THE SILVER SHILLING
THERE was once a Shilling．He came out quite bright from the Mint，and sprang up，and rant out，"Hur-rah！Now I'm off into the wide world．"And into the wideworld he went．
The child held him with warm hands，and the miserwith cold clammy hands；the old man turned it over andover many times，while youth rolled him lightly away．The Shilling was of silver，and had very little copperabout him：he had been now a whole year in the world-that is to say，in the country in which he had beenstruck．But one day he started on his foreign travels；hewas the last native coin in the purse borne by his travel-ling master．The gentleman was himself not aware that hestill had this coin until it came among his fingers．
"Why，here's a shilling from home left to me，"hesaid．"Well，he can make me journey with me．"
And the Shilling rattled and jumped for joy as it wasthrust back into the purse．So here it lay among strangecompanions，who came and went，each making room for asuccessor；but the Shilling from home always remained inthe bag；which was a distinction for it．
Sevenal weeks had gone by，and the Shilling hadtravelled far out into the world without exactly knowingwhere he was，though he learned from the other coins thatthey were French or Italian．One said they were in suchand such a town，another that they had reached such andsuch a spot；but the Shilling could form no idea of allthis．He who has head in a bag sees nothing；and thiswas the case with the Shilling．But one day，as he laythere，he noticed that the purse was not shut，and so hecrept forward to the opening，to take a look around．Heought not to have done so；but he was inquisitive，andpeople often have to pay for that．He slipped out into thefob：and when the purse was taken out at night the Shilling remained behind，and was sent out into the pas-sage with the clothes．There he fell upon the floor：noone heard it，no one saw it．
Next morning the clothes were carried back into theroom；the gentleman put them on，and continued his jour-ney，while the Shilling remained behind．The coin was found，and was required to go into service again，so he wassent out with three other coins．
"It is a pleasant thing to look about one in the world，"thought the Shilling，"and to gat to know otherpeople and other customs．"
"What sort of a shilling is that？" was said at the samemoment；"that is not a coin of the country，it is false，it'sof no use．"
And now begins the history of the Shilling，as told byhimself．
"'Away with him，he's bad-no use．'These wordswent through and through me，"said the Shilling．"I knewI was of good silver，sounded well and had been properlycoined．The people were certainly mistaken．They couldnot mean me！but，yes，they did mean me．I was the oneof whom they said，'He's bad-he's no good．''I mustget rid of that fellow in the dark，'said the man who hadreceived me；and I was passed at night，and abused in thedaytime．'Bad-no good！'was the cry：'we must make haste and get rid of him．'
And I trembled in the fingers of the holder each timeI was to be secretly passed on as a coin of the country．
"What a miserable shilling I am！Of what use is mysilver to me，my value，my coinage，if all these things arelooked on as worthless？Ih the eyes of the world one hasonly the value the world chooses to put upon one．It mustbe terrible indeed to have a bad conscience，and to creepalong on evil ways，if I，who am quite innocent，can feelso hadly because I am only thought guilty．
"Each time I was brought out I shuddered at the
thought of the eyes that would look at me，for I knew that Ishould be rejected and flung back upon the table，like animpostor and a cheat．Onee I came into the hands of a poorold woman，to whom I was paid for a bard day's work，andshe could not get rid of me at all．No one would acceptme，and I was a perfect worry to the old dame．
"'I shall certainly be forced to deceive some onewith this shilling，'she said；'for I cannot afford to hoardup a false shilling．The rich baker shall have him；hewill be able to bear the loss-but it's wrong in me to doit，after all．'
"'And I must lie heavy on that woman's consciencetoo，'sighed I．'Am I really so much changed in my oldage？'
"And the woman went her way to the rich baker；but he knew too well what kind of shillings were current，and he threw me back at the woman，who got no bread forme．And I felt miserably low to think that I should be thecause of distress to others-I who had been in my youngdays so proudly conscious of my value and of the correct-ness of my mintage．I became as miserable as a poor shilling can be whom no one will accept；but the womantook me home again，and looked at me with a friendly，hearty face，and said，
"'No，I will not deceive any one with thee．I willbore a hole through thee，that every one may see thou arta false thing．And yet-it just occurs to me-perhaps this is a lucky shilling；and the thought comes so stronglyupon me that I am sure it must be true！I will make ahole through the shilling，and pass a string through thehole，and hang the coin round the neck of my neighbour's little boy for a lucky shilling．'
"So she bored a hole through me．It is certainly notagreeable to have a hole bored through one；but manythings can be borne when the intention is good．At threadwas 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 sleptall night on its warm，innocent neck．
"When the morning came，the child's mother tookme up in her fingers and looked at me，and she had herown thoughts about me，I could feel that very well．Shebrought out a pair of scissors，and cut the string through．
"'A lucky shilling！she said．'Well，we shall soonsee that．'
"And she laid me in vinegar，so that I turned quitegreen．Then she pluggedup the hole，rubbed me a little，and carried me，in the evening twilight，to the lottery col-lector，to buy a lottery ticket that should bring her luck．
"How miserably wretched I felt！There was a heavyfeeling in me，as if I should break in two．I knew that Ishould be called false and thrown down-and before a crowd of shillings and other coins，too，who lay there withan 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 wentrattling down into the box among the other coins．Whethermy ticket won anything or not I don't know；but this I do know，that the very next morning I was recognized as a badshilling，and was sent out to deceive and deceive again．That is a very trying thing to bear when one knows one hasa good character，and of that I am conscious．
"For a year and a day I thus wandered from house tohouse and from hand to hand，always abused，always un-welcome；no one trusted me；and I lost confidence in theworld and in myself．It was a heavy time．At last，one daya traveller，a strange gentleman，arrived，and I was passedto him，and he was innocent enough to accept me for cur-rent coin；but he wanted to pass me on，and again I heardthe cry，No use-false！
"'I received it as a good coin，'said the man，and helooked closely at me：suddenly he smiled all over his faceand I had never seen that expression before on any face thatlooked at me．'Why，whatever is that？'he said．'That'sone of our own country coins，a good honest shilling frommy home，and they've bored a hole through him，and theycall him false．Now，this is a curious circumstance．I mustkeep him and take him home with me．'
"A glow of joy thrilled through me when I beard my-self called a good honest shilling；and now I was to be tak-en home，where each and every one would know me，andbe sure that I was real silver and properly coined．I couldhave thrown out sparks for very gladness；but，after all，it's not in my nature to throw out sparks，for that's theproperty of steel，not of silver．
"I was wrapped up in clean white paper，so that Ishould not be confounded with the other coins，and spent； and on festive occasions， when fellow countrymenmet together， Iwas shownabout， and they spoke verywell of me：they saidI was interesting——and it is wonder－ful how interesting one can be without saying a singleword．
"And at lastI got home again． All my troubles wereended， joy cameback tome， forIwasofgoodsilver，and had the right stamp，and I had no moredisagreeablesto endure， though aholehad beenbored through me，as through afalse coin；but that does not matter if one is notreally false． One must wait for the end， and one will berighted at last——that's my belief．"said the Shilling．