It was a cold raw evening in February as I sat in the coffee-room of the Old Plough in Cheltenham, "Lucullus c. Lucullo"-no companion save my half-finished decanter of port. I had drawn my chair to the corner of the ample fire-place, and in a half dreamy state was reviewing the incidents of my early life, and like most men who, however young, have still to lament talents misapplied, opportunities neglected, profitless labour, and disastrous idleness. The dreary aspect of the large and ill-lighted room-the close-curtained boxes-the unsocial look of every thing and body about suited the habit of my soul, and I was on the verge of becoming excessively sentimental-the unbroken silence, where several people were present, had also its effect upon me, and I felt oppressed and dejected. So sat I for an hour; the clock over the mantel ticked sharply on-the old man in the brown surtout had turned in his chair, and now snored louder-the gentleman who read the Times had got the Chronicle, and I thought I saw him nodding over the advertisements. The father who, with a raw son of about nineteen, had dined at six, sat still and motionless opposite his offspring, and only breaking the silence around by the grating of the decanter as he posted it across the table.