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miserable description, mere pallets, the threadbare and ragged covering on which failed to conceal the wood and straw beneath. Two chairs in each room completed the furniture, and the boards of the floor seemed to have had no acquaintance with the scrubbing-brush for years.

The rooms occupied by the families were furnished by themselves, and boasted a few more comforts. In three were a chestof-drawers, a comfortable-looking group of chairs, some books, pictures, and a clock; and the beds were of a very superior description to those appropriated to the nightly lodgers. Of the five rooms thus occupied, two were in the possession of one family, who paid six shillings a week; and the remaining three were rented by the same number of families for the sum of three-andsixpence each. These families consisted of twenty-three individuals, eight adults, and fifteen children-thus, at the time we visited this lodging-house, there were forty-one persons huddling together, without taking into account the six females seen in the common room, who are not included, for the reason of having been reported to us, as non-residents.

It may be interesting to those who are ignorant of the high rents paid by the working classes, to show the total amount for one year as paid weekly by the lodgers, and the rent of the house by the landlord :£. s.

24 beds at 3d. per night, for one year .............. 109 10
3 at 3s. 6d.

5 rooms

{2 at 38.

}16s. 6d.-for do.


42 18

152 8

the sum received by the landlord, presuming his house to be full, (which is generally the case,) whilst his annual rent, including all, is £60! It may be supposed that we have instanced an extreme case, but we can assure the reader to the contrary; the rents mentioned are a fair average of those paid by the working classes in Westminster; and indeed, it may be observed, 4d. a night is the more common charge for a bed.

It would be extremely difficult to arrive at any just conclusion of the occupation of the nightly lodgers. They describe themselves, for the most part, as from the provinces, in search of work; and seldom remain above a week, and frequently not more than a single night. Without hazarding any opinion concerning the truth of the foregoing account of themselves, it may be safely said, that the standard of morality is very low. Indeed, it was only necessary to hear a few words of the conversation in the common room to be assured that all decency and restraint were thrown-aside, and that vice, in its worst and most degrading form, was allowed to revel free and uncontrolled.

Thus far our correspondent; and we quit this painful portion of our subject, by merely reminding our readers, that such is a specimen of scenes which take place daily and nightly within a stone's throw of the venerable Abbey, and of that assembly representing the Christianity, the honour, the benevolence, the public spirit, the influence, and the wealth of Britain; and within a quarter of a mile of Buckingham Palace!

As might naturally be expected, London abounds with lodginghouses and boarding-houses of all kinds and grades, from the low haunts of which we have just given a description, to the more stately mansions of the "West-end." We are not alluding to public houses, hotels, inns, taverns, &c., but to private houses. That much money is made by the owners of some of those houses there can be no question. For instance, in Ironmonger-lane, amongst the warehouses of that part of the "City," there are two or three houses thrown into one, forming a kind of private hotel or lodging-house, which is said to be able to make up sixty beds, and is much frequented by commercial travellers, who seek the cheap accommodation of a room in a private house, without being exposed to the too glaring accommodations of an inn. The owner of this house makes out of it a very good annual income. There are several houses of a similar description in the "City," on the Paddington Road, and other places, and a great number of a more

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"stately character and pretensions at the West-end. But the easy facility with which a person can turn to this sort of business, causes great numbers to resort to it; and we have but to glance at the perpetually standing columns of board-and-lodging advertisements in the "Times," to feel assured that there is enormous competition in this "line." Many persons come to London with a few hundred pounds in their possession, take houses, for which they pay annually from £100 to £150 (rent and taxes) and furnishing them, fancy that they will soon realise a very good income. Some do; but the great majority exclaim, that of all precarious modes of obtaining a livelihood, a genteel lodginghouse is the worst.

