Oakville Express and Halton County Advertiser, 18 Jul 1879, p. 5

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Buttercups and Daisies. —) I never see a young hand hold jhe starry bunch of waite and gold, But something warm and fresh will start About the region of my heart. My smile expires into asigh 5 I feel a struggling in the eye, *Twixt humid drops and sparkling ray, Till rolling tears have won their way ; For soul and brain will travel back Through memory’s chequered mazes, To days when I but trod life’s track For ‘‘ Buttercups and Daisies.” Are there, I ask, beneath the sky Blossoms that knit so strong a tie With childhood’s love? Can any pease Or like the infant eye like these? No, no ; there’s not a bud on earth, Of richest tint, or warmest birth, Can ever fling such zeal and zest Into the tiny hand and breast. Who does not recollect the hours When burning words and praises Were lavished on those shining flowers, ““Buttercups and Daisies ?” —Eliza Cook. <0 $< <p > 0 p> THE SCOTTISH BANK- ERS DILEMMA. IN TWO CHAPTERS—CHAPTER I. Mr. Duff, the worthy and respected agent of the Central Bank at 'Pollkirk, was startled by his teller, James Hamilton, coming to him to say, just as the banker had signed the last official letter before proceeding to lock up the safe : ‘‘ I am sorry to say, sir, the cash appears to be one hundred pounds short.” James was very pale as he spoke, and, despite his efforts to prevent it, his voice trembled. A stranger could not have told svhether the youth’s agitation was the result of fright or guilt, Mr, Duff knew him to well to let the latter alternative dwell in his mind for even a moment ; but the lad’s excitement was some- what infectious, and it was with just a little throb that he replied, ‘‘ You are joking, Jamie.” Mr. Duff leaned back in his chair and nibbled the feather-end of his quill as he looked in the Jad’s face. “JT was never more serious in my life,” reiterated Hamilton. ‘Tt is some mare’s-nest, depend upon it,” said Mr. Duff ina tone that partly reassured the poor fellow. ‘‘ Have you been very busy at the desk to-day, James?” “ That is the mystery of it, sir; we-have not been busy. Hardly three pages of our éash-book are filled. «A hundred pounds ! Hm ! Iam going up- stairs to dinner. In the meantime check your summations and your cash, and by and by Pll come in to lock up the safe with ye.” The teller went from the banker’s rcom to the outer office with a very grave face. Mr. Duff; who lived with his family, as is cus- tomary in Scotland, in the very commodious house attached to the bank, sent his letters to be copied by the junior clerk, and then went leisurely up stairs to dinner. Mr. Duff's was, for a man who does not object to permanent residence in a provincial town, a very easy and pleasant mode of life. His work was not hard, nor were his re- sponsibilities very heavy. He had a pretty and comfortable home im an old-fashioned country-town, and although his wife lay im the churchyard on the brae by the river-side these ten years, still he had two of the prettiest guis in Tollkirk—Minna and Mary Duff, (besides Jenny, the married laughter, whe lives in Edinburgh, )—w hose delight it was to make his life sunny and happy. He was naturally—being known to possess private means, and on account of his official capacity as the dispenser of discounts and custodian of the wealth of the neigh- Pourhood—a man of some importance in Tollkirk, and formed part of, as well as moved in, Tollkirk’s best society. He was magistrate and farmer as well as banker ; and on Sundays, for many a long year, he had stood beaming vehind “‘the plate” at the entrance to the ‘‘auld kirk.” Hvery- body knew him, and he knew everybody ; and perhaps nobody respected him the less because he pretty well knew to within a pound or two what every rate-payer on his side of the country was worth financially. He took life very easy, as 1 have said ; making no undue fuss when an accommoda- tion bill was presented to him, if he knew— as he way certain to know—the pedigree and progress through life of drawer and indorser. He was respected, too, by his Edinburgh employers as a man of prudence and saga- city, who never made bad debts, never troubled them with applications for rise of galary or transfer of agency—whose books always stood the minutest inspection, aud who, speaking generally, wanted no favours from them. Rather, granted favours, by occasional invitations to visit him at Tollkirk. where there is unsurpassed trout and