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THE GURNEY PAPERS.-NO, XVIII. To a man who has been subjected from his earliest days, if not to the vicissitudes of fortune in a pecuniary point of view, at least to the vagaries of fate in every other, and who has lived for many—if not very many—years amidst the fluctuations of hope and anxiety, the arrival of the post is unquestionably the most exciting event of the day. A thousand apprehensions are conjured up, a thousand feelings called into action, by the sight of his letters ; indeed, at least, such is the effect of their appearance upon me that, within one day's reach of London, I look upon Monday as a season of delightful and undisturbable repose.

If this was my ordinary state of mind, it does not seem very strange that, upon the particular morning on which I expected a line from my kind-hearted old friend Nubley announcing the time at which we might expect him, or perhaps conveying some further intelligence of his proceedings, or perhaps announcing his return, upon which much at all events depended, and from which more perhaps than was generally anticipated by others might probably result, I should be somewhat violently excited. I was up before the post arrived in Blissfold in order to wait and watch its arrival. I paced first the hall, and then the gravel sweep up to the hall-door, resolved to get the earliest intelligence by intercepting the boy with the bag, of which since certain discoveries bad been made I had kept the key; and as I walked up and down I felt an aching, sinking feeling at my heart, more painful than I had ever felt before, and which proved to me how much interest I took-as naturally I might—in the expected intelligence for which I so earnestly hoped, and yet so seriously dreaded.

How minutes turn to hours, and hours to days—ay, and days to years —while the mind is thus employed! how every sound that breaks upon the ear seems to take the tone and character of that which we long to hear! and oh! what a thousand thoughts flitted through my mind, fleeting and fading, as to the probabilities--the possibilities of Nubley's success even yet in restoring me to the affection of a brother whose love I never had deserved to lose.

The church clock struck nine-never was the mail so late beforeit must have been overturned-robbed—or, which would at the moment have affected me, with all my sympathy and humanity, even more than either, the mail itself was all right and there was no letter for me ; still, said I to myself, I will not give up my watch, I will persevere; and so I did, till the chimes informed me that it was then half-past nine.

And, by the way, the chimes at Blissfold, which were particularly Sept.-YOL, LIV. NO. ccxiii.


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