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Title: Here and There in London
Author: Ritchie, J. Ewing (James Ewing), 1820-1898
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.

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Transcribed from the 1859 W. Tweedie edition by David Price, email
ccx074@pglaf.org



                              HERE AND THERE
                                    IN
                                 LONDON.


                                * * * * *

                                    BY
                            J. EWING RITCHIE,
                                AUTHOR OF
          “THE NIGHT-SIDE OF LONDON,” “THE LONDON PULPIT,” ETC.

                                * * * * *

    “Then I saw in my dream, that, when they were got out of the
    wilderness, they presently saw a town before them, and the name of
    that town is Vanity; and at the town there is a fair kept, called
    Vanity Fair.”

                                                                   BUNYAN.

                                * * * * *

                                 LONDON:
                         W. TWEEDIE, 337, STRAND.

                                * * * * *

                                  1859.

                                * * * * *

                                 LONDON:
            PRINTER AND GALPIN, BELLE SAUVAGE PRINTING WORKS,
                            LUDGATE HILL, E.C.

                                * * * * *

                                    TO

                      HENRY AYSCOUGH THOMPSON, ESQ.

                                THIS WORK,

                   As a trifling Testimonial of Esteem,

                              IS DEDICATED,

                              BY HIS FRIEND,

                                                               THE AUTHOR.



CONTENTS.

                                                              PAGE
THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, FROM THE STRANGERS’ GALLERY                1
A NIGHT WITH THE LORDS                                          25
THE REPORTERS’ GALLERY                                          43
THE LOBBY OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS DURING THE SESSION            64
OUR LONDON CORRESPONDENT                                        70
A SUNDAY AT THE OBELISK                                         78
EXETER HALL                                                     84
THE DERBY                                                       95
VAUXHALL GARDENS                                               104
THE PENNY GAFF                                                 111
RAG FAIR                                                       117
THE COMMERCIAL ROAD AND THE COAL-WHIPPERS                      124
THE STOCK EXCHANGE                                             135
THE LONDON HOSPITAL                                            145
PORTLAND PLACE                                                 155
MARK LANE                                                      166
PREACHING AT ST. PAUL’S CATHEDRAL                              175
AN OMNIBUS YARD                                                187
THE NEW CATTLE MARKET                                          200
THE GOVERNMENT OFFICE                                          207
PATERNOSTER ROW                                                218



THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, FROM THE STRANGERS’ GALLERY.


Not far from Westminster Abbey, as most of our readers know well, stands
the gorgeous pile which Mr. Barry has designed, and for which, in a
pecuniary sense, a patient public has been rather handsomely bled.  Few
are there who have looked at that pile from the Bridge—or from the
numerous steamers which throng the river—or loitered round it on a
summer’s eve, without feeling some little reverence for the spot haunted
by noble memories and heroic shades—where to this day congregate the
talent, the wealth, the learning, the wisdom of the land.  It is true,
there are men—and that amiable cynic, Mr. Henry Drummond, is one of
them—who maintain that the House of Commons is utterly corrupt—that there
is not a man in that House but has his price; but we instinctively feel
that such a general charge is false—that no institution could exist
steeped in the demoralisation Mr. Drummond supposes—that his statement is
rather one of those ingenious paradoxes in which eccentric men delight,
than a sober exposition of the real truth.  Mr. Drummond should know
better.  A poor penny-a-liner of a bilious temperament, without a rap in
his pocket, might be excused such cynicism; but it does not become an
elderly religious gentleman, well shaven—with clean linen, and a good
estate.  The House of Commons is a mixed assembly.  It contains the fool
of quality—the Beotian squire—the needy adventurer—the unprincipled
charlatan; but these men do not rule it—do not form its opinion—do not
have much influence in it.  It is an assembly right in the main.
Practically it consists of well-endowed, well-informed business men—men
with little enthusiasm, but with plenty of common sense, and with more
than average intellect, integrity, and wealth.  Still more may be said.
All that is great in our land is there.  It boasts the brightest names in
literature, in eloquence, and in law.  Our island-mother has no more
distinguished sons than those whose names we see figuring day by day in
the division lists.  Nowhere can a man see an assembly more honourable,
more to be held in honour, for all that men do honour, than the British
House of Commons, to which we now propose to introduce the reader.

We suppose it to be the night of an important debate, and that we have an
order for the Strangers’ Gallery.  As the gallery will not hold more than
seventy, and as each member may give an order, it is very clear that at
four, when it will be thrown open, there will be more waiting for
admission than the place can possibly contain, and that our only chance
of getting in will be by being there as early as possible.  When Mr.
Gladstone brought forward the Budget, for instance, there were strangers
waiting for admission as early as ten in the morning.  We go down about
one, and are immediately directed to a low, dark cellar, with but little
light, save what comes from a fire, that makes the place anything but
refreshingly cool or pleasant.  Being of a stoical turn, we bear our lot
in patience, not, however, without thinking that the Commons might behave
more respectfully to the sovereign people, than by consigning them to
this horrid blackhole.  It is in vain we try to read—it is too dark for
that; or to talk—the atmosphere is too oppressive even for that slight
exertion; and so we wile away the time in a gentle reverie.  As soon as
this room is full, the rest of the strangers are put into the custody of
the police in St. Stephen’s hall.  That is a far pleasanter place to wait
in, for there is a continual passing to and fro of lords and lawyers, and
M.P.’s and parliamentary agents; so that if you do not get into the
House, you still see something going on; while in the cellar, you sit, as
Wordsworth says—

    “Like a party in a parlour,
    All silent and all damned.”

At length a bell rings.  It is a welcome sound, for it announces that the
Speaker is going to prayers.  A few minutes, and another ringing makes us
aware of the pleasing fact that that gentleman’s devotions have already
commenced.  We joy to hear it, for we wish that the policeman who has had
us in charge, and who has ranged us in the order of our respective
_débûts_, will presently command the first five to get out their orders
and proceed.  The happy moment at last arrives, and with a light heart we
run up several flights of stairs, and find ourselves in THE HOUSE.

But let us suppose we are fortunate enough to get a Speaker’s order,
which admits us to a gallery before the other, and with well stuffed
leather cushions.  It is hard work sitting all night on bare boards, as
one does in the Strangers’ Gallery.  We get into the lobby just as the
members are going in.  What is that the officials are calling out?  “Make
way for the Speaker.”  Of course we will; and as we do so, immediately
sweeps by us a gentleman in full-dress, with black breeches, silk
stockings, shoes and buckles, and a light Court sword.  “Is that the
Speaker?” one asks.  Oh, no; he is merely Serjeant-at-Arms—he is the man
who bears the mace, and sits in a chair of state below the bar, and is
terrible in the eyes of refractory, chiefly Irish, M.P.’s, and for all
which duties, though he is of the noble family of the House of Bedford,
and is brother to Lord John Russell, he condescends to receive £1,200 a
year.  Well, next to the Serjeant-at-Arms comes the Speaker—the man whose
eye aspiring orators find it so difficult to catch.  Mr. Speaker has a
judicious eye, and is wary as a belle of the season of her glances.  Mr.
Speaker is in full-dress; for he wears a flowing gown and a full-bottomed
wig, and in his hand he carries a three-cocked hat; his train is borne by
a train-bearer; behind him comes the Chaplain, and in this order they
advance to the bar, and then to the table, where the Chaplain reads
prayers prior to the formation of a House.

In the meanwhile we present ourselves to the doorkeeper of the Speaker’s
Gallery.

“Your name, sir?” demands that acute official.

“Nicks.”

“Bricks, sir?  I see no such name here.”

“Oh, you must be mistaken—look again.”

“No, sir, indeed there is no such name.  I can’t allow you to pass up.”

“What! not Nicks?” we repeat, indignantly.

“Nicks, did you say, sir?”

“Yes, to be sure.”

“Oh, yes, I have that name; but you said Bricks.”

“No, I did not,” growl we.

“Well, sir, I suppose it is all right; but if Mr. Nicks comes, you must
come out.”

“Of course,” we reply, ironically, as we push the curtain on one side,
and up we go.

At first we hardly know what we see.  Chaos seems come again.  On the
opposition benches Lord Stanley is seated; on the ministerial the genteel
Sir John Shelley is visible at one end, and the stout W. J. Fox at the
other.  All is confusion and disorder.  No one but the Speaker seems to
know what he is about.  It is the hour devoted to private business, and
Mr. Forster is bringing up bills like a retriever.  He hands his bills to
the clerks, while the Speaker, to an inattentive house, runs over their
titles, and declares that they are read a first, or second, or third
time, as the case may be.  Then we hear him announce the name of some
honourable M.P., who immediately rises and reads a statement of the
petition he holds in his hand, with which he immediately rushes down and
delivers it to one of the clerks, and which thereupon the Speaker
declares is ordered to lie upon the table—but literally the petition is
popped into a bag.  In the meanwhile let us look around.  Just below us
is a small gallery for peers and ambassadors, and other distinguished
personages.  On either side of the house are galleries, very pleasant to
sit, or lie, or occasionally sleep in, and by-and-bye we shall see in
them old fogies very red in the face, talking over the last bit of
scandal, and young moustached lords or officers, sleeping away the time,
to be ready, when the House breaks up, for

    “Fresh fields and pastures new.”

Opposite to us is the Reporters’ Gallery.  In the early days of
parliament reporting was a thing much condemned.  Sir Simonds d’Ewes,
under the date March 5, 1641–2, gives us a special instance of this.  Sir
Edward Alford, member for Arundel, had been observed taking notes of a
proposed declaration moved by Pym.  Sir Walter Earle, member for
Weymouth, upon this objected that he had seen “some at the lower end
comparing their notes, and one of them had gone out.”  Alford having been
called back, and given up his notes to the Speaker, D’Ewes then
continues:—“Sir Henry Vane, senior, sitting at that time next me, said he
could remember when no man was allowed to take notes, and wished it to be
now forbidden.”  At present the gentlemen of the Press are taking it
easy, and favouring each other with criticisms on the speakers by no
means flattering.  In a little while they will have to suspend their
criticism and work hard enough.  Above them are gilt wires, behind which
we perceive the glare of silks and satins, and faintly—for otherwise
attention would be drawn from the speakers below to the ladies above—but
still clearly enough to make us believe—

    “That we can almost think we gaze
    Through golden vistas into heaven,”

we see outlines of female forms; and we wonder if the time will ever
arrive when Lucretia Mott’s dream shall be realised, and woman take her
seat in the senate, side by side with the tyrant man.  Under the
Reporters’ Gallery, and immediately facing us, sits the Speaker, in his
chair of state.  On his right are the Treasury Benches; on the left,
those where the Opposition are condemned to sit, and fume and fret in
vain.  Between these benches is the table at which the clerk sits, and on
which petitions, when they are received, are ordered to lie, and where
are placed the green boxes, on which orators are very fond of striking,
in order to give to their speeches particular force.  At the end of this
table commences the gangway, which is supposed to be filled with
independent statesmen, and to whom, therefore, at particular times, the
most passionate appeals are addressed.  Lower down is the Bar of the
House, where sits the sergeant-at-arms on a chair of state, with a sword
by his side; but him we cannot see, as he is immediately under us.  At
the end of the table lies the “gilt bauble,” as Cromwell called the
mace—which is the sign of the Speaker’s presence, and which is always put
under the table when the Speaker leaves the chair.  At one time, when a
message from the Lords was announced, the Mace-bearer, bearing the mace,
went to the Bar of the House, and met the Messenger, who came forward
bowing, and retired in the same manner, with his face to the Speaker; for
it would have been a terrible breach of etiquette had the Messenger
favoured that illustrious personage with a glimpse of his back.  When the
Speaker leaves the chair, no one else occupies it.  The House then goes
into committee, and a chairman is appointed, who sits by the clerks at
the table.  On such occasions one of the forms of the House
pertinaciously adhered to is often productive of good results.  According
to parliamentary rules, when the Speaker puts the motion that “I do now
leave the chair,” previously to going into committee, it is at the option
of any member who has a question to ask, or a statement to make, or a
grievance to proclaim, to move that the House do now adjourn, and then
deliver himself of whatever he may wish to say; or he can make his
statement as an amendment.  Such forms are very valuable, though often
very inconvenient to ministers who are anxious to get over the business
of the country with as much expedition as possible, and give independent
members an opportunity of uttering their sentiments, of exposing jobs, of
being a terror to evil rulers, and a praise to them that do well.  They
often lead to very animated discussions.  In such little skirmishes Lord
Palmerston, the Bight Hon. Benjamin Disraeli, and Mr. Thomas Duncombe
greatly shine.  As a rule, you may in consequence hear better debates
between half-past five and eight—the time when these little scenes may be
expected—than at any other period of the evening, unless, in the small
hours, the House is precipitated into an Irish row.

But time has passed away, and the more serious part of the evening’s
business is commenced.  The benches on both sides of the House are
already filled.  That first row on the Speaker’s right contains the
ministers.  Fronting them are the Opposition, always a formidable, and
generally a useful band.  If the Conservatives are in office, the Right
Hon. Benjamin Disraeli occupies the middle of the Treasury benches,
supported on one side by the mild and respectable Sir John Pakington, and
on the other by a figure fierce, and bearded, with a hook nose and a
glittering eye like that of the Ancient Mariner, the great poet,
novelist, and satirist of our day, Sir Bulwer Lytton.  Lord Stanley, pale
and studious-looking, is by; and around them are the gentle Walpole, the
old party warrior, Fitzroy Kelly, and lesser lights.  But undoubtedly the
observed of all observers is the leader of the great Protectionist party,
whose battles he has fought, whose councils he has guided, whose chiefs
he has placed upon the Treasury bench.  Up in the gallery no one is
watched more keenly.

Lord Palmerston is the next best-stared-at man in the House; and next,
that champion of the British constitution, Lord John.  The
Palmerstonians, whether in office or languishing on the bleak benches of
opposition, are alike undistinguishable, for they have an official knack
of pulling the hat over the eyebrow, so as completely to obscure the
face, and from the gallery you can scarce tell one from the other, with
the exception of Sir G. W. Hayter, who has always a mysterious air, and
Wilson of the _Economist_, who rejoices in carroty, and consequently
unlovely locks.  On the same side of the House, but below the gangway,
are the Irish ultras and tenant leaguers, a band once formidable; but
Lucas dead, Duffy seeking on another arena the position denied him here,
Bowyer, bearded and red-haired, little better than the mouthpiece of
Ultramontanism—that small party are little feared and little courted now.
Below the gangway is the balance of power, where sit, on the first bench
on the floor, on the right, Roebuck and Lord John Russell; the Manchester
party (for, in spite of Manchester’s ignoble denial of the same, there is
still a policy known as of Manchester) are close behind.  The Peelites
and the eccentricities sit on the other side.  Bright and Gibson
represent the Gracchi.  What Gladstone and Sidney Herbert and Sir James
Graham represent, it is hard to say; yet in that great assembly you shall
not find three abler men.

But we have been already some time in the House.  Hours have come and
gone—day has faded into night.  Suddenly, from the painted glass ceiling
above, a mellow light has streamed down upon us all.  Rich velvet
curtains have been drawn across the gorgeously painted windows, and if we
had only good speeches to listen to, we should be very comfortable
indeed.  Alas, alas, there is no help for us!  As soon as “Wishy” sits
down, “Washy” gets up; and members thin off, leaving scarcely forty in
the House.  Nor can we wonder at this.  Men must dine once in the
twenty-four hours, and members of the House of Commons obey this
universal law.  Most of them have been hard at work all the day.  It is
no very pleasant life theirs, after all; crowded committee rooms all day,
and the heated air of the House all night.  An M.P. should have an iron
frame as Joseph Hume had, or he cannot do his duty to his country or his
constituents.  Even we grow, as we sit in the gallery a few hours, weary
as Mariana in the moated grange.  Would that we were with the wife of our
bosom at home!  Would that we were listening to the child-like prattle
and silver laugh of Rose!  Would that we were discussing divine
philosophy with a friend amidst a genial cloud of tobacco smoke!  Would
that we were anywhere—anywhere out of this!  Sleep comes not when you
want him.  If you read, the gallery keeper is down on you in an instant;
and as to talking, that is quite out of the question.  Hark! whose is
that name the speaker announces?  It is that of one of the leaders.  What
a change has come over the House!  No more chatting and laughing of
members on empty benches—no more idling of reporters—no more indifference
in the strangers’ gallery.  Even the divine voices of the women are
hushed, and they stop to pay the homage beauty should ever love to pay to
intellect and strength.  What a grand sound is that cheer bursting from
five hundred throats—for the house is hearty in its approval of a good
speech, on whatever side it be delivered; and how telling is the reply,
and how vehemently cheered—on one side at least; and how chaotic the
confusion, and how discordant the sounds, when one of the smaller fry
attempts to continue the debate which the House evidently considers has
been sufficiently discussed, and respecting which it is now anxious to
come to a vote!  The helpless orator’s voice is lost in the clamour.
After a few minutes’ purgatory he has sense enough to sit down, the
Speaker reads the question, and puts it—the ayes have it, the noes demand
a division—the bell rings—peers and diplomatists and distinguished
strangers under the gallery are turned out.  Thanks to our insignificance
we are suffered (though but recently has this been the case) to remain
and see the ayes move in to the right and noes to the left.  The House is
emptied with the exception of the Speaker, the clerks, and the tellers.
Immediately it begins to fill.  After a little while all have come back.
The tellers go to the bar, and thence in a row march up to the table, at
which they are met by the clerk, to whom they give the result of the
division.  Already the House knows which side has won from the way in
which the tellers are placed, the tellers of the victorious party being
on the right side.  And now the division is announced from the chair, the
triumphant party cheer, and the House, if it be late, almost immediately
adjourns.  Out bound honourable M.P.’s as schoolboys out of school.  Glad
enough are they the thing is over; and, lighting their cigars—it is
astonishing what smokers honourable gentlemen are—not unreluctantly do
they go home.  Following their example, we exchange the noisy and heated
house for the chill and silent night.  Yet, as we go, we cannot help
observing, how generally well-behaved and patient the House has even been
to unutterable bores.  It is seldom they put a man down, or are
boisterous or rude.  A man of no party easily gets a hearing; but he
cannot secure attention.  The House is polite, not cordial—civil, but not
encouraging.  Accordingly the multitude, the second and third-rate
men—that is, all except a dozen—do not attempt to speak to the House at
all, but to the gallery, and, through the press, to their constituents.
If the speeches were not reported, they would, in most cases, be made
shorter and better.  For instance, your own representative Smithers made
a speech.  The weak-minded politicians of Rottenborough class Smithers as
A 1; and when he tells them what a fire-eater he is in the House, and
what things he says to government, they wonder Smithers has not been
committed to the Tower for high treason by the base and brutal myrmidons
of power.  Now, what are the actual facts?  While Smithers was speaking,
the House very still—and perhaps, with the exception of an understrapper
of the Treasury, enjoying a five minutes’ snooze, or deep in a
statistical calculation, not a soul was on the government benches at
all—nobody listened to Smithers; yet, on went Smithers stuttering
incoherently, reading from his notes with fearful pauses between,
screaming at the top of his voice, sawing the air with his arms in the
manner of the unhappy Mr. Frederick Peel, amidst universal indifference,
save when occasionally a good-natured friend timidly called out, “Hear,
hear.”  The Speaker, perhaps, was chatting with an acquaintance about his
next parliamentary levée; if Smithers had stood on his head, I almost
question whether any one would have been aware of the fact; and Smithers
sits down, as he rises, without any particular mark of approval at all.
Why, then, does Smithers speak?  Why, because the Press is there—to
treasure up every word—to note down every sentence—to let the British
nation see what Smithers said.  This, of course, is a great temptation to
Smithers to speak when there is no absolute necessity that Smithers
should open his mouth at all.  Yet this has its advantages—on the morrow
honourable gentlemen have the whole debate before them, coolly to peruse
and study; and if one grain of sense lurked in Smithers’ speech, the
country gets the benefit.  At times, also, were it not for the Press, it
would be almost impossible to transact the business of the country.  For
instance, we refer to Mr. Wilson’s proposals for Customs Reform.  On the
occasion to which we refer, Mr. Wilson spoke for nearly four hours.  Mr.
Wilson we believe to be an excellent man, and father of a family, but he
certainly is a very poor speaker.  Never was there a duller and drearier
speech.  Few men could sit it out.  In the gallery there were a few
strong-minded females who heard every word—what cannot a strong-minded
woman do?—but M.P.’s gossipped in the lobby—or dined—or smoked—or drank
brandy-and-water—in short, did anything but listen to Mr. Wilson; and yet
this was a grave, serious government measure.  Why, then, did not members
listen?  Because there was no need for them to do so.  The _Times_ would
give it them all the next morning; and so it mattered little how empty of
listeners was the House, provided the reporters were there and did their
duty.  It is the same when the House legislates for our Imperial
colonies, or our 150,000,000 in India.  It is to the Reporters’ Gallery
members speak, not to the House.  Thus is it orators are so plentiful in
spite of the freezing atmosphere.  Ordinarily no one listens—no one
expects to be convinced—no one seeks to convince.  Said an old M.P., “I
never knew a speech that influenced a vote.”  As a rule, the M.P. was
right.  Orators like George Thompson are quite out of place in it.  Such
a man as Henry Vincent would be a laughingstock.  The House consists of
middle-aged gentlemen of good parts and habits, and they like to do
business and to be spoken to in a business-like way.  Next to
business-like speakers, the House likes joking.  Hence it is Tom Duncombe
and Lord Palmerston are such favourites.  Hence it is that Colonel
Sibthorp got and Henry Drummond gets so readily the ear of the House.
The House cares little for declamation.  It would rather be without it.
It considers it a waste of time.  Figures of arithmetic are far more
popular than figures of speech.  You must learn to speak to the House in
its own style.  Disraeli attempted to take the House by storm, and
palpably failed.  He altered his style.  He learnt to talk figures, and
became a success.  More recently Mr. Warren attempted the same feat, and
also failed.  If you adopt the Parliamentary style, and have the
requisite _physique_, whether you be Tory, Radical, Free-trader, or
Protectionist—Protestant or Roman Catholic—Irish, Scotch, or
English—whether you represent a borough or a county—you have a chance of
being heard.  The House of Commons, it is true, is a club, but it is not
an exclusive one.  All classes are represented there.  The Roman Catholic
wolf reposes in it meekly by the side of the Protestant lamb.  There you
see, side by side, teetotal Crossley and Bass famed for bitter beer.
Oxford sends there its trained and scholarly churchmanship, and the
manufacturing towns their vigorous dissent.  Lowness of birth is no
obstacle to success.  Lindsay was a cabin-boy; Fox, a weaver in Norwich
in his youth; poor Brotherton, a factory lad; Ingram cleaned the shoes of
one of his constituents; yet the House gives these men as ready a hearing
as it awards to the inheritors of broad domains and the most illustrious
of historic names.  If the House is flunkeyfied, conventional, and
illogical, it is the fault of the public—more flunkeyfied, conventional,
and illogical—whom it represents.  Waste not your honest indignation, but
reserve it for the proper parties out of doors.  Nor grumble that the
working men have had no representative since their order was represented
by the idiotic and self-seeking Feargus O’Connor, when you remember that,
by means of the freehold land societies, almost any working men who like
to go without beer might in a very short time acquire votes, and,
combined, might carry the counties.  Aristocrats, you say, are in the
People’s House.  Yes, but they are men, most of them, of untainted
honour—of lofty aim—of comprehensive views; and the general fusion and
ventilation of opinion and clash of intellect elicit action most
congenial with the intelligence of the age.  Take any of the extreme men,
for instance.  What can they do?  Are they the representatives of the
mass of opinion?  Is the country prepared to break up the National
Church, as Mr. Miall would recommend—to dissolve the Union, as Gavan
Duffy desired—to put down all our armaments, as Mr. Bright would think
proper—to grant the five points of the Charter, as poor Feargus O’Connor
contended?  Most certainly not.  Yet the representatives of such opinions
are in the House, and rightly in the House.  With them away, the opinions
of the people would not be fairly represented.  At the same time, it must
be remembered, that such men represent but sections, and it is wisely
arranged that the representatives of all sections shall meet.  Thus
justice is done to all.  Thus mutual toleration is learned.  Thus the
mental vision of all becomes enlarged.  We make these remarks because we
think we see a tendency to run down the House of Commons, and the
representative institutions of which it is the type.  By Britons this
feeling should not be entertained.  That assembly contains, it is true,
not the grandest, but the best practical intellects of which our country
can boast.  In its earliest days it rocked the cradle of our liberties,
and still it guards them, though the stripling has long become a giant.
At our elections there is deep-seated demoralisation, but still that
demoralisation has its bounds which it cannot pass, and the high-minded
and the honourable form the majority in the House of Commons.  At any
rate, the representative body is quite as virtuous and intelligent as the
constituency.  If, gentle reader, it laughs at your favourite idea, it
only does so because that idea is a poor squalling brat, not a goddess
with celestial mien and air.  A time may come when it may be that, and
then it will not knock at the door of the House in vain.  Till then, the
House may be forgiven for not thinking of it.  The House is not bound to
take notice of it till then.  Law Reform—Parliamentary Reform—Financial
Reform—Customs Reform—Education—Colonies—Convicts—India—these are the
topics with which the House has now painfully to grapple.  Your favourite
idea must wait a little longer.  In the meantime, if it be a good one let
us wish it well—if it be a true one, we shall surely hear of it again.



A NIGHT WITH THE LORDS.


Amongst the sights of London surely may be reckoned the Chamber of
Peers—fallen from its high estate, but still existing as a potent
institution in this self-governing country and democratic age.  Of course
it is usual to sneer at the peers—we all do so; and yet we would move
heaven and earth to be seen walking arm in arm with a peer, no matter how
old or vicious he be, on the sunny side of Pall Mall.  We all say the
peers must give way to the Commons; and yet we all know that half the
latter are returned by the former, and that you can no more succeed in
contesting a county against its lords and landlords, than you can hope to
fly in the air, or to walk on the sea.  Hear a pot-house orator on the
House of Peers, you would think it the most indefensible establishment
imaginable.  But is it so?  Ask Exeter Hall; that truly British
institution is in raptures with the whole British peerage.  A lord at a
Bible meeting—a lord stammering a few unconnected common-places about the
propagation of Christianity in foreign parts, or the conversion of the
Jews—a lord denouncing the Pope, or anticipating the coming of the
millennium—is a sight dear to the British public.  Sneer at the Lords as
you will, expatiate on the manifest absurdity of supposing that they are
wiser and better than other people, say, what every one knows and thinks,
that you cannot transmit brains as you can the family spoons, and that
therefore the idea involved in hereditary peerage is a lie; nevertheless,
the House of Peers still continues a great fact.  And it is a gorgeous
fact as well.  The apartments of the Commons are poor and mean compared
with the chamber, all resplendent with crimson and gold, where the Lords
meet.  As you enter the central hall in the new Houses of Parliament, the
passage to the right leads you to the Lords.  We will suppose you have
got an order—any peer can give you one; and as the House commences its
sitting at five, and there is plenty of room in the gallery, you may take
your time almost as freely as the celebrated Miss Lucy Long herself.
Passing the lobby, you soon find your way into the house, the magnificent
adorning of which will be sure to excite your utmost admiration.  Some
may say it is too gaudy, everything pertaining to the chamber is so
richly decorated; but it is very fine, and when Parliament is opened by
Majesty in person, and the house is crowded with all the great men of our
land, and the galleries blaze with beauty and diamonds, the effect must
be, as it has always been described, imposing in the extreme.  On
ordinary evenings, however, nothing of this splendour is visible; the
house has a deserted air; an assembly of a dozen or twenty is a very fair
muster; a debate of a couple of hours is generally considered as
unusually exciting and fierce.  The best description of a debate in the
Lords we have ever read is that by Disraeli, in the “Young Duke.”  We
quote the passage:—“The Duke of St. James took the oaths and his seat.
He was introduced by Lord Pompey.  He heard a debate.  We laugh at such a
thing, especially in the Upper House; but on the whole the affair is
imposing, especially if we take a part in it.  Lord Exchamberlain thought
the nation going on wrong, and he made a speech full of currency and
constitution.  Baron Deprivey Seal seconded him with great effect—brief,
but bitter, satirical, and sore.  The Earl of Quarterday answered these,
full of confidence in the nation and in himself.  When the debate was
getting heavy, Lord Snap jumped up to give them something light.  The
Lords do not encourage wit, and so are obliged to put up with pertness.
But Viscount Memoir was very statesmanlike, and spouted a sort of
universal history.  Then there was Lord Ego, who vindicated his character
when nobody knew he had one, and explained his motives because his
auditors could not understand his acts.  Then there was a maiden speech,
so inaudible that it was doubted after all whether the young orator
really did lose his virginity.  In the end, up started the Premier, who,
having nothing to say, was manly, and candid, and liberal; gave credit to
his adversaries and took credit to himself, and then the motion was
withdrawn.  While all this was going on, some made a note, some made a
bet, some consulted a book, some their ease, some yawned, a few slept.
Yet, on the whole, there was an air about the assembly which can be
witnessed in no other in Europe.  Even the most indifferent looked as if
he would come forward if the occasion should demand him, and the most
imbecile as if he could serve his country if it required him.”