From the statements given in our preceding paper, some idea will be obtained of the salaries or wages of different professions and trades. We will now, in order to show how far certain amounts of wages will go in London, select one or two cases, and trace the expenditure of individuals. The salaries of many young men, who are compelled to keep up a genteel appearance, (or else they will not be able to get or keep situations,) vary from £50 to £80 per annum. But let us take the case, not of a banker's or merchant's clerk, but of a working man, a mechanic, who, we will say, earns about £80 per annum, or about £1 10s. per week. In the particular case we select, we give an actual little "history." A young man came to London, and was reduced to his last penny before he procured a situation. But at last he was installed in what was considered a good one, yielding him 30s. a week. He resolved to practise strict economy, and endeavour to save money. Accordingly, he took a bed-room in a decent private house, for which he paid 5s.; he took breakfast in a coffee-shop, for which he generally paid about 6d. daily; his evenings were also frequently spent in a similar place, costing him a similar sum; and, taking one day with another, Sundays included, he found he could not dine comfortably under the average of 1s. His living, therefore, cost him weekly 15s., his washing, Is., and his bed-room, 5s.; in all, £1. Is. With all his care, he found that he could not keep himself in clothing-including hats, shoes, linen, &c.—under £13 per annum, or say 5s. per week. Any little enjoyments were included under this head, but they were few in number, and chiefly confined to an occasional excursion. At the end of the year he was master of £14; and at that very period, he lost his situation, employment having become scarce; and before he obtained a regular situation again, his £14 had dwindled down to £1. Discouraged, but not disheartened, he set to work once more; and in another year was master of £10. Then a thought struck him. He had no HOME; his lonely bed-room presented no inducements to him to spend an evening in it; and being of a cheerful, lively temper, the perpetual attractions of London made him undergo a continual crucifixion, in resisting temptations to spend money. So he resolved to take a wife, reasoning thus with himself—"Two can live as cheap as one!"-and his wife, whose only dowry was a good person, a pleasant temper, high spirit, and industry, agreed with him in opinion.

How to spend the £10 was now matter for grave consideration. It was "unanimously" resolved, that any foolish expenditure would be highly irrational, and unworthy of two sensible folks, who cared more for one another, than all the world cared for them. They could visit no upholsterer, and give their stately orders; and they "bride's-cake"-no 66 mar. vowed not to waste even a fraction on riage tables" would be furnished forth by them. So they went to an humble house, rented by a brother of the bridegroom's "craft," and selecting two unfurnished apartments, at £13 per annum (the very price the bachelor paid for his lonely little room), they sallied forth to a haunt of furniture-brokers, determined to exert their sharpness and ingenuity in buying good articles cheap. They got a very good japanned bedstead for £1; feather-bed, £2 10s; palliasse, 16s.; a small deal table, 5s.; three rush-bottomed chairs, 7s.: sheets and blankets, about £2; which, with small sums for crockery and cooking utensils, made up about £8 10s. They were married in the morning, and the husband went to his employment for the rest of the day.

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The first six months were exceedingly happy. The couple lived far more comfortably on the same sum, or a little more, which it had cost the bachelor to live singly; and the domestic comfort he enjoyed made, he said, another man of him. The birth of a child did not detract much from this comfort; they had, of course, a "doctor" and a "nurse to pay the surgeons accoucheurs who attend the working-classes generally charge a fee of £-a few 10s. 6d-but this is very low, and does not include medicines, which sometimes the larger fee does; a nurse attending people in the same walks of life charges 5s. or 6s. per week, with board, and is generally retained about a fortnight. Still the man was truly happy; for the infant made him more attached to

his little "home."

At the end of three years, two children composed his family; the hooping-cough invaded his premises; the wife had a slight fever, induced by fatigue; and the man was once more thrown out of employment. By the end of three months they were in a deplor. able state of distress; and when returned health and employment enabled the little family once more to hold up their heads, the husband confessed that his spirit was broken; regretted he had married," For, not only," said he, "have I been the means of bringing down suffering on a wife and children whom I love, but if I had been a single man, I might have once more recovered myself, whereas bare existence, with an increasing family, is all I may look for now!”

A man in a situation which yields him about £100 per annum, or a working man earning about £2 a week, may live tolerably comfortable, if they take care to manage but if there be a family, nothing can be saved out of this, unless by peculiar contrivances or exertions. Working men, and people in situations, earning at the rate we have mentioned, generally look out for small houses, which are rather scarce, but which in Southwark, Lambeth, portions of Brompton, Chelsea, Islington, Kingsland, and other suburban districts, may be procured at from £20 to £24 rent, or. with taxes, water-rates, &c., from £24 to £28 or £29 per annum. These houses usually contain six apartments, all small, but which may be classified as a kitchen and wash-house, two parlours, and two bed-rooms. If the parties are willing to submit to some inconvenience, the parlours may be let off to a young married couple, for which from £12 to £16 may be obtained, if occupied all the year round, which is seldom the case. But if the family is numerous, it may not be convenient to let off any portion of the small house; and thus we may strike £30 off the £100 for the conveniences of shelter, water, &c. There remain £70, or about 27s. per week; and every penny of this sum will be required in London for the maintenance of a family of five or six persons, and that, too, with the practice of most rigid economy. Here, then, it is clear, no money can be saved by a family man, who earns £100 per year: for even if an addition be made to the family income when the children become youths, the additional and increasing wants of the growing individuals will absorb every sixpence of the addition.

