Old Fashioned Stories (5)
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LONDON VENTURE;
OR,
THE OLD STORY OVER AGAIN.
_________


IT was in the year '39, a little before the "Dog-cart Nuisance," as it used to be called, was abolished in London, that Ingram Wilson had some curious thoughts as he stood looking at a very old and interesting dog, in one of the by-streets of the Borough.—Ingram Wilson, it ought to have been first said, was a young man who had forsaken an engagement on a thriving newspaper, in an opulent agricultural district, and had "come up to London," partly through a slight disagreement with his former patron, but chiefly through a vivid persuasion, that London was the only true starting point for "a man of genius," a title to which young Ingram laid claim.  Now, this claim had never been questioned by any one in the country, and Ingram thought every one would as readily acknowledge it in the metropolis.  How could Ingram Wilson help thinking so, when everybody had asked him, for three years, "why he did not go to London, and make his fortune?"  But, good lack! when Ingram arrived in London, and had stared at all the lions for three days, he began to feel himself in a desert, even amidst thousands.  He knew nobody, and nobody knew him.  He stept into two or three newspaper offices, stationers' shops, and booksellers' little warehouses, asking questions about an engagement; but people looked at him so suspiciously, that he grew afraid of asking further.  He looked at the Times, and the Herald, and the Chronicle every morning, in one coffee-house or other—walked to this place and that—or wrote letters of application, in answer to advertisements, but all was in vain: two months fled entirely, and he had not received a single hour's employ, or earned one farthing in London; and he was now reduced to his last sovereign!

    Feeling the necessity of an instant resort to the strictest and most prudential economy, he quitted his lodgings, and found one, (a beggarly bed, a chair, and broken table, in a fifth floor,) at eighteen-pence a week.  All day he was out, and sometimes dined on three-penn'orth of boiled beef and potatoes, and sometimes he didn't: however, he contrived to make the sovereign last one more month, for he still found no employ.  And now he was come to selling or pawning—what he had never been driven to before, in his life.  His books none of the pawnbrokers would have: they were an article that could be turned to no account, if not redeemed.  So Ingram pawned his watch; but for so small a sum, that though he was still more economical, he could only stretch another month, on the "lent money," as he called it, little supposing he would never see the watch again.  And then went extra articles of clothing, till he could go no further.  And when six months were gone part of his books were gone likewise; but they were sold at comparatively waste-paper price at the second-hand booksellers.

    It was then, at the expiration of six months' trial of London, without having found one hour's employ, and when he had reduced his clothes till he looked "shabby," and had not half-a-dozen books left that would fetch him the value of another week's subsistence at the book-stalls—it was then that young Ingram Wilson had "some curious thoughts as he stood looking at a very old and interesting dog, in one of the by-streets of the Borough."

    Ingram had been much disgusted with every dog-cart he had seen before; for he was driven to moralise, almost by necessity, as he wandered about from street to street; and he had made many a notch in his mind about costermongers riding on the front of their dog-carts in a morning, "four-in-hand," and all in a row, yelping as they galloped under the lash of the whip; and how much they must resemble Esquimaux emperors and Kamschatka princes, if there were any; and of the wicked glee of the rascally young sweeps who would rattle down Blackfriars' Road, and St. George's Road, and other roads of an evening, racing one against another—"taking home" the one-dog shay of some cat's-meat man or dealer in greens, who had thus committed his chariot and animals to these sooty Jehus, while he himself staid at some favourite resort to smoke and tipple "heavy wet" till midnight.  I say, young Wilson had made many a notch in his mind about these, and other dog-cart phenomena; but he had never felt so much melancholy interest in looking at a dog in a cart, as he felt in looking at this "very old and interesting dog."

    There might be something in the way in which his attention was first aroused to look at the dog.  He had just entered this by-street, and was so much absorbed in reflecting on his own increasingly perilous circumstances, that he had not even noticed the name of the street (though this was a practice he usually attended to so punctually, that he grew quite familiar with numerous localities during the six months):—he merely saw that it was a street of some length, with a ground-story room to every house on the right hand,—what would be termed a cellar in the country,—fenced off by neat palisades from the flagged pavement.  His reverie was broken suddenly, by the shrill, and peculiarly disagreeable, and well-known cry, "Cat's m-e-a-t!" and the man jumped from his vehicle, the dog stood stock still, and almost along the whole line of the street, cats white, and black, and tabby, and tortoiseshell, were suddenly at the palisades of the houses, setting up their backs and tails, and uttering a shrill "mew!"  Ingram was a little struck with this; but still more with a fine large black tom-cat, that leaped from the palisade of the house where the cart was standing, and ran under the old dog's head.  Setting up his back and tail, he passed under the head of the dog again and again, so coaxingly and soothingly, and uttered so kindly sympathetic a "purr," every time that he passed backward and forward, and the poor aged dog arched his neck, and hung his ears forward, and bent down to receive the soft rub of the cat's back under his chin, and looked so grateful, that Ingram stood still, and pondered curiously on this display of sympathy between brute creatures—a quality that he began to think scarce among human beings.

    The poor old dog looked almost like a bag of leather, with a collection of old bones in it; he was so gaunt and worn, and the hair was so much chafed off, in sundry places with his harness; and, moreover, his back and limbs were so crooked and bent, that Ingram felt sure the dog had known no slight portion of slavery in his day.  And, perhaps, he had a hard master, and no one sympathised with him but this black tomcat, thought the poverty-stricken philosopher—but who sympathises with me?  That was his only sour thought, but it did not abide with him.  The man returned to the cart, said, "Go on!" and the dog went on; but none of the other cats came to rub under the old dog's head.  Ingram felt he was attracting the man's frowning notice, by standing to look at the dog, and so he walked on to think.

    "The world is not all misery for that poor old dog," thought Ingram, as he walked on: "very likely, the few minutes' pleasure he receives every morning from the gentle sympathy of the black tom-cat renders him happily forgetful of the labour and hardness of the remaining part of the day.  And yet, the poor old dog looked as if he were poorly fed; and what a mortification it must be to be carrying food to the cats, and have so little himself: always in the smell of it, but never or seldom to taste: almost as bad as Tantalus, steeped to the very chin, and most likely drenched through the skin, and yet dry as a fish!  There is a something that pleases me, however, very much, in this act of the kind, brotherly tom-cat," said Ingram to himself, "and I'll see this sight again."

    And Ingram saw the sight again, for he took care to walk in the same neighbourhood for three mornings following, and felt increasing pleasure in witnessing the black tom-cat rub his back under the poor old dog's chin, while the dog looked each morning as richly gratified as ever.  Ingram Wilson was satisfied that if those few minutes' pleasure did not form a compensation for the poor dog's every day's pain, they went very far towards it.

    But the circumstance of a pale, handsome young man, though rather seedily dressed, coming through that particular street every morning, for four mornings, at the same hour, and standing to look at that old dog and tom-cat, was an occurrence not likely to go unnoticed in London, where people notice every minute circumstance in a way that much surprised Ingram Wilson, when he first began to find it out, for he had calculated on a very different sort of feeling in that respect.  Nothing, indeed, annoyed him so much as the keen impudent stare of strangers, full in his face, and for several seconds: for Ingram did not reflect that he must be staring equally hard, or he would not know that other people were staring at him.  And nothing pestered him more than to observe passengers smile and talk to their companions, as they observed Ingram's lips move, when some thought passed through his mind earnestly; and yet he forgot how much he had been struck with that circumstance, above everything, when he first walked along Cheapside, and Ludgate and Fleet Street, and the Strand: the very great number of people who talked to themselves as they walked alone, and even motioned with their hands in the most earnest manner.

    Ingram had been closely observed, and the observance, on the fourth morning, produced him an adventure.  He was turning to move on, at the end of his fourth soliloquy on the dog-and-cat spectacle, when a tall gentlemanly person, with a cane, stepped from the house where the tom-cat ran in, and seemed bent on walking along the street in Ingram's company.

    "A fine morning, sir," said the gentleman; "you seemed to be interested with our fine old cat and his way of saying, 'How d'ye do?' to the old dog, every morning."

    "Yes, sir, I was," answered Ingram, somewhat pleased with the pretty expression, as he thought it, of the gentleman, and the silvery voice in which he spoke.

    "Ay, sir, there's more kindness among dumb creatures than we think of," rejoined the gentleman: "much more, I'm inclined to think, than amongst human beings."

    "Do you think so, sir?" asked Ingram; for the observation awoke a vague painfulness that he did not like, at once, to express to a stranger.

    "Why, have you found nothing but kindness, young man, in the world, hitherto?" said the stranger, with a look that Ingram thought so benevolent as to be completely melted by it.  "Have you found nothing but kindness now in London, permit me to ask?  You are from the country, I think?"

    "Yes," answered Ingram, feeling too much at work with regret within to say more.

    "Seeking for a situation, and finding none, perhaps?" continued the gentleman; "and—but I shall, perhaps, be obtruding where I have no right—perhaps, beginning to feel it difficult to subsist?"

    Ingram looked volumes, but could not reply: he had lived on two cups of muddy coffee and a roll, daily, for the last month, and this was the first and only human being who had troubled himself to ask him a question relative to his circumstances.  Ingram was next invited, very, very kindly, to return to the stranger's house; and he could not muster pride enough to refuse.  There was one face at the window, which had been there every one of the four mornings that Ingram had passed, although he had not seen it; but he saw it now, and he thought it the sweetest he had ever seen; and, indeed, it was looking very angelically just then, when he caught the first glimpse of it.  'Twas an expression that said, "Oh! he's come back, just as I wished!"—if Ingram could have read it.

