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[-331-]

CHAPTER CIX.

THE STOCK-BROKER.

UPON a glass-door, leading into offices on a ground floor in Tokenhouse Yard, were the words "JAMES TOMLINSON, Stock-broker."
    It was about eleven o'clock in the morning.
    A clerk was busily employed in writing at a desk in the front office. The walls of this room were covered with placards, bills, and prospectuses, all announcing the most gigantic enterprises, and whose principal features were large figures expressing millions of money.
    These prospectuses were of various kinds. Some merely put forth schemes by which enormous profits were to be realised, but which had not yet arrived to that state of maturity (the point at which the popular gullibility has been laid hold of,) when Directors, Secretaries, and Treasurers can be announced in a flaming list. Others denoted that the projectors had triumphed over the little difficulty of obtaining good names to form a board; and the upper part of this class of prospectuses was embellished with a perfect array of M.P.'s, Aldermen, and Esquires.
    The prospectuses, one and all, set forth, with George-Robins-flourishes and poetico-hyperbolical flowers of rhetoric, the unparalleled and astounding advantages to be reaped from the enterprises respectfully submitted to public consideration and to the monied world especially. The face of the globe was a complete paradise according to those announcements. The interior of Africa was represented to be a perfect mine of gold by the projectors of a company to trade to those salubrious parts; the cannibals of the South Sea Islands became intelligent and interesting beings in the language of another association of speculators; the majestic scenery of the North Pole and the phenomena of the aurora borealis were held out by a colonizing company as inducements to families to emigrate to Spitzbergen; the originators of a scheme for forming railways in Egypt expatiated upon the delights of travelling at the rate of sixty miles an hour through a land famous for its antiquarian remains, and along the banks of a river where the young alligators might he seen disporting in the sun; and numerous other prospectuses of majestic enterprises developed their original principles and prospective benefits to the astounded reader.
    One would have imagined that any individual with a five-pound note in his pocket, had only just to step into Mr. Tomlinson's office, take five shares in as many enterprises, pay one pound deposit upon each, and walk out again a man of vast wealth.
    Mr. Tomlinson himself was seated in a decently [-332-] furnished room, which constituted the "private office." He was looking well, but somewhat careworn, and not quite so comfortable as a man who had passed through the Bankruptcy Court, got his certificate, and was in business once more, might be expected to look. In a word, he had a hard struggle to make his way respectably, and was compelled to meddle in many things that shocked his somewhat sensitive disposition.
    A short, well-dressed, good-humoured man, with a small quick eye, was sitting on one side of the fire, conversing with the stock-broker. 
    "Well, Mr. Tomlinson," he said, "on those conditions I will lend my name to the Irish Railway Company proposed. But, remember, I require fifty shares, and I am not to pay a farthing for them."
    "Oh, of course," cried Tomlinson; "that is precisely the proposal I was instructed to make to you. The fact is, between you and me, the projectors are all men of straw - one came out of Whitecross Street Prison a few weeks ago, and another has been a bankrupt twice and an insolvent seven times; and so they must raise heaven and earth to get good names."
    "'Tis their only plan - their only plan," answered the gentleman; "and I flatter myself," he added, drawing himself up, "that the countenance of Mr. Sheriff Popkins is not to be sneezed at."
    "On the contrary, my dear Mr. Popkins," said Tomlinson, "your name will soon bring a host of others."
    "I should think so, Mr. Tomlinson - I should think so," was the self-sufficient reply.
    "Well, then, Mr. Popkins, shall I make an appointment for you to meet Messrs. Bubble and Chouse to-morrow morning at my office?"
    "If you please, my dear sir. And now I wish you to do a little matter for me. The fact is, I have been fool enough to take thirty shares in a certain railway company, and I have been elected a director. The company is in a most flourishing condition, and so I mean to make them purchase my shares of me. You will accordingly have the kindness to let it be known on 'Change that you have my shares to sell; but you must mind and not part with them. The thing will get to the Company's ears, and they will be terribly alarmed at the prospect of the injury which may be done to the enterprise by a director  offering his shares for sale. They will then send and negotiate with you privately, and you can make a good bargain with them."
    "I understand," said Tomlinson. "I shall only breathe a whisper about the shares being offered for sale, in a quarter whence I know the rumour will immediately fly to the Directors of the Company."
    "Good," observed Mr. Sheriff Popkins. "Here is the scrip: you can tell me what you have done when I call to-morrow morning to meet Messrs. Bubble and Choose."
    The worthy sheriff then withdrew, and Mr. Alderman Sniff was announced.
    Mr. Tomlinson, said this gentleman, " I wish you to do your best for a new Joint Stock-Company which I have just founded. This is the prospectus."
