Mr. Garie’s Neighbour.
We must now introduce our readers into the back parlour of the house belonging to Mr. Garie’s next-door neighbour, Mr. Thomas Stevens.
We find this gentleman standing at a window that overlooked his garden, enjoying a fragrant Havannah. His appearance was not by any means prepossessing; he was rather above than below the middle height, with round shoulders, and long, thin arms, finished off by disagreeable-looking hands. His head was bald on the top, and the thin greyish-red hair, that grew more thickly about his ears, was coaxed up to that quarter, where an attempt had been made to effect such a union between the cords of the hair from each side as should cover the place in question.
The object, however, remained unaccomplished; as the hair was either very obstinate and would not be induced to lie as desired, or from extreme modesty objected to such an elevated position, and, in consequence, stopped half-way, as if undecided whether to lie flat or remain erect, producing the effect that would have been presented had he been decorated with a pair of horns. His baldness might have given an air of benevolence to his face, but for the shaggy eyebrows that over-shadowed his cunning-looking grey eyes. His cheekbones were high, and the cadaverous skin was so tightly drawn across them, as to give it a very parchment-like appearance. Around his thin compressed lips there was a continual nervous twitching, that added greatly to the sinister aspect of his face.
On the whole, he was a person from whom you would instinctively shrink; and had he been president or director of a bank in which you had money deposited, his general aspect would not have given you additional confidence in the stable character or just administration of its affairs.
Mr. George Stevens was a pettifogging attorney, who derived a tolerable income from a rather disreputable legal practice picked up among the courts that held their sessions in the various halls of the State-house. He was known in the profession as Slippery George, from the easy manner in which he glided out of scrapes that would have been fatal to the reputation of any other lawyer. Did a man break into a house, and escape without being actually caught on the spot with the goods in his possession, Stevens was always able to prove an alibi by a long array of witnesses. In fact, he was considered by the swell gentry of the city as their especial friend and protector, and by the members of the bar generally as anything but an ornament to the profession.
He had had rather a fatiguing day’s labour, and on the evening of which we write, was indulging in his usual cigar, and amusing himself at the same time by observing the gambols of Clarence and little Em, who were enjoying a romp in their father’s garden.
“Come here, Jule,” said he, “and look at our new neighbour’s children—rather pretty, ain’t they?”