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"My dear sir!" exclaimed Gammon, leaning back in his chair, and laughing rather heartily, (at least for him.)

Situath for want of a Char" which he will give me says noths at Present of the Sort of Victules wh give me Now to Eat Since Monday last, For Which am Sure the Devil must have Come In to That Gentleman (Mr Tagrag, he was only himself in a Situation in Holborn once, getts the Business by marry the widow wh wonder At for he is nothing Particular to Look At.) I am yrs

Humbly to Command Till Death (always Humbly Begging pardon for the bad Conduct wh was guilty of when In Liquor Especially On an Empty Stomach, Having Taken Nothing all that Day excepting what I could not Eat,)

Your's most Respy

TITTLEBAT TITMOUSE." P.S. Will Bring That young Man with Tears In his Eyes to Beg yr pardon Over again If You Like wh will Solemnly Swear if Required That he did It all of His own Head And that Have given It him For it in the Way That is Written Above And humbly Trust You Will make Me So happy Once more by Writing To Me (if it is only a Line) To say You Have Thought No more of it. T. T. No 9 Closet Ct. Oxford Street. 14-7-182."

This touching epistle, I was saying, might have brought tears into Mr Quirk's eyes, if he had been used to the melting mood, which he was not; having never been seen to shed a tear but once-when five-sixths of his little bill of costs (L.196, 15s. 4d.) were taxed off in an action on a Bill of Exchange for L.20. As it was, he tweedled the letter about in his hands for about five minutes, in a musing mood, and then stepped with it into Mr Gammon's room. That gentleman took the letter with an air of curiosity, and read it over; at every sentence (if indeed a sentence there was in it) bursting into soft laughter.

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Ha, ha, ha!" he laughed on concluding it" a comical gentleman, Mr Titmouse, upon my honour!"


Funny-isn't it rather?" interposed Mr Quirk, standing with his hands fumbling about in his breeches pockets.

"What a crawling despicable rascal!-ha, ha, ha!”

"Why-I don't quite say that, either," said Quirk, doubtingly-"I -don't exactly look at it in that light."

"You can't leave off that laugh of yours," said Quirk, a little tartly; but I must say I don't see any thing in the letter to laugh at so particularly. It is written in a most respectful manner, and shows a proper feeling towards the House."

"Ay! see how he speaks of me!" interrupted Gammon, with such a smile.

"And doesn't he speak so of me? and all of us?"

"He'll let the House tread on him till he can tread on the House, I dare say."

"But you must own, Mr Gammon, it shows we've licked him into shape a bit-eh ?"

"Oh, it's a little vile creeping reptile now, and so it will be to the end of the chapter-of our proceedings; and when we've done every thing-really, Mr Quirk! if one were apt to lose one's temper, it would be to see such a thing as that put into possession of such a fortune.

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“That may be, Mr Gammon; but I really-trust-I've-a higher feeling-to right-the injured" He could get no further.

"Hem!" exclaimed Gammon. The parties smiled at one another. A touch, or an attempted touch at disinterestedness!—and at Quirk's time

of life!

"But he's now in a humour for training, at all events—isn't he?" exclaimed Quirk-" we've something now to go to work upon-gradually.'

"Isn't that a leaf out of my book, Mr Quirk? isn't that exactly what"— "Well, well-what does it signify?" interrupted Quirk, rather petulantly

"I've got a crotchet that'll do for us, yet, about the matter of law, and make all right and tight,-so I'm going to Mortmain."

"I've got a little idea of my own of that sort, Mr Quirk," said Gammon- "I've got an extract from CoLitt. I can't imagine how either of them could have missed it, and, as Frankpledge dines with me to day, we shall talk it all over. But, by the way, Mr Quirk, I should say, with all deference, that we'll take no more notice of this fellow till we've got some screw tight enough."

"Why-all that may be very well; but you see, Gammon, the fellow seems the real heir, after all-and if he don't get it, no one can; and if he don't-we don't! eh?"