Mechanics, who earn about £3 per week, are better off than clerks and others who receive £150 per annum. The latter are constrained, by the necessity of their position, to keep a good coat on their backs, and generally, also, to look out for a house in a more "genteel" situation; their families, moreover, cannot do as the families of mechanics may do, for even those who may despise all affectation of "gentility," must uphold some show of it; a respectable poor man cannot afford to go shabby, or otherwise resist the public opinion of his class. Here, then, we are brought into a higher scale of expenditure; a small house in a genteel neighbourhood cannot be got under £30, and taxes will raise it to £36; a servant is kept, whose wages may vary from £6 to £8; the family doctor must have a higher fee; the nurse, when obliged to be called in, has a sneer on her countenance if everything is not liberal and genteel;" and, unless the females of the family have the sense and the fortitude to resist "London pride," the £150 may be oftener exceeded than otherwise. On the same ground, while the few able and skilful mechanics in London, who earn £4 a week, are perfect gentlemen; the "gentlemen "who receive £200 find it little enough to do with, and certainly can save nothing.

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We have once more exhausted our space without exhausting our subject: but we may have other opportunities, under different forms, for returning to it.



"It is a common saying, that no individual profits by another's experience :-there are few, we believe, that profit by their own; few to whom may not be justly applied that striking saying of Coleridge, that experience is like the stern-lights of a ship, which only illuminate the way that is passed.' But, of all the scholars I have ever known in this ever-open school of experience, my friend Mrs. Dunbar is the most unteachable. With a fair portion of intellect, with a quick observation, and fifty years' ac quaintance with the world, she is as trustful, as credulous, and as hopeful as when, a child, she believed the rainbow was a rope of substantial woven light, with a golden cup at the end of it; that there was a real man standing in the moon, and that the sky would, one of these bright days, fall, and we should catch larks. Being of a benevolent and equable temperament, her credulity has the most happy manifestations. Her faith in her fellow-creatures is implicit, and her confidence in the happiness of the future unwaver ing; so that, however dark and heavy the clouds may be at any given moment, she believes they are on the point of breaking


"I have known but a single exception to the general and pleasant current of my friend's life. One anxiety and disappointinent crossed her, which even her blessed alchymy could not gild or transmute. Her husband lost all his fortune; this was not the cross. Mrs. Dunbar said, she saw no reason why they should not take their turn on Fortune's wheel; she did not doubt they should come up again, and, if they did not, why, her own private fortune was enough to secure them from dependence and want. Her husband had none of her philosophy, or, rather, happy temperament ;-philosophy gets too much credit. He had an ambitions spirit, and his ambition had taken a direction very common in our cities; an aspiration after commercial reputation, and the wealth and magnificence that follow it. Mr. Dunbar had mounted to the very top round of the ladder, when, alas, it fell! and his possessions and hopes were prostrated. A fever seized him in the severest hour of disappointment, and the moral and physical pressure killed him. But this was not the cross. Mrs. Dunbar loved and honoured her husband, without having any particular sympathy with him. He imparted none of his projects to her, and neither interfered with nor participated her quiet every-day pursuits and pleasures; so that no harmonious partnership could be dissolved with less shock to the survivor. Mrs. Dunbar, beside the common-place solaces on such occasions, such as 'We must all die,' Heaven's time is the best time,' had a particular and reasonable consolation in being relieved from the sight of unhappiness that she could not remove or mitigate. This was not selfishness, but the necessity of her nature, which resembled those plants that cannot live unless they have sunshine, and plenty of it.

"Mrs. Dunbar had one son, Fletcher, a youth of rare promise, who was just seventeen at his father's death. He most happily combined the character of his parents, the aspiring and firm qualities of his father, and the bright spirit of his mother. His education had been most judiciously directed by his father; and his mother, without any system or plan whatever, had, by the spontaneous action of her own character, most happily moulded his affections. At seventeen, Fletcher Dunbar seemed to me the perfection of a youth; with a boyish freshness and playfulness, and a manly grace, generosity, and courtesy. Much more attention than is usual in our country had been given to the adornments of education; but his father, who had all respect to the solid and practical, had taken care that the weightier matters were not sacrificed; and he had a prompt reward. So capable and worthy of trust was Fletcher at his father's death, that the mercantile house in which he was clerk offered him, on advantageous terms, an agency for six years in France and England. Mrs. Duubar consented to his departure. But this parting of the widow from her only son, her only child, and such a child, was not the cross. There was nothing like throwing a young man, who had his fortune to carve, on his own responsibilities,' she justly said. Fletcher would get good, and not evil, wherever he went. She should hear from him by every packet, and six years would soon fly away.' And they did; and this brings me to the story of that drop that diffused its bitterness through the cup my friend till now had preserved sweet and sparkling.

