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again after his cane, and remarked to his brother that 'that story was one of thrilling interest.'
So wide an interval having occurred since the close of the last chapter, it may be proper to state, that the firm of Tremlett and Tuck was still continued, although in consequence of the advanced age of both the partners, the business had greatly fallen off; but their wealth was supposed to be greater than ever. John Tremlett had reached his twentieth year, and his manhood had more than fulfilled the promise of his youth. The fondness of his father for him bad increased as the one grew in manliness and strength, and the other gradually gave way to the encroachments of Time. They had never been parted for a longer time than a day, since they returned from their journey toward Willow-mead, and the presence of his adopted son had become almost necessary for the existence of the kind old merchant. The young man had never abused the confidence which his father placed in him, and he had never given him occasion for reproof since the unfortunate affair of the pocket-book. The old genileman made it no secret that he meant to bequeath every dollar of his property to our hero; and he had been often heard to declare, that he could not die happy, if his darling boy were not present to close his eyes, when death should summon him away. Mr. Tuck was still called the junior partner, but the infirmities of age pressed more heavily upon
him than they did upon Mr. Tremlett: he was often confined to his room by illness; and his friends all agreed that he was not long for this world ; a conclusion that required no great wisdom to arrive at, seeing that he was turned of seventy. But he would not listen to a word about dying himself; and whoever spoke to him on the subject once, ran no risk of doivg so a second time, for he would not allow such people to enter his room. His enmity to his two nephews and their mother was as strong as ever; but Julia Tuck was constant in her visits to him, and although he was cross and querulous, grumbling to every body else, he always received her attentions with apparent pleasure. Of course the old gentleman's last will and testament was a subject of great speculation among his relations, for no one knew how he intended to dispose of his great wealth. It was generally believed, however, by those who were interested, that he would bequeath a large portion of his property to his niece; but some asserted, with great confidence, that he was going to found a hospital, or build a church, while others asserted as confidently that he had appropriated the bulk of his wealth for the purchase of a magnificent public library. Nobody ever took any pains to circulate any rumors about Mr. Tremlett's will, for it was the settled belief of all who knew him, that his adopted son would be his principal legatee; but the uncertainty of Mr. Tuck's intentions kept the minds of his friends in a state of great anxiety. The minds of his two nephews, however, were perfectly serene on this subject; for they were well satisfied that their uncle would not bequeath bis money to them, let him remember whomsover he might in his will; and therefore it might be wrong, at this stage of our narrative, to impute any sinister feelings to the brothers, because they manifested great anxiety when they heard he was confined to his room by illness.
The old gentleman sat in his rocking-chair, wondering that his niece had not been to see him, when tap was heard at his chamber door, and the tapper being bidden to walk in, the apparition of his nephew, T. Jefferson Tuck, suddenly presented itself to his astonished eyes. The appearance, for Mr. Tuck thought, for a moment, it was an unreal personage before him, was accompanied by a middle-aged gentleman, in a black bombazine suit, and a pair of gold-mounted spectacles. As soon as Mr. Tuck recovered the use of his tongue, the functions of which were suspended for a while by astonishment, he ordered the intruders to quit his sight, without ceremony. But his nephew meekly replied,' that he would, if his uncle would allow him to say one word first.' 'Say on, and then go ! replied his uncle.
It is a long time since I have had this pleasure, uncle,' said Tom, * and I am grieved at heart that our first meeting after so long an estraugement should be in a sick room.'
• If you are going to talk about sick rooms, stop where you are,' said Mr. Tuck.
Well, then, it shall not be about sickness, but about health and happiness,' said his nephew, assuming a more cheerful tone. . I heard that you were not well, and not knowing who your medical attendant was, I consulted with my brother, and we determined to recommend to you a very skilful physician, with whom we are well acquainted, and who has lately performed some very remarkable
This is the gentleman; allow me to introduce Doctor Healman to you. Doctor, this is my uncle; he will no doubt be always happy to see you, because I am very certain that after this visit he will rarely have occasion for your services. The gentleman in the black suit made a low bow, and Mr. Tuck told him to sit down.
* And now, uncle,' said his nephew, 'I will leave you ; and to show you how much more I respect your will than my own wishes, this shall be the last time that I shall ever intrude myself into your presence.' So saying, this dutiful nephew retired, with his face buried in his white cambric pocket-handkerchief.
'I do n't know what to make of that fellow,' said Mr. Tuck, as his nephew closed the door.
• Make of him ? said the doctor ; "he do n't require any thing to be made out of him at all; he is one of the most remarkable pious young men of the age. He is up to all sorts of goodness.'
