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Shortly after these events, I was at Bath, for my health, when the London papers informed me of the complete exposure of Glossington's fraud and dishonesty. He had lately added forgery to his other “ choice receipts ” for amassing a large fortune in a short time, had been apprehended and imprisoned, and his unfortunate dupes found that they had purchased wisdom at a dear rate, for most of them had exchanged for it the whole of their worldly wealth.
I received a few lines from Mervyn, in which he (very properly) regretted that he had not followed my advice, congratulated himself that he had not been the gainer of the lottery prize, which Glossington's magic wand would so soon have converted into a blank, and finally informed me that his kind friend, Mr. Creswell, had earnestly pressed him to pay him a long visit at his country seat, which was within a few miles of Cheltenham.
Three months after these occurrences I bent my own steps to Cheltenham, and took an early opportunity of riding over to Mr. Creswell's house, where I hoped to find Mervyn still domesticated. Mr. Creswell had an amiable wife, a pretty daughter, two lively and agreeable sons, and a beautiful house and grounds, and I thought that Mervyn could not be in more desirable quarters.
Mr. Creswell received me with all the cordiality of an old friend, and told me that I had just come in time to condole with him, for that he had made up his mind to part with his only daughter.
“ Not, however," he continued,“ that I can expect much sympathy from you, for I am about to bestow her on your favourite young friend, Frank Mervyn.”
“I congratulate you," said I warmly, “you will gain an amiable, kind-hearted, honourable son-in-law, and it matters little to you that he is not a rich one."
“Nay,” replied Mr. Creswell, “ we must not speak lightly of his possessions, since to him I may be said to owe the portion that I have bestowed on my daughter. I should have contrived in any event to have given her a becoming fortune, but now I have settled the matter very economically for myself, and very satisfactorily for the young couple, by making over to her the twenty thousand pounds which I received a few months ago from the golden mart, in Cornhill.”
I was completely silent with surprise-a very unusual effect for surprise to take on me. The straight path is always the best, but in this instance how wonderfully had it also proved the most prosperous ! Had Mervyn yielded to the temptation of exchanging the tickets, he would continually have been oppressed by the burden of a troubled conscience ; his ill-gotten gains would have been swallowed up in the vortex of speculation, and any attentions that Mr. Creswell had shown to him in his adversity would have been shunned by him, from a natural horror of receiving benefits
from one whom he had injured. Now his conscience was easy, and his prospects bright; all was clear and peaceful without and within, and the two greatest faults in his character, a love of speculation, and a little propensity to think too highly of his own excellence, had been chastened and improved by the experience of the past.
Twenty-two years have since elapsed; Frank Mervyn and his wife reside principally in London, and I often visit at their house. I have now acquired the experience of nearly a quarter of a century, in addition to the tolerable stock of wisdom which I possessed in the days of Frank Mervyn's temptation, and I have seen many changes and revolutions in that time, some of which have been very satisfactory to me.
Lotteries are now at an end; people have acquired such a salutary horror, and quick perception of smooth swindlers, that the present era is uninfested by a Glossington, and the funds have been so often reduced, that the fund-holders begin to emulate the apathy of the celebrated Mandrin, who said when he was undergoing the punishment of the wheel, that the first keen pang brought with it a stunning torpor, which deadened his senses to all those that followed it. Still, however, I am far from being .contented with the aspect of things in general ; my opinion is, that the world is madder than ever!
For some years I have been excessively annoyed and disconcerted by the increase of railroads; nobody stays at home for a month at a time, neither is home an, longer a place of domestic quiet, it is filled with perpetual guests brought down by the railroads. The “homes of England" have ceased to realize the charming description of Mrs. Hemans; the master of the family is always running to London by the railroad, to visit his club, or 'to get his fowling piece put in order; the sons run by the railroad to every possible part of England, and then avail themselves of the facilities of steam in another element, by running over to the .continent; the ladies constantly stand in need of mineral springs, or sea bathing, and the railroad is at hand to convey them to s watering-place; and should one of the daughters feel inclined to effect a runaway match, there is no hope of overtaking her, as in the good old days, when one post chaise used to enter into Gretna Green, with another fifty yards behind it; no, she elopes by the railroad, and nobody can follow her till the next train sets off. I thought that railroads had done their worst, but it is very difficult to say when anything animate or inanimate has done its worst. There is a mania at the present time for railway shares - the newspapers are full of the subject, private conversation is engrossed by it; there are railway quadrilles in the very assembly room, in which an imitation of the abominable whistle is introduced, and the dancers converse on railway investments in the intervals of
the figure! The traffic is no matter of secrecy; fathers and sons go together to buy railway shares, ladies devote the superfluities of their pin-money to the same purpose; nay, the director of a savings bank has assured me that numerous depositors have recently drawn out their money, and that he has a shrewd suspicion of the reason.
