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decorous to bury in an sitting attitude. Some Red Indian garments suitable to his high position, the toga praelezla tribes expose their dead on the branches of trees; the E hio. covering in death him who had worn it in life. A small pian inclosed them in pillars of cry-tal. Maritime nations coin was placed in the mouth, in accordance with immehave sometimes honored their chiefs by laying them'in state morial custom, to pay for his ferrying over the dark river. in a ship or canoe, and burning or setting it adrift. Sacred The crown which had been given him, like our Victoria rivers are the chosen burial ground of some; others com Cross, for bravery on the field of battle, adorned the pale mit their dead to the sea alone. Some leave the corpse till brows. And so, calın and stately, he was laid in the great it decays, and then bury the bones ; others remove the ancestral hall; flowers and green leaves were strewn flesh from the bones inmediately after death, and then around, and a branch of cypress planted beside the endress and adorn the skeleton. Burial alive is by some trance door, a signal of invitation to his friends, and of thought a mark of airection ; exposure to wild beasts is the warning to those whom religious considerations forbade chosen custom of by no means barbarous races. The In to enter the house where a dead body lay. For seven days dian tribe above referred to finds many parallels. Nor his sorrowing clients, those whom he bad shielded in his was it always thought necessary to wait until deatlı super day of power, and friends who had loved him well, have vened. There is grim bumor in the pi:ture given by lle: flocked in to pay the last tribute of respeet, and gaze once rodotus of a tribe, where, when any one fell sick, “bis chief | more on the well-known face; and now, in the bright friends tell him that the illness will spoil his flesh; and he morning sunshine, they are going to carry him beyond the protests that is he not unwell; but they, not agreeing with precincts of the city, to reduce the lifeless body to ashes, him, kill and eat him.” (Thalia, 99.) Horrors like these, and deposit the remains in the sepulchre where stand the however, can scarcely be classed among modes of sepul urns of the heroes of his race. ture; nor, perhaps, is it necessary to mention the tribes The herald has gone forth, to invite who will to attend. that drink their dead, having first reduced them to powder. For this is no ordinary man who is dead. Rome knew Suflice it to say that there is no mode of disposing of dead him well; and his family, we may be sure, will give him a bodies so singular, or so revolting, that it has not been | funeral befitting his rank. Not at night will his burial be, adopted in good faith by some among the interminable va like that of some poor plebeian who has gone the long jourrieties of savage races.
ney ; every solemnity that the servants of Libitina know Among civilized nations, however, burial (under which will be lavished on bis obsequies. From early morn the we may include enbalming) has divided with cremation the folk have been streaming to the door, clad in suits of cusallegiance of custom. It would be improper to regard the tomary black; the undertakers have been bustling about
characteristic of Semitic, the second of Aryan and are now marshalling the splendid procession. Police races. For, though Lucian speaks of burial as the mark of ollicers are in attendance, to assist in maintaining order. barbarians, burning of Greeks, it is beyond question that The nearest relatives have gathered around the deceased. burial remained to the last an alternative in Greece and They lay him on his bier, no extravagant couch of ivory, Rome. It would rather appear that burial is the first rude as some who should have known better have lately begun suggestion of decency, prompting the mourner to lay the
cy, prompting the mourner to lay the to affect, but carved of dark wood, and stately with dark dead body reverently away, rather than to leave it to moul rich hangings, as betits a Roman citizen. And now at a der unheeded; and that as burial is recognized to be incom given word these relatives list the bier on to their shoul. plete, embalming and cremation are the two alternatives ders, and the long procession files down the hill, and out suggested. The Egyptians regarded fire as a wild beast; to the place where the pyre is built, not far from the family and, as Herodotus tells us, they preferred embalming to burying-place. allowing the bodies to be torn by beasts or consumed by The van is led by trumpeters, blowing a loud note of worms. The Greeks preferred the alternative of speedy lamentation, and opening the way through the crowded destruction. Cremation was with them, though not the streets near the Forum, to which their steps are first diuniversal, the solemn and honorable form of sepulture. A rected. Next come singing women, chanting in mournful corpse cast up by the sea might be buried by a benevolent strain the praises of the deceased. Yet a third band of passer-by (tbree handfuls of dust were held equivalent to hired attendants succeed, actors reciting appropriate senburial, and laid the weary gbcst); in time of danger, or for timents from familiar poets, their chief also exhibiting in want of means, a body might be committed to the earth. dumb show the actions which made the dead man famous. But mourning friends who wished to do the last sad honors But who are these who follow now? Have the dead arisen to the deceased followed him to his funeral pyre, and cher-) to do him honor? There, large as life, walks the long line ished the ashes which survived the flames in vases of costly of noble ancestors whose blood flowed in the dead man's make. It may be interesting, therefore, to set before our veins. Waxen masks, modelled on the busts which stand cyes what precisely passed on such an occasion. When in the great hall, cover the faces of those selected to perour elder brethren, Greeks or Romans, lost a friend, with sonate the heroes; each wears the robe he would have what sad ceremonies did they take their leave of bim! For worn this day if the grave had given him up. It seems in clearness' sake, let us confine ourselves to the better known truth as if all the mighty ones of his race, generals, and nation. Let the scene be Rome, in the early days of the statesmen, heroic names of Rome, bave arisen to lead their empire.
