IT was a heavy-hearted winter’s night.

But down the broad stairway of Steinway Hall there poured a great stream of light, which enabled certain muddy-looking street-boys, hanging about the pillared entrance, to observe a mass of satisfied people gravitating toward the side-walk, at the close of a symphony concert. Among these people were Philip Tetlow and his wife, all unconscious of an adventure which was about to befall them.

Philip Tetlow — a man perhaps twenty-eight years old, with a face serious even to dryness, in repose, but frank as a boy’s when quickened by pleasure, interest, or sympathy — was an advertising agent. In an interval when other forms of advertising were dull, he had suddenly resolved to announce his own marriage ; having previously gained the consent of Miss Lucy Sporling, of Middletown, Connecticut. It was not often that they spent their dollars in going to one of Thomas’s concerts ; but to-night they had taken this enormous risk, and felt themselves fully repaid. So translated were they by the music that not until they had been nearly run over by a street ear at the corner of Fourteenth Street did they notice that the heavyhearted night had begun to fling down large, ragged snow-flakes at them, in a sullen sort of sport.

Crossing Union Square, they waited for the particular little one-horse car that was to carry them off into that obscure region west of Jefferson Market, where sundry streets take an abrupt turn and slink off toward the Hudson, then — despairing, perhaps, of any better fortune — plunge into the river and are lost. The car did not come at once, and the Tetlows paced the sidewalk in front of a great jewelry warehouse, now closed and dark, waiting. Just below this sombre, iron-fronted pile, a glare of intemperate light burst forth from a wine room, lighting up the big flakes that reeled slowly downward, and shone over the sidewalk already wet with melting snow. It was here that Tetlow became dimly conscious of a figure standing near him, on the edge of the glare — an oldish man with a long, woeful beard, rusty in hue but straggling into gray here and there, who was dressed in pale blue trousers and a bleached brown coat that glistened with moisture from the increasing snow-fall. The creature was pleading miserably, in a faint voice. Tetlow hardly perceived that he was begging until they had passed him. But music had opened his heart.

“ I' ve a great mind to go back,” he murmured hurriedly, to his wife, with his fingers rummaging in his pocket.

“ Is it too late ? ” she asked.

Both had a furtive air, seeming to know that if they had had their accountbooks with them, or if some acquaintance of average scientific morality had been by, they could have been at once convicted of a gross offense against the maxims of society. But impulse prevailed ; Tetlow turned back.

The moist, disheveled spectre took the gratuity in a pallid, inappreciative way, though trying to form some expression of thanks. Tetlow was glad not to be burdened with a “ God bless you.” But he had hardly rejoined his wife, with that restless, embarrassed feeling which is the reward of virtue in such cases, when he heard feeble steps hurrying behind him. He looked around. There was the spectre again !

The outcast waited blankly an instant, then, “ Hope you ’ll excuse it, sir,” he began ; “I — I could n’t help it. I” — Here his words became a confused mumbling ; but Tetlow saw that they were an inquiry, and he caught the word “ mistake.”

“ Mistake ? ”

“Did you” — the dingy wanderer seemed to collect himself, and to shake off the lethargy of cold and starvation — “did you give me a fifty-cent bill, just now ? ” be asked.

“ Yes,” said Tetlow. “ At least I meant to. Was n’t it one ? ”

“Meant to ?” repeated the beggar, with a flash in his eyes that seemed like that of anger, but with a tremulous tone which showed it to be born of emotion. “Well, sir, I didn’t know ; but — my God, sir ! I never had such a thing happen before.” The man stopped, and his beard shook as if his throat was working behind it. He could say no more.

Tetlow was so astonished that he too could say nothing.

“ No, sir,” resumed his strange companion, presently. “ Many’s the time I’ve had to beg on these here streets ; and no one thought of giving me more than ten cents, maybe. I came after ye, because I could n’t believe it ; oh, if you did n't make a mistake, I wanted to know it — wanted to make sure.”

The two men gazed at each other silently ; there Was nothing about the beggar that recalled to Tetlow any one whom he knew, yet it seemed as if that wan face floating there before him in the mingled light and darkness was almost more familiar to him than any in the world, except his own. Within the instant, he had grown to know it so well that he felt sure he should never forget it.

“ Young man,” said this shelterless being solemnly, once more collecting his voice, “ you ’re one out of a thousand, I tell you. You have made an eepoe in my life.” And as he spoke, a ruined, far-off superiority was restored to him ; it pervaded his heavy, slouchy form, insinuated itself through his grievously poor garments, shone in his soiled, tired face. “ You ’ve made an eepoe in my life,” he repeated, so that the uncouth word seemed like an echo of itself returning from some dim inner chamber of despair.

Tetlow, with his wife beside him, feeling the whole thing to be queer, unprecedented, uncomfortable, and not knowing what reply to make, was still held there by a spell which he could not shake off. While the haggard man had been speaking, he had noticed a glistening on his cheeks ; for the big snow-flakes were still tumbling out of the dark, in their gloomy sportiveness, flitting through the arid gas - light, and silently melting on the gaunt face there. But Tetlow now caught sight of a different moisture in the outcast’s eyes ; and presently thin, straggling tears began to slip down upon the melancholy countenance. Overcome with sorrowful emotion, he stretched out his hand and took the beggar’s.

“ Thank ye, sir,” said the latter, shaking it very much but with little strength. It seemed as if he were anxious enough to respond, but were so unused to all friendly interchanges that he hardly knew, any longer, how even to grasp the hand of fellowship. “ But I must n’t keep you standing,” he said, suddenly ; “ and the lady.” Here he made an ill-defined movement of courtesy toward Mrs. Tetlow ; an unpolished movement, quickly lost in his prevailing slouchiness, yet so strong in its sincerity that it went straight to the dear little lady’s heart.

He began moving away, still facing the two.

“ I’m glad to have done you any good,” said Tetlow, awkwardly. Then the wine-room glare in which he had first seen the man roused a sense of responsibility. “ Don’t spend the money for liquor,” he said, shyly.

“I won’t — no,” said the man, with an ambiguous, receding manner.

So lifeless was the response, so much was his energy sunken, that he seemed to be retiring from manhood into spectrehood again.

“ Good night,” said Tetlow.

“ Good night,” returned the wraith, through the snow-flakes. “ God help you, sir. I shall never ” —

But just then the little one-horse car came down the square, and relieved the amateur benefactor.

It was very late, however, before Tetlow could compose himself to sleep, that night. His mind was full of earnest pity for the vagabond who had for a moment come so close to him and then been left behind like a drowning man in the wake of a ship. Pity ? Yes, and a kind of despairing fury was mixed with it, such as the lost man himself might feel, if no effort were made to save him.

