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thickly, than the daisies in a summer In the middle stood a solitary hackneymeadow."
coach, with a pair of huge grey Here he paused again, with a look horses, or rather living skeletons of that seemed to say—“Do you believe horses, for the celebrated “ anatomie me ?” and for my part I did not see vivante" had not a better claim to the any occasion to tell him it was a lie; title than those semi-transparent aniit would not have been polite to one mals; it was a marvel to me how they who carried, as he did, a stout oak held together at all, and still more cudgel, and looked as if he knew how how they contrived to carry such long, to use it. So I contented myself with handsome tails, which might have beobserving—" If this story be true- come the charger of a life-guardsman. and I don't take upon myself to say On the box of the said coach sat a it is not—there must be some deviltry tall lean negro, well worthy to be the at the bottom of it-some old signing driver of such cattle. He had on a of bonds in one's own blood-convey- high, steeple-crowned hat, grey boots, ing a soul or so over to the old gentle- grey pantaloons, that, to use the hosman in black.”
tler's phrase, were spick and span “ You are
a fool,” replied my new, and his beard, too, was grey ,guest, tartly ; “nothing more is re- not as in old age, with a silver tint, quired to the great end than courage but approaching the color of ashes,to gain, and industry to gather. If and, that nothing might be wanting to you have these, you have all, and make a complete grey man of him, nothing will be demanded of you in he wore a cloak of the same complexreturn, though you should carry off a ion. In my life I had never seen a cart-load of treasure.”
more droll-looking Jehu. “But, my worthy counsellor in the “ Co-ach-man !co-ach-man !"art diabolic—for I must yet affirm, in called my new friend, dwelling on evespite of all you say, this has a strong ry syllable as if he had got the asthma relish of diabolus in it-"
-" Co-ach-man!” “ I tell you, no !” interrupted my The grey man flourished his whip guest, vehemently.
with a knowing wink, and a nod of the “Don't be angry for the matter," I head, as much as to say, I undersaid, “it is not worth it. But you stand," and drove up to us in grand must yourself own, that, if this key style, not leaving a hair's-breadth bewere the key of Paradise, it would tween his wheel and the curb-stone. be of marvellous little use to me, un- In a second he had dismounted ; slap less I knew where to find the gate it went down the steps, and I found mywas intended to open.”
self handed into the carriage almost “ You speak well,” he replied, before I was aware of it. pushing aside his glass, and taking out “Good evening, and a lucky jourhis watch, “ The very time! day ney to you,” said my friend ; “ though has just begun there. Follow me !" you will find it morning where you are
“ You forget our account here-let going.” us ring for the waiter first.”
The grey man hastily packed up It is not needed; he is paid alrea- the steps again, and slammed the door dy.”
to. - If that be the case, there is “ But, my excellent monitor," I nothing more to be said ; and I am at exclaimed,
-stop, your service."
coachman-stop, I tell you.” The And off we set, arm-in-arm, diving rascal had one foot on the wheel althrough sundry blind alleys and crook- ready—“but, my very worthy couned lanes,' conspicuous alike for dirt sellor, are not you going with me ?” and ragged children, till we at last “No occasion,” he replied ; “old emerged upon a wide street, that was Harry knows where to drive you to. as strange to me as if it had been one He has gone with many before on the of the highways of ancient Babylon. same road.”
- will not you,
Aye, aye, master,” said the grey ceed, but the grey man was not a perman; “ I know the road well enough. son to allow any one too much time It's a half-crown fare when I carry a for reflection. With his usual expemean one ; and a good four shillings- dition, he had handed me out of the worth when a gentleman steps into my coach, received his fare, and again coach."
mounted his box, before I had well I would have protested against made up my mind what to do. venturing upon so singular a journey, Stop a moment, coachman,” I unless accompanied by the proposer exclaimed, as he took up his whip, of it, but all my remonstrances were and was about to give it the preparaeffectually drowned in the clatter of tory flourish—“ Just stop for a minute the coach, which now set off at a rate or so! Stop! I say,- I have a mind that I had not expected from the lean to go back with you.” condition of the cattle.
