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SCENE AT MR. CHICHESTER'S HOUSE.
IT was about half-past nine on the same evening that the above incidents
occurred, when a double knock at the front door echoed through Mr. Chichester's
dwelling, in the immediate vicinity of the Cambridge Heath Gate.
[-341-] Mr. Chichester himself
was seated in an elegantly- furnished parlour, sipping a glass of excellent
Madeira, and pondering upon the best means of enjoying himself when he should
have fingered the cash to obtain which he had perpetrated so diabolical an
outrage against the confiding woman who had bestowed upon him her hand, and made
him a partner in the enjoyment, if not in the actual possession, of her fortune.
The room was not large, but very comfortable; and at one end
a pair of ample folding doors, now closed, afforded admission into a back
A few moments after the echo of the double-knock above
mentioned, through the house, a female servant entered and announced Mr.
Having requested the stock-broker to be seated, Mr.
Chichester followed the servant into the hall, and said to her in a low whisper,
"When the other person comes, show him into the back parlour, as I may
require to have some conversation with this gentleman before I introduce them to
This command being given, Mr. Chichester returned to the room
where he had left Mr. Tomlinson.
"You are before your time," said Chichester,
pushing the decanter and a glass towards the stockbroker: "that looks like
"I accidentally had an appointment upon some business in
this neighbourhood," was the reply; "and when that matter was disposed
of, I came I straight hither."
"We cannot repair to the lunatic asylum until ten or
half-past," said Chichester, "because, as a precaution, the keeper has
promised to call upon me presently, and report whether my wife continues in the
same docile mood as when he wrote to me yesterday afternoon."
"I should be delighted to hear that you could settle
this unpleasant - very unpleasant affair in some amicable way," returned
Tomlinson, whose mind was still painfully excited by the interview which had
taken place between him and his late cashier.
"Impossible, my dear sir!" ejaculated Chichester.
"These is no way save the one chalked out. "I hope that you do not
hesitate to fulfil the agreement into which you entered with me."
"The truth is, Mr. Chichester," said Tomlinson,
"there is no man in London to whom a few hundreds of pounds would prove as
welcome as to me - especially as to-morrow I have to pay two hundred to men who
will not be very well pleased to experience a disappointment. It is true that I
possess such a sum at my bankers'; but I dare not draw out every shilling - my
credit would be ruined."
"So much the better reason for doing as I require of
you," said Chichester, filling the glasses with Madeira.
"True," observed Tomlinson. "But, on the other
hand, I tremble to take a false step - I fear to jeopardize myself by connivance
at a direct conspiracy "
"Pshaw!" cried Chichester. "What is the use of compunction on the
part of a man who stands in so much need of money as yourself?"
Tomlinson was about to reply, when a low knock at the front door fell upon
"It is no one - of any consequence," said Chichester; then,
as he refilled the glasses, he muttered to himself, "There is no use in
introducing these men to each other, unless this milk-and-water fool is quite
agreeable to act."
"Did you make an observation?" inquired the stock-broker.
"I was observing that it was no one of any consequence
;- only some person for the servants, most probably. But let me now ask you
seriously, Mr. Tomlinson, whether you feel disposed to proceed further in this
matter or not?"
"Candidly speaking, I would rather not," was the reply.
"Then you were wrong to give me a false hope of your aid, and allow so
much valuable time to elapse, during which I might have found a broker less
punctilious than you."
"I regret that I should have caused this
Tomlinson; "but I had resolved to perform my promise until about an hour
ago, and I have even brought the necessary documents for the purpose."
"Something very remarkable must have intervened to change your
resolutions," said Chichester, contemptuously.
"I am not superstitious," observed Tomlinson ;"but I believe that a
providential warning was conveyed to me "
"A providential fiddle-stick! Remember, Mr. Tomlinson, that by your
unpardonable vacillation in this matter you will only prolong the incarceration of my wife."
"And, pray, who is responsible for that deed?"
"We will not discuss this point," returned
Chichester. "I did not
ask you to become my Mentor. At the same time," he added, sinking his voice,
"every moment is important - for my wife is going mad in reality!"
