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"Your wishes, which confer equal credit upon your heart and your cerehelium, can bo gratified in about a fortnight," answered tno excited manager. "We shall open with Richard the Third, in the original version. Colley CmnER was a butcher."

One word of my companion's had struck me like a thunderbolt; it was the word Richard "My esteemed friond," I replied, and my voice quivered slightly, ' "has it never occurred to you that a thoroughly new and original drama from the pen of an eminent contemporary, founded on somo stirring historical event, might bo tho means of retrieving your house's fortunes? Take, for instance, a subject like the Crusades."

"It is a noble one," said the manager, whose eye was glazed with enthusiasm. "Indeed, I marvel that the Swan hath never treated it himself."

"Too much for him, sir," said I, modestly but firmly. "Now, listen to me; and pray take another glass of that excellent Sherry. Fate has already made me the humble instrument of saving your life. With Fate's permission I will also bo the instrument of saving your theatre. In three weeks a new and original play with occasional music shall be put before a Land's End public. All the rank and beauty of the surrounding country shall flock to see it. Money, sir, shall bo refused at the doors."

His eyes filled with tears at tho thought of refusing money at tho doors, and he listened eagerly to my proposal. On one point, however,—the point of costume—I found him obstinate. The new armour for Richard the Third was already in preparation, and any additional outlay was not to be heard of. There were difficulties also in the musical branch of the speculation. The manager, it is true, possessed an elderly but still serviceable voice (which, for my satisfaction, he tested on the spot by singing the third verse of "Tom Bowling")—hut vocal talent was not universal in his company. At length it was arranged that those who could not Bing my verses should recite them. I stipulated that tho orchestra should be considerably increased for tho occasion, so that my descriptive overture might be rendered with becoming grandeur.

At nightfall my guests departed for Land's End, after a final duett expressivo of lively gratitude. I sat up until dawn, working at the first act of my drama, delighted by the prospect of obtaining a provincial verdict upon its merits before producing it upon the London boards. Tho following day I composed a delicious ballad in A minor for King Richard, which I immediately performed to my entire satisfaction with the assistance of the only musical instrument ever beheld in my lonely village within the memory of its oldest inhabitant. This was a pianoforte, washed ashore in the year 1837 from somo wreck, and immediately taken possession of by its present proprietor, my landlord. There was a certain vague and plaintivo tone about its lower notes that reminded me somehow of the treacherous depths of ocean. Perchance the daintiest female digits had swept those discoloured ivories; female tears it may be, had bedewed those four octaves and three-quarters.

A week later I knocked at the door of Ma. Horace Ayonley, my manager, in Land's End, with a couple of complete acts under my arm. During this visit, the cast of the piece was decided on. Mr. A. would of courso play the lion-hearted hero; the Btage-manager had kindly consented to represent the Sultan Saladin; and the hopeful Theodore Avon Ley would personato Blonde]. The whole of Land's End was muffled in *'■ posters," announcing the new and original drama, by Theophilvs F. Sharp, Esq. In due course I delivered the reniiiinder of my piece; in duo course it was read and put into rehearsal. I was rather sorry to find the orchestra weak, and the chorus not nearly so strong as the orchestra; nevertheless, I adapted myself without murmuring to the limited resources of the theatre, and mado up my mind to trust to the absorbing excitement of my libretto for success.

Tho decisive day arrived. After dining in moderate state at the house of Mr. Avoni.ey, we all set off to the Theatre Koyal. I was a trifle nervous —a trifle irritable towards the carpenters and supernumeraries—but retained that wholesome amount of self-confidenco without which Genius is absolutely useless. When the curtain rose upon the opening scene of Richard Cwur-de-Lion there were exactly three dozen people in tho front of the house, chiefly occupying the boxes. My descriptive overture had been received in solemn silence by the rank and beauty of Land's End. (N.B.— I have already mado an allusion to the weakness of the orchestra,)

Memory's branding-irons have scorched the events of that unhappy night indelibly upon my soul. Tho adverse Fates assorted their well-known ingenuity to such purpose that everything went wrong that could go wrong. An apology was mado for the stage-manager, who had risen from a bed of sickness—a bed of bronchitis, I be lieve—expressly to play Saladin. I appreciated his noble conduct in coming to the theatre at great personal risk, but I could not recognise the propriety of his going upon tho stage in a red ■woollen comforter. Mr. Avonley performed the character of Richard tho First in a costume prepared for Richard the Third, but made a alight sacrifice to historical tradition by adopting an immense battle-axe. He was rather incomplcto in the music and words of his part, owing to his exertions in bringing out tho drama; but he remedied every deficiency by brandishing aloft his double-handed weapon with immense vigour, which rounded a halting speech in a way more eloquent than words. At the end of the first act thero was audible applause, at which 1 once more took heart of grace, and, stepping to the front of my private box, remained for at least a minute in full view of the audience.

