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highly respectable establishment, let us
observe that the method of business at some
of the second-rate houses is not always so
straightforward. Many descend to the
petty expedient of employing touters
(hookers in, they are called), who frequent
the railway stations and the coffee-rooms
of inns, and hook in the unwary draper
to their employers' dens. If we are to
credit these very active gentlemen no
house comes up, for liberality, honesty, and
respectability, to that of Noils, Shoddy, and
Co. Or, perhaps, Messrs. Devil's-dust and
Fent are the objects of their disinterested
eulogy. When the honest country-draper
meets with a hooker in, when he is hooked
by the button-hole on the railway platform,
he had better beware. And should the
tempter lure him to inspect the stocks of
the afore-mentioned houses let him be
careful in his purchases. Above all don't
let him accept the invitation to dinner, which
he will very probably receive; for, such is
the extreme liberality of these firms, that
they generally have a good dinner, and
plenty of champagne provided for their
customers. It is surprising how speculative
some men will become (so say the hookers-
in) after dinner.


FAR away fond hearts are beating,
   Out upon the stormy sea;
Let us hear if no kind greeting
   In the noisy waves may be.
Each in hurrying after each,
   (For the sea is loud and high)
Will bear it to the pebbly beach,
   And cast it at our feet and die.

Hark! a low farewell of sorrow,
  And foreboding of despair,
Fearful of the hard to-morrow,
  Loaded with its freight of care:
Tender words of hope and comfort,
  For the loved and the forlorn,
Left alone to toil and suffer,
  On the rushing waves are borne.

Tender thoughts of home far distant,
  Seen through mists of childish tears,
Mixed with brightest dreams of glory,
  And the hopes of childish years;
Honours and renown, and victory,
  Ere the strife is yet begun,
And the conquered to be pardoned,
  Ere the day is fought or won.

Vows and words of trust and promise,
  Murmured tenderly and low,
Given to the midnight breezes,
  Where the northern waters flow;
Hope, regret, and joy and sorrow,
  Mingle in the water's roar,
As the crested waves are rushing
  Onward to the pebbly shore.

Hush! amid the din of waters
  Let us hold our breath, and hear,
If the thunder of the cannon
  Be not borne towards us here;
If the deadly sound of battle
  Come across the waters free,
And the English cry of "Victory!"
  Be not echoed by the sea!


THE story I have to tell, occurred less than
eighty years ago, in the days of powder and
pomade; of high heads and high heels;
when beaux in pea-green coats lined with
rose-colour, attended on belles who steadied
their dainty steps with jewel-headed canes;
and when lettres-de-cachet lay like
sachets-à-gants on toilet tables among patches and
rouge. Less than eighty years ago, when the
fair Queen of France and her ladies of honour
wielded these same lettres-de-cachet with much
of the ease with which they fluttered their
fans. Less than eighty years ago, when the
iron old Marquis de Mirabeau was writing to
his brother the Commandeur de Malte those
fearful letters, wherein the reader of the
present day may trace, as in a map, the despotic
powers then exercised by the seigneurs of
France over their sons and daughters, as well
as over their tenants and vassals. Hard,
short-sighted, Marquis de Mirabeau! Little did
he reckon when he wrote those letters, or
when he consigned his son, in the flush of
youth, and hope, and love, to a prison-cell
and to exilethat the family-name was to
be indebted to the fame of that vituperated
son for its salvation from obscurity, or that
the arbitrary powers he used so vilely were
soon to be swept away for ever.

Less than eighty years ago, then, before
the Revolution was dreamed of in that part of
France, there stood, in a long, straggling,
picturesque village of one of the southern
provinces, a stone-and-mud cottage, less dirty
and uninviting than those by which it was
surrounded. There was no dirt-heap under
the solitary window, no puddle before the
door; which, unlike every other house in the
village, possessed the luxury of an unfractured
door-step. No tidy cottage-gardens gave
cheerful evidence of the leisure or taste of
the inmates; for in those days the labouring
population of France were too thoroughly
beaten down by arbitrary exactions to have
spare hours to devote to their own pursuits;
but round the window of this particular
cottage a nasturtium had been trained by
strings; and, through its yellow and orange
flowers one could, now and then, catch a
glimpse of a pair of lustrous eyes.

The superior cleanliness of this little
dwelling, the flowers, the decency of the
family, were the work of one pair of hands
belonging to a young girl named Alix Laroux,
whose industry was the support of a younger
brother and sister, and of a blear-eyed

Now, Alix was a pretty, as well as a
hard-working girl, yet it was neither to her