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"Fancy Miss Tag-rag standing beside her."

"Ha, ha!" gently laughed Gammon "both of them, in their way, are very worthy persons; but"-Here the ladies withdrew. 'Twas no part of Gammon's plans that Titmouse should become the son-in-law of either Quirk or Tag rag.

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Ghastly, we've had enough of that sort-it don't suit at all-don'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 remarkable well. I could fancy the animals were running and squealing and quacking all about the room." The actor did as he was desired, commencing with a sigh, and was much applauded. At length Gammon happened to get into a discussion with Mr Bluster upon some point connected with the Habeas Corpus Act, in which our friend Gammon, who never got heated in discussion, and was very accurate in whatever he knew, had glaringly the best of it. His calm, smiling self-possession almost drove poor Bluster frantic. The less he knew, of course the louder he talked, the more vehement and positive he became; at length offering a bet that he was right; at which Gammon bowed, smiled, and 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 he?

As 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 snuffboxes, all belonging to Mr Quirkall of them presents from clients. One was a huge affair of Botany Bay wood, with a very flaming inscription on the inside of the lid ; from which it appeared that its amiable donors, who were trying the effect of a change of climate on their moral health at the expense of a grateful country, owed their valuable lives to the professional 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 proud; and as he saw Titmouse admiring them, it occurred to him as very possible that, within a few months' time, he should be in possession of a magnificent gold snuff-box, in acknowledgment of the services he should have rendered to his distinguished guest and client. Titmouse was in the highest possible 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 upon song, of, however, so very coarse and broad a character as infinitely disgusted Gammon, and apparently "Bravo! bravo! bravo!" he exshocked the alderman; though I claimed, as Viper concludeď a most greatly distrust that old sinner's sin- envenomed passage, "that will do, cerity in the matter. Then Ghastly's Viper-whip it into the next Flashperformances commenced. Poor fel- 'twill be a capital leader! It will prolow! he exerted himself to the utmost duce a sensation! And in the mean to earn the good dinner he had just time, gentlemen, let me request you devoured but when he was in the to fill your glasses-bumpers-for Ï've very middle of one of his most impas- a toast to propose, in which you'll all sioned scenes- undoubtedly" tearing feel interested when you hear who's a passion to rags,"-interrupted Mr the subject of it. It is a gentleman Quirk, impatiently-" Come, come, who is likely soon to be elevated to a

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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 personal antipathy each to the other. In spite of their wishes, they at length got entangled in a very virulent controversy, and said so many insulting things to each other, that the rest of the company, who had for some time been amused, got at length-not dis. gusted-but alarmed, for the possible results. Mr Quirk, therefore, interfered.

station which Nature has formed him -hem! hem!-to adorn "

"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 his eyes languidly half open, and his face exceedingly pale. Gammon saw that he was in truth in a very ticklish condition.

"I-wish-you'd-let me-go out —I'm—devilish ill!”—said Titmouse, faintly. Gammon made a signal to Quirk, who instantly ceased his speech; and, coming down to Titmouse, he and Gammon hastily led him out of the room, and into the nearest bed.chamber, 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 being put to bed, and passing the night -and perhaps the next day-at Alibi House, it would enable Miss Quirk to bring her attractions to bear upon him effectively, by exhibiting those delicate and endearing attentions which are so soothing, and indeed necessary to an invalid. Titmouse continued severely 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 fever, and to require rest, and care, and 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 constantly, for some little time to come, into Miss Quirk's company, her pru dent parent enjoined upon Mrs Alias, his sister, the necessity of impressing on his daughter's mind the great uncertainty that, after all, existed as to Titmouse's prospects; and the consequent necessity there was for her to regulate her conduct with a view to either failure or success-to keep her affections, as it were, in abeyance. But the fact was, that Miss Quirk had so often heard the subject of Titmouse's brilliant expectations talked of by her father, and knew so well his habitual prudence and caution, that she looked upon Titmouse's speedy possession of ten thousand a year as a matter almost of certainty. She was a girl of some natural shrewdness, but

