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CHAPTER XVIII.-THE TEMPTER.
out behind him. But she would not have felt it had Tuz next day, Thomas had made up his mind not she not had on the preceding evening, for the first to go near Guild Court; but in the afternoon time, a peep into his character. Mr. Stopper himself sent him to bring an old ledger As he re-entered the counting-house he was aware from the floor above Mrs. Boxall's. As he got down of the keen glance cast at him by Stopper, and felt from his perch, and proceeded to get his hat- that he reddened. But he laid the ledger on the
* There's no use in going round such a way," said desk before him, and perched again with as much inMr. Stopper. “Mr. Boxall's not in; you can go through difference as he could assume. his room. Here's the key of the door. Only mind Wearily the hours passed. How could they otherpon lock it when you come back.",,,
wise pass with figures, figures everywhere, Stopper The key used to lie in Mr. Boxall's drawer, but right before him at the double desk, and Lucy one now Mr. Stopper took it from his own. Thomas was story removed and inaccessible? Some men would not altogether pleased at the change of approach, work all the better for knowing their treasure so though why, he would hardly have been able to tell. near, but Thomas had not yet reached such a repose. Probably he felt something as a miser would feel, into Indeed, he did not yet love Lucy well enough for those treasure-cave the new gallery of a neighbour-that. People talk about loving too much; for my ing mine threatened to break. He was, as it were, part I think all the mischief comes of loving too little. exposed upon the flank. Annoyance instantly clouded The dinner-hour at length arrived. Thomas, howthe expression of eagerness which he had not been ever, was not in the way of attempting to see Lucy able to conceal; and neither the light nor the fol- at that time. He would have said that there was too lowing cloud escaped Mr. Stopper, who, although the much coming and going of the clerks about that hour; region of other men's thoughts was dark as pitch to I venture to imagine that a quiet enjoyment of his hárm in the usual relation he bore to them, yet the dinner had something to do with it. Now, although moment his interests or -- rare case -- his feelings I can well enough understand a young fellow in love brought him into the contact of opposition with any being as hungry as a hawk, I cannot quite, underman,all the man's pregnable pointslay bare before him. stand his spending an hour over his dinner when the Thoras had nothing to do but take the key and quarter of it would be enough, and the rest might
He had now no opportunity of spending more give him if but one chance of one peep at the lady, than ese moment with Lucy. When the distance On the present occasion, however, seeing he had the kiss of some length, he could cut both ways, and whole evening in prospect, Thomas may have been pocket the time gained ; now there was nothing to quite right to devote himself to his dinner, the newsSete uporn.' Nevertheless, he sped up the stair as if paper, and anticipation. At all events, he betook he would overtake old Time himself.
himself to one of the courts off Cornhill, and ascended Rendered pradent, or cunning, by his affections, he to one of those eating-houses which abound in London tezred the ordered obabs of vellum before he knocked City, where a man may generally. dine well, and
1 Mrs. Boxall's door, which he then opened without always at moderate expense. waititig for the response to his appeal..
Now this was one of the days on which Thomas * Lucy! Lucy!” he said; “I have but one half- usually visited Mr. Molken. But as he had missed tinute, and hardly that.”
two lessons, the spider had become a little anxious Lacy appeared with the rim of a rainy sunset about his fly, and knowing that Thomas went to dine
The rest of her face was still as a at this hour, and knowing also where he went, he day that belonged to not one of the four seasons- was there before him, and on the outlook for his enthat had nothing to do.',
trance. This was not the sort of place the German "If you have forgotten yesterday, Thomas, I generally frequented. He was more likely to go have not,” she said.
prowling about Thames Street for his dinner; but "Oh! never mind yesterday," he said. “I'm when Thomas entered, there he was signalling to him coming in to-night; and I can stay as long as I to take his place beside him. Thomas did not sce please. My father and mother are gone, to Folke- that in the dark corner of an opposite box sat Mr. tone, and there's nobody to know when I go home. Stopper. He obeyed the signal, and a steak was prela't it jolly?”
sently broiling for him upon the gridiron at the other And without waiting for an answer, he scudded end of the room. like Poppie. But what in Poppie might be graceful, “You yas not come fore your lesson de letst time, was not dignified in Thomas, and I fear Lucy felt Mistare Verbosè," said Molken. this, when he turned the corner to the staircase with “No," answered Thomas, who had not yet made a the huge ledger under his arm, and his coat flying confidant of Mr. Molken. “I was otherwise engaged.”
about her eyes.
He spoke quite carelessly.
—and then he rushed through the green door again. “Ah! yes. Oddervise,” said Molken, and said no I followed him, for I wanted to see what he was after.
