until all the money was out of his pocket. Of course I was soon pawned to buy beer; but I had not been in limbo three days before Sam came, bringing my old companion, the handsaw, to take my place. I was released for three short days, and then, happening to want the saw once more, Sam popped me in again to release my old friend. The changes were rung in this way month after month, and every time I got out of durance I observed that Sam's nose grew more red and his garments more ragged, his language more offensive and his gait more staggering. The last time he pawned me I had a presentiment of what was to follow, and it was verified but too soon. Two days after came the hand-saw, as usual, but not to release me; we were now companions in durance; and a third was soon added to the party by Sam's stock and bits. This was followed by the remainder of his tools, which dribbled in, one at a time, down to the very gimlets and bradawls. The glue-pot brought up the rear one Saturday night, and since then I have seen nothing of Sam, for the particulars of whose final career I must refer you to the workhouse, if you are curious about them.”

A cabinet picture, about thirty inches by twenty-two, in a broad and brilliant frame of finished gilding and exquisite pattern, now claims to be heard. The rich hues of russet brown contrasting with the sparkling tints in the foreground; the delicious greens on the foliage, and the soft, delicate greys mingling with the light clouds in the distance, all combine to form an agreeable subject of contemplation, in which there is yet wanting something-some indefinable element of harmony which ought to be, but is not there. What has it got to say? Listen: "I am an impostor," it says, “and a delusion; there is not a particle of truth or candour in my composition; I am a piece of embodied wickedness, and I am heartily ashamed of myself. I am forced to present myself to the public with a lie upon my face, and I am intrinsically a lie and nothing else. If you look at my lower left-hand

corner, you will see the name of W. Müller painted in legible characters. Now, I assure you, that artist never had anything to do with me-never in the whole course of his life so much as set eyes upon me. How could he? I came into existence-an existence with which I am disgusted-two years after his death. I was painted-manufactured is the more appropriate term-by a drunken artist, who sold me for forty shillings to a dealer, who praised me so magniloquently to a wealthy patron, that he was enchanted to purchase me at ninety guineas. The moment I was hung in his gallery I was suspected to be an impostor by those who knew more than my purchaser did of the essentials of art. The whispered suspicions reached his lordship's ears at last, and he, to set the matter at rest, sent me to a picture-sale, where I was knocked down for seven pounds ten, just thirty shillings more than the worth of my frame. Since then I have run a complete round among ignorant collectors, and brought a profit to some dozens of dealers. The last who had me in possession found me too well known in the market to be of further use, and he therefore brought me here and pledged me for a five-pound note, and left me to my fate. Don't have anything to do with me unless you wish to be cheated; and if you would do me a kindness in return for my candour, turn my face to the wall."

Here is a more serious claimant on our notice-a large family folio Bible, sheathed in a brown holland scabbard, lies in a corner. If it had a voice, it might speak something to the following effect :-"I came into the world nearly forty years ago, and nobody has read a couple of chapters in me yet. I belonged first to a country servant-maid, who took me in from the book-pedler, at sixpence a number, in blue covers, and was paying sixpences every Saturday, for over four years before she came to the end of the volume. She sent my numbers to be bound, when she was on the point of being married. When bound, I was put into a green-baize


cover, in which I lay for twenty years on a side-table in her cottage, in front of the tea-tray and under the knife-box, being only taken out now and then, that the children, when they grew big enough, might look at my pictures. I was called the Family Bible; but I was never made the means of giving instruction to the family. Had the lessons of prudence which I inculcated been noted and studied, my owners would never have found it needful to part with me; for prosperity is the fruit of my counsel. I was left as an heir-loom to the eldest daughter, who married about ten years back, and with her husband removed to London, where they fell into deep distress. I was pawned to buy bread for a starving family. The pawnbroker would only advance twenty shillings upon my security, though I had cost between six and seven guineas in all."

We have not time to spare just now to listen to further revelations. There is a diamond ring sparkling on a bed of white cotton, in a way that convinces us that its story is worth hearing; there is a collected edition of Schiller's works, and a corpulent German dictionary, ready to unbosom their reminiscences. In the shop is a cottage-piano, with a couple of rents in its damask-silk front-"poor dumb mouths," which could furnish us with a family history varied enough for a whole volume; and there are no end of mementoes of the poor man's lot, of his hard labour and struggles to get the materials and elements of comfort and respectability about him, and of the determined battles he fought and fought in vain, while forced by adversity to relinquish them one by one, that he might drive the gaunt wolf from the door, and feed his famishing little ones. All these we must

Each one of itself

leave to the imagination of the reader. might yield the groundwork of a romance, all the more touching and instructive in that the details are drawn from the realities of our social life.

By the perusal of the pawnbroker's window, we may

derive a more intense conviction than we are accustomed to entertain of the fact, not pleasant to think of, that poverty, so far as that is identical with want of money, is by no means confined to the class whom we denominate "the poor." Pawners, it would appear, abound in nearly all ranks of life. The owners of jewels and precious metals and articles of pure luxury impound them as readily, under the pressure of temporary emergencies, as the needy man does his clothes or his tools. The quantity and variety of articles yearly pledged and forfeited, which are of a description proving that they could not have belonged to the poorer classes, is enormous; and we may learn from them how true it is that misfortunes and reverses track all grades of society.


THE bills of mortality, and the reports of the registrar, published weekly in the newspapers, inform us that above a thousand of our fellow-creatures pass away by death during the intervals between each recurring Sabbath. At the moment we write, the general weekly average of a thousand has risen to above sixteen hundred, and that without the prevalence of any extraordinary epidemic or infectious disorder. The two and a half millions of people congregated within the circle which contains London and its suburbs are, by means of the tables of the registrar-general, converted into a vast barometer of health and disease, of life and death --a barometer so susceptible of the numberless influences which affect human health and existence, that the operation of each one of them, however trifling compared with others it may be, is marked and recorded with invariable precision for the benefit and admonition of the survivors. In a city where above a thousand die weekly, how great must be the amount of the sickness and suffering which are the forerunners of decease! How many must lie groaning in anguish from day to day, awaiting, amidst the strife and turmoil of the surrounding multitudes, their dismission to that silent land where no voice is heard, nor sound of human joy or grief can penetrate! How many men are there in whom the seeds of decay and dissolution, latent in all men, have begun to germinate, and who, bound by a thousand ties to the sympathies and obligations of life, are alarmed by the indications of approaching disease, or, wrestling with it in

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