"Then, in the name of God, release her at once!" ejaculated Tomlinson.
"Never - until she signs the deed."
"Release her," continued Tomlinson; "and then bring her with you to
my office, where she can make the transfer."
"Are you mad yourself? Do you suppose she would ever put pen to paper if
she were once liberated in that manner? I am surprised at your ignorance - vexed at your cowardice. You have not acted like a man of business,
nor as a man of the world. It was for you to accept or decline my proposal - not
to deceive me by these changes and shiftings of inclination. Come, sir - once
for all-pluck up your courage: remember the two hundred pounds which you say
must be paid to-morrow to two men who will not be put off, and the settlement
of which debt will so materially embarrass your finances."
"My mind is made up, Mr. Chichester," answered
"And what is your decision? "
"I shall beg to withdraw from the transaction."
Tomlinson rose to depart.
But at the same moment the folding-doors, communicating with the inner room, were
thrown open, and a man with a
cadaverous countenance stood forward.
"You shall not forfeit your word in this respect," exclaimed the
individual, whom Tomlinson immediately recognised to be the body-snatcher
engaged in the affair of Michael Martin.
"What does this man do here?" asked Tomlin son, in a faint voice, of
"What do I do here? what do I do every where?" cried the
man, with a diabolical laugh "Tell me the secret plot - the cunning
the scheme of villany to which Anthony Tidkins, surnamed the Resurrection Man,
is a stranger! But little did I think when I called upon you this
[-342-] morning, - little did I imagine when I met you again this evening, that you
were the person enlisted by Mr. Chichester in the affair which we have now
"It would appear, then, that you are acquainted with each
other," said Chichester, laughing heartily at the confusion manifested by the
stock-broker in the presence of the Resurrection Man. "Why, what devilry
was it that brought you two together ?"
"Whether I keep Mr. Tomlinson's secret, or whether I proclaim it to you
and every one else whom I know, until the whole town rings with the
circumstance, is a matter for him to decide," said the Resurrection Man
with admirable coolness, he helped himself to a bumper of Madeira.
"If I pay you two hundred pounds, as agreed upon," exclaimed Tomlinson,
"what more would you require of me?"
"I require that you remain faithful to your promise to Mr. Chichester
;- I require that you fulfil the service which you have undertaken to perform
in his behalf," was the resolute reply.
"And in what way does the business regard you -
you, who acknowledge yourself to be "
"A resurrectionist! Certainly I am - and the most skilful in London,
no other excepted," exclaimed Tidkins, with a satanic chuckle. "But that
does not prevent me from turning mad-house keeper - or any thing else - when
"What! you are the keeper of the asylum in which this gentleman's wife is
imprisoned!" exclaimed the stock-broker, in a tone of the most profound
"Yes, he is indeed," said Chichester: "and a better keeper could
not have been found. So now you know all about that point."
"And Mr. Tomlinson will be good enough to accompany me
to my house," observed the Resurrection Man. "You, Mr. Chichester, can
follow us at a little distance. It looks suspicious for three people to walk
"I really must decline " began Tomlinson, trembling from head to foot, as
the warning voice of Michael Martin seemed to ring in his ears.
"One word more, Mr. Tomlinson," said the Resurrection Man, " I am a
person of determined spirit and resolution. I never stick at trifles myself; -
and I don't choose others, with whom I am connected, to balk me in my
designs, when I can prevent them. Now, either come with me, and do what is
required of you; or, as sure as there is breath in your body, I will deliver
up a certain person to the police, and stand the consequences myself."
"I beg of you - I implore you "
" Pshaw!" cried Chichester: " this is child's play!"
"Child's play, indeed! " thundered the Resurrection Man in a terrible
voice. "But I will put an end to it. Come, sir - hesitate another minute, and
that old man is lost!"
"I will accompany you," answered the stockbroker ;-
then, in an under
tone, he added, "But God knows how unwillingly!"
The Resurrection Man seized him by the arm, and conducted him out of the
Five minutes afterwards, Chichester followed in the same direction.
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