shown my- 
self in the delineation of Mr. Titmouse's 
character, I cannot bring myself to give the 
said letter to the reader — making all allow- 
ances for the extraordinary excitement of its 
writer. 

Sleep that night and morning found and 
left Mr. Titmouse the assured exulting mas- 
ter of TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. Of thlS faCt, 

the oftener he read Mr. Gammon's letter, 
the stronger became his convictions. 'Twas 
undoubtedly rather a large inference from 
small premises ; bat it secured him un- 
speakable happiness, for a time^ at a possi- 
ble cost of futare disappointment ana mis- 
ery, which he did not pause to consider. 
The fact is, that logic, (according to Dr. 
Watts, the right toe of reason^ is not a prac- 
tical art. No one regards it m actual life. 
Observe, therefore, folks on all hands con- 
stantly acting like Tittlebat Titmouse in 
the case before us. His eonehuion was— 
that he had become the certain master of 
ten thousand a year; his premises were 
what the reader has seen. 1 do not, how- 
ever, mean to say, that if the reader be a 
youth hot from the university, he may not 
be able to prove, by a very refined and in- 
genious argument, that Titmouse was, in 
what he did above, a fine natural logician; 
for I recollect that Aristotle hath demonstra- 
ted, by a famous argument, that the moon is 
made of creen cheese ; and no one . that I 
have heaid of, hath ever been able to prove 
the contrary. 

By six o'clock the next morning, Tit^ 
mouse had, with his own hand, dropped his 
answer into the letter-box upon the door of 
Mr. Gammon's chamber in Thavies' Inn; 
in which answer he had, with numerous 
expressions of profound respect and grati- 
tuae, accepted Mr. Gammon's polite invi- 
tation. A very happy i^^an felt he, as he 
returned to Oxford Street; entering Messrs. 
Dowlas's premises with alacrity; just as 
ihej were being opened, and volunteering 
his assistance in numerous things beyond 
his usual province, with singular briskness 
and energy; as if conscious that by doing 
80 he was greatly gratifying Messrs. Quirk, 
Gammon, and Snap, whose wishes upon. 



the subject he knew. He displayed such 
unwonted cheerfulness and patient good- 
nature throughout the day, that one m his 
companions, a serious youth, in a white 
neckerchief, black - clothes, and with a 
sanctified countenance— the only professing 
pious person in the establishments— took an 
occasion to ask him, in a mysterious whis- 
per, '* whether he had not got converted i*^ 
and whether he would, at six o'clock in the 
morning, accompany the speaker to a room 
in the neighbourhood^ where he (the youth 
aforesaid) was going to conduct an exhorta- 
tion and prayer meeting ! 

Titmouse refused — but not without a few 
qualms; for luck certainly seemed to be 
smiling on him, and he felt that he ought 
to be grateful for it; but then, he at length 
reflected, the proper place for that sort of 
thing would be a regular church — ^to which 
he resolved to go. This change of man- 
ners Tagrag, however, looked upon as as- 
sumed only to affront him f seeing nothing 
but impertinence and defiance in all that 
Titmouse did — as if the nearer Titmouse 
got to the end of his bondage— 4. e, the 10th 
of August-^e lighter-hearted he grew. 
He resolved religiously to keep his counsel; 
to avoid even — at all events for the present 
—communicating with Huckaback. 

On the ensuing Sunday, he rose at an 
earlier hour than usual, and took nearly 
twice as lon^ a time to dress*- of%en falling 
into many delightful reveries. By eleven 
o'clock he miffht be seen entering the gal- 
lery of St. Andrew's Church, Holbom; 
where he considered that doubtless Mr. 
Gammon, who lived in the neighbourhood, 
might attend. He asked three or four pew- 
openers, both below and above, if they 
knew which was Mr. Gammon's pew — Mr. 
Gimimon of ThavieV Inn; not dreaming of 
presumptuously going to the pew, but of 
sitting in some place that commanded a 
view of it Mr. Gammon, I need hardly say, 
was quite unknown there-Hio one had ever 
heard of such a person: nevertheless Tit- 
mouse, albeit a linle galled at being, in spits 
of his elegant appearance, slippM into a 
back pew, remained — ^but Ms thoughts wan- 
dered grievously the whole time; on then 
he sauntered in the direction of Hyde Park, 
to which he seemed now to have a sort of 
claim. How soon might he become, instead 
of a mere spectator as heretofore, a partaker 
in its glories ! The dawn of the day of for- 
tune was on his long benighted soul ; and 
he could hardly subdue his excited feelings. 
Punctual to his appointment, as the clock 
struck seven, he made his appearance at 
Mr. Gammon's, with a pair of span new 
white kid gloves on, and was speedily 
ushered, a uttle flurried, by a comfortable- 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



61 



looking elderly female seirant, into Mr. 
<yammon'8 room. He was dressed just as 
when he was first presented to the reader, 
salljring forth into Oxford Street, to enslave 
the lady-world. Mr. Gammon, who was 
flitting reading the Sunday Fkuh at a table 
on which uXoA a couple of decanters, seve- 
ral wine-glasses, and two or three dishes of 
fruit, rose and received his distingroished 
▼isiter with the most delightful affability. 

**I am most happy, Mr. Titmouse, to see 
you in this friendly way,*^ said he, shaking 
nim by the hand. 

** Oh, don't name it, sir,'* quoth Titmouse, 
father indistinctly, and hastily running his 
hand through his hair. 

** I've nothing, you see, to offer you but 
a little fruit, and a- glass of fair port or 
aheny*" 

** Particular fond of them, sir,'* replied 
Titmouse, endeavouring to clear his throat; 
for in spite of a strong effort to appear at 
his ease, he was unsuccessful : so that when 
Gammon's keen eye glanced at the bedi- 
sened figure of his guest, a bitter smile 
passed over his face, without having been 
observed.. ^ !nU«," thought he, as kis eye 
passed from the ring glittering on the little 
finger of the right hand, to the studs and 
breast-pin In the shirt firont, and thence to 
the guard-chain glaring entirely outside a 
damson-coloured satin waistcoat, and the 
spotless white glove which yet glistened on 
the left hand — ^* This is the writer of the 
dismal epistle of the other day, announcing 
his desperation and destitution !" 

" Your health, Mr. Titmouse ! — help your- 
self?" said Mr. Gammon, in a cheerful and 
cordial tone ; Titmouse pouring out a glass 
onlv three-quarters full, raised it to his lips 
with a sligfatlT tremulous hand, and returned 
Mr. Gammon's salutation. When had Tit- 
mouse tasted a glass of wine before ? — ^a re- 
flection occurring not only to himself, but 
also to Gammon, to whom it was a circum- 
stance that might be serviceable. 

'* You see, Mr. Titmouse, mine's only a 
small bachelor's establishment, and I can- 
not put my old servant out of the way by 
having my friends to dinner"— quite forget- 
ting that &e day before he had entertdned 
at least six friends, including Mr. Frank- 
pledge— but the idea of going through a 
dinner with Mr, Titmouse! 

And now, O inexperienced Titmouse! 
unacquainted with the potent qualities of 
wine, I warn you to be cautious how you 
drink many glasses, for you cannot calci^- 
late the effect which they will have upon 
you ; and, indeed, methinks that with tliis 
man you have a game to play which will 
not admit of much wine being drank. Be 
you, tfaerefixe, on your guard ; for wine is 



like a strong serpent, who will creep un* 
perceived into your empty head, ana coil 
himself up therein, until at length he moves 
about — and all things are as nought to you ! 

** Oh, sir, 'pon my honour, beg you won't 
name it— ^1 one to me, sir !— •Beautiful 
wine this, sir." 

"Pretty fair, I think— certainly rather 
old; — ^but what fruit will you take— cur- 
xantB or cherries ?" 

«« Why— a^I've so lately dined," replied 
Titmouse, alluding to an exceedingly slight 
repast at a coffee-shop about two o'clock. 
He would have preferred the cherries, but 
did not feel quite at his ease how to dispose 
of the stones nicely— gracefully— so he took 
a very few red currants upon his plate, and 
eat them slowly, and with a modest air. 

"Well, Mr. Titmouse," commenced Gam- 
mon, with an air of concern, " I was really 
much distressed by your last letter." 

" Uncommon glad to hear it, sir-— knew 
you would, sir— you're so kind-hearted ;— 
all Quite true, sir !" 

"I had no idea that you were reduced to 
such straits," said Gammon, in a sympa- 
thizing^ tone, but settling his eye involunta- 
rily on the rinff of Titmouse. 

"Quite dreadful, sir— -'pon my soul, dread- 
ful ; and such usage at Mr. Tagrag's !" 

" But you mustn't think of going abroad 
—away from all your friends, Mr. Tit> 
mouse." 

*^ Abroad^ sir !" interrupted Titmouse, with 
anxious but subdued eagerness; "never 
thought of such a thing !" 

" Oh ! I— I thought ^" 

"There isn't a word of truth in it, sir; 
and if you've heard so, it must have been 
from that audacious fellow that ^called on 
you — ^he's such a liar — ^if you knew him as 
well as I do, sir !" said Titmouse, wi^i a 
confident air, quite losing sight of his letter 
to Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap— 
" No, sir-«shall stay, and stick to friends 
that stick to me." 

. " Take another glass of wine, Mr. Tit- 
mouse," interrnptM Grammon, cordially, 
and Mr. Titmouse obeyed him ; but while 
he was pouring it out, a sudden recollection 
of his letter flashing across his mind, satis- 
fied him that he stood detected in a flat lie 
before Mr. Gammon, and he blushed scarlet. 

"Do you like the sherry!" inquired 
Gammon, perfectly aware of what was 
passing through the mind of his guest, and 
wishing to divert his thoughts. Titmouse 
answered in the affirmative: and proceeded 
to pour fohh such a number of apologies' 
for his own behaviour at Saffron Hill, and 
that of Huckaback on the subsequent occa- 
sion, as Gammon found it difficult to stop, 
over and over again assuring him that all 



62 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



had been forgiven and forgotten. When 
Titmouse came to the remittance of the five 
pounds, *^ Don*t mention it, my dear sir,'* 
interrupted Gammon, very blandly; ^^it 
gave me, I assure you, far greater satisfac- 
tion to send it, than you to receive it. I 
hope it has a little relieved youT* 

** I think so, sir ! I was, *pon my life, on 
my very last legs." 

*^ When things come to the worst, they 
oden mend, Air. Titmouse! I told Mr. 
Quirk (who, to do him justice, came at last 
into my views) that, however premature, 
and perhaps imprudent it might oe in us to 
go so far, I could not help relieving your 
present necessities, even out of my own 
resources." 

Oh, Gammon, Gammon! 

*'How uncommon kind of you, sir!" ex- 
claimed Htmouse. 

'^ Not in the least, mj dear sir. Pray fill 
another glass, Mr. Titmouse! You see 
Mr. Quirk is quite a man of business — and 
our profession too often affords instances of 
persons whose hearts contract as their 
purses expand, Mr. Titmouse— 4ia, ha! 
Indeed, those who make their money as 
hard as Mr. Quirk (who, between ourselves, 
dare not look at a jrallows, or the hulks, or 
a map of Botany Bay, or the tread-mill, or 
the stocks, or fifty pnsoners in the face, for 
the wrong he has oione them) are apt to be 
slow at parting with it, and very suspi- 
cious." 

'* Well, I hope no offence, sir; but really 
I thought as much, directly I saw that old 
gent." 

*^ Ah — but now he is embarked, heart and 
soul, in the affair." 

«« No ! Is he really, sir!" inquired Tit- 
mouse, eagrerly. 

*'That is," replied Gammon, quickly, 
^ so long as I am at his elbow, urging him 
on— for he wants some one, who— 4iem! 
In fact, my dear sir, ever since I had the 
ffood fortune to make the discovery, which 
happily brought us acquainted with each 
other, Mr. Titmouse" — ^It was old Quirk 
who had made the discovery, and Gammon 
who had from the first thrown cold water 
on it— ^ I have been doing all I could witfi 
him, and I trust I may say, have at last 
licked the thing into shape." 

** V\] take my oath, sir," said Titmouse, 
excitedly, ^'I never was so much struck 
with any one in all my bom days as I was 
with you, sir, when you first came to my 
emp— to Mr. Tagrag's, sir — Lord, sir, how 
uncommon sharp you seemed !" Gammon 
smiled with a aeprecating air, and sipped 
his wine in silence; but there was great 
sweetness in the expression of his counte- 
nance. Poor Titmouse's doubts, hopes, 



and fears, were rapidly subliming into t. 
rercrence for Gammon! • ♦ * » 

*'I certainly quite agree with Mr. Quirii, 
that the difficulties in our way are of the 
most serious description. To speak, for an 
instant only, of the risk we ourselves incur 
personally— would you believe it, my dear 
Mr. Titmouse, in such a disgraceful state 
are our laws, that we can't gratify our fil- 
ings by taking up your cause, without ren- 
dering ourselves liable to imprisonment for- 
Heaven knows how long, and a fine that 
would be ruin itself, if we should be found 
out !" 

Titmouse continued silent, his wine-glass 
in his hand arrested in its way to his 
mouth; which, together with his eyes, 
were opened to their widest extent, as he 
stared with a kind of horror upon Mr. Gam- 
mon. ^*Jire we, then, unreasonable, my 
dear sir, in entreating you to be cautious- 
nay, in insisting on your compliance with 
our wishes, in all that we shall deem pru- 
dent and necessary, when not only your 
own best interests, but our characters, liber- 
ties, and fortunes are staked on the issue of 
this great enterprise 1 I am sure," continued 
Gammon, with neat emotion, ''you will 
feel for us, Mr. lltmouse. I see you do !" 
Gammon put his hand over his eyes, in 
order, apparently, to conceal his emotion, 
and also to observe what effect he had pro- 
duced upon Titmouse. The conjoint in- 
fluence of Gammon's wine and eloquence 
not a little agitated Titmouse, in whose eyes 
stood tears. 

'* I'll do any thing— any thing, sir," ho 
almost sobbed. 

''Oh! all we wish is to be allowed to 
serve you effectually ; and to enable us to 
do that- 



»» 



" Tell me to be hid in a coal-hole, and see 
if I won't do it" 

" What ! a coal-hole 1— Would you, then, 
even stop at Dowlas, Tagrag & Co.'s 1" 

"Ye-e-e-e-e, sir— hem! hem! That is, 
till the terUh of next month, when my time's 
up." 

" Ah !— ay !— oh, I understand ! Another 
^lass, Mr. Tttmouse," said Gammon, pour- 
ing himself out some more wine ; ana ob- 
serving, while Titmouse followed his ex- 
ample, that there was an unsteadiness in 
his motions of a veiy different description 
from Aat which he had exhibited at the 
commencement of the evening— at the same 
time wondering what the deuce they should 
do with him afler the ienih, 

" You see, / have the utmost confidence in 
you, and had so from the firet happy moment 
when we met; but Mr. Quirk is rather 
SU B In short, to prevent misunderstand- 
ing (as he says), Mr. Quirk is anxious that 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



63 



you should gire a writUn promise." (Ht- 
mouse look^ eagerly about for writing ma- 
terials.) *' No, not now, but in a day or two's 
time. I confess, my dear Mr. Titmouse, if 
i might haTe decided on the matter, I should 
have been satisfied with your verbal pro- 
mise; but, I must say, Mr. Quirk's gray 
hairs seem to have nude him quite— eh? 
you understand ? don't you think so, Mr. 
Titmouse 1" 

** To be sure ! 'pon my honour, Mr. Gam- 
mon !" replied lltmouse, not rery distinctly 
understanding, however, what he was so 
enereetieally assenting to. 

** I dare say you wonder why we wish 
you to stop a few months longer at your 
present hiding-place— at Dowlas's 1" 

*^ Can't after the tenth of next month, sir." 

^' But as soon as we begin to fire off our 
^ns against the enemy— Lord, my dear sir, 
if they could only find out, you know, where 
to get at you— you would never live to en- 
joy your, ten thousand a year. They'd either 
poison or kidnap you— get you out of the 
way, unless you keep out ox their way: and 
if you will but consent to keep snuff at 
Dowlas's for a while, who'd suspect where 
you wast We could easily arrange with 
your friend IVtgrag that you shoul d ' .' 

^ My stars ! I'd give something to hear 
you tell Tagrag — ^wny, I wonder what he'll 
dot" 

^ Make you very eomfcntable, and let you 
have your own way in every thing." 

^* Go to the play, for instance, ipdienever I 
want, and do all that sort of thing 1" 

^ Nay, try ! any thing ! — ^And as for mo-' 
Dey, I've persuaded Mr. Quirk to consent to 
our advancing you a certain sum per week, 
from the present time, while the cause is 
ffoinff on,'^ (Titmouse's heart began to beat 
nst,) ^* in order to place you above absolute 
inconvenience; and when you consider the 
awful sums we shall have to disburse— cash 
out of pocket— (counsel, you know, will not 
open Uieir lips under a guinea)— for court- 
fees, and other indispensable matter8,N I 
should candidly say that four thousand 
pounds of hard cash out of pocket, advanced 
oy our firm in your case, would be the very 
lowest." (Titmouse stared at him with an 
expression of stupid wonder.) ** Yes — four 
thousand pounds, Mr. Titmouse, at the verv 
least— 4he very least." Again he paused, 
keenly scrutimzing Titmouse's features by 
the light of the candles which just then 
were brought in. *^You seem surprised, 
Mr. Titmouse." 

" Why— why— Where's all the money to 
come from, sirl'* exelaimed Titmouse, 
aghast. 

^' Ah ! that is, indeed, a fearful question," 
replied Gammon, with a very serious air ; I 



*^but at my request, our firm has agreed to 
make the necessary advances ; and also (for 
/ could not bear the sight of your distress, 
Mr. Titmouse!) to supply yoyr necessities 
liberally, in the mean time, as I was say- 
ing." 

** Won't you take another glass of wine, 
Mr. Gammon !" suddenly inquired Tit- 
mouse, with a confident air. 

^' With all my heart, Mr. Titmouse ! I'm 
delighted that you approve of it. I paid 
enough for it, I can warrant you." 

J*^ Cuss me if ever I tasted such wine !— 
Uncommon ! Come— no heeltaps, Mr. Gam- 
mon— -here goes— -let's drink— success to 
the affair." 

*' With all my heart, my dear sir — ^with 
all my heart. Success to the thing— amen !" 
and Gammon drained his glass; so did 
Titmouse. "Ah! Mr. Titmouse, you'll 
soon have wine enough to float a frigate— 
and, indeed, what not-— with ten thousand 
a year!" 

" And all the accumulations, you know-^ 
ta,ha!" . 

" Yes— to be sure— accumulations. The 
sweetest estate that is to be found in all 
Yorkshire. Gracious, Mr. Titmouse !" con- 
tinued Grammon, with an excited air, " what 
may you not do 1 Go where you like— do 
what you like— get into Parliament— many 
some lovely woman !" 

"Lord, Mr. Gammon! you ain't dream- 
ing? Nor I? But now, in course, you 
must be paid handsome for your trouble ! 
Only say how much— name your sum! 
What you please ! You only give me all 
you've said.^' 

" For my part, I wish to rely entirely on 
your mere word of honour, tiietween gen- 
tlemen, you know— my dear sir." 

" You only try me, sir." 

" But you see, Mr. Quirk's getUng old, 
and naturally is aiudous to provide for those 
whom he will leave behind him— and so 
Mr. Snap agreed with him— two to one 
against me, Mr. Titmouse— of course they 
carried the day — ^two to one." 

" Only say the fipix*.** 

" A single year's mcopie, only — ^ten thou- 
sandpounds will hardly " 

" T^n thousand pounds ! By jingo, that 
M a slice out of the cake." 

" A mere crumb, my dear sir !— a trifle ! 
Why, we are going to ^ve you that sum at 
least every year— and, indeed, it was sug- 
gested to our firm, that unless you gave us at 
least the sum of twenty-five thousand pounds 
— ^in fact, we were recommended to look out 
for some other heir." 

" It's not'to be thought of, sir." 

" So I said ; and as for throwing it un- 
to be sure we shall have, ourselves, to bor- 



64 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



row large sums to oarryon the 'war— and 
unless we have your bond for at least ten 
tiiousand pounds, we cannot raise a far- 
thing." 

*^ Hang'd if you shan't do what you like ! 
Give me your hand, and do what you like, 
Crammon !" 

** Thank yon, Titmouse ! How I like a 
glass of wine with a friend in this quiet 
way!— you'll always find me rejoiced to 
show- 



*' Your hand ! By George— 4id n't I take 
a liking to you from the first ! But to speak 
my mind a bit— as for Mr. Quirk— excuse 
me— but he*s a cur— cur— -cur— cur-mud- 
geon — hem !" 

*' Hope you'TC not been so imprudent, my 
dear Titmouse," threw in Gammon, rather 
anxiously, ^< as to borrow money, eh t" 

*' Devil knows, and devil cares! No 
stamp, I know—bang' up to the mark" — 
here he winked an eye, and put his finger 
to his nose— ^* wide awake— Huck — uck— 
uck — uck ! 'how his name sti— sticks. Your 
hand. Gammon — here— this, this way — ^tol 
deroi, tol derol— ha! ha! ha! — ^whatare 
you bobbiuff your head about fort The 
floor — ^how ninny— at sea — here we eo up, 
up, up— here we go down, down— oh dear :" 
—he clapped his hand to his head. 

Pythagoras has finely observed, that a 
man is not to be considered dead drunk till 
he lies on the floor, and stretches, out his 
arms and legs to prevent his going lower. 

See-saw, see-saw, up and down, up and 
down went every thing about him. Now 
he felt sinking^ through the floor, then gen- 
dy rising to the ceiling. Gammon seemed 
getting mto a mist, and waving about the 
candles in it. Mr. Titmouse's head swam ; 
his chair seemed to be testing on the waves 
of the sea. 

**I'm afraid the room's rather close, Mr. 



Titmouse," hastily observed Gammon, per- 
ceiving from Titmouse's sudden palenesa 
and silence, but too evident symptoms that 
his powerful intellect was for a while para- 
lyzed, Crammon started to the window 
and opened it. Paler, however, and paler 
became Titmouse. Gammon's game was 
up much sooner than he had calculated on. 

^<Mrs. Mumps! Mrs. Mumps! order a 
coach instantly, and tell Tomkin?" (that 
was the inn porter) **to get his son ready 
to go home with this gentleman— he's not 
very well.'^ He was obeyed. It was, in 
truth, all up with Titmouse— at least for a 
while. 

As soon as Gammon had thus got rid of 
his distinguished guest, he ordereathe table 
to be cleared of the passes, and tea to 
be ready within half an hour. He then 
walked out to enjoy the eool evening; on 
returning, sat pleasantly sipping his tea, 
now and then dipping into the edifying* 
columns of the Sunday Ftashj but oftener 
ruminating upon his recent conversation 
with Titmouse, and speculating upon its 
possible results; and a little after eleven 
o'clock, that good man, at peace with all 
the world— calm and serene— retired to re- 
pose. He had tbnt night radier a singular 
dream ; it was of a 8ns£e encircling a mon- 
key, as if in gentle and plajrful embrace.—* 
Suddenly ti^tening its folds, a crackling 
sound was heard ;'-4he writhing coils were 
then slowly unwound— «nd, wim a shudder, 
he beheld the monster licking over the mo- 
tionless figare, till it was covered with a 
viscid slime. Then the serpent began to 
devour its prey; and, when pyreA and 
helpless, behold, it was immediately fallen 
upon by two other snakes. To his disturbed 
fancy, there was a dim resemblance between 
their heads and those of Qairk and Snap-^ 
he woke— thank God ! it was only a dream ! 



CHAPTER IV. 



When, after his return from Mr. Gam- 
mon's chambers, at Thavies' Inn, Titmouse 
woke at an early hour in the morning, he 
was labouring under the ordinary effects of 
unaccustomed inebriety. His mouth and 
lips were perfectly parched, there was a 
horrid weight pressing on his aching eyes, 
and upon his throbbing head. ^ His pillow 
seemed undulating beneath him, and every 
thing swimming around him : but when, to 
crown the whde, he was loosed from a 



momentary nap hj tfie insupportable, the 
loathed importunities of Mrs. Squallop, that 
he would just sit up and partake of three 
thick rounds of hot buttered toast, and a 
great basin of smoking tea, which would do 
him so much good, and settle his stomach — 
at all events, if he'd only have a thimble 
full of gin in it— poor Titmouse was fairly 
overcome. He lay in bed all that day, du- 
ring which be underwent very severe suffer- 
ings ; and it was not till towards night that 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



66 



he began to have any thing like a distinct 
leooUeetion of the evening he had spent 
with Mr. Grammon; who, by the ^Miy, had 
eent one of the clerics durinff the afienuran, 
to inquire after him. He did not get out of 
bed on the Tuesday till past tweWe o'clock, 
when, in a very rickety condition, he made 
his appearance at the shop of Messrs. Dow- 
las & Co.; on approachii^ which he felt a 
sudden faintness, arising inxn mingled ap- 
prehension and disffust. 

** What are you doing here, sir !»-You're 
no longer in my employment, sir," exclaim- 
ed Tagraff, attempting to spe& calmly, as 
, he hurried down the shop to meet Titmouse, 
and planted himself right in the way of his 
languid and pallid shopman. 

*^ Sir !"— faintly exclaimed Titmouse, 
with his hat in his hand. 

" Veiy much obliged, sir — ^very ! by the 
offer of your valuable services," said Tag- 
rag. ^ tint— -MoTs tiie way out a^in, sir — 
that ! — there !-^ood morning, sir !— that's 
the way out"— and he edged on Titmouse, 
till he had got him feirly into the street— 
with infinite difficulty restrainingbimself 
irom giving him a parting kick. Titmouse 
stood for a moment before the door, trem- 
bling and affhast, looking in a bewildered 
manner at ue shop : but Tagiag again 
making his appearance. Titmouse slowly 
walked away and returned to his lodgines. 
Oh that Mr. Gammon had witnessed 3ie 
scene— thought he— 4nd so have been satis- 
fied that it lubd been Tagrag who had put 
an end to his services, not he himself who 
had quitted it ! 

The next day, about the same hour, Mr. 
Gammon made his appearance at Messre. 
Dowlas and Company's, and inquired for 
Mr. Tagrag, who presently presented him- 
self, aiul recognising Mr. Gammon, who 
naturally remiiSled hmi of Titmouse, chang- 
ed colour a Uttle.. 

** What did you please to want, sir 1" in- 
quired Mr. Tagrag, with a would-be reso- 
lute air, twiriing round his watch-key with 
some enetgy, 

**• Only a few minutes' conversation, sir, 
if you please," said Mr. Gammon, with 
saeh a significant manner as a little disturb- 
ed Mr* Tagrag; who, with an ill-support- 
ed sneer, bowed very low, and led the way 
to his own little room. Having closed the 
door, he, with an exceedingly civil air, beg- 
ged Mr. Gammon to be seated ; and then 
oecupied the chair opposite to him, and 
awaited ^ issue with ili-di^ffuiBed anxiety. 

**Iam very sorry, Mr. Tagraff," com- 
meneed Ganunon, with his usual elegant 
and feeliiu^ manner, ^ that any misuiraer- 
standing should have arisen between you 
ind Mr. Titmouse." 



♦' You're a lawyer, sir, I suppose ?" Mr. 
Gammon bowed. ** Then you must know^ 
sir, that there are always two sides to a 
quarrel." 

" Yes — ^you are rieht, Mr. Tagrag ; and, 
having already heard Mr. Titmouse's ver- 
sion, may I be favoured with your account 
of your reasons for dismissing him ? For 
he tells us that yesterday you dismissed 
him suddenly from your employment, with- 
out givinff him any warn—'' 

*^ So I did, sir; and what of thati" in- 
quired Tagrag, tossing his head with an air 
of defiance. '* Things are come to a pretty 
pass indeed, when a man can't dismiss a 
drunken, idle, impudent vagabond." 

<« Do you seriously charge him with be- 
ing such a character, and can you procejoar 
charges, Mr. Tagrag V inqmred Gammon, 
gravely. 

^' Prove 'em ! yes, sir, a hundred times 
over ; so will my young men." 

*' And in a court of justice, Mr. Tasrag 1" 

'* Oh ! he's going to law^ is he ! lliat's 
why you're come here— ah, ah ! when you 
can make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, 
you may set your bill out of Mr. Tittlebat 
Titmouse 1 — ha, ha, ha !" laughed Tagrag, 
hoping thereby to conceal how much he was 
really startle<L 

. "Well— that's our look-out, Mr. Tag- 
rag : to Mr. Titmouse, his character is as 
viuuable as Mr. Tagrag's is to him. In 
short, he has placed nimself in our hands, 
and we are resolved to go on with the case if 
it costs us a hundred pounds— we are indeed. 
Mr. Tagrag." 

** Why— he's not a penny in the world to 
go to law with!" exclaimed Tagrag, with 
an air of mingled wonder and contempt. 

" But you forget, Mr. Tagrag, that if Mr. 
Titmouse's account shall turn out to be cor- 
rect, it will be your pocket that must pay 
all the expenses, amountinff probably to 
twenty times the sum whi<3i a jury may 
award to Mr. Titmouse." 

"Law, sir! — ^It's not justice— I hate 
law— give me common sense and common 
honesty !" 

" Both of them would condemn your con- 
duct, Mr. Tasrag ; for I have heard a full 
account of what Mr. Titmouse has suffered 
at your hands— of the cause of your sudden 
warning to him, and your still more sudden 
dismisml of yesterday. Oh, Mr. Tagrag! 
upon my honour, it won't do— not for a 
moment-^«nd should you go on, rely upon 
what I tell you, that it will cost you dear." 

" And suppose, sir," said Tagrag, in a 
would-be contemptuous tone— "I should 
have witnesses to prove all I've said— - 
which of us will look funny then, six!" 

" Which, indeed ! However, since that 

9 



M 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



!b your hamour, I can only assare yon that 
Mr.*Titinou8e defies you to prove any mis- 
conduct on his part. We have taken up 
his cause, and, as you may peihaps find, 
we shall not easily let it drop/* 

** I mean no onence, sir, said Tagrag, 
in a mitigated tone ; **but I must say, that 
ever since you came here, Titmouse has 
been quite another person. He seems not 
to know who I am, nor to care either-— and 
he's perfectly unbearable.** 

*' My dear sir, what has he mid or done ? 
— that, you know is what you must be pre- 
pared to prove." 

'* Well, sir, and which of us is likely to 
be the best off for witnesses t — Think of 
that, sir, — ^I*ve eighteen young men ^•* 

"We shall chance that, sir," replied 
Gammon, shrugging his shoulders: "but 
again I ask, what did you dismiss him fori 
and I requeM a plain, straightforward an- 
swer.** 

" What did I dismiss him for t Haven*t 
I eyes and ears t — ^First and foremost, he*8 
the most odious mannered fellow I ever came 
near— 4Lnd — he hadn't a shirt to his back, 
when I first took him — ^the ungrateful 
wretch! Sir, it's not against the law, I 
suppose, to hate a man;— and if it isn*t, 
how I hate Titmouse!** 

"Mr. Tagrag,**— said Gammon, lower- 
ing his voice, and looking very earnestly at 
his companion — *^ can I say a word co you 
in confidence— the strictest confidence 1*' 

" What's it about, sir,** inquired Tagrag, 
with an apprehensive air. 

" I dare say yon may have felt, perhaps, 
rather surprised at the mterest which I — ^in 
fact our office, the office of Quirk, Gammon 
and Snap, in S^iffiron Hill— appear to have 
taken in Mr. Titmouse." 
' " Why, sir, it's your look-out to see how 
you're to be paid for what you're doin?,— 
and 1 dare say lawyers generally keep 
a pretty sharp look-out in that direction." 

Gammon smiled, and continued — "It 
may, perhaps, a little surprise you, Mr. 
Tagrag, to hear that your present (pusht I 
to say, your late?) shopman, Mr. Titdebat 
Titmouse, is at this moment probably the 
very luckiest man in this kingaom." 

*' Why— you don't mean to say he's 
drawn a prize in the lottery 1"— exclaimed 
Tagrag, pricking up his ean. 

" Pho ! mj dear sir, that is a mere trifle 
compared with the gooid fortune that has be- 
fallen him. He turns out to be the un- 
doubted owner of an estate worth at least 
ten thousand a year, besides a great accu- 
mulation of ready money.*' 

" Ten thousand a year, sir! — ^My Tit- 
mouse ! — Tittlebat Titmouse ! — Ten thou- 
sand ayear!'*fidteredTBgrag,afier a paoM. 



"J have as litde doubt of the fact, as 1 
have that yon yesterday tamed him oat of 
doore.** 

"But— who could have dreamt it! How 
was— how was I to know itt** 

"That*s the fact, however," said Gam- 
man, shraggin^ his shoaldera. Tagrag 
wriggled about m his chair, put his hands 
in and out of his pockets, scratched his 
head, and continued staring open-mouthed 
at the bearer of such astonishing intelli- 
gence. " Peihaps all this is meant as a 
joke, sir,'*— «aid he— ^ if so— it's— -it'B-*« 
very——" 

"It's one of his solicitors, who were for^ 
tunate enou^ ta make the discovery, that 
tells you. I solemnly assure you of the 
fact, Mr. Tagraff. Ten thousand a rear, at 
the least, is Mr. Titmouse now the leal 
owner of." 

"Why, that's two hundred thonsand 
pounds, sir!**— -exclaimed Tagiag, with ao 
awe-struck air. 

" At the very least ^** 

"Lord, Mr. Gammon !— Excuse me, sir, 
but how did you find it out!" 

" Mere accident— mere accident, sir.** 

" And does Mr. Titmouse know it!" 

" Ever since the day after that on which 
I called on him here.'* 

" You don*t say so !*' — l^agTageontiiiaed 
silent for nearly a minute, evideiray amased 
beyond all power of expression. 

"Well,*^— at length he observed— ^« I 
will say this— he*s the most amiable yooog 
gentlemaiH— the very amiableti young gentle- 
man I— ever— came near. I always thoujgfat 
there was something uncommon supenor- 
llke in his looks.** 

«* Ye&— I think he u of rather an amiable 
turn,** observed Gammon, with an expros* 
sive smile—" and so intelligent—** 

"Intelligent! Mr.Grammon! yon should 
only have known him as I have known 
him ! — ^Well, to be sure :-^Lord ! His only 
fault was, tibat he was above his bosinass ; 
but when one comes to think of it, how 
could it be otherwise 1 From the time I 
first clapped eyes on him— I— I— knew he 
was— a superior article— quite superior^— 
you know what I mean, sir 1— He couldn't 
help it, of course.- To be sure— ^e never 
was much liked by the other young men; 
but that was all jealousy! all jealousy; I 
saw that all the while." Here he looked at 
the door, and added in a very low tone, 
"Many sleepless nights has their bad treat- 
ment of Mr. Titmouse cost me!— Even I, 
now and then, used to look and speak sharp- 
ly to him— jnst tb keep him as it were, 
aown to the mark of ^ others— he was so 
uncommon handsome and genteel in his 
mannera, sir. Hang me, if I didn't tell 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR, 



m 



MfB. Tsffrag the very first day he came to 
me, that he was affentleman bom-— oroogfat 
to haye heen one.** 

Now, do yoa sappose, acute reader, that 
Mr. Tagrag was insmcere in all this ? By 
no means. He spoke the real dictates of 
his heart, unaware of the sudden change 
which had taken place in his feelings. It 
certainly has an ugly look — but it was the 
nature of the heaat ; his eyesnddenlTcauffht 
a ^impse of the golden calf, and he in- 
stinctively fell down and worshipped it, 
*« Well — at all events," said Mr. Gammon, 
scarcely able to keep a serious expression 
on his fac&— >' thonrii not a gentleman bom 
he'll Uve like a gentlemaii — and spend his 
money like one, too.*' 

Ml-^I-^are say«— 4ie will!— I wonder 
how he will get through a quarter of it !— - 
what do yoa think he'll do, sir!" 

** Heaven only knows— -he may do just 
what he likes." 

**I declare— I feel as if I shouldn't be 

J uite right again for the rest of the day! — 
own to you, sir, that all yesterday and to- 
day I've been on the point of going to Mr. 
Titmouse's lod^gs to apologise for— 4br 
Good gracious me? one can't take it 
all in at once— Ten thousand a year !— Ma- 
'ny a lord hasn't ffot more— some not as 
much, I'll be bonna !<^-Dear me, what will 
he do!— Well, onethinff I'am rare ol^— he'll 
never have a truer friend than plain Thomas 
Tagrag, tiiough I've not always been a 
flattering him— I respected him too much !— 
The many little things I've borne with in 
Titmouse, that in any one else I'd have- 
But why didn't he tell me, sir 1 We should 
have understood one another in a moment." 
—Here he paused abruptly ; for his breath 
seemed suddenly taken away, as he review- 
ed the series of indignities which he had 
latterly inflicted on Titmouse— the kind of 
life which that amiable youn^ gentleman 
had led in his establishment. 

Never had the keen Chmmion enjoyed 
any thing more exquisitely than the scene 
which I have been describing. To a man 
of his practical sagacity in the affairs of life, 
and knowledge of human nature, nothing 
could appear more ludicrously contemptible 
than the conduct of poor Tagrag. How dif- 
ferently are the minds of men constituted! 
How Gammon despised TVigrag! and how 
the reader must respect Gammon ! 

^ Now^ may I take for granted, Mr. Tag- 
rag, that we understand eadi other 1" in- 
quired Gammon. 

'^Yes, sir," replied Tagrag, meekly. 
**But do you think Mr. Titmouse will ever 
forgive or forget the litde misunderetanding 
we've lately had 1 If I could but explain to 



him how I have been acting a part towards 
him— ^11 for his good !" 

^^ You may have opportunities for doing 
so, if you are really so disposed, Mr. Tag- 
rag; for I have something seriously to pro- 
pose to you. Circumstances render it desi- 
rable, that for some little time this important 
affair should be kept as quiet as possi- 
ble; and it is Mr. Titmouse's wish, and 
ours — as his confidential professional advi- 
sers— that for some few months he should 
continue in your establishment, and appa* 
rently in your service as before." 

<«ui my service !-^ny service!" inter" 
rupted Tagrag, opening his eyes to their 
utmost. *^ I shan't know how to behave in 
my own premises ! Have a man with ten 
thousand a year behind my counter, sirl I 
might as well have the Lord Mayor ! Sir, 
it can't— it can't be. Now, if Mr. Tit- 
mouse choose to become a partner in the 
house— ay, there might be something in 
that— he needn't have any trouble— be only 




assured him that it was out of the question ; 
and gave him some of the reasons for the 
proposal which he (Mr. Gammon) had 
been making. While Gammon fancied 
that Tagrag was paying profound attention 
to what he was saying, TVgrag's thoughts 
had shot hx ahead. He had an only child—* 
a daughter, about twenty yeare old — Miss 
Tabids Tagng; and the delightful possi- 
bility of her by and by becoming Mra, Tit- 
mouse, put her amiable parent into a per- 
spiration. Into the proposal just made by 
Mr. Gammon he fell with great eagerness, 
which he attempted to conceal— for what 
innumerable opportunities could it not afford 
him for bringing about the desire of his 
heart— for throwing Uie lovely youne couple 
into each other's way, endearing mem to 
each other! Oh, delightful! It reaUy 
looked almost as if fate had determined 
that the tldng should come to pass ! If Mr. 
Titmouse did not dine with him, Mn. and 
Miss Tagrag, at Satin Lodge, Clapham, on 
the very next Sunday, it should, Tagrag le- 
solved, be owing to no fault of Am.— Mr. 
Ciammon having arranged every thing ex- 
actly as he had desired, and having again 
enjoined Mr. Tkgrag to absolute secrecy, 
took his departure. Mr. Tagrag, in his ex- 
citement thrust out his hand, and grasped 
that of Gammon, which was extended to- 
wards him somewhat coldly and reluctantly. 
Tagrag attended him with extreme obsequi- 
ousness to the door ; and on his departure, 
walked back rapidly to his own room, and 
sat down for neatly half an hour in deep 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR, 



thought. Abrnptlj rising at len^, he 
clapped his hat on his head, and saying that 
he should soon be back, honied out to call 
upon his future son-in-law, full of affection- 
ate anxiety concerning his health— and vow- 
ing within himself, that thenceforth it should 
be the study of his life to make his daughter 
and Titmouse happy ! There could be no 
doubt of the reality of the event just com- 
municated to him by Mr. Gammon ; for he 
was a well-known solicitor, and had had an 
interview on important business with Tit- 
mouse a fortnight ago, which could have 
been about nothing but the prodigious 
event j ost communicated to himseUl Such 
thinffs had happened to others — ^why not to 
Tittlebat Titmouse t In short, T^igrag had 
no doubt on the matter. 

He found Titmouse not at home ; so left 
a most particular civil message, half a do- 
zen times' repeated, with Mrs. Squallop-^ 
to the effect that he, Mr. Tairrag, should be 
only too happy to see Mr. Titmouse at No. 
375 Oxford Street, whenever it might suit 
his convenience; that he was most deeply 
concerned to hear of Mr. Titmonse^s indis- 
position, and anxious to learn from himself 
that he had recovered, &c., dec., &c. ; — all 
which, together with one or two other little 
matters, which Mrs. Scjuallop could not 
help putting together, satisfied that shrewd 
lady that ^* something was in the wind 
about Mr. Titmouse ;*' and made her reflect 
rather anxiously on one or two violent 
scenes she had had with him, and which 
she was now ready entirely to forget and 
fcnrgive. Haying thus done all that at 
present was in his power ^to forward the 
thing, the anxious and excited Ta^ragre* 
turned to his shop ; on entering which, one 
Lut^tring, his pnncipal young man, eagerly 
apprised him of a claim whidi he haS, as 
he imagined, only the moment before estab- 
lished to the thanks of Mr. Tagiag, by 
having *« bundled off, neck and crop, that 
hodious Titmouse,*' who, thont five minutes 
before, had, it seemed, had the ^ impudence'* 
to present himself at the shopHdoor, and 
walk in as if nothing had happened ! ! 
Titmouse had so presented himseit, in con- 
sequence of a call from Mr. Gammon, im- 
mMiately after his interview with Tagrag. 

•♦You— ordered — ^Mr. Titmouse— off J" 
exclaimed Tasrag, starting back aghast, 
and stopping his voluble and officious as- 
sistant 

**0f course, sir— after what happened 
yester— -" 

** Who authorized yon, Mr. Lutestringt** 
inquired Tagrag, striving to choke down the 
rage that was nsing wi&in him. 

•♦ Why, sir, I really supposed that ** 

^Yoa supposed ! You're a meddling, 



impertinent, disgusting"— Suddenly his 
face was overspread with smiles, as three 
or four elegantly dressed customers entered, 
whom he received with profuse obeisances. 
But when their backs were turned, he di- 
rected a lightning look towards Lutestring, 
and retreated once more to his room, to 
meditate on the agitating events of the last 
hour. The extraordinary alteration in Mr. 
Tagrag's i>ehavionr was attributed bv his 
shopmen to his having been fris^itened out 
of his wits by the ureats of ^tmouse's 
lawyer— ^or such it was clear the stranger 
was ; and more than one of them stored it 
up in their minds as a useful nrecedeat 
against some future occasion. 

Twice afterwards during the day did 
Tagrag call at Titmouse's lodrags— but in 
vain ; and on returning the thira time felt 
not a little disquieted. He determined, how- 
ever, to call the first thinff on the ensuing 
morning; if he should then fiiil of seeing 
Mr. Titmouse, he was resolved to go to 
Messrs. Qiiirk, Gammon, and Snap— and 
besides, address a very affectionate letter to 
Mr. Titmouse. How totally changed had 
become his feelings towards that gentleman 
within the last few hours ! The more Tag- 
rag reflected on Titmouse's conduct, the 
more he saw in it to approve of. How 
steady and regular had he been in his 
habits! how civil and obliging! how pa- 
tient of rebuke! how pleasing in his man- 
ners to the customers! Surely, surely, 
thought Tagrag, Titmouse can't have been 
four long years in my employ without get- 
ting ar— sort of ar— feeling— of attachment to 
me-— he'd have left long ago if he hadn't! 
It was true there had now and then been 
tiffs between them ; but who could affiee 
always^ Even Mrs. Tagrag and he, when 
they were courting, often fell out with one 
another. Tagrag was now ready to forget 
and forgive ul--he had never meant any 
harm to Titmouse.* He believed that poor 
Tittlebat was* an orphan, poor soul ! alone 
in the wide world— fioio he would become 
the prey of designing strangers. Tagrag 
did not like the appearance of Gammon. 
No doubt that person would try and ingra- 
tiate himself as much as possible with Tit- 
mouse! ' Then Titmouse was remarkably 
good-looking. ♦' I wonder what Tabby will 
think of him when she sees him !" How 
anxious Tittlebat must be to see her — Am 
daughter! How could Tagrag make 
TitUebat's stay at his premises (for he 
could not bring himself to believe that on 
the morrow he could not set all right, and 
disavow the impudent conduct of Lute* 
string) agreeable and deli^tfull He 
would discharge ^e first of his young men 
that did not show Titmouse proper respect 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



60 



What low lodgings poor Tittlebat lived in ! 
Why could he not take op hia quarters at 
Satin Lodge 1 They always had a nice 
spare bed-room! Ah! thai would be « 
stroke ! How Tabby could endear herself 
to him ! What a number of things Mrs. 
T&grag could do to make him comfortable ! 

About seven o'clock, Tagrag (quitted his 
premises in Oxford Street, for his countrjr 
riouse; and occupied with these and simi- 
lar delightful and anxious thoughts and 
speculations, hurried along Oxford Street 
on his way to the Clapham staee, without 
thinking of his umbrella, though it rained 
fast. When he had taken his place on the 
coach-box, beside old Crack, (as he had 
done almost every night for years,) he was 
so unusualiv silent, that Crack naturally 
thought his best passenger was going to be- 
come bankrupt, or compound with his cr&- 
ditore, or something of that sort. Mr. Tag- 
lag oould hardly keep his temper at tiie 
slow pace old Crack was driving at-— just 
when Tagrag could have wished to gallop 
the whole way. Never had he descended 
with so much briskness, as when the coach 
at length drew up before the little green 
gate, which opened on the nice little gravel 
walk, which led up to the little green 
wooden porch, whicn sheltered the slim 
door which admitted you into Satin Lodge. 
As Tagrag stood for a moment wiping. his 
wet shoes upon the mat he could not help 
observing, for the first time, by the inward 
light of ten thousand a year, how uncom- 
mon small the passage was— and thinking 
that it would i^ver do, when he should be 
the fatheHn-law of a man worth ten thou- 
sand a year — he could easily let that house, 
and take a large one. As he hung his hat 
upon the peg, the mischievous insolence of 
Lutestring occurred to him ; and he deposi- 
ted such a prodigrious execration upon that 
gentleman's name, as must have sunk a far 
more buojrant sinner many fathoms deeper 
than usual, into a certain hot and deep 
place that shall be nameless. 

Mrs. and Miss IVigrag were sitting in 
the front parlour, intending to take tea as 
soon as Mr. Tagrag shoiud have arrived. 
It was not a large room, but furnished pret- 
tily, according to the taste of the owners. 
There was only one window, and it had a 
flaunting white summer curtain. The walls 
were ornamented with three pictures, in 
heavily gilt frames, being portraits of Mr., 
Mra., and Miss Tagrag, ana I do not wish to 
say more of these pictures, than that in each 
of them the dress was done with singular 
exactness and fidelity — ^the faces seeming 
to have been painted in, in order to com- 
jlete the thing; The skinny little Miss 



Tagrag, sat at the worn-out jingling piano 
forte, playing— -oh, horrid and doleful sound ! 
The Battle rf Prague. Mrs. Tagrag, a fiit, 
showily dressed woman, of about fifty, her 
cap hsving a prodigious number of artificial 
flowere in it, sat reading. n 

"Well, Dolly, how are you to-night 1" 
inquired Tagrag, with unusual briskness, 
on entering Uie room. 

•» Tolerable, thank you, Tag," replied 
Mra. Tagrag, mournfully, witii a sigh, 
closing the cheerful volume she had been 
perusing — it having been recommended the 
preceding Sunday from the pulpit by its 
pious and gifled author, Mr. Horror, to be 
read uid prayed over every day by every 
member of his congregation* 

<' And how are you^ Tabby V* said Tag- 
rag, addressing his daughter. " Come am 
kiss me, you httie slut— come !" 

" No I sha'n't, pa ! Do let me go on with 
my practising"— and twang ! twang ! went 
those infernal keys. 

"D'ye hear, Tab? Come and kiss me, 
you little minx—" 

"Really, pa, how provoking— just as I 
am in the middle of the Cries if the Wound' 
ed! I sha'n't— that's flat." 

The doating parent could not, however, 
be denied; so ne stepped to the piano, put 
his^rm round his dutiful daughter's neck, 
kissed her fondly, and then stood for a mo- 
ment behind her, admiring her brilliant exe- 
cution of The JVumpet nfVUAmry. Having 
changed his coat, and put on an old pair of 
shoes, Tagrag was comfortable for the 
evening. 

"TtU>by plays wonderful well, Dolly, 
don't she 1" said Tagrag, as the tea-things 
were being brought in, byway of beginning 
a conversation, while he drew his chair 
nearer to his wife. 

"Ah! I'd a deal rather see her reading 
something serious— for life is short, Tag, 
and etermty's long." 

" Botiieration !— stuff !—4ut !" 

«« You may find it out one day, my dear, 
when it's too late——" 

" ril tell you what, DoUy," said Tagrag, 
angrily, "you're coming a great deal too 
much of tiiat sort of thing— 4ny house is 
getting like a Methodist meeting-house. I 
can't Sear iu— I can't! What the deuce is 
come to you all'in these parts, lately ?" 

" Ah, Tagrag," replied his wife with a 
sigh, " I can only pray for you— I can do 
no mor e " 

" Oh !" exclaimed Tagrag, with an air of 
desperate disgust, thrusting his hands into 
his pockets, and stretching his legs to their 
utmost extent under the table. "I'll tell 
you what, Mra. T.," he added, after a while. 



TO 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



** too much of one thing is good for nothing ; 
you may choke a dog with pudding;^ 
8ha*n*t renew my sittings at Mr. Horror's.'* 
" Now, pa, do ! That's a love of a pa !" 
interposed MissTagrag, twirling round on 
^er music stool. '* All Clapham's running 
after him; he's quite the rage! There's 
the Dugginses, the Pips, the Joneses, the 
Maggots-^and, really, Mr. Horror does 

Iireach such dreadful things, it's quite de- 
ightful to look round and see all the people 
with their eyes and mouths wide open — and 
ours is such a good pew for seeing--and 
Mr. Horror is such a b-e-e-yeautiful preach- 
er,^sn't he, mal" 

^* Yes, love, he is— but, I wish I could 
see you profit by him, and preparing for 
death '' 

^^ Why, ma, how can you go on in that 
ridiculous way t You know I'm not twenty 
yet!" 

**Well, well! poor Tabby!" here Mrs. 
Tagrag's voice faltered—** a day will come 
when — -" 

** Play me the Dm/ among the Jlaihn^ 
or Copenhagen Waliz^ or something of that 
sort. Tabby, or I shall be sick!^-! can't 
bear it!" 

«• Well !— Oh, my !— I never !— Mr. Tag- 
rag!" exclaimed his astounded wife. 

** Play away. Tab, or I'll go and sit in 
the kitchen! They're cheerful/Aere / The 
next time I come across Mr. Horror, if I 
don't give him a bit of my mind," — here he 
paused, and slapped his hand with much 
energy upon the table. Mrs. Tagrag wiped 
her eyes, sighed, and resumed her book. 
Miss Fagrag be j^an to make tea, her papa 
flnradually forgetting his rage, as he fixed his 
dull gray Byes fondly on the pert skinny 
countenance of his daughter.^ 

**By the way. Tag," exclaimed Mrs. 
Tagrag, suddenly, but in the same mourn- 
ful tone, addressing her husband, you 
haven't of course forgot the laoe for my new 
bonnet?" 

''Never once thought of it," replied Tag- 
rag, dogffedly. 

** You haven't ! Good gracious ! what am 
I to ff o to chapel in next Sunday!" she 
exclaimed, with sudden alarm, closing her 
book, ** and our seat in the very front of Uie 
gallery ! bless me ! I shall have a hundred 
eyes on me !" 

''Now that you*re coming down a bit,' 
and dropped out of the clouds, Dolly," 
said her husband, much relieved, " I'll tell 
you a bit of news that will, I fanoy, rather 

" C<mie, what is it, Tagt'* eagerly inquired 
his wife. 

" What should you say of a chance of a 
eertain somebody^' (here he looked nnuV 



»» 



terable things at his .daughter) " that shril 
be nameless, becoming mistress of ten 
thousand a year V 

" Why" — Mrs. Tagrag changed colour*- 
" has any one fallen in love wiui Tab 1" 

" What should you say of our Tab mar- 
rying a man with ten thousand a year? 
There's for you ! Isn't thai better than all 
your religion 1" 

"Oh, Tag, don't say that; but" (here 
she hastily turned down the leaf of GroanM 
from the Botiomlest Piti and tossed that 
inestimable work upon the sofa^ "do tell 
me, lovy, what are you talking about 1" 

"What indeed, Dolly! — Vm going to 
have himliere to dinner next Sumlay.''^ 

Miss Tagrag having been listening with 
breathless eagerness to this little colloquy 
between her prudent and amiable parents, 
unconscious of what she was about, was 
pouring all the tea into the sugar basin. 

" Have ivAo, dear Tag V inquired Mrs. 
Tagrag impatiently. 

"Who? why whom but Tittlebat Tit- 
mouse? You've seen him, and heard me 
speak of him." 

"What! that odious, nasty^ 

" Hush, hush !" involuntarily exclaimed 
Tagrag with an apprehensive air—" That's 
all past and gone— I was always too hard 
on him. Well, he's turned up all of a sud- 
den master of ten thousand a year. He has, 
indeed— you'll see if he hasn't." 

Mrs. 'fagrag and her daughter sat in 
speechless wonder. 

"Where did he see Tab, Taggy?" at 
length inouired Mrs. Tagrag. 

" Oh— I— I— why — ^you see— I don't ex- 
actly think that signifies so much — ^he will 
see her next Sunday." 

" So then he's positively coming ?" 

"Y— e— s; I've no doubt."— I'll dis- 
charge Lutestring to-morrow, thought Tag^ 
rag. 

"But aren't we counting our chickens, 
Tae, before they're hatched? If Titmouse 
is ful of a sudden become such a catch, he'll 
be snapped up in a minute." 

" Why you see, Dolly — ^we're first in the 
market, I'm sure of that^-4iis attorney tells 
me he's to be kept quite snug and quiet un- 
der my care for months, and see no one. So 
when he once gets sight of Tabjby, and gets 
ii^ her company— eh! Tab, sweet! you'll 
do all tiie rest— hem !" 

"La, pa! how you go on!" simpered 
Miss Tagrag. 

" You must do your part, Tab," said her 
father— " we'll do ours. He'll bite, you 
may depend on it !" 

" What sort of a looking young man is 
he, dear pa?" inquired Miss Tagrag, blush- 
iogi and her heart fluttering very fast. 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



71 



** Oh, you mnst have seen himy sweet- 



t sen- 
; ne*8 



est- 

" How should I ever notice any of the 
lots of younff men at the shop, pa?— I don*t 
at all know him !*' 

** Well — ^he*8 the handsomest^ most 
teel-looking fellow I ever came across 
Ion? heen an ornament to my establishment, 
for his good looks and civil and obliging 
manners——** 

*'Dear me," interrupted Mrs. Tagrag, 
anxiously addressing her^aaghter, " I nope 
Tabby, that Miss Nix will send home your 
lilac-coloured frock by next Sunday." 

** If she don't. Ma, I'll take care she never 
makes any thing more for me." 

** We*ll call there to-morrow, love, and 
bony her on," said her mother, and from 
that moment until eleven o'clock, when the 
amiable and interestine trio retired to rest, 
nothing. was talked of but the charming 
Titmouse, and the good fortune he so richly 
deserved, and how long the courtship was 
likely to last. Mrs. Tagrag, who for the 
last month or so, had always remained on 
her knees before getting into bed, at least 
ten minutes, on this eventful evening com- 
pressed her prayers, I regret to say, into one 
minute and a half's time. As for Tagrag, 
a hardened heathen, he always tumble 
praverless into bed, the moment he was 
undressed; while the accomplished Miss 
Tabby Tagrag, having taken only half an 
hour to pot her hair into papers, popped into 
bed directly she had blown the candle out, 
without saying any prayers— or even think- 
ing of finishinff the novel which lay under 
hernillow, and which she had got on the 
sly lirom the circulating library of the late 
Miss Snooks. For several hoiurs she lay in 
a delicious revery, imagining herself be- 
come Mra. Tittlebat Titmouse, riding about 
Glapham in a handsome carriage, going to 
the play ^ery night; and what would the 
three Miss Knipps say when they heard of 
it— ^ey'd burst! And such a handsome 
man, too! 

She sunk, at length, into unconsciousness, 
amidst a soft confusion of glittering white 
satin— lavours—bridesmaids^MFS. Tittle- 
bat Tit— Tit— Tit— Tit— moose. 

Tittlebat, about half-past nine on the en- 
duing morning, was sitting in his room in a 
somewhat dismal humour, musin^r on many 
things, and little imagining the mtense in- 
terest he had excited in the feelings of the 
amiable occupants of Satin Lodge. A 
knock at his door startled him out of his 
reverv. Behold, on opening it, Mr. Tagrag ! 
^ Your most obedient, sir," commenced 
that gentleman, in a subdued and obsequi- 
ous man|ier, plucking off his bat the instant 
that he saw Titmouse. ^*I hope you*re 



better, sir! — been very uneasy, sir, about 
you." 

*' Please to walk in, sir," replied Tit- 
mouse, not a little fluttered — ^' Ilm better, 
sir, I thank you." 

** Happy to hear it, sir! but am also come 
to offer humble apologies for the rudeness 
of that upstart that was so rude to you yes- 
terday, at my premises — ^know whom I 
mean, eh t^Lutestring— I shall get rid of 
him, I do think " 

"Thank you, sir But — but— when I 

was in your emplo y " 

" WoB in m^ employ !" interrupted Tag- 
rag, with a sigh,— ^* It's no use trying to 
hide it any longer 1 I've all along seen you 
was a world too good— quite aoove vour 
situation in my poor shop! I may have 
been wrong, ^u. Titmouse," he continued, 
diffidently, as he placed himself on what 
seemed the only chair in the room, " but I 
did it all for the best— eh 1— -don't you un- 
derstsnd me, Mr. Titmouse 1" Titmouse 
continued looking on the floor, incredulously 
and sheepishly. 

"Very much obliged, sir— -but must say 
you've rather a iiinny way of showing it, 
sir. Look at the sort of life you've led me 
for this- 



9f 



"Ah! knew you'd say so! But I can 
lay my hand on my heart, Mr. Titmouse, 
and declare to God — I can, indeed, Mr. Tit- 
mouse." Titmouse preserved a very em- 
barrassing silence. " See, I'm out of your 
good booKS— but— won't you forget and for- 

f've, Mr. Titmouse 1 I meafi/ well. Nay, 
humbly beg forgiveness for every thing 
you've not liked in me. Can I say more? 
Come, Mr. Titmouse, you've a noble nature, 
and I ask forgiveness." ^ 

u You— yoiw ouffht to do it before the 
whole shop," replied Titmouse, a little re- 
lenting—" for they've all seen your goings 
on. 

"Them!— the brutes!— the vulgar fel- 
lows ! you and I, Mr. Titmouse, are a ketk 
above them ! D'ye think we ought to mind 
what urvanU sayl — ^Only say the word, 
and I make a clean sweep of 'em all ; you 
shall have the premises to yourself, Mr. 
Titmouse, within an hour after any of those 
chaps shows you disrespect." 

"Ah! I don't know — ^you've used me 
most uncommon bad— far worae than they 
have— you've nearly broke my heart, sir ! 
You have !" 

" Well, my womankind at home are right, 
after all ! They told me all along I was 

going the wrong way to work, when I said 
owl tried to keep your pride down, and 
prevent you from naving your head turned 
by knowing your good looks. My little 
girl has said, with teare in her dear eyes— 



rt 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



* you'll break his spirit, dear papa^f he's 
handsome, wasn't it God that made him 
80?'" The little frost-work which Tit- 
mouse had thrown around his heart, began 
to melt like snow under sunbeams. ^ The 
women are always right, Mr. Titmouse, and 
foe're always wrong," continued Tajrrag, 
earnestly, perceinng his advantage. ^' Upon 
my soul, I could kick myself for my stupi- 
dity, and cruelty, too !" 

*' Ah, I should think so ! No one knows 
what I've suffered ! And now that I'm — I 
suppose you've heard it all, sir 1— what's in 
the wind—- and all that t" 

'* Yes, sir — ^Mr. Gammon, (that most re- 
spectable gentleman,) and I have had a long 
talk yesteraav about fou, in which he cer- 
tainly did tell me every thing — nothing like 
confidence, Mr. Titmouse, when gentleman 
meets gentleman, you know. It's really 
delightful !" 

**/«i'/ it, sir?" eagerly^ interrupted Tit- 
mouse, his eyes glistemng with sudden 
rapture. 

^Ah! ten thons— I tmist shake hands 
with you, my dear Mr. Titmouse ;" and for 
the first time in their lives their hands 
touched, Tagjag squeezing that of Titmouse 
with energetic coniiality ; while he added, 
with a little emotion in his tone-— ^* Tho- 
mas Tagrag may be a plain-spoken and 
wrong-headed man,buthe^sawarm heart." 

** £id did Mr. Gammon tell you allj sir 1" 
eagerly interrupted Titmouse. 

** Every thing-^^rery thing; ouite confi- 
dential, I assure you, for he saw the interest 
I felt in you." 

** And did he say about my —hem !^h ! 
my stoppinff a few weeks longer with you f " 
inquired lltmouse, chagrin Overspreading 
his features. 

"I think he did, Mr. Titmouse! He's 
bent on it, sir? And so would any true 
friend of your's be— because you see," here 
he dropped his yoioe and looked very mys- 
teriously at Titmouse-^* in short, I quite 
agree with Mr. Gammon !" 

**Do you, indeed, sir!" exclaimed Tit- 
mouse, with rather an uneasy look. 

" I do, I' faith ? Why, they'd give thou- 
sands and thousands to get you out of the 
way— and what's money to them? But 
they must look very sharp that get at you 
in the premises of Thomas Tagrag. Talk- 
ing of that, ah, ha ! — ^it tnll be a funny thing 
to see you, Mr. Titmouse— Squire Titmouse 
—ah, ha, ha !" 

<* You won't hardly expect me to go out 
with £tMMb, I sunpose, sir?" 

'* Ha, ha, ha !— Ha, ha, ha ! — ^Might as 
well ask me if I'd set you to clean my shoes ! 
No, no, my dear Mr. Titmouse, you and I 
haye done as master and servant ; it's only 



as friends that we know each other now. 
You may say and do whatever you like, 
and come and ^o when and where you like. 
— ^It's true it will make my other hands ra- 
ther jealous and get me into trouble; but 
what do I care ? Suppose they do all give 
me warning for your sake? Let 'em go, 
say I !" He snapped his fingers with an 
air of defiance. '* laur looks and manners 
would keep a shop full of customers— one 
Titmouse is worth a hundred of them." 

^ You speak uncommon gentlemanlike, 
sir," said Titmouse, with a little excite- 
ment— ** and if you'd only ahvaya — but 
that's all past and gone; and I've no objec- 
tions to say at once, that all the articles I 
may want in your line I'll have at your es- 
tablishment, pay cash down, and ask for no 
discount. And I'll send all my friends, for, 
in course, sir, you know, I shall have lots 
of them!" 

"Don't forget your oldest, your truest, 
your humblest friend, Mr. Titmouse," said 
Tagrag, with a cringing air. 

"That I won't!" 

It flashed across his mind that a true and 
old friend would be only too happy to lend 
him a ten-pound note. 

** Hem !— now, are you sudi a friend, Mr. 
Tagrag?" 

" Am I ?— Can you doubt me ? TVy me ! 
See what I could not do for you ! Friend, 
indeed !" 

" Well, I belieye you, sir ! And the fact 



IS, 



see Mr. Tagrag, though 
oney's coming to me* I^ 



all this heap of money's coming 
precious low just now.** 

s, Mr. Titmouse," quoth 



ct 



Tagrag, anxiously ; his dull my eye fixed 
on that of Titmouse steadfastly. 

" Well — ^if you've a mind to prove your 
words, Mr. Tagrag, and don't mind ad- 
vancing me a ten-pound note-^" 

" Hem !" involuntarily uttered Tagraffso 
suddenly and yiolently, that it macfe Tit- 
mouse almost start off his seat. Then T^- 
rag's face flushed over, he twirled about his 
watoh-key rapidly^ and wriggled about in 



his chair with visible a^tat^on. 
"Oh, you aren't going to do 



it! if so, 
" quoth Ti^ 



you'd better say it at once, 
mouse, rather cavalierly. 

" Why— 'tocu ever anything so unforta- 
nate!" stammered Tagraff. "That cursed 
lot of French goods I bought only yesterday, 
to be paid for this morning — and it will 
drain me of every penny !" 

•iAh— yes! True! Well, it don't much 
signify," said Titmouse, carelessly, run- 
ning his hand through his hair. *^ In fact, 
I needn't have bothered an old friend ; Mr. 
Gammon says he's my bankerto any amount 
I beg pudon, I'm sure—" 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



73 



Tagrag was in a diro dilemma. He felt 
BO flnstrated by the suddemiesa and Berious- 
ness of the thing, that he could not see his 
way plain in any direction. 

*< Let me see,^ at length he stammered ; 
and pulling a ready-reckoner out of his 
pocket, he affected to be consulting it, as if 
to ascertain merely the state of his banker's 
account, but really desiring a few moments* 
time to collect his thoughts. 'Twas in 
vain, however; nothing occurred to him; 
he saw no way of escape ; his old friend the 
devil, deserting him for the moment, sup- 
plied him with no ready lie. He must, he 
feared, cash up. ««WelV said he--«<it 
certainly is rather unfortunate, just at this 
precise moment; bat I'll step to the shop, 
and see how my ready-money matters stand. 
It sha'n't be a trifle, Mr. Titmouse, Uiat 
shall stand between us. But— if I should 
be hard run— perhaps— eh 1 Would a five- 
pound note dot" 

^ Why — a a— - i f it wouldn't suit you to 
advance the ten—" 

^ I dare say," interrupted Tagrag, a trifle 
relieved, ** I shall be able to accommodate 
you. Perhaps vou'll step on to the shop 
presently, and then we can talk over mat^ 
ters. By the way, did yon ever see any 
thing so odd ! forgot the main thins ; come 
and take your mutton with me at Clapham, 
next Sunday — ^my womankind will be quite 
delighted. Nay, 'tis iKeir invitation— ha, 
har 

** You're very kind," replied Titmouse, 
colouring with pleasure. Here seemed the 
first pale primrose of the coming spring-*- 
an invitation to Satin Lodge. 
> ** The kindness will be yours, Mr. Tit- 
mouse. We shall be quite alone ; have you 
all to ourselves; only me, my wife, and 
daughter — an only child, Mr. Titmous»^ 
9tieh a child ! She's really ofVen said to me, 
* I wonder'— but*— I won't make you vain, 
eh 1 May I call it a fixture 1" 

«* 'Pon my life, Mr. Tagrag, you're mon- 
strous uncommon polite. It's true, I was 
going to dine with Mr. Gammon — " 

" Oh ! pho ! (I mean no disrespect, mind !) 
he's only a bacheloi^— I' ve ladies in the case, 
and all that^-«h, Mr. Titmouse 1 and a 
young one." 

'« Well — ^thank you, sir. Since you're so 
pressing—" 

" That's it ! An engagement— Satin 
Lodg^— for Sunday next," said Tagrag, 
rising and looking at his watdi. *' Time 
for me to be off. See you soon at the shop 1 
Soon arrange that litUe matter of business, 
eh? You understand) Good by! good 
by!" and shaking Titmouse cordially by 
the hand, Tagrag took his departure. As 
he hurried on to his shop, he telt in a most 

G 



painful perplexity about this loan of five 
pounds. It was truly like squeezing five 
drops of blood out of his heart. But what 
was to be donel Could he offend Tit- 
mouse ? Where was he to stop, if he once 
began ? Dare he ask for security ? Suppose 
the whole affair should turn into smoke ? 

Now, consider the folly of Tagraff. Here- 
was he in all this terrible pucker about ad- 
vancing fine pounds on the strength of pros- 
pects and chances which he had deemed 
safe for adventuring At> daughter upon-« 
her, the only object on earth (except mo- 
ney) that he regarded with any thing like 
sincere affection. How was this? The 
splendour of the future possible good for- 
tune of his daughter, might, perhaps, have 
dazzled and coniused his perceptions. Then, 
again, thai was a remote contingency ; but 
tms sudden appeal to his pocket— the de- 
mand of an immediate outlay and venture- 
was an instant pressure, and he felt it se- 
verely. Immediate profit and loss was 
every thing to Taffrag. He was, in truth, 
a tradesman to his hearts care. If he could 
have seen the immediate quid proqw^-^ 
could have got, if only by way of earnest, 
as it were, a bit of poor Titmouse's heart, 
and locked it up in his desk, he would not 
have cared so much ; it would have been a 
little in his line ;— but here was a five-pound 
note goin^out forthwith, and nothing mmi»- 
diate, visible, palpable, replacing it. Oh * 
Titmouse had unconsciously pmled Tag- 
rag's very heartpstrings ! 

Observe, discriminating reader, that there 
is all the difference in the world between a 
tradesman and a merchant ; and, moreover, 
that it is not every tradesman that is a 
Tagrag. 

All these considerations combined to keep 
Tagrag in a perfect fever of doubt and anx- 
iety, which several hearty curses failed in 
eventually relieving. By the time, how- 
ever, that Titmouse had made his appear- 
ance, vrith a sufiiciently sheepish air, and 
was beginning to run the gauntlet of grin- 
ning contempt from the choice youths of 
each side of the shop, Tasrag bad deter- 
mined on the course he should pursue in the 
matter above referred to. To the amazement 
and disgust of all present, Tagrag bolted out 
of a little counting-house or side-room, has- 
tened to meet Titmouse with outstretched 
hand and cordial speech, drew him into his 
little room, and shut the door. There Tag- 
rag informed his flurried young friend that he 
had made arrax^gements (with a little incon- 
vexuence, which signified nothing,) for lend- 
ing Titmouse five pounds. 

" And, as life's uncertain, my dear Mr. 
Titmouse," said Tagrag, as Titmouse, with 
evident ecstacy, put the five-pound note intr 

10 



71 



TEN THOUSAND A TEAR. 



hia podiet— ^ eren between tiie dearest 
friends— eh 1 UnderstBiid ? It's not yon 
I fear, nor yon me, because we've eon&- 
dence in each other. But If any thing shonld 
happen, those we leaye behind us" — ^Here 
he took out of his desk an I. O. U. £5^ 
ready drawn up and dated — ^^'a mere slip^ 
a word or two— 4s satisfaeti<m to both of 



us. 



♦> 



•*Oh yes, sir! yes, mt! — any thing !" 
said Titmouse; and liastily taking the pen 
profiered him, signed his name, on whidi 
Tagrag felt a little relieved. Lutestring was 
then summoned into the room, and then (not 
a little to his astonishment) addressed by 
his imperious employer. ^* Mr. Lutestring, 

?ou will hare the g<(X)dness to see that m. 
Htmouse is treated by every person in my 
establishment with the utmost respeet. — 
Whoever treats this gentleman wi^ the 
slightest disrespect, isn't any longer a ser- 
vant of mine. D'ye hear me, Mr. Lute- 
string t" added Tagrag, sternly, observing 
a very significant glance of intense hatred 
which Lutestring directed towards Tit- 
mouse. ^' D'ye hear me, sir 1" 

**0h, yes, sir! yes, sir! — ^yoor CHrders 
shall be attended to." And leaving the 
room, with a halflaudible whisUe of con- 
tempt, while ~a grin overspread his features, 
he had within five minutes filled the mind 
of every shopman in the establishment with 
feelings of mingled wonder, hatred, and 
•fear towards Titmouse. What could have 
happened ^ What was Mr. Tagrag about 1 
This was all of a piece with his rage at 
Lutestring the day before. ** D^- — ^n Tit- 
mouse !" said or thought every one. 

Titmouse, for the remainder of the day, 
felt, as may be imagined, but little at his 
ease ; for — to say nothing of his insuperable 
repugnance to tne discharge of any tk his 
former duties; his uneasiness under the 
oppressive civilities of Mr. Tagrag; and 
the evident dis^st towards him entertained 
by his compamons ;— many most important 
considerations arising out of recent and 
coming events, were momentarily forcing 
^emselves upon his attention. The first 
of these was nis hair ; for Heaven Seemed 
to have suddenly given him the long-covet- 
ed means of changing its detested hue; and 
the next was — an eve^glau^ without which, 
he had long felt his appearance and ap- 
pointments to be painrully incomplete. 
Early in the aflemoon, therefore, on the 
readily-admitted plea of important business, 
he obtained the permission of the obsequious 
Tagrag to depart for the day ; and instantly 
direct^ his steps to the well known shop 
of a fashionable perfumer and perrdquier, 
in Bond Street— well known to those at 
least, who were in the habit of glancing at 



the enticing advertiselDeiits in fte iiew8t>a« 
pets. Having watched through the window 
till Uie coast was dear, (for he felt a natural 
delicacy in asking for a hair dye before 
people who could in an instant perceive his 
urgent occasion for it,) he entered the shopv 
where a well-dressed gentleman was sitting 
bdiind the connler, reading. He was hand- 
some; and his daboiately curled hair was 
of a heavenly black (so at least Titmouse 
conffldered it) that was better than a thou- 
sand printed advertisements of the celebrated 
fluid which formed the chief commodity 
there vended. Titmouse, with a little hesi- 
tation, asked this gentleman what was the 
Erice of their article "• for turning Hghi hair 
lack"— and was answered— ^^ only seven 
and sixpence for the smaller-sized bottle." 
Chie was in a twinkling riaced upon the 
counter— where it lay luce a miniature 
mummy, swathed, as it were, in manifdd 
advertisements. <« You'll find the fullest 
direction witfiin, and testtmonials from the 
highest nobility to Uie wonderful eflicaey of 

the * CvAllOCHAlTAlimOPOFOIOlf.' "* 

*« iSbre it willdoi sir !" inquired Titmoiose 
anxiously. 

*^ Is fli^ hair dark enough to your taste, 
sir?" said the gentleman, with a calm and 
bland manner, ^* because I owe it entirely 
to this invaluable specific." 

(«Do you indeed, sir!" inquired Tit- 
mouse : adding with a sigh, ** but between 
ourselves, look at mine !'' and lifUngofi'his 
hat for a moment, he exhibited a great crop 
of bushy, carroty hair. 

"Whew! rather ugly that, sir!" ex- 
claimed the gentleman, looking very serious. 
** What a curse it is to be b<»n with such 
hair; isn't it?" 

" I should think so, sir," answered 'Ht- 
mouse^ mournfully ; ** and do yon really 
think, sir, that this what's-its name tuined 
youre of that beautifel black t" 

" Think ? 'Pon my honour, sir, certain ; 
no mistake, I assure you! I was fretting 
myself into my grave about the colour of 
my hair ! Why, sir, there was a nobleman 
here, (I don't like to mention names,) the 
other day, with a head that seemed as if 
it had been dipped into water, and then pow- 
dered with bnck dust; but, I assure yon, 
the Cyanochaitantnropopdon was too much 
for it ; it turned black in a reiy short time. 
You should have seen his lordship's eosta- 

• This fearAil-lookiDg word, I witk to inform mjr- 
ladj readera. Is a monitrons amalfamation of three 
or roar Greek wordi— denoling a fluid ** tkmt em rtn- 
tf«r tU A«tu» kmir black.** WlteiMTer a barlMr or 
perfdmer determines on tryinf to puff off some Tilla- 
'noQs tmposltloii of tliis sort, stranM to say, he (oes 
Co some starving sehoiar, and gives him balf-a-eroirn 
to coin a word Tike the above, that shall be equally 
nnintettlflble and nhpronoanceable, and therelbrt 
ttttaetlve sad popular. 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAS. 



75 



nyV'-'^he speaker saw that Titmoase would 
swallow any thing : bo he went on with a 
confidential air — ^''and in a month's time 
he had married a beautiful woman, whom 
he had loved from a child, but who never 
would marry a man with such a head of 
hair." 

^* How long does it take to do all this, 
sir t'' interrupted Titmouse, eagerly, with a 
beating heart. 

** Sometimes two, sometimes three days. 
In four days' time, I'll answer for it, your 
most intimate friend would not know you. 
My wife did not know me for a long while, 
and wouldn't let me salute her — ha, ha !" 
Here another customer entered; and Tit- 
mouse, laying down the five-pound note he 
had squeezed out of Tagrag, put the won- 
der-working phial into his pocket, and, on 
receiving ms change, departed, bursting 
with eagerness to try theenects of the Cya- 
Qochaitanthropopoion. Withinhalf an hour's 
time he might have been seen driving a 
hard bar^in with a pawnbroker for a mas- 
sive-looking eye-glass, which, as it hung 
suspended in the window, he had for 
months cast a longing eye upon; and he 
eventually purchased it (his eyesight I need 
hardly say, was perfect) for omy fifteen 
shillings. *Aiter taking a hearty dinner in 
a little dusky eating house in Rupert Street, 
frequented by fashionable-looking foreign- 
ers, with splendid heads of curling hair and 
mustachios, he hastened home. Having 
lit his candle, and locked his door, with 
tremulous fingers he opened the papers en- 
veloping the little phial ; and glancm? over 
their contents, got so inflamed wiu the 
numberless instances of its efficacy, detailed 
in brief and glowing terms — ^the '^Duke 

of , the Countess o f , the Earl of, 

&c., &«., &c., &c.-^the lovely Miss , 
the celebrated Sir Little BuU'seye, (who 
was so gratified that he allowed his name 
to be uc^ Wall of whom, from having hair 
of the reddest possible description, were 
now possessed of ebon-hued ]ocks"^-that 
the cork was soon extracted from the bot- 
tle. Having turned up his coatKsufifs, he 
commenced the application of the Cyano- 
ehaitanthropopoion, rubbing it into his hair, 
eyebrows, and whiskers, with all the energy 
he was capable of, for upwards of half an 
hour. Then he read over every syllable on 
the papers in which the phial had been 
wrapped ; and about eleven o'clock, having 
given sundry curious glances at the glass, 
got into bed, full of exciting hopes and de- 
lightful anxieties concerning the siiccess of 
the great experiment he was trying. He 
could not sleep for several hours. He 
dreamed a rapturous dreamr-that he bowed 



to a gentleman with coal-black hair, whom 
he fancied he had seen before— and suddenly 
discovered that he was only looking at him" 
$eff in a glass ! t^This woke him. Up he 
jumped, and in a trice was standing before 
his little glass. Horrid ! he almost drop- 
ped down dead! his hair was perfectly 
c^re^fi— there could be no mistake about it. 
He stood staring in the glass in speechless 
honor, his eyes and mouth distended to 
the utmost for several minutes. Then he 
threw himself on the bed, and felt fainting. 
Up he presently jumped again— rubbed his 
hair desperately and wildly about— again 
looking into the glass — there it was, rougher 
than before; but eyebrows, whiskers and 
head — all were, if any thing, of a more 
vivid and brilliant green. Despair came 
over him. What had all his trouble been 
to this t— and what was to become of him t 
He got into bed again, and burst into a per- 
spiration. Two or three times he got in 
and out of bed to look at himself again— on 
each occasion deriving only more terrible 
confirmation than before of the disaster that 
had befallen him.- After lying still for 
some minutes he got out of bed, and kneel- 
ing down, tried to pray; but it was in 
vain— -and he rose half choked. It was 
plain he must have his head shaved, and 
wear a wig— that was making an old man 
of him at once. Getting more and more 
disturbed in his mind, he dressed himself, 
half determined on starting off to Bond 
Street, and breaking every pane of glass in 
the shop window of the cruel impostor who 
had sold him the liquid that had so finghtr 
fully disfigured him. As he stood thus 
irresolute, he heard the step of Mrs. Sqnal« 
lop approaching his door, and recollected 
that he had ordered her to bring up his tea- 
kettle about that dme. Having no time to 
take his clothes off, he thought the best 
thing he could do would be to pop into bed 
agiiin, draw his nightcap down to his ears 
and eyebrows, pretend to be asleep, and, 
turning his back towards the door, have a 
chance of escaping the observation of his 
landlady. No sooner thought of than done. 
Into bed he jumped, and drew the clothes 
over him— not aware, however, that in his 
hurry he had left his legs, with boots and 
trousers on, exposed to view— an unusnal 
spectacle to his landlady, who had, in fact, 
scarcely ever known him in bed at so late 
an hour before. He lay as still as a mouse. 
Mrs. S^uallop, after glancing at his legs, 
happemng to direct her eyes towards the 
window, beheld a small plual, only half of , 
whose dark contents were remaining — of 
course it was poison. In a sudden fright she 
dropped theketile, plucked the clothes off th^ 



76 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



trembling Titmouse, and cried out — ^* Oh, 
Mr. Titmouse ! Mr. Titmouse ! what have 
you been ^" 

"Well, ma*am, what the devil do you 

mean? How dare yon '* commenced 

Titmouse, suddenly sitting up, and looking 
furiously at Mrs. Squallop. A pretty figure 
he was. He had all his day clothes on ; 
a white cotton nightcap was drawn down to 
his very eyes, like a man going to be hang- 
ed ; his face was very pale, and his whis- 
kers were of a bright green colour. 

^* Lord-a-mighty!'* exclaimed Mrs. Squal- 
lop, faintly, the moment that this strange 
apparition presented itself; and, sinking on 
the chair, she pointed with a dismayed air 
to the ominous-looking object standing on 
the window shelf. Titmouse fVom that 
supposed she had found it all out. " Well — 
isnU it a shame, Mrs. Squallop V said he, 
getting off the bed, and, plucking off his 
mgrhtcap, exhibited the full extent of his 
misfortune. "What d'ye think of that?" 
he exclaimed, staring wildly at her. Mrs. 
Squallop gave a faint shnek, turned her 
head aside, and motioned him away. 

"I shall go mad— I shall ^" 

"Oh, dear! oh, dear!" groaned Mrs. 
Squallop, evidently expecting him to leap 
upon her. Presently, however, she a little 
recovered her presence of mind, and Tit- 
mouse, stuttering with fury, explained to 
her what had taken place. As he went on, 
Mrs. Squallop became less and less able to 
contain herself, and at length burst into a 
fit of convulsive laughter, and sat holding 
her hands to her fat snaking sides, as if she 
would have tumbled off her chair. Tit- 
mouse was almost on the point of striking 
her ! At length, however, the fit went ofi; 
and, wiping her eyes, she expressed the 
greatest commiseration for him, and pro- 
posed to go down and fetch up some soft 
soap, and flannel, and try what "a good 
hearty wash would do." Scarce sooner 
said than done— but, alas, in vain ! Scrub, 
scrub— lather, lather, lather, did they both ; 
but the instant the soap-suds were washed 
off, there was the head as green as ever. 

"What am I to do, Mrs. Squallop?" 
eroaned Titmouse, having taken another 
look at himself in the glass. 

" W^hy, really, I'd be off to a police office, 
and have 'em ail taken up, if as how I was 
yott." 

