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astically delighted with the whole exhibition.

"Never saw anything like that Captain Ross's set-out
eh? 11

"No, 11 returned the patriot, with his usual reservation
" except in Dublin. 11

"I saw the Count de Canky and Captain Fitzthompson
in the Gardens, 11 said Wisbottle; "they appeared much
delighted. 11

"Then it must be beautiful, 11 snarled Evenson.

" I think the white bears is partickerlerly well done, 11
suggested Mrs. Bloss. "In their shaggy white coats, they
look just like Polar bears don't you think they do, Mr.
Evenson ? "

"I think they look a great deal more like omnibus cads
on all fours, 11 replied the discontented one.

"Upon the whole, I should have liked our evening very
well, 11 gasped Gobler ; " only I caught a desperate cold
which increased my pain dreadfully ! I was obliged to have
several shower-baths, before I could leave my room. 11

" Capital things those shower-baths ! " ejaculated Wisbottle.

" Excellent ! " said Tomkins.

" Delightful ! " chimed in O'Bleary. (He had once seen
one, outside a tinman's.)

"Disgusting machines! 11 rejoined Evenson, who extended
his dislike to almost every created object, masculine, femi-
nine, or neuter.

" Disgusting, Mr. Evenson ! " said Gobler, in a tone of
strong indignation. " Disgusting ! Look at their utility
consider how many lives they have saved by promoting
perspiration."

" Promoting perspiration, indeed, 11 growled John Evenson,
stopping short in his walk across the large squares in the
pattern of the carpet "I was ass enough to be persuaded
some time ago to have one in my bedroom. ""Gad, I was
in it once, and it effectually cured me, for the mere sight of



MR. EVENSON KEEPS WATCH. 359

it threw me into a profuse perspiration for six months
afterwards."

A titter followed this announcement, and before it had
subsided James brought up "the tray," containing the
remains of a leg of lamb which had made its debut at
dinner ; bread ; cheese ; an atom of butter in a forest of
parsley ; one pickled walnut and the third of another ; and
so forth. The boy disappeared, and returned again with
another tray, containing glasses and jugs of hot and cold
water. The gentlemen brought in their spirit-bottles ; the
housemaid placed divers plated bedroom candlesticks under
the card-table; and the servants retired for the night.

Chairs were drawn round the table, and the conversation
proceeded in the customary manner. John Evenson, who
never ate supper, lolled on the sofa, and amused himself by
contradicting everybody. (TBleary ate as much as he could
conveniently carry, and Mrs. Tibbs felt a due degree of
indignation thereat ; Mr. Gobler and Mrs. Bloss conversed
most affectionately on the subject of pill-taking, and other
innocent amusements ; and Tomkins and Wisbottle " got
into an argument;" that is to say, they both talked very
loudly and vehemently, each flattering himself that he had
got some advantage about something, and neither of them
having more than a very indistinct idea of what they were
talking about. An hour or two passed away ; and the boarders
and the brass candlesticks retired in pairs to their respective
bedrooms. John Evensori pulled off his boots, locked his
door, and determined to sit up until Mr. Gobler had retired.
He always sat in the drawing-room an hour after everybody
else had left it, taking medicine, and groaning.

Great Coram-street was hushed into a state of profound
repose : it was nearly two o'clock. A hackney-coach now
and then rumbled slowly by; and occasionally some stray
lawyer's clerk, on his way home to Somers-town, struck his
iron heel on the top of the coal-cellar with a noise resembling
the click of a smoke-jack. A low, monotonous, gushing



360 SKETCHES BY BOZ.

sound was heard, which added considerably to the romantic
dreariness of the scene. It was the water "coming in 11 at
number eleven.

"He must be asleep by this time," said John Evenson to
himself, after waiting with exemplary patience for nearly an
hour after Mr. Gobler had left the drawing-room. He
listened for a few moments ; the house was perfectly quiet ;
he extinguished his rushlight, and opened his bedroom door.
The staircase was so dark that it was impossible to see
anything.