The curtain discovered, on rising for the second act, tho "feudal domains and castlo of the Archduke of Austria." This tyrant was personated by an actor from Truro, engaged solely for this part, who had earned an enormous Tcputation throughout tho county of Cornwall for his representation of wicked Barons. His reception was tumultuous, and the success of the piece appeorcd certain, when suddenly the fortunes of myself and my work were chattered into pieces by the incredible ignorance of a wretched supernumerary. The idiot had been luid up, it appeared, during the rehearsals, and

had come to the theatre with a rooted conviction that Richard tlie Third was to be performed, as originally intended by the management. Having, by intense perseverance, mastered his part in that play—a part consisting of exactly one line—this low-born hound, oblivious of all save a solemn sense of duty, rushed breathless into the presence of the Archduke, and panted forth to his wondering lord the following scrap of Court-intelligence:—

"My liege, the P«ie of Buckingham is taken .'" at which the majority of the audience laughed, and the minority, seeing nothing particular to laugh at, hissed. Leopold of Austria meanwhile disposed of his untimely prisoner by shouting, in a tone that had so often brought the galleries down in Truro, "Then away with him to the low est dungeon beneath the castle moat!" Laden with these instructions the messenger beat a retreat; and, having been seized by tho infuriated prompter and hastily drilled in his new part, was sent on again with a piece of new* more suitable to the occasion.

From that moment I felt that Richard Ctrtir de Lion was doomed. No need, oh Fate, of any culminating horror;—and yet that culminating horror came. Just as King Richard, loaded with chains, advanced slowly to tho. footlights to bewail his captivity in a scena, there took place among tho audience a sudden stir—a whisper painfully crescendo, in which one fearful word was dominant—and a scuffle of many feet, as the entire thirty-six incontinently rose and fled. One glance in tho direction of the wing was enough. I beheld a thin but vivid flame crawling like a snake up the side of tho proscenium. Pooh, pooh! It was nothing, a mere trifle, I shouted; but the front of the house was already empty.

I could see that only a little presence of mind was wanted, and was not resence of mind my speciality f While the hapless manager stood clasping is hands at the wing, I headed a determined body of scene-shiilers and Paynim warriors to tho curpentors'-room above the stage. Buckets were filled with incredible speed, and their contents dashed upon the flames beneath. In a quarter of an hour the fire was quite extinguished, after doing a considerable injury to the theatre.

On descending to the green-room I found Avonley at the lowest pitch of despondency. "My dear sir," I began, "if my sincere sympathy

can be of any"

"Mr. Sharp," was the tranquil reply, "we are insured in the Phcenix. The regret I feel is entirely on your account; for we must now postpone the repetition of your successful piece for an indefinite period."

I was vexed, and the gloomy clouds gathered upon my brow. "Never mind me, Mr. Avonley," I retorted with dignity. "A London public will perhaps be better able to appreciate my modest worth than a Land's End one. The Pynb and Harrison Company still stretches out its arms to native talent, sir. In the meantime I bid you an eternal adieu, and beg you to send back my manuscript at your earliest convenience. Good evening for ever, sir!''

* • • • * *

Three mornings later I sat reading my Daily Telegraph at my solitary chambers in town, when the following announcement met my eye, and proceeded by a direct route into my tortured brain:—

Last Week Of The Pyne And Harrison Company!

That was the death-blow of my hopes. At the present moment I urn turning Richard Coeur-de-Lion into a burlesque, with a view of leaving it at the stage-door of the Olympic. Should it prove unsuited to that the:ii re, why I shall abandon the Crusades for ever! Henry S. Leigh.

A LUCKY DOG.

JII, how sweet, when the boughs were green,
■ When I sat in the shade, witb my own white maid,
\ And the sunlight streaming the boughs between,
Toured largesse of gold down this forest glade,
O'er which tho larches lean!

Ah, how sad, now tho boughs are bare,
And the breezes moan, ns 1 sit alone,

And fancy the ghost of her golden hair,
Whero the sun of winter has iaiutly thrown

A palo and sickly glare!

Still we meet in the city's street,
She—aB his bride by her rich lord's side—

And I—who die for her dear deceit,
Yet love—and must love her whate'er betide!—

Till my heart shall cease to beat.

/can puss by with my pangs hid well;
But, ah '. my hound to her feet will bound.

She once caressed him :—he cannot tell
That between us there lies a gulf profound,

Lit up by flumes of hell.

One word might bridge it, as well I know,—
For her lord is old, and cruel, and cold,—

Hut to hear it spoken would injure so
The image which still in my heart I hold

That that word I must forego!

So—strangers still on our road wo meet!
But 1 envy eacli day my hound, who may,

Without reproof, kiss the glancing feet,
Whereat the wreck of a heart I lay—

For btill I love you, Sweet! Etc.

A DREAM OF UNFAIR WOMEN,

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I saw a spectacled, but wild mumma,

Coaxing her daughter with a fair-haired lad;

Ther, Hearing he made nothi rig, frowned; and, ah
Caned the young man " a cad."

I HBAD, as daylight broadened into morn,

A Tale of Unfair Women, in the pause, "My youth!" one said, " whenever you have sworn,

These women were the cause!"

