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silently smoking our cigars in apparent ease,
but, one of us at least, in a frame of mind the
very opposite to tranquillity. What a rush and
conflict of thought was in my head! Why had
not she dined with us? Was her position such
as that the presence of a stranger became an
embarrassment ? Good Heaven! was I to
suppose this, that, and the other? What was
there in this man that so imposed on me that
when I wanted to speak I only could sigh, and
that I felt his presence like some overpowering
spell? It was that calm, self-contained, quiet
mannercold rather than austere, courteous
without cordialitythat chilled me to the very
marrow of my bones. Lecture him on the
private moralities of his life! ask him to render
me an account of his actions! address him as
Bluebottle!—-

"With such tobacco as that, one can drink
Bordeaux," said he. " Help yourself."

And I did help myselffreely, repeatedly. I
drank for courage, as a man might drink from
thirst or fever, or for strength in a moment of
fainting debility. The wine was exquisite, and
my heart beat more forcibly, and I felt it.

I cannot follow very connectedly the course of
events; I neither know how the conversation
glided into politics, nor what I said on that
subject. As to the steps by which I succeeded
in obtaining his excellency's confidence, I know
as little as a man does of the precise moment in
which he is wet through in a Scotch mist. I
have a dim memory of talking in a very
dictatorial voice, and continually referring to my
"entrance into public life," with reference to
what Peel " said," and what the Duke " told
me."

"What's the use of writing home?" said his
excellency, in a desponding voice. " For the last
five years I have called attention to what is
going on here: nobody minds, nobody heeds it.
Open any blue-book you like, and will you find
one solitary despatch from Hesse-Kalbbratenstadt?"

"I cannot call one to mind."

"Of course you can't. Would you believe it,
when the Zeringer party went out, and the
Schlaffdorfers came in, I was rebukedactually
rebukedfor sending off a special messenger
with the news? And then came out a despatch in
cipher, which being interpreted contained this
stupid doggrel:

    Strange that such difference should be
    'Twixt Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee.

I ask, sir, is it thus the affairs of a great
country can be carried on? The efforts of
Russia here are incessant: a certain personage
I will mention no namesloves caviar,
he likes it fresh, there is a special estafette
established to bring it! I learned, by the most
insidious researches, his fondness for English
cheese; I lost no time in putting the fact before
the cabinet I represented, that while timid
men looked tremblingly towards France, the
thoughtful politician saw the peril of Hesse-
Kalbbratenstadt. I urged them to lose no time:

' The grand-duchess has immense influence
countermine her,' said I, ' countermine her with
a Stilton;' and, would you believe it, sir, they
have not so much as sent out a Chedder! What
will the people of England say one of these days
when they learn, as learn they shall, that at this
mission here I am alonethat I have neither
secretary nor attaché", paid or unpaidthat since
the Crimean war the whole weight of the legation
has been thrown upon menor is this all, but that
a systematic course of treacheryI can't call it
lieshas been adopted to entrap me, if such
were possible? My despatches are unreplied
to, my questions all unanswered. I stand here
with the peace of Europe in my hands, and
none to counsel nor advise me. What will you
say, sir, to the very last despatch I have
received from Downing-street? It runs thus:

"' I am instructed by his lordship to inform
you that he views with indifference your statement
of the internal condition of the grand-duchy,
but is much struck by your charge for
sealing-wax.

                                        " ' I have, sir, &c.'

"This is no longer to be endured. A public
servant who has filled some of the most responsible
of official stationsI was eleven years at
Tragotà, in the Argentine Republic; I was a
chargé at Oohululoo for eight monthsthe only
European who ever survived an autumn there;
they then sent me special to Cabanhos to
negotiate the Salt-sprat treaty; after that——"

Here my senses grew muddy: the grey dim
light, the soft influences of a good dinner and a
sufficiency of wine, the drowsy tenor of the
minister's voice, all conspired, and I slept as
soundly as if in my bed. My next conscious
moment was as his excellency moved his chair
back, and said,

"I think a cup of tea would be pleasant; let
us come into the drawing-room."

FIVE HUNDRED YEARS AGO.

HOUSES AND MODES OF LIVING.

To-day youwho are, let us suppose, a
provincial, and I, your London ciceronewill
revisit some of the places which we passed yesterday,*
and inspect such houses as may be
unoccupied. The street by Oldbourne is perhaps the
most healthy and pleasant, being situated on an
eminence overlooking the gardens of Ely House
and the fields of Iseldune. As we walk thither
we may put you in possession of such information
as may be needful for your guidance before
making an agreement with the landlord of the
house you may intend to rent.

By a recent civic ordinance, tenants at will,
whose rent is under forty shillings yearly, must
give their landlords a quarter's notice to determine

* See number 76, page 608. At page 609, line 32,
there is an error, which we take this opportunity of
correcting. Instead of " 136( , some eighteen rears,"
the | a-sage should have stood, " 1377, some few
weeks before the close of the reign of Edward the
Third."

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