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without fire. Catherine had nothing to wear
but an old cotton gown and one under-
garment. We had not eaten food for a day
and a night, when I rose in the morning to
go to the Minister's. I felt savage, irate,
furious. I thought of my starving and
perishing family, of the long delay which had
taken place in the consideration of my
machine. I compared the luxurious ease of
the Minister with my own position, and was
inclined to do some desperate act. I think I
could have turned conspirator, and have
overthrown the Government. I was already half
a misanthrope.

When I entered the Minister's antechamber
I placed myself, as usual, near the stove. I
kept away from the well-dressed mob as much
as possible. They were solicitors, it is true, and
humble enough, some of them; but then they
had good coats on, smart uniforms, polite boots,
ami came, perhaps, in carriages. I came on
foot, clad in a long frock reaching almost to
my heels, patched in several places; with
trousers so darned about the calves as to be
almost falling to pieces; with boots which
were absolutely only worn for look, for they
had no soles to them. My hat, too, was a
dreadful-looking thing. This day, being faint
with hunger, and pinched by the cold, the
heat of the room overcame me, and I grew
dizzy. I am sure I knew nothing of what
passed around. I saw my wife and children,
through a misty haze, starving with hunger
and cold. A basket full of logs of wood lay
beside my knee. Reckless, wild, not caring
who saw me, I took a thick log, huddled it
under my frock, and went away. I passed
the porter's lodge unseen; I was in the open
air; I was proud, I was happy. I had stolen a
log of wood; but my children would have fire
for one day.

When I got home I went to bed. I was
feverish and ill; wild shapes floated round me;
I saw the officers of justice after me; I
beheld a furious mob chasing me along
interminable fields; and on every hedge, and every
tree, and every house, and every post, I read,
in large letters, the word "thief." It was
evening when I awoke. I looked around for
some minutes without moving or speaking; a
delicious fragrance seemed to fill the air, a
fire blazed on the hearth, and round it huddled
my wife and children, sitting on logs of wood.
I rubbed my eyes. The presence of these
logs of wood seemed to convince me that I still
dreamed. But there was an odour of mutton-
broth, which was too real to be mistaken.

"Catherine," said I, " why, you seem to
have some food."

All came rushing to my bedside, mother
and children. They scarcely spoke; but one
brought a basin of broth, another a hunch of
bread, another a plate of meat and potatoes,
which had been kept hot before the fire. I
was too faint and sick to talk. I took my
broth slowly. Never did food prove a greater
blessing. Life, reason, courage, hope, all
seemed to return, as mouthful by mouthful I
swallowed the nourishing liquid. It spread
warmth and comfort through every fibre of
my frame. When I had taken this, I ate the
meat, and vegetables, and bread, without fear.
While I did so, my wife, sending the children
back to the fire-place, told me, in a whisper,
how she had procured such unexpected
subsistence. It seems that scarcely had I got
home, and, after flinging my log on the ground,
rushed to bed, when a knock came to the
door. Catherine went to answer it. A man
of middle age entered. He gave a hurried
glance around, seemed to shudder at its
emptiness, looked at the next room through
the open door, saw that it was as bare as the
other, turned his eyes away from the crouching
form of my half-dressed wife, and spoke :—

"Have you any children?"

"Four," said Catherine tremblingly; but,
still, answering at once, so peremptory was
the tone of the stranger.

"How long have you been in this state?"

"Six months."

"Your husband is Karl Herwitz, the

"He is, sir."

"Well, madam, please to tell him that I
recognised him as he came out of the Minister's
of the Interior, and, noticing what he clutched
with such wild energy, followed him here.
Tell him, I am not rich, but I can pay my
debts; I owe him the sum contained in this
purse. I am happy to pay it."

"And did he owe it you? " said I,

No, replied Karl; he had never seen
me or heard of me before. Generous Englishman!
I shall never forget him. I found out
afterwards that he was a commercial traveller,
with a large family and a moderate income.
On what he left we lived a month, by
exercising strict economy. I did not go to the
Minister's for several days. I feared some one
might have seen me, and I was bowed by
shame. But, at last, I mustered courage, and
presented myself at the audience. I was, as
usual, totally unnoticed, and I resumed my
wretched dangling in the antechamber, as
usual. The result was always the same.
Generally I caught a glimpse of the Minister;
but, when I did, it was eternally the same
words. Meanwhile time swept rapidly by,
and soon my misery was as great as ever.
My children, who during the past month had
recovered a little their health and looks,
looked pale and wan again. I was more
shabby, more dirty, more haggard and
starved-looking than ever. Once again I
went out, after our all being without food for
some twenty-four hours. I knew not what
to do. I walked along the street turning over
every possible expedient in my mind.

Suddenly I saw, on the opposite side of the
way, a lieutenant belonging to the regiment
I had quitted. He had been my intimate
friend, but so shabby was I, that I sought to