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sell Square - and went down to Westmin-, fellow, how she had listened at his door sev
eral times during the first day, and heard There was a long day before her, so she him cough, that is, she thought she had, but took a minute's breathing space on West- toward night all was so very quiet; and minster Bridge, and watched the great cur- there having come a letter by post, she rent of London life ebbing and flowing-thought she would take it up to him. life on the river and life on the shore ; every- “And I went in, gentlemen, and I debody so busy and active and bright. clare, upon my oath, I found him lying just
“ Poor Tom, poor Tom!” she sighed, and as he is now, and as cold as a stone." wondered whether his ruined life would ever “Let me pass ; I'm a doctor,” said somecome to any happy ending, except death. body behind; a young man, very shabbily
She burried on, and soon found the street dressed, with a large beard. He pushed where she had taken his lodging. At the aside the landlady and Elizabeth, till he saw corner of it was, as is too usual in London the latter's face. streets, a public house, about which more “Give that young woman a chair and a than the usual number of disreputable idlers glass of water, will you ?
" be called out; were hanging. There were also one or two and his authoritative manner impressed the policemen, who were ordering the little crowd jurymen, who gathered round him ready and to give way to a group of twelve men, com- eager to hear anything he could say. ing out.
gave his name as John Smith, drug" What is that?" asked Elizabeth. gist's assistant; said that the young man who
“Coroner's inquest; jury proceeding to lodged up-stairs, whose death he had only view the body.”
just heard of, had been his patient for some Elizabeth, who had never come into con- months, and was in the last stage of contact with anything of the sort, stood aside sumption. He had no doubt the death had with a sense of awe, to let the little proces- ensued from perfectly natural causes, as he sion pass, and then followed it up the street. explained in such technical language as
It stopped ; oh, no! not at that door! But completely to overpower the jury, and satit was ; there was no mistaking the number, isfy them accordingly. They quitted the nor the drawn-down blind in the upper room parlor, and proceeded to the public house, -Tom's room.
where, after a brief consultation, they de“Who is dead ? ” she asked, in a whisper livered their verdict, as the astute policeman that made the policeman stare.
had foretold, “ Died by the visitation of “Oh! nobody particular ; a young man, God;" took pipes and brandy all round at found dead in his bed ; supposed to be a the bar, and then adjourned to their several case of consumption; verdict will probably homes, gratified at having done their duty be, ' Died by the visitation of God.'' to their country.
Ay, that familiar phrase, our English law's Meantime, Elizabeth crept up-stairs. Nosolemn recognition of our national religious body hindered or followed her; nobody feeling, was true here. God had “ visited” cared anything for the solitary dead. poor Tom; he suffered no more.
There he lay-poor Tom !-almost as she Elizabeth leaned against the door-way, had left him; the counterpane was hardly and saw the twelve jurymen go up-stairs disturbed, the candle she had placed on the with a clatter of feet, and come down again, chair bad burned down to a bit of wick, one after the other, less noisily, and some which still lay in the socket. Nobody had of them looking grave. Nobody took any touched him, or anything about him, as, in notice of her, until the lodging-house inis- all cases of "Found dead,” English law extress appeared.
acts. “Oh, here she is, gentlemen. This is the Whether he had died soon after she young woman as saw him last alive. She'll quitted him that night, or whether he had tell you I'm not a bit to blame."
lingered through the long hours of darkness, And pulling Elizabeth after her the land- or of daylight following, alive and conscious lady burst into a torrent of explanation ; perhaps, yet too weak to call any one, even how she had done her very best for the poor | bad there been any one he cared to call —
when, or how, the spirit had passed away Mr. Ascott seemed a good deal shocked, unto Him who gave it, were mysteries that inquired from her a few particulars, and could never be known.
again took out his purse, bis one panacea But it was all over now; he lay at rest for all mortal woes. But Elizabeth de with the death smile on his face. Elizabeth, clined ; she said she would only ask him as she stood and looked at him, could not, for an advance of her next half-year's wages. dared not weep.
She preferred burying her old friend herself. My poor Tom, my own dear Tom,” was She buried him, herself the only mourner, all she thought, and knew that he was all on a bright summer's day, with the sun her own now; that she had loved him shining dazzlingly on the white gravestones through everything, and loved him to the in Kensal Green. The clergyman appeared, end.
read the service, and went away again. A
few minutes ended it all. When the unCHAPTER XXVIII.
dertaker and his men had also departed, she ELIZABETH spent the greatest part of her sat down on a bench near to watch the sexholiday in that house, in that room. No- ton filling up the
gravemTom's body interfered with her; nobody asked in was very quiet, and none but a closely obwhat relation she stood to the deceased, or servant person watching her face could have what right she had to take upon herself the penetrated into the truth of what your imarrangements for his funeral. Everybody pulsive characters, always in the extremes was only too glad to let her assume a re- of mirth or misery, never understand about sponsibility, which would otherwise have quiet people, that "still waters run deep." fallen on the parish.