“There's a very great deal of force in that observation, Mr Quirk," said Gammon emphatically :-and, tolerably well pleased with one another, they parted. If Quirk might be compared to an old file, Gammon was the oil!so they got on, in the main, very well together. It hardly signifies what was the result of their interviews with their two conveyancers. They met in the morning on ordinary business; and as each made no allusions whatever to the "crotchet" of the day before, it may be inferred that each had been satisfied by his conveyancer of having found a mare's nest.

"I think, by the way," said Mr Gammon to Mr Quirk, before they, parted on the previous evening, "it may be as well, all things considered, to acknowledge the receipt of the fellow's note-eh? Can't do any harm, you know, and civility costs nothing -hem!"

"The very thing I was thinking of," replied Quirk, as he always did on hearing any suggestion from Mr Gammon. So by that night's post was dispatched (post-paid) the following

note to Mr Titmouse:

"Messrs Quirk, Gammon, and Snap have the pleasure of acknowledging the receipt of Mr Titmouse's polite letter of last night's date; and earnestly beg that he will not distress himself about the little incident that occurred at their office on Tuesday night, and which they assure him they have quite forgotten. They made all allowances, however their feelings suffered at the time. They beg Mr T. will give them credit for not losing sight of his interests, to the best of their ability, obstructed as they are, however, by numerous serious difficulties. If they should be in any degree hereafter overcome, he may rest assured of their promptly communicating with him; and till then they trust Mr T. will not inconvenience himself by calling on, or writing to them.

"Saffron Hill, 15th July, 182-. "P.S.-Messrs Q. G. and S. regret to hear that any unpleasantness has arisen (Gammon could hardly write for laughing) between Mr Titmouse

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There was an obvious reason for this polite allusion to Huckaback. Gammon thought it very possible that that gentleman might be in Mr Titmouse's confidence, and exercise a powerful influence over him hereafter; and which influence Messrs Q. G. and S. might find it well worth their while to secure beforehand.

The moment that Titmouse, with breathless haste, had read over this mollifying document, which being directed to his lodgings correctly, he of course did not obtain till about ten o'clock, he hastened to his friend Huckaback. That gentleman (who seemed now virtually recognised by Messrs Quirk, Gammon, and Snap as Titmouse's confidant) shook his head ominously, exclaiming-" Blarney, blarney!" and a bitter sneer settled on his disagreeable features, till he had read down to the postscript; the perusal of which effected a sudden change in his feelings. He declared, with a great oath, that Messrs Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, were "perfect gentlemen," and would "do the right thing, Titmouse might depend upon it ;" an assurance which greatly cheered Titmouse, to whose keen discernment it never once occurred to refer Huckaback's altered tone to the right cause, viz., the lubricating quality of the postscript; and since Titmouse did not allude to it, no more did Mr Huckaback, although his own double misnomer stuck a little in his throat. So effectual, indeed, had been that most skilful postscript upon the party whom it had been aimed at, that he exerted himself unceasingly to revive Titmouse's confidence in Messrs Quirk, Gammon, and Snap; and so far succeeded, that Titmouse returned to his lodgings at a late hour, a somewhat happier, if not a wiser man than he had left them. By the time, how

ever, that he had got into bed, having once more spelt over the note in question, he felt as despondent as ever, and thought that Huckaback had not known what he had been talking about. He also adverted to an apparently careless allusion by Huckaback to the injuries which had been inflicted upon him by Titmouse on the Wednesday night and which, by the way, Huckaback determined it should be no fault of his if Titmouse easily forgot! He hardly knew why-but he disliked this particularly.-Whom had he, however, in the world, but Huckaback? In company with him alone, Titmouse felt that his pent-up feelings could discharge themselves. Huckaback had certainly a wonderful knack of keeping up Titmouse's spirits, whatever cause he fancied he might really have for depression. In short, he longed for the Sunday morningushering in a day of rest and sympathy. Titmouse would indeed then have to look back upon an agitating and miserable week, what with the dismal upsetting of his hopes, in the manner I have described, and the tyrannical treatment he experienced at Dowlas and Co.'s. Mr Tag-rag began, at length, in some degree, to relax his active exertions against Titmouse, simply because of the trouble it gave him to keep them up. He attributed the pallid cheek and depressed manner of Titmouse entirely to the discipline which had been inflicted upon him at the shop, and was gratified at perceiving that all his other young men seemed, especially in his presence, to have imbibed his hatred of Titmouse. What produced in Tag-rag this hatred of Titmouse? Simply what had taken place on the Monday. Mr Tag-rag's dignity and power had been doggedly set at nought by one of his shopmen, who had since refused to make the least submission, or offer any kind of apology. Such conduct struck at the root of subordination in his establishment. Again, there is perhaps nothing in the world so calculated to enrage a petty and vulgar mind to the highest pitch of malignity, as the calm persevering defiance of an inferior, whom it strives to despise, while it is only hating, which it at the same time feels to be the case. Tag-rag now and then looked towards Titmouse, as he stood behind the counter, as if he could have murdered


