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twenty thousand pounds to spare in trifles.
For that good time coming, Mr. Cubitt is
running up a few nine-storied houses or so
down Kensington way; some half dozen
members of parliamentall staunch conservatives
of course, as befits men of property
are thinking seriously of accepting the Chiltern
Hundreds; and two or three peers of the
realm are going to the dogs as fast as
they can, in order to be sold up, and their
estates, country houses, manorial rights disposed
of (in the good time) to the lucky
possessor of the successful scheme. Which
is the philosopher's stone. Which is the
latch-key to Thomas Tiddler, his ground.
Which, even in abeyance, even in the top-most
turret of a castle in the air, can yet
comfort, solace, soothe the schemer, making
him forget hunger, thirst, cold, sleeplessness,
debt, impending death. Which is Alnaschar's
basket of glass, and is kicked down often
into the kennel, with a great clatter, and
ruin of tumblers, pepper-casters, and hopes.
Yet to have a scheme, and to believe in it,
is to be happy, Do you think Salomon de
Caux, crazy, ragged, in the BicĂȘtre, did not
believe that his scheme would triumph
eventually, and he be sent for to Versailles,
while the mad-house keeper and all unbelievers
in steam-engines were to be conveyed
incontinently to the gallies? Do you think
that that poor worn-out loyal gentleman, the
Marquis of Worcester, cared one jot for the
hundreds of thousand of pounds he had lost
in the king's service, while he yet had schemes
and inventions, which must at last turn out
successful, and bring him fame and fortune?
Do you think that the alchemists grudged
their patrimonies smouldered away in the
crucible; or that the poor captain, who
imagined if he did not perfectly invent the
long range, was not comforted even on his
death-bed, by the persuasion that the Great
Mogul, the Grand Serag, the King of Oude,
the Lama of Thibet, or the Emperor of Japan,
must come before life was extinct, and buy
the great invention, though English Boards
of Ordnance, and European potentates
looked coldly upon it, for millions sterling,
down? Do you think that Corney O'Gripper
yonder, though ragged and penniless, is
not happy while he has some old "schame"
to propound, or some new one to perfect.

Corney has a most puissant and luxuriant
head of hairthe only thing that is rich
about him. It is a popular belief that Corney
scratches his various " schames " ready made
out of this head of hair as the cock in the
fable did the pearl. At all events his long
fingers are continually busied in the tufted
recesses of his head-thatch, and as he scratches
he propounds. His attire is very bad, but
black. In his very worst phase of costume
he was never known to wear any waistcoat
than a black satin one, any coat but a swallow
tail. Both these articles of apparel show
much more of the lining than is consonant with
our received notions of taste in costume.
From one imputation, however, they must be
exempt. Numerous as are their crevices and
gaps they never disclose the existence of such
an article as a shirt. On wet days the soles of
his boots whistle like blackbirds, or (occasionally)
oysters. He wears a black stock, the
original satin fabric of which has gone away
mournfully into shreds, and shows a dingy
white substance beneath, wavering in appearance
between sackcloth and buckram. It is
rumoured that Corney O'Gripper has been a
hedge schoolmaster, a coast-guardsman, an
illicit whisky-distiller, a guager, a sapper and
miner, a pawnbroker, a surgeon on the coast
of Africa, a temperance lecturer, a repealer,
a fishmonger, a parish clerk, an advertising
agent, a servants' registry office-keeper, a
supercargo, a collector of rents, a broker's
man, an actor, a roulette table-keeper on a
race-course, a publican, a betting office-keeper,
an itinerant, a lawyer's clerk, a
county court bailiff, and a life assurance
actuary. He confesses himself to have been
a "tacher;" also to having been in America,
where he did something considerable in town-lots,
in the bank-notes known as shin
plaisters, and where he was blown up in a
Mississippi steam-boat; also to having passed
twice through the Insolvent Court. His
present profession, and one that he glories in,
is that of a "promoter." A promoter of
what? Companies. He knows of a Spanish
galleon sunk in the bay of Vera Cruz, in
Admiral Hosier's time, with two millions
five hundred and seventy thousand pounds
sterling in doubloons, pillar dollars, and
golden candlesticks destined for the chapel of
our Lady of Compostella, on board. A joint
stock company is just the thing to fish her
up, and secure a bonus of two hundred and
forty per cent, to every one of the shareholders.
He only wants a few good men to
complete the list of directors of the Great
Female Moses Company, or Emporium of
Ladies' Ready-made Wearing Apparel Society.
Lend him sixpence and he will be
enabled provisionally to register the Curing
Herrings on the North-west Coast of Ireland
Company. He is to be managing director of
the Persons condemned to Capital Punishment
Life Assurance Society; he promoted
the Joint Stock Housebreakers' Investment
Company; the Naval, Military, European,
and General Pickpockets Savings Bank and
Sick Fund; the Amalgamated Society for
binding and illustrating Cheesemongers' and
Trunkmakers' Wastepaper; the Mutual Silver
Snuff-box Voting Company; the Bankrupts'
Guarantee Fund; and the Insolvents'
Provident Institution. But the world has
dealt hardly with him. No sooner has he
promoted companies and set them on their
legs, than solicitors have flouted, directors
repudiated him. He has nothing left now
but his inextinguishable brogue, and his
inexhaustible invention. He will go on

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