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´╗┐Title: Ginx's Baby: his birth and other misfortunes; a satire
Author: Jenkins, Edward, 1838-1910
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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GINX'S BABY

His Birth and other Misfortunes

A SATIRE


By Edward Jenkins



PREFACE.

CRITIC.--I never read a more improbable story in my life.

AUTHOR.--Notwithstanding, it may be true.



CONTENTS.

     PART I. WHAT GINX DID WITH HIM.
     I. Ab initio
     II. Home, sweet Home!
     III. Work and Ideas
     IV. Digressive, and may be skipped without mutilating the History
     V. Reasons and Resolves
     VI. The Antagonism of Law and Necessity
     VII. Malthus and Man
     VIII. The Baby's First Translation

     PART II. WHAT CHARITY AND THE CHURCHES DID WITH HIM.
     I. The Milk of Human Kindness, Mother's Milk, and the Milk of
      the Word
     II. The Protestant Detectoral Association
     III. The Sacrament of Baptism
     IV. Law on Behalf of Gospel
     V. Magistrate's Law
     VI. Popery and Protestantism in the Queen's Bench
     VII. A Protestor, but not a Protestant
     VIII. "See how these Christians love one another"
     IX. Good Samaritans, and Good-Samaritan Twopences
     X. The Force--and a Specimen of its Weakness
     XI. The Unity of the Spirit and the Bond of Peace
     XII. No Funds--no Faith, no Works
     XIII. In transitu

     PART III. WHAT THE PARISH DID WITH HIM.
     I. Parochial Knots--to be untied without Prejudice
     II. A Board of Guardians
     III. "The World is my Parish"
     IV. Without Prejudice to any one but the Guardians
     V. An Ungodly Jungle
     VI. Parochial Benevolence--and another Translation

     PART IV. WHAT THE CLUBS AND POLITICIANS DID WITH HIM.
     I. Moved on
     II. Club Ideas
     III. A thorough-paced Reformer--if not a Revolutionary
     IV. Very Broad Views
     V. Party Tactics--and Political Obstructions to Social Reform
     VI. Amateur Debating in a High Legislative Body

     PART V. WHAT GINX'S BABY DID WITH HIMSELF.
      The Last Chapter



PART I. WHAT GINX DID WITH HIM.



I.--Ab initio.

The name of the father of Ginx's Baby was Ginx. By a not unexceptional
coincidence, its mother was Mrs. Ginx. The gender of Ginx's Baby was
masculine.

On the day when our hero was born, Mr. and Mrs. Ginx were living at
Number Five, Rosemary Street, in the City of Westminster. The being then
and there brought into the world was not the only human entity to which
the title of "Ginx's Baby" was or had been appropriate. Ginx had been
married to Betsy Hicks at St. John's, Westminster, on the twenty-fifth
day of October, 18--, as appears from the "marriage lines" retained by
Betsy Ginx, and carefully collated by me with the original register.
Our hero was their thirteenth child. Patient inquiry has enabled me
to verify the following history of their propagations. On July the
twenty-fifth, the year after their marriage, Mrs. Ginx was safely
delivered of a girl. No announcement of this appeared in the newspapers.

On the tenth of April following, the whole neighborhood, including Great
Smith Street, Marsham Street, Great and Little Peter Streets, Regent
Street, Horseferry Road, and Strutton Ground, was convulsed by
the report that a woman named Ginx had given birth to "a triplet,"
consisting of two girls and a boy. The news penetrated to Dean's Yard
and the ancient school of Westminster. The Dean, who accepted nothing
on trust, sent to verify the report, his messenger bearing a bundle of
baby-clothes from the Dean's wife, who thought that the mother could
scarcely have provided for so large an addition to her family. The
schoolboys, on their way to the play-ground at Vincent Square, slyly
diverged to have a look at the curiosity, paying sixpence a head to Mrs.
Ginx's friend and crony, Mrs. Spittal, who pocketed the money, and said
nothing about it to the sick woman. THIS birth was announced in all
the newspapers throughout the kingdom, with the further news that Her
Majesty the Queen had been graciously pleased to forward to Mrs. Ginx
the sum of three pounds.

What could have possessed the woman I can't say, but about a twelvemonth
after, Mrs. Ginx, with the assistance of two doctors hastily fetched
from the hospital by her frightened husband, nearly perished in a fresh
effort of maternity. This time two sons and two daughters fell to the
lot of the happy pair. Her Majesty sent four pounds. But whatever peace
there was at home, broils disturbed the street. The neighbors, who had
sent for the police on the occasion, were angered by a notoriety which
was becoming uncomfortable to them, and began to testify their feelings
in various rough ways. Ginx removed his family to Rosemary Street,
where, up to a year before the time when Ginx's Baby was born, his wife
had continued to add to her offspring until the tale reached one dozen.
It was then that Ginx affectionately but firmly begged that his wife
would consider her family ways, since, in all conscience, he had fairly
earned the blessedness of the man who hath his quiver full of them;
and frankly gave her notice that, as his utmost efforts could scarcely
maintain their existing family, if she ventured to present him with any
more, either single, or twins, or triplets, or otherwise, he would most
assuredly drown him, or her, or them in the water-butt, and take the
consequences.



II.--Home, sweet Home!

The day on which Ginx uttered his awful threat was that next to the one
wherein number twelve had drawn his first breath. His wife lay on the
bed which, at the outset of wedded life, they had purchased secondhand
in Strutton Ground for the sum of nine shillings and sixpence.
SECOND-HAND! It had passed through, at least, as many hands as there
were afterwards babies born upon it. Twelfth or thirteenth hand, a
vagabond, botched bedstead, type of all the furniture in Ginx's rooms,
and in numberless houses through the vast city. Its dimensions were
4 feet 6 inches by 6 feet. When Ginx, who was a stout navvy, and Mrs.
Ginx, who was, you may conceive, a matronly woman, were in it, there
was little vacant space about them. Yet, as they were forced to find
resting-places for all the children, it not seldom happened that at
least one infant was perilously wedged between the parental bodies; and
latterly they had been so pressed for room in the household that two
younglings were nestled at the foot of the bed. Without foot-board or
pillows, the lodgment of these infants was precarious, since any fatuous
movement of Ginx's legs was likely to expel them head-first. However
they were safe, for they were sure to fall on one or other of their
brothers or sisters.

I shall be as particular as a valuer, and describe what I have seen. The
family sleeping-room measured 13 feet 6 inches by 14 feet.

Opening out of this, and again on the landing of the third-floor, was
their kitchen and sitting-room; it was not quite so large as the other.
This room contained a press, an old chest of drawers, a wooden box
once used for navvy's tools, three chairs, a stool, and some cooking
utensils. When, therefore, one little Ginx had curled himself up under a
blanket on the box, and three more had slipped beneath a tattered piece
of carpet under the table, there still remained five little bodies to be
bedded. For them an old straw mattress, limp enough to be rolled up and
thrust under the bed, was at night extended on the floor. With this,
and a patchwork quilt, the five were left to pack themselves together as
best they could. So that, if Ginx, in some vision of the night, happened
to be angered, and struck out his legs in navvy fashion, it sometimes
came to pass that a couple of children tumbled upon the mass of
infantile humanity below.

Not to be described are the dinginess of the walls, the smokiness of the
ceilings, the grimy windows, the heavy, ever-murky atmosphere of these
rooms. They were 8 feet 6 inches in height, and any curious statist can
calculate the number of cubic feet of air which they afforded to each
person.

The other side of the street was 14 feet distant. Behind, the backs of
similar tenements came up black and cowering over the little yard of
Number Five. As rare, in the well thus formed, was the circulation of
air as that of coin in the pockets of the inhabitants. I have seen the
yard; let me warn you, if you are fastidious, not to enter it. Such
of the filth of the house as could not, at night, be thrown out of the
front windows, was there collected, and seldom, if ever, removed. What
became of it? What becomes of countless such accretions in like places?
Are a large proportion of these filthy atoms absorbed by human creatures
living and dying, instead of being carried away by scavengers and
inspectors? The forty-five big and little lodgers in the house were
provided with a single office in the corner of the yard. It had once
been capped by a cistern, long since rotted away--

 * * * * *

 The street was at one time the prey of the gas company; at
another, of the drainage contractors. They seemed to delight in turning
up the fetid soil, cutting deep trenches through various strata of
filth, and piling up for days or weeks matter that reeked with vegetable
and animal decay. One needs not affirm that Rosemary Street was not so
called from its fragrance. If the Ginxes and their neighbors preserved
any semblance of health in this place, the most popular guardian on
the board must own it a miracle. They, poor people, knew nothing of
"sanitary reform," "sanitary precautions," "zymotics," "endemics,"
"epidemics," "deodorizers," or "disinfectants." They regarded disease
with the apathy of creatures who felt it to be inseparable from
humanity, and with the fatalism of despair.

Gin was their cardinal prescription, not for cure, but for oblivion:
"Sold everywhere." A score of palaces flourished within call of each
other in that dismal district--garish, rich-looking dens, drawing to
the support of their vulgar glory the means, the lives, the eternal
destinies of the wrecked masses about them. Veritable wreckers they who
construct these haunts, viler than the wretches who place false beacons
and plunder bodies on the beach. Bring down the real owners of
these places, and show them their deadly work! Some of them leading
Philanthropists, eloquent at Missionary meetings and Bible Societies,
paying tribute to the Lord out of the pockets of dying drunkards,
fighting glorious battles for slaves, and manfully upholding popular
rights. My rich publican--forgive the pun--before you pay tithes of mint
and cummin, much more before you claim to be a disciple of a certain
Nazarene, take a lesson from one who restored fourfold the money he had
wrung from honest toil, or reflect on the case of the man to whom it was
said, "Go sell all thou hast, and give to the poor." The lips from which
that counsel dropped offered some unpleasant alternatives, leaving out
one, however, which nowadays may yet reach you--the contempt of your
kind.



III.--Work and Ideas.

I return again to Ginx's menace to his wife, who was suckling her
infant at the time on the bed. For her he had an animal affection that
preserved her from unkindness, even in his cups. His hand had never
unmanned itself by striking her, and rarely indeed did it injure any
one else. He wrestled not against flesh and blood, or powers, or
principalities, or wicked spirits in high places. He struggled with
clods and stones, and primeval chaos. His hands were horny with the
fight, and his nature had perhaps caught some of the dull ruggedness
of the things wherewith he battled. Hard and with a will had he worked
through the years of wedded life, and, to speak him fair, he had acted
honestly, within the limits of his knowledge and means, for the good of
his family. How narrow were those limits! Every week he threw into the
lap of Mrs. Ginx the eighteen or twenty shillings which his strength and
temperance enabled him continuously to earn, less sixpence reserved
for the public-house, whither he retreated on Sundays after the family
dinner. A dozen children overrunning the space in his rooms was then
a strain beyond the endurance of Ginx. Nor had he the heart to try the
common plan, and turn his children out of doors on the chance of their
being picked up in a raid of Sunday School teachers. So he turned out
himself to talk with the humbler spirits of the "Dragon," or listen
sleepily while alehouse demagogues prescribed remedies for State abuses.

Our friend was nearly as guiltless of knowledge as if Eve had never
rifled the tree whereon it grew. Vacant of policies were his thoughts;
innocent he of ideas of state-craft. He knew there was a Queen; he had
seen her. Lords and Commons were to him vague deities possessing strange
powers. Indeed, he had been present when some of his better-informed
companions had recognized with cheers certain gentlemen,--of whom Ginx's
estimate was expressed by a reference to his test of superiority to
himself in that which he felt to be greatest within him--"I could lick
'em with my little finger"--as the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the
Prime Minister. Little recked he of their uses or abuses. The functions
of Government were to him Asian mysteries. He only felt that it ought to
have a strong arm, like the brawny member wherewith he preserved order
in his domestic kingdom, and therefore generally associated Government
with the Police. In his view these were to clear away evil-doers and
leave every one else alone. The higher objects of Government were, if
at all, outlined in the shadowiest form in his imagination. Government
imposed taxes--that he was obliged to know. Government maintained the
parks; for that he thanked it. Government made laws, but what they were,
or with what aim or effects made, he knew not, save only that by them
something was done to raise or depress the prices of bread, tea, sugar,
and other necessaries. Why they should do so he never conceived--I am
not sure that he cared. Legislation sometimes pinched him, but darkness
so hid from him the persons and objects of the legislators that he could
not criticise the theories which those powerful beings were subjecting
to experiment at his cost. I must, at any risk, say something about this
in a separate chapter.



IV.--Digressive, and may be skipped without mutilating the History.

I stop here to address any of the following characters, should he
perchance read these memoirs:

  You, Mr. Statesman--if there be such;
  Mr. Pseudo-Statesman, Placeman, Party Leader, Wirepuller;
  Mr. Amateur Statesman, Dilettante Lord, Civil Servant;
  Mr. Clubman, Litterateur, Newspaper Scribe;
  Mr. People's Candidate, Demagogue, Fenian Spouter;

or whoever you may be, professing to know aught or do anything in
matters of policy, consider, what I am sure you have never fairly
weighed, the condition of a man whose clearest notion of Government is
derived from the Police! Imagine one who had never seen a polyp trying
to construct an ideal of the animal, from a single tentacle swinging out
from the tangle of weed in which the rest was wrapped! How then any more
can you fancy that a man to whose sight and knowledge the only part of
government practically exposed is the strong process of police, shall
form a proper conception of the functions, reasons, operations, and
relations of Government; or even build up an ideal of anything but a
haughty, unreasonable, antagonistic, tax-imposing FORCE! And how can
you rule such a being except as you rule a dog, by that which alone
he understands--the dog-whip of the constable! Given in a country a
majority of creatures like these, and surely despotism is its properest
complement. But when they exist, as they exist in England to-day, in
hundreds of thousands, in town and country, think what a complication
they introduce into your theoretic free system of government. Acts
of Parliament passed by a "freely-elected" House of Commons, and an
hereditary House of Lords under the threats of freely-electing citizens,
however pure in intention and correct in principle, will not seem to
him to be the resultants of every wish in the community so much as
dictations by superior strength. To these the obedience he will render
will not be the loving assent of his heart, but a begrudged concession
to circumstance. Your awe-invested legislature is not viewed as his
friend and brother-helper, but his tyrant. Therefore the most natural
bent of his workman-statesmanship--a rough, bungling affair--will be to
tame you--you who ought to be his Counsellor and Friend. When he
finds that your legislative action exerts upon him a repressive and
restraining force he will curse you as its author, because he sees not
the springs you are working. Should he even be a little more advanced
in knowledge than our friend Ginx, and learn that he helps to elect the
Parliament to make laws on behalf of himself and his fellow-citizens, he
will scarce trust the assembly which is supposed to represent him.
Will he, like a good citizen and a politic, accept with dignity and
self-control the decision of a majority against his prejudices: or will
he not regard the whole Wittenagemote with suspicion, contempt, or
even hatred? See him rush madly to Trafalgar Square meetings, Hyde Park
demonstrations, perhaps to Lord George Gordon Riots, as if there were no
less perilous means of publishing his opinions! There wily men may lead
his unconscious intellect, and stir his passions, and direct his forces
against his own--and his children's good.

Did it ever occur to you, or any of you, how many voters cannot read,
and how many more, though they can read, are unable to apprehend reasons
of statesmanship?--that even newspapers cannot inform them, since they
have not the elementary knowledge needed for the comprehension of those
things which are discussed in them; nay, that for want of understanding
the same they may terribly distort political aims and consequences?

Might it not be worth while for you, gentlemen--may it not be your duty
to devise ways and means for conveying such elementary instruction
by good street-preachers on politics and economy, or even political
bible-women or colporteurs, and so to make clear to the understanding of
every voter what are the reasons and aims of every act of Legislation,
Home Administration, and Foreign Policy? If you do not find out some
way to do this he may turn round upon you--I hope he may--and insist on
annually-elected parliaments, and thus oblige ambitious state-mongers,
in the rivalry of place, to come to him and declare more often their
wishes and objects. Other attractions may be found in that solution:
such as the untying of some knots of electoral difficulty, and removing
incitements to corruption. Ten thousand pounds for one year's power were
a high price even to a contractor. Think then whether at any cost some
general political education must not be attempted, since there is a
spirit breathing on the waters, and how it shall convulse them is no
indifferent matter to you or to me. Everywhere around us are unhewn
rocks stirred with a strange motion. Leave these chaotic fragments of
humanity to be hewn into rough shape by coarse artists seeking only
a petty profit, unhandy, immeasurably impudent; or dress them by your
teaching--teaching which is the highest, noblest, purest, most efficient
function of Government, which ought to be the most lofty ambition of
statesmanship--to be civic corner-stones polished after the similitude
of a palace.



V.--Reasons and Resolves.

Ginx has been waiting through three chapters to explain his truculence
upon the birth of his twelfth child. Much explanation is not necessary.
When he looked round his nest and saw the many open mouths about him, he
might well be appalled to have another added to them. His children
were not chameleons, yet they were already forced to be content with a
proportion of air for their food. And even the air was bad. They were
pallid and pinched. How they were clad will ever be a mystery, save to
the poor woman who strung the limp rags together and Him who watched the
noble patience and sacrifice of a daily heroism. Of her own unsatisfied
cravings, and the dense motherly horrors that sometimes brooded over her
while she nursed these infants, let me refrain from speaking, since if
as vividly depicted as they were real, you, Madam, could not endure
to read of them. Her poor, unintelligent mind clung tenaciously to the
controverted aphorism, "Where God sends mouths he sends food to fill
them." Believing that there was a God, and that He must be kind, she
trusted in this as a truth, and perhaps an all-seeing eye reading some
quaint characters on her simple heart, viewed them not too nearly, but
had regard to their general import, for, as she expressed it, "Thank
God! they had always been able to get along."

In the rush and tumult of the world it is likely that the summum
bonum of nine-tenths of mankind is embraced in that purely negative
happiness--to get along. Not to perish: to open eyes, however wearily,
on a new morning: to satisfy with something, no matter what, a craving
appetite: to close eyes at night under some shadow or shelter: or, it
may be, in certain ranks to walk another day free from bankruptcy or
arrest: Thank Heaven, they are just able to get along!

