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the storm was swifter than any living thing.
The great black smoking wall came hissing on;
and, from its darkened crest, loud peals of
thunder burst. I have been in many a storm
in my day, but this was the most magnificent
I ever saw. To go onward became absolutely
impossible; so fierce was the tempest. The
driver, therefore, turned the horse's head
away from the sea, and patiently sat it out.
Peal after peal of thunder rent the air. It
seemed as though all the powder-magazines
in the world were being blown up. First,
there was a cracking and splitting, as of
gigantic sheets of metal torn asunder; then,
a heavy rumbling, like ten thousand loaded
wagons being galloped across an iron bridge.
The air was no longer darkened; every foot
of atmosphere seemed alive with lightning-
life. By the glare, I could see some of the
noble palmsat least seventy feet high
bending to the gale like willow wands, and
literally sweeping the ground with their
feathery leaves. More than one upon that
terrible night, was shivered into splinters
by the lightning; and many a stubborn one
that would not bend lay crushed and helpless
on its sandy grave.

The howling of the wind, the thunder-
peals, the heavy pattering of the huge
raindrops, had well-nigh stunned me. In nature,
however, as with man, the fiercest outbreaks
are the soonest quelled. In half-an-hour the
moon shone out again in undimmed beauty.
The air was calm and hushed; and the parched
earth and herbs, grateful for such a copious
draught, sent many a fragrant blessing on the
breeze, to tell their thanks.

CHIPS.

STREET-CAB REFORM.

A LITTLE "common sense on wheels"*
has travelled to us lately from Munich. A
lady gives us a description of a new hackney-
coach which has been recently set up in that
city:—"The new droschy," she says, "is a
beautiful little carriage which holds two
persons, and has, altogether, a very elegant
appearance. You pay, for two persons, twelve
kreutzers, or fourpence per hour. There is a
printed tariff fastened up in each vehicle;
and, the drivers are so civil, that it is quite a
pleasure to pay them. They give you change
so naturally, that I cannot get over my
astonishment. I only wish our cabmen were
ever likely to become such respectable
individuals. There are various rules attached to
the tariff. One is, that each droschy, after
dark, must have a couple of lamps, for the
use of which the passenger must pay two
kreutzers (hardly more than a halfpenny) per
quarter of an hour. After midnight the fare
is doubled."

A feeble attempt has lately been made in
London to reduce cab-fares to sixpence per
mile; but as only one or two hackney
proprietors have combined for that object, it has
had no success. Not only must the fares be
reduced, but the vehicles must be improved.
It would be advisable if carriages, similar to
the Munich droschys, were started for the
accommodation of the public, at even a
higher tariff than that applicable to ordinary
cabs.

On this point we fully concur with a writer
in the "Daily News," who says, "We would
recommend that at least two classes of fares
should be established. At present one pays
as much for a ride in a dilapidated night cab,
as for dashing along in the best-appointed
Hansom. It may happen that a lady, daintily
dressed for a ball, is put into a vehicle whose
last occupant was an adipose butcher from
Newgate Market; or a broker with an
unsound feather bed. Superior carriages must
be set up in imitation of the voitures en remise
of Paris, at eightpence, or even a shilling per
mile."

The same writer also recommends that, to
prevent disputes, an official list of distances
should be compiled and stuck up in each
vehicle. "The failure of the Commissioners
of Police to construct such a table is no
proof that the task is impossible; although
it would be both tedious and difficult. A
committee, composed of Mr. Kelly, of the
' Post Office Directory,' Captain Larcom, and
Mr. Peter Cunningham, could construct a
table of that sort, which would be satisfactory
to all parties."

* See Vol. III., page 61

MY FIRST PLACE.

MY father died before I can remember
anything. My mother had a hard life; and it was
all that she could do to keep herself and me.
We lived in Birmingham, in a house where
there were many other lodgers. We had only
one room of our own; and, when my mother
went out to work, she locked the door and
left me there by myself. Those were dreary
days. When it was summer, and the bright
sun shone in at the window, I thought of the
green fields that I used to see sometimes on
Sundays, and I longed to be sitting under a
shady tree, watching the little lambs, and
all young things that could play about.
When it was winter, I used to sit looking
at the empty grate, and wishing to see the
bright blaze which never came. When
mother went away in the winter mornings,
she told me to run about to warm myself;
and, when I was tired and began to feel
cold, to get into the blankets on the bed.
Many long and wearisome hours I passed in
those blankets; listening and listening to
every step upon the stairs, expecting to hear
mother's step. At times I felt very lonely; and
fancied, as it began to grow darker and darker,
that I could see large strange shapes rising
before me; and, though I might know that it

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