" No— see if I don't take that bottle, and 
make the fellow that sold it to me swallow 
what's left, and I'll smash in his shop front 
besides." 

" Oh, you won't— you mnsn't— noton no 
account ! Stop at home a bit, and be quiet, 
it may go off with all this washing, in the 
course of the day. Soft soap is an uncom- 



mon strong thing for getting colours out^^ 
but — a — a— excuse me,Mr. Titmouse — why 
wasn't you satisfied with the hair God Al- 
mighty had given you? D'ye thmk he 
didn't know a deal better than yon what 
was best for you ? I'm blest if I don't think 
this a judgment on you." 

" What's the use of your standing preach- 
ing to me in this way, Mrs. Squallop? 
Ain't I half mad without it? Judgment or 
no judgment— Where's the harm of my 
wanting black hair any more than black 
trousers ? That ain't your ovm hair, Mrs. 
Squallop— you're as gray as a badger un- 
derneath — ^I've often remarked it." 

" I'll tell you what, Mr. Himperance !" 
furiously exclaimed Mrs. Squallop, " you're 
a liar ! And you deserve what you've got ? 
It tf a judgment, and I hope it will stick by 
you — so take that for your sauce, you vulgar 
fellow! Get rid of your green hair if you can! 
It's only carrot /oft instead of carrot rooi»-^ 
and some like one, some the other^-ha? 
ha! ha!" 

"I'll tell you what, Mrs. Squ— " he 
commenced, but she had gone, having 
slammed to the door behind her with 
all her force; and Titmouse was left 
alone in a half frantic state, in which he 
continued for nearly two hours. Once 
a^in he read over the atrocious puffs 
which had overnight inflated him to such a 
degree, and he now saw that they were all 
lies. This is a sample of them : 

"This divine fluid, (as it was enthusias- 
tically styled to the inventor, by the lovely 
Duchess of Doodle) possesses Uie inestima- 
ble and astonishing quality of changing 
hair, of whatever colour, to a dazzling jet 
black ; at the same time imparting to it a 
rich glossy appearance, which wonderfully 
contributes to the imposing tout ensemble 
presented by those who use it. That well 
known ornament of the circle of fashion, the 
young and lovely Mre. Fitzfrippery, owned 
to the proprietor, that to this surprising fluid 
it was that she was indebted for those unri- 
valled raven ringlets, which attracted the 
eyes of envying and admiring crowds," and 
so forth. A little ftirther on : 

" This exquisite effect is not in all case$ 
produced instantaneously; much will of 
course depend (as the celebrated M. Du- 
puyten, of the Hotel Dieu, of Paris, inform- 
ed the inventor,) on the physical idiosyn- 
crasy of the party using it, with reference 
to the constituent particles of the colouring 
matter, constituting the fluid in the capilla- 
ry vessels. Often a single application suf- 
fices to change the most hopeless-looking 
head of red hair to as deep a black : but, 
not unfreqnently, the hair paaaes through so- 
\termediate 9hade$ and /tnts;all, however^ 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR- 



77 



ultimately settliBg into a deep and perma- 
nent black." 

This passage not a little reyived the 
drooping' spirits of Titmouse. Accidental- 
ly, however, an asterisk at the last word in 
the abore sentence directed his eye to a 
note at the bottom of ihepage, printed in 
such minute type as baffled any but the 
strongest sight and most determined eye 
to read, and which said note was the fol- 
lowing : 

** Though cases do, undoubtedly, occa- 
sionally occur, in which the native mherent 
indestructible qualities of the hair defy all 
attempts at change or even modification, 
and resist even this potent remedy: of 
which, however, in all Ids experience'' (the 
specific had been invented for about Mir 
fnonthB) ^ the inventer has known but very 
few instances." But to this exceedingly 
select class of unfortunate incurables, poor 
Titmouse entertained a dismal suspicion that 
he belonged. 

** Look, sir ! look ! Only look here what 
-your stuff has done to my hair!" said Tit- 
mouse, on presenting himself soon after to the 
pentleman who hM sold him the infernal 
liquid ; and, taking off his hat, exposed the 
gieen hair. The gentleman, however, did 
not appear at all surprised or distfomposed. 

*<An, yes! I see, I see. You're m the 
intermediate stage. It differs in different 
people." 

** Differs, sir ! I'm going mad ! I look 
like a green monkey." 

**In me, the colour was strong yeZ^EMv. 
But have you read the descriptions that are 
given in the wrapper 1" 

*^I should think so! Much good they 
do me J Sir, you're a humbugT-<-an im- 
postor! I'am a sight to be seen for tiie 
rest of my life ! Look at me, sir ! Eye- 
brows, whiskers, and all." 

^*Mather a singular appearance, just at 
present, I must own," said the gentleman, 
his face turning suddenly red all over, with 
the violent e^rt he was making to prevent 
an explosion of laughter. He soon, how- 
ever, recovered himself, and added coolly, 
** if you'll only persevere." 

** Persevere !'' interrupted Titmouse, vio- 
lently, clapping his hat on his head, *« I'll 
teach you to pentvere in taking in the 
111 have a warrant out against 



>» 



yott. 

^ Oh, my dear sir, I'm accustomed to all 
thb!" 

"The— devil— yoa-4re!" gasped Tit- 
mouse, quite aghast. 

"Oh, often— often, while the liqmd is 
pedonniBff the first stage of the ehangje : 
but in a day or two afterwaids, the parties 



generally come back smiling into my shop 
with heads as black as crows.^' 

" No ! But really do they, sir t" inter- 
rupted Titmouse, drawing a long breath. 

"Hundreds, I may say thousands, my 
dear sir ! And one lady ^ve me a picture 
of herself, in her black hair, to make up for 
her abuse of me when it was in a puce 
colour." 

"But do you recollect any one's hair 
turning ff^f^^h s^nd then getting black t" 
inquired Titmouse, with trembling anxiety. 

"Recollect any! Fifty, at least. For 
instance, there was Lord Albert Addle- 
head ; — but why should I name names t 
I know hundreds ! But every thing is ho- 
nour and confidential hare /" 

"And did Lord What's-his-name'shair 
go peen, and then black 1 and was it at first 
as light as mine 1" 

" His hair was redder, and in consequence 
it became greener, and now is blacker than 
ever your's will be." 

" Well, if t and my landlady have this 
morning used an ounce, we've used a quar- 
ter of a pound of soft soap in ^" 

" Soft soap ! — soft soap ! That explains 
all." He forgot how well it had been al- 
ready en>lained by him. "By heavens, 
sir t^-«oft soap ! Vou may have ruined 
your hair for ever!" Titmouse opened his 
eyes and mouth with a start of terror, it not 
occurring to him that the intolerable green 
had preceded and caused, not followed, the 
use. of the soft soap. " Go home, my dear 
sir ! God bless you---go home, as you value 
your hair; take this small bottle of Da- 
mascus cream, and rub it in before it's too 
late; and then use the remainder of the— -" 

"Then you don't think it's too latel" in- 
quired Titmouse, faintly ; and having been 
assuxed to the contrary — Shaving asked the 
price of the Damascus cream, which was 
only three-and-sixpence (stamp included)— - 
he paid it with a rueful air, and took his de- 
parture. He sneaked along the streets, with 
the air of a pickpocket tearful that every 
one he met was an ofi^r who had his eye 
on him. He was not, in fact, very far off 
the mark ; for many a person smiled, and 
stared, and turned round to look at him as 
he went along. 

I wonder, now, what effect the perusal of 
these pages must have upon the reader, 
gentle or simple, young or old, male or fe^ 
male, who has shared the folly of Titmouse 
in the particular now under consideration 1 
They cannot help laughing at the trouble of 
Titmoase ; but it is accompanied by a bluth 
at the absurd weakness of which themitelves 
have been guilty. Depend upon it, my 
gentleman, uat every man or woman of 



• 9 



T8 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



sense vrho seas yon, and suspects or knows > 
what you have been about, can scarce help 
bursting out a-laughing at you, and writes 
you down ever after — ass. But if they do 
this on seeing him who has so weakly at- 
tempted to disguise red-coloured hair, what 
sorrow, mingled with contempt, must they 
feel when they see a man, or woman, asha- 
med of — GRAY HAIRS— -a ** crown of rejoi- 
cing to them that have done well,'^ a mark 
of one to whom God has given long life, as 
the means of gathering experience and wis- 
dom — and dishonouring those gray hairs 
by the desperate folly of Tittlebat Tit- 
mouse 1 

Titmouse slunk up stairs to his room, in 
a sad state of depression, and spent the next 
hour in rubbing into his hair the Damascus 
cream. He rubbed till he could hardly 
hold his arms up any longer from sheer fa- 
tigue. Having risen, at length, to mark, 
from the glass, the progress he had made, 
he found uiat the only result of his perse- 
vering exertions had been to give a greasy 
shining appearance to the hair, that remain- 
ed as green as ever. With a half-uttered 
^oan he sunk down upon a chair, and fell 
into a sort of abstraction, which was inter- 
rupted by a sharp knock at his door. Tit- 
mouse started up, trembled, and stood for a 
moment or two irresolute, glancing fearfully 
at the glass ; and then openin? the door, let 
in Mr. Gammon, who started oack a pace 
or two, as if he had been shot, on catcning 
sight of the strange figure of Titmouse. It 
was useless for Gammon to try to check his 
laughter; so leaning against the door-post, 
he yielded to the impulse, and laughed with- 
out intermission for at least two minutes. 
Titmouse felt desperately angry, but feared 
to show it; and the timid, rueful, lackadai- 
sical air with which he regarded the dread- 
ed Mr. Gammon, only prolonged and ag- 
E[ravated the agonies of that gentleman. 
When at len^, he had a little recovered 
himself, holding his left hand to his side 
with an exhausted air, he entered the little 
apartment, and asked Titmouse what in the 
name of heaven he had been doing to him- 
self. «« Without ikW^ (in the absurd slang 
of the lawyers) that he knew all the while 
quite well what Titmouse had been about; 
but he wanted the enjoyment of hearing 
Titmouse's own account of the matter. Tit- 
mouse, not daring to hesitate, complied^ 
Gammon listening in an agony of suppress- 
ed laughter, all 3ie while seeming on the 
point of buistinfir a blood-vessel. He look- 
ed as little at Titmouse as he could, and 
was growing a little more sedate, when 
Titmouse, in a truly lamentable tone, in- 
quired, ** What's the good, Mr. Gammon, 
of ten thouBand a year with such a head of 



hair as this V* On hearing which. Gammon 
jumped off his chair, started to the window, 
and such an explosion of laughter followed, 
as threatened to crack the panes of glass 
before him. This was too much for Tit- 
mouse, who presently cried aloud in a griev- 
ous manner; and Gammon, suddenly 
ceasing his laughter turned round and apolo* 
gized in the most earnest manner; after 
which he uttered an abundance of sympa- 
thy for the sufferings which *^ he deplored 
being unable to alleviate.'' He even re- 
strained himself when Titmouse again and 
again asked him if he could not ^' have the 
law" of the man who had so imposed on 
him . Gammon diverted the thoughts of his 
suffering client, by taking from his pocket 
some very imposing packages of papier tied 
round with red tape. From time to time, 
however, he almost split his nose with ef- 
forts to restrain his laughter, on catching a 
fresh glimpse of poor Titmouse's emerald 
hair. 

Gammon was a man of business, how- 
ever; and in the midst of all this distract- 
ing excitement, contrived to get Titmouse's 
signature to sundry papers of no little con- 
sequences amongst otnefs, first, to a bond 
conditioned for the payment of J8500 ; se- 
condly, ahother for dS 10,000; and, lastly, 
an agreement (of which he gave Titmouse 
an alleged copy) by which Titmouse, in 
consideration of Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, 
and Snap, using their best exertions to put 
him in the possession of the estate, &c., 
^., bound himself to conform to their 
wishes in every thing, on pain of their in- 
stantly throwing up the whole affair, look- 
ing out for another heir-at>law, and issuing 
execution forthwith against Titmouse for aU 
expenses incurred under his retainer. I 
said that Gammon gave his confiding client 
an alleged copy of agreement :— 4t was not 
a real copy, for certain stipulations appear- 
ed in each that were not intended to appear 
in the other, for reasons which were per- 
fectly satis&ctory to Messrs. Quirk, Gam-^ 
mon and Snap. When Gammon had got 
to this point, he thought it the fitting op- 
portunity for producing a second five-pound 
note. He did so, and put Titmouse there* 
by into an ecstasy which pushed out of his 
bead for a while all recollection of what had 
happened to his hair. He had at that mo- 
ment nearly eleven pounds in hard cash ! 
Gammon easily obtained from him an ac- 
count of his little money transactions with 
Huckaback — of which, however, all he 
could tell was — ^that for ten shillings down, 
he had given a written engagement to pay 
fifty pounds on getting the estate* Of this 
Gammon made a careful memorandum, ex- 
plaining the atrocious villainy of Hucka- 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR, 



79 



back— -and, in short, that if he (Titraonse) 
did not look very sharply' about him, he 
would be robbed right and left ; so that it 
was of the utmost consequence to him early 
to learn how to distinguish between false 
and true friends. Gammon went on to as- 
sure him that the instrument he had given 
to Huckaback was, probably, in point of 
law, not worth a farthmg, on the ^ound of 
its being both fraudulent and usunous ; and 
intimat^ something, which Titmouse did 
not very distinctly comprehend, about the 
efficacy of a bill in equity for a diacoeery ; 
which, at a very insignificant expense, (not 
exceeding dSlOO,) would oblige the plain- 
tiff in equity (i. e. Huckaback) by the way 
of declaring, to give his solemn oath tliat he 
had advanced the full sum of i^50 : and 
having obtained this important and satis- 
factory result. Titmouse would have the 
opportuni^ of disproving the statement of 
Huckaback— (f ht could i which of course 
he could not. By this process, however, 
a little profitable employment would have 
been afforded to a certain distinguished firm 
in Saffron Hill — and that was $omeihing—~ 
to Gammon. 

*« But, by the way, talking about money'," 
said Titmouse, suddenly, ** how surprising 
handsome Mr. Tagrag has behaved to me !" 

'' Indeed, my dear sir !" exclaimed Gam- 
mon, with real curiosity, **what has he 
donel" 

^* Advanced me five poonds— -all of his 
own head !" 

"Are you serious, Mr. Titmouse?" in- 
quired Grammon. 

Titmouse produced the change which he 
had obtained for Ta^ag's five-pound note, 
minus only the prices of the Cyanochaitan- 
thropopoion, the Damascus cream, and the 
eye-g;lass. Gammon merely stroked his 
chin in a thoughtful manner. So occupied, 
indeed, was he with his reflections, that 
though his eye was fixed on the ludicrous 
figure of Titmouse, which, so shortly before 
had occasioned him such paroxysms of 
laughter, he did not feel the least inclination 
even to a smile. Tagrag advanced Titmouse 
five pounds! Throwing as much smiling 
indinerence into his manner as was possi- 
ble, he asked Titmouse the particulars of so 
strange a transaction. Titmouse answered 
rhow truly the reader can judge) that Mr. 
Tagrap had, in the very handsomest way, 
volunllered the loan of five pdands; and 
moreover offered him any further sum he 
might require ! 

"What a charming change, Mr. Tit- 
mouse !" exclaimed Gammon, with a watch- 
ful eye and anxious smile. 

" Most deUghtful !" « 



'* Rather sudden, too!— «h1->-Mr. Tit- 
mouse V 

"Why— no— no; I should say 'pon my 
life, certainly not. The fact is, we've long 
misunderstood each other. He's had an 
uncommon good opinion of me all the while 
^people have tried to set him against me ; 
but it's no use, he's found them out— he 
told me so! And he's not only said bat 
done the handsome thing! He's turned 
up, by Jove, a trump all of a sudden— though 
it long looked an ugly one." 

"Ha, ha, ha!— very!— how curious!" 
exclaimed Mr. Gammon mechanically, re- 
volving several important matters in his 
mind. 

" I'm going, too, to dine at Satin Lodge, 
Mr. Tagrag's country house, next Sunday." 

"Indeed; it will be quite a change for 
you, Mr. Titmouse." 

"Yes, It will, by Jove; and— a — a— - 
what's more — there's— hem — hem !^— you 
understand 1" 

" Go on, I be?, my dear Mr. Titmouse." 

"There's a lady in the case— not that 
she's 9aid any thing; but a nod!s as good 
as a wink to a blind horse— eh ? Mr. Gam- 
mon 1" 

" I should think so— Miss Tagrag will 
have money of course?" 

"You've hit it! Lots! But I've not 
made up my mind." 

" I'd better undeceive this poor devil at 
once, as to this sordid wretch Tagrag,'* 
thought Gammon, " otherwise the cumunff 
old rogue may get a very mischievous hold 
upon him! And a lady in the ea»e! The 
old scamp has a daughter! Whew! this 
will never do ! The sooner I enlighten my 
young friend the bettei^-though at a little 
risk.'^ 

" It's very important to be able to tell who 
are real and who are fi&lse friends, as I was 
saying just now, my dear Titmouse," said 
Gammon, seriously. 

"I think so. Now look, for instance, 
there's ^at fellow Huckaback. I should 
say h o " 

" Pho ! pho ! my dear sir, a mere beetle 
— ^he's not worth thinking of, one way or 
the other. But, can't you guess another 
sham friend, who has cnangeid so sudden- 
ly!" 

" Do you mean Mr. Tagrag— -eh 1" 

" I mention no names ; but it's rather odd, 
that when lam speaking of hollow-hearted 
friends, you should at once name Mr. Tag^ 
rag." 

"The 
is that handsome 
his money at any rate." 

" Of coune he took no security for snoh 



proof of the puddinff-— handsome 
indsome does ; and I've got jS6 of 



1 



M 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



a triflev between such doee Mends as you 
and him V 

4< Oh— why— now yon mention it-4)ut, 
*twa8 only a line— one line." 

'<I knew it, my dear sir," inteminted 
Crammon calmly, with a significant smile*— 
** Tagrag and Huckaback, they're on a par 
—ah, ha, ha ! My dear Titmouse, you are 
too honest and coi^ding !" 

" What keen eyes . you lawrers have, to 
be sure! Well—I never'*— he was eri- 
dently somewhat staggered—*^ I— -I— must 
say,'' he presently added, looking ciateful- 
ly at Gammon, '^ I think I do now know of 
a true friend, that sent me two fiire-pound 
notes, and never asked for any securitjr." 

** My dear sir, you really pain me by al- 
luding to such a matter !" 

Oh, Gammon, is not this too bad t What 
are the papers which you know are now in 
your pockets, signed only this very evening 
by Titmouse? 

" You are not a match for Tagrag, Tit- 
mouse ; because he was made for a trades- 
man — you are not. Do you think he would 
have parted with his £5 but for value re- 
ceived ? Oh, Tagrag ! Tanaff !" 

*' I — ^I really begin to tnink, Mr. Gam- 
mon — ^'pon my soul, I do tidnk you're 
right." 

"Think!— Why— for a man of your 
acuteness^— how could he imagine you 
could forget the long course of insdt and 
tyranny; that he should change all of a 
sudden — just now, whe n " 

** Ay— 4>y Jove !<— jnst when I'm coming 
into my property," interrupted Titmouse, 
quickly. 

"To be sure— to be sure! — Jnst now, I 
say, to make this sudden change! Bah! 
Bah!" 

" I hate Tagraff, and always did. Now, 
he's tiyinor to l&e me in, just as he does 
every body; but I've firond him out — ^I 
won t lay out a penny with him." 

"Would you, do you think, ever have 
seen the inside of Satin Lodge, if you 
hadn't 



t» 



"Why, I don't know— I really think— 
hem!" 

" Were you, my dear sir 1 — But now a 
scheme occurs to me— a very amusing idea. 
Shall I tell you a way of proving to his own 
face how insincere and mterested he is to- 
wards yout Go to dinner by all means, 
eat his good ^ngs, hear all ihaX the whole 
set of them have to say, and just before you 
go, (it will require you to have all your wits 
about you,) pretend, with a long face, that 
our aflnir is all a botde of smoke : say that 
Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, have 
told yon the day before that they liad made 
ft honid mistake." 



"•Pon my life, I— I-Hreally— daren^V— I 
couldn't-^I couldn't keep it up~-he'd half 
kill me. Besides, there will be Miss Taff- 
rag, it would be the death of her, I know?' 

** Miss Tacrag ! Gracious heavens ! 
What on earm can you have to do with 
ker7 FcMi*-*why, if you really succeed in 
getting this fine property, she might make 
a very suitable wife tor one of your grooms." 

** Ah ! I don't know— «he may m a devil- 
ish fine girl, and the old fellow will have a 
tolerable penny to leave her— and a bird in 
the hand— eh f Besides I know what she's 
all alongk— hem !— but that doesn't signify." 

" Pho ! pho ! Ridiculous ! Ha, ha, ha! 
Fancy Miss Tasprag Mrs. Titmouse ! Your 
eldest son«-ah, na, ha ! Tagrag Titmouse, 
Esq. Delightful. Your honoured father a 
draper in Oxford Street !" All this might be 
very clever, but it did not seem to tell upon 
Titmouse, whose little heart had been reach- 
ed by a cunning hint of Tagrag's, concern- 
ing his daughter's flattering estimate of 
Titmouse's personal appearance, llie rea- 
son why Gammon attacked so seriously a 
matter which appeared so chimerical and 
preposterous, was this— that, according to 
his present plan. Titmouse was to remain 
for some considerable while at Tagreg's, and 
with his utter weakness of character, might 
be worked upon by Tagrag and his daugh- 
ter, and ^t inveigled into an ensagement 
wldch nught be productive hereafter of no 
little embarrassment. He succeeded, how- 
ever, at length, in obtaining Titmouse's 
momise to adopt his suggestion, and there- 
oy discover the true nature of the feeUngs 
entertained towards him at Satin Lodge.-— 
He shook Titmouse energetically by the 
hand, and left him perfectly certain, that if 
there was one person in the world worthy 
of his esteem, and even reverence, that per- 
son was OiLv Gammon, Esq. 

As he bent his steps towards Saffron Hill, 
he reflected rather anxiously on several mat- 
tere that had occurred to him during the in- 
terview which I have just described. On 
reaching the office, he was presently closet- 
ed with Mr. Quirk, to whom, fint and fore- 
most, he exhibited and delivered the docu- 
ments to which he had obtamed Titmouse's 
signature, and which, the reader will allow 
me to assure him, were of a somewhat dif- 
finent texture from a certain legal instrument 
or security which I laid before him some 
little time ago. < 

"Now, Gammon," said the old g[entle- 
man, as soon as he had locked up m his 
safe the above-mentioned documents— 
"Now, Gammon, I think we may be up 
and at 'em; load our guns, and blaie 
away," and he rubbed his hands. 

"Yet, and long enough we've been in 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



81 



prepanillon! But I Just want to name a 
thing or two that has occarred to me while 
with Titmouse." Then he told him of the 
effects which had followed the use of the 
potent Cyanochaitanthropopoion, at which 
old Quirk almost laughed himself into fits. 
When, however, Gammon, with a serious 
air, mentioned the name of Miss Tagrag, 
and his grave suspicions concerning her, 
Quirk bounced up out of his chair, almost 
startling Gammon out of hit. If he had just 
been told that his banker had broke, be 
could scarce have shown more emotion. 

The fact was, that he, too, had a daugh- 
ter — ^an only child— Miss Quirk— whom 
he had destined to become Mrs. Titmouse. 

** A designing old villain !" he exclaimed 
at length ; and Gammon a^ed with him ; 
but, strange to say, with aU his acuteness, 
never adverted to the real cause of Quirk's 
Budden and vehement exclamation. When 
Gammon told him of the manner in which 
he had opened Titmouse's eyes to the kna- 
Yeiff of Tagrag, and the expedient he had 
suggested tor its demonstration. Quirk could 
have worshipped Gammon, and could not 
help rising and shaking him energetically 
by the hand, much to his astonishment. 
After a long consultation, two things were 
agreed upon by the partners; to look out 
fresh longings for Titmouse, and remove 
him presently altogether from the company 
and influence of Tagrag. Some time afler 
they had parted. Quirk came with an eager 
air into Mr. Gammon's room, with a most 
important suggestion, viz.: whether it would 
not be possible for them to get Tagrag to 
become a surety to them, by and by, on be- 
half of Titmouse ! Gammon was delighted ! 
He heartily commended Mr. Quirk's saga- 
city, and promised to tnin it about in his 
thoughts very carefully. Not having been 
let entirely into Quirk's policy (of which 
the reader has, howev^, just had a glimpse,) 
he did not see the difficulties which kept 
Quirk awake almost all that night— how to 
protect Titmouse from the machinations of 
Tagrag and his daughter, and yet keep 
Tagrag sufficiently interested in, and inti- 
mate with Titmouse, to entertain, by and 
by, the idea of becoming surety for him to 
them, the said Messre. Quirlc, Gammon, 
and Snap; and how to manage Titmouse 
all the while, so as to forward their objects, 
and also that of turning his attention 
towards Miss Quirk, was really a rather 
difficult problem. Quirk looked down on 
Tagrag with honest indignation, as a mean 
and mercenary fellow, whose unprincipled 
schemes, thank heaven! he already saw 
through, and from which he determined to 
rescue his innocent and confiding client, 



who was made for better things — to ttnt^ 
Miss Quirk. 

When Titmouse rose the next morning, 
(Saturday,) behold — ^he found his hair had 
become of a variously shaded purple or vio* 
let colour ! Astonishment and apprehension 
by turns possessed him, as he stared into 
the« glass, at this unlooked for change of 
colour; and hastily dressing himself, afler 
swallowing a very slight breakfast, off he 
went once more to the scientific establish- 
ment in Bond Street, to which he had been 
indebted for his recent delightfiil experi- 
ences. The distinguished inventor and pro- 
prietor of the Cyanochaitanthropopoion was 
behind the counter as usual— calm and con- 
fident as ever. 

" Ah ! I see— as I said ! — as I said ! isn't 
it 1— coming round quicker than usual— 
really, I'm' selling more of the article than 
I can possibly make." 

"Well," — at length said Titmouse, as 
soon as he had recovered from the surprise 
occasioned by the sudden volubility with 
which he had been assailed on entering — 
** then is it really going on tolerable welTl" 
taking off his hat and looking anxiously in- 
to a ^ass that hung close by. 

^^Tokrabie well! delightful! perfect! 
couldn't be better! If you^d studied the 
thing, you'd know, sir, that purple is the 
middle colour between green and black. — 
Indeed, black is only purple and green mix- 
ed, which explains the whole thing!" 

Titmouse listened with infinite satisfac- 
tion to this philosophical statement. 

" Remember, sir, my hair is to come like 
yours— eh ? you recollect, sir 1" 

** I have very littie doubt of it, sir — ^nay, 
I am certain of it, knowing it by experience." 

The scamp had been hired expressly for 
the purpose of lying thus in support of the 
Cyanochaitanthropopoion ; his own hair be- 
ing a natural black. 

" I am going to a grand dinner to-mor^ 
row, sir," said Titmouse, " with some de- 
vilish great people at the west end of the 
town— eh 1 you understand ? will it do by 
that time? Would give a trifle to get my 
hair a shade darker by that time-^for— 
hem! — most lovely gal— eh 1 you under- 
stand the thing) devilish anxious and all 
that sort of thing, you know !" 

" Yes — ^I do, ' replied the gentleman of 
the shop, in a confidential tone ; and open- 
ing one of the glass doore behind him, took 
out a bottle considerably larger than the 
first, and handed it to Titmouse. " Hiis," 
said he, "will complete the thing; it com- 
bines chemically with the purple particles, 
and the result is^generally arrived at in 
about two days' time — 

11 



»» 



sd 



TEN THOUSAND A VEAft. 



** Bnt it will do something in a mghfs 
time— eh ! — surely." 

**I should think so ! But here it is— it is 
called the Tktabagmbnon Abracadabra.*' 

** What a name !*' exclaimed Titmouse, 
with a kind of awe. '* 'Pon honour, it al- 
most takes one's breath away—" 

*' It will do more, sir — it will take your 
red hair away ! By the way, only the day 
before yesterday, a lady of hiffh rank, (be- 
tween ourselFea Lady Caroline Carrot,^ 
whose red hair always seemed as if it would 
haye set her bonnet in a blaze, came here, 
after two days' use of the Cyanochaitan- 
thropopoion, and one day's use of this 
Tetara^enon Abracadabra— and asked me 
if I knew her. Upon my soul I did not, 
till she solonnly assured me that she was 
really Lady Caroline!" 

**How much is it?" eagerly inquired 
Titmouse, thrusting his hand into his pock- 
et, with no little excitement* 

«« Only nine-and-sixpence." 

'^Good gracious, what a price l—nine- 
and-six " 

<* Would vou believe it, sir 1 This ex- 
traordinary fluid cost a distinguished Ger- 
man chemist his whole life to bring to per- 
fection; and it contains expensive materials 
from all the four corners or the world." 

<^I've laid out a large figure with yon, 
sir, this day or two— couldnU you say eight 
sh ." 

<* We never abate, sir," said the gentle- 
man, rather haughtily. Of course poor 
Titmouse bought the uiing; not a little de- 

Eressed, however, at the heavy prices he 
ad paid for the three bottles, and the vat- 
oertamty he felt as to the ultimate issue. 
That mghi, he was so well satisfied with 
the progress which the hair on his h»d was 
making, (for by candle-light it really looked 
very dark,) that he resolved— at all events 
for the present— to leave well alone ; or, at 
the utmost, to try the effects oi the Tetarag- 
menon Abracadabra only upon his eyebrows 
and whiskers. Into them he rubbed the 
new specific; which, on the bottle being 
opened, surprised him in two respects :-^ 
fimt, it was perfectly colourless ; secondly, 
it had a most infernal smell. However, it 
was no use hesitating ; he had bought and 
paid for it ; and the papers it was folded in 
gave an account of its success, which was 
really irresistible and unquestionable.—- 
Away, therefore, he rubbed and when he 
had finished, got into bed, in humble hope 
as to the result, which would be disclosed 
by the morning's light! But would you 
believe it 1 When he looked at himself in 
the glass about sif o'clock, (at which hour 
he awoke,) I protest it as a fiict, that his 
eyebrows and whiBken were as white as 



snow ; which, combining with ^ purple 
colour of the hair on his head, rendered him 
one of the most astounding objects (in hu- 
man shapo) ^® ^y® of man had ever be- 
held. Tnere was the wisdom of age seated 
in his eyebrows and whiskers, unspeakable 
folly in his features, and a purple crown of 
woNDKR on his head. 

Really, it seemed as if the devil were 
wt€Kaking his spite on Mr. Titmouse ! — ^nay, 
perhaps it was the devil himself who had 
servea him with the bottles in Bond Street. 
Or was it a mere ordinary servant of the 
devil— ^Kmie greedy, impudent, unprinci- 
pled speculator, who, desirous of acting on 
the approved maxim— i^'o/ experimetUum in 
corporc vt7»-4iad pitched on Titmouse (see- 
ing the sort of person he was) as a godsend, 
qmte reckless what effect he produced on 
his hair, so as the stuff was paid for, and 
its effects noted 1 It might possibly have 
been sport to the gentleman ot the shop, bat 
it was near proving death to poor Titmouse, 
who really might have resolved on throiiing 
himself out of the window, only that he saw 
it was not big enough for a baby to get 
through. He turned a^ast at the monr 
Straus object which his httle glass present- 
ed to him ; and sunk down upon the bed 
with a feeling as if he were now fit for 
deaUi. As before. Mis. Sauallop made her 
appearance with his kettle for breakfast. 
He was sitting at the Uble, dressed, and 
with his arms folded, with a reckless air, 
not at idl caring to conceal the new and still 
more frightful change which he had under- 
ffone, since she saw him last. Mrs. Sqoal- 
lop stsuBd at him for a second or two in 
silence; then stepping back out of the 
room, suddenly drew to the door, and stood 
outside, lauehmg vehementiy. 

«'ril kicK you down stairs!" shouted 
Titmouse, rushing to tiie door, pale with 
fury, and pulling it ojlen. 

**Mr.— Mr.— Titmouse, you'll be tiie 
death of me— you will— -you will !" gasped 
Mrs. Squsdlop, almost black in the face, 
and the water running out of the kettle, 
which she was unconsciously holding in a 
slant After a while, however, they got 
reconciled. Mrs. Squallop had fancied he 
had been bnt rubbing chalk on his eyebrows 
and whiskers; and seemed dismayed in- 
deed, on hearing the true state of the case. 
He implored her to send out for a small 
botdeofink; but as it was Sunday morn- 
ing, none could be got— and she teased him 
to try a littie blacking! He did; but of 
course it was useless. He sat for an hour 
or two in an ecstasy of grief and rage. 
What would he now have given never to 
have meddled with the hair which God had 
thought fit to send him into the world with 1 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



Alaai with vhat moumfal foWe Mrt. 
Squallop's words again and again recurred 
to him! To say that he eat breakfast, 
would be scarcely correct. He drank a 
sinffle cup of cocoa, and eat about three 
inches length and thickness ofa roll, and 
then put awaj his breakfast things on the 
window-shelf. If he had been in the hu- 
mour to go to church, how could hel be 
would hare been turned out as an ob- 

i'ect involuntarily exciting every body to 
aughter. 

Yet, poor soul, in this extzemity of mis- 
ery, he was not utterly neeleoted ; for he 
had that morning quite a litUe levee. First 
came Mr. Snap, who, having quite as 
keen and clear an eye for his own interest 
as his senior partners, had early seen how 
arable was acquaintance with Titmouse of 
being turned to nis (Snap's) great advan- 
tage. He had come, tnerefore, dressed 
very stylishly, to do a little bit of toadying 
on the slv, (on his own exclusive account,) 
and had brought with him, for the edifica- 
tion of Titmouse, a copy of that day's Sun^- 
day FUtsk, which contained a long account 
of a bloody fight between Birmingham 
Bigbones and London Littlego, for jSSOO a 
8i&— eighty rounds were fought, botfi men 
killed, and their seeonds had bolted to 
Boiiloffne. Poor Snap, however, though 
he had come with the best intentions, and 
the most anxious wish to evince profound 
respect for the future master often thousand 
a year, was quite taken by storm by &e 
very first glimpse he sot of Titmouse, ilnd 
could not for a long while recover himself. 
-He had oome to ask Titmouse to dine with 
him at a tavern in the Strand, where there 
was to be capital singing in the evening; 
and also to aecompany him, on the ensuing 
morning, to the Old Bailey, to hear *^a 
most interesting trial" for bigamy, in which 
Snap was concerned* for the prisoner-'-A 
miscreant who had been married to five 
living women. Snap conceived— -and very 
Jastly<-*-that it would give Titmouse a stn- 
king idea of his ^Snap's) importance, to see 
him so much, and apparently so familiarly 
oonoemed with well known counsel. In 
his own terse and quaint way, he was ex- 
plainiiig to Titmouse the various remedies 
ne had against the Bond Street impostor, 
both by iiraictment and action on the case ; 
nay, (getting a little, however, beyond his 
depth,) he assured the eager Titmouse, that 
a bill of diBcoveiT would lie in equity, to 
ascertain what tfteTetaiagmenon AbraNuia- 
bra was composed of, wiSi a view to an in- 
dictment against the owner, when his learn- 
ed display was interrupted by a double 
knock, and^— oh !— >«Ater Mr. Gammon! 
WheUier he or Snap felt more disconoerted. 



I caHDot say ; but SnapJooM the most con- 
fused ar^ sneaking. Each told the other a 
.lie, in as easy, g(X)d-natured a way as he 
cduld assume, concerning the object of his 
visit to Mr. Titmouse. Tims they were 

going on, when— another knock— 4ind, '^Is 
lis Mr. Titmouse's t" inquired a vcnoe, 
whidi brought a little colour into the face 
of both Gammon and Snap ; for it was ab- 
solutely old Quirk, who bustled breathless 
into the room, on his first visit, and seeifced 
completely confounded by the sight of both 
his partners. What, with &is, and the 
amazing appearance presented by Titmouse, 
Mr. Quirk was so overwhelmed, that he 
scarce spoke a syllahle. Each of the three 
partners felt (in his own way) exquisite 
embarrassment. Huckaback some time 
afterwards made his appearance, but him 
Titmottse unceTemoniously dismissed in a 
twinkling, in spite of a vehement remon- 
strance. But presently behold another ar- 
rival— Mr. Tagrag, who had come to an- 
nounce that his caniaffe, (t. e. a queer, rick- 
ed, little one-horse diaise, with a tallow- 
faced^Kiy in it, in faded livery,) was wait- 
ing to convey BIr. Titmouse to Satin Lodge, 
and take him a long drive in the country ! 
Each of these four worthies could have spit 
in the other's &ce ; first, for Medingj and 
secondly, for rMUint^ him in his schemes 
upon lltmouse. A few minutes afler the 
arrival of Tagrag, Gammon, half choked 
with disgust, and despising himself even 
more than his felioW'^visiters, slunk off, fol- 
lowed almost immediately by Quirk, who 
was dying to consult him on this new as- 
pect of a&irs which had presented itself* 
Snap (who ever since the arrival of Messrs* 
Quiik and Gammon, had felt like an ape in 
hot irons) very shortly followed in the foot* 
steps of his partners, having made no en- 
gagement whatever with 'lltmouse ; and 
mns the enterprising and determined Tag- 
rag w» lef^ master of the field. He had, 
in fact, come to do business; and business 
he determined to do. As for Grammon, du- 
ring the short time he had stayed, how he 
had endeared himself to Titmouse, by ex- 
plaining, not aware that Titmouse had con- 
fessed all to Snap, the singular change in 
the colour of his hair to have been occa- 
sioned by the intense mental anxie^ through 
which he had lately passed ! The aneo- 
dotes he told of suffinrers, whose hair a sin- 
gle night's agony had changed to all the co« 
louis of the rainbow ! Though Tagrag out- 
stayed all his fellow-visiters, in the manner 
which has been described, he could not pre- 
vail upon Titmouse to accompany him in 
his '< carriage," for Titmouse pleaded a 
presnng engagement, (t. e. a despemte at* 
tempt he pur^Msd making to obtain sodm 



84 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



ifik^) bat pledged bimself to make hia ap- 
pearance at Satin Lodge at the appointed 
hoar— half-past three or four o'clock. Away, 
therefore, drove Tagrag, delighted that 
Satin Lodge woald so soon contain so re- 
splendent a ^iter— 4ndignant at the cring- 
ing, sycophantic attentions of Messrs. 
Quirk, and Gammon, and Snap, against 
whom he resolved to pat Titmoase on 'his 
gaard, and infinitely astonished at the ex- 
traordinary chanffe that had taken place 
in the colour of Titmoase's hair. Partly 
influenced by the explanation which Gam- 
mon had given of the phenomenon, Tagrag 
resigned himself to feelings of simple won- 
der. Titmoase was doubtless passing 
through stages of physical transmogrifica- 
tion, corresponding with the marvellons 
change that was taking place in his circum- 
stances; and for all ne (Taffrag) knew, 
other and more extraordinary cnanges were 

going on; Titmouse might be growing at 
le rate of an half-incn a day, and soon 
Stand before him a man more than six feet 
high! Considerations such as these, in- 
vested Titmouse with intense and overpow- 
ering interest in the estimation of l^gra^; 
how could he make enough of him at Satin 
Lodge that day? If ever that hardened 
sinner felt inclined to utter an inward pray- 
er, it was as he drove hoYne— -that heaven 
would array his daughter in angel hues to 
the eyes of Titmouse! 

My friend Tittlebat made his appearance 
at the gate of Satin Lodge, at about a quar- 
ter to tour o'clock. Go^ gracious, how he 
had dressed himself out ! He considerably 
exceeded his appearance when firet present- 
ed to the reader. 

Miss Tagrag had been before her glass 
ever since the instant of her return from 
ehapel, up fo Within ten minutes' time of 
Titmouse^s arrival. An hour and a half 
at least had she bestowed on her liair, dis- 
posing it in little corkscrew and some- 
what scanty curls, that quite glistened in 
bear's grease, hanging on each side of a 
pair of lean and sallow cheeks. The colour 
which ought to have distributed itself over 
her cheeks in roseate delicacy, had thought 
fit to collect itself into the tip of her sharp 
little nose. Her small gray eyes beamed 
with the gentle and attractive expression 
that was perceptible in her father's, and her 
projecting under lip reminded every body of 
that delicate feature in her mother. She 
was very short and her figare rather skinny 
and angular. She wore ner lilac-coloured 
frock ; ner waist bein^ pinched in to a de- 
gree that made you thmk of a fit of the colic 
when you looked at her. A long red sash 
tied in a most elaborate bow, gave a very 
brilliant air to her dress geiierally. She 



had a thin gold chain round her neck, and 
wore long white ffloves ; her left hand hold- 
ing a poclcet handkerchief, which she had 
suffused with bergamot that scented the 
whole room. Mra. Tagrag had made her- 
self very splendid, in a red silk gown and 
staring head-dress. As for Mr. Tagrag, 
whenever he was dressed in his Sunday 
clothes, he looked the model of a dissenting 
minister : in his black coat, waistcoat, and 
trousera, and primly tied white neckerchief, 
with no shirt-collar visible. For a quarter 
of an hour had this interesting tno been 
standing at their parlour window, in anx- 
ious expectation of Titmoase's arrival; 
their only amusement being the namberless 
dusty stage-coaches driving every five mi- 
nutes close past &eir p[ate, (which was 
about ten yaras from their house,) at once 
enlivening and ruralizing the scene. Oh, 
that poor Tabumum— laden with dost, droop- 
ing with drought, and evidently in the very 
last stage of a decline— that was planted 
beside me little sate! Tagrag spoke of 
cutting it down ; out Mra. and Miss Tag- 
rag begged its life a little longer— then that 
subject dropped. How was it that, ^ou^ 
both the ladies had sat under a thundering 
disconree from Mr. Dismal Horror Uiat 
morning — ^theyhad never once since thought 
or spoke of him or his sermon— never 
even opened his '^Gfroatig." The reason 
was plain. They thought of Titmoase, 
who was bringing ** aire from heaven ;" 
while Honor brought only ** blasts from 
hell" — and tho8e they had every day in the 
week, his sermons on the Sunday, his 
**Groaf»" on the week-day. At length 
MisrTagrag's little heart fluttered violent- 
ly, for her papa told her that Titmoase was 
coming up the road— and so he was. Not 
dreaming that he could be seen, he stood 
beside me gate for a moment, under the 
melancholy laburnum; and, taking a dirty- 
looking silk handkerchief out of his hat, 
slapped it vigorously about his boots, (fVom 
which circumstance it may be inferred that 
he had walked,) and replaced it in his hat. 
Then he unbuttoned his surtout, adjusted it 
nicely, and disposed his chain and eyeglass 
just so as to let the tip only of the latter be 
seen peeping out of his waistcoat ; twitdied 
up his collar, plucked dovni his wristbuids, 
drew the tip of a white pocket handkerchief 
out of a pocket in the breast of his surtout, 
pulled a white ^love half way on his left 
hand ; and, having thus given the finishing 
touches to his toilet, opened the gate, and— 
Tittlebat Titmouse, Esquire, the ^reat guest 
of the day, for the firet time in his life 
(swinging a little ebony cane about with 
careless grace) entered the domain of Mr. 
Tagrag. 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



85 



The little perfonnance I have been de- 
scribing, though every bit of it passing un- 
der the eyes of Tagra^, his wife, ana his 
daughter, had not excited a smile; their 
anxious feelings were too deep to be reach- 
ed or stirred by light emotions. Miss Tag- 
rag turned very^ale and trembled. 

"La, pa," said she faintly, " how could 
you say no'd got white eyebrows and whis- 
kers ? They're a beautinil black." 

Tagrag was speechless: the fact was 
so — for Titmouse had fortunately obtained a 
little bottle of ink.— As Titmouse approach- 
ed the house, ^Tasrag hurrying out to open 
the door for him,J he saw the two ladies 
standing at the windows. Off went his hat, 
and out dropped the silk handkerchief, not 
a little disconcerting him for the moment. 
Tagrag, however, soon occupied his atten- 
tion at the door with anxious civilities, sha- 
king him by the hand, hanging up his hat 
and stick, and then introducing him to the 
sitting-room. The ladies received him 
with most profound courtesies, which Tit- 
mouse returned with a quick embarrassed 
bow, and an indistinct—" I hope you're 
well, mem!" 

If they had had presence of mind enough 
to observe it, the purple colour of Titmouse's 
hair must have sarprised them not a littte; 
all they could see, however, was — ihe an- 
gelic owner of ten thousand a year. 

The only person tolerably at his ease, and 
he <m/y tolerably, was Mr.Tagrag; — and 
he asked his guest— 

•* Wash your hands, Titmouse, before 
dinner?" tfut Titmouse said he had wash- 
ed them before he had come out. The day 
was hot, and he had walked five miles at a 
slapping pace. In a few minutes, however, 
he felt a uttle more assured ; for it was im- 
possible for him not to perceive the awful 
deference with which he was treated. 

" Seen the Sunday Fia$h, mem 1" said he, 
modestly, addressingr Mrs. Tagrag. 

" I — ^1 — no— that IS — ^not <o^y," she re- 
plied, colouring. 

"Vastly amusing, isn't it?" interposed 
Tagrag to prevent mischief— for he Knew 
his wife would as soon have taken a cocka- 
trice into her hand. 

" Y— € — s," replied Titmouse, who had 
not even glanced at the copy which Snap 
had brou^t him. "An uncommon good 
fight between Birmingham Big — " 

Tagrag saw his wire getting redder and 
redder. " No news stirring about Ministers, 
is there?" said he, with a desperate attempt 
at a diversion. 

" Not that I have heard !" replied Tit- 
moQse. Soon he got a little further, and 
said how cheerful the stages going past 

n 



must make the house. Tagrag agreed with 
him. Then there was a little pause. 

"Been to church, mem, this morning, 
mem ?" timidly inquired Titmouse of Miss 
Tagrag. 

" Yes, sir," she replied faintly colouring, 
casting her eyes to the ground, and sudden- 
ly putUncr her hand into that of her mother — 
with such an innocent, engaging simplicity 
—like a timid fawn, lying as close ' as pos- 
sible to its dam ! 

" We always so to chapel^ sir," said 
Mrs. Tagrag confidently, in spite of a very 
fierce look trom her husband : " the gospel 
isn't preached in the Church of England. 
We sit under Mr. Horror — a heavenly 
preacher ! You've heard of Mr. Horror ?" 

"Yes, mem! Oh, yes! Capital preach- 
er !" replied Titmouse, who of course (be- 
ing a true church man) had never in his life 
heard of Mr. Horror or any other dissenter. 

" When will dinner be ready, Mrs. T. ?" 
inquired Tanag, abruptly, and with a very 
perceptible dash of sternness in his tone ; 
but dinner was announced the very next mo- 
ment. He took his wife's arm, and, in do- 
^S ^» g^^Q it a sudden vehement pressure, 
which, coupled with a furious slance, ex- 
plained to her the extent to which she had 
incurred his anger. She thought, however, 
of Mr. Horror and was silent. 

Titmouse's proffered arm the timid Miss 
Tagrag scarcely touched with the tip of her 
finger, as she walked beside him to dinner. 
Titmouse soon got tolerably composed and 
cheerful at dinner, (which consisted of a 
little piece of nice roast beef, with plenty of 
horse-radish, Yorkshire pudding, a boiled 
fowl, a plum pudding made by Mrs. Tag- 
rag, and custards which had been superin- 
tended by Miss Tagrag,) and, to oblige his 
hospitable host and hostess, eat till he was 
fit to burst. Miss Tagrag, thouffh really 
very hunsrry, eat only a very smaU slice of 
beef, ana a quarter of a custard, and 
drank a third of a glass of sherry after 
dinner. She never once spoke, except in 
hurried answers to her papa and mamma ; 
and, sitting exactly opposite Titmouse, 
(with only a plate of greens and a boiled 
fowl between tiiem,) was continually co- 
louring whenever tiieir eyes happened to 
encounter one another, on which occasion 
hers would suddenly drop, as if overpower- 
ed by the brilliance of his. Titmouse be- 
gan to love her very fast. After the ladies 
ad withdrawn, you should have heard the 
way that Tagrag went bn with Titmouse— 
I can liken the two to nothing but an old 
fat spider, and a little fly. 

** Will Toa eone into my parimirl 
flakl Umi f pUer to tlw tLji" 



86 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



and it migtit hare been well for Titmouse 

to hare answered, in the language of the 

aforesaid fly :— 

** No, thank yon, sir, I really feel 
No eaiiottty.*' 

Titmouse, however, swallowed with 
equal facility Mr. Tagrag's hard port and 
his soft blarney ; but eUi fools have large 
swallows. When at length Tagrag alluded 
to the painfully evident embarrassment of 
his " poor Tabby," and said he had '* now 
found out what had been so long the matter 
with her," (ay, even this went down,) and 
hemmed, and winked his eye, and drained 
his irlass. Titmouse began to get flustered, 
blushed, and hoped Mr. Tagrag would soon 
•'join'the ladies." They did so, (Tagrae 
stopping behind to lock up the wine ana 
the remains of the fruit.) Miss Tagrag pre- 
sided over the tea things. There were muf- 
fins, and crumpets, and reeking-hot buttered 
toast; Mrs. Tagrag would hear of no de- 
nial, so poor Titmouse, after the most des- 
perate resistance, was obliged to swallow a 
round of toast, half a muffin, and an entire 
crumpet, and four cups of hot tea: after 
which he felt a very painful degree of tur- 
gidity, and a conviction that he should be 
able to eat and drink nothing for tlie re- 
mainder of the week. 

After the tea thinj^ had been removed, 
Tagrag, directing Titmouse's attention to 
the piano, which was open, (with some 
music on it,Veady to be played from,) asked 
htm whether he liked music. Titmouse, 
with great eagerness, hoped Miss T. would 
ffive them some music ; and she, after hold- 
iri? out a long and vi^rous siege, at length 
asked her papa what it should be. 

'« The Battle of Prague,^* said her papa. 

<' Before Jehovah' e Awful Throne^^* hastily 
interposed her mamma. 

*«The Battle," sternly repeated her papa. 

"It's Sunday night, Mr. T.," meekly 
rejoined his wi^. 

"Which will you have, Mr, Titmouse?" 
inc^uired Tagrag, with The Battle of Prague 
wntten in every feature of his face. Tit- 
mouse almost burst into a state of perspira- 
tion. 

" A little of both, sir, if you please." 

"Well," replied Tagrag, slightly re- 
laxing, " that will do. Spdit the difference— 
eh? Come, Tab, down with you. Titmouse, 
will you turn over the music for her?" 

Titmouse rose, and having sheepishly 
taken his station beside- Miss Tagrag, the 
performances commenced with Before /e- 
havahU Awful Throne! But, mercy upon 
us! at what a rate she rattled over, that 
*^ pious air." If its respectable composer 
had been present, he must have gone into a 
fit; but there was no help for it--the heart 



of the lovely performer was in The BatUe 
(tf Prague, to which she presently did most 
ample justice. So much were her feelings 
engaged in that Sublime composition, that 
the bursting of one of the strings— -twang! 
in the middle of the " eanrumading^^ did not 
at all disturb her; and, as soon as she had 
finished the exquisite "finale," Titmouse 
was in such a tumult of excitement, from 
different causes, that he could have slied 
tears. Though he had never once turned 
over the right place. Miss Ta^rrag thanked 
him for his services with a smile of infinite 
sweetness. Titmouse vowed he had never 
heard such splendid music— begged for 
more ; and away went Miss Tagrag hurried 
away by her excitement. Rondo after rondo, 
march after march, for at least half an hour; 
at the end of which old Tagrag suddenly 
kissed her with passionate fondness. — 
Though Mrs. Tagrag was horrified at the 
impiety of all this, she kept a very anxious 
eye on the young couple, and interchanged 
with her husbana ever^ now and then, very 
si^ficant looks. Shortly after nine» spirits, 
wme, and hot and cold water, were brought 
in. At ihe sight of them Titmouse looked 
alarmed — ^for he knew that he must take 
something more, though he would have 
freely given five shillings to be excused — 
for he felt as if he could not hold one drop 
more. But it was in vain. Willy-nilly, a 
glass of gin and water stood soon before 
him; he protested he could not touch it 
unless Miss Tagrag would "take some- 
thing" — ^whereupon, with a blush, she 
" thought she would" take a wine-glass of 
sherry and water. This was provided her. 
Then Tagrag mixed a tumbler of port wine 
negus for Mrs. Tagrag, and a great glass of 
muiogany-eoloured brandy and water for 
himsdf ; and tiien he looked round, and felt 
perfectly happy. As Titmouse advanced 
with his ^n and water, his spirits got high- 
er and higher, and his tongue more fiuent. 
He once or twice dropped the " Mr." when 
addressing Tagrag; several times smiled, 
and once even winked at the embarrassed 
Miss Tagrag. Mr. Tagrag saw it, and 
could not control himself— for he had got 
to the end of his first glass of brandjf and 
water, and mixed himself a second, quite ae 
strong as the former. 

" Tab ! ah, Tkb ! what has been the mat- 
ter with you all these months T"---and he 
winked his eye at her and then at Titmouse. 

" Papa !" exclaimed Miss Tagrag, blush- 
ing up to her very temples. 

"Ah, Titmouse— Titmouse — give me your 
hand," said Tagrag ; " you'll forget us all 
when you are a great man— but we shall al- 
ways remember you." 

"You're very good— very!" said Tit- 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



87 



moose, cordially returning the pressure of 
Tagrag's hand. At that instant, it sudden- 
ly occurred to him to adopt the suggestion 
of Mr. Gammon. Tagrag was going on 
very fast, indeed, about the disinterested 
nature of his feelings towards Titmouse— 
towards whom, he said, he had always felt 
just as he did at that moment— Hwas in 
Tain to deny it. 

'* Pm sure your condnct shows it, sir," 
commenced Titmouse, feeling a shudder 
like that with which a timid bather ap- 
proaches the margin of the cold stream. ^* I 
could have taken my oath, sir, you would 
have refused to let me come into your house, 
when you heard of it-—'* 

** Ah, ha ! — ^that's rather an odd idea, too. 
If I felt a true friendship for you as plain 
Titmouse, it's so likely I should. Mv dear 
sir ! it was / that thought you wouldn't have 
Come into my house ! A likely thing !'* 

Titmouse was puzzled. His perceptions, 
never very quick or clear, were now un- 
doubtedly somewhat obfuscated with what 
he had been drinking. In short, he did not 
understand that Ta^ag had not understood 
him i and felt rather baSled. 

«« What surprising ups and downs there 
are in life, Mr. Utraouse," said Mrs. Tag- 
rag respectfully-^* they're all sent from 
above, to try ns. No one knows how they'd 
behave, if as how (in a manner) they were 
turned upside down." 

*'I — ^I hope, mem, I haven't done any 
thing to show—" 

" Oh ! my dear Titmouse," anxiously 
interrupted Tagrag, inwardly cursing his 
wife, who, finding she always went wrong 
in her husband's eyes whenever she spoke 
a word, determined for the future to stick to 
her negus—** the fact is, there's a Mr. Hor- 
ror here that's for sending all decent people 
to . He's filled my wife there wiUi all 
sorts of— ^nay, if she isn't bursting with 
cant— ao never mind her. You done any 
thin^ wrong ! You're a pattern !" 

♦* Well, — ^I'm a happy man again," r&- 
snmed Titmouse, resolved now to go on.— 
♦'And when did they tell you of it, sir!" 

*' Oh, a few days ago — a week ago," re- 
plied Tagrag, trying to recollect. 

••Why — ^why— sir — ain't you mistakeni" 
inquired Titmouse with a depressed, but at 
tiie same time a surprised air. ••It only 
happened this morning after you left." 

•• Eh--eh— ah, ha !— What do you mean, 
Mr. Titmouse 1" interrupted Tagrag, with 
a sickening attempt at a smile. Mrs. Tag- 
rag and Miss Tagrag also turned exceed- 
ingly startled faces towards Titmouse, who 
felt as if a house were going to fall down 
im hho. 

♦• Why, sir,"— he began to cry, (an at- 



tempt which was greatly aided by the 
maudlin condition to which drink had re- 
duced him,) — *• till to-day, I thought I was 
heir to ten thousand a year— and it seems 
I'm not — ^it's all a mistake." 

Tagrag's face changed visibly; it was 
getting frightful to look at; the inward 
shock and agony were forcing out on his 
slanting forehead great drops ofperspiration. 

••What— a— capital— joke— Mr. Tit- 
mouse !" he gasped, drawing his handker- 
chief over his forehead. Titmouse, though 
greatly alarmed, stood to his gun pretty 
steadily. 

•• I — ^I wish it was a joke ! It's been no 
joke to m«, sir. There's another Tittlebat 
Titmouse, it seems, in Shoreditch, that's 
the righ t " 

•• Who told you this, sir 1— Pho, I don't— 
I can't believe it," said Tagrag, in a voice 
tremulous between suppressed rage and 
fear. 

•• True, 'pon my life. It is ^ 

•• How dare yon swear before the ladies ! 
You're insulting them, sir !" almost roared 
Tagrag. ** You're not a gentleman." He 
suddenly dropped his voice, and, in a trem- 
bling and most earnest manner asked Tit- 
mouse whether he was really joking or 
serious. 

*• Never more serious in my life, sir." 

••It's really all up'?" 

Titmouse groaned. A'satanic scowl shot 
over Tagrag's disgusting features. 

♦• Oh, ma — ^I do feel so ill !" faintly ex- 
claimed Miss Tagrag, turning deadljr pale. 
Titmouse was on the verge of dropping on 
his knees, and confessing the trick, greatly 
agitated at the effect produced on Miss 
'ntgrag: when Tagrag's heavy hand was 
suoaenly placed on his shoulder, and he 
whispered in a fierce undertone— '• You im- 
postor!" and that stopped Titmouse, and 
made something like a man of him. He 
was a fearful fool, but he did not want for 
mere pluck, and now it was roused. Mrs. 
Tagrag exclaimed, ••Oh, you shocking 
scamp,*' as she passed Htmouse, and led 
her daughter out of the room. 

•• If Pm an impostor, sir, Pm no fit com- 
pany for you I suppose, sir," said Titmouse, 
rising. 

••Pay me my five-pound note," almost 
shouted Tagrag. 

*• Well, sir, if Pm poor, I ain't a rogue," 
said Titmouse, preparing to give him what 
he asked for; when a faint shriek was heard, 
plainly from Miss Tagrag, overhead. Then 
the seething caldron boiled over. ••You 
infernal scoundrel," said Tagrag, almost 
choked with fury; and suddenly seizing 
Titmouse by the collar, scarce giving him 
time, in passing, to get hold of his hat and 



TEN THOUSAND A TEAR. 



stick, he ureed him along throngh the pas- 
sage, down Uie gravel walk, threw open the 
gate, thrust him furiously through it, and 
sent after him such a Mast of execration, as 
was enough to drive him a hundred yards 
down the road. Titmouse did not fully 
recover his hreath or his senses for more 
than half an hour afterwards. When he 
did, the first thing that occurred to him was, 



an inclination to fiill down on his knees on 
the open road, and worship the sagacious 
and admirable Gammok. 

And now Tittlebat Titmouse, for some 
little time, I have done with you. Awaj ! 
— give room to your betters. But don't 
think that I have yet *' rifled all your sweets 
ness,*' or am about to ^ fling you like a noi- 
I some weed away.'* 



CHAPTER V. 



While the lofty door of a house in Gro»- 
venor Street was yet quivering under the 
shock of previously-announced dinner arri- 
val, one of the servants who were standing 
behind a carriage which approached from 
the direction of Piccadilly, slipped off, and 
in a twinkling, with a thun-thun-thunder- 
under-under, thunder-runder-runder, thun- 
thun-thun ! and a shrill thrilling whir-r-r of 
the bell, aimounced the arrival of the Duke 

of , the last guest. It was a large and 

plain carriage, but perfectly well known; 
and before the door of the house at which 
it had drawn up, had been opened, display- 
ing some four or five servants standing m 
the hall, in simple but elegant liveries, half- 
a-dozen passengers had stopped to see get 
out of the carriage an elderly, middle-si^ 
man, with i somewhat spare figure, dressed 
in plain black clothes, with iron-gray hair, 
and a countenance which, once seen, was 
not to be forgotten. Tliat was a great man ; 
one, the like of whom many previous cen- 
turies had not seen ; whose name shot terror 
into the hearts of all the enemies of old 
England all over the world, and fond pride 
and admiration into the hearts of his fellow- 
countrymen. 

** A quarter to eleven !" he said, in a quiet 
tone, to the servant who was holding open 
the carriage door— while the bystanaers 
took off their hats ; a courtesy which he ac- 
knowledged, as he slowly stepped across 
the pavement, bv touching his nat in a me- 
chanical sort of'^way with his forefinger. — 
The house-door then closed upon him ; the 
handful of on-lookers passed away ; off* roll- 
ed the empty carriage ; and all without was 
quiet as before. The house was that of Mr. 
Aubrey, one of the members of the bargh 
of Yatton, in Yorkshire, — a man of rapidly- 
rising importance in parliament. Surely 
his was a pleasant position — that of an in- 
dependent country gentleman, with a clear, 



unincumbered rent-roll of ten thousand a 
year, and already become the spokesman 
of his class! Fariiament having been 
assembled, in consequence of a particular 
emergency, at a much earlier period than 
usual, the House of Commons, in which 
Mr. Aubrey bad the evening before deliver- 
ed a well-timed and powenul speech, had 
adjourned for the Cnristmas recess, the 
House of Lords, being about to follow its 
example that evening: an important divi- 
sion, however, being first expected to take 
place at a late hour. Mr. Aubrey was 
warmly complimented on his success, by 
several of the select and brilliant circle then 
assembled, and who were in high spirits- 
ladies and all-— on account of a considerable 
triumph just obtained by their party, and to 
which Mr. Aubrey was assured, by even 
the Duke of , his exertions had certain- 
ly not a little contributed. While his grace 
was energetically intimating to Mr. Aubrey 
his opinion to this effect, there were two 
lovely women listening to him with intense 
eagerness — ^they were the wife and sister of 
Mr. Aubrey. The former was an elegant 
and interesting woman, of nearly eight-and- 
twenty, the latter was a really beautiful 
girl, somewhere between twenty and twen- 
ty-one. She was dressed with the utmost 
degree of simplicity that was consistent 
with elegance. Mra. Aubrey, a blooming 
young mother of two as charming children 
as were to be met with in a day's walk all 
over both the parks, was, in cliaracter and 
mannera, all pliancy and gentleness ; about 
Miss Aubrey there was a dash of spirit that 
gave an infinite zest to her beauty. Her 
blue eyes beamed with the richest expres- 
sion of feeling — in short, Catharine Aubrey 
was, both in face and figure, a downright 
English beauty ; and she knew — ^truth must 
be told— that such she appeared to the great 
duke, whose cold aquiline eye she ohenfcH 



tEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



89 



to be settled upon her with satisfaction. 
The fact was, that he penetrated at a first 
g^lance beneath the mere surface of an 
arch, sweet, and winning manner, and de- 
tected a certain strengrth of character in Miss 
Aubrey which gave him more than usual 
interest in her, and spread over his iron-cast 
features a pleasant expression, relazinff 
their sternness. It might inde^i be said, 
that before her, in his person, 

*«riin-TiMff8d war bad unoothM hit wrinkled front." 

Twas a subject for a painter, that deli- 
cate and blooming girl, her auburn hair 
hanging in careless fipnce on each side of 
her white forehead, while her eyes were fix- 
ed with absorbed interest on the stem and 
rigid countenance which she reflected had 
been, as it were, a thousand times darkened 
with the smoke of the grisly battl&-field. 
But I must not foi^t that there are others 
in the room ; and amongst them, standing 
at a little distance, is Lord De la Zouch, 
one of Mr. Aubrey's neic^hbonrs in York- 
shire. Apparently he is listening to a bro- 
ther peer taikinsr to him very earnestly about 
the expected aiyision; but Lord De la 
Zouch's eye is fixed on you, lovely Kate— 
and how little can you imagine what is 
passing through his mind ! It has just oc- 
curred to him that his sudden arrangement 
for young Delamere— his only son and heur. 
Gome up the day before from Oxford— to 
call for him about half-past ten, and take 
his place in Mrs. Aubrey's drawinff-room, 
while he. Lord De la Zouch, goes down to 
the house— may be attended with certain 
consequences. He is speculating on the 
effect of your beauty bursting suddenly on 
his son— who has not seen you for nearly 
two years ; all this gives him anxiety— but 
not painful anxiety— -for, dear Kate, he 
knows that your forehead would wear the 
ancient coronet of the De la Zouches with 
grace and dignity. But Delamere is as yet 
too young— and if he sets the image of 
Catharine Aubrey into bis head, it will, 
fears his fiither, instantly cast into the shade 
and displace all the stem visages of those 
old poets, orators, historians, philosophers 
and statesmen, who ought, in Lord De la 
Zouch and his son's tutor's judgment, to 
occupy exclusively the head of the aforesaid 
Delamere for some Ave years to come. 
That younffster — Chappy fellow! — ^frank, 
high-spirited, and enthusiastic— and hand- 
some to boot— was heir to an ancient title 
and peax estates ; all he had considered in 
looking out for an alliance was— youth, 
beauty, blood — ^here they all were 'r-/ortune 
—bah ! what did it signify to his son— but 
it's not to be thought of for some years. 

M Suppose," said he aloud, though in a 

r9 



musing manner, " one were to say^twenty- 
four ^" 

'• T^veniy-fourr'' echoed the Earl of St. 
Clair with amazement, '* my dear Lord De 
la Zouch, what do you mean 1 Eighty-four 
at the very lowest." 

•* Eh ! what ! oh — ^yes, of course— I should 
say ninety — I mean — ^hem ! — Uuy will mus- 
ter about twenty-four only." 

"Yes, there you're nght, I dare say." 
Here the announcement of dinner put an 
end to the coUoauy of the two statesmen. 
Lord De la Zoucn led down Miss Aubrey 
with an air of the most delicate and cordial 
courtesy ; and felt almost disposed, in the 
heat of the moment, to tell her that he had 
arranged all in his own mind — that she was 
to be the future Lady De la Zouch. He 
was himself the eleventh who had come to 
the title in direct descent from iather to son ; 
'tw;is a point he was not a little nervous and 
anxious about— he detested collateral suc- 
cession — and he made himself infinitely 
agreeable to Miss Aubrey as he sat beside 
her at dinner. The Duke of ^^ sat on 
the rig[ht hand side of Mrs. Aubrey, seem- 
ingly in hiffh spirits, and she appeared 
proud enou^ of her supporter. It was a 
delightful dinner-part}^, elegant without os- 
tentation, and select without pretence of 
exclusiveness. All were cheertul and ani- 
mated, not merely on account of the over- 
night's parliamentary victory, which I have 
already alluded to, but also in contempla- 
tion of the coming Christmas ! how, and 
where, and with wliom each was to spend 
that " righte merrie season," being the chief 
topic of conversation. As ^ere was nothing 
peculiar in the dinner, and as I have no time 
for describing such matters in detail— the 
clatter of plate, the jingling of silver, the 
sparklinff of wines, and so forth— I shall 
request the reader to imagine himself led by 
me quietly out of the dining-room into the 
library— 4hua escaping from all the bustle 
and hubbub attendant upon such an enter- 
tainment as is going on in the front of the 
hottse.^ We slmll to alone in the library— 
here it ia ; we enter it, and shut the door. 
'Tis a spacious room, all the sides covered 
with books, of which Mr. Aubrey is a mat 
collector— and the clear red fire (which we 
must presently replenish or it wul go out) 
is sheading a subdued ruddy light on all the 
objects in the nxHn, very favourable for our 

Surpose. The ample table is covered with 
ooKs and papers ; and there is an antique- 
looking arm-chair drawn opposite to the nre, 
in which Mr. Aubrey has been indulging in 
a long revery till the moment of cjuitting it 
to ffo and dregs for dinner. This chair I 
shall sit in myself; you may draw out from 
the recess for yourself, one of two little slo- 

19 



00 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAS. 



ping easy-cliaus, which have been placed 
there by Mrs. and Miss Aubrey for their 
own sole ose, considering that they are ex- 
cellent judges of the period at which Mr. 
Aubrey has been long enough alone, and at 
which they should come in and gossip with 
him. We may as well draw the dusky 
green curtain across the window, through 
which the moon shines at present rather too 
brightly. So now, after coaxing up the 
fire-— I will proceed to tell you a little bit 
of pleasant family history 

The Aubreys are a Yorkshire family. 
Their residence, Yatton, is in the north- 
eastern part of the country, not above fifteen 
or twen^ miles from the sea. The hall is 
one of those old structures, the sight of 
which throws you back nearly a couple of 
centuries in our English history. It stands 
in a park, crowded with trees, many of them 
of great age and size, and under which some 
two hundh^d head of deer perform their ca- 
pricious and graceful gambols. You strike 
off the great North road into a broad by- 
way ; after going down which for about a 
mile, you come to a straggling little village 
called Yatton, at the further extremity of 
which stands an aged gray church, with a 
very tall thin spire ; an immense yew tree, 
with a kind of friendly gloom, overshadow- 
ing, in the little church-yard, nearly half the 
graves. A little behind the church is the 
vicarage-house, snug and sheltered by a line 
of firtrees. After walking on about eighty 
yards, you come to the high park gates, and 
see a lodge Inst within, on the left hand 
side, sheltered by an elm-tree. You then 
wind your way for about a third of a mile 
along a gravel walk, amongst the thicken- 
ing trees, till you come to a ponderous old 
crumbling-lookm? red brick gateway of the 
time of Henry Yll. with one or two deeply- 
set stone windows in the turrets, and mould- 
ering stone-capped battlements peeping 
through high-climbing ivy. There is an 
old escutcheon immediately over the point 
of the arch ; and as you pass underneath, 
if you look up you can see the jroove of the 
old portcullis still remaining. Having pass- 
ed under this castellated remnant, you enter 
a kind of court, formed by a high wall com- 
pletely covered with ivy, running along in 
a line from the right-hand turret of the gate- 
way till it joins the house. Along its course 
are a number of yew trees. In the centre 
of the open Space is a quaintly disposed 
grass-plot, dotted about with stunted box, 
and in the centre stands a weather-beaten 
stone sun-dial. The house itself is a large 
irregular pile of dull red brick-work, with 
great stacks of chimneys in the rear ; ihe 
body of the building had evidently been 
erected at different times. Some part is 



evidently in the s^le pf Queen Elizabeth's 
reisn, another in that of Queen Anne : and 
it IS plain that on the site of the present 
structure has formerly stood a castle. There 
are traces of the old moat still visible round 
the rear of the house. One of the ancient 
towers, with small deep stone windows, 
still remains, giving its venerable support 
to the right-hand extremity of the building. 
The long frontage of the house consists of 
two huge masses of dusky-red brick-work, 
(yon can hardly call them wings,) con- 
nected together by a lower building in the 
centre, which contains the hall. Tliere are 
three or four rows of long thin deep win- 
dows, with heavT-looking wooden sashes. 
The high-pitched roof is of slate, and has 
deep projecting eaves, forming in fiict, a bold 
wooden cornice, running along the whole 
length of the building, which is some two 
or three stories high. At the left extremity 
stands a clump of ancient cedars of Leba- 
non, featheringin evergreen beauty down to 
the ground. The hall is large and loAy ; 
the noor is of polished oak, almost the whole 
of which is covered with thick matting; it 
is wainscotted all round with black oak, 
some seven or eight full-length pictures, 
evidently of considerable antiquity, being 
let into the panels. Quaint figures these 
are to be sure ; and if they resembled the 
ancestors of the Aubrey family, those an- 
cestors must have been singular and start- 
ling persons ! The faces are quite white 
ana staring— -all as if in wonder ; and they 
have such long legs, ending in sharp-point- 
ed shoes — just such as were worn in the 
reign of Edward III., or even Richard 11. 
On each side of the ample fireplace stands 
a figure in full armour; and there are also 
ranged along the wall old swords and lances, 
the very idea of wielding and handling 
which makes your arms ache, while you ex- 
claim, **they must have been giants in those 
days !*' On one side of this hall, a door 
opens into the dining-room, beyond which 
is the library ; on the other side a door leads 
you into a noble room, now called the draw- 
ing-room, where stands a very fine organ. 
Out of both the dining-room and drawing- 
room, you* pass up a staircase contained m 
an old square tower, two sides of each of 
them opening on the old quadrangle, lead 
into a gallery running all round the quad- 
rangle, and into which all the bed-rooms 
open. But I need not go into further detail. 
Altogether it is truly a fine old mansion. 
Its only constant occupant is Mrs. Aubrey, 
the mother of Mr. Aubrey, in whose library 
we are now seated. She is a widow, ha- 
ving survived her husband, who twice was 
one of the county members, about fifteen 
years. Mr. Aubrey is her firstrbom child, 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



01 



Mias Aubrey her last : fooi intervening chil- 
dren she has followed to the gravey— 4he 
frief and suffering consequent upon which 
Bve sadly shaken her constitution, and 
made her, both in actual health and in ap- 
■ pearance, at least ten years older than sue 
really i&^for she has, in point of fact, not 
long since entered her sixtieth year. What a 
blessed life she leads at Yatton ! Her se^ 
rene and cheerful temper makes every one 
happy about her; and her charity is un- 
bounded, but disnensed with a most just 
discrimination. One way or another, al- 
most a fourth of the village are direct pen^ 
sioners upon her bounty. You have only 
to mention the name oj Madam Aubrey, the 
lady of Yatton, to witness involuntary ho- 
mage paid to her virtues. Her word is 
awe ; and well indeed it may be. While 
Mr. Aubrey, her husband, was to the last 
stem in his temper, and reserved in his ha« 
bits, bearing withal a spotless and lofty 
character, she was alwavs what she still is, 
meek, gentle, accessible, charitable, and 
piousj On his death she withdrew from 
the world, and has ever since resided at 
Yatto&— never having quitted it for a single 
day. . 

There are in the vicinity one or two 
stately families, with ancient name, sound- 
ing title, and great possessions ; but for tei^ 
mUes round Yatton, old Madam Aubrey, 
the squire^s mother, is the name that is en- 
shrined in the people's kindliest and most 
grateful feelings, and receives their readiest 
homage. 'Tis perhaps a very small matter 
to mention, but there is at the hall a great 
white old mare, Peggy, that for these twen- 
ty years, in all weathers, hath been the 
bearer of Madam's boun^. A thousand 
times hath she carried Jacob Jones (now a 
pensioned servant, whose hair is as white 
as Peggj's) all over the estate, and also oft 
beyond It, with comfortable matters for the 
sick and poor. Most commonly there are a 
couple of^ stone bottles, filled with cowslip, 
currant, ffinger, or elderberry wine, slung 
before ola Jones, over the well-worn sad- 
dle — ^to the carrying of which Peggy has 
ffot so accustomed that she does not go com- 
fortably without them. She has so fallen 
into the habits of old Jones, who is an in- 
veterate gossip, (Madam having helped to 
make him such by the numerous inquiries 
she makes of him every morning as to every 
one in the village, and on the estate, and 
which inquiries he must have the means of 
knowing,) that slow as she joss along, if 
ever she meets or is overtaken oy any one, 
she stops of her own accprd, as if to hear 
what they and her rider have to say to one 
another. She is a great favourite with all, 
and gets a mouthfulof bay or grass at every 



place she stops at, either from the children 
or the old people. When old Pegrgy cornea 
to die, she will be missed by all Uie folk 
round Yatton. Madam Aubrey, growing, 
I am sorry to say, very feeble, cannot go 
about as much as she used, and betakes 
herself oftener and oflener to the old family 
coach; and when she is going to drive 
about the neiffhbourhood, you may always 
see it stop at Sie vicarage' for old Dr. Tat- 
ham, who generally accompanies her. On 
these occasions she always has a bag con- 
taining Testaments and Prayer-books, 
which are distributed as rewards to those 
whom the parson can recommend as deserv- 
ing of them. For these five-and-twenty 
years she has never missed ^ving a copy 
of each to every child in the village and oa 
the estate, on its being confirmed ; and the 
old lady looks round very keenly every Sun- 
day, from her pew, to see that uiese Bibles 
and Prayer-books are reverently used. I 
could go on for an hour and longer, telling 
you these and other such matters of this ex- 
emplary lady; but we shall by and by have 
some opportunities of seeing and knowing 
more of ner personally. In manner she is 
very calm, and quiet, and dignified. She 
looks all that you could expect from what I 
have told yon. The briskness of youth, the 
sedate firmness of middle-age, have years 
since given place, as you will see with 
some pain, to the feebleness produced by 
ill-health and mental suffering — ^for she 
mourned after her children with all a fond 
and bereaved mother's love. Oh! how 
she dotes on her surviving son and daufirh- 
ter ! And are they not worthy of such a 
mother t Mr. Aubrey is in his thirty-sixth 
vear; and inherits the mental qualities of 
both his parents— the demeanour and person 
of his father. He has a reserve that is not 
cynical, but only diffident, yet it gives him, 
at least at first sight, an air of hauteur, if 
not austerity, which is very far from his real 
nature, for within is, indeed, the rich **milk 
of human kindness." He has the soft heart 
and benignant temper of bis mother, joined 
with the masculine firmness of character 
which belonged to his father. Sensitive he 
is, perhaps to a fault. There is a tone of 
melancholy or pensiveness in his domposi- 
tion, which has probably increased upon 
him from his severe studies, ever since his 
youth. He is a man of superior intellect, 
though not, perhaps, of the highest or most 
brilliant order; and is a most capital scho- 
lar. At Oxford he plucked the prize from a 
host of strong competitors, and has since 
justified the expectations which were enter- 
tained of him. He has made several really 
valuable contributions to historic literature— 
indeed, I think he is even now engaged up- 



M 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



on dome researches calculated to throw 
mach light upon the obscure oriffin of aeve^ 
ral of our political institutions. He has en- 
tered upon politics with uncommon ardour-— 
perhaps with an excessive ardour. I think 
he is likely to make a considerable figure in 
parliament; for he is a man of yery clear 
head, very patient, of business-like habits, 
and, moreover, has a very impressive deliv- 
ery as a public speaker. He is generous 
and charitable as nis mother, and careless, 
even to a fault, of his pecuniary interests. 
He is a man of perfect simplicity and purity 
of character. Above all, his virtues are the 
virtues which have been sublimed by Chris- 
tianity — ^the cold embers of morality warm- 
ed into religion. He stands happily equi- 
distant from infidelity and fanaticism. He 
has looked for li^ht from above, and has 
heard a voice saying— -«* TTiis is the way, 
walk thou in it.*' His piety is the real 
source of that happy consistent dignity, and 
content, and firmness which have earned 
him the respect of all who know him, and 
will bear him through whatever may befal 
him. He who standeth upon this rock 
cannot be moved, perhaps not even touched, 
by the surges of worlmv circumstances of 
difficulty and distress. In manner Mr. Au- 
brey is calm and gentlemanlike ; in person 
he IS rather above the middle height, and of 
slight make— too slight, perhaps, to be ele- 
gant. From the way in which his clothes 
hang about him, a certain sharpness at his 
shoulders catching the eye of an observer— 
you would feel an anxiety about his health, 
which would be increased by hearing of the 
mortality in his family ; and your thoughts 
are pointed in the same direction, by a 

fiance at his long, thin, delicate white 
ands. His countenance, though not to be 
called handsome, has a serene manliness 
about it when in repose, and an acuteness 
and vivacity when animated, which are de- 
lightful to behold : it often beams with en- 
ergy and intellect. His hair is black as jet, 
and his forehead ample and marked. 

Mr. Aubrey has been married about six 
years; 'twas a case of love at first sight. 
Ch^pce threw him in the way of Agnes St. 
Clair, within a few weeks after she had 
been bereaved of her only parent, Col. St. 
Clair, who fell in the Peninsular war. .Had 
he lived only a month or two longer, he 
would have succeeded to a considerable es- 
tate ; as it was, he left his only child com- 
paratively penniless*— but heaven had en- 
dowed her with personal beauty, with a 
lovely disposition, and superior understand- 
ing. It was not till after a long and anxious 
wooing, backed by the cordial entreaties of 
Mrs. Aubrey, that Miss St Clair consented 
to become the wife of a man, who, to this 



hour, loves her with all the passionate ar« 
dour with which she had first inspired him. 
And richly she deserves his love, for she 
dotes upon him, she studies, or rather per^ 
haps anticipates, his every wish ; in short, 
had the whole sex been searched for one 
calculated to make happy the morbidly fas- 
tidious Aubrey, the choice must surely have 
fallen on Miss St. Clair; a woman whose 
temper, whose tastes, and whose manners 
were at once in delicate and harmonizing 
unison and contrast with his own. She 
has hitherto brought him but two children, 
a boy between four and five years old, and a 
girl about two years old.* If I were to hint 
my own impressions, I should say there 
was a probability — but be that as it may, 
'tis an affair we have nothing to do with at 
present. 

Of Catharine Aubrey you had a momen- 
tary moonlight glimpse, at a former period 
of this history : and you have seen her this 
evening under other, and perhaps not less 
interesting circumstances. Now, where 
have you beheld a more exquisite specimen 
of budding womanhood 1-— but I feel that I 
shall get extravagant if I begin to dwell up- 
on her charms. You have seen her— judge 
for yourself; but you do not know her as I 
do ; and I shall tell you that her personal 
beauty is but a faint emblem of the beauties 
of her mind and character. She is Aubrey's 
youngest— his only sister ; and he cherishes 
her with the tenderest and fondest regard. 
Neither he, nor his mother— with botti of 
whom she spends her time alternately — 
can bear to part with her for ever so 
short an interval. She is the gay, romping 
playmate of the little Aubreys; the de- 
mure secretary and treasurer of her mo- 
ther. I say (iemure— for there is a sly 
humour and archness in Kate's composition, 
which flickers about even her gravest 
moods. She is calculated equally for the 
seclusion of Yatton, and the splendid at- 
mosphere of Almack's; but for the latter 
she seems at present to have little inclina- 
tion. Kate is a girl of decided character, 
of strong sense, of high principle ; all of 
which are irradiated, not overborne, by her 
sparkling vivacity of temperament. * She 
has real talent; and her mind has been 
trained, and her tastes directed, with affec- 
tionate skill and vigilance, by her gifted 
mother. She has many accomplishments ; 
but the only one I shall choose to name i»— 
music. £newas a girl to sing and play 
before a man of the most fastidious taste 
and genius. I defy any man to hear the 
rich tones of Miss Aubrey's vcnce without 
being exquisitely moved. Music is with 
her a matter not of ar/ but of fee/tfi^p— -of 
passionate feeling; but harky— hush!— 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



93 



sorely — ^yes, that is Miss Aubrey's Toice, I 
will De sworn— that is her clear and bril- 
liant touch ; the ladies have ascended to the 
drawing-room, and we must presently fol- 
low them. How time has passed ! I had 
a great deal more to tell you about the 
family, but we must take some other oppor- 
tunity. 

Yes, it is Miss Aubrey, playing on the 
new and superb piano given by her brother 
last week to Mrs. Aubrey. Do you see 
with what a careless grace and ease she is 
giving a very sweet but difficult composi- 
tion of Haydn ! The lady who is standing 
by her to turn over her music, is the cele- 
brated Countess of Lydsdale. She is still 
young and beautiful ; but beside Miss Au- 
or^ what a painful contrast ! 'Tis all the 
difference between an artificial and a natu- 
ral flower. Poor Lady Lydsdale ! you are 
not happy with all your splendour; the 
glitter of your diamonds cannot compensate 
for the loss of the sparkling spirits of a 
younffer day; they pale their ineffectual 
fires beside the fresh, and joyous spirit of 
Catharine Aubrey. You sigh ! 

