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RESURRECTION MAN'S RETURN HOME.
the Resurrection Man hurried through the fields, amidst the darkness of the
night, he vented in horrible imprecations the rage he experienced at the failure
of a scheme to which he had devoted so much time and trouble.
He knew that the blank acceptance which he had extorted
from Vernon, and which he had looked upon as the safe guarantee of the speedy
acquisition of three thousand pounds, was now but a valueless slip of paper; and
he cursed himself for having been foolish enough to advance some two or three
hundred guineas of his own money to furnish his late employer with the supplies
necessary for his purposes.
But as a set-off against these disappointments he had
one consolation — a consolation which to a less avaricious mind
would have been more than commensurate with the losses that Tidkins deplored. He
was possessed of Lady Ravensworth's valuable casket of jewels, which he had
removed a few days [-346-] after he had obtained it
in the manner already described, to his house in Globe Town.
And it was to this den that he was now repairing. He was
as yet unacquainted with the fate of Gilbert Vernon; but, supposing it probable
that justice might already have that individual in his grasp, he at once
determined to provide for his own safety. Abandoning, therefore, all his
long-nourished schemes of vengeance against the Prince of Montoni, the
Rattlesnake, and Crankey Jem, Tidkins was now intent only on securing his
treasure, and taking his departure for America with the least possible delay.
It was about two o' clock in the morning when the
Resurrection Man, sinking with the fatigues of his long and circuitous journey
round all the northern outskirts of London, arrived at his own house.
Wearied as he was, he wasted no time in snatching a
temporary repose: a glass of spirits recruited his strength and invigorated his
energies; and, with his bunch of keys in his hand, he repaired from his own
chamber to the rooms on the ground-floor.
It will be remembered that on a former occasion — on
his return home, in the middle of the month of March, after his escape from the
Middlesex House of Correction, — the Resurrection Man had perceived
certain indications which led him to imagine that the step of an intruder had
visited the ground-floor and the subterranean part of his house. His suspicions
had fallen upon Banks; but an interview with this individual convinced him that
those suspicions were unfounded; for although he did not question him
point-blank upon the subject, yet his penetration was such, that he could judge
of the real truth by the undertaker's manner.
Since that period Tidkins had visited his house in Globe
Town on several occasions — indeed, as often as he could possibly
get away from Ravensworth Hall for the greater portion of a day; and, perceiving
no farther indications of the intrusion of a stranger, he became confirmed in
the belief which had succeeded his first suspicions, and which was that he had
been influenced by groundless alarms.
But now, the moment he put the key into the lock of the
door in the alley, he uttered a terrible imprecation — for the key
would not turn, and there was evidently something in the lock!
Hastily picking the lock with one of those
wire-instruments which are used for the purpose by burglars, he extracted from
it a piece of a key which had broken in the wards.
Fearful was now the rage of the Resurrection Man; and
when he had succeeded in opening the door, he precipitated himself madly into
that department of his abode.
But what pen can describe his savage fury, when, upon
lighting a lantern, he saw the trap raised, and the brick removed from the place
in the chimney where it covered the secret means of raising the hearth-stone?
Plunging desperately down into the subterranean, at the
risk of breaking his neck, Tidkins felt like one on whose eyes a hideous spectre
suddenly bursts, when he beheld the door of a cell — the very cell
in which his treasure was concealed — standing wide open!
Staggering now, as a drunken man — and no
longer rushing wildly along, — but dragging himself painfully, — Tidkins
reached that cell.
His worst fears were confirmed: the stone in the centre
was removed from its place; — and his treasure was gone!
Yes: — money-bags and jewel-casket — the
produce of heaven only knows how much atrocity and blackest crime — had
This was the second time that his hoarded wealth was
snatched from him.
Then did that man — so energetic in the ways
of turpitude, so strong in the stormy paths of guilt, — then did he
sink down, with a hollow groan, upon the cold floor of the cell.
For a few minutes he lay like one deprived of sense and
feeling, the only indications of life being the violent clenching of his fists,
and the demoniac workings of his cadaverous countenance.
Cadaverous! — never did the face of a
wretched being in the agonies of strangulation by hanging, present so
appalling — so hideous an appearance!
But in a short time the Resurrection Man started up with
a savage howl and a terrible imprecation: his energies — prostrated
for a period — revived; and his first idea, when arousing from that
torpor, was vengeance — a fearful vengeance upon the plunderer.
But who was that plunderer? whose hand had suddenly
His suspicions instantly fixed themselves upon two
persons — the only two of his accomplices who were acquainted with
the mysteries of the subterranean.
These were Banks and the Buffer.
He was about to turn from the cell, and repair
forthwith — even at that hour — to the dwelling of the
undertaker, when his eyes suddenly fell upon. some letters scrawled in chalk
upon the pavement, and which the position of the lantern had hitherto prevented
him from observing.
He stooped down, and read the words-"JAMES CUFFIN."
The mystery was solved: his mortal enemy, Crankey Jem,
had robbed him of his treasure!
Dark — terribly ominous and foreboding — was
now the cloud which overspread the countenance of the Resurrection Man.
"Had I ten times the wealth I have lost," he
muttered to himself, with a hyena-like growl, "I would not quit this
country till I had wreaked my vengeance upon that man! But this is now no place
for me: he has tracked me here — he may set the traps upon me. Let
us see if the Bully Grand cannot discover his lurking hole."
With these words, — and now displaying that
outward calmness which often covers the most intensely concentrated rage, — the
Resurrection Mat quitted the subterranean, carefully securing the doors behind
He purposely broke a key in the lock of the door leading
into the dark alley, so as to prevent the intrusion of any of the neighbours,
should their curiosity tempt them to visit the place; for he made up his mind
not to return thither again so long as Jem Cuffin was alive and able to betray
Having provided himself with a few necessaries, he
closed the up-stairs rooms, and. then took his departure.
He bent his steps towards the house of the undertaker in
Globe Lane; and, knocking him up, obtained admittance and a bed.
When he awoke from a sound sleep, into which sheer
fatigue plunged him in spite of the unpleasant nature of his thoughts, it was
[-347-] He immediately rose
and despatched one of Banks's boys for the morning newspaper; and from its
columns he learnt the fate of the Honourable Gilbert Vernon.
"Better so than that he should have remained alive
perhaps to repent, as these sentimental humbugs in high life usually do, and
then blab against me," murmured Tidkins to himself. "The whole
business at the Hall is evidently wrapped in considerable mystery; and there I
hope it will remain. But now let me devote myself heart and soul to my search
after that scoundrel Crankey Jem."
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