Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

me.

over particular when my blood's up- like a lord, poor fool as my poor but-1-I wouldn't hurt a hair of your husband used to say, ' with a shining head, poor chap!-for all I've said back and empty belly.' no, not for double the rent you owe “ But that's no reason why honest

Come! don't go on so, Mr Tit- people should be kept out of their own, mouse-what's the use ? it's all quite to feed his pride,” interposed her -over-I'm so sorry-Lud! if I'd neighbour, a skinny old widow, who really thought"_she almost sobbed had never had chick nor child, and "you'd been so—50-why, I'd have was always behind-hand with her own waited till to-morrow night before I'd rent; but whose effects were not worth said a word. But, Mr Titmouse, since distraining upon. I'd get hold of you haven't had any dinner, won't some of his fine crincum-crancums and you have a mouthful of something- gim-cracks, for security, like, if I a bit of bread and cheese? --I'll soon were you. I would, indeed." fetch you up a bit, and a drop of W'hy--no, poor soul—I don't beer-we've just had it in for our hardly like: he's a vain creature, and suppers.”

puts every thing he can on his back, to “ No, thank you I can't I can't be sure ; but he a’n't quite a rogue, eat."

neither." 66 Oh, bother it, but you shall! I'll “ Ah, ha, Mrs Squallop-you're go down and fetch it up in half a mis such a simple soul! - Won't my fine nute, as sure as my name's Squallop!" gentleman make off with his finery And out of the room, and down stairs after to-night?" she bustled, glad of a moment to re “ Well, I shouldn't have thought cover herself.

it! To be sure he may! Really, “ Lord-a-mercy!" said she, on en there can't be much harm in asking tering her room, to her eldest daugh. him in a kind way) to deposit one of ter and a neighbour who had just his fine things with me, by way of come in to supper—and while she security--that ring of his, you know hastily cut a thick hunch of bread, and -eh? - Well, I'll try it," said Mrs a good slice of cheese—“there I've Squallop, as she set off up stairs. been a rating that poor chap, up at " I know what I should do, if he the top room (my dandy lodger, you was a lodger of mine, that's all,” said know,) like any thing—and I really her visiter, (as Mrs Squallop quitted don't think he's had a morsel of victuals the room,) vexed to find their supper in his belly this precious day; and I've so considerably and unexpectedly dimade him cry, poor soul! as if his minished, especially as to the pot of heart would break. Pour us out half porter, which she strongly suspected a pint of that beer, Sally-a good half would not be replenished. pint, mind !-- I'm going to take it up • There,” said Mrs Squallop, sets stairs directly. I've gone a deal too ting down on the table what she had far with him, I do think but it's all of brought for Titmouse, “ there's a bit that nasty old Gripe- I've been wrong of supper for you; and you're welcome all the day through it! How I hate to it, I'm sure, Mr Titmouse." the sight of old Gripe ! - What odi “ Thank you, thank you—I can't ous-looking people they do get to eat,” said he, casting, however, upon collect the rates and taxes, to be sure!. the victuals a hungry eye, which -Poor chap," she continued, as she belied what he said, while in his heart wiped out a plate with her apron, and he longed to be left alone with them put into it the bread and cheese, with for about three minutes. a knife_" he offered me a chair when “ Come, don't be ashamed_fall to I went in, so uncommon civil-like, it work—it's good wholesome victuals,” took a good while before I could get said she, lifting the table near to the myself into the humour to give it him edge of the bed, on the side of which as I wanted. And he's no father nor he was sitting, and taking up the two mother, (half of which has happened shillings lying on the table" and to you, Sal, and the rest will happen capital beer, I warrant me ; you'll one of these days, you know !) and sleep like a top after it." he's not such a very bad lodger, 6 You're uncommon kind, Mrs after all, though he does get a little Squallop; but I sha'n't get a wink of behind-hand now and then, and sleep to-night for thinking.' though he turns out every Sunday " Oh, bother your thinking! Let