descendant with welcome to his resting place among them. It is a week since Caius Cornelius Scipio died. He lies Old stories of wars in Apulia and Samnium, with Gaul and in state in the hall of his house on the Palatine, one of the Carthaginian, crowd on the beholder's mind. There goes last family mansions left on the bill, which the emperor
1;. which the emperor | he who was proudly styled “African," the conqueror of wants to make entirely his own. He lies in the great hall, 1 Hannibal, "great Scipio's self, that thunderbolt of war." where the statues of his ancestors look down on him who | There. he who acquired a corresponding title from his vichas at last become one of them - gone over to the major- | tories in Asia against Antiochus. There, he who blent the ity. His son Lucius knelt at his bedside when be breathed elegance of Greek learning with the manly valor of Rome, bis last; kissed him a moment before death, to catch the
before death, to catch the the stern patriot who approved the slaying of his own last faint breath. From the finger he drew his ring, wbich usurping kinsmen, to whom a master-pen has lately given bas now been replaced in view of the approaching funeral. | fresh immortality as the friend of Lælius. And many more, The relatives who stood in the room raised a loud cry of famous of old, and living still in the memories of men, grief, in the vain hope of recalling the sleeper if he were mingle in this strange procession where the immortal dead but in a trance, a cry which has become historical as a do honor to their latest son. sign that all is over — conclamalum est. Still he slept un Hitherto the procession had been wholly professional, not moved, and while notice was sent to the undertakers, the I to say theatrical, in character. But these who come next household attendants washed the body with warm water, I recall the gazer to every-day life. For these are they who and then banded it over to the professional ministers. I late were slaves, whom the liberality of the deceased bas These bathed it with sweet-smelling unguents, removing all made free. Vulgar minds may ostentatiously manumit by that savored of sickness or death, and attired the corpse in! will large numbers of slaves, swelling their funeral pomp at their heir's expense ; but where no such sordid motive has | of throwing in armor, clothes, and valuables to be consumed directed the enfranchisement, who so fit to be there as in the flames. The great crowd stands well-nigh motionthey? Who have better right to walk, as they now walk, less in genuine grief. immediately before the bier?
It does not take very long to reduce the whole to ashes. In front of the bier they bear tables, inscribed with the The pitch and resin, the rich unguents, all make the fire deeds of the deceased, the laws he carried, the battles he fierce and brief. A heap of mouldering embers is soon all fought. Captive banners and trophies of war are displayed; that is left. The crowd melts away, while the relatives there is a map of some unknown land he conquered. All perform the remaining rites. The embers are quenched Rome may see to-day, if there be one here who needs the with wine, and a solemn invocation addressed to the soul telling, how great a man is now being borne through the of the departed. Those olliciating then wash their hands city he loved so well. Behind the bier come kinsmen and with pure water, and proceed to gather the white calcined friends, women as well as men. The latter are dressed in bones, easily distinguishable from the dark wood-ashes black, as are all the professional assistants: the women which cover them. These precious relics are solemnly wear white, a custom which, being somewhat novel in sprinkled, first with wine, then with milk, dried with a Rome, elicits a good deal of criticism. Bareheaded walk | linen cloth, and deposited in an alabaster urn. Perfumes the women, with dishevelled hair and hands that beat their are mingled with the ashes. The urn is then carried to breasts ; the male relatives, with an equal inversion of or- | the tomb, and deposited in the niche prepared for it. All dinary habits, have their heads closely veiled. Innumer- / round the walls you see similar urns, each in its own niche, able the crowd that follows. All Rome's best are there. each inscribed with a simple memento, like the inscriptions The Senate have turned out to a man. Many who barely on our tombstones. All being now over, the family take knew the deceased follow among his friends. Many join their departure, with pious ejaculations and prayers for the procession out of mere curiosity, but most from a desire calm repose —"Sweet be the place of thy rest!" Outside to pay this tribute of respect to one whom they have so long the tomb, the priest sprinkles each of them thrice with pure honored from afar.
