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visitthe old storymy portrait. But he
did not get it. O no!

On another occasion, by the carelessness and
ignorance of a new servant, a shabby sheriff's-
officer looking man was admitted into my
study, where he immediately took a seat,
placing a greasy hat upon the floor, containing
a red cotton pocket-handkerchief. I
awaited his pleasure, not being aware that
any writs were out against me, or that a
distress was likely to be put in for rent. He
was not long in explaining his business.

"Of course," he began, "as I says to my
gov'ner, a gent didn't ought to have his valable
time took up without gettin' suffin for it."

"Sir!" I said, in astonishment.

"Well," he continued drowsily, without
noticing my remark, "a gent's pictur fetches
moneyconsekently it's worth moneythat's
about the size of it, I think?"

I gave him no reply, being too much
engaged in thinking of the uncharitableness of
the world, which was probably attributing
my coyness to interested motives. The
photographic professors perhaps thought that
the proper price for my portrait had not yet
been offered to me, and had sent this agreeable
agent to negociate the purchase.

"Come," he added, in what was intended
to be a wheedling tone, "it's soon over, you
know; only like havin' a tooth out, after all.
If a gen'elman's a gen'elman, my gov'ner 'll
do the thing that's right."

Whether this man was simply inebriated
a paid agent, or a self-constituted agent,
I did not stay to ascertain. At the close
of the last speech I had him moved bodily
out of the house, and I was annoyed with
no more personal applications for the space
of three weeks.

For the short period of three weeks I was
entirely undisturbed, and began to comfort
myself with the delightful belief that the
portrait mania, as far as I was concerned, had
at length worked itself out by sheer exhaustion,
and died quietly away. I was the victim
of a miserable self-deception. The calm was
only the forerunner of the tempest.

Entering my study, one morning, a little
earlier than usual, I found it, to my astonishment,
in the possession of a tall, stout,
determined looking man, who returned my
enquiring glance with a steady eye, that seemed
prepared for everything. A mysterious feeling
came over me, as I gazed with a kind of
fascination upon the stranger, that at last I
had found my master. He had obtained
admission, in defiance of my strict instructions,
by stepping over the pail and the
housemaid, as she was cleaning the steps in
the morning. Remonstrance, With such a man,
I seemed to feel was useless, and I allowed him
to state his business at once, without
interruption, conscious that no time would be lost.

"Now, sir," he said loudly, in the tone of
a policeman who had just caught a notorious
criminal, "you are aware that for some time,
a growing demand has existed for your
portrait?"

I assented, silently.

"You are aware," he continued, calmly,,
but forcibly, "that, when a demand reaches,
a certain height, it must be supplied?"

I again assented with a feeble nod.

"Good. Look here."

He drew a picture from his capacious
coatpocket. He placed it in my hand. I examined
it carefully. It was a marvellous production,
of photographic skill,—a beetle-browed man,
with the Sunday complexion of a master
chimney-sweep, the lineaments of a churchwarden
mixed with those of the professional
burglar, but whether the churchwarden turned
burglar or the burglar turned churchwarden,
it was impossible to determine.

"Know that person?" asked my visitor.

I replied that I did not.

"Bill Tippetsthe Lambeth Phenomenon."

"Of the prize-ring?"

"Of the prize-ring."

I returned the portrait of Bill Tippets.

"Now," continued my visitor, "I'm a
practical man. I've got an order for two
thousand copies of your portrait, for home
consumption, and fifteen hundred for
exportation. I don't want to do anything offensive;
but, knowing your objection to sit for a
photograph, I have been compelled to look
amongst my stock for something like you, and
I can find nothing so near the mark as Bill
Tippets."

A cold perspiration came over me: the
practical man had got me in his power.

"This order for two thousand copies of
your likeness for home consumption, and
fifteen hundred for exportation," he resumed,
"must be executed within ten days, and I can
only give you till ten o'clock to-morrow
morning to decide. At that hour I must
know whether it is to be Bill Tippets, or Mr.
Edgar Sweetwort. Good morning."

Long before the appointed hour, I was
sitting helplessly, under a broiling sun, in a
glass cage upon the tiles of an elevated house
near the Haymarket, W., composing my
countenance according to the imperious
instructions of the relentless photographer.

MR. CHARLES DICKENS
WILL READ AT ST. MARTIN'S HALL:
On THURSDAY EVENING, JULY 1st, at Eight, The POOR
TRAVELLER, BOOTS AT THE HOLLY-TREE INN, and MRS.
GAMP.
Each Reading will last Two Hours.
PLACES:—Stalls (numbered and reserved), Five Shillings;
Area and Galleries, Half-a-crown; Unreserved
Seats, One Shilling. Tickets to be had at Messrs. Chapman
and Halls Publishers, 193, Piccadilly; and at
St. Martin's Hall, Long Acre.

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