Convinced that another infant straw would break his back, Ginx calmly
proposed to disconcert physical, moral, and legal relations by drowning
the straw Mrs. Ginx clinging to Number Twelve listened aghast. If a
mother can forget her sucking child she was not that mother. The stream
of her affections, though divided into twelve rills, would not have been
exhausted in twenty-four, and her soul, forecasting its sorrow, yearned
after that nonentity Number Thirteen. She pictured to herself the
hapless strangeling borne away from her bosom by those strong arms,
and--in fact she sobbed so that Ginx grew ashamed, and sought to comfort
her by the suggestion that she could not have any more. But she knew
better.



VI.--The Antagonism of Law and Necessity.

In eighteen months, notwithstanding resolves, menaces, and prophecies,
GINX'S BABY was born. The mother hid the impending event long, from
the father. When he came to know it, he fixed his determination by much
thought and a little extra drinking. He argued thus: "He wouldn't go on
the parish. He couldn't keep another youngster to save his life. He had
never taken charity and never would. There was nothink to do with it but
drown it!" Female friends of Mrs. Ginx bruited his intentions about the
neighborhood, so that her "time" was watched for with interest. At last
it came. One afternoon Ginx, lounging home, saw signs of excitement
around his door in Rosemary Street. A knot of women and children awaited
his coming. Passing through them he soon learned what had happened.
Poor Mrs. Ginx! Without staying to think or argue, he took up the little
stranger and bore it from the room----

"O, O, O, Ginx! Ginx!!"

She would have risen, but a strong power called weakness pulled her
back.

 * * * * *


The man meanwhile had reached the street.

"Here he comes! There's the baby! He's going to do it, sure enough!"
shrieked the women. The children stood agape. He stopped to consider. It
is very well to talk about drowning your baby, but to do it you need two
things, water and opportunity. Vauxhall Bridge was the nearest way to
the former, and towards it Ginx turned.

"Stop him!"

"Murder!"

"Take the child from him!"

The crowd grew larger, and impeded the man's progress. Some of his
fellow-workmen stood by regarding the fun.

"Leave us aloan, naabors," shouted Ginx; "this is my own baby, and I'll
do wot I likes with it. I kent keep it; an' if I've got anythin' I kent
keep, it's best to get rid of it, ain't it? This child's goin' over
Wauxhall Bridge."

But the women clung to his arms and coattails.

"Hallo! What's all this about?" said a sharp, strong man, well-dressed,
and in good condition, coming up to the crowd; "another foundling!
Confound the place, the very stones produce babies. Where was it found?"

CHORUS (recognizing a deputy-relieving officer). It warn't found at all;
it's Ginx's baby.

OFFICER. Ginx's baby? Who's Ginx?

GINX. I am.

OFFICER. Well?

GINX. Well!

CHORUS. He's goin' to drown it.

OFFICER. Going to drown it? Nonsense.

GINX. I am.

OFFICER. But, bless my heart, that's murder!

GINX. No 'tain't. I've twelve already at home. Starvashon's sure to kill
this 'un. Best save it the trouble.

CHORUS. Take it away, Mr. Smug, he'll kill it if you don't.

OFFICER. Stuff and nonsense! Quite contrary to law! Why, man, you're
bound to support your child. You can't throw it off in that way;--nor on
the parish neither. Give me your name. I must get a magistrate's order.
The act of parliament is as clear as daylight. I had a man up under
it last week. "Whosoever shall unlawfully abandon or expose any child,
being under the age of two years whereby the life of such child shall
be endangered or the health of such child shall have been or shall be
likely to be permanently injured (drowning comes under that I think)
shall be GUILTY OF a MISDEMEANOR and being convicted thereof shall be
liable at the discretion of the court to be KEPT IN PENAL SERVITUDE for
the term of three years or to be imprisoned for any term not exceeding
two years with or without hard labor."

Mr. Smug, the officer, rolled out this section in a sonorous monotone,
without stops, like a clerk of the court. It was his pride to know by
heart all the acts relating to his department, and to bring them down
upon any obstinate head that he wished to crush. Ginx's head, however,
was impervious to an act of parliament. In his then temper, the
Commination Service or St. Ernulphus's curse would have been feathers
to him. The only feeling aroused in his mind by the words of the
legislature was one of resentment. To him they seemed unjust, because
they were hard and fast, and made no allowance for circumstances. So he
said:

GINX. D---- the act of parliament! What's the use of saying I shan't
abandon the child, when I can't keep it alive?

OFFICER. But you're bound by law to keep it alive.

GINX. Bound to keep it alive? How am I to do it? There's the rest on 'em
there (nodding towards his house) little better nor alive now. If that's
an act of Parleyment, why don't the act of Parleyment provide for 'em?
You know what wages is, and I can't get more than is going.

CHORUS. Yes. Why don't Parleyment provide for 'em? You take the child,
Mr. Smug.

OFFICER (regardless of grammar). ME take the child! The parish has
enough to do to take care of foundlings and children whose parents can't
or don't work. You don't suppose we will look after the children of
those who can?

GINX. Jest so. You'll bring up bastards and beggars' pups, but you won't
help an honest man to keep his head above water. This child's head is
goin' under water anyhow!--and he prepared to bolt, amid fresh screams
from the Chorus.



VII.--Malthus and Man.

Two gentlemen, who had been observing the excitement, here came forward.

FIRST GENTLEMAN. This is our problem again, Mr. Philosopher.

Mr. PHILOSOPHER (to Ginx). You don't know what to do with your infant,
my friend, and you think the State ought to provide for it? I understand
you to say this is your thirteenth child. How came you to have so many?

This question, though put with profound and even melancholy gravity,
disconcerted Ginx, Officer, and Chorus, who united in a hearty outburst
of laughter.

GINX. Haw, Haw, Haw! How came I to have so many? Why my old woman's a
good un and----

In fact, after searching his mind for some clever way of putting a
comical rejoinder, Ginx laughed boisterously. There are two aspects of a
question.

PHILOSOPHER. I am serious, my friend. Did it never occur to you that you
had no right to bring children into the world unless you could feed and
clothe and educate them?

CHORUS. Laws a' mercy!

GINX. I'd like to know how I could help it, naabor. I'm a married man.

PHILOSOPHER. Well, I will go further and say you ought not to have
married without a fair prospect of being able to provide for any
contingent increase of family.

CHORUS. Laws a' mercy!

PHILOSOPHER (waxing warm). What right had you to marry a poor woman, and
then both of you, with as little forethought as two--a--dogs, or other
brutes--to produce between you such a multitudinous progeny--

GINX. Civil words, naabor; don't call my family hard names.

PHILOSOPHER. Then let me say, such a monstrous number of children as
thirteen? You knew, as you said just now, that wages were wages and did
not vary much. And yet you have gone on subdividing your resources by
the increase of what must become a degenerate offspring. (To the Chorus)
All you workpeople are doing it. Is it not time to think about these
things and stop the indiscriminate production of human beings, whose
lives you cannot properly maintain? Ought you not to act more like
reflective creatures and less like brutes? As if breeding were the whole
object of life! How much better for you, my friend, if you had never
married at all, than to have had the worry of a wife and children all
these years.

The philosopher had gone too far. There were some angry murmurs among
the women and Ginx's face grew dark. He was thinking of "all those
years" and the poor creature that from morning to night and Sunday to
Sunday, in calm and storm, had clung to his rough affections: and the
bright eyes, and the winding arms so often trellised over his tremendous
form, and the coy tricks and laughter that had cheered so many tired
hours. He may have been much of a brute, but he felt that, after
all, that sort of thing was denied to dogs and pigs. Before he could
translate his thoughts into words or acts a shrewd-looking, curly-haired
stonemason, who stood by with his tin on his arm, cut into the
discussion.

STONEMASON. Your doctrines won't go down here, Mr. Philosopher. I've
'eard of them before. I'd just like to ask you what a man's to do and
what a woman's to do if they don't marry: and if they do, how can you
honestly hinder them from having any children?

The stonemason had rudely struck out the cardinal issues of the
question.

PHILOSOPHER. Well, to take the last point first, there are physical and
ethical questions involved in it, which it is hard to discuss before
such an audience as this.

STONEMASON. But you must discuss 'em, if you wish us to change our ways,
and stop breeding.

PHILOSOPHER. Very well: perhaps you are right. But, again, I should
first have to establish a basis for my arguments, by showing that the
conception of marriage entertained by you all is a low one. It is not
simply a breeding matter. The beauty and value of the relation lies
in its educational effects--the cultivation of mutual sentiments and
refinements of great importance to a community.

STONEMASON. Ay! Very beautiful and refining to Mr. and Mrs. Philosopher,
but I'd like to know where the country would have been if our fathers
had held to that view of matrimony? Why, ain't it in natur' for all
beings to pair, and have young? an' you say we ain't to do it! I think a
statesman ought to make something out of what's nateral to human beings,
and not try to change their naturs. Besides, ain't there good of another
kind to be got out of the relation of parents and children? Did you ever
have a child yourself?

GINX (contemplating the Philosopher's physique). HE have a youngster! He
couldn't.

CHORUS. Ha! Ha! Ha!

STONEMASON. I don't believe in yer humbuggin' notions. They lead to
lust and crime;--I'm told they do in France. If you yourself haven't the
human natur in you to know it, I'll tell you, and we can all tell you
that as a rule if the healthy desires of natur ain't satisfied in a
honest way, they will be in another. You can't stop eating by passin' an
act of Parleyment to stop it. And as for yer eddication and cultivation,
that makes no difference. We know something here about yer eddicated
men;--more than they think. Who is it we meet about the streets late at
night, goin' to the gay houses? Some of 'em stand near as high as you,
but that don't alter their natur. They have their passions like other
men; and eddication don't keep 'em down. Well, if that's the case, how
can you ask people of our sort to put on the curb, or make us do it?
Are we to live more like beasts than we are now, or do what's worse
than murder? I don't see no other way. Among us I tell you, sir,
three-fourths of our eddication, is eddication of the heart. We have
to learn to be human, kind, self-denyin', and I think this makes better
men, as a rule, than head-larnin'; tho' I don't despise that, neither.
But you don't suppose head-citizens would fight for their country like
men with wives and children behind 'em; why they don't even at home work
for daily food like a man with wife and babies to provide for!

The stonemason was above his class--one of those shrewd men that "the
people called Methodists" get hold of, and use among the lower orders,
under the name of "local preachers;" men who learn to think and speak
better than their fellows. The Philosopher testified some admiration by
listening attentively, and was about to reply, but the Chorus was tired,
and the women would not hear him.

CHORUS. Best get out o' this. We don't want any o' yer filhosophy. Go
and get childer' of yer own, &c., &c.

The Philosopher and his friend departed, carrying with them unsolved the
problem they had brought.



VIII.--The Baby's First Translation.

The stonemason had been the hero of the moment; now attention centred
on our own hero. Ginx hurried off again, but as the crowd opened
before him, he was met, and his mad career stayed, by a slight figure,
feminine, draped in black to the feet, wearing a curiously framed
white-winged hood above her pale face, and a large cross suspended from
her girdle. He could not run her down.

NUN. Stop, MAN! Are you mad? Give me the child.

He placed the little bundle in her arms. She uncovered the queer, ruby
face, and kissed it. Ginx had not looked at the face before, but after
seeing it, and the act of this woman, he could not have touched a hair
of his child's head. His purpose died from that moment, though his
perplexity was still alive.

NUN. Let me have it. I will take it to the Sisters' Home, and it shall
live there. Your wife may come and nurse it. We will take charge of it.

GINX. And you won't send it back again? You'll take it for good and all?

NUN. O, yes.

GINX. Good. Give us yer hand.

A little white hand came out from under her burthen, and was at once
half-crushed in Ginx's elephantine grasp.

GINX. Done. Thank'ee, missus. Come, mates, I'll stand a drink.

A few minutes after, the woman of the cross, who had been up to comfort
the poor mother, fluttered with her white wings down Rosemary Street,
carrying in her arms Ginx's Baby.



PART II. WHAT CHARITY AND THE CHURCHES DID WITH HIM.



I.--The Milk of Human Kindness, Mother's Milk, and the Milk of the Word.

The early days of his residence at the Home of the Sisters of Misery,
in Winkle Street, was the Eden of Ginx's Baby's existence. Themselves
innocent of a mother's experiences, the sisters were free to give
play to their affections in a novel direction, and to assume a sort of
spiritual maternity that was lucky for the changeling. He was nestled
in kind serge-covered arms: kisses rained upon him from chaste lips. A
slight scandal thrilled the convent upon the discovery of his sex, which
had of course been a pure matter of conjecture to Sister Pudicitia
when she rescued him; but enthusiasm can overcome anything. The awkward
questions foreshadowed in the discovery were left to be considered when
their growing importance should demand upon them the judgment of the
archbishop. Visions of an unusual sanctity to be fostered in the pure
regions of the convent, and to be sent on a mission into the world
to attest the power of their spiritual discipline, began to haunt the
brains of the sequestered nuns. Might not this infant be an embryo
saint, destined for a great work in the heretical wilderness out of
which he had come? How little healthy food the brains must have had
wherein these insane dreams were excited by our innocent baby! Hardly
did the sacred spinsters forecast what was in store for them when he
should be teething.

But Ginx's Baby was in a religious atmosphere, and that is always
surcharged with electricity. His lot must have been above that of any
other human being if he could long have remained in such a climate
unvisited by thunder. The mother had been permitted to attend at the
Home with the same regularity as the milkman, to discharge her maternal
duties. Then with the rise of the visionary projects just mentioned the
gravest doubts began to agitate the fertile and casuistic mind of the
Lady Superior. The holier her ideal St. Ginx of the future, the more to
be deplored was any heretical taint in the present. Holy mother! Was
it not perhaps eminently perilous to his spiritual purity that an
unbeliever like Mrs. Ginx should bring unconsecrated milk into the
convent to be administered to this suckling of the Church! In her
uneasiness she appealed to Father Certificatus, the conventual
confessor. He gave his opinion in the following letter:--

"DEAR SISTER SUSPICIOSA,

"The very grave question you have put to me has given me
much anxiety. It could not but do so since it occupied, I knew, so
fully your own holy reflections. I pondered it during the night while
I repeated one hundred Aves on my knees, and I think the Blessed Virgin
has vouchsafed her assistance.

"I understood you to say you thought that the physical health of the
infant, so singularly and miraculously thrown upon your care,
required the offices of his heretic mother, and yet that you felt how
inconsistent it was with the noble future we contemplate for him, that
he should receive unorthodox lacteal sustentation. In this you are but
following the usage of the Church in all ages, for She has ever enjoined
the advantage of infusing Her doctrines into Her children with the
mother's milk.

"Three courses only appear to me to be open to us. First, we may try to
work upon the mother's feelings, and on behalf of her child induce her
to avail herself of the inestimable privileges of the Church in which
he is fostered. Secondly, should she repel us--and these lower class
heretics are even brutally refractory--we might at least allure her to
allow us to make with holy water the sign of the Cross upon the natural
reservoirs of infant nourishment each time before she approaches the
infant. This, besides overcoming the immediate difficulty and securing
for the child a supply of sanctified food, might open the way for the
entrance into her own bosom of the milk of the word. Thirdly, should she
reject these proposals, I see nothing for it but to forbid her to
have access to her infant, and, commending him to the care of the Holy
Mother, to feed him with pap or other suitable nourishment, previously
consecrated by me in its crude state, and prepared by the most holy
hands of your community. Thus we may hope to shield the young soul in
its present freshness from contact with carnal elements.

     "Your loving Father in, &c.,
           "CERTIFICATUS."


On receiving this letter the Superioress conferred not with flesh and
blood, but sent for Mrs. Ginx. That worthy woman was not enchanted with
her child's position. I have hinted that her faith was simple, but in
proportion to its simplicity it was strongly-rooted in her nature. 'Tis
not infrequent to find it so. Lengthy creeds and confessions of faith
are apt to extend the strength and fervor of belief over too wide a
surface. In the close frame of some single article will be concentrated
the whole energy of the soul. The first formula, "Repent and believe
in the Lord Jesus Christ," was maintained with a heat that became less
intense, though more distributed, in the insertion of an Athanasian
creed. Mrs. Ginx's creed was succinct.

Mrs. GINX'S PRIMARY CREED.

  I believe in God, giver of bread, meat, money, and health.

This she maintained, with indifferent ritual and devotional observances.
But there was to Mrs. Ginx's faith a corollary or secondary creed, only
needed to meet special emergencies.

Mrs. GINX'S SECONDARY CREED.

     1. I believe in the Church of England.
     2. I believe in Heaven and Hell.
     3. (A negative article) I hate Popery, priests, and the Devil.


When her husband made his fatal gift to the nun, this third article of
his wife's belief, or unbelief, stirred up and waxed aggressive.

Said the Lady Superior, "My good woman, your child thrives under the
care of Holy Mother Church."

"Yes'm, he thrives well," replies Mrs. Ginx, repeating no more of Sister
Suspiciosa's sentence, "an' I've 'ad more milk than ever for the darlin'
this time, thank God."

"And the Holy Virgin."

"I dunno about her," cries Mrs. Ginx emphatically, perhaps not seeing
congruity between a virgin and the subject of thankfulness.

"And the Holy Virgin," repeated the nun, "who interests herself in all
mothers. She has thus blessed you that your child may be made strong for
the work of the Church. Do you not see a miracle is worked within you to
prove Her goodness? This, no doubt, is an evidence to you of Her wish to
bless you and take you for Her own. I beseech you listen to Her voice,
and come and enter Her fold."

"If you mean the Virgin Mary, mum, I ain't a idolater, beggin' yer
parding," says Mrs. Ginx; "an' tho' I wouldn't for the world offend
them as has been so kind to my child, an' saved it from that deer little
creetur bein' thrown over Wauxhall Bridge--an' Ginx ought to be ashamed
of hisself, so he ought--I ain't Papish, mum, and I ain't dispoged, with
twelve on 'em there at home all Protestant to the back bone, to turn
Papish now, an' so I 'ope an' pray, mum," says Mrs. Ginx, roaring and
crying, "you ain't agoin' to make Papish of my flesh an' blood. O dear!
O dear!"