water, to remove the pollution of the dead body, which was And now they have reached the Forum. In the midst recognized by all nations of antiquity; and then dismisses of this great space, the Westminster of Rome, the proces them with the well-known formula, Illicet, ye may depart. sion halts. The ancestors of the deceased seat themselves, The family and relatives of the deceased make their way in solemn semi-circle, on the ivory chairs of the magistrates. quietly home along the Appian Way, which is lined for a In their midst his nephew, Publius, well known for his considerable distance with tomhs like a suburban road with oratorical powers, ascends the rostra, and pronounces a villas, and through the crowded streets, which have now long and labored panegyric over him who lies deaf and un resumed their usual aspect. On reaching the house they heeding before him. He tells how his youth was devoted will be purified afresh by water and fire, being sprinkled to study and martial exercise, not wasted on luxury and with the one, and made to step over the other. For nine riotous living; how his manhood was spent in fighting days they will then remain apart, mourning for the dead. Rome's battles abroad, and upholding order at home - an On the expiry of that time a sacrilice will be offered to the easy task now the might of the emperor has crushed all gods below, and a great funeral feast will be given, at factious sedition. He speaks of his piety toward the gods, which all the guests will be dressed in white. Games, it his love for his wife and children, bis zeal on behalf of his may be, and shows of gladiators, will then be exhibited ; clients, bis kindness to all with whom he was brought into food will be distributed to the populace. After that the contact. In everytbing, he says, he lived worthy of bis high family will return to their ordinary avocations: the men lineage, worthy of those ancestors whose effigies are present will not resume their mourning garb; the women will wear beside him. And so the speaker is led to trace back the theirs for some time longer, the widow perhaps retaining grand line of ancestors, and in kindling words remind his hers for a year. But not for long will the dead man be hearers of all the Scipios bad done for Rome. What an forgotten ; at intervals they will go to the tomb on the ApAthenian audience felt when their orators recalled the pian Way, bearing flowers and perfumes to lay beside the names of those who fought at Marathon, that surely must a ashes of the dear one gone. Lamps will be lighted there, Roman audience have felt when they were reminded of the to relieve the sepulcbral gloom. And on stated occasions glories of the Scipios.
commemorative feasts, will be held, where the family and The bier is taken up, the procession is marshalled again. | friends will assemble, dressed in white, to do honor to the Through the bustling streets, out through the city gates, memory of the departed. the famous Porta Capena, out on to the Appian Way, Such was a funeral in the old days of Rome. Of course streams the long line of mourners. At the gate many gen
only those of great men could be celebrated with all this erally leave the procession, but to-day they have but a pomp and splendor. The undertakers distinguished several short way further to go, for the tomb of the Scipios is not kinds of funerals, and called each by an appropriate name. far beyond the gate, on the side of the Appian Way. The The obsequies of the poor were generally performed at crowd therefore, pours out almost without diminution, till night; and it seems probable that many bodies might be they reach a cleared spot not far from the tomb, whereon a burned together on one common pyre. In the case of great pile has been erected. Huge logs of wood form the | young persons, many of the ceremonies were dispensed body of the structure, interspersed with various inflammable with, and infants were not burnt at all, but simply interred. substances; it stands four-square, like some gigantic altar Stringent but unavailing laws were made to repress the exto the unseen powers. A row of cypress trees, transplanted travagance of funerals. The Twelve Tables allowed only for the occasion, throws a gloomy shadow across it. The ten musicians and three hired mourners, and forbade bier is placed on the top with all its splendid belongings. throwing perfume in the flames, or using gold in any way, Ointments of the costliest description, spikenard and frank it being even thought necessary to explain by a special incense, and all the strongest and sweetest smelling un