of an early inclination to maudlin sentimentality. 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 child,) and been thrown among a different set of people from those who constantly visited at Alibi Houseand of whom a very favourable specimen has been laid before the readerMiss Quirk might really have become a very sensible and agreeable girl. As it was, her manners had contracted a certain coarseness, which at length overspread her whole character; and the selfish and mercenary motives by which she could not fail to perceive all her father's conduct regulated, infected herself. She resolved, therefore, to be governed 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 woman not to be touched by the sight of a sudden change effected in a man by severe indisposition 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 administered to him. When he made his first appearance 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 considerable interest; and, though she might hardly have owned it even to herself, his expected good fortune invested him with a kind of subdued radiance. Ten thousand 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 interesting work-the Newgate Calendar; she had sung to him, and played to him, whatever 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 love him. She insisted, on the day of his quitting Alibi House, that he should write in her album; and he very readily complied. It was nearly ten minutes before he could get a pen to suit him. At length he succeeded, and left the following interesting me

mento of himself, in the very centre =of a fresh page :

"Tittlebat Titmouse Is My name,
England Is My Nation,

London Is My dwelling-Place,
And Christ Is My Salvation.

"TITTLEBAT TITMOUSE,
"halibi lodge."

Miss Quirk turned pale with astonishment and vexation on seeing this elegant and interesting addition to her album. Titmouse, on the contrary, looked at it with no little pride; for having had a capital pen, and his heart being in his task, he had produced what he conceived to be a very superior 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 on her album had done a vast deal towards cooling down the ardour with which she had been disposed to regard even the future owner of ten thousand-a-year. Poor Snap seemed to have lost all chance, being treated 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 commanding interest in the partnership business. 'Twas a difficult thing for him to preserve his temper in his close intimacy with Titmouse, who had so grievously interfered with his prospects.

The indisposition I have been mentioning, prevented Titmouse from paying his promised visit to Satin Lodge. On returning to his lodgings, from Alibi House, he found that Tagrag had either called or sent every day to enquire 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 communicating the state of his health, and personally assuring them of his safety. Though

the image 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 enquiry, with ill-disguised anxiety, was made by Mrs Tag-rag concerning Alibi House and its inmates, Titmouse would, to be sure, mention Miss Quirk, but in such a careless and slighting way as gave great consolation and encouragement to Tag-rag, his wife, and daughter. 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 much in the way which I have already described. How he got through his days I can hardly tell. At his lodgings, he got up very late, and went to bed very late. He never read any thing excepting occasionally a song book lent him by Snap, or a novel, or some such book as "Boxiana,' "from the circulating library. Dawdling over his dress and his breakfast, then whistling and humming, took up so much of every day as he passed at his lodgings. The rest was spent in idling about the town, looking in at shop windows, and now and then going to some petty exhibition. 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, Gammon, and Snap's office at Saffron Hill, and worried them not a little by enquiries concerning the state of his affairs, and the cause of the delay in commencing proceedings. As for Huckaback, by the way, Titmouse cut him entirely; saying that he was a devilish low fellow, and it was no use knowing 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 got scent of the little money transaction between his friend and Hucka. back, he called upon the latter, and tendering him twelve shillings, demanded up the document which he had extorted from Titmouse. Huckaback held out obstinately for some time-but Snap was too much for him, and talked in such a formidable strain about an indictment for a conspiracy (!) and fraud, that Huckaback at length con

sented, on receiving twelve shillings, to deliver up the document to Snap, on condition of Snap's destroying it on the spot. This was done, and so ended all intercourse-at 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-and he would cer tainly have got very awkwardly involved had it not been for the kindness of Snap in advancing him, from time to time, such sums as his exigencies required. In fact, matters went on as quietly and smoothly as possible for several months-till about the middle of November, when an event occurred that seemed to threaten the total demolition of all his hopes and expectations.

