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REUBEN APSLEY.

CHAPTER I.

“ The doubt of future woes exiles my present joy, And wit me warns to shun such snares as threaten

mine annoy. For falsehood now doth flow, and subject faith doth ebb, Which would not be if Reason ruled, or Wisdom weaved the web."

QUEEN ELIZABETH.

AFTER repeated struggles with the dense, yellow, and offensive atmosphere which in the month of February is so apt to enshroud the gloomy precincts eastward of Temple Bar, the wind had at length succeeded in slowly rolling away its stubborn antagonist, and the sun's first VOL. I.

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faint ray bad effected a lodgment upon the tower of the Royal Exchange, then not many years completed after the great Fire of London, when Isaac Goldingham, the Russia merchant, accompanied by his young nephew Reuben Apsley, issued from his house in Throgmorton-street, in order to take his accustomed station upon

the Baltic walk. He had just before heard the chimes of the Exchange clock tune up the hundred-and-fourth Psalm, and upon that occasion, as was his wont, had duly verified the accuracy of his own watch; but Isaac was of a somewhat doubting and suspicious temperament, fond of ocular demonstration and proof positive: he stopped therefore in Bartholomew Lane, and advancing one hand over his eyes to protect them from the splendour of the gilt grasshopper on the summit of the tower, while with the other he drew his time-piece from his fob, he had the satisfaction of finding upon visual evidence, that? both the chronometers entertained a precisely similar opinion as to the time of the day. This important point being settled, his horn-headed cane was resumed from beneath his arm, a loud

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“hem!" attested his complacency at the good understanding between the clock and the watch, and he vigorously moved on towards the Exchange.

There was an obstinacy about this personage which made him cling pertinaciouzly to old habits and fashions, unless he could improve upon them by a saving of expense, which in his opinion was an infallible test of superiority. Thus be retained his old three-cornered, flat, and well-brushed beaver, as well as his close pigtailed wig without curls or powder, because the latter preserved his clothes, saved the expense of a regular hair-dresser, and prevented any unnecessary waste of time; a formal stock supplied the place of a cravat, and his frill was unadorned with lace. His coat with its comprehensive cuffs, and the waistcoat whose long flap-pockets nearly reaching to his knees, were generally stuffed with papers and some lumps of white sugar with which he was in the habit of recreating himself, had originally constituted one piece of superfine dark cloth. Large metal buttons were sparingly distributed over the former

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exchanged for a pair of dark clouded silk; his suma vestment. His nether garment was of the same material as the coat, fastened at the knee with a large brass buckle; on week days he wore grey like cotton stockings, which on the sabbath were

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shoes were square-toed, high-quartered and well polished ; and to prevent the leather, or the entidade broad brass buckles from soiling his stockings, denda his first care in the morning was to protect his instep by fences of white paper. These were withdrawn when he went to 'Change, carefully placed upon the mantel-piece, under the guardianship of an old interest-book, and resumed the next morning, until they imparted more dis colourations than they prevented, when the extravagance of new slips became inevitable.

From the antiquated fashion of his garb he was suspected of being much older than he really was, although a close observer might detect beneath these external manifestations of age, a sturdy vigorous figure, and a face which, while it exhibited that pale, sodden complexion peculiar to the citizens of London, betrayed the influences of business and ! I application,

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d their respective nations, which, added to the

streng business as bankers-a branch which had but recently been established as an addition to

har former trade, and one to which Golding

nather than the ravages of time. His nose was di a predominance not quite consistent with the rules of symmetry, although of special serize for the occasional support of his spectacles; að he had a large grey suspicious eye, which, five his being rather short-sighted, he was in the habit of bringing pretty close, and fixing to it object with a look of piercing scrutiny as if he would dive into the very bosom of those with

nyom he was conversing.

At that period the foreigners who frequented de Royal Exchange appeared in the costume

Trious garbs of the Jews, Quakers and others, tho srelled the busy throng, imparted to the whale assemblage a much more lively look than la bow worn by their equally bustling, but more boystonously clad successors. The rich goldseits were seen moving to and fro eagerly so

bea, with his usual dislike of innovation, had ex yet by any means become reconciled. Some

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