statute that this prohibition did not apply to corpses whose guents, are plentifully poured on the pile ; Palestine and teeth were stopped with gold! But so long as cremation Syria, Arabia, Cilicia, have been laid under contribution. was the popular form of burial, these sumptuary laws were All is now ready, and as Lucius Scipio steps forward, the
in vain. With the introduction of Christianity the pracwomen raise a piercing wail. You may see the tears in the
tice of cremation died out, and by the fourth century seems young man's eyes, for his head is turned to us and away to have become quite extinct. This may have been partly from the pile, as with trembling band he applies a lighted owing to the Jewish origin of Christianity, but is probably torch. The flame mounts skyward with immense rapidity; in greater measure due to the widespread belief in an imhuge swirls of smoke, pungent yet fragrant, sweep to lee mediate second advent. Many if not all of the early ward. As the fire reaches the body, the wailing of the Christians believed that the bodies which they committed women is redoubled. The men stand by in silence. No | to the earth would be raised and purified from the stains of luneral games are exhibited to-day during the burning; mortality in the day of the resurrection. It need hardly be Dor do his relatives follow the somewhat barbarous custom | said that this is in direct opposition to the teaching of 1st
Corinthians xv., where we are emphatically told that we novels. This rule appears to us just as wise and sensible do not know with what bodies the dead shall be raised. as if a parent whose son was about to travel partly on busiThe experience of ages has taught men the true meaning ness in cities, partly in the country, and partly among works of that sublime passage. Swift and sure is the decay of l of art, were to advise him in this fashion : “I would have our mortal vestment, whether we commit it to the devour you above all things remember to keep a most observant ing flame or to the corrupting earth. A hundred years eye on everything about you in the places where you do hence it will not matter which we chose. The atoms business. If you confine your attention to what concerns which have composed our body will have dissolved in a yourself, if you cannot tell me what other people were dothousand directions, will have taken new forms, will have ing, if you fail to note all the things in the counting-houses become part, it may be, of other organisms. That which | and the shop-windows, I shall take you for an idle fellow. we now call our body is made up of what in bygone ages As to the country, no doubt you had better observe its may have been part of the body of our forefather. Nature beauties than not, but it does not much matter. As to is economic of her materials, and uses them many times. pictures and so forth, certainly they are good in their way; But the spiritual body which we look to receive is different but as they are only made to be looked at, why, you may from the natural body. In the resurrection they neither look at them just as carefully or carelessly as you please." marry nor are given in marriage. The distinctions of mor Instead of acting by analogy to such advice as this, tality are lost; we have borne the image of the earthy, but which we need not spend time in showing to be counter to then we shall bear the image of the heavenly. It doth not the general opinion and babits of mankind, we prefer to yet appear what we shall be ; but at least we shall not be treat reading as a branch of human life, and to hold a docshut any more in this prison of the senses, hampered and trine directly opposed to the popular fallacy. We mainfettered by bodily conditions. Secure in this belief, we tain that the true belief as to skipping is to this effect contemplate without fear the inevitable dissolution of our generally speaking, it is not wrong to skip. Skipping is an decaying flesh; we watch its atoms lost in the ocean of important part of the art of reading, and should be pracmatter, as our breath is lost in the ocean of air ; for the tised systematically. It is most to be practised in solid physical laws by which this kaleidoscopic whirl of atoms | books — by which we mean, for the purposes of this disand organisms is governed, are but expressions of the will cussion, books that are read merely for information. Solid of Him who has promised an immortality of joy, nor hath or serious reading consists in attending to the matter of a it entered into the heart of man to conceive what He hath book independently of the form, except indeed when the prepared for them that love Him.
form itself is the primary subject of study, as for instance from the point of view of a philologist or historian of liter
ature. The more solid the book, the more expedient it is THE ART OF SKIPPING.
