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ELIA.

THE SOUTH-SEA HOUSE.

READER, in thy passage from the Bank-where thou hast been receiving thy half-yearly dividends (supposing thou art a lean anmuitant like myself)—to the Flower Pot, to secure a place for Dalston, or Shacklewell, or some other thy suburban retreat northerly, didst thou never observe a melancholy-looking, handsome, brick and stone edifice, to the left-where Threadneedlestreet abuts upon Bishopsgate? I dare say thou hast often admired its magnificent portals ever gaping wide, and disclosing to view a grave court, with cloisters, and pillars, with few or no traces of goers-in or comers-out-a desolation something like Balclutha's.*

This was once a house of trade,—a centre of busy interests. The throng of merchants was here-the quick pulse of gainanu here some forms of business are still kept up, though the soul be long since fled. Here are still to be seen stately porticos; imposing staircases, offices roomy as the state apartments in palaces-deserted, or thinly peopled with a few straggling clerks; the still more sacred interiors of court and committee-rooms, with venerable faces of beadles, door-keepers-directors seated in form on solemn days (to proclaim a dead dividend), at long worm-eaten tables, that have been mahogany, with tarnished gilt-leather coverings, supporting massy silver inkstands long since dry;-the oaken wainscots hung with pictures of deceased governors and sub-governors, of queen Anne, and the two first monarchs of the Brunswick dynasty:-huge charts, which subsequent discoveries

* I passed by the walls of Balclutha, and they were desolate.-OSSIAN. 2

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