    The stock-broker glanced over it, and said, in a musing manner, "Ah very good indeed - excellent! 'British Marble Company.' Famous idea! 'Capital Two Hundred Thousand Pounds in Ten Thousand Shares of Twenty Pounds Each.' Good again. 'Deposit One Pound per Share.' That will do. Then comes the Board of Directors - all good names. I see you have made yourself Managing Director: well, that's quite fair! Then, again, 'Auditor, Mr. Alderrnam Sniff; Treasurer. Mr. Alderman Sniff; Secretary, Mr. Alderman Sniff.' But who sells the quarry to the Company? Oh! I see, 'Mr. Alderman Sniff.'" 
    "Well, what do you think of it?" demanded the alderman.
    "You ask me candidly, my dear sir?"
    "Certainly," replied the alderman.
    "I think the plan is excellent. The only draw-back to its success, is - shall I speak openly? "
    "I wish you to do so."
    "Then I am of opinion that you have given yourself too many situations," continued Tomlinson. "In the first place you found the Company, and you make yourself Managing Director. Well and good. But then you also sell the quarry to the Company. Now, as Managing Director, you have to award to yourself a sum for that quarry; as Treasurer you pay yourself; as Secretary you draw up the agreements; and as Auditor you confirm your own accounts !"
    "Perfectly correct, Mr. Tomlinson. Is it not a rule that Joint-Stock Companies are never to benefit any one save the founder?"
    "Oh! no one denies that," answered the stock- broker. "What I am afraid of is, that the public will not bite, when they see one man occupying so many situations in the Company."
    "Nonsense, my dear fellow! The name of an alderman will carry every thing before it. Does not the world believe that the Aldermen of the City of London are all as rich as Croesus? "
    "Whereas, between you and me," returned Tomlinson with a sly laugh, "there is scarcely one of them who has got a penny if his affairs came to be wound up."
    "And yet we live gloriously, ha! ha!" chuckled Mr. Alderman Sniff. "But to return to my business: what can you do for me?"
    "I can certainly recommend the enterprise," answered Tomlinson. "But where can the marble be seen?"
    "At my office," said the alderman. "I went and bought the finest piece that was ever imported from Italy; and there it is in my counting-house, labelled 'BRITISH MARBLE' in letters at least half a foot high."
    "Where is the quarry situated ?" inquired Tomlinson.
    "Oh! I haven't quite made up my mind about that yet," was the answer given by Mr. Alderman Sniff. "The truth is, I am going down into Wales this week, and I shall buy the first field I can get cheap in some rude part of the country. That is the least difficulty in the whole enterprise."
    " Your plans are admirable, my dear sir," exclaimed Tomlinson. " I will do all I can for you. Will you take a glass of wine and a biscuit? "
    "No, I thank you - not now," said the Alderman. "I have promised a colleague to sit for him to-day at Guildhall police-court. Last week I was on the rota for attendance there, and I remanded a man who was brought up on a charge of obtaining three and sixpence under false pretences."
    "Indeed?" ejaculated Tomlinson, whose eyes were fixed upon the "Two Hundred Thousand Pounds" in the alderman's prospectus.
    "Yes," continued Mr. Sniff; "and I am going to sit to-day because that fellow comes up again. I mean to clear the City of all such rogues and vagabonds. I shall give him a taste of the treadmill for two months. So, good morning. By the by, call as you pass my office and have a look at the marble; and mind," he added, sinking his voice, [-333-] "you don't let out that it came from Italy. It is pure Welsh marble, remember!"
    Alderman Sniff chuckled at this pleasant idea, and then hastened to Guildhall, where he fully justified his character of being the most severe magistrate in the City of-London.
    A few minutes after Mr. Alderman Sniff had taken his departure, Mr. Greenwood was announced.
    "My dear Tomlinson, I am delighted to see you," said the capitalist. " It is really an age - a week at least  -since I saw you. How do matters get on? "
    "I have prospects of doing an excellent business," answered Tomlinson. "The numberless bubble companies that are started every day, are the making of us stock-brokers. We dispose of shares or effect transfers, and obtain our commission, let the result be what it may to the purchasers."
    "And I hope that you have conquered those ridiculous qualms of conscience which always made a coward of you, when you were in Lombard Street?" said Greenwood.
    "Needs must when the devil drives," observed Tomlinson drily.
    "For my part," continued Greenwood, "I take advantage of this mania on the part of the English for speculation in joint-stock companies and railway shares. A day of reaction will come and the effects will be fearful. Thousands and thousands of families will be involved in irretrievable ruin. That day may not occur for one year - two years - five years - or even ten years ;- but come it will; and the signal for it will be when the House of Commons is inundated with railway and joint-stock company business, and when it is compelled to postpone a portion of that business until the ensuing session. Then confidence will receive a shock: an interval for calm meditation will occur; and the result will be awful. Every one will be anxious to sell shares, and there will he no buyers. Now mark my words, Tomlinson; and, if you speculate on your own account, speculate accordingly. I do so."
    "And you are not likely to go wrong, I know," said Tomlinson. "But stock-brokers do not risk any money of their own: they have plenty of clients, who will do that for them."
    "Then you are really thriving?" asked Greenwood.