He had not seen or heard from Messrs Quirk or Gammon for nearly a fortnight; Snap he had not seen for nearly a week. At length he ventured to make his appearance at Saffron Hill, and was received with a startling coldness-a stern abruptness of manner, that frightened him out of 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 thunderstruck on receiving that opinion: for Mr Subtle pointed out a radical deficiency 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 Tresayle, Mr Mortmain, and Mr Frankpledge. Mr Quirk hurried with the opinion to the first two gentlemen; and, after a long interview with each, they owned their fears that Mr Subtle was right, and that the defect seemed incurable; but they showed their agitated clients, that they had been guilty of neither oversight nor ignorance, inasmuch as the matter in question was one of evidence only-one which a nisi prius 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 impression. Mr Tresayle and Mr Mortmain, however, preserved an ominous silence. As for Frankpledge, he had a knack, somehow or another, of always coming to the conclusion wished and hoped for by his clients; and, after prodigious pains, wrote a very long opinion, to show that there was nothing in the objection. Neither Mr Quirk nor Mr Gammon could understand the process by which Mr Frankpledge arrived at such a result; but, in despair, they laid his opinion before Mr Subtle, in the shape of a second case for his opinion. It was, in a few days' time, returned to them, with only a line or two-thus:

"With every respect for the gen, tleman 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 something like a dead lock.

"We're done, Gammon!" said Quirk, with a dismayed air. Gammon seemed lost, and made no an

swer.

"Does any thing-eh?-Any thing occur to you? Gammon, I will say this for you-you're a long-headed fellow.' Still Gammon spoke not.

"Gammon! Gammon!-I really believe-you begin to see something."

"It's to be done, Mr Quirk!" said Gammon at length, with a grave and apprehensive look, and a cheek paler

than before.

"Eh? how? 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 Gammon with a very anxious, but, at the same time, a determined air.

"I-I wonder if what has occurred to you is what has occurred to me?" enquired Quirk, in an eager whisper.

"Pooh! pooh! Mr Quirk."

"Gammon, dear Gammon, no

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"So have I, Mr Quirk," replied Gammon, with a sigh. "However "Here the partners put their heads close together, and whispered to each other in a low, earnest tone, for some minutes. Quirk 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, within a few hours of the happening of the above colloquy, Titmouse found himself placed on precisely his former footing with Messrs Quirk, Gammon, and Snap.

In order to bring on the cause for trial at the next spring assizes, it was necessary that the declaration in ejectment should be served on the tenant in possession before Hilary term; and, in a matter of such magnitude, it was deemed expedient for Snap to go down and personally effect the service in question. In consequence, also, of some very important suggestions as to the evidence, given by the junior in the cause, it was arranged that Snap should go down - about a week before the time fixed upon for effecting the service, and make minute enquiries as to one or two facts which it was understood could be established in evidence. As soon as Titmouse heard of this movement, that Snap was going direct to Yatton, the scene of his, Titmouse's, future greatness, he made the most pertinacious and vehement entreaties to Messrs Quirk and Gammon 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 place himself entirely at the disposal of Snap; go under some feigned name, and, in short, neither say nor do any thing tending to disclose their real character or errand.

Snap and Titmouse established themselves at the Hare and Hounds Inn at Grilston; and the former immediately began, cautiously and quietly, to collect such evidence as he could discover. One of the first persons to whom he went was old blind Bess. His

many pressing questions at length stirred up in the old woman's mind recollections 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 Titmouse and Snap conducted themselves during their stay in Yorkshire, and which, I fear, have not tended to raise either of these gentlemen in the reader's estimation. Titmouse manifested a very natural anxiety to see the present occupants of Yatton; and it was with infinite difficulty that Snap could prevent him from sneaking about in the immediate neighbourhood of the hall, with the hope of seeing them. His first encounter with Mr and Miss Aubrey was entirely accidental, as the reader may remember; and when he found that the lady on horseback near Yatton, and the lady whom he had striven to attract the notice of in Hyde Park were one and the same beautiful woman, and that that beautiful woman was neither more nor less than the sister of the present owner of Yatton, -the marvellous discovery created a mighty pother in his little feelings. The blaze of Kate Aubrey's beauty, in an instant consumed the images both of Tabitha Tag-rag and Dora Quirk. It even for a while outshone the splendours of ten thousand ayear; such is the inexpressible and incalculable power of woman's beauty over every thing in the shape of 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 streets of London, and from which even the rough handling they had got from Farmer Hazel could not turn him, Titmouse at length, as has been seen, most unwittingly fell foul of that fair creature, Catharine Aubrey herself; who seemed truly like an angelic messenger, returning from her errand of sympathy and mercy, and suddenly beset by a little imp of darkness. 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 startled him into a recollection of a pair of heels, to which he was that evening indebted for an escape from a most murderous cudgel

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