“ But I have no mind that you ment struck a continued stream of should. Tschick!
tschick-gee-up, fire from their shoes, as we flew along ho, lads !”
He was gone. through street after street, all appa What was to be done now? I rently deserted, and all equally un- might as well go on, since it seemed known to me, though, till this time, I there was no way of getting back,— had flattered myself there was not a at least for the present,—so I applied single corner of London with which I my rusty old key to the ponderous was not as well acquainted as the lock before me, not a little doubtful, horse of a doctor in high practice. though, of the result; when, to my A four-shilling fare !—the grey man great surprise, it not only fitted exhad done himself less than justice; actly, but at the first touch of it the we had already travelled over ground bolt shot from its fastening. The to three times that amount, and were doors then swung slowly on their now clear of the city, clattering, like hinges, as if impelled by some invisimad, down a steep hill, that led, of ble hand, and showed me a spacious course, somewhere, though where I hall of white marble, supported by could not imagine.
The farther we columns of the same, and with winwent, the higher grew the walls of dows, that, from the light streaming earth on either side of the road, till upon the pavement, must open into at last, their height was such as to day, though all behind me,
for many a completely exclude the light of day. mile, was utter darkness. I had litBefore and behind me was night, yet tle hesitation in entering a place of still we flew on,—on,-on,-on-till such fair promise, when the gates I began to think I had realized, in my again closed after me, as they had own person, the idea of perpetual mo- opened, of their own accord : but this tion, and was destined to whirl along gave me little trouble, as I had carefor the rest of my life like a comet fully retained the key, and had, thererevolving in its orbit. But herein I fore, no occasion to fear the being was happily mistaken. We did at detained against my will. last stop before an immense pair of Boldly passing on through this nofolding-doors, of brass or some heavy ble hall, I suddenly found myself in a metal, let into the solid rock, which world,--for I may call a space so limlatter was scraped out into the form of itless a world,--that fairly struck me an arch. Above this stood two colos- dumb with wonder. Above me was a sal figures, each holding in its brazen crystal sky, brilliant with excess of grasp a chafing dish, full of live em light, although it had neither sun, bers, that threw a lurid light for a few nor moon, nor stars, nor any other yards round, just sufficient to show visible source of so much splendor. the inscription
it-" CARPE Before me, and on both sides, as far DIEM.”
as the eye could reach, was hill after This little memorandum gave me hill, valley after valley, the soil of no particular encouragement to pro- which was gold-dust, the rocks gold, 3
ATHENEUM, VOL. 1, 3d series.
and the stones thickly set in it, dia- that kind which assimilates with the monds, emeralds, rubies, and all those received notions of a king or a hero. gems to which the fancy of man has He was too homely for the one chargiven an estimation. Thousands of acter, and too fat for the other; for, human beings were busy, in all direc- notwithstanding the example of Napotions, with shovel and pick-axe, sweep- leon, there is something peculiarly ining up the yellow dust, or rending the congruous in the idea of a great waist jewels from their beds of gold ; and, and a great man. His complexion, indeed, the work must have been car- however, was all that a novelist could ried on for ages, for the ground was wish for his hero, being so dark that full of immense cavities, that appear- it might well be called olive, and his ed to have resulted from the mining dress was a rich, but sober-colored after the treasures imbedded in it. Of Spanish habit; so that, altogether, he the multitudes thus employed, some had the appearance of a merchant of were young, and others old, but by the olden time when merchants were far the greater part were no less bur- princes. thened by their years than by the “Well, Sir,” said this portly figure, riches they had collected and stowed laying his hand condescendingly upon away in their pockets, to the great my shoulder,—"you are come, like increase of their persons. What was the rest of them, to see what you can still more singular, the aged were in- pick up in my gardens." finitely the most industrious. They I thought it best not to tell a lie for scarcely allowed themselves time to the matter-that is, not a direct lieeat or drink, so intent were they in for he had a terrible eye under his adding to their loads, even when they bushy brows; so I treated his queswere sinking under them; but the tion half in joke, half in earnest, sayyoung, with a few exceptions only, ing that I might, perhaps, be tempted took the matter much more easily; to pick up a few handsful of dust, or they would frequently leave a ruby or some half-score of jewels, if I could a sapphire ungathered, after they had be well assured that there were no nearly detached it from the rock, and steel traps or spring-guns set in his leave some crafty old fellow to reap premises. the benefit of their labor, while they “For what do you take me?" said stepped aside for no other purpose the portly gentleman, frowning. than to pluck some new flower that “For the owner of this splendid grew near them, or to indulge in the estate,” I replied, with a conciliatory fruit, which, it must be owned, looked bow. most deliciously.
