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millions and a-half sterling. The increase in
the transmission of money through the Post
Office has been even more prodigious. Fifteen
years ago the number of money-orders issued
from that establishment vas one hundred
and ninety thousand. Last year the number
almost exceeds belief. It amounted to ten
millions and a-half.

The centre of British trade is the Royal
Exchange. Although the most commercial
people in the world, except the Dutch, we
were the last to provide our merchants with
a building suitable for the daily transaction
of their business. To so late a period as the
reign of Elizabeth the merchants of London
were wont to assemble in Lombard Street;
where, in the open air, in all weathers, and at
all seasons, they were content to gossip and
make their bargains. In those familiar days,
when our streets were wider and far less
frequented, it may not have greatly interfered
with the traffic of the city. Those open-air
meetings had prevailed for several centuries,
and it may appear still more singular that, at
the present time, three centuries later, there
are many of our larger manufacturing towns
in the north possessing stately exchanges,
but where the dealers, brokers, and spinners,
prefer assembling around some time-honoured
iron pump, or about some decaying wooden
post, in the badly-paved, weather-beaten

The first Royal Exchange was erected,
by and at the chief cost of, Sir Thomas
Gresham, whose business-sign, the
grasshopperstill adorns the summit of the building.
It consisted of two floors, in the upper of
which was a species of bazaar in which were
exposed for sale every conceivable article,
from Venetian silk to mouse-traps, and Jews'
trumpets. The royal Elizabeth to encourage
this new "burse," as it was termed, paid it a
visit, and christened it The Royal Exchange.
Sir Thomas, we read, aware of the importance
of the occasion, went twice round the Upper
Pawne, and besought the few vendors of goods
already located there, "that they would furnish
and adorn, with wares and wax-lights, as
many shoppes as they coulde or woulde; and
they shoulde have all those shoppes so
furnished rent free, that yeare."

The effect of royal patronage was not less
marked in those times than in the present
day. The shops that were thus given rent
free paid within a year or two afterwards as
much as four pounds ten shillings per annum,
a large rental at that period; and traders
were most solicitous for room in the Upper

The building was originally constructed of
timber and slate, and it was no irreparable
calamity that it fell amidst the general
destruction of the Great Fire of sixteen
hundred and sixty-six. Three years later the
second building was opened on the old site
greatly improved in appearance, solidity,
and utility. In January, eighteen hundred
and thirty-eight, this second Exchange was
burnt down. Four years precisely from that
date the first stone of the present building
was laid by Prince Albert.


A YOUNG man (see his description in any
lady-novel of any year), eminently handsome,
and mounted on a fiery-eyed black horse, rode
slowly down the avenue of a gentleman's
"place," in the pastoral county of Lanark.
It was not a domainnot an estate; it was
merely a moderate-sized property, with a
pretty square-built house situated on the
banks of a picturesque river, and protected
from east and north by an abrupt elevation,
which in most countries would be called a
mountain, but here was known as the Falder
Hill. His dress (see the same authorities for
the becoming costume of the year seventeen
hundred and eighty) set off his splendid
figure to the greatest advantage. But Charles
Harburn (that was the young man's name)
owed less to any other personal advantage
than to the fine, open expression of his face.
It does not matter whether this expression
arose from features or not; there it was.
You couldn't look at him without wishing to
shake him by the hand,—he was so jolly, so
radiant, so manly in all his looks; and his
looks did no more than justice to the inner
man. Everybody liked him, except old careful
fathers and mothers who had rich and
only daughters; and even in that case I
doubt whether the mothers could have
retained their enmity after the first week.
Fathers are such harsh and unsentimental
brutes, that I believe they would have hated
him more and more. They could see nothing
to admire in him at all. He hadn't
distinguished himself at school half so much as
young Pitsgothic of Deanvale; nor at college
so much as Polwoody of Drumstane; and yet
nobody made any fuss about those very
estimable youths, though they had two thousand
a-year each, and were exactly the same age
as Charles Harburn. Lord bless us! how
old fogies of fifty will reason upon love and
beauty! and prove that the snub nose of
Polwoody and the bandy legs of Pitsgothic
are every bit as pleasant to look on as the
Grecian outline and classic figure of the very
charming young man we have left so long on
his great black charger, in the avenue of
Falder Mains. Reason away, old blockheads!
It's pleasant to hear your silly remarks! Jane,
and Susannah, and I, know better, though
these fair maidens are both under twenty,
and I never passed for a philosopher; but if
a small bet will be any satisfaction, I am
ready to deposit a moderate amount of coin
on the correctness of the judgment of these
two ignorant young girls, and leave the
decision of the wager to the oldest professor
in Edinburgh College, provided he has
no marriageable daughters of his own,

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