At first methought a lady at a ball

Sat with black-bearded warriors by the stair,

She was deeottetee and divinely tall,
With long, gold-dusted hair.

A meek young gentleman approached her seat,
His gloves were split, his waistcoat buttons false;

She gazed an instant at his clumsy feet,
Then sneered, "I do not valse!

I saw a pie-nic by the river side,

On scarlet rugs one sat, apart from man, Queenlike she was, dark-haired and dreamy-eyed,

Hat-bound with astraean.

A melancholy captain in the line
Drew near at last to pour forth all his heart;

She turned, " A thousand pardons, friend of mine,
Where is my cherry-tart?"

A maid, blue-stockinged, broke the silence drear,
And flashing forth a winning smile, said she,

"'Til long sineo I have seen a man. Come here,
Play croquet now with me."

She "spooned," and cheated, and had ankles thick,

I let her win, the game was such a bore,
Her bright ball quivered at the coloured stick—

Touched,—and we played no more.

I turning saw a couple newly wed;

She—lately fond of flirting, and a belle— -sow contradicted every word he said,

And bullied him as well.

She said, "Oh! bother business; really, dear,
You've no more feeling for me than a stone;

I wish my kind mamma lived somewhere near—
I won't be left alone!"

I was cut off from hope in such a place!

An evening party whence I dared not roam, My sister held her hand before her face,

I longed to be at home.

I strove to stir, but I was victimized

To talk to dowagers; between the sets Two voiceless females, old and undersized,

Chirp'd Mendelssohn's duets.

I 1 heard old maids tako characters away;

1 saw young ladies dress like men ami sni"k-:■■ An authoress next read a five-act play, 'Twas wicked, and I woke.

Clement W. Scott

fII OHSIBSMAS fill,

% Sfcetrfr.

"Well, good evening, Mr. Joriioys," said Frank Ferrihy, as the two alighted from the train at Chalk Farm Station upon Christmas eve. "Good evening, and a merry Christmas to you."

"A merry fiddlestick !" replied Ma. Jorhoys. "I don't believe in merry Christmases."

"You don't?"

"I don't."

Frank Ferriry stared at his friend as though lie had been some extraordinary natural phenomenon. We have said his friend, although, in fact, their acquaintance was originally a mere business one. But, both residing in the neighbourhood of Haverstock-hill, both going to business by the same train every morning, and returning home nt the same time every evening, a sort of intimacy had sprung up between them. They had got into the way of looking out for one another at tho station, and getting into the same carriage—a habit which continuing for some months, afforded them ample opportunities for improving their acquaintance. For the North London Railway, in its wisdom devising means to convey passengers from Camden Town to Fenehurch-strect, has invented a pleasant country trip round through Jscwington, Kingsland, Hackney, Stepney, and other outlying district*, offering great facilities for agreeable and improving conversation in comments upon the appearance of the country travelled through.

liut to return to the Chalk Farm Station {not by North London train, but by tho more rapid " train " of thought).

"A merry Christmas, indeed," said Mr. JORBOTS. "I'll tell you, sir, how I shall spend to-morrow."

Frank Feriuhy was all attention.

<( In the morning, sir, I shall go to church, of course. Asa ratepayer in the parish, and a guardian of the poor, I could not do less."

Frank Ferrihy with a bow, acknowledged the fitness of Mr. Jorbots' determination.

"Afterwards, Hir," said Jorboys, " I go to my counting-house. Yon see, I have brought away the keys with me," and he shook them close to Ferrihy's face.

The sound they made "jangled harshly out of tune" upon the ear of Ferrihy, who did believe in Christmas and its holiday associations. He ventured a remonstrance —

"Go to vour counting-house on Christmas-day?"

"And why not!"" Mr. Jorhoys answered. "It isn't Sunday. Iff were, as a respectable householder, ratepayer, and guardian of the poor, I should be the first to condemn such a proceeding. But being only a weekday, when there's no positive business doing, it seems to me the very l»e>t of times for making up one's year's accounts. Yes, sir, to-morrow I mean to go through my books, and see how I stand with the world."

A thought flitted through Ferrihy's brain that Christians-day might I* a good time to think how we stand with another world than this. But said nothing.

11 Having made up my balance-sheet," continued Jorhoys, "I shall tike a chop at the Green Dragon, and then"

liut this FSBRIBY really could not stand.

A chop at the Green Dragon for a Christmas dinner!

With on abruptness that startled himself almost as much as it did Jorhoys, ho found himself saying—

"Comeand dine with mo, to-morrow, Mr. Jorhoys."

"liut, my dear sir—"

"It's true our acquaintance has been but in business matters. Hot, apart from business, sir, I do believe in Christmas and its influences. Ths'. sir, is my address (he handed him a card). If vou will come and eat yuol Christmas dinner with me I shall be truly glad.'r

"But, sir, an invitation so unexpected"

"Never mind that; you'll come f" "I will."

