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with huge goggling eyes, that rolled to and But the dead pause that followed was still fro by the action of the watch-work within; more awful, and the voice of the clock in what's worse, he squinted most abominably. the silence sounded yet more solemnly. On For all that, I didn't neglect my supper;
a sudden the ticking ceased, and the eyes on the contrary, I was busily employed dis- stood still ; a loud whizzing of wheels folcussing a second rummer of hot brandy and lowed, and in the next moment the clock water, when the guard came in with his fell to the ground and was shivered to pieces usual — Ready, Sir.'
like so much glass. Amidst the shower of Directly,' said I, filling up a third flying atoms up started three strange beings, goblet.
that, like the beasts in the Apocalypse, set “ The horn sounded-Ta-ra-ra!' language at defiance. The first was an inConfound it,' said I, the brandy is definable compound of the eagle and the
human being. The second had the appear“. Ta-ra-ra,' said the horn again. ance of a man of gigantic stature, with a
“ You may wait,' said I, rather wasp- lofty brown upon which sat determination, ishly, as a man who was loth to leave good while the muscles of his chest and arms liquor.
swelled with restless energy. The third “ Another flourish of the detestable horn. wore the form of Venus, as poets have
“ The clatter of horses' feet on the hard described her when she rose from the foam ground followed, and the waiter bustling in, of the sea. somewhat superfluously informed me that “I am the Past,' said, or rather the coach had gone. I never bore a disap- screamed the eagle figure, and his eyes pointment better in my life. Without a glistened, and his talons shot out from their single remark—which, indeed, would have covering, as if about to stoop and seize me. been useless I ordered a bowl of punch to “I am the Past; how hast thou used me?' be brought in, and fresh wood to be heaped 5. I am the PRESENT,' said the second upon the fire. There was nothing left for figure, sternly. “Use me wisely, treat me it, but to make myself confortable—and kindly, and thou shalt have no need to fear comfortable I was, never more so in my the beak and talons of my brother. Look, life, except for the ticking of that horrible the world is full of briars; take this axe, Dutchman, and the squinting of the little and hew thyself a way through them. The goggle-eyed Saracen.
earth is stern and niggard ; take this spade, 66 " I wish the fellow who made it was at and compel her bounty.' the devil,' quoth I.
“ “ I am the FUTURE,' said the third 6 Tick, tick, tick,' replied the Dutch- spirit, in a tone so sweet and musical, that,
A death-watch couldn't have been while I listened, all fear departed from me, half so unpleasant.
and the heart within me kindled. Follow 6 • Tick, tick, tick-roll, roll, roll.'
ied the beautiful spirit, "and I “ There was something ominous in the will lead you to the Islands of the Blest; sound; and as the wind howled about the see, how calmly the waters glide ; feel how chimneys, and the hail pattered against the softly the winds blow; follow me, poor windows, I began to feel first odd—then creature of clay, and be happy.' cold—then alarmed : for the more I listened " And I did follow her who could have the more singular was the tick, tick,' of resisted the fascination of that voice? Strange the Dutchman. It was evident the clock to say, the storm had passed off, and a warm was talking to me, and I really thought I summer moon was glowing upon the midbegan to understand his language. In the night waters. In the next moment, we midst of my terror a whimsical thought were in her little skiff, with the light breeze came over me, and I couldn't help holding filling our sails, and the sea sparkling about up the punch-bowl to Meinheer, and ex She stood at the bows chanting a claiming—'You must be thirsty after so melody of more than mortal sweetness ; much talking; suppose you drink ?' and as the sound touched the waters, the
“ At this moment, there was a fierce gust dolphins gathered around us as of old at of wind that seemed to shake the house to its the music of Arion. I was unutterably very foundation, and the spirit of the clock happy; the world with its cold realities was --for there certainly was a spirit in it- nothing now to me; I thought not of it; I groaned heavily, “Tick, tick, tick’-and the thought not of them; my whole soul was Saracen rolled his eyes as if he were mad. given up to the syren whose song, while it
relaxed the muscles, filled my heart with the Colchian witch-yet still I writhed an unknown pleasure. Oh, that this voy- upon my rock. The summer solstice brought age could have ended but with life itself! its scorching sun, the winter solstice came but in the midst of my languid enjoyment, on the wings of the tempest-yet still I the clouds gathered, the thunder rolled, the writhed upon my rock. Comets passed away waves rose, and the winds burst from their and returned in their path of centuriesm-yet caverns in the distant north. It was a still I writhed upon my rock. The earth fearful hurricane. At the first threat of itself grew old, and brought forth shrubs the angry elements, the beautiful spirit instead of oaks; the milk of her teeming spread her wings and vanished with a bosom--the springs and rivers that should lamentable cry.