    Ingram Wilson had found a friend: not a rich one, as he speedily found, but a human being with a heart—a real heart—and Ingram could not have found anything more valuable had he searched the world over.  After partaking a good plain breakfast—for, although the forenoon was advanced, the poor young fellow had not, till then, broken his fast—Ingram composed his spirits, and, at the request of his new friend—his first London friend—related the cause and intent of his leaving the country.  His course of suffering in London he touched upon but slightly at first; but the gentleman gradually and winningly drew the entire truth from him, and then proceeded, with a paternal look, to give Ingram some little advice as to the future.

    "You have only erred as hundreds have erred before you," he said:—"hundreds!  I might have said thousands; for it is not merely through the persuasion that they shall be able to attain eminence in literature that the young come on adventure to London.  A sort of universal romantic idea pervades the minds of most young people with regard to the capital; and, indeed, it is the same almost all over Europe, and, for any thing I know to the contrary, all over the world.  I am sure, however, that the feeling is equally strong, and I think stronger in France.  All young French people have an idea that Paris is the only place wherein to attain their wishes.  With the same impression, all young people imagine, if they can only struggle up to London, they shall make something out in the world.  Alas! thousands reach this overgrown hive, merely to starve and die in it; and they are fortunate who can find their way back into the country without falling victims to their own romance.  Now, permit me to ask—and yet, your own account of the little rupture of good feeling between your former patron and yourself almost answers the question beforehand—did you bring with you any note of introduction or recommendation to any person in London?"

    Ingram answered, that the thought had presented itself before he left the country, that a note of introduction from his patron to certain newspaper offices might be serviceable, but pride and temporary anger had prevented his asking the favour.

    Ingram's new friend shook his head, but looked compassionately upon the lad, and told him nothing could be done without an introduction in London: it was what every one looked for who received an application, and what everybody must be furnished with who made one.

    The youth caught eagerly at the information, and said he could yet obtain a note of introduction—and he thought more than one—from the country:—such notes, too, as he thought must certainly be available in procuring him an engagement on some of the leading periodicals: or, perhaps, an offer for an independent work; and he had several tales and romances begun.

    The gentleman smiled, but soon warned Ingram, in a serious tone, not to depend so sanguinely on what he had not tried.  "I said that nothing could be done
without an introduction," he continued; "but I did not tell you that introductions were always successful in bringing benefits to those who presented them."

    However, Ingram's constitution did not permit him to sober down without experience, when once an idea had seized him.  The gentleman quickly perceived it; for he had partaken of the same temperament in youth, although he had cooled down by age and disappointment.  He did not use further dissuasion, then; but permitted Ingram to retire to his lodgings to write the letters he began to talk about, with hope beaming so lucidly in his face, and only pressed him cordially to sup with him in the evening.  Ingram retired, shaking hands fervently and gratefully with the gentleman and his elderly lady, and then with the daughter—and saw nothing, mentally, all the way to his lodgings, but the sweet face of her whose hand he had last shaken.  A thousand visions succeeded during that day as he wrote the letters—thought again and again of the beautiful face—took the letters to the post-office—and, in the evening, again saw the sweet face, and talked with the sensible gentleman, and received his kind hospitality.

    The gentleman ventured to give a hint that he himself had influence enough to help Ingram to some occasional employ as a copyist at the British Museum; but Ingram had, all along, most romantically resolved to aim at something more dignified: and, in his present sanguine mood, in spite of his poverty, he gave no ear to the gentleman's hint.  So the gentleman did not repeat his hint; but reserved it, for an occasion when, he feared, it would become but too acceptable to the young man.

    A week passed, and Ingrain breakfasted at ten, and supped at eight, every morning and evening of the term, with the gentleman and his wife and daughter.  The week was one of immense anxiety to Ingram when he was at his own lodgings, or wandering in the street; but it was productive of real pleasure, in the shape of solid information and advice from the kind gentleman; and it gave a commencement to a mutual and avowed attachment between the youth and the gentleman's beautiful and gentle daughter.

    At the end of a week, two letters of introduction arrived one to the M.P. who represented the borough in which Ingram had resided, and to whose cause he had rendered some service in his former newspaper capacity; the other was from a baronet Ingram had also served in a similar mode, to a literary man of some eminence, in fact, the M. P. was also an eminent littérateur, so that Ingram's hopes grew large and fervid.  The gentleman advised moderation; but Ingram could not observe it: his constitution, as yet, was master of his reason.  He was smilingly received by the literary man; but he could not help observing that the literary man smiled more as he read the baronet's letter, than at his, Ingram's, application.  He was begged politely to call again.  He did call again—and again—and again—before he found the literary man once more "at home."  The event was a recommendation to wait on a small publisher, who had commenced a small periodical, and wanted a young man of genius, and all that, to edit it.  Ingram went to work in that quarter —helped to bring out four weekly numbers of the periodical—received one sovereign for his month's labour—and then the thing was stopped, like hundreds of similar ephemera, because "it did not sell."

    The same literary man was visited again, when this engagement failed; but Ingram left his door in wrath, and never called again; because he saw the literary man enter his own house, while he, Ingram, was but at a dozen yards' distance from it ; and yet the servant affirmed "he was not at home."

    Ingram's better and more magnificent hopes, however, were yet undissipated.  During his month's harassing and ill-paid labour on the unsuccessful magazine, he was awaiting an important decision: at least he believed so.  The literary M.P. had also received him with smiles—smiles that Ingram had been inured to at election seasons; but which, as green as he was, he always felt to be assumed; for it is the heart, not the understanding, that really judges of the genuineness of a smile.  Yet, on the occasion of Ingram's first call at the town residence of the legislator, the smile was so prolonged, that Ingram conceived it to be more like a real smile, than the evanescent and valvular-like changes of skin and muscle that the M.P. always seemed to have at such delightful and momentary command while "canvassing" or "returning thanks," in the borough he represented.  And then the M.P. entered, of his own accord, on the inquiry as to what Ingram had written, and begged he would entrust a little manuscript or two, to his, the M. P.'s, care and he would place them in the hand of his own publisher, with his own recommendation, if he believed they possessed merit.

    The if shook Ingram a little; but he, next day, took his best manuscript, and left it at the M.P.'s house, for he was "not at home," like the other literary man, although Ingram really thought he heard his voice, when the servant took in the name of the caller; but the valet said, "Not at home, sir," when he returned, and so Ingram left the manuscript, and called again next day.  To make the story as short as possible, he called fifteen times during the four weeks, but had only one more interview with the literary M.P. during that term; and this was the product of it: the M, P. assured Ingram that his manuscript possessed merit, much merit; that he had left it with his own publisher; and begged Ingram would call again in a few more days, and he would tell him whether the publisher received it.

    This seemed to Ingram Wilson a very solid foundation for most magnificent hopes.  How could a publisher refuse a manuscript which was so highly recommended ? and how could the M.P. fail, very highly, to recommend what he himself said "possessed merit, much merit?"  Such were Ingram's questions; and he was a little shocked to see his friend, the kind gentleman, shake his head and give a silent look, when they were proposed in the gentleman's hearing.

    Another month passed, and the dream was dissipated!  Ingrain was always answered, "Not at home," when he called at the M.P.'s: his friend, the kind gentleman, called at the publisher's, and learned, most unequivocally, that the publisher had never had such a manuscript presented to him, either by the M.P. or any other person: Ingram wrote to the M.P., and received his manuscript by a messenger, for an answer; and was only prevented from writing back to tell the M.P. he was a rascal, by the advice, or rather, authority, for it amounted to that, of his friend, the kind gentleman.

    And now, Ingram, spirit-broken and humbled with what he conceived to be his sanguine and foundationless folly, vowed to his friend that he would never believe promises in future, and would copy at the Museum, or "do anything" as a means of obtaining a mere livelihood, till he could finish one of his works entirely, and try a publisher by his own application, and solely on the merits of his production.  The gentleman cheered the youth, as well as he was able, but Ingram drooped from that time.

    A winter of heartache, inward grief, mortified pride, colds and coughs, and, eventually, consumption, succeeded.  And then the sweet face of his beloved faded; and when the spring returned, it did not bring back the roses to her cheek.

    A summer of toil for little pecuniary reward succeeded that winter, and Ingram received, at length, the appalling information from his friend, the kind gentleman, that he had embarrassed himself by entertaining him, for the gentleman was merely a retired half-pay naval officer.  A look, depicturing such agony as Ingrain never saw before, in the face of man, accompanied this declaration on the part of his friend, and Ingram never felt so truly miserable, since he was born, as he felt while witnessing it.

    There was no room for hesitation: Ingram never tasted food in the kind gentleman's house after that avowal.  Yet he called every day to exchange words of
grateful friendship with the gentleman, words and looks of love with the beautiful being that was fast journeying to the tomb.  In mid-winter she died: her delicate constitution, her sensitive fears and griefs for Ingram's fate, combined, were too much for her endurance.

    Ingram drooped, and became a dependent on charity, in an hospital for six weeks; and then the kind gentleman and his wife followed his corpse to the grave, which was dug beside that of their daughter—the beloved of the unfortunate young man of genius!

    Will the story prevent or check romance and adventure in others?  Ah! no: more Chattertons will perish, more Otways be choked with a crust, unless human nature becomes unlike its former and present self; ay, and more Shaksperes will prosper, in the ages to come, or, otherwise, the true glory and vigour of the human mind have all gone by, and the future must feed on its dregs!

_______________________________

 
THE LAD WHO FELT LIKE A FISH
OUT OF WATER.