Hold your tongues, ye hard, practical philosophers! Be still, yo wiseacres, who imagine vou can gauge human hearts and human motives solely by tho stern, unbending rules of profit and loss! The Spirit of Christmas is, in spite of you, a power among u«! How otherwise would FBRRIBT have ventured on inviting that old curmudgeon Jordoys to his house? Nay, greater wonder still! How otherwise would Jorboys have accepted the invitation?

He did accept it!

He dined upon that Christmas-day with Ferrihy. And when they gathered rouncf the lire after dinner, this is what he told his entertainer :—

He told him how, some two years since, his only daughter—the only child, in fact, that Mb dead wife had left him—had run away from him and married against his will; had made his home desolate, and his Christmas firesido a blank; had been utterly lost to him from that hour;. had been cast out at once and for ever from her father's heart, and from her father's memory; had ceased to be his child. And so on, and so on: as angry, disappointed fathers have talked time out of mind; as they are doubtless talking now, if we were only there to hear them; as they will talk on to the end.

But, heaven be praised! let men boast (is they will about their stubborn, unforgiving anger, until thoy persuade themselves that their selfish indignation is a virtue, the Spirit of Christmas moves and works among Ub still: Works in ways that we little dream of, and brings about its great and glorious ends by most unlooked-for means.

Was it tho Spirit of Christmas now working in that stern old Jorboys' heart (wo aro inclined to think it was)? Was it only the contrast his fancy called up between that picture of domestic happiness before him and his own cold, cheerless hearth, with thoughts of what a home he might have had? Or shall we put it on the very lowest and material grounds, and inquire was it merely the cheering, exhilarating influence of the whiskeypunch he was imbibing (and little Mrs. Ferriby was acknowledged to be about the best brewer of punch in the wholo North-Western postal district) Y We cannot say. But certain it is, old Jorboys found himself speaking, and thinking less unkindly of his " little Annie" (ho had never spoken of her by that name before, since her transgression), than he had ever done since she had left his home.

All of a Budden, a shrill cry rings through the stillness of that Christmas evening:— "fire! Fire!"

In an instant Jorboys and Ferriby are in the street. In an incredibly few seconds afterwards, Mrs. Ferkiby is with them, having assumed her bonnet and shawl with a rapidity which it would bo absolutely brutal to expect from ono of her sex under less exciting circumstances.

There is a strange fascination about a fire. We never yet knew a man, or woman cither, that could resist it. We fancy human beings must have some hitherto unexplained weakness for looking at a blaze, analagous to that which lures tho moth towards the destroying candle. Only men have just sense enough to keep away from actual contact with the flame, and moths have not. Which, we confess, makes all the difference

Away ran Mr. and Mrs. Ferriby, followed by old Jorboys, panting heavily, to the scone of conflagration. Wo will not attempt to describe the scene. Penny-a-liners have done so time out of mind before us, and in their own clement (the 11 devouring" one) they are quite unapproachable. Old Jorboys elbows his way manfully to tho front.

"How did it happen, policeman?" he asks, of one of "the active and intelligent officers 'who are keeping a clear space for the engines to work in.

"Can'tsay, sir," answers policeman. "Only you see at Christmas time

?eoplc make up such fires to cook their Christmas dinners. Chimbley, sir, should say."

"Precious little Christmas dinner thero to-day, I fancy," said a bystander, a woman. "It's them poor creatures in the second-floor. It's not much cooking they goto a chance of doing."

"Poor things! poor things! And upon Christmas-day, too!"

It was old Jorboys spoke. How he had changed since yesterday, when he did not bolieve in Christmas!

The fire was of a Berious nature, of that there could bo no doubt. The house was doomed beyond hope of saving. The firemen had mounted the "escape," which had been placed against the burning premises, and one of them now came down, carrying in his arms a baby. In an instant, good little Mrs. Ferriby had snatched it from him, and rushed away with it, shouting as sho did so,

"I'll take it home, Frank! Poor little mite, it's wringing wet!"

Another inmate of tho burning house is now brought down the ladder. This time it is a woman, shrieking hysterically, and madly struggling with her preserver; fighting him, buffeting him, and frantically trying to scramble again up to the flaming windows, whence she has just'been saved, crying wildly and pitcously—

"My child—my baby!"

The fireman, having plenty to do besides attending to hysterical females, deposits her in the arms of the nearest bystander. This happens to be Mr. Jorboys.

"Come, my good woman," this gentleman exclaims, "your child is right enough. I'll take you to it."

A convulsive shudder all over the good woman's body is her only answer. And so, without another word, old Jorboys and Ferriby between thorn support her to the latter gentleman's residence. It is only just round the corner.

Arrived th' re, the distracted mother sees, with one rapid glance, her baby lying smiling, safe, but perfectly naked, upon the lap of little Mrs.

Ferriby, who is warming and drying tho poor half-drowned morsel of humanity at a good blazing fire—this time a fire in a kindly, cheerfullooking grate; not the fierce demon of a fire from which she herself has just been saved. Another glance the poor mother gives to the man who has led her almost fainting steps to that haven of safety.