While she sat there some one came past The only person who appeared to remem- her, and turned round. It was the shabbyber either her or the dead man was the drug- looking chemist's assistant, who had apgist's assistant, who sent in the necessary peared at the inquest and given the satismedical certificate as to the cause of death. factory evidenco which had prevented the Elizabeth took it to the Registrar, and necessity of her giving hers. thence proceeded to an undertaker hard by, Elizabeth rose and acknowledged him with with whom she arranged all about the fu- a respectful courtesy; for under his threadneral, and thatit should take place in the new bare clothes was the bearing of a gentleman, cemetery at Kensal Green. She thought and he had been so kind to Tom. she should like that better than a close, “I am too late," he said ; “ the funeral noisy London churchyard.
is over. I meant to have attended it, and Before she left the house she saw poor seen the last of the poor
fellow." Tom laid in his coffin, and covered for- “ Thank you, sir," replied Elizabeth, ever from mortal eyes. Then, and 'not till gratefully. then, she sat herself down beside him and The young man stood before her, looking wept.
at her earnestly for a minute or two, and Nobody contested with her the possession then exclaimed, with a complete change of of the few things that had belonged to him, voice and manner, which were scarcely more than the clothes he?" Elizabeth! don't you know me P What had on when he died; so she made them up has become of my Aunt Johanna P" into a parcel and took them away with her. It was Ascott Leaf. In his waistcoat-pocket she found one book, But no wonder Elizabeth had not recog. a little Testament, which she had given him nized him. His close-cropped hair, his large herself. It looked as if it had been a good beard hiding half his face, and a pair of deal read. If all his studies, all his wor- spectacles which he had assumed, were & ship of “pure intellect," as the one supreme sufficient disguise. Besides, the great change good, had ended in that it was a blessed from his former dandy" appearance to the ending.
extreme of shabbiness; his clothes being When she reached home Elizabeth went evidently worn as long as they could possiat once to her master, returned him his bly hold together, and his generally deletter of recommendation, and explained to pressed air giving the effect of one who had bim that his kindness was not needed now. gone down in the world, made him, even
without the misleading “ John Smith," most “Elizabeth, what relation was Tom to unlikely to be identified with the Ascott you? If I had known you were acquainted Leaf of old.
with him I should have been afraid to go “I never should have known you, sir !” near him ; but I felt sure, though he came said Elizabeth, truthfully, when her aston- from Stowbury, he did not guess who I
was; ishment had a little subsided ; " but I am he only knew me as Mr. Smith; and he very glad to see you. Oh, how thankful your never once mentioned you. Was he your aunts will be !"
cousin, or what?" “Do you think so? I thought it was Elizabeth considered a moment, and then quite the contrary. But it does not matter ; told the simple fact; it could not matter now. they will never hear of me, unless you tell “I was once going to be married to him, them-and I believe I may trust you. You but he saw somebody he liked better, and would not betray me, if only for the sake of married her." that poor fellow yonder ??
“Poor girl ; poor Elizabeth !” “ No, sir.”
Perhaps nothing could have shown the “Now, tell me something about my aunts, great change in Ascott more than the tone especially my Aunt Johanna."
in which he uttered these words ; a tone of And sitting down in the sunshine, with his ntire respect and kindly pity, from which arm upon the back of the bench, and his he never once departed during that converhand hiding his eyes, the poor prodigal lis- sation, and many, many others, so long as tened in silence to everything Elizabeth told their confidential relations lasted. bim; of his Aunt Selina's marriage and “ Now, sir, would you be so kind as to death, and of Mr. Lyon's return, and of the tell me something about yourself? I'll not happy home at Liverpool.
repeat anything to your aunts, if you don't They are all quite happy, then?” said wish it." he, at length; "they seem to have begun Ascott yielded. He had been so long, so to prosper ever since they got rid of me. utterly forlorn. He sat down beside ElizaWell, I'm glad of it. I only wanted to hear beth, and then, with eyes often averted, and of them from you. I shall never trouble with many breaks between, which she had them any more. You'll keep my secret, I to fill up as best she could, he told her know. And now I must go, for I have not a all his story, even to the sad secret of all, minute more to spare. Good-by, Elizabeth." which had caused him to run away from
With a humility and friendliness, strange home, and hide himself in the last place enough in Ascott Leaf, he held out his hand where they would have thought he was, the -empty, for he had nothing to give now safe wilderness of London. There, careto his aunt's old servant. But Elizabeth de- fully disguised, he had lived decently while tained him.
