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his Corinthian rival in tip-top turnout, after twice as long, and as anxious, and fifty times as expensive, preparations for effective public display! Nay, my poor swell was greatly the superior of such an one as I have alluded to. Titmouse did, to a great degree, bedizen his back at the expense of his belly; whereas, the Corinthian exquisite, too often taking advantage of station and influence, recklessly both satiates his appetite within, and decorates his person without, at the expense of innumerable heart-aching creditors. I do not mean, however, to claim any real merit for Titmouse on this score, because I am not sure how he would act if he were to become possessed of his magnificent rival's means and opportunities for the perpetration of gentlemanly frauds on a splendid scale. But we shall perhaps see by and by. He walked along with leisurely step; for haste and perspiration were vulgar, and he had the day before him. Observe the careless glance of self-satisfaction with which he occasionally regarded his bright boots, with their martial appendage, giving out a faint tingling sound as he heavily trod the broad flags; his spotless trousers, his tight surtout, and the tip of white handkerchief peeping accidentally out in front! A pleasant sight it was to behold him in a chance rencontre with some one genteel enough to be recognised as he stood, resting on his left leg; his left arm stuck upon his hip; his right leg easily bent outwards; his right hand lightly holding his ebon cane, with the gilt-head of which he occasionally tapped his teeth; and his eyes, half-closed, scrutinizing the face and figure of each "pretty gal" as she passed! This was indeed HAPPINESS, as far as his forlorn condition could admit of his enjoying it. He had no particular object in view. A tiff over-night with two of his shopmates had broken off a party which they had agreed the Sunday preceding in forming, to go to Greenwich on the ensuing Sunday; and this little circumstance a little soured his temper, depressed as were his spirits before. He resolved to-day to walk straight on, and dine somewhere a little way out of town, by way of passing the time till four o'clock, at which hour he intended to make his appearance in Hyde
Park, "to see the fashions," which was his favourite Sunday occupation.
His condition was, indeed, forlorn in the extreme. To say nothing of his prospects in life-what was his present condition? A shopman, with £35 a-year, out of which he had to find his clothing, washing, lodging, and all other incidental expenses-his board being found him by his employers. He was five weeks in arrear to his landlady—a corpulent old termagant, whom nothing could have induced him to risk offending, but his overmastering love of finery; for I grieve to say, that this deficiency had been occasioned by his purchase of the ring he then wore with so much pride. How he had contrived to pacify her-lie upon lie as he must have had recourse to-I know not. He was in debt, too, to his poor washerwoman in six or seven shillings for nearly a quarter's washing; and owed five times that amount to a little old tailor, who, with huge spectacles on his nose, turned up to him, out of a little cupboard which he occupied in Closet Court, and which Titmouse had to pass whenever he went to or from his lodgings, a lean, sallow, wrinkled face, imploring him to "settle his small account.' All the cash in hand which he had to meet contingencies between that day and quarter-day, which was six weeks off, was about twentysix shillings, of which he had taken one for the present day's expenses!
Revolving these somewhat dis. heartening matters in his mind, he passed easily and leisurely along the whole length of Oxford Street. No one could have judged from his dressy appearance, the constant smirk on his face, and his confident air, how very miserable that poor dandy was; but three-fourths of his misery were occasioned by the impossibility he felt of his ever being able to indulge in his propensities for finery and display. Nothing better had he to occupy his few thoughts. He had had only a plain mercantile education, as it is called, i. e. reading, writing, and arithmetic: beyond a very moderate acquaintance with these, he knew nothing whatever; not having read more than a few novels, and plays, and sporting newspapers. Deplorable however, as were his circumstances"Hope springs eternal in the human breast.
And probably, in common with most who are miserable from straightened circumstances, he often conceived, and secretly relied upon, the possibility of an unexpected change for the better: he had heard and read of extraordinary cases of LUCK. Why might he not be one of the LUCKY? A rich girl might fall in love with him-that was, poor fellow! in his consideration, the least unlikely way of luck's advent; or some one might leave him money; or he might win a prize in the lottery ;all these, and other accidental modes of getting enriched, frequently occurred to the well-regulated mind of Mr = Tittlebat Titmouse; but he never once thought of determined, unwearying industry and perseverance in the way of his business conducing to such a result.