Her eyes meet those of J Orboys, and she falls into his arms—to all appearance dead!

She has recognised him. Nor she alone. Blessings upon yon, Spirit of Christmas, or whatover power it is that brings all this about!

Jorboys, too, recognises her. He sees that he holds in his arms onco more his own dear " Little Annie!"

To tell how all was forgiven, how father and daughter were immediately ond for ever reconciled, would be superfluous. Suffice it to say, that old Jorboys has ever since boon amongst tho most enthusiastic of "beliovers in Christmas," and that his "Little Annie" and her husband, whatover amount of property they may have lost in that memorable always look back with joy and gratitude to tho breaking out of "christmas Fire!"

William Brougii.

OUT IN THE COLD.

% ©Dcntg Minutes' Romance.

CHAPTER I.

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HE R E

thing n dreary in 1

of a telloM

ii someawfully tho Uft of a fellow, who, having- no great i taste for "places of amusement," k and very few \% visitingacquaint'\ ances, takes a *>et \\ of cheap chambers in a dingy precinct for tlie purpose ostensibly of "reading," but really bceuuso he don't quite know how he can othcrwiso lodge. Thero como times when he feels desperately lonesome, shut up within thoso four walls in an npartutent fourteen feet by twelve, and with no human aid, Bftve tho chance of summoning tho old woman who "does for" him, or the late ticket porter, who may be heard stamping and whistling outside from nine till nix.

But there were reasons apart from the quiet life I led for making me long fur some sort of chango which would tuko me out of my own dreary company.

The fact is I was in love, and in difficulties at the same time. Not Buffering from any sudden romantic attachment, or from absolute poverty, not even threatened with arrest. Sixty pounds would have paid off ail my debts, and I had an income of a hundred a-year, besido the couple of hundred that I contrived to earn by such precarious literary work as 1 found time for in the intervals of "reading for the bar."

My love was the cause of my difficulties, for I had no nearer relative than my mother's brother, and he was so well acquainted with my circumstances, that he actually received my proposal to marry my cousin Annie, with good humoured laughter.

We had been playfellows, Axnie and I, when I was a public schoolboy, and probably took to loving each other as wo might cither of us have caught the measles, by being so much in each other's company.

Nobody was aware of the complaint, and we never found it out till I was left an orphan, and suddenly found myself thrown upon my own resources, with a symptom of whisker and the income already mentioned.

It was not till long afterwards that I ventured to run down to Kent and see my undo alone, though to tell the truth there had been quires of letters, and more than one stolen, interview between Annie and me, not that thero was tho slightest necessity for tho hitter, for nobody but our two selves had the least idea of our extraordinary attachment, and I had always corresponded with the girls—there were three of them, Polly, Annie, and little Kate, who was a school girl of fifteen, and an exacting letter writer 10

who crossed every scrap of paper, and wound up with a postscript on the

envelope.

When I declared myself to my uncle in the character of Annib's lover, nothing could persuade him to take it seriously, and he had been so kind to me that I felt it would be ungenerous to stamp and rave. I could only urgo him with tears in my eyes to look at the matter " like a man of the world."

I thought he never would have done laughing.

"My dear Harry," ho said, "upon my word, I don't mean to be unkind, but ho! ho! ho!—I do look at it so. You neither of you know your own minds; why the whole thing's absurd, my doar boy, only fancy your being married like a couple of school children, to get tired of each other, and find out when it was too late that you'd mado a mistake."

"Uncle, uncle," I said, losing my temper, " I'm no child at all events, and I will have her. I came to you to ask you honourably whothcrjour engagement would be approved by you, and"

"Stop Harry," said my uncle, looking sternly enough, " I don't want to treat this matter seriously goodness knows, but you ain't have thought of your position. You have, I believe, a hundred a year?"

"And can earn two hundred more till I am called—after that"

"The deluge of course, Harby. After that there may be years of patient waiting, wttch to a man encumbered with a wife and children would bo slow, grinding misery; no, no, my boy,.this is a foolish fancy, brought about by the companionship of a couple 6f cousins, who have neither of them met with anybody else to fall in lore with. Come, come down to dinner, and let us hear no more of it."

% CHAPTER II.

I Didn't go down to dinner, but left him silently, and came back to town by the next train.

Then I wrote a long letter to my cousin, and tried to settle down to hard work for love of her; but I was nervous, broken-spirited, and miserable. The silence of my dingy chambers became insupportable, and I wondered what would becomo of mo. I thought of all the gloomy stories I had heard and raid about men who had died shut up behind two doom, and had been found afterwards mere skeletons, gnawed by the rats. I grew sleepless, neglected my meals, had no pride in my personal appearance, wont out so seldom that I was nervous at all the crossings, and was in a bad way.

One bright morning, when a gleam of sunshine found its way even through the dusty window of my sitting room, and a resumption of the cold bath hud put me into a little better spirits, I took up the "Times," which had been brought in with the milk, and saw an advertisement for a lodger in a hoalthy neighbourhood, where a widow lady and her family would contribute to make society mutually cheerful, and where the twins asked would bo moderato, since it was only desired that a highly respectable inmate should be added to the domestic circle. References given and required.

