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THE TREASURE. - A NEW IDEA.
ALAS! that we should be compelled to turn from such bright
scenes as woman's love and lovers' hope, to deeds of infamy and crime.
But so goes the world; and no faithful historian can venture
to deviate from the rule.
Sad, and dismal, and dark, are many of the phases which this
narrative has yet to show; but we can also promise our reader that there will
not be wanting bright and cheering scenes to afford relief to his eye.
Chequered, indeed, are the ways of life: varied and
diversified are all its paths.
And, oh! let him who is wearied with the load of existence,
while wending through the rough and craggy places of the world, and when rudely
jostled by the world's unfeeling crowd, - let him remember that there is another
sphere beyond, where the ways are smooth and pleasant, and where the voice of
lamentation is never heard ,-a sphere where angels alone shall be the guides of
the elect, and where the sound of grateful harmony shall never cease, - a
whose name is HEAVEN!
Again we say, alas I that we should be compelled to divert the attention of our reader from scenes
of mundane bliss and the contemplation of the purest love, to
deeds of iniquity and hatred.
But to our task.
It was about five o'clock in the evening of the day that
witnessed the incidents of the two preceding chapters, and that had succeeded the night
on which the
unhappy Viola had signed a deed surrendering up half her property to her
unprincipled husband , - that the Resurrection Man returned home to his dwelling
in Globe Town.
But before he ascended to the apartments inhabited by himself
and his mistress with a fearful name, he entered the lower part of the building,
and, having lighted a candle, descended to the subterranean vaults.
In the first place he went into a cell opposite to that which
was still tenanted by Viola, who, it will be remembered, had received a solemn promise
restored to her own abode that evening at nine o'clock.
The Resurrection Man entered the cell to which we have
alluded, and which was empty.
He raised a stone from the floor, and drew from a hole of
about a foot deep, a large leathern bag, the contents of which sent forth the
welcome metallic sound of gold as he took it in his hand.
The miscreant seated himself upon the cold floor of the cell,
and poured forth into his hat the glittering contents of the bag. His eyes
sparkled with delight as he surveyed the treasure.
He took a few of the coins up in his hand, and let them drop
one by one back again into his hat - his glances greedily fixed upon the gold as
he thus toyed with it.
"Two hundred good sterling sovereigns here already," he
mused within himself, - "two hundred pounds earned with toil, trouble, daring, and
danger. Two hundred pounds are a decent provision for any man in my
line of life! And now," he continued, taking a smaller canvass bag from his
pocket, "there is more to add to swell the treasury. Here is a hundred
pounds - my half of the sum paid by Tomlinson this afternoon for keeping the
secret about his old clerk. The Buffer has got his share; but I warrant he will
hoard none of it as I do! Thank my stars, within the last year I have learnt to
be economical and saving. I mean to have something for my old age; unless "
And his countenance suddenly assumed an expression perfectly
hideous, as he reflected upon the probability of his career being cut short by
the hand of the law.
But, in another moment, he grew composed - that is to say,
desperately hardened; and he then proceeded with his occupation and his
here is my share of the two hundred pounds that the chicken-hearted,
Tomlinson paid for a secret which a little calm reflection might have told
him that I dared not reveal. That's a hundred pounds to add to my sinking fund; "-
and here the miscreant smiled.
"Now," he continued, "comes the grand swag - three hundred pounds from
Chichester, - and not too much for the trouble I have had in his affair! Two
hundred before - Tomlinson's hundred - and Chichester's three hundred, - that makes
six hundred pounds of good sterling gold, the property of Mr. Anthony Tidkins!"
And here the Resurrection Man laughed outright: - it was a horrible
chuckle - the triumph of a miscreant of a
most atrocious nature.
But he was happy - happy after his own fashion [-352-]
- happy in counting and contemplating the produce of his
While he was consigning his wealth to the larger bag, and
gloating over the gold as he passed it through his hand, he was suddenly alarmed
by a slight sound in the passage.
It seemed like a low footstep.
He listened, but it was not repeated.
For nearly a minute did he remain motionless, and almost
breathless, in a state of painful attention; but not another sound met his ear.
Then, recovering from the state of uneasy suspense into which
that incident had thrown him, he rose from the floor, and hurried into the
passage which divided the two rows of cells.
All was quiet.
Ashamed of himself for his childish alarm, and stuttering a
curse at his folly for having given way to that fear, he returned into the cell,
buried his treasure and covered the place with the stone. He then carefully
locked the door of the dungeon.
He crossed the passage, and proceeded gently to open the door
leading into the cell occupied by Viola. When he entered this vault, he found
the lamp extinguished ; - but by the glare of his candle, he perceived the
unhappy woman stretched in a profound slumber upon the bed.
