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TRUTH. (1848-1849.)

The Journal of Ezra Jennings (Concluded).

THE first and foremost question, is the
question of Mr. Blake's health.

So far as it is possible for me to judge, he
promises (physically speaking) to be quite as
susceptible to the action of the opium to-night,
as he was at this time last year. He is, this
afternoon, in a state of nervous sensitiveness
which just stops short of nervous irritation. He
changes colour readily; his hand is not quite
steady; and he starts at chance noises, and at
unexpected appearances of persons and things.

These results have all been produced by
deprivation of sleep, which is in its turn the
nervous consequence of a sudden cessation in
the habit of smoking, after that habit has been
carried to an extreme. Here are the same
causes at work again, which operated last year;
and here are, apparently, the same effects. Will
the parallel still hold good, when the final test
has been tried? The events of the night must

While I write these lines, Mr. Blake is amusing
himself at the billiard table in the inner
hall, practising different strokes in the game,
as he was accustomed to practise them when
he was a guest in this house in June last. I
have brought my journal here, partly with a view
to occupying the idle hours which I am sure
to have on my hands between this and to-morrow
morning; partly in the hope that something
may happen which it may be worth my while to
place on record at the time.

Have I omitted any thing, thus far? A
glance at yesterday's entry shows me that I
have forgotten to note the arrival of the
morning's post. Let me set this right, before I close
these leaves for the present, and join Mr. Blake.

I received a few lines then, yesterday, from
Miss Verinder. She has arranged to travel by
the afternoon train, as I recommended. Mrs.
Merridew has insisted on accompanying her.
The note hints that the old lady's generally
excellent temper is a little ruffled, and requests
all due indulgence for her, in consideration of
her age and her habits. I will endeavour, in
my relations with Mrs. Merridew, to emulate
the moderation which Betteredge displays in
his relations with me. He received us to-day,
portentously arrayed in his best black suit, and
his stiffest white cravat. Whenever he looks
my way, he remembers that I have not read
Robinson Crusoe since I was a child, and he
respectfully pities me.

Yesterday, also, Mr. Blake had the lawyer's
answer. Mr. Bruff accepts the invitation
under protest. It is, he thinks, clearly necessary
that a gentleman possessed of the average
allowance of common sense, should accompany
Miss Verinder to the scene of, what he will
venture to call, the proposed exhibition. For
want of a better escort, Mr. Bruff himself will
be that gentleman.—So here is poor Miss
Verinder provided with two "chaperons." It
is a relief to think that the opinion of the
world must surely be satisfied with this!

Nothing has been heard of Sergeant Cuff.
He is no doubt still in Ireland. We must not
expect to see him to-night.

Betteredge has just come in, to say that Mr.
Blake has asked for me. I must lay down my
pen for the present.


Seven o'clock.—We have been all over the
refurnished rooms and staircases again; and
we have had a pleasant stroll in the shrubbery
which was Mr. Blake's favourite walk when he
was here last. In this way, I hope to revive
the old impressions of places and things as
vividly as possible in his mind.

We are now going to dine, exactly at the
hour at which the birthday dinner was given
last year. My object, of course, is a purely
medical one in this case. The laudanum must
find the process of digestion, as nearly as may
be, where the laudanum found it last year.

At a reasonable time after dinner, I propose
to lead the conversation back againas
inartificially as I canto the subject of the Diamond,
and of the Indian conspiracy to steal it. When
I have filled his mind with these topics, I shall
have done all that it is in my power to do, before
the time comes for giving him the second dose.

Half past eight.—I have only this moment
found an opportunity of attending to the most