me see you begin to eat a bit. while she was standing canting there! Well, I suppose you don't like to A snivelling old beldam !-Pawn my eat and drink before me, so I'll go." ring !!~Lord!!"- Here he began to [Here arose a sudden conflict in the undress. “Ha! I'm up to her ; she'll good woman's mind, whether or not be coming here to-morrow, with that she would act on the suggestion which devil Thumbscrew, to distrain, I'll be had been put into her head down sworn. Well—I'll take care of these, stairs. She was on the point of yield. any how;" and, kneeling down and ing to the impulse of her own good. unlocking his trunk, he took out of it natured, though coarse feelings ; but his guard-chain, breast-pin, studs, and at last-] “1-1-dare say, Mr T ring, carefully folded them up in mouse, you mean what's right and paper, and depositing them in his straightforward," she stammered. trowsers' pockets, resolved that hence

Yes, Mrs Squallop-you may forth their nightly resting-place should keep those two shillings; they're the be—under his pillow; while during last farthing I have left in the whole the day they should accompany his world."

person whithersoever he went. Next “No-hem! hem!-a-hem! I was he bethought himself of the two or just suddenly a thinking—now can't three important papers to which Mr you guess, Mr Titmouse ?”

Gammon had referred; and, with “ What, Mrs Squallop ?” enquired tremulous eagerness, read them over Titmouse, meekly, but anxiously. once or twice, but without being able

“ Why-suppose now-if it were to extract from them the slightest only to raise ten shillings with old meaning. Then he folded them up Balls, round the corner, on one of in a half-sheet of writing-paper, those fine things of yours-your ring, which he proceeded to stitch carefully say.” [Titmouse's heart sunk within beneath the lining of his waistcoat: him.] so Well, well-dever mind after which he blew out his slim don't fear," said Mrs Squallop, ob- candle, and with a heavy sigh got serving him suddenly turn pale again. into bed. For some moments after “1-I only thought--but never mind! he had blown out the candle did the it don't signify-good-night! we can image of it remain on his aching and talk about that to-morrow-good-night excited retina ; and just so long did

-a good night's rest to you, Mr the thoughts of ten thousand a-year Titmouse !” and the next moment he dwell on his fancy, fading, however, heard her heavy step descending the quickly away amid the thickening stairs. Several minutes had elapsed gloom of doubts, and fears, and before he could recover from the agi. miseries, which oppressed him.tation into which he had been thrown There he lies, stretched on his bed, by her last proposal ; but within ten a wretched figure, lying on his breast, minutes of her quitting the room, there his head buried beneath his feverish stood before him, on the table, an

Anon, he turns round upon empty plate and jug.

his back, stretches his wearied limbs « The beast! the fat old toad!" to their uttermost, folds his arms on thought he, the instant that he had his breast, then buries them beneath finished masticating what had been the pillow, under his head. Now he supplied to him by real charity and turns on his right side, then on his good-nature,—"the vulgar wretch! left-presently he starts up, and with --the nasty canting old hypocrite!- muttered curse shakes bis little pillow, I saw what she was driving at all the flinging it down angrily. He cannot while! She had her eye on my sleep — he cannot rest – he cannot ring !-Sie'd have me pawn it at old keep still. Bursting with irritability, Balls's—ha, ha!- Catch me! that's he gets out of bed, and steps to the all!_Seven shillings a-week for this window, which opening wide, a slight nasty hole!—I'll be bound I pay gush of fresh air cools his hot face for nearly half the rent of the whole a moment or two.