his money lasted, and then, driven step by “Don't go, sir; please, don't ; not just step to the brink of destitution, he had of yet.” And then she added, with an earnest fered himself for employment in the lowest respectfulness that touched the heart of the grade of his own profession, and been taken poor, shabby man, “I hope you'll pardon as assistant by the not overscrupulous chemthe liberty I take. I'm only a servant, but ist and druggist in that not too respectable I knew you
when you were a boy, Mr. Leaf; neighborhood of Westminster, with a salary and if you would trust me, if you would let of twenty pounds a year. me be of use to you in any way—if only be- “And I actually live upon it!” added he, cause you were so good to him there." with a bitter smile. “I can't run into debt;
“ Poor Tom Cliffe ; he was not a bad fel- for who would trust me? And I dress in low ; he liked me rather, I think; and I rags almost, as you see. And I get my meals was able to doctor him, and help him a little. how and where I can ; and I sleep under Heigh-ho ; it's a comfort to think I ever did the shop-counter. A pretty life for Mr. Asany good to anybody."
cott Leaf, isn't it now? What would my Ascott sighed, drew his rusty coat-sleeve aunts say if they knew it ? " across his eyes, and sat contemplating his “ They would say it was an honest life, boots, which were anything but dandy boots and that they were not a bit ashamed of now.
you." LIVING AGE. 962.
Ascott drew himself up a little, and his will not always remain as John Smith, drugo chest heaved visibly under the close-but- gist's shopman, throwing away all your good toned, threadbare coat.
education and position and name ? “ Well, at least it is a life that makes no- « Elizabeth," said he, in an humbled tone, body else miserable.”
“how dare I ever resume my own name and Ay, that wonderful teacher, Adversity, get back my rightful position while Peter
Ascott lives? Can you or anybody point “Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
out a way?" Wears yet a precious jewel in its head,"
She thought the question over in her clear had left behind this jewel in the young man's head ; clear still, even at this hour, when she heart. A disguised, beggared outcast, he had to think for others, though all personal had found out the value of an honest name; feeling and interest were buried in that forsaken, unfriended, he had learned the grave over which the sexton was now laying preciousness of home and love; made a the turf that would soon grow smoothly servant of, tyrannized over,
and held in low green. esteem, he had been taught by bard experi-" If I might advise, Mr. Leaf, I should ence the secret of true humility and charity say, save up all your money, and then go, -the esteeming of others better than him- just as you are, with an honest, bold front, self.
right into my master's house, with the fifty Not with all natures does misfortune so pounds in your
handwork, but it did with his. He had sinned ; “ By Jove, you've hit it!” cried Ascott, he had paid the cost of his sin in bitter suf- starting up. “What a thing a woman's fering ; but the result was cheaply bought, head is ! I've turned over scheme after and he already began to feel that it was so. scheme, but I never once thought of any so
“ Yes,” said he, in answer to a question simple as that. Bravo, Elizabeth! You're of Elizabeth's, “I really am, for some a remarkable woman.” things, happier than I used to be. I feel She smiled—a very sad smile-but still more like what I was in the old days, when she felt glad. Anything that she could posI was a little chap at Stowbury! Poor old sibly do for any creature belonging to her Stowbury! I often think of the place in a dear mistresses seemed to this faithful serway that's perfectly ridiculous. Still, if any- vant the natural and bounden duty of her thing happened to me, I should like my aunts life. to know it, and that I didn't forget them.” Long after the young man,
whose “But, sir,” asked Elizabeth, earnestly, rial temperament no trouble could repress, “ do you never mean to go near your aunts had gone away in excellent spirits, leaving again ?"
her an address where she could always find “I can't say; it all depends upon circum- him, and give him regular news of his aunts, tances. I suppose," he added, “if, as is though he made her promise to give them, said, one's sin is sure to find one out, the as yet, no tidings in return, Elizabeth sat same rule goes by contraries. It seems poor still, watching the sun decline and the shadCliffe once spoke of me to a district visitor, ows lengthen over the field of graves. In the only visitor he ever had; and this gen- the calmness and beauty of this solitary tleman, hearing of the inquest, came yester- place an equal calm seemed to come over day to inquire about him of me; and the her; a sense of how wonderfully events had end was that he offered me a situation with linked themselves together and worked a person he knew, a very respectable chem- themselves out; how
even poor Tom's ist in Tottenham Court Road."
