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palsied hands and temporarily made use of, but
sure to trickle back again into the furnace.
Fearful witch! Withdraw, and cease to struggle
with Destiny!

Music on the right!—a clash orchestral breaking
in for an instant and cut off prematurely.
It is but a door opened and closed again. Here
is a grand transformation scene. A wave of
the wand, and the daintily coloured walls open,
and the mirrors and pink Cupids are wheeled
away to the right and to the left, disclosing
the fairy ball-room and transformation
scene, its white and gold pillars, its yellow
effulgence from long lines of chandeliers and
gallant company of dark-robed sprites and elves
elves in gossamer robes and flowering wreaths
all flying round to that wild saltarello, the
Valse Mephistopheles! Appropriate music!
Chief of orchestra black, vivacious spirit,
recalling strangely the likeness of that celebrated
familiar is hounding on his men of music
furiously. Clash from Eastern cymbals, with
fiercest racing of fiddle notes, and round sweep
the wreathed company! Inspiriting Valse
Mephistopheles! These are Moloch's own
musicians, playing for Moloch's own congregation;
and a sort of embodiment of that great divinity
himselfa huge white heathen god carrying off
a young lady who, in point of dress, is only too
classicalstrides out of the wall at one side,
and overlooks the whole ceremonial. He is not
singular in his pastime, for are there not below
him fifty stout Romans, in evening coats,
struggling to all appearance with fifty young Sabines,
in the grand Mephistopheles Valse? Grand
round, once more, to Saracenic clash!

To that restless group hovering on the edge
looking on, but more frequently looking
backwardthe business seems sickly and insipid
enough. Their hearts are fluttering on the edge
of the great abyss of chancechink of metal is
their true dancing music and so, after coming
up in that corner, skirting that group, like
disturbed spirits, they glide away back to those
enchanting realms where their home is.

Here are calm and softly shaded lights, a
decent tranquillity, and ruin on gentlemanly
principles back again! The dervishes reading their
service in the "most impressive manner,"
garnering up the offerings of their faithful in the
steadiest fashion. Again the solemn Gregorian
chant strikes upon the ear. "Rouge gagne et
couleur!" Again the clink and shuffle of metals
raked home form agreeable musical accompaniment.
Only, as it begins to touch on midnight,
a sort of "revival" sets in, and worshippers
grow fiercer and more importunate in their
prayers, singing, "Hear us, Baal!" frantically.
The terrible old woman is still there, madly
flourishing her rake, but there is nothing else
left for her to flourish. So her wicked old face
can only follow, in spirit, the retreating moneys;
and her wicked old fingers beat the table
nervously at every successful coup. With square
Shock-head things have gone as ill. Moloch
has beaten him, and, what is more cruel still,
his system! So he too may go and sit gnawing
his fingers until he is weary; and then, pushing
his chair back, may retire, going down with his
system into Hades! Watchful familiars shall
dust his place clean, and set a neat fresh card,
with pin, ready for the next comer.

But our poor florid hay-whiskered sea-captain,
with his soft schoolboy nature, how has it been
with him and his dwindling heap? A clean void
before him. All gone.

The night's service is over; and, standing in
the open street, out under the cool night air, we
see the wretched penitents, with flustered faces
and heavy gait, debouch from that yawning
archway; above, the row of smelting furnace
doors still open, emitting a hot sultry blast.
Whoever would now trip up-stairs lightly, and
cautiously drawing aside the muslin curtain, peep
into Moloch's chapel, would see the closing
ceremonial of this day's worship: Lights half
down, upper atmosphere lost in black shadows,
and the whole company sitting about the table,
counting the spoils a genuine Rembrandtish
effect; faces bending forward, and lighted up with
a lurid red; gaunt figures cast upon the wall
behind them. Some, busy with dull flickering
candles, sealing up gold in rouleaux; others,
packing it away in brass-bound coffers; all
intent upon their task. Familiars of Moloch!
you will not be sorry, when that mysterious
taking of stock is accomplished, to stand up,
stretching your limbs, and wander homeward to
your lonely lodgings.


LATE on the night after my return from
France, where I had been living for seven years,
my father and youngest sister had left Anna
and me alone. We were in a half confidential,
half reserved mood, sounding one another's
hearts, with fond words shyly spoken, and close
questions shyly asked. We sat in a glimmer
of fire-light on the old kitchen hearth, where
we had played together in our childhood. The
low rocking-chair I occupied, the white wooden
cricket on which Anna sat beside me, the large
painted cupboard, the scoured dresser, the bright
pewter plate-covers, and the blue check curtains
drawn across the window, were exactly as I had
left them. Only everything in the house seemed
smaller, dingier, older: it was home; yet not
altogether the home my memory had pictured it
in the sunny south of France. I could not utter
the ill-defined disappointment that I felt in spite
of my great joy, and, falling into the silence which
is the language of a full heart, I tried to recal
my home as it was when I left it.

The home of a tradesman in straitened
circumstances: straitened, not by ill-conduct or
self-indulgence, but by devotion to study, elegant
tastes, and thoughtless liberality. Ours was a
poverty to be almost proud of; but it weighed
heavily upon our young hearts; deprived, as we
were, of maternal or brotherly companionship and
aid. Although scarcely able to enter into the intri-