His wearied eye house--the old cormorant!-out of looks upward and beholds the moon what she gets from me! How I hate shining overhead in cold splendour, her! More than half my salary goes turning the clouds to gold as they flit into her greasy pocket! Cuss me if I past her, and shedding a softened lustre couldn't have kicked her down stairs upon the tiled roofs and irregular -porter, bread and cheese, and all — chimneypots—the only objects visible

arms.

to him. No sound is heard, but der radiance upon this lovely seclusion occasionally the dismal cry of disap -was there upon the whole earth a pointed cat, the querulous voice of more exquisite countenance then turned the watchman, and the echo of the towards thee than hers ? — Wrap thy rumbling hubbub of Oxford Street.- white robe, dearest Kate, closer round 0, miserable Titmouse, of what avail thy fair bosom, lest the amorous nightis it for thee thus to fix thy sorrowful breeze do thee hurt, for he groweth lack-lustre eye upon the cold Queen giddy with the sight of thy charms! of Night!

Thy rich tresses, half-uncurled, are

growing damp-so it is time that thy At that moment there happened to blue eyes should seek repose. Hie be also gazing at the same glorious thee, then, to yon antique couch, with object, but at some two hundred miles' its quaint carvings and satin drapedistance from London, a somewhat ries dimly visible in the dusky shade, different person, with very different inviting thee to sleep: and having feelings, and in very different circum first bent in cheerful reverence before stances. It was one of the angels of thy Maker-to bed !-to bed !_dear the earth-a pure hearted and very Kate, nothing disturbing thy serene beautiful young woman; who, after a thoughts, or agitating that beautiful day of peaceful, innocent, and chari. bosom. - Hush! hushl~ Now she table employment, and having just sleeps. quitted the piano, where her exquisite It is well that thine eyes are closed strains had soothed and delighted the in sleep; for, behold - see !-the feelings of her brother, harassed with brightness without is disappearing ; political anxieties, had retired to her sadness and gloom are settling on the chamber for the night. A few mo face of nature; the tranquil night is ments before she was presented to the changing her aspect; clouds are gareader, she had extinguished her taper, thering, winds are moaning ; the and dismissed her maid without her moon is gone:—but sleep on, sweet having discharged more than half her Kate-sleep on, dreaming not of dark accustomed duties--telling her that days before thee-Oh, that thou couldst she should finish undressing by the sleep on till the brightness returned! light of the moon, which then poured her soft radiance into every corner of the spacious but old-fashioned cham. After having stood thus leaning ber in which she sat. Then she against

the window for nearly half an drew her chair to the window-recess, hour, Titmouse, heavily sigling, reand pushing open the window, sat turned to beda-but there he tossed before it, half undressed as she was about in wretched restlessness till her head leaning on her hand, gazing nearly four o'clock in the morning. upon the scenery before her with If he now and then sank into forgettranquil admiration. Silence reigned fulness for a while, it was only to be absolutely. Not a sound issued from harassed by the dreadful image of Mrs the ancient groves, which spread far Squallop, shouting at him, tearing his and wide on all sides of the fine old hair, cuffing him, flinging a pot of pormansion in which she dwelt-solemn ter in his face, opening his boxes, tosssolitudes, nor yet less soothing than ing his clothes about, taking out his solemn! Was not the solitude en invaluable ornaments; by Tag-rag kickhanced by a glimpse she caught of a ing him out of the shop; and Messrs restless fawn, glancing in the distance Quirk, Gammon, and Snap dashing past across the avenue, as he silently him in a fine carriage, with six horses, changed the tree under which he and paying no attention to him as he slept — Then the gentle breeze would ran shouting and breathless after them; enter her window, laden with sweet Huckaback following, kicking and scents of which he had just been pinching him behind. These were the rifling the coy flowers beneath, in few little bits of different coloured glass their dewy repose, tended and petted in a mental kaleidoscope, which, turn. during the day by her own delicate ed capriciously round, produce those handi - Beautiful moon!--cold and innumerable fantastic combinations out chaste in thy skyey palace, studded of the simple and ordinary events of with brilliant and innumerable gems, the day, which we call dreams-tricks and shedding down thy rich and ten- of the wild sisters Fancy, when sober