The Lady Superior shut her ears; she had raised a familiar spirit and
could not lay it. She temporized.

"You know your husband has given the child to us. It will be called the
infant Ambrosius."

"Dear, dear!" sighed Mrs. Ginx, "what a name!"

"We wish him to be kept from any worldly taint, and by-and-by his
saintliness may gain you forgiveness in spite of your heretical
perversity. I cannot permit you to give him unconsecrated milk, and as
we wish to treat you kindly, the holy Father Certificatus has allowed me
to make an arrangement with you, to which you can have no objection--I
mean, that you should let me make the sign of the cross upon your
breasts morning and evening before you suckle your infant. You will
permit me to do that, won't you?"

Conceive of Mrs. Ginx's reply, clothed in choice Westminster English:
it asserted her readiness to cut off her right hand, her feet, to be
hanged, drowned, burned, torn to pieces, in fact to withstand all the
torments ascribed by vulgar tradition to Roman Catholic ingenuity,
and to see her baby "a dead corpse" into the bargain, before she would
submit her Protestant bosom to such an indignity.

"No, mum!" she said; "I couldn't sleep with that on my breast;" and
cried hysterically.

This lower class heretic WAS "brutally refractory." So thought the
Superioress, and so gave Mrs. Ginx notice to come no more. She went home
rather jubilant--she was a martyr.



II.--The Protestant Detectoral Association.

Ginx's baby was now fed on consecrated pap. But his mother was not a
woman to be silent under her wrongs. From her husband she hid them,
because the subject was forbidden. She poured out her complaint to Mrs.
Spittal and other Protestant matrons. Thus it came to pass that one
day, in Ginx's absence, the good woman was surprised by a visit from a
"gentleman." He was small, sharp, rapid, dressed in black. He opened his
business at once.

"Mrs. Ginx? Ah! I am the agent of the Protestant Detectoral
Association."

Mrs. Ginx wiped her best chair and set it for him.

"By great good fortune the secretary received only half an hour ago
intelligence of the shocking instance of Papal aggression of which you
have been the victim."

To hear her case put so grandly was honey to Mrs. Ginx.

"Well now," continued the little man, "we are ready to render you every
assistance to save your child from the claws of the Great Dragon. I wish
to know the exact circumstances--let me see--(opening a large pocket
book) I have this memorandum: the child was carried off from his
mother's bedside in broad daylight by a nun accompanied by two priests
and a large body of Irish: is that a correct version?"

"Law, no, sir, it warn't quite like that," said Mrs. Ginx. "We've 'ad
so many on 'em that Ginx was for drownin' the thirteenth"----The little
man opened his eyes----

"An' he went and gave it away, sir," said she crying, "to a nun,
sir--ah! ah! ah!--they won't let me see the darlin' now, sir--ah! ah!
ah! because I won't let Missis Spishyosir mark me with the cross, sir,
an' me with as fine a breast o' milk as ever was for 'im, sir--ah! ah!
ah!"

"Hem!" said the little man, "that's different from what I understood."

He was quite honest, but who does not know how disappointing it is to
find a wrong you wish to redress is not so bad as you had hoped?

However, it looked bad enough, and might be made worse. It was the very
case for the Protestant Detectoral Association.

"Would Mr. Ginx not join in an effort to recover his child?"

"No, sir; I should think not: he went an' gave it away."

"I know; but he is a Protestant?"

"I don't think he be much o' anything, sir. I know he hate priests like
pison, but he don't care about these things as I do."

"Oh! I see." Writes in his memorandum book--husband indifferent.


"But don't you think he would help you to get the child back again?"

"No, sir. I wouldn't speak of it to him for the world. He'd knock any
one down if they was to mention the child to him."

The little man mentally determined not to see Ginx.

"Well; would you like to have your child back?"

"You see, I couldn't bring it 'ere, sir. Ginx won't 'ave it; but I'd
like to see it took away from them nunnerys."

"Ha! very well then. We can perhaps manage it for you. You would be
content to hand it over to some Protestant Home, where it would be taken
care of and you could see it when you liked?"

"O yes, sir," cries Mrs. Ginx, brightening.

"Then we'll have an affidavit and apply for a Habeas Corpus."

It was impossible not to be satisfied with such words as these, whatever
they meant and Mrs. Ginx was cheered, while the little man went on his
way.



III.--The Sacrament of Baptism.

Mother, or "Mrs." Suspiciosa, fed Ginx's Baby with holy pap. It seemed
proper now that he should be christened and formally received into
the Church. No small stir was made by this ceremony, for which all the
resources of the convent were called into action. The day selected was
that sacred to St. Ambrosius. The chapel was decorated with flowers.
Mass was celebrated, candles flamed upon the altar surrounding a figure
of the Infant Jesus, incense was burning around the baby, sisters and
novices knelt in serried rows of virginity

           "like doves
     Sunning their milky bosoms on the thatch."

Mother Suspiciosa carried the infant, clothed in a pure white robe,
with a red cross embroidered on its front. In the absence of the natural
parent a wax figure of St. Ambrosius did duty for him, and another wax
figure stood godfather: but I dare not enter into details of matters
that may be looked at as awfully profane, or awfully solemn, by
different spectators. These things are a mystery.

I have no hesitation about describing the impious behavior of little
Ginx. Whatever swaddled infant could do in the way of opposition, with
hands, and legs, and voice, was done by that embryo saint. The incense
made him cough and sputter; the lights and singing raised the very devil
within him. His cries drowned the prayers. He frightened his conductress
by the redness of his face. He ruined the red cross with ejected matter.
You would have taken him for an infant demoniac. Mother Suspiciosa,
though annoyed, was encouraged. She looked upon this as an evident
testimony to little Ginx's value. The devil and St. Michael were
contending for his body. At length he was baptized, and carried out.
Credat Judaeus. He instantly sank into a deep sleep. It was a miracle:
Satan had yielded to the sign of the cross!



IV.--Law on Behalf of Gospel.

In the moment of Sister Suspiciosa's triumph, the enemy was laying his
train against her. The little man made his report to the secretary of
the Protestant Detectoral Association. This gentleman was well-born
and well-bred; moved to work in this "cause" by an honest hatred of
superstition, priestcraft, and lies; now giving all his energies to the
ambitious design of pulling down the strongholds of Satan. In any other
matter he could act coolly, and with deliberation; in this he was an
enthusiast. He had a keen Roman nose. He could scent a priest
anywhere in the United Kingdom. He could smell Jesuitry in the Queen's
drawing-room, a cabinet council or convocation, though he had never
been at either. His eye was beyond a falcon's; he saw things that
were invisible. It penetrated through all disguises. He knew a secret
emissary of the Pope by the cock of his hat, or the color of his
stockings. At least, he thought so, and thousands of persons acted on
his estimate of himself.

"This case," said he to the little man, when he had concluded his
report, "though not in its first incidents so grave as we were led to
expect, is, in another point of view, very serious. Here is a man, as
you have expressed it, 'indifferent' to his child's life--animal and
spiritual. The mother, with a true Protestant heart, and a fine breast
of milk, is longing to nurture her child, and to deliver it from the
toils of the Papacy. But the husband, what's his name?.... Ginx--Ginx? a
very bad name for a case, by the way--GINX'S CASE!--this Ginx has given
up his child to the Sisters of Misery. How are we to get it away again,
without his cooperation?.... Well, we must try."

The solicitor of the Association was forthwith summoned. When the matter
had been laid before him, he expressed doubts, offered and withdrew
courses of action, and ended by suggesting that he should take the
opinion of counsel.

"Mr. Stigma, I suppose?" said he to the secretary.

"Oh, yes, Sir Adolphus Stigma is one of our principal supporters, and
his son's heart is thoroughly with us."

Messrs. Roundhead, Roundhead and Lollard, drew up a case to be submitted
to Mr. Stigma. I will only transcribe the latter paragraphs:--


Mr. Ginx being indifferent, and Mrs. Ginx being ready to assist in
regaining the custody of her child, to be conveyed to a Protestant Home,

     "YOU ARE REQUESTED TO ADVISE:

"1. Whether a summons should be taken out before a magistrate against
the Lady Superior of the convent, for enticing away or detaining the
infant, under the 56th sect. of 24 and 25 Vict., c. 100 Or,

"2. Whether the proper remedy is by a writ of Habeas Corpus? and, if
so, whether it is necessary that the father should be joined in the
proceedings or his leave obtained to prosecute them? Or, failing these,

"3. Whether counsel is of opinion that this is a case within Talfourd's
Act, and an application might not be made to the Lord Chancellor, or
the Master of the Rolls, on the mother's behalf for the custody of her
child? And,

"4. To advise generally on behalf of the infant."


Mr. Adolphus Stigma took ten days to consider. Meanwhile, the infant
Ambrosius continued to thrive on conventual pap. Then Mr. Stigma wrote
his opinion. It was a model for a barrister. You took the advice at your
own peril--not his. Therefore I transcribe it.

       "OPINION.

"I have given to this case my most careful attention; and it is one of
great difficulty. Having regard to the questions put to me, I think--

"1. Section 56 of the Act of 24 and 25 Vict., c. 100, appears at first
sight to be directed against the stealing and abduction of children for
marriage, or other improper purposes. It provides that 'Whosoever shall
UNLAWFULLY, either by force or fraud, lead or take away, or decoy,
or entice away, or detain any child, &c., with intent to deprive ANY
parent, &c., of the possession of such child'--shall be guilty of
felony. It is perfectly clear, that in the case before me, the infant
was not, 'by force or fraud, led or taken away, or decoyed, or enticed
away.' The statute, however, uses the word 'detain;' and this, it
appears to me, has much the same force and intention as the previous
words. It is to be noted, however, that it is separated from them by
the disjunctive 'or;' and, therefore, it might be argued with some
plausibility that any act of forceful or fraudulent detention, after
notice, by persons who have originally acquired a child's custody in
a lawful way, came within the section. The point is new, and of great
importance; and if the Protestant Detectoral Association feel disposed
to try it, they would do so under favorable circumstances in the present
case. Should they decide to do so, a written demand should be served
upon the authorities of the convent, by the mother, or some one acting
on her behalf, to give up the infant.

"2. The second question is also involved in difficulty. Were the father
to be joined in the proceedings, the writ of Habeas Corpus would be
the correct remedy. But his probable refusal necessitates the inquiry
whether the mother can alone apply for the writ. The general rule of law
is, that the father is entitled to the custody and disposition of his
children. In Cartlidge and Cartlidge, 31, L. J., P. M. & D. 85, it was
held that this rule would not be generally departed from by the Divorce
Court; but in Barnes v. Barnes, L. R. I, P. & D. 463, the court made
an order, giving the custody of two infant children to the mother,
respondent in a suit for a dissolution of marriage, on the ground that
the mother's health was suffering from being deprived of their society,
and that they were living with a stranger, and not with the father.
These cases were, however, in the Divorce Court, and do not apply. But,
as there seems to be much ground in the peculiar circumstances here,
for arguing that the mother should have the custody of the child, or,
at least, that it should not be left to that of persons of a different
religion from both parents, an application might be made to the Queen's
Bench to try the question.

"3. Should the common law remedies fail, resort may perhaps be had to
the powers in Chancery under Talfourd's Act, but on this point I should
like to confer with an equity counsel before giving a decided opinion.
It has been decided under this Act that the court has power to give the
custody of children under seven to the mother. (Shillito v. Collett, 8,
W. R. 683-696.) As this infant is but six weeks old it comes within that
case.

"4. I have no general advice to give on behalf of the infant.

       "ADOLPHUS STIGMA,
         "9, Plumtree Court."


If none of the courses suggested by Mr. Stigma was very decided, Messrs.
Roundhead, Roundhead and Lollard were not sorry to have three strings to
their bow. The Detectoral Association were good clients; most of their
funds went into their lawyers' pockets. It was part of their policy
to be litigious. Thereby the world was kept alive to the existence of
Papacy within its bosom. Who shall say the Association were wrong?
Some healthy daylight was occasionally let in upon the mysteries of
Jesuitism, and there are people who think that worth while at the risk
of a chance injustice. Though the Devil should not get his due, few
would give him any sympathy.

The solicitor at once instructed Mr. Dignam Bailey, Q.C., to apply with
Mr. Stigma to a magistrate for a summons. Mr. Bailey, Q.C., was not
chosen for his partialities. In religious matters he was a perfect
Gallio; but he was like St. Paul in one particular, he could be all
things to all men.



V.--Magistrate's Law.

The personnel of the magistrate to whom Mr. Dignam Bailey, Q. C., (with
him Mr. Adolphus Stigma), applied in the case of re an infant,
exparte Ginx, is not material to this history. He was like his fellow
stipendiaries--mild as to humor, vigilant in his duties, opinionated
in his views, resenting the troublesome intrusion into his court of
a barrister, apt to treat him with about one-eighth of the courtesy
extended to the humblest junior by the Queen's Bench, and curiously
unequal both with himself and his brother magistrates in adjusting
punishment. It will be most convenient to insert the report of the Daily
Electric Meteor:--

       "WESTMINSTER.

"Mr. Dignam Bailey, Q.C., (with whom was Mr. Adolphus Stigma), applied
for a summons against Mary Dens, commonly called Sister Suspiciosa, of
the convent of the Sisters of Misery, in Winkle Street, for abducting
and detaining a male child of John Ginx and Mary his wife.

"Mr. D'ACERBITY. On whose behalf do you apply?

"The learned counsel stated that he was instructed by the Protestant
Detectoral Association to apply on behalf of the mother. The case
was also watched by the solicitors of the Society for Preventing the
Suppression of Women and Children.

"Mr. D'ACERBITY. Does the father join in the application?

"Mr. BAILEY. No, sir.

"Mr. D'ACERBITY. Why? He ought to be joined if living.

"Mr. BAILEY. Perhaps you will allow me, sir, to state the case. The
circumstances are peculiar. The fact is----

"Mr. D'ACERBITY. I cannot understand why the father should not be
represented if the child has been abducted. Where was it taken from?

"Mr. Bailey proceeded to state that the child had been taken by a nun
from No. 5, Rosemary Street, without the mother's consent, and was now
imprisoned in the convent. The father appeared to be indifferent, or
to have given a sort of general acquiescence. This was Mrs. Ginx's
thirteenth child, around whom gathered the concentrated affections

"Mr. D'ACERBITY (interrupting the learned gentleman). We have no time
for sentiment here, Mr. Bailey. If the father consented, can you call it
abduction? It looks like reduction. (Laughter.)

"Mr. Bailey called attention to the consolidated statutes of criminal
law, and said he was going for illegal detention rather than abduction,
and argued at great length from section 56. At the conclusion of the
argument, after refusing to hear Mr. Stigma,

"Mr. D'Acerbity said that the case clearly did not come within the
section, and he was afraid the learned counsel knew it. The father had
been a consenting party, on the counsel's own statement, to the child's
removal, and no suggestion had been made that he had withdrawn his
consent. He should refuse a summons.

"Mr. Bailey endeavored to address the magistrate but was stopped.

"Mr. D'ACERBITY. I have no more to say. You can apply to the Queen's
Bench. I have no sympathy with you whatever."

Mr. D'Acerbity's law was good, but--what has justice to do with
"sympathies?" Surely the day after this report appeared the magistrate
must have had a letter from the Home Secretary?



VI-Popery and Protestantism in the Queen's Bench.

The application to the magistrate was far from satisfactory. There had
not even been an exposure, and the Windmill Bulletin gayly bantered the
Detectoral Association. Meanwhile had happened the grand christening,
of which a circumstantial account was in the hands of the council of the
Detectoral Association shortly after the ceremony had been performed.
Here was a monstrous indignity to a Protestant child! The account was at
once printed, together with a verbatim report of the application to the
magistrate as well as one of "a conversation held with the mother by
an agent of the Association." Board-men paraded the great thoroughfares
carrying this appeal:--

PROTESTANT DETECTORAL ASSOCIATION.

     NO POPERY!
     Abduction Of an Infant!
     Assault on the Liberty of the Subject!
     Mysterious and Awful Proceedings!
     Baptism of a Protestant Child in a Convent!

     OUTRAGE
     Upon the Nation by Foreign Mercenaries!
     Every Father and Mother is Invited to Co-operate in
     Maintaining the
     PROTESTANT RELIGION,
     The Sanctity of Home, and the Inviolability of
     BRITISH FREEDOM!

     NO SURRENDER!


If there was no coherency in this production, it should be noted how
little that is of the essence of popular appeal. The metropolis was in
an uproar. Meetings were held, subscriptions poured in, dangerous crowds
collected in Winkle Street. When Mr. Dignam Bailey, Q. C., went down to
Westminster, to move the Court of Queen's Bench, multitudes besieged it.
Protestant champions and Papal ecclesiastics vied in their efforts to
get seats. The writ had gone from judge's chambers returnable to
the full court. Sister Suspiciosa, bearing the infant Ambrosius, and
supported by two novices and Father Certificatus, had been smuggled into
court through mysterious passages in its rear. Mrs. Ginx also, brought
from Rosemary Street by the little man who provided her with a bonnet
trimmed with orange-colored ribbons, sat staring with red eyes at her
child, now enveloped in a robe that was embroidered with little crosses.

Why need I tell you, how dead silence fell upon the Court after the stir
caused by the entrance of the judges; how everybody knew what was coming
when a master beneath the bench rose, and called out, "Re Ginx,
an infant, Exparte Mary Ginx!" How the Chief Justice, fresh and
rosy-looking, then blew his nose in a delicate mauve-colored silk
handkerchief: how he tried and discarded half-a-dozen pens, amid
breathless silence; how in his blandest manner he said: "Who appears
for the Respondent?" and Mr. Dignam Bailey, Q. C., and Mr. Octavius
Ernestus, Q. C., rose together to say that Mr. Ernestus did!