    "I am earning a living, and my business is increasing. But I feel hanging like a mill-stone round my neck the thousand pounds which you lent me at twenty per cent. —"
    "Yes - only twenty per cent."
    "Only at twenty per cent.," continued Tomlinson with a sigh: "and I am unable to return you more than one hundred at present, although I agreed to pay you two hundred every four months."
    "The hundred will do," said Greenwood; and he wrote out a receipt for that amount.
    Tomlinson handed him over a number of notes, which Greenwood. counted and then consigned to his pocket.
    "There is a pretty business to be done in the City now," said the capitalist, after a pause. " I contrive to snatch an hour or two now and then from the time which I am compelled to devote to the enlightened and independent body that returned me to Parliament; and I seldom come into the City on those occasions without lending a few hundreds to some poor devil who has over-bought himself in shares."
    "I have no doubt that you thrive, Greenwood," said the stock-broker. " Every man who takes advantage of the miseries of others must get on."
    "To be sure - to be sure," cried the Member of Parliament. " I hope that you will act upon that principle."
    "I have no reason to complain of the business that I am now doing: I act as honestly as I can - and that principle deprives me of many  advantageous affairs. Then I experience annoyance from a constant reminiscence of that poor old man who so nobly sacrificed himself for me."
    "The eternal cry!" ejaculated Greenwood. "If you are so very anxious to find him out, put an advertisement in the Times —"
    "And if he saw it, he would believe it to be a stratagem of the police to arrest him. You know that there is a warrant out against him. The official assignee took that step."
    "Well, let him take his chance; and if he should happen to be captured, we will petition the Home Secretary to diminish the period for which be will be sentenced to transportation. Not that such a step would benefit him much, because his age —"
    "Let us drop this subject, Greenwood," said Tomlinson, evidently affected.
    "With all my heart. I must admit that it moves one's feelings; and if I met the old man in the Street, I should not hesitate to give him a guinea out of my own pocket."
    "A guinea!" cried Tomlinson - and a smile of contempt curled his lips. "Perhaps you would recommend me to bestow a five-pound note upon that poor Italian nobleman whom you cheated out of his fifteen thousand pounds."
    "You need not call him a poor nobleman," answered Greenwood. "He is now worth ten thousand pounds a-year."
    "Indeed! A great change must have taken place, then, in his fortunes?" exclaimed Tomlinson.
    "The fact, in a few words, is this. A young lady, whom I knew well," said Greenwood, "obtained letters of introduction from Count Alteroni to certain friends of his in Montoni, the capital of Castelcicala, to which state she repaired for the benefit of her health, or some such frivolous reason. She had the good fortune to captivate the Grand Duke —"
    "Miss Eliza Sydney, you mean?" said Tomlinson.
    "The same. Did you know her?"
    "Not at all. But I read in the newspapers the account of her marriage with Angelo III. Proceed."
    "The moment she married the Grand Duke, a pension of ten thousand a-year was granted to Count Alteroni, by way of indemnification, I have heard, for his estates, which were confiscated after he had fled the country in consequence of political intrigues."
    "How did you learn all this?"
    "My valet Filippo happens to be a native of Montoni, and he seems well acquainted with all that passes in Castelcicala. Count Alteroni and his family have returned to the villa which they formerly inhabited at Richmond."
    "I am delighted to hear this good news. You have taken a considerable weight off my mind; the transaction with that nobleman was always a subject of self-reproach."
    "I dare say," observed Mr. Greenwood ironically; then, drawing his chair closer to Tomlinson's seat, he added, "You are no doubt the most punctilious and conscientious of all City men. I have something to communicate to you, and must do it briefly [-334-] as I am compelled to return to Spring Gardens, to meet a deputation from the Rottenborough Agricultural Society, at one o'clock precisely - and I never keep such people waiting more than an hour!"
    "That is considerate on your part," said the stock-broker.
    "Don't you think it is? But I did not came here for the sole purpose of chatting. The fact is, a gentleman with whom I am acquainted wants a stock-broker for a very delicate and important business - for a business," added Greenwood, sinking his voice to a whisper, "which requires a man who will be content to put five hundred pounds into his pocket for the service that will be required of him, and perform that service blindfold, as it were."
    "I will do nothing to compromise my safety," said Tomlinson.
    "You will not be required to do so," answered Greenwood. "However, the gentleman I allude to will call upon you in the course of the day, I dare say; and he will then explain to you the service he has to demand at your hands."
    "What is the name of your friend?" inquired Tomlinson.
    "Mr. Chichester - Arthur Chichester," was the reply.
    "Chichester - Chichester," said the stock-broker, musing; "surely I have heard you mention that name before? Ah! now I remember! Did you not complain to me a few days ago that he had been making mischief between you and a certain Sir Rupert Harborough?"
    "I did," answered Greenwood; "and I certainly had good cause for anger against this same Arthur Chichester. But I had become his confidant and adviser in a certain affair a few weeks before I discovered that he had acquainted Sir Rupert Harborough with circumstances which he had better have kept to himself; and I am therefore compelled to continue my assistance and counsel to him until the affair alluded to be brought to a successful termination. Besides, as Sir Rupert and I have settled our little differences, there is no use in bearing malice, especially when something is to be gained by forbearance."
