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Title: Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 447 - Volume 18, New Series, July 24, 1852
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 447 - Volume 18, New Series, July 24, 1852" ***

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                     CHAMBERS' EDINBURGH JOURNAL

  CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS, EDITORS OF 'CHAMBERS'S
  INFORMATION FOR THE PEOPLE,' 'CHAMBERS'S EDUCATIONAL COURSE,' &c.


  No. 447. NEW SERIES.   SATURDAY, JULY 24, 1852.   PRICE 1-1/2_d._



THE MARTYR SEX.


Ever since that unfortunate affair in which the mother of mankind was
so prominently concerned, the female sex might say, with Shylock,
'Sufferance is the badge of all our tribe.' They are, in fact, an
incarnation of the Passive Voice--no mistake about it. 'Ah, gentle
dames, it gars me greet,' as Burns pathetically says, to think on all
the hardships and oppressions which you have undergone throughout the
course of history, political and domestic. It is most wonderful that
you can bear up your heads at all in the world. Most assuredly it
could not be done except under favour of some inherent principle of
fortitude, quite beyond all that your associate, Man, has ever
displayed. For this reason, I propose to fix upon you the honourable
style and title of the Martyr Sex.

As insanity is the more affecting when we observe its victim to be
unconscious of the visitation, so does my heart bleed most
particularly for the Martyr Sex, when I observe them undergoing severe
oppressions without knowing it. So natural is suffering to the sex, or
so accustomed are they to it, that they subject themselves
spontaneously to enormous loads of trouble and torture, which no one
would think of imposing upon them, and which they might easily avoid.
It might almost be said, that suffering has a sort of fascination for
them, drawing them placidly into it, whether they will or not. It
seems in some mysterious way wrought up with their entire destiny.

Hence, at no period of the history of the Sex, do we find them free
from some form of amateur affliction. At one time, it is one part of
their persons, at another time, another, which is subjected to
voluntary distress--but always some part. Not that the shifting is, so
far as can be seen, designed as a measure of relief; it would rather
appear the object simply is--to make every part bear its share in
turn, and allow none to escape. Thus, about a hundred years ago, a
lady went about with shoes that raised her heels three inches above
the floor, and threw her whole person out of its proper balance,
occasioning, of course, a severe strain upon certain muscles, attended
by constant pain. A little later, her feet might have been found
restored to their right level; but, as if to make up for this, and
allow no interval of misery, a tower of hair, pomatum, flour, pins,
and pinners, had been reared on the head, such as an inquisitor might
have considered himself very ingenious in devising, as a means of
undoing the convictions of heretics, or bringing round a Jew to
Christianity. Verily, it was a most portentous enginery for the
affliction of female humanity; but how heroically it was endured! A
whole generation bore it without a sigh! It often cost them their
night's rest merely to get it properly put in order--for, dressing
being in those days very elaborate, the attendants had to prepare some
ladies one day for a party that was to take place the next. They would
sit, however, in a chair all night, in order to preserve the structure
in all its integrity, sleeping only by snatches, and often waking in
terror lest something might be going wrong. Talk of the martyrs of
science--Galileo in prison, Bruno at the stake. These men had
something of importance in view to sustain them in their trials. Give
me the Martyr Sex, who sacrifice ease and convenience, without having
any adventitious principle whatever to compensate for and support them
under their sufferings.

In more recent times, we have seen the entire Sex submitting to
torture in a middle ground--namely, the waist--with an equal degree of
magnanimity. The corsets also formed an engine which would have
perfectly fitted the purposes of the Inquisition; indeed, there were
some ingenious devices of the Holy Office which did not greatly differ
from it. It might almost shake the common-sense of admiration for
martyrial sufferings, to find that every little girl in England was
for some years both able and willing to endure a regular torture,
without apparently having the least idea of making any merit by her
patience. Present pains, possible consequences--such as red noses, bad
breath, permanent ill health, death itself--were made light of. There
being no imaginable good end to be served by it, was nothing to the
point. The corsets were, for a time, a proud symbol of the martyr
power of the Sex. You would see an example set forth in each
milliner's window, carefully disposed under a glass-shade, as
indicating the pride they felt in it as a sort of badge of honour. It
is to be hoped that a few special copies will be preserved in our
antiquarian museums, and, if possible, they should be such as can be
certified to have killed their wearers, in order to shew to future
generations what the women of our age could submit to _in that
particular line_--not _generally_ of course, for it is to be expected
that the women of the future will have equal sufferings in some other
walk to boast of.

It is not always, indeed, that the Sex have a master torment, like
tight stays, to endure; but certainly they are never without some
source of either anguish or inconvenience to keep their martyr power
in exercise. For one thing, they are sadly afflicted with over-large
shoes. Strange to say, though there are artists pretending to be
ladies' shoemakers, the sex never get shoes sufficiently small. Every
now and then, they are receiving some monstrous affront, in the form
of a pair of shoes that might hold sufficient meal for a pudding
besides their feet. From this cause flow certain pains and penalties
in the form of corns and bunions, insuring that they shall never take
a step in life without being reminded of the doom of suffering which
has been passed upon them. To speak of the simple incommodations which
they suffer from dress were endless. At one time, they are all blown
out into sleeve, so that a miscellaneous dinner-party looks like a
series of men and women with feather-beds stuck between each pair. At
another time, the sleeve, while moderate in the region of the upper
arm, is fashioned wide at the bottom, as if to allow of the fair
wearers laughing in it--the joke, however, being all against
themselves, seeing that the pendulous part is a source of continual
trouble and worry, from its trailing through every sauce and tart that
may be at table, till it becomes a kind of geological phenomenon, in
the illustration which it affords of the succession of deposits and
incrustations. Or the swelling falls mainly into a lower part of the
dress, taking the form of a monstrous prolongation of skirts, and
insuring that the fair Martyrs shall act as scavengers upon every
street in which they promenade. I hardly know a more interesting sight
than that of a young lady going to school on a wet day, with books to
carry in one hand, and an umbrella to sustain in the other. To see the
struggles she makes in such circumstances to keep her skirts from
dragging in the mud, or the patience with which she submits to their
unavoidably doing so, and to think of the sad condition of her lower
extremities all the time--to reflect, moreover, that all this trouble
and suffering could be avoided by merely having skirts of a
sufficient, but not over-sufficient length--presents such an affecting
picture of evils voluntarily encountered and heroically sustained, as
but rarely occurs in the course of human life. It is justly held as a
strong proof of patience, that you should calmly submit to be spat
upon, or have mud thrown upon you by some infuriated crowd; but here
is a gentle creature who literally goes out every day to endure the
certain contact of these nuisances, and comes home to dinner not in
much better plight than one who has sat (unpopularly) in the pillory
for an hour. I really must give such martyrdom the meed of my
admiration; and the more so, that I feel myself, under the hardening
effects of worldly common-sense, totally unprepared to go through such
hardships without some useful end to be served by it.

The last example of what may be called the Martyrdom of Inconvenience
which the Sex have shewn, is to be found in a form of bonnet adapted
for summer wear, in which the front comes only to about an inch behind
the forehead, so as to leave the face fully exposed to the attacks of
the sun (when there is one) and the unmitigated gaze of the beaux.
There is something very remarkable in this fashion, for a great number
of ladies find it absolutely indispensable to add to this abbreviation
of a bonnet a sort of supplement of silk called an _ugly_, wherewith
to screen the face from becoming an absolute photograph. A couple of
inches added to the bonnet itself would serve the end; but this would
give a regular and not inelegant protection. It would, therefore,
entirely prevent inconvenience, and so thwart the Sex in their
martyrial propensities. Such a thing is not to be thought of. On the
contrary, either to suffer from sunlight without an _ugly_, or to
suffer from clumsiness with one, enables the unfortunate Sex to
indulge in its favourite passion to the fullest extent possible in
such cases. Admirable portion of creation! what merits are yours, what
praise is called for fully to requite you! But, indeed, it must be
quite impossible ever to make sufficient acknowledgment of that
wonderful power of endurance for its own sake which you shew in the
most trivial, as in the most important phases of life!

I therefore quit the subject with a humiliating sense of my utter
incompetency to do it entire justice. I weep and wonder--my very soul
thrills with the pathos of woman's martyr position on the earth and
her volunteer sufferings above all. But I would vainly attempt to
utter all I feel. I must leave it to each bearded fellow-creature, as
he walks through the wilderness of this world, to behold with a
sympathising eye and spirit an endurance so affecting, and endeavour
to compensate it, to the individual sufferers within his reach, by
every consolation and every reward he may have it in his power to
bestow.



THE YOUNGEST BRITISH COLONY.


Which is the youngest British colony? Simple as the question seems, it
may be doubted, considering the remarkable increase of late years in
the number of John Bull's colonial progeny, whether the most
experienced red-tapist of Downing Street could answer it without some
hesitation. At least a dozen infant communities occur at once to the
recollection. There is Port Philip, lately rechristened by the royal
name of Victoria, and now seemingly in a fair way to be smothered in
its cradle by a deluge of gold-dust. There is the Hudson's Bay
Company's little Cinderella of Vancouver's Island, with its neglected
coal-mines, and other mineral riches. Then we have the precocious
'Canterbury' pet, the 'young Virginia' of New Zealand. Nor must we
forget the storm-vexed colony of Labuan, ushered into existence amid
typhoons and parliamentary debates--nor the small castaways, growing
up in secluded islets and corners--in the Falkland Islands, the
Auckland Islands, on the Mosquito Shore, and in the far Eastern Seas.
It is in one of these directions that most persons would probably be
inclined to cast an inquiring glance before attempting to answer the
question with which these remarks are prefaced. It is not likely that
many would at once be able to recall to mind the fact, that an
important British colony, dating its official existence from the 22d
of March 1851, has suddenly sprung up in the interior of Africa--a
colony already possessing an efficient legislature, a handsome
revenue, and several flourishing towns, with churches, schools, a
respectable press, and other adjuncts, of civilisation. A brief
description of this remarkable colony may serve to awaken for it an
interest which its future progress, if at all corresponding with the
past, will probably keep alive.

There is some difficulty in describing the 'Orange River
Sovereignty'--for such is the long and rather awkward name by which
this settlement is now known--so as to convey a correct idea of its
situation without the aid of a map. That the Cape Colony occupies the
southern coast of the African continent, and that the colony of Natal
is on the south-eastern coast, are facts of which few readers will
need to be reminded. Will it, then, be sufficient to say, that the
'sovereignty' in question is situated in the interior, between these
two colonies, having the Cape on the south, and Natal on the east? It
will be necessary to refer briefly to the manner in which it acquired
its rank as a colony, and its peculiar name. Just two hundred years
ago, in the year 1652, the Cape Colony was founded by the Dutch; and
about fifty years ago, it came into the possession of our own
government. During these two centuries, the colony has been constantly
extending itself towards the east and north, just as the British
settlements in North America, which were founded about the same time,
have been ever since extending their borders towards the west and
south, or as the settlements of Eastern Australia have been spreading
to the west, south, and north. It is a natural movement of
colonisation, and there seems to be no means of checking it, even if
any advantage were to be gained by doing so.

As the American backwoodsmen, in their progress westward, reached at
last the boundary-streams--as they were once considered--of the
Mississippi and the Ohio, so the South-African colonists gradually
found their way to the great Orange River, which, flowing nearly
across the continent, from east to west, formed a sort of natural
limit to the old colony. But beyond this boundary, extensive plains
and undulating downs, covered with nutritious herbage like the
American prairies, spread out invitingly towards the distant northern
horizon. The exterminating wars among the native tribes had left these
grassy plains almost wholly unoccupied. You might travel over them for
days without meeting a human being, or any traces of human possession,
except here and there the decaying huts and bleaching skeletons of the
former inhabitants. The feeble remnants of these tribes had sought
refuge in the recesses of the neighbouring mountains, where some of
them, in their dire extremity, sustained a horrid existence by
cannibalism, which revolting custom still further diminished their
numbers, and has only recently been suppressed. The Cape 'boers,' or
farmers, rich as the patriarchs of old in cattle and sheep, and
straitened like them for pasture, gradually found their way over the
river into these fruitful and vacant plains. At first, they crossed
only in small numbers, and with no intention of remaining permanently.
But the abolition of slavery, the mismanaged Caffre wars, and some
unpopular measures of the Cape government, suddenly gave a great
impulse to the emigration.

