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LONDON [Vol. II]
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SNIFF. — TOMLINSON AND GREENWOOD.
was eleven o'clock in the forenoon of the day following the incidents just
scene is Mr. Tomlinson's office in Tokenhouse Yard.
The stock-broker was seated at his desk. His manner was
nervous, and his countenance expressive of anxiety: he had, indeed, passed a
sleepless night, — for he saw in the conduct of the Resurrection Man
the renewal of a system of extortion which was not likely to cease so long as
there was a secret to be hushed up.
The careful aspect of the stock-broker was not, however,
noticed by Mr. Alderman Sniff, who was lounging against the mantel, with his
back to the fire, and expatiating on his own success in life — a
favourite subject with this civic functionary, who considered
"success" to be nothing more nor less than the accumulation of money
from a variety of schemes and representations so nearly allied to downright
swindling, that it was impossible to say what a jury would have thought of them
had they come under the notice of a criminal tribunal.
"But how have you managed to do it all!" asked
Tomlinson, by way of saying something — although his thoughts were
far removed from the topic of Mr. Alderman Sniff's discourse.
"You see I began life with plenty of money,"
returned the Alderman: "I mean I had a decent fortune at the death of my
father, which took place when I was about two-and-twenty. But that soon went;
and I was glad to accept an offer to go out to India. On my arrival at Madras I
was inducted into a situation as clerk in a mercantile establishment; and there
I was making some little money, when I was foolish enough to issue a prospectus
for the 'General Boa-Constrictor Killing and Wild Beast Extirpation
Joint-Stock Company,' — a project which was not so well relished
as I could have wished. My employers discharged me; and, deeply disgusted with
the ignorance of the English settlers and the natives, who could not understand
the magnitude of my designs, I came back to England. My trip to India was,
however, very useful to me; for, on my return to this country, I lived
splendidly on the Deccan Prize Money for four years."
"Lived on the Deccan Prize Money!" exclaimed
Tomlinson: "why — what claim had you to any of it?"
"None," replied Mr. Sniff; "I never was
in the Deccan in my life. But I declared that I had claims [-242-]
to I can't remember how many lacs of rupees; and it was very easy to obtain
loans from friends and get bills cashed on the strength of the assertion. Of
course this had an end: the settlement of the Deccan Prize Money affairs was
interminable; but the facility for procuring cash on the strength of it was not
equally lasting. However, — as I just now observed, — I
lived comfortably on my alleged claims for four years; and then I started the 'Universal
Poor Man's Corn-Plaster and Blister Gratuitous Distribution Society.' I got
several philanthropic and worthy men to join me in this laudable undertaking: we
took splendid offices in King Street, Cheapside; and the enterprise progressed
wonderfully. How well I remember our first annual meeting at Exeter Hall! The
great room was crowded to excess. I was the Secretary, and it was my duty to
read the Report of the Committee. That document had been drawn up in most
pathetic language by some poor devil of an author whom I employed for the
purpose; and it produced a wonderful effect. It was really quite touching to see
how the ladies — poor dear creatures — wept tears of the
most refreshing philanthropy, when I enumerated the blessings which this Society
had conferred upon vast numbers of individuals. Nine thousand six hundred and
sixty-seven Corn-Plasters and eleven thousand two hundred and fourteen Blisters
had been distributed gratuitously, during the year, to as many poor suffering
creatures, who had all been thereby cured of corns previously deemed inveterate,
and of chest-complaints that until then had received no medical attention. The Report
dwelt upon the gratitude of thousands of poor families for the relief thus
dispensed, and congratulated the members of the Society on the claims they
possessed to the applause of the whole Christian world. Subscriptions rained in
upon me in perfect torrents; and there was not a tearless eye throughout that
"How was it that so excellent an institution became
extinct!" asked Tomlinson, awaking from his reverie when the Alderman
"I really can scarce tell you," was the reply.