"The six years were gone; six years they had been to Fletcher of health, prosperity, and virtue. I need say nothing more for a young man who had been exposed to the temptations of London and Paris. The happy day and evening of his arrival had passed

away. Uncles, aunts, and friends, had thronged to welcome him, and gone to their homes; and Mrs. Dunbar was left alone with Fletcher and Ellen Fitzhugh.

"I have said that Mrs. Dunbar had but one child; but, if it be possible for the bonds of adoption to be as strong as those of nature, Mrs. Dunbar loved Ellen as well as if she had been born to her. This instance was enough to prove that there may be the happiness of a maternal affection without the instincts of nature, or the feeling of property in the object, which more selfish natures than my friend's require. Ellen was the child of a very dear friend of Mrs. Dunbar, who, from a goodly portion of nine daughters, surrendered this, the fairest and best, to what she then deemed a happier destiny than she could in any other way secure for her.

"I do not believe Mrs. Dunbar could have told which she loved best, Ellen Fitzhugh or her son; in truth, they were so blended in her mind that they made but one idea. When she saw Ellen, Fletcher was in her imagination; when she thought of Fletcher, Ellen was the present visible type through which her thoughts and affections went out to him.

"Now he had returned; they were under the same roof;Fletcher was three-and-twenty, with a handsome fortune to begin the world with; and Ellen was just eighteen, with

' a countenance, in which did meet
Sweet records, promises as sweet;

A creature not too bright or good

For human nature's daily food;
For transient sorrows, simple wiles,

Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles.'

Never was there a fitter original for this beautiful description of the poet than Ellen Fitzhugh; and could there be anything more natural than Mrs. Dunbar's firm belief, that Fletcher would set right about weaving into an imperishable fabric the golden threads she had been spinning for him!

"The first evening had passed away; the old family domestics had received from Fletcher's hand some gift far-fetched,' and enriched with the odour of kind remembrance; and Mrs. Dunbar and the young people lingered over the decaying embers, to talk over the thousand particulars that are omitted in the most minute correspondence. Pray tell me, Fletcher,' asked Mrs. Dunbar, 'who was that Bessie Elmore you spoke of so frequently in your last letters?'

"Bessie Elmore! Heaven bless her! She was the daughter of a lady who was excessively kind to me the last time I was in London. She bore a striking resemblance to Ellen, so I called her cousin, a pretty title to shelter a flirtation ;-I should inevitably have lost my heart, but for the presumption of asking her to give up her country.'

Was she very like Ellen?'

"Excessively; her laugh, too, always recalled Ellen's. She was a charming little creature!'

"Ellen blushed slightly, and Mrs. Dunbar's happy countenance smiled all over as she said, Ellen is very English in her looks.' "Yes, aunt, a 66 rosy, sturdy little person," as English Smith used to call me.' "Not too sturdy, Ellen,' said Fletcher, and not too little, just as high as our hearts, mother, is she not?'

"She has always just filled mine,' replied the delighted mother, who had already jumped to the conclusion that the affair was as good as settled; and the wedding, and the happy years to follow, floated in rich visions before her. She ventured on one question she was anxious to have settled: "You have no occasion to go abroad again, Fletcher?'

"None. A happy home, in my own country, has long been my "castle in the air," and now, thank Heaven, I can give it a terrestrial foundation.'

"Ellen is not the person to relish this "taking for granted," " thought Mrs. Dunbar; Fletcher should be more reserved.'

"Fletcher soon turned the current of her apprehensions. Pray,' he asked, 'what is the reason, Ellen, that you and my mother have so seldom mentioned Matilda Preston in your letters of late? "We have seen much less of her than usual the winter past. Matilda cannot

"To a party give up what was meant for mankind."

I suppose you know she has been a "bright and particular star ” this winter,-a belle ?'

"Has she? I am sorry for it!'

So is not Matilda. She enjoys her undisputed reign. She bas, to those she chooses to please, captivating manners, and you know she is talented. The beaux, of a score of years' standing,

declare there has been nothing like her in their time. She is beset with admirers and lovers. She says she is obliged, when she goes to a ball, to keep an ivory tablet under her belt, with a list of her partners. Some wag pasted up on Carroll-place, where the Prestons live, "Apollo's-court," on account of the perpetual serenades there. Poor Rupert Selden told me, he had thrown away a half-year's commissions on bouquets and serenades to her, which, in his own romantic phrase, had " ended in smoke." She is said to be engaged.'