Titmouse attempted once or twice, during the week, to obtain a situation elsewhere, but in vain. He could expect no character from Tagrag; and when the 10th of August should have arrived, what was to become of him? These were the kind of thoughts often passing through his mind during the Sunday, which he and Huckaback spent together in unceasing conversation on the one absorbing event of the last week. Titmouse, poor puppy, had dressed himself with just as much care as usual; but as he was giving the finishing touches at his toilet, pumping up grievous sighs every half minute, the sum of his reflections might be stated in the miserable significance of a quaint saying of Poor Richard's,

How hard is it to make an empty sack stand upright !"

Although the sun shone as vividly and beautifully as on the preceding Sunday, to Titmouse's saddened eye there seemed a sort of gloom every where. Up and down the Park he and Huckaback walked, towards the close of the afternoon; but Titmouse had not so elastic a strut as before. He felt empty and sinking. Every body seemed to know what a sad pretender he was: and they quitted the magic circle much earlier than had been usual with Titmouse. What with the fatigue of a long day's saunter, the vexation of having had but a hasty, inferior, and unrefreshing meal, which did not deserve the name of dinner, and their unpleasant thoughts, both seemed depressed as they walked along the streets. At length they arrived at the open doors of a gloomylooking building, into which two or three sad and prim-looking people were entering. After walking a few paces past the door-" D'ye know, Huck," said Titmouse, stopping, "I've often thought that-thatthere's something in Religion.'

"To be sure there is, for those that like it-who doubts it? It's all very well in its place, no doubt," replied Huckaback, with much surprise, which increased, as he felt himself slowly being swayed round towards the building in question. "Well, but what of that ?""

“Oh, nothing; but-hem! hem!" replied Titmouse, sinking his voice to a whisper-" a touch of—religion— would not be so much amiss, just now.

I feel uncommon inclined that way, somehow."


Religion's all very well for them that has much to be thankful for; but devil take me! what have either you or me to be "

"But, Huck—how do you know but we might get something to be thankful for, by praying-I've often heard of great things;-Come."

Huckaback stood for a moment irresolute, twirling about his cane, and looking rather distastefully towards the dingy building. "To be sure," said he, faintly. Titmouse drew him nearer; but he suddenly started back.

"No! oh, 'tis only a meeting-house, Tit! Curse Dissenters, how I hate 'em! No-I won't pray in a meetinghouse, let me be bad as I may. Give me a regular-like, respectable church, with a proper steeple, and parson, and prayers, and all that."

Titmouse secretly acknowledged the force of these observations; and the intelligent and piously disposed couple, with perhaps a just, but certainly a somewhat sudden regard for orthodoxy, were not long before they had found their way into a church where evening service was being performed. They ascended the gallery stair; and seeing no reason to be ashamed of being at church, down they both went, with loud clattering steps and a bold air, into the very central seat in the front of the gallery, which happened to be vacant. Titmouse paid a most exemplary attention to what was going on, kneeling,

sitting, and standing with exact pro priety, in the proper places; joining audibly in the responses, and keeping his eyes pretty steadily on the prayerbook, which he found lying there. He even rebuked Huckaback for whispering (during one of the most solemn parts of the service) that "there was a pretty gal in the next pew!"—He thought that the clergyman was an uncommon fine preacher, and said some things that he must have meant for him, Titmouse, in particular.