*

Reason has left her seat for a while. to a close, Titmouse, instead of re. But this is fitter for the Royal Society pairing to his lodgings, set off, with a than the bedroom of Titilebat Tit heavy heart, to pay a visit to his exmouse ; and I beg the reader's pardon. cellent friend Huckaback, whom he

About six o'clock, Titmouse rose knew to have received his quarter's są. and dressed himself; and, slipping lary the day before, and from whom he noiselessly and swiftly down stairs, and faintly hoped to succeed in extorting out of the court, in order to avoid all

some trifling loan. “ If you want to possibility of encountering his land- learn the value of money, try to bor, lady or his tailor, soon found himself

row some,says Poor Richard-and in Oxford Street. Not many people Titmouse was now going to learn that were stirring there. One or two men useful but bitter lesson. Oh, how who passed him were smoking their disheartening was that gentleman's remorning's pipe, with a half-awakened ception of him! Huckaback, in anair, as if they had only just got out of swering the modest knock of Titmouse, a snug bed, in which they always slept suspecting who was his visiter, opened every moment that they lay upon it. the door but a little way, and in that Titmouse almost envied them! What little way, with his hand on the latch, a squalid figure he looked, as he paced he stood, with a plainly repulsive look. up and down, till at length he saw the “Oh! it's you, Titmouse, is it ?” he porter of Messrs Dowlas & Co. open, commenced, coldly. ing the shop-door. He soon entered “ Yes. 1-I just want to speak a it, and commenced another joyous day word to you only a word or two, in that delightful establishment. The Hucky, if you aren't busy?" amiable Mr Tag-rag continued unal. Why, I was just going to go-but tered.

what d'ye want, Titmouse ?" he en“ You're at liberty to take yourself quired, in a freezing manner, not stiroff, sir, this very day-this moment, ring from where he stood. sir ; and a good riddance," said he, bit. Let me come inside a minute," terly, during the course of the day, implored Titmouse, feeling as if his after demanding of Titmouse how he heart were really dropping out of him: dared to give himself such sullen airs; and, in a most ungracious manner, " and then we shall see how charming Huckaback motioned him in. easy it is for gents like you to get an “ Well," commenced Huckaback, other sitiwation, sir! Your looks and with a chilling distrustful look. manner is quite a recommendation, “Why, Huck, I know you're a sir! If I was you, sir, I'd raise my good-natured chap-you couldn't, just terms! You're worth double what I for a short time, lend me ten shill". give, sir!" Titmouse made no reply. “ No, I'm hang'd if I can ; and ** What the d-1 do you mean, sir, that's fat!” briskly interrupted Huckby not answering me-eh, sir ?" sud- aback, finding his worst suspicions condenly demanded Tag-rag, with a look firmed. of fury:

• Why, Hucky, wasn't you only yes“ I don't know what you'd have me terday paid your salary?” What am I to say, sir?" en. o Well!

- suppose I was ?

what quired Titmouse, with a sigh.

then ? You're a monstrous cool hand, - What, indeed! I should like to Titmouse! I never!! So I'm to catch you! Say, indeed! Only say lend to you, when I'm starving mya word-and out you go, neck and self ! I've received such

a lot, crop. Attend to that old lady coming haven't I !” in, sir. And mind, sir, I've got my eye “ I thought we'd always been friends, on you !" Titmouse did as he was Hucky," said Titmouse, faintly; "and bid; and Tag-rag, a bland smile beam so we shouldn't mind helping one an. ing in his attractive features, hurried other a bit! Don't you remember, I down towards the door, to receive lent you half-a-crown?" some lady-customers, whom he ob Half-a-crown !--and that's nine served alighting from a carriage ; and months ago!" at that moment you would have sworn Do, Hucky, do! I've positively that he was one of the kindest-heart not a sixpence in the whole world." ed, sweetest-tempered men in the “ Ha, ha! A pretty chap to borrow! world.

You can pay so well! By George, When at length this day had come Titmouse, you're a cool hand.”

say, sir.