About fifteen years ago, some thousands of Dutch colonists sold their
farms, packed their household gear in their huge capacious wagons,
and with their wives and children--in all, at least 10,000
souls--accompanied by myriads of cattle, sheep, and horses, crossed
the Orange River, and plunged into the vast wilderness beyond. Some
spread themselves over the rich pastures in the country lying
immediately north of that river, and now forming the infant colony
which is presently to be described. Others penetrated far to the
north, forded the Vaal or Yellow River, and planted corn-fields and
vineyards on the fertile slopes of the Kashan Mountains, where they
still maintain themselves as a self-governed and thriving community.
One small band of bold adventurers found their way to the verdant but
fever-haunted plains about Delagoa Bay, whence the few survivors were
presently driven by the destructive ravages of the pestilence. But the
main column of the emigrants, turning to the right, crossed the lofty
chain of the Drakenberg--the 'Rocky Mountains' of Africa--and
descended into the well-watered valleys and woody lowlands of Natal.
The romantic but melancholy story of the sufferings, the labours, the
triumphs, and the reverses which filled up the subsequent years--how
some of the emigrants were surprised and massacred by the jealous
tribes of the interior, and others were treacherously slaughtered by
their professed ally, the blood-thirsty chief of the Zulus--and how
the exasperated survivors turned upon their assailants, broke their
power, and scattered them; how they planted towns, formed a regular
government, and set up an independent republic; all these, and many
similar events, must be left for the future historians of South Africa
to record. Neither is it necessary to refer here to the policy which
led our government afterwards to extend its authority over the lands
thus conquered and settled by the emigrants, or to the manner in which
this authority, at first resisted, was finally established. Natal was
thus made a British province in 1842. Many of the boors, naturally
enough disliking the new government thus forced upon them, retraced
their course over the Drakenberg, back into the upland plains of the
interior. Here they were left pretty much to themselves, until the
year 1848, when Sir Harry Smith proclaimed the extension of the
Queen's supremacy over the whole of the territory situated between the
Orange and Vaal Rivers; but, as has been already said, it was not
until March of last year that this acquisition was finally sanctioned,
and the new colony established by an act of the imperial government.

The Vaal River--sometimes called the Nu Gariep, and sometimes the
Yellow River--is the principal tributary of the Orange River; indeed,
it is so large an affluent, that some geographers have doubted, as in
the case of the Mississippi and the Missouri, which should properly be
considered the main stream. These rivers, the Orange and the Vaal,
rising near together in the Drakenberg chain, take a wide circuit, the
one to the south-west, the other to the north-west, and flow each a
distance of about 400 miles before their junction. The territory which
they thus enclose is nearly as large as England, comprising between
40,000 and 50,000 square miles. It is inhabited by about 80,000
natives, of various Bechuana, Namaqua, and half-caste tribes, and by
some 15,000 or 20,000 colonists of European origin. Over all these
inhabitants, colonists and natives, the British sovereignty has been
proclaimed. Subject to this supremacy, the native chiefs and tribes
are still left to manage their own affairs, according to their
original laws and customs. But in order to indicate clearly and
decisively the fact, that the royal authority is now paramount in this
region whenever Her Majesty's government chooses to exert it, the name
of the Orange River Sovereignty has been given to the whole territory.

The portion of this territory which is properly a British
settlement--or, in other words, which is inhabited by Dutch and
English colonists, is in extent about two-thirds of the whole. It is
subdivided into four districts, for each of which a stipendiary
magistrate has been appointed. These magistrates, with eight
unofficial members of council--who are all respectable
landowners--form, in conjunction with the 'British resident,' the
legislature of the colony. The title of the Resident is borrowed from
the official system of India, and was originally given to him when
acting as a government commissioner for the protection of the native
tribes; but his office is at present simply that of a colonial
governor.

The extensive country which is thus governed, cannot be better
described than in the words of Sir Harry Smith, who, in a dispatch
written in January 1848, gives the following account of the whole
region, which he had just traversed, on his way from the Cape to
Natal. He describes it as 'a country well fitted for the pasturage of
cattle, and covered in every direction with large game. It is,' he
adds, 'strongly undulating; and although badly watered, well adapted
for the construction of dams; and, the soil being generally rich, it
is capable, if irrigated, of producing every species of grain. It is
miserably destitute of trees, frequently even of bush, and is thickly
studded with abrupt and isolated hills, whose height frequently
approaches that of mountains. Over the greater part of this tract of
country, not a single native is to be seen; nor for many years, if
ever, has it been inhabited by one. The gardens of the emigrants
(boers) are in many places very good; their houses miserable, as they
have been deterred from exhausting their little remaining capital by
building on a doubtful and precarious tenure. That objection to the
increase of their comfort, if the word be applicable, will now, I
trust, be happily removed.' The absence of trees, of which Sir Harry
speaks, is believed to have originated from the same cause which
occasions a similar want in the prairies of America--that is, the
native custom of burning down the grass every winter, to fertilise the
soil. Where trees have been planted recently, they have grown well.
The apple, pear, peach, and other fruit-trees of temperate climates,
are found to thrive and produce abundantly. The whole country, it
should be added, is a great plateau, elevated 2000 or 3000 feet above
the level of the sea. The climate is, therefore, cooler than in Natal,
which is situated in the same latitude, but at a lower elevation.

It was not till Sir Harry Smith had thus proclaimed the royal
supremacy, in 1848, that English colonists began to establish
themselves in any considerable numbers in the country. But they then
soon found their way thither, principally as traders, and settled in
the new towns which quickly sprang up in the several districts. Bloem
Fontein, the capital, is now almost wholly an English town. It has its
municipality; its weekly newspaper--printed in English and Dutch; its
English and 'Dutch Reformed' churches, and Wesleyan Chapel; its
government school; its market; and various other appurtenances of a
flourishing town, all of which have come into existence since Sir
Harry Smith made his flying visit to the province in 1848, and
proclaimed it subject to Her Majesty's supremacy. Such magic resides
in a British governor's proclamation!

But the growth of Bloem Fontein, rapid as it has been, is not so
striking as that of another town. There is a well-known story of a
traveller, in a newly-settled part of North America, inquiring his way
at a lonely hut to a 'city' which made a conspicuous figure in some
land-speculator's map, and receiving the startling information, that
he was then standing in the principal square. An adventure of much the
same nature befell a traveller in South Africa, who, in February 1850,
attempted, while on his way from Bloem Fontein to Natal, to discover
the newly-founded town of Harrismith.

'At length,' he writes, 'having reached the eastern side of the
mountain, I halted, and determined to go in search of this new-born
town--a future city in our vast empire. Taking my attendant, Andries,
with me, we proceeded to an elevation, where I felt sure it must come
into view. We were disappointed. Not a spire, nor chimney, nor hut
could be seen; and so we walked on towards another elevation. On our
way, we came to an emigrant settler, busily employed in brick-making;
and from him I learned that we had taken the left-hand road instead of
the right, after we passed the last stream. We were about a mile from
the spot marked out as the town, _but no houses are built, nor are any
persons residing there_; so I did not deem it worth while to proceed
further in that direction.' In May of the same year, 'two or three
houses' are reported to have been built; in 1851, they are springing
up rapidly; and at the latest date, the 9th of last January, we hear
of an actual flourishing little town, with school-house, flour-mill,
and bustling and increasing trade.

The progressing town, however, had its difficulties, both physical and
political, to contend with. The correspondent has to report, that 'the
postal arrangements still continue unsatisfactory and vexatious, no
post having been received from Bloem Fontein for the last two months;
and,' he indignantly adds, 'to make matters worse, the late
magistrate's clerk and postmaster has resigned, owing to grave charges
having been preferred against him by a party faction who would rule
public opinion.' But he consoles himself with the judicious
reflection, that 'time and imported respectable intelligence will
remedy this unhappy state of things, in the changes which small
communities undergo.' It is satisfactory to learn, that in spite of
the machinations of faction, the citizens managed to enjoy themselves
when a suitable occasion offered. 'New-Year's Day,' we are told, 'was
celebrated with more than ordinary spirit. A shooting-match took
place, after which a public supper and quadrille-party came off; which
finished the pleasures of the day. The next day, lovers of the turf
had their enjoyment in the establishment of races.' And then we have,
duly recorded in the well-known _Racing-Calendar_ style, the fortunes
of the competitors, for the 'Untried' Cup, the 'Harrismith Plate,' the
'Ladies' Purse,' and the 'Hack-Race' and it is stated that 'one of the
horses was sold immediately after the races for L.40,' which would
seem to be considered a high figure in that region. It is further
announced, 'that another year will probably see the establishment of a
fair, which will give our interior farmers and friends an opportunity
of rendering a journey to Harrismith both profitable and pleasurable,
as such an occasion will doubtless attract buyers of cattle, horses,
sheep, wool, butter, tallow, grain, &c., from Natal.' And the
correspondent is 'happy to state, that several farmers are settling
upon their farms in the neighbourhood of the town, which will tend to
give confidence, and increase the value of land in its vicinity.'

Thus, in less than two years, a real, bustling, hopeful little town
had sprung into existence, with all the genuine characteristics of an
English community. Education and trade, races and quadrilles, were
already flourishing. The well-known political parties, the Buffs and
the Blues, the foes of corruption and the friends of established
institutions, were already arraying themselves in hostile ranks. In
two years more, we may expect to receive the first numbers of the
_Harrismith Gazette_ and the _Harrismith Independent_, the 'organs' of
the respective parties; and to learn through their valuable columns,
that the 'Harrismith Agricultural and Commercial Bank' has declared
its first annual dividend of 10 per cent., and that the new
'Harrismith Assembly-Rooms' were thrown open, on the auspicious
anniversary of the royal birthday, to a large and select assemblage of
the rank, fashion, and beauty of the city and its neighbourhood.

The writer from whose letter some of the foregoing quotations are
made, strongly recommends that the government should offer 'unstinted
encouragement and liberal assistance' to promote emigration from Great
Britain; and considers that, if this were done, 'thousands of hardy
English and Scotch farmers would avail themselves of the advantages
which the country offers.' This is possible; but at the same time, it
should be known, that the excitement among the native tribes, caused
by the war in Caffreland, had extended across the Orange River into
the sovereignty, and that much confusion, and, unfortunately, some
bloodshed, had ensued. These disorders, it is true, were only local;
but it is evident that the neighbourhood of some 80,000 barbarians
must, for some time to come, be a source of considerable embarrassment
and danger to all settlers in the new colony. In time, no doubt, with
the progress of civilisation, this danger will be removed; and the
natives may become, as in New Zealand, a source of wealth to the
colony, as useful labourers--like the 'skipping Caffres' under the
brickmaker's instructions, or peaceful cultivators of the soil. At
present, however, the peril from this source is so evident and so
serious, that a warning reference to it could not with propriety be
omitted in any description of this otherwise promising settlement.



THE SECRET.


Jean Baptiste Véron, a native, it was understood, of the south of
France, established himself as a merchant at Havre-de-Grâce in 1788,
being then a widower with one child, a young boy. The new-comer's
place of business was on the south quay, about a hundred yards west of
the custom-house. He had brought letters of high recommendation from
several eminent Paris firms; his capital was ascertained to be large;
and soon, moreover, approving him self to be a man of keen mercantile
discernment, and measured, peremptory, unswerving business habits, it
is not surprising that his commercial transactions speedily took a
wide range, or that, at the end of about fifteen years, M. Véron was
pronounced by general consent to be the wealthiest merchant of the
commercial capital of northern France. He was never, albeit, much of a
favourite with any class of society: his manner was too _brusque_,
decided, unbending--his speech too curt, frequently too bitter, for
that; but he managed to steer his course in very difficult times
quite as safely as those who put themselves to great pains and charges
to obtain popularity. He never expressed--publicly at least--any
preference for Royalism, Republicanism, or Imperialism; for
fleur-de-lis, bonnet-rouge, or tricolore: in short, Jean Baptiste
Véron was a stern, taciturn, self-absorbed man of business; and as
nothing else was universally concluded, till the installation of a
_quasi_ legitimacy by Napoleon Bonaparte, when a circumstance, slight
in itself, gave a clearer significance to the cold, haughty, repellent
expression which played habitually about the merchant's gray, deep-set
eyes, and thin, firmly-compressed lips. His newly-engraved private
card read thus:--'J. B. _de_ Véron, _Mon Séjour_, Ingouville.' Mon
Séjour was a charming suburban domicile, situate upon the Côte, as it
is usually termed-a sloping eminence on the north of Le Havre, which
it commands, and now dotted with similar residences, but at the period
we are writing of, very sparsely built upon. Not long after this
assumption of the aristocratic prefix to his name, it was discovered
that he had insinuated himself into the very narrow and exclusive
circle of the De Mérodes, who were an unquestionable fragment of the
old noblesse, damaged, it is true, almost irretrievably in purse, as
their modest establishment on the Côte too plainly testified; but in
pedigree as untainted and resplendent as in the palmiest days of the
Capets. As the Chevalier de Mérode and his daughter Mademoiselle
Henriette-Delphine-Hortense-Marie-Chasse-Loup de Mérode--described as
a tall, fair, and extremely meagre damsel, of about thirty years of
age--were known to be rigidly uncompromising in all matters having
reference to ancestry, it was concluded that Jean Baptiste do Véron
had been able to satisfy his noble friends, that although _de facto_ a
merchant from the sad necessities of the evil time, he was _de jure_
entitled to take rank and precedence with the illustrious though
decayed nobility of France. It might be, too, as envious gossips
whispered, that any slight flaw or break in the chain of De Véron's
patrician descent, had been concealed or overlooked in the glitter of
his wealth, more especially if it was true, as rumour presently began
to circulate, that the immense sum--in French eyes and ears--of
300,000 francs (L.12,000) was to be settled upon Mademoiselle de
Mérode and her heirs on the day which should see her united in holy
wedlock with Eugène de Véron, by this time a fine-looking young man,
of one or two-and-twenty, and, like ninety-nine in every hundred of
the youth of France, strongly prejudiced _against_ the pretensions of
mere birth and hereditary distinction.