" S s^-s ! " whispered the mischief-maker, making a noise
like the first indication a catherine-wheel gives of the
probability of its going off.

" Hush ! " whispered somebody else.

"Is that you, Mrs. Tibbs ?"

" Yes, sir!"

"Where?"

" Here ; " and the misty outline of Mrs. Tibbs appeared at
the staircase window, like the ghost of Queen Anne in the
tent scene in Richard.

"This way, Mrs. Tibbs," whispered the delighted busy-
body: "give me your hand there! Whoever these people
are, they are in the store-room now, for I have been looking
down from my window, and I could see that they accidentally
upset their candlestick, and are now in darkness. You have
no shoes on, have you ? "

"No," said little Mrs. Tibbs, who could hardly speak for
trembling.

" Well ; I have taken my boots off, so we can go down, close
to the store-room door, and listen over the banisters ; " and
down-stairs they both crept accordingly, every board creaking
like a patent mangle on a Saturday afternoon.

"It's Wisbottle and somebody, Til swear," exclaimed the
radical in an energetic whisper, when they had listened for a
few moments.

" Hush pray let's hear what they say ! " exclaimed Mrs.



GENERAL BEWILDERMENT 361

Tibbs, the gratification of whose curiosity was now paramount
to every other consideration.

" Ah ! if I could but believe you," said a female voice
coquettishly, " I'd be bound to settle my missis for life."

" What does she say ? " inquired Mr. Evenson, who was
not quite so well situated as his companion.

" She says shell settle her missis's life," replied Mrs. Tibbs.
" The wretch ! they're plotting murder."

"I know you want money," continued the voice, which
belonged to Agnes ; "and if you'd secure me the five hundred
pound, I warrant she should take fire soon enough."

"What's that?" inquired Evenson again. He could just
hear enough to want to hear more.

" I think she says she'll set the house on fire," replied the
affrighted Mrs. Tibbs. " But thank God I'm. insured in the
Phoenix ! "

"The moment I have secured your mistress, my dear," said
a man's voice in a strong Irish brogue, "you may depend on
having the money. 1 "

" Bless my soul, it's Mr. O'Bleary ! " exclaimed Mrs. Tibbs,
in a parenthesis.

" The villain ! " said the indignant Mr. Evenson.

"The first thing to be done," continued the Hibernian,
" is to poison Mr. Gobler's mind."

" Oh, certainly," returned Agnes.

"What's that?" inquired Evenson again, in an agony of
curiosity and a whisper.

"He says she's to mind and poison Mr. Gobler," replied
Mrs. Tibbs, aghast at this sacrifice of human life.

" And in regard of Mrs. Tibbs," continued O'Bleary. Mrs.
Tibbs shuddered.

" Hush ! " exclaimed Agnes, in a tone of the greatest alarm,
just as Mrs. Tibbs was on the extreme verge of a fainting
fit. " Hush ! "

" Hush ! exclaimed Evenson, at the same moment to Mrs.
Tibbs.



362 SKETCHES BY BOZ.

"There's somebody coming wp-staiw," said Agnes to
O'Bleary.

" There's somebody coming Jorcw-stairs," whispered Evenson
to Mrs. Tibbs.

" Go into the parlour, sir," said Agnes to her companion.
" You will get there, before whoever it is, gets to the top of
the kitchen stairs."

" The drawing-room, Mrs. Tibbs ! " whispered the aston-
ished Evenson to his equally astonished companion ; and
for the drawing-room they both made, plainly hearing the
rustling of two persons, one coming down-stairs, and one
coming up.

"What can it be?" exclaimed Mrs. Tibbs. "It's like
a dream. I wouldn't be found in this situation for the
world ! "

" Nor I," returned Evenson, who could never bear a
joke at his own expense. " Hush ! here they are at the
door."

" What fun ! " whispered one of the new-comers. It was
Wisbottle.

" Glorious ! " replied his companion, in an equally low
tone. This was Alfred Tomkins. " Who would have
thought it ? "

" I told you so," said Wisbottle, in a most knowing
whisper. " Lord bless you, he has paid her most extraor-
dinary attention for the last two months. I saw 'em when I
was sitting at the piano to-night."

