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Now, if any cavilling reader disputes the authenticity of this dream—if, pushing it aside, he calls it extravagant and ridiculous, we are, without further preparation, ready to prove it a very reasonable and likely dream ; a dream that is no other than a visionary embodiment of the waking thoughts of many a man, who hoards and hoards, as though every bit of gold was, as the lawyers have it, seizin of Paradise. When (and it does sometimes happen) a high dignitary of the Church dies with a coffer of some hundred and forty thousand pounds, who shall say that the good man has not hoarded them, in the belief that every pound will serve him as an angel to help him to heaven? He knows he cannot take them to bliss ; but, with a wisdom unknown to much of the ignorant laity, he evidently believes that they can carry him there. Hence even Church avarice, properly considered, may be excellent religion-hence a crawling, caterpillar miser may only crawl to soar the higher-a triumphant Psyche !
And still Tangle, in his dream, was ascending to the stars. Was ever man brought back to this earth with so terrible a shock? Compared with it, a drop from a balloon upon Stonehenge would be a few feet fall upon a feather-bed.
“ Hallo! Bless me! My good friend! Well, you have a constitution! Sleep with the window open!”
Such were the exclamations of Mr. Folder, up and arrayed for an early walk. Though by no means unwell from the last nightcertainly not, for he was never soberer in his life-he thought he would take a ramble in the fields just to dissipate a little dulness, a slight heaviness he felt; and being of a companionable nature, he thought he would hold out to Mr. Tangle the advantage of accompanying him. Whereupon, he tried the attorney's door, and, finding it unlocked, with the pleasant freedom of a friend, he entered the chamber. The opened window struck him with vast astonishment. The election was not over, and Mr. Tangle might catch his death. Again he gave voice to his anxiety. “My dear sir,—Mr. Tangle—the window "
“ Ten thousand cherubs," said Tangle, still in the clouds,“ ten thousand, and not one less. I knew I had ten thousand ; and all good : not a pocket-piece among 'em. Cherubs !”
“ Bless my soul !” said Folder, “ he's in some sweet dream ; and with the window open. Well, if I could dream at all under such circumstances, I should certainly dream I was in a saw-mill with a saw going through every joint of my body. And, what 's more, I should wake and find it all true. Mr. Tangle !"
With other exclamations—with still more strenuous pulling Mr. Folder saw that he was about to achieve success. There were undeniable symptoms of Mr. Tangle's gradual return to a consciousness of the £ s. d. of this world. Gradually, cherub by cherub was letting him down easily to this muddy earth. The attorney stretched out his legs like a spider-flung up his armsand with a tremendous yawn opened his mouth so wide, that Mr. Folder-but he was not a man of high courage—might have seen that attorney's very bowels. Tangle unclosed his stiffly-opening eyelids. It was plain there was a mist-possibly a cloud, as from burnt claret-passing before his orbs : for it was some moments before the face of Mr. Folder loomed through the vapour. At length, Tangle-with every vein in his head beating away as though it would not beat in such fashion much longer; no, it would rather burst--at length Tangle, resolving to be most courageously jolly, laughed and cried out— “ Well, what's the matter ?”
“Why, my dear friend,” said Folder, “ as to-day is a busy day, I thought we could not be too fresh for work : and so, as we were a little late, I may say, too, a little wild last night-"
“Pooh, pooh ; not a bit. I never felt better : never, in all my life. I always know when I'm safe, and drink accordingly. Never was yet deceived, sir ; never. There's no port in the world I'd trust, like the port you get from the gentlemen of the cloth : they're men above deceit, sir ; above deceit.”
“Nevertheless, I do think a walk in the fields-just a turn before breakfast—".
“ No,” said Tangle,“ turning upon his side, evidently set upon another nap: “no; I like buttercups and daisies, and all that sort of thing—breath of cows, and so forth—but not upon an empty stomach."
“Well to be sure,” said Folder, “you economize. You get your air and sleep together.”
** What do you mean?” grunted Tangle.
“ Why you sleep with your window open, don't you ?” asked Folder.
“ Never,” replied Tangle,
Mr. Tangle raised himself in his bed. We will not put down the oath which, to the astonishment of Folder, he thundered forth, when he saw his casement open to the winds. Suddenly he leapt from the bed ; and as suddenly Mr. Folder quitted the chamber.
“ Robbery! Murder!” cried Tangle, with amazing lungs.