Rumour in this instance was correctly informed. 'Eugène,' said M. de
Véron, addressing his son in his usual cold positive manner, and at
the same time locking his private écritoire, the hand of the clock
being just on the stroke of five, the hour for closing--'I have a
matter of importance to inform you of. All differences between me and
the Chevalier de Mérode relative to your marriage with his daughter,
Mademoiselle de Mérode, are'----

'Hein!' ejaculated Eugène, suddenly whirling round upon his stool, and
confronting his father. 'Hein!'

'All differences, I say,' resumed M. de Véron with unruffled calm and
decision, 'between myself and the chevalier are arranged _à
l'aimable_; and the contract of marriage will be ready, for your and
Mademoiselle de Mérode's signature, on Monday next at two precisely.'

'Mine and Mademoiselle de Mérode's!' repeated the astounded son, who
seemed half doubtful whether he saw or heard aright.

'Yes. No wonder you are surprised. So distinguished a connection could
hardly, under the circumstances, have been hoped for; and it would
have been cruel to have given you any intimation on the subject whilst
there was a chance of the negotiation issuing unfavourably. Your wife
and you will, for the present, at all events, take up your abode at
Mon Séjour; and I must consequently look out at once for a smaller, a
more bachelor-suiting residence.'

'My wife and me!' echoed Véron junior with the same air of stupid
amazement as before--'My wife and me!' Recovering a little, he added:
'Confound it, there must be some mistake here. Do you know, _mon
père_, that this Mademoiselle de Mérode is not at all to my taste? I
would as soon marry'----

'No folly, Eugène, if you please,' interrupted M. de Véron. 'The
affair, as I have told you, is decided. You will marry Mademoiselle de
Mérode; or if not, he added with iron inflexibility of tone and
manner--'Eugène de Véron is likely to benefit very little by his
father's wealth, which the said Eugène will do well to remember is of
a kind not very difficult of transference beyond the range of the law
of inheritance which prevails in France. The leprosy of the
Revolution,' continued M. de Véron as he rose and put on his hat, 'may
indeed be said to have polluted our very hearths, when we find
children setting up their opinions, and likings and dislikings,
forsooth! against their fathers' decision, in a matter so entirely
within the parental jurisdiction as that of a son or daughter's
marriage.'

Eugène did not reply; and after assisting his father--who limped a
little in consequence of having severely sprained his ankle some eight
or ten days previously--to a light one-horse carriage in waiting
outside, he returned to the office, and resumed his seat, still in a
maze of confusion, doubt, and dismay. 'How could,' he incoherently
muttered--'how could my father--how could anybody suppose that----How
could he especially be so blind as not to have long ago
perceived----What a contrast!' added Eugène de Véron jumping up,
breaking into passionate speech, and his eyes sparkling as if he was
actually in presence of the dark-eyed divinity whose image filled his
brain and loosed his tongue--'what a contrast! Adéline, young,
roseate, beautiful as Spring, lustrous as Juno, graceful as Hebe! Oh,
_par exemple_, Mademoiselle de Mérode, you, with your high blood and
skinny bones, must excuse me. And poor, too, poor as Adéline!
Decidedly, the old gentleman must be crazed, and--and let me
see----Ay, to be sure, I must confer with Edouard at once.'

Eugène de Véron had only one flight of stairs to ascend in order to
obtain this conference, Edouard le Blanc, the brother of Adéline,
being a principal clerk in the establishment. Edouard le Blanc readily
and sincerely condoled with his friend upon the sudden obscuration of
his and Adéline's hopes, adding that he had always felt a strong
misgiving upon the subject; and after a lugubrious dialogue, during
which the clerk hinted nervously at a circumstance which, looking at
the unpleasant turn matters were taking, might prove of terrible
import--a nervousness but very partially relieved by Eugène's
assurance, that, come what may, he would take the responsibility in
that particular entirely upon himself, as, indeed, he was bound to
do--the friends left the office, and wended their way to Madame le
Blanc's, Ingouville. There the lover forgot, in Adéline's gay
exhilarating presence and conversation, the recent ominous and
exasperating communication from his father; while Edouard proceeded to
take immediate counsel with his mother upon the altered aspect of
affairs, not only as regarded Adéline and Eugène de Véron, but more
particularly himself, Edouard le Blanc.

Ten minutes had hardly passed by ordinary reckoning--barely one by
Eugène de Véron's--when his interview with the charming Adéline was
rudely broken in upon by Madame le Blanc, a shrewd, prudent woman of
the world, albeit that in this affair she had somewhat lost her
balance, tempted by the glittering prize offered for her daughter's
acceptance, and for a time apparently within her reach. The mother's
tone and manner were stern and peremptory. 'Have the kindness,
Monsieur Eugène de Véron, to bid Adéline adieu at once. I have a
serious matter to talk over with you alone. Come!'

Adéline was extremely startled at hearing her rich lover thus
addressed, and the carnation of her glowing cheeks faded at once to
lily paleness, whilst Eugène's features flushed as quickly to deepest
crimson. He stammered out his willingness to attend madame
immediately, and hastily kissing Adéline's hand, followed the
unwelcome intruder to another room.

'So, Monsieur Eugène,' began Madame le Blanc, 'this ridiculous
wooing--of which, as you know, I never heartily approved--is at an
end. You are, I hear, to marry Mademoiselle de Mérode in the early
part of next week.'

'Madame le Blanc,' exclaimed the young man, 'what is it you are
saying? _I_ marry Mademoiselle de Mérode next or any other week! I
swear to you, by all that is true and sacred, that I will be torn in
pieces by wild horses before I break faith with'----

'Chut! chut!' interrupted Madame Le Blanc; 'you may spare your oaths.
The sentimental bavardage of boys in love will be lost upon me. You
will, as you ought, espouse Mademoiselle de Mérode, who is, I am told,
a very superior and amiable person; and as to Adéline, she will
console herself. A girl with her advantages will always be able to
marry sufficiently well, though not into the family of a millionaire.
But my present business with you, Monsieur Eugène de Véron, relates to
a different and much more important matter. Edouard has just confided
to me a very painful circumstance. You have induced him to commit not
only a weak but a highly criminal act: he has let you have, without
Monsieur de Véron's consent or knowledge, two thousand francs, upon
the assurance that you would either reimburse that sum before his
accounts were balanced, or arrange the matter satisfactorily with your
father.' 'But, Madame le Blanc'----

'Neither of which alternatives,' persisted that lady, 'I very plainly
perceive, you will be able to fulfil, unless you comply with Monsieur
de Véron's wishes; and if you have any real regard for Adéline, you
will signify that acquiescence without delay, for her brother's ruin
would in a moral sense be hers also. Part of the money has, I
understand, been squandered on the presents you have made her: they
shall be returned'----

'Madame le Blanc,' exclaimed the excited young man, 'you will drive me
mad! I cannot, will not give up Adéline; and as for the paltry sum of
money you speak of--_my_ money as it may fairly be considered-_that_
shall be returned to-morrow morning.'

Madame le Blanc did not speak for a few seconds, and then said: 'Very
well, mind you keep your promise. To-morrow is, you are aware, the
Fête Dieu: we have promised Madame Carson of the Grande Rue to pass
the afternoon and evening at her house, where we shall have a good
view of the procession. Do you and Edouard call on us there, as soon
as the affair is arranged. I will not detain you longer at present.
Adieu! Stay, stay--by this door, if you please. I cannot permit you to
see Adéline again, at all events till this money transaction is
definitively settled.'

'As you have now slept upon the proposal I communicated to you
yesterday afternoon,' said M. de Véron, addressing his son on the
following morning at the conclusion of a silent breakfast--'you may
perhaps be prepared with a more fitting answer than you were then?'

Eugène warmly protested his anxiety to obey all his father's
reasonable commands; but in this case compliance was simply
impossible, forasmuch as he, Eugène, had already irrevocably pledged
his word, his heart, his honour, in another quarter, and could not,
therefore, nay, would not, consent to poison his future existence by
uniting himself with Mademoiselle de Mérode, for whom, indeed, he felt
the profoundest esteem, but not the slightest emotion of affection or
regard.

'Your word, your honour, your heart--you should have added your
fortune,' replied M. de Véron with frigid, slowly-distilled, sarcastic
bitterness--'are irrevocably engaged, are they, to Adéline le Blanc,
sister of my collecting clerk--daughter of a deceased sous-lieutenant
of the line'----

'Of the Imperial Guard,' interposed Eugène.

'Who aids her mother to eke out a scanty pension by embroidery'----

'Very superior, artistic embroidery,' again interjected the son.

'Be it so. I have not been quite so unobservant, Eugène, of certain
incidents, as you and your friends appear to have supposed. But time
proves all things, and the De Mérodes and I can wait.'

Nothing further passed till M. de Véron rose to leave the room, when
his son, with heightened colour and trembling speech, although
especially aiming at a careless indifference of tone and manner, said:
Sir--sir--one word, if you please. I have a slight favour to ask.
There are a few debts, to the amount of about two thousand francs,
which I wish to discharge immediately--this morning, in fact.'

'Debts to the amount of about two thousand francs, which you wish to
discharge immediately--this morning, in fact,' slowly repeated De
Véron, fixing on his son a triumphant, mocking glance, admirably
seconded by the curve of his thin white lips. 'Well, let the bills be
sent to me. If correct and fair, they shall be paid.'

'But--but, father, one, the chief item, is a debt of honour!'

'Indeed! Then your honour is pledged to others besides Mademoiselle
_la brodeuse_? I have only to say, that in that case I _will not_
assist you.' Having said this, M. de Véron, quite regardless of his
son's angry expostulations, limped out of the apartment, and shortly
after, the sound of carriage-wheels announced his departure to Le
Havre. Eugène, about an hour afterwards followed, vainly striving to
calm his apprehensions by the hope, that before the day for balancing
Edouard's accounts arrived, he should find his father in a more
Christian-like and generous mood, or, at any rate, hit upon some means
of raising the money.

The day, like the gorgeous procession that swept through the crowded
streets, passed slowly and uninterruptedly away in M. de Véron's place
of business, till about half-past four, when that gentleman directed a
porter, who was leaving the private office, to inform M. le Blanc,
that he, M. de Véron, wished to speak with him immediately. On hearing
this order, Eugène looked quickly up from the desk at which he was
engaged, to his father's face; but he discerned nothing on that
impassive tablet either to dissipate or confirm his fear.

'Edouard le Blanc,' said M. de Véron with mild suavity of voice the
instant the summoned clerk presented himself, 'it so chances that I
have no further occasion for your services'----

Sir!--sir!' gasped the terrified young man.

'You are,' continued M. de Véron, 'entitled to a month's salary, in
lieu of that period of notice--one hundred francs, with which you may
credit yourself in the cash account you will please to balance and
bring me as quickly as possible.'

'Sir!--sir!' again bewilderedly iterated the panic-stricken clerk, as
he turned distractedly from father to son--'Sir!'

'My words are plain enough, I think,' observed M. de Véron, coolly
tapping and opening his snuff-box from which he helped himself to a
hearty pinch. 'You are discharged with one hundred francs, a month's
salary in lieu of warning, in your pocket. You have now only to bring
your accounts; they are correct, of course; I, finding them so, sign
your _livret_, and there is an end of the matter.'

Edouard le Blanc made a step or two towards the door, and then, as if
overwhelmed with a sense of the hopelessness of further concealment,
turned round, threw himself with a cry of terror and despair at M. de
Véron's feet, and poured forth a wild, sobbing, scarcely intelligible
confession of the fault or crime of which he had been guilty, through
the solicitations of M. Eugène, who had, he averred, received every
farthing of the amount in which he, Edouard le Blanc, acknowledged
himself to be a defaulter.

'Yes!--yes!' exclaimed the son; 'Edouard gave the money into my hands,
and if there is any blame, it is mine alone.'

M. de Véron listened with a stolid, stony apathy to all this, save for
a slight glimmer of triumph that, spite of himself, shone out at the
corners of his half-closed eyes. When the young man had ceased sobbing
and exclaiming, he said: 'You admit, Edouard le Blanc, that you have
robbed me of nearly two thousand francs, at, you say, the solicitation
of my son--an excuse, you must be aware, of not the slightest legal
weight; no more than if your pretty sister, Mademoiselle Adéline, who,
I must be permitted to observe, is not altogether, I suspect, a
stranger to this affair----Hear me out, Messieurs, if you please: I
say your excuse has no more legal validity, than if your sister had
counselled you to commit this felony. Now, mark me, young man: it is
just upon five o'clock. At half-past seven precisely, I shall go
before a magistrate, and cause a warrant to be issued for your
apprehension. To-morrow morning, consequently, the brother of
Mademoiselle le Blanc will either be an incarcerated felon, or, which
will suit me just as well, a proclaimed fugitive from justice.'