• But his brother Sam,' said Mr. Tuck, ‘is a downright rogue; he is continually studying nonsense in those rascally books. When I see him walking along with one of those blue-covered magazines of mischief under his arm, I can hardly keep from beating him with my cane,
But his sister Julia is a nice young lady; she is the only woman that I ever really liked.'
*I have heard she was quite an angel,' said the doctor; but I never had the gratification of her acquaintance.' • Did
ever have a case of the beating of the heart, in the course of your practice, doctor ? asked Mr. Tuck.
• I have made some remarkable cures in that line,' replied the doctor; 'are
affecied after that sort?' Sometimes I feel such a throbbing here,' said the old man, put
ting his hand to his heart, and then I have such a choking in my throat, that I should be willing to pay a good round price to get well of it. I do n’t mind expense, doctor. I suppose it is not dangerous, but it is very annoying, because it keeps me from my business.'
• Let me see your tongue, Sir,' said the doctor. Oh, ah! it's nothing but a derangement of the secreting vessels. I can cure it in no time.'
• Do you really think that is the cause of it ? asked Mr. Tuck.
“Of course it is,' replied the doctor; 'I should rather guess I have n't dissected a dead body every day for twenty years, to be mistaken about a disorder like yours !'
*Do n't talk about dead bodies, doctor !' said Mr. Tuck; it makes me feel unpleasant, and I won't have it.'
Do n't be alarmed about that;' replied Doctor Healman, 'the corpses that I cuts up, are all poor people, which could n't afford to pay for a doctor to save their lives; paupers, and such like, that aint of no consequence; of course we never cuts up gentlemen.'
* Ah, it's a great thing to be able to pay for first-rate physicians,' said Mr. Tuck; 'I suppose, doctor, you have studied a good deal in your time?'
• A great deal,' said the doctor; all the ancient authors, like Socrates, and all them.'
* And how long did you ever know a man to live ? asked Mr. Tuck.
• Some one hundred, and some one hundred and fifty,' replied the doctor ; "it differs according to families ; some families all die young, and some live to enormous ages.'
• Well, if I could have my way,' said Mr, Tuck, 'I should like either to die when I was very young, or live to about a hundred; I think that is a very good age ; and a man ought to be all ready to go then. But I ca'nt see, doctor, why a man cannot live as long now as in the days of Methusaleh.'
So he might,' replied the doctor, ' with proper treatment. If he was willing to live on roots, and other natural wegetables.'
And pray what are they l' inquired Mr. Tuck; 'I would be willing to live on any thing, for the sake of living to a good old age.'
Why, esculent roots, such as cat-nip and sassafarilla, and other purifying medicines. But my time is too waluable to stay much longer; I can't neglect my other patients.'
• Do you charge by the hour, doctor, or ouly so much per visit ?'
"Only two dollars a call,' replied the doctor; ‘long or short, it 's all the same.'
• Of course you don't charge as much for a simple case, like mine, as you do for a dangerous one ?' said Mr. Tuck.
• It 's all one,' replied the doctor; 'I suppose it would make no odds to you whether you died of a simple case, or the most inveterate complication of disorders. It costs me just as much for a diploma to cure the measles, as the very worst kind of cholera.'
• Ab, that 's very true, doctor;' replied Mr. Tuck; “if there were any real danger of dying, of course I should n't object to the price.'
Well, Sir,' said the doctor, 'I will go upon the principle of no cure no pay, like the quacks and patent doctor, but it would be a
shocking bad principle for the regular faculty to adopt, I must confess; for some patients are dreadfully perverse, and they will die under the most skilful treatment. Here's a bottle of my Elixir of Juvenility ; Doctor Healman's celebrated cure for disorders of the heart; it will cure you at wonst, if you only take enough of it.'
“Never fear but I will take enough of it,' said Mr. Tuck, as he reached out his hand for the bottle.
* But stop ;' said the doctor, putting the elixir in his pocket again ; before I will consent to prescribe for you, I must have a solemn promise that you wont call in no other physician, or I am 0. P. H. I do n't want any body's botching laid to my door.'
• What do you mean by botching ? inquired Mr. Tuck.
"I mean of course if any body should happen to kill you by a wrong prescription, it might injure my practice. It 's dangerous, too; you know too many cooks spoil the broth.'
• That's very true,' said Mr. Tuck; 'I will pledge you my word and honor that I will not call any other physician, without your leave.'