Now, we have never known this confusion of terms in any way accounted for. True it is, Mr. Tangle saw, as he believed, the clearest evidence of robbery ; but there was no drop, no speck of blood, to afford the slightest hint of homicide. Wherefore, then, should he, falling into a common error of humanity, couple murder with theft? Why is it, we ask, that infirm man, suddenly awakened to a loss of pelf, almost always connects with the misfortune, the loss of life? Are purse-strings and heart-strings so inevitably interwoven? We merely let fall this subject for the elucidation of the metaphysician ; and so pursue our story
“Robbery! Murder !” yelled Tangle, dancing in his shirt about the room like a frantic Indian. Mr. Folder, at the door, took up the cry, and in a few minutes landlord and landlady, chambermaid, waiter, and boots, with half-a-dozen tenants of the Olive Branch, were at Tangle's door. “A minute-only a minute,” cried Tangle, as they were about to enter—" Not dressed yet—the murderous thieves — nearly naked—the scoundrel malefactors
-guineas, guineas - gone — gone — where's my stockings ?” Very distressing to a soul of sympathy was the condition of Mr. Tangle. As he hunted about the floor for his scattered articles of dress, his face—he could not help it—was turned towards the empty closet, as though in his despair he thought some good fairy might replace the treasure there, even while he looked.
-Thus, looking one way, and seeking his raiment in divers others, he brought his head two or three times in roughest companionship with the bed-post. At length, very sternly rebuked by one of these monitors, he made a desperate effort at tranquillity. He ceased to look towards the closet. Setting his teeth, and breathing like a walrus, he drew on his stockings. He then encased his lower members in their customary covering; and then the turned-out pockets once more smit his bruised soul. He dropt upon the bed, and sent forth one long, deep, piteous groan. “The murderous villains ! Even my 'bacco-stopper!” he cried : and then his eyelids quivered ; but he repressed the weakness, and did not weep. “ Somebody shall swing for this—somebody!” he said ; and this sweet, sustaining thought seemed for a time mightily to comfort him. And thus, the attorney continued to dress himself, his hand trembling about every button-hole ; whilst the crowd at his chamber-door exchanged sundry speculations as to the mode and extent of the robbery, the landlord loudly exclaiming that nothing of the sort had ever been known in his house : a statement emphatically confirmed by his dutiful wife.
“And now," cried Tangle, tying the while his neckcloth like a hay-wisp; " and now, ladies and gentlemen, you may come in.” Instantly the chamber was thronged. “Look here-look here,” he said, waving his hand towards the empty closet as a tremendous show_“this is a pretty sight, I think, for a respectable house !”
“What 's the matter, sir?” said the landlord. “Have you lost anything ?”
“Lost anything !” exclaimed Tangle ; "only a box of gold ! Yes-1-I won't say how many guineas."
There was something touching, awful, in this intelligence ; for every one of the hearers, in some way or the other, called upon Heaven to bless him or her, as the case might be ; everybody also declaring that, he or she had never heard of such a thing.
“But, sir,” said the landlord, very provokingly, “are you sure there's no mistake-was it there when you went to bed ?"
To this impertinent, insulting, unfeeling question, Tangle made no verbal answer. He merely looked daggerwise in the face of the querist, and laughed scornfully, hysterically. He might as well have laughed in the dead face of a dead-wall, for the landlord continued :
“Because you know, sir, and this gentleman ”-he meant Folder—"and Molly Chambermaid, and boots, and my wife, all know that you was a little the worse or the better for liquor, as you may think it, when you came home from Lazarus Hall. You must feel that, sir ; I'm sure you do feel it."
“I tell you what, landlord,” said Tangle. “I tell you what, sir ; this insolence shall not serve your turn—not at all. You shall not rob me of my reputation to cover the robbery of my money."
“ I rob you! I rob you !" cried the landlord, advancing towards Tangle, and followed by his wife, the maid, and boots, all taking part in the music "He rob you!” “Master rob you!”
“Look there! I take you all to witness,” cried Tangle, running to the bed, plucking away the pillows, and showing a key“ the key of the closet ; of that very closet. Now, had I forgotten myself for a moment as a gentleman or a man of business, is it likely that I should have been so particular with that key?”
" They must have come in at the winder,” said the boots, gaping at the open casement.
“Hallo! my fine fellow," cried the too subtle Tangle; “ you seem to know something about it?”
“ Acause," answered the unshaken boots, “ acause this gentleman said he found the winder open.”