+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

said Susan, anxious to stop this revelation of
Will's attachment to herself. 'He'll come
round to her soon; he can't fail; and I 'll
keep a sharp look-out after the poor mother,
and try and catch her the next time she comes
with her little parcels of money.'

'Aye, lass! we mun get hold of her; my
Lizzie. I love thee dearly for thy kindness
to her child; but, if thou can'st catch her for
me, I 'll pray for thee when I 'm too near my
death to speak words; and while I live, I 'll
serve thee next to her,—she mun come first,
thou know'st. God bless thee, lass. My
heart is lighter by a deal than it was when I
comed in. Them lads will be looking for me
home, and I mun go, and leave this little sweet
one,' kissing it. 'If I can take courage, I 'll tell
Will all that has come and gone between us
two. He may come and see thee, mayn't

'Father will be very glad to see him, I 'm
sure,' replied Susan. The way in which this
was spoken satisfied Mrs. Leigh's anxious
heart that she had done Will no harm by
what she had said; and with many a kiss
to the little one, and one more fervent tearful
blessing on Susan, she went homewards.


A CAVALRY OFFICER of large fortune,who had
distinguished himself in several actions, having
been quartered for a long time in a foreign city,
gradually fell into a life of extreme and
incessant dissipation. He soon found himself so
indisposed to any active military service, that
even the ordinary routine became irksome
and unbearable. He accordingly solicited and
obtained leave of absence from his regiment
for six months. But, instead of immediately
engaging in some occupation of mind and
body, as a curative process for his morbid
condition, he hastened to London, and gave
himself up entirely to greater luxuries than
ever, and plunged into every kind of
sensuality. The consequence was a disgust of
life and all its healthy offices. He became
unable to read half a page of a book, or to
write the shortest note; mounting his horse
was too much trouble; to lounge down the
street was a hateful effort. His appetite
failed, or everything disagreed with him; and
he could seldom sleep. Existence became an
intolerable burthen; he therefore determined
on suicide.

With this intention he loaded his pistols,
and, influenced by early associations, dressed
himself in his regimental frock-coat and
crimson sash, and entered St. James's Park
a little before sunrise. He felt as if he was
mounting guard for the last time; listened
to each sound, and looked with miserable
affection across the misty green towards
the Horse Guards, faintly seen in the

A few minutes after the officer had entered
the park, there passed through the same gate
a poor mechanic, who leisurely followed in the
same direction. He was a gaunt, half-famished
looking man, and walked with a sad air,
his eyes bent thoughtfully on the ground,
and his large bony hands dangling at his

The officer, absorbed in the act he
meditated, walked on without being aware of the
presence of another person. Arriving about
the middle of a wide open space, he suddenly
stopped, and drawing forth both pistols,
exclaimed: 'Oh, most unfortunate and most
wretched man that I am! Wealth, station,
honour, prospects, are of no avail! Existence
has become a heavy torment to me! I have
not strengthI have not courage to endure
or face it a moment longer!'

With these words he cocked the pistols,
and was raising both of them to his head,
when his arms were seized from behind, and
the pistols twisted out of his fingers. He
reeled round, and beheld the gaunt scarecrow
of a man who had followed him.

'What are you?' stammered the officer,
with a painful air; 'How dare you to step
between me and death?'

'I am a poor hungry mechanic;' answered
the man, 'one who works from fourteen to
sixteen hours a day, and yet finds it hard to
earn a living. My wife is deadmy daughter
was tempted away from meand I am a lone
man. As I have nobody to live for, and have
become quite tired of my life, I came out this
morning, intending to drown myself. But as
the fresh air of the park came over my face,
the sickness of life gave way to shame at my
own want of strength and courage, and I
determined to walk onwards and live my
allotted time. But what are you? Have
you encountered cannon-balls and death in
all shapes, and now want the strength and
courage to meet the curse of idleness? '

The officer was moving off with some
confused words, but the mechanic took him by the
arm, and threatening to hand him over to the
police if he resisted, led him droopingly away.

This mechanic's work was that of a turner,
and he lived in a dark cellar, where he toiled
at his lathe from morning to night. Hearing
that the officer had amused himself with a
little turnery in his youth, the poor artisan
proposed to take him down into his
workshop. The officer offered him money, and
was anxious to escape; but the mechanic
refused it, and persisted.

He accordingly took the morbid gentleman
down into his dark cellar, and set him to
work at his lathe. The officer began very
languidly, and soon rose to depart. Whereupon,
the mechanic forced him down again on
the hard bench, and swore that if he did not
do an hour's work for him, in return for
saving his life, he would instantly consign
him to a policeman, and denounce him for
attempting to commit suicide. At this threat
the officer was so confounded, that he at once
consented to do the work.