•* Now I'll sing you quite a new thing;," 
said Kate, starting up, and turning over her 
portfolio till she came to a sheet of paper, 
on which were some verses in her own 
handwritinfir : <• The words were' written 
by my brother, were not they, Agnes ? and 
I have found an old ballad Uiat exactly fits 
them !" Here her fingers, wandering light* 
ly and sofUy over the keys, gave form a 
beautiful symphony in the minor; after 
which, with exquisite simplicity, she sung 
the following: 

PEACE. 
1. 

Where, Oh where 
Hath gentle Pbacb fonnd reetf 
Batld* she Id bower of lady fkir 1 
Bat Love— he hath poaaeaaioB there ; 
Not long la the the gueet. 



Site ahe crowned 
Beneath a pictured dome 1 
But there Ambition keepa hia groand. 
And Fear and Envy akulk around ; 
7\i9 cannot be her home I 

9. 

Will ahe hide 
In scholar'a penalve cell I 
But he already hath his bride: 
Him, Melancholy aita bealde — 
With her ahe may not dwell! 



Now and then. 
Peace, wandering, laya her head 
On regal couch. In captive'a den — 
But nowhere flnda she reat with men. 
Or only with the dead ! 

To these words, trembling on the beauti- 
fnl lips of Miss Aubrey, was listening an 



unperceived auditor, with eyes devouring 
her every feature, and ears absorbing every 
tone of her thrilling voice. It was young 
Delamere, who had, only a moment or two 
before Miss Aubrey commenced singing the 
above lines, alighted from his father's car- 
riage, which was then waiting at the door 
to carry off Lord De la Zouch to the House 
of Lords. Arrested by the rich voice of the 
singer, he stopped short before he had en-, 
ter^ the front aTawing-room,and, stepping* 
to a comer where he was hid from view, 
though he could distinctly see Miss Aubrey, 
Uiere he remained as if rooted to the spot. 
He, too, had a soul for music; and the ex- 
quisite manner in which Miss Aubrey ^ve 
the last yerse, called up before his excited 
fancy the vivid image of a dove fluttering 
with affitated uncertainty over the sea of 
human life, even like the dove over the wa- 
ters enveloping the earth in olden time. 
The mournful mindr into which she threw 
the last line, excited a heart susceptible of 
the liveliest emotions to a degpree which it 
required some effort to control, and almost a 
tear to relieve. When Miss Aubrey had quit- 
ted the piano, Mrs. Aubrey followed, and 
gave a very delicate sonata from Haydn. 
Then sat down Lady Lydsdale, and ^h- 
ed off, in an exceedingly brilliant style, a 
acena from the new opera, which (mickly re- 
duced the excited feelings of Delamere 
to a pitch admitting of his presenting him- 

S61I. 

While this lowering process was ffoiog 
on, Delamere took down a little volume 
from a cabinet of books immediately behind 
him, and which proved to be a volume of 
fhery Queen. He found many pencil- 
marks, evidently made by a light femaJe 
hand ; and turning to the fly-leaf, he be- 
held, in a small elegant hand, the name of 
*« Caprine Aubrey,''^ His heart fluttered \ 
he turned towards the piano, and beheld the 
grracefiil figure of Miss Aubrey standing be- 
side Lady Lydsdale, in an attitude of de- 
lighted earnestness— for her ladyship was 
undoubtedly a very splendid performer— to- 
tally unconscious of the burning eye that was 
fixcKi upon her. 

After gazinff at her for some moments, he 
geptly pressed the autograph to his lips; 
and solemnly vowed within himself, in the 
most deliberate manner possible, that if he 
could not marry Catharine Aubrey, he would 
never marry any body; he would, more- 
over, quit England for ever; and deposit a 
broken heart in a foreign* grave— and so 
forth. Thus calmly resolved— or rather to 
such a resolution did his Uioughts tend- 
that sedate person, the Honourable Geoff- 
ry Level Delamere. He was a higbf 
spirited, frank-hearted fellow ; and, like a 



64 



TEN THOUSAND A YlSAlL 



good-natured fool, whom bitter knowledge 
of the world has not cooled down into con- 
tempt for a yery considerable portion of it, 
trusted and loved almost eyery one whom 
he saw. At that moment there was only 
.one person in the whole world that he ha- 
ted, yiz.: the miserable indiyidual — if any 
such there were— who might haye happen- 
ed to forestall him in the ^Sections of Miss 
Aubrey. The bare idea made his breath 
come and eo quickly, and his cheek flush. 
Why, he felt that he had a sort of right to 
Miss Aubrey's heart; for had they not 
been bom, and had they not liyed almost 
all theix liy^es, within a few miles of each 
other t Had they not often played toge- 
ther ?-— were not their family estates almost 
contiguous 1 — Delamere adyanced into the 
room, assuming as unconcerned an air as he 
could ; but he felt not a little tried when 
Miss Aubrey, on seeing him, gaily and 
frankl^f extended her hand to him, suppo- 
sing mm to haye oi^ the moment before 
entered the house. Foor Delamere*s hand 
slightly auiyered as he felt it clasping the 
soft lilied fingers of her whom he had thus 
resolyed to make his wife : what Would he 
not haye giyen to haye carried them to his 
lips ! Now, if I were to say that in the 
course of that eyening. Miss Aubrey did not 
form a kind of a sort of a faint notion of the 
possible state of matters with young Dela- 
mere, I should not be treating the reader 
with that 'eminent degree of candour for 
which I thidc he, or she, is at present dis- 

Sosed to ffiye me credit. But Kate was 
eeply skuled in human nature and settled 
the matter by one yery just reflection, yiz.: 
that she was one year and seyen months 
older than Delamere; and, therefore, that it 
was not likely that, &c., &c., &c. Besides, 
the son and heir of Lord De la Zouch— 
pooh ! — pooh ! — ^*tis a mere boy at collee;e— 
how ridiculous! — So she gaye herself no 
trouble about the afi^ ; exhibited no symp- 
toms of caution or coyness, but laughed and 
sung, and talked, and played, just as if he 
had not been present. 

He was a handsome yonng fellow, too. 
During the evening, Mr. Delamere took 
an opportunity of asking Miss Aubrey who 
wrote the yerses which he pointed to, as 
they lay on the piano. The handwriting, 
she said, was hers, but the yerses were 
composed by her brother. He asked for 
the copy, with a slight trepidation. She 
readily gaye it to him — ^he receiying it witii 
(as he supposed) a mighty unconcerned air. 
He read it oyer that night, before getting 
into bed, at least six times; and it was the 
yeiT first thing he looked at on geftinff out 
of bed ill the morning. Now Mi$s Am>rey 



certainly wrote an elegant hand— but as for 
character^ of course it bad none. He could 
scarce haye distinffuished it from the hand- 
writing of any of nis sisters, or cousins or 
friends :-*How should he 1 All women 
are taught the same hard, angular unifonn 
hand— -but good, bad, or indifferent, this 
was Katt Jiubrey^s handwriting — and her 
pretty hand had rested on the paper while 
writing — ^that was enough. He resolyed to 
turn the yerses into eyery kind of Greek and 
Latin metre he knew of. 

In short, that here was a ^* course of true 
loye'* opened^ seems pretty eyident; but 
whether !t Will, <*run smooth" is another 
matter. 

Their guests haying at length departed, 
Mr. Aubrey, his wife, and sister, sate be- 
fore the fire gossipping oyer the eyents of 
the day for some twenty minutes, and then 
they rose to retire. He went, yery sleepy, 
straight to his dressing-room ; they to the 
nursery, to see how the children were going 
on, as far as they could learn from their 
drowsy attendants. Little Aubrey Would 
haye reminded you of one of the exquisite 
children's heads sketched by Reynolds or 
Lawrence, as he lay breathing impercepti- 
bly, with his rich flowin? hair spread upon 
the pillow, in which his face was partly hid, 
and his arms stretched out. Mrs. Aubrey 
put her finger into one of his hands, which 
was half open, and which closed as it were 
instinctiyely upon it with a. gentle pressure. 
" Look, Kate," sofUy whispered Mrs. Au- 
brey. Miss Aubrey leaned fonyard and 
kissed his little cheek with an ardour that 
almost awoke him. After a glance at a 
tiny head partly yisible aboye the clothes, 
in an adjoining bed, and looking likp a rose- 
bud half hid amongst the leayes, they with- 
drew. 

'*The little loyes! — ^how one's heart 
thrills with looking at them !" said Miss Au- 
brey, as they descended. ** Kate !" whis- 
pered Mrs. Aubrey with an arch smile, as 
they stood at their respectiye chamber doors 
which adjoined. **Mr. Delamere is im- 
proyed — is not hel — ^Ah, I understand." 

'* Agnes, how can you" — hastily answered 
Miss Aubrey, with cheeks suddenly crim- 
soned. '* I neyer heard such nonsense." 

" Right, right, loye, tliink oyer it !" said 
Mrs. Aubrey, and the next moment the 
blooming wife had entered her bed-room. 
Miss Aubrey slipped into her dressing-room, 
where Hamet, ner maid, was sitting asleep 
before the fire. Her b^utiful mistress did 
not, for a few minutes, awake her ; but pla- 
cing her candlestick on the toiletrtaole, 
stood in a musing attitude. 

"It's so perfectly ridieuhwj^^ at length 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



06 



she said aloud, and ap started her maid. 
Within a qaarter of an hour Miss Auhrey 
was in bed, bat by no means asleep. 

The next momingr, about eleyen o'clock, 
Mr. Aubrey was seated in the library, in 
momentary expectation of his letters, and a 
few moments before the postman's rat-tat 
was heard, Mrs. and Miss Aubrey made their 
appearance, as was their wont, in expecta- 
tion of any thing that mi?ht have upon the 
cover, in addition to the address— 

*' Chablbs Aubrey, Esq., M. P.," &c &c. 

the words, letters, or figures, *<Mrs« Au- 
brey," or "Miss Aubrey," in the comer. 
In addition to this, it was not an unpleasant 
thing to skim oyer the contents of Am let- 
ters, as one by one he opened them, and 
laid them aside; for both these women were 
daughters of Eye, and inherited a littU of 
her curiosity. Mr. Aubrey was always 
somewhat nervous and fidgety on such oc- 
casions, and wished them gone ; but they only 
laughed at him, so he was fain to put up with 
them. On this morning there were more 
than Mr. Aubrey's usual number of letters ; 
and in casting her eye over them, Mrs. Au- 
brey suddenly took up one that challenged 
attention; it bore a black seal, had a deep 
black bordering, and had the frank of Lord 
Alkmond, at whose house in Shropshire 
tiiey had for months been engaged to spend 
the ensuing Christmas, and were intending 
to set off on their visit the very next day. 
The ominous missive was soon torn open; 
it was from Lord Alkmond himself, who in 
a few hurried lines announced the sudden 
death of his brother ; so that there was an 
end of their visit at the Priory. 

" Well !" exclaimed Mr. Aubrey, calmly, 
rising after a pause, and standing with his 
back to the fire, in a musing posture. 

** Has he left any family, Charles ?" in- 
quired Mrs. Aubrey with a sigh, her eye 
still fixed on the letter. 

'* I — ^I really don't know-~poor fellow ! 
We lose a vote for Shellington— 'We shall, 
to a certainty," he added, with an air of 
chagrin visibly stealing over his features. 

"How politics harden the heart, Charles ! 
Just at this moment to be—" 

" It is too bad, Agnes ; I am — but you 
see-— stay, I don't know either, for there's 
the Grassingham interest come into the field 
since the lasW-" 

" Charles, I do really almost think," ex- 
claimed Mrs. Aubrey, with sudden emotion, 
stepping to his side, and throwing her arms 
round him affectionately, " that u /were to 
die, I should be forgotten in a fortnight, if 
the House were sitting." 

" My love, how can you say such things V 
inquired Aubrey, kissing her forehead. 



" When Affnes was bom, yoo know"— 
she murmured inarticulately. Her husband 
folded her tenderly in his arms in silence 
On the occasion she alluded to, he had near- 
ly lo€tt her ; and they both had reason to ex- 
pect that another similar season of peril was 
not very distant. 

•* Now, Charles," said Miss Aubrey, pre- 
sently assuming a cheerful tone ; " now for 
dear old Yatton!" 

"Yes, Yatton !— Positively you must!" 
added Mrs. Aubrey, smiling through her 
tears. 

"What!— Go to Yatton? Why, we 
must set off to-morrow— they've had no 
warning." 

"What warning does mamma require, 
Charles 1 Isn't the dear old place always 
in apple-pie order !" 

"How you love the *dear old place,' 
Kate !" exclaimed Mr. Aubrey, in such an 
affectionate tone as brought his sister in an 
instant to his side, to urge on her suit; and 
there stood the Lord of Yatton embraced by 
these two beautiful women, his own heart 
seconding every word they uttered. 

" How my mother would stare !" said he, 
at length, irresolutely. 

" What a bustie every thin? will be in!" 
exclaimed Kate. "I fancy I'm there al- 
ready : The great blazing fires— the holly 
and mistietoe. We must all go, Charles-^ 
children and all." 

" Why, really, I hardly know—" 

"Oh! I've settled it all— and what's 
more, we've no time to lose ; this is Tues- 
day — Christmas-day is Saturday— we must 
of course stop a ni^ht on the way. Had'nt 
we better have GnfiSths in to arrange alii" 
— ^Aubrey rang the bell. 

" Request Mr. Griffiths to come to me," 
said he. 

Within a few minutes that respectable 
functionary hiad made his appearance and 
received his instructions. The march to 
Shropshire was countermanded— 4ind hey ! 
for Yatton, for which they were to start the 
next day about noon. Mr. "Griffiths' first 
step was to pack off Sam, Mr. Aubrey's 
groom, by the Tally-ho, the first coach to 
York, starting at two o'clock, that very day, 
with letters announcing the immediate arri- 
val of the family. These orders were re* 
ceived by Sam, (who had been bom and 
bred at Yatton,) while he was bestowing, 
with vehement sibillation, his customary 
civilities on a favourite mare of his master's. 
Down dropped his currycomb ; he jumped 
into the air; snapped his fingers; tiien he 
threw his arms round Jeimy and tickled her 
under the chin. " Dang it," said he, as he 
threw her another feed of oats, " I wish thee 
was going wi' me— dang'd if I don't!"—* 



96 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



Hien he hastily made himself a &t/ tidy; 
presented himself yeiy re spectfully before 
Mr. Griffiths, to leceiye the wherewithal to 
pay his fare; and haring obtained it, off he 
scampered to the Bull and Month, as if it 
had oeen a neck-and-neck race between 
him and all London, which should get 
down to Yorkshire first. A little after one 
oVlock, his packet of letters was deliyered 
to him ; and within another hour Sam was 
to be seen (quite comfortable with a draught 
of spiced sde.giTen him by the cook, to make 
his dinner sit well) on the top of the Tally- 
ho, rattling alon? the great North road. 

*^Come, Kate,^' said Mrs. Aubrey, enter- 
ing Miss Aubrey^s room, where she was 
S'ying directions to her maid, ^'IVe ordered 
e carriage to be at the door as soon as it 
can be eot ready ; we must go off to Coutts* 
— see !'' She held two thin slips of paper, 
one of which she gave Miss Aubrey — ^'twas 
a check for one hundred pounds— her 
brother's usual Christmas-box — ** and then 
weVe a quantity of little matters to buy this 
afternoon. Come, loTe, quick !'* 

''Now, Kate had spent nearly all her 
money, which circumstance, connected with 
another which I shall shorUy mention, had 

given the poor girl not a little concern. At 
er earnest request, her brother had, about a 
year before, built her a nice little school, 
capable of containing some eighteen or 
twenty girls, on a slip of land near the vi- 
carage, and old Mrs. Aubrey and her daugh- 
ter found a resident schoolmistress, and, in 
fact, supported the little establishment, 
which, at the time I am speaking of, con- 
tained some seventeen or eighteen of the 
villagers' younger children. Miss Aubrey 
took a prodigious interest ih this little 
school, scarce a day passing without her 
visiting it when she was at Yatton.; and 
what Kate wanted, was the luxury of giving 
a Christmas present to both mistress and 
scholars. That, however, she would have 
had some difficulty in affecting but for her 
brother's timely present, which had quite 
set her heart at ease. On their return, the 
carriage was crowded with the things they 
had been purchasing — articles of clothing 
for the feebler old villagers; work-boxes, 
samplere, books, Testaments, prayer-books, 
&c., &., &c., for the school ; the sight of 
which, I can assure the reader, made Kate 
far happier than if they had been the cost- 
liest articles of dress and jewelry. 

The next day was a verjr pleasant one 
for tiavelling — '' frosty, but kindly." About 
one o'clock there might have been seen 
standing before the door the roomy yellow 
family carriage, with four post horses, all 
in travelling trim. In the rumble sat Mr. 
Aubrey's valet and Mrs. Aubrey's maid — 



Miss Aubrey's, and one of the nuTseiy-maids, 

going down by the coach which had carried 
am— the Tally-ho. The coach-box was 
piled np with that sort of luggage which by 
Its lightness and bulk, denotes lady-travel- 
ling : inside were Mrs. and Miss Aubrey, 
mi^ed in furs, shawls, and pelisses: a 
nursery maid, with little Master and Miss 
Aubrey, equally well protected from the 
cold ; and the vacant seat awaited Mr. Au- 
brey, who at length made his appearance, 
having been engafed in specific instruc- 
tions concerning the forwarding of his let- 
ters and papers. As soon as he had taken 
his place, and all had been snugly disposed 
within, the steps were doubled up, the door 
closed, the wmdows drawn up— crack! 
crack ! went the whips of the two postil- 
lions, and away rolled the carriage over the 
dry hard pavement. 

" Now, that's what I calls doing it tm- 
e&mmon comfortable," said a pot-boy to one 
of the footmen at an adjoining house, where 
he was delivering the porter for the ser- 
vants' dinner; ''how t0«rrv nice and snug 
them two looks in the rumble behind." 

" We goes to-morrow," carelessly replied 
the gentleman he was addressing. 

"It's a fine thing to be gentlefolk," said 
the boy, taking up his pot-board. 

" Ya-as," drawled the footman, twitching 
up his shirt-collar. 

On drawingr np to the postinj^'house, 
which was withinaooutforty miles ofYatton, 
the Aubreys found a carriage and four just 
ready to start, after changing horses ; and 
whose should this prove to be, but Lord De 
la Zouch's, containing himself, his lady, 
and his son, Mr. Delamere. His lordship 
and his son both alighted on accidentally 
discovering who had overtaken them ; and 
coming up to Mr. Aubrey's carriage win- 
dows, exchan^[ed surprised and cordial 
greetings with its occupants, — ^whom Lord 
De la Zouch imagined to have been by this 
time on their way to Shropshire. Mr. Uel^ 
mere manifested a surprising eagerness 
about the welfare of little Ajnies Aubrey, 
who happened to be lying mst asleep m 
Miss Aubrey's lap : but the evening was 
fast advancmg, and both the travelling par- 
ties had yet before them a considerable por- 
tion of their journey. After a hasty promise 
on the part of each to dine with the other 
before returning to town for the season— a 
promise which Mr, Delamere at all events 
resolved should not be lost sight of— they 
parted. 'Twas eight o'clock before Mr. 
Aubrey's eye, which had been for some 
time on the look out, caught sight of Yat- 
ton woods; and when it did, his heart 
yearned towards them. The moon shone 
brighdy and cheerily, and it was pleaswit 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



97 



to listen to the quickening clattering tramp 
of the horses upon the dry hard highway, 
as the travellers rapidly neared a spot en- 
deared to them by every tender association. 
When within half a mile of the Tillage, they 
overtook the worthy vicar, who had mounts 
ed his nag, and been out on the road to meet 
the expected comers, for an hour before. — 
Aubrey roused Mrs. Aubrey firom her nap, 
to point out Dr. Tatham, who by that time 
was cantering alongf beside the open win- 
dow. 'Twas refreshing to see the cheerful 
old man— who looked as ruddy and hearty 
as ever. 

«* All well r* he exclaimed, riding close 
to the window. 

** Yes, — ^but how is my mother t*' inquired 
Aubrey. 

^^High spirits — hiflh spirits: was with 
her this afternoon. Have not seen her bet- 
ter for years. So surprised. Ah! here's 
an old friend — Hector!^* 
*' Bow-wow-wow-wow ! Bow-wow !'' 
** Papa ! papa !'* exclaimed the voice of 
little Aubrey, struggling to ^t on his fa- 
ther's lap to look out of the window, "That 
is Hector ! I know it is ! He is come to see 
rme! I want to look at him !*^ 

Mr. Aubrey lifted him up as he desired, 
and a huge black-and-white Newfoundland 
dog almost leaped up to the window at sight 
of him clapping his little hands, as if^in 
eager recog^mtion, and then scampered and 
bounded about in all directions, barking 
most boisterously, to the infinite delight of 
little Aubrey. This messenger had been 
sent on by Sam, the groom, who had been 
on the look-out for the travellers for some 
time ; and the moment he caught sight of 
the carriage, pelted down the village, through 
the park at top speed, up to the Hall, there 
to communicate the good news. The tra- 
vellers thought that the village had never 
looked so pretty and pictnresane before.— 
The sound of the carnage dashing through 
it, called all the cotta^rs to their doors, 
where they stood bowing and conrtesying. 
It soon reached the park gates, which were 
thrown wide open In readiness for its en- 
trance. As they passed the church, they 
heard its little bells rin^ng a merry peal to 
welcome their arrival ; its faint chimes went 
to their very hearts. 

" My darling A^es, here we are again in 
the oldplace,'' said Mr. Aubrey in a joyous 
tone, affectionately kissing Mrs. Aubrey and 
his sister, as, after having wound their way 
up the park at almost a gallop, they heard 
themselves rattling over the stone pavement 
immediately under the old turreted gateway. 
In approaching it, they saw lights glancing 
about in the Hall windows : and before they 
had drawn up, the great door was thrown 



open, and several servants (one or two of 
them gray-headed) made their appearance, 
eager to release uie travellers from Uieir 
long confinement. A ^at wood-fire was 
crackling and hlazing m the fire-place op- 
posite the door, casting a ri^t pleasant and 
cheerful light over the vanous antique ob- 
jects ranged around the walls; but the 
object on Which Mr. Aubrey's eye instantly 
settled, was the venerable figure of his mo- 
ther, standing beside the fire-place with one 
or two female attendants. The moment 
that the carriage-door was opened, he stepped 
quietly out, (nearly tumbling, by the way, 
over Hector, who appeared to think that 
the carriage-door was opened only to enable 
him to jump into it, which he prepared to 
do.) 

'^6od bless you, madam !" faltered Au- 
brey, his eyes fUling with tears, as he re* 
ceived his mother's £rvent but silent greet- 
ing, and imagined that the arms tolded 
round him were somewhat feebler than 
when he had last felt them embracing him. 
With slVnilar aflTection was the good old 
lady received by her daughter and oaughter- 
in-law. 

"Where is my pony, grandmamma V* 
quoth little Aubrey, running up to her. He 
had been kept quiet for the last eighty miles 
or so, by the mention of the aforesaia pony. 
*^ Where is it 1 I want to see my little pony 
directly ! Mamma says you have got a little 
pony for me with a long tail : I mutt see it 
Defore I go to bed ; I must, indeed-^is it in 
the stable f " 

"You shall see it in the morning, my 
darling — ^the very first thing," said Mrs. 
Aubrey, fervently kissing her beautiful little 
grandson, while tears of joy and pride ran 
down her cheek. She then pressed her lips 
on the delicate but flushed cheek of little 
Agnes, who was fast asleep ; and as soon 
as they had been conducted towards their 
nursery, Mrs. Aubrey, followed by her chil- 
dren, led the way to the dining-room-— the 
dear delightful old dining-room, in which 
all of them had passed so many happy 
hours of their lives. It was large and lot^ ; 
and two antique branch silver candlesticks, 
standing on sconces upon each side of a 
strange old straggling carved mantle-piece 
of inlaid oak, aid^ by the blaze given out 
by two immense logs of wood burning b^ 
neath, thorooghly illuminated it. The 
walls were oaK-panelled, containing many 
pictures, several of them of great value ; and 
the floor also was of polished oak, over the 
centre of which, however, was spread a 
thick, richly-coloured Turkey ca^t. Op- 
posite the door was a large mullioned bay- 
window, then, however, concealed behind 
an ample flowing crimson curtain. On the 

13 



98 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



farther side of the fireplace stood a high- 
backed and roomy arm-chair, almost cover- 
ed with Kate*8 embroidery, and in which 
Mrs. Aubrey had evidently, as usual, been 
sitting till the moment of their arrival — for 
on a small ebony table beside it lay her 
spectacles and an open volume. Nearly 
fronting the fire place was a recess, in which 
stood an exquisitely carved black ebony 
cabinet, inlaid with white and red ivory. 
This Miss Aubrey claimed as her own, and 
had appropriated it to her own purposes 
ever since she was seven years old. ^' You, 
dear old thing!'* said she, throwing open 
the folding-doors. *' Every thing just as I 
left it ! Really, dear mamma, I could skip 
about the room for joy ! I wish Charles 
would never leave Yatton again!" 

^*It is rather lonely, my love, when none 
of you are with me," said Mrs. Aubrey. 
*• I feel getting older — " 

'* Dearest mamma," interrupted Miss 
Aubrey, quickly, ** /won't leave you again! 
I'm quite tired of town — I am indeed !" 

Though fires were lit in their several 
dressing-rooms, of which they were more 
than once reminded bjr their respective at- 
tendants, they all remained seated before 
the fire in carriage costume, (except that 
Kate had thrown aside her bonnet, her half- 
imcurled tresses han^ng in negligent pro- 
fusion over her thickly-furred pelisse,) 
eag^erly conversing about the incidents of 
their journey, and the events which had 
transpired at Yatton since they had quitted 
it. At length, however, they retired to per- 
form the refreshing duties of the dressmg- 
room, before sitting down to supper. Of 
that comfortable meal, within twenty mi- 
nutes' time or so, they partook with hearty 
relish. What mortal, however delicate, 
could resist the fare set before them — the 
plump capon, the delicious grilled ham, the 
poached eggs, the floury potatoes, home- 
baked bresui, white and brown— custards, 
mince-pies — home-brewed ale, as soft as 
milk, as clear as amber — ^mulled claret — and 
80 forth 1 The travellers had evidently 
never relished any thing more, to the infinite 
delight of old Mrs. Aubrey ; who observing, 
soon afWrwards, irrepressible symptoms of 
fatigue and drowsiness, ordered them all 
ofiT to bed — Kate sleeping in the same cham- 
ber in which she sate when the reader was 
permitted to catch a moonlight glimpse of 
tier, as already more than once referred to. 

.They did not make their appearance the 
next morning till after nine o'clock ; Mrs. 
Aubrey having read prayers before the as- 
sembled servants, as usual, nearly an hour 
before— a duty her son always performed 
when at the Hall — but on this occasion he 
had overslept himself. He found his mo- 



ther in the breakfast-room, where she was 
soon joined by her daughter and daughter- 
in-law, all of them being in hi^h healm and 
spirits. Just as they were fimshing break- 
fast, little Aubrey buret into the room in a 
perfect ecstasy—for old Jones had taken 
him round to the stables, and shown him 
the little pony which had been bought for 
him only a row months before. He had 
heard it neigh — had seen its long tail — ^had 
patted its neck — ^had seen it eat— and now 
his vehement prayer was, that his papa, and 
mamma, and Kate, would immediately go 
and see it, and take his little sister also. 
Breakfast over, they separated. Old Mrs. 
Aubrey went to her own room, to be at- 
tended by her housekeeper ; the other two 
ladies retired to their rooms — Kate princi- 
pally engage-d in arranging her presents for 
ner little scholara : and Mr. Aubrey repaired 
to his library — as delightful an old snuggery 
as the most studious recluse could desire- 
where he was presently attended by his bai- 
liff. He found that every thing was going 
on as he could have wished. With one or 
two exceptions, his rents were paid most 
punctually; the farms and hands kept in 
capita] condition. To be sure an incorri- 
gible old poacher had been giving his peo- 
ple a little trouble, as usual, and was com- 
mitted for trial at the Spring Assizes ; a few 
trivial trespasses had been committed in 
search of firewood, and other small matters ; 
which after having been detailed with great 
minuteness, by his zealous and vigilant bai- 
liff, were despatched by Mr. Aubrey with a 
"pooh, pooh!" — then there was Gregory, 
who held the smallest farm on the estate at 
its southern extremity— he was three quar- 
tere' rent in arrear — but he had a sick wife 
and seven children — so he was at once for- 
given all that was due, and also what would 
become due on the ensuing quarter-day, — 
"in fact," said Mr. Aubrey, "donU ask him 
for any more rent. I'm sure the poor fellow 
will pay when he's able." 

Some rents were to be raised ; others low- 
ered ; and some half dozen of the poorer 
cottages were to be forthwith put into good 
repair, at Mr. Aubrey's expense. The two 
oxen had been sent, on the preceding after- 
noon, from the home farm to the butcher's, 
to be distributed among the poorer villagers, 
according to ordere brought down from 
town, by Sam, the day before. Thus was 
Mr. Aubrey engaged for an hour or two, till 
luncheon time, when good Dr. Tatham 
made his welcome appearance, having been 
engaged most of the morning in touching 
up an old Christmas sermon. 

He had been vicar of Yatton for nearly 
thirty yeara, having been presented to it by 
the late Mr. Aubrey, with whOm he had 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



99 



bren intimate at college. He was a de- 
lightful specimen of a country parson. 
Cheerful, unaffected, and good-natured, 
there was a dash of quaintness, or rough- 
ness about his manners, that reminded you 
of the crust in very fine old porL He had been 
a widower, and childless for fifteen years. 
His parish had been ever since his family, 
whom he still watched over with an affec- 
tionate vigilance. He was respected and 
beloved by all. Almost every man, woman 
and child that had died in Yatton, during 
nearly thirty years, had departed with the 
sound of his land and solemn voice in their 
ears. He claimed a sort of personal ac- 
quaintance with almost all the gravestones 
in his little church-yard ; and when he looked 
at them he felt that he had done his duty by 
the dust that slept underneath. He was 
at the bedside of a sick person almost as 
soon, and as often, as the aoctor— no matter 
what sort of weather, or at what hour of the 
day or night. Methinks I see him now, 
bustling about the village, with healthy 
ruddy cheeks, a clear, cheerful eye, hair 
white as snow ; with a small stout figure, 
clothed in a suit of rusty black, (knee- 
breeches and gaiters all the year round,) 
and with a small shovel hat No one lives 
in the vicarage with him but an elderly wo- 
man, his housekeeper, and her husband, 
whose chief business is to look after the 
Httle grarden; in which I have often seen 
him and his master with his coat off, dig- 
ging for hours together. He rises at five in 
' the winter, and four in the summer, being 
occupied till breakfast with his studies ; for 
he was an excellent scholar, and has not 
forgotten, in the zealous discharge of his 
sacred duties, the pursuits of literature and 
philosophy, in which he gained no incon- 
siderable distinction in his youth. He de- 
rives a very moderate income from his 
Hvincr ; but it is even more than sufiScient 
for his necessities. Ever since Mr. Au- 
brey's devotion to politics has carried him 
away from Yatton for a considerable portion 
of each year. Dr. Tatham has been the right 
hand counsellor of old Mrs. Aubrey, in all 
her pious and charitable plans and purposes. 
Everv new year's day, there comes from 
the Hall to the vicarage, six dozen of fine 
old port wine— a present from Mrs. Aubrey ; 
but the little doctor, (though he never tells 
Jier so,) scarce drinks six bottles of them in 
a year. Two dozen of them go, within a 
few days' time, to a poor brother parson in 
an adjoining parish, who, with his wife and 
three children— all in feeble health— can 
li?!rdly keep soul and body together, and 
who, but for this generous brother, would 
not probably taste a glass of wine through- 
out the year, except on certain occ^ions 



when the very humblest may moisten their 
poor lips with win^— I mean the Sacrament 
— the sublime and solemn festival given by 
One who doth forget the poor and destitute, 
however in their misery they may some- 
times think to the contraiy. The remainder 
of his little present Dr. Tatham distributes 
in small quantities among such of his pa- 
rishioners as may require it, and may not 
happen to have come under the immediate 
notice of Mrs. Aubrey. Dr. Tatham has 
known Mr. Aubrey ever since he was five 
years old. 'Twas the doctor that first 
taught him Greek and Latin, and, up to his 
going to college, gave him the frequent ad- 
vantage of his learned experience. But 
surely I have^one into a very long digres- 
sion. 

While Miss Aubrey, accompanied by her 
sister-in-law and followed by a servant car- 
rying a great bag, filled with articles brought 
from London the day before, went to the 
school which I have before mentioned, in 
order to distribute her prizes and presents, 
Mr. Aubrey and Dr. Tatham set off on a 
walk through the village. 

'^ I must do sometlunff for that old stee- 
ple of yours, doctor," said Aubrey, as arm 
m arm they approached the church; ^*it 
looks crumbling away in many parts.", 

'^ If you'd only send a couple of masons 
to repair the porch, and make it weather- 
tight, it would satisfy me for some years to 
come," said the doctor. 

»* Well— we'll look at it," replied Au- 
brey ; and turning aside, they entered the 
little churchyard. 

** How I love this old yew tree !" he ex- 
claimed, as they passed under it ; '* it casts 
a kind of tender gloom around that always 
makes me pensive, not to say melancholy." 
A sigh escaped him, as his eye glanced 
at the family vault, which was almost in 
the centre of the shade, where lay his father, 
three brothers and a sister, and where, in the 
course of nature, a few short years would 
see the precious remains of his mother de- 
posited. But the doctor, who had hastened 
forward alone for a moment, finding the 
church door open, called out to Mr. Aubrey, 
who stood within the porch. It certainly* 
required a little repairing, which Mr. Au- 
brey said should be looked to immediately. 
** See— we're all preparing for to-morrow," 
said Dr. Tatham, leading the way into the 
little church, where the grizzle-headed clerk 
was busy decorating the pulpit, reading- 
desk, and altar-piece, with the cheerful em- 
blems of the season. 

" I never see these," said the doctor, 
taking up one of the sprigs of mistletoe 
lying on a form beside them, " but I think 
of your own Christmas verses, Mr. Aubrey, 



100 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



when joa were younger and fresher than 
you now are— don't you recollect them V 

** Oh, pooh !'' 

** But 1 rememher them ;" and he began— 

** *HaU ! tnTery. oiodMt mistletoe, 
Wreath'd round winter's brow of enow, 

Clinfing wo clwately, tenderly ! 
Hail, holly ! darkly, richi v green, 
Whose crimson berries blash between 

Thy prickly foliaffe, modesUy ! 
Te winter-flowers bloom, sweet and fair. 
Though Nature's garden else be bare~ 
Ye vernal glistening emblems, meet 
To twine a Ghrietmas coronet.' " 

** Tliat will do, doctor— what a memory 
you have for trifles !" 

** P^^jrgy • P®ggy !— you're sadly oyerdo- 
ing it/' said the cfoctor, calling out to th^ 
sexton's wife, who was busy at work in 
the squire's pew— a large square pew in the 
naye, near the pulpit. «« Why, you don't 
want to hide the souire's family from the 
congregation ? You're quite putting a holly 
hedge all round." 

*^ Please you, sir, I've got so much I 
don't know where to put it— so, in course, I 
put it here." 

**' Then," said the doctor, with a smile, 
looking round the church, ^ let John get up 
and uut some of it in those old hatchments; 
and," looking up at the clerk, busy at work 
in the pulpit, ** don't put quite so much up 
there in my candlesticks.'' 

With this the parson and the squire took 
their departure. As they passed slowly up 
the Tillage, which already wore a sort of 
holiday aspect, they met on all hands with 
a cordial and respectful greeting. The quiet 
little public house turned out some four or 
fire stout fellows— all tenants of his— with 
their pipes in their hands, and who took off 
their hats, and bowed very low. Mr. Au- 
brev went up and entered into conversation 
with them for some minutes— ^their families 
and £irms, he found, were well and thriving. 
There was ''quite a little crowd of women 
about the shop of Nick Steele the butcher, 
who with an extra hand to help him, was 
giving out the second ox which had been 
sent from the hall, to the persons whose 
names had been given in to him from Mrs. 
Aubrey. Farther on, some were cleaning 
their little windows, others sweeping their 
floors, and sprinkling sand over them; 
most were sticking holly and mistletoe in 
their windows, and over Uieir mantel-pieces. 
EveiT where, in short, was to be seen that 
air of quiet preparation for the cheerful mor- 
row, which fills a thoughtful observer with 
feelings of pensive but exquisite satisfac- 
tion. 

Mr. Aubrey returned home towards dusk, 
cheered and enlivened by his walk. His 
sudden plunge into the simplicity and com- 



parative solitude of country life— «nd that 
country Yatton— had quite refreshed liis 
feelings, and given a tone to his spirits. Of 
course, Dr. Tatham was to dine at the Hall 
to-morrow ; if he did not indeed, it would 
have been for the first time during the last 
five-and-twenty years. 

Christmas eve nassed pleasantly and 

auietly enough at me HailL Af\er dinner 
le merry little ones were introduced, and 
their .prattle and romps occupied an hour 
ri^t joyously. As soon as, smothered 
with kisses, they had been dismissed to 
bed, old Mrs. Aubrey composed herself ia 
her great chair to her usual after dinner's 
nap ; while her son, his wife, and sister, 
sitting fronting the fire— a decanter or two, 
and a few wine glasses and dessert remain- 
ing on the table behind them— sat con- 
versing in a subdued tone, now listening to 
the wind roarinff in the chimney-Hi sound 
which not a littte enhanced their sense of 
comfort— 4hen criticising the disposition of 
the evergreens with which the room was 
plenteously decorated, and laying out their 
movements during the ensuing fortni^t. 
Mrs. Aubrey and Kate were, with affection- 
ate earnestness, contrasting to Aubrey the 
peaceful pleasures of a country life with the 
restless excitement and endless anxieties of 
a London political life, to which they saw 
him more and more addicting hmiseu ; he 
all the while playfully partying their at- 
tacks, but secretly acknowledging the truth 
and force of what they said, wbenn— haric !— 
a novel sound from without, which roased 
the old lady from her nap. What do you 
think, dear reader, it was ? The voices of 
little girls singing what seemed to be a 
Christmas hymn: yes, they caught the 
words — 

** Hark ! the herald angels sing, 
Glory to the new-born king ; 
Peace on earth and mercy mild — *' 

" It must be your little school-girls," said 
old Mrs. Aubrey, looking at her daugh* 
terand listening. 

** I do believe it is," quoth Kate, her eyes 
suddenly filling with tears as she sat eagei^ 
ly inclining her ears towards the window* 

** They must be standing on the grassplot 
just before the window," said Mr. Aubrey: 
the tiny voices were thrilling his very heart 
within him. His sensitive nature might be 
compared to a delicate ^olian harp, which 
gave forth, with the slightest breath of acci- 
dent or circumstance-— 

**The still, sad musie of humanity/' 
In a few moments he was almost in tears— > 
the sounds were so unlike the fierce and tur- 
bulent cries of political warfare to which his 
ears had been lately accustomed! The 
more the poor children sung, the more was 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



101 



he afiected. Kate's tears fell fast, for she 
had been in an excited mood before this lit^ 
tie incident occurred. " Do you hear, mam- 
ma," said she, the voice oi the poor little 
thing that was last taken into the school t 
The little darling!" Kate tried to smile 
away her emotion ; but 'twas in vain. Mr. 
Aubrey gently drew aside the curtain, and 
pulled up the central blind — and there, 
neaded by their matron, stood the little 
singers exposed to view, some eighteen in 
number, ranged in a row on the grass, their 
white dresses glistening in the moonlight. 
The eldest seemed not more than ten or 
twelve years old, while the younger ones 
oould not be more than five or six. They 
seemed all singin? from their very hearts. 
Aubrey stood looidng at them with very 
deep interest. 

As soon as they had finished their hymn, 
they were conducted into the housekeeper's 
room, according to orders sent for that pur- 
pose from Mrs. Aubrey, and each of them 
received a little present of money, besides a 
fill! glass of Mrs. Jackson's choicest raisin 
wine and a currant bun; Kate slipping 
half-a-guinea into the hand of their mistress, 
to whose wish to afibrd gratification to the 
inmates of the Hall, was entirely owing the 
little incident which had so pleased and 
surprised them. 

^ A happy Christmas to you, dear papa 
and mamma !" said little Aubrey, about eight 
o^clock the next morning, pushing aside the 
curtains, and clambering up on the hi^h 
bed where Mr. and Mrs. Auhrey were still 
asleep— soon, however, they were awoke by 
the welcome sound. The momin? promised 
a beautiful day. The air, though cold, was 
clear ; and the branches of the trees visible 
from their windows, were all covered with 
hoar-frost, which seemed to deck them as if 
with silver frin^. The little bells of Yatton 
church were nnging a meny peal; but, 
how different in tone and strength from 
the clangour of the London church-bells! 
Christmas was indeed at last arrived — and 
cheerful were the greeting of those who 
soon after met at the beautiful breakfast-ta- 
ble. Old Mrs. Aubrey was going to church 
with them — ^in fact, not even a domestic was 
to be left at home that could possibly be 
spared . By the time that the carriage, with 
the fat and lazy-looking cray horses, was 
at the hall door, the sun had burst out in 
beauty from an almost cloudless sky. The 
three ladies rode alone ; Aubrey prerening to 
walk, accompanied by his little son, as the 
ground was dry and hard, and the distance 
very short. A troop of some twelve or 
fourteen servants, male and female, pre- 
sently followed; and then came Mr. Au- 
brey, leading along the heir of Yatton— a 

I 9 



boy of whom he might well be proud, as 
the future possessor of his name, his for- 
tune, and his honours. When he had 
reached the church, the carriage was re- 
turning home. Almost the whole congre- 
gation stood collected before the church 
door, to see the squire's family enter; and 
reverent were the courtesies and bows witli 
which old Mrs. Aubrey and her lovely com- 
panions were received. Very soon after 
they had taken their places, Mr. Aubrey 
andf his son made their appearance ; objects 
they were of the deepest interest, as they 
passed along to their pew. A few minutes 
after, little Dr. Tatham entered the church 
in his surplice, (which he almost always 
put on at home,) with a face, serious to be 
sure, but yet overspread with an expression 
even more bland and benignant than usual. 
He knew there was not a soul among the 
little crowd around him that did not really 
love him, and that did not know how hearti- 
ly he returned their love. All eyes were of 
course on the squire's pew. Mrs. Aubrey 
was looking well — ^her daughter and daugh- 
ter-in-law were thought by all to be by far 
the most beautiful women in the world — 
what roust people think of them in London 1 
Mr. Aubrey looked, they thought, pleased 
and happy, but rather paler, and even a lit- 
tle thinner ; and as for the little squire, with 
his bright eyes, his rosy cheeks, his arch 
smile, his curling auburn hair — ^he was Ui© 
pride of Yatton. 

Dr. Tatham read prayers, as he always 
did, with great distinctness and delibera- 
tion, so that every body in the church, young 
and old, could catch every syllable ; and he 
preached, considerately enough, a very short 
sermon — ^pithy, homely, and aflfectionate. 
He reminded them that he was then preach- 
ing his thirty-first Christmas-day sermon 
from that pulpit. The service over, none 
of the congregation moved from their places 
till the occupants of the squire's pew had 
quitted it : but as soon as they had got out- 
side of the door, the good people poured out 
after them, and almost lined the way from 
the church door, to the gate at which the car- 
riage stood, receiving and answering a hun- 
dred kind inquiries concerning themselves, 
their families, and their circumstances. 

Mr. Aubrey stayed behind, desirous of 
taking another little ramble with Dr. Tatham 
through the villa ^, for the day was indeed 
bright and beautiful, and the occasion in- 
spiriting. There was not a villager witliin 
four or five miles of the Hall who did not sit 
down that day to a comfortable little relish 
ing dinner, at least one-third of them being 
indebted for it directly to the bounty of the 
Aubreys. As soon as Dr. Tatham had ta- 
ken off his gown, he accompanied Mr. 



les 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



Aubrey in cheerfal mood, in the briskest 
spirits. * Twas delightful to see the smoke 
come curlins out of every chimney, scarce 
any one yisible, suggesting to you that they 
were all housed, and preparing' for, or par- 
taking of, their roast-beef and plum-pud- 
ding. Now and then the bustling wife 
would show her heated red face at the door, 
and hastily courtesy as they passed, then 
returning to dish up her little dinner. 

**Ah, ha! Mr. Aubrey! — isn't such a 
day as this worth a whole year in town V 
exclaimed Dr. Tatham. 

'f Both have their peculiar influences, Doc- 
tor ; the pleasure of the contrast would be 
lost if—'* 

*' C ontrast 1 Believe me, in the language 
of Virril— " 

** Ah ! how goes on old blind Bess, Doc- 
tor ?" interrupted Aubrey, as they approach- 
ed the smallest cottage in the village— -in 
fact, the very last. 

*' She's just the same that she has been 
these last twenty years. Shall we look in 
on the old creature 1" 

^* With all my heart. I hope, poor sonl, 
that she has not been overlooked on this 
festive occasion." 

" Trust Mrs. Aubrey for that ! I'll an- 
swer for it, we shall find old Bess as hap- 
py, in her way, as she can be." 

This was a stone-blind old woman who 
had been bed-ridden for the last twenty 
years. She had certainly passed her hun- 
dredth year— some said two or three years 
before— and had lived in her present little 
cottage for nearly half a century, having 
grown out of the recollection of almost an 
the inhabitants of the village. She had 
long been a pensioner of Mrs. Aubrey's, by 
whom, alone, indeed, she was supported. 
Her great age, her singular appearance, and 
a certain rambling way of talKine that she 
had, earned her the reputation in uie village 
of being able to say strange things ; and 
one or two of the old gossips knew of 
things coming to pass according to wha^— 
poor old soul— she had predicted ! 

Dr. Tatham gently pushed open the door. 
The cottage consisted, in fact, of but one 
room, and that a very small one, and lit by 
only one little window. The floor was 
clean, and evidently just fresh sanded. On 
a wooden stool, opposite a fireplace, on 
which a small saucepan pot was placed, sat 
a girl about twelve years old, (a daughter 
of the woman who lived nearest,) crumb- 
ling some bread into a basin, with some 
broth in it. On a narrow bed against the 
wall, opposite the window, was to be seen 
the somewhat remarkable figure of the soli- 
tary old tenant of the cottage. She was 
sitting up, resting against the pillow, which 



was placed on end agaiiwt the wall. She 
was evidently a very tall woman ; and her 
long, brown, wrinkled, shrivelled face, with 
])rominent cheek bones and bushy white 
eyebrows, betokened the possession, in 
earlier days, of a most masculine expression 
of features. Her hair, white as snow, was 
gathered back from her forehead, under a 
spreading plain white cap ; and her sightless 
eyes, wide open, stared forward with a start- 
ling and somewhat sinister expression. She 
was wrapped round in a clean white bed- 
gown ; ana her long thin arms lay straight 
before her on the outside of the bed-«lothes. 
Her lips were moving, as if she were talk- 
ing to herself. 

" She's a strange-looking' object, indeed !'* 
exclaimed Mr. Aubrey, as he and Dr. Tat- 
ham stood watching her for a few moments 
in silence. 

'' Dame ! dame !" said the doctor, loud* 
ly, approaching her bedside, *^ how are yon 
to-day ? It's Christmas-day — ^I wish you a 
merry Christmas." 

" Ay, ay — merry, merry ! More the mer- 
rier! I've seen a hundred and nine of 
them!" 

** You seem very happy, dame.'* 

"They won't give me my brodi— my 
broth." 

"It's coming, granny,*' called out the 
shrill voice of the girl sitting before the fire, 
quickening her motions. 

"Here's the squire come to see you, 
dame, and he wishes you a happy Christ^ 
mas," said Dr. Tatham. 

"What! the squire! Alive yet? Ah, 
well-a-day! well-a-day!" said she, in a 
feeble, mournful tone, slowly rubbing to- 
gether her Ion?, skinny, wrinkled hands, 
on the backs of which the veins stood out 
like knotted whip-cord. She repeated the 
last words several times, in a truly doleful 
tone, gently shaking her head. 

"Granny's been very sad, sir, to-day, 
and cried two or three times," said the litUe 
girl, stirring about the hot broth. 

" Poor squire ! doth he not look sad 1" 
inquired the old woman. 

"Why should I, dame t What have I 
to fearl" said Mr. Aubrey. 

" Merry in the Hall ! an, merry ! merry! 
But no one has heard it but old blind Bess. 
Where's the squire 1" she added, suddenly 
turning her face full towards where they 
were standing — and it seemed whitened 
with emotion. Her staring eyes were set- 
tled on Mr. Aubrey's face, as if she were 
reading his very soul. 

" Here I am, dame,'* said he, with a 
great deal of curiosity, to say the least 
of it. 

" Give me your hand, squire," said she, 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



toa 



•tretching out her left ann, and working 
about her ta] on-like fingers aa if in eager- 
ness to grasp Mr. Aubrey's hand, which he 
gave her. 

** Never feai ! never, never ! Happy in 
the Hall! I see all! How long ^^ 

** Why, dame, this is truly a very plea- 
sant greeting of yours," interposed Dr. Tat- 
ham with a smile. 

'* Short and bitter ! long and sweet ! Put 
your trust in God, squire." 

** I hope I do, granny," replied Mr. Au- 
brey, senously. 

"I see! I hear!— my broth! my broth! — 
where is it 1" 

^ Here it is, granny," said the girl. 

»< Good day, dame," said Mr. Aubrey, 
gently disengaffing his hand from hers; 
and before theyhaa left the cottage, she be- 
gan to swallow very greedily the hroth with 
which the little girl fed her. 

" Ttus is the sort of way in which this 
old superannuated creature has frightened 
one or two of—" 

**l8 it, indeed?" inquired Mr. Aubrey 
with a sort of mechanical smile. Dr. Tat- 
ham saw that he was in a very serious hu- 
mour. 

*^ She's alarmed yon, I protest! — ^I pro- 
test she has !" exclaimed the doctor, with a 
smile, as they walked along. Now he 
knew the disposition and character of Au- 
brey intimately ; and was well aware of a 
certain tendency he had to superstition. 

^ My dear doctor, I assure you that you 
are mistakeo—I am indeed not alarmed-^ 
but at the same time I will tell you some- 
thing not a little singular. Would you be- 
lieve that a month or two ago, when in 
town, I dreamed that I heard some one ut- 
tering the very wards this old woman has 
just been uttering ?" 

** Ah ! ha, ha !" laughed the doctor ; and 
after a second or two's pause, Adbrey, as 
if ashamed of what he had said, echoed the 
lau^, and their conversation passed on to 
political topics, which kept them engaged 
for the remainder of their walk, Mr. Aubrey 
quitting hb companion at the door of the 
vicarage, to be rejoined by him at five 
o'clock, the dinner honr at the Hall. As 
Mr. Aubrey walked along the park, the 
shades of evening casting a aeepemng ^loom 
around him, his thoughts intoluntanly re- 
curred to the cottage of old blind Bess, and 
he felt vague apprehensions flitting with 
darkening shade across his mind. Tnough 
he was hardly weak enough to attach any 
definite meaning or importance to the gib^- 
berish he had heard, it still had left an un- 
pleasant impreanon, and he was vexed at 
feeling a wish that the incident — ^trifling as 
he was willing to believe it— should not be 



mentioned by Dr. Tatfaam at the Hall ; and 
still more, on recollecting that he had j9ur- 
p09ely abstained from requesting the good 
doctor not to do so. All this implied that 
the matter had occupied his thoughts to a 

S -eater extent than he secretly relished, 
n reaching, however, the hall door, this 
brief pressure on his feelings quickly ceased; 
for on entering he saw Mrs. Aubrey, his sis- 
ter, and his two children at hi^h romps 
together in the hall, and he heartily joined 
in them. 

By five o'clock, the little party were 
seated at the cheerful dinner-table, covered 
with the glittering old family plate, and 
that kind of fare at once substantial and lux- 
urious, which befitted the occasion. Old 
Mrs. Aubrey, in her simple white turban 
and black velvet dress, presided with a 
kind of dignified cheerfhlness, which was 
delightful to see. Kate had contrived to 
make herself look more lovely even than 
usual, wearing a dress of dark blue satin 
tastefully trimmed with blonde, and which 
exquisitely comported with her lovely com- 
plexion. Oh that Delamere had been sit- 
ting opposite to, or beside her! The more 
matureo proportions of her blooming sister- 
in-law, appeared to infinite advantage in a 
rich green velvet dress, while a superb dia- 
mono glistened with subdued lustre in her 
beautiml bosom. She wore no ornaments 
in her dark hair, which was, as indeed might 
be said of Kate, ** when unadorned, adorn- 
ed the most" The grayheaded old butler, 
as brisk, as his choicest champagne, with 
which he perpetually bustled round the ta- 
ble, and the tnree steady-looking old fiunilv 
servants, going about their business with 
quiet celerity— the delicious air of antique 
elegance around them«— this was a Christ- 
mas dinner after one's own heart ! Oh the 
merry and dear old Yatton ! And as if 
there were not loveliness enough already in 
the room, behold the door suddenly pushed 
open as soon as the dinner is over, and mn 
up to his gay and laughing mother, her lit- 
tle son, his ample snowy collar resting 
gracefully on his crimson velvet dress. 
'^Tis her hope and pride— her first-bom— the 
little squire; but where is his sister 1— 
where is Agnes 1 'TIS even as Charles 
says— «he feQ asleep in the very act of be- 
ing dressed, and they were dbUged to put 
her to bed ; so Charles is alone in his glory. 
You may well fold your delicate white arms 
around him, mamma. 

His little gold cup is nearly filled to join 
in the first toast : are yon all ready t The 
worthy doctor has poured Mrs. Aubrey's 
glass, and Kate's glass, full up to the bum. 
" Our next Christmas /" 

Yes, your next Christmas! The vigi- 



104 



TEN THOUSAND A VEAR. 



Idnt eye of Dr. Tatham alone perceived a 
faint change of colour in Mr. Aubrey's 
cheek as the words were uttered ; and his 
eye wandered for an instant, as if tracing 
across the room the image of old blind Bess ; 
but it was gone in a moment-— Aubrey was 
soon in much higher spirits than usual. 
Well he might be. How could man be 
placed in happier circumststnces than he 
was? As soon as the ladies had with- 
drawn, together with the little Aubrey, the 
doctor and Mr. Aubrey drew their chairs 
before the fire, and enjoyed a long hour's 
pleasant chat on matters domestic and po- 
litical. As to the latter, the parson and the 
squire were stout tories ; and a speech which 
Aubrey had lately delivered in the House, 
on the Catholic claims, raised him to a pitch 
of eminence in the parson's estimation, when 
he had very few men in the country to keep 
him company. The doctor here got on very 
fast indeed ; and was just assuring the squire 
that he saw dark days in store for old Eng- 
land, from the machinations of the papists; 
and that, for his part, he should rejoice to 
*^seal his testimony with his blood," and 
would go to the stake not only without 
flinching, but rejoicing — (all which 1 verily 
believe he verily believed he would have 
done,) — and coveting the crown of martyr- 
dom, when Aubre^ caught the sounds of 
his sister playing on Ihe organ, a noble in- 
strument, which a year or two before, at her 
urgent request, he had purchased and placed 
in the drawing-room, whither he and the 
doctor at once repaired. 'Twas a spacious 
and lofty room, well calculated for the 
splendid instrument which occupied the 
large recess fronting the door. Miss Aubrey 
was playing Handel, and with an exquisite 
perception of his matchless power and beau- 
ty. Hark ! did you ever hear the grand yet 
simple recitative she is now commencing 1 

'* In the days of Herod, he king, behold, 
there came wise men from the East to Jerxuar 
km, 

'* Saying-^Whert is he thai is horn king 
of ihe Jews ? for we have seen his star in ihe 
East, and are come to worship himS' 



»» 



The doctor officiated as chaplain that 
evening. The room was almost filled with 
servants, many of whose looks very plainly 
showed the merry doings that had been go- 
ing on in the servants' hall ; some of them 
could scarce keep their eyes open ; one or 
two sat winking at each other, and so forth. 
Under the circumstances, therefore, the doc- 
tor, with much judgment, read very short 
prayers, and immediately after took his de- 
parture. 

The next morning, which proved as fine 



as the preceding, Mr. Aubrey was detained 
in with his lettera, and one or two other 
little matters of business in his library, till 
luncheon time. *' What say you, Kate, to 
a ride round the estate V said he, on taking 
his seat. Miss Aubrey was delighted ; and 
forthwith the horses were ordered to be got 
ready as soon as possible. 

'* You must not mind a little rough riding, 
Kate, for we've got to go over some ugly 
places. I'm going to meet Waters at the 
end of the avenue, about that old sycamore 
— we must have it down at last." 

** Oh no, Charles, no; I thought we had 
settled that last year." 

*' Pho ! if it had not been for you, Kate, 
it would have been down two years ago at 
least. Its hour is come at last; 'tis indeed, 
so no pouting ! It is injuring the other trees ; 
and, besides, it spoils the prospect from the 
back of the house." 

'* Tis only Watere that puts all these 
things into your head, Charles, and I shall 
let him know my opinion on the subject 
when I see him ! Mamma, haven't you a 
word to say for the old " 

But Mr. Aubrey, not deeming it discreet 
to await the new force which was being 
brought against him, started off to go round 
and see a newly-purchased horse, just 
brought to the stables. 

Kate, who really became every thing, 
looked charming in her blue riding-habit, 
sitting on her horae with infinite ease and 
grac&— a capital horeewoman. 'llie exer- 
cise soon brought a rich bloom upon her 
cheek ; and as she cantered along the road 
by the side of her brother, no one that met 
them but must have been struck with her 
beauty. Just as they had dropped into an 
easy walk — 

" Charles," said she, observing two 
horsemen approaching them, **who can 
these be ? Did you— ^id you ever see such 
figures 1 And how they ride !" 

"Why, certainly," replied her brother, 
smiling, " they look like a couple of cock- 
neys." 

" Good ^cious, what puppies !" ex- 
claimed Miss Aubrey, lowering her voice 
as they neared the persons she spoke of. 

" They are a most extraordinary couple. 
Who can they bel" said Mr. Aubrey, a 
smile forcing itself into his features. One 
of them was dressed in a light-blue surtout, 
with the top of a white pocket-handkerchief 
seen peeping out of a pocket in the front of 
it. His hat, with scarce any brim to it, 
was stuck aslant on the top of'^a bushy head 
of hair. His shirt-collars were turned down 
completely over his stock, displaying a great 
quantity of dirt-coloured hair under ma diin; 
while a pair of moustaches, of the same co- 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



105 



loar, were sproutinff upon his lip. A quiz- 
zing-glass was held to his right eye, and in 
his hand he carried a whip with a shining 
silver head. The other was neariy as much 
distinguished by the elegance of his ap- 
pearance. He had a glossy hat, a purple- 
coloured velvet waistcoat, two pins con- 
nected by little chains in his stock, a bottle- 
green surtout, sky-blue trousers. In short, 
who should these be but our old friends Tit- 
mouse and Snap ? Whoever they might be, 
it was plain that they were perfect novices on 
horseback, and their horses had every ap- 
pearance of having been much fretted and 
worried by their riders. To the surprise of 
Mr. Aubrey and his sister, these two per- 
sonages attempted to rein in, as they neared, 
with the evident intention of speaking to 
them. 

"Pray — a— «ir, will jrou, sir, tell us," 
commenced Titmouse, with a desperate at^ 
tempt to appear at his ease, as he tried to 
make his horse stand still for a moment— 
"isn't there a place called— called" — ^here 
his horse* whose sides were constantly 
being gallpd by the spurs of its unconscious 
rider, began to back a little, then to go on 
one side, and, in Titmouse's fright, his 

flass dropped from his eye, and he seized 
old of the pummel. Nevertheless, to show 
the lady how completely he was at his 
case all the while, he levelled a great many 
oaths and curses at the eyes and soul of his 
wayward brute ; who, however, not in the 
least moved by them, but infinitely disliking 
the spurs of its rider and the twisting round 
of its mouth by the reins,' seemed mora and 
more inclined for mischief, and backed close 
up to the edae of the ditch. 

" Vm afraid, sir, you are not much accus- 
tomed to riding. Will you permit m e " 
" Oh, yes — ^ye— ye— s, sir, I am uncom- 
mon — ^whee-o-uy ! wh-uoy !" — (then a fresh 
volley of oaths)—** Oh, dear— what— what 
is he going to do t Snap ! Snap !" 'Twas, 
however, quite in vain to call on that gen^ 
tinman for assistance ; for he had grown as 
pale as death, on finding that his own brute 
seemed strongly disposed to follow the 
example of Uie other, being particularly 
inclined to rear up on its hind legs. The 
very first motion of the sort brought Snap's 
heart (not large enough, perhaps, to choke 
him^ into his mouth. Titmouse's beast 
suddenly inclined the contrary way; and 
throwing its hind feet into the air, sent its 
terrified rider flying, heels over head, into 
the very middle of the hedge, from which 
he dropped into the wet ditch. Both Mr. 
Aubrey and his groom dismounted, and 
secur^ the horse, who, having got rid of 
his ridiculous rider, stood quietly enough. 
Titmouse proved to be more frightened than 



hurt. His hat was crushed fiat to his head, 
and half the left side of his face covered 
with mud— as, indeed, were his clothes all 
the way down. The groom (almost splitting 
with laughter) helped him on again; and 
Mr. and Miss Aubrey were setting off— "I 
think, sir," said he politely, "you were ii^ 
quiring for some place ?" 

" Yes, sir," quoth Snap. " Isn't there a 
place called Ya— Yatr-Yat — (be quiet, you 
brute,) — Yatton, about here 1'* 

" Yes, sir— «traight on." Miss Aubrey 
hastily threw her veil over her face, to con- 
ceal her laughter, spurred her horse, and 
she and her brother were soon out of sight 
of the strangers. 

" I say, Snap," quoth Titmouse, when 
they had ^ot a little composed, " see that 
lovely gal T" 

" Fine girl— devilish fine !" replied Snap. 

" I'm blessed if I don't think— -'pon my 
life, I believe we've met before." 

" Didn't seem to know you." 

" Ah ! I don't know — how uncommon in- 
fernal unfortunate to happen just at the mo- 
ment when — " Titmouse became silent; 
for all of a sudden he recollected when and 
where, and under what circumstances, he 
had seen Miss Aubrey before, and which 
his vanity would not allow of his telling 
Snap. She had once accompanied her si»* 
ter-in-law to Messrs. I>owlas, Tagrag, and 
Company's, for some small matter. Tit- 
mouse had helped her, and his absurdity of 
manner provoked a smile, which Titmouse 
a little misconstrued ; so that when, a Sun* 
day or two afterwards, he met her in the 
Park, the little fool had the presumption to 
nod to her— she having not the slightest no- 
tion who he was— and of course not, on the 
present occasion, having the least recolleo- 
tion of him. The reader will remember that 
this little incident made a deep impression 
on the mind of Mr. Titmouse. The coinr 
cidence was really not a little singiilar. 

. To return to Mr. Aubrey and his sister* 
After riding a mile or two further up the 
road, tiiey leaped over a very low mound or 
fence, which tormed Uie extreme boundary 
of that part of the estate, and having passed 
through a couple of fields, they entered the 
lower extremity of that fine avenue of elms, 
at the higher end of which stood Kate's fa^ 
vourite tree, and also Waters and his under 
bailiff— who looked at her like a couple of 
executioners, only awaiting the fiat of her 
brother. The sun shone brightly upon the 
doomed sycamore— "the axe was laid at its 
root." Ai^they rode up the avenue, Kate 
begged very hard for mercy ; but for once 
her l>rother seemed obdurate— the tree, he 
said, muBt come down. 

" Remember, Charles," said she pasaioii* 

14 



lOB 



TKN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



ately, as they drew ap, " how weVe all of 
ua romped and sported under it ! Poor pa- 
pa also—" 

** See, Kate, how rotten it is," said her 
brother; and riding close to it, with his 
whip he snapped ofitwo or three of its feeble 
silvery-gray branches—-'' it's high time for 
it to come down." 

'' It fills the grass all round with little 
branches, sir, whenever there's the least 
breath of wind," said Waters. 

" It won't hardly hold a crow's weight dn 
the topmost branches, sir," said the under 
bailiff. 

I' Had it any leaves last summer?" in- 
quired Mr. Aubrey. 

»* I don't think," said Waters, *« it had a 
hundred all over it." 

'* Really, Kate, 'tis such a melancholy, 
unsightly object, when seen from any part 
of the quadrangle," — ^turning round on his 
horse to look at the rear of the Hall, which 
was at about eighty yards distance. ''It 
looks such an old withered thing amongst 
the fresh green trees around it— -His quite a 
painful contrast." Kate had gently urged 
on her horse while her brother was speak- 
ing, till she was close beside him. 
" Charles," said she, in a low whisper, 
" does it not remind you a little of poor old 
mamma, with her gray hairs, among her 
children and grand-children 1 She is not 
out of place amongst us— is she?" her 
eyes filled with tears. So did her brother's. 

" Dearest Kate," said he, with emotion, 
affectionately grasping her little hand, "you 
have triumph^ ! The old tree shall never 
be cut down in my time ! Waters, let the 
tree stand ; if any thing be done to it, let 
the greatest care be taken of it." Miss 
Aubrey turned her head aside lo conceal her 
emotion. Had they been alone, she would 
have flung her arms round her brother's 
neck. 

'* If I were to speak my mind," said Wa- 
ters, seeing the turn things were taking, " I 
should say with our young lady, the old 
tree's quite a kind of ornament in this here 
situation, and it sets off the rest." It was 
he who had been worrying Mr. Aubrey for 
these last three years to have it cut down. 

" Well," replied Mr. Aubrey, " however 
that may be, let me hear no more of cutting it 
down. Ah! what does old Jolter want 
here 1" said he, observing an old tenant of 
that name, almost bent double with nge, 
hobbling towards them. He was wrapped 
up in a thick blue coat, and his hair wsis 
long and white. 

" I don't know, sir — ^I'U go and see," said 
Waters. 

" What's thematter, Jolter 1" he inquired, 
stepping forward to meet him. 



"Nothing much, sir," replied the old 
man, taking off his hat and bowing very 
low towards Mr. and Miss Aubrey. 

" Put your hat on, my old friend," said 
Mr. Aubrey. 

" I only come to bring you this bit of paper, 
sir, if you please," said the old man, ad- 
dressing Waters. " You said, awhile ago, 
as how I was always to bring you papers 
that were left with me ; and Uiis" — taking 
one out of his pocket<--"was left with me 
only about an hour ago. It's seemingly a 
lawyer's paper, and was left by an uncom- 
mon gay young chap. He asked me my 
name, and then he looked at the paper, and 
read it all over, but I couldn't make any 
thing of it." 

"What is it?" inquired Mr. Aubrey, as 
Waters cast his eye over a sheet of paper, 
partly printed and partly written. 

" Why, it seems the old story, sir — ^that 
slip of waste land, sir. Mr. Tomkinsis at 
it again, sir." 

" Well, if he chooses to spend his money 
in that way, I can't help it. Let me look 
at the paper." He did so. "Yes, it seems 
the same kind of thing as before. Well,'* 
handing it back, " send it to Mr. Parkinson, 
and tell him to look to it; and at all events, 
take care that old Jolter comes to no trouble 
by the business. How's the old wife, Ja- 
cob ?" 

" She's dreadful bad with rheumatis, sir; 
but the stuff that madam sends her does 
a wound y deal of good, sir, in her inside." 

" Well, we must try if we can't send you 
some more; and, harkee, if the good i%ife 
doesn't get better soon, come up to the hall, 
and we'll have the doctor call on her. Now, 
Kate, let us away homeward." And they 
were soon out of sight. 

I do not intend to deal so unceremonious- 
ly or summarily as Mr. Aubrey did with 
the document which had been brought to 
his notice by Jolter, then handed over to 
Waters, and by him, according to orders, 
transmitted the next day to Mr. Parkinson, 
Mr. Aubrey's attorney. It was what is 
called a " Declaration in Ejectment ;" touch- 
ing which, in order to throw a ray or two of 
light upon a document which will make no 
small figure in this history, I have been to a 
very renowned sergeant-at-law, and have 
gained a little information on the point. 

If /ones claims the debt, or goods, cr da- 
mages from Smith, one would think that, if 
he went to law, the action would be, " Jones 
verms Smith ;" and so it is. But behold, if 
it be LAiTD which is claimed by Jones from 
Smith, the style and name of the cause 
stands thus : — " Doe, on the demise of 
Jones versus Roe." Instead, therefore of 
Jones and Smith fighting out the matter in 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



107 



their own proper names, they set up a cou- 
ple of puppets, ^called John Doe and Rich- 
ard Roe,) who fall upon one another in a 
very quaint fashion, afler the manner of 
Punch and Judy. John Doe pretends to he 
the real plaintin, and Richard Roe the real 
defendant. John Doe says that the land 
which Richard Roe has is his, (the said 
John Doe's,) because Smith (the real plain- 
tiff) gave him a lease of it; and Smith is 
then called **the lessor of the plaintiff.'* 
John Doe further says that one Richard 
Roe, (who calls himself by the very signifi- 
cant and expressive name of a "CSma/ 
Ejector, ^'*) came and turned him out, and so 
John Doe brings his action against Richard 
Roe. I am informed that whenever land is 
sought to be recovered in England, this 
anomalous and farcical proceeding must be 
adopted. It is, it seems, the duty of the 
real plaintiff (Jones*) to serve on the rea/ de- 
fendant (Smith) the oueer document which 
I shall proceed to lay Wore the reader ; and 
also to append to it an affectionate note, in- 
timating the serious consequences which 
will ensue upon inattention or contumacy. 
The *^ Declaration," then, which had been 
served upon old Jolter, was in the words, 
letters, and figures following — that is to 
say:— 



'' In the Common Pleas. 

** JWcAm/mm TVrm,— (h G«org« III. 

** Yorkshire, to wit.— Richard Roe was 
attached to answer John Doe of a plea 
wherefore the said Richard Roe, with force 
and arms, &c., entered in two messuages, 
two dwelling-houses, two cottages, two sta- 
bles, two out-houses, two yards, two gar- 
dens, two orchards, twenty acres of land 
covered with water, twenty acres of arable 
land, twenty acres of pasture land, and 
twenty acres of other lana, with the appur- 
tenances, situated in the parish of Yatton, 
in the County of Yorkshire, which Tittle- 
bat Titmouse, Esquire, had demised to the 
said John Doe for a term which is not yet 
expired, and ejected him from his said farm, 
and other wron^ to the said John Doe there 
did, to the great damage of the said John Doe, 
and against the peace of our Lord the King, 
^. ; and thereupon the said John Doe, by 
Oily Gammon, his attorney, complains— « 

'♦That whereas the said Tittlebat 
Titmouse, on this — th day of August, 
in the year of our Lord, 1813, at the 
parish aforesaid, in the county aforesaid, 
had demised the said tenements, with the 
appurtenances, to the said John Doe, to 
have and to hold the same to the said John 



Doe and his assigns from thenceforth, for 
and during, and unto the full end and term 
of twenty years from thence next ensuing, 
and fully to be completed and ended : By 
virtue of which said demise, the said John 
Doe entered into the said tenements, with 
the appurtenances, and became and was 
thereof possessed for the said term, so to 
him thereof granted as aforesaid. And the 
said John Doe being so thereof possessed, 
the said Richard Roe afterwards, to wit, on 
the day and year aforesaid, at the parish 
aforesaid, in the county aforesaid, with force 
and arms, &c., entered into the said tene- 
ments, with the appurtenances, which the 
said Tittlebat Titmouse had demised to 
the said John Doe in manner and for the 
term aforesaid, which is not vet expired, 
and ejected the said John Doe from his said 
farm; and other wrongs to the said John 
Doe then and there did, to the great damage 
of the said John Doe, and against the peace 
of our said Lord the now King. Where- 
fore the said John Doe saith that he is in- 
jured, and hath sustained damages to the 
value of jS50, and therefore he hrings his 
suit, &c. 
♦♦ Leatherhead, for the plaintiff. *> 
Tittiwitty, for the detendant 3 

"Pledges of Pro8ecutor.{g^"^- ^^ 

'* Mr. Jacob Jolter, 

/« I am informed that yon are in pos- 
session of, or claim title to, the premises 
mentioned in the declaration of ejectment 
mentioned, or to some part thereof: And I, 
being sued in this action as a casual ejector 
only, and having no claim or title to the 
same, do advise you to appear, next Hilary 
Term, in His Majesty's Court of Common 
Pleas at Westminster, by some attorney of 
that court ; and then and there, by a rule to 
be made of the same court, to cause your- 
self to be made defendant in my stead; 
otherwise, I shall suffer Judgment to be en- 
tered against me by de&ult, and you will 
be turn^ out of possession. 

" Your loving friend, 

** Richard Roe. 
«' Dated this 8th day of December, 1&— ." 



You ma^ regard the above document in 
the light of'^a deadly and destructive missile, 
thrown by an unperceived enemy into a 
peaceful citadel, attracting no particular 
notice from the innocent, unsuspecting in- 
habitants—amongst whom, nevertheless, it 
presently explodes, and all is terror, death, 
and ruin. 



CHAPTER VI. 



Mr. Parkinson, Mr. Aubrey's solicitor, 
who resided at GrUston, the poet-town neai^ 
est to Yatton, from which it was distant 
about six or seven miles, was sitting, on the 
evening of Tuesday, the 28th December 
18—, in his office, nearly finishing a letter 
to his London agents, Messrs. Runnington 
and Company— one of the most eminent 
firms in the profession— and which he was 
desirous of despatching by that night's mail. 
Amongst other papers which have come in- 
to my hands in connexion with this history, 
I have happened to light on the letter Mr. 
Parkinson was writing; and as it is not 
lon^, and affords a specimen of the way in 
which business is carried on between town 
and country attorneys and solicitors, here 
followeth a copy of it : 



'< Dear Sirs, 



** GrilatoB astli Doe. lS--% 



^* Re Middleton. 



^* Have you got the marriage-settlements 
between these parties ready t If so, please 
send them as soon as possible ; for both the 
lady's and gentleman's friends are (as usual 
in such cases) very pressing for them. 

*' Puddinghead v. QtUckwit, 

«' Plaintiff bought a horse of defendant in 
November last, * warranted sound,' and paid 
for it on the spot £64. A week aiterwards, 
his attention was accidentally drawn to the 
animal's head ; and to his infinite surprise, 
he discovered that the left eye was a glass 
eyCf so closely resemblin? the other in colour, 
that the difference could not be discovered 
except on a very close examination. I have 
seen it myself, and it is indeed wonderfully 
well done. My countrymen are certainly 
pretty sharp hands in such matters— but this 
Deats every Aing I ever heard of. Surely 
this is a breach of the warranty. Or is it 
to be considered a paieni defect, which 
would not be within warranty T— Please 
take pleader's opinion, and particularly as 
to whether die horse could he brought into 
court to be viewed by the court and Jury, 
which would have a great effect. If your 

S leader thinks the action will lie, let him 
raw declaration, vffiti«— Lancashire (for 
my client would have no chance with a 
Yorkshire jury.) Ou. — Is the man who 
sold tiie horse to defendant a competent 



witness for the plaintiff, to prove that when 
he sold it to defendant, it had but one eyet 

*' I cannot pet these parties to come to an 
amicable settlement Yon may remember, 
from the two former actions, that it is for 
damages on account of two geese of defend- 
ant having been found on a few yards of 
Chatmoss belonging to the plaintiff. D»> 
fendant now contends that he is entitled to 
common par eause de vicinage. Qu .— Can 
this be snown under a plea of leave and 
license? — ^About two years ago, also, a pig 
belonging to plaintiff got into defendant's 
flower ^oden, and did at least £3 worth of 
damage. — Can this be in any vray set off 
against the present action t There is no 
hope of avoiding a third trial, as the parties 
are now more exasperated against each 
other than before; and the expense (as at 
least fifteen witnesses will be called on each 
side) will amount to nowards of £250^ — 
You had better retain Mr. Backlegander. 

^ Re. Lordi Oldaere and De la Z&ueh. 

*'Are the deeds herein engrossed! As 
it is a matter of magnitade, and the founda- 
tion of extensive and permanent family 
arrangements, pray let the greatest care be 
taken to secure accuracy. Please take spe- 
cial care of the stampc 



n 



Thus far had the worthy writer proceeded 
with his letter, when Waters made his ap- 
pearance, delivering to him the declaration 
m ejectment which had been served upon 
old Jolter, and also the instructions coin 
coming it which had been given by Mr. 
Aubrey. After Mr. Parkinson had asked 
particularly concerning Mr. Aubrey's health, 
and what had brought him so suddenly to 
Yatton, he cast his eyes hastily over the 
<* Declaration" — and at once came to the 
same conclusion concerning it which had 
been arrived at by Waters and Mr. Aubrey, 
vii., that it was another little arrow out of 
the quiver of the litigious Mr. Tomkins. 
As soon as Waters had left, Mr. Parkinson 
thus proceeded to conclude his letter: 

«* Doe dem. T^tmouue v. Roe. 

*^ I enclose you Declaration herein, served 
yesterday. No doubt it is the disputed 

106 



TEN THOUSAND A TEAR. 



100 



•lip of waste land adjoining the cottage of 
ola Jacob Jolter, a tenant ot Mr. Aubrey of 
Yatton, that is souorht to be recovered. I 
am (f uite sick of this petty annoyance, as 
also IS Mr. Aubrey, who is now down here. 
Please call on Messrs. Quirk, Grammon, 
and Snap, of Saffiron Hill, and settle the 
matter finally, on the best terms you can ; 
it being Mr. Aubrey's wish that old Jolter 
(who is yery feeble and timid) should suffer 
no incoBvenience. I observe a new lessor 
of the plaintiff, with a very singular name. 
I suppose it is the name of some prior 
holder of the little property held by Mr. 
Tomkins. 

" Hoping soon to hear from you (particu- 
larly alK>ut the marriage settlement,) I am, 

** Dear sirs, 
**(With all the compliments of the season,) 
" Tours truly, 

*^ Jambs Parxiksov. 

** P. S.*-The oysters and codfish came to 
hand in excellent order, for which please 
accept my best thanks. 

«* I shall remit you in a day or two JSIOO 
on account.'' 

lliis letter, lying among some twenty or 
thirty similar ones on Mr. Runnington*s 
table, on the morning of its arrivail in town, 
was opened in its turn ; and then, in like 
manner, with most of the others, handed 
ever to the managing clerk, in order that he 
might inquire into and report upon the state 
of the Tarioua matters ot business referred 
to. As to the last item in Mr. Parkinson^s 
letter, there seemed no particular reason for 
hurrying ; so two or three days had elapsed 
before Mr. Runnington, baring some other 
little business to transact With Messrs. 
Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, bethought 
himself of looking at his diary to see if 
there was not something else that he had 
to do with them. Putting, therefore, the 
declaration in Doe d, Titmotue v. Roe into 
his pocket, it was not long before he was 
at the office in Saffron Hill— and in the 
Tery room in it which had been the scene 
of several memorable interviewa between 
Mr. Tittlebat Titmouse and Messrs. Quirk, 
Gammon, and Snap. I shall not detail what 
transpired on that occasion between Mr. 
Runnington and Messrs. Quirk and Gam- 
mon, with whom he was closeted for nearly 
an hour. On quitting the office his cheek 
was flushed, and his manner somewhat 
excited. A^er walking a little way in a 
moody manner, and with a slow step, he 
suddenly jumped into a hackney-coach, and 
within a quarter of an hour's time had se- 
cured an inside place in the Tallyho coach, 
which started for Tork at two o'clock that 

K 



aflemoon—much doubting within himself, 
the while, whether he ought not to have set 
off at once in a post-chaise and four, ^e 
then made one or two calls in the Temple ; 
and, hurrying home to the office, made 
has^ arrangements for his sudden journey 
into Torkshire. He was a calm and expe- 
rienced man^n fact, a first-rate man of 
business ; and you may be assured that this 
rapid and decisive movement of his had 
been the result of some very startling dis- 
closure made to him by Messrs. Quirk and 
Gammon. 

Now let us glide back to the delightful 
solitude which we reluctantly quitted so 
short a time ago. 

Mr. Aubrey was a studious and ambitious 
man; and in acceding to the wishes of his 
wife and sister, to spend the Christmas 
recess at Tatton, had been not a little in- 
fluenced by one consideration, which he had 
not thought it worth while to mention- 
namely, Siat it would aflford him an oppor- 
tunity of addressing himself with effect to a 
very important and complicated question, 
which was to be brought before the house 
shortly after its re-assembling, and of which 
he then knew scarcely any tlung at all. For 
this purpoj^e he had had a quantity of par- 
liamentary papers, &c., &c., &c., packed up 
and sent down by coach; and he quitn 

floated over the prospect of their being 
uly deposited upon his table, in the tranquu 
leisure of his library, at Tatton. But quietly 
as he supposed all this to have been ma- 
naged, Mrs. Aubrey and Kate had a most 
accurate knowledge of his movements ; and 
resolved within themselves, fbeing therein 
comforted and assisted by old Mrs. Aubrey,) 
that, as at their instances Mr. Aubrey had 
come down to Tatton, so they would take 
care that he should have not merely nomi- 
nal, but real holidays. Unless he thought 
fit to rise at an early hour in the morning, 
(which Mrs. Aubrey, junior, took upon her- 
self to say t^ would take care should never 
be the case,) it was decreed that he should 
not be allowed to waste more than two 
hours a day alone in his library. 'Twas 
therefore in vain for him to sit at breakfast 
with eye aslant and thought-laden brow, as 
if meditating a long day's seclusion : some- 
how or anouier, he never got above an hour 
to himself. He was often momentarily petu- 
lant on these occasions, and soon saw through 
the designs of his enemies ; but he so hearti- 
ly and tenderly loved them— so thoroughly 
appreciated the afiection which dictated 
their littie manoeuvres — ^that he' soon sur- 
rendered at discretion, and, in fact, placed 
himself almost entirely at tiieir mercy; re- 
solving to make up for lost time on his re-, 
turn to.town ; and eamesUy hoping, that the 



110 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



interests of the nation would not saflTer in ! 
thp mean while. In short, the ladies of | 
Yatton had aineed on their line of opera- 1 
ti^ns; that almost every night of their stay i 
in the country should be devoted either to! 
entertaininff their nei«rh hours or visitingn 
them ; and, as a preparatory movement, { 
tiiat the days (weather permitting) should 
he occupied with exercise in the open air; 
in making ^* morning'* calls on neighbours 
ill several miles* distance from the Hall, and 
from each other ; and from which they gene- 
ra) ly returned only in time to dress for din- 
ner. As soon, indeed, as tlie leading country 
paper had announced the arrival at Yatton 
of ^* Charles Aubrey, Esq., M. P., and his 
family, for the Christmas recess,*' the ef- 
forts of Mrs. and Miss Aubrey were most 
powerfully sel^onded by a constant succes- 
sion of visiters— by " troops of friend? ,"— 
as the lodge-keeper could have testified; 
for he and his buxom wife were continually 
opening and shutting the great gates. On 
tlie Monday after Christmas-day, (t. e. the 
day but one following,) came cantering 
up to the Hall Lord De la Zouch and Mr. 
Delamere, of course staying to luncheon, 
and bearing a most pressing invitation from 
Lady De la Zouch, zealously packed by 
themselves, for the Aubreys to join a large 
party at Fotheringham Castle on New 
Year's Eve. This was accepted — a day 
and a night were thus gone at a swoop. 
The same thing happened with the Old- 
fields, their nearest neighbours; with Sir 
Percival Pickering at Luthington Court, 
where was a superb new picture-gallery to 
be critically inspected by Mr. Aubrey ; the 
Earl of Oldacre, a college friend of Mr. Au- 
brey's—the venerable Ladv Stratton, the 
earliest friend and school-fellow of old Mrs. 
Aubrey, and so forth. Then Kate had seve- 
ral visits to pay on her own account : and, 
being fond of horseback, she did not like 
riding about the country with only a groom 
in attendance on her; so her brother mtia/ 
accompany her on these occasions. The 
first week of their stay in the country was 
devoted to visiting their neighbours and 
friends in the way I have stated ; the next 
was to be spent in receiving them at Yatton, 
during which time the old Hall was to ring 
with merry hospitality. 

