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Tales of the Scottish Peasantry
The Drunkard

"Oh, that men should put an enemy in their mouths, to steal away their brains."— Shakespeare.'

Chapter I.

While a few words in the way of advice from a metropolitan physician, who adds M.D. to his name, and rides in his carriage, are sometimes considered worth almost as many guineas, there is another class of medical practitioners who, with humbler aims and more circumscribed prospects, must often perform much real drudgery for a few shillings. The individuals who compose this class derive their origin, for the most part, from the middle and lower ranks of society; and after having obtained, with considerable difficulty, a medical education, and qualified themselves to practise as surgeons, they establish themselves in our provincial towns, villages, and obscure country districts, often spending laborious lives in visiting the sick-beds, and endeavouring to alleviate the sufferings of a poor and scattered population, who, from the very limited nature of their incomes, can seldom afford to give them more than the most scanty remuneration. "What they lose in profit, however, they may, perhaps, gain in honour and professional importance; for whatever degree their respective colleges may have conferred on them, in the estimation of their patients and the public, they are all doctors, without distinction; and of many of them, at least, it may still be said,—

Their virtues walk their narrow round,
Nor make a pause nor leave a void;
And sure the Eternal Master finds
The single talent well employ'd.

But though much of their care, and by far the greater part of their time, must be unavoidably devoted to the poor, the patronage of the rich must always be an object of ambition, and, in some instances, an auxiliary without which they could scarcely subsist; for it may be easily supposed, that where a great quantity of labour must be performed below the average rate of rewards, unless the labourer should contrive to get occasionally into the service of those who may be able to pay him better, he could scarcely find it possible to keep himself and his implements in repair. But as the merchants, manufacturers, farmers, &c, who, when not eclipsed by greater lights, may be regarded as the aristocracy of such places, are always conscious of their own importance, and, in many instances, jealous of conferring their favours, this patronage can only be obtained by very delicate management. Should there chance to be a rival of the same profession in the place, then matters are rendered still worse: all the difficulties are doubled, and it requires more than an ordinary degree of tact and perseverance to overcome them. For these reasons, an introduction to the family of a wealthy citizen, or even of an ordinary farmer, is frequently regarded as a very important obligation by the party introduced; and in a state of society where men who act upon the principles of disinterested benevolence, are not over and above rife, it may be expected that cases will occur in which calculating individuals may not be altogether averse from taking advantage of the feelings of those they have obliged. This is, no doubt, telling truths which are as obvious as can well be imagined, and with which the world might have been familiar long ago; but then, as they are truths respecting a particular class, of which the world, when in health, seldom takes time to think, for that very reason their repetition may be pardonable.

Roland Bridges had been early smit with a love of the medical profession: from a boy it was the object of his ambition to be a surgeon, or a doctor, as he phrased it; his parents, who were only small farmers, or rather palachlers, did not thwart his inclination; and after having gone through that preparatory course of instruction which was to fit him for his intended station, he settled in the town of Auldenburgh. Here he engaged for "bed and board," with the wife of a respectable shopkeeper, and took a small room fronting the street, over the door of which he got the word Laboratory painted in blazing characters; and then in the window of the said room, he exhibited, to all and sundry, his "well crammed magazines of health," in the form of a goodly array of bottles —square, globular, and round—containing liquids of various colours, from the transparent, the pale blue, and the light crimson, to the deep purple, and the almost inky black.

About three months previous to the time at which Roland Bridges began his Esculapian labours, another individual, whose name was Arthur M'Quiddit, had come to reside in Auldenburgh. In stature he was about the middle size, square made, and well proportioned; his forehead was erect, but rather low; his hair dark, thick, and curled; his eyes were of the same colour, not remarkably large, but penetrating, and deep set in his head. His complexion had in it, perhaps, a little of that dusky hue which, for want of a better name, has been called iron colowred; but this was either never noticed or immediately forgotten in contemplating the general expression of his countenance, which was strongly marked, and had in it a something between good-nature and sarcasm — a sort of mixture which, according to the mood of the beholder, with a little assistance from imagination, might have been easily resolved into either of these qualities. In addition to this hasty sketch of his personal appearance it must be stated that, after having served the usual time in a writer's office, and passed some eight or ten years -with various masters in a number of different places, following the same profession, he had now commenced Business on his own account. For such an undertaking he might have been considered perfectly qualified, both by education and experience, his age being somewhere between twenty-eight and thirty: and with a prepossessing address, pleasing manners, and a sort of satirical humour, which he knew well when to curb, and when to let loose; backed by some pretensions to fortune, which he was supposed to possess, he had found his way into a number of respectable families, where he was received upon all occasions as an agreeable guest. With the better sort of people in general he maintained a favourable footing: business, too, seemed to be increasing, and thus his prospects were every way encouraging.

Roland Bridges, on the other hand, who was six or eight years younger, was but indifferently qualified for elbowing his way into the better circles. Neither his conversational powers nor his wit were greatly inferior to those of Mr. M'Quiddit, but he wanted that art, so to speak, which is often necessary to procure a field for the display of these talents. He possessed a stock of varied and useful information, and could speak with propriety on most subjects when in a company with which he was perfectly acquainted, and at his ease; but among strangers he was bashful, diffident, and sometimes even awkward in his attempts at conversation; and instead of thrusting himself into an opening wherever it appeared, and attracting and dazzling the attention of his listeners, in most instances he would have required a guide to lead him forward. On numberless occasions he fancied that he could say fine things, and really had these things at his tongue's end, but somehow, when an opportunity for saying them occurred, he could rarely utter a word; and as conversation can seldom be long kept to one subject, it had in general changed before he could settle on the manner in which he should introduce himself. "When he came to Auldenburgh he had, moreover, an established rival in the person of Dr. Drugster, who had long been in quiet possession of the practice of the place, and was backed by a numerous circle of friends and acquaintances. With these disadvantages his assistance was seldom sought except by the poorest of the inhabitants; the fees which he could take from them were always of the most moderate description; and in some cases, so far from receiving anything, he was obliged to part with a shilling or a half crown, which he could ill spare, to save his patients from death by starvation. His prospects were thus the very reverse of flattering, and after having passed something more than two months without any perceptible improvement, as he was returning from visiting a patient in the country he met Mr. M'Quiddit, who had sauntered out to take a walk, and who, it seemed, knew him, though neither of them had been formally introduced to the other.

"Happy to see you, Dr. Bridges," said he, advancing to shake hands with him; "and as we have both come to this place with pursuits and prospects almost the same I think we should be better acquainted."

There was such an appearance of frank hilarity in the manner in which these few words were spoken that Dr. Bridges felt at once inclined to return the salutation in the same spirit in which it had been made. "I am happy," he said, "at any occurrence which promises to make me acquainted with you. But," he added, with a faint smile, "I suspect no one except an experienced lawyer would attempt to establish the similarity, not to mention the sameness, of our pursuits."

"As to that," rejoined the other, "it does not require so much experience as you would imagine. For instance, you came here to live upon the diseases of men's bodies, and to make my bread by preying upon the crotchets and caprices of their minds; you are to give personal attendance and advice wherever there is real distress, I am to be attended in all cases of bad humour or imaginary wrong; you are to use your utmost endeavours to promote head-breaking, if you are your own friend, and then spread plasters for the heads which have been broken, and sell physic and cordials wherever you can find a market—no offence, for I will make my own calling as black as yours presently; and / am to foment mischief to the extent of my ability, setting people by the ears upon all occasions, that they may break each other's characters without mercy; and then I am to sell threatening letters, warrants, and other legal papers to whosoever will buy them. And now, I think, my friend will acknowledge that our pursuits, though not exactly the same, are pretty nearly allied."

Dr. Bridges could not help laughing heartily at the ludicrous comparison which had been thus placed before him. "I must confess," he said, "that you have succeeded much better than I had anticipated; and I wish to Heaven you could now establish as good a parallel between our prospects as you have done between our pursuits—yours, they say, are nattering; but what with the want of employment, and what with employment without reward, I verily believe the people of this place -intend to transform me into a skeleton for the benefit of science; and for any reasonable argument which I could oppose to such a proceeding they may even complete the work as soon as they please, and then hang me up in their old steeple or elsewhere for the edification of the public."

"We must try and baulk them of their intentions though,'' said the other: "and I will tell you how we shall do it—it shall be in this wise. Wherever I can find an individual dying of a broken head, or a broken heart, not forgetting broken legs and arms, and all manner of diseases, I will either send him to you, or direct him to send for you; and swear, at the same time, that you could cure him, though he were dead, which would be no great falsehood after all—seeing that herrings, as well as other kinds of living creatures, are mostly cured after that event has taken place. And that you may not be at all burdened with gratitude, for which some people are sad anglers, wherever you find a patient who wishes to have his will made, or an individual who has got the vapours, and is dissatisfied with his friend or his enemy, or his master or his servant, or his brother or his sister, or the whole world together, then send him to me, and declare, that if the devil himself had wronged him, I would find means to do him, the devil, and the world, the most perfect justice."

This second sally produced another laugh, in which Mr. M'Quiddit was not slow to join; more conversation followed, and when the two parted, it seemed as if they had been friends for more years than they had really been acquainted hours.

Shortly after this conversation, as Dr. Bridges was one evening busily engaged in his little Laboratory, or rather pretending to be busy, compounding and preparing medicines, for which he had no immediate demand, Mr. M'Quiddit came in rather abruptly—"What!" he said, as he entered, "still busy with extracts, and essences, and tinctures, and other preparations, which healthy people seldom think of purchasing."

"In good sooth, I am busy with the things of which you speak, because I have nothing else to do," said the pharma-copolist.

"Well and if a friend should procure you some other work, what in the name of wonder could you do?" again inquired the lawyer.

"Why, as to that, I cannot exactly say," rejoined the other, catching at the same time the tone of good-natured banter in which he had been addressed; "but something I certainly could do. For instance, I could poison people as fast as the most dignified M.D. of the whole profession; I could keep accounts, too, and make demands upon their purses like a very lawyer; I could let blood, from a thimbleful to the last drop which could be with safety extracted; I could plaster a wound, after the most approved fashion, or if the said wound were sufficiently large, I could play the tailor, and stitch it up at once; and if you, or any friend, would be so kind as to employ yourself a little in the way of bone breaking, I hereby promise to mend the whole in the most scientific manner—that is to say, one half of my patients shall be lameters for life, and the other half shall have their legs as strong and as crooked as any lover could wish the legs of a rival to be; and lastly------"

"Nay, hold there; what you have already said is enough for me," said the lawyer. "And now, when I can get in a word, I may tell you for your consolation, that my landlady's youngest son has been pleased to consider your case so far, as to allow a cart-wheel to pass over his arm, by which the bone has been broken between the wrist and the elbow, so that you may now have an opportunity of mending it, and making it as crooked as you please. Dr. Drugster would have been called, but I peppered them with some phrases about recent discoveries, improved methods, and so forth. And now, Master Hippocrates, will you be pleased to select such of your tools as may be needful, and make haste, for I have run all the road to tell you."

Dr. Bridges, as may be easily supposed, lost no time in making the necessary preparation, and hastening to the boy's relief. The fracture was a simple one, the bone was soon set, bandages, etc., applied, and the first part of the business finished : he, however, continued to give his attendance till the cure which he had begun was completed, and then the mother was pleased to say, that she could not tell which of her boy's arms had been broken.

It was Christmas, the annual round of festivities had begun, and when Mrs. M'lntosh's turn came, out of gratitude, she could do no less than invite the doctor, who had been so successful in rescuing her boy from deformity, to be a partaker in the hospitality of the season.

Mrs. M'Intosh was the widow of a respectable cloth merchant, with two sons and two daughters, one of each grown up; the son had continued to keep the shop after his father's death, and though not remarkably rich, they were well connected, and well received in the best circles of the place. Dr. Bridges was, therefore, fain to attend on the appointed evening, in the expectation that his doing so might be the means of introducing him to better and more extensive practice than he had hitherto enjoyed. When he arrived, among a number of other guests, he found Mr. Forester and his daughter; the former a rich widower, who had retired from business to live upon his money, and the latter a delicate but interesting girl, in her twentieth, or one-and-twentieth year. From the circumstance of Miss Forester having been born and bred among them, and living rather retired, she had not hitherto attracted much notice. She was spoken of rather as an affectionate and dutiful daughter than as a beauty ; and while all admitted that her conduct in every respect was most exemplary, very few talked of her charms. But notwithstanding this silence, there was a peculiar charm in her quiet unassuming manners—a charm which, in some eyes, might have compensated for many personal defects, of which, however, she had none. She did not appear to consider herself as deserving of attention, she gave herself no airs to procure it, and she never seemed to think herself in the shade when it was withheld. Though her face and figure were not of that sort which draw immediate admiration, yet when once observed, she lost little by being compared with others; her charms, such as they were, had rather a tendency to grow upon the heart of the beholder; and as she was the last of her father's family, and likely to inherit whatever he might leave behind him, this consideration was by far too important to be wholly overlooked. The lining of a purst has often more attractions than the colouring of a cheek, or the brilliancy of an eye, and thus she had become the subject of interested, if not interesting, speculation, with those fathers and mothers who were anxious to see their sons well married; but of these sons themselves, no one as yet had proposed for her hand, or even paid her any marked attentions.

