What Tom Binks did

when he Didn't Know what to do with Himself

by S. Y.

Is it creditable to that very respectable academical abstraction, that indefatigable pioneer to the march of intellect, (which some imagine to be the rogues' march,) the schoolmaster, notwithstanding his ubiquity, and his being lately abroad on his travels, that the medical faculty, with all their appliances of pill and book, have not up to this hour been able to devise a remedy for a very common-place disorder, so feelingly enunciated in that touching and eloquent exclamation, "I really don't know what to do with myself!" or to ascertain in what category of diseases incident to humanity it is to be placed? Like hydrophobia, it has baffled the ingenuity of the faculty, who summarily disposed of the evil between two feather-beds; and, though no effectual remedy has been devised for this pet malady, a feather-bed, or an easy-chair, has been found to operate as a sedative. One thing is clear; that, of all the ills that flesh or spirit is heir to, this interesting disorder possesses as respectable a degree of obstinacy and virulency as ever humanity had to cope with.

Talk of being dunned for your own or anybody else's debt; talk of a favourite horse or dog falling sick just as you are ready to mount, and the scent reeking hot on the stubble; of being bored, no matter with what; talk—even if one is put to that—of the devil; and what are all these petty annoyances to that sublime of blue-devilism to which a poor devil is reduced, when, in his extremity, he reposes his hands on his "fair round belly," or thrusts them to the very bottom of his breeches' pockets, with not a cross there to keep the devil out, and feelingly exclaims, "I really don't know what to do with myself!" One may double the corner on a dun, or stop his mouth for three months together with a promissory note, though at the end of that period it may be as fructifying as any note of admiration; or, at worst, pay him and be d—d to him, and there's an end. That biped Shank's mare is a very respectable animal, which you may borrow; or any body else's who may be disposed to lend. In case of a bore, you may retaliate, and perforate in your turn. You may defy the devil, though backed with this world, and his own, and the flesh to boot. But when that ne plus ultra of blue-devilism attacks you, what's the remedy? I don't know—do you? but this I know; that it is the most rascally, &c. &c. &c. kind of malady, will be generally admitted.

Your poor devil at the East-end, and your devil-may-care fellow of the West-end, are equally honoured by its visitation; while your happy, active middle-man, who stands aloof from either end, sturdily bids it defiance, and slams the door in its face. Under the influence of this visitor it is that sundry pious pilgrimages are made to the foot of Waterloo or Blackfriars' bridges, to steal out of life through an archway, unless the dear enthusiast is interrupted by a meddling officious waterman, and his senses gently wooed back by the resuscitating apparatus and warm blankets of the Humane Society. Will Sprightly, with four thousand a-year unincumbered, doesn't know what to do with himself, and straightway falls to the agreeable occupation of encumbering it, and, when it will bear no more, he finds he cannot bear himself, and incontinently flies from one state of suspense to another, and hangs himself; or, should the ruling passion be strong in death, and he is desirous even then to cut a figure, why, he cuts his throat; or, the report of a pistol will give you a pretty correct intimation of his whereabouts, and his probable occupation. "Temporary insanity" is uniformly the verdict of your "crowner's 'quest" on such occasions; even a physician of any repute will honestly state on ordinary occasions, particularly when the patient has the benefit of his skill and experience in helping him to leave this wicked world, that he died of such and such a disorder, and will manfully state the name of the disorder, and the world gives him credit for his skill and integrity. Would gentlemen serving upon "crowners' 'quests" imitate this heroic example, instead of recording the foolish verdict of "temporary insanity," they would say, "The deceased didn't know what to do with himself!" This would be intelligible, and the faculty might stumble upon a remedy; but "temporary insanity" is too transitory, too fugitive to be grappled with, too vague and indefinite in its very name ever to do any good, and the patient is generally "past all surgery" before one suspects he is attacked with insanity, be it ever so temporary or evanescent: but in honestly recording that "he didn't know what to do with himself, and thereby came by his death," it would be but doing justice to that interesting malady. Thus it could be easily observed in all its stages, from its incipient symptoms at the gaming or any other well-garnished table, where it sometimes takes its rise, through all its phases and evolutions, till the malady comes to a head, and a man blows out his brains. The disease, through each of these changes, might be stayed in its progress, and society might be benefited by the honesty of the verdict.

