« ПредишнаНапред »
at this moment probably the very lucki “ Intelligent! Mr Gammon! you est man in this kingdom."
should only have known him as I “ Why-you don't mean to say he's have known him! - Well, to be sure ! drawn a prize in the lottery?" -Lord ! His only fault was, that he claimed Tag-rag, pricking up his ears. was above his business; but when
« Pho! my dear sir, that is a mere one comes to think of it, how could it trifle compared with the good fortune be otherwise ? From the time I first that has befallen him. He turns out clapped eyes on him-I-1_knew he to be the undoubted owner of an estate was--a superior article quite supeworth at least ten thousand a year, rior-you know what I mean, sir? besides a great accumulation of ready He couldn't help it, of course! money.”
To be sure-hë never was much “ Ten thousand a-year, sir !— My liked by the other young men ; but Titmouse !— Tittlebat Titmouse ! that was jealousy! - all jealousy; Ten thousand a-year!” faltered Tag- I saw that all the while.” Here rag, after a pause.
he looked at the door, and added “ I have as little doubt of the fact, in a very low tone, " Many sleepless as I have that you yesterday turned nights has their bad treatment of Mr him out of doors."
Titmouse cost me!- Even I, now and “ But—who could have dreamt it? then, used to look and speak sharply How was-how was I to know it?" to him—just to keep him, as it were,
“ That's the fact, however," said down to the mark of the others-he Gammon, shrugging his shoulders.
uncommon handsome, and Tag-rag wriggled about in his chair, genteel in his manner, sir. Hang put his hands in and out of his poca me, if I didn't tell Mrs Tag-rag the kets, scratched his head, and conti very first day he came to me, that he pued staring open-mouthed at the was a gentleman born-or ought to bearer of such astounding intelligence. have been one.” “ Perbaps all this is meant as a joke, Now, do you suppose, acute reader, sir,"_said he~" if so-it's—it's—a that Mr Tag-rag was insincere in very".
all this? By no means. He spoke • It's one of his solicitors, who the real dictates of his heart, unaware were fortunate enough to make the of the sudden change which had taken discovery, that tells you. I solemnly place in his feelings. It certainly has assure you of the fact, Mr Tag-rag, an ugly look — but it was the naTen thousand a year, at the least, is ture of the beast ; his eye suddenly Mr Titmouse now the real owner of.” caught a glimpse of the golden calf,
“ Why, that's two hundred thousand and he instinctively fell down and pounds, sir!” – exclaimed Tag-rag, worshipped it. "Well-at all events," with an awe-struck air,
şaid Mr Gammon, scarcely able to “ At the very least”.
keep a serious expression on his face“ Lord, Mr Gammon - Excuse me, “ though not a gentleman born, he'll sir, but how did you find it out ?” live like a gentleman-and spend his
“ Mere accident-mere áccident, money like one, too." sir.”
“İ-I- dare say—he will l-I “ And does Mr Titmouse know it?” wonder how he will get through a
6 Ever since the day after that on quarter of it -what do you think he'll which I called on him here."
do, sir?" “ You don't say so!”— Tag-rag • Heaven only knows-he may do continued silent for nearly a minute, just what he likes.” evidently amazed beyond all power of “ I declare-I feel as if I shouldn't be expression.
quite right again for the rest of the day! “ Well,”—at length he observed I own to you, sir, that all yesterday “ I will say this--he's the most ami and to-day I've been on the point of able young gentleman-the very ami- going to Mr Titmouse's lodgingsto apoablest young gentleman I-ever- logize for-forGood gracious me!
