THE WESTMINSTER BUDGET. JUKE 15 1894 THE STORY OF A PERVERSION. HE turned to me with a smile of intense delight, and said, " Really, one sees it everywhere, doesn't one ? " I gasped with astonishment at the pleasure in her tone. It was just three days since I had arrived at Beachside to spend a fortnight's holiday. I had put up at the Grand Hotel. I had sat next her at table d'hote the first evening, and the second, and the third; I had met her several times on the beach; our acquaintance had progressed and prospered. She was a very good-looking girl, tall and distinguished in appearance; the old lady who accompanied her was quiet and refined. I had begun to study them both with keen attention. In fact, I was charmed; I found my neighbour at table as pleasant to talk to as to look at; our tastes and interests were congenial; in the long idle days at the pretty watering-place a great idea had come into my mind. Why should not my visit to Beachside begin a new era in my life? Who was this handsome girl ? We were standing by the wall which divides the hotel garden from the beach. It was a warm still evening ; the sky had been covered with clouds, but at this moment they cleared away arid the moon shone "forth clear and bright. And by the light of it there was revealed—-what she greeted with the strange delight so amazing to me. For the thing had gone as near to spoiling my holiday as anything could. It haunted me ; it met me everywhere ; and the worst of it was that I had such a particular horror of that sort of thing.' I belonged to a society for putting it down. I had drafted a Bill and sent it to my member, requesting him to introduce it—a Bill which prohibited the thing under the severest penalties. I had written pamphlets about it, and squibs against it; I had organised meetings, and taken a considerable part in starting a newspaper—all to stir up public feeling against it. I was as deeply interested in, and as deeply committed to, its suppression as a man could possibly be. And now it stared at me from every wall, from every hoarding, on all the tram-cars and bathing-machines in Beachside. . This I had endured. But how could I endure that my companion should display delight when the light of the moon revealed the horrid thing in letters a foot long immediately opposite us—nay, absolutely preventing us from looking on the sea ? "You were saying something about hops just now/' she observed with a shy glance at me. Trying to distract my mind from the disgusting thing which stared me in the face, I answered softly: "Yes, I was saying something about hope. I was saying that-—-" " , "You were saying just what it says," she interrupted. " At least, very nearly. You said you couldn't live unless you could hope that you would some, day find Someone who What was it ? " Nothing could have been more delightful than her tone. But her eyes were fixed on the outrage; and then she read, in a dreamy voice, the first part of the wretched legend : " What is Life-without Hope ?" " That's so true, isn't it?" she continued, turning towards me. "It's a thing everybody feels. That's the beauty o it." , . I drew a little nearer to her, for she was adorable in this mood. "I have realised the truth of it these last few days," I said, in a low tone. "You've seen it so often, haven't you ? " she asked, with a little laugh, and a wave of her hand towards—it. . ' . "I didn't mean that," said I impatiently, "I was thinking of something quite different. Wasn't it curious that we should meet h-re?" • <l I don't know. It's such a nice place that there's nothing very wonderful'in our both coming here. Besides, we often come. Papa owns some land here, you see." "Does he?" I began eagerly. "Then I wish he'd stop those; " " Nigger minstrels ? Oh, people like them." I had not meant the nigger minstrels, but I did not finish my sentence. I drew a little nearer still, and 1 said so r tly : . " We've known one another three days, and yet I don't know who you are." " And I don't know who you are." " Oh, my name's Lechmere—Charley Lechmere." " Is it ? I like Charlev so much—the name, I mean." " Do you mean only the name ?" I spoke very tenderly. "Oh, well, Mr. Lechmere ! " I was so interested in this conversation that I had positively forgotten the outrage for a moment, and it was in the tenderest and most engrossed manner that I said, "And now you ought to tell me your name." She laughed again. '"Everybody knows my name," said she. "You know it quite well yourself, Mr. Lechmere. : ' "I wish I did," said I fervently. She looked at me with a merry glance. " Choose the first name that comes into your head," she said. " You don't mean the commonest