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"Nay, rather look to thine own skin; for a
short while ago thou didst howl an it were a
whipped cur."

"Whipped cur thyself, when thou didst
frighten all the birds in the wood with thine
unmanly wailings."

This interchange of sharp remarks led to
a mutual explanation, and the result of the
mutual explanation was the united shout of
both the robbers: ''Slyboots is still Slyboots,
after all!"

Resolved not to be outdone, they returned
to the residence of their crafty acquaintance.
To their agreeable surprise, though the
out-houses were locked up, the window of the
one room was open, and close to the sill, by
the dim light of a rush-light, might be seen
the lifeless form of the hog, with the broiled
ham laid upon it.

"Marry," quoth the first robber, "this is
not like Slyboots, to put the fatted hog by an
open window, and to light a candle that one
may find the way to it."

"Too much good fortune hath blunted his
wits at last," said the second robber. And he
laid his hand upon the ham. But at that very
instant Slyboots, whose wits were as keen as
ever, and who was standing beside the window
with a sword in his hand, struck off the most
prominent finger at a blow.

"Phew!" said the second robber, " the ham
is still hot."

"Out upon thee for a dullard," growled
the first robber. " How could the ham keep
hot, after being carried all the way from the
forest. It won't burn me, I'll warrant thee."
So saying, he thrust in his hand, when down
again came the sword, and off went a finger.

"By the mass, I am a finger the poorer,"
shouted the first robber.

"Serve thee right, for a hard-hearted
churl," said the second; "that is rny case, too,
only thou would'st give me no pity."

"Humph," retorted the first, and they both
looked at each other for some minutes, at
the end of which they both exclaimed, with
one voice, "Slyboots is still Slyboots, after

So they went their way, and were never
heard of more.


KNOW thyself; examine thyself; keep a
strict watch over thyself; for thy body is a
frail machine that will soon fall to pieces, if
not carefully preserved. From the head
downwards, or the feet upwards, thou art
subject to disease, deformity, and decay. Thy
hair will drop off, will change colour, will
turn grey. Thy teeth will become unsightly,
black, hollow, aching. Thy back will become
round shouldered, and thy elbows will stick
outwards instead of inwards. Thy hands
will become coarse, red, short, thick; thy
nails grubby. Thy stomach will protrude
beyond the natural space allotted to man,
and thy waist will assume unwieldy dimensions.
Thy legs, unable to support unyieldingly
the superincumbent weight, will bow
out at the calves, or bend inwards at the
knees. Thy feet will become painfully
fruitful in corns and bunions, and thy face
at one extremity of thy miserable body
will fall into graceless contortions in
sympathy with the pain which thou art suffering
at the other extremity. Thy complexion
will lose its brilliant purity under sun, and
rain, and hail, and snow and frost, and those
darting eyes of which thou art so justly
but, alas! so vainlyproud, will become
under the combined effects of dust and east
wind, a couple of weak and watery organs
encompassed by a rim of inflammatory cuticle.
As to thy heart, thy liver, and all the other
sacred mysteries ever closely hidden within
the perishable casket, are they not more
delicate and wonderful in their silent retirement
more prone to suffer derangement and
decaythan those ruder portions of the same
weak machine, whose place it is to come in
immediate contact with the rough elements
of the outer world?

Such were my thoughts, a curious mixture
of the styles of philosophical reflection peculiar
to the pulpit and the advertising nostrum
vendor, in the early part of a dull, melancholy
October day. I was that Pariah of
fashion, the man about town, when town was
nothing but a lifeless desert. The hard
necessities of the law required my presence
for an uncertain period to sign deeds, and
perform other acts connected with the
conveyance of a large estate, and I was chained
by this legal spell within sight and call of
Lincoln's Inn, at a period of the year when
every other living creature of my class was
disporting himself upon mountain and river,
lake and sandy beach. I wandered moodily
up the once gay thoroughfares, now gay no
longer with the rolling carriages and the
brilliant members of the promenade. I
passed my once comfortable, exclusive
clubhouse, and found it in the hands of
brick-layers' labourers, with huge white-washing
ladders standing in the principal rooms, and
planks projecting from the open windows
into the street. I looked in the newspapers
for topics of interest, and found them not. I
wandered with a strange fascination towards
those large, dark, silent houses, whose
hospitable doors had once been open to me at all
hours of the day. I saw, for one fleeting
moment, the beaming face of a young male
friend within the hooded recesses of a Hansom cab.
I rushed forward to stay his
progress, but my eye quickly detected the too
expressive rug and portmanteau upon the
top under the driver's elbows, and I drew
back, suffering the vehicle to go unmolested
on its joyous way, leaving me in a solitude
more depressing than ever. Listless and
aimless, as I sauntered up one dull street
and down another, I became painfully

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