mournful death had brought about this " And shall you go ?”
meeting, which might end in restoring to her “ To be sure. I've learned to be thank- beloved mistresses their lost sheep, their outful for small mercies. Nobody will find me cast, miserable boy. She did not reason the out or recognize me. You didn't. Who matter out, but she felt it, and felt that in knows? I may even have the honor of making her in some degree his instrument dispensing drugs to Uncle Ascott of Russell God had been very good to her in the midst Square.
of her desolation.' “But,” said Elizabeth, after a pause, “ you, It seemed Elizabeth's lot always to have
to put aside her own troubles for the trouble I could not. She hid herself partly behind of somebody else. Almost immediately after the door, afraid of passing Ascott; dreadTom Cliffe's death her little Henry fell ill ing alike to wound him by recognition or with scarlatina, and remained for many non-recognition. But he took no notice. months in a state of health so fragile as to He seemed excessively agitated. engross all her thought and care.
“ Come a-begging, young man, I suppose ? with difficulty that she contrived a few times Wants a situation, as hundreds do, and think to go for Henry's medicines to the shop that I have half the clerkships in the city at where " John Smith” served.
my disposal, and that I am made of money She noticed that every time he looked besides. But it's no good, I tell you, sir ; I healthier, brighter, freer from that aspect never give nothing to strangers, exceptof broken-down respectability which had Here, Henry, my son, take that person there touched her so much. He did not dress any this half-crown." better, but still “ the gentleman” in him And the little boy, in his pretty purple could never be hidden or lost, and he said velvet frock and his prettier face, trotted his master treated him “like a gentleman,” across the room and put the money
poor which was apparently a pleasant novelty.
Ascott's hand. He took it; and then, to the “ I have some time to myself also. Shop astonishment of Master Henry, and the still shuts at nine, and I get up at 5 P.M.-bless greater astonishment of his father, lifted up us! what would my Aunt Hilary say? And the child and kissed him. it's not for nothing. There are more ways • Young man, young fellowthan one of turning an honest penny, when “I see you don't know me, Mr. Ascott, a young fellow really sets about it. Eliza- and it's not surprising. But I have come to beth, you used to be a literary character repay you this,” he laid a fifty-pound note yourself; look into the and the _" down on the table.
66 Also to thank you (naming two popular magazines), "and if earnestly for not prosecuting me, and to you find a series of especially clever papers sav. on sanitary reform, and so on, I did 'em!” “Good God!”--the sole expletive Peter
He slapped his chest with Ascott's merry Ascott had been heard to use for long. laugh of old. It cheered Elizabeth for a “ Ascott Leaf, is that you ? I thought you long while afterward.
were in Australia, or dead, or something !” By and by she had to take little Henry to “No, I'm alive and here, more's the pity Brighton, and lost sight of "John Smith” perhaps. Except that I have lived to pay for some time longer.
you back what I cheated you out of. What It was on a snowy February day, when, you generously gave me I can't pay, though having brought the child home quite strong, I may some time. Meantime, I have brought and received unlimited gratitude and guin- you this. It's honestly earned. Yes"-obeas from the delighted father, Master Hen- serving the keen, doubtful look, “though I ry's faithful nurse stood in her usual place have hardly a coat to my back, I assure you at the dining-room door, waiting for the in- it's honestly earned.”. terminable grace of “only five minutes Mr. Ascott made no reply. He stooped more to be over, and her boy carried igno- over the bank-note, examined it, folded it, miniously but contentedly to bed.
and put it into his pocket-book ; then, after The footman knocked at the door. "A another puzzled investigation of Ascott, young man wanting to speak to master on cleared his throat, particular business."
“ Mrs. Hand, you had better take Master “ Let him send in his name.”
Henry up-stairs." “He says you wouldn't know it, sir.” An hour after, when little Henry had long
“Show him in, then. Probably a case of been sound asleep, and she was sitting at her charity, as usual. Oh!”
usual evening sewing in her solitary nursery, And Mr. Ascott's opinion was confirmed Elizabeth learned that the “shabby young by the appearance of the shabby young man man was still in the dining-room with Mr. with the long beard, whom Elizabeth did Ascott, who had rung for tea and some cold not wonder he never recognized in the least. meat with it. And the footman stated, with
She ought to have retired, and yet she undisguised amazement, that the shabby