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THE REPUBLICAN AND THE THE RESURRECTION MAN.
As Richard was walking up and down the yard, an hour
or two after his interview with Mr. Monroe, he was attracted by the venerable
appearance of an elderly gentleman who was also parading that dismal place to
This individual was attired in a complete suit of black; and
his pale countenance, and long grey hair flowing aver his coat-collar, were
rendered the more remarkable by the mournful nature of his garb. He stooped
considerably in his gait, and walked with his hands joined together behind him.
His eyes were cast upon the ground; and his meditations appeared to be of a
profound and soul-absorbing nature.
Markham immediately experienced a strange curiosity to become
acquainted with this individual, and to ascertain the cause of his imprisonment.
He did not, however, choose to interrupt that venerable man's reverie. Accident
presently favoured his wishes, and placed within his reach the means or
introduction to the object of his curiosity. The old gentleman changed his line
of walk in the spacious yard, and tripped over a loose flagstone. His head came
suddenly in contact with the ground. Richard hastened to raise him up, and
conducted him to a bench. The old gentleman was very grateful for these
attentions; and, when he was recovered from the effects of his fall, he surveyed
Markham with the utmost interest.
"What circumstance has thrown you into this vile
den?" he inquired, in a pleasant tone of voice.
Richard instantly related, from beginning to end, those
particulars with which the reader is already acquainted.
The old man remained silent for some minute., and then fixed
his eyes upon Markham in a manner that seemed intended to read the secrets of
Richard did not quail beneath that eagle glance; but a deep
blush suffused his countenance.
"I believe you, my boy -I believe every word you
have uttered," suddenly exclaimed the stranger - "you are the victim
of circumstances; and deeply do I commiserate your situation.
"I thank you sincerely - most sincerely for your good
opinion, said Richard. "And now, permit me to ask you what has plunged you
into a gaol? No crime, I feel convinced before you speak!"
Never judge hastily, young man," returned the old
gentleman. "My conviction of your innocence was principally established by
the very circumstance which would have led others to pronounce in favour of your
guilt. You blushed - deeply blushed, but it was not the glow of shame: it was
the honest flush of conscious integrity unjustly suspected. Now with regard to
myself, I know why you imagine me to be innocent of any crime; but, remember
that a mild, peaceable, and venerable exterior frequently covers a heart eaten
up with every evil passion, and a soul stained with every crime. You were,
however, right in your conjecture relative to myself. I am a person accused of a
political offence - a libel upon the government, in a journal of considerable
influence which I conduct. I shall be tried next session my sentence; [-70-]
will not be severe, perhaps; but it will not be the less unjust. I am the
friend of my fellow countrymen and my fellow-creatures: the upright and the
enlightened denominate me a philanthropist my enemies denounce me as a disturber
of the public peace, a seditious agitator, and a visionary. You have undoubtedly
heard of Thomas Armstrong?"
"I have not only heard of you, sir," said Richard,
surveying the great Republican writer with profound admiration and respect,
"but I have read your works and your essays with pleasure and
"In certain quarters," continued Armstrong, "I
am represented as a character who ought to be loathed and shunned by all
virtuous and honest people, - that I am a moral pestilence, - a social plague;
and that my writings are only deserving of being burnt by the bands of the
common hangman. The organs of the rich and aristocratic classes, level every
species of coarse invective against me. And yet, O God!" he added
enthusiastically, " I only strive to arouse the grovelling spirit of the
industrious millions to a sense of the wrongs under which they labour, and to
prove to them that they were not sent into this world to lick the dust beneath
the feet of majesty and aristocracy! "
"Do you not think," asked Richard, timidly,
"that you are somewhat in advance of the age? Do you not imagine that a
republic would be dangerously premature?"
"My dear youth, let us not discuss this matter in
a den where all our ideas are concentrated in the focus formed by our
misfortunes. Let me rather assist you with my advice upon the mode of conduct
you should preserve in this prison, so that you may not become too familiar with
the common herd, nor offend by being too distant."
Mr. Armstrong then proffered his counsel upon this point.
"I feel deeply indebted to you for your kindness,"
exclaimed Markham: "very - very grateful! "
"Grateful!" cried the old man, somewhat bitterly.
"Oh! how I dislike that word! The enemies who persecute me now, are those
who have received the greatest favours from me. But there is one - one whose
treachery and base ingratitude I never can forget - although I can forgive him?
Almost four years ago, I accidently learnt that a young man of pleasing
appearance, genteel manners, and good acquirements, was in a state of the
deepest distress, in an obscure lodging in Hoxton Old Town, I called upon him:
the account which had reached my ears was too true. He was bordering upon
starvation, and - although he assured me that he had relations and friends
moving in a wealthy sphere - he declared that particular reasons, which he
implored me not to dive into, compelled him to refrain from addressing them. I
relieved his necessities; I gave him money and procured him clothes. I then took
him as my private secretary, and soon put the greatest confidence in him. Alas!
how was I recompensed? He betrayed all my political secrets to the government:
he literally sold me! At length absconded, taking with him a considerable sum of
money, which be abstracted from my desk."