salmon fishing, besides magnificent “Jinks” for golf, and where the local distillery yields a liquid of more than local reputation, The city-birds were not slow to accept such invitations, Mr. Duff being over a tumbler of toddy the best of company, and generous in the matter of horses and fishing- rods. The chief inspector of the bank came often enough to woo the fair Jenny, the eldest of the family, and took her away with him one summer day, to the general bereave- ment of Tollkirk. The banker did not hurry over dinner on the particular afternoon of which I write. When he went upstairs he did not give a second thought to James Hamilton’s pale face, but quietly settled himself in his arm- chair, after doing justice to his simple re- past, to read for the second time the report of his own recent great speech at the parochial board, given at length in the Tollkirk Herald, the fine roll of his own— somewhat improved—spoken sentences seen in black and white, communicating a pleas- ing sense of complacence and importance as influencing public opinion. It was nearly 7 o'clock before Mr. Duff remembered that he had not yet locked up his safe, and that his clerk was probably waiting below for him. He was surprised when he opened the office door—leading to the hall of his house —to find Hamilton still bending over his cash-box with an expression of deep anxiety on his face, and bundles of bank notes lying on the desk before him. “What, James, still in a fog? he asked cheerfully, as he came in. ‘‘ Not found your difference, eh?” «J am a hundred pounds short, sir, with- out doubt.” Hamilton had toiled through every entry over and over again, had counted and re- counted his bundles of notes, and now had a very sharply-defined fear in his heart, and a vision in the background of his imagina- the present case as a precedent, and must note to Hamilton. tion of a dearly-loved old mother waiting for him at home, and who was ill able to | bear the responsibility of such a loss—if loss it should prove to be. «cA mare’s-nest, Til be bound,” Mr. Duff taking Hamilton’s place before the cash-bock. Wery carefully and with a keen eye he went over each entry; very carefully, too, he counted the cash, and recounted it ; but only to find that The cash said, ¢ood-naturedly, Hamilton’s words were too true, was undoubtedly one hundred pounds short. “J think we had better sleep over it,” Mr, Duff said at last, looking at his watch. ‘The difference will turn up in the morn- ing, you may depend upon it.” Then the cash and books were carried into the safe, and the office closed for the night. Poor Hamilton lay awake nearly all night thinking over some probable clue to the whereabouts of the missing money. Never before had he left the bank with such a dread on his mind, for he felt certain he had gone over each item of the day, that he had not overpaid any one to such an extent ; and he knew that on him devolved the respon- sibility to make good any such deficiency. He hardly spoke to his mother as he ate what she called his ‘‘ruined dinner ”’—spoil- ed by three long hours’ waiting in the oven —nor could she get from him all through the evening 2 hint of the cause of his trouble. She guessed, and hinted that perhaps Minna Duff, ‘the little flirt,” had something to do with his gloom, for she knew how her boy’s heart lay in regard to the’ banker’s younger daughter ; but her gon’s reply was equivalent to a snub. He was in the office two hours before official bank-hours on the following morn- ing; but no trace of the missing money could be found. During the day, all the banker’s customers who had on the previous day been paid large sums, were asked to check their payments; but when four o’clock arrived and the cash had again to be count- ed, the balance still showed one hundred pounds short. If the money had been paid away, in error, no man had been honest enough to return it. Then for the first time in the history of the Tollkirk branch, a deficiency in the cash had to be reported to the head office. A hundred pounds to a rich man may seem a small matter to worry over ; but to James Hamilton, whose yearly salary, after ten years’ faithful and con- scientious service, did not amount to one hundred pounds, and whose mother—save for the help of a trifling annuity left by her husband—was in great measure dependent upon him—the lialnlity to refund this sum weighed heavy. He became anxious and nervous, not being altogether certain that the authorities of the bank might not suspect