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an affirmative to the position that PETER JONES was destined to “ achieve greatness.” A closer inspection of his dirty face would have led to the conclusion that it expressed intelligence. But though his mother was no physiognomist, anà had never heard of phrenology, she was amused by the questions of her little philosopher, as she termed him, such as, Who Mr. Government was? To whom the sea belonged ? and How many men made an army? Often, in summer, would he go to a little speck of green sward near the street which constituted his world; and there lying on his back muse on immensity. It was on one of these occasions, that marking the fleecy clouds that floated overhead, he hurried home and predicted a severe winter, from the huge masses of snow which he imagined he had seen rolling onwards to the great storehouse of the land of frost.

The time came, and that too early, when PETER JONES should go out to assist in earning the means of subsistence for the family. He had never been at school : but his father had taught him to read the Bible, and he was familiar with many of the Old Testament stories. A year or two passed over ; his diligence raised his earnings, and they became of importance to the family; and though surrounded with all sorts of temptations, he nevertheless regularly brought all his money home, and felt a delightful sensation as he poured it each Saturday into his mother's lap. His fond parent, with tearful joy, would thank God that she had such a son; and that thankfulness made the son feel that fulfilment of duty is its own “exceeding great reward."

A young companion teased him to go with him to the theatre. The prospect was at first startling: but having learnt at the fire-side somewhat of love and

obedience, he carried the question home for consideration. The father was alarmed; solemnly warned his son against compliance; and painted the theatre in dismal colours, as a place hateful and vile, a cage of wickedness and unclean birds. Peter, therefore, refused to go; and replied to his tempter's solicitations with some of his father's description. But the young tempter was not so to be put off. He denounced the description, and gave another of a very different hue; and then commenced a struggle in the mird of Peter. He longed to go, for once ; he feared to disobey: but one day his father unwittingly confessed that he had once himself been at the theatre, when he was a young man; and the disclosure made a breach in the resolution of Peter. If his father had been once, and yet was a good man, why might not Peter go also once, and receive no damage? He struggled, but every struggle made him weaker. The temptation came back again and again; and every time it came it seemed to have redoubled force. At last a whisper seemed to reach the mind of Peter, -Go-but conceal it! How? Tell a lie, Peter. A LIE! No, not a lie, only an excuse ; there will be no harm in it! But in constructing his excuse, Peter found that it was necessary to make it up of several lies. He had to account for his absence on the particular night; to conceal the expenditure of what to him was a large sum of money, a shilling; and his ingenuous soul, not facile in the arts of deception, was more than once on the verge of self-betrayal, and equivocation was necessary in order to recover the position. The excuse was at last hatched; and at the appointed hour, Peter Jones joined his companion, and tried to hide himself amongst the crowd grouped at the entrance of the shilling gallery of the theatre.

The doors were opened : Peter and his companion struggled out of the choked-up entrance, rushed up the stair, stumbled over the benches, and, in an agony of joy, found themselves in possession of a front seat in the gallery. As his heart began to abate in violence of throbbing, the haze which obscured his sight began to clear away, and he was able to look around. That curtain it concealed from Peter å more mysterious Paradise than ever it hid from Charles Lamb; and he looked as if he would pierce it through. The pit and boxes were slowly filling, and that amused him: but just as the theatre was about full, there seemed to come a kind of lull—a pause in the bustle; and Peter, having made his

eyes familiar with all sides of the house, and having minutely scrutinized the figures on the curtain, began to feel uneasy. He fancied that there was somebody in the theatre that knew him--there was some one, surely, that had his eye upon him! Again he fancied that there was a voice calling him by name; he listened, and imagined that he could distinctly hear the words, “ Peter Jones! Peter Jones !" But the bell rang, the music struck up, and the heart of Peter leaped. His blood began to bound-his very fingers felt a strange, exhilarating kind of sensation. Once more the bell rang, the curtain drew up, and the play began.

“Richard the Third ;” and it was followed by a farce which made Peter laugh till he cried. Slowly and reluctantly did he drag himself away when all was over. For a week afterwards he was in a dream. Earth became a stage, the sky was a curtain he saw nothing but the interior of a theatre. Thunders of applause were ever ringing in his ears; at his work, his meals, or in the street, he was ever ready to start into an attitude, and to

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mouth the broken fragments of a speech. During 4 brief period he lived in “ glory and in joy;" he had a little world of his own, into which he could retreat, and with which a stranger could not interfere.

A change now came over the spirit of Peter Jones. He had a secret to hide from his family; and a secret is often the essence of an evil. No longer was he open-hearted and cheerful at the humble fire-sideartless boyhood was passing into a kind of dogged youth. He went back to the theatre again and again, and again and again he had to renew a lie; and wben the lie became hollow, and his father began to hint that he saw through it, he became sullen, and refused to tell where he had been at all. Then his mother took his part, to shield him from his father's anger; and often, after toiling all day, would she sit up till her son came home: for her quick ear could bear his footstep on the pavement, and she would run stealthily to let him in, lest the husband and father should awake to grief and anger. Peter Jones saw all this, and the pept-in sob of his mother, as she would whisperingly press him to tell her where he had been had often well-nigh wrung his secret from him. His sister, too,-a sensible, prudent girl,— often talked to him about the change that had passed over him; and he would turn from her to weep.

Many a shilling that would have been welcome at home did Peter Jones devote to the upper gallery of the theatre. The concealment of his passion for theatricals seemed to increase its intensity: he would sit during the performances in a delirium of joy; but when he rose to depart, a chill came over his soul, and often, on returning home, and retiring to bed, would he breathe out a pettish, passionate prayer, that God would take back his life as he slept, and not


permit him to rise in the morning. In the morning he would revert to the performances of the previous evening ; his work was a mere mechanical operation of the hands, for the being had escaped from all sensation of misery, and was rioting in the region of imagination. He often wished that he were an actor; and then he would advance with folded grms from the side-scenes; or approaching the foot-lights, bow lowly while the hurricane of applause blew around him. At other times he would change his fancy, and wish he were a minister; and then he would mount the pulpit, give out the text, and pour out his sermon, while an absorbed and delighted audience hung on his lips. Again, he was an officer, and on horseback he gave bis orders, drew his sword, and rushed on to the charge. But this fancy did not please him so well as the others; it was only for a little change of air to his imagination that he mounted the military hobby-horse.

His father sickened, and visibly grew on to die. The dying man called Peter to him ; and spake as he had never spoken before. He conjured his son, by the fear and the dread of Almighty God, to abandon his mysterious habits, which he suspected were habits of wickedness, and to walk in the path of duty when he was dead and gone. The poor man died ; and his neighbours seemed to regard him as one of the unknown and forgotten units; as one who, if he had been crushed out of existence, would scarcely have left dust and ashes enough to indicate where a fire of LIFE had once burned. He was, indeed, an atom-but it was an atom of a manifold and mysterious being. And poor as he was, he left in some beating hearts a cherished memory; and died full in the faith that at the Great Audit God will think of him, and recollect that there lived a man.

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