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stands before you; and, yes, you'll also continue to be kind to your mother. And now, you’d better go and look to the horse that I've left at the garden gate.” St. Giles, glad of the dismissal, hurried from the room. He had coloured and looked confused, and shifted so uneasily where he stood, that he feared his mistress mightnote his awkwardness; and thus suspect him for the lies of the apothecary—for whom St. Giles, in the liberality of his shamefacedness, blushed exceedingly. Great, however, was the serenity of Crossbone on all such occasions. Indeed, he took the same pleasure in falsehood as an epicure receives from a wellseasoned dish. He looked upon lies as the pepper, the spices of daily life; they gave a relish to what would otherwise be flat and insipid. Hence, he would now and then smack his lips at a bouncing flam, as though throughout his whole moral and physical anatomy, he hugely enjoyed it: flourished, and grew fat upon it. “And now, my dear Mrs. Snipeton—Mrs. Wilton, with your leave, I'll talk a little with my patient,” and Crossbone, with an imperious smile, waved his hand towards the door. Mrs. Wilton stirred not from her sewing ; said not a word ; but looked full in the face of her daughter. “Oh no ; certainly not,” said Clarissa; “Mrs. Wilton has had too much trouble with her invalid, to refuse to listen to any further complaints; though, indeed, sir,” said Clarissa significantly, “I fear 'tis your anxiety alone that makes them so very—very dangerous.” “Ha! my dearmadam. You are not aware of it—patients arn’t aware of it—perhaps it is wisely ordered so—but the eye of the true doctor can see, madam—can see.” “Pray go on, sir,” said Clarissa; and, Crossbone, a little puzzled, needed such encouragement. “Why, at this moment, madam ”—said the apothecary, suddenly breaking new ground—“at this moment, were you turned to glass, to transparent glass, I could not more plainly observe the symptoms that, as you say, I exaggerate. And in fact, to the true physician, the human anatomy is glass—nothing but glass; though, of course, we must not to the timid and delicate reveal every disease as we behold it. However, I have brought with me the most certain remedy. Safe and speedy, I assure you.” And with such erudite discourse did Crossbone strive to entertain his patient; who endured, with fullest female resignation, the learning of the doctor.
St. Giles, leaving the house, hurried through the garden to take charge of the horse. Arrived at the gate, he saw the animal led by a man down the road, at a greater distance from the house, than was necessary for mere exercise. Immediately he ran off, calling to the fellow who led the animal; but the man, although he slackened his pace, never turned his head or answered a syllable. “Hallo, my man! ” cried St. Giles, “where are you leading that ?”—and then he paused; for Tom Blast slowly turned himself about, and letting the bridle fall in his arms, stared at the speaker. “Why, what's the matter, mate 7 I'm only taking care o' the gentleman's horse ; jest walking him that he mayn't catch cold. You don't think I'd steal him, do you?” asked Blast, winking. “What—what brings you here again, Blast 7" stammered St. Giles, scarce knowing what he said. “What brings me here 2 Why, bread brings me here. Bread o' any sort, or any colour; dry bread at the best ; for I can't get it buttered like some folks. Well, it's like the world. No respect for old age, when it walks arm in arm with want ; no honour or nothin' o' that sort paid to grey hairs, when there's no silver in the pocket. Well, I must say it—I can't help it, tho' it goes to my art to say it, but the sooner I'm out o' this world the better, for I'm sick of men. Men They're wipers with legs,” and the inimitable hypocrite spoke with so much passion, so much seeming sincerity, that St. Giles was for a moment confounded by a vague sense of ingratitude ; for a moment he ceased to remember that the old crime-grained man before him had been the huckster of his innocence, his liberty, —had made him the banned creature that he was, breathing a life of doubt and terror. “What do you want? What will satisfy you?” asked St. Giles despairingly. “Ha! now you talk with some comfort in your woice. What will satisfy me? There is some sense in that. Now you remind me of a little boy that was the apples of my eyes, and would have been the very likes o' you, but—well, I won't talk of that, for it always makes my throat burn, and makes the world spin round me like a top. I don't want much. No: I’ve outlived all the rubbish and gingerbread of life, and care for nothing but the simple solids. It's a wonder, young man, what time does with us. How, as I. may say, it puts spectacles to our eyes, and makes us look into mill-stones. What will satisfy me? Well, I do think I could go to the grave decent on a guinea a week.” “Very likely; I should think so,” said St. Giles. “A guinea a-week, paid reglar on Saturdays. For reglarity doubles the sum. I might ha’ saved as much for my old age, for the money that's been through my hands in my time. Only the drawback upon thieving is this, there's nothing certain in it. No man, let him be as steady as old times, no man as is a thief”— “Hush somebody may hear you,” cried St. Giles, looking terrified about him. “I’m speakin' of a man's misfortun, not his fault,” cried the immovable Blast; “no man as is a thief can lay up for a decent old age. Have what luck we will, that's where the honest fellars get the better on us. And so you see, instead o' having nothin to do but smoke my pipe and go to the public-house, I'm obligated in my old age to crawl about and hold horses, and do anything ; and anything is always the worst paid work a man can take money for. Now, with a guinea a week, wouldn't I be a happy, quiet, lice old gentleman' Don't you think it's in me, eh, young man?” “I wish you had it,” said St. Giles. “I wish so with all my heart. But give me the bridle.” “By no means,” said Blast. “How do I know you was sent for the horse ? How do I know you mightn't want to steal it?” “Steal it!” cried St. Giles, and the thought of the past made him quiver with indignation. “Why, horses are stole,” observed Mr. Blast, with the serenity of a philosophical demonstrator. “Look here, now : if I was to give up this horse, what hinders you—I don't say you would do it —but what hinders you from taking a quiet gallop to Smithfield, and when you get there, selling him to some old gentleman and”— “Silence 1 Devil! beast !” exclaimed St. Giles, raising his fist at the tormentor. “No, no ; you don't mean it,”—said Blast—“you wouldn't hit a old man like me, I know you wouldn't. 