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arm about his neck, made answer, 'I shall soon be there!'
"After a short silence he spoke again.
'"I am not afraid to die,' he said: 'I am quite contented. I almost think, that, if I could rise from this bed quite well, I would not wish to do so now. You have so often told me we shall meet again, — so very often, lately, — and now I feel the truth of that so strongly, that I can even bear to part from you.'
"The trembling voice and tearful eye, and the closer grasp of the arm, which accompanied these latter words, showed how they filled the speaker's heart; nor were there wanting indications of how deeply they had touched the heart of him to whom they were addressed.
"' You say well,' returned Nicholas at length, 'and comfort me very much, dear fellow. Let me hear you say you are happy, if you can.'
"' You must tell me something first. I should not have a secret from you. You will not blame me at a time like this, I know."
"' I blame you!' exclaimed Nicholas.
"' I am sure you will not. You asked me why I was so changed, and — and sat so much alone. Shall I tell you why?'
"' Not if it pains you,' said Nicholas. 'I only asked, that I might make you happier if I could.'
"' I know. I felt that at the time.' He drew hia friend closer to him. 'You will forgive me: I could not help it; but, though I would have died to make her happy, it broke my heart to see — I know he loves her dearly — oh! who could find that out so soon as I?'
"The words which followed were feebly and faintly uttered, and broken by long pauses; but from them Nicholas learned, for the first time, that the dying boy, with all the ardor of a nature concentrated on one absorbing, hopeless, secret passion, loved his sister Kate.
"He had procured a lock of her hair, which hung at his breast, folded in one or two slight ribbons she had worn. He prayed, that, when he was dead, Nicholas would take it off, so that no eyes but his might see it, and that, when he was laid in his coffin and about to be placed in the earth, he would hang it round his neck again, that it might rest with him in the grave.
"Upon his knees, Nicholas gave him this pledge, and promised again that he should rest in the spot he had pointed out. They embraced, and kissed each other on the cheek.
"' Now,' he murmured, ' I am happy.'
"He fell into a light slumber, and, waking, smiled as before: then spoke of beautiful gardens, which he said stretched out before him, and were filled with figures of men, women, and many children, all with light upon their faces; then whispered that it was Eden; and so died."
From these extracts it may be seen, that, as a writer in " The Edinburgh Review" says, —
"There is no misanthropy in his satire, and no coarseness in his descriptions, — a merit enhanced by the nature of his subjects. His works are chiefly pictures of humble life, — frequently of the humblest. The reader is led through scenes of poverty and crime, and all the characters are made to discourse in the appropriate language of their respective classes; and yet we recollect no passage which ought to cause pain to the most sensitive delicacy, if read aloud in female society. We have said that his satire was not misanthropic. This is eminently true. One of the qualities we the most admire in him is his comprehensive spirit of humanity. The tendency of his writings is to make us practically benevolent; to excite our sympathy in behalf of the aggrieved and suffering in all classes, and especially in those who are most removed from observation. He especially directs our attention to the helpless victims of untoward circumstances or a vicious system, — to the imprisoned debtor, the orphan pauper, the parish apprentice, the juvenile criminal, and to the tyranny, which, under the combination of parental neglect with the mercenary brutality of a pedagogue, may be exercised with impunity in schools. His humanity is plain, practical, and manly. It is quite untainted with sentimentality. There is no monkish wailing for ideal distresses; no morbid exaggeration of the evils incident to our lot; no disposition to excite unavailing discontent, or to turn our attention from remedial grievances to those which do not admit a remedy. Though he appeals much to our feelings, we can detect no instance in which he has employed the verbiage of a spurious philanthropy. He is equally exempt from the meretricious cant of a spurious philosophy." *
Master Humphrey's Clock. —London Tears Ago. —Country Picture. —Barnaby
"A blessing on the printer's art I
"Of making many books there is no end."—Eccles. xil. 12.
HE busy pen moved on. After "Nicholas Nickleby" came a series of tales, or novels, published in weekly numbers, under the general title of " Master Humphrey's Clock." In this series, " Barnaby Rudge" and "The Old Curiosity Shop" appeared. It was in April, 1840, that the first number of this serial was written. The thirty years which have since passed have only added to the author's reputation, which was even then so far established, that, of the three-penny numbers containing his " Master Humphrey's Clock," there were no less than forty thousand copies when first issued; and to this were soon added twenty thousand