Then there was a little world of other 
matters to occupy Mr. Aubrey's attention, 
and which naturally crowded upon him, 
living so little at Yatton as he had latterly. 
He often had a kind of levee of his humbler 
neighbours, tenants, and constituents ; and 
on these occasions his real goodness of na- 
ture, his simplicity, his patience, his for- 
bearance, his sweetness of temper, his be- 
nevolence, shone conspicuous. With all 



these more endearing qualities, there was 
yet a placid dignity about him that chilled 
undue familiarity, and repelled presumption. 
He had here no motive or occasion for osten- 
tation, or, as it is called, popularity-hunting. 
In a sense it might be said of him, that he 
was "' monarch of all he surveyed." It is 
true, he was member for the borough — an 
honour, however, for which he was indebted 
to the natural influence of his conunanding 
position— one which left him his own 
master, not converting him into a paltry 
delegate, handcuffed by pledges on public 
questions, and laden wita injunctions con- 
cerning petty local interests only — Pliable, 
moreover* to be called to an account at any 
moment by ignorant and insolent dema- 
gogues — but a member of parliament traia- 
mg to become a statesman, possessed <^ a 
free will, and therefore canable of indepen- 
dent and enlightened delioerations ; placed 
by his fortune above the reach of temptation 
—but I shall not go any further, for the por- 
traiture of a member oi parliament of those 
days suggests such a humiliating and bitter 
contrast, that I shall not ruffle either m^ 
own or my reader's temper by touching it 
any further. On the occasions I have been 
alluding to, Mr. Aubrey was not only con- 
descending and generous, but practically 
acute and discriminating; qualities of his, 
these latter, so well known, however, as to 
leave him at length scarce any opportunities 
of exercising them. His quiet but decisive 
interference put an end to a number of local 
unpleasantnesses and annoyances, and 
caused his increasing absence from Yatton 
to be very deeply regretted. Was a lad or 
a wench taking to idle and dissolute courses 1 
A kind, or, as the occasion required, a stem 
expostulation of his— for he was a justice 
of the peace moreover — brought them to 
their senses. He had a very happy knack 
of reasoning and laughing quarrelsome 
neighbours into reconciliation and good hu- 
mour. He had a very keen eye after the 
practical details of.agriculture ; was equally 
quick at detecting an inconvenience, and 
appreciating— sometimes even suggesting — 
a remedy ; and had, on several occasions, 
brought such knowledge to bear very effec- 
ti vel y upon discussions in parliament. His 
constituents, few in numoer undoubtedly* 
and humble, were quite satisfied with and 
proud of their member; and his unexpected 
appearance diffused amonff them real and 
general satisfaction. As a landlord, he was 
beloved by his numerous tenantry ; and well 
he might— for never was there so easy and 
liberal a landlord: he might at any time 
have increased his rental by £1500 or xSOOO 
a year, as his steward frequently intimated 



j to him-!— but in vain. *' fen thousand a 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



Ill 



year," said Mt. Aubrey, " is far more than 
my necessities require — ^it affords- me and 
tny family every luxury that I can conceive 
of; and its magnitude reminds me constantly 
that hereafter I shall be called upon to frive 
a very strict and solemn account of mf/ stew- 
ardship/' I would I had time to complete, 
as it on<^ht to be completed, this portraiture 
of a true Christian gentleman ! 

As he rode up to the Hare and Hounds 
Inn, at Grilston, one morning, to transact 
some little business, and also to look in on 
the Farmer's Club, which was then holding 
one of its fortnightly meetings, (all touching 
their hats and bowing to him on each side 
of the long street as he slowly passed up it,) 
he perceived one of his horse's feet limp a 
little. On dismounting, therefore, he stop- 
ped to see what was the matter, while his 
groom took up the foot to examine it. 

" Dey-villish fii\e horse," exclaimed the 
voice of one standing close beside him, and 
in atone of most disagreeable confidence. 
The exclamation was addressed to Mr. Au- 
brey ; who, on turning to the speaker be- 
held a young man — 'twas Titmouse— dress- 
ed in a style of the most extravagant absurdi- 
ty. One hand was stuck into the hinder pocket 
of a stylish top coat, Tthe everlasting tip of 
a white pocket handkerchief glistening at 
the month of his breast pocket;) the other 
held a cigar to his mouth, from which, as he 
addressed Mr. Aubrey with an air of provo- 
king impudence, he slowly expelled the 
smoke that he had inhaled. Mr. Aubrey 
bowed vnth a cold and surprised air, with- 
out replying, at the same time wondering 
where he had seen the ridiculous object be- 
fore. 

" The horses in these parts ar'n't to be 
compared with them at London— eh, sir !" 
quoth Titmouse, approaching closer to Mr. 
Aubrey and his groom, to see what the lat- 
ter was doing — ^who, on hearing Titmouse's 
last sally, gave him a very significant look. 

" I'm afraid the people here won't relish 
your remarks, sir !" replied Mr. Aubrey, 
h^irdly able to forbear a smile, at the same 
time calmly scanning the figure of his com- 
panion from head to foot. 

" Who cares 1" inquired Titmouse, with 
a very energetic oath. At this moment up 
came d farmer, who, observing Mr. Aubrey, 
made him a very low bow. Mr. Aubrey's at- 
tention being at the moment occupied with 
Titmouse, he did not observe the salutation; 
not so with Titmouse, who acknowledged 
it by taking off his hat with gpreat grace ! 
Mr. Aubrey followed into the house, having 
ordered his groom to bring back the horse 
in an hour's time. " Pray," said he mildly 
to the landlady, " who i?> that person smo- 
king tlie cigar outsider' 



!•» 



"Why, sir, he's a Mr. Brown,' and has 
another with him here— who's going up to 
London by this afternoon's coach — this one 
stays behind a day or two longer. They're 
queer people, sir. Such dandies ! Do no- 
thing but smoke, and drink brandy and wa- 
ter, sir; only that t'other writes a good 
deal." 

" Well, I wish you would remind him," 
said Mr. Aubrey, smiling, "that if he thinks 
fit to speak to me again, I am a magistrate, 
and have the power of fining him Sve shil- 
lings for every oath he utters." 

" What, sir ! has he been speaking to 
1/ou? Well, I never — ^he's the most for- 
ward little upstart I ever seed !" said she, 
dropping her voice; "and the sooner ho 
takes himself off" from here the better; for 
he's always winking at the maids and talk- 
ing impudence to them. I'se box his ears, 
I warrant him, one of these times !" Mr. 
Aubrey smiled, and went up stairs. 

" There don't seem much wrong," quoth 
Titmouse to the groom, with a condescend- 
ing air, as soon as Mr. Aubrey had entered 
the house. 

" Much you know about it, I don't guess !" 
quoth Sam, with a contemptuous smile. 

"Who's your master, fellow 1" — in- 

?inired Titmouse, knocking off* the ashes 
rom the tip of his ci^. 
" A gentleman. What's youra ?" 
" Curse your impudence, you vaga- 
bond — " The words were hardly out of 
his mouth before Sam, with a slight tap of 
his hand, had knocked Titmouse's glossy 
hat off* his head, and Titmouse's purple- 
hued hair stood exposed to view, provoking 
the jeers and laughter of one or two by- 
standers. Titmouse appeared about to strike 
the gnroom ; who, hastily giving the bridles 
of his horses into the hands of an ostler, 
threw himself into a boxing attitude ; and, 
being a clean, tight-built, stout young fel- 
low, looked a very formidable object, as he 
came squaring nearer and nearer to the dis- 
mayed Titmouse; and on behalf of the out- 
raged honour of all the horses of Yorkshire, 
was just going to let fly his one-two, when 
a sharp tapping at the bow-window over- 
head startled him for a moment, interrupt- 
ing his warlike demonstrations : and, on 
casting up his eyes, he beheld the threaten- 
ing figure of his master, who was shaking 
his whip at him. He dropped his guard, 
touched his hat very humbly, and resumed 
bis horse's bridles; muttering, however, to 
Titmouse, " If thou'rt a man, come down 
into t' yard, and I'll make thee think a 
horse kicked thee, a liar as thou art!" 

"Who's that gentleman gone upstairSt" 
inquired Titmouse of the landlady, after he 
[ had sneaked iiito the inn. 



tl3 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



" SqmPB Aubrey, of Yatton." Titmouse^s 
face, preyiously pale, flushed all over. "Ay, 
ay, thou must be chattering to the ^nd 
folks, and thou'st nearly put thy foot mto't 
at last, I can tell thee ; for that^s a magis- 
trate, and thou'st been a swearin? afore 
him.*' Titmouse smiled rather faintly; 
and entering the parlour, affected to be en- 
gaged with a coun^ newspaper; and he re- 
mained very quiet for upwards of an hour, 
not venturing out of the room till he had 
seen off Mr. Aubrey and his formidable 
Sam. 

It was the hunting season ; but Mr. Au- 
brey, thouffh he had as fine horses as were 
to be found in the country, and which were 
always at the service of his friends, part- 
ly from want of inclination, and partly 
from the delicacy of his constitution, never 
shared in the sports of the field. Now and 
then, however, he rode to cover, to see 
the hounds throw off, and exchange greet- 
ings with a great number of his friends and 
neighbours, on such occasions collected to- 
gether. This he did the morning after that 
on which he had visited Grilston, accompa- 
nied, at their entreaty, by Mrs. Aubrey and 
Kate. I am not painting angels, but de- 
scribing frail human nature; and truth forces 
me to say, that Kate knew pretty well 
that on such occasions she appeared to no 
little advantage. I protest I love her not 
the less for it— but is there a beautiful wo- 
man under the sun who is not aware of her 
charms, and of tHe effect they produce upon 
our sex 1 Pooh ! I never will believe to 
the contrary. In Kate's composition this 
ingredient was but an imperceptible alloy 
in virgin gold. Now, how was it that she 
came to think of this huntin? appointment 1 
I do not exactly know ; but I recollect that 
when Lord De la Zouch last called at Yat- 
ton, he happened to mention it at lunch, and 
to say that he and one Geoffrey Lovel Dela- 
mer o b ut however that may be, behold, 
on a bright Thursday morning, Aubrey and 
his two lovely companions made their wel- 
come appearance at the field, all superbly 
mounted, and most cordially greeted by all 
present. Miss Aubrey attracted universal 
admiration; but there was one handsome 
youngster, his well-formed figure showing 
to great advantage in his new scariet coat 
and spotless cords, that made a point of 
challenging her special notice, and in doing 
so, attracting that of all his envious fellow- 
sportsmen; and that was Delamere. He 
seemed, indeed, infinitely more taken up 
with the little party from Yatton than with 
the serious business of the day. His horse, 
however, had an eye to business ; and with 
erected ears, catching the first welcome sig- 
nal sooner than its gallant rider, sprung off 



like light, and would have left its abstract* 
ed rider behind, had he not been a first-rate 
seat. In fact, Kate herself was not quite 
suflkiently on her guard ; and her eager filly 
suddenly put in reoui^tion all her rider^s 
little strength and skill to rein her in — ^which 
having done, Kate's eye looked rather 
anxiously after her late companion, who, 
however, had already cleared the first 
hedge, and was fast makinff up to the scat- 
tering scarlet crowd. Oh, the bright exhila- 
rating scene ! 

'•Heigh ho!" said Kate, with a slight 
sigh, as soon as Delamere had disappear- 
ed—^* I was very nearly off." 

**So was somebody else, Kate!" said 
Mre. Aubrey, with a sly smile. 

** This is a very cool contrivance of yours, 
Katey— -bringing us here this morning," 
said her broSier, rather gravely. 

'* What do you mean, Charles 1" she in- 
quired, slightly reddening. He Pood-na- 
turedly tapped her shoulder with his whip, 
laughed, urged his horse into a canter, and 
they were all soon on their way to General 
Grim, a friend of the late Mr. Aubrey's. 

The party assembled on New Year's Eve 
at Fotheringham Castle, the residence of 
Lord De la Zouch, was numerous and bril- 
liant. The Aubreys arrived about five 
o'clock; and on their emerging from their 
chambers into the drawing-room, about half 
past six — Mr. Aubrey leading in his lovely 
wife and his very beautiful sister—- they at- 
tracted general attention. He himself look- 
ed handsome, for the brisk country air had 
brought out a glow upon bis too frequently 
sallow countenance— -sallow with the un- 
wholesome atmosphere, the late hours, the 
wasting excitement of the House of Com- 
mons; and his smile was cheerful, his eye 
bright and penetrating. There is nothing 
that makes such quick triumphant way in 
English society as the promise of speedy 
political distinction. It will supply to its 
nappy possessor the want of family and for- 
tune—it rapidly melts aways all distinc- 
tions ; the obscure but eloquent commoner 
finds himself suddenly standing in the rare- 
fied atmosphere of privilege and exclusive- 
ness— the familiar equal, oflen the conscious 
superior, of the haughtiest peer of the realm. 
A single successful speech in the House of 
Commons, opens before its utterer the shi- 
ning doore or fashion and grreatness, as if by 
magic. It is, as it were, power stepping 
into its palace, welcomed oy gay crowds 
of eager obsequious expectants. Who 
would not press forward to grasp in anxious 
welcome the hand that, in a few short years, 
may dispense the glittering baubles sighed 
after by the g^eat, and the more substantial 
I patronage of office, which may point publie 



tEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



113 



o)>inion in any direction ? But, to go no 
further, what if to all this be added a previ- 
ous position in society 1 such as that occu- 
pied by Mr. Aubrey ! There were several 
very fine women, married and single, in that 
splendid drawing-room ; but there were two 
girls, in very different styles of beauty, who 
were soon allowed by all present to carry 
off the palm between them — I mean Miss 
Aubrey and Lady Caroline Caversham, the 
only daughter of the Marchioness of Red- 
boroQgh, Doth of whom were on a visit at 
the castle of some d uration. Lady Caroline 
and Miss Aubrey were of about the same 
age, and dressed almost exactly alike, viz., 
in white satin ; only Lady Caroline wore a 
brilliant diamond necklace, whereas Kate 
had not a single ornament. 

Lady Caroline was a trifle the taller, and 
had a very stately carriage. Her hair was 
Mack as jet — her features were refined and 
delicate ; but they wore a very cold, haughty 
expression. After a glance at her half-closed 
eyes, and the swan-Tike curve of her snowy 
neck, you unconsciously withdrew from her, 
as from an inaccessible beauty. The more 
you looked at her, the more she satisfied 
your critical scrutiny ; but your feelings 
went not out towards her — ^they were, in a 
manner, chilled and repulsed. Look, now, 
at our own Kate Aubrey — ^najr, never fear to 
place her beside yon supercilious divinity — 
look at her, and jovatieart acknowledges 
her loveliness ; your soul thrills at sight of 
her bewitching blue eyes— eyes now spark- 
lii^with excitement, then languishing with 
sonness, in accordance with the varying 
emotions of a sensitive nature— a most sus- 
ceptible heart. How her sunny curls har- 
monize with the delicacy and richness of 
her complexion! Her figure, observe, is 
rather fuller than her rivars — stay, don*t let 
your eyes settle so intently upon her bud- 
ding form, or you will confuse Kate— turn 
away, or she will shrink from you like the 
sensitive plant. Lady Caroline seems the 
exquisite but frigid production of a skilful 
statuary, who had caught a divinity in the 
very act of disdainfully setting her foot for 
the first time upon this poor earth of ours ; 
but Kate is a living and breathing beau- 
ty — as it were, fresh from the hand of God 
himself. 

Kate was very affectionately greeted by 
Lady De la Zouch, a loAy and dignified 
woman of about fifty; so also by Lord De 
la Zouch ; but when young Delamere wel- 
comed her with a palpable embarrassment 
of manner, a more brilliant colour stole into 
her cheek, and a keen observer might have 
noticed a little, rapid, undulating motion in 
her bosom, which told of some inward emo- 
tion. And a keen observer had Kate at that 

X 3 



moment in her beautiful rival ; from whose 
cheek, as that of Kat-e deepened in its rose- 
ate bloom, faded away the colour entirely, 
leaving it the hue of the lily. Her drooping 
eyelids could scarcely conceal the glances 
of alarm and an^er which she darted at her 
plainly successUil rival in the affections of 
the future Lord de la Zouch. Kate waft, 
quickly aware of this state of matters ; and 
it required no liltle self-control to appear un- 
aware of it. Delamere took her down to 
dinner ; in doing which he defied the laws 
of etiquette in a little point of precedence ; 
and he seated himself beside her, and paid 
her such pointed attentions as at length 
really distressed her; and she was quite re- 
lieved when the time came for the ladies to 
withdraw. That she had not a secret yearn- 
ing towards Delamere, the frequent com- 
panion of her early days, I cannot assert, 
because I know it would be contrary to the 
fact. Circumstances had kept him on the 
Continent for more than a year between the 
period of his quitting £ton and going to Ox- 
ford, where another twelve month had slip- 
ped away without his visiting Yorkshire ; 
thus two years had elapsed— and behold 
Kate had become a woman, and he a man ! 
They had mutual predispositions towards 
each other, and 'twas mere accident which 
of them first manifeated symptoms of fond- 
ness for the other — the same result must 
have followed, namely (to use a great word) 
reciprocation. Lord and Lady De la Zouch 
idolized their son, and were old and very 
firm friends of the Aubrey family ; and, if 
Delamere really fdrmed an attachment to 
one of Miss Aubrey's beauty, accomplish- 
ments, talent, amiability, and good fami- 
ly — ^why should he not be gratified ? Kate; 
whether she would or not, was set down to 
the piano. Lady Caroline accompanying 
her on the harp— on which she usually per- 
formed with mingled skill and pace ; out, 
on the present occasion, both the fair per- 
formers found fault with their instruments— ^ 
then with themselves — and presently gave 
up Uie attempt in despair. But when, at a 
later period of the evening, Kate'Q spirits 
had been a little exhilarated with dancing, 
and she sat down, at Lord de la Zouch's re- 
quest, and gave that exquisite song from the 
~ he bee sucks," — all the 



Temnesf—** Where the 
witcnery of her voice and manner had re- 
turned; and as for Delamere, he would 
have given the world to many her that 
minute, and so for ever extinguish the hopes . 
of— as he imagined — ^two or three nascent 
competitors for the beautiful prize then 
present. 

That Kate was good as beautiful, the fol- 
lowing little incident which happened to 
her on Uie ensuing evening, will show, 

15 



114 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAK. 



There was a girl in the villager at Yatton, 
about sixteen or seventeen years old, called 
Phcebe Williams; a very pretty girl, and 
who had spent about two years at the Hall 
as a laundry maid, but bad been obliged, 
some few months before the time I am 
speaking of, to return to her parents in the 
village, ill of a decline. She had been a 
sweet-tempered girl in her situation, and all 
her fellow-servants felt great interest in her, 
as also did Miss Aubrey. Mrs. Aubrey 
sent her daily, jellies, sago, and other such 
matters, suitable for the poor girVs condi- 
tion; and about a quarter of an hour after 
her return from Fotheringham, Miss Au- 
brey, finding one of the female servants 
about to set off with some of the above-men- 
tioned articles, and hearing that poor Phcebe 
was getting rapidly worse, instead of re- 
tiring to her room to undress, slipped on an 
additional shawl, and resolved to accom- 
pany the servant to the village. She said 
not a word to either her mother, her sister- 
in-law, or her brother ; but simply left word 
with her maid where she was going, and 
that she should quickly return. It was 
snowing smartly when Kate set oflT; but she 
cared not, hurried on by the impulse of kind- 
ness, which led her to pay perhaps a last 
visit to the humble sufferer. She walked 
along-side of the elderly female servant, 
asking her a number of questions about 
Phosbe, and her sorrowing father and 
mother. It was nearly dark as they quitted 
the park gates, and snowing, if any thing, 
faster than when they had \e(i the Hall. 
Kate, wrapping her shawl still closer round 
her slender ngnre^and her face pretty well pro- 
tected by her veil, hurried on, and they soon 
reached Williams's cottage. Its humble 
tenants were, as may be imagined, not a lit- 
tle surprised at her appearance at such an 
hour, and in such inclement weather, and so 
apparently unattended. Poor Phoebe, worn 
to a shadow, was sitting opposite the fire, 
in a little wooden arm-chair, and propped 
up by a pillow: She trembled, and her lips 
moved on seeing Miss Aubrey, who, sitting 
down on a stool beside her, after laying 
aside her snow-whitened shawl and bonnet, 
spoke to her in the most efentle and sooth- 
ing strain imaginable. What a contrast in 
their two figures ! Twould have been no 
violent stretch of imagination to sav, that 
Catharine Aubrey at that moment looked 
like a ministering angel sent to comfort the 
wratched suflferer in her extremity. Phoebe's 
father and mother stood on each side of the 
little fire-place, gazing with tearful eyes 
upon their only child, soon about to depart 
from them for ever. The poor girl was in- 
deed a touching object She had been very 
pretty, but now her face was white and wo- 



fuUy emaciated— 4he dread impress of eaO' 
sumption was upon it. Her wasted finders 
were clasped together on her lap, holding 
between them a little handkerchief, with 
which, evidently with great effort, she occa- 
sionally wiped the dampness from her face. 

" You're very good, ma'am," she whis- 
pered, ** to come to see me, and so late. 
They say it's a sad cold night." 

"I heard, Phoebe, that you were not so 
well, and I thought I would just step along 
with Margaret, who has brought you some 
more jelly. Did you like the last 1" 

«' Y-e-8, ma'am,*' she replied, hesitating- 
ly; "but it's r«ry hard forme to swallow 
any thing now, mv throat feels so sore." 
Here her mother shook her head and looked 
aside; for the doctor had only that morning 
explained to her the nature of the distressing 
symptom which her daughter was alluding 
to— as evidencing the very last stage of her 
fatal disorder. 

" I'm very sorry to hear you say so, Phoe- 
be," replied Miss Aubrey. *' Do you think 
there's any thing else that Mrs. Jackson 
could make for you." 

** No, ma'am, thank you ; 1 feel it's no 
use trying to swallow any thing more." 

" While there's life,'^ said Kate, in a 
subdued, hesitating tone, " there's hope — 
they say." Phoebe shook her head mourn- 
fully. "Don't stop long, dear lady— it's 
getting very late for you to be out alone. 
Father will go^— " 

" Never mind me, Phoebe— I can take 
care of myself. I hope you mind what good 
Dr. Tatham says to you 1 You know this 
sickness is from God, Phoebe. He knows 
what is best for his creatures." 

"Thank God, ma'am, I feel resigned. 
I know it is God's will ; but I'm very sorry 
for poor father and mother— they'll be so 
lone like, when they don't see Phoebe about. 
Her father ^zed intently at her, and the 
tears ran tnckling down his cheeks; her 
mother put her apron before her face, and 
shook her head m silent an^ish. Miss 
Aubrey did not speak for a rew moments. 
" I see you have oeen reading the Prayer- 
book mamma gave you when yon were at 
the Hall," said she at length, observing the 
little volume lying open on Phoebe's lap. 

" Yes, ma'am— -I was ^^^S » ^"^t some* 
how, lately, I can't read, for &ere's a kind 
of mist comes over my eyes, and I can't 
see." 

"That's weakness, Phoebe," said Miss 
Aubrey, ouickly, but tremulously. 

" May I make bold, ma'am," commenced 
Phoebe, languidly, after a hesitating pause, 
" to ask you to read the little psalm I was 
trying to read a while agot I should so 
like to hear you." 



TEN THOUSAND A Ytktt. 



lis 



"Til try, PhcBbe," said Miss Aubrey, 
taking the book which was open at the sixth 
psaUn. 'Twas a severe trial, for her feel- 
ings were not a little excited already* But 
how could she refuse the dying mr\ ? So 
she began, a little indistinctly, In a very 
low tone, and with frequent pauses ; for the 
tears every now and then quite obscured her 
sis^ht. She managed, however, to get as 
far as the sixth verse, which was thus :-— 

**/ am weary of my gtoaning: every 
night vfosh I my oedj and water my coutn 
with tears.* my beauty u gone for very 
trouble.'' 

Here Kate's voice suddenly stopped. 
She buried her face for a moment or two in 
her handkerchief, and said hastily, << I canU 
read any more, Phoebe !*' Every one in the 
little room was in tears except poor Phcebe, 
who seemed past that. 

*'It*s time for me to eo, now, Phcebe. 
We'll send some one early in the morning 
to know how you are," said Miss Aubrey, 
rising and putting on her bonnet and shawl. 
She contrived to beckon Phcebe's mother to 
the back of the room, and silently slipped a 
couple of guineas into her hands ; for she 
knew the mournful occasion there would soon 
be for such assistance ! She then left, pe- 
remptorily declining the attendance of Phce- 
be's father-— sayincr that it must be dark when 
she could not find ttie way to the Hall, which 
was almost in a straight line from the cot- 
tsige, and little more than-a quarter of a mile 
off. It was much darker, and still snowed, 
though not so thickly as when she had come. 
She and Margaret walked side by side, at 
a quick pace, talking together about poor 
Phoebe. Just as she was approaching the 
extremity of the village, nearest the park— * 

"Ah! IVIy lovely gals!" exclaimed a 
voice, in a low but most offensive tone— 
"alon^l How uncommon." Miss Aubrey 
for a moment seemed thunderstruck at so 
sudden and unprecedented an occurrence: 
then she hurried on, with a beating heart, 
whispering to Margaret to keep close to her, 
and not to be alarmed. The speaker, how- 
ever, kept pace with therm. 

" Lovely gals !— -wish IM an umbrella, 
my angels !— take my arm 1 Ah ! Pretty 

" Who are you, sir 1" at length es^laimed 
Kate, spiritedly, suddenly stopping and 
turning to the rude speaker. 

Who else should it be but Tittlebat Tilr 
mouse. " Who am II Ah, ha ! Lovely 
gals ! one that loves the pretty gals !" 

"Do you know, fellow, who I ami" in- 
quired Miss Aubrey indigpantly, flinging 
aside her veil, and disclosing her beautiful 
fece, white as death, but indistinctly visible 
in the darkness, to her insolent assiolant. 



" No, 'pon my soul, no ; but— lovely gal ! 
lovely gal !— 'pon my life, spirited gaTl^^ 
do you no harm !<^-Take my harm-«" 

" Wretch !— ruffian !— how dare you in- 
sult a lady in this manner? Do you know 
who I am ? My name, sir, is Aubrey— t 
am Miss Aubrey of the Hall! Do not 
think—" 

Titmouse felt as if he were on the point 
of dropping down dead at that moment, with 
amazement and terror ; and when Miss Au- 
brey's servant screamed out at the top of 
her voice, " Help ! — ^help, there !" Titmouse, 
without uttering a syllable more, took to his 
hoels, just as the door of a cottage^ at only 
a few yards' distance, opened, and out 
rushed a strapping farmer, shouting—^* Hey! 
what be t'matterl You may guess his as- 
tonishment on discovering Miss Aubrey, 
and his fury at learning we cause of her 
alarm. Out of doors he pelted, without his 
hat, uttering a volley of fearful imprecations, 
and calling on the unseen miscreant to come 
forward ; tor whom it was lucky that he had 
time to escape from a pair of fists that* in a 
minute or two Would nave beaten his little 
carcass into a jelly ! Miss Aubrey was so 
overcome by the shock she had suffered, 
that but for a glass of water she might have 
fainted. As soon as she had a little reco^ 
vered from her agitation, she set off home, 
accompanied by Margaret, and followed 
very closely by the farmer, with a tremen- 
dous knotted stick Hinder his arm — rhe 
wanted to have taken his double-barrelled 
gun) — and thus she soon reached the Hall, 
not a little tited and agitated. This little 
incident, however, she kept to herself, and 
enjoined her two attendants to do the same ; 
for she knew the distress it would have 
occasioned those whom she loved. As It 
was, she Was somewhat sharply rebuked 
by her mother and brother, who had jusi 
sent two men out in quest of her, and whom 
it was singular l^at she should have missed. 
This is not die place to give an account of 
the eccentric movements of our friend Tit* 
mouse; still there can be no harm in my 
ittst mentioning that the sight of Miss Au- 
brev on horseback had half i^iaddened the 
little fool \ her image had never been effaced 
from his memory since the occasion on 
which, as already explained, he had first 
seen her ; and as soon as he had ascertained, 
through Snap*s inquiries, who she was, he 
became more phrenzied in the matter than 
before, because he thought he now saw a 
probability of obtaining her. " If like chil- 
dren," says Edmund Burke, "we will cry 
for the moon, why like children we musV— 
cry em." Whether this was not something 
like the position of Mr. Tittlebat Titmouse, 
in his passion for Catbarinb Aubmt, th« 



lU 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



reader can j udge. He had unbosomed him- 
eelf in the matter to his confidential adviser 
Mr. Snap, who, having accomplished his 
errand, had the day before returned to town, 
much against his will, leaving Titmouse be- 
hind him, to bring about, by his own delicate 
and skilful management, a union between 
himself, as the future Lord of Yatton, and 
the beautiful sister of its present occupant. 

Mr. Aubrey and Kate were sitting to- 
gether, playing at chess, about eight o'clock 
m the evening ; Dr. Tatham and Mrs. Au- 
brey, junior, looking on with much interest ; 
old Mrs. Aubrey being busily engaged in 
writing. Mr. Aubrey was sadly an over- 
match for poor Kate— >he being in fact a first- 
rate player; and her soft white hand had 
been hovering over the half-dozen chess- 
men she had left, uncertain which of them 
to move, for nearly two minutes, her chin 
resting on the other hand, and her face 
wearing a very puzzled expression. *'Come, 
Kate,'* said every now anu then her brother, 
with that calm victorious smile which at 
such a moment would have tried any but so 
sweet a temper as his sister's. ** If / were 
you, Miss Aubrey," was perpetually ex- 
claiming Dr. Tatham, knowing as much 
about the game the while as the little Marl- 
borough spaniel lying asleep at Miss Au- 
brey's feet. ** Oh dear !" said Kate at 
Inngth, with a sigh,** I really don't see how 
to escape." 

**VVho can that bel" exclaimed Mrs. 
Aubrey, looking up and listening to the 
sound of carriage wheels. 

** Never mind," said her husband, who 
was interested in the game — **come, come, 
Kate." A few minutes afterward a servant 
made his appearance, and coming up to Mr. 
Aubrey, tola him that Mr. Parkinson and 
another gentleman had called and were 
waiting in the library to speak to him on 
business. 

** What can they want at this hour V ex- 
claimed Mr. Aubrey, absently, intently 
watching an expected move of his sister's, 
which would have decided the game. At 
length she made her long meditated descent, 
in quite an unexpected quarter. 

** Check-mate ! " she exclaimed, with in- 
finite glee. 

*'Ah !" cried he, rising, with a slightly 
surprised and chagrined air, ** I'm ruined! 
Now try your hand on the doctor, while I 
go and speak to these people. I wonder 
what can possibly have brought them here. 
Oh, I S CO I see; 'tis probably about Miss 
Evelyn's marriag&«ettlement— I'm to be 
one of her trustees." With this he left the 
room, and presently entered the library, 
where were two gentlemen, one of whom, a 
stranger, was in the act of polling off his 



great coat. It was Mr. ftunnington ; a ialt, 
thin, elderly man, with short gray Ivalr-^ 
his countenance bespeaking the calm, acute, 
clear-headed man of business. The other 
was Mr. Parkinson; a plain, substantial- 
looking, hard-headed, countiy attorney. 

**Mr. Runnin^n, my London agent, 
sir," said he to s/lr. Aubrey, as the latter 
entered. Mr. Aubrey bowed. 

** Pray, gentlemen, be seated," he replied, 
taking a chair beside them. ** Why, Par- 
kinson, you look very serious— both of you. 
What is the matter 1" he inquired surprised* 

** Mr. Runnington, sir, has arrived, most 
unexpectedly to me, only an hour or two 
ago from London, on business of the last 
importance to you." 

** Well, what is it 1 Pray say at once 
what it is — ^I am all attention," said Mr. 
Aubrey, anxiously. 

** Do you happen to remember sending 
Waters to me on Monday or Tuesday last, 
with a paper which had been served by 
some one on old Jolter V 

** Certainly," replied Mr. Aubrey, after 
a moment's consideration. 

** Mr. Runnington's errand is connected 
with that document." 

** Indeed !" exclaimed Mr. Aubrey, ap- 
parently a little relieved. ** I assure you, 
gentlemen, you very greatly over-estimate 
3ie importance I attach to any thing that 
such a troublesome person as Mr. Tomkins 
can do, if I am right in supposing that it is 
he who Well, then, what is the mat- 

ter 1" he inquired quickly, observing Mr. 
Parkinson shake his head, and interchange 
a grave look with Mr. Runnington ; ** you 
cannot think how you would oblige me by 
being explicit." 

**This paper," said Mr. Runnington, 
holding up that which Mr. Aubrey at once 
recollectea as the one on which he had cast 
his eye on' its being handed to him by Wa- 
ters, ** is a Declaration in Ejectment with 
which Mr. Tomkins has nothing whateyer 
to do. It is served virtually on you, and 
you are the real defendant." 

**So I apprehend I was in the former 
trumpery action." 

**I)o you recollect, Mr. Aubrey," said 
Mr. Parkinson, with much anxiety, ** seve- 
ral years ago, some serious conversation 
which you and I had together, w^hen I was 
preparing your marriage-settlements V 

Mr. Aubrey's face was suddenly blanch- 
ed. 

**The matters we then discussed haye 
suddenly acquired immense importance.—- 
^This paper occasions us, on your account, 
the deepest anxiety." Mr. Aubrey conti- 
nued silent, gazing on Mr. Parkinson with 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



117 



iii».-'nsity. " Supposing, from a hasty glance 
at it, and from the message accompanying 
it, that it was merely another action of Tom- 
kins* about the slip of waste land attached 
to Jolter's cottage, I sent up to London to 
Messrs. Rannington, requesting them to 
call on the plaintiff's attorneys, and settle 
the action. He did so ; and perhaps you 
will explain the rest," said Mr. Parkinson 
to Mr. Kunnington. 

<* Certainly,'* said that gentleman. ** I 
called accordingly yesterday morning on 
Messrs. Quirk, Uammon, and Snap->they 
are a very well known, but not very popu- 
lar firm in the profession, and in a very tew 
minutes my misconception of the nature of 
the business I had called to settle was set 
right. In short," he paused as if distressed 
at the intelligence he was about to commu- 
nicate.. 

*' Oh, pray, pray go on, sir," said Mr. 
Aubrey, in a low tone. 

*' I am no stranger, sir, to your firmness 
of character; but I shall haye to tax it, I 
fear, to its uttermost. To come at once to 
the point — they told me that I might un- 
doubtedly K//i!e the matter if you would con- 
sent to give up immediate possession of the 
Yatton estate, and account for the mesne 
profits to their client, the right heir-— as 
they contends* Mr. Tittlebat Titmouse." 
Mr. Aubrey sunk back in his chair, ovei^ 
come, for an instant, by this dreadful and 
astounding intelligence: and all three of 
them preserved silence for more than a mi- 
nute. Mr. Runnington was aman of a very 
feeling heart. Iq the course of his great 
practice, he had had to encounter many dis- 
tressing scenes; but probably none ofthem 
had equalled that in which, at the earnest 
entreaty of Mr. Parkinson, who distrusted 
his own self-possession, he now bore a lead- 
ing part. Tlie two attorneys interchanged 
frequent looks of deep sympathy for their 
unfortunate client, who seemed as if stun- 
ned by the intelligence they had brought 
him. 

*' I felt it my duty not to lose an instant 
in coming down to Yatton," resumed Mr. 
Runnington, observing Mr. Aubrey's eyes 
agakn directed inauinngly towards him; 
'* for Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, 
are very dangerous people to deal with, and 
must be encountered promptly, and with the 
greatest possible caution. The moment that 
I had left them, I hastened to the Temple to 
retain for you Mr. Subtle, the leader of the 
Northern Circuit; but they had been before- 
hand with me, and retained him nearly three 
months ago, together with another- eminent 
king's counsel on the circuit. Under these 
circumstances, I lost no time in giving a 
special retainer to the attorney-general, in 



which I trust I have done right, and in le* 
taining as junior a gentleman whom I con-> 
aider to be incomparably the ablest lawyer 
on the circuit." 

*' Did they say any thing concerning the 
nature of their client's title V inquired Mr. 
Aubrey, in a languid tone; but he was per- 
fectly calm and collected. 

** Very little. If they had been tiever so 
precise, of coarse I should have distrusted 
every word they said. They certainly men- 
tioned that they had had the first convey- 
ancing opinion m the kingdom, which con- 
curred in favour of their client ; that they 
had been for months prepared at all points, 
and accident only had delayed their com- 
mencing proceedings till now/' 

**Did yon make any inquiries as to 
who the claimant wasi" mquiied Mr. 
Aubrey. •• 

*'Yes; but all I could learn was, that 
they had discovered him by mere accident; 
and that he was in very obscure and dis- 
tressed circumstances. I tried to discover 
by what means they proposed to commence 
and carry on so expensive a contest; but 
they smiled significantly, and were silent." 
Another long pause ensued, during which 
Mr. Aubrey was evidently silently strug- 
gling with very agitating emotions. 

** What is the meaning of their affecting 
to seek the recovery of only one insignificant 
portion of the property?" he inquired. 

** It's their own choice— 4t may be from 
considerations of mere convenience. The 
title by which they may succeed in recover- 
ing what they at present go for, will avail 
to recover every acre of the estate, and the 
present action will consequently decide 
every thing !" 

** And suppose the worst— that they are 
successful: what is to be said about the 
rental which I have been receiving all this 
time— ten thousand a year 1" inquired Mr. 
Aubrey, looking as if he dreaded to hear his 
question answered. 

'* Oh ! that's quite an after consideratioi^^ 
let us first fight the battle." 

'* I beg, Mr. Runnington, that you will 
withhold nothing from me," said Mr. Au- 
brey, with a faltering voice. "To what ex- 
tent shall I be liable!" 

Mr. Runnington paused. 

" I am afraid th^t all the mesne profits, as 
they are called, which you have received,—" 
commenced Mr. Parkinson— - 

" No, no," interrupted Mr. Runnington ; 
"I have been turning that over in my mind, 
and I think that the statute of limitations 
will bar all but the last six years." 

"Why, thai will be sixty thousand 
pounds !" interrupted Mr. Aubrey, with a 
look of sudden despair. " Gracious 6od» 



lid 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



that is perfectly friffhtful !— frightfiil ! If I 
lose Yatton, I shall not have a place to put 
my head in-— not one farthing to support 
myself with ! And yet to have to maKe np 
sixty thauaand pounds /*' The perspiration 
stood upon his forehead, and his eye was 
laden with alarm and agony. He slowly 
rose from his chair, and bolted the door, that 
they might not, at such an agitating mo- 
ment, be surprised or disturb^ by any of 
the family. 

*^ I suppose,'^ said he, in a faint and tre- 
mulous tone, '* that if this claim sncceed, 
my mother also, will share my fate.'' 

They shook their heads in silence. 

** Permit me to suggest,'* said Mr. Run- 
nington, in a tone of the most respectful 
sympathy,** that sufficient for the day is the 
evil thereof." 

•* But the NIGHT follows !" said Mr. Au- 
brey^ with a yisible tremor ; and his voice 
made the hearts of his companions thrill 
within him. ^ Mine is really a fearful case ! 
I and mine, I feel, are become suddenly 
beggars. We are trtspaaaen at Yatton, We 
have been unjustly enjoying the rights of 
others." 

" My dear Mr. Aubrey,*' said Mr. Parkin- 
son, earnestly, " that remains to be proved. 
We really are getting on far too faist. One 
would thidk that the jury had already re- 
turned a verdict against us — that judgment 
had been signed — ^and that the sheriff was 
coming in the morning to execute the writ 
of possession in favour of our opponent." 
This was well meant by the speaker; but 
surely it was like talking of the machinery 
of the ghastly guillotine to the wretch in 
shivering expectation of suffering by it on 
the morrow. An involuntary shud^r ran 
througrh Mr. Aubrey. "Sixty thousand 
pounds !" he exclaimed, rising and walking 
to and fro. •* Why, I am ruined beyond all 
redemption! How can lever satisfy it 1" 
Again he paced the room several times in 
silent agony. The inward prayer which he 
then offered up to God, for calmness and 
fortitude, seemed to have been, in a mea- 
sure, answered : and he presently resumed 
his seat. *< I have, for these several days 
past, had a strange sense of impending ca- 
lamity," said he in an infinitely more tran- 
quil tone than before— •* I have been equally 
unable to account for or get rid of it. It 
may be an intimation from heaven ; I bow 
to its will !" 

•*We must remember," said Mr Rnn- 
nington, *< that * possession is ntnC'tenths of 
the law ;' which means, that your mere pos- 
session will entitle you to retain it against 
all the worlds till a stronger title than yours 
to the right of possession be made out. 
You stand on a mountain ; and it is for your 



adversary to displace you, not by showing 
merely that you have no real title, but that 
he has. If he could prove all your title-deeds 
to be merely waste-paper — ^tnat in fact you 
have no more title than I have— he could 
not advance his own case an inch ; he must 
first establish in himself a clear and inde- 
pendent title; so that vou are entirely on 
the defensive: and rely upon it that so 
acute and profound a lawyer as the attor- 
ney-general will impose every difficulty 



on- 



"God forbid that any unconscientious 
advantage should be taken on my behalf!" 
said Mr. Aubrey. Mr. Runnington and 
Mr. Parkinson both opened their eyes pretty 
wide at this sally ; the latter Qould not un- 
derstand but that every thing was fair in 
war; the former saw and appreciated the 
nobility of soul which had dictated the ex- 
clamation. 

" I suppose the affair will soon become 
public," said Mr. Aubrey, with an air of 
profound depression. 

** Your position in the county, your emi- 
nence in public life, the singularity of the 
case, and the magnitude of the stake — all 
are circumstances undoubtedly calculated 
soon to urge the affair before the notice of 
the public,'^ said Mr. Runnington. 

" Good God, who is to break the disas- 
trous intelligence to my family!" exclaimed 
Mr. Aubrey, hiding his face in his hands 
" Something, I suppose," he presently add- 
ed, with forced calmness, "must be done 
immediately." 

"Undoubtedly. Mr. Parkinson and I 
will immediately proceed to examine your 
title-deeds, the greater portion of which are, 
I understand, here in the Hall, and the rest 
at Mr. Parkinson's; and prepare, without 
delay, a case for the opinion of the attorney- 
general and also of some eminent con- 
veyancer. Who, by the way," said Mr. 
Runnington, addressing Mr. Parkinson— 
*'who was the conveyancer that had the 
abstracts before him, on preparing Mr. AU'^ 
brey's marriage settlement 1" 

" Oh, you are alluding to the ' Opinion' I 
mentioned to you this evening?" inquired 
Mr. Parkinson. "I have it at my house, 
and will show it you in the morning. 
The doubt he expressed on one or two points 
gave me, I recollect, no little uneasiness— 
as you may remember, Mr. Aubrey." 

" I certainly do," he replied, with a pro- 
found sigh ; " but though what you said re- 
minded me of something or another that I 
had heard when a mere boy, I thought no 
more of it. I think you told me that the 
gentleman who wrote the opinion was a 
nervous fidgrty man, always raising diffi- 
culties in his clients' titles— and one way 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



119 



or another, the thing never ga^e me any con- 
cero — never even occurred to my thoughts, 
tUl to-day." 

** You, see, if onl^ one link, or part of a 
link, in a chain, is infirm," said Mr. Run- 
nington — "however remote^" 

" You will take a little refreshment, gen- 
tlemen, after Jrour journey 1" said Mr. Au- 
hrey, suddenly interrupting him — glad of 
the opportunity it would auord him of revi- 
ving his own exhausted spirits by a little 
wine, before returning to the drawing- 
room. He swallowed several glasses of 
wine without any sensible eflfect; and the 
bearers of the dreadful intelligence just com- 
municated to the reader, after a promise by 
Mr. Aubrey to drive over to Grilston early 
in tlie morning, and bring such of his title- 
deeds as were then at the Hall, took their 
departure; leaving him considerably calm- 
er, but with a feaiful oppression at his heart. 
Long accustomed to control his feelings, he 
exerted himself to the utmost on the present 
occasion — and almost entirely succeeded. 
His face, however, on re-entering the draw- 
ing-room, which his mother, attended oy 
Kate, had quitted for her bedroom, some- 
what alarmed Mrs. Aubrey ; whom, how- 
ever, he at once quieted, by saying that he 
certainly had been annoyed^" excessively 
annoyed" at a communication just made to 
him ; " and which mights— in fact— prevent 
his sitting again for Yatton." "There, 
doctor, am I not right?" said Mrs. Aubrey, 
appealing to Dr. Tatham — ^* did I not tell 
you that this was something connected with 
politics ? Charles, I do hate politics— give 
me a quiet home !" A pang shot through 
Mr. Aubrey *s heart; but he felt ^at he 
had, for the present, succeeded in his ob- 
ject. 

Mr. Aubrey's distracted mind was in- 
deed, as it were, buffeted about that night 
on a dark sea of trouble ; while the beloved 
being beside him lay sleeping peacefully, 
all unconscious of the rising storm. Many 
times, during that dismal night, would he 
have risen from his bed to seek a momen- 
tary relief, by walking to and fro, but that 
he feared disturbing her, and disclosing the 
extent and depth of his distress. It was 
nearly five o^clock in the mominflr before he 
at length sunk into sleep; and of one thing 
I can assure the reader, ^at however that 
excellent man might have shrunk — and 
shrink he did — from the sufferings that 
seemed in store for him, and those who 
were far dearer to him than life itself, he 
did not give way to one repining or rebel- 
lious thought. On the contrary, his real 
framo of mmd, on that trying occasion, may 
be discovered in one short prayer, which he 
more than once was on the point of express- 



ing aloud in words—** Oh my God ! in my 
prosperity I have ever acknowledged thee ; 
forsake me not in my adversity !" 

At an early hour in the morning his car- 
riage drew up at Mr. Parkinson^s door; 
and he brougnt with him, as he had pr<^ 
mised, a great number of title deeds ana fa- 
mily documents. On these, as well as on 
many others which were in Mr. Parkinson's 
custody, that gentleman and Mr. Running- 
ton were anxiously engaged during almost 
every minute of that day and the ensuing 
one; at the close of wbiclu they had, be- 
tween them, drawn up the rough draft of a 
case, with which Mr. Runnington set off 
for town by the mail ; undertaking to lay 
it, within twenty-four hours, before the at- 
torney-general, and also before one of the 
greatest conveyancers of tlie day; com- 
mended to their best and earliest attention, 
by very liberal fees and extra gratuities to 
their clerks. He pledged himself la trans- 
mit their opinions, by Uie very first mail, to 
Mr. Parkinson; and both those gentlemen 
immediately set about active preparations 
for defending the ejectment. The " eminent 
conveyancer" fixed upon by Messrs. Run- 
nington and Parkinson, was Mr. Tresayle, 
whose clerk, however, on looking into the pa- 
pers, presently carried them back to Messrs. 
Runnington, with the information that 
Mr. Tresayle had, a few months ago, "ad- 
vised on the other side." The next person 
whom Mr. Runnington thought of, wafr— 
singularly enough-^Mr. Mortmain^ who 
was occasionally employed, in heavy mat- 
ters, by the firm. His clerk also, on 
the ensuing morning, returned the papers, 
assigning the same reason as had been 
^ven by Mr. Tresayle^s clerk. All this 
formed a startling corroboration, truly, of 
Messrs. Quirk and Gammon's assurance 
to Mr. Runnington, that they had " had the 
first conveyancing opinions in the king- 
dom," and evidenced the formidable scale 
on which their operations were being con- 
ducted. There were, however, other " emi- 
nent conveyancers" besides the two above 
mentioned ; and in the hands of Mr. Mans- 
field, who, with a less extended reputation, 
but an equal practice, was a far abler man, 
and a much nigher style of conveyancer 
than Mr. Mortmain, Mr. Runnington left his 
client's interests with the utmost confidence. 
Not satisfied with this, he laid the case also 
before Mr. Crystal, the junior, whom he 
had already retained in the cause— a man 
whose lucid understanding was not ill in- 
dicated by his name. Though his manner 
in court was feeble and unimpressive, and 
his appearance even childish; his temper 
irritable, and his demeanour ridiculously 
supercilious; he was an invaluable aoquiai- 



190 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR, 



tion in an important oaoae. He knew, 
probably, little else than law ; but to that 
he bad for some twenty years applied him- 
self with unwearying energy ; and he con- 
sequently became a ready, accurate, and 
thorough lawyer, equal to all the practical 
exigencies of his profession. He brought 
his knowledge to bear on every point pre- 
sented to him with beautiful precision. He 
was equally quick and cautious— «rtful to a 
degree — but I shall have other opportuni- 
ties of describing him ; since on him, as on 
ev&ry working junior, will devolve ^e real 
conduct of the defendant's case in the memo- 
rable actionof /^>e ofi^demtM rf THtmotue 
V. Rpe. 

Ak Mr. Aobrey was driving home from 
the visit to Mr. Parkinson which I have 
above mentioned, he stopped his carriage on 
entering the village, because he saw Dr. 
Tatham comin? out of Williams's cottage, 
where he had l>een paying a visit to poor 
Phoebe. 

The little doctor was plunthering on, an- 
kle-deep in snow, towards the vicarage, 
when Mr. Aubrey (who had sent home his 
carriage with word that he should presently 
follow^ came up with him, and greeting 
him with his usual fervour, said that he 
would accompany him to the vicarage. 

'' You are in very great trouble, my dear 
friend," said the doctor, seriously — ^* I saw 
it plainly last night; but of course I said 
nothing. Come into my little house here- 
let us talk freely with one another ; for, as 
iron sharpeneih iron, ao doth the countenance 
of a man hU friend. Is it not so V 

*• It is indeed, my dear doctor," replied 
Mr. Aubrey, suddenly softened by the af- 
fectionate simplicity of the doctor's manner. 
How much the ^ooid doctor was shocked by 
the communication which Mr. Aubrey pre- 
sently made to him, the reader may easily 
imagine. He even shed tears, on behold- 
ing the forced calmness with which Mr. 
Aubrey depicted the gloomy prospect that 
was before him. 'Twas not in vain that 
the pious pastor led the subdued and willing 
mind of nis beloved companion to those 
sources of consolation and support which a 
true Christain cannot approach in vain. 
Upon his bruised and oleeding feelings 
was poured the balm of true religious con- 
solation; and Mr. Aubrey quittea his reve- 
rend companion with a far firmer tone of 
mind than that with which he had entered 
the vicarage. But when he passed through 
the park gates, the sadden reflection tihat he 
was probably no longer the proprietor of the 
dear old familiar objects that met his eye at 
every step, almost oveipowered him. 

On entering the halU he was informed 
that one of the tenants, Peter Johnson, had 



been sitting in the servants' hall for nearly 
two hours, waiting to see him. Mr. Au- 
brey repaired at once to the library, and de* 
sired the man to be shown in. Johnson 
had been for some twenty-five years a tenant 
of a considerable farm on the estate, had 
scarcely ever been even a few weeks behind- 
hand with his rent, and had always been con- 
sidered one of the most exemplary persons in 
the whole neighboarhood. He nad now, 
poor fellow, got into trouble indeed, for he 
nad, a year or two before, been persuaded 
to become security for his brother-in-law as 
a tax-collector ; and had, alas ! the day be- 
fore, been called upon to pay the three hun- 
dred pounds in which he stood bound— his 
worthless brother-in-law having absconded 
with nearly £1000 of the public money. 
Poor Johnson, who had a large family to 
support, was in deep tribulation, bowed 
down with grief ana shame; and after a 
sleepless night had at length ventured down 
to Yatton, and with a desperate boldness 
asked the benevolent squire to advance him 
J8200 towards the money, to save himself 
from being cast into prison. Mr. Aubrey 
heard his sad story to the end without one 
single interruption ; though, to a more prac- 
tised observer than the ola fanner, the Work- 
ings of his countenance, from time to time, 
must have told his inward agitation. **! 
lend this poor soul d^OO!" thought he, 
^* who am penniless myself! Shall I not 
be really acting as his dishonest relative 
has been acting, and making free with mo- 
ney that belongs to another V' 

" I assure you, my worthy friend," said 
he at length, with a Uttle agitation of man- 
ner, ** that I have just now a very serious 
call upon me-— or yon know how gladly I 
would have complied with your request.^ 

" Oh, sir, have mercy on me ! Pve an 
ailing wife and seven children to support," 
said poor Johnson, wringing his hands. 

** Can't I do any thing with the govern- 
ment !"— 

" No, sir; Pm told they're so mighty an- 
gry with my rascally bro&er, they'D listen 
to nobody ! It's a hard matter for me to 
keep straight at home without this, sir. Pve 
so many mouths to fill — and if they take me 
ofi" to prison. Lord ! Lord ! what's to become 
of us all!" 

Mr. Aubrey's lip quivered. Johnson fell 
on his knees, and the tears ran down his 
cheeks. **Pve never asked a living man 
for money before, sir — and, if you'll only 
lend it to me, God Almighty will bless yoa 
and yours— you'll save us all from ruin— 
PU work day and night to pay it back 
again!" 

«* Rise— rise, Johnson," said Mr. Au- 
brey, with emotion. «« You shall have the 



TEN THOUSAND A TEAR. 



121 



money, my friend, if you will call to-moi> 
row," he added, with a deep eigh, after a 
atioment's hesitation. 

He was as good as his wotd. 

Had Mr. Aubrey been naturally of a 
cheerful aud vivacious turn, the contrast 
now afibrded b^ his gloomy manner must 
have alarmed his family. As it was, how- 
ever, it was not so strong and marked as to 
be attended with that effect, especially as 
he exerted himself to the utmost to conceal, 
or at least to control his distress. ThsX 
aomething had gone wrong, he freely ac- 
knowledged ; and, as he spoke of it always 
, in connexion with political topics, he suc- 
ceeded in parrying their questions, and 
checking suspicion. But, whenever they 
were all collected together, conld he not 
justly compare them to a happy group, un- 
conscious that they stood on a mine which 
was about to be fired 1 

About a week afterwards, namely, on the 
12th of January, arrived little Charles' 
birth-day, when he became five years old ; 
and Kate had for some days been moving 
heaven and earth to get up a children's 
party in honour of the occasion. After con- 
siderable riding and driving about, she 
succeeded in persuading the parents of 
some eight or ten children — two little 
daughters, for instance, of the Earl of Old- 
acre, (beautiful creatures they were, to be 
sure) — ^little Master and the two Miss Ber- 
tons, the children of one of the county mem- 
bers—Sir Harry Oldfield, an orphan of 
about five years of age, the infant possessor 
of a magnificent estate— and two or three 
other little girls — ^to send tiiem all to Yatton 
for a day and a night, with their governesses 
and attendants. 

Twas a charming little affair. It went 
off brilliantly, as the phrase is, and repaid 
all Kate's exertions. She, her mother, and 
brother, and sister, all dined at the same 
table with the merry little guests, who 
(with a laughable crowd of attendants be- 
nind them, to be sure) behaved remarkably 
well on the occasion. Sir Harry (a little 
thing about Charles's age, the black riband 
round his waist, and siso the half mourning 
dress worn by his maid, who stood behind 
him, showed how recent was the event 
which had made him an oiphan) proposed 
little Aubrey's health, in (I must own) a 
somewhat stiff speech, demurely dictated 
to him by Kate, (who sat between him and 
her beautiful little nephew.) She then 
performed the same office for Charles, who 
stood on a chair while delivering his elo- 
quent acknowledgment of the toast. 

Oh, that anguished brow of thine, Aubrey, 
(thank God it is unobserved!) but it tells 
me that the iron is entering thy soul. 



And the moment that he had done— Kate 
folding her arms around him and kissing 
him — Sown they all jumped, and a merry 
throng, scampered off to the drawing-room, 
(followed by Kate,) where blindman's buff, 
husbands and wives, and divers other little 
games, kept them in constant enjoyment. 
After tea they were to have dancing — Kate 
mistress of the ceremonies— and 'twas quite 
laughable to see how perpetually she was 
foiled in her efforts to term the little sets. 
The girls were orderly enough— ^ut their 
wild little partners were quite uncontrolla- 
ble. The instant they were placed, and 
Kate had gone to the instrument and struck 
off a note or two— heigh !— there was a 
scrambling little crowd, jumping, and laugh- 
ing, and chattering, and singing ! Over and 
over again she formed them into sets with 
the like results. But at length a young lady, 
one of their governesses^ took Miss Aubrey's 
place at the piano, leaving the latter to su- 
perintend the performances in person. She 
at length succeeded in getting up something 
like a country-dance, led off by Charles ana 
little Lady Anne Cherville, the eldest daugh- 
ter of the Earl of Oldacre, a beautiful cluld 
of about five years old, and who, judging 
from appearances, bade fair in due time to 
become another Lady Caroline Caversham. 
You woirid have laughed outright to watch 
the coquetish airs which this little creature 
gave herself with Charles, whom yet she 
evidently could not bear to see dancing with 
another. 

^* Now I shall dance with somebody else !" 
he exclaimed, suddenly letting goLady Anne, 
and snatching hold of a sweet little thing, 
Miss Berton, that was standing modestfy 
beside him. The discarded beau^ walked 
with a stately air, and swelling heart, to- 
wards Mrs. Aubrey, who sat beside her 
husband on the sofa; and on reaching her, 
she stood for a few moments silently watch- 
ing her late partner busily enga^^ed with her 
successor-^and then she burst into tears. 

** Charles !" called out Mrs. Aubrey, who 
had watched ihe whole affair, and could 
hardly keep her countenance,—** come here 
directly, Charles." 

"Yes, mamma!" he exclaimed^^nite 
unaware of the serious aspect which things 
were assuming— and, without quitting the 
dance, where he was Tas his jealous mis- 
tress too plainly saw, lor, despite her ^ief, 
her eye seemed to follow all his motions) 
skipping about with infinite glee with a 
tAird partner— a laughing siBter of his last 
partner. 

** Come here, Charies," said Mr. Aubrey; 
and in an instant his little son, all flushed 
and breathless, was at his side. 

*« Well, dear papa!" said he, keeping his 

16 



122 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAJL 



eye fixed on the little throng he had just 
quitted, and where his desert^ partner was 
skipping about alone. 

*^ What have you been doing to Lady 
Anne, Charles V^ said his father. 

** Nothing, dear papa !'' he replied, still 
wistfully eyeing the dancers. 

** You know you left me, and went to 
dance with Miss Berton ; you did, Charles!'* 
said the offended beauty. 

'' l^at is not behaying like a little gen- 
tleman, Charles," said his father, fhe 
tears came into the child's eyes. 

** I'm very sorry, dear papa, I ujiil dance 
with her—'' 

^ No, not now," said Lady Anne, haugh- 
tily. 

^^-Oh, pooh ! pooh !— kiss and be friends," 
said Mrs. Aubrey, *' and go and dance as 
prettily as you were doing before." Little 
Aubrey put his arms round Lady Anne, 
kissed her, and away they both started to 
the dance again. While the latter part of 
this scene was going on, Mr. Aubrey's eye 
caught the figure of a senrant who made his 
appearance at the door, and then retired, 
(for such had been Mr. Aubrey's orders in 
the event of any messenger coming from 
Grildton.) Hastily whispering that he 
should return soon, he len the room. In 
the hall stood a messenger from Mr. Parkin- 
son ; and, on seeing Mr. Aubrey, he took out 
a packet and retire, Mr. Aubrey, with eyi- 
dent trepidation, repairing to his library. 
With a trembling hand he broke the seal, 
and found the following letter from Mr. 
Parkinson, with three other enclosures : 

•«Oribton, Itih Jm^ 18—. 
''My dear Sir, 

" I haye only just reoeiyed, and at once 
forward to you, copies of three opinions 

fiyen by the attorney-general, Mr. Mans- 
eld, and Mr. Crystal. I lament to find 
that they are of a most discouraging charac- 
ter. They are quite independent of each 
other, having been laid before their respec- 
tive writers at the same moment ; yet you 
will observe that all three of them have hit 
upon precisely the same points, viz, / that 
your ^ndfather had no right to succeed to 
the inheritance till there was a failure of the 
heirs of Dame Dorothy Duddington. If, 
therefore, our opponents have contrived to 
ferret out any one who satisfies that desig- 
nation, (I cannot conjecture how they ever 
got upon the scent,) I really fear we must 
prepare for the worst. I have been quietly 
pusning my in<|^umes in all directions, with 
a view to obtaining a clue to the case in- 
tended to be set up against us, and which 
you will find very shrewdly guessed at by 



the attorney-general. Nor am I the only 
party in the field who has been making 
pointed inquiries in your neighbourhood; 
out of this more when we meet to-morrow. 
'' I remain 

♦* Yours, very respectfully, 
"J. rARKiirsoN. 
" Ckarle9 Aubrey^ Esq.^ M. P.' 



»♦ 



Havingr read this letter, Mr. Aubrey sunk 
back in his chair, and remained motionless 
for more than a <|^uarter of an hour. At 
length he roused himself and read over the 
opinions ; the effect of which he found had 
been but too correctly given by Mr. Parkin- 
son. Some suggestions and inquiries put 
by the acute and experienced Mr. Crystal, 
suddenly revived recollections of one or two 
incidents even of his boyish days, lonv for- 
gotten, but which, as he reflected upon uiem, 
began to reappear to his mind's eye with 
sicKening distinctness. Wave after wave 
of agony passed over him, chilling and be- 
nunmin^ his heart within him; so that, 
when his little son came some time after- 
wards running up to him, with a message 
from his mamma, that she hoped he could 
come back to see them all play at snap- 
dragon before they went to bed, he answered 
him mechanically, hardly seeming sensible 
even of his presence. At lengSi, with a 

groan that came from the depths of his heart, 
e rose and walked to ana fro, sensible of 
the necessity of exerting himself, and pre- 
paring himself in some degree, for encoun- 
tering his mother, his wife, and his sister. 
Taking up his candle, he hastened to his 
dressing-room, where he hoped, by the aid 
of refreshing ablutions, to succeed in effa- 
ciiig St least the stronger of these traces of 
su&ring which his glass displayed to hiip, 
as it reflected the image of his blanched and 
agitated countenance. A sudden recollec- 
tion of the critical and delicate situation of 
his idolized wife glanced through his heart 
like a keen arrow. He sunk upon the sofii, 
and, clasping his hands, looked the most 
forlorn ooject that could be imagined. 
While he was in this deplorable state of 
mind, the door was pusned hastUy but 
gently open ; and, first looking in to see that 
It was readlyhe of whom she was in search, 
in rushed Mrs. Aubrey, pale and agitated, 
having been alarmed by his non-appearance 
in the drawing-room, and the look of the 
servant, from whom she had learned that 
his master had been for some time gone up 
staire. 

•« Charles! my love! my sweet love!" 
she exclaimed wildly, rushing up to him, 
flinging herself down beside him, and cast- 
ing her arms round his neck. Overcome 
by the suddenness of her appearance and 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR'. 



193 



mofement8, for a moment he spoke not, but 
stared at her as if stupiiied. 

" For mercy's sake— as you love me ! — 
tell me, my darlingr, darlinv Charles, what 
has happened.'* 

*• Notninv—-loYe— nothing ;" but his look 
belied his speech. 

** Oh ! am I not the wife of your bosom, 
dearest 1 Charles, I shall go distracted if 
you do not tell me what has happened. I 
know that something— -somethmg dread- 
ful — ^" He put his arm round her waist, 
and drew her tenderly towards him. He 
felt her heart beating violently. He kissed 
her cold forehead, but spoke not. 

*♦ Come, dearest ! let me share your sor- 
rows," said she, in a thrilling voice. " Can- 
not you trust your Agnes ? Has not Hea- 
ven sent me as a helpmeet for yon V* 

*' I love you, Agnes ! ay, more than ever 
man loved woman !'* he murmured^ and 
buried his face in her bosom. Her arras 
folded him in closer and closer embrace; 
and she looked with wild agitation, expect- 
ing presently to hear of some fearful catas- 
trophe. " I cannot bear this much longer, 
dearest — ^I feel I cannot,*' said she, rather 
faintly. ^^What has happened? What 
tiiat you dare not tell me? I can bear any 
Aing, while I have you and my children ! 
You have been unhappy, my own Charles, 
for many days past. I will not part with 
you now till I know all !" 

** You soon mud know all, my precious 
Agnes; and I take Heaven to witness, that 
it is only on your account— I did not wish 
you to have known it till ^" 

" You — are never going — ^to fight a d uel V 
she gasped, turning as white as death. 

**0h! no, no, Agnes I I solemnly assure 
you ! If I could have brought myself to 
engage in such an unhallowed affair, would 
Mm scene ever first have occurred 1 No, no, 
m^ own love ! Must I then tell you of tiie 
misfortune that has overtaken us!" She 
gazed at him in mute and breathless appre- 
hension. <*They are bringing an action 
against me, which, if successful, may cause 
us all to quit Yatton — and, it may be, for 
ever." 

" Oh, Charles !" she murmured, lier eyes 
riveted upon his, while she unconsciously 
moved nearer to him, and trembled. Her 
head drooped upon his shoulder. 

" Why is this 1" she whispered. 

** Let us, dearest, talk of it another time. 
I have now told you what you asked me." 
He poured her out a glass of waler. Having 
drunk a little, she appeared revived. 

"Is all lost? Do, my own Charles, let 
roe know the worst." 

** We are young, Agnes, and have the 
world before us. Health and honour are 



better than riches. You dnd our little 
loves — the ehildren which (rod has given u» 
—are my riches," said he, gazing with un- 
speakable fondness at her. " Even should 
it be the will of Heaven that this alTair 
should go against us — so long as they can- 
not separate us from each other, they can- 
not really hurt us." She suddenly kissed 
him with frantic energy, and an hysteric 
smile gleamed over her pallid excited fea- 
tures. 

"Calm yourself, Agnes!— ^mlm yourself 
for my sake ! as you love me !" His voice 
quivered. " Oh, how very weak and fool- 
ish I have been to yield to—" 

" No, no, no !" she gasped, evidently la- 
bouring with hysteric oppression. " Hush!" 
said she, suddenly starting, and wildly 
leaning forwards towards the door which 
opened into the gallery leading to the va- 
nous bed-rooms. He listened— -the mo- 
ther's ear had been quick and true. He pre- 
sently heard the sound of many children's 
voices approaching: they were the little 
party aocompaniea by Kate, on their way 
to bed; and little Charles's yoice was 
loudest, and his laugh the merriest of them 
all. The wild smile of hysterics gleamed 
on Mrs. Aubrey's face; her hand grasped 
her husband's with convulsive pressure; 
and she suddenly sunk, rigid and senseless, 
upon the sofa. He seemed for a moment 
stunned at the sight of her motionless fi- 
gure. Soon, however, recovering his pre- 
sence of mind, he rang the bell, and one or 
two female attendants quickly appeared; 
and by their joint assistance Mrs. Aubrey 
was carried to her bed in the adjoining 
room, where, by the use of the ordinary 
remedies, she was presently restored to con- 
sciousness. Her first languid look was 
towards Mr. Aubrey, whose hand she slow* 
ly raised to her lips. She tried to raise a 
smile into her wan features— but 'twas in 
vain ; and, after a few heavy and half-cho- 
king sobs, her overcharged feelings found 
relief in a flood of tears. Full of the live- 
liest apprehensions as to the effect of this 
violent emotion upon her, in her delicate 
condition, he remained with her for some 
time, pouring into her ear every soothing and 
tender expression he could think of. He 
at length succeeded in bringing her into a 
somewhat more tranquil state than he could 
have expected. He strictly enjoined the 
attendants, who had not quitted their lady's 
chamber, and whose alarmed and inquisi- 
tive looks he had noticed for some time with 
anxiety, to preserve silence concerning what 
thoy had so unexpectedly witnessed, adding 
that something unfortunate had happened, 
of which they would hear but too soon. 
" Are you going to tell Katel" whisper- 



IM 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



ed Mre. Aubrey, sorrowfully. "Sui^ly, 
love, tfou have suffered eiiougn through my 
weakness. Wait till to-morrow. Let her 
have a few more happy hours.*' 

" No, Agrnes — ^it was my own weakness 
which caused me to be surprised into this 
premature disclosure to you. And now I 
must meet her again to-night, and I cannot 
control either my features or my feelings. 
Yes, poor Kate, she must know all to>night ! 
I shall not be long absent, Agnes.'* And 
directing her maid to remain with her till he 
returned, he withdrew, and with slow step 
and heavy heart descended to the library ; 
preparing himselffor another heart-breaking 
scene — ^plun^ng another innocent and joy- 
ous creature into misery, which he belieVed 
to be inevitable. Having looked into the 
drawing-room as he passed it, and seen no 
one there— his mother having, as usual, re- 
tired at a very early hour — ^ne rung his li- 
brary bell, and desired Miss Aubrey's maid 
to request her mistress to come down to him 
there, as soon as she was at leisure. He 
was glad that the only light in the room 
was that given out by the fire, which was 
not very bright, and so would in some de- 
^ee shield his features from, at all events, 
mmiediate scrutiny. His heart ached as, 
shortly afterwards, he heard Kate's light 
step crossing the hall. When she entered, 
her eyes sparkled with vivacity, and a smile 
vras on her beauteous cheek. Her dress 
was tumbled, and her hair hung disordered 
and half uncurled— the results of her sport 
¥rith the little ones whom she- had been see- 
ing to bed 

^^ What merry little things, to be sure !" 
she commenced, laughingly — ** I could not 

Sit them to lie still a moment— ^pping 
eir little heads in and out of the clothes. 
A fine night I shall have with Sir Harry ! 
for he is to be my bedfellow, and I dare say 
I shall not sleep a wink all night. Why, 
Charles, how very— very grave you look 
to-ni&rht!" she added quickly, observing his 
eye fixed moodily upon her. 

" 'Tis you who are so very gay," he re- 
plied, endeavouring to sniile. ** 1 want to 
speak to you, dear Kate," he commenced 
affectionately, *'on a serious matter. I 
have received some letters to-night—" 

Kate coloured suddenly and violently, 
and her heart beat; but, sweet soul ! she 
was mistaken — ^very, very far off the mark 
her troubled brother was aiming at. *^ And 
relying on your strength of mind, I have re- 
solved to put you at once in possession of 
what I myself know. Can you bear bad 
news well, Kate 1" 

She turned very pale, and drawing her 
chair nearer to her brother, said, " Do not 
keep me in suspense, Charies,— I can bear 



any thing but suspense— that m dreadful! 
What has happened 1 Oh dear," she add- 
ed, with sudden alarm, " where are mam- 
ma and Agnes 1" She started to her feet 

" I assure you they are both well, Kate. 
My mother is now doubtless asleep, and as 
well as she ever was ; Agnes is in her bed- 
room — certainly much distressed at the news 
which I am going — ^" 

" Oh, why, Charles, did you tell any 
thing distressing to her ^^ exclaimed Miss 
Aubrey, with an alaxmed air. 

** She came upon me by surprise, Kate. 
'Twould have been infinitely more danger^ 
ous to have kept her in suspense ; but she 
is recovering. I shall soon return to her. 
And now, my dear Kate— I know your 
strong sense and spirit— « very great cala* 
mity hangs over us. Let you and me," he 
grasped her hands affectionately, " stand it 
steadily, and support those who cannot." 

^ Let me at once know all, Charles. See 
if I do not bear it as becomes your sister,'* 
said she, with forced calmness. 

" If it should become necessary for^ll of 
us to retire into obscuritv — humble obscu- 
rity, dear Kate— how do you think you 
could bear iti" 

'* If it will be an honourable obscurity- 
nay, 'tis quite impossible to be a <ft»-ho- 
nourable obscurity," said Miss Aubrey, with 
a momentary flash of energy. 

" Never, never, Kate ! The Anbrejs 
may lose everything on earth but the Jewel 
honour^ and love for one another." 

** Let me know all, Charles,'* said Miss 
Aubrey, in a low tone, but with a look of 
the deepest apprehension. 

*' A strange claim is set up— by one I 
never heard of— to the whole of the property 
I now enjoy." 

Miss Aubrey started, and the colour left 
her cheek. 

** But is it a true claim, Charles ?" 

**That remains to be proved. But T will 
disguise nothing from you— I have wofiil 
apprehensions — " 

'* Do yon mean to say that Yatton is not 
ours ?" inquired Miss Aubrey, catching her 
breath. 

** So, my dearest girl, it is said." 

Miss Aubrey looked bewildered, and 
pressed her hand to her forehead. 

" How shocking ! — shocking ! — shock- 
ing !" she gasped. " What is to became 
of mammal" 

"God Almighty will not desert her in 
her old age. He will desert none of us* 
dearest, if we only trust in him, '* said her 
brother. 

Miss Aubrey remained gaiing at him 
intently, and continued perfectly motion- 
less. 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



136 



^^Must we all leave Yatton V^ said she, 
faintlj. 

*^ If this claim succeeds— but we shall 
leave it together^ Kate.*' 

She threw her arms round his neck and 
wept bitterly. 

** Hush, hush, Kate !" said he, perceiv- 
ing the increasing violence of her emotions, 
** restrain your feelings for the sake of my 
mother— «nd Agnes.'" 

His words had the desired effect: the 
poor girl made a desperate effort. Unclasp- 
mg her arms from her brother's neck, she 
sat down in her chair, breathing hard ; and, 
aAer a few minutes' pause, she said, faint- 
ly, " I am better now. Do tell me more, 
Charles ! Let me have something to think 
about— only don't say any thing about— 
about — mamma and Agnes !" In spite of her- 
self a visible shudder ran through her frame. 

** It seems, Kate," said he, with all the 
calmness he could assume—" at least they 
are trying to prove-— that our family had no 
right to succeed to this property; that 
there is living the right heir ; his case has 
been taken up by powerful friends ; and — 
let me tell you the worst at once— the first 
lawyers in the kingdom seem to agree that 
he is entitled to recover the whole of Yat^ 
ton^-even the lawyers consulted by Mr. 
Parkinson on my behalf—" 

*^But is mamma provided fori" whis- 
pered Miss Aubrey, almost inarticulately. 
"When I look at her again, I shall al- 
most break my heart." 

"No, Kate, you won't. Heaven will 
give you strength," said her brother, in a 
tremnlotts voice. "Remember, my only 
sister— my darling Kate! yon must support 
me in my trouble— we will support one 
another—" 

" We will !^we will !" interrupted Miss 
Aubrey— instantly checking, however, her 
rising excitement. 

" You bear it bravely, my noble girl !" 
said Mr. Aubrey, fondly, after a brief inter- 
val of silence. 

She turned from him her head, and moved 
her hand— in deprecation of expressions 
that might utterly unnerve her. Then she 
convulsively clasped her hands over her 
forehead ; and after a minute or two, turned 
towards him with tears in her eyes, but 
tranquillized features. The struggle had 
been dreadful, though brief— her noole spi- 
rit recovered it itself. 

Twas like a &ir bark, in mortal conflict 
with the black and boiling waters and 
howling hurricane ; long auivering on the 
brink of destruction, but at last outliving the 
storm, righting itself, and suddenly gliding 
into safe and tranquil waters. 

The distressed orother and sister sat con- 

L 3 



versing for a long time, freouently in tears, 
but with infinitely greater calmness and firm- 
ness than could have been expected. They 
agreed that Dr. Tatham should very early 
in the morning be sent for, and implored to 
take upon himself the bitter duty of break- 
ing the matter to their mother ; its effects 
upon whom, her children anticipated with 
the most vivid apprehension. Fhey then 
retired — Kate to a sleepless pillow, and her 
brother to spend a greater portion of the 
night in attempts to soothe and console his 
suffering wife; each of them having first 
knelt in liumble reverence, and poured forth 
the breathings of a stricken and bleeding 
heart before Him who hath declared that he 
Keareth and anawerefh prayer. 

Ah ! who can tell what a day or an hour 
may bring forth. 

"It won't kindle— not a bit on't — ^it's 
green and full o' sap. Go out, and get us 
a log that's dry and old, George— and let's 
try to have a bit of a blaze in t' ould chim- 
ney, this bitter night," said Isaac Tonson, 
the game-keeper at Yatton, to the good-na- 
tured landlora of the Aubrey Arms, the lit- 
tle— «nd oidy — ^inn of the village. The 
suggestion was instantly attended to.* 

"How Peter's a feauiering of his geese 
to-night, to be sure !" exclaimed the land- 
lord on his return, shaking the snow^ff his 
coat, and laying on the fire a great dry old 
log of wood, which seemed very acceptable 
to the hungry flames, for they licked it cor- 
dially the moment it was placed amongst 
them, and theie was very soon given out a 
cheeriful blaze. "Fwas a snug room, the 
brick floor covered with fresh sand ; and on 
a few stools and benches, with a table in 
the middle, on which stood a large can and 
ale-glasses, with a plate of tobacco, sat 
some half a dozen men, enjoying their pipe 
and glass. In the chimney comer sat Tho- 
mas/Dickons, the under bailiff of Mr. Au- 
brey, a big, broad-shouldered, middle-aged 
fellow, with a hard-featured face and a 
phlegmatic air. In the opposite comer sat 
•the little grizzle-headed clerk and sexton, 
old Hdleluiah — (as he was called, but his 
real name was Jonas Higgs.) Beside him 
sat Pumpkin, the gardener at the hall, a 
constant guest at the Aubrey Arms o' nights 
—always attended by Hector, the large 
Newfoundland dog already spoken of, and 
who was now lying stretched on the floor 
at Pumpkin's feet, his nose resting on his 
forefeet, and his eyes, with great gravity, 
watching the motions of a skittish kitten 
under the table. Opposite to him sat Ton- 
son the game-geeper — a thin, wiry, beetle- 
browed fellow, with eyes like a ferret; and 
there were also one or two formers, that 
lived in the village. 



Ittf 



T£N THOUSAND A ITEAIL 



•« LeC^s ha* aoofther eaa o* ale, afbie je Bit ' 
dooB,** said one of them; ** we can do with 
half a gallon, Fm thinlring." Tbia order 
alao waa qoicUy attended to; and then the 
landlord, haring seen to the door, and lis- 
tened the shatlers cloee, took his plaee on a . 
Tacant stool, and lesomed his pipe. j 

^ So she do take a rerj long graTe, Jo- j 
nas 1^ inqaired Dickom of the sexton. ! 

^ Aj, Mr. Diekons, a* think she do, the j 
owld girl ! I always dioogfat she woold. I 
n\8 a regular mofi's size,! warrant joo ; . 
and when parson saw it a* said he thoogfat 
^twerc too big ; bat I azM his pardon, md 
said I hadn't been sexton for thirty years 
withoot knowiitf my business— ha, ha !** 

** I suppose, Jonas, too man ha* seen her 
walking about i* t' yilkge in yoor time— 
Were she such a big loddng woman 1** in- 
quired PompkiB, as he shook the ashes out 
of his pipe, and replenished it. 

^ Forty yean aeo I used to see her— «be 
were then an old woman, wi* white hair, 
and leaned on a stick — I nerer thought sheM 
a lasted so long,'* lepiied Higga, emptying 
his glass. I 

**SheVe had a piettylon^ spell on't," 
qnoth Dickons, slowly emptymg nis mouth 
of smoke. 

^ A bandied and two," replied the sex- 
ton ; ^ so saith her coflin plate-— a' seed it to- 
day." 

** What were her namel" inqtiired Ton- 
son—*'/ nerer knew her by any name but 
BUnd Bess." 

^ Her name be EUzabdk Crabhee^ on the 
coffin," replied Higgs; **aiid she's to be 
buried to-morrow." 

** She were a strange old wcnnan," said 
Hazel, one of the farmers, as he took down 
one of the oatcakes that were hanfin^ over- 
head, and breaking off a piece, held it with 
the tongs before Uie fire to toast, and then 
put it into his ale. 

^*Ay, she were," quoth Pampkin; **I 
wonder what she thinks o' such things tiow 
— 4naT be she's pajring dear for her tricks." 

*«Tat, Pumpkin," said Tonson, '«let the 
old creature rest in her ffraFe." 

*' Ay, Master Tonson," quoth the clerk, in 
his church twang — ^ there be no knowledgCj 
nor vfiBdom^ nor deviu /" • 

'« I'is very odd, but this dog that's lying 
at my feet never could a' bear going past 
her cottage late o' nights ; and the ni^t she 
died — Lord ! you should have heard the howl 
Hector gaTe---and a' didn't then know she 
were gone," 

"^lol but wer't really iko?" inquired 
Dickons— several of the others taking their 
pipes out of their mouths, and looking ear- 
nestly at Pumpkin. 



Ha, ha. 



ha!" lan^wd li» 



Ay, many yoo may lang^i — but Fll stake 

half a galloo o^ ale you duen't go by your- 
self to the cottage where she*s lying— mow, 
miod— i* die dark." 

**I11 do it," qaoth Higgs,. eagerly pie- 
parin|[ to lay down his pipe. 

" >o, no— 4Aou'W quite used to dead folk," 
replied Pumpkin. 

**Beas dropped off soddeB4ike at last, 
didn't she ?" inqaired the landlord. 

'^She went out, as they say, like the 
snuff of a candle," replied Jobbins, one of 
the frrmeis; **no one were with her hot 
missis at the time. The ni|;ht afore she 
took to the rattles all of a sudden. My Sail 
(that's done for her this long time by 
madam's orders) says old Bess were a good 
deal shaken by a chap from London, that 
came down about a week afore Christmas." 

"Ay, ay," quoth one, "I've heard o' 
that — ^what was it! — ^what passed afwixt 
them!" 

" Why, a' don't well know — but he had 
a book, and wrote down something; and be 
axed her, so Sail do tell me, sui^ a many 
things about old people, and things that are 
long gone by." 

'^What were the use on'tl" inquired 
Dickons; " for Bess has been silly this ten 
years, to my sartin knowledge." 

'«Why, a' couldn't telL Sail said she 
talked a good deal to the chap in her mum- 
bling wav, and seemed to know some folk 
he asked her about. And Sail saith she 
hath been, in a manner, dismal ever since, 
and often a-crying and talking to herself." 

«<rve heard," said the landlord, <'that 
squire and parson were wi' her on Christ- 
mas day — and that she talked a deal o' 
strange things, and that the squire did seem, 
as it were, Urwk a little." 

" Why, so my Sail do say ; but it may be 
all her own head," replied Jobbins. 

Here a pause took place. 

*( Madam," said the sexton, ** hath given 
ordere for a decent bniyine to-moirow. ' 

♦* Well, a' never thou^t any wrong of 
hei, for my part," said one— and another— 
and another; and they smoked their pipes 
for some minutes in silence. 