'One moment--one word, for the love of Heaven, before you go!'
exclaimed Eugène. 'Is there any mode, any means whereby Edouard may be
rescued from this frightful, this unmerited calamity--this
irretrievable ruin?'

'Yes,' rejoined M. de Véron, pausing for an instant on the outer
threshold, 'there is one mode, Eugène, and only one. What it is, you
do not require to be told. I shall dine in town to-day; at seven, I
shall look in at the church of Notre Dame, and remain there precisely
twenty minutes. After that, repentance will be too late.'

Eugène was in despair, for it was quite clear that Adéline must be
given up--Adéline, whose myriad charms and graces rose upon his
imagination in tenfold greater lustre than before, now that he was
about to lose her for ever! But there was plainly no help for it; and
after a brief, agitated consultation, the young men left the office to
join Madame and Mademoiselle le Blanc at the Widow Carson's, in the
Grande Rue, or Rue de Paris, as the only decent street in
Havre-de-Grâce was at that time indifferently named, both for the
purpose of communicating the untoward state of affairs, and that
Eugène might take a lingering, last farewell of Adéline.

Before accompanying them thither, it is necessary to say a few words
of this Madame Carson, who is about to play a very singular part in
this little drama. She was a gay, well-looking, symmetrically-shaped
young widow, who kept a confectioner's shop in the said Grande Rue,
and officiated as her own _dame du comptoir_. Her good-looks,
coquettishly-gracious smiles, and unvarying good temper, rendered her
establishment much more attractive--it was by no means a brilliant
affair in itself--than it would otherwise have been. Madame Carson
was, in a tacit, quiet kind of way, engaged to Edouard le Blanc--that
is to say, she intended marrying him as soon as their mutual savings
should justify such a step; and provided, also, that no more eligible
offer wooed her acceptance in the meantime. M. de Véron himself was
frequently in the habit of calling, on his way to or from Mon Séjour,
for a pâté and a little lively badinage with the comely widow; and so
frequently, at one time, that Edouard le Blanc was half-inclined--to
Madame Carson's infinite amusement--to be jealous of the rich, though
elderly merchant's formal and elaborate courtesies. It was on leaving
her shop that he had slipped and sprained his ankle. M. de Véron
fainted with the extreme pain, was carried in that state into the
little parlour behind the shop, and had not yet recovered
consciousness when the apothecary, whom Madame Carson had despatched
her little waiting-maid-of-all-work in quest of, entered to tender his
assistance. This is all, I think, that needs be said, in a preliminary
way, of Madame Carson.

Of course, the tidings brought by Eugène and Edouard very painfully
affected Mademoiselle le Blanc; but being a very sensible, as well as
remarkably handsome young person, she soon rallied, and insisted,
quite as warmly as her mother did, that the sacrifice necessary to
relieve Edouard from the peril which environed him--painful,
heartbreaking as that sacrifice might be--must be submitted to without
reserve or delay. In other words, that M. de Véron, junior, must
consent to espouse Mademoiselle de Mérode, and forthwith inform his
father that he was ready to sign the nuptial-contract that moment if
necessary. Poor Eugène, who was really over head and ears in love, and
more so just then than ever, piteously lamented his own cruel fate,
and passionately denounced the tiger-heartedness of his barbarian
father; but as tears and reproaches could avail nothing in such a
strait, he finally submitted to the general award, and agreed to
announce his submission to M. de Véron at the church of Notre Dame,
not a moment later, both ladies insisted, than five minutes past
seven.

Madame Carson was not at home all this while. She had gone to church,
and after devotions, called on her way back on one or two friends for
a little gossip, so that it wanted only about a quarter to seven when
she reappeared. Of course the lamentable story had to be told over
again, with all its dismal accompaniments of tears, sighs, and
plaintive ejaculations; and it was curious to observe, as the
narrative proceeded, how the widow's charming eyes flashed and
sparkled, and her cheeks glowed with indignation, till she looked, to
use Edouard le Blanc's expression, 'ferociously' handsome. 'Le
monstre!' she exclaimed, as Eugène terminated the sad history,
gathering up as she spoke the shawl and gloves she had just before put
off; 'but I shall see him at once: I have influence with this Monsieur
de Véron.'

'Nonsense, Emilie,' said Madame le Blanc. '_You_ possess influence
over Monsieur de Véron!'

'Certainly I do. And is that such a miracle?' replied Madame Carson
with a demure glance at Edouard le Blanc. Edouard looked somewhat
scared, but managed to say: 'Not at all, certainly not; but this man's
heart is iron--steel.'

'We shall see,' said the fair widow, as she finished drawing on her
gloves. '_La grande passion_ is sometimes stronger than iron or steel:
is it not Monsieur Eugène? At all events, I shall try. He is in the
church, you say. Very well, if I fail--but I am sure I shall _not_
fail--I return in ten minutes, and that will leave Mademoiselle
Adéline's despairing lover plenty of time to make his submission, if
better may not be; and so _au revoir_, Mesdames et Messieurs.'

'What can she mean?' said Madame le Blanc as the door closed. 'I have
noticed, once or twice during the last fortnight, that she has made
use of strange half-hints relative to Monsieur de Véron.'

'I don't know what she can mean,' said Edouard le Blanc, seizing his
hat and hurrying off; 'but I shall follow, and strive to ascertain.'

He was just in time to catch a glimpse of Madame Carson's skirts as
they whisked round the corner of the Rue St Jacques, and by
quickening his speed, he saw her enter the church from that street.
Notre Dame was crowded; but Edouard le Blanc had no difficulty in
singling out M. de Véron, who was sitting in his accustomed chair,
somewhat removed from the mass of worshippers, on the left of the high
altar; and presently he discerned Madame Carson gently and adroitly
making her way through the crowd towards him. The instant she was near
enough, she tapped him slightly on the shoulder. He turned quickly,
and stared with a haughty, questioning glance at the smiling
confectioner. There was no _grande passion_ in that look, Edouard felt
quite satisfied, and Madame Carson's conduct seemed more than ever
unintelligible. She appeared to say something, which was replied to by
an impatient gesture of refusal, and M. de Véron turned again towards
the altar. Madame Carson next approached close to his chair, and
bending down, whispered in his ear, for perhaps a minute. As she did
so, M. de Véron's body rose slowly up, involuntarily as it were, and
stiffened into rigidity, as if under the influence of some frightful
spell. Forcing himself at last, it seemed, to confront the whisperer,
he no sooner caught her eye than he reeled, like one struck by a heavy
blow, against the pedestal of a saint, whose stony features looked
less white and bloodless than his own. Madame Carson contemplated the
effect she had produced with a kind of pride for a few moments, and
then, with a slight but peremptory wave of her hand, motioned him to
follow her out of the sacred edifice. M. de Véron hastily, though with
staggering steps, obeyed; Edouard le Blanc crossing the church and
reaching the street just soon enough to see them both driven off in M.
de Véron's carriage.

Edouard hurried back to the Grande Rue to report what he had
witnessed; and what could be the interpretation of the inexplicable
scene, engrossed the inventive faculties of all there, till they were
thoroughly tired of their wild and aimless guesses. Eight o'clock
chimed--nine--ten--and they were all, Edouard especially, working
themselves into a complete panic of undefinable apprehension, when, to
their great relief, M. de Véron's carriage drew up before the door.
The first person to alight was M. Bourdon, a notary of eminence; next
M. de Véron, who handed out Madame Carson; and all three walked
through the shop into the back-apartment. The notary wore his usual
business aspect, and had in his hands two rolls of thickly-written
parchment, which he placed upon the table, and at once began to spread
out. M. de Véron had the air of a man walking in a dream, and subdued,
mastered by some overpowering, nameless terror; while Madame Carson,
though pale with excitement, was evidently highly elated, and, to use
a French phrase, completely 'mistress of the situation.' She was the
first to break silence.

'Monsieur de Véron has been kind enough, Edouard, to explain, in the
presence of Monsieur Bourdon, the mistake in the accounts he was
disposed to charge you with to-day. He quite remembers, now, having
received two thousand francs from you, for which, in his hurry at the
time, he gave you no voucher. Is not that so, Monsieur de Véron?' she
added, again fixing on the merchant the same menacing look that Le
Blanc had noticed in the church.

'Yes, yes,' was the quick reply of M. de Véron, who vainly attempted
to look the astounded clerk in the face. 'The mistake was mine. Your
accounts are quite correct, Monsieur le Blanc; and--and I shall be
glad, of course, to see you at the office as usual.'

'That is well,' said Madame Carson; 'and now, Monsieur Bourdon, to
business, if you please. Those documents will not take so long to read
as they did to write.'

The notary smiled, and immediately began reading a marriage-contract
between Eugène de Véron and Adéline le Blanc, by which it appeared
that the union of those young persons was joyfully acceded to by Jean
Baptiste de Véron and Marie le Blanc, their parents--the said Jean
Baptiste de Véron binding himself formally to endow the bride and
bridegroom jointly, on the day of marriage, with the sum of 300,000
francs, and, moreover, to admit his son as a partner in the business,
thenceforth to be carried on under the name of De Véron & Son.

This contract was written in duplicate, and as soon as the notary had
finished reading, Madame Carson handed a pen to M. de Véron, saying in
the same light, coquettish, but peremptory tone as before: 'Now,
Monsieur, quick, if you please: yours is the most important
signature.' The merchant signed and sealed both parchments, and the
other interested parties did the same, in silent, dumb bewilderment,
broken only by the scratching of the pens and the legal words repeated
after the notary. 'We need not detain you longer, Messieurs, I
believe,' said Madame Carson. '_Bon soir_, Monsieur de Véron,' she
added, extending an ungloved hand to that gentleman, who faintly
touched it with his lips; 'you will hear from me to-morrow.'

'What is the meaning of all this?' exclaimed Eugène de Véron, the
instant his father and the notary disappeared. 'I positively feel as
if standing upon my head!' A chorus of like interrogatories from the
Le Blancs assailed Madame Carson, whose ringing bursts of mirth mocked
for a time their impatience.

'Meaning, _parbleu_!' she at last replied, after pausing to catch
breath. 'That is plain enough, surely. Did you not all see with what
_empressement_ the poor man kissed my hand? There, don't look so
wretched, Edouard,' she added with a renewed outburst; 'perhaps I
may have the caprice to prefer you after all to an elderly
millionaire--who knows? But come, let us try to be a little calm and
sensible. What I have done, good folks, I can as easily undo; and that
being the case, Monsieur Eugène must sign me a bond to-morrow morning
for fifty thousand francs, payable three days after his marriage. Is
it agreed? Very well: then I keep these two parchments till the said
bond is executed; and now, my friends; good-night, for I, as you may
believe, am completely tired after all this benevolent fairy-work.'

The wedding took place on the next day but one, to the great
astonishment of every one acquainted with the two families. It was
also positively rumoured that M. de Véron had proposed marriage to
Madame Carson, and been refused! Be this true or not, it was soon
apparent that, from some cause or other, M. de Véron's health and
spirits were irretrievably broken down, and after lingering out a
mopish, secluded life of scarcely a twelvemonth's duration, that
gentleman died suddenly at Mon Séjour. A clause in his will bequeathed
20,000 francs to Madame Carson, with an intimated hope, that it would
be accepted as a pledge by that lady to respect, as she hitherto had
done, the honour of an ancient family.

This pledge to secrecy would no doubt have been kept, but that rumours
of poisoning and suicide, in connection with De Véron's death, having
got abroad, the Procureur--Général ordered an investigation to take
place. The suspicion proved groundless; but the _procès-verbal_ set
forth, that on examining the body of the deceased, there were
discovered the letters 'I. de B.,' 'T. F.,' branded on the front of
the left shoulder; the two last, initials of '_Travaux Forces_'
(forced labour), being large and very distinct. There could be no
doubt, therefore, that the proud M. de Véron was an escaped _forçat_;
and subsequent investigation, which was not, however, very strongly
pressed, sufficiently proved that Jean Baptiste de Véron, the younger
son of a high family, had in very early youth been addicted to wild
courses; that he had gone to the colonies under a feigned name, to
escape difficulties at home; and whilst at the Isle de Bourbon, had
been convicted of premeditated homicide at a gaming-house, and
sentenced to perpetual imprisonment with hard labour. Contriving to
escape, he had returned to France, and by the aid of a considerable
legacy, commenced a prosperous mercantile career; how terminated, we
have just seen. It was by pure accident, or what passes for such in
the world, that Madame Carson had arrived at a knowledge of the
terrible secret. When M. de Véron, after spraining his ankle, was
carried in a state of insensibility into the room behind her shop, she
had immediately busied herself in removing his neckcloth, unfastening
his shirt, then a flannel one which fitted tightly round the neck, and
thus obtained a glimpse of the branded letters 'T. F.' With her
customary quickness of wit, she instantly replaced the shirts,
neckcloth, &c., and carefully concealed the fatal knowledge she had
acquired, till an opportunity of using it advantageously should
present itself.

