a thaumatrope; he saw the Alhambra leap into the air like a balloon; and reeled against the railing. It is probable he fainted.

When he came to himself, a constable had him by the arm.

`My God!' he cried.

`You seem to be unwell, sir,' said the hireling.

`I feel better now,' cried poor M'Guire: and with uneven steps, for the pavement of the square seemed to lurch and reel under his footing, he fled from the scene of this disaster. Fled? Alas, from what was he fleeing? Did he not carry that from which he fled along with him? and had he the wings of the eagle, had he the swiftness of the ocean winds, could he have been rapt into the uttermost quarters of the earth, how should he escape the ruin that he carried? We have heard of living men who have been fettered to the dead; the grievance, soberly considered, is no more than sentimental; the case is but a flea-bite to that of him who should be linked, like poor M'Guire, to an explosive bomb.

A thought struck him in Green Street, like a dart through his liver: suppose it were the hour already. He stopped as though he had been shot, and plucked his watch out. There was a howling in his ears, as loud as a winter tempest; his sight was now obscured as if by a cloud, now, as by a lightning flash, would show him the very dust upon the street. But so brief were these intervals of vision, and so violently did the watch vibrate in his hands, that it was impossible to distinguish the numbers on the dial. He covered his eyes for a few seconds; and in that space, it seemed to him that he had fallen to be a man of ninety. When he looked again, the watch-plate had grown legible: he had twenty minutes. Twenty minutes, and no plan!

Green Street, at that time, was very empty; and he now observed a little girl of about six drawing near to him, and as she came, kicking in front of her, as children will, a piece of wood. She sang, too; and something in her accent recalling him to the past, produced a sudden clearness in his mind. Here was a God-sent opportunity!

`My dear,' said he, `would you like a present of a pretty bag?'

The child cried aloud with joy and put out her hands to take it. She had looked first at the bag, like a true child; but most unfortunately, before she had yet received the fatal gift, her eyes fell directly on M'Guire; and no sooner had she seen the poor gentleman's face, than she screamed out and leaped backward, as though she had seen the devil. Almost at the same moment a woman appeared upon the threshold of a neighbouring shop, and called upon the child in anger. `Come here, colleen,' she said, `and don't be plaguing the poor old gentleman!' With that she re-entered the house, and the child followed her, sobbing aloud.

With the loss of this hope M'Guire's reason swooned within him. When next he awoke to consciousness, he was standing before St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, wavering like a drunken man; the passers-by regarding him with eyes in which he read, as in a glass, an image of the terror and horror that dwelt within his own.

`I am afraid you are very ill, sir,' observed a woman, stopping and gazing hard in his face. `Can I do anything to help you?'

`Ill?' said M'Guire. `O God!' And then, recovering some shadow of his self-command, `Chronic, madam,' said he: `a long course of the dumb ague. But since you are so compassionate - an errand that I lack the strength to carry out,' he gasped - `this bag to Portman Square. Oh, compassionate woman, as you hope to be saved, as you are a mother, in the name of your babes that wait to welcome you at home, oh, take this bag to Portman Square! I have a mother, too,' he added, with a broken voice. `Number 19, Portman Square.'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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