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Surely it is no matter of regret for us that
in the course of time there are so many
changes, so many ruins, so many monuments
of social or judicial wisdom

"That as things wiped out with a sponge, do perish."

Time, we are happy to know, still brandishes
his sponge, and still there exist judicial
curiosities doomed to, we hope prompt, effacement.


THE dearest friend I ever had, in all my
experience of eighty years of life, was Harriet
Delancy. We were companions in childhood.
My parents were, indeed, the
principal people of Rathkelspie, and inhabited a
mansion in the market-place, then the most
fashionable part of the town, while Harriet's
father and mother rented a large broken-
down, half-furnished house on the quay-side.
We were rich, and they were poor; but this
had no effect upon our intercourse, except
that Harriet was oftener in our house than I
in hers. Mrs. Delancy, a mere good-natured
bustling manoeuvring woman, did not attract
me as my mother did her daughter. For
you must know that my dear mother was
looked upon in those days as the Earthly
Providence of Rathkelspie. At all times and
at all hours her house and heart were open.
Every one who was in difficulty or distress
came to ask counsel or assistance from her,
and, indeed, her generosity was almost
blameable. Among those persons who took undue
advantage of it, my brother and I were
accustomed to class Mrs. Delancy; much, however,
as we were accustomed to that lady's obtrusive
ways, and constantly as our house-door
was open, it startled us very much one
boisterous spring evening, when, at eleven o'clock,
the door bell rang loudly, and we heard Mrs.
Delancy's voice asking for Mrs. Hamilton.

She entered breathless from her struggles
with the equinoctial gale, which was even
now driving the hail furiously against the
window; but it was not till my mother had
forced her into the most comfortable chair
near the fire, that she could answer the
repeated question of " What can have
happened to bring you out on such a night?"

"A wild night indeed! " she gasped; " but
I could not rest till I had told dear Mrs.
Hamilton all about it. There is nothing
wrong, I assure youHarriet is quite
well, Miss Mary. Nothing is wrong; quite
the reverse. That is, I hope so; but
really, I am so nervous when I think of it,
that I scarce know what I am saying or
doing; and besides, I have come with such a
strange petition to Miss Mary, that I am
quite ashamed. Harriet would never forgive
me if she knew; but Miss Mary is so fond
of dear Harry that I thought I might
venture. So, as soon as I got her sent off to bed,
I just said to Mr. Delancy, ' I'll slip on my
cloak and hood, and see what dear Mrs.
Hamilton thinks; ' and he said, ' Best wait
till morning, Sally; ' but I wouldn't; for I
thought sufficient for the morning would be
the labour thereof, especially if the Vixen sail
by the evening's tide, as Captain Culver says
she must."

"The Vixen! Captain Culver! What are
you talking of, Mrs. Delancy?"

And in the lady's own good time we learnt
that one of the sailors of the revenue cutter
Vixen, just in port, after an unsuccessful
chase of a smuggling craft off the coast of
Ireland, had brought up to Mr. Delancy's
house a crumpled scrawl containing strange
intelligence. It was to the purport that a
cousin of his, a certain Lady Stewart, who
had married a rich Irish landholder in one of
the north-eastern counties, and become a
widow, was shut up in an old castle by her
servants; and, if not relieved within a certain
time, the writer hinted that he could not
answer for the consequences. Mr. Delancy,
his wife said, was greatly moved to find that
his cousinan old sweetheartwhom for
many years he had supposed to be so lapped
in luxury as to have forgotten her less fortunate
relations, should be in such a perilous
case. " And so," she went on to say, " nothing
will satisfy him but that he must start
at once to help his cousin Bess out of her
scrape. And, as for Harriet, she says she
! will go with him; to which, says Captain
Culver, why not? The Vixen, he says, is
bound for Strangford Bay, will start to-
morrow night, and nothing, he declares, would
please him better than to land us all safely
at Caerinnys, which it seems is somewhere
thereabouts. Now, you know, ma'am,
if we could rescue the old lady, Harriet
might be the better of it some day; that is,
supposing that the wretches have not robbed
her of her money: for of course she could
not do less than help those who helped her;
us, for instance. So I have not set my
face against the plan; for though I hate the
sea, and am terrified out of my life at the
idea of coming near those savage Irish, still,
you know, ma'am, as Captain Culver is a
bachelor, and all that sort of thing, I am not
satisfied that I could let Harriet go, unless I
went as well. So I suppose I must not mind
myself. But, by-the-by, what in the world shall
I do for a decent cloak and gown for Harriet?"

The object of the visit thus came out at last,
and it was speedily attained. I said hastily,
that, on that point, there could be no difficulty,
as Harriet and I were much of a size;
and, hurrying our visitor away to my own
room, forced on her acceptance all that I
knew or guessed would render my friend's
outfit complete. Among other things so given,
there is reason why I should specify a neat
little green mantle which I had just

Early next morning Harriet was with me,
thanking and reproaching me for all that I
had done, yet tearfully confessing that I had