The foregoing are, I believe, all the reliable particulars known of a
story of which there used to be half-a-hundred different versions
flying about Le Havre. Edouard le Blanc married Madame Carson, and
subsequently became a partner of Eugène de Véron. It was not long,
however, before the business was removed to another and distant French
seaport, where, for aught I know to the contrary, the firm of 'De
Véron and Le Blanc' flourishes to this day.



BETTING-OFFICES.


'Betting-shop' is vulgar, and we dislike vulgarity. 'Commission
Office,' 'Racing Bank,' 'Mr Hopposite Green's Office,'
'Betting-Office,'are the styles of announcement adopted by speculators
who open what low people call Betting-shops. The chosen designation is
usually painted in gold letter on a chocolate-coloured wire-gauze
blind, impervious to the view. A betting-office may display on its
small show-board two bronzed plaster horses, rampant, held by two
Ethiopian figures, nude; or it may prefer making a show of cigars.
Many offices have risen out of simple cigar-shops. When this is the
case, the tobacco business gives way, the slow trade and fast
profession not running well together. An official appearance is always
considered necessary. A partition, therefore, sufficiently high not to
be peered over, runs midway across the shop, surmounted with a rail.
By such means, visions are suggested to the intelligent mind of desks,
clerks, and, if the beholder has sufficient imagination, of bankers'
clerks. In the partition is an enlarged _pigeon_-hole--not far off,
may be supposed to lurk the hawk--through which are received
shillings, half-crowns; in fact, any kind of coin or notes, no sum
appearing inadmissible. The office is papered with a warm crimson
paper, to make it snug and comfortable, pleasant as a lounge, and
casting a genial glow upon the proceedings.

But the betting-lists are the attraction--these are the dice of the
betting-man: a section of one of the side-walls within the office is
devoted to them. They consist of long strips of paper--each race
having its own slip--on which are stated the odds against the horses.
Hasty and anxious are the glances which the speculator casts at the
betting-lists: he there sees which are the favourites; whether those
he has backed are advancing or retrograding; and he endeavours to
discover, by signs and testimonies, by all kinds of movements and
dodges, the knowing one's opinion. He will drop fishing words to other
gazers, will try to overhear whispered remarks, will sidle towards any
jockey-legged or ecurial--costumed individual, and aim more especially
at getting into the good graces of the betting-office keeper, who,
when his business is slack, comes forth from behind the partition and
from the duties of the pigeon-hole, to stretch his legs and hold
turf-converse. The betting-office keeper is the speculator's divinity.

The office itself is but the point where the ringing of the metal
takes place, where the actual business is more bindingly entered into;
but on great, or, as they are technically termed, grand days, there
will occur--what will also apply, perhaps, occasionally to grand
operas--very heavy operations. Large numbers of the speculators will
collect, forming themselves into knots and groups on the pavement, and
even in the roadway contiguous to the office. Here they appear a
motley congregation, a curious agglomeration of seediness. Seediness
is the prominent feature of the betting mass, as they are on such
occasions collected--seediness of dress and of character. Yet amongst
the groups are some better-looking kine, some who seem to fatten, and
who costume themselves in fully-napped cloth, and boast of
ostentatious pockets, and hats which advertise the owner as knowing a
thing or two. These may be touters to the office: some may be victims,
who have once won a stake. The latter now neglect their ordinary
calling, and pass the whole of their time in the purlieus of
betting-shops. As for the touters--betting-offices are not progressive
without the aid of touters--they are gentlemen who have in their time
worn many kinds of character, who have always existed one way or
another on the very outskirts of honesty, till some fine morning a
careless step brings them from that neutral ground into the domain of
the law, where they are laid hold of. They do not disdain their
adopted calling; they are not above assisting errand-boys to go in for
large stakes; they tempt apothecaries' apprentices by prospects of
being able to come out. They know likewise the best horses, and which
are sure to win.

But there are numbers of willing, untutored betting-men, who go in of
their own accord--'quite promiscuous.' They belong to the class of
petty tradesmen, and perhaps there are steady workmen and comfortably
incomed clerks among them; although it is the tradesmen who are most
numerous, and who give colour to the whole body. There is Macwait, the
cheap baker, he contributes his quota weekly to the betting-shop: he
has a strong desire to touch a twenty-pound stake. Whetcoles, the
potato salesman, has given up a lucrative addition to his regular
business--the purveying of oysters--for the sake of having more time
to attend the office. Nimblecut, the hairdresser, has been
endeavouring to raise his charge for shaving one half-penny per chin,
to be enabled to speculate more largely. Shavings, journeyman
carpenter, calculates upon clearing considerably more by 'Sister to
Swindler' than a year's interest from the savings-bank. There are
thousands of similarly circumstanced speculators: they make a daily,
if not more frequent promenade to the betting-office; and on the days
when the races come off, they may be observed in shoals, nodding and
winking knowingly as they pass one another. Some are seen with jocular
countenances, and pass for pleasant fellows: they are impressed with
the idea that their horses are looking up. In others, the jocular
expression has passed away, and the philosophical observer sets them
down as melancholy individuals, given to castigating their wives, and
verging dogwards.

Betting-men--those who take a pride in their profession--assume
generally a looseness of style: there may be an appropriateness in
this, considering the mercurial contents of their pockets. In walking,
a freedom of gait, approaching the swagger, is generally adopted;
cigar-smoking at the office door is considered respectable; hands may
be inserted _ad libitum_ in pockets, and a primary coloured 'kerchief
worn mildly. The individual is usually seen by the observant public
making up his book. But the evidence of shrewdness consists in
familiarity with the technicalities of turf-lore; without this,
costume is of no use. The better must be well up to the jockeys'
names, and those of the horses--of the races they have run--of Day's
stable--of Scott's ditto--must know when the cup or 2000-guinea stakes
are run for. His vocabulary comprises such words as outsiders,
winners, two-year old, lame ducks, and bad books. He sometimes talks
loudly, although, for the most part, he delights in a close, earnest,
confidential, suppressed tone. There is nothing a better prides
himself on more than being in the possession of some, to the common
herd, unattainable secret--something only to be obtained once in a
lifetime, and then only after severe losses--a secret brought out by
some train of fortuitous and most intricately-woven events. It comes
through a line of ingenious, quickwitted, up-to-everything
communicators, and is made known proximately to the fortunate
possessor by a diplomatic potman, who waits in a room frequented by a
groom, who pumped it out of a stable-boy, who----It is not improbable
that the information has somewhat deteriorated in its journeyings
through mews and along dung-heaps: it is possible, when it comes to be
made use of, it may be found very expensive in its application.

The turf speculator must possess a frank and willing imagination: he
must calculate upon his account at the betting-shop, as he would upon
so much being to his credit at a banker's; he must consider the office
cheques with which his pocket-book is overflowing, as at par with
bank-notes; he need keep but little gold and silver, as it is far
better to know that it is producing a highly-profitable percentage.
Should he be visited by any momentary fits of depression, he may draw
forth his portfolio, and gratify his eyes with the contemplation of
certificates for fives, and twenties, and fifties.

We must not pass over a class of speculators who bet, and yet who are
not true betting-men: they do not wish to be seen in betting-shops,
yet cannot keep away. They are not loungers, for they may be observed
passing along the thoroughfare seemingly with all desirable intentness
upon their daily business; but they suddenly disappear as they arrive
at the door of the betting-shop. These are your respectable men;
worthy, solid, family men. But it is not easy to enter a betting-shop,
and avoid rubbing against some clinging matter. Betting-men generally
are not nice in their sensibilities; and perhaps on a fine Sunday
morning, proceeding with his family to the parish church, our Pharisee
may receive a tip from some unshaven, strong-countenanced _sans
culotte_, which may cause his nerves to tingle for the rest of the
day.

But there is also a light, flimsy, fly-away-kind of speculator, a
May-day betting-man--a youth fresh, perhaps, from school and the
country, with whom his friends have hardly yet made up their minds
what to do--who is at present seeing as much as he can see of town,
upon what he finds decidedly small means. He has an ambition to appear
fast; has of course a great admiration for fast people; but is at
present young and fresh-coloured, and cannot, with all his endeavours,
make himself appear less innocent and good-natured than he is. He has
strained his purse in a bet, has betted on a winning horse, and has
won five pounds. This would perhaps have fixed him for life as a
speculator; but the money burns in his pocket. Before he can make up
his mind to lay out his winnings on fresh bets, he must have a Hansom
for the day. He decorates himself in his light-coloured paletot, blue
neck-tie, and last dickey--drives to Regent Street to purchase
cigars--to an oyster-shop redolent of saw-dust and lobsters--rigs a
very light pair of kids--drives to, and alarms by his fast appearance,
a few of his friends, who forthwith write off long woolly letters to
relations in the country. He is accordingly cited to appear at home,
where he becomes a respected local junior clerk in a Welsh mining
company.

There are various kinds of betting-offices. Some are speculative,
May-fly offices, open to-day and shut to-morrow--offices that will bet
any way, and against anything--that will accommodate themselves to any
odds--receive any sum they can get, small or large; and should a
misfortune occur, such as the wrong horse winning, forget to open next
day. These are but second-rate offices. The money-making, prosperous
betting-office is quite a different thing. It is not advisable for
concerns which intend making thousands in a few years, to pay the
superintendents liberally, and to keep well-clothed touters--to
conduct themselves, in short, like speculative offices. They must not
depend entirely upon chance. Chance is very well for betting-men, but
will not do for the respectable betting-office keepers, who are the
stakeholders.

The plan adopted is a very simple one, but ingenious in its
simplicity. The betting-office takes a great dislike in its own mind
to a particular horse, the favourite of the betting-men. It makes bets
against that horse, which amount in the aggregate to a fortune; and
then it _buys_ the object of its frantic dislike. This being effected,
the horse of course loses, and the office wins. How could it be
otherwise? Would you have a horse win against its owner's interest?
The thing being settled, the office, in order to ascertain the amount
of its winnings, has only to deduct the price of the horse from its
aggregate bets, and arrange the remainder in a line of perhaps five
figures. Whereupon the betting-men grow seedier and more seedy; some
of the more mercurial go off in a fit of apoplectic amazement; some
betake themselves to Waterloo Stairs on a moonless night; some proceed
to the Diggings, some to St Luke's, and some to the dogs; some become
so unsteady, that they sign the wrong name to a draft, or enter the
wrong house at night, or are detected in a crowd with their hand in
the wrong man's pocket. But by degrees everything comes right again.
The insane are shut up--the desperate transported--the dead
buried--the deserted families carted to the workhouse; and the
betting-office goes on as before.



A MAY FLOWER-SHOW AT CHISWICK.


It is one o'clock P. M.; I am at Hyde-Park Corner; I hail the nearest
'Hansom,' and am quickly dashing away for Chiswick. The road leading
thither is always a scene of great bustle: on a Chiswick fête-day,
this is very much augmented. But I am early, and the increase of
vehicles is not yet great. A few carriages and cabs, mostly filled
with ladies, who, like myself, are early on the road, and eager to be
at the scene of action, are occasionally passed; for my horse is a
good one, and the driver seems to desire to do the journey in good
style. The majority of passengers and conveyances are chiefly of the
everyday character, and such as are always met with on this great
thoroughfare. Omnibuses, with loads of dusty passengers; carts and
wagons, filled with manure, and each with a man or boy dozing upon the
top; teams baiting at the roadside inns; troops of dirty children at
the ends of narrow streets; with carriers' carts, and travel-stained
pedestrians, make up the aggregate of the objects on the road. But in
another hour the scene will change; the aristocratic 'turn-out,' with
its brilliant appointments and spruce footmen--the cab, the brougham,
and the open chariot, all filled with gaily-dressed company, will
crowd the way; for a Chiswick fête is one of the events of a London
season. People go there as they do to the Opera--to see and to be
seen. As I journey onward, I catch glimpses of blooming fruit-trees,
and green hedges, speaking of the approach of summer. The little
patches of garden by the wayside are gay with flowers, but sadly
disfigured with dust. Even they, however, look quite refreshing in
contrast with the close and crowded streets I have left behind. The
spire of the church on Chiswick green is peeping above the houses in
the distance; and by the time I have noticed the increase of bustle on
the road, and about the inn-doors, the cab has stopped at one of the
garden entrances. Early as I am, many others are before me, and are
waiting for the hour of admission--two o'clock. The carriages of those
already arrived are drawn up in rank upon the green; policemen are
everywhere to preserve order; ostlers are numerous, with buckets of
water and bundles of hay; groups of loungers are looking on, carriages
are every minute arriving, and the bustle is becoming great. As it yet
wants ten minutes to two o'clock, I shall occupy the time by giving
the reader a little introduction to what we are presently to see.

