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wanted me, sir, or I'd have brought more. Oh gracious!" ejaculated he, with a faint scream, as the small end of the stick hit him accurately just beneath the breast-bone, "Don't do that again, sir. It-it hurts."

"Not do it again, when we ought to have made five hundred dollars out of you! Do you think I am not going to take the change out of your beggarly hide? Whoop!" And, with an indescribable Irish yell, which no other national throat, except, perhaps, that of an inebriated Choctaw, could ever compass, Mr. Fogarty began to dance round the hapless Mr. Biffles, keeping accurate time to his steps with the end of the stick on the body of that unfortunate gentleman. What between the howls of Mr. Phil, and the shrieks of the victim, there was considerable likelihood of their rousing the neighborhood, when Frank arrived. By vigorous exertions he induced Brady to carry Phil out from his prey, and bring him up to the bedroom.

"Goodness gracious, man, what do you mean by making such a noise? Do you want the house down upon us?" said Frank to the offender.

"They are used to me here," said Phil, carelessly, "and they wouldn't think of inquiring impertinently if I were engaged in studying anatomy on you with the assistance of an oysterknife. Perhaps I was a little too noisy, though. But look you, Frank, we are doing you a little service, and you must not interfere with our improving our own opportunities. I intend to get a hundred or two out of the old man for Ned and myself, and though I won't ask you to countenance it or know anything about it, yet it will be for your interests not to interfere. Don't be afraid-I won't touch him or trouble him any more," adding sotto voice, "considering that his objections are pretty well thrashed out by this time."

"I have got myself in a mighty bad scrape, Phil, and, on my life, I cannot see how to get out. You have my consent safe. I cannot refuse it." And Frank looked gloomily at the carpet.

"Now, then," said Phil, "just stay here, and I will get you out of your difficulties at once and easily."

At the sight of the tall, forbidding figure, and still more at the view of the formidable club whose weight he had already felt, the lately brave Biffles cowered pitifully in the corner.


thought the man had come to put the finishing touch to his sufferings and his existence, and prepared with very ill grace to resign himself to his fate. Great, therefore, was his relief, when, instead of demolishing his brains, or exploring the receses of his system with a knife, the ruffian sat down before him and coolly lighted a pipe.

His feelings were much more relieved when he had heard the proposition which was made to him.


"You see, Biffles," said the man, "that you have occasioned us a great deal of disappointment by your bad habit of leaving your money in the bank, where we can't get at it, instead of in your pockets, where we can. is only fair, then, before we let you go, you should make that disappointment fall easily on us, and repay us for the trouble we have taken and the care and attention we have paid you. My friends and I think, therefore, that the sooner you draw a check for three hundred dollars, dated yesterday, and payable to the bearer, why the sooner you will be out of this. What is your opinion, old fellow ?"

Biffles was fond of money, but he had a far greater love for his personal security. Besides, they had forgotten to give him any breakfast, and the fiercest animals are tamed by hunger. Biffles, therefore, clutched the pen that was given him, and, released from his bonds, hurriedly dashed off the required order. His jailer still looked doubtful though, and, after a minute or two, said:

"You may not be aware, Mr. Biffles, that it may occasion a little trouble for any of us to carry this to the bank. We are not exactly the sort of persons to whom banks pay large sums without inquiry. Have you not got some friend at home who could go with us to certify the draft, and afterwards see to your release? You might get out a little sooner."

Biffles pondered for a moment, and then said: "There is my niece, Emma, who could attend to the matter. But she could not go with you. Oh, I know. I will order her to take young Gayville along; he is only a young lad without much sense-I suppose you won't object?"


No," said the man, with a suppressed chuckle, "that will answer very well. Take your pen and write as I order:

"MY DEAR NIECE: You will go with Frank Gayville, in company with the messenger, before the proper authorities, and go through the forms necessary under the circumstances. As soon as you have accomplished this, hasten to me. The greatest haste is requisite, as you will soon understand. Your uncle,


"You see, Mr. Biffles, if you were more explicit, the dear little girl would be so scared she wouldn't be able to do anything, and Mr. Gayville might be after taking me up; and in either case, I am afraid you would stay here longer, or your stoppage be disagreeably shortened by a bath in the East river."

Mr. Biffles trembled, and committed to paper the words enjoined upon him; and then submitting meekly to his renewed bonds, sat in the corner, waiting anxiously for his release.

Mr. Fogarty, as soon as he had secured what to him was the most valuable of the two documents, hastened to Frank with the other.


There, sir," he cried, "there is your little matter fully arranged; take that, and come to your lady-love."

