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TRUTH. (1848-1849.)



THE doctor's pretty housemaid stood waiting
for me, with the street-door open in her hand.
Pouring brightly into the hall, the morning
light fell full on the face of Mr. Candy's
assistant when I turned, and looked at him.

It was impossible to dispute Betteredge's
assertion that the appearance of Ezra Jennings,
speaking from the popular point of view, was
against him. His gipsy complexion, his fleshless
cheeks, his gaunt facial bones, his dreamy
eyes, his extraordinary parti-coloured hair,
the puzzling contradiction between his face and
figure which made him look old and young both
togetherwere all more or less calculated to
produce an unfavourable impression of him on
a stranger's mind. And yetfeeling this as I
certainly didit is not to be denied that Ezra
Jennings made some inscrutable appeal to my
sympathies, which I found it impossible to resist.
While my knowledge of the world warned
me to answer the question which he had put,
by acknowledging that I did indeed find Mr.
Candy sadly changed, and then to proceed on
my way out of the house- my interest in Ezra
Jennings held me rooted to the place, and gave
him the opportunity of speaking to me in
private about his employer, for which he had
been evidently on the watch.

"Are you walking my way, Mr. Jennings?"
I said, observing that he held his hat in his
hand. " I am going to call on my aunt, Mrs.

Ezra Jennings replied that he had a patient
to see, and that he was walking my way.

We left the house together. I observed that
the pretty servant girl——who was all smiles and
amiability, when I wished her good morning on
my way out——received a modest little message
from Ezra Jennings, relating to the time at
which he might be expected to return, with
pursed-up lips, and with eyes which ostentatiously
looked anywhere rather than look in his
face. The poor wretch was evidently no
favourite in the house. Out of the house, I
had Betteredge's word for it that he was
unpopular everywhere. " What a life!" I thought
to myself, as we descended the doctor's doorsteps.

Having already referred to Mr. Candy's illness
on his side, Ezra Jennings now appeared
determined to leave it to me to resume the
subject. His silence said significantly, " It's your
turn now." I, too, had my reasons for referring
to the doctor's illness; and I readily accepted
the responsibility of speaking first.

"Judging by the change I see in him," I
began, "Mr. Candy's illness must have been far
more serious than I had supposed?"

"It is almost a miracle," said Ezra Jennings,
"that he lived through it."

"Is his memory never any better than I have
found it to-day? He has been trying to speak
to me——"

"Of something which happened before he
was taken ill?" asked the assistant, observing
that I hesitated.


"His memory of events, at that past time, is
hopelessly enfeebled," said Ezra Jennings. "It
is almost to be deplored, poor fellow, that even
the wreck of it remains. While he remembers,
dimly, plans that he formed——things, here and
there, that he had to say or do, before his illness
——he is perfectly incapable of recalling what
the plans were, or what the thing was that he
had to say or do. He is painfully conscious of
his own deficiency, and painfully anxious, as you
must have seen, to hide it from observation. If
he could only have recovered, in a complete
state of oblivion as to the past, he would have
been a happier man. Perhaps we should all be
happier," he added, with a sad smile, " if we
could but completely forget!"

"There are some events surely in all men's
lives," I replied, "the memory of which they
would be unwilling entirely to lose?"

"That is, I hope, to be said of most men, Mr.
Blake. I am afraid it cannot truly be said of
all. Have you any reason to suppose that the
lost remembrance which Mr. Candy tried to
recover——while you were speaking to him just
now  was a remembrance which it was important
to you that he should recal?"

In saying those words, he had touched, of his
own accord, on the very point upon which I