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the poor platitude that the smitten footman uttered : for guilt was at his heart; detection weighed upon him, and he could not crow. “Doesn't his aunt live here ?" cried the girl. “He said it was his aunt that wanted to see me 2" “The only aunt he ever had,” said Bright Jem, “is in heaven; and—I know it—she's a blushing for him this very minute. I say, Whistle, couldn't we help him to a little Bridewell for all this?” Mr. Whistle, shifting his flower to the corner of his mouth, was about to say something ; but it was clear that Mr. Gum had not at the moment either taste or leisure to attend to legal opinions. He therefore took to his heels; and he never ran so fast, because, perhaps, he never felt so little as he ran. “Now, wasn't I right, Whistle ; And didn't I say that there was mischief in him 2 And wasn't it lucky we followed him from the Bear ! Well, he has a nice crop of early wickedness, hasn't he?” Thus spoke Bright Jem, with a face of wonder. Mr. Whistle, however, was in no way disconcerted or astonished. He was one of those unfortunate people—though he himself considered his happy superiority to arise from the circumstance— who had seen so much wickedness, that any amount or eccentricity of evil failed to surprise him. He therefore twirled the flower in his mouth, and remarked a little plaintively—“Why was you so quick 2 If you'd only had patience, we might have sent him to Bridewell; and now, you've spoilt it all—spoilt it all.” With these words, and a brief shadow of disappointment on his brow, the officer departed. “Poor little soul!” cried Jem, taking the girl's hand, and look
ing paternally in her face—“where did you come from—and
where are you going to ? Come, you'll answer me, now, wont a--
“I come from Kent, and I'm going to Mary Axe. That young man, I thought, was taking me the way"—
“Poor little lamb You wouldn't think he was old enough for so big a villain; but somehow, he's been reared in a hot-bed, and has spindled up 'stonishingly. He's my wife's sister's child, and I will say this for his father; he was as good and as honest a nigger as ever a Christian white man stole to turn a penny with. But we can't send goodness down from father to son; it can't be willed away, like the family spoons. ‘Virtue, as Mr. Capstick says, “like vice, doesn't always descend in a right line; but often goes in a zigzag.'"
The girl was an attentive listener; but we fear did not very perfectly understand the uttered philosophy. She, however, felt that she had been snatched from peril by the interference of the odd and ugly-looking man before her, and gratitude and confidence stirred in her woman's heart. “Bless you, sir; I was very uncivil, but I thought—that is—I’m in such a tremble—can you take me to Mary Axe? I’m going to a place. Perhaps you know the gentleman—Mr. Snipeton ? I mean Mrs. Snipeton, his beautiful young wife 2'' Jem stared, and marvelled at the strangeness of the accident. He, however, owned to no acquaintance with the fortunate owner of the lady. “Take my arm,” he said, “and I'll leave you at the very door.” With this Jem proceeded onward, and at length turned into Long Acre. Passing the door of Capstick—for we believe we have already informed the reader that the member for Liquorish had taken humble lodgings in that district—the door opened, and the senator himself, with no less a person than Mr. Tangle, attorney-at-law, advanced to the threshold. “Eh, Jem What's this? A thing from the buttercups ? Where did you pick it up 2" cried Capstick. Now the wench was no grammarian, yet she seemed to have a born knowledge that “it” applied to one of the female gender was alike a violation of grammar and good-breeding. Therefore she echoed “it’ between her teeth, with of course a significant tossing of the head. Jem observed the working of the feminine mind, and immediately whispered to the girl—“He’s my master and a member of Parliament; but the best cretur in the world.” Jem then in a bold voice informed the senator that “the young 'oman was come up from the country to go to service at Mr. Snipeton's." “Bless me! what a very strange accident! Come to Mr. Snipeton's, eh? How very odd l’’ cried Tangle, feeling that he ought to speak. In the meantime Bright Jem, with commendable brevity, whispered to Capstick the history of his meeting with the gentle wayfarer. “Well, and she looks an innocent thing,” said Capstick, his face scarlet with indignation at Jem's story. “She looks innocent ; but after all, she's a woman, Jem ; and women can look whatever they like. They've a wonderful way of passing pocket-pieces for virgin gold. I don't believe any of 'em ; nevertheless, Jem, run for a coach ; and as Mr. Tangle and myself are going to Snipeton's, we can all go together. I dare say, young woman, you're tired of walking 7. You look so; if, as I say, looks are anything. Jem, run for the coach. Come up stairs.” And with this invitation, Capstick gently clasped the arm of the maiden —a little awe-struck that she felt the pressure of that mysterious, solemn creature, a live member of Parliament—and led her, ascending, to his room. Mr. Tangle followed, much scandalised at the familiarity of the legislator; and fortifying himself with the determination, not, without a vehement remonstrance, to ride in the same hackney-coach with a maid-of-all-work. Mr. Capstick had, he was accustomed to declare, furnished his room with a vigilant eye to his duties as a Member of Parliament. Over his mantle-piece was Magna Charta, framed and glazed. “A fine historic fiction,” he would say; “a beautiful legend; a mice sing-song to send men to sleep, like the true and tragical history of Cock Robin chaunted to children.” He was wont to chuckle mightily at the passage—a fine stretch of fancy he would call it— about “selling or deferring justice,” and vow it ought to be written in blood-red letters in the Court of Chancery. “There is fine, grave comedy, in this sheet, sir; an irony that strengthens the nerves like a steel draught. They ought to hang it up on board the Tower Tender; 'twould make pretty reading for the free-born Englishman, kidnapped from wife and children to fight, and to be cut into a hero to vomit songs about, by the grace of the cat.” And in this irreverent, rebellious fashion would the Member for Liquorish talk of Magna Charta. He called it a great national romance; and never failed to allude to it as evidence of the value of fine fiction upon a people. “Because it ought to be true,” he would say, “they think it is.” And the misanthrope member had odd nicknack toys; and all, as he said, to continually remind him of his duties as a senator and a citizen. He had a model of George the Third's new drop in mahogany. “One of the institutions of my country,” he would say, “improved under the reign of my gracious sovereign. Some folks hang up the royal portrait. Now I prefer the works of a man to his looks. Every ordinary morning I bow once to that engine as a type of the wisdom and philanthropy of a Christian land ; once on common occasions, and three times on hanging-days.” Besides this, he had a toy pillory; with a dead mouse fixed, and twirling in it. “And when I want an unbending of the immortal mind within me—by the way,” Capstick once said to Tangle, “what a bow we do sometimes make of the immortal mind, the better to shoot at one another with—when I want to unbend a little, I place the pillory before me, and pelt the mouse with cherry-stones and crumbs. And you wouldn't believe it, but it does me quite as much good—quite as much—as if the dead mouse was a living man, and the stones and crumbs were mud and eggs.” There were other fantastic movables which, for the present, we must pass. Mr. Capstick, to the astonishment of Tangle, approached a corner cupboard, taking therefrom a decanter of wine and a glass. “You are tired, young woman ; and sometimes a little of this—just a little—is medicine to the weary.” He then poured out the wine ; which the wench obediently swallowed. Had it been the most nauseous drug, there was such a mixture of kindness and authority in the manner of the Member of Parliament, the physic must have gone down. “Mr. Capstick, one word,” said Tangle, and he drew the senator to a corner of the room. “ Doubtless, I made a mistake. But you know we have important business to transact: and no, you never intend to go to Mr. Snipeton's in the same coach with that gentleman's maid-of-all-work 2'' “She won't bite, will she 7" asked Capstick. “Bite!” echoed Tangle. “Coach is at the door, sir,” said Bright Jem, entering the rootn. “Go you first,” said Capstick to Tangle in a tone not to be mistaken ; “I’ll bring the young woman.” And if Tangle had been really a four-footed dog, he would, as he went down stairs, have felt a great depression of the caudal member, whilst the senatorial muffin-maker tript after him with the ignominious maidof-all-work.
FoR some days Snipeton had half resolved to surprise his wife with a present; a dear and touching gift, the miniature of her father. Again and again he had determined upon the graceful act; and as often put the expensive thought aside—trod the weakness down as an extravagant folly. And then it would occur to his benevolence, that he might make a bargain with himself, and at the same time impart a pleasure to his spouse. - The miniature