'Cause if you was only to knock me down, I know I should call out, I couldn't help myself. And then, somebody might come up; p'raps a constable; and then—oh ! I'm as close as a cockle with a secret, I am, when I'm not put upon, but when my blood's up,-bless your soul, I know my weakness, I'd hang my own brother. I should be very sorry, in course, arterwards; but he'd swing—as I'm a living sinner, he'd swing,” and Blast, as he stared at St. Giles, gently smacked his lips, and gently rubbed his palms together. “I ask your pardon; I didn't know what I said. Here's a shilling ; now give me the bridle,” said St. Giles. “I spose it's all right,” said Blast, rendering up his charge, and significantly eyeing the coin. “I s'pose it's all right ; but only to think of this world! Only to think that you should give me a shilling for holding a horse ! Well, if a man could only know it, wouldn't it break his heart outright to look at the bits o' boys that afore he died, would be put clean over his head 2 It's a good shillin', isn't it?” “To be sure it is ; and an honest one, too,” said St. Giles. “Glad to hear that: tho' I don't know it will go a penny the further. I wish the colour had been yellow, eh?” “I wish so, too, for your sake. Good day,” and St. Giles sought to shake his evil genius off. “I'm in no urry. Time's no good to me: you may have the pick of any of the four-and-twenty hours at your own price,” said Blast, following close at his side. “And so, they've turned you over from St. James's-square to the old money-grubber? Well, he's very rich ; though I don't think the sops in the will be as many as you'd been greased with at his lordship's. For all that, he's very rich ; and you wouldn't think what a lot of plate the old man's got.” “How do you know that ?” asked St. Giles. “I dream'd it only last night, I had a wision, and I thought that the mother of little Jingo”— “Don’t talk of it, man—don't talk of it,” exclaimed St. Giles, “I won't hear it.” “I must talk on it,” said Blast, sidling the closer, and striding as St. Giles strode. “I must talk on it. It comforts me. I dreamed that the poor soul come to me, and told me to follow her, and took me into old Snipeton's cottage there, and showed me the silver tankards, and silver dishes, and even counted up the silver tea-spoons, that there was no end of ; and then, when she'd put all the plate afore me, she vanished off, and I was left alone with it. In course you know what followed.” “I can guess,” groaned St, Giles. “How rich I was while I was snoring, last night; and when I woke I was as poor as goodness. But somehow, my dream's fell true—I can't help thinking it—since I've fell in with you.” “How so, man? What have I to do with Mr. Snipeton's plate, but to see nobody steals it?” said St. Giles, firmly. “To be sure ; and yet when there's so much silver about, and a guinea a week—well, I'll say a pound, then—a pound a week would make a fellow-cretur happy, and silent for life—I said, silent for life”— St. Giles suddenly paused, and turned full upon Blast. “Go your ways, man—go your ways. Silent or not silent, you do not frighten me. What I may do for you, I'll do of my own free will, and with my own money, such as it is. And, after all, I think 't will serve you better to hold your tongue, than "– “I wouldn't kill the goose for all the eggs at once,” said Blast, grinning at the figure. St. Giles felt deadly sick. He had thought to brave—defy the ruffian; but the power of the villain, the fate that with a word he could call down upon his victim, unnerved him. St. Giles, with entreating looks, motioned him away ; and Blast leering at him, and then tossing up the shilling with his finger and thumb, passed on, leaving St. Giles at the garden gate, where stood Clarissa, brought there by the earnest entreaties of Crossbone, to view the horse—the wondrous steed that was to endow its mistress with new health and beauty. “You may see at a glance, madam, there's Arab blood in the thing ; and yet as gentle as a rabbit. Young man, just put her through her paces. Bless you! she'd trot over eggs, and never crack 'em. A lovely mare ’’ cried Crossbone, “all her brothers and sisters, I'm assured of it, in the royal stables.” “I'm afraid, too beautiful—much too spirited for me, sir,” said Clarissa, as St. Giles ambled the creature to and fro. Ere, however, Crossbone could make reply—assuring the lady, as he proposed to do, that she would sit the animal as securely and withal as gracefully as she would sit a throne,—Mr. Snipeton, full of the dust and cobwebs of St. Mary Axe, trotted to the gate. His first feeling was displeasure, when he saw his wife exposed beneath the open sky to the bold looks of any probable passenger; and then she turned such a kind and cordial face upon him, that for the happy moment, he could have wished all the dwellers of the earth spectators of her beauty, beaming as it did upon her glorified husband. It was plain: love so long dormant, timid within her