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went the whole way at the rate of twelve miles an hour. We caught a very striking view of the newly opened railroad soon after quitting Coventry passing along over immensely high arches, constructed with an eye equally to taste and strength. The sides of it were lined with people awaiting the arrival of the trains. We caught,.as we went on, occasional glimpses of the railroad as well in its incomplete as its finished state. About ten miles beyond the latter portion of it we passed about thirty or forty horses waiting ready to be harnessed to the omnibusses which were to convey the passengers from the end of the finished part to the Denbigh-Hall end; and, as might have been expected, a little bitter slang passed between our guard and coachman and the "steam people." I rode outside for a considerable portion of the way, and very pleasant it was. I had a good deal of conversation with the guard about railroads -to which he was very strongly opposed.

"You take my word for it, sir," said he, in a sad and knowing way "them railroads will be the ruin of Old England! See how they're cutting up the country in all directions! If I was a gentleman and had land, I'm blessed if I'd let 'em cut it to pieces as they do! What's to become of the horses? We can't do without them, any more than we can without ships-and it's a cursed shame to destroy the brood of horses. I only wish I was a Member o' Parliamint ! Don't I! Wouldn't I speak my mind out!"

"Why, I should have thought the horses would have rather liked to be rid of so much hard and heavy work."

"Oh, not at all, not at all, quite different, sir; you can't know much of horses, sir; if you did, you'd know they love hard work when they're well fed and cleaned down-see how comfortable these tits of ours will look when they're rested a bit, and getting their bellies full, Lord love 'em! And then, again, look at all the people along the road that it will ruin, and quite chase out of the world -what's to become of them all? These things isn't thought of as they ought to be!"

And will it affect you?" "Oh, send all us to the d-l, in

course! But they say we chaps-that's us guards-is to be taken in, and go on as before with the trains"

"Yes-and have you heard of the extraordinary way in which you're to be dressed up?" I enquired, affecting to look very wise.

"Dressed up, sir!" he replied, with a curious air.

"Dressed? why yes; there's an act of Parliament just passed by Mr Hume, saying that the guards of the mail are to wear helmets."

"Wear helmets!!" he echoedhalf incredulous, half apprehensive. "Yes-wear helmets, to be sure, of bright brass, too"

"Lord a' mercy! It can't be, nohow! D-d if I'll stand it; I'd rather go to sea, and I will too! Why, I never heard o' such a thing! What can be the use of it! What, is it helmets like them great guardsmen wears, with horse-hair?"

"Oh, no; nothing half so fine, I can assure you; they're all bright brass, and very large ones, too; by the way, I'm afraid they'll make your head ache.”

"Ay, but that an't the worst; every one will laugh and point at me as I go along the road. But what's the use o' telling me all this? You're only a joking."

"Well, you'll soon see that; wait for a day or two, and you will hear more about it!"

"Well," he exclaimed, with a puzzled and alarmed air, "them chaps in Parliament has done some rum things lately, any how; but I'm blessed if this don't beat 'em all hollow! Lorda-mercy, put us guards in helmets! Why won't hats do?"

At that moment we came in sight of a very gay and animated scene-the extremity of the London end of the newly-opened railroad. There were several thousands of persons collected, having come from all parts and great distances-all in holiday costumeflags flying, tents and awnings erected

in short, a perfect fair going on. The guard gazed at it all with a very sour look; as did the coachman, who turned round and said, "Thomas, what fools some people is to go out and kick up all this here rumpus, because o' this here railroad-ha, ha!" he concluded, with a faint and bitter laugh.


Why, you see," replied the guard,

"it an't to be wondered at neither; a steam-carriage is a rare thing on the road just now".

"About as rare as a mail-coach or stage-coach will be in a few months!" I interposed.