"Well, do you know I didn't notice it?" interrupted
Tomkins.

" Not notice it ! " continued \Visbottle. " Bless you ; I saw
him whispering to her, and she crying; and then Til swear I
heard him say something about to-night when we were all
in bed."

"They're talking of us!" exclaimed the agonised Mrs.
Tibbs, as the painful suspicion, and a sense of their situation,
flashed upon her mind.



THE VALOROUS TIBBS. 363

" I know it I know it," replied Evenson, with a melan-
choly consciousness that there was no mode of escape.

" What's to be done ? we cannot both stop here ! "
ejaculated Mrs. Tibbs, in a state of partial derangement.

" 111 get up the chimney," 1 replied Evenson, who really
meant what he said.

" You can't," said Mrs. Tibbs, in despair. " You can't
it's a register stove."

" Hush ! " repeated John Evenson.

" Hush hush ! " cried somebody down-stairs.

" What a d d hushing ! " said Alfred Tomkins, who began
to get rather bewildered.

" There they are ! " exclaimed the sapient Wisbottle, as a
rustling noise was heard in the store-room.

" Hark ! " whispered both the young men.

** Hark ! " repeated Mrs. Tibbs and Evenson.

"Let me alone, sir," said a female voice in the store-
room.

" Oh, Hagnes ! " cried another voice, which clearly belonged
to Tibbs, for nobody else ever owned one like it. "Oh,
Hagnes lovely creature ! "

" Be quiet, sir ! " (A bounce.)

Hag "

"Be quiet, sir I am ashamed of you. Think of your wife,
Mr. Tibbs. Be quiet, sir ! "

" My wife ! " exclaimed the valorous Tibbs, who was clearly
under the influence of gin-and-water, and a misplaced attach-
ment ; " I ate her ! Oh, Hagnes ! when I was in the volunteer
corps, in eighteen hundred and "

" I declare I'll scream. Be quiet, sir, will you ? " (Another
bounce and a scuffle.)

" What's that ? " exclaimed Tibbs, with a start.

" What's what ? " said Agnes, stopping short.

" Why that ! "

" Ah ! you have done it nicely now, sir," sobbed the
frightened Agnes, as a tapping was heard at Mrs. Tibbs's



364 SKETCHES BY BOZ.

bedroom door, which would have beaten any dozen wood-
peckers hollow.

" Mrs. Tibbs ! Mrs. Tibbs ! " called out Mrs. Bloss. " Mrs.
Tibbs, pray get up." (Here the imitation of a woodpecker
was resumed with tenfold violence.)

" Oh, dear dear ! " exclaimed the wretched partner of the
depraved Tibbs. " She's knocking at my door. We must be
discovered ! What will they think ? "

" Mrs. Tibbs ! Mrs. Tibbs ! " screamed the woodpecker
again.

" What's the matter ! " shouted Gobler, bursting out of the
back drawing-room, like the dragon at Astley's.

"Oh, Mr. Gobler! 11 cried Mrs. Bloss, with a proper
approximation to hysterics ; " I think the house is on fire,
or else there's thieves in it. I have heard the most dreadful
noises ! 11

" The devil you have ! " shouted Gobler again, bouncing
back into his den, in happy imitation of the aforesaid dragon,
and returning immediately with a lighted candle. "Why,
what's this ? Wisbottle ! Tomkins ! O'Bleary ! Agnes ! What
the deuce ! all up and dressed ? "

" Astonishing ! " said Mrs. Bloss, who had run down-stairs,
and taken Mr. Gobler's arm.

" Call Mrs. Tibbs directly, somebody," said Gobler, turning
into the front drawing-room. " What ! Mrs. Tibbs and Mr.
Evenson ! ! "

" Mrs. Tibbs and Mr. Evenson ! " repeated everybody, as
that unhappy pair were discovered: Mrs. Tibbs seated in
an arm-chair by the fireplace, and Mr. Evenson standing by
her side.