“ You are right,” he said, “I am While I was admiring this novel so, and if it were only for that word, sight, with no little inclination to join you may gather a cart-load of diain a labor so agreeable, I was accosted monds, or gold, or whatever else hapby a dark, portly man, who in dress pens best to tickle your fancy. How and figure strongly resembled a Dutch say you, friend : have you a mind to burgomaster, when Holland was under this gem ?” the rule of Spaniards. In his right “Nothing," I replied,
« would hand he carried a substantial cane, please me better-though—"for I did headed with ivory, such as rich men not yet feel convinced he was in earnof a certain age are in the habit of est—" though I can hardly reconcile carrying, more as a prop to their dig- it to my conscience to rob you of such nity than to their limbs. Though not precious treasures.” so fat as a London alderman in full “ Treasures, quotha ! Aye, that is perfection, he yet had a waist of com one of the many fancies of you simfortable dimensions, which, as he was ple folks of the upper earth. But of the tallest, did not show so much think so still for me; I shall the amiss ; and, indeed, he had no want sooner get rid of the rubbish, which of dignity, though it was not precisely lies more thickly on the land than is
like to be good for my fruit trees. it, then is our twilight, and, hard Here, Gobliner.”
upon that, follows darkness, when you The being thus summoned, and who are like to be turned out, if you stay hastened to us at the call, was, as I so long, with certain disagreeable acimagined, a gnome, and this the king- companiments. I tell you this, that dom of the gnomes, though, I must you may make the best use of your confess, the appearance of the portly time, and not blame me afterwards if gentleman was not that of a ruler of you should find your labor has been spirits. Gobliner, however, with his great and your pleasure little.” yellow face and long muscular arms, Thus saying, the portly gentleman fully justified my suspicion.
strode off, with a patronizing nod, fol “Gobliner,” said the portly gentle- lowed by Gobliner, who turned back man, “ give this honest man a spade from time to time, mocking at me and pick-axe; he has taken a fancy with his long yellow hands, and chuckto help in clearing off the stones for ling with delight, as if he had some you."
pleasant piece of mischief in view “I am glad to hear it, master," pleasant, I mean, to himself—for I said the gnome, “ for they lie thick- did not suspect him of too much gooder this year than ever; for my part, I nature. I had, however, little leisure think they must grow like the carrots to think of him. There were diaand turnips, only it may be not quite monds to be dug, and fruit to be gathso fast."
ered, for my mind was made up to “Bad philosophy, Gobliner," replied neglect neither; though, as a prudent his master; “but give my friend here man, I resolved not to tickle my aphis tools, and e’en let him set to work petite till I had collected an ample as soon as he pleases.”
supply of gold and precious stones. I was accordingly furnished with Even if this should occupy the day, the requisite implements, and was what would that matter? When the trotting off in a violent hurry to a twilight came on, it would be time very promising mass of rock, in which enough to think of indulging myselfthe diamonds were stuck like pins in though, truth to say, the fruit looked a toilette cushion, when the portly tempting beyond measure, and the gentleman again laid his hand upon single taste I ventured on, by way of my shoulder.
experiment, had a surpassing relish “Hark ye a moment, mine honest with it, that almost upset my resolufriend—there is yet one thing for you tion. to learn-one little condition, before Such was the profusion of precious you begin your operations, for I like stones, glittering from the rocks on all to deal on the square with the folks sides, that I calculated on digging out who come here."