"Talking o' strangers from London," 
said the sexton, presently ; ^* who do know 
any thing o' them two cnaps that were at 
church last Sunday 1 Two such peacock- 
looking chaps I never seed — and grinning 
all service time." 

" Ay, rU tell ye something of 'em,'* said 
Hazel— a big, broad-shouldered farmer, 
who plucked his pipe out of his mouth with 
sudden energy—^* Tliey're a brace o' good 



TEN THOUSAND A YfiAR. 



in 



oaes, to be sure, hi, ha ! Some week or ten 
days ago, as I were a-comln? across the 
field leading into the lane behind the church, 
I seed these same two chaps, and on comin? 
nearer, (they not seeing me for the hedge,) 
Lord bless me! would ye believe iti — if 
they wasn^t a-teasing my daughter Jenny, 
that were coming along wi* some physic 
from the doctor for my old woman ! One of 
'era seemed a-going to put his arm around 
her neck, and t'other came close to her on 
t'other side, a-talking to her and poshingr 
her about." Here a young fanner, who had 
but seldom spoken, took bis pipe out of his 
mouth, and exclaiming, **Lora bless me!" 
sat listening with his mouth wide open^— 
** Well, a' came into the road behini) 'em, 
without their seeing me; and" — rhere he 
stretched out a thick, rigid, muscular arm, 
and clenched his teeth)—** a' got hold of 
each by the collar, and one of em I shook 
about, and gave him a kick i' the breech 
that sent him spinning a yard or two on the 
road, he clapping his hand behind him and 
ciyinff, to be 8nr&-** Good for a hundred 
' pounds damages !' T'other dropped on his 
knees, and begged for mercy ; so a' just spit 
in his face, and flun^ him under the hedge, 
telling him if he stnrred till 1 were out o' 
sight, I'd crack his skull ibr him ; and so I 
would !" Here the wrathful speaker pushed 
his pipe again between his lips, and began 
puffing away with great energy; wlule he 
who had appeared to take so great an^ inte- 
rest in the story, and who was the very man 
who had flown to the rescue of Miss Aubrey, 
when she seemed on the point of being simi- 
larly treated, told that circumstance exactly 
as it occurred, amidst the silent but excited 
wonder of those present— all of whom, at its 
close, uttered vehement execrations, and in* 
timated the summary and savage punish- 
ment which the cowardly rascal would have 
experienced at the hands of each and every 
one of them, had they come across him. 

**T reckon," said the landlord, as soon 
as the swell had a little subsided, ** they 
must be the two chaps that put up here, 
some time ago, for an hour or so. You 
should ha' seen 'em get on and off— 4hat'8 
all ! Why, a' laughed outright ! The chap 
with the hair under his chin got on upon the 
wrong side, and t'other seemed as if he 
thou^t his beast would bite him !" 

*' Ha, ha, ha !" laughed all. 

^'I thought they'd a both got a fall before 
they'd gone a dozen jrards !" 

"They've taken a strange fancy to my 
church-yard," said the sexton, setting down 
his glass, and then preparing to fill his pipe 
affain; *< They've been loolang uncommon 
emse in^ the old gmve^stones, up behind t' 



ould yew tree yonder ; and one of them writ 
something, cow and then, in a book; so 
they're book writers." 

<* That's scholars, I reckon," quoth 
Dickons, *'but rot the laming of such chaps 
as they!" 

*' I wonder if they'll put a picture o' the 
Hall in their boolc," quoth the sexton* 
**They axed a many questions about the* 
people ttp there, especially about the squire's , 
father, and some ould folk, whose names I 
knew when they spoke of 'em— but I hadn't 
heard o' them for this forty years. And 
one of 'em, (he were the shortest,) and 
such a chap, to be sure !-*-just like the mon« 
key that were dressed i' man's clothes last 
Grilston fair — ^talked uncommon fine about 
Miss ^" 

** If I a' heard him ta' her name into his 
dirty mouth, his teeth should a' gone after 
it !'' said Tonson. 

" Lord, he didn't say any harm— only 
silly-like-^and t'other seemed now and then • 
not to like his going on so. The little one 
said Miss were a lovely sal, or something 
like that-— and hoped theyM become by and 
by better friends.'' 

" What! wi' that chap 1" said Pumpkin . 
— 4nd he looked as if he were meditatii^ ' 
putting the little sexton up the chimney, for 
the mere naming of such a thing. • 

**I reckon mey're from London, and 
brought London tricks wi' em— for I never 
heard o' such goings on as theirs down here 
before," said Tonson. 

" One of 'em— him that axed me all the 
questions, and wrote i' th' book, seemed a 
sharp enough chap, in his way : but I can't 
say much for the little one,'' said Higgs. 
** Lud, I couldn't hardly look in his face for 
laugbing, he seemed such a fool ! — ^He imd 
a riding'whip wi' a silver head, and stood 
smacking his legs (you should ha' seen 
how tight his clothes was on his legs— ^I 
warrant you, Tim Timkins never seed such 
a thing, I'll be sworn) all the while, as if 
a' liked to hear the sound of it." 

**If I'd a been beside him," said Haael, 
" I'd a saved him that trouble-— only I'd a 
laid it into another part of him !" 

"Ha, ha, ha!" they laughed— 4md pre- 
sently passed on to other matters. 

" Hath the squire been doing much lately 
in parliament t" inquired the sexton of 
Dickons. 

" Why, yes — ^he's trying hard to ^et that 
new road made from Harkley Bridge to 
Hilton." 

"Ah, that would save a good four mil<w^" 

" I hear the papists are trying to get the 
upper hand agam— which the Lud forbid I!* 
said the sexton. 



IM 



TKN THOUSAND A YfiAft. 



*< The squire bath, lately made a speech 
in that matter, that hath finished them/' 
said Dickons. 

"What would they be after!" inquired 
the landlord of Dickons, with all present, 
thinking great things of him. 

" They say they wants noting but what's 
their own, and liberty, and thatlike." 

** If thou wast a shepherd, and wert to be 
asked by ten or a dozen wolves to let them 
in among thy flock of sheep, they saying 
how kind and quiet they would be to 'em-— 
would'st let 'em in, or keep 'em out— eh !" 

" Ay, ay — ^that be it— 'tis as true as gos- 
pel !" said the clerk. 

" So you ain't to have that old sycamore 
down, after all, Master Dickons 1" inquired 
Tonson. 

" No ; Miss hath carried the day against 
the squire and Mr. Watere; and there stands 
.the old tree, and it hath to be looked better 
after than it were before." 

" Why hath Miss taken such a fancy to 
it? 'TIS an old crazy thing." 

"If thou had St been there when she did 
beg, as I may say, it's life," replied Dickons, 
with a little energr^-^^ and hadst seen her, 
and heard her voice, that be as smooth as 
cream, thou would'st never have forgotten 
it, I can tell thee!" 

" There isn't a more beautiful IzAy V th' 
county, I reckon, than the squire's sister ?" 
inquired the sexton. 

" No, nor in all England : if there be, I'll 
lay down a hundred pounds." 

" And Where's to be found a young lady 
that do go about i' th' village like shel— 
She were wi' Phcebe Williams t'other night, 
all through the snow and i' th' dark." 

"If I'd only laid hands on that chap!" 
interrupted the young farmer, her rescuer. 

" I wonder she do not choose some one 
to be married to up in London," said the 
landlord. 

"She'll be having some delicate high 
ojuality chap, I reckon, one o' these fine 
days," said Hazel. 

*^She will be a dainty dish, truly, for 
whomever God gives her to," quoth Dick- 
ons. 

"Ay she will," said more than one; and 
there was a slight sound as of smacking of 
lips. 

" Now to my mind," said Tonson, " saving 
your presence. Master Dickons, I know not 
but young madam be more to my taste ; she 
be in a manner somewhat fuller — ^plumper- 
like, and her skin be so white, and her nair 
as black as a raven's." 

" There's not another two such women to 
be found in the world," said Dickons. 
Here Hector suddenly rose up, and went to 



the door, where he stood snuffing in an id* 
quisitive manner. 

" Now, what do that dog hear, I wonder 1" 
quoth Pumpkin, curiously, stooping forward. 

" Blind Bess," replied Tonson, winking 
his eye and laughing. Presently there was 
a sharp rapping at the door; which the land- 
lord openea, and let in one of the servants 
from me Hall, his clothes white with snow, 
his face nearly as white with manifest agi- 
tation. 

"Why, man, what's the matter?" in- 
quired Dickons, startled by the man's ap- 
pearance. " Art friffhtened at any thing f" 

" Oh, Lord ! oh. Lord !" he commenced. 

" What is it, man ? Art drunk ? or mad 1 
—or frightened ? 'I^ike a drop o' drmk," 
said Tonson. But the man renised it. 

" Oh, my friends, sad work at the Hall !" 

" What^s the matter!" cried all at once, 
rising and standing round the new comer. 

"& thou be'st drunk, John," said Dick- 
ons, sternly, "there's a way of sobering 
thee— mind that." 

"Oh, master Dickons, I don't know 
what's come to me for grief and fright! 
The squire, and all of us, are to be turned 
outofVatton!" 

" What!'*^ exclaimed they all in a breath. 

" There's some one else lays claim to it 
We must all go! Oh, Lud! oh, Lud !" 
No one spoke for near a minute; and con- 
sternation was written on every face. 

"Sit thee down here, John," said Dickons 
at length, " and let us hear what thou hast 
to say— or thou wilt have us all be going 
up in a body to the Hall." 

Having K>rced on him part of a glass of 
ale, he began,— *' There hath been plainly 
mischief brewing somewhere this many 
days, as I could tell by the troubled face o' 
the squire ; but he kept it to himself. Law- 
yer Parkinson and another have been latterly 
coming in chaises from London ; and last 
night the squire got a letter that hath finished 
all. Such trouble there were last night 
with the squire, and young madam and 
miss! And to-day the parson came, and 
were a long while alone with old madam 
Aubrey, who hath since had a stroke, or a 
fit, or something of that like, (the doctor 
hath been there all day from Grilston,) and 
likewise youna madam hath taken to her 
bed and is ill.'' 

" And what of the squire and missi" in- 
quired some one, after all had maintained a 
long silence. 

" Oh, 'twould break your heart to see 
them ;" said the man, bunting into tears : 
"they are both as pale as death: he so 
dreaaful sorrowful, but quiet-like, and she 
now and then wringing her hands, and both 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



It9 



of them going from the bedroom of old ma- 
dam to younff madam's. Nay, an* there 
had been haira dozen deaths i* the house, 
it could not be worse. Neither the squire 
nor miss hath touched food the whole day !'* 

There was, in truth, not a dry eye in the 
room, nor one whose voice did not seem 
somewhat obstructed with his emotions. 

^ Who told about the squire's losing the 
estate r' inquired Dickons. 

** We heard of it but an hour or so agone. 
Mr. Parkinson (it seems by Uie squire's 
orders) told Mr. Waters, and he tolu it to 
us ; Baying as how it was useless to keep 
such a thing secret, and that we might afi 
know the occasion of so much trouble." 

^* Who's to ha' it then, instead of the 
squire?" at length inquired Tonson, in a 
voice half choked with rage and grief. 

'* Lord only knows at present. But who- 
soever 'tis, there isn't one of us servants but 
will go with the squire and his— if it be 
even to prison." 

" I'm Squire Jiubrev^a gamekeeper," quoth 
Tonson, his eye kindling as his countenance 
darkened. ** It shall go hard if any one 
else e'er hath a same— >" 

" But if there^s law in the land, sure the 
justice must be wi' the squire— he and his 
family have had it so long," said one of the 
farmers. 



** I'll tell Tou what, masters," said Pump- 
kin, ** I shall be somewhat better pleased 
when Higgs here hath got that old creature 
safe under ffround." 

** Blind Bess 1" exclaimed Tonson, with 
a very serious, not to say disturbed coun- 
tenance. ^* I wonder— sure ! sure ! that 
old witch can have had no hand in all 
this- 



»i 



*^ Poor old soul, not she ! There be no 
such things as witches now-a-days," ex- 
claimed Hiffgs. *' Not she, I warrant me ! 
She hath been ever befriended by the 
Squire's family. She do it!" 

*^The sooner we get her under ground, 
for all that, the better, say I !" quoth Ton- 
son, vehemently striking bis haind on the 
table. 

"The parson hath a choice sermon on 
the * Flying Away of Riches,' " said Higgs, 
in a quaint, sad manner ; " 'tis to be hoped 
he'll preach from it the next Sunday." 

Soon after this the little party dispersed, 
each oppressed with g^reater grief and 
amazement than he had ever known before. 
Bad news fly swifUy — and that which had 
just come from the Hall, within a very few 
hours of its having bora told at the Aubrey 
Arms, had spread grief and constematioii 
among high and low for many miles nmnd 
Yatton. 



CHAPTER VII. 



Would you have believed it 1 Notwith- 
standing all that had happened bet]veen 
Titmouse and Tagrag, they positively got 
reconciled to one ano3ier — a triumphant re- 
sult of the astute policy of Mr. Uammon. 
As soon as he had heard Titmouse's infu- 
riated account of his ignominious expulsion 
from Satin Lodge he burst into a fit ot hearty 
but ^ntle laughter, which at length subsi- 
ded into an inward chuckle that lasted the 
rest of the day : and which was occasioned, 
first, by gratification at the impression 
which his own sagacity had evidently pro- 
duced upon the powerful mind of Titmouse; 
secondly, by an exquisite appreciation of 
the mingled meanness and stupidity of Tag- 
rag. I don't mean it to be understood, that 
Titmouse had given Mr. Gammon such a 
terse and clear account of the matter as I 
imagine myself to have given to_my read- 



er; but still he told quite enough to put 
Mr. Grammon in full possession of the true 
state of the case. Good: but then — ^in- 
stantly reflected Gammon-— what are we 
now to do wi^ Titmouse 1«-where was 
that troublesome little ape to be caged, till 
it suited the puipose of his proprietoiB 
(as Messrs. Quirk, Grammon, ana Snap 
might surely be called, for they had caught 
him, as however, they might fail to tame 
him) to let him loose upon society, to amuse 
and astonish it by his antics 1 That was 
the question occupying the thoughts of Mr. 
Gammon, while his calm, clear gray eye 
waf fixed upon Titmouse, apparently very 
attentive to what he was saving. Tittlebat 
had first told the story of"^ his wrongs to 
Snap, who instantly, rubbing his hands, 
sag^ted an indictment at the Clerkenweli 
sessions a n idea which infinitely delight- 

17 



ISO 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



ed TltmoaBe, Init was somewhat sternly 
** pooh-pooh'poohed !** by Mr. Gammon as 
soon as he heard of iU^nap thereat shm^- 

ging his shoulders with a aisconcerted air, 
at a bitter sneer upon his sharp hard f^ce. 
Like many men of little but aetiye minds 
early drilled to particular callings. Snap 
was equal to the mechanical conduct of bu- 
siness-— the mere work of the machinery-— 
but, as the phrase is, could neyer see an inch 
beyond his nose. JBvery petty conjuncture 
of circumstances that admitted of litigation, 
at once suggested its expediency without 
reference to other considerations, or connec- 
tion with, or subordination to, any general 
purpose or plan of action. A creature of 
small impulses, he had no idea of foregoing 
a momentary advantage to secure an ulterior 
object— which, in fact, he could not keep 
for a moment before bis thoughts, so as to 
haye any influence on his moyements. — 
What a different man, now, was Gammon? 
To speak afler the manner of physiolo- 
ffists, seyeral of my characters— Titmouse, 
Tagraff, Qwith his amiable wife and dau^h- 
ter^ Huckaback, Snap, and old Quirk him- 
self—may be looked on as reptiles of a low 
order in the scale of being, whose simple 
structures almost one dash of the knife 
would suffice to lay thoroughly open. Gam- 
mon, howeyer, I look upon as of a much 
higher order, poesessine a far more compli- 
cated structure, adaptea to the discharge of 
superior functions; and who, consequently, 
requireth a more careful dissection. But 
let it not be supposed that I haye yet done 
with any of my characters. 

Gammon saw that Tagrag, under proper 
management, might be made yery useful. 
He was a money^ v^n ; and, afVer his sort, 
an ambitious man. ^e had an only child, 
a daughter, and if Titmouse and he could 
only be by any means once more brought 
together and a firm friendship cemented 
between them. Gammon saw several very 
profitable uses to which such an intimacy 
, might be turned, in the happening of any 
of several contingencies which he contem- 
plated as ppssible. In the event, for in- 
stance, of larger outlays of money being 
required than suited the convenience of the 
firm«— could not Tagrag be easily brought 
to accommodate his future son-in-law of 
dS 10,000 a yearl Suppose, for instance, 
that after all, their case should break down, 
and all their pains, exertions and expendi- 
ture be utterly thrown away. Now, if Tag- 
rag could be quietly brought some fine day 
to the point of either making some actual 
a4v«nce, or entering into security for Tit- 
mouse—ah ! that would do— -that would do, 



incalculable fool, and might commit himself 
too far. 

•• You forget. Gammon,*' said Quirk, ^I 
don't fear this girl of Tagras's — because 
only let Titmouse see— hem," he suddenly 
paused, and looked a little confused. 

^ To be sure— I see," replied Gammon 
quietly, and the thin^ passed off. «*If 
either Miss Quirk or Miss Tagrag becomes 
Mrs. Titmouse," thought Gammon, ^* I am 
not the man I take myself for." 

A few days after Titmouse's expulsion 
from Satin Lodge, without his ever having 
gone near Tagrag's premises in Oxford 
Street, or, in short, seen or heard any thing 
about him, or any one connected wiUi him, 
he removed to small, but very respectable 
lodgings in the neighbourhood of Hattca 
Garden, provided for him by Mr. Quirk. 
Mrs. Squallop was quite affected while she 
took leave of Titmouse, who gave her son 
sixpence to take his two boxes down stairs 
to the coach drawn up opposite to the en- 
trance of Closet Court. 

** I've always felt like a mother towards 
you, sir, in my humble way," said Mrs. 
Squallop in a very respectful manner, and 
courtesying profoundly. 

«« A — ^I've not got any small silver by me, 
my good woman," said Titmouse with a 
fine air, as he drew on his white kid glove. 
** Lord, Mr. Titmouse !" said the woman, 
almost bursting into tears, '« I wasn't asking 
for money, neither for me nor mine— only 
one can't help, as it were, feeling at parting 
with an old lodger." 

«' Ah— ya— as — and all that ! Well, my 
good woman, good day." 

^« Good-by, sir — God bless you, and 
you're going to be a rich man — excuse me, 
sir." And she seized his hand and shook 
it. 

" You're a — devilish — impudent— wo- 
man — 'pon my soul !" exclaimed Titmouse, 
his features filled with amazement at the 
presumption of which she had been guilty ; 
and he strode down the stairs with an air of 
offended dignity. 

" Well— 3 never ! — 7%at for you, you lit- 
tle brute," said Mrs. Squallop, snapping 
her fingers as soon as she had heard his 
last step on the stairs—*' kind or cruel, it's 
all one to you ; you're a nasty jackanapes, 
only fit to stand in a tailor's window to 
show his clothes — and I'll be sworn you'll 
come to no good in the end ! Let you he as 
rich as you may, you'll always be the fool 
you always were !" 

Had the good woman been familiar with 
the Night llioughts of Young, she might 
have expressed herself somewhat tersely in 



said both Quirk and Gammon. But then i a line or his — 

Titmouse was a yeiy unsafe instnunent— en | « pi^iet are pigmiM i tm, thongh perohod on Aipi." 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



181 



And, by the way, who can read the next 
line — 



**Aod pynmidi sfe pjnmidB in tsIm," 

withoat thinking for a moment, with a kind 
of proud sympathy, of certain other charao- 
ters in tliis history! — Well ! but let us pass 
on. 

Soon after Titmouse had got settled in 
his lodgings, Mr. Gammon called upon him, 
in the evening, and took a cup of tea with 
him. Their conyersation very naturally 
turned upon Tagraff. 

*** He M a stupid, Folgar brute, 1 own," 
said Gammon; ^*I never came near his 
equal." 

** Oh, particular— uncommon— devilish!" 

'• But, ha, ha ! the beauty of such things 
is, that men of superior mind make such 
creatuiea as Tagprag their mere puppele and 
playthings — and Sivmya get what they 
want out of them in spite of themselves." 

•* Ah — ^yes — ^to be sure ! Clever fellows ! 
Ha, 'ha! Do 'em— fools— quite! Nasty 
fellow Tagrag— I were too much for him, 
'pon my soul, ha, ha!" 

**TVa8 certainly admirably managed, 
my dear sir! But how could it be other- 
wise between Mr. Titmouse and such a fel- 
low as Tagrag 1" 

" Ah ! did him hollow !— Glad Tve done 
with him, though." 

"No, no, my dear Titmouse — not if 
there's a single grain to be got out of him." 

** Ah ! I don't know, sir ; brute— vulgar 
brute ! Give a pound to a big fellow to 
lick him." 

•* I am a little su prised, Mr. Titmouse," 
said Gammon, gravely, " that yon have not 
yet learned how to take a real and effectual 
revenge on such wretches." 

** Only you show me how to be revenged 
on him, and Pll learn fast enough ; 'pon no- 
noor I will!" replied Titmouse eagerly. 
" Could I make hun brankrupti" 

" My dear sir, the scheme I have in view 
will effect even that object if we choose; 
and also one much more important, and at 
the same time benefit you." 

"What is it sirl'*^ inquired Titmouse, 
quickly. 

"You see the old sinner dotes oo his 
daughter, and, indeed, so I suspect does 
some one else," added Gammon, with a sly 
smile, but glancing through it very keenly 
at Titmouse. 

** Meaning me, sir, I suppose, which, 'pon 
honour, is not the fact ! Eugh ! Don't like 
her. Better women in the market, if one's 
only money enough to go to market with." 

••Ha, ha, ha!— Capital! Admirably 
said, my dear Titmouse ! But now, sup- 
pose you were to pretend a passion for her, " 



»» 



"But if I make love in ^am he*ll make 
me marry in earnest— eh 1 Won't he 1 
Isn't that the law t" 

" Indeed, indeed, it is not ! Leave that 
to fn«/ I feel towards yon as towards a 
younger brother— «nd have ever since I first 
took up your cause, I assure you— I would 
rather lay down a thousand pounds than see 
yon marry that little wretcn ; but you see, 
if yon could only make Mr. Tagrag tMnk 
you loved and would marry her, we could 
turn it to some advantage— we could work 
it for your advantage— but all would de- 
pend upon your discretion. I'm sure yon 
understand me, my dear Titmouse 1" inqui- 
red Gammon, looking very significantly at 
Titmouse, and pouring himself out another 
cup of tea. 

" Oh ! genuine — ^y-e-e-s," said Titmouse,* 
hesitatin^y; not, however, having the faint- 
est notion of what was intended to be con- 
veyed to him by his plausible companion. 
He was the only person on earth with whom 
Titmouse felt completely at home and at his 
ease, as in the presence of a euperior, un- 
doubtedly; but then one so kind, and gentle, 
and interested in his welfare ! 

"I knew, Titmouse, that you would, as 
you always do. Your natural acuteness— 
eh 1 You (2o see it all, I know." 

" He, he, he ! — ^to be sure ! Ah, Mr. Gam- 
mon ! 'Pon my life — ^you're devilish deep ! 
I see it all now !" and he winked his eye, 
and put his finger to the tip of his nose, and 
gave himself no further trouble about at- 
tempting to comprehend the meaning of 
Gammon. , 

" Now, you see, I'll call on old Tagrag, 
and set all to rights." 

"Frighten him, ehl In courro you'll 
frighten him horridly— that's the way, 'pon 
honour, to go to work with Tagrag; the 
old scamp !'' 

" Trust me, I'll humble him, and get a 
proper apology from him : if I don't" con- 
tinued Gammon, with much energy and 
feeling — ••you never again darken his doors ; 
for I hope I know what is due to the injured 
honour of a eerUleman who has put himself 
into my hands." 

" Ah ! I should think so !" echoed Tit- 
mouse, shaking his head with a very injured 
and indignant air, and running his fingers 
through his hair. " But what will you say 
to him about my humbugging him in the way 
I did 1— Eh 1" 

"Oh, I'll pass that off; you'll see! I 
shall tell him 'twasr all a trick of yours to 
try the love of Miss Tagrag." 

•• Oh ! cnpital !— capital ! 'Pon my soul 
and life, capital!" cried Titmouse, with 
great glee — »' Excuse me, Mr. Gammon, but 
you've got a headpiece of you're own ! So, 



IM 



TEN THOUSAND. A YEAR- 



I suppose i shall have to go to his honse— 
his Lodge, as he calls itl Eugh ! how I 
hate the sight of it, to be sure !'* 

** What does it signify, my dear sir, for 
your purposes t" 

"And 1 shall hare to shake hands with the 
beast. 'Pon my life, Pd as lief touch a toad !" 

*' But when you reflect all the while how 
you're doing him, my dear sir— doing him 
80 gloriously — ^^ 

i ** There's something in that, to be sure. 
But, gad ! I shall feel fit to spit in his face 
when I see him. He collared me! Cuss 
him! he tore my best coat all down the 
hack — ^said I was a cussed scamp. My 
eyes ! A that to be borne by a gentleman ! 
To be sure— •* 

" Squeeze you're lemon before you throw 
it away, Titmouse ! There's a little juice 
to be got out of Tagrag yet." 

" You say you'll manage it all, to begin 
with, and all that — didn't you, Mr. Gam- 
mon!" 

"Oh, certainly; leaTe it in my hands. 
If there's one thing more than another that 
I can pique myself upon, it is in talking 
over a fool when one's any thing to gain 
from him, Mr. Titmouse." 

" Ha, ha, ha ! — Yes ! you are a hand at 
that-*— and Tagrag will soon feel it. Shall 
you have a word or two with the gal 1 'Pon 
my soul, I am a little sorry for her. The 
gal really loved me, and no mistake," said 
Titmouse, cocking his head conceitedly, 
and running his fingers through his hair. 

"Pho! pho! my dear sir!" said Gam- 
mon, leaning back and laughing. 

" Ha, but It's «o, Mr. Gammon ; 'pon my 
soul, a bite at first sight; such thmgs do 
happen— «h ! Never read of them ?" 

"Ah, ha, ha! — Really this tickles me 
more than all ! Miss Tagrag in love with 
Mr. Tittlebat Titmouse ! Your goodness of 
heart, Mr. Titmouse— your delicate and 
sensitive nature leads you astray*** 

"Why, was it a take-in? No, cuss it! 
I shouldhave found it out. No, by George ! 
she loved me at first sight, and no mistsSLe, 
and couldn't eat any dinner." 

"She was trifling with you, Mr. Tit- 
mouse," said Gammon, gravely ; " and you 
must take a proper revenge^ by trifling with 
her." 

"Ah, to be sure! tit for tat all the world 
over. So, 'twas a take-in? How I hate 
her ! An impudent baggage ! L<Nrd, when 
I keep my carriage, wonU I make a point 
of driving slowly past Satin Lodge; for, in 
course, i shall drop 'em all when that 
conies to pass." 

" I should think so ! But believe me, my 
dear sir," said Gammon, rising and preparing 
to go, " there's a vast dral to be done Wore 



that comes to pass ! To-morrow I shall call 
on Tagrag, and arrange your reconciliation; 
and then, probably, he will call on you— if 
not, you will call on him— and I leave him 
in your hands! Good night, my dear Tit- 
mouse — good night!" 

" Good night!" replied Titmouse, and in 
a moment or two he was left alone, nursing 
his rage against Tagrag and his family— 
particularly indignant towards Miss Tagrag 
— and trying hard, every now and then, to 
remember what was to be the advantage 
resulting from the reconciliation on which 
Gammon had insisted so urgently; bat 
having tried in vain, at length he gave up 
the task in despair, fearing that, however 
perfect were all his other mental faculties, 
his memory was not as strong as he could 
wish. If the reader can recollect, he will 
have an extraordinary memory. 

The next day Mr. Gammon wended his 
way towards Oxford Street, and soon in- 
troduced himself once more to Mr. Tagrag, 
who was standing leaning against one of 
the counters in his shop in a musing posi- 
tion, with a pen behind his ear, and his 
hands in his oreeches pockets. Ten days 
had elapsed sinc« he had expelled the Htde 
impostor Titmouse from Satin Lodge, and 
during that interval, he had neither seen 
nor heard any thing whatever of him. On 
now catching the first glimpse of Mr. Gam- 
mon, he started from nis musing posture, 
not a little disconcerted, and agitation over- 
spread his coarse, deeply-pitted face with a 
tallowy hue. What was in the wind? Mr. 
Gammon coming to him, so long after what 
had occurred ? Mr* Gammon, who, having 
found out his error, had discarded Tit- 
mouse? Tagrag had a mortal dread of 
Gammon, who seemed to him to glide like 
a dangerous snake into the shop, so (|aietly 
and 80 deadly! There was something so 
calm and imperturbable in his demeanour, so 
blandly crafty, so ominously gentle and soft 
in the tone of his voice, so penetrating in 
his eye, and he could throw such an infernal 
smile over his features. Tagrag might be 
likened to the ox, suddenly shuddering as be 
perceives the glistening folds of the rattle- 
snake noiselesdy moving towards, or around 
him, in the long grass. One glimpse of his 
blasting beauty of hue. — Horror ! all is over. 

If the splendid bubble of Titmouse's 
fortune had burst in the maimer which be 
had represented, why Gammon here now ? 
It was with, in truth, a very poor show of 
contempt and defiance that, in answer te 
the bland salutation of Gammon, Mr.' Tag- 
rag led the way down the shop into the 
little room which had been the scene of 
such ao extraordinary communication con- 
cerning Titmouse on a former occasion. 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



183 



Gammon commenced in a mild tone, 
with every startling representation of the 
criminal liability which Tagrag had incur- 
red by his wanton outrage upon Mr. Tit- 
mouse, his own ^est, in violation of all the 
laws of hospitality. Tamg furiously al- 
leged the imposition which had been prac- 
tised on him by Titmouse; but seemed 
quite collapsed when Gammon assured him 
that that circumstance would not afford him 
the slightest justification. Having satisfied 
Tagrag that he was entirely at tne mercy 
of Titmouse, who might subject him to 
both fine and imprisonment, Mr. Gammon 
proceeded to open his eyes to their widest 
stare of amazement by assuring him that 
Titmouse had been hoaxing him, and that 
lie was really in the dazzling position in 
which he had been first represented by Gam- 
mon to Tagrap, that every week brought 
him nearer to the full and nncontroUed en- 
joyment of an estate in Yorkshire, worth 
jOIO.OOO a year at the very lowest; that it 
was becoming an object of great anxiety to 
them (Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap) 
to keep him out of the hands of money-lend- 
ers, who, as usual in such cases, had al- 
ready scented out their victim, and so forth. 
Tagrag turned very white, and felt sick at 
heart in the midst of all his wonder. Oh, and 
his daughter had lost the golden prize ! and 
through his misconduct! He could have 
sunk into the cellar ! That he (Gammon) 
could not account for the singular conduct 
of Mr. Titmouse on the melancholy occa- 
sion in question, except by referring it to 
the excellent wines which he had too freely 
partaken of at Satin Lodge, added (said 
Gammon, with an inimitable expression of 
features that perfectly fascinated Tagrag) 
to a " certain tender mfluence" which had 
fairly laid prostrate the faculties of the 
young and enthusiastic Titmouse, that there 
could be no doubt of his real motive in the 
conduct alluded to, namely, a desire to test 
the sincerity and disinterestedness of a 
"certain person's" attachment, before he let 
all his fond and passionate foelings go out 
towards her — (at this point the perspiration 
burst from every pore in the body of poor 
Tagrag) — and no one could deplore the un- 
expected issue of his little experiment so 
much as Titmouse. 

Tagrag, really, for a moment, scarcely 
knew where he was, who was with him, 
nor whether he stood on his head or heels so 
delightful and entirely unexpected was the 
issue of Mr. Gammon's visit. As soon as his 
faculties had somewhat recovered themselves 
from their temporary obfuscation, almost 
breathless, he assured Gammon that no 
event in the whole course of his life had oc- 
casioned him such poignant regret afl his treat- 



ment of Titmouse on the occasion in aues« 
tion ; that he had undoubtedly followed un- 
wittingly the example of Titmouse, and 
drunk far more than his usual quantity of 
wine; besides which he had undoubtedly 
noticed, as had Mrs. T., the state of things 
between Mr. Titmouse and his daughter — 
talking of whom, by the way, he could as- 
sure Mr. Gammon that they had both been 
ill ever since that unfortunate evening, and 
had never ceased to condemn his monstrous 
conduct. As for his daughter, she was 
growing thinner and thinner every day, and 
he thought he must send her to the country 
for a short time. 

To all this Mr. Gammon listened with a 
calm, delightfiil, sympathising look, that 
quite transported Tagrag, and satisfied him 
that Mr. Gammon implicitly believed every 
word that was being said to him. But 
when he proceeded to assure Tagrag that 
this visit ef his had been undertaken at the 
earnest instance of Mr. Titmouse ^himself, 
(who, by the way, had removed to lodgings 
which would do for the present, so as they 
were only near to their office, for the pur- 
pose of frequent communication on matters 
of business between him and their firm,) 
who had urged him, Mr. Grammon, to ten- 
der the olive-branch, in the devout hope 
that it might be accepted, Tagrag's excite- 
ment knew scarce any bounds; and he 
could almost have started into the shop, and 
given orders to his shopmen to sell every 
article for the rest of the day, one and a 
half per cent, under what they had been 
selling before ! Mr. Gammon wrote down 
Titmouse's direction, and assured Mr. Tag- 
rag that a call from him would be gratefully 
received by Mr. Titmouse. "There's no 
accounting for these things, Mr. Tagrag, is 
there ?" said Mr. Gammon, with an arch 
smile, as he prepared to depart — ^Tagrag 
squeezing his nands with painful energy as 
Gammon bade him adieu, saying he should 
not be himself for the rest of tne day, and 
bowing the aforesaid Mr. Gammon down 
the shop with as profound an obsequious- 
ness as if he had been the Duke of Welling- 
ton or the lord high chancellor. As soon 
as Gammon had got fairly in the street, and 
to a safe distance, he burst into little gentle 
paroxysms of laughter, every now and then, 
that lasted him till he had regained his 
oflSce in Saffron Hill. 

The motive so boldly and skilfully suggest- 
ed by Gammon to Tagrag, as the impelling 
Titmouse to seek a reconciliation with him, 
was greedily entertained by Tagrag. 'Tis 
certainly easy for a man to believe what he 
wishes to be true. Was it very improbable 
that Tagrag, loving only one object on 
earth, (next to money, which indeed he 



184 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



really did love with the best and holiest en- 
er^es of his nature,) namely, his daughter ; 
and believing her to be possessed of quali- 
ties calculated to excite every one^s love, — 
should believe that she had inspired Tit- 
mouse with the passion of which he had 
just been hearing--^ passion that was con- 
suming him, that could not be quenched by 

even the gross and outrageous But 

faugh ! thai Tagrag shuddered to think of. 
He clapped his hat on his head, and started 
off to Titmouse^s lodgings, and fortunately 
caught that gentleman just as he was going 
out to dinner. If Tagrag had been a keen 
observer, he could hardly have failed to dis- 
cover aversion towards himself written in 
every feature and gesture of Titmouse; and 
also how difficult it was to be concealed. 
But his eagerness overbore every thing; 
and took Titmouse quite by storm. Before 
Tagrag had done with him, he had oblitera- 
ted every trace of resentment in his little 
friend's bosom. Thoroughly as Ganunon 
thought he had prepared lum for the encoun- 
ter, armed him at aU points — *twas of no 
avail. Tagraff poured such a monstrous 
quantity of flummery down the gaping 
mouth and insatiate throat of the litSe ani- 
mal, as at length produced its desired 
effect. Few can resist flattery, however 
coarsely administered; but for Titmouse, 
he felt the soft fluid deliciously insinuating 
itself into every crevice of his little nature, 
for which it seemed, indeed, to have a pe- 
culiar affinity: 'twas a balm, 'twas an 
opiate, soothing his wounded pride, lubri- 
cating all his inner man; nay, flooding it, 
80 as at length to extinguish entirely the 
very small glimmering spark of discern- 
ment which nature had lit m him. ** To be 
fatewamed is to be forearm«(2," says the 
proverb ; but it was not verified in the pre- 
sent instance. Titmouse would have dined 
at Satin Lodge on the very next Sunday, in 
aocoidance with the very pressing invita- 
tions of Tagrag, but that he hsmpened tore- 
collect having engaged himself to dine that 
evening with Mr. Quirk, at his residence in 
Camherwell— Alibi House. As I have 
already intimated in a previous part of this 
history, that most respectable old gentle- 
man, Mr. Quirk, with tiie shrewdness natu- 
ral to him, and which had been quickened 
by his great experience, had soon seen 
through the ill-contiived and worse conceal- 
ed designs upon Titmouse of Tagrsfir ; and 
justly considered that the surest method of 
renderin^f them abortive would be to fami- 
liarize Titmouse with a superior style of 
things, such as were to be found at Alibi 
House-— and a more lovely and attractive ob- 

i'eet for his best affections in Miss Quirk— 
)ora Quiric, the lustre of whose charms and 



accomplishments should instantly effiice 
the imajre of that poor, feeble, vulgar crea- 
ture. Miss Tagrag; for such old Quirk 
knew her to be, though he had, in fact, 
never for a moment set eyes upon her. Mr. 
Tagrag looked rather blank at bearing of 
tlie party there was to be at Alibi House, 
and that Titmouse was to be introduced to 
the only daughter of Mr. Quirk, and could 
not, for the life of him, abstain from drop- 
ping something, vague and indistinct to be 
sure, about " entrapping unsuspecting inno- 
cence," and ** interested attentions," and 
other similar expressions — all of which, 
however, were lost upon Titmouse. Tap- 
ping with an auctioneer's hammer on a 
block of granite, would make about as much 
impression upon it, as hint, innendo, or 
suggestion, upon a blockhead. So it was 
with Titmouse. He promised to dine at 
Satin Lodge on the Sunday after, with 
which poor Mr. Tagrag was obliged to de- 
part content; having oeen unable to get 
Titmouse up to Clapnam oneither of the in- 
tervening evenings, on which, he told Mr. 
Tagrag, he was particularly engaged with 
an intimate friena — in fact, one of his soli- 
citors ; and Taera^ lefl him, after shaking 
him by the hand with the utmost cordiality 
and energy. He instantly conceived a 
lively hatred of old Mr. Quirk and his 
daughter, who seemed taking so unfair an 
advantage. However, what could be done? 
Many times, during his interview, did he 
anxiously turn about in his mind the 
expediency of proffering to lend or give 
Titmouse a S5 note, of which he liad 
one or two in his pocket-book; but no— 
'twas too much for human nature—- he could 
not bring himself to it; and quitted Tit- 
mouse as rich a man as he had entered his 
lodgings. 

The gentleman to whom Titmouse allu- 
ded was in fact Mr. Snap, who had early 
evinced a great partiality for him, and lost 
no opportunity of contributing to his enjoy- 
ment. He was a sharp-sighted person, and 
quickly detected many qualities in Titmouse 
kindred to his own. He sincerely com- 
misierated Titmouse's situation, than which 
what could be more lonely and desolate 1 
Was he to sit dght after night, in th^ 
lengthening nights of autumn and winter, 
wi£ not a soul to speak to, not a book to 
read, (that was at least interesting or worth 
reading ;) nothing, in short, to occupy bis 
attention? <«No, said Snap to himself; 
" I will do as I would be done by ; I will 
come and draw him out of his dull hole; 
I will show him life — ^I will give him an 
early insight into the habits and practices 
of the great world, in which he is so soon 
to cut a leading figure ! I will early fami- 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



135 



Karize him with the gayest and most exci- 
ting modes of London life !^* The very first 
taste of this cap of pleasure, was exquisitely 
relished by Titmouse ; and he feh a propor- 
tionate gratitude to him whose kind hand 
had first raised it to his lips. Scenes of 
which he had heretofore only heard and 
read — ^after which he had often sighed and 
yearned— were now opening daily before 
him, limited as were his means; and he 
felt perfectly happy. When Snap had 
finished the day^s labours of the office, from 
which he was generally released about eight 
or nine o'clock in the evening, he would re- 
pair to his lodgings, and decorate himself 
for the. evening's display; after ivhich, 
either he would go to Titmouse, or Titmouse 
come to him, as might have been previously 
agreed upon between them; and then — 

**Tlie town waa all befi>re them where to chooee.*' • 

Sometimes they would, arm-in-arm, each 
with his cigar in his mouth, saunter for 
hours together along the leading streets and 
thorougUares, making acute observations 
and deep reflections upon the ever-moving 
and motley scenes around them. Most 
frequently, however, they would repair, at 
half-price, to the theatres, for Snap had the 
means of securing almost a constant supply 
of ** orders" from the underlings of the the- 
atres, and also in respect to the Sunday 
Flashj with which Messrs. Quirk and Gam- 
mon were connected, and other newspapers. 
Ah, 'twas a glorious sight to see these two 
gentlemen saunter into a vacant box, con- 
scious that the eyes of two-thirds of the 
house were fixed upon them in admiration, 
and conducting themselves accordingly — as 
swells of the first water ! One such night 
counterbalanced, in Titmouse's estimation, 
a whole year of his previous obscurity and 
wretchedness! The theatre over, they 
would repair to some cloudy tavern, full of 
noise ana smoke, and the glare of gas-light 
— ^redolent of the fra^nt fumes of tobacco, 
spirits, and porter, intermingled with the 
tempting odours of smoking Kidneys, mut- 
ton-chops, beef-steaks, oysters, stewed 
cheese, toasted cheese, Welsh rabbits ; 
where those who are chained to the desk 
and the counter during the day, revel in the 
license of the hour, and eat, and drink, and 
smoke, to the highest point either of excite- 
ment or stupefaction, and enter into all the 
slang of the day— of the turf, the ring, the 
cock-pit, the theatres — ^and shake their sides 
at comic songs. To enter one of these 
places when the theatre was over, was a 
luxury indeed to Titmouse; figged out in 
his very uttermost best, with satin stock 
and double breast-pins; his glossy hat 
cocked on one side of his head, his tight blue 



surtout, with the snowy handkerchief ele- 
gantly drooping out of the breast-pocket; 
straw-coloured kid gloves, tight trousers, 
and shining hoots ; his ebony silver-headed 
cane held carelessly under his arm ; to walk 
into the middle of the room with a sort of 
haughty ease and indifference, or noncha- 
lance; and after deliberately scanning, 
through his eye-glass, every box with its 
occupants, at len^h drop into a vacant 
nook, and with a languid air summon the 
bustling waiter to receive his commands. 
The circumstance of his almost always ac- 
companying Snap on these occasions, who 
was held in great awe by the waiters, to 
whom his professional celebrity was well 
known, (for there was scarce an interesting, 
a dreadful, or a nas^ scene at any of the 
police offices, in which Snap's name did not 
figure in the newspapers as ** on behalf of 
the prisoner,") got Titmouse almost an 
equal share of consideration, and aided the 
effect produced by his own commanding ap- 
pearance. As for Snap, whenever he was 
asked who his companion was, he would 
whisper in a very significant tone and man- 
ner — ^* Devilish high chap !" From these 
places they would repair, not unfrequently, 
to certain other scenes of nightly London 
life, which, I thank God ! the virtuous 
reader can form no notion of, though they 
are, strange to say, winked at, if not patro- 
nized by the police and magistracy, till the 
metropolis is choked by them. Thus would 
Snap and Titmouse pass away their time 
till one, two, three, and often four o'clock 
in the morning ; at which hours they would, 
with many yawns, skulk homeward through 
the deserted and silent streets, their clothes 
redolent of tobacco smoke, their stomachs 
overcharged, their heads often muddled, 
swimming, and throbbing with their multi- 
farious potations — having thus spent a **/o/- 
/y m>A/," and "sffcn ///e." ^ 'Twas thus 
that Snap mreatly endeared himself to Tit- 
mouse, and secretly (for he enjoined upon 
Titmouse, as the condition of their continu- 
ance, strict secrecy on the subject of these 
nocturnal adventures) stole a march upon his 
older competitors for the good opinion of 
Titmouse — Messrs. Quirk, Tagrag, and 
even the astute and experienced Gammon 
himself. Such doings as these required, 
however, as may easily be believed, some 
slight augmentations of the allowance made 
to Titmouse by Messrs. Quirk and Gam- 
mon ; and 'twas fortunate that Snap was in 
a condition, having a few hundreas at his 
command, to supply the necessities of Tit- 
mouse, receiving with a careless air, on the 
occasion of such advances, small slips of 
paper, by way of acknowledgments ; some 
on stamped paper, others on unstamped pa- 



136 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



per — ^promissory notes and I. O. U.'s. In- 
asmuch, however, as Snap was not always 
possessed of a stamp on the occasion of a 
sadden advance, and haying asked the 
opinion of his pleader (a sharp fellow, who 
had been articled at the same time as him- 
self to Messrs. Quirk and Gammon) whe- 
ther an instrument in this form : *« I. O. U. 
so much — with iniereBt,^^ would be available 
without a stamp, and being informed that 
it was a very doubtful point. Snap inofeni- 
ously met the difficulty by quietly adding 
to the principal what might become due in 
respect of interest : e* gA( £5 were lent, 
the acknowledgment would stand for £15— 
these little slips of paper being generally 
signed by Titmouse m moments of extreme 
exhilaration, when he never thought of scru- 
tinizing any thin^ that his fnend Snap 
would lay before him. For the honour of 
Snap, I must say that I hardly think he de- 
liberately purposed to perpetrate the fraud 
which such a transaction ap|>ears to amount 
to; all he wanted was— so he satisfied him- 
self at least — ^to have it in his power to re- 
cover the full amount of principal really ad- 
vanced, with interest, on one or other of 
these various securities, and hold the sur- 
plus as a trustee for Titmouse. If, for in- 
stance, any unfortunate difference should 
hereafter arise between himself and Tit- 
mouse, and he should refuse to recognise 
his pecuniary obligations to Snap, the latter 
gentleman would be provided with short 
and easy proofs of his demands against him. 
*Twas thus, I say, that Snap rendered him- 
self indispensable to Titmouse, whom he 
bound to nim by every tie of gratitude : so 
that, in short, they became sworn friends. 

I will always say for Gammon, that he 
strenuously endeavoured, from whatever 
motive, to urge upon Titmouse the necessity 
of his acquiring, at all events, a smattering 
of the elements of useful education. Be- 
yond an acquaintance with the petty opera- 
tions of arithmetio requisite for counter 
transactions, I will venture to say that poor 
Titmouse had no serviceable knowledge of 
any kind. Mr. Gammon repeatedly press- 
ed him to put himself under competent 
teachers of the ordinary branches of educa- 
tion ; but Titmouse as often evaded him, 
and at length flatly refused to do any thing 
of the kind. He promised, however, to 
read such books as Mr. Gammon might re- 
commend, who thereupon sent him several ; 
but a book before Titmouse was much the 
same as a plate of saw-dust before a hun- 
gry man. Mr. Gammon, himself a man of 
considerable acquirements, soon saw the 
true state of the case, and gave up his at- 
tempts in despair and disgust. Not that he 
ever suffered Titmouse to perceive the faint- 



est indication of such feelings towards him : 
on the contrary, Gammon ever manifested 
the same bland and benignant demeanour, 
consulting his wishes in every thin^, and 
striving to instil into him feelings of love, 
tempered by respect, as towards the most 
powerful, the only real, disinterested friend 
he had ; and, to a very great extent, he suc- 
ceeded. 

Titmouse spent several hours in preparing 
for an effective first appearance at the din- 
ner-table at Alibi House. Since dining at 
Satin Lodge, he had considerably increased 
his wardrobe both in quantity and style. 
He now sported a pair of tight black trou- 
sers, with pumps and gossamer silk stock- 
ings. He wore a crimson velvet waistcoat, 
with a bright blue satin under-waistcoat, a 
shirt-frill standing out fiercely at right angles 
with his breast, and a brown dress-coat cut 
in the extreme of the fashion, the long tails 
coming to a point just about the backs of 
his knees. His hair (its purple hue still 
pretty distinctly perceptible) was disposed 
with great elegance. He had discarded 
mustachios, but had a very promising im- 
perial. The hair underneath his chin came 
out curling on each side of it, above his 
stock, like two little tuf^ or horns. Over 
his waistcoat he wore his mosai&-gold watch- 
guard, and a broad black watered riband, 
to which was attached his eye-glass — ^in 
fact, if he had dressed himself in order to 
sit to a miniature painter for his likeness^ 
he could not have taken greater pains, or 
secured a more successful result. The only 
points about his appearance with which he 
was at all dissatisfied, were his hair— which 
was not yet the thing which he hoped in 
due time to see it — his thick red stumpy 
hands and his round shoulders. The last 
matter gave him considerable concern, for 
he felt that it seriously interfered with a 
graceful carriage ; and that the defect in his 
Sgiire had been, after all, not in the least 
remedied by the prodigious padding of his 
coat. His protuberant eyes, of very liglit 
hue, had an expression that entirely harmo- 
nized with that of his open mouth ; and both 
together— quite independently of his dress, 
carriage, and demeanour— (there is nothing 
like being candid) — gave you the image of 
a— complete fool. Having at length care- 
fully aajusted his hat on his head, aud 
drawn on his white kid gloves, he enveloped 
himself in a stylish cloak, with long black 
silk tassels, which had been lent to him by 
Mr. Snap-; and about four o^clock, forth 
sallied Mr. Titmouse, carefully picking his 
w^y in quest of the first coach that could 
convey him to Alibi House, or as near to it 
as might be. He soon found one, and con- 
scious that his appearance was far too spleor 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



187 



did for an outside place, got inside. All 
the way along, his heart was in a little 
flutter of vanity, excitement, and expecta- 
tion. He was going to be introduced to 
Miss Quirk--and probably, also, to several 
people of great consequence— as the heir 
apparent to 10,000 A a year. Two very re- 
spectable female passengers, his companions 
all the way, he never once deignea to in- 
terchan^ a syllable with. Four or five 
times did he put his head out of the win- 
dow, calling out in a loud peremptory tone 
— ^* Mind, coachman— 'Alibi House-^Mr. 
Qnirk^s— Alibi House — Do you hear?" 
After which he would sink back into the 
seat with a magnificent air, as if he had not 
been used to give himself so much trouble. 
The coach at length stopped. **Hallibi 
OnsQ, sir," said the coachman, in a most 
respectful tone— >« this is Mr. Quirk's, sir." 
Titmouse stepped out, dropped ei^hteen- 
pence into the man's hand, and opening the 
gate, found himself in a straight and narrow 
gravel walk, of about twenty yaids in length, 
with little obstinate-looking stunted trees 
on each side. 'Twas generally known, 
among Mr. Quirk's friends, by Uie nam^ of 
the *^ Bopewalk.^^ Titmouse might have 
entered before as fine-looking a house, but 
only to deliver a bundle of drapery or ho- 
siery : never before had he entered such a 
one as a guest. It was, in fact, a fair-sized 
house, at least treble that of Satin Lodge, 
and had a far more stylish appearance. 
When Titmouse pulled the bell, the door 
was quickly plucked open by a big footman, 
with showy shoulder-knot and a pair of 
splendid red plush breeches, who soon dis- 
posed of Titmouse's cloak and hat, and led 
the way to the drawing-room, before our 
friend, with a sudden palpitation of the 
heart, had had a moment s time even to run 
his hands through his hair. 

^*Your name, sirl" inquired the man 
suddenly pausing— with his hand upon the 
handle of the d<^r. 

" Mr. Titmouse." 

**I— 6e^yonr pardon, sir; toAo^namel" 

Titmouse, clearing his throat, repeated 
his name— -open went the door, and— • 
** Mr. Ticklemouse," said the servant, Very 
loudly and distinctly — usherinff in Tit- 
mouse ; on whom die door was £e next in- 
stant closed. He felt amazingly flustered — 
and he would have been still more so, if he 
could have been made awars of the titter 
which pervaded the fourteen or twenty peo- 
ple assembled in the room, occasioned by 
the droll misnomer of the servant, and the 
exquisitely ridiculous appearance of poor 
Titmouse. Mr. Quirk, dressed in bmck, 
with knee breeches and silk stockinfls, im- 
aediateiy bnsUed up to hiiOi show him 

MS 



cordially by the hand, and led him up to 
the assembled guests. **My daughter- 
Miss Quirk; Mrs. Alderman Addlehead; 
Mrs. Deputy Diddledaddle ; Mrs. Alias, my 
sister ; — Mr. Alderman Addlehead ; Mr. De- 
puty Diddledaddle ;Mr. Bluster; Mr. Slang; 
Mr. Hug; Mr. Flaw ; Mr. Viper; Mr. Ghast- 
ly ; Mr. Gammon you know. Miss Quirk 
was about four or five-and-twenty — a fat 
young lady, with flaxen hair curled formally 
all over her head and down to her shoulders, 
so that she very much resembled one of 
those great wax dolls seen in bazara and 
shop windows, especially if looked at 
throuffh a strong magnifying glass. Her 
complexion was beautifully fair; her eyes 
small ; her face quite round and fat. From 
the die-away manner in which she moved 
her head, and the languid tone of her voice, 
it was obvious that she was a very senti- 
mental young lady. She was dressed in 
white, and wore a massive gold chain-^er 
fat arms being half covered with long kid 
gloves. She was sitting on the sofa, from 
which she did not rise when Titmouse was 
introduced to her— and the moment after hid 
her face behind the album which had been 
lying on her knee, and which she had been 
showing to the ladies on each side of her; for, 
in fact, neither she nor any one else could, 
without the greatest difficulty, refrain from 
laughing at the monkeyfied appearance of 
Titmouse. The Alderman was a stout stu- 
pid little maiw- a fussy old pri^ — ^wilh small 
angry-lookinff black eyes, and a short red 
nose; as for his head, it seemed as though 
he had just smeared some sticky fluid over 
it, and then dipped it in a flour^tub, so 
thickly laden was it with powder. Mr. 
Deputy Diddledaddle was tall and thin, and 
senous and slow of speech, with the solemn 
composure of an undertaker. Mr. Bluster 
was a great Old Bailey barrister, about fifty 
yeara old, the leader constantly employed 
by Messre. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap ; and 
was making at least a thousand a year. He 
had an amazingly truculent-looking counte- 
nance, coarse to a degree, and his voice 
matched it; but on occasions like the pre- 
sent— i. e. in elegant society — ^he would fain 
drop the successful terrors of his manner, 
and appear the mild digrnified eentleman. 
He therefore spoke in a very soft, cringinff 
way, with an anxious smile ; but his bold 
insolent eye and coarse mouth — what could 
disguise or mitigate their expression 1 Here 
he was, playing the great man ; making him- 
self, however, most particularly agreeable 
to Messrs. Quirk and Gammon. Sla^ 
was of the same school; fat, vulgar, conn- 
dent and empty ; telling obscene jokes and 
stories, in a deep bass voice. He sang a 
good song, too— particolaily of that class 

18 



1S8 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



which reqaired the absence of ladies— and 
of gentlemen. Hug (Mr. Toady Hug) was 
also a barrister, a glib little Jewish-lookin? 
fellow, creeping into a considerable criminsd 
practice. He was a sneaking backbiter, and 
had a blood-hound scent after an attorney. 
See him, for instance, at this moment in close 
and eager conversation, with Mr. Flaw, who, 
rely upon it, will ^ve him a brief before the 
week is over. Viper was the editor of the 
Sunday Flash { a cold, yenomons little fel- 
low. He was of opinion that every thin? 
was wrong, moral, pl^ysical, intellectual 
and social ; that there really was no such 
thing, or at least ought not to be, as religion ; 
and as to political rights, that eyery body 
ought to be uppermost at once. He had 
failed in business twice, and disreputably ; 
then had become'a Unitarian parson ; but, 
having seduced a young female member of 
his congregation, he was instantly expelled 
from his pulpit. An action bein^ brought 
against him by the mother of his victim, and 
heavy damages obtained, he endeavoured 
to taice the benefit of the insolvent debtor^s 
act — ^but, on account -of Miss , was re- 
manded for eighteen months. That period 
he employed m writing a shockingly blas- 
phemous work, for which he was prosecuted, 
and sentenced to a heavy fine ana imprison- 
ment; on being released from which, satu- 
rated with gall and bitterness a^nst all 
mankind, he took to political writing of a 
very violent character, and was at length 
picked up, half starved, by his present pa- 
tron, Mr. Quirk, and made editor of the 
Sunday Flash, Is not all this history writ- 
ten in his sallow sinister-eyed, bitter-ex- 
pressioned countenance 1 Wo to him who 
gets into a discussion with Viper ! There 
was one or two others present, particularly 
a Mr. Ghastly, a third-rate tragic actor, with 
a tremendous mouth, only one eye, and a 
very hungry look. He never spoke, be- 
cause no one spoke to him, for his clothes 
seemed rather rusty-black. The only man 
of gentlemanlike appearance in the room 
was Mr. Grammon; and he took an early 
opportunity of engaging poor Titmouse in 
conversation, and setting him comparatively 
at his ease— a thing which was attempted 
by old Quirk, but in such a fidgety fussy 
way as served only to fluster Titmouse the 
more. Mr. Quirk gave a dinner-party of 
this sort regularly every Sunday ; and they 
formed the happiest moments of his life— - 
occasions on which he banished from his 
thoughts the responsible anxieties of his 
profession, and, surrounded by a select cir- 
cle of choice spirits, such as were thus col- 
lected together, partook joyously of the 



*' Feait of reaion, and the flow of Mai. 



t> 



*'This is a very beautiful picture, TiU 
mouse, isnH itV said Gammon, leading 
him to the further comer of the drawing* 
room, where hung a small picture with a 
sort of curtain in black gauze before it, 
which Gammon lifting up. Titmouse beheld 
a picture of a man suspended from the al- 
lows, his hands tied with cords before him, 
his head forced aside, and covered down to 
the chin with a white nightcap. 'Twaa 
done with sickening fidelity, and Titmouse 
gazed at it with a shudder. *' Charming 
thing, isn't it V said Gammon, with a very 
expressive smile. 

«*Y — e— e— s," replied Titmouse, his 
eyes glued to &e horrid object, 

**yery striking, ain't itV quoth Quirk, 
bustling up to uiem; ** 'twas painted for 
me by a first-rate artist, whose brother I 
very nearly saved from the gallows !" 

«*Like such things?" inquired Quirk, 
with a matter of fact air, drawing down the 
black gauze. 

** Yes, sir, uncommon—uncommon." 

**Well, I'll show yon something very 
interesting! Heard of Gilderoy, that was 
hanged last year for forgery 1 Gad, my 
daughter's got a brooch with a lock of his 
hair in it, which he gave me himself— a 
client of mine : within an ace of getting him 
off— flaw in the indictment— found it out 
myself— ^id, by gad ! Come along, and I'll 
get Dora to show it to you !" and putting 
Titmouse's arm in his, led him up to the 
interesting young lady. 

"Dora, just show my friend Titmouse 
that brooch of yours, with Gilderoy's hair." 

**0h, my dear papa, 'tis such a melan- 
choly thing!" saioi she, at the same time 
detaching it from her dress, and handing it 
to herpapa, who, holding it in his hands, 
gave Titmouse, and one or two others that 
stpod beside, a very interesting account of 
the last hours of the deceased Gilderoy. 

** He was very handsome, papa, wasn't 
he !" inquired Imss Quirk, witii a sigh, and 
a very pensive air. 

** Wasn't bad looking; but good looks 
and the condemned cell don't long agree 
together." 

** Ah, papa !" exclaimed Miss Quirk, in a 
mournful tone, and, leaning back on the 
sofa, raised her handkerchief to her eyes. 
I ** You are too sensitive, my love !" whis- 
pered her aunt, Mrs. Alias, squeezing the 
hand of her niece, who, struggling against 
her feelings, presently revived. 

<* We were looking just now," said Mr. 
Hug, addressing Mr. Quirk, ** at a very in- 
teresting addition to Miss Quirk's album— 
that letter of Grizzlegut." 

*'Ah, very striking! Value it beyond 
every thing ! Shall never forget Griulegul! 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



139 



Very nedrly got off! 'Twas an *&c.' that 
nearly saved nis life, through being omitted 
in the indictment. Tore gad, we thought 
we'd got 'em !" 

They were alluding to an autogniph letter 
which had been addressed to Mr. Quirk by 
Grizzlegut, (who had been executed for 
high treason a few weeks before,) the night 
before he suffered. He was a blood-stained 
scoundrel of the deepest dye, and ought to 
have been hanged and quartered half-^-dozen 
times. 

•* Will you read it aloud, Mr. Hug V in^ 
quired Miss Quirk; and the barrister, in a 
somewhat pompous tone, read the following 
memorable document : 

'* Cmidemnsd C$IU Jf^^ate, 

istk JvU. la 
"Sir, 

" At this awful moment, when this world 
is closing rapidly upon me and my fellow- 
sufferers, and the sounds of the wretches 
putting up the grim gallows are audible to 
my listening ears, and on the morrow the 
most horrible death that malicious tyrants 
can inflict awaits me, my soul being calm 
and full of fortitude, and beating responsive 
to the call of Glorioits Lirertv, I feel 
prouder than the king upon his throne. I 
feel that I have done much to secure the 
liberties of my injured country, 

* For liberty, glorloai liberty, 
Wbo*d fear to die V 

" Many thanks to you, sir, for your truly 
indefatigable efforts on my behalf, and the 
constant exercise of a skill that nearly se- 
cured us a j^lorious acquittal. What a 
flame we would have raised in England! 
that should have blasted the enemies of true 
freedom. I go to Hereafter, (if indeed there 
be a hereafter) as we shall soon know, not 
with my soul crammed with Priestcraft, a 
bold Briton, having laid down my life for 
my country, knowing that future ages will 
do me justice. 

" Adieu, tyrants, adieu ! Do your worst! 
My soul defies you. 
" I am, 
" Sir, 
" Your humble, obliged, and 
" undismayed servant, 
"Arthur Grizzleout. 

" 7b Cakh Quirk, Esq. 

** Tyranta srlin. 
Will on the morrow eat me limb ft-om limb, 
MThtle Liberty looka on with terrible eye, 
And aaya, / will avtnjft kirn bf and bf. 

"Arthur Grizzlxout.** 

The readingrof the above produced a great 
aeufttion. "^hat man^s name will be en- 



rolled among the Sidneys and the Hamp* 
dens of his country!*' said Viper, with a 
grim and excited air. "That letter deserves 
to be carved on a golden tablet ! The last 
four lines are sublime ! He was a martyr 
to principles that are silently and rapidly 
malcing their way in this country." — ^How 
much farther he would have gone on in this 
strain, seeing no one present had resolution 
enough to differ with or interrupt him, even 
if they had been so disposed, I know not^ 
but fortunately dinner was announced^-a 
sound which startled old Quirk out of a 
posture of intense attention to Viper and 
evident admiration of his sentiments. He 
gave his arm with an air of prodigious po- 
liteness to the gaunt Mrs. Alderman Addle- 
head, whose distinguished lord led down 
Miss Quirk — and the rest followed in no 
particular order — ^Titmouse arm in arm with 
Gammon, who took good care to place him 
next to himself, (Gammon.) Ft was really 
a dashing sort of dinner. Quirk had, indeed, 
long been celebrated for his Sunday dinners. 
Titmouse had never seen any thing like it ; 
and was quite bewildered — ^particularly at 
the number of differently shaped and colour- 
ed glasses, &c., &c., &c., placed opposite 
to him. He kept a constant eye on the 
movements of Gammon, and did whatever 
he did, as if the two had been moved by 
the same set of springs, and was thus saved 
innumerable embarrassments and annoy- 
ances. What chiefly struck his attention 
was the prodigious number of dishes, great 
and small, as if half-a-dozen dinners had 
been crowded into one; the rapidity with 
which they were changed, ana plates re- 
moved, in constant succession; the inces^ 
sant invitations to take wine that were flying 
about during the whole of dinner. For a 
considerable while Titmouse was too much 
flurried to enjoy himself; but a few glasses 
of champagne succeeded in elevating his 
spirits to the proper pitch— and would soon 
have driven them rar beyond it. Almost 
every body, except the great folk at the top 
of the table, asked him to take wine; and 
he constantly filled his glass. In fact Gam- 
mon recollecting a scene at his own cham- 
ber, soon perceived that, unless he inter- 
fered. Titmouse would be drunk long before 
dinner was over. He had not imagined the 
earth to contain so exauisite a drink as 
champagne ; and he coula have fallen down 
and worshipped it, as it came fizzing and 
flashing out of the bottle. Gammon ear- 
nestly assured him that he would be ill if 
he drunk so much — that many eyes were 
upon him— and that it was not the custom 
to do more tiian mei^ly sip from his wine- 
glass when challenging or challenffed. But 
Titmouse had taken a considerably greater 



140 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



qnandty on l>oaTd, before Gammon thus 
interfeied, than that gentleman was aware 
of, and began to get yery voluble. Guess 
the progress he had made, when he called 
out with a confident air-^** Mr. Alderman ! 
your health !''— whether more to that great 
man's astonishment or disgust I cannot un- 
dertake to say : but after a steady stare for a 
moment or two at Titmouse, *«0h! I shall 
be very happy, indeed, Mr. Xjammorij^* he 
called out, looking at the latter gentleman, 
and drinking with him. That signified 
nothing, however, to Titmouse, who, in- 
deed, did not see any thing at all pointed or 
unusual, and gulped down his wine as ea- 
gerly as before. 

"Cool puppy that. Miss Quiik, must 
say/' snufiSed we offended alderman to Miss 
Quirk. 

** He's young, dear Mr. Alderman," said 
she, sweetly and mildly — *' and when you 
consider the immense fortune he is coming 
into— ten thousand a year, my papa says—'' 

*^That don't make him less a puppy— 
nor a brute," interrupted the milled alder- 
man, still more indignant ; for his own forty 
thousand pounds, the source of all his social 
eminence, sunk into insignificance at the 
sound of the splendid income just about to 
drop into the lap of Titmouse. Mr. Bluster, 
who headed the table on Miss Quirk's left* 
hand side, and who felt that he (meht to be, 
but knew that in the presence of the alder- 
man he was not, the ^at man of the day, 
observing the irritation under which his 
rival was suffering, immediately raised his 
threatening double-glasses to his eyes, and 
in a tone of ostentatious condescension, 
looking down the table to Titmouse, called 
out, '* Mr. Titmash— may I have the honour 
of drinking your health?" 

"Ya — as, brother Bumptions," replied 
Titmouse, who could never bear to hear his 
name mis-pronounced, and he raised his 
glass to his eye ; " was just going to asK 
you /" All this Was done in such a load 
and impudent tone and manner, as made 
Gammon still more uneasy for his young 
companion. But his sally had been re- 
ceived by the company as a very smart 
retort, and produced a roar of laughter, everv 
one being ^lad to see Mr. Bluster snubbed, 
who bore it in silent dignity, though his 
face showed his chagrin and astonishment; 
and he very heartily agreed, for once in his 
life, with the worshipml person opposite to 
him in his estimate of our friend Titmouse. 

"Mr. Titmouse! Mr. Titmouse! my 
daughter wonders you don't take wine wiUi 
her," said Mr. Quirk, in a low tone— >" will 
yoo Join us! we're going to take a glass of 
champagne." 



<(0h! 'pen my life— delighted'*— qnotli 
Titmouse. 

" Dora, my dear ! Mr. Titmouse will take 
wine with you !— Jack," (to the servant,) 
"fill Miss Quirk's and Mr. Titmouse's 
glasses to the brim." 

** Oh, no ! dearest papa." 

"Pho! pho! — ^nonsens^«-the first time 
of asking, you know." 

" Well ! if it must be," and with what a 
graceful inclination^-with what a pointpd 
manner, and fascinating smile did she ex* 
change courtesies with lltmouse 1 He f^It 
disposed to take wine with her a second 
time immediately; but Gammon restrained 
him. Mr. Toady Hug, having become ac- 
quainted with the brilliant prospects of Tit- 
mouse, earnestly desired to exert his little 
talents to do the a^preeable, and ingratiate 
himself with Mr. Titmouse ; but there was 
a counteractin|r force in another direction, 
an attorney, a Mr. Flaw, who had the great- 
est practice at the Clerkenwell sessions, sat 
beside him, and received his most respectful 
and incessant attentions ; speaking ever in 
a low confidential whisper, constantly cast- 
ing a furtive glance towards Blaster and 
Slang, to see whether they were observing 
him. Hug, in strict confidence, assured 
Mr. Flaw how his case, the other day, 
might have been won, if snch and such a 
course had been adopted, "which would 
have been the line A«" (HugJ "would have 
taken ;" and which he explained with anx- 
ious energy, " I must say. Flip regulariy 
threw the case away — ^no doubt of it! By 
the way, what became of that burglary case 
of yours on Friday t" 

" Found guilty, poor fellows !" 

" You don't say so t" 

"Fact, by Jove, though!" 

" How could Gobble have lost that vei^ 
diet? I assure you I would have bet ten 
to one on your getting a verdict : for I read 
over your brief as it lay beside me, and upon 
my honour, Mr. Flaw, it was most- admira- 
bly got up. Every thing depends on the 
bneC-" 

" Glad you thought so, sir," repl ied Flaw, 
wondering how it was that he had never 
before thought of giving a brief to Mr. Hug. 

" It's a grand mistaxe of counsel not to 
pay great attention to their briefs." For 
my part," continued Mr. Hug, in a still 
lower tone, "I make a point of reading 
every syllable in my brief, however long 
it is." 

"It's the only way, depend on it, sir. 
We attorneys see and know so mnch of the 



case 



" Ay, and beyond that. Your practical 
suggestions are oftisn*-— Now, for mstaaoe, 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



HI 



in the brief I was allading to, there was an 
uncommonly acute suggestion.'* 

«* Which was it, sir r' inquired the attor- 
ney, his countenance showing the progress 
of Hug's lubricating process. 

«» Oh — ^why — a— a — ^hem ! No ; it would 
hardly be fair to Gobble, and Pm sorry in- 
deed"— 

*« Well, well— it can't be helped now — 
bat I must say that once or twice latterly 
I've thought that Mr. Gobble has rathe r 
by the way, Mr. Hug, shall you be in town 
this week, till the end of the sessions 1" 

** Y o o 8 !" hastily whispered Hug, 
jifter glancing guiltily towards his brethren, 
^ho, though they did not seem to do so, 
were really watching him closely. 

"I'm happy to hear it. YouVe heard 
of Aaron Doodle, who was committed for 
that burglary at Well, I defend him, 

and shall be happy to giye you the brief. 
Do you lead Mr. Doltl" Hug nodded. 
"Then he will be your junior. Where are 
your chambers, Mr. Hug?" 

" No. 4 Sly Court, Gray's Inn. When 
does it come on 1" 
"Thursday — perhaps Wednesday." 
" Then do come and breakfast with me, 
and we can talk it over together." 

" Sir, you're very polite. I will do my- 
self the pleasure." 

This little stroke of business over, the 
disengaged couple were at liberty to attend 
to the general conversation of the table. 
Mr. Bluster and Mr. Slang kept the com- 
pany in almost a constant roar, with de- 
scriptions of scenes in court, in which they 
had, of course, been the principal actors ; 
and, according to their own accounts, they 
must be wonderful fellows. Such botherer's 
of judges! — such bafflers and browbeaters 
of witnesses !— such bamboozlers of juries ! 
You should have seen the sneering coun- 
tenance of Hug all the while. He never 
once smiled or laughed at the sallies of his 
brethren, and did nis best to prevent his 
new patron, Mr. Flaw, from doing so— 
constantly putting his hand before his 
mouth, and whispering into Mr. Flaw's ear 
at the very point of the joke or story— and 
the smile would disappear from the counte- 
nance of Mr. Flaw. 

The alderman laughed till the tears ran 
out of his little eyes, which he constantly 
wiped with his napkin. Amidst the gene- 
ral laughter and excitement. Miss Quirk, 
leaning her chin on her hand, her elbow 
resting on the table, several times directed I 



soft languishing looks towards Titmouse, 
unobserved by any one but himself; and 
they were not entirely unsuccessful, al- 
though Titmouse was wonderfully taken 
with the stories of the two counsellors, and 



belieyed them to be two of the greatest men 
he had ever seen or heard of, and at the 
head of their profession. 

" I hope, sir, you'll have those two gents 
in my easel" said he earnestly to Gam- 
mon. 

" Unfortunately, your case will not come 
on in their courts,'' said Gammon, with a 
very expressive smile. 

" Why can't it come on when I choose ?— 
or whi^n you like?" inquired Titmouse, 
snrprisedly. 

Mr. Quirk had been soured during the 
whole of dinner, for he had anxiously de- 
sired to have Titmouse sit beside him at the 
bottom of the table ; but in the little hubbub 
attendant upon coming down to dinner and 
taking places. Titmouse slipped out of sight 
for a minute ; and when all were placed. 
Quirk's enraged eye perceived him seated 
in the middle of the table, beside Gammon. 
Gammon alwava got hold of Titmouse. 
Old Quirk could have flung a decanter at 
his head — in his own house !— «t his own 
table! Always anticipating and circum* 
venting him. 

" Mr. Quirk, I don't think we've taken a 
glass of wine together yet, have we ?" said 
Gammon, with a bland and cordial manner, 
at the same time pouring himself out a 
glass of wine. He perfectly well knew 
what was annoying his respected partner, 
whose look of quaint embarrassment, when 
so suddenly assailed, infinitely amused him. 
" Catch me asking you here again. Mas- 
ter Gammon/' thought Quirk, " the next 
time tliat Titmouse dines here !" The rea- 
son why Mr. Snap had not been asked was, 
that Quirk had some slight cause to suspect 
his having conceived the notion of paying 
his addresses to Miss Quirk — a thing at any 
time not particularly palatable to Mr. 
Quirk; but in the present conjuncture of 
circumstances quite out of the question, and 
intolerable even in idea. Snap was not slow 
in guessing the reason of nis exclusion, 
which had greatly mortified, and also not a 
little alarm^ him. As far as he could ven- 
ture, he had, during the week, endeavoured 
to " set" Titmouse " against" Miss Quirk, 
by such faint disparaging remarks and in- 
sinuations as he dar^ venture upon with 
so difficult a subject as Titmouse, whom he 
had at the same time inflamed by represen- 
tations of the splendid matches he might 
very soon command among the highest wo- 
men of the land. By these means Snap 
had, to a certain extent, succeeded ; but the 



few melting glances which had fallen upon 
Titmouse's sensitive bosom from the eyes 
of Miss Quirk, were beginning to operate a 
slight change in his feelings. The old al- 
derman, on an intimation that the " ladies 



ut 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAE. 



were goin^ to withdraw,*' laid violent 
hands on Miss Qairk,f he was a ^'privile^red" 
old fool,) and insistea on her singing his fa- 
vourite song, — ** My Friend ana Pitcher*''^ 
His request was so warmly seconded by the 
rest of the company. Titmouse was as loud 
and eager as any, that she was fain to com- 
ply. She sung with considerable sweet- 
ness and much seIf<possession. She car- 
ried Titmouse's feelings along with her 
from the beginning, as Gammon, who was 
watching him, perceived. 

*' Most uncommon lovely gal, isn't 
she !" whispered Titmouse, with great en- 
ergy. 

** Very !" replied Gammon, drily, with a 
slight smile. 

«« Shall I call out tneore? Ain't that the 
word! 'Pon my soul, most lovely gal! 
she must sing it again." 

"No, no— she wishes to go— 'tis not 
usual : she will sing it for you, I dare say, 
this evening, if you ask her." 

" Well— most charming gal ! — Lovely !" 

"Have patience, my dear Titmouse," 
said Gammon, in a low whisper, " in a few 
month's time, you'll soon be thrown into 
much higher life than this— among really 
beautiful, and rich, and accomplished wo- 
men"— «nd, thought Gammon, you'll re- 
teieroble a monkey that has found his way 
into a rich tulip bed ! 

"Fancy Miss Tagrag standing beside 
her." 

" Ha, ha !" gently laughed Gammon — 
" both of them, in their way, are very wor- 
thy persons: but"^-here the ladies with- 
drew. 'Twas no part of Gammon's plans 
that Titmouse should become the son-in- 
law of either Quirk or Tagrag. 

Ab soon as Quirk had taken the head of 
the table, and the gentlemen drawn together, 
the bottles were pushed round very briskly, 
accompanied by no less than three different 
sorts of snuff-boxes, all belonging to Mr. 
Quirk— ^11 of them presents from clients. 
One was a huge affair of Botany Bay wood, 
with a very inflaming inscription on the in- 
side of the lid ; from which it appeared that 
its amiable donore who were trying the ef- 
fect of a change of climate on their moral 
health, at the expense of a grateful country, 
owed their valuable lives to the professioiml 
skill and exertions of " Caleb Quirk, Esq." 
In short, the other two were trophies of a 
similar description, of which their possessor 
was very justly not a little proua ; and as 
he saw Titmouse admiring wem, it occur- 
red to him, as very possible that, within a 
few mpnths' time, he should be in posses- 
sion of a magnificent gold snuff-box, in ac/- 
knowledsment of the services he should 
have rendeied to his distinguished guest and 



client. Titmouse was in the highest possi* 
ble spirits. This, his first glimpse into 
high life, equalled all his expectations. 
Round and round went the bottles— crack 
went joke after joke. Slang sung song u|>> 
on song, of, however, sq very coarse and 
broad a character, as infinitely disgusted 
Gammon, and apparently shocked the 
alderman ; — ^though I greatly distrust that 
old sinner's sincerity in the matter. Then 
Ghastly's performances commenced. Poor 
fellow f he exerted himself to the utmost to 
earn the good dinner he had just devoured : 
but when he was in the very middle of one of 
his most impassioned scenes— undoubtedly 
" tearing a passion to rags," — ^interrupted 
Mr. Quirk, impatiently— -" Come, come, 
Ghastly, we've had enough of that sort— ^it 
don't suit at all— <lon't roar so, man !" 

Poor Ghastly instantly resumed his seat, 
with a chagrined and melancholy air. 

"Give us something funny;" said the 
alderman. 

"Let's have the chorus of pigs and 
ducks," said Quirk ; " you do that remark' 
ably well. I could fancy the animals were 
running and sauealing and ouacking all 
about me room.'^ The actor did as he was 
desired, commencing with a sigh, and was 
much applauded. At length Gammon hap- 
pened to get into a discussion with Mr. 
Bluster upon some point connected with the 
habeas corpus act, in which our friend 
Gammon, wno never got heated in discufr- 
sion, and was very accurate in whatever he 
knew, had glaringly the Seat of it. His 
calm, smiling self-possession almost drove 
poor Bluster frantic. The less he knew, of 
course, the louder he talked, the more vehe* 
ment and positive he became; at length 
offering a bet that he was right; at which 
Gammon bowed, smiled, imd closed the 
discussion. While engaged in it, he had 
of course been unable to keep his eye upon 
Titmouse, who drunk, consequently, like 
a little fish, never letting the bottle pass 
him. Every one about him filled his glass 
every time— why should not hel 

Hug sat next to Viper ; feared him, and 
avoided discussion, with him; for though 
they agreed in their politics, which were of 
the loosest and lowest radical description^ 
they had a peraonal antipathy each to the 
other. In spite of their wishes, they at 
length got entangled in a very virulent con- 
troveray, and said so many insulting things 
of each other, that the rest of the company, 
who had for some time been amused, got 
at length — not disgusted, but alarmed, Tor 
the possible results. Mr. Quirk therefore 
inteitered. 

" Bravo ! bravo ! bravo !" he exclaimed, 
as Viper concluded a most envenomed pas* 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



148 



sage, ^* that will do, Viper — ^whip it into the 
next Ftatk Uwill be a capital leader! It 
will produce a sensation! And in the 
mean time, gentlemen, let me reouest you 
,to fill your glasses — ^bumpers — ^lor IVe a 
toast to propose, in which you'll all feel in- 
terested when you hear who's the subject of 
iL It is a gentleman who is likely soon to 
be elevated to a station which nature has 
formed him — ^hem ! hem !— to ador n " 

^Mr. Quirk's proposing your health, 
Titmouse!" whispered Gammon to his 
companion, who, having been very restless 
for some time, had at length become quite 
silent : his head resting on his hand, his 
elbow on the table— hie eyes languidly half 
open, and his face exceedingly pale. Gam- 
mon saw that he was in truth in a very tick- 
lish condition. 

*« I^-wish— -you'd — let me— go out — ^I'm 
—devilish illl"— said Titmouse, faintly. 
Gammon made a signal to Quirk, who in- 
stantly ceased his speech; and coming 
down to Titmouse, he and Gammon hastily 
led him out of the room, and to the nearest 
bedchamber, where he began to be very ill, 
and so continued for several hours. Old 
Quirk, who was a long-headed man, was 
delighted by this occurrence ; for he saw 
that if he insisted on Titmouse's beinff put 
to bed, and passing the night— and peniaps 
the nextdav^-at ^ibi House, it would ena- 
ble Miss Quirk to bring her attractions to 
bear upon him effectively, by exhibiting 
those oelicate and endearing attentions 
which are so soothing, and indeed necessa- 
ry to an invalid. Titmouse continued se- 
verely indisposed during the whole of the 
night; and early in the morning, it was 
thought advisable to send for a medical 
man, who pronounced Titmouse to be in 
danger of a bilious feyer, and to require 
rest, and eare, ^md medical attendance for 
some days to come. This was rather ** too 
much of a good thing" for old Quirk- 
but there was no remedy. Foreseeing that 
Titmouse would be thrown oonstantly, for 
some time to come, into Miss Quirk's com- 
nany^ her prudent parent enjoined upon 
Aba. Alias, his sister, the necessity of im- 
pressing on his daughter's mind the great 
nnoertainty that after all existed as to Tit- 
moose's prospects ; and the consequent ne- 
oesaity there was for her to regulate her con* 
duet with a view to either uilure or suc- 
cess— 4o keen her affections, as it were, in 
abeyance* But the fact was, that Miss 
Qutzk had so often heard the subject of Titr 
mouse's brilliant expectations talked of by 
her fa^r, and knew so well his habitual 
prudence and caution, that she looked upon 
Titmouse's speedy possession of ten thou- 
•aad a year as a matter almost of certainty. 



She was a girl of some natural shrewdness, 
but of an early inclination to maudlin senti- 
mentality. Had she been blessed with the 
vigilant and affectionate care of a mother as 
she grew up, (her mother having died when 
Miss Quirk was but a chUd,) and been 
thrown among a different set of people from 
those who constantly visited at Alibi House 
— ^jid of whom a very favourable specimen 
has been laid before the reader— Miss Quirk 
miffht really have become a very sensible 
and agreeable girl. As it was, her man- 
ners had contracted a certain coarseness, 
which at length overspread her whole cha- 
racter; and the selfish and mercenary mo- 
tives by which she could not fail to perceive 
all her father's conduct regulated, infected 
herself. She resolved, therefore, to be go- 
verned by the considerations so urgently 
pressed upon her by both her father and her 
aunt. 

