RANDOM MEMORIES 77 mtskirts of the crowd, some of the town's children (to vhom the whole affair was Greek and Hebrew) profanely laying tigg. The same descent, the same country, the same narrow sect of the same religion, and all these bonds nade very largely nugatory by an accidental difference Df dialect ! Into the bay of Wick stretched the dark length of the infinished breakwater, in its cage of open staging; the travellers (like frames of churches) overplumbing all; ind away at the extreme end, the divers toiling unseen DB the foundation. On a platform of loose planks, the assistants turned their air-mills ; a stone might be swing- ing between wind and water ; underneath the swell ran gaily; and from time to time, a mailed dragon with a window-glass snout came dripping up the ladder. Youth is a blessed season after all; my stay at Wick was in the year of Voces fidelium and the rose-leaf room at Bailie Brown's; and already I did not care two straws for literary glory. Posthumous ambition perhaps requires an atmosphere of roses ; and the more rugged excitant of Wick east winds had made another boy of me. To go down in the diving-dress, that was my absorbing fancy ; and with the countenance of a certain handsome scamjj of a diver, Bob Bain by name, I gratified the whim. It was gray, harsh, easterly weather, the swell ran pretty high, and out in the open there were £ skipper's daughters,' when I found myself at last on the diver's platform, twenty pounds of lead upon each foot and my whole person swollen with ply and ply of woollen under- clothing. One moment, the salt wind was whistling round my night-capped head; the next, I was crushed almost double under the weight of the helmet. As that intolerable burthen was laid upon nie, I could have found it in my heart (only for shame's sake) to cry off from the whole enterprise. But it was too late. The attendants began to turn the hurdy-gurdy, and the air to whistle through the tube ; some one screwed in the barred window of the vizor ; and I was cut off in a moment from my fellow-men; standing there in their midst, but quite divorced from intercourse; a creature deaf and dumb.