_________


DIGGORY LAWSON was not fond of his baptismal name, and often wondered what in the world had put it into his father's head to give him such a one.  But where was the use of grumbling, now the name was inevitably his own?—was a sensible thought which often passed through the brain of Dig (for his mother used to shorten the awkward name into that still more awkward one of three letters), where was the use of grumbling about it?  His name could not mend him if Nature had marred him, nor could it mar him if Nature had made him fit for any good and useful purpose of existence.

    With such thoughts, though but a very little lad, Diggory used to ramble, when school was up, about pleasant Nottingham, where he was born, and about its charming neighbourhood.  His father was only a poor lace-weaver; but an affectionate and almost overweening fondness for their only child rendered his parents prompt to sacrifice any personal comfort, in order to secure him a respectable portion of education.  The lad was, therefore, kept steadily at school.  But his father mingled no little of the eccentric in his constitution, as may be guessed from the name he gave his child, for he had no "family reason" for it; and so it happened, which was not at all the worse, that the lad was not left to gather his knowledge simply from the dry and barren teaching of a day-school.  His father was a dabbler in the mathematics, in astronomy, in dialling, in botany and floriculture, in history and antiquities; and so Dig Lawson caught a tincture of each of these knowledges, at such seasons as his father felt disposed to communicate what he knew of them.

    Nor did the irregularity of communication in his father's fragmentary hints prevent the lad's mind and its stores from taking a regular form.  That form was somewhat unique, perhaps, but a true philosopher would have thought it symmetrical.  The lad did not forget his humble condition: he was never proud: but his thinkings were far more exalted than those of the majority of the children who were, at times, his playmates.  The greater part of his leisure was spent in lonely wanderings.  And if any locality in England can tend to elevate the sentiments of its young habitants, one would think it to be Nottingham.  Such was its effect, however, on the mind of young Dig Lawson: he became a vehicle of noble, though somewhat romantic thinkings, while wandering in the meadows by the beautiful Trent, and watching, alternately, the ripple of the stream, or the unfolding of some beautiful flower that grew on its border; or rambling over the wildernesses of the Forest-ground, so classically English, and giving himself up, for the nonce, to day-dreams of Robin Hood, till he half imagined he saw the merry band tripping over the hill-side among the furze and stunted trees, clad in their Lincoln green, and heard the real sound of bold Robin's bugle; or climbing the rocks that project round the beautiful park, and looking up at "Mortimer's Hole" in the castled cliff, and picturing the chivalrous attack on the concealed traitor by the mailed bands of the third Edward; or creeping among the strange-looking Druid caves on the border of the silver Lene, and conjuring up in his imagination the white-bearded priests crowned with oak, and bearing the "mistletoe bough," and chanting the hymn to the sun or moon, while a crowd of painted Britons struck up the chorus "Derry-down."  Less florid but more substantial thinkings often occupied him, when he watched the last rays of the setting sun tint up the windows of the modern building called "the Castle" (the unruly Radicals had not blackened it then), and remembered how, on its memorable rock, the fated Stuart first unfurled the standard of war against his own people and parliament, and how unweariedly the high-souled and incorruptible Hutchinson sustained the harassments of petty faction so long on the same spot.  These more weighty thoughts, especially, visited him as his boyhood began to ripen into youth.  And as soon as his understanding began to mature, and he became capable of combining the useful with the comely, in his delights and preferences, he could derive almost as much pleasure from a walk round the splendid area of the marketplace of his native town, as from a stroll. in the park, or by the Trent.  He was often told there was no market-place like it in England; and he felt as proud of its superb space and its ornamental piazzas, as if he were a man, and owner of half the buildings round it.  Diggory Lawson, therefore, had not yet become "the lad who felt like a fish out of water."

    Neither did Dig at all resemble such an unfortunate animal for the three years, that is to say, from fourteen to seventeen, that he passed at his father's humble trade.  Every leisure season was spent in literature; and he had not only read some hundreds of volumes by the time that he had reached the age of seventeen, but he had made some attempts at original composition that were by no means contemptible.  The lad was happy enough, and was likely to make a happy and useful man, had "Luck"—that spirit with so questionable a name—kept out of his father's way, and thereby prevented the father from placing himself in Dig's way.

    The brilliant but evanescent "Bobbin-net" speculation' sprang up, like a forest of mushrooms—with an immense surface of promise, but very slender stalk for continuance—in the town of Nottingham.  Diggory's father was just the man to jump into a new scheme; and he really jumped into the bobbin-net speculation to some purpose, apparently, for he realised a thousand pounds' profit in twelve months.  Such "luck," of course, determined him to continue in the pursuit of money, in the same line; but he was seized, alas! with a vehement resolution to make Dig into a gentleman.

    The large admixture of whimsicality in his father's composition, however, left Diggory's destiny in a very nondescript condition for some time; since his ideas of the exactest, best, and fittest way of making his lad into the thing he thought of were none of the clearest, and most fixed.  One step, and one only, could Dig's father determine upon—and that was—that Dig should work no more!  No: he could work himself, and could make as much money as ever Dig would want as long as he lived: but Dig shouldn't work; and his mother said, "No, that he shouldn't" when she heard her husband say so; and so Dig was compelled, as the neighbours said, to "drop it"—and to lay aside his every-day clothes, and put on his Sunday ones, and to consider that, from that day forth, he had done working with his hands—to the end of his life.

    Well: for a lad of seventeen, who was so fond of books and of sentimentalising by the Trent, and in the Park, and as far as Clifton Grove, this was, certainly, for the first week, a glorious state of existence.  But, somehow or other, the second holiday week, in Sunday clothes every day, was not so happy as the first; and when the third arrived—then Diggory Lawson, for the first time in his life, became "the lad who felt like a fish out of water."  The river did not look so beautiful and silvery, nor the flowers so lovely, nor the Park so green; in brief, Dig was tired of all he saw, and all he read, and tired even of himself; and he told his father and mother so outright.  But la! the mother had an answer for Dig so nicely opportune that she was in ecstacies to tell it—for she was sure it was a piece of such excellent "luck."  Mrs. Strutabout, the lace-merchant's lady (who had a large family of unmarried daughters), had sent so politely to say that she would be very happy to see young Mister Lawson to tea that afternoon—and they were such respectable people!  Dig's father said "Capital! just the thing!'; when he heard it; for he felt instantaneously sure—and indeed all his convictions ran by fits and starts—that that was certainly a step towards making Dig into a gentleman.  An introduction to genteel society, to "respectable" company—what could be finer?

    Diggory himself, however, hung his head, and felt shy about it, for he had never been "out to tea" before, in his life.  But his father said, "Pshaw! you young shame-face! you must shake all that off: remember I intend you to be as respectable a man as any of 'em!"  And the mother reminded Diggory that he would be sure to hear some music, for the young ladies Strutabout were thumping away on the piano from morning to night; you might hear them any hour of the day that you went by the front-room windows.  It was the last hint that enabled Diggory to master his bashfulness; for although he knew not a note scientifically, nor could he play on any instrument, yet his love of music amounted to a passion.,

    And so, at five o'clock, in the afternoon, Dig knocked, with a heart pit-a-pat, at the front-door of the merchant Strutabout, and was immediately welcomed in, and received, in the best room, by Mrs. Strutabout herself, so smilingly—and by the half dozen Misses Strutabout, so sweetly—that he hardly knew where he was with the novelty of so much genteel welcome.  One of the young ladies, so gently and winningly, took his hat, saying, "Pray let me take your hat, Mister Lawson!"—for poor Diggory, in his plainness, had brought it into the room, and, for the life of him did not know where to put it!  And then "the infinite deal of nothings" that the young ladies talked for a full half hour—Mrs. Strutabout herself retiring, and saying so politely, "She hoped Mister Lawson would excuse her a short time,"—and poor Diggory's difficulty in framing answers about nothing!  If they had talked of anybody he knew from books, either of Socrates or Alexander, of Cicero or Caesar, of Wat Tyler or John of Gaunt, of Hampden or Lord Chatham, of Marlborough or Napoleon; or of anybody that was "worth talking about," as he said to himself; or of any thing, or place, or substance, of which anything could be said that was sensible, Diggory could have talked, ay, and in good, thundering, long-syllabled words, too, as well as any man or youth in the three kingdoms.  But to take up a full half-hour in prattling about—Lord! he could not describe it when he returned home, it was such infantile sort of stuff as he had never supposed mortals uttered in "respectable" or any other sort of society!  Diggory Lawson was, indeed, during that half-hour, "the lad that felt like a fish out of water."

    At length, Mrs. Strutabout sailed in with her high turban cap, and her wide-spread swelling dress, more smilingly than ever, and the tea was brought in, and Mr. Strutabout arrived from the counting-house, and places began to be taken, and Mister Lawson was "begged" to come to the table, "unless he chose to take a cup where he was."  Diggory stared at the addition to the invitation.  And it was well for him that Mr. Strutabout jumped up, and began to urge him to the table, for had they handed Dig a cup of tea with cake, as he sat in the recess by the window, he would have been in a woeful pucker, no doubt.  As it was, he was in trouble enough.  Poor Diggory! he took his tea every day in a bason at home, and held up a book before it, devouring the contents of the volume far more eagerly than his food; and it was a cruel piece of ambition in his mother and father to thrust him upon "respectable" society so unthinkingly.  It may seem strange to fine drawing-room people, but with all Dig's knowledge, and as old as he was, the silver tea-spoon bothered him so indescribably, in the cup, that he knew not what to do; yet he durst not put it out upon the tray, because he saw, by peeping aside with his head down, that no one else did so.  The eldest Miss Strutabout saw this, and would have liked to show him how to place the spoon neatly under the side of his forefinger, but then, it would be so strange a thing to tell him at table.  As for the younger misses they were much disposed to giggle at poor Dig's awkwardness, only the mother looked gentle daggers at them, and restrained their lightness.  The good lady strove to hide Diggory's blunders, and the merchant engaged the youth in general talk on trade and business, so as to enable him to get through with the appearance that he was too much taken up with the conversation to attend to table etiquette.  But for all this good service and kindly interference, Diggory Lawson, while at Mrs. Strutabout's tea-table, was indeed, and of a truth, "the lad who felt like a fish out of water."