"Curse me, Hucky!" said he heatedly, as soon as they quitted the church, and were fairly in the street

"Curse me if-if-ever I felt so comfortable-like in my mind before, as I do now- -I'll go next Sunday again."

"Lord, Tit, you don't really mean -it's deuced dull."

"Hang me if I don't, though! and if any thing should come of it—if I do but get the estate-(I wonder now, where Mr Gammon goes to church. I should like to know!-I'd go there regularly)-But if I do get the thing -you see if I don't."

"Ah, I don't know; it's not much use praying for money, Tit; I've tried it myself, once or twice, but it didn't answer.

"I'll take my oath you was staring at the gals all the while, Hucky!"

"Ah, Titty!" Huckaback winked his eye, and put the tip of his forefinger to the tip of his nose, and laughed.


Ir would be thought strange indeed, if there should exist a large-a memorable section of history, traversed by many a scholar with various objects, reviewed by many a reader in a spirit of anxious scrutiny, and yet to this hour misunderstood; erroneously appreciated; its tendencies mistaken, and its whole meaning, import, value, not so much inadequately-as falsely, ignorantly, perversely-deciphered. Prima facie, one would pronounce this impossible. Nevertheless it is a truth; and it is a solemn truth; and what gives to it this solemnity is the mysterious meaning, the obscure hint of a still profounder meaning in the background, which begins to dawn upon the eye when first piercing the darkness now resting on the subject. Perhaps no one arc or segment, detached from the total cycle of human records, promises so much beforehand so much instruction, so much gratification to curiosity, so much splendour, so much depth of interest, as the great period the systole and diastole, flux and reflux-of the Western Roman Empire. Its parentage was magnificent and Titanic. It was a birth out of the death-struggles of the colossal republic: its foundations were laid by that sublime dictator, "the foremost man of all this world," who was unquestionably for comprehensive talents the Lucifer, the Protagonist of all antiquity. Its range, the compass of its extent, was appalling to the imagination. Coming last amongst what are called the great monarchies of Prophecy, it was the only one which realized in perfection the idea of a monarchia, being (except for Parthia and the great fable of India beyond it) strictly coincident with onove, or the civilized world. Civilisation and this empire were commensurate: they were interchangeable ideas, and co-extensive. Finally, the path of this great Empire, through its arch of progress, synchronised with that of Christianity : the ascending orbit of each was pretty nearly the same, and traversed the same series of generations. These elements, in combination seemed to promise a succession of golden harvests: from the specular station of the

Augustan age, the eye caught glimpses by anticipation of some glorious El Dorado for human hopes. What was the practical result for our historic experience? Answer-A sterile Zaarrah. Prelibations, as of some heavenly vintage, were inhaled by the Virgils of the day looking forward in the spirit of prophetic rapture; whilst in the very sadness of truth, from that age forwards the Roman world drank from stagnant marshes. A Paradise of roses was prefigured: a wilderness of thorns was found.

Even this fact has been missed_ even the bare fact has been overlooked; much more the causes, the principles, the philosophy of this fact. The rapid barbarism which closed in behind Cæsar's chariot wheels, has been hid by the pomp and equipage of the imperial Court. The vast power and domination of the Roman empire, for the three centuries which followed the battle of Actium, have dazzled the historic eye, and have had the usual re-action on the power of vision: a dazzled eye is always left in a condition of darkness. The battle of Actium was followed by the final conquest of Egypt. That conquest rounded and integrated the glorious empire: it was now circular as a shield—orbicular as the disk of a planet: the great Julian arch was now locked into the cohesion of granite by its last key-stone. From that day forward, for three hundred years, there was silence in the world: no muttering was heard: no eye winked beneath the wing. Winds of hostility might still rave at intervals: but it was on the outside of the mighty empire: it was at a dream-like distance; and, like the storms that beat against some monumental castle, "and at the doors and windows seem to call," they rather irritated and vivified the sense of security than at all disturbed its luxurious lull.

That seemed to all men the consummation of political wisdom-the ultimate object of all strife-the very euthanasy of war. Except on some fabulous frontier, armies seemed gay pageants of the Roman rank rather than necessary bulwarks of the Roman

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