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The whole thing distracts and worries me to death,' continued the old man, after a lengthened pause. Peters's demands for money are incessant, and he is always coming to me with some fresh story of a threat against Henry, which threat he avers will be followed by a discovery of the forgery, if the utterer of the menace be not silenced by gold.'

And you have actually paid him money! actually (on his own showing) believed that your son's character and safety were in his hands.

Of course I have,' said the old man, fractiously; "I could run no risks. I could not have my name dragged through the mire by a reprobate who has disgraced me. And I had no friend, no one that I could trust was near me; and the man made me nervous, I was glad to get rid of him at any

price.

· But now you have a friend,' said Brandreth, kindly; now you have confided your

annoyances to one who is most willing to be of any service in his power, surely you will no longer listen to the demands of this unscrupulous adventurer. Surely you will allow me to endeavour to clear up this painful mystery, and restore your son to

“I believe he is dead,' said the old man, in an awe-stricken whisper.

Good God! And what is your reason for that belief?

'I dreamt it. Not once, or twice, but several times. I dreamt that he came from the world of spirits and told me that his mother hated me in heaven, because I had not loved her sons on earth. But what could I do? I just ask you what I could do, with my health and nerves, and all the bother I had to go through ?'

And what is this man's last account of him?' asked Arthur, evading the question put to him.

• He thinks he is in Australia, and I have provided Peters with the means of search

ing for him there. It is too hard upon me, in my old age, to be pestered in this way. I don't recover the visits of that detestable fellow for a month. And to-day, just look at me; I only ask you to look at me, why my tongue is like a nutmeg-grater ; I give you my honour it is, and my hand shakes so, that this morning I could not hold my toothbrush,'

The latter portion of the old man's symptoms Brandreth (who did look at him) could well believe. He was not a nicelooking ancient gentleman, was Considine of Considine, with his unkempt grey hair, greasy coat collar, and neglected finger nails. But he was (in spite of his riches) alone in the world,-alone, as every selfish being lives; alone, as every selfish man must die. And so Arthur Brandreth stayed by him and felt for him.

Meanwhile, Peters with his strange companion had sailed for the Antipodes. They were gone, and the coward miser breathed

again. Then Arthur left him, for other duties called him to the Continent; and Considine, at ease, with his newspaper and his playing cards, had ceased to interest him. We will leave them now—the young man to his labour of love, and the old to his care of the self, from which he is so soon to part; but we shall find them both again before the work allotted to each is over.

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· Ah! little think the gay, licentious crowd,
Whom pleasure, power, and affluence surround;

Ah! little think they, as they dance along,
How many feel, this very moment, death
And all the sad variety of pain.'—THOMSON.

THERE was a very heavy shower falling, one cold February afternoon, in the Central District of London. It had commenced at one of those critical hours (pronounced to be such by weather-watchers) which decide the question of whether the remainder of the day is to be fine or otherwise; and already there appeared upon the faces of pedestrians that tinge of despondency which is caused by the conviction that rain has set in.? In cities no one is in reality grateful for even the shortest shower. Men may say that

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