We must leave the scene that ensued to the reader's imagina-
tion. We could tell, how Mrs. Tibbs forthwith fainted away,
and how it required the united strength of Mr. Wisbottle
and Mr. Alfred Tomkins to hold her in her chair ; how Mr.
Evenson explained, and how his explanation was evidently
disbelieved ; how Agnes repelled the accusations of Mrs.



RETIREMENT OF MRS. TIBBS. 365

Tibbs by proving that she was negotiating with Mr. O'Bleary
to influence her mistress's affections in his behalf; and how
Mr. Gobler threw a damp counterpane on the hopes of Mr.
O'Bleary by avowing that he (Gobler) had already proposed
to, and been accepted by, Mrs. Bloss ; how Agnes was dis-
charged from that lady's service ; how Mr. O'Bleary dis-
charged himself from Mrs. Tibbs's house, without going
through the form of previously discharging his bill ; and how
that disappointed young gentleman rails against England
and the English, and vows there is no virtue or fine feeling
extant, "except in Ireland. 11 We repeat that we could tell
all this, but we love to exercise our self-denial, and we there-
fore prefer leaving it to be imagined.

The lady whom we have hitherto described as Mi's. Bloss,
is no more. Mrs. Gobler exists : Mrs. Bloss has left us for
ever. In a secluded retreat in Newington Butts, far, far
removed from the noisy strife of that great boarding-house,
the world, the enviable Gobler and his pleasing wife revel in
retirement : happy in their complaints, their table, and their
medicine; wafted through life by the grateful prayers of all
the purveyors of animal food within three miles round.

We would willingly stop here, but we have a painful duty
imposed upon us, which we must discharge. Mr. and Mre.
Tibbs have separated by mutual consent, Mrs. Tibbs receiving
one moiety of 43?. 15.9. 10d., which we before stated to be
the amount of her husband's annual income, and Mr. Tibbs
the other. He is spending the evening of his days in retire-
ment ; and he is spending also, annually, that small but
honourable independence. He resides among the original
settlers at Walworth; and it has been stated, on unquestion-
able authority, that the conclusion of the volunteer story has
been heard in a small tavern in that respectable neighbour-
hood.

The unfortunate Mi's. Tibbs has determined to dispose of
the whole of her furniture by public auction, and to retire
from a residence in which she has suffered so much. Mr.



366 SKETCHES BY BOZ.

Robins has been applied to, to conduct the sale, and the
transcendent abilities of the literary gentlemen connected
with his establishment are now devoted to the task of drawing
up the preliminary advertisement. It is to contain, among
a variety of brilliant matter, seventy-eight words in large
capitals, and six original quotations in inverted commas.



CHAPTER II.

MR. MINNS AND HIS COUSIN.

Mn. AUGUSTUS MINNS was a bachelor, of about forty as he
said of about eight-and-forty as his friends said. He was
always exceedingly clean, precise, and tidy ; perhaps some-
what priggish, and the most retiring man in the world. He
usually wore a brown frock-coat without a wrinkle, light
inexplicables without a spot, a neat neckerchief with a
remarkably neat tie, and boots without a fault ; moreover, he
always carried a brown silk umbrella with an ivory handle.
He was a clerk in Somerset-house, or, as he said himself, he
held "a responsible situation under Government. 1 '' He had
a good and increasing salary, in addition to some 10,000/. of
his own (invested in the funds), and he occupied a first floor
in Tavistock-street, Covent-garden, where he had resided for
twenty years, having been in the habit of quarrelling with his
landlord the whole time : regularly giving notice of his
intention to quit on the first day of every quarter, and as
regularly countermanding it on the second. There were two
classes of created objects which he held in the deepest and
most unmingled horror; these were dogs, and children. He
was not unamiable, but he could, at any time, have viewed
the execution of a dog, or the assassination of an infant, with
the liveliest satisfaction. Their habits were at variance with
his love of order ; and his love of order was as powerful as
his love of life. Mr. Augustus Minns had no relations, in or
near London, with the exception of his cousin, Mr. Octavius