In half an hour he had broken the bank. He had Presently he broke into a suppressed laugh, which found a sovereign in that little pocket. How it got caused Thomas, who was very sensitive as to his there the devil only knew. He swept his money into personal dignity, to choke over his tankard of bitter his pockets and turned to go. I saw the people of ale, with which he was consoling himself for the the house getting between him and the door, and delay of his steak.
I saw one of the fellows-I knew him---who had “What is it you find so amusing, Mr. Molken?” lost money all the evening, going to pick a quarrel he asked.
with him. For those gamblers have no honour in “I beg your pardon," returned Molken. “It was them. So I opened the door as if to leave the room, very rude; but I could not help it. I will tell you and pretending to hesitate as if I had left something, one story I did see last night. I am a man of de kept it open, and made a sign to him to bolt, which he vorld, as you know, Mr. Verbose.”
understood at once, and was down-stairs in a moment, My reader must excuse me if I do not keep to the and I after him. Now let me tell you a secret," contirepresentation of the fellow's German-English. It is nued Molken, leaning across the table, and speaking hardly worth doing, and I am doubtful, besides, very low and impressively,—“that young man conwhether I can do it well.
fessed to me that same evening, that when I refused “I am a man of the world," said Molken, “and I him the sovereign, he had just lost the last of two was last night in one of those shops, what you call hundred pounds of his master's money. To-day I them-paradise ; no, the other thing-hell-- where hope he has replaced it honestly as he ought; for his they have the spinning thing--the roulette-and the winnings that night came to more than seven hunRouge et Noir, and cætera. I do not mean to say that dred.” I was gambling. Oh! no. I was at the bar having “ But he was a thief," said Thomas, bluntly, a glass of Judenlip, when lo! and behold! down “Well, so he was; but no more a thief than many through the green door, with a burst, comes a young a respectable man who secures his own and goes on man I knew. He was like yourself, Mr. Worboise, risking other people's money. It's the way of the a clerk in a counting-house."
world. However, as I told you, I gave it up long Thomas winced but said nothing. He regarded ago. There was a time in my life when I used to his business as he ought to have regarded himself, live by it." namely, as something to be ashamed of.
“How did you manage that?” “Well, he comes up to me, and he says, 'Herr “There are certain rules to be observed, that's all. Molken, we are old friends; will you lend me a sove- Only you must stick to them. For one thing, you reign ?' 'No,'I said, “Mr. ---I forget the young must make up your mind never to lose more than a man's name, but I did know him-'I never lend money certain fixed sum any night you play. If you stick for gambling purposes. Get the man who won your last to that, you will find your winnings always in excess sovereign to lend you another. For my own part, of your losses.” I've had enough of that sort of thing.' For you see, “How can that be?”. Mr. Thomas, I have gambled in my time--yes, and “Oh, I don't pretend to account for it. Gammade money by it, though I spent it as foolishly as I ing has its laws as well as the universe generally: got it. You don't think I would spend my time in Everything goes by laws, you know-laws that canteaching Ich habe, Du hast, if I hadn't given up not be found out except by experiment; and that, as gambling. But university men, you know, learn bad I say, is one of the laws of gambling." habits."
All this time Mr. Stopper had been reading Mr. “ What did he say to that?” asked Thomas. Molken’s face. Suddenly Tom caught sight of his
“He swore and turned away as if he was choking. superior; the warning of Wither rushed back on his But the fact was, Mr. Verbose, I hadn't a sovereign mind, and he grew pale as death. Molken perceiving in my possession. I wasn't going to tell him that. the change, sought for its cause, but saw nothing save But if I had had one, he should have had it; for I a stony gentleman in the opposite box sipping sherry, can't forget the glorious excitement it used to be to and picking the ripest pieces out of a Stilton. see the gold lying like a yellow mole-hill on the table, “Don't look that way, Molken," said Tom, in an and to think that one fortunate turn might send it all undertone. “That's our Mr. Stopper.” into your own pockets."
“Well, haven't we as good a right to be here as “But he didn't choke, did he?” said Thomas, Mr. Stopper ?” returned Molken, in a voice equally weakly trying to be clever.
inaudible beyond the table, but taking piercing eye“ No. And I will tell you how it was that he shots at the cause of Tom's discomposure. didn't. “By Jove!' he cried. Now I had seen him The two men very soon had something like each fumbling about his waistcoat as if he would tear his other's measure. They could each understand his heart out, and all at once dive his two forefingers into neighbour's rascality, while his own seemed to each a little pocket that was meant to hold a watch, only the only a law of Nature. watch had gone up the spout long ago. •By Jove!' “You generally pay, don't you?” added Molkon. " he said—that's the right swear isn't it, Mr. Verbose ? Tom laughed.