In the next moment I have fed the green leaf and the fruit, had found myself struggling with the furious dried up-yet still I writhed upon my billows, which, rising mountains high, flung rock! me on the point of a sharp rock, standing “ At last the trumpet sounded to call the out like a solitary light-house in the middle dead and the living before the throne of of the pathless ocean. There I lay upon judgment. At the first summons the ocean the crag, beaten by the winds and rain, and shrunk back like a guilty thing, the planets unable to move a limb. Then came a fear- stood still, and the affrighted earth was ful rushing of winds, and the eagle spirit motionless. At the second, the grave fell upon me with his cruel talons and yielded up its dead, and in the air was a struck his beak into my side. I was, as sound of wailing and lamentation, and the Prometheus of old, nailed to a rock, and shrieks of millions who dreaded to meet condemned to be the everlasting prey of the last account. A third time the trumpet the bird of Jove. I could not die; his sounded, and—whirr, whirr, whirr-my old thirst exhausted not the current in my friend the Dutchman struck seven, and the veins; his hunger still found a liver to feed Saracen squinted, as I thought, very signiupon. Night went, and the day came, but ficantly upon me. The trumpet was the still it was the same—and again the stars horn of the early coach, which awoke me rose, and still his claws were in my flesh, just in time to resume my journey, that and his beak was at my heart. There was had been delayed by the punch-bowl. no respite--none--none-none. The moon “ Children-never forget "The Three grew old, and again young, as if she had Spirits.' renewed her youth in the magic kettle of
AN EPISODE IN THE LIFE OF MR. JOSEPH TOMKINS.
He penn'd a challenge, sent it, fought and fell.—HURDIS.
MR. JOSEPH TONKINS, a large distiller much as for the grains upon which Mr. living within the bills of mortality and the Joseph Tomkins fed his pigs, of which he liberties of Westminster, had been an old had a numerous and thriving family. friend of Vernon's father, and an especial Mrs. T., as her friends familiarly called favourite, because he compounded the best her, T being one of the stateliest letters in British cordials in his Majesty's dominions, the alphabet, although it does stand upon and was not, like the doctors, afraid to one leg as I was saying, Mrs. T. had drink the compounds of his own concocting. taken a fancy to a tall, stout made, chestThis worthy purveyor of choice spirits had, nut-coloured youth, with curly mustachios, as most men do, whether distillers of gin or black hair, broad shoulders, and muscular distillers of knowledge, taken unto himself legs, which he stuffed into janty pantaloons a wife, a young, gawky, giddy miss, as her more for bis tailor's benefit than his own. washerwoman used to call her in meek While poor Mr. Tomkins was engaged in humility, who wedded herself to his gold the stillery with whiskey and juniper, Mrs. and to his gin rather than to the living body Tomkins was exhibiting herself at morning into which he poured so many potations of concerts and charity bazaars with the handthat “ vile and leperous distilment;" and some Peregrine Clifford ; nor until the for this aforesaid body she cared about as wife's penchant had become notorious
throughout the neighbourhood, had the scratch*_he had laid aside his bob—whilst purblind rectifier of malt spirits the most from beneath it the grey hair peeped, distant idea of the imprudence of his better bristling like prickles npon the back of an half. When, however, it had become the inflated hedgehog, as if in derision both of common gossip of the stillery, and he at the maker and wearer, exposing at once the length discovered that the world, that busy- incapacity of the one and the senility of the tongued slanderer, was making free with other. To give its finishing touch to the Mrs. Joseph's reputation, he lifted up his portrait, in body Mr. Joseph Tomkins was wig, and, sapiently scratching the broad an absolute mountain of flesh, bones, and poll underneath, finally came to the awful sinews; in mind he was a mere homunculus. conclusion that it would be positively in Mrs. Tomkins was a smart dapper sort of cumbent upon him to vindicate his injured person, tall and straight, young and freshhonour by calling to account the disturber coloured, with red hair, a freckled skin, of his domestic tranquillity.