    The mortal agony was at last ended; and Diggory began to hope that he would reap some little enjoyment from his stay the remainder of the evening, since the piano was mentioned.  But, lackadaisy! the young ladies thumped and rattled, till Dig thought it was anything but music; and as for their singing—so unlike the simple ditties of the milkmaids, under the cows, to which he used to listen in the summer mornings by the "pasture Trent," with the skylark carolling overhead—so much like the midnight melody of some stray grimalkin was the singing of the Misses Strutabout, that it made Dig wish himself over and over again, five miles out of hearing of it.  He must endure it, however, since he durst not offend the family by suddenly withdrawing: they were so "respectable": nay, more, he was compelled to praise, for at the end of every overture, or solo, or duet, he was asked "how he liked that?" or "what he thought of that?" and the poor lad was compelled to torture his tongue into the utterance of commendations on what he began actually to loathe, until the announcement of supper gave a momentary suspension to his discontent.  And merely momentary was his ease, for the confounded ceremoniousness of the supper plagued him worse than the etiquette of the tea-table; and passing over the mention of all his blushes and throbbings, under the consciousness that he knew nothing about the niceties of this second eating process, let us come at once to the end of the adventure, and say that when he had fairly stepped into the street at ten o'clock, and when, after unnumbered polite adieus, the door of the merchant Strutabout was closed behind him, Diggory Lawson drew in a full breath of air with a feeling of thankfulness similar to that of one who passes out of a prison after a twelvemonth's confinement.

    Very gleefully did Dig's mother salute her boy when he came home, and his father not less proudly; but how queer they felt, when the poor lad told them he had "felt like a fish out of water!"  And when Diggory had given them such a brief account of his treat, as his dislike would permit, they looked at each other, and began to think, and to remember, that "they ought to have known that the lad would meet with fine manners that he was unused to at home."  But Dig's father told him to "cheer up," for he would know better how to go on another time.  But Diggory, inwardly, felt indisposed to try another time; yet he did not say so, and so the affair passed over.

    Now Diggory's mother knew no more about the right way of making the lad into a gentleman than the father; but she began to grow greatly distressed at observing the lad's restlessness and disquietude, for the hours and days went over Diggory's head more heavily the longer he was idle.  So she seriously took her husband to task, as they say in Nottinghamshire, about his delay in determining how Dig was to begin to be a gentleman.  Her discourse would have rendered the poor man very uneasy indeed, had not "luck" extricated him from his dilemma on the next day succeeding the curtain lecture.

    In his new manufacture, Diggory Lawson's father did business with a Londoner: this personage made his quarterly call at the very moment when his customer was so much intent on the great problem as to display much concern in his face.  A shrewd question was put: Dig's father told his trouble, and the cockney gave most instantaneous advice how the thing was to be done, as soon as he had been informed of what was so much desired.  "The young man must be had out to travel," he said; "he would procure him a 'highly respectable' situation as a genteel commercial traveller for a house in town: that was the way to set him off in the world, and make a real gentleman of him, for he would be thrown into the very best society!"

    Such was the cockney's advice: and it was sincere, too, for the pert little man really believed there was nothing in the world more "highly respectable" than that morsel of vanity—himself!  And then his prate was so fluent, so glib, so high sounding, he was such a walking vocabulary of commercial phrases, that he completely enfevered Dig's father with the persuasion of his cleverness; and the countryman yielded to the advice of the Londoner, believing he had been shown the very best way in the world for beginning to make his son into a gentleman.  The lad was, it is true, willing to go, he was so weary of the insipidity of his present idleness, and besides, he wanted to see London, and other parts of the country, never having yet quitted his native shire; but yet his common sense was a little suspicious, that this was not exactly the way to make him a gentleman.  Still this suspicion on the part of Diggory was no impediment in the way of a trial—for the lad did not so much wish to be a gentleman as a man—and he thought a little knowledge of the world would not prevent his progress towards that better climax.

    "Mr. Lawson, the bobbin-net manufacturer," would have had his son fashionably clothed ere he started for town; but the cockney turned up his nose at the very idea.  "It was a thing quite out of character," he told Mr. Lawson: "all the country tailors' fits were reckoned only dresses for scarecrows by the best tailors in town: it wouldn't do at all: he was against it, most decidedly!"

    Young Diggory, therefore, was impursed with a handsome sum, more than sufficient to purchase an outfit in London; for his father well knew he could trust to his prudence, and was despatched, per mail, to town, in company with the all-sufficient Londoner.  A week, or so, was spent, in visiting the various public exhibitions, and seeing the sights,—a change of neat suits was purchased (for the lad was too sensible to be fooled into the kickshaw dandy habits which the cockney recommended),—a situation, a "highly respectable" situation, (although but at very low remuneration, a thing of no consequence to Diggory,) was procured by the all-sufficient gentleman; and off started the new adventurer into Kent, to canvass for orders for a citizen and dry-salter of London.

    The merchant, his employer, had had but one interview with him, having engaged him chiefly through a quick impression of his solid intelligence, rather than from the cockney's florid recommendation; but the cockney gave him a regular "drill," as it might be called in his new profession, before he started out; and, although the tradesmen upon whom he called perceived that he was a "new beginner," yet his good sense prevented his experiencing any insurmountable difficulty in making his way as a commercial traveller.  In fact, Diggory had a much larger stock of theoretical knowledge to enable him to eke out his deficiencies in what was practical, than most young fellows who go out, for the first time, on similar engagements; and, therefore, it was not as a "greenhorn" among tradesmen, that he was likely to feel "like a fish out of water:" that was not the sort of uneasiness that newly awaited Diggory Lawson.

    What was it then?—Nothing less than the old pest in a new form:—etiquette.  He had been most cogently admonished by the cockney to take up his quarters at the very best commercial inns in his prescribed route,—or it would let down his employer, disgust customers, and injure his patron's business; nor had he been less earnestly warned to avoid deporting himself in any way contrary to the rules and customs of gentlemen he would meet with, who were "on the road" like himself, and who had their "highly respectable" established usages.  Diggory, like an obedient son, followed his father's monitions, and strove to conduct himself exactly as the Londoner advised and directed.  At the first-rate commercial inn in each town he stopped, hasted to canvass the tradesmen, and punctually returned to the inn at the hour when he was told dinner would be on the table in the "Commercial Room."  Diggory, too, being a sharp lad, as the reader knows by this time, bought a book on "Etiquette" and all that sort of thing, while in London: but though he imagined he would be a match for his new compeers "of the road," he found himself sorely mistaken, in the very outset, at Maidstone.

    At four, exactly, returned Diggory to his inn, having despatched considerable business for a mere beginner, and entered the "Commercial Room."  A buzz and a general whisper went round, as he entered, and no one returned his courteous movement (for he followed his book) when he performed it!  The company was large, well-dressed, and from the "bang-up" appearance of the numerous leather portmanteaus under the side-tables in the room, and the dashing whips and proud cloaks on the hooks, Diggory was sure they were, indeed, what the cockney would call "highly respectable" commercial gentlemen, or "gentlemen on the road."  It was strange, he thought, that they should be so uncourteous.  Yet, Diggory observed, that every new comer was received in the same way; and so he set it down in his memory that it was the wrong time of the day for bows of courtesy among "commercial gentlemen";—and that was not a bad idea, either, for so green an observer,—especially as the gentlemen had not dined.

    Dinner was brought in, and a tolerably sumptuous affair it was.  "Commercial gentlemen," even at the "first-rate commercial inns," don't "cut it quite so fat" (for so vulgar a phrase may be allowed since it will apply to the dinners) now-a-days, as they did then,—since we are speaking of something more than fifty years bygone; and the last fifty years, with their wonderful innovations of railway travelling and increased competition, have made woeful alterations among your princely commercial travellers: they were the innkeeper's grandees then: the case is altered now.  Diggory, with all his intellectuality and sentimentalism and so forth, was pleased to see the goodly provisions of the table, for he was very hungry; and he began to muster up his recollections of the "book of etiquette."

    But, behold!—a single moment threw all his calculations out of order.  He was the youngest in the room; and by the rules of the road, he must, therefore, take the post of vice-president at the dinner!  Diggory's book said nothing about this; for it was not written expressly for "commercial gentle men," but for "good society" generally.  Poor Dig took the post, however, but felt in a strange perturbation as the gentleman at his right hand intimated a wish for a little mutton, and looked at him, "the Vice!"  The chairman was already helping his end of the table to slices of a sirloin, and so Dig gory drew the piece of hot mutton near him, and was beginning to cut, but did it so awkwardly that the gentleman at his right-hand, who was somewhat of a gourmand, cried out, "Oh dear, sir! not that way!"  Diggory stopped,—stared,—blushed: but the chairman, an elderly and fatherly-looking man, put on an encouraging smile, and said, "Lengthwise, sir, if you please: not across: the other way keeps in the gravy best."  Diggory's heart cleaved to the man who told him this so kindly and handsomely, and he thanked the chairman, adding in his simplicity, that he was unused to carving mutton, especially a shoulder, he added, looking at it, and thinking it could not be a leg.