There are three of these fêtes every year--one in May, another in
June, and a third in July. When the weather is fine, there is always a
brilliant gathering of rank, and beauty, and fashion; but the June
show is usually the best attended. English gardening is always well
represented here. The plants and fruit brought for exhibition astonish
even those who are best acquainted with what English gardeners can do.
For several seasons past, it was thought that cultivation had reached
its highest point; yet each succeeding year outvied the past, and
report tells me, that the plants exhibited to-day are in advance of
anything previously seen. They are sent here from widely distant parts
of the country--many of them are brought one or two hundred miles; but
most of the large collections are from gardens at a comparatively
short distance from Chiswick. The principal prize is contended for by
collections of thirty stove and greenhouse plants; and their large
size will be apparent, when it is stated that one such collection
makes eight or ten van-loads. There are never more than three or four
competitors for this prize. Their productions are generally brought
into the garden on the evening previous to the day of exhibition. At
about daylight on the morning of the fête, the great bustle of
preparation begins. Everything has to be arranged, and ready for the
judges by ten o'clock A. M., at which hour all exhibitors, and others
interested in the awards, are obliged to leave the gardens; and they
are not readmitted until the gates are thrown open to those who may
have tickets of admission, at two o'clock.

At last they _are_ open. (How expectation clogs the wheels of time!) I
join the throng; and in a few minutes I am among the flowers, which
are arranged in long tents, on stages covered with green baize, as a
background to set off in bold relief their beautiful forms and tints.
There are three military bands stationed in different parts of the
grounds, to keep up a succession of enlivening strains until six
o'clock, the hour when the proceedings, so far as the public are
concerned, are supposed to terminate. One of them is already
'discoursing most eloquent music.' Company rapidly arrives;
well-dressed persons are strolling through the tents, sitting beneath
the trees, or on the benches, listening to the music. The scene is a
gay one. The richness and beauty of the masses of flower, rivalled
only by the gay dresses and bright eyes of hundreds of fair admirers;
the delicate green of the trees clothed with their young foliage, and
the carpet-like lawns, all lit up by a bright May sun, and enlivened
by the best music, combine to form a whole, the impression of which is
not easily forgotten.

But I am forgetting the flowers. Suppose we enter the nearest tent,
and note the more prominent objects on our way. Here is a somewhat
miscellaneous assortment; geraniums are conspicuous. The plants are
remarkably fine, averaging nearly a yard across, and presenting masses
of flower in the highest perfection. One is conspicuous for the
richness of its colouring; its name is magnet (_Hoyle._) There is a
collection of ferns, too; their graceful foliage, agitated by every
breeze, adds much to the interest of this tent. Among the most
remarkable are the maidenhair-ferns (_adiantum_), and a huge plant of
the elk's horn fern, from New South Wales. It derives its name from
the shape of its large fronds. Before us is a quantity of Chinese
hydrangeas, remarkable in this case for the small size of the plants,
and disproportionately large heads of pink blossoms. Cape
pelargoniums, too, are well represented: they are curious plants,
indigenous to the Cape of Good Hope; specimens of them are very often
sent to this country, with boxes of bulbs, for which the Cape is
famous. When they arrive, they look like pieces of deadwood; but when
properly cared for, they rapidly make roots and branches, and produce
their interesting flowers in abundance.

Passing to the next tent, we enter that part devoted to the fruit. A
delicate aroma pervades the place. Directly before us is a large plant
of the Chinese loquah, loaded with fruit. This is yellow, and about
the size of a small plum. The plant is a great novelty; for although
hardy enough to be grown out of doors in this country, it produces its
fruit only in a hothouse. Associated with it are some large vines in
pots, with a profusion of fine bunches of grapes. Then there are
dishes of strawberries (_British Queens_), numerous pine-apples,
cherries, peaches, bananas (grown in this country), melons, &c.;
besides some very fine winter apples and pears, which have been
admirably preserved. Of the former, the winter-queen, old green
nonpareil, and golden harvey are conspicuous; of the latter, the
warden and Uvedale's St Germain are fine.

The most attractive feature of these shows appears to be the
orchideous or air-plants, as they are popularly known. A greater
number of persons are always collected round them than in any other
part of the tents; nor is this to be wondered at. Nothing can be more
singular in appearance or gorgeous in colouring. Their fragrance, too,
is so delightful. Description can convey but a faint idea of their
great beauty and diversity of character. They seem to mimic the insect
world in the shapes of their blossoms; nor are the resemblances
distant. Every one has heard of the butterfly-plant: there is one on
the stage now before us, and as the breeze gently waves its slender
stalks, each tipped with a vegetable butterfly, it becomes almost
difficult to imagine that we are not watching the movements of a real
insect flitting among the plants. Here is a spike of _Gongora
maculata_, bearing no faint resemblance to a quantity of brown insects
with expanded wings collected round the stem. Close to it are some
_Brassias_, mimicking with equal fidelity insects of a paler colour,
besides hundreds of others equally curious and beautiful. Some bear
their flowers in erect spikes, or loose heads; others have drooping
racemes a yard in length, as some of the _dendrobiums_. More have a
slender flower-stalk making a graceful curve, with the flowers placed
on the uppermost side, as _Pholænopsis amablis_, which bears a
profusion of white blossoms closely resembling large moths with
expanded wings. Here are some remarkable plants we must not pass
without noticing: they are equally attractive both by their beauty and
associations. They are two plants of _Stanhopea tigrina_, exhibited by
Her Majesty, and a fine specimen of _Acincta Humboldtii_, named in
honour of the philosophic traveller. They are all worthy of the
associations they call up; they grow in open baskets, and the flowers
are produced from below, directly opposite the leaves. The ordinary
law of flowering-plants is reversed in them.

We pass on: everywhere gorgeous masses of flower are before us. Huge
plants of Indian azaleas, filling a space of several feet, literally
covered with blossoms of every hue. Heaths from the Cape, far
outrivalling their brethren in their native wilds; rhododendrons from
the Himalaya; and cactuses from the plains of South America. In fact,
here are collected examples of the flora of almost every known country
of the globe. But we must not be carried away by these more showy
plants to the exclusion of some very curious and interesting little
things which I see we are in danger of forgetting. Here, carefully
covered by a bell-glass, is a fine specimen of _Dionæa muscipula_, or
Venus's fly-trap. Every reader of natural history is familiar with its
economy; but one does not often get a sight of it. By the side of it
are many other curious plants, covered with equal care.
_Anoectochillis argenteus_, a little dwarf plant, with leaves which,
both in their beautiful lustre and peculiar markings, resemble a green
lizard, must serve for an example. Among other curiosities, is a small
plant of one of the species of rhododendrons, recently introduced by
Dr Hooker from the mountains of Sikkim Himalaya; close to it are some
azaleas imported from the northern parts of the Celestial Empire.
There are also some very rare and valuable specimens of hardy trees,
from the mountains of Patagonia. They belong to the very extensive
family of coniferous plants, and have been named respectively
_Fitz-Roya Patagonica_ and _Saxe-Gothea conspicua_. There is also a
remarkably handsome creeper, _Hexacentras mysorensis_, having pendent
racemes of large flowers in shape resembling the snap-dragon, and of a
rich orange and chocolate colour.

To revert to the little Sikkim rhododendron, I shall give here the
description of a still more diminutive specimen, met with by Dr Hooker
during his journey, and which he has figured and described in his
beautiful work, _The Rhododendron of Sikkim-Himalaya_. It is called
_R. nivale_, or snow-rhododendron. 'The hard, woody branches of this
curious little species, as thick as a goose-quill, struggle along the
ground for a foot or two, presenting brown tufts of vegetation where
not half-a-dozen other plants can exist. The branches are densely
interwoven, very harsh and woody, wholly depressed; whence the shrub,
spreading horizontally, and barely raised two inches above the soil,
becomes eminently typical of the arid, stern climate it inhabits. The
latest to bloom, and earliest to mature its seeds, by far the smallest
in foliage, and proportionally largest in flower, most lepidote in
vesture, humble in stature, rigid in texture, deformed in habit, yet
the most odoriferous, it may be recognised, even in the herbarium, as
the production of the loftiest elevation on the surface of the
globe--of the most excessive climate--of the joint influences of a
scorching sun by day, and the keenest frost by night--of the greatest
drought, followed in a few hours by a saturated atmosphere--of the
balmiest calm, alternating with the whirlwind of the Alps. For eight
months of the year, it is buried under many feet of snow; for the
remaining four, it is frequently snowed on and sunned in the same
hour. During genial weather, when the sun heats the soil to 150
degrees, its perfumed foliage scents the air; whilst to snow-storm and
frost it is insensible: blooming through all; expanding its little
purple flowers to the day, and only closing them to wither after
fertilisation has taken place. As the life of a moth may be
indefinitely prolonged whilst its duties are unfulfilled, so the
flower of this little mountaineer will remain open through days of fog
and sleet, till a mild day facilitates the detachment of the pollen
and the fecundation of the ovarium. This process is almost wholly the
effect of winds; for though humblebees, and the "Blues" and
"Fritillaries" (_Polyommatus_ and _Argynnis_) amongst butterflies, do
exist at this prodigious elevation, they are too few in number to
influence the operations of vegetable life.' To this Dr Hooker adds:
'This singular little plant attains a loftier elevation, I believe,
than any other shrub in the world.'

But here is a plant, or rather flower, more curious than any we have
seen. The corolla is on a long stalk, a foot or more high; but how to
describe it is the difficulty. Imagine a bat with expanded wings, with
the addition of a tail, spread out before you, having on its breast a
rosette of narrow ribbon, of the same dusky colour, and you will gain
some idea of its form and colour. Its botanical name is _Attacia
cristata_.

Here is the rose-tent. In no previous season have the plants appeared
in finer condition. A few years ago, nobody could grow roses fit to be
seen in pots; many said it was impossible to do so: now, one can
scarcely imagine anything finer than they are seen at the metropolitan
flower-shows. Both in healthy appearance, and in fineness of flower,
they exceed those which we admire so much in the open garden in
summer. One or two are conspicuous, though all are beautiful.
_Souvenirs d'un ami_ has pale flesh-coloured flowers, exceedingly
delicate; nor is the perfume they emit less attractive. _Niphetus_,
pure white; _Adam_, very pale; and _Géant des Batailles_, of the
richest crimson, are among the most attractive; but there are numerous
others, rivalling them in beauty and fragrance.

As the afternoon wears away, the more fashionable visitors depart. At
six o'clock, the several bands of music form one, the National Anthem
is played, and the fête is over.



GOLD-SEEKING AT HOME.


The Lomond Hills, in the shires of Fife and Kinross, were known in
ancient times as the hunting-grounds of the kings of Scotland, when
these monarchs resided in their summer-palace at Falkland, a village
on their north-eastern declivity. At a period intermediate between
these and the present times, they were the haunt of the persecuted
Covenanters, and often resounded with the voice of psalms raised at
conventicles. Since then, their solitude and silence have seldom been
disturbed, save by the bark of the shepherd's dog, or the echoes
caused by the blasting of rocks in the limestone quarries which run
along their southern and western ridges. But during the month of May
last, this solitude and silence were completely destroyed, by
thousands of persons plying every kind of instrument upon them, from
the ponderous crowbar and pickaxe, to the easily-wielded trowel and
hammer, in search of gold, which they believed to be hidden in their
recesses. The information on which they acted seemed to them to come
from an authentic source, and to be confirmed by competent authority.

On the southern base of the hills, overlooking the far-famed
Lochleven, lies the village of Kinnesswood, noted as the birthplace of
the poet Michael Bruce. A native of this village entered the army, and
there learned manners at war with good morals, which, after his
discharge, brought upon him the vengeance of the law, and he was
banished 'beyond seas.' His subsequent good-conduct, however, procured
him 'a ticket-of-leave,' and he became servant to the commissariat for
the convicts in Van Diemen's Land. In this capacity he had frequent
opportunities of seeing the substance brought from the Bathurst
'diggings,' containing the gold which is now arriving in this country
in such large quantities. It at once struck him that he had seen
abundance of the same material in his native hills, when visiting the
quarries in which several of his friends and acquaintances earned
their livelihood. This impression he conveyed in a letter to his
mother, who, as a matter of course, afforded the information to all to
whom she had an opportunity of communicating it. The intelligence
spread with the rapidity of an electric telegraph; and an excitement
was produced such as is seen among bees when their hive has received
a sudden shock. The mountain pathways became immediately alive with
human beings, and noises arose like the hum of a city heard at a
distance during the busiest hours of the day. In the villages
immediately adjoining the place of resort, the excitement was wholly
confined to youngsters and idlers, who are ever ready to seize upon
novelty and enter upon bustle; but further off, it extended to old and
young, hale and infirm, asthmatic and long-winded, grave and gay,
taught and untaught, respectable and disreputable, industrious and
idle, till it reached a compass of twenty miles at least, extending
not only to the Forth and Tay, but stretching inland from their
opposite shores. In short, men who had never climbed a mountain all
their lives before, though living in close proximity to one, were seen
on its loftiest peaks, and toiling there with all the ardour of
Cyclops.