Mr. Ernestus was a Catholic. He was assisted by half-a-dozen counsel.
He riddled the affidavits on the other side, and read voluminous ones on
his own; bitterly animadverted upon the absence of an affidavit by the
father; held up to the scorn of a civilized world the course pursued
towards his meek and gentle clients by the "fanatical zealots of the
Protestant Detectoral Association;" in moving tones referred to the
shrinking of "quiet recluses, from the gaze of a rude, unsympathizing
world;" cited cases from the time of Magna Charta, down; called upon the
Court to vindicate Protestant justice, ending his peroration with the
aphorism of Lord Mansfield, Fiat justitia ruat caelum.

One cannot do Justice to Mr. Dignam Bailey's argument, when after lunch
he rose to reply. He was logical and passionate, vindictive and pathetic
by turns. He inveighed against the Lady Superior, against her attorneys,
against Father Certificatus, against Ginx,--"craven to his heaven-born
rights of political and religious freedom,"--against the Roman Catholic
religion, the Pope, the Archbishop of Westminster, the Virgin Mary. The
Court knew, and every one else knew, that this was pure pyrotechny,
and Mr. Bailey knew that best of all; but, though the Bench is swift to
speak, slow to hear, it felt obliged, in a case of this public interest,
to sit by, and be witnesses of the exhibition. Mr. Bailey concluded by a
play on the aphorism cited by his learned friend. "He would say that if
such justice were to be done, as his friend had urged, the Kingdom of
Heaven in England would rush to its fall."

The Court at once decided that, as the father had confided the custody
of the infant to the Sisters of Misery, and did not appear to desire
that it should be withdrawn, they, disregarding the religious clouds in
which the subject had been too carefully involved on both sides, gave
judgment for the defendant, with costs.

As they passed out of Court, Mr. Stigma said to his clients, "Quite as I
anticipated; you remember I told you so in my Opinion."



VII.--A Protestor, but not a Protestant.

The infant Ambrosius and his conductors could scarcely reach the convent
in safety. The building showed few windows to the street, but they were
all broken. What might have happened in a few days, but that Ginx's Baby
took the matter into his own hands, none can say.

The treatment to which the little saint was subjected soured his temper.
His kind nurses had choked him twice a day with incense, and now he had
inhaled for seven hours the air of the Queen's Bench. On his return to
the convent he was hastily fed, and carried to the chapel to give thanks
for the victory of the day. Wrapped in a handsome chasuble, they laid
him on the steps of the altar. In the most solemn part of the service
he coughed, and grew sick. The chasuble was bespattered. When the
officiating priest, to save that garment, took the child in his arms, he
nefariously polluted the sacerdotal vestments and the altar steps. Then
he kicked toward the altar itself, roared lustily, and finally went
into convulsions in Sister Suspiciosa's arms. Like most women, the Lady
Superior required her enthusiasm to be fed with success. She began
to think that she had been cozened: Ginx's Baby was too evidently a
spiritual miscarriage. He must, like the rest of his family, be, indeed,
"Protestant to the backbone." Father Certificatus agreed with her. His
robes and best chasuble were befouled.

"Let us not risk a repetition of this conduct," said he; "let the child
be given up. He is baptized, and cannot be severed from the Church. He
will return after many days."

Next morning the solicitors of the Protestant Detectoral Association
received a letter from their opponents. In this they said
that--presuming Messrs. Roundhead, Roundhead, and Lollard, intended to
apply to the Master of the Rolls, the authorities of the convent had
decided, after having vindicated themselves in the Queen's Bench, to
give up the child, which would be, for twenty-four hours, at the order
and disposal of the Association, and afterwards of his parents. "We are
instructed by our clients," they added, "to ask you to bear in mind that
the child has been admitted, and is a member of the Catholic Church,
owing allegiance to the Holy Father at Rome, a bond from which only the
Papal excommunication can absolve him."



VIII.--"See how these Christians love one another."

A mass-meeting of Protestants had been summoned for three o'clock on the
day designated in the letter of the Papist attorneys, to be held in the
Philopragmon Hall. That was the favorite centre of countless movements,
both well-meant and well-executed, and of others as futile as they were
foolish. Yet one could not say that a larger proportion of the latter
were connected with the Hall than existed in as many other human
enterprises of any sort. The concession of the Romanists at first dashed
the managers of the demonstration. Their grievance was gone. Still there
remained topics for a meeting: they would rejoice over victory, and
consult about the future of the Protestant Baby.

The Secretary was an old hand at these meetings. He planned to import
into this one a sensation. Ginx's Baby, brought from the convent,
stripped of his papal swathings and enveloped in a handsome outfit
presented by an amiable Protestant Duchess, was placed in a cradle with
his head resting on a Bible. I am afraid he was quite as uncomfortable
as he had ever been at the convent. When, at the conclusion of the
chairman's speech, in which he informed the audience of their triumph,
this exhibition was deftly introduced upon the platform, the huzzas, and
clappings, and waving of handkerchiefs were such as even that place had
never seen. The child was astounded into quietness.

Mr. Trumpeter took the chair--believed by many to be, next to the Queen,
the most powerful defender of the faith in the three kingdoms. I never
could understand why the newspapers reported his speeches--I cannot.

When he had done, Lord Evergood, "a popular, practical peer, of sound
Protestant principles," as the Daily Banner alliteratively termed him
next morning, rose to move the first resolution, already cut and dried
by the committee--

"That the infant so happily rescued from the incubus of a delusive
superstition, should be remitted to the care of the Church Widows' and
Orphans' Augmentation Society, and should be supported by voluntary
contributions."

Before Lord Evergood could say a word murmurs arose in every part of
the hall. He was a mild, gentlemanly Christian, without guile, and the
opposition both surprised and frightened him. He uttered a few sentences
in approval of his proposition and sat down.

An individual in the gallery shouted--"Sir! I rise to move an
amendment!"

Cheers, and cries of "Order! order! Sit down!" &c.

The Chairman, with great blandness, said: "The gentleman is out of
order; the resolution has not yet been seconded. I call upon the Rev.
Mr. Valpy to second the resolution."

Mr. Valpy, incumbent of St. Swithin's-within, insisted on speaking, but
what he said was known only to himself. When he had finished there was
an extraordinary commotion. On the platform many ministers and laymen
jumped to their feet; in the hall at least a hundred aspirants for a
hearing raised themselves on benches or the convenient backs of friends.

The Chairman shouted, "Order! ORDER, gentlemen! This is a great
occasion; let us show unanimity!"

There seemed to be an unanimous desire to speak. Amid cheers, cries
for order, and Kentish fire, you could hear the Rev. Mark Slowboy,
Independent, the Rev. Hugh Quickly, Wesleyan, the Rev. Bereciah Calvin,
Presbyterian, the Rev. Ezekiel Cutwater, Baptist, calling to the chair.

A lull ensued, of which advantage was taken by Mr. Stentor, a well-known
Hyde Park orator, who bellowed from a friend's shoulders in the pit,
"Mr. Chairman, hear ME!" an appeal that was followed by roars of
laughter.

What was the matter? Why the proposal to hand over the baby to an
Anglican refuge stirred up the blood of every Dissenter present. It was
lifting the infant out of the frying-pan and dexterously dropping him
into the fire. But the chairman was accustomed to these scenes.
He stayed the tumult by proposing that a representative from each
denomination should give his opinion to the audience. "Whom would they
have first?"

The loudest cries were for Mr. Cutwater, who stood forth--a weak,
stooping, half-halting, little man, with a limp necktie, and trousers
puffy at the knees--but with honest use of them, let me say. It is quite
credible that if Dr. Watts's assertion be true that--

     "Satan trembles when he sees
     The weakest saint upon his knees,"

that arch-enemy was unusually perturbed when Ezekiel Cutwater was upon
his. On these he had borne manly contests with evil. Two things--yea,
three--were rigid in Ezekiel's creed; fire would never have burned
them out of him: hatred of Popery, contempt of Anglican priestcraft and
apostolic succession, and adhesion to the dogma of adult baptism and
total immersion. Whoso should not join with him in these let him be
Anathema Maranatha.

His eye kindled as he looked at the seething audience. "Sir," said he,
"I beg to move an amendment to the motion of the noble lord. (Cheers.)
That motion proposes to transfer to the care of the Established Church
this tender and unconscious infant (bending over Ginx's baby), just
snatched from the toils of a kindred superstition. (Oh, oh, hisses and
cheers.) I withdraw the expression; I did not mean to be offensive.
(Hear.) This is a grand representative meeting--not of the English
Church, not of the Baptist Church, not of the Wesleyan Church--but of
Protestantism. (Cheers and Kentish fire.) In such an assembly is it
right to propose any singular disposition of a representative infant?
This is now the adopted child, not of one, but of all denominations.
(Cheers.) Around his, or her--I am not sure which--cherubic head
circle the white-winged angels of various Churches, and on her or him,
whichever it may be----"

The Chairman said that he might as well say that he had authentic
information that it was HIM.

"Him then--concentrate the sympathies of every Protestant heart. Let us
not despoil the occasion of its greatness by exhibiting a narrow bigotry
in one direction! Let us bring into this infantile focus the rays of
Catholic unity. (Loud cheering and Kentish fire.) To me, for one, it
would be eminently painful to think--what doubtless would occur if the
motion is adopted--that within a week of his entrance into the asylum of
the society named in it, this diminutive and unknowing sinner should
go through the farce of a supposititious admission into the Church of
Christ. (Oh!) Yes! I say a farce, whether you regard the age of the
acolyte or the indifferent proportion of water with which it would be
performed. (Uproar, oh, oh! and some cheering from the Baptist section.)
But I will not now further enter into these things," said Mr. Cutwater,
who knew his cue perfectly well, "I can hold these opinions and still
love my brethren of other denominations. I move, as an amendment, that a
committee, consisting of one minister and one layman to be selected
from each of the Churches, be appointed to take charge of the physical
well-being and mental and spiritual training of the infant."

By this proposition, which was received with enthusiasm, Ginx's Baby was
to be incontinently pitched into an arena of polemical warfare.
Every one was willing that a committee should fight out the question
vicariously; and, therefore, when Mr. Slowboy seconded the amendment, it
was carried with loud acclamations.

But they were not yet out of the wood. On proceeding to nominate members
of the committee, the Unitarians and Quakers claimed to be represented.
The platform and the meeting were by the ears again. It was fiercely
contended that only Evangelical Christians could have a place in such
a work, and many of the nominees declared that they would not sit on a
committee with--well, some curious epithets were used. The Unitarians
and Quakers took their stand on the Catholic principles embodied in the
amendment, and on the fact that Ginx's Baby had now "become national
Protestant property." Mr. Cutwater and a few others, moved by the
scandal of the dispute, interfered, and the committee was at length
constituted to the satisfaction of all parties. It was to be called "The
Branch Committee of the Protestant Detectoral Union for promoting the
Physical and Spiritual Well-being of Ginx's Baby."

A fourth resolution was adopted, "That the subject should be treated in
the Metropolitan pulpits on the next Sabbath, and a collection taken up
in the various churches for the benefit of the infant." This promised
well for Master Ginx's future.

The meeting had lasted five hours, and while they were discussing him
the child grew hungry. In the tumult every one had forgotten the subject
of it, and now it was over, they dispersed without thought of him.
But he would not allow those near him at all events to overlook his
presence.

Some, foreseeing that awkwardness was impending, slipped away; while
three or four stayed to ask what was to be done with him.

"Hand him over to the custody of the Chairman," said a Mr. Dove.

"I should be most happy," said he, smoothly, "but Mrs. Trumpeter is out
of town. Could your dear wife take him, Mr. Dove?"

Mr. Dove's wife was otherwise engaged.

The Secretary was unmarried--chambers at Nincome's Inn.

In the midst of their distress a woman who had been hanging about the
hall near the platform, came forward and offered to take charge of him,
"for the sake of the cause." Every one was relieved. After her name and
address had been hastily noted, the Protestant baby was placed in her
arms. My Lord Evergood, the Chairman, the clergy, the Secretary, and the
mob went home rejoicing. Some hours after, Ginx's Baby, stripped of the
duchess's beautiful robes, was found by a policeman, lying on a
doorstep in one of the narrow streets, not a hundred yards behind the
Philopragmon. By an ironical chance he was wrapped in a copy of the
largest daily paper in the world.



IX.--Good Samaritans, and Good-Samaritan Twopences.

At every breakfast-table in town next morning the report of the great
Protestant meeting was read, and a further report, in leaded type,
of the discovery of Ginx's Baby at a later period of the evening by a
policeman. A pretty comment on the proceedings! The Good Samaritan put
his patient on his ass and carried him to an inn; while the priest and
the Levite, though the latter looked at him, at least let him alone. To
have called a public meeting to discuss his fate before deserting him,
would have been a refinement of inhumanity. The committee were rather
ashamed when they met. Instant measures were taken to recover the child
and place him in good hands. The duchess again provided baby-clothes.
The next Sunday sermons were preached on his behalf in a score of
chapels. The collections amounted to L 800, a sum increased by donations
and subscriptions to the handsome total of L 1360 10s. 3 1/2d.

It will be seen hereafter what the committee did with the baby, but I
happen to have an account of what became of the funds. They were
spent as follows, according to a balance sheet never submitted to the
subscribers:--

                                            Pounds   s. d.
     Committee-rooms.............                45  0  0
     2 Secretaries employed by the
      Committee................                 120  0  0
     Agents, canvassing, &c..........            88  6  2
     Printing Notices, Placards,
      Pamphlets, a "Daily Bulletin of
      Health," "Life of Ginx's Baby,"
      "Protestant Babyhood, a Tale,"
      "The Cradle of an Infant Martyr,"
      "A Snatched Brand," and other
      Works issued by the Committee......       596  13 5
     Advertisements of Meetings,
      Sermons, &c...............                261   1 1
     Legal Expenses...............               77   6 8
     Stationery................                  35  10 0
     Postage, Firing, and Sundries.......        27  19 2
                                             ----------------
                                 Total Pounds  1251  16 6


This left L 108 13s. 9 1/2d. for the baby's keep. No child could have
been more thoroughly discussed, preached and written about, advertised,
or advised by counsel; but his resources dwindled in proportion to these
advantages. Benevolent subscribers too seldom examine the financial
items of a report: had any who contributed to this fund seen the balance
sheet they might have grudged that so little of their bounty went to
make flesh, bone, and comfort for the object of it. A cynic would tell
them that to look sharply after the disposal of their guerdon was half
the gift. Their indifference was akin to that satirized by the poet--

  "Prodigus et stultus dedit quae spernit et odit."

In an age of luxury we are grown so luxurious as to be content to pay
agents to do our good deeds for us; but they charge us three hundred per
cent. for the privilege.



X.--The Force--and a Specimen of its Weakness.

Ginx's baby had been discovered by a policeman swaddled in a penny
paper, distressingly familiar to metropolitan travellers by rail.
To omit the details of his treatment at the hands of that great
institution, "The Force," would be invidious. The member thereof who
fell in with him was walking a back street, sighting doors with his
bull's-eye. He was provided with massive boots, so that a thief
could hear him coming a hundred yards off; he was personally tall and
unwieldy, and a dexterous commissioner had invented a dress designed to
enhance these qualities--a heavy coat, a cart-horse belt, and a round
cape. He had been carefully drilled not to walk more than three miles an
hour. He was not a little startled when the rays of his lamp fell upon
a struggling newspaper, out of which, as from a shell, came mysterious
cries. He took up a corner of the paper and peeped in upon the face
of Ginx's Baby; then he occupied a quarter of an hour in embarrassing
reflections. A nearly naked child crying in the cold ought to be housed
as soon as possible, but X 99 was ON HIS BEAT, and those magic words
chained him to certain limits. This, of course, was the rule under a
former commissioner, and every one knows that such absurd strategy
has been abolished in the existing regime. At that time, however, each
watchman had his beat, to leave which was neglect of duty, except with
a prisoner, and then it was neglect of all the householders within the
magic compass. Had X 99 heard the baby crying across the street, which
was part of the beat of X 101, he would have passed on with a cheery
heart, for the case would have been beyond his jurisdiction. Unhappily
the baby was on his beat, and he was delivered from the temptation of
transferring it to the other by the appearance of X 101's bull's-eye not
far off. What was he to do? The station was a mile away--the inspector
would not arrive for an hour--and it would be awkward, if not
undignified, to carry on his rounds a shouting baby wrapped in the
largest daily paper. If he left it where it was, and it perished, he
might be charged with murder. He was at his wits' end--but having got
there, he resolved on the simplest process, namely to carry it to
the station. No provision was made by the regulations of the force to
protect a beat casually deserted even for a proper purpose. Hence, while
X 99 was absent on his errand of mercy, the valuable shop of Messrs.
Trinkett and Blouse, ecclesiastical tailors, was broken into, and
several stoles, chasubles, altar-cloths and other decorative tapestries
were appropriated to profane uses.

At the station the baby was disposed of according to rule. Due entry
was first made in the night-book by the superintendent of all the
particulars of his discovery. Some cold milk was then procured and
poured down the child's throat. Afterwards, wrapped in a constable's
cape, he was placed in a cell where, when the door was locked, he could
not disturb the guardians of the peace.

The same night, in the next cell, an innocent gentleman, seized with
an apoplexy in the street but entered in the charge-sheet as drunk and
incapable, died like a dog.



XI.--The Unity of the Spirit and the Bond of Peace.

When the committee met, every one discovered his incongruity with the
rest. Each was disposed to treat Ginx's Baby in a different way--in
other words, each wished to reflect the views of his particular sect
on the object of their charity. They were a new "Evangelical Alliance,"
agreed only in hatred to Popery.

Finding at their first meeting that the discussion needed to be brought
into a focus, the committee appointed three of their number to draw up
a minute of the matters to be argued. This committee reported that there
arose, respecting the child, the following questions:--

 "I. As touching the body:

     a. Wherewithal he should be fed and clothed?

     b. In what manner and fashion that should be done?