to skip, and the more useful it is to know how to skip
judiciously. But when the form is of sensible imporCONSIDERING bow much more people read, or are sup- tance to the reader as compared with the matter - or, in posed to read, nowadays than they ever did before, it is less abstract language, when a book is read partly or not a little strange how seldom they are aware that there wholly for entertainment and artistic pleasure, indepenis room for the exercise of art in reading as well as in other dently of information - then the art of skipping is no occupations. The remark which Socrates made on states- | longer in its proper place, and should be very spariogly manship, that it was an exceedingly difficult and compli- used, if at all. It is generally a mistake in poetry, and it cated business which every body practised, and nobody is absolutely wrong in a good novel. We do not mean to thought himself bound to learn, applies with tenfold force | forbid a cursory glance at a novel or a volume of poems in our own day, not merely to its original object, but to an about which nothing is known, honestly intended as a infinity of other matters. And the exercise of reading, in
nd the exercise of reading, in preliminary inquiry to ascertain whether it is worth read. which many of us spend, whether for work or for pleasure, ing at all. One has a perfect right to look into a book and a very appreciable proportion of our lives, certainly falls say that it appears to be worth reading or not worth readwithin the spirit of his censure. We learn in our infancy | ing, as the case may be; and the faculty of doing this with to read words, but we are left to pick up the way to read a reasonable chance of guessing right is indeed closely books. Advice about the choice of the kind of matter to connected with the art and mystery of skipping. But be read is indeed plentiful enough, and is not unfrequently we must protest against the habit of tasting a good novel overdone; but how to read the things chosen intelligently | by dips and skips - which really is nothing better than and economically, how to extract the greatest profit with taking extracts at random — and then pretending to have the least expense of time and eyesight — this, which surely read the novel. This way of treating the masterpieces of is a thing worth knowing, is left for the most part to come fiction, though we fear it is not uncommon and meets with by nature. So far as we are aware, there is only one cur but little reprehension, we take to be no less vicious and rent precept on the subject, and that is radically wrong. | demoralizing than the much-decried practice of skipping As the prejudice created by it must be cleared away before in books of solid instruction is in truth wholesome and any reasonable conclusions of a positive kind can be arrived laudable. The same observation applies, though in a less at, we shall do our best to expose the venerable fallacy at degree, to the reading of poems. the ri-k of being held to encourage idleness, desultoriness, Our position may seem paradoxical, but it can be estaband naughtiness generally
lished by indisputable steps. Let us begin at the beginAlmost every one who was fond of reading as a child ning with the extreme of serious literature. The books must more or less distinctly remember having impressed on which are wholly made up of solid instruction, or profess him at various times that “ It is wrong to skip.” This so to be, which are completely free, so far as human frailty maxim is answerable for a quantity of time and trouble will allow, from any suspicion of art or amusement, are wasted in useless reading by the children who listen to it, Charles Lamb's class of biblia abibla, books which are after they have come to riper years, which, if the statistics no books. This class includes nearly all dictionaries — could only be collected and nicely made out, should be
nicely made out, should be not quite all, for M. Littré, and perhaps a few others, enough to raise a clamor for a Royal Commission. The have a way of writing a series of disjointed but fascinating general proposition is indeed softened by explanations and essays disguised in the dictionary form — most encycloqualifications, by the time when young readers are thought pædic literature, of course with individual exceptions, and to be of sufficient discretion to follow them. But the quali a considerable part of books of reference and scientific fications are all wrong too. The rule commonly taught, as treatises generally. Now it may be safely said that no modified by exceptions in teaching or practice, comes to one ever supposed that such books were meant to be read this. It is wrong to skip in reading a solid book. The continuously, that there was any virtue in reading them more solid the book, and the more important the matter, from beginning to end, or any vice in looking into them to the greater is the offence of skipping. It is venial to skip find particular things as wanted. Indeed, it is generally in reading poetry, and quite harmless to skip in reading admitted that the worker in any special subject on which
much literature exists is at a disadvantage if he does not mother did what she could with her needle and her scissors know how to use books of reference properly -- that is, if and her iron to increase the means of subsistence earned he is not an adept in the art of skipping. This is espe-| by her husband, who plied some mysterious vocation on cially true in the profession which of all others is the most | the river-side, and, when he was not engaged in that vocarigorous in requiring accurate knowledge and the least tion, performed - odd jobs” in all parts of London. And favorable to slovenly habits. Half the practical aptitude some of them were very odd jobs. He was one of those of a lawyer, at any rate of an English lawyer, depends on men who are so very useful when you have something to his being able to use his books discontinuously, so as to get rid of, and are at your wits' end to know what to do; pick out the very thing he is in search of, and not waste when, for instance, your little dog has died, and you don't time on its irrelevant surroundings.