"Whether it was that the public thought there could not possibly be any
more corns to cure or pulmonary complaints to heal, — or whether it
was in consequence of a proposition which I made, in an unlucky hour, to extend
the benefits of the Society to the poor savages in the islands of the
Pacific, — I can't say: it is, however, certain that the subscribers
were very 'backward in coming forward' at the third annual meeting; and so the
institution dwindled into nothing. I had, nevertheless, saved some little money;
and I was not long idle. My next spec was 'The Metropolitan Poor Family's
Sunday Dinner Gratuitous Baking Association.' You perceive that I am fond of
dealing in humane and philanthropic enterprises. My idea was to establish
numerous baking-houses all over London and to cook the poor man's Sunday joint
and potatoes for him, the Society reserving to itself the dripping, which being
sold, and the profits added to the voluntary subscriptions received from the
charitable, would support these most useful institutions. At the end of a year,
however, I was compelled to dissolve the Association, after having gone to the
expense of building no less than sixty enormous ovens in as many different parts
"How came that project to fail," asked
Tomlinson, "when it was calculated to benefit so many poor families!"
"Simply because so few of those poor families ever
had any Sunday dinners to cook at all," replied Alderman Sniff.
"Nevertheless, the subscriptions which were received paid all the outlay,
and remunerated me for my trouble. I therefore met with some little
encouragement in all I did for the benefit of my fellow-creatures; and, more
than that," added the philanthropist, slapping his left breast,
"I enjoyed the approval, Mr. Tomlinson, of my conscience."
The stock-broker sighed: — not that he
envied any inward feelings which Mr. Alderman Sniff could have experienced as
the results of the speculations referred to; but the thoughts occasioned by the
mere mention of the word "Conscience" aroused painful emotions in the
breast of James Tomlinson.
"While I was thus engaged in the behoof of the
poorer classes of the community," continued Alderman Sniff, "I was
gaining influence with my fellow citizens. I became the Treasurer of no end of
charitable institutions, was elected Churchwarden of my parish, and soon became
Deputy of the Ward. Fortunately my parish, as you well know, is governed by a
Select Vestry — properly consisting of three individuals; but as two
of the last-elected trio have died, and as I have ever stedfastly and
successfully opposed the nomination of other parishioners to replace the
deceased, we have now a Select Vestry of One. This gentleman is my most
intimate friend; and it would do your heart good to see the parochial solemnity
and official dignity with which he annually proposes me to himself as a
candidate for the place of Churchwarden, and then proceeds to second the
nomination, put the question, lift up his hand, and declare me duly elected without
a dissentient voice. In due time I was chosen Alderman of the Ward; and
every thing has gone well with me. I have been eminently successful. My 'British
Marble Company' was a glorious hit, as you well know."
"Yes — a glorious hit for you,"
said Tomlinson, with a faint smile. "You yourself were Managing Director,
and you sold your quarry — or rather your supposed quarry — to
yourself; — you were Auditor and Secretary, and consequently
examined and passed your own accounts; — you were also the
Treasurer, and paid yourself. You had the best of it in every way."
"Come, Mr. Tomlinson," exclaimed Sniff,
chuckling audibly, "I allowed you to reap a decent profit on the shares
which you sold; so you need not complain."
"Oh! I do not complain," observed the
stockbroker. "But how do you get on with the accounts of your parish?"
"Mr. Tomlinson," said the Alderman, almost
sternly, "I never will give any accounts at all to those refractory
parishioners of mine. The Select Vestry of One has met regularly every year, and
resolved himself into a Committee to investigate my accounts — and
that is sufficient. And, after all," added the civic functionary, sinking
his voice to a mysterious whisper, "even if the accounts were
produced, — although they run over such a long period of years, you
might put them all into your waist coat-pocket without finding it stick out more
than it now does with your small French watch."*[-*The
readers must not for a moment suppose that we intend Mr. Sniff to be a type of all
the city aldermen. Far from it. There are some excellent, honourable, and
talented men amongst the civic body. Mr. Sniff is as different from what Sir
Peter Laurie is, or Mr. Harmer was, as light differs from darkness. There are,
however, some individuals wearing civic gowns, who are a disgrace to the great
city of which they have the unaccountable effrontery to remain magistrates.-]
[-243-] With these words,
Mr. Alderman Sniff, who had merely looked in to have a chat and talk of himself
to one with whom there was no necessity to maintain any secrecy in respect to
his antecedents, — Mr. Alderman Sniff retired.