A few days later, when the episode had retired to a comfortable distance in his memory, Tetlow found it convenient to go to the Cooper Institute readingroom. On a winter’s day one sees a motley assembly there. At first, the spectacle of so many seedy or dubious persons among them is puzzling. Is the appetite for news, you ask, stimulated in proportion to the increase of poverty ? So blank and indeterminate, too, does life become, when food and occupation are mostly gone, that you can fancy these vagrants have been led hither by a delirious hope of finding their own deaths announced in the papers, and the enigma of their starved lives solved by a line or two of print. But the mystery lessens if you look at the thermometer : the morning papers and seventy-two degrees of heat within doors, here, are better than thirty degrees and no literature outside.

Just as Tetlow had finished his inspection of the files, and was about to go, the figure of one of these shabby loiterers, just passing out of the doorway, attracted his notice. With a shiver he recognized in it the very man whom he had begun to hope he might forget. He knew that it was selfish to forget ; but it was vexatious to have the man reappear and irritate his conscience. He held back, for a moment, fearing to overtake the beggar. As he did so, he saw that the policeman stationed near the door was looking pointedly after the man.

“ A good chance,” reflected Tetlow. “ I ’ll ask if he knows him.”

The policeman, pink and solid as to face, massive, blue, many-buttoned as to person, gazing with mixed wonder and scorn at the vanishing outcast, turned with great relief on hearing Tetlow’s voice.

“Know him ?” said he ; “I know him, if you can call it knowing with a cuss like that. I don’t believe he knows himself rightly. But he ’s here most every day, off and on — when he an’t in mischief somewheres else.”

“Does — does he drink ?” inquired Tetlow, thinking to settle a doubt which had risen in his mind.

“I s’pose so,” answered the officer stolidly. “I never see him but here. He don’t drink here, but ” — with a disgusted half-smile — " he eats. Yes, sir,” he proceeded, seeing Tetlow attentive, “ that man an’t got no more sense of decency than to come here and eat ! Food for the mind, you see ; ” he pointed toward the long desks filled with flapping pages of print ; “ but this here pauper, he wants to make a restyront of it. I’ve seen him,” continued the officer, with an air of very impressive accuracy, “ I’ve seen him come on a cold day and sit pretty much all day afore one o’ them files, never turning a page, sir. And there he ’ll sit with his old shiny coat buttoned tight acrost his chist, and about noon-time he ’ll haul out a greasy sandwich, and gnaw it right over the newspaper — the dirty beast ! He got some grease on the paper, one day, and I told him he’d better not try that on again. I thought that ’d be the last of him, for it scared him. But, damn ’em, you ’ve no idea how these fellows stick. I’d turn him and some o’ those others out o’ here pretty quick, only my orders does n’t allow of it.”

“ What made him go out so early to-day ?” asked Tetlow, rather angry, yet so much impressed by the official’s righteous ferocity that he rather dreaded to be turned out himself, if he asked many questions.

“ Well, the fact is,” returned the roundsman, with a deserving air, “he makes me sick, that bloke, an’ I could n’t put up with him no longer. I thought I’d stretch a point, and so I just walks up to him and says, ' Look here, Johnny, this an’t a-goin’ on forever. Either you or me has got to leave this hall, and it’s better for you by a long sight if we don’t leave it together.’ That fetched him, sir.” The lictor was unable to repress a chuckle. “ He warn’t proof agin that little dodge, and so he just turned tail and walked out where he belongs.”

“Well, where does he belong? ” demanded Tetlow, earnestly.

“ Why, outside.”

Outsider ? ”

“ Yes ; in the streets. Where else would you put him ? We can’t lock him up.”

“ Oh, of course not,” assented Tetlow.

But his mind did not assent at all. The confusion, the discomfort and pity and protest, that had prevailed there a few nights before, in thinking of the poor outcast’s situation, all came back to him with increased tumultuousness. He went out, hoping to get sight of the pauper somewhere. But the silent, squalid image of the victim did not cross his path again.

Tetlow went toward his office, in the lower part of Chatham Street, but his mind was still uneasy. “ We can’t lock him up,” he meditated. “ No, that’s true enough. But to say he belongs outside ! Outside where ? In the streets ? The next move, then, is to put him outside of them — outside of everything. O wise generation that lays out streets ! For without them what should we do with our loose human beings ? We might he forced to hang or imprison them all ; unless, perchance, we were driven to show a love so untiring for them that they should be restored to order and fitness. But we don’t all belong in the streets, and why don’t we? Who’s to decide whether this particular man belongs there or not? ”

It may seem strange that Tetlow should so suddenly have become sensitive to the sufferings of an outcast fellow - creature. We all go to charming concerts, we all encounter unfortunate beings: we do not all become sensitive to the woes of others. But to most of us there comes some moment or some hour when we see clearly the dark depths of life, and cease to deceive ourselves. Tetlow’s hour had come. Of late the earth had seemed to him an unusually well arranged and desirable place. Of late, too, he had begun to turn the universe over in a new light, with some reference to its fitness for possible children of his own to be born in. This made the revulsion severe when it came.

Yet it was with some satisfaction as well as regret that he said to Mrs. Sporling-Tetlow, that evening, “ Any way, I shan’t probably see the poor fellow again. It was a chance that I came across him twice, and it won’t happen a third time.” In this he was mistaken. In New York, probably more than in any other large city, when a face or figure once claims your attention, you are apt to encounter it again, and often. The current of the crowds moves in ellipses on the long avenues ; the ratio of your steps with some other person’s steps causes you to catch up with him ; then you lose him, catch him again, and finally ratio and linear measure carry him away from yon forever. You meet him a given number of times, and after that you could not encounter him if you were to spend a year’s walking in the attempt. Tetlow’s chances with the vagrant stranger had not yet run out.

A few days later there came, a comfortless thaw, accompanied by slow, drizzling rain. This time, Tetlow, passing along a side-street not far from his home, came up with and passed an ill-clad, heavy, rain - soaked man, who carried something tightly grasped in his fist. As Tetlow went by, he glanced back and recognized the pauper, who, lifting the shut hand, disclosed a small greenish apple, and took the merest nibble from it. He seemed not to notice his benefactor’s presence, but shuffled on uneagerly, indifferent to everything around — though again holding the apple firmly, as if it was all that life had left him. Tetlow took a few steps on his forward way, then, changing his mind, turned and went up to the man.

“ Where are you going ? ” he asked.

The nameless fellow turned his eyes slowly and heavily on Philip. “How are you, sir ? ” he asked. His voice betrayed no feeling ; there was no change in his face.

“ You know me, then ? ”

“ Do you think I ’ll ever forget ? ”

“ I thought you had already ; you looked so uncomfortable.”

“ Yes, I saw you watching me,” was the answer. It was made quietly, with no effort to excite compassion, but the tone meant, “ I knew you were sorry for me.”

“ Then why did n’t you speak ? ”

“It is n’t for me to claim acquaintance,” said the outcast; not meanly, but with a tarnished sort of urbanity.

“ But why do you stay out in the cold rain ? ” demanded Tetlow, nervously. " Where are you going ? ”

“ Nowhere.”