    "A shoulder!" exclaimed the gentleman on his right hand, staring like one who was horror-struck; "why, God bless me, 'tis a saddle!"

    Diggory blushed worse than before, for there was a perceptible laugh round the table; but he made no reply, and tried to proceed with his work of carving.  Trembling as he did, there was no wonder that he spattered the right-hand gentleman with gravy until the gentleman grew angry.  And then Diggory apologised; but the gentleman, still more indignantly, besought him to go on, and not keep the company waiting,—meaning himself.  How glad was the lad when he had succeeded in filling the man's plate, and silencing him!  The rest whom he had to accommodate were of less irritable natures; but no one offered to relieve him, until each had despatched their first plate, and then Diggory's appetite was gone, for he had not been able to eat a mouthful up to that time, through the throng of his new and difficult employment.

    The next course increased poor Diggory's trouble: he knew no more about carving a fowl than conducting a ship to China; and when he had cut off a blundering slice at a venture, and put it on the right-hand gentleman's plate, the irritable gourmand stared ferociously in his face, shovelled the clumsy slice off the plate into the dish, cried aloud, "Mangling done here!" and to Diggory's consternation seized the carving-knife and fork, to cut for himself.

    And now the chairman interfered.  "He trusted he should be supported by the company, sitting there as he did: if the young gentleman was an improficient in the duties of the table, perhaps he might be allowed to say that they all knew what it was to be young at one time in their lives, and he did think—though he was the last man in the world to wish to give the slightest offence—that the gentleman to the right of the vice-president of that table had not acted so courteously as he might have done."  And then there was a pretty general "Hear, hear!"  But quickly uprose the irritable gentleman, and rejected the admonition of the president with scorn, and thumped the table during his delivery of a most energetic oration of half a minute, until he shook the glasses so that they rang changes against each other.

    The irritable gentleman no sooner sat down than another arose, and another, and another, each demanding that he should apologise to the president for his want of courtesy, and the irritable gentleman yielded to apologise—though it was far more from eagerness to eat, than a return of good-nature.—Diggory was "assisted" in cutting up the fowl by one on his left, who began to be warmed with sympathy for the youth, now the sympathiser's stomach was allayed in some small degree by sundry hearty slices of mutton.  To the drawing of the cloth Diggory experienced no further mortification: but the past was enough in any conscience; and during the season in which that company of "highly respectable gentlemen" were masticating their viands, poor Diggory, who did not eat three mouthfuls, might most aptly be styled "the lad who felt like a fish out of water."

    And now the wine was pushed about; and whether it was the little "tiff" which had taken place during the dinner, or whatever might be the cause, considerable difficulty was felt, for some time, by all the company, in attaining that sense of freedom, that warm hilariousness, which an Englishman always looks for, over the bottle, and by the charm of which, and not by the animal gust for the liquor, drinking usages have become so widely established.  This uneasy feeling, however, was dissipated by degrees; and then, by the natural reaction of the human spirits, the zest for good-fellowship grew unbounded.  And yet this over-heated, steamy sort of boon companionship manifested itself exactly as might be expected among "highly respectable commercial gentlemen," though poor Diggory was too ignorant of the genus to make the proper calculation.  They neither called each other by familiar names, nor sang, nor shouted, nor huzzaed, nor laughed, till they hiccupped.  Compliments, that out-heroded Herod in their gorgeousness of dress and brilliancy of colouring,—good—wishes,—mighty, vast, profound, coming from the "bottom of their hearts,"—for the prosperity of each other in their undertakings,—testimonies to each other's "respectability" (always first), honour, candour, probity, (take the first catalogue of the virtues you find, and supply all the rest,)—flowed out of the smiling, bubbling, fountain of their wine-warmed hearts, and wreathed itself so fantastically into the vaporous shapes of words (if that be nonsense, take it for a specimen of their speeches),—that Diggory Lawson was puzzled to determine whether they were more lunatic or tipsy.

    Luckily, he found a little relief, both corporeally and mentally, in nibbling at the remnant of the dessert, which the whole company forgot for wine and speechifying.  Yet he had but a torturous time of it, and was still "the lad who felt like a fish out of water."

    It should scarcely be omitted, that by the natural way of ascending from the mediocre to the sublime, so genial to the minds of "highly respectable commercial gentlemen," the last hour of the speechifying was entirely occupied by that grand problem,—that question of questions,—that important and absorbing interrogation of "the commercial room,"—"Is it not time to smoke?"

    Now the president insisted, that eight o'clock being the established hour for "permitting to smoke" in that room, he, as president of that company, sitting there as he did, could not grant permission to smoke, since it was but just seven.  And then arose the irritable little gentleman, who talked so politely about "mangling" when Diggory spoilt the fowl.  He really felt that he must claim the indulgence of the company: but he would appeal to every gentleman in the room, and he, most conscientiously, felt that he could safely and confidently appeal to them, and he was sure they would bear testimony that no one was more observant than himself of the rules of that room, (and then there was a general "Hear, hear!" though Diggory, in spite of his timidity, could not forbear saying "Hem!")—and he would feel it beneath him to infringe on the necessary regulations for the preservation of comfort in good society; but yet,—but yet,—on the present occasion,—feeling as they all did, that warmth of esteem, and union of sentiment and feeling, and—(we omit a page here)—he thought the president of that company might take it upon him to dispense with the peculiar rule relative to smoking on that occasion.

    Pro and con—the arguments were equally laborious, equally long, and equally senseless; and the president, being one of the oldest "gentlemen on the road," and though very bland in his nature, yet a stickler for custom, stuck to his point to the last, and was only worsted by the clock.  Truly, Diggory Lawson, during the smoke discussion, was "the lad who felt like a fish out of water."  Much more did he resemble the said unlucky fish when the smoking began, insomuch that he was compelled to seize an early opportunity of retiring to bed.

    Diggory Lawson completed his journey, but returned to London with a complete mental nausea of the cockney's plan for making him into a gentleman.  Torn entirely from his beloved books, he was infinitely more miserable than when their only companionship subjected him to weariness.  His mind hurried with anxiety, dissipated by the unintellectual nature of his engagement, annoyed and disgusted with the manners of those he was compelled to regard as the proper associates of his leisure, he wrote home to his father entreating permission to return.  One paragraph will show the character of his letter:—

    "Not a single thought or habit of my short life has prepared me for such an engagement as that procured me by your friend.  It was misery enough to listen to the prattle of 'unidea'd girls,' as Dr. Johnson expresses himself on a similar occasion; but of all the tortures in the world, deliver me from the company of empty, conceit-blown mortals, who have such large notions of their own importance as these 'highly respectable commercial gentlemen.'  I entreat your permission to return home, for I am 'like a fish out of water.'"

    The boon was readily granted,—for Diggory's mother, having never been separated from her child before, had wept every day since she parted with him.  The very next month, Dig's father gave up the notion of making him into a gentleman,—for the bobbin-net speculation waned,—and there was an end to making an immense fortune in a twinkling.  He embarked the little capital he had gained in the more staple manufacture of the town, took Diggory into the trade, and associating with plain, sensible men, and cultivating knowledge in his leisure hours, Diggory Lawson was happier every day, and was no longer "the lad who felt like a fish out of water."

_______________________________

 
THE INTELLECTUAL LEVER THAT
LACKED A FULCRUM.
_________


MR. MORTIMER had suddenly inherited an estate of something more than five hundred a year, by the death of an uncle, and was persuaded by his Whig acquaintances in the metropolis, since he had just jumped into "a qualification," to set himself in earnest about getting into Parliament: for a seat then, when Lord Melbourne's premiership seemed to be held by a very frail tenure, might—his cockney friends entreated him to remember—enable him to "save the country " for, at least, another year, from the "merciless grasp" of the Tories.  So Mr. Mortimer set his wits to work, to find out how the seat was to be gained.  He hunted for opinions wherever he went; but none "took his fancy" so much as a shrewd hour's advice given him one day, without a fee, by a lawyer, or a person who said he was one, and with whom he fell into conversation on board one of the Richmond steamers.

    "Start a newspaper, sir; that's your only sure card, for cheapness," said the earnest-talking man who called himself "a solicitor": the press gives a man a power that is irresistible."

    Mr. Mortimer was struck with the words, and wondered that he had never, by his own unassisted thought, alighted on so "tangibly-intelligent an idea," as he inwardly and emphatically termed it.  But the "legal gentleman's" next words made him feel still more confident that he was talking to a man who was worth listening to:—a solid matter-of-fact man, and not a mere fanciful idealist:—one who surveyed his ground before he either trod upon it himself, or recommended others to set their feet upon it.

    "And, if I were asked," the said legal gentleman continued, without being asked,—"if I were asked where would you start it?  I should say 'Kent,' in one word.  You desire to serve the present administration.  Well: there's Greenwich, and Deptford, and Woolwich: the naval and military establishments give the government full sweep there: Chatham, the same: Deal and Sandwich, no difference: Dover, as beforesaid: Hythe—there Marchbanks (that's the genteel way of pronouncing his name) can put you in if he likes, for he's a Whig: Canterbury—Lord Albert Conyngham's going out, and a Whig's sure to be returned there.  In fact, there is but old Rochester where the Tories are sure; and Maidstone where the Conservatives can't easily be got out.  Start a paper on Whig principles in Kent, sir; and—this is autumn of Eighteen-Forty—and, my word to a thousand pounds! before Forty-one is out, you will be returned for one or other of the Kentish boroughs."