know what to do with the body; or when there is a conBut if this much is conceded, why should the principle tagious disease abroad, and it seems advisable to have cerof skipping be confined to books which are manifestly and tain things disinfected or destroyed. On all such occasions on the face of them not readable? Why is it right to flit Potten was your man. He would do anything for next to from page to page of a dictionary by the help of the alpha- | nothing, or at any rate for a mere tritle; anything, at least, betical order, and wrong to travel from one part of a his that was not dishonest, for a more honest man than Potten tory or a book of travels to another by the help of the did not exist. Nor had the repulsive nature of the work index (if the book happens to be tolerably indexed), table on which he was frequently employed resulted in any corof contents, or otherwise? We can see no answer to this, responding repulsiveness in the man himself. He bad a so long as the object of reading the book is knowledge sallow, gaunt face, it is true, for the lines had not fallen and not artistic pleasure. The writer can at most only unto him in pleasant places; but he smiled, when he did guess what things it will be convenient to tell; an intelli smile, very brightly, and his manner, especially towards gent reader must know best what things he wants to be children, was gentle, and even winning. No doubt his told. It is the same with argumentative writing, essays, heart was under the softening influence of a double memand the like. You see by a glance at the first page of ory — of Dot and of the tiny graves. But Potten had cerhalf a dozen that the whole space is filled with setting tainly one unpleasant peculiarity: there were times when forth an argument with which you are quite familiar, to he looked the very incarnation of scepticism; disbelief which you will never be converted, or to which you need stood confessed in the twinkle of his eye, in the wrinkles no conversion ; by what manner of duty or reason can you round his nose, in the lines about his mouth, in the sound be bound to read the other five pages ? It may be an of his snigger. Sternly admonish him, tearfully beg of swered, Because the style gives a new lustre to old matter. him, solemply adjure him to be very careful, and to take But then you are no longer reading with the single view the greatest precautions on his own account, and his wife's, of information, and the instance is no exception to the and his children's, if he had any ; and he would answer first branch of our rule, but a confirmation of the second. impatiently: “ All right, sir ; to be sure I will, ma'am ; It shows, not that it is wrong to skip when you read for | don't you go for to be afraid ; ” but all the while his manlearning, but that it is right not to skip when you read for ner and his laugh were as much as to say: " Tut, tut! It's pleasure.
all a pack of rubbish; no harm shall happen unto me." In reading what may be called literature of exposition, Thus does familiarity breed contempt. Who is it that especially in really good essays, it is often difficult to say lights his pipe over the powder-magazine? Who is it how much of the general pleasurable impression is due to that burns a naked candle in the deadly atmosphere of the the substance of the author's meaning, and how much mine? And yet Potten was most scrupulously careful in to the form. This may be regarded as a kind of neutral all that concerned his employers; he may have laughed ground, where skipping may in some circumstances be at them in his sleeve, but, whether it were from a conallowable and expedient, in others a grave mistake. scientious sense of duty, or from fear of consequences in When we come to fiction the case is much plainer. A case of detected neglect, he performed their orders, as regood work of fiction, whether in prose or in verse, - we garded themselves, to the very letter. are here speaking only of good works, - is a work of art, Such was the man who sat contentedly smoking his pipe and can be rightly enjoyed only by entering into sympathy in the room where Dot lay sleeping, and hugging in her with the artist's mind and accepting his work according to | arms a large black doll, with merry black eyes, laughing his intention. In a perfect poem the place of every word, | mouth, and grinning teeth, but without arms — not a doll in a perfect novel the place, if not of every word, of every | that most girls would fancy, but Dot loved it and fondled episode and of every paragraph, is important; and the it, as if it had been a paragon of beauty. In Mr. Potten's reader who skips throws away the pleasure he was meant section of society, no special smoking-room is provided, to derive from the harmony of composition, in which very and infants sleep peacefully amidst the fumes of tobacco. possibly the beauty of the whole may chiefly consist, and Perhaps that may be a reason why fever, though rampant despises the best part of the artist's labor. He might as enough, is not more rampant in certain districts. well go to see a good play, and then wilfully miss every Well, Mr. Potten sat smoking, Mrs. Potten sat sewing, alternate scene. In saying this we are no doubt setting and Dot lay sleeping. Mr. and Mrs. Potten had a deal up a high standard of light reading. We assert by im table between them; and on the table stood a common plication the doctrine, which many will think severe, that sort of lamp, which gave a very good light by means, if a novel not worth reading continuously is not worth read. smell can be depended upon, of paraffine oil. Dot lay ing at all; and this principle would lead to the conclu sleeping; but anybody who supposes that she occupied sion that a vast quantity of current and accepted litera- | her own little cot with its snow-white coverlet, and other ture has no business to exist. And so we are perhaps | accessories which make such pretty pictures of slumbering committed to a paradox worse than the first. We should childhood, would be very much mistaken. Mr. Potten's not be disinclined to do battle for it if space allowed; but humble establishment did not admit of so much luxury and the whole subject of novel-reading is too large to be dis independence. Mr. and Mrs. Potten and Dot all shared posed of in a closing sentence, and one paradox at a time the same bed, which, though by no means large, took up a is enough.