66 6 Engaged!' Fletcher bit his nails for two or three minutes in deep abstraction, and then added, "To whom is she engaged?' "Pray don't look so distressed, cousin; I only reported it as an on dit, I forgot your flaine for Matilda.' "Pshaw, Ellen! but who is the person?'

"The pre-eminent person at the present moment is Ned Garston.' "Ned Garston! a monkey,-impossible!'

"Oh, he is much improved by foreign travel, and, if still a monkey, a romantic monkey, a monkey en beau. He has put himself into the hands of some Parisian master of the science of transforming the deformed, and has come forth the tableau vivant, copied after a famous picture of some troubadour in the Louvre.' "What do you mean, Ellen?'

"I mean, that Ned Garston's very pretty black hair hangs in hyacinthine curls over the collar of his coat,-that he wears tresses like a girl's, on each side of his face, and mustachios and whiskers that would befit a grand sultan. The girls call him "the Sublime Porte." "

“And is it possible that Matilda Preston, that gifted, beautiful creature, is going to throw herself away upon this jackanapes?' "How wildly you talk, Fletcher!' interposed his mother; 'you have not seen Matilda Preston since she was a mere child.' "But a rare child, my dear mother; Matilda Preston at thir. teen was a fit model for sculpture and painting. She moved like a goddess, and her faculties were worthy such a form. Lord bless me, what a sacrifice!— is it a sacrifice to Mammon, Ellen?' "Do not insist that the sacrifice is certain.'

"I have no doubt it is his fortune,' said Mrs. Dunbar, for the first time, I believe, in her life, turning a scale against an absent person that might have been struck in her favour; that is to say, fortune and style. Garston has the most showy equipage in the city, and his family, you know, are all in the first fashion.'

"Mrs. Dunbar retired for the night. Ellen, after despatching some trifling home affairs, was following her, when Fletcher, who had been leaning abstractedly on his elbow, said, 'Ellen, do rot go; I have something to say to you.' Ellen turned with a beating and foreboding heart. Tell me, Ellen, honestly, is it your belief that Matilda Preston is engaged to Garston ? "I do not believe she is.'

"Why are you in such haste? sit down,-there, thank you; but do not look as if I had murder to confess,-I have only to tell you the weakness and the strength of my heart. You know, my dear Ellen,-cousin,-sister, I should rather call you-for, without any tie of blood, no sister was ever dearer there is no one but you to whom I can communicate my feelings, projects, and hopes,from whom I ean take counsel. To begin, then; when I left America, you and Matilda Preston were very intimate. I do not find you so much so now; what is the cause of this alienation?' "There is no alienation, Fletcher; we are intimate still.' "Affectionately intimate?'

"Matilda is very kind, very affectionate to me.'

"And you not so to her? I am sure you never repelled affection with coldness. There must be some reason for this. My mother, too, seems to have a prejudice against Matilda; pray be frank with me, Ellen.'

"Frankness was Ellen's nature. She was one of the few beings in this world, who are thoroughly and habitually, by nature and by grace, true. For the first time a cloud had passed over her clear spirit. She began to speak, faltered, began again, and finally said: "It may be more mine than Matilda's fault that we are less intimate than formerly. Our circumstances, our tastes are different. I think Matilda is much what she was when you left us, that is—that is, allowing for the difference between a school girl and a belle, Fletcher.'

"A belle!-how I hate the term! But how could it be otherwise in a city atmosphere, with Matilda's beauty, talents, and accomplishments? I see she is not quite to your taste, Ellen; I am sorry for it, but this is better than I feared. Now for my confession, in brief. When I left you I was a reserved boy. Neither you nor my mother, probably, ever suspected my predi

lection, but for two years I had been desperately in love with Matilda Preston. I believed she loved me. We exchanged many a love-token, many a promise. It is true she was a mere child, I a mere boy but there are such childish loves on record, Ellen. The germ of the fruit is in the unfolding bud. It may, after all, have been on her part a little innocent foolery, forgotten long ago; but, if so, I was coxcomb enough to take it all in dead earnest. Through my six years of absence I have cherished, lived upon, these remembrances. All my projects, all my successes, have blended with the thought of Matilda: and, blessed by Heaven in my enterprises, I have now come home determined to throw myself at her feet, if I find her what memory and a lover's faith have painted her.' Fletcher fixed his eye on Ellen. Hers fell. 'Will you not-can you not, Ellen, give me a "God speed? "" "The flush on Ellen's cheek faded to a deadly paleness. After a moment's hesitation, she summoned her resolution, and, raising her eye to meet Fletcher's, replied with a tolerably steady voice, 'Do not ask a "God speed" of me now, Fletcher ;-wait till you have seen Matilda, and studied her character, as you ought to study that on which the happiness of your life is to depend; and then, if your ripened judgment confirms your youthful preference, you shall have my '-'God speed,' she would have said, but her honest tongue refused to utter the word to which her heart did not answer; and, adding my earnest wishes,-my prayers,' she burst into irrepressible tears, and, horror-struck at what she feared was a betrayal of her true feelings, she fled, without even a 'good night,' to her own apartment.