"All right," he muttered to himself,- "and just as I
expected. She will sleep some hours yet, for the wine was well drugged; and thus
we can convey her back again to her house in a state of insensibility. When she
awakes in her own bed, her servants will assure her that all she has passed
through was a mere dream; and by this plan she will be so bewildered, that she
will actually fancy she has been delirious, and that her brain has wandered.
This was Chichester's suggestion; and I must give him credit for it. True - she
will sooner or later discover that the departure of half her property is no
dream; but then the first burst of passion will have gone by, and she will
consider it prudent to hold her tongue. Well - let her sleep: at nine o'clock
Chichester and Tomlinson will come, and then she shall be removed."
At that instant an idea struck the Resurrection Man. Hitherto
he had worked as Chichester's agent, and by Chichester's directions, in this
affair: what if he were to turn the business to some good account for
himself? The lady had only parted with half her property: she had eight thousand
pounds left. Might not all, or a decent portion of this sum thus remaining,
pass into the hands of the Resurrection Man? His mode of treatment had
excited the first concession: some additional horrors might extort a further
grant. The idea was excellent: fool that he was for not having thought of it
Thus reasoned Anthony Tidkins.
The more he thought of the new plot which had just entered
his head, the more he grew enamoured of it. He was well aware that neither
Chichester nor Tomlinson would dare to adopt measures to resist his will; and
with a grin of savage delight, he exclaimed aloud, "By God, it shall be
He then removed the bottle of wine from the cell, so that
when Viola awoke she might not repeat her dose - supposing that she should be
ignorant of the cause of her long lethargic slumber; for the Resurrection Man
was not aware of the sudden effect which it had produced upon her, but imagined
that the drugged liquid was only powerful enough to operate gradually. He next
replenished the lamp with oil from a bottle which stood in one corner of the cell, and, having lighted the lamp, withdrew,
carefully bolting and locking
the door behind him.
He ascended from the subterranean prison, replaced the stone trap-door, and
issued from the ground-floor of the house, he observed that the door leading
into the alley was looked as he had left it when he entered; and this
circumstance reassured him relative to the little incident which had
temporarily disturbed him when counting his money in the cell.
Many circumstances combined to put the Resurrection Man into an excellent
He had that day added four hundred pounds to his hidden treasure; he saw
business of all kinds a multiplying upon his hands, and promising a golden harvest; and he
had hit upon a scheme which, he bad no doubt, would produce him
a larger sum than he had ever yet realized even in his dreams.
It was therefore with a smiling countenance that he entered the up-stairs
room where the Rattlesnake was busily employed in spreading the contents of her
cupboard upon the table.
"Well, Meg, you see I am home before my time," he exclaimed. " I
don't want any dinner: I took some at a chop-house in town, as I had to wait on business. But leave
the lush: I am in a humour for a glass of grog ;-and you and I, Meg, will sit
down and have a cozy chat together."
"So we will, Tony," returned the woman, with a manner even more wheedling and
fawning than she had ever before used towards her terrible paramour. " You
seem in excellent spirits, Tony."
"Yes, Meg - excellent: I have done a good day's work -
and now I will enjoy myself
till nine o'clock, - when I have got to meet two gentlemen close by here on
another little matter."
"Ah! you seldom tell me what you are doing, Tony," said the Rattlesnake.
"No - no: I don't like trusting women a bit farther than I can see them. Such things as getting
up a body or so - well and good; but serious things, Meg - serious things, never!"
"Well, just as you like," returned Margaret
Flathers, affecting a
smile as if she were quite satisfied; but as she turned to replace the meat
in the cupboard, her countenance involuntarily assumed an expression of
"Come, now - sit down," said the Resurrection Man: "give me a pipe,
and brew me my lush. There - that's a good girl."
Tidkins lighted his pipe, and smoked for some moments in silence.
"I tell you what, Meg," he exclaimed, after a pause; "you shall
sing me a song. I feel in such an uncommon good humour this evening - in such excellent spirits.
No - I won't have a song: I tell you what you shall do."
"What?" said Margaret, as she mixed two glasses of gin and water.
"You shall tell me all about the coal-mines, you know -
your own history.
You told it me once before; but then I wasn't in a humour to hear you. I missed
half, and have forgot t' other half. So now come - let's have the Life and
Adventures of Miss Margaret Flathers."
The Resurrection Man laughed at this joke - as he considered and meant it to
be; and the Rattlesnake, who never dared to thwart him in any thing, and who
apparently had some additional motive to humour him on this occasion, hastened
to comply a with his request - or rather command.
She accordingly related her history, the phraseology of which we have taken
the liberty materially to correct and amend, in the following manner.
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