considerable portion of the apartment. The bed had a coverlet of patchwork, old and faded. And yet it was
anything but an ugly spectacle that presented itself to the THE BLACK DOLL.
husband and wife whenever they looked in Dot's direction.
The bed linen was clean, though coarse ; and there, with Dor was a little girl, five years old, the only child left
ars old, the only child leit | her head between two pillows, lay Dot. Her fair hair, to her parents, whose other children all lay sleeping a still
very long for her age, streamed out in all directions; the sounder sleep under four tiny mounds of green turf. The long lashes of her closed eves drooned on her cheeks; her parents were poor, and lived in one poor room “over the smiling mouth, half open, showed a few white teeth; her water," that is, on the Surrey side of the Thames. The chubby little arms were folded round the neck and body, and her little chin rested, as has been said, upon the “I don't know, darling. She was taken away by the woolly head of the black doll. And the black doll, with a man when he took the other things." ring through its nose, a necklace of beads round its throat, “What will he do to her, mum? Cure her?". and a flaring yellow frock upon its body, was gorgeous to | “I hope so, dear." behold.
“ Then why can't I have her back when she's cured, Mr. Potten arose from his seat, and went softly up to dear mum ? ?' the bed; and there was a moisture in his eyes when he “ Because, though she might not do you any harm, dear, returned. He resumed his seat, and said, chuckling :| it's safer, on account of other people, that we should get “ Lord love her! How happy she do look !".
rid of her altogether.” " She never had a doll afore, you know, Potten," rejoined “Poor Candace! I hope she'll soon get well," mur. his wife, a care-worn but cheerful, nice-looking woman, | mured the invalid sleepily. “And I hope," she added, « bar them little halfpenny ones.”
" that she 'll not make any other little girl as ill as I have “But she's bin a-cryin'," remarked Potten, with a look
been.” of inquiry. “I see two little stains on her little nose."
“I sincerely hope not," said the lady fervently, but in a “Yes," assented Mrs. Potten with a light laugh. “We
with a light laugh. “We very low voice, so as not to disturb the little invalid, who had a few words about the doll; she'd had it playin' with was dozing off. all the blessed day, and I thought she'd do better without Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, was the name which it abed. But she would have dear Blackie, as she calls it ; the little invalid had given to her favorite plaything, a black and would n't even have it undressed. So I let her håve doll. It had been included amongst a number of articles her own way, and that stopped her cryin', and made her which “the man” had carried off' to be destroyed, or happy again."
“cured,” as the little invalid would have said. The lady * What's the harm?" growled Potten. “Bless her lit- | knew nothing of the man,” but that he had been authortle heart."
itatively recommended as a regular practitioner in such “It must have cost a lot o' money, that doll,” said Mrs. matters. She had paid him well, and had strongly advised Potten, “what with the size on it, and the dress, and the him to destroy everything, or, at any rate, to bake, smoke, ornaments, and what not."
steam, boil, and disinfect everything thoroughly. Unless “Ah! I dare say,” observed Potten with indifference. | he faithiully promised to do at least the latter, she would
“You'd never have bin able to buy one like it,” con see if she could not find some other means of riddance. tinued Mrs. Potten with much emphasis.
