There is located on the East river side of the great city, an establishment which has been but lately introduced. It is the Morgue, or Dead House, and is modelled after the famous place of the same name in Paris. Bodies found in the streets, or in the harbor, are brought here and left a certain time for identification. Each article of clothing found upon them, or any trinket, or other property, which might lead to the discovery of the name and friends of the dead, is carefully preserved. Bodies properly identified are surrendered to the friends of the deceased. Those unclaimed are interred at the expense of the city, and their effects are preserved a much longer time for purposes of identification.

It is a gloomy looking building, this Morgue, and it is rarely empty. In a dark, cheerless room, with a stone floor, there are rows of marble slabs supported by iron frames. Over each one of these is a water jet. Stretched on these cold beds, are lifeless forms, entirely covered with a sheet except as to their faces, which stare blankly at the dark ceiling. A constant stream of fresh water falls on the lifeless breasts, and trickles over the senseless forms, warding off decay to the latest moment, in the vain hope that some one to whom the dead man or woman was dear in life may come and claim the body. It is a vain hope, for but a few bodies are claimed. Nearly all go to the potter's field, where they sleep well in their nameless graves.

The dark waters of the rivers and bay send many an inmate to this gloomy room. The harbor police, making their early morning rounds, find some dark object floating in the waters. It is scarcely light enough to distinguish it, but the men know well what it is. They are accustomed to such things. They grapple it and tow it in silent horror past the long lines of shipping, and pause only when the Morgue looms up coldly before them in the uncertain light of the breaking day. The still form is lifted out of the water, and carried swiftly into the gloomy building. It is laid on the marble slab, stripped, covered with a sheet, the water is turned on, and the room is deserted and silent again. Shall we tell you the story, reader, of this unfortunate man.

Step back with us, and look at the face lying so cold and white under the trickling water. It is that of a young man; there is a deep gash in the forehead, and the sheet over the breast is stained with blood.

Only two days ago this young man, in high health, and full of life and spirits, left his home in a neighboring State for a visit to the great city. A mother's blessing and a sister's kiss hallowed his departure, and even his faithful dog seemed loth to part from him. He laughed at the fears of his dear ones, and gayly promised a speedy and safe return. [Footnote: The reader will find this story told with inimitable fidelity in our illuminated title page, the scenes embodied in that engraving explain themselves, and convey no uncertain warning.] He reached the city, and his business was soon transacted. He had heard much in his country home of the dangers to which unsophisticated strangers were apt to fall in the Metropolis, but he had laughed at the idea of his being so silly as to allow himself to be treated so. He would take just one glance at the shady side of city life, to satisfy his curiosity, and have something to talk about at home, and would then start on his return. He would merely be a looker on.

A gaudy transparency in front of a cellar caught his eye, and invited him to come and enjoy the hospitalities of Madame X - - 's Varieties. An inward voice bade him shun the place, but as he was only going for curiosity, he silenced the faithful monitor, and boldly entered. He would not have liked to have any friend see him there, and he entered the hall timidly. Not knowing what else to do, he seated himself at a neighboring table. The room was full of girls, whose very appearance made him blush for shame, and with men who eyed him with no friendly looks. In a moment, two girls came and seated themselves beside him, and bade him "be sociable." Not wishing to appear "verdant," the young man, whose rusticity was evident to every one in the room, threw off his timidity, and boldly ordered liquor. He drank deeply, to keep up his courage, and, determining to "have his fun out," commenced a lively conversation with the girls. A man and a woman soon sought the same table, and the party became the very merriest in the room. The young man, who had come only through curiosity, was determined to enjoy himself. At a late hour, he left the hall, with just enough of reason remaining to know what he was doing. As he reached the street he was joined by two men, who had followed him from the saloon. Accosting him, they told him they were glad he had left the hall.

"Why?" he asked in surprise.

"Because," he answered, "those girls you were with had laid a plan to make you drunk, and rob you. They know you are a stranger in the city, and they are after your money."

The young man's liquor had robbed him of his discretion, and he answered, thickly, that he had over two hundred dollars with him, that he had collected that day. A look of intelligence passed between the two men. One of them asked the young man if he would not go into a neighboring barroom and drink with them. He muttered something about wanting to go to his hotel, but they assured him that, after a friendly drink, they would take him there. He went with them. Glasses were filled and drained, and the young man was in high spirits with his new friends. If the bar-keeper suspected anything, he held his peace.

The three men then left the "Gin palace" together, and the young man, relying upon their promise to conduct him to his hotel, went with them without suspicion. They led him down dark, crooked streets, assuring him that he was almost at his lodgings. The air grew fresher and fresher, and at last the low ripple of the waves was heard as they dashed in upon the shore. A momentary ray of prudence flashed through the drunken helplessness of the doomed man, and, alarmed by the strangeness of the scene and the sight of the river, he stopped short, and declared he would go no further.

His prudence came too late. In an instant, he was felled to the ground by a heavy blow from one of his companions. At the same moment, they were joined by two other men, who came up so suddenly that they almost seemed to spring out of the darkness. A handkerchief was tied tightly over the victim's mouth, and, catching him up in their arms, the four men bore him rapidly out to the end of one of the most deserted piers. The sense of his danger roused the poor fellow from his drunken stupor, and almost sobered him. He struggled violently to free himself from his assassins, but they held him down with grips of iron. A heavy blow on the forehead from a "billy," rendered him senseless, and a well-aimed knife-thrust sent him into eternity. The murderers, accustomed to such work, quickly rifled his pockets of money, watch, and other valuables. Then there was a heavy splash in the dark water, and the secret was confided to the keeping of the silent stars.

The harbor police found the body, as we have described, and conveyed it to the Morgue.

Weary with waiting and watching, the friends of the young man will come hurriedly to the city, and the police authorities, who know well where to look for such missing ones, will take them to the Morgue, where their lost darling lies waiting for them.

Young man, if curiosity tempts you to seek to penetrate the secrets of the great city, remember that you may learn them only to your cost.