Is his case a solitary one?-Dear reader, you may be unlike poor Tittlebat Titmouse in every respect except
On he walked towards Bayswater; and finding it was yet early, and considering that the farther he went from town the better prospect there was of his being able, with little sacrifice of appearances, to get a dinner consistent with the means he carried about with him, viz. one shilling, he pursued his way a mile or two beyond Bayswater, and, sure enough, came at length upon a nice little public-house on the roadside, called the Squaretoes Arms. Very tired, and quite smothered with dust, he first sat down in a small back room to rest himself; and took the opportunity to call for a clothes-brush and shoe-brush, to relieve his clothes and boots from the heavy dust upon them. Having thus attended to his outer man, as far as circumstances would permit, he bethought himself of his inner man, whose cravings he satisfied with a pretty substantial mutton-pie and a pint of porter. This fare, together with a penny to the little girl who waited on him, cost him tenpence; and having somewhat refreshed himself, he began to think of returning to town. Having lit one of his two cigars, he sallied forth, puffing along with an air of quiet enjoyment. Dinner, however humble, seldom fails, especially when accompanied by a fair draught of good porter, in some considerable degree to tranquillize the animal spirits; and that soothing effect
NO. CCLXXXVIII, VOL. XLVI.
began soon to be experienced by Mr Titmouse. The sedative cause he erroneously considered to be the cigar he was smoking; whereas in fact the only tobacco he had imbibed was from the porter. But, however that might be, he certainly returned towards town in a far calmer and even more cheerful humour than that in which he had quitted it an hour or two before.
As he approached Cumberland Gate, it wanted about a quarter to five; and the Park might be said to be at its acme of fashion, as far as that could be indicated by a sluggish stream of carriages, three and four a-breast— coroneted panels in abundance-noble and well-known equestrians of both sexes, in troops-and some thousand pedestrians of the same description. So continuous was the throng, of carriages and horsemen, that Titmouse did not find it the easiest matter in the world to shoot across to the footpath in the minor circle. That, however, he safely accomplished, encountering no more serious mischance than the subdued "D-n your eyes!" of a groom, between whom and his master Mr Titmouse had presumed to intervene. What a crowd of elegant women, many of them young and beautiful, (who but such, to be sure, would become, or be allowed to become, pedestrians in the Park?) he encountered, as he slowly sauntered on, all of them obsequiously attended by brilliant beaux! Lords and ladies were here manifestly as plentiful as plebeians in Oxford Street. What an enchanted ground!-How delicious this soft crush and flutter of aristocracy! Poor Titmouse felt his utter insignificance. Many a sigh of dissatisfaction and envy escaped him; yet he stepped along with a tolerably-assured air, looking every body he met straight in the face, and occasionally twirling about his little cane with an air which seemed to say "Whatever opinion you may form of me, I have a very good opinion of myself." Indeed, was he not as much a man-an Englishman-as the best of them? What was the real difference between Count Do-'em-all and Mr Tittlebat Titmouse? Only that the Count had dark whiskers, and owed more money than Mr Titmouse's creditors could be persuaded to allow him to owe! Would to Heaven-thought Titmouse-that any one tailor would patronise him, as
half-a-dozen had patronised the Count! If pretty ladies of quality did not disdain a walking advertisement of three or four first-rate tailors, like the Count, why should they turn up their noses at an assistant in an extensive wholesale and retail establishment in Oxford Street, conversant with the qualities and prices of the most beautiful articles of female attire? Leaning against the railing in a studied attitude, and eyeing wistfully each gay and fashionable equipage, with its often lovely, and sometimes haughty enclosure, as it rolled slowly past him, Mr Titmouse became more and more convinced that the only real distinction between mankind was that effected by money. Want of money alone had placed him in his present abject position. Abject indeed! By the great folk, who were passing him on all sides, he felt, well-dressed as he believed himself to be, that he was no more noticed than as if he had been a pismire, a blue-bottle fly, or a black beetle! He looked, and sighed-sighed, and looked—looked, and sighed again, in a kind of agony of vain longing. While his only day in the week for breathing fresh air, and appearing like a gentleman in the world, was rapidly drawing to a close, and he was beginning to think of returning to the dog-hole he had crawled out of in the morning, and the shop for the rest of the week; the great, and gay, and happy folk he was looking at, were thinking of driving home to dress for their grand dinners, and to lay out every kind of fine amusement for the ensuing week, and that was the sort of life they led every day in the week. He heaved a profound sigh. At that moment a superb cab, with a gentleman in it dressed in great elegance, and with a very keen and striking countenance, came up with a cab of still more exquisite structure and appointments, in which sate a young man, evidently of consequence; very handsome, with splendid mustachios; perfectly welldressed; holding the reins and whip gracefully in hands glistening in strawcoloured kid gloves-and between the two gentlemen ensued the following low-toned colloquy, which it were to be wished that every such sighing simpleton (as Titmouse must, I fear, now appear to the reader) could have overheard.
