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"I desire," said the Testator, in a distinct
voice, " to entail the remembrance of them
on my successors for ever. Of the statesman,
as an Englishman who rejected an
adventitious nobility, and composedly knew his
own. Of the King, as a great example that
the monarch who addresses himself to the
meaner passions of humanity, and governs by
cunning and corruption, makes his bed of
thorns, and sets his throne on shifting sand."

The Head Registrar of Births took a note
of the bequest.

"Is there any other wish," enquired the
Chief of the Grave Diggers, observing that his
patron closed his eyes.

"I bequeath to my successor," said the
ancient gentleman, opening them again, "a vast
inheritance of degradation and neglect in
England; and I charge him, if he be wise, to
get speedily through it.  I do hereby give
and bequeath to him, also, Ireland. And I
admonish him to leave it to his successor in
a better condition than he will find it. He
can hardly leave it in a worse."

The scratching of the pen used by the
Head Registrar of Births, was the only sound
that broke the ensuing silence.

"I do give and bequeath to him, likewise,"
said the Testator, rousing himself by a
vigorous effort, " the Court of Chancery.
The less he leaves of it to his successor, the
better for mankind."

The Head Registrar of Births wrote as
expeditiously as possible, for the clock showed
that it was within five minutes of midnight.

"Also, I do give and bequeath to him,"
said the Testator, "the costly complications of
the English law in general. With which I
do hereby couple the same advice."

The Registrar, coming to the end of his
note, repeated, "The same advice."

"Also, I do give and bequeath to him,"
said the Testator, " the Window Tax. Also,
a general mismanagement of all public
expenditure, revenues, and property, in Great
Britain and its possessions."

The anxious Registrar, with a glance at the
clock, repeated, "And its possessions."

"Also, I do give and bequeath to him,"
said the Testator, collecting his strength once
more, by a surprising effort, " Nicholas Wiseman
and the Pope of Rome."

The two attendants breathlessly enquired
together, "With what injunctions?"

"To study well," said the Testator, "the
speech of the Dean of Bristol, made at
Bristol aforesaid; and to deal with them and
the whole vexed question, according to that
speech. And I do hereby give and bequeath
to my successor, the said speech and the said
faithful Dean, as great possessions and good
guides. And I wish with all my heart, the
said faithful Dean were removed a little
farther to the West of England and made
Bishop of Exeter!"

With this, the Old Year turned serenely on
his side, and breathed his last in peace.


With twelve great shocks of sound,
Was clash'd and hammer'd from a hundred towers,
One after one,

the coming of the New Year. He came on,
joyfully. The Head Registrar, making, from
mere force of habit, an entry of his birth,
while the Chief of the Grave Diggers took
charge of his predecessor; added these words
in Letters of Gold. MAY IT BE A WISE AND


IT was Christmas morning. Winter had
set in with December, and snow had been
lying on the ground for most of the month.
The whole country lay white and quiet. The
sun rose this morning in a cloudless sky, and
made promise of a splendid day. The gladsome
bells were heard ringing out from distant
villages; there was a murmur of music in the
air which called forth a respondent music in
the heart. The roads were beaten hard, yet
untouched by any sullying thaw, were almost
as dazzlingly pure as the fields around.
Through the clear, keen air went long lines
of wild fowl, seeking yet unfrozen streams in
this pinching time. The very rooks, tamed
by severity, came into the gardens, and
appealed to the compassion of man.

As the morning advanced, a fresh peal of
bells, from the different churches, called forth
multitudes of people, wrapped in overcoat and
cloak, with warm gloves, and furs and muffs;
and there were happy families of old and
young nodding to other happy families and
exchanging the old congratulations of a merry
Christmas and a happy New Year.  Soon the
pealing bells rose in their kindling energy
to a perfect sough and jubilance of sound,
then sinking in tremulous cadence, suddenly
ceased, and the congregations of the people
found themselves face to face with each other
and with God.

In two churches in Lincolnshire sate two
men, each thinking of the other; each known
to the world as the other's bitter enemy; each
regarding the other as the most vindictive
and dishonest of men. These men did not
live in the same town. The one sate in his
parish church in Wainfleet, the other beneath
that noble tower so oddly termed Boston
Stump. He who sate in Boston was a ruined
man; he who sate in Wainfleet had ruined
him. The one had been prosperous and
happy, and might have said, with many such
a man before him, " What can move me?"
But all this had been changed as by witchcraft.
The man of Wainfleet had dragged
him down in a long and desperate struggle.
The happiness of his home had been destroyed;
his good name stained as by the inky waters
of Erebus; his friendsall those fast friends

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