Few persons who will give themselves the trouble of casting a retrospective glance over their own experience can be ignorant of a certain tendency in the youthful mind to give a sort of arbitrary preference to some particular individual, even in the largest company. That individual may be a perfect stranger, and the preference may be founded upon the most trifling circumstance—the colour of the hair, the eye, or the complexion—the form of the mouth, the forehead, or any other feature which chances to strike the fancy of the observer; or it may owe its origin to a well-worn ornament, or a fanciful piece of dress, or, in short, to anything; but when once it has taken possession of the heart, there it remains, till something more interesting is seen, or till some reason appears for withdrawing it: and thus it was with Roland Bridges. After he had surveyed the company at leisure, measuring their most interesting points with his eye, and scanning their various tempers and characters in his own mind, he at last settled upon Miss Forester, as one who deserved a decided preference. The only other individual present who, in his estimation, would at all bear to be compared with her, was Miss M'Intosh, who appeared to be some years older, and who, by most judges, would have perhaps been considered the better looking of the two. There was, he readily acknowledged, an energetic expression about her countenance, which contrasted finely with her delicate complexion. He was also forced to confess, that she had exquisitely formed lips, dark commanding eyes, and a fine expanse of forehead, on which, when the light fell upon it from a certain direction, two or three lines were just perceptible. These, as may be readily supposed, were not the work of time: they father seemed to indicate strong thinking faculties, in connection with strong passions; the last of which, however, she never exhibited in such a way as to detract from her fame. With these attributes she was, at least, a fair specimen of female beauty. But though Holand Bridges would have acknowledged frankly that she was so, he still persisted in giving the preference to Miss Forester, who—while the elder females were busy in discussing scandal, and other serious subjects, and the younger ones were dealing around their smiles and small talk, and setting all the sail they could to catch the gale of admiration—was for the most part silent, and seldom raised her eyes from the table. He soon began to entertain a very high opinion of her modesty and delicacy of feeling; and after looking round the company to try if he could discover any counterpart to these, when his eye returned to its former object, he was not displeased to find that she had been stealing a glance at himself.

When the repast to which they had been invited was over, and conversation had walked its round, Mr. M'Quiddit, reckoning, no doubt, on being supported by the younger part of the company, proposed that they should have a dance. This proposal was not at all in accordance with the etiquette of the higher circles, and for this reason, perhaps, Mrs. M'Intosh rather seemed to demur as to the propriety of adopting it; but she had herself been bred in the country where unfashionable revels of this kind are quite common; and as she recollected having been as happy in her younger days dancing to a blind fiddler in her father's kitchen, as ever she had been at a regularly got up ball, she offered no serious opposition. The motion; moreover, was warmly seconded by Miss M'Intosh, while her oldest brother, who was an amateur violin player, offered his services upon the occasion, and in the end the table was removed, chairs were lifted back, and a space cleared for a reel. Dr. Bridges offered his hand to Miss Forester, Miss M'Intosh accepted that of Mr. M'Quiddit, and when all were accommodated, to it they went with at least a whole world of good-will.

Miss Forester did not dance with any very extraordinary degree of spirit—that was not her forte. The animating exercise, however, seemed to hring the simple elegance of her form more prominently into view, while it certainly added a fresher colour to her cheek. The excitement of the music, too, to which she was far from being insensible, gave a brighter sparkle to her eye; and when she sat down, Dr. Bridges felt inclined to be better pleased with her than ever. He even congratulated himself on that penetration which had enabled him to discover and to appreciate,, almost at first sight, the charms of one who was so little anxious to exhibit them, and who was, at the same time, so deserving of notice. In the course of the evening, he had an opportunity of dancing with her several times : indeed, he danced with no other; and the attention which he thus bestowed exclusively upon her, seemed to have the effect of bringing her all at once into general notice. Of six or eight young men who were present, each and all appeared to have become rivals for her favour; every one seemed anxious to have her for a partner, and among them she was scarcely allowed to rest for a single minute. In this manner an hour or two passed rapidly away; and when the time came at which her father thought proper to go home, numerous were the gallants, and not the most backward was Dr. Bridges, who offered to escort her; but after assuring them with a naivete which was peculiarly her own, that she apprehended nothing, she took the arm of her parent, and left them all alike disappointed.

On his way home, Dr. Bridges recollected the case of an unfortunate young man, who had been sadly addicted to the bottle, and who was, at the time, suffering severely from having stumbled over the perpendicular front of a rock while in a state of intoxication. As he had seldom been able to keep a shilling in his pocket if the means of spending it were within his reach, he was one of those from whom a fee could not be expected; but in every case where an individual recovers from what is deemed a dangerous condition, a certain degree of honour always attaches to the medical attendant; and this consideration, together with a sort of pleasure which he had often derived from a consciousness of having mitigated pain, made Dr. Bridges, at the time, more ready to listen to the calls of humanity, than the voice of selfishness. It was only ten o'clock: the poor fellow, he thought, might feel easier for having his wounds dressed, and he accordingly hastened to his bedside. But though his patient upon the whole did not appear to be worse, he was rather surprised to find his pulse considerably increased, with some other symptoms of nervous excitement, which he had not before noticed. On inquiring the cause of this change, he was told, that a few hours ago he had received a letter, stating the death of an uncle in the West Indies, who had left money and property to the value of 500, which would fall to him if he could only succeed in establishing his relationship. "But," continued the poor fellow, "I am so ill that I can do nothing, and there will be so much to prove—so many parish registers to examine—the dates of so many births, baptisms, and burials to arrange, and so many letters to write, that I have been thinking of sending for the town-clerk, and letting him manage the business any way he pleases."

Dr. Bridges saw at once that this was an affair which could only be managed properly by a man of business; and considering, at the same time, that it was one from which some emolument might be derived, gratitude made him recommend Mr. M'Quiddit, instead of the town-clerk, and as a very slight recommendation in such cases will often suffice to turn the balance, the former was employed.

Next morning, Miss Forester, as the consequence of having been exposed to the night air, after being heated with dancing, complained of hoarseness and sore throat. The affection did not appear to be at all serious; few would have thought it worth noticing, and she even thought so herself; but her only brother had died of consumption, which was brought on by a neglected cold, and her father, anxious for the health of his remaining child, immediately proposed sending for Dr. Bridges.

To this proposal Miss Forester did not readily agree. She declared that she would soon recover; and if a doctor were to be called at all, hinted that she would prefer Dr. Drugster.

"Why, what can make you prefer Dr. Drugster to Dr, Bridges?" said her father. "People are beginning to say that the latter has more knowledge of the healing art, and has been more successful than the former; and as it is hardly possible that he can have given you any real offence, I would almost be tempted to inquire what cause you can have for disliking him1?"

"Indeed, indeed," said Miss Forester, rather disconcerted by the question; "indeed, I can have no cause for disliking him at all—only he is so forward, and it was him who made me dance so much. But I do not want a doctor at all, really I do not; or if you call one, call Dr. Drugster."

"Foolish girl!" said Mr. Forester, in a half angry tone; to make a long story short, I tell you Dr. Drugster has gone on a visit to his friends in the country, and we may all be dead before he comes back. But from your unaccountable apprehensions, one would almost be led to suppose that you believed this same Dr. Bridges was some great leviathan, who swallowed his patients, one and all, without distinction of age or sex, and that you were afraid of being devoured along with the rest. If you really dislike him, however," he added, lowering his voice to a tone of affection, "you have only to tell him the symptoms of your disorder, and then go to your own room."

Miss Forester was not perhaps greatly offended with her father's pertinacity, in this respect, after all. She felt, however—she scarce knew what—a sort of flutter and apprehension at the idea of her professional visitor, which, though not exactly so distressing as if he had been a leviathan coming to swallow her up, was nevertheless enough to disconcert her. How should she receive him, was with her a question of considerable importance, and one which she had decided half-a-dozen different ways in half as many minutes ; but as she could not at the moment determine which was the best, the object of her anxiety and apprehension arrived before she could finally fix upon any particular plan, and she received him with a cold, distant, and somewhat embarrassed civility, which she either mistook for politeness, or adopted because she could not at the time substitute any thing better in its stead. While he was questioning her as to the symptoms of her supposed disorder, she answered in tones so low as to be scarcely audible, and hardly ventured to lift her eyes from the carpet. The professional part of his visit, however, was soon over, and when it had been despatched, as he still felt a wish to linger, with the intention of leading her into conversation, he expressed his regret at her having suffered from the effect of the last evening's revel, and then inquired if she "were fond of dancing."

"Not remarkably fond," was the somewhat laconic reply. But the desired effect followed. Some other commonplace remarks served as the prelude to a conversation which, to the parties themselves, at least, became interesting as it advanced ; that reserve and diffidence which, in spite of every effort, occasionally clings to youthful individuals of different sexes, when they find themselves for the first time left to each other's company, seemed to wear; off, and they began to feel almost as easy as if they had been old acquaintances, or rather friends.

"Though beauty, I believe, is a quality which is in general highly prized by young ladies," said Dr. Bridges, in answer to some previous observation, "yet I can easily suppose that it is not without its inconveniences; for had your own personal charms been less, you would have had fewer admirers last evening, and consequently fewer solicitations to dance, by which means you might have escaped your present cold."

This compliment was wholly unexpected: it was, moreover, bestowed on one who had been but little accustomed to such things; and thus the individual to whom it was addressed felt rather at a loss for a suitable reply.

"My present cold is a mere trifle," said she, "scarcely worth mentioning. But I hope Dr. Bridges has not conceived so poor an opinion of me, as to suppose that I am vain of what he has been pleased to call my personal charms."

There may be such a thing as a possibility of schooling people of both sexes into a method of managing conversations, and perhaps everything else, by rules previously laid down; but when such a course of instruction has never been attempted, blunders and mistakes, which may be either amusing or distressing, according to the nature of the case, must frequently occur. Of the truth of this, the experience of almost everyone will furnish him with at least some examples. While Miss Forester pretended to disclaim all vanity, the blush which rose to her cheek told that she was not altogether deaf to the voice of praise. This, however, the inexperience of the other led him to mistake for an expression of displeasure. He was not by nature very well qualified either for disguising his own feelings, or discovering the real sentiments of others. Highly susceptible of impressions, and but little practised in the arts of the world, as soon as this idea had got into his head, he felt like one who all at once discovers that he has done something to forfeit the very esteem which he was labouring to conciliate.

"By no means, ma'am," he stammered out. "I, I"—he would have made some apology, but he found himself getting more and more embarrassed, and he could only articulate the words, "I but spoke the truth;" after which he bowed and made his exit. Thus terminated an interview from which he had promised himself much pleasure, and from which, if he had deserved any, it was counter-balanced by at least as much vexation.

In an affair of honour, or in an ordinary case, the manner in which he had endeavoured to exculpate himself must have been regarded by the offended party as a high aggravation of the original offence; but in the present instance it were difficult to say if it was not the very best apology which he could have offered; for he was no sooner gone than Miss Forester, who had observed his embarrassment, and partly guessed the cause of it, began to accuse herself for having treated him uncivilly, and to wish that he had only stayed till she could offer some explanation. "It was kind in him," she argued, "to pay even an unmeaning compliment to one with whom he was so little acquainted : and then he did not look like a practised flatterer." The natural conclusion was that she had done wrong, from which it was only a natural transition to wish for an opportunity of remedying her mistake.

Her wish was not long in being gratified; for though Dr. Bridges did not call, as she had almost expected he would, next day, on the day following that his professional concerns led him to the same quarter of the town in which she lived. He had previously determined on going straight home, and thinking as little as possible, either of Miss Forester or his former visit, upon both of which it was somehow painful to reflect; but when he came in sight of the house he began to consider if it were not alike inconsistent with the established rules of his profession, and the safety of his patient, thus to discontinue his visits without any assurance of her health being fully re-established. He called to mind several cases in which a trifling indisposition, from being neglected, had produced the most serious consequences; and before he reached the door he had fully satisfied himself of the propriety of making another visit.

On this occasion he was received with the greatest cordiality by both father and daughter, the latter of whom was completely recovered. Mr. Forester, in particular, who, with some eccentricities, was warm hearted in the extreme, where he considered himself obliged, appeared to feel grateful for his daughter's speedy restoration, beyond what the case really merited.

"Welcome, doctor!" he exclaimed, shaking him by the hand at the same time with old-fashioned frankness; "and as I much doubt whether Eliza will have the grace to thank you for the services you have rendered her, you must permit me to offer you the thanks of her father, which, after all, may not he much worse than those of a foolish girl."

After some farther conversation upon common subjects, "I daresay you will find it rather difficult to establish yourself among us," said he; "for we are a bigoted sort of people. With us everything which is old is good, and everything which is new is worthless, at least for a time; but if you can only afford to wait till you get us on the go I have no doubts of your carrying all before you."

"I am aware," said the other, "that it is always an affair of some difficulty to get into practice; and where a professional rival is already established I know, too, that this can only be done either by servility or superior talents. The first alternative I cannot think of adopting; and as I have used my best endeavours to make myself master of my profession, if my abilities, such as they are, do not recommend me to notice, I must even try to live without it."

"I honour you for your sentiments," said Mr. Forester, with an approving smile. "But is it not hard," he continued, "in these days, when the whole of us must be gentlemen at once, for a young fellow to subject himself to all those hardships and inconveniences which he must unavoidably encounter before his talents can be discovered and appreciated by a world which grows old, and seldom wears spectacles, when looking for those who are willing to make their fortunes by an honourable application to an honest calling ?"

"It may be hard, as you observe," rejoined the other; "but methinks those who never encountered hardships can hardly be said to conquer, even when they obtain a victory; and besides, I have not been such a stranger to those hardships and inconveniences of which you speak as to feel very uncomfortable in their company."

Though not exactly qualified to shine in a fashionable circle, or to attract general attention by brilliant conversational powers, there was about Roland Bridges a degree of firmness and manly sentiment, which formed at least a good basis for future eminence. This Mr. Forester, who was a man of considerable penetration, soon discovered; and after a long and interesting conversation, when he was about to depart, in addition to the father's assurance, that "he would always be glad to see him when he had a moment to spare," he had the farther satisfaction of seeing Miss Forester, who said, "she hoped, as often as his professional duties permitted, he would honour them with a call, without being sent for, as was the case the. last time they had the pleasure of his company."

To the young surgeon these invitations were highly gratifying; but every one has heard of there being "a tide in the affairs of men"—that tide was now beginning to flow, and in putting him in the way of receiving such invitations, dame Fortune was playing exactly the same game which she has played to thousands. A few weeks ago, when his time was almost wholly at his own disposal, no one seemed to think his society worth the asking; but from the period here referred to, his prospects improved so rapidly, that in a few weeks more he had scarcely a moment to spare; and then he was pressed with invitations to dinners and tea parties on all hands. Most of these, as a matter of course, he was forced to decline; but whether invited or not, he seldom wanted some excuse for seeing Miss Forester, at short intervals; nor upon these occasions was a friendly welcome from her father awanting.

One evening, as he was on his way to make one of these casual visits, he met his friend Mr. M'Quiddit, who appeared to have been looking for him.

"Whither away in such a hurry V said the lawyer, in his usual tone of light raillery.