The truth did once flash across Fletcher's mind. It is a phenomenon to see Ellen in tears, save at some touching tale or known grief,' he thought; Ellen, with her ever bright, buoyant spirit,-her" obedient passions, will resigned." Has my dear, imprudent mother, with her equal fondness for us both, been kindling a spark of tenderness in Ellen's heart?' The thought was no sooner conceived than rejected. There was no latent vanity in Fl tcher's mind to please itself with cherishing it. It was happily improbable, and it soon gave place to thick-coming and most pleasant fancies. But one cloud hovered over them,-Mrs. Dunbar's and Ellen's too evident distrust of Matilda. I will "study her character," and abide by the decision of my "ripened judgment," ' resolved Fletcher. Alas for the judgment of a young man of three-and-twenty as to a talented beauty of nineteen, with the desperate make-weight against it of a long-cherished love!

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"Ellen had often sat with her loving friend, Mrs. Dunbar, over the dying embers, reading and re-reading the passages in Fletcher's letters where he dwelt on the fond remembrances of home. Every mention of Ellen-and the letters abounded with them-his mother repeated and repeated, and always with an emphasis and smile, that sometimes made Ellen's blood tingle to her fingers' ends. And yet, simple as a child, the good woman never dreamed that she was communicating her faith and hopes, and awakening feelings never to sleep again. This she knew, as a matter of principle and discretion, would not be right; and, while she never said to Ellen, in so many words, My heart is set on your marry ing Fletcher, and I am sure his is, even more than mine,' she did not suspect she was conveying this meaning in every look, word, and motion. And even now, when the pillars of her castle in the air' were tumbling about her head, she had no apprehension that Ellen would be crushed by them. They were to meet now for the first time, with the most painful feeling to loving and trusting friends, that their hearts must be hidden with impenetrable screens ; but such was the transparency of dear Mrs. Dunbar's heart, that put what she would before it, the disguise melted away in the clear light;-to tell the truth, Ellen's was little better; her safety was in the dim sight of the eye to be eluded.

"She washed away her tears, called up all the resolution she could muster, and repaired to Mrs. Dunbar's apartment, whom she hoped she might find by this time in bed, and get off with her good-night kiss;' but, instead of this, she was pacing up and down the room, not a pin removed.

"Dear aunt, not in bed yet?'

"No, my dear child,-I did not feel like sleeping the first night, you know, of Fletcher's being here;- it's natural to have a good many wakeful thoughts of past times, and so forth.' While saying this, she had turned her back, and was busying herself at the bureau, the tone of her voice, and the frequent use of her handkerchief, conveying the state of her feelings as precisely to Ellen as her streaming eyes would, had she shown them.

unreasonable, unfortunate, strange, dreadful, wonderful, and amazing interest in Matilda Preston. I had never so much as thought of it,-it's insanity, Ellen,-he is as blind as a beetle.' "It is a blindness, aunt, that is not like to be cured by the presence of Matilda Preston.'

"That's just what I feel, Ellen. Men are always carried away with beauty. I thought Fletcher was an exception; but he is not, or he would tell the gold from the glittering.'

"But, aunt, you do Matilda and Fletcher injustice. She has fine qualities; and if what you now expect should happen, you will look on Matilda with very different eyes.'

"Never, Ellen, never in the world, she will always seem to stand between me and-I mean, I can't tell you, Ellen, what I mean. But this I will say, come what will, no one can ever take your place to me, you are the child of my heart,-you have grown up at my side,-I can never love another daughter;-whomever you marry, Ellen, wherever you go, your home shall be my home.'

"No, no, aunt,' said Ellen, hiding her tearful face on the bosom of her faithful friend, I shall never marry,--never.' And before Mrs. Dunbar could reply, she gave her good-night kiss and left the room.

"Is it possible she could have understood me?' exclaimed Mrs. Dunbar. After a little reflection, she quieted her apprehensions with the thought that she had a hundred times before spoken just as plainly, and Ellen had not suspected what she meant. She was like the child who, shutting his own eyes, fancied no one could see him.