The man’s appearance was so quietly, doggedly dejected, he was so manifestly discouraged beyond the power of mere words or fifty-cent pieces to restore him, that Tetlow saw he had fallen several degrees in the scale of hope since that memorable concert night.

“ But you asked me for money, you know, the other time,” he said. “Why did n’t you just now ? ”

So far as the other’s dimly-expressing countenance could, it showed surprise at the question. “Why ?” he repeated, with an accent strangely like that of reproach. “ That was at night ; I never can beg by day. Besides,” he began, with greater impulsiveness, as if about to reveal a more weighty motive. But with that word he paused.

Tetlow felt the reproach. The man, he saw, had been too proud to remind him of that intimate passage between them, at the snowy corner in the midst of night. He had prized too highly the kindness once done him, to risk coupling with it any rebuff at another time. “ Is there any way of getting relief besides begging ? ” asked Tetlow, after reflection.

“None that I know of. I want to get work ; but no one will give me any, now, it’s so long since I was washed, and my clothes are so bad they don’t like my looks.”

“ Have you tried to get in at any of the places for poor — for the destitute ? ”

“ I tried at the church where I used to be a member,” said the vagabond.

“You’re a church-member, then ?” Tetlow asked, in surprise. The fact struck him as almost comical that a member of a Christian church should be found in this miserable, neglected plight upon the streets.

“ I was a Baptist once,” returned the man, as if in doubt whether his immersion in poverty, since, had not annulled his former consecration.

“Well, could n’t your people help you ? ”

“They did n’t know me. No one remembered; they wanted me to come again and see a committee or a board. I got kind of discouraged, and quit.”

Tetlow mused.

“ Have you ever tried the St. John’s Guild, an Episcopal order ? ” he inquired.

“ No.”

“I believe they help men,” Tetlow rejoined, feeling that his way of dealing with the case was decidedly feeble. “ They ’re not Baptists, but then it really don’t make much difference.”

“ No,” said the other. “ They 're all pretty much the same.”

He spoke in a broad, unsectarian way, defining his position as a liberal Christian ; but to Tetlow there seemed a bitter satire in the words.

What now most touched his heart was the utter absence of complaint in the luckless man’s demeanor. His effusiveness at their first meeting had even made him suspicious ; but this noiseless despair penetrated every fibre of his being.

“ How long have you been thrown out in this way ? ” he asked, breaking off his reverie.

“ I don’t know,” was the answer.

“How ? Don’t know ?”

“ No. I can’t tell when I last had a bed. I ’ve had work, sometimes, — now one thing, now another, — and then I’d slip up again. ’Pears to me it’s like a sickness where you keep a-spectin’ to get well all the time, and then you go back. Only, when you ’re sick the real way, you’re in bed ; but this kind o’ sickness is jist when you an’t got no bed at all.”

The idea was half ludicrous, yet it filled Tetlow with compassion.

“ You must let me do something,” he said, with unruly emotions tugging at his voice. He could endure inaction no longer. “ Could n’t you come and get something to eat, with me ? ”

“ Was you going to get something ? ” said the man, with repressed eagerness. “ I would like to eat,” he added, simply. “Yes.”

Under shelter of Tetlow’s umbrella they retraced the street toward Sixth Avenue, the guide suiting his steps to the slow, shuffling gait of his charge — a gait which long experience had seemingly taught him would wear well.

“By the way,” asked Philip, “ what, ’s your name ? ”

“ Philip Erne, sir.”

“ Philip ! ” echoed Tetlow, surprised. To have his own name come from such a source was like suddenly seeing his face in a mirror that should reflect it pale, sick, and wretched. Somehow he revolted at telling the beggar that their first names were the same. He merely said, “My name is Tetlow.” In a moment he inquired, “Were you born in New York ? ”

“ Yes,” said Erne, continuing in a gradual, reminiscent voice, “ I was born in a street you would n’t remember. ’T ain’t there any longer. That was in old days ; it was down near Canal and Centre streets.” After a pause, he said, “ ’T was a good quarter o’ the city, them times. We wasn’t badly off, least not before my father died. But he did n’t leave no money.”

“ What was his trade? ” asked Tetlow, with interest.

“ He was a commodore.”

“ A skipper ? ”

“ No ; commodore in our navy. He meant me to go in the navy, too ; and if he’d lived some longer, I ’d have been a middy. But when he died, that way, I told mother I ’d learn a trade ; and I went to shoe-making.”

“ And what first brought your misfortunes ? ” suggested Tetlow.

“ Well, trade was n’t good, and I went to the war. Ever since, things have gone wrong. I was took by the rebels and kept five months in And’sonville. ”

They had now come to Sixth Avenue. Pausing a moment, Tetlow selected a small, cheap eating-house, which had an air of flashy neatness, and took his new friend to it.

“ Will you have a beefsteak and some ale ? ” Tetlow asked his charge.

“ Thank you ; was you going to take ale ? ”

“ Yes.”

“ I’d rather have coffee.”

The trap had been adroitly laid to detect any habit of drinking. But Erne showed no suspicion of it.

“ Won’t you have any kind of liquor ? ” urged Tetlow.

“ No. I found out in the army that coffee goes further, a good deal. Much obliged.”

Tetlow, greatly relieved, ordered coffee and steak, and himself took ale, though he did not want it. While he sipped, and Erne ate, their conversation went back to the war. Erne related his harrowing prison - experience minutely, but in the dull, quiet way that was usual with him : how he had lain down night after night unprotected on the ground, with thousands of other men crowded so close that they could scarcely turn ; how many of the prisoners “ got kind o’ crazy, they’d suffered so much,” and went up to the dead-line to be shot ; these, and things much more terrible, he told without a change of voice, and without pausing in the process of feeding himself.

“ But how did you ever live through it ? ”

“ Very few men could have got through all I did ; but I was strong then.” A look of resolution and endurance came into the massive outline of Erne’s face while he spoke, as if the mere memory of his sufferings called up unconsciously all his fortitude. “ Sometimes I felt pretty near wild, myself. I never did get really so ; but I was so starved I' d dream of nights that some one asked me to sit down to a splendid dinner, with everything nice you could think of, and — well, I never eat so much in my life as I thought I did then. But I ’d wake up as hungry as ever in the morning.”

“ The starving,” said Tetlow, presently, “ seems more cruel than the shooting. ”

“ Well, the rebs couldn’t help that. They had n’t much of anything themselves. Why, right here in New York I’ve had to go through just the same thing again. People don’t think nothing about it here. And how can you expect ’em to ? We an’t fighting for ’em now.”

These military recollections supplied Tetlow with a plan for relief. “ Can’t you get a pension ?” he inquired, at length.

“ No. I only had a flesh-wound. Of course if I ’d been killed there’d have been a pension — if any one could have drawn it.”

It seemed as if Erne’s wits were a little askew : he did not see the grotesqueness of what he was saying. Tetlow laughed, but he regretted it the next moment, for Erne’s face suddenly struck him as having grown sadder and darker.