A few minutes afterwards Mr. Greenwood was introduced.
"My dear Tomlinson," he said, "I am quite
delighted to find you within. I have made a hit, and shall retrieve myself with
ease. The ten thousand pounds which Holmesford lent me are now twenty
"You are a lucky fellow," observed Tomlinson,
with a sigh. "Adversity has no effect upon you; whereas with me — "
"Why — what is the matter now?"
interrupted Greenwood. "Always complaining?"
"I have good cause for annoyance," returned
the stock-broker. "That precious acquaintance of yours — "
"Who?" demanded Greenwood, sharply.
"The lunatic-asylum keeper, as your friend
Chichester supposed him to be — but the resurrectionist, thief,
extortioner, villain, and perhaps murderer, as I take him to be," said
Tomlinson, — "that scoundrel Tidkins, in a word, has discovered
poor old Michael's address, and menaces me."
"Ah!" said Greenwood, coolly; "it is your
own fault: you should have got Martin out of the way — even if you
had painted him black, shipped him to the United States, and sold him as a
"Ridiculous!" cried Tomlinson, sternly.
"I never will cease to be a friend — a grateful friend — to
that poor old man."
"Well," observed Greenwood, after a pause,
"I can do you a service in this respect. I was at Rottenborough
yesterday — amongst my intelligent and independent constituents; and
I learnt that the situation of porter to the workhouse in that truly enlightened
town is vacant. Now, if — "
"Enough of this, Greenwood!" exclaimed
Tomlinson. "I was wrong to mention the old man's name to you. — What
can I do for you this morning? Have you made up your mind to take the loan which
my friend consented to advance to you about a month ago, and which you — "
"Which I declined then, and decline now," said
Greenwood, hastily — as if the allusion awoke unpleasant
reminiscences in his mind.
"I never could understand your conduct on that
evening," observed Tomlinson, in his quiet manner: "you came at the
appointed hour to terminate the business: the money was ready — the
deed was prepared — my friend was here, — and when you
put your hand into your pocket for the securities, you turned on your heel and
bolted off like a shot."
"Yes — yes," said Greenwood, with
increased impatience; "I had lost my pocket-book. But — "
"And have you found it since?" asked the
"I have. But I do not require the loan,"
returned Greenwood, shortly. "So far from that, I wish you to lay out these
seven thousand pounds for me in a particular speculation which I will explain to
you. I have prepared the way for certain success, but cannot appear in it
Greenwood then counted the Bank notes upon the table for
the sum named, and gave Tomlinson the necessary instructions for the disposal of
"Any news to-day?" he asked, when this
business was concluded.
"Here is a second edition of The Times with
another Telegraphic Despatch from Castelcicala," said Tomlinson. "I
know you are interested in the affairs of that country, by the way you have
lately spoken to me on the subject."
"Yes: — I am — I am
indeed," exclaimed Greenwood, earnestly, as he seized the paper, in which
the following article appeared in a bold type: —
"PROCLAMATION OF ALBERTO I. — FORMATION
OF THE NEW MINISTRY.
"The French Government have received the following
Telegraphic Despatch from Toulon: —
"'The Alessandro steamer has just arrived
from Montoni. THE MARQUIS 0F ESTELLA proclaimed the GRAND DUKE
ALBERTO I. in the evening of the 24th, instead of in the morning of that day,
which was his original intention. This was merely occasioned by the delay of the
Marquis in entering the capital. The Marquis has formed the following
"Prime Minister, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, SIGNOR
"Minister of the Interior, SIGNOR TERLIZZI.
"Minister of War, COLONEL COSSARIO.
"Minister of Marine, ADMIRAL CONTARINO.
"Minister of Finance, SIGNOR VIVIANI.
"Minister of Justice, BARON MANZONI.
