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The Burial Service of a Musician.

WE gathered around the open grave, ten of us, and gazed down silently at the plain deal coffin. None of us knew any burial-service, but something of the sort seemed necessary, so we stood puzzling our brains to recall some good action of the deceased. After a lapse of several minutes Jones mentioned how the corpse had once treated Cornish Joe to a big burst. This had been better left unsaid; for we all remembered that the sequel to that action was running through the traveller's pockets and abstracting the contents.

There was another silence of five minutes while we moved our feet about, shuffling the loose earth into rude circles. Then Darbyshire whispered that perhaps if we sang something it would be better than keeping dead silence. There was no answer to Darbyshire's suggestion.

By and by, Murphy could stand it no longer. “Boys,” he cried, “d' ye moind the toime he did Ginger Smith outer a pen at Gerogery? A low, sneaking hound he was!”

“Ay, he was that,” chipped in old M'Dougall. “Do ye no' remember him saltin' the South claim, too?”

We all remembered it well. Our tongues were loosened at once, and each of us had some anecdote to relate of the perfidy of the departed. For an hour or more we stayed, until the pauses grew longer between the yarns, and ultimately conversation came to a stop. We shovelled in the earth and left a yellow mound to mark


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the spot. Then we made for the Miner's Arms to drink the corpse's health.

“Fill 'em up, mon,” said M'Dougall. “He was a dom'd scoundrel, but, my oath, he could play the Jew's harp!”

MC G.

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