"How despicable!" ejaculated Richard.
"That is not all. I met him afterwards, and forgave him!
" said Armstrong.
"Ah! you possess, sir, a noble heart," cried
Richard: " I hope that this misguided young man gave sincere proofs of
"Oh! he was very grateful!" ejaculated Mr.
Armstrong, with a satirical smile: " when he heard that there was a warrant
issued for my apprehension upon a charge of libel on the government, he secretly
instructed the officers relative to my private haunts and thus sold me
"The villain !" cried Markham, with unfeigined
indignation. "Tell me his name, that I may avoid him as I would a poisonous
"His name is George Montague," returned Mr
"George Montague!" cried Richard.
"Do you know him? have you heard of him before?
If you happen to be aware of his present abode "
"You would send and have han arrested for the robbery of the money in
your desk ?"
" No - write and assure him of my forgiveness once more," replied the
noble-hearted republican. "But how came you acquainted with his name ?"
"I have heard
of that young man before, but not in a way to do him honour. A tale of robbery and
seduction - of heartless
cruelty and vile deceit - has been communicated to me relative to this George
Montague. Can you forgive such a wretch as he is?"
"From the bottom of my heart," answered the republican.
Markham gazed upon that venerable gentleman with profound respect.
remembered to have seen the daily Tory newspapers denounce that same old man as "an
unprincipled agitator - the enemy of his country - the foe to morality - a political
ruffian - a bloody-minded votary of Robespierre and Danton :" - and he now beard the sweetest and
holiest sentiment of Christian morality
emanate from the lips of him who had thus been fearfully represented. And that
sentiment was uttered without affectation, but with unequivocal sincerity!
For a moment, Richard forgot his own sorrows and misfortunes, as he
contemplated the benign and holy countenance of him whom a certain class loved
to depict as a demon incarnate!
The old man did not notice the interest which he had thus excited, for he
himself fallen into a profound reverie.
Presently the conversation was resumed; and the more that Markham saw of
the Republican, the more did he respect and admire him.
In the course of the afternoon, Markham was accosted by one of his
fellow-prisoners, who beckoned him aside in a somewhat mysterious manner. This
individual was a very short, thin, cadaverous looking man, with coal-black hair
and whiskers, and dark piercing eyes half concealed beneath shaggy brows of the
deepest jet. He was apparently about five and thirty years of age. His
countenance was down cast; and when he spoke, he seemed as if he could not
support the glance of the person whom he addressed. He was dressed in a seedy
suit of black, and wore an oil-skin cap with a large shade.
This person, who was very reserved and retired in his habits, and seldom
associated with his fellow-prisoners, drew Markham aside, and said, "I've taken a liberty with your
name; but I know you won't mind it. In a place like this we must help and assist each other."
"And in what way " began Markham.
"Oh! nothing very important; only it's just as well to tell you in case
the turnkey says a word about it. The fact is, I haven't half enough to eat with
this infernal gruel and soup that they give those who, like me are forced to
take the gaol allowance, [-71-] and my old mother -
who is known by the name of the Mummy - has promised to send me in presently a jolly good quartern loaf and three or four pound
"But I thought that those who took the gaol allowance were not permitted
to receive, any food from outside?" said Markham.
"That's the very thing," said the man: "so I have told the Mummy to
direct the parcel to you, as I know that you grub yourself at your own
"So long as it does not involve me "
"No - not in the least, my good fellow," interrupted the other. "And,
in return," he added, after a moment's pause, "if I can ever do you a
service, outside or in, you may reckon upon the Resurrection man."
The Resurrection Man!" ejaculated Richard, appalled, in spite of himself, at
this ominous title.
"Yes - that's my name and profession," said the man. "My
and godmothers called me Anthony, and my parents had previously blessed me with
the honourable appellation of Tidkins: so you may know me as Anthony Tidkins,
the Resurrection Man."
"And are you really " began Richard, with a partial shudder; "are
you really a "
"A body-snatcher ?" cried Anthony; "of course I
am - when
there's any work to be done; and when there isn't, then I do a little in another
"And what may that be?" demanded Markham.
This time the Resurrection Man did look his
interlocutor full in
the face; but it was only for a moment; and he again averted his glance in a
sinister manner, as he jerked
his thumb towards the wall of the yard, and exclaimed, "Crankey Jem on
t'other side will tell you if, you ask him. They would not put us together: no -
no," he added, with a species of chuckle; "they know a trick worth two of
that. We shall both be tried together: fifteen years for him - freedom for me! That's the way to do it."
With these words the Resurrection Man turned upon his heels, and walked away
to the farther end of the yard.
We shall now take leave of Markham for the present: when we again call the
reader's attention to his case, we shall find him standing in the dock of the
Central Criminal Court, to take him trial upon the grave accusation of passing
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