Meanwhile, some of the less impulsive minds in the district, not
altogether untouched by the prevailing mania, began to cast about for
warrants to justify their appropriation of some of this much-coveted
material, and assure their confidence that it was really gold. Memory,
research, tradition, testimony, all came to their help. They
recollected how their fathers had told them that the Laird of Lathrisk
had wrought a lead-mine on the northern declivity of the East Law,
which yielded also a considerable proportion of silver, and which was
abandoned only because of the high tax government had put upon the
latter metal. Then came the ready query: That since there is silver in
these hills, why not also gold, seeing they frequently go together?
Then it was found that the mineral formations in which this metal
occurs are the crystalline primitive rocks; and with these the Lomond
Hills were held to correspond. Then it had been told them, that in
days of yore shepherds had found pieces of gold while tending their
flocks on the hills, and that gold had been frequently met with in the
whole district of country between the Forth and the Tay. Last of all
came the testimony of a man who had returned to the neighbourhood from
California, and who assured them, that the substance they submitted to
his inspection was in all respects similar to that which was dug out
of the hills in the gold regions of America. Singularly enough, though
they did not reflect upon the facts, this man had returned home as
poor as he had departed, and manifested no desire to accompany them to
the new El Dorado at their doors. Other persons were meanwhile pushing
inquiries in a more certain direction, and subjecting the supposed
precious treasure to infallible tests.

The chief centre of attraction is a partially-wrought limestone
quarry, known by the name of the Sheethiehead, right above the village
of Kinnesswood, and about a gunshot back from the brow of the Bishop
Hill. It is surrounded on all sides by immense heaps of débris, which
has been repeatedly dug into during the last thirty years by
geologising students, in search of fossils connected with the
carboniferous system, and who must have frequently met with the
substance which has caused all this excitement, but never imagined it
to be gold. The face of the quarry, to the depth of twenty feet from
the top, is an accumulation of shale or slate, lying in regular
layers, and easily broken. It has been turned to good account of late
in the manufacture of slate-pencils of superior quality. Among this
shaly accumulation, there are frequent layers of a soft, wet clay or
ochre; and it is in this that the brilliants which have dazzled the
imagination of so many are chiefly found, and which, accordingly, are
frequently thrown out among the débris, of which it comes to form a
part. In this quarry, then, and in the heaps around it, hundreds are
earnestly busy in laying bare what is beneath; while scores of men,
women, and children are silently and earnestly looking on. One has
just brought out a ball of stone, or something like stone, about the
size of a man's hand, known among the quarrymen as 'a fairy ball;' it
is composed of a hard crust, like rusted iron, which, on being broken,
is found to contain a yellow shining metal of various shapes and
sizes--grains, octohedrons, cubes, and their allied forms, as is the
case with gold; and what else can it be but the precious metal, thinks
the finder, as he places it in his receptacle, and applies himself
anew to his vocation. In a little while he stumbles on another of
these balls, as big as a man's hat, which he breaks, and opens with
increasing eagerness; when, lo! it is as empty as a 'deaf nut'--the
water which percolated through the shale having rusted the iron that
goes to form the crust along with the ochre, but failed, as in the
previous case, to form crystals in the interior. A third, fourth, and
fifth are found to be as hollow as the last, and the 'digger' begins
to look a little crestfallen, and abate his eagerness.

But here is an Irishman, who has been vastly more lucky, dancing a
jig, with a footless stocking near him, tied at each end, packed as
full as it can hold of 'the fine stuff,' as he calls it, while with
wonderful agility he flourishes a heavy pickaxe and spade over his
head, and screams at the highest pitch of his voice: 'Sure, now, and
isn't my fortune made!' By and by, getting at once hoarse and tired,
he desists from his exertions, and entreats a boy near him 'to go into
the bog beyont there, and get him some poteen, which he is sure is
making in the stills among the turf;' offering him at the same time a
lump of his 'treasure' as payment for his trouble.

Here is a tall, grave, shrewd-looking man, very like an elder of the
kirk, throwing away part of his accumulation, but somewhat stealthily
retaining a portion in the large cotton handkerchief in which he had
placed it, while a respectable-looking woman is saying to him: 'John,
the minister says, it's no gold, but only brimstone.' To which he
answers, with an audible sigh: 'Well hath the wise man said, all is
vanity and vexation of spirit.' Here is a strong-built but
lumpish-looking fellow, seemingly a ploughman or day-labourer, leaving
the scene of action in evident disgust, who, on being asked if he had
been successful, answers roughly: 'No!' and adds: 'I'll sell you this
pick for a glass of ale or a dram of whisky.' Here are angry words
passing between a middle-aged man and a youth, respecting the right of
possession, the former having driven the latter away from a
promising-looking place on which he was employed, and commenced
operations upon it himself.

It is Saturday; and the mills on the river Leven are stopped at noon,
to allow the water in the lake from which it flows to accumulate its
supplies for the following week's operations. Freed thus from labour,
the spinners hasten to the scene of attraction, and largely swell the
crowd already assembled there. The men begin the search with
eagerness, while the women content themselves with looking on; but it
is evident that they are unaccustomed to the use of the instruments
they have assumed, and that long practice will be necessary before
they can turn them to much account. Here are bands of colliers able to
wield them to purpose, yet how unwilling they appear to be to put
forth their strength. They came in the expectation of getting gold for
the lifting, which is nowhere the case; and are evidently disappointed
in finding that both effort and perseverance are necessary. Indeed, it
surprised us to see so little disposition to make and maintain
exertion on the part of those who fancied that certain riches would be
the result. Notwithstanding the numerous traces of picking, hammering,
and shovelling they have left behind them, there is not an excavation
a foot deep; while over a crevice in the rock, three inches square, 'a
digger' has left the words, scratched with a piece of slate: 'There
is no gold here,' as if he had done all that was necessary to prove
it. Even in the loose débris around the quarry--with which the
substance referred to abounds--there is no trace of a digging wider or
deeper than a man's hat. We have seen a student make greater and
longer-continued exertion to get a fossil shell, and a terrier dog to
get a rat or a rabbit, than any of the gold-seekers have. Burns the
poet, in his lament, entitled _Man was made to Mourn_, complains, with
more pathos and sentiment than truth and justice, that the landlords
will not 'give him leave to toil.' That is not the leave most men
desire, but the leave to be idle. If gold were to be got for the
lifting, and bread were as easily procured as water, man would not be
disposed to take healthful exercise, much less labour or toil.

We shall not describe the scene as it developed itself on Sunday. It
was at total variance with the reputation Scotchmen have acquired for
the observance of that day, but in perfect keeping with the notoriety
they have gained for their love of strong drink. Monday was the
fifteenth day of the gold-fever; and, like most other fevers, it was
then at its height. Parties had been on the hill soon after the
previous midnight awaiting the dawn, resolved to be the first at the
diggings that morning, and 'have their fortunes made before others
arrived.' But the lark had not got many yards high in his heavenward
ascent, and only struck the first note of his morning-carol, when the
mountain concaves sent back echoes of music from a whole band of men,
marching at the head of a still greater number, who might have been
taken for a regiment of sappers and miners. They have come from a
distance; and, like the others who have preceded them, can have known
little or nothing of 'balmy sleep, kind nature's sweet restorer,'
unless they have taken it at church the preceding day, or in their
beds, when they should have been there. The morning has grown apace,
and shews the mountain-sides and table-land teeming with life. 'The
cry is still, they come;' and long before mid-day, it is calculated
that there are at least 1200 persons on the hill--many of them
spectators of the scene, but most of them actors in it.

To a curious observer, it was at once an amusing, interesting,
instructive, and painful spectacle. It developed character; shewed to
some extent the state of society among certain classes and
professions; and exhibited human nature in some of its peculiar and
less agreeable phases. The most striking and unlikeable manifestations
were--ignorance, credulity, superstition, recklessness, and disregard
for all that is 'lovely and of good report.' We were particularly
struck with the want of foresight, observation, and reflection shewn
by a great number of the persons concerned, and of whom other things
might have been expected. They had come to 'the diggings' without
instruments of any kind with which to bring forth the supposed gold
from its recesses; and, more wonderful still, without food to sustain
them while employed in finding it. What an easy prey these persons
would have been to any one willing to take advantage of them! They
willingly parted with much of their supposed treasure for a few crumbs
of cake from a boy's pocket, and with still more for a slice of poor
cheese from a quarryman's wallet. The man who brought intoxicating
drink to them, would have received in return whatever he would have
been pleased to demand. One party, and one only, so far as we could
learn, was more provident than the rest, having provisions with it
equal to its necessities for one day at least, among which whisky held
a prominent place.

The substance found and supposed to be gold is very similar to that
found in the coal-mines and iron-bands of Fife, which are known to
'crop out' in the Lomond Hills--none being found further north--yet
the colliers and miners did not identify the substance when found in
other circumstances than those in which they are accustomed to meet
with it. The inhabitants of the district in which it is found shewed
little sympathy with the excitement produced, a fact which should have
led the gold-hunters to pause and ponder; for they were as likely to
know the nature of the substance sought as persons at a distance, and
just as likely to appropriate it, if it really were gold. But under
the influence of their credulity, our adventurers drew a conclusion
quite different--namely, that the people at the foot of the hill
affected indifference, in order to deceive those at a distance, and
keep all the treasure to themselves. It was of no use to tell them,
that this said gold had been tested half a century ago, and been
'found wanting.' They wished it to be gold, and they were determined
to believe it such. Much advantage was taken of this credulity, even
by those who had themselves been its dupes. The most daring falsehoods
were invented by them, in order to induce others to befool themselves
as they had done. One, according to his own account, had received 30s.
for his 'findings;' and another had been offered L.2 for as much as he
had collected in half an hour. Such are specimens of the fables they
devised, with a view to deceive their acquaintances, and they had
manifest pleasure in seeing them produce the desired effect.

Meanwhile, every test known to or conceivable by the amateur
chemists--of which there are not few in the counties in which the
hills are situated--was put in requisition, and a voice evoked by
them, but it would not speak as desired. Others, who knew nothing of
chemistry, were torturing it in every possible way--beating it with
hammers, to see if it would expand, like gold, into leaf; but instead
of this, it only flew off in splinters: then putting it into the
smith's forge, to see if it would liquefy and separate from the dross,
but it only evaporated in fumes, which drove them from the smithy by
their offensive odour. Not one of these experimenters, whether more or
less skilled, thought of subjecting it to the simple and certain test
of cutting it with a knife, of which the substance in question is not
susceptible, whereas gold cuts like tough cheese. Enough, however, had
been done to confirm suspicions which had been floating in the minds
of many of the diggers, that this rapid wealth-finding was a delusion
and a lie. All doubts upon the subject were finally set at rest by the
professors of mineralogy in the colleges, and the practical chemists
in Edinburgh and Glasgow, informing certain inquirers as to the real
nature of this deceptive substance. It is of two kinds: the one with a
gray, the other with a brown base--the latter much more common than
the former; the one shining with a whitish, the other, with a
yellowish lustre. The one is _galena_, a sulphuret of lead; the other,
_pyrites_, a sulphuret of iron. These pyrites are very extensively
diffused, and are said to be worth about L.2 a ton. Pity it is that
even this trifle should be lost to the poor quarryman, who has only to
lay them aside when wheeling away his rubbish till they accumulate to
such a quantity as to be worth a purchaser's notice, but who does not
know where to find a customer.

The Lomonds were now again left to their solitude and silence, a few
stray persons visiting them only from curiosity, to see the place and
its productions which had caused such excitement. But the mania did
not abate all at once. A village patriarch, skilled in fairy lore,
entertained some of the gold-seekers with the following legend, which
had the effect of sending them in search of the precious metal
elsewhere. According to this ancient, a fairy, in times long gone by,
appeared on a summer gloaming to a boy herding cattle in the place
indicated by the following doggrel, and told him that--

    If Auchindownie cock does not craw,
    If Balmain horn does not blaw,
    I'll shew you the gold in _Largo Law_.

'But,' added this benevolent son of Puck, 'if I leave you when these
happen--for I must then return home immediately--take you notice where
the brindled ox lies down, and there you will find the gold.' The cock
crew and the horn blew. The fairy vanished, but the boy observed where
the brindled ox lay down; but then he did not reflect upon the need of
marking the place, but ran home, in his impatience to communicate the
delightful information he had received, and on his return found that
the brindled ox had risen and left the place; and as he could not
determine the spot, the gold still awaits the search of some more
reflective and painstaking person. Of course, one and another of the
narrator's auditors thought himself such a person, and hied him away
to the conical hill that rises so conspicuously at the entrance to the
estuary of the Forth. What success attended them there we have not the
means of knowing, but we have seen it stated in a local newspaper,
that a specimen of the shining substance found in that place had been
sent to the editor, and he pronounces it more like gold than the
crystals brought him from the Lomond Hills. But 'like,' says the
proverb, 'is an ill mark;' and we hope the gold-diggers of Fife will
consider themselves as having been already sufficiently deceived by
appearances.