Shade of the "mild Abernethy!" how many thousands of thy patients laboured under this disorder! and how often did thy sagacious and provident spirit turn the halter into a skipping-rope, and, in order that thy patients should live, insist upon a few mouthfuls the less!

To a feeling very near akin to this, Tom Binks found himself reduced, as, about twelve at noon, he flung himself into an easy-chair, and sought, from the appliances of its downy cushions, a lenitive for his wounded spirit. His feet on the fender, the fire gently stirred, the curtains still undrawn and shutting out the garish sun, his eye fixed on the glowing landscape formed by the fantastic combination of the embers in the grate, the corners of his fine mouth drawn down in hopeless despondency, as if nothing on earth could elevate them, his hands clasped over his knees, he sat, not knowing what to do with himself.

The room in which Binks sat was small, but elegant; pictures of the most costly description covered the walls,—the most exquisite that owned him or anybody else as master; gold and silver had done their work. On the polished surface of the tables were thrown the most amusing works of the day, the last new novel, the lively magazine, the gay album, the serious review, all exhibiting on the same board like so many brethren of the Ravel family, in the most alluring and seductive shapes; but they exhibited in vain. With all these elements of happiness around him, what could Binks sigh for? With easy possessions, he was the most uneasy of human beings. Did he play, fortune was always in the best humour with him: in the billiard-room the ball bounded from his cue to its destination; in the field his shot was unerring, and the papers regularly chronicled the murder, or the music, of his gun: no man stood better with ins and outs; his maiden speech was said to be shy, simply because it was maiden, but full of promise. With the ladies he was whatever he or they pleased; but now you could "brain him with my lady's fan" as he sits vegetating, or cogitating, on a pile of cushions, his breakfast scarcely touched, and hardly sensible of his shaggy friend that lay couched at his feet, with his snout buried in the hearth-rug, and his bloodshot eye occasionally wandering in search of a regard from his listless master.

At an early age Binks had contrived to run through half the Continent and his fortune together; he had travelled from "Dan to Beersheba," and all was barren; and, at twenty-three, the gay Binks had serious notions that this was not the best of all possible worlds, and that that world, commonly known as the other, to distinguish it from this, might hold out a store of enjoyment of higher zest and relish than the common-place realities of this. Whether he should wait for his turn when the passage to it might become quite natural, or force his way vi et armis, that is, with a pistol in hand, (for some folks will be impatient, and enter in at a breach,) was a matter that sorely perplexed him. Tired of this hum-drum life, which a man of common activity can exhaust of its most stimulating excitements in a few years, was it surprising that he wished for another? But the doubt that it was a better, would sometimes intrude itself, and agitate the very powder in the pan of the pistol that lay before him on the breakfast table. Now that the murder is out, it must be confessed that Binks had a notion of shooting himself.

What heroic resolves he then made! What a noble contempt for this world he then exhibited as he resolutely eyed the pistol, curiously scanned its silver mounting, saw that the powder was in the pan, looked anxiously around to see that none intruded, or should deprive him of the honour of falling by his own hand: still he hesitated; he lifted the deadly weapon with one hand, and with the other a volume of Shakspeare, which opened at the play of Hamlet, and, by the hasty glance which he threw on it, he perceived that "the Eternal had set his canon 'gainst self-slaughter," and Binks was perplexed. It became now a matter not so much of life and death as of simple calculation; on one side there was a pistol for, and on the other a canon 'gainst self-slaughter. In this state of indecision, thus sorely beset with adverse arguments, what did Binks do? Why, he acted somewhat like a sensible man; he yielded to the heavier weight of metal,—the great-gun of Shakspeare carried it; and he consented to live, drew the charge, lest he should return to it, (for he knew his man,) and made up his mind that Shakspeare was a sensible fellow. Have you ever felt as if your very heart-strings were tugged at by wild horses, when the infernal host of blues, marshalled by the devil himself, have taken the field against your peace, and that you don't know what to do with yourself?

