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opposed myself to Flounceby. I had not
been rolled and flattened under the steam-
hammer two minutes, when Flounceby,
throwing the machinery out of gear, gave
me one final crush from the Best Authority,
and left me for dead. Goaded to distraction
by the anonymous oppressor, I wildly cried
that I cared nothing for the Best Authority.
A shudder went round the table, and all
present shrank from me, as if I had distinctly
made the one greatest and most audacious
denial of which humanity is capable.

Still goaded by this oppressoralways
goaded by this oppressorI ask, Who is he?
Whence does he come when he goes out to
dinner; where does he give those dinners at
which so many people dine? Was he
enrolled in the last census? Does he bear his
part in the light burdens of the country? Is
he assessed to the equitable income-tax ? I
call upon the Best Authority to stand

On more than one occasion I have thought I
had him. In that portion of Pall Mall,
London, which is bounded on the east by the
Senior United Service Club House, and on
the west by the Carlton Club Housea
miasmatic spot, in which I suppose more
boredom to be babbled daily, than in any
two thousand square miles on the surface
of the earthinto that dismal region I had
sometimes tracked the despot, and there lost
him. One day, upon the steps of the
Athenaeum, of which eminent institution I have
the honour to be a member, I found a fellow-
member, Mr. Prowler, of the Royal Society of
Arts, lying in wait, under the portico, to pour
a drop of special information into the ear of
every man and brother who approached the
temple. Mr. Prowler is a grave and secret
personage, always specially informed, who
whispers his way through life; incessantly
acting Midas to everybody else's Reed. He
goes about, like a lukewarm draught of
air, breathing intelligence into the ears
of his fellow-men, and passing on. He had
often previously brought me into trouble,
and caused me to be covered with
confusion and shame. On this occasion the
subject-matter of his confidence wasif I
may be allowed the expressionso much
more than usually impossible that I took
the liberty to intimate my sense of its
irreconcilability with all laws human and
divine, and to ask him from whom he had his
information? He replied, from the Best
Authority; at the same time implying, with
a profound and portentous movement of his
head, that that mysterious Being had just
gone in. I thought the hour was come
rushed into the halland found nobody
there, but a weak old gentleman, to all
appearance harmlessly idiotic, who was drying
his pocket-handkerchief before the fire, and
gazing over his shoulder at two
graceful leathern institutions, in the form of
broken French bedsteads without the pole,
which embellish that chaste spot and invite
to voluptuous repose.

On another occasion, I was so near having
my hand at my enemy's throat and he so
unaccountably eluded me, that a brief recital
of the circumstances may aptly close this
paper. The pursuit and escape occurred at
the Reform Club, of which eminent Institution
likewise, I have the honour to be a member.
As I know the Best Authority to pervade
that building constantly, my eye had
frequently sought him, with a vague sense of
the supernatural and an irresistible feeling of
dread, in the galleries overhanging the hall
where I had but too often heard him quoted.
No trace of his form, however, had revealed
itself to me. I had frequently been close
upon him; I had heard of him as having
"just gone down to the House," or "just
come up;" but, between us there had been a
void. I should explain that in the palatial
establishment of which I write, there is a
dreadful little vault on the left of the Hall,
where we hang up our hats and coats; the
gloom and closeness of which vault, shade
the imagination. I was crossing the Hall to
dinner, in the height of the then Session of
Parliament, when my distinguished friend,
O'Boodleom (Irish Member), being
disappointed of a man of title, whom he was
waiting to stun with a piece of information
which he had just telegraphed to Erin, did
me the honour to discharge that weapon upon
me. As I had every conceivable reason to
know that it could not possibly be correct,
I deferentially asked O'Boodleom from whom
he had received it? " Bedad, sir," says he
and, knowing his sensitive bravery, I really
felt grateful to him, for not saying, " Blood,
sir!"—" Bedad, sir," says he, " I had it, a
while ago, from the Best Authority, and he's
at this moment hanging up the entire of his
coat and umberreller in the vault." I dashed
into the vault, and seized (as I fondly
thought) the Best Authority, to cope with
him at last in the death-struggle. It was
only my cousin Cackles, admitted on all hands
to be the most amiable ass alive, who
inoffensively asked me if I had heard the news?

The Best Authority was gone! How gone,
whither gone, I am in no condition to say. I
again, therefore, raise my voice, and call
upon him to stand forward and declare


HIGH up among the Westmoreland hills
there is a farm-house that goes by the name
of Grayrigg Grange.

Grayrigg Grange was the seat of the
Copplehursts, a great county family, in the
olden time; but it has now been in ruins for
more than a hundred years: and in one
corner of what was formerly the court-yard,
the present house has been erected, chiefly
out of the materials of the ancient building.

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