    "I thought you would make that admission," said Tomlinson, laughing. "Well, I shall see your friend, and if, with safety, I can earn five hundred pounds, certainly, in my position, I cannot afford to lose such an opportunity."
    "That is speaking like a reasonable man," observed Greenwood. "Never stick at trifles. What should I be now, if I had hesitated at every step I took? Should I possess a hundred thousand pounds, in good securities ? should I be enabled to gratify every wish, caprice, or desire, whose object money can accomplish? should I be the representative of one of the most independent and intelligent constituencies in England ? Ah, my dear fellow, think of me and my position when you hesitate;  and always make money after the well-authorised system - honestly, if you can; but, at all events, make money."
    With these words, Mr. Greenwood took his departure.
    "Yes," mused Tomlinson, when he was alone once more, "that man is right! Make money, honestly, if you can; but, at all events, make money. That is the burden of his song; why should it not be the chorus of mine? When I look around me, I see every one making money upon the same plan. Sheriff Popkins does not hesitate to lend his name to a bubble; and Alderman Sniff concocts one! And they are men of reputation - holding important offices - appearing at Court - wielding power - exercising influence. This is indeed a wide field for contemplation. Why, Greenwood, in his bold, dashing manner, gains more in a day than I, in my miserable, droning fashion, earn in a month. To be afraid to touch the gold that is thrown in one's way in this wonderful city, is to be a coward - a very coward. Yes - I see it all! Greenwood is right. Make money - honestly, if you can; but, at all events, make money!"
    Mr. Tomlinson's soliloquy had arrived at this very pleasing conclusion, just as the door of his office opened, and a clerk entered to acquaint his master that a gentleman of the name of Chichester desired to speak to him.
    "Show Mr. Chichester in," said Tomlinson.
    Mr. Chichester was dressed in his usually fashionable manner; and his gait had lost nothing of the care-nothing-for-anybody kind of swagger which characterised him when he was first introduced to the reader.
    Having thrown himself listlessly upon a chair, he said, "I presume our mutual friend Greenwood has mentioned my name to you, Mr. Tomlinson?"
    "He has. I was prepared for your visit."
    "But not for its object, perhaps ?"said Chichester. 
    "I am as yet ignorant on that head," was the reply.
    "Mr. Greenwood then told you nothing —"
    "Nothing, save an intimation that my services were required in a certain delicate and important matter, and that five hundred pounds would be my remuneration."
    "Perfectly correct," answered Mr. Chichester. "Are you disposed to aid me on the proposed terms ? "
    "I must first learn the nature of the business in which my interference is needed.2
    "And if you should then decline?"
    "You shall have my solemn assurance that what you confide to me remains buried in my own bosom."
    "That is what I call a proper understanding," exclaimed Chichester. "You must know, then, that some three months ago I wooed, and won, a widow lady, not very ugly, certainly, but whose principal attraction consisted of the sum of sixteen thousand pounds in the three and a half per cents. She was five and twenty years of age, and possessed of a sweet little house in the neighbourhood of the Cambridge Heath gate. I met her one evening in July or August last at a party at my father's house - when I was doing the amiable to the old gentleman in order to sound his pockets; and my father whispered to me that I ought to make up to Mrs. Higgins. Certainly the name was not very aristocratic; but then her Christian name was Viola; and I thought that Viola Chichester would be pretty enough. I accordingly flirted with the widow on that occasion, and we seemed tolerably pleased with each other. I called next day - and every now and then, when I had time; but I, really, scarcely entertained serious thoughts of making her an offer, until one day when I was desperately hard up, and I saw my friend Harborough involved in such difficulties that we could not do any good together. So I got into an omnibus in Bishopsgate Street, went down to Cambridge Heath, called upon Mrs. Higgins, and then and there offered her my heart and hand. She accepted me. We had a pleasant little chat about money matters: she stated that her late husband, a wealthy builder, had left her sixteen thousand pounds; and, of course, I could not make [-335-] myself out a pauper. Besides, she knew that my father was tolerably well off. I assured her that I was possessed of a few thousands, and that the old gentleman allowed me three hundred a-year into the bargain. She stipulated that all her own money should be settled upon herself. I demurred to this proposal; but she was obstinate; and I then discovered that Mrs. Viola Higgins had a very determined will and a very positive temper of her own. I thought to myself, 'Here is a charming widow who throws herself into my arms, and who possesses a decent fortune; it would be madness to neglect so golden an opportunity of enriching myself. Besides,'  I reasoned, 'when once we are married, it will be very easy for me to wheedle the affectionate creature out of any money that I may require.' Well, I consented to the settlement of all her property upon herself; and in due course we were married. I did not mention the matter to any of my West-End friends, because I did not like to invite them to the wedding - I was afraid their offhand manners would alarm the bride, and give her an unfavourable opinion with regard to myself. So the business was kept very snug and quiet; and we passed the honey-moon at my wife's sister and brother-in-law's, very decent people in their way, and dwelling at Stratford-le-Bow. On our return to London, I thought it time to break the ice in respect to my own pecuniary situation. The truth was, that I had not a penny-piece of my own, and that my father had long since withdrawn his support, in consequence