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all the louder and the deeper for its long repression. Tangle looked round. Most strange, nay, most insulting was it to him to him with the load of atfliction weighing on his brain—that any man should laugh so vehemently, so very brutally. On his way to the barber's Tangle had felt a little hurt that even the birds should chirp and twitter ; that the flowers in the gardens should look so happy in their brightness ; the very fineness of the day seemed unkind to him : nevertheless he tried to bear it like a man. But to have his solemn thoughts, deep as they were in a lost money-chest, outraged by the vulgar merriment of a very vulgar man,-it was cruel, barbarous ; surely he had done nothing to deserve it.
“It's very odd," said Tangle, speaking both angrily and sorrowfully, “very odd that a gentleman can't be quietly shaved without people"
"Ax your pardon,” said Blast. “Hope the barber's not nicked you ; but I couldn't help it. You know what a little will make a man laugh sometimes. All right now I've got rid of it. Go on, little shaver. I'll keep a cheek as stiff as a mile-stone." And Mr. Blast resolved to control his merriment, sorely tempted as it was by the proximity of the melancholy man he had plundered. It was a most capital joke, a most provoking piece of fun, yet would the thief be serious. For some seconds not a sound was heard, save the mowing of beards.
"Well, Measter Rasp, here be a rumpus ! here be a blow for the Blues ! here be luck for the Yellows! Ho! ho ! ho ! There never was sich a mess. I ha'nt laughed so much since they put the tinker in the stocks! Sich a glory!” This announcement, brokenly uttered through roars of laughter, was delivered by Skittle, the cobbler of Liquorish, who, exploding with the intelligence, burst into the shop.
" What's the matter ?” asked the barber, so alive to the luck of the Yellows, of which party he felt himself a very shining particle, that he paused in his shaving ; holding twixt finger and thumb the nose of Tangle. “ Luck for our side, Bob! What
"Why you must know that the Blues-jest like 'em-brought down a box of golden guineas. You know, in course, what for ?”. observed the cobbler, severely winking one eye. .“I should think I did," answered Rasp, and he stropped his razor on his hand very impatiently. “That's the way they
serve the Constitution. That's how they'd sell and buy the British Lion, for all the world like veal. Well, a box of guineas ! I should like to catch 'em offering me any, that's all," cried Rasp; and with a grin of indignation, he again stropped his blade.
“My good man," said Tangle, very meekly, for he was overcome, brokenhearted by the mirth of the cobbler,—“my good man, will you proceed and finish me ?”
“Wouldn't trust myself, sir, till I've heard all about the Blues. You don't know my feelings,” said Rasp. “I should slice you, sure as pork. Go on, Bob. Ha! ha! Down with the Blues !” And still Tangle sat half-shaven and wholly miserable, listening to the blithe story of the cobbler, whose notes of exultation struck dagger-wise into the flesh of the outraged agent. Was ever man so tried ? He could not bounce from his chair, and with half his beard upon him sally forth into the street. No; he was doomed by decency to sit and hear the history of his wretchedness and the brutal mirth it occasioned. The cobbler and barber roared with laughter; little Tim smirked and giggled, and Tom Blast, with his eyes leering towards the agonised Tangle, showed that the sweetest and deepest satisfaction filled the bosom of the thief. His felon soul hugged itself in vast enjoyment of the fun!
" Well, you must know that the Olive Branch was broke open last night,” said the cobbler, “and the box of guineas brought to the borough - we know what for”-and Skittle put his forefinger to his nose.
“I should rather think we did,” responded Rasp, returning the digital signal. “Rather.”
“ The box of guineas carried off ; all took wing like young goldfinches. The landlord says, and his wife says, she 's sure of it, too, that it's the devil has done it.”
“Ha! ha! ha!” shouted Tom Blast, mightily enjoying the false accusation. “ Poor devil !”
“I don't wonder at your laughing,” said the barber, gravely. “ It wasn't no devil; the devil's a better judge than to carry away gold of that sort ; it would do his work all the better left behind. And is there no suspicion of who 's stole it ?” Here Blast and Tangle listened attentively, but assuredly with a different curiosity.
" Why, that 's the worst of it,"answered the cobbler ; “they 've tried hard to suspect everybody, but somehow they can make no hand on it."