I always thought there one can't take it all in at once-Ten was something uncommon superior- thousand a-year!—Many a lord hasn't like in his looks."
got more-some not as much, I'll be « Yes I think he is of rather an bound!- Dear me, what will he do! amiable turn," observed Gammon, Well, one thing I'm sure of-he'll with an expressive smile " and so never have a truer friend than plain intelligent
Thomas Tag-rag, though I've not
always been a-flattering him-I re some of the reasons for the proposal spected him too much !- The many which he (Mr Gammon) had been little things I've borne with in Tit. making. While Gammon fancied that mouse, that in any one else I'd have Tag-rag was paying profound atten- But why didn't he tell me, sir ? We tion to what he was saying, Tag.rag's should have understood one another thoughts had shot far a-head. He had in a moment.” – Here he paused an only child-a daughter, about abruptly; for his breath seemed sud- twenty years old— Miss Tabitha Tagdeply taken away, as he reviewed the rag; and the delightful possibility of series of indignities which he had her by-and-by becoming Mrs Titlatterly inflicted on Titmouse-the MOUSE, put her amiable parent into a kind of life which that amiable young perspiration. Into the proposal just gentleman had led in his establishment. made by Mr Gammon he fell with great
Never had the keen Gammon en eagerness, which he attempted to conjoyed any thing more exquisitely than ceal—for what innumerable opportunithe scene which I have been describ- ties could it not afford him for bringing ing.
man of his practical about the desire of his heart—for throwsagacity in the affairs of life, and ing the lovely young couple into each knowledge of human nature, nothing other's way, endearing them to each could appear more ludicrously con other! Oh, delightful! It really looked temptible than the conduct of poor almost as if fate had determined that the Tag-rag. How differently are the thing should come to pass ! If Mr Titminds of men constituted! How mouse did not dine with him, Mrs, and Gammon despised Tag-rag ! and how Miss Tag-rag, at Satin Lodge, Clapham, the reader must respect Gammon ! on the very next Sunday, it should, Tag,
“ Now, may I take for granted, Mr rag resolved, be owing to no fault of Tag.rag, that we understand each his.— Mr Gammon having arranged other?” enquired Gammon.
every thing exactly as he had desired, “ Yes, sir,” replied Tag-rag, meekly. and having again enjoined Mr Tag-rag “ But do you think Mr Titmouse will to absolute secresy, took his departure. ever forgive or forget the little misun- Mr Tag-rag, in his excitement, thrust derstanding we've lately had ? If I out his hand, and grasped that of Gamcould but explain to him how I have mon, which was extended towards him been acting a part towards him-all for somewhat coldly and reluctantly. Tag. his good!”
rag attended him with extreme obse“You may have opportunities for quiousness to the door; and on his dedoing so, if you are really so disposed, parture, walked back rapidly to his own Mr Tag-rag ; for I have something room, and sat down for nearly half an seriously to propose to you. Circum- hour in deep thought. Abruptly rising, stances render it desirable that for some at length, he clapped his hat on his head, little time this important affair should and saying that he should soon be back, be kept as quiet as possible; and it is hurried out to call upon his future sonMr Titmouse's wish, and ours—as his in-law, full of affectionate anxiety conconfidential professional advisers-that cerning his health—and vowing within for some few months he should conti himself, that thenceforth it should be nue in your establishment, and appa- the study of his life to make his daugh. rently in your service as before." ter and Titmouse happy! There could
“ In my service !--my service!" in- be no doubt of the reality of the event terrupted Tag-rag, opening his eyes just communicated to him by Mr Gamto their utmost. "I sha'n't know mon; for he was a well-known solicihow to behave in my own premises ! tor, he had had an interview on imHave a man with ten thousand a-year portant business with Titmouse a fortbehind my counter, sir? I might as night ago, which could have been nowell have the Lord Mayor ! Sir, it thing but the prodigious event just can't-it can't be. Now, if Mr Titmouse communicated to himself. Such things chose to become a partner in the house had happened to others-why not to -ay, there might be something in that Tittlebat Titmouse ? In short, Tag-rag -he needn't have any trouble-be only had no doubt on the matter. a sleeping partner." Tag.rag warmed He found Titmouse not at home; with the thought.
