« VorigeDoorgaan »
tured a way
he was explaining to Titmouse the partners, having made no engagement various remedies he had against the whatever with litmouse ; and thus Bond Street Impostor, both by in- the enterprising and determined Tagdictment and action on the case ; rag was left master of the field. He pay, (getting a little, however, be- had in fact come to do business; and yond bis depth,) he assured the eager business he determined to do. As for Titmouse, that a bill of discovery Gammon, during the short time he would lie in equity, to ascertain what had stayed, how he had endeared him. the Titaragmenon Abracadabra was self to Tirmouse, by explaining, not composed of, with a view to an in- aware that Titmouse had confessed all dictment against its owner — when to Snap, the singular change in the bis learned display was interrupted colour of his hair to have been occaby a double knock, and -oh!-enter sioned simply by the intense mental Mr Gammon. Whether he or Snap anxiety through which he had lately felt more disconcerted, I cannot passed! The anecdotes he told of say ; but Snap looked the most con- sufferers, whose hair a single night's fused and sneaking. Each told the agony had changed to all the colours other a lie, in as easy, good-na- of the rainbow! Though Tag-rag
as he could assume, out-stayed all his fellow-visiters, in the concerning the object of his visit to manner which has been described, he Titmouse. Thus they were going on, could not prevail upon Titmouse to when-another knock-and, “ Is this accompany him in his “carriage," for Mr Titmouse's ?" enquired a voice, Titmouse pleaded a pressing engagewhich brought a little colour into the ment, (i. e. a desperate attempt he face of both Gammon and Snap; for purposed making to obtain some ink,) it was absolutely old Quirk, who but pledged himself to make his apbustled breathless into the room, on pearance at Satin Lodge at the aphis first visit, and seemed completely pointed hour, (half-past three for four confounded by the sight of both his o'clock.) Away, therefore, drove partners. What with this, and the Tag-rag, delighted that Satin Lodge amazing appearance presented by Tits would so soon contain so resplendent mouse, Mr Quirk was so overwhelmed a visiter-indignant at the cringing, that he scarce spoke a syllable. Each sycophantic attentions of Messrs Quirk, of the three partners felt (in his own Gammon, and Snap, against whom way) exquisite embarrassment. Huck- he resolved to put Titmouse on his aback some time afterwards made his guard, and infinitely astonished at the appearance, but him Titmouse uncere. extraordinary change that had taken moniously dismissed in a twinkling, place in the colour of Titmouse's hair. in spite of a vehement remonstrance. Partly influenced by the explanation But presently, behold another arrival which Gammon had given of the phe- Mr Tag-rag, who had come to an. nomenon, Tag.rag resigned himself to nounce that his carriage, (i. e. feelings of simple wonder. Titmouse queer, rickety, little one horse chaise, was doubtless passing through stages with a tallow.faced boy in it, in faded of physical transmogrification, correlivery,) was waiting to convey Mr sponding with the marvellous change Titmouse to Satin Lodge, and take that was taking place in his circumhim a long drive in the country! stances ;-and for all he (Tag-rag) Each of these four worthies could have knew, other and more extraordinary spit in the other's face ; first, for de changes were going on; Titmouse tecting, and secondly, for 1 ivalling him might be growing at the rate of halfin bis schemes upon Titmouse. A few an inch a day, and soon stand before minutes after the arrival of Tag-rag, him a man more than six feet high! Gammon, half choked with disgust, Considerations such as these invested and despising himself even more than
Titmouse with intense and overpowerhis fellow-visiters, slunk off, followed ing interest in the estimation of Tagalmost immediately by Quirk, who rag; how could he make enough of Was dying to consult him on this new him at Satin Lodge that day? If ever aspect of affairs which had presented that hardened sinner felt inclined to itself. Snap (who, ever since the ar- utter an inward prayer, it was as he rival of Messrs Quirk and Gammon, drove home--that Heaven would arhad felt like an ape on hot irons) very ray his daughter in angel hues to the shortly followed in the footsteps of his eyes of Titmouse !