"But what am I to do with this, Phil? I don't understand at all," said Frank.

"Why, you stupidest specimen of a good-looking young man; that's the consent to your marriage."

"But there's not a word of my marriage in it."


Of course there is not; but if you cannot persuade the girl that there is, with me to back you, she is not half as much in love as she ought to be, after the risks you have been running for her. Go to her and be very mysterious about her uncle; tell her that something has occurred to keep him away, but that she shall know all after the ceremony; and, trust me, that curiosity and love together will make her go like a lamb to the slaughter. You are both at legally marriageable ages, and so you can just go to the recorder, or whoever else is the proper person, take out your license and be noosed right away. Then come here, and trust me for obtaining old Biffles's consent. After last night, he will not dare to refuse it."

Frank yielded to the superior energy of his friends, and they hastened to Mr. Biffles's house.

It was now nine o'clock, and the family were just aware that Mr. Biffles had not returned the night before.

Emma was in great agitation, unable to tell what had occurred; but, coupling what had occurred the night before with this unaccountable absence, was gradually working herself up to a conviction that Biffles, indignant at Frank's love for her, had summoned him to the field, and that they were then engaged in discharging pounds of bullets and barrels of gunpowder into each other's bodies. She was extremely rejoiced to see Frank, therefore, and to hear from him that her uncle was safe and well. In reply to her eager inquiries, where he was and why he had not come home, she received mysterious answers and equivocal shakes of the head, which roused her curiosity to a point which would have led her further than it had done the first female, for the sake of gratifying it. When Mr. Biffles's note was placed in her hands, and she was informed that the preliminary sacrifice necessary was only to marry a young gentleman with whom she had been longing to perform that ceremony, of course, being quite ready to do so, she started every possible objection which she knew would be overruled--keeping those, which she was afraid might prove insurmountable, discreetly in her own breast. After only a reasonable delay, then, and a moderate amount of distress at the absence of proper things, and the impossibility of bridesmaids, she and her maid, and Frank, and Mr. Fogarty, set off for the City Hall. Here, after the functionary had been disabused of a fixed idea that it was Fogarty and the servant who were the happy pair, the ceremony was performed, the maid dismissed, and the rest of the party returned to Mr. Fogarty's. Here there was a most formidable display of breakfast things made ready-to provide which, all the resources of the different lodgers, as to crockery and knives and forks, had been exhausted; yet, in despite of slight incongruities, the table made a noble appearance, covered with solid luxuries in the shape of beef and oysters and other things of the kind. While Emma was looking, with embarrassed amusement, at the extraordinary scene, Fogarty slipped out and returned with the captive Biffles. Oh, what a contrast he presented to the spruce bridegroom, and the pure white veil which the bride had assumed for the occasion! His back and sides were still covered with the caked mud and snow which

had adhered to them the night before; his other raiment was gray with the dust that pervaded the lumber-room in which Mr. Fogarty had confined him, while his face, between tears and the congelation of the dust, presented an appearance only to be rivaled by an Indian with his war-paint after a shower of rain, or a chimney-sweep, after being pumped on till he has become half white. Emma observed nothing, however, in her haste to embrace him, as she whispered:

"It was so kind in you, uncle, to make Frank and me so happy; but I was so sorry that you were not there. Tell me the reason, please; Frank said I should know."

At the beginning of this short speech, Mr. Biffles thought it was an evidence of her joy in rescuing him, and felt gratified. In the middle he was puzzled; and at the conclusion he was completely bewildered.

"What does it all mean?" he at length gasped.

At the reception of your kind note, and the message you sent us, authorizing the proceeding, Emma and I had the pleasure of joining our hands, as our hearts had been previously united, and I have the honor of presenting her to you as Mrs. Frank Gayville."

"My letter!" ejaculated Biffles, "I am certainly asleep."

"No, Mr. Biffles," rejoined a voice, at which he involuntarily started with terror. "You are as wide awake as when you indited that nice little epistle, which, for reasons of my own, I chose to interpret a little differently from you. In short, Mr. Biffles, allow me to remark, that you are done, sir-done very brown, sir, and that I, Phil Fogarty, have had the honor of superintending the operation. In proof of the fact, allow me to return the watch and money which I borrowed of you last night, and show you the check you were kind enough to subscribe this morning."