    Mr. Mortimer was quite decided: he declared he was.  And so he buttoned up the breast of his surtout, and put on his gloves, after pulling them off very suddenly,—and began to walk, very energetically, about the deck of the little packet.  The "solicitor" took care to keep close to his elbow, suggesting, and then answering, a hundred questions on hops, and cherries, and wheat, and sanfoin, and clover, and smuggled spirits and tobacco; and the scores of "houses to let" at the watering-places, and the company there, and how it differed at Margate and Ramsgate, and Dover and Gravesend, respectively; and, in short, on "all and sundry," the natural and manufactured productions of "Kent, the first English county in point of rank," as the legal gentleman assured Mr. Mortimer it was always esteemed to be.

    Mr. Mortimer was quite decided: he declared he was.  "Egad! now I recollect," said the legal gentleman, "a friend of mine in one of the streets leading into Cheapside, has, at this very time, a large assortment of type, with a small handy machine-press, a most neat affair, I'll assure you! in fact, everything that would be suitable for a commencement: they came into his hands for a bad debt, and might be had amazingly cheap."

    Mr. Mortimer looked just as eager as the solicitor wished him to look.

    "And, if you like," continued the solicitor; "if you like,—but 'tis of no consequence if you prefer new type,—only that would be most confoundedly expensive,—but, if you like,—I have no doubt I could get the whole lump,—I had almost said, dirt-cheap for you."

    Mr. Mortimer commissioned the legal gentleman, in a twinkling, to make the purchase; for he was decided: he declared he was.  So Mr. Mortimer gave the gentleman his card; and the "solicitor" (who swore, when he discovered that he had "lost his card-case ") gave Mr. Mortimer his address; and as the packet was at Westminster Stairs by this time, Mr. Mortimer got out, and bade "good day," with a grateful smile, to the "solicitor," who remained in the boat to land at London Bridge, for the city.

    Mr. Mortimer dined very heartily, and in most speechless silence; for he was exceedingly full of thought, and exceedingly pleased with his good fortune.  Everything had fallen out so exceedingly, so wonderfully lucky.  The advice of the legal gentleman was so intelligent,—so sensible,—so deeply distinguished by common sense, which Dean Swift (Mr. Mortimer remembered) always said was of more value than all other kinds of sense put together.  In fact, the man he (Mr. Mortimer) could clearly see was "up to snuff," and knew all about the mysteries of government influence, and where it lay, and what the county produced; and everything!  But to complete his good fortune, to put the crowning mark upon it, this very man knew where type and a machine-press was to be had for a mere trifle! so that he (Mr. Mortimer) had nothing to do but to write out an advertisement for the Chronicle; and he would write it out that very afternoon, and take it to the office himself; and to-morrow morning, within three hours of the paper being published, no doubt, half-a-score literary men would be at the door, as corrivals and competitors for the new editorship.

    Thus was Mr. Mortimer ruminating over his third glass of claret, when the servant's announcement that Mr.——had called,—the very legal gentleman whom Mr. Mortimer left at Westminster Stairs but two hours before,—caused him to open his eyes very wide, and ask the gentleman's name again.  The gentleman was introduced, however, and, with a world of apologies, but another world of assurances that it resulted from his zeal to serve Mr. Mortimer, regretted that he should have intruded at such a time; but he had bought the machine-press and the type, for he had run upon his friend in Cheapside before he reached his own residence, and snapped up the whole thing before any one else found it, and it was now actually at the door!

    "At the door!" cried Mr. Mortimer,—"what door?"

    "My dear sir," answered the legal gentleman, with singular suavity, "I regret exceedingly, as I have just observed, that I should have intruded at this particular time; but I knew the highly important object,—the national object, as I may say,—that you had fixed your mind upon—admitted of no delay, and so I went to work instanter.  To a gentleman who is rather unused to these things "

    Mr. Mortimer confessed he was unused to these things, and felt that he ought to feel grateful, exceedingly grateful, to the gentleman.

    The gentleman begged there might be no apology.—But Mr. Mortimer really felt he ought to apologise.—Yet the gentleman most particularly begged there might be no apology; and—there was the little bill!—and—where would Mr. Mortimer have the goods put, since they were in a van—the very first thing, in the shape of a conveyance, that the gentleman could see when he had bargained for the type and the machine-press—in a van, at the door!

    The bill was something more than one hundred pounds, and—and—Mr. Mortimer was staggered, for he had not calculated on half the sum; but, what could he say?  It would be so disrespectful, so ungrateful, so ungentlemanlike, to demur to the price or the purchase; so Mr. Mortimer thanked the gentleman "most heartily": he was under very deep obligations to him: it was what he ought not to expect from a mere stranger: he would retain a most grateful sense of the gentleman's kindness.  And he begged the gentleman would be seated; and would the gentleman take claret, or did he prefer Burgundy?

    The gentleman reminded Mr. Mortimer that the van was at the door, and it was necessary to say what was to be done with the goods.  He (the "legal gentleman") had an unoccupied office just now on his hands, and it was at Mr. Mortimer's service if——

    An English thought shot across Mr. Mortimer's mind, and he rang the bell, and summoned his landlady.  "Did she know of any upholsterer, or other tradesman in the neighbourhood, who could take care of a little furniture that was in the van at the door?"  The landlady replied that she did, and Mr. Mortimer begged she would see it taken care of, in her own name.

    The legal gentleman looked very sharply and earnestly at his watch,—when the landlady withdrew, and Mr. Mortimer again mentioned the wine.  He, the "legal gentleman," really could not stay at that particular time; he had acted thus promptly in order to serve Mr. Mortimer, for he was aware of the vast importance of promptitude in national affairs, and Mr. Mortimer's particular business might most emphatically be termed a national affair, when its ultimate purpose was considered.

    Mr. Mortimer could not press the gentleman under such circumstances, so began to write out a cheque for the amount of the bill.  A sudden thought struck him, however, just as he had handed it to the gentleman.

    "We must talk one point over, my dear sir," he said, and that is, where must the paper be published? for you observed that there were already several small papers of an insignificant character in the county, and that they were published at different towns.  Now where must my new paper be published, so as best to compete with one of them?"

    The legal gentleman looked as if taken aback for a moment, but speedily answered, "Why not in London?"

    "Hum!" replied Mr. Mortimer, musingly: "would not that be rather out of character?  Might not the Kentish people deny that the paper was a Kentish paper at all, then?"

    "Your plan, sir, is this," answered the solicitor, with the same air of unanswerable decision and discernment which he wore in the steamer; "take a trip of observation through the whole county for yourself: it will cost you little, if you go shrewdly to work; and you will learn much, by the way, that will be of immense service to you, in the great undertaking itself: that's the likeliest way to find your fulcrum, as a clever mechanical friend of mine always says, and then plant your intellectual lever; and may it prove successful, sir, is my heart's best wish, in raising you speedily to the House of Commons!"

    The legal gentleman rounded with a smile; but his speech needed no gilding for Mr. Mortimer: it went to the inmost chamber of his brain, with the speed and power of instant and undisturbable conviction; and he shook his adviser most fervently by the hand, and regretted, again and again, that the gentleman could not stay and spend the evening, but hoped he would have the pleasure of his company again, when he, Mr. Mortimer, had completed the little projected tour.  The legal gentleman assured Mr. Mortimer he would feel honoured in accepting the invitation, and, with great politeness, withdrew.

    Mr. Mortimer's Kentish tour was commenced the very next morning.  He was in the street at Greenwich, as soon as the first train could arrive there, in its fifteen minutes' journey from the foot of London Bridge.  Mr. Mortimer could, of course, think of no step so likely to be taken with a view to obtaining information, as calling at a respectable business-like inn.  He had made a little inquiry in the railway carriage; and "The Mitre" and "The Greyhound" were recommended as highly respectable resorts of company.  Mr. Mortimer bent his steps towards "The Greyhound."  He found the landlord to be a person of very frank and pleasing appearance, and of very courteous manners; but it was too early for company, so the tourist intimated that he would require dinner at such an hour, and went out to saunter a few hours about the Hospital and the Park.  There seemed to be much that a person might be pleased with, he thought, amidst all that he saw; but his mind was fixed on obtaining information, and he could see no one walking in the Park, nor about the Hospital colonnades, that was at all likely, in his judgment, to tell him anything about the desirableness or propriety of starting a newspaper at Greenwich.  He passed several old pensioners, while in this discontented mood, sitting under the shade of the noble chestnut trees, some recounting their naval adventures while turning the quid, or smoking, and others reading.  Suddenly, he observed that a veteran who was reclining alone was reading a newspaper; and the whim seized him to make a little inquiry in the line of his own pursuit, though he thought it a somewhat unlikely quarter from whence to obtain the information he was seeking.

    "You are busy, I see, my friend," said Mr. Mortimer: "any particular news, just now?"

    "Why no, sir," answered the veteran, looking through his spectacles at the person who asked him the question: "everything seems very dull, but you know they always fill the newspapers up with something,—what with things that happen and things that never did happen, and what with things that they invent, and things that they borrow."

    "Do you read the papers much?" asked Mr. Mortimer, thinking the old man displayed shrewdness enough to deserve another question.

    "Why, sir, I might read 'em more than I do, if I would," answered the veteran; "but I don't think it worth the trouble.  This is a London paper, and I see it weekly.  They publish two papers in Greenwich here, but they're neither of 'em worth looking at, according to my thinking.  How they get supported I can't make out, for nobody thinks anything of 'em; yet I heard a person say that there was strong talk of another being started by some gentleman that's disposed to fool his money away.  'Tis a pity but what somebody or other would advise him different, for it's the wildest scheme in the world, I think, to imagine that any newspaper can prosper in a place like this, that's so near London."