of the immense drains I had made upon his purse. I was moreover encumbered with debts; and some of my tradesmen had found me out and began to call at the house at Cambridge Heath. They even used menaces. My position was truly critical. I did not marry the widow merely with a view to take her out for a walk, sit by the fire-aide chatting, or read a book while she worked. I wanted money, - money to pay my debts, - money to enjoy myself with. Accordingly I broke the ice by very candidly avowing that I had not a shilling. I, however, swore that her beauty and accomplishments had alone induced me thus to deceive her. But - oh! the vixen! She flew into such a passion that I thought she would tear my eyes out. She raved and wept - and wept and raved - and then reproached and taunted, - until I wished one of us at the devil, and scarcely cared which went there. The scene ended in Viola's falling into a fit of hysterics; and she was compelled to go to bed. I was most assiduous to her; and my attentions evidently softened her. In a few hours she grow calm, and then said, 'Arthur, you have deceived me grossly; but I can forgive you. I do not regret the loss of the wealth end income which you led me to believe were yours; I am only sorry that you should have thought it necessary to practise such a measure to induce me to marry you. But let what is past be forgotten. The income derived from my property is sufficient for us; and, if you will be kind and good to me, this deception shall never more trouble our happiness.'"
    "I think Mrs. Chichester spoke like a generous, sensible, and noble-hearted woman," observed Tomlinson, who was nevertheless, at a loss to conceive how all these details could be connected with the service which Mr. Chichester required at his bands.
    "Ahem!" exclaimed that gentleman, who did not seem to relish the remark particularly well. "However, all that fine feeling was mere outward show with my wife," he continued; "for she was inexorable in her refusal to sell out or mortgage any of her funded property for my use. I told her that I had debts. 'Give a list to my solicitor,' she said, 'and he shall compromise with your creditors.' I assured her that I could make a better bargain with them myself. She would not believe me. I then declared point-blank that I did not mean to remain tied to her apron-strings; that she must at least settle half the property upon me; that I desired to keep a horse and cab, and introduce my friends to my wife; and that I was resolved we should live as people of property ought to live. It was then that she showed her inveterate obstinacy, and manifested the worst shades of an infamous temper. She agreed to allow me one hundred a-year for my clothes and pocket-money, but would not give me any control over her property. As for horses, cabs, and West End friends, she ridiculed the idea. I prayed, threatened, and reasoned by turns: she was as immoveable as Mount Atlas. Several days were passed in perpetual arguments upon the subject; but the more I prayed, threatened, and reasoned, the more obstinate she grew. One morning we had a desperate quarrel. I swore that I would be revenged - that I would extort from her by violence or other means, what she refused to yield to argument. Nothing, however, could move her; she said that she would not ruin herself to gratify my extravagances. This was nearly a month ago. I bounced out of the house, and hurried up to the West End of the town, as fast as I could go, to nee and consult my friend Sir Rupert Harborough. But, as I was on my way thither - for I actually had not even money in my pocket to pay a cab - I accidentally met Greenwood. He saw that I was annoyed and vexed, and inquired the reason. I told him all. He reflected for some moments, and then said, 'Do not consult Harborough in this matter. He cannot assist you. There is only one course to adopt with such a woman as this. You must put her under restraint.' I told him that nothing would please me better; but that I should have all her friends upon me if I threw her into a lunatic asylum; and that I was, moreover, without the means to take a single step. Greenwood and I went into a tavern, and discussed the business over a bottle of wine. He then laid down a certain plan, made certain stipulations respecting remuneration for himself, and offered to back me in carrying the matter to the extreme. Of course I assented to all he proposed. The whole affair was managed in such a manner as —"
    "As none but Greenwood could manage it," observed Tomlinson.
    "Exactly," returned Chichester. "Indeed, he is a thorough man of business! He procured two surgeons to call at separate times, at the house at Cambridge Heath, ostensibly to see me. I took care to be at home. They also saw my wife; and the result was that they granted the certificates I required."
    "Certificates of an unsound state of mind ?" inquired Tomlinson.
    "Certificates of an unsound state of mind," repeated Chichester, affirmatively. "Greenwood managed it all - keeping himself, however, entirely in the back-ground. He found the surgeons - provided me with money to fee them - and then recommended to me a keeper of a lunatic asylum, who is not over particular. These proceedings occupied two or three days, during which I was on my very best behaviour with my wife; but if ever I [-336-] hinted to her the propriety of acceding to my wishes in respect to the disposal of her property, she cut me short by the assurance that her decision was irrevocable. I really wished to avoid extreme measures; but with such a disobedient, self-willed, obstinate woman, leniency was an impossibility. Accordingly, I one evening allured her, during a walk, into the immediate vicinity of the lunatic asylum : the streets were lonely and deserted ; and it was already dark. The keeper of the mad-house had been prepared for the execution of the project that evening; and he was at his post. As we slowly passed by his house, he sprang forward from some recess or dark nook, and fixed a plaster over my wife's mouth. Thus not a cry could escape her lips. At the same moment we seized her, and conveyed her into the asylum."
