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indeed? I am poor, enough,

but I spent a shilling to obtain the information at Somerset House; and I have never told a creature but yourself-never; and I never will, because I liked the girl. And she came to see me when she was in London after her marriage; and she said, in her pretty way, "Dear Miss Banks, I am so happy myself, I feel as if I wanted to make everybody else happy; but I cannot do much for any one. Here is a little purse I bought in Paris; will you keep it for my sake? And do not be angry, please, at the trifle I have put in it, just to bring good fortune. wish it were ten times as much." We walked together through Kensington Gardens after that, and

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As round and bright as the orb of night,

With a face in the midst (now don't take fright
At a figure of speech that's somewhat stretched;
For it must be allowed that it is far-fetched

To liken the moon, upon any pretence,

To a piece of silver worth thirty pence,

And to borrow her eyes, nose, and mouth, and compare 'em To those of Regina Britanniarum !),

But bright, I say, as a coin could be

Was I in eighteen-sixty-three,

When, on or about December one, I,

Brand-new from the Mint, became current money.

My comeliness, I suppose, was the reason

Why it fell to my lot, at the 'festive season,'

To be given away as a Christmas-box,

To a youth about three feet high in his socks,
Whose friends and relations induced him to drop
Me into a box through a slit in the top.
And exceedingly well I remember the smell
Of that box-it was cedar-but could not tell
Why incarceration should be my luck,
Like a heedless fly in a glue-pot stuck.

"Twas the month of May when the love of pelf
Led a man so far to forget himself,

That, while mending a window by putting new glass in, he,

The money-box spying, was tempted to larceny.

So he soon shook me out, and, that nothing improper

Might seem to have happened, he put in a copper.

Now the maid at a tavern, not liking the look of him,
Unduly suspected the money she took of him;

And sharply she 'rang' me,-that maiden named Lizzy,—
Then, while I yet tingled and felt very dizzy,

My rim had a wrench and my feelings a jar

From a row of brass teeth at the edge of the 'bar.' 'Twas to test me, if base; but that wasn't my case; So I passed to the till, with a scratch on my face.

That night, when they shut up the house ('The Three Horses'), It was later, five minutes or so, than the law says.

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Said the constable, Come now, you know very well
This won't do!'
So they bribed him with me not to tell;
But justice prevails, though policemen may mock it,
And he lost me through having a hole in his pocket.
Ere daybreak a wagon-wheel over me rolled,
Which spoilt my appearance, and made me look old.
Yet as pleased was a milkman at picking me up
As a youngster who gathers a fresh buttercup;

And he paid me away, at a shop in Cheapside,
For a tie to adorn the fair neck of his bride.
A well-to-do lawyer, as round as a puncheon,
Next had me, and spent me at noon for his luncheon.
The same day I passed through the hands, in succession,
Of an ornament of the stockbroking profession;
Then a beadle, rewarded for civil behaviour;
Then a captain, who lived in a square in Belgravia,
And who handed me over, as if just to spite me,

To an ill-mannered cabman, who thought fit to bite me;
Then a tradesman familiarly known as 'my uncle'
(Such odd names some people each other in fun call !),—
In short, after five months' seclusion and quiet, I
At last moved about in all kinds of society.
But space is not mine to lay fully before you
My every adventure; besides, it might bore you
To tell of the hundreds of ways I was spent,
Earned, borrowed, and lent, and the journeys I went ;
So suppose I pass on to the crowning'sensation'
That ended a humble half-crown's circulation.

It was one Christmas-eve, and good people were thinking
Of the very enjoyable eating and drinking

That the keeping of Christmas is always allied to;
And many who didn't feel jovial, tried to;

And bright looked the holly and ivy and mistletoe,

Though the weather was murky, and rain 'gan to drizzle too,
As the man who possessed me pursued his way west,
But whose errand I couldn't have possibly guessed,
Till he turned and went in at a certain Stage-door,'
With the air of a person who'd been there before.
I felt, for a minute, bewildered and faint
At the odour of stuffiness, gas, and new paint;
But I came to myself, and was quickly aware
Of a good deal of dust, and a good deal of glare,
And a swarm of 'professionals' (most of them shes),
All buzzing about like the busiest of bees;

And playing all manner of wonderful pranks

In a monstrous contrivance of ropes, bars, and planks.
'Twas the Grand Transformation' that wound up part first
Of the new Christmas Pantomime, being rehearsed!
And my owner's intentions I understood better as
Forthwith he took off his coat, vest, and et cæteras;
And, in rather less time than this takes to write down,
Appeared in the striking full-dress of a Clown
(That well-known apparel, so smart and elastic,
Just the thing for gymnastics and capers fantastic).
Then the man at the drum gave a very great thump;
And Clown, with a jump and a somersault plump,
Came down in the Here we're again !' sort of attitude;
And the harlequinade, if you'd only been at it, you'd,
I'm sure, have confessed was a long way the best
You had seen; it went on with such uncommon zest.

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But, amidst all the fun, out there suddenly burst
An effect' that had certainly not been rehearsed.
I detected an ominous crackling on high,

And there flashed from the regions of calico sky
A glowing red spar of hot timber, down straight,
Scatt'ring sparks, upon Pantaloon's elderly pate!
At this fiery salute, the theatrical throng,
Concluding that something or other was wrong,
Looked up, and before they could utter the name
Of Jack Robinson,' five or six long tongues of flame
Came and licked up the make-believe heavens, and fire
Began to peep out through the flooring, and dire

Was the terror that seized them, and loud were their squeals,
And their frantic appeals, as they took to their heels,
And struggled and fought, and upset one another,

And quite lost their heads in the smoke and the smother!
'Midst the hullabaloo and confusion, my Clown

Clutched his garments at random,-in fact, upside down!
From the pocket he'd left me in swiftly I dropped;
And, down a stair clattering, bounded and hopped
On the stage (for the first time and last), and across it, I,
Infected with panic, careered with velocity,
Outstripping the pace of a bicycle race,

Till I felt myself getting quite red in the face,
From the glare of the furnace disclosed by a gap
Midway in the stage that I took for the 'trap,'

To whose brink I had rolled; then, for one little moment
(Convinced that the aspect of matters below meant,
For me, nothing less than immediate cremation),

I reeled, in a tremor of anticipation;

And then-well, it really is more than I can

Tell where terror left off and destruction began.

The reader's quick sympathies (doubtless he has 'em)

Will follow me into that blazing red chasm.

O, the heat, and the killing sensation of grilling;

All my features got mixed, and away went my 'milling.'
But as to how long a half-crown can in fire lie
Enveloped before it is 'done for' entirely,

I never made out to my own satisfaction,

For I frizzled and swooned, and before liquefaction.
Came on, I was lost in complete stupefaction.
And, to this very day, my impressions are hazy
As to how many hours or how many days I
(That is, my remains) took to cool and to settle
Down into a compound of ashes and metal,-
Mere dross and débris, which, could you but see,
You'd never guess what I could possibly be;
And, indeed, it is often a puzzle to me,

So mixed up with all sorts of wreck, and so mangled
That my thread of identity's somewhat entangled.
But, be that as it may, I'm in no mood for grumbling,
For I'm not in a plight more unlooked for and humbling
Than the ashes of Cæsar-so mighty, alive-
Used for stopping a hole up: see Hamlet, act five.

c. c.

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