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some other coincidence might at any moment
connect me, in his hearing, with my name. For
this reason, I resolved to alight as soon as we
touched the town, and put myself out of his
hearing. This device I executed successfully.
My little portmanteau was in the boot under
my feet; I had but to turn a hinge to get it
out; I threw it down before me, got down after
it, and was left at the first lamp on the first
stones of the town pavement.  As to the
convicts, they went their way with the coach, and I
knew at what point they would be spirited off
to the river. In my fancy, I saw the boat with
its convict crew waiting for them at the slime-
washed stairs,—again heard the gruff "Give
way, you!" like an order to dogsagain saw
the wicked Noah's Ark lying out in the black

I could not have said what I was afraid of,
for my fear was altogether undefined and vague,
but there was great fear upon me. As I walked on
to the hotel, I felt that a dread, much exceeding
the mere apprehension of a painful or disagreeable
recognition, made me tremble. I am confident
that it took no distinctness of shape, and that
it was the revival for a few minutes of the
terror of childhood.

The coffee-room at the Blue Boar was empty,
and I had not only ordered my dinner there, but
had sat down to it, before the waiter knew me.
As soon as ever he had apologised for the remissness
of his memory, he asked me if he should
send Boots for Mr. Pumblechook?

"No," said I, "certainly not."

The waiter (it was he who had brought up
the Great Remonstrance from the Commercials
on the day when I was bound) appeared
surprised, and took the earliest opportunity of
putting a dirty old copy of a local newspaper
so directly in my way, that I took it up and
read this paragraph:

"Our readers will learn, not altogether without
interest, in reference to the recent romantic
rise in fortune of a young artificer in iron of
this neighbourhood (what a theme, by the way,
for the magic pen of our as yet not universally
acknowledged townsman TOOBY, the poet of our
columns!), that the youth's earliest patron,
companion, and friend, was a highly-respected
individual not entirely unconnected with the corn and
seed trade, and whose eminently convenient and
commodious business premises are situate within
a hundred miles of the High-street. It is not
wholly irrespective of our personal feelings that
we record HIM as the Mentor of our young
Telemachus, for it is good to know that our town
produced the founder of the latter's fortunes.
Does the thought-contracted brow of the local
Sage or the lustrous eye of local Beauty inquire
whose fortunes? We believe that Quentin
Matsys was the BLACKSMITH of Antwerp.

I entertain a conviction, based upon large
experience, that if in the days of my prosperity
I had gone to the North Pole, I should have
met somebody there, wandering Esquimaux
or civilised man, who would have told me
that Pumblechook was my earliest patron and
the founder of my fortunes.


"WHEN they do agree on the stage, their
unanimity is wonderful."

The managers of the London theatres have
lately gathered together in a body, and have
offered to the observation of the public a
practical commentary on Sheridan's admirable text.
On this occasion, the motive for unanimous
agreement among these gentlemen has been
furnished by a certain entertainment at the
Canterbury Music-Hall, London, which bears a
suspiciously close resemblance to the representation
of a pantomime. Any performance of this
sortif it takes place out of a theatreor any
performance at all which involves the
interchange of dialogue between actors (even when
they are only two in number) is viewed by the
whole body of the London managers as a
dangerous infringement on dramatic rights which
they consider to have been acquired exclusively
to themselves. They have accordingly come
forward to restrain the proprietor of a music-hall
within the strict letter of the license conceded
to him, which is a license for music and dancing
onlythe plain object of the proceeding being
to prevent all proprietors of all music-halls from
amusing their audiences by means bearing any
dramatic resemblance to those which are
habitually employed by managers of theatres.

With the immediate judicial decision
pronounced on this case, we have no present
concern. It is, we believe, understood on both sides,
that no one decision will be allowed to settle
the dispute, and that further legal proceedings
are already impending. Our purpose in
referring to the subject in these pages is to
ascertain what the fair interests are in relation
to it, not of the managers only, but of the public
at large. A very important question of
dramatic Free Trade is involved in this dispute;
and London audiencescomprising in these
railroad times people from all parts of the kingdom
are directly concerned in the turn which
may be taken by its final settlement.

A large proportion of our readers may be
probably in need of some preliminary explanation
on the subject of music-halls, and of the
quality of the performances which are exhibited
in them. These places of public entertainment
may be roughly described as the growth of the
last ten years, both in London and in the large
towns throughout England. They are, for the
most part, spacious rooms, attached to large
public-houses, but having special entrance-
passages of their own. The prices of admission
are generally sixpence for one kind of place, and
a shilling for another. Both sexes (except, we
believe, at Evans's supper-room in Covent-
garden, where men only are admitted) are
allowed the right of entrythere are female, as
well as male performers at the entertainments
and the audience have the privilege of ordering