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especially have widened the circles of their
connection in this way. The amount of tea,
coffee, confectionery, books, jewellery, wearing
apparel, and innumerable other articles, which
advertising traders get paid for in Post-office
orders, would be astounding, if it could be
ascertained. Answers (in cash) to charitable
appeals, and payment of small debts, are also
much facilitated by Post-office orders. We
mentioned in our account of "My Uncle," that
bank-notes were sometimes pawned for safety's
sake. In like manner, hawkers, trampers,
sailors, and other humble travellers, take out
money-orders in one place, to be paid to
themselves in another.

The Central Money-order Office in which
these remarkable results have been produced
and ascertained, is in Aldersgate Street,
London, hard by the Post Office. It is a large
establishmentlarge enough to be a very
considerable Post Office in itselfwith extensive
cellarage branching off into interminable
groves of letters of advice, and receipts, all
methodically arranged for reference. The
room in which the orders are issued and paid,
has a flavor of Lombard Street and money.
It has its long banker's counter, where clerks
sit behind iron gratings, with their wooden
bowls of cash, and their little scales for
weighing gold; and vistas of pigeon-holes
stretch out behind themwhich are not
without their pigeons, as we shall presently
see. Here, from ten o'clock to four, keeping
the swing-doors on the swing all day, all
sorts and conditions of people come and go.
Greasy butchers and salesmen from Newgate
Market with bits of suet in their hair, who
loll, and lounge, and cool their foreheads
against the grating, like a good-humoured
sort of Bears; sharp little clerks not long
from school, who have everything requisite
and necessary in readiness; older clerks in
shooting-coats, a little sobered down as to
official zeal, though possibly not yet as to
Cigar Divans and Betting-Offices; matrons
who will go distractedly wrong, and whom no
consideration, human or divine, will induce to
declare in plain words what they have come
for; people with small children which they
perch on edges of remote desks, where the
children, supposing themselves to be for ever
abandoned and lost, present a piteous
spectacle; labouring men, merchants, half-pay
officers: retired old gentlemen from trim
gardens by the New River, excessively
impatient of being trodden on, and very
persistent as to the poking in of their written
demands with tops of canes and handles of
umbrellas. The clerks in this office ought
to rival the lamented Sir Charles Bell in
their knowledge of the expression of the
hand. The varieties of hands that hover
about the grating, and are thrust through the
little doorways in it, are a continual study for
themor would be, if they had any time to
spare, which assuredly they have not. The
coarse-grained hand which seems all thumb
and knuckle, and no nail, and which takes up
money or puts it down with such an odd,
clumsy, lumbering touch; the retail trader's
hand which chinks it up and tosses it over
with a bounce; the housewife's hand which
has a lingering propensity to keep some of it
back, and to drive a bargain by not paying
in the last shilling or so of the sum for which
her order is obtained; the quick, the slow,
the coarse, the fine, the sensitive and dull,
the ready and unready; they are always
at the grating all day long. Hovering behind
the owners of these hands, observant
of the various transactions in which
they engage, is a tall constable (rather
potential with the matrons and widows on
account of his portly aspect) who assists the
bewildered female public; explains the nature
of the printed forms put ready to be filled up,
for the quicker issuing of orders and the
greater exactness as to names; and has an
eye on the Unready one, as he knots his
money up in a pocket-handkerchief, or crams
it into a greasy pocket-book. If you have any
bad money by you, be careful not to bring it
here! The portly constable will whisk you
into a back office before you can say Jack
Robinson; will snip your bad half-crown or
five-shilling piece in half, directly; and (at
the best) after searching inquiry, will fold the
pieces in a note of your name and address,
and consign them to a bundle of similar
trophies for evermore!

A prosaic place enough at first sight, the
Money-order Office is; but, when we went
there to look about us, the walls seemed
presently to turn to burnished gold, the clock to
go upon a thousand jewels: the clerks to be
the ministers of Fortune, dispensing wisdom,
riches, beauty, to the human race. For, if
you want to know what you are fit for (true
wisdom in itself) will not a money-order for
five shillings in favour of the gentleman who
pierces you through and through if you only
show him your handwriting, settle it beyond
a doubt! If you seek that one efficient recipe
for curls, eyebrows, whiskers, sparkling eyes,
and general bloom, can it not be yours
tomorrow, through this wonderful establishment!
If you want to acquire, for seven-and-
sixpence sterling, that light and elegant
accomplishment which will enable you to
realise from two to twenty pounds per week,
during the whole remainder of your natural
life, have you anything to do but to take your
money-order out and send it to the great
philanthropist, whose modesty is equal to his
merit, and who lives retired behind initials!
Or, if your tastes be sporting tastes, and you
would prefer to realise a handsome competence
on the turf, is not "The Kiddy's Tip"
(for the small charge of a crown, and a
percentage on your winnings) to be had by the
next post, on remittance to the Kiddy from
this place; and has not the Kiddy ever been
The Lucky One; and does he not refer with
pride to that eventful day when he cautioned