    Mr. Mortimer felt as if he would have dropped into the earth, and had but just presence of mind left to bid the old pensioner "good morning," before he walked away to recover the blow thus given to his hopes.  But he consoled himself by reflecting that it was a "mere vulgar old man" who had delivered this opinion,—one who was not at all likely to know what chance there was for the success of a newspaper enterprise, into which so many commercial and political interests and considerations must needs be woven.  It must be a matter altogether beyond the scope and reach of a mere Greenwich pensioner.  After restoring his own confidence in some degree, the tourist returned to his inn, dined, read the papers, and at length had the pleasure of seeing the evening company begin to gather.  But Mr. Mortimer was resolved to make longer preliminary observation this time, ere he introduced the subject that most nearly concerned him.  He was pleased to find, by attending to the tone of remarks, as the current subjects of Mahomet Ali, and Napier, and the Syrian question, were being discussed, that the two great parties of Whigs and Tories were fully represented in the room.  He thought this a fortunate circumstance for himself, since he would be less likely to gather a biased decision among the company, on his great newspaper question, when he thought the time was come for his introduction of it.  And after waiting long, he did introduce it, cautiously concealing, as he thought, the fact, that he himself was desirous of commencing a Kentish paper.  But Mr. Mortimer was not the cunningest man in the world, and more than one member of the company perceived his purpose before the close of the conversation.

    "Vy, sir, you understand,"—began a very elderly person, of a portly figure, who seemed to be held in great respect by his companions, but who, by his dialect, had evidently been thrown among the least cultivated portion of the metropolitan population,—"you understand, that's a vay o' hembarking cappitle, as it vere, vich I vouldn't recommend, for von: for, by the same rule, you understand, another gen'lman's a-been thinking of it, and I said the same, you understand, to him."

    But Mr. Mortimer did not understand; and he therefore made no reply.

    "But it depends a good deal on the particular object the individual has in view who embarks the capital," observed a thin, keen-looking man: "if Captain Dundas, now, were to start a paper in Greenwich, it could not fail to answer his purpose."

    "By the same rule," interjected the elderly person, "that's quite another affair, as it vere.  The Captain, you understand,—and success to him say I, vith all my 'art!—the Captain, you understand, by the same rule, vouldn't care about the paper paying."

    "Exactly," observed the bland landlord, reconciling the apparent difference of his guests: "so that that does not disprove your point."

    "But pray, gentlemen,"—asked Mr. Mortimer, "may I ask what would be the particular object of Captain Dundas, if he were to start a new paper in your town?"

    "O! Parliament, sir!—Parliament, of course!" quickly replied the thin, keen-looking man, with a very significant shake of the head.

    Mr. Mortimer's blood beat quick with a rush of thoughts; but he resolved to be prudent, and so he said nothing; but he felt more than ever assured of the legal gentleman's intelligence who had first recommended his present errand, and he sank gently back, when he had sipped largely at his brandy and water, and pulled away vehemently at his cigar.  "It is indeed the intellectual lever, as the gentleman said," reflected Mr. Mortimer within himself, "whereby a man may raise himself to the House of Commons; every intelligent man thinks so; but then—where to plant the fulcrum?"

    So Mr. Mortimer rejoined the conversation, which was now in full tide respecting the relative chances of a new Whig, and a new Tory paper; and pressed the question very closely, whether, in the whole county of Kent, Greenwich were the more likely place to start a new paper.  To this question there were many answers: one said it was a better place than Woolwich, where a new paper had just started; and another compared it with Gravesend; and others with Canterbury and Dover; but there was a fair majority in the room for Greenwich; yet, what chiefly puzzled Mr. Mortimer was the fact, that when he subjected his own doubt to the consideration of the company, as to whether the immediate proximity of Greenwich to London would not militate against the chances of prosperity for a new Greenwich paper, there were equal numbers for and against.  One circumstance particularly gratified Mr. Mortimer: the thin, keen-looking man strenuously maintained that the contiguity of Greenwich to London would be, and was, and must necessarily be, the strongest, the most advantageous point of view in which the whole question to be solved could be entered upon.  The thin, keen-looking man said a great deal more,—but, somehow or other, Mr. Mortimer understood him less, the more he talked; and as the hour was advancing on midnight, Mr. Mortimer withdrew, resolving to turn the whole conversation over, and make up his mind in bed.

    But Mr. Mortimer did not turn the conversation over there, for he had smoked and drank too much, in his earnestness, to keep awake one minute when he was fairly abed.  Yet he dreamt wonderful things about the "Intellectual Lever,"—things that warmed and enraptured his fancy when he woke the next morning;—but nothing about the "fulcrum,"—so that he gained no help by his dreams towards making up his mind about publishing at Greenwich.  It was "all right," however, Mr. Mortimer reflected, as he sat down to breakfast,—it was all right, that he did not make up his mind at the outset: it was most judicious to keep himself, mentally, in equilibrio, until he had been round the county, completed his tour of observation, and then put the merits and advantages of each town side by side,—so as to enable himself to draw a correct judgment.

    If all Mr. Mortimer's thinkings were to be related, his story would be a very long one.  Suffice it to say, that he, forthwith, set out for Lewisham, when he had breakfasted, and paid his bill, and bidden the landlord "Good-morning."  From Lewisham Mr. Mortimer strode on to Bromley; and from Bromley, per stage-coach, he went to Sevenoaks, and the next day to Tonbridge, and to the Wells the following day.  This was the route Mr. Mortimer had most sagaciously chalked out for himself,—he being thoroughly bent on making the complete circuit of the county.  The "Intellectual Lever" he took care to mention wherever he went,—for he had now fully resolved to give his projected newspaper that name,—and he thought every one looked as pleased with it as he felt himself.  Indeed, every one was delighted during the whole of this part of Mr. Mortimer's tour with the idea of a newspaper that was to take up the interests of parts of the county which, they assured him, had been so much neglected, notwithstanding they were so highly important.  Equal delight and similar assurances greeted the ears of the projector at Cranbrook and Tenterden and Ashford and Hythe and Folkestone,—insomuch that Mr. Mortimer began to feel more than ever puzzled with, the task of arranging, in his own mind, the astounding claims of importance preferred by the respectable denizens of the towns through which he passed,—ever announcing his design of planting "The Intellectual Lever"—when he should have found a "fulcrum."

    At Dover, Mr. Mortimer made a longer halt, finding a most agreeable lodging at the Gun Hotel, and meeting, moreover, advisers of a determined character for "planting the Intellectual Lever" there: it was the key of England, these counsellors assured Mr. Mortimer; it was really the only natural "fulcrum" for the lever, seeing that it received the first Continental news: it was, anciently, of so much importance; it was about to become of so much importance, by the formation of a grand new harbour, and by its new railway connection with London; and, above all, it sent two members to parliament.  Mr. Mortimer was troubled, for the Dover counsellors assured him they would have nothing to do with a Greenwich paper.  Greenwich was nothing to them; and, as for the other towns through which the projector had passed, they only laughed to hear them mentioned.

    "It must be Dover," thought Mr. Mortimer;—yet he had resolved to act prudently, and so he did not positively say so; but, bidding his earnest advisers a very earnest farewell, mounted a daily conveyance for Deal and Walmer.  There, he was assured by all with whom he conversed, that the "Intellectual Lever" must be published at Dover,—and then—and then—it could not fail to secure the entire patronage of Deal and Walmer!  Mr. Mortimer thought the Deal and Walmer people talked somewhat inflatedly anent their straggling sea-side villages,—for so he was inclined to call them; but then, he reflected again, that they shared with Sandwich in returning two members to Parliament.  To Sandwich he went next day; but—what was the importance of any town he had visited compared with Sandwich—in the eyes of its little population?  Mr. Mortimer was perplexed—greatly perplexed—for the little old town looked, to him, so very unimportant, and the claims of its inhabitants to political consideration were so lofty!  Dover? yes, they thought Dover might do,—or Canterbury; but the "lever" must be planted in their neighbourhood.  In fact, Mr. Mortimer perceived, clearly enough, that the Sandwichers would have liked to tell him, plainly, that Sandwich was the proper "fulcrum" for the "Intellectual Lever,"—but very shame withheld them.

    The next day, the traveller went on in the same kind of daily conveyance —half-cab, half-cart—to Ramsgate.  The journeying was very pleasant, in the neighbourhood of the sea, and the company very cheerful; but they were not of a character to understand much about levers and fulcrums,—so Mr. Mortimer said nothing about either, but listened rather than conversed.