Really, sir, that
so he left a most particularly civil mes. wouldn't be so much amiss - would sage, half a dozen times repeated, with it ?”. Gammon assured him that it was Mrs Squallop—to the effect that lie, out of the question ; and gave him Mr Tag.rag, should
be only too
happy to see Mr Titmouse at No. of them stored it up in their minds as 375, Oxford Street, whenever it might a useful precedent against some future suit his convenience ; thất he was occasion. most deeply concerned to hear of Mr Twice afterwards during the day Titmouse's indisposition, and anxious did Tag.rag call at Titmouse's lodgto learn from himself that he had re ings—but in vain; and on returning covered, &c. &c. &c. ;-all which, to the third time felt not a little disgether with one or two 'other little quieted. He determined, however, to matters, which Mrs Squallop could not call the first thing on the ensuing help putting together, satisfied that morning; if he should then fail. of shrewd lady that "something was in seeing Mr Titmouse, he was resolved the wind about Mr Titmouse;" and to go to Messrs Quirk, Gammon, and made her reflect rather anxiously on Snap-and besides, address a very afone or two violent scenes she had had fectionate letter to Mr Titmouse. How with him, and which she was now totally changed had become all his ready entirely to forget and forgive. feelings towards that gentleman within Having thus done all that at present the last few hours ! The more Tagwas in his power to forward the thing, rag reflected on Titmouse's conduct, the anxious and excited Tag-rag re
the more he saw in it to approve of. turned to his shop; on entering which, How steady and regular had he been one Lutestring, his principal young in his habits ! how civil and obliging ! man, eagerly apprised him of a claim how patient of rebuke! how pleawhich he had, as he imagined, only the sing in his manners to the customers ! moment before established to the thanks Surely, surely, thought Tag-rag, Titof Mr Tag-rag, by having “ bundled mouse can't have been four long years off, neck and crop, that hodious Tit- in my employ without getting a-sort mouse," who, about five minutes before, of a-feeling-of attachment to mehad, it seemed, had the "impudence” to he'd have left long ago if he hadn't! present himself at the shop-door, and It was true there had now and then walk in as if nothing had happened!! been tiffs between them ; but who [Titmouse had so presented himself, could agree always ? Even Mrs Tagin consequence
of call from Mr rag and he, when they were courting, Gammon, immediately after his inter- often fell out with one another. Tagview with Tag-rag.]
rag was now ready to forget and for" You-ordered - Mr Titmouse- give all- he had never meant any harm off!!" exclaimed Tag-rag, starting to Titmouse.
He believed that poor back aghast, and stopping his voluble Tittlebat was an orphan, poor soul! and officious assistant.
alone in the wide world-now he would "Of course, sir-after what hap- become the prey of designing stranpened yester"
gers. Tag-rag did not like the apWho authorized, you, Mr Lute- pearance of Gammon. No doubt that string?" enquired Tag-rag, striving person would try and ingratiate himto choke down the rage that was self as much as possible with Titrising within him.
mouse! Then Titmouse was remarkWhy, sir, I really supposed ably good-looking." I wonder what that" __
Tabby will think of him when she " You supposed! You're a med sees him!” How anxious Tittlebat dling, impertinent, disgusting" must be to see her-his daughter!Suddenly his face was overspread 'How could Tag-rag make Tittlebat's with smiles, as three or four elegantly stay at his premises (for he could not dressed customers entered, whom he bring himself to believe that on the received with profuse obeisances. morrow he could not set all right, and But when their backs were turned, disavow the impudent conduct of Lutehe directed a lightning look to- string) agreeable and delightful? He wards Lutestring, and retreated once would discharge the first of his young more to his room, to meditate on the men that did not show Titmouse proagitating events of the last hour. The per respect. What low lodgings poor extraordinary alteration in Mr Tag- Tittlebat lived in! Why could he not rag's behaviour was attributed by his take
up his quarters at Satin Lodge ? shopmen to his having been frightened They always had a nice spare bedout of his wits by the threats of Tit.