The meal ended and paid for, it seemed impossible to turn the ragged veteran adrift again, without further help. Tetlow found that under his coat Erne had only the remnant of a cotton shirt. He bought him a blue flannel one, gave him change enough to get a light supper and a night’s shelter at one of the cheap lodging-houses in the lower part of the city, and told him to come to his own rooms the next day at an early hour.

In the intervals of his business, that day, Tetlow ferreted out the names of several charity-establishments for men, which he thought might be applied to on Erne’s behalf ; and in the evening he called on the wife of the minister at whose church he worshiped. It was a church beyond Tetlow’s means ; the minister drew a large salary, and it was with some trepidation that Tetlow, who attended service regularly, but sat in such places as Providence and the sexton assigned, approached the costly parsonage. But he knew the lady to be a beneficent person.

After sketching the circumstances of his meeting with Erne, “ Long exposure,” he said, “ has made him rheumatic, and he needs rest. He only asks for a few days’ shelter, and is anxious to work. Now, what’s the best place for him ?”

“ But, as I understand, he is not quite an invalid ? ”

“ No,” said Tetlow.

“ Not helpless ? ”

“I ’m afraid not,” Tetlow confessed, though fondly hoping that the less serious Erne’s case, the better it would be for him.

“Oh, I’m sorry !” exclaimed the minister’s wife, with as much compassion as if Erne had been a hopeless cripple. “If he had been really sick, I could have got him a bed in a hospital.”

“ Then he won’t do, as he is ? ”

“ Never in the world.”

“ I suppose he ’d better be out of the world,” said Tetlow, despondently.

“ Yes, almost,” was the answer.

“What other chance is there, then ? Any ? ”

“ Is he over sixty and under ninety ?” began Tetlow’s interlocutor, categorically.

“ Under ninety, yes, certainly. But not over sixty. Why ? ”

“ Because,” said the lady, “ there ’s another affair, a Home for Old Men, where I could put him, if he were just between those ages. And you said he was temperate. Are you sure he’s not a reforming drunkard ? ” This query was put with almost tender persuasiveness.

Tetlow, grieved at loss of so fair a chance for reform, told the bitter truth.

“ Then I’m sure I don’t know what can be done,” said the listener. “ This is precisely the most difficult kind of case to deal with.”

I don’t seem to have managed it quite right, at least,” observed Tetlow, with a dash of irony in his voice.

“ No,” said the minister’s wife, goodhumoredly, “you have not painted your man in nearly glaring enough colors to make him a success. ’ ’

This way of taking it mollified and encouraged Tetlow. “ Can you tell me about these places ? ” he propounded, pulling out the memorandum which he had made. “ Here’s The Preserving Providence : what’s that for ? ”

“ Oh, that’s only for finding employment for poor men of good character. They have no lodgers.”

“ And The Paupers’ Bower ? That sounds very favorable. Would n’t it be the right sort of place ? ”

“ Dear me,” sighed the victim of his importunity ; “ it’s nothing in the world but a free reading-room, open day and evening. They can buy tea there, however.”

“ Oh,” murmured Tetlow, discomfited. But he rallied to the attack with a fresh name, The Rock in the Desert. This, however, proved to be merely a benevolent society for the free distribution of milk in small glasses, to be drunk on the premises.

“ Milk at one place, and tea at the other,” Tetlow commented. “ Would n’t it be better to put them together ? ”

“ You would be a benefactor if you could do it,” said the lady. “ What all these schemes need is union and coöperation, to make them efficient.”

“ Well, can you tell me anything good about The Wanderers’ Home ? I overlooked that, just now. I ’m sure I ought to succeed at a home.”

“If this were anything else,” said the minister’s wife, “ it would be ludicrous. Don’t you know what The Wanderers’ Home is ? It merely gives information to strangers about their relatives,— when they have any, — and forwards artisans who are passing through the city. You see, although the charities of New York are really vast, the big institutions are for big classes and extreme cases ; they swallow camels mostly, and strain at the hungry gnats. These little places are carried on by enthusiasts or theorists.”

“ There ’s only one other on my list at all,” said Tetlow, feeling quite discouraged ; “ and that’s The Bethlehem.”

“ That I don’t know at all,” said his adviser.

“Well, then. I ’ll try it!” he exclaimed, with fervor.

“My ignorance recommends, does it ? ” laughed the lady.

Tetlow warmly disclaimed the idea, but rose to take his leave.

“Could you wait a moment ?” she asked him, gently. “ I may find some old clothes that your candidate might call for.”

She left the room, and was gone a few moments, announcing as she came back that no old clothes could be found. “ But I wish you would give him this,” she added, handing Tetlow a folded bank-note.

The simple man did not discern that this had been the sole object of her search. He went his way with many thanks, and as he came to the nearest street-light could not forbear to draw out the paper dollar for inspection. He was astounded to find the figure on the bill a five. A rush of gratitude filled his heart. How strange that he should be scanning this unexpected bounty, under the gaslight, just as Erne had gazed at his, and with the same sort of emotion ! The next moment, seeing the street dusky and deserted beyond, Tetlow indulged in a bolt down it at doublequick, to relieve himself. And the minister’s wife was surprised to receive from him, on the following day, a respectful ecstasy of written thanks.

Tetlow had been careful to ask the number of Erne’s regiment, and his company. He now wrote to a friend at the Brooklyn navy-yard, for information as to Erne’s father, and asked him to address a note to some one who could examine the regimental record.

In accordance with the appointment they had made, the houseless Philip came, in the morning, to the benevolent and sheltered one, and they went together to The Bethlehem. It proved to be a small, shabby house in the shabbiest part of Pearl Street. The two Philips stepped into a room part office and part dining-hall, yet not very much of either. An oil-cloth, with a great deal of brown coloring-matter and a great deal of abysmal perspective in it, covered the floor ; near the windows stood several tables, set, and arrayed in thin cloths that would have been transparent if they had not been so dirty ; on the other side of the room were a shiny wooden railing, a desk, a table holding some books and pamphlets, together with a school globe ; and a barren, disconsolate-looking clock was fixed against the wall.

A young woman in a dark woolen gown and ornamental pinafore, whose doubtfully gleaming hair, brushed wavily along the forehead, gave her the look of having been cut out of some child’s illustrated book, was hovering near the untidy tables, but on seeing the visitors she made haste to place herself officially behind the small railing, at the same time busily dissolving in her cheek a lump of sugar, just purloined from the other part of the room.

“I want to get shelter here for this man,” said Tetlow with special firmness, because the place seemed particularly doubtful. “ I suppose you can arrange it.”

“ I ’ll see, sir,” said the young woman, unconsciously delighting him by her tacit admission. She stepped to a whisperingtube in the wall, and called through it, “Mr. Niddlock ! ”

“ Sit down,” said Tetlow to Erne, taking a chair for himself also.

