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        So we mend God's making,
            And so mar it for the most part:
        So chance-comers taking
            From the dust what seem'd the lost part
Of our labour, leave a sigh or drop a tear there: and
the Muses,
That neglected our endeavour, turn its failure to
their uses.


I AM thankful to say that I have not hitherto
seen many of the downs of life; but, if Fortune
has been kind to me in this respect, I am bound
to admit that she has not gone to any violent
extreme in treating me to a sight of the ups.
I have never yet got the length of a carriage
even in the shape of a miniature brougham;
and I don't mind confessing that I never had
belonging to me at any one period of my life,
a clear sum of a hundred pounds. I once
had sixty, free of the world, and it nearly
turned my brain. The possession of those
sixty pounds, all in sovereigns, made me
restless and excited for a whole day and a whole
night. I could not work, I could not sleep,
for four-and-twenty hours. They even took away
my appetite. But, being a bit of a philosopher,
and not avaricious, I said to myself:

"Snobson, if the possession of sixty pounds
has this effect upon you, what would be your
conduct if you were suddenly to become the
possessor of sixty thousand? Multiplying that
loud tone and that stiffness of back with which
the smaller sum afflicts you, in the same ratio,
what would be the result in personal assertion,
extravagance, and snobbishness?" I did
not work out the problem, because I was rather
afraid of the solution. I preferred taking warning
from several miserable cases in point.

Fortune has terribly thinned in a few years
my old circle of friends and acquaintances.
Some she has placed beyond my reach by lifting
them upfor few of us can bear, with
an equal mind, an excess of sovereignsothers
she has estranged from me by letting them
down. A round dozen of good fellows whom I
can conjure up in my mind's eye sitting at a
table on terms of the closest friendship and the
warmest fellowship, have parted company, and
all for the matter of a few sovereigns more or

There is poor Shuffleton. When I first knew
him he kept his carriagetwo or three carriages
for that matterand I don't know how many
horses. He had a fine house in Belgravia. He
dressed most expensively, and never wore a coat
for more than a month. I never knew him to drink
beer. He smoked the choicest cigars, and never
condescended to use coppers. He always put his
coppers in the pocket of his carriage, and the
tiger swept them out every night as he swept
out the mud and the dust. Ah, what a fine
gentleman Shuffleton was! I admired him
much, for he was in all respects a gentleman.
He did not cast off his coats at the end of
the month and despise coppers from ostentation,
but because he was really a rich man.
But Shuffleton came to sad grief. He embarked
his fortune in an enterprise which turned out a
complete failure. He did not lose quite all, but
it was a mere wreck that was left to him; and,
when this was gone, Shuffleton sank lower and
lower, until he reached the very bottom of the
pit of poverty. I have seen him in a shabby coat
and worn-down boots, creeping from one little
obscure shop to another, buying his provisions
by the pennyworth. He did not despise coppers
now. I have seen him in his garret-room melting
gutta-percha in a gallipot, and soleing an old
worn pair of boots that a beggar would not have
stooped to pick out of the streetshim who
once wore the neatest patent leathers, and gave
them away to his tiger when there was so much
as a crack in the varnish! I have seen him,
too, with needle and thread mending his poor
coat, and reviving his threadbare trousers with
ink. Once I saw him steal into a public-house
and purchase a halfpenny-worth of tobacco,
which he paid for with two farthingsShuffleton,
who used to smoke cigars at two guineas a
pound! Shuffleton, who once took no account
of coppers!

Shuffleton's extreme and hopeless poverty
places me in a most difficult position in
relation to him. In the days of his
prosperity, I frequently partook of his splendid
hospitality. I was indebted to him for many
favours. If I had wanted a five, ten, or
twenty-pound note at any time, Shuffleton would
have let me have it. In a word, Shuffleton was
my very close and intimate friend. But, now, see
to what a severe trial he puts my friendship.
He has become so shabby that I am ashamed to
walk about with him. It would never do for
me to hook on to his arm now. Look at his
hat, his coat, his boots! What would people
say? I should lose by it in my profession. If
my companionship did Shuffleton any good, I
might be willing to make the sacrifice; but it does
not. Shuffleton's arm robs me of that which
enriches him not, but makes me, Snobson, look poor
indeed. And, in this world of ours, you may as
well be poor as look poor. All that I can do
for Shuffleton is to lend him shillings. Have I
not cause to be angry with Shuffleton for putting
himself so far out of the reach of my friendship
and sympathy? But Shuffleton is actually
angry with me. He reproaches me because I
do not visit him more frequently, and throws it
in my teeth that I was glad enough to go and
see him when he had a good dinner and plenty
of wine to give me. This is true, and sounds
cutting; but there is no real reproach in it.
When Shuffleton, in the days of his prosperity,
asked me to stop a week with him, he made no
sacrifice whatever. He did not feel the loss of
the money I cost him. But he expects me to
make a martyr of myself; to ascend two or
three times a week to that lofty lodging of his;
to sit whole evenings with him, and make
believe that I am enjoying myself, while he is
engaged with gutta-percha. And when I cannot
lend him half a sovereign, he taunts me with