"Ought I not,' Ellen said, in her self-examination, to have obeyed the first impulse of my heart, and when Fletcher appealed to me, to have told him frankly my opinion of Matilda ? ' After much meditation, the response of her conscience was a full acquittal. She had done all that the circumstances of the case and her relations to the parties allowed, in withholding her 'God speed' till Fletcher's ripened judgment should authorise his decision. She reflected that Matilda's character had seemed to her to have the same radical faults six years before that it had now, and that, in spite of them, Fletcher loved her then. Perhaps she judged those faults too strictly. Perhaps her judgment was tinged by her self-love; for she was conscious that, in the points so offensive to her, she was constitutionally the opposite of Matilda Preston.

"With all Matilda's fine taste, with her susceptibility to opinion, and her eager desire of praise, she was no favourite. Her intense selfishness would penetrate all disguises, her consciousness of herself was always apparent,-there was never a spontaneous action, word, or look. In all this she was the very opposite of Ellen, who, most strictly watchful of the inner world, let the outer take care of itself. This gave a freedom and simplicity to her manners, and a straightforwardness to all her dealings, that inspired confidence. Matilda, in the midst of her most brilliant career, had, whenever silent, an expression of care and dissatisfaction,—a rigidity and contraction of the upper lip (often criticised as the only imperfection of her beauty), that betrayed the puerile anxieties in which she was involved, the web she was perpetually weaving or ravelling. There is no such tell-tale as the human countenance; or rather we should say (with more reverence), God has set his seal of truth upon it, and no artifice has ever yet obscured the Divine impression. Ellen Fitzhugh's lovely face was the mirror of truth, cheerfulness, and affection.

"There is no use,' thought Ellen, as she pursued the meditations in which we left her, in trying to conceal my feelings: I cannot,-I never did in my life,-I must just set to work and overcome them. Dear Mrs. Dunbar, all those sweet fancies that you and I have been so busily weaving, the last six years, must be sacrificed at once and for ever; and I must just learn to think of Fletcher, as I did when a little girl,-as a dear, kind brother ;that should be,—it shall be, enough.' This resolution was made with many showers of tears, and sanctified with many prayers, ejaculated from the depths of her heart; and, once made, she set about with most characteristic promptness, contriving the means for carrying it into execution."

Here we are reluctantly compelled to pass over all the incidents of a costume ball, and other events, by which Fletcher and Matilda met and revived their old admiration, and their pledge was mutually renewed. Meantime Fletcher, in inspecting some of his deceased father's papers, discovered a fact of which he had not previously been aware that his father had died involved in "I see,' cried Mrs. Dunbar, her tears gushing forth afresh, debt to Ellen's father, Selden Fitzhugh, who had behaved on the 'that Fletcher has the most unexpected, incomprehensible,occasion of the failure with a noble and confiding generosity to the

broken-hearted and dying man. This debt Fletcher felt himself constrained, by the impulse of a high-minded, honourable spirit, to discharge; and he made Matilda his confidant, fully expecting her generous sympathy with his intention. But he miscalculated and misunderstood her character.

Matilda, after much agitating self-deliberation, called her mother to her counsel. Mrs. Preston was the prototype of her daughter, save that what was but in the gristle with the daughter, had hardened into bone with the mother, and save that Matilda, from having had an education superior to Mrs. Preston's, had certain standards and theories of virtue in her mind's eye, that had never entered the mother's field of vision. Matilda, too, from having been all her short life in fashionable society, did not estimate it at so high a rate as her mother, who had paid for every inch of ground she had gained there.

"Matilda related her last interview with Fletcher, and showed 'Do you believe,' said Mrs. Preston, after reading it,

his note. 'that Fletcher Dunbar will be so absurd as to adhere to this plan?'

"I am sure he will. He is perfectly inflexible when he makes up his mind to what he thinks a duty, however ridiculous it may appear to others.'

"Of course, my dear, you are absolved from your engage


"If I choose to be.'

"If you choose! My dear Matilda, you know how much it was against my wishes that you should form this engagement, -that you should give up the most brilliant match in the city for what, at the very best, would be merely a genteel establishment. But the idea of your going into the shade at once, giving up everything, and living perhaps at lodgings, or setting up housekeeping with two servants that you must look after all day, and spend your evenings making your husband's shirts, by a single astral lamp, ride in an omnibus (you might ride in that splendid carriage), and treat yourself, perhaps, to one silk gown a-year, and all for what? To humour the notions of a young man, who is in no respect superior to Garston, except that he is rather taller, and has a straighter nose, and darker, larger eyes-not much larger either.'

"Mrs. Preston had struck a wrong note. Matilda shrunk back from the path her mother was opening, as the images of her two lovers passed before her.