So soon as he was seated, he found himself overwhelmed by a sudden distaste for his mission. It was not that he did not hope and expect to succeed ; neither was it that he distrusted Erne. But he was so much younger than this mature street - waif that there seemed something anomalous in the situation. To be in a position of patronage toward this elderly man was odious. He had felt the falseness of the relation on the previous day ; but the newness, the excitement and sympathy, of the occasion had veiled it. He now became clearly aware that there was a constraint in his position which he could by no amount of effort break down. He could not seem to place Erne on a level with himself. Suppose the man had been his uncle, in decent circumstances ; he would have treated him with well-defined respect. This he could not do with Erne, yet he was persuaded that, to make his benevolence a manly one, he ought to achieve it. The whole affair irked him in a way that he could not have foreseen a few hours before.

With brief delay, Mr. Niddock appeared. He was a small old man with a deeply marked, eccentric countenance, the side-scenery of which was supplied by some long curls of hair that had once been brown, but had now faded into a displeasing yellow. His step and attitude were springy and his manner was effervescent ; almost flightily so, Tetlow thought.

“ How do you do, gentlemen ? ” he said, coming forward in an eager, excitedly welcoming way. “ Anything I can do for you ? ” And he shook hands with both of them very plentifully.

He made no distinction whatever between them, and this was evidently managed expressly to put Erne at his ease. Tetlow keenly took to heart the difference between this and his own conduct ; he wished that in speaking to the girl he had not called Erne “ this man.” He glanced at him quickly, now ; but Erne avoided the glance, and with an awkward movement shifted his footing and knotted his hands together.

“ My name is Tetlow,” explained that gentleman. “ And this is Mr. Erne. He would like to get lodging here for a few days, till he feels better and can take a fresh start.” He was about to put in vouchers for Erne’s trustiness, but Mr. Niddock answered quickly.

“ Very natural,” he said, with antiquated liveliness. “ Are you in the mood for some breakfast, Mr. Erne ? ”

“ Better have some,” threw in Tetlow, anxious to make amends for any former coolness.

“ Thank you,” said Erne, gravely. Perhaps he already suspected Tetlow’s weariness. At all events, of the three, his demeanor was now the most austerely reserved.

“ We can’t give you any great choice,” said the Bethlehem proprietor, with an artificial laugh. “ Where we have so many friends coming in, you see, we have to calculate hospitalities pretty close.”

“ Don’t you keep coffee ? ” asked Erne, his sombreness lifting like a fog and giving a glimpse of anxiety.

“Yes, yes ; we’ll give you a cup of coffee and some bread. Will you take anything with it ? ” Mr. Niddock added, with a manner of grisly playfulness. “You’d better not, though. It may not agree with you.”

Erne gazed at him with a slow surprise, as if to say, “ Why not ? ”

“ Because the last guest we had asked for ‘ something else ; ’ he was a dyspeptic, he said ; and the only something else we had was nothing. But he said ‘nothing didn’t agree with him.’ I thought you might be the same way.”

Here Mr. Niddock laughed with very successful violence, bringing into his face an amount of color and a number of unsuspected wrinkles that made him look almost like another individual. Tetlow, too, smiled in sympathy.

“Well,” said Erne, with no answering light of humor in his face, yet showing a certain appreciation ; “ I ’ve tried nothing a good deal, and I don’t think it does agree with me, so I ’ll take my grub without it this time, if you’d be so good.”

Mr. Niddock nodded his extreme satisfaction at this reply, and called to the picture-book girl, “ Samarita, go and get this gentleman some breakfast, will you ? And keep the coffee hot! ”

His manner was so savory of the feast that Tetlow, as he spoke, well-nigh felt an-hungered.

“ Queer name, Samarita,” observed Mr. Niddock, incidentally, when the girl had left the room. “ She ’s a niece of mine from the country. I got her to come down because I thought her name would be appropriate. But you must excuse me a moment, while I take a run up-stairs.”

Tetlow acquiesced, thinking that perhaps the old gentleman preferred this particular form of exercise to that of walking on a level. But when Samarita reëntered the room with a tray holding a very small cup, beside which lay a diminutive roll something larger than a thread spool, he fancied that the benevolent proprietor might have retired to hide his mortification at the slightness of the provision. At all events, Mr. Niddock returned almost on the instant when Erne had dispatched the slender refreshment, and began with vivacious dolefulness to explain that he could not possibly accommodate the wanderer, that day.

In spite of his better resolutions, Tetlow suffered a momentary relapse into annoyance at the thought of having Erne’s affairs hang longer in the balance.

“ But there ’s a man up-stairs whom I ’ve notified to leave to-morrow,” said Niddock; “ and Erne can have his bed.”

“ Then he ’ll be sure to get in tomorrow ? ” queried Tetlow, by way of clincher.

“ To-morrow night ; oh, yes,” said Mr. Niddock.

“ Do you support this house yourself, sir ? ” asked Tetlow of Mr. Niddock, as he and his charge turned toward the door.

“ Yes, I do what I can. I have some property, and I made up my mind, a while ago, to devote the rest of my life to helping others. But I can’t always meet expenses; they will overrun ; and then I beg, or else pray for help. A prayer is pretty sure to be answered; begging ’s more uncertain.”

When the two Philips came out of The Bethlehem, they walked along the street till they reached a convenient doorway, where Tetlow stopped to tell his companion of the gift from the minister’s wife.

Erne was so dazed by her generosity that he could make no remark upon it. “ Who’s the lady, did you say ? ” he asked. “ What’s her name ? ” His lip trembled as he said, with a touch of awe in his voice, “ She must be a very good woman. I wish I could tell her how much it does for me,” he went on, holding the green bill one end in each hand and gazing vacantly at it, as if he hoped to find words upon it that would express his meaning better. Then he lifted his eyes with a sad impatience at his inadequate utterance.

“ Well,” remarked Tetlow, hastily, “that will help you to manage, you know, till you get in at Niddock’s ; and then you can buy a coat with part of it.”

Erne did not at onee respond ; he seemed a little uneasy.

“ I wish I could do something for this,” he presently said. “I’m not well enough to work much yet, you see. But it seems queer to take so much money without doing anything for it.”

Tetlow managed to reassure him. “ But now,” he continued, preparing to quit the convenient doorway, for it seemed proper to get rid of Erne’s affairs for the time, “ how will you arrange, to-night ? Forty cents will get you a bed at the lodging-house where you went before, won’t it ? Then” — Erne having assented — “ you ’d better go there to-night. To-morrow, that’s Friday, you put up at Niddock’s. By Monday would you be ready to call at my office and let me know how you are ? ”

“If that would suit you, sir,” said Erne, with a gleam of that old, disused courtesy which had once before caught Tetlow’s attention.

“ Well, then, suppose we go along ; it’s too cold, I find, standing here.”

He was prepared to bid Erne good-by ; but, to his surprise, the latter did not lead up to it. Instead, he stepped out of the doorway, and seemed to await Tetlow. Accordingly, they started off together. The disbursement of the five dollars had dispelled the slight constraint which seemed to be clutching hold of them while in The Bethlehem; and now Erne was apparently unwilling to have an abrupt parting.