Ah! that would be a stroke! mouse's lawyer–for such it was clear How Tabby could endear herself to the stranger was ;
and more than one him! What a number of things Mrs
Tag.rag could do to make him com to have been painted in, in order to fortable !
complete the thing. The skinny, little About seven o'clock Tag-rag quit. Miss Tag-rag sat at the worn-out, ted his premises in Oxford Street, for jingling pianoforte, playing-ob, horhis country house; and, occupied with rid and doleful sound ! — The Battle these and similar delightful and anx. of Prague. Mrs Tag-rag, a fat, ious thoughts and speculations, hur- showily.dressed woman of about fifty, ried along Oxford Street on his way her cap having a prodigious number to the Clapham stage, without think of artificial flowers in it, sat reading ing of his umbrella, though it rained a profitable volume entitled “ Groans fast. When he had taken his place from the Bottomless Pit to Awaken on the coach-box, beside old Crack, Sleeping Sinners,” by the Rev. Dis(as he had done almost every night MAL HORROR-a very rousing young for years,) he was so unusually si- preacher lately come into that neigh. lent that Crack naturally thought his bourhood, and who had almost frightbest passenger was going to become ened into fits half the women and childbankrupt, or compound with his cre. ren, and one or two old gentlemen of ditors, or something of that sort. Mr his congregation, giving out, amongst Tag-rag could hardly keep his temper several similarly cheering intima. at the slow pace old Crack was driving tions, that they must necessarily be at-just when Tag-rag could have damned unless they immediately set wished to gallop the whole way. Ne- about making themselves as miseraver had he descended with so much ble as possible in this world. The briskness, when the coach at Sunday before, he had pointed out, length drew up before the little green with awful force and distinctness, that gate, which opened on the nice little cards and novels were the devil's traps gravel walk, which led up to the little to catch souls; and balls and theatres green wooden porch, which sheltered short and easy cuts to · the slim door which admitted you into He had proved to his trembling Satin Lodge. As Tag rag stood for a female hearers, in effect, that there moment wiping his wet shoes upon the was only one way to
Heavenmat, he could not help observing, for through his chapel; that the only the first time, by the inward light of safe mode of spending their time ten thousand a-year, how uncommon on earth was reading religious books, small the passage was—and thinking going to prayer-meetings, making that it would never do, when he should all sorts of trash for a fancy sale, be the father-in-law of a man worth to defray the expenses of putting ten thousand a-year-he could easily an organ in his chapel ; and wheedlet that house, and take a large one. ling their husbands into subscriptions As he hung his hat upon the peg, the to the Lord knows how many missionmischievous insolence of Lutestring ary societies, and so forth. But when, occurred to him; and he deposited a Sunday or two before, he preached such a prodigious execration upon that à funeral sermon, to “ improve the gentleman's name, as must have sunk death,” as he said, of a Miss Snooks, a far more buoyant sinner many fa- (who had kept a circulating library in thoms deeper than usual into a certain the neighbourhood ;) and who, having hot and deep place that shall be name been to the theatre on the Thursday less.