Iu a moment of infatuation I answered it.

On the following morning I had removed most of my possessions in a cab, and was superintending the unpacking of my books in the spare sitting room of No. 74, Great Lavender-street, Bayswatcr, assisted by Miss HenRietta Twioo, second daughter of Mrs. Twigo, relict of a gentleman, who, having been "late in RM.'s Customs," as I saw by a mortuary poem with a black border, in the Twioo album, was, no dsubt," an honour to his country and his Queen," as the poet went on to remark.

Mrs. Twioo was a very genteel person, indeed, with an air of pensive resignation which was equivalent to any amount of practical benevolence, and a smile which so plainly said, "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may," that it was a wonder everybody didn't begin to be uproariausly merry there and then, especially as the Misses Twioo were both blushing, gushing creatures, with an innocent giggle, and a way of looking out of their curls (which, by-the-bye, were «f " the fashionable colour") that was, in itself, a complete challenge to mankind.

Not that I found out this peculiarity at once; for though Miss HenRietta—they called her Harry and had already made quite a little sentimental capital out of that being my name too—was handing up the books while I placed them in a little battered, top-heavy book-case, I took no notice of her furtive glances till her sister, Miss Paulina, popped her head into tho room and said, "Oh! I never, Harry, whatever will Ma say?" upon which my companion began to giggle, and flush, and hang her head. I was a little startled, I confess, and felt guilty without knowing exactly why, for it was quite a new experience for me.

When I got down off the chair Miss Henrietta caught me by the hand, and said, "Don't be angry; Bhe won't say a word, you won't say anything will you, tharo's a dear i" and immediately covered her face with her hands and ran out of the room. .

This was nothing to what occurred at tea time, when we all sat at a round table, and Mrs. Twioo quoted some lines from CowrER about the hissing urn, probably referring to an old, battered, electro-plated tea pot, which gr.icod the board. Paulina stifled a giggle to put up her finger at me in a warning manner, and Henrietta hung her head wtih an appealing look. Then P. formed the word "naughty" with her lips, and H. pinched her sister under tho table, while I felt the pressure of her little foot on my boot at the same time. Meanwhile the Mamma looked on with a smile of sweet tolerance as who should say, "amidst our trials how fresh is the ingenuousness of youth."

Not to dwell upon the peculiarities of the Twioo family, I soon discovered tint I was in rather dangerous quarters, although I shrank from coming to a conclusion which involved, perhaps, that I was only a conceited puppy. V'henever I was alone in the spare sitting room I found that Hbnrietta w inted something which had been left there accidentally, and whenever s'.o came she was so long looking for it that Paulina would come after her,

and seeing us alone together would apologise, and leave the apartment in a marked manner. Twice when a letter came from Annie—for we still corresponded—the younger sister was absent from the breakfast table, and I had to meet glances so pensively reproachful that I made haste to get out, and spent the rest of the day at my old chambers, which I still rented.

At length I could stand it no longer, and thankful that, in the first instance, I had written to Mrs. Twioo from a club, of which I was a member, and had never told her my address in town, I enclosed a quarter's rent in a letter, stating that I was suddenly called to a distant part of England, and fled.

CHAPTER III.

I Had had enough to-disquiet me, goodness knows: for a month before I had heard from my cousin K Ate, who said that she and her sisters had been to a naval ball, where they had met with an officer, not in uniform, but she believed a lieutenant, who had paid Aknib marked attention. This was confirmed afterwards by a letter from Annie herself, who told me that their new acquaintance had already been invited to dinner, and had hinted at preferring his suit, without receiving any discouragement from my uncle.

His name was Leproy, and though Bhe hated him, and even disliked a sort of roughness in his manners, which Bhe said he was always endeavouring to conceal under a pretended politeness, he had already written to her, making her the offer of his hand; and had at the same time appointed a day formally to speak on the subject to her father. Another letter informed me that he had failed to keep this appointment, sending instead a hurried note to say that he was suddenly called away to the Admiralty, where he hoped to hear of his promotion, but promising to be back again in a week. The following day a messenger left a handsome bracelet as a present from him to An Nib. I made all sorts of enquiries at the Admiralty and elsewhere, but could hear of no officer bearing the name of LsfROY. A week or more passed and Katb) wrote to say that the gentleman himself had not returned, but that they were all going to Devonshire for the winter, and a message had been left for him with the servants.

I began to suspect mischief, and made up my mind that I would go to Devonshire too.

Not only for the purpose of being near Annie, but that I might escape from Hes-uietta Twioo.

For I became aware of the awful fact that she was addressing me through the second column of the u Times" newspaper, where I had been in the habit of reading those wonderful sham advertisements, which ex-detective officers are in the habit of inserting, as decoys to lead people into the belief that anything they aro anxious to know may be found out by an application to some "Private Enquiry Office," where confidential agents, with a good eye for a keyhole, are always on hand. •

First I saw J]VER THE SAME.

which I never supposed referred to me. J^E MEME pour TOUJOURS.

was scarcely more explicit.

