THE SILVER SHILLING
' So she bored a hole through me. It is certainly not agreeable to have a hole bored through one ; but many things can be borne when the intention is good. A thread was passed through the hole, and I became a kind of medal, and was hung round the neck of the little child ; and the child smiled at me, and kissed me, and I slept all night on its warm, innocent neck.
6 When the morning came, the child's mother took me up in her fingers and looked at me, and she had her own thoughts about me, I could feel that very well. She brought out a pair of scissors, and cut the string through.
' A lucky shilling ! " she said. " Well, we shall soon see that."
' And she laid me in vinegar, so that I turned quite green. Then she plugged up the hole, rubbed me a little, and carried me, in the evening twilight, to the lottery collector, to buy a lottery ticket that should bring her luck.
' How miserably wretched I felt 1 There was a heavy feeling in me, as if I should break in two. I knew that I should be called false and thrown down—and before a crowd of shillings and other coins, too, who lay there with an image and superscription of which they might be proud. But I escaped, for there were many people in the collector's room—he had a great deal to do, and I went rattling down into the box among the other coins. Whether my ticket won anything or not I don't know ; but this I do know, that the very next morning I was recognized as a bad shilling, and was sent out to deceive and deceive again. That is a very trying thing to bear when one knows one has a good character, and of that I am conscious.
' For a year and a day I thus wandered from house to house and from hand to hand, always abused, always unwelcome ; no one trusted me ; and I lost confidence in the world and in myself. It was a heavy time. At last, one day a traveller, a strange gentleman, arrived, and I was passed to him, and he was innocent enough to accept me for current coin ; but he wanted to pass me on, and again I heard the cry, " No use—false ! "
1 " I received it as a good coin," said the man, and he looked closely at me : suddenly he smiled all over his facr and I had never seen that expression before on any '