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Morning Misery - The “ Little Parlour smelling of Lavender"-An unexpected l'isitor.
We left Tom in the hands of sundry good Samaritans, being conveyed, full of spirits and honours, to his home; and we will look upon him again, where those kind persons left him, namely—on his own bed, outside the counterpane; with his clothes on, one boot hanging on his foot by the leg part only, and the other under his shoulder, for a pillow, in company with his hat; with his hair over his face, with his mouth wide open, snoring, and asleep : a sight for any maiden in Christendom !
Somewhere about nine in the morning (certainly a long while after the usual time for Tom's opening his shop) the queer little mortal, of the female
“ did for him," appeared at his bed-room door, for about the seventh time; and after making her knuckles raw with thumping, she shuffled in, with her loose shoes playing a tunc behind her on the floor as she walked, and gave her master a hearty shakc—the only result was a deep groan; another shake followed—“Hear, hear!” muttered Tom; another—“Well, but Ada, my dear,” mumbled Tom, again; another and a savager shake—“Hey, oh, what the deuce !-oh, it's you, Sally!” and Mr. Thomas Suffrage opened his eyes, lifted his head, gave one blank stare, then, laying his cheek on his boot and hat-prepared for another doze. This the girl would not permit: she shook him again, and pulled the boot from under him—“I hear you! Go down, you little imp, you!” muttered Tom, still with his eyes shut, and a a fierce expression on his countenance.
“ If you please, sir, yer breakfast is ready this hour, sir; and yer egg was as hard as brass, and Mr. Sniggers ate it; and your coffee is as cold as a stone, and Mr. Sniggers is a drinking of it; and yer customers is a standing round the door a waitin' for yer to get up!"
“Oh, Mr. Sniggers is here, is he? Then I'll be down directly!"so the slippers played another tune, and the owner of them vanished.
After a tempest of yawns and stretchings, Tom tumbled off his bed; with his head as rough as a sweeper's broom; one cheek blackened, in the most picturesque manner, by the use of the boot for a pillow; and, to crown all, a splitting headache. He had never felt so miserable before : so wretched, indeed, was he, that all his energies seemed to have given him notice. Instead of immediately setting to work like a Christian, and giving himself a good hearty wash, he plumped down on the side of the bed, ran his fingers through his hair (which did n't want it, heaven knows !), and began to speculate within himself, as to whether all democratic societies were the same; and whether it was absolutely necessary for a man to be top-heavy before he made a stand for freedom, or to be a beast before he became a patriot. Tom passed his hands through and through his hair trying to understand it, and the more he rubbed his head the duller it seemed to become. Just as he had a glimmering, and was about to reconcile very satisfactorily hard drinking with true freedom, the voice of Sniggers resounded on the stairs, like artificial thunder at a theatre, and demanded whether he should finish the breakfast or wait for him to come down and help him.
Coming,” said Tom, gloomily.
“Oh, I know you're not, by your voice,” said Sniggers. “I'll come up to you,” and he sprang up. “By Jove, I never saw such a mess in my life : do make yourself look like a human being !"
“Do I look like a patriot so very much ?” asked Tom, with melancholy satire.
“Come, Tom, none of that!' said Sniggers, with an austere and offended look: "come, Tom, do n't rail against the noble Institution of which you are a member; but get your face washed, while I tell you what I am come about."
“Well, I'll wash my face," said Tom, in a moody tone; “but-but I think I shall cut it." “ Cut what, your
« Tom, Tom, don't go on-I am ashamed of you. I thought you were a man! Because you got helplessly drunk, must you be unsteady to your solemn vows? What, will you desert the banner round which you have so nobly rallied ? No, Tom, I did not think it of you!”
Say no more about it, Sniggers," said Tom “I suppose I must stick by it now I've begun—but,”
“Stick by it! of course you must. Why, man, there is a course of glory open to you—a regular road to fame, macadamized and everythingand you ’ve got nothing to do but march along it -passport and all granted, and no turnpikes to pay! What do you think I came about ?
Don't know, eh? Well I came to tell you how we got on after you were floored, because I do n't think you heard much of the proceedings. Oh, how jolly you were ! You were as drunk as,”
“A patriot! said Tom. Mr. Sniggers looked severe.
“Don't, Sniggers !” and Tom looked as if that would be very horrid indeed ; and added, hastily, “Well, what did you come about ?
Why, I read to the Society a letter which I had received from Winnegar, the other day, and he says he does n't mind standing at the election. Is n't that prime? He is a stunning fellow; but, of course, you know that everyone knows that !”
"Well, his principles are all right," said Tom, putting on a knowing air; for although he had never heard of the great man Winnegar before, yet he did not wish Sniggers to think so. * Right! I should think so—regular nine points' man.
Oh! I see you do n't know much about him, or you would be nearly mad about him-I am!
“Are you? Well, I must confess I do n't know much about himthat is, I've not heard much about him lately-"
"Ah! I see you do n't know anything. Why, good heavens! he is a glorious man—a grand man!” Here Mr. Sniggers got excited; nearly swept a tumbler off the dressing-table, in the energy of his action; replaced it again, and went on; getting up the steam as he progressed : “Oh! he's the man of the age, sir—the man who is ready and waiting for the HOUR to come. He is—he is, in fact, an organized, a humanized PRINCIPLE-a moving motive to this century!” With this rather obscure eulogium, which was delivered in lecture style, and a painful emphasis on the substantives, Mr. Sniggers cooled down suddenly, and pulling out his handkerchief, with a jerk, which wafted essence of bergamot through the length and breadth of the room, and elaborately polishing his upper lip, he pitied Tom's ignorance, by lifting up both hands, and shaking his head.