"Only to Mr. Forester's, to whom you were so good as to afford me an introduction," was the reply.

"By the Apostle John, and John Bull," said the other, "and the bones of all the popes and cardinals who lived, died, and were buried before the flood, I could not possibly introduce you to a family to which I was never introduced myself, and with which, from the little company they keep, I have never been able to make an acquaintance."

"That is not exactly what I mean," said the surgeon; "but by introducing me at Mrs. M'Intosh's, you were indirectly the means of getting me introduced both here and elsewhere."

"Well, well," rejoined the lawyer, "I am glad to hear you say so; and as I have been the indirect means of introducing you, if you have no objection, you shall be the direct means of introducing me. This same rich citizen must have a will to make, and sundry things of that sort to do, which lie in my way; and there is no great harm in looking out for a job—-sailors must keep their eyes on the wind, you know, though it is probable they see just as little of it as we do."

This request was at once complied with; and whether it were that Mr. Forester really entertained a previous respect for Mr. M'Quiddit, or that he only extended to him that respect which is due to a friend's friend, it matters little, but both were received with the usual welcome. The man of business and the surgeon repeated their visits oftener than once in company, and they always found the father the same, though by no means rash in extending either his friendship, or the circle of his acquaintances, it even seemed as if he had begun to entertain a very favourable opinion of the young lawyer; but somehow the daughter, after the first time, could rarely be prevailed upon to honour them with her company. She always found some excuse for leaving the room at the earliest opportunity; and Mr. M'Quiddit, either satisfied with the progress which he had already made, or having business of importance which demanded his presence elsewhere, began to relax his attention, In this respect, however, Dr. Bridges did not follow his example. The intimacy between him and the family of the retired merchant seemed rather to increase, while he at the same time seemed to be sensible, that it was to this friendship he owed at least a considerable portion of his success.

"Before Miss Forester caught cold," he said, on one occasion, "nobody thought of calling me; but since I had the honour of attending her, people seem anxious to become sick, that I may have an opportunity of either killing or curing them, and at the same time the inexpressible satisfaction of putting my hand as deep as I please into their pockets."

"And since this is the case," said Miss Forester, "out of gratitude for so eminent a service, you can do no less than regard me as your patron saint ever after; and if such a thing should happen to be in your power, I hope you will not neglect to have my name duly inserted in the calendar."

In answer to this piece of raillery, Dr. Bridges whispered something in her ear about "giving her a new name, and getting that name inserted in the parish register instead of the calendar of saints," which made her push him from her with a half playful motion of her hand; while it brought the blood to her cheek in a spring-tide flush, which made her glad to leave the room upon some pretended errand, from which she did not return till he was gone.

People are seldom long without some cause of anxiety. While everything else was prospering with Dr. Bridges, he had of late seen little of Mr. M'Quiddit, and he almost began to suspect that he had unwittingly given him some cause of offence. Though he could not discover what this cause might be, he felt extremely uneasy at the idea of such a thing being in existence. But one day as he was passing along the street, revolving the matter in his own mind, he saw Miss Forester approaching, in an opposite direction, and just as he was about to salute her, he was agreeably surprised by the friend of whom he had been thinking slapping him on the shoulder, and exclaiming, "What, doctor! so busy now dealing out medicines, writing out accounts like a lawyer, letting blood, and making crooked legs to other people, that I suppose you don't know your oldest and your hest friends in passing."

The surgeon laughed, and shook him heartily hy the hand, while Miss Forester passed on without speaking.

"By mine honour," said the other, in a tone loud enough to be heard at some distance; "by mine honour, a noble looking girl that, and I only wish I knew where to find an individual of the other sex who might deserve such a treasure. But," he continued, lowering his voice to a confidential whisper, "they tell me you are the happy man yourself Ho'; and now that we have met after so long an absence, pray he pleased to step into the tavern here, and permit me to drink her health, not forgetting your own.''

Dr. Bridges said something about "not having been accustomed to frequent taverns," and was proceeding to decline the invitation, but his friend interrupted him before he could arrange his ideas.

"Well, I declare," he said, "one would almost be tempted to think you were going to turn puritan, and hold forth on the streets to a crowd of gaping ignoramuses upon the wickedness of the world, and the unpardonable sin of eating and drinking —concluding your sermons, as in duty bound, with a full assurance that fasting is preferable to prayer; and, in order to reach heaven, that men must take care to starve themselves while on earth. Well if you persist in these laudable intentions, you will be reckoned a saint: there can be little doubt of that. But in this degenerate age, saintship, I fear, will not sell at a great premium among your patients. The calendar, moreover, is already full; and the publicans say that your tailor has forgot to furnish your unmentionables with pockets; for they never see your money. These people really have influence; and if they should raise the hue and cry, who knows what might he the consequence? Come, come, man! it is for your good I counsel you, and unless you are determined on becoming a ranter, you will not doubt me now."

Overcome by this species of oratory, which has in general more power over young people than most of them would be willing to acknowledge, Dr. Bridges suffered himself to be conducted into the tavern, where his friend immediately called for a quantity of liquor, of which, as soon as it was brought, he poured out a glass, drank it off to the health of Miss Forester; and then filling up another, handed it across the table to the surgeon.

When the liquor was finished—"Now," said Mr. M'Quiddit, "as I brought you here, I will deal honourably with you; your tailor's mistake shall not be brought to light if I can help it; for I will pay what I have called, and then, as you have so many patients to attend, and so much physic to mix, I will not press for your longer stay." With these words he was reaching his hand to the bell; but the other stopped him by saying, that "he hoped he did not consider him either unable or unwilling to take a glass with a friend, and to pay his share of the reckoning like an honest man."

"Well," said the lawyer, "if you will only promise to he a man, and drink half, I have no objection to sitting another quarter of an hour or so." Upon these conditions the liquor was called for, and the drinking of it commenced. Mr. M'Quiddit was of that particular temperament upon which ardent spirits produce comparatively little effect; though partially intoxicated, he could say things to make others laugh, without allowing a single muscle of his own face to be disturbed; even when so drunk that he could scarcely walk, he could still maintain all the gravity of a judge; and upon these qualities he could safely presume. With the other it was widely different: there was in his disposition a natural sensitiveness and excitability, which seemed to be the cause of much of his awkwardness and diffidence among strangers, but which, when acted upon by any stimulant, at once rose into noisy mirth. Some allusions to Miss Forester, which were made in the most flattering manner, had tended to elevate his spirits above the ordinary level; and thus before the second supply of liquor was concluded, he was exactly in that state of sobriety in which men are inclined to be pleased with the whole world, and to call for more of that which has made them so. Accordingly, when Mr. M'Quiddit again spoke of going home, he was warmly opposed by the surgeon, who now said, that "they might surely each spare a single afternoon from the drudgery of their professions, in which to enjoy themselves a little." It did not require any extraordinary degree of persuasion to induce the other to sit down—once seated, he again enlivened the conversation with quaint observations and humorous sallies, which never failed to draw peals of laughter from his companion; and when the afternoon was nearly spent, Dr. Bridges seemed determined to pass the evening in the same manner. Mr. M'Quiddit, however, represented to him in strong terms the impropriety of doing so, and, at a little after sunset, he succeeded in getting him to the door. The poor surgeon, as drunken people usually do, had all along supposed himself quite sober; but when he got into the street, he found that he could not walk; and his friend, if such he may be called, had to bribe the waiter to assist him home.

In the meantime, the servant of a wealthy individual, whose wife was on the eve of being confined, had called at his lodgings to tell him that her mistress was taken ill, and to request his immediate attendance; but as he was absent, his landlady had sent her to Mr. Forester's, where he had sometimes been found on former occasions. There, however, he was not; but the circumstance alarmed Miss Forester, and taking her mantle, she followed the messenger in the direction of the tavern, where she had last seen him, with the expectation that she might learn by accident the cause of his absence. She had not ,gone far when she saw him in charge of the waiter: as usually happens in such cases, he had grown much worse after coming out to the open air; the ribald jest, the silly question, the sentence broken off in the middle by a hickup, and the heavy lurch, told too plainly what he had been about; and Miss Forester, who, unobserved by him, had come near enough to see and hear these things, almost sickened at the sight.

Unfortunately, drunkenness is too common to excite much surprise in any rank of society; but still, to a virtuous woman, who has given her heart, with all its warm affections, to one whom her imagination has been busy clothing in the best attributes of humanity, nothing can be more distressing than to see that favoured object reduced with his own consent, and by his own act, to a state of drivelling imbecility, worse than the worst idiocy which Nature ever produced. Affection may try to plead excuses, and pass slightly over the darker evidence against him, but still, to a reflecting mind, the question must occur—What prospect of honour or fame for the man who can wilfully throw away his reason.

When Dr. Bridges arrived at his lodgings, his landlady told him that Mr. Potter's maid had been there to request his immediate attendance on her mistress's account. He had been previously engaged to give his attendance on that particular occasion, and the information which he now received tended materially to dissipate the fumes of the liquor. There was in Mrs. Potter's case some peculiarities which rendered it a pressing, and if not properly treated, a dangerous one; it was upon Miss Forester's recommendation that he had been engaged; and as soon as he could walk without assistance, he proceeded to the house. But the girl, on getting home, had told her master in what state she saw him, and as time> was too precious to be lost, Dr. Drugster had been already called. The consequence of all this was, that the servant, instead of admitting him to the patient, showed him into a separate room, and said, "she would tell her master." He immediately began to suspect that something was wrong. Had he been in the full possession of his reasoning powers, candour would have drawn from him a ready confession of his misconduct; but those who have made only a slight deviation from the paths of rectitude, can seldom stop till something more serious occurs; and when Mr. Potter confronted him, he began to stammer out some excuse about "being called away to attend a dying patient." As he spoke, his breath smelled strongly of the liquor he had been drinking, there was a haggard expression about his countenance, which told too plainly of his late debauch; and Mr. Potter, who, besides being naturally of a passionate disposition, already knew the real cause of his absence, and who was, moreover, quick-sighted enough to detect those evidences of intemperance which he still carried about his person, cut him short by observing, dryly— "A pretty fellow, indeed; first to get drunk, and then follow the example of other drunkards, by adding falsehood to drunkenness !"

By this time, Dr. Bridges was in that state of morbid nervous sensibility, which often follows a fit of intoxication; the word falsehood stuck in his throat. For a few seconds he seemed at a loss what to say or do, and then trembling with passion, he exclaimed, "He is a villain who will say that I—I ever was guilty of falsehood!"

"I think, young man, you carry your head too high," said Mr. Potter, regarding him the while with a look which was meant to be one of calm contempt; "but I can forgive you, and time will prove who is the greatest villain. Recollect," he added, as he was leaving the room, " that Dr. Drugster served the people of this place, in the capacity of medical attendant, before they saw your face, and the good man can do so still, though some folks, who do not seem to consider punctuality a virtue, should choose to forget their own interest, and endanger the lives of their patients, by their bacchanalian exploits."

Thus left to his own meditations, the surgeon stole back to his lodgings, where he spent a sleepless night, in a state of mind not easy to be described. Next morning he received a very polite and very formal note, from Mr. Potter, requesting him to send in his account, and hinting that neither his presence nor his services would be required in future. Had his nerves retained their wonted firmness, and its mind its usually vigorous tone, such an occurrence would have probably made little impression upon either; but while both were out of tune, he felt that the excesses of which he had been guilty were, to say the least of them, in one of his profession, highly unbecoming; he felt farther, the risk which he ran of incurring the disapprobation of his friends and the public; under the pressure of these feelings, he had no heart to make the necessary calls upon his patients, and after pushing aside an almost un-tasted breakfast, he directed his steps to Mr. Forester's, in the hope that he might have an opportunity of explaining the whole affair to that gentleman and his daughter, before any exaggerated report could reach them.

The moment he saw Miss Forester, however, his resolution failed him : she appeared anxious to treat him with civility; but there was a something both sad and constrained in her manner. Those indications of feeling which are so minute that they might escape the observation of the innocent, after being seen for the hundredth time, frequently attract the attention of the guilty at the very first glance. Though she strove to appear kind, her eye did not meet his with that intelligence, warm from the heart, which was its wont; on the contrary, it either drooped, or seemed to wander in search of other objects. He immediately concluded, that some one had brought her intelligence of that which, in reality, she had herself seen; and while he wished to make the fullest confession of his fault, and to promise that it should never be repeated, he could not find words with which to introduce the subject. Miss Forester, oh the other hand, was almost equally embarrassed. No one could have been more ready to forgive than she was, but then it became not her to interrogate; and thus their first efforts at conversation were of that kind which is sometimes resorted to as a substitute for silence.

"A most delightful morning this," said the surgeon; "the fresh air is so cool, and everything is so agreeable, I suppose it has tempted your father to take a walk."

"I rather think it was some business which led him out," said Miss Forester, affecting a careless ease which she did not feel.

"I should have been glad to see him had he been at home,'' rejoined the surgeon; "but I suppose we must bear these little disappointments with patience—there is no other remedy for the evils of life."

"We should try to overcome them when it is in our power," said the other, attempting to smile; but the sudden recollection that the words contained an implied rebuke, quenched that smile in an instant, and she added, rather confusedly, "My father will soon be back—he promised to return by ten, and he is always punctual."

The word punctual, though spoken by a voice which was at all times gentle, grated harshly on Dr. Bridges' ear : it seemed to glance at the manner in which he had neglected his interest and his engagement in Mrs. Potter's case; the confusion with which it was uttered, he mistook for an indication of rising displeasure; and, again unmanned by his own recollections and fancies, he looked at his watch, pretended to remember the case of some patient, whom he should have visited, and took his leave abruptly. "Whatever might be his former disquietude, it was now increased ten-fold; but he was not long permitted to muse on the consequences of his own misconduct; for the next individual whom he met was Mr. M'Quiddit.

"Glad to see you, doctor," he said, giving way to a suppressed chuckle—"glad to see you able to stir at any after your last night's glorification. But in the name of how many saints and martyrs shall I adjure you to tell me what ails you? for you look as melancholy and woe-begone this morning as if that great barrel, which men call the world, had been unhooped, and fallen to staves about your ears."