    "That was three weeks ago?" inquired Tomlinson.
    Chichester nodded an assent.
    "And she has not come to her senses yet ?"
    "She has at length," was the answer. "I received a letter yesterday from the keeper of the asylum, stating that her spirit is broken, and that she is now ready to obey her husband in all things. The keeper wrote to me a few days ago to state that his mode of cure was producing a favourable result; and yesterday he intimated to me by another letter that the mode alluded to had proved completely successful."
    "What course do you now intend to pursue?" demanded Tomlinson, who began to suspect the manner in which his services were to be made available.
    "I immediately communicated the important contents of this second letter to Greenwood," continued Chichester, "and he recommended me to apply to you to aid me in completing the business. My wife now sees her folly, and is willing to devote one half of her property - namely, eight thousand pounds, to the use and purposes of her lawful husband; and I am generous enough to be satisfied with that sum, instead of insisting upon having the whole."
    "I understand you," said Tomlinson: "you require a stock-broker to effect the transfer of eight thousand pounds from the name of your wife into your own name."
    "And to sell out the amount when so transferred," added Chichester.
    "It will be necessary for me to obtain the signature of your wife to a certain paper," observed Tomlinson.
    "Greenwood has told me all this. In one word, will you accompany me to the asylum where my wife is confined, and obtain her signature?"
    "If she be willing to give it, I am willing to receive it - as a matter of business," answered Tomlinson. "But, are you sure - in a word, what guarantee have you that she will not denounce the whole proceeding to the officers of justice - rally her friends around her - appeal to the law - and punish every one concerned in the business?"
    "Listen. The document which she agrees to sign is a general power on my behalf over eight thousand pounds in the Bank of England: this power will be dated two months back - a month after our marriage. We must be supposed to have called at your office on a particular day at that period, on which occasion she signed the power in your presence. It being a general power of transfer, it would not seem extraordinary that I did not use it until now - that is, two months after it was given. This night must she sign the deed: to-morrow you must transfer and sell out the money. Then tomorrow night, she shall be conveyed back to the house at Cambridge Heath. The two servants whom we keep are bribed to my interest: they are ready, in case of need, to prove the existence of those symptoms of insanity which justified the certificates of the surgeons and the restraint under which my wife has been placed. How, then, can she do us an injury? If she proclaim her 'wrongs' -as she may call them, you can prove that the power of transfer could not have been extorted from her in a mad-house, as it was signed two months ago at your office! Then, if she were to speak of the mode of treatment adopted by the keeper of that mad-house to curb her haughty spirit, the accusation would be indignantly denied ; and her statements would be set down to a disordered imagination, and would justify further restraint. Be you well assured, that she will never say or do any thing that may endanger her liberty again! No - the fact is simply this' we divide the property, and separate for ever. She will be glad to get rid of a husband like me: I shall not be sorry to dissolve - as far as we can dissolve it - a connexion with a woman of her mean, griping, and avaricious disposition."
    "This is Greenwood's scheme throughout," said Tomlinson. "No other man living could plot such admirable combinations to effect a certain object, without danger to any one."
    "Do you consent to act in this matter, on consideration of retaining for yourself five hundred pounds of the money which you will have to transfer and sell out to-morrow?"
    "I do consent," replied Tomlinson, after a few moments' reflection, during which he muttered to himself, "Make money - honestly, if you can; but, at all events, make money."
    "To-night-at ten o'clock, will you come to me at my house at Cambridge Heath?" inquired Chichester.
    "I will," was the answer. "But let me ask you one question ;-what excuse have you made to your wife's friends for this absence of three weeks?"
    "In the first place," said Chichester, "her only relations consist of a sister and this sister's husband at Stratford-le-Bow; and they are so immersed in the cares of business, that they have not called once at Cambridge Heath ever since our marriage. Secondly, my wife always lived in a very retired manner, and has very few acquaintances or friends besides my father's family. It was therefore easy to satisfy the one or two persons who did call, with the excuse that Mrs. Chichester had gone on a short visit to some relatives in the country."
    "And you feel convinced your precautions are so wisely taken, that she will never open her lips relative to the past?" said Tomlinson.
    "I am confident that she will not breathe a word that may lead to her return to the place where she now is," answered Chichester, with a significant look and emphatic solemnity of tone.
    "Then I will not hesitate to serve you in this business," said Tomlinson. "To-night-at ten o'clock."
    "To-night-at ten o'clock," repeated Chichester and with these words he departed.
    When he was gone, Tomlinson paced his office in an agitated manner.
