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sale, when the old gentleman died, ten days
since it had been in his family, they said,
two hundred yearsa very fine piece of
furniture, and dirt cheap at one pound ten."

"I'm no great judge of these things," said
the young man; " but I have an aunt in the
town who is in want of just such an article.
I wish to make her a present of it; and I
will pay for it now, on condition, that if
she doesn't like it, you shall take it back and
supply me with another article to-morrow

"Very fairthat's very fairbut how can
I send it to-night?"

"Nay, that must be part of the bargain,"
replied the purchaser, counting the money
into Mr. Benson's hand; " and you must also
give me a receipt for thewhat shall we call
it?—the wardrobe, with all it contains; for
fortunes are sometimes found in very odd
places," he added, with a smile. " I've heard
of chair bottoms being stuffed with five pound

"I run the risk of all that," said Mr.
Benson, writing the receipt, " and as to carrying
it home, it ain't very heavy. I'll manage
that. What's the address?"

"Mrs. Truman, number two, Abbeyfield
Lane," replied the youth, " not a very elegant
part of the town; but the poor must live

"It's a very dark, ill-charactered place,"
said the pawnbroker. " Couldn't you wait till
to-morrow morning? A man was robbed
and murdered there twenty years ago."

"Oh, things are improved since then," said
the young man with a laugh; " besides, an old
chest of drawers is not so very tempting a
property, in spite of the goodness of the oak,
and the time it was in Farmer Merriwood's

Mr. Benson looked at his visitor with doubt
at first, but he saw nothing but the fine open
countenance of a young man of twenty-two,
and gradually became satisfied that there was
nothing to be afraid of. For one instant a
thought even came into his head to invite the
purchaser to take a glass of gin and water
but it died away, like other good resolutions.

"If you arrive at my aunt's before me,"
said the young man, "say I sent her the
wardrobe; but I hope to be there in time to
receive you." So saying he wrapt his horse
cloth closer round him, and departed.

Mr. Benson looked round well pleased. He
had ended the day well by disposing of a
useless piece of lumber at a considerable
price. " He must be very fond of his aunt,
that young man," he said, " and if she's no
better judge of furniture than he is, I wish
she would come and deal at my shop." He
cast a look roundto see that there was no
risk from candle or lamphoisted the wardrobe
on his shoulder, locked the door, and
walked rapidly towards Abbeyfield Lane. On
arriving at number two, he knocked gently
at the door, but received no answer for some
time. "Why, this is the house that has been
empty so long! I didn't know any one had
taken it. Where did they get their
furniture? " Another knock produced a motion
within; a step sounded in the passage, and
an old lady opened the door. She seemed
astonished at the lateness of the visit. "I
was just going to bed," she said, " and only
sat up to let in my nephew. He is longer of
coming than he said."

"He 'll be here immediately," replied Mr.
Benson, " and in the meantime has presented
you with this very handsome piece of furniture.
He has paid for it -- all, except the
porterage -- and the solid oak is no joke to
carry on a night like this."

"If my nephew was here," said the old
lady, " I would ask you to come in; but, I'm
a lone woman, and it wouldn't be proper
there's sixpence for the carriage, and I 'm
greatly obliged to the dear boy. He's always
so thoughtful of his poor old aunt."

"Pray, ma'am, have you been long in this
cottage?  " inquired Mr. Benson; " and may
I ask you where the furniture came from?"

"My nephew took the house for me three
days ago. Some of the furniture came by the
canaland the rest we hope will arrive to-morrow."

"If you require any additional articles, you
will find the best qualities and lowest prices
at my shop," said Mr. Benson, putting the
poor woman's sixpence into his pocket, and
resuming his homeward way. " I don't like
this," he said, as he splashed up the High
Street. " There's something curious about
that old woman. Why did she give me a
whole sixpence?—looking so wretchedly poor
too? And why did she seem so delighted
to lay hands on the wardrobe? I'm sorry I
let it go at thirty shillings. The young fool
would have given double the money -- but
I'm always so soft-hearted. I shall never be
richbut what of that? Wealth is not happiness.

He extinguished the flaring lamp at the
front of his premises; removed the table and
all that it contained within the door, turned
the key on the inside, and drawing out from
a secret drawer a bottle of gin, and, lifting a
kettle from the fire which had hitherto
glowed unseen behind a set of window
curtains hung over the model of a suspension
bridge, he proceeded to concoct a pretty
strong tumbler, which he applied to his lips
with the self-satisfied air of a man who felt
that he had deserved some relaxation and
enjoyment, after the labours of a well-spent
day. A pipe, also, soon added its perfume
to the happiness of the position, and Mr. Benson
sat like a great Indian idol, inhaling the
incense of his gin and tobacco, blandly smiling
as the smoke curled in gay wreaths round
the bowl of his long clay, and occasionally
sipping the comfortable potation before him.
The clocks which had either been sent to
him in pledge, or were arranged on different

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