But let us look around us.  We, the strangers, are up in a comfortable
gallery at one end of a long, narrow, and rather dark chamber, along the
sides of which are narrow windows of painted glass, and bronze statues of
the barons of the olden time.  In a smaller gallery, just beneath us, sit
the parliamentary reporters.  Exactly opposite us is the THRONE; its
splendour we but faintly perceive, for it is veiled from vulgar eyes; but
there it is—the very spot where Majesty sits, while around her are
principalities and powers,—there the royal assent is given to laws which
affect the weal or woe of an empire—there, with silvery voice, and
faultless delivery, and perfect pronunciation, are spoken royal speeches,
greedily bought up in second editions of the morning papers, and flashed
along the electric wires to all the great cities of our own and the
capitals of other lands.  At present a few peers are leaning against the
rails and chatting—that is all.  A little below the throne is the purple
velvet cushion—the object of so many a struggle—of so many a year of
unflinching toil—of so many a defence of party spoken in another place—of
so many a clever piece of intrigue.  We mean the woolsack, on which sits
the Lord Chancellor Chelmsford.  If the debate is continued till a late
hour, and the keeper of her Majesty’s conscience retires to dine, Lord
Redesdale acts as chairman _pro tem_.  His lordship is eccentric in his
dress—black trousers, white cravat, buff waistcoat, blue coat and brass
buttons, white stockings and shoes, compose a _tout ensemble_ rarely seen
in the House of Lords or elsewhere.  Greater men than Lord Chelmsford
have sat on the woolsack.  We live in a little age.  Our great men are
little men after all.  Our Lord Chancellor has never done what other Lord
Chancellors have done, viz., wielded the fierce democracy of the lower
house, shone unrivalled on the parliamentary arena, thundered from the
platform, won fame by their daring, and acumen, and learning, and
eloquence, in every corner of the land.  Indeed, he makes no pretensions
to oratory or greatness of any kind.  He is an able lawyer and eager
partisan, little more.  In this respect not at all resembling, or rather
very much differing from, the extraordinary individual who has just
darted on the woolsack, as if he would edge off the Chancellor and take
his very seat.  That individual we need not name; a glance at the nose
and plaid trousers—trousers which he is incessantly hitching up when he
speaks—are sufficient.  It must be my Lord Brougham, and no one else.  To
no other man born of woman has nature vouchsafed the same power of
universality.  No other man would attempt to do what he is now doing,
talking law with one man, politics with another, and scandal with a
third, and all the while listening to the debate, and qualifying himself
to take a part in it.  In the course of time we shall see him pursuing an
erratic career in any part of the house except in that one part in which
sit ministers and their supporters.  Amongst their ranks Lord Brougham is
never to be found.  To the party in power he is always opposed.  It is
his pride that he never worships the rising sun.  The Ex-Chancellor has
never forgotten or forgiven the treatment he received, but it does not
affect his health—it does not tinge his life with melancholy.  He does
not let disappointment, like a worm in the bud, prey upon his damask
cheek.  His hair is a little greyer—his face is a little fatter; that is
all the change the wear and tear of half a century of public life has
produced: and of such a half century! the half century that waged war
with France—triumphed at Waterloo—carried Reform—repealed the Corn
Laws—and saw the birth of railways and the electric telegraph; a half
century of more interest than any preceding age—the work and the
excitement of which wore out our Romillys, Follets, and Horners, with
premature decay.  Yet Brougham still lives.  Slightly altering Byron, we
may say of him,—

    Time writes no wrinkles on his brazen brow,
    Such as the _Edinburgh’s_ dawn beheld he wriggleth now.

Below the woolsack is a table, at which Lord Campbell generally sits; and
on each side are ranged the orators and partizans of the two great
sections which, under some name or other, always have existed and always
will exist in our national history.  The uninitiated call them
Conservatives and Whigs; the wiser simply term them the men who are in
office and the men who are not.  The Government for the time being sits
on the right hand of the Lord Chancellor, who acts as Speaker, and who
has a far easier berth of it than Mr. Denison.  The Lords are not
long-winded, nor noisy; not passionate, and, like true Britons, always
adjourn to dinner.  Hence no post-prandial scenes are visible.  In the
small hours no patriots, smelling strongly of whisky-and-water and
cigars, expatiate to a wearied assembly on that ever fertile theme, the
wrongs and woes of the Green Isle.  The Lords, like Mr. Wordsworth’s
gods—

    “Approve the depth but not the tumult of the soul.”

We can never fancy the House of Lords to be what you may sometimes take
the House of Commons to be—a bear garden or a menagerie.  You miss the
vulgarity of the one, and you also miss its excitement and
earnestness—its cries of “question” and “divide” when some well-known
bore is on his legs, and its long resounding cheers when some favourite
partisan sits down.  All is staid, and correct, and proper, with the
exception of a tirade from the Rupert of debate, or some father in God on
the Episcopal Bench.  We would fain say a few words about these reverend
gentlemen.  One could hardly expect to find the ministers of the
self-denying and lowly Jesus of Nazareth sitting in a gorgeous house with
the proudest and wealthiest of the English peers.  You would expect to
find them rather by the bed-side of the sick, in the houses of the poor,
combating with the vice and infidelity of the day; or else you would look
for them in their studies, surrounded with stately folios; or in the
midst of their clergy, reviving the fainthearted, urging on the timid,
counselling the young, and girding up the energies and hearts of all.
You would expect to find them in the House of the Lord rather than in the
House of Lords.  In short, anywhere but in the turmoil of party conflict.
This, however, is not the case.  The bishops are almost the first object
that attracts your eye.  They sit on benches by themselves, on the
Government side, but beyond the ministerial bench.  In the “dim religious
light” of the Upper House, you can scarcely make out what they are.  You
see venerable wigs, and black robes, and lawn sleeves; and if you look
sharp, you may, at times, catch the outline of a reverend face—most
probably of Dr. Tait, the energetic bishop of London, or of the pug nose
and plebeian profile of Samuel of Oxford.  They are very regular in their
attendance, and frequently take part in the debate.  Indeed, the latter
bishop is a great man in the Lords; and so was Henry of Exeter, but his
voice is seldom heard, and his name never mentioned now, though he is
generally present, and sits at the end of the benches nearest to the
spectator, while the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is also pretty regular
in his attendance, occupies the other end of the bench.  The other
bishops do not muster quite so strongly.  Half of them is a good
attendance.  It is to be hoped they are more profitably employed.

Coming lower down, our eyes rest on the men who did carry on government,
and generally occupy the unenviable situation of Ministers of the Crown.
At present they are out of office, and are seated on the Lord
Chancellor’s left.  Generally, at the top of the bench, is seated a
slight, undersized, juvenile, red-haired Scot—that is the Duke of Argyle,
who, in virtue of being a Duke, and the husband of the daughter of the
Duchess of Sutherland, was Lord Privy Seal.  His lordship is as pert and
ready as any forward youth in a debating-club, and has much of the
appearance and manner of such a one.  He gives you no great idea of
hereditary statesmanship, the only quality conspicuous in him being a
tolerable amount of modest assurance, perfectly natural to a peer who is
an author and has lectured at mechanics’ institutions, and read papers
before the British Association.  By him is seated Lord Panmure, very red
in the face, which redness seems to arise from a military stock which he
persists in wearing.  There sits the Marquis of Clanricarde, who has
suffered much from public opinion, and who deserves to suffer, if only
his conduct in certain electioneering matters be taken into account.  The
Earl of Granville is the leader of this small band; he is a pleasant
looking man, and speaks not badly for a lord.  The Whig Nestor, the aged
Marquis of Lansdowne, worthy of remembrance for his friendship for Tom
Moore, is easily detected by his blue coat and brass buttons, that
remnant of the palmy days of party.  None of these men are remarkable for
oratorical power.  A strong contrast is presented by the illustrious
personage sitting on the next row, higher up, just opposite the bishops—a
severe, well-made, heavy, grey-haired man, who sits almost silent and
sullen, as if he had no feelings, as if the debate was a sham, and he
should be glad if it were over.  We refer to

    “The travelled thane, Athenian Aberdeen,”

the best-abused man, at one time, in her gracious Majesty’s dominions,
but without whom, nevertheless, it is questionable whether the Queen’s
Government could be carried on.  Unfortunately, Lord Aberdeen is not the
man for the public.  The public likes to be gammoned, and his lordship
cannot gammon.  He is spare in words, cold and unimpassioned in delivery,
and somewhat too indifferent to party attacks.  On neighbouring benches
are seated discontented Whigs, overlooked in the scramble for place, and
who therefore view the proceedings of all governments with an impartial,
but yet a jealous eye.  Prominent amongst such is the sandy-looking
unamiable Earl Grey, who seems angry with himself and all the world,
because he is lame, and has not the command of the colonies.  Below the
table are half-a-dozen benches, on which congregate a few peers till
dinner time.  Here sits Earl Fitzwilliam—here also sits one of the most
frightful bores in the House, Lord Monteagle, who always speaks, and, for
a lord, cruelly long.  That is the consequence of his having been in the
Lower House.  Never stop to hear him.  As soon as you see his bald head,
be off.  The Dukes sit here.  On the front bench on your right is the
Duke of Cambridge.  On his left is seated the Duke of Newcastle, a
promising orator when a member of the Lower House, and a follower of Sir
Robert Peel.  Crossing to the government benches, the Earl of Derby fills
the first place.  We need not paint his portrait; the sharp aristocratic
face—but feebly reflected in that promising young man, but unfortunate
speaker, his son—is familiar to us all; there he is out of place.  He has
no fitting opponents.  It was among the Commons that he won his laurels.
Yet, at times, the old afflatus fills him, and his clear voice and fluent
declamation are as bitter and terrible as when night after night he
wrestled, as if for very life, with the brawny champion of Catholic
Emancipation, and the somewhat too selfish, unscrupulous exponent of
Irish wrongs.  By his side is his trusty page, the inelegant and insipid
Malmesbury, of whom, in a passing freak, the author of “Vivian Grey” not
merely made a statesman, but actually Minister for Foreign Affairs.  On
the bench behind the Premier sits that wonderful old man eloquent, whose
shrill tones may occasionally be heard, and whose intellect seems as
great and grand as when he was Sir John Copley—Attorney-General before
the Reform Bill was carried, and England, according to Croker, for ever
undone.  Near him sits a tall, thin gentleman, with a copious head of
hair, and a force of gesticulation hardly English: that is the Earl of
Ellenborough, in his own opinion hero, statesman, lawyer, “all things by
turns, and nothing long;” in this respect second only to Lord Brougham,
who sits everywhere, speaks wherever he can, and whose Ciceronian
eloquence, aided by a delivery more expressive than dignified, by
gestures and tones at any rate vivacious, astonish the weak nerves of the
spectators, and oft-times puzzles the parliamentary reporters themselves.
Few other notabilities do we see.  Perhaps we may note on the opposition
benches the pale aristocratic form of that popular nobleman, the Earl of
Shaftesbury.  Disraeli makes one of his peers say, the House of Lords
looks like a house of butlers.  We think the satirist is unjust.  At any
rate, the peers are well dressed.  Hats, gloves, boots, and frock-coats
are all unexceptionable.  We need not say, in this respect, the House of
Lords presents a very different appearance to the House of Commons.  Yet
the Lords need not be so particular about their “gorgeous array;” there
are seldom more than half-a-dozen ladies present to admire and reward
their display.  The Lords are more polite than the Commons.  Such ladies
as are present take their seats in the gallery, where they can see and be
seen; in the other house, as our readers know, the case is different.
But even the ladies, we dare say, would not mind being treated as the
Commons treat them, if the debates in the Lords were as good as in the
Commons.  If the peers did not dress so well, and were not so excessively
polite, but spoke better, no great harm would be done; but there’s the
difficulty.  It is difficult for a polite man to be ill-bred, and to lose
his temper, and say sharp things.  In the House of Commons nothing is
easier.  Say something bitter, and you will have a murmur of applause—be
savage, and at any rate your own party will cheer; but in the Lords you
can’t get up the semblance of earnestness.  The whole thing seems too
much like play—an apology for business, and that is all.  No man can
speak to twenty sleepy peers as he could to four or five hundred eager
partisans.  No man can be impressive in the bosom of his family—and the
Lords are a family party, all connected, or nearly so; and if a stranger
comes in, he soon apes the fashionable tone, and becomes as dull and
apathetic as the rest.  And why should a lord be otherwise?  A lord is
not more a lord for having brains—nor the less a lord for being without.
Intellect, skill, oratory, are no helps—are unnecessary in an hereditary
institution.  Sir Robert Peel knew this, and lived and died a commoner.
Chatham became comparatively a small man when he took a pension and a
peerage.  So was it with Walpole, when meeting his old rival Pulteney,
after they had both been raised to the peerage, he exclaimed, “Here we
are, my lord, the two most insignificant personages in Europe.”  The
Upper House but registers the decisions of the Lower—the business of the
country is carried on elsewhere.

But while we have been looking at the House, the debate has closed.  Lord
Granville has asked a question and made an attack.  Lord Derby has
uttered a few petulant remarks, to which Lord Aberdeen has made a cold
and formal reply, to which some peers, disappointed of place, have added
a little independent criticism on their own account.  Two or three
exquisites have been discussing little matters of their own, till they
find that if they stop much longer they will be too late for Rotten Row,
and the House merely waits for Lord Monteagle to sit down and go home.
Happily his lordship is briefer than his wont, and the Lord High
Chancellor declares the House adjourned.  Rushing outside, we catch hasty
glimpses of our hereditary legislators as they, in fashionable brougham
or on splendid blood, start for their parks or respective Belgravian
homes.  We also, in more plebeian manner, do the same.  We are sure the
reader will have had enough of the Lords for one night.  He will have
found out that they are not much better orators or speakers than other
men—that even lords stammer, utter incoherent remarks, display poverty of
ideas.  Let us add, in conclusion, the great merit of a night in the
Lords is, that it is soon over.  If the Lords be dull, at any rate they
are short.  To be dull and long-winded is an offence against good
breeding of which few peers are guilty.



THE REPORTERS’ GALLERY.


If it has ever been your lot, most magnanimous sir, to be in the
neighbourhood of Westminster Hall about four any afternoon while
Parliament is sitting, you must have observed more than one individual,
with cheeks evidently “sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,”
rushing into the door which leads to the Strangers’ Gallery in the House
of Commons.  If, however, you look well, you will see that the parties
referred to, instead of going the whole length of the passage, as you are
compelled to do when occasionally you get an order, turn sharply to the
left and climb a flight of narrow stairs.  If you manage to follow them,
you will find at the top of the stairs a small lobby, where three or four
boys, in the livery of the Electric Telegraph Company, are waiting to
receive the parliamentary report, which almost immediately after is
flashing along the wires to our great hives of industry, of intelligence,
and life, or to the capitals of other lands—to Paris—to Vienna—to Berlin.
You turn to the left and enter a small room set apart for
refreshments—three or four individuals are seated at table, one drinking
Bass’s far-famed ale, another feasting on juicy beef, another regaling
himself with brandy-and-water, and another sipping the less stimulating
and equally agreeable produce of the coffee plant.  The happy fellows are
poking their fun at each other in a mild and pleasant way, or possibly
discussing the usual political topics of the day; others flit through the
room with a celerity, as Mr. Squeers said of nature, easier imagined than
described.  Were they followed by gentlemen of Hebrew extraction, with
those mysterious little slips of paper which contain letters of such
magic power, they could not walk faster.  As you listen, utterances of
doubtful and dire import fall from their lips.  “Palmerston is up,” says
one.  You are alarmed; you think the bottle-holder is in a rage, and you
tremble for the consequences.  Again you hear, “Lord John is down;” you
are distressed at the intelligence, the old champion of civil and
religious liberty you hoped would long have been preserved from such a
catastrophe.  The gentlemen around you, however, listen to such
statements with the coolness of stoics, paying little or no regard to
such announcements.  One says to another, “When are you on?” another
demands of his friend, whether he is off; another says he comes on at
nine.  You are puzzled to know what manner of men you are amongst.  They
are not strangers fresh from the country—they have too pale and town-like
a look for that; they are not members—because members feast in another
part of the house.  You will soon see what they are! you leave that room
and enter another, in which are a few well-dressed personages
transcribing hurriedly, as if for life.  The truth flashes upon you.
“These men are the reporters,” you exclaim.  For once, my good sir, you
are right; and if you go through that glass-door you will find yourself
in the REPORTERS’ GALLERY.

We will suppose that for this time only the doorkeeper has relaxed his
usual vigilance, and you have managed to effect an entrance.  There is as
much difficulty in getting a stranger into the Reporters’ Gallery as in
getting Baron Rothschild into the House.  As the gallery will not hold
more than thirty, it is quite right this should be the case.  On the back
seats the reporters are sitting idle—some criticising the speakers in a
manner anything but complimentary—some sleeping—some reading a quarterly;
but on the front seat you see some dozen or thirteen, each in a little
box to himself, busily engaged.  If the speaker be a great gun, the
reporter puts forward his utmost energies and takes down every word—if he
be one of the illustrious obscure the task is less difficult, and a
patient public is saved the painful duty of reading the _ipsissima verba_
of Smith or Brown.  Beside the reporter, in some cases, sits another
gentleman, who has, comparatively speaking, an easier office to perform.
He is the gentleman that does the parliamentary summary to which you
instinctively turn, instead of wading through the eight or nine columns
that give the debate itself.  I believe the summary writer in the gallery
remains all night, while the reporters take their turns, which last on an
average half an hour.  Thus, no sooner has a reporter been at his post
for that time, than he leaves the house and rushes up to the office to
copy out his notes; this may take him an hour.  He then returns, and is
ready to go on again when he is due.  It would be utterly impossible for
one man to report a debate and then to copy out his notes, and be in time
for the paper of the next morning; consequently each paper is compelled
to have a body of nine or ten parliamentary reporters, and these
reporters, in order that they may all have an equal chance, vary their
turns every week.  Thus the man who goes on one week at four, goes the
next at a later hour—and the reporter who is one week in the Commons,
perhaps the next has the honour of sitting in the House of Lords.
Otherwise the hard work might fall to a few, and the rest might take it
very easy indeed.

As we don’t happen to be reporting, we will look about us a little.  We
will report reporters as they are: on our left, just below us, is the
reporter for the _Star_; next comes the _Daily Telegraph_, then the
_Advertiser_, and then the _Daily News_.  Three boxes are occupied by the
_Times_: one for the reporters, one for the summary writer, and one for
the manager of the _Times_ parliamentary staff.  On the other side are
the _Chronicle_ reporter and summary writer, the _Herald_ ditto, and the
_Post_.  Up to six o’clock in the evening the _Globe_, and the _Sun_, and
the _Express_ have each a parliamentary reporter present.  The gallery is
under the care of Lord Charles Russell, Sergeant-at-Arms, who is sadly
put to it where to stow the gentlemen of the press, who have increased
far beyond the limits of the gallery.  Behind the gallery are rooms in
which some reporters write out their notes; and so hot and inconvenient
are they, that his lordship has latterly acceded to the reporters a
committee room attached for such as need it.  Behind the gallery also is
a refreshment room, and a policeman to keep out intruders.  A few of the
weekly papers have reporters in on Thursday and Friday nights, and these
constitute the only habitués of the gallery.  Of course the aspect of the
house is different to what it is when viewed from the Strangers’ Gallery.
You miss the Speaker and his ornamental chair and majestic wig, but you
have a better view of the gangway and the bar—you see the
Sergeant-at-Arms, wearing a sword, seated on his easy chair—that chair
being made easy by the receipt of twelve hundred a year.  You see the
gallery under the Strangers’ Gallery in which peers, and members’ sons,
and old M.P.’s occasionally sit; and now and then, through the glass door
by which members enter, you see a bonnet, a bit of muslin—the lustre of
some female eye—denoting that woman in her loveliness is taking note of
the Conscript Fathers.  This reminds us that the Reporters’ Gallery is
just under the little cage in which the British fair are confined during
a debate.  The consequence is to some of the reporters who wear
moustaches, and cultivate the art of killing—who get themselves up in a
very different style to your fathers of families—a Barmecide feast of the
most cruel kind.  They hear the murmur of female voices, not always
“gentle and low”—they know that, shining like stars above them, are forms
such as “might melt the saintship of an anchorite;” that above them are
eyes more eloquent than the tongues below, but they cannot realise what
they can imagine; and whilst music comes to them—

    “Like ocean which upon the moonlight shores
    Of lone Sigæum steals with murmuring noise,”

they must take down the common sense of common men; such is their cruel
fate.  And now one word about our companions.  Most of them are young
men—some are in their prime.  None of them are old; old reporters are
only met with where dead donkeys and departed postboys are common.  At
any rate they are not engaged on the morning papers: the late hours, the
hard stretch of mind required in a reporter, don’t exactly suit old men.
If you think reporting easy, my good sir, you are most egregiously
mistaken.  It takes you two or three years to master shorthand
sufficiently to assume your place as a reporter in the gallery.  When you
have done that, you will find that you don’t get your money for nothing,
I can assure you.  You must for half an hour take down all you can hear;
you must then copy that out into long-hand and plain English as best you
can.  You must then come back into the house and take another turn, and
so on, till the house is up; and then, worn and weary, you must again
trudge to the office, and there indite the copy which, before the ink
with which it is written is dry, is in the composing-room and in type.
As this may detain you till four o’clock in the morning, you are then at
liberty to retire to your bed, if it suit you, or to the flowers and
early purl of Covent Garden, if it be summer time, and you are of a
sentimental turn.  Now, occasionally, it is all very well to sit up till
three or four o’clock in the morning; London then is invested with a
grandeur and stillness very impressive: the air is fresh and pure,
bearing with it the odours of the country; the grand Cathedral of St.
Paul looms proudly before you; the streets seem broader, longer than
usual; and, far off, we catch glimpses of Hampstead or of the Surrey
hills; but when you have to see this, not once, but every morning, the
case is altered, the spell is broken, and the charm is gone; and such a
life must tell, sooner or later, upon the constitution.  Reporters are
not rosy, jolly men; they don’t look like Barry Cornwall’s happy squires,

          “With brains made clear
    By the irresistible strength of beer.”

Most of them live well, and are protected against the inclemencies of the
weather.  The reporters of the _Daily News_ and _Times_ come down in
cabs, but they appear delicate hothouse plants; though, after all, they
do not look worse than a popular M.P., such as Lord Dudley Stuart or Mr.
Milner Gibson, at the end of a session.  As a class, we have already
hinted, the reporters are intellectual men; among them are many who have
embraced literature as the noblest of all professions, and have as
sacredly devoted themselves to it as, in old times, priests did to the
service of their gods.  You can tell these by their youthful flush and
lofty foreheads.  A time may come when the world may seduce them from the
service, when all generous aspirations may fade away, when crushing
selfishness shall make them common as other men.  Then there are others
to whom reporting is a mere mechanical calling, and nothing else; who do
their week’s work and take their week’s wages, and are satisfied; but
most of the parliamentary reporters are clever men, and all aspire to
that character.  The mistake is one a little self-love will easily induce
a man to make.  Men of infinite wit and spirit have been in the gallery;
therefore, the men in the gallery now are men of infinite wit and spirit.
A gorgeous superiority over other men is thus tacitly assumed.  You will
hear of such a one, that he was a reporter on the _Times_, but he was not
clever enough for that, and so they made him an M.P.  But, after all, no
man of great genius will report long if he can help it: reporting is a
terrible drudgery.  A man who can write his thoughts well will not
willingly spend his time in copying out the thoughts of others.  Dickens
was a reporter for the _Morning Chronicle_, but he, though his talent in
that way was great, though he could perform almost unparalleled feats as
a reporter, soon left the gallery.  At one time Angus Reach was in the
gallery; there, till recently, might have been seen that accomplished
critic and delightful novelist Shirley Brooks.  For a literary man
reporting is a capital crutch: he is well paid, and it often leads to
something else.  The _Times_’ reporters are divided into three classes,
none of whom get less than seven guineas a week.  The other papers do not
pay quite so well; but a literary man, if he be in earnest, can live on
less than that till the day comes when the world owns him and he becomes
great; and if his dream of fancied greatness be but a dream—if hope never
realise the flattering tale she at one time told, still he has a means of
respectable livelihood, and may rise from a reporter into an editor.  Mr.
James Grant, editor of the _Morning Advertiser_, was at one time reporter
for that paper.  In some cases the ambition of the reporter does not end
quite so successfully.  Only recently a reporter for one of the morning
papers contested an Irish borough.  Unfortunately, instead of being
returned, the ambitious youth was thrown into gaol for an insignificant
tavern bill of merely £250 for eleven days.  What cruelty!  What talent,
what hope, what failure, have there not been in the Reporters’ Gallery!
And those who know it, if they wanted, could find abundance of material
there with which

    “To point a moral or adorn a tale.”

Perhaps, after all, in nothing is the astonishing improvement made in
these latter times so conspicuous as in our system of parliamentary
reporting.  The House was in terror when reporters first found their way
into it.  “Why, sir,” said Mr. Winnington, addressing the Speaker, “you
will have every word that is spoken here misrepresented by fellows who
thrust themselves into our gallery.  You will have the speeches of this
House printed every day during your session, and we shall be looked upon
as the most contemptible assembly on the face of the earth.”  In
consequence of such attacks as these, the reporters became frightened,
and gave the debates with the speakers disguised under Roman names,
though nothing could be more wearisome than the small type of the
political club, where Publicola talked against turnpike-gates and Tullus
Hostilius declaimed on the horrors of drinking gin.  Nor is it to be
wondered at that the House grew angry when such reports as the following
professed to be a faithful account of its proceedings: “Colonel Barré
moved, that Jeremiah Weymouth, the d---n of this kingdom, is not a member
of this House.”  Even when the reporters triumphed, the public were
little benefited.  Nothing can be more tantalising than such statements
as these, which we meet with in old parliamentary reports: “Mr. Sheridan
now rose, and, during the space of five hours and forty minutes,
commanded the admiration and attention of the House by an oration of
almost unexampled excellence, uniting the most convincing closeness and
accuracy of argument with the most luminous precision and perspicuity of
language; and alternately giving force and energy to truth by solid and
substantial reasoning, and enlightening the most extensive and involved
subjects with the purest clearness of logic, and the brightest splendour
of rhetoric.”  Sheridan’s leader fared no better.  “Mr. Fox,” we are
told, “was wonderfully pleasant on Lord Clive’s joining the
administration.”  Equal injustice is done to Mr. Burke.  We read, “Mr.
Burke turned, twisted, metamorphosed, and represented everything which
the right honourable gentleman (Mr. Pitt) had advanced, with so many
ridiculous forms, that the House was kept in a continual roar of
laughter.”  Again: “Mr. Burke enforced these beautiful and affecting
statements by a variety of splendid and affecting passages from the Latin
classics.”  It is no wonder, then, that a prejudice should have existed
against the reporters.  On a motion made by Lord Stanhope, that the
short-hand writers employed on the trial of Hastings be summoned to the
bar of the House to read their minutes, Lord Loughborough is reported, in
Lord Campbell’s life of him, to have said, “God forbid that ever their
lordships should call on the short-hand writers to publish their notes;
for of all people, short-hand writers were ever the furthest from
correctness, and there were no man’s words they ever had that they again
returned.  They were in general ignorant, as acting mechanically and not
by considering the antecedents, and by catching the sound and not the
sense they perverted the sense of the speaker, and made him appear as
ignorant as themselves.”  At a later period, the audacity and impudence
of the reporters increased; loud and numerous were the complaints made
against them.  Mr. Wilberforce, who really deserved better treatment at
their hands, read to the House, on one occasion, an extract from a
newspaper, in which he was reported as having said, “Potatoes make men
healthy, vigorous, and active; but what is still more in their favour,
they make men tall; more especially was he led to say so as being rather
under the common size, and he must lament that his guardians had not
fostered him upon that genial vegetable.”  Mr. Martin, of Galway, has
immortalised himself by his complaint made about the same time, though
based upon a less solid foundation than that of the great Abolitionist.
The reporter having dashed his pen under some startling passages which
had fallen from the Hibernian orator’s lips, the printer was called to
the bar.  In defence he put in the report, containing the very words.
“That may be,” said Martin; “_but did I spake them in italics_?”  Of
course the printer was nonplussed by such a question, and the House was
convulsed with laughter.  Happily, this state of things no longer exists,
and, in the language of Mr. Macaulay, it is now universally felt “that
the gallery in which the reporters sit, has become a fourth estate of the
realm.”  The publication of the debates, which seemed to the most liberal
statesmen full of danger to the great safeguards of public liberty, is
now regarded by many persons as a safeguard tantamount, and more than
tantamount, to all the rest put together.  “Give me,” said Sheridan,
whilst fighting the battle of the reporters on the floor of the
House—“give me but the liberties of the press, and I will give to the
minister a venal House of Peers—I will give him a corrupt and servile
House of Commons—I will give him the whole host of ministerial
influence—I will give him all the power that place can confer upon him to
purchase up submission and overawe resistance—and yet, armed with the
liberties of the press, I will go forth to meet him undismayed; I will
attack the mighty fabric he has raised with that mightier engine.  I will
shake down from its height corruption, and bury it beneath the ruins of
the abuses it was meant to shelter.”