"Ah, Fitz!" said the former-mentioned gentleman to the latter, who
"Sorry for it," interrupted the first speaker in a lower tone, perceiving the vexation of his companion; " but can't help it, you know.' "When?"
"To-morrow at nine. Monstrous sorry for it-'pon my soul, Fitz, you really must look sharp, or the thing won't go on much longer."
"Must it be, really?" enquired the other, biting his lips-at that moment kissing his hand to a very beautiful girl, who slowly passed him in a coroneted chariot" must it really be, Joe?" he repeated, turning towards his companion a pale and bitterlychagrined countenance.
"Poz, 'pon my life. however, and not very full
"Would not Wednesday?. quired the other, leaning forward towards the former speaker's cab, and whispering with an air of intense earnestness. "The fact is, I've engagements at C's on Monday and Tuesday nights with one or two country cousins, and I may be in a condition-eh? you understand ?”
His companion shook his head distrustfully.
"Upon my word and honour as a gentleman, it's the fact!" said the other, in a low vehement tone.
"Then say Wednesday, nine o'clock, a.m. You understand? No mistake, Fitz!" replied his companion, looking him steadily in the face as he spoke.
"None-honour!"— After a pause "Who is it ?"
His companion took a slip of paper out of his pocket, and in a whisper read from it-" Cabs, harness, &c., L. 197, 10s."
"A villain! It's been of only eighteen months' standing," interrupted the other, in an indignant mutter.
"Between ourselves, he is rather a sharp hand. Then, I'm sorry to say there's a detainer or two I have had a hint of
"D-n their souls !" exclaimed the other, with an expression of mingled disgust, vexation, and hatred; and adding, "Wednesday-nine"-drove off, a picture of tranquil enjoyment.
I need hardly say that he was a fashionable young spendthrift, and the other a sheriff's officer of the first water-the genteelest beak that ever was known or heard of-who had been on the look-out for him several days, and with whom the happy youngster was doomed to spend some considerable time at a cheerful residence in Chancery Lane, bleeding gold at every pore the while;-his only chance of avoiding which, was, as he had truly hinted, an honourable attempt on the purses of two hospitable country cousins, in the meanwhile, at C-'s! And if he did not succeed in that enterprise, so that he must go to cage, he lost the only chance he had had for some time of securing an exemption from such annoyance, by entering Parliament to protect the liberties of the people-an eloquent and resolute champion of freedom in trade, religion, and every thing else; and an abolitionist of every thing, including, especially, negro slavery and imprisonment for debt-two execrable violations of the natural rights of mankind.
But we have, for several minutes, lost sight of the admiring Titmouse. "Why," thought he, "am I thus spited by fortune ?-The only thing she's given me is-nothing!-D-n every thing!" exclaimed Mr Titmouse aloud, at the same time starting off, to the infinite astonishment of an old peer, who had been for some minutes standing leaning against the railing, close beside him, who was master of a magnificent fortune, "with all appliances and means to boot;" with a fine grown-up family, his eldest son and heir having just gained a Double First, and promising wonders; many mansions in different parts of England; exquisite taste and accomplishment; the representative of one of the oldest families in England; but who at that moment lothed every thing and every body, including himself, because the minister had that day intimated to him that he could not give him a vacant riband, for which he had applied, unless he could command two more votes in the Lower House, and which at present he saw no earthly means of doing. Yes, the Earl of Cheviotdale and Mr Tittlebat Titmouse were both miserable men ; both had been hardly dealt with by fortune; both were greatly to be pitied; and both quitted the Park,
about the same time, with a decided misanthropic tendency.
Mr Titmouse walked along Piccadilly with a truly chapfallen and disconsolate air. He almost felt dissatisfied even with his personal appearance. Dress as he would, no one seemed to care a curse for him; and, to his momentarily jaundiced eye, he seemed equipped in only second-hand and shabby finery-and then he was really such a poor devil. Do not let the reader suppose that this was an unusual mood with Mr Titmouse. No such thing. Like the Irishman who "married a wife for to make him un-aisy;" and also not unlike the moth that will haunt the brightness that is her destruction; so poor Titmouse, Sunday after Sunday, dressed himself out as elaborately as he had done on the present occasion, and then always betook himself to the scene he had just again witnessed, and which once again had excited only those feelings of envy, bitterness, and despair, which I have been describing, and which, on every such occasion, he experienced with, if possible, increased intensity.
