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that. Send you away! much good may it do him. I half wish he would, for your sake. Come, another glass, my lad."
It was very true that Herbert's former fellow clerk, having been dismissed from one counting-house for gross negligence, had speedily found another open for him. Herbert knew this before ; and being now reminded of it, he began to think lightly of his own precarious standing with his employer. But Herbert did not know that his friend had already tired out his new employers; that he was on the brink of an exposure which must inevitably ruin his character; and that he was, at that very moment, seeking Herbert's co-operation in a scheme for his own escape, which, if it failed, would involve the hapless youth likewise in the same ruin. “By the way, Herbert,” he said ; "sup.
pose we change the subject. I owe you five pounds ; do you want it just now ?"
Indeed Herbert did want it; and one of the causes of his gloom was, that his last quarter's salary had almost entirely disappeared, and that demands from more than one of his creditors had that very day been pressed upon him-demands which he had no means of satisfying. He had dreaded to remind his friend of this long standing debt, lest he should be called mercenary. He was overjoyed, therefore, when the subject was introduced by that friend himself.
“If you can let me have it," replied Herbert, with alacrity, “I shall be very glad of it; for, to tell the truth, I am bored to death with — and - ;. and I shall have nothing to receive for the next month.”
“How very unfortunate!" was the rejoinder. “ Now I have been hoping all along that you might have another five pounds to spare for a week or two, till my day comes round. And you really are worked out ?”
“Not ten shillings left,” sighed Herbert.
“That purse of yours that you pulled out just now seemed too heavy for ten shillings,” remarked the tempter, with a little degree of sharpness. “But perhaps you carry halfpence in your purse, to make believe with. A capital plan that," he continued, addressing their companion, who had hitherto been silent—"a good plan that, Ambrose."
But Herbert disclaimed such a practice. There was money in his purse, he said ; but it was not his own. He had received it that afternoon from his employer, to pay a tradesman who lived near his lodgings.
He ought to have called with it the same evening; but it would be too late now, and he must do it the first thing tomorrow.
His two companions winked significantly at each other; but said nothing. They presently called for more wine, and took care to ply the infatuated youth with fresh bumpers, until his cares and his reason were alike for a time drowned. It was the first time Herbert had been really intoxicated; but not the first time, by many, that he had looked“ upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth its colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright," Prov. xxiii. 31.
Of the rest of the proceedings of that evening Herbert had but a very imperfect and confused recollection, when, at an hour past midnight, he was led by his friends to his lodgings, and laid his throbbing head on his pillow. In the morning, with returning consciousness came that sinking of spirits which belongs preeminently to the drunkard, and that dread of consequences which no bravado can beat off from the conscience of the evil doer. He first, instinctively almost, felt in his pocket for his purse. It was there safe. He pulled it out, and counted its contents. Wonderful! So far from being diminished, it contained more by several pounds than on the preceding evening. Herbert sat down and pondered. He had an indistinct remembrance of reeling from the tavern, accompanied by his two boon companions; of passing along two or three well-known streets, and then being led unresistingly up a dark passage which he had never before explored. Then he recollected something of a large room, brilliantly lighted, and crowded with