"Throw but a stone, the giant dies."

Very good; but a pebble of such potency is not always at hand, particularly in a drawing-room. Do something, no matter what: go into the open air; there's your window invitingly open, and, provided it is not too far from the ground, 'tis but a step in advance to the shock that may rouse you. Turn financier,—chancellor of your own exchequer; there's your tailor's bill lying on the table, wooing you to analyze its soft items; give it a first reading, and pass it. What a relief, on such occasions, is the presence of any living creature!—your sleek tabby,—no,—that fellow doesn't know what to do with himself neither. Your playful little Italian grey-hound, whose playfulness is the very poetry of motion. And Binks found no relief in these gentle appliances. There he lies, flung upon his ottoman, and dallying with its downy cushions, with his foot of almost feminine symmetry coquetting with his morocco slipper, jerking it off and on according to the intensity of the fit. Ponto stands before him. Noble dog, Ponto! He, too, has his turn at the slipper, and seizes it in his huge mouth, and gambols round the room with it, and now crouches with it before his master, and earnestly looks at him, and those two eyes of his suggest a double-barrelled gun, and this puts a pistol into his head, and there it was at hand, lying on the table, just ready for a charge.

"Mr. Cently," said a servant, half-opening the door; and Binks indolently extended the forefinger of his jewelled hand to his visitor.

"Very glad to see you, Cently; this mortgage, I suppose—"

"Is over due, Mr. Binks,—must redeem, though. I shan't let it out of the family. The sum is large—hard to get—bad times. Fine dog that—bulls and bears are very sulky to-day on 'Change.—Dear me, a murderous-looking pistol that, sir—muzzle to muzzle—then brains against the wall."

"Provided he has them," said Binks.

"Every man has a little—quality's the thing. I have to meet Scrip in the City at two—no time to lose, sir;" and Binks, who was made aware of the necessity of a visit to the City, to arrange the terms of a loan, put himself under the plastic hands of Bedo, and in a few minutes the pair were rolling towards the City in Cently's carriage, which thundered along, scarcely waiting to take the necessary turns, and narrowly escaped running down several old women of both sexes, till they came to Charing-Cross.

"Money is scarce in these times," said Cently, as a sprinkling of cabs and omnibuses impeded their course; "broad acres are fine things. I mustn't let them go. The sum is large—ten per cent."

All this, and a few other equally interesting particulars, were lost upon the abstract Binks, who was quietly lolling back in the carriage, and exercising his optics and calculating powers on the size, number, and colours of the tom-cats as they sunned themselves on the gutters, or held attic intercourse with one another, between May-fair and Temple-bar.

"You understand me," continued Cently; "let me see; how many thousands? I think it cannot be under fourscore,—great amount that!"

"Not quite so many," said Binks; "I only counted sixty, and I'm correct to a tail; bet you a rump and dozen on it."

"On what, sir?"

"On the cats, Cently."

"Ha! ha! Very facetious, Mr. Binks; but I'm not joking.

"You bore me, Cently. Set me down here. Go, and do the needful; and when all's ready to sign and seal, you'll find me here;" and Binks alighted from the carriage, and ascended the stairs of the Mansion-house, which was then alive with sounds and sights of gladness: a kind of fancy-fair was being held there for the benefit of some charitable institution, and the Úlite of the North, and wealth of the East and West ends were combined in the holy cause of charity. He entered, and mingled with the gay groups that promenaded the hall, which was converted into a bazaar, where beauty and bijouterie lured the careless purchaser,—where a thousand soft things were said and handled, and the angel of charity spread her wings over a scene where streamed and flaunted many a silken banner, and pointed to every little stand. "Happy country!" thought Binks, "that, amid all the anxieties and contentions of commerce and politics, remembers in these noble institutions the cause of the widow and the orphan. This must be the surest mart for beauty when she's found at a stand in the sacred cause of charity. Here the thoughtless forget themselves, and think of others; here the merchant is generous, and forgets his change."