The reporters have now a comfortable gallery to themselves—they have
cushions as soft to sit upon as those of M.P.’s—they have plenty of room
to write in, and whilst they wait their turns they may indulge in
criticism on high art or Chinese literature—on the divine melodies of
Jenny Lind, or the merits of Mr. Cobden—a very favourite topic with
reporters—or go to sleep.  Mr. Jerdan, in his Memoirs, tells how
different it was in his day; then the reporters had only access to the
Strangers’ Gallery, and could only make sure of getting in there by being
the first in the crowd that generally was collected previous to its being
opened.  But about the smart new gallery there are no associations on
which memory cares to dwell.  It was different under the late one; old
Sam Johnson sat there with his shabby black and unwieldy bulk, taking
care to remember just enough of the debate to convince the public that
“the Whig dogs,” to use his own expressive language, “had the worst of
it.”  We can fancy Cave, of the “Gentleman’s Magazine,” with a friend in
the gallery, stealthily, for fear they should be detected and turned out,
taking a few brief notes of the debate, and then, at the taproom of the
nearest public-house, amidst the fumes of tobacco and beer, writing out
as much as they could, which Guthrie then revised, and which afterwards
appeared in the magazine under the head of “Debates in Great Lilliput.”
Woodfall we see—the Woodfall of Junius—his pocket stuffed with cold,
hard-boiled eggs—sitting out the livelong debate, and then writing out so
much of it as his powerful memory retained—a task which often occupied
him till noon the next day, but which gave the “Diary” a good sale, till
Perry, of the _Morning Chronicle_—Perry, the friend of Coleridge and of
Moore—introduced the principle of the division of labour, and was thus
enabled to get out the _Chronicle_ long before Woodfall’s report
appeared.

We see rollicking roysterous reporters, full of wine and fun, committing
all kinds of absurdity.  For instance, one night the debate has been very
heavy—at length a dead silence prevails, suddenly a voice is heard
demanding a song from Mr. Speaker.  If an angel had fallen from heaven,
it is questionable whether a greater sensation could have been created.
The House is in a roar.  Poor Addington, the Speaker, is overwhelmed with
indignation and amazement.  Pitt can hardly keep his seat for laughing.
Up into the gallery rushes the Sergeant-at-Arms to take the delinquent
into custody.  No one knows who he is—at any rate no one will tell.  At
length, as the officer gets impatient and angry, a hand is pointed to a
fat placid Quaker without guile, seated in the middle of the crowd.  Much
to his amazement, on his devoted yet innocent person straightway rushes
the Sergeant-at-Arms; and protesting, but in vain, the wearer of
square-collar and broad-brim is borne off to gaol.  The real delinquent
is Mark Supple, a big-boned, loud-voiced, rollicking Irish blade—just
such a man as we fancy M., of the _Daily News_, to be.  Mark has been
dining.  He is a devoted follower of Bacchus; and, at this time, happens
to be extraordinarily well primed.  Hence his remarkable contribution, if
not to the business, at any rate to the amusement, of the evening.
People call the present times fast; but men lived faster then.  Sheridan
drank brandy when he spoke.  Pitt made one of his most brilliant speeches
just after he had been vomiting from the quantity of port he had
previously been drinking.  Members, when they came into the House, not
unfrequently saw two speakers where, in reality, there was but one; and
the reporters were often in a state of similar bewilderment themselves:
but they are gone, and the oratory they recorded has vanished from the
senate.  In the new gallery they can never hear what was heard in the
old—the philosophy of Burke—the wit of Sheridan—the passionate attacks of
Fox—or the cool replies of Pitt.  The House has become less
oratorical—less an imperial senate, more of a national “vestry.”  It
discusses fewer principles, and more railway bills.  The age of Pitt and
Fox went with Pitt and Fox.  You cannot recall it—the age has altered.
You find Pitt and Fox now in the newspaper office, not in the senate.
The old gallery has looked down on great men.  It could tell of an heroic
race and of heroic deeds.  It had seen the angry Charles.  It had heard
Cromwell bid the mace be gone.  It had re-echoed the first indignant
accents of the elder Pitt.  It had outlived a successful revolution.  It
had witnessed the triumph of reform.  Can the new one witness more?

So much for the Reporters’ Gallery.  We cannot take leave of the subject
without remarking what obligations members are under to it.  No man can
long attend parliamentary debates without being very strongly impressed
with that one great fact.  The orators who are addressing empty benches
and inattentive audiences are, in reality, speaking to the dozen
reporters just before them.  Colonel Sibthorpe, when he spoke, turned his
face to them, in order that they might not miss a single word.  You did
not, the last time you were in the house, hear a single atom of Jones’s
speech; you could merely see Jones, with an unhappy expression of face,
and to the infinite annoyance of the House, waving his arms in an
inelegant manner; yet how well Jones’s speech read in the _Times_ the
next day.  Once upon a time a paper attempted to report literally what
the members said—not what they should have said.  They were threatened
with so many actions for libel that they were all obliged to abandon the
attempt; and now the reporters take care that the speeches contain good
grammar, if they do not contain good sense.  Nor, most good-natured sir,
are you under fewer obligations.  It is owing to them that you read the
debate over your muffins and coffee at your ease, in your morning gown
and slippers, whilst otherwise you would have to remain in profound
ignorance of it altogether, or would have to fight your way into the
gallery as best you could, besides running a risk of catching cold or
having your favourite corn trod on.  Think, then, of the Reporters’
Gallery leniently.  The brave fellows in it suffer much for you.  Cowper
makes the slave in the “Negro’s Complaint” exclaim—

    “Think ye, masters, iron-hearted,
       Lolling at your jovial boards,
    Think how many backs have smarted
       For the sweets your cane affords.”

A thinking public, at times, should reason in a similar manner.  The
reporters don’t find it all play.  People should remember—if a debate be
dull to read—how terrible it must be to hear!



THE LOBBY OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS DURING THE SESSION.


England, Ireland, Scotland, and our forty colonies are ruled, not from
Downing-street, not from Privy Councils at Buckingham Palace, nor by the
_Times_ newspaper, as some pretend, nor even by the stump orator, but by
the Lobby of the House of Commons.  This I know, that if I were a member
of the United Kingdom Alliance, and wished to root up the liquor traffic
in England—that if I were a Scotchman, and endeavoured to confirm and
extend the provisions of the Forbes Mackenzie Act—that even were I of the
Green Isle, and raised the cry of justice for Ireland, whatever that may
mean—I’d plant myself in the Lobby of the House of Commons, and there win
victory or die.

Externally the Lobby is a handsome one; little more.  Mr. Timbs tells me
it is “a rich apartment, forty-five feet square, and has on each side an
archway, carved open screens, inscribed _Domine salvam fac Reginam_, and
windows painted with the arms of parliamentary boroughs.  The brass gas
standards by Hardman are elaborately chased.  The doorways lead to the
library, the post-office, vote paper office, central hall, &c.”  Is this
all?  Yes, is the answer of one of the matter-of-fact class, of whom
Peter Bell is such an illustrious example.

We are not all Peter Bells.  We are of those who can read sermons in
stones.  We fancy for every why there is a wherefore.  Wealthy men, and
busy men, and great men, don’t stand talking and grimacing for nothing;
and when I catch one member in a corner with Brown I am not greenhorn
enough to suppose that they are merely inquiring after each other’s
health, or commenting on the extraordinary mildness of the season, and
its probable effect on the growth of cabbages.  No, no, you may be
certain that the Lobby of the House of Commons, where I have seen our
greatest statesmen, our proudest peers, the nation’s most illustrious
guests, ambassadors, and princes, and wags, is not the place for small
talk.  Without studying “De Morgan on Probabilities” (a sin of which I am
never likely to be guilty), you will not be far wrong if you come to the
conclusion that in the Lobby, somehow or other, between the hours 4 P.M.
and 2 A.M., not a little business is settled more or less agreeable to
all parties concerned.  (Of course I am not referring to the young sprigs
of nobility, who come into the House merely as an amusement, and without
the slightest idea of the rights and duties of their class, and who are
neither more nor less than a parody upon the representative system of
which we are all so proud.)  A few sentences will point to the
significancy of the Lobby.  Every member of the House of Commons passes
through the Lobby.  That is a given fact.  Another is, that the Treasury
Whipper-in affects the Lobby.  Another is, that if you have anything to
say to your member, or if he has anything to say to you, the Lobby is the
place of rendezvous.  These facts are suggestive.  I am member for
Bullock Smithy.  I am not wealthy, and I have a large family.  The
Ministry are hard driven, one vote will save them.  I meet their
Whipper-in in the Lobby.  We have a little chat.  I give an honest vote,
and virtue is rewarded by the appointment of my son to a place in the
Circumlocution Office.  “This is an exaggeration!” exclaims the general
public.  Let me then, give another case.  I am member for Bullock Smithy;
I am rich, but I have no family, and I am a man of no birth.  I’d give my
ears, and my wife would not merely give them, but her diamond earrings as
well, to see her name in the _Court Circular_, or to get a ticket to Lady
Plantagenet’s Sunday-evening parties.  Promiscuously I hint this in the
Lobby, and lo! the magician’s wand waves, and I and my wife enter the
stately portals we had long aspired to cross.  If certain parties, in the
course of the parliamentary session, find there is nothing lost by
civility, where’s the harm?  But look round the Lobby; the electioneering
agent is there to discuss how to make things pleasant; the getter-up of
public companies comes there to catch a few M.P.’s as directors.  There
is the local deputation of the Stoke Gas Company—limited liability—whose
Bill stand for reading a third time to-night; and there is the Secretary
of the United Metropolitan Association for making every householder
consume his own smoke.  Smith from the provinces has caught his member’s
eye, and has got an order for the gallery.  Alas, Smith, the gallery has
been full this hour; and there are now fifty individuals, fortunate
holders of orders like yourself, waiting their turn.  Here is “Our
Correspondent” gossiping with the door-keepers, attacking every member
with whom he is on speaking terms, in order that he may concoct the
luminous epistles which form the attraction of the paper whose columns he
adorns.  This man is a spouter at public-house discussion clubs, and
fancies himself, as he stands surrounded by M.P.’s, almost an M.P.
himself.  What does he here?  I know not, except waste his time.  A grand
debate is coming on; a ministerial crisis is imminent.  How full the
Lobby gets; and how scrutinised is every action of hon. gentlemen as they
take a turn, as they all do in the course of the evening, in the Lobby!
There is the leader of the Opposition; he meets his bitterest foe, and
bows to him and smiles.  In what agony are the quidnuncs to know the
hidden meaning of that bow and smile!  The Ministerialist Whipper-in has
a little book in his hand, and is busy in his calculation.  By the
twinkle in his eye I fancy it is all right; and now he may whistle
“Begone, dull care, I prythee begone from me.”  He need not fear next
quarter-day.  Ah! that cheer which comes sounding to us through the glass
doors denotes that the Premier has concluded his defence, and that the
House is on his side.  But out rushes the Sergeant-at-Arms.  “Clear the
Lobby for a division,” exclaim the door-keepers.  The police point us the
door: we take the hint while all the bells are tinkling, and all the
members are rushing from every quarter, through the Lobby to the House,
as if members and bells were alike mad.  We wait outside.  By the clock
nearly a half-hour is gone.  Hark, what a cheer!  By Jove! the division
is taken, and the ministry are saved.  It is midnight; yet the Lobby is
full and gay.  We won’t go home yet.  Just behind is the bar, and members
are drinking pale ale and sherry, and soda with a little brandy in it,
and the whole place begins to have the air of the London Tavern after an
anniversary dinner on behalf of the Indignant Blind.  Look at those
swells just entering the House: evidently they have been dining out, and
presently one of them will speak, and the whole House will be in a roar
at his vinous oratory; out in the Lobby we catch faint echoes of the
mirth.  The House is in committee on the Cab Act, and are now enacting a
clause relative to drunken and disorderly cabmen.  Our friend is
vehement, inconclusive, and indistinct.  Happily the reporters will
merely mention that he addressed the House amidst considerable laughter.
As we leave the Lobby, we hear hints about “physician, heal thyself.”



OUR LONDON CORRESPONDENT.


Where’s Eliza?  Who was the man in the iron mask?  Who was Junius?  Whose
were the bones discovered last year in a carpet-bag under
Waterloo-bridge?  You cannot tell.  Neither can I tell you who is our
London Correspondent.  Yet he exists.  I find traces of him in the most
Bœotian districts of England.

    “Caledonia, stern and wild,
    Fit nurse for a poetic child,”

knows him.  In “Tara’s halls” he has superseded the harp, and is a
presence and a power.  Before newspapers were, when Addison was writing
the “Spectator,” and Dick Steele “Tatlers” innumerable, and De Foe his
Review and all sorts of romances, in Grub-street there was an immense
deal of activity in the way of letter writing.  Country gentlemen wanted
news, and were willing to pay for it.  When there was a frost or when it
was wet, when the nights were long or amusements few, when the squire was
laid up with the gout or when my lady had the vapours, it was pleasant to
read who ate cheesecakes and syllabubs at Spring Gardens, who drank
coffee at Button’s or chocolate at the Cocoa Tree, what was the gossip of
the October or Kit Kat clubs, what had become of Mrs. Bracegirdle, and
how Mrs. Oldfield triumphed on the stage.  Nor did the letter-writer stop
here.  In those days courtiers had two faces.  There was one King _de
facto_, and another _de jure divino_.  There was a Court at St. Germains
as well as at St. James’s.  There were Jacobites as well as Hanoverians.
There were plots and intrigues—Popish and Protestant—and in the dark days
before Christmas, in old country houses, letters full of all the rumours
thus created were welcomed.  But the age made progress.  Newspapers were
established in all the leading towns of the country, and the need of the
letter-writer vanished, but only for a while.  In his desire to cater for
the public, and to outbid his competitors, the country newspaper revived
the London correspondent, but on an extended scale.  Now scarce a country
newspaper exists that does not avail itself of his services.

But from the general let me descend to the particular.  I take up the
“Little Pedlington Gazette,” and I find our London Correspondent dates
from --- Club, St. James’s-square.  Of course, in a free country, a man
may date his letters where he likes; but I’ll be bound to say the letter
is written in a cheap coffee-house in Chancery-lane, and all its contents
are culled from that day’s papers.  From the letter, however, I am led to
suppose that the writer is a member of the House of Commons—that he has
the run of the clubs—that royal personages are not unfamiliar with
him—and that his intimacy with Lord Derby and Mr. Disraeli is only
equalled by his friendship with Palmerston and Russell.  Our London
Correspondent has very wonderful eyes, and I am sure his ears must be
longer than those of any other animal extant.  I have tried the
Strangers’ Gallery in the House of Commons, and the Speaker’s, and the
Reporters’, and in all I have the utmost difficulty in distinguishing
emotions which an animated debate must excite in the disputants.  The
Parliamentary fashion is for a minister, when attacked, to sit with his
hat so pulled down over his eyes that you can scarce see a feature.  Lord
John always sits in this way, so does Lord Palmerston.  Our London
Correspondent can see what no one else can, and there is not a wince of
the galled jade but what is visible to his eyes.  He sees Palmerston
winking to Sir George Grey, and hears what Cornewall Lewis whispers to
Lowe.  Lord John does not chuckle quietly to himself, nor Disraeli
whisper a sarcasm, nor Walpole meditate a joke, but he hears it.  He
possesses a rare and blessed gift of ubiquity.  At the very time that he
is watching these exalted personages in the House, he is chatting
confidentially with Hayter in the lobby, or looking in at the Opera, or
gossiping behind the scenes with Wright and Paul Bedford, or having a
chop at the Garrick with Thackeray, or shining at Lady Plantagenet’s
soirée “as a bright particular star.”  I wonder the dear creature’s head
is not quite turned with the attentions he receives from the nobility,
with whom he is as intimate as I with Smiths and Browns.  Occasionally I
meet with a few London Correspondents imbibing together their frugal
half-and-half.  It does me good to hear them.  It reminds me of Elia’s
Captain Jackson’s bacchanalian orgies, where “wine we had none, nor,
except on very rare occasions, spirits; but the sensation of wine was
there.”  Says one to another, “Oh, how did you get on last night?”
“Pretty well,” is the reply, “considering there were none but lords
there.”  Walking in a low neighbourhood, I meet one.  I ask after his
health.  “Devilish seedy,” says he; “up too late last night at Lady ---,”
naming one of the proudest members of the proudest aristocracies in the
world.  Yet are they too uncultivated, and hairy, and _outré_, to pass
with credit in Belgravia.  Their literary efforts are not remarkable for
polish.  They affect a graphic style, and are not sparing in the use of
slang.  They eschew the classics, and evince but a very superficial
knowledge of literature, save that of the current year.  They are chiefly
strong in politics, and for the actors on that stage have that contempt
which familiarity is said to breed, but which, as in the present case,
sometimes flourishes without it.  They view the busy scene as the gods of
Epicurus the follies of mankind.  This man is a fool—that a tool.  As a
rule, officials are run down, and some illustrious-obscure—perhaps the
borough representative, if he is on good terms with the paper—is
suspiciously and inordinately puffed up.  I often wish our London
Correspondent would address the House.  What a figure he would make on
some matter of business, the details of which it is impossible to make
interesting!  The chances are that he is a Scotchman or an Irishman; that
his impudence is merely confined to paper; that he does not shine either
at the Temple Forum or Codgers’ Hall.  There would be a burst of laughter
when he rose.  They ought to be more genial critics.  I was once in the
lobby when our London Correspondent of a paper published in a large
manufacturing town came up to me.  I had not seen him for some years.
After the usual inquiries, said he, “What a capital cutting that was in
the --- of your book!”  “You are mistaken,” said I; “the book was by so
and so.”  Our friend, very crest-fallen, immediately rushed off without
bidding us goodbye.  Once upon a time one of them produced a great
sensation.  Our readers will remember, when Lord John Russell dismissed
Lord Palmerston, what a cry was raised about German influences by a
certain morning print which seems to exist merely for the sake of
disgusting intelligent people with a righteous cause.  A German paper was
referred to.  Well, the gentleman to whom I have alluded was the
correspondent of that paper, and one day, in the absence of anything of
importance, he had manufactured the article very innocently out of the
extraordinary paragraphs in which the morning print aforesaid rejoices,
little dreaming, that in Parliament and out his letter would be quoted as
evidence of a deeply-laid conspiracy to weaken the power of Lord
Palmerston and undermine European liberty.

But I have not yet said who our London Correspondent is.  The better
class of them I think are Parliamentary reporters.  There was a paper
published in London kept alive merely by its Paris Correspondent.  No
other paper had such a correspondent, or abounded in such extraordinary
tales and scandal.  Yet the correspondent’s plan was very simple.  Every
new tale and drama which came out in Paris was worked up and sent to
London as a reality, that was all.  In a less degree our London
Correspondent does the same, and in quiet country towns there is great
wonder and lifting up of hands, especially if, as was once the case, the
wrong letter is sent, and the Tory paper abounds with sneers at Lord
Derby and the squirearchy, a _contretemps_ which is avoided if the plan
of one London Correspondent be adopted, who supplies thirteen different
papers with the same letter at five shillings each—a plan, however, not
sanctioned by respectable papers, who pay a good price and get often a
good article, and for whose letters, if a little too highly coloured and
seasoned, the public taste is more to blame than the newspaper
proprietor, or his painstaking London Correspondent.  I believe _the_ Mr.
Russell, of the _Times_, was the London Correspondent of one of the Irish
papers, and such papers as the _Liverpool Albion_, _Cambridge
Independent_, and a few others I could name, evidently have for London
Correspondents literary men of superior position and respectability.



A SUNDAY AT THE OBELISK.


The ancient Athenians were a restless, inquisitive people.  At the
Areopagus it was that Paul preached of an unknown God.  Their popular
assemblies met on the Pynx.  There mob orators decreed the ostracism of
Aristides the Just, and the death of Socrates the Good.  In the
metropolis we have no Pynx where our _demoi_ are wont to assemble, but we
have several spots that serve for popular gatherings on the Sunday—our
working-man’s holiday.  One of these is the Obelisk at the Surrey end of
the Blackfriars-road.  The district I allude to is what is called a low
neighbourhood.  If I am to believe a popular poet, it was there that the
Ratcatcher’s daughter lived; and I should imagine, from the seedy,
poverty-struck appearance of the place, that her papa’s avocation was not
so highly remunerative as some other professions, or he would have
pitched his tent, _alias_ become a ten-pound householder, in a more
fashionable quarter.

May I attempt a description of the neighbourhood?  Circumstances
compelled me to be there one Sunday, just as Sabbath bells were ringing
for divine service, and the streets were crowded with hungering
worshippers.  Newman Hall’s place of worship was full, as was St. John’s
Episcopal Chapel, and there was between them a Methodist Assembly, which
was by no means scanty; yet all round me there were crowds to whom Sunday
was no Sunday in a religious sense, to whom it was a mere day of animal
rest, who were yet pale and heavy with the previous night’s gin and beer.
What were they about?  Well, from the Surrey Theatre, all placarded with
yellow bills of “The Wife’s Revenge,” to the Elephant and Castle, there
was a busy traffic going on, far busier, I should imagine, than on any
other morning of the week.  Happily the public-houses were shut up, but
as I passed the coffee-houses were full of working-men reading
newspapers, and an easy shaving shop (I write so from the placard on the
door, not from actual experience) seemed doing a tremendous trade.  Such
shops as were open, and they were numerous, were very full, and opposite
such as were shut up, what rows of barrows and costermongers’ carts there
were, with all the luxuries of the season, such as Spanish onions,
carrots, cabbages, apples and pears, chestnuts, sweetmeats!  Did you want
your likeness taken, there were artists to do it at sixpence a head.  Did
you need to buy old clothes, there were Hebrew maidens waiting to sell
you them to any amount.  One old lady was doing a thriving business in
what she denominated as “spiced elder.”  Boot-cleaning, though not by
Lord Shaftesbury’s boys, was being carried on upon a gigantic scale.  Two
or three vendors of cheap prints, chiefly fancy subjects—portraits of
imaginary females with very red cheeks and large eyes, and gay
dresses—collected a great crowd, but I fear one consisting chiefly of
admirers rather than purchasers.  It may be that the tightness of the
money market was felt in the Blackfriars-road, and that the lieges of
that district felt that, with the Bank charging even two-and-a-half per
cent., something better might be done with the money than investing it in
works of art.  The butchers’ stalls were well attended, though I regret
to say, from casual remarks dropped as I passed by, the keepers of rival
establishments were not on such friendly terms as are desirable amongst
near neighbours.  Women were bringing their husbands’ dinners, children
were flocking about in shoals, and sots were yawning, and smoking, and
gossiping, waiting for one o’clock and their beer.  You ask, was no
effort made to get this mass under the influence of religious teaching?
Oh, yes; all the morning there was service of some kind of other at the
Obelisk.  As soon as one man had finished, another had commenced; and at
times one man was preaching on one side and another on another.  The
first man I heard evidently was a working-man; and if to preach all that
is required were fluency and a loud voice, evidently he would have done
an immense amount of good: but he was too fluent to be clear and correct.
I question whether a working-man is a good preacher to a working-man.
The chances are, he imitates the worst characteristics of some favourite
preacher, instead of translating Bible truth into plain every-day
language.  My friend had got all the stereotyped phrases, such as the
“natural man,” &c., which can only be understood by persons accustomed to
religious society, and therefore I did not wonder when I found he had but
some twenty or thirty to hear him.  To him succeeded, I regret to say,
two men in seedy black, with dirty white chokers, and cadaverous faces,
whose portraits were I to give, you would tell me I was drawing a
caricature.  I don’t doubt but what they were most respectable,
well-meaning men; but I do think it is a mistake to send such out into
the highways and byways.  The men who go there should be of an engaging
aspect, as in the crowd that pass by you may depend upon it there are but
too many disposed to sneer at and ridicule religion even when it is
placed before them in the most attractive form.  How they got on I cannot
tell, as just at that time a host of men very earnest in discussion
attracted my attention.  A teetotaller was hard at work, not repeating a
set of phrases parrot-like which he had learnt by heart, but discussing
teetotalism with a crowd evidently well ready to go into the whole
subject.  Short and sharp question and answer were flying fast, and all
seemed very good tempered.  I don’t know whether my friend succeeded in
getting any to sign the pledge, but I could see that he had more success
than the preachers, who seemed to me to make no impression whatever.  We
may depend upon it these discussions are better than speeches or
lectures; they require, perhaps, greater gifts, but they will be found to
yield a richer harvest.  It is in the streets we find the victims, and in
the streets we must seek to save them.  You would not get these loungers
round the Obelisk to take the trouble to come to a temperance lecture,
but they, well fortified in their prejudices as established truths, were
not unwilling to engage in a discussion in which they found themselves
worsted.  The temperance orator had an advantage over the divine.  The
latter could only speak of a future joy or sorrow, the former could tell
the sot how much better he would have been, how much fresher he would
have felt, how much more money he would have had in his pocket, if he had
kept sober last night; and there stood the sot, all dirty and stupid, yet
repentant, and half influenced by the orator to become a sober man
himself.  Such teaching is good in such places; but the speakers must be
prepared to rough it—to give and take, to be ready in repartee, to be
abundant in anecdote and illustration.  They must have pliant tongues and
good voices, or they may find their congregation moving off to listen to
a social orator over the way; or, what is worse still, remaining to
confute, and jeer, and laugh.



EXETER HALL.


Lord Macaulay has made all the world familiar with the bray of Exeter
Hall.  Exeter Hall, when it does bray, does so to some purpose.  It is in
vain fighting Exeter Hall.  It is the parliament of the middle classes.
It has an influence for good or bad no legislator can overlook—to which
often the assembly in St. Stephen’s is compelled to bow.  I have seen a
Prince Consort presiding at a public meeting in Exeter Hall; on its
platform I have heard our greatest orators and statesmen declaim.  In
England who can over estimate the influence of woman? and in Exeter Hall,
in the season, nine benches out of ten are filled with women.  The
oratory of Exeter Hall is not parliamentary.  A man may shine before a
legal tribunal—may shine on the floor of the House of Commons—may be
great among the Lords—and yet utterly fail in Exeter Hall.  He may even
be a popular preacher, and yet not move the masses that crowd the Strand,
when a public meeting, chiefly religious, occasionally philanthropic,
never political, is being held.