an immoderately wide mouth, and legs After sundry conferences, therefore, with shaped like the tusks of the “ wild Hyrcahis friends in the trade, keepers of wine nian boar.” Her hair-I have before hinted vaults, where the only commodity sold is that it was red—was as glowing as a firegin, portly Bonifaces and the like, as to the brand, dangling like so many lighted links moral necessity of such a perilous measure, over her broad temples. Her eyes were which they pronounced to be a social obli- grey and never at rest, frequently looking gation, Mr. Tomkins incontinently made at each other as if to confer the benefit of his will, left his wife a paltry two hundred mutual reflection, but more frequently per annum, and forwarded a challenge to wandering about in search of a victim. Her the vile author of his disgrace. It was nose was pointed, having a lateral undulacouched in the following terms :
tion like the gnomon of a dial in a village
church-yard bent by the constant pressure “ MR. CLIFFORD. Sir,—You have been of rustic fingers. Though an irregular taken liberties with my wife that arn't feature, however, it was upon the whole a proper for no gentleman to put up with, tolerably good one, for her husband used to therefore you must fight me with your say of her, “Ah, my Betsy has the nose
So no more at present from your of a cockert.” Her mouth was prodigiously injured servant at command,
capacious, displaying to the extremity of 6 JOSEPH TOMKINS. each jaw two rows of large white even “ Stillery, Juniper Yard, Monday, 2 p. m." teeth, set in gums the colour of faded
peach-blossoms. She was perpetually upon Before we proceed, we shall just present the titter, talked as incessantly as the our readers with a brace of portraits, ticking of a clock, and with as little sense sketched by a hand acknowledged to be as her footman's magpie—for Mr. Tomkins very apt at a likeness. Mr. Joseph Tom- kept both a footman and a carriage, the one kins, being of the more honourable gender, promoted from the piggery to the parlour, his portrait is presented first. He was a the other saved by the distiller’s liberal tall portly man, with a fat vacant counte- bidding at the sale of “ a gentleman going nance, round, hard, and tawny, like a abroad” from the degradation of being conwooden head over the penthouse of a to- verted into a hackney-coach. bacconist's shop; his frame had acquired an Such was the lady for whom Clifford obesity which would have become the was about to be called to so terrible an acdignity of an alderman, while his pursy count. He received Mr. Tomkins' chalcircumference, the dread of all cheap tailors lenge without absolutely running mad from who make no extra charge for size, might terror, although it produced an effect nearly have rivalled in copiousness the vat in his as dreadful, for he almost fell into convulown stillery. The deep glowing tint of sions with laughter, and really did crack occasional crapulence was upon his naturally the strings of his waistcoat with the verubicund cheeks. His limbs were large hement shaking of his sides. In truth, he but shapeless, strictly harmonising with his prodigious head, which had precisely the days of Charles the First, but by whom there
* The scratch and the bob are wigs invented since the symmetry of a huge family dumpling- exists no authentic record
to inform us. in fact, they might have passed for corre
+ No sportsman need be told that a cocker is a small
spaniel, of a peculiar breed; but we don't write for latives—upon which he wore a scanty sportsmen.