"This is swindling and felony, sir," roared the enraged hearer of this discourse. "I'll have you prosecuted, sir! I'll have you sent to the state's prison, sir-I'll-I'll—I'll—”

"You will just say nothing about it, sir, and you will not stop this check either, if you are a wise man. For, as sure as you do either, and as sure as you don't yield your countenance to this young married couple, I'll tell the whole

story, and spread it from Dan to Beersheba; and if I do, you will never find a jury to convict, and you'll never dare to show your head, for fear of being laughed at. So we'll come to an agreement. You will submit with a good grace, and have the young people married handsomely over again; and Ned Brady and I, in consideration of this small check, will hold our tongues about your defeat. And you might have a worse son-in-law, I assure you, even in a pecuniary point of view. For, the night before last, while Frank was engaged in looking at Miss Emma, and listening to your stupid speeches, a weazened little sharpnosed man came into his room, where I was sitting. Mr. Gayville's 'rooms,' said he. Yes,' said I. What may be your business?' For, you see, I thought he might have a writ to serve on you, my boy, and it would give you time if he took me for you. 'I have to congratulate you,' said he. The devil you have,' replied I. To congratulate you on the receipt of a legacy of fifty thousand dollars, which your distant cousin, Philip Mustifiz, has bequeathed to you, in consideration of your being the only one of his relatives who has not taken the trouble to bore him to death by attentions. This letter will enter into particulars; so he left his card, and went off. There it is, and the let



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Why the deuce didn't you tell me this before? I am sure you never would have got me into such a scrape if I had heard of it," said the recipient of this fortune, hurriedly snatching the letter.

"It is just for that very reason I did not tell you. If hadn't come into you your room, looking like a ghost that heard a cock crowing in the middle of the night, it would have come out at once. But, you see, you suggested the idea of giving Mr. Biffles a practical illustration of the value of his theories."

"I suggested? you mean you proposed it."


Well, don't quarrel about that-and the idea struck me as such capital fun, that I could not bear to spoil the matter by informing you of the secret."

Mr. Biffles was, meantime, engaged in reading the letter over Frank's shoulder. As soon as he was convinced of the fact of the legacy, the discomfited expression cleared from his face, he shook Frank by the hand, kissed Emma,

and informed Phil that he yielded to the terms.

"Yes, but there is another thing I must add," rejoined Phil. "If you ever again inflict upon society your homilies against unfortunate gentlemen, who have met with accidents, or made mistakes, or yielded to weaknesses common to us all, I shall feel absolved from my engagement, and be at perfect liberty to relate 'How Mr. Biffles was garroted.'"

Mr. Biffles has kept the latter part of the engagement carefully in mind, until lately, when the agitation for reforming the city charter has become so ardent.

Having been constantly heard to announce, that "no man of sense" would object to the present course of thingsMr. Biffles has been elected aldermanthis narrative is published with altered names, as a slight warning to him of the evil consequences of his present conduct.



IN N the lovely Age of Gold, when the rich rivers rolled milk and honey, and the mountains drew rainbows about their shoulders as a lady draws her scarf; when ivory and rubies and the tails of peacocks grew on trees, and all the face of Earth was dimpled with the smiles of happy people—in the lovely Age of Gold, the melodious Age of Gold, there lived a god named Pan, who reigned in the name of Nature. For pan, in the old Greek tongue, means All; and Pau, the god, stood for all that nature is, that nature makes-all in the heavens above, or the earth beneath, or the waters under the earth-the stars in the sky, and diamonds in the mine, and coral and shells in clanging caves or mermaidens' bowers down deep under the many-sounding sea.

But the chosen haunts of Pan were in among the profound shadows of forests, and beneath the Gothic arches of brown boughs. Away from the high heats of noon, he slept in twilight grottoes; or lolled among dripping stones, while pranksome waterfalls sprinkled him with spray. But when Jack o' lanthorn, and the fire-flies, were up and about, he sang to the constellations jocund songs of good-fellowship, and danced with the hamadryads under the moon; for Pan was king of the greenwood, and ruled over all that was wild.

The hamadryads, the sweet-hearts of Pan, were wood-nymphs. At night they tripped with him in the meadows, in the likeness of lovely maidens with eyes

like the blue sky with stars, and hair of yellow moonlight. But no sooner did the first fiery streak in the East show that Phoebus was driving up the chariot of the Sun, than they took root as they stood in their places, and their fair soft skin was changed into russet bark, and their slender waists stretched upward in tall trunks, and their pliant arms were extended and divided in many boughs, and their silver hair became as tender leaflets and the tendrils of wild vines.

