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"Exactly," said Robinson, with extraordinary
alacrity, "I perceive. Complete."

"It may be, however," proceeded Mr. Wordy,
who had strong affection for the subject, "that
a pedigree is necessary, to show the connexion
existing between the different characters
introduced. If so, this must be verified by
certificates and registers. The law, Mr. Robinson,
very properly, will not allow anybody to have
been born, or anybody to have been married, or
anybody to have died, without legal proof."

If Mr. Robinson did not glean a sufficiently
clear idea of an abstract from his solicitor's
explanation, he obtained a very vivid impression of
its bulk, as it lay upon that gentleman's office
table on his next visit there. The Encyclopaedia
Britannica as it might appear in manuscript,
was the nearest comparison he could discover
for it.

Still he did not come into possession of the
desirable freehold residence and its cool
shrubberies. On the contrary, the requisite legal
formalities expanded into a dreary Sahara, which
seemed lengthening as he went. It would be
necessary, his legal adviser informed him, to
submit the abstract to counsel, who would draw
up the necessary requisitions of title. These
being transmitted to the solicitors of the vendors,
would be answered by them. Probably the
replies might prove satisfactory: possibly not. In
the latter case, a few statutory declarations
would remedy any defects, and, as the oldest
inhabitant was always ready to swear anything
for a consideration, there need be no great
difficulty in the matter. "Finally," said Mr. Wordy,
"we shall examine the abstract carefully with the
deeds, and then, if we find all correct, we shall
get things in train for proceeding with the
conveyance; after the execution of which there
will be no impediment, Mr. Robinson, to your
taking possession of your charming residence at

"And that will be," said Robinson, with a
miserable consciousness of having spoken to
Mrs. R. about getting into possession next
week—" that will be?"

"Ah!" said Mr. Wordy, "this islet me see
June, then I should say about the latter end of
October, Mr. Robinson, we may hope to be in a
position to complete."


As a science, human longevity, till quite of
late, has been the degraded bondslave of
quacks and empirics. Modern philosophy,
represented by M. Flourens, Perpetual Secretary
to the Institut of France, takes a much
more elevated as well as comprehensive
view of the question. A theory of life
was wanted; for, though preceding ages have
studied life, our own age was the first to
consider it under its grand and general aspects.
The questions of The Quantity of Life on the
Globe, always diversely represented, and yet
equally maintained; of The First Appearance of
Life on the Globe; of the Fixity or the Variability
of Species; of Destroyed and Lost Species;
are questions completely new to the scientific
world. In the remarkable book* which
M. Flourens has published, he claims to have
regenerated the subject of Human Longevity, by
giving a sure sign of the limit of increase or
growth, and, consequently, an exact measure of
the duration of life. For the study of the
Formation or Origin of Life, he has substituted
the study of the Continuity of Life. He holds
that life does not commence with every new
individual, but that it has commenced with each
new species, and once only. Reckoning from
the first created pair of each, life does not
recommence; it is simply continued. The mystery
of the origin of life is thus thrown as far back as
possible; at the same time, its place is marked
* De la Longévité Humaine et de la Quantité de
Vie sur le Globe. Troisième édition, revue et
augmentée. Paris.

In confirmation of this latter idea, our reader
may perhaps have remarked in himself that one
of the hardest things to realise mentally is the
notion that there once was a time when he, the
individual now existing, was not in existence;
the nearest we can come to it is, a sort of sleep
out of which we have awakened. With animals
and utterly ignorant and unreflecting persons,
such a thought never seems to have entered
their head. They graze, or toil, or ruminate,
or doze, in regular alternation; and that suffices.
They inquire no further. It is doubtful whether
animals have any conception of old age or
death. When in health, they enjoy a placid
consciousness of existence, which might be
eternal, as far as their knowledge is concerned;
for they foresee no end and remember no beginning.
Educated persons, although their reason
tells them that they were born into the world
at a certain date, can hardly conceive and
acknowledge themselves to have been absolute
nullities previously. Without raising the question
of the pre-existence of the soul, they have
heard and read so much about events that
occurred prior to their birth, that they come almost
to regard them as a portion of their own personal
history. What is our life, in fact, but the sequel
of the life of our grandfather and our great-
grandfather? Certainly, we may not have been
present, as actual eye-witnesses, at the first
French revolution, at the flight and abdication
of James the Second, at the execution of Charles
the First, at the burnings of heretics by
bloody Queen Mary, or at the landing of
William the Conqueror; but our minds are really
affected by those historical facts in the same
way as by events occurring at some distant
place a little while ago, of which we hear as a
matter of course, and which are brought to our
knowledge by the post and the newspapers.
As far as our own individual memory is
concerned, there is so little difference between the