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some Indian rampart, graciously commissioned to slay man, woman, and child, to pillage and to burn, and all for glory-all for the everlasting fame-of who shall count how many years, or months, or days! How very different the picture—the fates of the two men ! And then, again, there is no Old Bailey (at least in this world) for the mighty men of the bully burglar, Mars!
Whilst writing this piece of villany as, should it strangely enough find its way into any barrack, it will be called, we have not kept Tom Blast astride upon the window-sill. Oh no! he has business to perform-hard, worldly business, as he deems it-and he has entered the chamber; and with much composure— a placidity which it has been seen he has transmitted to his sonhe gazes at the sleeping, hard-breathing Tangle. Mr. Blast was not a man, in any way, above his profession. He never neglected, however petty they might be, any of the details of his art. This feeling of precision was, we have no doubt, born with him ; and long custom had brought the principle, or whatever it was, as near to perfection as may be allowed to any achievement of fallible humanity. Had destiny put Blast in the respectable position of the attorney in the bed, sure we are, it would have been the same with him. Certain we are he would have been as particular with his inkhorn, his pen, his parchment, his ferret,-as he now was with his equipments of dark lantern, crowbar, and rope.
For some moments, Blast, by the aid of his lantern, looked meditatingly upon Tangle. Possibly he felt such a deep sense of security that he liked to dally with his subject-to coquet with robbery—to gently sport with sin, to give it a sweeter flavour. For this is a trick of humanity : in evidence of which, we could and we would quote rosy examples : but no ; we will not treat the reader-in this history we have never yet done so-as though his bosom was stuffed, doll-like, with bran : we believe that he has a heart beating in it, and to that interpreter, we write, as we should say, many things in short-hand : sometimes we may lose by it; nevertheless, we disdain to spell every passion with its every letter.
“He'd never be stole for his beauty, would he, Jingo ?” asked Blast, in a loud whisper, blandly smiling.
“ And whatever beauty he has, he shuts it up when he goes to sleep,” replied the child. “Oh, isn't he drunk ?” the boy added, with considerable zest. “He is,” said Blast, who still looked contemplative. Then shading the lantern, to catch the best view of Tangle's face, he continued—“What a horrible pictur! He looks as if he'd come from Indy in a cask of spirits, and was just laid out, afore he was to be buried. Jingo, my boy”—and the paternal hand was gently laid upon the boy's head—“ Jingo, your poor father may have his faults, like other men-I can't say he mayn't ; no; but he isn't a drunkard, Jingo, else he hadn't got on the little he has in the world—he hadn't, indeed. And so, take warning by what you see—by what you see,” and Blast stretching his arm towards the sleeper, said this in a low voice--touchingly, that is, paternally. “And now, Jingo, where's the shiners ?” asked the man of business.
The thoughtless reader may deem it strange, unnatural, that a man about to perpetrate gibbet-work should thus coolly delay, and after his own fashion, moralise. But then the reader must ponder on the effect of long habit. In his first battle—though common history says nothing of it-Julius Cæsar, not from cowardice, but from a strange inward perturbation, bled at the nose : similar accidents may have happened to other heroes when they have drawn what with an odd gallantry is called their maiden sword. Still the reader may not yet comprehend the composure of Tom Blast. The more his loss. But then, probably, the reader has never been a housebreaker.
Return we to our colloquy.. “Jingo, where's the shiners ?"
“There !” said the boy, pointing to the closet : “and see,” he whispered, with a proud look, at the time producing Tangle's pistols " see, I've got his pops !”.
This touch of early prudence and sagacity was too much for a father's heart. Tom felt himself melted, as with undisguised tenderness he said, taking an oath to the fact—"Well, you are a bloomer ! you are,”
At this moment, Tangle rolled upon his side, gabbling something in his sleep. On the instant, Jingo was at the bed-side, with both his pistols presented at the sleeper's head. The eyes of the little wretch glittered like a snake's—his lips were compressed—his eyebrows knit—his nostrils swelling. At a thought, he looked an imp of murder.
“ There's a beauty,” said the encouraging Blast, “ don't let him wag—if he should "-it was needless for Blast to finish the injunction ; a terrible grin, and a nod from Jingo, showed that he clearly understood the paternal wish.
“This is the closet, eh ?” said Blast, with a very contemptuous look at the frail partition between him and El Dorado. Then Blast took a small crowbar from his pocket; a remarkably neat, portable instrument. For some seconds he stood twirling it in his hand with the composed air of a professor. Had he been a fashionable fiddler, he could not have fondled his alchemic Cremona more tenderly, more lovingly.
One moment he looks at the door. Ha! that was the touch of a master! How it was done, we know not. By what sleightwhat dexterity of hand, we cannot guess, but in a few seconds, the door yielding to the instrument, opens with a dull, sudden sound ; and Tom Blast surveys Tangle's chest of gold, Blast's son and heir still presenting two pistols at Tangle's drunken head.
At the opening of the door, Jingo looked round and laughed. Before, his eyes were bent upon the sleeping man; and it was plain, from the working of the boy's face, that he was fighting with some horrid thought-some damnable temptation. There was he with death in his two little hands—there was he with a terrible curiosity growing in his features : his lips trembled, and he shifted uneasily on his feet; he breathed hard ; he glanced, for an instant, down the muzzle of each pistol. There was the man
sleeping-still alive, though seethed in drink, and looking like death. There he was—the dreaming man with his dreaming murderer. For should the devil-and the boy felt him at his side should the demon only jog his elbow, crook his finger-and how odd, how strange, how very curious it would be, to see that sleeping face, with a flash, asleep in death ; to catch the look—the brief one look, as the soul shot into darkness!
Bui Tom Blast suddenly burst the door, and the boy laughed and trembled. He thought it very strange-very odd-he could have wept.
“ All right," said Tom, “ we're lords for life!” He then laid hands upon the box-paused—and looked suddenly blank. Wayward, obstinate Plutus! He would not be lifted-no, in his heavy majesty, he would not be made to budge. Again and again Tom Blast essayed to stir the god-to take him in his loving arms, and, hugging him to his breast, to bear the divinity to some sweet solitude, and make him all his own. Provoking, was it not, that that which added to the treasure, added to the difficulty ? Tom could have cursed the patriotism of the voters of Liquorish, that-the immovable box declared it-bore so high a price. He