him of appropriating the money ; and from very nervousness was guilty during the next few days of making several small mistakes in his cash dealings. which confirmed him in the belief that he had paid the money to some unscrupulous rascal who did not mean to acknowledge it. It seemed an age, although in reality barely a month had passed, before a note from Mr. Tait, the chief inspector, (Mr. Doff's son-in-law, ) set the matter at rest. “Tn consideration,” the note ran, ‘of the admirable mode in which the business of the branch af Tolikirk has hitherto been con- ducted, the directors haye agreed to wipe off the deficiency in cash, which it may be hoped will yet turn up and be re-eredited ; but.in doing so it must be firmly kept in view that.thedirectors:by no mears <stabli remind the geatleman who has charge of the pbank’s cash at Vollkirk that at no future time will the directors be disposed to relieve him of the responsibility attaching to his office.” “There, Jamie ; take that to your mother,” said Mr. Duff kindly, handing the cfficial “T thought Peter would manage it,” ( referring to his son-in-law, the inspector !) ‘‘but we maun ca’ canny,” said the banker, relapsing into broad Scotch, to put the 1eproof, if such it might be called, in the gentlest form, to spare the lad’s feelings. There were tears of relief in Hamilton’s eyes as he read the note.. ‘‘ That is generous treatment, sir; I was afraid they would roup [sell by auction] me and my old mother out of Tollkirk.” “Roup ye? Icouldn’t spare ye, lad.” Then the youth went home to his mother jab lant, a burden lifted from him. But on the next evening, after business hours, Hamilton’s face was whiter than ever. His hands were trembling as he fumbled over his cash, and “cast” and “recast” the long columns cf figures in his eash-book. It was market-day, a busy day, and large sums had passed into and out of his hands. To this horror he found his cash three hundred pounds short! He hed not the courage on this occasion to go to Mr. Dufi’s room with his plaint. But the banker saw at once as he passed through the office on his way up stairs that something was wrong. “¢You are late, Mr. Hamilton,” (Mr. Duff never in a general way called James ‘ Mr.” His doing so now implied misgivings.) “ Yes, sir; but I think I won’t be long ;” his lips felt parched from excitement. “¢ Are ye ready to lock up the safe with me?” “Not quite. If you are in no hurry, sir, perhaps we can lock up when you come down.” «Very well.” Mr. Duff went up stairs; but on this occa- sion he did not linger over his meal. When he came down, half an hour later, Hamilton was not ready to lock the safe. He was sitting looking into space, his head resting on his hands. “Have you balanced your cash now 2?” Mr. Duff asked, with just a preceptible edge of annoyance in his tone. No, sir; I differ three hundred pounds.” ‘¢ Over or short ?” ‘¢ Short, sir!” : “Mercy onus! This will notdo. You must bestir yourself and—and find it. I have to go out to a meeting to-night.” The banker spoke sternly. Hamilton once more, under Mr. Dufi’s eye, nervously went over his figures and counted his cash. ‘he deficiency could in no way be accounted for. ‘¢ This is terribly awkward, James.” There were tears in the youth’s voice as he uttered; “‘ Yes, sir; and it will drive me mad.” When Mr. Duff returned from hismeeting at eleven o’clock, Hamilton was as far from peace as ever. The younger clerks had gone away. Again the banker and Hamilton went over each item together—in vain. ‘We can’t report this to the head office, whatever happens,” quoth Mr. Duff grimly. ‘What is to be done, sir?” “Bind it!” They looked blankiy in each other’s faces, Both men weat to bed with heavy hearts ; nor did the search next day throw any light on the mysterious transaction. Mr. Daft could not bring himself to report this second deficiency to his head cifice;.and the only alternative left was to refund the amount from his own private means, This, as may be imagined, he did yery reluctantly ; and forthe first time in his experience he watch- ed the younger men, and perhaps his trusted teller, too, with just a faint and irrepressible glimmering of suspicion. A mistake of this sort might happen once; but to happen a second fime at so shorts an jnterval, made him uneasy on other matters than mere loss of money. He had a frame-work of ma- hogany and glass made for Hamilton’s desk. so that no one could come near the cash in future but Hamilton himself. And so, with what grace