    "The die is cast - I am now about to plunge into crime!" he said. " And yet how could I avoid - how could I long procrastinate this step? These mean tricks - these dishonourable dealings - these deceptive schemes in which we brokers are com-[-337-]

pelled to near a part, only serve to prepare the way for more daring and more criminal pursuits. Five hundred pounds at one stroke! That is a little fortune to a man, struggling against the world, like me! Four hundred will I pay to Greenwood - the other hundred will swell my little account at the bankers'; for who can hope to do any extent of business in this city without a good name at his bankers'?"
    Tomlinson ceased, and sate down calm and collected. Alas! how easy is it to reason oneself into a belief of the existence of a necessity for pursuits of dishonesty or crime!
    The clerk entered the private office, and said, "Sir, there is a person, who refuses to give his name, waiting to speak to you."
    "Let him come in," replied Tomlinson.
    The clerk ushered in a man of cadaverous countenance, bushy brows, and large whiskers, and who was dressed in a suit of black.
    "Your business, sir? " said the stock-broker, who did not much like the appearance of his visitor.
    "Your name's Tomlinson?" remarked the man, coolly taking a chair.
    "Yes. What would you with me?"
    " James Tomlinson," continued the man, referring to a scrap of paper, which he took from his waistcoat pocket, " late banker in Lombard Street?"
    "The same," said Tomlinson, impatiently.
    "Then I took it down right, although he did speak in such a confused manner," observed the man, muttering rather to himself than to Mr. Tomlinson.
    "What do you mean?" demanded the stock-broker.
    "I mean that there's a person who wants to set you," answered the stranger. "I don't know that I'm exactly right in saying wants, because he is in such a state that he can neither want nor care about any thing. At the same time, I think it would be as well if you was to see him."
    "Who is this person?" cried Tomlinson.
    "A man that seems to know you well enough, if I can understand his ravings."
    "Ravings!" repeated the stock-broker, already influenced by a slight misgiving.
    "Ravings, indeed! and enough to make him rave! To be laid out as dead for four days, then put in a coffin, buried, and be had up again within [-338-] ten or a dozen hours :- if that wouldn't make a man rave - what the devil would?"
    "Have the goodness to explain yourself. Every word you utter is an enigma to me."
    "But it wasn't an enigma to my poor friend when the stiff 'un suddenly put a cold hand upon his. However, in two words, do you know a person called Michael Martin?"
    "Michael Martin!" cried the stock-broker. "Speak-  what has become of him?"
    "He has been ill —"
    "Ill! poor old man! and I not to know it!"
    "Worse than that! He died —"
    "Died! Where - when?"
    "Died - and was buried."
    "Trifle not with me. When did he die? where is he buried?"
    "He died - was buried - and came to life again!" said the stranger, with the most provoking coolness.
    "Sir," exclaimed Tomlinson, advancing towards his visitor, and speaking in a firm and emphatic manner, "if you have called to tell me any thing concerning Michael Martin, speak without mystification."
    "Well, sir," returned the stranger, "the plain truth is this:- An old man, without a name, took up his abode in a by-street in Globe Town some months ago. He was taken ill, and, to all appearance, died. He was buried. A surgeon fancied him as a subject, and hired me and a friend of mine to have him up again. We resurrectionized him, and took him in a cart last night to the surgeon's house. He was conveyed into the dissecting-room, and stretched on the table. The doctor and I went into the surgery to settle the expenses; and, in the mean time, my friend was left alone with the stiff 'un. It seems that a neighbour, suspecting that the surgeon now and then got a subject for his experiments, saw the cart stop at the door, and immediately understood what was going on. He went into his garden, which joins the yard where the dissecting-house stands, and seeing a light in the window of the dissecting-house, he felt sure that his suspicions were well founded, although he could not see into the place, because there was a dark blind drawn down over the window. However, the neighbour was resolved to clear up his doubts; so he took up a brick-bat, and threw it as hard as he could against the window. The glass was broken, and the light extinguished. My friend, who was left alone with the stiff 'un, was somewhat startled at this occurrence; but how much more was he alarmed when he suddenly felt the body stretch out its hand and catch hold of one of his?"
    "Then Michael Martin was not dead?" ejaculated Tomlinson, in a tone which expressed alike the tenderness of deep emotion and also the bitterness of disappointment; for, perhaps, all circumstances considered, the ex-banker would rather have heard a confirmation of the death, than an account of the resuscitation of his late clerk.
    "No - the old man is not dead. The doctor and myself were in the surgery, when we heard the smash of the window and the cry of the Buf— of my friend, I mean."
    "Of your brother resurrectionist, I suppose," continued Tomlinson, in a tone of ineffable disgust. " Well, go on."