As they walked on side by side, without at first saying anything, there stole over Tetlow a queer sensation. Erne seemed to he clinging to him, bodily, though in reality he was not even touching him. Was the sensation like that of some one who has plunged into a stream to save a drowning person, and finds the weight more than he can carry to shore ? But very soon a pleasanter image arose, and Erne now appeared merely a hungry and forsaken man, who had received the boon of a delicious dream, and was trying to keep up its illusions by an effort not to wake. With this thought a warm rush of simple and generous emotion came pouring into Tetlow’s heart.

“It’s all real, Erne ! You need n’t be afraid that it won’t last ; you have friends, now, and they ’ll stick by you.” This was what he longed to say impetuously, at the moment ; but the words scattered themselves unheard within his mind, and he merely remarked, “ It’s pleasant to think that we’ve got something arranged, at last. Is n’t it ? ”

“ Yes, it ’ll do me good,” Erne replied, in a brooding voice. “ I want to get this rheumatism out of me, and then I can work.”

“How on earth have you managed, nights,” queried his friend, “ when you did n’t have any money ? ”

“ Oh, I had very good nights,” said Erne, deprecatingly, as if he had perhaps seemed to complain. “ When it’s too cold to walk, I go to the police stations. That’s very bad ; there’s too many of us together, and there ’s cursing and tricks and singing, but you get warm even when you can’t sleep. I ’d rather get a good lot of straw down a cellar-way, as I did it sometimes. But there was a good many nights, this year, when I could stay out all night.”

Tetlow reflected a moment. “ Do you mean walking all night ? ”

“ Yes, you can keep very comfortable that way,” answered Erne. “ I gener’lly worked around from the Battery up the west side, — not along the river, there’s too much wind there, — up to Fifty-Ninth Street or somewheres there. Then you turn and come over to Broadway and walk down the Bowery here, and if you walk slow and stiddy that’s pretty near as much as you want for one night.”

“The length of the city, twice !” murmured Tetlow. “ If you go six or eight miles like that, how do you get any sleep ? ”

“ Well, you can’t sleep much, of course. But then, it’s better than the stations. And along toward morning, some o’ those saloons for the ear-drivers and the newspaper men gets open and makes it kind of cheerful. There’s places where the steam and the fires make the side of the houses or the sidewalk warm, and you can steal a sleep there before it comes day-time.”

“Steal a sleep !” Tetlow mentally echoed. “Is even that gift of God denied him ? ”

They walked for some moments without further remark. Then Tetlow halted, saying abruptly, “ I must go to my office now.” Erne seemed suddenly to fear that he might have accompanied his patron too far. “ But we shall meet on Monday again,” Tetlow cheerily reminded him.

The other Philip simply gave a nod. With this they parted. But Erne was not yet roused from his dream ; it was only a momentary break.

That afternoon, on his way up town, after business, Tetlow sought out the little church which Erne had mentioned to him. It was a small edifice with a great many cornices, moldings, flutings, and miscellaneous protuberances. The color was that of molasses candy, and the two little spires looked as if they had been drawn out at a pulling of the candy, and inadvertently left so. Finding a little black sign with the sexton’s address on it stuck into the gewgaw moldings near the door, he was able to get at the sexton himself, and through him at the minister, who referred him to a Mr. Bumpus, of the church committee, to he seen in the Sunday-school room, the next day, at four o’clock.

At the appointed time, Tetlow, going to the basement room, was confronted with Mr. Bumpus, a small, knotty, rednosed man, who thoughtfully prodded his rough-shaven chin while listening to Tetlow, and then polished his smooth, red nose officially with a handkerchief, for an instant, before replying.

“ I will bring the matter before the board, Mr. Tetlow. That much I can do for you.”

“ How soon does the board meet ? ”

“ Not till next month, unfortunately. We’ve just had one meeting.”

And I am to sustain the man for a month, I suppose,” said Tetlow with perhaps pardonable indignation, “ fattening him to be served up at your board.”

“ We must examine the church records, at least,” returned Mr. Bumpus, with an ominous air of long - suffering, “ to test your candidate’s claim. Besides,” he continued, with a half-concealed pride, " we are struggling under a heavy load of debt at present, for this new house of ours.” He glanced for a moment upward, as though to indicate the molasses candy walls and pinnacles above.

Tetlow left this cautious gentleman promptly, and went home much embittered. As he sat before the fire, that evening, encouraged by his wife’s honest sympathy, he gave vent to his gloom.

“ Poor Erne is stored away for tonight at The Bethlehem,” he observed. “ But who knows what may become of him three days from now ? How strange that a man should be so utterly without a place, part, or lot in the world ! We mortals, after all, are like figures on a slate, always arranged in a problem, and obliterated in a moment to make room for a new calculation. But poor Erne don’t even seem to belong to the sum, as it stands just now. He might be got in, if he were just something else than what he is. If he were his own father he might retire on halfpay. If he were helplessly sick, he could go to a hospital. And if he were a criminal, he ’d he taken care of completely. But just because Erne has physical endurance, and because he’s honest and temperate, he’s left to his own devices.”

Who that knows human nature will be unprepared to hear that even while Tetlow was thus arraigning the system of things, there was creeping over him a doom-like weariness of his championship of Erne ? The very apathy of society which he condemned became alluring to him, and tempted him to drop the whole troublesome business. He knew that Erne was under cover for this one night, at least, but he said to himself that if it had not been so, and if, instead, the pauper had been shivering now on the sidewalks, he should hardly feel like taking a step to succor him. The very things which had before assisted his sympathy now repressed it. The thought of the child that might be born to him, which had but a few days earlier made him more keenly alive to Erne’s misery, seemed to-night to arouse only a spirit of parsimony and self-preservation. The novelty of the situation was gone. Charity, they say, begins at home : it ends almost anywhere.

Tetlow knew, of course, that this was all wrong, and he tried to shake off the mood. But it was not so easy. When he reached his office, next day, the drowsy and disorderly boy who opened it of mornings and had stayed there by direction on Tetlow’s going to the church, announced, “ Gentleman here after you went. Same one that called before. Said he could n’t wait ’bout the advertising. Go somewhere else.” This dismal news revived Tetlow’s dissatisfaction. Feeling very sour, he nevertheless pursued his business with great energy, making some politic calls and starting up prospects of employment, so that he grew more hopeful before night. But his heart had imperceptibly hardened towards Erne.

It was with a sort of disgust that he recalled, on his way to business, the next Monday, that this was the date set for the reappearance of the outcast. An hour later, as he sat, fretful and uneasy, reading the newspapers at his desk, he heard a slight, shuffling step, then a subdued, disconnected tapping at the office door, and Erne appeared on the threshold, timid, quiet, yet with an obscurely hopeful air. Tetlow turned around.

“ Well ? ” he said, perhaps a shade austerely. He himself noticed this, and went on more genially, though without much welcome, “ Oh, how are you ? I did n’t expect you quite so soon.”