he could summon, and with many grave warnings, Mr. Duff paid the “¢shorb”” money, having, as he said, to ‘orn and bear it. ~ For a week or so things worked wellunder the new arrangement; but for the third time Mr. Duff was destined t0 see Hamilton poring over his books long after bank hours, this time to hear on inquiry that the luck- less lad was short by no lessan amount than five hundred pounds! Had the shrewd, quick-witted James Hamilton, after ten years of faithful service, become suddenly dolt ? : “ This is beyond endurance,” the banker said sharply, as the facts was communfcated to him. : : “T§ is most strange,” replied the help- less teller, feeling that the Fates were against him. “Tt is impossible you can have paid th money away. : “Tt is gone, sir.” «Then you must find it. I can no longer be responsible for your blunders. Here is no less a sum than nine hundred pounds in less than six weeks to be accounted for, Many a one has been sent across the sea for less. The youth put his hands over his face and fairly burst into tears. ‘‘I] must give it up, sir. Ican’t stand this. I must leave the place.” Mr. Duff was lookmg at “him with very keen eyes as this was sobbed out. ‘‘ Leave Tollkirk? Understand, Mr. Hamilton, that you dare not leave Tolikirk before this mat- ter is cleared up.” For the greater part of the night the men sat up searebing; but when the morning came they were as far from the mark as ever. Mr. Duff, much to the surprise of custom- ers of the bank, next day “‘took over” the cash himself, and, rather awkwardly from want of practice, became his own cashier. Hamilton was degraded to subordinate du- fies. His spirit, poor fellow, was fairly broken. No trace of the missing money could be found. OF conrse, Mr. Duff could noi long continue acting as teller. The work interfered with €vyen more inxportant duties. : A son of Mr, Draill, the parish minister, who was employed at the Aberdeen branch of the same bank, at this time visited Toll- kirk, and bang of the same craft, spert a good deal of Gme im Mr.-Duffs company The subject of the misimg money was r ssedibeviwicen them. Is” so happened that George Traill was engaged to be married to Mary Duff; and the bank- er, having lost confidence in Hamilton, and feeling serely in need of capable help, pro- posed that George should apply to the direc- tors of the bank for the appolatment of joint agent or, partner with himself in the man- agement of the Tollkirk branch. §o it came about that in a short time George Trail!, a shrewd practical business man, relieved Mr. Duff at the telling-table, in order to fami- liarize himself with the faces of the bank’s customers. For some days all went well. Then came market day. At close of the day Mr. Traill’s cash was five huudred pounds short ! CHAPTER IT. Dismay fell on the quiet little bank in Tollkirk. The former uneasiness became in the office a panic. Hamilton had been made ill by the anxiety of his position, and was in bed on the day that Mr. Draill’s deficiency occurred. After closely scrutinizing every entry in the books, Traill came to the con- clusion that he had not paid the money in excess to any one, and that the notes must have been stolen by some one on the prem- ises. The bank’s safe was duly examined ; but the locks bore no marks of being tam- pered with. The windows and doors ot the office were undisturbed, and Mr, Duff's do- mestics—who swept out the office—had been’ his servants and were known to him for years. ‘The matter was on this occasion re- ported to the bank’s head office ; but thence came the cold intimation that no further de- ficiency could be made good, and referring the bank agents to their recent letter to that effect of such and such a date. Mr. Duff began to think the place was haunted. Wherever the money was gone it had to be paid up ; raising the total logses made in this mysterious way to the unpal- atable sum of fourteen hundred pounds in less than three months. The mystery was all the deeper that during the day of the difference in Traill’s cash, it had happened there had not been a single cash payment amounting to five hundred pounds. Then there came vague rumours—such as the po- lice had the matter passed into their hands, would certainly haye made use of—that there was an itinerent locksmith, a gipsey, in the neighbourhood to whom popular ru- mour attributed almost miraculous power in the manipulation of locks. Yet it would take avery clever locksmith indeed to open the Central Bank’s safe unheard