On your right-hand side, as you pass along the Strand, you see a lofty
door, evidently leading to some immense building within.  It is called
Exeter Hall, for it stands where in old times stood Exeter Change, and
still has its live lions, which are very numerous, especially in the
months of May and June.  You enter the door and ascend a long and ample
staircase, which conducts you to one of the finest public rooms in the
metropolis.  What popular passions have I not seen here!  What
contradictory utterances have I not heard here!  High Church—Low
Church—Methodism—Dissent—have all appealed from that platform to those
benches crowded with living souls.  From that platform, accompanying that
organ, seven hundred voices join often in Handel’s majestic strains.
Underneath me are the offices of the various societies whose aims are
among the noblest that can be proposed to man.  Westminster Hall is a
fine hall, but this in which I am is eight feet wider than that—131 feet
long, 76 feet wide, and 45 feet high, and will contain with comfort more
than 3,000 persons.  On the night of which I now write it was well filled
by an audience, such as a few years back could not have been collected
for love or money, but which now can be got together with the greatest
ease, not merely in London, but in Manchester, in Birmingham, in
Liverpool, in all our great seats of industry, of intelligence, and life.
I mean an audience of men and women who have come to see intemperance to
be the great curse of this our age and land, and who have resolved to
abstain themselves from all intoxicating drink, and to encourage others
to do so as well.  Evidently something great was expected.  The western
gallery was covered with tastefully-decorated cloth, on which was
inscribed, in emblazoned silver letters, thirty inches deep, “The London
Temperance League,” with an elaborate painted border, composed of
garlands of flowers.  The royal gallery, and the smaller one opposite,
was covered with scarlet cloth, on which were arranged rose-coloured
panels, with the words, “London Temperance League,” in silver letters.
The front of the platform and the reporters’ box was also decorated in a
similar manner.  At the end of the royal gallery was fixed a large royal
standard, the folds of which hung gracefully over the heads of the
audience.  Under the royal standard was placed the union-jack.  At the
end of the opposite gallery proudly waved the banner of the great
Republic of the West.  The platform was decorated with flags, bearing
inscriptions of various kinds.  Like the stars in the heavens, or the
sands on the sea shore, they were innumerable.  In front of the organ
were arranged the choir of the Temperance Societies, and on the floor of
the platform were placed the Shapcott family, with their Sax-horns.

Why was all this preparation made?  For what purpose that living
multitude of warm hearts?  The answer is soon given.  Some twenty-four
years back a poor lad, without money and learning—almost without
friends—was shipped off to America, to try his fortune in the New World.
Arrived there, the lad became a man, lived by the sweat of his brow,
learned to drink, to be a boon companion, and fell as most fall; for
there is that in the flowing bowl and the wine when it is red, which few
can withstand.  Friends left him; he became an outcast and a wanderer; he
sank lower and lower; he walked in rags; he loathed life; his frame
became emaciated with disease; there was none to pity or to save.  It
seemed for that man there was nothing left but to lie down and die.
However, whilst there is life there is hope.  That man, in his
degradation and despair, was reached; he signed the Temperance pledge; he
became an advocate of the Temperance cause.  His words were words of
power; they touched men’s hearts, they fired men’s souls.  He led the
life of an apostle; wherever he went the drunkard was reclaimed; zeal was
excited, the spell of the sparkling cup was gone, humanity was saved, and
now he had returned for awhile to his native land to advocate the cause
which had been a salvation to his own soul and life, and these men and
women—these hopeful youths—these tender-hearted maidens—have come to give
him welcome.  Already every eye in that vast assembly is turned to the
quarter whence it is expected the hero of the night will appear.  At
length the appointed hour arrives, a band of Temperance reformers move
towards the platform, with the flags of Britain and America waving, as we
trust they may long do, harmoniously together.  Familiar faces are
seen—Cruikshank—Buckingham—Cassell; but there is one form, apparently a
stranger; it is John B. Gough.  A few words from Mr. Buckingham, who
presides, and the stranger comes forward; but he is no stranger, for the
British greeting, that almost deafens his ears, while it opens his heart,
makes him feel himself at once at home.

Well, popular enthusiasm has toned down—the audience has reseated
itself—a song of welcome has been sung, and there stands up a man of
middle size and middle age.  Lord Bacon deemed himself ancient when he
was thirty-one—we moderns, in our excessive self-love, delude each other
into the belief that we are middle-aged when we are anywhere between
forty and sixty.  In reality, a middle-aged man should be somewhere about
thirty-five, and such we take to be Mr. Gough’s age.  He is dressed in
sober black—his hair is dark, and so is his face; but there is a muscular
vigour in his frame for which we were not prepared.  We should judge
Gough has a large share of the true _elixir vitæ_—animal spirits.  His
voice is one of great power and pathos, and he speaks without an effort.
The first sentence, as it falls gently and easily from his lips, tells us
that Gough has that true oratorical power which neither money, nor
industry, nor persevering study, can ever win.  Like the poet, the orator
must be born.  You may take a man six feet high; he shall be
good-looking, have a good voice, and speak English with a correct
pronunciation—you shall write for that man a splendid speech—you shall
have him taught elocution by Mr. Webster, and yet you shall no more make
that man an orator than, to use a homely phrase, you can make a silk
purse out of a sow’s ear.  Gough is an orator born.  Pope tells us he
“lisped in numbers,” and in his boyhood Gough must have had the true
tones of the orator on his tongue.  There was no effort—no fluster—all
was easy and natural.  He was speaking for the first time to a public
meeting in his native land—speaking to thousands who had come with the
highest expectations—who expected much and required much—speaking, by
means of the press, to the whole British public.  Under such
circumstances, occasional nervousness would have been pardonable; but,
from the first, Gough was perfectly self-possessed.  There are some men
who have prodigious advantages on account of appearance alone.  We think
it was Fox who said it was impossible for any one to be as wise as
Thurlow looked.  The great Lord Chatham was particularly favoured by
nature in this respect.  In our own time—in the case of Lord Denman—we
have seen how much can be done by means of a portly presence and a
stately air.  Gough has nothing of this.  He is just as plain a personage
as George Dawson of Birmingham would be if he were to cut his hair and
shave off his moustache; but, though we have named George Dawson, Gough
does not speak like him, or any other living man.  Gough is no servile
copy, but a real original.  We have no one in England we can compare him
to.  Our popular lecturers, such as George Dawson, Henry Vincent, George
Thompson, are very different men.  They have all a studied quaintness or
a studied rhetoric.  There is something artificial about them all.  In
Gough there is nothing of this.  He seems to speak by inspiration.  As
the apostles spoke who were commanded not to think beforehand what they
should say—the spoken word seems to come naturally, as air bubbles up
from the bottom of the well.  In what he said there was nothing new—there
could be nothing new—the tale he told was old as the hills; yet, as he
spoke, an immense audience grew hushed and still, and hearts were melted,
and tears glistened in female eyes, and that great human mass became knit
together by a common spell.  Disraeli says, Sir Robert Peel played upon
the House of Commons as an old fiddle; Gough did the same at Exeter Hall.
At his bidding, stern, strong men, as well as sensitive women, wept or
laughed—they swelled with indignation or desire.  Of the various chords
of human passions he was master.  At times he became roused, and we
thought how

             “In his ire Olympian Pericles
    Thundered and lightened, and all Hellas shook.”

At other times, in his delineation of American manners, he proved himself
almost an equal to Selsbee.  Off the stage we have nowhere seen a better
mimic than Gough, and this must give him great power, especially in
circles where the stage is as much a _terra incognita_ as Utopia, or the
Island of Laputa itself.  We have always thought that a fine figure of
Byron, where he tells us that he laid his hand upon the ocean’s mane.
Something of the same kind might be said to be applicable to Mr. Gough.
He seemed to ride upon the audience—to have mastered it completely to his
will.  He seemed to bestride it as we could imagine Alexander bestriding
his Bucephalus.  Since then Mr. Gough has spoken in Exeter Hall nearly
seventy times—has endured cruel misrepresentations—yet his attractions
are as great, and his audiences as overflowing as over.  The truth is, in
his strength and weakness Gough is the very personification of an Exeter
Hall orator.  You may object to his exaggerations—you may find fault with
his digressions—you may pooh-pooh his arguments—you may question the good
taste of some of his allusions—you may wonder how people can applaud, and
laugh at, or weep over, what they have applauded, or laughed at, or wept
over a dozen times before: but they do; that no one can deny.

Gough spoke for nearly two hours.  Evidently the audience could have
listened, had he gone on, till midnight.  We often hear that the age of
oratory has gone by—that the press supersedes the tongue—that the appeal
must henceforth be made to the reader in his study, not to the hearer in
the crowded hall.  There is much truth in that.  Nevertheless, the true
orator will always please his audience, and true oratory will never die.
The world will always respond to it.  The human heart will always leap up
to it.  The finest efforts of the orator have been amongst civilised
audiences.  It was a cultivated audience before whom Demosthenes pleaded;
to whom, standing on Mars-hill, Paul preached of an unknown God.  The
true orator, like the true poet, speaks to all.  He gathers around him
earth’s proudest as well as poorest intellects.  Notwithstanding, then,
the march of mind, oratory may win her triumphs still.  So long as the
heart is true to its old instinct—so long as it can pity, or love, or
hate, or fear, it will be moved by the orator, if he can but pity or
love, or hate or fear himself.  This is the true secret.  This is it that
made Gough the giant that he is.  Without that he might be polished,
learned, master of all human lore; but he would be feeble and impotent as
the

             “Lorn lyre that ne’er hath spoken
    Since the sad day its master chord was broken.”



THE DERBY.


Is there a finer sight in creation than a horse?  I don’t speak of the
wild horse of the prairie, as seen at Astley’s—nor of the wearied animal
by means of which the enterprising greengrocer transports his wares from
Covent-Garden to the Edgware-road—nor of the useful but commonplace
looking cob on which Jones trusts himself timidly as he ventures on a
constitutional ride, while his groom, much better mounted, follows
scornfully behind—nor of the broken-down, broken-knee’d, spavined, blind
roarer, all the summer of whose life has been passed in dreary drudgery,
and for whom nought remains but the knacker’s yard, and the cold
calculations of the itinerant vendors of cat’s-meat; but of a horse such
as a monarch might pet, and the very queen of beauty might deign to
ride—a horse such as Gamarra.

          “A noble steed,
    Strong, black, and of the desert breed,
    Full of fire and full of bone,
    All his line of fathers known,
    Fine his nose, his nostrils thin,
    But blown abroad by the pride within.”

And who that has ever laid his leg across such, and bounded along the
turf, does not feel that the bare memory of it is a joy for ever,
thrilling almost as Love’s young dream?  Such was our good fortune once;
now we creep into town on the top of a ’bus, and our hair is grey, and
our pluck is gone, and our heart no larger than a pin’s head.

To write about London, and to omit all mention of the Derby, were
unpardonable.  At the Royal Academy Exhibition this year, the rush to see
Mr. Frith’s picture of the Derby was so great that a policeman was
required to keep off the crowd.  Horse-racing is the natural result of
horse-riding.  It is essentially the English sport.  Taking Wetherby’s
Calendar as our guide, we may calculate that in 1855 there were 144
meetings in Great Britain and Ireland, which were attended by 1606
horses, of whom only 680 were winners, fed by £60,000 of added money
inclusive of the value of cups and whips, and diffusing £198,000 in added
money and stakes more or less.  If there were no light weights to ride,
and no noblemen or wealthy commoners to run their horses, the horses
would run of their own accord.  There are horses, as there are men, who
never will play second fiddle if they can possibly avoid it; and if
horses run, men will look and admire, and the natural result is the Derby
Day.  A grander sight of its kind is perhaps hardly to be seen.  For
twelve months have the public been preparing for the event.  For twelve
months has the sporting and the betting world been on the _qui vive_.  We
do not bet, for we hold that the custom is absurd in a rich man, and
wicked in one who is not so; but in every street in London, in every town
in England, in many a quiet village, at the beer-shop, or the gin-palace,
or the public-house, bets have been made, and thousands and thousands of
pounds are depending on the event.  As the time draws nigh the excitement
increases.  Had you looked in at Tattersall’s on the previous Sunday, you
would have seen the betting of our West End swells and M.P.’s who
legislate for the observance of the Sabbath, and who punish poor men for
keeping betting-houses—fast and furious.  On the previous night of the
day when the Derby is run a motley population encamp on the Downs.  There
are booths where there are to be dancing, and drinking, and eating, and
gambling.  There are gipsies who are to tell fortunes, and acrobats who
are to exhibit a most astonishing flexibility of muscle.  There are
organs, and singing girls, and a whole legion of scamps, who will pick
pockets, or play French put, or toss you for a bottle of stout, or offer
their book and a pencil to betters; and as the dim grey of morning
brightens into day, their number increases in a most marvellous manner.
On they come—ricketty carts laden with ginger beer—men with long barrows
and short pipes, who have walked all the way from town, long trains of
gigs and hansoms, and drags, and carriages, and ’busses, and pleasure
vans, laden with pleasure seekers, determined to have a holiday.  The
trains bring down some thirty or forty thousand human souls, the road is
blocked up and almost impassable.  Many a party, who left town in good
spirits, have come to grief.  Here a wheel has come off.  There the
springs have broken.  Here the dumb brute has refused to drag his heavy
burden any further.  There the team have been restive or the charioteer
unskilful, and the coach has been upset.  In a session in which unusually
little business has been done, in the very midst of a ministerial crisis,
parliament has adjourned, and senators, commoners, and lords, are
everywhere around.  That man with spectacles and long black stock,
driving a younger son past us, is England’s premier, whose horse is the
favourite—who has never yet won the Derby—who, it is said, would rather
do so than have a parliamentary success—and who, it is also said, has
offered his jockey £50 a-year for life should he win this race.  That
fat, greyhaired man is the Duke of Malakoff.  Here is the Royal Duke, who
is treading in his father’s steps, and will be wept by a future
generation as the good duke and hero of a thousand City feeds.  Let us
look about us while the bell is ringing and the police are clearing the
course.  The Grand Stand alone holds some thousands.  Then, as you look
from it for a mile on each side, what a cluster of human heads! and
behind, what an array of carriages and vehicles of all kinds!  A most
furious attack is evidently being made on the commissariat.  The more
dashing have baskets, labelled “Fortnum and Mason,” and it is clear that
the liquids are stronger than tea.  Be thankful those are not ladies,
dressed elegantly though they be, who have drank so much champagne that
their tongues are going rather faster than is necessary.  You do not see
many ladies; and the girls so gay, what is their gaiety?—is it truer than
their complexions?  Very beautiful at a distance, if you do not go close
and see the rouge and pearl powder.  But to-day is a holiday.  Many here
know nothing about a horse, care little about one; but they have come out
for a day’s fresh air and for a pic-nic.  They could not have had a finer
day or chosen a better spot.  The down itself, with its fresh green
velvet turf, is delicious to tread: and as you look around, what a
magnificent panorama meets your eye, fringed by waving woods and chestnut
trees, heavy with their annual bloom!  Then there are the horses taking
their preliminary canter.  What eager eyes are on them!  How anxious are
the betters now, making up their final books!  At the corner, in the
carriages, on the hill, or along the course, how brisk is the
speculation.  “Which is Tox?” “Is that Physician?” “Where’s Beadsman?”
are the questions in every mouth.  And one does not like this horse’s
fore legs, or that horse’s hind ones.  And criticisms of all kinds are
hazarded.  At length some twenty horses are got together at the post.
“They’re off!” is the cry wafted across the plain.  Up the hill they go.
On the top they’re scarce visible.  As they turn the corner they look
like so many rats.  And now, amidst a whirlwind of shouting and
hurrahing, the race is over; and in two minutes and fifty-four seconds
Sir Joseph Hawley, a Whig baronet, beats Lord Derby, the Conservative
Premier, clears £50,000, while his jockey, for that short ride, earns as
much as you or me, my good sir, may win by the labour of many a long
year.  Pigeons fly off with the result.  The telegraph is at work.  At
the _Sunday Times_ office, about four o’clock, the crowd is so great that
you can scarce get along the street, and many a man goes home with a
heavy heart, for some are hit very hard.  “This is a bad day for all of
us,” says one to me, with a very long face.  “I have lost £150,” says
another, and he does not look like a man who could afford to lose that
sum, and the crowd disperses—some exultant—some despairing—all of them in
a reckless mood, and ready for dissipation.  The longer we stop now, the
sadder shall we become.  Go to Kennington-common, if you wish to see the
moral effects of the Derby.  Drop in at the places of gay resort at the
West-end in the course of the night.  Go in a little while after to
Bow-street, or Portugal-street.  For many a day will families mourn a
visit to the Derby.  I never saw so many wives, evidently belonging to
decent tradesmen, so intoxicated as I saw on the last Derby.  In the
train but little intoxication was visible, but the coming home was the
dark side—a side which the admirers of what they call our national sports
are too ready to overlook, and which even Mr. Frith has failed to paint.

The eloquent Montalembert sees in a Derby day what Virgil has described
in the fifth Æneid.  The Frenchman is too complimentary, it is true.

    “Undique conveniunt Teucri mixtique Sicani.”

But pious Æneas sanctioned no such reckless revelry as too often is
visible on the Epsom downs.  Lord Palmerston compares the Derby to the
Isthmian games; but as they were celebrated once in ten years, and were
in honour of Neptune, the resemblance is not very clear.  Pulteney, a
statesman, in his day as eminent as the illustrious M.P. for Tiverton,
published in the “World” a sketch of Newmarket; but the expense and waste
of time of such places seemed to him perfectly frightful.  It is well
that his lordship has been defunct this hundred and fifty years.  A horse
race then was a much more sober affair than in these enlightened
days—when every head is full and every tongue vocal with mental and moral
reform.



VAUXHALL GARDENS.


Vauxhall is alive.  At one time it was thought dead, and people affirmed
the fact to be an evidence of the improved state of the metropolis.
(Moralists are too prone to be thankful for small mercies.)  Had the fact
been so, the inference was a fallacy; but we need not trouble ourselves
about that, as the fact is otherwise.  It is a mistake to suppose that
progress is made only in one direction.  Vauxhall is associated with the
fast life of centuries.  It was born in the general and fearful
profligacy—the fearful price England paid for the Restoration.  In 1661
Evelyn writes of it as a pretty contrived plantation.  In 1665, in the
diary of Pepys, we find entries of sundry visits to Fox-hall and the
Spring Gardens, and “of the humours of the citizens pulling off cherries,
and God knows what.”  Again we are told, “to hear the nightingales and
the birds, and here fiddlers, and there a harp, and here laughing, and
there the people walking, is mighty diverting.”  That respectable
Secretary of the Admiralty also tells us of supper in an arbour, of
ladies walking with their masks on, and his righteous soul was shocked to
see “how rude some of the young gallants of the town are become,” and
“the confidence of the vice of the age.”  To Vauxhall Addison took Sir
Roger de Coverley, and Goldsmith the Citizen of the World, who exclaimed,
“Head of Confucius, this is fine! this unites rural beauty with courtly
magnificence.”  Here Fielding’s Amelia was enraptured with the extreme
beauty and elegance of the place.  Here Miss Burney gathered incidents
for her once popular but now forgotten tales.  And here Hogarth, for
suggesting paintings, some of which still remain, was presented with a
perpetual ticket of admission, and which was last used in 1836.  Strange
scenes have been done here.  One of them is described by Horace Walpole,
who graphically narrates how Lady Caroline Petersham stewed chickens over
a lamp; and how Betty, the fruit girl, supped with them at a side table.
All that is past.  Dust and ashes are the fine lords and fine ladies who
made Vauxhall the resort of folly and fashion—the fashion is gone, the
folly remains.  Yet never were there more funds subscribed for the
conversion of the Jews, or more missionaries sent out to Timbuctoo.

Vauxhall is one of the delusions of London life.  It lives on the past—a
very common practice in this country, where real knowledge travels very
slowly.  When Smith comes up to London, his first Sunday he goes to hear
the Rev. Mr. Flummery, thinking he is the popular preacher.  Ah, Smith!
Flummery has ceased to be a popular preacher these twenty years.  “What a
sweet girl is gone!” exclaims old Jones, as he hears of the death of an
ancient flame.  Jones forgets the sweet girl had become an old maid of
seventy, and had not a tooth in her mouth or a lock of hair on her head
but what was artificial.  So with Vauxhall.  It lives as many a man, or
newspaper, or magazine, or institution, on its name.  Judge for yourself
if you won’t take my word.  A cab will take you there from the Strand in
half an hour, and for the very moderate sum of one shilling the gate will
be unlocked and entrance effected.  The specialty of the place is the
blaze of lights from thousands of lamps.  Supposing you to have got over
the bewilderment created by their lustre, to eyes not accustomed to such
“hall sof dazzling light,” you perceive a kind of square (the precise
definition of it I leave to the mathematicians) with a dancing platform
in the middle, a supper room on one side, and boxes all round, where
refreshments and seats are supplied.  Opposite to the supper-room is a
lofty orchestra, glittering all over with many coloured lamps; further on
and behind are walks, and trees, and a fountain, with gigantic horses
snorting water through their nostrils, and a space for fireworks, the
demand for which on the part of the pleasure seekers of the metropolis,
if we may judge by the supply, is insatiable.  Let us not forget also the
Rotunda, a large building with pit, boxes, and gallery, chiefly devoted
to horsemanship, neither worse nor better than what is usually seen at
such places.  The comic singing is a feature of the place.  Popular comic
songs are not very fresh, nor very witty nor refined, and require, when
delivered in public, a good deal of elocution.  The point must be
apparent, and the emphasis clearly enunciated, but they are much the same
here as elsewhere.  When you have heard one or two of them, you have
heard them all.  So much by way of description.  The people who come here
are the people whose pleasures are of the lowest character; who are
dependent on others; whose life is all outward rather than inward.  They
are not readers nor thinkers, you may be sure, but the class precisely to
whom such places are as hurtful as they are attractive.  If a man is to
be known by the company he keeps, what are we to think of the habitués of
Vauxhall? for after all life is, or ought to be, to us all a stern
reality—a battle-field—a victory—not a pleasure garden, or a Vanity Fair;
and even in London you may mix with better society than that of painted
Traviatas or tipsy men.  Smoking, dancing, drinking, is not all life; yet
for such purposes Vauxhall solely exists.  I much question, if London
alone were concerned, so great is the rivalry in this particular style of
amusement, whether Vauxhall would be a success; but the provincial
element is amazingly strong.  I account for that as follows.  The railway
system has done this for London.  It has filled it with strangers.  From
the wilds of Connemara, from the distant Land’s End and remote John
o’Groat’s, old and young, male and female, rich and poor, wise or
foolish, come in shoals to see London and its sights.  Now Vauxhall, and
its illumination, and its slice of ham, have been the wonder of
generations, and to Vauxhall away they rush.  Their speech betrayeth
them.  Look at them.  This party is from Lancashire.  From the flowery
fields of Somersetshire that party have come.  Wales has sent her
exciteable sons, and Scotland her reckless prodigals, for there are such
even ayont the Tweed.  Here we have some five or six—a father and mother,
a daughter and her husband, and it may be a brother.  Those giants were
never reared within the sound of Bow bells, and to be impertinent to
either the old lady or the young one were the height of folly.  Their
fashions are not ours, yet are they wondrous jolly; and, woe is me, the
head of the family is exhibiting an agility as he bounds up and down as
an elephant might, which is unbecoming his years.  How is this?  Why
actually in a remote corner of the pocket, in the innermost depths of
that ancient coat, there is a bottle of raw gin, which the old satyr puts
to his own mouth, and then hands it to the rest of his party, by whom, in
a similar manner, it is applied, till what is left would not hurt the
conscience of a teetotaller to drink.  It is well his “missus” is there
to pilot him home, and the sooner he gets back to his Yorkshire wilds the
better.  Yet we have a sprinkling of town life.  The reader must remember
Vauxhall occupies altogether eleven acres of ground, and on one occasion
upwards of 20,000 persons paid for admission.  Look at that faded pair.
Some forty years ago they were fast, as times went, and here they have
come to have a peep at the old place, and to wonder how they cared so
much about it then.  There stands an old fogy of the Regency.  Of what
hideous debauch can he tell; and here stuffed, and painted, and bewigged,
made up from top to toe, he has come to mourn, not to moralise, over the
past.  A sad sight is he; but sadder still are those pale-faced ones, of
elaborate hair, and exquisitely fitting costumes and bewitching
Balmorals, now dancing, now chaffing, now drinking, now uproariously
merry, but all the time with wanton wiles seeking their human prey in the
excitement of music, and laughter, and wine.



THE PENNY GAFF.


Do my readers know Shoreditch?  I do not mean the Eastern Counties
Railway Station, but the regions dark and dolorous lying beyond.  In an
old map of London, by my side, dated 1560, I see it marked as a street
with but one row of houses on each side, and the five windmills in
Finsbury Fields not far off.  Here stood the Curtain Theatre.  In Stowe’s
time there were in Shoreditch “two publique houses for the acting and
shewe of comedies, tragedies, and histories for recreation.”  Here,
according to the learned and indefatigable Mr. Timbs, “at the Blue Last
public-house, porter was first sold, about 1730.”  And here still, if I
may judge from the immense number of public-houses all round, the
consumption of porter and other intoxicating liquors is still carried on
on a somewhat extensive scale.  Hard working and businesslike as
Shoreditch is by day, with its clothes marts and extensive shoe depôts,
by night it is a great place for amusement.  Here are theatres where
melodrama reigns supreme.  Close by is the renowned Britannia Saloon.
And here concerts exist where, over their beer, the listeners are regaled
with the sentimental and comic songs of a generation long gathered to its
fathers.  To me I confess there is somewhat of pathos in these places.
What tales cannot that ancient landlord tell!  The young, the beautiful,
the brave he has outlived, where are they?

But let us pass on to the penny theatre, a place not hard to find in this
region of shell-fish and fruit-pie shops, those sure indications of a
neighbourhood rather poor and very wild.  We pay our money at the door,
and then follow the direction given us by the businesslike young woman
who takes the fee, “First turn to the left, and then to the right.”  But
instead of being allowed to enter at once, we have to wait with several
others, chiefly boys, very dirty, who regard us apparently with no very
favourable eye, till a fresh house is formed.  Our new acquaintances are
not talkative, and we are not sorry when our turn comes to enter the
dirty hole set apart for the entertainment of the Shoreditch youth.  We
climb up a primitive staircase, and find ourselves in a gallery of the
rudest description, a privilege for which we have to pay a penny extra.
Here we have an ample view of the stage and the pit, the latter chiefly
filled with boys, very dirty, and full of fun, with the usual proportion
of mothers with excited babies.  The performance commences with a
panorama of American scenery, with some very stale American criticisms,
about the man who was so tall that he had to go up a ladder to shave
himself, and so on; all, however, exciting much mirth amongst the
youthful and apple-eating audience.  Then a young lady, with very short
petticoats and very thick ancles, dances, and takes all hearts by storm.
To her succeeds one who sings about true love, but not in a manner which
the Shoreditch youthdom affects.  Then a fool comes upon the stage, and
keeps the pit in a roar, especially when he directs his wit to the three
musicians who form the orchestra, and says ironically to one of them,
“You could not drink a quartern of gin, could you?” and the way in which
the allusion was received evidently implied that the enlightened but
juvenile audience around me evidently had a very low opinion of a man who
could not toss off his quartern of gin.  Then we had the everlasting
niggers, with the bones, and curiously-wrought long coats, and doubtful
dialect, and perpetual laughter, which the excited pit copiously
rewarded.  One boy tossed a button on the stage, another a copper, and
another an apple; and so pleasing was this liberality to the supposed
young men of African descent, that they did not think it beneath them, or
inconsistent with their dignity as professionals, to encourage it in
every possible way.  And well they might.  Those gay blacks very likely
had little white faces at home dependent on the liberality of the house
for next day’s crust.  But the treat of the evening was a screaming
farce, in one act, in which the old tale of “Taming the Shrew” was set
forth in the most approved Shoreditch fashion.  A husband comes upon the
stage, whose wife—I would not be ungallant, but conscientious regard to
truth compels me sorrowfully to declare—is an unmitigated shrew.  She
lords it over her husband as no good woman ever did or wishes to do.  The
poor man obeys till he can stand it no longer.  At length all his manhood
is aroused.  Armed with what he calls a persuader—a cudgel of most
formidable pretensions—he astonishes his wife with his unexpected
resistance.  She tries to regain the mastery, but in vain; and great is
the delight of all as the husband, holding his formidable instrument over
his cowed and trembling wife, compels her to obey his every word.  All
the unwashed little urchins around me were furious with delight.  There
was no need for the husband to tell the audience, as he did, as the moral
of the piece, that the best remedy for a bad wife was to get such another
cudgel for her as that he held in his hand.  It was quite clear the
little Britons around me had resolved how they would act; and I fear, as
they passed out to the number of about 200, few of them did not resolve,
as soon as they had the chance, to drink their quartern of gin and to
whop their wives.