What to do with himself till it was time to return to his cheerless lodgings he did not exactly know; so he loitered along at a snail's pace. He stood for some time staring at the passengers, their luggage, the coaches they were ascending and alighting from, and listening to the strange medley of coachmen's, guards', and porters' vociferations, and passengers' greetings and leave-takings-always to be observed at the White Horse Cellar. Then he passed along, till a street row, near the Haymarket, attracted his attention and interested his feelings; for it ended in a regular set-to between two watermen attached to the adjoining coach-stand. Here he conceived himself looking on with the easy air of a swell; and the ordinary penalty (paying for his footing) was attempted to be exacted from him; but he had nothing to be picked out of any of his pockets except that under his very nose, and which contained his white handkerchief. This over, he struck into Leicester Square, where, (he was in luck that night,) hurrying up to another crowd at the further end, he found a man preaching with infinite energy. Mr Titmouse looked on, and listened for two or three minutes with apparent interest;
and then, with a countenance in which pity struggled with contempt, muttered, loud enough to be heard by all near him," poor devil!" and walked off. He had not proceeded many steps, before it occurred to him that a friend-one Robert Huckaback, much such another one as himself lived in one of the narrow, dingy streets in the neighbourhood. He determined to take the chances of his being at home, and if so, of spending the remainder of the evening with him. Huckaback's quarters were in the same ambitious proximity to heaven as his own; the only difference being, that they were a trifle cheaper and larger. He answered the door himself, having only the moment before returned from his Sunday's excursion,-i. e. the Jack Straw's Castle Tea-Gardens, at Highbury, where, in company with several of his friends, he had "spent a jolly afternoon." He ordered in a glass of negus from the adjoining publichouse, after some discussion, which ended in an agreement that he should stand treat that night, and Titmouse on the ensuing one. As soon as the negus arrived, accompanied by two captain's biscuits, which looked so hard and hopeless that they would have made the nerves thrill within the teeth that attempted to masticate them, the candle was lit-Huckaback handed a cigar to his friend; both began to puff away, and chatter pleasantly concerning the many events and scenes of the day.
"Any thing stirring in to-day's "Flash?" enquired Titmouse, as his eye caught sight of a copy of that able and interesting Sunday newspaper, which Huckaback had hired for the evening from the news-shop on the ground-floor of his lodgings.
"Not knowing, can't say," answered his friend, removing his cigar with his right hand, and then, with closed eyes and inflated cheeks, he very slowly ejected the smoke which he had last inhaled, and rose and took down the paper from the shelf.
"Here's a mark of a beastly porterpot that's been set upon it, by all that's holy! It's been at the public house! Too bad of Mrs Coggs to send it me up in this state!" said he, handling it as though its touch were contamination. Faugh! how it stinks!"
"What a horrid beast she must be !" exclaimed Titmouse, in like manner
expelling his mouthful of smoke. "But, since better can't be had, let's hear what news is in it. D-e, it's the only paper published, in my opinion, that's worth reading! Any fights astirring?"
"Haven't come to them yet," replied Huckaback, fixing his feet on another chair, and drawing the candle closer to the paper. "It says, by the way, that the Duke of Dunderhead is certainly making up to Mrs Thumps, the rich Nightman's widow ;-a precious good hit that, isn't it? You know the Duke's as poor as a rat!”
"Oh! that's no news. It will quite set him up-and no mistake. Seen the Duke, ever?"
"Ye-es! Oh, several times!"This was a lie, and Tittlebat knew that it was.
"D-d good-looking, I suppose ?"
Why-middling; I should say middling. Know some that needn't fear to compare with him-eh! Tittlebat?"-and Huckaback winked archly
at his friend.
“Ah, ha, ha!—a pretty joke! But come, that's a good chap!-You can't be reading both of them at oncegive us the other sheet, and set the candle right betwixt us!--Come, fair's the word!"
Huckaback, thus appealed to, did as his friend requested; and the two friends read and smoked for some minutes in silence.
"Well-I shall spell over the advertisements now, "said Titmouse; "there's a pretty lot of them—and I've read every thing else-precious little there is, here, besides !-So, here goes!-One may hear of a prime situation, you know-and I'm quite sick of Dowlas'! "
Another interval of silence ensued. Huckaback was deep in the details of a trial for murder; and Titmouse, after having glanced listlessly over the entertaining first sheet of advertisements, was on the point of laying down his half of the paper, when he suddenly started in his chair, and stammered
"What's the matter, Tit ?-eh?” enquired Huckaback, greatly astonished.
For a moment Titmouse made no answer, but fixed his eyes intently on the paper, which began to rustle in his trembling hands. What occasioned this eloquent outbreak, with its subse