"If I look woe-begone, it is net without a reason," retorted the other, rather sharply. He then proceeded to give him a brief account of what had happened last night, and the note which he had received that morning, to which he was about to add some bitter reflections on what he considered the cause of his misfortune when his friend interrupted him.

"Pooh, pooh!" said he, "only one of those tricks of which the blind jilt Fortune plays a thousand every day. I can assure you she has played me twenty such in my time; but you are only a recruit, and too raw to be able to look upon these trifles with indifference. Nevertheless, you must give the good dame the go by in her own way, and when she sees she has a man to deal with she will be less ready to jilt you in future. But there is another thing for which I am really sorry—your ballast was rather out of trim last night, and------"

"And whose fault was that?" interrupted the surgeon, in a tone of bitter reproach.

"Nay, hold there," said the other; "you would accuse me —I know it. But hark ye, and in your haste, do not forget to take reason along with you. I did but take you into the tavern to drink a friendly glass, and straightway you would have more. And had it not been for myself—little as you may think of the service—you might have been sitting there to this precious moment, or you might have sat till the day of doom, for anything I know to the contrary, leaving your patients to pack up their awls for the other world, and your physic as a heritage to the moths."

"I fear they would find some of it rather indigestible," said the man of medicine, laughing in spite of himself.

"That may be," continued the other, echoing the laugh of his friend; "and so much the better, seeing it would make the heritage last the longer. But as I have got you off this sand bank, and safe to sea again, I must now tow you into port; for you are in the horrors I see, or in the dumps, if that name please you better; and now listen to what I am about to say. I have been drunk fifty times—ay, a hundred, I daresay —and when I got sober again I was as sad and dejected, and all that sort of thing, as you can possibly be ; nay, there were times, I believe, when I really thought the world was going to fall to pieces; but I always found that a single glass of the right spirit next morning sent the blue devils about their business, and restored me to my senses again. Now, your patients must be visited, and at present you have not the heart to go through with it; so come away and I will put you to rights in two minutes."

There was a something in this rodomontade, meaningless as it may seem, which, when aided by the voice and manner of a naturally good speaker, went directly to lessen the disgrace of drunkenness, and it really lightened Dr. Bridges' heart of nearly half its load. They, accordingly went into the nearest public-house, where Mr. M'Quiddit called for a small quantity of their "best spirits," and when each had drunk their share the remains of his gloomy thoughts appeared to be dissipated as if by magic. So immediate was the relief which he experienced that he could not help thanking his friend as they left the house; who, in return, bade him "never droop, though he should happen to get a little top-heavy, but take comfort where he could find it."

He now proceeded to visit his patients as if nothing had happened. Most of these patients, however, were already aware of what Mr. M'Quiddit had called his "last night's glorification;" the odour of his breath, upon the present occasion, did not discountenance the stories which they had heard; and in more than one family he was looked upon with suspicion. A drunken surgeon, or a drunken physician, is an anomaly from which every sane man must turn with feelings of dislike. In numerous instances the life of a patient may depend upon the nicest discrimination: a trifling delay, the circumstance of not detecting some obscure symptom, the prescribing of an improper medicine, or a mistake as to the quantity of a proper one, may, in some cases, prove fatal; and there is a general feeling that those who cannot at all times command their own reason should not be trusted where there are such dreadful risks.

From that day forward Dr. Bridges' practice began sensibly to diminish, and. in a short time it was again almost wholly confined to the poor. Reports, the most prejudicial, as to both his moral character and professional abilities, got into circulation, no one could tell how; the public, as most people well know who have had to deal with it, is ever ready to run into extremes; these reports were believed without much examination as to their truth ; and now when much of his time was again at his own disposal very few thought of enabling him to pass that time more pleasantly by inviting him to their tables. Mr. M'Quiddit, however, still continued to assure him that it was only a freak of Fortune, and that the blind dame, when she was tired of persecuting, would again smile upon him. He was also fortunate enough still to retain the friendship of Mr. Forester and his daughter, the former of whom did everything in his power to recall public opinion to its proper channel, while the latter, who was as willing to forgive as she was ready to sympathise, felt for what she considered his misfortunes, as acutely as if they had been her own, and frequently strove to support and cheer him under them. Had he been satisfied with the solace which she could afford, time and her father's friendship might have restored his lost reputation; but unfortunately, in spite of her endeavours to cheer him, and his own efforts to be cheerful, he felt occasionally that lowness of spirits from which, when their prospects are clouded, though it may be but for a season, few are wholly exempted ; and then, recollecting the relief which he had experienced on a former occasion, he had again recourse to the bottle, and again he felt relieved. But the relief, not being a natural one, only predisposed him for an earlier and a deeper relapse into the same melancholy mood; and every time the experiment was repeated, it required a larger quantity of liquor to produce the desired effect. In the public-houses, too, and caverns, of which he became a daily frequenter, he soon began to forget himself. At first, this only happened when he chanced to meet his friend Mr. M'Quiddit, who was in most respects too many for him; but then matters were so managed, that the carouse was of his own proposing, and the man of business always took care to get him home before it was dark, for which he took no small credit to himself. By and by he began to court the company of still more despicable characters; for when once on the downward road of intemperance, people can rarely stop till they reach the bottom. In a short time he became a prey to hangers-on and common topers, who declaimed against Dr. Dragster, and the ignorant prejudices of the people, and flattered, and pretended to sympathise with him, for the liquor which, at his own expense, he allowed them to drink. As the legitimate result of such proceedings, he was on several occasions, in broad day, carried through the open street to his lodgings, with a crowd of boys laughing and hallooing behind him; even the poorest inhabitant of the place became afraid to trust his health in such hands; his means of supporting himself honestly were thus destroyed, his expenses incalculably increased, and debts accumulated; and last and worst, even Miss Forester was forced to acknowledge to herself, not without a shudder, that when she saw him he was frequently under the influence of liquor.

To her he had never spoken of his excesses; and now he was so much altered by that degrading vice, that he no longer seemed to think any apology necessary. She, on the other hand, saw with the bitterest regret the termination to which he was hastening, but still, with characteristic delicacy, she shrunk from the disagreeable task of admonishing and reproving. She knew that if her father should come to a full knowledge of his excesses, the connection would be at once broken off; with a woman's affection for a favoured object, she imputed these excesses to the misleading influence of his principal associate ; and to break this influence she at last bethought her of an expedient.

"Jenny," said she to the servant girl, "do you know Andrew Baxter?" The girl blushed deeply, and acknowledged that she did know him. "Do you know, then," continued her mistress, "if he has received the five hundred pounds which were left by his uncle who died in the West Indies."

"Why do you ask that question at me?" inquired the girl, still blushing.

"Because I think you know something of his secrets," said the other; "and because I believe your happiness is intimately connected with that circumstance. That you are under a promise of marriage to Andrew, I know; for I heard that promise made, though you never supposed any one was near—that it was by accident, you may believe—nay, do not run away, for your secret is safe in my keeping. And I know, too, that were he able to furnish a house, you would be married immediately; but as he has been thoughtless, and spent his money in the alehouses, you must wait till the five hundred pounds, or at least a part of it, arrives."

"Ay," interrupted the girl; "and there are some folk, not far distant, who spend more money in the ale-houses than ever poor Andrew had to spend; but what is the meaning of all this?"

"I will tell you that presently," said Miss Forester, blushing in her turn. "Has Andrew ever spoken to you of the new house which Mr. M'Quiddit is building?"

"Ay has he," said the other: "and Andrew says that he is building it with his money, and if he was only able to creish the clerk's loof with twa notes or sae, he would be at the bottom of the matter in some way or other. But the clerk was angry at not getting the job, and he cannot face him without money; and he has been so thoughtless ever since he had the prospect of the five hundred pounds, that he never has a penny to spare; and as Mr. M'Quiddit says there is no security for a fcvrden of his uncle's property ever reaching this country, nobody will lend him siller; and so he maun e'en wait till I get my half year's wages. I aye wished to tell you, but I never likeit to speak about it. For mony a time," she added, beginning to sob, "mony a time I think that Geordie Banks would be a better bargain without a bawbee, than Andrew wi' his five hundred pounds; but I likeit him first, and whatever he bids me do, I can never say no."

"You are a good and a warm-hearted lass, Jenny," said Miss Forester, endeavouring to comfort her; "and it is that partly which makes me interest myself in your affairs. I will not, however, attempt to deny that I have an object of my own in view; but of that I can tell you afterwards. In the meantime, you know that my father never allows me to have more than twenty shillings in my possession at a time; nor do I blame him for his care, for it has often been the means of preventing me from spending money foolishly; but here is a necklace and a ring, which are worth at least three pounds—dispose of them as you will; take the money to Andrew Baxter, and do not leave him till you have seen him on his way to the town-clerk. Tell him, farther, to do everything in his power to bring this affair to light; and despatch, for my father will be back by twelve."

While Miss Forester and her maid were thus arranging matters of their own, her ill-fated lover, and his never-failing friend, were regaling themselves in a neighbouring tavern, with what they were pleased to call their morning. For the benefit of the uninitiated reader, it may be here stated that morning in the language of a certain class, does not mean the natural return of light, hut a glass of some strong stimulant taken before breakfast, for the purpose of winding up the animal machine after a debauch, to enable them to perform the duties of the day, and also to serve as a whet for that meal. Dr. Bridges had been late in rising : it was nearly ten o'clock when they sat down to prepare themselves for future usefulness ; and, as Mr. M'Quiddit said all his fine things over in his best style, and rallied his friend on his want of spirits in the most amusing manner, the latter ventured upon two or three mornings instead of one, and ultimately forgot that anything more than mornings was necessary till dinner time. Upon this occasion, however, Mr. M'Quiddit was decidedly opposed to drinking deep, and so they whiled away their time in sipping small quantities at intervals, singing songs which they thought very merry, and saying things which they fancied others would deem fine, if they were only favoured with an opportunity of hearing them. In this manner two hours passed away: it was noon, and then the man of the law proposed that they should each take off a glass, and quit the premises like men who had determined not to forget their business for their pleasures.

By this time Dr. Bridges was exactly in that state which may be termed "gloriously drunk." He fancied himself as rich as a Jew, as strong as Samson, and as happy as the happiest man that ever lived; and when the other proposed that they should take a walk previous to commencing the labours of the day, he assented with a hiccup, and a declaration that "he would go with him to the world's end,"

When they had proceeded some way along the street, "Glory be to the Giver of all good things!" exclaimed Mr. M'Quiddit, "but where are we now? As I am a good Christian man, and neither a Mahometan, nor a Jew, I declare we are before the door of your intended father-in-law, and in no other part of the world. But then he is such a disciplinarian, and such a saint, that you dare not venture into his presence, after you have been tasting."

"But I dare though," was the brief and energetic reply; and therewith the whisky-inspired speaker wheeled off like a whirlwind to prove the truth of his assertion. But his companion caught him by the coat-tail, and detained him, whispering at the same time, "Hold, hold—nay, come along this way a little, and I promise you I will tell you something which shall be for your advantage." Though sometimes inclined to be boisterous and self-willed in his cups, he was easily led away by a show of friendship; and thus counselled, he followed the man of business in silence, till they reached the outskirts of the town; but here, as the other still continued silent,—probably from a wish to enhance his information by delaying it for a time—he lost patience.

"Come come, Quiddit,'' he said, "do tell me what you brought me here for, and don't keep me wondering out my very soul about what is perhaps only a mere trifle after all." "Not such a trifle either," rejoined the other. "Well, well, tell me—tell me," said the surgeon, "I am all out of impatience, as you know,—ha, ha, ha."

"Well," said the lawyer, yielding at last to his importunity. "I brought you here as a friend, to tell you, that I fear your affairs are getting rather embarrassed. There is that bill which becomes due by the end of next week, you know. Now I much doubt if you have the ready."

"Why, where is the hundred pounds you promised to borrow for me?" inquired the other, growing serious for a moment. "To say truth," replied the lawyer, "money has become so scarce in these latter days, that I have not been able to borrow a farthing, though I have done all that a friend could do; and after having failed myself, I even went so far as to give your note to an intimate acquaintance to try what he could raise on your account, but I am almost certain he will not succeed."

"That accursed bill," muttered the surgeon in a low, tone of bitter reflection,— "cannot borrow a farthing, and I have not one to meet the demand. Well, there is not much friendship, after all, in bringing a man so far to remind him of his poverty. But the thought has made me sad, so come away back, for I must have another glass, or, if you won't, by Heaven! I go alone."

"Why, man, do not twist your mouth so terribly on one side, and look so cavalierly at me," said Mr. M'Quiddit, "I have no mind to fight, I assure you, and if I had, I should never think of beginning with my friends. I should have never thought of mentioning either the bill or your poverty, were it not that I have a plan in my head, which, if properly followed out, will enable you to pay the one, and remedy the other."

"Well, I am a fool—a hasty fool," said the other laughing; "I acknowledge that. But you are a good-hearted fellow, my dear Quiddit—I know you are. But you must tell me this same plan immediately; for, as I said before, I am all out of impatience." Here he again laughed heartily at what he supposed his own jest.

"Since you desire me to proceed," said the lawyer: "there is Mr. Forester, who, with a few exceptions, is the richest man in the town. With all his riches, he must, as a matter of course, give his daughter a handsome portion when she is married; and besides, as he has no other child, she must ultimately be his heir. Now, I believe the girl loves you to distraction—upon my soul I do. And what hinders you, I would ask, from going to this Jew, this Croesus, this same hopeful father-in-law, and demanding pretty Miss Eliza in marriage at once. Why, man, she would be better to you than all the physic you ever sold, or are likely to sell—By Heaven ! she would be the making of your fortune in a single day."

"You are right—you are right!" rejoined the surgeon, slapping the former speaker on the shoulder as he spoke. " A glorious fellow, Quiddit! but, by Jove, you are right—she does love me; for now that I recollect, when I once gave her a hint about getting her name inserted in the parish register, she blushed as deep as a midsummer rose. And now I will have her—yes : by all the asses whose pates I ever plastered, when they complained of fever, and all the boobies whose blood I ever let, when they supposed themselves dying of plethora, I swear I will have her!"

"If you can get her," said Mr. M'Quiddit in a sneering tone, but so low as not to be heard by his enthusiastic companion, and then raising his voice, he added, "But do you think you have really fortitude sufficient, to go through with this affair which is to be the making of your fortune? Young fellows like you, are sometimes faint-hearted when they must come to the scratch in matrimonial matters."

