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second coal-heaver, 'but last time the apples
warn't ripe.'

'He counted the sacks nation sharp,
howsever,' pursued the carman with a very
knowing look.

At this both the coal-heavers laughed

'Ah!' said the second coalheaver; 'people
think that makes all sure. They don't think
of the ease of bringing an empty sack with
us, after dropping a full one by the way.
Not they. Nobody yet was ever wise
enough to count the full sacks when they
first come.'

On hearing this, the carman's face presented
a confounded and perplexed look of irritated
stupidity, marked in such very hard lines,
that the coalheavers laughed for the next
five minutes with the recollection of it.

Towards dusk the waggon returned to the
wharf, and next day Flashley resumed his
usual duties.

One morning, after several hours' work with
the sieve in 'screening,' when his face and
hands were, if possible, more hopelessly black
than they had ever been before, Flashley was
called to take a note to a merchant at the
Coal Exchange. This merchant's name seemed
rather an unusual one to meet with in England
being no less a person than Haji Ali
Camaralzaman and Co.

The merchant was a short, solid-built
figure, and stood with a heavy immobility
that gave the effect of a metallic image rather
than a man. He was a Moor, though nearly
black, and with very sparkling eyes. He was
dressed in a long dark blouse, open at the
breast, and displaying a black satin waistcoat,
embroidered with golden sprigs and tendrils.
It seemed to Flashley that he spoke a foreign
language; and yet he understood him, though
without having any idea what language it
was. Something passed between them in a
very earnest tone, almost a whisper, about
Sinbad the Sailor, and a sort of confused
discussion as to the geographical position of the
Valley of Black Diamonds; also, if coals were
ever burnt in the east; then a confused voice
from within the hall called out loudly, 'The
North Star!' to which a chorus of coal-
merchants responded in a low chant, 'What
money does he owe the divan?'

'Yes,' said the great Camaralzaman, 'and
what lost time does he owe to nature and to
knowledge? Let the North Star look to it.'

'It does, great Sir!' responded the chorus
of coal-merchants, in the same low chant.
'It shines directly over the shaft of the
William Pitt mine.'

'Enough,' said Camaralzaman.

At this all the merchants fell softly into a
heap of white ashes.

Then the Moor, turning to Flashley, said,
'You must reflect a little on all these things.
Coals are more valuable to the world than the
riches of other minesmore important than
gold and silver, and diamonds of the first
water, because they are the means of
advancing and extending the comforts and
refinements of lifethe industrial arts, the
trades, the ornamental arts. Are not these
great things? Behold, there are greater yet
which are indebted to the coal-fires. For,
may I not name Science, Agriculture (in the
making of iron, and the steam-ploughs which
are forthcoming), Commerce and Navigation.
Moreover, do they not tend, by the generation
of steam, to annihilate space and time, and are
they not rapidly carrying knowledge and
civilisation to the remotest corners of the habitable
globe? By myriads of jets, in countless forms,
they turn the dark night into the brightness
of day. Their history commences from the
infancy of the earth; they proceed through
gradations of wonders; are no less wonderful
in the varieties and magnitude of their utility,
and do not cease to be of use to man, even
when the bright fire is utterly extinguished,
and its materials can no more be re-illumined,
but are claimed for the garden and the
brickfield, not by the dinging and tolling of the
bell-man of your grandsires, but by the long-
drawn wail of the queer-kneed dusky figure in
the flap-hat, who wanders down your streets
yowling ''Stoe! oe!'

'And is it then all over? Verily, it doth
appear when the coal fire is fairly burnt
out to cinders and ashes, that it hath
performed its complete circle, and is for ever
ended. It is not so. The antediluvian forests
absorbed the gases of the atmosphere; much
of these have been drawn off, and
appropriated, but some portions have remained
locked up and hidden in the depths of the
earth ever since. Lo! the coal-fire is lighted!
flames, for the first time, ascend from it.
Then, also for the first tune, are liberated
gases which are of the date of those primæval
forests; they ascend into the atmosphere, and
once more form a portion of those elements
which are again to assist in the growth of
forests. The Coal-Spirit has then performed
his grand cycleand recommences his journey
through future cycles of formation.'

A great blaze of light now smote across
the hall, in which everything vanished. Then
passed a rushing panorama through Flashley's
brain, wherein he saw whirling by, the stage
of a saloon theatre, with a lighted cigar and
two tankards dancing a ridiculous reel, till
the whole scene changed to a melancholy
swamp, out of which arose, to solemn music,
an antediluvian forest. The Elfin of the
Coal-mine came and stood in the midst, and
some one held an iron umbrella over Flashley's
head, which instantly caused him to sink
deep through the earth, and he soon found
himself crawling in a dark trench terminating
in a chasm looking out upon the sea.
He was immediately whisked across by a black
eagle, and dropped in a bright-green field,
where he met a tall dusky figure carrying a
sack of coals and a 'ha'p'orth' of milk; but just
as he was about to speak to him, a voice called

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