"Yes yes, I suppose it's too true!" exclaimed the guard, with a sigh of vexation, and did not seem disposed to carry on the conversation. At the next place, where we changed horses, I saw him talking very earnestly, at the bar of the public-house, with the landlord; and from the looks they both gave me, from time to time, I am satisfied that the guard was talking over the affair of the helmet!! What put such an absurd joke into my head I know not; and when at length, before getting inside again, I undeceived him, he seemed really relieved, -but told me he know'd of a brother guard whom " he'd frighten prettily about it the next time he saw him; for it was a capital joke!”

After eating a hearty dinner at Stony- Stratford we turned inside, and rumbled off once more. We all of us fell asleep, being sufficiently tired with our long day's journey; and when I woke it was at half-past eleven at the Angel at Islington, where were the usual crowd and hubbub to be seen when a coach comes or goes. In a twinkling, however, I got into a cab with my portmanteau, and in less than a quarter of an hour was at home, where I found all well-my wife, however, too pleased with my arrival to do justice to the snug supper that presently made its appearance. I had a peep at my children, at her sugges

tion, before going to bed. There they were, dear little souls ;-but why should I begin to twaddle at the end of my letter?

Thus, dearest Christopher, have you some of the results of my first professional expedition; and if it shall have pleased you, and your readers, I shall be indeed repaid for the trouble I have taken in thus recording the incidents and impressions of a "First Circuit." It is the last sketch of the kind that I shall give you; but why do not you prevail upon some of my brethren, both in my own circuit and the five others, to do as I have done? I know there are many, very very many, who could easily far exceed in interest and power the sketches here given; who have treasured up many a striking scene-why do they not thus worthily use their leisure? Let me call upon them, dear, good old Christopher, even in your name, to come forward with the choice fruits of observation and experience:-Up, arouse ye, my merry men of the Northern, Midland, Oxford, Norfolk, Western and Home Circuits, Christopher will receive you-Maga will rejoice in your contributions; and that will be the best service she has ever been rendered by, dear and venerable sir, your humble and zealous friend, and old contributor,

X. Y. Z.

Given from my Chambers, on the 8th floor of No. 37, Fig Tree Court, in Lincoln's Inn, Westminster, on the 10th day of this present June, 1838.


ROME was not built in a day; neither was the town of Monxom always so large and populous as at present. Forty or fifty years ago, indeed, it was little more than a village. A post twice a-week kept it in some sort of connexion with the world, but when by any accident, such as a break down of the mail-cart-for Macadam was at that time in the future tense, or the hopeless drunkenness of Tim Swigs, the postman-for the Temperance Society was then unknown; when by any accident of this kind the regular communication was interrupted, it was always remarked that more news were stirring in Monxom than when all the newspapers-and there were three taken in by various inhabitants and all the private letters had arrived. All men, especially in country towns, seem born penny-a-liners. Prodigious accidents are produced on the spur of the moment by the most prosaic-looking of mortals; fires are described with a glow of enthusiasm, and their destructive ravages among hay-ricks, barns, and princely residences, attended with great loss of life, are painted in the most appalling colours, by people who have no credit among their friends for any sort of talent, but whose imagination is in fact as majestic as that of Milton. But imagination is the most capricious of all the faculties. Sometimes it is all compact, and ready for action at the slightest hint; at other times dead and inert as an exploded cracker. But this we think will be universally remarked, that it seems to grow and expand itself in exact proportion to the listener's power of belief. A fire, in any account of it, given to a person of a sceptical turn of mind, is as quiet and well-behaved as possible, and contents itself with destroying the roof of a pig-stye; but told to some blockhead with a mouth the size of a churchdoor, and a capacity for swallowing wonders, how it swells and dilates itself! how it spreads its horrific terrors over half a county! immolates the hapless inhabitants of whole streets, and at last dies away only for Jack of something more to destroy! It was, perhaps, from the vast ability displayed by the population of Monxom, in firmly believing whatever was

told them, that so many marvels took their rise in it there were ghosts in it without number; one or two elopements whispered every week, and more deaths every morning reported than if the College of Physicians had sat in the Town-Hall.

