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LONDON [Vol. II]
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was about eleven o'clock in the night of the first Saturday of June, that the
Resurrection Man — the terrible Anthony Tidkins — issued
from the dwelling of Mr. Banks, the undertaker in Globe Lane, Globe Town.
Mr. Banks followed him to the threshold, and, ere he
bade him good night said, as he retained him by the sleeve, "And so you are
determined to go back to the old crib?"
"Yes — to be sure I am," returned
Tidkins. "I've been looking after that scoundrel Crankey Jem for the last
two years, without even being able so much as to hear of him. The Bully Grand
has set all his Forty Thieves to work for me; and still not a trace — not
a sign of the infernal villain!"
"Well," observed Banks, "it does look as
if the cussed weasel had made his-self scarce to some foreign part, where it's
to be hoped he's dead, buried, and resurrectionised by this time."
"Or else he's living like a fighting-cock on all
the tin he robbed me of," exclaimed Tidkins, with a savage growl. "But
I'm sure he's not in London; and so I don't see any reason to prevent me from
going back to my old crib. I shall feel happy again there. It's now two years
and better since left it-and I 'm sick of doing nothing but hunt after a chap
that's perhaps thousands of miles off."
"And all that time, you see," said Banks,
"you've been doing no good for yourself or your friends; and if it wasn't
for them blessed coffins on economic principles, which turn me in a decent
penny, I 'm sure I don't know what would have become of me and my family."
"You forget the swag we got from the old woman in
Golden Lane," whispered Tidkins, impatiently "Didn't I give you a fair
half, although you never entered the place. but only kept watch outside?"
"Yes — yes," said Mr. Banks;
"I know you treated us very well, Tony — as you've always done.
But I'm sorry you used the wicked old creetur as you did."
"Why did she resist, then, damn her!" growled
the Resurrection Man.
"Ah! well-a-day," moaned the hypocritical
undertaker: "she's a blessed defunct now — a wenerable old
carkiss — and all packed up nice and cozy in a hospital coffin too!
But they can't get up them coffins as well as me: I can beat 'em all at that
work — 'cause its the economic principles as does it."
"Hold your stupid tongue, you infernal old
fool!" muttered Tidkins; "and get yourself to bed at once, so that you
may be up early in the morning and come to me by eight o'clock."
"You don't mean to do what you was telling me just
now?" said Banks, earnestly. "Depend upon it, he'll prove too much for
"Not he!" exclaimed Tidkins. "I've a
long — long score to settle up with him; and if he has neither seen
nor heard of me for the last two years, it was only because I wanted to punish
Crankey Jem first."
"And now that you can't find that cussed indiwidual,"
said Banks, "you mean to have a go in earnest against the Prince?"
"I do," answered Tidkins, with an abruptness
which was in itself expressive of demoniac ferocity. "You come to me
to-morrow morning; and see if I won't invent some scheme that shall put Richard
Markham in my power. I tell you what it is, Banks," added the Resurrection
Man, in a hoarse — hollow whisper, "I hate that fellow to a
degree I cannot explain and depend upon it, he shall gnash his teeth in one of
the dark cells yonder before he's a week older."
"And what good will that do you?" asked the
[-416-] "What good!
" repeated Tidkins, scornfully: then, after a short pause, he turned
towards Banks, and said in a low voice, "We'll make him pay an immense sum
for his ransom — a sum that shall enrich us both, Ned: and
then — "
"And then?" murmured Banks, interrogatively.
"And then — when I've got all I can
from him," replied Tidkins, 'I'll murder him!"
With these words-uttered in a tone of terrible
ferocity — the Resurrection Man hastened away from the door of the
The sky was overcast with dark clouds of stormy menace:
the night was dark; and big drops of rain began to patter down, as Tidkins
hurried along the streets leading towards his own abode — that abode
which he was now on the point of revisiting after an absence of two years!
At length he reached the house; and though he stopped
for a few minutes to examine its outward appearance from the middle of the
street, the night was so dark that he could not distinguish whether its aspect
had undergone any change.