My friend Tittlebat made his ap. Tag-rag begged its life a little longer pearance at the gate of Satin Lodge, -and then that subject dropped. at about a quarter to four o'clock. How was it that, though both the ladies Good gracious, how he had dressed had sat under a thundering discourse himself out! He considerably exceed- from Mr Dismal Horror that morning ed his appearance when first presented ---they had never once since thought to the reader.
or spoke of him or his sermon-never Miss Tag-rag had been before her even opened his “ Grouns ?" The glass ever since the instant of her re. reason was plain. They thought of Tit. turn from chapel, up to within ten mi. mouse, who was bringing “ airs from nutes' time of Titmouse's arrival. An heaven;" while Horror brought only hour and a half at least had she be- “blasts from hell"-and those they had stowed on her hair, disposing it in little every day in the week, (his sermons corkscrew and somewhat scanty curls, on the Sunday, his “ Groans" on the that quite glistened in bear's grease, week-day.) At length Miss Tag-rag's hanging on each side of a pair of lean little heart fluttered violently, for her and sallow cheeks. The colour which papa told her that Titmouse was comought to have distributed itself over ing up the road and so he was. Not her cheeks, in roseate delicacy, had dreaming that he could be seen, he thought fit to collect itself into the tip stood beside the gate for a moment, of her sharp little nose. Her small under the melancholy laburnum ; and, grey eyes beamed with the gentle and taking a dirty-looking silk handkerattractive expression that was percep
chief out of his hat, slapped it vigortible in her father's, and her project. ously about his boots, (from which cir. ing under lip reminded every body of cumstance it may be inferred that he that delicate feature in her mother. had walked,) and replaced it in his hat. She was very short, and her figure Then he unbuttoned his surtout, adrather skinny and angular. She wore justed it nicely, and disposed his chain her lilac-coloured frock ; her waist and eyeglass just so as to let the tip being pinched in to a degree that made only of the latter be seen peeping out you think of a fit of the colic when of his waistcoat; twitched up his col. you looked at her.
long red sash, lars, plucked down his wrist bands, tied in a most elaborate bow, gave a drew the tip of a white pocket. handvery brilliant air to her dress generally. kerchief out of the pocket in the breast She had a thin gold chain round her of his surtout, pulled a white glove neck, and wore long white gloves; her halfway on his left hand; and, having left hand holding a pocket. handkerchief, thus given the finishing touches to his which she had suffused with bergamotte toilet, opened the gate, and— Titilebat that scented the whole room. Mrs Titmouse, Esquire, the great guest of Tag-rag had made herself very spien. the day, for the first time in his life did, in a red silk gown and staring (swinging a little ebony cane about head-dress. As for Mr Tag.rag, with careless grace) entered the dowhenever he was dressed in his Sun. main of Mr Tag-rag. day clothes, he looked the model of a The little performance I have been dissenting minister ; in his black coat, describing, though every bit of it passwaistcoat, and trousers, and primly- ing under the eyes of Tag-rag, bis tied white neckerchief, with no shirt- wife, and his daughter, had not excited collar visible. For a quarter of an a smile; their anxious feelings were hour had this interesting trio been too deep to be reached or stirred by standing at their parlour window, in light emotions. Miss Tag-rag turned anxious expectation of Titmouse's ar- very pale and trembled. rival; their only amusement being the “ La, pa,” said she faintly, “ how numberless dusty stage-coaches driving could you say he'd got white eyebrows every five minutes close past their gate, and whiskers ? They're a beautiful (which was about ten yards from their black." house,) at once enlivening and rural- Tag-rag was speechless : the fact izing the scene. Oh, that poor labur
--for Titmouse bad, fortunately, num-laden with dust, drooping with obtained a little bottle of ink. As Tito drought, and evidently in the very last mouse approached the house, (Tagstage of a decline-that was planted rag hurrying out to open the door for beside the little gate! Tag-rag spoke him, he saw the two ladies standing of cutting it down; but Mrs and Miss at the windows. Off went his hat, and
out dropped the silk handkerchief, not fawn lying as close as possible to its a little disconcerting him for the mo. dam! ment. Tag-rag, however, soon occu- • We always go to chapel, sir," pied his attention at the door with said Mrs Tag-rag, confidently, in spite anxious civilities, shaking him by the of a very fierce look from her hus. hand, hanging up his hat and stick, band ; “ the gospel isn't preached in and then iatroducing him to the sit- the Church of England. We sit under ting.room. The ladies received him Mr Horror - a heavenly preacher ! with most profound curtseys, which You've heard of Mr Horror ?” Titmouse returned with a quick em,
6. Yes, mem! Oh, yes ! Capital barrassed bow, and an indistinct "I preacher!" replied Titmouse, who of hope you're well, mem!”