Erne had taken half a step forward. He paused.

“I — I would n’t have come, sir, only ” —

“ I know ; yes. I told you to ; I remember, of course.” The moment he had said this, Tetlow wished that he had used the word “ asked,” in place of “ told.”

Erne remained near the door, falteringly expectant, as it seemed ; Tetlow remarked that he looked somewhat stronger and fresher than hitherto, though still unkempt and worn and pitiable enough. “ Come in, why don’t you ? ” he asked. Erne hereupon drew nearer, but caught the eye of the disorderly office-boy fixed with contemptuous inquiry upon him, and again hesitated. The very room began to seem mysteriously hostile to him.

“ Did you stay at The Bethlehem, nights,” asked Tetlow, “after I left you ? ”

“ Once — Friday.”

“ Why not after that ? ” inquired the benefactor with some sharpness.

“ Well,” answered Erne, “ there an’t any Bethlehem much, any more.”

“What do you mean ?” demanded the other, trying to face this remarkable sentence squarely.

“ Some creditors had everything attached, Saturday morning,” was the reply. “ We was all turned out, and the sheriff come in. Niddock, he did n’t give up, though ; said he would run the place for his creditors, as an eatinghouse, till he ’d paid.” Erne waited, turning his old felt hat over in his hands, and added, “ He ’ll have to stiffen his coffee some, if he wants payboarders.”

Tetlow began to laugh, at thought of this catastrophe coming upon the one devotedly miscellaneous friend of the poor whom he had met. But his mirth was quickly checked. He remembered that Erne would now be thrown back on his hands. Again that strange semi-hallucination of this big, helpless man clinging bodily to him attacked his senses. He wondered if Erne were not one of those creatures he had heard of, whom it is useless to befriend, because they represent gravitation in human nature and are continually slipping to the bottom of the heap. A picture rose before his mind of this man forever returning upon him, haunting him, becoming a life-long burden. His laughter died away, and he grew very serious as he said, “I suppose you’ve spent most of that five dollars, then ? ”

Erne delayed answering. He seemed ill at ease, and glanced out of the unwashed office window with an absent, far-seeking expression. Not till long afterward did Tetlow see the meaning of this look. It was a retrospect into the gray past, a dim foresight into the equally cheerless future. The question about that meagre sum of money had sharply recalled his utter helplessness, and he was loath to force that helplessness again upon his befriender.

“ Well ? ” repeated Tetlow, to hasten the answer.

“ Oh,” said Erne, with an effort. “ I had to spend some, but — I ’ve got plenty. Plenty,” he repeated.

“ How much have you got left ? ”

“ A dollar and a half, sir.” The words came with an air of contrition, as if the speaker expected some chastisement. “ I bought some shoes,” he explained, glancing down at the new coverings of his feet.

“ All right,” said Tetlow, in answer. “ You ’ll need something, then, to-day.”

Erne advanced to the desk, and took the offered piece of money. Instantly Tetlow was smitten with chagrin for not having risen and gone to him. But nothing would go aright, this morning. He was anxious to get rid of the man, and the desire showed itself in these small mis-moves. Erne gave no sign of perceiving this ; but Tetlow, all the same, felt as if he were under moral surveillance, as if the beggar had been brought hither by some presiding power, to make record of his, Tetlow’s, unworthy motives.

“You’re looking better,” he said, abruptly, eying Erne full in the face. “ You ’ll be able to make your way easier, now that you ’re well. ” He fancied that the words would seem cordial ; but in his heart he wished to say, “ Being better, you ’ll have no further claim on me.”

But Erne took little impression from what was actually said ; he heeded only these words in the heart. “Yes, I’m better,” he said, in a strange, bewildered, yet passive voice, reminding Tetlow of its muffled tones at their first meeting. “ I shall get along all right, now. I ’m very grateful to you, Mr. Tetlow.”

The words had the sound of a farewell. Yet he stood there indecisively, as before; and he was merely making answer, as before, to Tetlow. Could his speech really forebode what its sad internal echo seemed to mean — a parting ?

“Oh, no — not grateful, Erne,” rejoined Tetlow, lightly. But again the words and the manner had lost their cunning ; their would-be cheer was simply freezing.

Tetlow could bear this no longer. The occasion seemed critical, and he was resolved to have an end of it, one way or other. If his action should seem abrupt or hasty, be thought it might be excused by his having as yet no absolute proof of Erne’s genuineness. He got up and led the way to the passage outside of the door ; but on his way an idea crossed him which modified his intention. Erne had followed, drawn by his wounded instinct, feeling perhaps that he was to be turned away peremptorily. Tetlow closed the door, and they stood alone in the passage.

“ Have you any one dependent on you ? ” Tetlow asked, half cautiously.

He thought the query a stretch of imagination, and ventured on it with doubt. But it had just occurred to him, and conscience would not let him dismiss it.

Erne’s face fell, or rather faded. It took on such a weary, colorless sadness that expression seemed departing from his features.

“ No,” he responded, in a low voice. “ I have no wife — nobody. She died after my children.”

“ You had children, too ? ”

The shock of surprise was so acute that Tetlow could not withhold the question.

“I had two fine boys,” said Erne, slowly, in a remote-sounding tone.

“ And when was it ? ”

“ When they died ? It was in the war.” Erne took hold of the chipped and battered banister of the stairs, unconsciously pressing it hard with his big hand. His eyes seemed clouded with many memories. “ My wife wrote me one of ’em was very sick ; then, pretty soon, that he was dead. I tried to get a furlough. Before it came, she wrote that the other one was gone, too.” Erne paused. His hand had left the banister, and was working nervously at the old felt hat. The subdued voluminous roar of the streets, as it circled up into the gloomy hall-way, was almost like the rush and hum of bitter recollections made audible. Then Erne resumed, in a tone that seemed to proceed out of this same hoarse murmur, vague, drowsy, yet penetrating, “ I did n’t want my furlough much, then : it came just after the second young ’un died. But I went home. I almost think we was both glad when it run out and I went back to the army. But then I was taken prisoner. I never saw my wife again ” —

There was a long silence ; but at length the narrator said, with almost a sigh, “ Mebbe ’t was all right. I’ve been on the streets ever since, starving a spell and working a spell. What could I have done for ’em ? ”

Tetlow was deeply and strangely affected. Till now he had been busy with the man’s present state, which seemed mournful enough. He had had a subconsciousness of power, a flattering sense of patronage, so long as he thought that Erne’s discomforts could be alleviated. But now he was thoroughly humbled in presence of so pathetic a revelation ; all the more because Erne had hitherto reserved this dismal evidence of his individuality so completely, and had been willing to pass for a man who had no memories. You may as well try to build a pier of air, as to supply people with the joy you wish for them, when once the elements of it have been given and the combination has failed or come to an end. And Tetlow felt strongly the hopelessness of this situation. Saddened, self-accused, abashed, he at this instant lost the sense of superiority which had all along beset him, in dealing with Erne. The two men, just for that brief space, were like two atoms brought together in a great void world of emotion. He Stretched out his hand, and Erne met it with his. Did either recall that in their several meetings since the first, they had not shaken hands again till now ?