But when I saw
JJARRY IS ILL; where oh where can the ROVER be!—P. $.

I trembled.
Then came

IDo not doubt you. If you are still unchanged, why not come,—not trust to chance? You kaow my disposition.—Harry. Hayswater.

And at last this tremendous announcement—

TTARRY. I have seen you at last, and was at your very door last night. Oh, ^-■t cruel! Ianian always to betray! Meet me once more; but let us meet only as strangers. * have sent your letters addressed to Ma. Pollickt Perkins, of Paddington Green. There we may say adieu! and in other climes you may forget.

I nevor wrote a letter to her in my life, and even her mother had nothing to show but a Pickwickian correspondence ; but I fled again.

CHAPTER IV.

It was in wild weather, and only a few days before Christmas, that I get down to the village where my relations had taken a house for the winter. Wild weather, and not far from a wild part of the country—but that was of little importance since I found a qniet inn, where I took a lodging.

I passed the time between sleeping and taking long solitary walks, by which I became acquainted with the whole topography of the place, anil believed myself to be a tolerable guide, even amidst the intricacies of heath and stream, and granite tor, and now bare skeleton woodland, of Dartmoor itself, where I ventured sometimes by moonlight to watch the glinting of the water, or to brace myself in the cool pure air.

It was on Christmas Eve that a strange fancy came over me to go for a long tramp to a spot which I remembered having visited three days before. A wild, bare space, whence a wonderful view could be obtained, if the night were but fine enough.

I knew the road so well, that I was far upon the moor before I thought of the weather.

When I looked up, I felt a cool, shivering breeze, and a few flakes of snow 'began to fall. Had I been wise I should have turned back instantly; bat I fancied I knew my way, and kept on to a turn in the path. Then the wind fell, the snow came down in small, icy particles, that drifted under the peak of my cap and nearly blinded me; and the great bank of cloud blotted oat all light except that from the black, steely sky far beyond.

I tried to turn, but it was too late. The snow drifted in a thickening wreath that blotted out tho path, and I had to feel for it with my feet, sometimes losing it altogether, and having to stoop and clear my face and beard from tho white flakes, or to turn round to take a nip of brandy from my flask. At length I forgot from what direction I had last runted, Med in vain to find a landmark amidst the vast white waste, and knew that I was lost on the moor.

I kept walking, however, as my only chance, and had quite lost count of time, oxcept that I was nearly dead boat, when I heard a low plaintive cry on ray right hand, and stopped to listen, thinking it might be a sheep.

It was repeated. A child's voice crying bitterly, but, as far as I could make out, a little below me. I moved cautiously towards the spot and called, when the same voice said shrilly,

"Please I'm lost—oh, please I'm to go home to Mammy Drew," quite under my feet.

I was on the edge of a declivity, and crawled down a slope, where I saw a child standing on a bank of snow. What was to be dono? The poor little creature had lost her hooded cloak, and the tiny footsteps were blotted out long ago. She had been on an errand to a cottage, and stayed too long, and so missed a path across a corner of the moor. It was impossible that sho could walk through the deepening snow. I took hor in my arms and tried to carry her. I was dreadfully afraid when I felt how cold the poor little limbs had become, and, after pouring a little brandy between her lips, took otf my coat that I might wrap her in it.

I suppose sho went to sleep, but as I staggered onward, hoping to strike the path, she felt so heavy that I feared she might be dead. At length I came against a bank, and crouched down in a hollow to rest. Sleep was coming upon me fast, but I fought against it, conquered it, and leaped to my feet, to find that the snow had abated, and to see a small glimmering light at a short distance, in what seemed to be a low hut.

With the unconscious child still in my arms, I dragged myself towards it, and saw that it shone from an open hole in a shepherd's shanty, the door of which was opened in answer to ray kicks by a wrinkled old woman, who stood looking at me by the blaze of the fire.

"Go away," she said, "you can't stay here."

"I must, I said; "and, if you come to that, I will. I'voa dead child here, and I will have shelter and warmth."

"That's all you'll get, then, for we're mortal poor."

"Who is that on the bed?" I asked, for I could see on a sort of rough wooden settle a human figure enveloped in coarse bedclothes.

II Hush! a sick man—a dying man. If you atay hero you must be quiet." I set down my burden Bear the fire, and, sleepy as I was, tried to chafe

her poor little hands and feet to life. The old woman brought mo a pioce of coarse bread and a cracked pipkin full of water, but I had some broad and cheese, and after I had drained my flask into a little water, I moistened the child's lips—then she drank, and at last ojiened her great blue eyes, and, feeling that she had a supporting arm round her, crept closer to my breast, and fell off to sleep.

I laid her down, wrapped in ray coats and waistcoat, and then sitting upon the floor and leaning against the rude chimney, became oblivious of everything.