“Yes, I do generally, and a penny to the cook “Oh, I beg your pardon; I ought to have thought besides, which, I will be bound, he does not. But of that. I have two half-sovereigns in my pocket, that's nothing to the point. He hates me, though and no more, I am sorry to say. Will one of them why, I'm sure I don't-I can only guess.”
do for to-night? You shall have more to-morrow." "Some girl, I suppose,” said Molken, coolly. “Oh, thank you ; it's of no consequence. Well, I
Thomas felt too much flattered to endeavour even don't know-I think I will take the ten shillings, to dilute the insinuation; and Molken went on. for I want to go out this evening. Yes. Thank
"Well, but how can the fellow bear malice? Of you. Never mind to-morrow, except it be convenient.” course, he must have seen from the first that he Tom settled the bill, and put the change of the had no chance with you. I'll tell you what, Wor- other half-sovereign in his pocket. Molken left him boise; I have had a good deal of experience, and it is at the door of the tavern, and he went back to the my conviction, from what I have seen of you, that counting-house. you are one of the lucky ones—one of the elect, you “Who was that with you at the Golden Fleecr, know-born to it, and can't help yourself.”
Tom?” asked Mr. Stopper, as he entered; for he took Tom pulled out his watch.
advantage of his position to be as rude as he found " Half an hour to spare yet,” he said. “ Come up convenient. to the smoking-room.”
Taken by surprise, Tom answered at once-
“And who's he?” asked Stopper again. "What did you mean by saying that I was one of My German master," answered Tom. the lucky ones?”
The next moment he could have knocked his head "Oh, don't you know there are some men born against the wall with indignation at himself. For, under a lucky star-as they would have said in old always behindhand when left to himself, he was ready times? What the cause is, of course I don't know, enough when played upon by another to respond and except it be that Heaven must have some favourites, repent. if only for the sake of variety. At all events, there “He's got a hang-dog phiz of his own,” said is no denying that some men are born to luck. They Mr. Stopper, as he plunged again into the business are lucky in everything they put their hands to. Did before him, writing away as deliberately as if it had you ever try your luck in a lottery, now?”
been on parchment instead of foolscap; for Stopper "I did in a raffle once.”
was never in a hurry, and never behind. “Well?”
Tom's face flushed red with wrath. “I won a picture.”
“I'll thank you to be civil in your remarks on my "I told you so! And it would be just the same friends, Mr. Stopper.” whatever you tried. You are cut out for it. You Mr. Stopper answered with a small puff of windy have the luck-mark on you. I was sure of it.” breath from distended lips. He blew, in short. Tom
“How can you tell that?” asked Tom, lingering felt his eyes waver. He grew almost blind with like a fly over the sweet poison, and ready to swallow rage. If he had followed his inclination, he would almost any absurdity that represented him as some- have brought the ruler beside him down, with a terthing different from the run of ordinary mortals, of rible crack, on the head before him. Why didn't whom he was, as yet at least, a very ordinary he ?” does my reader inquire ? Just because of his sperimen.
incapacity for action of any sort. He did not refrain "Never you mind how I can tell. But I will tell in the pity that disarms some men in the midst of you this much, that I have experience; and your own their wrath, nor yet from the sense that vengeance is
Bacon says that the laws of everything are to be found God's business, and will be carried out in a mode " out by observation and experiment. I have observed, rather different from that in which man would proand I have experimented, and I tell you you are a
secute his. lucky one.” Tom stroked the faintest neutrality of a coming
CHAPTER XIX.-HOW TOM SPENT THE EVENING, moustache, ponderingly and pleasedly, and said When Tom left the office he walked into Mr. | nothing.
Kitely's shop, for he was afraid lest. Mr. Stopper By-the-bye, are you coming to me to-night?” should see him turn up to Guild Court. He had | asked Molken.
almost forgotten Mr. Kitely's behaviour about the “No-o,” answered Tom, still stroking his upper book he would not keep for him, and his resentment lip with the thumb and forefinger of his left hand, was gone quite. There was nobody in the shop but "I think not. I believe I have an engagement to- | Mattie. night, somewhere or other."
* Well, chick," said Thomas, kindly, but more He took out his pocket-book, and pretended to look. condescendingly than suited Miss Matilda's tastes. “Yes. I can't have my lesson to-night.”
“Neither chick nor child," she answered promptly, “Then I needn't stop at home for you.-By-the- though where she got the phrase is a mystery, as inway, have you a sovereign about you? I wouldn't deed is the case with almost all the sayings of such trouble you, you know, only, as I told you, I haven't children. got one. I believe your quarter is out to-night." “ What are you, then? A fairy ?"