368 SKETCHES BY BOZ.

Budden, to whose son, whom he had never seen (for he
disliked the father), he had consented to become godfather
by proxy. Mr. Budden having realised a moderate fortune by
exercising the trade or calling of a corn-chandler, and having
a great predilection for the country, had purchased a cottage
in the vicinity of Stamford-hill, whither he retired with the
wife of his bosom, and his only son, Master Alexander
Augustus Budden. One evening, as Mr. and Mrs. B. were
admiring their son, discussing his various merits, talking over
his education, and disputing whether the classics should be
made an essential part thereof, the lady pressed so strongly
upon her husband the propriety of cultivating the friendship
of Mr. Minns in behalf of their son, that Mr. Budden at last
made up his mind, that it should not be his fault if he and
his cousin were not in future more intimate.

" I'll break the ice, my love," said Mr. Budden, stirring up
the sugar at the bottom of his glass of brandy-and-water,
and casting a sidelong look at his spouse to see the effect of
the announcement of his determination, "by asking Minns
down to dine with us, on Sunday."

" Then pray, Budden, write to your cousin at once," replied
Mrs. Budden. " Who knows, if we could only get him down
here, but he might take a fancy to our Alexander, and leave
him his property ? Alick, my dear, take your legs oft' the
rail of the chair ! "

" Very true," said Mr. Budden, musing, " very true indeed,
my love ! "

On the following morning, as Mr. Minns was sitting at his
breakfast-table, alternately biting his dry toast and casting
a look upon the columns of his morning paper, which he
always read from the title to the printer's name, he heard a
loud knock at the street-door; which was shortly afterwards
followed by the entrance, of his servant, who put into his
hands a particularly small card, on which was engraven in
immense letters, " Mr. Octavius Budden, Amelia Cottage
(Mrs. B/s name was Amelia), Poplar-walk, Stamford-hill.'"



MR. BUDDEN. 369

" Badden ! * ejaculated Minns, " what can bring that vulgar
man here ! say I'm asleep say I'm out, and shall never be
home again anything to keep him down-stairs."

"But please, sir, the gentleman's coming up," replied the
servant, and the fact was made evident, by an appalling
creaking of boots on the staircase accompanied by a pattering
noise ; the cause of which, Minns could not, for the life of
him, divine.

" Hem show the gentleman in," said the unfortunate
bachelor. Exit servant, and enter Octavius preceded by a
large white dog, dressed in a suit of fleecy hosiery, with pink
eyes, large ears, and no perceptible tail.

The cause of the pattering on the stairs was but too plain.
Mr. Augustus Minns staggered beneath the shock of the
dog's appearance.

"My dear fellow, how are you?" said Budden, as he
entered.

He always spoke at the top of his voice, and always said
the same thing half-a-dozen times.

" How are you, my hearty ? "

"How do you do, Mr. Budden? pray take a chair?"
politely stammered the discomfited Minns.

" Thank you thank you well how are you, eh ? "

" Uncommonly well, thank you," said Minns, casting a
diabolical look at the dog, who, with his hind legs on the
floor, and his fore paws resting on the table, was dragging a
bit of bread and butter out of a plate, preparatory to devour-
ing it, with the buttered side next the carpet.

" Ah, you rogue ! " said Budden to his dog ; " you see,
Minns, he's like me, always at home, eh, my boy! Egad,
I'm precious hot and hungry ! I've walked all the way from
Stamford-hill this morning."

" Have you breakfasted ? " inquired Minns.

" Oh, no ! came to breakfast with you ; so ring the bell,
my dear fellow, will you ? and let's have another cup and
saucer, and the cold ham. Make myself at home, you see!"

VOL. L 2 B



370 SKETCHES BY BOZ.

continued Budden, dusting his boots with a table-napkin.
"Ha! ha! ha! 'pon my life, I'm hungry."

Minns rang the bell, and tried to smile.

"I decidedly never was so hot in my life," continued
Octavius, wiping his forehead; "well, but how are you,
Minns ? Ton my soul, you wear capitally ! "

" D'ye think so ? " said Minns ; and he tried another smile.