    Mr. Mortimer had been perplexed before,—but what could describe his perplexity, when he had spent a day each in Ramsgate and Margate?  He was lectured rather than told,—by every company he joined,—about the absolute, the imperative necessity of regarding "the Isle of Thanet" in its proper light: everybody was neglecting it: no one attended to it: their interests were vanishing: property was becoming of no value: any petty village in Kent could have its puffs and its praises, while their towns—the two most respectable watering-places in all England—were forgotten!  Dover?—nonsense!—Canterbury was the place—if the gentleman did not like to venture on taking the Isle of Thanet for a fulcrum.  But the gentleman must remain another day; and attend the grand "annual dinner of the Isle of Thanet," at the "Ranelagh Gardens"; a delightful spot, Mr. Mortimer was assured it was: the gentleman would then be able to draw some more accurate conclusion as to the real importance of their distinct part of Kent.  So Mr. Mortimer stayed, and attended the dinner, and was much pleased, for a time.  A London editor of a newspaper was there, it is true; and drew a little more attention than Mr. Mortimer was pleased to see; but then, the editor belonged to a daily paper, and Mr. Mortimer consoled himself with the belief that that would not stand in the way of his weekly "lever," when he had found the fulcrum, and planted it.  But, alack! poor Mr. Mortimer—how did he feel during the last three hours of the feast; for it was a protracted midnight affair, according to custom, elsewhere, in similar "annual" meetings;—how did poor Mr. Mortimer feel when, after all the usual "loyal toasts" had been drunk,—and the grand toast of the evening, the "prosperity" toast, came on,—an ambitious Ramsgate-man dared to put the name of his town before the name of Margate!  Thunder and lightning!  Etna and Vesuvius!  Was there ever anything comparable to the rage that followed, and the denunciation, and the eloquent invective, so far transcending Chatham and Grattan and Brougham, and all the wielders of scathing sarcasm that ever breathed!  Ten?—no! nor twenty pages—would not hold the speeches:—so 'tis to no purpose making more words about it.  Mr. Mortimer was—to use a very expressive slang phrase or two—completely flummaxed and fabbergasted; or, as Jonathan would say—he was "struck all of a heap!"  Mr. Mortimer's head reeled, and he said nothing,—no! not a word, as they crammed him into a carriage with half-a-dozen more, at midnight, to go back to Margate; though the reason might partly be, that he had tippled two bottles of sherry, and was asleep; but, suffice it to say, that, the next morning, Mr. Mortimer left Margate for Canterbury, more than ever puzzled with the immense problem of the "relative importance" of towns in Kent,—more than ever in a quandary as to where the true and indisputable "fulcrum" existed for "planting the intellectual lever."

    Canterbury,—ah!  Canterbury was a city he had often longed to see, and he had, more than once, half made up his mind to visit it, for mere curiosity.  But, now, when his brains were in such a whirl with thinking about the lever, and finding such alarming difficulty in discovering the fulcrum—why, he forgot Becket, and the Black Prince, and St. Augustine, and deferred all historical inquiries and all sightseeing, and asked about nought but newspapers.  "Newspapers, sir!"—exclaimed the landlord of the inn at which he alighted,—"newspapers!—why, Lord love ye! we have four published here in Canterbury, already!"

    Mr. Mortimer stared more than ever he had stared in his life.  "Four!" he echoed; "four!  What sort of papers are they, Pray?"

    "Sort o' papers, sir!" answered the landlord, "why, werry capital papers: three of 'em at least,—them as is heddited by Mr. Mudford, a werry clever man, sir."

    Mudford!—what, Mudford that used to edit the 'Courier'?"

    "The werry same gen'lman, sir," answered the cockney landlord.

    Mr. Mortimer turned pale.  "And the other paper?" he said, by way of question.

    "Oh! that, sir, is a low radical affair—'The Kent Herald'—but I don't belong to that party, though they're werry strong here; and the paper sells well, they say."

    Mr. Mortimer sat down, and tried to think.  He sipped a pint of sherry, and munched a couple of biscuits, and he did think; for the result was, that he took coach in another hour, and set off for Chatham and Rochester.

    And now, Mr. Mortimer, singularly enough, rose from zero to fever heat, in his hopes and resolves about the fulcrum and the intellectual lever.  "The four towns," as the Chatham people told him,—Strood, Rochester, Chatham and Brompton,—united as they were, lying around the basin of the Medway, filled with trading enterprize, blending so many great interests,—the dockyard, the soldiers' barracks, the hulks, the Dissenters so all-powerful in Chatham, the Jew brokers, the cigar smugglers (or makers rather), the corporation of Rochester and its two members, and Chatham and its one member of Parliament, the cathedral, and the castle in ruins,—were all thrown upon Mr. Mortimer in such clustered phrases of inviting importance, that he completely lost his "rules of prudence," and proclaimed in a tone very like a shout, and very like Archimedes, only he didn't speak Greek,—"I have found it!'  Yes; Mr. Mortimer declared he had found it—found the fulcrum for the lever, and the new newspaper should be published at Chatham: the forty thousand inhabitants of the four towns, he said, were surely able to support a paper themselves.  He was decided, he declared he was.

    Mr. Mortimer's resolution was confirmed beyond the possibility of change, he felt assured, by a little voyage in the steamer to Sheerness.  Chatham was "just the place," the Sheerness people assured him, for the publication of a paper, and they would support it; in fact, it would have the support of "the whole Isle of Sheppy!"  Mr. Mortimer was exhilarated,—nay, he was exultant; and, although he had determined only to stay an hour in Sheerness, and then get on board a steamer for returning up the Thames, he was so pleased that he remained all day, and drank as hard, in his earnestness, as he had at the "Ranelagh Gardens" in the Isle of Thanet.

    Mr. Mortimer had but one call now to make, in order to complete the line of Kentish survey,—circle, rather, which he had so sagaciously laid down for himself; and he, accordingly, got out at Gravesend, the next morning, as he was proceeding in the packet on the Thames.  Not that Mr. Mortimer thought Gravesend of great importance, but it might be as well, he said within himself, to call there.  Unfortunate Mr. Mortimer! what did he know of the "relative importance" of the towns of Kent?  Landlords, company, shopkeepers, loungers of all grades, in fact everybody, insisted that Gravesend was the only place in Kent where a paper could possibly prosper!  People little thought of the real worth of Gravesend.  "But you have no member of Parliament," said poor Mr. Mortimer, feeling all his old tribulation returning.  What then? it was answered: they had a corporation, and two piers, and two packet companies, with eternal war between the piers and the companies, war that shook the whole bank of the Thames, and was even perceived to have caused sundry vibrations in London-bridge itself, where "the companies"' packets landed their passengers.  Besides, they had had a paper in Gravesend once,—"The Journal,"—and it prospered; but no sooner was it removed to Greenwich than it became worthless.  That ought to be a convincing proof to Mr. Mortimer that Gravesend was the proper, the only fulcrum for his intellectual lever.  Above all, Gravesend was now become "London in parvo,"—a fine, well-fed, and well-dressed gentleman observed: genteel people,—he meant prosperous merchants,—removed their families thither for the entire summer season, and just took the run with the steamers to London and back, morning and evening, to transact business: the metropolis possessed its finest suburb in the rising and extending and rapidly-improving town of Gravesend!—and the company cheered the gentleman's speech most enthusiastically,—and, poor Mr. Mortimer! he was, more than ever, confounded, puzzled, bothered, perplexed, flummaxed and flabbergasted!  He could not return to London that day: that was as clear as the sun at noon,—although the "fulcrum" question was become so disastrously dim, since he left Chatham and Sheerness.  Nay, Mr. Mortimer stayed at Gravesend even the whole of the following day; and the more people he saw—(and he saw no end of new faces,—in fact, they appeared to him, in his puzzled condition, to spring out of the earth—though the fact was they came in fresh shoals by the packet every morning, noon and night, from town)—the more people he saw the more he was told that Gravesend was the place wherein he ought to publish "The Intellectual Lever"; that there he could lift all Kent, and get himself returned,—the conclusion, he thought, ought to be,—for any Kentish borough he chose to represent!

    "Well," said Mr. Mortimer to himself, as he was dressing on the fourth morning of his stay in Gravesend, "it is strange—certainly."

    Mr. Mortimer would have said more to himself,—but he just then happened to be glancing down into the street, as he was tying his neckerchief, and seeing an omnibus going by,—one of the regular and frequent conveyances from Gravesend to Chatham,—that run the eight miles with passengers,—he read upon one of its sides—"Meets conveyances to MAIDSTONE—"

    "Why, what in the world has possessed me, all this time?" exclaimed Mr. Mortimer, aloud, although he was alone,—"what in the world has possessed me, that I have been going round Kent, and calling at every little hole without thinking of Maidstone,—the county town,—where the assizes are held,—in the very core and centre of the shire?"

    There was no one to answer Mr. Mortimer,—but he was downstairs in another minute,—besought the landlord to stop the omnibus,—paid his bill,—and set off, breakfastless, for Maidstone, by way of Chatham.  Mr. Mortimer was resolved he would have his own unbiased judgment this time, and so called on no one at Chatham or Rochester.

    Maidstone finished Mr. Mortimer!  A new newspaper for Kent?—why, every one assured him it was of all schemes the most foolish.  The "Maidstone Gazette," on the Whig side; was edited by Mr. Whiting, a gentleman of real talent, swarmed with advertisements, and had a good circulation; the "Maidstone journal," on the Conservative side, was rising into favour and patronage, with its own party: these were the two real representatives of Kent; there was no room for another paper: fools might speculate, in any corner, to please knaves, and throw their money away; there was no full growth of Radicalism, as in the manufacturing districts; London was so near at hand that its daily papers and literary periodicals supplied every want—in short, every man of any pretensions to common sense assured Mr. Mortimer, if he desired to throw away his fortune, his projected "lever" was the very instrument to enable him to throw it away effectually,—if he chose Kent for the "fulcrum!"

    Mr. Mortimer returned to London an altered man.  He believed he had been "humbugged"; and so it proved.  He tried to find "the solicitor," but no such person was to be found at the house he had pencilled down on his tablets.  "Ah!" thought Mr. Mortimer, as he returned towards the West End,—"how lucky it was that I bethought me not to let the fellow place the types and the press in his 'office,' as he called it!"  Mr. Mortimer resolved to sell the materials, get back his hundred pounds, and give up the scheme.  He sent for an appraiser.  The press was only fit to burn, and the types had to be sold for old metal!

    Mr. Mortimer is not in parliament yet.



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