Taking from his pocket the door-key, which he had
carefully retained ever since he abandoned the place after the discovery of the
loss of his treasure, he soon effected an entrance into the house.
Having closed the door, he immediately lighted a lantern
which he had brought with him; and then, holding it high above his head, he
hastily scrutinized the walls, the stairs, and as much of the landing above the
precipitate steps, as his range of vision could embrace.
There was not the least indication of the presence of
intruders: the dust had accumulated upon the stairs, undisturbed by the print of
footsteps; and the damp had covered the walls with a white mildew.
Tidkins was satisfied with this scrutiny, and ascended
to the first-floor rooms, the doors of which were closed — as if
they had never been opened during his absence of two years.
The interior appearance of the two chambers was just the
same as when he was last there — save in respect to the ravages of
the damp, the accumulation of the dust, and the effects of the rain which had
forced its way through the roof.
"Well, nothing has been disturbed up here-that's
certain enough," said Tidkins to himself. "Now for a survey of the
Taking from a shelf the bunch of skeleton-keys, which
had suffered grievously from the damp, the Resurrection Man descended the
stairs, issued forth into the street, and turned up the alley running along the
side of the house.
His first attempt to open the door in that alley was
unsuccessful, there being evidently some impediment in the lock but a moment's
reflection reminded him that he himself had broken a key in the lock, ere he had
quitted the premises at the end of May, 1841.
Nearly ten minutes were occupied in picking the lock,
which was sadly rusted; but at length this task was accomplished — and
the Resurrection Man entered the ground-floor of his abode.
The condition in which he had found the lock of the door
in the alley would have been a sufficient proof, in the estimation of any less
crafty individual, that no intrusive footstep had disturbed that department of
the dwelling: but Tidkins was resolved to assure himself on all points relative
to the propriety of again entrusting his safety to that abode.
"I think it's all right," he muttered, holding
up his lantern, and glancing around with keen looks. "Still the lock might
have been picked since I was here last, and another key purposely broken in it
to stave off suspicion. At any rate, it is better to examine every nook and
corner of tine whole place-and so I will!"
He entered the front room on the ground-floor; the
resurrection tools and house-breaking implements, which were piled up in that
chamber, had not been disturbed. Huge black cobwebs, dense as filthy rags, were
suspended from mattock to spade, and from crow-bar to long flexible iron rod.
Tidkins turned with an air of satisfaction into the back
room, where the dust lay thick upon the in floor, and the walls were green with
"Yes — it is all right!" he
exclaimed, joyfully; "no one has been here during my absence. I suppose
that villain Jem Cuffin was content with all the gold and jewels he got, and
took no farther steps to molest me. But, by Satan! if ever I clap my eyes on him
again!" — and the Resurrection Man ground his teeth furiously
together. "Well," he continued, speaking aloud to himself in a musing
strain, "it's a blessing to be able to come back and settle in the old
crib! There's no place In London like it: the house in Chick Lane is nothing to
it. And now that I have returned," he added, his hideous countenance
becoming ominously dark and appallingly threatening, as the glare of the lantern
fell upon it, — "one of these deep, cold, cheerless dungeons
shall soon become the abode of Richard Markham!"
As he uttered these last words in a loud, measured, and
savage voice, the Resurrection Man raised the stone-trap, and descended into the
The detestable monster gloated in anticipation upon the
horrible revenge which he meditated; and as he now trod the damp pavement of the
vaulted passage, he glanced first at the four doors on the right, then at the
four doors on the left, as if he were undecided in which dungeon to immure his
At length he stopped before one of the doors,
exclaiming, "Ah! this must be the cell! It's the one, as I have been told,
where so many maniacs dashed their brains out against the wall, when this place
was used as an asylum — long before my time."
Thus musing, Tidkins entered the cell, holding the
lantern high up so as to embrace at a glance all the gloomy horrors of its
"Yes — yes!" he muttered to
himself: " this is the one for Richard Markham! All that he has ever done
to me shall soon be fearfully visited on his own head! Ah, ah! we shall see
whether his high rank — his boasted virtues — his
immense influence — and his glorious name can mitigate one pang of
all the sufferings that he must here endure! Yes," repeated Tidkins, a
fiendish smile relaxing his stern countenance, — "this
is the dungeon for Richard Markham!"
