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A LAY OF LONDON STREETS.

THE Autumn night is far advanced;
     And as I pass, with hurrying feet,
The blind black houses all seem tranced,
     And scarce a living thing I meet;
Only a beggar shuffling home,
     Or girl that leers and saunters by,
Or, on a door-step, some poor child
     Sleeping beneath the open sky.

The dreamy lamp-light on the stones
     Droops, and fades off by slow degrees;
From far night-cellars, mingled tones
     Come like faint sighings out of trees.
Below, the earth is hush'd; above,
     A waste of empty darkness spreads,
Drowsing the heavens. Sleep has gorged
     London, the beast of million heads.

But suddenly I hear a sound-
     A buzzing murmur, low, yet clear-
Of many feet upon the ground,
     And many voices. Then appear
Lights dancing to and fro, and soon
     A dark mass swells in sight, which, when
The distance lessens, shakes apart,
     And scatters into throngs of men.

Amidst them, four night-guardians bear
     A dismal hand-bier, upon which
I see some locks of wandering hair,
     Like weeds in a neglected ditch;
And, lower down, some heaving rags
     (Strapp'd here and there, yet partly free),
From which two lean and naked arms
     Toss up, like wrecks upon the sea.

Time mars us. She whom now we call
     A raging tigress, wild for blood-
A danger to herself, and all
     Who cross her in her desperate mood-
Perhaps had once a fair, smooth face,
     A woman's heart, a human soul;
Kept chime with Heaven's eternal laws,
     And blent with music of the whole.

But poverty was in her home,
     And loveless sights and sounds were there:
Filth, hunger, cold, were free to roam
     Within those precincts stark and bare.
She had one only way to 'scape
     The drear monotony of want,
To lull the heart that ate itself
     And make the world less spectral-gaunt.

Judge not too harshly of her fault,
     The bitter growth of bitter fate.
The channel of her life was salt
     With crusted tears; and grief's dull weight
Found ease within those splendid dens,
     Whence flows the Lethe of the poor,
And dawns of Eden seem to flush
     Behind the massive swinging door.

She plunged into a fiery tide,
     Weltering on waves of stinging joy;
But now there comes the doleful side;
     She tastes the terrible alloy:
A wasting fever in the brain,
     A desolation without bound,
And marble aspects of despair,
     That live in silence, standing round.

THE METHUSALEH PILL.

MR. PRATTLES was a poor man. He had a
wife and a large family dependent on him;
and his printing business brought him in only
a very slender income. His neighbours often
wondered how he contrived to make both
ends meet. They knew nothing of the
struggle that went on within the walls of
Mr. Prattles's establishment. The surrounding
tradesmen were his customers. He had
a shrewd notion of business, however. When
the grocer over the way gave him an order to
print fifty copies of " Fine Congou at three-
and-sixpence," he knew very well that the
grocer down the road would soon empower
him to print bills advertising " Fine Congou
at three-and-fivepence three farthings:" to
which would be added the further intelligence
that " now was the time!" The keener the
competition in the neighbourhood, the better
for Mr. Prattles. Among other printing
orders, Mr. Prattles one day received a
command to strike off a thousand labels for " Mr.
Smith's Universal Pill." No sooner had he
delivered the first batch of labels, than a
second order was given for five thousand
more labels; and the second order was
immediately succeeded by a third, and a third
by a fourth.

This influx of business surprised Mr.
Prattles; and he began to envy the
prosperity of Mr. Smith. Presently it struck
him that it was no difficult matter to
manufacture a pill. But how could he hope to
invent a story so plausible as that which
enveloped Mr. Smith's pill-boxes. There was a
difficulty here. Mr. Smith had fortified
himself in every possible way. He had selected
the most obscure villages of the country from
the gazetteer, and had written very
characteristic testimonials from imaginary patients
residing near these remote localities. His
pill wasthese spurious documents declared
an infallible cure for every disease. He
tacked to his pill the properties of the entire
pharmacopoeia. Mr. Smith's pill was
advertised to accomplish everything of which medical
science was capable. The history of Mr.
Smith's Pill was a narrative of blessings
conferred upon frail mortality. By the virtues
of Mr. Smith's Pill John Dobbins of
Cwyrytchcmwll, in Wales, had been cured of a bad
leg, which had baffled the ingenuity of the
first surgeons in the country. Mr. Smith's
Pill restored Miss Brown of Briar
Cottage, near Battledore-cum-Shuttlecock, to
life, when the rattles were in her throat. It
cured asthma, consumption, water on the
brain, dropsy and influenza; it was infallible
in scarlet fever, yellow jaundice, and blue
cholera, gout, rheumatism, tic-doloreux,
sciatica, locked jaw, and cancer invariably
disappeared from every patient respectively and
concurrently afflicted with any or all of these
diseases, after the third box.

Mr. Smith's ingenuity was not even

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