It was several days before Titmouse was 
allowed, by his medical man, to quit his 
bedroom ; and it is impossible for any wo- 
man not to be touched oy the sight of a sud- 
den change effected in a man by severe in- 
disposition and suffering— even be that man 
so poor a. creature as Titmouse. He was 
very pale, and considerably reduced by the 
severe nature of his complaint, and of the 
powerful medicines which had been admi- 
nistered to him. When he made his first ap» 
pearance before Miss Quirk, one afternoon, 
with somewhat feeble gait, and a languid 
air, that mitigated, if it did not obliterate, 
the foolish and conceited expression of his 
features, she really regarded him with con- 
siderable interest ; and, though she might 
hardly have owned it even to herself, his 
expected good fortune invested him with a 
kind of subdued radiance. 7>n ihotuand 
a year/— Miss Quirk's heart fluttered ! By 
the time that he was well .enough to take 
his departure, she had, at his request, read 
over to him nearly half of that truly inte- 
resting work— the Newgate Calendar; she 
had sung to him, and played to him, what* 
ever he had asked her ; and, in short, she 
felt that if she could but be certain that he 
would gain his great lawsuit, and step into 
ten thousand a year, she could hve him. 
She insisted, on the day of his quitting Ali- 
bi House, that he should write in her album; 
and he very readily complied. It was near- 
ly ten minutes bemre he could get a pen to 
suit him. At length he succeeded, and left 
the following interestinff memento of him- 
self, in the very centre of a fresh page : 

** Tittlebftt Titmouse la My name, 
England Is My Nation, 
London Is My 4w«>llinf Place, 
And Christ Is l^ilnlvatloa. 

** TimvBAT TiTMovea, 
*«lialiU lodge." 



144 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



Miss Quirk turned pale with astonish- 
ment and vexation on seeing^ this elegant 
and interesting addition to her alhum. Tit- 
mouse, on the contrary, looked at it with no 
little pride ; for bayins had a capital pen, 
and his heart being in we task, he had pro- 
duced what he conceived to be a very supe- 
rior specimen of penmanship ; in fact, the 
signature was by far the best he had ever 
written. When he had gone, Miss Quirk 
was twenty times on the point of tearing 
out the leaf which had been so dismally 
disfigured; but on her father coming home 
in the evening, he laughed heartily — " and 
as to tearing it out,'' said he, '* let us first 
see which way the verdict is." 

Titmouse, became, after this, a pretty 
frequent visiter at Alibi House; growing 
more and more attached to Miss Quirk, 
who, however, conducted herself towards 
him with much judgment. His inscription 
in her album had done a vast deal towards 
cooling down the ardour with which she 
had been disposed to regard even the fiiture 
owner of ten thousand a year. Poor Snap 
seemed to have lost all chance, being treat- 
ed with greater coldness by Miss Quirk on 
every succeeding visit to Alibi House. At 
this he was sorely discomfited; for she 
would have whatever money her father 
might die possessed of, besides a command- 
ing interest in the partnership business. 
''Iwas a difficult thing for him to preserve 
his temper in his close intimacy with Tit- 
mouse, who had so gprievously interfered 
with his prospects. 

The indisposition I have been mention- 
ing, prevented Titmouse from paying his 
promised visit to Satin Lodge. On re- 
turning to his lodgings, from Alibi House, 
he found that Tagrag had either called or 
sent every day to inquire after him with the 
most affectionate anxiety ; and one or two 
notes lying on his table, apprised him of the 
lively distress which the ladies of Satin 
Lodge were enduring on his account, and 
implored him to lose not a moment in com- 
municating the state of his health, and per- 
sonally assuring them of his safety. Though 
the ima^ of Miss Quirk was continually 
before his eyes, Titmouse, nevertheless, had 
cunning enough not to drop the slightest 
hint to the Tagrags of the true state of his 
feelings. Whenever any inquiry, with ill- 
disgruised anxiety, was made by Mrs. Tag- 
rag concerning Alibi House andlts inmates. 
Titmouse would, to be sure, mention Miss 
Quirk, but in such a careless and slighting 
way as gave great consolation and encou- 
ragement to Tagrag, his wife, and daugh- 
ter. When at Mr. Quirk's he spoke some- 
what unreservedly of the amiable inmates 
of Satin Lodge. These two mansions were 



almost the only private residences visited 
by Titmouse, who spent his time n^uch in 
the way which I have already described. 
How he got throngh his days I can hardly 
tell. At his lodgings, he got up very lata, 
and went to bed very late. He never read 
any thing excepting a song-book lent him 
by Snap, or a novel, or some such book as 
" Boxiana," from the circulating libraiy. 
Dawdling over his dress and his breakfast, 
then whistling and humming, took up so 
much of every day as he passed at his lodg- 
ings. The rest was spent in idling about 
the town, looking in at shop windows, 
and now and then going to some petty ex- 
hibition. When evening came, he was 
generally joined by Snap, when they would 
spend the night together in the manner I 
have already described. As often as he 
dared, he called at Messrs. Quirk, Gam- 
mon, and Snap's office at Saffron Hill, and 
worried them not a little by inquiries con- 
cerning the state of his afiairs, and the cause 
of the delay in commencing proceedings. 
As for Huckaback, b^ the way, Titmouse 
cut him entirely ; saying that he was a de- 
vilish low fellow, and it was no use know- 
ing him. He made many desperate efforts, 
both personally and by letter, to renew his 
acquaintance with Titmouse, but in vain. 
I may as well mention, by the way, that as 
soon as Snap had got scent of the little mo- 
ney transaction between his friend and 
Huckaback, he called upon the latter, and 
tendering him twelve shillings, demanded 
up the document which he had extorted 
from Titmouse. Huckaback held out ob- 
stinately for some time-— but Snap was too 
much tor him, and talked in such a formi- 
dable strain about an indictment for conspi- 
racy (!) and fraud, that Huckaback at length 
consented, on receiving twelve shillings, to 
deliver up the document to Snap, on condi- 
tion of Snap's destroying it on the spot. 
This was done, and so ended all intercourse 
— 4Lt least on this side of the grave— between 
Titmouse and Huckaback. 

The sum allowed by Messrs. Quirk and 
Gammon to Titmouse was amply sufficient 
to have kept him in comfort ; but it never 
would have enabled him to lead the kind of 
life which I have described— -4ind he would 
certainly have got very awkwardly involved 
had it not been for the kindness of Snap, in 
advancing him, from time to time, sach 
sums as his exigencies required. In fact, 
matters went on as quietly and smoothly as 
possible, for several mon&s— till about the 
middle of November, when an event oc- 
curred, that seemed to threaten the total 
demolition of all his hopes and expecta- 
tions. 

He had not seen or heard from Measis 



TEN THOUSAND A TEAR. 



14ft 



Qoirk or Crammoa fornearlya fortnight; 
Snap he had not seen for nearly a week. 
At 'length he yentared to make his appear- 
ance at Saffron Hill, and was received with 
a startling coldness, a stem abraptness of 
manner, that frightened him out or his wits. 
All the three partners were alike-^as for 
Snap, the contrast between his present and 
his former manner was perfectly shocking; 
he seemed quite another person. The fact 
was, that the full statement of Titmouse's 
claims had been laid before Mr. Subtle, the 
leading counsel retained in his behalf, for 
his opinion; before actually commencing 
proceedings ; and the partners were indeed 
thunder-struck on receiving that opinion : 
for Mr. Subtle pointed out a radical deficien- 
cy of proof in a matter, which, as soon as 
their attention was thus pointedly called to 
it, Messrs. Quirk and Gammon were amazed 
at their having overlooked, and still more at 
its having escaped the notice of Mr. Tre- 
sayle, Mr. Mortmain, and Mr. Frankpledge. 
Mr. Quirk hurried with the opinion to 3ie 
first two eentlemen : and, after a long inter- 
view with each, they owned their fears that 
Mr. Subtle was right, and that the defect 
seemed incurable ; but they showed their 
affitated clients, that ihey had been guil^ 
of neither oversight nor ignorance, inasmuch 
as the matter in question was one of m- 
denee only— one which a mnpriua lawyer, 
with a full detail of ^ proofs*^ before him, 
could hardly fail to light upon— but which, 
it would be found, had been assumed and 
taken for granted in the cases laid before 
conveyancers. They promised to turn it 
over in their minds, and to let Messrs. Quirk 
and Gammon know if any thing occurred 
to vary their inoprsssion. Mr. Tresayle 
and Mr. Mortmain, however, preserved an 
ominous silence. As for Frankpledge, he 
had a knack, somehow or anotner, of al- 
ways eoming to the conclusion wished and 
hoped for by his dients ; and, afler prodi- 
gious pains, wrote a vary long opinion, to 
show that there was noU&ing m the objec- 
tion. Neither Mr. Qnirk nor Mr. Gaounon 
4xrald nnderstand the proeess by which Mr. 
Frankpledge arrived at such a result; bat, 
in despair, they laid his opinion before Mr. 
Subtle, in the shape of a second case for his 
opinion. It was, in a fiew days' time, 
fetnmed to them, with only a line or two— 
thus: 

** With every respect for the gentleman 
who wrote this opinion, I cannot perceive 
what it has to do with the question. I see 
no reason whatever to depart from the view 
I have already taken of this case. J. S.'* 

Here was sooiething like a dead lock. 
^ We're done, Gammon T' said Qoiric, 

N 



with a dismayed air. Gammon aeemad 
lost, and made no answer^. 

** Does any Uiing— eh 1— any thing o^- 
cur to yon 1 Gamnion, I will say this -for 
you— you're a longrheaded fellow." Still 
Gammon spoke not. 

" Gammon ! Gammon!— I really believa 
—you begin to see something." ^ 

^ir$ to he done, Mr. Quirk!" said Gam- 
mon at length, with a grave and apprehen- 
sive look, and a cheek paler than before. 

'«Eh! howl Oh, I see!— Know what 
you mean, Gammon," replied Quirk with a 
hurried whisper, glancing at both doors to 
see that they were safe. 

** We must resume our intercourse with 
Titmouse, and let matters go on as before,'* 
said G^ammon with a very anxious, but, at 
the same time, a determined air. 

t( 1.^1 wonder if what has occurred to 
you is what has occurred to me 1" inquired 
Quirk, in an eager whisper. * 

««Pooh! pooh! Mr. Quirk." 

" Gammon, dear Gammon, no mystery ! 
You know I have a deep stake in tms mat- 
ter!" 

•« So have I, Mr. Quirk," replied Gam- 
mon, with a sigh. ** However'' — ^Here the 
partners put their heads close together, and 
whisperea to each other in a low, earnest 
tone, for some minutes. Qnirk rose from 
his seat, and took two or three turns about 
the room in silence. Gammon watching him 
calmly. 

To his inexpressible relief and joy, vrith- 
in a few hours of the happening of ths 
above colloquy. Titmouse found himself 

S laced on precisely his former footing with 
f essrs. Quirk, Crammon, and Snap. 
In order to bring on the cause for trial at 
the next spring assizes, it was necessary 
that ^e declaration in ejectment should be 
served on the tenant in possession before 
Hilary term ; and, in a matter of such ma^ 
nitude, it was deemed expedient for Sna^ 
to go down and personally effect the service 
in question. In consequence, also, of some 
very important suggestions as to the evi- 
dMiee, given by the jumor in the cause, it 
was arranged that Snap shoald go down 
about a week before the time fixed upon for 
effecting ^e service, and make minute in- 
quiries as to one or two facts which it was 
understood could be estabHshed in evidence. 
As soon as Titmouse heard of this move- 
ment, that Snap was going direct to Yatlon, 
the scene of his, Titmouse's, future greats 
ness, he made the most pertinacious and ve- 
hement entreaties to Messre. Quirk and 
Gaounon to be allowed to accompany him, 
even going down on his knees. There was 
no resisting this; but they exacted a 
solemn pledge from him that he would 



i4e 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



placie himself entirely at the dispoeal of 
Snap : go under sbme feigned name, and, 
in short, neither say nor do any thing 
tending to disclose their real character or 
errand. 

Snap and Titmoase established them- 
seWes at the Haie and Honnds inn at Gril- 
^-ston; and the former immediately began, 
cautiously and quietly, to collect such evi- 
dence as he could discoTer. One of the first 
persons to whom he went was old Blind Bess. 
His manjT pressing questions at length 
stirred up in the ola woman's mind, recol- 
lections of long-forgotten names, persons, 
places, scenes, and associations, thereby 
producing an agitation not easily to be got 
rid of, and which had by no means subsided 
when Dr. Tatham and Mr. Aubrey paid her 
the Christmas-day visit, which has been 
already described. 

The reader has had already pretty distinct 
indications of the manner in which Tit- 
mouse and Snap conducted themselves du- 
ring their stay in Yorkshire, and which, I 
fear, have not tended to raise eitiier of these 
gentlemen in the reader's estimation. Tit- 
mouse manifested a very natural anxiety to 
see the nresent occupants of Yatton ; and it 
was witn infinite difficulty that Snap could 
prevent him from sneaking about in the im- 
mediate neighbourhood of the Hall, with 
the hope of seeine them. His first encoun- 
ter with Mr. and Miss Aubrey was entirely 
accidental, as the reader may remember; 
and when he found that the Isidy on horse- 
back near Yatton, and the lady whom he 
had striven to attract the notice of in Hyde 
Park, were one and the same beautiful wo- 
man, and that that beautiful woman was 
neither more nor less than tiie sister of the 

S resent owner of Yatton— the marvellous 
iscovery created a mig^^ pother in 
his littie feelings. The blaze of Kate 
Aubrey's beauty, in an instant consu- 
med the images of both Tabitha Tagrag 
and Dora Quirk. It even for a while out- 
shone the splendours of ten thousand a 
Tear; such is the inexpres6ible.and incalcu- 
lable power of woman's beauty over every 
thin^ in the shape of a man— over even so 
despicable a sample of him as Tittlebat 
Titmouse. 

While putting in practice some of those 
abominable tricks to which, under Snap's 
tutelage, Titmouse had become accustomed 
in walking the streete of London, and from 
which even the rough handling they had 
cot from farmer Hazel could not turn him. 
Titmouse at length, as has been seen, most 
unwillingly fell foul of that fair creature, 
Catharine Aubrey herself; who seemed 
truly like an angelic messenger, returning 
from her errand of sympathy vad meroy. 



and suddenly beset by a little imp of dark- 
ness. When Titmouse discovered who was 
the object of his audacious and revolting 
advances, his soul was petrified within him ; 
and it was fortunate that the shriek of Miss 
Aubrey's attendant at length startied him 
into a recollection of a pair of heels, to 
which he was that evening indebted for an 
escape from a most murderous cud^lling, 
which might have been attended with one 
effect not contemplated by him who inflicted 
it, viz. : the retention of the Aubreys in the 
possession of Yatton ! Titmouse ran for 
nearly half-«-mi]e on the high-road towarda 
Grilston, without stopping. He dared not 
venture back to Yatton, with the sound of 
the lusty fiirmer's voice in his eare, to ^ 
back from the Aubrey Anns the horse which 
had brought him that afternoon from Grils- 
ton, to which place he walked on, throu^ 
the snow and darkness ; reaching his inn in 
a perfect panic, from which, at lengtB, a 
tumbler of^stiff brandy and water, wiu two 
or three cigars, somewhat relieved him. 
Forgetful b? the solemn pledge whidi he 
had given to Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and 
Snap, not to disclose his name or errand, 
and it never once occurring to him that, if 
he would but keep his own counsel. Miss 
Aubrey could never identify Mm with the 
ruffian who had assailed her, he spent the 
interval between eight and twelve o'clock, 
at which latter hour the coach by which he 
had resolved to return to London would 
pass through Grilston, in inditing the fol- 
lowing letter to Miss Aubrey: 

*« Honoured Miss, 

«( Hoping No Offence Will be Taken 
where None is meant, (which am Sure cf,) 
This I send To say Who I Am, which. Is 
the Riffht And True Owner of Yatton which 
You Enjoy Among You All At This pre* 
sent (Till The Law Give it to Me) Which 
It quickly Will And which It Ought to 
Have done When I were First Born And 
Before Yr. Respect. Family ever Came into 
it. And Me which Yr. hond. Brother Have 
so Unlawfully Got Possession Of must 
Come Back to Them Whose Due It is wh. 
Is myself as will be Sone provd. And wh. 
am most truly Sorry Of on your Own tud. 
^Meaning bond. Miss, you Alone) as Sure 
As Yatton is Inllrely Mine So My Heart Is 
vouTt and No Longer my Own Ever since 
I Saw You firet as Can Easily prove but 
wh. doubtiess You Have forgot Seeing you 
Never New, seeing (as Mr. Gammon, My 
Solliciter, And a Very Great Lawyer, say) 
Ooues Alter (XreumstaneeB, what Can I say 
More Than that I Love you Mui Amazing 
Such As Never Thought Myself Capable 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



147 



<yf Doing Before and wh. cannot help Ever 
Since I First saw Yor. most Lmotly and 
Divine and striking Face wh. have Stuck 
In my Mind Ever Since Day and Nigrht 
Sleeping and Wakine I will Take my Oath 
Never Of Having LovM Any one Else, 
Thoagh (must Say] have Had a Wonderful 
Many Offen From Females of TKe Highest 
Bank Since My Truly Wonderful Good 
fortune got Talked About every Where but 
have Refuud Them AH for yr, sake. And 
Would all the World But you. When I 
Saw You on Horseback It was All my 
Sudden confusion In Seeing you (The 
Other Gent, was One of my Respec. Soli- 
citors) wh. Threw Me off in that Kidiculous 
way wh. was a Great Mortification And 
made My brute Of A horse goon so For I 
remembered You and was Wonderful struck 
with Your Improved Appearance (As that 
Same Gent, can Testily) And you was 
(Hond. Miss) Quite wrong Th-night when 
ion spoke Uncommon Angry To Me, 
seeing if I had Only Known what Female 
It was (meaninff yourselfwhich I respect so) 
only So Late Alone I should Have spoke 
quite Different So hope You will Think 
Nothinff More Of that Truly Unpleasant 
Event Now (Hond. Madam) What I have 
Tb saj Is if You will Please to Condescend 
To Yield To My Desire we Can Live Most 
uncommon Comfortable at Yatton Together 
wh. Place shall Have Great Pleasure in 
Marrying you from and I may {^perhaps) 
Do Something Handsome for yr. respecta- 
ble Brother And Family, wh. can Often 
Come to see us And Live in the Neighbour- 
hood, if You Refuse me, will not say What 
shall happen to Those which (am Told) 
Owe me a vreeious Long Figure wh. may 
(perhaps) Make a Han£ome Abatement If 
Yon and I Hit it. 

** Hoping You Will Forget what Have 
So Much Urievd. me And Write pr. return 
ofPost. 

«'Am 
"hond. Miss. 

** Yr. most Loving & Devoted Slave 

"(Till Death) 
" Tittlebat Titmouse. 

** {Private:') 

This equally characteristic and disgusting 
production, its infatuated writer sealed 
twice, and then left it with sixpence in the 
hands of the landlady of the Hare and 
Hounds, to be delivered at Yatton Hall the 
first thing in the morning. The good wo- 
man, however, having no particular wish 
to oblSffe such a strange puppy, whom she 
was omv too glad to .get rid of, and having 
a good deal to attend to— laid the letter on 
the chimney-pieoe, and entirely lost sight 



4 

of it for nearly a fortnight. Shortly after 
the lamentable tidings concerning the im- 
pending misfortunes of the Aubrey family 
had been communicated to the inhabitants 
of Grilston, she forwarded the letter^ittle 
dreaming of the character in which its 
writer was likely ere long to re-appear at 
Grilston— with one or two others, a day or 
two after Miss Aubrey had had the inter* 
view with her brother which I have de* 
scribed to the reader: but it lay unnoticed 
by any one-— above all, by the sweet sufferer 
whose name was indicted on it— among a 
great number of miscellaneous letters and 

fiapers which had been suffered to accuau* 
ate on the library table. 

Mr. Aubrey entered the library one morn- 
ing alone, for the purpose of attending to 
many matters which had been long neglect- 
ed. He was evidently thinner: his face 
was pale, and his manner dejected: still 
there was about him a noble air of calmness 
and resolution. Through the richly-pictured 
old stained-glass window, the mottled sun« 
beams were streaming in a kind of tender 
radiance upon the dear old familiar objects 
around him. All was silent. Having drawn 
his chair \p the table, on which were lying 
a confused heap of letters and papers, he 
felt a momentary repugnance to enter upon 
the task which he had assigned to himself, 
of opening and attending to them; and 
walked slowlv for some time up and down 
the room with fold^ arms, uttering occa- 
sionally profound sighs. At length he sat 
down, and commenced the disheartening 
task of opening the many letters before him. 
One of tne first he opened was from Peter 
Johnson— the old tenant to whom he had 
lent the sum of two hundred pounds ; it was 
full of expressions of gratitncie and respect. 
Then came a letter, a fortnight old, bearing 

the frank of Lord , the Secretary of 

State for Foreign Affairs. He opened it and 
read: 

** WMUkeO, l«a JMiisry, 18-% 

" My dear Aubrey, - 

" V ou will remember that Lord — *8 
motion stands for the 38th. We all venture 
to calculate upon receiving your powerful 
support in the debate. We enect to be 
much pressed with the Duke of^ *s af- 
fair, wnieh you handled shortly before the 
recess with such signal ability and success. 
When you return to town, you must expect 
a renewal of certain offers, which I most 
sincerely trust, for the benefit of the pubiio 
service, will not be again declined. 
" Ev^r yours faithfully, 

"C- 

" (Private and confidential.) 

" Charles Aubrey^ Esq.f J£ P." 



148 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



M r. Aulyrey laid down the letter calmly, 
as soon as he had read it ; and, leaiUDff back 
in his chair, seemed lost in thought for se- 
Teral minutes. Presently he re-applied 
himself to his task, and opened and glanced 
oyer a great many letters ; the contents of 
several of which occasioned him deep emo- 
tion. Some were from persons in distress 
whom he had assisted, and who implored a 
continuance of his aid ; others were from 
ardent political friends— some sanguine, 
others desponding^-conceming the pros- 
pects of the session. Two or three hinted 
that it was eyery where r^orted that he had 
been offered one of the under-secretaryships, 
and had declined ; but that it was, at the 
Idnfir^s desire, to be pressed upon him. Ma- 
ny letters were on private, and still more on 
county business ; uid with one of them he 
was engaged, when a servant entered with 
one of that morning's county papers. Tired 
with his task, Mr. Aubrey rose horn his 
chair as the servant gave him the paper ; 
and, standing before the fire, he anfoldrd 
the Yorhhire Stingo^ and glanced listlessly 
over its miscellaneous contents. At length 
his eye lit upon the following paragraph : 

'* The rumours so deeply affecting a mem- 
ber for a certain borouch in this county, 
and to which we allndea in our last paper 
but one, turn out to be well-founded. A 
claimant has started up to the very laree 
estates at present held by the gentleman in 
Question; and we are very much misin- 
lormed if the ensuing spnng assizes will 
not effect a considerable change in the re- 
presentation of the borough alluded to, by 
relieving it from the toiy thraldom under 
which it has been so long oppressed. We 
have no wish to bear hard upon a falling 
man; and, therefore, shall make no comment 
upon the state of mind in which the person 
may be presumed to be, who must be con- 
scious that he has been so long enjoying the 
just rights of others. Some extraordinary 
disclosures maybe looked for when the trial 
comes on. We have heard from a auarter 
on which we are disposed to place reliance, 
that the claimant is a gentleman of decided 
whig principles, and who will prove a valu- 
able aceession to the liberal cause.*' 

The tears veiy nsaiiy foreed tiieir way 
oat of Mr. Aubrey's eyes on reading this 
most unfeeling paragraph; but ^ey had, 
yyith a strong effort, been dispersed just as 
Miss Aubrey entered the room. Her bro- 
ther quietly folded up the paper, and laid it 
aside, fearful lest his sister's feelings should 
be pierced by so coarse and brutal a parap 
graph, which, in fact, had been concocted 
in London in the office of Messrs. Quirk, 
Gammon, and Snap, who were, as before 
atated, interested in the Sunday Flath^ which 



was in some sort connected, through the 
relationship of the editors, with the York' 
tkirf Stinge, The idea had been suggested 
by Gammon, of attempting to enTist the 
poKiieal feeling of a portion of the county 
m fiivoux of their client. 

** Here are several lettera for you, Kate^** 
said her brother, picking several of them 
out. The very first she took up, it having 
attracted her attention by ihe aouble sea], 
and the vulgar style oi the handwritings 
was that from 'Htmonse, which has just 
been laid before tiie reader. With much 
surprise she opened the letter, her brother 
beinff similarly engaged with his own ; and 
her fece getting giidually paler as she went 
on, at length she flung it on the floor with a 
passionate air, and Inust into tears. Her 
brother, with astonishment, exclaimed,-* 
«Dear Kate, what is iti" and he rose and 
stooped to pick up the letter. 

«' Don't— don't, Charles!" she cried, pat- 
ting her foot upon it, and flinging her arms 
round his neck. ** It is an audacious letter 
— a vulgar, a crael letter, dear Charles !'* 
Her emotion increased as her thoughts re- 
curred to ^e heartless paragraph ooneerning 
her brother with which the letter concludeol 
" I could have overloofcibd ere|7 thing but 
/^," said she unwittingly. IVith gentle 
force he succeeded in getting hold a( th» 
painfully ridiculous and contemptible effu- 
sion. He attempted faintly to smile several 
times as he went on. 

'•Don't— don't, dearest Charles ! I can't 
bear it. Don't smUe— -it's very far from 
your heart; you do it only to assure me,'** 

Here Mr. Aubrey read the paragraph con- 
ceminff himself. His face turned a little 
paler £an before, and his lips quivered with 
suppressed emotion. "He is evidently a 
very foolish fellow !" he exclaimed, walkinjg 
towards the window, with his back to his 
sister, whom he did not wish to see how 
much he was affected by so petty an inci- 
dent. 

** What does he allude to, Kate, when he 
talks of your having spoken aneiily to- him, 
and that he did not know you t" he mtjuired, 
after a few moments' pause, returmng to 
her. 

«*0 dear!— I am so grieved that yoo 
should have noticed it — but since you «Bk 
me" — and she told him the occurrence al- 
luded to in the letter. Mr. Aubrey drew 
himself up unconsciously as Kate went on, 
and she pereeived him becoming still paler 
than before, and felt the kindling ang^r of 
his eye. 

** Forget it— for^t it, dearest Charles !— 
So despicable a being is really not worth a 
thought," said Kate, with increasing anx- 
iety : for she had never in hex life befoiSi 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



149 



witnessed her brother the subject of such 
powerful emotions as then made rigid his 
slender frame. At length, drawing a long 
breath^— 

** It is fortunate, Kate,** said he calmly, 
**1hathe is not a ffentleman, and that I en^ 
deavour to 60— a Christian.** She flung her 
aims round him, exclaiming, ** There spoke 
my own noble brother !** 

*« I shall preserre this letter as a curiosity, 
Kate,'* said he presently ; and with a pointed 
significance ot manner, that arrested his 
uster's attention, he added, — ** It is rather 
singular, but some time before you came in, 
I opened a letter in which your name is 
mentioned — ^I cannot say in a nmtlar man- 
ner, and yet— in short, it is from Lord De 
la Zouch, enclosing one—** 

Miss Aubrey suddenly blushed scarlet, 
and trembled Tiolently. 

''Don't be agitated, my dear Kate, the 
enclosure is from Lady De la Zouch : and 
if it be the same strain of kindness that per- 
▼ades Lord De la Zouch's letter to me ^** 

*' 1 would rather that you opened and read 
it, Charles,**— she faltered, sinking into a 
chair. 

*'Come, come, d^r Kate— play the wo- 
man!** said her brother wiih an affectionate 
air. '< To say that there is nothing in these 
letters that I believe will interest you — ^very 
deeply gratify and interest your feelings — 
would be—** 

«• I know— I— I— suspect— r* — ^faltered 
Miss Aubrey, with much agitation—^* I 
shall return.** 

''Then you shall take these letters with 
yon, and read or not read them as you like,** 
said her brother, putting the letters into her 
hand with a fond and sorrowful smile, that 
soon, howeyer, flitted away — an^% leading 
her to the door, he was once more 
alone; and, after a brief interval of re- 
very, he vrrote answers to such of the 
many letters before Mm as he considered 
earliest to require them. 

Notwithstanding the judgment and ten- 
derness with which Dr. Tatham discharged 
the very serious duty which, at the entreaty 
of his afflicted friends, he had undertaken, 
of breaking to Mrs. Aubrey the calamity 
with which she and her family were me- 
naced, the effects of the disclosure had been 
most disastrous. They had paraljrsed her ; 
and Mf. Aubrey, who had long been await- 
ing the issue, in sickening suspense, in an 
adjoining room, was hastily summoned in 
to behold a mournful and heart-rending 
fipeetacle. His venerable mother— she who 
had given him life at the mortal peril of her 
Qfwn; she whom he cherished with unut- 
terable tenderness and reverence ; she who 
doted npon him as upon die lig^t of her 

H 9 



eyes; from whose dear lips he had never 
heard a word of u'nkindness or severity ; 
whose heart had never known an impulse 
but of gentle, noble, unbounded generosity 
towards all around her— this idolized bein? 
now lay suddenly prostrated and blighted 
before him. 

Poor Aubrey yielded to his Ion? and vio- 
lent agony, m the presence of her who 
could no longer hear, or see, or be sensible 
of what was passing in the chamber. 

" My son,'* said Dr. Tatham, after the 
firet burst of his friend's grief was over, and 
he knelt down beside his mother, with her 
hand grasped in his, " despise not the chas- 
tening of the Lord ; neither be weary of his 
correction. 

" For whom the Lord loveth he eorrect- 
eth, even as a father the son in whom he d^ 
lighteth. 

" The Lord will not cast off for ever. 

" But though he cause grief, yet will he 
have compassioh, according to the multitude 
of his mercies. 

" For he doth not afflict willingly, nor 
grieve the children of men.** 

It was with great difficulty that Dr. Tat- 
ham could render himself audible while 
murmuring these soothing and solemn pas- 
sages of scripture in the ear of his distract- 
ed friend, beside whom he knelt. 

Mre. Aubrey had suffered a paralytic 
seizure, and lay motionless and insensible; 
her features slightly disfigured, but partial- 
ly concealed beneath her long silvery jgray 
hair, which had, in the suddenness of^the 
fit, strayed from beneath her cap. 

"But what am I about!" at length ex- 
claimed Mr. Aubrey, with a languid and 
alarmed air — ^ has medical assistance——*' 

" Dr. Goddart and Mr. Whateley are 
both sent for by several servants, and 
will doubtless be very quickly here,'*T»> 

Klied Dr. Tatham ; and while he yet spoke 
Ir. Whateley— who, when hastened on by 
the servant who had been sent for him, was 
entering the park on a visit to young Mn. 
Aubrey, who was also seriously ill and in 
peculiarly critical circumstances— entered 
the room, and immediately resorted to the 
necessary measures. Soon aflerwards, 
also. Dr. Goddart arrived ; but, alas, how 
little could they do for the venerable suf- 
ferer. 

During the next, and for many ensuing 
days, the lodge was assailed by very many 
anxious and sympathizing inquirere, who 
were answered by Watere, whom Mr. Au- 
brey— 4)ppressed by the number of friends 
who hurried up to the Hall, and insisted 
upon seeimtfiim to ascertain the extent to 
which the^pedful rumoure were correct-^ 
had stationed there during the day to afford 



liO 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAB. 



te leqoiflite informatbn. The Hall vas 
penraded by a gloom that could be felt, 
feveiy servant had a wo-begone look, and 
moved about as if a foneial were sttning. 
Little Charles and Agnes, almost imprison- 
ed in their nursery, seemed quite puzzled 
and confused at the strange, unusual seri- 
ousness, and quietness, and melancholy 
feces every where about them. Kate 
romped not with them as had been her 
wont; but would constantly burst into 
tears as she held them on her knee or in her 
arms, trying to evade the continual ques- 
tioning of Charles. <'I think it will be 
time for me to cry too by-and-b^ !*' said he 
to her one day, with an air halt in jest and 
half in earnest, that made poor Kate's tears 
flowa&esh. Sleepless nights and days of 
sofrow soon told upon her appearance. Her 
glorious buoyancy of spirits, that erewhile, 
as it were, had filled toe whole Hall with 
gladness— where were they nowt Ah, 
me ! the rich bloom had disappeared from 
her beautiful cheek ; but her nigh spirit, 
Ihouffh oppressed, was not broken, and she 
stooa firmly and calmly amid the scowling 
skies and lowering tempests. You fan- 
cied you saw herammrn tresses stirred up* 
cm her pale but calm brow by the breath of 
the approaching storm; and that she also 
felt it, but tvembled not. Her heart might 
be, indeed, bruised and shaken; but her 
nirii was, ay, unconquerable. ]\fy f^o- 
nous Kate, how my heart goes forth to- 
wards you ! 

And thou, her brother, who art of kin- 
dred spirit ; who art supported by philoso- 
phy, and exalted by religion, so that thy 
eoDstaney carmot be shaken or overthrown 
by the blade and ominous swell of trouble 
which is increasing and closing around thee, 
I know that thou wilt outlive the storm^^ 
and yet it rocks thee ! 

A month or two may see thee and thine 
expelled from old Yatton, and not merely 
having lost every thing, but with a liability 
to thy successor that will han^ round thy 
neok like a millstone. What, indeed, is to 
become of you all t Whither will you go ) 
And your suffering mother, should she sur- 
vive so long, is her precious form to be 
borne away from Yatton % 

Around thee stand those who, if thou 
fallest, will perish—and that thou know est; 
around thy eafan, sorrowful, but erect figure, 
are a melancholy group-*thy afiUcted mo- 
ther—the wife of my bosom^^diy two little 
ehildren— diy brave beautiful sister— Yet 
think not. Misfortune ! that over this man 
ihou art about to achieve thy accustomed 
triumphs. Here, behold thou hast a man 
to oontend with; nay, moxe» a cBBuruir 



MAV, who hadi calmly girded up his loxai, 
against the coming fight ! 

Twas Sabbath evemng, some five weeks 
or BO after the happening of the mournful 
events above commemorated, and Kate ha- 
ving spent as usual several hours keeping 
watch beside the dlent and motionless 
figure of her mother, had c^uitted the cham- 
ber for a brief interval thinking to relieve 
her oppressed spirits by walking, for a little 
wfai}e, up and down the long guleij. Ha- 
ving slowly paced backwaros and forwards 
once or twice, she rested against the litde 
oriel window at the furthest extremity of the 
eallery, and gazed, with saddened eye, upon 
the setting sun, till at length, in calm gran- 
deur, it msappeared beneath the horizon* 
Twas to Kate a solemn and mournful sign ; 
especially followed as it was by the deep- 
enmg shadows and ^oom of evening. She 
sighed ; and, with her hands crossea on her 
bosom, gaaed with a tearful eye, into the 
darkenmg sky, where glittered the brUliaat 
evening star. Thus she remained, a thou- 
sand pensive and tender thou^ts passing 
through her mind, till the increasing chilla 
of evening warned her to retire. ** I will 
go,*' said she to herself, as she walked 
slowly adong, " and try to play the evening 
hymn — ^I may not have many more oppor- 
tunities!'* vVith this view, she gently 
opened the drawing-room door, and, dan- 
cmg around found mat she should be alone. 
The fire gave the only light. She opened 
the organ with a sigh, and then sat down 
before It for some minutes without touching 
the keys. At length she struck them very 
gently, as if fearfm. of disturbing those who, 
she soon recollected, were too distant to 
hear her. Ah ! how many associations were 
stirred up as she played over the simple 
and solemn air ! At length, in a low and 
rather tremulous voice, she began : 

** 800B win the aventof m»t, wkli iHver ny, 
Sbtd ita mild radiance o'er the sacred daj ; 
Reenme we then, ere nlgbt and silenee rein. 
The rites whicb holiiMM tad haavae ofdam— '' 



She sung the last line somewhat indis- 
tinctly ; and, overcome by a flood of tender 
recollections, ceased playing; then, lean- 
ing her head upon her nand, she shed tears. 
At length she resumed — 

** Here hivbly let «• hope oar Maker's amfla 

Will crown witb eweet ■secess oar earthly toll— 
- And here, on each retamkng Babbath, join——" 

Here poor Kate's voice quivered-^and, 
after one or two inefifectual attempts to sing 
the next line, she sobbed, and ceased play- 
ing. She remained for several minutes, 
her hce buried in her handkerchief, sbed- 
duog tears. At length, '*I*11 play the last 
verse,** thought die, ** and then sit down 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



151 



befoie the fiie and read over the eyeninff 
sendee, (feeling for her little prayer hook,} 
before I retom to poor mamma/' With a 
iinner hand and yoioe she proceeded— 

Ffetb«r of Heaveii ! ia whom our hopes eonflde, 
WboM power defoDde as, and wnoee preeepla 

fiilde — 
In lift oar gnardian, and in death onr friend, 
Glory MpreBio he thine tiU Uae ahaU audi" 

She played and sung these lines widi a 
kind ot solemn energy ; and she felt as if a 
ray of heayenly light had trembled for a 
moment upon her aptoned eye. She had 
not been, as she had supposed alone; in 
the fairthftst comer of the room had been 
all the while sittinfi; her brother— too exqui- 
sitely touched by ttie simplicity and goodr 
ness of his sweet sister, to apprise her of 
his presence. Seyeral times his feelings 
had nearly oyerpowered him ; and as she 
conclodea, he arose from his chair, and ap- 
proaching her, after her first surprise was 
oyer. "Heayen bless you, dear Kate!" 
said he, taking her little hands in his own. 
Neither of them spoke for a few moments. 

*Vl could not hay« sung a line or played, 
If I had known that you were here,** said 
Bha. 

««T thought so, Kate." 

^l donH Uiink I shall ey^ haye heart to 
play again." 

*<Be assured, Kate, that snbmission to 
the will of God," said Mr. Aubrey, as, with 
his arm round his sister, they walked slowly 
toand fro, '* is the great lesson to be learned 
from the troubles of life; and for tiiat pur^ 
pose they are sent Let us bear up a while ; 
the waters wUl not go oyer our hc»ds !" 

"I hope not," replied his sister faintly, 
and in tears. 

*' How did you leaye Agones, Charles !" 

«« She was asleep ; she is still yery fee- 
ble"^— —Here the door was suddenly opened, 
and Miss Anbrey's maid entered hastily, 
ezclaimingy **Are you heie, ma*amt*-or, 
sill" 



** Here we are," they replied, hunying 
towards her; ** what is die matter t" 

'*0h, madam is talking! She began 
speaking all of a sudden. She did, indeed, 
sir. Sl^*s talkinsr, and"—- continued the 
girl, almost breathless. 

** My mother talking r* exclaimed Aubrey* 
with an amazed air. 

** Oh, yes sir ! she is— she is, indeed I" 

Miss Aubrey sunk into her brother's arms, 
oyercome for a moment with tiie sudden and 
surprising intelligenoe. 

** Rouse yourself, Kate!" he exclaimed 
with animation; **did I not tell you that 
Heayen would not forget usi But I must 
hasten up stairs, to hear the joyful sounds 
with ifiy own ears— and do you follow me 
as soon as you can." Leaying her in the 
care of her maid, he hastened out of the 
room up stairs and was soon at die door of 
his mother's chamber. He stood for a mO" 
ment in the door>way, and his straining ears 
caught the gentle tones of his mother's 
yoice, speaking in a low but cheerful tone. 
His knees trembled beneath him with joy* 
ful excitement. Fearful of trusting himself 
in her presence till he had become calmer, 
he noiselessly sunk on the nearest chair, 
with beating heart and straining ear — ay, 
eyery tone of that dear yoioe thrilled through 
his heart But 1 shall not torture my own 
or my reader's heart by dwelling upon the 
scene that ensued. Alas ! the yenerable suf- 
ferer's tongue was indeed loosed ;— but rea- 
son had fl^ ! He listened — ^he distinguish- 
ed her words. She supposed that idl her 
children— dead and aliye— were romping 
about her; she spoke of him and his sister 
as she had spoken to them twenty yeaito 
ago. 

As soon as he had made this sad diseo- 
yery, oyerwhelmed with grief he staggered 
out of the room ; and motioning his sister, 
who was entering, into an adjoining apart- 
ment, communicated to her the moamfiil 
candition of her mothor. 



CHAPTER Vni. 



Trk chief corner-stone suddenly found 
wanting in the glittering febric of Mr. Tit- 
mouse's fortune, so that to the eyes of its 
startled architects, Messrs. Quirk, Gam- 
mon, and Snap, it seemed momentarily 
threatening to tumble about their ears, was 
a certain piece of eyidence, which, being a 
matter-of-fact man, I should like to explain 
to the reader before we get on any further. 
In order, however, to do this effectually, I 
must go back to an earlier period in history 
than has yet been called to his attention. 
If it shall have been unfortunate enouffh to 
attract the hasty eye of the superficial and 
impatient fiooe^ieader, I make no doubt that 
by such a one certain portions of what has 
gone before, and which could not fail of at- 
tracting the attention of long-headed people 
as being not thrown in for nothing, (and 
therefore to be borne in mind with a view to 
subsequent explanation,) hare been entirely 
orerlooked or forgotten. Now, I can fancy 
that the sort of reader whom I hare in my 
eye, as one whose curiosity it is worth some 
pains to excite and sustain, has more than 
once asked himself the following question, 
▼iz. — 

** How did Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and 
Snap, first come to be acquainted with the 
precarious tenure by which Mr. Aubrey held 
the Yatton property t'* Why, it chanced in 
this wise. 

* Mr. Parkinson of Grilston, who has been 
already introduced to the reader, succeeded 
to his late father, in one of the most respect- 
able practices as a country attorney and so- 
licitor, in Yorkshire. He was a highly 
honourable, painstaking man,anddeseryed- 
ly enjoyed the entire confidence of all his 
numerous and influential clients. Some 
twelye years before the period at which this 
history commences, Mr. Parkinson, who 
was a yery kind-hearted man, had taken into 
his seryice an orphan boy of the name of 
Steggars, at fibrst merely as a sort of errand- 
boy, and to look after die office. He soon, 
howeyer, displayed so much sharpness, and 
acquitted himself so creditably in any thing 
he happened to be concerned in, a little 
aboye the run of his ordinary duties, that in 
the course of a year or two he became asort 
of clerk, and sat and wrote at the desk it 
had formerly been his sole proyince to dust. 
Higher and higher did he nse in process of 
tinMy in his mastei's estimation; and at 
Iwgtii beoma quite a/ocMnn— m such 



acquainted with the whole course of business 
that passed through the office. Many in- 
teresting matters connected with the circum- 
stances and cormexions of the neighbouring 
nobility and gentry were thus constantly 
brought under his notice, and now and then 
set mm thinking whether the Ignowledge 
thus acquired could not, in some way, and 
at some time or another, be turned to lus 
own adyantage : for I am sorry to say that 
he was utteny unworthy of tiie kindness 
and confidence of Mr. Parkinson, who little 
thought that in Steggars he had to deal 
with a roffue in grain. Such being his cha- 
racter, and such his opportuiuties, this wor- 
thy made a practice of minuting down, fiftxn 
time to time, any thing of interest or ini- 

Sortance in Ae affairs which thus came un- 
er his notice— «yen laboriously copymf 
long documents, when he thought them of 
importance enough for his purpose, and had 
the opportunity of doing so without attraeV 
ing the attention of Mr. Parkinson. He 
thus silently acquired a mass of information 
which might haye enabled him to occasion 
^[reat annoyance, and eyen inflict serious 
mjury ; and the precise object he had in 
yiew, was either to force himself, hereafter, 
into partnership with his employer, (proyi- 
ded ne could cet regularly introduced into 
the profession,} or eyen compel his mas- 
ter's clients to receiye bun into their confi- 
dence, aidyersely to Mr. Parkinson, makinff 
it worth his while to keep the secrets of 
which he had become possessed. So care- 
ful ought to be, and indeed generally are, 
attorneys and solicitors, as to the characters 
of those whom they thus receiye into their 
employ. On the occasion of Mr. Aubrey's 
intended marriage with Miss St. Glair, with 
a yiew to die yery liberal settlements which 
he contemplated, a full abstract of his title 
was laid hj Mr. Parkinson before his ood- 
yeyancer, in order to adyiseand prepare tiie 
necessary instruments. Owing to inquiries 
suggested by the cony^ancer, additional 
statements were laid bemre him ; and pro- 
duced an opinion of a somewhat unsati^ 
factory description, from which I shall 
lay before tiie rmder the following para- 
graph: 

** There seems no reason for supposing 
that any descendant of Stephen Dredalington 
is now in existence : still, oi it is l^ no 
meam pkysUaUy impombk that Buih a jmt- 
son fiMty k tfieite. it would no doubt be inn 

159 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



163 



poitant to the Becaiitr of Mr. Aabrey 's title, 
to establish clearly the validity of the con- 
veyance by way of mortgage, exeoated by 
Harry Dr^dlington, and which was afler- 
wards assigned to Geoffrey Dreddlington on 
his paying off the money borrowed by his 
deceased uncle; since the descent of Mr. 
Aabrey from Geoffrey Dreddlington would, 
in that event, clothe him with an indeleasi- 
ble title at law, by virtue of that deed ; and 
any equitable rights which were originally 
outstanding, would be barred by lapse of 
time. But the difficulty occurring to my 
mind on this nart of the case is, that unless 
Harry Dreddlington, who executed that 
deed of mortgage, survived his father, (a 

Soint on which J have no information,) the 
eed itself would have been mere waste 
parchment, as the conveyance of a person 
who never had any interest in the Yatton 
property — and of course, neither Geoffrey 
Dreddlmgton, nor his descendant Mr. Au- 
brey, coiud derive any right whatever under 
Bach an instrument. In that ease, such a 
contingency as I have above hinted at—I 
mean the existence of any legitimate de- 
scendant of Stephen DreddlingtoD— -mt^A^ 
have a nw9i ierioiu dfied upon iheriMhUaf 
Mr.Jhibrej^:' 

Every line of this opinion, and also even 
of the abstract of title upon which it was 
written, did this ouicksif^ted young sooui^ 
drel copy out, and deposit, as a great prize, 
in his desk, among other similar notes, and 
memoranda, little wotting his master the 
while of what he was doing. Some year 
or two afterwards, the relationship subsistr 
ing between Mr. Parkinson and nis ckrk, 
Steggars, was suddenly determined by a 
somewhat untoward event; viz., by the 
latter*s decamping with the sum of dS700 
sterling, being the amount of money due in 
a moiteage which he had been sent to re- 
ceive Rom a client of Mr. Parkinson's. 
Steggars fled for it— but first having be- 
thought himself of the documents to which 
I have been alluding, and which he earned 
with him to London. - Hot pursuit was 
made after the unfortunate delinquent, who 
was taken into custody two or three days 
after his arrival intown, while he was wauc- 
ing about the streets, with die whole of the 
sum which he had embezzled, mtmif a few 
pounds, upon his person, in baidc notes. 
He quickly found his way into Newgate. 
His natural sagacity assured him that his 
case was rather an ugly one ; but hope did 
not desert him. 

" Well, my kiddy,*' said the grim-vissp 
ged gray-headed turnkey, as soon as be had 
ushered Steggars into his snug little quar* 
ters : '* here you aie, you see— isnU yon V 



*• I think I am," repUed Steggan, with a 
sigh. 

** Well— «nd if you want tohave aehanoe 
of not g<Mng across the water till you are 
many years older, you'll set yourself ife- 
Anaui, and the sooner the oetter, d'ye see. 
There's Quirkf Gammtmj and Auy^— my 
eyes ! how they do thin our place, to b!e 
sura! The only thing's .to get 'em soon; 
'cause, you see, they're so run after. Shall 
I send them to you I" 

Steggars answered eagerly in the affirm- 
ative. In Older to account for thisspontar 
neotts good-nature on the part of Grasp, 
rthe turnkey in question,) I must explain 
that old Mr. Qui» had for years secured a 
large criminal practice by havinff in his in- 
terest most of^ the officers attaded to the 
poliee offices and Newgate, to whom he 
gave, in £BOt, systeaatio g^tuitiea, in order 
to get their recommendations to the per8»> 
cttiM individuals who came into their pow* 
er. Very shortly after Grasp's messenffer 
had reached Saffron Hill, with the intdfli- 
geaoe that ^ there was aomtthing new in 
ike trapt"^ old Quirk bastled down to N^* 
gate^ and was iatrodueed to Steg^^ars, with 
when he was dioseted for some time. He 
took a lively interest in his new coaipanion« 
whose narrative of his fUjght and capture he 
listened to in a very km and sympathi- 
zing way, and promised to do forhim what* 
ever his little sldll and experience eouU do* 
He hinted, however, that as Mr. Steggars 
must be aware, a little ready money would 
be required, in order to fee counsel— whore* 
at Steggars looked very dismal indeed, and 
knowing the state of his exchequer, imar 
gined himself already on ship-board, on his 
way to Botany Bay. Old Mr. Quirk aaked 
him if he had no fnends who would raise a 
trifle for a ** chum in trouble,"*-4nd on an- 
swering in the negative, he observed the 
enthusiasm of the respectable old gentle* 
man visibly and rapidly cooling 4own. 

«♦ But ril tell you what, sir," said poor 
Stegsars, suddenly, •« If I haven't money, I 
may nave fnonevU worih at my command; 
—I've a little box, that's at my lodginm, 
which those that got me know nothing o^^ 
and in which there's a trifle or two aboot 
the flunilies and fortunes of some of the first 
folk in Yattcm, that would be precious well 
worth looking after to those tfa^t know how 
to follow up such matters." 

Old Quirk hereat pricked op his ears, and 
asked his young Mend how he got possess* 
ed of such secrets. 

'«0h fie! fie!" said he, gently, as soon 
as Steggars had told him the practices of 
which I have already put the reader in pQ»> 
I session. 



154 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



** All— yoQ may say fie ! fie ! if you like," 
qaotii Steggars, earnestly ; ** bat the thing 
ia, not how they were come by, bat what 
can be done with them, now they're got. 
For example, there's a certain member of 
parliament in Yorkshire, that, hi^ as he 
may hold his head, has no more light to the 
estates that yield him a good ten thousand 
a year than I have, but keeps some folk out 
of their own, that could pay some other folk 
a round sum to be put in the way of getting 
their own ;" and that was only one of the 
good things he knew of. Here old Quirk 
rubbed his chin, hemmed, fidgeted about in 
his seat, took off his glasses, wiped them, 
replaced them : and presently went through 
that ceremony again. He then said ^at he 
had had the honour of being concerned for 
a great number of gentlemen in Mr. Steg- 
ffars' <* present embarrassed circumstances," 
but who had always been able to command 
at least a fiTo-poand note at starting, to run 
a heat for liberty. 

**Come, come, old gentleman," quoth 
Steggars, earnestly, **I don't want to go 
cnrer the water before my time, if lean h^p 
it; and I see you know the value of what 
I Ve got ! Such a gentleman as yon can 
torn every bit of paper I hare in my box 
into a fifty-pound note." 

*< All this is moonsiiine, my young friend," 
said old Quirk, in an irresolute tone and 
manner. 

«« Ah ! is it though ? To be able to tell 
the owner of a fat ten thousand a year, that 
you may spring a mine under his feet at 
any moment— en !— and no one ever know 
how you came by your knowledge. And if 
they wouldn't do what was handsome, 
couldn't yon get at the right Aetiw«nd 
wouldn't that — Lord! it would make ^e 
fortunes of 'half-a-dozen of the first houses 
in the profession !"— Old Quirk got a little 
ezcitea. 

««But mind, sir—you see" — said Steg- 
sars, " if I get off, I'm not to be cut out of 
the tfiing altogether— eh ? I shall look to be 
taken into your employ, and dedt hand- 
somely by"— . 

*' Oh lord !" exclaimed Quirk, involunta- 
rily — adding quickly — »*Yes, yes! to be 
sure! only £dr; but let us first get you out 
of your present difficulty, you know!" 
Steggars, having first exacted from him a 
written promise to usd his utmost exertions 
on his (Steggars') behalf, and secure him 
the services of two of the most eminent 
Old Bailey counsel— viz. Mr. Bluster and 
Mr. Slang— gave Mr. Quirk the number of 
the house where his precious box was, and a 
written order to the landlord to deliver it up 
to the bearer, after which Mr. Quirk shooK 
%iin cordially by the hand, and, having 



Suitted the prison, made his way straight to 
le house in question, and succeeded m ob- 
taining what he asked for. He faithfoUy 
performed his agreement with Steggars; 
for he retained both Bluster and Slang for 
him, and got up ^eir briefis with care; but, 
alas ! although these eminent men exerted 
all their great powers, they succeeded not 
in either bothering the judge, bamboozling 
the jury, or browl^ting the witnesses, (the 
princip^ one of whom was Mr. Parkinson); 
Steggars was found guilty, an^ sentenced 
to M transported for life. Enraged at this 
issue, he sent a message the next day to 
Mr. Quirk, requesting a visit from him. 
When he arrived, Steggars, in a very vio- 
lent tone, demanded that his papers should 
be returned to him. Twas in vain that 
Mr. Quirk explained to him again and again 
his interesting position with reference to his 
goods and chattels, and effects — t. e. that, 
as a convicted felon, he had no further con- 
cern with them, and might dismiss all 
anxiety on that score . from his mind. Steg- 
gars hereat got more furious than before, 
and intimated plainly the course he shoold 
feel it his duty to pursue— that, if the papers 
in question were not given up to him as he 
desired, he should at once write off to his 
late employer, Mr. Parkinson, and acknow- 
ledge how much farther he (Steggars) had 
wronged him and his clients than he sup- 
posed of. Old Quirk very feelingly repre- 
sented to him that he was at liber^ to do 
any thing that he thought calculated to re- 
lieve his excited feelings: and then Mr. 
Quirk took a final &rewell of his client, 
wishing him health and happiness. 

**I say, Grasp!" said he, m a whisper, to 
that grim functionary, as soon as he had 
secured poor Steggars in his cell, «« that bird 
is a little ruffled just now !" 

•*Lud, sir, the nat'ralist thing in the 
world, considering^— " 

•* Well— if he should want a letter taken 
to any one, whatever he may say to the 
contrary, you'll send it on to Saffron Hill— 
eh? understand ?— He may be injuring 
himself, you know," and old Quirk with 
one hand clasped the huge arm of Grasp in 
a familiar way, and with the forefinger of 
the other touched his own nose, ana then 
winked his eye. 

<*A11 right!" quoth Grasp, and they part- 
ed. Wi£in a very few nours' time Mr. 
Quirk received, by the hand of a trasty 
messenger from Grasp, a letter written by 
Steggars to Mr. Parkinson ; a long and elo- 
quent letter, to the purport and effect which 
Steggars had intimated. Mr. Quirk read it 
with much satisfiustion, for it disclosed a 
truly penitent feeling, and a desire to undo 
as much mischief as the writer had done* 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



155 



He (Mr. Qaiik) wu not in the least exas-^i 

Cited by certain yery plain terms in which 
own name was mentioned ; but, making 
all dae allowances, quietly put the letter 
into the fire as soon as he had read it. In 
due time, Mr. St^gars, whose health had 
suffered from close confinement, caught 
frequent whiffs of the fresh sea-breeze, 
haying set out, under most fieiTourable 
auspices, for Botafly Bay; to which dis- 
tant ]bnt happy place, he had been thus for- 
tunate in secunng so early an appointment 
for Ufe* 

Such, then, were the cruel means by 
which Mr. Quirk became acquainted with 
the exact state of Mr. Aubrey's title : on 
fiist becoming apprised of which Mr. Gam- 
mon either felt, or affected great repugnance 
to taking any part in the affair. He was 
at length, howeyer, oyer-persuaded by Quirk 
into acquiescence; and, that point gained, 
worked his materials with a caution, skill, 
energy, and perseyerance, which soon led 
to important results. Guided by the sug- 
gestions of acute and experienced counsel, 
afler much pains and considerable expense, 
they succeeded in discoyering that delec- 
table specimen of humanity. Tittlebat Tit- 
mouse, who hath already figured so promi- 
nently in this history. When they came to 
set down on paper the result of all their re- 
searches and inquiries, in order to submit it 
in the shape of a case for the opinion of Mr. 
Mortmain and Mr. Frankpledge, in the 
manner which has been already described, 
it looked perfect on paper, as many a faul^ 
pedigree and abstract of title had looked 
before, and will yet look. It was ouite 
possible for eyen Mr. Tresayle himself to 
overlook the defect which had been pointed 
oat- by Mr. Subtle. TTiat which is stated 
to a conye^ancer as a fact— any particukur 
eyent, for instance, as of a death, a birth, or 
a marriage, at a particular time, which the 



,aente and experienced eye of a fdoi pritu 
lawyer, who knows that he will haye to 
prove his case, step by step, the aspect of 
things is soon changed. The first practitioner 
at the common law before whom the case 
came, in its roughest and earliest form, in 
order that he might *< lick it into shape,'* and 
"advisegenerally" preparatory to its " being 
laid before counsel," was Mr. Trayerse, a 
young pleader, whom Messrs. Qairk and 
Gammon were disposed to take by the 
hand. He wrote a verj showy, but super- 
ficial and delusiye opinion ; and put the in- 
tended protegi of his clients, as it were by a 
kind of hop, step, and jump, into pos- 
session of the Yatton estates. Quirk was 
quite delighted on reading it; but Gammon 
shook his head with a somewhat sarcastic 
smile, and said he would at once prepare a 
case for the opinion of Mr. Lynx, whom he 
had pitched upon as the junior counsel in 
any proceedings which might be instituted 
in a court of law. Lynx (of whom I shall 
speak hereafler) was an experienced, hard- 
headed, vigilant, and accurate lawyer ; the 
very man for such a case, requiring, as it 
did, most patient and minute examination. 
With an eye fitted 



very nature of the case renders highly pro- 
bable—he may easily assume to be so. But 
when the same statement comes under the 

(Dreddlington.) 

T 



**To inspect a mile, not comprehend the heaven/' 

he trawkdy as it were, oyer a case ; and thus, 
like as one can imagine that a beetle creep- 
ing oyer the floor of St. Paul's would detect 
minute flaws and fissures that would be 
invisible to the eye of Sir Christopher 
Wren himself, spied out defects that much 
nobler optics would haye oyerlooked. To 
come to plain matter of fact, howeyer, I 
haye beside me the original opinion written 
by Mr. Lynx ; and shall treat the reader to 
a taste of it— giying him sufficient to enable 
him to appreciate the ticklish position of 
affairs witn Mr. Titmouse. To make it not 
altogether unintelligible, let us suppose the 
state of the pedigree to be sometning like 
this (as far as concerns our present pur- 
poses):— 



i 

(HanyD.) 



(Cha^ D.) 



(Stephen D.) 



1 



(A female descendant marries 
Gabriel Tittlebat Titmouse, 
through whom Tittle- 
bat Titmouse 
claims.) 



(Geoflf^D.) 

_JL_ 



(A female descendant mar- 
ries Charles Aubrey, 
Esq., father of the 
present pos- 
sessor.) 



istf 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



'^ pleased, now, mileanied leader, to 
bear in mind Aat ^DrMUnghn,^^ at ^ 
top of the above table, is tbe eonunon an- 
eeator ; having two sons, the elder ** Harry 
D.;** tbe youneer ^Charlee D.;** which 
latter baa, in Uie manner, two sons, ^Ste- 

fhen D.,^ the ^der son, and ^Geofl&ej 
K** the younger son ; that Mr. Anbr^, &tpre- 
aent in poeaeaaion, claims under ** Geomey 
D.** NowitwillbeincombentonTitmoase, 
in the fint instance, to establish in himself 
a clear independent title to the estates; it 
being sofficient for Mr. Aubrey, (possession 
being nine-tenths of the law,) to felsify 
Titmonse^s proofs, or show them defectiTe 
— M because,^' saith a very learned seijeant, 
who Vath writ a text-book ujmu the Action 
of Ejectment, *« the pluntiff in an action of 
ejectment nyast recover upon the stren^ of 
his own title, not the weakness of his ad- 
Teisaiy's." 

Now, things standing tiiua, behold tiie 
astute Lynx advising (inter aUa) in manner 
following; that is to say— 

** It appeara clear tint the lessor of tiie 
plaintiff (t. e. Tittlebat Titmouse) will be 
able to prove that Dreddlinffton (the com- 
mon ancestor) was seised of the estate at 
Yatton in the year 1740 ; that he had two 
sons, Harry and Charles, the former of 
whom, after a life of diwipation, appears to 
have died without iaaue; and that from the 
latter (Charies) are descended Stephen, the 
ancestor of the lessor of the plaintiff, and 
Geoffrey, the ancestor of the defendant. 
Assuming, therefore, that the descent of 
the lessor of the plaintiff from Stephen, can 
be made out, as there appears every reason 
to expect (on tfiis point he had written four 
brief pages,) a dear primi facie case will 
be established on die part of the lessor of 
the plaintiff. As, however, it is suspected 
that Harry D. during his lifetiine, executed 
a conveyance in fee of the property, in order 
to aeenie die loan contracted by him from 
Aaron Moses, it will be extremely important 
to ascertain, and, if possible, procure satis- 
factory evidence, that his decease occurred 
before the period at which, by his Other's 
death, that conveyance could have become 
operative upon the property : since it is ob- 
vious that, should he have survived his 
fother, that inatrumefd^ Mng outstandings 
may form a complete answer to the caae of 
die lessor of die plaintiff. The danger will 
be obviously increased, should the debt to 
Aaron Moses prove to have been paid off, as is 
stated to be rumoured, by Geofirey D., the 
younger son of Charles u, : for, should that 
turn out to be the case, he would probably 
have taken a conveyance to himself, or to 
trustees for his benefit, from Aaron Moses — 
which being in the power of the defendant. 



Mr. Aubrey, would enable him to make out 
a tide to the property paramount to dnt 
now attempted to be set un on behalf of Air. 
Titmouse. Every possible exertion, ther^ 
fore, should be made to ascertain the predse 
period of the death of Hany D. The r^ 
gistries of the various parishes in which die 
ramilies may have at any time resided, 
should be carefully aearched ; and an exami- 
nation made in the churches and church- 
yards, of all tombstones, escutcheons, &c., 
belonging, or supposed to belong, to tbe 
Dredalinflrton family, and by which any 
light can DO thrown upon this most impor- 
tant ooint. It appears clear that Dreddlinff- 
ton (the common ancestor) died on the 7di 
August, 1742: — ^the question, therefore, 
simply is, * whether the death of his eldest 
son (Hany) took place prior or anbseqnent 
to that period.' It is to be feared that the 
defendant may be in possession of some 
better evidence on this point dian is po^ 
aessed by the lessor of tne plaintiff, 'llie 
natural presumption certainly seems to be, 
that the son, being the younger and stronger 
man, was die survivor." 

The above mentioned opinion of Mr. 
Lynx, together with that of^ Mr. Sobde en- 
tirely corroborating it, (and which was' 
alluded to in the last part of diis history,) 
and a pedigree, was lying on the table, one 
day, at the office at Saffron Hill, before tbe 
anxioua and perplexed partiea, Messia. 
Quirk and Gammon. 

Gammon was looking attentively, and 
with a very chagrined air, at die ped^fiee; 
and Quirk was looking at Gammon. 

'* Now, Gammon,'* said the former, **jott 
let me see again where the exact hitch is— 
eh ? Curse me if I can see it.'* 

** See it, my dear sirl here, here !" replied 
Gammon, with sodden impatience, pnttiog 
his finger two or three times on the words 
"JSrurryD." 

** Don't be so sharp with one. Gammon! 
I know as well as yon diat that's abwt 
where fhcr crack is ; but what is the precise 
thing we're in want of, ehl" 

** Proof, my dear sir, of the death of Hany 
Dreddlington some time— no matter when- 
previous to the 7th of August, 1743; and m 
default thereof, Mr. Quirk, we are all fiat on 
our backs, and had better never have stirred 
in the business." 

*' You know, Gammon, you're a decided 
deal betSer yp in these matters than I— 
(only because I've not been able to turn my 
attention to 'em lately)— so just tell me, ia 
a word, what good's to be got by showing 
tint fellow to have died in his father's life- 
time r 

** Yon dott^t show your usual acuteneas, 
Mr. Quik," replied Gammon, blaiidty. **^ 



TfeN THOUSAND A YBAR. 



167 



IB to make waste paper of that conveyance 
which be executed, and which Mr. Aubrey 
has, and with which he may, at one stroke, 
cut the ground from under our feet.** 

** The yery thought makes one feel quite 
funny— 4on't it, Gammon?'* quoth Quirk, 
with a flustered air. 

*' It may^ well do so, Mr. Quirk. Now 
we art fairly embarked in a cause where 
success wUf be attended with so many 
splendid results, Mr. Quirk — ^though Pm 
sure you'll always bear me out in saying 
how rerv unwilling I was to take advan- 
tage of tne villany — hem* * 

'* Gammon, Gammon, you*re always 
harking back to that— I*m tired of hearing 
on't.** 

** Well, now we're in it, I don't see why 
we should allow ourselves to be baffled by 
trifles. The plain question is, undoubtea- 
ly, whether we are to stand still, or go on.*' 
Mr. Quirk gazed at Mr. Gammon with an 
anxious and puzzled look. 

** How d*ye make out— in a legal way, 
you know. Gammon — when a man died — ^I 
mean, of a natural death 1*' inquired Quirk, 
who was familiar enough witii the means 
of provin? the exact hour of certain violent 
deaths at Debtor's Door. 

**• Oh ! there are various methods of doing 
so, my dear sir,** replied Ganmion, careless- 
ly. ** Entries in family Bibles and prayer- 
books, registers, tombstones, — ay, by the 
way, an old tombstone,** continued Gam- 
mon, musingly, ^ that would settle the busi- 
ness.** 

**An old tombstone!** echoed Quirk, 
briskly, ** Lord, Gammon, so it would ! 
That*s an ufeo— I call that a decided idea. 
Gammon. *Twould be the very thing !" 

** The very thing !" repeated Gammon, 
pointedly. 

They remained silent for some moments. 

'* Snap could not have looked about him 
sharp enough, when he was down at Yat- 
ton !** at length observed Quirk, in a low 
tone, flushing all over as he uttered the last 
words, and felt Gammon's cold gray eye 
settled on him like that of a snake. 

^ He could not, indeed, my dear sir," re- 
plied Gammon, while Quirk continued ^ 
zing earnestly at him, now and then wrig- 
gling about in his chair, rubbing his chin, 
and drumming with his fingers on the table. 
*' And now that you've suggested the thing, 
it's not to be wondered at, — ^you know, it 
would have been an old tombstone— a sort 
of fragment of a tombstone, perhaps— so 
deeply sunk in the ground, probably, as 
easily to have escaped observation, ehl 
Does not it strike y<n$ so, Mr. Quirk!" 
All this was said by Gammon in a musing 
manner, and in a very low tone of voice; 

O 



and he was delighted to find his words 
sinking into the eager mind of his compar 
nion. 

*< Ah, Gammon !" exclaimed Quirk, with 
a sound of partly a sigh, and partly a whis- 
tle, (the former being the exponent of the 
true state of his feelings, t. e, anxiety-— the 
latter of what he wishM to appear the state 
of his feelings, t. «. indifference.) 

" Yes, Mr. Quirk !'* 

«« You*re a deep devil. Gammon — ^I tot*// 
say that for you !** replied Quirk, glancing 
towards each door, and, as it were, uncoi> 
sciously drawing his chair a little closer to 
that of Gammon. 

"Nay, my dear sir!" said Gammon, 
with a deferential and deprecating smile, 
** you give me credit for an acuteness I feel 
I do * not deserve ! If, indeed, I had not 
had yottr sagacity to rely upon, ever since I 
have had the honour of being connected 

with you ah, Mr. Quirk, you know you 

lead— I follow ^" 

" Gammon, Gammon! Come— your 
name's Oily — " 

** In moments like these, Mr. Quirk, I 
say nothing that I do not feel," interrupted 
Gammon, gravely, putting to his nose the 
least modicum of snuff which he could take 
with the tip of his finger out of the huge 
box of Mr. Quirk, who just then, was 
thrusting immense pinches eveiy half minute 
up his nostrils. 

" It will cost a great deal of money to 
find that same tombstone. Gammon !" said 
Quirk, in almost a whisper, and paused, 
looking intently at Gammon. 

'* I wink this is a different kind of snuff 
from that which you usually take, Mr.. 
Quirk, isn't iti" inquired 6ammon, as 
he inserted the tips of his fingers into the 
box. 

*' The same— the same,"— >rep1ied Quirk, 
mechanically. 

** You are a man better equal to serious 
emergencies than any man I ever came 
near," said Gammon; **I perceive that 
you have hit the nail on the head, as indeed 
you always do." 

" Tut ! Stuff, Grammon ; you're every bit 
as good a hand as I am." Gammon 
smiled, shook his head, and shrugged his 
shoulders. 

«( *Tis that practical sagacity of yours," 
said Gammon — ^*« you know it as well as I 
can tell you— that has raised you to your 
present professional eminence." 

He paused, and looked very sincerely at 
his senior partner. 

** Well, I must own I think I do know a 
trick or two." 

*< Ah, and fUrther, there are some elever 
men ^at can never keep their own counsel ; 



IM 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



but likt a hen that has iiut laid an egg, 
and then goes foolishlv cackling about 
every where, and then her egg is taken 
away." 

"Ha, ha!" laughed Qniik; ««thatU de- 
viltah good, Ganunon 1— Capital !^-Gad, I 
think 1 see the hen !-*Ha, ha !" 

'<Ha, ha!" echoed Gammon, gently. 
*'But to be serious, Mr. Quiik; what I 
was going to say vras, that! thoroughly ap- 
preciate your aunirable caution in not con- 
fiding to any one— eren to me— 4he exact 
means by which you intend to extricate us 
from our present dilemma," Here Quirk 
got very fidgety. 

**Hem! But— hem! Ay-^i — a," he 
granted, looking with an uneasy air at his 
calm astute companion; "I didn*t mean so 
much as all ihat^ either. Gammon ; for two 
heads, in my opinion, are better than one. 
You mmt own that. Gammon !" said he^ 
not all relishing the heavy burthen of re- 
sponsibility which he felt that Gammon 
was about to devolve upon his (Quirk*s) 
shoulders, exclusively. 

M Tis undoubtedly rather a serious busi- 
ness on which we are now entering," said 
Gammon ; ** and I have /dways aomired a 
saying which you years ago t^d me of that 
nest man, Maehiavel" — Oh, Gammon! 
Gammon ! You well know that poor old 
Mr. Quirk never heard of the name of that 
same Maehiavel till this moment!— ^* That 
* when great affairs are stirring, a master- 
move sli^uld be confined to Uie master-mind 
that projects it.' I understand ! I see ! I 
will not, therefore, inquire into the precise 
n^eans, by which vou will make it appear, 
in due time, (while I am ensaged getUng 
1^ Ifae subordinate, but very harassing de- 
tails of the general case,) that Befiry Vred- 
dUngion died before the Vh ofAueuity 1742." 
Here, taking out his watch-—** Bless me— 
two o'clock! I ought to have been at 
ifessm. Gregson's a foarter of an hour 
ago." 

'* Stop— a moment or two can*t signify! 
it-4t," said Quirk hesitatinglv, ^' it was 
^(m, wasn't it, that thought of the tes^ 
stone t" 

u I !— My dear Mr. Quirk," intemiptod 
Gammon, with a look of aatoaishmeiit. 

**Come, come— honour among thieves, 
you know, Gammon!" said Quiric, trying 
tolauffii. 

** ^k)«-k shall never be said that I atp 
tempted to take the credit of"- — -said 
Gammon; whenaderk, entering, put an 
end to the colloquy between the partner's, 
each of whom, presently, was sitting alone 
in his own room«»for Uammon found that 
he was too late to think of keeping his ei»- 
gaganent with Messis. Gregaon; if indeed 



he had ever made any, which he hU 
not. Mr. Quirk sate in a musing postujre 
for nearly half an hour after he and Gam- 
mon had separated. " Gammon is a deep 
one! I'll be shot if ever there was his 
equal," said Quirk to himself, at length ; 
and starting off his chair, with his hands 
crossed behmd him, he walked softly to and 
fro. ** I know what he's driving at — ^though 
he thouffhtldidn't! He'd let me scratch 
my hands in getting the blackberries, and 
then he'd come smiling in to eat 'em ! But 
—share and share alike— share profit, share 
danger. Master Gammon :-^you may find 
that Caleb Quirk is a match for Oily Gam- 
mon— I'll have you in for it, one way or 
another !" Here occurred a long pause in 
his thoughts. «* Really, I doubt the thing^s 
growinff unmanageable— the prize can't be 
worth die risk ! — Risk^ indeed, 'fore Gad — 
its neither more nor less than"— ^Here a 
certain picture, hanging covered with black 
crape, in the drawing-room at Alibi House, 
seemed to have glid^ down from its station, 
and to stand betore his eyes with the crape 
drawn aside-^-e ghastly object^-eucrh ! He 
shuddered and involuntarily closed his eyes. 
** Devilish odd that I should just tww have 
happened to think of it !" he inwardly ex- 
claimed, sinking into his cbair in a sort of 
cold sweatr 

**D— n the picture!" at length he ex- 
claimed almost aloud, getting more and 
more flustered — *'I'll bum it! — ^It shan't 
disgrace my drawing-room any longer T' 
Here Quirk almost fancied tiiat some Ibnsy 
little fiend sat squatting before the grisly pic- 
ture, writing the words " Calbb Quirk" at 
the bottom of it ; and a sort of sickness came 
over him for a moment Presently he 
started i^p, and took down one of several 
well-worn dingy-looking books that stood 
on the shelves — a volume of Bums' Justice. 
Resuming his seat ho put on bis glasses, 
and with a little trepidation turned to the 
head ^* Forgery," and glanced over it. At 
length his eye hit upon a paragraph that 
seemed suddenly to draw his heart up into 
his throat; producing a sensation that made 
hjm involuntarily clap his hand upon his 
nedc 

'* Ohy Cramnion!" he muttered, drawing 
off his glasses, sinking back in his chair, 
and looking towards 3ie door that opened 
into Gammon's room; in which directioo 
he extended his right arm, and shook his 
fist. •* You fraeiou$ villain !"— *« Tve an 
uncommon inclination," at leao^ thou^t 
he, ** to go down slap to Yorkshire— say no- 
thing to any body-— make peace with tbe 
enemy, and knock up the whole thing !— 
for a coufde of thousand pounds— ^& trifle to 
the Aubrey's, I'm sure. Were /in bis 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



iM 



plaee, I shouldn't gradge it; and why 
shosld he t — By Jove," he ffot a little 
heated—^* that would be, as Uammon has 
it, a master-more ! and confined, egad ! to 
the master mind that thought of it !— Why 
^ould he ever know of the way in which 
die thins blew upl — ^Really 'twould be 
worth half Lie money to do Gkimmon so hol- 
low for onc^— Bt George it would !— Gam- 
mon, that would slip Caleb Quirk's neck 
so silly into the halter, indeed !" 

''ini tell you what, Mr. Quirk," said 
Gammon, suddenly re-entering the room 
after about an hour's absence, durinff which 
he too had, like his senior partner, been le- 
▼oMng many things in his mind—** it has 
occurred to me, that I had better immediate- 
ly go down to Yatton, akmeJ** 

^Hereat Mr, Quirk opened both his eyes 
and his mouth to their very widest ; got ve- 
ry red in the face; and stared at his placid 
partner with a mingled eiqiression^ of fear 
and wonder. **Hang me. Gammon!" at 
length he exclaimed, desperately, slapping 
his fist upon the table-^* If I don't think 
you're the very devil himself!"— and he 
sunk back in bis chair, verily believing, in 
the momentarv confusion of his thou^ts, 
that what had been passing through his 
mind was known to Gammon ; or that what 
had been passing through his (Quirk's) 
mind, had also been occurring to Gammon, 
who had resolved upon being beforehand in 
patting his purposes into execution. Gam- 
mon was at first completely confounded by 
Quirk's reception of him, and stood for a 
few moments, with his hands elevated, in 
silence. Then he approached the table, and 
his eye caught the well-thumbed volume of 
Bums' Justice, OTfen at the head ** roaox- 
RT !"— and the quick-sighted Gammon saw 
how matters stood at a glance— the process 
by which the result he had just witnessed, 
had been arrived at. 

**Well, Mr. Quiik, what new wary 
now!" he inquired, with an air of smfiing 
curiosity. 

*« Vagary be !" gprowled old Quirk, 

•ollenly, without moving in his chair. 

Gammon stood for a moment or two eye- 
ing him with a keen scrutiny. ** What !" 
at length he inquired, sood-hnmouredly, 
^ do yon then really grud^ me any share 
In the litde enterprise?" 

** Eh 1" quickly interrupted Quirk, prick- 
ing up his ears. ** Do yon intend to play 
itfieJbVweA-^hl" 

** What must yon so down alone to Yat- 
ton for. Gammon 1" inquired Quirk, anxi- 
ously. 

** Why, simply as a sort of pioneer— to 
reconnoitre the cnuTchyard-*-eh1 I thought 
it might have been of semoe; bat if—" 



**Gammon, Gammon, your hand t I un^ 
derstand," replied Quirk, evidentiy vastly 
relieved— most cordially shaking the cold 
hand of Gammon. 

** But understand, Mr. Quirk," said he, 
in a very peremptory manner, ** no one upoiti 
earth is to know of my visit to Yatton ex- 
cept yourself." 

He received a solemn pledge to that ef* 
feet; and presently the partners separated, 
a little better satisfied with each other. 
Though not a word passed between them 
for several days afterwards on the topic 
chiefly discussed during the interview above 
described, the reader may eeisily imagine 
that neither of them dropped it from his 
thoughts. Mr. Quirk paid one or two visits 
to the neighbourhood ot Houndsditch, (a per- 
fect hotbed of clients,) where resided two 
or three gentlemen of the Jewish persuasion, 
who had been placed, from time to time, 
under considerable (^ligations by the firm 
of Quirk, Gammon, and Snap* in respect of 
professional services rendered both to them- 
selves and to their frienda. One of them, 
in particular, had a painful consciousness 
that it was in old Mr. Quirk's power at any 
time, by a whisper, to place his— the afore- 
said Israelite's— neck in an nnsightly noose 
that every now and then might be seen 
dangling from a beam opposite Debtor's 
Door, Newpte, about eight o'clock in the 
morning; him, therefore, every consident* 
tion of interest and gratitude combined to 
render subservient to the reasonable wishes 
of Mr. Quirk. He was a most ingenious 
little fellow, and had a great taste for die 
imitative arts— so strong a taste, in fact, 
that it had once or twice ^aoed him in some 
ieopardy with the Goths and Vandals of the 
law, who chaTBcteriied the noble art in 
which he excelled by a very ugly and fop- 
midable word, and annexed the most barba- 
rous penalties to its practice. What passed 
between him and old Qoirk on the occasion 
of their interviews, I know not; but one 
afternoon the latter, on returning to his 
office, wilhovt saying any thing to any 
body, having bolted 2ie door, todc out of 
his pocket several little pieces of paper, 
containing pretty little pieturesque devices 
of a fragmentary chmeter, with antique 
letters smd figures on them— cntmbling 
pieces of stone, some looking more and 
some less sunk in the ground, and over* 
grown with grass ; possibly they were de> 
signs for ornaments to be added ta that 
tastefbl stracture, Alibi House— possibly 
intended to grace Miss Quirk's album. 
However this might be, after he had lodied 
at them and carefully compared them one 
with another for some time, he folded them 
up in a sheet of paper, sealed it up— with e«Pr 



160 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



tainly not the steftdiest hand in the world — 
and dien deposited it in an iron safe. 

Yatton, the recovery of which was the 
object of these secret and formidable move- 
ments and preparations, not to say machi- 
nations, was aU this while the scene of deep 
affliction. The lamentable condition of his 
mother plunged Mr. Aubrey, his wife and 
sister into profoonder grief than had been 
occasioned by the calamity which menaced 
them all in common. Had he been alone, 
he would have encountered the sudden storm 
of adversity with unshrinking, nay cheerful 
firmness ; but could it be so, when he had 
ever before him those whose ruin was in- 
volved in his ownl — Poor Mrs. Aubrey, his 
wife, having been two or three weeks con- 
fined to her bed, during which time certain 
fond hopes of the husband had been bli|[hted, 
was almost overpowered, when, languid and 
feeble, supported by Mr. Aubrey and Kate, 
she first entered the bedroom of the vene- 
rable sufferer. What a difference, indeed, 
was there between the appearance of all of 
them at that moment, and on the Christmas 
day when, a happy group, they were cheer- 
fully enjoying the festivities of the season ! 
Kate was now pale, and somewhat thinner; 
her beautiful features exhibited a care-worn 
expression ; yet there was a serene lustre in 
her blue eye, and a composed resolution in 
her air, which bespoke the superiority of 
her soul. What it had cost her to bear with 
any semblance of self possession, or forti- 
tnoe, the sad spectacle now presented by 
her mother } What a tender and vigilant 
nurse was she, to ^ one who could no longer 
be sensible of, or appreciate her intentions ! 
How that sweet girl humoured all her mo- 
ther's little eccentricities and occasional 
excitement, and accommodated herself to 
every varying phasis of her mental malady ! 
She had so schooled her sensibilities and 
feelings as to be ab)e to maintain perfect 
cheernilness and composure in her mother's 
presence, on occasions which forced her 
orother, and his shaken wife, to turn aside 
with an eye of agony— overcome by some 
touching speech or wayward action of the 
unconscious sufferer, who constantly ima- 
gined herself, poor soul ! to be living over 
again her early married life; and that in 
her little erand-children she beheld Mr. Au- 
brey and Kate as in their childhood ! She 
would gently chide Mr. Aubrey, her hus- 
band, for his prolonged absence, asking ma- 
ny times a aay whether he had returned 
fW>ra London. Every morning old Jacob 
Jones was shown into her chamber, at the 
hour at which he had been accustomed, in 
happier days, to attend upon her. The 
faithful old roan^s eyes would be blinded 
with team, and hia yoiee choked, as he was 



asked how Peggy got ov^r her yesterday^* 
journey; and listened to questions, mes- 
sages, and directions, which had been fami- 
liar to him twenty years before, about villa- 
fers and tenants who had long lain moul- 
ering in their humble graves— their way 
thither cheered and smoothed by her Chris- 
tian charity and benevolence! Twas a 
touching sight to see her two beautiful 
mnd-cnildren, in whose company she de- 
Rshted, brought, with a timorous and half- 
reluctant air, into her presence. How 
strange must have seemed to them the 
?ayety of the motionless figure always 
lying m the bed ; a gayety which, though gen- 
tle as gentle could be, yet sufficed not to 
assure the little things, or set them at their 
ease. Though her mild features ever 
smiled upon tnem, and her voice w^b cheer- 
ful, still, 'twas from a prostrate figure that 
never moved, and was always surrounded 
by calm, quiet figures, with sorrowful con- 
straint in their countenances and gestures ! 
Charles would stand watching her, with 
apprehensive eye— the finger of one hand 
raised to his lip, while his other retained 
the hand that had brought him in, as ii fear- 
ful of its quitting hold of him; the few 
words he could be brought to speak were 
in a subdued tone and nurried utterance; 
and when, having been lifted up to kiss his 
grandmamma, he and his sister were taken 
out of the chamber, their little breasts would 
heave a sigh, which showed how relieved 
they were from their recent constraint. 

How wofully changed was every thing 
in the once cheerful old Hall ! Mr. Au- 
brey sitting in the library, intently engaged 
upon books and papers — ^Mrs. Aubrey and 
Kate now and then, arm in arm, walking 
slowly up and down the galleries, or one 
of the rooms, or the hall, net with their 
former sprightly gayety, but' pensive, and 
often in tears, and then returning to the 
chamber of their suffering parent. All this 
was sad work, indeed, and seemed, as it 
were, to herald in coming desolation ! 