It was a bright cold morning when I awoke with a shiver. The child was lying gazing at me from a heap of bedclothes which had been substituted for I my coats and waistcoat. I was half naked, and the old wt min had disappeared.

The sick man also—for tho bed was empty, but bosido it lay some coarse clothes of a peculiar mixed colour, and with a stripe running through them, as though they had all been made of one piece—jacket and trousers. Thore was nothing for it but to put them on. My own were gone even to my boots, and I had to bo contented with a pair of heavy shoes. The child ato somo of the bread which still remained, and, taking her by the hand, I went out to get back as best I could to the inn, my little companion running eagerly on.

I know the village to which she belonged, and when we got near it I left her to go on my own way, but before I had walked a dozen yards two men jumped over a low wall and confronted me.

"Tain't o' no use—you may as welljgivo in," said one of them; "we've been arter you all along, and knows whore you was a hidin' last night. Come along."

I asked them indignantly what they meant, but one of them in reply coolly took a pistol from his pocket, while the other throttled me till they had a pair of handcuffs on my wrists. Then they led mo into the village, where a crowd had gathered—for it was Christmas morning, and the bell was ringing for church.

"Hallo! they'n got 'un!" said one of the lookers-on; and then came a chorus, " Lookee hocar, they'n got 'un—they got the 'scaped cpnvic'."

The tcrrrblo truth flashed upon me. The man in tho cottage had taken my clothes and left me his convict dress.

But before wo coulfl get through the mob there was a great commotion at the other end of tho street, and a tall, well-dressed gentleman pushed through tho throng. I knew him from having seen hiin in court. He was a Mu. Fyfar, and a solicitor with no end of practice. "Stop," he said, " there's something wrong here; lot me see the prisoner." Ho held the hand of tho little girl from whom I had'just parted. "Is this the gentleman who found you, darling '<" he said.

"Yos," said my little friend, "oh, take him away from those naughty men."

"May I ask your name," said the stranger. "Mine is Fyfak, and this child is mine. I am a widower and put her here to nurse."

Before I could tell him, an open carriage drove up with two ladies in it, and my uncle jumped down from the driver's seat.

II What'B all this about, Fyfar?" said he. "I thought you were coiniug back last night after you had seen Missy."

A constable Jtouchcd Mr. Fyfar on tho shoulder. "Please, sir, I think there's been a bit of a error here. This ain't the party as we wonts,'cos hero's his futtograftV' and he held out a photographic picture.

"Good heavens," said my uncle, starting back in alarm, "why that's— that's Lieutenant Lefroy."

"Yes, an' a good many aloyasscs too, I guoss," anid tho officer, winking, "two forgories, bigamy, and two escapes is pretty tidy, I reckon."

Need I say that I went back to tho inn to change my clothes; that I dined at my unclo's, and sat next Annie all day. l'vo all Mr. Fyfar's briefs now, and we don't live in chambers.

Thomas Archer.

Thomas ,

TJS PAS QUI COUTE.

KOPLE

[graphic]

tell me l'vo a
talent—I per-
ceive it pretty
clearly,
In pursuing an
ambition, or in
climbing up a
tree—
For nover quite at-
taining, but
attaining very
nearly,
To mv aspiration's
altitude, what-
ever it may
be.

'Tis a faculty that
haunts me
with an obsti-
nate persist-
ence;
For I felt it in
my boyhood
nnd I feel it
in my primo.
All the efforts and
endeavours I
have made in
my exiBtenco
Have invariably
ended "but a
step from the
sublime!"

Long ago I made
a tender of my
juvenile affec-
tion

In a lovely little
sonnet to tho
fairest of the
fair.

(I was nothing but a youngster, but I've still a recollection
Of her features and her figure and the"way sho did her hair.)

She was married shortly aftor to a person in the City—
I considered him uncommonly obtrusive at tho time—

So I quitted my enslaver with a lofty look of pity,
For I felt my situation " but a step from the sublime."

On discovering that Cupid was a littlo gay deceiver,

I forgot my disappointment in a scramble after Fame;
For I caught the rage of writing as a child may catch a fover,

And I took to making verses as a way to make a name.
When I published a collection of my efforts as a writer—■

With a minimum of reason, but a maximum of rhyme— I am proud to say that nobodv could well have been politer

Thun the critics, for they called it "but a step from thosublime."

After this I was ambitious to extend my reputation,

And resolved to plan a novel on a highly novel plan;
I would make it independent both of sin and of "sensation,"

And would represent my villain as a moral sort ef man.
For your Bulwers, and your Buauduns, and your Collinses may grovel

In an atmosphere of horror and a wilderness of crime; 'Twas for me to contradict them, and 1 did it in a novel

Wliieh was commonly considered "but a step from the aublime."

I have mused on Motaphvsies, I have mounted on the pinions

Both of Music and of Pointing, and I fancy that I know
Ev'ry nook and ev'ry corner in Apollo's whole dominions,

From the top of Mount Parnassus down to Paternoster-row.
I have had my little failures, 1 have had my great succesi
And Parnassus, I assure you, is a tidy hill to climb-

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