had never courted the lady, on the con- Joseph. He was sure, he said, that Mister trary, she had courted him ; but the hụs- Clifford was too much of a gentleman for to band had little to fear from the seduction go for to wrong a man of substance, who of his last rib, the worst, he used to say in had served the parish in the responsible cahis irė, of the whole number, as Clifford pacities of overseer and churchwarden, in had no intention of involving himself in an so tender a point as through the fair fame of action for damages upon so poor an induce- his wife. 66 I'm certain that he wouldn't ment, and only flirted with the lady occa do nothing wrong, and, therefore, Mr. sīonally, not from any dishonourable pre- Vernon, with your leave, we won't say a dilection, but simply because it was visibly word more about the business.” impossible to turn his back upon a fair syren “ But you have sent a challenge to my with red hair, who insisted upon being friend ; there is now no alternative but wooed, although in his eyes she was much that the matter should be decided according too valueless á prize to be won.
She to the laws of honour and of arms.” therefore, só far as he was concerned, con “ If by arms you mean fists, I've no obtinued
pure as the icicle on its own pent- jection to try my hand that way; with a house in a freezing December. The stain proviso, that if he gets the worst on't, he'll upon her husband's brow was a mere hallu- shake hands like a brave man, and be cination of his own distempered fancy, or, friends.” as she more figuratively declared, a maggot “ Fists ! No, Sir, we leave that mode of that he had got into his head.
settling disputes to your draymen, as we do Clifford answered the challenge however drawing full hogsheads to your dray-horses: in the politest térms possible, entering into but gentlemen settle their differences either no'èxplanation, but declaring his readiness with the pistol or the sword.” to meet the irate Mr. Tomkins whenever “Why, what would you have?" replied and wherever he might be pleased to ap- the man of malt; “ don't I say
perpoint. The challengee then went in quest fectly agreeable to make the matter square of Vernon, to show him the precious billet, between us ?" and consult with him how the eventful 66 That can only be done by fighting.” meeting had besť take place.
Here was a
“Nonsense, fighting I'll ax his pardon." fine opportunity for a harmless joke; it was 6 You must exchange shots first." consequently resolved that an honourable
I should be killed ?” meeting should be given to the valorous
will have died an honourable knight of the alembic, who was as soft as death, and be the first of your family who his own mash, though stronger than his will have perished on the field of glory.” own gin, not indeed in head, but in wind “I had much rather go out of the world and limb. Vernon consequently called upon a decent feather-bed than upon a dirty upon the incensed Mr. Joseph Tomkins, green sward. I have no ambition to die like and was ushered into the counting-house, a dog with a bullet through my brains.” where sat the irascible champion of connu Say like a hero, rather.” bial rights, propped upon a high stool before I won't fight.” a broad oak desk, with a grey goose quill “ Then you'll be posted for a coward.” stuck behind his right ear, an emblem at “ I'll bring my action for damages.” oncé of his years and of his folly.
“ You'll be horsewhipped and stigmatised When Vernon made known the purport for a poltroon wherever you appear." of his visit, Mr. Tomkins was absolutely “ 'Tis a savage custom, well enough for thunderstruck. Though he had sent a Frenchmen and such-like barbarians; but challenge, he had never contemplated so here, in this free country, 'tis against the terrifying a result. His breast began to laws, and I must decline breaking the laws, heave, and his heart'thumped almost audibly because it is not becoming a Christian against his waistcoat. He was in a state of man, and a member of the protestant absolute stupefaction at the thought of ex church.” posing his precious life, for precious it was “ But an infraction of the laws of honour to all the spirit-loving ladies within a circle is little becoming a gentleman.” of half a league. Having recovered his “A fiddlestick's end, a gentleman !- I'm breath, the terrified husband declared him- no gentleman, Mr. Vernon, I'm only an self perfectly satisfied that nothing partikler honest tradesman, perfectly satisfied with had passed between Clifford and Mistress my wife's virtue and Mr. Clifford's integrity;
VOL. X.-N0. 1.- JANUARY 1837.