  II. As touching the mind and spirit:

     a. Whether he should be educated?  If so,

     b. What were to be the subjects of instruction?

     c. What creed, if any, should be primarily taught?

     d. Should he be further baptized? If so,

       1. Into what communion?

       2. By what ceremonial?"


This programme, it appeared to its concoctors, embraced everything that
concerned Ginx's Baby except his death by the act of God or the Queen's
enemies. No sooner was the report made than adopted. Then a member,
eager for the fray, moved the postponement of the first division of
questions until the others had been determined. Why should apostles of
truth trouble themselves to serve tables? These were very subordinate
questions to them--though, I think, of first importance to Ginx's Baby.
It was decided to discuss little Ginx's future before considering his
present.

The ball was opened by the Venerable Archdeacon Hotten, who, amid much
excitement, contended that from the earliest buddings of thought in
an infant mind religion should be engrafted upon it; there could be no
education worth the name that was not religious. That with the A should
be taught the origin, and with the Z the final destiny and destruction,
of evil. To separate education from religion was to clip the wings of
the heavenly dove. He asserted that the committee ought at once to have
the child baptized in Westminster Abbey, though he was rather of opinion
that the previous baptism was canonically valid; that he should be
taught the truths of our most holy faith, and since there could be
no faith without a creed, and the only national creed was that of the
Church of England, the baby should be handed over to the care of a
clergyman, and then be sent to a proper religious school. He need not
say that he excluded Rugby under its then profane management.

The Church was, however, divided against itself, for the Dean of Triston
said he would give more latitude than his very reverend brother. You
ought not to define in an infant mind a rigid outline of creed. In fact,
he did not acknowledge any creed, he was not obliged to by law and was
disinclined to by his reason. He would rather allow the inner seeds of
natural light--the glorious all-pervading efflorescence of the Deity
in all men's hearts, to grow within the young spirit. The Dean was
assuredly vague and far less earnest than his brother cleric.

The "Rev." Mr. Bumpus, Unitarian, met the suggestions of the
Archdeacon with the scorn they merited. It was impossible to apply to
a representative child of an enlightened age theories so long exploded.
The Dean had certainly come nearer the truth with that broad sympathy
for which he was noted. He himself proposed that the child should be
made a model nursling of the liberalism of a new era. Old things were
passing away;--all things had become new. Creeds were the discarded
banners of a mediaeval past, fit only to be hung up in the churches, and
looked at as historic monuments; never more to be flaunted in the front
of battle! The education of the day was that which taught a man the
introspection whereby he recognized the Divine within himself--under
any aspect, under any tuition, whether of Brahma, Confucius, or Christ.
Truth was kaleidoscopic, and varied with the media through which it
was viewed. As for the child, every aspect of truth and error should be
allowed to play upon his mind. Let him acquire ordinary school learning
for fifteen years, and then send him to the London University.

Here the Chairman, and half-a-dozen members of the committee, protested
that the said University was a school of the devil, and several
interchanges of discourtesy took place.

Mr. Shortt, M. P., begged to suggest, as a matter of business, that for
the present the child was not capable of receiving any ideas whatever,
and might die, or prove to be dumb, or an idiot, and so require no
education. Ought they not to postpone this discussion until the subject
was old enough to be worth consideration?

It was Mr. Shortt's habit to show his practical vein by business-like
obstructions of this kind. He had been able a score of times to
demonstrate to the House of Commons how silly it was to consider
probabilities. In fact, he was opposed heart and soul to prophetic
legislation; he would live, legislatively, from hand to mouth.

But the committee would not allow Mr. Shortt to run away with the bone
of contention.

The Rev. Dr. M'Gregor Lucas, of the National Caledonian Believers, had
been silent too long to contain himself further. This man needs some
particular description whenever his name is made public. Nay, for this
he lives, and by it, some think. At all events, he appears to be
equally eager for rebuke and applause; they both involve notoriety, and
notoriety is sure to pay. Few absurdities had been overlooked by his
shallow ingenuity. Simply to have invested his limited mental endowments
in trying to make the world believe him a genius, would have been only
so like what many thousands are doing as to have absolved him from too
harsh a judgment; but he traded in perilous stuff. Cheap prophecy was
his staple. It was his wont to give out about once in five years, that
the world would shortly come to an end, and, like Mr. Zadkiel, he
found people who thought their inevitable disappointment a proof of his
inspiration. Had you heard the honeyed words dropping from his lips, you
would have taken him for a Scotch angel, and, consequently, a rarity.
Could such lips utter harsh sayings, or distil vanities? Show him a
priest, and you would hear! The Pope was his particular born foe; Popery
his enemies' country--so he said. It was safe for him to stand and throw
his darts. No one could say whether they hit or did not; while most
spectators had the good will to hope that they did. How he would
have lived if Daniel and St. John had dreamed no dreams, one cannot
conjecture. As it was, they provided the doctor with endless openings
for his fancy. Since no one could solve the riddle of their prophecies,
it was certain that no one could disprove his solutions. Yet these came
so often to their own disproof by lapse of time, that I can only think
that the good doctor hoped to die before his critical periods came, or
was so clever as to trust the infallibility of human weakness.

I describe Dr. Lucas at so great a length, because it will be easier
and more edifying to the reader to conceive what he said, than for me to
recount it. He showed the Baby to be one of seven mysteries. He was in
favor of teaching him at once to hate idolatry, music, crosses, masses,
nuns, priests, bishops, and cardinals. The "humanities," the Shorter
Catechism, the Confession of Faith, and "The whole Duty of Man," would,
in his opinion, be the books to lay the groundwork in the child's mind
of a Christian character of the highest type.

Mr. Ogle, M. P., here vigorously intervened. Said he:--

"I can't, with all deference, agree to any of these suggestions. They
involve hand-to-hand fighting over this baby's body. No one of us is
entitled to take charge of him. Else why did we all unite to rescue him
from the nunnery? He will be torn to pieces among contending divines!
I think a purely secular education is all that as a committee we should
aim at. We have, but just withdrawn the child from the shadow of a
single ecclesiastical influence--would you transfer it to another? Every
Protestant denomination is contributing to his support, how can you
devote their gifts to rearing him for one? You would have no peace;
better at once treat him as the man of Benjamin treated his wife, cut
him up into enough pieces to send to all the tribes of Israel, summoning
them to the fight. I say we have nothing to do with this just now; let
him be educated in a secular academy, and let each sect be free to send
its agents to instruct him out of school hours as they please."

The Rev. Theodoret Verity, M.A., rose in anger.

"Surely, sir, you cannot seriously propound such a scheme! Would you
leave this precious waif to be buffeted between the contending waves
of truth and error, in the vague hope that by some lucky wind he might
finally be cast upon a rock of safety? I protest against all these
educational heresies--they are redolent of brimstone. Truth is truth,
or there is none at all. If there be any, it is our duty to impart it to
this immortal at the outset of his existence. Secular education! What do
you mean by it? Who shall sever one question from another, and call one
secular and the other religious? Is not every relation and every truth
in some way or other connected with religion?" &c. &c. Mr. Verity has
been saying the same thing any time these forty years.

"Forgive me," replied Mr. Ogle, "if I say that this is very vague
talking. I have not proposed to sever one question from another. I only
propose to do in a different way that which is being done now by the
most rigid of Mr. Verity's friends. It is impossible to comprehend what
is meant by such a statement as that every truth is somehow connected
with religion. It may be that the notion--if it really is not, as I
suspect it to be, mere verbiage and clap-trap, used by certain fools
to mislead others--means that there is some such coherency between all
truths as there is, for instance, between the elements of the body. I
would admit that, but is not blood a different and perfectly severable
thing from bone? Each has its place, office, relation. But who would say
that one could not be regarded by a physicist in the largest variety of
its aspects apart from the other? Yet the physicist comes back again
to consider with respect to each its relations to all the rest! The
separate study has rather prepared him for more profound insight into
those relations. Thus it is with the body of truth. In spite of Mr.
Verity I affirm that there are truths that have not in themselves any
element of religion whatever. The forty-seventh proposition of Euclid
will be taught by a Jesuit precisely as it is taught in the London
University; geography will affirm certain principles and designate
places, rivers, mountains--that no faith can remove and cast into
unknown seas. These subjects and others are taught in our most bigoted
schools in separate hours and relations from religion. What then do
you mean by affirming that there can be no secular education of this
child--apart from religious teaching? We are not likely to agree, if
I may judge from what I have seen, on any one method of religious
instruction for it, therefore I wish first to fix common bounds within
which our common benevolence may work. Well, we all go to the Bible.
We agree that between its covers lies religious truth somewhere. If you
like let him have that--and let him have some kindly and holy influences
about him in the way of practice and example, such as many of our sects
can supply many instances of. Give him no catechism--let him read a
creed in our daily life. The articles of faith strongest in his soul
will be those which have crystallized there from the combined action
of truth and experience, and not as it were been pasted on its walls by
ecclesiastical bill-posters. 'What is truth?' he must ask and answer for
himself, as we all must do before God. Don't mistake me; I hope I am not
more indifferent to religion than any here present--but I differ from
them on the best method of imbuing the mind and heart with it. Surely
we need not, we cannot--it would be an exquisite absurdity--pass a
resolution in this committee that the child is to be a Calvinist! Who
then would agree to secure him from any taint of Arminian heresy in
years to come? Dare you even resolve that he shall be a Christian and a
Protestant! I would not insure the risk. But, with so many of Christ's
followers about me, surely, surely without providing any ecclesiastical
mechanism, there will be testified to him simply how he may be saved.
Your prayers, your visits, your kindly moral influence and talk,
your living example of a goodness derived not from dogmas but from
affectionate following of a holy pattern and trust in revealed mercies,
your pointing to that pattern and showing the daily passage of these
mercies will prompt his search after the truth that has made you what
you are. Let some good woman do for him a mother's part, but choose
her for her general goodness and not for the dogmas of her church. The
simpler her piety the better for him I should say!"

This straightforward speech fell like a new apple of discord in the
midst of the committee. Angry knots were formed, and the noble chairman
found that he could not restore order. An adjournment was agreed to.
Luckily for the body of Ginx's Baby, he had been meanwhile sent to a
home where Protestant money secured to him for the time good living,
while his benefactors were discussing what to do with his soul.

*****

Surely, it were no impertinence to interrupt this history and advert to
the fact, that, in the discussion just related, every one was to some
extent right and to some extent agreed.

That religious teaching was due to an immortal spirit--some notion
and evidence of the Divine and the Great Hereafter to be conveyed to
it--scarce was disputed. Nor was there collision over the necessity
of what is called intellectual cultivation. The boy must be taught
something of the world in which he was to live; nay, this latter
knowledge seemed to be most immediately practical. As each disputant
fixed his eye on one or the other aim that end appeared to him to be the
most important. Hence, by a natural lapse, they came to treat subjects
as antagonistic which were, in fact, parallel and quite consistent. The
one called the others godless--the others threw back the aspersion
of bigotry. Then came complication. What was "religion?" Intellectual
culture they could agree about--it embraced well-known areas; but this
religion divided itself into many disputable fields. These brother
Protestants were like country neighbors who must encounter each other at
fairs, markets, meets, and balls, and smile and greet, though each, at
heart, is looking savagely at the other's landmarks, and most are very
likely fighting bitter lawsuits all the while. It was because religion
meant CREED to most members of the committee, and because it so implies
to the vast bodies they represented, that they could not come to terms
about Ginx's Baby or any other infantile immortal. Not always, perhaps,
but often, they fought for futile distinctions. Had Mahomet's creed
consisted of but one article, There is one God, the blood of many
nations might never have given testimony against the creed they resented
when to it he tacked and Mahomet is His prophet. Could Protestants but
consent to agree in their agreement and peacefully differ in their petty
differences, how would the aggregated impulse of a simple faith roll
down before it all the impediments of error!

When Ginx's Baby had grown to a discretionary age, and was at all able
to know truth from error--supposing that to be knowable--there were
in the country fifty thousand reverend gentlemen of every tincture of
religious opinion who might ply him with their various theories, yet few
of these would be contented unless they could seize him while his young
nature was plastic, and try to imprint on immortal clay the trade-mark
of some human invention.



XII.--No Funds--no Faith, no Works.

The Committee of the Protestant Detectoral Union on Ginx's Baby held
twenty-three meetings. They were then as far from unity of purpose as
when they set out. Variety was given to the meetings by the changing
combinations of members in attendance. The finances were little
heeded in the intensity of their zeal for truth. These at length fell
altogether into the hands of the association's secretary, and we have
seen involved large items of expense. The twenty-three meetings
extended over a year. At the end of that time the secretary startled the
committee by laying on the table a demand for the board and keep of the
Protestant baby for three months, amounting to L 36; and adding that the
sum in hand was L 1, 4s. 4 1/2d. In his report he said: "No effort has
been spared by means of advertisements, pamphlets, tales, leaders
and paragraphs in newspapers and religious journals, together with
occasional sermons, to maintain the public interest in this child; but
attention has been diverted from him by the great Roman Spozzi case,
and the anxiety created throughout the Protestant world by the recent
discovery made by Dr. Gooddee, of a solitary survivor of the ancient
Church of the Vieuxbois Protestants in a secluded valley of the
Pyrenees."

The secretary asked the committee to provide the money to discharge the
baby's liabilities; but they instantly adjourned, and no effort could
afterwards get a quorum together. When the persons who had charge of the
Protestant foundling discovered the state of affairs they began to dun
the secretary and to neglect the child, now about thirteen months
old and preparing to walk. Since no money appeared they sold whatever
clothes had been provided for him, and absconded from the place where
they had been farming him for Protestantism. The secretary, by chance
hearing of this, was discreet enough to make no inquiries. Ginx's Baby,
"as a Protestant question," vanished from the world. I never heard that
any one was asked what had been done with the funds; but I have already
furnished the account that ought to have been rendered.



XIII.--In transitu.

One night, near twelve o'clock, a shrewd tradesman, looking out of his
shopdoor before he turned into bed, heard a cry which proceeded from a
bundle on the pavement. This he discovered to be an infant wrapt in a
potato-sack. He was quick enough to observe that it had been deftly laid
over a line chiselled across the pavement to the corner of his house,
which line he knew to be the boundary between his own parish of St.
Simon Magus and the adjacent parish of St. Bartimeus. He took note,
being a business man, of the exact position of the child's body in
relation to this line, and then conveyed it to the workhouse of the
other parish.



PART III. WHAT THE PARISH DID WITH HIM.



I.--Parochial Knots--to be untied without prejudice.

The infant borne to the workhouse of St. Bartimeus was Ginx's Baby. When
he had been placed on the floor of the matron's room, and examined by
the master, that official turned to the unwelcome bearer of the burden.

"Did you find this child?"

"Yes."

"Where?"

"Lying opposite my shop in Nether Place."

"What's your name?"

"Doll."

"Oh! you're the cheesemonger. Your shop's on the other side of the
boundary, in the other parish. The child ought not to come here; it
doesn't belong to us."

"Yes it does: it wasn't on my side of the line."

"But it was in front of your house?"

"Well, the line runs crossways: it don't follow the child was in our
parish."

"Oh, nonsense! there's no doubt about it! We can't take the child in.
You must carry it away again."

Mr. Snigger turned to leave the room.

"Wait a bit, sir," said Mr. Doll; "I shall leave the child here, and you
can do as you like with it. It ain't mine, at all events. I say it lay
in your parish; and if you don't look after it you may be the worse of
it. The coroner's sure to try to earn his fees. Good-night."

He hurried from the room.

"Stop!" shouted the master, "I say: I don't accept the child. You
leave it here at your own risk. We keep it without prejudice,
remember--without prejudice, sir!--without----"

Mr. Doll was in the street and out of hearing.



II.--A Board of Guardians.

The Guardians of St. Bartimeus met the day after Mr. Doll's clever
stratagem. Among other business was a report from the master of the
workhouse that a child, name unknown, found by Mr. Doll, cheesemonger,
of Nether Place, in the Parish of St. Simon Magus, opposite his shop,
and, as he alleged, on the nearer side of the parish boundary, had been
left at the workhouse, and was now in the custody of the matron. The
Guardians were not accustomed to restrain themselves, and did not
withhold the expression of their indignation upon this announcement. As
Mr. Doll had himself been a guardian of St. Simon Magus, it was clear
to their impartial minds that he was trying by a trick to foist a
bastard--perhaps his own--on the wrong parish.

Mr. Cheekey, a licensed victualler, moved that the master's report be
put under the table.

Mr. Slinkum, draper, seconded the motion.

Mr. Edge, ironmonger, pointed out that there was no parliamentary
precedent for such a disposition of the report, and, further, that such
action did not dispose of the baby.

"Well," said Mr. Cheekey, turning painfully red, "no matter how ye put
it, I move to get rid of the brat. What's the best form of motion?"

A churchwarden, who happened to be a gentleman, explained that the Board
could not dismiss the question in so summary a way. "He could foresee
that there might be a nice point of law in the case. They would have to
take some legal means of ascertaining their liabilities, and of forcing
the other parish to take the child if they ought to do so. They must
consult their solicitor." This gentleman was sent for post haste.
Meanwhile the baby was ordered to be brought in for inspection. The
matron had handed him over to a sort of half-witted inmate of the house,
whose wits, however, were strangely about him at the wrong time,
to nurse and amuse him. This person brought Ginx's Baby into the
Board-room, and placed him on the table. The Board of Guardians took a
good look at him. He was not then in fair condition. He was limp, he
was dirty, hollow in the cheeks, white, stiff in his limbs, and
half-naked--(to be regardless of gender)--

     "Pallidula, rigida, nudula."


"Hum!" said Mr. Stink, who was a dog-breeder--"What's his pedigree?"

This brutal joke was well received by some of the Guardians.

"His pedigree," answered the half-wit, gravely, "goes back for three
hundred years. Parients unknown by name, but got by Misery out o'
Starvashun. The line began with Poverty out o' Laziness in Queen
Elizabeth's time. The breed has been a large 'un wotever you thinks of
the quality."

This pleasantry was less acceptable to the Board.