For the lives of the hamadryads, if still they live, are as the lives of the oak, and the elm, and the sycamore; their veins run sap instead of red blood; their hearts are one with the hearts of the trees; like them, they spring from nut and slip; like them, they fall before the storm or the axe; like them, are scathed by the lightning. It is they who sigh and moan to the soughing wind that comes over the graves of shepherds; it is they who groan and shriek when the storm fiend rends their graceful limbs and tears their beautiful hair.

In those days, the golden days of Pan, dwelt Rhocus, the handsome shepherd, among the silver fountains of Hylis, where he and his merry comrades ran races for wild honey, or chased the chattering spotted squirrel to his hole in the topmost boughs. A light-hearted, thoughtless fellow, Rhocus, to whom a sad face or a sighing heart were as strange a sight as a snow-ball to a Hindoo, or a butterfly to a shivering Laplander.

Once Rhocus found a falling oak in the forest-a venerable and majestic tree, that in a few weeks, or so soon as the first blustering gale should come to shake it by the shoulders, would be laid prostrate in the dust, and all the pride of its leafy crown be brought to shame. So he was touched with a freak of pity, to call his idle, romping mates; and, all together, and with all their hearts, they helped the poor, old forest king, bringing stout beams to prop him up, and tough vines to bind him to his younger and more sturdy attendants.

And when the work was done, and night was falling, and the rest had gone to bathe their tired and dusty limbs in the cool springs, Rhocus stretched his length on the dewy grass at the feet of his fine old tree, and with fingers interlocked under his head, made the woods ring again, startling the owl and the bat with country-songs of old Greece. And presently there stood, between him and the moon, a maiden, lovelier than a dream of going to heaven on wings, whose look was like a kiss, and her voice more pleasant than the comfortablest home-songs of crickets. And she said: "Rhocus, good Rhocus, beautiful Rhocus, I am a hamadryad, daughter of the greenwood; from the gray forest king whose life your pity has prolonged I had my life at first, and all of good or beautiful that pertains to it. Therefore whatsoever is in my gift to give you, ask and take. The birds, full of songs, are yours, if you will have them; and the spotted snakes, and the quick, cunning squirrels-all these, if you love them, take."

But Rhocus looked on the hamadryad's marvelous charm, and his heart beat high within him, and his eyes glowed all a-blaze; and he said: "Not the birds, full of songs, nor the spotted snakes, nor the quick, cunning squirrels, -but thee, lovelier than a dream of going to heaven on wings,-thee, and thy step like a kiss,-thee, and thy voice, more pleasant than the homesongs of comfortable crickets,—thee, and all thy wondrous beauty and blessedness I must have. Give me."

And the wood-nymph answered: "Rhocus, thou, too, art beautiful and good, and I will be thy sweet-heart. I will kiss thee, and thou shalt kiss me, under the kindly stars; and we will love each other, and cling to each other

'Till the sun grows cold, And the stars are old,

And the leaves of the Judgment-book unfold.'

"Only, dear Rhocus, beautiful Rhoalways wise; nor ever, by want of cus, brave Rhocus, let Love make you thought, sometimes as wicked and as cruel as want of heart, forget the kindness which prolonged the old life of the oak, and filled the young life of the haAs often as madryad with perfect joy. I send my bee, to whisper in your ear that I am waiting-remember, Rhocus."

And Rhocus promised, as many promises as kisses, and they parted-to meet again, to-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, they thought,

"Till the sun grew cold,

And the stars were old.

But the day came at last when Rhœcus forgot. It was late; the long shadows were falling, and night was filing out of the woods and marching abroad over all the land. Rhocus sat among the shepherds playing at draughts, and his thoughts were all in the game. Presently a bee came and buzzed in his ear; but Rhocus only jerked his head sharply aside and said "pshaw!"-going on with the game.

And again the bee buzzed in his ear, and again he said "pshaw," and "pshaw," and "pshaw." And the third time, he cursed the bee, and struck it fiercely with his hand, so that, with broken wings, and all in a buzzing spasm, rolled up in a round ball with pain, it was sharply smitten to the earth, and crippled, and choked with dust.

When Rhocus saw what he had done his heart stood still within him, and his head went round and round, and he wished that he were dead. But he tenderly took up the dying bee, and laying it in his bosom, fled into the forest, calling on the name of his beloved, filling all the air with his penitence, so that very bats did pity him.


But he found her not, neither then nor ever again, under the kindly stars; although, often, a melancholy wind came out of the woods at dusk and cried "Oh, Rhocus."

There is a thing that shall last forever"Till the sun grows cold,

And the stars are old,

And the leaves of the Judgment-book unfold"

And the name of that thing is "Too Late."

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