Hereupon the barber wrinkled his brow, and thoughtfully and tenderly with his fingers twiddled at the end of his nose, as though he had the secret there, if it could only be coaxed out. “I tell you what it is ; 'tisn't seldom I'm wrong—I know the thief.'
“ You !” exclaimed Tangle; and “ You !” was at the lip of Blast ; but that cautious man smothered the impatient word with a sort of grunt that passed for nothing.
“ He 'll never be found out ; oh no, he 's too cunning for that," said the barber ; “ but I shouldn't wonder if the fellow that had the keeping of the money isn't him that stole it.”
“Was there ever such an infamous !”-exclaimed Tangle, when he was suddenly stopped by the peremptory coolness of the barber ; who, tapping him on the shoulder, observed—“Bless you ! it 's a thing done every day. Nothing more likely.”
“Nothing,” said Blast in his deepest bass, and his eye twinkled enjoyingly.
“ Am I to stay here half-shaved all day?” cried the goaded Tangle. “Fellow, finish me!”
“Tell you, couldn't trust myself till we hear the rights of the guineas,” said the patriotic barber. “They was brought here to violate the Constitution, and whomsoever 's got 'em, I'm glad they 're gone. Though mind, I'd take a bet that him that 's lost ’em, knows best where they ’re to be found.”
“Ha! Master Barber," cried Blast in a loud tone of compliment, “it's plain you know life!”
“ Why, I 've seen a few 'lections at Liquorish,” said Rasp, “and this I will say—the Blues, if they knowd him, would rob their own father. I might, in my time, have had my hat full of guineas”
“I shouldn't brag of that, if I was you, Mr. Rasp" said the barber's wife, suddenly descending to a cupboard in the shop, for some domestic purpose—“I shouldn't brag of that, and you to keep me and your children as you do."
“Women have no love of country,” said the barber in a soft voice as his wife departed.
“Don't understand a bit on it,” said the cobbler. - There's my old Margery Daw at home—she says that women have enough to do to love their husbands.”
“ And that's hard work sometimes," said the barber. “I'm afeard it is."
“ Am I to be shayed to-day?" roared Tangle, the lather dried to a plaster on his face.
“I tell you what it is, sir,” said the barber. “You 're half shaved as clean as any baby : now shaving 's a penny : well, if you can't wait, you 're welcome to the ha'porth you 've had for nothing. A ha’penny, sir," and the barber looked loftily about him, “ a ha’penny won't ruin me.”
“I'm in no’urry," observed the accommodating Blast. “Your little boy can finish the gentleman—I 'll wait.”
“ Thank you very kind-come along, boy,” cried Tangle, and Tim moved his stool beside the lawyer. “Now you 'll be very particular ; and mind, don't cut.”
“ Then don't shake, sir, if you please," said Tim ; for Tangle, agitated by what he had heard, by the delay he had been compelled to suffer, as the boy touched him, trembled like a jelly. And as he trembled, the barber leered suspiciously, directing the cobbler's looks to the shaking gentleman ; and Tom Blast very soon made one of the party of inspection, communicating by most eloquent glances, the strongest doubts and suspicions of the individual then impatiently undergoing the discipline of the razor.
“ If the thief's caught, I suppose he'll be hanged," said the cobbler, staring at Tangle.
“Heaven is merciful! I hope so-heartily hope so," exclaimed Tangle vivaciously, earnestly ; at the same time jumping up, his. shaving completed. “I hope so : I'd go fifty miles to see it, fifty miles. Give me change.” Saying this, and tying his neckcloth, Tangle laid down sixpence. “Make haste."
Very leisurely, and as with a soul by no means to be dazzled by sixpences, the barber took up the tester. He then approached the bottom of the staircase ascended by his helpmate, and with measured syllables inquired, “ Eliza Jane, love, have you change for sixpence ?”
And this gentle query was answered by another, running thus. “ Have I change for the Bank of England ?"
“ It never happened so before, sir,” said Rasp, feeling the sixpence, “but we hav'n't a copper halfpenny in the house. The child, sir, shall run out for change. Won't be ten minutes ; nothing beats him at an errand.”
Tangle looked savagely about him. He could not wait : he. would not be thought to give the sixpence. He therefore observed, very emphatically, “ Very well, barber ; I'll call again,” and. hurried away.