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spacious and airy block of buildings. They
courageously, and at avast pecuniary cost, reformed
themselves. Let soldiers go and do likewise.

CONVERSION BY OPERA.

I.

BORN and reared in the very strictest
principles of Scotch morality, deriving my origin
from poor though honest parents, I had been a
model boy and a more model youth. When I
say poor, I mean we were not quite so wealthy
as the Lord Haggis, whose estate was close by;
and when I say honest, I mean that we had lived
respectably, and without doing anything fraudulent.
I was brought up by a dominie
virtuously, I hopeand, was fortified every day
with warnings against the corruptions of this
wicked world, and the awful shoals and pitfalls
of Babylon. Babylon was London.

Not to assume too much merit on this score,
it should not be concealed that a great part of
this sound inculcation was owing to the wishes
expressed or implied, or more probably
assumedof my Uncle Curriehill, in London.
(We were Curriehills also; I was Samuel
Curriehill, named after the greater
avuncular Samuel in London.) His principles
were of the strictest sort, and it was said that
when he should be called away to reap the
reward of a life spent very virtuously, some
eighty or a hundred thousand pounds of that
earthy dross, which even the good know how
to accumulate, would be left behind. What was
to become of this fund, was often anxiously
speculated over by my parents.

Thus strictly brought up, and cut off from
all secular enjoyments, there was one pleasure
left to me which became a passionwhich was
MUSIC: more, it was operatic music. At one
season, a strollingis that too disrespectful?—
company of Italian singers, who were the
property of a speculating impressario, was
coming round the provinces, being fed, kept,
clothed, and paid by the speculator; being
his, in short, body and soul, for a term of years.
They came to our local theatre and gave all
their operasNorma, the innocent bigamiste,
yet noble priestess; Lucrezia, savage, injured,
and yet excusable; Trovatore, to which the
local organsthe street ones, I mean
imparted a delightful familiarity; and, above all
alas! that it should have been below allthe
seductive but erring Traviata.

Now during these days I had been secretly
studying the violin outside the house, and had
obtained a tolerable command over that king
of instruments; that is to say, I could play
tunes from tune-books, not very much out of
tune. I applied myself to it with desperate
energy, and at last, about the date of the arrival
of the farmed-out singers, had ceased to play
"like fifty stomach-aches." My progress, too,
in the principles of a rigid and ascetic virtue
had kept pace with my fiddle-playing. But
now I was to be tried by a sore temptation.

No sooner was the musical bill or fare set
forth in gaudy and gorgeous letters on every
blank wall, than I was assailed by strange and
furious promptings. Who that had music in
his soul could read of the "unrivalled
cantatrice," MDLLE. HOMINI, assisted by SIGNORA
BACCO, with the tenor, SIGNOR PASQUALI, and
the bassi, SIGNORI RORIORI e GRITTI, with the
other officers of the company, in green and
crimson letters, the " suggeritore," whatever
that was, and the " regisseur," the conductor,
SIGNOR BATTONI, and the leader, MR. BRITTLES,
our own deservedly esteemed townsman (my
violin master)—I say who rould read through
this is gorgeous promise without his musical
mouth " watering " prodigiously? Add to this
being worked on in secret by Brittles, who was
himself intoxicated by a distant communion
with these immortals, and who literally raved
during the lesson of the exquisite strains
contained in their operas. What was the result? No
doubt, had I consulted some of our elders, they
would have warned me against the pitfall, and
told me that this was but one of the pleasant
shapes the arch enemy assumes for our destruction.
But I did not heed. By a system of
organised deception, appalling for its depravity
in one so youngin which, too, I was abetted
by Brittles, an accomplice before the factthe
thing was arranged. I went for a practicea
good long one, d'ye markat Brittles's; and,
instead, with a beating guilty heart, hurried off
to hear Mdlle. Homini in her grand part of
LA TRAVIATA.

I declare solemnly I no more knew nor
dreamed what was the theme of that unlucky
opera, nor the peculiar character of the young
lady with the dreary cough, or what she was
about, or why the doctor came, or why the
gentlemen friends were let in to witness her
last agonies (unless it would have been difficult
to make up a quartette without them), than did
that infant not yet come into life, and who is so
often unreasonably appealed to. I was simply
entranced. It was a new sensea patch
of Elysium thrown open. I came home in a
delirium, almost careless of concealment,
defiant, ready for martyrdom in the cause of this
new faith. Luckily, my severe parents took my
rhapsodies as applying to the " tunes" used in
the lesson. Tunes indeed! I should never play
mere tunes again. From that hour, music took
possession of me, and, above all, I was possessed
with the witching, though incorrect (I mean
in a moral point of view) melodies of the
Travel'arter, as one of the men about our town
pronounced it.

II.

A little later, a great event took place. Our
Uncle Curriehill wrote to say he was solitary.
He was curious to see what his nephew was
like; so they might send him. If that nephew,
Uncle Curriehill added, had any of the levity
common to youth, or fancied he was coming to
a profane house, where amusement, or relaxation,
or anything but making of souls, was going
forward, he was sadly mistaken. He added
something about speaking his mind always as

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