"No-it is thine!' thundered a voice; and at
the same moment the door of the cell closed violently upon the Resurrection Man.
Tidkins dropped tine lantern, and flung himself [-417-]
all his strength against tie massive door; — but the huge bolt on
the outside was shot into its iron socket too rapidly to permit that desperate
effort to prove of the least avail.
Then a cry of mingled rage and despair burst from the
breast of the Resurrection Man, — a cry resembling that of the wolf
when struck by the bullet of the hunter's carbine!
"The hour of vengeance is come at last!"
exclaimed Crankey Jem, as he lighted the candle in a small lantern which he took
from his pocket. "There shall you remain, Tidkins — to perish
by starvation — to die by inches — to feel the approach
of Death by means of such slow tortures that you will curse the day which saw
"Jem, do not say all that!" cried the
Resurrection Man, from the interior of the dungeon You would not be so cruel!
Let me out — and we will be friends."
"Never!" ejaculated Cuffin. "What! have I
hunted after you — dogged you — watched you — then
lost sight of you for two years — now found you out again — at
length got yet into my power — and all this for nothing?"
"Well, Jem — I know that I used you
badly," said the Resurrection Man, in an imploring tone "but forgive
me-pray forgive me! Surely you were sufficiently avenged by plundering me of me
treasure — my hoarded gold — my casket of jewels!"
"Miserable wretch!" cried Crankey Jem, in a
tone of deep disgust: "do not imagine that I took your gold and your jewels
to enrich myself. No: had I been starving, I would not have purchased a morsel
of bread by means of their aid! Two hours after I had become possessed of your
treasure, I consigned it all — yes, all — gold and
jewels — to the bed of the Thames!"
"Then are you not sufficiently avenged!"
demanded Tidkins, in a voice denoting how fiercely rage was struggling with
despair in his breast.
"Your death, amidst lingering tortures, will alone
satisfy me!" returned Crankey Jem. "Monster that you are, you shall
meet the fate which you had reserved for an excellent nobleman whose virtues are
as numerous as your crimes!"
"What good will my death do you, Jem?" cried
Tidkins, his tone now characterised only by an expression of deep — intense — harrowing
"What good would the death of Richard Markham have
done you?" demanded James Cuffin. 'Ah! you cannot answer that
question! Of what advantage is your cunning now? But listen to me, while I tell
you how I have succeeded in over-reaching you at last. One night — more
than two years ago — I was watching for you in the street. I had
found out your den — and I was waiting your return, to plunge my
dagger into your breast. But when you did come home that night, you was not
alone. Another man was with you; and a woman, blindfolded, was being dragged
between you up the alley. I watched — you and the man soon
afterwards reappeared; but the woman was not with you. Then I knew that she was
a prisoner, or had been murdered; and I thought that if I could place you in the
hands of justice, with the certainty of sending you to the scaffold, my revenge
would be more complete. But my plan was spoilt by the silly affair of young
Holford; for I was locked up in prison on account of that business. But I got my
liberty at last; and that very same night I returned to this house. I knew that
you had been arrested and was in Coldbath Fields; and so I resolved to examine
the entire premises. By means of skeleton keys I obtained an easy entrance into
the lower part of the house; and, after a little careful search, I discovered
the secret of the trap-door. I visited the cells; but the woman was not in any
of them. And now you know how I came to discover the mysteries of your den,
Tidkins; and you can guess how at another visit I found the hiding-place of your
"Jem, one word!" cried the Resurrection Man,
an a hoarse — almost hollow tone. "You have got me in your
power — do you mean to put your dreadful threat into
"No persuasion on earth can change my mind!"
returned the avenger, in a terrible voice. "Hark! this is a proof of my
A dead silence prevailed in the subterranean for two or
three minutes; and then that solemn stillness was broken by the sounds of a
hammer, falling with heavy and measured cadence upon the head of a large nail.
"Devil!" roared the Resurrection Man, from the
interior of the cell.
Crankey Jem was nailing up the door!