"I must confess," said the other, still rubbing his hands in great glee, "I must confess that I have thought of the thing before, and wanted heart to go through with it; but if I had another glass, I am in the trim to go through with anything just now; and so, good morning, Arthur—my fortune shall be made before I see you again—good morning."

"Nay," said the cautious man of business; "if you are for another glass, I must go with you, to see that you do not take too much; for of late you have been rather given to forgetting yourself."

"Thank you, thank you," said the poor drunkard, "you were ever my friend, and you must be so to the end."

Instead of one glass each of them drank three, of what, in cant phrase, is called double-strong, which, poured into an empty stomach, produced a powerful effect upon the nervous system of the poor surgeon, who would have still called for more, had not his friend urged him to go and despatch his business immediately.

"But perhaps Ma—aster Frosteter is not at home," said the former, when they were once more in the street.

"Oh yes," rejoined the latter, "the old hunks was to be home precisely at twelve o'clock, I know that—nay, no offence, I respect him as much as you or any man living. And now, despatch, my dear fellow—strike the iron when it is hot, and God go with you, as the minister would say—The devil, I mean," he muttered between his teeth, as he turned away.. "Why I should have given myself so much trouble in this affair, I know not; and yet, as I shall hardly be able to stave off that drunken blockhead Baxter for ever, unless I can send you a poking, and get my hand into the old miser's purse, by means of his daughter, I may soon be as poor as you are."

Chapter II.

At the end of last chapter we left Dr. Bridges on his way to seek a wife, and here we must again take up his story. After various circumvolutions, upon which history cannot pause to dilate, he reached the house of his intended father-in-law in safety, though not without having been oftener than once in danger of breaking his nose against lamp-posts and other impediments. Here he was immediately ushered into a room, at the farther end of which sat Mr. Forester and his daughter —the last of whom appeared to have been in tears, but she rose and withdrew the moment he entered. Without seeming to notice her he staggered to the middle of the apartment, first overturning one chair, then nearly overturning himself upon another; and when, in spite of these obstacles, he had taken up his position, " Mr. Fooster," said he, "I wish you a ve—ery good morning.''

"Your mornings seem to be pretty long ones—almost as long as they are in London," said Mr. Forester, eyeing him with a look of mingled pity and contempt. "But pray, what else have you got to wish, or say, or do here at present?"

"O—o—only this," hiccupped the poor surgeon, who was getting worse every minute, "O—only this—I came to demand your daughter—my pretty Miss E—E—liza—Miss Frothester, I mean, in marriage."

"Why did you not call her Miss Froth at once," said Mr. Forester, his features, in spite of himself, relaxing for a moment into a smile—then resuming his former calm, stern tone, "A strange mixture of bashfulness and impudence," he added— "A man here little more than an hour ago to borrow a hundred pounds for you,, and now you are here yourself to make proposals for all I possess. But I pity you, poor thing!—I pity you!—You have been both a simpleton and a sinner, but more of the former than the latter, I believe, and though I cannot stand to speak to you now, I may perhaps see you tomorrow morning, if you should chance to be in your senses then."

Of this address the luckless surgeon had scarcely heard a single word; for the last few minutes he had been growing sicker and fainter, with almost every breath he drew, and before it was concluded he had sunk down upon the carpet, where those who have seen drunkenness in its most degrading form, will be at no loss to guess what followed. In order to prevent his being exposed to open shame, Mr. Forester had him conveyed as privately as possible to his lodgings, where he was immediately put to bed.

After nature, by her own efforts, had expelled from his system a portion of that poison with which he had been drenching it, he began to recover his senses, but it was only to make him wish they had been lost for ever. His potations had never been able to banish the idea of Miss Forester from his mind: to her, in his sober moments, his heart always turned as the star of his future destiny; and though his recollections were confused, he remembered enough to convince him that he had exposed himself in a manner which could hardly fail to make her despise him. He had also some indistinct ideas of her father's displeasure; and, in the midst of his other reflections, the bill came to sting him like an adder! He could no longer endure his own thoughts, and rising from his bed, he again hurried to the tavern, where he soon found oblivion of his care, in that madness which had been the fruitful source of all his misfortunes. From this place he was carried to his lodgings, with less ceremony than on the former occasion; and when he awoke next morning, with his throat parched, and his tongue almost as dry as if it had been baked in an oven, his landlady told him that a gentleman was waiting to speak with him. On hearing this intelligence he rose, huddled on his clothes, swallowed the water which had been brought for him to wash iu, and scarcely knowing what he did, hastened to the apartment where he had been told he would find his visitor. There he found Mr. Forester, who rose and bowed to him very politely as he entered, but that bow seemed to strike him motionless, like a flash of lightning.

"Young man," said he, in a calm concentrated tone, and without taking any notice of the confusion of his auditor, who, between apprehension, and the effects of his late debauch, now began to tremble violently—"young man, I came not. here to insult you : fallen as you are, and wretched as you have made yourself, I can still pity you. But from the headlong career which you seemed determined to pursue, it were madness to attempt to save you; and as I will not be insulted in my own house with such scenes as that which occurred yesterday, you will oblige me by never appearing there again."

"My dear Mr. Forester," interrupted the trembling doctor, in a faltering, and at the same time a pleading tone.

"Only a few words more," continued the other, "and I have done with you now and forever. I need hardly add, that Miss Forester sends you her forgiveness, and wishes you to carry your attentions elsewhere. With respect to myself, I could have wished to serve you; but those who cannot serve themselves, will never be benefited by the services of another. Your inability to meet the demand which the bank has upon you is already publicly known: no one will either lend you money, or be security for you; and as you have nothing to pay, and your presence here cannot possibly be of any use, your only chance of escaping a prison is in flight: and now my errand is said, and I wish you a good morning."

Lightning, thunder, or an earthquake, or all three together, could have scarcely produced such a stunning effect upon the self-condemned doctor, as these words. Almost sinking under a load of nervousness, embarrassment, and shame, he followed Mr. Forester to the door, and gazed after him with a lacklustre stare, as long as he was in view. While he stood thus, he was touched from behind by Mr. M'Quiddit, who drew him a little aside, and then whispering in. his ear: "I have been looking for you this some time," said he; "do not start—you were unfortunate in your last night's speculation: I know it; but I have been myself threatened this morning—uo matter with what—I must have a dram to enable me to get through, and I cannot go alone. Nay, not a word, I beseech you." So saying, he led the way, and the other followed like a sheep to the slaughter.

Upon this occasion, Mr. M'Quiddit drank recklessly and deep, and the other followed his example; but as liquor always operates most powerfully upon an empty stomach, and he had not tasted victuals for more than twenty-four hours, in a short time he fell from his chair, and in drawing his hand from his pocket to support himself in falling, scattered several letters and other articles around him. Mr. M'Quiddit then called the reckoning, paid it hurriedly, and left the house.

Dr. Bridges was now carried to his lodgings by the people of the tavern; but his landlady, with whom he was already considerably in arrears, and who saw no prospect of getting payment, absolutely refused to take him in; others were unwilling to run the risk of lodging him for nothing, and in the end he was carried to an empty house, which served as a sort of barn, and left upon a quantity of straw in a corner. Here he lay till the afternoon was far advanced, and then a widow, called Nelly Davidson, from the other end of the town, came and requested that he might be brought to her house. What idotive she could have for making such a request, was not distinctly understood, but with her he found food, kind treatment, and a bed for the present. He passed a restless night, however, and when he arose next morning, an unaccountable change seemed to have come over him. His air was dejected, and his countenance strongly marked with a sort of unnatural anxiety. Throughout the day he sat by the fire, without once attempting to leave the house, and sighed frequently and heavily; but when asked "what was the matter with him?" he obstinately maintained that he was quite well. In the course of the following night, he started wildly during those short intervals of slumber which he was permitted to enjoy, and on more than one occasion he had nearly flung himself from the bed. When he arose in the morning, his countenance was, if possible, still more wild, anxious, and confused, than it had been the day before; his breakfast he scarcely tasted ; and soon after he made several attempts to vomit. When a little recovered, he was most sedulous in his endeavours to please all who came near him, and it was with some difficulty he could be prevented from sweeping the house, and taking out the ashes for his landlady. In this state he continued for some time, without paying any attention to his professional duties; indeed, he scarcely mentioned them—then he became all at once immersed in business, and talked incessantly. He spoke of going to bleed one patient in the great toe for a pain in the loins, and to blister another on the thumb and little finger of his right hand for the toothache. He intended, he said, to take a third individual to a horse-pond in the neighbourhood, and duck him head and ears three times, for a scabbed nose; and he even spoke of having an old woman, who had long complained of rheumatic pains, hung up in the chimney, and smoke-drying her for three weeks. While thus suspended, the patient was scarcely to be allowed any solid food, but supported principally upon a hitherto unknown elixir, which he was to distil from a mixture of horse hair and ram's wool. All this, he assured his landlady, must be gone about with the greatest secrecy; for if it was not, his medicines and applications would lose their effect. These, and a hundred other whimsical notions, alarmed the good dame, who, when she could listen no longer, went out and begged a neighbour to "go in, and sit beside him, till she could run an errand of her own." When she returned, she begged the same neighbour to make what haste she could, and call Dr. Drugster; "for," added she, "the poor gentleman is certainly going out of his reason."

When the senior doctor arrived, his brother practitioner greeted him with a very profound bow, and a—"Pray who ire you, sir? if I may presume so far."

"I am Dr. Drugster," said the Esculapian, taking a large pinch of snuff, and drawing himself up in a very dignified manner.

"Very well, doctor," said the other, it was very kind in you thus to come to assist me with my patients. But I assure you I understand their cases perfectly, and can treat them with the greatest confidence. I understand the diagnostic and pathognomonic symptoms of all their diseases; and the nosology—hy the by, doctor—I beg pardon—but your own nose does not seem to be in a healthy state. There is a discoloration of the skin under the left orifice—the nostril, I mean—which must proceed either from some organic change in the cartilaginous structure above, exuding acrid matter, and thereby excoriating the cuticle over which it passes, or from some cutaneous disorder, which has its seat in the capillary system, immediately under the epidermis, or in the muscular fibres lying contiguous to the skin, but which, if not properly treated, may terminate in schirrous cancer. Now, sir, if you would allow me to prescribe for your case—and I assure you I have treated a thousand such—I would recommend a quantity of blistering plaster spread upon a strip of blue flannel, about an inch broad, and placed so as to go quite round your nose : this would keep the place warm, and extract a quantity of the serum from the blood at the same time. It might also be useful to have a a trip of the same breadth placed across your forehead, above the eyebrows, so as to extract the humours before they could descend. But what would be of more importance in your case than either of these applications, would be a leech of the sanguisuga genus, or a gray German leech, placed exactly here, sir, upon the extremity, just under this pimple; which would take a quantity of blood from the vessels, in the immediate locality of the disease; and if this did not restore your upper lip to its proper colour, it might be followed by cupping upon the chin."

How long this disciple of Hippocrates might have continued to lecture upon a discoloration of the upper lip, occasioned by a quantity of snuff adhering thereto, it were difficult to say; but Dr. Dragster cut him short by leaving the house. Soon after, he returned with two stout men and a strait jacket. The assistants were instructed to lay hold of him, and imprison him in this habiliment, which being done, the senior doctor then proceeded to feel his pulse and examine the other symptoms of his case; but after the most minute investigation, he could not determine with any certainty on the nature of the disease. Of all the maladies with which he was acquainted, it most resembled inflammation of the brain, or some of its membranes, and for this disorder he resolved to treat it, but at the same time to proceed with great caution, lest he should be mistaken. He accordingly confined his prescription to some palliatives for the present, and left him with the intention of returning as soon as possible to see what further confirmation of his opinion he could obtain.

When he returned in the afternoon, another scene, which would have been highly amusing had it not indicated a total derangement of the reasoning faculties, ensued.

On being asked how he felt himself. "Me," said the patient, in a tone of evident surprise, "I assure you I am quite well— us well as ever I have been since a thousand years before the creation of the world. Spirits, you know, sir, are not, and cannot be, affected with fevers and influenzas, and inflammations, and phthisis, and cachexy; neither are they subject to affections of the cerebrum and cerebellum, like mortals. But come away, sir, you are growing old, and you will soon die unless I renew you. I am the angel Gabriel, you know, and I can do these things. I will take you down presently, and then we shall get John Laventrough, the baker, to poach the clay, and the boy, Littlebaps, his apprentice, can carry water; and when we have got you pounded into a proper consistency, I will fashion you again in a twinkling. And then we can bake you a little in his oven, you know—not too much though —that would spoil the colour of your skin, which, if you were overdone, might be as brown and almost as old as it is at present: so we must take you out as soon as you are hard enough to bear handling. I promise you, however, that I will look after all this myself, and see that they do not put too much fire to the oven either. But you must come to me, sir; for were I to stretch out my wings to come to you, I might fly away altogether, and then you might die, and they might bury you while I was flying round the top of the steeple, and unable to alight—so come along, and I will begin with your nose and your upper lip, where I see evident symptoms of decay."

Though Dr. Drugster was a man of temper, he could not help being rather offended at the pertinacious liberties which his patient seemed determined to take with his nose, and other parts of his person; but this feeling was soon forgotten in the intricacy, or rather obscurity, of the case. As to the real nature of the disease, he was still as much in the dark as ever; and whether to treat it in a vigorous manner, or to do absolutely nothing, he could not determine. "Had it been inflammation of the brain," he argued, "the disease must have made more rapid progress, and to treat it as such might eventually endanger the fellow's life." On the other hand, to prescribe nothing after having been called, was equal to a confession of his own ignorance, which, with professional men in general, is the last alternative to which they can be driven. He therefore resolved, as on the former occasion, to adopt a middle course; but at the same time to make up as much as possible for the inefficiency of his prescriptions, by their number, and the magnitude of their names.

