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IDALIA

points of demi-reps and rosières, circulate the last epigram round the town, manufacture new and sublimated liqueur recipes, and play at baccarat or chicken hazard in the public service. Erceldoune took the messengership; from a motive which strongly coloured his character and career even then—honour.

His father, deep in a morass of embarrassments, had lived like a prince of the blood; his son had taken, in sheer revulsion, an utter abhorrence of all debt. He had been steeped in dissolute vices and lawless principles from his earliest years; and the mere wildness of men of his own years looked childish, and was without charm, beside the orgies through which he had passed his noviciate while yet in his youngest boyhood. He had seen men of richest wit, highest powers, brightest talents, noblest blood, suddenly disappear into darkness and oblivion, to drag on an outlawed life in some wretched continental town, through that deadly curse of usury, which had given their heritage to the Hebrews, and let them glitter leaders of fashion for a decade, only to seize their lives more surely at the last; and he had sworn never to give his own life over to the keeping of that vampire which lulls us into an opium-like dream for one short hour, to