"Well," said Mr. Scoop, grocer, a great stickler for parliamentary modes
of procedure, "I move it be committed."

"Committed! Where?" said Mr. Stink.

"To Newgate I s'pose," said the half-wit, his eyes twinkling.

"Nonsense, sir,--for consideration. Send that man out," exclaimed
Scoop--"clear the room for consultation."

Davus was expelled, and the baby was then formally consigned to the care
of a committee. By this time the legal adviser came in. The facts having
been stated to him, he said:

"Gentlemen, as at present advised I am of opinion that the parish in
which the child was found is bound to maintain him. If Mr. Doll (a
highly respectable person, my own cheesemonger) found the child beyond
the boundaries of St. Simon Magus--and he will of course swear that he
did--you cannot refuse to take it in. However, I had better ascertain
the facts from Mr. Doll and take the opinion of counsel. Meanwhile we
must beware not to compromise ourselves by admitting anything, or doing
anything equivalent to an admission. Let me see--Ah!--yes--a notice to
be served on the other parish repudiating the infant; another notice
to Mr. Doll to take it away, and that it remains here at his risk and
expense--you see, gentlemen, we could hardly venture to return it to
Mr. Doll; we should create an unhappy impression in the minds of the
public--"

"D--n the public!" said Mr. Stink.

"Quite so, my dear sir," said Mr. Phillpotts, smiling, "quite so, but
that is not a legal or in fact practicable mode of discarding them; we
must act with public opinion, I fear. Then, to resume, thirdly and to be
strictly safe, we must serve a notice on the infant and all whom it may
concern. I think I'll draft it at once."

In a few minutes the committee in charge pinned to the only garment of
Ginx's Baby a paper in the following form:--


PARISH OF ST. BARTIMEUS.

To ---- ---- (name unknown), a Foundling, and all other persons
interested in the said Foundling.

TAKE NOTICE

That you, or either of you, have no just or lawful claim to have you
or the said infant chargeable on the said Parish. And this is to notify
that you, the said infant, are retained in the workhouse of the said
Parish under protest, and that whatsoever is or may be done or provided
for you is at the proper charge of you, and all such persons as are and
were by law bound to maintain and keep the same.

           WINKLE & PHILLPOTTS,
             Solicitors for the Board.



III.--"The World is my Parish."

When Mr. Phillpotts called upon Doll, the cheesemonger, the latter
straightway gave him the facts as they had occurred. He pointed out
the exact spot on which the bundle had lain; he gave an estimate of the
number of inches on each side of the line occupied by it, and declared
that the head and shoulders of the infant lay in the parish of the
solicitor's clients. Ginx's Baby, under the title "Re a Foundling," was
once more submitted for the opinion of counsel. They advised the Board
that as the child was in both parishes when found, but had been taken
up by a ratepayer of St. Simon Magus, the latter parish was bound to
support him. Whereupon the Guardians of St. Bartimeus at their next
meeting resolved that the Vestry of the other parish should have a
written notice to remove the child, failing which application should be
made to the Queen's Bench for a mandamus to compel them to do it.

On receiving the challenge the Guardians of St. Simon Magus also took
counsel's opinion. They were advised that as the greater part, and
especially the head of the infant, was when discovered in the parish
of St. Bartimeus, the latter was clearly chargeable. Both parties
then proceeded to swear affidavits. The Attorney-General and
Solicitor-General, the two great law-officers of the crown, were
retained on opposite sides, and took fees--not for an Imperial
prosecution, but as petty Queen's Counsel in an inter-parochial
squabble.



IV.--Without prejudice to any one but the Guardians.

The Court of Queen's Bench, after hearing an elaborate statement from
the Attorney-General, granted a rule nisi for a mandamus. This rule was
entered for argument in a paper called "The Special Paper," and, the
list being a heavy one, nearly a year elapsed before it was reached. It
was then again postponed several times "for the convenience of counsel."

The Board of St. Bartimeus chafed under the law's delay. They became
morbidly sensitive to the incubus of Ginx's Baby, especially as
the press had been reviewing some of their recent acts with great
bitterness. The Guardians were defiant. Having served their notices,
they were induced by Mr. Stink to resolve not to maintain the infant.
The poor child was threatened with dissolution. Thus, no doubt, many
difficulties in parochial administration are solved--the subject
vanishes away. The baby was kept provisionally in a room at the
workhouse. On the outside of the door was a notice in fair round-hand:--

NOTICE.


DOLL'S FOUNDLING.

Pending the legal inquiry into the facts concerning the above infant,
and a decision as to its settlement, all officials, assistants, and
servants of the workhouse are forbidden to enter the room in which it
is deposited, or to render it any service or assistance, on pain of
dismissal. No food is to be supplied to it from the workhouse kitchen.

N.B. This is not intended to prevent persons other than officials, &c.,
from having access to the infant, or assisting it.

BY ORDER OF THE BOARD.


That any body of human beings, other than Patagonians, could have
coolly contemplated such a result as must have followed upon the strict
performance of this order, would be incredible except in the instance of
the Guardians of St. Bartimeus. There was nothing they could not do--or
leave undone. Fortunately for Ginx's Baby, the order was disobeyed.
Occasionally lady visitors went to look at him and give him some
food--he was toddling about the room on unsteady legs--but charity
seemed to be appalled by the official questions hanging about this
child. The master, Snigger, whose business it was every day to ascertain
whether the cause of the great parochial quarrel was in, or out of,
existence, became a traitor to the Board. When the child grew hungry and
dangerously thin, he brought bottles of pap prepared by Mrs. Snigger,
and administered it to him. No conclusions to the disfavor of the Board
were to be drawn from this conduct, for Snigger was particular to say to
the boy in a loud voice, each time he fed him:--

"Now, youngster, this is without prejudice, remember! I give you due
notice--without prejudice."

Who, in Master Ginx's situation, would have had any prejudices to such
action, or have expressed them even if they were entertained? He took no
objection as he took the pap; while Snigger was glad to be able to do an
unusual kindness without compromising the parish.

Thus things had gone on for many months, when one day an eye of that
Argus monster, the Public, was set upon Ginx's Baby. A well-known
nobleman, calling at the workhouse to see a little girl whom he had
saved from infamy, as he passed down a corridor was arrested by the
notice on the door of our hero's room. Curiosity took him in, and horror
chained him there for some time. Had he not entered, Ginx's Baby, spite
of Snigger, would in twenty-four hours have ceased to supply facts
to history. He was suffering from low fever, and his condition was as
sensationally shocking as any reporter could have wished. Out rushed
the peer for a doctor, took a cab to a magistrate and detailed the whole
case, to be repeated in next morning's papers. Penny-a-liners ran to the
spot, wrote vivid descriptions of the baby and the room, and transcribed
the notice. The Guardians were drubbed in trenchant leaders and
indignant letters. They, instead of bending to the storm, strove to
confront it, and passed angry resolutions of a childish and grotesque
character. The few of them who possessed any sense of propriety were
railed at in the meetings till they ceased to attend. The uproar outside
increased. Why did not the President of the Poor-Law Board interfere? At
last he did interfere: that is, instead of visiting the scene himself,
and satisfying his own eyes as to the truth of what his ears had heard,
a process that would have taken a couple of hours, he appointed a
gentleman to hold an inquiry. The Guardians became furious. The reports
of their proceedings read like the vagaries of a lunatic asylum or the
deliberations of the American Senate. They discharged Snigger for breach
of orders, substituting a relative of Mr. Stink. They put a lock on the
door, and passed food to the Baby by a stick. A committee was appointed
to see him fed, and they forwarded a memorial to the Poor-Law Board,
stating that "he daily had more food than he could possibly eat, and
was in admirable condition." They refused to allow any doctor but one
employed by themselves to see him. They procured from him a certificate
that the noble busybody and his physician had made a mistake, and that
all the functions of life in the infant appeared to be in perfect order.
Then came the gentleman, and the inquiry, and his report, and a letter
from the Poor-Law Board, and further discussions and more letters, until
the bewildered public gnashed its teeth at the Minister, the Guardians,
and the law, and wished them all at Land's End or beyond it.



V.-An Ungodly Jungle.

The case of the Guardians of St. Bartimeus against the Guardians of St.
Simon Magus was at length reached. The argument lasted for two days.
There is a grim work, the short title whereof is "Burns's Justice," in
five fat volumes, from which the legal Dryasdust turns aghast. In one of
these portentous books, title "Poor," pp. 1200, the inquisitive may
find a code unrivalled by the most malignant ingenuity of former or
contemporary nations: a code wherein, by gradual accretion, has been
framed a system of relief to poverty and distress so impolitic, so
unprincipled, that none but the driest, mustiest, most petrified
parish official could be expected to lift up his voice to defend it;
so complicated that no man under heaven knows its length or breadth
or height or depth; yet it stands to this hour a monument of English
stolidity--a marvel of lazy or ignorant statesmanship. Imagine, if you
please, a Lord Chief Justice and three Puisnes, all keen, practical men,
alive to public policy and the common weal, eager to extricate the truth
and do the right, plunging into this "ungodly jungle," thwarted at
every turn, in search of justice for Ginx's Baby. With all his patient
industry and lightning quickness of apprehension, the Chief Justice
found it hard to reconcile past and present, or evolve from the vast
confusion anything consistent with his moral instincts.--Clear the
board, gentlemen. True regenerative legislation will begin by drawing
away the rubbish. Reform means more than repair. Mend, patch, take down
a little here, prop up some tottering nuisance there, fill in gaping
chinks with patent legislative cement, coat old facades with bright
paint, hide decay beneath a gloze of novelty, titivate, decorate,
furbish--and after all your house is not a new one, but a whited
sepulchre shaking to decay. Repair? There is a Repair party,
intermediating between Tories and Reformers--Radicals or Rooters let us
call these latter if you like--who cling to "vested interests" and all
other sorts of antique nuisances, yet say they are willing to improve
them. REFORM, which means, Pull down with bold statesman's hand, and
with like hand REBUILD, is no darling of your political Repairer. Call
the party and the men by their right names: and give me for utility in
legislation or administrative action an Old Tory and Obstructive party
rather than this middling, meddling, muddling Repairer--

     "Eager to change yet fearful to destroy."

Just now all Social Reformation, in its noblest aims and attempts,
is fettered by the Repair party. What is termed Sanitary Reform is
enfeebled, and the vigor withdrawn from it, by this party. "Vested
rights," "the Liberty of the people," "Interference with personal
freedom," "EXPENSE,"--these are the watchwords of the Repairer in
opposition to him who, pointing to the pallor and fever of a hundred
neighborhoods, calls upon a ministry to cleanse them with imperial
force.

A comprehensive scheme of National Education is seized and
half-throttled by the Repair party. "Oh! utilize what there is; improve
on and tack to the denominational system; avail yourself of the jealousy
of sects; see what a grand building that has already erected! True, it
is not large enough; true, it is badly built; but repair that, and add
wings. It will cost you ever so much to rebuild--Repair!"

The methods of relief to the Poor are old, cumbrous, unequal, as stupid
as those who administer them. Forth steps the Reformer, and cries
out--"Clear this wrack away! Get rid of your antiquated Bumbledom, your
parochial and non-parochial distinctions, your complicated map of local
authorities; re-distribute the kingdom on some more practical system,
redress the injustice of unequal rating, improve the machinery and
spirit of relief, and so on." You have the Repair party shouting its Non
possumus as loudly as any other arch-obstructive: "Heaven forbid! Queen
Elizabeth and the Poor Laws for ever! To the rescue of Local Government
and Vested Interests! Repair!"

Some one with a long head and a divinely-warmed heart, searching vainly
for help to thousands in the packed alleys of his English Home, sends
his quick glance across seas to rich lands that daily cry to heaven for
strong arms that wield the plough and spade. "Ho!" he shouts, "Labor
to Land--starvation to production--death unto life!" and he calls
upon every statesman and patriot to help the good work, and give their
energies to frame an Emigration Scheme. Then the Repair party foams:
"Send away the Labor, the source of our wealth? No. Mend the
condition of the laborer; give him the sop of political rights--free
breakfasts--the ballot. Give State funds to alter social conditions? No.
Improve the methods of local assistance to Emigration; it is a temporary
remedy--Repair!"

Thus, according to the gospel of this party, everything must be subject
of restoration only. Like antiquarians, they utter groans over the
abolition of anything, however ugly it may be, however unfitted for
human uses, and with however so elegant a piece of artistry you desire
to displace it. For them a Gilbert-Scott politician, reverential
restorer of bygone styles, enthusiastic to conserve and amend the
grotesque Gothic policies of the past, rather than some Brunel or
Stephenson statesman, engineering in novel mastery of circumstances--not
fearful to face and conquer even the antique impediments of Nature. Give
me a trenchant statesman, or I pray you leave legislation alone. Better
things as they are than patched to distraction.

At length, by means of some delicate legal adjustments, the judges
saw their way to affirming that Ginx's Baby's parish was that of St.
Bartimeus, and refused the rule for a mandamus.



VI.--Parochial Benevolence--and another translation.

The authorities of St. Bartimeus did not take kindly to the charge
imposed upon them by the Queen's Bench. Some of the Guardians privately
hinted to the master that it was unnecessary to overfeed the infant.
They did not burthen him with much clothing, and what he had was shared
with many lively companions. When you, good matron, look at your little
pink-cheeked daughter, so clean and so cosy in her pretty cot, waking
to see the well-faced nurse, or you, still sweeter to her eyes, watching
above her dreams, perhaps you ought to stop a moment to contrast the
scene with the sad tableaux you may get sight of not far away.

*****

Ginx's Baby was not an ill-favored child. He had inherited his father's
frame and strength: these helped him through the changes we are
relating. What if these capacities had, by simple nourishing food,
cleanly care-taking, and brighter, kindlier associations, been trained
into full working order? Left alone or ill-tended they were daily
dwindling, and the depreciation was going on not solely at the expense
of little Ginx, but of the whole community. To reduce his strength
one-half was to reduce one-half his chances of independence, and to
multiply the prospects of his continuous application for STATE AID.

The money spent in stopping a hole in a Dutch dyke is doubtless better
invested than if it were to be retained until a vast breach had laid
half a kingdom under water. Surely your Hollander would agree to be
mulcted in one-third of his fortune rather than run the hazard!

Every day through this wealthy country there are men and women busy
marring the little images of God, that are by-and-by to be part of its
public-shadowing young spirits, repressing their energy, sapping
their vigor or failing to make it up, corrupting their nature by foul
associations, moral and physical. Some are doing it by special license
of the devil, others by Act of Parliament, others by negligence or
niggardliness. Could you teach or force these people--many unconsciously
engaged in the vile work--to run together, as men alarmed by sudden
danger, and throw around a helpless generation influences and a care
more akin to your own home ideal, would you not transfigure the next
epoch--would not your labor and sacrifice be a GOD-WORK, reaching out
weighty, fruit-laden branches far into the grateful future? 'Tis by
feeling and enjoining everywhere the need of such a movement as this
that you, O all-powerful woman! can carry your will into the play of
a great economic and social reform. Society that recognizes not a
root-truth like that is sowing the wind--God knows what it will reap.

So the Guardians, keeping carefully within the law, neglected nothing
that could sap little Ginx's vitality, deaden his happiest instincts,
derange moral action, cause hope to die within his infant breast almost
as soon as it were born. Good God!

The items the Board were really entitled to charge the rate-payers as
supplied to our hero were--

Dirt,

Fleas,

Foul air,

Chances of catching skin diseases, fevers, &c.,

Vile company,

Neglect,

Occasional cruelty, and

A small supply of bad food and clothing.

Every pauper was to them an obnoxious charge by any and every means to
be reduced to a minimum or nil. Ginx's Baby was reduced to a minimum.
His constitution enabled him to protest against reduction to nil. But,
just after the bills of costs had been taxed, mulcting the rate-payers
of St. Bartimeus in a sum of more than L 1,600, the Guardians were made
aware of the name and origin of their charge. One of the persons who
had deserted him was arrested for theft, and among other articles in
her possession were some of the Baby's clothes. She confessed the whole
story, and declared that the child left in Nether Place was no other
than the Protestant Baby, son of Ginx, about whom so much stir had been
made two years before. The Guardians were not long in tracing Ginx, and,
at his quarters in Rosemary Street, the hapless changeling was one day
delivered by a deputy relieving-officer, with the benediction, by me
sadly recorded--

"There he is, d--n him!"

I am sure if the Guardians had been there they would have said:

"Amen."



PART IV. WHAT THE CLUBS AND POLITICIANS DID WITH HIM.



I.--Moved on.

Ginx's Baby's brothers and sisters would have nothing to say to him.
Mrs. Ginx declared she could see in him no likeness to her own dear lost
one; and her husband swore that the brat never was his. The couple had
latterly been pinching themselves and their children to save enough
to emigrate. For this purpose aid and counsel were given to them by a
neighboring curate, whose name, were my pages destined to immortality,
should be printed here in golden letters. Rich and full will be his
sheaves when many a statesman reaps tares. Finding that a thirteenth
child was imposed on them by so superior a force as the law of England
the Ginxes hastened their departure.

Their last night in London, towards the small hours, Ginx, carrying our
hero, went along Birdcage Walk. He scarcely knew where he was going, or
how he was about to dispose of his burden, but he meant to get rid of
it. On he went, here and there met by shadowy creatures who came towards
his footsteps in the uncertain darkness, and when they could see that he
was no quarry for them flitted away again into the night.

He passed the dingy houses, since replaced by the Foreign Office, across
the open space before the Horse Guards, near the house of a popular
Prime Minister, and up the broad steps till he stood under the York
Column. The shadow of this was an inviting place, but a policeman
turning his lantern suspiciously on the man walking about at that silent
hour with a child in his arms frustrated his wish. Slowly Ginx tramped
along Pall Mall, with only one other creature stirring, as it seemed
for the moment--a gentleman who turned up the steps of a large building.
Seating the child on the bottom step and telling him not to cry, Ginx
instantly crossed the road, turned into St. James's Square, passed by
the rails, and stealing from corner to corner through the mazes of
that locality, reached home by way of Piccadilly and Grosvenor Place.
Henceforth this history shall know him no more.