Shortly after Dr. Drugster left him, a new and, if possible, a still more ludicrous idea took possession of his mind. He told the widow that he was constantly tormented with evil spirits, who were every moment endeavouring to get in at his mouth, and possess him bodily; and after a few minutes, when she did not seem to notice him, he called out to her, in tones of the deepest terror, either to come with her besom and sweep them off, or loose his hands, and allow him to do it himself; for if she did not, he assured her that they would soon transform him into the great dragon mentioned in the Revelation, and then he would tear the rag which confined him to tatters, knock down the house, and set fire to the town! Terrified by his vehemence, she complied with the last request; and then he sat quiet for several hours, with his tongue extended over his chin, while he continued to strike it dexterously, first with the forefinger of the one hand, then with that of the other, dislodging, as he supposed, a demon with every effort, and thus making his hands take an equal share in the labour of self-defence. At times the strokes were so often repeated, that the quick rotary movement of his hands seemed to resemble a piece of revolving machinery; and then, as the imaginary attack of his spiritual foes was less ably sustained, about half a minute might elapse between his efforts to drive them off. When he had become a little accustomed to this sort of warfare, and had acquired a consciousness of his own superiority, he began to mutter to himself at intervals. "That's Beelzebub," he would say, "with a beard like a goat, and a face as black as a Highland sheep. That's Mammon, with an old stocking for a purse between his teeth. That's Lucifer, flying about like a lamplighter; and yonder is Apollyon: I know him by his long tail." Then, after a considerable pause, and an unwonted effort with both hands—"That's old Satan himself, with his coach drawn by four asses, and a grey cat for a coach-driver! but I have sent them heels-over-head, and there they lie sprawling help them up, like a good woman—help them up, poor things ! Now, now, they're off through the keyhole of the cupboard yonder like lightning—I don't think they'll care for coming back."

It were an endless task to attempt even to enumerate his whimsical notions. All the symptoms of his malady, whatever it was, kept steadily increasing; but still there was no indication of local pain, and when questioned as to the state of his health, he declared himself quite well. Dr. Drugster was now at his wit's end; and knew not what to think of it, unless it were, indeed, a case of insanity. His strength, however, was rapidly sinking—sleep had entirely forsaken him—his hands and feet were cold and clammy, while the former were tremulous in the extreme—his pulse was small, frequent, and indistinct ; and had it not heen for the arrival of a friend, with whom he had become acquainted at college, and who, in travelling northward, happened to think of paying him a visit, it is probable the record of his actions would soon have closed. Dr. G------, however, almost immediately detected the pathognomic symptoms of delirium, tremens—a disease which, unfortunately, is at present but too well known, as having its origin in drunkenness, but which then was, and perhaps in some places still is, rather new to medical men. The treatment of Dr. Drugster, though not vigorous, had been the very reverse of what was proper; and as his constitution and complaint had already been too long tampered with, his friend resolved to stay for a few days, and render him all the assistance he could.

In these benevolent intentions, however, he was thwarted, by a most unlooked for occurrence. A branch of the------Bank in Auldenburgh, had been robbed of money and notes to a very considerable amount, on the night previous to his arrival. When the robbery was discovered, a penknife, with a particular handle, which was at once recognised as having belonged to Dr. Bridges, and a letter bearing his address, were found lying near the safe, as if they had been lost by the robber in his hurry to escape. These were considered sufficient evidence; and early in the morning, the sheriff's-oflicers proceeded to take him into custody. Suffering as he was from severe indisposition, he was dragged to the jail, and shortly after brought up for examination. When asked by the sheriff-substitute, "What he knew of the bank being broken up."—"Mr. Bank's leg broken," said he, after a considerable pause: "it matters little whether it has been broken up or broken down; the medical attendant must ascertain whether it is a simple fracture or a compound fracture, or a comminuted fracture, or a fracture complicated with dislocation. But if you would bring him here, I would settle the matter at once, and tell you what sort of splints to provide."

Dr. Drugster, who was next examined as a witness, stated the inexplicable nature of the disease for which he had visited him; and this, in connection with his own ravings, seemed to make the magistrate willing to believe that the whole of his illness, and the incoherency of his speech, had been feigned to elude suspicion. Nelly Davidson was then brought forward, and she declared upon oath, that so far as she knew, he had not left her house that night; but instead of being able to clear the prisoner, from her own evidence, she came to be regarded as an accomplice; and had nothing more transpired, it is probable an order for her commitment would have been issued before she had been allowed to leave the court. Even the exculpatory evidence of Dr. G-------, who had never left him

during the night, seemed to go for nothing, till an officer brought in two notes of the bank—one for 10, and the other for '20, which had been found near the door of the house in which Dr. Bridges formerly lodged. Had he continued to lodge there, this link would have made the chain of evidence complete, and had he lived so long it is highly probable that he would have been called upon to answer for his supposed crime on a scaffold. As matters stood, however, it gave a new aspect to the whole, and rendered the previous evidence unavailable. For had he been the robber, it was impossible upon any rational principle to account for the notes being found where they were; and when his previous habits came to be disclosed, the presiding authorities seemed to feel satisfied that the letter and penknife had been lost while he was in a state of intoxication—picked up by the robber, and then left where they were found, for the purpose of misleading the public functionaries, and criminating an innocent person. To this conclusion, the notes having been dropped near the door of his former lodging, seemed evidently to point; and upon these concurring circumstances—supported as they were by the unbiased testimony of Dr. G-------, he was set at liberty. Thus—while a villain, by making, as he supposed, "assurance doubly sure," defeated his own scheme—the unkindness of his former landlady, and the opportune arrival of his friend, were the means of saving the poor surgeon from an ignominious death.

But though thus rescued from a prison, the last or fatal stage of the disorder seemed to be approaching; and though Dr. G-------had immediate recourse to spirits and opium, which are said to be almost the only remedies in such cases, it was a considerable time before sleep could be produced, without which there is no hope of recovery. At last, however, he did sink to rest, and when he awoke, his reason had returned. But owing to the mistreatment which he had received, and the extent to which the disease had been allowed to proceed, he was so weak that his friend did not deem it safe to leave him for several days. During this interval he became acquainted with the real circumstances; and when he was about to depart, he generously offered him the use of a considerable sum of money to assist in again establishing him in the world; but this was at once declined.

"No," said he, emphatically, "by my own folly I have lost my little stock-in-trade, as a merchant would say; I have lost my reputation, I have lost my health, and what is still worse, I fear I have lost the esteem of one who was dearer to me than all these put together; but now, when my reason is restored, I will not borrow money which I may never be able to repay."

"What do you mean?" inquired his friend, "without money yon can do nothing—you cannot even begin to redeem your fortune! Pray, what have you to trust to?"

"I beg your pardon," said the other; "but I have thought of all this already, and I have my hands. When I was a boy they were accustomed to labour, and I will teach them that lesson again. What I earn in this way, as it will be hardly come by, so it will be likely to be more valued; and as I could not taste that curse of society, and keep in moderation, I now swear—but I will make no oaths—it is only the resolutions of children and changelings, which require to be so confirmed, and I am neither. Henceforth, and forever, my lips shall not touch it."

His friend tried to convince him of the folly of forming such resolutions, but he soon saw that it was in vain; and he left him, not without a suspicion, that these strange ideas might be only one of those obscure symptoms, by which lurking insanity may be sometimes detected. But in this he was mistaken; for as soon as he was gone, Roland Bridges began to question his landlady, in the most rational manner, as to what he owed her, and the amount of debts which had been contracted on his account since he became her lodger. He was, however, gneatly surprised to hear her declare, that she " was paid up to last Saturday;" for his farther consolation, she showed him Dr. Dragster's account, which was discharged also; and told him that nothing was owing but his provisions for the present week.

"Did Dr. G------pay all this?" inquired her lodger.

"Dr. G-------did not pay a ha'penny o 't," said Nelly, in a tone which was meant to be repulsive, but which, nevertheless, had something in it calculated to excite, rather than repress curiosity.

It did excite the curiosity of the surgeon, and he insisted on being made acquainted with the name of his benefactor; but upon this subject she was pleased to appear extremely unwilling to speak, and it was not till after a great deal of pressing, that she could be prevailed upon to satisfy him.

"As the lassie is alike beyont the reach of my kennin', and your thanks, I may e'en tell ye," she at last said. "And she made me promise faithfully neither to tell man nor woman, and I tak' Heaven to witness that had it not been for fear it might destroy the little health ye ha'e, ye had never heard a word o't. And wha should it be, after a', but Miss Forester. Had it not been for her, ye might been lying, at this precious moment, on the strae in the corner of Andrew Smibbert's barn, if ye hadna been lying whaur I'll no name; for folk were sae terrified at ye, that there was scarce anither in the toun would ha'e cared for your company. But she paid me handsomely to bring you here; and when you turned ill, she bade me send for Dr. Drugster, and she gave me siller to pay him too. But this is no a'; her faither has an ill-faured trick of keeping her aye short o' siller; and to assist you, the poor lassie selled her claes, and every thing of her ain that would sell, till she had little left but. what was on her back. Andjf I maun speak the truth, she did it for ane that had done but little to deserve sic kindness at her bands."

"Good heavens!" said the astonished listener; "and do I owe my life and my all to her—well, this is more than I ever expected of woman! But she shall learn," he continued with growing emotion, "though I have been a madman and a fool, and could throw away my reputation, my health, and my reason, by my own folly, she shall learn that I am still a man, and that I know how to repair all."

"She'll learn naething about it, I'll warrant her," said Nelly, dryly. "And as to yer bein' a man; ilka drucken carle in the country side is a man, and a great man too, when he is fou; and then' ye can a' repent, and promise reformation like very saunts, when your heads are filled wi' the horrors, your gebbies wi' wind, and your pouches wi' naething. But God be praised, the lassie kens the world ower weel ever to trust her happiness to a druckerl man. I think some folk I had ance the misfortune to be ower nearly connected wi' learned her that lesson. But he was my husband," she continued, lowering her voice, and wiping away a tear with the corner of her apron; "he was my husband, and I ance liket him weel for a' that, and I should baud my tongue, now when he's at his rest. But mony a day I might have made my breakfast on the wind, and my dinner and rny, supper on the same thing, had it not been for her—may God reward her ! and, if ever it is her fortune to be married, send her a kind husband!"

Roland Bridges felt bitterly these reproaches, which, though couched in general terms, were evidently pointed at his own conduct; but he was too deeply affected by what he had heard of Miss Forester, to give vent to any feeling, save that of admiration; and he now begged Nelly Davidson to try if she could procure paper and a pen. "For,"' continued he, "though I dare not look her in the face, I must thank her, and tell her that I am an altered man."

"Maybe your alteration may rub aff when it is dry, like a weaver's kiss," said Nelly, who seemed to be perfectly conscious of the superiority which her guest's ignorance of what had passed conferred on her, and who was, perhaps, willing to lose none of the importance which she might derive from such a circumstance. "But you may save yourself the expense of pens and paper," she continued, in the same dry tone, "and the trouble of writing, too, till you ken whaur to address your letter."

"That is what you can tell me, I suppose," said the other.

"That is what I can. not, as I telled you already," was the brief reply.

"What am I to understand by all this?" inquired the surgeon, growing at last impatient of the tart manner in which she doled out her information. "Do you mean to say, that Miss Forester has left the place, and that you do not know where she has gone?"

"That is exactly what I mean to say," retorted the other; " and I say farther, that I believe you, and that daidlin' claikin' creature of a lawyer, Mr. M'Squintnib, have been the principal cause of her leaving it, and it will be lang before either of you bring her like into it again. But if she left the place to be out of his way and yours, he has been obliged to leave it too, to be out of the way of that punishment which he deserved for leeing and cheating."

Upon any other occasion, Roland Bridges would have scarcely borne the great freedom of speech, and the evident superiority of tone and manner which Nelly had thought proper to assume; but so many strange events had happened during his illness, and so much in which he felt interested was yet to be explained, that at present he took no notice of it. "What can Mr, M'Quiddit have done to deserve punishment?" he inquired, "and where has he gone?"

"As to where he has gone, I believe that is a secret he has kept to himself," rejoined the, widow. "But his deservings are by this time public enough, and anent them I think I can satisfy you, if you will have patience. First and foremost, he keepit thrang wi' Jenny M'Intosh, his landlady's daughter— and if we keep my ain Miss Forester out of the count, there wasna a bonnier lassie in the town than her—till she, poor thing, could scarce see daylight for him. But, amang a' the things that you men like, siller seems to hae an unco place in your heart; and sae, because Jenny's portion was like to be but sma', he thought proper to keep her between him and want, while he was a' the time laying close siege to Miss Forester; and, let me tell you, mair than ane or two wondered how neither you nor Jenny seemed to suspect sic a thing."

"He is a villain," ejaculated the surgeon, "and I should have known it."

"Then there was Andrew Baxter," continued Nelly, who had now got into the full tide of gossip—"by the bye, they say it was yourself that advised him to employ the rascal Squintnib about his uncle's property. Well, the poor lad—and a poor lad he is, for he never could keep a saxpence if a public-house were within a mile of him—and Jenny Johnston, God help her, poor thing! they say they're to be married, but how she can ever think of being able to keep a house ower the head of sic a daidlin' creature, is mair than I ken. But as I was gaun to tell ye, the poor lad was staved off from time to time, wi' ae excuse after anither, till he grew impatient, and consulted honest Mr. Copyhold, the town-clerk. Aweel, twa folk of the same trade in the same town are seldom great friends: so Mr. Copyhold demanded a sight of a' the letters and papers connected with the affair, and telled Mr. Squintnib, that if they were not forthcoming immediately, he would have him landed in jail for 'bezzling the man's property. Sae ye see, Mr. Squintnib promised faithfully to show him the whole of the papers next day; but before the next day cam, baith him and the papers were gane. And now Andrew maun want his siller, and Jenny maun e'en seek anither joe, for without the siller she says she'll never marry him. Sae there's the tap, tail, and mane o' the matter; mak o't what ye like.''

"Strange, indeed," said Roland Bridges; "but what of Miss Forester? where is she? pray be so kind as to tell me that?"

