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coming up the street, and my heart begins to
flutter and beat; but the sound always
goes pastand Peter never comes. That's
Martha back? No! I'll go, my dear; I
can always find my way in the dark, you
know. And a blow of fresh air at the door
will do my head good, and it's rather got a
trick of aching." So she pattered off. I had
lighted the candle, to give the room a cheerful
appearance against her return.

"Was it Martha?" asked I.

"Yes. And I am rather uncomfortable, for
I heard such a strange noise just as I was
opening the door."

"When?" I asked, for her eyes were
round with affright.

"In the streetjust outsideit sounded
like

"Talking?" I put in, as she hesitated a
little.

"No! kissing—"

                    CHIPS.

       THE FINE ARTS IN AUSTRALIA.

THERE is a picture now lodged at the
Amateur Gallery, 121, Pall Mall, which, apart
from its own merits, is rendered interesting
by being the first large picture ever painted,
or (by many people) ever seen, in Australia.

It is an illustration of the Scripture, "Suffer
little children to come unto me." The painter
is MR. MARSHALL CLAXTON. It was produced
under the following circumstances.

In the summer of the year 1850, a munificent
lady residing in London, and distinguished
everywhere for her gentle generosity
and goodness, commissioned Mr. Claxton to
paint this picture for the interior decoration
of an Infant School. Mr. Claxton was then
on the eve of emigrating to Sydney. If he
might only consider the subject on the
voyage, he said, and paint it in the land of
his adoption, what a pride he would have in
showing it to his new countrymen, and what
a testimony it would be to them that he was
not slighted in Old England! The commission
was freely entrusted to him to be so dealt
with; and away he sailed, light of heart and
strong of purpose.

How he studied it, and sketched it, month
after month, during the long voyage; and
how he found it a companion in whom there
was always something new to be discovered,
and of whom he never tired; needs not to be
told. But when he came to Sydney, he could
find no house suited to his requirements, with
a room large enough to paint the picture in.
So, he asked the Committee of the Sydney
College for the loan of that building; and,
it being handsomely conceded, went to work
there.

It may be questioned whether any
Australian models had ever sat before, to painting
man. At all events, models or not models,
the general population of Sydney became so
excited about this picture, and were so eager
to see it in every stage of its progress, that
seven thousand persons, first and last, dropped
in to look at it. And such an object was as new
to many of them, as the travelling elephant
was to the young men on the banks of the
Mississippi, when he made a pilgrimage "a
while ago," with his caravan, to those far-off
regions.

Thus, the Picture was imagined, painted,
and sent home. Thus, it is, at the present
writing, lodged in Pall Mallthe dawn
perhaps of the longest day for the fine arts, as for
all the arts of life, that ever rose upon the
world. As the bright eyes of the children in
the Infant School will often, in these times,
rest upon it with the awe and wonder of its
having come so far over the deep sea; so,
perhaps, MR. MACAULAY'S traveller, standing, in
a distant age, upon the ruins of an old
cathedral once called St. Paul's, in the midst of
a desert once called London, will look about
him with similar emotions for any broken
stones that may possibly be traces of the
School, said in the Australian nursery-legend
to have contained the first important picture
painted in that ancient country.

                A SEA-CORONER.

IN the Parliamentary Report on Shipwrecks
for the year 1836. the loss of property in
British shipping wrecked or foundered at sea,
is estimated, on an average of six years, at
three millions sterling per annum. The whole
of this property (although some of it may be
covered by insurance), is not the less
absolutely lost to the nation. The annual loss of
life by the wreck or foundering of British
vessels at sea, is estimated at one thousand
persons in each year. A Wreck-Chart,
published in the first number of a useful little
journal called "The Life-Boat," gives the
particulars of shipwrecks during the first
eleven days of last January. There were
sixty ships, and twenty-seven human beings,
lost in that short period.

No one denies that much of all this disaster
is preventible. Some of it is due to carelessness,
to want of skill, to professional ignorance
and to the unseaworthiness of vessels; the
rest to other causes not wholly unavoidable.

To get at the truth in each case, the origin
of every wreck ought to be as rigidly investigated
as the cause of a violent death or of a
fire ashore. The Members of the Royal
National Institution for the Preservation of
Life from Shipwreck suggest, in their
publication, that the Inspecting-Commander of
Coast-Guard of each district, the Collector,
chief officer of Customs, and Lloyd's agents,
could form a tribunal, in which all
merchants and shipowners would have
confidence. Were such a body, with the
assistance of the nearest magistrate, authorised
to inquire into and report to the Admiralty
or Board of Trade on every case of wreck,

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