"Oh, mama, there is a horrid difference between them; and if I only could persuade Fletcher to abandon this notion '"Well, my dear, in my opinion, if he loves you, he will; if he does not, why then you lose nothing, and gain everything. Luckily your engagement is a secret as yet, and you have taken no irretrievable step. Garston was here this morning,-a look could bring him back to you.'


"But, mama, to give up what I have been so long dreaming "Yes, and what every young girl dreams off, and wakes up betimes to pretty dull realities. How should you like, for instance, to wash the breakfast things, and stir up a pudding,-to wash and dress your children, and make a bowl of gruel for your dear mama-in-law?'

"Oh! detestable !' Matilda pondered for a few moments, and then said, 'I really think, if Fletcher loves me, he will sacrifice his feelings to me. I am sure he owes it to me, after the sacrifice I made to him ;-I have certainly proved myself disinterested, but I do not like to be treated as if I could be set aside, and wait for the working of any fancy that comes up. I will tell him so, I am resolved. He must take the responsibility of deciding it.'

"The evening came, and, when the clock struck nine, Fletcher entered Miss Preston's drawing-room, his fine countenance beaming with the serenity and trustfulness of his heart; but Matilda's first look sent a thrill through it, that was like the snapping of the chords of a musical instrument at the moment it is felt to be in perfect tune. She advanced towards him, and gave him her hand as usual, and she smiled; but it was a mere muscular movement-the expression was anything but a smile. Her beautiful face had all the rigidity that a fixed and painful purpose could give to it; but it was a purpose that depended on a contingent, and to that contingent the smile and the responding pressure of her hand were addressed.

"Her eyes were red and swollen, and, for the first time, her dress was not elaborately arranged.

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"Fletcher poured out protestations and prayers, and concluded with assuring Matilda that, if she would share with him at the present moment his abated fortune, if she would at once risk the uncertainties that he must encounter, he should be a happier and prouder man than all the wealth in the world could make him.' "Matilda burst into tears. It is not right-it is not generous,' she said, ' to put what you consider a test to me. none. You must acquit me of any grovelling care for money. You have but to look six weeks backward to remember, that the first fortune in the city was waiting my acceptance, and fashion and brilliant family connexions. I sacrificed all, without a shadow of regret, to you; and now I am thought very lightly of in comparison with a fancied duty.'

"A fancied duty? Good Heaven!'

"A real duty, then; but so questionable, that nine men out of ten would pronounce it no duty at all. It is not the money. I care as little for that as you can; but it is the terrible truth you have forced on me,-you do not love me.'

"Matilda, you wrong yourself,-you wrong me.' "Prove it to me, then, Fletcher. Let our relations be what they were yesterday,-burn those letters, and forget them.'


Never!' cried Fletcher, indignantly, so help me God,

Then the tie that bound us is sundered,—our engagement is dissolved.' "Amen!' said Fletcher, and he rushed from the house,-his mind confused and maddened with broken hopes, disappointed affection, and dissolving delusions.

"There is one painful but sure cure for love. The slow coming, resisted, but irresistible conviction of the unworthiness of the person beloved.


"A little more than two years had passed away, when one bright morning, at the hour of ceremonious visiting, a superb carriage, looking more like a ducal equipage than one befitting a wealthy citizen of a republic, drew up at Mrs. Dunbar's door. The gilded harness was emblazoned with heraldic devices, and a coat of arms was embroidered in gold on the hammer-cloth, and painted on the panels. The coachman and footman, in fresh and tasteful liveries, were in the dickey, and the proprietor of the equipage (in appearance a very inferior part of it) was seated on the box with a friend. Within the coach was a lady magnificently dressed in the latest fashion. She seemed

'A perfect woman, nobly plann'd

To warn, to comfort, and command; '

but she had thwarted the plan,-she had extinguished the angel light,'-she had herself closed the gates of Paradise, and voluntarily circumscribed her vision to this world. She had foregone the higher element for which she was destined; but the wings she had folded for ever betrayed by their fluttering her disquietude with the way she had chosen. The face that turned heavenward, would have reflected Heaven, was fixed earthward, and the dark spirits of discontent and disappointment brooded over it.

"There is a baser traffic going on in this world of ours, than that which the poet has immortalised in his history of Faust, carried on under the forms of law, and with the holy seal and superscription of marriage.

The lady alighted from the coach, and was on the door-step, awaiting her husband. He did not move. The footman had rung the bell, and Mrs. Dunbar's servant stood awaiting the entrée. "Are you not going in with me, Ned?' she asked. "Not I,-I hate bridal visits.'

"Oh, come with me, I entreat you,' she said earnestly. "It's a bore! I can't. Bob and I will drive round the square, and take you up as we return.'

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