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It was New-year's day; but there was no snow, no bitter cold wind, no beggars shivering in their scanty clothing, none of the scenes of poverty which those accustomed only to an English winter might expect to cast a gloom over the enjoyment of the day. It was a bright sunny morning, every leaf sparkling with dew-drops; groups of neatly-dressed people were to be seen flocking in from the country in every direction; and though the air was fresh enough to incline them to walk briskly along, their hands were not hidden away in muffs and coat-pockets, but were ready for the friendly shake which, with "all the good wishes of the season," awaited them at every step.
Mrs. Campbell and her little girls, after many a greeting of this kind, found their way into the town at last; and the children soon forgot everything in the twelfth-cakes which adorned the pastry-cooks' windows, till the sixpence, which was tightly clasped in each little hand, recalled them to their errand, and they joined the busy crowd in the toy-shop.
I had two elder brothers, one of whom was lieutenant-colonel to an English regiment of foot in Flanders, formerly commanded by the famous Colonel Lockhart, and was killed at the battle near Dunkirk against the Spaniards. What became of my second brother I never knew, any more than my father or mother knew what became of me.
It is with one of the little pieces of silver which have just rung in the till that we have to do. It had lain there for about two hours, the same scenes going on around it which we have witnessed with its owner of the morning, when a tall moustachioed young man entered the shop, which was not exclusively devoted to toys, and asked to be shown some gold pencil-cases