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In a Fog. “Ugh! what a night! And I used to grumble about Hogley Marsh! Why, it’s like living in a drain!” Ramillies Street, W.C., was certainly not attractive at twelve o’clock on that December night, for it had been snowing in the early part of the evening; that snow was suffering from a fall of blacks: and as evil communications corrupt good manners, the evil communication of the London soot was corrupting the good... more...

To save a Comrade. A sharp volley, which ran echoing along the ravine, then another, just as the faint bluish smoke from some hundred or two muskets floated up into the bright sunshine from amidst the scattered chestnuts and cork-trees that filled the lower part of the beautiful gorge, where, now hidden, now flashing out and scattering the rays of the sun, a torrent roared and foamed along its rocky course onward towards its junction with the... more...

Medical and Legal. “But it seems so shocking, sir.” “Yes, madam,” said the doctor, “very sad indeed. You had better get that prescription made up at once.” “And him drenched with physic!” cried Mrs Dunn; “when it doesn’t do him a bit of good.” “Not very complimentary to me, Mrs Dunn,” said the doctor smiling. “Which I didn’t mean any harm, sir; but... more...

“Two bad Boys”—Sergeant Ripsy. “Oh, bother!” The utterer of these two impatient words threw down a sheet of notepaper from which he had been reading, carefully smoothed out the folds to make it flat, and then, balancing it upon one finger as he sat back in a cane chair with his heels upon the table, gave the paper a flip with his nail and sent it skimming out of the window of his military quarters at Campong Dang,... more...

A Peep at Tolcarne. “Ed—Ward!” “Yes, mum.” A stiff, high-shouldered footman turned round as he reached the breakfast-room door. “Are you sure Sir Hampton has been called?” “Yes, mum.” “And did Smith take up her ladyship’s hot water?” “Yes, mum.” “Are the young ladies coming down?” “They went out for a walk nearly an hour ago, mum.”... more...


In the Old Armoury. “See these here spots o’ red rust, Master Roy?” “I should be blind as poor old Jenkin if I couldn’t, Ben.” “Ay, that you would, sir. Poor old Jenk, close upon ninety he be; and that’s another thing.” “What do you mean?” said the boy addressed. “What do I mean, sir? Why, I mean as that’s another thing as shows as old England’s wore out, and... more...

Chapter One. “I wish I wasn’t such a fool!” Tom Blount said this to himself as he balanced that self upon a high stool at a desk in his uncle’s office in Gray’s Inn. There was a big book lying open, one which he had to study, but it did not interest him; and though he tried very hard to keep his attention fixed upon its learned words, invaluable to one who would some day bloom into a family solicitor, that book... more...

Lodestars. Ben Hayle, keeper, stepped out of his rose-covered cottage in Thoreby Wood; big, black-whiskered, dark-eyed and handsome, with the sun-tanned look of a sturdy Englishman, his brown velveteen coat and vest and tawny leggings setting off his stalwart form. As he cleared the porch, he half-turned and set down his carefully kept double-barrelled gun against the rough trellis-work; as, at the sound of his foot, there arose from a long,... more...

In the Old Fen-Land. “Oh, how sweet the pines smell, Marion! I declare it’s quite bliss to get down here in these wilds, with the free wind blowing the London smoke out of your back hair, and no one to criticise and make remarks. I won’t go to the sea-side any more: pier and band, and esplanade and promenade; in pink to-day and in blue to-morrow, and the next day in green; and then a bow here and a ‘de-do’ there;... more...

“Pray speak gently, dear.” “Speak gently! how can a man speak gently? The things are of no value, but it worries me, I’ve taken such pains with them, through the cold weather, to bring them on.” “You have, Sir James, you have, sir; and I never let the fire go out once.” “No: but you’ve let the grapes go out, confound you! and if I find that you have been dishonest—” “Oh! but I’m sure, dear, that he would not be.”... more...