The principal repertory of newsthe man from whom Rumour received her heaviest burdens-was a gentleman of the name of Huggings. We lay particular emphasis on the last syllable, as he himself, when announcing name and titles to a stranger, used to give his card, and add, in a very distinct voice," Huggings, sir; you observe the 'g'?"

Some few years before the inci dents we are about to relate, he had settled in the best house of the principal street of Monxom. Bright red bricks, picked out with lines of white, gave evidence of his taste, and a little red-faced boy, smelling strongly of the stable as he opened the green street door, left no doubt of his respectability, for in fact he kept a gig. Some mystery hung over his previous life; it was not even known from what neighbourhood he had come, but nobody could doubt that whatever it might be that induced him to keep silence over the past, it was nothing that affected his honour for Huggings was almost chivalrous in his notions. His politeness to the fair sex was unbounded; and there were not a few of the gentle spinsters of Monxom, of an age when the illusions of youth are past, who wondered that a person with such an unbounded power of paying compliments stopped short at such unsatisfactory manifestations of his admiration. But Huggings was manifestly a bachelor of the most adamantine heart; and people, at last, became persuaded that a bosom that had been indurated by fifty-seven winters was impervious to the most piercing of Cupid's glances. With all the inhabitants of Monxom Huggings was on the friendliest terms. If there was any exception to this sweeping assertion of his universal friendship, it was, perhaps, to be found in the person of a certain Mr Pike, who considered himself deeply injured by the tittle-tattle propensities of Mr Huggings, and, in fact, was persuaded

that the reports set afloat concerning him owed their origin to the invention of that very loquacious gentleman, and were the cause of his failure in obtaining the coronership of the county. This incident had occurred a year or two previous to this time; and a secret grudge had existed ever since between the two personages, which only required a little provoca tion to break into open war. In any war of words, Huggings would have had infinitely the advantage. He had a fine sonorous voice-great power of wind-a tall, though somewhat feeble figure and a power of eloquence peculiar to himself-an attachment to polysyllables, without much regard to their usual signification, seemed the chief characteristic of his style ;-but, perhaps, the large brick house we have mentioned, the little boy, and the horse and gig, had something to do with the uniform triumph of his declamatory efforts; for there is no denying that wealth is as powerful an ingredient in conversational success "action-action-action," in the eloquence of the ancient orator.


It was impossible to go down Swallow Street, which in those days was the Bond Street of Monxom, any day of the summer or winter, between the hours of one and three, without seeing a tall old gentleman, but still retaining the jauntiness of youth, swinging his cane with an air of great authority, and stopping every person he met to have a minute or two's chat. With one he would be grave and serious, relating some dreadful accident or whispering some terrible suspicion; with another gay and familiar, punching him on the breast with his long forefinger, or clapping him on the shoulder with his open hand, telling, you may be sure, some amusing anecdote, or giving the launch to a laughable piece of scandal; and then resuming his walk to go through the same formalities with the next person he encountered. A wild light-grey restless eye, very flexible eyebrows, a long thin nose, and very prominent chin, formed the principal features of a countenance not unpleasing in its general expression; while a very flashy style of dress, and a magnificent way of walking, were sure to attract the notice of the most superficial observer. This was Mr Huggings.

"Ha, Doctor!" he exclaimed one

day to a serious busy-looking little man, who did not seem inclined to long tarrying, "have you heard of Joe Brown's accident ?"

"No," said the Doctor, "but""That's strange poor Joe fell over the Cliff into the dry ditch, twoand-twenty feet particular descent, and if he had not had the volubility of a bird he must have been dashed to pieces-wonderful escape, wasn't it?"

"Not true," said the little Doctor, who did not indulge in long speeches; "I saw him this morning. But excuse me at this moment, I am pushed for time."

"Ha! to see Widow Gowland— that's a wise sensible sort of fellow. Now, I've known practitioners of the sanguinary art step into the shoes of the departed husband when the interesting widow was lamenting her loss over the tombstone of the deceasedone of the patients on a monument, as Shakspeare says, smiling at griefeh, Doctor?" A nudge accompanied this last observation, which, however, seemed to have no effect on the Esculapius.