"I ain't a-going to be done out of my half-crown that way neither, ma'am," said a burly little personage in top-boots and perspiration to a lovely girl who presided at a stand, and who was trying to lure a supplementary half-crown, the balance of a half-sovereign, which, after much grumbling, he consented to pay for a shaking mandarin. The thorough-bass in which this was uttered roused Binks from his reverie, and, on looking round, he beheld the lovely girl in playful yet earnest contention for the half-crown, which the fat little man finally surrendered to a few persuasive looks, and good-humouredly pocketed his shaking mandarin and his chagrin together, and marched off.

Binks approached, and as she raised her eyes from the gay assortment before her, still animated with the pious contention in which she was engaged, they encountered those of Binks, who was riveted to the spot gazing at the beautiful creature that stood before him. He turned over a few articles, and became at once deeply immersed in the gay little miscellany before him. She would show everything.—Yes,—the articles were of the best description; and Binks felt those taper fingers, as they tossed them about, as if they were busy with his heart-strings; and the perverse Binks asked twenty different questions, and got as many answers eloquent and sweet: and then there were looks lustrous and shy, and blushes deep and enchanting; and she would go on expatiating on the beauty of her bijouterie, and he would stand absorbed and drinking in the sweet sound of a voice that was modulated with the sweetest harmony,—and she would help him to a pair of gloves. Binks took several pairs. The first he tried on were very perverse,—too tight; and the fairest hands in the City would distend them, and she would help to draw them on; and then their palms would meet, and their fingers seek one another, and the taper finger of the sweet girl and the jewelled hand of Binks would be imprisoned unconsciously for a few seconds in the same glove.

"I shall take the whole," said he, and Julia (for that was her name) was delighted; and Binks was asking for more, and pulled out,—not his purse, but the disappointed hand that was seeking for it.—The purse was not there.

No doubt it was that very civil gentleman that rubbed against him as he was stepping out of the carriage, and apologised. Here was a grab at heart-strings and purse-strings together. He drew out a box set with brilliants,—it would stand him at a pinch,—and took a small one from the stand, and he would exchange boxes. And this was love,—love at first sight,—which we would match all the world over with any at second sight.

"Oh, love! no habitant of earth art thou."

Henceforth shalt thou take thy stand at a bazaar, and we shall bare our bosom to thy shafts, provided they be tipped with a little charity, and drawn in the holy cause of a benevolent institution! The hours lingered on as if they too had come to a stand, the evening stole on apace, group after group vanished from the bazaar, and Binks and Julia were still in sweet and endearing communion with each other. The evening was chilly, and he would help on her splendid cachmere; and the loveliest arm in the City leant on Binks as he led her down the steps of the Mansion-house. The evening was fine, and he would see her home; and both wondered to find themselves at her father's door. And then there was a sweet good-night, and kind looks, and gentle pressings of the hand, and promises to meet again.

"Want a coach, sir?" said a heavy-coated, slouched-hat brother of the cab to Binks, as he stood wondering at himself, his adventure, and the fairy figure that a smart servant in livery had just closed the door upon.

"Yes—no,—I—I'll walk, friend,—the night's fine;" which healthy resolution he was induced to take from certain reminiscences, and his purse, though absent, was thought of with regret.

And Binks trod his perilous way through the "palpable obscure" of the City with buoyant spirits, as if a pinion lifted every limb, notwithstanding a little plebeian pressure from without through Cheapside, as often as he forgot his own side of the way; and he entered his club the happiest dog that ever moonlight, or its rival luminary gas-light, shone upon, and surrendered himself to the intoxicating influence of the only draught of pure pleasure he ever quaffed.

