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rescued from the oblivion into which it has long
fallen, except within the small circle which he
more particularly addressed.


I fondly hoped that with the end of
September the great invasion would be all over, and
that my castle (romantically situated on the
heights of Holborn) would be immediately and
permanently relieved from occupation by the
predatory hordes, which, since May, had, from
time to time, laid siege to it and forced me to

I was happy in this hope, for though an
Englishman's house is undoubtedly his castle,
it is still the fate of castles to be assaulted and
taken by the enemy; and when the enemy takes
the shape of a fat French feuilletonist from
Paris, with his still fatter wife; or a Danish
drysalter from Copenhagen, with a letter of
introduction from the editor of the Schlashbladet;
or an American horse-doctor, addicted to
expectoration, and a martyr to delirium tremens
(kindly recommended by your brother, recently
settled in New York); or an old Dublin
acquaintance, who never comes home until three
o'clock in the morning, and then not sober; or
a Scottish chieftain, with no luggage to speak of,
who sports his native costume, and collects an
admiring audience of spectators round your
door every time he goes out, and every time he
comes inwhen, I repeat, the enemy takes any
one of those shapes (not to mention all of them
at once), it cannot be said, with any justice, that
your castle is any longer yours. I can truly
declare that, from the first day of May to the last
day of September of the year now happily
departed, my castle was not mine. It was the
fat French feuilletonist's castle, the Danish
drysalter's castle, the Scottish chieftain's castlein
fine, I may say it was slave to thousands. It
was not until the last of my invaders, the chieftain,
took his beak from out my heart, and his
picturesque form without my door, and returned
to breathe his native air, that I was enabled to
breathe my native air (albeit getting foggy) with
any sense that it was mine, and that I had
title to breathe it. Reflecting upon all I had
suffered, I was still willing to admit that science
was a great invention; but, at the same time, I
am bound to confess that I considered it a
circumstance for congratulation that science (in
conjunction with the arts and manufactures) did
not hold its jubilee oftener than once in eleven
years. I even felt some degree of consolation
in the thought that before science, in
conjunction with the arts and manufactures, held
high festival again, I might be dead, and
consequently have no spare bed.

I was revelling in this exhilarating idea one
evening somewhere about the tenth of December,
when I was startled by a loud knocking at
my castle-gate, followed by the sound of a deep-
toned and not altogether familiar voice in my
hall. Suddenly remembering that several heavy
butcher's and other bills for the last quarter
were still due, entirely owing to the attractions
of science, and the arts and manufactures, I was
about to rush out and accept service like a man,
when the door of my oak chamber opened
suddenly, and there stood before me, attired in a
double-caped great-coat, top-boots, and a low-
crowned beaver, my old and much-esteemed
friend Bovington, of Butterfield, Bucks.

"Here we are," said Bovington.

The way in which Bovington said " Here we
are," called up in my mind a sudden vision of
Christmas, which, coming in conjunction with
the subject of quarterly accounts, gave me a
shock. I am afraid I greeted Bovington rather

"I've come up to see the show," said
Bovington, " and mean to stop a week with you."

"Most welcome, I'm sure, Bovington, but
you're a day behind the fair; the Exhibition
closed on  — "

"Ex-hi-bi-tion!" said Bovington, with
measured contempt, "you don't suppose I mean
that show. I hate International Exhibitions,
bringing over a lot of nasty dirty frog-eating
foreigners. I was determined not to come up to
London until they were all gone. I mean the
Cattle Show."

"Oh, the Cattle Show! To be sure! Well
take off your coat, Bovington, and make
yourself comfortable. We'll have supper soon. I
dare say you're hungry."

"I could eat a horse," said Bovington.

Those terrible words were scarcely out of
Bovington's mouth, when another loud summons
at the castle-gate resounded through the hall.
I rushed out at once; when who should I see
rummaging his pockets for money to pay his
cab hire, but my old friend Porkinson, from
Sandwich. Porkinson did not see me for a
minute, and the first thing I heard him say was,
"I've lost a fourpenny-bit."

There immediately flashed across me another
vision of Christmas, which was intensified to a
most painful degree when Porkinson put his
hand in mine, with a slap that resounded all
through the castle.

"How are you, my boy? Glad to see you.
I told you I'd accept your invitation some day;
and now I've done it. Come to stop a day or
two with you and see the show."

"Delighted, I'm sure, Porkinson." (I was
getting quite cold with joy.) " Let me hang up
your coat and things. You will find somebody
in there, whom you know."

"Shall I, though. Who is it?"

And immediately I heard, "Ha, Bovington!"
" What, Porkinson?" followed by a flapping and
a slapping that made me think we were really
getting up a pantomime, and the comic business
had begun.

"Draw up to the fire, Porkinson, and make
yourself comfortable. We'll have supper soon.
I dare say you're hungry."

"Awful!" said Porkinson; and, as he said so,
he opened his mouth to that extent that I could
see his throat looming in the distance like