course (being a true churchman) had If they had had presence of mind never in his life heard of Mr Hórror, enough to observe it, the purple colour or any other dissenter. of Titmouse's hair must have surprised • When will dinner be ready, Mrs them not a little; all they could see, T.?" enquired Tag-rag, abruptly, however, was—the angelic owner of and with a very perceptible dash of ten thousand a-year.
sternness in his tone; but dinner was The only person tolerably at his announced the very next moment. He ease, and he only tolerably, was Mr took his wife's arm, and, in doing so, Tag-rag; and he asked his guest- gave it a sudden vehement pressure,
“Wash your hands, Titmouse, be. which, coupled with a furious glance, fore dinner?” But Titmouse said he explained to her the extent to which had washed them before he had come she had incurred his anger. She out. [The day was hot, and he had thought, however, of Mr Horror, and walked tive miles at a slapping pace.]
was silent. In a few minutes, however, he felt a Titmouse's proffered arm the timid little more assured; for it was impos- Miss Tag-rag scarcely touched with sible for him not to perceive the awful the tip of her finger, as she walked deference with which he was treated. beside him to dinner. Titmouse soon
“ Seen the Sunday Flash, mem?" got tolerably composed and cheerful said he, modestly, addressing Mrs at dinner, (which consisted of a little
piece of nice roast beef, with plenty "I-I-no-that is not to-day," of horse-radish, Yorkshire pudding, a she replied, colouring:
boiled fowl, a plum-pudding made Vastly amusing, isn't it?" inter- by Mrs Tag-rag, and custards which posed Tag-rag, to prevent mischief- had been superintended by Miss Tage for he knew his wife would as soon rag,) and, to oblige his hospitable host have taken a cockatrice into her hand. and hostess, eat till he was fit to burst.
"Ye-e-s,” replied Titmouse, who Miss Tag-rag, though really very had not even glanced at the copy hungry, eat only a very small slice of which Snap had brought him. « An beef, and a quarter of a custard, and uncommon good fight between Bir- drank a third of a glass of sherry afmingham Big"
ter dinner. She never once spoke, Tag-rag saw his wife getting redder except in hurried answers to her papa and redder. “ No news stirring about and mamma; and, sitting exactly opMinisters, is there?” said he, with a posite Titmouse, (with only a plate desperate attempt at a diversion. of greens and a boiled fowl between
Not that I have heard,” replied them,) was continually colouring whenTitmouse. Soon he got a little fur- ever their eyes happened to encounter ther, and said how cheerful the stages one another, on which occasion hers going past must make the house. Tag. would suddenly drop, as if overpowerrag agreed with him. Then there was ed by the brilliance of his. Titmouse a little pause.
began to love her very fast. After " Been to church, mem, this morn
the ladies had withdrawn, you should ing, mem ?” timidly enquired Tit- have heard the way that Tag-rag mouse of Miss Tag.rag.
went on with Titmouse-I can liken "Yes, sir,” she replied, faintly col- the two to nothing but an old fat spiouring, casting her eyes to the ground, der, and a little fly. and suddenly putting her hand into “ Will you come into my parlour ? that of her mother-with such an inno- Said the spider to the fly;" cent, engaging simplicity-like a timid and it might have been well for Tit
mouse to have answered, in the lane with you. Titmouse, will you turn guage of the aforesaid fly :
over the music for her?”