Julia Deering was the only daughter of a rather comfortable trader, a man well to do in the world,—that is, in the City. Business—business was at once his solace and his pride, and any pursuit or avocation in life of which that bustling noun-substantive was not the principal element, was an abomination in his sight. The West-end, he thought, had no business where it stood. He looked upon it as a huge fungus, the denizens thereof good for nothing; and lords—no matter of what creation—he looked upon with the most supreme contempt. Julia was his only child, and, next his business, the sole object of his solicitude. She grew into loveliness and womanhood amid the smoke and seclusion of her father's premises; and, though turned of "quick seventeen," yet he thought that her settlement in the world, like the settlement of an account with an old house in the City, might take place at any time. Any hint to the contrary, whether through the eloquent and suggestive looks of the maiden herself, or the unequivocal assiduity of City beaux, was sure to make the old man peevish.

Julia, with a world of sense, had a spice of romance about her. She loved the West-end, or anything pertaining to it, as much as her father hated it. A noble mirror in her little boudoir, as she toyed and coquetted with her budding beauties before it, frequently hinted that she might be a fine lady; which could only come to pass by her becoming the wife of something like a lord. City beaux were her aversion. They looked at her through stocks, and she often wished their necks in them.

Many were the stolen visits to the City which Binks made to see his young betrothed. His suit prospered,—Julia was everything he could wish; but as fathers will be in the way on such occasions,—how can they be so hard-hearted?—and as something like his consent was deemed necessary, Binks, through the medium of a friend, had the old man's sentiments sounded on the subject; and a decided refusal, couched in no very flattering terms, was the result. "I cannot disguise from you," said Julia one evening to Binks, after he had communicated to her the disastrous intelligence, "that there is much to encounter in my father's disposition. He is old and wealthy, with only myself to inherit it; and—would you believe it?—he has the greatest aversion to a man of rank, and thinks superior manners and accomplishments only a cover to heartlessness and deceit; and, what is strange, he has repeatedly said he will never consent to my union with anybody as long as he is in anything like health,—in short, till he is no longer able to protect me himself."

"That is strange indeed!" said Binks, as he hung with the tenderest rapture on the confiding frankness and simplicity of his fair companion; "your father's objections are no less serious than strange."

"Can nothing," inquired Julia despondingly, "be done to get over them?" Had Echo been present, she would have said, "Get over them."

"There can, there can," said Binks with transport; "I have it. So long as your father is in good health, he will never give his consent to your marriage. Now he is old: and suppose he can be persuaded that he looks ill,—such things, you know, are done,—and contrive that he shall keep his bed for a few days; and then,—and then, my dear girl, let the affair be again pressed upon him." And Binks met the ingenuous blush and smile of his young betrothed as she acquiesced with an embrace, in which was blended more heartfelt rapture than ever he experienced in the dissipated round of tumultuous and exciting pleasures.

"The times are certainly very bad, Julia," said old Deering to his daughter, as they were at breakfast one morning together; "I never recollect them so bad;" and he helped himself to a large slice of ham.

"They may be bad, pa," said the daughter; "but you mustn't take it so much to heart. Everybody notices how ill you look since the firm of Dobody and Sons went."

The old man suspended a piece of ham, that he had impaled on a fork, midway between his mouth and plate; and, planting his right hand on his thigh, he looked earnestly at the girl.

"What connexion, hussey, has that failure with my looks or my books either? As long as I can keep both free from blotches, I don't care a fig for what the world says. But I do believe, girl, that I am not as well as either of us could wish,—I am fallen off in my appetite. I could finish my ham,—three slices,—and a few eggs; but I am a little changed, Julia. Hussey, you've a sharp eye; and to notice it!"

"Lord! pa," said the insidious Julia, "all your acquaintance notice it. Mr. Coserly was the first to notice it."

"And what did the rascal say?"

"Why, pa, he said nothing; but there was a great deal in that. When certain people say little or nothing, they mean a great deal; and when there is a great deal of meaning in what one does not say, why, it's a very dangerous thing; isn't it, pa?"