The mania lasted fully three weeks, not that any one person was under
its influence all that time--for, singularly enough, the man who had
been once there rarely if ever returned--but, like an epidemic, it
spread wide, and only ceased by a change in the intellectual
atmosphere. There could not be less than 300 persons upon an average
each day upon the hill, either searching for the supposed treasure, or
waiting to ascertain the result from those that did. This would make
an aggregate of 6300 in the whole time; but let us keep much within
the mark, and take the number convened during that period at 5000.
Many of these were men earning 15s. a week; but let us put them all
down at 1s. 6d per day each, and allow 1s. for the expense incurred in
their going to and from the place. This will make half-a-crown lost
and expended by every one of them. This calculation makes L.30 a day,
and L.630 for the whole period. Now, we are fully persuaded, that
though all the pyrites carried off had been gold in the proportion in
which it seemed in the substance, it would not have realised this sum,
which is about the price of 200 ounces of gold; so that, in the
aggregate, the diggers would have been losers, though some of them
individually might have been gainers. But the gainers would have been
few in proportion to the whole, for we observed that not more than one
man in twenty found even the pyrites, which are probably still more
extensively diffused than gold itself ever is, even in the regions
where it is now known to prevail: so that the wages of the nineteen
unsuccessful men are to be calculated along with those of the
successful one; and then it follows, that unless the 'findings' of the
latter at the close of the day are equal to the wages of twenty men,
there is no increase of capital to the country, no gain upon the
whole. Then the man who was lucky at one time, was unlucky at
another--like a poacher who snares three hares in a night, but does
not snare another for a week, while he has been unable to work during
the day, and, in the end, his losses have counterbalanced his gains.
Then if this phantom had proved a reality, all the mines and mills
within a wide range of the place would have been instantly abandoned,
and it must have taken a long time, indeed, to reproduce the capital
thus lost to the country. In fine, it must have become necessary to
fix a rent upon the diggings, in order to constitute a right to labour
in them; and still further, to levy a tax to provide a police, if not
a military force, to preserve order; and after these deductions are
made, together with the incomes derived from previous occupations, and
the great uncertainty connected with the vocation--to say nothing of
the labour and discomforts to be endured--we cannot think gold-digging
a profitable or desirable pursuit.



COMPETITION AND MONOPOLY.


A Memorandum just issued by that active body, the Sanitary
Association, contains the following amusing and instructive account of
the memorable competition between the great London water-companies
forty years ago, and of the close monopoly in which that reckless and
ruinous struggle ended:--

'In 1810, a water mania, like our recent railway mania, suddenly broke
out; and the principle of competition, to which the legislature had
all along looked for the protection of the public, was put upon its
trial. Two powerful companies, which had been several years occupied
in obtaining their acts and setting up their machinery, now took the
field--one, the West Middlesex, attacking the old monopolists on their
western flank; the other, the East London, invading their territory
from the opposite quarter. At the same time, a band of dashing
Manchester speculators started the Grand Junction Company with a
flaming prospectus, and boldly flung their pipes into the very thick
of the tangled net-work which now spread in every direction beneath
the pavement of the hotly-contested streets.

'These Grand-Junction men quite astonished the town by the
magnificence of their promises. "Copious streams" of water, derived,
by the medium of the Grand Junction Canal, from the rivers Colne and
Brent: "always pure and fresh, because always coming in"--"high
service, free of extra charge;" above all, "_unintermittent supply, so
that customers may do without cisterns_;" such were a few of the
seductive allurements held out by these interlopers to tempt deserters
from the enemy's camp.

'The West Middlesex Company, in its opening circulars, also promised
"unlimited supplies" to the very "housetops," of water "clear and
bright from the gravelly bottom of the Thames, thirteen miles above
London Bridge." The East London was not behindhand with the trumpet;
and its "skilful" directors, by paying dividends in rapid succession
out of capital, raised their L.100 shares to the enormous premium of
L.130 before they had well got their machinery into play. Meanwhile
the South London (or Vauxhall) Company was started--in 1805--on the
other side of the river, with a view to wrest from its old rulers the
watery dominion of the south. The war was not, however, carried on in
a very royal sort; for, as the travelling mountebank drives
six-in-hand through a country town to entice the gaping provincials to
his booth, so these water-jugglers went round the streets of London,
throwing up rival _jets-d'eau_ from their mains, to prove the alleged
superiority of their engines, and to captivate the fancy of hesitating
customers.

'The New River Company, thus put upon its mettle, boldly took up the
gauntlet. It erected new forcing-engines, changed its remaining wooden
pipes for iron, more than doubled its consumption of coal, reduced its
charges, augmented its supplies, issued a contemptuous rejoinder to
its adversaries, and, appealing as an "old servant" to the public for
support, engaged in a war of extermination.

'For seven years, the battle raged incessantly. The combatants
sought--and openly avowed it--not their own profit, but their rivals'
ruin. Tenants were taken on almost any terms. Plumbers were bribed to
_tout_, like omnibus cads, for custom. Such was the rage for mere
numerical conquest, that a line of pipes would be often driven down a
long street, to serve one new customer at the end. Arrears remained
uncollected, lest offence should be given and influence impaired.
Capricious tenants amused themselves by changing from one main to
another, as they might taste this or that tap of beer. The more
credulous citizens, relying on the good faith of the "public
servants"--as these once powerful water-lords now humbly called
themselves--were simpletons enough, on the strength of their promises,
to abandon their wells, to sell off their force-pumps, and to erect
water-closets or baths in the upper storeys of their houses. In many
streets, there were three lines of pipes laid down, involving triple
leakage, triple interest on capital, triple administrative charges,
triple pumping and storage costs, and a triple army of turncocks--the
whole affording a less effective supply than would have resulted from
a single well-ordered service. In this desperate struggle vast sums of
money were sunk. The recently-established companies worked at a
ruinous loss; and such as kept up a show of prosperity were, in fact,
like the East London Company, paying dividends out of capital. The New
River Company's dividends went down from L.500 to L.23 per share per
annum. In the border-line districts, where the fiercest conflicts took
place, the inhabitants sided with one or other of the contending
parties. Some noted with delight the humbled tone of the old arbitrary
monopolists, and heartily backed the invaders. Some old-stagers stuck
to the ancient companies, and to the faces of familiar turncocks.
These paid; but many shrewd fellows put off the obsequious collectors,
and contrived to live water-rate free. Thus the honest, as usual, paid
for the knaves; and the ultimate burden of all these squandered
resources fell--also as usual--on society at large.

'Such a state of things could not last; and it came to a conclusion
which experience, had it been invoked, might have led parliament to
anticipate. For, scarcely a century before, the two chartered East
India Companies, after five years' internecine war, had coalesced to
form that gigantic confederacy which for years monopolised the Indian
trade, and rose to an unexampled pitch of corporate power and
aggrandisement, at the cost of the mercantile community.

'Just so, in 1817, the great water-companies coalesced against the
public, and coolly portioned out London between them. Their treatment,
on this occasion, of the tenants so lately flattered and cajoled, will
never be effaced from the public memory. Batches of customers were
handed over by one water-company to another, not merely without their
consent, but without even the civility of a notice. Old tenants of the
New River Company, who had taken their water for years, and had been
their thick-and-thin supporters through the battle, found themselves
ungratefully turned over, without previous explanation, to drink the
"puddle" supplied by the Grand Junction Company. The abated rates were
immediately raised, not merely to the former amount, but to charges
from 25 to 400 per cent. more than they had been before the
competition. The solemnly-promised high service was suppressed, or
made the pretext for a heavy extra charge. Many people had to regret
"selling their force-pumps as old lead," or fixing water-closets on
their upper floors, on the faith of these treacherous contractors.
Those who had fitted up their houses with pipes, in reliance on the
guarantee of _unintermitting pressure_, found themselves obliged
either to sacrifice the first outlay, or to expend on cisterns and
their appendages further sums, varying from L.10 or L.20 up to
L.50--and even, in many cases, L.100. When tenants thus unhandsomely
dealt by expressed their indignation, and demanded redress, they were
"jocosely" reminded by smiling secretaries that the competition was
over, and that those who were dissatisfied with the companies'
supplies were quite at liberty to set up pumps of their own.

'Thus as, in political affairs, anarchy invariably leads to despotism,
so, in commerce, subversive competition always ends its disorderly and
ruinous course in monopoly, which, whether avowed or tacit, individual
or collective, is but despotism in a lower sphere.

'The cure for these evils lies in the competitive contract-system,
which brings competition to bear _for_, instead of _in_, the field of
supply, so as to obviate the reckless multiplication of
establishments, and capitals, and staffs, for the performance of a
service for which one would suffice. Evidence shews that the
water-companies might be bought out, so as to clear the way for the
consolidation of the water-supply with the drainage and other
connected sanitary services, under a public authority, responsible to
the rate-payers through parliament, and charged to supervise the due
execution of the works by contractors competing freely, on open
tender, in the public market--a system obviously calculated to secure
for the public the best possible service at the lowest possible rates.
By empowering such an authority to buy the companies out in full, with
money borrowed at 3 or 3-1/2 per cent., we should come into possession
of their works at an annual charge for interest, less, by nearly
two-fifths, than our present annual payment to the companies; by
consolidating the nine establishments thus acquired, we should save
more than half the present working costs; and by the further
consolidations referred to above, for which this first one would
prepare the ground, we should still more reduce our annual charges,
and still more improve our sanitary condition.'



MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL:

A STATUETTE.


    My white archangel, with thy steady eyes
    Outlooking on this silent, ghost-filled room,
    Thy clasped hands wrapped on thy sheathed sword or doom,
    Thy firm-closed lips, not made for human sighs,
    Kisses, or smiles, or writhing agonies,
    But for divine exhorting, heavenly song,
    Bold, righteous counsel, sweet from seraph tongue--
    Beautiful angel, strong as thou art wise,
    Would that thy sight could make me wise and strong!
    Would that this sword of thine, which idle lies
    Stone-planted, could wake up and gleam among
    The crowd of demons that with eager cries
    Howl in my heart temptations of world's wrong!
    _Lama Sabachthani_! How long--how long!

    Michael, great leader of the hosts of God,
    Warrer with Satan for the body of him
    Whom living, God had loved--If cherubim
    With cherubim contend for one poor clod
    Of human dust, with sin-stained feet that trod
    Through the wide deserts of Heaven's chastisement--
    Are there not ministering angels sent
    To strive with evil ones that roam abroad
    Clutching our living souls? 'The living, still
    The living, they shall praise Thee.' Let some great
    Invisible spirit enter in and fill
    The howling chambers of hearts desolate,
    There stand like thee, O Michael, strong and wise,
    My white archangel with the steadfast eyes!



WAGES HEIGHTENED IN CONSEQUENCE OF IMPROVEMENT OF MACHINERY.


It is stated in a report of the Commissioners appointed in 1832 to
inquire concerning the employment of women and children in factories,
that 'in the cotton-mill of Messrs Houldsworth, in Glasgow, a spinner
employed on a mule of 336 spindles, and spinning cotton 120 hanks to
the pound, produced in 1823, working 74-1/2 hours a week, 46 pounds of
yarn, his net weekly wages for which amounted to 27s. 7d. Ten years
later, the rate of wages having in the meantime been reduced 13 per
cent., and the time of working having been lessened to 69 hours, the
spinner was enabled by the greater perfection of the machinery to
produce on a mule of the same number of spindles, 52-1/2 pounds of
yarn of the same fineness, and his net weekly earnings were advanced
from 27s. 7d. to 29s. 10d.' Similar results from similar circumstances
were experienced in the Manchester factories. The cheapening of the
article produced by help of machinery increases the demand for the
article; and there being consequently a need for an increased number
of workmen, the elevation of wages follows as a matter of course. Nor
is this the only benefit which the working-man derives in the case,
for he shares with the community in acquiring a greater command over
the necessaries which machinery is concerned in producing.--_Condensed
from a Lecture by G. R. Porter to the Wandsworth Literary and
Scientific Association._

       *       *       *       *       *


Printed and Published by W. and R. CHAMBERS, High Street, Edinburgh.
Also sold by W. S. ORR, Amen Corner, London; D. N. CHAMBERS, 55 West
Nile Street, Glasgow; and J. M'GLASHAN, 50 Upper Sackville Street,
Dublin.--Advertisements for Monthly Parts are requested to be sent to
MAXWELL, & Co., 31 Nicholas Lane, Lombard Street, London, to whom all
applications respecting their insertion must be made.





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