Well, I can't help it,” said Tom, feeling very ashamed indeed, that he did not know the glorious Winnegar.
Ah, if you do n't know him, you do n't: so much more the pity. When
you look on Winnegar, sir, you look on the man of whom his country shall speak in the ages to come. At any rate, he's coming here now, to do his best for us : he says he knows there's no chance of getting in; but he thinks it his duty to spend his money for his country. Is n't that fine ? Ah, he is a glorious fellow! He was a poor man once, in the tin line, somewhere or other; but he got his money not by that, but by a lucky hit in the railway speculating line. So he wanted some
thing upon which to employ his noble mind; he wanted something stirring, and he turned patriot. Can't he speak! and he has got such a forchead, as you never saw-a regular Shakspeare. He is the savagest man I ever knew. He is just like a monk too: eats nothing but cabbage, and drinks nothing but water, always has a frown on his face, never made love in his life, never got mellow in his life; and is, in fact, a regular saviour of his country! That's the man we're going to stick up for Lower Fleecington!”. A heavy slap on Tom's back.
" Is it?" said Tom, much impressed.
" Raytler! and now, Tom, get yourself washed and humanized. I've eaten your breakfast, so it is n't getting cold ; I've told you what I came for, so good morning! But, mind you come to the Society tomight: we are going to get up a committee for Winnegar, and we can't do without you !”
" But—" hesitated Tom, “I must go and see Ada to-night.”
* Nonsense,” said Sniggers, with the knob of the door in Iris hand; “you write a note, and tell her she must excuse you to-night-she 'll forgive you-girls always forgive what they cannot help; but we must have you there. I tell you we can't do without you !” The door was pulled to, and Tom was left to himself, in a high state of pleasure, to think lie was so much needed in thrc council of Lower Fleecington, which governed England, and, through England, the world!
And now, leaving Tom to humanize his appearance, and get down as soon as might be to his counter, we have no doubt our fair readers will nót quarrel with us if we return to little Ada.
That dear little creature, when we last heard of her, was tripping up stairs with her heart as light and as leaping as an India-rubber ball, and }ier spirits very far above proof. She felt certain Tom would not give up her love, for the sake of his vote--she felt sure Tom would never lose her, for the sake of his country. “His country—what nonsense ! what good had it ever done him?" For her part she could not imagine why people made such a bother of their country--not she. Thus thought little Ada ; and thus, we will warrant, thinks every lady, within the scope of our acquaintance, except the “strong-minded” minority.
But Tom did n't come the next night; and a very kind crcature, who had seen liim go into the door of the “ Cat and Trumpet,” told her of it. Then little Ada's heart did n't jump so much as before_like a dear kindl heart, as it was, it began to feel a great deal afraid for Tom, and not a little for itself. What was worse, too, her father was in the room at the time, and knit his brow, and dabbed his hat on, and went out muttering; and she heard him outside, inmediately afterwards, venting his illhumour on his foreman.
Little Ada's heart put all those things together; and as hearts generally do (when engaged on such business), planned out a completo series of struggles and trials for itself, and felt very sad about them.
Now, on the night of the day in which we left Tom at his toilet, Ada felt very unhappy indeed; and sat by herself, wishing and waiting for him to come. She could not play the old harpsichord, somehow, that night; she could not get on with her bright needlework; she was very nervous, and ready to cry every minute.
Her father went out to smoke a pipe, with a staunch friend of hisa stubborn old Tory, like himself--and Ada was left alone, to think herself into crying, and then to cry herself out of thinking, and to employ herself with looking at the dark side of things, and to wait lonely for her recreant Thomas.
But this waiting was interrupted before long, as our readers shall learn in reward for their patience.
Mr. Thomas Suffrage felt himself to be in a considerable fix (and those
persons among the “fair women and brave men of this land” who add to their other high qualities the wisdom to read and enjoy this tale, have doubtless perceived that Mr. Thomas was in the habit of involving himself in "fixes," of no despicable magnitude). But really it was too bad of the Fates : surely they might have found Czars enough to harass, and Emperors enough to confound, and armies enough to scatter, without searching the villages and village-towns of England, and voiding their venom upon an unhappy shopkeeper!
But the Fates never spare anybödy: and so Tom suffered. If we take a bird's eye view of all that the Fates had done for him since the day when a love for our species first induced us to take up his history, we shall arrive at a tolerably good understanding of the state of his mind, when water, and breakfast, and a few importunate customers had sharpened his wits and cleared away the fumes of liberty and brandy.
Tom's jealousy, in the first place, had led him astray; and enabled the Honourable Mr. Cavendish to make the purchase of a few kisses, for the small price of a black cye and a muddy fall. Well, jealousy passed away, and love stepped in : Tom and Ada met in the lavender parlour, and kisses and sparrings were forgotten, and it was “all serene" again. But Tom, in the midst of his jealousy, had uttered a vow-and, from being a comfortable grocer, had passed into an unhappy patriot. He had uttered a vow; and grocers may possess a spark of honour, and a sense of what is due to their given word, even when kings and potentates disregard treaties and contradict their own despatches. Tom stuck to his vow; and endeavoured to maintain himself a democrat at heart, through thick and