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Deep under mountains of dead, gashed, and smitten,
and trampled,
The heralds searching the field, counting the banners
and scutcheons,
Found the corpse of the son pierced with arrows and
Above him the old man lay, the old blind King of
One arm round the neck of the youth and one on a
gash in his forehead.
The Black Prince pausing to watch the heralds seeking
the banners,
Bent, and plucking the crest, the three white plumes of
the ostrich,
Placed them, spotted with blood, in the battered peak
of his helmet.



ONCE upon a time (no matter when), I
was engaged in a pursuit (no matter what),
which could be transacted by myself alone;
in which I could have no help; which
imposed a constant strain on the attention,
memory, observation, and physical powers;
and which involved an almost fabulous
amount of change of place and rapid railway
travelling. I had followed this
pursuit through an exceptionally trying winter
in an always trying climate, and had
resumed it in England after but a brief
repose. Thus it came to be prolonged
until, at lengthand, as it seemed, all of a
suddenit so wore me out that I could
not rely, with my usual cheerful confidence,
upon myself to achieve the constantly
recurring task, and began to feel (for the
first time in my life) giddy, jarred, shaken,
faint, uncertain of voice and sight and
tread and touch, and dull of spirit. The
medical advice I sought within a few hours,
was given in two words: "Instant rest."
Being accustomed to observe myself as
curiously as if I were another man, and
knowing the advice to meet my only need,
I instantly halted in the pursuit of which I
speak, and rested.

My intention was, to interpose, as it
were, a fly-leaf in the book of my life, in
which nothing should be written from without
for a brief season of a few weeks. But
some very singular experiences recorded
themselves on this same fly-leaf, and I am
going to relate them literally. I repeat the
word: literally.

My first odd experience was of the re-
markable coincidence between my case, in
the general mind, and one Mr. MERDLE'S
as I find it recorded in a work of fiction
called LITTLE DORRIT. To be sure, Mr.
Merdle was a swindler, forger, and thief,
and my calling had been of a less harmful
(and less remunerative) nature; but it was
all one for that.

Here is Mr. Merdle's case:

"At first, he was dead of all the diseases
that ever were known, and of several bran-
new maladies invented with the speed of
Light to meet the demand of the occasion.
He had concealed a dropsy from infancy,
he had inherited a large estate of water on
the chest from his grandfather, he had had
an operation performed upon him every
morning of his life for eighteen years, he
had been subject to the explosion of
important veins in his body after the manner
of fireworks, he had had something the
matter with his lungs, he had had
something the matter with his heart, he had
had something the matter with his brain.
Five hundred people who sat down to
breakfast entirely uninformed on the whole
subject, believed before they had done
breakfast, that they privately and
personally knew Physician to have said to
Mr. Merdle, 'You must expect to go out,
some day, like the snuff of a candle;' and
that they knew Mr. Merdle to have said to
Physician, 'A man can die but once.' By
about eleven o'clock in the forenoon,
something the matter with the brain, became
the favourite theory against the field; and
by twelve the something had been distinctly
ascertained to be 'Pressure.'

"Pressure was so entirely satisfactory to
the public mind, and seemed to make every
one so comfortable, that it might have
lasted all day but for Bar's having taken
the real state of the case into Court at half-
past nine. Pressure, however, so far from
being overthrown by the discovery, became
a greater favourite than ever. There was a
general moralising upon Pressure, in every
street. All the people who had tried to
make money and had not been able to do
it, said, There you were! You no sooner
began to devote yourself to the pursuit of
wealth, than you got Pressure. The idle
people improved the occasion in a similar
manner. See, said they, what you brought
yourself to by work, work, work! You
persisted in working, you overdid it,
Pressure came on, and you were done for!
This consideration was very potent in many
quarters, but nowhere more so than among
the young clerks and partners who had
never been in the slightest danger of
overdoing it. These, one and all declared,
quite piously, that they hoped they would
never forget the warning as long as they
lived, and that their conduct might be so