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to twelve pounds eacha misfortune I bore
well, as I had instantly sold at thirteen ten.

But speculative men at the Antipodes, perhaps
also elsewhere, have a financial genius of their
own. I was on my way home, with my money
in my pocket, when I was stopped with the
question,

"Have you any Chewtons?"

"Never heard of them."

"Then I pity you. Why, my dear fellow, I
applied for a hundred, and had only eight
allotted. Bought at ten shillings, and now they
are three pounds ten."

Chewtons became the rage, though nobody
seemed to know anything more about them
than that they were famous things for going
up. A knowing man was known to be director,
a man deep in Bendigos, who understood both
speculations well. " No gammon in that!" he
said of the Chewtons. But he had nothing to
sell. Nobody seemed to have the Chewton
Sluicing Company's shares to sell; for, to sell
them at three ten, would be throwing them
away. However, some were extorted from
unwilling holders at that price, and at four pounds.

While the iron was hot, " The Scarzborough
Mining, Crushing, Pumping, Sluicing, and
Drainage Company " struck in with a subscription
list on 'Change. Nothing was known of
this company by the scramblers for allotment
letters, but its comprehensive title. Nobody
doubted that it was a good thing, because leading
merchants were large speculators in it.
There was a rush to enter names and pay
deposits of five shillings per share. Nearly every
clergyman within reach, had his name down
among the sixty thousand people by whom
fifteen thousand pounds' worth of deposits were
paid in. Hereupon the directors, surprised
at their own success, advertised their entire
ignorance of the parties who had dared to
open the list for them, and immediately
afterwards resumed their hold of all the shares.
Brokers and purchasers were duly indignant;
everybody understood the trick; nevertheless,
expectation ran so high that shares were again
purchased of the directors, freely enough, at
twenty shillings premium. The game thus
fairly set on foot, prospectuses of mining
companies appeared every day, with great advantage
to their authors. Men of mark sold their names
to prospectus makers, and cashed their respectability,
in the form of shares, saleable at high
rates to their especial friends, while they still
had it to trade upon.

Those were fine times for Bagshot. Two thousand
acres of auriferous ground at Bagshot were
a source of speculation. But where is
Bagshot? Where's Bagshot! Why, Bagshot's at
ten pounds premium. Bagshot was created for
the use of speculators, by a bank manager and a
few influential merchants. Before men had
found time to do more than wonder about
Bagshot, up went the Bolinda Mining Company.
Bolindas were at only two pounds premium
upon two pounds paid up. The Bolinda company
went forward in a solid quiet way; it was a
neatly contrived thing of two thousand acres;
quality of yield certified by some real ore in a
shopkeeper's window. Smaller schemes were at
the same time growing and blowing on all sides,
like flowers in spring, with plenty of leaves in
the shape of reports of mining engineers. But
the new companies cropped up so fast, that they
began to choke one another. Before the shares
of the scheme of the day were half allotted, the
scheme of to-morrow called men away from it;
Shares became very plentiful, and premiums at
last proportionately scarce.

While this was going on, the press was silent.
Innumerable prospectuses were being advertised,
editors, own reporters, printers, and their very
devils, were among the speculators. Within
one week, eighteen schemes were born, of which
nine first saw the light on the same morning.
All outshone predecessors in the colouring of
their details, in the vastness of the capital to be
subscribed, in the respectability of their
provisional directors, in promise of wealth to the
original shareholders.

Somebody got the gold, but most people lost
the gold that they had pinched themselves to
find, for the sake of parting with it in exchange
for speculative paper. There was a sense of
doubt following the drain of money, when a
shareholder of one of the most promising
companies, " the Old Specimen Reef," went to the
Tidler's ground in question, came home, and
bluntly declared the statements in the prospectus
to be Lies. There was consternation and wrath.
The most trustworthy of the directors was
deputed to make an official visit and report. He
came back and reported, so far honestly, that
there was nothing to be done but recommend
that discontented shareholders might have their
subscriptions back, less sixpence a share for
preliminary expenses. So the ruin began.

Pass over a twelvemonth, and the Pumping
of the Companies is at an end; the crushing
has come into season. Distress warrants, for
overdue calls, begin to come out, and beggary
stares in the face of the adventurer who
preferred a blind risk to the sure gains of his
industry.

                                GUESSES.
I KNOW a maiden; she is dark and fair,
  With curv├Ęd brows and eyes of hazel hue,
And mouth, a marvel, delicately rare,
  Rich with expression, ever quaint yet new.
O happy fancy! there she, leaning, sits,
   One little palm against her temples pressed,
       And all her tresses winking like brown elves;
The yellow fretted laurels toss in fits,
    The great laburnums droop in swoons of rest,
        The blowing woodbines murmur to themselves.

What does she think of, as the daylight floats
  Along the mignionetted window-sills,
And, flame-like, overhead, with ruffled throats,
  The bright canaries twit their seeded bills?
What does she think of? Of the jasmine flower
   That, like an odorous snowflake, opens slow,
       Or of the linnet on the topmost briar
Or of the cloud that, fringed with summer shower,
   Floats up the river spaces, blue and low,
        And marged with lilies like a bank of fire?