"Minister of Commerce, CHEVALIER GRACHIA."'
The Times newspaper, commenting upon this
Administration, reminded its readers that Signors Gaetano and Terlizzi were the
Chiefs of the Provisional Committee of Government during the Revolution in
Castelcicala; that Colonel Cossario was the second in command of the glorious
army that had achieved Castelcicalan freedom; that Signor Viviani was the
well-known banker of Pinalla and that the Chevalier Grachia was the nephew of
the deceased general of that name.
"Thus is it that Richard can now make a Ministry in
a powerful State!" murmured Greenwood to himself. "Oh! what a sudden
elevation — what a signal rise! And I — "
"What are you muttering about to yourself,
Greenwood?" asked Tomlinson.
"Ah!" cried the Member of Parliament,
suddenly, and without heeding the stock-broker's question, — for his
eyes; wandering mechanically over the surface of the paper which he held in his
hand, had settled upon a paragraph that excited the liveliest emotions of
surprise: — "who could have believed it? Oh! now I recall to
mind a thousand circumstances which should have made me suspect the truth!"
"The truth of what?" demanded Tomlinson.
"That Count Alteroni and Prince Alberto were one
and the same person," exclaimed Greenwood ~ and he is now the Grand Duke of
[-244-] "Then you have
had the pleasure of including a sovereign-prince amongst the number of your
victims," observed the stock-broker, coolly.
Greenwood made no reply, but remained plunged in a deep
reverie, the subject of which was the brilliant destiny that appeared to await
As soon as he had taken his leave, Tomlinson also began
musing; but it was upon a far different topic!
"Oh! what a hollow-hearted wretch is that
Greenwood!" he said within himself: "and how would he have treated
Michael Martin, had the poor old man been dependent upon him! Greenwood would
indeed be capable of sending him to the United States as a slave, were such a
course practicable. Ah! — the United States!" cried Tomlinson,
aloud, as a sudden idea was created in his mind by the mention of the name of
that glorious Republic "and why should not Michael Martin visit the
States — and with me too? Yes! I am wearied of London, — wearied
of this city where all hearts seem to be eaten up with selfishness, — wearied
of supporting the weight of that secret which the merest accident may reveal,
and which places me at the mercy of that ferocious extortioner! Oh! if that
secret were discovered — if it were ascertained that Michael Martin
was really in London, — he would be dragged before the
tribunals — and I must either appear against him as a witness, or
proclaim his innocence and thereby sacrifice myself! No — no — I
could not do either: — never — never! I know that I am
weak — vacillating — timid! But God also knows how
unwillingly I have departed from the ways of rectitude — how many
bitter tears have marked the paths of my duplicity! And now I will be firm — yes,
firm to commit one last crime! Oh! I will prove myself a worthy pupil of my
great master Greenwood! He shall be amply repaid," continued the
stock-broker, bitterly, "for all the kind lessons he has given me in the
school of dishonour — yes, and repaid, too, in his own coin. Seven
thousand pounds — added to my own little stock, — this
will be a sufficient fund wherewith to begin an honourable avocation in another
clime. Yes — America is the country for me! There I can begin the
world again as a new man — and perhaps I may retrieve myself even in
my own estimation!"
Tomlinson's resolution was now irrevocably fixed.
He would emigrate to the United States, accompanied by
his faithful old clerk!
Greenwood's money should constitute the principal
resource to which he must trust as the basis whereon to establish a fortune in
the place of the one he had lost.
Nor did he hesitate a moment — weak, timid,
and vacillating as he was in ordinary circumstances — to
self-appropriate those funds thus entrusted to him.