"I've telled you twice ower already," said the dame, "that I kenned as little about whaur she is as I kenned about John o' Groat. A' that I can tell of the matter is, that after his wife's death, the folk here kenned unco little of Mr. Forester's affairs; and so, after you and Mr. Squintnib had baith tried to get Eliza-—sorrow eonfound him at least for his impudence—he saw this was nae place for her and him to live in, and selled off his things by publie roup. But before they left the town, Hiss Forester sent for me to gie me what I verily believe wast her^last half-crown, and she bade me be as kind to you as I could at the same time; but I wish she had bidden me do something else, for I'm aye ill-natured when I think that you had some hand in driving my best, and, I may say, my only friend, from the house in which she was born and bred. But though she said she was convinced it was for her good to bide nae langer here, the tears ran ower her cheeks as she bade me fareweel, and then she turned baek to bid me tell your friend Dr. what-d'-ye'-ea'-him, not to leave you till you was better, and said she hoped he would give you something to support you till you was perfectly recovered. Then she said, ' 0 Nelly, I'm vext to leave ye', and the tears ran ower her cheeks again like beads; and then she bade me gie ye a' the good advice I eould; and when I said that drucken folk never listened to good advice, she shook as if she had been in an ague, and tried to smile as she bade me do the best I could. But, poor lassie, if she had only seen her ain pale cheek, drenched in tears, and sic a smile! I never saw its like before, and would never wish to see it again. But though she wished me to believe that her vexation was on my account, I could easily see that there was something else at her heart. Ah, little, little does a young seatter-wit like you ken what sorrow he may occasion to a woman, or how she may struggle sair, sair to keep it out o' sight, and assign twenty reasons for it beside the right ane, while he thinks a' the time he's only making sport."

This long speech of Nelly's, though certainly far from being an eloquent one, had made sueh an impression on the heart of her auditor, that when she concluded, he sat in deep meditation, without appearing to have anything wherewithal to answer; and then, after a short pause, she was left to take up the discourse again in her own way.

"Dinna tine heart, Mr. Briggs," she said, in a tone of real sympathy; "dinna tine heart. I'm a hasty body, and I've said ower muekle, but I'm sorry for ye now, and if ye would only tak' a thought and mend, wha kens what might happen—the thing is not impossible. I have kenned Eliza since she was a bairn, and though some women can change their joes, with as little trouble as they change their dresses, and nearly as fast as the moon changes her faces, I am far deceived if she ever marry anither; and if I could only see you fairly reformed, glad wad I be to hear that ye were man and wife."

What effect these harangues produced on the mind of the ex-surgeon, cannot be told, for he spoke not of the subject. But his next care was to see Andrew Baxter, to whose misfortune he considered himself as having contributed, and after a short conference, during which he represented to him, in strong terms, the folly of which they had both been, guilty, they arranged matters for leaving the place together. In the evening, Andrew went to inform Jenny Johnston of his intended removal, and early next morning they started on their journey. After travelling one whole day, and a part of the second, they began to seek employment, which they soon found, and then Roland Bridges sold his watch, which was the only available property he possessed, bought a spade with part of the money, and some articles of dress, suited to his reduced circumstances, with what remained; and on the following morning, they both began the world anew as common day-labourers. Andrew, who did not want natural abilities, though hitherto he had abused them, was at first by far the best workman; and blistered hands and feet were rather severe trials for the other: but he had determined to persevere, and what cannot perseverance overcome. The toil to which he now subjected himself, soon hardened the skin upon such parts of his body as were exposed, braced his sinews, and called into vigorous action those resisting powers of Nature which enable the laborious classes to sustain, without serious injury, hardships under which those who are unaccustomed to them would certainly sink. As soon as he supposed himself sufficiently master of his new calling, he and his fellow-labourer began to work upon their own account. With indefatigable care and perseverance, matters prospered in their hands; in a short time they were enabled to become masters in a small way, by employing two or three men, which considerably increased their clear profits; and at the end of six months their prospects were better than either of them had ventured to anticipate.

About this time Jenny Johnston—led as it appeared by a liking for Andrew, which his wierdless habits had not been able to extinguish—came to reside in the same neighbourhood; and so delighted was she with the change which had been produced upon his manners and appearance, that, if his reforming partner in business had thought proper to become a rival, it were hard to say, if she would not have given him her hand out of gratitude. This however was no part of his design. They continued in company for a year and some months, endeavouring to make the most of everything; and then, after making a fair division of their profits, property in tools, &c. which left about fifteen pounds, for their respective shares, and seeing Andrew married to Jenny Johnston, as the best means he could think of for preventing him from falling into his former dissipated habits, Roland Bridges took his departure, like the patriarch Jacob of old, with his staff in his hand.

Thus provided, and thus equipped, he wended his way to a distance of some sixty miles from the scene of his disgrace; and with feelings and sentiments widely different from those with which he had begun the world, he again commenced his medical career, in an increasing village called Glenlaigh. The place, though small, possessed several advantages, being situated in the midst of a populous country district, which hitherto had only been visited, in cases of great severity, by a medical practitioner from a distance. Experience and misfortune had now taught him to restrain his former levity; disappointment had imparted a shade of thoughtfulness, if not melancholy, to his countenance, which, while it made him more interesting in the eyes of his new patients, and their friends, was at once imputed to habits of severe study; and though his practice for a time lay principally among the poorer sort, his success, and the zeal and attention which he displayed, soon placed him high in the esteem of all ranks.

Shortly after his arrival, he was called to visit the wife of an opulent farmer, who had been lame for more than a year. She had, as was supposed, sprained her ankle by a fall; little attention was bestowed upon it at first, but after it began to assume a serious appearance, the nearest medical gentleman was called, who continued to treat it, till it broke out into what he declared was an incurable sore, and then he advised immediate amputation. This, however, was not agreed to, and for several months the patient had been in extreme pain. But Dr. Bridges soon succeeded in giving her relief, and ultimately in healing the sore. Things of this sort frequently make a noise in a country district; the cure was considered us little less than a miracle, and' his fame spread with the rapidity of lightning. The other medical gentleman had by this time saved a moderate competence, and considering himself insulted, when he was no longer praised, he left the journey, he resolved on paying a short visit to his friend, Dr. G------, who had just settled in Glasgow. He accordingly

mounted the stage-coach on its way thither, and passed with it over many a mile, without feeling any alleviation of his care. On the road, however, he imagined that he could unbosom himself to his friend, and that he might reap at least the relief of his sympathy and condolence; but when he arrived he found that even this was denied him. The mind, like the body, from being overburdened, becomes weak, and ceases to perform its healthy functions. Upon this subject he had been so long silent, that he now found that he could not speak of it at all, without a most distressingly powerful effort; like the victim of disease, who calls for meat, and loathes it when it is set before him, as soon as he found himself in the presence of his friend, he shrunk from the idea of making the disclosure, and felt as anxious to return home as ever he had been to travel.

As his visit proved unsatisfactory, he determined to make his stay short. After spending a day and a night in Glasgow, he took leave of his friend next morning, and was proceeding along a narrow and dirty street, on his way, as he supposed, to the place from which the coach usually started, when a meanly dressed and pale-looking female attracted his attention. There was something in her dark eye and the profile of her countenance which he thought he had seen before, though he could neither recollect when nor where; but after reflecting for a moment upon the improbability of such an occurrence, he felt inclined to impute the whole to some distant resemblance, or to the effects of imagination, and without taking a second look he passed on. At the turning of the next corner, however, she met him full in the face, and seemed to solicit his attention, by a timid and, supplicating look. The fine expanse of forehead, upon which the lines were more deeply marked than when he had seen it last, the dark eye, still the same, though clouded with care and anxiety—in short, every lineament of that countenance flashed at once upon his recollection, and there was now no mistaking the well-known features of Miss M'Intosh.

After salutations, and mutual inquiries had been exchanged and answered, she told Dr. Bridges that she knew him at first sight, and fancying that he had not recognised her, she had again ventured to throw herself in his way, to beg that assistance for another which she should have never thought of asking for herself; but though such a preamble seemed, in her estimation, to be absolutely necessary, it was not without a strong effort she could overcome her own feelings, so far as to tell him that the individual she alluded to was Arthur M'Quiddit.

"And how, if I may ask,'' inquired Dr. Bridges, in a kind and sympathising tone, "how is it that you come to be here at such a distance from your friends, and to take such an interest in him t Tell me, Miss M'Intosh, if I may still call you hy that name, has he any claim upon you?"

"Upon me he has no claim," said the young woman, while a slight colour rose to her cheek, and a consciousness of the most disinterested intentions, and the most perfect innocence, overcame her former embarrassment. "Upon me he has no claim; and as to my being interested in him—alas ! there was another, who with as little reason to be interested as I have, took almost as deep an interest in yourself; but I would not pain you, sir —God knows, I have enough of my own to think of."

"Do you know anything of her—of Miss—of Miss Forester?" inquired the other eagerly.

"Nothing," was the reply; but would to heaven I did, for here I have no friend—no one to whom I can speak. Poor Eliza, when I think of her I could almost weep, and yet I have nearly forgotten to shed tears on my own account, or that of any other, these two months have so changed and bewildered me! Before she left Auldenhurgh, a sort of coldness had come between us; but it was my fault, not hers; and if she saw me now, and heard my story, I am certain she would forgive me."

There was something so touching in these allusions, and the manner in which they were made, that, had the speaker wept, Dr. Bridges had certainly done the same to keep her company. As it was, whatever dislike he might have for Mr. M'Quiddit, the feeling had never extended to her; he could only regard with sympathy and admiration those sorrows, and that disinterested affection, of the full extent of which he was as yet ignorant; and taking Miss M'Intosh hy the hand, he pressed it warmly —as much as to say, we are fellow-sufferers, and then begged her to conduct him to some place where he might speak with freedom. By a short walk, she brought him to the outskirts of the town, and led him into a private road, which seemed to communicate with a neat looking little country house at a considerable distance. Here he felt that he was in the society of one to whom he could unbosom himself: a strange impulse urged him to tell his story, and he proceeded to give her a brief sketch of his fortunes, and the cause of his present unhappiness. He alluded, in feeling terms, to the first time he had met Miss Forester at her mother's, and spoke of the impression which she had then made on his heart, and the hopes—vain ones as it now appeared—which he had long cherished of meeting her again, with so much sincerity, and truth to Nature, that it affected the other even more than her own sufferings. Nothing has a greater tendency to unlock the heart, and bring forth all its secrets, than a similarity of misfortunes and a ready confidence. When man or woman—but more particularly woman—has been intrusted with a tale, of sorrow, akin to her own, and when this has been done without any appearance of reserve, it is hardly possible to resist the impulse to confide again, and thus make the obligation, if such it may be called, mutual. In the present instance, Miss M'Intosh felt what has been felt by others, and while a single tear stole down her cheek, she began to narrate some particulars of her own story.

She confessed, as plainly as female delicacy would permit, that she had been warmly attached to Mr. M'Quiddit, though up to that moment she had never acknowledged it to any one, and that she was the last to believe him guilty of meanness, or dishonest practices. For nearly three years from the time of his clandestine departure, she had heard nothing of him ; and it was but little more than two months ago, that she received a letter, which did not bear his name, but which from the penmanship and a particular mark, she at once recognised as his. The letter stated that he had been unfortunate—that he was in extreme poverty—very ill, and that he had the prospect of dying amongst strangers, without being able to procure a nurse, or any attendance whatever. He spoke of her as being the only friend to whom in his extremity he could apply, and begged, if it were possible, that she would send him a small sum of money, to smooth his passage to the grave. A woman's hopes of being able to reform, and serve, and even save those she loves, are never at an end. When the caution, and it may be the stronger understanding, of the other sex would urge them to pronounce the case desperate, she is ever ready to step forward and exert herself to the last; nor are instances awanting in which she has succeeded, after men, with all their boasted powers, had 'yielded to despair. Miss M'Intosh did more than was requested of her: she fancied that in the midst of his misfortunes he might be ready to listen to the counsel of a friend, and with her care that he might still recover. She knew, however, that she could not accomplish the task she had assigned herself, with her mother's consent; and poor as he was, and blighted in fame and fortune as he had been, she left her home secretly to search him out, and administer such relief as she could. With much difficulty she discovered him, under an, assumed name, hut at first he pretended he was not the man she sought, and when at last he was compelled to acknowledge his identity, he seemed to be rather offended with the rash step she had taken, and entreated her to say nothing of having known him previously. Since then she had done her utmost to husband her little stock of money, living with a poor family, a few doors from him, and passing for a distant relation of his. But her means of supporting herself and assisting him were now completely exhausted: "And God only knows," she added, "what is to become of me ! I cannot leave him to perish, and if I could, how am I to return home?"

At that moment Dr. Bridges saw his friend turn into the road which they occupied; from the time which had already elapsed, he felt certain that he must have lost the coach for that day ; he felt, moreover, strongly interested in what he had heard, and resolving to postpone his departure till next morning, he gave her hastily some money; and after having learned the locality in which she lived, he promised to call in the evening, to see if he could be of any service to the sick man.

"If you are determined on doing so, some caution will be necessary," said the other; "for there is a mystery about him which I have never been able to penetrate. Had our meeting been less sudden and less unexpected I should have told you this at first, or perhaps I should not have mentioned him to you at all; but I had little time to think, and now I can only entreat you to recognise him as Hubert Jackson, to appear a perfect stranger, and not to speak of those scenes in which you knew him; for I have all along observed that any allusion to his real name, or to anything connected with Auldenburgh, drives him almost to madness."

"Leave that to me," said the other, and immediately joined his friend, Dr. G------, who was now close upon them. A short explanation of the causes which had detained him, followed as a matter of course, after which Dr. G------ expressed' himself pleased with any circumstance which would give him the pleasure of his company for another day, and then requested his professional assistance, with respect to the patient whom he was then on his way to visit. "Her case," he said, "was a mysterious one, having completely baffled several medical gentlemen before he was called, and during his own short attendance he had not been able to render her any assistance.'' Dr. Bridges readily complied, and in a short time they reached the house to which they were going. The door was opened by a female servant, at whom Dr. Gr------inquired, "how her mistress was?" but the girl only said, "she could scarcely tell," and then ushered them on tiptoe into her room. When they entered she was reclining on a sofa, and seemed to be in a gentle sleep. Dr. G-------paused for a moment, and would have turned back; but as she opened her eyes and sat up, before he could do so, he advanced to address her, and then turned round to introduce his friend. With the first glance, however, which he caught of that pale countenance, he had retreated like one in utter bewilderment, and before Dr. G------could return to the room door, he was leaving the house.