    "We went into the dissecting-room with a lamp, and there we found the light put out, and my comrade insensible on the floor. But what was more extraordinary still, we saw the corpse gasping for breath. 'He is not dead!' cried the surgeon; and in a moment a lancet was stuck into his arm. The blood would not flow at first, but the surgeon chafed his temples and hands by turns; and in a few moments the blood trickled out pretty freely. Mean-time I had recovered my companion, and explained  to him the nature of the phenomenon that had taken place. When he heard the real truth, he was no longer alarmed, because be knew very well that  people are often buried in a trance. In fact, one night, about eighteen months ago, he and I went to Old Saint Pancras church-yard to get up a stiff 'un,  and when we opened the coffin, we found that the body had turned completely round on its face; it was, however, stone dead when we got it up - and never shall I forget what a countenance it had! But of that no matter."
    "Have the goodness to keep to your present narrative," said Tomlinson, scarcely able to conceal his disgust at the presence of a resurrectionist - an avowed body-snatcher.
    "Well," continued the man with the cadaverous countenance, "in a very few minutes we completely recovered the old gentleman. I obeyed all the directions of the surgeon, and ran backwards and forwards to the pharmacy for God only knows what salts and what ammonia. At last the subject gave a terrible groan, opened his eyes, and exclaimed, 'Where am I?' The surgeon assured him that he was in safety - that he had been very ill - that he was now much better - and so on. Meantime, by the surgeon's orders, I had called up his house-keeper, (for he is a bachelor,) and she had got a bed prepared and warmed, and some hot water ready, and every thing comfortable. Well, we carried the old gentleman up to bed; the doctor gave him a little warm brandy and water; and in another half hour, he was able to speak a few words in a comprehensible manner. But his brain seemed confused, and all we could learn was that his name was 'Michael Martin,' and that he raved after a gentleman, whom he called 'James Tomlinson, the banker.' "
    "Ah! he said that - did he?" cried Tomlinson, rising, and pacing the room with agitated steps.
    "He did," was the reply. "And then we began to think that we had heard those names before; and, in a few minutes, I - who know every thing," added the man, fixing his serpent-like eyes upon the stock-broker with a kind of fiendish leer,- "I," he continued, " remembered that Michael Martin was the man who had been the cashier in the bank of Tomlinson and Company, Lombard Street."
    "But did he say - did he —" began the stock broker, gasping for breath,- "did he —"
    "He raved - he grew delirious; and in his wanderings, he said enough to prove that he was not guilty of the breach of trust imputed to him."
    "O God! thy vengeance overtakes me, then, at last!" cried Tomlinson, sinking, pale and trembling upon a chair.
    "He said much - very much," continued the man whose revelations had thus produced so strange an effect upon James Tomlinson. " But do not alarm yourself - I am not one to peach; and the doctor himself is not likely to say any thing that might lead to an awkward inquiry into the circumstances that brought the old gentleman into his  house. Remember, the law now punishes with transportation those who resurrectionize, and those who encourage resurrectionists."
    "Then you will not betray me?" ejaculated Tomlinson, a ray of hope animating his countenance.
    [-339-] "Betray you!" echoed the man, with a contemptuous curl of his lip and a ferocious leer of his eyes, which gleamed from beneath their bushy brows like those of a hyena from the shade of an over-hanging brake: "betray you! What good should I get by that? You know that a reward of three thousand pounds was offered to any one who would deliver up this Michael Martin; and as a man of sense, you must also understand that it would not be very convenient for me to go forward and claim this reward. At the same time, I might talk - or my friend might talk; no one could prevent that; and such-like idle gossiping would lead to the detection of the old man. Now you are the best judge whether or not it is worth while to put a seal upon our lips. We don't want to be hard upon you ;- but, perhaps," added the man, interrupting himself, "you had better see the old gentleman first, and then you will know that I am telling you the truth."
    "When can I see him? where is he?" demanded Tomlinson, almost bewildered by the sudden revelation which had been made to him concerning Michael Martin.
    "You had better put off your visit till dusk," was the reply; "because I should like to go with you, and the surgeon would not be very well pleased if I called upon him in the day-time."
    "Let it be at dusk, them," said Tomlinson.
    "Name your hour."
    "I have an engagement between nine and ten o'clock to-night," returned the stock-broker.
    "And so have I," said the visitor. "What should you say to seven o'clock? It is as dark then as it is at ten or eleven."
    "Seven will suit me well," answered Tomlinson. "Where shall I meet you?"
    "At Bethnal Green New Church - the church that stands in the Cambridge Road, and faces the Bethnal Green Road," explained the body-snatcher.
    "You can be walking up and down there a few minutes before seven - I shall not keep you waiting."
    "I will be punctual," said Tomlinson. " But - once more - you will not betray me?"
    "Ridiculous!" was the contemptuous reply. 
    "And this surgeon - will he not be tempted by the reward to —"
    "Do you think he would walk straight into Newgate and say, 'I am come to be transported for encouraging and employing resurrection men?' You need not alarm yourself. Me and my comrade will settle the matter amicably with you."
    The body-snatcher then took his departure.
    Tomlinson threw himself back in his chair, pressed both his hands against his heated forehead, and exclaimed in a tone of despair, "I have fervently prayed that I might meet my poor old clerk again, and heaven has granted my request - but merely to punish me for my crimes!"

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