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point of death, the noise of the courtiers
deserting their monarch to pay their respects
to the new king echoed through the long
galleries of Versailles like thunder. When
the king was dead they crammed his
miserable body (he died of the most horrible
form of small pox) into a box, and jolted him
off in a post-chaise by night to St. Denis,
where they flung him into rather than buried
him in the sepulchre of his ancestors. So do
we act by our dead King Fashionadding
even insult to injury; for after his death, we
scoff and jeer at him, and are tremendously
satirical upon the ridiculous, hideous, frightful,
preposterous fashion that he was. It is
my opinion that if Messrs. Banting and France
were to confine themselves to performing the
funerals of Fashion, they would cease to be
the fashionable undertakers they are.

Fashion is greater than king or kaiser
when he is alive; but dead, he is of no more
account than a broken egg-shell. Le roi est
mortvive le roi! Leg of mutton sleeves
and short waists are dead. Long live tight
sleeves and long waists!


Soft Midsummer air, cheery with sunshine
and perfumed with all the scents that it had
robbed out of his nursery garden, crept in
through the monthly roses at the porch and
the half-open cottage door, to make itself at
home in George Swayne's room. It busied
itself there, sweeping and rattling about, as
if it had as much right to the place and
was as much the tenant of it, as the gardener
himself. It had also a sort of feminine and
wifely claim on George; who, having been
spending half an hour over a short letter
written upon a large sheet, was invited
by the Midsummer air to look after
his garden. The best efforts were being
made by his gentle friend to tear the paper
from his hand. A bee had come into
the roomGeorge kept beesand had been
hovering about the letter; so drunk, possibly,
with honey that he had mistaken it for
a great lily. Certainly he did at last settle
upon it. The lily was a legal document to this

"SIR,—We are instructed hereby to give you
notice of the death of Mr. Thomas Queeks of Edmonton,
the last of the three lives for which your lease
was granted, and to inform you, that you may
obtain a renewal of the same on payment of one
hundred guineas to the undersigned. We are, Sir,
"Your (here the bee sat on the obedient servants),
                                 " FLINT AND GRINSTON."

Mr. Swayne granted himself a rule to
consider in his own mind what the lawyers meant
by their uncertain phraseology. It did not
mean, he concluded, that Messrs. F. and G.
were willing, for one hundred pounds, to
renew the life of Mr. Queeks, of Edmonton;
but it did not mean that he must turn out
of the house and grounds (which had been
Swayne's Nursery Garden for three
generations past) unless he would pay a large
fine for the renewal of his lease. He was
but a young fellow of five-and-twenty; who,
until recently, had been at work for the
support of an old father and mother. His
mother had been dead a twelvemonth last
Midsummer-day; and his father, who had been
well while his dame was with him, sickened
after she was gone, and died before the apple-
gathering was over. The cottage and the
garden were more precious to George as a
home than as a place of business. There were
thoughts of partinglike thoughts of another
loss by death, or of all past losses again to be
suffered freshly and togetherwhich so
clouded the eyes of Mr, Swayne, that at last
he could scarcely tell when he looked at the
letter, whether the bee was or was not a
portion of the writing.

An old woman came in, with a Midsummer
cough, sounding as hollow as an empty coffin.
She was a poor old crone who came to do for
George small services as a domestic for an
hour or two every day; for he lighted his own
fires, and served up to himself in the first style
of cottage cookery his own fat bacon and

"I shall be out for three hours, Milly,"
said George, and he put on his best clothes
and went into the sunshine. " I can do
nothing better," he thought, " than go and see
the lawyers."

They lived in the City; George lived at the
east end of London, in a part now covered
with very dirty streets; but then, covered with
copse and field, and by Swayne's old-fashioned
nursery ground; then crowded with stocks
and wallflowers, lupins, sweet peas, pinks,
lavenders, heart's-ease, boy's love, old man,
and other old-fashioned plants; for it contained
nothing so tremendous as Schizanthuses,
Escholzias, or Clarkia pulchellas, which are weedy
little atomies, though they sound big enough
to rival any tree on Lebanon. George was
an old-fashioned gardener in an old-fashioned
time; for we have here to do with events
which occurred in the middle of the reign of
George the Third. George, thenI mean
George Swayne, not Georgius Rexmarched
off to see the lawyers, who lived in a dark
court in the City. He found their clerk in
the front office, with a marigold in one of his
button-holes; but there was nothing else that
looked like summer in the place. It smelt
like a mouldy shut-up tool-house; and there
was parchment enough in it to make scarecrows
for all the gardens in Kent, Middlesex,
and Surrey.

George saw the junior partner, Mr. Grinston,
who told him, when he heard his business,
that it was in Mr. Flint's department.
When he was shown into Mr. Flint's room,
Mr. Flint could only repeat, he said, the
instructions of the landlord.

"You see, my lad," he said, " these holdings,

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