But little variation occurred for several 
weeks in the condition of Mrs. Aubrey, 
except that she grew visibly feebler. One 
morning, however, about six weeks after 
her seizure, from certain symptoms, the 
medical men intimated their opinion that 
some important change was on the eve of 
taking place, for which they prepared the 
family. She had been very restless during 
the night. After freouent intervals of un- 
easy sleep, she wonla awake with evident 
surprise and bewilderment. Sometimes a 
peculiar smile would flit over her emaciated 
features ; at others, they would be overcast 
with gloom, and she would seem struggling 
to suppress teaia. Her voice, tDOt whoa 



TCN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



m 



ike tpoka, waa feeble and tremnloiis } and 
she would sigh and shake her head monrii- 
Iblly. Old Jacob Jones not being intro- 
duced at the aocustomed honr, ^e asked 
for him. When he made his appearance 
she gaxed at him for a moment or two with 
a |>azzled eje, exclaiming, ^* Jacob ! Jacob ! 
is it you," in a Tery low &>ne ; and then she 
dosed her eyes, apparently felling asleep. 
Thas passed the day ; het dau^ter and 
daughter4ii-law sitting on either side the 
bed, where they had so long kept their 
anzioos and affectionate ▼igi&— mr. Au- 
brey sitting at the foot of the bed->^nd 
Dr. Goddartand Mr. Whateley in frequent 
attendance* Towards the eveninff, Dr. Tat* 
ham also, as had been his datnr costom 
tiiroD|^ her illness, appeared, and in a low 
tone read oyer the service for the visitatioii 
of the sick. Shortly afterwards Mr. Aop 
Vrey was obliged to quit the chamber in or- 
der to attend to some very pvessing matter 
of business; and he had been engaged for 
nearly an hoar, intending almost every 
moment to return to his mother's chamber, 
when Dr. Tatham entered, as Mr. AubreT 
was snbscribing his name to a letter, and, 
with a little earnestness, said-^' Come, my 
friend, let us return to your mother ; m^ 
thinks she is on the eve of some decimve 
change: the issue is with God.*' Within 
a few moments they were both at the bed- 
side of Mrs. Aubrey. A lar^ chamber- 
lamp, standing on a table at a little distance 
from the bed, diffused a soft light over ^e 
room, rendering visible at a gfanee Uie si- 
lent and sad group collected round &e bed, 
•11 with their eyes directed towards the vfr* 
nerable figure who laj upon it. Mr. Au- 
brey sat Mside his wife, close to his mo- 
ther ; and taking her tldn emaciated hand 
into his own, gently raised it to his lips. 
She seemed dounj ; but his action appear* 
ed to rouse her for a moment. PrMentiy 
rike fixed her eye upon him — its expression, 
the while, slowly hot perceptibly ^nging, 
and exciting strange feelinga within him. 
He trembled, and removed not his eye from 
hers. He turned very pale— 4br the whole 
expression of his mower's eoantenance, 
which was turned full towards him, was 
changing. Throagh the clouded windows 
of the falling febrie, behold ! its lonff-impfi- 
soned tenant Ttta soul, had arisen from its 
torpor, and was looking at him. Reason 
was reappearing. It was, indeed, his me- 
tier, and ffi ker righi mind^ that was saaing 
at him. He scarcely breathed. Atlengm 
swmise and apinrehension yielded before a 
gasn of tenderness and love* With what 
an o nn tterable look was his mother at that 
moment regarding him* His lip quivefed 
«»his eje overilowed — and, as he felt her 

o9 



fingers veir gently coinpressing his own, 
his tears feW down. Gentlv leaning for* 
ward, he kissed her neck, and sunk on one 
knee beside the bed. 

*' Is it you, my sonl" said she, in a very 
low tone, but in her own voice, and it stir- 
red up instantly a thousand fond recollec- 
tions, almost overpowering him. He kiss- 
ed her hand with fervent * energy, but 
spoke not* She continued gaaingathim 
with mingled solemnity and fondness. Her 
eye seemM brightening as it remained fixed 
upon him. Again she spoke in a very low 
but clear vdce->«veiy thrilling word being 
heard by every one aroimd her— >« Or ever 
the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl 
be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the 
fountain, or (he wheel broken at the ci^ 
teni,-^Tlien shall the dust return to the 
earth as it was; and the spirit shall return 
unto God who gave it." It would be in 
vain to attempt to describe the manner in 
which these words were spoken ; and which 
fell upon those who heard them, as though 
they were listening to one from the dead. 

^My mother!— ray mother!" at length 
feltered Aubrey. 

«^God bless thee; my son!" said she 
solemnly. **And Cattiai^^ne, my daughter 
—God bless thee"— «he presently added^ 
gently turning round her head towards the 
quarter whence a stifled sob issued finom 
Miss Aubrey, who rose, trembling, and, 
leaning over, kissed her mother. ** AgneSf 
are you here— «nd your little onesl^-Ood 
bless" — ^Her voice got fainter, and her eyee 
dosed* Mr* Whateley gave her a few drops 
of eAer, and she presently revived. 

<^ God hath been very good to you, ma- 
dam," said Dr. Tatham, observing her eye 
fixed upon him, **to restore you thns to 
your children." 

^I have been long absent— long !— J 
wake, my children, but to bid you fareweil 
for ever upon earth." 

** Say not so, my mother— my preciooe 
mother!" exclaimed her son, in vain en- 
deavouring to repress his emotions. 

^ I do, my son! Weep not for me; I 
am old, and am sommoned away from 
amonj^ you" — She ceased, as if mm ex- 
hanstion; and no one spoke for some mi- 
nutes. 

**It may be that God hath roused me, as 
it were, from the dead, to comfort my soiw 
rowfol children with words of hope,'' said 
Mrs* Aubrey, with, much more power and 
distinctness than before. '^Hone ye then 
in God ; for ye shall yet praise Him who is 
the health of your eoontenanee, and your 
God!" 

>*We win rsmembe^^ my methsr, yout 
words!" feltendherson* 

SI 



m 



*EN f HOUSANi) A YEAR/ 



^ Yes, mr son— pif days of darkness be 
at hand**—- She ceased . Again Mr. What&- 
ley placed to her white lips a glass with 
some revinng fluid— looung ominously 
at Mr. Aubrey, as he found, that she con- 
tinued insensible. Miss Aubrey sobbed 
andibly; indeed, all present were power- 
fully ailected. Again Mrs. Aubrey reriyed, 
and sw^lowed a few drops of wine and 
water. A heavenly serenity diffused itself 
oyer her emaciated features. 

^*We shall meet again, my loves !—>! 
can no lonser see you with ^e eyes oP*— > 
Mr. Whateley observing a sndden change, 
came nearer to her. 

*' Peace ! peace !** she muimnred, almost 
inarticulately. A dead silence ensued, in- 
terrupted only by smothered sobs. Her 
children sunk on their knees, and buried 
their faces in their hands, trembling. 

Mr. Whateley made a silent signal to 
JDr. Tatham, that life had ceased — ^that the 
beloved spirit had passed away. **The 
Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; 
blessM be the name of the Lord !*' said 
Dr. Tatham, with tremulous solemnity. 
Mrs; Aubrey, and Miss Aubrey, no longer 
able to restrain their feelings, wept bitter- 
ly : and, overpowered with grief, were sup- 
Dorted out of the room by Dr. Tatham and 
Mr. Aubrey. As soon as it was known 
that the venerable mother of Mr. Aubrey 
was no more, universal reverence was testi- 
fied for her memoTy, and sympathy for the 
afflicted survivors, by even those high and 
low, in the remoter parts of the neighbour- 
hood, who had no personal acquaintance 
with the family. Two or three days after- 
wards, Mr. Plume the undertaker, who had 
received orders from Mr. Aubrey to provide 
a simple and unezpensive -funeral, submit- 
ted to him a list or more than thirty names 
of the nobility and gentry of the count^Tf 
who had sent to him to know whether it 
would be agreeable to the family for them 
to he-allow^ to attend Mrs. Aubrey's re- 
mains to the grave. After much considera- 
tion, Mr. Audrey accepted of this sponta- 
neous tribute of respect to the memory of his 
mother. Twas a memorable and melan- 
choly day on which the interment took 
place— ^me never to be forgotten at Yatton. 
What can be more chilling than the gloomy 
bustle of a great funeral, especially in the 
country; and when the deceased is one 
whose memory is enshrined in the holiest 
feelings of all who knew her V* What per- 
son was there, for miles around, who could 
not speak of the courtesies, the charities, the 
goodness of Madam Aubrey! 

**Whe& the ear heard her, then it blessed 



her; and when the eye saw her, it gaT» 
witness to her : 

** Because she delivered the poor th%t 
cried, and the fatherless, and him that had 
none to help him. 

** The blessing of him that was ready to 
perish came upon her, and she caused the 
widow's heart to sing for joy. 

** She was eyes to the blind, and feet was 
she to the lame. 

** She was a mother to the poor.^ 



i» 



Pale BB death, the chief mourner, wrap 
ped in Ms black cloak, is stepping Into 
the mourning-coach. No one speus to 
him ; his face is buried in his handkerchief; 
his heart seems breaking. He thinks of 
her whose dear dust isTOfore him; — ^then 
of the beloved beings whom he has left 
alone in their agony till his letnnv— his 
wife and sister. The procession is moving 
slowly on-*lonff, silent rows of the tenantry 
and villagers, M and yonnff, male and' fe- 
male, not a dry eye among &em, nor a syl- 
lable spoken— «tand on each side of uie 
way ; no sound heard but of horses' feet, 
and wheels crushing along the wet gravel-^ 
for the day is most gloomy and- inclement. 
As they quit ihe gates, carriage after car- 
riage follows in the rear ; »id the sorrowful 
crowd increases around them. Many have 
in their hands the Bibles and prayer-books 
which had been given them by her who 
now lies in yonder hearse; arid few can 
recollect the day when the late lord of Yat- 
ton led her along from the church to the 
Hall, his young and blooming bride, in 
pride and joy-f-and they are now going to 
lay her beside him again. They enter the 
little churchyard, and are met by ffood Dr. 
Tatham, in his surplice, bareheaaed, and 
with book in hand ; with full eye and qui- 
vering lip he slowly precedes the body into 
the church. His voice frequently trembles, 
and sometimes he pauses, while reading 
the service. Now tney are standing bare- 
h^ed at the vault's mouth— 4he last sad 
rites are being performed ; and probably, as 
is thinking the chief mourner, over the last 
of his race who will rest in that tomb ! 

Long after the solemn ceremony was 
over, we little churchyard remained filled 
with mournful groups of villagers and 
tenants, who prmsed forward to the dark 
month of the vault, to take the last look at 
the coffin which contained the remains of 
her whose memory would live long in all 
their hearts. ^*Ah, dear cdd madam," 
quoth Jonas Higgs to himself, as he finish- 
ed his dreary day's labours, by temporarily 
dosing up the month of the vault, *« they 
might have tamed thee, by and by, oat » 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



I^ 



toiider Hall, bat they shall not touch thee 
hirer 

Thus died, and was bnried, Madam Au- 
brer ; and she it not yet forgotten. 

How desolate seemed the Hall, the next 
morning, to the bereaved inmates, as, dressed 
in deep mourning, they met at the cheerless 
break&st table! Aubrey kissed his wife 
and sister-^who could hardly answer his 
brief inquiries. The gloom occasioned 
throughout the Hall, for the last ten days, 
by the blinds being constantly drawn down, 
now that they were drawn up, had given 
way to a starinff light and distinctness, that 
idmost startJed and offended the eyes of 
those whose hearts were dark with sorrow 
as ever. Every object reminded them of 
the absence of one — ^whose chair stood 
empty in its accustomed place. There, 
also, was her Bible, on the little round table 
near the window. The mourners seemed 
relieved by the entrance, by and by, of the 
children ; but they, also, were in mourning ! 
liCt us, however, withdraw from this scene 
of suffering, where every object, every re- 
collection, every association, causes the 
wounded heart to bleed afresh. 

Great troubles seem coming upon them ; 
and now that ihev have buried the dead out 
of their tightj and when time shall begin to 
pour his balm into their present smarting 
wound, we doubt not that they will look 
these troubles in the face, calmly and with 
fortitude, not forgetful of the last words of 
her for whom they now mourn so bitterly, 
and whom, beloved and venerable bein?! 
God hatii mercifully taken away from the 
evil days that are to come. 

AAer much and anxious consideration, 
they resolved to go, on the ensuing Sunday 
morning, to church, where neither Mrs. 
Aubrey nor Kate had been since the illness 
of her mother. The little church was 
crowded ; almost every one present, besides 
wearing a saddened countenance, exhibited 
some outward mark of respect in their dress 
— 4ome badge of mourning — such as their 
little means admitted of. The nulpit and 
readingnieak were hung in black, as also 
was Mr. Aubrey's pew— an object of deep 
interest to the congregation, who expected 
to see at least tome member of the family at 
the Hall. They were not disappointed. A 
little before Dr. Taiham took his place in 
the reading-desk, the well-known sound of 
the family carriage wheels was heard, as it 
drew up before the gate : and presently Mr. 
Aubrey appeued at the church-door with 
his wife and sister on either arm; all of 
them, of conree, in tlie deepest mournings- 
Mrs, and Miss Aubrey's countenances con- 
cealed beneath their long crape veils. For 
some, time after taking their seats, tiiey 



seemed oppressed with emotion, evidently 
weeping. Mr. Aubrey, however, exhibited 
great composure, though his countenance 
bore the traces of the suffering he had un- 
dergone. Mrs. Aubrey seldom rose from heir 
seat; but Kate stood up, from time to time, 
with the rest of the congre^tion ; her white 
handkerchief, howeyer, might be seen fre- 
quently raised to her eyes, beneath her 
black veil. As the service went on, she 
seemed to have struggled with some success 
against her feelings. To relieve herself for 
a moment from its oppressive closeness, she. 
gently drew aside her veil ; and thus, for a 
few minutes, exhibited a countenance inex- 
pressibly beautiful. She could not, how- 
ever, long bear to face a congregation, 
every one of whom she felt to be looking 
on her, and those beside her, with affec- 
tionate sympathy ; and rather quickly drew 
her veil a^n over her face, without again 
removing it. There was one person present, 
on whom the brief glimpse of her beauty 
had produced a prodigious impression. .As 
he ffazed at her, the colour gradually desert- 
ed nis cheek ; and his eye remained fixed 
upon her, even after she had drawn down 
her veil. He experienced emotions such as 
he had never known before. So that vnta 
MiuJhibrey! 

Gammon— for he it was, and he had gone 
thither under the expectation of seeing, for 
the first time, some of the Aubrey family- 
generally passed for a cold-blooded pereon; 
and in ract, few men living had more con 
trol over their feelings, or more systemati- 
ctdly checked any manifestations of them ' 
but there was something in the person and 
circumstances of Miss Aubrey— for by a 
hurried inquiry of the person next to him he 
learned that it was she— which excited new 
feelings in him. H«r slightest motion his 
eye watched with an intense eagerness; 
and faint, half-formed schemes, purposes, 
and hopes, passed in rapid confusion 
through his mind, as he foresaw that cir- 
cumstances would hereafter arise by means 
of which— 

^Good God! how yei y v e r y beautiful 
she is !" said he to himself, as, the service 
over, her graceful figure, following her 
brother ana his wife with slow and sad 
step, approached the pew in which he was 
standing, on her way to the door. He felt 
a sort of cold shudder, as her black dress 
rustled past, actually touching him. What 
was he doing and meditating against that 
lovely beingi And for whom — disgusting 
reptile !— for Titmouset He almost blushed 
with a conflict of emotions, as he followed 
almost immediately afWr Miss Aubrey, 
never losing siffht of her, till her brother, 
having handed her into the carriage* got in 



wt 



TEN THOUSAND A YCAK 



sAer her, and dwy drore off towards tko 
Hall. The reada will not be at a loee to 
aeeoant for the pTeaenoe of Gammon on this 
oecasionf nof to connect it with a great trial 
at the anproaehing Vork assises. As he 
walked rack to Gril^on to his solitary din- 
ner, he was lost in thought ; snd, on arriying 
at the inn, reoaired at once to his room, 
where he foana a copy of the Suftday Flmk, 
which had, according to orders, been sent 
to him from town, under his assumed name 
«' Gibson.'' He ate but little, and that me- 
chanically; and seemed to feel, for (»ce, 
little or no interest in his newspaper. He 
had nerer paid the least attention to the 
enlogia upon Miss Aubrey of the little idiot 
Titmouse, nor of Snap, of whom he enter- 
tained but a yery little higher opinion thaxt 
of Titmouse. One thing was clesr, that 
from that moment. Miss Aubrey formed a 
new element in Gammon's calculations: 
and for aught I know, may occasion yeiy 
different results from diose orip^inally con- 
templated by that calm and crany person. 

As it proved a moonlight ni^t, he re- 
solyed at once to set abmit the important 
business which had brought him into York- 
shire ; and for that purpose set off about 
eight o'clock on his walk to Yatton. About 
ten o'clock he might have been seen glidmg 
into the churchyara, like a dangerous snake. 
The moon continued to shine %nd at inter- 
vals with brightness sufficient for his pur- 
pose, which was simply to reconnoitre, as 
closely as possible, the little churchyard— 
to aseertam what it might contain, and 
fohai were Hm caoahikUeB, At length he ap- 
proadied the c«d yew tree, affainst whose 
h^ge trunk he leaned with folded aims, ap- 
parently in a reyeiy. Hearing a noise as 
of some <me openinff the gate by which he 
had entered, he glided further into the 
gloGm behind him; and turning Us head 
la the direction whence the sound came, he 
beheld some one entering the chnndiyard. 
His heart beat quickly ; and he suspected 
that he had been watched ; yet there was 
surely no harm in being seen at ten o'clock 
at niffht, lodcing about him in a country 
obunmyard. It was a gentleman who en- 
tered, dressed in deep mourning; and Gram- 
mon quiddy recognised in mat Mr. Au- 
brey— -the brother of her whose beauttfol 
image still shone before his mind's ^e. 
What could he be wanting there 1— 4t ^at 
time of night 1 Crammon was not kept long 
in doubt; for the stran^r slowly bent his 
stqw towards a large high tomb, in fact the 
eentral objeet next to the yew tree, in the 
ohniehyard-««nd stood gaiing at it in si- 
knee lor some tine. 
**That is no doubt, where Mis.Anbiey 
buisd the ¥km day," tho«|^ he, 



watehing the movMaents of the straiiM 
who presently raised bis handkerchief to 
his e^es, and fof some moments seemed in- 
dulging in great grief. Gammon distinctly 
hea^ eithor a sob or a sidii. *« He must 
haye been yery fond of her, thought Gam- 
mon ;— >* Well, if we succeed, the excellent 
old lady will haye escaped a great deal of 
trooble->^at's all." ^ If tot mtettdT^ 
That reminded him of what he had for a few 
moments lost sight of,' namely, his own ob- 
iect in coming thither : and he felt a sud* 
den chill of remorse, which increased upon 
him till he almost trembled, as his eye co» 
tinned fixed on Mr. Aubrey, and he thought 
also of Mies Aubrejf— and the misery ■ the 
utter ruin uito which he was seelong to 
plunffc them both the unhallowed meant 
whitm the^ — which he-'ConteD^lated r» 
sorting to vat that purpose. 

Gammon's condition was becoming eveiy 
moment more serious; for yirtue in tfate 
shape of Miss Aubrey, beean to shine eyeiy 
moment in more radiant loyeliness befosB 
him-— and he almost felt an inelinatioB to 
sacrifice eyery person connected with the 
enterprise in wnich he was engaged, if it 
would ffiye him a chance of winning the fs- 
your of Miss Aubrey. Presently, iMiweyer, 
Mr. Aubrey, eyidently heaying a deepsig^ 
bent his steps slowly back again, ud quit- 
ted the churchyard. Gammon watched his 
figure out of sight, and then, .for the first 
time since Mr. Aubrey's appearance, breath- 
ed freely. Relieyed from the pressure of 
h&B presence. Gammon began to take calm- 
er and juster yiews of his position; and hs 
reflected, that if he pushea on the present 
aflbir to a suoeessfril issue, he should be 
much more likely than by prematurely end- 
ing it, to sain his objects. He therefoie 
resumed the surrey of the scene around 
him; and which presented appearances 
highly satisfiwtory, judging from the ex- 
pression which now and thmi animatsd his 
eouatenance. At length he wandeied 
round to the other end <M the church, where 
a crumbling wall, half coyered with iyy in- 
dicated that there had formerly stood some 
building apparently of earlier date than the 
church. Such was the hxX ; Gammon soon 
found hiHuself standing in a sort of endc^ 
sure, which had once been the site of an old 
chap|e]. And here he had not been long 
making his obseryations, before he acdiieved 
a discoyery of so extraordinary a nature.; 
one so unlikely, under the ciicumstanoea, 
to haye happened; one so calculated to 
baffle ordinary calculations conoeming the 
oonrse of eyents, that the leadec may well 
disbelieye what I am going to tdl him, and 
treat it as absuidly improbable, 
bi shoKlyBot to keep him in siiBpenB% 



TEN tHOUSANft A \ fiA». 



l«l 



Gaiomon positirely difleorefed evidenee of 
the death of Harry Dreddlington in his fa- 
ther's lifetime by means of just such a look- 
ing tombstone as he had long imaged to 
himself; and as he had resoWed that old 
Quirk should have got prepared, before the 
cause came into court. He almost stum- 
bled oyer it. Twas an old slanting stone, 
scarce two feet above the ground, partly 
covered with moss, and partly hid by 
rubbish and old damp grass. The moon 
shone brightly enough to enable Gammon, 
kneeling down, to decipher, beyond all 
doubt, what was requisite to establish that 
part of the case which had been wanting. 
For a moment or two he was disposed to 
doubt whether he was not dreaming. 
When, at length, he took out pencil and pa- 
per, his hands trembled so much that he 
felt some difficulty in making an exact copy 
of the inestimable inscription. Having 
done this, he drew a long breath as he re- 
placed the pencil and papers in his pocket- 
book, and almost fancied he heard a whis- 
perin|[ sound in the air—*' Verdict for the 
plaintiff." Quitting the churchyard, he 
walked back to Grilston at a much quicker 
rate ^an that at which he had come, his dis- 
covery having wonderfully elated him, and 
pushed all other thoughts entirely out of 
bis mind. But, thought he, doubtless the 
other side are aware of the existence of this 
tombstone— they can hardly be supposed 
ignorant of it; they must have looked up 
their evidence as well as we— and their at- 
tention has been challenged to the existence 
or non-existence of proof of the time of 
the death of Harry Dreddlingrton ; — well — 
if they are aware of it, they know that it cuts 
the ground from under them, and turns their 
conveyance, on which, doubtless, they are 
relying, into waste paper; if they are not, 
and are under the impression that that deed 
is valid and effectual, our proof will fall on 
them like a thunderbolt. >' Gad," — he held 
his breath, and stopped in the middle of 
the road^^'how immensely important is 
this little piece of evidence ! Why, if they 
knew of it — ^why, in Heaven's name, is it 
there stilll What easier than to have 
got rid of iti — ^why, they may still : what 
can that stupid fellow Parkinson have been 
about 1 Yet, is it because it has become 
unimportant on account of their being in 
possession of other evidence 1 What can 
they have against so plain a case as ours is, 
with this evidence 1 Gad, I'll not lose one 
day's time ; but I'll have half-a-dozen com- 
petent witnesses to inspect, and speak to 
that same tombstone in court." Such were 
some of the thoughts which passed through 
his mind as he hastened homeward; and 
on his arrival, late as it was— only the 



yawning ostler being up to let him in— he 
sat down to write a letter off to Mr. Quirk, 
and made it into a parcel to go by the mail 
in the morning, acquainting hhn with the 
truly providential discovery he had just 
made, and urging him to set about getting 
up the briefs for the trial, without delay ; 
he, himself, purposing to stop at Grilston a 
day or two longer, to complete one or two 
other arran^ments of an important nature. 
As soon as Mr. Quirk had read this letter 
he devoutly thanked God for his goodness ; 
and, hurrying to his strong-box, unlocked 
it, took out a small sealed packet, and com- 
mitted it to the flames. 

Mr. Aubrey, as soon as he had recovered 
from the first shock occasioned by the com- 
munication hj Mr. Parkinson of the pro- 
ceedings against him, set about acauaint- 
ing himself^ as minutely as he could, with 
the true state of the case. He had request- 
ed Mr. Parkinson to obtain from one of the 
counsel in London, Mr. Crystal, a full ac- 
count of the case, in an elementary form, 
for his own guidance ; and on obtaining a 
remarkably clear and luminous statement, 
and also consulting the various authorities 
cited in it^— such, at least, as could be sup- 
plied to him by Mr. Parkinson— the vigor- 
ous practical understanding of Mr. Aubrey, 
aided by his patient application, soon mas- 
tered the whole case, and enabled him to 
appreciate the peril in which he was placed. 
Since he could derive no title through tiie 
convejrance of Hany Dreddlington (which 
had been got in by Geoffrey Dreddlingrton) 
owing to the death of the former in his fa- 
ther's lifetime, as he (Mr. Aubrey) under^ 
stood from his advisers could be easily 
proved by the present claimant of the pro- 

a, the right of accession of Geomrey 
dlingtoirs descendants depended en- 
tirely upon the fact whether or not Stephen 
Dreddlington had really died without issue; 
and as to that, certain anxious and exten- 
sive inquiries instituted by Messrs. Run- 
ningrton and Mr. Parkinson, in pursuance 
of me suggestions of their able and expe- 
rienced counsel, had led them to entertain 
serious doubts concerning the rights of Geof- 
frey's descendants to enter into posses- 
sion. By what means his opponents had 
obtained their clue to the state of his title, 
neither he nor any of his advisers could 
frame a plausible conjecture. It was cer- 
tainly possible that Stephen Dreddlington, 
who was known to have been a man like 
his uncle Harry, of wild and eccentric habits, 
and to have been supposed to leave no 
issue, might have married privately some 
woman of inferior station, and left issue by 
her, who, living in obscuri^Ty &nd at a dis- 
tance from the seat of .the nmily pTc^>eity, 



1«6 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



oouM haye no opportanitjr of UMiiuring into | 
or ascertaining their position with refi^nee 
to the estates, till some acute and enterpri- 
sing attorneys, like Messrs. Quirk, Gam- 
mon and Snap, happening to get hold of 
them, and family papers in their possession, 
had taken up their ease. When, with im- 
pressions such as these, Mr. Aubrey pe- 
rused and re-^erused the opinions of the 
conveyancer given on the occasion of his 
(Mr. Aubrey^s) marriage, he was c<mfouad- 
ed at the supineness aira indiffeienoe which 
he had even twice ezlubited, and £eAt di»- 
posed now greatly to overvalue the iinpor- 
tance of every adverse circumstance. The 
boldness, again, and systematie energy 
with which the case of tiie claimant was 
prosecuted, and the eminent legal ofMnions 
which were alleged, and with every appeal^ 
ance of truth, to concur in his favour, af- 
forded additional orounds for rational ap- 
piehension. He looked the danger, how* 
ever, fuU in the face, and as far as lay in 
his power, prepared for the evil day which 
might so soon come upon him. Certain 
extensive and somewhal costly alteAtioiis 
trhich he had been on the point of commen- 
cing at Yatton, he abandoned. Bat for 
the earnest interference of friends, he would 
have at once given up hLs establishment in 
Grosvenor Street, and applied for the Ghil- 
tsm Hundreds, in order to retire from politi- 
cal life. Consideriaff the possibility of his 
soon being decfared we wrongfol hinder of 
the property, he contracted his ezpenditore 
as far as he could, without challenging ud* 
necessary public attention; and paid into 
his banker's hands all his Christmas rents, 
sacredly resolving to abstain from drawing 
out one fiurthing of what might soon be 
proved to belong to another. At every 
point occurred the dreadful questioiH^If I am 
declared never to have been the rightful 
owner of the property, how am I to dis- 
charge my frigWul liabilities to him who 
is? Mr* Aabrej' bad nothing except the 
Yatton property. He had but an insigdul- 
cant sum in the funds; Mrs. Aubrey's set- 
tlement was out of lands at Yatton, as also 
was the little income bequeathed to Kate by 
her father. Could any thing, now, be con- 
ceived more dreadful, under these circum- 
stances, than the mere daajief— 4he slight- 
est probability— of tbeir being deprived of 
Yatton 1— and with a debt <^-^t the very 
least, sfXTY THousAHD poujfns, due to him 
who had been wrongfully kent out of his 
property? That was the millstone which 
seemed to drag them all to the bottcxn. 
Against thatf what could the kindness of 
the most generous friends, what could his 
own most desperate ezertiens, avail f All 
had peof AfiAf^J eoiMtantly befove hii 



eyes, together with->4ii8 wife, his sisler, 
his children. What was to beeonw of 
them? It was long before the real natoie 
and extent of his danger became known 
amongst his friends and neighbours. When, 
however, they were made aware of it, an 
extraordinary interest and s ym p athy were 
excited throughomt akaost the whole coun- 
ty. Whenever his attorney, Mr. Paridn- 
son, appeared in public, he was besiefinBd 
by most anxious inquiries concerning his 
disliiMished client, whose manly modesty 
and ^titnde, under the p r essu re of h» 
sudden nd almost unprecedented difficulty 
and peril, endeared him more than ever to 
all who had an opportonity of appreciating 
his position. Witn what intense and ab- 
sorbmg interest were the ensuing assiieB 
looked for S At length they arrtv^. 

The ancient city of York exhibited, on 
the commission day of the spring assizes 
for the year 18—*, the usual scene of anima* 
tion and excitement. The high sheriff, a^> 
tended by an imposing retinae, went out te 
meet the judges, and escorted them, aoudst 
the shrill dangoar of trumpets, to the oa^ 
tie, where the comraiasion was opened with 
the usual formalitiee. The judges were 
Lord Widdrinfl^, the Loid Chief Justiee 
of the King's Bench, and Mr. Justice Gray- 
lev, a puisne judge of the same court— both 
aamizable lawyers. The former was pos* 
sessed of the more powerful intdlect. He 
was, what may be called a great aeienlilie 
laveyer, refiening every thing te ornie^pfe, 
as extracted from preeedent. Mr. Justiee 
Grayley was almost unrivalled in his know* 
ledge of the deUdh of the law ; his fbveitt^ 
ing maxim being Ha lex eeripia. Ifere his 
loMwledge was emially minute and accu- 
rate, and most readily applied to eveiy case 
brought b^bre him. Never sate there upon 
the bench a more pains'^iddng jud|pe— one 
mow anxious to do right equally m great 
tlungs as in smaU. Bo3k were men of rigid 
integrity ; 'tis a glorioos ^ng to be able to 
add— ^when, for centuries, have other than 
men of rigid integrity sate upon <he English 
bench? Lord widdringtcm, however, in 
temper was stem, arbitrary, and overiieaf- 
ing, and his manners were tinctured with 
not a little coarseness ; while his companion 
was a man of exemplary amiability, affii- 
bility, and forbearance. Lord Widdring- 
toQ presided at tbe ciyil court (where, of 
course, would come on the important cause 
in which we are interested,) and Mr. Justios 
Greyley in the criminal court. 

Soon after the sitting of the court, on the 
ensuing morning — **Will your lordship 
allow me,^' rose and inquired the sleek, 
smiling, and portly Mr. Subtle, dead silencs 
prevaiung as soon as he had menlioMd the 



TBN TB0U8ANB A YEAR. 



117 



mme of Ibb euite ibont wbidi he wasin- 
<|iiiriiig^ ^ to call your attention to a oaoae 
of Doe on the denUte qf Titmotue v, Mtery^ 
a ap€Kial jary cause, in whbh there are a 
mat many witnessea to be examiaed on 
Ooth flidee— and to aak that a day may be 
fijLed for it to come on!" 

*« Whom do yott appear for» Mr. SabUe 1" 
inquired his lordship. 
M For the plaintiff, my lord." 
««And who appears ISoir the defendant 1" 
^ The attorney-general leads for tiie de- 
foadant, lay lord,'^ replied Mr« Sleilingr, who, 
with Mr. Crystal, was also retained for the 
defendant. 

«« Well, perhaps yoa ean a^ree between 
yoQiselTes apoo a day, and in die mean 
time similar arrangements may be made for 
any other special jury eaose Aat may re- 
qaire it. After dae consultation, Monday 
week was agreed upon by the parties, and 
fixed by his lordship for the trial of the^ 
eaose. During the Sunday preeedinff it, 
Yoric was crowded witli persons of the 
highest diatinetioa . from all parts of the 
ooanty, who folt interested in the result of 
the grreat eaose of the assizes. About mid- 
day a dusty trarelling carriage and four 
dashed into the atreels from the London 
road, and drove up to tke principal inn; it 
oonlained the attomey-^neral (who just 
finished rea^nar his brief as he entered 
Yorii) and his clerk. The attorney-general 
VSM a man of steildag and highly infeellece- 
tual ceonteaanee ; but he looked, on alight* 
iag, aomewhat fotigoed with his long jour- 
ney. He was a man of extraordinary natu- 
lal talrats, and also a first>rate lawye r o ne 
w^oee right to take the woolsack, whenever 
it ahooki become vacant, was recognised by 
all the projfession. His prefossional cele- 
brity, and his comii^ down special on the 
piesent oocaaion, ad&d to the ctroumstance 
of his being wcAl known to be a personal 
friend of his client, Mr. Aubrey— whenoe it 
might be infoned that his great powers 
would be exerted to their ntmoei— -was well 
oeleidated to enhance the interest, if that 
were possible, of iSbit occasion which had 
brought him down at so great an eomease, 
and to aiiaCain so heavy a lesnensibiMty as 
the oondnot of a eaase of snch^magnitude. 
He came to lead against a formidable op- 
ponettt Mr. Sovrui was the leader of the 
aoithem circuit, a man of matchless tact 
and practical sagacity, and meet eonsam- 
mtelv ddlfiil in the eondoot of a cause. The 
onlv thing he ever looked at was the verdict, 
to Ina gaining of which he directed aU his en- 
ergies, and sacrtfioed every other constdera- 
tion. As for diapl^, he despised it. Ai^ieecA, 
as such, was his aversion. He entered inloa 
fiisDdlyt km exquiBitely crafi^ i as wae rs a ^ tbn 



no 



Wish the jniy$ forhetrassoqui^at pereeiv- 
ing the effect of his address on the mind of 
each of the twelve, and dexterous in accom- 
modating himself to what he detected to be 
the passmg mood of each, that they felt as if 
they were all the while reasoning with and 
being convinced by him. His placid, smi- 
lii^, handsome countenance, his gnotleman- 
ly bearing, and insinuating address, foil of 
good-natwred cheerful confidence in hie 
cause, were irresistible. He flattered, he 
soothed, he ftscinated the jin^, producing 
an effect upon their minds Which they often 
felt indignant at his opponent attempting to 
effiMse. la fact, as a mai frius leader he 
was unrivallej, as well in stating as in 
arguing a case, aa well in examining 
cross-examining a witness. It requircn 
little practical skill to form an adequate 
timate of Mr. Subtle's skill in the maaa^ 
ment of a cause ; for he did etery thing with 
such a smiling, earaless, uncoaceraM air, 
in the great pinch and strain of a case, 
equally as in the pettiest details, that yon 
would be apt to suspect that none but the 
easiest and moat straightforward cases foU 
to his lot 

Titmouse, Titmonse, methinks the fates 
favoured you in assigning to you Mr. Subtle i 

Next came Mr. QuicxsiLVBa, a man of 
great but wild eneigy, who received what 
may be called a mu^tng' retainer. What a 
contrast was he to Mr. Subtie ! The first 
and the last thinff he tiioaght of in a cause, 
was— himself. His delimit was to make 
the juiy fed as if a whirlwind was »pnff 
about them, and he the spirit who Itaa 
raised it His obiect was et&er to daxale 
or terrify them. He wrapped himself round 
in the gleaminff garment of dis^y; the 
gaudy patchworic of multiforious superficial 
acquirements; this was the strange, noisy 
object, flinging about wildly, in all dire^ 
tions, the firebrands and arrows of sarcasm 
and invective, that occupied their eye and 
ear till he bad ceased! nailher he nor they 
were thinking all thewhile of his dismayed 
and injured client, till reminded of him by 
tlie adverse daaxmd oUbe jodge, accempar 
nied by a alight sneer and shruff of the 
shoiddars foom Mr. Subds. Aa for law, 
pebably there waa no maan in eeuri, weaiw 
ing wig and gown, who waa not his supe- 
rior, or at least his eqaal. Why, then, was 
such d man ntauMd in the cause 1 *T waa 
a fiuioy of Qm^% a vast political admirer 
of Quicksilver's, who had made ens or two 
most splsndid speeches for him in libel 
eaaea brongbt agdiwt the Smnday Flmh. 
Gammon most earnestly expostulated, bat 
Quirk waa inexoi^k; and himaelf carried 
his retuner to Mr. Quicksilver. Gammon, 
howvfer, waa mndwhmt eonaoled by the 



168 



TEN THOUSAND A TEAR. 



leflectioii, Aat this wild elephant woald be 
in a manner held in check by Mr. Sabtle 
and Mr. Lynx, who, he hoped, would pre- 
vent anj serious mischief from happemn^. 
Lynx possessed the qualities which his 
name would sugrgest to yon. I have partly 
- described him already. He was a man of 
minate accuracy ; and ** ffot up** every case 
in which he was engaged as if his life had 
depended on the result. Nothing escaped 
him. He kept his mind constantly even 
with the current of the cause. He was a 
man to itecr a' leader, if ever that leader 
should get, for an instant, on the wroxig 
tack, or be uncertain as to his course. His 
suggestion and interference-— rare, indeed, 
with such a man as Mj. Subtle, incessant 
with Mr. Quicksilver, — ^were always worth 
attending to, and consequently received with 
deference. 

For Mr* Aubrey also was retained a for- 
midable bar. Mr. Attorney-General was a 
man much superior in point of intellect and 
legal knowledge, to Mr. Subtle. His mind 
was distinguished by its tianquil power. 
He had a rare and invaluable faculty of ar- 
raying before his mind's eye all the facts 
and l]«arings of the most intricate case, and 
contemplatmg them, as it were, not suc- 
cessively, but simultaneously. His per- 
ception was quick as light; and, at the 
same time— rare, mostrare accomplishment ! 
—his judgment sound, his memory signally 
retentive. Inferior, possibly, to Mr. Subtle 
in rapid and delicate appreciation of mo- 
mentary advantages, he was sagacious 
where Mr. Subtle was only ingenious. Mr. 
Attorney-General had as much weight with 
the ludge as Mr. Subtle with the jury. 
With the former, there was a candour and 
straightforwardness— a dignified, simplicity 
—which insensibly won the confidence of 
the judge; who, on the o^er hand, felt 
himself obli^ned to be ever on his guard 
against the slippery sophistries of Mr. Sub- 
tle, whom he thus got to regard with con- 
stant suspicion. 

Ma. Stbbliko, the second counsel for the 
defendant, was a king's counsel, and a rival 
of Mr. Subtle upon the circuit. He was a 
man of great power; and on important oc- 
casions, no man at the bar could acquit 
himself with more distinction. As a speak- 
er, he was eloquent and impressive, per- 
haps deficient in vivacity; but he was a 
man of clear and powerful intellect ; prompt 
in seizing the bearings of a case ; a capital 
lawyer; and possessing, even on the most 
trying occasions, imperturbable self-pos- 
session. 

Mb. Crtstal, with all his faults of man- 
ner and bearinff, was an honourable, high- 
minded man ; clearsighted and strong'^ead- 



ed; an accurate and ready lawyer; vigi- 
lant and acute— but of him I have spoken 
before. 

See, then, the combatants : for TitmooBe 
-—Ma. ScBTLi, Ma. Quicksilvkr, Mi. 
Lrirx; for Mr. Aubrey — ^Mr. ArroRifiT- 
Genebal, Mb. Sterlino, Mb. Crtstal. 

The consultation of each party was long 
and anxious. 

About eight o'clock on the Sundsnr eve- 
ning, at Mr. Subtle's lodgings, Messrs. 
Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, accompanied 
by Mr. Mortmain, whom they brought down 
to watch the case, made tlieir appearanoe 
shortly after'Mr. Quicksilver and Mr. Lynx. 

** (far case seems complete fioto,** said 
Mr. Subtle, casting a penetrating and most 
significant glance at Messrs. Quirk and 
Gammon, and then at his juniors, to whom, 
before the arrival of their clients and Mr. 
Mortmain, he had been mentioning the es- 
sential link which, a month before, he had 
pointed out as missing, and the marvellous 
good fortune by whidi they had been able 
to supply it at ike eleventh hour. 

**That tombstone's a godsend. Subtle, 
isn't iti" said Quicksilver, with a grim 
smile. Lynx neither smUed nor spoke. 
He was a very matter-of>£M;t person. So 
as the case came out clear and nice in court, 
he cared about nothing more. But what- 
ever might be' the insinuation or suspicion 
implied in the observation of Mr. Subtle, 
the reader must, by this time, be well aware 
how little it was warranted by the facts. 

** I shall open it veiy quietly," said Mr. 
Subtle, putting into his pocket his pen- 
knife, with which he had been paring his 
nails, while Mr. Quicksilver had been talk- 
ing very fast. " What do you think, Mr. 
Lynxl Had I better allude boldly to the 
conveyance executed by Hany Dreddling- 
ton, and which becomes useless as soon as 
we prove his death in his father's life- 
time?" 

«<Ah! there's that blessed tombstone 
again," interposed Quicksilver. 

«< Or,"— resumed Mr. Subtle, — »« content 
myself with barely making out our pedi- 
gree, and let it come from the other side!" 

** I tbiidc, perhaps, that the latter would 
be the quieter and safer course," replied 
Lynx. 

"By the way, gentlemen," said Mr. 
Subtle, suddenly, addressing Messrs. Qqirk, 
Gammon and Snap, ** how do we come to 
know any thing about the mortgage execu- 
ted by Harry Dreddlington 1" 

*<0h! that you know," replied Quiric, 

Quickly, " we first oot scent of m Mr. — " 
[ere he paused suddenly, and turned quite 
red. 
** It was suggested," said Gammon, calm- 



TEN THOUSAND A YJBAR. 



1B9 



ly, (« by one of the gentlemen whose opi- 
nions we have taken in the case— -I forget 
by whom — ^that from some recital, it was 
probable that there existed such an instni- 
inent ; and that put us on making inquiry.'* 

"Nothing more likely," added Mort^ 
main, ^' than that it, or an abstract, or mi- 
nute of it, should get into Stephen Dred- 
dlington's hands." 

"Ah! well! well! — ^I must say thftre's 
rather an air of mystery about the case. 
But— about that tombstone— what sort of 
witnesses will speak — " 

"Will that evidence be requisite," in- 
quired Lynx, " in the plaintiff's case 1 AH 
we shall have to do, will be to prove the 
fact that Harry died without issue, of which 
there's satisfactory evidence ; and as to the 
time of his death, that will become material 
only if ^y put in the conveyance of Harry." 

" True— true ; ah ! I'll turn that over in 
my mind. Rely upon it, I'll give Mr. At- 
torney-General as little to lay hold of as pos- 
sible. Thank you, Mr. Lynx, for the hint. 
Now, gentlemen, one other question. What 
land ^ looking people are the witnesses 
whoprove the later steps of the pedigree of 
Mr. Titmouse 1 Respectable 1— Eh ? — ^You 
know a good deal will depend on the credit 
Chey may obtain with the jury." 

" They're very decent, creditable persons, 
you will find, sir," said Gammon. 

" Good, good. Who struck the special 
jury 1" 

" We did, sir." 

" Well, I must say that was a very pru- 
dent step for you to take ! considering the 
rank in life and circumstances of the respec- 
tive parlies! However, to be sure, if you 
didn% they would — so— well ; good night, 
^ntlemen, good night." So the consulta- 
tion broke up ; and Messrs. Quirk, Gammon 
and Snap returned home to their inn, in a 
very serious and anxious mood. 

" You' re a marvellous prudent person, 
Mr. Quirk,*^ said Gammon, in a somewhat 
fierce whisper, as they walked along, " I 
suppose you would have gone on to explain 
the little matter of Steggars, and so have 
had our briefs thrown at our heads—" 

"Well, well, that wat a slip." Here 
they reached their inn. Titmouse was 
staying there ; and, in Messrs. Quirk, Gam- 
mon, and Snap's absence, he had got very 
drunk, and was quarrelling under the arch- 
way with Boots ; so they ordered him to 
bed, they themselves sitting up till a very 
late hour in the morning. 

The consultation at the attorney-general's 
had taken place about three o'clocK in the 
afternoon, within an hour afler his arrival ; 
and had been attended by Messrs. Sterling, 
Crystal^ and Mansfield^— by Mr. Running- 



ton, and Mr. Parkinson, and by Mr. An- 

brey, whom the attomey-genetal received 
with the most earnest expressions of sym- 
pathy and friendship; listening to every 
auestion and every observation of his with 
le utmost deference. 

"It would be both idle and unkind to 
disguise from ygn, Aubrey/' said he, " that 
our position is somewhat precarious. It de- 
pends entirely on the chance we may have 
of breaking down the plaintiff's case: for 
we have but a slender case of our ovm. I 
suppose they can bring proof of the death 
of Harry Dreddlington in his fother 's life- 
time t" 

" Oh, yes, sir," answered Mr. Parkinson, 
" there is an old tombstone behind Yatton 
church which establishes that fact beyond 
all doubt ; and, a week or two ago, no few- 
er than five or six persons have oeen care- 
fully inspecting it; doubtless they will be 
called as witnesses to-morrow." 

" I feared as much. Then are ours more 
than watching briefs. Depend upon it, 
they would not have carriea on the ^Eair 
with so high a hand, if they had not pretty 
firm ground under footi Messrs. Quirk, 
Gammon, and Snap are tolerably well- 
known in town— 4ot ooer-scropuloas, eh, 
Mr. Runninrtonl" 

" Indeed, Mr. Attorney, you are right. I 
don't doubt they are prepared to go all 
lengths." 

" Well, we'll sift their evidence pretty 
closely at any rate. So you really have 
reason to fear, as you intimated when yon 
entered the room, that they have valid evi- 
dence of Stephen Dreddlington having left 
issue 1" 

" Mr. Snap told me," said Mr. Parkin- 
son, " this morning, that they would prove 
issue of Stephen Dreddlington, and issue of 
that issue, as clean as a whistle— that was 
his phrase." 

" We mnsn't take all for gospel that he 
would say." 

"They've got two houses filled with 
witnesses, I nndentand," said Mr. Rnn- 
ningrton. 

"Do they seem Yoikshire people, or 
strangeret" 

** why, most of them that I have seen," 
replied Parkinson, " seem strangere." 

" Ah, they will prove, I suppose, the la^ 
ter steps of the pedigree, when Stephen 
Dreddlington married at a distance fimn 
his native country." 

They then entered into avery full and mi- 
nute examination of the case; after which 
— '*Well," said the attorney-general, evi- 
dently fatigued with his long journey, and 
rising from his chair, " we must trust tc 
what will turn up in the chapter of acci* 

S3 



170 



TEN THOUSAND A TEAR. 



dents to-mcttiow. I shall be expected to 
dine with the bar to-day,*' he added, ** bat 
immediately 'aiVer dinner, say at seven 
o'clock, I shall be here, and at year service, 
if any things should be required." Then 
the consultation broke up. Mr. Aubrey had, 
at their earnest entrea^, brought Mrs. Au- 
brey and Kate from x atton, on Saturday ; 
for they declared themseWes unable to bear 
the dreadful suspense in which they should 
be left at Yatton. * Yielding, therefore, to 
these their Tery reasonable wishes, he had 
engaged private lodgings at the outskirts 
of the town. On qmtting the consultation, 
which, without at the same time affectinff 
over-strictness, he had regretted being fixed 
on Sunday'^but the necessity of the case 
appeared to warrant it— -he repaired to the 
magnificent Minster,where the evening pray- 
ers were beingread,and where were Mrs. Au- 
brey and Kate. They were chanting the pray- 
ers as he entered, and was placea in a stul 
nearly opposite to where those whom he loved 
so fondly were standing. The psalms allotted 
for the evening were those in which the 
royal sufferer, David, was pouringr forth the 
deepest sorrows of his heart ; and their ap- 
propriateness to his own state of mind, added 
to the effect produced by the melting melo- 
dy in which they were conveyed to his 
ears, excited in him, and he perceived, also, 
in those opposite, the deepest emotion. 
The glorious pile was beginning to grow 
dusky with the stealing shadows of evening; 
and the solemn and sublime strains of the 
organ, durinpr the playing of the anthem, 
filled the ounds ot all present, who had 
any pretensions to sensibility, with mingled 
feelings of tenderness and awe. Those in 
-whom we are so deeply interested, felt 
^ir minds at once subdued and elevated : 
and, as they quitted the darkening fabric 
through which the pealing tones of the or- 
gan were yet reveroerating, they could not 
fielp inquiring. Should, they ever enter it 
ag[ain, and in what altered circumstances 
might it be? 

To return, however— thouffh it is, indeed, 
like descending from the holy mountain 
into the bustle and hubbub of the city at its 
foot— Mr. Parkinson, being most unexpect> 
ediy and unfortunately summoned to Grils- 
ton that afternoon, in order to send up some 
deeds of one of his distinguished clients to 
London, for the purpose of immediately 
effecting a mortgage, set off in a post- 
chaise, at top speed, in a very unenviable 
frame of mind ; and by seven o'clock was 
seated in his office at Grilston, busily turn- 
ing over a great number of deeds and pa- 
pers, in a large tin case, with the words 
•« Right Honourable the Earl of Yelverton," 
painted on the outside. Having turned 



over almost every thing inside, and fooad 
all that he wanted, he was ^oing to toss 
back again all the deeds which were not 
requisite for his immediate purpoee, when 
he happened to see one lying at tlie very 
bottom, which he had not before observed. 
It was not a large, but an old deed-— and he 
took it up and hastily examinod it. 

We have seen a piece of unexpected good 
fortune on the part of Gammon and his 
client; and the reader will not be disap- 
pointed at finding something of a similar 
kind befalling Mr. Aubrey, even at the 
eleventh hour. Mr. Parkinson's journey, 
which he had execrated a hundred times 
over, as he came down, produced a disco- 
very which made him tremble all over 
with agitation and excitement, and begin 
to look upon it as almost owing to an inter- 
ference of Providence. The dc^ he looked 
at bore an endorsement of the name of 
^^ Dreddlington,^^ After a hasty glance 
over its contents, he tried to recollect by 
what accident a document belonging to Mr. 
Aubrey, could have found its way into the 
box containing Lord Yelverton's deeds ; and 
it at length occurred to him that about a 
twelvemonth before, Mr. Aubrey had pro- 
posed advancing several thousand pounds 
to Lord Yelverton, on mortgage of a portion 
of his lordship's property— -out which nego- 
tiation had afterwarus been broken off; that 
Mr. Aubrey's title-deeds happened to be at 
the same time open and loose in his oflke— 
and he recollected having considerable 
trouble in separating the respective docu- 
ments which had got mixed together. This 
one, after all, had been by some accident, 
overlooked, till it turned up in this most 
timely and extraordinary manner ! Having 
hastily effected the object which had brought 
him back to Grilston, he ordered a pm^ 
chaise and four, and within a quarter of an 
hour was thundering back, at top speed, on 
his way to York, which, the horses reeking 
and foaming, he reached a little after ten 
o'clock. He jumped out with the precious 
deed in his pocket, the instant that his 
chaise door was opened, and ran off, with- 
out saying more than— ** I'm gone to the 
attorney-general's." This was heard by 
many passers-by and -persons standing 
round; aiid it spread far and wide that 
something of the utmost importance had 
transpired, with reference to the great ejecV 
ment cause of Mr. Aubrey, ooon aiter- 
wards, messengers and clerks, belonging to 
Mr. Runnington and Mr. Parkinson, were 
to be seen running to and fro, summoning 
Mr. Sterling, Mr. Ciystal, Mr. Mansfield, 
and also Mr. Aubrey, to a second consulta- 
tion at the attorney-general's. About eleven 
o'clock, they were aU assembled. The deed 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



171 



wUdi bad occasioned all this excitement 
was one cakaiated indeed to produce that 
effect; and it filled the minds of all present 
with astonishment and delight. In a word, 
it was a deed of confirmation by old Dred- 
dlington, the father of Harry Dreddlington, 
of the conveyance by the latter to Geoffrey 
Dreddlington, who, in the manner already 
mention^ to the reader, had got an assi&rn- 
ment of that conveyance to himself. Alter 
the attorney-general had satisfied himself as 
to the account to be given of the deed— -the 
custody from whence it came, namely, the 
attorney for the defendant ; Mr. Parkinson 
undertaking to swear, wi^out any hesita- 
tion, that whatever deeds of Mr. Aubrey's 
he possessed, he had taken from the muni- 
ment room at Yatton, the second consulta- 
tion broke up. Mr. Aubrey, on hearing the 
nature and effect of the instrument explain- 
ed by the attorney-general, and Mr. Mans- 
field, and all his counsel^ in short, concur- 
ring in opinion as to the triumphant effect 
which this instrument would produce on the 
morrow, may be pardoned for regarding it, 
in the excitement of the moment, as almost 
a direct interference of Providence. 

A few moments before nine o'clock on 
the ensuing morning, the occasional shrill 
blasts of the trumpets announ<^ that the 
judges were on their way to the castle, the 
approaches to which were crowded with 
carriages and pedestrians of a highly re- 
spectable appearance. ' As the casUe clock 
uiished striking nine, Lord Widdrington 
took his seat, and the swearing of the spe- 
cial jury commenced. The court was 
crowded almost to suffocation; all ihe chief 
)>laoes being filled with persons of distinc- 
tion in the county. The benches on each 
nde of the judge were occupied by ladies, 
who--especially the Countess of Oldacre 
and the Lady De la Zouch— evinced a 
painful degree of anxiety and excitement in 
their countenances and demeanour. The 
bar also mustered in great force ; the crown 
court being qdite deserted, although a great 
murder case was going on there. The civil 
court was, on the present occasion, the point 
of attraction, not only on account of the in- 
teresting nature of the case to be tried, but 
of the keen contest tiiat was expected be- 
tween the attorney-general and Mr. Subtle. 

The former, as he entered— his command- 
ing features gazed at by many an anxious 
eye with hope, and a feeling that on his 
skill and learning depended that day the 
destination of the Yatton property — ^bowed 
to the judge, and then nodded and shook 
hands with several of the counsel nearest 
him; then he sat down, and opening his 
bag, took out his huge brief, and began 
Umamg over its leaves with a calm and at- 



tentive air, occasionally turning round and 
conversing with his juniors. Every one 
present observed that the defendant's coun* 
sel and attorneys wore the confident looks 
of winning men; while their opponents, 
quick-sighted enough, also observea the cir- 
cumstance, and looked, on that account 
alone, a shade more anxious than when 
they had entered the court. Mr. Subtle re- 
quested Mr. Gammon, whose ability he had 
soon detected, to sit immediately beneath 
him; -next to Gammon sat Quirk, then 
Snap, and beside him, Mr. Titmouse, with 
a staring sky-blue flowered silk handker- 
chief round his neck, a gaudy waistcoat, a 
tight surtout, and white kid gloves. He 
looked excecMlingly pale, and dared hardly 
interchange a word, even with Snap, who 
was just as irritable and excited as his se- 
nior partners. It was quickly known all 
over the court who Titmouse was. Mr. Au- 
brey scarcely showed himself in court all 
day, though he stood at the door near the 
bench, and could hear all that passed ; Lord 
De la Zouch and one or two other personal 
friends standing with him, engaged, from 
time to time, in anxious conversahon. The 
jury having been sworn, Mr. Lipx rose, 
and in a few hurried sentences, intimated 
the nature of the pleadings in the cause.-— 
The attorney-general then rose, and request- 
ed that all the witnesses mi^t leave the 
court. As soon as the little disturbance oc- 
casioned by this move had ceased, Mr. Sub- 
tie rose, and in a low but distinct tone, said 
** May it please your lordship— ^ntlemen 
of the jury— in this cause I have Sie honour 
to appear before you as counsel for the plain- 
tiff; and it now becomes my duty to state, 
as briefly as I can, the nature of his case. 
It is impossible, gentlemen, not to notice 
the unusual interest excfted by the cause ; 
and which may be accounted for by the 
very large estates in this county which are 
sought this day to be transferred to a com- 
parative stranger from the family who have 
long enjoyed uiem, and of whom I am anx- 
ious to say every thing Respectful ; for you 
will very soon find that the name on the 
record is that of only the nominal defendant ; 
and although all that is pr^esaed to be this 
day sought for, is a very tnfiing portion of 
the property, your verdict will undoubtedly 
decide the question as to the true ownership, 
and enjoyment of the large estates now held 
by the gentleman who is the substantial de- 
fendant — ^I mban Mr. Aubrey, the member 
of parliament for the borough of Yatton.'* 
Aware of the watchful and formidable op- 
ponent who would in due time answer him, 
and also of being himself entitled to the ge- 
neral reply — ^to the last word — Mr. Subtle 
proceeded to state the nature of the plainr 



173 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



tiflTs case with the atmoet brevity and 
cleameae. Scarody any sound was heard 
bot that of the pens of the short-hand wri- 
ters, and of the connsel taking their notes. 
Bifr. Subtle, having handed up two or three 
copies of the pedigree which he held in his 
hand to the judge and jury, pointed out with 
distinctness and precision eveiy link in the 
chain of evidence which he intended to lay 
before the jury; and having done this — hav- 
ing presented as few salient points of attack 
to his opponent as he possibly could — he 
sat down, professing his entire ignorance of 
what case could be set up in answer to that 
which he had opened. He had not been on 
his legs quite half an hour ; and when he 
ceased — how he had disappointed every one 
present, except the judge and ^e bar ! In- 
stead of a speech befitting so great an occa- 
sion — impressive and eloquent— here had 
been a brief, dry statement of a few uninte- 
resting iiMst»— dates, births, deaths, mar- 
riages— without a single touch of feeling or 
ray of elocjuenoe. The momentary feeling 
of disappointment in the audience, however 
—almost all of whom, it may easily be be- 
lieved, were in the interests of the Anbieys— 
quickly yielded to one of satisfiiction and 
relief; as they thought they mi^ht regard 
80 meager a roeech as heralding m as mea- 

Sr a case. As soon as he had sat down, 
r. Quicksilver rose and called the first 
witness. ** We*re safe !" whispered the at- 
tomey-^neral to Mr. Sterling and Mr. Crys- 
tal; and the witness having been sworn, ihey 
resumed their seats and meir writing. He 
and the subsequent one established one or 
two preliminary and formal points— the at- 
torney-general scarcely rising to puts ques- 
tion to them. The third witness^ was exa- 
mined by Mr. Subtle with apparent uncon- 
cern, but really with exquisite anxiety .«- 
From the earnestness and attention with 
which the words of the witness were watch- 
ed and taken down by both the judge and 
the counsel, who knew much better than the 
audience where the strain of the case com- 
menced, it must have appeared to the latter, 
that either Mr. Subtle under-estimated, or 
his opponents over-estimated, the value of 
the evidence now in process of being ex- 
tracted by Mr. Subtle, in short, easy, point- 
ed questions, and with a smiling counte- 
nance. 

Y Not so fast, sir,'' gruffly interposed Lord 
Widdrington, addressing tiie witness. 

** Take time, Mr. Jones," said Mr. Subtle, 
blandly, fearful of ruffling or discomposing 
an important witness. The attorney-gene- 
ral rose to cross examine ; he pressed him 
quietly but closely ; varied the shape of his 
questions; now he soothed, then he flattered; 
bat sat down, evidently having produced no 



impression. Thus it was with one or two 
succeeding witnesses; the attorney-general, 
on each occasion, resuming his seat after 
his abortive eflforts, with perfect composure* 
At leng^, however, by a very admirable 
and well-sustained fire of cross-questioning, 
he completely demolished a material wit- 
ness; and the hopes of all interested in be- 
half of his clients rose high. Mr. Subtle, 
who had been all the while paring his nails, 
and fnmi time to time smiling vrith a careless 
air, (though you might as s^ely have touch* 
ed a tigress suckling her cubs, as attempted 
at that moment to disturb Mr. Subtle, so ab* 
sorbed was he with intense anxiety,) know* 
ing that he could establish the same fiicts 
by another, and, as he believed, a better 
witness^ did not re-examine; but calling 
that other, with an air of nonchalance, sniy 
ceeded in extracting from him all that the 
other had failed in, and in baffling all the 
attempts of &e attorney-general to affect his 
credit or disturb his equanimity. At length, 
another witness being in the box— - 

*' My lord, I object to that question," said 
Mr. Attorney-General, as Mr. Subtle, amidst 
many indiflerent and apparently irrelevant 
questions, quietly slipped in one of the great* 
est possible importance, had it been answei^ 
ed as he desired. 'Twas quite delightful to 
see the attomey-goneral and his experienced 
and watchful juniors, all rise at one and the 
same instant, showing how vain were the 
tricks and iiigenuity^>f their sl^ opponent. 
Mr. Attomey-Qeneral stated his objection 
briefly and pointedly; Mr. Subtle answered 
him, followed by Quicksilver and Lynx; 
and then Mr. Attorney-General replied with 
great force and clearness. This keen en- 
counter of their wits over— 

'< I shall allow the question to be pat," 
said Lord Widdrington, after a pans^- 
'<but I have gpreat doubts as to its proprie^. 
I will, therefore, take a note of Mr. Attorn^- 
General's objection." 

Four or five similar conflicts arose during 
the course of the plaintiflT's case;— now 
<»>nceming the competency of a witness-— 
then as to the admissibility of a document, 
or the propriety of a particular question.— > 
On each of these occasions there were dis- 
played on both sides oonsumoftate logical 
skill and acuteness, especially by the two 
leaders. Distinctions the most delicate 
were suggested with suddenness, and as 
promptly encountered ; the most artful mar 
nceuvres to secure dangerous admissions 
resorted to, and baffled ; 3ie more recondite 
principles of evidence brought to bear with 
admirable readiness on both sides. To deal 
with them, required indeed, the practised, 
penetrating, and powerful intellect of Lord 
Widdrington. Some points he disposed of 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



173 



ptomptly, to the satisfactioii of both parties ; 
on otaen he hesitated, and at length re- 
terred them. Though none hut the more 
experienced and able membere of the bar 
eould in the least degree enter into and ap- 
preciate the nature of these conflicts, they 
were watched with untiring attention and 
eagerness by all present— both ladies and 
gentlemen-^y the lowly and the distio- 
ffuished. And though the intensity of the 
leelings of all was manifest by a mere 
glimpse round the court, yet any momenta- 
ry display of eccentricity on the part of a 
witness, or petulance or repartee on the part 
of counsel, would occasion a momentary mer- 
riment that really served only as a sort of 
rtHtf to the stramed feelings, or instantly 
disappeared, "nie tombstone part of the 
case was ^t through easily; scarce any 
attempt being made on the part of Mr. Au- 
brey's counsel, to resist or interfere ^ith it. 
But the neat— the hottest part of the fight— 
occurred on that point or the case, where 
Titmouse's descent from Stephen Dred- 
dlington was sought to be established.^ 
This gentleman, who had been a very wild 
peison, whose movements were very diffi- 
cult to be traced ot accounted for, had en- 
tered the navy, and ultimately died at sea, 
as had always been imagined, single and 
childless. It was proved, however, that so 
fitf from such being the ease, he had married 
a person at Portsmouth, of inferior station ; 
aiul that by her he had a daughter, only two 
years before his death, which happened at 
sea, as has been stated. Both mother and 
daughter, after undergoing ffrcat privation, 
and no notice being taken of the mother by 
any of her late husband's family, removed 
to the house of an humble and distant rela- 
tive, in Cumberland, and afterwards died, 
leaving her daughter only fifteen years old. 
When she grew up, she lived in some me- 
nial capacity at Cumberland, and ultimately 
marriea one Crabriel Tittlebat Titmouse, 
who, after living for some years a cord- 
wainer at Whitdiaven, found his way to 
Grilston, in Yorkshire, in the neighbour- 
hood of which town he had lived for some 
T^rs, in very humble circumstances.— 
There he had married ; and about two years 
afterwards his wife died, leaving a son 
—oar friend Tittlebat Titmouse. Both of 
them afterwards came to London; where, in 
four or five vears time, the father died, leav- 
ing the little Titmouse to flutter and hop 
almut in the wide world as best he could. 
The little documentary evidence of which 
Gammon, at his first interview with Tit- 
mouse, found him possessed, proved at the 
trialf as Crammon had foreseen, of essential 
importance. The evidence in support of this 
part of tbe case, and which took till two 

p9 



o'clock on the ensuing afternoon to get 
through, was subjectea to a most deter- 
mined and skilful opposition by the attor- 
ney-general, but in vain. The case had 
been got up with the utmost care, under the 
excellent management of Lynx; and Mr. 
Subtle's consummate tact and ability brought 
it at length fully and distinctly out be&re 
the jury. 

** That, my lord," said he, as he sat down, 
after reexamining his last witness, ^ is the 
case on the part of the plaintiff." On this 
the judge and jury withdrew, for a- short 
time, to obtain refreshments. During their 
absence, the attorney-general, Mr. Sterling, 
Mr. Crystal, and Mr. Mansfield, might have 
been seen, with their heads all laid close 
together, engaged in anxious consultation^- 
a group ga^ at by the eager eyes of man^ 
a spectator whose beating heart wished their 
cause God speed. The attorney-general 
then withdrew for a few moments, also to 
seek refreshments; and returning at the 
same time with the judge, after a moment's 

fause,rose and opened Uia.defendant'scase. 
lis manner was calm and impressive; his 
person was dignified ; and his clear, distinct 
vofce fell on the listening ear like the sound 
of silver. After an exceedingly graceful 
and simple allusion to the distinguished 
character of his friend and client, Mr. Au- 
brey, to whose eminent position in the House 
of Commons he bore his personal testimony, 
and the magnitude of trie interests now at 
stake, he proceededw* On every account, 
therefore, I feel sensible, gentlemen, to an 
unusual and most painfUl extent, of the very 
great responsibility now resting upon my 
learned friends and myself; lest any mis- 
carriage of mine should prejudice in any 
degree the important interests committed to 
us, or impair the strength of the case which 
I am about to submit to ^ou on the part of 
Mr. Aubrey; a case which, I assure you,, 
unless some ei^traordinary mischance should 
befall us, will I believe annihilate that 
which, with so much pains and ability, has 
just been laid before you by my learned 
friend Mr. Subtle, and establish the defen- 
dant in the safe possession of that large pro- 
perty which is the subject of the present 
most unexpected litigation. But, gentle- 
men, before proceeding so far as l^at, it is 
fitting that 1 should call your attention to 
the nature of the case set up on the part of 
the plaintiff, and the sort of evidence by 
which it has been attempted to be supported ; 
and I am very sanguine of success, in show- 
ing you that the plaintiff's witnesses are 
not entitled to the credit to which they lay 
claim; and, consequently, that there is or 
such case made out for the defendant 
swer," He then entered into a 



X 



( 



VH 



TEN THOUSAND A YIBAR. 



analysis of the plaintiff's eridenee, con- 
trasting each conflicting portion wi^ the 
other, witii singular force and cogency; and 
commenting with powerful severity upon 
the demeanoar and character of many otthe 
witnesses. On proceeding, at length, to 
open the case of the defendant-^* And here, 
gentlemen,'' said he, *^ I am reminded of 
uie observation with which my learned 
friend concluded—that he was entirely 
ignorant of the case which I meant to set 
up in answer to that which he had opened 
on the part of the plaintiff. Gentlemen, it 
would have been curious, indeed, had it 
been o&erwise— had my friend's penetra- 
ting eye been able to inspect the contents 
of our strong-box — and so become acquaint- 
ed with the evidence on which my client 
lestB his title to the property. He has, 
however, succeeded in entitling himself to 
information on that point; and he shall have 
it— and to Ids heart's content." Here Mr. 
Subtle cast a glance of smiling incredulity 
towards the jury, and defiance towards the 
attorney-general : he took his pen into his 
hand, however, and his juniors looked very 
anxious. <* Gentlemen, 1 will now concede 
to him every inch of the case which he has 
been endeavouring to make out ; that he has 
completely estabhshed his pedigree. Mind, 
gentlemen, I concede this only for the pur- 
pose of the case which I am about to lay 
Defore you." He then mentioned the con- 
veyance by Harry Dreddlington of tUl his 
interest s 

** You forget that he died in his father's 
lifetime, Mr. Attorney-General," interposed 
Mr. Subtie, with a placid smile, and the 
air of a man who is suddenly relieved from 
a vast pressure of anxiety. 

*' Not a bit of it, gentlemen, not a bit of it 
—'tis a part of my case. My learned friend 
is quite right; Harry Dreddlinfton did die 
in his father's lifetime : — but—*' Here Mr. 
Subtle gazed at the attorney-general with 
unaffected curiosity ; and, when the latter 
came to mention *^ the deed of eonfirmaiion 
by the father of Harry Dreddlington," an 
acute observer might have observed a slight 
change of colour in Mr. Subtie. Mr. Quick- 
silver went on writing— -for he was entirely 



do yon tiiink of thiat Tell me— in four 
words." Mortmain, his eye glued to the 
face of the attorney-general the while, mut* 
tered hastily something about— opcrattng 
a» a ntw grarU'-''-a» a new conveyance. 

** Pshaw ! I mean what's the antwer to 
it 1" mattered Mr. Subtie, impatientiy; but 
his countenance preserved its expression of 
smiling nonchalance. 

*< You'll oblige me, Mr. Mortmain," he 
by and by whispered, in a quiet but pe- 
remptory tone, ^*by giving your utmost 
attention to the question as to the effect of 
tills deed — so that I may shape my objec- 
tion to it properly when it ia tendered in 
evidence. If it really have the effect attri- 
buted to it, and which I suspect is the case, 
we may as well shut up our briefs. I 
thought there must be something or other in 
the back-ground." 

Gammon saw the real state of Mr. Sub- 
tie's mind, and his dieek turned pale, but 
he preserved a smile on his countenance; as 
he sat with his arms folded. Quirk eyed 
him with undisgaised agitation, scarce dar 
rinff to look up at Mr. Subtie. Titmouse, 
seeing a littie dismay in his camp, turned 
very^ white and cold, and sat still, scarce 
danng to breathe. Snap looked like a ter- 
rier going to have his teeth pulled out. At 
lengtii the attorney-general, afler statina 
that, in addition to the case which he had 
intimated, as resting mainly on the deed of 
confirmation, he should proceed to prove tiie 
pedigree of Mr. Aubrey, sat down, having 
spoken about two hours and a half, exnress- 
ing his conviction that when the defenaant's 
evidence should have been closed, the jury, 
under his lordship's direction, would return 
a verdict for the defendant, and without 
leaving the jury-box, where, by their long 
and patient attention, they had so honoura- 
bly acquitted themselves of the importuit 
duty imposed upon them by tiie constitu- 
tion. 

*< James Parkinson !" exclaimed Mr. Ster- 
ling, quietiy but distinctly, as the attorney- 
general sat down. " Do you produce," in- 
quired Mr. Sterling, as soon as the witness 
had been sworn, ** a conveyance, specify- 
ing that by Harry Dreddlington to Moses 
out of his depth, and therefore occupied Aaron," &c. It was prov^ and put in. 



himself with thinking over an article he 
was writing for some political review. Mr. 
Lynx looked at the attorney-general as if 
he expected every instant to receive a mus- 
ket-ball in his breast. 

** What, « confirm^ a nullity ^ Mr. Attomey- 
Generall" interrupted Mr. Subtie, laying 
down his pen, with a smile of derision ; but 
a moment or two afterwards, ** Mr. Mort- 
main," said he, in a hasty wbLsper, <<what 



without much opposition. So also was 
another—the assigrnment from Moses Aaron 
to Geoffrey Dreddlington. 

*(Do you also prMuce a deed between 
Harry Dreddlington the elder and Geoffrey 
Dreddlington 1" and he mentioned the date 
and names of all the parties. Mr. Parkin- 
son handed in the important document. 

"Stay, stay; where did you get tiiat 
deed, Mr. Parkinson 1" inquired Mr. Subtie. 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



175 



tiFrom my office at Grilstoiif where I 
keep many of Mr. Aubrey's title-deeds." 

^ When did you bringr it hither V 

** About ten o'clock last night, for the 
purpose of this trial.'* 

** How long has it been at your office V 

*' Ever since I fetched it, a year or two 
ago, with other deeds, firom the muniment' 
room at Yatton Hall." 

'«How long have you been solicitor to 
Mr. Aubrey r^ 

** For these ten years ; and my father was 
solicitor to his father for twenty-five years." 

** Will you swear that this deed was at 
your office before the proceedings in this 
action were brought to your notice I" 

** I have not Uie slightest doubt in .the 
world. It never attra<Sed any more notice 
from me than any other of Mr. Aubrey's 
deeds, till my attention was drawn to it in 
consequence of these proceedings." 

'* Has any one access to Mr. Aubrey's 
deeds at your office but yourself 1" 

^ None that I know of; I keep all the 
deeds of my clients that are at my office in 
their respective boxes, and allow no one ac- 
cess to them, except under my immediate 
notice and in my presence." 

Then Mr. Subtle sat down. 

*^ My lord, we now propose to put in this 
deed," said the atttomey-general, unfold- 
ing it. 

'* Allow me to look at it, Mr. Attorney," 
said Mr. Subtle. It was handed to him : 
and his juniors and Mr. Mortmain, rising, 
were engaged most anxiously in scrutinizing 
it for some minutes. Mortmain having look- 
ed at the stamp sate down, and opening his 
baff, hastily drew out an old well-worn 
volume, wmch contained all the stamp acts 
tiiat had ever been passed from the time of 
William the Third, when, I believe, the 
first of those blessings was conferred upon 
this country. First he looked at the deed- 
then at his book— then at the deed again; 
and at length mi^t be seen, with earnest 
gestures, putting Mr. Subtle in possession 
of his opinion on the subject. *' My lord," 
said Subtle, at length, **I object to this in- 
strument being received in evidence, on ac- 
count of the insufficiency of the stamp."—- 
He then mentioned the character of the 
stamp affixed to the deed, and read the act 
whicn was in force at the time that the deed 
bore date; and afler a few additional obser- 
vations, sate down, and was followed by 
Mr. Quicksilver, and Mr. Lynx. Then 
arose the attorney-general, having in the 
mean time oarefullv look^ at the act of 
parliament, and submitted to his lordship 
that^e stamp was sufficient; being follow- 
ed by his juniors. 

Mr. Subtle replied at some length. 



** I entertain some difficulty on the pointy'' 
said his lordship, ** and will consult with 
my brother Grayley." Taking with him 
the deed, and Mortmain's Stamp Acts, his 
lordship left the court, and was absent a 
quarter of an hour; half an hour— 4hfee- 
quarters of an hour ; and at length returned. 

'* I have consulted," said he, as soon as 
he had taken his seat, amidst the profound- 
est silence, ** my brother Grayley, and we 
have very fully considered the point My bro- 
ther happens, fortunately, to have by him a 
manuscript note of a case in which he was 
counsel, about eighteen years aeo, and in 
which the exact point arose which exists in 
the present case." He then read, out of a 
thick manuscript book which he had brought 
with him from Mr. Justice Grayley, the par- 
ticulars of the case alluded to, and which 
were certainljr precisely similar to those 
then before him. In the case referred to, 
the stamp had been held sufficient; and so 
he and his brother Grayley were of opinion 
was the stamp in the deed then before him. 
The cloud which had settled upon the coun- 
tenances of the attorney-general and his 
party, here flitted over to those of his op- 
ponents. 

'* Your lordship will perhaps take a note 
of the objection," said Mr. Subtle, some- 
what chagrined. The judge did so. 

'*iVbt&, then, we propose to put in and 
read this deed," said tne attorney-general 
with a smile, holding out his hand towards 
Mr. Lynx, who was spelling over it very 
eajzerly — ** I presume my learned friend 
will require only the operative parts"— here 
Lynx, with some excitement, callod his 
leader's attention to something which had 
occurred to him in the deed : up got Quick- 
silver and Mortmain; and presently-— 

"Not quite so fast, Mr. Attorney, if you 
please," said Mr. Subtle, with a little ela- 
tion of manner — *' I have another, and I ap- 
prehend a clearly fatal objection to the ad- 
missibility of mis deed, till my learned 
firiend shall have accounted for an era- 



sure"—- 



** Erasure!" echoed the attorney-general 
with much surprise. " Allow me to see the 
deed ;" and he took it with an incredulous 
smile, which, however, disappeared as he 
looked more and more closely at the instru- 
ment ; Mr. Sterling and Mr. Crystal, also, 
looking extremely serious. 

" I've hit them fioio," said Mr. Subtle to 
those behind him, as he leaned back, and 
looked with no little triumph at his oppo- 
nents. From what apparently inadequate 
and trifling causes often flow great results. 
The plain fact of the case was merely this. 
The attorney's clerk in oopyinsont the deed, 
which was one of oonsidenible length, had 



178 



TISN THOUSAND A YEAft. 



written four or tiwe words by mistake ; and, 
fearing to exasperate his master, by render- 
ing necessary a new deed and stamp, and oc- 
casioning trouble and delay, neatly scratched 
out the erroneous words, and over the era- 
sure wrote the correct ones. As he was the 
party who was entrusted with seeing to and 
witnessing the execution of the instrament, 
he of coureetookno notice of the alteration, 
and — see the result ! The ownerehip of an 
estate of ten thousand a year about to turn 
upon the effect of this erasure ! 

** Hand me up the deed,*' said the judge ; 
and inspected it minutely for a minute or 
two. 

*«Has any one a magnifying-glass in 
court?" inquired the attorney-general, with 
a look of increasing anxiety, no one hap-^ 
pened to have one. 

''Is it necessary, Mr. Attorney," said 
Lord Widdrington, handing down the in- 
strument to him with an ominous look. 

*' Well — ^you object, of course, Mr. Sub- 
tle— as I underetand you — that this deed is 
Toid, on account of an erasure in a mate- 
rial part of itt" inquired Lord Widdring- 
ton. 

*«That is my objection, my lord," said 
Mr. Subtle, sitting down. 

•♦Now, Mr. Attorney," continued the 
judge, turning to the attorney-general, pre- 
pared to take a note of any obseryations he 
might offer. The spectatore— the whole 
court— were aware that the great crisis of 
the case had arrived : and there was a sick- 
ening silence. The attorney-general, with 
perfect calmness and self-possession, imme- 
diately addressed the court in answer to the 
objection. That there wat an erasure, 
which, owinff to the hurry with which the 
instrument had been looked at, had been 
overlooked, was indisputable; of course the 
attorney-general's argument was, that it was 
an erasure in a part not material ; but it was 
easy to see that he spoke with the air of a 
man who argues contra apem. What he 
said, however, was pertinent and forcible ; 
the same might be said of Mr. Sterlinff and 
BIr. Crystef; but they were all plainly 
gravelled, Mr. Subtle replied with cruel 
cogency: Mr. Quicksilver seized the op- 
portunity—not choosing to see that the 
judge was with them— to make a most dan- 
grerous but showy speech; Mr. Subtle sit- 
ting beside him in the utmost distress, look- 
ing as if he could have withered him with a 
word. In consequence of some very un- 
guarded admissions of Quicksilver, down 
came upon him Lord Widdrington; and 
Mr. Subtle— the only time during the whole 
cause in which he lost his self-command- 
uttered a.half-etifled curse at the folly of 
'^ ■ - " Tithst could be heard by lulf the 



bar, perhaps even by the judge, who greatc 
ly relished the exposure he was making of 
Quicksilver's indiscretion. At length he 
sate down, with a somewhat foolish air, 
Mr* Subtle turning his back full upon him 
before the whole court; but when Lynx 
rose, and in a business-like way, with only 
a word or two, put the point again fully be> 
fore Lord Widdrington, the scowl gradually 
disappeared from me brow of Mr. Subtle. ' 
«< Well," said Lord Widdrington, when 
Mr. Lynx had done, '♦ I own I feel no doubt 
at all upon the matter ; but as it is certainlv 
of the greatest possible importance,! will 
just see how it strikes my brother Grayley." 
With this he took the deed in his hand, and 
quitted the court. He touched Mr. Aubrey, 
in passing to his private room, holding the 
deed before him. After an absence of 
about ten minutes. Lord Widdrington re* 
turned. 

''Silence! silence there!" bawled the 
crier ; and the bustle had soon subsided iih 
to profound silence. 

" I entertain no doubt, nor does my bro- 
ther Grayley," said Lord Widdrington, 
" that I ought not to receive this de^ in 
evidence, without accounting for an erasure 
occurring in a mainly essential part of it 
Unless, therefore, you are prepared, Mr. 
Attorney, with evidence as to this point, 
I shall not receive the deed." 

There was a faint buzz all over the 
court — a buzz of excitement, anxiety, and 
disappointment. The attorney-general eon- 
sultea for a moment or two with his friends. 
" Undoubtedly, my lord, we are not pre- 
pared with any evidence to explain an ap- 
pearance which has taken us entirely by 
surprise. Ai%er this length of time, my 
loro, of course"— 

" Certainly — ^it is a great misfortune for 
the parties— a great misfortune. Of course 
you tender the deed in evidence t" he con* 
tinned taking a note. 
" We do, my lord, certainly." 
Yon should have seen the faoes of 
Messra. Quirk, Gammon, and Snan, as 
they looked at Mr. Parkinson, witn an 
agitated air, returning the rejected deed to 
the bag from which it had been lately taken 
with so confident and triumphant an air !— 
The remainder of the case, which had been 
opened by the attorney-general onbelialfof 
Btr. Aubrey, was then proceeded with ; but 
in spite of all their assumed calmness, the 
disappointment and distress of his counsd 
were perceptible to all. They were not long 
in establishing the descent of Mr. Aubrey 
from Geoffrey Dreddlington.* It was n^* 
cessary to do so ; for ^evously as they 
had been disappointed in fiulinff to est^ 
blish the title paiamoantyfouiided apon the 



TBN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



177 



deed of confirmation of Mr. Aabrey, it was 
yet an important aaestion for the jury, 
whether they belieTea the evidence adduced 
by the plainttflfto show title in himself. 