as many as I could possibly want My countenance fell in an instant. long before the darkness. But this I thought directly of the devil and a grievous mistake, as I soon his old tricks, and had scarcely cour- found out when I actually set to work. age to faulter out,—“ Pray, Sir, what The greater part of the diamonds is this condition ?”
grew on the steep sides of precipices, “Oh, no great matter; it is only not to be climbed without infinite peril that folks are allowed but a single day to my neck; and those that were in my grounds. Work away, there. more within reach lay imbedded in fore, as hard as you please till night- rock that was harder than the hardest fall; dig gold and diamonds, or gather granite. Not that these difficulties the fruits from the trees, or sit still deterred me from the labor; so far without doing any thing, just as you from it, I toiled with unabated dilithink proper; it is all the same to me. gence hour aster hour, neglecting the But, remember, when you see the delicious fruits which seemed ready crystal above you clouded with a grey to drop into my mouth, and, by the tint, as if a veil had been drawn over time of twilight, had got together a
tolerable parcel of the largest dia- whole of the precious burthen I had monds—not to speak of topazes, eme toiled so hard for. Diamond dropralds, and gold-dust. Even then I ped after diamond, emerald after emethought I might as well continue my rald, and, if I paused for an instant work a little longer. The evening to pick up the fallen treasure, the had, it is true, thrown a grey veil over lash of the gnomes soon reminded me the crystal sky; but who could say that time was no longer at my own how long such a twilight would last ? disposal. Indeed, I was often glad, It might, for aught I knew, endure for when we came on the more broken hours ; so that there would be still parts of the ground, to fling away a time to sit down and enjoy myself. portion of my load, dear as it was to On, therefore, I went, most gallantly, me, that I might get on the more eawith spade and pick-axe, digging and sily; and thus, in one way or the hammering, rending and gathering, other, by the time I reached the hall, till I could absolutely work no longer; I had not a single sample left of all indeed, I could scarcely move hand or my treasure. foot : the sky, too, grew darker and There was no occasion for the key darker; and I began to think it would to let me out : the great folding-doors be as well to rest contented with what now stood wide open, the gnomes I had got, and enjoy myself while smacking their whips behind us, and there was any twilight remaining. the road before us being covered with But here again I had reckoned with- vehicles of all kinds, from the proud out my host, or rather my passion for coach and six, through all the intergold and diamonds had blinded me to mediate degree of carriages and pair, all other considerations. Having demi-fortune, and gig, down to the wasted the day in such excessive toil, humble hackney. Vexed beyond I was almost too weary to gather the measure at my own folly in having fruit; and when I did reach any, the thus wasted the whole day in fruitless same feeling of fatigue rendered me toil, instead of enjoying myself, I incapable of enjoying it.
jumped into the first vacant coach, Night now unfolded her wings, and and, holding out a crown-piece to the sank down in darkness upon the earth, driver, bade him drive like fury. He like a vulture overshadowing the prey took me at my word. Off we set at it has struck; and a deep bell, that full gallop, with as little regard to our seemed to be tolled in the very centre necks as might be; and as many of of the earth, sent a heavy summons my neighbors, probably under the into all that the day was over. At this fluence of the same feelings, were signal, the plains and hills suddenly going at the same rate, I had no right swarmed with gnomes, in face and to wonder at our vehicles coming in figure the exact prototypes of Gobli- collision. Off flew the wheel-down ner, if indeed they did not-many of smashed the coach ; and I was thrown them, at least-deserve the palm of upon the hard road with so much viosuperior ugliness. These ferocious lence that-awoke me! I was still monsters were armed with whips, in the auction-room, where, thanks to which they cracked with high glee the eloquence of Mr. Fudge, I had about the ears of those who, like my- been comfortably asleep for the last self, had loitered to this late hour, two hours. The Venus or Hercules driving us forward, as if we had been was going.--" Nine hundred and a flock of sheep, to the great hall. eighty guineas are bid for this magWearied as I was, and with such nificent torso.”_- One thousand !” I beagles close upon my heels, it is no cried.--" Thank you, Sir.—Going for wonder that by degrees I lost the one thousand guineas-gone !"