" Ton my life, I do ! "

" Mrs. B. and what's his name quite well ? "

" Alick my son, you mean ; never better never better.
But at such a place as we've got at Poplar-walk, you know,
he couldn't be ill if he tried. When I first saw it, by Jove !
it looked so knowing, with the front garden, and the green
railings, and the brass knocker, and all that I really thought
it was a cut above me."

"Don't you think you'd like the ham better," interrupted
Minns, " if you cut it the other way ? " He saw, with
feelings which it is impossible to describe, that his visitor
was cutting or rather maiming the ham, in utter violation
of all established rules.

" No, thank ye," returned Budden, with the most barbarous
indifference to crime, " I prefer it this way, it eats short.
But I say, Minns, when will you come down and see us ? You
will be delighted with the place; I know you will. Amelia
and I were talking about you the other night, and Amelia
said another lump of sugar, please ; thank ye she said,
don't you think you could contrive, my dear, to say to Mr.
Minns, in a friendly way come down, sir damn the dog !
he's spoiling your curtains, Minns ha ! ha ! ha ! " Minns
leaped from his seat as though he had received the discharge
from a galvanic battery.

"Come out, sir! go out, hoo!" cried poor Augustus,
keeping, nevertheless, at a very respectful distance from the
dog ; having read of a case of hydrophobia in the paper of
that morning. By dint of great exertion, much shouting, and
a marvellous deal of poking under the tables with a stick and



MR. MINNS INVITED TO MR. BUDDEN'S. 371

umbrella, the dog was at last dislodged, and placed on the
landing outside the door, where he immediately commenced
a most appalling howling; at the same time vehemently
scratching the paint off' the two nicely-varnished bottom
panels, until they resembled the interior of a backgammon-
board.

"A good dog for the country that!" coolly observed
Budden to the distracted Minns, "but he's not much used to
confinement. But now, Minns, when will you come down?
I'll take no denial, positively. Let's see, to-day's Thursday.
Will you come on Sunday? We dine at five, don't say
no do."

After a great deal of pressing, Mr. Augustus Minns, driven
to despair, accepted the invitation, and promised to be at
Poplar-walk on the ensuing Sunday, at a quarter before five
to the minute.

" Now mind the direction," said Budden : " the coach goes
from the Flower-pot, in Bishopsgate-street, every half hour.
When the coach stops at the Swan, you'll see, immediately
opposite you, a white house."

" Which is your house I understand," said Minns, wishing
to cut short the visit, and the story, at the same time.

" No, no, that's not mine ; that's Grogus's, the great iron-
monger's. I was going to say you turn down by the side of
the white house till you can't go another step further mind
that! and then you turn to your right, by some stables
well; close to you, you'll see a wall with 'Beware of the
Dog' written on it in large letters (Minns shuddered) go
along by the side of that wall for about a quarter of a mile
and anybody will show you which is my place."

" Very well thank ye good-bye."

"Be punctual."

"Certainly: good morning."

" I say, Minns, you've got a card."

"Yes, I have; thank ye." And Mr. Octavius Budden
departed, leaving his cousin looking forward to his visit on



372 SKETCHES BY BOZ.

the following Sunday, with the feelings of a penniless poet
to the weekly visit of his Scotch landlady.

Sunday arrived; the sky was bright and clear; crowds of
people were hurrying along the streets, intent on their
different schemes of pleasure for the day; everything and
everybody looked cheerful and happy except Mr. Augustus
Minns.

The day was fine, but the heat was considerable ; when Mr.
Minns had fagged up the shady side of Fleet-street, Cheap-
side, and Threadneedle-street, he had become pretty warm,
tolerably dusty, and it was getting late into the bargain. By
the most extraordinary good fortune, however, a coach was
waiting at the Flower-pot, into which Mr. Augustus Minns
got, on the solemn assurance of the cad that the vehicle
would start in three minutes that being the very utmost ex-
tremity of time it was allowed to wait by Act of Parliament.



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