night, was taken ill of a bowel attack Mrs and Miss Tag-rag were sitting on the Friday, and was a lifeless in the front parlour, intending to take corpse when the next Sabbath dawntea as soon as Mr Tag-rag should ed," you might have heard a beetle have arrived. It was not a large sneeze within any of the walls, all room, but furnished prettily, accord. over the crowded chapel. Two-thirds ing to the taste of the owners. There of the women present, struck with the was only one window, and it had a
awful judgment upon the deceased flaunting white summer curtain. The Miss Snooks, made solemn vows walls were ornamented with three pic
never again to enter the accursed tures, in heavily gilt frames, being por
walls of a theatre; many determined traits of Mr, Mrs, and Miss Tag-rag ;
no longer to subscribe to the circulaand I do not wish to say more of these ting library, ruining their precious pictures, than that in each of them
souls with light and amusing reading ; the dress was done with singular ex and almost all resolved forth with to actness and fidelity-the faces seeming become active members of a sort of
66 l'll tell you
religious tract society, which Mr Tag-rag, angrily, “ you're coming a Horror had just established in the great deal too much of that sort of neighbourhood, for the purpose of thing — my house is getting like a
giving the sick and starving poor spi. Methodist meeting-house. I can't bear iritual food, in the shape of tracts, it –I can't! What the deuce is come
which might wean their affections to you all in these parts, lately?" away from this vain world, and fix “ Ah, Tag-rag,” replied his wife, them on better things, rejoicing, in the with a sigh, “ I can only pray for mean while, in the bitter pangs of you, I can do no more". destitution. All this sort of thing Mr • Oh!” exclaimed Tag-rag, with Horror possibly imagined to be ad an air of desperate disgust, thrustyancing the cause of real religion !- ing his hands into his pockets, and In short, he had created a sort of stretching his legs to their utmost exspiritual fever about the place, which tent under the table. was then just at its height in worthy what, Mrs T.," he added, after a
while, “ too much of one thing is Well
, Dolly, how are you to- good for nothing ; you may choke a night?" enquired Tag-rag, with un dog with pudding ;-I sha'n't renew usual briskness, on entering the room. my sittings at Mr Horror's.”_
" Tolerable, thank you, Tag," re “ Now, pa, do! That's a love of a plied Mrs Tag-rag, mournfully, with pa!” interposed Miss Tag-rag, twirla sigh, closing the cheerful volume ing round on her music-stool. she had been perusing-it having been Clapham's running after him_he's recommended the preceding Sunday quite the rage! There's the Dugfrom the pulpit by its pious and gifted ginses, the Pips, the Jones, the Magauthor, Mr Horror, to be read and gots-and, really, Mr Horror does prayed over every day by every mem- preach such dreadful things, it's quite ber of his congregation.
delightful to look round and see all " And how are you, Tabby?” said the people with their eyes and mouths Tag.rag, addressing his daughter. wide open--and our's is such a good " Come and kiss me, you little slut pew for seeing--and Mr Horror is come !"
such a bee-yeautiful preacher,-isn't "No, I sha'n't, pa! Do let me go he, ma?” on with my practising "-and twang! “ Yes, love, he is—but, I wish I twang ! went those infernal keys, could see you profit by him, and
pre" Dy'e hear, Tab? Come and kiss paring for death”. me, you little minx".
" Why, ma, how can you go on in "Really, pa, how provoking—just that ridiculous way? You know I'm as I am in the middle of the Cries of the not twenty yet!”. Wounded! I sha'n't !-that's flat." • Well, well! Poor Tabby!” here
The doating parent could not, how Mrs Tag-rag's voice faltered—“ a day ever, be denied; so he stepped to the will come, when piano, put his arm round his dutiful “ Play me the Devil among the daughter's neck, kissed her fondly, and Tailors, or Copenhagen Waltz, or then stood for a moment behind her, something of that sort, Tabby, or I admiring her brilliant execution of shall be sick !- I can't bear it! The Trumpet of Victory. Having « Well !-Oh, my!- I never ! - Mr changed bis coat, and put on an old Tag-rag!"exclaimed his astoundedwife. pair of shoes, Tag-rag was comfort Play away, Tab, or I'll go and able for the evening.
sit in the kitchen ! They're cheerful Tabby plays wonderful well, there! The next time I come across Dolly, don't she ?" said Tag-rag, as Mr Horror, if I don't give him a the tea things were being brought in, bit of my mind”-here he paused, and by way of beginning a conversation, slapped his hand with much energy while he drew his chair nearer to his upon the table. Mrs Tag-rag wiped wife.
her eyes, sighed, and resumed her “ Ah! I'd a deal rather see her book, Miss Tag-rag began to make reading something serious--for life is tea, her papa gradually forgetting his short, Tag, and eternity's long.”. rage, as he fixed his dull grey eyes “ Botheration Stuff!—Tut!" fondly on the pert skinny countenance
“ You may find it out one day, my of his daughter. dear, when it's too late”.
By the way, Tag,” exclaimed " I'll tell you what, Dolly,” said
Mrs Tag-rag, suddenly, but in the