highest point, and there I stood still, close beside one of the stone bowers, in which, beside a fruit-stall, sat an old woman, with a pan of charcoal at her feet, and a book in her hand, in which she appeared to be reading intently. There I stood, just above the principal arch, looking through the balustrade at the scene that presented itself - and such a scene! Towards the left bank of the river, a forest of masts, thick and close, as far as the eye could reach; spacious wharfs, surmounted with gigantic edifices; and, far away, Cæsar’s Castle, with its White Tower. To the right, another forest of masts, and a maze of buildings, from which, here and there, shot up to the sky chimneys taller than Cleopatra’s Needle, vomiting forth huge wreaths of that black smoke which forms the canopy - occasionally a gorgeous one - of the more than Babel city. Stretching before me, the troubled breast of the mighty river, and, immediately below, the main whirlpool of the Thames - the Maelstrom of the bulwarks of the middle arch - a grisly pool, which, with its superabundance of horror, fascinated me. Who knows but I should have leapt into its depths? - I have heard of such things - but for a rather startling occurrence which broke the spell. As I stood upon the bridge, gazing into the jaws of the pool, a small boat shot suddenly through the arch beneath my feet. There were three persons in it; an oarsman in the middle, whilst a man and woman sat at the stern. I shall never forget the thrill of horror which went through me at this sudden apparition. What! - a boat - a small boat - passing beneath that arch into yonder roaring gulf! Yes, yes, down through that awful water-way, with more than the swiftness of an arrow, shot the boat, or skiff, right into the jaws of the pool. A monstrous breaker curls over the prow - there is no hope; the boat is swamped, and all drowned in that strangling vortex. No! the boat, which appeared to have the buoyancy of a feather, skipped over the threatening horror, and, the next moment, was out of danger, the boatman - a true boatman of Cockaigne that - elevating one of his sculls in sign of triumph, the man hallooing, and the woman, a true Englishwoman that - of a certain class - waving her shawl. Whether any one observed them save myself, or whether the feat was a common one, I know not; but nobody appeared to take any notice of them. As for myself, I was so excited that I strove to clamber up the balustrade of the bridge, in order to obtain a better view of the daring adventurers. Before I could accomplish my design, however, I felt myself seized by the body, and, turning my head, perceived the old fruit-woman, who was clinging to me.

‘Nay, dear! don’t - don’t!’ said she. ‘Don’t fling yourself over - perhaps you may have better luck next time!’

‘I was not going to fling myself over,’ said I, dropping from the balustrade; ‘how came you to think of such a thing?’

‘Why, seeing you clamber up so fiercely, I thought you might have had ill luck, and that you wished to make away with yourself.’

‘Ill luck,’ said I, going into the stone bower, and sitting down. ‘What do you mean? ill luck in what?’

‘Why, no great harm, dear! cly-faking perhaps.’

‘Are you coming over me with dialects,’ said I, ‘speaking unto me in fashions I wot nothing of?’

‘Nay, dear! don’t look so strange with those eyes of your’n, nor talk so strangely; I don’t understand you.’

‘Nor I you; what do you mean by cly-faking?’

‘Lor, dear! no harm; only taking a handkerchief now and then.’

‘Do you take me for a thief?

‘Nay, dear! don’t make use of bad language; we never calls them thieves here, but prigs and fakers: to tell you the truth, dear, seeing you spring at that railing put me in mind of my own dear son, who is now at Bot’ny: when he had bad luck, he always used to talk of flinging himself over the bridge; and, sure enough, when the traps were after him, he did fling himself into the river, but that was off the bank; nevertheless,

  By PanEris using Melati.

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