“If I was, I know what I would do. Oh, wouldn't way, and as none came, he knew that he had gone I just! I should think I would !"
along the street. He waited, therefore, till he thought Well, what would you do, little Miss What's- he must be out of sight, and then sped uneasily from your-name?”
the shop, round the corner, and up to Mrs. Boxall's “My name is Miss Kitely; but that's neither here door, which the old lady herself opened for him, not nor there. Oh, no! it's not me! Wouldn't I just!” looking so pleased as usual to see him. Mr. Molken
“Well, Miss Kitely, I want to know what you was watching from the opposite ground-floor window. would do if you were a fairy?”
A few minutes after, Mr. Stopper repassed the win“I would turn your eyes into gooseberries, and dow of Mr. Kitely's shop, and went into the countyour tongue into a bit of leather a foot long; and ing-house with a pass-key. every time you tried to speak your long tongue would Thomas left Mrs. Boxall to shut the door, and slap your blind eyes and make you cry."
rushed eagerly up the stairs, and into the sitting. “What a terrible doom!' returned Thomas, offended room. There he found the red eyes of which Mattie at the child's dislike to him, but willing to carry it had spoken. Lucy rose and held out her hand, but off. “Why ?”
her manner was constrained, and her lips trembled “Because you've made Miss Burton's eyes red, you as if she were going to cry. Thomas would have naughty man! I know you. It must be you. No- put his arm round her and drawn her to him, but she body else could make her eyes red but you, and you gently pushed his 'arm "away, and he felt as many a go and do it.”
man has felt, and every man, perhaps, ought to fool, Thomas's first movement was of anger; for he felt, that in the gentlest repulse of the woman he loves as all who have concealments are ready to feel, that there is something terribly imperative and absolute. he was being uncomfortably exposed. He turned his
'Why, Lucy!” he said, in a tone of hurt; “what back on the child, and proceeded to examine the have I done?” books on a level with his face. While he was thus “If you can forget so soon, Thomas,' answered engaged, Mr. Kitely entered.
Lucy, “I cannot. Since yesterday I see things in a “How do you do, Mr. Worboise ?” he said. “I've
different light altogether. I cannot, for your sake got another copy of that book you and I fell out any more than my own, allow things to go on in this about some time ago. I can let you have this one doubtful way." at half the price."
“Oh! but, Lucy, I was taken unawares yesterday; It was evident that the bookseller wanted to be and to-day, now I have slept upon it, I don't see there conciliatory. Thomas, in his present mood, was is any such danger. I ought to be a match for that inclined to repel his advances, but he shrunk from brute Stopper, anyhow." contention, and said,
Yet the brute Stopper had outreached him, or, at “Thank you. I shall be glad to have it. How least, " served him out" three or four times that vory much is it?"
day, and he had refused to acknowledge it to him. Mr. Kitely named the amount, and, ashamed to self, which was all his defence, poor wretch. " appear again unable, even at the reduced price, to pay
“But that is not all the question, Thomas. . It is for it, Thomas pulled out the last farthing of the not right. At least, it seems to me that it is not right money in his pocket, which came to the exact sum
to go on like this. People's friends ought to know. required, and pocketed the volume.
I would not have done it if Grannie hadn't been to “If you would excuse a man who has seen some- know. But then I ought to have thought of your thing of the world-more than was good for him at friends as well as my own." one time of his life-Mr. Worboise," said Mr. Kitely, “But there would be no difficulty if I had only a as he pocketed the money, “I would give you a hint grandmother," urged Thonias, "and one as good as about that German up the court. He's a clever yours. I shouldn't have thought of not telling." fellow enough, I daresay-perhaps too clever. Don't “I don't think the difficulty of doing right makes you have anything to do with him beyond the Ger- it unnecessary to do it," said Lucy.
Take my advice. I don't sit here all day “I think you might trust that to me, Lucy," said at the mouth of the court for nothing. I can see Thomas, falling back upon his old attempted relation what comes in my way as well as another man." of religious instructor to his friend.
“What is there to say against him, Mr. Kitely? Lucy was silent for a moment; but after what she I haven't seen any harm in him.”
had gone through in the night, she knew that the “I'm not going to commit myself in warning you, time had come for altering their relative position if Mr. Worboise. But I do warn you. Look out, and not the relation itself. don't let him lead you into mischief."
“No, Thomas," she said ; “I must take my own “I hope I am able to take care of myself, Mr. duty into my own hands. I will not go on this way." Kitely,” said Thomas, with a touch of offence.
“Do you think then, Lucy, that in affairs of this “I hope you are, Mr. Worboise," returned the kind a fellow ought to do just what his parents bookseller, drily; " but there's no offence meant in want?” giving you the hint.”
“No, Thomas. But I do think he ought not to At this moment Mr. Stopper passed the window. keep such things secret from them." Thomas listened for the echo of his steps up the arch- “Not even if they are unreasonableand tyrannical?"