And “the man” had replied : “ All right, ma'am ; don't “Not 1," assented Potten with a short laugh. “Ah! you go for to be afraid; I know all about it.” But someit's an ill wind as blows nobody any good.”
how his manner was a little contemptuous; his eye twin“ But you never told me where you got it from,” re- kled, and his mouth sniggered in a by no means reassuring marked Mrs. Porten. “You only said it was given to fashion. And so he had gone bis way ; and she did not you."
know even his name, which was Potten. “What's the odds ? ” said Potten, yawning. “ Here, And so the lady and the little invalid went to the sea. I'm tired ; I'm a-goin' to bed. Come, make haste.”
side ; and the latter grew strong and plump and rosy And Mr. and Mrs. Potten were soon asleep, with Dot again. and the black doll between them.
And Candace and “ the man " were clean forgotten. Let us change the time and scene. It shall be the same Meanwhile, Dot had been getting on famously with a dear day, but earlier in the evening; and the place shall be a Blackie.” No doubt Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, comfortable house on the Middlesex side of the river had fallen considerably in the social scale; but it is a quesThames, and on the borders of Tyburnia. It is early ' tion whether she had ever before been treated with so much spring, about an hour after sunset, and a little girl, some deference. Dot never did anything without consulting seven years of age, is being put to bed. She is evidently « dear Blackie." She obtained that sable personage's per: an invalid. Her pretty little face is thin and pale ; her mission before she even dared to put into her mouth a sinhands are almost transparent ; she totters if she attempts gle piece of bread and butter or a sip of milk and water. to walk alone. A lady and a maid servant are present in Nay, the maternal authority itself had to be backed up by the room, and render the necessary assistance. The little the influence of the late Queen Candace. On the third girl has just had a bath, to judge from plain indications ; | evening of Dot's possession of her treasure -“Now, Dot, and now she is being arrayed in the most dainty little it's time to go to bed ; that's a good gal,” Mrs. Potten said. night-dress, and gently laid in the most dainty little cot, «S'all we do to bed, dear B'ackie?” Dot asked; and with the most dainty appliances. Otherwise, the room, I then she cried exultantly : “ No, mother; dear B'ackie and indeed the whole house, presents an unfurnished ap
ole house, presents an unfurnished ap- says we mustn't do to bed 'et, but wait for da." pearance; all the furniture seems to be huddled together in “You'd better ask dear Blackie again," Mrs. Potten reout-of-the-wav places, and there is a notable absence of plied, for she was a kind, patient, and judicious but arn carpets from the floors. . Wherever you turn, you see ba mother. sins or other utensils filled with a red liquid, as if there had! There was a short pause; and then Dot said, with a been a general nose-bleeding throughout the house. More- | knowing laugh: “ Dear B'ackie says we'd better do to bed over, there is a pervading smell as of soot, from which the to-night, and sit up for da some other night." experienced would infer disinfectants. In the little girl's | “Ah! dear Blackie's a good sort,” Mrs. Potten admitted, own room stands a table, on which are arranged, to please
ich are arranged, to please as she proceeded to undress her obedient little Dot. the eye and smell and taste, wall-flowers, violets, primroses, And Dot, ere she closed her eyes in sleep, kissed her daffodils, jonquils, grapes, and blood-oranges. Cheap pho- | black doll, and said: “Dood night, dear Backie. Dod tographs and cheap picture-books, which may serve to b'ess 'ou." amuse for the moment, and may be afterwards destroyed That same evening, Mr. Potten, whose avocations nearly without compunction on the score of extravagance, are always took him away from home all day, and who, conse, scattered about in all directions. When the little girl has quently, seldom had an opportunity of observing Dot and been made quite comfortable, the lady sits down by the side her ways, was treated by her to a little comedy, which be, of the cot, and prepares to coax the invalid to sleep. as a father, found more laughter-moving than anything ever “ Am I well now, dear mum ?” asks the invalid.
performed by Liston, Wright, or Toole. Dot was restless, “ Nearly well, dear,” replies mamma. “We are going to and woke up whilst her father was taking his pipe au the sea-side to-morrow, and then you will get quite strong | drop of beer. and well again.”
And Dot insisted upon his sharing his pipe and beer “But if I'm not well, why can't I go on having Candace | with “dear Blackie," who, she asserted, had always been to sleep with me ?” asks the invalid.
accustomed to tobacco in “ B’ackie's land," and liked beer “ Candace has gone away, darling."
“ froffed up,” or, as Mr. Potten himself expressed it," with " Where to, mum ? "
a head on." So “ dear Blackie" was placed in a sitting