Titmouse rose, and having sheepish“ No, thank you, sir, I really feel
ly taken his station beside Miss TagNo curiosity."
rag, the performances commenced Titmouse, however, swallowed with
with Before Jehovah's awful throne ! equal facility Mr Tag-rag's hard port But, mercy upon us! at what a rate and his soft blarney ; but all fools she rattled over that “ pious air.” If have large swallows. When at length its respectable composer had been Tag-rag alluded to the painfully evi- present, he must have gone into a fit; dent embarrassment his poor but there was no help for it--the heart Tabby," and said he had on
of the lovely performer was in The found out what had been so long the Battle of Prague, to which she prematter with her,” [ay, even this sently did most ample justice. So went down,) and hemmed, and winked much were her feelings engaged in his eye, and drained his glass, Tit- that sublime composition, that the mouse began to get flustered, blushed, bursting of one of the strings—twang.! and hoped Mr Tag.rag would soon in the middle of the “cannonading,
join the ladies.'' They did so, did not at all disturb her; and, as soon (Tag-rag stopping behind to lock up as she had finished the exquisite the wine and the remains of the fruit.) “ finale," Titmouse was in such a Miss Tag-rag presided over the tea tumult of excitement, from different things. There were muffins, and causes, that he could have shed tears. crumpets, and reeking-hot buttered Though he had never once turned toast; Mrs Tag-rag would hear of no over at the right place, Miss Tag-rag denial, so poor Titmouse, after the thanked him for his services with a most desperate resistance, was obliged smile of infinite sweetness. Titmouse to swallow a round of toast, half a vowed he had never heard such splen. muffin, and an entire crumpet, and did music, begged for more ; and
of hot tea; after which he away went Miss Tag-rag, hurried felt a very painful degree of turgidity, away by her excitement. Rondo af and a conviction that he should be ter rondo, march after march, for at able to eat and drink nothing more for least half an hour; at the end of which the remainder of the week.
old Tag-rag suddenly kissed her with After the tea things had been re- passionate fondness. Though Mrs moved, Tag-rag, directing Titmouse's' Tag-rag was horrified at the impiety attention to the piano, which was of all this, she kept a very anxious eye open, (with some music on it, ready to on the young couple, and interchanged be played from,) asked him whether with her husband, every now and then, he liked music. Titmouse, with great very significant looks. Shortly after eagerness, hoped Miss T. would give nine, spirits, wine, and hot and cold them some music; and she, after hold. water, were brought in. At the sight ing out a long and vigorous siege, at of them Titmouse looked alarmedlength asked her papa what it should for he knew that he must take somebe.
thing more, though he would have “ The Battle of Prague," said her freely given five shillings to be exрара.
cused for he felt as if he could not 6. Before Jehovah's au ful throne," hold one drop more. But it was in hastily interposed her mamma. vain. Willy-nilly, a glass of gin and
“ The Battle,” sternly repeated her water stood soon before him ; he propapa.
tested he could not touch it unless Miss It's Sunday night, Mr T.," meek- Tag-rag would “ take something' ly rejoined his wife.
whereupon, with a blush, she “thought “ Which will you have, Mr Tit- she would take a wine glassful of mouse?” enquired Tag-rag, with The sherry and water. This was proviBattle of Prague written in every ded her. Then Tag-rag mixed a feature of his face. Titmouse almost tumbler of port-wine negus for Mrs burst into a state of perspiration. Tag-rag, and a great glass of maho“ A little of both, sir, if you gany-coloured brandy and water for
himself; and then he looked round, ** Well," replied Tag-rag, slightly and felt perfectly happy. As Tit. relaxing, “ that will do. Split the mouse advanced with his gin and difference-eh? Come, Tab, down water, his spirits got higher and
higher, and his tongue more fluent. ly interrupted Tag-rag, inwardly He once or twice dropped the “ Mr," cursing his wife, who, finding she alwhen addressing Tag-rag ; several ways went wrong in her husband's times smiled, and once even winked at eyes whenever she spoke a word, the embarrassed Miss Tag-rag. Mr determined for the future to stick to Tag.rag saw it, and could not control her negus—" the fact is, there's a himself for he had got to the end of Mr Horror here that's for sending all his first glass of brandy and water, decent people to
He's filled and mixed himself a second, quite as my wife there with all sorts of strong as the former.