It must be supposed that this appalling conviction
worked the mind of the immured victim up to a pitch of madness; for he now threw
himself against the door with a fury that made it crack upon its hinges — massive
and studded with iron nails though it were!
But Crankey Jem pursued his awful task; and as nail
after nail was driven in, the more demoniac became the feelings of his triumph.
Tidkins continued to rush against the door, marking the
intervals of these powerful but desperate attempts to burst from his living
tomb, with wild cries and savage howls such as Cuffin had never before heard
come from the breast of a human being.
At length the last nail was driven in; and then the
struggles against the door ceased.
"Now you can understand that I am determined!"
cried the avenger. "And here shall I remain until all is over with you,
Tidkins. No! I shall now and then steal out for short intervals at a time, to
procure food — food to sustain me, while you are
starving in your coffin!"
'Infernal wretch! shouted Tidkins: "you are
mistaken! I will not die by starvation, if die I must. I have matches with
me — and in a moment I can blow the entire house — aye,
and half the street along with it — into the air!"
"You will not frighten me, Tidkins," said
Crankey Jem, in a cool and taunting tone.
"Damnation!" thundered the Resurrection Man,
chafing against the door like a maddened hyena in its cage: "will neither
prayers nor threats move you? Then must I do my worst!"
Crankey Jim heard him stride across the dungeon; but
still the avenger remained at his post, — leaning against the door,
and greedily drinking in each groan — each curse — each
execration — and each howl, that marked the intense anguish endured
by the Resurrection Man.
Presently James Cuffin heard the sharp sound of a match
as it was drawn rapidly along the wall.
He shuddered — but moved not.
Solemn was the silence which now prevailed for a few
moments: at length an explosion — low and subdued, as of a small
quantity of gunpowder — took place in the cell.
But it was immediately followed with a terrific cry of
agony; and the Resurrection Man fell heavily against the door.
"My eyes! my eyes!" he exclaimed, in a tone
indicative of acute pain: "O God! I am blinded!"
"Sight would be of no use in that dark
dungeon," said Crankey Jem, with inhuman obduracy of heart towards his
"Are you not satisfied now, demon — devil — fiend!"
almost shrieked the Resurrection Man. "The powder has blinded me, I
"It was damp, and only exploded partially,"
said the avenger. "Try again!"
"Wretch!" exclaimed Tidkins; and James Cuffin
heard him dash himself upon the paved floor of the cell, groaning horribly.
Ten days afterwards, Crankey Jem set to work to open the
door of the dungeon.
This was no easy task; inasmuch as the nails which he
had driven in were strong, and had caught a firm hold of the wood.
But at length — after two hours' toil — the
avenger succeeded in forcing an entrance into the cell.
He knew that he incurred no danger by this step: for,
during that interval of ten days, he had scarcely ever quitted his post outside
the door of the dungeon; and there had he remained, regaling his ears with the
delicious music formed by the groans — the prayers-the screams-the
shrieks — the ravings-and the curses of his victim.
At length those appalling indications of a
lingering — slow — agonising death, — the
death of famine, — grew fainter and fainter; and in the middle of
the ninth night they ceased altogether.
Therefore was it that on the morning of the tenth day,
the avenger hesitated not to open the door of the dungeon.
And what a spectacle met his view when he entered that
The yellow glare of his lantern fell upon the pale,
emaciated, hideous countenance of the Resurrection Man, who lay on his back upon
the cold, damp pavement-a stark and rigid corse!
Crankey Jam stooped over the body, and examined the face
with a satisfaction which he did not attempt to subdue.
[-419-] The eyes had been
literally burnt in their sockets; and it was true that the Resurrection Man was
blinded, in the first hour of his terrible imprisonment, by the explosion of the
gunpowder in an iron pipe running along the wall of the dungeon!
The damp had, however, rendered that explosion only
partial: had the train properly ignited, the entire dwelling would have been
blown into the air!
few hours afterwards, the following letter was delivered at Markham Place by the
"Your mortal enemy, my lord, is no more. My
vengeance has overtaken him at last. Anthony Tidkins has died a horrible
death:-had he lived, you would have become his victim.
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