** That, my lord, is the defendant's case," 
said the attorney-general, as his last wit- 
ness left the box ; and Mr. Subtle then rose 
to reply. He felt how unpopular was his 
cause; that almost every countenance around 
him bore a hostile expression. Privately, 
he loathed his case when he saw the sort of 
person for whom he was struggling. All 
liis sympathies— for he was a very proud, 
haughty man-— were on behalf of Mr. Au- 
brey, whom by name and reputation he 
well knew ; with whom he haa often sate 
in the House of Commons. Now conspi- 
cuous before him, sate his little monkey-cli- 
ent, Titmouse— a ridiculous object; and, 
calculated, if there was any scope for ihe 
influence of prejudice, to ruin his own 
cause by the exhibition of himself before 
the jury. That was the vulgar idiot who 
was to turn the admirable Aubreys out of 
Yatton, and send them beggared into the 
world ! — But Mr. Subtle was a high-mind- 
ed English advocate; and if he bad seen 
Miss Aubrey in all her loveliness, and 
knew how all depended upon his exertions, 
he could hardly nave exerted himself more 
soooessfully than he did on the present oc- 
casion. And such, at leneth, was the effect 
which that exquisitely skuful advocate pro- 
duced, in his address to the juTy,that he be- 
gan to bring about a change in the feelings 
of most around him; even the eye of scorn- 
ful beauty began to direct fewer glances of 
indigoation and disgrust upon Titmouse, as 
Mr. Subtle's irresistible rhetoric drew upon 
their sympathies in his behalf. ** My learn- 
ed fnend, the attorney-general, gentlemen, 
dropped one or two expressions of a some- 
what disparaffing tendency, in alluding to 
my client, Mr. Titmouse; and shadowed 
forth a disadvantageous contrast between 
the obscure and ignorant plaintiff, and the 
gifted defendant. Good God, gentlemen! 
and is my humble client's misfortune to be- 
come his fault 1 If he be obscure and igno- 
rant, unacquainted with the usages of socie- 
ty, deprived of the blessings of a superior 
education— if he have contracted vulgarity, 
whose fault is it 1 Who has occasioned it t 
Who plunged him and his parents before 
him into an unjust poverty and obscurity, 
from which Providence is about this day to 
rescue him, and put him in possession of 
his ownl Gentlemen, if topics like these 
must be introduced into the case, I ask 
you, who is accountable for the present con- 
dition of my unfortunate client 1 Is he, or 
aie those who have been, perhaps uncon- 
•doosly, but still unjustly, so long revel- 



ling in the wealth that is his? Gentlemen, in 
the name of every thing that is manly and 
generous, I challenge youi^ympathy, your 
commiseration for my client.*'' Here, Tit- 
mouse, who had been staring up open-mouth- 
ed for some time at his eloquent advocate, 
and could be kept quiet no longer by the 
most vehement efforts of Messrs. Quirk, 
Gammon, and Snap, rose up, in an excited 
manner, exclaiming, ^* Bravo ! bravo ! bra- 
vo, sir ! 'Pon my life, capital ! It's quite 
true— bravo! bravo!" His astounded ad- 
vocate paused at this unprecedented inter- 
ruption. **Take the puppy out of court, 
sir, or I will not utter one word more," said 
he in a fierce whisper to Mr. Gammon. 

''Who is that? Leave the court, sir! 
Your conduct is most indecent, sir! I 
have a great mind to commit you, sir!" 
said Lord Widdrinffton, directing an awftil 
look down on the offender, who had turned 
of a ghastly white. 

"Have mercy upon me, my lord, I'll 
never do it agadn," he groaned, clasping his 
hands, and verily believing that Lord Wid- 
drington was goug to take the estate away 
from him. 

Snap at length succeeded in getting him 
out of court, and after the excitement occa- 
sioned by this irregular interruption had 
subsided, Mr. Subtle resumed : 

'' GenUemen," said he, in a low tone, ** I 
perceive that you are moved by this little 
incident; and it is a characteristic of your 
superior feelings. Inferior persons, destitute 
of sensibility or refinement, might have 
smiled at eccentricities which occasion you 
only feelings of greater commiseration. I 
protest, gentlemen"— his voice trembled for 
a moment, but he soon resumed his sel& 
possession; and, after a long and admirable 
address, sat down, confident of the verdict. 

«' If we lose the verdict, sir," said he, 
bending down, and whispering into the ear 
of Gammon, '* we may thank mat execrable 
little puppy for it" Gammon changed co- 
lour, but made no reply. 

Lord Widdrington then commenced sum- 
ming up the case to the jury, with his usual 
(»re and perspicuity. Nothing could be 
more beautiful than the ease with which he 
extricated the fticts of the case from the 
meshes in which they had been involved 
by Mr. Subtle and the attorney-general. 
As soon as he had explained to them the 
general principles of law applicable to the 
case, he placea before them the facts proved 
by the plaintiff, and the answer of tne de- 
fendant: every one in court trembled for 
the result, if the jury took the same view 
which they felt themselves compelled to 
take. He suggested that they should retire 
to consider the case, taking with them the 

23 



198 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAS. 



pedigrees which had been handed in to 
them ; and added, that, if they ahonld re- 
quixe his assistance, he should remain in 
his private room for an hoar or two. Both 
judge and jury then retired, it being about 
eiffht o'clock. Candles were lit in the court, 
which continued crowded to suffocation. — 
Few doubted which way the yerdict would 
so. Fatigued as must have been most of 
we spectators with a two days' confinement 
and excitement— ladies as well as gentle- 
men—scarce a person thought of quitting 
till the yerdict had been pronounced. After 
an hour and a half's aosence, a cry was 
heard— >« Clear the way for. the jury ;" and 
one or two officers, with their wands, obey- 
ed the directions. As the juiy were re-en- 
tering their box, struggling with a little diffi- 
culty through the crowd. Lord Widdrington 
resumed his seat upon the bench. 

'* Gentlemen of the jury, haye the good- 
ness," said the associate, **to answer to 
your names. Sir Godolphin Fitzherbert;" 
and, while their names were thus called 
oyer, all the counsel took their pens, and 
turning oyer their briefs with an air of anx- 
iety, prepaied to indorse on them the yer- 



dicL As soon as all the jurymen had an- 
swered, a profound silence ensued. 

** Gentlemen of the jury," inquired the 
associate, ** are you agreed upon your yep* 
dictt Do you find yerdict for the plaintiff 
or for the defendant t" 

'*' For the plaintiff," replied the foreman; 
on which the officer, amiast a kind of blank 
dismayed silence, making at the same time 
some hieroglyphics upon the record, mat- 
tered—^* Vera ict for plaintiff. Damages one 
shilling. Costs forty shillings;" while 
another functionary bawled out, amidst. the 
increasing buzz in the court, *'HaYe the 
ffoodness to wait, gentlemen of the jory. 
You will be paid immediately.'* Where- 
upon, to the disgust and indigrnation of the 
unlearned spectators, and the astonishment 
of some of the gentlemen of the jury them- 
selves — many of the very first men in the 
country — Snap jumped up on the form, 
pulled out his purse with an air of exulta- 
tion, and proceeded to remunerate Sir Go- 
dolphin Fitzherbert and the rest of his com- 
panions with the sum of one guinea. Pro- 
clamation was then made, wad the court 
adjourned. 



CHAPTER IX. 



^'Tre Attorney-General did his work 
' yeiy 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 pre- 
pare for their next aay's work. 

** Yes— he's a keen enough hand, to be 
sure, he's ^riyen us all work enough ; and, I 
must say, it's been a capital set-to between 
you. I'm very elad you got the verdict !" 

*^It wouldn^t have done to be beaten on 
my own dunghill, as it were— eh ! By the 
way. Lynx, that was a good hit of yours 
about the erasure— I ou^ht, 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. He 
knew that Mr. Subtle would be Attorney- 
General one day ; ^nd would then require 
the services of a certain grim functionaiy^ 
to wit, a devU'^* it was a mere accident my ' 



lighting on it; the merit was, the use yoa 
made of it!" 

** To think of ten thousand a year taming 
on that same trumpery erasure." 

" But are you sure of our verdict on that 
CToand, Mr. Subtle! Do you think Wid- 
drington was right in rejectinfir that deed 1" 

*^ Right t to be sure he was 1 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 cividencing the passing of the 
estate,— eh t that was a good point. Lynx." 

'* Ay, but as Lord Widdrington put it— 
that could be only where the defect was 

S roved to exist after a complete and valid 
eed had been once estabished.*' 
**Tru&-4rue; that's the answer. Lynx; 
here you see the deed is disgraeed in the 
first instance ; no proof, in fact, that it ever 
VKU a deed— therefbrey mere waste paper." 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



179 



**To be eare, poatetnon haa gone along 
with the deed." 

M PoBsession goes aloi^ with it ! What 
then t— -that is to sa^, 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 safficient to—" 

** Ye9— and again, you know, isnH it the 
general rule that the par^ producing an in- 
strument must account ror the appearance 
of erasure or alteration to encounter the pre- 
sumption of fraud 1 It seems good sense 
enough." 

^ By the way, did you ever see any thing 
like Quicksilver in that matter? 1 knew 
heM bring Widdringrton down on him-^I 
sat frying, I assure you! To hear one's 
cases spoiled — but— well ! it's all over now, 
however. It's really been a very interesting 



cause. 



Ver^. Some capita] points— that of 
Mortmain's on the stamp^ict — " 

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

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

"Eht" 

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

** A blunuer? Impossible! What is iti" 
inquired Lynx, briskly, pricking up his ears. 

" It will be at least thirty or forty pounds 
out of OUT client's pocket. I forgot to ask 
Widdrington for the* certificate for the cost 
of the special jury. I protest I never did 
such a ^ng before — ^I'm quite annoyed— I 
hate to overlook any thing.'' 

** Oh ! is that all t" 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 a 
certificate— -but he had seen a man with the 
'New Times,' containing the division on 
the Catholic claims, and had set off after 
him— ^Bo I took the liberty, as you seemed 
very earnestly talking to Mr. 6«ftnmon, to 
name it to the judge— and it's all right^' 

** Capital ! Then there isn't a point miss- 
ed ! And in a good two days' nght, that's 
something." 

*' D'ye think we shall keep the verdict, 
and get its fruits, Mr. Subtle T' 

**We shall keen the verdict, I've no 
doubt; tiiere's noming in Widdrington's 
notes that we need m afraid of—- but of 
course they'll put us to bring another eject- 
ment, perhaps several." 

** Yes— certainly— there mutt be a good 
deal of fighting before such a nroperty as 
YattoB changes hands^" replied Lynx, with 



a complacent air ; for he saw a few pleasant 

gickings in store for him. ^ By the way," 
e continued, ** our client's a sweet speci- 
men of humanity, isn't he 1" 

** 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 1" 

" Ha, ha ! Never ! But, upon my honour, 
what an exquisite turn you ffave the thing- 
it was worth more than called it forth — ^it 
wa$ admirable." 

"Pooh— Lynx !" said Mr. Subtle, with a 
gratified air; "knack — mere knack— no- 
uiing more. My voice trembled— eh 1 — at 
least so I intended." 

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

"Ah, ha, ha !^Delightful ! I was con- 
vulsed with inward laughter ! aked tears ! ! 
Did the bar take it, Lynxt" inquired Mr. 
Subtle; for thougrh he hated display, he loved 
appreciation^ and by competent persons.— 
"By the way, L3mx, the way in which 
you've got up the whole case does you vast 
credit — that opinion of yours on the evi- 
dence was — ^upon my word^the most mas- 
terly"— here he suddenly ceased and squeez- 
ed his companion's arm, motioning him 
thereby to silence. They had come up with 
two gentlemen, walking slowly, and cour 
versing in a low tone, but with much ear- 
nestness of manner. They were, in fact, 
Mr. Aubrey and Lord De la Zonch. Mr. 
Subtle and Mr. Lynx crossed over to the 
other side of the narrow street, and Quick- 
ened their pace, so as soon to be out ot sight 
and hearing of the persons they seemed de- 
sirous 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 a bore for Mr. Aubrey, isn't it!" 
quoth the matter-of-fact Lpix. 

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

« Oh ! — you think, then, that we can't ^o 
beyond the statute of limitationl— ehl— is 
that 80 clear t" Mr. Subtle looked sharply 
at Lynx, with an expression it would faiis 
difilcult to describe. "Well," continued 
the impenetrable Lynx—** at all events I'll 
look into it." He felt about as much aenU* 
meni in the matter, as a pig eating aooms 



160 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



would feel interest in the antiquity of the 
oak from which they fell, and under whose 
venerable shade he was munching and 
staffing himself. 

" By the way, Lynx — aVt you widi me 
inJTtfiwmand Mellinston ?'* 

** Yes — and it stands first for to^norrow 
morning.** 

<'What*sitahout1 Fve not opened my 
papers, and— why weVe a consultation 
fixed for ten to-nip;ht.*' 

^^ It's Ubel against a newspaper editor — 
the PoMPHRET Cockatrice ; and our cli- 
ent's a clergyman." 

"What&outl** 

"Tithes — grasping, cmelty,and so forth.*' 

** Justification 1" 

" No — ^not guilty only." 

" Who leads for the defendant 1" 

" Mr. Quicksilver." 

Oh !^we can dispense with the consulta- 
tion then. I shall send my clerk to fix to- 
morrow morning, at courtp— five minutes 
hefore the sitting of the court, I'm rather 
tired to-night." \Vith 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 summaiy way which 
tlie reader will remember, merely on account 
of his having, with slight indecorum, yield- 
ed to the mighty impulse of his agitated 
feelings, he began to ciy bitterly, wnnging 
his hands, and asking every one about him, 
if 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 1" said he, in passionate tones, ap- 
proaching 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 recosnised in Titmouse, 
the gentleman whose claims were being at 
that instant m^ted within the court, 
" Will you get me in ? You seem such re- 



tpeetable gents — 'pon my soul I'm going 
mad ! It's my case that's sroin 
Mr. Titmouse — ^" 



going on I I'm 



•* 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 
pnsentin court, or to 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 Zonch, towards Mr. 
Aubrey. " Know quite well who you afe, 
sir ! 'Pon my solemn soul, sir, sorry to do 
all this; but law's law, and right's right, 
all the world over." 

" I detire yon 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 V^ Titmouse 
saw that Mr. Aubrey looked towards him 
with a very different expression from that 
eidiibited by his forbidden companion, and 
would perhaps have stood his ground, but 
for a glimpse he caught of a huge, powder- 
ed, broad-shouldered footman, in a splendid 
livery, one of Lord De la Zouch 's servants, 
who, with a great thick cane in his hand, 
was standing at a little distance behind, in 
attendance on the carriage, which was 
standinsr in the castle yard. This man's 
face looked so ready for mischief, that llt- 
mouse slowly walked off. There were a 
ffood many standers-by, who seemed all to 
look with dislike and distrust at Titmouse. 
He made many ineffectual attempts to per- 
suade the door-keeper, who had assisted in 
his extrusion, to re-admit him ; but the in- 
corruptible janitor was proof against a six^ 
Iience— even against a shilling: and at 
en^ Titmouse gave himself up to de- 
spair, and thought liimself the most mise- 
rable man in the whole world--as very 
probably indeed he was ; for consider what 
a horrible interval of suspense he had to en- 
dure, from the closing of Mr. Subtle's 
speech, till the delivery of the verdict. But 
at length, throughout this portentous and 
apparently impenetrable cloud burst the 
ricn sunlight of success. 

'' Mr. Titmouse !— Mr. Titmouse !— Mr. 
Tit—" 

"Here! Here I am! Here!"— exclaim- 
ed the little fellow,jumping off the window- 
seat, on which he had been sitting for the 
last hour in the dark, half stupified with 
ffrief and exhaustion. The voice that called 
him was a blessed voice— a familiar voic^— 
the voice of Mr. Gammon ; who, as soon as 
the jury began to come back, on some pre- 
tence 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! Yon are 
victorious! God giant you long life to 
enjoy your good fortune! God bless yon, 
Titmouse !" He wrung Titmouse's hands 
— and his voice trembl^ with the intensity 
of his emotions. Mr. Titmouse had grown 
very white, and for a while spoke not, but 



TEN THOUSAND A Y£AIL 



181 



stood fttaring at Mr. Oammon, as if he was 
hardly aware of the import of his communi- 
cation. 

uXo— bat— is it so! Honour bright!" 
mt length he stammered. 

^ It iSf indeed ! My long labours are at 
length crowned with success I^Hurrah, 
hurrah, Mr. lltmouse !" 

*«IVe really won? It aVt a joke or a 
dream V* inquired Titmouse with quickly 
increasing excitement, and a joyous expres- 
sion burstin&r over his features, which be- 
came suddenly flushed. 

♦«A joke 1 — the best you'll ever have. A 
dream 1 — ^that will last your life. Thank 
God, Mr. Titmouse, the battle's ours; 
we've defeated all their viltany !" 

" 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 yon now— 'pon my life! — ^turned the 
tables !— ^Ao/ for you !'' said he, snapping 
his fingers ; but I need hardly say that he 
£d so with perfect impunity as far as those 
two gentlemen were concerned, who were 
so absorbed with the grievous evetit which 
had just happened, as scarcely to be aware 
of their being addressed at all. 

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

** God's will be done !" at len^h said he, 
in a low tone, and in rather a famt murmur. 
More than a dozen gentlemen, who came 
crowding out, grasped his hand with great 
enera^ and vehemence. 

**&od bless you, Aubrey! God bless 
you !"— said several voices, their speakers 
wringing his hand with great vehemence as 
they spoke. 

'*Let as go," — said Lord De la Zouch, 
putting Mr. Aubrey's arm in his own, and 
leading him away from a scene of distress- 
ing excitement, too powerful for his ex- 
hausted feelings. 

** I am nothing of a fatalist," said Mr. 
Aubrey, afler a pause of some minutes, 
during which they had quitted the castle 
gates, and his feelings had recovered from 
me shock which they had just before 
suffered ;— ** I am nothing of a fatalist, but 
J ought not to feel the least surprise at this 
issue, for I have lonff had a settled convic- 
tion that snch 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 oi impending 
calamity"— 

a 



** Well, that may be so; but it does not 
follow that the mischief is finally doneJ** 

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

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

" There's a great gulf l^tween us, though. 
Lord De la Zouch, as far as worldly circum- 
stances are concerned — you a peer of the 
realm, I a beggar." 

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

*« 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 1 But who would bear 
it with the calm fortitude which you have 
already evinced, my dear Aubrey r' 

««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. Auorey, with an air of 
mingled melancholy and resolution. **I feel 
an inexpressible consolation in the reflection 
that I cannot charge myself with any thing 
unconscientious. If I have done wronff in 
depriving another for so long a period of 
what was his, it ^was surely in igrno)rance ; 
and, as for the future, I put my trust in 
God. I feel as if I could submit to the will 
of Heaven with cheerfulness"— 

'* Don't speak so despondingly, Au- 
brey"— 

"Despondinglyt" echoed Mr. Aubrey, 
with momentary animation — ^* Desponding- 
ly 1 My dear friend, I feel as it I were 
indeed entering a scene black as midnight 
^but what is it to the valley of the aheuhw 
of death, dear Lord Da la Zouch, which is 
before all of us 1 I assure you I feel no 
vainglorious confidence ; yet I seem to be 
leaning on the arm of an unseen but all- 
powerful supporter." 

" You are a hero, my dear Aubrey !" ex- 
claimed Lord De la 2k)uch, with a sudden 
fervour. 

"And that support will embrace those 
dearer to me than life— dearer — ^far — ^far" 
^he ceased. 

"My God, Aubrey!— Aubrey! what's 
the matter?" hastily exclaimed Lord De la 
Zouch, feeling Mr. Aubrey leaning heavily 
against him. ' He grasped Mr. Aubrey 



182 



T£N THOUSAND A YEAR. 



finnly— for his head suddenly drooped; 
and, bat for his companion's support, he 
must have fallen to the ground. His deli- 
cate frame was worn out with the late ex- 
citement, and the intense anxiety and ex- 
haustion he had undergone ! having scarce 
tasted food for the last two days. The 
sudden recurrence of his thoughts to the 
objects of his fond and ineffable love, had 
completely overpowered his exhausted na- 
ture. Mark — it was only his physical na- 
ture that for a moment gave way. It was 
quite unworthy of the noble soul which ani- 
mated it. Of such a one it may be said— 
the sword is too keen for its scabbard. His 
sensibilities were exquisite; perhaps mor- 
M\j so. A soul like his nlaced in a body 
which, as I lone ago explained, was con- 
stitutionally feeble, might, from the intimate 
ind inscrutable connexion and sympathy 
between mind and body, for a moment ap- 
pear to be of an inferior temper : whereas 
the momentary shock and vibration occa- 
sioned by external accident over that soul, 
quickly re-exhibited its native nobleness 
and strength. 

Mr. Aubrey, who sunk into Lord De la 
Zouch's arms in the way I have described, 
just as they were passing a small shop 
whose owner stood at the door, was quick- 
ly taken into it; and within a few minutes, 
and with the aid of a glass of water, revived 
in time to take advantage of Lord De la 
Zouch's carriage, which was passing on its 
way from the castle to his notel. Hiere 
was only Lady De la Zouch within it, and 
she welcomed Mr. Aubrey with the most 
affectionate sympathy ; insisting upon their 
driving him to his lodgings, in order that 
they might, by their presence, comfort and 
appease Mrs. Aubrey and Miss Aubrey. 
Mr. Aubrey, hov^ever, most earnestly dis- 
suaded them, saying he would rather that, 
on so painful an occasion, they should be 
'alone ; and after taking a glass of wine and 
water, which neatly revived him, he quit- 
ted the hotel, ^one and on foot, and made 
for his lodgings. The streets were occu- 
pied by passeneers, some returning from 
the castle after me 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 Dut for that 
which supported him from within, as it- 
were, a fallen angel so far as concerned the 
world's honours and greatness. The splen- 
dours of human pomp and prosperity seem- 
ed rapidly vanishing in the distance. In 



the temporanr depression of his SfMiils, he 
experienced feelii^ somewhat akin to tiioM 
of the heart-sickened exile, whoee fond eyes 
are riveted upon the mosques and minarets 
of his native city, bathed in the sof% 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 oi the waters, the thickening 
gloom of night— fDAs/Aer? The Minster 
clock struck ten as he passed one of the 
comers of the vast majestic structure^ GP^y* 
glistening in the faint moonlight. The 
chimes echoed in his ear, and smote his 
subdued soul with a sense of peculiar solem* 
nity and awe; they forced upon him a re- 
flection on the transient littleness of earthly 
things. Then he thought of those dear be- 
ings who were awaiting his return, and a 
gush of grief and tenderness overflowed his 
heart, as he quickened his steps, vnth 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 lodg- 
ings were situated, he ima^ned that he saw 
some one near the door of his lodgrings, as if 
on the look-out for his approach ; and who, 
as he drew nearer, at length entered his 
lodgings. 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 mominflr 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 coun^ people 
then inYorkt were aware that Mrs. and 
Miss Aubrey were also there, a delicate 
consideration for their exquisitely distress- 
ing situation restrained them from intruding 
upon their privacy, which had been evidentp 
ly 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 brin^ intelligence of the final re- 
sult of the trial. He had not been ob- 
served by Mr. Aubrey amidst the number o 
people who were about; and had at length 
ralnUed his mission, and been beforehand 
with Mr. Aubrey in communicating the un- 
fortunate issue of the strunrle. The instant 
that Mr. Aubrey had set his foot within the 
door, he was locked in the impassioned em« 
brace of his wife and sister. None of then 
spoke for some moments. 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR, 



1B3 



^^DeaieBt Charles! — ^weVe heard it all 
-*we know it all !" at lengpth they exclaim- 
ed in a breath. '< Thank God it is orer at 
lasW— and we know the worst!— Are you 
well, dearest Chariest" inquired Mrs. Au- 
brey, with fond anxiety. 

^ Thank God, my Agnes, I am well !" 
said Mr. Aubrey, much excited —^' and 
thank God that the dreadful suspense is at 
an end; and for the fortitude, my sweet 
loves, with which you bear the result. And 
how are you^ my excellent friend t*' con- 
tinued he, addressing Dr. Tatham, and 
graspingr his hands; *'my yenerable and 
pious fhend, —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 leeetve with reverent sub- 
mission V^ 

^*God Almiprhty 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 ye are rebuked of Him ! If ye 
faint in the day of adversity, your stren^ 
is small ! But I rejoice tfi see your resig- 
nation." Aubrey, his wife, and sister, 
were for a while overcome with their emo- 
tions. 

** I assure you all," said Aubrey, *< I feel 
as if a very mountain had been lifted off my 
heart ! How blest am I in my 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. 

^Heaven," said he, **that gave us all, 
has taken all ; wh]^ should we murmur I 
He will enable us, if we pray for His as- 
sistance, to bear with equanimity our pre- 
sent adversity, as well as our past. pros- 
pen^! Come, Agnes! Kate! play the 
woman !" 

Dr. Tatham iSat silent by; but the tears 
ran down his cheeks. At length Mr. Au- 
brev gave them a eeneral account of what 
had occurred at &e trial-— and which, I 
need hardly say, was listened to in breath- 
less silence. 

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

** It's only from Johnson, to say the chil- 
dren are quite well," replied Mrs. Aubrey. 
The ruined parents, as if^by a common im- 
pulse, looked unutterable things at each 
other. Then the mother turned deadly pale; 
and her husband- tenderly kissed her cold 
eheek ; while Kate could scarcely restrain 
her feelings. The excitement of each was 
beginning to give way before sheer bodily 
and mental euiaustion; 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 Dt, 
Tatham should breakfast with, and then ac- 
company them on horseback. He then took 
his departure for the night, with a very full 
heart; and those whom he left soon after- 
wards retired for the night; and having first 
invoked the mercy and pity of Heaven, sunk 
into slumber and brief foreetfnlness 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 victori- 
ous 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 Grammon 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 he was at liberty,) exhi- 
bited 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 
waa^ the entire master of Titmouse. 

" I — ^wish you'd call a coach, or some- 
thing of that sort, gents. I'm devilish 
tire£— I am, 'pon my soul !" said Mr. Tit- 
mouse, yawmng, as he stood on the steps 
between Quirk and Gammon, waiting tor 
Snap's arrival. He was, in fact, almost 
mad— bursting with excitement; and could 
not stand still for a moment. Now he 
whistled aloud, loudly and boldly ; then he 
hummed a bar or two of some low comic 
song; and ever and anon drew on and off 
his damp gloves with an air of petulent inv- 
petuosi^. Then he ran his hand through his 
nair with careless grrace; and then, with 
arms folded on his breast for a moment, 
looked eagerly, but with a would-be languid 
air, at two or three coroneted coaches, which 
one by one, with their depressed and disap- 
pointed inmates, rolled on. At length Lord 
Widdrington, amidst a sharp, impetuous 
ciy of '^make way for the judge, there! 
make way for his lordship!" appeared, 
with a worn-out air, and passing close by 
Titmouse, was honoured by him with a very 
fine bow indeed — ^not being, however, in the 
least aware of the fact— as he passed on to 
his carriage. The steps being drawn up, 
the door closed ; and amidst a sharp blast 
of trumpets, the carriage drove slowly off, 
preceded and followed bv the usual attend- 
ants. All this pomp and ceremony made a 
deep impression upon thfe mind of titmouse* 



184 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



*' Ah," thoagfat he, with a sudden sigh of 
mingled excitement and exhaustion — ^^ who 
knows but /may be a judeesome day ! It^s 
a devilish pleasant thing, rm sure ! What 
a fuss he mast 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, ac- 

S|uainted with his name and person, and 
eeling towards him a strange mixture of 
emotions— -dislike, wonder, contempt, admi- 
ration. Goodness gracious! that strange 
little gentleman was now worth, it was 
said, ten thousand a ^ear ; 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 reach- 
ing the inn, the landlady, who was stand- 
ing at the door, and had evidently been on 
the look-out for her suddenly distinguished 
guest, received him with several most pro- 
found curtesies, and most eager and respect- 
ful inquiries about his health, as he had had 
no luncheon — and asked him what he would 
be pleased to have for his supper. She add- 
ed, moreover, that fearing his former bed- 
room might not have been to his mind, she 
had changed it, and he would that night 
sleep in the very best she had. 

** W e must make a ni^ht on't, eh t** quoth 
Mr. Quirk, with an excited air. His part- 
ners assented to it, as did Mr. Titmouse ; 
and cold beef, sausages, fowl, ham, beef- 
steaks, and mutton diops, 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 laid his candle on the drawers, 
and looked with a little triumph round the 
room. 

" Ah — ^yes!— 'pon my soul--quite right— 
always do your best for quality ! Lovely 
gal— eh 1" 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 1" 
she modestly withdrew. Titmouse, leA 
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, jumped up again — in a 
sort of wild ecstasy, or aelirium. In short, 
it is plain that he was not master of himself. 
In fact, his little mind was as agitated by 
the day's event, as a small green puddle by 



the road-eide for a while would be on a stone 
being suddenly flung into it by a child. 
When Messrs. Quirk and Snap were^ after 
their sort, as excited as even Mr. Tittnoase 
was, Mr. Gammon, retiring to his bedroom, 
and ordering thither, pens, ink, aiid paper, 
sat down and wrote the following letter: 

» 

" York, Mh April, 18-. 

**My dear sir, — The very first leisure 
moment I have, 1 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 occuned. 
After a most severe and protracted struggle 
of two days, (the attorney-g^eneral having 
come down special on the other side) the 
jury, many of^them the chief gentlemen of 
the county, have within this last hour re- 
turned a verdict in favour of our common 
friend, Mr. Titmouse,— thereby decla- 
ring him entitled to the whole of the 
estates at Yatton, (ten thousand a year 
rent-roll, at least,) and, by conseanence, 
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 unscnipuloos 
means resorted to, to defeat the ends of jus* 
Uce, is dismayed beyond expression at the 
result of this erand struggle— unprecedent- 
ed in the annals pf modem litigation. The 
result has given lively satisfaction in these 
parts — ^it is plain that your friend, Mr. Tit- 
mouse, will very soon become a great Hon 
in society. 

" To you, my dear sir, as an early and 
valued friend of our interesting client, I sit 
down to communicate the earliest intelli- 
gence of this most important event ; and I 
trust that you will, with our respectful 
compliments, conununicate this happy event 
to your amiable family— who, I am persua- 
ded, must ever feel a very warm interest in 
our client's welfare. He is now, naturally 
enough, much excited with his extraordi* 
nary good fortune, to which we are only 
too proud and happy to have contributed by 
our humble, but strenuous and long-conti- 
nued exertions. He begs me to express his 
most 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 dearest sir, 
with the best compliments of myself and 
partners, yoars most sincerely, 

«* Oily Gammon. 



« 



TbooMi Tftgrtf, Emi-, Itc., Ibc., ice." 



"That, I think, will about do"— quoth 
Gammon to himself, with a thoughtful air, 
as having made an exact copy of the above 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



185 



letter, lie sealed it up and directed it He j 
tlien came down stairs to supper, having 
first sent the letter ofT to the post office. 
What a meny meal was that same supper ; 
Mr. Titmouse, Mr. Quirk, and Mr. Snap, 
eat almost to bursting; Gammon was more 
abstinent— but 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 occa- 
sion, he had no help for it. Every one of 
the partners, at different stages of the eve- 
ning, made a speech to Titmouse, and pro- 
posed his health ; who, of course, replied 
to each, and drank the health of each. Pre- 
sently old Quirk sung a comic song, in a 
very dismal key ; and then he ana Snap 
joined in one called ^^Handcuff v. Holler r 
at which Gammon laughed heartily, and 
listened with that degree of pleased at- 
tention, which showed mat he had reserved, 
for once at least, to abandon himself to the 
enjoyment of the passing hour. Then Tit- 
mouse began to speak of what he should 
do, as soon as he had '' touched the shi- 
ners'' — his companions entering into all 
his little schemes with a sort of smectionate 
enthusiasm. At length old Mr. Quirk, after 
by turns laughing, crying, singing, and 
tiuking, leaned back in his chair, with his 
half-emptied tumbler of brandy and water 
in his hand, and fell fast asleep. Gammon 
alsoy in spite of all he could do, be^an — 
the deuce take it ! — ^to feel and exhibit the 
effects of a hasty and hearty meal, and his 
very unosnal potations, especially after 
such long abstinence and intense anxiety 
as he had experienced during the previous 
two days. He had intended to have seen 
them all 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, "/n vino veritas^'*^ pro- 
pecly translated, means — ^that when a man 
18 fairly under the influence of liquor, you 
see a strong manifestation of his real cha- 
racter. The vain man is vainer; the volu- 
ble, more voluble; the morose, more mo- 
rose; the detractor, more detracting; the 
sycophant, more sycophantic, and so forth. 
Now Gammon was a cold, cautions, long- 
headed schemer; and as the fumes of 
liqQor mount^ up into his head, they 
ODly increased the action and intensity of 
Uuwe qualities for which, when sober, he 

q9 



was so pre-eminently distinguished, only 
that there was a half-conscious want of co- 
herency and subordination. The impulse 
and the habit were present; but there 
seemed a strange disturbing force : in short 
—-what is the use of disguising matters I 
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 ;— « great relief! Silent and 
more silent he became; more and more 
thoughtful; 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 taking Atmae^ in — ^inveigling him- 
self ; at which point, afYer a vain attempt 
to understand his exact position with refer- 
ence to himself, he slowly, but raiker un- 
steadily 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 rung 
the bell. Boots having obeyed the sum- 
mons. Gammon, with a very turbid brain, 
followed him to the door, with a most des- 
perate effort to walk thither steadily — ^but 
m vain. 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, 
after four or five times trying to blow out 
his candle in vain, he succeeded, and ^t 
into bed; his head, however, occupying 
the place in the bed assigned to his feet. 
He lay asleep for about half-an-hour— 4ind 
then experienced certain insupportable sen- 
sations. He was indeed very miserable; 
and lost all thoughts of what would become 
of Titmouse— of Quirk and Snap— in his 
own indisposition. 

** I say Snap," quoth Titmouse with a 
grin, and putting his finger to his nose, as 
soon as Uammon had (quitted the room in 
the manner above descnbed — *•*' Mr. Quirk 
ain'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 sea- 
soned vessel, and could hold a great deal 
of drink without seeming, or rmlly being 
much the worsie for it. As for Titmouse, 
happily for him; (seeing that he was 00 
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 ^ dxinkf which had, up to the mo- 

94 



186 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAlt 



ment I am speaking of, no other effect tban 
to elevate his spirits up to the pitch of in- 
definite daringr and enterprise. " *Pon my 
life, Snap, couldn't we stand another tum- 
bler—eh t Warm us for the night air!" 

** What shall it be t" quoth Snap, ringinff 
the bell— "Whiskey?" 

"Devil knows, and devil carea!" replied 
Mr. Titmouse recklessly: and presently 
there stood before the friends two smoking 
tumblers of what they had ordered. Imme- 
diately 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 gen- 
tleman ; and his taste and feelings prompted 
him to pursue, as early as possible, a gen- 
tlemanly 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 
with 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, ^ey soon 
became somewhat excited and violent. Yet 
it seemed difficult to get up a rem^— for no 
one was visible in any direction. Snap 
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 alarmed 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 two last 
being acaomplishments in which Titmouse 
was very, eminent — and again took to their 
heels. 

Then tl^ey 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 bed-room window, was sur- 
prised by an old watchman waddling round 
the comer. 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 his hat over 
his eyes. Snap, on some strange unac- 
countable impulse, wrested the rattle out 
of the poor creature's hand, and sprung it 
loudly. This brought several 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 a^out a malicious arrest and false 
imprisonment, snnk on a form, and th^n 
down upon the floor, and fell fast asleep. 
Titmouse, for a while, showed a very reso- 
lute front, and swore a great many oaths, 
that he would fi^t the Boots at the inn for 
five shillings, u he dared show himself; 
but all of a sudden, his spirits collapsed, as 
it were, and he sunk on the floor, and was 
grievously indisposed, for some hours. 
About mne 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 pick-pocket, 
were conveyed before uie 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 be- 
ing 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 one of his shirt- 
collars torn off; Snap sat beside him with a 
sheepish air, looking as if he could hardly 
keep his eyes open. At him Mr. Quirk look- 
ed with keen indignation, but spoke not to 
him nor for him ; for Titmouse, however, he 
expressed greatcommiseration, and entreated 
his lordship to overlook the little misconduct 
of which he (Titmouse) in a moment of ex- 
treme excitement, had been guilty, on con- 
dition of his makinflr amends for the injury, 
both to person and property, of which he 
had been guilty. By this time his lordship 
had become aware ot the names and circum- 
stances of the two delinquents; and after 
lecturing them very severely, he fined them 
five shillings a-piece for being drunk, and 
permitted ttiem to be discharged, on their 
promising never to offend in the like way 
again, and paying three pounds by way of 
compensation to tne watcnman, and one or 
two persons whose knockers they were 
proved to have wrenched off, and win^lows 
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 occur- 
red to him that he would make a sort of lit- 
tle 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 desir^ Mr. Titmouse to fol- 
low him for a moment to his private nxHn. 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR, 



187 



There, having shut the door, he gently chi- 
ded Mr. Titmoase for the; indiscretion of 
which he had heen guilty, and of which it was 
not to have heen expected that a gentleman 
of his consequence in the coun^ wonld he 
guilty. His lordship -begged him to con- 
sider the station which he was now called 
to occupy; and, in alluding to the signal 
event ot the preceding day, warmly congra- 
tulated him upon it; and, by the way, his 
lordship trusteff that Mr. Titmouse would, 
in the evening, favour the Lady Mayoress 
and himself with his company at the ball, 
where they would be proua of the opportu- 
nity of introducing him to some of the gen- 
try of the county, amongst whom his future 
lot in life was likely to be cast Mr. Tit- 
mouse 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," " man- 
sion-house," " gentry of the county," and 
80 forth, a dim vision of splendour flashed 
before his eyes ; and with a desperate effort, 
he assured the Lord Mayor that he should 
he very uncommon proud to accept the in- 
vitation, 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 sto- 
mach; but Mr. Titmouse declined it, and 
soon afterwards ouitted the room; and lean- 
ing on the arm ot Mr. Quirk, set off home- 
ward — Snap walking beside him in silence, 
with a very quaint disconcerted air — not 
being taken the least notice of by Mr. Quirk. 
As mey passed along, they encountered 
several ot the barristers on their vray to 
court, and others, who recognised Titmouse ; 
and with a smile, evidently formed a prettv 
accurate guess as to the manner in which 
the triumph of the preceding day had been 
oelebratea. 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 them stopping 
behind, and himself, with Snap— the former 
" inside, the latter outside — ^having settled 
with most of the witnesses, leaving the re- 
mainder, with their own expenses at the 
inn, to be settled by Mr. Gammon — set off 
for town by the two o*cloek eoach. It was, 
indeed, high time for them to return ; for the 
distressea inmates of Newgate were getting 
wild on account of the protracted absence 
of their kind and confidential advisers. 
When they left, both Gammon and Tit- 
mouse were in bed. The former, however, 
began to revive, shortly afWr the coach 
which conveyed away his respected co- 



partners, and the guard'Q 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 toilette, 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 right^^ 
and then Gammon— the calm, serene, astute 
Gammon— was *' himself again." Had he 
said any thing indiscreet, or in any way 
committed himself, over niehtl^thought 
he, as he sat alone, with folded arms, try- 
ing to recollect what had taken place. He 
hoped not— but had no means of ascertain- 
ing. Then he entered upon a long and 
anxious consideration of the position of 
affairs since the great comet or the prece- 
ding evening. The only definite object 
which he had in view, personally, in enter- 
ing into the affair, was the obtaining that 
ascendancy 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 se- 
cure for himself permaipent and solid advan- 
tages. In the progress of the affair, how- 
ever, new views presented themselves to his 
mind. 

Towards the close of the afternoon Tit- 
mouse 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 wont- 
ed 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. Tit- 
mouse, making his way to the river; along 
whose quiet and pleasincr banks they walk- 
ed for nearly a couple of hours, in close con- 
versation; during which, Ganmion, by re- 
peated and various efforts, succeeded in 
producing an impression on Titmouse's 
mind, that the good fortune which seemed 
now within his reach had heen secured for 
him by the enterprise, skill, and caution of 
one, Mr. Gammon only, who would, more- 
over, continue to devote himself to Mr. Tit- 
mouse's interests, and protect him from the 
designs of those who would endeavour 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 afore- 
said 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 case. 

What a difference is there between man 
ttnA man, in temper and disposition, and in- 



188 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



lellect! Compafe together the two indmduals 
now walking slowly, ann-in^arm, beside the 
sweet Ouse; and supposing one to have de* 
signs upon the other— disposed to ensnare 
and oTerreach him— what chance has the 
shorter gentleman t Compare even their 
coontenan cco what a difference ! 

Gajnmon heard with uneasiness of Tit- 
mouse^s intention to go to the Lady May- 
oress's ball thateveninff ; and, for many rea- 
sons, resolved that he snould not. In vain, 
however, did Gammon try to persuade him 
that he was asked only to be turned into 
ridicule, for that almost every body there 
would be in the interest of the Aubreys, and 
bitterly opposed to him, Mr. Titmouse ; in 
spite of tnese and all other representations. 
Titmouse expressed his determination to 
go to the ball ; on which Gammon, with 
a ffood-natuied smile, exclaimed, '* Well, 
wdl !"' and withdrew his opposition.^ 
Shortly after their return from their walk, 
they sate down to dinner; and Gammon, 
witii a cheerful air, ordered a bottle of cham- 
pagne, of which he drank about a glass 
and a half, and Titmouse the remainder. 
That put him into a humour to take more 
wine without much pressing; and he swal- 
lowed, in rapid succession, a glass of ale, 
and deven or eight glasses of port and 
sherry. Bv this time he had forgotten all 
about the ball, and clamoured for brandy 
and water. Gammon, however, saw that 
his end was answered. Poor Titmouse was 
becoming rapidly more and more helpless ; 
and within half an hour's time, was assisted 
to his bedroom in a very sad state. Thus 
€rammon had the satisfaction of seeing his 
benevolent design accomplished, although 
it pained him to think of the temporary in- 
convenience 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, early to disgust him with intempe- 
rance. 

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 ! The 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 litde 
Mayor and Mayoress, when ««Mr. Tickle* 
mouse," "Mr. Tipmouse," "Mr. Tipple- 
battie," or "whatever his name might be," 
was coming; full of real curiosity, much 
tinctured, however, with disgust and con- 
tempt, to see the interesting stranger, who 
had suddenly acquired so commanding a 
station in the county, so fitrong a claim to 
their sympathy and respect. 

Then, again, there was a very great lion 
there, exhibiting for a short time only, who 
also wished to see the littie lion, and ex- 
pressed keen regrets that it was not there 
according to appointment. The great lion 
was Mr. Quicxsilver, who had stepped in 
for about half an hour, merely to show him- 
self; and when he heard of the expected 
arrival of his littie 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 m&e him patron of 
the borough of Pa//ofi— that he probably 
would not think of sitting for the borou^ 
himself, and that a little public civility 
bestowed npon Mr. Titmouse, by the great 
Mr. Quicksilver, one of the counsel to 
whose splendid exertions he was indebted 
for his all, n^ight be, as it were, bread 
thrown upon the waters^ to be found idler 
many days. It was true that Mr. Quick- 
silver, in a bitter strain of eloquent invec- 
tive, had repeatedly denounced the system 
of close and rotten boroughs ; but his heart, 
all the while, secretiy rebelled; and he 
knew that a snug 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 
borough for which he at present sat, he had 
paid far too high a price for. He had no 
objection to the existence of close boroughs; 
but only to so many of them being in the 
hands of the opposite party; and ^e legis- 
lature has since recognized the distinetion, 
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 coiild Mr. Quicksilver fail to 
watch it with interest. Was he, therefore, 
to neglect this opportunity of slipping in 
for Yatton — and the straw mooing^ too, in 
term — a general election looked fort So 
Mr. Quicksilver, really regretted the ab- 
sence of his little friend and client, Mr. 
Titmouse. 

Hius, and by such persons, and on suck 
grounds, was lamented the absence of BIr. 
Titmouse from the ball of the Lady Mayor- 
ess, of York ; none, however, knowing the 
eapise which kept him from bo select and 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



189 



disdnsmshed an assembly. As soon as 
Mr. Gammon had seen him properly at- 
tended to, and expressed an anxious sym- 
pathy for him, he set out for a walk— a 
quiet, solitary walk round the ancient walls 
of York. It, on a fine night, you look up 
into the sky, and see it Reaming with in- 
numerable stars, and then fix your eye in- 
tently, without waverings upon some one 
star; however vivid and brilliant may be 
those in its immediate Yicinity, 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 with 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 fiatded away, before one on which 
his mind's eye was then fixed with unwa- 
vering intensity — ^the visage of Miss Aubrey. 
The golden fruit that was on the eve of drop- 
pins into the hands of the firm — ^ten thou- 
sand pounds — ^the indefinite and varied ad- 
vantages 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 
&vour of Miss Aubrey ? Beautiful beings 
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 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 giri 
will he prouder in her poverty, than ever 
she would have been in her wealth and 
splendour. Who am 1 1^« partner in the 
firm of Quirk, Gammon, and Snap; a firm 
in bad odour 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— -6aA /" He involuntarily 
uttered the sound fiercely, and aloud, *' But 
stay— he really is in love with Miss Aubrey 
•Mbat I know ;— ah !— I can turn it to good 



purpose : it will give me, bj the way, a hold 
upon the little fool ;— I will make him be- 
lieve that through my means he may obtain 
Miss Aubrey ! — Misery may make her ac- 
cessible; I can easily firing myself into con- 
tact with them, in their distress ; for there 
are the mesne profits— /A€ meane profits.' 
My God ! how glorious, but how ^adiiil 
an engine are they ! They will help to bat- 
ter down the high wall of pride. that sur- 
rounds them and Aer; 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 hrother; and, if needs must be, 
why, he must be cnuhed. There is no help 
for it. He looks decidedly a man of intel- 
lect. I wonder how he bears it, how they 
all bear it, how she bears it Beggared 
beauty — there's something touchin? in the 
very sound. How little thej think of the 
power that is at this moment m my hands !" 
Here a long interval elapsed, dunn? which 
his thoughts had wandered towards more 
practical matters. ** If they don't get a rule 
ntM, next term, we shall be in a position to 
ask them what course they intend to pur- 
sue : Gad, they may, if so disposed, hold 
out for ^how very cold it is !" He but- 
toned his coat— *^ and what have I been 
thinking of t Really I have been dreaming ; 
or am 1 as great a fool as Tittlebat f" 
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 morn- 
ing after the delivery of the verdict, which, 
if sustained, consigned the Aubreys to beg^ 
gary, &ey met to partake of a slight and 
hasty breakfiist 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 o^er 
with fervent affection, each attempting a 
smile— but a smile how wan and forced! 
** The moment has arrived, dear Agnes and 
Kate," said her brother, 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 thonght of you both almost 
all night long !" replied Miss Aubrey trem* 
ulousfy. **Yoa have a lion's heart, dear 
Charles ; and yet you are so gentle with 
us- 



i» 



'*I should be a poor creature, indeed, 
Kate, to give way just when I ought to 
play the man. Gome, dear Kate, I will 
remind you of a noble passage from our 
glorious Shakspeare, It braces one's nerves 



IM 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAH. 



to hear it!** Then, with a fine Impressive 
deliTeryt and kindling with excitement as 
he went on, Aubrey began— 

*' In tlM raproof of ehaDM 
Lies the true proof of men. The tea being emooth. 
How many ahallow beuble bonts dare tall 
Upon her patient breaat, malting their way 
With tboee of nobler bulk 1 
Bat let the mAan Boreaa once enrage 
The gentle Thelle, and, anon, behold 
The etrong-ribbed baric through liquid monnulai cot. 
Bounding between the two moiat elements 
LilEe Peneue' bone ; where*e then the Muey boat, 
Whoee weaic untimbered eldea bat eren now 
Co-rlTalled greatneeel Either to harbour fled. 
Or made a toast for Neptune !— Bren so 
Doth Talour show, and Talottr's worth divide, 
In storms of fortune."* 

*Twa8 kindly meant of Aubrey: he 
thought to divert the excited feeling of his 
wife and sister, and occupy their imagina^ 
tion with the vivid imagery and noble sen- 
timent of ti^e poet. While he repeated the 
above lines, his sister's eye had oeen fixed 
upon him with a radiant expression of re- 
solution, 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 bro- 
ther, and thought of him, his wife, his chil- 
dren, 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 
kigainst our feelings. They will be ever ar- 
raying before our eyes the past— the dear, 
deiis^tful 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 nast, let it be with humble grati- 
tude to Goo, for having allowed us all, in 
this -changing world, so long an interval of 
happiness ; such, indeed, as fiills to the lot 
of few. What ! shall we receive good at 
^e hand of God, and shall we not receive 
evilV 

**My own Charles!** exclaimed Mrs. 
Aubrey, rising and throwing her aims 
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 after- 
wards the carriage drew up, and also Dr. 
Tatham on horseback. 

** Good morning! good moming« my 
fHends,** cried he, cheerfhllv, as he en- 
terod, holding forth both his hands; **you 
eaa't Uiink how fresh and pleasant the air 
is! The country for me, at all times of the 

• TnUm tad Cranldn, 1. 1* 



year ! I hate towns ! Did you sleep wdll 
1 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 ratUed on worthy little 
Dr. Tatham, in order to prevent any thing 
being said which might disturb those whom 
he came to see, or cause his own hi^v- 
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, over- 
came his ill-assumed cheerfulness ; and be- 
fore he could bustle back, as he presently 
did, to the street door, his eyes were ob- 
structed 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 beside 
the carriage. Yatton was about twelve 
miles off. For the first few miles they 
preserved-a tolerable show of cheerfulness; 
out as they perceived themseWes neaiing 
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 
drop{^ considerably behind ; at another, 
he rode as much ahead. 

^ Oh, Charles, don*t you dread to see . 
Yatton 1*' said Miss Aubrey, suddenly, as 
they turned a familiar comer of the road; 
Neither of them replied to her. 

** When you come to the yillage,*' said 
Mr. Aubrey, presently to the postilion, 
** drive through it, right up to the Hall, as 
Quickly as you can.** He was obeyed. As 
tney passed tfirough the village, with their 
windows up, none of them 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!** exclainied Dr. Tat- 
ham ; as, having reached the vicarage, he 
hastily waved his hand, and tumcM off. 
Soon they had passed the park gates: 
when had they entered it before with such 
heavy hearts— with eyes so dreading to en- 
counter every familiar object that met them 1 
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 fVesh green leaves-^nothing was 
theirs; the fine old tnrreted gateway, an 
object always, hitherto, of peculiar pride 
and attachment, their hearts seemed to 
tremble as they rattled under it. 

** Courage, my sweet loves! Courage! 
oonrage!** exclaimed Mr. Aubrey, grasp- 
ing eachof dieir hands, and then they bunt 
into tears. Mr. Aubrey felt his own forti* 
tnde grievously shaken as he entered the 
old Hallf no longer his hamtj and leflected 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAB. 



191 



that he had been hitherto the wrongful oc- 
cupant of it; that he must forthwith pro- 
ceed to ^* set his house in order,*^ and pre- 
pare for a dreadful reckoning with him 
whom tlie law had declared to be the true 
owner of Yatton. 

The former result of the trial at York, 
was, as has been already intimated, to de- 
clare Mr. Titmouse entitled to recoTer pos- 
session of only that insiffnificant portion of 
the estates held b j Jacoo Jolter ; and that, 
too, only in the event of the first four days 
of ^e ensuing term elapsinff without any 
sucoMsful attempt being mt^e to impeach, 
before the court, the jpropriety of the yerdict 
of the jury, it is a principle of our English 
law, that the yerdict of a jury is, in general, 
irreyersible and conclusiye ; but, inasmuch 
as that yerdict mty haye been improperly 
obtained^-as, for instance, either through 
the misdirection of the judge, or his errone- 
ous admission or rejection of evidence ; or 
may have no force in point of law, by rea^ 
son of the pleadings of the party for whom 
it has been given, oeing insufficient to war- 
rant the court to award its final iudgment 
upon, and according to, such verdict, or by 
reason of the discovery of fresh evidence 
subsequently to the trial: therefore, the 
law hath siven the party who failed at 
the trial, tul the end of the first four days 
of the tenn next ensuing, to show Uie 
court why the verdict obtained by his oppo- 
nent 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 obtaii)(ra, is, as hath been 
said, solemnly and permanently oonclusive 
upon ^e subject; such the effectual and 
practical corrective of any error or miscar- 
riage, in the working of that noble engine, 
tnS. by jury. Thus, then, it appears, that 
the hands of Mr. Titmouse and his advisers 
weie at all events stayed till the first four 
days of the Easter term should have 
elapsed. During the considerable interval 
thus afforded to Sie^ advisers of Mr. Aubrey, 
his case, as it appeared upon the notes of 
his counsel, on meir briefs, with tibe indi- 
rect assistance and corroboration derived 
firom the shorthand writers' notes, under- 
went repeated and most anxious examina> 
tion in all its parts and bearings, by all his 
legal advisers. It need hardly be said, that 
every point in the case favourable to their 
client had been distinctly and fully raised 
by the attomejr-general, assisted by his 
very able jumors, Mr. Sterling and Mr. 
Crystal ; and so was it with the counsel of 
Mr. Titmouse, as, indeed, the result show- 
edi On subsequent examinataoDt none of 



them eonld discover any &lse step, or any 
advantage which had been overlooked or ta- 
ken inefficiently. Independently of various 
astute objections taken oy the attorney-ge- 
neral to Uie reception of several important 
{>ortion8 .of the plaintiff's evidence, the 
eading points relied on in favour of Mr. 
AubrejT were— the impropriety of Loid 
Widdrington's rejection of Uie deed of con- 
firmation on account of the erasure in it ; 
the effect of that deed, assuming the era- 
sure not to have warranted its rejection ; 
and Several Questions arising out of the 
doctrine of aavcrse possession, by which 
alone, it had been contended at the trial, 
that the claim of the descendents of Ste- 
phen Dreddlington had been peremptorily 
and finally barred. Two very long consul- 
tations had been held at the attorney-gene- 
ral's chambers, attended by Mr. Sterling, 
Mr. Crystal, Mr. Mansfield, the three part- 
ners in the firm of Runninffton and Compa- 
ny, Mr. Parkinson, and Mr. Aubrey-^who 
had come up to town for that purpose alone. 
Greatly to the surprise of all of them, he 
stated most distinctly and emphatically, 
that he insisted on no ^und or objection 
being taken against his opponent, except 
such as was strictly just, equitable, honour- 
able, and conscientious. Kather than de- 
feat him on mere technicalities— -rather than 
avail himself of mere positive rules of law, 
while the right, as between man and man, 
was substantially in favour of his opponent 
—Mr. Aubrey declared, however absurd or 
Quixotic he might be thought, that he 
would— if he had them — ^lose fifty Yattons. 
IHai jusiitia, ruat eadum, *' You mean to 
say, Aubrey^" interrupted the attorney-ge- 
neral mildly, afler listening for some time 
to his friend and client with evident inte- 
rest and admiration of his pure and high- 
minded character—^* that it would be un- 
conscientious of you to avail yourself of a 
fixed and beneficial rule of law, established 
upon considerations of general equity and 
utility— «uch, 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 
Hmitationa against me when I asked for re- 
payment?" 

** Excuse me, Aubrey," replied the at- 
torney-general, with a faint flush upon his 
handsome and dignified features ; *^ out how 
idle all this is 1 One would imagine that 
we were sitting in a school of casuistry ! 
What are we met for, in the name of com- 
mon sense For what, but to prevent 1 the 
rightful owner of property from being de- 
pnved of it by a trumpery aocidentar en? 



192 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



mxte in one of his tide-deeds, which time has 
deprived him of the means of accoanting 
forV* He then, in a yery kind way, hat 
with a dash of peremptoriness, requested 
that the case mi^t he left in their hands, 
and that they might he given credit for re- 
sorting to nothinff that was inconsistent 
with ue nicest and most fastidions sense of 
honour, lliis observation pat an end to 
so unprecedented an interference; but if 
Mr. Aubrey supposed that it had had any 
effect upon the attomey-ceneral, he was 
mistaken; for of course uiat learned and 
eminent person secretlj resolved to avail 
himself of every conceivable means, great 
and small, available of overturning the ver- 
dict, and securing the Aubreys in the pos- 
session of Yatton. He at the same time 
earnestly endeavoured to moderate the ex- 
pectations 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 thin^; in fact, 
rarely assailable ; and then, again, the se- 
nior puisne judge of the court— Mr. Justice 
Grajley — ^had been consulted by Lord Wid- 
drington at the trial, and concurred with 
him in his principal ruling, now sought to 
be moved against. At Sie close of the 
second consultation, on the night of the first 
day in Easter term, Tthe attorney-general 
intending to move on uie 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 walkino; away with Mr. Aubrey, 
and whispered to him, that it would be very 
proper to assume at once that the motion 
railed ; and consider the best mode of nego- 
tiating concerning the surrender of the bulk 
of the property, and the payment of the 
mesne profits. 

** Oh, Mr. Aubrey has qnite made up his 
mind to the worst, Mr. Attorney-General.*' 

**Ah, well!" replied the attorney-gen- 
eral wiUi a sigh ; and about five minutes 
after Mr. Runnington*s departure, the at- 
tomev-general stepped into his carriage, 
which nad 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 lu- 
minous speech on one of the most impor- 
tant and intricate questions Uiat had been 
discussed daring the session. The first 
four days of term are an awkward interval 
equally to incompetent counsel and incom- 
petent judges — ^when such there are. The 
Blips of boSi then come to light ; both have 
to encounter the keen and vigilant scrutiny 
of a learned, acute, and independent body 
—4h6 English bar. If a Jud^ should hap- 



pen to be in aiiy degree unequal to the eii- 
gences of his important station — incompe- 
tent for the due discharge of his difficalt 
functions at Am Prtu*— what a store of 
anxiety and mortification accumolates tt 
every circuit town against the ensuing temi ; 
where his mismlings are distinclJy and 
boldly brought under the notice of the full 
court and the assembled bar? What most 
be his feelings as he becomes aware that^ 
interested in the matter look out for a/Ffef»- 
tiful crop of new tridU from the circuit which 
he has selected to favour with his presence. 
Great causes lost, verdicts set aside, and 
new trials ordered, at an enormous, often a 
ruinous expense, entirely on account of his 
inability to seize the true points and beao^ 
ings of a case, and present Uiem property to 
a jury, to apply accurately thepnnciplesof 
evidence ! How exquisitely prainful to sus- 
pect that, as soon as his name is announced, 
the anxious attorneys withdraw records 
and postpone the trials of their chief causes, 
in all directions, tijing no more than they 
can possibly help, in me hope that a more 
competent judge will take the circuit after! 
to become, every now and then, aware that 
counsel boldly speculate at the trial upon 
his inexperience and ignorance by impuaent 
experiment, in flagrant violation of elemen- 
tary principles ! And then for incompetent 
counsel, is not his a similar position 1 Set 
to lead a cause, before a host of keen rivals, 
watching his every step with bitter scruti- 
ny — ^feeling himself entire at sea ; bewil- 
dered among details ; forgetting his poinU ; 
losing his presence of mind ; with no fixed 
principles of law to guide him ; laid pros- 
trate by a sudden objection, of which, when 
too late, and the mischief is done and irre- 
trievable, he sees, or has explained to him, 
the fallacy, and absurdity, and even auda- 
city; discovering from indignant juniors, 
on sitting down, mat he has gone to the jury 
on quite the wrong tack, and in effect thrown 
the cause away; and although he creeps 
into court on the first four days of term, to 
endeavour to retrieve the false step he took 
at the trial ; but in vain, and he dare not 
look his attorney in the face, as he is r^ 
fused his rule ! These and similar thoughts 
may, perhaps, on such occasions, be pass- 
ing throujifh the mind of a snarling sarcas- 
tic cynic, disappointed in his search for busi- 
ness, distanced in the race for promotion, 
as he sees the bench occupied with gracefol 
dignity by men of acknowledged fitness, 
chosen from among the flower of the bar^— 
those most qualified by experience, learn- 
ing, intellect, and moral character. I would 
say to an inquirer, go now to any one of the 
sup^or courts of your country— to any 
court of Niai Priu$ in the Idngdovi ; and if 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



193 



joa aie able to obsexre and appreciate what 
you shall see, yoa will acknowledge that in 
no sinsle instance has the precious trust of 
administering justice been committed to un- 
worthy or incompetent hands, whatever may 
have occasionally been t^e case in a former 
day. And in like manner may we rebuke 
oar cynic, in respect of his disparaging es- 
timate of the leading bar. 

The spectacle presented by the court in 
banc, to a thoughtful observer, is interesting 
and imposing. Here, for instance, was the 
Court of King^s Bench, presided over by 
Lord Widdrington, with Uiree puisne judges 
—^1 men of powerful understandings, of 

E' axperience, and of deep and extensive 
knowledge. Observe the dignified 
ess and patience with which counsel 
are listened to, verbose even and tijresome 
as occasionally they are : the judges'not de- 
ranging their thoughts, or the order in which 
the argument has been, with much anxiety 
and care, prepared for them before hand — 
by incessant suggestions of crude and hasty 
impressions— but suspending their j uderraent 
till fully possessed of the case brought be- 
fan them by one whom his client has 
thought fit to entrust with the conduct of his 
case. They never interfere but in extreme 
cases, when the time of the court is being 
j^ainly wasted by loose irrelevant matter. 
Theii demeanour is characterized by grave 
courtesy and forbearance; and any occa-^ 
sional interference is received by the bar 
with profound respect and anxious atten- 
tion. Never is to be seen in any of our 
courts the startling spectacle of personal 
collision between judge and counsel— each 
endeavouring to rival the other in tlie exhi- 
bition of acuteness and ingenuity. On the 
contrary, a thoughtful observer of what goes 
on in any of our courts, will believe that our 
judffes have considered the truth of that 
saying of Seneca-— i1^/ tapientim odionus 
▲cvuiNE NiMio; and modelled themselves 
aflor the great portraiture of the judicial of- 
fice drawn by the most illustrious of phi- 
losophers. 

** jPatience and gravity of bearing are an 
essential part of justice ; and an over-speak- 
ing judge is no well tuned cymbal. Judges 
ought to be more learned than witty ; more 
reverend than plausible; and more advised 
than confident. It is no ^race to a judge 
first to find that which he might have heard 
in due time from the bar ; or to show quick- 
ness of conceit, in cutting off evidence, or 
counsel too short, or to prevent informatipn 
by questions, though pertinent.*** Our 
ifnglish judges are indeed worthy of the af- 
fection and reverence with which, both in 



• Lord BscoB. Emav*— ** of Jvtikaimn 

R 



•» 



pnblio and private, they are regarded ; and 
if any one will consider their severe and al- 
most uninterrupted labours — ^the toil and 
weight of responsibility they bear, equalled 
by mat of no other public functionaries— he 
will doubly appreciate the courtesy and for- 
bearance which are exhibited by them, and 
forget any transient glimpses of asperity or 
impatience on the part of men exhausted, 
frequently, by both bodily and mental la- 
bour. But! forgot that I had brought the 
reader into the Court of King's Bench, 
where he has been standing all this while, 
watching Lord Widdrington ** go through 
the bar," as it is termed ; namely, calling 
on all the counsel present, in the order of 
their seniority or position, to make any Htde 
motion, of course, before proceeding with 
the principal business of the day. One 
learned gentleman moved, for instance, to 
discharge a fraudulent debtor out of custody^, 
so that ne might st^rt off for the continent 
and avoid a Seht of J@3<M)0, because in the 
copy of the writ, the word was ^* sheriff,** 
and in the writ itself, ** sheriflb ;** and in 
this motion he succeeded, greatly to the as- 
tonishment of Mr. Aubrey. But the court 
said, that a ** copy*' meant a copy ; and this 
was not a copy ; where was the line to be 
drawn ? Were they to have a contest on 
every occasion of a party*s carelessness aa 
to the materiality, or immateriality, of the 
variance it had occasioned t So the rule 
was made absolote with costs. Another 
scamp sought to be discharged out of custo- 
dy — or rather that his bail-bond should be 
delivered up to be cancelled, because his 
name therein was called " Smyth,*' whereat 
in the writ it was *' Smyihe ;** but afler hia 
counsel had cited half-a-dozen cases, the 
court thought that the maxim c^ idem $^ 
fMm9appliM,and discharged the rule. Then 
half-andozen young gentiemen moved for 
judgment as in a case of a nonsuit— eome 
of them with much self-possession and non* 
chalance: another moved for an attach- 
ment against a party for non-payment of 
coets, purauant to the Master's ailocaiur; an4 
the last, in the veiy back row of all, moved 
for a rule to compute principal and interest 
on a bill of exchange. Then all the bar 
had been gone through, in about half-an- 
honr*s time; during which the attorney 
general had come into court, and arranged 
all his books and papers before him ; Mi, 
Subtle sitting next to nim with a slip of pap 
per before him, to take a note of the grroonda 
on which he moved. 

" Does any other gentieman move 1" ii^ 
quired Lord Widdrington, looking over the 
court. He received no answer. 

•*Mr. attorney-general,** said he; and 
tiie attomey-generu nm 

95 



104 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



*< If your lordship pleases, — in a case of 
DoK on the demise of Titmouse against 
JoLTER, tried before your lordship at the 
last assizes for the county of York, I ha^e 
humbly to move your loraship 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 N«w 
TRIAL' had/' He proceeded to state the 
facts of the case, and what had taken place 
at the trial, with great clearness, and brevity. 
In like manner — ^with infinite 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 part 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 haid sat down, the 
court consulted together for a minute or two ; 
and then-— 

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

**On all the grounds I mentioned, my 
lord 1" 

*'Yes. Mr. Solicitor<*6eneral, do you 
moveV 

Up rose, thereat, the solidltor-ffeneral. 

** 1 shall discharge your rule,'' whispered 
Mr. Subtle to the attorney-general. 

**I'm afraid you will,'° whispered the 
attorney-general, leanin^^ his head close 
to Mr. Subtle, and with his hand be- 
fore his mouth. Then his clerk removed 
the battery of books which stood be- 
fore 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 mo^e when next it 
came to his turn. 

Thus the court had granted a rule nisi, 
as it is called, (t. e. it commanded aparti- 
cular thing to be done— *^ unless" sufiacient 
** cause" could be thereafter shown to the 
court why it should not be done,) for either 
entering a nonsuit, or having a new triad. 
Now, had this nile been obtained in the 
present day, at least twc^years must have 
elapsed, owing to the immense and perhaps 
unavoidable arrear of business, before tue 
other side could have been heaid in answer 
to it; so, at least, it has been reported to 
me, in this green old solitude where I 
am writing, pleasantly recalling long-past 
scenes of me bustling nrofessional life rrom 
which I am thankful for having been able, 
with' a moderate competence, years ago to 
retire. Now, had such been the state of 



business at the time when the rule in Doe d. 
Titmouse v. Jolter was moved for, see theV, 
practical effect of it ; had Mr. Aubrey, in- 
stead of the high-minded and conscientious 
man he undoubtedly was, been a rogue, he 
might have had the opportunity of getting 
in 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 tttar 
rents td any one but Mr. Titmouse — at all 
events not to Mr. Aubrey— ho^ was Mr. 
Aubrey and his family to have subsisted 
during this interval t — and with the possi- 
bility that, at the end of the two years, Mr. 
Aubrey 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 most serious embarrassments. 
During the same interval, poor Mr. Tit- 
mouse, heartsick with hope oefened, miefat 
have taken to liquor, as a solace und^Ms 
misery, and drunk himself to death before 
the rule was discharged— ^r brought his 
valuable life to a more sudden and abiupt 
conclusion; which affecting event would 
have relieved the court from 'deciding seve- 
ral troublesome points of law, and kept the 
Aubreys in possession of the Yatton estates. 
If what I am informed of as to the aocuma- 
lation of arrears in the Court of Kill's 
Bench in the present day, in spite of the 
anxious and unprecedenteid exertions of its 
very able and active judges, be correct, I 
suspect that I shall not to believed, when 
I inform the reader, that within ten or twelve 
days after the rule mtt, in the present case, 
against it by Mr. Subtle and Mr. Lynx, and 
had been moved, ** cause was shown," 
very admirably shown against it, too. (Mr. 
Quicksilver, unfortunately 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 m 
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 ad- 
mirably occupied by the attorney-general, 
contented themselves with strengthening 
thoee positions which appeared to them 
less fortified by positive authority than the 
others ; and then the court said they would 
take a day or two's time to consider ; ** less 
on account," said Lord WiddiingtMi,**of 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



195 



the difficalty of the ease, than the maprnitude 
of the interests which would probably be 
affected by their decision/' 

'* You have them dead with you, Subtle,'* 
whispered the attorney-general, a slight ex- 
pression of chagrrin stealing over his fea- 
tures, 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 attena in the King's 
Bench, to hear the iudgment of the court 
delivered. At length arrived the last day 
of the term. Soon after the sitting of the 
court. Lord Widdrington pronounced judg- 
ment in two or three cases; but not seeing 
the attorney-general (who was engaged be- 
fore the House of Lords) in his place, de- 
layed Giving judgment in the case of Doe 
and 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, calling upon the lessor 
of the plaintiff to show cause why" — and 
he proceeded to state the rule ; and then to 
deliver the unanimous judgment of the 
court. A clear and elaborate statement of 
the facts, out of which the qnestion submit- 
ted 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 judgement which the court was about to 
pronounce. 

Lord Widdrington went on to dispose, 
one hj one, with painful deliberation and 
precision, of the seven points presented for 
the decision of the court. One or two 
Questions they decided in favour of the de- 
fendant; but added, that it had become 
unnecessary to do so, in consequence of the 
answers given by the witnesses to other 
questions, at the trial, and which disposed 
of the doubts arising on the former ques- 
tions. The documentary evidence, subse- 
({nently put in, got rid of another difficulty 
in the earlier part of the plaintiff's case, 
and rendered immaterial a question put by 
the plaintiff's counsel, and strenuously ob- 
jected to on the part of Uie defendant; which 
Question the court was of opinion, as had been 
iord Widdrington at the trial, ought not to 
have been allowed. Then, as to the ques- 
tion of ADVSRsi POSSESSION, ou 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 dtJo&tVi/y-^ 
indeed a series of disabilities^— through in- 



fancy, 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 ; in- 
asmuch as the erasure occurred in a clearly 
material part of the deed, and there was no 
recital in the deed by which it could be 
helped. That it was clearly incumbent 
upon those proffering the deed in evidence, 
to account for its altered appearance, al- 
though the deed was more than thirty years 
old, and rebut she 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 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 
boen properly rejected. "For all these 
reasons, theretore, we are clearly of opinion, 
that the verdict ought not to be disturbed, 
and the rule will consequently be dis- 
CHAROKD." As these last words were pro- 
nounced, a mist seemed for a moment to 
intervene between Mr. Aubrey and the ob- 
jects around him, for his thoughts had re- 
verted 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 ^m Paradise 
passed upon our dismayed and heart-broken 
first parents. Yes, in that solemn region 
of matter-ofrfact and commonplace— that 
dead aeo, as far as feeling, sentiment, inci- 
dent, or excitement is concerned, the Court 
of King's Ben(^ — there sat a man of exqui- 
site sensibility, — ^pure and high-minded--- 
wlu>se feelings were for a whue paralysed 
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 consi^ed, in fiaict, to destitution! 
After remaining for about a quarter of an 
hour, during which brief interval he re- 
sumed 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 m carriages, on their way down to the 



196 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



houses of Parliament; the yery sight of 
them, in the morbid state of his feelings, 
ffave him a pang that was indescribable. 
With them matters were the same as they 
had erer been-— as they had till then been 
with him— and as probably they would be 
with them to the end of their career; bat he 
had been forced, suddenly and for ever, to 
quit the scene of high excitement — he heav- 
ed many heavy signs as he exchanged nod 
afler nod with those he met, as he approach- 
ed 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 !— Anbrey !— In town? — ^An age 
since we met !*^— exclaimed they, in a 
breath, shaking him cordially by the hand. 
''You know, of course, tJtat the budget 
Gomes on to-night— eh V^ 

" I assure you," said Lord C i " our 

friends will do us great service— -very es- 
sential service, by ^incr early in their at- 
tendance ! — You Know that Mr. C^icksilver 
intends to come out against us to-night in 
great force ! — My dear Aubrey, you are go- 
ing the wrong way." 

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

'* Not going down ?— Eh ?*— my dear Au- 
brey, you astonish me !— Have you paired 
off? You canU think how I lament your 
absence !" 

'' I am returning to Yorkshire almost im- 
mediately." 

*' But surely you can come for an hour, 
orso, to-niffht— eh? Come! 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 
that at once arrested the attention of them 
whom he was addressings and suddenly re- 
minded them of what, in their political 
eagerness, they had for a moment lost sight 
of — namely, the perilous position of his pri- 
vate affairs. 

'' M^ dear Aubrey, I beg a thousand par- 
dons for intruding such matters upon you," 
said Lord C , with sudden earnestness, 
*< but shall we have an opportunity of meet- 
ing 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 fa- 
miliar faceS)" all wending down to the 



scene in which he had begun so enunently 
to distinguish himself— but from which Iw 
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 o f , on his way down to the 
House of Lords, going very slowly, his 
head inclined on one side, his iron features 
overspread with an expression of stem 
thougtitfulness. He did not observe Mr. 
Aubrey — ^in fact, he seemed too much ab- 
sorbed with his own thoughts to observe or 
recoffnibe any body ; yet he now and then 
mechanically raised his finger to his hat, in 
acknowledgment of the obeisances of those 
whom he met. Poor Aubrey sighed ; and 
felt as if circumstances had plac^ him at 
an immeasurahle distance from him, whom, 
so lately, he had entertained familiarly at 
dinner; that there seemed suddenly to 
have arisen, as it were, a great and im- 
passable gulf between them. 

On reaching his house in Grosvenor Street 
his heartfluttered while he knocked and rang; 
and he seemed to shrink from the accustom- 
ed obsequious voice and manner of the pow- 
dered menial who admitted him. Havii^ 
ordered a slight dinner, he repaired to his 
library. The only letter which had arrived 
since he had left in the mornings bore the 
Grilston post^mark, and was in the hand- 
writing or Mrs. Aubrey. He opened it with 
tremblmg eagerness. It was crossed — the 
dear fsimii iar hand- writing! — ^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 chano> 
tere,— 

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

Charlks AvBuy. 

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

" Chables a., Yatton." 

Aubrey saw how it was— that Mre. An- 
brey 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 wOl 
answer his letter directly." 

Aubrey's lip quivered and his eyes filled 
with teare. Putting the lettere into his bo- 
som, he rose and walked to and fro, with 
feelings which cannot be described. 'Rie 
evening was very gloomy ; it poured widi 
rain incessantly. He was the only penoa 



TBN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



197 



in that spacious anil elegant hoase, except 
the servants left in cliarge of it; and dreary 
and desolate enough it felt. He was but 
its nominal owner—- their nominal master ! 
In order to save the post, he sat down to 
write home— (Aome / his heart sunk 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 otT tor Yatton by 
the mail of the ensuinff night, and that he 
was perfectly well. He uso wrote a line 
or two, in large printed characters, by the 
way of answer to his little correspondent, 
his son, towards whom how his heart 
yearned! and having despatched his pack- 
et, 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 
possession of the Y atton property, (with 
the exception of the trifle wnicti was occu- 
pied by Jolter, and had been the object of 
the action just determined,) till another ac- 
tion should have been brought directly seek- 
ing its recovery; and that by forcing his 
opponent to bring such action, he mi^ht 
put him to considerable risk of retaimng 
his verdict, and thereby, fjedXly harass 
him, and ward off, indefimtely, the evil 
day from himself. By these means he might 
secure time, possibly, also, favourable 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 as upright and 
conscientious an adviser, Mr. Kunning- 
ton, as was to be found in the profession. 
Bat Mr. Aubrey had decided upon his 
coarse ; he had taken his ground, and in- 
tenc'ed to maintain it. However sudden 
and nnlooked for had been the claim set up 
against him, it had been deliberately ana 
soleomly confirmed by the law of the land ; 
and he had no idea but of yielding a prompt 
and hearty obedi^ice. He resolved, there- 
fore, to waste no time— to fritter away no 
energy in feeble dalliance with trouble ; but 
to race her boldly, and comply with all her 
exactions. He would, on the morrow, in- 
stittct Mr. Runnington to write to his oppo- 
nent's solicitors, informing them that with- 
in three weeks' time the estates at Yatton 
woald be delivered up to their client Mr. 
Titmouse. He would also direct his own 
private solicitor to arrange for the quickest 
iKWsible disposal of his nousein Grosvenor 
Street, and his wines and his furniture, both 
tiieie, and at Yatton. He resolved, more- 
over, oil the monow, to take the necessary 

b3 



steps for vacating his seat in Parliament, by 
applying for the stewardship of the Chil 
tern Hundreds ; and having determined on 
these arrangements, consequent upon the 
adverse decision of the court of King's 
Bench of that day, he felt the momentary 
relief and satisfaction of the seaman who 
has 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 com- 
plain of!" said he to himself: " why mur- 
mur presumptuously and vainly against the 
dispensations of Providence t I thank God 
that I am still able to recognise his hand in 
what has befallen me, and I believe that * He 
hath done all things well,' that prosperity and 
adversitv are equSly from him, means of ac- 
complishing his all-wise purposes ! Is it for 
me, poor insect, to question the goodness, the 
wisaom, or the j ustice of my Msdcer ! I thank 
God for the firm belief I have that he *go vems 
the world in righteousness,' and that he has 
declared that he will protect and bless them 
who sincerely endeavour to discover, and 
conform to, his will concerning them. He 
it was that placed me in my late condition 
of prosperity and eminence : why should I 
fret, when he sees fit ^ntly 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 endeavouring 
to steel his heart against the sense of suffer- 
ing, and to look with cheerful indifference 
upon the vicissitudes of life, shall I, a 
Christian, shrink with impatience and terror 
from the first glimpse of adversity t Even 
at the worst, how favoured is «my situation 
in comparison with that of millions of my 
fellow-creatures 1 Shall I not lessen my 
own suffering by the contemplation of those 
which the Almighty has thought fit to inflict 
upon mv brethren 1 What if I, and those 
whom 1 love, were the subjects of direful 
disease— of vice— of dishonour t . What if 
I were the object of a just and universal 
contempt, given up to a reprobate mind; 
miserable here, and without hope hereafter t 
Here have I health, a loving tamily— have 
had the Inestimable advantages of education, 
and even now, in the eminent approach of 
danger, am enabled to preserve, in some 
measure, a composure or feeling, a resolu- 
tion 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 wiH 
care for them ! As for me, even in sight of 
the more serious and startling peru that 
menaces me— what is it to a Christian but 
a trial of his constancy 1 * There hath no 
temptation takm you,' says the Seriptoxes 



196 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAR. 



written for onr iitttnictlon, 'but sach as is 
common to man ;* but God is faithful, who 
will not saifer yon to be tempted above 
what you are able, but will, with the temp- 
tation, also make a way to escape, that you 
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 ap- 
proach, drawn by the pencil of one inspired 
with wisdom from on high ; calculated at 
once to solemnize, to strenj^en, and eleyate 
the heart and character ofman ; and which 
is to be found in the first and second chap- 
ters of the Book of Job. Oh ! reader ! who, 
brilliant as may be at this moment thy posi- 
tion in life, may have been heretorore, or 
may be hereafler, placed in circumstances 
of dreadful suffering and peril, suffer him 
whose humble labours now for a moment 
occupy thy attention, reyerently to refer thee, 
again ana yet again, to that memorable 
passage of holy writ! With danjgrer sur- 
roundmff him, with utter ruin stanng him 
in the race, Mr. Aubrey read this glorious 
passage ; his shaken spirit gathered from it 
calmness and consolation, and retiring early 
to bed, he enjoyed a night of tranquil, un- 
disturbed repose. 

** They are determined not to let the grass 
grow underneath their feet, Mr. Aubrey,'^ 
said Mr. Runnington, who, the next morn- 
ing, made his appearance at breakfast, pur- 
suant to appointment; ** within two hours* 
time of the court delivering jadgment yester- 
day afternoon, I received Uie following com- 
munication. He handed to Mr. Aubrey this 
letter * 

" Bafton BUI, 15 Aprtt, 18—, 

** Gentlemen : 

Dot d» THtmouK y. Jolier. 

^<The rule for a new trial herein having 
been this day discharged, and tlie unanimous 
judgment of the court delivered in favour of 
tile claims to the Yatton estate of the lessor 
of the plaintiff of the present action, we 
shall feel obliged by an mtimation from you 
at your earliest possible convenience, of the 
course which your client may now 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 Uiat, 
had we thought fit, we might have sought 
and recovered it all in the action which has 
just been decided in &vour of our client. It 

• kvBptimvt ■Ifniflet tn thli place, (Itt Corfaith. x. 
IS.) Mya a great comineiitator on tbia menoitiUe 
paiuage of Scripture, ** tadi at It tuUed to the nature 
and ctrcumf tances of man ; such at every man may 
reaionably eipect, if he eonaldera the natore of b(e 
body and moI, and Ilia litutloa ta tte pmant 
world." 



is now in oar power materiallj tostreneffaei 
the evidence adduced at the late trial, and 
we beg to be informed whether it is yoor 
client's intention to put Mr. Titmouse to the 
enormous expense and the delay of a second 
trial, the issue of which cannot be doubtful ; 
or, with the promptitude and candour, which 
are to be expectea from a gentleman of the 
station and character of your client, at once 
yield to our client the substantial ifruits of 
his verdict. 

** If his reasonable wishes in this matter 
be disregarded, 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 pre* 
judice his interests, and place him in a £ir 
worse position than perhaps he would other- 
wise have occupied. As we understand 
your client to be m ^wn, we trust you will 
forgive us for requesting you immediately to 
communicate with him, and at your earnest 
convenience enable us to announce the result 
to our client. 

" We are, gentlemen, 

•* your obedient servants, 
** Quirk, Gammon & Snap. 
" Messrs. Runnington & Co.^ 



t» 



** Well — ^I own I see nothing to find finilt 
with in this letter," said Mr. Aubrey, <»]nH 
ly, but with a suppressed sigh, as soon as 
he had read the letter. 

** Rather quick work, too— is it not, Mr." 
Aubrey t— within an hour or two aAer judg- 
ment pronounced in their favour :-— but, to 
be sure, it's very excusable when you con- 
sider the line of business, and the sort of 
clients that Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and 
Snap are accustomed to." 

** 1 have made ujp my mind as to the eourse 
I shall adopt," said Mr. Aubrey — 

** Oh, 01 course, that is quite clear," said 
Mr. Runnington, pouring out his coflbe^ 
** We shall stand another shot, and see if 
there's ammunition enough left for the pur- 
pose : and we'll tender a bill of exceptions, 
and cany the case into the Exchequer Cham- 
ber, and thence into the House of Lord^— 
ah ! we'll work them, I warrant them !"•— 
and he rubbed his hands with a little excite- 
ment in his manner. 

*' Why, Mr. Runmngton," 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 aides, has been 
fairly brought before both the court and the 
juryt" 

** Good heavens, Mr. Aubrey ! who ever 
heard of an estate of ten thousand a yen 
being surrendered after one assault |" 

**u it were ten thoumnd times tendon- 



TEN THOUSAND A YEAK. 



199 



Mud a yetr* I woold tubmit, after sach a 
trial as oaxB.'* 

** How do we know what fraud and per- 
juiy may have been resorted to in order to 
seems the late verdict, and which.we may 
have an opportonity of exploding against 
the next tnu t Ah, Mr. Aubrey, you don't 
know the character of Messrs. Quirk, Gam- 
mon, 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 peijuiy were 
aerer to m presumed, Mr. Runnington! 
Besides, had we not the advantage of most 
acute and experienced counsel 1 How could 
it escape M^mT* 

*' I would only venture to remind you," 
said Mr. Runnington, firmly but respectfuUy, 
^* of the observations of the Attomey-Gene- 
lal, at our last consultation." 

^I thought I was unanswered, Mr. Run- 
nington, though I did not fisel at liberty to 
press the matter," replied Mr. Aubrey, with 
a melancholy smile. 

** JEbccuse me, but we tntut take the chance 
of a second trial," said Mr. Runnington. 

*'I have determined upon the course I 
shall adopt," replied Mr. Aubrey, calmly 
and determinedly—** I shall instruct you 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 t De- 
liver up possession of the estates, and within 
three weeks!" 

'* That vras what 1 said, Mr. Runnings 
ton," replied Mr. Aubrey, raUier peremp- 
torily. 

** 1 give YOU my honour, Mr. Aubrey, that 
in the whole course of my practice, I never 
heard of audi a procedure." 

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

**Qood gracious, Mr. Aubrey!" inter- 
rupted Mr. Runningtan, with an air of deep 
conoem. . 

** I have well co