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My Novel, Volume 2. The Parisians — Volume Devereux, Book IV. A Strange Story — Volume What, to a man who fortifies himself by reason and by reflection on the shortness of life, are the little calamities of the body? What is imprisonment or persecution or cold or hunger?

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By the by, you did not forget to put the sandwiches into my coat-pocket! I don't much like living in a cellar and wearing a smock frock; but those concealments have something interesting in them, after all! The safest and snuggest place I know of is the Pays Bas, about Thames Court; so I think of hiring an apartment underground, and taking my meals at poor Lovett's old quarters, the Mug,—the police will never dream of looking in these vulgar haunts for a man of my fashion.

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I hate their wine and their parley woo. Besides, there is no fun there. Tomlinson, who was absorbed in his own thoughts, made no comment on his friend's excellent reasons against travel; and the pair now approached the brink of the river. A boat was in waiting to receive and conduct to the vessel in which he had taken his place for Calais the illustrious emigrant. But as Tomlinson's eye fell suddenly on the rude boatmen and the little boat which were to bear him away from his native land; as he glanced, too, across the blue waters, which a brisk wind wildly agitated, and thought how much rougher it would be at sea, where "his soul" invariably "sickened at the heaving wave,"—a whole tide of deep and sorrowful emotions rushed upon him.

He turned away. The spot on which he stood was a piece of ground to be let as a board proclaimed upon a building lease; below, descended the steps which were to conduct him to the boat; around, the desolate space allowed him to see in far and broad extent the spires and domes and chimneys of the great city whose inhabitants he might never plunder more.

As he looked and looked, the tears started to his eyes, and with a gust of enthusiasm, little consonant with his temperate and philosophical character, he lifted his right hand from his black breeches-pocket, and burst into the following farewell to the metropolis of his native shores:—. Where shall I ever find a city like you? Never, till now, did I feel how inexpressibly dear you were to me.

You have been my father and my brother and my mistress and my tailor and my shoemaker and my hatter and my cook and my wine-merchant! You and I never misunderstood each other. I did not grumble when I saw what fine houses and good strong boxes you gave to other men. I rejoiced at their prosperity.

I delighted to see a rich man,—my only disappointment was in stumbling on a poor one. You gave riches to my neighbours; but, O generous London, you gave those neighbours to me! Magnificent streets, all Christian virtues abide within you! Charity is as common as smoke! Where, in what corner of the habitable world, shall I find human beings with so many superfluities?

Where shall I so easily decoy, from benevolent credulity, those superfluities to myself? Heaven only knows, my dear, dear, darling London, what I lose in you! O public charities! O public institutions! O banks that belie mathematical axioms and make lots out of nothing! O ancient constitution always to be questioned! O modern improvements that never answer! O speculations!

O companies! O usury laws which guard against usurers, by making as many as possible! O churches in which no one profits, save the parson, and the old women that let pews of an evening!

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O superb theatres, too small for parks, too enormous for houses, which exclude comedy and comfort, and have a monopoly for performing nonsense gigantically! O houses of plaster, built in a day! O palaces four yards high, with a dome in the middle, meant to be invisible!

Tomlinson, Of course, refers to some palace of his day; one of the boxes—Christmas boxes—given to the king by his economical nation of shopkeepers. We suppose it is either pulled down or blown down long ago; it is doubtless forgotten by this time, except by antiquaries. Nothing is so ephemeral as great houses built by the people.

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Your kings play the deuce with their playthings! O system of credit by which beggars are princes, and princes are beggars! O imprisonment for debt, which lets the mare be stolen, and then locks up the bridle! O sharpers, bubbles, senators, beaux, taverns, brothels, clubs, houses private and public! Long may you flourish in peace and plenteousness! May your knaves be witty, and your fools be rich! May you alter only two things, —your damnable tricks of transportation and hanging! Those are your sole faults; but for those I would never desert you. Here Tomlinson averted his head, and then hastily shaking the hand of Long Ned with a tremulous and warm grasp, he hurried down the stairs and entered the boat.

Ned remained motionless for some moments, following him with his eyes as he sat at the end of the boat, waving a white pocket-handkerchief. At length a line of barges snatched him from the sight of the lingerer; and Ned, slowly turning away, muttered,—"Yes, I have always heard that Dame Lobkins's was the safest asylum for misfortune like mine. I will go forthwith in search of a lodging, and to-morrow I will make my breakfast at the Mug! Be it our pleasing task, dear reader, to forestall the good robber, and return, at the hour of sunrise on the day following Tomlinson's departure, to the scene at which our story commenced.

We are now once more at the house of Mrs. Margery Lobkins. The room which served so many purposes was still the same as when Paul turned it into the arena of his mischievous pranks. The dresser, with its shelves of mingled delf and pewter, occupied its ancient and important station. Only it might be noticed that the pewter was more dull than of yore, and that sundry cracks made their erratic wanderings over the yellow surface of the delf. The eye of the mistress had become less keen than heretofore, and the care of the hand maid had, of necessity, relaxed.

The tall clock still ticked in monotonous warning; the blanket-screen, haply innocent of soap since we last described it, many-storied and polyballaded, still unfolded its ample leaves "rich with the spoils of time;" the spit and the musket yet hung from the wall in amicable proximation.

And the long, smooth form, "with many a holy text thereon bestrewn," still afforded rest to the weary traveller, and an object to the vacant stare of Mrs. Margery Lobkins, as she lolled in her opposite seat and forgot the world. But poor Piggy Lob! The soul of the woman was gone; the spirit had evaporated from the human bottle! She sat, with open mouth and glassy eye, in her chair, sidling herself to and fro, with the low, peevish sound of fretful age and bodily pain; sometimes this querulous murmur sharpened into a shrill but unmeaning scold: "There now, you gallows-bird!

Providence protects the aged and the innocent—Oh, oh! Where's Martha? You jade, you! Has you no bowels, to let a poor Christian cretur perish for want o' help!

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That's with 'em, that's the way! No one cares for I now,—no one has respect for the gray 'airs of the old! Martha, a strapping wench with red hair streaming over her "hills of snow," was not, however, inattentive to the wants of her mistress. But in the sunken prostration of her intellect, the old woman was insensible even to her consolation. She sipped and drank, it is true; but as if the stream warmed not the benumbed region through which it passed, she continued muttering in a crazed and groaning key,—.

Why does not you bring the tape, I tells you?