• Then, Sir,' said the doctor, I will prescribe for you, with great pleasure. Here's a bottle of the 'lixir; take it and stand it in a dark closet; do n't let no light come to it, and do n't let nobody see it, until eleven o'clock to-night; then take it, shake the vial three times, and swallow as much of it down as ever you can; the more the better; it is so harmless it would n't hurt an infant, and it is so full of virtue, it would resuscitate a giant out of a collapse of the cholera.'
* And do you really think I shall be well enough to attend to my business to-morrow, doctor ?' inquired Mr. Tuck.
"Of course you will; but if you aint, I wont make no charge to you. And so the doctor made a low bow, and left the old man to his meditations.
• That Tom is a good boy, after all,' said Mr. Tuck, to himself; if I had n't made my will, I do n't know but I would leave him something. But it's time enough to talk about my will, when I am going to die. The doctor is rather a strange man for a physician, but Tom is no fool, let him be what else he may; and I am very certain he would n't employ any but the very best physicians
As the old man sat mumbling to himself, and rocking to and fro in his chair, another rap was heard at the door.
*Comne in!' said Mr. Tuck. 'Ah, Jeremiah, is that you ? Come in, come in ; sit down, Jeremiah, sit down; I am glad to see you ; I want to ask you a question. I thought it was Julia, at first. What did you come for, Jeremiah ?'
• I called to see if you were well enough to sign this check,' said Jeremiah ; «Mr. Tremlett has not come in to town to-day.'
• What do you mean,' said Mr. Tuck, 'by asking me if I am well enough, Jeremiah? Do n't you see I am not sick? You grow stupid every day.'
'I am very glad to hear you are not sick,' replied Jeremiah, .but you really do not look well; perhaps it is owing to these dark curtains. I am glad you are well.'
“Sit down, Jeremiah, sit down, and let me talk with you. Did you
ever hear, Jeremiah, of any body's living so long that they did n't care about living any longer ? Who was it, Jeremiah, in the Bible, who went up to heaven without dying at all? Was it your namesake, or was it Isaiah ? I forget which.'
Neither; replied Jeremiah; "it was Elijah the Tishbite ; he was taken
into heaven in a chariot of fire.' • He was a lucky fellow; I should like that way myself,' said Mr. Tuck.
• If you would die like the Tishbite, you must live like him ;' replied Jeremiah : but why should you wish to ascend up into the clouds, like the prophet, when the privilege is vouchsafed to you of lying down in the grave with our Saviour? Think, could your soul endure the terrors of the whirlwind and fire, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof? Would you not rather part from this life in the way appointed for all flesh ?'
• Ah, Jeremiah,' said Mr. Tuck, 'you have read the Bible until you have got used to it; but I cannot think of dying, without a shudder. It's a dreadful unpleasant subject.
• If we thought aright on the subject, it would never appear unpleasant,' said Jeremiah ; 'God never lays a burden upon us that we are unable to bear; and if we can bear up under the load of life, we ought not to be dismayed at the prospect of death. If the infant were capable of thought and reflection, upon entering into this changing life, there would be greater cause for apprehension and dread, than in going to the otber, which is eternal. Who that knew of the afflictions that are man's lot in this life, but would shudder at the thought of encountering them ? And yet we make merry when a child is born into the world, but we follow him with tears when he is taken from it. Poverty to the rich looks like a burden too heavy to be born ; sickness to the healthful seems a calamity that will overwhelm with pain ; and the unsanctified in spirit are terrified at the thoughts of death; but the poor are content, the sick are comforted, and the faithful are happy, even when dying.'
• Do n't say any thing farther about dying,' said Mr. Tuck; but, Jeremiah, tell me about business. If there should be
any inquiries after me, say that I shall be on 'change to-morrow.
Don't tell any. body that I have been sick; I do n't like to be questioned about my health. If any body ever tells me that I do n't look well, again, I will cut his acquaintance. Now reach me my port-folio, and let me sign the check. This beating of my heart is like a funeral march; it makes my hand tremble so, that I can scarcely write. There, there — go; do n't say any thing more. You make me nervous.'
Jeremiah folded up the check, and left the room slowly: he would gladly have remained to talk to the old man about the great concern of his soul, but he was afraid of irritating him, and of defeating his object by too much zeal. Once be turned back, determined to speak to him again ; but he was afraid that his employer would think him presumptuous. He hesitated for a moment, and then returned to the counting-house; but his indecision on this occasion was ever after a source of grief to him.
No sooner was the old gentleman left alone, than he wished that somebody was near him. His niece had never before neglected him