what would you more? I was never born So saying, Vemon quitted the distiller, to be a gentleman, Mr. Vernon, never. I'm leaving him to chew the cud of repentance rich-I've my thousands per annum, got for having so rashly listened to the advice by an honest trade, and it wouldn't be pru- of friends, and sent a challenge to an dent to risk at once the loss of my life and accomplished manslayer, as he now conthe enjoyment of so much money. If your sidered his opponent, who would most likely poor dear dead father was alive, how would make no more of sending him to his account he be horrified at the thought of his old than he would of squeezing a fly, which had friend Joseph Tomkins standing up like a impertinently buzzed about his aristocratic huge post to be shot at! I wonder he is still ears, between his finger and thumb. in his grave while such murderous doings are After repeated interviews, it was at length going on above ground. Think of your poor settled that Mr. Tomkins and Clifford old father, and have pity upon me.” should meet on the second morning after
“ I grieve for you, Mr. Tomkins,” replied the receipt of the former's challenge by the Vernon, “ but there is no alternative. latter, at Chalk Farm. Meanwhile, a plan Clifford is determined to have satisfaction; was proposed by Vernon, which was finally you had therefore better put the best face entered into by Mr. Tomkins' friend, whom you can upon the matter, and meet him. Vernon happened to know. It was this: He's a dead shot, it is true, but you are neither pistol was to be loaded with ball, well aware the best shots miss sometimes, but into Clifford's was to be put a pellet of and there is at least a possibility that your soft dough, which was to be discharged at his ball may hit. Should this be the case, even adversary's head within three or four paces. if you fall, you will
the mortification All the preliminary arrangements being of dying unrevenged. Do you think you made, the awful morning at length dawned could hit a puncheon at eight paces ?" big with the fate of ” Tomkins and of
“ May be I could if I fired, but I shouldn't Clifford, and those parties arrived at the have the courage to pull the trigger, if I ground. The sun, to use an old but knew 'twas a man that stood before me classical image, was peeping from behind instead of a puncheon.”
his curtain in the east, like a watchful lover “ Never fear; your sense of wrong will from behind a thickset hedge, when they nerve your finger, if it does not animate reached the scene of action. your heart. Don't be afraid of missing, Although it was a raw October morn
I once knew a keen sportsman who ing, Mr. Tomkins approached the spot fired at a barn-door, and shot a full-blown panting with his exertions, and reeking apple-tree. You may make as good a with his terrors like a seethed baron of beef marksman.”
on a Lord Mayor's festival. The steam “ Dear, dear,” cried Mr. Tomkins, in ascended from him like the vapour from extreme alarm,“ is there nothing you can fermented grains, and enveloped him in a do to bring matters to an amicable settle- mist of his own engendering. The tears ment? Do stand my friend for once. I'll started into his eyes, his lips quivered, and remember it to my dying day, if you will. he muttered to himself, “ I'm a dead man; Don't turn away your head, but look upon what's to be done ? Poor Mistress Joseph me with compassion. I'm only a distiller, and the little Tomkinses, what will they and was not brought into the world to be do if I am sent on my road to heaven, of sent out of it like a valorous gentleman, of which I am as ignorant as the babe unborn? which I am none,
with a hole drilled through I an't in a fit state to die, I'm sure I an’t, my head or my heart by a leaden bullet. and suppose 1 should go to the devil, what I'd willingly give Mr. Clifford a hundred a sad thing for a wealthy distiller and the pounds, and should not object to add another father of a family!” fifty if he's hard upon me—for I know he He paused a moment, and thus continued isn't overburthened with that sort of com his soliloquy:modity--if he will forget and forgive." “ I shall never have courage to stand fire.
“ Such a proposal would make him I am brought like an ox to the slaughter, frantic, for when his passion is roused and yet if I am killed I shan't be murdered, he is as fierce as a young tiger: besides, but only be put to death like a gentleman. it would be only adding insult to pro- Is there nothing to be done,” said he, vocation. There is nothing to be done, my turning to one of his friends,“ to prevent good friend, you must fight."
mischief? I'm agreeable to anything."