"Very true, child, very true. But what can we have for dinner to-day, Julia? I expect an old friend of mine, Mr. Tibbs over the way; a very proper, industrious, well-to-do-in-the-world kind of man is honest Dick Tibbs. He owes me a trifle,—but that is nothing between us. He is none of your West-end chaps,—no lack-silver spendthrift,—no hair-lipped, hair-brained scamp, with all his fortune on his back, like a pedlar and his wallet.—Another cup of tea, Julia.—As I was saying, honest Dick Tibbs is——' But what's the matter with the girl? Why, there's the tea running out of the urn these last two minutes about the floor. Why, Julia, what is the matter? Ah! I see how it is—I thought as much. Ye're a cunning pair. But not yet a while, Julia; time enough, girl,—time enough. When your dear mother was——"

"I—I—wo-o-on't be Mrs. Ti-i-bbs for all that, pa," hysterically sobbed Julia; "I won't be married——"

"That's a dear love!" whimpered the old man; "don't think of marrying him yet until I'm——. But I'm pretty strong yet. I'll live, so I will, till—ugh!—ugh!—these rheumatics—as long as—Deuce take this old cough!"

"As long as God pleases, pa; as long as God pleases," said Julia; and she slid her arm coaxingly round her father's neck, and wiped away the perspiration that stood like whip-cord upon his brow; and he fell to musing on the girl's words, and left his breakfast unfinished.

In the course of that week, through the industry of his daughter, the old man was plagued wherever he went with condolence and inquiries about his health, which he heard with all the petulance and irritability of a miser upon whose hoards an unexpected demand is to be made. He accordingly dosed himself with physic, gorged himself at his meals, and took such peculiar pains to preserve his health after this fashion as would have deprived any other person of it.

A circumstance at length occurred that bade fair to supersede the necessity of Julia's pious artifice, and to produce ill looks in abundance in the old man. A house with which he was connected failed, and involved him in its ruin. This was a blow that smote the old man to the heart, and he sank under it. Everything was surrendered to the creditors; and his house, with its splendid furniture, was submitted to the hammer of the auctioneer.

On the morning of that day a note was put into Binks' hands; it was from Julia, and to the effect "that as her father's ruin left her no alternative but to share his lot, she could not, under such circumstances, think of involving him in their ruin, and begged he would think no further of the matter."

"Poor girl!" said Binks, as he gazed on the note that told so briefly of so much calamity. What a real bonÔ-fide misfortune was, crushing and accumulating, and, as it were, breaking the man's heart within him, he had no idea of, except what the pathetic in a novel, or the chapter of accidents in a newspaper, furnished. These things were well enough to read, and to talk about, at a clear fire-side; but for a substantial display of energetic and effective sympathy, by succouring the distressed, it was what he did not think himself capable of. A second time, however, he mastered his indolence, and drove to Julia's house.

What a situation was it in, and what a sight did it present! If there is in this world a scene more harrowing to human feeling than another, 'tis that presented by one's house on the eve of an auction,—a scene of "confusion worse confounded." The tossing about and displacing, by strange hands, of articles that from time and association have become part and parcel of ourselves, linked with a thousand sweet recollections, and the innocent display of which was a source of dearest household pleasure, now parcelled and ticketed out, and catalogued, for the curious and malevolent hands and eyes of strangers! Our dearest and holiest places of privacy intruded upon; our sweet little nooks and haunts, which are, as it were, set apart for the most favoured of our household gods, and where only the footsteps of tenderest love should be heard, now echoing and teeming with strange sounds and sights!

What a sad volume, and in boards too, is a piece of carpeting piled in a corner of a room, revealing the unsightly seams of the naked floor; and "the decent clock," with its hands either broken or pointed to the wrong hour! The bleak and cheerless hearth, every brick of which was an object for the vacant and listless gaze of a pensive abstraction, the scene of sweet gambols and merry gossipings, all are sad mementos of the "base uses" to which the iron hand of necessity will convert objects dear to us from the sweetest household associations.