"Shakspeare-ah! that reminds me"-he said, and was hurrying off, when the persevering Huggings, apparently struck with his manner, detained him.

"Doctor, I see there's something in the wind. Out with it, for I am dissolved to find it out. What about Shakspeare?"

"Oh, nothing, nothing," said the Doctor, "only some patients I have".

"Of that name? Who are they? Where do they live?"

"An accident-a wound-an incident," stammered the Doctor; "they are at the White Lion. I must see my other patients-but no-by-the-by, it is necessary for you to know the whole story. You may be able to help me to develope the whole mystery."

"With all my heart. How odd it is that I haven't heard of it before! Well?"

Dr Wilkins put his arm into that of Huggings, and slowly pursued his

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terrupt the festivities till a scream was heard from one of the alleys, just before the fireworks began. Hobbs, the landlord, on hurrying to the spot, found a young lady, dressed as an Indian sultana, fainting on the grass with a wound recently inflicted. He had her conveyed into the house, where, indeed, she had arrived that very day, attended by a maid-servant, and sent off immediately for me. On examination I found a considerable contusion on the lower part of the thorax, but the skin not perforated. The alarm and agitation kept the patient silent, and she would give no account of the particulars."

"So the impetrator of this infamous attempt is not discovered?" enquired Huggings. "No."

"Nor even suspected?" continued the querist.

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"No but, by-the-by, do you know any person of the same name with yourself?"

"Here? No; why do you ask? There may, indeed, be people of the name of Huggins; but with a 'g' not one. Of that I am sure."

"Well," said the Doctor, "I only enquired; for it struck me at the time as a curious coincidence that the exclamation of the young lady, on being brought a little to herself, was Huggings."

Not with the 'g'?" exclaimed the astonished auditor.

"So it was pronounced to me by the maid. I observed it particularly, for it isn't the common mode of spelling."

"Nobody heard it but the maid ?" "No one.'

"Then, for Heaven's sake, as you value my honour and respectability, let it go no further. Keep it from

every living soul. character for ever."

It might ruin my


Dr Wilkins looked at the agitated countenance of his companion with some surprise. Certainly, if you wish it kept secret, I will say nothing about it; but at the same time don't you think it a somewhat strange thing that your name should "

"Not my name," interrupted Huggings, "some one else's name; but who is she?"

"A beautiful young creature — splendid black eyes, and a voice fit for a tragedy queen.'

"Confound her voice, I wish she had made a better use of it! And she and a maid-servant arrived yesterday at the White Lion-went to the masquerade in the evening, and there she was stabbed?"

"Not stabbed; there was no perforation of the external cutis ; a slight abrasion only, and a contusion of some magnitude.

"And who did it?"

"A figure was observed gliding out of the alley where the assault was made, but no one recognised him."

"And his dress?"

"I don't know-a simple domino, I believe; but excuse me now, I must go my rounds, and you have already detained me too long."

"Not a word of the girl's exclamation," again said Huggings, solemnly, as he parted from his friend and watched him down the street. "If such a rumour came to the ears of that fellow Pike he would prove me to be the murderer, to a certainty. found all masquerades, and dominoes, and tragedy queens! That infernal Shakspeare is the root of all evil. What could be the meaning of her mentioning my name?”


An attempted murder was an affair of too much consequence to be prevented from being the general topic of conversation in the town of Monxom. All the reserve of the mysterious Dr Wilkins was of no avail. In the course of a few hours every thing was known, except, indeed, the exclamation of Huggings's name, which he kept a profound secret; determining, at the same time, to get to the bottom of the


business, by enquiring more particularly into the previous life of the newsloving Mr Huggings, and discover, if possible, what connexion there could be between his very unromantic appellation and the beautiful heroine of the adventure. Among those who interested themselves particularly in the business the most active was Mr Pike, the defeated candidate for the coronership of the county, in whose peculiar

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