“You’ll come and see me again ?” urged Tetlow, with contrite persuasion. “I went to your church, Saturday,” he continued, hoping that this might convince Erne of his cordiality, “ and the board is going to consider your case. They don’t meet for a month. But you ’ll come before then ? ”

“ Oh, I ’ll get ahead by myself, now I’ve got a start,” said Erne. But his face still wore that lost, faded look. It seemed almost as if chill night were gathering and closing around him once more, and as if in a moment he would be swallowed up by it.

“But let me know whether you get ahead or not,” Tetlow again besought.

“Thank you, sir,” mumbled Erne, indistinctly, as he turned and clumsily began to descend the stair. Again there was that dim sound of farewell in his voice. He seemed in haste to be gone. Tetlow could think of no way to stay him. Suddenly Erne paused, and said, as if he were afraid the matter had been forgotten before, “ Please thank that lady.” But he did not look up or back. “You’ve taken a heap o’ trouble for me, sir,” he added, as he began to move again.

“ Good-by,” said Tetlow, sadly, yet with warmth. He found himself unable to say anything else.

But Erne did not seem to hear. Perhaps his own heavy footfalls as he crept down the flight, holding by the smoothworn rail, had drowned Tetlow’s voice. Presently he reached the floor below, and passed out of sight.

Tetlow went back into his office, full of an inexplicable depression. He had scarcely sat down to his desk when he was seized by an impulse to go out and search for Erne again, to make sure that he should not lose sight of him. The shapeless roar of the streets made its dull way into his back-room, and seemed to remind him how hopeless would be an attempt to find any one in this great city, with no more clew than he now had as to Erne’s whereabouts. But there floated before Tetlow continually, persistently, through all that day, the simple squalid picture of Erne going down the barren, dirty staircase without answering the “ good-by ; ” still going down without turning his head, and then passing out of sight as he reached the landing below. And there came back to him his own words of the Saturday night : “But who knows what may become of him three days from now ? ” When he found himself at home in the evening, he confessed his uneasiness to his wife. He described the interview and the memory of it that had clung to him. “ It fills me with a queer foreboding,” he said. “ I ’m afraid Erne will never come back.”

Mrs. Tetlow tried to reassure him. But there was a faltering in her voice : she, too, felt the foreboding.

Many days passed, and nothing was heard of Erne. Meantime, an answer came from the navy-yard friend to whom Tetlow had written, which sustained Erne’s assertions about his father and the regiment in which he had served.

One Sunday, as Tetlow was coming out of church, the minister’s wife asked him about his charge. “ I remember how hard it seemed to get just the right thing for him. Did you succeed? And how is the poor fellow now ? ”

Tetlow was inwardly consumed with shame at the question, it brought home so keenly the responsibility he had tired of. Unbidden, the words rang in his ear, " Could ye not watch with me one hour? ” Here he had been pleading for this man a few weeks before, and already he had abandoned him — did not even know whether he was alive or dead. To beg for a man, to take money for him, and then not to know what had become of him ! Tetlow could not have felt more humiliated if he had been guilty of stealing the petty trust fund that had been placed with him.

“ I succeeded partly,” he said, in a halting way. “But I — I cannot say what has become of my poor friend, now. I' ve lost sight of him.”

“ So soon ? ” said the minister’s wife, with a graceful air of reproach. She had merely abbreviated the solemn words which had just recurred to Tetlow.

Tt was clear that she rated the offense lightly, and if Tetlow had been of a less serious bent he would have taken comfort from the fact. But he went home pondering, full of remorse.

When the month appointed by Mr. Bumpus was out, Tetlow went to the little church with a hope of some tidings of Erne there. The committee-man met him with a self-approving air, and announced that the board had examined the records and found Erne’s name, and would try to get him some work if his address could be given them. “ That much we can do, sir,” was his climax.

“ Then you have n’t seen him since ? ” asked Tetlow, wearily.

“ No,” said Mr. Bumpus. “ Have you his address ? ”

“ Call on me in a month,” retorted the other, sarcastically, “ and perhaps I can give it to you.”

Never again could Tetlow come upon any trace of Erne. That strange law of motion, those mysterious adjustments of ratio and linear measure which had brought about their meeting, now intervened as firmly to keep these two men apart. Thrice had they been brought together, and a bond had been formed; but now the bond was broken. At first Tetlow sought relief among his friends. But one, when he said sadly, “ I shall never see the man again,” answered, “ Why in the name of reason should you want to ? ” Another preached to him the heinousness of giving promiscuous relief to the poor, and thereby encouraging intemperance and crime.

“ What good can your theory do me ? ” demanded Tetlow. “ All I care for is this. He came into my life as if predestined, and his fate was in my hands for a few days, I might have restored him to a place in life, and given him the poor boon of my steady friendship in place of what he had lost. But when I had half saved him, I let him go again. And through him I might have reached a nobler relation with all the oppressed and sorrowing. Who knows?”

This thought, with all the memories that accompanied it, became a terrible burden to Tetlow. It was with a bitter yearning that he longed to get sight of Erne once more, to have his opportunity over again, to cherish the lost man as a brother. He repeatedly put short notices into some of the papers, so worded that they should convey an appeal to Erne’s eye if they ever met it. But they resulted in nothing.

“If I could only hear that he was dead,” he once exclaimed, “it would be better than this suspense. For then I should know that in one way at least he had got fitted into the system of things.”

Another time, when an unknown man was reported to have been found floating dead in the Hudson, near one of the ferries, Tetlow was struck by the description, and went to look upon the drowned. But it was not Erne.

And it was strange to see how his mind busied itself with Erne’s whole past, and speculated again and again upon the episodes of that humble life. Nothing would console him. He seemed to feel a kind of jealousy that he should know so little about it. He fought, as it were, with the relentless oblivion which had snatched away this fellowship of sympathy and buried it beyond his reach.

On that last day when he saw Erne, he had feared that the outcast might haunt his life. He does haunt it. But how different is this spectral presence from the actual fellowship which Tetlow dreaded ! There is no sordid annoyance, no vulgar importunity, like that which he expected. Yet Erne is ever present to him in thought. That man who had lost his place in life, who had once shared the gentlest human ties, and then, when they were loosed, had drifted away into the circle of sorrowing semi-ghosts whose shade defines the steady light of prosperity, — that poor being appears again and again before him. Not always in dreams ; sometimes, also, he rises during a pause in the busiest day, to fix a pallid, unreproaching gaze on his unfaithful friend ; or again he is the companion of late musings, when the wintry night scourges the city streets with a cruel wind ; but always when his image comes it is like the form of some lost duty, some exiled power of loving - kindness, banished from the world when this same fellow - creature was cast out into misery.

George Parsons Lathrop.