in the house, and to close is again without leav- ing traces of his work. The safe had a foundation of eight feet of stone, and was coated on the floor, wall, and roof with a two-inch plate of solid iron, The doors were, of course, of iron, and each—there were four doors—had two keys and separate locks, Through the lock of the outer iron door an iron bolt was each evening shot down from Mr. Duffs bedroom above, and while that bolt was down no key in the world could open the door. It was neces- sary to bein Mr, Datfs bedroom before the bolt could be drawn or dropped. It was extremely improbable that there were any wake him ; but amoment’s reflection decided in Tollkirk who could, even with the ne- cessary keys in their hands, find their way into the strong room unaided. 4 No longer was Mr. Duff able to leave the bank with an easy mind for a two o’clock luncheon—with forty winks to follow—as had been his custom these twenty years. He was closely on the wacch. Yet there was no vis ble cause for suspicion. Bank- e:s and cleiks were fast becoming demoral- ized—in the military sense—from ‘sheer fright, accelerated by mystery, and a sense of utter helplessness in face of it. Mr. Daif might far better be losing his fortune on the Stock Exchange, or throwing his money away on turf speculations; in these there would be some remote chance of profit, if not satisfaction in losig his property. His barque had up to this time sailed in smooth seas, had even hitherto floated in a shel- tered bay, unexposed t9 financial tempests or breakers : bat uow a leak of a danzerous sort had sprung, as likely, he imagined, to ingulf him at his anchorage as any buffeting of waves in open sea. Mr. Duff became a changed man. He was thin and worn and ill with anxiety and watching. They were all watching. ‘Trail was watching Hamilton; Hamilton turned a keen glance on the boys; the boys kept their eyes very widely open all round. Mr. Duff was unwilling to put the matter into the hands of the local police, knowing that the first to be suspected would be his clerks, and that the affair would speedily become town gossip. Secretly Mr. Duff be- gan to think the place was bewitched. His partner, George Traill, bemg called upon to pay up half of the £500, resolved to get to the bottom of the matter. He had a bed fitted up in the banker’s business-room, and determined to spend his nights there until some solution of the problem presented itself, His transfer from the Aberdeen branch seemed just then to prove a bad bar- gain. The keys of the safe, it should be mentioned, numbering eight, were placed every night after the locking up of the safe and the dropping of the iron bolt from the banker’s bedroom, in a strong-box, the key of which was always carried by Mr. Duff. George Frail], armed with a revolver, in spite of Mary’s protests and Mr. Dufi’s jeers, occupied the room when the bed had peen fitted there, and waited philosophically the course of events. He slept little for the first night or two ; but no intruder came to disturb his repose. The long, dull hours erept on without adventure or other result than to make Traill sleepy and cross during the following days. The bankers were be- ginning to despair of discovering the thief. Yet Traill—despite Mr. Duff's perfectly rea- sonable argument that if any man broke into the safe it would not b2 merely five hundred pounds that would satisfy him, nor would he likely risk a second or third visit—con- tinued to spend his nights in the bank. At daybreak, however, on a certain morn- ing in the following week, Trail, who slept very lightly, was suddenly awakened and startled by hearing the bolt that passed through the lock of the outer door of the safe drawn sharply up. He could hardly believe the evidence of his ears, thinking that perhaps he had dreamed. But the « click ” was still reverberating, exaggerated as all sounds are in the stillness of night. Tf the bolt was really lifted, the person that drew it up must be in the room where Mr. Duff slept. ‘Traill was a tourageous man ; put in spite of himself, he trembled as he felé for and examined his revolver. — When the reverberation subsided, there was a Si- lence for a few moments as of Death, Sleep’s twin brother. “Eben he thought he heard, afar off, a door open, followed by a step on the stairs. Then a light showed at the seam under the door; presently the door opened, and a man entered, carrying in one hafd a lighted candle, in the other a bunch of keys. The revolver was firmly