On another occasion it chanced to me to visit a penny gaff in that dark
and dolorous region, the New Cut.  There the company and the
entertainment were of a much lower character.  A great part of the
proceedings were indecent and disgusting, yet very satisfactory to the
half-grown girls and boys present.  In the time of the earlier Georges we
read much of the brutality of the lower orders.  If we may believe
contemporary writers on men and manners, never was the theatre so
full—never was the audience so excited—never did the scum and refuse of
the streets so liberally patronise the entertainment as when deeds of
violence and blood were the order of the night.  This old savage spirit
is dying out, but in the New Cut I fear it has not given way to a better
one.



RAG FAIR.


People often ask, how do the poor live in London.  This a question I
don’t intend answering on the present occasion.  But if you ask how they
clothe themselves, my answer is, at Rag Fair.  Do my readers remember
Dickens’s sketch of Field-lane?  In “Oliver Twist,” he writes, “Near to
the spot at which Snow-hill and Holborn meet there opens, on the right
hand as you come out of the city, a dark and dismal alley, leading to
Saffron-hill.  In its filthy shops are exposed for sale huge bunches of
pocket handkerchiefs of all sizes and patterns, for here reside the
traders who purchase them from pickpockets; hundreds of these
handkerchiefs hang dangling from pegs outside the windows, or flaunting
from the door-posts, and the shelves within are filled with them.
Confined as the limits of Field-lane are, it has its barber, its
coffee-shop, its beer-shop, and its fried fish warehouse.  It is a
commercial colony of itself—the emporium of petty larceny, visited at
early morning and setting in of dusk by silent merchants, who traffic in
dark back parlours, and go as strangely as they come.  Here the
clothes-man, the shoe vamper, and the rag merchant display their goods as
signboards to the petty thief, and stores of old iron and bones, and
heaps of mildewy fragments of woollen, stuff, and linen rust and rot in
the grimy cellars.”  Expand this picture.  Instead of one street have
several—make it the resort of all the dealers in old clo’, old iron, old
rags, old tools, old bones, old anything that a human creature can sell
or buy; fill it with a miscellaneous crowd of Jews, Irish, navvies,
artisans, pickpockets, and thieves, bargaining with all the energy of
which their natures are susceptible; make it damp and warm with their
vapour, and a very Babel with their discordant sounds, and you get a dim
idea of Rag Fair and its guests, unwashed as they appear every day from
twelve to two, but especially on a Sunday, to the great scandal of the
devout and respectable in that locality, who are too apt to quarrel with
the effect and forget the cause.

Let us enter Houndsditch, a place where the Jews collected together long
before the royal house of Guelph occupied its present pleasant position
on the English throne.  Poverty and wretchedness, it may be, are bashful
at the West End, but they are not so here,

    “Where no contiguous palace rears its head,
    To mark the meanness of their humble shed.”

In a little court on our left, a little way down, we come to a building
known as the Old Clothes Exchange.  The building was erected some dozen
years ago by one of the leading merchants in the old clothes line.  A
small entrance fee is demanded.  You had better pay, as otherwise
admission will be denied you.  You had better not attempt to pass in
without paying, as the toll-collector is an ex-prize-fighter; and the
chances are, in a set-to, you would come off second best.  If it be
Sunday you had better not, especially if the weather be warm, attempt a
passage at all.  The scrambling, and wedging, and pushing, and driving
are dreadful.  A man must have some nerve who forces his way in.  In the
week day, and you are a seller, you are soon pounced on by the Jews
hungering and thirsting after bargains.  In that peculiar dialect
affected by the ancient people you have the most magnificent offers made.
“My coot friend, have you cot any preakage?” says one.  “Cot any old
boots?” says another.  “I alvays gives a coot prishe,” says a third.  And
the seller is surrounded by an eager crowd, as if he had the Koh-i-noor,
and was going to part with it dirt cheap.  If you are a buyer, you are
quite as quickly attacked.  “Want a new hat?” says one.  “Shall I sell
you a coot coat?” says another; and whichever way you turn, you see the
same buying and selling.  The cheap jewellery, the china ornaments, the
general wares, are not of the most _recherché_, but of the most popular
character.  You may buy a stock close by that will set up all the fairs
in England.  Here a seller of crockery ware has come back, and is
disposing of the treasures he has acquired in the course of his travels.
There a woman is discharging a similar miscellaneous cargo.  All round
are buyers, examining their goods.  Everything here will be made useful.
That bit of old iron will become new; those boots, ruined, as you deemed
them, will be vamped up, and shall dance merrily to accompanying
shillalaghs at Donnybrook fair; that resplendent vest, once the delight
of Belgravia, in a few weeks will adorn Quashie as he serenades his Mary
Blane beneath West Indian moons.  Even those bits of waste leather will
be carefully treasured up and converted into a dye that may tint the rich
man’s costly robe.  Now, you need not wonder why you find
suspicious-looking men and women bargaining with your servants for
left-off clothes, or rags, or plunder of any kind, and you are not
surprised when you hear even out of this dirty trade riches are made, and
the gains are great.

A wit was once asked what he thought of Ireland.  “Why,” was his answer,
“I never knew before what the people of England did with their cast-off
clothes.”  A similar remark might be made with regard to Rag Fair.  But
we have not yet described the locality.  Very dark and very dismal, but
very much inclined to do business, the Exchange, as it is termed, is not
a building of a very gorgeous style of architecture.  In its erection the
useful and the economical evidently was considered more than the
beautiful.  It seems destitute alike of shape and substance.  Mr. Mayhew
says it consists of a plot of ground about an acre in extent; but Mr.
Mayhew has certainly fallen into error here.  The place is scarcely
fenced in; and here and there you come to a hoarding, in the inside of
which are some stalls and benches, scarce covered from the rain—others
not so.  Some of these benches, all looking very dirty and greasy, are
ranged back to back, and here sit the sellers of old clothes, with their
unsightly and unsavoury store of garments strewn or piled on the ground
at their feet, while between the rows of petty dealers pass the merchant
buyers on the look-out for bargains, or the workman, equally inclined to
get as much as possible for his penny.  But the curious spectator must
not stop here.  Near is the “City Clothes Emporium,” and all the streets
and alleys in the neighbourhood are similarly occupied.  The place has
the appearance of a foreign colony.  They are not Saxon names you see,
nor Saxon eyes that look wistfully at you, nor Saxon dialects you hear,
but Hebrew.  Every street around is part and parcel of the fair, the
bazaar is but one section of the immense market which is here carried on;
but let the anxious inquirer not be too curious or too lost in wonder,
else some prying hand may be inserted into his pocket, and the loss of a
handkerchief, or even of something else more valuable, may be the result
of a visit to Rag Fair, a place unparalleled in this vast city for rags,
and dirt, and seeming wretchedness.  It is true that part of the nuisance
is done away with.  The police keep a close look-out on a Sunday, and a
great portion of the traffic on that day is very properly stopped.  But
there are greater nuisances in the neighbourhood on the Sabbath which the
police do not look after, but which they might.



THE COMMERCIAL ROAD
AND THE COAL-WHIPPERS.


The Commercial Road, abutting on the Docks and Whitechapel, is the
residence of the London coal whippers—a race of men singularly
unfortunate—the complete slaves of the publicans of that quarter, and
deserving universal sympathy.  I have been down in their wretched homes;
I have seen father, mother, children all sleeping, eating, living in one
small apartment, ill-ventilated, inconvenient, and unhealthy; and I
believe no class of labourers in this great metropolis, where so many
thousands are ill-paid and hard-worked, and are reduced almost to the
condition of brutes, suffer more than the coal-whippers you meet in that
busy street of traffic and toil—the Commercial Road.

The coal-whippers are men employed to _whip_ the coals out of the
colliers into the barges, which latter bring them up for the supply of
the inhabitants of London.  Theirs is a precarious and laborious life,
and therefore they have special claims upon the consideration of the
public.  Mr. Deering tells us “it may possibly serve to bespeak interest
in the subject if it be known that it is one which affects for weal or
for woe no fewer than 10,000 persons, there being nearly 2,000
coal-whippers, together with their wives and families.”  From the opening
of the coal-whippers’ office in 1843 to the close of 1850, the quantity
of coals delivered through it was 16,864,613¼ tons, and the amount of
wages paid to the men during that time was £589,180 11s. 5¾d.  At times
these men have to wait long without employment, sometimes a ship only
breaks bulk, and a small quantity of coal is taken out, sometimes the
whole cargo is worked right out.  Thus the men’s remuneration varies.  In
some cases a coal-whipper earns but 8s. 9d. a week, and in none more than
16s.  Let us now speak of the work.  As we have already intimated, that
is very hard.  It is carried on by gangs of nine, four work in the hold
of the ship and fill the basket, four work on the ways, and whip the
coal—that is, raise the basket to the top—and one, the basket man, turns
it into the meter’s box.  The four on the whip have very hard work, and
after twelve or fourteen tons have been raised go down into the hold,
where they are choked with coal dust, but have not quite so difficult a
task.  Men who are employed in this labour describe it as most laborious
and irksome.  Nor from their description can we well conceive it to be
otherwise.

Under the old system these men got all their work through the
public-house.  That was a fearful system.  We have heard coal-whippers
speak of it as “slavery, tyranny, and degradation;” and well they might.
“The only coves who got the work,” as one man told us, “were the
Lushingtons.”  If a man did not spend his money at the public-house he
got no employment; and actually we heard in one case of a _landlady_ who
turned off a gang in the middle of their work because they would not
spend so much money in her public-house as she thought desirable.  One
publican who had several of these gangs under his thumb, by various
exactions, we were positively assured, made as much as £35 per week by
them.  The publicans, says Mr. Deering, the able and intelligent
secretary to the commissioners, compelled every man to pay on an average
to the amount of eight shillings, and in some instances ten shillings,
per week for liquor on shore and on board, whether drunk by him or not.
The plan was to compel the coal-whippers to visit their houses previous
to obtaining employment, and on the night before obtaining a ship to
commence the score, and at six o’clock in the morning, before going to
work, to drink a pot of beer, or spirits to an equal amount of value;
then to take on board for each gang nine pots of beer, to be repeated on
delivering every forty-nine tons during the day; after which they were
compelled to pay nine or ten shillings per man for each ship for gear.
The evil effects of such a system it is unnecessary to point out.  After
a week’s hard work, a man had nothing to take home.  The coal-whippers
became a drunken and degraded class, the family were starved, the boys
early learned to thieve, and the girls were too often thrown upon the
streets.  No wonder the men rebelled against this cruel tyranny.  For
long they bore it, but at length they plucked up courage, and demanded
deliverance.

Generation after generation had struggled for their rights, and numerous
Acts were passed to redress their grievances; but no sooner was an Act
passed than ways and means were found to evade it.  Then four brave men,
Robert Newell, Henry Barthorpe, George Applegate, and Daniel Brown,
created amongst their oppressed fellow-labourers an excitement which
never subsided till the Corporation of London took their case in hand.
Lieutenant Arnold, with a view to benefit them, established an office,
but the publicans combined against him and drove him out of the field.
The London Corporation appointed a committee to examine into the whole
matter.  Government was besieged, but Mr. Labouchere told the
coal-whippers that they could not interfere, “as it would be too great an
interference with the rights of labour.”  The coal-whippers, however,
were not to be daunted, and after years of unremitting toil, in which
their claims had become increasingly appreciated, Mr. Gladstone prevailed
upon the House of Commons to pass the Act which on the 22nd of August,
1843, received the royal assent.  The Act simply provided that an office
should be established where the coal-whippers should assemble, and that
owners and captains of vessels discharging their cargoes by hired men and
by the process of whipping should make to them the first offer to
discharge their cargoes.  It in no way interfered with or attempted to
fix the price of the labour.  This was left as a matter of contract
between employers and employed.  As there were conflicting interests to
be consulted, the bill provided that the proposed office should be placed
under the management of nine commissioners, four of whom should be
appointed by the Board of Trade, and four by the Corporation of the City
of London, the chairman to be the chairman for the time being of the
Shipowners’ Society of London.  To show how the Act has worked, we make
the following extract from an appeal to the House of Commons by the
Committee of the Registered Coal-whippers in the Port of London,
published in May of the present year, and which bears the names of John
Farrow, John Doyle, William Brown, Michael Barry, John Cronin.  They
say:—“The object contemplated by the Legislature in the establishment of
the office was to secure to the men the full amount of their earnings
_immediately_ after their labour was completed, with the exception of one
farthing in the shilling, which is required to be left in the office to
defray necessary expenses.  At first the office was fiercely opposed by
interested parties, because it broke up a system of vile, degrading, and
unjust extortion, by which these men derived their profits; but this
opposition soon subsided, the price of labour became equalised by an
understanding between the employers and the employed, the former being at
liberty to offer any price they were willing to give, and the latter to
accept or refuse as they thought proper; and the only compulsory clause
in the Act, in favour of the coal-whippers, is that, an office being
established at which they assemble for the purpose of being hired, the
shipowners _shall first make an offer to the coal-whippers_ registered at
the office, and if refused by them at the price offered, a discharge is
given, empowering the captains to obtain any other labourers elsewhere,
at not a greater price than that offered to the registered men.  The good
effects resulting from the establishment of the office are—relief to the
men from extortion and a demoralising system, ruinous alike to both body
and soul—a fair turn of work in rotation—immediate payment of their wages
in money—and an opportunity of disposing of their labour (if any is to be
had elsewhere) in the interim of their clearing one ship and obtaining
another.  The advantage to the trade has been the regularity and
certainty with which they obtain their coals from on board ship, instead
of the injurious delay which occurred before the office was established,
while the men (goaded by oppression) and the captains were contending
about the price of the labour; and the advantage to the shipowner has
been—the prevention of delay in the delivery of his cargoes—by always
finding a sufficient number of men in attendance at the office, for the
delivery of the ships—steadiness in the price of labour, and avoidance of
detention through ‘strikes’ for higher wages, _and on the whole_, _a
lower price for labour than prevailed before the office was established_.
In some years, nearly £100,000 has passed through the office for wages
earned, but of late that amount has been greatly reduced in consequence
of the introduction of machinery in docks and other places; the decrease
in importation coastwise; the employment of ‘_bonâ fide_’ servants by
some gas companies, and by a few coal merchants; and _by frequent
evasions of the Act through the interference of persons who have nothing
whatever to do with the payment of wages_, _and who derive pecuniary
advantage to themselves by so doing_.  The retention of the word
‘purchaser’ in the Act gives them power to do this.”

In August, 1856, the Act which did so much good expired.  Parliament
refused to continue it on the express promise of parties connected with
the coal trade, that a model office should be created, which should be
conducted in such a manner that the publicans should not be able to renew
the hideous evil of the old system.  THIS CONTRACT WITH PARLIAMENT HAS
BEEN BROKEN, and at this moment the coal-whippers are suffering from a
return to the fearful slavery and tyranny of old times.  Already
one-third of the trade is again in the hands of the publicans.  The first
thing the model office did was immediately to throw 252 coal-whippers out
of employment.  Of course these men were necessitated to go to the
publicans.  Another complaint against the model office is, that in two
cases the men were paid 2d. a ton, and in another case 3d. a ton, less
than the price paid to the office.  Another grievance is, instead of the
persons connected with the coal trade going to the model office, the
_bonâ fide_ offices created by the Act, and by means of which it was
abused, still exist, and we were informed one of the largest merchants
has still his office with a gang of eighty-one men.  Of course the
publicans are delighted.  They have the whole trade in their own hands
again; but this must not be.  The righteous feeling of the country must
be interposed between the publican and his victims—a body of hard-working
men are not to be forced into drunkenness and poverty and crime merely
that a few publicans may increase their ill-gotten gains.  Reason,
morality, religion, all protest against such a damnable doctrine.  Almost
immediately after the Act had ceased, the Rev. Mr. Sangar, the rector of
Shadwell, presided over a meeting of coal-whippers “because the
coal-whipped office was established in his parish, and because the
Coal-whippers’ Act had put down drunkenness, prevented the exactions of
middlemen, induced morality, and benefited a large number of industrious
men.”  Meetings for a similar purpose are held almost every month.  On
similar grounds we have taken up the case of the coal-whippers—and for
the same reasons we ask the aid of the charitable, and religious, and
humane.  Especially do we ask the temperance societies of the metropolis
to interfere in this matter.  Many of the coal-whippers are total
abstainers.  Now that Mr. Gladstone’s Act is obsolete, they have some of
them been forced back into the public-house.  We must save them ere they
be lost for ever.  The coal-whippers are in earnest in this matter.  They
want very little.  Simply a renewal of Mr. Gladstone’s Act, with the
proviso that there shall be only one office.  It was the absence of that
proviso that enabled interested parties to evade the provisions of the
Act to a certain extent.  Surely this is no great boon for Parliament to
grant.



THE STOCK EXCHANGE.


This country, said the late Mr. Rothschild, is, in general, the bank of
the whole world.  That distinguished capitalist never said a truer thing.
If Russia wants a railway, or Turkey an army, if Ohio would borrow cash,
or Timbuctoo build a railway, they all come to London.  The English
stockholder is the richest and softest animal under the sun—as repudiated
foreign stocks and exploded joint-stock projects at home have too
frequently illustrated.  When the unfortunate stockholder has in this way
invested his all, the result is at times very painful.  The cause of this
is not always to be traced to “greenness,” but to the desire to derive
large dividends or interest, without due regard to the security of the
investment.  Not even is the _bonâ fide_ investor always safe.  He is the
goose that lays the golden egg.  In one respect this weakness is somewhat
tragic.  For instance, to give an extreme case:—Suppose A. B., twelve
years back, had, as the result of a life of industry, saved £5,000, and
invested it in the London and North Western Railway, when that famous
stock was in demand, and quoted as high as £250, what must be the unhappy
condition of that too-confiding A. B., supposing he has not already died
of a broken heart, when he finds London and North Western stock quoted,
as at this present time, under £100?  Again, supposing C. D. had died,
leaving his disconsolate widow and twelve children, innocent but
helpless, a nice little property consisting of shares in the Western Bank
of Scotland.  What must be the state of that disconsolate widow and those
twelve children, innocent but helpless, upon finding that not only have
all the original shares completely vanished into ducks and drakes, but
that upon each share a responsibility of somewhere about one hundred and
fifty pounds has been incurred besides?  Can we calculate the sum total
of bitter misery thus created and scattered far and wide?  As well might
we attempt to realise the dark and dismal regions of the damned.  The
caution cannot be too often repeated, to avoid investments which entail
unknown liabilities, or which are subject to great fluctuations of price
or the amount of dividend.  Abundant opportunity for safe investment is
offered in the Debentures, Preference and Guaranteed Stocks of British
Railways, which pay from 4 to 5 per cent. per annum.  The aggregate value
of the stocks and shares which are dealt in on the London Stock Exchange
is somewhat bewildering in its enormous amount.  First and foremost are
the several stocks constituting the National Debt of Great Britain, which
may be taken at between eight and nine hundred millions.  The capitals of
the various British railways amount to upwards of three hundred millions.
The capitals of the Bank of England and of sundry joint-stock banks
amount to more than thirty millions.  Then there is a large amount
invested in canals, gas and water, steam, telegraph, and dock companies.
The total amount of American railways is about one hundred and
sixty-eight millions sterling; European railways, two hundred millions;
and those of India and our colonies, fifty millions.  Moreover, there is
a vast aggregate amount of foreign stocks and loans, which our readers
will not care that we particularise.

The grand mart for the traffic in such things is a large building situate
in Capel-court, just opposite the Bank of England.  It has three other
entrances—one in Shorter’s-court, Throgmorton-street, one in New-court,
ditto, and one in Hercules-passage, Broad-street.  You cannot get in, for
a porter guards each door, and if you elude him you are easily detected
by the _habitués_, and obliged to beat a precipitate retreat.  But from
the entrance in Hercules-passage, by peeping through the glass folding
doors, you may manage to get an imperfect view of the interior.  You will
see that in the middle of the day there are a great number of
well-dressed, sharp-looking gentlemen talking very energetically, and
apparently doing a great deal of business.  As they pass in and out you
hear them discourse as familiarly of thousands as

    “Maids of fourteen do of puppy dogs.”

Let me add that there are a variety of distinct markets—the English for
stocks and exchequer bills, the foreign for stocks, and the railway and
mining, and miscellaneous share department.  I may also add that a
news-room is attached, where the daily papers, especially the city
articles, are very eagerly perused.  I am told that the _Daily News_ is
the favourite, and that the demand for that paper is very great.  The
Stock Exchange does not recognise in its dealings any other parties than
its own members.  Every bargain, therefore, whether for account of the
member effecting it, or for account of a principal, must be fulfilled
according to the regulations and usages of the house.  Its affairs are
conducted by a committee of thirty, annually elected.  “Every member of
the Stock Exchange and every clerk to a member shall attend the committee
for general purposes when required, and shall give the committee such
information as may be in his possession relative to any matter then under
investigation.”  The committee have the right to expel any member guilty
of dishonourable or disgraceful conduct, or who may violate any of the
regulations, or fail to comply with any of the committee’s decisions.

As regards small people outside like ourselves, the functions of the
Stock Exchange are soon fulfilled.  I have worked hard—I have saved a few
hundreds—I want to invest them—I call upon a stock-broker—they are (I
mean nothing offensive by the comparison) as thick as thieves in this
neighbourhood.  I commission him to buy me a certain number of shares in
such and such a company.  My broker rushes into the Exchange, goes to the
particular spot where the dealer in such shares is to be met with, and
buys them for me, to be delivered on such a day.  I pay him a commission
for brokerage, and my business is done.  Suppose I want to buy government
stock.  What is stock? says one, unhappily, in consequence of his own
laziness and ill-luck, or of the laziness and ill-luck of his fathers
before him, not a holder of such.  Stock, O benighted individual, is a
term applied to the various funds which constitute the National Debt, the
interest on which is paid half-yearly.  Few persons buy or sell stock
except through a broker, and this is the original business of the
stockbroker, and it was for this the Stock Exchange was erected in 1803.
It is only since the peace that the present immense traffic has sprung up
in miscellaneous and railway shares.  Let me suppose I have a thousand
pounds to invest in the Three per Cents., which are now quoted at about
96.  I wait on a stockbroker; he goes over to the Exchange and purchases
them for me, and then sees to their transfer in the Bank of England,
receiving as his commission one eighth per cent., or 2s. 6d. in the £100
upon the amount of stock transferred.  But I am of a speculative turn,
and wish to make a fortune rapidly by means of the Stock Exchange.  I
again have recourse to a broker.  As I assume that I am a mere gambler—a
man of straw—I stand to lose or gain a large sum of money on a certain
contingency.  I draw a blank, and leave my broker in the lurch, who has
to settle his accounts as best he can.  If he cannot pay by half-past two
on the day of settlement, which in shares is once a fortnight, and in
consols monthly, he despatches a short communication to the committee of
the Stock Exchange; an official then suddenly gives three loud knocks
with a mallet, and announces the unpleasant fact that my broker is unable
to meet his engagements.  He is termed a lame duck, and cannot again
figure on the Exchange till he pays a composition of 6s. 8d. in the
pound.  The readmission of defaulters is in three classes.  The first
class to be for cases of failure arising from the defection of
principals, or from other unfortunate vicissitudes, where no bad faith or
breach of the regulations of the house has been practised; where the
operations have been in reasonable proportion to the defaulter’s means or
resources; and where his general character has been irreproachable.  The
second class, for cases marked by indiscretion, and by the absence of
reasonable caution only, or by conduct reprehensible in other respects.
The third class for cases where the defaulter is ineligible under either
of the former classes, but whom, nevertheless, the committee may not feel
warranted in excluding from the Stock Exchange.  The final decision of
the committee on each defaulter’s application will be notified to the
members in the usual way, and remain posted in the Stock Exchange for
forty days.  Stockbrokers rarely go into the Bankruptcy Court, as the
house appoints assignees, and settles the affair in a much easier way.
Lame ducks are not always ruined in purse.  I knew one who waddled off
the Stock Exchange, he having been a speculator on his own account, and
thus evaded the payment of rather a heavy sum.  I met him at Brighton
this summer, living in one of the best houses in Kemp-town.

Stock-brokers are very facetious fellows, and amuse their leisure hours
in many ways, such as tossing for halfcrowns in a hat, and practical
jokes; occasionally a good deal of small wit passes current.  I have
heard of an almanac, circulated in MS., in which the various
peculiarities of individual members of the Exchange were very cleverly
hit off.  A late Exchange wit has given birth to the following _jeu
d’esprit_, which has attained a wide-spread popularity in the City:—

    “When the market takes a rise,
    Then the public comes and buys;
    But when they want to realise,
          Oh! it’s ‘Oop de doodum doo!’”

When the government broker appears to operate on behalf of the
Commissioners, for the Reduction of the National Debt he mounts into a
“box,” and is surrounded by a clamorous host, all eager to buy or sell.

The present number of members of the Stock Exchange approaches nearly
800, each paying a subscription of £10 per annum, besides finding
securities for between £800 and £900 for three years.  Our stockbroker
generally spends his money freely.  If he is a married man he has a nice
villa at Norwood or Clapham, and affects a stylish appearance.  Then
there are the “jobbers,” who remain inside the stock market, waiting for
the broker, and who are prepared, immediately he appears, to make a price
at which they are either buyers or sellers—the jobber calculating upon
making it right with the broker, who has undertaken an operation the
reverse of his own.  Occasionally the jobber runs considerable risk,
since, after concluding a bargain, and while endeavouring to obtain a
profit on it, the market may turn.  Still he is a useful middle-man, and
saves the broker a world of trouble.

But there is much business transacted which is less legitimate, and is
known as time bargains, which are bargains to deliver stock on certain
days at a certain price, the seller, of course, hoping that the price
will fall, and the buyer, that it will rise when the period for
completing the bargain has arrived.  The speculative settlement is
effected without making full payment for stock; the losing party simply
pays the difference.  One who speculates for a rise is a Bull (it is said
the great Rothschild made a vast deal of money in this way), the
speculator for a fall is a Bear.  Continuation is the interest on money
lent on the security of stock.  A great deal of business is done in this
way.  A merchant, or a railway company, or a bank, have large sums of
money to dispose of.  Instead of locking it up they employ a broker, who
lends it on certain securities, for a few days or a few weeks.
Operations on the Stock Exchange answer in this way, but the small
tradesman, or clerk, or professional man who ventures within the charmed
circle of Capel-court for the purpose of speculation, generally learns
bitterly to rue the day.



THE LONDON HOSPITAL.


I am walking along the streets, and in doing so pass a scaffolding where
some new buildings are being erected.  Suddenly I hear a shriek, and see
a small crowd collected.  A beery Milesian, ascending a ladder with a hod
of mortar, slips and falls on the pavement below.  He is a stranger in
London, has no friends, no money, scarcely any acquaintance.  “What’s his
name?” we ask.  “He ain’t got no name,” says one of his mates; “we calls
him Carroty Bill.”  What’s to be done?  Why, take him to the hospital.
The police fetch a stretcher.  “Carroty Bill” is raised on it, and a
small procession is formed.  It swells as it goes along.  The idle street
population joins.  We form one.  A medical student is in the rear; he
meets a chum, and exclaims exultingly, “They are taking him to our
hospital.”  The chum turns back, and the door is reached; admittance is
easy.  Happily, the place is not a Government establishment, and patients
are received whilst there is hope.  Poor “Carroty Bill,” bruised and
bleeding, yet stupid with drink, is examined carefully by the attendant
surgeons.  It is of no use asking him what’s the matter; his expressions,
never very direct or refined, are now very muddy, and not a little
coarse.  A careful diagnosis reveals the extent of the injuries received.
All that science can do for him is done.  If he is taken as an inmate he
will have as good nursing and food, and as skilful care and as
unremitting attention, as if he were a prince of royal blood.  Wonderful
places are these hospitals.  If Sawney, subject to an unpleasant
sensation on the epidermis, blesses the memory of the good duke who
erected on his broad domain convenient posts, let us bless a thousandfold
the memory of Rahere, who obtained from Henry I. a piece of waste ground,
upon which he built a hospital (now known as St. Bartholomew’s) for a
master, brethren, and sisters, sick persons, and pregnant women; or of
Thomas Guy, son of a lighterman in Horsleydown; but himself a bookseller
in Lombard-street after the Great Fire; or of the nameless Prior of
Bermondsey, who founded, adjoining the wall of his monastery, a house of
alms, now known as St. Thomas’s Hospital.  Likewise let us thankfully
record the gifts of the rich, of whose liberality such hospitals as those
of King’s, and University, and Westminster, and the London, and St.
George’s, are the magnificent results.

