+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

to town, and that he wished me to call
upon him the next morning. There was some
hope in being appointed to meet him. The
night passed away in feverish impatience.

I punctually attended the appointment.
Alas! my interview with Mr. Vitriol showed
me only that I had nothing to hope from him.
His first question was, whether I had found
out and obtained pecuniary assistance from
any of my countrymen? At first I did not
exactly understand the meaning of his words;
but, when I did, I felt greatly insulted, and
told him I wanted no assistance, except
literary employment, which none of my country-
men in London could give me. " The only
alms I want are the wages of labour." He
shrugged his shoulders, and said he would
talk to some publishers. I might do translations.
But. he would not hear of giving me
letters to those publishers. A personal interview
with him was better; I should hear
from him.

To say that I left Mr. Vitriol in despair,
would be a wrong description of my state of
mind. The sickening hopes which hitherto
confined my energies, had proved fallacious.
I had done with them. Still I was resolved
not to despair of anything, and to hope
everything. After returning from Mr. Vitriol's
house, I formed my plans. I would offer
my services to all London papers and
periodicals; I would try to live upon next to
nothing, and wait the result. My state of
mind was very strange; it was less depressed
and anxious than it had been during the
previous week. There were even times
when I could smile and find an interest
in the deep importance which pence and
farthings had acquired in my eyes. I could
reconcile myself to the present, but dared not
think of the future.

Meanwhile, I studied the names of journals
in the news-vendors' shops, and wrote to the
editors, stating my case and asking for
employment. The delivery of the letters at the
offices was very instructive to me; it made
me acquainted with the principal streets of
the town. I delighted in carrying my own
letters; it gave my excursions some purpose,
beyond the mere walking. I wrote and
carried some letters each day, but I received
no answer whatever. I had, meanwhile,
reformed my way of living, by discovering a
shop in High Holborn, where little hot
things, which they called meat-pies, might
be had for a penny. They were very
indigestible, and, I doubt not, unwholesome; but
they did for me, because anything indigestible
was just what I wanted. Good digestion was
precisely the thing to be avoided. As the
days and weeks wore on, I felt time more
and more heavy on my hands. I had now
nobody to speak to; for, the last time I had
called on Mr. Pebble he looked so alarmed, that
I could not repeat my visit. I had no books
to read; there was absolutely nothing I could
do, except writing. But then I had great
reason to be careful with my paper. I amused
myself now and then by crossing the leaves
of an old copy-book with short notes of my
feelings and impressions. My little servant
had grown sulky. It seemed as if the days
would not end, and the nights were very
long. I could not go to the expense of
having a fire, and remained in bed the
greater part of the day, to keep myself warm.
Christmas Day passed away almost unheeded,
I had no almanack, and would have remained
unconscious of the beginning of the new year,
but for my little servant, who said she was
going to spend New Year's Day with her
friends at Hackney.

January set in with severe weather, and
I fell ill. I felt glad of it; for a total loss of
appetite was one of the first symptoms of my
illness. My appetite had, of late, been very
troublesome. I was never blessed with so
large a capacity for eating, than when I least
had the means of doing it justice. When the
fever left me, in its stead came all the pangs
of a morbid hunger."

The unfortunate gentleman, during the first
walk after his recovery, calls on a German
bookseller, from whom he obtains leave to
sit in the shop sometimes and read gratuitously.
The bookseller invites him to tea
one evening; he stays late; and, on returning
to his lodgings, finds himself accidentally
shut out. " There was no choice left," he
says, " but to keep out the cold by walking
about the streets; for to go to any hotel or
public-house was quite out of the question."
So, wandering about the lonely streets upon
a rainy January night, he was for a time lost
in London.

The bookseller and his connexions were
eventually useful. The writer's acquirements
were made known, and procured him employment.
He is now connected with the Foreign
department of an eminent journal, and



IT was in 1848-1849 that I made my visits
to the Sierra or mountain, the Pampas or
plains, and the Pampas-Indians of the vast
province of Buenos Ayresalso called the
province of La Plata. I was not thoroughly
unacquainted with the general nature or the
principal features and remarkable aspect of
the scenery and native population of the South
American provinces; nevertheless, in the
course of these visits, I was struck with as
much of novelty and interest by the remarkable
objects everywhere around me, as if my
mind had not been previously impressed with
any preconceived ideas of any of those objects,
by means of the general information I
possessed. I expected to see an immense river,
and many considerable rivers of less magnitude,
but whose size, in many European