held in Traill’s grip, and before tiring, he was about to utter a ery of warning, when he noted that the figure paid no heed to’ his presence, but passed him, making straight for the safe door. Im the dim light, to his astonishment, he distinguished the fixed, even rigid features of his friend and part- ner Mr. Daff! His eyes were wide open, and he moved with his usual deliberation, put with an air of stern preoccupation quite foreign to his working habits. Traill saw at a glance that the banker was walking in his sleep. : His first impulse was to seize him and him to wait the natural issue of events. Mr. Duff, without hesitation or fumbling, chose the right key for the outer door, ant pushed it, as the lock sprang hack, slowly open ; then the wicket-gate, the inner iron door, and so on, until he disappeared silent- ly in the vaultlike shades of the strong- room. When he reached the inner safe, he took from the well-packed store of pound notes—Traill eagerly watching him from the door—a bundle containing five hundred ; he then noiselessly shut and locked each door as he retreated, He passed within arm’s length of Traill, bearing the bundle of notes, the keys, and his lighted candle; left the office—followed by his partner—walked slowly up-stairs to his bedroom, where he deliberately dropped the bolt back in its place, and finally laid the keys carefully, apparently counting them, in their usual place in the box fixed in the wall for the purpose. ‘Traill expected he would then re- dire to bed; but it was evident that the somnambulist had not finished his night’s work, Having safely put away the keys, he lifted his candle and again went down- stairs, carrying the notes in his hand. Traill followed him through the kitchen and out into the court-yard behind. With the same purpose-like deliberation that he had shown at the safe, he now marched to—the unvarnished truth, © romantic reader, must be recorded—to the pigsty! Arrived there, he lifted a loose fold of thatch that rested onaslab of stone in the rickety» rooi, se- ereted the bundle of notes there, replaced the thatch carefully, and then tnrned with an air of relief and went indoors. Trail did not disturb him, did not even taxe the trouble to follow his partner tosee if he reached his bed safely, but sprang eagerly to the loose thatch, in whieh, snug- ly lying, he found the comfortable sum of one thousand nine hundred pounds in bank notes! He could not help laughing as he stood there in the dim grey morning, hardly half-clad, for the pursuit had not been with- out excitement. ‘“‘An expensive roofing for Duff's pigs,” he murmured, gathering the various dusty bundles together and retreat- ing indoors from the cold morning air. «T think, Duff,’ said Traill seriously when they met in the office after breakfast, «*¥ think, to make certain that no thief, or witch, or ghost has been tampering with the cash during the night, we had better count the cash henceforth in the morning as well as at night ; that wi | make certa’n whether ae money disappears by night or during the a “ 2 Mie Daft assent<d. “Suppose you begin this morning ?” Again Mr. Duff assented, and with reluc- tant fingers, at hs partner’s sugzestion, counted the money. ‘‘ Powers of Daxkness 1” he exclaimed. °‘i shall not stay another day in this house. The cash is again five hundred pounds short!” Had Mr. Duff not been a remarkably bald man, he would pro- bably have torn his hair in agony. «¢ How much do you reckon your pigs cost you aunually, Duff?’ Traill asked with ap- parent irrelevance and, as Mr. Duff thought, flippancy. «Pigs | Hang the pigs! Hang the bank | and— Yes, I mean to resign my office. I’m not going to remain here to be robbed and ruined.” 3 «J gee you are pubting a new roof on your sty, and papering it,” Trail went on senten- tiously. ‘‘ Sparing no expense on it. Doing the thing stylishly, eh 2” “ Are you mad, Trail?” «cWell, let me see. At the rate of two thousand pounds, say, in three months, that pig-sty will cost you and me just about eight thousand pounds a year.” Traill was apparently in his gravest mood. ‘ That's pretty moderate, eh 2” “Poor Traill! Tre loss of his money has taken his brain. What demon has entered this house?” sighed Mr. Daff in the pre- sence ofa desgair more tragic even than his own. «Look here, old fellow,” said Traill, sud- denly bursting into laughter—‘“ look here ! I found these in the roof of your pig-sty this morning ; and what is more, I saw you put them there with your own