The last mentioned individual followed him out, and after he had somewhat recovered from the agitation into which he had l>een thrown, he endeavoured to account as succinctly as possible for his surprise, and sudden retreat. The features of the patient had been too deeply imprinted on his memory, to be easily effaced, and, altered in appearance as she was, by three years of disappointment and suffering, the moment he saw her reclining on the sofa, he recognised Miss Forester. But the meeting was so unexpected, she appeared to have endured so much, and the change which suffering had produced upon her countenance, was so evident, that his heart smote him as the cause of all; a simultaneous rush of recollections overpowered him, and he felt equally incapable of addressing her, or remaining in her presence. A short consultation followed, during which it was agreed, that to appear suddenly before her, in her present weak state, might produce disastrous, and even fatal consequences; but as Dr. Gr------ was now satisfied, that blighted affection had been the principal, if not the sole cause of her protracted illness, he was of opinion, that the sooner she could be made acquainted with his improved prospects, and the present state of his feelings, so much the better. For these reasons it was settled, that Dr. Bridges should return directly to his friend's house, while the other was to repair to his patient, and endeavour by such hints as he might think proper, to prepare her mind for seeing him.

When he returned to her apartment, Miss Forester inquired, with some eagerness, "what had become of the gentleman whom he was about to introduce as his friend?" whose name she had not yet heard.

"Why, as to that," replied the other, "I believe he had forgot some appointment, or something of that sort, and found it impossible to favour us with his company; but ever since I saw him, I have been determined to congratulate you on the hopes which I now entertain of your speedy recovery, and to banter you out of these melancholy thoughts which are at present preying upon your spirits. After him, I think I shall never again speak of any thing as impossible; for at no very distant period, he had wantonly thrown away his prospects, his reputation, and very nearly thrown away his life ; indeed, there appeared to be but' a hair breadth between him and his end; and now he is completely reformed, rich, respectable, and stands high in his profession; and I assure you------"

"And what is that profession? if I may be so bold as to inquire," interrupted Miss Forester.

"Nay, you must not fall in love with him so suddenly," resumed the other, "though I have been praising him, he may be both old and ill-looking, for any thing you know to the contrary, so you must wait till you have seen him, and then, as he is still unmarried, who knows what may happen?"

To the last part of this discourse she did not appear to listen, or, if she did, its import had escaped her. . A bright crimson now flushed her formerly pale cheek, and her whole countenance bore such an expression of strong and deep interest, that Dr. Gr-------began to fear he had already approached too near the subject he was endeavouring' to introduce, and almost trembled for the consequences. The blush, however, which alarmed him, was not one of passion, or of maiden shame, but occasioned by that mysterious impulse which hope and sudden excitement communicate to the heart; and while he stood confounded at the change in her look and manner, which his words had produced, "I conjure you, doctor," she said, rising from the sofa as she spoke, "I conjure you, unless you have strong reasons for withholding them, to tell me the profession and name of your friend."

"As to that—as to his profession," said the other, who was still wholly at a loss how to proceed; "as to his profession, I believe—I think I may tell you—that he is a surgeon; and for his name, really ma'am—I think—I suppose------"

"And his name is Bridges, you would perhaps say,'' added Miss Forester, completing the sentence with which he appeared to be so terribly puzzled.

"I believe your guess is not very distant from the truth," rejoined the other, while he could not suppress a smile at his own embarrassment.

"I thought I was right," said she, "from the slight glance I had of him when he was retiring."

As she uttered these words, she sank back upon the sofa, faint and exhausted by her own emotions. She did not swoon, however, as he had almost anticipated. Though he knew nothing of her previous history, except what had been hurriedly imparted by Dr. Bridges, she was perfectly aware of his having been at Auldenburgh while that individual was suffering from delirium tremens: this circumstance, and the evidence afforded by her own eyes, had partially prepared her for that information which he had communicated with so much embarrassment; and as he had been called by her own particular request, it is, at least, probable, that she might have been expecting some information of the kind.

"You will think me a strange creature," said she, after a ahort pause of exhaustion; "and for one so near her grave, as I have reason to suppose myself, I must confess I have acted unbecomingly."

"Not a word more of that," said the other, "but pardon me for speaking plainly. Short as was my interview with Dr. Bridges, I knew enough of your story to account for every particular of what I have seen; and as matters now stand, I think I may congratulate both him and you." Another deep blush was followed by a long and interesting conversation, in which Miss Forester took part with more strength and spirits than her medical adviser had supposed she possessed. Between them it was finally arranged, that if her father's consent could be obtained, Dr. Bridges should breakfast there next morning. Just as they had come to this conclusion, Mr. Forester returned from his forenoon walk, and, that nothing might be awanting, Dr. O------waited on him in his own room. At first he seemed to hesitate, and would have, perhaps, declined the honour which was intended him ; but on being reminded of the different position in which affairs now stood, and of his daughter's illness, with the probable cause of it, he at once gave his assent.

Deeply as Dr. Bridges had felt interested in Miss M'Intosh, the events which followed, and the important intelligence which his friend had to communicate, completely banished both her and Hubert Jackson from his mind; and it was not till next morning he recollected that he had promised to call upon them. As soon as he mentioned the circumstance to his friend, he offered to accompany him, and as he was by this time tolerably well acquainted with the town, they discovered the house in question without much difficulty. At the door they met Miss M'Intosh, who appeared to be suffering from recent agitation.

Believing that her former caution was vain, and that worse consequences might follow if she did otherwise, she had at last ventured to tell the sick man of his intended visitor ; but as soon as she mentioned the circumstance, he fell into a most ungovernable passion, began to rave like a madman, and upbraided her with a wish to bring him to an ignominious death. These ravings were followed by a violent trembling, and a depression of spirits, as pitiable as the former had been appalling, and even after he had sunk to sleep, his dreams seemed to be haunted with images of horror. For these sudden and distressing changes, Miss M'Intosh could not assign a reason, and she now seemed to hesitate as to the propriety of admitting the two medical gentlemen; but as they expressed themselves ready to do everything in their power for his health and comfort, and she was still willing to believe that they might be of some service to him, she ushered them into his apartment.

When Dr. Bridges addressed him by his assumed name, and inquired how he did, he fixed his eyes on him with an appalling stare, but did not attempt' to speak, and it was not till the other had repeated his words, that he broke silence.

"You need not mock me with that now," he said, at last, withdrawing his eyes at the same time, and fixing them resolutely on one of the bedposts: "I am Arthur M'Quiddit, as you perfectly know ; and, what is more, I am dying; but what do you want with me?"

"To lend you all the assistance in my power," said Dr. Bridges, in a soothing tone.

"If that is all," retorted the sick man, "you may carry your assistance to those who can reward you for it, or, at least, to those who will thank you—for me I can do neither."

"I look for neither reward nor thanks," said Dr. Bridges; "but will you be so good as allow me to feel your pulse, and answer a few questions?"

To this he offered no opposition, but medical assistance came too late: to his visitors it appeared that his constitution had sunk under excesses of various kinds, to which he ,had been addicted; and though neither of them spoke, they both felt certain that his last moments were hastening on. As medicine could be of no use, they tried to draw his attention to the consolations of religion; but they had scarcely alluded to the subject, when he almost gnashed his teeth with rage.

"Demons and spirits of darkness!" he screamed in shrill and hissing tones, "if you will have me damned, let me die first at least! but wait till then; for I tell you that I have despised and rejected the hypocritical cant and vile delusions which you would offer—my only hope is in annihilation, and why would you tear that away when I have most need of it?"

Convinced of the hopelessness of his prospects in both worlds, and unwilling to embitter by their presence the few hours he had to live, Dr. Bridges and his friend were about to retire, when they saw Miss M'Intosh, who, overcome by a feeling of horror, had shrunk back from the bedside, and now stood pale, trembling, and, to all appearance, ready to faint. They tried to soothe and comfort her, and while thus engaged, the scene seemed to affect the dying man deeply: a sigh heaved his bosom, he shaded his eyes with his hand for a moment, and then addressed Dr. Bridges in a tone of softened feeling.

"You have spoken of assisting me," he said—"I am beyond the reach of your assistance, but be kind to that woman—she has been kind to me, kinder than I deserved, and were I to live, I would be a better friend to her than ever I was to man or woman before. Be kind to her, and when I am dead, use your influence with her friends to take her back/'

Dr. Bridges assured him that his request would be complied with, and offered him his hand, which he took, as a pledge. This done, they were again about to retire, when he interrupted them. "Stay," he said, "there is something yet which I would tell; but draw near, for I am unable to make myself heard at a distance." Dr. Bridges drew close to the bedside, and he proceeded to tell him of a tree which stood in a solitary corn field at a distance of several miles. After having described the place minutely—"Go to this tree," he continued, in a low husky voice; "measure exactly twenty feet from its root, in the direction in which the shadow falls at noon; dig there, and at the depth of about two feet, you will find a glass bottle, containing some papers, which may be of use to you or some one else." It was with considerable difficulty he could articulate the last words, and as he concluded, he pointed with his finger to the door as a sign that they might now depart.

It now behoved them to hasten to their appointment at Mr. Forester's, which they did with all possible speed, and there they found breakfast on the table, and Miss Forester waiting their arrival with some impatience. On this occasion, she had bestowed rather more care on her dress and person than was her wont. Her appearance was still emaciated; but there was a faint colour on her cheek, which, together with the sparkle of her excited eye, made her once more beautiful. The distressing scene which he had just witnessed could not prevent her lover from worrying himself with apprehensions on the road thither ; but the moment he took the hand which she held out to welcome him, though she spoke not a word, the pressure of her slender fingers convinced him that he was forgiven, and that he still had an interest in her bosom. Sorry we are to say, however, that there was scarcely anything else in their meeting which deserves to be narrated. When the simple ceremony of shaking hands was over, Miss Forester retired to her own room for a few minutes, and when she returned, with the exception of an occasional flutter—the natural effect of pleased and excited feelings—she behaved as if nothing extraordinary had happened. With respect to the other, there was little in his manner worthy of remark, save that he seemed to have lost his appetite, and had he been left to himself, he would have certainly forgotten to take his breakfast. When reminded of what he had to do, he indeed set about the business in hand with much apparent satisfaction; but then after the first minute or so, he uniformly relapsed into inactivity, and the good things upon the table were suffered to remain untasted, till tome inuendo, or commonplace remark, again called his attention to the strengthening of his inner man. It may well be supposed, that Miss Forester had no great reason to be pleased with this carelessness of a meal which, weak as she was, she had provided with much care; but such is the natural lenity of woman, that she showed no sign of having taken offence : On the contrary, she seemed to derive a sort of pleasure from the forgetfulness of her guest, and on more occasions than one, it was with some difficulty she could suppress a smile. When breakfast was ended, matters were so contrived, that they were left alone ; and here these who have been in a similar situation must be left to guess what they said—the writer of this story not having been able to procure any information on the subject. By the time this private interview ended, it was within an hour of noon, and as the sky was unclouded, and the sun throwing a distinct shadow from every object which intercepted his rays, the two friends set out to discover the tree which Arthur M'Quiddit had mentioned in the morning. By following his directions, they found the article in question, which contained the most important letters and papers connected with Andrew Baxter's West Indian property, along with a number of large notes belonging to the bank at Auldenburgh, which had unquestionably been abstracted when the robbery was committed. The notes were privately returned to the proper quarter as soon as possible; and as the robber had never been discovered, and no evidence now existed to warrant farther search, the whole affair was quietly hushed over. The other papers enabled them almost immediately to institute proceedings for securing to Andrew Baxter what remained of his uncle's property, which was still well worth attention.

Before Dr. Bridges and his friend could return to the town, Arthur M'Quiddit had escaped from disease and poverty, from the hands of that justice of which he appeared to be afraid, and from every earthly tribunal, and gone to give in his account before his Maker. Miss M'Intosh, however, remained to claim their care; she had been so terribly appalled by his last struggles, and the indistinct yet fearful allusions which he made to futurity before his spirit fled, that she was now seriously indisposed; and it required the most assiduous attention to prevent her from sinking under the effects of what she had witnessed.

Our story might now end, but as Sir Walter Scott had thought proper to introduce to the notice of authors, a numerous class of readers, from among whom he selected Miss Buskybody, as an example; and as it is unquestionably the duty of every scribbler to endeavour, as far as he consistently can, to please this and every other class who may honour his productions with a perusal, a few words more may perhaps he pardoned. Dr. Drugster was now dead, and by a subsequent arrangement, Dr. G------took Dr. Bridges' situation, which was a very lucrative one, while he returned to the scene of his early labours. Mr. Forester also returned to Auldenburgh, and took possession of his former house. Andrew Baxter, who, as already hinted, had learned sobriety and industry from his connection with the surgeon, was again an inhabitant of his native town, living comfortably with his wife Jenny Johnston, and growing gradually rich upon the fruits of their joint labours. He was, however, soon raised many degrees in the estimation of his former acquaintances, by being put in possession of three hundred and fifty pounds ; but though Jenny and his other friends declaimed loudly upon the villainy of Mr. M'Quiddit, in keeping him so long from his own, he only shook his head slightly, and thanked heaven in a whisper, that the villain had done what he did—intimating thereby his conviction, that had the money come into his hands shortly after his uncle's death, it might have found its way into the hands of others long ago. On the Sabbath after Andrew was made a gentleman, and just before the minister entered, the precentor rose up in the church of Auldenburgh, and proclaimed to the people there assembled, a certain laudable "purpose" at the time existing between Roland Bridges and Eliza Forester; and on the following week there was a marriage, to which Nelly Davidson was invited. In the course of the evening Dr. Bridges inquired at her if she were pleased with him now, and if she thought he had done his part, by bringing back one who, he hoped, would be as good a friend to her, and in other respects as valuable in the place, as ever Miss Forester had been. To these questions Nelly did not give a direct answer, but said, "she much doubted whether he would have ever been able to bring even a beggar wife to the town, had it not been for one who had more affection for him than he had for himself." With respect to Miss M'Intosh, it only remains to be stated, that she is still handsome, and has lost but little of her personal attractions. Her heart, however, does not seem to be of that yielding kind which, like warm wax, may be made to take a hundred impressions, one after the other; and having seen, and felt, and suffered, as she has done, there is little prospect of her changing her name.

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