“ If you won't lend me, I must Oh, Lord, Lord! what is to become starve.”

of me?" cried Titmouse, with a face - Go to my uncle's.” [Titmouse full of auguish. groaned aloud.] “Well—and why not? [At this moment, the following was What of that ?" continued Huckaback, the course of thought passing through sharply and bitterly. " I dare say it the mind of Mr Huckaback:-- It is wouldn't be the first time you've done not certain that nothing will come of such a trick, no more than me. I've the fellow's affair with Messrs Quirk, been obligated to do it. Why shouldn't Gammon, and Snap. It was hardly you? Ain't there that ring?" likely that they would have gone as

“ Oh, Lord! oh, Lord ! that's just fạr as Titmouse represented (lawyers what Mrs Squallop said last night." as they were), unless they had seen

“Whew! She's down on you, is very substantial grounds for doing so. she! And you've the face to come to Besides, even though Titmouse might me! You-that's a-going to be sold not get ten thousand a-year, he might up, come to borrow! Lord, that's yet succeed in obtaining a very splengood, any how! A queer use that to

did sum of money; and if he (Huckmake of one's friends ;-it's a taking aback) could but get a little slice out of them in, I say !"

of it, Titmouse was now nearly despe« Oh, Huck, Huck, if you only rate, and would promise any thing ; knew what a poor devil".

and if he could but be wheedled in to Yes, that's what I was a-saying; giving any thing in writing-Well, but it ain't poor devils one lends thought Huckaback, I'll try it, howmoney to so easily, I warrant me; ever! ] though you ain't such a poor devil “Ah, Titmouse, you're civil enough you're only shamming! Where's your now, and would promise any thing," guard-chain, your studs, your breast. said Huckaback, appearing to hesipin, your ring, and all that. Sell 'em! tate ; " but when you got your money if not, any how, pawn 'em. Can't eat you'd forget." your cake and have it ; fine back “Forget my promise! Dear Hucky! must have empty belly with us sort of only try me-do try me but once, chaps.”

that's all! Ten shillings is worth If you'll only be so kind as to lend more to me now than a hundred me ten shillings,” continued Titmouse, pounds may be by.and-by." iu .an imploring tone, “ I'll bind my “ Ay, so you say, now; but d'ye self, by a solemn oath, to pay you the mean to tell me, that if I was now to very first moment I get what's due to advance you ten shillings out of my me from Dowlas & Co." Here he was poor little salary,” continued Hucka. almost choked by the sudden recollec- back, apparently carelessly, "you'd, tion that he had almost certainly no for instance, pay me a hundred pounds thing to receive.

out of your thousands ? " " You've some property in the Only try medo try me!” said moon, too, that's coming to you, you Titmouse eagerly. know!" said Huckaback, with an in “Oh, I dare say,"interrupted Huckasulting sneer.

back, smiling incredulously, and chink" I what you're driving at," ing some money in his trowsers' pocket. said poor Titmouse; and he continued Titmouse heard it, and (as the phrase eagerly, 66 and if any thing should i is) his teeth watered ; and he imme. ever come up from Messrs Quirk, diately swore such a tremendous oath Gam"

as I dare not set down in writing, that - Yough! Faugh! Pish! Stuff !” if Huckaback would that evening lend burst out Huckaback, in a tone him ten shillings, Titmouse would give of contempt and disgust;

him one hundred pounds out of the thought there was any thing in it, very first monies he got from the and now know it! It's all in my eye, estate. and all that!"

“ Ten shillings is a slapping slice “ Oh, Hucky, Hucky! You don't out of my little salary-I shall have, say so!" groaned Titmouse, bursting by George, to go without a many into tears; "you didn't always say so. things I'd intended getting ; it's worth It's enough that I say

ten pounds to me, just now." then ; will that do ?" interrupted Why, 'tis worth a hundred to me! Huckaback, impetuously,

Mrs Squallop will sell me out, bag and

[ocr errors]

never

it now,

« IndietroContinua »