hands.” “ Predigious !” Yes, all the missing money was there. The banker gave a champagne dinner to his delighted clerks on the evening of that day. His own health, however, was in rather a bad way. In am nth or two he resigned his office, retiring on a liberal pension to his farm; and in order to compensate James Hamilton for all his recent trouble and mis- ery, Mr. Duff requested, as a final and per- sonal favour, that the Directors might ap- point him to the position of assistant agent with George Trail’, a proposal which the directors favourably entertained. These offices both of the centlemen hold with ho- nour to tnis day. It may be mentioned, too, that George Traill and James Hamilton are now brothers-in-law, each having in due time wedded one of Mr. Duff's daughters. The bank is James Hamilton’s home, while George Traill has rented a farm adjoining Mr, Doff's. The fresh counsry air, and fish- ing, and unlimited golfing—all enforced upon him by ,the doctor as the best medicme— have put an end to the old banker's somnam- pulistic rambles. — eee Carving. A dull knife is an abomination. I+ spoils the food and causes profanity, As to sharpening a knife, outside of Sheffield no ordinary servant was ever known who had that special mechanical genius necessary to. put an edge on a. dull knife. It is an art. ‘Never sharpen the edge of a large cuttin implement flatways; it must be held at a slight angle. As articles of this special chavacter are mainly intended for beginnens, it is wise to buy carving forks with guards, A man, however, never ean carve well until he has first cut his fingers. What can be said of the art of carving! Alas ! it is some- thing which is fast disappearing. To take a fowl, at one single stroke to plunge the fork in the right place ; never to remove it 5 to find every joint, every articulation in the pird ; to see legs, wings, merry-thoughts, with delicate slices of breast, the side-bones, all slip off the chicken as if by magic; to notice at Jast that nothing but the carcase is left, is indeed a wonderful accomplishment. One always refers, or a man’s wife does, to a respected uncle, or a revered grandfather, who was the great representative of this act of table culture. Brute strength, such as cutting through the anchylosed joints of a turkey, may carry a man through ; but then a single slip may bespatter with gravy and dressing all those within an area of ten feet. Possibly chickens and poultry generally were more tender thirty years ago. No ad- vice can be given as to carviag. It is only that desire to excel which nerves a man on to noble deeds which can lead him to suc- cess in this art. The misfortune cf carving is that at table it always causes all eyes to be centred on the person who is doing his best to struggle with a bird. Perhaps the bravest man is disconcerted when he is the centre of observation. It is said that the tyro barber is set to shaving a hair trunk before he scrapes the human jowl. It is wise, then, for the incipient carver to begin on the common goose. Half the secret in earving well and rapidly depends cn cool- ness, seme idea of comparative anatomy and a very sharp knife. As to the diagrams one finds in some cook-books which pretend to teach the art of carving, they are delusions. As well attempt to swim in deep water from book lessons as to carve without practical experience. ——— rr Oe Unshod Horses. ‘It has been before stated that an experi- enced farrier in England was advocating the abolishing of horseshoeing, and now a writer in the London Times has been trying the ex- periment, and thus reports: © When my pony’s shoes were worn out I had them re- moved, and gave him a month’s rest at grass, with an occasional drive of a mile or two on the high road while his hoofs were hardening, The result at first seemed. doubtful. The hoof was cme el eee kept chipping away until it had worke oa Tavond the holes of the mails by which the shoes had been fastened. After this the hoof grew thick and hard, quite un- like what it had been before. I now put the pony to full work, and he stands it well. He is more sure-footed; his tread is almost noiseless ; his hoofs are in no danger from the rough hand of the farrier ; and the change altogether has been a clear gain, without anything to seb against it. My pony, I may add, was between four and five years old—rising four, I fancy, is the correct phrase. He had been regularly shod up to the present year.”

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