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in Bond Street, and had been much struck with the incongruity of his attire. He certainly thought something light on their heads would be desirable. He said there was another school where the lads were dressed rather like those they had seen, only the gowns were much shorter, mere jackets in fact, the stockings dark grey, and all the pupils' heads were covered by a cap with a fuzzy nob on the top of it. He thought this a much more sensible plan and so did Misses Trixie and Dot.
They turned off to the left now, to look at a long, low building, with huge pillars in front, and a clock on its face. Underneath gaped some gigantic boxes, which could easily have swallowed the little ones up and thought nothing of it. These were for receiving down their capacious throats the letters which the merchants and others would presently begin to write to all quarters of the globe. At this time the place was comparatively quiet, only a straggler now and then going up and dropping something into the mouths.
There was a gaily-dressed beadle taking it coolly under the portico, and several light-hearted shoeblacks beating tattoos with brushes on their wooden boxes. But it was evident that there was a great deal doing there sometimes ; for a notice was posted up asking people not to loiter, and, having done their business, to retire in favour of others.
Great-heart said the time to be there to see the place in all its glory was within a few minutes of the hour of six in the evening, just before the mails were made up, and the great mouths closed suddenly and with terrible punctuality; or on one particular day in the month of February, when people had a habit of sending love-tokens and pleasantries through the post-office to one another, oddly enough doing all they could to disguise the identity of the senders. Then, it appeared, all the resources of the establishment were brought into play to cope with the enormous increase of matter that found its way through the jaws above, down into the body below. That day in the year, at any rate, if on no other, that red-coated beadle earned his salary.
As they retraced their steps, the dome of a mighty church met their view, standing out magnificently against the summer sky, on its summit a golden cross that glittered brilliantly. This was the Cathedral of London, nearly two hundred years old, and a lasting record of the genius of its designer. The children were anxious to cross over once more and visit this place, but Great-heart said that if they did so they must give up all idea of further sight-seeing for that day. Once inside that beautiful building, he felt sure they would not care to leave it, and he had other plans in view for them. But he promised
they should go there before they left him ; at a time, too, when the organ played and sent up its sweet sounds to heaven.
This satisfied the little people. One thing he told them, which struck them as very odd, that up till that time this wonderful church had no bells to ring out over the city with. But they were going, even now, though so long after it had stood there, to put up a peal. The children hoped they would be up in time for them to hear, that they might carry the memory of them back to their other lives below. Great-heart hoped so too, but did not think it likely. *
Now were they indeed in the full tide of business life, in the street that formed one of the main arteries to the great centres of commerce further on, and was consequently always choked up to overflowing. On either side streams of people jostling one another, as they hurried this way or that, intent on seizing every moment of the fleeting hour to turn it into—money. Rich and poor, honest men and rogues, people who had risen in the world, those who had fallen, all in one ever-changing mass, restless, dissatisfied.
In order to obtain as comprehensive a view as possible, the party retired up a lane-or rather it
They are up now, of course, God bless them.
was called a “Row”-(but there was no tan in that one), which stood facing this street; there they could stand and watch in comparative quiet.
The trade in this place was made up of almost entirely one branch-books. It was the great emporium for literature of all sorts, and it was turned out daily, not in hundreds, but thousands and thousands of forms, to carry such doctrines as it had to teach over the broad face of the world, for good or ill. Dot, as she glanced up at Great-heart, thought she had never seen him look so sad before, as he stood back, his arms folded in deep meditation; so much so, that she thought she ought to try and comfort him. (Trixie was busy looking in at a shop-window at some highly-coloured natural history "plates.") She put her little hand in his and whispered,
“What is it that makes you look SO sad, dearie ? Did you ever try this means of livelihood—and fail ? "
The man started, and as he answered there was a deep melancholy in his voice that found its way to the child's heart,-"Alas! yes, Dot. When, with unwelcome leisure
my hands, I tried in this wise to turn such opportunity to good to gold too, for then I needed it sore, being poor and almost friendless in this great place. Miserable effort ! that ended but
in failure and the loss of what I would have gained. Yes, I wrote-one small, unpretending book, which, in my doltish vanity, I fancied had merit in it; thought, if it might be crude and weak in plot, construction, or any of those elements, which practice and experience alone can bring, yet carried what all books should, some bright lessons of goodness within its pages,-hidden, perchance, at times beneath a thin cloak of wit or irony, yet none the less there, to be found, I fondly hoped, by those that read.
Vain fancy! I borrowed a sum of money to bring my effort out-the only time I have ever dragged my pride through the mire, to borrow.
I watched and waited with a great anxiety.
“You must know, Dot, that when once you join that band of mortals who for their livelihood wield the pen, it is well to encase yourself in
that shall be proof against all such shafts as failures, disappointments, injustices; because come they will for a certainty, at first with a great bitterness to bear, if you do not. Now, I was but as a baby at such work as this. I had put on no such coat of mail. I imagined that, at any rate, if a little work like mine appeared there must be some few who would read and understand it. Their reading would lead to others, and so