name ? " "It's common about here," she replied, laughing still. I was rather puzzled. " My christian name's not quite so common," said she. " It's Hilda." Hilda is a name which I have always liked. I breathed it now in a pleased whisper. She heard me and said, " Well, go on—say the surname." " But I don't know it," I protested. " I'm sure it's something charming though." "Well, I like it— : and papa says it's a capital name. It's so distinctive, you know." " " Then it's not common ? " "Oh, not in that sense," she laughed. "And, of course, it's got another great advantage. It begins with the same letter." "I beg pardon, but with the same letter as what ? " She, in her turn, looked rather surprised. Then she began to smile. " Why," she cried, " I believe you really haven't guessed it ! But you must! " " But how can I guess it? There are such thousands of names." "Oh, you can guess it quite easily. Now, Mr. Lechmere, look quite straight in front of you." I was very reluctant to do as she asked, for that direction brought my eyes in full contact with the outrage. "I'd rather look in any other direction," I pleaded, looking in her face. " Oh, but then you won't guess the name ! That's right. Now what do you see ?" -..'.- . "I see," said I with emphasis, "nothing except one of those hideous, loathsome, and atrocious advertisements which spoil every pretty place and make life a burden." There was a silence after this remark: then my companion said in a wondering tone : " What ? " I repeated my remark. There was another silence. Then she gave a little shriek of dismay, and cried : " But'I invented it! I thought it so neat ! And papa was delighted with it." I turned upon her, with horror in my face. " You invented it ?" I faltered. " Y—yes, Mr. Lechmere. Oh, dear me, don't—don't you like it, Mr. Lechmere ? " ' ' • . " What is your name ? " I asked in slow peremptory tones. Glancing timidly at me, she raised a white hand and pointed to—the outrage. "That," said she. "That's my name. My name's Hilda Horribell." The moon was shining with undiminished brightness. I turned my eyes from th c i pretty face that was turned up to mine, half in apprehension, half sti 1 in merriment : and I let my shuddering gaze rest on the ghastly at'ocity which faced me, which had haunted me for days, which formed the most salient and conclusive example in the new pamphlet which 1 was preparing. And I read aloud: "What is Life without Hope, or Beef without Horribell's Horseradish ? " "It's papa's, of course," said Hilda Horribell. T There was a silence. I was torn by conflicting emotions. At one moment I nearly turned away from her for ever. Nay, I believe that I should have done it and gone back to my crusade and my pamphlets. But just as I was about to bid her a biief, sad, firm farewell, she, turning her gaze first on the outrage, then back to my face, said in the softest, most timid, most enchanting way : " I think, somehow—it's just occurred to me—that it would read better " Well, what had just occurred to her, and what she thought would read better, you may see for yourself on at least a hundred thousand hoardings in Great Britain and Ireland. " What is Life without Love, or Beef without Horribell's Horseradish ? " And I am in the business. THE ROMANCE OF THE CITY DUSTYARD. The other day the Japanese Ambassador (Viscount Aoki), accompanied by Baron von Siebold, Mr. A. Dissy, hon. secretary to the Japan Society, and suite, paid a visit to Lett's Wharf, Commercial-road, Lambeth, the City dust dep A t, .or the purpose o' inspecting the methods adopted by the Commissioners of Sewers for getting rid of the refuse from the City. During the past year 28,699 loads of street sweepings, and 42,572 loads of dust and trade refuse were delivered at the wharf, and 25,000 loads of the refuse were burnt in the destructors which were erected some ten years since at a cost of £12,000, to test the desirability of resorting altogether to cremation, and with-a view ultimately of doing away, with the unwholesome practice o! sorting and sifting. Mr. Bell explained that the only advantage that could be claimed for this system was that marketable commodities were carefully eliminated from the apparendy worthless rubbish, and realised no inconsiderable sum, the revenue for the past year being £2,421 7s. 6d. Cheques, bank-notes, stamps and railway passes were frequently discovered, and it possible returned to the owners. CULLWICK'S SKIN OINTMENT Cures Eczema, Itching, all Skin Eruptions. Price Is. post free, Is. 3d. Martin, Chemist. Southampton. London Agents, Heppell & Co. (Chemists),35,Haymarket.S. W.
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