Business and relaxation used to be separate pursuits, but rail. roads now are the connecting link that unites them. People talk not of green banks, but embankments; not of shepherds and reapers, but of stokers and engineers. None of the common authorized roads to ruin suit the impetuosity of modern speculators nothing will satisfy them but going to ruin by the railroad; yes, I repeat it advisedly, the world is madder than ever !
I have, however, one pleasing association connected with the present day. Last week I was dining with a large party of gentlemen. I am much more prone to give general advice than I was two-and-twenty years ago, and I read a very sensible lecture on railway speculations to my next neighbour, who pieaded guilty to divers misdemeanours of that description.
“Depend upon it," he replied, “ that there is not a person in company, with the exception of yourself, who has not speculated in railway shares.”
He proposed the query successively to all the party, one alone was able to answer it in the negative, and that one was my friend, Frank Mervyn.
I cannot close my little narrative better than with this anecdote. I do not think I can possibly give my readers a more convincing proof of Frank Mervyn's entire reformation.
THE ARAB AND THE PYRAMIDS.
BY N. MICHELL, AUTHOR OP “THE TRADUCED," &c. The following lines were suggested by a view of Horace Vernet's beautiful picture "The Arab Praying in the Desert.”
O’er Lybia's hills the Day-god sinks once more,
All droop so still, so lifeless, that they seem
Yet while in shade Nile's waves begin to flow,
Hark! on the desert winds what murmurs come ?
• The lotus, a plant held sacred by the ancient Egyptians, does not in some parts of the river ahhere to the soil, its sole nourishment being derived from the water, on the surface of which it spreads its delicate white blossoms.
+ The pyramids of Ghizeh, the erection of which is ascribed to Cheops, Cephrenes, and Mycerinus, and from whom they severally take their names.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A LITERARY MAN.
TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH OF CH. PAUL DE KOCK. THERE are persons who imagine that the career of a man of letters is a pleasant path, all strewed with roses and laurels; but before arriving at that degree of celebrity to which every one who feels himself animated by a veritable inspiration, naturally looks forward, what must he not suffer! what subjects of disgust—of annoyance-of trouble—and of pains taken, whose only result has been loss of time! What injustice to support, what little intrigues to struggle against, and what dull criticisms to despise ! Then, when you have at last attained an honourable rank, when success has crowned your laborious vigils, when the suffrages of the public have made you amends for the gross calumnies of some envious rivals, don't take it into your head that your days are to glide on in sweet tranquillity; that you may, in the deep retirement of your study give yourself up to your poetic reveries, to those labours which constitute the charm of your existence; no, in good truth, you will not be permitted to pursue in peace the career that you have proposed to yourself, and which you have already successfully commenced. If a thousand disappointments await upon those whose reputations are not yet established, what swarms of malicious, tiresome, importunate, or intriguing fools and noodles fasten upon the fame of him whose talents have received the stamp of public approbation! The man who has earned a little renown hears them buzzing around him unceasingly, as the hornets buzz around the Aower whose honey they covet.
If an author meets with some success, he sees his house besieged every day by persons utterly unknown to him, who come to offer him their co-operation in his literary labours. These people sometimes employ provincial vulgarisms * in explaining their subject, or perhaps they write their articles after the orthography of M. Marle; and they quit the house in very bad humour because you refuse the partnership they propose; and go about everywhere proclaiming that you have stolen their ideas.
And then come the albums! A man who has some reputation is always certain to find on his return home some albums directed to him, which have been left with the porter. The album is the béte noire, the terror of the man of letters and of every distin
• Cuirs, a term apparently of convention, not to be found in Boiste, and perhaps ill translated.---Trans.