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men of various periods, and by the scientific
triumphs accomplished in our own time, we
venture to indulge a hope of flying, some day,
whither we list (with a reasonable recollection
that even ships at sea cannot leave port in an
adverse storm, and that very few birds can fly
against a strong wind); but we do not think
the day has yet arrived; and we confess to a
somewhat uncomfortable sensation at the idea
of "going up" in company with a cargo of
twenty-seven tons.


THREE of us were sitting in a small room, and
complaining of the hardships of our destiny.

"Without money one can do nothing," said
George; "were I to hit upon a speculation
that would have done honour to a Rothschild;
coming from a pauper like myself, no one
would think it worth attending to."

"I," said Albert, "have actually finished a
work which would establish my reputation as
an author, if I could only find a bookseller to
buy it."

"I have petitioned my employer for an
increase of salary," I exclaimed, anxious to
contribute to the chorus of lamentation; "and
he told me that for forty louis a year he could
get more clerks than he wanted."

"It would not so much matter," said George,
thoughtfully, "if, besides being poor, we did
not seem poor. Could one of us only be
thought rich—"

"What is the use of the shadow without
the substance?" I asked.

"Of every use," said Albert. "I agree
with Georgethe shadow sometimes makes
the substance. The next best thing to capital
is credit."

"Especially," returned George, "the credit
of having a good fortune. Have none of us
a rich uncle in India?"

"A cousin of mine went to Jamaica or
Martinique, I forget which," I said, innocently,
"and he never came back."

"Capital! that is all one requires," exclaimed
George; "we will conjure up this
cousin of yoursor could we not kill him?
Yes; James Méran, of Martinique, deceased,
leaving a sugar plantation, a hundred negroes,
and a fortune of a hundred thousand louis, to
his well-beloved cousin, Louis Méran."

We laughed at the joke, and I thought no
more of it; but George and Albertslightly
excited by the fumes of a bowl of punch which
I had sent for to do honour to the testator
lost no time in concocting and afterwards publishing
a full account, in the local newspaper,
of the fortune that had been left me.

The next day, sundry friends dropped in to
compliment me. Of course, I endeavoured to
undeceive them, but they would not take a
denial. In vain I assured them it was a hoax;
it was of no use. Several people remembered
my cousin James very well, and had seen him
at Nantes before he embarked in 1789.
Among others came my tailor, to whom I
owed a small sum which it was not quite convenient
for me to pay at that moment. No
doubt the rumour of my cousin's decease had
sharpened his memory. I wished my two
friends at a place that shall be nameless.

"Good morning, Mr. Mayer; I suppose you
are come for those fifty francs?"

"I hope, sir, you don't think I came for
such a trifle as that. No, sir; I came to take
your orders for a suit of mourning."

"A suit of mourning?"

"Yes, sir; cousin's mourning. Dark bronze
frock, for morning wear, black trousers and

"At the present moment, Mr. Mayer—"

"I hope, sir, I have done nothing to forfeit
your patronage?"

"But, I repeat, I have received no money
at all."

"I hope, sir, you won't mention such a
thing; there is no sort of hurry," exclaimed the
tailor; who busily employed himself in taking
my measure with slips of paper.

After all, my wardrobe did want some
additions, and I said nothing more.

"My dear sir," said the next visitor, "I have
a very great favour to request of you. Buy
my house. You are very rich; you must
be on the look-out for safe and lucrative
investments. Sixty thousand francs are nothing
for you- a mere fraction of your income.
With me the case is different. I thought Mr.
Felix had made up his mind to purchase the
premises, and now I hear he has changed his
intention. What is to become of me? I have
heavy demands to meet, and I don't know
where the money is to come from."

"I, buy your house? Why, it would be
madness to think of such a thing."

"Madness? no such thing; you could not
find a better investment anywhere. In two
years, with trifling repairs, it will be worth
double its present value; you will never see
such a good opportunity again. Say 'done,'
and I'm off."

And he was off, without leaving me time to
put in a word.

Two hours after, in walked Mr. Felix,
evidently not in the best of tempers.

"Really, sir," he began, "you have taken
me quite by surprise. That house is indispensable
to me; I reckoned on it as if it were
mine, and only offered "fifty thousand francs
because the owner is embarrassed, and I felt
sure that he would be obliged to take them.
With you, sir, the case is different; so I come
to ask if you will let me have it for seventy-five
thousand francs."

Fifteen thousand francs, dropping all at
once into the lap of a poor fellow who
had to work hard to gain eight hundred
francs in a year! I could hardly believe my

"I cannot give you an answer just now, sir."
I said; " but if you will take the trouble to
call again at five, I'll see what I can do."