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                       BOOK I.


THIS story, whose course shall lie along the
open, every-day thoroughfares of life, with the
houses of yesterday on each side, and the everyday
men and women hurrying along, begins at a
very every-day scene: at a railway station, with the
train setting off, and cabs arriving with
marvellous punctuality, at precisely the last minute.
In one of these later cabs, the gentleman who is to
be the hero comes driving upit was not his fault,
but that of a hopeless "block" in the Citywho,
indeed, seems wholly indifferent as to whether
he "have ran it a little fine" (the encouragement
of the porter, who had secured him and "brought
him through"), or whether he should have to wait
two hours for another train. It seemed all one to
him, though the porter at the door of the carriage,
with assumed heat and prostration, congratulated
him on the success of their exertions, and saying
again that "it was putting it a little too fine,"
was handsomely requited for his exertions.

This evening train left Waterloo station at
"three thirty;" and it was now three thirty, one.
Not being one of the "expresses" which were
always breaking away up and down the line,
but a sober, provincial old-fashioned train, which
ambled on respectably from station to station,
it was treated by the ofiicials with the sort of
unceremonious respect they kept for old ladies
with baskets, who delayed them with questions.
It was not kept up to time very closely, nor very
full. As it "toddled" out of the station, there
was indeed seen, in one carriage or two, a row of
hats and heads bent down over a row of evening
papers, like a class at school; but other
compartments glided bysome containing a prisoner
or two, some merely empty cells, and one with a
lonely gentleman all to itself, who had bought
half a dozen papers, which lay unfolded beside
him on the seat.

This gentleman had a white ticket for St.
Alans in a leather bag beside him. He was
about five-and-thirtybut looked fortywas
spare without being thin, pale without being
colourless, thoughtful without looking a hermit
or recluse, with a half dreamy air that was
agreeable and not absurd. The morocco bag
had initials on it, "H. T.;" and inside the
morocco bag were note-books and pocket-books,
a volume of Boswell's Johnson, with a name on
the title-page which was in a bold firm hand
and read "Henry Graves Tillotson."

Henry Graves Tillotson looked quickly from
one window to the other as the "dowdy" train
moved on, and jerked and shook over intersecting
rails, and glided by the huge rambling boarding-
houses where engines "bait" or reside,
looking like great circuses, and the surgeries and
hospitals where they are taken in and have their
wounds dressed. He looked up at the men in
the round tops, half way up great masts of
trees, who, with strange instruments and levers,
had exercised some mysterious influence on his
own motion. He turned listlessly from side to
side, and saw the "backs" of factories, the store-
houses and yards of timbers, which were " fining"
off into rows of houses, then again into rows of
villas, and then later into detached houses, until
the trees and green fields began to spread and
encroach altogether. By which time the old lady
who was carrying him was "getting her stride,"
and hurrying along at a respectable pace. Then Mr.
Tillotson gave a sort of sigh, no doubt overcome
by this utter solitude. Yet he had selected this
lonely cell purposely. He looked over at his
evening papers absently, but did not take up a
single one. He cared very little for the meeting
of the emperors at Kirchwasser for the actual
text of the last "Note;" or even for the
accident in Piccadilly "This Day;" which were the
leading items of telegraphic news. And thus
for some hours the stations came and went, and
their names were shouted, and brought with them
a dropping fire of doors.

Once, indeed, a young girl in "a hat," with
the mamma, were put in at a station. The
mamma had many packages and parcelssets
of novels tied up with stringand seemed, indeed,
to have newly come from a fair, laden with
merchandise. The matron hardly spoke a word, but
was anxiously counting her treasures, and never
getting her calculation right.

The young girl sat opposite to Mr. Tillotson,
and studied him with furtive eyes for the twenty
minutes between the two stations. After all,
there is a little romance in this travellingwhen
of a night in the blue chamber, under the dull