Now let us return to our friend Carroty Bill.  As we have intimated, he
is in the ward appropriated to such cases.  One of the professors is now
going his round, accompanied by his students.  Let us go in.  The first
thing that strikes us is the size, and cleanliness, and convenience of
the wards; how comfortable they are, how light, how cheerful, how lofty,
and well ventilated!  Each patient is stretched on a clean bed, and at
the top are pinned the particulars of his case, and on a chair by his
side are the few little necessaries he requires.  The practised physician
soon detects the disease and the remedies.  His pupils are examined; the
patient forms the subject of a hasty lecture.  One is asked what he would
do, another what disease such and such a symptom denotes; a word is
whispered to the nurse; the sick man, whose wistful eye hangs on every
movement, is bid to keep up his spirits, and he feels all the more
confident and the better fitted to struggle back to health for the few
short words of the professor, to whom rich men pay enormous fees, and
whose fame perhaps extends over the habitable globe.  And so we pass on
from bed to bed.  Occasionally the professor extracts a moral.  This man
is dying of gin.  “How much did you take a day?”—“Only a quartern.”—“And
for how many years?”—“Seven.”  The professor shakes his head—the students
know that the man is past cure, that death is only a question of time.  A
similar process is gone through on the women’s ride, and anxiously do sad
eyes follow the little group as the professor and students pass on, in
their best way mitigating human agony, and bidding the downcast hope.
What tales might be told!  Here lies down the prodigal to die; here the
village maid hides her shame beneath the dark wings of death.  Under
these hospital walls—reared and maintained by Christian charity, what men
once proud, and rich, and great—what women once tenderly nursed and
slavishly obeyed—what beauties once fondly caressed, old, withered, wan,
without money and without friends, alone in the bleak, bitter
world—linger and pass away for ever.

Let us go down stairs, along that long passage through which eager
students are hurrying.  The door opens, and we find ourselves in a
theatre, as full as it can possibly be of the future surgeons of England,
now very rough and noisy.  At the bottom, far beneath us, is a small
space with a long narrow table, covered with oilskin; behind the table is
a door.  That door opens, and one or two of the _élite_ of the students
known as dressers enter.  A matronly female, dressed in the hospital
garb, follows; some stout porters bring in a poor creature gently, and
place him on the table, and a few professors and professional assistants
fill up the group; the noisy students are still and eager.  The professor
advances to the table, in a few words explains the nature of the malady,
and the patient, more dead than alive, endeavours to nerve himself for
his impending fate.  It is our old friend; his leg is smashed and
requires amputation.  An assistant administers chloroform, while the
operator looks on, watch in hand.  In a few seconds it is clear the
patient is insensible, and the knife is handed to the operator, who, with
his arm bare, and his sleeves tucked up, commences his painful task.  Up
squirts the red blood, and many a pale face and averted eye around
testify how painful the exhibition is to those who are not accustomed to
it.  Happily, the medical men near have the calm composure and readiness
of resource true science suggests.  The first incision made, and the skin
peeled around, an assistant hands a saw, and in the twinkling of an eye
the limb is severed, and the stump, bleeding and smoking, is being sewn
up by skilful hands almost before the poor fellow wakes up, wearied and
exhausted by loss of blood, from what must have been to him, if we may
judge by his moans and exclamations, a terrible dream.  As soon as
possible he is borne away, the blood is sponged up, the table wiped down;
and another patient, it may be a pale-faced girl or a little boy
suffering from some fatal malformation, succeeds.  All that humanity can
suggest is resorted to.  Here science loses her stern aspects, and beats
with a woman’s tenderness and love; and not in vain, for from that table
rise, who otherwise would have painfully perished, many to bless their
families, it may be the world.  But all is over, and we follow the crowd
out, avoiding that other passage leading to the dissecting-room, where on
many a table lie the mangled forms of what were once men and women, in
all stages of dissection and decay, with students hard at work on them,
painfully gathering or seeking to gather a clue to the mystery of
mysteries we call life.  Possibly by the fire-place some half-dozen young
fellows will be smoking and drinking beer.  But why note the contrast?
Out of the dissecting-room, beyond the narrow precincts of the hospital,
masked in gay clothes, with faces all red with paint and wrinkled with
idiotic leer, stand side by side the living and the dead.

                                * * * * *

The principal London Hospitals are the following:—1. St. Bartholomew’s
Hospital, in West Smithfield, first founded in the twelfth century, and
refounded by Henry VIII. in 1546.  The building, a spacious quadrangular
structure, is principally modern, having been finished in 1770.  It makes
up 580 beds.  In 1848,71,573 were relieved by this hospital, viz., 5,826
inpatients, 19,149 out-patients, and 46,598 casual ditto.  Necessity is
the only recommendation to this institution; and patients are received
without limitation.  The medical staff is equal to any in the metropolis.
The staircase was gratuitously painted by Hogarth.  2. Guy’s Hospital,
St. Thomas’s Street, Southwark, founded in 1721, contains accommodation
for 580 in-patients, and has an excellent museum and theatre of anatomy.
This magnificent hospital, which consists of two quadrangles and two
wings, was founded and endowed by Thomas Guy, a bookseller, who expended
£18,793 upon the building, and left £219,419 for its endowment—the
largest sum, perhaps, that has ever been expended by any individual on
similar purposes.  Recently, however, Guy’s Hospital has met with another
benefactor, but little inferior, in point of liberality, to its founder;
a citizen, of the name of Thomas Hunt, having bequeathed to it, in 1829,
the princely sum of £200,000!  The medical school attached to this
hospital, while under the superintendence of the late Sir Astley Cooper,
was one of the most extensive, and probably, also, the best in the
empire.  3. St. Thomas’s Hospital, in High Street, Borough, was formed
out of two other charities by Edward VI., and rebuilt in 1693.  Additions
were made in 1732, and a large part was rebuilt in 1836.  It contains 18
wards, and 428 beds.  It has an income of about £25,000 a year, derived
almost wholly from rents of estates in London and the country.  4. St.
George’s Hospital, near Hyde Park Corner, lately rebuilt, has a fine
front, 200 feet in length, facing the Green Park.  It accommodates 460
in-patients.  5. The Middlesex Hospital, near Oxford Street, founded in
1745, has 285 beds, and relieves numerous out-patients.  6. London
Hospital, in Whitechapel, was founded in 1740.  Its wards accommodate
about 250 patients.  7. Westminster Hospital, rebuilt in 1833, near the
Abbey, has 174 beds; but three wards, containing space for fifty
additional beds, are unfurnished, notwithstanding there is a great demand
for hospital accommodation.  8. The Marylebone and Paddington Hospital,
opened in 1850, has 150 beds, which it is proposed to increase to 376,
supposing the necessary funds to be forthcoming.  This, and the four last
mentioned hospitals, depend wholly, or almost wholly, on voluntary
subscriptions, which are said to be very insufficient to meet the demands
upon them.  The University College and King’s College Hospitals, and
Charing Cross Hospital, are smaller establishments of the same nature,
each accommodating about 120 patients, and there are other establishments
of the same description.  Medical schools are connected with the above
hospitals, in which lectures are delivered by the officers, and which are
attended by several hundreds of students.  Within the last few years the
number of medical students has considerably decreased.



PORTLAND PLACE.


The worst effects of drunkenness are, perhaps, after all, its indirect
ones.  It is a sad sight to see man stricken down in his prime, and woman
in her beauty; to see individuals’ hopes and prospects blighted; to see
in that carcase staggering by the utter wreck and ruin of an immortal
soul.  But this is but a small portion of the damage done to humanity by
the ravages of intemperance.  Look at our great social evil.  I need not
name it.  No one who walks the streets of London by night requires to be
informed what that is.  Has drink nothing to do with it?  Ask that
unfortunate, who has just commenced her evening’s walk.  She will tell
you that when she parted with her innocence she had previously been
drugged with drink; that if it were not for drink she could not pursue
her unhallowed career; that her victims are stimulated by drink; and that
without the gin-palace or the public-house she and such as she could not
exist.  I do not now speak of the worst forms of prostitution, of the
gin-palaces in the East frequented by drunken sailors, where women are
kept as a source of attraction and revenue; but of the better classes, of
the dashing women who are supplied with expensive dresses by respectable
Oxford-street tradesmen in the expectation of being paid by some rich
victim; the women whom you meet dressed so gay in Regent-street or
Portland-place.

Once upon a time there was a rascally old nobleman who lived in a big
house in Piccadilly.  Mr. Raikes describes him as “a little sharp-looking
man, very irritable, and swore like 10,000 troopers, enormously rich, and
very selfish.”  He sat all day long at a low window, leering at beauty as
it passed by, and under his window was a groom waiting on horseback to
carry his messages to any one whom he remarked in the street.  If one did
not know that we lived in a highly moral age, one would fancy many such
old noblemen lived in the neighbourhood of Portland-place, for in the
streets leading thence, and reaching as far back as Tottenham-court-road,
we have an immense female population, all existing and centred there, who
live by vicious means—all with the common feeling of their sex rooted out
and destroyed; all intended by nature to diffuse happiness around; all a
curse on all with whom they have to do.  In this small circle, there is
enough vicious leaven to leaven all London.  It is impossible to get a
true estimate of their number.  Guesses of all kinds have been made, but
none are exactly to be depended on.  In a great capital like ours, where
wealthy sensualists can and do pay enormous sums for the gratification of
their whims—(I have seen it stated that on one occasion a gentleman went
into a house in Norton-street with a £500 bank-note, and after staying a
few hours received but £20 change)—it is not alone the professedly
vicious—the class whom we call prostitutes—who prostitute themselves.  As
fine shops are pointed out in fashionable streets, which are said to be
houses of the most infamous description, in spite of the display of lace
and millinery in the window, so there are thousands of women, supposed to
be respectable, and to live in a respectable manner, who yet are to all
intents and purposes prostitutes, though they would not be classified as
such.  Now the number of this latter class is much exaggerated.  Towards
the close of the last century, when the population of London amounted to
about a million, Dr. Colquhoun, magistrate of the Thames Police, asserted
the number of prostitutes to be at least 50,000.  If prostitution has
followed the same ratio of increase as the population, the number now
must be considered as truly appalling.  But evidently the Doctor’s
estimate is exaggerated.  At a period much nearer to our own, Mr.
Chadwick puts down the number, excluding the City, at 7,000; Mr. Mayne,
at from 8,000 to 10,000.  The City Police estimates the number at 8,000,
and this estimate is supported by Dr. Ryan, and Mr. Talbot, secretary to
the Association formed in London for the protection of young girls.  This
is a very high figure; but a recent French writer tells us that in
London, in the higher ranks of life, the proportion of vicious women to
virtuous are as one to three! and in the lower ranks virtue does not
exist at all!!!  At any rate, there is reason to believe that in London
there are 5,000 infamous houses.  If besides we reckon up the
procuresses, the keepers of low gin-palaces and beer-shops, where women
are the bait, we are lost and bewildered, and dare not trust ourselves to
give in numbers any idea of the persons directly and indirectly connected
with prostitution, or of the sum spent annually in London on that vice
alone.  And all this is carried on in the most methodical way.  There are
men and women whose constant employment is to search all parts of the
metropolis for fresh victims; and to them young girls from the country
and servant maids-of-all-work are easy prey.  Then letters are written
and sent to the clubs and to the patrons of such infamy, and they are
furnished with all the particulars, and the price of the victim’s willing
or unwilling seduction and shame.  This state of things is progressive.
Last year the returns of the City missionaries show an increase in their
districts of fallen women to the number of 1,035.  Of course it is only
with the dregs that the City missionary comes in contact.  While a woman
preserves her health, and youth, and good looks, she lives in better
quarters than those into which the City missionary generally finds his
way.  For a time she is gay; she dresses fine, spends money freely,
drinks, and sings, and then prematurely becomes old, and sad, and poor.

Is this ever to be so?  Is woman always to sell herself to man?  And is
man to dream that the smile thus bought is no lie, but a precious truth?
I don’t suppose that if men were temperate universal chastity would be
the result; but that we should have less immorality is, I think, an
admitted fact.  Why are women, prostitutes?  Chiefly, we are told,
because of poverty; and of all causes of poverty, is not intemperance the
greatest?  Would you see how one vice is connected with another?  Come up
Portland-place at night.  True, there are no public-houses here, but they
are plentiful enough in the neighbourhood; and in them all night the men
and painted women from Portland-place madden themselves with drink.  Yes,
here are the women that should have been British wives and mothers
utterly perverted, and dragging down with them many a heart that might
have emerged into a noble life.  Lust and intemperance have slain them.
“Lost, lost, lost for ever!” is the cry that greets us as we look at
them.

An association has been formed in this neighbourhood to wipe away this
plague spot.  In their report, the committee state, when the movement
commenced, which issued in the establishment of the association at the
close of 1857, the condition of the districts (All Souls and Trinity),
comprising the streets lying immediately to the eastward of
Portland-place, was perfectly appalling.  It was then calculated that in
those streets there were not less than 140 notorious houses of ill-fame,
containing from six to ten fallen women each, which fearful array of
prostitution was swelled by a large number of young women, lodging in the
districts, who were known to be gaining their livelihood nominally by
working for shops, but principally by the means of night prostitution.
One natural result of this dense aggregation of depravity in a narrow
spot was the front of insolent and shameless defiance which vice had put
on.  Indecent exhibitions in broad day from the windows of these houses,
utterances the most revolting, that startled and shocked the ear of the
passenger who had unwarily penetrated these haunts of infamy, together
with the outrageous conduct of the unhappy children of shame, who even
before the shades of night had fallen were wont to come forth in hundreds
upon the pavements of Portland-place and Regent-street, seemed to
indicate a determination that no vestige of respectability should be
suffered to linger in a neighbourhood which not thirty years before was
as pure and as much resorted to as any of the most favoured districts of
western London.  The keepers of these houses were many of them
foreigners; some were known to the police as determined forgers,
gamblers, and thieves.  Others, indeed the principal part, were females
grown old in the path of depravity, in whose bosom every spark of womanly
tenderness had become quenched; who could treat, indeed, with a show of
kindness the unhappy girls they had enticed to their doors, so long as
they were able to satisfy their exorbitant demands, but who did not
hesitate to cast them out into a deeper degradation, or utter
destitution, the moment a decay of their attractions or ill health had
disabled them from paying the extravagant charges for their hired rooms
and dresses.  Riotous and brutal outrages were constantly taking place in
these houses, and evidence that crimes of violence and sensuality of the
darkest type had been enacted in them came to light.  It was, moreover,
ascertained that among those wretched traders in sin were those who had
embarked in a still more repulsive branch of their guilty trade, and were
making large gains by turning their houses into receptacles for young
unfallen girls imported from abroad, who were sold over from time to time
to the neighbouring brothel keepers.  Such was the awful moral pestilence
which, up to that time, was raging unchecked, and year by year it was
rapidly enlarging the area of its ravages.

At the meeting held to receive this report, the Rev. Mr. Garnier stated
that “he visited himself a house in Norton-street, where in one room he
saw a seat placed around so as to hold as many of the poor creatures as
possible on a day that was appointed for brothel keepers, to attend and
bid for their purchase (hear, and much sensation).  The unfortunate girls
thus disposed of were brought from abroad, and while connected with the
House of Commons he had the best evidence of this, for noblemen and
members of parliament showed letters they continually received soliciting
them to partake of the depravity (much sensation).  The letters spoke of
a beautiful girl just imported from Belgium or France, and the nobleman
or gentleman, whichever he might be, was asked to visit her, as she was
at his service.  In one case a letter was received from the rectory
district of that parish (Marylebone), in which it was stated that a girl
at a certain address was ready to be given up to lust to the highest
bidder.  These letters were addressed to the Speaker as well as the
members of the House of Commons, and this, together with the spectacle he
(the Rev. gentleman) witnessed in Norton-street, was, he considered, very
good evidence of the abominable traffic that was carried on in this
country.

“The Rev. Mr. Marks said, within the last fifteen months he was called to
visit three Jewesses, painful as the duty was, and this visit was made in
the Rev. Mr. Garnier’s district.  These three girls had been imported for
the purposes of prostitution (hear, hear).  In one case alone he was
enabled to take the poor creature from the abominable vice that
threatened her, and sent her home; and he nearly succeeded with another,
but with regret—aye, deep regret, he said so—he was prevented.  A sum of
£200 had been offered to retain the girl, and this sum was offered by the
brother of an M.P.”

The discussion of the delicate question, as the _Times_ terms it, has
lately received new light in an unexpected quarter.  The victims
themselves have taken to writing.  “Another Unfortunate” describes her
parents.  They were drunkards—their chief expense was gin—their children
were left to grow up without moral training of any kind.  The writer
says:—“We heard nothing of religion.  Sometimes when a neighbour died we
went to the burial, and thus got within a few steps of the church.  If a
grand funeral chanced to fall in our way we went to see that, too—the
fine black horses and nodding plumes—as we went to see the soldiers when
we could for a lark.  No parson ever came near us.  The place where we
lived was too dirty for nicely-shod gentlemen.  ‘The publicans and
sinners’ of our circumscribed, but thickly-populated locality had no
‘friend’ among them.  Our neighbourhood furnished many subjects to the
treadmill, the hulks, and the colonies, and some to the gallows.  We
lived with the fear of these things, and not with the fear of God before
our eyes.”  From such a training could we expect otherwise?  The writer
asks what business has society to persecute such as she: a corrupt tree
cannot bring forth good fruit; the unfortunate is the fruit, and society
is the tree.

It is in vain that we reclaim the women.  The only remedy—the only way to
put down the social evil—is to reclaim the men.



MARK-LANE.


On a Monday morning, especially on the Eastern Counties lines, the trains
running into town have an unusually large number of passengers.  They
consist generally of the jolly-looking fellows who, at the time of the
cattle show, take the town by storm, and fill every omnibus and cab, and
dining room, and place of public amusement, and then as suddenly retire
as if they were a Tartar horde, dashing into some rich and luxurious
capital, then vanishing with their booty, none know whither.  However,
penetrate into Mark-lane, you may see them every Monday and Friday,
smelling very strong of tobacco smoke—for, although smoking is absurdly
and strictly prohibited on railways, it is a known fact that people will
smoke nevertheless—and with the air of men who are not troubled about
trifles, and have their pockets well lined with cash.  These are the
merchants and millers and maltsters of Mark-lane.  All England waits for
their reports; their decisions affect the prices of grain at Chicago on
one side, and far in the ports of the Black Sea on the other.  Bread is
the staff of life, and its traffic affects the weal or woe of empires.
Prices low in Mark-lane, and in the garrets of London, in the cellars of
Manchester, in the wynds of Edinburgh, there is joy.  As we may suppose,
the trade in grain is one of the most ancient in the world.  There were
corn merchants and millers long before Mark-lane was built.  Originally
the corn merchants of the metropolis assembled at a place called Bark’s
Quay, where now the Custom-house stands.  Then they moved into
Whitechapel, somewhere near Aldgate Church, and then the Corn Exchange in
Mark-lane was built.  Originally there was but one exchange, that erected
in 1749, which is private property, and the money for which was raised in
eighty hundred-pound shares; each share at this time being worth £1,300.
This, I believe, is the only metropolitan market for corn, grain, and
seeds.  The market days are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; hours, ten to
three.  Wheat is paid for in bills at one month, and other corn and grain
in bills at two months.  The Kentish hoymen, distinguishable by their
sailors’ jackets, have stands free of expense, and pay less for metage
and dues than others, and the Essex dealers enjoy some privileges; in
both cases said to be in consideration of the men of Kent and Essex
having continued to supply the city when it was ravaged by the plague.
Old Mark-lane consists of an open Doric colonnade, within which the
factors have their stands.  It resembles the atrium, or place of audience
in the Pompeian house, with its impluvium, the place in the centre in
which the rain fell.  In this market, managed by a committee and
secretary, there was no foreign competition.  At this time there are
about seventy-two stands, and more than a hundred subscribers of five
guineas each.  I believe the stands are from thirty to forty pounds a
year.  Now at one time this place was quite a close borough.  There were
more factors than the place could hold, and when a stand was vacant it
was given to some poor broken-down man, who would not be likely to
interfere with the jolly business which the rest were carrying on.  The
excluded were very indignant.  They planted themselves in Mark-lane.
They did business in the street outside the Exchange.  They were men of
equal standing and respectability with any of the privileged; and after
an immense amount of grumbling and growling, they did as most Englishmen
would have done—went to Parliament, and got an Act to have a second
Exchange erected side by side with the old one.  This second erection was
completed in 1826, and in the partition are now a couple of arches, which
were placed there in order that, if at any time the old Exchange were
amalgamated with the new—a consummation of which there seems no chance at
present—the whole may be formed into one capacious market.  The new
Exchange has a central Grecian Doric portico, surmounted by imperial arms
and agricultural emblems, the ends having corresponding pilasters.  Here
lightermen and granary-keepers have stands as well as corn merchants,
factors, and millers.  At the further end of this building there is a
seed-market; nor is this all.  Attached to the new Exchange is an hotel,
in the upper room of which is an auction room for the sale of damaged
cargoes; and on the other side—that is, above the old Exchange—is a
subscription refreshment room, known as Jack’s, where most of the Norfolk
flour is sold, a great deal of it being paid for in ready money, and then
resold again downstairs, on the usual credit, the profit on such a
transaction being the odd threepence or sixpence, which becomes a
respectable sum if you buy or sell a thousand quarters.  Up here are the
millers or their agents in large quantities.  “We are not,” said one to
the writer, “the rogues the world takes us for.  If we don’t sell good
flour, the bakers can’t sell their bread.”  Let us hope this is true; but
in these days of universal rascaldom, when gold, no matter how
dishonestly acquired, makes its possessor an object of respect, and not
of scorn, what wonder is it that we believe that there are rogues in
grain as well as in other trades?  In the middle of the old Exchange you
will see an immense number of foreigners; these are Greeks, living all
together in the neighbourhood of Finsbury-square, who are gradually
getting all the foreign trade—what are our English merchants about?—of
the country into their hands.  It is the Greeks, not the English, who buy
up the corn shipped from the ports of the Black Sea, and pour it into the
English market.  Besides these Greeks, you will see captains of vessels
in great numbers waiting to hear if their cargoes are sold, and where
they are to be taken.  A busy scene is Mark-lane, especially on a Monday.
The malt tax in 1857 was £6,470,010, which represents an enormous amount
of malt, of which a great part is sold in Mark-lane.  In the year 1857
there were imported into the United Kingdom 3,473,957 quarters of wheat,
1,701,470 of barley, 1,710,299 of oats, 76,048 of rye, 159,899 of peas,
305,775 of beans, 1,150,783 of Indian corn, 188 of buck-wheat, and 2,763
of bere or bigg; and in the same year there were imported 2,184,176 cwts.
of flour and meal.  Then we must not forget the home produce, which is
principally brought into London by ships, though a great deal of it comes
up by rail.  In London alone the consumption of wheat in the shape of
flour and otherwise may be estimated at upwards of 1,600,000 quarters a
year.  But Mark-lane is not, like Smithfield, a market for London alone.
On the contrary, it is attended by buyers from all parts of the country.
The cargoes in the river sold at Mark-lane may be landed at Leith, or
Glasgow, or Liverpool, or even in the distant ports of Cork, or Belfast,
or Dublin.  Well may there be a bustle in Mark-lane.  At eleven the
market commences, and at the various stands preparations are made for the
business of the day by untying and placing on the stands little bags
containing samples of every conceivable species of grain eatable by man
or beast.  At the end of the day the floor is covered with the samples
which the buyer, after rubbing over in his hands and inspecting, has
thrown down.  The sweepings are afterwards gathered up and sold, and
realise, I believe, a very handsome sum in the course of the year.  At
half-past two a beadle rings a bell, and no more are permitted to enter
the Exchange.  Those that are there hastily finish their business, tie up
their samples, swallow a chop, rush off to their respective termini, and
in two or three hours are perhaps more than a hundred miles away.
Mark-lane for the rest of the week is a dull, dirty lane, with but few
passengers, and very dark and dull indeed.

Yet Mark-lane has its romances.  Look around you; not a man perhaps but
can tell you of enormous profits and enormous losses.  The trade carried
on here is of so speculative a character that but few realise money by it
after all.  Come to this stand.  It was calculated the other day that the
firm carrying on business here were losing at the rate of a thousand
pounds per hour.  Hear this factor: “I once bought some Windsor beans at
an early hour in the morning at 32s. a quarter, and sold them the same
day at 64s.”  Yet our informant has been compelled to settle with his
creditors.  You may point to me a man who has not been reduced to this,
but he is a _rara avis_, and he can tell you how, perhaps, another day or
another hour would have made him a bankrupt.  The rule is a crisis and a
crash; not a disgraceful one—for the unlucky ones, many of them, manage
to pay twenty shillings in the pound eventually—but a crisis and a
temporary suspension.  In some cases where a man has been in trade many
years, and has accumulated a handsome fortune, one unlucky speculation
scatters it all, and compels him—old, and destitute of the energy of
youth—to begin business again.  This is hard, but it cannot be helped.
Men who have been on the Exchange long can tell you funny stories of how
they came at seven in the morning and cleared handsome sums of money
before they went home to breakfast, and broke all the laws against
regrating and forestalling which the thoughtful stupidity of our
ancestors had devised—in order that bread, the staff of life, might not
be high in price—on a most royal scale.  We do not hear of such things
now, nor do the mobs of London now break into the Quaker Chapels to see
if the flour is hidden there—an amiable weakness to which the mob was
much given towards the end of the last century, when wheat was at famine
prices, and the loaf was cheap at two and tenpence.  We are fallen upon
better days, upon days of free trade, when the English artisan, in order
that bread may be cheap, has his emissaries and agents scouring all parts
of the old world and the new.



PREACHING AT ST. PAUL’S CATHEDRAL.


In that celebrated chapter in which Gibbon explains the rise and progress
on natural grounds of the Christian religion, it has always seemed to us
that he has not done justice to the immense influence which the
institution of the pulpit must originally have possessed.  Had he gone no
further than the pages of his New Testament, the distinguished historian
would have found many an instance of oratorical success.  He would have
read how Herod quailed before the rude orator who in the desert drew
multitudes to hear him as he proclaimed the advent of the Messiah, and
warned a generation of vipers to flee from the wrath to come; he would
have read how, whilst the Teacher spake as never man spake, the common
people heard him gladly; how Felix trembled in his pride and power, and
how the polished intellect of Athens listened, and admired, and believed,
while Paul preached of an unknown God.  It is true that in a subsequent
chapter Gibbon does not altogether ignore the pulpit, and admits the
sacred orators possessed some advantages over the advocate or the
tribune.  “The arguments and rhetoric of the latter,” he writes, “were
instantly opposed with equal arms by skilful and resolute antagonists,
and the cause of truth and reason might derive an accidental support from
the conflict of hostile passions.  The bishop, or some distinguished
presbyter to whom he cautiously delegated the powers of preaching,
harangued without the danger of interruption or reply a submissive
multitude whose minds had been prepared and subdued by the awful
ceremonies of religion.  Such was the strict subordination of the Roman
Catholic Church, that the same concerted sounds might issue at once from
a hundred pulpits of Italy or Egypt, if they were _tuned_ by the master
hand of the Roman or Alexandrian bishop.”  But much more than this may be
said.  Wonderful is the power of oratory.  Gibbon may have under-rated
it, for we know that he never could summon up the requisite courage to
make a speech in Parliament; but nevertheless rare power is his, who can
speak what will touch the hearts, and form the opinion, and mould the
lives of men.  The more unlettered be the age, the more triumphant will
be this power; and when the theme is the stupendous one of religion—when
in it, according to the belief of preacher and hearer, eternal interests
are involved—woe that shall never pass away—joy that shall never
die—when, moreover, this living appeal is put in the place of dead form
or dreary routine, what wonder is it that before it should fade away the
pagan faith of Greece or Rome?  The pulpit and Christianity are
identical.  In times of reformation and revival, the pulpit has ever been
a power.  When spiritual darkness has come down upon the land—when the
oracles have been dumb—when the sacred fire on the altar has ceased to
burn, the pulpit has been a form, a perquisite, a sham, rather than a
message of peace and glad tidings to the weary and heavy laden.