He had no sympathy for Greenwood; — and,
moreover, he had many an act of insolence on the part of that individual — many
an instance of oppression, to avenge. Ere the failure of the bank, Greenwood had
taken advantage of his necessities to wring from him enormous interest for loans
advanced, and had, moreover, made him his instrument in defrauding the Italian
prince. Since the establishment of the office in Tokenhouse Yard, Greenwood had
continued to use Tomlinson as a tool so long as his own fortunes had remained
prosperous; — and even latterly — since the condition of
Greenwood's finances had levelled some of those barriers which the necessities
of the one and the wealth of the other had originally raised between them, — even
latterly, the manner of the Member of Parliament towards the fallen banker had
been that of patronage and superiority. Then the frequent and heartless
allusions which Greenwood made to the poor old clerk, rankled deeply in the mind
of Tomlinson; and all these circumstances armed that naturally weak and timid
man with a giant strength of mind when he contemplated the possibility of at
length punishing Greenwood for a thousand insults.
Tomlinson was not naturally a vindictive man: —
persons of his quiet and timid disposition seldom are. But there are certain
affronts which, when oft repeated and dwelt upon in their aggregate, form a
motive power that will arouse the most enduring and the weakest mind to
action — especially, too, when accident throws a special opportunity
of vengeance in the way.
James Tomlinson was a strange compound of good and bad
qualities — the latter arising from his constitutional want of
nerve, and his deficiency in moral energy. Had he been mentally resolute he
would have proved a good and great man The conflicting elements of his character
were signally demonstrated on this occasion, when he had determined to fly from
Having given his clerks positive orders that he was not
to be interrupted for some hours, he sealed up in different parcels the small
sums of money which his various clients had placed in his hands to purchase
scrip or other securities, and addressed the packets to those to whom the sums
respectively belonged, — omitting, however, Greenwood in this
category. He next computed the salaries due to his clerks, and set apart the
amount required to liquidate those obligations also. These duties being
accomplished, he locked all the parcels up in one of the drawers of his
writing-table, and placed the key in his pocket. Greenwood's deposit he secured
about his person.
When it grew dusk in the evening, he repaired to the
lodging which Michael Martin occupied in Bethnal Green.
As soon as Tomlinson had made known his scheme to the
old man — (but, of course, without betraying the fact of his
intention to self-appropriate Greenwood's money) — Michael took a
huge pinch of snuff, and reflected profoundly for some minutes.
"And what's the meaning of this all of a
sudden?" demanded the ex-cashier at length.
Tomlinson explained, with great frankness, that. the
Resurrection Man had by some means discovered the secret of Michael's abode, and
was again playing the part of an extortioner. He, moreover, expressed his
invincible dislike for a city where he had experienced such painful reverses;
and declared his resolution of no longer living in such a state of suspense and
anxiety as he was kept in by the constant dread of an exposure in respect to his
faithful old clerk.
"You need not leave London on that account,"
said Martin, gruffly: "I have long made up my mind how to act in ease of
"Howl" asked Tomlinson, 'with a foreboding
"I should put an end to my life," returned the
old man, filling his nose with snuff. "I am well [-245-]
aware that you would not have the courage to appear against me in a court of
justice and boldly accuse me of having embezzled your funds — "
"The courage!" exclaimed Tomlinson, wiping
away a tear: "no — nor the heart! My good faithful old
friend — "
"Well — well: don't be childish,
now," said Michael, who was obliged to take several pinches of snuff to
conceal his own emotions: "if you are really desirous to leave England and
go to America, I will accompany you. Of course I will — you know I
will," he added, more hastily than he was accustomed to speak.
"There is no time for delay," said Tomlinson
rejoiced at this assent which he had wrung from his faithful servitor. "We
will repair to Dover this very night, and thence proceed to France. The distance
from Calais to Havre is not very great and from the latter port ships are
constantly sailing for America."
"Let me proceed alone to Havre," said old
Martin; "and you can follow me openly and at your leisure."
"No," replied Tomlinson; "that would only
be to compromise your safety, perhaps. We will part no more."
The advice of the stock-broker was acted upon, and the
fugitives succeeded in leaving the kingdom in safety.
But that night the Resurrection Man vainly awaited the
arrival of James Tomlinson.
And on the following day, Mr. Greenwood discovered, to
his cost, that the effects of those lessons of duplicity and dishonour which he
had inculcated in respect to the stock-broker, practically redounded upon
chapter < | THE MYSTERIES OF
LONDON [Vol. II]
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