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with any success to have resumed my former
tone of command, and for the life of me I could
not bring myself down to anything like entreaty.
"While I thus stood, uncertain how to act, the
old waiter approached me, almost courteously,
and said my room was ready for me when I
wished it.

"I will first of all wait upon the traveller in
No. 8," said I.

"He has retired for the night," was the
answer. " He seems in very delicate health,
and the fatigue of the journey has overcome
him."

"To-morrow will do, then," said I, easily;
and not venturing upon any inquiry as to the
means by which my room was at my disposal,
I took my candle and mounted the stairs.

As I lay down in my bed I resolved I would
take a calm survey of my past life: what I had
done, what I had failed to do, what were the
guiding principles which directed me, and
whither they were like to bear me. But scarcely
had I administered to myself the preliminary
oath to tell nothing but the truth, than I fell off
sound asleep.

My first waking thought the next morning
was to inquire if two persons had arrived in
search of mean elderly man and a young
woman. I described them. None such had
been seen. " They will have sought shelter in
some of the humbler inns," thought I; "I'll
up and look after them." I searched the town
from end to end; I visited the meanest halting-
places of the wayfarer; I inquired at the police
bureausat the gate but none had arrived
who bore any resemblance to those I asked
after. I was vexedonly vexed at firstbut
gradually I found myself growing distrustful.
The suspicion that the ice is not strong enough
for your weight, and then, close upon that, the
shock of fear that strikes you when the loud
crash of a fracture breaks on the ear, are mere
symbols of what one suffers at the first
glimmering of a betrayal. I repelled the thought
with indignation; but certain thoughts there
are which when turned out stand like sturdy
duns at the gate, and will not be sent away.
This was one of them. It followed me wherever
I went, importunately begging for a hearing,
and menacing me with sad consequences if
I were obdurate enough not to listen. " You
are a simpleton, Potts, a weak, foolish, erring
creature! and you select as the objects of your
confidence those whose lives of accident
present exactly as the most irresistible of all
temptations to themthe Dupe! How they must
have laughedhow they must yet be laughing
at you! How that old drunken fox will chuckle
over your simplicity, and the minx Tintefleck
indulge herself in caricatures of your figure
and face! I wonder how much of truth there
was in that old fellow's story? Was he ever
the syndic of his village, or was the whole
narrative a mere fiction likelike—— " I covered
my face with my hands in shame as I muttered
out, "like one of your own, Potts?"

I was very miserable, for I could no longer
stand proudly forward as the prosecutor, but
was obliged to steal ignomiuiously into the dock
and take my place beside the other prisoners.
What became of all my honest indignation as I
bethought me that I of all men could never
arraign the counterfeit and the sham?

"Let them go, then," cried I, " and prosper
if they can; I will never pursue them. I will
even try and remember what pleased and
interested me in their fortunes, and, if it may be,
forget that they have carried away my little all
of "wealth."

A loud tramping of post-horses, and the
cracking of whips, drew me to the window, and
I saw beneath in the court-yard a handsome
travelling britschka getting ready for the road.
Oh how suggestive is a well-cushioned cal├Ęche,
with its many appliances of ease and luxury, its
trim imperials, its scattered litter of wrappers
and guide-booksall little episodes of those
who are to journey in it!

"Who are the happy souls about to travel
thus enjoyably?" thought I, as I saw the waiter
and the courier discussing the most convenient
spot to deposit a small hamper with eatables
for the road; and then I heard the landlady's
voice call out,

"Take up the bill to No. 8."

So, then, this was No. 8 who was fast getting
ready to departNo. 8 who had interposed in
my favour the evening before, and towards
whom a night's rest and some reflection had
modified my feelings and changed my sentiments
very remarkably.

"Will you ask the gentleman at No. 8 if I
may be permitted to speak with him?" said I to
the man who took in the bill.

"He'll scarcely see you nowhe's just going
off."

"Give the message as I speak it," said I;
and he disappeared.

There was a long interval before he issued
forth again, and when he did so he was flurried
and excited. Some overcharges had to be taken
off, and some bad money in change to be
replaced by honest coin, and it was evident that
various little well-intended rogueries had not
achieved their usual success.

"Go in, you'll find him there," said the
waiter, insolently, as he went down to have the
bill rectified.

I knocked, a full round voice cried " Come
in!" and I entered.

Now ready, price Six Shillings, the Second Edition
of
THE UNCOMMERCIAL TRAVELLER.
BY CHARLES DICKENS.
London: 26, Wellington-street, Strand, W.C.;
and CHAPMAN and HALL, 193, Piccadilly, W.