How comes it to pass that in these days the pulpit of the Establishment
has failed to be this?  Mr. Christmas, a clergyman of the Established
Church, in a volume recently published, seeks to answer this question.
To use his own language, “the author had long felt that through some
cause or other the Church had not secured that hold on the attention of
the multitude without which her ministration could be but partially
effective.”  Why, even in these few lines we see a reason of the failure
which Mr. Christmas mourns.  Clergymen live in a world of their own, and
will not look at facts as worldly men are compelled to do.  Now, as a
matter of fact, the Church of England is not the church, but merely a
section of the church; and yet you cannot go into an episcopalian place
of worship but you hear what the church says—what the church holds—what
the church commands—when common sense tells every one that the speaker is
merely referring to the Establishment in England, and that even if he
were appealing to the custom and tradition of that body of believers
which, in all countries and ages, constitutes the church, the inquiry is
of little consequence after all—the appeal, in reality, being to the
Bible, and the Bible alone, which, in the well-worn language of
Chillingworth, is the religion of Protestants.  Thus is it so much
preaching in the Church of England fails to reach and attract the masses.
The ministers will deal in fictions—will exclaim, “Hear the church”—will
wander away from topics of human interest into questions with which the
educated (and still more the uneducated) mind has no sympathy.  The
middle-class public go to hear—for it is the genteel thing to go to
church—but they sit silent, passive, exhausted by the long preliminary
service, wearied, and unmoved.  What wonder is it that the more
independent and manly—the men who do not fear Mrs. Grundy—who are not
afraid of conventionalisms, either stop at home, or leave the
Establishment for the more living service of dissent?  Mr. Christmas
observes:—“Few will venture to say that the style of preaching most
valued among nonconformists is inferior to that heard from the pulpits of
the Establishment.”  The reason is not far to seek: dissent has no
ancient prestige to plead; dissent has no rich endowment to fall back on;
dissent lives on and is strong in spite of the cold shade of aristocracy,
or of the sneer of the bigot or the fool; dissent depends upon the
pulpit.  If that be weak and cold, and dull and dim, dissent melts like
snow beneath the warm breath of the south.  Dissent reminds us more than
the Establishment of the earlier period of Christianity, of the
Carpenter’s Son who had not where to lay his head; whose apostles were
fishermen, and whose kingdom, to use His own emphatic declaration, “was
not of this world.”  The public mind is shocked and estranged when it
hears the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as he did the other day, defending
a recent ecclesiastical appointment, on the plea that the fortunate
individual was a man of blameless life, of high family, and great wealth.
“Mr. A. B.,” says Mr. Christmas, “must be a clergyman, and Mr. A. B. has
not the gift of utterance.  Well, he will be able to read his sermons,
and the rest of his brethren do the like.  It is no detriment to a man’s
prospects that the church is half empty when he preaches.  ‘He is a very
learned man—or a very well connected man—or a very good man—or an
excellent parish priest: it is a pity he is not more successful in the
pulpit; but then, really, preaching is the smallest part of a clergyman’s
duty.’”  Such is the way in which such a subject is treated within the
pale of the Establishment.

But the Sunday Evening Service at St. Paul’s Cathedral is an answer to
all this.  Let us see!  On a cold winter evening, underneath its
magnificent dome, are seated some three thousand well-dressed people.  On
the first occasion of holding evening service, the scene was rather
indecorous for Sunday evening.  A large number of those who had been
unable to obtain admission to the service were lingering about the south
door, and as the carriages of the Lord Mayor and other civic dignitaries
were leaving with their occupants, the assembled crowd gave vent to their
feelings by unmistakable groans of displeasure, as if they considered
themselves to have been unfairly excluded.  But this is over—the thing
has become a fact.  The audience has toned down to the level English
standard of propriety.  The sublime service, in spite of its length and
monotony, has been listened to with a patience almost devout; and the
choir, “200 trebles and altos, 150 tenors, and 150 basses,” the largest
and most complete choir that was ever yet organised, has done its part to
heighten the rapture and piety of the night.  A clergyman now ascends the
pulpit to preach.  He is a popular clergyman—the crowd to-night is larger
than it has ever yet been—active, learned, industrious, charitable,
devout.  He is the Rev. Canon Dale, rector of St. Pancras.  Yet what is
his theme?  The Church—the Mother of us all—the divinely appointed means
of man’s recovery from the power and the consequence of sin.  Is not this
a fatal blunder?  What man wants is, not the Church, but the message it
proclaims—the voice itself, not the messenger—the good tidings of great
joy, not the human instruments by which they are revealed to man.

But this service shows the strength of the church in the metropolis.  The
reply to this, we fear, is unsatisfactory.  The present able Bishop of
London is endeavouring to procure a union of the City churches.  The
answers to the inquiries of the bishop made by the clergy present some
curious features.  The Rev. J. Charlesworth, rector of the joint parishes
of St. Mildred, Bread-street, and St. Margaret Moses, replies in answer
to the bishop’s interrogatories that the largest attendance at any of his
church services is ten, that his net income is £220 a year, and that the
population is 258.  The Rev. J. Minchin, rector of the joint parishes of
St. Mildred, Poultry, and St. Mary, Colechurch, reports that the largest
attendance at his service is 30, his net income £280, and the population
600.  The Rev. Thomas Darling, rector of St. Michael Paternoster Royal
and St. Martin’s Vintry, reports that his largest attendance is 25, his
net income £240, population 430.  The Rev. Dr. Kynaston, high master of
St. Paul’s School, reports that the attendance at the church of the joint
parishes of St. Nicholas Cole Abbey and St. Nicholas Olave, of which he
is rector, is 30, his income £263, with a house in good repair,
population 592.  The Rev. Charles Mackenzie, rector of the joint parishes
of St. Benet, Gracechurch, and St. Leonard, Eastcheap, states the
attendance at 48, net income £287, population 300.  The Rev. Dr.
Stebbing, rector of St. Mary Somerset and St. Mary Woolchurch Haw,
reports that his largest attendance is 40, net income £250, population
unknown.  The Rev. Thomas Jones, rector of Allhallows, Lombard-street,
reports that his largest attendance is 50, his net income £396,
population 456.  The Rev. F. J. Stainforth, incumbent of Allhallows
Staining, reports that his largest attendance is 50, net income £800,
population 500.  Many more of the same sort might be given from the
official returns, and in some cases there is an attendance of 100 or 150
persons where the income of the incumbent is upwards of £1,000 a year.

One reason of this wretched state of things we have hinted at.  The
removal of the city population, we may be told, is another: but the
population in the neighbourhood of these places is sufficient to fill
them were the population given to church-going.  With all due deference,
we would fain ask the clergy if they do not fail to attract the public,
owing to their themes and manner of treating them?  Some preachers always
manage to bring in the Old Testament dispensation.  The preacher is
dwelling among the priests and Levites: perpetually he tells you what the
Jews did and did not; how they were a stiff-necked people; how they went
after strange gods; how their nation was blotted out, and their temple
razed to the ground, and their very name became a reproach.  Man needs
not the Hebrew learning, but the Christian faith; not the voice that
thundered from Sinai, but the accents of mercy that were heard on Calvary
in that awful hour when the earth trembled, when the grave gave up its
dead, when the veil of the Temple was rent in twain, and the Son of Man
died upon the cross.  The preacher of the class we have referred to
almost seems to think otherwise: he ignores the present, and lives only
in the past.  He is worse than a lawyer with his precedents.  His dialect
is obsolete, and a stumbling-block to active, earnest, intelligent living
men, whether rich or poor.  He is like a man with corks, who is afraid to
cut them off, and strike out boldly for himself.  He cannot ask you for a
penny for a new church without showing how liberally the Jews supported
the public worship of their day.  He is great in Deuteronomy and
Leviticus.  He seems as if he could have no faith in Christianity unless
he could lock it up with Old Testament texts.  “I fear,” writes Erasmus,
in his “Age of Religious Revolution,” “two things—that the study of
Hebrew will promote Judaism, and that the study of philology will revive
Paganism.”  Really we sometimes are inclined to believe that the first
fear has been realised.  Many a preacher reminds us of Bishop Corbett’s
“Distracted Puritan,” when he says—

    “In the blessed tongue of Canaan
       I placed my chiefest pleasure,
    ’Till I prick’d my foot with a Hebrew root,
       And it bled beyond all measure.”

We can well imagine many a preacher thus speaking, and feel disposed to
wish that such might prick their feet with Hebrew roots till they wholly
discontinue their references to extinct forms of worship, and apply the
truth that Christ came to preach to man’s present position—to the hopes
and fears—to the struggles and duties—to the passions and vanities of
to-day.  There is progress everywhere.  Why should preaching be the
exception?  If, as is admitted, the eloquence of the bar or senate has
declined, may we not naturally conclude that in that of the pulpit there
has been a falling off as well, especially when we remember how much the
press has supplemented the latter?  Verily, the clergy, whether in or out
of the Establishment, must exert themselves.  The nation demands that the
enormous wealth and patronage possessed by the latter be devoted to
something more than refined enjoyment or epicurean ease.  It is not
churches we want, but parsons.  An orator can preach anywhere, as well
from an old tub as from a pulpit, costly and consecrated, and curiously
wrought.



AN OMNIBUS YARD.


In one of the remotest of the Fejee Islands some Wesleyan missionaries,
in the year 1851, landed a pair of horses.  We read general excitement
prevailed at the towns near, and a great muster gathered on the beach at
the day of landing.  It was long before the native mind got reconciled to
the phenomenon.  The people, we are told, were terrified if approached by
a horse.  They would jump into the river, run up cocoa-nut and other
trees, and climb houses for safety while the animal passed their place.
In England this stage of terror has long been passed, and horses
themselves are gradually giving place to steam.

Nevertheless, for short traffic—for transit to places where the snort of
the steam engine will never be heard—for crooked ways inimical to
machinery—for the convenience of those who like to be taken up and set
down at their own doors—for the comfort of the nervous, whose firm belief
is, that for the regular railway traveller a fatal smash is only a
question of time, the London omnibus is a permanent institution.  It is
difficult to perceive how people managed before it had an existence—when
the fare from Highbury to the Bank was a shilling, and when the traveller
for the journey from Highgate to London, along the dreary wastes of
Holloway, paid no less than half-a-crown, and when even for that
exorbitant sum, as it would now be deemed, you had no chance of a trip
unless you had booked your place.  In those times happy—yea, thrice
happy—were the fathers of families living beyond the sound of Bow bells.
In these, how can a man help going to the bad, rise he ever so early, or
sit he up ever so late, eat he ever so of the bread of carefulness, if
mamma and daughters can ride from the furthest suburbs—from remote
Peckham or airy Paddington—for the ridiculously small sum of sixpence, or
even less, in a vehicle as luxuriously fitted up as a private carriage,
to the shops so tempting to the female mind of the fashionable and
dissipated West?  Happily the evil is tending to cure itself.  The ladies
have acquired a mode of dressing which simply renders, in the majority of
cases, the use of an omnibus an impossibility.

The date of the London omnibus is not ancient.  Mr. Shillibeer, in his
evidence before the Board of Health, stated that on July 7th, 1829, he
started the first pair of omnibuses in the metropolis, from the Bank to
the Yorkshire Stingo, New-road, copied from Paris, where omnibuses had
been established in 1819, by M. Lafitte, the banker.  Each omnibus was
drawn by three horses abreast, had no outside passengers, and carried
twenty-two inside.  Now the same distance is traversed by omnibuses
carrying twenty-four passengers—twelve inside and twelve out—and drawn by
two horses, for sixpence.  At one time the passengers were provided with
periodicals—a custom that would be quite superfluous when for a penny the
traveller can get all the day’s news.  Shillibeer’s first conductors were
two sons of British naval officers, who were succeeded by young men in
velvet liveries.  Shillibeer met with the usual fate of those who labour
for the public, and was ruined; but the system he introduced has expanded
with the growth of London, and has reached a gigantic extent.  One
company alone—the General Omnibus Company—a company which has effected a
thorough reform in the omnibus service, and deserves the thanks of the
public, had, in the first half year of the year 1858, 602 omnibuses
running, travelling in the half-year 5,815,036 miles, and carrying
16,800,000 passengers, and pays Government a duty of £4,000 a month.  As
their yard in Highbury is the largest of the kind, let me conduct the
reader thither.

On the main Islington road, not far from Highbury-corner, just opposite
Union Chapel, there is a stable-yard, at the entrance of which there are
generally two or three ’buses changing horses; a board over it denotes
that it is the stabling of the London General Omnibus Company.  If we go
up that yard we shall find that we are in a vast square, occupying nearly
twenty acres of ground, and running as far back as the Liverpool-road.
To the right of us are enormous stables, each stable containing forty
horses, all comfortably bedded down in straw, resting after their
labours, and recruiting their strength for fresh ones.  The horses do not
work too hard, not more than three hours out of the twenty-four, and
consume daily 18 lbs. of corn and 10 lbs. of chaff.  To each omnibus—with
the exception of the few drawn by three horses, which have a dozen—there
are ten horses attached—which are never changed—which are all numbered,
and the fullest particulars of which are entered in a book kept by the
active and intelligent foreman of the yard.  There is a horse-keeper to
each set, who knows the times of his omnibus, and acts accordingly.  In
the middle of the yard is an immense shed, under which the omnibuses are
drawn at night and washed and cleaned for the next day.  This washing is
done very easily.  An enormous tank, holding 27,000 gallons of water,
supplies several tubs, against which each omnibus is placed.  There is a
watchman, who comes on at nine at night and receives the omnibuses as
they come in, and ranges them in the order in which, on the following
morning, they will commence their respective exits.  At half-past seven
the first omnibus leaves the yard; the next follows eight minutes
afterwards, and so on all the rest of the day.  The omnibuses that
commence early, finish their day’s work about nine.  Those who go on duty
later wait and bring home the pleasure-seekers returning from the
theatres and exhibitions, and other places of public resort.  For the
accommodation of these latter classes extra omnibuses are required.  Some
of the omnibuses, we must add, work early and late; but then they have a
good rest in the middle of the day.  It is a hard life, that of an
omnibus—citizens are apt to get fat, and stones are very trying.  At a
considerable expense, every ’bus must be done up and repainted and
revarnished every two years.  The original cost of each ’bus is about
£120.  They are all built in the yard, of iron and good oak and ash.  In
one part of the premises there is a steam-engine at work, sawing wood and
turning machinery.  In another part there are ’buses in all stages of
development—here a frame, there a complete body, and there one with
wheels waiting for the varnish, and paint and velvet cushions and plate
glass, which shall make it differ from what it now is, as does Sappho

       “At her toilette’s greasy task,
    With Sappho fragrant at an evening mask.”

But let us return to the horses.  We have spoken of those in good health
and in active work.  Some of them are really capital cattle; and I was
shown a pair of chestnuts worth at least a hundred pounds.  We will now
proceed to the infirmary, just premising that in so enormous a yard every
precaution is taken against disease.  A man is constantly at work
whitewashing the stables.  This takes him four months, and by the time he
has done he has to commence anew.  The infirmary consists of a series of
roomy, brick stables, very warm and snug, where the dumb animals are
treated more tenderly than many Christians.  In another part there is a
large inclosure, more than half covered, but open on one side for the
recovery of the horses, who, having nothing particularly the matter with
them, but who have lived too fast or worked too much, require a month or
two of rest.  The aged and the incurable are drafted off and sent to the
repository, and sold for a few pounds.  Let me add, even these horses
continue their philanthropic career.  No longer engaged in conveying the
verdant youth of the metropolis to business or pleasure, they drag greens
from door to door.  The shoeing forge is close by.  The physicking and
shoeing is taken by contract, by one man.  He must have enough to do, as
in this yard and the one close by are generally a thousand horses.  The
food, prepared by steam, is ground at the depôt in Bell-lane.

Now for a word about the men.  There are about three hundred in the
Highbury yard.  The coachmen have six shillings, the conductors four
shillings a day, and are paid daily.  The horse-keepers have a guinea a
week.  The artisans employed in the carriage department earn from thirty
to fifty shillings a week.  There are two sick clubs, one for the
coachmen and conductors, who pay sixpence a week, and receive when ill
fourteen shillings a week—and one for the horse-keepers, who pay
threepence a week, and receive when on the sick list ten shillings
weekly.  On Sunday evening Divine Service is held in the harness-room,
fitted up for that purpose.  This was commenced by Sir Horace St. Paul.
Once a year a grand tea-meeting is held, at which all the servants of the
company, with their wives and families, are present, and addresses are
delivered by Sir Horace St. Paul, Mr. Hanbury, M.P., and other
philanthropists; and for those who wish to improve a leisure hour, a
small reading-room is opened, access to which may be had on the payment
of a penny weekly.  On the table are some newspapers and illustrated
periodicals, and thus not only is a little mental stimulus provided, but
the men are not driven to spend their money in a public-house.  This is a
feature of the yard which cannot be too highly commended, and which I am
sure if it were known the general public would be happy to support.  The
men are satisfied, I think.  One of them I had known in better days
seemed glad to have secured a berth as a driver.  One informed me that he
had £100, which he had told his Missus to draw out of the savings bank
and place in the custody of the Royal British; but his Missus was
obstinate, and her obstinacy saved the cash.  Some of the men are
teetotallers, and those who wish to attend church or chapel on the Sunday
can do so.  It is an advantage in a great company that it cannot resort
to the little meanness and persecution of which a single proprietor may
be guilty.  The latter may underpay his servants, keep them at work all
day, or take every advantage of them in every possible way.  But if a
great company does this, the public cries shame.  But we must be off.
Once more we find ourselves in the road; a ’bus comes up—we climb the
roof—we have seen baronets and M.P.’s get inside; an opposition ’bus is
behind; “All right!” cries the conductor.  Merrily we rush on, exclaiming
mentally—

    “Ore favete omnes et tempora cingite ramis.”

As a contrast, let me quote the following from Miss Meteyard’s essay on
the history and present condition of the Metropolitan omnibus drivers and
conductors, published in Cassell’s “Working Man’s Friend and Family
Instructor,” in 1850.  Our readers will see that in the last few years a
great and desirable change has been made.  Miss Meteyard says:—“As we
have said, 11,000 individuals are connected with the omnibus labour of
the metropolis.  Of these, 6,000 are drivers and conductors, who work on
an average rather more than sixteen hours a day; namely, from before
eight o’clock in the morning till after twelve o’clock at night.  The
labour connected with railway omnibuses is still severer than this, being
twenty hours each third day, and fourteen on alternate ones.  Nor does
the seventh day bring rest, as in most laborious occupations; work goes
on in precisely the same manner; and, as on some lines of road, the
traffic is greater on Sundays than on other days, the work is so far
heavier.  During the number of hours the men are employed they _have no
rest_.  The driver never leaves his box, except during a few occasional
minutes whilst his horses are changed; and he has, therefore, to take his
meals during these periods, and usually upon the coach-box, as, where the
men have wives and families, some member of them may be often seen
handing up the tea or dinner in a can or basket.  As the married portion
of these men universally say, they ‘never see their children except as
they may look at them in bed;’ and as for home, in its commonly-received
sense, or of any of the moral duties connected with it, the one is
unknown, and the other is impossible.  The case of the conductors is
precisely the same, neither having a day’s rest for months together, for
if they take one they have to pay a substitute; and in many cases the
proprietors object to a day’s relaxation, and will not hire men who need
or may ask for it, such being against the laws of their particular
association.  For a loss of time they are fined 2s. 6d., and for a second
or third offence, suspended from a week’s employment, or else dismissed.
Against stringent rules of this kind we should take no objection, were
the hours of labour in any degree of reasonable length; in that case,
stringency would be doubly effective, both as regarded the interest of
the proprietary and public convenience.”

“Looking at this preposterous amount of daily labour, and the evils
which, directly and indirectly, must flow therefrom, in relation to
pauperism, crime, and a low average of life, we should expect to find
omnibus labour highly remunerated.  Yet such is not the case.  On some
roads the drivers receive no more than from twelve to fifteen shillings
for the work of seven days; and out of this they are compelled by their
employers to pay six shillings weekly as beer-money to horse-keepers and
stable-keepers.  Of course, with wages at so low a par, and so much
reduced by outgoings, men would scarcely be found willing to undertake
this week’s work of a hundred and twelve hours, unless each driver were
allowed, as is the case, the privilege of an outside passenger, on the
box beside him, each distance he drives, whether the fare be sixpence or
threepence.  Each driver drives ten or twelve distances per day, each
distance to and fro being about six miles; and thus, in fine weather,
when the generality of male passengers prefer the outside, and the
coach-box is sure of an occupant, the driver’s perquisites may mount up
to a fair weekly sum.  But in wet and bad weather the case is very
different, and these men drive the whole day through without a single
passenger.  This may possibly account for the variable temper of
omnibus-drivers, who, reversing the ordinary process of things, are surly
in fine, and courteous in wet weather, and, caring nothing for patronage
whilst the sun shines, grow civil in times of frost and rain, and
proffer, with parental solicitude, cape, wrapper, and apron.

“Though acting in a more responsible capacity, the conductors, unlike the
drivers, are only daily servants, and liable, and often subject to,
dismissal, at a moment’s notice.  Men once thus dismissed are rarely
employed as conductors again, it being a rule with these combined
proprietors never to employ a man in this capacity who has acted as
conductor in any previous situation.”



THE NEW CATTLE MARKET.


The London public are not of the opinion of Shelley, that flesh of
bullocks and sheep, when properly cooked, is the true cause of original
sin, and that to regain the innocence of the Garden of Eden we have but
to have recourse solely to a vegetarian diet.  This doctrine has never
been a popular one, and from the earliest time the contrary has found
favour in the eyes of men.  With what gusto does Homer describe the
banquets before the walls of Troy, when heroes were the guests, and where
divine Achilles was the head cook!  The custom of eating baked and boiled
is one of the few good things we have to thank antiquity for.  Our jolly
Scandinavian forefathers considered eating horse rump steak a sign of
orthodox paganism; and at this very moment, if the _Times_ be a correct
index of the national sentiment, the great question that agitates the
mind of the middle class public, that public in which, according to
general opinion, all the piety, and patriotism, and wisdom of the land is
concentrated, is not as to peace or war—not as to Reform or Social
Science—or education or religion—not as to how the vice and impiety of
the day may be grappled with and reclaimed—but as to how a man may
genteelly dine his friends, and, with an income of a few hundreds,
provide a repast that shall rival that of one whose income consists of as
many thousands.  Really, the force of folly can no further go.  Hence,
then, it is clear that to the present customs of society a cattle-market
of some kind is essential.  At one time it was held in Smithfield.  There
it was a dangerous nuisance.  The wise men of London did as they
generally do in such matters—first denied that it was a nuisance at all,
and when they were driven from that position, and compelled to yield to
public indignation, moved it a little further off.

It is early morn, and we wend our way to the New Cattle-market, in
Holloway, near the model gaol, and lying in that _terra incognita_
stretching away to Camden-town and the steep of Highgate-hill, where
juvenile cockneys some thirty years ago played, and called the waste
Copenhagen-fields.  There the New Cattle-market is erected.  In shape it
consists of a long square, if I may be allowed such an expression, on
every side surrounded with lofty walls, and covers many acres of ground.
In the centre of the market is a lofty clock-tower, and around it are
shops devoted to the sale of horse gear and cattle-physic, and the
banking-houses, where the cattle are paid for and the money deposited,
chief amongst which is that of an active alderman of the city of London,
and ex-Lord Mayor and M.P.  The animals are ranged in pairs, others tied
to rails all around; and on the other side are layers, where the animals
that are not sold are lodged on payment of a trifling sum, and
slaughtering-houses.  The salesmen, who are the middle-men, receive the
cattle from the drover, and sell them to the butcher, and pay the money
into the bank.  The extent of the market is about ten acres.  The market
is the property of the Corporation, who exact a toll of 3½d. for each
beast, and 4d. a score of sheep; then there is a further charge of 1s. a
pen.  As there are 1,800 pens and 1,450 rails, this rent must amount to a
respectable sum.  In round numbers, the accommodation provided is for
25,000 sheep and 7,300 beasts.  The summer is the best time for seeing
the market, as in the winter months it is not so numerously attended.
The market opens at two, A.M., and closes at two, P.M.  Any buying and
selling after that hour is most strictly prohibited.  The entrance into
the market is not open, as in Smithfield, but through iron gates, guarded
by vigilant police.  The public-houses in the neighbourhood abound in
signs not known in more fashionable districts.  Here is the “Butchers’
Arms,” there the “White Horse;” here the “Lamb” Tavern, there the “Red
Lion;” and great is the business they do on Mondays and Thursdays.  The
men are of a class not visible elsewhere in London.  Farmers, graziers,
jockeys, jobbers, pig-drivers, salesmen, drovers abound here, whose
speciality is to know

       “Quæ cura bovum, qui cultus habendo,
    Sit pecori.”

However early you may come in the morning, you may be sure they are there
before you.  At twelve o’clock on Sunday night the Sunday is supposed to
be over, and the poor beasts, who have been shut up ever since twelve on
Saturday night, are released from their confinement.  Now comes the
difficulty and confusion.  How can the beasts belonging to one man be
prevented from mixing with those of another?  How can they be got into
proper order?  I fear the answer must be chiefly by a system of terrorism
and physical force.  Those wonderfully sagacious brutes the drovers’ dogs
know every animal, know where he is to go, know where he ought not to go,
and take care that, somehow or other, the object aimed at by the defunct
Administrative Reform Association should be achieved, and that the right
one should be in the right place.  Of a night the scene is something
extraordinary.  The lowing of oxen, the tremulous cries of the sheep, the
barking of dogs, the rattling of sticks on the bodies and heads of the
animals, the rough and ragged appearance of the men, the shouts of the
drovers, and the flashing about of torches, present altogether a wild and
terrific combination.  But all this is over by daylight, when the buyers
come upon the scene, and there is an appearance of order and cleanliness,
a strong contrast to Smithfield, as your eye glances from one row to
another of heads gathered from Northamptonshire, from Leicestershire,
from Scotland, from Ireland, from the fertile plains of far-away
Holstein, or the pastures of Spain, still more remote.  The latter
animals it seems almost a pity to slaughter; they have something of the
appearance of the buffalo, minus his shaggy head of horrid hair; they are
cream-coloured, and with their long horns must be a very pretty ornament
for a gentleman’s park.  Our foreign trade in cattle is growing very
large.  In the year 1857 there were imported into the United Kingdom,
oxen and bulls, 53,277; cows, 12,371; calves, 27,315; sheep, 162,324;
lambs, 14,883; swine, 10,678.  The greater proportion come from Holland
and Denmark, and are put upon the rail and at once sent off to London.
There was a time when we were told this would be the ruin of the farmer;
yet, according to the speech of Mr. Grey, a north country agriculturist,
the other day, it appears that growing flesh is the most remunerative
employment for the farmer at the present time; and in spite of all this
foreign importation, we may observe that meat is high, and that
Paterfamilias, blessed, as he is sure to be, with a small income and a
large family, finds it difficult to make both ends meet.  The returns of
the cattle-markets tell us that the population of London consume annually
277,000 bullocks, 30,000 calves, 1,480,000 sheep, and 34,000 pigs.  Mr.
Hicks estimates the value of these at between seven and eight millions
sterling.  The buyers here are the larger class of dealers; the smaller
ones go to the dead-meat market in Newgate-street, which is blocked up by
them from four in the morning till breakfast-time.  If we come here on a
Friday, between ten and four, we shall find a market for the sale of
horses and donkeys—a market much patronised by costermongers.  Let us
add, in conclusion, that the New Cattle-market bids fair to be as much of
a nuisance as the old, and that, sooner or later, there must be a
dead-meat market for London, and that alone; otherwise we shall have a
repetition of the sad tragedy to which the poet refers, when he writes of
“the cow with the crumpled horn, who tossed the maiden all forlorn.”