II.-Club Ideas.

Scarcely had the shadow of his parent vanished in the gloom before
Ginx's Baby piped forth a lusty protest: the street rang again. Ere long
the doors at the top of the steps swung back, and a portly form stood in
the light.

"Halloo! what's the matter?" (This was a general observation into
space.) "Why, bless my heart, here's a child crying on the steps!"

Another form appeared.

"Is there nobody with it? Halloo! any one there?"

No answer came save from poor little Ginx, but his was decided. The two
servants descended the steps and looked at the miserable boy without
touching him. Then they peered into the darkness in hope that they might
get a glimpse of his mother or a policeman. A rapid step sounded on the
pavement and a gentleman came up to the group.

"What have we here?" he said gently.

"It's a child, Sir Charles, I found crying on the steps. I expect it's
a trick to get rid of him. We are looking for a policeman to take him
away."

"Poor little fellow," said Sir Charles, stooping to take a fair look
at Ginx's Baby, "for you and such as you the policeman or the parish
officers are the national guardians, and the prison or the poor-house
the home..... Bring him into the Club, Smirke."

The men hesitated a moment before executing so unwonted a demand,
but Sir Charles Sterling was a man not safely to be thwarted--a late
minister and a member of the committee. The child being carried into the
magnificent hall of the Club, stood on its mosaic floor. From above the
radiance of the gas "sunlight" streamed down over the marble pillars,
and glanced on gilded cornices and panels of scagliola. A statue of the
Queen looked upon him from the niche that opened to the dining-room;
another of the great Puritan soldier, statesman, and ruler, with
his stern massive front; and yet another, with the strong yet gentle
features of the champion Free-Trader, seemed to regard him from their
several corners. On the walls around were portraits of men who had
striven for the deliverance of the people from ancient yokes and
fetters. Of course Ginx's Baby did not see all this. He, poor boy,
dazed, stood with a knuckle in his eye, while the porter, lackeys,
Sir Charles Sterling, and others who strolled out of the reading-room,
curiously regarded him. But any one observing the scene apart might have
contrasted the place with the child--the principles and the professions
whereof this grandeur was the monument and consecrated tabernacle, with
this solitary atomic specimen of the material whereon they were to work.
What social utility had resulted from the great movements initiated by
them who erected and frequented this place? Ought they to have had, and
did they still need a complement? While wonderful political changes had
been wrought, and benefits not to be exaggerated won for many classes,
WHAT HAD BEEN DONE FOR GINX'S BABY?

The query would not have been very ridiculous. He was an unit of the
British Empire--nothing could blot out that fact before heaven! Had
anything been left undone that ought to have been done, or done that had
well been left undone, or were better to be undone now? Of a truth that
was worth a thought.

"What's all this?" said a big Member of Parliament, a minister renowned
for economy in matters financial and intellectual. "What are you doing
with this youngster? I never saw such an irregularity in a Club in my
life."

"If you saw it oftener you would think more about it," said Sir Charles
Sterling. "We found him on the steps. I think he was asking for you,
Glibton."

This sally turned a laugh against the minister.

"Well," said another, "he has come to the wrong quarter if he wants
money."

"I shouldn't wonder," said a third, "if he were one of the new
messengers at the Office of Popular Edifices. Glibton is reducing their
staff."

"If that's the case I think you have reached the minimum here, Glibton,"
cried Sir Charles.

"Can't the country afford a livery?"

"Bother you all," replied the Secretary, who was secretly pleased to be
quizzed for his peculiarities--"tell us what this means. Whose 'lark' is
it?"

"No lark at all," said Sterling. "Here is a problem for you and all
of us to solve. This forlorn object is representative, and stands here
to-night preaching us a serious sermon. He was deserted on the Club
steps--left there, perhaps, as a piece of clever irony; he might be son
to some of us. What's your name, my boy?"

Ginx's Baby managed to say "Dunno!"

"Ask him if he has any name?" said an Irish ex-member, with a grave
face.

Ginx's Baby to this question responded distinctly "No."

"No name," said the humorist; "then the author of his being must be
Wilkie Collins."

Everybody laughed at this indifferent pleasantry but our hero. His bosom
began to heave ominously.

"What's to be done with him?"

"Send him to the workhouse."

"Send him to the d----" (there may be brutality among the gods and
goddesses).

"Give him to the porter."

"No thank you, sir," said he, promptly.

The gentlemen were turning away, when Sir Charles stopped them.

"Look here!" he said, taking the boy's arm and baring it, "this boy can
hardly be called a human being. See what a thin arm he has--how flaccid
and colorless the flesh seems--what an old face!--and I can scarcely
feel any pulse. Good heavens, get him some wine! A few hours will send
him to the d---- sure enough.... What are we to do for him, Glibton? I
say again, he is only part of a great problem. There must be hundreds
of thousands growing up like this child; and what a generation to
contemplate in all its relations and effects!"

The gentlemen were dashed by his earnestness.

"Oh, you're exaggerating," said Glibton; "there can't be such widespread
misery. Why, if there were, the people would be wrecking our houses."

"Ah!" replied the other, sadly, "will you wait to be convinced by that
sort of thing before you believe in their misery? I assure you what
I say is true. I could bring you a hundred clergymen to testify to it
to-morrow morning."

"God forbid!" said Glibton. "Good-night."

The right honorable gentleman extinguished the subject in his own little
brain with his big hat; but everywhere else the sparks are still aglow,
and he, with all like him, may wake up suddenly, as frightened women in
the night; to find themselves environed in the red glare of a popular
conflagration. Well for them then if they are not in charge of the
State machinery. What an hour will that be for hurrying to and fro
with water-pipes and buckets, when proper forethought, diligence, and
sacrifice would have made the building fireproof.



III.--A thorough-paced Reformer--if not a Revolutionary.

By the kindness and influence of Sir Charles Sterling, Ginx's Baby that
night, and long after, found shelter in the Radical Club. He gave
rise to a discussion in the smoking-room next evening that ought to be
chronicled. Several members of the committee supported his benefactor
in urging that the child should be adopted by the Club, as a pledge
of their resolve to make the questions of which he seemed to be the
embodied emblem subjects of legislative action. Others said that those
questions being, in their view, social and not political, were
not proper ones to give impulse to a party movement, and that
the entertainment in the Club of this foundling would be a gross
irregularity: they did not want samples of the material respecting
which they were theorizing. To some of the latter Sir Charles had been
insisting that, whether they kept the child or not, they could not
stifle the questions excited by his condition.

"You may delay, but you cannot dissipate them. We are filling up our
sessions with party struggles, theoretic discussions, squabbles about
foreign politics, debates on political machinery, while year by year the
condition of the people is becoming more invidious and full of peril.
Social and political reform ought to be linked; the people on whom
you confer new political rights cannot enjoy them without health and
well-being."

"But all our legislation is directed to that!" exclaimed Mr. Joshua
Hale. "Reform, Free Trade, Free Corn--have these not enhanced the wealth
of the people?"

"Partially; yet there are classes unregenerated by their reviving
influences. Free trade cannot insure work, nor can free corn provide
food for every citizen."

"Nor any other legislation: let us be practical. I own there is much to
be done. I have often stated my 'platform.' We must clip the enormous
expenditure on soldiers and ships; reduce our overweening army of
diplomatic spies and busybodies; abstain from meddling in everybody's
quarrels; redeem from taxation the workman's necessaries--a free
breakfast-table; peremptorily legislate against the custom of
primogeniture; encourage the distribution and transfer of land; and,
under the aegis of the ballot, protect from the tyranny of the landlord
and employer their tenants and workmen."

"Very good, perhaps, all of them," replied Sir Charles, "but some not at
the moment possible, and all together are not exhaustive. Why do you
not go to the bottom of social needs? You say nothing about Health
legislation--are you indifferent to the sanitary condition of the
people? You have not hinted at Education--Waste Lands--Emigration--"

"Oh! I am opposed to that altogether."

"I forgot, you are a manufacturer; yet the last man of whom I should
believe that selfishness had warped the judgment. You have done and
endured more than any living statesman for the advantage of your
fellow-citizens, so that I will not cast at you the aspersion of
class-blindness. Still, I can scarcely think you have looked at this
matter in the pure light of patriotism, and not within the narrow scope
of trade interests."

"Quite unjust. Our best economists reprehend the policy of depleting our
labor-market. Emigration is a timely remedy for adversity and to be very
sparingly used. Labor is our richest vein--"

"We may have too much of it. Take it as a fact that you now have more
than you can use, and the unemployed part is starving; what will you do
with them?"

"That is a mere temporary and casual depression, to which all classes
are liable."

"But," said Sir Charles, "which none can so ill bear. Nay--what if it is
permanent? You look to increased trade. Do you suppose we are to retain
our manufacturing pre-eminence when every country, new and old, is
competing with us? Can our trade, I ask you honestly to consider,
increase at the rate of our population? Besides, for heaven's sake, look
at the thing as a man. Grant that we have a hundred thousand men out of
work, and hundreds of thousands more dependent on them--do you think
it no small thing that the vast mass should be left for one, two, three
years seething in sorrow and distress, while they are waiting for trade!
By the time that comes they may have gone beyond the hope of rescue.
Ah! if an elastic trade comes back to-morrow, you can never make those
people what they were; ought we not to have forecast that they should
not be what they are? But I contend that depression has become chronic,
the poverty more wide-spread and persistent--how then shall we, who
represent these classes among the rest, face the prospect?"

Here interposed a gentleman high in office, a pure, keen, rigid
economist of the highest intellectual and political rank.

"My dear Sterling, pardon me if I say you are talking wildly. Perhaps
you don't see that you are verging on rank communism. The working of
economic laws can be as infallibly projected as a solar eclipse. You can
secure no class from periodic calamity, and so regulate laws of supply
and demand by guiding-wheels of legislation and taxation as to save
every man from penury. You wish us to send away our bone and sinew
because we have no present employment for it, and next year, or the
year after, under a recovered trade you will be wringing your hands and
cursing the folly that prompted you to do it."

"I should be too glad of the opportunity," replied Sir Charles,
sturdily, "but in truth there is an incubus of excessive numbers that
no revival of trade will provide for, even if it is beyond our extremest
hopes, and I for one will not be guilty of the inhumanity of keeping
fellow-creatures in misery till we can find a use for them. You have
forgotten that there are other economic laws besides those you glance
at. Several millions of acres of unoccupied land belonging in a sense
to the people of this country are to be kept untilled in defiance of the
plainest policy that nature and God have indicated to us, namely, that
labor should come in contact with land! For want of this conjunction our
colonies are to be checked, while at home miserable millions are gaping
for work and food."

"Oh! let them take themselves out. There are too many going already.
They will follow natural laws, and where labor is required thither the
stream will flow."

"Mere surface talk, my clever friend," replied the other, "the men who
are trooping out at their own expense are our most sober, careful, and
energetic workmen. Else they could not go. They go because here so many
indifferent ones are weighing down their shoulders. And where do most of
them go to? Not to strengthen and develop our colonies, but the United
States--a not always friendly people, and just now your free-trader's
bugbear!"

"Well, well," said the minister, "drop that question. It's utterly
impracticable at this time. We couldn't entertain the demand for
State-help for an instant. I tell you again you're a Fourierite. You
virtually propose to put your hand in the pocket of the upper classes to
pay all sorts of expenses for the lower."

"You may call me a communist if you please," replied Sir Charles
Sterling; "I do not shrink from shadows. Perhaps I am in favor of
something nearer to communism than our present form of society. One
thing I am clear about: no state of society is healthy wherein every
man does not own himself to be the guardian of the interests of the
community as well as his own--does not see that he is bound, morally
and as a matter of public policy, to add to his neighbor's well-being
as well as his own. Does not society, by its protection and aggregation,
make it possible for the rich to grow rich, the genius and the ambitious
man to pursue their aims, the merchant to gather his vails, the noble to
enjoy his lands? For these privileges there is more or less to pay, and
it may be that the proper proportion which the capable classes should
be called upon to contribute to the common weal has never been correctly
adjusted. The first fruit of practical Christianity was community of
goods, and but for human selfishness we might hope for an Eutopian
era--when, while it should be ruled that if a man would not work neither
should he eat, there should also be brought home to every man the care
of his poorer, or weaker, or less competent brother. I never expect
to see that. I do hope to see the men of greatest ability pay more
generously for the privileges they enjoy. The best policy for them
too. The better the condition of the general community the better for
themselves. You cannot alarm me with epithets. But these views are
happily not essential to the support of the Emigration policy."

"O dear! O dear! mad as a March hare!" cried the minister, as he stumped
from the room.

"Sterling is a good fellow," said he to a colleague with whom he walked
down Pall Mall, "and a thorough-paced Liberal. Besides, he carries great
weight in the House. But he is an enthusiast, and, therefore, not always
quite practical."

By PRACTICAL the minister meant, not that which might well and to
advantage be done if good and able men would resolve to do it, spite of
all hindrances, but that which, upon a cunning review of party balances
and a judicious probing of public opinion, seemed to be a policy fit
for his party to pursue. The first, original and masterly statesmen are
needed to initiate and perform--the other is simply the art of a genius
who knows how most adroitly to manipulate people and circumstances.



IV.--Very Broad Views.

Sir Charles Sterling, Mr. Joshua Hale, and others continued the
conversation interrupted by the minister's exit. What was to be done
with Ginx's Baby? In the great dissected map of society what niches were
cut out for him and all like him to fill? Most of the politicians were
for leaving that to himself to find out. The term "law of supply and
demand" was freely bandied between them, as it is in many journals
nowadays, with little object save to shut up avenues of discussion by a
high-sounding phrase.

Then of these "statesmen," most clung, if not to self-interest, to
personal crotchets. What is more darling to a man than the child of his
intellect or fancy? How the poor poetaster hugs his tawdry verses as if
they were the imperial ornaments of genius! Just in the same way does
the politician love the policies himself hath devised, pressing them
forward at all hazards, while he is blind to the utility of others.
This is the basis of that aspect of selfishness which often mars in the
approbation of a country a really honest statesmanship--an egotistic
tenacity of one's own creature as the best, which yet is not the
criminal selfishness of ambition. Still that egotism is not seldom
disastrous to the people's interests. While these statesmen nursed their
own bantlings and held them up to national notice, they were apt to
avoid or too lightly regard the views of men as able as themselves. For
instance, Joshua Hale--who is far above these remarks generally--had
put forth a scheme for the solution of the St. Helena property
question--very likely a good one, albeit revolutionary, and nothing
would convince him that any other could succeed. He wished every man
in St. Helena--a turbulent adjunct of the British Empire--to be a
landowner, and I do think, neither desired nor hoped that any man in
that island should be happy until he was one. Yet there were other men
ready to offer simpler remedies, and to prove that if every man in St.
Helena became a landowner it would become a very hell upon earth,
and more unmanageable than it was before. If these gentlemen do not
sacrifice their pet fancies for the sake of a settlement, what will
become of St. Helena?

Just now they were discussing Ginx's Baby. One thought that repeal of
the Poor-Laws and a new system of relief would reach his case; another
saw the root of the Baby's sorrow in Trades' Unions; a third propounded
cooperative manufactures; a fourth suggested that a vast source of
income lay untouched in the seas about the kingdom, which swarmed with
porpoises, and showed how certain parts of these animals were available
for food, others for leather, others for a delicious oil that would be
sweeter and more pleasant than butter; a fifth desired a law to repress
the tendency of Scotch peers to evict tenants and convert arable lands
into sheep-walks and deer-forests; a sixth maintained that there were
waste lands in the kingdom of capacity to support hungry millions. In
fact earth, heaven, and seas were to be regenerated by Act of Parliament
for the benefit of Ginx's Baby and the people of England. Sir Charles
listened impatiently, and at last burst forth again.

He said: "When you consider it, what we are all trying to do nowadays
is--vulgarly--to improve the breed; but we go to work in a round-about
way. At the outset we are met by the depreciated state of part of the
existing generation; and one problem is to prevent these depreciated
people from increasing, or to get them to increase healthily. No one
seems to have gone directly to such a problem as that. The difficulties
to be faced are tremendous. Your dirtiest British youngster is hedged
round with principles of an inviolable liberty and rights of Habeas
Corpus. You let his father and mother, or any one who will save you the
trouble of looking after him, mould him in his years of tenderness as
they please. If they happen to leave him a walking invalid, you take him
into the poorhouse; if they bring him up a thief, you whip him and
keep him at high cost at Millbank or Dartmoor; if his passions, never
controlled, break out into murder and rape, you may hang him, unless his
crime has been so atrocious as to attract the benevolent interest of
the Home Secretary; if he commit suicide, you hold a coroner's inquest,
which also costs money; and however he dies you give him a deal coffin
and bury him. Yet I may prove to you that this being, whom you treat
like a dog at a fair, never had a day's--no, nor an hour's--contact
with goodness, purity, truth, or even human kindness; never had an
opportunity of learning anything better. What right have you then to
hunt him like a wild beast, and kick him and whip him, and fetter him
and hang him by expensive complicated machinery, when you have done
nothing to teach him any of the duties of a citizen?"

"Stop, stop, Sir Charles! you are too virulent. There are endless means
of improving your lad--charities without number----"

"Yes, that will never reach him."

"Never mind, they may, you know. Industrial schools, reformatories,
asylums, hospitals, Peabody-buildings, poor-laws. Everybody is working
to improve the condition of the poor man. Sanitary administration goes
to his house and makes it habitable."

"Very," interjected Sir Charles Sterling, dryly.

"Factory laws protect and educate factory children----"

"They don't educate in one case out of ten. They don't feed them, clothe
them, give them amusement and cultivation, do they?"

"Certainly not--that would be ridiculous."

"Why, the question is whether that would be ridiculous!" replied Sir
Charles. "I do not say it can be done, but in order to transform the
next generation, what we should aim at is to provide substitutes for
bad homes, evil training, unhealthy air, food and dulness, and terrible
ignorance, in happier scenes, better teaching, proper conditions of
physical life, sane amusements, and a higher cultivation. I dare say you
would think me a lunatic if I proposed that Government should establish
music-halls and gymnasia all over the country; but you, Mr. Fissure,
voted for the Baths and Washhouses."