Elevated in his pulpit, the eloquent Mr. Touchem, the auctioneer, presided; and, seated beside him, the very picture of broken-heartedness, was old Deering, bent, and leaning forward on his gold-headed cane, his eye vacant and listless, looking at every article with the curiosity of a child, speaking not a word, and only betraying his interest in the scene by a sympathetic stamp of his cane on the floor whenever the nervous and grating click of the auctioneer's hammer on his desk announced the sale of some favourite article. There was one lot only which he showed any anxiety to possess, and as the porter handed it round, the old man's countenance gleamed with pleasure as his eye wistfully followed it: it was the representation of a little spaniel worked in worsted, and the joint work of Julia and his deceased wife.

"Rascal!" exclaimed the old man, as the porter somewhat roughly rubbed the dust off it, "be tender of the poor thing. That's Julia's. I—I bid for that; I bid five pounds for that," said the old man, in a voice scarcely articulate with emotion.

"Six pounds," said a voice in the crowd.

"Who bids against me?" muttered old Deering, as he ran his eye over the group whence the voice issued. "It was the work of my poor child's hands, and of her dear departed mother. Another pound for it, Mr. Auctioneer."

The same voice bid against him.

The old man raised himself in his chair, gazed wistfully and imploringly in the direction of the voice, and sank back in sullen resignation in his chair.

"Going for eight pounds—once—twice—the last time!" and the sharp and sudden click of the auctioneer's hammer, as it fell, came with a harsh grating sound on the ear of the old man, as he groaned, and muttered something between a curse and an entreaty.

Old Deering, notwithstanding the utter ruin of his fortune, still continued, from sheer force of habit, to frequent his old haunts; and his drooped and wasted figure, with his well-known tops and gold-headed cane, might be seen loitering about the purlieus of the Exchange, inquiring the price of stocks with as much anxiety as ever, and wondering at the ill-manners of some persons who, from his rambling and incoherent expressions, looked upon him as somewhat crazed. He was in truth so.

This was the time for the active benevolence of Binks to show itself; for, except when his indolence stood in the way, he had a heart. He saw Julia, and gave her the most decided assurances of his unaltered attachment, as the old man's malady threatened to become serious. He privately purchased a neat little cottage outside town, and had all the furniture (for he attended the auction, and arranged that every article of it should be bought in,) conveyed to it. He took particular care—for he consulted Julia on the details—that the disposition of the furniture in the new house should, as nearly as circumstances would permit, be exactly the same as in the house in town. Her father's easy-chair, pictures, books, the pianoforte,—for almost every article had been preserved by the management of Binks,—were put into something like their accustomed places; and little Fidelio, the object of contention at the auction, looked quite as brisk as ever, enshrined in his glass-case over the mantelpiece, not a whit the worse for having his jacket dusted. Change of air, and absence from the scene of his former activity, was suggested as the best remedy for the malady of the old man.

To this little cottage Julia and her father drove one day, on pretence of looking for a suitable residence, such as became their altered circumstances. This little cottage struck his fancy, and he expressed a wish to see it. A very agreeable young man showed them over the house. The more he examined it, the more he liked it; every thing in it was so like what he once had.

"Why, Julia, this is your pianoforte! let me hear you play; I'll know it among a thousand;" and Julia played "sweet home" for him,—an air her father always liked. His eye glistened as she played; it reminded him of better days and his old house in the City, and he dropped into his easy-chair. "And Fidelio, the little spaniel! Why, how is this, Julia?—And this gentleman?" and he looked alternately at Binks and Julia. "Ah, hussey! I see how it is; but it's an odd way of coming together."


And Binks was happy—happy as the day was long. Julia and he were married. The gay Binks, like another Hercules, gave up his club when he married, and was content with his love in a cottage, with no other interruption to his happiness than the occasional pettishness of the old man, who could never well forgive Binks for outbidding him for Fidelio at the auction. And the malady of not knowing what to do with himself never afterwards attacked him, now that the odds were two to one against it.

S.Y.