THE GOVERNMENT OFFICE


Is in the Strand—or in Westminster—and the contrast between its silence
and stillness and the bustle of the streets is something wonderful.  You
feel as you enter as if you were in a charmed land.  With Tennyson’s
lotus-eaters you exclaim, “There is no joy but calm.  Why should we only
toil, the roof and crown of things?”  Charles Lamb’s description of the
South Sea House might have been penned for a Government Office.  The
place seems to belong not to the living present.  The windows, double
glazed, keep out the roar of the outside world.  The chairs and tables,
of massive mahogany, seem as if of the time of the ancients.  The Turkey
carpet has a smack of the primitive political Eden, ere man sinned, and
Lord John Russell introduced his Reform Bill.  This may be a railroad
age, but it is not in a Government Office that that truth is recognised.
The young men are generally reading the papers, or eating lunch; the
seniors are doing the same, but in a more dignified manner.  In an office
where there are several, to find a couple at real hard work from ten till
four is, I fear, a rarity.

According to Mr. Knight, when Henry VIII. had stripped Wolsey of
Whitehall, and other possessions, he constructed there, for the amusement
of his leisure, a tennis-court, a bowling-green, and a cock-pit.  The
tennis-court and the bowling-green have left no traces.  The cockpit went
through a variety of transmutations, till it settled down into a
treasury.  In the reign of Anne, the lord high treasurer Godolphin sat
three or four times a week at the cock-pit, “to determine and settle
matters relating to the public treasure and revenues.”  This was the old
building fronting the banqueting house, which Mr. Barry has recently
metamorphosed into a magnificent wing of his uniform edifice.  The old
office of Godolphin, however, is but a small part of the modern treasury.
The offices of the more important functionaries are in the large building
behind, which fronts the esplanade in St. James’s Park.  Several offices
were destroyed in 1733, in order to erect the present building facing the
parade, the expense of which was estimated at £9,000.  The façade
consists of a double basement of the Doric order, and a projection in the
centre, on which are four Ionic pillars supporting an entablature and
pediment.

Where the treasury of the kings of England had its abiding place—or, more
properly, where its _eidolon_ or Platonic idea lodged, before it took up
its abode in the cock-pit—were hard to say.  The exchequer, which in the
reign of Edward I. was literally the king’s strong box, was, in his time,
lodged in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey.  Sir Francis Palgrave says,
that the earliest place of deposit for the royal treasures which can be
traced is “that very ancient apartment, described as the ‘Treasure in the
cloisters of the Abbey in Westminster, next the Chapter-house,’ and in
which the pix is still contained.  This building is a vaulted chamber,
supported by a single pillar; and it must remain with the architectural
antiquary to decide why a structure in the early Romanesque style,
ranging with the massy semicircular arch in the south transept,
acknowledged to be a portion of the structure raised by the Confessor,
may not also have been erected in the reign of the last legitimate
Anglo-Saxon king.  In this treasury the regalia and crown jewels were
deposited, as well as the records.  The ancient double oak doors,
strongly grated and barred with iron, and locked with three keys, yet
remain.”

The theory of the British treasury was much the same during the nomad
period of its existence that it has continued to be in its settled and
citizen-like life.  There was from the beginning a treasurer, whose
office it was to devise schemes for raising money, to manage the royal
property to the best advantage, and to strike out the most economical and
efficient modes of expenditure.  He had even then the control of all the
officers employed in collecting the customs and royal revenues, the
disposal of offices in the customs throughout the kingdom, the nomination
of escheators in the counties, and the leasing of crown lands.  Then, as
a check upon the malversion of this officer, there was the exchequer, the
great conservator of the revenues of the nation.  “The exchequer,” said
Mr. Ellis, clerk of the pells, when examined before the finance
commissioners, “is at least coeval with the Norman Conquest, and has been
from its earliest institution looked to as a check upon the lord high
treasurer, and a protection for the king, as well as for the subject, in
the custody, payment, and issue of the public money.”

This is still the broad outline of the treasury—of the finance department
of the State of Great Britain.  The enormous magnitude of the empire has
caused the subordinate departments of customs, the mint, &c., to expand
until they have attained an organisation, an individual importance, a
history of their own.  The different modes of transacting money-business,
rendered necessary by its greater amount and more complicated nature,
have altered the routine both of the treasury and the exchequer; the
changed relations of king and parliament have subjected the treasury and
exchequer to new control and superintendence.  Still their mutual
relations, and the part they play in the economy of the empire, remain
essentially the same as in older times.

The lords commissioners of the treasury (for the office of lord high
treasurer has for many years been put in commission) have their office at
Whitehall, in the building whose history we have briefly traced.  The
exchequer, or more properly “the receipt of exchequer,” has its office at
Whitehall Yard.  But we must not descend to particulars.  The only place
in the wide world where change comes not—where the main object seems to
be how not to do it—where antiquated routine has its stronghold—is a
government office.

Those of our readers who have read—and who has not?—Captain Marryatt’s
graphic descriptions of seafaring life, entitled “The King’s Own,” will
remember the scene in which Captain Capperbar ingeniously manages to
supply, from the ship’s stores, all his own and her ladyship’s domestic
wants.  The ship’s carpenters are engaged in framing chests of drawers,
and building dining-tables.  Fully aware of the mischievous effects of
idleness, the captain’s lady finds employment for the ship’s painters in
her attics.  The armourers, instead of preparing the murderous weapons of
war, are peacefully occupied in making rakes and hoes for the especial
benefit of the junior members of the same devoted family.  Does the fair
spouse of the gallant captain need even a pole for the clothes-line, a
boat-mast is immediately dedicated to that important service.  Thus, the
captain turns his devotion for his country to some account; and if his
patriotism be a virtue, it is one that brings with it its own reward.

Granting, which we readily do, that the above scene is an exaggeration,
still we believe it to be nearer the mark than the opposite
representations, which would lead us to believe that all persons in the
employ of Government are overworked and underpaid.  Their places are
sinecures; bread for life.  Every merchant or employer of labour has the
power of instant dismissal; but in Government offices this great check on
idleness and stupidity is ignored.  Officials are happy fellows.  The
ills of life do not affect them.  Mills may stop, panics may take place,
commerce may decline, ships may rot in deserted harbours; docks and
warehouses, once teeming with busy life, may be silent as the grave—but
their income knows no change, save when death causes a general promotion
in their ranks.  The agricultural mind may be weighed down with grief—it
may find its idols but clay.  There, where it must live, or bear no life,
it may find all hollow, delusive, and false.  The seasons may be
unpropitious.  The common ills farmers are heir to, such as potato
disease, the fly at the turnips, the rot in the sheep, may be theirs in
no common degree; nevertheless, the Clapham omnibus duly deposits at the
Treasury in Downing-street Mr. Smith, who, with the exception of two
hours for lunch, and another hour or so for miscellaneous conversation,
and the perusal of the _Times_, will, from ten till four, magnanimously
devote himself to his country’s good.  At the hour of four, Mr. Smith is
again on the omnibus, about to seek, in the bosom of his family, that
relaxation which, did his country deny him, it would be ungrateful
indeed.  Mr. Smith is a family man; and, regardless of London
temptations, he hastens to his mutton at five.  On the contrary, the
junior clerk, Mr. Adolphus Blaser, is a young man about town; and just as
Mr. Smith retires to his night’s rest, our young _roué_, having recovered
from the effects of a good dinner, is ready to commence the diversions,
or, as they may be more fitly termed, the follies of a night.  At a good
old age Mr. Smith is gathered to his fathers, and a tombstone in Norwood
Cemetery calls upon the public to admire those virtues, the loss of which
has left such a blank in the Clapham annals of domestic life.  One of Mr.
Smith’s companions, a much-maligned individual, has just written to the
_Times_, indignantly asking if it be nothing to attend every day at
Somerset-house, in wet weather or fine?  But, upon the whole, we think
few men were more fortunate than our deceased friend.  Like many of his
schoolfellows, he did not make and lose a fortune; his hair did not
become prematurely grey.  There were storms, but they never reached him.
He never missed his church: he had always a friend, and a bottle to give
him; for your true Church and King man is generally reared on fine old
port.  His sons were placed in his office; and his daughters
(good-looking, as most of the daughters of well-to-do, jolly old
gentlemen, generally are) settle comfortably in life.  And so endeth the
chapter.

If this imaginary sketch be not true, it is not far from the truth.  A
Government situation is known to be a pleasant berth, and is jumped at as
a man would jump at a freehold estate or a lump of Californian gold.  A
man who has any influence with the powers that be, or a younger son,
instead of trying a trade or profession, will often seek a Government
situation, trusting, with the income arising from it, he may live in town
almost in idleness—at any rate in comparative luxury and ease.  By the
side of a Rothschild he may be poor, but really he is not so badly off,
after all.  The life of a Government _employé_ is considered gentlemanly,
easy, and not under-paid.  Hence the doors of those who have places to
dispose of are furiously besieged by an eager and avaricious mob.  The
higher offices are equally greedily seized, and equally as preposterously
over-paid.  During one of the recent examinations before the committee of
the House of Commons, a quondam ambassador had the coolness to inform the
committee that the reason why the American ambassadors managed to perform
their duties for less money than the English ones was, that they lived so
much more economically; as if economy were a crime, and a thing to be
shunned by any of the numerous representatives of John Bull: and one
celebrated ambassador does not see how diplomacy can be carried on at all
unless the money of the nation be lavished on banquets, such as even
Soyer might envy and admire.

This is the climax of absurdity; and the time has come for such absurdity
to be treated with merited contempt.  The axe must be laid at the root of
the tree.  A reduction of salaries commensurate with the increased
cheapness of living, and with the difficulties the tax-payers have in
meeting the tax-gatherers’ demands, must be made at once.  It is childish
to suppose that such a man as Mr. Bancroft was less respected at Paris
than the Marquis of Normanby, or that Lord Cowley would less powerfully
represent England were his salary of £10,000 cut down to £2,000.  A
thoughtful man can see, in the glitter and glare of gilded saloons,
filled with flunkies and worshippers of the golden calf, nothing very
creditable, or worthy of admiration.  At the same time it must be
remembered that, if the nation has efficient service, it is not grudging
as regards expense.



PATERNOSTER ROW.


The “swinish multitude,” as a term of reproach, in these days of ours is
gradually becoming less and less in vogue.  There were times when
gentlemen were not ashamed to use it—when the people, degraded and
oppressed, demoralised by the vices of their superiors, were scorned for
the degradation which had been forced on them against their will.  Not
voluntarily did the people give up its inherent rights and its divine
power.  The struggle was long and severe before the man relinquished his
birthright, and sank into a savage or a sot.  The divine in man had to be
expelled—the instinct in manhood had to be repressed—conscience had to be
seared—fatal habits had to be engendered—ere this final consummation took
place; and kings, with their brute force and men of war, and with their
priests slavish enough blasphemously to affirm the voice of the king was
the voice of God, found some trouble in effecting it.  But they succeeded
in time.  They fancied that at last they had controlled what was as much
beyond their control as the winds of heaven or the ocean’s stormy waves.
They thought they had inscribed upon humanity at last the proud command:
“Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further.”  Nor even did the philosopher
show himself above the delusion of the age.  Gibbon, in closing his story
of Rome’s decline and fall, pitied the future historian, for whom would
exist no parallel passages similar to those which had lent such thrilling
charm to his own eventful page.  Adam Smith calmly predicted the
perpetuity of society as it then was, utterly ignorant of the greatness
and the glory yet to come.  Yet hardly was the ink dry which recorded
these sage predictions, when they were singularly falsified.  Suddenly,
without one word of warning, without one note of preparation, a change
came as the lightning flash.  There was a shaking amongst the dry bones—a
hurrying to and fro of armed men in the imperial halls of Versailles.
The curls that clustered on the fair brow of the daughter of the
lion-hearted Maria Theresa in a night became grey.  The blood of the heir
of a hundred kings was spilt like water.  The storm over, Europe
witnessed a mighty change; old things had passed away, all things had
become new: the slavery of the past was gone; the vain tradition of the
elders was laughed to scorn: the political emancipation of the people as
an idea was already won, and the people—no longer dumb, inarticulate,
without intellectual life—conscious of its divine destiny, became what it
is.  The clouds of ignorance were dispelled; wisdom lifted up her voice
in the street; knowledge tabernacled on earth.  Hence even the spread of
a literature for the people—suited to their wants and capacities—a
literature they can buy, and read, and understand.

Some time back the _Times_ attempted to persuade us that our cheap
shilling volumes were doing us a world of harm.  It was grievously
shocked to find that the people bought and read them, instead of its
healthy and stimulating columns.  It thought we were really getting into
a very undesirable state.  The _Times_ told us as proof, that we have now
translations of French trashy novels.  We admit we have; but is that
anything new?  Have we not always had a large class of readers of trashy
novels, French or otherwise? and even here have we not proof of progress?
Have not those very trashy novels lost the indecency which was their
characteristic at any earlier time?  If we remember aright, Sir Walter
Scott states that a lady told him, in looking over some of the novels
which were fashionable in her youth she was utterly shocked at the
grossness which pervaded them, and that in that respect a most decided
improvement had taken place; and is this nothing? is this not a sign of
good?  Nor is this the only sign; our sterling writers—the classics of
our land—are all published in a cheap form, so as to suit the pockets of
the people.  The literature of the rail even is not so very bad after
all.  Much of it is light and superficial, undoubtedly; nor is this to be
wondered at: the traveller must have something light, or he cannot read
at all.  The book that requires thought is not for the rail, but the
quiet study.  Your grave scholars, your most painful divines, now and
then put by the dictionary or the commentary, and read, it may be, the
_Times_.  In both the same law operates.  There are occasions when
reading for relaxation is a necessity: that necessity the railway
literature of the day supplies.  But why should the _Times_ grow doleful
when it records the fact?—or rather the half-fact—for the whole truth is
more cheering.  The whole truth is, that light reading spreads side by
side with reading of real merit—that the popular scientific discourse, or
history, circulates equally with the novel—not often so trashy after
all—for a cheap book must be a good book or it will not pay; and that the
more readers of light literature you have, the wider is the circle of
readers of better books.  A cheap copy of Burns’ Poem’s might be sold at
a profit; we fear a cheap copy of poems by the critic in the _Times_
would produce a very different result.  To write for the people, a man
must write well.  The trashy novel, published in three volumes, with a
limited sale will pay; it would not published in a cheap form.  Only a
large sale will remunerate; and a large sale is only the result of some
kind of merit.

For proof of this we refer to Paternoster Row.  What the press is doing
we can best learn there.  It is not a place of great pretensions
externally, but it has a history, and its fame reaches to the uttermost
ends of the earth.  Paternoster Row is a short, dark, narrow street,
running parallel with Newgate Street and St. Paul’s Church Yard.
Originally it was chiefly patronised by mercers, silkmen, and lacemen.
In the reign of Queen Anne the booksellers moved here from Little
Britain, and here, in spite of a few successful cases of transplantation
to the Strand, or Piccadilly, or Albemarle Street, or Great Marlborough
Street, do they chiefly remain.  Here was the printing office of Henry
Samson Woodfall, the printer of the _Public Advertiser_, in which
appeared the celebrated letters of Junius.  Some of the firms are very
old.  The Rivingtons came here in 1710; the Longmans have been here a
century and a quarter; Simpkins and Marshall are dead and gone, but their
enormous business is still carried on under the old title, and on a
magazine day I believe their sales may amount to three thousand pounds.
How great is the business carried on here is obvious, when we remember
that the Messrs. Longmans’ own sale of books has amounted to five
millions in one year, and that the annual distribution of books and
tracts by the Religious Tract Society, in 1853, was nearly twenty-six
millions.  When Mr. Routledge could pay Sir Bulwer Lytton £2,000 a year
for liberty to publish an eighteen-penny edition of his novels—when the
same publisher could offer Mr. Barnum £1,200 for his lectures—when for
one edition alone, the illustrated, of Mr. Tennyson’s poems, their
publisher, the late Mr. Moxon, could pay £2,000 to the poet—when one firm
alone could subscribe for 4,000 copies of Dr. Livingstone’s Researches in
Africa—when the paper duty for last year amounted to no less a sum than
£1,130,683, it is clear that there must be no little business going on in
Paternoster Row.  I have before me the London catalogue of periodicals
and newspapers for the year 1859, and I find that the monthlies are 353,
the quarterlies 64, the newspapers and weekly publications are more than
200.  The British catalogue of books published during the year 1851,
including new editions, reprints, and pamphlets, has 48 pages, each page
containing a list of about 190 works, thus giving us for that year alone
9,120 publications, not magazines or newspapers.  Most of the books and
journals and magazines thus published find their way into the provinces
by means of Paternoster Row.  On a publishing day the scene is curious
and suggestive; the shops of the large wholesale houses are full, and
customers are ranged on one side of the counter in ranks three or four
deep, while on the other are the assistants toiling like so many slaves;
but all the week, especially in the middle, Paternoster Row is very eager
and active.  Each wholesale house has collectors, who go to the
respective publishers for the books ordered.  You may meet them at all
hours between Paternoster Row and the West.  Each collector has a long
bag on his back filled with books he has been buying, and a book in his
hand which contains entries of what he requires.  Some houses make a
charge of five per cent. for collecting; those who do not do so give
their country clients but a month’s credit.  The profits of the London
houses are not large; they get 13 copies of a work for 12, or 26 charged
as 25, and then sell them to the trade at their cost price, 25 per cent.
off publishing price.  If they are the publishers as well they have the
extra profit of ten per cent. for publishing.  If a book sells to any
extent, the publishers and the trade do well, much better than the poor
author, whose obligations to the trade are not great.  Let me add that
the publishers may do an author a little benefit when they subscribe his
book.  This is done in the following manner: the publisher, when he has a
new book, sends it round to the trade, stating the publishing price, and
the terms at which he will supply it to the trade.  A paper is sent round
with it for subscriptions; the large houses, if the book be likely to
sell well, subscribe for, in some cases, 2,000 or 3,000 or 4,000 copies,
and thus a good sale is secured at first.  The advantage of the
subscription is, that the trade have a quarter’s credit, whereas in their
usual transactions they pay cash.  This is almost the only speculative
part of the business of the houses that do not publish on their own
account.  It is clear that occasionally they may encumber themselves with
a book which does not sell, and for which there is no demand, but this is
very rarely the case.  The gentleman who buys for the house is generally
wide awake, and will not order a single copy more than he thinks he can
sell with advantage, and at once.

Let not my readers go away with the idea that the great bookselling
firms, proud of their traditions, plant themselves down in Paternoster
Row waiting for customers to come.  Their business is no exception to the
general rule, which requires excessive pushing to keep pace with the
competition of rivals.  They have travellers in all quarters of the
country—they publish catalogues and their terms, which are everywhere
disseminated among the trade—and an author may be sure that it is not the
fault of the booksellers that he is compelled to sell his crowning work,
rich in graphic colouring, in interesting detail, in noble thought, in
manly eloquence (I quote the author’s private opinion), to Mr. Tegg or
the trunk maker.  As I have mentioned Mr. Tegg, let me add, that it is
the province of that gentleman to relieve authors and publishers of works
which an apathetic public do not appreciate and will not buy.  If Mr.
Tegg is so fortunate as to purchase the sheets (which he afterwards binds
up in a cheap form) at his own price, and sells them at the author’s, he
ought by this time to be as rich as the Rothschilds or the Marquis of
Westminster.  What he does with his bargains, I cannot tell.  I see them
awhile in glaring colours, regardless of the suns of summer or winter
snows, adorning the cheap book-stalls of Holborn, or Fleet Street, or the
Strand, charming the eye of the juvenile population of the metropolis,
and offering them the advantages of a circulating library without the
inconvenience.  I occasionally meet them in railway carriages, chiefly (I
do not write it disrespectfully) third class.  I have met with them in
considerable numbers in our seaport towns, and then I miss them and
search for them in vain.  Where are they?  I believe I am not far wrong
in conjecturing that they are gone where there are

    “Larger constellations burning,
    Mellow moons, and happy skies;”

that they stimulate the intellect or soothe the leisure of muscular
gold-diggers at Ballarat; that pastoral New Zealanders read them with
delight; that they adorn the drawing-rooms of distant Timbuctoo.  Let me
say a word for the authors of these works.  Are they not true
philanthropists?  Not one book in a hundred pays, yet in what countless
succession do they appear!

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *

      London: Petter and Galpin, Belle Sauvage Printing Works, E.C.

                                * * * * *



ADVERTISEMENTS.


     _Just published_, _price_ 3_s._ 6_d._, _bound in cloth_, _Second
                    Edition_, _Revised and Enlarged_,



THE LONDON PULPIT,


                                    BY
                           JAMES EWING RITCHIE.

Contents: The Religious Denominations of London—Sketches of the Rev. J.
M. Bellew—Dale—Liddell—Maurice—Melville—Villiers—Baldwin Brown—Binney—Dr.
Campbell—Lynch—Morris—Martin—Brock—Howard Hinton—Sheridan Knowles—Baptist
Noel—Spurgeon—Dr. Cumming—Dr. James Hamilton—W. Forster—H.
Ierson—Cardinal Wiseman—Miall—Dr. Wolf, &c. &c.

                                * * * * *

                          OPINIONS OF THE PRESS.

“The subject is an interesting one, and it is treated with very
considerable ability.  Mr. Ritchie has the valuable art of saying many
things in few words; he is never diffuse, never dull, and succeeds in
being graphic without becoming flippant.  Occasionally his strength of
thought and style borders rather too closely on coarseness; but this
fault of vigorous natures is counterbalanced by compensatory merits—by an
utter absence of cant, a manly grasp of thought, and a wise and genial
human-heartedness.  The book is a sincere book; the writer says what he
means, and means what he says.  In these half-earnest days it is a
comfort to meet with any one who has ‘the courage of his opinions,’
especially on such a subject as the ‘London Pulpit.’”—_Daily News_.

“It is just the book for the innumerable Religious Book Clubs, one of
which is to be found in every market town and every considerable village.
Perhaps it would have sold more rapidly but for its ‘exceeding honesty’
and impartiality, which, however, in our opinion, are its great
recommendations.  Mr. Ritchie is either of no sect, or else he has
attained to such a point of freedom, that though he may be especially
attached to one, he can look with an impartial eye upon the virtues and
failings of all.  None but a practised hand could have succeeded in
presenting such generally accurate portraits with so few strokes of the
pencil.”—_Illustrated Times_.

“One of the cleverest productions of the present day.”—_Morning Herald_.

“Discriminating in observation, just in verdict, lofty in its ideal of
pulpit excellence, and thoroughly interesting in style.”—_Homilist_.

“Mr. Ritchie is just the man to dash off a series of portraits, bold in
outline, strikingly like the originals in feature and expression, and
characterised by bright and effectual colouring.”—_Civil Service
Gazette_.

“The style of Mr. Ritchie is always lively and fluent, and oftentimes
eloquent.  It comes the nearest to Hazlitt’s of any modern writer we
know.  His views and opinions are always dear, manly, and unobjectionable
as regards the manner in which they are set forth.  Many, no doubt, will
not agree with them, but none can be offended at them.  As we have
already remarked, Mr. Ritchie does not write as a sectarian, and it is
impossible to collect from the treatise to what sect he belongs.  The
tendency of these sketches is to introduce into the pulpit a better style
of preaching than what we have been accustomed to.”—_Critic_.

“Mr. Ritchie’s pen-and-ink sketches of the popular preachers of London
are as life-like as they are brilliant and delightful.”—_The Sun_.

“Without going so far as the late Sir Robert Peel, and saying that there
are three ways of viewing this as well as every other subject, it will be
allowed that the clerical body may be contemplated either from within one
of their special folds, and under the influence of peculiar religious
views, or in a purely lay, historical manner, and, so we suppose we ought
to say, from the ‘platform of humanity’ at large.  The latter is the idea
developed in Mr. Ritchie’s volume, and cleverly and amusingly it is done.
One great merit is, that his characters are not unnecessarily spun out.
We have a few rapid dashes of the pencil, and then the mind is relieved
by a change of scene and person. . . .  He displays considerable
discrimination of judgment, and a good deal of humour.”—_The Inquirer_.

“There is considerable verisimilitude in these sketches, though they are
much too brief to be regarded as more than mere outlines.  It is
possible, however, to throw character even into an outline, and this is
done with good effect in several of these smart and off-hand
compositions.”—_Tait_.

“It is lively, freshly written, at times powerful, and its facts
carefully put together.  It bears the stamp of an earnest spirit, eager
in its search after truth, and strongly set against affectation and
pretence of every sort.”—_Globe_.

“Some of the sketches are very good.”—_Literary Gazette_.

                                * * * * *

     _Just published_, _price_ 3_s._ 6_d._, _bound in cloth_, _Second
                                Edition_,
                                _Revised_.



THE NIGHT-SIDE OF LONDON.


                                    BY
                            J. EWING RITCHIE.

Contents: Seeing a Man hanged—Catherine-street—The Bal Masqué—Up the
Haymarket—Ratcliffe Highway—Judge and Jury Clubs—The Cave of
Harmony—Discussion Clubs—Cider Cellars—Leicester-square—Boxing
Night—Caldwell’s—Cremorne—The Costermongers’ Free-and-Easy, &c.

                                * * * * *

                          OPINIONS OF THE PRESS.

“We would wish for this little volume an attentive perusal on the part of
all to whom inclination or duty, or both, give an interest in the moral,
the social, and the religious condition of their fellow-men; above all,
we should wish to see it in the hands of bishops, and other
ecclesiastical dignitaries—of metropolitan rectors and fashionable
preachers—of statesmen and legislators—and of that most mischievous class
of men, well-meaning philanthropists.  The picture of life in London, of
its manifold pitfalls of temptation and corruption, which are here
presented to the reader’s eye, is truly appalling.  No one can rise from
it without a deep conviction that something must be done, ay, and that
soon, if the metropolis of the British Empire is not to become a modern
Sodom and Gomorrah.”—_John Bull_.

“There is a matter-of-fact reality about the sketches, but they are
chiefly remarkable for the moral tone of their reflections.  Generally
speaking, painters of these subjects rather throw a purple light over the
actual scenes, and say nothing of the consequences to which they lead;
Mr. Ritchie is ever stripping off the mask of the mock gaiety before him,
and pointing the end to which it must finally come.”—_Spectator_.

“We have kept Mr. Ritchie’s book lying on our table, hoping that we might
find an opportunity for making it the basis of an article on the fearful
evils which it discloses.  We must be satisfied, however, for the
present, with recommending all our readers who are anxious to promote the
social and moral regeneration of our great cities to read it carefully;
and to remember, while they read, that London does not stand alone, but
that all our larger towns are cursed with abominations, such as those
which Mr. Ritchie has so vigorously and effectually described.”—_Eclectic
Review_.

“Mr. Ritchie is favourably known to us; nor do we think this little
volume will detract from his reputation.”—_Daily News_.

“Not ill done in parts, it is not done in a fast spirit or affectedly;
and the moral tone throughout is healthy enough.”—_Illustrated London
News_.

“Mr. Ritchie’s sketches are lively and graphic in style, and convey
truthful pictures of some of the dark phases of London life.  His book
may be regarded as supplementary to the Hand-books and Guides of the
Metropolis, which lightly touch upon topics which are here specially
described and vigorously commented on.”—_Literary Gazette_.

“Mr. Ritchie’s graphic descriptions, though painful, may be
useful.”—_Patriot_.

“Mr. Ritchie’s work merits the attention of philanthropists and those
interested in the education and improvement of all classes, since it will
enable them to see the land of evil with which they have to deal.”—_Daily
Telegraph_.

“Mr. Ritchie’s object is evidently to disclose to the view of less
venturous philanthropists the fountain heads of the floods of iniquity
which overflow large portions of this population of three millions, and
he has fully succeeded.  His array of statistics in the introduction may
be made good use of, and the watchful parent, or zealous minister of
religion, the friends of city missions, or contributors to the press, may
derive much useful information from all the pages.”—_Christian Times_.

“In the ‘Night-Side of London’ Mr. J. Ewing Ritchie draws a most painful,
but, we have reason to believe, not an over-coloured picture of the
fearful temptations which abound in our great metropolis.  The evils
which seduce many a young man from the path of duty, and keep down the
poor in their poverty and degradation, are traced to the love of
intoxicating liquors, and the abundant facilities which are afforded for
the gratification of that fatal passion.  Mr. Ritchie writes in an
earnest manner, and his book contains information which demands the
careful consideration of the moralist and the social
reformer.”—_Inquirer_.

“The author of ‘The Night-Side of London’ has graphically described the
scenes of debauchery which are to be found at night.  It is a fearful and
shocking _exposé_.”—_Illustrated Times_.





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search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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