"Who's to pay for all this?" asked Mr. Fissure, pertinently.

"The State, which means society, the whole of which is directly
interested. I tell you a million of children are crying to us to set
them free from the despotism of a crime and ignorance protected by law."

"That is striking; but you are treading on delicate ground. The liberty
of the subject----"

"Exactly what I expected you to say. These words can be used in defence
of almost any injustice and tyranny. Such terms as 'political economy,'
'communism,' 'socialism,' are bandied about in the same way. Yet
propositions coming fairly within these terms are often mentioned with
approval by the very persons who cast them at you. In a report of a
recent Royal Commission I find that one of the Commissioners is quite
as revolutionary as I am. He says it is right by law to secure that no
child shall be cruelly treated or mentally neglected, over-worked or
under-educated. Some people would call that communism, I fancy. But
I think him to be correct as a political economist in that broad
proposition. Why? Because a child's relation to the State is wider, more
permanent, and more important than his relation to his parents. If he
is in danger of being depreciated and damned for good citizenship, the
State must rescue him."

"A paternal and maternal government together!" cries Lord Namby--"a
government of nurses. You know I should like to stop the production of
children among the lower orders. Your propositions are far in advance
of my radicalism. The State must sometimes interfere between parent and
child; for instance, in education or protection from cruelty. But, if
I understand you, you actually contemplate a general refining and
elevation of the working class by legislative means."

"Assuredly: I should aim to cultivate their morals, refine their tastes,
manners, habits. I wish to lift from them that ever-depressing sense of
hopelessness which keeps them in the dust."

"So do most men; but you must do that by personal and private
influences, not by State enactments. How would you do it?"

"How? I think I could draw up a programme. For instance: Expatriate a
million to reduce the competition that keeps poor devils on half-rations
or sends them to the poorhouse; Take all the sick, maimed, old, and
incapable poor into workhouses managed by humane men and not by ghouls;
Forbid such people to marry and propagate weakness; Legislate for
compulsory improvements of workmen's dwellings, and, if needful, lend
the money to execute it; Extend and enforce the health laws; Open free
libraries and places of rational amusement with an imperial bounty
through the country; Instead of spending thousands on dilettanti
sycophants at one end of the metropolis, distribute your art and
amusement to the kingdom at large; The rich have their museums,
libraries, and clubs, provide them for the poor; Establish temporary
homes for lying-in women; Multiply your baths and washhouses till there
is no excuse for a dirty person; Educate; Provide day schools for every
proper child, and industrial or reformatory schools for every improper
one; Open advanced High Schools for the best pupils, and found
Scholarships to the Universities; Erect other schools for technical
training; Offer to teach trades and agriculture to all comers for
nothing--you would soon neutralize your bugbear of trades-unionism;
Teach morals, teach science, teach art, teach them to amuse themselves
like men and not like brutes. In a land so wealthy the programme is not
impracticable, though severe. As the end to be attained is the welfare
of future generations, no good reason could be urged why they should not
contribute towards the cost of it--a better debt to leave to posterity
than the incubus of an irrational war."

Will any sane political practitioner wonder to be told that at the end
of this harangue the smoking-room party broke up, and that some, as they
laughed good-humoredly over Sterling's egregia, recalled the number of
glasses of inspirited seltzer swallowed by the orator? He was so far
in advance of the most radical reformer that there was no hope of
overtaking him for an era or two: so they determined to fancy they had
left him behind.



V.--Party Tactics--and Political Obstructions to Social Reform.

In the Club our hero revelled awhile under the protection of Sir Charles
Sterling, and the petting of peers, Members of Parliament, and loungers
who swarm therein. Certain gentlemen of Stock Exchange mannerism and
dressiness gave the protege the go-by, and even sneered at those who
noticed him with kindness. But then these are of the men with whom every
question is checked by money, and is balanced on the pivot of profit and
loss. I dare say some of them thought the worse of Judas only because
he had made so small a gain out of his celebrated transaction. To foster
Ginx's Baby in the Club, as a recognition of the important questions
surrounding him, though these questions involved hundreds of thousands
of other cases, was to them ridiculous. Of far greater consequence was
it in their eyes to settle a dispute between two extravagant fools
at Constantinople and Cairo, and quicken the sluggishness of Turkish
consols or Egyptian 9 per cents. I do not cast stones at them; every man
must look at a thing with his own eyes.

But it was curious to note how the Baby's fortunes shifted in the Club.
There were times--when he was a pet chucked under chin by the elder
stagers, favored with a smile from a Cabinet Minister, and now and then
blessed with a nod from Mr. Joshua Hale. Then, again, every one seemed
to forget him, and he was for months left unnoticed to the chance
kindness of the menials until some case similar to his own happening to
evoke discussion in the press, there would be a general inquiry for
him. The porter, Mr. Smirke, had succeeded, by means of a detective,
in discovering the boy's name, but his parents were then half-way to
Canada.

The members of the Fogey Club opposite, hearing that so interesting a
foundling was being cherished by their opponents, politely asked leave
to examine him, and he occasionally visited them. They treated him
kindly and discussed his condition with earnestness. The leaders of the
party debated whether he might not with advantage be taken out of their
opponents' hands. Some thought that a judicious use of him might win
popularity; but others objected that it would be perilous for them to
mix themselves up with so doleful an interest. In the result the Fogies
tipped young Ginx, but did not commit themselves for or against him.
Thus a long time elapsed, and our hero had grown old enough to be a
page. He had received food, clothing, and goodwill, but no one had
thought of giving him an education. Sometimes he became obstreperous. He
played tricks with the Club cutlery, and diverted its silver to improper
uses; he laid traps for upsetting aged and infirm legislators; he tried
the coolness of the youngest and best-natured Members of Parliament
by popping up in strange places and exhibiting unseemly attitudes. At
length, by unanimous consent, he was decreed to be a nuisance, and a few
days would have revoked his license at the Club.

No sooner did the Fogies get wind of this than they manoeuvred to get
Ginx's Baby under their own management. They instructed their "organs,"
as they called them, to pipe to popular feeling on the disgraceful
apathy of the Radicals in regard to the foundling. They had him waylaid
and treated to confectionery by their emissaries; and once or twice
succeeded in abducting him and sending him down to the country with
their party's candidates, for exhibition at elections.

The Radicals resented this conduct extremely. Ginx's Baby was brought
back to the Club and restored to favor. The Government papers were
instructed to detail how much he was petted and talked about by the
party; to declare how needless was the popular excitement on his behalf;
and to prove that he must, without any special legislation, be benefited
by the extraordinary organic changes then being made in the constitution
of the country.

Sir Charles Sterling resumed his interest in the boy. He had been
gallantly aiding his party in other questions. There was the Timbuctoo
question. A miserable desert chief had shut up a wandering Englishman,
not possessed of wit enough to keep his head out of danger. There was
a general impression that English honor was at stake, and the previous
Fogey Government had ordered an expedition to cross the desert and
punish the sheikh. You would never believe what it cost if you had
not seen the bill. Ten millions sterling was as good as buried in the
desert, when one-tenth of it would have saved a hundred thousand people
from starvation at home, and one-hundredth part of it would have taken
the fetters off the hapless prisoner's feet.

There was the St. Helena question always brooding over Parliament.
St. Helena was a constituent part of the British Empire. Every patriot
agreed that the Empire without it would be incomplete; and was so far
right that its subtraction would have left the Empire by so much less.
Most of its inhabitants were aboriginal--a mercurial race, full of fire,
quick-witted, and gifted with the exuberant eloquence of savages, but
deficient in dignity and self-control. Before any one else had been
given them by Providence to fight, they slaughtered and ravaged one
another. Our intrusive British ancestors stepped upon the island, and,
being strong men, mowed down the islanders like wheat, and appropriated
the lands their swords had cleared. Still the aborigines held out
in corners, and defied the conquerors. The latter ground them down,
confiscated the property of their half-dozen chiefs, and distributed it
among themselves. By way of showing their imperial imperiousness, they
built over some ruins left by their devastations a great church, in
which they ordered all the islanders to worship. This was at first
abomination to the islanders, who fought like devils whenever they
could, and ended by accepting the religion of their foes. But the
conquerors, afterwards choosing to change their own faith, resolved
that the islanders should do so too. Forthwith they confiscated the big
church and burying-ground, and, distributing part of the land and spoils
among their most prominent scamps, erected a new edifice of quite a
different character, in which the natives swore they could neither see
nor hear, and their own clerics warned them they would certainly be
damned. To make the complications more intricate, these clerics owed
allegiance to an ancient woman in a distant country, who had all the
meddlesomeness and petty jealousy of her sex, and was, besides, much
attached to some clever wooers of hers, wily sinners who covered their
aims under the semblance of ultra-extreme passion for her. The prominent
scamps died, to be succeeded by their children, or other of the hated
conquerors, from generation to generation. The islanders went on
increasing and protesting. T hey starved upon the lands, and shot the
landlords when a few gave them the chance, for most lived away in their
own country, and left the property to be administered by agents. The
Home Government had again and again been obliged to assist these people
with soldiers, to provide an armed police, to shoot down mobs, to catch
a ringleader here or there and send him to Fernando Po, or to deprive
whole villages of ordinary civil rights. Then the yam crop failed, and
nearly half the people left the island and crossed the seas, where they
continued to hate and to plot against those whose misfortune it had been
to get a legacy of the island from their fathers. It would be wearisome
to recount the absurdities on both sides: the stupidity or criminal
absence of tact from time to time shown by the Home Government--the
resolve never to be quiet exhibited by the natives, under the prompting
of their clerics. Upon

     "--that common stage of novelty--"

there were ever springing up fresh difficulties. Secret clubs were
formed for murder and reprisal. A body called the "Yellows" had bound
themselves by private oaths to keep up the memory of the religious
victories of their predecessors, and to worry the clerical party in
every possible way. Their pleasure was to go about insanely blowing
rams'-horns, carrying flags and bearing oranges in their hands. The
islanders hated oranges, and at every opportunity cracked the skulls of
the orange-bearers with brutal weapons peculiar to the island. These,
in return, cracked native skulls. The whole island was in a state of
perpetual commotion. Still, its general condition improved, its
farms grew prosperous, and a joint-stock company had built a mill
for converting cocoanut fibre into horse-cloths, which yielded large
profits. The memory of past events might well have been buried; but the
clerics, in the interest of the old woman, fanned the embers, and the
infamous bidding for popularity of parties at home served to keep alive
passions that would naturally have died out. Besides, latterly folly had
been too organized on both sides to suffer oblivion. Everybody was tired
of the squabbles of St. Helena. At length there was a general movement
in the interests of peace, and to pacify the islanders Parliament was
asked to pull down the wings of the old church edifice, remove some of
the graves, and cut off a large piece of the graveyard. Some were
in favor also of dividing all the farms in the country among the
aborigines, but the difficulty was to know how at the same time to
satisfy the present occupiers. These schemes were topics of high debate,
upon them the fortunes of Government rose and fell, and while they were
agitated Ginx's Baby could have no chance of a parliamentary hearing.
Many other matters of singular indifference had eaten up the legislative
time; but at last the increasing number of wretched infants throughout
the country began to alarm the people, and Sir Charles Sterling thought
the time had come to move on behalf of Ginx's Baby and his fellows.



VI.--Amateur Debating in a High Legislative Body.

While Sir Charles was trying to get the Government to "give him a night"
to debate the Ginx's Baby case, and while associations were being formed
in the metropolis for disposing of him by expatriation or otherwise, a
busy peer without notice to anybody, suddenly brought the subject before
the House of Lords. As he had never seen the Baby, and knew nothing or
very little about him, I need scarcely report the elaborate speech in
which he asked for aristocratic sympathy on his behalf. He proposed to
send him to the Antipodes at the expense of the nation.

The Minister for the Accidental Accompaniments of the Empire was a
clever man--keen, genial, subtle, two-edged, a gentlemanly and not
thorough disciple of Machiavel; able to lead parliamentary forlorn
hopes and plant flags on breaches, or to cover retreats with brilliant
skirmishing; deft, but never deep; much moved too by the opinions of his
permanent staff. These on the night in question had plied him well
with hackneyed objections; but to see him get up and relieve himself of
them--the air of originality, the really original air he threw around
them; the absurd light which he turned full on the weaknesses of his
noble friend's propositions, was as beautiful to an indifferent critic
as it as saddening to the man who had at heart the sorrows of his kind.
If that minister lived long he would be forced to adopt and advocate
in as pretty a manner the policy he was dissecting. Lord Munnibagge, a
great authority in economic matters, said that a weaker case had never
been presented to Parliament. To send away Ginx's Baby to a colony
at imperial expense was at once to rob the pockets of the rich and to
decrease our labor-power. There was no necessity for it. Ginx's Baby
could not starve in a country like this. He (Lord Munnibagge) had
never heard of a case of a baby starving. There was no such wide-spread
distress as was represented by the noble lord. There were occasional
periods of stagnation in trade, and no doubt in these periods the poorer
classes would suffer; but trade was elastic; and even if it were granted
that the present was a period when employment had failed, the time was
not far off when trade would recuperate. (Cheers.) Ginx's Baby and all
other babies would not then wish to go away. People were always making
exaggerated statements about the condition of the poor. He (Lord
Munnibagge) did not credit them. He believed the country, though
temporarily depressed by financial collapses, to be in a most healthy
state. (Hear, hear.) It was absurd to say otherwise, when it was shown
by the Board of Trade returns that we were growing richer every day.
(Cheers.) Of course Ginx's Baby must be growing richer with the rest.
Was not that a complete answer to the noble lord's plaintive outcries?
(Cheers and laughter.) That the population of a country was a great
fraction of its wealth was an elementary principle of political economy.
He thought, from the high rates of wages, that there were not too
many but too few laborers in the country. He should oppose the motion.
(Cheers.)

Two or three noble lords repeated similar platitudes, guarding
themselves as carefully from any reference to facts, or to the question
whether high rates of wages might not be the concomitants simply of high
prices of necessaries, or to the yet wider question whether colonial
development might not have something to do with progress at home. The
noble lord who had rushed unprepared into the arena was unequal to the
forces marshalled against him, and withdrew his motion. Thus the great
debate collapsed. The Lords were relieved that an awkward question had
so easily been shifted. The newspapers on the ministerial side declared
that this debate had proved the futility of the Ginx's Baby Expatriation
question. "So able an authority as Lord Munnibagge had established that
there was no necessity for the interference of Government in the case
of Ginx's Baby or any other babies or persons. The lucid and decisive
statement of the Secretary for the Accidental Accompaniments of the
Empire had shown how impossible it was for the Imperial Government to
take part in a great scheme of Expatriation; how impolitic to endeavor
to affect the ordinary laws of free movement to the Colonies." Surely
after this the Expatriation people hid their lights under a bushel! The
Government refused to find a night for Sir Charles Sterling, and after
the Lords' debate he did not see his way to force a motion in the Lower
House. Meanwhile Ginx's Baby once more decided a turn in his own
fate. Tired of the slow life of the Club, and shivering amid the chill
indifference of his patrons, he borrowed without leave some clothes
from an inmate's room, with a few silver forks and spoons, and decamped.
Whether the baronet and the Club were bashful of public ridicule or glad
to be rid of the charge, I know not, but no attempt was made to recover
him.



PART V. WHAT GINX'S BABY DID WITH HIMSELF.

     A full-formed Horse will, in any market, bring from twenty
     to as high as two hundred Friedrichs d'or: such is his worth
     to the world.  A full-formed Man is not only worth nothing
     to the world, but the world could afford him a round sum
     would he simply engage to go and hang himself.--SARTOR
     RESARTUS.



The Last Chapter.

Our hero was nearly fifteen years old when he left the Club to plunge
into the world. He was not long in converting his spoils into money, and
a very short time in spending it. Then he had to pit his wits against
starvation, and some of his throws were desperate. Wherever he went
the world seemed terribly full. If he answered an advertisement for an
errand-boy, there were a score kicking their heels at the rendezvous
before him. Did he try to learn a useful trade, thousands of adepts
were not only ready to underbid him, but to knock him on the head for an
interloper. Even the thieves, to whom he gravitated, were jealous of
his accession, because there were too many competitors already in
their department. Through his career of penury, of honest and dishonest
callings, of 'scapes and captures, imprisonments and other punishments,
a year's reading of Metropolitan Police Reports would furnish the exact
counterpart.

*****

I don't know how many years after his flight from Pall Mall, one dim
midnight, I, returning from Richmond, lounged over Vauxhall Bridge,
listening to the low lapping of the current beneath the arches--looking
above to the stars and along the dark polished surface that reflected a
thousand lights in its undulations,--feeling the awfulness of the dense,
suppressed life that was wrapt within the gloom and calm of the hour. I
suddenly saw a shadow, a human shadow, that at the sound of my footstep
quickly crossed my dreamy vision--quickly, noiselessly came and
went before my eyes until it stood up high and outlined against the
strangely-mingled haze. It looked like the ghost of a slight-formed man,
hatless and coatless, and for a moment I saw at its upper extremity the
dull flash as of a human face in the gloom, before the shadow leaped out
far into the night. Splash! When my startled eyes looked down upon the
glancing, waving ebony, I thought I could trace a white coruscation of
foam spreading out into the darkness, instantly to dissipate and be lost
for ever. I did not then know what form it was that swilled down below
the glistening current. Had I known that it was Ginx's Baby I should
perhaps have thought "Society, which, in the sacred names of Law and
Charity, forbad the father to throw his child over Vauxhall Bridge, at a
time when he was alike unconscious of life and death, has at last itself
driven him over the parapet into the greedy waters"----

Philosophers, Philanthropists, Politicians, Papists and Protestants,
Poor-Law Ministers and Parish Officers--while you have been theorizing
and discussing, debating, wrangling, legislating and administering--Good
God! gentlemen, between you all, where has Ginx's Baby gone to?





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