nay, if she isn't bursting with cant“ Tab! ah, Tab! what has been so never mind her.
You done any the matter with you all these months?" thing wrong! You're a pattern !'' -and he winked his eye at her and « Well I'm a happy man again," then at Titmouse.
resumed Titmouse, resolved now to go “ Papa !" exclaimed Miss Tag-rag, on.--" And when did they tell you of blushing up to her very temples. it, sir?"
“ Ab, Titmouse — Titmouse-give “Oh, a few days ago—a week ago," me your hand,” said Tag. rag; “you'll replied Tag-rag, trying to recollect. forget us all when you're a great man "Why-why-sir-ain't you mis- but we shall always remember you.' taken?” enquired Titmouse, with a
“You're very good-very !" said depressed, but at the same time a Titmouse, cordially returning the pres- surprised air. “ It only happened this sure of Tag-rag's hand. At that morning, after you left.” instant, it suddenly occurred to him " Eh-eh-ah, ha!- What do you to adopt the suggestion of Mr Gam- mean, Mr Titmouse?” interrupted mon. Tag-rag was going on very Tag-rag, with a sickening attempt at a fast,' indeed, about the disinterested smile. Mrs Tag-rag and Miss Tag, nature of his feelings towards Tit- rag also turned exceedingly startled mouse-towards whom, he said, he faces towards Titmouse, who felt as had always felt just as he did at that if a house were going to fall down on moment-'twas in vain to deny it. him.
" I'm sure your conduct shows it, " Why, sir”-he began to cry, (an' sir," commenced Titmouse, feeling attempt which was greatly aided by a shudder like that with which a timid the maudlin condition to which drink bather approaches the margin of the had reduced him,) -" till to-day, I cold stream. “ I could have taken my thought I was heir to ten thousand oath, sir, you would have refused to a-year-and it seems I'm not—it's all let me come into your house, when a mistake. you heard of it”—
Tag-rag's face changed visibly; it “ Ah ha!-that's rather an odd was getting frightful to look at; the idea, too. If I felt a true friendship inward shock and agony were forcing for you as plain Titmouse, it's so like- out on his slanting forehead great ly I should. My dear sir! it was I drops of perspiration. that thought you wouldn't have come • What-a-capital-joke-Mrinto my house! A likely thing !” Titmouse !” he gasped, drawing his
Titmouse was puzzled. His percep: handkerchief over his forehead. Tittions, never very quick or clear, were mouse, though greatly alarmed, stood now undoubtedly somewhat obfuscated to his gun pretty steadily. with what he had been drinking. In " II wish it was a joke! It's short, he did not understand that Tag- been no joke to me, sir.
There's anrag bad not understood him; and felt other Tittlebat Titmouse, it seems, in rather baffled.
Shoreditch, that's the right”. “ What surprising ups and downs “Who told you this, sir ?- Pho, I there are in life, Mr Titmouse,” said don't-I can't believe it,”said Tag.rag, Mrs Tag-rag, respectfully—“they're in a voice tremulous between suppressall sent from above, to try us.
ed rage and fear. knows how they'd behave, if as how " True, 'pon my life, It is ". (in a manner) they were turned upside “ How dare you swear before the down."
ladies ? You're insulting them, sir!" "I--Ihope, mem, I haven't done -almost roared Tag-rag. 66 You're any thing to show”.
not a gentleman. He suddenly dear Titmouse," anxious. dropped his voice, and, in a trem.
« Oh! my